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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cheap DIY White and Turquoise Desk and Chair Makeover

Cheap White Desk and Chair





Pottery Barn Style

Girls Room....
you ready for this?

For Christmas this year, my 7.5 year old daughter badly wanted a desk for her room more than anything.  She's starting to feel like a big girl, growing out of the princess phase and coming into a creative big girl phase where she wants a place to sit down and write, read, be creative and she needed lots of drawers to keep all her papers, note cards, and arts and craft supplies organized.  So...although she's grown out of princesses and realized the princesses at Disney are just pretending...she hasn't grown out of Santa quite yet so she asked Santa for a white desk and chair.  

I was more than happy about this request as it made it excited about reading and writing which was our biggest battle all last year...working on reading and writing.  So if she had a place that made her inspired to do those things on her own...I was all for it.  Then I started shopping for a white desk with drawers and a wooden chair to wasn't planning on spending $400 on one person.  So I started searching craigslist and a thrift store that is near our house regularly.  Even on craigslist, white wooden children's desks are not cheap!  I really didn't want to spend more than $100 and in my search, for like $80-100 I could get a really cheap white desk at Ikea, Target or Walmart but with no drawers...just simple white legs and top...NOT what I was looking for.  So I stayed patient and just kept looking.

One day I dropped her off at gymnastics and then popped into the thrift store and there it was...a dingy white wooden desk with lots of drawers and a wooden chair.  The paint looked it was yellowish and a really bad paint job and the chair had really ugly flowers painted on it...but I was SO happy!  I was ready to strip and primer vintage wooden desks I had seen on craigslist that were more that this one and this one needed a lot less work since it was already white-ish.  So for $40 I got a cheap white wooden desk and chair with 7 drawers.  So I got a small can of semi'gloss white paint and home depot and the next week knobs and drawer pulls were 50% off at hobby lobby.  I found these pretty turquoise "glass" knobs and this awesome turquoise chevron drawer liner paper that was also 50% off and I was all set to go!  

My inlaws came for Christmas so while Grammie and Grampa enjoyed the kids, I was able to sneak downstairs to "Santa's Workshop" and in no time had this baby sanded, painted and put back together.  My only hiccup was I was so excited to use the power sander for the first time.  We found it in the basement when we moved in.  I started and it was AMAZING!!!!!.....for about 1 minute and then the foam pad that holds the sanding paper to the sander started to disintegrate and foam started flying everywhere.  So I had to sad the rest by hand....which wasn't a huge deal but getting the chair smooth where those ugly thickly painted flowers were took some elbow grease!  

The paint dried fast so I would paint a coat on everything, come upstairs and be with the family...then run down later and do another quick really wasn't as big a job as I thought it would be.  

So without further is the cheap DIY white and turquoise desk and chair makeover!  My daughter LOVES it and was so excited it had lost of drawers, and was even more excited when she opened the drawers and saw the pop of color inside with the turquoise chevron drawer liners.  I love it too!  

Christmas Morning!

 side note: My son got what he wanted too, a punching bag like at karate - another thrifty find....Santa got that on craigslist!  lol!  You can't tell though, someone had bought it for their kid who did karate but who didn't use it that much wear and tear is a kid going to put on a punching bag practicing their kicks and punches...they aren't that strong! lol!)  When I picked it up from the family, the mom was laughing at me and said I was hilarious I had the kids in the car and put a black garbage bag around it and told the kids we were picking up some spare tires for daddy's car. lol!  I think she also thought it was funny that I was getting a christmas gift on craigslist but seriously...he's 4.5...I don't know how long he'll like karate for...why buy a brand new one just for the sake of having it be new when this one looks brand new anyway?

(hubby hadn't trimmed the end of the knobs yet because we were pretty tired Christmas eve when everything was wrapped up but it's a simple thing to do)

It really pays to be thrify and put in a little elbow grease!  Even if you can afford to buy the $400+ desk from pottery barn,to me it's more fun in the end to have gone on a treasure hunt, found the right thing and then made it pretty again...I enjoy it more, plus kids stuff rarely stays nice forever anyways so when it does get dinged up, at least I have the matching paint for touch ups!  

Here is the before & after shot...I was so excited to get started I didn't remember to take a real "before" shot before getting started.  I took a these with my iphone 3 which has a horrible camera and the lack of quality actually makes the desk and chair look better than they were! lol!
The drawers also had different colored knobs with big screws in the middle....not too cute.  The sides of the desk were a mix of not full coverage white and yellowed paint with drips.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Is This the Best I Can Be

A little belated, but Happy New Years Y'all eh?!?  I guess that's what I should say since I'm a Canadian turned Southerner, can't forget where I came from!  Speaking of that, it is important to remember where we came from.  That doesn't mean we have to stay there though, dwelling in the past and clinging to whatever hold places, things, experiences. ideas and people of the past may have on us...good or bad. Clinging to a good thing in the past too tightly  or clinging to a negative for too long... To be the best we can be, is to be able to see all our experiences we've had, how they may have influenced and shaped us, but then take what's valuable towards being who you really want to be and then letting the rest go.  Forgive, Forget, Let go of ideas that hold us back from pursuing the path we feel we should go but are afraid to because it's against the grain.  Letting go of our need to please and worrying what other's will think and how we will explain ourselves.  Stop resenting where we are because maybe the past was better than the present...and just trust that you are wherever you are for a reason and to bloom where you are planted and as the seasons change, so will you.  This is all stuff I've been having to work on and learn.  A LOT.  So I'm really writing all this to myself FYI.

I pulled out some old CDs tonight trying to find something new for J to listen to and came across this old CD I  completely forgot about.  The album is Elisa, Then Come The Sun....oh wow I forgot how much I enjoy it.  Especially this song

 Just listening to it reminded me of myself and my time before becoming a mom and even as a new mom and how I envisioned things were going to be.  I'm not complaining, I am so thankful for the life I've been given, but truth is for us all, life isn't as idylic and simple as we imagined it would be, even if we have much to be thankful for, life can still get rough.  But then I just much of that idylic vision we HAD gets washed away from our minds because of us just doing what everyone else does and not having the confidence to just do our own thing without apologies.  I know why we (I'm thinking from a mom perspective) want to do what's best, because we are always worried if we are doing what's best for our kids and in our quest to do what's best...we sometimes miss what's best, and we sometimes lose ourselves....and miss out on our full potential and our kids full potential.  

What if in our quest to be the Best we can be and do what's best for our kids...we stopped trying to be the best and do all the best things and follow all the best advice and be like our best friends, and do what the best experts say to do, be like that "best" mom we know who has the "best" kids, or the "best" husband or the "best" decor or the "best" job or the "best" school/curriculum and we just got quiet within ourselves, tap into the inspiration from the Holy Spirit and let our intuition/the Holy Spirit guide us to be the best we can be, and not be sorry about it.  We can't please everyone.  We were all uniquely created, all structures are man made...if you are finding yourself lost in life trying to keep up with it all...well...SLOW DOWN and let The One who made you grow you into the best you can be, He designed you, He knows you.  We weren't all made to do everything the same way.  We weren't all made the think the same way.  We weren't all made to learn the same way.  And we definitely weren't made to be boxed into this or that category, we were made to grow and learn continuously.  We need to be open to change and maybe doing things differently than what we are used to doing.  

I think it can be easy to miss out on the best trying to do the "best" all the time.  I guess it all goes back to the whole Mary & Martha thing.  If we are always a Martha, trying to make sure everything is the "best", we can miss out on the best thing right in front of her case that was sitting, listening and resting in the presence of The LORD.  For us it is that too, as well as missing out on resting in the presence of our children, spouse or whoever, just sitting, listening, engaging without an agenda.  Enjoying our time with them and ending our day not exhausted and weary because we are too busy and putting to much on our plates thinking that's how we be the best we can be...but becoming anything but that.  I mean, If we just feel "a little over zero, is this the best we can be?"  

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

what can you take off your plate?  What can you do to live more simply?  Few things are needed.  Same with our kids...we get worried and upset about many thing but few are needed.  Let's not miss out on what's best trying to keep up with the "best" or what other people think is "best".  Let's break free and just live our lives, not being who other's want us to be or who we think we "should" be...but allowing God to grow you into who he designed you to be.  Give yourself and others grace and don't be afraid think outside the box...and while you're at it, get on the floor and turn that box into a fort, or space ship or car or whatever with your kids and turn it into a lesson without them even knowing it...then use the box for fire starter and you have science!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scented Etched Wood Alphabet Montessori-Waldorf Inspired

Essential Oil Diffusing Wood Alphabet Tracing Cards
Sensory Alphabet Wood Chips
Scented Sensory Alphabet Tracing Blocks
(I'm not exactly sure what to call them so I'm coming up with lots of titles lol)

Here is a fun DIY Christmas gift I made for my kiddos.  My husband has cut down so many trees around the house I'm always wondering what else I could use the wood for besides firewood.  I'm really excited how these turned out and my older daughter asked me to make her some number ones to do math with, so I guess that's next.

I found a log about 3 inches in diameter and sliced it up with the circle saw.  Then next step would be t sand them but I didn't do that...they aren't that rough, my actually husband asked if I had sanded them because they were decently smooth...I just didn't know where any sandpaper was.
Then I just had fun free handing the alphabet on each slice with the wood burner tool.  Mine was from hobby lobby and around $7 with coupon and I don't know if there are better ones out there since this was my first time using one, but it was kinda slow.  However we had Christmas music on and the kids were playing so it was easy to just have out and do throughout the day, a letter here a letter there.

After I finished the alphabet, I poured some olive oil in a bowl and added some essential oil to it and then used a paint brush to brush the oil onto the wood slices to seal them and make them scented.  So they are like essential oil diffusing alphabet learning wood block things that are also fun to stack as blocks, I should have taken a picture of that!  I was inspired by the wooden Montessori sand paper alphabet cards, but also incorporating nature into what we do as much as possible mindset of Waldorf and Charlotte Mason.  I made the grooves of the letters as deep as I could to increase the sensory experience of tracing their finger over the letters.  Anyways, I get excited about using stuff from outside so I'm in love with these!  I had wanted to make a couple sets for Christmas gifts but I don't think I'll have time, but now I know for future gifts what to make!

My next idea for some wood is building a little tree house for Calico Critters....If it happens I'll be sure to let you know!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pottery Barn Style Pine and Burlap

During Thanksgiving I was looking at some of the logs in our log pile and thought they might be useful for winter decorating so put some out on the steps but didn't know yet what I was going to put on them.  After Thanksgiving we ventured out to the mall as a family and perused Pottery Barn and I got so excited when I saw the small pine plants rapped in burlap.  I don't think they were for sale but were used as decor in the store, it gave me a great idea for my front porch/steps.  I'm all about DIY frugal/free decorating if you haven't noticed!  We live in the woods with tones of baby pine trees growing out of the ground like weeds out here so I pulled up a few, put them in the plastic containers that were holding my dead mums (that I killed within 2 weeks because I suck)  that's why I need to do frugal plant decor because if I did expensive flower filled planters...oiy!  So anyways, popped those little pines into the planters, wrapped some burlap and tied with ribbon and there ya go...simple and wintery!  I after went back and added some bricks inside th burlap with the plants because they were blowing over but now we're good!  Anyways, nothing super fancy but I like it..simple, wintery, easy and free!

Since I had the camera out thought I'd snap a couple of the rest of our christmas set up....I didn't do much, we have 2 trees because we inherited the second one with the house along with the garland going up the stairs.  The kids decorated the trees and my mom gave us the christmas village in the dining room.  It feels Christmasy and cozy and it's not over the top or anything but I am really enjoying the cozyness of it!

Turned out kitchen eating area into a keeping room/sitting room.  and just are sticking the kids crafts up on the windows...oh and yes I'm in the middle of doing laundry as you can see...Life is always happening...the house will never be perfect :)  And I think it's a good thing :)  We live here!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bring Vegas Home Challenge recently contacted me to be part of their Bring Vegas Home Design Challenge.  The challenge is to  use the Cosmopolitan Hotel as design inspiration for a room in my own home.  I'm not an interior designer, but it sounded fun and I currently just moved my kitchen table into our empty dining room and am transforming the kitchen space into a small living room/keeping room.  I wanted to create a comfortable lounging area in the kitchen while also providing a work space for a computer since the "office" room in our house is the play room/homeschool room.  So I had that space in mind while creating this design.  I really enjoyed this little challenge since I am in the mode of getting ideas for that space anyways and the Cosmopolitan Hotel actually has really nice design.  Looking through their gallery of different suits, I had a hard time deciding which style I was going for because I liked a lot of things from the various rooms.  I am a sucker for blues, whites, metalics, dark leather, and natural elements like wood, branches, flowers.  So this look totally suites me.  I like traditional and contemporary, I like nice yet casual and unpretentious.  I think this twist on the cosmopolitan hotel for the home would totally work in my home! If I was going to use this look in my space the only thing from my design I wouldn't use is the mirror because my room is all windows.

I think this room has a nice blend of the various elements you would find at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Navy Blue Velvet, white office chair, simple natural wood desk, rounded leather arm chair, chrome lamps, pops of color with orange and yellow pillows...what do you think?  I never considered a navy blue sofa but yeah, I definitely like this one from West Elm. 

Here are some of the photos from the Cosmopolitan that I used for inspiration.

Friday, November 14, 2014

DIY Turkey Thanksgiving Fall Decor Ideas

DIY Turkey Thanksgiving Fall Decor

I'm pretty frugal about buying things for the house, I just have a hard time deciding on something if it's more than like $12 and I get so much more enjoyment from making something anyways, especially if I can make it from scraps and things I find in my stash for free!  Here are some thanksgiving turkey themed things I made with scraps from my craft/sewing/art closet.

DIY Turkey Thanksgiving Applique Throw Pillow

I drew a simple turkey design, cut out all the pieces and then traced it onto fusible webbing, stuck it on scraps of fabric, cut them out and ironed onto a piece of unbleached cotton.  Cut that all out with a slight edge and then centered over a 22 inch square of the unbleached linen for the pillow and then sewed around all the edges with the yellow thread as you can see in the pictures.  I didn't take pics of the process so I couldn't make a tutorial..darn!  At the end I stitched a bead on for the turkey's eye. (sorry I don't really know what I'm doing. I just figure out how to make it work so I hope that made enough sense for anyone who wanted to try this..that's why I love step by step picture tutorials...because you don't have to know proper sewing terms and techniques lol)
 I used some yellow ribbon trim for the legs and feet.

 The back is an envelope style so I can easily remove this thanksgiving turkey pillow cover as the season changes.

Handprint Turkey Applique Canvas Keepsake

I made this one last year as the kids were obsessed with making handprint turkeys, I decided to make some thanksgiving fall decor out of it that would keep forever.  stuck some fusible webbing on the fabric and then traced each child's hand on the webbing and cut it out.  Then ironed it on to the strip of unbleached linen and stiched it down around the edges and used the sewing maching to make the legs, eyes and gobblers.  Then wrapped the canvas with the yellow chevron fabric and added the strip of unbleached linen and just used pushpins on the back to hold it all together.  I just whipped it up really quickly with scraps on hand, another free DIY project!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I've always loved babywearing, and was a big baby sling advocate! I even modeled for Slinglings back in the day to get free slings! lol..yeah I'm not a professional model by any means but for free stuff? Heck yeah!

So as much as I loved using slings from newborn through toddlerhood, this third time around, I invested in an ERGO (60% off on Zulily!) and I haven't looked back!  I mean, it is SOOOOO comfortable, I never have to readjust, I can easily put my string bean of a 4 year old in there if he is tired while I push the baby in the stroller and best of all....My hubby can wear the baby now!  The slings are fitted to your size...I never thought to order a bigger sling for my hubby, but with the ERGO it is so simple to switch over.  The ERGOs are just so well made, so comfortable and just awesome PERIOD!!!!  I have tried one carrier my sister let me borrow once that was even better but it was a custom made carrier that was over $200 so I had to quickly erase that experience from my memory!  lol!  Anyways, I absolutely adore and recommend ERGO all the way....I still used my old slings when baby #3 was a newborn but once he was big enough for the ERGO I really haven't looked back!  I like having BOTH arms free.  With the sling, both hands are free....sort of.  One shoulder is trapped down and it still gets tricky to do certain things.  And as a homeschooling mom, I can't tell you how wonderful it is to just put the little one in the ERGO front or back and be hands free to help the older kiddos!  

One of my favorite things however is seeing my husband wear the baby!  He'll wear the baby while making dinner, he'll wear the baby while playing with the older kids out in the yard, He wears the baby on all our nature adventures/hikes and anytime I just need a break from being attached!  It's hot...other single guys who aren't yet dads may not get it...but they would be wise to follow this example some day for it's great for dad and baby bonding and it helps your wife out while making her even more attracted to you!  

And we both enjoy the ERGO Performance Carrier with the  "breathable Black mesh lining, keeping babies and parents cooler and more comfortable, with a cooling panel for extra wicking."  The Performance is great for our hotter southern climate and active lifestyle.  I LOVE the hood that ERGOs have to cover up baby that can easily be stuffed into it's pocket and stored away, I love the zippered pouch for parent's personal items...we put our keys and camera there when we go hiking! I put my ID and plane tickets there when travelling so I can easily get around the airport wearing baby and have my important documents right on me, easily accessible.  Because of my ERGO, it is totally DO-ABLE for me to travel with 3 young kids cross country by myself without having my arms full and being a total mess.  I wish I would have invested in an ERGO with the first baby, but I guess the 3rd times the charm as the saying goes!  They are pricey new if you can afford it or get it on a gift registry but definitely check out zulily sales and I've also seen them priced down in the $60 range at TJMAXX before...It may not be your favorite choice of color..but if means the difference of having one vs not having one...just get over the color thing and get it!  $60 is the same range as Bjorn but ERGO is oh so much better! :)

Honestly, people buy so much baby stuff they don't really your money on all the crap and just get yourself a good carrier!  You will thank yourself!  I mean, did I mention I even put my 4 year old in it from time to time?  And it DOESN'T hurt my back or shoulders!

If you want to show some DADDY BABY WEARING LOVE share your pic on the facebook page here!