DIY Up-cycled Furniture

Long Time – No Quest

So it seems as though I’ve given up on this blog. I really haven’t stopped making pinterest projects, but just forgot to tell you about them. Since it’s been so long, I’ll tell you about a project I did recently.

I’m sure you’ve seen people’s pins on renewing an old piece of furniture, often using the antiquing effect, or distressing. Upon research I discovered that there is actually a difference between the two. For my project I chose to distress. The main difference being: antiquing uses staining over a painted project to darken areas that would collect dirt and dust over the years, distressing is roughing up the surface in areas that would get the most use over the years. I wasn’t too concerned about antiquing since I liked the clean white look with some distressing.

I started with an old entertainment cupboard that I acquired from my grandparents. It used to house a record player and speakers.

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As you can see, it’s a little rough looking. The right door isn’t actually a door at all. This is where the speaker would sit and play the tunes without looking obtuse.

So I took to sanding the whole unit first. I later found out that this may not have been necessary. Many older pieces have had a protective substance applied that can be wiped off with a wet cloth if you let the water soak in for a bit. If a drop of water makes the surface turn white, this is likely what is on it. So you’d just want to wipe/scrape this off. I’ll know that for next time at least!

Here is what it looked like after I took off the broken pieces and sanded.

 

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Not bad right?

The next day I applied a coat of blue/grey paint/primer mix. I wanted my distressed areas to show the blueish hue so as to imply that it was painted over the years. I read a blog that said you’re basically writing this piece of furniture a story, and I liked the thought of that.

Then I painted it with a white chalk paint. Now, you can buy this product at the hardware store and have it tinted to the allowed colours, OR you can make your own. If you know me, you know I’ll go for that! All you need is plaster of paris and your desired latex paint colour and mix it together. This way you can make any colour and have extra to use for another project. Keep in mind that with chalk paint, even the store-bought kind, you have to keep mixing throughout use since the chalky parts settle.

I let that dry completely, then did my distressing. To do this, all I did was take sand paper and rough up the areas that would have gotten worn down over the years. Generally on edges from rubbing up against it and around the hardware from opening and closing.

After this I applied a matte clear coat to protect it. You should apply either a clear coat or wax (this will give a yellowish tint) to chalk paint or it will scratch very easy.

I added the finishing touches and voila! The finished project. It actually only took me a few days of working on it. Mostly because of the drying time.

 

DIY Cinnamon Ornaments

It’s time for one more Christmas post. I won’t promise it’s the last though!

I’ve seen quite a few pins related to DIY cinnamon ornaments and loved the idea so thought I’d give them a try. I was looking for something unique to use as gift tags for my Christmas gifts and thought these would be great. They smell great, look cute AND they’re re-usable! I’m sure they’d look great just hung on a doorknob or throw them into a drawer to keep it smelling like Christmas all year round. 001

I used a recipe from McCormick’s site, since the Pin I pinned didn’t actually direct me to one. Of course I didn’t use the brand name cinnamon but guess what! They turned out just as good. I also pressed my dough into molds instead of using cookie cutters. I wanted more of a 3D look to them. They were a little difficult to get out of the mold, I greased it first then used a toothpick to pry up the edges. I then etched in the names of people I’d bought gifts for and baked them.

One suggestion I’d make is to ensure that your dough is firmly pressed together. It tends to be a bit like pie dough, it doesn’t like to form together once it’s been separated. If this happens, it will likely come out of the oven looking a little cracked.

These were very easy to make so if you want to add a little flair to your gifts this year or want to put some on your Christmas tree, give them a shot! You’re sure to love the outcome.

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032So I realize it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted. Okay, a very long time. I guess that’s what happens when you start a new job and get a puppy all in the same time frame though!

But here we are at that wonderful time of year again and I decided to take on our first Christmas tree; making majority of the ornaments by hand. What better place to find ideas than Pinterest right? I’m very happy with the outcome and I hope you will all like it too!

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I started by pinning some images of trees that I wanted to take my inspiration from. I like the rustic, natural feel so then I went in search of ornaments that lent to that.

My first item was the garland. I loved the look of the scrap fabric garland posted by Buenovida. It was very easy and my husband helped me cut fabric and tie knots while we watched a movie. I didn’t end up with a long enough strand though and would have doubled or tripled the amount I made. So if you take on this garland, buy 2 or 3 times the amount of fabric you THINK you need. The knots bunch up pretty tight in the end.

The second items I made were the orange slices. For these you’ll need a dehydrator. You can buy a decent one at Wal-mart for about $50 if you don’t have one already, and you can make all sorts of things with one. I’ve used ours for banana chips and strawberry chips, I’ve had fruit leather from a dehydrator and of course beef jerky, so trust me, you will make use of it if you’re a do-it-yourselfer like me. Anyways, back on track. I just sliced the oranges, pushed in cloves and put them in for 3 days until I felt they were dry enough. I had to add dabs of hot glue to the backs later to hold in the cloves since the oranges shrunk in some places and they were falling out, but otherwise they were a success.

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Probably my favourite ornaments are the paper mache stars (I made more than just stars but I like the stars the most). I picked up the forms at Michaels and bought all different shapes, some were wooden, some cardboard. Then took them home and mod podged pieces of a ripped up old book that I knew wouldn’t be read so re-purposed it. They were very easy and I LOVE the look.

I made a few different types of balls, all using Styrofoam balls but you could use old ornaments you weren’t wanting anymore too. I picked up some ribbons I     liked that looked nice together for the one type. I cut them in strips and started pushing them into the Styrofoam at the top and bottom, overlapping the layers. These were pretty time consuming. I didn’t use any glue, however I’m sure you could glue the strips down for extra security.

The next type were the twine balls. These ones were just as time consuming but a little easier. I used hot glue and just went around and around the ball until it was completely covered.

I then added some pine cones and cinnamon sticks wrapped into bundles for more natural accents. To add a bit of colour I bought some gold ribbon and tiny gold ornaments and metal keys from Michaels  as well (the only non hand made ornaments on the tree).

The final addition to the tree was, of course, the tree skirt. Anyone who’s looked at Christmas items will have seen the ruffle skirt (tutorial found on A Painted Nest) and I loved it from day 1. Many have pinned a no-sew concept, however I was concerned about the durability of a hot glued skirt, so I went ahead and sewed mine. It did take a few hours, but I am very happy with the end product. I simply cut the strips and sewed it around and around, bunching up the ruffles as I went. I would recommend to anyone who likes the look to try sewing it instead of glueing.

That’s everything! Yes, it takes a lot of work to personalize a tree, but in the end it makes it that much more special to look at, knowing that it’s yours and not the same ornaments other people picked up from the department store.

I LOVE my tree and if anyone else out there takes inspiration from it I’d be happy to hear it🙂

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Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry

What do you think of when you think fresh Basil?

I know for certain that I don’t think stir-fry. I think of fresh bruschetta, crisp salads, sandwiches with a touch of spicy basil…definitely not stir-fry.  But what do you do when you have an abundance of basil and have already eaten too many tomatoes and salads over the summer? This was the question I went in search of answering when I found a Pin leading to this recipe on the Martha Stewart website.

First of all, lets state that the photo on her site is vastly misleading. With the amount of soy sauce that is in the recipe, there is no way to achieve that light coloured feel (Yes, colour has a feel). Thus, below is a photo of the actual dish I served.

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However, the meal itself wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t anything to run out and make immediately, but it was decent as far as stir-fry’s go. As their comment for introducing the recipe states “If you see Thai basil (also called holy basil) at your market, give it a try.” I would describe this dish as exactly that, if you have too much kicking around it’s worth a meal. But I wouldn’t venture to say, “seek out this basil and try this recipe, it’ll blow your mind!” Or tastebuds in this case.

Homemade Pore Strips

I have a confession to make. I’ve always had issues with those pesky blackheads! So when I saw this pin on Pinterest for homemade pore strips, I couldn’t help but check it out.

Petit Elefant posted this recipe. I’ve tried store bought pore strips and though they worked great, however, I couldn’t justify the cost of them. The black heads just keep coming back, so I had to keep buying more!

So when I saw this pin, it was a “Why hadn’t I thought of that!” moment. Gelatin and milk is all you need to make these. It may sound too good to be true, but it actually works!

As any homemade vs. store bought product goes, the homemade doesn’t work AS WELL AS the store bought, but by comparing the price of the two, it’s worth it.

Following her easy steps, you’ll have your paste ready in no time. One thing I would like to mention though is to follow the measurements exactly. The consistency will seem too thick to spread before you microwave it, but it will thin out once you’ve done that. I made the mistake of adding more milk the first time around, and it did not harden as it was supposed to, therefore, not taking any blackheads out at all. I actually ended up with a goopy mess and just had to wipe it off. Oh, and it also smells really bad because of the gelatin, but again, it’s worth it.

My husband graciously let me take photos of him trying out the pore mask on his nose.

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The pore strip will actually dry and harden once it is ready to come off.

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and here is a picture of just how well this works. You can see how much came off with the strip!

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So if you’re like me and have problems with blackheads, or you just want to get all your dead skin off (it works for that too!), then I would definitely suggest trying this out!

My DIY Wedding – The Finale

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Last but not least, the send off. I couldn’t not post about this, as you likely have seen a picture of the sparklers and chalkboard sign already. This was a good end to a great day.

There are pictures floating around Pinterest of a couple being circled around with sparkler. This is partially where I found the idea. I’m not sure how feasible this actually is, but having everyone involved and celebrating with sparklers was a nice addition to our night.

My DIY Wedding – Pulling It All Together

All these ideas, but how to piece them together…

That just comes down to the individual. Below are a few photos of how we pulled everything together and made it into my dream venue.

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Old frames, burlap, bunting, a little bit of draping sheets and you have yourself a head table.

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Looking from the head table towards the guest tables.

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Table setting. Old book, table number, spoon name plates, mason jar glasses…

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Who doesn’t love a candy bar?

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Drink bar

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I told you, lots and lots of burlap bunting.

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Lots and lots of mason jar lanterns. See how they set the mood?

My DIY Wedding – The Fun Ideas

Pinterest is full of fun ideas to make the day just that bit more personal. These are some of the ones I put into my day.

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The hangars with Bride or Mrs.____ on them are super cute. Everyone takes a picture of their dress on it’s own, why not add this touch? I made my own just by bending the wire into the word, drilling 2 holes into a wooden hanger and insert (with crazy glue of course).

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I even made one for each of my bridesmaids, just to show them how awesomely special they are and how much I love them.

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Something blue. Get your bridesmaids to use blue Sharpie and sign your shoes. Great keepsake for yourself and saves them buying you a card😉 or wearing those blue underwear that would potentially show through your dress (oh, did I say that out loud?)

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A guest quilt. Instead of a guest book, which will end up on a shelf and never looked at again, why not a quilt? I picked colours to match our bedroom decor and made the quilt myself. You could also probably buy one somewhere, or maybe you have a grandmother who wants to do something special to help out? This will  be in our home forever and it’s used much more than a book would be. Plus, it has warm fuzzies written on it, keeps you warm and gives you fuzzy feelings. What more can you ask for?

Oh, one suggestion I would make for this, is that if you’re making it yourself, make it two sided. That way you can have the signatures on one side, and the other side will look like a normal quilt.

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Another thing Pinterest has is cute quotes. This is one we used, again on a homemade chalk board.

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What’s a wedding without a sparkler send off? Pretty self explanatory and gave the guests something fun to do as they said goodbye, the kids loved it too.

My DIY Wedding – The Gifts

The Gifts

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Who doesn’t love a mason jar wine glass?? These are probably the only thing I decided to buy pre-made instead of making my own. Strictly on the basis that I found them for around $5 each and that was good enough for me! Trying to find the bases for the jars was not in my agenda, neither did I want to have to buy them in bulk. We got one for each of our wedding party and ourselves to take home as a thank you gift.

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For the guests we had a few different things. I’m not one for place cards. I don’t really like the look of them and wanted something with more of a lasting impression. I’d seen these spoons done up on Pinterest for herb gardens and the sort. They looked easy enough, so I thought, why not do 100? One for each guest as a special take home…

DON’T DO IT! I’m serious about this one. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the end result, but it was NOT easy. First of all, I had to find silver spoons. Not just silver plated, but actual silver spoons. Another item that can be quite costly. Fortunately there is the world of ebay and I was able to find them at a decent price. Next, you have to pound each one out flat. Sounds easier than it is. In the end I had two wonderful strong men using sledge hammers pounding out my beautiful spoons for me (couldn’t have done it without them). Next, you have to purchase letter stamps that can hold up to being pounded into metal without flattening themselves. If you don’t get a good enough set, you’ll hit one letter and have no letter stamp left for the next. Then the tedious work of lining up, double lining up and pounding each letter in individually. Don’t mess up, because lining it up exactly the next hit is nearly impossible. You also can’t bounce the hammer or the stamp or you’ll end up with a double vision letter. After you’ve done all of that, the easy part of colouring each spoon with a Sharpie and then using rubbing alcohol to wipe off the excess is the finishing touch.

Folks, I sincerely, dearly, genuinely, from the bottom of my heart, urge you not to try this at home.

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The next take home gift for the guests was the candy bar of course, and what not better than these cute little bags to go with it? If you can sew, you can make these. Most time consuming part was putting the drawstring in, but they’re worth it. Then find a stamp or a few stamps that you like and make them pretty!

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Finally, you’ll need to do thank you cards or photos as many are doing today. Why not say thank you IN the photo? We made ours out of burlap bunting (another thing I chose to make way too much of). You can make this little addition out of anything you’d like. Easy and looks nice.

My DIY Wedding – The Props

I think it’s long overdue that I post about my wedding. It feels like only yesterday, however it’ll soon be our one year anniversary and I can’t believe how time has flown.

Now as most of us know, Pinterest is populated by many many wedding ideas. We’re all dreamers and lets face it, Pinterest is used mostly by those of the female population, so of course there’s going to be lots about weddings! So naturally, that’s where I looked for ideas.

I’m a DIYer, if you haven’t noticed. I was also only formally engaged for 2 months (no, it wasn’t shotgun or anything like that, just didn’t see a point in waiting). But I still wanted to have the wedding of my dreams, so with a LOT of help and a LOT of work, we made it a success. Doing a DIY wedding is definitely not for everyone, in fact, if you have the money to buy most of the things that you love on Pinterest and don’t want to take a lot of time to make things, then it’s a good route to go. I basically spent those 2 months before the big day crafting, gluing, sewing, bending, painting, stapling, pounding and stringing during every free moment I had. If that’s how you enjoy spending your time, then join the ranks of us DIYer’s, but if you just love the look of it then there are many of us out there willing to make it for you!

What I’m going to show you are all of (or most of) the ideas that I took from Pinterest and used in my own wedding. I’ll let you know how successful they were, how much skill was involved and how long it took to do. Hopefully it will help someone out there in planning their wedding or add more photos to the dream boards of Pinterest🙂

I’ll be posting this in 5 sections, so keep checking back for more updates!

First up,

The Props

Probably one of the biggest things people get into posting on Pinterest is all the cutsie things that pull a wedding venue together and give it a theme. These are the props. They’re also what takes the most work in planning where they go, exactly what to do with each item and making them (if you’re like me).

These post signs were really easy to do. They did take some time though because you want the words to come out just right and be readable. I used old pallet planks and sawed them into arrows then traced each letter out individually with templates cut on a Cricut.  I wanted to make sure each word fit and they were centered. After tracing, went back and painted in each letter.

 

This picture has 2 DIY projects. These are both easy as well. I love chalkboards, and with chalkboard paint, anything can be made into one! I saw somewhere in my Pinterest browsing silver trays as chalkboards and thought it was the smartest idea, so you’ll see throughout that I made a few of them and used them in different places. The other item seen in this picture is the seating chart on chicken wire in a colourful frame. Another easy project. All you need is an old frame, some spray paint, chicken wire and a staple gun. It’s a cute way to keep with the theme and still have a “formal” seating chart.

 

Table numbers…Oh the many way to do table numbers… I saw this one quite a while ago on Pinterest. I don’t believe the original pin was for wedding table numbers but I loved it and just had to have it! The hardest part of this project was finding the doorknobs and doorplates at a reasonable price. Because they are antiques you can spend upwards of $100 or more per set (meaning 1 door knob and 1 plate to go with it). I just wasn’t willing to pay that much so it took quite some time to find them. I bought all of mine off of ebay and they didn’t come in sets. I had to buy knobs and plates here and there, then piece them together afterwards. Another thing that will happen is that because they’re antiques again, they will most likely have some blemishes or even be strange colours. To remedy this and keep them all looking similar, I bought a metal spray paint that was bronze coloured and went to town. Voila! They all match. I’ve also seen on Pinterest ways to remove the paint afterwards, so if you’re concerned about “ruining” them, I wouldn’t worry too much.
The next hardest part about this project was getting the knobs to stay in place. They don’t have screw holes in the back, in fact they don’t even have round holes. The mechanism back then was square, so alas, crazy glue was my end solution. It works…but only for a short time. Don’t drop them or try to hang anything on them if you do it this way, they’ll break. Caulking could also be a way to go in adhering them to the plates permanently.
The last and final thing for this project is to chose what you’ll do for the numbers. You can buy house numbers if you can find them the right size or you can do what I did (the cheaper way) and use a router to drill in the numbers then paint them in.
Put it all together and you have a very attractive number for one table….oh, you have more than 6-8 guests? Well enjoy! I had to make 13 so I feel your pain. But they were worth it!

 

Next up is the use of a dresser and the poofs (as I call them). Lets start with the poofs. Great little things! They are so easy to do and they really do look great, especially as space fillers. We had our wedding in a green house, so I wanted to decorate up the walls as much as possible to give it a homey feel instead of industrial. Note: brown tissue paper is extremely hard to find! Who knew? But you know what works? Paper towel from the folded paper towel dispensers. You know the stuff, the old dispensers before they started doing rolls. You may think I’m crazy but they were my favourite end result. 2 pieces and you have the cutest poof ever and in a great colour!

 

I saw the use of a dresser as a prop once while scrolling through pins and couldn’t get it out of my mind. I just loved the way it looked. So naturally, it became the star of my dessert buffet (or was that the dessert? Depends on who you ask) Either way, it added so much to the theme. We found that the space was limited though and to actually have enough dessert for everyone you’d almost need 2 or 3 dressers. So instead, we put boxes into the drawers and pulled them out, adding depth, layers and more space! Dressers, just do it.

 

89 lanterns. I think that’s the number we had by the end of it. These make a great prop for setting the atmosphere. But would I suggest making that many? Probably not…unless you have a lot of time as I’ve said before. They are easy though! Just some wire and a mason jar. What else can I say about these little darlings? Not much, they kindof speak for themselves.

This next item was hard to place in the headings. It’s not a prop, it’s not a gift, it’s not really something fun either. It’s something that basically every bride wears and is second to the dress and shoes. Your veil. Trending right now is the birdcage veil. I looked into buying one and then saw the prices that bridal stores were charging. Ridiculous. Especially when these are so easy to make. You can find tutorials online and buy the material as well, I found mine material on Etsy. The hardest thing was making it keep the right shape, but a little blow drying and pulling to set, and it was done. I strongly suggest trying to make your own if you’re crafty, if you’re not, then many people who are can sell you one.