Washing the Washing Machine

Cleaning, DIY

A co-worker is having a new washing machine delivered tomorrow and she bragged about the self-cleaning feature. I was perplexed. Umm, why does a washing machine need to be washed? She was kind enough to inform me that I should be cleaning my washing machine a few times a year. What?!? How did I not know this?

I was in denial. I even googled washing machine manufacturer instructions to see if it was true. (Yes, I thought the cleaning of a washing machine was a conspiracy by the fine folks at Tide to get more money out of me.) LG recommends cleaning a wash tub monthly. Monthly! I’ve been using this washing machine for 1 ½ years and I haven’t washed it. I felt dirty.

Why you need to wash your washing machine according to DIYNatural.com

“Why” to clean your washing machine according to DIYNatural.com

Okay, I need to clean it, but why? DIY Natural.com did a fantastic job of explaining the why. The site goes a step further and provides simple, easy to follow instructions for a natural cleaner using vinegar and baking soda. I don’t have time for that. I need it to be clean now! Target to the rescue; I purchased Tide Washing Machine Cleaner (Amazon Prime has it for less).

After a normal cycle with hot water and the Tide pouch, my washing machine is finally clean. The final instruction is to leave the washing machine door/lid open after each use. Whew, at least I already do that.

Oh yeah, according to Bob Vila, the dishwasher needs to be cleaned monthly too. Crap.

If Furniture Could Talk

Furniture

Our family watched Night at the Museum last night. I’m a history nerd and am envious of Ben Stiller’s character. The night guard has the opportunity to interact with Teddy Roosevelt, Sacagawea, and Attila the Hun. All questions of the past can be answered.  I want furniture to speak to me and answer my questions.

Faux Wood Paint Job. Why, oh why?

I recently acquired a bench with a vinyl cow print top with a base finished with a faux wood paint technique. As I removed the chipped painted, I imagined the bench telling me its story of torture; a previous owner didn’t love the bench enough to remove the tan base paint and stain the bench. Even the bench knew that faux wood paint over wood furniture is wrong. Just plain wrong.  The bench would then thank me for allowing the wood to breathe again.

This couch has lived life.

This couch would have some stories to tell.

No one wants to hear from my couch. My couch would complain about the crumbs under the cushions that only get vacuumed once a year (I refuse to share photos). There may also be rumblings about abuse from children using the cushions as a springboard onto the ottoman. Or using the back of the couch as a horse because I won’t (can’t) buy them a real one. Oh no, what crazy stories would my ottoman share about me?

Purchasing furniture at estate sales or Goodwill would be so much more interesting if the furniture could speak. “Look at me!  I am a quality piece built in 1962. The manufacturer branded my underside. I have spent my entire life in a corner and I am ready to take the spotlight.  I would look like a million bucks with a fresh coat of paint.”

Since I do not possess the golden tablet to bring life to my furniture at night, I am forced to create my own backstories. Don’t be surprised if you find me in the garage talking to furniture hoping it will talk back.

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.

Custom-Made Plaid Lampshades

DIY, Fabric, Lamp
Self-adhesive lampshade

Self-adhesive lampshade

Plaid is back in style and I love it! Plaid is making a resurgence on the fashion scene and if you’ve walked into Target recently, you’ve also noticed that plaid is in style for home décor. I had some lamp bases in need of new shades and I knew that a plaid lampshade was the way to go.

Step 1- Use provided stencil to cut fabric

Step 1- Use provided stencil to cut fabric

The plaid lampshades I found online from various retailers were pricey. I knew I would be much better off creating my own. I purchased self-adhesive lampshades at Hobby Lobby. The same lampshades are available on Amazon, but are much more expensive. When I told Fanny that I wanted to make plaid lampshades, she thought I was crazy, but provided her blessing only if I purchased flannel fabric.

Step 3- Remove adhesive layer

Step 3- Remove adhesive layer

  1. Remove paper stencil from lampshade and place over 1/3 yard fabric.
  2. Cut fabric leaving one inch extra around the edge (for rounding over lampshade).
  3. Remove adhesive layer from lampshade and stick fabric to the lampshade.
  4. Step 4- Glue the fabric on the inside of the lampshade

    Step 4- Glue the fabric on the inside of the lampshade

    Apply a layer of hot glue on the inside top rim of the shade to adhere the fabric. Repeat at the bottom on the lampshade.

  5. Ribbon can be used to hide the edge of the fabric on the inside of the lampshade.

    Step 5- Ribbon to cover cut edge of fabric

    Step 5- Ribbon to cover cut edge of fabric

The process of creating a custom lampshade was easy (I did have Fanny’s help) and the result is truly spectacular. The final lampshades look better on the bases than I could have imagined. Now I’m dreaming of camel check Burberry plaid lampshade.

Classic red flannel mini lamp

Classic red flannel mini lamp

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.

Black Walnut Slab End Table

Black Walnut, Junkstock, Reclaimed
Original slab

Original slab

This past June at Junkstock, I purchased a big ol’ slab of black walnut from A&R Salvage. The slab was roughly 29”x18.5” with one edge of bark.  A week before Junkstock-Harvest Edition, Mr. R&R finally had time to use the black walnut from Junkstock in June. Mrs. Keto and I were busy crafting indoors, so we sent the Misters outdoors to make a table. My only request was to use the walnut slab.

Thick walnut legs

Thick walnut legs

Mr. R&R and Mr. Keto removed the remaining bark and used the table saw to rough-square the ends. Even with the bark removed, the slab is still considered to have a live edge on two sides. One handyman went to work sanding the slab and the other handyman went to work creating the legs. The legs were made using a scrap of black walnut that was 5” wide and 2” deep with bark. They were cut to 19” tall.

Table top-  see the sets of two maple dots? Those are the dowels connecting the top to the legs.

Table top- see the sets of two maple dots? Those are the dowels connecting the top to the legs.

The coolest feature, in my opinion, is how the legs were attached to the slab. The legs were placed at an angle to be located completely under the walnut top. The boys then drilled directly through the slab into the legs and inserted two maple dowels (with wood glue) to connect the pieces. The tops of the dowels were sanded smooth against the black walnut slab. I’m a fan of the visible color contrast.

Tons of character is this one-of-a-kind end table

Tons of character is this one-of-a-kind end table

The table top and legs were finished with multiple coats of poly to protect the wood and enhance the natural beauty of the black walnut.

Junkstock- Harvest Edition

Junkstock, Reclaimed

The reviews are in; Junkstock was once again a huge hit. With much regret and sadness, I was unable to attend my favorite event of “peace, love, music, and junk.” My busy work schedule did not deter Mr. R&R from visiting Junkstock on his own (he seriously loves it!).  He has an amazing eye for rustic and refined “junk”.

Industrial thread spools

Industrial thread spools

Industrial thread spools– Mr. R&R texted me a picture of these and said “want some?”. Yes, please. Each spool is 9 inches tall with assorted colors of peeling paint yet they still have the sticker identifying the type of thread (how cool is that!?!). I believe these spools will be unique rustic candle holders on the center of a dining room table.

Sewing machine base to make an accent table

Sewing machine base to make an accent table

Singer Sewing Machine Base– I have wanted a Singer sewing machine base for years. Mr. R&R purchased the most beautiful one I have ever seen. The foot pedal still works! The only decision yet to be made is the type of wood to use to create a top. Live edge black walnut? This sewing machine table is going to be a stunning accent table when complete.

Boys and their toys

Boys and their toys

Artillery Shell Dummy and Box– I’m honestly speechless about this one. When I received the text of his “great find”, I was confused as to why he was so excited.  The shell was a dummy used for military practice with markings on the corresponding wooden box. I showed the picture to my co-worker who was immediately as excited as Mr. R&R about the find. Clearly, I was wrong and this was a glorious junk find.  Mr. R&R is still pondering where in the house to display this piece.

I would love to give a shout-out to the vendors who sold the amazing products above, but Mr. R&R didn’t keep track of any vendor names. “I bought the spools over by the big tent with the cool tables made out of metal”. Yay, I can’t really use that to tag or find the vendor on Facebook.  Either way, THANK YOU toJunkstock and Junkstock Vendors across the country. I can’t wait to see you in June.

Pottery Barn Gold Hack

DIY, Pottery Barn, Silhouette
Pottery Barn Gold Feather Art

Pottery Barn Gold Feather Art

Growing up, I loved checking the mailbox. I couldn’t wait to see if a new issue of Highlights magazine arrived or if my grandma had sent me a letter. Rae and Rose now take turns checking the mailbox and I still have child-like excitement looking for “my” magazines to arrive: Southern Living and the Pottery Barn catalog. I think most items in the Pottery Barn catalog are over-priced, but I enjoy perusing for style inspiration.

Oh, I wish the metallic finish would have sparkled in the picture

Oh, I wish the metallic finish would have sparkled in the picture

I was recently looking at PotteryBarn.com and saw some wall art that I thought was beautiful, but I almost fell over when I saw the price. The Gold Leaf Bird is a 23″ square giclee print with hand-applied gold leaf with a selling pricing of $299. Ouch. I also liked the look of the Gold Leaf Feather that is 19.5″ x 34.5″, similarly a giclee print with hand-applied gold leaf. The Gold Leaf Feather retails for $399. Double ouch.  I decided it was time for a Pottery Barn hack.

  1. Order black floating frames using Amazon prime. I selected a 12×12 for the bird and 11×14 for the feather.
  2. Use the Silhouette to cut birds on a limb and a feather on gold metallic vinyl by Expression Vinyl
  3. Cut white paper to be the background of each print. For my gold bird, I cut the paper as a 10×10 square to allow the floating frame to show through. I cut the second piece of paper as 11×14 to fill the frame of the feather.
  4. Apply the shiny gold vinyl stickers directly to the white paper. Place it in the frame.
  5. Sit back in satisfaction about how much money I just saved.
Pottery Barn Inspiration and my creation

Pottery Barn Inspiration and my creation

Yes, my prints are smaller than the original Pottery Barn inspiration, but for the price I can handle the slightly smaller size. I can’t wait to see what inspiration I find in the next catalog!

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” Aristotle

Art, DIY, Paint

For months I’ve been collecting mirrors at thrift stores. I knew I wanted to use stencils and paint the mirrors, but I didn’t have a vision for the exact design. I finally decided this weekend to start painting mirrors with a winter theme.

Stencil applied- ready to paint

Stencil applied- ready to paint

I created stencils of deer, Christmas lights, poinsettias, and “be merry”. I applied the vinyl stencils to the mirrors and Rose and I began painting with acrylic paint. This is where things started to go wrong; when applying paint to stencils on wood or canvas, I have had success letting the paint dry prior to removing the stencil. When the paint dried on the mirror and I removed the stencil, the paint came right off with the vinyl.

One coat of "frost effect" dabbed on the stencil

One coat of “frost effect” dabbed on the stencil

I was terribly frustrated with the results, but I was not giving up. The next day, Rose and I purchased Martha Stewart’s Frost Etching Effect. The frost etching can be combined with acrylic paint to create a custom colored frosted look. Surely, this would be the ticket. I dabbed away and was feeling optimistic. Once again, I waited for the paint to dry before removing the stencil and the paint came off again. Uggghhhhh. I was starting to wonder if this project was even a good idea because my mess was easily cleaned up with Windex.

Oh no! I let the paint dry before removing the stencil. I'm missing part of the "b" and "e".

Oh no! I let the paint dry before removing the stencil. I’m missing part of the “b” and “e”.

In hindsight, I should have taken the time to read the Frost Etching Effect instructions online as step one. The instructions very clearly indicate that I needed to remove my stencil while the paint was still wet. Duh. That makes sense. The instructions also indicate that the paint will cure in 21 days (i.e. the mirror can be cleaned with Windex and the paint won’t come off).

My 2nd attempt at a painted deer on a mirror.

My 2nd attempt at a painted deer on a mirror. The 3rd time will be a charm.

I am not giving up. I know that I can paint the perfect Holiday mirror. I will do it. And while I’m at it, I’m going to double down and try glass etching with Armour Etch too.

Mom said I’m becoming more like Dad everyday. He doesn’t read directions either. (Note: Mother added this comment when editing and didn’t think I would  notice her commentary.)

Stayed tuned.

Black Walnut Signs

Black Walnut, Holiday, Paint, Silhouette

Quick post tonight…my mind is slightly pre-occupied by family, work, and a little thing called a craft fair in November (what if we don’t have enough product to fill our booth? what if no one wants to buy anything?)

Last weekend, Mrs. Keto and Goodie stopped by for “girls crafting time”. While they worked on their projects and the little girls played, I stenciled on scraps of black walnut. I sanded each piece and applied Danish oil to bring out the natural beauty of the wood. I used the Silhouette to create a custom stencil for each piece of wood.

I can’t decide which is my favorite!

For Unto Us a Child is Born

For Unto Us a Child is Born


Live-Laugh-Love

Live-Laugh-Love


Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us