Sunday, August 4, 2013

once grotesque now a lovely desk!

do you ever buy something because you not only know it's such a good deal but because you also know that you can make it look a million times better?  well, that is exactly what i did . . . er . . . at least three years ago!  

while junking with my mother-in-law on a saturday in cincinnati, ohio, i came upon this old wooden desk for (gasp) only $10!  it even had a matching chair!  as soon as i laid my eyes on it i made a beeline to the owner and claimed it as mine.  i knew that it would be the perfect sewing/craft desk that i had been needing.  i immediately had big plans for her and didn't care how long it would even take to get around to it.  she would only be living in the basement anyway, so it didn't really matter.  well . . . that was until i moved her to my house in orlando where she now lives in the corner of my living room for everyone to see exactly how bad she was looked.  i had finally had enough of the grossness and decided it was time for a change.  besides, for the last eight months my husband and i have been building our next home and i need to get off my butt and get some projects done now before time runs out! 

recently, i've been seeing a ton of projects on pinterest that have used chalk paint and i was curious to try it out and see what it's all about.  i knew that this desk was the perfect piece to try out this new paint technique.  

enter my talented and crafty auntie.  i am lucky enough to have an auntie who not only is a wonderful confidant and friend, but also one that is super good at creating and making amazing things.  (you should check out her blog here and her cool etsy shop here)  i knew that she was just the person to go to for info on how to get this project started.  she sent me a detailed email with how she made her own chalk paint and then directed me to this blog for another option to try.  (this blogger is a gal after my own heart . . . i mean, the blog title says it all!  who the heck doesn't love nap time? well, except maybe my son!  naps are so wasted on kids . . . but that's a topic for another day and another blog.)

in the end, i pretty much followed what the blog said and purchased only a few things and i was on my way.  i already knew that i didn't want the rubbed off look so that was one step that i was able to omit from the start.  basically, the whole project couldn't have been easier!

i purchased a sample paint pot from lowes in a coral pink color, plaster of paris, a paint brush, and minwax paste finishing wax.  

in a throw away food storage container i mixed up the plaster of paris and water . . . approx. 5 Tbsp plaster of paris and 3 Tbsp of water.  i made sure to get rid of all of the lumps so it was a very smooth consistency (like thin pancake batter).  then i added it to the paint in a separate container.  i mixed it very very well.  

(note: do not try to add more dry plaster of paris into this paint mixture to make it more thick!  i made that mistake and ruined an entire paint pot.  i couldn't get the lumps out no matter how hard i tried and adding more water only made it a watery mess.  ugh!  make sure to mix the plaster first with water before adding it!)

after i mixed up the paint i got right down to applying it to my desk.  i did end up doing two good coats of paint since some of the brown was still showing through after my first coat.  

i waited approximately four hours between the two coats of paint . . . then i let it sit overnight before i was going to apply the wax.  

well, i had every good intention of doing the final step the next day . . . however, when i finally got around to reading the finishing paste label i read that it can cause birth defects in unborn children.  since i am preggo again i decided it best to instead beg my husband into helping me with this final step.  i am lucky to have married such a capable and nice guy!  he spent the better part of two hours this afternoon finishing it for me and i couldn't be happier with the end result.  

he told me that he tried to do a thin coat (per the directions) but that he didn't feel like it covered well enough so he kept adding wax until he felt it was coated to his satisfaction.  whatever, i say . . .  i'm just glad to have it finished!!  

here she is now . . . 

i can't wait to move this desk into my new craft corner in our playroom.  huzzah!

Project Cost Breakdown . . . 

desk = $10

plaster of paris = $7

three paint pots = $9 ($3 each . . . remember i had to pitch one that i ruined.  stink!)

paint brush = $2

minwax paste finishing wax = $9

knobs = $0  (from anthropologie . . . paid for with a gift card from my recent birthday!)

Grand Total = $37

i still have a crap ton of plaster of paris and minwax left so i will be able to really stretch out the value of these purchases . . . score!

so, what do you think?  i think it's a huge improvement that didn't take that much time or money . . . an extra blessing in my book!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

dress you up in my love!

lucky lucky me!  that is exactly how i felt when i first laid eyes on this . . . er . . . beauty.  one day last november, i had some time to kill before i had to do the school pick up so i decided to blitz through my local Goodwill.  as always, i started in the housewares department to see what treasures i could find before heading to the clothes.  i hadn't found much to get excited about and was getting ready to leave when i noticed this dress form off in the corner.  i immediately found myself racing through the store in case someone should get there before me.  i'm sure that my son (who was in the stroller i was pushing) thought i was just trying to make it a more enjoyable ride for him, but i knew that i was really a woman on a mission!

when i got to her, you can imagine the absolute joy i felt when i saw that they were only asking $12.99!  holy crapoli!  it was my lucky day!!  i've wanted one of these for as long as i can remember but they were always so much money.  i couldn't believe how little they were asking for something so great.   i quickly tucked her under my arm and started dragging her to the counter . . . not an easy task while trying to push a stroller.  fortunately, a good samaritan took pity on me and offered to carry it for me.

the sweet lady behind the counter could obviously see how happy i was about my find.  i told her that i had big plans for what i was going to do with my new dress form and she was surprised to hear that i wasn't going to use it for sewing.

for the past year my husband and i have been planning (and finally building) our new house.  i am especially excited because i am going to have my own closet that i won't have to share with him!!  i even have a color scheme and many ideas of how i am going to make it uniquely mine.  (thank you, pinterest!)  i've been on the hunt to find a dress form i could customize to put in this new space that would coordinate with the jewelry holder i made out of a giant plastic frame last year.  (if you'd like, you can read about it here.)  at last the search was over!

i didn't get started on the project right away, since i have two kids and a job, am building a house, etc. etc. etc.  i have been too busy and besides, ain't nobody got time for that!  however, i got an itch the other night to do a project, so i fished it out of the back of my daughter's closet and got to work.  

first i made a crude drawing of the form and labeled each piece on the back to coordinate with the drawing so i could remember how it should be reassembled.  i also took pictures of the inside and how it was screwed together.   


i then went to Ikea and bought my fabric . . . followed by a trip to Home Depot to get a sample pot of paint (which i matched to the chevron fabric on the jewelry holder) and gloss to spray over the painting, since the sample pots only come in flat and i wanted the finished product to have shine.  

when i arrived home, i lightly sanded all of the metal pieces and wiped them down to remove the dust before painting.  i ended up giving the legs and metal shaft about four good coats of paint while allowing ample drying time in between coats.  while i was waiting for paint to dry, i started recovering the individual form pieces.  some were definitely easier than others.  i would just keep pulling and stapling the heck out of it until it looked right.  it was very hard to get around the neck and shoulders, so the finished product is no where near perfect, but good enough for me.  besides, the fabric pattern is forgiving of imperfections so i lucked out there!  all together, the fabric portion took me about 2.5 hours.  it seemed like forever, but in hindsight it wasn't really that bad after all, especially when i look at the finished product!  

after the last coat of paint had dried overnight i started spraying the gloss.  make sure to be in a well ventilated area because the smell was terrible.  luckily we had a nice day, so the temperature made it so each coat dried relatively quickly (only about 20 min between coats).  in the end, i did four coats of the gloss to make sure every inch was covered.  finally it was time to reassemble her!!  i was glad i took such detailed notes because it was trickier than i thought.  

i am so so happy with how she turned out.  i love the fabric choice with the color of the base.  it really pops and looks cool next to the jewelry holder.  i can't wait to put her in my new closet!!

Project Cost Breakdown . . . 

dress form = $12.99

sand paper = $0 (leftover from another project)

paint = $3

spray gloss = $4

fabric = $12 (two yards)

Grand Total = $31.99