Rustic Burlap “Autumn” Pennant Banner

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So as I’ve mentioned, last year I made a commitment to myself to keep up with my holiday and seasonal decor. As a kid my Mom always put a lot of time (that she didn’t have) and effort into decorating my childhood home for the holidays and I’d like to do the same for baby P and any other future children I may have. Since in my opinion it’s a tad early for Halloween decor (it still feels like summer!) I thought I’d get my decorating started with a few easy fall themed pieces that compliment our regular home decor. This pennant banner is super easy to create and is both fun and elegant and most importantly – cheap! Mine cost about $3.00 to create. Happy fall, now go make a cute pennant banner to celebrate ūüôā

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This project was inspired by my DIY Rustic Pennant Banners that I use for party decor, follow this link to see how you can jazz up your next event!

My fall version!

My fall version!

SUPPLIES:

  • Burlap – the amount you need depends on what you would like your banner to say and how many letters it will contain, but you will likely need less than 1/4 of yard which will cost you about $1.00-$2.00.
  • Twine
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Small paint brush
  • Large stencils – I used my reusable stencils that I used to create my DIY Rustic Burlap Pennant Banners, they are available at Staples.
  • scrap fabric (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Scrap paper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1:¬†Begin by creating a pattern out of scrap paper (I just used a piece of computer paper out of my recycling bin) in whatever shape you would like your pennants to be. I chose a square shape with an inverted triangle at the bottom which measured about 7″ wide by 10″ long.

I made sure that my letter fit atop the pattern.

I made sure that my letter fit atop the pattern.

Step 2: Once you have your pattern, use it as a guide and use a marker to trace as many as you need onto the back of your burlap then cut them out.

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Step 3: After all of your pieces have been cut. Use your stencils and acrylic paint to apply your letters to the tops of the burlap using your small paint brush. Use a generous amount of paint. Set aside to dry.

Step 4:¬†Once your letters have dried use your scissors to poke a small hole in either end of each of the tops of the pennants through which you will thread a piece of twine. At this point if you wish you can dab some mod podge on the ends of your pennants to keep them from fraying but since mine was going to be up high out of tiny finger reach (lol) I didn’t bother.

Step 5 (optional): If you want to add little fabric tassels to the ends to jazz it up use the same method I used in creating my Scrap Fabric Banner but instead with a few pieces knotted together.

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DIY Fabric Covered Photo Mat – Made from a Cereal Box!!!

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Who doesn’t love free stuff? I actually have quite a few “free” projects in the works currently that I’m super excited about, but for now I’ll share this one with you as it was part of our gallery wall which I will reveal soon! This project actually happened by accident when I realized that the frame I was using wasn’t a standard photo frame and I was going to need to cut a photo mat to fit it. Since the piece of art (I shouldn’t say art, it was a weird picture of a cat or something, lol) that was originally in the frame had an ivory mat around it I was going to have J cut it to fit using a box cutter. Of course he misunderstood me (anybody else have an issue with their men having selective hearing when it comes to their crafting requests? lol) and cut the wrong part of the mat, rendering the part I needed useless. Boo-hoo! It was time to come up with a plan B, which I thought would be just to buy and cut a standard mat to size but then I realized that a standard mat wouldn’t fit this frame either (gahh!). Just as I was getting super frustrated and about to ax the use of that particular frame altogether,¬†I remembered that I had seen a picture mat that somebody had covered in fabric by simply mod podging fabric onto a plain picture mat. Now, that still didn’t solve my problem of not having the right mat size, but if I thought that if I could only find a thin cardboard to fashion my own mat I could take advantage of my left over fabric from past projects. I knew that a poster board cut to size would work just fine but in the interest of not having to traipse into town to get one I thought to myself “what do I have in the house that is of similar thickness/material to a poster board?” and then it came to me – a cereal box!!! About a half hour and a little mod podge later I had myself another fancy photo mat (check out my first DIY photo mat here) that not only matched the fabric on our side-light window panels¬†but was free!!! All it required was a little thinking outside of the “box”, so to speak (get it? cereal box, ha.ha.ha). I hope this inspires a free photo mat on your end (you need not use a cereal box like I did, any thin cardboard will do) and should you not have the need for a photo mat right now, keep this one in mind as a great DIY gift opportunity come the holidays!

I'll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart <3

I’ll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart ‚̧

 

DIY FABRIC PHOTO MAT

SUPPLIES:

  • 1 large cereal box¬†or poster board of some sort
  • fabric of your choice
  • mod podge (I used matte finish but it doesn’t matter what you use)
  • glue gun & hot glue
  • foam brush
  • measuring tape
  • scissors

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: If you are using a cereal box break the box down by cutting along one of the corners so that it can lay flat like a piece of cardboard. Then measure and cut four strips of equal length or four pieces that can come together to form a rectangular mat since it wont matter what your pieces look like beneath the fabric as long as the shape of the mat is even (depending on the size of your box you may not be able to get four equal pieces but rather four pieces just long enough to overlap and connect to form a rectangle). If using a poster board simply measure and draw out your mat and then cut it out already formed.

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My cereal box! In the interest of pinching our pennies I opt for “crisp rice” instead of rice krispies haha

Step 2: Once you have your four pieces connect them so that your print side (if using a cereal box) is all facing one direction using hot glue to form the mat. Ignore this step if you have used a poster board and your mat is ready to go. Now you are ready to measure and add your fabric!

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ensuring that it fits in the frame

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Step 3:  Measure your fabric by laying the fabric print side down (upside down) and laying your mat on top, use a pencil or pen to mark an area just a tad bit larger than your mat size or enough to be folded over the edges (I will explain in the subsequent steps). Once you have marked your rectangle on the fabric, cut it out using your scissors (this should be obvious but keep the rectangle in tact! To cut the center simply puncture a hole in the center of your fabric and cut along the insides).

Step 4: Place your mat so that the non-print side is facing up and lay your fabric cut out over the mat to make sure that it will line up correctly. In each of the inner and outer corners cut a small slit that extends from the edge of the fabric to the corner of the mat (this is so your fabric can be tucked underneath without puckering at the corners).

Step 5:¬†Now you are ready to attach the fabric to the mat. Using your foam brush, brush a generous amount of mod podge onto the mat surface and then lay your fabric atop it and press down to secure. Some mod podge will likely seep through the fabric, this is fine, simply use your foam brush to brush it off so that it doesn’t form clumps. At this point your fabric will still be larger than necessary for the mat but allow it to dry this way before moving onto the next step.

Step 6:¬†Once your fabric has dried for the most part, turn your mat upside down and use hot glue to attach your fabric’s edges to the underneath of the mat, making sure to pull it tightly so that isn’t loose along the edges and holds to the mat securely.

Step 7: Now turn your mat back over and add another coat of mod podge to the top of the fabric, ensuring that you are adding and even layer and are not allowing it to pool or clump along the top. Allow it to dry and you are ready to use it in your frame!!! Ta-da!!! 

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My DIY frame displayed on our gallery wall!

 

To see more of our family pictures from baby P’s 6 month photo session see this post!¬†

 

Meal Planning – Week of August 3rd

Unfortunately this post will only include five meals instead of six. We had our usual dine-out/order-in day on Sunday and then the following Saturday one of J’s co-workers ended up inviting us over for dinner so we got out of cooking on that day as well :). All in all it was a good week of recipes despite cheating out of an extra day, I was able to whip up some of our favorites in addition to stretching a dollar by using our left overs as components of other meals!

SUNDAY // Take-Out

MONDAY¬†// Spinach & Feta Chicken Roll-Ups – This was a super cheap and simple meal I made using the left over filling from the Spanikopita Bites¬†I made for Friday’s baby shower (for some reason I always wind up with more filling than phyllo cups!). I sliced my large chicken breasts into thirds and pounded them thin (much cheaper than purchasing thin cut breasts!), spread about 2 Tbsp. of filling onto each breast, rolled them up and secured them with a toothpick. Next, I simply pan seared them to brown on each side then baked them in 375 degree pre-heated oven for an additional 25-30 mins. I highly suggest trying out the Spanikopita Bites as an appetizer for your next party, to make it super easy I buy the pre-made phyllo cups as opposed to making them myself.¬†

TUESDAY¬†// Greek Sliders – This is a recipe I came up with to satisfy our burger fix and to use up the endless supply of feta cheese I always keep on hand, it’s healthy and super easy. Check out the link to hear more about it!¬†

WEDNESDAY¬†// Chicken Satay¬†– I am obsessed with satay. Since we cook it on the grill the hardest part of the preparation (which isn’t hard at all) is the peanut dipping sauce, so when I found a peanut sauce recipe that I enjoyed I made a huge batch and froze it in a few small plastic zip locks so that whenever we have satay I’ll always have it on hand. I am yet to come across a satay recipe that I didn’t enjoy, but I give this one bonus points because I already had all of the ingredients on hand. I subbed chicken thighs for breasts to make it extra cheap!¬†

THURSDAY¬†// Miso-Glazed Salmon¬†– New-favorite-alert! This recipe was awesome! Last time I was in Trader Joe’s I happened to come across some miso paste (which apparently only costs like a dollar, who knew?), and knew that I needed to whip up one of the miso-glazed salmon recipes I always happen across. Since J agrees to eat salmon “if it’s prepared right” (whatever that means, lol), I knew that this asian-inspired recipe would most likely be hubby friendly. This super easy and healthy recipe only requires about three ingredients and is SO good. I garnished with green onions instead of chives since I always keep some scallions on hand. ¬†

FRIDAY¬†// Slow-Cooker Beef Barbacoa Tacos¬†– I really enjoyed this one. I’m a fan of anything with a chipotle flavor as well as anything that’s prepared using the slow cooker so this recipe checked off two boxes on my list. One of my favorite parts of this recipe is that it made a lot¬†so the left overs can be used to make nachos, burritos or quesadillas (see next week’s meal planning menu!).¬†

SATURDAY //¬†Dinner with Friends ūüôā

Check out all of my favorite recipes on my “Tried and True” Pinterest board!

Meal Planning – Week of July 20th

So I know I had previously mentioned that I would try and post my weekly meal plans, both for the benefit of anyone that cares and for me to refer back to when trying to plan future weekly meals. Anyone that has tried to stick to a strict budget while maintaining a healthy diet knows the challenges that this combo can pose. In our house we don’t follow any particular diet plan, we just try to eat mostly healthy meals prepared by healthful methods of cooking. I plan on creating a separate post regarding our budget, but we¬†try to stick to a strict $50.00/week grocery budget (this doesn’t include household goods like cleaners, toilet paper and other non-food items available at the grocery store, only food). We also don’t buy lunch food, I just prepare large enough dinner meals that reheat and pack well so that they can be eaten for lunch by both myself and J the following day. Personally, I am always looking for new dinner ideas (a big reason I waste so much time on Pinterest, haha), so the purpose of these “meal planning” posts will mainly be to share some new meal/recipe ideas with my friends, followers and fam! If I can be as diligent as I hope to be with these weekly posts, I plan to eventually make a whole “meal planning” category.¬†

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The menu, as displayed in our home ūüôā I ended up replacing “summer quiche” with another recipe, however, I will be posting that soon! Check out this pic’s link to my “DIY menu chalkboard”!

SUNDAY // Chicken Cordon Bleu РI stretched a buck by purchasing a large package of chicken breasts and using them in both this meal and my Panini recipe below. Instead of spending the extra money on thin sliced breasts, I slice the large breasts and pound them thin myself.

MONDAY //¬†Fried Rice¬†– I love this recipe! It really is very close to “restaurant quality” as the creator claims it to be and it’s super cheap to prepare! I added some roast pork that I had left over from one of our weekend meals but usually I’ll just add extra scrambled eggs as the protein element.¬†

TUESDAY //¬†Almond Crusted Shrimp – Prepared in the same fashion as my Almond Crusted Flounder, so simple and delicious and I only use a little bit of oil to fry them up but if you’re trying to be super healthy you could always bake them.¬†

WEDNESDAY // Baked Felafel РThis is one of my favorite recipes! I serve it with my Skinny Tzatziki and yellow rice. I always double this recipe so that we will have enough for lunch the following day. I also tend to add a little extra flour, my mixture is always a little looser than hers looks in her prep pics. 

THURSDAY //¬†Grilled Chicken & Summer Veggie Paninis – This was simple as grilling up some thin sliced chicken breasts, zucchini and summer squash. I like to use veggies in our cooking that I can also steam up and serve to baby P. I finished it off with some sliced gouda (I bought the cheap Sargento slices, well, because they’re cheap, lol, but also because they melt quickly) and some of my simple Red Pepper Aioli that I always keep on hand. Instead of using artisan breads for my paninis I instead buy a loaf of Italian bread, cut it into thirds and slice it (digging a little out of the middles before forming the sandwiches), they crisp up nice and cost as little as $1 for a loaf!¬†

FRIDAY // Grilled Steak Rolls РThis was the first time we tried this recipe and we loved it! We used a cheap cut of thin sliced top round beef and a combo of peppers, onions, zucchini and summer squash. Instead of balsamic glaze we substituted teriyaki sauce to give it an Asian flare, it reminded me a lot of beef negimaki (little beef and asparagus rolls served in a lot of Japanese restaurants).   

SATURDAY //¬†Since we had a birthday party to attend this was our night “out” but typically we will choose one night of the week to either order in or go out to a restaurant, just to give me a break from cooking ūüôā

Check out all my favorite recipes on my “Tried and True” Pinterest board!

Updating Our Master Bathroom

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Crazy thing happened this week … we accepted an offer on the house!!! So exciting and sad at the same time, because although putting the house on the market was a good decision and I’m excited to move on base, I’m getting graduation goggles about selling it given all of the memories our little family has made here so far. That being said as long as nothing falls through on the buyer’s end we will be peacin’ out of this bad boy by the end of June, so I better get all of my house transformation posts up before I’m categorized as creepy if I’m technically posting pictures of somebody else’s home, haha.

In my post on refinishing cabinets I spoke a little about my our master bathroom update but would now like share the whole project in detail! Again, most of our updates were cosmetic as we wanted to create the most change for the least cash. This was our final major house project and we were in a race to get it finished given our very important deadline – the arrival of baby P! Now, I’ve spoken before about how I’m a true believer that with a little paint and the right decor you can create a transformation that is budget friendly but will still rival that which would be made by an actual renovation. We applied that idea here as well as in the guest bathroom where a few small changes resulted in a complete revival of an old dingy space. Since this was our last major project, our vision for the space changed¬†many times between the date we purchased the house and the time that we actually got to the project. Originally we came in guns blazing prepared to paint, rip out the vanity, install a new tub surround, basically change¬†everything until we realized that with limited knowledge on how to do the aforementioned and seriously limited cash preventing us from hiring professionals to do it for us, our vision was going to have to change drastically. We decided to ax the idea of installing a tub surround and simply give the old tiles a real good scrub down instead. Still stuck on the idea of replacing the vanity, we held off because that was going to cost us a pretty penny and with paying as we went along (no credit cards) and other house projects in the works, the master bath remained on the back burner. As P’s due date drew closer, we wrapped up a few ¬†other projects and finally decided to tackle the bathroom, going with plan c if you will, our third and final game plan – replace the toilet, repaint the vanity, replace the vanity top, paint the walls, decorate, DONE. We were super motivated to get this done, especially since we had been showering in the guest bathroom for months given the sorry state of our on-suite bath, my big pregnant self even did all of the painting and decorating while J was at a job school in Norfolk because I was too antsy to wait to get it done, haha. Hope this inspires some DIY in your life, remember say no to renos and difficult transformations, chances are you can fake it with some paint and great decor!

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it is purely coincidental that I am wearing the same shirt in the two pictures taken over 6 months apart haha

 

WHAT WE DID:

  • Replaced the vanity top.
  • Repainted the vanity cabinets. We decided to repaint the vanity given our frustration over having replaced the other two and wishing we had just gone this route in the first place.
  • Removed old mirror and replaced it with a new beveled edge mirror.
  • Replaced the toilet.
  • Painted the walls.
  • Hung a wine rack that we repurposed as a towel rack.
  • Hung a 5-hook rack for hanging towels.
  • Hung a shabby-chic towel ring.
  • Hung two DIY “paintings”.
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me picking up the 5 foot vanity in my Kia Soul haha

SOURCES:

  • Vanity Top //¬†Purchased at Lowes, available through special order (since we were replacing a custom size we needed to order a custom sized top). It cost us in the neighborhood of $500.00, which was a little less than it would have cost us to replace the whole vanity and floor tiling (but a WHOLE LOT less work).
  • Beveled Edge Mirror //¬†Purchased at Lowes, available here for $41.97.
  • Toilet //¬†Purchased at Lowes, available here, for $139.00. Since it is a dual-flush it is supposed to conserve water.
  • Paint //¬†Color is “Montpelier Ashlar Gray” by Valspar.
  • Wine/Towel Rack //¬†Purchased via Amazon for $34.50, available here.
  • Five-Hook Rack //¬†Purchased at Target, available here for $23.79.
  • Towel Ring //¬†Purchased via Etsy from “midwesterntreasures” for $26.50.
  • Shower Curtain //¬†Purchased from Overstock, available here for $24.49.
  • Square Grey/Yellow “Paintings” //¬†DIY project, I simply inserted a piece of fabric into a $4.99 frame from Michael’s (I will write a post about this soon!).

 

Since the bathroom is attached to the master bedroom which has a grey and yellow color scheme we carried that into the bathroom as well. Sorry I only have one set of before pictures but you’ll still get an idea of how awful it was, don’t worry haha.

 BEFORE

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AFTER

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We estimated this project to have cost us around $850.00 when all was said and done. Although it seems pricey it sure beats a remodel and since we did everything over the course of several months and only purchased items as we had the money to do so, this helped a lot. 

Updating Our Guest Bathroom

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I’d like to share our guest bathroom update, which was one of the first projects I tackled upon moving into our home. I know I’ve mentioned in my other house posts that I like to stretch our budget by simply updating our rooms with DIY decor and fresh paint, as opposed to doing a complete reno. The upstairs bathroom was in decent shape, the tub surround, toilet and light fixtures were good, and although we decided to replace it, the cabinet portion of the vanity was acceptable as well, so I regret not simply replacing it and purchasing a new vanity top (don’t make the same mistake we did, read my tutorial on repainting cabinets and get to it!). I decided to go with a beachy-chic feel for the bathroom decor, normally I’m into a little more monochromatic design with pops of color because I feel it is a little more modern, but I figured for the guest bathroom it wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun with it, after all we had just moved to the coastal Carolinas! The majority of the bathroom update was simply adding decor, with the only hard part being the replacing of the bathroom vanity (don’t get me wrong, I love the way it looks but it was a major pain in the arse).

Before I get to the specifics of the bathroom update, let me help you to hopefully avoid one of our giant missteps in the project by giving you a much simpler DIY solution. If you are considering replacing a vanity completely, before you tear out the existing one I¬†urge you to first take a lay of the land and ask yourself – is there physical damage, missing or rotten pieces of wood? If so, replacing the piece may be your only option, however, if you are just dealing with something that is ugly but functional read my post on refinishing cabinets, mine were as ugly as they come, a real 1980s builder-grade gem lol. If you are still not convinced, let me tell you this – replacing a vanity, especially one that is original to the home, will involve replacing parts of the floor beneath it before installing your new vanity, and I can assume that since you are reading DIY posts on home updates you are not in fact a professional builder, haha. Once you rip that old vanity out there’s no going back, you’ll be stuck as we were, having to sand and paint the walls (which will be damaged by your removal of the vanity), install new subfloor (oh, and the fact that we owned only a hack saw and drill as far as power tools went made it even more fun – NOT lol), then lay new tiles and grout before you can even THINK about putting in that cute new vanity that has been sitting in your garage for the weeks it took you to prepare the space for it. Still sound like a good idea? If you are up for a challenge, by all means, go nuts but if you are like me and would rather spend your weekends at the beach instead of on your hands and knees grouting a bathroom floor when all you wanted was a new vanity, then I plead with you to go the repainting route haha. That being said, our bathroom did come out super cute and if you do¬†decide to replace your vanity you can still DIY it (if you have any questions about replacing the floor tiles leave a comment, we had¬†no¬†idea what we were doing and it still came out great). Now for the specifics, since this isn’t a tutorial I’ll just explain the update and give sources for all of my decor finds.

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WHAT WE DID: 

  • Removed the vanity, replaced the floor tiles around it and installed a new sink/vanity combination. As I mentioned above, I do wish we had simply repainted the vanity in retrospect, however, the smaller vanity open up the bathroom a great deal and made the space seem bigger.
  • Painted the walls.
  • Removed the vanity mirror and replaced it with a hanging mirror.
  • Installed two floating shelves above the toilet.
  • Replaced the towel bar.
  • Installed a hand towel ring.
  • Installed ¬†a three-hook rack for hanging towels.
  • DIYed a free-standing¬†small linen storage unit.
  • Hung pictures.

SOURCES:

  • Vanity ¬†//¬†Purchased at Lowes, available here for $269.00. NOTE: If you don’t care about having extra drawers they have another similar option for $189.00.
  • Floating Shelves¬†// Purchased at Home Depot, available here¬†for $28.80 each. They are also available at Target, but I believe H.D. is still cheaper.
  • Free-Standing Storage Unit¬†// Thrift Store find. After project costs, the item comes in at around $29.00. See my post here on painting laminate furniture to see more about this particular piece.
  • Wall Paint //¬†Color is “Woodlawn Bedroom” by Valspar.
  • Vanity Mirror //¬†Thrift Store find. Purchased for $10.00 and hit it with a coat of gray spray paint.
  • Towel Bar // Purchased at Lowes,¬†Moen Brand Spot Resistant Brushed Nickel 24″ Towel Bar, available here for $19.98. We had a Lowes credit or else we would have hit up Walmart for this item to save a few bucks.
  • Three Hook Towel Rack //¬†Purchased from “TheShabbyShak” via Etsy for $23.00. This shop has lots of great shabby chic decor in a huge variety of colors and finishes. I chose the aqua in keeping with my beach theme.
  • Towel Ring //¬†Purchased from “VeritasInspired” via Etsy for $22.99.
  • Damask Shower Curtain //¬†Purchased from Amazon for $36.00. Available here.
  • Towels //¬†Lime Green Bath Towels –¬†Target, Target brand $4.99 each. Navy Blue Hand Towels – Bed Bath & Beyond, Wamsuetta Brand (these were wedding gifts or else we would have gone for the Walmart or Target option on these, expensive hand towels? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat).
  • Baskets //¬†All three baskets in my bathroom (as well as those hidden under the sink), were purchased from Michael’s. I LOVE baskets. I once saw a Hoarders episode featuring a woman who had over three thousand baskets or something like that and I’m not saying that’s me but I’m well on my way, lol. NOTE: I only¬†purchase baskets from Michael’s with a 40% off coupon or when they are on sale for over 40% off or else they are a total rip off. I would say these three cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.00 each for the small ones and $8.00 for the large one.
  • Wall Art //¬†Each item on this wall was virtually free. The beach picture was a picture I had taken myself right on our own Onslow Beach here on Camp Lejeune, I just blew it up at our local drugstore for around $1.00, the frame was the second half of a buy-one-get-one deal they were running at Michael’s so we had it sitting around anyway. The “catch me by the sea” print was one I found on Pinterest, saved as a JPG and printed at our local drug store in size 8X10 (this may or may not be legal, but there was no watermark so I assume it was a free print, if not I’m sorry copyright gods!). If you want to do the same just Google “free whatever-you’re-looking-for images/quotes” and you should find some, the quality may not be so fab but it’s just for looks. The frame for my print was one of the old ones we used in our condo so I just hit it with the same gray spray paint as the mirror. The tiny mirror was a thrift store find for $3.00. Not pictured here is my DIY nautical rope frame, which you can make for under $1.00 read the post to find out how!

 

BEFORE

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AFTER

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We estimate the total cost of the project at around $500.00, and for the transformation we achieved I think this is a GREAT price, keeping in mind a full bathroom reno by professionals can cost you around 5K on the low end, which even if we had the cash (which we definitely don’t, lol), I don’t think I would be able to stomach. Say it with me people, “D-I-Y” it’s a beautiful word!!!¬†

NOTE: This transformation occurred over about 5-6 months, we only bought things as we could afford them which really made that $500.00 project price tag a little more bearable, because I don’t know about you but even though it’s not a 5K reno, $500.00 is still a lot of money, especially when taking on multiple house projects at a time.

There you have it, our beachy-chic guest bathroom re-do! This would not have been possible without my wonderful hubby J who helped my 7-9-month pregnant self hang and place various items when I couldn’t physically bend that way, lol. Hope this inspires you! XOXO

DIY Spring Chevron Wreath with Pennant Banner

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With J gone for fleet week, I’ve been staying up far too late, watching Hulu (I started Nashville, not my fave show so far, but it’s alright) and crafting my little bootay off.¬†I may have mentioned in previous posts that I love to decorate for holidays/seasons and made a promise to myself to do so, especially while baby P and any future babies are growing up. So¬†far I have made good on my promise, and although most of my decorations come from the dollar store, it still counts, haha! I recently found myself at a loss as to what to do decor-wise between Easter and Memorial Day/Independence Day, so I decided to leave the inside be and just make another cute front door wreath since I was so pleased with the way my Easter wreath came out. Since I had picked up a few yards of burlap for some larger pennant banners I plan on making, I thought it would be fun to add a teeny tiny pennant banner to my wreath, especially because it would act as a trial one for my future banners. This wreath was super easy to throw together, once I had created my mini pennant banner and fabric flowers, it took me under 10 minutes to assemble the whole thing! The best part is, with the exception of the ribbon and Styrofoam wreath, I used items I already had on hand so the project cost me about $8 – BOOM! Give this one a try, if you don’t want to make the fabric flowers yourself you can always purchase ready made ones at your local craft store (but first read my tutorial on fabric roses and see how easy they are to make!), the rest is easy breezy!

DIY SPRING CHEVRON WREATH WITH PENNANT BANNER

YOU WILL NEED:

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  • Styrofoam wreath (I purchased mine at Michael’s using a 40% off coupon, download the Michael’s app if you haven’t already, they will scan coupons right off of your phone)
  • ¬†Chevron Ribbon (Mine was wired but it doesn’t have to be, they sell large rolls of chevron ribbon at Walmart for $3.99)
  • 8-12 Fabric Flowers (Tutorial Here)
  • String or Twine
  • Burlap (since the banner is so tiny just ask for the smallest piece they can cut for you, burlap costs $2.97 at Walmart so a 1/4 yard will cost you about $0.75 and you’ll¬†still have left over fabric)
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Small Letter Stencils (I had picked some up for another project I’m working on but I’m sure the dollar store has stencils that would¬†work)
  • Paint Brush
  • Glue Gun
  • Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Assemble your fabric flowers by following this tutorial. The amount you will need depends on the size of the flowers you make and how much area you want them to cover on the wreath. If you are using store bought flowers or none at all skip this step.

Step 2:¬†Start creating your pennant banner by fashioning a triangle guide out of paper (I used a post-it haha), the size of your pennants will depend on the length of your name or words you are using. My last name is seven letters long and a 2″ wide by 2″ long triangle was perfect for mine. Using scissors, cut out your triangles. NOTE: It is optional to use modge podge or fabric stiffener to seal the edges of your burlap triangles so they do not fray. I skipped this and they are fine.

wreath5 wreath4

 

Step 3: Once your triangles are cut out, using your stencil, paint and paint brush, carefully paint your letters onto the burlap triangles. Be sure to protect your work surface with a piece of paper or wax paper since the paint will seep through the burlap. Allow a few mins to dry, this is a good time to start working on the body of the wreath!

wreath3

Step 4:¬†Take your wreath and ribbon and attach the end of your ribbon to the styrofoam wreath using hot glue. Keep wrapping the ribbon around the wreath, overlapping the previous section each time, place a dot of glue underneath the ribbon each time you wrap it (I suppose this isn’t totally necessary but I didn’t want my ribbon to move at all once I was finished covering the wreath).

wreath2

Step 5: Your burlap letters should be dry by now. If so, take a piece of twine, ribbon or string and use hot glue to attach your burlap triangles to the string by applying a line of top glue to the back top of each and pressing onto the string, it is best to do this over wax paper so that the glue will not stick to anything. Make sure you leave a decent amount of string before the start of your first triangle so you will have a means to attach that side to the wreath.

Step 6:¬†Attach your banner to the wreath by tying each end to each side, you be the judge of placement and tautness of the string. Once I got the banner tied how I wanted, I used a small dot of hot glue on each side to secure the string (again, overkill with the glue but it can’t hurt right? lol). Now, attach your flowers however you see fit, I alternated sizes and colors but feel free to arrange them however you’d like! The bow is optional, I just thought the top looked naked. Now throw that bad boy on your front door and know you’ve now got the best wreath on da block ūüėõ

wreath

Landscaping on a Budget

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When we first purchased our home, the landscaping was acceptable at best. The previous owners had done just enough to make sure the front garden bed looked presentable in the listing photo by throwing some¬†shrubs into the space (and I mean literally throwing, they were just pots sitting atop the soil not even planted lol) and planting a few petunias (which died before we even got close to closing). For the price of the home we didn’t very much care about the state of the landscaping but needless to say by the time we closed on the home the “garden bed” looked more like an open grave where plants¬†went to die, haha. After tackling some of the inside projects spring rolled around and we decided we wanted to give our little front garden a little TLC, ya know, in order to have our home appear as though we were actually part of society lol. Since our original intention was to rent the house out when we moved, our main concern was to keep the landscaping simple and easy to maintain (in the event that we got a careless tenant, the landscaping wouldn’t go¬†completely crap) and our secondary concern was obviously keeping the cost of the project down (and I mean WAYYY down haha). We decided to go with all perennials, the idea being to plant once and relatively maintenance free. While our landscaping tips are fairly obvious, a lot of people seem to think that you need to purchase expensive and pretty annuals in order to give your garden a makeover. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE annuals, as well as your more demanding perennials (such as roses), they’re¬†beautiful and if you have the cash and the green thumb more power to you. I, however,¬†have neither of those things, annual means once and that means that if I spend $200 and a whole weekend¬†gardening¬†this year, I will be spending $200 and a whole weekend gardening next year – EWWWW!¬†¬†I like the more simple route, and I¬†LOVE¬†knowing that come snow, leaves, freezing rain, wind and whatever else the fall and winter have to offer, come spring those planted that I planted last season and forgot about until now, will come creeping up and grow themselves right back to their original beauty despite my lack of attention.¬†Here is what we did, how we did it and our tips¬†for landscaping on a budget!

WHAT WE DID:

  • WE DID OUR RESEARCH – Aside from the gardening I did with my Mom growing up (and by gardening I mean helping her to spend her money by going with her to choose annuals every year lol), I didn’t know much. So I hopped on the internet and asked the opinion of a few garden-savvy friends in order to get an idea of what would work best in our garden and most importantly within our budget. Once we decided what we wanted to plant we surveyed our little garden bed to see exactly how many of each plant we needed, the last thing we wanted was to have to make multiple trips to the nursery. Speaking of the nursery, be sure to ask their opinion as well, when I realized we were going to have a few empty spaces I asked one of the workers and they turned me onto a super cheap and easy plant that I’d never even heard of that totally worked!
  • WE SHOPPED AROUND – While it may seem tempting to hit up your local home improvement store for plants and supplies all in one shot this is probably not in your best interest budget-wise. When comparing prices of the plants we wanted we found that the hostas we wished to plant were actually $4.00 more expensive at Home Depot than at our local nursery, while the azaleas were almost $12.00 more expensive!!! Additionally, the quality of the plants at our local nursery was much higher than at our local chain home improvement stores. While this may not be the case for you, my point is to be sure to compare prices, if we had bought our plants at the same time as our other supplies we would have ended up paying upwards of $100 more on our landscaping project!
  • WE BOUGHT CHEAP AND EASY PLANTS –¬†Well, duh that’s the point of this whole post lol. We went with the following plants (these are my pictures of them this year so here is your proof that they did in fact come back! lol):
    gardenblog3

    Azaleas (sorry for the crappy pic, but it’s just to give you an idea). These are beautiful springtime flowers available in vibrant colors that make your garden look fab. We planted small to save cash (I’ll explain later) but this particular variety has the potential to grow up to 4-5 feet tall. So in a few years the owner of this home will be thanking yours truly, although no thanks are really necessary since we only paid $11.99 per plant!

    gardenblog

    Hostas – These plants are amazing, they do well in shade or sun so they are perfect for planting under trees. They require almost zero maintenance and while when purchased they will look like a dinky little plant they will grow outwards so they are a great garden filler. Oh, and they sprout pretty little purple flowers at some point during the season (not sure when, lol). These cost us $4.95 per plant.

    gardenblog2

    Liriope (pronounced LY-ro-pee) – A worker at our local nursery turned us onto these, they almost look like beach grass and make a great green filler for empty garden space. They grow outwards not upwards and sprout pretty little flowers that look similar to lavender. Again, very little maintenance is required and cost a mere $3.95 per plant.

    gardenblog4

    Green Velvet Boxwood – The one in the pic is kind of going crazy and needs to be pruned but whatever :). These shrubs require zero maintenance and will grow pretty tall (some can grow up to 10 feet, but can be pruned to any height). Since we already had three (thanks previous owners), we did not have to purchase any more for this particular area of our garden but I know that similar bushes cost about $11.99 at our local nursery.

  • WE BOUGHT SMALL PLANTS –¬†This was ¬†important in our cost saving strategy. We very easily could have purchased shrubs at their fully grown size, however this would have ended up costing us more than double what we spent. While mature shrubs may have looked a little nicer¬†and¬†I sure do admire my neighbor’s fully grown azalea bushes, the next size up at the nursery (not much bigger than ours and certainly not anywhere near the size of our neighbor’s plants) came in at $25.99 per plant, meaning that we would have ended up spending more on three plants than all of our plants and supplies combined. So if budget is important to you and you’re willing to be patient your plants will mature in just a few year’s time and in the meantime I promise your budget friendly garden will look great!
  • WE KEPT IT SIMPLE – And I mean¬†simple, lol. We didn’t even buy a shovel (we used my husband’s “e-tool”, a little fold up shovel that the military issues you with your gear haha, one of our neighbors actually felt bad and came over and lent us a shovel, people must think we’re so weird lol). In addition to the plants we bought edging stones, basic landscaping fabric and mulch (I will review the products and costs below) and took only about an hour to plant and arrange everything – BOOM lol.

 

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Our before and after picture (azaleas hadn’t bloomed yet, boo hiss!)! It only took us about an hour to complete the transformation! I wasn’t kidding about the use of shower curtains as a garden liner, see the before pic haha

TOTAL COST TO CREATE (YEAR 1)

Plants (3 azaleas, 3 liriopes, 7 hostas)  $82.47

Landscaping Fabric                                       $9.97  

*NOTE: we used landscaping fabric to prevent the growth of weeds and reduce the need for maintenance of the garden, it is not necessary, as we could have just laid the mulch on it’s own. A free way to mimic the function of the landscaping fabric would be to use newspaper, you would just have to replace it again the following season before you lay your mulch. Or you could use shower curtains … KIDDING, although that IS what the previous owners of the house did, so weird.¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

Edging Stones (18 @ $1.97 ea.)                $35.46

*NOTE: These were also not necessary but we considered this our aesthetic “splurge” for the project. You could easily find free things in nature to edge your garden (like large rocks of various sizes) or not edge it at all.

Mulch (3 bags @ $3.99 ea.)                       $11.97

TOTAL COST                                              $139.87

 

TOTAL COST TO MAINTAIN (YEAR 2)

Mulch (2 bags @ $3.99 ea.)                      $7.98

TOTAL COST ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†$7.98 <—– that’s right, total cost for the second year was $7.98!!!

 

Since all of our plants came back (miracle! lol) all we had to do was weed the garden then add some additional mulch, that’s it!!! If it doesn’t rain we give the garden a quick water every few days but other than that it takes care of itself. Now that you’re all hyped up about hostas and mulch (lol) I hope this inspires your own little budget friendly landscaping project, happy planting!!!

Repainting Wooden Furniture – Latex Paint Tutorial

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My obsession with repainting furniture was born when we moved into our new home. Trying to furnish a large house on a small budget was presenting us with quite a task, so I decided to get creative. After experiencing success using gel stain on the dresser I repurposed (see my tutorial here), I decided to redo two chests for our bedroom (since our dresser and all the closets in our home still weren’t enough to house all of my clothes lol). I located one at a thrift store for $35.00 and another on Craigslist for only $15.00!!! Since both of the chests were going to be used in our bedroom, I painted them black to match our bedroom furniture, not too exciting in the creativity department but they look great in the space!

My next wooden redo (and the mother of all projects) was a super long dresser that I repurposed as an entertainment stand/center for our living room. This is probably my favorite redo yet. Given what it looked like to¬†begin with this came out amazing and I am¬†so proud of¬†it!¬†I spent quite some time looking for a piece that would work as our living room¬†entertainment¬†center, everything¬†I was finding was too small and the ones that did fit¬†my size requirement were¬†too pricey.¬†I finally located a long ornate looking dresser at¬†one of our local thrift shops and knew it would be perfect, especially for the price – it was only $85.00!¬†Yet again,¬†I am sad to say that I do not have step-by-step pictures¬†of these projects but I will do my best to explain in detail, check out my pics below for before and after images of all three projects. Here’s how¬†I did it:

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Sanding blocks or sandpaper (100-150 grit)
  • Latex Paint (I use 8oz sample paints available at your local home improvement store, I talk about them here). *Note: when possible purchase a flat latex paint (it will adhere to the furniture best and resist chipping), that is what I used on the black dressers. If you are purchasing sample size paints they are only available in satin finish which I’ve found to work just fine.
  • Wood Filler (if you need to patch any holes or cracks)
  • Clear Top Coat (gel or polyacrylic)
  • Black foam brushes
  • Drop Cloth
  • Rags

 

HOW I DID IT:

  1. First, I removed all hardware, to include the pulls and any metal pieces that you will either discard or replace after the fact.
  2. Remove the drawers. If your piece of furniture is super dirty, wipe it down with a little soapy water using a rag. This is not a super important step, I only did it to one piece that had some kind of sticky residue on it. You’ll find that sanding will remove most dirt anyway.
  3. Next, begin sanding (I always do steps 3 & 4 outdoors to keep my indoor workspace clean). I don’t go nuts with sanding, my goal is simply to remove a good amount of whatever varnish or clear coat is original to the piece, I don’t try very hard to get it down to the wood grain, I find this is only really necessary when re-staining a piece. I sand for about a minute on each surface, paying attention to the edges and grooves. My repurposed entertainment center had some very ornate designs on the front, I didn’t bother sanding inside every groove since they wouldn’t be exposed to getting hit or bumped into once the project was complete.
  4. Once you have finished sanding, take a¬†damp rag and wipe down the whole exterior of the dresser and drawers to remove any sanding dust. I also take the time to vacuum or dust out the insides of the drawers since you don‚Äôt want any dust sticking to the¬†paint once you being the painting process.¬†After¬†the wet wipe-down is complete¬†dry the piece off with a dry cloth and you‚Äôre ready to begin¬†–¬†YAY!
  5. I set up my painting area so I have plenty of room to move around and be sure that all of my work space is covered by a drop cloth of some kind. Begin your first coat by using a foam brush to apply an even coat of paint, when painting furniture always paint in the direction of the original wood grain, not against. Since you will be allowing 12-24 hours dry time in between coats, feel free to wash and reuse your foam brush.
  6. After you have finished putting the first coat on all of the pieces you are finished for the day. At this stage it’s not going to look good at all, don’t worry, it will get there!!! If you are using a flat paint it is going to look very streaky and uneven, this is fine, any places where the light hits the paint weird will be covered by the top coat. I allow 12-24 hours between coats, so I will generally return to the piece the same time the next day to apply the second coat, this makes it a great after work project or naptime project for all you fellow mamas out there!
  7. The amount of coats you will require for each piece will depend on the color of your paint choice. For instance, the black dressers required only two coats, where as the long dresser required three coats. I must note that I do not sand in between coats when painting or when applying my top coat, many tutorials (and the outside of the top coat can lol) will tell you to do this, I just found that it was an extra step I did not need but feel free to add it if you want, it won’t hurt! After your final coat is applied and dry you are ready to start your top coat. Take a black foam brush and begin applying the clear coat in an even layer using even brush strokes, be mindful not to leave behind any bubbles (sometimes the polyacrylic will do this, just go over the area with your brush) and not to allow the clear coat to pool at the edges of the piece. I generally apply three top coats, allowing 12-24 hours dry time in between coats. *Note: For wooden furniture I am partial to the gel top coat, I have found it to be super durable and easily cleaned, but if you are not comfortable using oil based products then a polyacrylic is a good substitute.
  8. The final step is replacing the hardware. For the two chests, I purchased new pulls (here is a link to the exact ones I used, available at Lowes), I got a little obsessed with the farmhouse pulls lol. If the original pulls are in good shape, which was the case for my repurposed entertainment center, simply clean and reuse them or update them with some spray paint (I use a black Rustoleum satin finish spray paint when repainting my pulls).
  9. You’re finished! Do a touchdown dance and get ready to blow peoples minds when they ask you if you got your piece at Pottery Barn (which has happened to me!) and you tell them “no, bish,¬†I MADE THIS!!!” ūüôā

BEFORE & AFTERS:

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This is one of the chests that I redid for our bedroom (sorry the before picture is so crappy, I had already removed the hardware and sanded the piece before I remembered to take one). I found this one on Craigslist for $15.00 which was amazing because it was in great shape!¬†I half thought it¬†was a ploy that would lure me to my death,¬†but for¬†a $15.00 dresser¬†I was going to take my chances haha jk.¬†I used flat black paint (any brand will do, black is usually sold pre-mixed in the paint aisle but you can also have a sample sized tinted to black if you don’t want to purchase a pint) and the¬†General Finishes Gel Top Coat.¬†Follow the link I mentioned in the tutorial for the pulls I used, I purchased them on sale¬†but according to¬†Lowes website¬†they will run you about $3.30 each, still not bad price-wise but not necessarily a bargain so try for something cheaper or repaint the¬†existing hardware if you’re working¬†with a¬†tight budget. The baskets I purchased at¬†Michael’s on sale for about $4.00 each. This piece has held up extremely well, I have moved it, bumped it and¬†put drinks without¬†coasters on it and it¬†has proved super durable and easy to clean.¬†COST: ~$35.00

chest

After redoing the $15.00 chest mentioned above, I¬†decided I needed one more small dresser to contain the rest of my shirt overflow (yes, this dresser contains only shirts and not even all of them lol). I was excited to find this dresser for $35.00 at a local thrift store, albeit a little bummed that I wasn’t going to be getting too creative with it since I wanted it to match the other chest in our bedroom. Since my husband said I was getting a little “basket crazy” lol I decided to leave all the drawers in tact on this project. As you can see I just removed the weird metal emblem (if¬†you encounter one of these on your projects just¬†wedge a¬†flathead screw driver underneath and¬†it should pop off fairly easily, then just¬†patch¬†the holes with wood filler) and replaced the pulls. Unfortunately I spend about $25.00 on pulls for this dresser but it was all made worth it when the realtor that was touring our home pointed to the dresser and dead serious said “Pottery Barn right? I think I saw that there.” I was super flattered and he couldn’t believe that I had made it! Like the piece above, I used a flat black paint and General Finishes Clear Gel Stain. This piece has held up great as well. COST: ~$60.00

living2 livingroom

 

This piece is my favorite redo so far! It is also my Everest lol This¬†beast is over 70 inches long, weighs as much as a car (at least that’s what it feels like lol) and has nine drawers (the same amount of¬†months pregnant I was when¬†I took on this project lol), needless to say this one was quite the project but my hubby helped me a ton so¬†he¬†deserves a lot of the credit :).¬†After we decided to move our TV stand¬†into the nursery I was on the hunt for a new “entertainment center” and by that I mean¬†a dresser whose drawers could house the¬†Xbox, cable modem,¬†DVD player and¬†all the wires.¬†The issue I was faced with¬†was the fact that for the length I was¬†looking¬†for (something that¬†could eventually accommodate a 55″ TV, not the dinky one¬†pictured above), I was only finding¬†dressers that¬†cost¬†upwards of $200.00. After about a month¬†of trolling¬†the local thrift stores and Craigslist postings I came across this gem¬†for $85.00,¬†I¬†was super happy that J trusted my vision on this one because it¬†looked rough lol. As I mentioned before it weighs¬†about as much as a house,¬†it took¬†three guys to load it into my car (which it was too long for, we had to drive with it hanging out the back, haha), and since I¬†couldn’t participate in any of the lifting when we got home my hubby had to¬†just shove it out the back¬†of the car and hope that it didn’t shatter into a million pieces (it didn’t lol).¬†On this particular piece¬†I used “Borough”¬†by Valspar and General Finishes¬†Gel Top Coat (which was a total bitch because in fear of my child coming out with five arms, every time I put on a coat I would have to leave the house for hours because of the fumes¬†lol).¬†If you notice from the pictures,¬†we repainted the original hardware using a Rustoleum black satin spray paint, they are still in good shape and haven’t faded or chipped at all.¬†Lastly, my hubby drilled holes in the back¬†so that all the wires could¬†connect to the electronics¬†inside the drawers while remaining out of sight.¬†This piece has held up great, since P’s arrival I am constantly bumping it with toys and rockers and what have you and it¬†is yet to chip! We¬†feel¬†bad for the movers that will have to transport this beast to our next home, but¬†we love it!!! I¬†almost forgot to mention, this piece¬†came with two hideous mirrors that the¬†thrift store basically forced us to take even though we told them we didn’t want them, check out my¬†easy¬†chalkboard tutorial to see how I turned them into a neat DIY project!¬†COST: ~$95.00

 

 

 

Budget Friendly Tips For Painting Furniture

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1. CRAIGSLIST¬†-Check out your local Craigslist ads for furniture! I always hit Craigslist before thrifting because you have more negotiating power with a private party than with a thrift store, especially if the item is on consignment.¬†The dresser I re-did for P’s nursery¬†was a¬†Craigslist find, the guy was¬†asking $85 but¬†I got it for $45!¬†Also, if¬†you’re lucky enough to live in a big city people are always getting rid of furniture for FREE whether it be on the sidewalk or in the “free” section on Craigslist, take advantage of this, I have lots of friends who have furnished full apartments using furniture that was being thrown out!

2. LOOK FOR QUALITY – … Or at least what was quality in the 70s or 80s lol. Go for solid wood pieces, while a laminate dresser at a thrift shop may seem like¬†a great buy at $20¬†when a solid wood one might be $60, opt for the wood piece – it’s still a great buy and you will end up with¬†a finished product that will last a lot longer and that you’ll love for a lot longer!

3. DO IT WITH A FRIEND –¬† Try to get some friends together that want to redo some things too! You can save money by sharing supplies and the job is much less tedious with some company and cocktails (limit the cocktails for better results, just sayin lol).

4.¬†PREP WELL¬†& TAKE YOUR TIME –¬†You are most likely to get a good finished product if you take the time¬†to prep your furniture well (sanding or priming) and don’t rush.¬†I find that the key to a good finished product is LOTS of¬†dry time, I¬†allow about¬†12-24 hours between paint¬†coats.

5. GET CREATIVE – There are so many options for repurposing a single piece of furniture, it’s crazy! Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into an idea, if you find something at a good price and it isn’t quite what you were expecting, try to think of how you could design it to better fit your style, if the drawers are strange¬†looking or damaged¬†maybe add baskets instead or if the pulls are ugly add new ones. Also,¬†do not¬†dismiss things that are dirty or defaced, some of my¬†pieces have had toddler scribble all over them – dirt can be¬†cleaned and writing/scratches¬†will be covered by paint anyway.¬†My favorite piece in my house (and cheapest for the size)¬†I¬†was¬†so unsure about because it was super unique looking (not¬†necessarily in a good way lol) and pretty dirty¬†but¬†I ended up getting¬†three awesome projects out of it!

GOOD LUCK! CHECK OUT MY FURNITURE PAITING TUTORIALS!