A Little Love {For Young House Love}

Hey all,

If you’re anything like me, and you’ve stumbled upon the amazingness that is Sherry and John’s blog, you were giddy like a kid on a snow day (NEMO reference!) when they announced that their book was coming out. Their blog is so interesting and witty. It makes you feel like the Petersiks are just having a conversation with you, their best friend. They share little nuggets of their lives (including their adorable daughter, Clara and their sweet pup, Burger). They also share some killer DIY tips for sprucing up your home. I am in awe of the different projects they have tackled in their two homes. It gives me hope that I could tackle a kitchen or bathroom remodel in the future.

So back to the book. I immediately made it very clear that I, too, needed this book. It didn’t matter what the content was, or when it was coming out, I must have it. So when they announced on their blog that it would be 200+ of their favorite DIY tips, I was sold. Get me a copy ASAP! I asked for it for Christmas, but no luck. So I saved up my shekels and ran on down to my local B&N to pick the sucker up.

It's mine! It's all mine!

It’s mine! It’s all mine!

I was so excited, that I’ve already finished going through all the tips. Can I just say, this book is amazing! If you are a home/entertaining/organizing DIY-er, it’s a necessary purchase. Not only is the Young House Love writing style still obvious throughout it’s pages, the tutorials are easy to follow. They created a cost, work, and time key so you know what you’re getting into before you start. Burger even makes an appearance every few pages with a witty comment bubble. And, this book was a super ego booster because I’ve actually DONE some of these projects, so I must be as cool as YHL-ers (or at least a fraction of cool).

Remember last summer when I papered the back of my bookshelf? Well, right off the bat, we’ve got a match!

Great way to start, with a project I've already completed!

Great way to start, with a project I’ve already completed!

So if we’re on the same page, right at the beginning, then we’re good to go. Way to make me feel awesome, Petersiks! And then they included several tutorials on sprucing up an old mirror (remember these guys?) and they painted a set of curtains (like these!). So I felt really awesome about myself, while reading an awesome book.

They’ve also basically filled my spring break and summer break with great, future project ideas. Now on tap for the future I’ve got: stenciling a rug (tip no. 002), no sew curtains (tip no. 009), stencil a table runner (tip no. 058), make drawer shelves (tip no. 071), and fabric art piece for bedroom art (tip no. 129). But that’s only in the first half of the book!

I should mention, they also give great tips and ideas that are not necessarily DIY-ing your home. They give great tips for entertaining, for updating kitchens on a budget, and decor ideas to spruce up any room. I read through the book like a Real Simple magazine, in awe of the beautiful photographs and great writing. There were many times, and I mean MANY, when I wanted a little cheat sheet of where to buy what. I thought I was just going to have to go it alone, until I got to the end of the book! They provide a TON of great blogs, websites, and magazines for readers use. They also have a “where did you get that” section for the different illustrations and photographs. Too…perfect. I could go on and on and gush for days about this book, but you should just do yourself a favor and go buy your own copy. Do it, like right now.

XOXO,

Ashley

Stand in the Place Where You Live {Nightstand Success}

I’ve been talking about our lack of nightstands for WEEKS. Because we received that awesome gift of a HUGE king bed, our old nightstands were way too small. They worked with our old bed, the one that was basically on the floor, but with a king size bed that has a mattress over 30 inches off the ground, we needed to upgrade our nightstands. They basically looked like step stools to get into the new bed.

But finding a nice sized, not expensive, nightstand that is over 30 inches tall is no easy task. I’ve been searching and treasure hunting for weeks. I wasn’t willing to spend over $40 for one, so I was creating even more restrictions for myself and my search. But then, while recently treasure hunting, I found this little lady:

Little bit country, little bit beaten up. But a good start.

 

She needed a good bit of help. I found her in a bargain barn, with a few knicks on her legs and rings on her top. But I could SEE the potential, especially with her price tag. I decided to clean her up, give her a new knob, and put her in her rightful place in our bedroom. Plus, she was exactly 31 inches high, the perfect height for our bed, even if she’s kind of narrow. But then, I realized, I only had ONE table! And you know how I feel about matching and symmetry. This caused me to immediately scour all my thrifty haunts to find a match or friend for the other side of our bed. Enter this guy:

Hey man! You need some help, but you could do!

He needed some help. Someone had REALLY used him hard, marking up his top, painting on him without covering him, and it kind of looked like he got dropped on asphalt. But he, like the other table, was a deal. I could just invision him with a snazzy paint job and a pretty new handle.

I’ve recently decided to start adding color to our bedroom and the first thing to change was our bed covers. We had a nice cream and green quilt for our old bed, which I loved and still use as a throw on our bed. My grandmother gave us her green quilt for our new big bed, so why not embrace the green? We have dark wood furniture, so it compliments it well. Plus my favorite chair, with its awesome paisley pattern, has a few shades of green in the upholstery. So let’s do this, let’s go green! I found a fun, grassy-colored green for these new nightstands. Step one, clean off the tables. These were dirty, so they needed a nice scrub down. Step two, prime those babies!

Primed and ready to go!

 

As I’ve written before, I have a love-hate relationship with Valspar spray paint. They make the BEST looking colors, are available at my super nearby LOWES, but they can sometimes leave a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, there are times when I go for the easiest, closest solution, and that is going to LOWES. It’s just right down the street, really nicely put together, and easy to navigate. It does not, however, have the contract to fill the aisles with Rustoleum paint. Valspar is LOWES brand, so they obviously have more of that. So that’s what I went with for this project and it actually turned out okay!

 

So perky, so fresh. Definitely an upgrade.

Don’t worry about the shiny-ness of the paint, it was still wet. But I couldn’t stop myself from snapping the picture. I really need a workshop. These were done under our deck! Our neighbors probably think I’m crazy. Always spraying, staining, hammering under that porch. Anyway, back to the tables.

 

Doesn’t she look like she’s growing out of the grass? Perfect shade of green, I think. I updated the hardware (which was a gross wooden knob) to a pretty, crystal knob from Lowes. Super easy install.

 

Unfortunately, this guy’s holes from his old hardware did NOT fit my pretty crystal handle. So I had to exchange it for a pretty, chrome pull instead.

After letting them dry, I pulled them inside and immediately moved them to their new home. I think they look GREAT in our bedroom.

My side of the bed. Some storage boxes that match the colors of our room, a button collage I made a year ago, and our new nightstand!

S’s side of the bed. The upgraded table with the cup handle. Looks GRRREAT!

And on their way? Our new nightstand lamps! I had some gift cards saved up from Amazon, so I found these beauties online and they’re currently en route. Plus, the cost included the lamp shades! Bonus points abound.

Crystal AND chrome. Perfect for these tables.

Overall, I think this project was a success. The two tables aren’t identical, but they are the same width and height so it won’t effect how tall the lamps are next to the bed. That way, they still sort of have a symmetry to them. Also, because the bed is SO LARGE and I opted to get tables that are the same height as the mattress, you can’t even see the other table from the doorway. There’s only a rare perspective from the master bath when you can see both tables at once.

This is what you see when you walk into the room. Notice how my table kind of disappears behind the bed? At least you’ll be able to see the matching lamps. It’s like a symmetry optical illusion.

Overall, I think this was a good compromise for what we needed in our bedroom. They really work well, can hold all of our things and add a nice touch to the bedroom. Plus, they open up a TON of possibilities for color inspiration in the room. But I know what you’re waiting for, the price breakdown!

 

Two tables: $42. Yes, that seems super reasonable if the tables were the same price…but they weren’t. One table was $39 and the other was $3. Believe it! I’m not going to tell you which is which, I’m going to leave you guessing!

Spray paint/primer: $9. I got one can of primer that basically covered it, plus two cans of green.

New hardware: $7. The crystal knob was slightly cheaper than the chrome pull, but they were pretty close with tax.

Total cost? $58 total.

I think that’s a pretty good price. What do you think?

 

XOXO,

Ashley

 

 

A Big Sigh of Relief {Finished Project}

It’s been a saga, an epic adventure of sorts. But I am happy to announce that the living room side tables and coffee table are finally finished. After several coats of polyurethane and some new hardware, they’re finished! They’re really done! No more sanding, staining, painting! I’m elated (and exhausted)!

These are the side tables, drying under the deck. Don’t they look amazing?!

No more awful damaged 1960’s varnish on the coffee table!

But I’m sure you’re sick of seeing these pieces out of their normal home. So here are a few peeks of them in their rightful spots in the living room.

Holding up our lamp (which I recovered with fabric) and the poker set. Looking good!

Hanging out next to Little Karl. Also looking good!

And, of course, the coffee table is approved by Truman.

 

Not only did this trio get an upgrade in color and stain, they also got a hardware upgrade. This is where I splurged a bit. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the ehhhh, okay handles that were several dollars cheaper (each) because I spent so much time making the tables look so nice! I liked that the handles actually echo the stacked detail on the legs of the tables and the louvers on the sides of the coffee table. It was like these handles were MADE for this project. Did I mention that they actually fit the existing holes so I didn’t even have to drill or fill holes?

New handles. See? The extra cost is totally worth the payoff.

So let’s look at the breakdown:

Sander– Borrowed from Jo (thanks!)

Sandpaper- $6.00, I went through an entire pack of handheld sander paper

Handsanding supplies- $10. This was for the hand-guide, paper, tack cloth, etc. that I used at my futile attempts to do this project by hand.

Stain and Polyurethane-$12 for a quart of stain and polyurethane

Hardware- $20. This is where I cringe a bit, because it could have been $15 or $12 if I had gone with the cheap handles, but I just couldn’t do it.

Total= Roughly $48

I think that’s a huge pay-off for under $50. We didn’t have to buy replacement furniture, I gave family pieces a new life in our house, and I’m happy with the product. Plus, I can now invite people over to ooh and ahh at my handiwork. What do you think?

 

XOXO,

Ashley

Slow Day {But Still Productive}

Hey all!

Today’s weather was not super cooperative, so I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked. I tried to clean a bit around the house and once I thought it was an appropriate time to head out and make lots of noise, I got to work. I sanded down the last side table and stained it to match the other side table and coffee table.

The last sucker to be sanded and stained. This is about halfway through sanding. 

Gosh, I really underestimated the difficulty of this project. Because the sanding takes so long, even with an electric sander, I was only able to sand and stain before the rain rolled in. Each piece takes well over an hour to sand, plus the time to stain and get all those little nooks and crevices. The side table today took over an hour and a half to sand (it was not my friend) and then the staining was about an hour as well.  I wasn’t able to polyurethane all the pieces like I had planned, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. But hopefully, weather cooperating, I will be able to fit that in to my list of tomorrow to-do’s.

They’re all waiting for poly…in our kitchen. Oy.

Do I sound a little whiney? It might be because I’m reaching that part in the summer where I realize it’s almost over. I’ll be back to teaching in a couple of weeks and it’s hard to believe that my break is finally over! Plus, my graduate school class starts tomorrow, so I’m really being forced back into the swing of things. Wow this summer did zoom by this year. BUT, happy moments! Happy news! Our cushion covers finally came in for our new loveseat.

Voila! Pacific blue! Sorry they’re a little crooked. I was just so excited to put them on and stick them on the loveseat, I didn’t pay attention to how the cushions were fitting. Plus, this is a great picture to see the side table that I also stained! Success!

Oh well, I’m just going to have to keep powering through this summer, checking things off of my summer vacation to do list. One last project at a time…

 

XOXO,

Ashley