Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Garage of Happiness

Well, today we averted a kitchen fire.  My almost 17 year old son, photobombing "theatre boy" for those of you that read my last post, thought it would be a brilliant idea to make a grilled cheese sandwich in the toaster.  He even thought to lay the toaster on it's side while it was toasting and everything.  This is the truth because it would be way to difficult to make stuff like this up.  Yes, I swear he's taking all AP classes in high school.  Really.

Anyway, I recently had a long catch up phone call with a friend that has moved away.  She'd read my blog, and knowing that I was in a small apartment with all these kids, she asked me where on earth was I painting and keeping all this furniture?  So that's what this blog post is all about.  You get to peek into what my husband has dubbed The Garage of Happiness...

Our specific apartment complex offers one car garages for a small additional fee.  However we didn't just get a garage for me and my projects, we got a garage because we needed it for all the kids extra stuff and it was less expensive than a storage unit.  But, having all my up and coming projects in the garage is a definite plus!

So here's the pic of our one car garage:

Now let's go on a tour, shall we?

First we have this lovely Hepplewhite highboy dresser.  It's drawers are on the other side of the garage and they have all their original hardware!  When this dresser grows up it has told me that it wants to be an ombre delight, complete with pewter rub'n'buff on it's hardware and lovely paint and wallpaper inside it's drawers.  It will definitely get its wish once I figure out what ombre color scheme I'm going with!

Next up is this delightful vintage highboy dresser that my friend Erin gave to me. Once again, the drawers live in the 'draweryard' on the other side of the garage.  Her sweet daughters dressed it up with peace and love stickers.  When it gets redone it wants to hang on to its hippy roots with some awesome 60's colors and swirly psychedelic stenciling.

The draweryard.  Need I say more?

And what about this chandelier?  It's been a bad faux brass boy so I'm gonna get a rope and hang it up by it's neck from a tree - then shoot it with a can of Krylon.  Bright Pink.  Then Girlfriend and I will take a trip to Michael's and pick some crystals to hang between it's boughs.  Oh what an afterlife it will have.  But don't worry, it will get baptized washed first!

Then we have these sweet parlor chairs in a hideous dark wood and deep red vinyl.  Ewww.  These babies are going to be used for the desks I have and each one will get treated like the individual it deserves to be.  With every thrift store and yard sale I attend I seek out new life and new civilizations pure wool items to felt and dye and make into proper cushion covers.  There is guaranteed to be a dipped piece in here and I'll even take one step further and tell ya' that one of those red seats is going to get a coat of chalk paint and I will boldly paint where no one has painted before!

And check out this mirror!  This was definitely the yard sale find of the century.  I have no clue what's going to come of this one.  Your input is appreciated!

I do some of my painting in the garage.  If something needs to be sanded though, it goes to a friends house and we bust out the sanding together.  I typically take the drawers to my apartment and do them there.  And my husband and I have negotiated that I get to keep one active project in the apartment.  Right now there's an awesome almost orange mirror in my hallway that you'll see soon!

Now I've got to tell you that there are plenty more secrets in this little garage.  But a true lady never gives away all her secrets.  You'll just have to follow my blog to see what else pops up.  I can guarantee there's some chevrons, neons, unique glazes and stencils coming up because there are over 10 pieces and decorative items that I didn't even show you!  No hoarding here.  Really.

Until next time.  And don't use your toaster as a grilled cheese maker.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thrift Store Thursday #2

My life is insane and today was no exception.  I wanted this post up first thing in the morning, but like usual my life had other ideas.  My morning usually starts by first taking my 13 year old daughter and her friend to Jr. High.  Then I come back home in time to take my oldest son to high school.  This particular morning my husband stayed home because he had an appointment, so I got all wrapped up in making him coffee, then I ran off to pick the girls up from Jr. High because they had a very early minimum day.  Next I ran off to pick up a friend up from the airport, got him some lunch and dropped him at home.  While I was doing that hubby ran my youngest son to high school.  Yes, younger son and older son are in the same high school but have different schedules.  No, I didn't plan it that way.

Are you tired yet?  It gets better.

Then I went with my husband to his doctor's appointment, oh, and we stopped to get something to eat on the way.  By the time we're out of the appointment my husband realizes I've ran all day for everyone else, so he says the magic words..."How 'bout we stop into that thrift store you love around here?".  See, the doctor's office is 25 mi. from where we live and there is a jammin' huge thrift store in that town, and I married an awesome man who understands a thrift store shopping trip gets him more points than bringing me flowers!  So off we went.  Look what I scored:

These are two matching decorative metal lamps.  Can you hear them screaming "Paint ME!"?  Like I said, the lighting is really bad in this apartment.  These were in perfect condition and were $6.50 each!  Here's a closeup:

Please excuse the photobomb by my ginger haired, theatrically inclined teenage son.  I usually take pics while he's at school for this very reason.  At least he got Chipotle for dinner.  He liked my new lamps and said he'd like them better if they were orange.  Not gonna happen.

Then I also found these:

These are for girlfriends desk.  To catch little makeup thingy's, earring backs and sticks of chewing gum (preferably not already chewed).  That price tag says $3.00 :-)

I had more thrift store adventures earlier in the week, and wouldn't you know it - but it was another lamp!

This one was in perfect condition and only $4.00.  The only thing not pictured was the pink striped tank top I got for my little cutie girl.  So just picture a pink striped tank top for $1 in your head.

Now this post is going to go further than just the thrift store.  I made a Craigslist score this week that I have to tell you about.  I saw a project with these floral thingies on another blog and when I do the project I will definitely link to the other blog so you can see where I got the idea from.  These were only $5 each (but 7 year old cutie girl charged a Jamba Juice for her company on the ride to pick them up).  They are from the 60's or 70's and are made of resin.  If anyone knows anything else about these things I'd love for you to share.  I cannot wait to add my paint and glaze touches to these.  Girlfriend swooned over these and theatre boy said they were awesome.  Reaffirming that fact that everything that was out of style eventually comes back in!  Here's the small one:

This will probably get revamped and put up in the bathroom.  And here's the big one, I actually got TWO of these:

Isn't the little butterfly on the bottom adorable?  That butterfly is gonna be blue - I just know it.

So this post is like a big infomercial for frugal shopping so I get to say 'BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE!'  Even with my crazy family schedule I got to go to a few yard sales this past Saturday morning with my hubby.  Our neighborhood was packed with them.  However, that's where I scored these for $2.00:

They are never-worn, Skechers Twinkle Toes in cutie girl's size!  These are the shoes that produce seizure inducing blinkie lights with every step she takes - and she LOVES them!  They're dirty in this picture because she's worn them for 5 days straight.  I love being able to see exactly where she is in the dark though!

So there are my finds for the week.  The other thing I learned this week was to write most of my Thrift Store Thursday post Wednesday evening.  That way I can hit my Thursday morning self imposed deadline.  Can't wait to see if I make it next week!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Girlfriend's Desk and Dresser Makeover - In Progress

My daughter is 13.  The age of eye-rolling, too much makeup and embarrassment over my presence.  But it's cute and we're having fun with it.  Recently, I set out to completely redo her room for a less junky retro feel.

Many years back I picked up a dresser with a mirror, and a desk with a hutch at a yard sale.  They were only $20 each. They were this awful yellow color with these blue flowers on some of the drawers.  They were badly beat up with stickers on them and peeling paint.  My older daughter used them before she went to college and she proceeded to beat them up further.  She drew all over them with Sharpies and added even more stickers.  They were her ongoing art project.  Last year they were handed down to my 13 year old and we knew they needed a makeover!

Because I've already completed one piece, I only have a before picture of the piece I have yet to complete - buy hey - it's a before picture!  I know, so far on this blog before pictures are like white elephants.  But I'm getting better.

Here's the desk with hutch that is still not complete.  This is what her dresser looked like before:

and here's a closeup:

The orange sharpie, dirty peeling yellow paint makes a statement, huh?

So Girlfriend (my 13 year old daughter) just wanted white, with a little bit of shine to it for these pieces.  So we chose Kelly Moore Diamond White in High Gloss for the paint, and used Martha Stewart's Metallic Glaze in Medallion.  After sanding, Kilz primer, 2 coats of Diamond White, Glaze, some distressing, refinished hardware in matte black and 2 coats of Polyacrylic here's what her dresser looks like:

Here's a better, less blurry pic:

But we didn't just stop there.  As you know I have a thing about the drawers.  Well, the inside of these drawers were gnarly!  We primered, painted and polyacrylic'd the sides and insides of the drawers in the same Diamond White.  Then Girlfriend picked some cute scrapbook papers and made a Mod Podge collage on the bottom of each dresser drawer.  We think they turned out awesome:

She even did the inside of the cabinet:

Girlfriend got a little wild with the glaze and even glazed the insides of the cabinet and drawers.  It actually looks pretty awesome with the glaze in the corners of the drawers!

Anyway, this project has only just begun.  We still have to paint a mirror that goes on top of this dresser, as well as the desk and hutch.  So check back to see our progress as we redo Girlfriend's room now that she's a big 8th grader!

Also, it's looking like my Thrift Store Thursday is going to be more of a yard sale/thrift store/craigslist kind of post this week.  We've found some great deals this week and can't wait to show them off!  See you Thursday!
Linking to:
Primitive an Proper
Under The Table And Dreaming
Savvy Southern Style
I Heart Naptime
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thrift Store Thursday #1

I'm starting a weekly tradition here at BIG FAMILY/small apartment.  From now on every Thursday I'm going to show you what I found on my thrifting adventures during the week.  It's called Thrift Store Thursday.  Maybe, just maybe, as my blog grows I'll turn it into a linky party.  However, it would be nice to know how to create a linky party first, Lol!

Every week my little girl and I make it out to a thrift store or two.  After we thrift, and usually because she was so helpful, she gets lunch at her favorite burger place, The Habit.

There she is with her fries :-)

This week we went to 2 thrift stores.  The first was our local goodwill and the second one was a thrift store that benefits our local hospice organization.

Now, thrift stores totally make my husband crazy.  He can't go in them because it causes him to develop a major case of ADHD.  I'm no different.  To battle our attention deficit issues, I always thrift store shop with a list.  I change my list every single week, but here's an example of my list today:
  • Women's clothing - shirt size small, pant size 7-9 ( for my big girl)
  • Men's clothing - shirt size XS-M and pant size 28/32 and 30/31 (for my guys)
  • Girl's clothing - size 7/8 and shoe size 3 (for my little girl)
  • Cool frames (for chalkboards and for a gallery wall in our hallway)
  • Mirrors (for a mirror wall I'm planning)
  • Buttons (for button art)
  • Old gold, silver or colored flower brooches (for another upcoming project)
  • Sheet sets (we eat sheets in our family...)
  • Lamps (I'm still looking for 4 more lamps for various places in our apartment, the lighting is not so great here)
  • Blankets
  • Furniture (nightstand for big girl, something for our entryway, buffet for living room, bench for end of my bed, furniture for our apartment deck)
  • Big pots (for the unpotted plants my husband keeps on our deck)
  • Anything else that's really awesome that I totally can't pass up.
As you notice I don't have clothes for myself or my husband on the list - it's because we don't need any!  I make a huge effort to not overbuy, especially with space being a premium in our home.  Now the kids?  Well I could buy for them everyday the way they're growing.  My 15 year old son grew, oh, like a million inches this year and all his pants look like capri pants!

The other thing I check on when I thrift store shop are the specials. Check the store calendar to see when the discount days are and check for coupons.

Today was half off day, which was awesome! I found a couple of tanks tops for my big girl.  One Banana Republic and the other Gilly Hicks - Sydney.  My little girl found a cute turquoise dress by Guess.  Here they are.  Barely worn and super cute!  The tanks were 50% off of $1.75, or $.88 ea. and the dress was 50% off of $3.00, or a $1.50.

My trip got even awesomer than this though.  I wasn't looking for framed art, so these kind of found me.  They are 2 prints from Cost Plus.  They have a beautiful silver frame, are double matted and are in perfect condition!  The prints are white flowers with shades of taupe, green and butter yellows.  I'll be hanging these 'as is' over the sideboard in my dining room, they are that pretty!

Here's a closer pic -

Here was the price before the 50% off -

So that means they were $3.25 each!  But they were originally this much each -

So I scored!  Lastly I found this next frame and it was only $3.75 after the 50% off.  This frame will get painted and will definitely get made into a chalkboard!

Total spent thrifting this week was $13.51 + tax (minus the hamburgers...).

Stay tuned, I've got some more projects coming up this week.  I may even post a pic of how these prints look in my dining room.  Hmmm...

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love Chalkboards! (A Tutorial)

So my latest project has been making chalkboards for each of my children.  Even though I have 4 children at home, the 5th child at college has put in an order for a chalkboard too.  So that means I'm making (at least) five.
For this first chalkboard the frame came to me free.  It was actually a frame around a print that my mom gave to me.  Now, I know my mom is reading this so I'm going to be very polite and let her know that the ugly unique and unusual print went to a neighbor's house sold on eBay for a tidy sum.  I know that would make her very happy.
This frame started off as an old gold color, like many of them do.  My 13 year old daughter wanted a very bright chalkboard frame though.  So here's what I did:
I gathered some bright green "oops" paint.  Can't beat that price for a quart of Valspar, semi-gloss paint + primer!

Then I relied on my longstanding relationship with Martha.  I just love the Martha Stewart Metallic Glaze Specialty Finishes.  I have almost all of them and use them regularly in my projects.  This color is a rich brown called 'Muscovado'.

Then I made this!  Here's a close up for you.  Sorry no before pics, but I'm working on it.

See why I love this shiny glaze so much?

After the frame was finished I moved on to the chalkboard part.  At Home Depot you can get 1/8" smooth plywood, and they even cut it for you.  So for ALL of my chalkboard projects it cost me about $5 for the wood to make the chalkboards with, and my husband I didn't have to saw anything.

At home I primed each board.  I like to use Kilz spray primer for projects like these.  A little can goes a long way.

Then I sanded and wiped down each board.

Next I got out the chalkboard paint and a foam brush.  I use lots of this stuff on my projects.  I actually have chalkboard spray paint and Valspar chalkboard paint.  Determining which one to use really just depends on the project.

My children I painted each board with 3 coats of chalkboard paint.  With each coat we would change the direction that we were painting.  After it was dry all we had to do was put it in the frame!

Here's a picture of it on my daughter's dresser.  I wonder what kind of notes she's going to leave me now..."Mom, can you get some [insert random item here]!"

And finally here's a sneak peak at my next project...
Have a great day!
Linking to:


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Little Pink Thing

So this piece has an interesting story.  As you already know most of my pieces come from yard sales, and this piece is no exception.  Now my husband will usually drive me around on a couple Saturday mornings a month, and the deal is I pretty much have a $20 limit.  Without the limit, my home would probably be filled to the brim with unfinished projects that didn't have a hope of completion!  So this particular Saturday I had already spent $8 on some really cute clothes for my daughter and I had $12 left.  Then I saw this thing:

Of course it wasn't painted.  It was dark, dark brown.  And of course it doesn't have a before picture, because I only started taking those recently.  After I got a new phone because the camera on my old phone died.  Anyway, It was REALLY scratched and stained on top.  It was also completely solid with smooth sliding drawers and intact hardware.

The guy wanted $20 for it - and it was almost noon.

I explained that I only had $12 left this morning, and would he take $12?  He said 'no way' and insisted it was worth a lot more - like $150 or something like that.  So I did what I normally do in situations like this.  I told him that he should put it on craigslist.  Then he'd probably get a lot more for it.  Then I walked away.  This man then literally chased me to my car saying he didn't have the time to put it on craigslist and he'd take my $12.  So hubby loaded it.  End of story.

This one took a lot of work though.  The finish on top had to be completely sanded off, then the piece was primed.  Then painted twice.  Then glazed. Then distressed.  Finally it got waxed.  But in the end there was something missing.

This piece had a little pull out top shelf that seemed boring to me.  So I got out the chalkboard paint.  I had to.  I have a chalkboard paint problem.

Isn't she totally cute now?  Can you picture leaving your sweetheart a little note on this at your bedside?  Or how 'bout a cup of coffee with a chalked message that says 'for you' and an arrow pointing at the coffee?  Awwww.  As I always say, if you're gonna say something, say it with a piece of furniture!

Let me also show you a close up of the distressing:

Distressing this was so fun.  I used a sander and got down to the bare wood.  In a strange twist of fate this piece did ultimately end up on craigslist!  My 13 year old daughter informed me she'd grown out of pink.  But had I done it in turquoise...

Next time.

Linking up to:
Under The Table and Dreaming
Twigg Studios
Nifty Thrifty Things
504 Main

Monday, September 3, 2012

Look What My Husband Brought Home!

My husband is always bringing me little presents.  A picked flower, a coffee drink, bath salts...

This time I think he outdid himself.  He found this little thing on the side of the road with a sign that said 'FREE'.  He picked it up because he was thinking about his wife's late night therapeutic painting obsession hobby.  The dresser was in much worse shape than this.  Sorry I didn't think to take a before picture.  Next time.

I had these cute glass knobs from a project (that I obviously didn't finish) eons ago, and I thought that the glass knobs would look cute against a chalkboard background.  So I painted the drawer fronts in chalkboard paint and added the glass knobs.  Cute.  Then I painted the rest of the dresser in a calm aqua color and added 2 coats of high gloss wipe on poly.  Love how the top and sides shine!

I have this thing about dresser drawers.  It makes no sense to me to make the outside of a dresser really nice, and then when you open the drawers the whole mood is spoiled.  So I had to do the drawers this time too.

I painted the insides and sides of each drawer in a lime green color.  Next, I tore out pages from an old atlas I got at a thrift store.  I then used one of my favorite products of all time called 'Mod Podge' and lined the bottoms of the drawers with the atlas pages.  Like this:
 And this:
Here's an up close pic:
I just love the chalkboard paint!
Actually, the neatest thing about the chalkboard paint is what I'll find written on it tomorrow morning.  My kids love chalkboard paint and often draw me funny stick figure pictures or leave me Dr. Seuss quotes.
Sadly, this is going to a friend's little boy and won't be staying in my apartment.  Well, it's actually not that sad.  When it goes it'll free up wall space for another project...tee hee!
btw, I added this post to some linky parties.  Thought that might be fun!
Linked up to:
Twigg Studios Sunday Show Off
504 Main Tickled Pink
Primitive and Proper Furniture Link Party
Kammy's Korner: Trash 2 Treasure
Tater Tots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Savvy Southern Style
House of Hepworths
The Shabby Chic Cottage
Somewhat Simple
A Glimpse Inside
Finding Fabulous Blog
Chic On A Shoestring Decorating
The 36th Avenue