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Friday, October 31, 2014

{five minute friday} The Fastest Way to Refresh Wood Furniture, Trim and Floors

If you are following along with my One Room Challenge progress, then you know that I am redesigning our master bedroom and that one of my goals was to create a comfortable reading nook in the corner of the room. I picked a cozy new chair as well as an ottoman so that I could kick back and put my feet up.

Since my budget is tight, I did a lot of online shopping to find an inexpensive ottoman - but sometimes when you go cheap, you get what you pay for. When the ottoman arrived, it was quite chipped up around the edges in numerous places. I thought about sending it back and finding a different option, but I really liked the style of this one and didn't want to start over searching for another good looking ottoman that would fit the style of the room and that wouldn't break the bank.


After some debate, I decided to keep the ottoman and simply touch it up using two of my favorite products - a Minwax Blend-Fil Pencil and a Minwax Stain Marker. This is not a sponsored post. I am choosing to share information about these products simply because I used and love them regularly.


I have used these products for years to touch up my wood floors, baseboards and doors - so I knew they would be perfect for touching up my ottoman. The ones I already own are for lighter colors of stain, so I ran to Home Depot to purchase each in the darkest color option - Ebony.

Both of these products help you to touch-up the stain on wood furniture, cabinets, floors and moldings - but generally the stain markers work best when touching up shallow scratches, whereas the Blend-Fil pencil is better when you are dealing with a deeper scratch, knick or chip. I wasn't sure which would be better for my ottoman - so I picked up one of each.

I tried the pencil first, but as soon as I applied some pressure to begin filling in the damage on one of the legs of the ottoman, I realized that the finish was cracked all the way along the edge, and another long piece of the finish chipped right off.


Because I had such a large area to touch up, I decided that I would instead begin with the stain marker. I shook the marker well, then depressed the tip to start the flow of the stain. I used the stain marker to color in the entire area.


I let it sit for about 20 seconds so that the stain could soak in, and then I used a paper towel to wipe the excess off of the surrounding areas. Like all stain, the sooner you wipe it off, the lighter the stain will appear - and the longer you let it sit before wiping off the excess, the darker it will be. When using one of these stain markers for the first time, I typically err on the side of wiping it off too soon, and then repeat the process if it needs to be darker.


The stain marker did a great job of fixing the color of the chipped areas - but because of the depth of the chips, they still seemed quite visible.


Since the Blend-Fil Pencil is especially good for filling in deeper chips and scratches, I used it as my second step.


The pencil tip is fairly soft, so you simply use pressure to work the pencil into the imperfection. Unlike the marker that simply fixed the color - the pencil actually filled in the chipped areas. Once I had filled in the entire area, I again used a paper towel to wipe of the excess.


After using both the marker and the pencil, the large chipped area on the leg of the ottoman was virtually undetectable!


In just a few minutes time, I was able to touch up each of the chipped areas on the ottoman, and now it looks as good as new {or, since it really is new, as good as it should have looked upon delivery}!


I have plans to add a fun detail to the ottoman this weekend to make it fit in even better with the new chair in our reading nook. If you follow me on Instagram, I'll be sharing some sneak peeks - and be sure to check back next Thursday when I'll be sharing the full room reveal!

The dresser and nightstands in our master bedroom, which I've had for nine years, are starting to show some wear {mostly from getting knocked around years ago when we moved}. These pieces have the same ebony colored finish as the ottoman, so after touching up the ottoman, I quickly refreshed all of the other furniture in the room.

Since I needed to fill in chips along the corners, rather than simply scratches in the surface, I chose to use the Blend-Fil pencil instead of the stain marker. I worked to pencil into the chips along the front edge of the dresser, then wiped the excess away with a paper towel. 


This is such a quick and easy thing to do, but it makes a big impact! The entire room looks nicer when the furniture doesn't show its age!

Let me also give you a quick example of when the stain marker works best. I have two stain markers that match the wood floors and wood trim on my main floor. I keep them under the kitchen sink and pull them out at least once a month to touch up any little scratches or marks that occur through daily wear and tear. I labeled the bottom of the pens with a T for trim and an F for floors to help me keep track of which color is which.


If you've never touched up your wood baseboards - you'll be amazed at how much better they can look in just a few short minutes. The process is the same as I used on the ottoman, but here's a quick run down: (1) identify an area that needs some touch up; (2) shake the stain marker well before use; (3) depress the marker tip to start the flow of stain and color over each of the scratches and imperfections in the trim; (4) use a paper towel to wipe away the excess stain (repeat is necessary); (5) admire the difference!


Here's a side-by-side before and after so you can see how much better the trim really looks:


I love any project that I can complete in just five minutes, and this is definitely five minutes well spent!



This is not a sponsored post. I am choosing to share information about these products simply because I used and love them regularly.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

{one room challenge} Curtain Call

A couple of weeks ago I dubbed the status of my progress on the One Room Challenge "the storm before the calm"- and now that Week 5 has come and gone, I am finally starting to see some of the calm. In all of my design projects, it always gets worse before it gets better, and I am happy to report that I can now see a glimmer of the calm as the completed space starts to really take shape.

To quickly catch you up, I am participating in the One Room Challenge for which I am redesigning our master bedroom in a short six weeks. Today marks the end of week 5, and at this time next week I'll be sharing lots of photos of the final room! Here's what the plan looks like, which I fondly refer to as the Modern Metro Master Plan...


This week's major accomplishment - our modern, flat panel curtains! I'll share a lot more details about these curtains at a later time, but let's just say that in standard Ikea form, the hardware was a bit complicated to assemble and install. But now that the custom fabric panels are hung, there is no doubt in my mind they were worth all the effort! I think you'll agree next week that the curtains are the true star of the room.


In other exciting news, the Meloni chair for my reading nook {which I selected through my partnership with Home Decorators Collection} arrived  yesterday! I've ordered a lot of furniture online, but I still always get a bit nervous about whether it will look as good in person as it does online - and especially with an item like an arm chair, I always worry about whether it will really be comfortable. Yes, and yes! I had a pretty long list of requirements when shopping for a chair for our bedroom {it needed to have a high enough back to rest my head; a wide enough seat to sit cross-legged; padded but not rolled arms; and style for days}, and I can now confirm that the Meloni ticks all of those boxes!


To make for even more cozy reading nook, I also purchased an inexpensive ottoman. I have a plan to add a little something extra to make this ottoman better fit with the chair and side table. You'll have to wait until next week for that - but I think you'll agree that it's $12 well spent!


What remains to be done is mostly about the art and photos. Last week I shared an inspiration photo for a gallery wall to make the television on our dresser less of a focal point, and now the gallery wall is ready to be hung. I am nothing if not a planner, and I am often known to create computer renderings to aid in my husband into visualizing my crazy ideas. Here's my computer rendering of what the gallery wall is going to look like {if all goes according to plan}...


I am also making a few updates to the DIY metallic photos that have hung in our room for years. I still love the way these framed photos of New York City appear to glow, but I am swapping out a few of the photos for ones we took on our most recent trip to NYC.




So here's where I'm at on my master list:

*Drapes - DONE!
*Paint the tan walls? - NEW GREY WALLS!

*New, lighter rug - THE ONE I ORIGINALLY WANTED WAS BACK ORDERED, BUT I'M HAPPY WITH THE BACK UP PLAN!

*More comfy and stylish chair - CHECK & CHECK

*Add pattern and texture through fabrics - JUST ONE OR TWO MORE PILLOWS NEEDED, AND MAYBE A BLANKET

*New quilt or coverlet for the bed - IN PROGRESS

*Make the television less of a focal point - GALLERY WALL READY TO BE HUNG

*New art above the bed - READY TO BE HUNG

*Add some architectural interest - IN PROGRESS 

*Reclaim the corner where the cradle has been - DONE, THANKS TO A NEW MIRROR AND A RELOCATED BENCH

The One Room Challenge is hosted by the wonderful Linda of Calling it Home, and there are 20 amazing designers headlining the event, and more than 80 other linking participants {like myself}. Each week they are sharing their updates as well, so be sure to check out everyone's progress as we enter the home stretch!

You can find all of my past One Room Challenge posts here {click on the photos to be redirected}:

FALL 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Modern Metro Master Bedroom



SPRING 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Vintage Preppy Little Man's Lounge





Monday, October 27, 2014

{seasonal style} Non-Candy Halloween Treat with Free Printable

Beckett is almost three, and he is just the sweetest kid! He is always looking for gifts to give to other people and recently, while shopping the dollar section of Target he found some Halloween pencils and spider rings that he begged to buy for the kids in his preschool class. How could I say no to that? So I decided to make up a little card for Beckett to give his friends.


The cards read "I'm Glad You're In My Web of Friends." They turned out so cute that I thought I'd also offer it as a free printable for you to download if you are looking for a quick, last minute non-candy treat for your kids to share with their friends. Click here to download the printable cards!


The download has four cards on one page. Simply print out as many as you need and cut them out along the black boarder. You'll notice the two black dots on each card - those are where you'll punch the holes to slide the pencils through, but we'll get to that in a minute.


I didn't print Beckett's name on the cards since I decided to make it a printable. Instead, I used a Sharpie to write his name in below "Happy Halloween."


The black dots in the upper right and lower left corners of the cards indicate where you should punch holes to slide the pencils through. 


A single hole punch is not big enough for a pencil, so I instead punched a group of five overlapping holes {in a sort of flower pattern}.



Now you are ready to insert your pencils and spider rings.


Insert a pencil through the upper right hole.


Then slide a spider ring onto the pencil.


And slide the other end of the pencil through the hole in the bottom left corner of the card.


Inserting the pencils this way will prevent the spider ring from falling off, but I wanted the spiders to stay right in the middle so that they look like they are on the spider web, so I used a small piece of clear Scotch tape to hold the ring in place.


I spun the ring around so that the spider was against the paper and used a small piece of clear tape to affix the ring to the pencil.


Then I rotated the pencil until the spider ring was back on top.


If you are looking for a last minute gift for your kid's classmates or as the favors for a Halloween party, these are a quick and easy option! I was able to print, cut and assemble these cute treat cards for every kid in Beckett's preschool class in a just about 20 minutes time. 


Beckett is so excited to give these to his friends, and I think the other parents will appreciate the non-candy treat {I know I would}!


Looking for even more seasonal inspiration?! You might be interested in these fall and Halloween projects:

Friday, October 24, 2014

{five minute friday} Simple Art Knock-Off that Saves $180!

If you've been following my progress on my master bedroom redesign for the One Room Challenge, then you already got a peek at this project yesterday, but today I'm giving you the details. One of my big projects for our bedroom is a gallery wall to help hide our television. In addition to photos, I knew I wanted the gallery to include several works of art - preferably art with some texture or dimension to balance out all of the metals and straight-lines in our modern design plan.

While shopping at West Elm a few weeks ago, a couple of pieces of art really caught my eye, including a framed piece of handmade paper. I liked the natural texture and color, but because it was square in a square frame, it still had a modern feel to it. The only thing I didn't like was the price tag. I was hoping to spend under $100 for my entire gallery wall, including all of the frames, so there was no way I could spend $189 on a single piece of art. 

Instead, for just $10 and in only five minutes time, I took the idea and created my own knock-off version!  


The best part of creating your own art, besides the savings, is that you can customize it to fit your needs! The original was larger than would fit well into my gallery wall, so I chose an 8x8 square frame. While I could have more closely matched the original by picking a light wood frame, I instead chose a black frame to coordinate with my other gallery wall plans.

I purchased the frame during a big sale at Aaron Brothers frames {both Aaron Brothers and Michaels are currently having BOGO sales on frames - and I had an additional coupon}. The original West Elm art was a framed piece of handmade paper, but I decided to use burlap for a similar look. I already had a roll of burlap that I had purchased for another project, but if you don't need a whole roll, you could buy just a small piece off of a bolt at a fabric store for a couple of dollars.


I unrolled the burlap, cut off a piece, and trimmed off the finished edges.


I originally planned to give my art a grey background, like the original inspiration piece, so I cut a square of grey scrapbook paper to fit inside the frame.


Rather than trying to glue the burlap to the paper {which I feared would look messy because of the open weave}, I simply sandwhiched the burlap between the glass and the paper, then secured the back of the frame in place.


This is what my first attempt at this project looked like {and if you saw yesterday's One Room Challenge update post, this is what you saw}. I liked it, but it just wasn't right. Two things bugged me about it. The burlap looked a little too perfect, and the although I liked the grey background which mimicked the original, I feared it wouldn't look great with the white mats of all of my other gallery wall frames.


I decided to make a couple of tweaks to see if I could improve upon it. I took the burlap back out of the frame and began pulling a few "threads" out from the edges and used my scissors to trim the edges to be a bit less even. I liked the direction it was headed, so I continued to pull a few threads out from the center of the square and used my fingernails to push threads around, making the weave less even.


Since nearly all of my gallery wall frames will have white mats, I wanted to see what my burlap square would look like on a white background. I chose a piece of white handmade paper from my scrapbook supply {about $1.50 from a local craft store}.


Here's what I ended up with. It doesn't read in the photo, but the white background paper has a nice texture that enhances the natural feel of the burlap.


Even though it took me two tries to get to a final product I was happy with, this entire art project only took me five minutes. Talk about an easy way to save $180! My two different versions look quite different, which drives home my point that the best part of creating your own art is the ability to customize it to fit your needs!

The grey scrapbook paper backing looked more like the original {imagine it in a light wood frame, and you can see it would have been a pretty close match}. But the white mat paired with the black frame will flow better with my gallery wall plans, and I ultimately prefer the look of the "less perfect" burlap.

While I was at it, I also created knock-off versions of two other pieces of West Elm art. These other two projects were also very easy, and I'll be sharing the tutorials for them soon.


If you are interested in seeing the other progress I've made on my One Room Challenge space, you can find all the posts here:

FALL 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Modern Metro Master Bedroom



SPRING 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Vintage Preppy Little Man's Lounge





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