DIY Projects, Repurposed Furniture, Thrifty Art

Making a Key Holder for the Lovebirds

This weekend I got all the things together for the mirror and shelf that we are going to put up in the Lovebird’s nest.  Apparently Sweet Amanda has been busy around her place and has decorated like crazy.  We are going to check out her handiwork this weekend so I should have pictures to post when we return.  When you enter their apartment there is a small space that will serve well as a kind of organization station.  I found the perfect shelf to go under the mirror for $2.00.  I literally did not have to do a thing to the shelf or the mirror. Total cost for these two pieces- $12.00 

See the panel at the top of the mirror that is going to be part of the organization station? Hubby had to cut that off the matching mirror so it would fit on the mud bench.  I used the panel for the key holder.

The shelf was handmade and whoever built it knew what they were doing.  It is solid wood and they even provided the shelf with a cleat to attach it to the wall.  All the metal in the love nest front room is brass or gold.  The former owner  used a gold metallic finish on the shelf.   While I was gathering things to bring home for the entry way organization station, I was also working on the chandelier.  Painting a coat of paint- then waiting for it to dry- repeat.  While the paint was drying on the chandelier, I was puttering.  It occurred to me that the lovebirds might need a place to put keys by the mirror. The key holder could help with where to put the keys and speed up the morning exit.  I searched the hoard and found a drawer front left from the dresser we turned in to a mudroom bench.  It was about the right size, just a little boring. I remembered we saved some parts that we cut off from from the mirror that I had to cut off to put in the mudroom bench.  One of the parts was a wood insert that looked like it would fit perfectly on top of the drawer front.

 I had Hubby nail the two pieces together, I liquid sanded the whole thing. 

Then I primed and painted the thing coral.


 I glazed it at the same time I glazed the chandelier to make them blend.

 This week I ran by Walmart in the dark of morning and got some brass hooks and some little brass medallions to put behind the hooks. Total cost for the materials: $2. 87

Hubby and I laid out the hooks to see how it was going to work. 
This piece will be made from an oak drawer front and a maple insert.  Both pieces are old wood and solid.  Hubby drilled pilot holes in the wood before screwing the hooks in.

Please note Hubby drilling on his lap. I am not sure how many OSHA violations that would be but please do not try this at home!

We were really surprised how cute this turned out.  For just over $14.00 we will be able to put together a cute entry way for the lovebirds.  I can’t wait to get it all put up this weekend. 

Coldspring, Country living

Horses in the Country

I am a city girl.  I grew up within a stone’s throw of Interstate 10.  I rode a horse a few times when I was little, but not often.  I don’t think I have ridden a horse at all as an adult.  People in Coldspring love their horses.  I did not have a camera on the way to church two weeks ago, but there was a horse tied up in front of a small church.  It was a great shot.  I see people riding horses into town frequently and there is a trail ride that comes through the town each year for the Houston livestock show and rodeo.  Coldspring schools get the whole school week off during the county fair.  My social planner, Tanis, and her husband are building a house right across from a pasture that four horses live in.  I love watching them and i think it was one of the things that made Tanis fall in love with the place. One of the horses is a yearling.  It has been so much fun to watch him grow up during the last year. When the horses see us at the property, they try to act like they don’t care, but their curiosity gets the best of them.  The start out across the pasture, moving slowly…

They are watching us from across the pasture, but they are acting like they don’t notice we are there.

They moseyed a little closer.  ( I sounded like a country girl there, right?)

Finally, the curiosity got the best of them.  They always end up at the fence.  The young one is the only one that wants to be petted.  Horses are really big!  They are magnificent creatures.  We need to start bringing treats when we come over. 

Apartment living, repurposed lighting, Thrifty Art

Turning a Chandelier Into a Hanging Lamp

Getting ready for the wedding, I found a brass chandelier that I bought as part of a $20.00 bundle.  I made out like a bandit on that deal.  If you have been reading the blog long you have probably seen something that I got on that trip at least once a week.  My favorite piece was a milk glass chandelier that will one day be in my bathroom.  The grape sconce in the purple frames, two of the ornate frames, the glass candle holders, my tarnished silver change holders, and six vases that we used at the wedding are just some of the items.

The brass chandelier that I included in the bundle was a working piece and I thought that I would find a place for it one day. 

It was one of those builder’s grade sort of brass like metal light fixtures. 

I knew it would end up being something cool.  I went to my favorite site… Pinterest for inspiration.
Pinned Image
My first thought was for it to become something for the dessert table at the wedding.

Handmade Teacup Chandelier using repurposed light fixture and vintage teacups in adorable white and pink - ON SALE

When I didn’t get the cake stand done I thought that possibly I would do something fun, but Sweet Amanda’s dining room is so tiny and she has a lot going on with the frames.  It would get in the way of  my giant son’s head most of the time when the table is against the wall.

Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy do not have an overhead light in their front room. That is normal for an apartment the age that theirs is, but it means that they need a lot of lamps in the room. Because they are ministers on a college campus and have small groups in their home, the front room is literally wall to wall couches. The space where the window air conditioner is really doesn’t work well for a table lamp so right now they have a red floor lamp that I bought on clearance at Walmart after the off to college stuff went on sale one year. It really doesn’t go with the vibe of the room,  The chandelier was the perfect solution for the spot.  I had a ton of chain, cord, and other lighting parts left over from another project so the solution is to make the chandelier into a hanging lamp that plugs in. 
Their lease says that anything permanently attached has to stay.  This will not be permanent.

I took the light out to the trees at the edge of our woods and then tied it up with twine to allow me to spray prime it. 

I am a terrible spray painter.  I apparently am also a terrible spray primer too.  The primer was gritty, and uneven.  I hated it so much that I got out the paint brush and gallon can of primer and gave it a second coat. 
 I still did not love it so it sat for two weekends while I studied it.  One the best ever garage sale run where I found the giant ornate mirror, I bought five black lampshades with gold interiors for $2.00 that are going to cover the bulbs and provide less direct light in their living room. 

 The walls in the apartment are white, so a light colored chandelier with black shades would not look right.  When Sweet Amanda and her bud Beth came over, the color was selected… coral.

Pinned Image
I should not have been surprised they chose coral.  It is really a popular color right now.  The 2012 Pantone color of the year is a tangerine color that is really close to coral.
Hubby and I went to Home Depot to look for coral.  I gave him a color block and he could not pick coral from the block.  Baby Boy doesn’t think it is a real color.

We found a color called tropical coral.  I am going to brush it on.  I know what you are thinking.  Yes I probably am crazy but I do not love spray paint and I couldn’t find a color I liked. 

At Christmas time I am going to look for beads to add to the light. 

Finally this weekend I was able to get the thing painted.  The color was a little scary- almost sherbet colored. I just had to trust it would dry richer and darker. 
Here is the finished product.  It did dry a lot prettier than I originally feared it would.  I also aged it a little with some glaze at Baby Boy’s request. 
I still need to get new plastic covers that look like candlesticks, bulbs, and Hubby needs to finish wiring the plug in part so it is not mounted on the ceiling but is a plug in lamp.

I unwrapped one of the shades.  It will be perfect.  The gold on the inside will go with the gold metals in the room.  This is going to be a great color boost to a mostly brown living room.  I found the fabric below to make some pillows and I have another project to bring in the coral color to the room. 
 Yes, Baby Boy, coral is a real color.

Building a Home, Country living, Country Style

Boots on the Ground; Building a Forever Home in the Country

My buddy and social planner, Tanis, is one of those people turns her dreams into reality. She and her sweet husband bought lake house first. They convinced us to come visit and we were hooked. She helped us find Star Hill then encouraged us to “jump on it”. I titled this piece Boots on the Ground for two reasons; when we arrived Saturday to look at the staked-out house shape she was literally standing there in a pair of boots. She had rallied the troops. Her sister and brother in law were also there to look over the plans.

 I also chose this title because she is literally gong to be “Boots on the Ground” for this project. They have sold their home of 30 years and are now living in an RV so that the dream can become a reality.
According to Wikipedia, (the source of all knowledge), the term Boots on the Ground is used to convey the belief that military success can only be achieved through the direct physical presence of troops in a conflict area.

My social planner is attacking this project with military precision. She has assembled a notebook of ideas, hired a builder, met with a draftsman, reviewed the plans dream up, made corrections, re-visited the draftsman, staked out the outline of the house, then got out lawn chairs to make sure she liked the view. (The house will move back slightly from where it is staked out). She has even knocked on the door of houses she liked to see who built the home and ask what they would change about the house. The woman is a machine.

She brought the plans over for us to review before turning them back to the draftsman.

She has tracked down vintage lights, because she couldn’t find new she liked. She has collected just the right pieces of furniture for each room. Her home is going to be a true reflection of her style.

I hope her troops are up for the battle, because she will prevail. The house will be amazing.  This is the view she will have out the front door.  Wow.

collecting, Country living, vintage style

Collect What You Love and Make it Look Great

My social planner, Tanis, loves what she loves.  If she loves it, she collects it.  I think that is a great strategy personally.  She loves anything vintage to do with camping or fishing.  I think it is her memories as a child camping with her family and then taking her own kids camping later, but whatever the reason, these things make her happy.  She has picnic baskets, water cans, old thermos sets, and a variety of other items.  She has found a way to make those things look right at home in her lake house.

They added a long shelf the length of their downstairs room.

Over the eight years that they have had the house, she has added things she bought and found ( notice the bird nest found a few weeks ago).

The result is great.  Over time the collection has spread to the floor under the shelf but it fits right in.

Country living, recycled furniture, Repurposed Furniture, Thrifty decorating

Furnishing a Weekend Home on the Cheap

Lake houses in and around Lake Livingston are ridiculously cheap right now.  The lake was built in 1969 and has been through several boom and bust cycles, just like Houston, the big city that is one hour from the lake.  Weekend homes are a luxury that is the first to go in hard times.   We bought Star Hill six years ago and got a great deal.  Our monthly payment on a 15 year loan is less than a car note.  The neighborhood we live in has a gated boat launch, a pool and takes care of all the neighborhood mowing for $125 per homeowner per year.  All that said, I was still VERY nervous when we bought the house.  I tend to be a super worrywart when it comes to money.  I decided when we bought the place that we could not spend a fortune getting the house set up, but at the same time, I wanted it to be a place I wouldn’t be embarrassed to bring someone to.  I wanted the house to have a warm homey feeling and my sense of style.

I set a budge of $1000 to furnish the house when we bought the place.  I wanted to have it fully furnished by the first summer and ready for guests. We started going to garage sales in the city where we lived as soon as we put money down on the house.   Here is the result and the tally.

No, this television did not make an appearance until last year.  We moved a big hunkin tv here from our house that was not being used and we had a dvd player- no live television back then.  The corner cabinet was garage sale purchase.  $15.00.  We loved it because it matched the furniture that Hubby made years ago for our house out of fencing that we salvaged.  Hubby added the shelves above the corner cabinet from old fencing too. The white chair came from a garage sale for $2.00.  The rocker was ours and it was already a blue denim color!  The key hooks were a gift, the shelves on the wall were garage sale finds.

We use the storage under the television for dvd’s, toys, and electronics.

We were so lucky that the place had this awesome wood burning stove.  It makes it so comfy in the winter.

One of the three big ticket items that we bought was the couch.  The mattresses for the two queen beds and the couch together were $725.00.  We bought this brand new, great leather sleeper sofa at an auction on a cold rainy day for $225.  No one bid against us.  The end tables and coffee table were made by Hubby when the kids were little.  They were tough enough to be used rough for years so we knew they would hold up well at the lake.  The bowl was my great grandmother’s bread bowl.  We found the floor lamps on clearance at Lowe’s for $12.00 each one Saturday morning.  They are really too fancy, but we are glad to have lights that can be moved around as needed.

The Coke box under the coffee table holds games.  The box was a gift.

The mirror was a recent addition.  Of course we made it from our recycled wood.  The varnished walking stick was a gift.

The buffet is my favorite piece that Hubby built for the house.  I drew it , he took what I wanted and ran with it.  Everything was made from scraps or stuff being thrown away.  The chicken wire even came out of one of my neighbor’s trash.  I love how he took the tip of some pickets and matched them up on the door.  No cost.

My Star.  I did pay $10.00 for this.

Hubby drove by a garage sale on the way to work one Friday morning for $5.00.  Not bad for $2.50 per chair.

We were so fortunate to get our bedroom furniture.  A neighbor was moving and did not want the furniture from their daughter’s room.  Except for the headboard that we bought at the Star Clearance Outlet for $45.00 ( big mistake, we paid way too much) the rest of the furniture was free.  The dresser, night stand and chest were from the neighbor.  The other nightstand my mom found for me when a friend of hers was getting rid of it.  The hat rack was from my mom.  I bought the star in this room several years after we moved in. 

 The bookcase was in my dad’s office.  The shelf above the bookcase was the first furniture piece Hubby made for me when we married, probably 28 years ago.  I have collected milk glass since we moved in.  I find it cheap and keep adding.

 This rocker was added this past year.  I bought it at an antique shop.  I love it. 

The back bedroom- the kids call the cave room because it is so dark at night, was furnished with a recovered chair that was my grandmother’s, a shelf and a bunk bed.  The only thing we bought was the bunk.  When we bought the bunk bed, the mattress on top was still wrapped in plastic so we kept it.  The bottom mattress came from my brother and sister in law’s house. 

 The bedding came from Big Lots.

 The shelf came from Baby Boy’s bedroom.  The mirror is from when changed out our bathroom mirror.  The lamp is a hand me down.  The typing table was left in our city house when we moved in. 

Baby boy and Sweet Amanda were in the front room this weekend so I did not get to photograph this room.  The bed we bought for $250.00 along with the one in our room.  There is a cedar cabinet that was in our attic in the city house and two night tables that were free.  The lamp was given to me when my boss retired. 

We also bought a table and chairs that we do not have any longer for $100.00

All together we spent.  $941.00

We have added two recliners- one of them bought new- and some other items along the way but we were able to get a good start on our weekend home under $1000.00. 

My advice if you decide you want a place to get away:

  • Tell your family and friends you will take stuff they don’t want. 
  • Figure out what you really need- beds, chairs, couches, tables.  Take stuff even if you don’t love it.  You are not married to it and you can replace it as you find better.
  • Make what you can.  That saves us a fortune.
  • Craigslist is a great resource.
  • Shop around for the new stuff.  Even at department stores sometimes they will make a deal on floor models, and clearance items.  Don’t jump at the first thing you find.
Coldspring, Country living, Thrifty Art

Coldspring State of Mind

 I loved this piece on Pinterst. 

DIY Easy Wall Art

I found a less than awesome painting at the Restore a while back.

 I really didn’t know what I wanted it to say until a trip with my social planner.  It was a sign that said Round Top State of Mind.  My social planner loved this saying and wanted me to paint that.  I painted it once but did not love it.  It will be redone.
I bought letters at Dollar Tree.  Warning… Do not use these letters if you want crisp precise lines.  These letters allow bleeding no matter what you do.  I knew that from a previous project  but I wanted that messy look.

I applied the letters to the canvas.  I tried to put the letters in places that allowed the different colors from the painting to show through.

I also added painter’s tape to the bottom and top to allow more of the painting to show through.

I painted over the entire thing with my favorite new color, cinnamon cake from Behr.  While the paint was still wet, I peeled the letters and tape up.  I loved the effect.

I really do need a Coldspring State of Mind this coming week.

Star Hill

The Craft Corner is Done!

Well, after last weekend I was not sure that I would be able to post this, but the craft corner is officially complete. (Craft Corner Nightmare)  Hubby painted the corner desk this weekend and I got everything moved in.  This is how she looked Saturday morning:

I especially loved that you could see where some kid hand scratched in who they loved in the top of the piece!  It made me smile.

Hubby sanded the piece until it felt like glass then the painting began.  He turned it upside down to paint the legs and sides so any drips would be where you could not see them.  Smart man.

It looked better already.

Sanding between the coats and a second coat made the piece look really finished.

I have had these knobs for years.  I bought them on clearance at Target, just waiting for the right piece.  They look like they belong.

I love my little corner.
I made the chalkboard to go above the table from a left over cabinet door.  Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy were at Star Hill  over the weekend.  I asked Sweet Amanda to write something on the board.  She made me laugh with what she wrote.
I am ready to go!
Country living

Packing for the Weekend

On many Friday mornings before leaving for work I have a packing checklist for Star Hill. We keep clothes up there and have a pretty well stocked pantry but it seems like we always have something that needs to be taken up. Our only grocery store in Coldspring is not very big and the choices are both expensive and limited. I try to make a run to get produce and staples. All this packing has made me a little more organized in general. We have to check for toilet paper, paper towels, foil, dish soap, shampoo, etc. before leaving the lake each Sunday. I’m not complaining mind you. To us it is worth every bit of the packing. We get to wake up Saturday mornings to the sound of birds, not cars. We walk down to the pond and watch the turtles dive off the logs, we get to see the seasons change the leaves on the trees.

This weekend I am adding a lot of craft items to the packing. I hope to get a lot done, but I think that this weekend may be a slow moving one. I am packing some painted canvases that I bought at Goodwill. I will be working on it and a light for Sweet Amanda.

I plan on getting some pictures of the inside of Star Hill. I have had a few friends ask to see what we have done and hopefully I can get some advice on the rooms that need love.

Have a great weekend. Come see us. There is always room for friends at Star Hill.

DIY Furniture, Painted Furniture, recycled furniture, Repurposed Furniture, Roadside Finds, Star Hill

What I Know and Don;t Know About Old Furniture

A friend of mine made fun of me this week for how I talk about furniture. I say things like “It has good bones.” That means that under all the ugly I think there is something better that will hold up to the abuse my family can put it through. I also talk a lot about the age of the furniture. I have to be honest here. I can spot four types of furniture. Midcentury, mission, art deco, and 70’s. I cannot tell 20’s, 30’s or 40’s furniture apart. Any furniture older tan the 20’s you could tell me it was built in 1700 and I would believe you. I know it is old, but I just don’t have a frame of reference.  Most of the time When looking at furniture I either like the way something looks or I don’t. 

I feel like I need to let you know that I respect good, quality furniture. There are several pieces at my house that will never be painted, modified, retouched, or repurposed by me.  The first is this old chest.  I bought it 15 years ago at a Christmas Bazaar held each year in the city where I live.  I love it just as it is.  It serves as a coffee table, junk storage and it makes me happy.

Another thing I won’t mess with is our mirror.  Remember I have a thing for mirrors, but this one above all the rest.  We bought this when we really didn’t have any money years ago.  I was so proud to have it.  It has been in 7 of the 8 homes we have lived in.

The final piece I am going to show you that I will not violate is a very special family piece.  It was the first piece of furniture my extremely poor grandparents bought when they got married.  It is a simple two drawer dresser. It would have been the equivalent of Ikea furniture 75 years ago.  All the parts are out of different types of wood and there never was any ornamentation.
My dad rescued it out of an old storage shed when my grandmother passed away.  It was being used to hold tools and such. It was completely falling apart.  For my birthday several years ago my husband had the six layers of paint stripped off the piece professionally.  The stripping caused the entire piece to fall apart.  It looked like an erector set set when he brought it home.  He took every part and laid it out on the garage floor then painstakingly reassembled the piece, then stained and varnished.  I treasure it. 

 I will never claim to be an expert at furniture finishing.  I learn new things every time that I work on a piece.  I try to share what I learn because hopefully you can learn from my MANY mistakes.   Most of my city home furniture is unpainted.  Hubby has built some great pieces over the years that I could never consider painting.  I have some true antique pieces that deserve to be preserved.

 The furniture that I make over is either:

A) On life support, (The roadside broken up dresser.)
B) Was never that awesome (see above),

C) Was free, cheap, or found.  (My $25.00 solid wood bed above.)  I also have a wooden chest I recently bought for $5.00 that holds the birdseed on the front porch at Star Hill.  I saved it from being Pepto Bismol pink.  It was awful.  Now it is the red of our doors at the lake house.

A lot of that ABC furniture has landed at Star Hill. 
It is a mix of handmade furniture like the furniture that Hubby made from old fence boards.  (I love the buffet he made for me.)

I also have some found furniture like the cast iron typing table that we found in our garage when we moved into the city house, garage sale like our entertainment center and bunk beds.   Some of the things we have were”gifted” furniture. I have my great grandmother’s porch chair, my son’s bedside table, and my neighbor’s bedroom furniture.   I love the homey comfortable look that we have up in the country.  Up there I don’t stress about coasters, feet up on tables or eating on the furniture.  It sometimes pains me to cut up good pieces, even when they meet the ABC rules.  I am still hurting over the maple framed mirror that has become part of the mudroom bench.  I have saved all the cut off parts and plan on making a shelf with the parts.

I bothered me to use solid oak on the mudroom bench even though it was totally free.  I love having a place where those pieces of furniture that would have ended up in a dump are now a part of our weekend adventures.  I plan on getting pictures of each room at Star Hill this weekend so that you can see how far $1000.00 can go if you are patient.

I hope everyone has a great day and an even better weekend.