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I apologize for ignoring you all so long. I have been crazy busy at work and I have been steadily working on furniture at home but nothing spectacular. By spectacular I mean that mainly I have been painting end tables (four of them) and finally finished my third sewing cabinet to beverage station. It has been hard work, and very satisfying, but I know that most of you will not be that interested. It feels sort of been there, done that. I have already told you all how I paint stuff and walked you through the process of turning a sewing cabinet into a beverage station. Here are some pictures of the current work:

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The color is Behr Intoxication. It is a bright kiwi color, but the photos look Limey.

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If you want the DIY on this project, here it is Beverage Station

I was given an antique wash stand that was in pretty rough shape. Here it is after I already stripped the top.

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Silly me. I don’t have my picture from when we brought it home. This is going to be a gift for a friend.

My friend chose yellow for the washstand. I chose Behr Bicycle Yellow.

Here is the remade version.

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I am also working on another mid century modern piece. The headboard will go with night stand that is done and upcoming dresser.

Here is the night stand.

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The headboard is going to be a mix of sea salt white and stain just like the night stand.

So far I have it sanded, painted, and ready for stain… Once I finish cleaning up the places where it bled under the tape. Grrr.

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This week I will have a couple of projects completed that are fun, easy and a little different. I am picking up some fun stuff tonight and will have to ask your opinion on one of the projects.

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the warmer weather.

Blessings,

Karen

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What Students Really Need to Hear

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AFFECTIVE LIVING

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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Furniture Should Be Fun(ctional)

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It is my belief that furniture should be sort of like clothes for your home. It should serve a purpose, it should reflect who you are as a person or family, and it should have an element of fun. Oh, and one more thing… your furniture style can (and in my opinion, should) change, just like clothing styles. How many of you remember leg warmers, ponytails on the side, Farrah Fawcett wings and big hair, shoulder pads in everything, or broomstick skirts? Yeah, me either. 🙂 That must have been before my time 🙂  As I have matured, so has my style.  I am a lot mor eclectic, and not as afraid of what others think. I have a really good sense of who I am, and frankly, I really am not overly attached to most of the furniture in my home.  I know that it will change as I find things I like more or if the space we live in changes.

Today I am going to tell you a tale of three end tables. I like all three of them. I painted each with the same light neutral color; Behr Sea Salt, and in the right room, all three of these beauties would be a stand out.

I am arranging them by decade… at least I think I am. I could be off with the 1960’s table.

1950’s Mid Century Modern. This baby was built when we were all about the space race. Sputnik, clean lines, homes of the future.  Think George Jetson. Our national facination with space and exploration along with beating the Russians to the moon affected home design, clothing, house wares, and furniture.

Do you have any buildings like those where you live?  There were tons in the city I just moved from, but not so much out here in suburbia. Everything is new, and frankly a little plain vanilla boring.

I painted the body of end table one sea salt, then stained the drawers and legs dark walnut. She is going back to her owner and will happily rejoin the headboard and dresser once they are painted but she would also be a stunner in a modern home with bright accents, a loft or a mid century modern home.
Here is my inspiration piece

I loved this look. I did decide that my interpretation needed dark legs to help it stand out a little more.

Mid century modern furniture mixes well with modern furnishings in today’s homes. I chose this shot because it has a credenza with a white painted top.

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Mid Century Night Stand

What do you think?
Here he is all dressed up and ready to go. I like that I had a piece of 1950’s McCoy Pottery for the top.
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mid century stained legs

mccoy on mid century

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Next..
My late 1960’s/ early 1970’s traditional style end table:

The late 60’s/ early 70’s.  What can I say? Well… the one word I would use to describe most furniture in the late 60’s or early 70’s is safe. It was traditional in style.  Varnished wood, rounded legs, , spindles, maple, pine and oak.

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Raise your hand if you had a couch that looked something like this in your home? I see those hands. We had a couch like this with some scratchy plaid fabric for several years.

This next side table would have been perfect in that room. It was brown on brown on brown. It also fooled me. The top was Formica, but was so dirty I thought it was wood.
Who in their right mind thought Formica on top of furniture was a great idea? Not this girl.  It was “the bomb” in the late 60’s/ early 70’s though.
This side table came to me as part of a group of furniture I purchased using the “American Picker’s” bundling technique. Buy several pieces at reduced costs.   I think I paid two dollars for it but I don’t remember exactly.
After sanding the Formica top within an inch of its life to give it some grit, I then painting it with Glidden Gripper primer, then sanded the top again with really fine sand paper.  I decided to go with sea salt on the legs and Behr revival mahogany for the top to sort of replicate a stained top. This little formerly frumpy table would be great in an apartment or small home because it does not visually take up much space.

Here is Centsational Girl’s take on a two color table. I wish I could have stained the top of mine.

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Here is my version:

formica table

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Finally,  My 1970″s Fabulous side table.  I mean come on.  Who doesn’t love a table that is fun and funky? The mid to late 70’s furniture was fun. It was the era of disco, leisure suits, and over the top hairdos. I love this style. In small doses. I could not have my whole home full of this curvy wonderfulness, but I do have a few pieces and I enjoy having them. They make me smile.
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This curvy china cabinet is in my office full of vintage books. It looked like this when I bought it.

Redone China Cabinet
Here it is now.

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I bought this pair of mirrors and redid them. They are fun.

Painting the Night Stands Yellow
The side table on the left was found by the side of the road. It is now in another home, but I enjoyed it in my yellow and gray guest room.

This particular side table would be great in a teen’s room, college dorm room, or as a bedside table. I painted it sea salt with a Behr Gray Area on the top. I like it a lot.
I glazed it with a gray glaze to make the detail stand out a little, but not too much. I debated painting it turquoise, navy, or yellow, but I like the light color too.
I am not sure where this one will end up. Who beside me, is ready to have some 1970’s love in their home?

1970 Fab

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Turning a Headboard Into A Bench

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I an so very happy with the way that the benches have turned out that we are picking up another one for a friend. It is raining benches here.

Bench #1 is a gift for a friend. She always is on the lookout for furniture for me and is super creative. I have shared her dining room and fireplace with you. I found her headboard/ footboard at a local thrift store garage sale. It was $10.00. The color is an oops paint I bought cheap.

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We tried to make all the benches about 18 inches deep and chair height.
We put a center support in this one because the plywood top had to be cut to fit in the space between the legs. All together it cost about 17 dollars to get this put together.

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The steps for all the benches are about the same.

Cut the footboard into two pieces. For double beds and larger a section has to come out of the center of the footboard.

Build a 2X4 frame for the seat to rest on.

Attach the 2X4 frame to the headboard then attach the footboard pieces to the sides. With wood glue and very long screws. It took 4 inch long countersunk screws and pre-drilling the holes to get this part done.

Fill all the holes, gaps, and cracks with wood filler. Yay for wood filler. It cures a multitude of sins.

Sand, prime and paint.
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Attach the bench seat with the air nailer. Fill the holes, touch up the paint.
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Bench #2 was made the same way except for the seat. Hubby cut 1X4’s to length for the bench on the chop saw. I was busy painting but ladies a chop saw (compound miter saw )is something that any woman of average strength can use. After the boards were cut and sanded, I stained them all dark walnut.
It started as this set:
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We added a frame once cut.
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Here is the progression of the wood slats.
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norma bench (2)

norma bench (3)

I learned to use the sprayer on this one, even though I am showing pictures of Hubby spraying. He was teaching. It is going to be a bench that a friend asked me to make. She specified red. One of my Facebook friends suggested Red, red wine by Behr. I really like the color. Red, but not bright. Not too orange and not too maroon.
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I liked it so much, I am painting bench number three the same color. Bench #2 was a little more expensive than I wished. looked for a specific headboard shape. That meant paying $40.00 for the bed when we actually for it. Too much in my opinion, but all together the bench was about $57.00, still cheaper than a new bench and a lot more unique. Here is the finished product.

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Using a Paint Sprayer

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After trying three different types of paint sprayers to paint furniture, and hating them, we have finally found one that works for us. The fourth time is the charm. We like a gravity feed sprayer that runs off an air compressor. The brand we use is Husky- not a fancy name bran- and it was inexpensive. Like less than $60.00. It works like a charm and we get a smooth finish with minimal drips. I can use it, except it makes me nervous to connect it to the compressor. Once I master that I will be good on my own. Learning to use a sprayer was not without a few errors and a learning curve. We learned that the paint needs to be thinned a little to make it flow evenly out of the sprayer and that made a difference.

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Here are a few things we have learned as we have improved in our sprayer

Buy good paint. It is tempting to try cheaper paint since it has to be thinned. Don’t do it, friends. I still use Behr Paint with primer when spraying.

Use paint conditioner to thin the paint. We have used water in a pinch but I can tell the difference.
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Get paint filters and strain your paint. You even need to strain brand new paint but you REALLY need to strain paint you have sitting on your shelf. They cost about $1.00 for five so it is a cheap investment.
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Hold the sprayer 6 to 8 inches from the surface you are painting and keep the sprayer moving while the trigger is pulled. Release the sprayer trigger when you change directions.

Use a board or cardboard to test your sprayer before using it on what you are spraying, even if all you do is refill the paint into the can. The settings can move and could affect how much paint is coming out.

Cleaning the sprayer is a pain in the neck, but it has to be cleaned to spotless every time it is used.
Take it all the way apart to clean it. Here it is all taken apart.
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Plan on using at least 25% more paint than you would brushing it on. We underestimate a lot with the sprayer. I am not sure why it takes more paint, but it just does.

You may see a dimpled appearance when the paint is wet. Don’t panic. Don’t try to brush it out. Leave it alone. Once it is dry it will be smooth. Be patient. This is what it looks like right after painting. I promise this look goes away.
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Hubby’s favorite thing to use the sprayer for is polyurethane. We only use water based poly because of cleaning but wow, what a beautiful finish. Poly is thin and does not need conditioner.

I still like a hand brushed look on some items, but I will never hand paint a chair or table legs again now that we have discovered the paint sprayer.

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A Chalkboard Alternative

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My friend, Kandy, asked my husband to build a big wooden frame to be a sort of canvas. She had an idea in her head for a painting she wanted to create.  The “canvas”  was huge when finished, like four feet by five feet with a smooth plywood front. After Kandy looked at the “canvas” a while, I think she decided that she wanted this to be something she could change when the mood struck. I must say that is a great idea when someone are as creative as she is. She had a piece of sheet metal cut to fit and attached to the canvas and she now uses it like a chalkboard. She uses liquid chalk pens when she wants to create something new on the big metal surface. If you haven’t tried using those pens you will love them. They work like a paint pen but clean off with water. The colors are more vivid with them than chalk.

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Here are some examples of her handy work:
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Kandy also figured out a way to rest her outdoor pictures on a shelf using drawer handles. Great idea for a way to have art without destroying stucco. Isn’t her porch beautiful. Yes, folks that is her porch, not her den.

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The Things I Do Not Throw Away

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This weekend we cut up some double bed foot boards and turned them into arms for benches. That meant that parts of the foot boards had to be removed.

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Some people would have thrown the cut off parts away.

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Let’s face it, some people would have thrown the double beds away. Since I was able to pick up all five of these beds for a total of $77.00, they are not very valuable these days, but I digress.

Back to the stuff I don’t throw away. I keep all the solid wood pieces cut off and try to reuse them. Here is a sample of the things I had laying around the Garagemahal this weekend:

I never, ever, throw away a chair or table leg.
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I have even been known to rescue legs out of trash cans. At garage sales.

But look what they become:  Building a bench from table legs.

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I don’t throw away solid wood boards. I keep it and it always seems to find a purpose. These old fence boards became my reclaimed wood wall. This was cedar wood taken down and headed for the landfill.

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It turned into this: Reclaimed wood wall
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I don’t throw away drawers or even drawer fronts if the drawer is shot because I have used them for a lot of projects. Here is my sweet daughter in law’s Christmas gift to her buddies last year:

drawer front christmas gifts

I do not throw away hardware. Hinges, knobs, handles, and even screws get saved. It may not work on the current project, but it has been my experience that I will need something as soon as I get rid of it. I even buy odd hardware at garage sales and thrift stores.
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I also don’t throw away cut off sections of anything that was solid wood. This section of a door we cut off to make a headboard became a coat rack in my office.
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I am not sure what I will be doing with the sections of headboard I saved… Do you have any suggestions?
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I also save wood. Because we save every usable scrap, even scrap from building sites and out at heavy trash pick up, we don’t have to buy as much new wood. I love reclaimed wood and will keep every scrap until it is too small to save.

Paint gets used down to the last drop. I love buying oops paint when I can, but I am pretty picky about my paint (Behr paint with primer), so I do buy a lot full price and it is expensive. It gets treated like it is, too. I make sure the lids are sealed and try not to waste. When I am trying out a color, I always buy the sample first to make sure I love it.

I am not alone in the saving. When I visited Jeff at Facelift Furniture, he had this whole storage unit full of bits and parts. I have a feeling that most furniture repurposes are savers of spare parts.
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I guess I am a hoarder. My husband accused me of being one this weekend when I was digging the spindles we removed from the trash can. I prefer to think I am doing my part to save the environment. That is my story and I am sticking to it.