Friday, December 30, 2011

Virtually Free Pillow!

So I've mentioned many times that we are basically on a pennies budget for redoing this old house. Everything I do to this house must be done with as little money as possible. Now, I do not know if part of this technique has already been used out there in blog land, but I think I came up with something brilliant (I'm sure I'm not the first though). So we really need some throw pillows for our couch and the chair I am in the process of reupholstering but even if I buy the most inexpensive, they seem to be at least $10 or more and the cheap ones generally don't go with my style. I saw a few different pillow covers I wanted to try that I saw floating around in blog world but I didn't have any pillows to cover. Then it hit me, my 3 year old son has an old pillow he refuses to use since he got a few drops of blood on it during a bloody nose episode. I was just going to chuck it......but wait, what if I cut it in half??? I would have two rectangular pillows that I could cover for my couch or chair. So last night after the boys were fast asleep, I cut the old pillow in half, made a quick pillow cover, flipped it inside out and sewed some strategic pinches to give it the gathered look. The best part is that this pillow was virtually free because I used scrap fabric. But it got me excited because I can buy these bed pillows really cheap ($3.50 at Walmart) and my Walmart also has a fabric section, with TONS of solid colors for only $1.50 a yard, I can make 2 pillows for under $10 give or take a little depending on how crazy I get with the fabric!! This really makes me happy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Next Project

So having two birthdays, and Christmas has kept me busy so I have put the house stuff on hold. I also have this thing about the cold, I DONT LIKE IT! I find it really hard to motivate myself when it is so gray, gloomy, and cold. I have so much to do, but it requires working out in the unheated garage so for now, it will stay undone, unless someone can light a fire under me (ooooh that would be warm)!! Well I found a project that I can do inside and it is going to be virtually free!! It's great. When we moved here, the previous owner left a handful of chairs, so I am going to refinish this one...........

(Sad, look how empty my house is I can't wait until I can furnish and decorate it, but it takes time, when you have to refinish every piece because you got it free from craigslist or the side of the curb, so far the most expensive thing I've purchased was an $80 bench for my kitchen nook)

Yay, I am so excited, actually I am probably already half way done with her and she is a beauty! The chair was free, the paint was already on hand and I got the fabric for $3 and the trim for $5 so when all is said and done this chair will be refinished for under $10....I LOVE IT!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Birthday Cake Time

So I had to take a break from all the house stuff because my little guys keep growing and having birthdays, dang it!!!! Why can't they just stay little and innocent forever?? Well, I have this thing where I HAVE to MAKE their birthday cakes instead of buying them, and EVERY year I ask myself WHY????? I don't think that cake decorating comes naturally to me because I am not an extremely patient or detail oriented person and I think you need to be both to be a great cake decorator. Well none the less, I decided to keep with tradition and make their cakes (but this time I did them on the same day so they could have a combined party. My 3 year old's birthday was mid November, and my other little guy turns 5 in mid December). For now I don't think I'll do a detailed tutorial, because I am still in burnout mode but I will give the basic steps of each cake.
First the Angry Birds Cake, this one was actually quite simple, just a little time consuming. I made about 5 or 6 batches of marshmallow fondant (to use for both cakes, it's always better to have too much than too little) I then separated the fondant and made all the different colors I would be needing, then I went to town playing with the fondant like it was playdough and just had fun with it.

Ok my boys probably wouldn't say that I had fun with it because I get a bit stressed and was pretty grouchy when they tried to play with everything I made. Once I finished all the fondant birds and pigs I covered them and started working on the Lightning McQueen Cake, I stacked the previously baked and frozen cakes (layer of frosting in between to hold them together) and then attempted to carve the cake into the shape of Lightning McQueen, using a couple of my sons cars as a model.

I say attempt because the boys were really up in my business at this time trying to "help" I was so stressed out that mommy the "grouch" kept coming out. At this point I decided to put it back in the freezer and wait til the boys went to bed. Once the coast was clear and I could work in peace and that is what I did, I finished carving the cake, frosting it

and putting on the red fondant, then I added chocolate donuts for the wheels and decorated the cake board and called it a night.

The next morning I assembled the Angry Birds onto a cake.

Don't let me fool you by making this sound simple, it was not and thats why I still don't have energy for a full tutorial but the boys were so happy and loved their cakes and had a great party (except they missed their grandmas and cousins....sad)! Here are a few pics of the other cakes I have done for their other birthdays over the years!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Having Fun With Paint

So I REALLY like Mercury Glass but I can't afford it, so I thought I would have some fun playing around with some paint to get the same look for cheap!! I found plenty of different ideas on different blogs, and it seems that everyone was using Looking Glass paint on the inside of a vase or candle stick, so I did the same, after 5 coats had dried, I sprayed a little vinegar and water solution on the paint, took a cotton ball and dabbed to remove a little of the paint. I wasn't super happy with the look, I thought it was too 1 dimensional so I took some copper metallic acrylic paint, added a tiny bit of water and swirled it around the inside and let it dry, this is what I ended up with, and I do like it a lot.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Table Redo with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations

Ok so this took me a while to do and post about, because this house is one big project, and I find that I work on what my 3 little boys will let me work on each day, so sometimes I'm working on the floor or table because they are otherwise occupied and they don't care what I am doing (during the baby's nap) or sometimes they need me to be by them so I work on little projects I can do in the toy room or tv room and still be near them. This table didn't turn out as I had hoped, but it will do and I think once my walls aren't bare it will all come together.
So I started with this very boring table that we have had for years, I wanted to stain it a beautiful dark mahogany, I thought it would be a breeze because I have worked with this stain on furniture before, and I love how it turns out.

So I started off deglossing the whole table and then sanded it down really good. I filled the ugly cracks and blemishes with wood filler then sanded it down one more time, I used a Minwax wood conditioner over the whole table because I really wanted a uniform look. Then it was time to stain. Staining can be messy, but in general it is pretty darn easy......apply, wait 5-15 minutes, then wipe off. WELL.......This time it wasn't so easy, it was a big FAT FAIL!!! The wood stained so terribly blotchy that there was no way to fix it, and believe me I tried anyway, I tried to do a few more coats, I tried to add more stain to only the light splotchy areas, I even tried to blend it all together by using a glaze, NOTHING!!

It just seemed to get worse. I realized that I was going to have to paint, then I got a bright idea.......My husband HATES the look of painted cabinets and I've been wanting to redo our cabinets (imagine ugly brown that has been worn down and scratched and the previous owner tried to hide the wear and scratches with a mismatched reddish brown marker) but we don't have money to buy new and he wont paint, so we as of now they stay ugly.... So (back to my bright idea) I decided that I would try the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations on my table so my husband could see that painted wood is not as bad as he thinks...
So following the instructions for redoing cabinets, I went to town on my table.
The end result in my opinion was only OK I guess I was expecting a richer color and more depth once I put the glaze on. Oh well, it will work for now. (click here for tutorial on Upholstered Chairs)

I had a ton of the cabinet transformation paint left over from my table so I thought I might as well keep going... This time I tried it on an actual cabinet, our bathroom vanity needs to be replaced but we don't have the $$$ right now so why not transform it right??? Well I am so glad I did because I think it turned out much better than the table did. Maybe that is why it is called "Cabinet Transformations" and not "Table Transformations" (sorry about the messy picture, I wasn't planning on this being a before pic)

I think I may have gotten a little closer to convincing my husband that painting the old cabinets wont turn out so awful after all.

Thursday, October 27, 2011



I know I know people say wallpaper is back in style, and I don't doubt it, I actually really love the look of some of the new wallpaper, however, I am posting about old wallpaper that has been up for over 20 years and painted over at least 10 years, what a NIGHTMARE!!! I haven't posted any new tutorials for a long time, because I have spent all my "work time" on these dumb walls. It took me 4 days to remove painted over wallpaper from a small wall behind my door.

Believe me, I tried everything, scoring the paper, using vinegar, DIFF, and I even tried to thin the paint and scrape it off before trying to take the paper off. I did not try to steam it off because of the paint barrier, and I didn't try to use Downy because in my experience with wallpaper (yes I have de-wallpapered an entire house before) Downy doesn't work any better than vinegar. After getting the wallpaper off a quarter size at a time, my walls were absolutely destroyed!!! I wanted to cry, I thought I would just wallpaper over it but my husband hasn't jumped on the new wallpaper band wagon yet ( I might be able to get away with an accent wall or something), so I was either going to have to fix the walls by myself and then be satisfied with visible flaws (because there was no way to get it all patched and looking smooth) or get new drywall. Well remember we are working with an extremely tight budget so getting new drywall was out of the question. I made my way over to the ONLY wallpaper store I have been able to find in the Columbus area to find some wallpaper my husband would be okay with......I found out the store was going out of business in a few weeks so everything was on sale. The problem was I quickly found out why they are going out of business, the only wallpaper they had looked like the wallpaper I was tearing down or wall paper I could find at my grandmother's house, it was terrible!!! I was super bummed and felt defeated, the sales lady was really working hard to sale something to me so just as I was about to leave she said, "Well why don't you line your walls and start fresh??""!!!!!!!! I did a 180!!! I had never heard of liner but after she explained it to me I was sold!!! So i lightly patched and sanded all the flaws in my walls, then I hung the wall liner just like wallpaper. Now the instructions did not say to do this, but i put 2 or 3 layers of spakling over the seam and then sanded it down!!

I was in love before I even painted the wall, it already looked so much better, so smooth, so clean!!! I then used a latex paint with primer over the liner, I still had to do 3 coats, because the liner soaks the paint in differently than my other walls. The only problem I have now is that this is an old house, now the lined walls look cleaner, crisper, and better than the walls I didn't line, I have an itch to do all the walls in the house, but luckily we are walking on subfloors right now, so I am distracted by other projects!!!

The first 2 pictures on this post are of the walls in my bathroom and the nook in my kitchen, the AFTER pics are still to come because we are still working on those areas!!!

shabby creek cottage

Monday, October 3, 2011

How To Install Floating/Laminate Floors Yourself!!!

Ok so I don't think that any home improvement DIY-er should EVER hire someone to put in their floating/Laminate floors (unless they really don't want to try doing themselves to save time) because it really is very simple. My husband and I were pretty intimidated at first, it just seemed like a really big project and neither of us had ever done anything like it before. Luckily we have made a new awesome friend who has installed them before and he came over to get us started, and lent us his tools and showed us the ropes. We got these super cool dark planks for only $1.10 sq/ft and then had to purchase the foam that goes under it which was only $20 bucks. We were able to do 400 sq/ft for under $600 (that includes tax and extra planks we purchased just incase we need them in the future, we got such a good deal because this was a closeout item).

Ok first off you need the right tools you'll need to buy or borrow a tapping block, a pulling bar, and a table saw. You will also need a hammer and a pencil and that is it!!

The first thing you want to do before starting, is decide what kind of pattern you want your floor to create, there is more thought into this than I had originally realized because you don't want the seams to be too close together but you probably don't want it to look like a brick wall either. First you put your foam down according to the instructions on the packaging. Then you place your first plank in your starting room corner the first couple rows are the hardest because they don't have support of other planks to hold them in place, so this is where having a second person comes in handy, have them stand or kneel on that first plank while you connect the second plank, by matching the tongue and groove and then hammering it into place with a tapping block and hammer

continue this for your first row, now with your second row, you will want to cut your first plank so it is not the same length as your starting plank (this will start your pattern) and continue matching your tongue and groove, this second row still may need someone holding the other planks in tightly, and periodically you should check your seams to make sure none of them have loosened while placing new planks. The second row you will have to not only match the top of the tongue and groove but also the side, so you want to match the top first, get it in there nice and tight and then do a little wiggle giggle and shake to get that side matched up. Then tighten it with your tapping block, continue your second and subsequent rows, when you get to the end of the row, you will want to measure, mark and cut your piece with a table saw and if you have trouble getting the piece in that is where the pulling bar is needed.

Really it is just that simple, it takes time and patience, sometimes you make mistakes with the cuts but thats ok make sure you have a few extra planks. After doing this only one time, I feel confident enough to be able to do it again and again and help others too, I think everyone who is trying to save money should do this themselves, getting these installed from Home Depot or Lowes would have cost us about $4 or more a sq/ft and we got it for $1.10. We saved ourselves over $1000 dollars YAY!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My First Tutorial: Upholstering a Dining Chair For As Little $$$ As Possible

Ok so please be patient with me this is my first tutorial, and I wanted to be really thorough but with only having my phone for pictures and taking care of my 3 crazy rug-rats, I didn't get a picture of everything I wanted to, but don't worry this is a tutorial on how to upholster a non upholstered dining chair, which means I still have more chairs to do so I will be able to add some more pictures and tweak this tutorial with the next chair.

So I started with this lovely rustic looking dinette set that my husband and I have had since we got married, we haven't ever really used it because we haven't lived in a house with a dining room yet. Yay for houses with dining rooms!!! Anyhow, we got this set from my sister who had it for about 5 years before us, so it is old, and my husband HATES it, it is extremely uncomfortable, they have to be the hardest chairs I have ever sat in...... So I decided they needed updating, and since playing with furniture is my favorite DIY project (so far) I got excited for this...

First, I lightly sanded and primed all the chairs (no pic but thats pretty self explanatory right?), then I painted them with Rust-O-Leum Heirloom White (a color I found through blogging a lot of you out there use it, cause it is awesome and not stark white) I painted them with a small foam roller, I am new to this DIY stuff so a lot of you out there have probably used these before but this was my first time, and I am in LOVE they work so much better than rollers with nap, they leave a much cleaner finish!!

Ok so after the paint was dry, I was going to put a polyurethane finish on them but I am not certain that I am quite done with them yet because I might sand down the edges and do a dark glaze on the edges so I am waiting until I decide and I don't think I will decide until the table is done, so I can get a feel for how it will all come together. So the next step was to do something about those hard seats. I have REupholstered chairs but never upholstered something that wasn't originally made to be upholstered. With this seat, it hangs over just a bit from the base of the chair, so I needed to fill it, I simply used a hot glue gun and some poly-fill to do the trick.

I also added some poly-fill all over the top of the chair too (no pic) to add a little extra cushion. Then it was time for the foam. I cut the foam bigger than the actual seat because it needs to be tucked under and stapled, once you cut it out, place it on the seat and cut slits for the back part of the chair, make sure the foam covers the entire top of the seat with about 1/2 inch extra to spare on all sides except for the back (no foam need on the back).

Using a staple gun, staple the foam to the bottom of the lip, start by pulling tight and putting a staple in the very center of the front of the seat then pull tight on the opposite side (back) and put a staple in the center (my chair was a little different because the back didn't have a center, but this is how you upholster any other seat), next pull tight and staple the center of one of the sides, then pull tight and do the same to the opposite side (the key to upholstering is making sure everything is nice and tight) Next choose a center staple and use it as a starting point and start stapling from the middle out, continue on all four sides.

Next you want to put dacron on the same way you did the foam (I actually didn't use dacron because we are so stinking poor, I found some cheap stretchy thin felt like material at Wal-Mart on clearance for 1.75/yd) but this time going all the way under the base of the chair, the reason for this step is to smooth out the edges of the foam and the transition from foam to poly-fill on the base (I think this step may have been unnecessary in my case because my fabric is so thick, but I didn't want to take chances)

Now you are ready to put your fabric on (I got this fabric on clearance at Wal-Mart for 2.49/yd), and you do this the exact same way you put the dacron on, make sure you continue to pull tight with every staple you put in. Two parts of this tutorial that I wish I had pictures for are the corners, and how to cut for the back part of the chair, hopefully I can get pictures of those with the next chairs. To cut your fabric around the rungs of your chair cut a slit in the fabric that lines up exactly with the middle of the rung (picture to come later) then pull the fabric tight around the rung and staple (picture to come). The corners of an upholstered chair aren't as hard as they seem, and you really just need to play with them until you find the look you want (as far as where you want the pleats) I just fold them like the corner of a present.

Now you are done, you just need to clean up the edges and hide the staples with some gimp.

Putting gimp on is my favorite part because it is so easy, and it brings the whole thing together, it makes it look so nice and you can have fun with colors and styles. Now I bought this gimp at Jo-Ann's for 2.99/yd (each of my chairs need 2 yards) which for me is really pricey, and I didn't especially love their selection, so if I find something cheaper and better I may redo the gimp (remember, I am trying to do this for as little money as possible). UPDATE!!! I FOUND A MUCH BETTER PLACE TO GET THE GIMP, SAME GIMP BUT FOR 1.95 AT FABRIC FARMS PLUS A SALE OF 15% OFF, SO I GOT IT FOR ABOUT 1.65, SWEET!!!!! WAY BETTER IT LOOKS LIKE I FOUND MY GO TO PLACE AT FABRIC FARMS YOU CAN FIND THEM ONLINE, I'M LUCKY THEY ARE JUST DOWN THE STREET FROM ME!! All you need to apply gimp is a pair of scissors and a hot glue gun and go to town glueing the gimp on over the staples and raw edges around the legs and rungs of your chair.

A few little spots where the paint was scratched off because my kiddos got to them before they were dry, no worries nothing that can't be touched up right??

Ok so here is my break down for upholstering and refinishing 5 chairs (some how we lost a chair in our 6 moves in the last 5 years)

Poly-fill (one bag goes a long way)........$4
Smoothing Fabric (not Dacron)..............$7
Upholstery Fabric..................................$10

Total.....................................................$69 for 5 new looking chairs with character!!!

Ok so there could be more expenses if you count the polyurethane and primer that I already had from other projects, and the paint roller, and the glue sticks, but these are things I have on hand.

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