Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}


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Fully Functional

What’s better than a great piece of art? A functional piece of art.

Behold:

These long necklaces have been living in a drawer of my vanity getting twisted and tangled for the past few years. A typical day in my life: I’m running out the door late for work/church/life and I realize that the one last thing my outfit needs is a necklace. The worst thing is opening that drawer and having to untangle a knot that only a Boy Scout (or unorganized drawer) could produce. Time for a solution!

I found this awesome old frame at an antique store in Santa Cruz and picked up the cup-hooks at our local Ace Hardware. This was probably one of the easiest art projects I have ever done! I evenly spaced the hooks on the inside of the frame and was able to screw them in by hand (this frame came without glass). I considered spray painting the gold hooks an oil rubbed bronze color, but decided against it because, (a) I wanted to get the thing on my wall ASAP (aka impatience), (b) you don’t really see much of the hook because it is nestled up inside of the frame & (c) the gold actually goes well with the weathered look of the frame. Lets just be honest, my decision was mostly based on reason (a) above. Oh well.

The necklace frame currently lives behind our bedroom door, right next to our bathroom. I just love the way it looks!

Budget Breakdown:

  • Antique Frame: $5
  • 5/8″ Cup Hooks (set of 5): $2ish
  • Total: $7

Oh! In the above pictures you’ll notice that our bedroom walls are a lovely grey color with crisp white trim and ceiling. If you’ve ever been to our house, you’ll remember that those walls used to be a pea/moss/baby poo color and the trim/ceiling an odd off-white. In other words, gross. We spent a weekend painting back in October (during my blogging hiatus) and boy, oh boy…the tables have turned! Our bedroom is now one of my favorite rooms in our home! We’ve done some other projects in this room too (curtains, new pillows, frame wall, etc.) that will be shared in a not-too-far-in-the-future post :)

Hope this project inspires you to create something that is not only lovely to look at, but fully functional too!

Feeling Useful,
Mrs. Edwards


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Free Turned Fab

Before Josh and I got married, neither of us had much to offer in the furniture department. I had a bed, a desk and a dining set. Josh had a desk, a camping chair and not much else in the way of home furnishings. We were super blessed by friends who let us use their furniture while they were out of the country (yay Kit!) or while they were living in furnished staff housing (yay Callan!). For about a year, we were able to use these items ( a couch, chair and dresser), all the while knowing that at some point we would need to become adults and buy our own furniture. Well, that point came just a couple of weeks ago and I needed to find a dresser ASAP. This is where Abbott’s Thrift Store comes in. This place is quickly becoming my favorite place ever! Some friends of mine (hi Megan and Jean! :) ) were taking a trip to Abbott’s so I asked them to see if they had any inexpensive dressers. Megan texted me 3 or 4 pictures of different items, but none of them seemed to catch my eye- and their price tags didn’t either. And then, she sent a picture of this beauty:

A little rough, right? Looks like it was teleported from the 70’s, right? Looks like it’s been neglected, right?

FREE! My heart did a little pitter patter when Megan told me it was free. Ahh…a match made in thrifting heaven.

Admittedly, this thing was kind of gross. THICK lacquer, missing hardware, random stickers, mis-matched drawers, thrift-store-smelly drawer liners. Gross…but free.

Along with all of the visible stuff, there was quite a bit of damage to the guts of the dresser. Most of the bottoms of the drawers had moisture damage and were bowed and/or falling out. Along with that, the drawer rails and tracks were loose or missing completely. We definitely had our work cut out for us! Thankfully, Josh was up for the challenge! :)

Josh took charge of fixing the mechanics of the piece while I was in charge of the appearance. First, he started by fixing the loose rails by nailing, gluing and clamping them back in place:

If you notice in the pictures above, the center top drawer doesn’t match the others whatsoever. We think the original might have gotten damaged so the previous owner replaced it with something that was similar. It was super wonky so we put our thinking caps on to figure out what to do. I can’t remember where I’ve seen it done before, but my idea was to take the drawer out completely, build a shelf to replace it and place a basket or two for storage in the space. Josh happily obliged and built one out for me using some leftover wood from our bathroom shelf (seen over here)!

After he finished that up, he went and bought a $10 sheet of 1/8″ mahogany plywood to replace the bottoms of the drawers. A friend and co-worker gave Josh great a tip on how to make the drawer bottoms extra sturdy: make sure that the grain of the wood runs perpendicular in the bottom of the drawer (basically, make sure it runs left to right, not front to back in the bottom drawer.) This adds extra strength and will help the replacement bottoms last even longer!

After the bottoms were replaced, J replaced the drawer tracks as well. He was able to use some scrap wood and used a table saw to do a dado cut (don’t worry, I had no idea what that was either).

Because the lacquer was so thick, we thought we might need to strip it off. Oh BTW, Josh had some funny interactions while asking the clerks at the local hardware store, “Where do you keep your strippers?”…haha, oh husband. We found that the stripper didn’t do much to the finish, so we resorted to sanding the whole thing. It took some time and made a bit of a mess, but in the end did the trick.

After we finished our sanding adventure, it was time to paint! I did quite a bit of research on how to best paint over a sanded lacquer finish. Turns out, the best solution is to use an oil based primer and then a latex paint on top. We picked up a gallon of Kilz Oil Based Primer, Sealer and Stain Blocker (I just found out that they make an odorless version of this. I wish we had known that earlier!). This stuff REAKS. No matter how much ventilation we had, the smell was enough to knock you over. BUT, it covered well and that’s all that matters! Here’s my handsome hubby working away on priming the dresser:

For the finish color, I decided that I wanted to do a robin egg blue color with white hardware. I got my inspiration over here on Pinterest. P.S… my name is Terra and I’m addicted to Pinterest. For realsies, it’s bad. I cannot get enough of it! It is the best/worst distraction ever, but offers so much inspiration! Anyways…back to paint colors. We went with Eucalyptus Leaf by Behr from Home Depot. I loooove it! It’s calm and cheery at the same time. Too bad the dresser has to live in our closet…maybe someday in a future home it’ll be a featured piece. Here’s to dreaming! :)

For the hardware I wanted to keep our cost as inexpensive as possible, so I chose to keep the original brass drawer pulls and spray paint them. Spray paint is quickly becoming one of my favorite things ever! It is the quickest way to make something look new and is so affordable! We picked up some Rustoleum Universal White Gloss Paint & Primer in 1 at Home Depot for $6.50ish (not bad for paint and primer!). First off, I soaked and scrubbed the heck out of those drawer pulls! I soaked them in Dawn soap and warm water for 30ish minutes and attacked them with a Scotch-Brite pad. Boy, oh boy…those things were nasty! The top is after scrubbing and the bottom is before:

I learned a fun trick before I started spray-painting the pulls (thanks to the helpful interwebs): To reach all parts of the pull, wedge a toothpick in the hinge:

That trick saved so much time and potential messy screw ups!

If you’re going to try painting brass hardware, or any type of metal for that matter, make sure you do multiple light, even layers and be sure to keep your can moving the ENTIRE time you’re spraying to avoid drips (thanks hubby for the painting tips :) )

After I got the first coat on the drawer pulls, we pried open the can of Eucalyptus Leaf in semi-gloss and ahhh….so relaxing. We poured some of that soothing color into a paint tray and I got started on the drawer fronts!

I tried something new on this dresser; I used a small foam roller like this one from Home Depot. SUCH a good purchase! The density of the foam helped the paint go on in thin, smooth layers. Again, I cannot stress this enough…do multiple THIN coats to achieve the best finish!

Are you ready for some fantastically-amazing-blow-your-mind after photos? Ok!

Ta-da!!

(The color in these photos is a little more vivid than it is in real life because we shot them outside as the sun was going down. The closest to accurate color would be the last photo, the close up of the drawer.)

Pretty amazing, right? I’m super proud of our accomplishment and so happy to call this dresser mine! Again, Josh amazed me with his carpentry skills and is so helpful to me as I’m learning the ins and outs of painting and furniture re-dos. For a free dresser, this thing sure cleaned up nicely!

Budget breakdown:

  • Dresser: FREE! (from Abbott’s)
  • Mahogany plywood: $10
  • Wood for drawer tracks: Free (already owned)
  • Wood for drawer-turned-shelf: Free (already owned)
  • Kilz Oil Based Primer: $20
  • Rustoleum Paint and Primer in 1: $6.50
  • Behr Eucalyptus Leaf semi-gloss paint: $24
  • Ultra-dense foam mini roller: $5
  • Total: $65.50

Not bad, right?! We really only used about a quart of both the primer and paint, but we’ll count the entire gallon into the cost of this project. I still need to buy a few baskets for the shelf to hold scarves, jewelry, accessories, etc. But that’ll come later. Right now, I’m just giddy to have an awesome dresser holding my clothing! :)

Happily,
Mrs. Edwards



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For the Love of Thrift Stores & Spray Paint

A week or so ago, I took a trip to browse the aisles of Abbott’s Thrift store here in Felton, CA. This is a place of many gems, including an extremely eclectic staff and a resident cat. Yep, a real live cat that likes to sleep on the furniture that’s for sale. One of the most interesting things I found was this:

Awwwwwkward!

Anyways….Our living room is quite unique. The walls and ceiling are a dark, dark redwood and there are only two windows in the whole room. To some, it may evoke a sense of a homey cabin, but to me it’s more like a cave. To say the least, it’s a challenge to light and decorate. There is one overhead light and then we’ve attempted to add lamps around the room, but something was missing.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many DIY shows, but I had been itching to break out a can of spray paint. Right after I saw those awkward babies and said hello to the cat, I came across the gaudiest, brassiest lamp you’ve ever seen. Straight out of an 80’s hotel- including a nasty stained and disintegrating shade. BUT, it had a fantastic shape, the electrical worked, and I could see potential in it (as well as my reflection). I snatched that sucker up for a whopping price of $8.00! I figured that even if my attempt miserably failed, it was worth a try.

After a trip to Home Depot and the craft store, I was ready to start on my project! I chose a simple white satin Rust-Oleum spray paint and a fabric with a subtle floral print. When I got home, I realized that I didn’t think about priming the metal before I painted it. Whoops! Thankfully, the hubs had me covered. He pulled out his secret stash of spray paint and found a grey metal primer that he used when he was restoring his ’54 Chevy. Although it says it’s for automobiles, it worked perfectly fine for this project! Before I painted the lamp, I used steel wool to clean away the years and years of who-knows-what. A final wipe with a rag and I was ready to paint!


After the first coat of primer:

After the first coat of the satin white:

**not pictured is the lamp-harp, nut and the top of the shade- which I painted white as well. Definition of a lamp-harp: the metal wire lamp part that typically mounts below the lamp socket and supports your lamp shade. I had NO idea what the heck that thing was called, thanks Google!

Already looking a million times better, right?!

While the paint was drying on the base of the lamp, I pulled off the fabric on the old shade. Underneath the gross fabric, I found a metal frame as the guts of the lampshade. The old shade was basically 2-inch ribbon wrapped vertically around the frame. I had originally thought that I’d do the same thing, but with my new fabric. But when I started pulling the old stuff off, I realized I would need WAY more fabric than I had if I wanted replicate it (the frame is 12″ tall). On to plan B. I looked at the shade on one of our other lamps and realized that I could totally re-create it with some poster board and spray adhesive. Whoo hoo!

I traced the outline onto the board and cut it out. I actually had to use 2 pieces because the circumference of the shade was larger than one single piece. Lining them up and taping them together with wide packing tape solved that problem!

Because the frame is smaller on the top than it is on the bottom, the poster board ended up being curved.

I then sprayed the poster board with adhesive and smoothed my fabric down, trying to avoid bumps or wrinkles.
**If you’re going to try this, make sure to spray the adhesive outside in order to avoid over-spray on your dining table! :)

Hubby then helped me wrap the new shade around the frame and tape it down. His extra hands made this much, much easier!

When we wrapped the shade, we made sure to line the bottom of the poster board/fabric up pretty well with the frame, so all of the excess needed to be trimmed off the top. Josh threw in a helping hand with this, too!

After the top was trimmed up, I hot glued cream colored grosgrain ribbon to cover the seams.

**after gluing the ribbon over the vertical seam, I realized that I should have done the top and bottom horizontal ribbons first so that the ends would be hidden by the vertical one. I ended up having to pry up the glued ends of the vertical ribbon to place the ends of the other underneath. Oh well, lesson learned! Next time I’ll do it in reverse order :)

Here’s a look inside the shade. You can see that I attached the shade to the frame by using clear packing tape over the frame. It’s definitely not ideal, but it works. I wish that I had covered up the metal from on the inside, but I’m not sure how I’d do that. The only way you’re able to see the tape and metal supports is if you look straight down from the top of the light…I doubt that many of my guests are going to inspect my work that closely!

Here’s a look at the finished shade!

The next day, I sprayed the lamp with another coat of white and impatiently waited for it to dry. After a few hours of the waiting game *drumroll please*…Here’s the final product!

And because everyone loves a good before & after photo, here you go:

This just makes me so happy! It adds a ton more light into the room and gives me the satisfaction of creating something awesome. The shade has subtle detail, but enough to catch your eye. One thing that I wish was different was that you can see the supports of the metal frame through the shade when the light is on. It’s definitely not the end of the world and most won’t even notice, but I do. Oh well…maybe someday a different shade will find its way to this lamp :) For now, it does the job well!


Budget breakdown:

  • Lamp (from Abbott’s): $8
  • Primer (already owned): $0
  • White satin paint (from Home Depot): $4
  • Poster board (already owned): $0
  • Spray adhesive (already owned): $0
  • Fabric (from Beverly’s): $7/yd. I only used 1/2 yd in all, so about $3.50
  • Grosgrain ribbon (from Beverly’s): $2
  • Hot glue/gun (already owned): $0
  • Total: $17.50

Pretty good for my first lamp re-do, I’d say!

Feeling capable,
Mrs. Edwards