How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Facelift, Paint, Reclaimed, Upholstery

Saving money on Christmas gifts is easy to do when you avoid shopping. Plain and simple. It is a tried and true plan that works every time. I set this budget-friendly plan to action today and worked outside (it was 50 and sunny in December!).

 

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The cowprint vinyl stool was painted to look like wood grain. I don’t even want to know why. 

While Christmas shoppers were scouring the toy aisle, I decided to finish two stools I had purchased over a month ago. Both stools were painted and badly nicked. On a previous project day, I had used paint stripper to remove the top coat of paint and most of the under layers, but not all of the paint. Truth be told, I ran out of sunlight.

 

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The seller purchased this stool at an estate sale. It was sold with a bathroom mat stapled to the seat.

The unfinished stools were directly in my eyesight everyday when I pulled in and backed out of the garage. Overtime, I fell in loved with in the  partially-removed paint look. Back to today. I bonded with the sander and went to work smoothing out the legs and removing some, but not all of the remaining paint. I made to decision to keep some of the layered paint. Crazy, I know.

 

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Rustic and refined

To finish and condition the recently exposed wood, I applied mineral oil to the stools. The depth of the wood grain came to life. Rae is huge fan of animal hides, but even she was happy to see the faux cow go in the trash and be replaced with a romantic and soft pink motif.

I want more warm days before Christmas!

Dough Box End Table

Facelift, Paint, vintage
Original end table- why install handles that don't open anything?

Original end table- why install handles that don’t open anything?

Rose and I were estate sale shopping when she stumbled upon an end table labeled as a “dough box”. The table had a hinged lid that revealed storage inside and pointless decorative handles on the side of the box portion. The veneer finish didn’t impress me, nor did I know the history of a dough box, but the price was right so we took it home.

Painting legs is easy when you screw them into a 2x4

Painting legs is easy when you screw them into a 2×4

According to Home Things Past, dough boxes were used in the 1800’s for kneading and letting bread rise. Since the box had legs, it didn’t take up space on a table and could easily be moved around. The lid on the dough boxes kept dust, and mice, off the dough. ReNew2U.com provided some background regarding dough boxes becoming end tables. Around the 1950’s, Ethan Allen, under the name “Colonial Furniture by Baumritter”, produced maple end tables styled after dough boxes of the past. The end table Rose convinced me to purchase was clearly styled after the Ethan Allen creation.

Fun green interior color

Fun green interior color

My first step was to remove the faux handles and fill the holes with putty. I gently sanded the veneer finish prior to priming and painting the end table. I modernized the dough box with a gray paint, but added a surprise of bright green paint on the inside. I was annoyed that I could not originally determine which side of the lid could open, so Mr. R&R mounted a dainty knob to prevent future confusion.

A new life for a mid-century table

A new life for a mid-century table

I don’t advise placing food in this dough box. That being said a dough box end table is a great conversation piece.

Vintage Storage Bench

Facelift, Paint, Reclaimed
The original Craigslist find

The original Craigslist find

I found this adorable mini dresser/nightstand/storage bench on Craigslist. I was attracted to the curve of the feet and the knobs. According to the brass plate located inside the drawer, the furniture was built by Davis Cabinet Company.  Through research on the company website, I was able to determine that the piece was built August ‘72.

Original black speckled finish

Original black speckled finish

In 1972, Davis Cabinet Company used a quality varnish to seal the finish of their furniture. This nightstand/storage bench had a beautiful base color stain, but it was finished with a black speckled effect and sealed (I’m mean, really sealed). I wasted my sweet, precious time sanding to remove the speckled finish from the drawers. In hindsight, I should have used the varnish striper in the garage, Zinsser Power Stripper, prior to sanding.

Manufacturer production date stamp

Manufacturer production date stamp

Fortunately for me, I had no intentions of sanding the entire bench. On the top and side, I applied Sherwin Williams primer, hand sanded with 220-grit, wiped off the dust, and primed again. I envisioned a color-block design with classic colors, so I applied two coats of a dreamy cream paint.

Davis Cabinet Company brand plate

Davis Cabinet Company brand plate

The front of storage bench and the drawers, after sanded smooth, were stained with Minwax ebony. The dark ebony complimented the existing hardware and provided a beautiful contrast against the cream paint.

Perfect height to put your boots on

Perfect height to put your boots on

I have no idea what the original purpose was of this piece of furniture (I can only find one online), but I think it looks amazing in a front entry. The height is ideal to sit down and put on your shoes. A cushion will be the pièce de résistance.

Footstools—Around since ancient times, well, this one might not be that old

Facelift, Reclaimed, Upholstery

Yes, I admit it. I am drawn to stools of all kinds. They are adorable and so functional. Today’s featured stool is a short footstool that I rescued from a consignment shop.

The "before". I do not believe this was the original fabric.

The “before”. I do not believe this was the original fabric.

When I saw the footstool in the consignment shop, it caught my eye mainly because it was out-of-date and needed my love.  I made the educated guess that the dirty embroidered upholstery was not original to the piece due to an extensive amount of fabric used to cover the underside and the nails, not staples, holding the fabric in place. It was the first time I had seen upholstery adhered in this fashion.  With all of that in mind, I still proceeded with the purchase.

I removed the embroidered upholstery and was astonished by the amount of fabric used.  It appeared that the fabric was embroidered to cover the top and sides and the extra pattern material (which was twice the size of the footstool top) was folded in a non-typical manner. A wood shim was actually used to attach the feet since there was so much extra material. I replaced the embroidery with a modern geometric print of green, gray, and white.

New fabric and new paint for the base

New fabric and new paint for the base

The footed-based of the stool was badly nicked. I sanded the base to remove the remaining varnish and remove the visible scratches. I applied one coat of primer and used 220-grit to hand sand the primer. I then applied two coats of gray paint.  When the paint was nice and dry, I re-attached the newly upholstered top to the painted base.

Sit back and relax!

Sit back and relax!

Time to put my feet up.

Bedside Manners

Facelift, Paint
The original

The original

During Thanksgiving break a few years ago, I was staying at my parents’ house and decided I want to read in bed to relax. My parents had recently purchased new furniture for the guest bedroom and I was excited to cuddle under the blankets and escape into a new book. Then reality hit, they hadn’t yet purchased a bedside table. There was no lamp for ambient light and no place to set my glasses and book when I was finished (they have one now).

Take apart the stand and prime prior to painting

Take apart the stand and prime prior to painting

Prior to that moment, I never realized how much I treasured bedside tables. My attachment to bedside tables has grown worse now that I use my phone as an alarm clock. I feel a responsibility to help educate others about the importance of bedside tables and to help produce attractive bedside tables.

Painted and sealed!

Painted and sealed!

I picked up a 2 ft tall, double-shelf table stand that was in much need of love. Fanny thinks it was originally designed as a plant stand, but I saw potential. I took the table apart prior to sanding and painting. Since my vision was a “fun” bedside table (for the record- bedside tables do not need to match), Fanny helped me select “Into the Green” for the color. We scored by purchasing a sample pint-size container of paint because I was too nervous to commit to a gallon of such a bold color.

Ready for guests!

Ready for guests!

The table makes quite the statement. I placed the table next to Rae’s white bedding and I was blown-away with the dramatic effect. Who says practical things can’t look good too?

Painted Stools (with bold colors!)

Facelift, Paint, Silhouette
Original barstools

Original barstools

Rose requested one-on-one time with me and what better bonding than estate sale shopping. We had quite the adventure driving around town, searching for the best pieces to give new life. I love hearing her ideas and seeing her design style take shape. On this particular shopping trip, Rose was attracted to stools.

Vinyl stencil applied- ready to paint

Vinyl stencil applied- ready to paint

Natural pine is not my favorite finish, but I saw the potential in the short pine bar stools Rose found. I started by sanding away the varnish before I put Rae to work staining. Rae was new to staining furniture and since that day she has asked to mow the lawn instead of staining. Ouch. After the Rust-Oleum American Walnut stain was dry, I applied a round vinyl sticker and painted the top of the stool “blue midnight”. The end result is a beautiful blue top with two circles of the stained wood peaking through. I sealed the stool tops with two coats of polycrylic.

Completed barstools

Completed barstools

Stepping stool sanded

Stepping stool sanded

In addition to the bar stools, Rose selected a small stepping stool. Rose loves purple and it was just her luck that I found purple paint, Rare Wine to be exact, in the basement, left by the previous homeowner. I sanded, but did not stain the stepping stool. I applied a scroll vinyl design directly to the raw wood prior to painting. Similar to the bar stools, I applied two coats of polycrylic to protect the stencil work and paint.

A pop of purple stepping stool

A pop of purple stepping stool

The new stools are striking and full of life. The blue and purple paint offer a fun “pop” of color.  I think Rose and I will have many estate sale shopping trips together in our future.

Ice Bucket Stand

Facelift, Paint, vintage

Some days I don’t craft- no painting, staining, or sanding. Some days I don’t wash laundry, cook, or unload the dishwasher. When the stars align and I have a day of not doing any of the previously mentioned tasks, I will likely be found binge watching Netflix with a drink in my hand. On days that I don’t have the energy to craft or clean, the idea of walking to the fridge for a fresh drink is exhausting. If you ever feel this way too, please say so, do– don’t leave me hanging.  An ice bucket stand next to the couch is a perfect solution.

Original knitting stand

Original knitting stand

I was out thrift store shopping and stumbled upon a mini whiskey barrel-looking  container that had a lid and legs.  It was the perfect height to compliment a sofa. The stand is from the 1960’s and was designed to hold knitting materials, get this, while sitting on the couch. I returned to the office and showed off a picture of my find and everyone responded “is that an ice bucket?”. By golly, I was going to make it an ice bucket.

Time to clean the brass

Time to clean the brass

After reading online reviews of Flex Seal, I could not bring myself to risk the product malfunctioning and creating a leaky ice bucket, not to mention the lack of insulation. I was fortunate to find an ice bucket at Goodwill that fit perfectly inside the wooden barrel.

Drinks on ice at the perfect height!

Drinks on ice at the perfect height!

I love rustic, but wooden barrels and brass are not my thing. I am open to the return of gold and brass, but not barrels with brass. Fanny selected a beautiful blue paint since the ice bucket will be a fun accent piece. I made a mess when painting and was forced to use the Dremel to remove paint from the brass, then polish and buff it. At this point, I began to question why I “had” to paint the piece.

The good news, the knitting basket has left the ‘60’s and is now rustic, refined, and practical. Drink up!

Fall Porch Decorations

Black Walnut, Facelift, Holiday, Paint
New rug, pillows, and end table

New rug, pillows, and end table

No, it’s not decorative gourd season. It is time to remove my spring/summer blue decorations from the front porch and replace them with fall colors (reds, oranges, and yellows). Decorative gourds and pumpkins will not, and should not, make an appearance until October. Those are the rules. The same date applies to pumpkin spice lattes.

Black walnut stump table

Black walnut stump table

I focus on two areas of my porch when decorating: the sitting area and around the front door. The sitting area was a breeze to switch over for fall. Rae and I went to At Home and found a neutral colored outdoor rug for $50. Rae selected a burnt-red moroccan print outdoor pillow for the. I swapped the navy blue end table for a custom black walnut tree stump. Mr. R&R removed the top from an old outdoor end table and mounted it to the tree stump, per Rose’s suggestion. I accented the table with a yellow mason jar and silk flowers from Michael’s (don’t judge me… I’m allowed to cheat on crafts sometimes).

I love fresh flowers!

Mr. R&R said that the area around the front porch looks better now than it did this summer. I think he is a fan of the antique wooden box containing two large pots of multi-colored mums (I must remember to water them).  Actually, his favorite part is probably the “welcome” sign I painted on a scrap piece of rough cut black walnut. Painting the “welcome” is an easy project and adds such personality to your front door.

  1.  Select a long piece of scrap wood (visit Habitat ReStore or a fencing company for reclaimed wood)IMG_3195
  2. Place your stencil letters on the wood—Letter stencils can be purchased at craft or school supply store. Letter stencils can also be cut with a Silhouette.
  3. Secure the stencils in place with spray adhesive (I did this) or painters tape

    Move the paint to the middle of the design

    Move the paint to the middle of the design

  4. Use a foam brush and acrylic to fill-in the stencil. Move the brush from the stencil into the area to be painted- this creates clean lines and prevents paint from leaking under the stencil
  5. Let dry and remove the stencil

My porch is now ready for the first day of fall on September 23rd. Pumpkins will complete the fall look, after October 1st, of course.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Ikea Barstool Facelift

Facelift, Spray Paint

Did you read about Mr. R&R’s new shipping crate bar in the basement?  If not, stop what you are doing and take a look.  I’ll wait…………Isn’t the bar amazing!?!  A bar is only as good as its barstools and that was my responsibility.

Original barstool

Original barstool

Nearly ten years ago, I purchased three Ikea Agne barstools. I must be a rockstar at assembling Ikea furniture because they still work and look great. Ikea doesn’t make Agne anymore (insert sad face). With the help of Rae and Rose, I found four new-to-us barstools that better fit the kitchen island shape and allocated the Ikea barstools to the basement bar. My job was done.

Lightly sanded before painting

Lightly sanded before painting

Not really. The Agne barstools have black iron legs and a wooden seat, but the seat didn’t match the weathered bar.  My solution was to paint the seat. I selected a red seat, not because Mr. R&R is a Husker fan (go Gophers!), but to match the toy red barn in the basement. Red is a classic rustic and refined color.

I roughly sanded the seat, applied red spray paint and then realized it had a glossy finish. Oops, not very manly. Gently sanding the red spray paint removed the gloss. Then I topped it off with a spray poly. Re-attaching each wooden wedge to the stool was more tedious than all of my previous Ikea furniture assembly combined.

New bar and "new" barstools.  A winning combination.

New bar and “new” barstools. A winning combination.

The barstools passed the test of the first college football weekend.  Here’s to many more football games sitting on these stools at the bar.

Hitchcock Stool

Facelift, vintage
“Puns are the highest form of literature.” -Alfred Hitchcock
Manufacturer branding

Manufacturer branding

Some pieces of furniture catch my eye and I am captivated. I recently came across an L. Hitchcock stool and fell in love with the unique piece. Hitchcock furniture is known for its beautiful stencil work and “gold” accent paint. Hitchcock chairs were mass produced in the 19th and early 20th century, but good luck finding more than two upholstered stools online. The seat of the stool I saw was a burgundy-based floral needlepoint design. The stool called out to me to give it new life.

Original stencil work

Original stencil work

The more I researched and read the history of Lambert Hitchcock and his furniture company, I knew that painting the base of the stool was absolutely out of the question. The stencil work of scrolled flowers and stars is like nothing I have ever seen before. My only option was to re-upholster the seat. The needlepoint was dirty and I was not the slightest bit sad to let it go.

The needlepoint was dirty and needed to go

The needlepoint was dirty and needed to go

I had underestimated the quality of Hitchcock furniture when I began the process of removing the needlepoint seat cover. That bad boy was stapled in snuggly! The staples were in a tight row and longer staples were used on the corners where the fabric overlapped. It took me almost an hour with needle nose pliers to remove the fabric.

New life for an old stool

New life for an old stool

The needlepoint fabric was used at the template to cut a new piece of replacement fabric. I decided to be bold and select a handsome red fabric to accent the stunning stencil work of the stool (I even have extra fabric if someone wants to make matching pillows- this is a hint for Mrs. Keto). This may sound crazy, but the replacement fabric was actually a Better Homes and Gardens room darkening window panel from Wal-Mart. The window panel is polyester with a unique scroll pattern. My staple gun made easy work of attaching the new fabric.

Bad news for me, the stool doesn’t match any rooms in my house.  Good news for Rae and Rose followers though, the stool will be available at the St. John Vianney Craft Fair on November 21st.