Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Inspired Wednesday - Refurbished!

This project has taken approximately 7 days (on-and-off) and I'm excited to share the final product!  First of all, I took an old dresser that really wasn't anything special (we actually tried to sell it at our garage sale for $10 and nobody wanted it...) and with a little inspiration, some determination and a need to feel productive, I armed myself with an electric sander, some stain and white paint and dug right in! 

Here's what the dresser looked like BEFORE:
It was pretty dated, the handles were all loose and bent, we didn't like the color of the stain, and the top was a mess of gunked up/chipping off old varnish - BUT, it did have really nice, big drawers for storage and it was still very solid, so I knew it had potential :)

So I enlisted my army of materials and got to it. I tried using a chemical stripper (which probably wasn't the best idea, granted I was working INSIDE, but I had a mask on!) which worked really well for most parts of the dresser, but I learned the hard way that just because it LOOKS like all the varnish is gone, doesn't mean it is. 

After I put one coat of stain on, I noticed it was covering very splotchy-like and realized the stripper didn't get all the old varnish off. So, I backtracked a bit, pulled out my handy-dandy electric sander and removed all the remaining varnish that way. 

If you look closely, you can see the 'splotchy' texture... I thought it might've been just stained from the chemical stripper, but alas, the varnish just wasn't completely gone.

After it was all sanded (live and learn...) I played around in Photoshop with some ideas for staining/painting the piece before committing. I even posted the ideas on Facebook for my friends to help me decide because I have a real problem with decision making. (thanks, guys!) Number 5 was the clear favorite! (and Justin's choice as well!)
I found from this great blog while I was researching and fell in LOVE with a dresser that they were re-finishing for their nursery. I loved their idea of staining AND painting the piece, not just one or the other. I pretty much followed their process all the way through - they did a great step-by-step! What would I do without the internet?!  (I'm officially addicted to this blog - they have the greatest ideas for home decor, etc. and they're really good about sharing how they did it on a budget! It is DEFINITELY worth checking out!! I can shamelessly spend hours browsing through their home improvement ideas...)

After I had a plan, I applied a coat of Minwax Red Mahogany stain and let it dry for a good 3 days. (the humidity around here didn't allow for any 'quick' dry times...) 

While the stain was drying, I painted the white parts with a Valspar flat white paint and after that, it was a matter of just applying a coat of polyurethane to seal the wood! (Come to find out, the ONLY stain that you can't use a water-based poly with happens to be 'red mahogany' ... oh, live and learn...)  

After the entire piece was dry and cleaned up, attaching knobs/handles was the last challenge, and voila! DONE!

This being my first refinishing project, it certainly came with its fair share of mistakes and many of the parts took 3 times as long as they should, because I would have to go back and re-do them, BUT I think it turned out rather well! I even enjoy the inconsistencies in color (which I'm sure wasn't 'supposed to' happen) but who doesn't like a little character?! :)  

I hope this inspires you to see the potential in your 'eyesore' pieces and do something with them! I'm so glad I took on this project and look forward to more in the future! (make sure to check out Young House Love - if I didn't inspire you, this couple is sure to win you over!

Monday, July 25, 2011

365 Project: Week 28 - Hot and Steamy!

Curious about a photo? Check my Flickr page for descriptions!
It was SO disgustingly hot and humid in Indiana this week (and pretty much everywhere in the U.S. it seems...) so I spent a lot of time hibernating in the house with the A/C on completing some projects and starting some new ones!

Our guest bedroom is finally finished, we had to make some minor adjustments to some new stools for our dining room, Bella has found a new favorite spot to sleep, and I've been working hard on a re-finishing project that I'm hoping to post finished photos of in the next couple of days! Check back in a few days to see the transformation!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

365 Project: Week 27 - One EPIC week!

Check out my Flickr page for photo descriptions! (click the photos to the right)
This week was so full of AMAZING things, I don't even know where to start! 

First of all, my sister came to visit for 5 days to celebrate the premier of the FINAL Harry Potter movie, which we enjoyed every minute of in IMAX 3D!  If you haven't seen it yet, do. Just do... It was amazing. While my sister was here, she and Justin went SKYDIVING which was a major event crossed off the bucket list for both of them! (I jumped a ride in the plane for photographic purposes only - see below)

THEN... on Saturday night, the doorbell rang and who should show up by my <very classy> brother, Josh and his lovely girlfriend, Katie! (A.K.A. Cletus and Kitty) What an AMAZING surprise!! It was our first time meeting Katie (who is REALLY great!) and their first time seeing our new home! Good times were had by all - visiting the wolf park for a 'predator/prey demonstration' between the wolves and the bison (click here to learn more) and spending most of our time hibernating in the A/C as temperatures have gotten disgustingly hot and humid here again... good thing we're in love with our new house enough to spend so much time in it!

Here are a few photos from Justin & Janessa's skydiving excursion!
(for the record: I did NOT jump out of a plane... no way. I got to ride along with my sister when she jumped out and to do so had to strap on a parachute and got a 25 second explanation of what to pull if I were to need it... in which case I would've been screwed.) 

Whew! What a week! Oh, Good news! I'm going to be re-furbishing a piece of furniture in the next week or so that I'll be posting before/after photos of AND I'm gearing up to get my Etsy shop back up and running with some new pieces! Stay tuned! (and stay COOL!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

365 Project: Week 26 - Adjusting to life in Indiana :)

Check out my photos on Flickr for full descriptions! (click on photos to the right)
This week we've spent a ton of time getting to know our surroundings and making our house feel like a home (see our home improvement progress in my post here) We are all becoming more and more comfortable by the day (Bella and Jasper included!) and have been spending much of our time hibernating INSIDE due to the blasted hot temperatures (and humidity) that Indiana has been experiencing!
I'm also working on getting my paperwork together to apply for an Indiana teaching license and getting work ready for my first Indiana art show/sale in 2 weeks!

Inspired Wednesday: Home Improvement!

We moved all of our 2 bedroom duplex into a 4 bedroom house in Indiana (a house we LOVE!) and we've been busy doing minor adjustments and DIY projects around the house, unpacking, and spending lots of time browsing the isles at Lowe's. 
They say: "Let's Build Something Together",
We say: Bring it on!

Here's a list of the things we've done so far in the 13 days since we've moved in:
1. Re-screened the door, cleaned, painted AND added a new light fixture to the porch
 We're also practically professional electricians, wiring all these light fixtures...

Who knew re-screening would be so fun and easy?!
We also re-screened 3 windows in the house!

Jasper was a big help.

2. Cleaned the garage drywall with bleach and painted with primer (to get rid of the nasty mildew)

BLEACH. On the walls. My mother would be so proud...

3. Covered up the ginormous hole above the fireplace in the living room with a mirror, installed track lighting and filled in some large holes in the ceiling
We still need to add a few accent pieces, but a huge improvement!

4. Although we didn't really do much 'work' towards this one, we got our new bed via FedEx today and set it up! (Our bedroom has been the 'neglected' room so far...)
We got a memory foam bed that came super vacuum packed in a roll and got to watch it 'puff up' with air!
(Bella approves of the new bed ... although with any luck, she'll continue sleeping on HER bed on the floor!)
We've also matched/touched up paint, cleaned like crazy, hung shelving, assembled numerous pieces of furniture, and unpacked about a billion boxes - and we're loving every minute of it! I'll be posting 'finished' photos of some of the rooms in my 365 project over the next few weeks!
Also, as we were unpacking, this wicker basket re-surfaced and Jasper jumped right in for a nap. When he was a baby, he used to LOVE hanging out in this basket until I filled it up with socks. It seems he's re-claiming what he thinks is his! :) (Granted, he doesn't fit quite as well as he once did..)

Friday, July 8, 2011

365 Project: Week 25 - The Olives Take on INDIANA!

Check out my Flickr page to read the story behind each photo - like new neighbors and Bella's new backyard!
This is the week we've been waiting for for a long time! We packed up our life and moved it from Menomonie, Wisconsin to West Lafayette, Indiana (with a small lay-over in Dayton, Indiana for a couple of days) 

It certainly came with it's share of stress (as I'm sure anyone that has gone through the paperwork process to own a home can attest to) and there were a few days this week that we weren't sure we would actually HAVE a house to move into... but God came through (along with our realtor, Kristy Miley, who seriously went above and beyond numerous times to ease our mind and get us moved in - THANK YOU, Kristy!! You ROCK!
Kristy told us that 'buying a house is like having a baby - after it's over, you forget all about the pain you went through to get there' and she was right! Although we were freaking out this week, everything came through and it now seems like a distant memory! It was certainly a learning experience and something we'll never forget!

In my next post, I'll be sharing some photos and projects we've been working on in the house so far - and maybe a few 'finished' photos of the rooms soon after! Thanks for following along with me on this journey!

365 Project: Week 24 - Final Days in Menomonie!

Remember: I journal about the story behind each photo on my Flickr page-just click on the photos to the right!
Hello from INDIANA!
Thank you for bearing with me throughout this moving process - it's been a very busy couple of weeks saying good-bye to Wisconsin and hello to Indiana! I'll be posting many photos of our house and the progress we're making in the next few posts - I HAVE been keeping up with taking a photo every day (many MORE than one at that!) but just haven't had time to sit down and upload them to my computer and/or blog about them! So it's time to play CATCH UP!
This week was our last week in Menomonie and I spent it with as many family members and friends as I possibly could! I got to see my sisters 3 days in a row, had a family cook-out, a bonfire with my siblings and enjoyed lots of time outside in the beautiful summer weather! It was all very bittersweet and although I tried to spend as much time with my family as possible, I know that it may be a while before I see them again - they won't be able to just 'pop in' whenever they're in town and I think I'll miss that the most... it will take some adjustment.

I hope you've been enjoying your families and spending as much time outside as possible - summer is too short!!