24 Jun

Round 3 {Repurposed Fabric Project}

DIY Hall Tree

Well, here we are at the third and final project of the Rehash Your Trash Blogger Showdown. The first two projects took a tad longer than I’d hoped/expected but this last one was a breeze! I had a small, black IKEA dining chair hanging out in the basement.

Free Ikea Chair

After separating the chair back from the bottom I sanded down and stained the painted wood to give the piece a rustic-chic feel.

Disassembled Chair

At a thrift shop here in town I picked up some pretty dragonfly fabric. You know those euro sham cases that always accompany comforter sets? I see them all the time at thrifts because most people don’t have big, square pillows on their beds. They are perfect for small upcycled projects like this one.

Dragonfly Fabric

I ripped the seams between the front and back pieces of fabric and wrapped it around a piece of foam I’d cut to size. A few shots of spray adhesive kept everything in place while stapling the fabric to the wooden seat.

Fabric & Batting Wrap

I added some pillow stuffing to plump out the sides. It took a bit of patience to make sure all the lines stayed straight. When the upholstering was done, I put the seat back onto the base and secured it with screws.

Padded Seat

Pairing the stool with it’s modified chairback creates a unique yet functional hall tree for a small entry space. This would also make a nice addition to a bathroom, office or kid’s bedroom ~ just play with paint colors and fabrics to suit your own space.

DIY Hall Tree

What do you think? Is this something you’d use in your own home?

Now it’s time to head over to check out what Evey whipped up for the challenge. Remember to leave a comment to vote for your favorite project!

Round 1 – Unexpected Upcycle
Round 2 – Creative Storage/Organization

17 Jun

Creative Organization/Storage

For the second go-round of our Blogger Showdown Challenge we had to upcycle an item to provide extra storage/organization. Those of you who follow Facebook have seen the current status of my office and know this is an area where I can use some help.

I promise, you will not see me on a future episode of Hoarders (because I do not have a problem and more importantly because it’s not on HGTV).

Seriously, the reason for this nonsense is that a few weeks months ago, I decided to fashion my master closet a la Abercrombie. {someday I’ll finish & post about it}

tornado alley

After relocating the floor-to-ceiling bookcases, I was left with no place to store the litany of Koontz, Cornwell and self-help books that seem to multiply behind closed doors. Likewise, all my chotchkies are now sleeping in plastic bags on the floor.

Since Sonne will be here in about a month, the timing of this challenge lined up perfectly with the office/guest room overhaul.

Convenient how that worked out huh?
So as a practical solution, I opted to transform a hutch-like-thing I had ($3.99 at Goodwill) hiding in the garage. It probably sat on top of a low-boy in a previous life but for it to function as a bookcase it needed a bottom.

wooden hutch

Back when I turned that desk into an island, putting the top on bottom worked so well that I decided to go that route again. Since the challenge, overall, is to use what you’ve got I sifted through my cabinet door stash and found one that could do double duty as a top.

cabinet door top

After gluing and screwing the deconstructed piece back together, I cut and sanded blocks of wood to make feet. Then, the whole thing got the sanding block treatment.

refabricated bookcase

It took about 2 hours to get to this point. Everything was coming together entirely too easily. Never have I had any project go off without a hitch and I warned Dave “…something will go wrong, it always does.” And sure enough, the paint on this project nearly did me in.

painted bookcase

I picked up a quart of midnight blue from Rustoleum’s warehouse sale a few weeks back. [Sidenote: I’m kicking myself for not picking up a few more at $2.00 each.] Originally, the entire inside was white but somewhere along the line I realized blue was better. It took eleventeen coats and I still wasn’t able to completely cover up the white. But at some point you just have to admit you’re drunk defeat and go to bed.


Besides, in the daylight you hardly notice that I changed my mind. I am crushing on that are-they-circles-or-are-they-flowers stencil. I’ve been obsessed with this pattern for a while now and was crazy excited to incorporate it into this piece. If I stare at it too long my head hurts but I love how it plays tricks on the eyes.

And since I can’t play tricks on *your* eyes and pretend my office is anywhere near clean, the finished piece is hanging out in the dining room for now. What do you think? Should I just leave it there? {I’m kidding Dave, kinda.}

styled bookcase

Now, don’t forget – this is part of the Rehash That Trash challenge series so you’ll have to check out Evey’s storage project and choose mine as your favorite piece. Leave a comment here or there and let us know what you decide. I’m heading out to get started on the final piece.

Round 1 – Unexpected Repurpose
Round 3 – Recycled fabric/upholstery

10 Jun

An Unexpected Repurpose

DIY Dog Bed

Ok, ok, ok I know I took way too long to get this project done but to be fair we had no official finish time for today’s Rehash That Trash project reveal. And in my defense I have been crazy sick and just got around to starting this project today. So chill. Now, if you’re just tuning in, the official challenge was announced last week. My opponent, Ms. Evey, and I vowed to scour our project stash and come up with an item to rehab in an unexpected way. I chose this über cute Victorian toy box that I’d picked up at a yard sale for $5.00 last summer. I wasn’t sure what I’d use it for but look at those bones?!?!

Toybox before

After a quick wipe down and de-gooing (what is it with little girls and stickers?) I sanded and slapped on a few (five to be exact – that’s why it took me so long!) coats of matte bone white paint. The paint wasn’t behaving as planned and kept peeling off. That may have something to do with how humid it is here today or the fact that I didn’t bother to prime it first – it’s hard to tell. {smile}

Toybox in progress

While the paint was drying, I cut some luan, cardboard and foam to ‘stuff’ a piece of leather. After eyeballing the center, I wrapped the leather around and stapled it into place.

Fabric build

Let the record show that I have now successfully completed my very first cushion (and still have no idea how to sew).

DIY Leather Cushion

Ok, so I’m going to be 100% honest here. My original intention was to apply clear wax to the paint and seal. But at the last minute I decided to get fancy and that’s where the day got away from me. See, I picked up some paprika stain the other day for $1 (A DOLLAR, people!) at Rustoleum’s warehouse sale and added it to my wax (how I DIY tinted wax)…

DIY Dog Bed

I don’t know if I like it. But for the sake of the contest (and because Evey was blowing up my phone/computer) I called it done. It doesn’t look bad, it just has that ‘shabby’ look that I am personally not a fan of. Since this piece will stay in my house and in my bedroom – I’d like it to match the crisp, white pieces in there. We’ll see if it winds up back in the shop for a repaint or not. It may grow on me.

For now – the man of the house seems to think it works.

DIY Dog Bed

Now don’t forget – this is a contest! Since we are super sophisticated and using the comments sections to tally votes, leave some love here & on Evey’s blog letting us know who you think won this week’s challenge. (and keep in mind that I actually worked on this piece and didn’t just move it from one spot to another like someone else I know…) 

Dinner, drinks and carte-blanche photo uploads depend on you!

Round 2 – Creative Organization/Storage
Round 3 – Recycled Fabric/Upholstery

28 May

Chocolate Dipped Furniture

Chocolate Dipped bookcase

Shortly after deciding to put the creative side of my brain to use, a new church friend presented an opportunity to custom finish a piece of furniture. Lisa had a small bookcase she wanted to use in her bathroom. It had been in the family for a while, was solid wood and the perfect height and depth. But the light honey finish didn’t work for her and she wondered if I could fix it up. I happily accepted the challenge assuming I’d restain the piece and have it back to her the following Sunday.

ugly bookcase

After a little more chatter, however, I realized Lisa didn’t want to see the wood grain of the piece. She didn’t want it stained and she didn’t want it painted brown. She had her heart set on the popular espresso finish applied to most pieces of cheap laminate furniture.

But she didn’t want the shiny, lacquered top coat those quasi-wood jobs wore. It occurred to me that this project would be a little harder than I thought. So I got to work stripping the original stain and top coat while contemplating how to create the desired finish.

Stripped bookcase

Eons ago, I went to beauty school. A lot of times when I’m playing with color I think back to the basics learned in that program. Since the color wheel is the same regardless of the application and since brown is a variation of red, I chose rust for the base coat primer.

Red primer

Then I followed up with Rustoleum’s version of Espresso but was left with a one-dimensional color that lacked the sophistication Lisa wanted. After lightly sanding down the brown and coming up short on Google search I got creative. The primer was starting to show through the brown, giving it a hint of depth. I played on that by adding some brown paint to cherry stain and clear glaze. I hand rubbed that on and after it was dry, sanded down and repeated the process.

Stain over paint

It was taking longer than I’d planned but the result was exactly what I had hoped for. When the second phase was dry I sealed the bookcase with a dark wax I had cooked up to give it the low lustre sheen Lisa wanted.

chocolate bookcase

And now it sits happily in the powder room displaying her necessities.

Chocolate Dipped bookcase

I’m so glad she didn’t pitch this piece in lieu of something new. I know she is too.

23 Apr

On the front porch looking in

painted bench

I am so over cold weather. I realized the other day that my furnace has been kicking in consistently for over 6 months. Consecutively. It’s beyond ridiculous. Before Facebook, I wouldn’t have given much thought to the local weather but photos of folks frolicking in shorts and tanks gives me pause. It’s the end of April for crying out loud. I’m in multiple layers with the heater running and the weatherman just used the “S” word again. Why the heck do I willingly live in the Midwest?

I have no idea either.

Last week, I braved the cold and rain to run some errands and noticed a sign at the subdivision entrance announcing our upcoming neighborhood rummage sale. In preparation for the sale last May, I borrowed some tables and conduit (to hang clothes) from a friend. She had to stand on something to reach the poles up in the garage rafters and hopped up on the cutest bench I’ve ever seen.

painted bench

Can you believe she had this gem stashed in the far corner of her garage? And can you believe it was covered in dirt, cobwebs and sporting equipment? And can you believe she had no issues loading it into my car? And can you believe she gave it to me for free?

Yeah, I wouldn’t believe it either. Especially since this is what she was standing on and more than happy to offload:


You’ve seen these right? It’s part of a 4-piece set that was all the rage in the mid 90’s promising to give your kitchen a cozy feel. Or forcing you to sit entirely too close to other members of your immediate family depending how you look at it. My girlfriend’s family had one and it sucked if you had to pee and weren’t sitting on the far ends. Plus, they didn’t opt for the extra bench seat so we just sat there, single file, staring at the fridge as we ate.

Anyhow, I have no idea what became of the sister parts to this piece but my porch had to have the cast off. So I brought it home and pulled out my sander. Luckily, the piece was already falling apart and made flipping the back around a cinch.

sanded bench

After some glue and screws I prepared to paint. I knew that I wanted it to be green but needed to add pops of the deep orange on the front door and incorporate the cream trim color too. To keep it from resembling the Italian flag, I added a few other fun colors I had samples of lying around. Since some of the paint was meant for inside use only I slapped on a couple coats of protective sealant.

striped seat

When I reversed the back of the bench I traded in the recessed trim for pocket screw holes that needed to be covered up. A few wooden medallions did the trick. I painted them to coordinate with the stripes and glued them over the holes.

painted medallion

The seat top lifts up for storage so my dust broom and pan are kept handy. I also stashed a pair of pruning sheers and a garden hand shovel inside for quick access. Pieces that provide form and function are my favorite. Now, if Spring ever decides to be sprung around these parts, I’m ready.

painted bench

But until then I’ll bask in my toasty 70 degree living room, look out on to the front porch and dream of living elsewhere.

07 Mar

A Portable Pantry ~ Fruit & Veggie Furniture

upcycled pantry

The other night the kid and I were camped out in front of the tv with a frozen pizza baking in the oven. I was in full-on ‘bad babysitter’ mode since the hubs was out of town. I caught a whiff of onion-y goodness and headed into the kitchen.

And as I rounded the couch I saw this guy…

Mr. Lou

…with an onion in his mouth. Chewing right through the brown skin this dude tightened his grip on that sucker as I yelled and tried to unhinge his jaws from around it. Who eats a 1/3 of a raw onion and wants more? Maybe he thought it was part of his new raw diet. {shrug}

Now, you might be wondering where my criminal canine got his paws on an onion. And if you know me well enough you’re probably surprised I had an onion on hand fresh enough to eat raw. Well, remember when I told you I flip-flopped the locations for my plastic ware and canned goods? I had mentioned that I had no place to store my fruits and veggies.

What I did have, though, was this nifty wooden contraption that I’d bartered for some painted cement planters over the summer. {Were you aware of my mad spray paint skills?}

wooden side table

And I figured that the hinged box top would make a useful storage space but that base had to go. Anytime I come across spindles or table legs at a decent price I pick them up. Using some from the stash, I drilled and screwed the legs into left over wood from my front porch column redo. I never pitched the quarter round I’d removed from the living room when I installed the wainscot wall treatment and sometimes my hoardering ways prove beneficial. That’s what I used to trim out underneath the box and along the bottom shelf. A scrap piece of 1″ x 2″ went on the center shelf before the whole piece got primed.

primed pantry

The feet are simple wooden balls that I pulled off of someone’s discarded curtain rods. {This is why my garage looks the way it does. I swear everything will get used eventually – or there will be one heck of a sale when I die.}

At first I thought the piece would look awesome in a shade of green but baby poop wasn’t exactly what I had in mind so I had to go with my second choice. It’s a good thing Ace believes in giving away free paint and it’s pretty much the only reason I’ll get up early on a Saturday morning. {psst they’re giving some away this weekend}.

wax on

I had them whip up a shade of orange that pulled out the terra-cotta in the backsplash and followed up with some dark wax. Did you know orange was the happiest color? Well according to Old Blue Eyes it is anyhow…

finished top

And I have to agree! That gorgeous humongo handle was an online garage sale score and it matches the ceramic tile listello perfectly as is. I spray painted the hinges in ORB to match. Hiding under that top is a carb junky’s treasure trove of goodies.

bread box

The only pieces of Tupperware not hanging out in the pantry are the potato bucket and garlic keeper on the second shelf. When I unloaded the latest batch of groceries I tossed a yellow onion on that shelf too. Which is, apparently, at perfect snatch level for a french bulldog. Duly noted.

Munching on my slice of pizza, I lectured Mr. Lou on puppy approved fruits and veggies. At least I’m a good dog mom.

upcycled pantry

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02 Dec

DIY Side Table

A few years ago our local Bombay outlet store sent out notice that it was closing. There were very few retail outfits that I loved more, so with tear in eye I went to see what deals I could score. Just inside the front door was a cute wooden plant stand.

wood plant stand

I had to have it. I am pretty sure that once home it went to my spare room/office and actively collected dust. A couple of years later when I moved into my single-girl apartment the stand sat in the bedroom corner buried under books.

It finally served somewhat of a purpose when I covered it with folded cardboard and a tree skirt to support a Charlie Brown tree. Obviously, I was not feeling much creative mojo or the holiday spirit. (Check out the orange lights & glittery butterfly topper. Um wow.)

This was actually the last tree I put up. Last year we opted out of Christmas altogether in lieu of a trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon so I guess there’s some pressure this year to make up for lost time. Though, I don’t think I’ll have any problem topping that beauty.

Anyhow, the funny thing about remarrying your ex-husband is that you get half of your stuff back. When we bought this house, I had 3 living room sets to choose from including a gorgeous Italian leather set of two arm chairs and a sofa.

Since ours is a big rectangular room with only one actual wall, the furniture ‘floats’ in the center and there isn’t enough space in front of the couch to put my trunk coffee table. Instead, I needed a side table between the sofa and chair but didn’t want to buy any more furniture.

So I went treasure hunting in the basement.

As I “shopped” through my reclaimed things I came across that bargain plant stand. It was too small but matched the wood on the hub’s leather sofa set perfectly. I brought it upstairs and paired it with a round glass topper from HobLob. For the next three months it served the purpose but I wasn’t in love with it.

Surfing the online garage sale site one day I came across someone selling a round 3-legged table. Do you remember these? I had one in my very first place out of high school. It was draped with a horrific pink laced topper and doily set and covered with glass. It was in my living room next to a rose-colored rocker and ottoman. It’s too bad I don’t have photos of that – not.

I looked at the computer screen then at the table beside me. Back to the screen and then to the table. I had an idea….

I bought the table for $3 and went to work deconstructing it. I unscrewed the table legs and removed the hardware.

I flipped the plant stand upside down and drilled holes through the underside to secure screws through and into the new top.

To tie the new table base in with our furniture set, I added some regular silver thumb tacks to the legs to mimic nailhead trim.

Then I went to town painting the hideous particle board. I layered on a few different blues and sanded in between coats. I wanted to add texture along with color. It wasn’t my intention for it to appear celestial but I liked it.

After waiting forever a few hours for the top to completely dry I attached it to the base. But when I flipped it right-side up and topped it off with the glass, something didn’t look right.

Because the cheap-o table was meant to be covered with a tablecloth the edges of the top were left unfinished. Even after painting, the edge looked terrible. So I tapped in more silver thumb tacks along the top’s perimeter and wound medium gauge wire around the tacks.

The metal did a good job of obscuring the unfinished edge and added a modern vibe to the traditional wooden base. For good measure, I rubbed the legs down with some chocolate stain and let it dry before bringing inside. Topped with a few second hand tchotchkes and nestled in between the leather seats, this little plant stand has finally found it’s place in our home.