Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nursery Sneak Peek: Changing Table Nook

It's been awhile since my last post, but I will say nesting is in full effect.  I truly did not believe "nesting" was a real thing when people would talk about it, but it is in fact a very real thing.  I can't stop washing her clothes and making time to put things away and finding little last minute details to finish in her room.  I recently finished her changing table dresser and tall dresser (details on the tall dresser later) and got those pieces moved into the room which is nice because I can FINALLY begin putting things away. 

For her furniture, I decided to use CeCe Caldwell Paints. It's a mineral based chalk paint that is easy to use and safe to use.  There is virtually no smell at all and safe for even preggos to use.  I purchased the paint from Encore Consignment Gallery here in Saint Louis, as they are a certified retailer.  A quart of this stuff will go a long way.  To complete the changing table and tall dresser I only used a quart and a half.  The reason I love this stuff is because it is the easiest paint ever to give a distressed look.  You literally paint the piece (I chose to do 2 coats in Simply White, with the Portland Rose on a few accent parts), no sanding required at all, let the paint dry for a few days then distress.  You can roller this paint on but I found it easier to work with by painting it on with a quality brush.  And to distress, all you have to do is literally wet a rag and rub off the paint in the areas where you want it to look "worn".  Once you have done your distressing, paint on a coat of the Satin Finish onto the piece to seal everything in and give it a protective layer.

This particular piece was purchased for $100 on Craig's List...that middle drawer is not missing, it's just missing from this before picture, I had already taken it out. The knobs on this piece weren't that exciting so I replaced those with some from Hobby Lobby.



 The mirror was spray painted with Valspar gold spray paint.

Changing Pad is the Shell Basics Diaper Changing Cover from Serena and Lily...I'm sure it won't remain that crisp white for very long though :)

Black and white stripe hamper is from Hobby Lobby.

The curtains were a find at an Estate sale and I'll post about those later...still need to finish the tie backs for those!
The accent pieces that stick out are painted in CeCe Caldwell Portland Rose
White diaper basket and chalkboard label are from Pottery Barn (Sabrina Diaper Caddy)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

You've gotta start somewhere...

This phrase rings true for a lot of things in life.  In this case though, I'm talking about taking the plunge and attempting to paint my first piece of furniture.  For me, the whole painting furniture craze came about with Pinterest and with me trying to find stylish, cheap ways for us to decorate our new home last year while we were renovating it.  So as my husband, FIL, and father all worked on some of the more heavy duty, manual labor type of projects (i.e. busting out bath tubs, knocking down walls etc), I scoured antique malls/thrift stores and flea markets for furniture to paint.  I present to you my first furniture painting experience, which quickly spiraled into the DIY bathroom vanities and many other pieces throughout our home. In this post, I'll tell you what I did for this specific piece...with each piece I've done I've tweaked certain things because no piece is the same and it depends on what you want the end result to be. 

-STEP 1- FIND THE ITEM YOU WANT TO REDO.  In this case, it was an old record cabinet from a local antique mall that I paid way too much for to be painting, but you live and you learn right. I picked it because I liked the size and shape of it and knew where I wanted it to go (in our foyer with a mirror above it that I already had purchased from a different antique mall).

-STEP 2- PREP YOUR PIECE.  As I've mentioned, this was my first painted piece so I can't say that this is the best way to do it, but this is what worked on this particular project.  I'll be honest, I didn't sand this one and believe it or not the primer and paint still stuck and doesn't peel off!  I used the Glidden Gripper Primer in gray this time (same stuff I used on our bathroom vanities) and gave this one good coat.

-STEP 3- PAINT YOUR PIECE.  Given the fact that this was a small item, I was able to paint the entire thing with a $3 sample jar of paint from Lowe's!  The color I used was Swim by Valspar.

-STEP 4- ANTIQUE YOUR PIECE.  I knew I wanted this to have a "worn" look to it so I bought the Valspar Antiquing Glaze.  This stuff was super easy to work with.  I painted this on with a normal paint brush (i.e. that you would use to paint walls) in sections and then gently wiped with the grain of the wood with an old t-shirt.  If you want the glaze to be darker, then just apply more.  

I finished it off with a decorative knob (Hobby Lobby has a whole aisle, and can't beat their prices/coupons).  Voila!  You have a revamped, and colorful accent piece for your home!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chalkboard Frenzy

Hard to believe, but we're 3 months away from Little Lady's arrival.  Time really is flying!  I have felt great for the most part and cannot complain.  I continue to crave homemade chocolate chip cookies and really enjoy taking yoga 2x a week.  Lots of projects still to complete for her nursery and I'm looking forward to my upcoming showers (the first one is this weekend and I can't wait)!  With all the "bumpdate" photos I posted on FB recently, I thought I'd share how I created the chalkboard you see in those photos.  I wish I could claim this as "my idea" but let's be honest, the internet and Pinterest are full of ideas these days and it's just a matter of acting on them.


Chalkboard How-To:
-STEP 1- Find an old frame, it can be a large picture frame, old painting etc.  Search your local Good Will, Garage Sales, Flea Markets etc for some real gems. Look for something with a flat surface that will be easy to paint over.  The one you see in my photos was from Good Will and used to look like this:

-Step 2-  Choose a spray paint color and go to town spraying the frame....AFTER you have sprayed the frame with a primer of course.  At this point it doesn't matter if you get paint on the lovely picture because you're going to paint that with chalkboard paint later on.  This board hangs in our kitchen so I went with a light blue (Krylon Bonnet Blue).  The frame is 38"x33" and it took 3 coats of spray paint but the can of this color was only 3 ounces.  Using a larger can of spray paint would obviously require less cans.

-Step 3- Paint the surface with chalkboard paint.  I personally chose to use the can kind (Rust-Oleum Specialty 30-oz. Flat Black Chalkboard Paint) and roll this on with a small foam roller.  I had a larger surface area to cover and really felt it covered better than the spray can kind.  I think the spray can kind is better left to smaller chalkboard crafts.  My board took two solid coats and a quick third for good measure.  One thing I don't recommend, magnetic paint.  I tried using magnetic paint underneath the chalkboard paint only to find out the magnets wouldn't stick.  EVEN THOUGH, the can of magnetic paint says you can cover it with any other type of paint.  This personally didn't work for me, but if you have any tricks let me know.

Voila!  Your very own DIY chalkboard vs. buying one in the store for $$$.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Yellow Door

Recently my good friend Jenny asked me what paint finish I used to paint our front door and it got me thinking this might be a relevant post for new home owners or those looking to give the front of their house a face lift.  As always, anytime I start a project I always Google it and see what others have to say.  You can modify according to what you want/need.

-STEP 1- CHOOSE A PAINT COLOR, FINISH AND PRIMER.  Seems simple enough right?  Wrong.  Well, wrong if you're as indecisive as me!  Choosing yellow took some time to get it right (first try = school bus yellow).  Consider how the light will hit your house as it may impact the color.  For the finish, make sure you buy exterior paint.  I personally went with a satin finish and think it's a personal preference.  As for a primer, I chose a gray primer because it's what we had on hand and it worked well in going over a black door. 

-STEP 2- PRIME YOUR DOOR. Find a good quality small foam cabinet/door roller and a brush.  The roller will work great on the larger surface areas and you can use the brush to get into the crevices.  Two coats of primer is what I did, but again depends what color you're going over.  Let the primer dry about 2 hrs between the coats.

-STEP 3- PAINT YOUR DOOR. Wash up that roller and brush and use the same tools for painting.  Once I got my yellow correct, it still took me 3 coats.  I probably could've been fine with 2, but I'm picky.  Oh and one other snafu I should divulge, probably not the best idea to paint the side window panels to the door.  I followed the lead of the previous owners (BIG MISTAKE) and painted my side panels yellow along with the door.  I mean the door was black and so were the side panels so I felt it was sort of a painting by color thing, WRONG!  A yellow door AND yellow side panels = no bueno.  Perhaps a different color would've looked ok, however in this case it did not.  Proceed with caution my friends if you choose to paint those panels or you'll spend a day fixing a mistake.  Let each coat dry about 2 hrs in between before doing the next. 
-STEP 4- DECORATE YOUR DOOR.  I had no idea there were so many options for handles and door knockers out there, but trust me, there are.  Overstock and Amazon are great places to look.  I found our handleset (Camelot Exterior Handleset with Deadbolt, Matte Black) on Amazon for a decent price.  The ring door knocker from Restoration Hardware was more of a splurge, but worth it in my book.  Unfortunately they no longer carry this in matte black though!

All in all I would say this is an easily doable weekend project, as long as your name isn't Emily, and you can choose paint colors without having second thoughts.
Happy painting!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nursery Sneak Peek: Take One!

I've gone back and forth with whether or not I wanted to share nursery details just yet, or wait it out a wee bit longer until more is complete.  Well I've decided that I can't wait because I'm just too giddy about little lady's room (that's right, she still doesn't have a name), but we are CLOSE.  I also think that in sharing this, I am committing myself to the colors.  If you know me at all, you know how indecisive I am and sometimes you just need to go with your gut.  So that's what I've done with her room, gone with my gut (that continues to grow these days).  The color(s) I've picked were truly some of the first I looked at and it all sort of snowballed from there.  Huge change from when we picked colors for our house (our kitchen was almost a hideous shade of blue that resembled a badly decorated island cottage or something)!  Thank goodness that didn't last...I mean it's tough looking at a 2"x2" color swatch and envisioning it covering your walls.  If I've learned anything it's always go 1-2 shades lighter than the one you like on the card!

Anyways, here are a few of my favorite things so far...

  • Whispering Peach by Benjamin Moore I hit up a Ben Moore retailer to get color swatch ideas a few weeks back before we knew what we were having and as most of you know, I didn't expect to get to use this sweet little color, totally thought this room was going to be painted gray with navy and green accents!  Anyways, my favorite paint guy at our Lowe's store was able to color match this and I'm happy to report that I like it!
  • Used Little Castle Glider that I randomly found when I popped into Encore Consignment Gallery looking for the paint I plan to use on her furniture.  And no the glider wasn't for sale in their store, I just like to make idle chit chat and it just so happened the very nice girl working there had this sitting in her basement ready to be sold -- TO ME!  Highly recommend checking out Encore Consignment Gallery though, new place, friendly staff, cool stuff.
  • How Sweet It Is, To Be Loved By You ... No I'm not the biggest James Taylor fan, but I do love that song and these sweet little mint green/gold signs that need some frames.
  • Gold Chandelier with White Glass Flowers from The White Rabbit. I've become a regular in this store over lunch these days. The hubs asked how we are going to hang this and I said it's perfectly acceptable to run a little electrical for a chandelier, I mean am I right? Am I right?
  • The DaVinci 3 in 1 Jenny Lind Crib. I must say the price point on this one was right on, but it concerned me about whether the quality would be effected at all.  Well I'm happy to report that the crib is solid and sturdy and that the Baby Bargains book B rating is good enough in my book!  I will say we have opted to forgo the wheels that come along with this crib as they didn't really meet my style standards and seemed to make it a little flimsy. 
  • Vintage Hat Boxes containing hints of peach and mint from a local antique shop, I couldn't resist. 
Next up is to get a 2nd coat of paint on the walls (big shout out to my gracious MIL for painting the first coat recently) start on our wall stenciling project, sew a crib skirt, and paint the other furniture (tall dresser and short dresser = changing table) going in her room and who knows what else!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bathroom Vanities

As I sit here and try to figure out a project to share with you from the past years reno (a.k.a stall while I work on new projects in the background to share), I decided to highlight our bathroom vanities.  They were by far MY biggest project, and a big cost savings too.  Going into all of this I had no idea how much new bathroom vanities cost.  I quickly discovered that they are insanely expensive when you need two of them, one of which is for a master bathroom (i.e. bigger space).  And there I went into a tailspin.....wrecking my brain with how I could get the look I wanted without breaking the bank.  I discovered the following post from HGTV (probably on Pinterest or something) which sent me to Craig's List multiple times a day in search of the perfect dresser.  So if you find yourself in my shoes, here are a few things to consider:

STEP ONE:  Find your inspiration and what you like.  For me it was these awesome (and oh so pricey) vanities from Pottery Barn

STEP TWO:  Peruse Craig's List, Goodwill Stores, Garage Sales, and Flea Markets for a dresser that looks similar to your inspiration.  This can take time, so be sure to check out all possible options.  Here's what I found for our master bath (kinda similar to the dresser style look from Pottery Barn):

And here's what I found at a garage sale for our upstairs bathroom:
STEP THREE:  Prime your dresser.  Lightly sand first (using a hand sander) and then apply a gripper primer before painting.  On both of these I used Glidden Grey Gripper Primer from Home Depot.  Apply with a roller, and use a brush to get into grooves/crevices.

STEP FOUR:  Remove the top of your dresser. Each of these were pretty easy, one had screws and one had a screwdriver and hammer were all that we needed.

STEP FIVE:  Start painting. For both of these I used Valspar Ultra Interior Soft Gloss Kitchen and Bath Tintable Base Paint and Primer in One and applied with a small foam roller.  Each of these took 2 coats.

STEP SIX:   Choose your knobs and pulls.  For the upstairs vanity I used some of the same hardware but then found these cute little bird knobs from World Market.  For the master bath, I discovered a cute shop on Etsy which sells vintage inspired cabinet knobs and pulls.

STEP SEVEN:  Set your vanities in place and determine where you will need to make cuts for the plumbing.  Make your cuts.  Choose your granite supplier and have them come and measure.  This part was a wee bit scary as ours was measured and there was some concern regarding whether it would be too narrow to hold the sink, but the pros at Midwest Tile and Granite worked their magic for us!  The only thing we did not have room for was the granite backsplash portion...that's a project for another day as we will be choosing a short tile backsplash in the near future. 

STEP EIGHT: Stand back and admire your hardwork!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Well hello there!  Thanks for stopping by!  My name is Emily (a.k.a. "Em" to those that know me the best).  Hence the name of my blog (clever play on words, right)?  I can't take all the credit though and must give a shout out to a good friends mom for coming up with the quirky title, but I must admit, it's fitting so I think it will stick.

I'm a first timer to the blogosphere (on the contributing side), and to be honest, I'm a little skeptical about the whole thing.  But in the last year, I've had the chance to learn about a whole new side of me that has had the chance to come out through sledge hammers, paint brushes, nail guns, and an array of other "tools" that I really didn't know a whole lot about until June 2012 - the year we bought our messy, smelly, hot pink graffiti covered walls house...HOME.  And ever since that time, this unknown creative side of mine is busting at the seams each day to get out as I sit in my "pod" M-F at my office job.  So here I am, trying to let these creative vibes out into the cyberworld and see where they go.

I hope you'll bookmark me and follow along as I highlight some of the DIY projects I (with a little help along the way from the hubs and family) have had the opportunity to create, build, paint, you get the picture, throughout the last year.  And for all the future projects I have in mind (cough, cough, first and foremost our future little lady's nursery).  I hope it inspires someone out there to "re-emagine" new uses for old things, or maybe just a side of you that you didn't know you had.  Ok that's enough corniness for one Saturday morning...