Thursday, May 30, 2013

Not your granny's chairs!

Well, these might be your granny's chairs. I know mine had a set just like this one. This isn't hers but I found one that looked a lot like it. I found a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good deal on a 1920's Bernhardt made Duncan Phyfe style mahogany dinning room set. It came with 6 chairs, table with 2 leaves and the hutch for $250. I love vintage things so I couldn't pass the opportunity to add this find and put my own spin on it. I've been wanting to give a small update to my dinning room and after scoring this deal, I found my ispiration. I also used my son's artwork for the colors that I wanted to use in my room.

I did a little research to decided how I wanted to redo the set. The best and easiest answer was chalk paint. Boy #1, did a fabulous painting in art class and it had the perfect green that I picked to highlight my chairs. I wanted something bright and fun to add a bit of a modern flair to the dark traditional style of the furniture. I bought some material to recover the chairs with classic pattern but in a neutral color.

The pieces were in overall pretty good shape, nothing that a little bit of wood glue and paint couldn't fix. I started with giving the chairs a good washing with hot soapy water and dried them throughly. Then I painted a coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Antibes Green. This is fast drying paint. It was ready for a second coat in 30 mins or so. If you like it more distressed then one coat might be enough. After 2 coats, they were done. This is stuff is great, no brush strokes what so ever! Now I know what every one was talking about when they refer to the velvety finish, it is reallly lovely.  Do a light sanding with very fine sandpaper. I read that you dont want to use anything too strong on old antiques. I bought 220 grit sand paper. Distress the areas where you think the most worn spots would be. I focused on the corners or the places that would get nicked if it were to be dropped or knocked over. Being realistic here with 4 kids and 2 dogs!  Wipe everything down with a damp cloth when your done sanding, it does produce a bit of a mess. The last step in the process is to wax over the painted piece. I did not buy the wax that came with the Annie Sloane line. It is expensive and I sure I would have loved it but after spending $84 on 2 quarts of paint, I looked for cheaper options. I'm working on a very teeny-tiny budget. I bought some furniture wax at my local hardware store for $20 that was essentially the same thing. Work the wax into the paint with a clean cloth and rub off. I used cheese cloth and a old t-shirt. The wax dries quickly so work in small areas at a time. When the wax dries, buff the piece to a shine. It's like waxing a car, wax on-wax off. The wax brings out all the details and seals everything. It's like a 3D effect. That's it, so easy. 

The only thing left was to cover the chairs. I traced the old seat around the new material and cut out squares giving a good 2-3" around the sides to staple. You want to have plenty of fabric to have a tight fit when you staple it down. If it's too short then it will pop loose when you sit on it. Pull tighltly and work your way around the seat. Its kind of like wrapping a present when you get to the corners. The last step was screwing the seat back into place. So simple and and what a updated look it achieved. I can't wait until the rest of the room is finished and we can use these more! 

A bit banged up and the finish is worn off where the chairs were in the sun. Also the material was covered in cat hair and scratched up do to the previous owners cats. I'm sure my granny would have loved this material too! 

A good cleaning does wonders!

Antibes green 

Painting the first coat. 

2 coats.


The wax I used, Briwax in light brown.

Wax-on, wax-off! 

List of dates that these chairs were recovered. Love this! Added our date to the list.

Finished chair with recovered seat. 
Love the green and gray, so fun! 

Dagmar's Home Thrifty and Vintage Finds link party

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Our newest family member. Schaefer Flynn, our 7 week old Boston Terrier. He joins big sister, Ella Blue. He is so sweet, cuddly and came equipped with puppy breath that makes everything all better! We are so excited and can't wait to enjoy more of this little fella.


Yup, he did this all by himself. Crawled right up in my arms and went to sleep!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Pre-K Graduate!

Summer is quickly approaching, like it or not (for me anyways), and I'll have a full house for the next 3 months or so. Once we decide on a schedule and pick some things to do and places to go, it wont be too bad. No early mornings or busy homework projects. Hopefully there will be lots of pool time, sun, sand, friends and fun!

My big 5 year old, boy #3, graduated Pre-K yesterday. He has one day next week that is purely all fun. His school is doing a splash day with water slides, bubbles, and water guns. They are grilling hotdogs and having snow cones. He is counting down the days until next Tuesday where he can go to school in his bathing suit! I'm supposed to be in attendance so the parents can help move the kids along to the different stations with ease. I just hope it's not going to be too hot for Angel Baby. It's been hot, humid and muggy and in the 90's all week. Welcome to Texas summer y'all!

I'm going to miss my "big boy" next year. He helps me out so much with his sister when he is home. She absolutely adores him, they are so close already. I think they are going to be best friends. He LOVES helping my bake and doing the laundry. He's become so independent in the last year and wants to do everything for himself. Including making his own sandwiches, getting his own snacks, making popcorn by himself, and getting out the step stool to help him achieve access to a higher level to the makers, scissors and glue. He loves to draw, play with playdough, and play minecraft. He wants to learn to read and is into adding numbers and has awesome vocabulary. HE TALKS I'm typing this now. He still sweet, and cuddly and loves his shows, Team Umi Zoomy and Curious George. I'll miss our lunch outings and play dates. I know that he is ready for kindergraten, but I'm not. I wish he would stay this little for another year. I want to bottle this time we have together. I am looking forward to all the new memories that we will create this summer and all the fun that will be had!

The Graduates walking in.

Angel Baby waiting to see her big brother!

Getting his diploma with his teachers.

Celebrating with 1 iced cookie, 1 piece of cake and ice cream followed at Chick-fil-a!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Working on a little something.

I've been busy over the last week or so working on a small project for my dinning room. I came across a really great deal on vintage dinning set with hutch included, via my local neighborhood classifieds. I just finished a major kitchen remodel job and swore that was it for the year. I still need to write that one up, I just don't even know where to begin! I can't help it that his awesome score just fell into my lap. I'm chalking it up as fate and it was just meant to be! I have been brainstorming on a plan to work in everything that I want to do in the dinning room. I want to repurpose this room as a dining/family room that we will actually use. No one ever goes in there and I would like to start using it more adequately- simply!

This is going to totally be a shoestring-budget job. I sold my old table and chairs that were really too big for the space and used that money to acquire this set. My loving hubby J, and boy #1 rented a truck to pick up the goods since my mid-size SUV wasn't big enough. One thing for sure that I will enjoy being a mother of 3 boys is the added muscle I'll have around here when they get older!  The new set was a old Duncan Phfye from the 1920's, and in relatively good shape, minus some bumps and scratches. The bones were solid. I plan on painting, YES, painting it, some fun colors in chalk paint and having a banquette built to sit our large extended family. Shout out to J, (if he's reading this) for his mad building skills. I bought a classic pattern fabric in gray and white to recover the seats for a modern spin to the old style. I may just use some paint I already have in the house to cut cost that would work for the wall color. I found a AWESOME rug on sale at Overstock that had just about every color that I wanted to use for accents colors in it. I think I am going to jazz up my already existing light fixture and maybe repurpose my old drapes. I have a slim Ikea hutch that I used for my china now but I plan on giving that a face lift and moving it to a different wall as a game and sewing cabinet. The last part that I think will take some time is deciding on what I wanted to add to the "gallery" wall that I want to start on my one free wall. I'm thinking some black and white pictures of the kids, maybe some vintage signs, or house rules type of thing. I also want to work in a existing mirror after J builds a new larger chunkier frame. I know what your thinking, doesn't really seem like dining room decor. I want to repurpose this room as a dining/family room that we will actually use.

 I'm excited about the whole process and making this more my own vintage-style. More to follow later, I leave you with a few pics of what I have to work with. I know, visions of grannies are going to be knitting in your head after these, but I hope to create a modern spin on it. 

Ikea game/sewing cabinet

New hutch, table and chairs.

Paint for the chairs
Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Personal, In-house Coffee Bar.

Sometimes the only thing that gets me up and going in the morning is the thought of my first cup of fresh HOT coffee. We kicked our single-style cup maker to curb and just settled on a model that makes one big 12 cup carafe or the single cup option on the side. We were really starting to miss the better tasting (in our humbled opinion only, that is) stronger versions of the old dripped coffee. I found this coffee maker on sale at target for $60 AND it has the best from both worlds. My husband can make a single cup before he goes to work and I can come in later and make a cup and actually enjoy fresh coffee that hasn't been sitting around all morning. It's great for when company is in town and we need more quantity, especially for my coffee drinking momma. The best part about this solution is that I can go back and use my favorite local blend ground coffee made only at my supermarket. It's a delightful blend of coconut, roasted pralines, and hazelnuts. I grind it fresh in the store and at $9.99 a pound, we are saving loads in ditching the pricer single cups. With all the new flavored syrups made available, thanks to World Market and the explosion of flavored coffee creamers you have everything you need at home for a good cup of Joe.

There is no need to go out and spend $3+ on a cup of coffee anymore, unless of course, your are going there for atmosphere and a some peace and quite to think. My pot can't promise me that but with such good tasting coffee, it's almost enough to make me block out the screaming baby and whiny kids! My favorite thing about my in-house coffee bar is the cute accessories I was able to find to create all the necessities needed at home for the perfect cup. It's fun and functional. All that's missing is a little Buble', playing in the background and I have that too, if I had time to put it on! Time for another cup, have a great day!

Personal Coffee bar.

Hamilton Beach 12cup Coffee Maker with the single cup side option. Also has a bold option if you like you coffee a little stronger.

World Market Creamer and Sugar set and Pier One chalk label glass jar.

World Market Vintage style drying rack. Perfect for all my mugs.
(especially my mug from Paris- shout out Jennifer!)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Haircuts and HeartAches

As a mother of three boys plus one thankfully one very hairy-husband, haircuts add up. I'm talking like $45 plus tip every 3 weeks! I don't know about you, but when you are a family of 6 you are always trying to cut costs. . Every. $. Counts!

I have managed over the proverbial haircut years, to have picked up a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to doing a simple "buzz" cut. I can thank my former high-school BF who is a high demand hair-stylist now and my stunning eye (ok, thats a stretch) for detail. It's really not that hard to fade a line between your #2 guard and your "scissor-cut top".  The hard part is keeping your boys ages 10 and 8 entertain between it all. Number 3, boy age 5, who has slightly wavy-curly hair cut and even though I've done it before, I don't want to curse him with the Bea Arthur "do" that it turns out to be when I have managed to cut it.

Music, suckers, words of praise and extra x-box time dont "cut" it. I  have to set a timer of 10 mins,  put on the top 20's music (think harlem shake repetitively playing over again AND over again) of the day and lavish praise. My dear sweet hubby, J, thinks my bed side manner can be somewhat tweaked, but endures it after I acknowledge what these "cuts" are saving us. I just wish I didn't have to fight my boys into the "chair" when I announce it's "haircut day".  Quotations aside, it is torture for us all! They squirm, itch and complain but it works for now and they do look pretty cute after their "dos".  If I DO (ha!) say so myself!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

DIY, Simple picture frame tray

I've seen these trays all over the blogosphere lately. They are so clever and so simple that I wanted to give one, a-go myself. I LOVE old frames. There are so many possibilities that you can do with them. Collages, chalkboards, cork boards, pin boards or you can hang just the frames on the wall in groupings. I have used frames old and new in various ways throughout my house.

I found some mark down picture fames at target when I was shopping for accessories for my kitchen remodel. I knew I wanted to try to add a cute decorative display tray out of one of these bargain-buy frames. I found a old-timey looking 4x6 picture frame marked down for $9. The price seem right and I wanted to add a little bit of bling to my counters. This fit the bill perfectly. I knew at home I had a few other craft pieces that I could work with to make the kind of tray I wanted.

First, I took out the back and lined the inside cardboard with cheesecloth. I like the crisp look of the white with the antique color of the frame. I had leftover flowers purchased from Michaels that I cut down to size to fit the inside under the glass. I had to flatten the flower down so once it was in place, the back of the frame would close. I added some green burlap ribbon tied around the flower to anchor it to the frame and pull it all together. It worked out really nicely. I used strips of leftover felt hot-glued to the back to finish it off. The backing is rather ugly but no one is going to see that part and I didn't want anything scratching my new counter tops. Super easy and simple.

The last part was deciding what I wanted to display on my new tray. My sweet sister, knowing what I like, sent me some vintage measuring cups for my birthday that worked wonderfully in my new kitchen. They were the perfect size for this. I also added a piece of my pottery and a collection of wooden spoons. I love how the frame ties the group of accessories together, smartly. Such a easy project that took 10 minutes to do but adds a lot of style to my counter-simply.

Finished tray

Back lined in felt. Ugly but it works. Next tray, I'll use one big piece on the back but I just used what I had on hand.

Finished tray.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lovin' from the Oven!

I can attested to this at least four times over, that the best thing a new or ailing mother wants to do is feed her family a good, hot, home-cooked meal. I have a neighbor who recently had some surgery done and wanted to prepare a simple meal for her and her family. What says love more than home cooking?! I was racking my brain as to what I could fix and what would reheat well enough with minimal effort for my next door neighbors. I needed something that would warm up nicely so they could eat it at their leisure and leftovers wouldn't be a big chore. I thought with all thats gone on, she's had more than her share to worry about. Dinner shouldn't be another. Plus she, her husband and two wonderful daughters have always been good to my family and I.

I searched for a couple of simple easy recipes a-la'-Pinterest and came up with these two. Won Ton Tacos and a one dish wonder of Chicken-Green Beans-and Potatoes seasoned with ranch dressing mix. I added a simple side of home made Spanish Rice and pico for the tacos and frozen garlic bread for the Chicken Casserole. These are simple and sure to be (hopefully), a crowd pleaser.

Won Ton Tacos
1 lb of meat, browned. (you can use lean hamburger, turkey or chicken)
1 pkg of your favorite Taco seasonings
1 pkg Won Ton wrappers (I found these in the refrigerated section of the grocery store next to the tofu)
2 cups of shredded cheese, I used Sharp Cheddar
Pico and shredded lettuce for topping.
*preheat over to 350. Brown meat and drain, add seasonings (follow the directions of the seasonings on your package). Spray 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray. Place one Won Ton wrapper in each cup and press down any bubbles. Top wrappers with a couple spoonfuls of meat and a couple pinches of cheese. Bake 8-10 mins or until the edges are golden brown. Top with lettuce and pico. If you daring enough you can add some sour cream or your favorite taco sauce.

Won Ton Tacos with Spanish Rice

One Dish Chicken
This dish is even simpler than the last! I based these ingredients on a family of 4 with enough for leftovers. You can adjust this based on how much you need.
6 or 7 thinly sliced chicken breast
2 15 oz cans of cut green beans, drained
5-6 small white potatoes, washed and pared
2 pkgs of powdered Ranch dressing mix
1 stick of butter

*preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Open and drained beans and layer them down one side of the pan. Next layer the Chicken breast down the center of the pan next to the beans. Placed the pared potatoes on the other side of the chicken. Sprinkle everything with the 2 packages of the Ranch dressing mix on top of all the ingredients. Melt a stick a butter and pour it over the dressing. (Yes, one stick of butter, this IS comfort food after all!) Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Done. That's it!
I bought cheap disposable foil pans to put the dinners in. I like to use these or disposable containers when I can because it makes it easier on you and your friends. When they are done, they can toss them out and you don't have to go hunting down your own pans. I think the little added expense is worth the frustration saved in the long run on this one!

Won Ton Tacos and One Dish Chicken

*The chicken isn't cooked in this picture.* I left directions on how to cook the casserole when I sent over the food so they could have it whenever they wanted. I'm sure it would freeze well too! To make your meals a little more special, when packaging the food up, you can include a card with the recipe on the back and reheating instructions on the front. Who knows, maybe if they like it enough they will pass it down and make it for someone else in need. You can always throw in a simple dessert like cookies or brownies for a no-fuss treat. If you are sending food to a recovering friend, why not include some books, magazines or movies that they can watch while recuperating. If its a new mom, you could add a baby outfit or some bubble bath and a scented candle to help relax mom. It's just the added little details that can make something as simple as a home-cooked meal, turn into a truly appreciative and thoughtful gift. I think nothing says lovin' more than some good home-cookin'-simply!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rustic Barstool Makeover

I just finished a kitchen remodel. It took weeks but mainly because we did all the work ourselves. It was more of a extreme facelift then a renovation. Painted cabinets, new sink and faucet, added recess lightening, a bit of wood work, some new cabinetry hardware, paint and new window treatments. Now that I see my list, maybe it was a little more than just a few coats of paint and some new accessories. But, it's was a labor of love, and yes, with 4 kids, 2 of them with 99% natural labor, I can say with a fact I know what's that's like! Now, thanks to me, so can my husband, and he's welcome! More on the kitchen to follow later.

I noticed when everything was said and done, I had 4 eyesores left in my sparkling-new dream kitchen. These were cheap barstools that I bought on sale 5 years ago for $40 a piece. They were functional and while a eyesore, there was NO extra money left in the budget to replace them so I had to make do.

I wanted to update them with a rustic finish so they would blend in with the rest of my kitchen. I knew it wouldn't be a hard project, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to go about it. What I was sure about, this was going to be a makeover with things that I already had around the house.

I started with just stripping the tops with a few coats of stripper. This isn't my first rodeo in this process. I've used it all and it all works the same. Elbow grease works the best when it comes to stripping a piece of furniture. Sad, I know, I have found no quick fix. After I got enough stain off, I broke out my palm sander and sanded the dickens out of the tops. I had left over paint, glaze and protective sealer from the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation kit that I used on my kitchen cabinets. After I washed the stools with hot soapy water and dried them, I applied the deglosser that came with the kit. Scrubbing this stuff on takes years of funk off that 3 busy boys have put on my stools over time. Wash and dry them again and your ready to paint. I used around 4 coats of Federal Gray on the legs and cross pieces letting it dry about a hour between coats. I knew I wanted to leave tops natural so that part was easy. I really, really like old time period pieces. I remembered a old 40's typewriter font that I used on one of the kids birthday invitations. I had my technical wiz, husband J, whip me up a large blown up copy of the font in the first initial of each of the kids names in lower case lettering. Never wanting to left out of a project (yeah...who am I kidding) J, expertly cut the initials out of the paper with an exacto-knife. I centered and taped the stencils to the tops of the stools. For the initials, I sponged on the paint from the other Rustoluem kit (leftover from the cabinets) in Pure White. After drying overnight, I took the paper off and started to apply the decorative glaze. I'm not sure what color they call it, it mostly looks like a vintage brown. I applied a few coats of the glaze with a paint brush and then rubbed it off with the cheesecloth provided by the kit in various spots. If you want it darker, leave it on for longer and don't rub so much off. Its not a perfect science,  just use how much you like. I went for a aged distressed look. The distress look works in my decor. My kids are usually hard on my furniture, so that finish meshes with the rest of the stuff they've broken! When the glaze was throughly dried, I applied the clear protective sealant (kit leftovers again) in 2 coats with a hour to dry in between.

Here is the end result! I love it, and couldn't picture it any better-simply. What a easy makeover that adds tons of character!



TDC Before and After