Monday, August 31, 2009

DIY Matted Art

After seeing similar framed crosses and sculptural pieces at Garden Ridge for over $50 for smaller sizes, I set out to make my own custom version. I found these large frames with a 21 x 27 opening at Hobby Lobby on clearance a few years ago. I also purchased the crosses, matboard, scrapbook paper and ribbon at Hobby Lobby during various 50% and clearance sales.

I then purchased this mat cutter at Joann's with a 40% off coupon. This was my first time ever cutting my own mat for an art project and it was actually very easy to do. I just followed the simple instructions that came with the cutter and I cut a perfect mat each time I used it. I completed this project before I started blogging, so I don't have any detailed pictures. But I will be using this mat cutter to create a family photo wall in my hallway and I will detail just how easy it is to use the cutter. So if you have a lot of pictures to mat, this $15.50 (including a 40% discount coupon) investment will be well worth it.

I then used some brown metallic craft paint I had on hand to antique the scrapbook paper and I assembled the scrapbook paper and the mat on adhesive foam board and stapled it to the back of the frame along with the ribbon holding the crosses in place.

I am linking up to Kimba's DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land. Be sure to check it out.

EDITED TO ADD: I am attending my very first A DIY Show Off Party! And it is a surprise party! Visit the A DIY Show Off - Show & Tell Surprise Party for more great DIY Home accents.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Unconventional Furniture Solutions

I have mentioned in this post before that I flipped a desk hutch upside down to use as a TV console. Using this unconventional idea possibly turned a costly furniture item into a very inexpensive one. Now whenever I am browsing furniture stores, I always try to envision ways I could use a piece other than its original purpose.

Take for instance this gorgeous hutch I recently saw at a local furniture store for just $99. Now envision this hutch flipped upside down and a changing pad on the long shelf. Wouldn't this make a perfect diaper changing table/storage for a baby's nursery?

I also saw this solid wood armoire top for the incredible price of $49. If you are handy with a miter saw, imagine flipping this piece over and adding some crown molding to the top and staining it to match. This would make a beautiful storage cabinet in someone's kitchen, office, craft room, etc.

So next time you see an incredible piece at a great price, think of alternate ways to use the piece in your home.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rub 'n Buff Lamp Makeover

I scored this lamp for $8.99 at Hobby Lobby's last 90% clearance sale. I adored the shape of the lamp and the style and color of the shade, but I disliked the orange tone of the lamp base.

I wanted to tone down the orange in the lamp base, but still have a little of the original color show through. So I decided to makeover the lamp using the Rub 'n Buff paint that I had been using to accent the carvings on my dining room chairs.

I used a foam brush to apply the Rub 'n Buff in Spanish Copper to the surface of the lamp. This stuff dries to the touch very quickly, so the application is very easy. Also, since the paint is a thick wax substance, there is also very little prep needed to protect surrounding surfaces. I actually did this on my dining room table with just one plastic bag under the lamp to catch any spillage in case I squeezed the tube too hard. And a little goes a very long way - I have used it on this lamp and six dining chairs and I still have plenty left.

This lamp will eventually go in the entryway that is directly across from the dining room. The entryway is painted a tan color, so I think this lamp would be perfect to pull in the deep chocolate and gold colors from the dining room.

I'm linking up to Kimba's DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Price My Space Party #2

I am joining the Nester's second Price My Space party and showcasing my still unfinished dining room. My budget for this room was $500, but I think once it is completely finished, I will probably be over budget by about $200. Still not bad for a complete dining room that will seat 8.

1. I described the diamond wall technique here and the Styrofoam chair rail and shadow box molding here. Because this is an open room and only consists of one full wall (shown in the pic below) and another short wall which is almost entirely taken up by a window, I didn't need a lot of paint and molding. The total was about $117 for the Ralph Lauren Lush Brown paint (I only used half of the gallon) and molding. I already had the Sharpie paint pen in the craft supplies and the upholstery nail heads were left over from a previous re upholstery project. Total: $117.

2. The one major purchase in the room was the dining room set . I purchased this set off Craigslist for $300. It consists of six side chairs and two arm chairs and two leafs. For every day use, I am only using one leaf and six chairs. This is a Heritage set (an in Drexel Heritage - when they were two separate furniture lines years ago) and is in excellent condition (other than the yellowed finish on the painted chairs). I am in the process of repainting the chairs and the table base white, reupholstering the seat cushions, adding batting, silk velvet fabric and nail head trim to the caning of the arm chairs, painting the caning of the side chairs gold and highlighting the chair detail with this Antique Gold and Spanish Copper Rub n Buff. I think the finish on top of the table is beautiful, so I will probably just touch up spots and polish it well. This is taking me a good while to complete all of these pieces. The total for the dining set, spray paint, Rub n Buff and fabric, trim and Hobby Lobby candleholders ($3 each) is approximately $415 .

3. This piece was my fantastic bargain find. I purchased this 9 candle chandelier from my local Habitat for Humanity Restore for $45. I was originally planning to spray paint it an oil rubbed bronze color, but I think I will like the subtle gold finish better with the deep brown walls. I have yet to install it yet, because I have never worked with electricity. I know I should just get over it and do it and I will because I am refuse to pay someone $100 to install it for me and it only cost me $45 to purchase the fixture. I am looking for some inexpensive chandelier shades to recover and add it the bulbs once it is installed. Total: $45

4. I will eventually hang the striped silk curtains I made on these finials. The silk curtains are leftovers that I had made for my apartment window. I had to add an additional half yard of fabric to the bottom of each panel to make them long enough to reach the floor. I fell in love with the fabric when I saw it in the fabric store years ago, but I didn't love the $27.99/yd price. Since I needed a total of 6 yards, I would have spent $167 for two drapery panels. Since they were going on the sliding glass door in my apartment and I knew they were only going to be stationary and would not cover the actual door, I cut the width in half to make to panels from one length of fabric. So instead of two 54" panels, I have two 27" panels. So I got two panels for $84 dollars instead of $167. I found the finials and clips at a fabric store for 75% off. They were silver and I spray painted them brown. So my total for the window treatments is $13.50 for the finials and clips and $28 for the silk lined drapes (I only counted the additional fabric I bought to add length to the drapes because I just repurposed my left over apartment drapes). Total: $41.50.

So my running total so far is $618.50 and all of my major purchases are complete. Although, I am still undecided on whether I should put a piece of art or a mirror on the wall centered above the table. I almost consider the wall treatment a piece of art in itself and I don't want to cover it up, but I concerned that the wall may appear to be missing something if I just left it bare. I hope to see a clearer picture once the chandelier is installed. Let me know what do you think?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quick and Inexpensive Switch Plate Update.

I wanted to replace all of the plain white builder grade switch plates and wall plates in my family room, breakfast nook, hallway and entryway with oil rubbed bronze plates, but when I added up the potential costs, I quickly decided against it and began to search for a less expensive option. My solution - spray paint!

I unscrewed the plates from the wall and spray painted them (including the screws) with two coats of Rustoleum Universal Hammered Paint in Brown. After they were dry, I finished them off by spraying a very light coat of clear topcoat on them to protect the finish from scratches.

The results: It has been over two months now that I completed this project and they have held up well. I noticed a very small nick in the paint on the most used switch in the breakfast nook area, so I will probably take it down and add a heavier clear topcoat to it.

But all in all this was a very easy and inexpensive update to my plain and boring switch plates.

Linking up to Amanda's Decorating Dilemmas @ Serenity Now and Kimba's DIY Day @ A Soft Place To Land . Check them out!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to Shop for furniture on Craigslist!

I have to admit that I have only made one major Craigslist purchase for myself and I suggested a purchase for a friend but we have both experienced unproblematic transactions and great satisfaction with our purchases.

I purchased the dining room table and chairs pictured below for $300 (not pictured are the two extra side chairs and the additional leaf allowing for seating of 8). The seller was even kind enough to deliver the set to my home allowing me to save the expense of renting a moving truck. (This dining set is currently undergoing a makeover to be unveiled soon.)

When my friend, Symone's Mommy, was searching for a set of chairs to go with a newly purchased dining table, I found this set of four antique dining chairs on Craigslist for $120 a mere 30 minutes after they were posted to the site. Again, the seller was kind enough to deliver the chairs to her house.

Here are a few tips to narrow down the hundreds of Craigslist furniture postings to find the really good bargains. Note: These tips are based on my experience searching the Dallas, Texas area postings. Please Note: Always be safe when going to examine or pick up furniture. Never go alone and trust your gut reactions in certain situations.

1. I limit my search to my general area of the city. For example, Dallas postings are categorized by five localities. Because I would more than likely be charged by the mile or hour to rent a vehicle to pick up the item, I don't want to spend the extra money and time driving clear across the Metroplex, so I shop close to home.

2. Next, I select the "furniture - by owner" category in the drop down box. This will weed out all of the dealers and stores selling their wares. I find you can get better prices on items when the owner is selling the item due to relocation, redecorating, etc. They just want the item out of their garage and are usually not looking to make a large profit.

3. I always check the "has image" box because NO picture does me NO good!

4. Unless I am just looking for fun, I always set an upper limit that I am willing to pay for a particular piece that I am searching for. I do set this max price slightly higher than my actual max price in case there is some room for negotiation. Also, I would hate to miss out on a great piece just because the set price may be only $5 more than my actual max price.

5. Lastly, the keyword search can make the difference between finding a piece that you adore at a great price or declaring that Craigslist sucks and is only full of junk. There are no preset categories, so a seller may describe that French Provincial style sofa as just a sofa, couch, love seat, antique, old, etc. That is why you must be very general in your search because some postings may not contain a thorough and accurate description and the picture must be viewed to see a truer representation of the piece.
Happy Craigslist shopping!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dining Room Diamonds Tutorial

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments left about my dining room makeover. Since I got a couple of requests for a tutorial on how I drew the diamond pattern on the walls, here goes my very first tutorial. If you are a fan of HGTV's Rate My Space website, you may see some similarities between my dining room walls and the All-time Most Viewed Dining Room by Camryn1230 on the Rate My Space site, which served as my wall inspiration.

1. I painted the top portion of the wall using Ralph Lauren Regent Metallics Lush Brown. This is a gorgeous deep brown with metallic gold mixed in. It's just enough shine and sparkle to add some drama to a small and open dining room.

2. Next, I decided on the size of the diamonds by measuring the walls vertically. I made the diamond height divisible into the wall height. For example, the wall space I was working with is about 90"in height, therefore, I determined that I could fit 2 36" whole diamonds and 1 18" half diamond on the wall. Since I read somewhere that the diamond width should be 1.5 times the diamond height, I made the width 24". Note: This tutorial are going to use measurements based on 24" x 36" diamonds, but you can still use these instructions by substituting your own diamond measurements.

3. To begin the diamond pattern, I started in the lower right corner of my longest wall. I took my yardstick and marked the 18" vertical point (the center point of the first diamond- I will call this Point A) and 36" vertical point (and the upper point of the first diamond - I will call this Point B). Note: Point A is not an intersecting point, it is just there for reference now.

4. From Point A, use a yardstick or any straightedge and a level and measure 12" horizontally and mark this spot. From this 12" mark, measure 24" horizontally and mark the spot and continue to measure and mark the 24" spot along the entire wall until you can no longer measure a full 24" width.

5. From Point B, measure 24" horizontally and make the spot and continue to measure and mark the 24" spot along the entire wall until you can no longer measure a full 24" width.

6. Next, place the bottom of the yardstick vertically at Point B and repeat Steps 3, 4, and 5 until the entire wall is filled with staggering points vertically and horizontally.

7. Now it is time to play Connect the Dots! I used a yardstick and a Sharpie Metallic Paint Pen in Gold to connect the dots and draw the lines. That paint pen dried very fast on my walls, so I didn't have to worry about smudging. Because of that I was able to do the X pattern at one time instead of waiting for one direction to dry.

8. Finally, push a nail head in at each intersecting point. I was able to push most of them in using my thumb and a thimble. One tip I learned by accident: I got impatient and wanted to see how the nail heads would look before I got on the ladder to draw the upper lines, so I stuck a couple of nail heads in without pushing then in all the way. I found this later to be a great guide for my yardstick when connecting the dots on the upper lines. I just pushed the yardstick up to the nail heads and perfect alignment without me trying to eyeball it.
Look for Dining Room Makeover Part II next week!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Forget Design on a Dime! How about Design on a Nickel - Dining Room Makeover Part 1.

This is the before shot of my dining room. (Please forgive the low-res cell phone pictures since I took these before I decided to start blogging.) I will be posting changes to this room slowly, because that is exactly how it is progressing - slowly. My budget for this room is $500 and so far I have used $117 after painting and installing Styrofoam chair rails and shadow box molding. I still need to hang the striped silk drapes I had leftover from my apartment, replace the ceiling fan with an inexpensive chandelier and add furniture.

This is the first after shot of my dining room after painting and installing Styrofoam chair rails and Styrofoam shadow box molding. The foam molding was so easy! I prepainted the foam (because I forgot to prime the chair rails, I still need to go over it with another coat), mitered the corners using a miter box and hand saw, applied construction adhesive to the back of each piece and attached it to the wall. I painted the walls with Ralph Lauren's Regent Metallics in Lush Brown, used a gold metallic Sharpie paint pen and a straightedge to draw the diamonds on the wall and accented the intersecting points with upholstery nailheads. I still need to touch up the paint around the thermostat and the edges. Dining Room Part 2 will be coming next week!

And it's DIY Day over at A Soft Place to Land hosted by Kimba. Be sure to check out the fantastic DIY projects.


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