Painted plaid trunk

I’m finally back! Sorry about the radio silence… I’ve been working on some projects! I don’t know how the multitude of bloggers who blog every day do it!
My sweet friend and co-worker Tracy called my classroom one day a few years ago. She said she had a trunk that was damaged, and before she took it to goodwill, she wanted to see if I wanted it. I think at the time one of my boys had a pirate fixation. So not being a person who turns away from a freebie, I took it, thinking I’d figure out what to do with it later.

Andy just LOVES it when I do this.

Keeping with my track record so far, I don’t have pics of the “before”. But it was a decent storage trunk, save for the giant gash in the leather on the top of it. My conversation with Andy when I got it home went something like this:

Andy: what are you going to do with this?
Me: I don’t know yet. I’ll put it in the garage for now.
Andy: great. Just great.

After collecting a thick layer of dust, I finally got an idea. I wish I could find the original pic that I saw, I don’t want to claim that this idea just popped into my brain on its own. My first step was to use a utility knife and remove the rest of the leather. This was pretty easy.


This is what it looked like when I started painting. I actually taped one side, and it took so long that I decided a small brush would be easier than tape. So this is what that small brush did. The color I used is “ostrich” by Dutch Boy. We used it on our bathroom walls, and had some leftover. I like that it’s not pure white.


I started painting stripes freehand, in different widths. I didn’t want “perfect”. Wiggly lines were okay. This color is Marmalade by Glidden.


I continued the lines down the sides.


I made some more lines in varying widths with lime green acrylic paint…


And a turquoise color too.


So much love. Yep, I did this! What do you think? 🙂

Shab to fab: dresser redo

Wow, I woke up to quite the following!  Thanks everyone for the support 🙂  I have a quick post for you, I’m sorry but I didn’t think to take pics of my work in progress.  Hopefully you’ll think that the finished product will make up for my rookie error!

So, what do you do when your dad cleans out your grandmother’s basement, and finds a grocery bag full of wooden rulers???  Give up?  Why, you top a dresser with them, of course!  🙂  My gram was moved into a nursing home last summer, and my dad had the task of trying to clean out the house and get it ready to sell.  My oh my… she had LOTS of stuff!  Dad wasn’t sure what to do with all the rulers, and he knows my crafty leanings 🙂 so he handed them over to me, and just said “put them to good use!”  Oh… Dad… I will not disappoint!! My grandfather worked for a time as a delivery man for the Wonder Bread company.  So all these rulers were Wonder Bread rulers.

I took a big handful and laid them out, grabbed some blue stain (I had several small containers of colored stain from various projects… this particular blue was a tube of Minwax) and stained some of the rulers blue.  Some of them I wiped off a good portion of the blue, leaving them with a lighter tint, and some of them were left dark. I repeated this process with green stain, red stain, a purply- “bordeaux” color, and a dark brown.  Oh, and I left some of them the original honey stained wood. Next, I used hubby’s chop saw to cut them into various lengths.  I wanted random.

The dresser I had set aside for this was a hot mess I got on Craigslist for $20.  The top was all janky, some of the top layer of veneer had come off… but of course not evenly.  Enter me and a hammer and chisel, scraping off the top layer to make sure it was even enough to lay down the rulers.  That part sucked. Once the top was ready, I started to lay out the ruler pieces, in random color and length, and when I had about four rows all laid out, I started gluing individual pieces down with plain old Gorilla wood glue.  The final piece on each row had to be cut to fit, so I set aside a pile and numbered them on the bottom (so I wouldn’t get them mixed up when putting them on after they got cut!), and took them to get cut to size.  (I just made a pencil mark on them where they needed to be cut.)

You’ve been so patient, reading all this without any pics!  Here’s a close-up of the top:


Sah-weet, right?!  🙂 After the top was done, I painted the rest of the dresser using leftover paint I had.  The front was done in a light sea-blue-green color, and the sides I painted gray.  Then I took some stain and rubbed it on like glaze, and wiped it off.  My goal here was to age the sides since the top was obviously not going to look brand-new, what with 50 year-old rulers on it!

As with most janky Craigslist finds, the pulls were gross (of course one was broken and one was missing altogether), so I grabbed the pulls I had bought from Pick Your Plum a LONG time ago (knowing I would put them to use at some point!).  They’re birds.  I’m still trying to decide if this is just too much “stuff” for this dresser, I feel like they’re okay for now, and I’ll come across the perfect pulls someday 🙂  Oh, and I only had 7 of these pulls and needed 8.  Of course.  So after looking online for the EXACT match, I just settled for a random bird pull from World Market.  Honestly, I love the odd-man-out.  It’s imperfect, just like life, and just like me!

Finished product!

photo (20)

Here’s another close-up of the top.  You know, they aren’t 100% “flat” rulers, but I’m using this in our living room as a sort of catch-all for the boys’ stuff.  Mostly stuff they use during the school year.  So it may have a candleholder or something on top, eventually.  But for now, I really just like seeing those sweet little reminders of my grandfather, and my grandmother, and my sweet (18)

Really cool app: Mom stuff

I frequently look at the app AppGratis, which is a great way to add apps at no or little cost. Each day, there’s a new app featured that is FREE for one day. Early this week, they showcased an app called colARApp. What you do is go to their website and print off their color pages, (one is free, others you pay for) and after you color them in, you use the app to make them COME TO LIFE! It’s pretty cool. Bennett and Heath were pretty impressed.

Here are our finished products (Heath asked me to color with him, and you don’t have to ask me twice to color!):


And here’s what they look like through the phone screen when you scan in your finished picture!



This would be awesome to print out before you head out to a restaurant or appointment… the kids could color while they wait, and then check out the animated magic when they’re done! So cool!!!

🙂 what apps do you like to have for your kids?


Good Morning to my single follower 🙂  Thanks!  I hope this number grows, this is pretty fun.

Today I’d like to show how I did my backsplash in my kitchen.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I’m cheap.  My husband– well, he makes me look like a big spender, but hey, that’s another story.  So when I started trying to find some cheap ways to put in a backsplash, I looked at tile clearance sites, pinned a bunch of ideas, and yet everything would have cost me hundredS of dollars.  Not cool.

One of the things I really liked was the idea of a pressed tin/metal backsplash.  I super-love those old tin ceilings, and thought it would be a unique, creative backsplash (you’ll see as I post more and more, I’m not a fan of “everyone else’s” stuff).

Fast-forward to a day I was in Menard’s (it’s like Lowe’s or Home Depot, I think they’re mostly in the midwest) and I walk past an end cap with clearance stuff, and a roll of embossed wallpaper catches my eye:


It was only $8.  AND it looked like old tin ceiling!  So I scooped that puppy up!  I’m not one to back down from a challenge, and I knew I could find some metallic paint to make this pretty much any color I wanted.  I had recently repainted my kitchen, and knew I wanted a copper-colored backsplash.  Here’s the color before:


Mossy green is ok, but I really needed something that brightened up the place.  New color:


It reminds me of sunsets in our favorite place on Earth: Anguilla.  (tiny island in the Caribbean.  More on that another day. Do a Google Image search if the suspense is killing you!)  Every morning and evening when I walk into the kitchen, I sigh.  Sigh… anyway, onward!

I measured the places where we would need the backsplash, and cut the wallpaper to size.   In addition to this long length, I needed two more lengths for other places in the kitchen.

I picked up these pots of Martha Stewart Metallic Glaze at Home Depot.  These are AWESOME paints, and worked so well for this project.  I just used a cheap foam brush and put on the copper color first as a base color.  The foam brush let me squish in the paint into the little nooks and crannies.


The above photo makes the “black coffee” one look lighter, but the light must have caught the metallic-ness of the sticker on the lid.  It’s really dark.  The “cast bronze” color was my base, and I put “black coffee” on sparingly, to add detail.


Doesn’t it look cool already?  🙂  Then I put the darker color on with a dry brush, not covering the copper, but just using it to create some dimension and shadow… almost like it’s starting to patina or age.


The thing I recommend the most for this project is to have a fifteen year-old who “owes” you one, so you can ask him to paint on the base color (which is easy, but tedious!).


Here’s what it looks like close-up, after the black is on.  It’s hard to tell that it’s there… but that’s kind of the point.  I didn’t want the black to completely cover up the copper, but just to darken it a little in random spots.  Really, as long as there isn’t too much paint on the brush (you can only have a little bit on at a time), you can’t mess this part up.



I’m just loving how this looks.  Still 🙂  So, I’m almost ready to put up this wallpaper, but I thought I should put a layer of varnish on, just so it’s a little more wipeable when the inevitable food splash happens.  It IS a kitchen, after all.  Here’s what I used, got it at Michael’s:


I don’t know what drew me to that particular kind, but hey, whatever.  I’m sure any type of clear-coat would work just fine.

Once all the varnish dried, (again— having the teenager helped with the application! Ha!) It was time to put the wallpaper up.  I’d never done this before… but this wallpaper didn’t need to line up with anything (other than the bottoms of the cabinets and the top of the counter), so I just put some wallpaper paste (premixed kind) on the back of the paper, and some on the wall, and slapped it up there.  I used the side of my hand to push out air bubbles… using something like the edge of a credit card would have been damaging to the wallpaper and its raised bits.  Plus with the pattern, it’s very forgiving!  I am sure there are smallish air bubbles still there, you just can’t see them!!  I just went slowly and when I put the LONG piece up, I asked my go-to guy for help (Delton… he paints, he puts up wallpaper, he plays a mean guitar…).

I couldn’t even wait to put the under-cabinet lighting back up before I took pics.  I mean, I’m SERIOUSLY in love with how it turned out.



The final thing I needed to do was to put an edging around the parts that didn’t meet up with the underside of the cabinets or the countertop.  We found a piece of finish trim at Menard’s, which I just painted the copper color.  I suppose I could have “aged” that with the black coffee glaze, but I simply wanted to be done!  🙂


Sorry about the poor quality of that particular pic.  I should also mention that I used Andy’s chop saw to cut these pieces to size— and I successfully mitered corners, too!  Yay!  Yep, I did this!!!  😀



The one thing I’m not thrilled with is how the caulk went on… I’ll admit: I SUCK at applying caulk.  No, really.  I wish I could do it, maybe one day someone can show me the proper way, but I just fail miserably.  We wanted to have a thin line of caulk between the very edge of the counter and the wallpaper.  Andy ended up doing that for me, and I think in hindsight I’d have rather done clear caulk, but the stuff the builder used was white so we wanted it to be consistent.  It’s a tiny detail, probably one only I am noticing, so oh well.

I recently had friends over that were on a mission trip to Kenya that I went on last month.  One lovely friend in particular couldn’t BELIEVE that it was wallpaper, and gushed like a good friend should 😉  I think this project was the one that made my sweet friend Natalie first tell me I should start this blog.  I had started the project last summer, and needed to finish that LONG piece behind the oven… it took a while for my motivation to catch up, I guess!

Oh, and the final cost for this entire project?  For the wallpaper, the two pots of glaze and the varnish, the foam brushes, the wallpaper paste, and the trim pieces?  Drum roll, please:  $30.  Honest.  Now THAT is a good deal!

Thanks for checking out my cheap kitchen backsplash.  Let me know what you think!


A sweater for baby SK :)

I love babies.  And I love knitting.  Put the two together, and it’s just dreamy.  When my friend had her baby last month and it was a girl, I knew I had to knit her something dreamy and pink… but not TOO pink!  I have heard tell of the avalanche of pink things that baby girls get as gifts.  So I set about to create the sweetest little sweater… 


Get this girl some clothes!  (Heath is SUCH A BABY FREAK!)



I have quite the collection of baby knits books, so finding a quick-knit sweater that would work with yarn in my stash took a little bit.  I settled on the Mo-Mo Kimono in “Pipsqueak Knits” (such a great title!) by Jil Eaton.  Get a copy of it here.  I used two strands of sock yarn: a self-striping color, and a pink.  I wish I could tell you which yarns they are!  I think one of them was a cotton/soy blend.  Anyway, I test-knitted a sample to check for sizing, and when I figured out it would work, off I went.  Here’s the finished product: 



Yummmm.  Baby knits are the greatest because they are so fast!  It’s sad that they outgrow them so quick, but they can be passed down, or kept as keepsakes 🙂  And Shan, you do whatever you want with that sweater!  When I sent it to her, I knew it wouldn’t fit until the fall (which, with a June baby, that’s a good thing!)  However, we’re having the strangest cold snap up in our neck of the woods, and this morning I got the best pic ever: 



Oh, I just want to chew on those cheeks!  I can’t believe that it fits her already.  I am secretly hoping that this cold spell lasts a bit 🙂  maybe I’ll get a few more snaps of her!!!  

Ugly office chair re-do: NO SEW!

My friend Natalie lives far away, and a LONG while back I posted some diy thing I did on my Facebook page, and she insisted that I should write a blog.  It’s been in my head ever since, so I’m finally taking her advice… she had better be one of my first followers 🙂


Our office chair is gross.  But like many chairs, it has good bones, and is still in good shape except for the nasty blue fabric that was covering its cushions.  Andy hated that blue, it didn’t go with anything in the office (I’m pretty sure he brought it home from work one day a decade ago, because they redecorated or something).  And to top it off, one of the cats loves to sit on the back and use it as her personal scratching post.  So it was time to do something.


I found some gorgeous fabric from JoAnn’s– bonus, it was on the clearance rack!!  So after buying a yard, for $8… I was ready to rock.  Or so I thought.

For some reason, I forgot that I’d need to cover the front AND the back of the backrest.  Obviously, you don’t cover the bottom of the seat.  But I realized that I didn’t have enough fabric.  (So if your chair looks anything like mine, you’re going to need about a yard and a half of fabric.)  Well, we live 15 miles from the JoAnns, and I’m lazy.  And cheap.  My go-to move is to see if my stash has anything I could sub in.  More on that later.

The first thing I did was take the leg/s/wheel thing off.  A hex key was all I needed for that.  Then the arms came off, and the backrest came off the arms.  Sorry, I didn’t really take a shot of the “before”.  Rookie blogging errors…

Once all the pieces were separated, I laid the fabric right-side-down and put the seat down, so that the edge comes up around the bottom enough for me to staple-gun it down.  Then I lined up the opposite edge and cut the fabric, again leaving enough to bring up around the bottom.

The key with staple-gunning stuff like this is NOT to work clockwise or counter-clockwise.  To really avoid wrinkles and the fabric pattern twisting, it’s important to put a couple staples into one side, then work on the opposite side, staple a couple places, and go back to the original side until you have both sides done– then go to the other two sides, the same way— back and forth.   I used three of those rows of staples for this whole project, plus a row of little finish nails.


For corners, (again– sorry, no pics!) I grab the corner of the fabric, and pull it up and staple it down, and then lay flat, stretch and staple down the pleats.

Once the seat and the seatback was done, I needed to figure out something for the back of the backrest.  I looked through my stash and miraculously found the remnant of a sweater that I’d cut up and used for mittens… obviously, if you’re a small person, you couldn’t use your clothing, but this was a size L and I stretched the bejeezus out of it!   I actually had the forethought to take an in-progress shot at this point:Image

Then came the task of putting the chair back together.  One of the challenges came with needing holes in the fabric into which the screws go.  The blog I referred to as a tutorial (see below) said just to poke holes into the fabric with a scissors.  But when I did that, it made these lines in the fabric:


See them?  By nothing short of the grace of God, I got to cover those up with the arms of the chair.  But I’d think twice about gouging the holes with a scissors… I’m not sure what I’d do instead, luckily I don’t have to think about it.

I thought I’d have to learn how to use Andy’s finish nailer to attach the sweater-covered back to the rest of the backrest, but he just gave me these little finish nails that fit into his staple gun.  They worked great.  I just sort of lined up the back by feel and eyeballing it.  It’s curved to fit the lumbar curve of the chair, so it wasn’t too tricky.

And… the finished product!  Squeee 🙂



I can see little puckers where the sweater was nailed into with the finish nails, but I really don’t mind.  I might even go pick up some silver thumbtacks to hide them, someday 🙂  The attitude I have with projects like this is that I can’t mimic the no-wrinkle corners of a store-bought product.  It won’t be perfect.  But *I* did it.  So ha 🙂

What do you think?  I’m really happy with it.  My neighbor came over and did some good-friend-appropriate gushing.  And now Andy isn’t wishing he could just throw this chair away,  AND we saved a BUCKETFUL of money improving this chair instead of replacing it.  Yay!

Super-huge props to Joyful Abode for the great tutorial.  If you’re using my post as a tutorial, I’d recommend visiting this site to see what I missed 🙂