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.

 

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 – 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.

Stuffed Acorn Squash, Oven Fried Chicken Bites & Tootsie Rolls

Well today’s post is a triple threat. That is, triple the pin it, try it and eat it! It’s been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I would try out a few recipes today and give you the run-down.
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On the menu tonight was:

Stuffed Acorn Squash – courtesy of the Lean Green Bean
Oven Fried Chicken Bites (I added the bites portion) – found onTheFoodNetwork.com
And last but not least,
Tootsie Rolls, home made of course, thanks to Food 52
So let’s start off with the:

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This was theirs:

 
This was mine:
 
Now I’m sure you can see that there is an obvious difference. The thing about this recipe was that it can be very diverse. The thing I love about cooking is that you can take the base of a recipe and turn it into whatever you desire. Say you don’t like mushrooms *cough* like me *cough*, you don’t have to put it in! Or you don’t have sweet potatoes in the pantry at the moment…again, like me. This doesn’t mean you can’t make the recipe! It just means you have to alter it. And in a lot of cases, that can work in your favour. Now, I’m not saying take out a main ingredient or anything like that, I mean, fettuccini alfredo wouldn’t really be fettuccini alfredo without the alfredo. You get my point? But substituting broccoli for mushrooms or chicken for sausage isn’t going to make or break the recipe.
Anyways, I’ll get on with it. The recipe calls for the following and I did not have the underlined things:
·         1 acorn squash
·         1 sweet potato
·         1/2 a small onion, diced
·         2 cloves of garlic, minced
·         2 Tbsp mushroom, diced
·         1/4 c zucchini, diced
·         1/2 c apple, diced
·         1/2 c veggie broth
·         3/4 c quinoa, cooked
·         1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
·         1/2 tsp paprika
·         1/2 tsp cumin
·         1/8 tsp cinnamon
Not a big deal, instead I used carrots, broccoli, snow peas and rice. The end result was still quite tasty! You may say that because I didn’t use the exact ingredients that I didn’t really make the recipe. But I think I did. To me cooking should be focused on whatever you have around the house and turning it into something wonderful. This recipe does just that.
One thing I’d like to note though is not to forget step 6…it may not exist in the recipe instructions, but in the step by step walk through she writes to put it in the oven for 15 min or so at 300 degrees. This is obviously quite important to finishing the cooking. Enjoy!

Oven Fried Chicken Bites

Then next recipe I tried was Oven Fried Chicken. I changed this recipe a little bit too, just to use what I had around the house. I didn’t have any bone in chicken breasts, but I had boneless and in the picture it looks like they had made bites so that’s what I decided to do. I also did not have rice-corn crispy cereal, but I had raisin bran! And I didn’t have melba toast either, but that is easily substituted with either pre-ground bread crumbs or I had an intentionally dried out piece of French bread that I threw in the food processor with the cereal to grind up.
 
 I find having a little bit of dried bread around the house is a good trick. If you ever have bread that you know is going stale and are considering throwing out, DON’T! Just leave it out to dry then food process that baby and voila! Bread crumbs that most people go out and buy in the store, add some herbs and you’ve got your own Italian bread crumbs.
This recipe turned out great. If given a choice I probably would have gone for the corn flakes or something of that sort but the end result was still yummy. Served with a side of sweet and spicy thai sauce and you’ve got something very similar to the sweet and spicy thai bites you pay full price for at Boston Pizza.

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

The last and final recipe I tried tonight was home made tootsie rolls. Now here is a recipe I probably wouldn’t recommend to anyone, unless you are allergic to corn syrup like one of the commenter’s on their site. The flavour really wasn’t close to a tootsie rolls, not to mention the overwhelming taste of dried milk. Not a pleasant experience.
 
Let me give you a run down. I made the recipe just as it says to but only had 1 cup of dried milk. The recipe said you may not use it all, so I was hoping I wouldn’t need the last 1/4 cup. Unfortunately the candy was still much too sticky without it, so I started adding more powdered sugar. I probably added about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of powdered sugar before it started to become workable. The other downside was that the powdered milk made it very grainy. I had read this in the comments and one reader had said that they were able to get that texture out of it after much kneading. Well I kneaded and kneaded and it was still grainy. The person who suggested this may or may not have been the same person who was allergic to corn syrup, maybe they were just looking on the bright side? Anyways, I’m glad I didn’t have that 1/4 more of powdered milk or else I would have had a lot more flavour and graininess to counter.
I wanted to try and save the candy from the garbage because I hate to waste! Especially with such an expensive ingredient as honey. So I started experimenting. I found that adding about 2 tablespoons of molasses (hence adding yet again more icing sugar) helped with the flavour but unfortunately the grainy texture is a lost cause.
Overall, I’m sorry to say that this recipe did not pass my test. Now on to making the failed project into something more edible. Wish me luck!

Crate Coffee Table

Well, my next project is complete! Below is February’s pinquest.

My husband has been wanting to get a coffee table recently and upon seeing retail price I decided that I didn’t want to pay that. So I thought I would just make my own instead of paying full price. I remembered something I had pinned once and thought that it was exactly what our living room needed. The original tutorial can be found at a blog by the name of Vintage Chic.

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What do you think? I mostly followed the tutorial. I did however decide to use dowling for the frame and not L-brackets (my husband said it would be easier), it’s not! USE THE L-BRACKETS!
Another thing the tutorial missed what the measurements for the pieces used in the frame. This does depend on the size of crates you find though. I got mine from Michaels and needed 2-3 1/2″ X 6 ft boards of pine cut into 2-27″ pieces, 3-20″ pieces and 2-8 1/4″ pieces. The frame ended up being a tad small, but we also had it cut at the store and the pieces weren’t exactly cut to the right lengths, so that may have had something to do with that.
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 All in all, the tutorial was great. I was able to follow it and make my own table without a problem. There are things you can customize as well, like the stain colour (don’t forget to clear coat if you don’t want your table ruined when something spills), I used legs instead of casters for my table, and I didn’t put images on the side of my crates though it does add a nice effect. In the tutorial she also filled the hole in the middle with a few boards and made it into a holder for stones, etc. I plan to do this in the future, but at the moment I put a bowl in it and that will do for now.
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So if you like this idea and have seen it on Pinterest before, go ahead and give it a try. It’s actually quite easy and looks great!

Canvas Masterpiece

Well, this is my first post!
I’m backdating this project for my January project as I completed it in January but had not yet decided to start my PinQuest.
The following picture is what was posted to Pinterest from a blog namedVirginia & Charlie.
Her and I had two different takes on the project, but used the same medium. Puffy paint.
I didn’t use elmers glue because in my experience I knew that it didn’t dry as puffy as one would think. It generally flattens out after it dries. I may or may not know this from making glue pools in my metal elementary school desk and revelling in the experience of pulling them off as dried blobs. Don’t tell me I’m the only one??
Anyways, I decided to go with a white puffy paint. It’s a little more pricey than elmers glue, but if you want the pop up effect then this is my best suggestion. It had a tip perfect for the job, especially since I wanted fine details and small print. I did however go over it 2-3 times again, just to make it pop that much more.
I also decided to do my husband and I’s wedding vows on the canvas instead of just a design. Also, I did not paint onto wax paper and glue it on later. Instead, I drew my design directly on the canvas, made sure it was just the way I wanted, and then started to puffy paint over it.
The only problem with doing it this way is that if you do make a mistake in drawing the design, you will see that after you’ve painted because there won’t be puffy paint over it. I fixed this by doing a light coat of white acrylic paint over the entire canvas once the puff paint had dried. Spray paint would also work.
Another suggestion I’ve heard would be hot glue, and I strongly considered this, but decided against it. A hot glue gun would interfere with your ability to control what you were doing, as well as leave those oh so hated glue strings when you pull away. It would also require you to try and paint over it, which is also not an easy venture. So all in all, puffy paint (can be found at Wal-Mart and any craft store) is my suggestion.

 

The picture below is my completed project.

At the time I wasn’t sure where to put it so my husband walked over and put it on top of my antique type writer. I think he did well, what do you think?