Dresser Makeover- Part I

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I’ve been hard at work trying to finally finish my dresser makeover.  You know, the one I talked about well over a year ago?  I got an old dresser from a neighbor for free.  It was filthy but I could tell it was solidly built and I really liked the size and shape of it.  For the past year, I’ve spent 15 minutes here and there attempting to sand it down to the natural wood.  I’m not sure what kind of paint/stain was used on it, but it was taking forever.

I’ve been thinking for awhile that I really wanted a pop of bright yellow in my bedroom.  I came across an image of a yellow buffet in a dining room, and I loved it.  So I decided to paint the dresser instead of refinishing it by sanding it completely down and staining it.  After all, if I was willing to sand it down now, I can always strip it and get it back down to the natural wood in the future if I want.

Painting it also seemed like an easier option for now than what I was originally planning.  I washed the drawers really good the other day, but the dresser has been on the second floor of our garage/barn for the past year, so I was unable to get the actual dresser down on my own.  I figured my sister could help me get that down this morning, but she refused to help because the stairs are super steep and narrow.  Being the stubborn person I am (and making me realize how like my mother I am), I decided that was going to get that dresser down on my own.  Which was very possibly insane.  I told angrily told my sister that if I wasn’t back in the house in fifteen minutes to call the ambulance, and then proceeded to drag the dresser carefully down the stairs.  It wasn’t easy (and definitely not smart), but I did get it down all in one piece (and without injuring myself).  I’m waiting for it to dry now after I hosed it down, and then on to the actual painting!  Stay tuned for the actual makeover post!

DIY: Fabric Pencil Case

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I somehow managed to misplace the fabric zippered pencil case I’ve used for the past several years, so when I went to pack for college, I discovered that I needed a new one.  I mostly use my pencil case to hold pens, the occasional pencil, a pencil sharpener, and a highlight, so it didn’t need to be very big.  I found this tutorial from “Say Yes” and thought that the instructions were clear and easy.  It’s not the cleanest way to make a case (many of the seams on the inside are raw seams), but it was definitely pretty easy and I’m happy with the results.

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One thing I would mention is that the finished case is not long enough to hold regular unsharpened pencils.  Mechanical pencils, pens, and highlighters all fit fine, but my longer Ticonderoga pencils do not.  I don’t use pencils often in class, so it’s not a really big deal to me.

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I used a really cute fruit patterned fabric (that I got from JoAnn’s ages ago)  for the outside and a heavier-weight maroon fabric (this one was really old, no idea where it was from) for the lining.  I was really surprised how much stuff this holds!

If you are looking for a quick and easy sew or are looking to try out zippers for the first time, this is a good project!

Hand-Painted Wooden Box

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A couple of weeks ago, I finally got to go shopping in a place I could get some art supplies.  I was going through some stuff in my room a few weeks prior and had found a few small wooden boxes that I think I had gotten several years ago with the intention of painting them to use as gifts.  I found that I didn’t really have much acrylic craft paints left, so I decided to put off doing something with them until I could go shopping (the nearest town we can get crafting supplies is an hour away).

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For the first box, I decided to take a design I had seen in a wallpaper and free-hand it onto the box.  I first painted a base coat of the bottom color and then painted over it with a navy blue.  Although I am very happy with the end result, it was definitely a bit of a challenge- I probably should have chosen an easier pattern!  The whole box (I painted the top and all four sides) took me at least 5 hours to paint.

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The box is a perfect size for storing some small notebooks I have and I love the pop of color it adds to my bedroom!  And it was really nice to get back to creating and painting.

Backroom Makeover

Way back in June, I mentioned that we were thinking about making some updates in our “backroom”, which is our mudroom/laundry room/craft room.  Well, I finally finished the project (there are still some minor updates, like news curtains, that need to be done, but for the most part, it’s finished)!  We really only made two major changes: we replaced the worn, chipped linoleum tile by the door with Pergo wood look-a-like flooring and we painted the walls shelves.  We also cleaned up a lot (we got rid of quite a bit) and rearranged the room a bit.   Here’s the before and after of the mudroom area:

backroom before and after 1The linoleum was really hard to pull up- whoever installed it, used a VERY strong adhesive.  I tried prying it up, little by little, but in the end, my dad took a saw to it and that is how we got it all up.  My original idea was to just paint the sub-floor, but my dad had the idea of installing the Pergo.  Unfortunately, he chose a very cheap Pergo and had a lot of trouble installing it.  We chose a light mint green/blue paint for the walls, priming first.  The walls are fake wood paneling, and when we first painted it many years ago, we didn’t prime.  As a result, the paint started peeling off the walls.  So we had to prime first over the old paint and exposed paneling.  We also painted the all of the raw wood shelves in the room the same color as the walls.

tearing up linoleumAnd after we tore up all of the linoleum.  Another problem with just painting the floor was that there was a hole in it! You can also see where the paint had peeled off of the wall.

torn up floorI also moved my scrapbook/sewing supplies around.  The desk is in the same place as before, but the bookshelf holding my sewing supplies was switched around with my scrapbooking table (an old drafting table).

scrapbook area b and aEnough with the before pictures, though.  Here are all of the finished pictures of the room.

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‘Tis the Season: Hand-Lettered Christmas Cards

For the past several years I have wanted to make Christmas cards for my loved ones, but I just never seem to be able to actually get around to making them.  For the past several years I have also been slightly obsessed with hand-lettering.  I have never been big on doodling, but when I do doodle, it is usually working on my hand-lettering skills.  My sketchbook has a number of practice hand-lettering sketches.  If you put Christmas cards and hand-lettering together, then this is what you get:

2013-12-06 08.22.06Now, although I am a kind-of art major, I don’t have any formal training in hand-lettering of any sort, even calligraphy.  So if I can do these, so can anyone that has a bit of artistic ability.  Please note that these did take me a very long time to make and I would not want to make them in bulk.  I needed five cards, which was about all I could have handled.  You could, however, scan the originals and then print them onto other cards if you wanted to make a lot.

2013-12-06 08.22.36I simply looked up hand-lettered Christmas cards on Pinterest, and used those as my inspiration.  The designs are copied, not my own (just to clarify).

2013-12-06 08.21.19Some of the designs were much simpler, others were more complex (and harder to do).  I drew a basic outline first in pencil (very lightly), then went over the outline and filled in/bulked up as needed to copy the originals.  I used a SharpiePen, but any super-fine-tip marker/pen should work- I would recommend the kind found at art stores.

2013-12-06 08.22.53Although it was time-consuming and made my thumb go numb for a couple of hours (I don’t know why it did that, but it’s fine now!), it was fun and I am really pleased with the results.

2013-12-06 08.21.46My personal favorites are the first and last ones pictured here.  So, if you’re looking for a super-special card, these are your ticket!

**Throughout the month of December I will be sharing Christmas-y things.  You can check out my previous Christmas-related posts by clicking on the links below:

A Christmas Tradition: Cutting Down the Christmas Tree

DIY Hand-Decorated Ceramic Mugs