Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pinterest Challenge: Flower Table

I was inspired by this post I saw on a Young House Love Reader Redesign called "The Stain Game" where another blogger couple, Beth & Nick from Sawdust & Embryos, (the post from their blog can be found here) transformed an old dresser into a beautiful work of art using stain.  I subsequently pinned this image below to my Pinterest DIY board.  Well, the Springtime Pinterest Challenge just rolled around, sponsored by Sherry, Katie, Emily, and Renee, so it seemed like the perfect time to tackle this project.

I thought when I read their post how cool it would look to do a stained flower on a round table.  I had an old side table that someone had given us, and while I liked the form of the table, it was in really bad shape and needed some TLC.  It was the perfect candidate for this kind of a project.

As you can see, the finish was horribly scratched and marred, and the base had lost a foot.

First off, I had to sand off that awful finish on the top of the table to prep it for staining.  I used Daniel's palm sander to sand off the entire finish down to the bare wood.  This took me about 2 hours total.  It seems like it would be easy, but you really have to put your back into it and my arms were actually pretty sore afterward.  I had to be careful not to sand down too far because then you end up sanding through the veneer.

The next step was fixing the broken foot.  I had also broken another one of its legs when I was sanding the top from all the pressure I was putting on it, but luckily it was a clean break and fairly easy to repair.  Some wood glue and clamps was all it needed for the breaks to disappear.

I then used some leftover paint that I had purchased for the bathroom to paint the bottom portion of the table.  I unscrewed the drawer pull and gave it a couple light coats with a brush so that the design in the legs would show up and contrast with the light color paint I used.  Once the paint was dry, I just reattached the drawer pull and got to work on the stain.  

The only materials I needed for the stain design was stain (duh), a pencil and eraser (for mapping out your design), paintbrushes, and a rag for blending.  I found a flower I liked on Google Images.  Daniel helped me to find the center of the table (I'm no good at math and drew a total blank when he said, "do you know how to find the center of a circle?"  uhh.... apparently "eyeball it" wasn't the correct answer...)  Anyway, once we had found the center, I sketched my flower on the table and got to work staining.  Well, almost... first I opened the stain, which EXPLODED open and got stain all over me, my favorite pj's, my dining room table, my hardwood floors, my dining room chairs, my art box, etc.  (Sorry, no pics of the stain massacre.)  So after cleaning all that up, I started with the center and worked my way out to keep smudging to a minimum.  Stain a little, blend a little, etc. till the design was finished.


After my initial design was finished, it had to be sealed with some type of polyurethane.  We had some wipe on poly leftover from some other projects that I was going to use, but Daniel told me to wait and buy the spray-on kind so I didn't wipe off my design.  I should have listened.  [Daniel, if you're reading this, I am NOT admitting to being wrong, as I am NEVER wrong, ever.]  Anyway, I tried the wipe on poly and while it didn't completely take off the design, it did make it soak in so you could no longer see hardly any of the details-- BOO.  Anyway, short story long, I had to go back over my design with more stain and darken it up so you could see it again. This time I waited and purchased spray on poly.  After 5 coats of semi-gloss, the design is sealed.  I think I might want it to be higher gloss, so I may end up buying more.  But for now, I love my table and it works great in my newly finished music room (pics coming soon).  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Updates

Just wanted to post a few simple updates that we've done since the weather has turned warmer.  Something about springtime always gets me in the mood to change things up and go lighter and brighter inside the house.  We had a family get-together a couple weeks ago and there's nothing like having people over to make me want to get projects finished.

This bare wall in the kitchen has been bothering me ever since we got the shelves put up.  I'm also thinking of repainting this room (for the 3rd time) but that's another story...
Anyway, I decided to do a quick-fix and make a gallery wall using some frames I already had lying around the house and printing off some kitchen-related free printables I found online.

Before: (the bare wall to the left of the oven)


For anyone who wants to know, those free printables can be found here, here, here, here, and here. The frames started out black, but a can of white spray paint took care of that.  The room feels a lot more finished now.

The second project was my 1/2 bath.  I hadn't really done anything with that room besides hang some towels, but everything in there was brown and I wanted it to look bright and fresh. I wanted a small side table to showcase the beautiful glass bowl that was hand blown for us by our very talented friends Suzanne Ririe and Nick Fruin.  Daniel's mom and dad scored a pair of stools at a flea market for $1 each, and gave me one, so I bought a can of bright turquoise spray paint and Daniel painted it for me to use as a little side table in there.  It worked out perfectly to show off our bowl and hold other necessities like towels and toilet paper.  Then I purchased a couple brightly colored lime green and turquoise hand towels and just added some glass bottles in greens and blues that I have collected over the years to brighten things up.  The painting on the wall was one my grandpa painted years ago that was in my mom's attic that I swiped one Sunday.  It fit well on the wall and the colors in the painting were perfect for the little bathroom.  Those few changes made such a big difference.



I still plan to paint in there, change out the light fixture (I dont know if you noticed, but the placement of it is weird... it's almost impossible to change a lightbulb because the bottom of the globes are about 1 inch from the top of the medicine cabinet so all the light shines down directly on top of the cabinet), and eventually I'd like to turn this 1/2 bath in to a full bath.  But for now, these little quick fixes satisfied my spring fever.  Anyone else making any Spring updates around the house?  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring has Sprung

A poem:

Spring has sprung
the grass is ris
I know where some flowers is

Well, Spring is in full bloom at casa de Bruce.  Daniel has been hard at work grooming the lawn, raking the trillion-gazillion leaves that fell this fall from all the oak trees we have in our yard, trying to do some landscaping with the overgrown hedges and bushes that were planted by the previous owner, and tediously trying to get out those pesky, ugly nandinas (i.e., "weeds") that seem to be EVERYWHERE and multiply like crazy and are next to impossible to get rid of.  But it's coming along and looking better every day.  We have a really big yard so it's a lot of work and kinda hard to keep ahead of. The good thing is that the yard has good bones and every day we come home and have some kind of new, surprise plant or flower coming up that we didn't know we had.

And daffodils.  Did I mention we have an entire yard full of daffodils?  When they first started popping up, I was like, "Yay!  I'll dig all these up after they bloom and transplant them in better locations for next year!"  Well, I didn't anticipate that they were literally EVERYWHERE.  It would probably take me all year just to dig them all up.  I love them, don't get me wrong, but seriously, they are all over the place.  We also have a ton of irises springing up, tiger lilies, day lilies, and other mystery flowers that I have yet to be able to find on Google.

We actually spend more time walking around talking about what we want to do to the yard than we actually do.  Our dialog usually goes something like this: "This can go... you can cut that tree...we can take out this, this and this... I really like this bush... should we move it over here?  Oh look!  A Flowering Quince!  I love those!  I'm so happy we have one!  Wonder what this is?  Think it will bloom?  We need to get the tractor over here...", etc.

It's really pretty this time of year because everything is blooming and our yard is full of dogwoods, redbuds, azaleas and other mysterious flowering shrubs.

I love these flowers below.  I have yet to be able to find out what they are, so if anyone knows, please tell me.  I think I've asked Daniel about 10 times, "What are these flowers?  wonder if they're perennial?  Do they bloom?" and he responds, "I don't know.  I've already told you I don't know every time you've asked me.  I still don't know."  So now that they've bloomed he said, "Did you see your flowers?  Now you know."

Our yard is full of so many varieties of plants that I can't keep up with them all. I just wanted to post some pictures because it's so pretty this time of year and I wanted to share it with all of cyberspace.   After a long winter inside doing housework I'm excited to get my gardening gloves on, enjoy the nice weather, and get my hands in the dirt!   Anyone else as excited as I am to be doing yardwork?