Friday, May 10, 2013

Easy Furniture Revamp - Cedar Chest

My parents gave me this "hope chest" when I was in my teens...I can't remember which year exactly, but it's been around for awhile now. :) Now that I've been married for a few years and all my "hopes" have been unloaded from my hope chest and put to good use in our home, the chest now holds our extra coats, hats, gloves, etc. We've had two dogs since we've been married, both of which thought the top of the bench made an excellent bed and, as you can imagine, that kind of wear is hard on upholstery. I decided last summer (this got to be a sadly procrastinated project!!) that this bench needed a makeover, and set about it's transformation. 

Here it is in all of it's glory. :) It's sitting just inside our patio doors, and the sun has faded it badly...

One of our dogs thought (during the puppy phase) that this corner looked like a good chew toy. 

The upholstery was pretty shot, and out of date anyway. 

I started by removing the bench pad and hardware from the chest. All of these were very easy to remove...I just had to reach inside and unscrew them. :)

There they are! :) Make sure you don't loose any little pieces. I had intended to spray paint the hardware, but after a little more thought decided I liked it the color it was. One less step is always nice. :)

Next I found a black vinyl fabric to recover the bench pad. It's got a faux leather texture to it, and is pretty thick and soft...seems like it will wear MUCH better than the previous upholstery. :) Also, all the mud that gets dragged in will wipe right off! 

I laid the bench pad upside down on the back of the vinyl and trimmed the new piece to size. Make sure to leave several inches all around the edges. 

Then, using my husband's staple gun, I fastened the ends in place. 

Once the ends are securely stapled down, fold over the sides and staple them as well. 

Not all of the staples wanted to go thru the thicker vinyl very well, so I had to hammer them in the rest of the way. 

Now for the corners. You can really fold them over however you like, but this is how I did mine. Pull the extra fabric straight up...

...and then pull it down and spread out the sides. Sorry, it's hard to explain...hopefully you can follow what I did there. :)

Staple that in place as well. Repeat with each corner. 

Here's how they look from the finished side. 

Another angle...I think it makes a nice, finished looking corner. 

All done with the pad! :)

Already looking better!! :) 

Next you need to decide how you want to refinish you wood. If you're really ambitious you can totally strip it down and re-stain it. I HATE (not dislike....H-A-T-E!!!) sandpaper!!! I hate the feel, I hate the sound, I hate the dust...I just hate it all!! So I wanted to come up with a way of revamping my wood without having to use sandpaper. Here's where I made a very baaaaaaaaad decision. : \

I decided I was going to just use a chocolate brown spray paint on the wood. I mean, how much worse could it look? I started spraying it on and almost instantly realized that was NOT a good idea. It looked so tacky and gross and I was NOT happy. :( I stopped right away, and that is how the poor bench sat from last August till this week. Hey, I told you I procrastinated!!! :) I didn't want to continue with the spray paint, and I REALLY didn't want to have to sand the whole thing down and re-stain it...but what other options did I have?

Then, earlier this week, I discovered PolyShades from Minwax. Wow!! I wish I had found this stuff years ago!! :) It stains and polyurethanes all in 1step, and can be used on already finished wood. Awesome!! I did wind up having to sand all that stupid spray paint off the front of the bench (wearing my husband's heavy work gloves so I didn't have to touch the sandpaper!! Haha...), and you are supposed to lightly sand finished wood before applying the stain, which I also did over most of the bench...I did stain a couple of places without doing a thing to them first, and they turned out fine. :)

Progress!! :) The lid of the bench had never been finished, except around the edges, so it took a couple thick coats to look decent. 

Looking soooooooooo much better!!! :) 

After a couple of coats of my amazing PolyShades, I was ready to reattach the bench pad and hardware! Voila!! It looks soooooooo much better now, and fits in with the rest of my furniture much better. Now that I know how easy it is to refinish wood using PolyShades, I may just form a new addiction... ;) Good luck with your own revamps!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Custom Canvas Wall Art

We recently repainted and redecorated our bathroom and I wanted to find a nice canvas piece for the wall. I really loved these (the first 3 below, found at but they are (believe it or not!!) $338.04....EACH!! Yes, they're pretty....but not THAT pretty! :)

I figured I could do something similar for MUCH less than that. :) 

I found a 2 pack of 16x20" canvases as Hobby Lobby for $7.99. I also got the packs of chipboard letters there...they were $4.99 a pack, but were on sale for 40% off. :) I love Hobby Lobby's sales! I can't remember how much the spray paint was, but it was a few dollars. You will also need Tacky Glue or some other adhesive. 

I really liked the way the other pictures had different sizes of letters; however, I decided I wanted to do Psalm 19:14 and it was long enough I was worried there wouldn't be enough room if I did any words in bigger letters, so I used all the same size. I'd like to try one sometime that's more like the ones in the above pictures though. :)

I just started sorting thru the letters and laying out the words....

Lots of letters!! :)

Once I had them roughly laid out and knew how many lines I would need, I measured out the lines and used a level to trace them lightly onto the canvas with a pencil. 

Then I went along, one letter at a time, and glued them down, using the lines as a guide. I also used a ruler to try and space out the words, although I just "guesstimated" most of it. :)

I guess I didn't take any pics of this next step, but once all the letters were glued down and the glue had dried I took it outside and spray painted it all ivory. Make sure to spray the sides of the canvas as well. It may take more than one coat....once it's dried, check for any thin spots that need a second coat. 

Then get your sweet husband to hang it all up for you. :) I also made the smaller square canvas...the metal "H" I got for $3.99 at Hobby Lobby, and I think I also got the smaller canvas there, but can't remember the price. I just glued the "H" to the canvas and sprayed them ivory as well. :) The solid oak shelf I picked up for $2.99 at Saver's. :)

I was very happy with how it all turned out!! :)

Now it's your turn! Hobby Lobby has lots of different sizes of chipboard letters...or you could use wooden letters....I'd love to see what you come up with! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lip Gloss Sticks (or Solid Lip Gloss)

Here's another version of lip gloss that I've tried and loved. I think it's a little simpler than the liquid version I posted earlier. I really like them both!

For this all you need is some non-petroleum "petroleum" jelly (click here for my recipe) and some sort of color. I used a mica pigment from Coastal Scents (available here). I think a small chunk of lipstick would also work, or maybe some Kool Aid powder or powdered beet root, although I have not personally tried either of those. 

I didn't measure this, but I probably used about a tablespoon of the jelly. Not that it really matters tho...since all you're doing is adding color to it, use as much as you want. :) When you're filling lip balm tubes, a little goes a LONG way, so I'd start small.

Put the jelly in a small glass bowl and microwave for about 30-40 seconds. Stir in any un-melted chunks until smooth. 

Add your color to the melted jelly and stir. I probably used about 1/2 a teaspoon of this pigment, but this is very much "to taste." Not that you should be EATING it, but put in as much pigment as you need to get to the color you want. :) I used the Crome Carmine pigment from Coastal Scents. Just a heads up..."carmine" is a reddish pigment derived from scale insects. If that freaks you out, use something else. :) The process it goes thru thoroughly removes any insect, so it's not exactly like you're smearing crushed bugs straight on your lips. Plus, when you think about all the things that are in regular lipstick (fish scales, anyone?), this probably doesn't sound quite so bad. ;)

I guess I didn't get any pics of stirring in the color or filling the tubes, but it's basically the same process as my tinted lip balm, so check out that post if you'd like pictures. :) Work quickly to fill the tubes before the gloss hardens. 

Let the tubes sit (either at room temp or in the refrigerator) until solid all the way through. This lip gloss will be solid at room temp, but will melt against your lips into a rich, glossy balm. 

The pigment I used made a rich rose gloss with a strong, gold-glittery overtone....very pretty!! 

And here are my lips again...haha. I really like the gold tones! Very shimmery. 

And there you have it! Another simple, natural, petroleum FREE, lip gloss!! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Liquid Lip Gloss

As I mentioned in my non-petroleum "petroleum" jelly post, I've been wanting to try my own lip gloss, but without using vaseline. I couldn't really find a recipe for what I had in mind, so I experimented and came up with my own lip gloss recipe. :) Since I made this up as I went along, it's not very exact...but hopefully it will give you some inspiration as you make your OWN lip gloss! :)

I used:

~ Approx. 1 tablespoon non-petroleum "petroleum" jelly (click here for the could try using vaseline if you'd rather not make your own. I'm guessing it would work out about the same)
~ Approx. 1 tablespoon castor oil (sorry, I didn't exactly measure...I just used what looked like about equal amounts)
~ Color - I handmade my color using Ultra Silk mica (a mix of mica and titanium dioxide) and red iron oxide (both bought from Coastal Scents). If you don't want to make your own color, you could use a pre-mixed mica pigment (I've bought several of these from Coastal Scents and have been impressed with them!) or you could try a little Kool Aid powder or dried beet powder...those are both things I've seen used in other recipes, but I haven't tried myself. If all else fails, I'm guessing a small chunk of lipstick would do the trick as well! :) 

First I mixed my color, using my mortar & pestle to grind the red iron oxide into the ultra silk mica. If you're using iron oxide, you will need to mix it using something like a mortar & pestle or coffee grinder. I've tried mixing it with just a spoon or toothpick, and while it LOOKS well blended, when you try to apply it you'll find lots of little un-mixed bits that will leave bright red streaks. Not too cool.

I think I used about 1 teaspoon of ultra silk mica, and just a FEW grains of red iron oxide. It doesn't take much, and you can always add a little more if it turns out too pale at first. 

I was going for a very pale was hard to photograph, but I liked it! The ultra silk mica has a shimmery/pearly finish which was really pretty with the soft pink color. 

Next, put roughly equal parts of jelly and castor oil into a small glass bowl, and then microwave for about 40 seconds. 

If there are any unmelted chunks when you take it out of the microwave, stir them in until it's all smooth and liquid. 

Add your color and mix. 

Stir until smooth.

I got my lip gloss containers from Elements Bath & Body

Use a plastic pipette (I ordered mine here) or dropper, fill the lip gloss tubes. You will need to work quickly as it gets really hard to work with as it cools. If you need to, you can stick it back in the microwave (pipette and all) for 5-10 seconds. 

I wound up with more than I thought, and had to run grab a third tube. :)

I really like this soft pink color!!

Next, put in the reducers, if your bottles came with them. 

Just push 'em in! :)

And there you have it!! :) Simple, natural lip gloss, NO petroleum products needed!! :)

These would make really nice gifts!

Here's a shot of my lips (do you have any idea how hard it is to take pics of your own lips?! Haha) wearing this lip gloss. It goes on thick and creamy, and lasts for quite awhile (at least for me). It doesn't leave a lot of color on, but it has a really pretty shimmer. 

It's very pale...but I like it. :)