Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My amazing kitchen table and chair transformation!

I love how so many people have taken their light oak tables and 'easily' transformed them into the Pottery Barn like beautiful black table. So, when I saw this oak table on Kijiji for $20 I knew I had to buy it! Well, that was a year ago and I been living with the ugly oak table and even uglier reddish lattice back chairs since then. After spending countless hours researching and getting no definitive answers on how to paint a table without brush strokes showing, I decided to just do it.

In all my excitement, I forgot to take a before picture of the table...but this is the same table I have:
I got these chairs over 10 years ago (during the "I am still poor after University" stage of our lives) at a local Grocery Store for next to nothing. But they are comfortable and sturdy...here is the before of the chair:

It is pretty embarrassing that I lived with those pieces of furniture together for as long as I did. For an extra dose of embarrassment, I will show you how disgusting the chair seat cushions were (this isn't even the worst chair). Remember, I have two kids and I can blame every spot and stain on them :)
I knew when I recovered these chairs, it had to be with a washable fabric.

Method for the table:
I took the table top off and sanded it and the base lightly in the garage.  I started with a rough sand paper and got finer. I didn't take off all the shine, I just roughed it up and got rid of any scratches.
I cleaned the table top and base with TSP and brought them back into the kitchen and placed them onto a tarp.
I then primed the table top and base with the Zinsser odorless oil based primer. I put on 2 thin coats with a high density foam roller and those cheap foam brushes for the hard to reach places. If there were any rough spots, I lightly sanded them. This product is AMAZING! I used it inside the house and it had hardly any smell. It went on so much easier then I ever expected.

Once the primer was completely dry, I left it for 24 hours just to be sure, I started painting the table black.

I used the Valspar Satin paint in Black (I forgot to take the picture of the can before I painted with it). This product comes pretinted so it is a nice deep black. It is a water based, roll on paint that goes on really thin but sticks like spray paint. I loved that I could still see the grain of the wood through the paint. I did 5 thin coats of this paint, allowing it to dry 8 hours in between each coat of paint. I used the same type of roller and a good brush for the edges.

A piece of advice to anyone wanting to do this: The hardest part for me was not to touch the paint before it dried. I would see a small imperfection and I would want to touch it up and fix it immediately. This makes it a million times worse. So let flaws dry because you will probably not notice them later or you can always lightly sand in between.

Here is the after of my beautiful table..can you hear me oooohhing and aaaahhing :) :
I struggled with roller marks but after every coat they got a little better and as the paint cured they diminished even more. I am still toying with the idea of putting one more coat of paint on and maybe doing a top clear coat. But we will see.
So on to the chairs. 
I had no intention of painting the chairs because they were so ugly but when I priced out some nice leather ones, the cheapest I could find was $150 per chair. What is the point of being frugal with the table when I am spending $600 on chairs? So I thought what would be the worst thing to happen if I paint them and they don't work out...I have to buy chairs. What I planned to do anyway.

I didn't sand the chairs at all. I took off the seats (4 screws) and primed with a roller and small foam brush.
 I painted them with the same paint and foam roller that I did the table with. These were far more forgiving than the table because there were far fewer smooth surfaces. But they turned out amazing.

I bought 1 1/2 yards ($20) of outdoor fabric (both stain and water resistant) for the cushions and my loving husband recovered them one night I went out and he was home alone. How sweet!

Here is the amazing after photo of the chairs:
Don't you just love the fabric!!!
 I wish I did this a year ago...can you believe it?

Cost: $10 for the primer, $10 for the paint, $20 for the fabric and everything else we had on hand.  $40 for a NEW kitchen set!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pine cone basket with lights

I got this idea for a basket filled with various shaped pine cones and Christmas lights years ago when I was at a craft fair.  It is an extremely easy and very inexpensive gift idea or home decor item.  All you need to do is go pine cone hunting with your kids and dig around for an old basket you have kicking around.
Warning: once you have your pine cones collected, place them into a garbage bag and spray them with spider killer! Did you know that spiders love to live in pine cones? I did not know this and I found this out the hard way. I hate spiders! 

So after all the spiders are gone :) start gluing, with hot glue, the pine cones into the basket. If you have holes in the side of your basket, like I did, start putting the lights around starting at the bottom. If you have a solid basket, you can fill the basket almost full and then start adding lights.

Note: I used just used an old set of mini lights but be aware these lights get pretty hot in confined spaces. My basket is very open and the heat can escape easily. I would have loved to use the new LED lights for this because they produce almost no heat. So just be aware of this when you have it on.

Keep piling the pine cones and lights until you are to the top of the basket. At this point try to hid the light chords as much as possible but they do not have to be 100% hidden.

Once the pine cones are to a height you like, add some dried baby's breathe flowers and red berries to hide the light chords you weren't able to hide with the pine cones.

Plug in the lights and add a bow. You are done! 

 What do you think?


Webkinz clothes that a 3 year old can make!

My kids have loved their Webkinz for years and have always asked for those little clothes you can buy for them. I love to sew but not enough to make itty bitty outfits for these little stuffed animals.  So last year I set out to find a way to make clothes without paying a fortune and without having to sew them and this is what I found.  It is so simple and costs nothing!

You can use almost any type of sock for this project. I used a fuzzy sock because I wanted to make a sweater for the dog but you can use thin socks and you can also use ankle socks for a shorter version.  This is a great craft to use up all those stray socks you have laying around your laundry room!
Materials needed:


Measure the length of the stuffed animal and cut off the toe of the sock to the length you want.   The heel of the sock should be close to the neck/chest of the animal.
 For a dress, cut off just the tip of the toe and for a sweater, cut off about 2 inches.
 Fold the heel part of the sock over an cut a small slit (in both sides) for the front legs of the animal.
 Then do the same a couple inches back for the back legs.
 Dress the animal :)  This is the longer (dress type) version.
This is the shorter (sweater type) version.  With the sweater, I use the toe of the sock to make a hat for the animal.

Nothing fancy but my kids love making them and I love getting rid of excess socks!

What do you think?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Home made note pads for Teacher's gift

My childrens' teachers have asked for a donation be made to a local charity in lieu of gifts this Christmas. I am overjoyed that the school has decided to do this but I know how much my kids love to give their teachers Christmas gifts. So I have decided to make something with my guys so they can give to their teachers in addition to the donation we will make.

Last year I saw on a blog someone made note pads for their teachers with "A note from Mrs. Smith" at the top of each page. (I am sorry I cannot for the life of me remember what blog this is from...if it is yours please let me know so I can give you credit) The process to make these note pads is extremely easy and cost nothing if you have the supplies on hand, like I did.

Materials needed:
Printer paper (15 sheets)(I used resume paper)
Card stock paper (1 sheet)
Rubber Cement glue

Method:  Sorry the photos aren't great; I am doing this in the evening.

Create a Word document and separated the page into 4 equal sections. You can either create 4 'text boxes' or divide the page into 2 columns and hit enter a lot :).

I typed "A note from Miss Smith" for my daughter's English teacher and "Une note de Mlle Smith" for her French teacher.

I made three lines around the text to make it look like the lines in a note book (you know the solid lines with the dotted line in between).
 I then cut the pages into 4 equal sections using a paper cutter (each page ends up being 4.25 inches by 5.5 inches).
Stack the pages so they line up perfectly on the top. I put one piece of card stock on the top and bottom and then (IMPORTANT) one blank page on the top and bottom. The blank page will be removed at the end but this allows you to get a good amount of glue on the seam without worrying about getting it on the cover. Clamp on both sides of the pad with butterfly clips.

Using the Rubber Cement, glue the top of the pad with 5 or 6 thin layers of glue. After each layer I move the clips to the top of the page to make sure the pages are pressed tightly together. I have used old cards to get a good seal.
 Once dry you can put a piece of ribbon across the glue seam if you would like. Remove the extra blank page on the top and the bottom. 
 Have your child draw on the covers something special for their teacher
 Wrap the notepad with a ribbon and you are done!

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scrapbook paper tree ornament

I have been looking for an easy ornament for my kids to make to carry on one of my annual Christmas traditions and I found this idea on the BHG website. I thought it was cute and looked extremely easy ...plus there is no paint or glitter involved so I am happy :)

Materials needed:
Scrapbook paper (I used thick paper that had a cotton like texture to it with glitter accents..got it at the Dollar Store)
Thin wire
Beads (optional)

Cut three pieces of wire (approximately 10 inches each) and bend the top of each wire into a loop.

I used a dab of hot glue to attach the 3 wires together and then wrapped a small piece of paper around the glue to hide it. Make sure the loops are pointing in various directions.
 Draw three circles of gradually increasing size on the back of the scrapbook paper. I used thee mugs to draw the circles in these sizes: 3.5 inches, 4.25 inches and 5.25 inches.

Cut the circles out leaving approximately 1/2 an inch outside the circle and then carefully rip the paper along the line to give a rough edge.
 Cut from the side of the circle to the middle.
 Wrap the paper into a cone and glue the edge down.
Cut the tip of the cones to create a small hole in the top so the wires can fit through.
Feed all 3 wires through the smallest cone and glue to the wire. Do the same with the medium cone and then the large one. Spread the wires out and make the same loop on the bottom.  Attach a string and hang on your tree.
My daughter has just put our garland up on the banister so I could get a picture of it hanging. These ornaments are a good size and super cute.



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