Category Archives: DIY Directions

Feeling the Patriotic Love

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I’m sure you have figured out by now that I have a “thing” for decorating for the holidays and seasons. Recently I became bored with my decorations and began thinking of something different and new.  Dan made the observation I had very few patriotic decorations.  This isn’t due to being unamerican or anti-patriotic.  There just aren’t as many decorations out there to support the love of these holidays. So when I found a picture of a wooden stair spindle turned Uncle Sam on the great wide world of the internet I couldn’t resist. I immediately went shopping in the huge wooden spindle section at work and found the best one for Uncle Sam’s body.  I then trimmed it down to be level on both ends (which also made him shorter). I used the extra wood that was cut off for his hat. I also used 1×4 and 1×6 scrap material for the base and the base of his hat.  With a little bit of painting and a lot of fun playing with star buttons, I created my new favorite decoration.

What a great face!

What a great face!

Supplies:

1 wooden stair spindle

2″ square for hat

Sand paper

Scrap wood for the base and hat base

Blue, Red, White, and Flesh paint

Primer

Patriotic Star Buttons

3 Large wooden hearts

Permanent Marker

Painter’s Tape

Glue

 

Directions:

1) Sand the spindle so the paint will stick.

2) Prime the entire spindle; this makes it easier to paint and you will use less paint in the long run.

3) Paint the mid section of the spindle blue; apply several coats as needed.  This is his body so don’t paint the solid square parts as they are his legs and face.

4) Once the blue paint has dried, paint the lower square section of the spindle white.  Also paint the wood (hat) square white.  Apply several coats as needed.

5) Once the white paint is COMPLETELY dry, tape off stripes in the spindle base and hat.

6) Once the stripes have been taped off, paint over it with white paint; this will “seal” the tape and you will have less bleeding under the tape.

7) When the white paint has dried, paint over it with red paint.  This gives his pants and hat stripes. Remove painters tape once paint has dried.

8) Paint the hat base and wood base solid red.

9) Paint his face flesh colored.

10) Hot glue the base to the spindle, hat base to the top of the spindle, and the square onto the hat base.

11) Use the large wooden hearts to build a mustache. Cut 2 of the hearts in half with a knife (Think of a “ying” shape). Glue the 2 yings to the 3rd heart. They will be the “handle bars” on his beard/mustache.

12) Paint the beard white.

13) Glue the beard on the face of Uncle Sam.

14) Using a small paint brush and white paint make 2 small white lines on face as eye brows.  Then with a permanent marker make 2 round black dots for eyes.

15) Enjoy!

 

 

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Wreath Mania

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I like to make wreaths for my door. Remember when I talked about being sad I didnt have a wreath after christmas so I made a valentines wreath? Well this year was worse becuase I had a wreath on my door from October until the end of Febuary. So I made a St Patricks day wreath with green tulle and ribbons.  After that I couldn’t handle Apirl coming and my door being naked! So I made a spring wreath.

St. Patty's Day wreath

St. Patty’s Day wreath

The spring wreath

The spring wreath

THAT’S when it all went downhill! After my spring wreath had been up for a week or two my neighbor catches me one morning on my way out the door  and she starts telling me how she loves my wreaths, they make her so happy, and she can’t wait for the NEXT one. Crap!! I needed a next one for her (or and maybe for me, but I couldn’t let my fans down!!) So I went to Pintrest and found tons and tons of wreath ideas and a bunch for 4th of July/paricotic wreaths.  I found the PERFECT one! A wreath made out of old wooden clothes pins painted like the flag. Easy enough! I got my mom and  sister involved over Memorial day weekend to help me make my wreath.  It was instant love and I couldn’t wait to show it off!!

Showing off the finished goods with my mom and sister

Showing off the finished goods with my mom and sister

It was super easy (a little time consuming) and very festive! Here are the steps to make yours!

Supplies:

54 Wooden Clothes Pins (The Pinching Kind)

Craft Paint in Blue, Red, and White

3 Foam Paint Brushes

Wooden stars (I used foam sparkle star stickers)

A 12″ Wire Wreath Form

 

Directions:

1) Divide the wooden clothes pins into 3 stacks of 18.

2) With the first stack of wooden clothes pins paint all sides blue.  Don’t forget to paint the inside as well since you will be able to see it.

3) Repeat step 2 using red and white paint.

4) Once the clothes pins are dry, start with the blue pins and clip them one to the wreath form.  The first pin clips onto the 3 wire while the second clips onto the 2nd wire. Alternate the clothes pins until all 18 blue pins are on the form.

5) Then starting with the white, fasten 3 white pins in the same fashion as the blue. Then add 3 red pins. Repeat the process until all the remaining clothes pins are attached to the wreath

6) Now attach the stars to the wreath.  If you went with wooden stars, paint them a fun sparkly color and glue onto the blue pins.

7) Hang and enjoy!

 

 

Hanging on my door waiting for my neighbor to walk by.

Hanging on my door waiting for my neighbor to walk by.

Let a little light in

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Let a little light in

As every body knows I kind of have a thing for up cycling and re-purposing.  I also have a thing for decorating my apartment. Recently, while changing my decorations to early spring (pinks in February and greens in March) I needed an easy to change centerpiece for my table.  So I was constantly keeping my eyes out for the “perfect” item.  At work I love the light fixtures known as “bare bulb” lights.  They were  used in the early 1900’s and these beautiful fixtures (also known as pan lights) had decoration in the sides and in the fixtures but no glass shades over the bulbs.  The idea was that if you were lucky enough to have these fixtures in your house you were also lucky enough to have these fancy new things called a light bulb.  And by showing off the light bulb you were showing off your luck. But what strikes me about these light fixtures if how detailed they can be and how most look like flowers.

The bare bulb light mid way through paint removal

The bare bulb light mid way through paint removal

As I was putting away a new stack of these fixtures (all badly broken, heavily painted, and less than perfect) it struck me.  The single light fixtures could be used as candle holders! I grabbed three of my favorite ones and started to strip the paint. I then swapped out the fairly nice light sockets for ones that no longer worked with my lighting lady at work.  Because why do I need to have working sockets hold candles on my table? Once all the paint was removed and sockets placed inside I became kind of sad, the metals of the fixtures weren’t very pretty.  So i bought a very pretty purple can of spray paint (Krylon Rich Plum) and spray painted a nice solid color on the three fixtures.

Just something about "rich plum"that says it all

Just something about “rich plum”that says it all

They were still missing something.  That’s when I took them to work and showed my coworkers.  My lighting lady pointed it out almost immediately flowers aren’t one solid color, they are several colors. So with a lighter lavender and a pink we spray painted the tops at an angel as the paint just glazed the fixtures.  Adding depth and color to my new flower candle holders.

A close up of my candle holder

A close up of my candle holder

My candle holder with Easter decor

My candle holder with Easter decor.

The Age Old Question…

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When refinishing my chair, I not only had to pad and reupholster it but I had to do something with the wood itself. The chair and wood weren’t too terrible just really worn and dull. Which, if I was a 70 year old chair I would probably be dull too. Since I had everything off the chair and it was just a wood base/legs I figured now would be the time to do something about it.  So I spent two nights hand sanding the frame down to the bare wood.  It is important to note, IF one is staining wood a darker color than what it currently is, it does NOT need to be sanded perfectly down to the wood; just the top coat needs to be sanded off. Since I was unsure of the end wood color, I did a complete sand.

Once it was sanded, I stopped by Home Depot to pick out a stain.  Since it is a mid century chair, and mid century is known for dark, rich woods (especially mahogany) I decided to go with Varathane “Red Mahogany” stain.  I got home and was all ready to stain.

The Stain

The Stain

Do I stain my chair with a brush or with a rag? You ask anybody who has worked with stain and they will both tell you it depends on your comfort and the size of the project. I did my research and found that since my chair was round and had smaller work areas, I went with a rag. I dipped my rag in the stain and started slowly working in a downward motion (so I would always been wiping up drips and the drips wouldn’t ruin my work). I did the first coat alone.

My "excited to start" look

My “excited to start” look

Dan was worried that the color in the jar was too dark but after the first coat, he was shocked and impressed.  I ended with three coats of stain, to make it look like mahogany.  I then added a clear coat for protection and to give it that nice finished look.

Working hard

Working hard

 

Getting all the little spaces

Getting all the little spaces

 

I would quickly realize its better to move than to reach over wet stain

I would quickly realize its better to move than to reach over wet stain

I then added the clean brass feet, and took it to class to finish the upholstery.  Everybody kept oooohing and ahhing over it. Now Dan wants to refinish all the wood in the house mahogany……

Ketchup Isn’t Just for Fries

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The brass, vintage feet from a mid century chair, was in desperate need of polishing. Now I’m sure everybody is thinking, ummm she is going to write a whole blog post about how to use brasso?! And my response is simply no. Brasso is great, don’t get me wrong.  It will polish brass quickly and remove the grime, the patina….and the look of 70 year old brass.  So I used my own advise I give customers…polish them with Ketchup.

What I started with

What I started with

Sounds gross I know, but the acid in Ketchup works wonders on cleaning the tarnish off brass (and silver).  Having never used the ketchup method on anything but faceplates (and didnt want to stain my carpet) I went about it a little differently.  Poor Dan watched in both awe and horror.

Step 1: Using warm soapy water, gently clean the brass.  It might be that you like the look of the piece once the dirt layer is removed.

Step 2: Lay the dry brass on a rag (I would use a dark colored one since the ketchup will stain) and goop on the ketchup.

Step 3: Practice the P-word (patience) and let the brass and ketchup sit and “marinate”.  The longer it sits, the more the acid will break down the patina (my feet which probably had never been cleaned/polished/loved took over being soaked over night, but I’ve seen it work in as little as 10 minutes)

Step 4: After the ketchup has sat on the brass and helped break down the dirty, tarnished patina,  rinse it. Grab a clean lint free rag and start polishing.

Polishing took a while; even if i’d used Brasso, polishing would have taken awhile.  They were REALLY bad!! But the end result was great!

Check out those legs

Check out those legs

Create your very OWN wood Nativity Scene

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Directions:

1 2″x 2″x 2′ piece of lumber

1 1″x 2″ x 4′ piece of lumber

2 1.5″ round wood doll heads (found at the craft store)

1 3/4″ round wood disk (found in the same aisle as the doll heads)

1 wood star (about 1″across)

3 colors of paint (I used blue, Green, and white but fought the urge for lavender and teal)

1 Piece of burlap roughly 4″ x 6″

Twine long enough to wrap the people twice

Hot Glue Gun

a few nails and a hammer

 

1) Cut lumber into following pieces 1 @ 2″ x 2″x 6″ (Josephs body) 1 @ 2″ x 2″ x 5.25″ (Mary’s body) 1 @ 1″x 2″x 3″ (baby Jesus’s body) 2 @ 1″x 2″ x 9″ with 1 end having a 45degree angle cut (this is the barn sides, the angles will help the roof connect) 1 @ 1″x 2″x 6″ and 1 @ 1″x 2″ x 5.25″

2) Paint Peoples Bodies and star.  I used a paint brush and was super streaky to give it a more rustic/vintage look

3) Once paint drys hot glue heads onto bodies

4) Lay “Mary” down on top of the burlap bring the top two corners into her middle (it will cover her head slightly like a hood) glue… a picture is best to explain how the back looks. Mostly because I can’t explain it with hand motions in a blog

 

See what I mean its easier to see the back then try and explain it?

See what I mean its easier to see the back then try and explain it?

5) Hot glue Mary and Joesph together AND then glue Jesus’s body angled on top.

6) “Tie” the family together with twine.

Look how cute!! All most finished

Look how cute!! All most finished

7) Now to build the barn: Nail the two shorter 1 x 2 pieces together at a 90 degree angle making the shorter piece the “bottom”so both will equal 6” long

8) Pre-drill pilot holes into angled roof where the 2 sides will connect. Line the angled sides up to match the roof so it will all be 90 degrees. hammer nails through the roof and into the sides. (you could also use wood glue if that’s easier just make sure to let it full dry before standing it up)

waiting for the glue to dry (I also nailed it)

waiting for the glue to dry (I also nailed it)

9) Paint or stain the Barn if you wish. I left mine plain because again it looked more vintage/rustic

10) Hot glue yellow star to the top of the roof

11) Set up and enjoy!

TaDa!!

TaDa!!

Where projects WENT to die

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It’s the running joke that without my car’s trunk I would be lost.  Before I moved into my current apartment, the trunk served as a closet and shoe storage (my apartment didn’t have a closet).  Now it is not so fondly referred to as the place projects go to die.  One day, I was planning on using the tools at work to complete a project (which did not happen). Next thing you know my trunk is FULL of projects that I needed to do something with. This past week I got mad because everybody started teasing me. I cleaned out my car and evaluated ALL projects that I had completely lost interest in! Then I picked the easiest project!

Check out my oversize stair spindle candle holders!!

The end result

The end result! Minus where they will be in my house

It started as 3 angled stair spindles (forgot to take a picture of them at this point). I then used the chop saw to even the tops and cut the spindles into different lengths. I cut square bases from them to sit on (mostly to help balance them).

At work playing with ideas.

At work playing with ideas.

I sanded the spindles to get a smooth, paintable surface.  Then I spray painted!! have to tell everybody, I SUCK at spray painting so I bribed a coworker to do it for me!

If only I could spray paint this nice!! This is 2 coats in

If only I could spray paint this nice!! This is 2 coats in

Once everything was dry (2 spray cans and a clear gloss coat later) I nailed the bases on, used 2 part epoxy to glue the glass candle trays onto the tops and TADA!

Then I played with different candle rings. They don’t have a permanent home YET; a girl needs to have her options 😉

While I did NOT end up with this style is was still kind of pretty ;)

While I did NOT end up with this style is was still kind of pretty 😉

Can't have raffia because my cats will eat it

Can’t have raffia because my cats will eat it

Sometimes even the Easter Bunny needs help

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My Mom is the BEST grandma (and mom) EVER!! She is always going above and beyond Grandma duties and spoils my niece and nephew something fierce.  When my nephew was learning to talk he decided that my mom was NOT going to be Grandma instead she would be Ma Mauk. Much to her annoyance the name stuck and now my niece (his younger sister) also refers to her as such.  Ma Mauk had plans for an Easter Bunny surprise for the kids at her house: She wanted a sandbox for the kids to play in.  It was funny she said this because that same morning I had been randomly looking at home made sandboxes (oh the power of getting sidetracked). So I quickly said I would BUILD her a sandbox and we (Dan and I) would bring it home Saturday before Easter in pre-made chunks and finish assembling it Easter morning.

She agreed and approved to the sandbox plan.  Having once been a kid with a sandbox (and cats) I knew it needed a lid! And knowing Ma Mauk it needed to be adult friendly (ie a bench) because she would be in the sandbox digging tunnels, scooping dirt, building castles and so on. So I found an image (and a blog with directions) and we set out to the Lumber Store. Now I’m going to be honest, I have never purchased NEW lumber without my Dad but I had done it several times with him; I had it covered.  Dan and I spent a date night at the hardware store (my FAV) and just as we had finished gathering all the materials needed Dan noticed something.  I had picked out very nice wood, cedar to be exact, for weather resistance. But Dan (full cart of lumber) says to me, “Babe, do you realize you have almost $200 worth of sandbox wood on the cart”. WHAT?!?! It was only going to cost me $70! How did I get a $200 sandbox?!?! I quickly realize I was buying premium lumber (at $20 a stick). Panicking, I call for help!

“So Dad, I’m building a sandbox……”. Thankfully my Dad (200 miles away) set me straight on what I was supposed to be buying and I made it out of the store with all the hardware and lumber for $70! MUCH better than $200!

The cut lumber waiting to be loaded into my car

The cut lumber waiting to be loaded into my car

Help! I have half a sandbox for a coffee table

Help! I have half a sandbox for a coffee table

Dan met me at work the following day to help me cut the lumber with the work saws and then the cut lumber traveled in my car for almost a week. We both tend to procrastinate. But we finally brought the lumber in; I pre-drilled and counter sunk the holes. tThen while I made Easter cookies, Dan attached everything and loaded it back into my car.  The rest can be said in pictures:

Easter Morning Prep

Easter Morning Prep

Waiting for the fun to start

Waiting for the fun to start

The finished product, MaMauk and all

The finished product, MaMauk and all

Books open the way to the soul

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I was recently asked by a regular customer what my favorite salvage project I have done would be. Without hesitation I responded, “My door bookcase”. A what?! he said. And I repeated it again.

My door bookcase was made about a year ago by my dad and I after my sister shared this epic idea on Pintrest.  The book case, is made from a 5 panel door with its panels cut out.  The shelves then come off the back of the door where the panels were.

My mind was blown at the simple yet ingenious idea of this.  I decided I needed to have one to hold my interior design books (and maybe a shelf for romance novels as well). The easy part was picking out a door. I went to the back of my store, picked an olive green 5 panel door, and called Dan to bring it home.  It came into the apartment and was wiped down and leaned against the wall…and sat there. I had NO CLUE how I was going to make this bookcase nor did I really have the tools to cut out the panels. So I called my Dad and bribed him with a fun weekend in Seattle if he helped me with a simple project, he agreed to help.

The door on my porch

The door on my porch about to begin

He came with tools. We used a scroll saw, regular saw, my drill, ruler, pencil, screws and brackets, and my kitchen bar stools as saw horses. We cut out the door panels on my porch. We used the salvaged plywood from the free pile at my work.

Check it out! Power Tools

Check it out! Power Tools

Ready for shelves

Ready for shelves

In less than an afternoon we had created a bookcase that could sum up my personality, interests, future blog, and basically my whole life.

The most recent pic of my bookcase

The most recent pic of my bookcase

That sums it up

That sums it up

My what pretty knobs you have…

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I LOVE salvaged building materials. I loved the look and feel of vintage accessories long before I started working at a salvage shop. My apartment is my own personal showcase to my love and passion for the vintage.  It has been described as an Anthropologie show room. Everything has a worn, well loved look with colors that aren’t always mainstream.  I always love that my house is compared to that store because it is one my most favorite places to get ideas. But no matter how much cool used furniture I have, the thing I love the most at my job is the accessories! Wood windows, door knobs, funky cabinet hardware, floor grates (my secret love, I have 4 and am always keeping my eyes open for more), molding, and lighting. I’m positive my landlord would kill me if I changed out the lighting to vintage chandeliers, or put “new” doors in my apartment so I have had to get creative with my use of the things I love.  One way I have done that is with door knob coat hooks! I love that this simple idea of using fancy door knobs as hooks can change a room drastically. I thought I would share my magical secret with you.

Supplies:

1 Piece of salvaged wood (I’m a sucker for the door headers)

3 Door knobs or other unique knobs

3 Escutcheons (the round plates behind the doorknobs) OR face plates

3 Dry Wall Screws

Two-part epoxy

My pile of goodies needed

My pile of goodies needed

Directions:

1) Tightly tape the set screw hole, making sure to firmly push the tape into the hole.

Before the tape

Before the tape

After the tape

After the tape

2) Mix the two part epoxy as per manufactures instructions. I personally LOVE Loctite Instant Mix. It mixes correctly, instantly, and is mess free.  It also has a precise tip so  I can do the next step better.

I should own stock in this!

I should own stock in this!

3) Place screw (head side down) and fill the remaining space with the epoxy (see why I love the precise tip! Makes filling the hole MUCH easier). Be sure to hold the screw straight and steady for 5 minutes to let the epoxy set.

4) Wait 24 hours for the epoxy to completely dry. This is important! Contain your excitement for at least 24 hours because you need to let the epoxy set and dry COMPLETELY.  If you don’t, when you screw it into the board you will break the screw out of the epoxy, which sucks and you have to start over!

This is what it will look like 24 hours later

This is what it will look like 24 hours later

5) Screw knob into your wall, piece of wood, or drawer.

6) Enjoy!

The hooks I made for my sister.

The hooks I made for my sister.