Category Archives: DIY


DIY: Updating a Dresser (for a nursery!) Plus, a Tea Cart

September 22, 2014

Happy Monday, friends!  I have a brand new DIY post for you (hooray!)

My sister Alexis recently bought a house AND had a baby, so while moving and decorating a nursery, she discovered that she had a couple pieces of furniture that she wanted to update.

Given that I like to paint things, I offered to help her refinish two of her pieces — an old wooden tea cart and painted wood dresser:

cart dresserTo start, we sanded the pieces down (a quick sanding, since y’all know how I really feel about sanding things…)  Also, there’s little else that’s more amusing than seeing a 9-months pregnant woman wielding a power sander.  (The fact that she kind of went into labor the next day may or may not have been a coincidence…)

After the beasts were sanded, we wiped them down with a clean cloth, and had our men step in to help me prime and paint (because really, they weren’t doing anything, and an almost-mama has no business being around paint fumes — so she got to hang out on the couch.)

The pieces got primed:

dresser primed cart primedI used a new primer this time, hence why it’s gray.  I picked up KILZ MAX®* at Home Depot and had the people working the paint counter tint the primer gray since we were going to be painting these pieces dark colors.  (Awesome that you can tint the primer, right?  Makes covering the piece with your desired paint color sooo much easier.)  And you guys know how much I love primer.  I mean, don’t even think about painting furniture without it!

kilz max primerWe let the primer set for about an hour, then got to painting the pieces.

Alexis chose a woodsy sage green for the dresser (to go in le bébé’s nursery) and a dark navy for the cart, which now lives in their family room.

I didn’t actually get to photograph the finished pieces until the day Alexis was in labor at the hospital, so I may have been a little distracted — I apologize if these pictures aren’t my best work.

dresser finished 2And how cute is that little wooden elephant?  It was a present from me and KC (we got it while traveling through Scotland earlier this year).

I think the green is quite an improvement on the teal/white combo:

dresser finished 3 dress finished 1The dilapidated tea cart got new life with it’s new navy coat:

cart finished 2Let’s just ignore the painters tape on the wheels…  Remember, my sister was in labor when I took these, so I really couldn’t focus on anything but that!

cart finished 3 cart finished 1The how-to is down below!

How to Paint Painted Furniture

What you’ll need:

  • Piece you’re painting
  • Sandpaper (we used medium grit 100)
  • Optional: electric sander
  • Clean dry cloth(s)
  • Optional (but recommended): drop cloth
  • Primer (we used KILZ MAX* and had the paint counter tint it gray)
  • Paint (we used semi-gloss indoor paint)
  • Paint brushes
  • Optional: finisher like urethane to seal the surface
  1. Sand all surfaces of the piece that you’ll be painting (a once-over is fine.  You just want to rough up the surface a bit so the primer adheres to it.)
  2. Wipe down the piece with a clean dry rag to remove all dust and debris.
  3. Paint 1-2 thin coats of primer, allowing at least an hour between each coat to dry.
  4. Once well-covered, paint 1-3 thin coats of your paint, until the piece is fully covered (allow an hour between each coat).
  5. Allow the piece to cure for at least 72 hours, then you can finish the surfaces with urethane, if desired (helps defend against wear and tear for surfaces that get a lot of use).

*This post was sponsored by KILZ MAX, but all opinions are my own.

DIY / Going "Natural"

Get Rid of Fruit Flies (the natural way)

July 31, 2014

fruit bowl

Well kiddos, sorry for the radio silence over here the past few weeks.  Prior to the beginning of this week, I was soaking up every minute of my forced summer vacation, and relaxing like I’ve never relaxed before.  I must say, it was pretty nice.  But, alas, I got a new job and returned to work this week.  So I’m back in the routine of being a real person now, which means that the blog may or may not be making a comeback onto your computer screens.

Let’s transition to what this post is actually about, shall we?

I don’t know about you guys, but this is the time of year when my countertops are generally overflowing with summer produce.  Tomatoes, summer plums, peaches, melons…  I hoard them and eat them by the dozen.  All this fruit ripening away on the counter though generally means that at some point or another we get overrun with fruit flies.  And it’s really not so appetizing to grab a nectarine from the fruit basket and immediately see a swarm of gnats start buzzing about.

I don’t like the idea of spraying a bunch of chemicals near the fruit I eat, (I mean, I try to avoid pesticides in my food before I buy it, so why would I want to add some after the fact?) so I did a little research on how to deal with the fruit fly problem naturally.  After a bit of googling and a trial run, I found the perfect natural solution.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • small bowl or container (I used a small mason jar)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • dish soap
  • plastic wrap
  • rubber band
  • small sharp knife
  1. Place a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the bowl or container you’re using.  Add a squirt of dish soap, then cover the top with plastic wrap.
  2. Secure the plastic wrap around the edge with a rubber band, then take a small knife and cut a few slits in the top of the wrap.
  3. Place your contraption near where the flies are congregating and let it sit for a few days, and that’s it!

The fruit flies will be attracted to the smell of the apple cider vinegar and will fly into the container through the slits in the top.  Once in there, they will be trapped by the plastic wrap.  Also, the dish soap changes the surface tension of the water, making it so that the flies drown if they land in it.

Easy right?  Problem solved!

Budget-Friendly Weekend Fun / DIY / weekend

Recent Projects

July 9, 2014

KC and I have been working on some projects around the house recently, trying to finish up our basement space and make it a bit more livable.  Honestly, we had just planned on painting the spare room and installing some plank flooring, but that turned into painting the basement stairs and hallway and a plan to paint the ceiling as well (we haven’t tackled that project quite yet).

I’ll start with the basement stairs, because I don’t have great pictures of the spare room yet to show you.

Here’s how the stairs started:


Hideous, super worn and covered with weird rubber mats.  And please notice the wall color — ugly avocado green.


Not pretty.


I painted the walls first — Glidden Silver Birch — then started in on the stairs.  Step one: remove the rubber mats.


Spackled the nail holes, then did a once-over with the electric sander and cleaned the stairs to ready them for paint.


One solid coat of Glidden Gripper primer.


Two coats of porch and floor paint in Valspar’s Gulf Coast.


I painted the bannister hardware gold (obviously), and painted the bannister with primer and some of my leftover white paint from this project (Behr Oyster Shell).

And voila, the finished stairs and hallway:


How to Paint Stairs (or a floor)

What you’ll need:

  • spackling paste
  • sander + medium-grit sandpaper (I used 100)
  • broom, dust pan, clean rags
  • painters tape
  • paint brushes and rollers
  • Glidden Gripper Primer
  • Enamel Porch and Floor Paint (there’s also oil-based porch and floor paint, but oil paint tends to be harder to work with and smells awful, so I opted to use the enamel-based porch and floor paint) — I got my paint at Ace Hardware where they do custom colors for porch and floor paint, but only with a satin finish, so that’s what I used.

How to do it:

  1. Fill in any holes with spackling paste and let dry.
  2. Sand all surfaces, then clean with a broom and clean rags to remove any debris.
  3. Prep the space with painters tape.
  4. Paint one solid coat of primer and let dry for at least one hour.
  5. Paint as many coats of paint as needed to get the finish you want (I did two coats + a touch-up).  Wear socks on stairs between coats, only after the paint has dried.
  6. Let stairs cure for at least 72 hours before subjecting them to normal use.


DIY / weekend

DIY: Blinged-Out Basement Pipes

June 2, 2014

You may recall that we have some ugly pipes in our downstairs laundry/family room. ↓

laundry 2I think they used to belong to a water heater that formerly existed down there, but they’ve long since become defunct since our water heater is elsewhere in the house.

KC and I didn’t feel comfortable cutting the pipes and then sealing the wall, given that we’re renting, so we just let them hang out for a bit.  However, after we redid the basement space, we started thinking about how we could jazz up the pipes so they didn’t look so… “hey this used to be a basement,” y’know?

After I became infatuated with Rustoleum metallic gold spray paint while redoing the trunk for that space, we came up with the idea to paint the pipes gold.  We couldn’t really hide them effectively, so why not make them a little focal point instead?

This past weekend I rolled up my sleeves and blinged out those pipes like you wouldn’t believe.  It was crazy easy (spray painting is amazing) — the worst part was prepping the space to make sure I didn’t spray paint anything I wasn’t supposed to.  (As much as I love the idea of everything being metallic gold, I figured I should curb my Midas tendencies and keep the gold confined to the pipes).

I was feeling pretty good about things when I started in with the painters tape prep:

IMG_2841Looking pretty good right?  Well, things kind of got… less professional-looking as I started really covering the space…

IMG_2845Whatever.  I mean, it did the trick.  Who cares if I had to use a quarter of a roll of painters tape for this monstrosity?  (Ok, maybe a half a roll…)

I primed the pipes with some leftover Kilz Original Primer Sealer Spray:

IMG_2847Looking better already, right?  Also, doesn’t all the plastic make it look like some sort of weird murder-room?  No?  Just me?  Anyway…

After the primer dried, I got to spraying those bad boys gold:

IMG_2850If you’re thinking this is lessening my obsession with the Rustoleum metallic spray paint, you’d be dead wrong.

I think the gold is quite an improvement:

IMG_2851 IMG_2853I’m maybe going to paint all the things.  Gold everything!


Budget-Friendly Weekend Fun / DIY / weekend

DIY: The Finished Trunk

April 15, 2014

Our newly-updated trunk is fully cured and now brightening our new downstairs space.  There’s still more work to be done down there (adding artwork to the walls, painting the ugly wall pipes gold), but I think the mint and gold masterpiece is a nice little addition for now.  (Although it does make me think about swapping out some of the pillows on the couch to make the space a little lighter and more on the blue/green scale…)

room 1room 2room 3room 4

I think the gold hinges really make a difference with this piece.  But then again, I’m sort of obsessed with gold spray paint, so…

PS:  The stack of records on the trunk were my grandpa’s, and yes, the one on top is Mr. Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” 🙂