Monday, April 29, 2013

Thermos Makeover

I have one daughter that takes her lunch to school daily.  She's wheat-intolerant, and school lunches just aren't great for her diet.  She tried to do salads daily... till the day they ran out of salad!  (That was one very hungry girl that day.)  I also take a lunch to work.  Both of us like to eat hot foods like soup or leftovers.  We had two Thermos containers for just that purpose.

A couple of months ago, my youngest two kids began wanting to take warm lunches too.  But that meant getting more Thermos containers.  Have you priced those lately?  Each one is at least $12, if not more.  

Then I found these on Amazon for just under $7 apiece.  They are the same size as the others.  But just $7??  Can you take a guess why?

Perhaps it's because Hannah Montana is plastered all over?  I don't know about your kids, but Hannah Montana is "SO last year".  (Hmmm... my guess is that the saying is SO last year, too.)  But... I had a plan.

Enter... cute Duct Tape!

I had my daughter pick out a favorite tape from her growing Duct Tape collection (who would've guessed that would be a welcome Birthday gift for a 12 year old girl?)

And Voila!  No more Hannah Montana!  I can attest to the fact that it's been washed in a dishwasher several times so far... not even a corner has pulled off.  Still looks like it was just wrapped.

Cute!  Imagine the possibilities now!  Have you seen the Moustache Duct Tape out there?  So cute!!  Or camouflage for my son?  That may be for the next one....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dresser turned buffet....

First, I would like to say "thank you" to two wonderful friends, Davone and Somphane for graciously "donating" the dresser for this "project"

I had been wanting a piece of furniture to put in this awkwardly blank space in my family was a perfect "cut-out"...and just seemed like something definitely belonged there.  So, when I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted a dresser I knew this was my chance!  Plus, who doesn't love FREE?  =)

So here is the before pictures of what the dresser looked like before I started anything...

After it sat in my garage for a few weeks {like everything else does}, the wheels started turning in my head for what I could do with this....I wanted to try my hand at "woodworking" here was my chance.  I.  had.  an.  idea. 

I took the drawers out, the hardware off, and gave her a good wipe down.  I don't normally prime any of my stuff...but in the past when I have, I just used Kilz or Zinnser {oil-based} primer...and I usually used a brush and paint it on....well, that just takes too I got the SPRAY version and BAM....within 10 minutes I was DONE priming....and no brushstrokes or "thick spots"...

Here is the primed piece.....

After a day of letting the primer sit and "cure", I started the painting process.  I used a slightly off-white paint color...painted two thin coats....then a couple days later....took my trusty electric hand sander and gave her a good "smoothing".  I also wanted a slightly distressed I took this opportunity to distress it as well....

Here is what the sanded/distressed piece looked like.....{well, part of it at least}.

Well, now here comes the FUN part.  Ever used a "Sawsall"???  Ohhhh boy, is it fun!  =)  That sucker cuts fast!!  Anyway...{can you tell I am easily excited?}...So I took my husbands "sawsall" and cut out the middle brackets that originally held up the 4 middle drawers....

Here's what I mean......

I have had this Martha Stewart "Metallic Glaze" {seen here}...that I got from Home Depot probably a year prior...had TOTALLY forgotten about it until I was searching through my "craft" cabinet for sand paper, actually.  So, I figured I would give it a try on this piece.  I actually added about 4 parts water to one part glaze...then painted it on....and then wiped it off...not rocket science here....

Here is what it looked like after a coat of glaze......{not the best picture}

Then, {and the hubby helped me with this part because I would have cut my fingers off for sure}....he measured some pieces of nice plywood and fit them into this "new" space to create a bottom {and back} to the area.

I spray-painted the brass handles "oil rubbed bronze" {my "go-to"}....put the handles back on, and voila!

Oh...and, {as I was cleaning out my craft cabinet looking for that sand paper I mentioned earlier...} I found some old glass knobs that I had gotten for some other project {that I clearly never used}....and replaced the top middle drawer knobs with them....  I think it gives it a little more "character"..

Either is the final product!!!  Super easy and more importantly...FUN!  {I got these baskets with chalk boards on the front at my local HomeGoods...I LOVE them!}...and now they say "Taylor", "Stephen", and "Rocco" on them  =)



Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Piano Wall

About two years ago, my daughter began taking piano lessons.  (So did I, but I only lasted 1 year.)  We had purchased an electric keyboard for her to practice on.  It worked... did the job.  But we kept hoping to get a piano one day.  Unfortunately a new piano is WAY out of our price-range... and old pianos can be tricky (is it too old or too damaged?)

Here is the wall we wanted the piano to go.  The black cabinet would go in the dining room.

Our awesome piano teacher (a good friend and neighbor, actually) offered us hers if/when she got her childhood piano delivered.

That day arrived.  Fortunately some awesome, brawny neighbors were kind enough to help move it (rather than spend $350 to move the piano four houses down the street).  They even came home from work a little early last Friday to make sure we squeezed in the move between pockets of rainy weather.  Don't worry... we paid them well... with food and beer.  

The piano... moments after my awesome neighbors dropped it off.  :)
The piano looked great in the room.  Great size for the small room.  But, naturally, after realizing the piano was a good fit, I immediately started looking at the wall behind it.  Oh no... time to redo the wall hangings.  They used to flank a tall cabinet, but now I needed something OVER the piano.

I went around the house looking for something to work.  A series of photos?  An old window?  A mirror... nah, there's a big mirror on the wall to the left.  Then I found this thing... 

This was purchased at my town's annual Tag Sale.  I bought it from an antique dealer for just $10.  I'm not sure what you'd call it.  She referred to it as a "Russian Coat of Arms".  I wish I'd had the sense to ask more about it because now I'm super curious.  It's a raised relief plaque that is clearly hollow inside (fairly lightweight).

Although I love the plaque on the brown wall, over the piano... the wall is still missing something.  I need to start scouring through my Ballard Designs catalogs and see how they decorated walls with similar items.  Any suggestions?  I thought of two green wreaths... but I may have already hit my limit in wreaths allowed in one house (see post).

I did do a little something to the top of the piano though.  I pulled out some frames that were accumulating in my craft area and put them to work.

Some framed photos on the piano.  Now to work on finding a bench....
After I added the photos yesterday afternoon (ala Costco's quick online photo printing), my son came home from school and immediately wanted to know why I have a great photo of my daughter at her violin concert... but none of him with his guitar.  Ummm.... guess I better get a good seat next week at the spring guitar concert!!  I told him he better have a great seat for me to snap a great photo.  Last time he was behind the conductor.

Fortunately he was happy with a new addition.  Somehow this little front room has become the music room, complete with guitar, violin and piano.  {Guess we should stop calling it the book room and move to "music room".}  Anyway, the guitar is usually to be found anywhere inconvenient... on the sofa, on the chair, on the ottoman, on the floor, and recently, on the piano.  So, I splurged and bought him a guitar stand.  Yeah, I didn't realize they were only $15.  Ooops... should've done that long ago!

The black chair is hopefully temporary, but it works.  We always are looking for places to put our extra dining chairs... this location is useful too!  If anyone knows of a great high-quality CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP bench that looks nice too, let me know.  If I could avoid it costing more than the piano, that would be great.  {giggle}

$15 guitar stand from Amazon.  Love that the guitar now has a PLACE to sit.
So, I'm not really offering any great advice or decorating tips today.  But, I am asking for suggestions... what would you do on either side of the "Coat of Arms"?