Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Backdrop

A unique way to change how your furniture looks at Christmas. How about changing the background of shelves or behind wall units? Initially the work takes some time, but once it's all done you can store it and pull it out the next year. You can change it up easily, year to year.

Here is the cabinet that I'm going to create a new background for. A few years ago I cut and placed matchstick blinds behind the cabinet to give it a different look. For Christmas I'm giving them a real seasonal look.

I use thin, luan wood for each section. Measuring is key, of coarse and I learned that the hard way.

I cut out each section using my jigsaw and lightly sanded the sides.

As you can see below, each section was covered with red satin. I use "duct tape" to attach the satin. You may think this is a strange selection for adhesion, but it worked great! It gave me the ability to pull the fabric tight and it also gives me the option of taking it off easily next year and change it to gold or green fabric. I like this.

Here is the finished look. Maybe next year I'll do gold. Have a great holiday!!

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Recovering An Old Chair Pillow

This particular chair I got off the sidewalk in front of Pier 1 Imports a few years ago. It was only slightly damaged and seemed simple enough to touch up with some paint, which is what I did when I got it home. I paid $69.00 dollars for it, which I knew was a real bargain.

A few years have passed and now the white pillow is getting worn out and just crappy looking. Time to recover that chair seat. Now, what's the best way to go about it? Carefully take the pillow seams apart and disassemble the fabric, piece by piece. This creates a template for your new cover.
Below you can see the pieces removed and taken apart. Now all I did was pin them to the new fabric and cut out the new pieces.

Here, the pieces are pinned to the new fabric.

Just to be on the safe side, I've pinned the new fabric to the pillow to make sure it will all fit. It should if I followed the template correctly.

Sewing right sides together, the pillow is almost complete. This job is best done with a sewing machine and some basic sewing skills, but honestly not that difficult to do. Now the issue becomes this: what is the best way to close up this pillow. A zipper is great, but a lot more work, or the use of Velcro which works great but is still some extra work. I decided to leave an opening, stuff the pillow in and hand sew the pillow closed. I picked this option because the pillow is hardly ever used and should hold up for a few years, before it needs to be replaced again.

Here's the pillow all finished. Great that it looks clean and like new again. I used 1 and 1/2 yards of fabric. The fabric was $6.99 a yard on the clearance rack and I used a 40% off coupon at Joann's. Not a bad deal and pretty easy to sew up.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Scents for the effusion lamp

I'm currently burning two delightful scents that are combined, in my effusion lamp. This one is just perfect for the holidays. All my scents were purchased at

1/2 ounce of Christmas Tree
1/2 ounce of Apple Jack Peel
1 ounce of distilled water
The rest of the bottle (16 oz) is filled with 91% Isopropyl alcohol

The combination of these scents are perfect for the holiday. I've burned "Christmas Tree" alone and it is just like the real thing. That certainly helps if you have an artificial tree like I do. The addition of the apple jack peel adds flavors of cinnamon and apple.

I also purchased "Christmas candy" for the holidays. Sweet and delicious, it spreads throughout the entire house in no time.

Also for the holidays I've picked up the following scents. Turkish Mocha (I think this should smell like coffee), Celestial Waters, Christmas Spice, Bay Rum and Red Apple. I'll let you know how they work out.

Lucky me! My daughter bought me a new effusion lamp.......

To add to my growing collection. They are just so beautiful, just to display.

I still receive emails about these lamps on a weekly basis. I'm glad to answer any questions you may have. My blog archives are full of more information if you are interested.

In the mean time, scent the house up like it really is the holidays!

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's the little things that count

A couple of months ago I bought this little garlic storage thingy at Goodwill. It's made of terra cotta and I'm pretty sure it's for baking garlic in the oven.

Pictured below:

I don't bake garlic, or at least I never have done so I opted to paint it. I used metallic acrylics which I have a collection of. These paints, available at crafts stores are so pretty and priced cheap enough so you can buy plenty.
When it was done I sprayed it with extra glossy clear spray sealer. For 99 cents, it's now pretty cute and I'll use it to store garlic in.

I always manage to find little gems in the Goodwill that I can actually do something with. When I picked this up I could just imagine how cute it would look all painted. I especially love the little garlic on the top. There is no question as to what this item holds, if you get my drift.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Strange things happen when you're painting

I purchased these three word plaques in Kirkland's the other day. My plan was to hang them
over my daughter's bed which currently has nothing at all over it. Her walls are rather dark so these three items needed to stand out somehow, so I decided to paint them.

Most things that need to be painted require some prep work. Sanding always helps the paint to adhere better to the item. This is especially important if the existing piece has a shiny finish. You need to sand it down just a little so the paint will grab.

When I bought the plaques home I took them down into my shop and immediately sprayed them with spray paint, completely forgetting to sand them down. Later when I went to see if they were dry, I noticed that the paint had not adhered well......ugh.
The only way out of this would be to sand it down (I had only done one so far) and repaint it. As I started to use the sandpaper I realized that the effect that I was creating looked pretty cool. Here is what it looked like.
I actually like this, so I'm going with it. I repeated the process for all three of them. After they were finished I applied a clear coat of spray sealer-glossy. When I sprayed it on a yellow color appeared in several areas and that looked good too.

It's interesting what can happen when you least expect it.

Somehow one of them landed up outside......................not sure why, but I thought the picture was cute.
Here they are hanging up on the wall where they were intended to be.
There is always a way to make something match up.


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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thrift Store TV stand Makeover

I wanted to remind everyone that this subscription to Lowe's Creative Ideas is a totally "free" magazine that comes to you four times a year. It's filled with some great ideas, tips, new products and more. If you haven't signed up, go here and start getting it free. This issue includes 7 quick room redos, tips for transforming your home for the holidays and new ways to work with lights. Every once and a while they include a $10.00 coupon for a $50.00 purchase.

Just thought I would remind you.

So this week I finished up the television stand that I bought at the Goodwill. It was $12.00 and looked like crap. I knew though, that this stand could be made into something nice enough to put into my den. I had been passively looking around at tv stands, but quite frankly they are expensive.

Looks terrible, right?

This is what I thought when I first saw it. I'll sand it down, add some trim to certain parts and re-spray it black. I really liked the idea of having those cabinet doors. I can hide stuff back there that I don't want to look at anymore like remotes (all 50 of them), movies and things like that.

I started by giving the stand a good cleaning then sanded it down and sprayed it black.

I used one of my favorite products, Rub & Buff to add some gold accents around the door and also on the handles. Use your finger to apply this stuff, it's great. You can read more about this product here.

I added two pieces of trim to the center shelves (they were kind of beat up), so it would hide the damage and add to the piece. These were glued and nailed with small tacks to the unit.

For 12 bucks, you can't go wrong. It serves a purpose, looks nice and even has some storage.
Ah.........the thrift store find!


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Updating your Goblins


I bought these guys the other day-5 bucks each. Aren't they cute? But don't you think they need some fixing up?

Some cheapo eyeballs..........

They need some dental work and some lightening up. A little white paint perhaps? I'm going to seal them with a clear spray to keep them nice for the following year. Cheap and easy.

Oh, how much better we look with a little makeup. They will sit on two posts outside to welcome all the trick-or-treaters.

Happy Halloween folks!
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Thrift Store Finds

I was in the mood for a thrift store trip the other day. Look what I found and you'll see what I do with all of it in the next few weeks.

Cute little pumpkin mosaic-.99 cents

Can work as a candle if you take the lid off or just a little home for small items.

A home for garlic-.99 cents. This I didn't need but the challenge of hand painting it was too tempting, so I took it home. I'll paint it and use it to store garlic in. Cute....

A brass base for one of my effusion lamp-.99 cents. I've seen these sold on the Internet for a lot more money than this one cost me. You don't need them, but they look nice.

This item was one of my favorites. It is made completely out of wire and joined with solder. Definitely hand made and certainly unusual. Needs some cleaning. Cost-3 bucks.

I just needed a clock and this fits the bill. 3 bucks. It's going into my shop. Perfect. Install battery, clean it up and hang it. It's that simple.

OK, so here is the best find of the day, but it will create some work for me. I really need a television stand. I've been looking around because the one I have now is a piece of junk. I'm pretty sure you think the one below is junk too, but don't be so sure. I've already started working on it. It really is the perfect size and the cabinet doors are a real plus for me. I have big plans for this one. I will post the before and after shortly. I'm anxious to place it into the room. FYI-it does have shelves in the center but they are not shown in the photo. I had already taken them out when the photo was taken.
Thrift stores can offer some great deals. Sometimes the items just need a simple cleaning and sometimes they need work. I got a bit of both this time around.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thrift Store Headboard Makeover

My first problem. My daughter needed to take her bed from home and move it to her apartment. That leaves me with one double mattress with no headboard, no frame and no box spring.

that stinks........

So now I'm faced with buying a box spring and a frame. Not relishing the thoughts of traveling around to buy a box spring (and they never let you buy that separately) , trying to cram it into my Mustang (yeah, right) and spending money that I don't have, I started searching around on the Internet for some alternatives. I found this new type of box spring and boy it is cool. It's fairly inexpensive, is a box spring and frame in one, gives you space underneath the bed, ships easily to your home and goes together fast. Take a look here. It's called Better Than A Box spring. I put together, tried it out and guess what? It's comfortable. So this saved me.

Now I just needed a headboard. Originally I was going to make my own using plywood and 2X4's, but I happened to find exactly what I wanted at the local thrift store for $9.00.
Below is the headboard I purchased. It's perfect for what I have in mind. Only problem is-this is a queen size and I need a double. Ok, so no big deal. I'm going to cut down the middle and remove enough wood to bring it down to size. I'm choosing the middle so I don't make any
mistakes that will screw up my sides. I don't want to have to remove the side polls and mess with it so cutting in the middle seems less complicated.

Below, I've cut down the middle and removed enough wood to bring it down to size. I'm going to glue it together and fasten straight brackets to it. This should hold it together just fine.

To the right, the headboard is glued and brackets are installed. I'll let the glue dry and then start to prime my side polls. My plan is to paint the polls dark brown.


Below the polls are painted dark brown. My plan now is to cover the headboard with cotton batting, using spray adhesive to keep it in place. I purchased a few yards of microfiber fabric to cover and enough decorative brass upholstery nails to nail around the perimeter of the headboard once it's covered with fabric.

The most difficult part of the entire project was nailing the upholstery tacks in straight, even and spaced out correctly. For this I made a small template with cardboard. They still didn't go in exactly straight, but good enough. I used a disappearing marker (found at Joann's Fabric store) to draw a line that I could use as a guide to hammer in the tacks.

To the right here, you can see how they look. I've found plenty of uses for these tacks. They have a nice look to them. Available in black, antique brass and shiny, bright brass. For this project I used the antique brass. I purchased them in Home Depot.

I wrapped the fabric around the headboard carefully and used staples to attach it to the back. The cotton padding added some dimension and the tacks added some design.

I've finally finished this up and placed it behind the bed. I like the way it came out, but better than that is the price.

$9.00 for the headboard
$12.00 for the tacks
$9.00 for the fabric
$6.00 for the cotton batting
The paint and primer I had at home.

The comforter set was purchases on the Internet at because the price was very reasonable.

Another thrift store find turned into something worthwhile.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Paint Product

New Products Help Expand Creativity and Save Time

What if you could change the color of your pillows with the spray of a bottle? How about changing the color of a rug, comforter, bath mats or even interior of your car. It really sounds too good to be true but it's finally available.

I ran across this upholstery fabric paint called Simply Spray. To be fair, I really couldn't imagine that this would work, and work well. I was figuring that it would leave the fabric stiff and uncomfortable to be around. I was wrong.

I tried an pillow to start with. On the left is the "before" pillow. It has a textured fabric in gold. This fabric spray stays soft, is permanent and easy to use. Naturally it came with directions that I followed to assure that I did it correctly.

I used the color Hunter green for this pillow. Here is the photo of the pillow with "one" coat of spray.

I let this sit for a while before applying a second coat.

Can you imagine spraying a couch over? or the upholstery of a car? I'm not sure I'm that brave, but I bet it works. I was thinking about some other uses and came up with spraying my upholstered kitchen chairs. That saves a lot of work.

Here is the second coat. The fabric is all filled in and very rich looking. The color is solid but you still see the texture. Also notice that the color is a true hunter green, just like the bottle describes.

A truly amazing product with many uses. This spray is specifically created for upholstery.

You can check out their website here.
I found this product at Joann's but I've seen it at Michael's and Hobby Lobby.

They also make a stencil paint that you can use for fabric and
a spray for clothing. I'm going to give both a try and see what happens. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.

I have several sisal rugs that have gotten dull over the years. This spray would make them look like new. Many colors are available. If you need more info check out the site here.


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Stained Glass

I'm keeping busy these days working on some stained glass.

Stained glass isn't exactly "thrifty" unless you do it yourself and even that, isn't exactly cheap. It's a hobby I took up a long time ago and eventually turned it into a small at- home business. Thought you may like to see some pictures of some recent work.

Above is a piece that I finished a while ago for over a door in my kitchen.

The piece above is five separate panels that I placed above a french door. Not the greatest of photos. Looks much better in person. I just finished this last week.

I made five of these for my kitchen cabinets. Here is a photo of two of them. These cabinets actually had solid wood panels that I removed using a saw and router. This is a simple design that doesn't make the kitchen too busy. The frosted glass helps to hide all the items that are stored in the cabinets.

Below are four cabinets I just finished for a customer who has just put in a new kitchen. They will have lights behind them when they are finally hung.

Busy , busy................

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thrift Store Find

I just love this.  Goodwill...........$10.00..........and what is it?  I'm not sure exactly what it is but I absolutely love it.  It was in perfect condition and very clean.  It appears that it was once attached to something (not sure what).

I decided it would work in my bathroom as a place to put a few important items.

If you can believe this, I totally forgot to take a "before" photograph.  This is the cabinet all finished.  All I did was add some decorative tissue with Mod Podge to the four little drawers.  The handles are original and the center cabinet has glass.  I wrapped the same tissue around the grid on the glass cabinet. 

Done!  I can't tell you how functional and nice looking this little cabinet looks in my bathroom.

It pays to shop at the thrift stores and put some effort into things.  The end results can be delightful.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Changing is Simple

Someone gave me this lamp about a year ago.  It's very sturdy and well made.  The center of the lamp is a light purple and so is the shade.  I don't have any use for those colors so I stored the lamp in the basement, thinking that maybe I would need it in the future.

The future is here and my daughter needs the lamp for her den.  She's 23 and is on a tight budget (and who isn't these days?)  So how do you go about changing the lamp to "make it" match?

A few things come to mind.

*paint the center part another color
*decoupage the center with tissue or fabric
*tape off the brass carefully and spray paint the center part

Originally I wanted to use Glossy Mod Podge and apply newspaper print to the center, buy a white shade and hot glue a black beaded fringe to the bottom of the shade.  The "kid" didn't like that idea and wanted something with green.

I decided to use tissue paper with shades of taupe and green.  I cut up the tissue into 1 inch squares, used the Mod Podge with a paint brush and applied them until they covered the entire center.

Here is a "not so good" photo of the tissue I used.  At least you can see the variety of colors that appear in the tissue.

Here is the lamp before.  Notice the lavender color in the middle. This is the part that must be changed to match up with the decor of the room.

Now you can see the difference!  The purple is now green.  The tissue I used had a variety of colors so the end result was a marble look.  I like the variation that happens when you use tissue paper with a design in it.
Mod Podge can transform so many things.  It's a quick way to change the look or color of something.

Below is the lamp, all finished.  The lamp was free, the other things I had hanging around  the house and the white shade was $11.00 at Walmart.  Re purposing an old lamp and making it blend in.  Easy and cheap!

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