Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Claw

I'm probably in the minority here as far as DIYers go, but I prefer spray paint over brush paint any day of the week. Why? When applied properly, I find the finish to be much smoother than anything I've been able to achieve with a brush. Also, there is the convenience factor-it gets into those curves and crevices without breaking a sweat. It dries super quickly which is great for impatient people like me. In fact, the only negatives I've found are 1) cost and 2) finger cramps.

The cost is higher, there's no doubt about can make a $8 quart of paint last through many projects, whereas a can of decent spray paint will run you about $3 a can. I offset this by priming with brush primer (unless it's a super intricate piece-then I'll use spray primer) and then following with a few coats of the $0.99/can cheap stuff before applying my final color. On my kitchen chairs, I was able to get away with 1 can each of primer, flat black, and Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze (tip: Walmart carries this brand, and it's cheaper than at Home Depot at $2.67/can).

I've finally found a solution to the second problem: the cramping. When you spray paint as much as I do, it's like boot camp for your hands. Even with switching hands (which can make for interesting results!), my index fingers get sore. The higher quality paint usually has a better trigger, but if you paint long enough you'll still end up with the claw. Enter the simplest little make-life-easier tool ever invented for the rattle can, The Spray Grip by Rustoleum

For less than $3, you can turn any can of spray paint into a spray gun- improving control and virtually eliminating hand cramping. You just slide it on the can and squeeze the trigger. I used it to paint my kitchen chairs, and WOW what a difference. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves to spray paint. I found mine in Walmart with the paint, but I'm sure any place that carries the rattle cans will also have this genius invention! Happy (claw free) painting!

Basement Progress: A Crafty Corner

After reassessing the functions that my old office had to meet, we decided that most of my crafting things probably needed to move to the basement to make room for an occasional air mattress upstairs.

Would you move into this?

Yup, right there where all the shelves and litterboxes are...that's my new craft area! I know you are just as excited as I am.

Well wait a minute, I think I can see the grand vision. Pretend there is nothing there (except one hardworking husband).

And now with the rug and all of my "stuff" over there.

Ok, I realize that it may still be hard to see the grand vision-but this is a definite improvement. And now that those shelves are gone (to be reworked into an under-the-stairs closet...stay tuned), I can finally finish putting up some insulation. The hubbs says no to drywalling at this point (we just have too many other projects going on), so now I just have to figure out a way to camouflage the studs. My solution? I turn again to my good friend: the painter's drop cloth. I won't be making curtains this time, just stapling the fabric along the tippy top of the studs.

Maybe you're skeptical, but I'm not the first person to cover walls with curtain-like material.

In fact, DIY online has a whole tutorial on this! I'll also be painting the desk white and integrating it with a pantry type cabinet set up in the corner for storing my supplies. With a desk lamp and some accessories, I think it will be a surprisingly bright and cheerful space, considering its location.

Don't forget, you can keep up with our basement makeover with up-to-the-minute post notification by subscribing via email in the sidebar ----->

Want to see more before shots? Click here!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kitchen Table Revamp

I finally decided to do something about our ho hum dining set. Don't get me wrong, it's been really good to us. We picked up this solid wood set from Craigslist for $150 when we first moved to Asheville in 2006. It's sturdy and the perfect size for our dining area. Eventually I think we'll get to a point where we need a leaf or 6 person table, but here's a secret- I'm not really ready to replace it yet. Maybe it's the fact that it was one of our first home purchases together (even before we were married!), or just the fact that we eat on it, entertain around it, and even work together at it (Mike on a laptop and me crafting), but I'm just not willing to part with it yet. And trust me, up until now it was not my style AT ALL. I never really liked light colored wood. But I'm starting to see the beauty of it, with a few modifications of course.

Recently I've fallen in love with the two tone natural and painted wood look. I think it's sophisticated yet casual, and it's super easy to do. You can't beat the high end finish-straight from the Pottery Barn Farmhouse collection.

Here's a refresher on what my set looks like now

You see how the table and the floor are so similar in tone that they almost blend together? I want the table to make a statement, since it's such an important part of our life.

The plan: Paint the chairs and the pedestal base in my fav color, Krylon's Oil Rubbed Bronze (for spray painting tips, see this post). Sand and refinish the top with a stain closer to the color of the buffet (maybe Minwax Special Walnut 224?) I'll clear coat the crap out of everything- this furniture takes some heavy wear, and I'd like to see my work last awhile.

The darker finish of the chairs will make them pop against the floor, and also tie in with the bronze-y bar stools at the counter. But the natural wood top will still give you that rustic farmhouse feel. If all goes well, it will look professional enough to fetch a good price down the line when it is time to upgrade.


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Now you can get notified by email every.single.time I post. Isn't that grand? I know you're just itching to see what is happening at the Evans household, so why not be the first to know?

Look over there------>

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Monday, June 28, 2010

In The Works

Do you ever give yourself a project list a mile long and then wonder what the heck you were thinking? I feel like I'm in a constant state of disarray, but I know in the end all the little (and sometimes big) projects on my list will get done. Of course it doesn't help that I keep finding super cute things to rework in thrift stores. I can't help it, my Jeep just goes there without direction from me- eager to fill its cargo area with treasures-in-the-making. One of the cashiers at Goodwill joked recently that I might be a hoarder! At least, I'm pretty sure she was joking. She says there are some people that she worries about if she doesn't see them everyday. As in, they might be dead. I hope I'm not one of those people.

In any case, here is what I came home with.

Two IKEA "Lack" side tables

One upholstered bench in serious need of rescuing

All three pieces were a total of $16, and I can't wait to get started on these! This will be the first time I've reupholstered something, and I'll be sure to tell you how I did it.

Take A Load Off

In our new cozy balcony corner. After repainting the Baker's Rack yesterday, I decluttered the other half of the space and created a relaxing place to read or just sunbathe. I added a planter with some over the deck railings to enhance the corner, perhaps I'll add more with herbs (since it's right off the kitchen).

Mike actually built that Adirondack chair, he's an excellent carpenter! We sanded and painted it a soft olive color, I think it looks great against the wood and gray vinyl siding.

Overall it's a huge improvement to our "throw anything waterproof out there" approach. In fact, I love it so much that I'm currently blogging from that very chair. Ahhhh

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nooks and Cranies

Today we started work on our basement, it's a nice large space with huge potential that has been used mostly as Mike's workshop. Recently we decided we could make better use of the space, organize a little, and perhaps finish part of it. The first step was moving things around to get an idea of a good layout.

We made use of some Goodwill cabinets to create a laundry nook.

A new coat of paint freshened things up, along with a plywood counter top painted white to complete the look.

Here we are with the upper cabinet installed and new hardware. You'll notice I'm missing a knob on one cabinet-that's because I recycled these knobs from this desk into this dresser and now these cabinets. I'm hoping to find a match tomorrow.

I like the "built in" look, which will be complete when I fill the gap below the cabinet. Eventually we'll also put drywall up on those studs, but for now it keeps all our laundry items hidden!

Tutorial: Spray Painting

If you caught a glimpse of my Baker's Rack on the back balcony, you'll understand the need for this tutorial. Basically the whole area needed a makeover, but we'll start with the repainting of the rack.

Let's go ahead and show you the "before" shot.

The first rule of spray painting: you will always need more than you think, and likely more than you buy. So grab a few extra can always return them and you'll be thanking yourself for not having to stop in the middle of a project to get more.

I wanted a soft ivory for my Baker's Rack, so I chose Krylon's White Primer and Ivory Satin paint.

First I cleaned the rack, then sanded down the spots that were rusty. Preparing the surface is a critical step-make sure you take time to sand and prime no matter what surface you are working with. After wiping down with a damp rag and allowing to dry, I began with the primer. You want to keep the can about 6 inches away from the surface and move in sweeping motions. Don't try to get complete coverage in 1 or 2 coats, just keep applying paint in light sweeping coats, and it will eventually get a nice finish-trust me! After priming here is what the rack looked like.

Once the primer is dry (it didn't take very long in the heat here!), you can begin with your main color. I used 3 cans of the ivory before I achieved the finish I wanted. Here it is all cleaned up in its home- I made sure to clean the vinyl siding and the floor before putting the rack back-no halfway jobs here!

And now, with some $0.99 plastic storage bins and a few relocated plants. Our chimney starter needs a new coat of paint as well-stay tuned for a tutorial on restoring rusted items!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

For Hire

Are you an Asheville local and have a piece of furniture you need refinished? I'll refinish it for you for just the cost of materials...that's right, I'm offering my services absolutely FREE! Why would I do this? Well for one thing, I enjoy doing it :)  I am also always looking for some great before and afters for the blog.

Or...maybe you're still looking for that perfect piece to fit in that perfect spot. I'll go thrifting with you, and we can decide together how to refinish that one of a kind find.

Disclaimer: I'm no professional, but my promise to you is that I will do my absolute best work (I am a bit of a perfectionist). I'll give you an honest assessment when I see your piece about the best refinishing option, and if I can help.

I'm free, so can you really complain?!

Baker's Whack

Need I say more? Does anyone else have a Baker's Rack that's out of control? Looks like the balcony off our kitchen needs a serious makeover...stay tuned.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Crafty Coupons

If you're still paying full price at your local craft store, check out these links:

AC Moore


Hobby Lobby

Now you can create your own sale anytime you want!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knock Knock

Ana over at Knock-Off Wood has been rocking my world lately with her super stylish build-it-yourself furniture plans. I'm really digging the Farmhouse Bed, which I plan to build in King Size for our bedroom. A distressed white finish will go perfectly with our new white and lime paisley bedding.

And can you even believe this amazing Apothecary Cabinet knock off?

I think it's safe to say there will be a lot of furniture building in my future (hey maybe this is something my husband will actually enjoy when it comes to home decorating!)

Here's my totally-in-love-with build list:

Bedroom- Farmhouse Bed

Living Room- Tryed Coffee Table, Apothecary Cabinet as TV Console

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Double Whammy

Ah, finally finished the window treatments in the office. I picked up some faux wood blinds at Walmart for about $16 and paired them with my homemade curtains (click here for a no-sew curtain tutorial). The newly painted TV cart is also making a cameo.

And in preparation for my inlaws' visit this weekend, I've turned the room into its alter ego-the guest room. It's definitely the tiniest room in the house cozy, but I like how the bright white furniture and bedding keeps the room from feeling too overwhelming-a BIG difference from the black/gray thing I had going on before.

They Call Me Mello Yellow

I'm convinced that spray paint can fix almost anything-especially decorative items. You can find a lot of great items in thrift stores that just need a new coat of paint to fit right in with your decor. Last week, I picked up a few diamonds in the rough at Goodwill.

A silver metallic basket

Two yellow ceramic vases, here is one of them

After a few coats of white spray paint, now they are neutral pieces that will work anywhere in the house!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Style Me Pretty

Bookcase styling is one of those skills that I've always felt I was lacking. But, with a few inspiration posts from fellow bloggers and images from magazines, it's definitely anyone can learn to do. Check out these super chic examples:

I love  the soothing color and natural elements in this one.

The china display here is so neat. Check out the pom poms peaking out of the basket at the bottom!

Ah, something packed full of books! The little decorative accents keep it from looking too overwhelming though.

I love the incorporation of  picture frames in this one. And, what a clever idea to put books in a basket!

Now, I'm off to finish styling my office bookcase! Pictures to follow...

Progress In The Office

You may have been following my office/guestroom makeover (check out this post and this post to get you up to speed).

Well here is a little peek at what it used to look about industrial. The space had absolutely no personality, and my organizational skills were severely lacking.

After some new homemade curtains, a few furniture makeovers, and the addition of the bookshelf (previously residing in the basement) my husband made, it's finally coming together...sorta.

I still need to put up some blinds, which I did purchase today. I am also raising the curtain rod, then hemming the curtains to pool lightly on the floor. I think that's such a sweet and romantic look.

I added some accessories like a tall bluish-green tin vase (Michaels for $6.99 after 50% off coupon) for some dried curly willow stems, and a perfect little desk lamp (Walmart score for $10!) I snagged some blue and yellow paper weave baskets on sale at A.C. Moore for $4.00/each. You can see one of my monogram art plaques housed temporarily on the shelf (I made these for the still-in-progress photo collage above our bed).

What do you think so far?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A New Life For A TV Cart

Truth be told, I'm not sure what this piece of furniture is. But, the price was right at $4-I knew I could find some use for it! As it turns out, I would end up needing a place to keep a TV in my office for when guests stay there. The lackluster finish left a lot to be desired, and it would need some work before taking its place in my new and improved office space.

It came to me on wheels, which I promptly removed. I sanded the existing laminate like finish with some 150 grit, just to give the primer something to stick to. After 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of white paint, I distressed the edges and corners to give it a bit more character. Even though it's not a traditional piece, I wanted it to fit in with the rest of my cottage inspired decor. Once the cart is dry, I'll put it upstairs to hold the TV.

Here's the finished product:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Man Caves

My husband Mike has 622 sq ft of unfinished man cave in the form of our basement. I've been wanting to finish at least part of it ever since we moved in, but he's always been resistant. I think he likes the ruggedness of it...and the fact that he can spill paint on the plywood sub-floor and it doesn't matter or produce enough sawdust to re-create the dustbowl.

But now that Ryan has moved in, the basement is going to serve a new purpose: a semi-professional brewery. You see both Mike and Ryan have been home brewing for awhile and now they've teamed up to create the ultimate man cave feat: a bonified pub-complete with a bar, taps, and mini kitchen for preparing food.

I've also convinced them that since my office has to double as a guest bedroom now, I'll be needing a little craft area down there. Bonus-it will give us ample time to spend together as a family while we all work on our hobbies in a nice, cozy, enclosed space. Will we all make it out alive?

In any case, here is what we're starting with:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mason Jars Are A Girl's Best Friend

This has to be the coolest and most affordable piece of decorating genius ever to grace our house. No, we don't make jam or can marinara sauce, but we do buy Mason jars. Why?

Well my brother uses them to make liquors. Lemoncello, Apple I'm getting off topic.

I use them for whatever strikes my fancy. I've filled them with decorative potpourri, colored glass rocks, fresh herbs from my garden, and most recently- flowers!

Everything from tulips to daisies to the poshest of posh peony looks super sweet in a mason jar. It's sort of a "yes I just had these beautiful flowers laying around and happened to pop them into this jar" casual look. I love that it's a total fake out. Plus, you don't have to be a super talented floral designer to do it-just get a few stems of the same flower and put them in. It will look perfectly simple every time. Make your flowers last longer by giving the stems a trim every few days and changing the water.

Some other Mason jar ideas to try:

- Souvenirs like sea shells from vacation

- Desk items like paper clips, pencils....go for a bunch of the same item in one jar

- Natural items like corks, clothespins, and rocks

- Cuttings from your garden

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tutorial: Making Unique Corkboards

Corkboards are super handy in offices, kitchens, and even kids' bedrooms but let's face it-they're kind of blah. Sure natural cork is beautiful by itself, but anything can be boring in large quantities.

You can have a functional corkboard as well as a cool piece of's how:


1. Cork Tiles (any size and quantity you will need to cover your piece how you like)

2. Something interesting to put them on- think antique, like an old distressed closet door or window pane.

I used this yellow door with peeling paint that I've had in the basement just waiting for a purpose. I thought it was so cute with the original hardware and everything, but I could never really find anything to do with it-until now! It goes perfectly in my new office, inspired by french country blue and yellow traditional decor.

Now, get your cork tiles. I used four 12" squares-you can find these type of tiles in any craft store. They usually come with little sticky adhesive squares in the package. I like to put one in each corner and one in the center to prevent bowing.

Now arrange your tiles however you like and stick them on. Perfect! Now stand back and admire your unique piece of functional art.