DIY Chalkboard & Fun Ways to Document with it

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I meant to post this on Thursday and that was an epic fail, so my bad...

Here's my late contribution to 'Throwback Thursday.' I got pretty crafty when I was pregnant in 2013 because I was on bed rest[ish] and had lots of free time on my hands. I decided that I wanted to document my prego bump for my friends and family and started to search ways of doing so. I came across this pin from Jessica Garvin [whom I LOVE] and decided I too wanted to create a chalkboard and take photos with it [almost every week]. If you know who she is, then you know how crafty she is with chalkboard art. I totally googled her boards all the time to help inspire mine. I'm not good when it comes to figuring out what kind of lettering and such to mix and use on the boards, and hers totally helped me. Thanks girl! Pinterest, of course, was also my bff in this situation.

I did just what Jessica Garvin did and came across a totally affordable painting at a consignment shop. It had the exact frame I wanted for my board. Unfortunately the painting wasn't backed with wood that I could just paint over, so I had to figure out a solution for putting something lightweight into the frame that I could cover with the chalkboard paint. I went to Lowe's--and used one of those electric carts to get around, because remember, I was on bed rest[ish]--and found that the large sheets of the dry erase boards were super light and the back side was perfect for painting with the chalkboard paint. We had the nice man cut it to size, I painted it with a few coats of the chalkboard paint and it was ready to go. I had my dad use these really tiny nails to secure the board into the frame. He hammered them in on an angle around the inside of the frame and it worked out great.
I wasn't lying..this is my cart from that very day.
At the time, I wasn't even aware of chalk paint [which would've been good for the frame--how sad for me]. So I just used some white semi gloss paint that my parents had used for their crown molding and quite honestly, it worked just fine. And this is what I wound up with...
 So then I started to do things like this with it...and I still do. Well, minus the prego boards. Eek! NOT trying to do that right now. It's totally a fun way to decorate for the holidays and document milestones and such. My husband always complains that I don't use it for writing a grocery list. Um... that's boring! Maybe now I can inspire you to create a board and use it to document things that are important to you! :]





*As far as chalk goes, I use regular white chalk [Crayola is always best] as well as Crayola sidewalk chalk for the colors. When it comes to details and such, I use a q-tip to shape the letters. I have also used the chalk markers and those are great for more swirly fonts and are way less of a mess. They are a little harder to get off so don't freak out. For cleaning off the board, a damp paper towel or washcloth has never done me wrong. Don't be afraid to clean your board with water. If you need to, you can always touch up your board with another layer of the chalkboard paint. Just make sure to give it plenty of time to dry!

Vintage Cabinet Makeover!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wahh! This was a fun one for me! Like I've said before, my Mom is ready to turn her 'all brown everything' into a more colorful and inviting house! Not sure how my Dad came across this piece, but it was used as a Warden's radio cabinet--pretty cool! So thankful they trust my skills and allowed me to paint this vintage piece!
I'm learning so much by doing, it's great! I'm hoping to keep building my portfolio and start painting pieces for clients once the spring hits in NY.

I came across Heirloom Traditions Paint because my friend Krista sent me a message with their website attached. She's a fellow DIY lover and I thank her so much for sharing with me! This company offers a shit ton 50 DIFFERENT COLORS OF CHALK PAINT. Don't even get me started on their Dark Umber Wax. NO odor--zero, and simply amazing for creating that antique look! They offer multiple wax finishes and you can order online as well. They are a new company, check them out.
From the bottom right, the color I used is four colors in.
Prior to adding the Dark Umber Wax
After the Dark Umber Wax. My Mom didn't want this piece to be perfect and I really like the way it came out! The details on the cabinet doors are beautiful! I actually waxed this with a brush rather than a cloth like I normally would because my Mom wanted it to have a different look.



And a few days later...

Now that I'm not so much of a chicken anymore and I tackled distressing the buffet table, I decided to take this guy outside too and show him who's boss! I think it looks more finished now with some distressing and Mom is happy with a more 'beat up' look. Nothing major, kind of hard to appreciate in photos, but you get the idea. I'm getting the hang of this. The more practice, the better! Thanks for letting me experiment on your furniture, Mom! :]





Publix Aprons - Pork Chops and Alfredo Potatoes

Tuesday, February 10, 2015



If you live in the southern part of the country, you know, and most likely most definitely love Publix. And if you're like me, and you have to move to the north for your husband's job, you hate every other grocery store you enter because nothing compares to Publix. Luckily, I'm in Florida as I post this, so all is okay in the world. Mom and I went to Publix today and one of the employees was preparing a meal and handing out small portions to shoppers. I took a taste and decided that was going to be on the menu for dinner this evening. The recipe is posted in the link above and accompanied by a quick You Tube video from the Publix website.

This meal was suuuper yummy. We did make a couple changes though, which technically changes the name of the meal! We used boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of pork and also used chicken broth instead of the the sherry wine. The small portion I ate in the store was with the pork, and it was quite tasty. My Dad is just more of a chicken fan, so we went that route and it still turned out great. I recommend Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade to use as the dry rub--perfect amount of flavor!

 We really loved the Alfredo potatoes as well! For that portion of the recipe I highly recommend La Famiglia Del Grosso for the Alfredo sauce if you can find it, as well as Alexia Potato Puffs [tater tots, purple label] So stinkin' smart to use tater tots, how simple is that?! Enjoy!


Sweet Pea's Kitchen - Brown Sugar Meatloaf



This is seriously the BEST meatloaf everrrr. I used to cringe when I heard 'meatloaf' because it was always such a boring dish and just tasted like...blah. Then I came across this amazing recipe on Pinterest. I follow her directions exactly. It's super easy. Just make sure that if you use less than 1.5 lbs of meat, that you definitely cut down on the amount of the brown sugar/ketchup/Worcestershire mixture so that it doesn't fall apart [happened to me on the first try, oops]. Hope you enjoy! The link above will take you directly to her page! Happy cooking!

Buffet Table Makeover

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I'm so excited because I completed a piece for my Mom first client! I think your first client for anything is always a family member... still counts though, right?! :] This buffet table belonged to her parents and she grew up with this brown hunk of wood in their house in the Bronx. Mom and I saw the potential in this piece a long time ago, and now that I chalk paint furniture, we could finally bring some life to it! 
Excuse the crappy phone pic. I just got too excited to bust out my camera :]
I used Paint de la Mar chalk paint in the color Conch Chowder and Fiddes & Sons Wax Polish. We decided to keep the top of the piece natural to add that 'country chic' look. I am in LOVE with the details on the doors of this table. My mom still has to figure out what she wants to put behind the doors, maybe some sort of chicken wire or glass.

It's pretty neat how painting an old piece can bring it back to life and change the decor in your home. I'm eager to try making my own chalk paint soon in order to save some money because it can be a bit pricey. It's all about quality for me, so I won't settle until I find the perfect recipe. [Which I see there are plenty floating around the internet].

Give chalk painting a try! A little bit really goes a long way, and it's incredibly easy to do! You can paint inside, no harmful odors are emitted. And no prep necessary! Finding the right brush is important. Shops that sell chalk paint often sell brushes, however, they are pricey and I prefer a short handle brush--you can find those at Lowe's for $10-$15. Depending on your piece, you may want different size brushes to help with the very detailed areas. Just make sure your furniture is good and clean, and you are ready to get started. 

Just know, wax is extremely necessary because that is how you seal and protect your piece. You can apply with a wax brush or an old t-shirt [Be sure not to cut the shirt. You don't want fuzzies everywhere]. The wax does have a little odor as you apply, so I suggest wearing a mask. Once you close the lid, there shouldn't be any odor on your furniture. Happy painting! :]
Mom put this little arrangement together. I really like it and thought I'd share! 


Update: February 2015 - Distressed! 


Mom and I kept staring at this piece and envisioning it distressed...so I made that happen! Woo, it sure was a lot of work because the piece sat for two weeks before we made this decision. The wax was very strong [which says a lot for the wax] so I took a Motrin to help with my back pain. HA! Since I am all about experimenting and learning as I go, I want to try distressing a piece prior to waxing. I used a coarse sand paper for this piece, and I believe I would want to use a medium if the piece didn't already have wax on it. 

A fellow DIY lover also told me about 'wet distress' which you can find by clicking here. It's pretty interesting and seems really easy. Hope you all love the new look. I sure do! :] 

Shared Room

When we go visit my parents in Florida, we have to share a room with our daughter. My goal in making over this room was just to make the best use of the space, and of course do my best to marry the two areas together. My mom had already purchased the precious toddler bed and queen bed, and had those in place, so that was a good start. She had also already purchased the cute cream colored accent table [which you can see in the last set of photos]. 

I decided to run to Target in hopes that I would find something that would inspire me. I purchased a few things. I came across an awesome twig wreath in that $1/$3 section...the best section of Target... EVER. I knew I wanted to incorporate some antlers that my parents had around the house [my Dad hunts...sorry Bambi]. The skull was kind of trippin' me out so I yanked a flower out of a little arrangement we found, fixed it with hot glue, and poof--there started this 'rustic-like' and colorful room! 

I don't really have a method to my madness. I just hold a little idea in my head of what 'theme' I want to bring to a room and then use a piece [could be something small or a piece of furniture] to inspire me and then just go from there! 

Don't be afraid to purchase items and return them! You don't know how something is going to look until you get that piece into the room. Always save your receipts in a safe place and don't cut the tags off an item until you are totally sure that you LOVE it. I let the pillows sit on the bed for few days with tags until I know that they truly work for the space I'm putting together! :) 
DaVinci Toddler Bed // IKEA dresser [see this post for DIY...I'm in LOVE with this piece]
Wising You Peace [$1.99 card from Target in a 5x7 frame] // Wreath [Target $1/$3 section] // Mirror [jacked from my Mom] // Heart printable made by me // A Monogram [Tuesday Morning] 
Shelf // Lamp & shade // Flying pig [Ross] // Ceramic figure // Owl [Walmart spray painted] // Frame [random Target find gold] // Printable [free for personal use] // Flower in glass jar TJ Maxx
Quilt from Pottery Barn [discontinued] // Jersey ruffle pillow & Blue pillows // IKEA bed frame 
The 'Mom and Dad' side still isn't totally complete. We still need to find something to put above the bed, but for now, we are super happy with the way it all turned out. You really need to click on the IKEA bed link, because it is SUCH a steal right now at less than $150 if you are an IKEA Family Member [free to join on their website or in store].


Tarva Dresser 'IKEA Hack'

Saturday, February 7, 2015



Holy moly, if there's one thing I LOVE, it's a damn good IKEA hack. I simply define an 'IKEA hack' as: taking something simple [and well made] from IKEA and making it awesome badass, with a little DIY magic. If you haven't been to IKEA, then please do yourself a favor, and make that happen. It's pretty much an all-day event...and they have a cafeteria. Win!

I have been on the hunt for a somewhat small and affordable dresser for the room that Anna and I share when we visit Nana and Poppa's house. I wanted something that has a rustic feel to it. The Tarva 3 drawer chest is the bomb.com for many reasons. First, it is only $80. Second, it is made of untreated pine. Third, it has potential written all over it.

We took a fun little trip to IKEA last week and of course came home with way more shit than we had planned. [We also found an amazing bed for under $150 but that's going to be in the next post. I also have a large box to mail back to NY of goodies that I found. Oops Score!] Anyway, I could not waaaaait to get my hands on this dresser.
I decided to go with Minwax Wood Stain in Provincial from Lowe's. I bought the small can because I didn't have much area to cover. I made sure to prep the wood first with Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner, just to be sure I get an even stain on that super dry wood. A friend of mine suggested cheese cloth for application [which I also now recommend] and of course, gloves and a mask because that junk is stinky.

I started with the drawers, gave them two coats and then finished off the rest of the dresser with two coats as well. It dried pretty darn quick. That wood was really like a sponge... I put on these amazing turquoise distressed knobs from Hobby Lobby and poof--there stood my vision! I am now obsessed with the rustic wood grain look.