Friday, January 27, 2012

Beachy/Parisian lamp

This lamp of mine took a tumble. The kids were rocking the little side table the lamp stands on and it fell on one of the kids.

The kid was fine. The lamp shade wasn't.

The old, brittle fabric had a big dent in it. (To see how I altered this thrifted lamp last time around, click here). So something needed to be done, preferably on the cheap :)

The shade got stripped to the bones.

And then I dug up a snipped of white sheet from a previous project. Cut it to fit the shade with a few inches extra top and bottom. The extra fabric was sewn into channels.

 And then the short sides were sewn together to form the cylinder. Once on the shade I ran string through the top and bottom channel, pulled tight and tied a knot.

Ok. Not bad, but too plain.

Some bling was in order. Two bags, from Dollar Tree, I think. $2 total.

Simply stitched on by hand.

Hmmm. Better. Would be perfectly fine in a blander room, but needs something else in here.

Whip out your saved pistachio shells and a drill. Drill little holes in the shells, top and bottom, for hours on end.

Then more stitching in a jumbo chevron pattern.

We're getting there. Still too bland, though.

A stencil and some blue craft paint, slightly diluted with water for a softer effect.

And that's as far as I've gotten.

I'm sorely tempted to fill in the top and bottom chevron band with more of that blue craft paint to give it more of a presence. Still looks a little anemic to me. But not bad for $2 worth of supplies since I had most things on hand.

It looks like a combo of Parisian flair mixed with a beachy vibe right now. What do you guys think - leave as is or add more blue?

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Thumb tack tables

I decided it was time to get rid of our old coffee table that the kids had abused and gunked up for too long. And I wanted something fresh and sparkly in it's place. Something easier to keep clean.

A little eye batting convinced the husband that making a trip to Ikea just a few days before Christmas was an excellent way to spend his time off :) As it turned out it was an excellent time to go to Ikea. All the malls around Ikea were teeming with people, lines to even get into the parking lots. Ikea though was eerily quiet, lots of room in the parking lot and I've never seen that store as empty of people as this time.

I only had two things I needed to get and had promised the husband to not prolong his suffering by looking at everything else while we were in there. So we were in and out in about 30 minutes, can you believe it?

My loot was two Lack tables, the cheapest ones, for $7.99 a piece.

Here they are set up in our living room. It looks fresher already.

After lots and lots of hammering the bling was finally added.

It's thumb tacks, of course. It only cost me $3 extra for that lovely detail to the tables but to me they make all the difference. They play well with all the other brass and gold details I have going on in here.

Let me start by saying that this is by no means a new idea in the blog world. Before I started I got some info from these (here and here) two tutorials. Then I got 3 boxes of 300 tacks from the Dollar Tree and I would say I used about 800 tacks for this design.

The trick to get it even and uniform is to make a template. I have no pics of this part so I'll try to walk you through it. First I taped some copy paper together to cover one side of a table and cut out the exact shape of the side. The mouth of a baby food jar had the right size circle to fit nicely within the height of the side space. I spaced my 5 circles evenly across the width of the side and drew lines to connect the circles.

Since the tacks measure about 1/2 inch or 1 centimeter across I made marks every centimeter across the template. To make sure I liked the look I also went ahead and pierced all the holes with a tack at this point and inserted tacks into the paper for a test run. Looked great and got the husband approval so I took all the tacks out again and moved on to the tables.

Three snippets of scotch tape held my template in place on the table while I used that kind of push pin with a plastic head to make starter holes on my table. It was just easier to grip with my fingers while I was hammering away and the pin part was about the size of my gold thumb tacks. Then the template was removed unharmed and put aside while I went over this side of the table again, this time inserting the gold thumb tacks into the starter holes. You'll need some help from a hammer from time to time.

Repeat this process 7 more times. Finally done!

We now have two stylish coffee tables for the humble price of about $9.50 each which isn't bad at all. And they're so much easier to keep clean, the kids play, eat and whatever else kids do all over these tables daily. So far everything has wiped off without any problem at all. Mommy happy :)
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dresser transformation

Um, I think I got it together now. I think. :)

Finally recovered the camera from the in-laws (where we had forgotten it over Xmas for those of you who weren't paying attention in class :)) and I had the best intentions to post earlier this week. At least I finally made it to actually writing the post this week.

I'm still on a creative frenzy over here. Like right before starting this post I had yet another project I was itching to get my hands on but my mature self had to talk my creative self into being responsible and show you this dresser I re-did a few weeks ago, the pics have been prepped and ready for a few days so there really isn't anything to it.

Here's the after. I know the kitty scratch post isn't that esthetically pleasing but I haven't found a better place for it yet. Bear with me, ok? :)

And this is how it's been looking for the better part of last year.

This dresser was a curb-side find and when I found it it was completely missing the two top drawers. So the top two was something I nicked from an old dresser sitting in our garage. The width is wrong but the height was about right, at least right enough to work here. In the before pic you can also see the 1/4 inch plywood I had cut at Lowe's to fit in here to make sure these drawers didn't fall down into the drawer space underneath it.

This dresser lives in our tiny kitchen. I've always liked the idea of a free-standing kitchen (i.e. instead of cabinets being attached to the wall the kitchen is made up of counter-like furniture that are free standing) so I'm sure this thing with a dresser in the kitchen stems from that. Ideally this dresser would have been cut down a couple of inches in height to match the counter tops in here but after some pondering I decided against it. I wasn't sure if I could do a good job of it and the extra work didn't seem all that tempting at the moment.

I took very few pics of the process so I'll talk you through it. The first thing I did with the dresser was take all the drawers out and screw the plywood in place, into the dresser frame. And then I played with the configuration of the top drawers a little before settling on the offset design you see in the after pics. Having them centered would have been more symmetrical but then the cubbies wouldn't have been as useful. And it would have meant more plywood, more L-brackets etc. More work and a higher cost, essentially :)

These small "sidewalls" I cut myself from the leftovers of my sheet of plywood. I didn't know what their measurements were going to be before the bottom plywood was in place so I decided against the Lowe's dudes doing it for me. They're attached with L-brackets at the top (not visible in this pic) and bottom out front and also one bracket on the bottom in the very back (very hard to see here) and are there to keep the drawer in it's place and create this little cubby of open storage. I did this for both of the top drawers.

Any gaps or holes in the construction were then filled with wood putty as you can see in the pic above and then it was time to sand. Mostly the rougher plywood but I also went over the whole dresser so my black paint would adhere better.

The painting was tedious, I won't lie. Two coats of black house paint I had on hand and two coats of polycrylic. The lovely knobs I found at Hobby Lobby for half off = two for $3.99.

The afters again.

This dresser is set on sliders so if I should need some extra counter space while working in here it can easily be slid closer to the counters on the other side of the kitchen and work as an island of sorts. Normally it lives up against this wall, though. And it provides wonderful extra storage in this tiny kitchen.

The L-brackets are visible if you look closely. But I've noticed that black paint covers a multitude of sins and I use those forgiving abilities to their fullest extent.

I love this dresser's simple and classic look now.

I had so much fun with my husband's first reaction to the transformation. It's like he was really impressed with what I'd been able to do with what he basically considered a heap of trash :) I knew all along that it could look great after some work but it's always fun when those who didn't have my vision before finally see it for what it could truly be.

Oh, and I do realize that the kitty scratch post will have to find another place eventually. When my kitchen is fully transformed I won't want it in here anyway. It just is what it is right now.

Wouldn't you say that it's a great dresser transformation, though? Paint surely does work magic.

Ps. Linking up with
Someday Crafts
Blue Cricket Design
Domestically Speaking
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