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Quick Home Office Makeover

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The one room that has been totally neglected since we moved in to our suburban home is my office.  It has been our dumping ground, a storage space, and an all around under used space in our home. 

   
   
I know what you are thinking, and you are right.  What a mess!

When I changed jobs recently the need for a home office became critical.  I am currently sharing a really small office at work and I need a quiet place to get some of my tasks done.  

As the closing on our property has been slow Mr. Math and I  came up with a plan to deal with one of the things that have piled up in the office,  paint.   I just can’t pass up samples of paint in the oops bin.  I also love spray paint and sometimes forget I have a color so I buy more.   We decided to use a 6 1/2 inch space behind the door to Store all of the spray paints and samples that I have.  I think that having them all in one place may stop me from buying more than I need…I hope anyway.

Mr. Math installed white brackets from Home Depot that were under $2.00 each and bought the plastic coated shelving.  He did have to notch around the door trim.

I am getting a ton of storage out of unused space here.

   
   
While the shelving unit went up, I sorted though my closet and made it more organized.  I donated a few loose items, and cleared the trash.    Believe me folks, this is organized in my world. 

  
A new rolling cart from Aldi will be where I keep the things currently. Getting worked on.  Check out the Wednesday ads for Aldi, folks.  They have some cool things that randomly pop up.   My vinyl cutter also now has a home that makes sense. 

  
The best part about the makeover were the curtains.  $29.99 for a pair of 96 inch long lined curtains from Homegoods.  I had to buy two sets but for $60.00 total they pack a punch.  

   
   
Everything else in the room came from around the house.

I added in some of my favorite sayings and an old drop leaf pine table tat can will be pulled out for projects and I rearranged.  All in this quick makeover was just over $100.00.  

  
   
I have more “S’s” but this weekend I couldn’t seem to put my finger on them.  They will be added to the wall as they turn up. 

 
A friend made this awesome sign doing a particularly tough time this last year and I love that I can see it when I walk in from the laundry room.

  
I hope you had a productive weekend.

Blessings,

Karen

How to Find Treasures at Garage Sales

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I hear from friends all the time that they don’t find anything at garage sales so they have stopped going. REALLY? Here are a few of the finds I have made at garage sales over the last year.

Ornate side table

Giant Mirror

chalkboard frames

yellow chairs

Going to garage sales is a lot like fishing. You have to know what you are doing to be successful. Sure, there are people who have walked into a garage sale first time and scored a $20,000 painting for a buck. I see them on Antiques Roadshow too. There have also been cases of kids catching a shark on a cane pole with a hook and minnow, but that is the exception…not the rule.

Here are the basics of garage sale shopping.

Get on websites that let you know garage sales are happening.
http://gsalr.com/ is a great site.

Get the local paper and check the classified section. There is usually a garage sale section.

Get up early and go the first day of the sale. I do not waste my time on Saturday morning going to a Friday-Saturday garage sale. If I go early and the person is not willing to bargain, I may go back a couple of hours later to ask if the prices are still firm. More time than not, they are ready to sell.

Bring cash. Small bills and at least a dollar in quarters. Cash is all that most garage sales will take…smart folks.

My personal favorites are the days that a whole neighborhood holds a garage sale on one day.

At the sale, look  past the ugly paint job, the finish or even the dirt. Is the shape good? Is the item solid? Is it something you could work with?

This past Saturday morning I went “free styling” on my way into town up in the country. That means that I just stopped at any sign that said garage sale. It was 8:00 am and I had a little time to kill on the way to Huntsville, Texas. Even though I was just stopping as I found the sales, I had a list in my head.

Tall candlesticks, 2 night stands/side tables, shelf brackets, stuff for fall mantle, sewing machine cabinets, curio cabinet or fun shelving for milk glass.

When you stop, walk quickly around the whole thing. Does it look like there is anything you are interested in looking at? Does the place give you the creeps? (NEVER GO INSIDE A HOME IF YOU ARE SHOPPING ALONE AND THE ONLY SHOPPER THERE!)

If it seems like you might find treasures there, take time to look around. Things are not generally very organized, so be patient.

Ask questions. ” I am looking for sewing machine cabinets, you wouldn’t happen to have one would you.” You will be surprised from time to time. Look at these beauties I got for $25.00 each when I asked. They were under a tarp at the back of the garage. Not what I was looking for, but wow.

Make decisions quickly. If it is good it will be gone before you know it.

Don’t act too excited. You will not be able to bargain if the seller knows you are excited.

Be willing to walk away. I do all the time. If it is too much money or you are not sure about your ability to fix the piece…leave it.

Open drawers, look underneath, wiggle it. I get in trouble for skipping this step from time to time. (Two Dollar Chair)

Here is what I found this past Saturday:

Tall brass candlestick $1.50

brass candle stick
Two treadle sewing machines $50.00

treadle sewing machine

singer treadle sewing machine
Two pairs of binoculars-one set for the boat and a vintage set with a leather case for the top of the pie safe décor $3.00

vintage binoculars IMG_3354
1960’s faux bamboo small shelving unit- $1.00

ornate curio

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Plaque- here it is painted for the front guest room .50

painted wooden plaque
Two small plates that will go on either side of the single dinner plate in the large single frame on the wall in the front bedroom .20

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Four brown snuff jars $2.00, They are going to look great on the fall mantle.

snuff bottles

Not too bad a haul for a thirty minute run through three garage sales.

Valentine’s Mantle

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I will bet that a few of you are thinking that you are tired of seeing my mantle. Well, here is the finished Valentine mantle.

Old windows from the garage, chalkboard from the upcoming wedding, silver candlesticks and pedestal from thrifting, string art,toilet paper roll art,ribbon wreath,topiary
I love it! It makes me smile.

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I also brought home my chalkboard suitcase to welcome Cupid!
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Turning Ugly Frames Into Key Holders

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This week in my thrift store shopping I bought several things in a bundle for $4.00. The bundle included three milk glass pieces, a mid century modern relish dish, two yellow plates, a bowl, a creamer, and two really ugly ornate picture frames. I the frames were a faux terra cotta color, and because they are so overly ornate, they are too small for a photograph to be noticed in the frame. Look at the oval one. It almost has teeth around the edges do the inside.
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Here is a sampling of my $4.00 bounty. The milk glass was already on the shelf.
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Of course I wanted the frames. They were the first thing I picked up when I entered the shop. The guy must have felt sorry for me once I picked up the unfortunate frames because he clearly sold me the stuff I collected there for a song.
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I am not sure if I should be proud of my husband or worried that he has given up on me because he didn’t even shake his head or ask what I was going to do with them. Believe
It or not I did have an idea. I decided to turn them and another ornate frame from the hoard about the same size into key holders that will hang by the mud room bench in our entryway. I was looking for a small ornate frame to copy this idea: shadow box key holder
Possibly this will help us with out morning rush out the door.
To make the holders Hubby cut some hardboard that attached to the frames. The oval ones were trickier than the rectangle because we did not have the skill saw. It took multiple coats of black paint to cover the terra cottaish coating. I used scrapbook paper that looks like an old love letter on the hardboard. I attached the paper to the hardboard by soaking it in watered down school glue. Once it was dry I spayed the glued down paper with acrylic sealer before attaching the hooks.
Here they are without the screws in.
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The ornate frame I added to the two that I found at the thrift store.
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A simple, inexpensive and I think stylish solution to a nagging problem at our house. I only hope it works to speed up our mornings.
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We are still negotiating the location, but they will be up by the end of the week.

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Finished Yellow and Grey Guestroom

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Finally.  Last night we put the finishing touches on the guest room.  I hope you like what we did. Here are pictures of the finished room.  Final cost $154.63 Click on all the hyperlinks below to go to the projects that we got accomplished. 

One day I am going to actually hit my cost goal, but this is not too bad for a great guest room.  You will see that I added a cute pillow to the bed.  I love the color and graphic.  I got it on Etsy.  The lamps make me happier than the globe lights.  I love them but the chain was too busy for the wall.  I am giving them to Sweet Amanda for the lovebird room.

Remember that it all started with a end table I picked up on the side of the road. I started looking for inspiration to get the table painted.  Then it hit me.  I had a whole room needing love.

Yuck.
 

 

 
I love these owls.
 
Easy Artwork
 
I used a lot of my finds to create a mirror wall.
 
 
 
 
I tried these lights.
 
But I did not love them in this room.
 
 

 
I like this one so much better.  I found some curtains I can live with. 
 
I hope you like the room.  We are proud of our hard work.
 
 
 WE LOVE IT!  Now bring on the guests.


Finding Frames for the Charlotte Wedding

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The Southern Belle asked me to look for small ornate frames for her June wedding.  She wants to turn them into chalkboards to write menu items and information to guests.  Because the chalk boards are black, I am painting the frames white until I get instructions from the Southern Belle.

Here is how the beauties started:

 Bought for $1.00 each

Bought for 25 cents each

The top two are Home Interiors specials from the 70’s.  The bottom two are plastic faux wicker.  They will all make great chalkboards.

I am determined to become a better spray painter, and I believe I am on the right track finally.  I have discovered the spray paint handle. 

This is the best thing since sliced bread.  I love it.

It is amazing how they turned out.  I did not take a picture of the larger one when bought.  It was southwest style teal and salmon.  I bought it for a dollar.  Hubby already cut the chalkboard for the large one.
I am going to spray the mirrors for the narrow ones with chalkboard Sprint.  I can see them as direction signs at the reception.  On my way to collecting some frames for the girl.  It is nice to be able to help with her wedding- even from a distance.

Five Dollar Art for the Yellow and Gray Bedroom

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The social planner and I were strapped for time Saturday but we did manage to make it to our two favorite resale shops before she had to head off to meet with the builder. The good news about this week’s shopping trip was that I already knew what I was looking for, and the social planner wasn’t looking for anything.

All that I was looking for was a tarnished silver plated platter. No luck on that account but I remembered that I needed a vintage overhead light cover for an up coming project. I happen to know that one of those places sells them for a quarter. As I moved through the store inspiration struck. A huge “painting” like my grandmother had over her couch when I was growing up was leaned against the wall. When I say huge I mean 48 inches by 24 inches. It had a solid wood 4 inch frame. Hubby said that picture moulding that big would be $3.00 a foot. 12 linear feet of moulding. I offered the nice lady $5.00 for the masterpiece and walked out with this beauty.

Last week as I searched Pinterest for guest room ideas I ran across this saying: Where there is room in the heart, there is room in the house. By Thomas Moore

I have been thinking about a project that Dear Lillie did at dearlillieblog.blogspot. This was the perfect frame and project to try out my mad skills with a chalkboard marker.

I was shocked that we had a piece of hardboard big enough to make a chalkboard for the frame. After my sweet husband pulled out all the staples from the warped, mildewed, faded art I got busy. A good cleaning, then liquid sand for the frame. I had some flat white latex paint in my stash so no cost there. It took three coats to get the frame looking smooth.

It looks rough after the first coat. No worries!

I really am getting better with the chalkboard paint. I have discovered the secret. Sandpaper just didn’t work for me between coats but steel wool does the job like nobody’s business. Thin coats, wait for each coat to dry then steel wool between each coat and it came out smooth as a baby’s bottom. It took four coats of chalkboard paint. You have to wait three days to season the board by rubbing chalk over the whole surface according to the directions. After it is seasoned it it good to go. I do have access to an overhead so I plan on creating the saying in nice script then printing it to one of my old printer transparencies. i couldn’t get rid of them when I left the classroom. I will post the finished sign this week but doesn’t the frame look great?

Dear Lillie Blogspot

DIY Framed Chalkboard

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Project number two from the weekend was to turn a frame that Sweet Amanda and her mom found at a thrift store into a chalkboard.  That girl is quite the thrifter!  She found an amazing gilded frame in the trash that will make an appearance at the wedding and I think she paid $3.00 for this one:

The frame was in overall good shape.  I believe it once held a large mirror and is made out of particle board.  It is HEAVY!  There was some damage to the front of the frame that allowed the particle board to show through in a couple of places.

Sweet Amanda plans on having her wedding program written out on the chalkboard as everyone enters the wedding chapel so she wanted it to be fancy yet rustic/vintage… just her style. I could not figure out how to fix the damage to the front of the frame without totally redoing the finish…so I repainted and refinished it.  I sure wish I were more talented and could have just touched it up but it would have not looked right with my lack of skill.

Between showers I laid the frame outside and got out spray paint.  I am not the best spray painter in the world.  I tend to spray too much in one spot.  I really focused on thin even coats of gold spray paint this time.  I also had some shiny silver paint in the cabinet so I very lightly sprayed a coat of the silver over the gold.

The frame looked a little scary at this point.  I had visions of having to call Sweet Amanda to tell her I ruined the frame.

After the frame dried and before the rain came, I brought it in to the Garagemahal.  The frame is really divided into four concentric rectangles so I decided to work on applying the antiquing glaze one whole rectangle at a time.

Working with such deep detail on a large frame meant really working fast.  Even as humid as it was the glaze dried quickly.  I use cut up t shirts to wipe off the excess because the cotton really seems to pick up any puddles and it allows me to get into the small spaces.  I have two t shirt towels going at one time.  One is for the first wipe over and it is really gross, the other is for the second wipe over and is more clean.  When the second rag starts to get dirty I demote it to the first wipe over rag and get a new second rag.

After I finished the entire frame, I went back over everything at one time with a fresh rag… really rubbing hard. Some gold and some silver shows through the glaze.

I loved the results.  The frame really does look like an old plaster frame for $7.00 in gold paint and left over silver paint I would have to say the frame was a success.

The next step was to make the chalkboard part.  Hubby cut a piece of hardboard to fit the frame on his table saw.  We buy tons of hardboard.  It comes in 4 X 8 by 1/8 sheets and costs about $8.00 a sheet.  I use it to put backs on furniture we recycle, I paint on in like canvas and about a million other uses.  I primed the hardboard with Kiltz primer before I started painting on the chalkboard paint.  I bought Rustoelum chalkboard paint in a can to use and got out the foam roller and small paint tray.  My advice is that if the chalkboard you are making is small, go with the spray paint version. The paint on version of the paint was a pain in the neck. I wanted the finish to be smooth so I rolled on thin layers of the paint.  It took 4 coats to get the finish I could tolerate and it is still not perfectly smooth.

The picture above is after coat number one.

After the chalkboard paint dried over night I put the board into the frame.  We were really lucky here, the frame had some easy to use tabs that made putting the board in a snap.  I was pleased with the results.  According to the directions, I have to wait three days for the paint to cure then condition the chalkboard by rubbing the entire board with chalk then wiping it off.  After that it will be ready for use.  I will make sure to post a picture from the wedding.

On the Internet there are several crafters who have posted making their own chalkboard paint by adding un-sanded powered grout to regular latex paint.  I may try that down the line.

TADAH!  At the wedding.  Not bad for a resale find.