Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spice Drawer FINISHED

Hello there!  I hope you all had a wonderful Veteran's Day weekend!  I did some of my first real Christmas shopping of the season this past Saturday.  Every year, my two sisters and I go with our Mom to help her get gifts for the grandchildren, in-laws, and of course her children!  It's a fun, LONG, day of shopping, but it's come to be one of those traditions I really look forward to and ultimately enjoy!

OK, so I have deviated.  I guess the reason I was sharing all that was to say that my mind is now wrapped around the upcoming holidays, and not so much on DIY projects around the house....BUT, I was able, with my hubby's help, to finish my spice drawer.  A few weeks ago, I shared how I converted all my mix-matched spices into a uniform look with spice jars from World Market.  You can check out that post: Organizing Your Spices.  Well, we had this vision of placing all the spices in a drawer, neatly organized, so you could easily read the labels affixed on top of each jar, and readily access each and every spice.  Let's just say, that was not the case prior to this little project.  I had spices stacked atop spices.  I would have to take 5-10 spices out of my cabinet just to find the spice I needed.  Well, NO MORE!

You would think it would have been as simple as transferring the spice jars from the cabinet to the drawer, however, if you really think about it, the jars would just slide around in the drawer when opening and closing it, and then there would, yet again, be disorganization.  Well, we have to thank Rodney!  Rodney is my friend Missy's husband.  If you remember, I introduced you to Missy  in that post about organizing your spices. Rodeny had the clever idea of creating a base with holes cut out for each jar, which would eliminate them from sliding all around.  So, my hubby began making this "base" while I was shopping on Saturday.  Isn't he sweet!

He found a small piece of plywood, 3/4" thick, left-over from another project and cut the plywood to the dimensions of the interior of  the drawer. Since all drawers are not created equal, well they often measure at different lengths and widths, and even depths, it's probably not overly important that I share the dimensions of my drawer. However, before you begin this little project, please make sure that your spice jars are the correct height to stand upright in your drawer.

Next, measure the base of the spice jar so to determine what size to cut the holes for them to then sit in.  My jars were roughly 1 3/4" in diameter  My hubby decided to cut the holes 2" in diameter.  After some fast calculating, he determined that he would be able to fit five holes across the width of the plywood, and 7 holes deep, leaving me with 35 holes for 35 spice jars.  Before he began, he marked the plywood as to where the holes needed to be drilled.  He didn't have a 2" hole saw for his drill so he had to buy one, but I think it cost all of $13 at Lowes!  He did share that it is a bit time-consuming to cut the holes.  Here's the base with all the holes cut

Now, here's a couple of things we learned along the way:  we could have fit 6 holes across the plywood, but there would have been a very thin piece of plywood between each jar.  My hubby thought it would be a bit more rugged if he left more spacing between each jar, but that was his preference!  The other thing we learned is, your drawer doesn't come all the way out, so the last row of holes isn't really necessary as you can't access them as easily.  Thankfully, I only have 30 spices, so I told my hubby not to bother and drill the holes in the last row.

It fit into the drawer perfectly!

The next logical step is to begin placing all your spice jars in the holes, but not for me.  You see, when I put the labels on top of my jars, I never did anything to seal or protect the labels, they are only paper!  So, my friend Missy had suggested I put Mod Podge over each label.  So that's what I did, with the help of my 10-year-old son, and a small foam brush!  The Mod Podge actually dries clear, and now my labels are all sealed!


 Here's a couple of different views of my "new" spice drawer!

I love how they look in the drawer, but better yet, I love that I can read all the labels and readily access any spice whenever I may need it.  It's really the simple little things like this that make our lives a bit easier!

Once I cleaned out all the spices from my cabinet, well, I then had to reorganize it.  Remember what it looked like before this little project


It's a little bit better.  I hope to get some canisters for my counter tops for my flour, sugar, etc. so that will free up a bit more space in my cabinet and look a bit tidier!  

Are you working on any projects to help de-clutter and organize your life?  Please do share!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adding a Decorative Touch of Color

In the midst of all my fall nesting, I did manage to create a couple of inexpensive decorative objects to add to my Master Bedroom and my boys' room.

Sometimes these small little touches can make an otherwise ordinary room, a truly fabulous one.  As I've mentioned in prior posts, I've been remodeling my bedroom, and recently started on my boys' bedroom.  For my room, I wanted a pop of the same blue that I had used on my Night Stands, Benjamin Moore's Wedgewood Gray, on my dresser!  I love the versatility of a serving tray. You can find them almost anywhere.  T.J. Maxx always seems to have some really adorable ones.  However, because I wanted a certain color, I knew I would need to paint the tray.  Well, I happened to stumble across some unfinished, pine trays at A.C. Moore, during one of my last visits.  There were various sizes, and styles.  They even offered a tray with folding legs!  The price for the tray.....$5.99, and with my trusty 40% off coupon, I snagged it for just over $3.00.  It's nothing too fancy, but exactly what I was looking for.

It actually was sanded fairly well, so I just took some fine sandpaper and sanded any areas that might have felt rough to the touch.  Since the tray had never been stained or painted, I didn't feel the need to use primer.  I simply took out the left over Benjamin Moore paint I had from my night stand project and began painting.  I used a small angled brush to paint all the corners, and sides, and any other small areas that a roller would not fit.  Then I used a small foam roller to apply the paint to all the other flat surfaces.  I applied two coats for good coverage, lightly sanding between coats.  Here's the finished, painted tray

And here it is on my double dresser in my bedroom.

I haven't quite decided what I should put in the tray.  But I just love that little pop of color that is carried throughout my entire bedroom.

But, I didn't stop there...oh no, I mentioned that I added some accents to my boy's bedroom.  Well, when I was cleaning and reorganizing my hope chest, I found several old picture frames.  I found two identical wooden frames, that were sized for 5x7 photos.  Well, no more than a month ago, we had my cousin, who is a very talented photographer, take our family portraits.  I love to use photos as art, and when decorating.  So, I purchased a 5x7 print of each one of my boys, individually, painted these two wooden frames and placed them in their bedroom.

Here's what the frames looked like before I transformed them
 They were actually olive green in color.  Well, my sons' room contains a lot of Navy Blue, so I thought I would paint them navy.  For this small project, I knew I didn't want to spend for a quart of navy blue paint, so I took one of my son's shirts (which was the exact navy blue I wanted) to Lowes.  They scanned the shirt and color matched the paint to the shirt.  I actually purchased a sample size of Valspar paint for $4.  This is an excellent alternative, if you only need a small amount of paint.  It was more than enough paint for these two frames.  I simply sanded the frames down to take off the polyurethane, and then began painting.  Again, I used a small angled brush to get the paint in all the nooks and crannies, and then went over everything with a small foam roller.

I applied 2-3 coats of paint per frame.  Again, I opted not to prime them first, as I was going much darker with the paint color than what was already on there.  I'm pretty happy with how they came out and they add, again just a nice pop of color and a really nice decorative touch to their bedroom!

Really quick and easy to do.  And, it only cost me $4, plus the cost of the prints!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Organizing Your spices!

Good Monday morning, everyone!  Well, the weather is getting much colder up here in the Northeast!  Just waiting to see the first snowflakes of the season fall, well I'm not anxiously awaiting or anything.  But, with the colder temperatures its only spurred me on to continue with this whole fall nesting thing.  This is all new to me, usually I get Spring Fever and clean all the time, but this Fall I just can't seem to get organized enough.

On to the next task.....tackling my spices.  My spices have always been stored in a cabinet in their original containers.  I really wanted some uniformity and better label system.  Take a look at what I'm talking about

Now most of my spices are located on the bottom shelf, but it just looks so cluttered and disorganized.  Okay, so the whole cabinet does!  But for now, I'm focusing on the thing at a time, right!  So, I started my search for the perfect spice jar, and ended up finding exactly what I was looking for at World Market.  They were only $5.95 for a set of 6.  I ordered five sets as I knew I had nearly 30 different spices.

  Stainless Steel Lidded Spice Jars, Set of 6

Once I had received the spice jars, they kind of sat in the box I received them in for awhile.  I knew I wanted labels printed to secure to the top of each jar, indicating what spice was in each jar.  But that's as far as I got with the project.  Until one morning in September, when my family had some very dear friends of ours over for brunch.  I was telling my friend, Missy, all about this project, and she thought it would be a great project to do, as well.  She is so extremely talented, as she produces stamp sets, and makes the most beautiful hand-crafted  cards.  In fact she even has her very own Etsy shoppe.  She offered to make the labels for the jars, and we agreed that we MUST do this project together - just another excuse for us to get together!  I have to give Missy some linky love....she's just too talented not to share her craft with you all.  Please check out her blog at Just Dandy and her Etsy Shoppe at Just Dandy Studio.  She is beautiful inside and out (she's on your right)! That's her cute son photo bombing us!

Fast forward to the month of October.  I sent Missy a list of all the spices I had, and she printed off the labels for her and I.  Missy used a very classic design for the labels, which I just LOVE!

Before Missy offered to make the labels, I did search the net for free printable templates for spice labels.  The options are endless, and there are many that are free, so just do a general search for free printable spice jar labels, and you will be amazed at what you will find.  Many also offer tutorials on how to print them.

The next step was to place the labels atop the jars.  To do so, we had to peel the back from each label.  This was a little time consuming, as it wasn't always easy to pull the two apart.  Missy was much better at it than me.

Once we adhered all the labels to the jars, I then began to fill them all with their respective spices.  I used a small funnel, which I also purchased from World Market.  It made transferring the spices from their original container to my new jars, a lot easier.

Here's how they looked once they were filled!

I hope to move my spices from the cabinet they are stored in now to a drawer, so all the labels will be easy to see.  When I get around to making that change, I'll be sure to share with you all the finished, more organized look!  I also wanted to mention a helpful tip Missy gave me...she suggested that I apply Mod Podge over all the labels, as Mod Podge is a water based sealer, glue and finish.  It will help to protect the labels from getting damaged, because essentially the labels are only paper.  I haven't had a chance to do this yet to my labels, but I have purchased the Mod Podge and intend to do so when I get a free minute.  

Perhaps I should now tackle the rest of the cabinet!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sprucing up an old mirror

Hello all!  Happy Tuesday!  I hope you all had a nice Columbus Day weekend!  We had a really low-key weekend, but got to enjoy visiting with family and friends, which is nice because it becomes hard to find the time for these important visits when life is a bit more hectic.

Now that I have two mornings a week, with no children at home, I've been able to complete some projects around the house, and have even started a few new ones!

The latest project I completed was giving an antique framed mirror a face lift.  Last fall, I was on the hunt for a beautiful, over-sized scalloped mirror.  Of course, the first place I turned to was Craigslist.  I didn't hunt for very long before I stumbled upon an antique mirror with scalloped edges.  According to the listing, it was actually part of a two-piece dresser set.  The owners didn't have room for the mirror, but wanted to keep the dresser.  So, after multiple conversations with the owner, I decided I really wanted it.  So, we packed up the entire family on a rainy Sunday afternoon and headed to Portland, which is 1 hour south of me.  Upon arriving, I checked the entire mirror over, and it was in mint condition.  The dimensions were: 45 1/2" wide by 36 1/2" high, which was perfect, as I needed a substantial sized mirror.  I already had a spot in mind for it.  I planned on hanging  it above my bedroom dresser.  Currently, I have a tri-fold mirror, and it does look rather dated.  So, with a little face-lift, this "new" mirror would do the trick!

Here's what it looked like when I bought it, oh and did I mention I picked it up for $60!

 I loved the detailing and of course the scalloped edges.  

The dresser that I wanted to hang this mirror above is stained a cherry finish.  This maple finish on the mirror obviously would clash, and I really wanted the frame of the mirror to be white, as I have accents of white throughout my bedroom.  So, with that vision, I began the process.  First I covered the mirror with paper bags, as such.

I simply took paper bags and cut pieces, adhering them to the mirror with painter's tape.  Most of the time I was able to slide the paper bag between the mirror and the frame so I didn't have to worry about paint seeping through a crack or area where the bag didn't abut directly up against the frame. Once this was complete, I loaded up my Paint Sprayer with Behr, Semi-Gloss White Latex Paint.  This is a paint you can buy right off the shelf at Home Depot.  It's about $12/quart.  I actually had this paint left over from another project, which is always nice!

I sprayed several thin layers of this paint onto the frame of the mirror.  This is what it looked like once I was done the first "coat".

Silly me...I forgot to take a pic of the mirror once I had painted several coats of white paint, so try to envision what it would look like!

With it painted all white, all the details in the flowers at the top of the frame, and even the interior scalloped edges that were routered, were no longer visible.  So, I turned to the internet and started researching how to add a faux finish to the frame to bring out those details!  I decided to apply a glaze to the frame, by using a glazing medium and some stain.  I mixed translucent mixing glaze with Miniwax Express Stain in walnut and Mahogany colors (you can use any color of stain, or even paint).

The Glazing Medium I actually purchased at A.C. Moore.  If you have a larger project and need a larger quantity, you can buy a quart/gallon of this at Home Depot.  I purchased the Minwax Express Stain at Home Depot.  The ratio I used when mixing was 3:1, three parts mixing medium, and one part stain.  I wanted the color to have some red accents as the mirror will hang above a cherry stained dresser, but I also wanted some warm dark brown accents too, that's why I mixed the two stain colors.  My hubby mixed it up for me, and decided to add more mahogany (red) than walnut.  Which, in hindsight I  probably would have used more walnut and a touch of mahogany, but it turned out fine.  I mixed these three items up in a small cup and this is what it looked like.

You can always add more of a certain color stain to achieve the color that you want.  Before I started to apply the stain/medium mixture to the mirror, I made sure to have a bucket of water and several dry, clean rags to wipe the stain mixture off when it was time.. 

I then began to apply the stain/glaze mixture onto the frame with a foam brush.  I worked in small sections.  This is what it looked like once the mixture was applied.

I left this on the frame for several minutes, then took a damp clean cloth to wipe off all the excess stain.  
Here's what it looked like once the excess was wiped off
Now, if you are a perfectionist like me, you will initially have a tough time with this whole glazing concept.  Nothing is uniform.  What I mean is, the stain will seep into some areas and not others.  It's not supposed to look perfect.  In fact, it's supposed to look antiqued!  I did find that some areas didn't take the stain as well, and in those areas, I just reapplied the stain, let it sit for awhile then wiped it off with a wet cloth. You essentially repeat this process over and over until you have covered the entire piece you are working on.  Check out how the floral detail at the top of the mirror came back to life after the stain/glaze was applied
Now, because my stain mixture contained a mahogany-colored stain, there were times that the frame looked like it had a pink hue.  I simply took a Mr. Clean Eraser, dampened it, and wiped off any pink hues I saw.  It worked wonderfully!!  Make sure to wipe off all excess stain/glazing mixture, and allow the piece to dry completely.  Here's the finished product hanging above my dresser!  I just love it, and I love the stark contrast between the dark cherry stained dresser and the bright, white mirror.  The glazing really brings out the details in the mirror and also adds a little bit of that cherry stain into the mirror!  The best part, the project was not at all time consuming!

Here's what it looked like before I switched out the tri-fold mirror

And after

Little changes can make a big difference!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Nesting

Boy, it's been awhile!  With summer winding down, trying to squeeze in every last bit of summer fun, gearing up for the start of school for my two oldest, beginning nursery school for my youngest, and having had surgery, the past couple of months have been rather busy.  I feel like everyone seems to have acclimated to their new routines.  I'm feeling much better post-surgery, and am overly excited to start blogging....AGAIN!

Happy Fall!  It is just gorgeous here in New England.  The leaves on the trees are bright and vibrant in color. The days are warm still, yet the nights are brisk.  It has been hard to let go of summer, but the beauty that encompasses fall makes the transition a bit easier.  It's ironic really because I've actually been spending a lot of time lately, indoors!  YEP, indoors!  The reason being.....I have had this intense, unexplainable desire to clean and re-organize, or in some instances, just plain organize my home!  I started in my bedroom.  I have been in the process of making this room over for a little over a year now.  Yes, I know a year, right, but it really does take me a while to find exactly what I'm envisioning for a space that I'm recreating.  Well, I have had a two-drawer file cabinet in my bedroom for many years.  Despite the fact that the file cabinet looks like wood, it really has always looked like it didn't belong, especially in my bedroom.

 So, I decided I would get rid of the file cabinet and replace it with a portable file box that I could place in my closet, as I have some great shelving in there, and it wouldn't be SEEN!  So I began my search for the perfect file box on-line.  I wanted a file box that was truly a file box.  You can buy a lot of great fabric boxes, but I really wanted a file box that had hanging hardware for hanging file folders.  I also didn't want to spend an arm and a leg for a file box!!

I found some really attractive ones at

See Jane Work Basic File Box-ALL NEW
See Jane Work

However, this file box is actually on the smaller side. I would need three of them to accommodate all the files I have, and they are $22/a piece.  I really didn't want to spend that much, so I ended up finding these at Target for a whopping $13/each.
They measured 12.2' H x 9.06" W x 13.58" D, and I only needed two of them.

They are actually bigger than the ones at See Jane Work, as their file box only measured 7.25" W x 10.5" H x 13.5" L.  Unfortunately, Target only offered their file box in one color, black, but I decided nonetheless to go with it. 

The next step was to go through all the files in my current 2-drawer file cabinet, and throw what we no longer needed.  Oh my goodness, my hubby and I save way too much stuff!  He and I both weeded out
all the papers we no longer needed.  I was able to fit all of our files from our 2-drawer unit into two storage boxes.  Here's an inside view of one of the file boxes 

I loved the file boxes so much, I actually went back to Target to pick up a storage box for my printer paper.  It was $5.99 and matched the Room Essentials File Boxes!  

I then bought four photo/shoe boxes in the color white, from A.C. Moore.  They had them for 1.50/each this past weekend.  I placed my wedding shoes in one box, cards that I've saved from my hubby and others in another box, and the other two or empty, but I'm sure it won't take me long to find some little treasures to store in them.  Here's what they all looked like in my closet  

I'm pretty happy with the end result.  Everything is organized and in it's rightful place, not to mention it just looks neat and clean, and I did it all for around $40!  If you are wondering why I did the shoe boxes in white, well that's because they didn't have black!

Friday, August 9, 2013

"New" dining table set

Good afternoon!  It's been a fun and busy summer for me and my family.  My husband was on vacation last week, so our family packed up and went to New Hampshire with some friends.  We went to Santa's Village, and had so much fun!

 We then drove south to North Conway where we lodged and did some outlet shopping.  Nothing more exhilarating than getting a bargain!

But, our family vacation is done, at least for another week or so, and it's raining here in Maine.  So, what better opportunity than now to sit down and blog about a recent project we just completed.

I have three children (as you can see in the above picture), so we are a family of five.  We have had our dining table set for 12 years, and honestly, we have outgrown the table and 4 chair set.

Our youngest, poor thing, has still been sitting in his highchair at meal time, because we've only had 4 chairs, and I don't have any folding chairs, etc. that I could pull up to the table, even for a temporary fix.  SO, I began looking for a dining set on Craigslist.  Yes, you read it right, Craigslist.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a set, as my children are still young, and well anyone with children knows that you don't want anything too nice, as it will get scratched, etc.  After a short search, I found a set that looked interesting.  I have wanted a table with pedestal leg(s).  As much as I would have loved a round table, it just wouldn't fit well in the space we have, so I was looking for a rectangular table with pedestal legs, with additional leaves.  I located one about 45 mins. southwest of me.  My hubby, as he works in this area, offered to stop by and take a look at it.  He found the table to be in decent shape, though one of the pedestals legs was cracked and needed repair.  The chairs, of which there were 5, were in great shape.  They had upholstered seats, which had been re-upholstered at one time.  I knew I would need and want to recover the seats, so that wasn't an issue.  So, for $250 we purchased a dining set with 5 chairs.

I wish, oh do I wish, I had taken before photos, but I didn't.  The table we actually had refinished, and the pedestal leg repaired, we did not attempt this job.  Here's what the table looked like after all that

 And the chairs, we had painted a pure white, in semi-gloss finish, as you can kind of see in the photo above.  They were the same stain color as the table, but I wanted the chairs to be a different color than the table. No more matchy-matchy set!   Once the chairs were all painted, I then began to reupholster the seats.  The woman that previously owned the table set did not take off the old upholstery, but rather sewed a new fabric over the old one.  So, there was a bit more work involved in removing the two layers of fabric.  Here's the fabric that was on the top.  If you look closely, you will notice there was also piping.

Once I got that layer off, the original upholstery fabric looked like this


So, I turned the seat over and began to remove all the staples.  Now the back of the seat had a "dust cover", so I removed the staples in that to get that off, which then exposed all the other staples that were holding the fabric on, as well as the piping.  I removed the piping first.  Once I stripped both layers of fabric off, this is what it looked like

I opted to wrap the seat in a light layer of batting, just for good measure.  I tried to take the white layer off, but it was adhered to the foam.  I didn't want to damage the foam as it was in great shape.

So, I began wrapping the seat in batting,

You literally want to wrap it like a present, adhering it on the back-side with staples.  I used my hubby's electric staple gun, and it goes pretty quickly.  

I used 1/4" long staples to adhere the batting, but when I applied the fabric, I used 1/2" long staples.  You can get both sizes at Home Depot or Lowes.  

I then took the seat and laid it on top of my fabric.  Fortunately, I was able to get two seats across 54" wide fabric, so I honestly took my fabric, folded it in half and cut on the fold.  When cutting across, I made sure to allow enough fabric on both top and bottom to fold over to then staple to the seat.  Another option is, save the old upholstered seat cover and trace around that.  Since I added an extra layer of batting, I knew I needed my fabric to be a bit wider on all four sides.  

I then took my cut piece of fabric and ironed it.  I placed the fabric face down and then placed the seat on top of the fabric.  Then, I centered the seat on the fabric and began to fold the fabric over stapling it to the bottom on the seat!  Be mindful if you are using a fabric with a pattern (stripes, etc.), you will need to determine which way you want the pattern to run on your seat.  I wanted vertical stripes, hence the reason I turned the fabric this way.

The fabric, by the way, is Premier Prints Indoor/Outdoor Vertical Stripe Grey Fabric.  I ordered this from Fabric.Com.  I chose indoor/outdoor fabric as it is washable, which is a must with kids.  I also figured it would withstand daily use much better than regular home d├ęcor fabric.  The fabric was all of $7.50/yard.  Now, I did order about 7 yards of fabric, but at some point down the road, we want to make a built-in bench, and would cover the cushion for that with this same fabric.  The chair seats only required approx. 2 1/2 yards of fabric. 

When I stapled the fabric, I would do one side, and then do the side directly opposite to it. 

 You want to save the corners for last.  Because the seat is not square, it is a bit tricky to fold the fabric in a way that creates minimal fold lines.  I just played with the fabric until I got a desired look, and made sure that I did the same type of fold, in the same location on all four corners.  Remember, the back corners won't be as noticeable once they are secured to the chair. When you begin the corners, make sure to cut off access fabric.  The less fabric you have to deal with the better.  Just make sure you leave it long enough to staple to the back side.  I actually cut my corners at an angle, like this 

 Here's what my corners ended up looking like

Here's a shot of the seat:

And, here is the complete set, minus the leaves.  We do intend to add one leaf as we need  it to place 2 chairs side by side.  Right now we have two sides chairs on one side of the table and only one on the other side, but we intend to build a built-in bench that will even things out....I promise.  I'm trying hard not to let the fact that things aren't symmetrical, bother me!!!!

What do you think??? Oh, and I should mention, I have big plans for my old dining set.  Stay tuned......