Painting Furniture: DIY Dresser Makeover

  We have an interesting living arrangement. Our house is actually an upstairs/downstairs duplex with a shared front door and indoor stairs. So basically it’s a house with extra doors, if that makes any sense at all. Because of this, our main kitchen is built for about 2-4 occupants. We have 7. Needless to say, it’s what you might call “cozy” if you’re in a good mood and “cramped” if you are tired of bumping into people and not being able to fit stuff. And just plain “evil” if you’re in a bad mood. Creating adequate space in a small space can be a daily challenge. For a long while now I’ve been thinking that I needed a sideboard just to get a little bit more storage into this small space. I don’t usually buy furniture new but I can be daunted by big DIY projects. My drive for more space took over. So I hit the local thrift store and found your regular run of the mill ugly old dresser. I could go into a long how-to on what I did to get this dresser from hideous to happy but I’ll keep it simple: sand (electric sander), dust, prime and paint. Boom. Done. Baddabingbaddaboom. This bad boy required a lot of sanding. In fact I was pretty sure I was going to have to have my arm amputated when I was done. I primed using a tinted primer. And then I began painting the body of the dresser a most lovely and Caribbean shade of turquoise! I love turquoise. While I let that first coat of paint on...

Learn to Shop a Thrift Store: Get A Thrifting Buddy

My mom is my thrifting buddy. She taught me the dainty and fine art of dumpster diving from a very early age. Actually I hid in the car and cowered, quite sure that a friend or, worse still, an enemy might see my mom and then see me… The psycho-social ramifications would be unbearable. So I hid. I felt the same way whenever my mom would bring me to the thrift store. I would look with contempt at the items she would present to me. I would live in utter fear of being discovered in this musty place of cast-offs. I would cringe even more when I would reluctantly ((gulp)) LIKE something I saw at the thrift store. Perhaps it was my desire to own more clothes in high school and still keep more of my hard-earned babysitting money. It may have had something to do with the fact that I embraced the grunge look of the mid 1990’s. Ever since then my mom and I have been thrifting pals, sharing our finds and rejoicing with one another at the steals and deals. I think everyone needs a thrifting buddy or two. After all, two bargain-hunters are better than one! Today my mom brought home the most lovely oilcloth picnic tablecloth for a crazy $3. You’d pay about $40 for this double reversible padded blanket on Etsy. It’s pretty much right out of a lovely little Technicolor dream. She also found me a great little pile of yarn and a pair of beautiful wooden knitting needles for just $5. And look at this loot of beautiful colorful buttons! My...

Craft Ideas: Fabric Memo Board From Recycled Materials

If you are into crafting or sewing or any other kind of project that involves fabric, the sheet section in the thrift store is a great place to hunt! So much upcycyle potential there! I grabbed up this lovely one for a dollar in a hurry when I was there a few days ago. I also swiped a big old bag of buttons for two bucks. I have wanted to make one of these French memo boards for a long time. This is a super easy project that takes only a few hours at most. You’ll need: -stretched canvas -thrifted sheet or fabric of your choice -quilt batting -1/2 inch ribbon – 1 ½ inch ribbon -sturdy thread -buttons (more or less based on size of canvas) -staple gun & embroidery needle – Optional: Roll of cork board in appropriate size First you’ll need to cut two sheets of quilt batting the size of your canvas (in my case 20×24). Next you’ll need to cut a piece of fabric four inches larger (height and width) than your actual canvas. So I cut my fabric piece to 24 x 28 inches. If you are going to add a roll of cork board this is the time you will want to measure it and place it on the canvas before you measure and place the batting. Next you will lay the batting on top of the canvas (or cork board) and lay the fabric over the batting and then carefully flip it over like a pancake. Now begin stapling around the back edges. I started on one of the short ends....

DIY: Chair Reupholster

A DIY chair reupholster is not what I would consider complicated. It is time consuming and produces a mild perspiration but it is not a confusing process. And best of all, it’s a really affordable way of giving new life to your kitchen chairs. First thing you need to do is remove the seat from the chair frame. Just locate the deep holes underneath the seat and using a screwdriver, take that puppy off. Be careful not to strip those screws. You will need them again later! We want to save as much as we can because we are cheap… er… I mean thrifty! So now your chair will look like this: And your hideous seat cushion will look something like this: Flip it over and begin removing the staples. I went through a couple of tools before finding the right ones that did the job most cleanly and quickly. There are a lot of staples so this is really the most tedious part. The first one will take longer because you will want to be careful to save that black outer lining so you can tack it back on at the end when you’re done. You also want to make sure that you don’t destroy the shape of the old cover as it will be your guide for cutting the new one. This tool proved to be the best for removing the staples cleanly. I found it most efficient to loosen any staples that were too tight with a small flat head screwdriver and then remove them with the tool above. Remove ALL those staples. You are going...

Thrifty Finds

I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again, thrifty bargain hunting runs through my veins. I used to literally cower in my car, lest my super cool fellow junior highers might see me, as my mom and dad would scour garage sales for great finds. Clearly I had yet to appreciate the value of a dollar and the sheer excitement brought on by finding an incredible deal. I buy practically everything used. And I love it this way. I also try to keep my eyes opened as I’m scouring Etsy, Pinterest and Ebay for vintagey items that actually have value. I don’t like to just pick up junk when I go bargain hunting. I like finding things that have either actual inherent value or potential value. During one of my recent trips to my favorite thrift store where I was looking for a few pairs of jeans (Don’t get me started on that! Thrift store jeans are the BEST!) I happened upon a few items that caught my eye. These chairs jumped out at me. I love them! The seats need recovering or a really good cleaning but the chairs are super sturdy and just my style. They go great with my evolving vintagey shabby chic décor. Best part? They still had an original price tag on them so I knew their real original value. $139. How much did I pay? $15! Nothing feels quite like finding a fabulous deal. The other little gem I found was this mid-century modern tangerine colored Dansk Kobenstyle Enamelware dutch oven which sells for somewhere between $30 and $50 online. This one...