Nothing like an easy little DIY to kick off the New Year on the right foot (okay, Lulu). This one I did a while back but for the sake of freshly pressed blogging, let’s pretend it’s right out of the oven. We were handed down this beautiful 1940′s, desk handmade by Elliott’s grandfather for his Dad when he was growing up in Canada. We were so happy to help keep it in the fam and obviously to use and give it our ow personal touch. Here’s the before and after from the parents garage to beautifully sitting in our Chi-town pad:
I thought you you’d ask. Well, because it’s a vintage desk with sentimental value, we didn’t want to go crazy-painty on it. We might change our minds later, but for now, that’s what feels right: keep it old and simple, and for that matter, older and prettier.
First I distressed the edges by sanding it down real good. Please don’t look at my nails, would you? So embarrassing…
I left it alone for a few hours (not many though, patience is not my thing) then spread Behr Premium Plus With Style Satin Faux Glaze around the tips and edges. Leave it on for few seconds and wipe off the excess with a damp cloth. This gives it even more of a vintage look with all the black corners and all. Soon after it was time for the drawers to receive the glaze (just on the front).
We planned of switching the handles for something more fun and current like all of these from Anthropology but turned out his grandpa would not be very pleased (since he made it literally impossible with the tiny nails he originally used to hold his handles up) and we decided to leave it alone.
We’re clearly not all done in the “office department”. A nice chair would be, well… nice. And probably more comfortable than this temp chair we got. But as of now, this is what our vintage desk looks like:
It was last night while prepping for gift wrapping that I went through the list: boxes, check! Paper, check! Ribbon, check! Gift tags cheee…gift tags… any tags… I’ve got nothing! So I did the first thing one does when in hot water: googled. DIYs popped up all over the map. Idea given, idea accepted, I came up with an easy solution: heart shaped magazine cutouts and thread to summarize my vision. Piece of
No outdoor photos today, because “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” on my radio station:
On to the good stuff
Get a mag that was destined to the trash and re-purpose it by ripping of a page, or two, or more. Choose anything but a black page like I did (apparently one can’t photograph and think at the same time) and remember you’ve gotta actually write on it (from who to whom).
If you choose to free hand a little ticker like me, fold one of the tips and cut a tiny hole in the paper
You’re welcome to replace this with the material of your choise, but my restricted options offered dental floss or cotton thread. I figured cotton was less higienic but yet more appropriate. I got a big piece and folded it many times, making it a “thicker” tread and tying the ends.
Next, get your pre-wrapped gifts box, or back and tie the thread around it with another knot. Alternatively, you can also use scotch tape to hold the thread to the wrapping material
So yeah… I painted my area rug. No, I didn’t use proper paint. Yes, it was very time-consuming. No, I was not in my right mind. Yes, it took way longer than anticipated. No, I wouldn’t do it again if you paid me (well, maybe!) and heck yeah, I love the result. Not because it’s any state of the art piece, but it looks close enough to something I’d spot at the store but with a lower price tag ($39.99 at ikea.) Like that?
I had everything else needed sitting around the house from earlier diy projects, from thin art brushes bought-for but never-used on our stenciled wall to cans of blue and black latex paint and cardboard. Latex paint wasn’t the best idea but I was way too lazy to run to the store and get fabric paint medium.
that I later printed and cut to look like this:
It took no less than a whole exhausting month to finish this “little project”. Of course I took I several-day breaks along the way, but still a much longer time allowance than budgeted. Here’s how the final piece is complimenting the room:
Thanksgiving is here today, will be gone tomorrow and I’m now allowed to jump into taking about Christmas (and decorating). Before leaving town yesterday we dressed up “Corner Robinson” to received the white-bearded dude. Christmas playlist on pandora, cookies in the oven, wine in the glass, wrapping paper, scissors, scotch tape: go!
Hard to find a place to best display our Christmas tree prototype (it’s way to small to classify as the actual deal). It got stuck between the dinner table and the side table. So far, they have been getting along pretty well (these brats were fighting over space and the Christmas tree attempted suicide by falling over). Instead of using the same red-gold combination we have every single year, (boooring) this year I got inventive and tied pink ribbon ornaments.
It was the beginning of September when Santa Claus threw up all over Costco. I for one was ecstatic to see Christmas trees light up four full months in advance. It’s okay to start the Holiday cheers a bit early, but September? C’mon! Sadly, Halloween and Thanksgiving just don’t get enough attention these days. Solution? I’ve got nothing. Well, I do. For me, but it may work for you. Before Christmas takeover at the Robinson household, I gathered a few things we already had bought for Halloween and improvised.
This is by far the craziest and coolest thing I’ve ever done in the DIY category. With the help of my husband, I was able to transform a natural wood stump into an organic looking side table for our living area as seen here (Anyone see that $199 price tag? Oh loco!). I’ll give this project a grade three in a scale of one to ten. One being the easiest (if you can find a stump that is).
Step 1: This may sound a bit obvious, but you need to get a stump. Obvious, but not exactly easy. Level seven in difficulty. We called numerous local lumber yards and had no luck. Next we tried a fire wood lot and score! My husband drove over to the place in River North and brought home an already dried wood stump for only $12 bucks. Double score!
Step 2: Remove the bark. Although I didn’t personally get my hands dirty (quite the opposite at this point I was cleaning) I know a hammer and chisel were essential here. It was also reported to me this step reached level four in our scale. Still easy.
Step 3: Time to sand this baby down. Reported level five, yet time consuming.
Step 4: Let it dry off for a few months. It’s your call how many months you think is necessary for your piece of tree, or if you want to skip it all together. We did, because we were told this had been drying for quite sometime at its original home.
Step 5: This step is very optional, but if you dread moving furniture around this should be a prerequisite. Drilling three wheels to the bottom of your stump will help. Level 2.
Step 6: Soak a small rag into a wood stain solution (we used Minwax Wood Finish Natural 209) and spread it throughout the surface. Let it soak up the the stain for a few hours and voilà. You’ve got yourself a one-of-a-kind, kick-ass side table. (Repeat this step if needed. The more coats, the darker it gets.)
After almost three full months residing in our little piece of Chicago heaven, the master bedroom can finally be checked off the list. Well, for now anyways. Several corners remain in desperate need for a little love. Like the mini hallway with its sad average looking mirror (although sad, it has served us very well), the five wall mirrors plus clock, and the wall above our headboard. Nothing necessarily wrong with our wedding frames but it’s very narcissistic and a little tiring. Until I find a good replacement for static Mr. and Mrs Robinson, they’ll remain the center of attention in dream land. The biggest challenge I had with this room was cheering it up. White walls scream mental health institution and were driving me positively mad. Before it all got serious enough for an unflattering straight jacket some things had to be changed. Painting would be an easy way out. I could but didn’t want to paint the walls. So I’d have to paint the stuff. What’s the opposite of white? Yellow. Not really but black wouldn’t have worked here . Yellow is happy and compliments my grey pillows and throw like no other. Yellow it was. Who’d be the victims? Lamp bases one and two and desk chair. Here’s the before, the progress and the details:
Before we’d put much thought into it, things were grey…very grey
I love you, yellow paint.
Now side by side
Look at the mirror reflection of my needle felted love birds. So fetch!