IKEA Hemnes TV Unit That Needed Some Lovin'...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our sad IKEA Hemnes TV unit had seen better days. I've had this unit since 2010 and it has been though FOUR moves. One of those moves was to a storage unit, which is where I believe it suffered most of the injuries you see below [minus the scratches--those were most likely from our old dog, Sasha]. This poor piece had some nice dents and awesome scratches and just looked plain raggedy. Also, I was kind of over the super dark black-brown wood, since we have a smaller apartment. I've been finding myself shying away from dark furniture because I just feel like it makes the space feel even smaller. I could have made my life easier years ago and just bought the white stain one IKEA sells...but hey, a fixer upper is always fun too! 

I turned to trusty Minwax for wood filler. I made sure to purchase a filler that could accept paint and stain. I had no problems using it at all. I applied with my finger and my putty knife over all the spots that I felt like needed it. I had let it dry a couple days before sanding it because I didn't have time to get to it before then. I just used a fine grit sanding block and went over each area I applied the filler just so that it was flush with the wood. I then used a tack cloth to wipe away and dust off the piece before I painted it.

Here's where things got interesting...I like to experiment and try different chalk type paints out there. I had read on another blog that this girl used this chalk type paint from Home Depot called Americana Decor. So I went out and got an 8oz can for about $9, thinking it would be plenty to cover my piece. Wrong--it was really thick and I wound up having to buy another 8oz can. [Duh, I know, I should've just added water] This is when I started kicking myself in the ass for not just going with Annie Sloan [and adding water]... but that required me to drive like 20 mins when I only wanted to drive 5 mins. Being lazy doesn't pay.

See how from far away this old thing doesn't look so bad on the internet?
Proving many projects you see on Pinterest that don't provide close ups probably look like shit in person.
So theeeeeen, I got my second can. Same deal, had them shake it in store. I shook it at home, stirred it up. And then I noticed something just wasn't right. It felt like there were huge chunks in the can...because there were. See? Total nightmare.
I kind of definitely cursed a lot when this happened. But from that one time I made my own chalk type paint and almost failed, I remembered that water can save the day. So I added a little bit of water to some of the chunks that I poured into my paint can, and then stirred it up until I got the consistency I wanted. EEK! I don't know if I just got a bad batch, or it had been sitting on the shelf for two damn years, but I would say at this point I do NOT recommend this paint. In order to keep from ruining my piece, since even the first can the paint was very thick [but not at all like this second one], I lightly ran a fine grit sanding block over the piece to make sure I got out any little chunks the paint left behind and then I cleaned off the dust with a tack cloth.

Luckily, my piece SOMEHOW turned out exactly like I had wanted it too. Phew and amen. This is the area where I had applied a lot of the wood filler, and taken at the same angle as the photo above where I showed you how much I had to fill in. I'm very pleased with the results. You can barely tell there were icky dents!

I decided to distress just a little with a medium grit sanding block. I liked the way the black-brown color came through, and in some parts the original color of the wood. After distressing, I applied Annie Sloan clear wax with an old t-shirt, because I always have that handy and find it to be the best wax.

Even though I thought this paint was the devil, I like the strokes I got from it. And now our living room is a much happier and brighter place. Once I get my much hated olive green chair out of the right corner, I'll write a post sharing the whole living space.

DIY Mouse Pad

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I know this isn't the most amazing DIY ever, but I really wanted a glam mouse pad for my desk area that I am about to give a makeover, and I thought I'd share! I plan on painting my desk with Annie Sloan's Napoleonic Blue. I thought gold and bright pink accents would make for a fun, inspiring space for me to sit and write my blog posts. Kind of crazy because I normally live off of earthy type tones, but I figured why the hell not?! :]

Here's What You'll Need

* Old mouse pad
* Thick card stock larger than your mouse pad [you can use fabric as well]
* Mod Podge & roller set
* Paint brush or foam brush
* Heavy book or object larger than mouse pad
* Scissors 
* Pen or pencil 

I grabbed this super cheap mouse pad from Wal-Mart. We've been using the computer mouse without a pad, and it's sure taken a toll on our desk. Oops! I picked up a fun piece of thick card stock from the craft store. This isn't one of those rough glittery sheets that sheds everywhere [I HATE that]. I did see a little tiny bit of glitter shed, but once you seal it with Mod Podge [MP] then you are good to go. In the past, the BEST gold glittery card stock I found was at Michael's and it came in an individual plastic wrap.

Lay the mouse pad down on the back of the card stock and carefully trace. Make sure you lay the mouse pad down as you would on your desk, so it doesn't slip when you are tracing. I had to use small strokes when tracing because it's just a flimsy material and I wanted to make sure the traced area wasn't going to wind up being smaller than the top of the mouse pad. 

Next, cut out with your scissors and fit over top and make sure you are happy with the coverage. Two of my corners weren't perfect, but hey, it's a DIY!

Apply that MP like there's no tomorrow! I used foam brush and really tried to concentrate on the edges. If you notice, in the time it took to snap this picture, it was absorbing some spots really quickly. So I added a little more until I felt comfortable with the coverage.

Lay your card stock on and roll away. Really focus on the edges.

Flip over and roll on the back as well.

I noticed minimal curling with mine. The thinner the paper, the more curl you will get. So, just to be safe I found one of my daughter's books that is larger than the mouse pad. I placed the book on top of the mouse pad and then my iMac on top of the book! [The reason I chose a larger book is because I didn't want the computer to leave any dents in the mouse pad] Nice and heavy, and will be sure to help the paper adhere and stay nice and flat.

Give it a good 20 minutes or so under your heavy object and then apply a layer of MP over the top to seal your mouse pad so that you don't get any little glitter pieces flying away. Also be sure to apply around the sides just to further seal the edges. [Let it dry overnight before using]. If you are using a fabric, use the time you are sealing the outside edges to take care of any of the little pieces of fabric that may unravel from cutting. 

The good thing with a project this simple, is you can always go back and add more MP under any corners or edges if you need to and seal again if you wish. And there ya go--a glammed up piece of decor for your desk space!

DIY Mod Podge Picture Frame

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This is SUCH an easy and fun project for you to take on! And it is super budget-friendly! The BEST investment I made for this project was the MOD PODGE roller, which was only $5.99 at AC Moore [but I got it for $2.54 with a 50% off coupon]. Here it is above linked to Amazon, but it is almost $9.00! 

Here's What You'll Need

* Any frame that doesn't have decorative accents or curves to it--surface must be flat for best results [mine is 4 x 6]
* MOD PODGE [I used the glossy one for this]
* Sponge brush
* A sanding block
* Roller kit
* X-ACTO knife
* Your favorite scrapbook paper that is larger than the frame

First, apply a generous amount of MP with your sponge brush. [If your frame needs it, first start out by sanding the edges and smoothing it out all around with a fine grit sanding block]. Really get some on the edges both inside and out. Without wasting any time [because it will dry quickly on a porous wood surface] lay the paper on the frame so that the paper lines up with one of the edges of the frame. Start rolling away to help the paper adhere and avoid any bubbles. I do NOT apply MP to the paper itself [some people apply to the surface and the paper] because I think that is just a recipe for a bubble fest disaster. Be sure to pay attention to the edges when you are rolling. Go over the entire frame a few times with your roller and then flip over and let it dry for about 10-15 minutes. 

Once it's dry, flip over and grab your sanding block. This part is very important. Your goal is to sand off the excess paper by essentially creating a perforated edge. You must sand DOWN. You don't want to give your paper any reason to lift. Use small, firm strokes across the entire edge. You will need to go over each edge a few times until the paper starts to separate or you can easily pull it apart. Once you are done, it will look like the photo to the far right. Go over your edges again by sanding down a few times until you get the desired look and there aren't any little paper fuzzies left.

Then, take your X-ACTO knife and just cut a large rectangle in the center of the frame, leaving about and inch or two of paper around the inside edge. Repeat the same process as you did on the outside edges by sanding DOWN. Sorry for the weird pic on the far left, but I had to use my right hand to take the photo! I just wanted you to see how much paper is left on the inside ;]

Again, create that almost perforated type of edge and gently pull off. You will probably have some weird areas like in the far right photo, especially around the inside corners. Just keep sanding those and pull the fuzzies off. Takes a little more work, but you will get them off!

Nice, clean edges are important! Make sure to wipe away the dust from sanding!

NO bubbles! Woo hoo--that roller is a-w-e-s-o-m-e! To seal your project, take your sponge brush and apply the MP over the paper. I also applied the MP on the wood edges, paying special attention to the areas right up against the edges of both the inside and outside of the frame.

I think this frame turned out super cute! The best part is, you can use ANY scrapbook paper you want! Now I just need to get some replacement glass and fill with a photo and my project will be totally complete. Hope you have fun with this :]

I love how Anna is photo-bombing in the reflection of the clock!

Here's the file for the printable. Just click to open and then right click to download. It's meant to be in a 4x6 frame. Be sure to adjust the paper size for your printer and then cut a piece of card stock to fit. For personal use only.

Simple Toddler Meal: English Muffin Pizzas!

English muffin pizzas have been one of my favorites for a looong time. My mom always made them for me and now I love to make them for my little one...when she isn't being THE pickiest child on the planet. ;]

These seriously take just a few minutes to prep and heat up--which is totally something I depend on when my busy toddler is keeping me on my toes! I know this is the third recipe I've posted that has mozzarella and sauce but like, hello, I'm Italian, so I'm automatically drawn to those flavors--and like I have said before, I am no prize in the kitchen so I keep it simple. Whoop!

Here's What You'll Need

* Your favorite canned sauce [you can make your own or use pizza sauce, but I prefer the flavors of the sauce I use for pasta. Top shelf is how I roll]
* Oregano
* Garlic Powder or salt
* English muffins
* Mozzarella cheese
* Any other toppings you or your little one will enjoy. Keep it simple or make 'em fancy!

My daughter is super picky and observant, so I plan to add more toppings soon, but I will do so under the cheese so she won't automatically question what the hell is sitting in front of her! Spinach leaves are a good option!

Here's What You'll Do

Pre-heat your toaster oven or conventional oven to 425 degrees. When I made the ones you see in the photo, I actually used my toaster oven [which is what I normally do, I can make four at one time] and for the first time, I actually set it to broil not bake.. I would suggest a low/med broil. Now, if you decide to do this, you need to be suuuuper careful that you don't burn the living crap out of these things! There's really nothing that needs to 'bake' here just heat up and melt, so I found that broil worked great for getting that golden brown color to the cheese. Totally your preference.

* Start by slicing your English muffins or pulling them apart with a fork if they are already pre-sliced * Spread your sauce on using a spoon
* Add just a couple sprinkles of garlic powder or salt
* Add your cheese and any other toppings your choose
* Sprinkle some oregano on top
* Boom, you're ready for the oven

Just leave the pizzas in until they start to look nice and crisp and golden brown like this. YUM!

If you're feeding a little one, cut into small pieces, pop any pieces that seem too crunchy for them into your mouth, let it cool...and serve! 

Poor Anna had a rough day and wasn't too thrilled about me taking pics of her stuffing her face, but she sure does enjoy her some 'homemade' pizza!

DIY [Mystery] Sensory Box

Monday, April 20, 2015

The possibilities are pretty endless with a game like this. Years ago when I was an intern in a Kindergarten classroom I created a sensory box. I had honestly totally forgotten about it until I saw a similar DIY on YouTube for a toddler. I'll make the DIY part of this quick because it is seriously SO simple, and focus more on how you can use this box even with a toddler that doesn't have a large vocabulary yet. Introducing and modeling vocabulary is HUGE and it is how I plan to use this box until Anna has grown a bit more developmentally. The great thing about this game is you can keep it simple for a little one, or more advanced for an older child. It's all what you make of it!

I literally gathered random objects from around our apartment and made sure they fit into a tissue box. And then of course I made the box a little bit cuter than it was before just by using some craft paper and hot glue! I kept a few things in mind when choosing these objects. I wanted to make sure they varied in: color, shape, size, weight, and texture. That way, it would allow me to model tons of vocabulary for Anna.

Anna is still pretty young, so I plan to keep it simple for now. When one of us reaches in to grab an object, I can simple model two things about that object. For the sponge I could say: sponge, soft. If I wanted to, I could simply fill the box with different colored blocks and have Anna reach in and I can model what color she has chosen and when she's able to, she can tell me what color she has chosen.

When we are ready to get a little more advanced, for example, to explain something as simple as sock I could say: white, soft, light [in weight], and small [comparing objects to the box].

I can also compare objects to one another, like the sock is soft and the lock is hard. The sock is bigger than the lock. Once Anna is older and understands more, she can take over the box and I can tell her to reach in [without looking of course] and pull out something that is soft, rough, smooth, or hard. For now, when she pulls something out, it is my job to model the properties of that object for her, so she can do so herself someday!

You can even use a shoebox for this and load it up with more objects. You can also use object pairs and have your child try to find two objects that are the same simply by using their sense of touch. You can constantly switch out what you keep in your box and the number of objects as well. If your child is older, you can label sections on a sheet of paper and have them place the objects in the correct category [soft, hard, rough, smooth, etc] or they can record the properties of the objects on a sheet of paper. Any objects that I don't want in the box right now, I can just store in a Ziploc bag until I am ready to use them. Be sure not to choose anything too small that your child can choke on, and store your box somewhere where little hands can't wreck it when it isn't being played with. ;]

Anna had lots of fun waking up from her nap to a find new game! She loved exploring with the different objects in the box. Hope this simple DIY is a game that you and your child can really enjoy and learn a lot from!

DIY Acrylic Painted Bottle

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Yep. It's that simple! I found this awesome glass bottle at the Dollar Tree and then went to my local craft store and bought some acrylic paint for .59! Poured some in, rotated the bottle to spread the paint, poured a little more paint in, rotated some more, and then let the excess drain back into the paint bottle so I didn't waste any!

A simple, fun and easy way to display glass--you can cluster different colored ones and even fill them with flowers and use as a centerpiece. There's all sorts of examples on Pinterest. This was the first one I made, so I don't have a lot to show yet, but I plan on making more soon!

Right now, my daughter's play area won the glass bottle for her Spring decor! I have another one--so that one is mine ;] I love inexpensive crafts like this, especially when you use neutral colors, because you can move them around your house when you are needing a change!

DIY Makeup Storage Bins

Sorry it's been quite a few days since I've blogged. My husband is working nights this week and it's been beautiful out, so Anna and I have been enjoying some outside time and other than that I haven't had too much time to myself! But, I did take advantage of nap time today and came up with a super budget-friendly and suuuper simple DIY for storing makeup in an adorable way! 

I've been searching Pinterest up and down for ideas but didn't really see anything that worked for me. My make up is in our guest bathroom--which is also the bathroom Anna and I share because our master one is SO small and I have way too much shit. Because I need to get to things quickly and easily, my makeup is on open shelves which is out for anyone to see when use our bathroom. It was quite embarrassing how I had everything kind of thrown in there in random bins and food storage containers...yikes... so I decided it was time to fix that problemo and do it in a super inexpensive way! This is what I came up with and I think they turned out super cute!

 I took a trip to the trusty Dollar Tree and local craft store for this one. I picked up some white, plastic drawer organizers of various sizes [keeping in mind my small makeup collection] and somehow bought the perfect number of little bins. Then I picked up some mod podge. This was my FIRST time using it--OBSESSED. I also grabbed some beautiful decorative tape to spice up these boring bins.

First, I removed the UPC sticker and cleaned off any scuff marks with a magic eraser. I measure the amount of the skinny tape I would need for around the lip of the bin. This tape honestly wasn't sticky at all, so you totally rely on the mod podge for adhering it to the bin. 

Next, I took a little brush and applied the mod podge, got my tape in place and then went over it with mod podge. Be sure to pay attention to the corner where the tape ends meet and to press out any bumps in the tape.

And then you get this! Please don't mind the paint all over my table, that's from another project I have to share...oops! ;]

I found for applying the thicker tape around the center, that I needed to cut it into sections because it wasn't going around the corners without lifting. Lay the tape down to make sure you have the length you need.

Be sure not to go past the corner because the tape will go upward and then it won't look right.

Apply the first piece the same way as you did the skinny tape, and really get a lot of mod podge on those corners. Then cut your three other sides and keep on applying. Be sure to go over all four sides with mod podge as well. 

Then go ahead and fill with your favorite products! I also found this glass container at the Dollar Tree and these plastic vase fillers at the craft store, so now my brushes have a happy home too!

This isn't the greatest photo because of the bathroom lighting, but doesn't that look so organized now?! Amen, I'm no longer embarrassed! And this is great because I just take each bin down as I need it. Hope this helps if you are looking for some simple and budget-friendly ways to organize your products!