DIY

Bookshelf Makeover with Minwax

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me by Minwax, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

When I moved earlier this year, there were several book shelves left in the home that I was able to keep there for my own use.  My previous home had a very large built-in bookshelf, so I was going to need to find something to replace that.  These bookshelves were just what I needed.  Only problem….they were awful looking…beat up and ugly.  Thankfully to the people at Minwax, I was able make these bookshelves in to something usable and actually decent looking.

Minwax before

I decided that I was going to eventually put them in my bedroom and so I wanted to stain them to match the darker laminate flooring that is there.  But before any of the staining could happen I needed to get these shelves into staining shape.

The first thing I had to do was remove any of the old paint, stain, polyurethane, whatever was on these old things.  Truth be told, I had no idea what was on them.  There was bare particle board pieces, trim that seemed to have polyurethane on it and goodness knows what else.  I needed to get it down to the bare bones.  

The first step was to use the Minwax Paint & Varnish Remover.  You definitely need rubber gloves for this and a very well ventilated area.  This stuff does not smell good.  But I can say that it definitely did the job.  I was able to remove most of whatever was on those shelves on the first try.  Be sure to have a ton of drop clothes down thru this whole process, it does get messy.

Once I got it down to the bare wood and because I really had no idea what kind of wood it was made of (there were several different types), I decided that I would be smart to use the Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to prep the wood.  This is a very watery consistency and dripped quite a bit, so was glad I had everything protected and had lots of rags and paper towels on hand.

Once that had dried, I was ready to start staining.  One thing I learned very quickly is that I needed a lot and I mean, a lot of patience wit this project.  It wasn’t like I could continue from one step to the next without having to wait hours or even overnight for each step to dry.  I was happy to see that the stain color that I chose was going to match well with my floors.

After 2 coats, I had reached the color that I wanted.  I probably could have done a 3 coat but I was afraid it would go too dark and be too overpowering in the room.  Once that had dried, with was time to apply the polyurethane and seal in the stain and finish up the project.

I wanted the shelves not to have too glossy of a finish to them, so only 2 coats was needed to give it the look I wanted again.  Again, I had to play the waiting game to make sure they were completely dry to put them back into place and start using them.  I was really pleased with how they came out.  Definitely a huge improvement from what we started with.

I may have complained a little (ok, a lot) about the waiting, it was only because I have no patience and the end product was well worth the wait.  And the products were very easy to work with, did exactly what they claimed they would do which is a huge plus in my eyes.  I don’t have a lot to spend on decorating my home, so when I take on a project such as this, I want to ensure it does what it says it will.

The only problem with this whole project was that by the time I had finished these shelves, I only had them in my room for about a day before we reconfigured my living room/office area and they ended up being used there and now house my office supplies and one is dedicated solely showcasing my son’s Lego creations.

DIY

Inspire My Creativity – Chalk Paint (and Link party)

I can’t believe we are already into August and it’s that time again to co-host our link up party with my favorite crafty ladies  If this is the first time you’ve visited, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month we will be bringing you our latest DIY creations. This month our theme is “Chalk Paint”.    And let’s not confuse it with chalkboard paint, which is something completely different.

If you aren’t familiar with chalk paint, it is a type of paint that can be used on furniture and other items to create a chalky appearance.  In recent years it has become popular with those looking for that “shabby chic” style of decorating.  It has an aged, rustic look to it.

Last month, when I made over my lamp, I mentioned I was going to be focusing on completing my bedroom after our recent move.  Having the chalk paint theme was the perfect motivation to refinish my bedroom furniture.

The furniture that I originally had in my room had previously been painted grey and just wasn’t the look I was going for anymore.  I wanted something more feminine and rustic looking.  I had recently bought a new bedspread and pillow shams that had that country, feminine look and feel and just need to update the furniture and my room would be complete.

I decided that I wanted to go with a white chalk paint and picked up a can of Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte paint in Linen White.  I was skeptical that this small can would be enough for all the pieces I wanted to cover but the I was assured at the store it was going to be enough.

Before I could start painting, I went over each of the pieces with fine sandpaper and then a damp cloth to get rid of all the excess dust.

The paint went on very easily and didn’t need a lot to get the proper coverage.  You definitely need to use light brush strokes to ensure you don’t get lines.  It took me a while to get the hang of it and get the look I was going for.  It was a long and tedious process getting all the drawers done.

I was surprised how quickly the paint started to dry and get that lovely chalky look to them.  The paint indicates that one coat is usually adequate but could take up to 3 coats based on the look that you want.  Luckily I was able to achieve the look that I wanted with just one coat.  I had plenty of paint left too.  There was still about a half a can left.  I left the paint to dry overnight to ensure it was fully dried.

At this point, I could have again taken some fine sandpaper and roughed up some of the corners to give it more of an antiqued look to it, but I was quite happy with the results and left it as is.  I then used some Minwax Paste Finishing Wax to seal the paint.

This step was quite easy and took no time at all.  I used a clean J Cloth ( or you could use cheesecloth) and put a small amount of wax into it and then applied to each of the pieces.  After about 15 minutes of drying time, I went back with another clean cloth and buffed it.  My pieces were now finished and ready to use.

When I finally got the drawers refilled and back into place, I was delighted on how good they looked in my bedroom.  It’s that perfect feminine, country charm look that I was going for.  The entire project costs me less than $50 and looks amazing.

As I previously mentioned, I am a co-host for the Inspire My Creativity: Chalk Paint and link up party.   If you’d like to join us, we post the second Wednesday of each month.

Meredith  |  The Designer DIY
Cathy  |  A Boy and His Mom
Missy  |  Gypsy Magpie
Meg  |  The Kusi Life
Kim  |  Creigh-ations
Candice  |  She’s Crafty

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

DIY

Inspire My Creativity: Thrift Store Makeover

I am co-hosting a link up party with some pretty crafty ladies and on the second Wednesday of each month we will be bringing you our latest DIY creations. This month our theme is “Thrift Store Makeover”.    I don’t have a budget for home decor these days so I was ready to hop on the bandwagon and see what I could come up with what I could find at my local thrift store.

Since I moved back in February, I haven’t really done anything with my bedroom except the basic unpacking.  I have decided that I am going to try and focus as many of my DIY creations on my bedroom as possible.  I need to make this room my own and a reflection of who I am.  So for my Thrift Store Makeover, I decided I would replace my nightstand table lamp.

The one that I currently had took up a huge amount of space on the table and left me little room for anything else.

Thrift Store before
Nightstand beforehand – no room for anything else.

So I took a quick trip over to my local Value Village to see what I could find to replace this old lamp and make some more space on my night table.  There were a lot of options to choose from but I finally settled with a base and lampshade that I felt would do the trick.

Thrift Store before
Before

Luckily there was a Dollarama right next door so I headed there next to find something to cover the shade and some paint for the base of the lamp.  I wasn’t sure exactly what type of material I would use for the lampshade or the exact color scheme I was going to use.  I just so happen to come across this package of paper that showed right on the packaging that it could be used for lampshades and a color palette that I really liked.  So now for less than $15 in total for supplies I was ready to start the transformation.

Thrift Store paper
The perfect paper for my lamp shade

The first thing I did was traced the outline of the lampshade on to the back side of the paper and cut it out it out.  I then used my trusty glue gun and attached the paper template on to the old shade.

Thrift Store Shade complete
Paper is attached to shade

Because I was still able to see parts of the old shade at the top and bottom, I then attached a silver ribbon on each end to cover it up.

For the base, I just gave it 2 coats of silver paint that I also picked up at my local Dollarama.

Thrift Store base
Ready to tackle the base.

I ended up using a sponge style brush as it made it much easier to get into all the little nooks and curves.

Thrift store paint
Base paint being applied

After letting the paint dry overnight, I was able to grab a light bulb and assemble the finished product.  I am very happy with the outcome.  It will make a great addition to my bedroom and definitely take up a lot less space on my night stand.

 

As I previously mentioned, I am a co-host for the Inspire My Creativity: Thrift Store Makeover and link up party.   If you’d like to join us, we post the second Wednesday of each month.

Meredith  |  The Designer DIY
Cathy  |  A Boy and His Mom
Missy  |  Gypsy Magpie
Meg  |  The Kusi Life
Kim  |  Creigh-ations
Candice  |  She’s Crafty

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

DIY · Uncategorized

Making my own style with Cricut Explore Air

Graphic tees seem to be all the rage these days. I am always seeing these great t-shirts with cute logos and hashtags on them. Unfortunately a lot of them come from the US and shipping to Canada isn’t always an option. So how does a girl stay in style? Use her Cricut Explore Air, of course.

I decided for my latest Cricut project that I would up the style game for my son and myself and make us both graphic tees.  Cricut has their Iron On vinyl in a variety of colors including glitter so I was ready to go.  All I needed was a t-shirt for each of us and I was ready to start creating.

My son being the huge penguin lover that he is, I knew that we had to find him something with penguins on it for his shirt.  I found a cute little logo on Etsy and got that one for him.  Once I was able to upload it to Design Space, I was able to use the Set Canvas function to select a child size tshirt to ensure the size of the image would set properly on the t-shirt.  This is such a great feature so that you aren’t guessing and wasting supplies or time.

One I was ready to print, I made sure I selected to Mirror image my logo so that it would cut properly.

You need to cut your image with the shiny side down of the iron on vinyl or you will end up with the iron on material on the wrong side.

Once I had the image cut and weeded, I was able to place the image on to the t-shirt to place it properly before ironing it on.

I used my regular iron set on the highest (Cotten/Linen) setting and made sure to iron the shirt just prior to placing the logo so that it was warm.  Once I placed the logo in place, I used a tea towel over top to protect the plastic transfer paper.  I ensured to use a lot of pressure to make sure the iron on vinyl set properly into place.

After letting the transfer cool a bit, I removed the transfer paper and the shirt was ready to wear.  It looked great and my son loved it!

For myself, I just went into Design Space and found a font that I like and using a phrase that I liked, I printed up a t-shirt for myself using the same steps as I did for my son’s.

Both of shirts have now been washed (inside out) and the transfers still look as good as new.   So now keeping up with the graphic shirt style is easy for us.

There are so many great ideas on the Cricut website to use for inspiration, I can’t wait to figure out my next project.  Stay tuned.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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DIY

Easy Easter “Carrots” and other Egg-cellent Ideas

Looking for an easy Easter treat that doesn’t involve chocolates or candy?  These “carrots” super easy to make and the kids will love them.  And if you are short on time or have procrastinated and left everything to the last minute like I tend to do, you can whip these up in just a few minutes.  This is one of those crafts that won’t turn into a Pin-tastrophe.

With only 3 supplies needed, these carrots are also easy on the wallet.  All you need are icing bags, fishy style crackers and green ribbon.   Be sure to try and find the icing bags without a company logo on them.  I was able to find mine at Michael’s.  Depending on the fishy crackers you buy, these are great for a nut-free school treat.

All you need to do is fill the icing bag with fishy crackers about 3/4 full, tie with a green ribbon and voila, you are done.  I have found that in making these in the past, that if you buy the fishy crackers in individual serving packages, 1 package fits perfectly into the icing bag.

I love these carrots.  They look so cute and I always get so many compliments on them.  Simple ideas that make such an impact are my favorite types of crafts.  As a Mom with not a lot of spare time, but loves making these types of crafts, I need ideas like these.

Here are some other EGG-CELLENT ideas for Easter fun with your littles! Just click on the photos to read more from these creative mommy bloggers!!

Easter Bunny Alphabet Game FREEBIE

from Resources By Mrs. Roltgen
 
Resurrection Egg Garland [Freebie]
from Buck & Chuck
 
Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs
from Oh My Gee
 
Vegan Bunny Pancakes
from The Mama Journey
Pretty Easter Wreath
from Real Life Mama Drama
Easter Themed Sensory Bin
from Kenz and Matt
DIY

Easy Crafting with the Cricut Explore Air

I have to admit when I first got my Cricut Explore Air, my mind swirled with the possibilities of what I could make with it.  However, when I got home and was ready to start crafting, I felt like I hit a road block.  I think I was more overwhelmed than anything else.  There were so many possibilities, I  didn’t know where to start.  I decided the best place to start was with the experts themselves and headed to the Cricut website.

Cricut has an amazing program called Cricut Design Space.  This is the program you use  to design your crafts and subsequently cut the piece.  Design Space has all kinds of fonts, images, etc to help you with your project.  It also has an area with already designed projects that you can make for yourself.  The Design Space program is currently available for use on your computer and also has an iOs version.

For this particular project I knew I wanted to do something Valentine’s Day related.  I was coming up empty on what exactly I wanted to do, so I head to the Valentine’s Section in Design Space to see what projects they had readily available and considering I was leaving this almost the last minute, I needed something quick and easy too.

Luckily, I was able to find some very cute coloring Valentine’s cards that would be perfect for my son.  Being 8, he’s at that age that he doesn’t want anything so mushy or “girly” as he describes it.  The great thing about using one of there pre-designed crafts, is everything is laid out for you in easy steps that you just have to follow along.

I made sure I had all of the supplies that they required and I was ready to go. If you aren’t really crafty or are short on time and want to come up with something that will wow people, this is definitely the way to go.

One of the neat features on the Cricut Explore Air, not only does it cut projects, it can also draw them as well.  With your Cricut pens loaded into the machine it was able to draw the coloring picture on the card and cut it out all at once.  You do have to change the pen for each different color in the drawing but it so neat to watch the project come to life.

Before I knew it, my Valentine’s cards had been drawn, cut and were ready for my son to sign his name and insert the crayons so they can color. The end product is super cute and I can imagine his friends will be impressed.  It was so easy and having it already available for me to use when I didn’t have a clue of what I was going to make.

However, for my next project I want to design and make something without the help of the Cricut Design Space projects.  I am moving in a few weeks and want to make something for my new space that really challenges my creativity.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I would love to hear them!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

DIY

My Kitchen Makeover

The kitchen always seems to be the hub of activity in my home so when it looked like it was fresh out of the 70’s, I knew it was time for a drastic makeover.  I wanted to make a huge impact but didn’t have the huge budget.  Thanks to the people at Home Depot, they were able to point me in right direction to make the most of my limited resources.  I showed them a few of my “before” photos so they could get an idea of what we were working with.

We determined based on my budget that painting the walls and cupboards would make the most impact.  I had already decided that I wanted a clean and fresh look to the kitchen and had white cupboards and grey walls in mind for the color scheme.  After looking at some paint samples and decided on the perfect shade of grey, it was time to get my shopping cart and load up on supplies.

The Home Depot Associate determined that we would need to prime the cupboards first due to the color and age of the doors to ensure the actual paint color adhered properly and didn’t have any issues.  With a few more pointers and words of wisdom to ensure everything turned out the way we wanted it to from the Associate, I was ready to go.

Before I go any further I must say that none of this project would have been possible without the assistance of my Mom.  There was no way I was going to be able to tackle this project and finish it in the weekend time frame allotted without her help.  Thanks Mom!

Our game plan was to get the doors primed on Friday evening, give the cupboards 2 coats of paint and the first coat of paint on the walls on Saturday and the second coat of pain on the walls Sunday morning and have everything back into place by Sunday afternoon  The first step,  once we had all the supplies ready to go was to remove the handles off the cupboards and attack them with some SOS pads.  I swear there was 20+ years of dirt and grime built up on them.  With a bit of elbow grease, it was astonishing to see the difference.

Being that the cupboards were so dark to begin with, I was glad it was suggested to prime them first.  The last thing that I wanted to have to do was give them coat after coat of paint just to get the right coverage.  I was glad it was a fairly mild evening as the primer was oil based and we needed to open up a few windows to give the area some ventilation.

By the end of Friday night, we were on track.  Cupboards were primed and we were ready to hit the ground running on Saturday morning.  I am not going to lie, when I first walked into the kitchen on Saturday morning, I had no idea how were going to stay on track and get it all done in a day.  But we plugged along and although when we finished that evening, we were completely exhausted and paint covered, the kitchen already looked completely different.

With the second coat of wall paint completed on Sunday morning by lunch time  we were able to get things back into place and I was astonished how great everything looked.

It was goodbye  70’s dark and dreary and hello bright and modern looking.  I felt even more accomplished when my son saw the new kitchen for the first time, his reaction was “Mommy, it looks AMAZING.  You and Nana did an awesome job.”

So next time you have a home renovation or makeover idea and aren’t sure of where to start, head over to your local Home Depot.  Their Associates are more than willing to point you in the right direction and  you’d be surprised what you can make happen in your home.

Disclosure:  Although products were provide to me from Home Depot, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

 

DIY · Uncategorized

Making changes with the help of Home Depot

I decided that this year I was going to make a bunch of changes in my life.  I am turning 45 and want to make this year count.  It’s not only going to be personal changes but other life changes as well.  One of the first projects I want to take on is making my home feel more like a home.  I moved into this home when I was in a very dark place in my life and it seemed at the time to be a temporary stop.  But now 8 years later it is our home and does not appear to be changing anytime soon.

Ever since I moved in, I have hated the kitchen.  It is practically a step back to the decade I was born.  The cupboards are just awful.  So this is the first room I wanted to start with.  Obviously, as a rental home, I don’t want to invest a lot of my own funds to update things but I am happy to make some investment to make it more mine.  What do I do and where do I start?

I decided to run over to my local Home Depot and talk to some of the experts there. I took some “Before” photos along with me to give them a better idea of what I had to work with.  After speaking to a very lovely and knowledgeable associate in the Kitchen department, we decided that simply painting would make a world of difference for the smallest amount of investment.

 

I then headed to the Paint department and was again greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable Associate.  As a single female, let’s be honest, I am not the most knowledgeable about anything to do with home renovations.  Obviously, I know the basics and my parents are amazing resources as well but being able to walk into the Home Depot and being able to ask question and not feel judged or intimidated is amazing.  They Associate was able to point me in the right direction as to which type of paint I would need and well as the best types of paint brushes/rollers to use and give me a few tips on how to make the whole job easier.

They also have monthly DIY seminars at each location that I am dying to try out.  I have seen topics from installing tiles and hardwood, how to use and choose power tools to outdoor/yard maintenance.  Once this project is done, I am going to check out a few of these seminars and see what I can do next! They even offer monthly make and take workshops for kids that my son has enjoyed a number of times.  If you have any upcoming DIY projects and are looking for a little guidance, this is the place to go.

For now, I need to pick out my paint colors and start the project.  Luckily I have been able to enlist the help of my Mom with this project, so stay tuned for my upcoming blog post with my before and after photos of my kitchen paint project, thanks to the help of Home Depot. 

**Although items were provided to me, all comments, thoughts and photos are strictly mine.

DIY · Uncategorized

A Very Penguin Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, it was time to start thinking about decorating our home.  I asked my son if he wanted a particular theme this year and his instant response was “penguins”.  I shouldn’t be surprised since his favorite stuffed animal that he always uses is a penguin.  So a penguin theme it is!

peckie-the-penguin

I decided I wanted to put my new Cricut Explore Air to good use and make some ornaments like  I have seen so many other crafters makings.  They looked so cute, and wanted to incorporate our penguin theme into them.  My first type of ornament I decided to make is often referred to as a “floating” ornament.  I was able to pick up these plastic clear balls up at my local DollarTree store.  Plastic is the only way to go in my home with an 8 year old and a very active cat.

empty-ball

First I needed to make the clear insert to go into the ball.  The ball was about 2.5 inches in diameter so I just used a preset circle shape and made it 2.49 inches in diameter.  I then added a 1/2 inch square at the top and welded the 2 pieces together before cutting.

creating-the-insert

 

I have seen other crafters’ use acetate or overhead film to use for the cut out.  I used the plastic from the inserts in a photo album that I had laying around and it worked perfectly.

the-insert

I was having trouble finding the perfect penguin design that I wanted to use.  I finally came across a design on Etsy, that was exactly what I wanted.  After uploading my file into Design Space, I resized it so it would fit on to my circular cut out.

ds-penguin

Using Circut vinyl, I cut out each of the different colors and applied it to my insert.

penguin-on-film

Once the insert was completed, I rolled it slightly in order to fit it into the ball.

rolling-in

Now it was time to add some snow.  I used snow that I also picked up at my local DollarTree.  I taped the tab at the top of my insert to the bulb so that it didn’t end up slipping into the ball and getting stuck.  I used a spare piece of paper to make a small funnel to pour the snow into.  I must say, if you aren’t careful this snow goes EVERYWHERE.  I swear a week later, I am still finding little pieces of it around my craft table.

fake-snow

I ended up pouring snow on to both sides of the insert for a more realistic look to it.  I put the top back on and we were almost done.

almost-done

To give the ornament a little more festive look, I used my hot glue gun to add some ribbon and a bow.

adding-the-bow

And within just few moments, I had my first penguin ball ready to go.  My son loves it!  Now to make enough for the entire tree.

its-done

We also decided to make additional penguin ornaments just using card stock paper.  I used the same template but made it about 5 inches tall.  I used spray adhesive and attached all the pieces together to assemble our penguins.  put-together

From there I gave my son free range to decorate and bling them as he wished.  So far, these are what he has come up with.

blinged-up

I can’t wait to make more and get our tree set up and put our Penguin holiday theme into place.  My son is itching to put the tree up now, but I always wait just a little closer to Christmas as our lovely cat often dismantles the tree once or twice after it has been put up.  And I am sure I will come up with a few more penguin inspired additions as well.

Now it’s time to check out the other great Christmas Cricut Ornaments from my Canadian blogging friends!

13-christmas-ornaments

From top left, they are:

Christmas Garland from The Learner Observer

3D Christmas Tree from Woman in Real Life

Star Ornament from The Inspired Home

Penguin Ornament from A Boy and His Mom

Handlettered Ornaments from Teacups and Things

Paper House Christmas Ornament from Fresh Crush

Easy Christmas Ornaments from Sparkle Shiny Love

3D Snowflake Ornament from Brooklyn Berry Designs

Mini Deer Pallet Ornament from Love Create Celebrate

3D Gingham Trees from Rambling Renovators

Glitter Monogram Snow Globe Ornaments from Bawlers and Crawlers

Paper Geometric Christmas Ornaments from Life is a Party

DIY · Uncategorized

DIY Motivational Wall Hangings

Taking a short break from my “Fitness Friday” posts until I have some worthwhile content.  I don’t want to bore everyone with the same old thing every week.  But in the lines of my fitness theme, I thought I would share a DIY project I completed recently.  A little motivation on the walls never hurt anyone.

I recently became the proud owner of the new Cricut Explore One!  It was something I always wanted but was never in the budget.  I attended BlogPodium 2016 and walked away with one as a door prize.  Big thanks to everyone involved!!!  Needless to say, I wanted to start using it right away.

cricut
Don’t cringe at the bubbles in vinyl, I am still learning. 🙂

I knew that I wanted to make some sort of motivational art to hang in my bathroom.  First stop, my local dollar store to pick up frames and this project was off and running!

frames

Krlyon had been kind enough to include some samples of their product in our loot bags that we brought home from the conference, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into my project as well. One of my  paints was this amazing Sea Glass Cornflower color that worked perfectly with the colors in my bathroom.  I took the glass out of the frames and gave each one a coat of the paint.  Note to self:  next time put paper under what I am painting so it doesn’t stain my front porch.  Ooops!

spraying

krylon-pic

This paint dries in 10 minutes so there isn’t a huge wait to move forward on the project.  In that time, I got the Cricut working and cut out the letters for each of my frames and got them ready to place on the now dried glass.  One thing I didn’t have readily available for my project was the Transfer Paper that Cricut recommends to move the cut out letters to their spot nice and neat and straight, so I had to realign everything a few times to get it right.  I will definitely know for next time.  Once everything was aligned, I popped them back into the frames.

putting-it-together

As part of my fitness journey, there are 2 phrases that I often use; “You can do this” and “Never give up”.  I thought in my bathroom where I pretty much start and end each day was the perfect place to place these and remind myself of these things.

motivational-diy

For my first DIY project with my Cricut, I am really pleased with the outcome.  It was a lot easier than I had thought it would be and have given me the motivation to do a lot more creative projects.