New uses for old things!

I have a profound and undying love of old things. Windows, door knobs, shutters, molding, crates, pallets, etc. The age and patina of old...and especially reclaimed items can NOT be duplicated.

Want to see some of my favorite old things? Well here ya go...

 Master bedroom pallet bed and antique ammunition box that I JUST refinished a few days ago. A LOT of people probably thought I was a freak of nature when I wanted to sell my traditional 4 posted bed and make a bed of pallets instead...but you know what? I couldn't love it more! It was free...unique...functional...and looks super chic with the light colors in my room and that dark sassy rustic-ness! The ammunition box was a 5 dolla find at a garage sale...i am in LOVE with how it turned out. Adore. Swoon. I will keep it forever! Had to do a LOT of reinforcing and A LOT of bleaching and vinegar-ing to get the smell out. It was NASTY...but I couldn't be more excited about it now!

Old wood and metal ladder with paint splattered all over it in my entry way. I adore this ladder! It is actually really sturdy thanks to some majorly large bolts and metal rungs...and it works great to drape scarfs over and hang coats on too! Plus I like to pretend that you can't see our non-functioning alarm system box that came with our house! ;)

Shoe baskets. The one on the left is from Target and isn't old...but i love it. The one on the right is an old veggie crate that I got outside of a Hispanic grocery store by their dumpsters! I actually grabbed 4 of these on the same day and I use them EVERY.WHERE! They aren't particularly sturdy but they are filled to the brim with character and so useful! Toys, kid shoes (see above), files and such in the office, they work great for so many things!

 Old Naval trunk. This thing is probably one of my fave Craigslist finds EVER. Oh and did I mention it was 10 bucks?! It has brass corners, silver hinges, is HEAVY and sturdy. Fits everything you could imagine! Right now its storing our DVD's and my cookbooks and they are all hidden away! Love it! The bottom picture is the name of the Navy dude that owned it (really hard to make out what it says) and the Port that he was going to. Portland! Which just so happens to be my home town! :) Love a piece with character AND style!

Old shutter as picture display! This is actually not a shutter...but a bi-fold closet door that I heavily distressed and hung on the wall. I adore the way it looks! I also stuck the kick stand of a few of my fave pictures down inside the slats and they make a really pretty picture wall! Oh and it was free!

 Old window as mirror! I scored a couple old chippy windows at a garage sale for 2 dollars a piece....AND...was able to bring them from Portland to Southern CA in a moving truck without cracking the single pane 100 year old glass! AMAZING accomplishment! I mounted this guy on the wall after using looking glass spray paint on the back side to turn it into a mirror of sorts. The glass is very warped and marbled so it looks crazy awesome and antiqued and old! I achieved a very spotty mirror finish by lightly misting the bare glass with half white vinegar/half water first...and then immediately spraying my first coat of looking glass spray paint over that. Then another layer of vinegar/water...then another of paint. Over and over again until I achieved the darkest finish I could. I left the chippy paint intact and even left the latch on it. Love all those details!

Ok so that covers a few of my favorite old things. I hope you guys are inspired to bring home all that nasty old "trash" and make your home more beautiful for cheap!

Have a blessed week!!!

Linking up to the following parties...
Saved by Suzy

For my husband...

You are upstairs right now...putting our son to bed...which is precisely after you had just put our daughter to bed...gotten me a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate cake and turned on my favorite classical piano Pandora station so I could relax. You amaze me. You have the most giving and generous heart. You have a huge heart for the less fortunate and the handicapped. You are very concerned with making sure my love tank is filled and that you do things daily to be a blessing to me. You are so talented musically and that is one of the reasons that I fell in love with you!
God didn't just bless me when he pointed me in the direction of you...he sheltered me. He knew that my heart had a lot of healing to do. He knew that you and only you were going to be loving enough...consistent enough...patient see me through all the insecurities and allow me to heal. I adore you Ron! You need to know that the almost 7 years that we have been married have been the best years of my life and I look forward to dozens and dozens more with you!!! I love you!!

How to refinish what you have...a VERY random blog post

Two blog posts in ONE day! That must be a record right?! **crickets***

Ok moving on.

My lovely sister in law mentioned that she has A LOT of furniture that needs redoing and wanted me to write a tutorial post on how to go about that. Were talking 80's ugly oak, metal, furniture with stickers on it, etc etc. She has 4 amazing kids so you can only imagine the beating some of the furniture has taken!

Ok here we go...

Is it real or fake?
How to tell-Turn it around and look at the back of it. Do you see a thin overlay on top of particle board? Fake!
Do you see wood grain? Real!

Ok now that we know what kind of wood we have lets get to refinishing it.

What do we want to do with it? Do we want to strip it down to its bare nekid original form? Do we want to add amazing turquoise paint and distress it to high heaven? Decide that part first!

I am a BIG fan of sanding. It smooths out the surface...fixes imperfections...and makes the piece ready to look brand new again. If you plan on painting over something then usually just a light sanding on the entire piece is good enough...except for those deep dings and scratches which will need more love.  I use a cheap Ryobi Corner Cat palm sander from Home depot that I got about 3 years ago. It has a dust catcher on the back and I have used and abused that sander. Its still going strong and I'll use it until it breaks! I think it was about 30 bucks! If the piece just needs a light scuffing up before paint use 120 grit sandpaper all over and then wipe clean. If there are some severe dings use 80 grit and then 120 grit...and.wipe.clean.

Did you find out that you have fake wood? Particle board Ikea quality cheapo furnishings? Nothing wrong with that at can still make them look pretty...just can't sand them!
In the case of particle board with a veneer overlay your BESTIE is gonna be primer. I love and use Zinser oil based primer. Apply it with a good quality brush (Purdy brushes are THE BEST and worth the small extra investment) and aim for see-through coverage. You want the whole outside of the piece to be covered...but not thickly. It'll give the paint something to grab on to and make the finish really even and durable. You can get Zinser at HD, Lowes, Ace, etc.

Are you wanting bare naked wood...maybe oiled to bring out the grain...but pretty natural? You are gonna hate me are gonna have to strip...the paint that is! Stripping paint or varnish is an ICKY job. I detest...loathe...stripping furniture but sometimes its necessary! If you must will want to use Citristrip. Its bright orange...smells like...uh...Oranges...and is sold at HD or Lowes. It works great! Follow the directions on the back and watch your old nasty 80's finish bubble up before your very eyes! Make sure to invest also in a good metal scraper while your at the store. You will be doing LOTS of scraping. You might also want to grab a wire brush to remove hard to reach finish in grooves. After your finish has been totally stripped (this may require two or 3 applications of stripper) then you'll need to wash and dry your piece thoroughly (i usually leave it overnight to fully dry) and then sand as mentioned above.

Ok now that I mentioned how to prep your wood lets get to painting or staining.

Once you've primed your piece and let it dry (in the case of painting the wood) you'll want to choose a latex paint that you like ( I adore the oops section at HD) and paint your piece. If its a large piece you can either use a sponge roller...which are great but don't leave your finish very smooth...or a nice brush (enter your newly purchased Purdy brush). Brush on two coats of your paint color...letting it dry fully in between coats. Satin, semi gloss...doesn't really matter that much on furniture what kind you pick because you are going to seal it with a poly or wax after the paint is dry.

Now that your paint is dry you can distress it lightly, heavily, leave it alone, etc. I really like distressing because it tends to make you less irritated if natural dings happen to it later. I ALWAYS distress furniture that's gonna be around my that pretty much means I distress EVERYTHING. Only distress your piece in the places that would naturally get dinged. Aim for edges...corners...legs...etc. Never the low points of the piece...always the high points. Get it? Good!

Now time to seal that bad boy! I ADORE.POLY.SO.MUCH!! My favey fave brand is Minwax wipe on Poly (metal can). Satin or gloss finish is your choice. If you want a smooth as a baby's bum finish and wipeable durability then this guy will be your best friend! You apply it with a rag or paper brush strokes...lightly sand with 220 grit in between coats...and you have a finish that'll stand up to pretty much anything your kids can throw at it! Literally! I use poly on any piece that I stain or paint a darker color...but if you are painting a piece white SKIP poly and use a basic furniture wax. Poly can slightly yellow over time and it'll piss you off if your pretty white dresser looks yellow in six months! Apply wax with a cloth...let dry for about 20 mins..buff off with a new cloth and see a nice sheen. I usually apply at least 3 coats and the finish will be almost as durable as a poly coat!

Ok so say you want to stain a piece. Good for you!! ;)
Staining is makes wood pretty and I enjoy it.
My fave stain is Minwax Dark Walnut. In my humble opinion its the perfect dark color. Here's a piece where I used it...check it apply it with a rag to bare wood....allow to sit on for a few mins...and wipe off gently. ( I really like using old soft t shirts for applying and wiping off stain. No lint and they apply only gentle pressure) After the first coat...if you like the darkness of it then you're done and need to let it cure (dry for about 24 hours)...if not then let it dry for a couple hours and apply another coat in the same way...wipe off. Once all the coats have been applied and wiped off you need to leave that baby alone for a while. Preferably in a not too cold it can cure and the color can harden. Give it about 24 hours before you touch it again!
Once its cured you can poly it like I mentioned above. it'll look gorgeous.


So lets say you got a killer deal on a SUPER ugly brass lamp from good will! The shape rocks...but the finish is blech! Spray paint is your friend! I use lots of different brands but Rustoleum is my fave. There are TONS of color options and it just goes on really pretty.
Here's your process....
1)Clean lamp thoroughly and dry
2)Put on a ginormous costco box out in  your yard away from anything that you don't want painted
3)Prime that sucker (use spray primer...rustoleum is the best)...aim for a very light coat...keep the can moving and spray from a ways back. Let fully dry.
4)Paint time! Spray it lightly. You do NOT want full coverage on your first...second...or even third coats. You want to apply short...light bursts of paint from a ways back and lightly dust the piece with'll minimize drips and make it look a lot more professional. If you are painting something super small then one can should do it. If its a piece like a bar cart or a metal shelf unit you will need at least 3 cans of spray paint. do yourself a favor and get double what you think you'll'll save you trips back to the store and you'll use it later if you have leftovers.
5)Let dry fully in between all those coats
6)You can use a spray on clear coat to protect the finish if you want...but I usually skip this step if its a piece that won't be getting a lot of abuse. If it will then by all means use a clear coat!
7)Place in home and marvel at your craftiness!!!

Ok so I think this about covers the basics of painting wood, metal, particle board...if I missed anything please let me know in the comments section and I'll edit and include it! I hope this helps someone create furniture that they LOVE with the stuff that they already have!!!

One of my FAVE dresser redo's EVER...

Hey people!!!! Ok here is a dresser in its pre-fabtastic days. Picture those drawers actually inside that case and not sanded m'kay? This dresser was on CL...only about 10 mins from my house...and they had it listed for 20 bucks. Now THAT would've been a great price...but I always offer less to see if they'll take it. I offered the guy 10...he was stoked...I WAS MAJORLY STOKED! ;)
This dresser is one of those iconic mid century modern styles that everyone has seen...and everyone loves. The molded drawer handles...the cute stubby feet...the height is perfect! I just love this style! 
Now the picture on the right is after I had already sanded the drawers with 80 grit and then 120 grit to remove the old finish. The drawers were in totally decent shape (except for some MAJOR gluing that was needed)...the frame...was...not. I would've LOVED to be able to keep the frame in its original wood but there were several chunks of missing veneer...several LARGE scratches in the veneer that I knew would be hard to cover with stain and have not show. So I went to my FAVE resource for mid century furniture re-do inspiration....enter Design Sponge! I searched before and after pics of dressers and found this...

This is what I'm talking about! Beautiful wood grain...outlined with crisp white! So pretty and modern and funky! I knew I would shamelessly copy them since their case was in bad shape too but their drawers were salvageable. I did have to do some major repair on pretty much every drawer. The wood was in really good shape but the drawers handles were all cracked...the trim was coming i used A LOT of wood glue and put everything back together again. So after thoroughly sanding the drawers (see above pic for the pretty raw wood that I ended up with)...I applied a thick layer of Howard's Feed and Wax to the drawer fronts. Here is a pic of the before the wax and after...

Insane huh? I was AMAZED at how awesome that stuff is and how it brought out all that fabulous wood grain and color with just a layer of citrus smelling wax! Adore Howards...I will be using it from now on! 

So after the drawers were waxed and polished I filled all the scratches and holes in the case veneer with wall spackle. (I use it instead of wood putty...MUCH cheaper and works just as well...and MAJORLY sandable)...let that dry and then primed and painted the box with two coats of oops white paint. I left the feet in the raw wood for some variety. Here's the after.... 

Sharing my dresser at some fab parties:


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special