The Royal Couple

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So not technically the royal couple. But they sure are cute. About a year ago I sold this cute little coffee table to a really cool chick.

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She recently contacted me about purchasing some end tables for her bonus room (she is doing a “world-traveled”/maps theme and I think it is going to be so cool) I sent her some pictures of what I had and we decided on these basic black beauties.

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After some discussion I found out that her husband is from the UK. Ummm, hello I just rocked a Union Jack dresser! so we agreed on a cute little map table and a Union Jack. (There really wasn’t much discussion, we were pretty much on the same page…she totally gets me)
I started googling images of vintage maps and I found a really cool one of France divided into kingdoms. I sent it to my local UPS store for a large print. They are super fast and super cool and pretty reasonably priced. I ordered a 20″x25″ print on heavy duty, thick paper and it cost around eighteen dollars. While it was printing I sanded down the top of the piece where the map would be. I wanted a smooth clean surface for it to stick to. I left the paint on the rest because it was smooth and I wanted it to show up underneath when I distressed it. I mixed up a pretty blue-green chalk paint and went to work painting and distressing, then I put on a coat of clear wax followed by my homemade dark wax.

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20130729-152417.jpg When the print came in I lightly coated the back of the map with a spray adhesive and placed it on top of the table, smoothing out any air bubbles. I let that sit for a day before I applied two coats of mod-podge to the top. When you use mod-podge the paper can stretch and expand, so I trimmed off the edges with a box knife.

20130729-153012.jpg After it dried I applied a coat of dark wax to the top to age it a bit. Frenchie is quite a knock out!

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Jack is a looker too. I really had fun painting this piece and going literal on the flag. I started out lightly sanding and priming the whole table then I mixed up a light navy chalk paint for the base of the top and for the drawer.

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20130729-153606.jpg I applied a clear wax (Minwax finishing paste) before I taped off the pattern to make sure the paint wouldn’t peel off with the tape. Ok the taping is really hard to explain so I have lots of pictures! I started by measuring the overall stripes. (The big ones where I was going to paint the white.)

20130729-155416.jpg I made them about 5″ wide. Then I used my box knife and ruler to cut off the excess tape to leave the pattern to be painted white.

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20130729-155735.jpg Then I taped off for the red stripes. Where I put the tape would be where the white would stay.

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20130729-160113.jpg Cool, except it looked a little weird. So I did some more research and realized that the diagonal stripes were smaller in width than the others. So I decided to shave an inch off of them by taping near the edges and painting over them in navy again.

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20130729-160531.jpg Much better. it’s important to know that after each color I painted, I lightly sanded and added a clear coat of wax to keep the paint from peeling off. I painted the body of the table in my white chalk paint then I distressed the whole piece (really heavily on the top) before applying two coats of dark wax and adding the cool rope-like drawer pulls.

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20130729-161318.jpg Frenchie and Jack make a great couple!

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An American Dresser in London

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I’ve been wanting to paint a flag on a dresser for awhile so when my friend told me she had this cute little dresser to get rid of, I jumped on it.

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It’s drawers were flat and perfect for taping. $20 dollars and a trip across town and I was ready to start. I mixed up a cream chalk paint and put on two coats.

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I had to use a smal brush to get in those deep square crevices of the trim.

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Once it dried, I lightly sanded and distressed. Then I put on a coat of wax so the tape wouldn’t pull the paint off when removed.

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I knew I wanted to do a version of a flag. I didn’t want it to be too literal or too in-your-face so I decided on The Swiss flag in a neutral taupe. I taped the cross to the upper left corner of the dresser and painted in between.

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When I pulled the tape off, I had this…

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Eh, maybe it will look better after wax and with the pulls back on.

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Nope. Okay so lets jazz it up. How about a Union Jack… So I taped off some more stripes, varying in size but not too literal to the flag and painted those.

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Better, but it needs something else.

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So I went to bed around 3:30 am (I told you I like to finish things fast) The next day I decided to “stain” the top. I taped off under the ledge and used Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut. The gel stain is so easy to use because its thicker than regular stain and doesn’t run everywhere. I just brush it on like paint until I get the depth I want.

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Much, much better.

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I decided to line the drawers with some left over Kraft paper/wrapping paper I had.

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There he is (it’s a boy this time) in all his glory. I really like the way Union Jack turned out.

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Cutting Corners

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So…I have a touch of ADD, I lose interest fast! When I start a project, I like to finish it that day or it takes an act of God (or paying customer) to get me motivated again. This is why I have 3 unfinished projects in my garage and a half-painted craft room. When I decided to tackle this buffet today, I knew I had to work fast or this diamond in the rough would be sitting in my dads shop, half primed and looking sad for maybe a year. Thank you, Mom, for taking the boys all day so I could get this done!
I started prepping this piece before I realized I hadn’t taken a “before” picture. So this is what I got but you get the idea.

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Since I was trying to fit this into one day, I decided to go with spray paint, the cheaters paint. I used my new fave, Rustoleum Ultra Cover in a flat, white finish. It primes and covers quick! (First corner cut) AND its only $3.77 at Wal-Mart.

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I taped off the top of the buffet and after 3 cans of paint (I knew I should have bought 4) this is what I had.

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Eh, a little sparse in some areas but I didn’t have time to mess with Wal-Mart again so I convinced myself that the variance in coverage would only add to the aged look I was going for. (Corner cut? Check!)
Time to wax, and since I was impatient and didn’t wait long enough after painting and there were some sparse areas, some of the paint rubbed off when I was using my newly discovered DIY dark wax. But guess what… I liked it! It looked like I had done some distressing, but I didn’t. (If you’re keeping track, that is the 3rd corner that has been cut)

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So I kept waxing and I ran out of wax right here…

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Yeah, a drawer and a half left. So I ran home, made some more and popped it in the freezer to speed up the cooling. While my wax was setting up I rushed to Hobby Lobby to grab a knob for the door since it was missing its pull. By the way, knobs and pulls are no longer ALWAYS half off at HL anymore. According to sales clerk, Jonathon, they are now going to be on sale when the wood products go on sale because that makes sense. Luckily, I always use the 40% off coupon on my phone. (I guess going to HL while the wax was setting could be considered cutting a corner but for arguments sake lets just call it good time management)
I returned with my knob and my wax and finished that step (3 steps in one really- waxing, antiquing and distressing- not to toot my own horn or anything) I peeled off the tape and realized that I liked the color of the top with the body of the piece so I did not “stain” the top like I had originally intended. (You guessed it-cut corner) I attached all of the pulls and my one lonely knob and she was done! And she was beautiful, cornerless and all.

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DIY Dark Wax

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Sometimes, in the evening, after the sun goes down, I get an idea or an itch to do something I’ve wanted to do. Then I stay up until midnight or later working on it (inside, and the hubs hates it). So tonight after watching Franklin and Bash (I LOVE that show) I decided to try making my own dark wax.
Lazy Julie has been saying for some time now “Why wax the furniture and then glaze it? That’s an extra step! You could just buy some Annie Sloan Dark Wax and cut your time.” Then cheap Julie says “Heck no! That stuff is expensive!” So I made them compromise and I made my own dark wax thanks to the tutorial from “Saving for Six”
I scooped out some of my trusty Minwax.

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Then I added some “burnt umber” oil paint.

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Got out an old pot, boiled some water and melted it, stirring it occasionally.

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While the wax was drying I started painting this baby that I found at a garage sale yesterday for five dollars! She’s got such great detail, I thought she’d be perfect for my dark wax experiment.

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I mixed up a beautiful buttercream chalk paint and put 2 coats on her. I didn’t really try too hard to get the paint in all of the crevices, that’s a lot of work and hey, I was going to wax it to cover those areas anyway right?

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By this time, my wax had dried ( I stuck my finger in it while it was drying because I’m impatient and wanted to try it out before it was ready)

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Once my table dried (or maybe once it was almost dry) I started waxing it, using a t-shirt rag.

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This was so much easier than glazing! And I just love the way it turned out.

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Dresser Set Do-over

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I found this cheap dresser set at a garage sale and I mean CHEAP! Thirty dollars to be exact.

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They needed some TLC but they had awesome potential.
After convincing the hubby to pick them up for me, I got to work. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. I left them white overall (hey, the less work on my end, the better). I used my “staining” technique on the tops. I taped off the edges of the drawers leaving the faces exposed, mixed up my trusty taupe color into a chalk paint (chalk paint tutorial ) and brushed it on the drawer faces. I let it dry 30 minutes before lightly sanding and coating with Minwax finishing paste.

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Now these babies were ready for glaze. I normally like to mix my own antiquing glaze with a glazing medium and color of my choice but for this project I used Valspar Antiquing Glaze. It’s a little thicker and pretty easy to use but it is very dark so be careful! I painted it on each piece a couple square feet at a time, making sure to get it in all of the crevices. Then I wiped it of with a slightly damp rag.

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After securing the knobs and pulls, I decided to give them a little pop! I had some really thick wrapping paper from Hobby Lobby that I cut to fit the inside of the drawers for lining.

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It just gives them a little something extra. They sold in two days! I think I’ll be lining all of my drawers from now on.

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Nautical Striped Coffee Table

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I had been redoing a lot of coffee tables and I really wanted to do something different. I searched through Pinterest for hours and couldn’t really find anything. I thought about doing another chevron pattern, it’s really popular and usually sells fast but it just didn’t seem to go with the style of this Queen Anne inspired piece. Plus I didn’t want to measure it.
That’s when my laziness worked to my advantage. I decided to do an easy striped top. No measuring involved, I wanted the stripes to be different sizes. I picked out a cream and a navy paint, mixed it with my un-sanded grout to get the thick coverage and soft look of chalk paint. (You can find a great tutorial on making your own chalk paint here )
After painting the legs cream I went to taping off my stripes. I did it very randomly. I knew I wanted some of the wood grain to be in the mix so wherever I put my tape would be the wood stripe. I alternated the navy and cream and let it dry for about an hour (chalk paint dries really fast).
I pulled off the tape and lightly sanded the entire piece until it felt smooth.

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Then I started distressing with my sanding block, just making it look well-loved. I topped it off with two coats of Minwax finishing paste and she was done ( I don’t know why all my pieces are girls, probably because every girl deserves a makeover). I’m pretty smitten with Nautical Nancy.

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Beautiful Chevron Buffet

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So I intended to start this blog 2 years ago, and today is the day! Bare with me as I start this new journey. Over the past 2 years there have been many DIY projects that I wanted to share so I’m going to try to recall how they got accomplished and add them as I can.
Lets start this with a more recent project. My sister and I were in love with this dresser on Pinterest

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She really wanted one like it for her nursery to use as a changing table. The trick with this type of chevron is finding a dresser with drawers that are completely flat and level on the surface. I found this little gem on Craigslist for $30.

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Ok i actually paid $40, because I was supposed to buy a $10 table from the seller also, but it was gross and i didn’t have room for it and after having a “Silence of the Lambs” moment in this weird neighborhood (seriously the neighbors had crazy signs about the death of innocent children and I was thinking “these people are going to wear my skin”), I thought it best to pay for the table and never come back to get it. Besides, even $40 is a steal for a solid wood buffet. Ugly? Yes! But she has all the right lines for the look I wanted.
So I ran into a LOT of problems with this piece, she quickly became my nemesis. I was being lazy, as I often am and decided to just sand down some imperfections in some areas instead of the whole thing and I didn’t prime, big mistake! Paint was peeling and I had to use a lot more spray paint than I originally intended.
I started out by “staining” the top of the piece. I say staining but i really just paint on layers of 2 different stains until i get a wood grain look in a color i liked. Then i laid out all of the drawers that I was going to do the chevron pattern on together ( I also did a striped pattern on the middle drawers) Taping chevron is tricky! I measured the whole length and width of the drawers together, then divided it by 5 inches (the measurements weren’t even so it was more like 4.75″) then, in chalk, I marked a grid. That makes it easier to tape off. I will post an in-depth tutorial on painting the pattern when I do my next chevron project. Until then I will give you the tutorial that I used, Amanda Brook has a great video how to make a chevron pattern
Ok, so after taping the pattern, I spray painted the entire dresser in an off-white color, when I took the tape off, I was left with this.

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So now that I’ve got the pattern it’s a lot easier to tape off again to paint the other color. I thought I wanted to do a light gray, but it turned out very lilac.

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That might be great for a little girls room but it was not what I was going for. So I thought antiquing it might change the color. It did…

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I just wasn’t loving it though, so I taped it off again and went with a taupe. Loved it, antiqued it, then realized I needed knobs. The dresser had pre drilled holes for a pull with a 3/4″ center-to-center. They don’t make those anymore, don’t even try to look for them. But seeing as how I had painted this thing more than I wanted to already, I didn’t want to fill the holes, drill a new one and paint and antique it again (you see how lazy I am?) so I ordered knobs off of amazon that had a backplate big enough to cover the existing holes. I had my husband drill new holes in the center of the existing ones and I added the knobs.

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I used 2 coats of Minwax finishing paste to protect it and voila!

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I thinks she’s pretty awesome! And she’s the perfect project for my first blog. 🙂