Thursday, January 24, 2013

#2--Learn Something New--CHECK

I am so thankful that I grew up in a house where creativity and artistry was viewed as important. All three of us Rogers kiddos have something artsy in our blood. Chris was a painter in high school and now is a master of making living spaces look incredible, using bold colors and ridiculous techy setups that I can't even begin to understand. Nathan is an athlete-turned-musician, who has had an entourage of ladies following him and his skinny jeans around for years. Now, he is the Star Trekiest rap studio audio engineer that I know. And little old me was always given the opportunity to put my creativity to work, from singing to theater to crafting my little heart out. Mom turned me into a crocheter and sewer from a ridiculously early age and I'm so thankful for that (insert first sewing machine received for Christmas in fifth grade here).

Crafts have always been easy for me, but I haven't pushed myself to learn skills that required supplies purchased anywhere other than Michael's or Hobby Lobby. And then I bought a house. I have made more trips to Home Depot and Lowes in the last 6 months than I have in my entire 29.5 years of life.

When I moved into the house, I raided my parents storage unit for furniture to fill the place up. One piece of furniture that I ran across was an old dresser that had belonged to my older brother and sister-in-law that was a bit rough looking, but I saw potential in it. Turns out that they no longer wanted it, and were totally cool with a) me having it and b) me doing whatever I wanted with it. I immediately knew that this would make the perfect buffet for my dining room after a little TLC.

Fastforward 6 months from the time I moved that old dresser into my house until now. That dresser still looked the same now as when it was carried into my house by incredibly kind, servanthearted friends.

 Notice that only three of the seven drawers have a handle (one hanging on for dear life) and the other drawers are pretty beat up. Overall though, the dresser is in great shape.

When I moved into the house, I purchased all of my paint for my bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen (luckily the previous owners did a great job with paint colors, so there wasn't much to paint). While I was at it, I had picked a nice buttery yellow from the same paint card as the soon-to-be kitchen yellow. 6 months later, that paint still sat in my basement, feeling neglected I'm sure.

This past Saturday, I decided that it was time to attack this project. Operation Refinish Dresser was a go.

My list of supplies included the following:

  • Drop cloth
  • Sand paper
  • Paint pan
  • Small paint roller
  • Small paint brush

Please note than none of these supplies came from a craft store. This alone is a sure sign of something new.

First, emptied out all of the drawers, moved the dresser to a drop cloth in the dining room. I removed all of the drawers and took off the few remaining handles. I was then left with a view like this:
After sanding down the dresser really well to knock off the sheen and wiping it down with a wet rag, giving it a few minutes to dry, I was ready to paint. My assistants, however, had to be reminded quite a few times that they were being less than helpful.

You never realize exactly what you're working with on a project until you really start into it. For me, I didn't realize just how many beveled edges and awkward corners there were on this bad boy.

After the first coat of paint, I was here:

Pretty right? After coat two, it didn't look much better. It also looked quite cream, which also didn't look great to me. (Remember that buttery yellow paint I purchased? No buttery yellow here.):
This was the point where I began thinking, "What have I done? I should have never started painting this dumb dresser. Surely this is going to take at least 50 coats for this not to look ridiculous. What would happen if I stopped now?" Confession time: I like instant gratification when it comes to craft projects. I want to see results and I want to see them NOW. For those of you like me, be warned: refinishing furniture is NOT a quick process.

After taking a big deep breath and reminding myself that I had no where else to be for the rest of the day, I put coat three on the dresser:
Insert the first hint of buttery yellow. THANK GOODNESS. Sanity beginning to return.

In the end, it took four full coats and an additional round of touch-ups, but we had a finished product. The original dresser had old brass handles, but only three. When I took a handy Lowes gift card I received for Christmas to purchase new handles, I had to change my game plan on the fly. Three of the drawers needed a 3" handle and the other 4 needed 4" handles. The problem: there were no available handles that had matching 3" and 4" options. So I decided to get crazy and go with knobs instead. I was a little worried that the drawers would look or feel awkward because they would be too close together, but I decided to go for it anyway. I was able to find these simple round knobs with just a hint of detail for 97 cents each (which is perfect when you have to buy 14 of them):

Once the knobs were attached and the dresser was put back in place, I had this finished product:
I. Was. In. Love. The buttery yellow against the medium gray of the walls is perfect. And, this project was the perfect excuse to rework some of my decor on top of the dresser. The yellow of the paint plays perfectly with the paint samples in the homemade mosaic above (a favorite project of mine). I simply could not love it more.

This dresser provides the perfect place to stash items that I don't need to get into often, but like to keep handy. And, these drawers are complete with the world's most patriotic drawer liners:

The top three smaller drawers hold all of my paper plates, plastic silverware, and small throw-away baking dishes:

The middle row of drawers house my napkins (paper and cloth), place mats, table runners and table cloths:

And the bottom row of drawers have a small set of china that belonged to my grandma as well as extra candles for the pyromaniac side of me:

Seriously, this dresser is my current favorite thing in my house. I'm sure that will be quickly replaced by whatever the next project is, but I'm going to live it up while I can.

Things I learned through this project:

  • Refinishing furniture is significantly different than any other craft project I have done while remarkably the same (if that's possible)
  • I am far from patient, especially when it comes to the amount of time it takes paint to dry
  • I should probably really look at the project before I begin to know what I'm really dealing with (until I began rolling the drawers, I could have sworn they were entirely flat)
  • I much prefer a revamped piece of furniture over a brand new piece of furniture any day. This little lady loves herself some character.
There you have it, a totally revamped buffet. Maybe I can use it to serve food when I knock #5 off my list.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm Back!

I've obviously been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. This is absolutely to blame.

Buy a house and you will quickly realize that anything you had planned to do will quickly change. I am still absolutely loving the whole "I own a house of my own" life, but it has definitely thrown my "30 Before 30" list a bit off schedule.

I have been able to do a few things, though.

Inspired by this post, I created this piece of artwork made from old book covers. This 5'x5' piece of artwork is one of my favorites, both in appearance and cost. Due to a free book offering in the CCU library, a piece of extra plywood I found in my basement, and a $5 bottle of Gorilla Glue, this piece is a great way to add a splash of color to my bedroom.

Thanks to this crazy little website called Pinterest, I found a great use for some old doors that were left behind in my basement (When the previous owners were updating the house, they replaced all of the interior doors. The original doors were left behind in the basement and I have been dying to find ways to incorporate them into the house). The wreath above the bed is made from a Styrofoam ball, extra yarn from another project, and the pages of a couple of those books from the picture above. I have plans to recover the lamp shades to provide more contrast between the lamps and the doors and to switch out the pictures in those frames. My mom is also working on a new quilt for my bed, and I'm chomping at the bit for it.

I adore family furniture pieces and my dining room table is no exception. The table and chairs belonged to my dad's parents and it is beautiful. The chairs, however, were quite dated thanks to the child-friendly, gold  pleather cushions. Armed with a staple gun and a screwdriver, these dated chairs got a makeover with some charcoal gray fabric with a small golden yellow design. They are perfect in my gray dining room just off my soon-to-be yellow kitchen.

To say I'm obsessed with chevron feels like the understatement of the century. With a few 30 cent tiles from Home Depot (which is quickly rising to the top of my list of favorite stores) and some paint that I already had on hand, these tile coasters are a great addition to a red, white and gray living room. Felt pads underneath the tiles protect the furniture from being scratched. But I love this little chevron touches around the room.

And, in typical Beth fashion, I've been crocheting up a storm. You'll notice that chevron has even made it's way into my favorite hobby. Crocheting has always been a favorite way to pass time and keep my hands busy while sitting on the couch. And, thanks to an incredible teacher (three cheers for Belinda!), I'm always learning new ways to grow and protect my craft.

So, as you can see, my blogging absence has been thanks to a very cute house that requires much of my time.

Don't worry, I have a couple new projects on their way to the bloggity blog for you. Two more goals knocked off this list. Details soon!