snag this freebie – digital washi tape images!

 

digital washi tape faves

Graphic design is my thing. I love it – and get paid to do it here and there. Double bonus! Recently I was working on a design where I needed a file image for something similar to digital washi tape. Who knew there was such a thing?!

While looking for black and white styles for that specific design I came across some ADORABLE & FREE (yes, FREE!) files that I wanted to share. These are perfect for anything girly or spring themed! I’m totally picturing baby girl or wedding shower invites.

I’ve included the images below, which are all in .png format. That means they’ve automatically got a transparent background! Score! Feel free to use them for your own personal use.

Happy designing!

XOXO Andrea

Note: I am not the owner of these images.

 

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How We Turned A Smelly Purple Dresser into an Entertainment Center

I’m all about local “swap-n-shop” groups on Facebook. It’s like an online garage sale… without the “Craigslist-killer” factor. I’m a member of 5+ local groups where people buy and sell all kinds of items… clothes, shoes, designer handbags, housewares, and furniture.

Since I opened a flea market booth with 2 friends last summer, I’ve been on the hunt for cheap furniture pieces that I can give life to… and make a little profit in the process. You may have read my post about my tried and true “paint-sand-stain” technique (if not, read it here).

Over a year ago (okay maybe two years ago) I saw a Facebook post selling a nice wooden dresser. Key word being wooden, because I like to be able to sand. I could tell from the photo it would need a little repair from what looked like a minor dog chew mark, but other than that it looked pretty solid and like an easy project. Just needed a couple coats of paint, a little sanding to accent it, and some stain to finish it off.

I dragged my husband to this lady’s apartment after work one evening and from that moment on we were in over our heads. I know I said the great thing about buying things off Facebook is that it isn’t as creepy as Craigslist. True, because you can check out someone’s profile and try to get a vibe. Well, I certainly didn’t get the “I’ve got to move out of this apartment tonight so my boyfriend can’t harm me and my daughter” vibe. Things got weird in that apartment really fast. I felt sorry for the lady. She was probably my age or younger, and you could tell she had had a hard life and from what she told us she needed to move quickly and quietly. I felt good about showing up, paying what she asked ($30 for the dresser), moving it out and being on my way. The apartment was clean because and mostly packed up. What I can’t describe to you was the horrible smell of the apartment… the smell of cat. You know what I mean.

Oh, and then there’s the dresser. The photo she had taken and posted must have been in the worst lighting possible. I was expecting a dark wooden dresser. Not a purple one.

Purple dresser

We loaded up the dresser and took it straight to our storage unit. I just prayed that the cat piss smell hadn’t been absorbed by the wood. It was that bad. I could always burn it and be out the $30…

So, let’s get to the real reason why you’re reading this instead of my weird story about where we got the dresser. I knew that I wanted to use this piece as an entertainment center for ourselves. I’d seen numerous pins where DIY’ers like myself would remove the first row of drawers and bam – there you have it… a TV stand with storage!

We moved this dresser with us and it sat in the garage with crap on top of it. When we moved again, my husband gave me an ultimatum… do something with it or get rid of it. So WE did!


In this post I will outline the steps we took to transform the “purple cat piss smelling dresser” (it no longer smells, just so you know) into a kick ass entertainment center. We snapped lots of photos along the way to show our progress. This project was much more in depth than I anticipated, but we both learned quite a bit about furniture refinishing. Enjoy!

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We began by applying a thick coat of Citri Strip gel paint stripper to all painted surfaces of the dresser, including the top because I wanted to remove its finish and re-do that part too.

Because I’m pregnant we were careful about fumes when we purchased our supplies. This stripper is made with citric acid so it had a surprisingly pleasant orange-y scent. Not bad at all.

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One mistake we made was doing this project in the driveway on a windy day. Our gel stripper was drying out. It needs to stay wet to work as it should. You can see how it is drying out in the photo above.

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We moved it inside the garage and put another goopy layer on in hopes of it staying wet and working better. As you can see, the purple started magically disappearing. I knew the purple paint was spray paint (based on the finish and unevenness), but we didn’t know what would be underneath.

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We started scraping off the paint with a plastic putty knife – plastic so we wouldn’t gouge the wood. Underneath we found black… joy! Not only was this just black paint but it appeared to be oil-based. It was like goopy tar. It did not behave like regular paint. Total mess!

We also went ahead and applied another thick coat to the top of the dresser.

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We struggled to scrape off much of the black, so we did a 3rd layer of gel stripper.

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As you can see, after the 3rd stripping process we finally started seeing some wood. The paint that I like to use is Valspar Paint + Primer from Lowe’s and it has great coverage. We decided to call it quits here.

My husband used mineral spirits on a rag to remove the excess dried stripper from the wood. This is important so that the stripper residue doesn’t effect the new paint.

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I used wood filler to plug the old hardware holes in the drawers. I wanted to use a knob that would need just one center-drilled hole.

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I let this dry for a day and then sanded it down. Turns out I did this too early and some of the filler was still a little wet down in the holes, so I had to repeat the process. Lesson learned!

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My husband sanded any remaining spots of the old finish off the top of the dresser.

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The dresser was looking good and ready for stain after the mineral spirits wash and sanding any remaining paint chips off.

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I used Rust-o-leum’s stain in the shade Kona for the top of the dresser. I used an old t-shirt to apply it with the grain. I rubbed it in well and did not wipe any off.

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We let the stain dry for several days before doing anything else with the dresser… we also had other things going on and simply didn’t ┬áhave time to work on it.

Next, I painted the drawers using Botanical Bath from Valspar. Our Lowe’s has discontinued Valspar Ultra so I had to go with Valspar Reserve. Boo! It was more expensive and I still think I prefer the Ultra. I used a flat finish.

Next up, we started working on the actual structure of the dresser and what needed to be added & removed in order to make it into an entertainment center. This is where my dad’s help comes in.

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Dad had some scrap pieces leftover from other projects that we used to make the dresser look complete where the top row of drawers used to be. He took off the drawer runners that helped keep the top drawers in place. Since we were taking those out, the runners could go.

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We added in a smooth piece of paneling to act as a shelf for our electronics. He said this was $13 at Lowe’s. And now we have extra for future projects ­čÖé We glued this in with Power Grab and used the nail gun to secure it even better.

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We cut a spare piece of oak trim to use to finish off the edges of the new shelf. Again, we used Power Grab and a nail fun to secure it into place.

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What a difference the oak trim piece makes! (upper left square- no trim, and to the right you see the trim).

He used caulk to seal up any gaps. It didn’t take too long to dry and then I was ready to paint! I used the same paint. Like most projects, I used 2 coats. Painting inside that shelf was NOT fun!

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Lookin’ spiffy!

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Obviously none of this would have been possibly without Phil’s support…

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Next up, we stained the drawers using Minwax Special Walnut and wiping it off with a clean t-shirt rag. When the paint dried on the dresser, we stained it as well.

I marked where we should drill the new knob holes by finding the center of the drawer, measuring corner to corner diagonally.

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Again, my assistant was all over it…

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We drilled the holes and screwed in the new knobs.

Next up, it was time to apply our clear coat finish to the top. We wanted our entertainment center to be waterproof so I wouldn’t have to worry about sweating glasses or sippy cups!

We used Helmsman by Minwax to do this. It was a little stinky, so I didn’t do this part.

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We applied two coats of this. We smoothed out any brush marks and imperfections with 0000 steel wool before adding the second coat. We applied this with an old synthetic brush and then with a foam brush. I don’t think it made a difference.

We popped in the drawers and voila!

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We made sure to apply felt pads to the bottom so that it wouldn’t damage our new hardwoods.

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I love how this piece turned out and fits into our house. We get so many compliments on it and most people can’t believe that we did this ourselves!

I hope this post has been detailed and informative for those of you looking to transform something from drab to fab. Please leave any questions about the products or process in the comments!

(Thank you to my parents and husband for their help with this big project. I am thrilled with how it turned out!)

Five on Friday – New House Excitement Edition

I am getting giddy over the idea of moving into our new house soon!

I haven’t had much time for blogging today, but wanted to post a quick Five on Friday. Today, I’m sharing some of my ideas and inspirations for small, low-cost projects for our new home.

All photographs are courtesy of Pinterest and images will link to original source.

1. adding carriage house-style details to garage door

Garage Door Makeover

2. paint the door between the kitchen and the garage

Paint door to garage a pretty color. That door is so hard to keep clean in white. Pretty paint color.

3. diy roman shades

roman shades diy This is the easiest way I've ever seen to make Roman Shades!

4. cleaning the dark engineered hardwood floors

Bellawood is the best hardwood floor cleaner ever- no matter what kind of hardwood floors you have.  The best thing about it for those with dark wood floors is that is leaves zero residue and no streaks!  I've literally tried every floor cleaner on the market and this is the absolute best cleaner!  (And no one is paying me to say that)

5. paint the front door a pop of color

Door: Waterscape by Sherwin-Williams; Siding: Dovetail by Sherwin-WilliamsReally, mint?! Have I totally lost my mind? Maybe! (After all, it’s just an idea)

Short and sweet. Have a great weekend!

XOXO | Andrea

Got smelly towels?

I did.

I’m sharing a quick laundry recipe to rid your bath towels of horrible mildew smell. We all know that smell! It’s awful and leaves your skin smelling less than fresh.

Our towels suddenly caught the smell… I say caught because it came out of no where. Like we had a bad batch of laundry.

I took to Pinterest to find a solution, just like any other mid-20s gal would do. I found several pins that told the same story…vinegar and baking soda should do the trick… And it did!

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To freshen smelly towels:
1. Add towels to washer. Run it on a regular cycle with hot water. Add 1-2 cups of white distilled vinegar.
2. Don’t add soap!
3. When this cycle is finished, re arrange the towels and start another hot water cycle. No soap this time either! Add 1/2 cup baking soda. Run the cycle.
4. Now, transfer your towels to the dryer. Or if you’re like me, hang them outside on the clothesline for maximum freshness. (If you do this, you will need to soften them in the dryer later)
5. Make sure you don’t take them out of the dryer til they are 100% dry.
6. (The final & favorite step) Bury your face into that warm towels and breathe in the non-smell! Ahhhh!

This has worked wonders for us and has saved me from spending lots of money to replace our 8 or so thick, fluffy bath towels.

Note: The next time I washed the towels I used our normal detergent (Era) and dried the towels in the dryer. Good as new!

Have you tried this laundry recipe or something similar? Let me know!

How to makeover an ugly piece of furniture

I love buying junk. Especially when it’s cheap!

This post will give you the “know how” to start repurposing old furniture pieces into new treasures. An old dresser, table, or chair is your blank canvas… so grab a notepad and let’s get started!

I will detail the step-by-step process for two different furniture pieces, one is basic and the other is more advanced. Hopefully, my instructions will be a guideline for you as you embark on your project and spark your creativity. My aim is to give you some pointers that will be helpful no matter what kind of style you are shooting for.

The original pieces:

IMG_5159Purchased for $15 at a garage sale held outside a flea market in Conway, MO. This dresser is not old, in fact it is solid oak. The drawers open very smoothly.

IMG_5165Purchased for $3 at a garage sale in Clever, MO. Based on the details, my dad thinks this could be from the 1940s. Solid walnut.

For the purposes of the post, I’ll be calling these by the names “the dresser” and “the accent table”. I knew I wanted a distressed white look for the dresser. Because I would be putting this in my flea market booth, I was shooting for something versatile that would compliment a variety of buyers’ current color schemes and themes.

I purchased the paint I used for the both pieces from Lowe’s.

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At the paint counter I asked for their cheapest flat paint in the color Botanical Bath. It is a neutral with a very slight green tint. In the past, I have used plain white to achieve a distressed white look, but I wanted something more rich for these pieces. This quart cost me $14.00. That’s a little steep in my opinion! Sure, I could have gone to Walmart to save money but I’m sure you can agree there are times when you don’t want the hassle of finding a parking space, finding someone who can mix your paint, or the worst… seeing someone you know.

Note: before I began painting I cleaned both pieces with an antibacterial kitchen cleaner. I wanted to knock and dust, dirt or germs off. I will caution you to spray the cleaner on a rag or paper towel, not directly on the furniture. If the grain becomes too wet it will expand.

This paint was considerably thicker and more “full coverage” to use a makeup term, than cheaper flat paints. Because I would be layering another product on top I am not super concerned with coverage with the dresser, but it did help to mask the boo-boos on the top surface of the accent table.

IMG_5167Here’s the dresser after painting. I did two light coats with the Botanical Bath.

IMG_5168I chose to only paint the top surface of the accent table, leaving the legs as is. (Say hi to my brother in the background!)

IMG_5162Getting my paint on!

Okay, let’s talk about the accent table. When I purchased it I knew the top would be great for a handpainted design or pattern. It was a flat surface, that was square with the side indentions. I thought it could be interesting as a plant stand, for a lamp, there are so many options. I spent what felt like hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration. Nothing! All the searches for handpainted furniture turned up bright colored pieces that were rather free-form and just a bit too crafty for my taste.

I had a light-bulb moment when I saw this pattern on burlap in the background of a photo. It was perfect!

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I will admit to being artistically gifted, so the idea of sketching this design and painting it was a no-brainer. If this idea scares the crap out of you, I have some solutions.

  • Use masking tape to create a geometrical design. You can do stripes, chevron, herringbone, you name it.
  • Go with polka dots. Find something round to trace around. How hard can that be?
  • Print something off the internet that will be easy to trace.

Tracing is the name of the game. I flipped the accent table over on it’s top, traced around it, and voila I had a template of the area I wanted to cover. I began sketching out the design and went over it with Sharpie when I was done. The purpose of this step is so I could see my final lines. There was a lot of marking and remarking lines just to make everything perfect.

IMG_5172You may notice a couple shapes that I omitted. I decided to leave them out and didn’t outline those with marker.

Next, I taped the template to the top of my table and slipped a large piece of graphite paper underneath. When you draw on top of the paper, it transfers a “pencil line” to the surface. Basically, the same concept as carbon paper but the transfer is not as black. I picked this up at a local art shop for under $2. You can use the same piece a million times. I’m still using a piece I bought over a year (maybe two years) ago. Bargain!

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I failed to take a photo of the table after the tracing was done. I started painting! Originally I was going to paint the table green. I started in with a sage green color. The paint was too thin and all my brush strokes were visible I knew it was going to take several coats to make it look decent. I decided on black and am SO glad I did.

I should note that I used acrylic craft paint for this part. This can be purchased for under $2 at any craft store or even Walmart.

IMG_5174Getting started! You can see where I started with a little green. The black covered it with no problem.

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It took two sessions for me to paint every little detail of this design. I would estimate that it took 2 hours total.

For the legs, I made a black wash with the acrylic paint. I mixed water with paint and used a cheap foam brush to apply it to the legs and up around the top. I wasn’t perfect with my application and I didn’t want to be. My goal was to have the wood show through in some areas.

To finish the table, I used sand paper to lightly rough up some of the edges. I sanded the edges of the top and some of the detailed parts around the top and on the legs. I used Minwax Special Walnut stain with a rag over the entire table – the top too! I didn’t want to darken the top too much so I did not shake/mix/stir the stain before dipping my rag into it. I’ll have a photo of the final product at the end of the post.

Let’s switch gears and talk about the dresser.

After the paint was dry I began sanding away. The goal was to expose the wood on the edges. I would be staining it with the Special Walnut and wanted the stain to seep into those exposed wood areas.

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It took some serious elbow grease to sand off the thick Valspar paint. I have never had to work so hard to sand away paint. One of the beauties of high dollar paint, I suppose. As you can see I focused on the edges and details.

IMG_5230Getting ready for a coat of stain.

IMG_5232I would definitely recommend wearing some kind of gloves because stain STAINS!
You may be questioning my choice of a white shirt – have no fear, no stains!

I’m not super experienced in the staining department, but it’s pretty dang easy. Dip a rag into the stain, rub it on the furniture and then rub it off with a clean rag. You can get different effects by using a lot of pressure or little pressure. This stain dries with the slightest bit of gloss finish. It makes the matte finish of the flat paint go away. Of course you can choose any type of stain or glaze that you like!

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Here’s the dresser after staining. I used an old tooth brush to get into the grooves.

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I am so thrilled with the finished product! My mom gave me 2 lamps to set on top to “stage” it in my booth. We think that if potential buyers see if decorated they may be more able to picture the piece in their own home. I’m pricing it at $100.

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I won’t be upset if the table doesn’t sell because I want it for myself! This little guy took on SUCH a transformation. I will be pricing it at $50.

Here are a couple side-by-side photos:

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I have a corner cabinet sitting in my parents’ barn that is my next project. I’m thinking about going gray with it and doing some fun door knobs. I will be sure to post┬áabout my upcoming projects and flea market booth successes!

If you’re in the southwest Missouri area, check out Mike’s Unique┬ánear the intersection of Sunshine St. and West Bypass. We would love for you to visit booth P4!

Happy Monday to you and yours!