Friday, July 31, 2015

Furniture Fridays: Landing Table: For the Love of Spray Paint

In our previous home, we loved this beautiful set-up!  It was the first thing a person would see upon entering our house.  Because I didn't have a fireplace and a mantle, I used these two tables to decorate for each holiday or season. 

Now, I do have a fireplace and mantle, but I don't have a place in my living room for this set.  So, it has become our landing furniture. Who knew that was a thing!?!  But we're loving it!

Spray paint.  I love it!  It can change the look of a piece of furniture in just ten minutes!  In our new house our colors are similar to what they were before: whites, greys, turquoise - basically beach-y colors (Yes, beach house in Missouri!).  Instead of the lighter sea-green turquoise color above, I'm trying a more vibrant dark teal-ish color with little pops of yellow and a red or two thrown in every once in a while.

Now the tables house games like mancala and chess and a very old vintage memory game for quick access when we're having family time in the living room. 

This project, because of the wonders of spray paint, took me about 45 minutes to complete!  Just a little bit of sanding, then wiping the particles off with a cloth, and then my favorite brand of spray paint.  Done and done! 

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the other 12 feet of wall space!  Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Straining Berries without a Berry Srainer

You know, sometimes I just don't have the right tools and have to emprovise.  I'm pretty sure that's where the expression Jimmy Rigged or Jerry Rigged comes from.  Which way do you say it?  My husband, from Idaho called it Jerry, I'm from Oklahoma and called it Jimmy.  Either way, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to get a project finished.

My kiddos and their cousins were hoping to utilize their new snow cone/ice shaver machine and needed some syrup for the snow cones.  As I've said before, now that I don't live super close to a grocery store, I am a little lazy about heading into town for "necessary" items. So, my kids have to suffer through me just making do.

I knew I could make my own syrup for snow cones because my good friend, Svenja, over at, made some for us last winter.  So, I shuffled through the contents of our freezer and found some older blackberries.  Strawberries or raspberries would have been much more preferable, to everyone, but I had two bags of those blackberries and didn't think I'd use them for anything else.

Unfortunately, blackberries have gobs and gobs of seeds!  And I don't have one of these great tools:
My friend Chelsey comes from a family of amazing gardeners and home canning gurus! She let me use her photo from when they were making blackberry jelly in her home. Check out her fantastic photography on Facebook: Chelsey Cora Photography)

Since I don't own a berry separator myself, and since Chelsey and her family live far enough away to not borrow it, I had to instead just come  up with a way to get the lovely blackberry juice without it.  

Enter a small strainer and an even smaller glass bowl.  

Hey, it's a little more work, but it worked in a pinch!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Furniture Friday: Just a Simple Square Side Table

I got too excited about finishing this table that I don't think I even thought to have a before picture!

But it was that dreaded cherry wood stain that doesn't go with anything in my home.  It also had some gold accents that aren't our favorite either.  My husband and I hoped to have a place to sit with a small table to read by.  With it's new white oil-based paint (to match our trim) and some oil-rubbed bronze details, this small square side table from my grandmother's home was a perfect fit!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Make a Mix Monday: Ranch Dressing Mix

Before moving I tried to use up all of my mixes and have now, finally, started to make some again.  We live further out in the country than we did last year at this time so many times I just don't want to head into town for things I need for supper if I can make it at home.

Our supper this particular evening called for some ranch dressing.  I usually have stock piles of Ranch in my house because my daughter likes it with just about everything!  Much to my dismay, however, I didn't have any in the fridge or in the pantry or even in our storage downstairs! Thankfully, I could turn to the internet to help me out on this one. 

I found the ranch dressing mix here on

It turned out pretty good, but I think I'll be adding some garlic salt because it wasn't quite right - a little bland. 

Also, I didn't have any dry buttermilk, but I did have regular dry milk and used that.  Then when I put the milk in, I added lemon juice to the milk to make it like buttermilk.  (1 Tbps lemon juice to 1 cup of milk makes a buttermilk-like taste, I use it all the time for waffles and pancakes.) 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Furniture Friday: On sanding and scraping and professional-grade finish

I learned something in October that I thought I'd share.  Ages ago, before I knew anything about refinishing furniture, my husband and I refinished our kitchen table.  Since then, I have finished only three more.  As you all know, kitchens are the hub for family activity and they take a lot of daily beatings, so they've got to be finished a little more carefully.  They won't be able to have the same kind of finish as a dresser or a side table and still withstand the daily abuse.   

While driving around, I found a beautiful circular pedestal table with three chairs, for free!  I love it when this happens because I always feel that if I haven't invested any money into it initially, I can be a little more experimental and I don't feel obligated to keep things the way they are.  For instance, if I receive something from my grandparents, it is harder for me to refinish it than if I find it on the side of the road. Or if I purchase something, I want to put less money into it and use what I have on hand to make it new.

As you can see this one was filthy and had those outdated grapes and vines stenciled around the table top.  I'm sure that there a lots of people who like the stenciled grapevines, but I wanted this to be able to work for lots of people, not just a certain genre that have their kitchens already decorated in grapes (and I'm not dogging that - my grandmother's entire kitchen had accents of grapes and grapevines and was very lovely, I just think it tailors to a few rather than the masses). 
Because this is a table top, and it get more abuse, I've discovered that it's important to take it down to the bare wood, rather than use a product like a sanding deglosser to just make the top tacky enough to get paint to stick. 
So, on went the orange smelling paint stripper, and then some elbow grease to peel those coats of polyurethane off.  
The stenciled grapevines came off without any trouble at all!  The professional coats of polyurethane...well, they took a whole lot more work!  After working again and again to get the many thin coats off, and not having it come off, I finally called a friend who explained two things: 
  1. I needed a stronger paint and stain stripper
  2. When I finish the top, if I want it to be as strong and long lasting as the original, then I would need to put on at least 3 coats of poly (but he suggested 4) and to sand it smooth with a really fine sandpaper or steel wool. 

After stripping the top, I painted the legs and chairs the same color...

And then stained the top grey.  I kinda like the grey and dark teal.  Calming.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Vintage Dress and Some Ripped up Jeans

 A few months ago, I found this vintage dress at the Goodwill Outlet for just $.49!  I hoped it would fit me, but it was waaaay cuter on my 11 year old!  To give it a new, more modern look, we took a pair of her ripped jeans, cut them along the seam.  Then we ruched the edge around the seam, added a flower clip from my Paparazzi Accessories stock and made a belt.

Now she loves it!  And I love that it cost practically nothing, and that it looks adorable on her!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Furniture Friday: Sneak Peak Look alike Lorraine Chair from Restoration Hardware

Currently, I'm working on this project for our living room (we don't have any proper furniture there yet because it's waiting on me to finish)!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Create a Piece of Art Storing Your Earrings and Rings

Last week on the blog was a donation to my daughter's elementary school. This week is another item that was donated. See my tutorial for the two I made for my master bedroom here.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Furniture Friday: Pianos = Furniture

Since I grew up in a hugely musical family, where the piano was revered and treated as a person, many times these pianos turned furniture makes me freak out a little! In fact, though it matches nothing in my house, I can't even get myself to paint or stain my piano, it seems sacrilegious!

BUT because of my love of music, I kinda want to find a beat up old piano that is doomed for the land-fill and make it useful again. Here are some of the fun ideas I like:

Again, I don't drink, but I found this piano at the Brass Armadillo in Missouri.  I love how they put the colored glass where the thin layer of decorated wood used to be.

Who wouldn't LOVE this grand piano turned bookcase!?!  But grand pianos are hard to come by...
So, this might be the next best thing.  It doesn't look nearly as nice though and the keys are gone, so that's a disappointment.  I think I'll keep searching for a beat up, never can be tuned, grand.  
 Again, where are people getting these grand pianos?  This one is nice because it's really dilapidated which makes the flowers pop - like they are giving it new life.
Another garden one. And I spy a trombone in the background too.  I'm liking the dilapidatedness of this one too because it makes all the life and greenery draping over and around it that much more beautiful.  

Yes!  This one is unique and fun.  This actually looks more like it was an antique organ (because it's narrower than a piano) but the concept is the same - and it turned out great!
These two waterfall ones kind of make me cringe, yet they are really, really beautiful! And I like the quote "There's music in water, if you stop and listen..."  LOVE it!