Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mailbox Ideas

I love a good spray paint project.  It is the cheapest way to give something a new look, so, when Krylon contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in trying some of their new spray paint, I was thrilled at the opportunity.  I chose their new Rust Protector quick drying spray paint in Copper Metallic and Aged Brass Metallic and I loved it.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect as I had picked up one of these copper post caps at Lowe's on clearance not too long ago and thought it would be perfect for something, 
I just wasn't sure what yet.

Then inspiration hit.  Our cheap basic mailbox has been looking pretty sad for the last few years so why not give it a facelift.  The spray paint I chose was perfect as it is a rust protector and of course, a mailbox is exposed to all kinds of weather so that's what it needed.  I was also pretty happy that I selected copper and aged brass for my choice of colors.  The mailbox would also tie in nicely with my copper porch curtain rods.

Here's a before shot of the sad looking mailbox.

Pretty dull, huh?  You might be wondering why anyone would care about sprucing up something as simple and basic as a mailbox and the answer is, I would.  I'm just that kinda gal.  I like to think that simple mundane objects, like mailboxes, as part of a home, 
deserve to look good, too.  
So here's what I did......

As usual, I wanted this project to be as cheap as possible, so we went hunting for some rustic wood, as in, beside the road, free.  No problem.  
We found a 4 x 4 and a 2 x 4, both dirty and old, just like I wanted.

First I prepared the wood by hosing it off, letting it dry and then sanding it with 180 grit sandpaper.  I wasn't going for perfection here, after all, it was going to be outside.  Next, I brushed on some special walnut stain and set them aside to dry.

Next up, the mailbox.  After cleaning and removing the old number stickers, I spray painted the flag first with the aged brass metallic.

While that dried, I grabbed a package of these.

They are foam letter and number stickers available in any craft store.  I wanted to personalize our mailbox and also create an embossed metal look.  I added our name to one side and our address to the other side.  Then I taped off the already painted flag and spray painted the mailbox with the copper metallic paint.  I gave it a good 4 or 5 coats.  
It is a fast drying spray paint and it certainly lives up to that.  
It was almost dry before I got around to the other side of the box.  

Mailbox done.  
The next part, building the post, was a bit difficult and I didn't take photos.  It took two pairs of hands, which required hubby's help and stopping for photos isn't his thing.  :)  

After the entire thing was complete, I added the copper end cap to the top of the 4 x 4 post with a little glue and here's how it looks now.

We are pretty happy with how it turned out.  And we finished just in time as about 10 minutes after this photo, a huge storm hit.  But the spray paint held up great!

I can't wait to add some mums and pumpkins to the base 
of it for a little Autumn decoration.  :)

Here's a closeup of the foam stickers.  

The adhesive on the back is pretty strong so I'm confident they aren't going anywhere.

This was a pretty fun way to spruce up a cheapo mailbox and I loved how fast the paint dried! 
 Thanks Krylon!

I am certainly no expert, but here are a few spray painting tips that have helped make spray painting easier for me.

* Always keep your spray paint back about a foot from whatever your painting.  
If you're too close, your paint will go on too thick.

* If you're spraying, your arm should be moving.  If it isn't, 
this will also cause too much paint in a single area which causes the paint to run.

* It's always better to do several light coats instead of one heavy coat in an 
attempt to hurry and get it done.  I learned my lesson on that one over and over.

* If you have to stop to make dinner or do a load of laundry like me, wipe the excess paint off the spray valve.  That way it won't get a weird clog and spray out the side, 
painting your face when you resume working on your project. :)

If any of you have any other helpful tips, please feel free to leave them in the comment section and I can add them to this post.  :)

Have a great day!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Table Redo with Reclaimed Bowling Alley Flooring

Hey there!  
Hope you had a lovely weekend!

As we get ready for the October Grand Opening of our shop, 
we are working hard to find just the right things to fill the inside.  
Finding the right piece to put in the huge window display 
has been really important to us.  
Hubby was driving home last week and came 
across a table in an alley that looked as if it was being thrown out.  
He called the owner of the property it was on and 
asked if he could have it and they said sure, so he packed it up and brought it home.  
It was in pretty sad shape but it wasn't the top we were interested in.......it was the legs.  
Take a look......

We loved the industrial pipes and huge castors so we removed those from the
 plywood top and gave them a good wash.  
I happened to remember that we still had one huge slab of reclaimed bowling alley flooring from last summer that was sitting in our storage facility.  
So we loaded it up and brought it home to work on it.

We measured out where we wanted to attach the legs and drilled holes to accommodate them.  Because the slab is so massive, we needed to build the table first 
before starting work on the table top.

The flooring was covered in that thick yellow lacquer, so I bought a can of paint stripper and got to work, using gloves of course.

Here's a look at it half way through the stripping process.  Isn't the wood underneath lovely?
After stripping everything off, I gave it a good sanding with 180 grit sandpaper and my palm sander.  Then coated the whole thing with Minwax Finishing Wax in Natural.   I happen to like finishing wax much better than polyurethane because it leaves a more natural look on the wood instead of looking like you coated it with polyurethane.  Then I gave the pipe legs and castors a light coating of oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  Here's how it looks now.....

We are pretty happy with it!
We can't wait to get it into the display window with some pretty cool things on the top of it.

And I'm crazy about those castors!

 We love the vintage industrial look!
Hubby went to a big estate sale this weekend and he came home with some amazing finds
for our shop that I can't wait to share!

I've had lots of folks emailing me asking where our shop is going to be located and 
I will share all that info as we get closer to the big day.
We hope to have a spectacular grand opening 
complete with a piece of furniture to be given 
away in a drawing, so, we do hope you think about making the trip.
I'd love to meet some of our readers!

Have a great day!
Diana :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Stairway Project Revisited

Remember this project?

I decided to remove the nasty carpet from our stairs one day on a whim and then let it sit unfinished for a good month or so because I became so busy at work.  Then, because it was driving everyone crazy, I set out to get it done, mainly for the purpose of just getting it done.  

I didn't love it, but it was done and I could cross it off the To Do list.

But it was always still there.
Staring at me.
Waiting to be transformed into something I DID love.


Fast forward to a few weeks ago.
 As you know, we live in a 100 year old home.  
 They settle.
When there is a year long drought,
they settle even more.

(Okay, it wasn't really that long of a drought but it sure has felt like it.)

One day while walking down the stairs, I noticed a bulge that seemed to be cracking,
so, of course, I started messing with it, thinking I could fix it,
until it turned into this.

 Not good.

Or was it??

I called a friend who is knowledgeable about things like this to come check everything out
and he said there was nothing to worry about structurally.
We just need to wait to fix it until the weather changes, 
in case the plaster continues to shrink and crack.

Well, the weather changed and the crack/hole hasn't gotten any worse, so it's time to fix it.

Since the wall is having to get a face lift, I thought the stairs should have one too.
After all, I just wasn't thrilled with the way I had left them before.

And the white paint on the risers was a really bad idea because of
my 6 foot tall older boys with big feet going up and down the stairs a lot.
That turns into a lot of scuff marks.

So this little wall problem was just the push I needed to transform the stairs
into something we did love.

Although I don't think it is in the cards for our home to have a beautiful grand staircase, like I originally wanted, there's no reason why it still can't look amazing and fit in with the rest of the house and the room that the stairs are currently in.

So, for Part 1 of this project, here's what I came up with for just the stairs.

Chalkboard paint, chalk and handmade stencils I printed from the computer are all it took
for me to do this project.  All of which I already had, so, it didn't cost a thing.

I didn't really want to paint the numbers on with paint as I really like the faded chalk look.

I completely LOVE IT and better yet, hubby and kiddos thought it was so cool.

This just works out so much better.
And we are all finally happy with it!

Next up we will be working on the wall around the staircase
and I'm looking forward to blogging about that soon!

Have a great day!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our New Shop and a Grand Opening

Hello!  I hope you all had a great weekend!
We are finally making some progress on the new shop.  Remember when I said we had a wonderful opportunity come our way involving a great old building right smack 
in the heart of our quaint little town?  
Well here it is!

(Ignore the ginormous pots of trees, they are getting picked up.)

This building is amazing.  The area is amazing and we are honestly so thrilled.
We are making a huge life change to go for our dreams and it is so exciting and scary at the same time but I think that's what life is about, you know?  
Taking a chance and going for what truly makes you happy.

We still have a lot to do, 
even though the inside doesn't really need anything but painting and cleaning.  
Here's a view from the inside.

Pretty cool, huh?
The ceiling is way up there and is decked out with the original tin tiles.

And I'm crazy about the double stacked windows and wood trim.  
I can't wait to polish that up.
Even the view out the window is amazing.  
Love the brick with the vine creeping over it.

And the view down the sidewalk.

There are so many cool businesses and buildings in the historical area of our city and I'm going to be sharing those with you over the next month or so as we count down to our grand opening.

Here's the view from the opposite direction to the left.

This is a great little place to eat, too.
And a perfect little junk store, right next door, where I bought the hutch I recently 
added to our dining room.
I love that place and the owners are so friendly.

So when will the grand opening be?

Our goal is October 15 and not a day later.

Here's what I'm thinking for the window......

(just for design purposes, not really on the windows)

I really would like it to be symmetrical, however, the bar divide down the center of the window is making it difficult for me to figure out how to achieve this. 
Do we put it all on one side of the window?  Or ignore the bar and put the whole thing in the center?  I'm just not sure but I do love it on the window and I love the font.
Would love to hear your suggestions on placement!

We are so excited about this journey!  
And can't thank you enough for your amazing support and encouragement
you've given us here in blogland!

We hope you'll come see us!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

BIG Kitchen Updates

If you've read our blog for a while it shouldn't surprise you that installing these open shelves made from reclaimed walnut would start a design chain reaction in our kitchen.  That is, after all, how I roll.  
Warning:  long post ahead with lots of pics.  :)

I have never really liked this area of our kitchen because it just wasn't comfortable when I cooked.  Mainly, because of the big black box, otherwise known as the giant microwave over the stove.  It felt like I practically had my head in it while standing at the stove because of how far it stuck out from the wall.  And the vent had fallen off a couple of times and cracked so there was duck tape holding it together.  In other words, it was time for it to go.  

But, we use our microwave, mainly for reheating leftovers.  So, convincing my hubby to get rid of it was difficult.  I begged.  He caved.  But he wasn't thrilled with the idea.  Yet.  

Luckily, in one of the storage buildings that he had bought at an auction this past summer, there was a brand new, much smaller, stainless steel microwave that will sit in the laundry room, out of sight until we need to use it or until I find a clever way to disguise it in the kitchen.  Problem solved.

So, down it came.  And what a relief it was to have head room at the stove.

Let's back up a bit.  Remember this super thick, 4 1/2 inches to be exact, piece of reclaimed walnut included in the pile that we brought home?

I thought it would be super cool to make a single shelf out of it for above the stove to hold my olive oils and my cherished vibe jars of spices.  I had always wanted a special place to put them and this was perfect.  So, here's what we ended up with.

I can't tell you how happy we are with it and hubby finally agreed after it was all finished.  As you can see, this prompted me to paint the french door between the kitchen and laundry a yummy shade of green.  I have been craving more color lately in our home and thought this was the perfect place to add it in the kitchen.  I don't think I could commit to painting the cabinets a color as I love the white, but the door was the perfect solution.

And that shelf.  That wonderful thick old wood.  We found out that it came from a basement where it had been stored for many many years.  And I love that it ties in with the other side of the room now with the other open shelves.

Because it is such a special shelf, I really wanted it to hold the things that mean a lot to me in the kitchen; my olive oils and vinegars and my spices.  Plus, a very special antique bread board that my hubby gave me for Christmas.  :)

These vibe jars are my favorite way to store spices.  I love to decant simple things that 
come with not so pretty packaging into prettier containers. 

It's so much more fun to cook in this little corner now.

Another change I made was adding a floor cloth in front of the sink.  I've always wanted to make one and finally tried it.  I have to say that I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  
It adds lots of interest to an otherwise very boring floor.  

I followed this tutorial.  The black and white diamond pattern is one I've always loved and so I did an aged version.  I wanted it to look a little rough and old as perfection was NOT what I was going for, so, when I painted my black squares, I left some of the white color showing through a little, to give it a worn look.  

I used simple painters canvas drop cloth and made a square template from wood to trace my diamonds on after priming and painting the off white color.  Then taped them off to paint them in.  Several coats of a WATER BASED polyurethane is a must so that spills can be easily cleaned up and it can stand up to high traffic areas. To make it non slip, I bought several rolls of this at the dollar store. 

And glued it to the under side of the floor cloth.

Easy and cheap and no slipping around the kitchen.  

The last change was adding this awesome bar stool that had just been sitting in my hubby's storage building.  I must have looked at it a hundred times before I finally decided that it would be perfect in the kitchen.

The "leather like" cover was all banged up and scratched but honestly, that's what I liked about it.  All I did was clean it and then paint the base with a mixture of Rustoleum oil rubbed bronze and Rustoleum Copper spray paint.  

Now there is a place to sit if anyone wants to sit down.  Sure wish I had a pair of these.  I love them!  And it's pretty comfy too!

That green door just makes me happy.  :)

I wish I could get a photo of the entire kitchen in one shot.

And because I had a small amount of that thick walnut left, 
I've made 3 thick long bread boards.

I had it planed down and look at what it looks like!  So pretty!

And thick.  The exact measurements are 20 inches long x 6 inches wide x 1 1/2 inches thick.  
I have 3 for sale here.  These are the only 3 there will ever be as I won't ever have this kind of walnut again.  It's very rare.  So, if you would like to purchase one, click here.

So that's it for the BIG kitchen updates.  Maybe not that big but certainly big for us getting rid of the microwave hood above the stove.

I'm curious, do any of you go without a microwave?  Where do you keep it?  If you don't have one, how do you survive without it?

Have a great day!


P.S.  The paint color on the door is called Spanish Green by Valspar.

P.P.S.  The vibe spice jars can be found here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

15 Things

Hello!  Not too long ago, I was asked to share 15 random things about myself.  To be honest, I wasn't convinced anyone would be interested in knowing 15 random things about me.  But I do really enjoy reading little personal tidbits about other bloggers so I thought, why not!  Here goes......

1.  I love dessert.  As in cupcakes.  As in frosting.  I will buy a half dozen cupcakes and have them gone by the next day.   I often consider giving up sugar, but who am I kidding.

2.  One of my most embarrassing married moments was my husband finding a 9 months pregnant me sitting in front of an open freezer at midnight using a giant serving spoon to shovel ice cream into my mouth.  In my defense, it was June and the weather was hot. :)

3.  My husband delivered two of our children.  The experience is something I will cherish forever.

4.  Another one of my most embarrassing moments (I have lots of them) was in college.  While marching in the University band at a televised college football game, my uniform pants got caught on the sideline fence while taking the field for the pre-game show, completely ripping from the waist down.  Having a drill sergeant type scary band director, I opted to just keep going instead of run off the field breaking formation and facing his wrath, and do my best to ignore the fact that my behind was exposed to a million people while my pant leg flapped in the breeze.  If that wasn't exciting enough, my replacement pants they gave me afterward were 6 sizes too big and dropped to my ankles during the half time show while I tried to balance holding them up with one hand and a piccolo with the other.  Did I mention it was televised?  In front of a million people?

5.  I am loving this stuff right now.  It smells like chocolate cupcakes and possibly explains number 1 above.
6.  I have been blessed with very compassionate boys.  I am so proud of their hearts.

7.  Starting a blog terrified me because I was afraid of putting myself out there and I wasn't sure I had anything to offer the blog world.

8.  I love this girl.  She has been such an inspiration to me!

9.  Because we are such a busy family with crazy schedules and older children in sports, we hardly ever eat at the dinner table as a family.  Something I would love to change.  But carving out a time when we are all home together is difficult.

10.  My most favorite thing to do in the world is spend time with my husband and kids.  Even if it's just watching TV.

11.   I 100% believe that you should go for your dreams, whatever they may be.

12.  I love watching cartoons with my youngest.  Franklin anyone?

13.  I love the people I have e-met since blogging and consider it one of the biggest blessings of being a blogger.

14.  Another one of my favorite things to do, that I do without fail every night, is watch The Golden Girls after hubby falls asleep.

15.  One of my favorite memories with my step daughter is watching Brian Regan's comedy act about the styrofoam ball solar system science fair project and laughing forever.  "The big yellow one's the sun!" 

So, that's it.  A little bit of me.  Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Shelving - Reveal

Patience.  Not a word I would use to describe myself when it comes to projects.  
My husband would agree.  :)
Remember this wood I showed you last week?  
Imagine my surprise when I cut into it and realized it was pure gorgeous walnut.

Well, my hubby and middle son went out of town this past weekend for a sports event and I decided I was going to get to work on the project I had in mind while they were away 
so I could surprise him when they returned.  The walnut discovery had me so excited,
I just couldn't wait to get started.
Silly me thought it would be something I could easily tackle myself.

While I show you pictures of the finished project, you should know that getting to that point was somewhat of a nightmare.

For starters, I couldn't get the previous cabinet off the wall.  So, I had to call in a neighbor to help out with that after I fell off the counter.  Because the wood is so extremely heavy,
I really had no idea what kind of brackets to use.

My lack of bracket knowledge caused 3 trips to Lowe's in one day buying and returning various brackets of different sizes and weights.  Not to mention, attaching them to the wood thinking they would work and then removing them when I realized they wouldn't.  Attaching and removing, attaching and removing.

When I finally decided on the track system with brackets, only because of the amount of weight it could hold, I couldn't get them screwed into the studs.  It wasn't that I couldn't find the studs, I could thanks to the previous cabinet.  It was that I wasn't strong enough and happen to have a bad habit, to which my hubby can attest, of stripping screws when I have difficulty getting them into studs.  And because of my precarious position of standing on a countertop, I simply couldn't get a good grip.

But, I was determined.   And I really wanted to have it finished before my hubby and son got home.  They had had a lot of car trouble in desert heat while traveling 5 hours and the last thing I wanted was for him to have to come home to fix what I started.
And Sunday was my first born's 20th birthday.
 I wanted to get it finished so I could concentrate on making his day special.

I finished up around 2 a.m. the morning my family was supposed to return and just in time for my oldest son's birthday celebration.  The look on their faces and the "wow" and big smile that came out of my hubby's mouth made all of the frustration totally worth it.

This is definitely a two person job.   And I did have a little helper.  Our youngest, who made me laugh every time I wanted to toss the shelves into the trash.  :)

I love these shelves.  My family loves these shelves.  
Would I do this project again?
No.  :)

But that's because I got in a rush, thought I could do it fast and without any help.
Boy was I wrong.
Live and learn, right?  :)

For those wondering, the paint on the walls is called Light Gray by Farrow and Ball.

All frustrations aside, I am so happy with how it turned out and
how they are a nice accent to the barn wood center island table. 

Have a great day!