Barnwood and Beachwood staining tutorial

Barnwood and Beachwood are pretty popular these days. You can find furniture and other home goods with these finishes just about everywhere. When I first saw this look surface, I was trying to think of a way to recreate it. I ended up stumbling upon this method by accident and then eventually refining it.

Here is what you’ll need:

Rust-oleum small stain jars. Driftwood, Kona and Weathered Gray.

Rust-oleum small stain jars. Driftwood, Kona and Weathered Gray.

You’ll also need a stain brush, paper towels, some light grit sand paper and a bare wood surface.

This method is so easy, that I don’t even need to really include pictures of the process because it’s fairly straight forward and there isn’t really a wrong way to do it.

I start with the Weathered Gray stain and cover my piece then rub it in well with a paper towel.

Next I make some random brush strokes over the surface with the Kona color. Some of these I rub in, and others I keep the brush marks more obvious.

Finally, I do some light random strokes with the Driftwood stain and do not rub these in. I want it to almost appear like lighter wood grains.

And lastly, after the stain has dried, I sand my piece almost like I would if I were distressing a painted piece.

Here are some pictures of some pieces I have used this technique on:



I made the shelf have a barnwood feel.



The shutters now have a nice rustic vibe. They were originally pine.


This shelf was oak. I only used Driftwood and Kona for this piece to make it feel more beachy. Forego the Weathered Gray if you want more of a Beachwood look and start with Driftwood then rub in some Kona to make the color more rich.

photoThis was a wood frame I sanded and stained with the barnwood look.

I want to add that you can’t really go wrong with this method. Just play around and use your sand paper if you need to soften any areas. But most of all have fun!



Decorative Vintage Drawer

I’m back from a very long hiatus and I have a lot to blog about! In short, we went to China in June to bring home our new daughter! She’s been home with us about 3 months now and I am finally getting back into the groove. She and my oldest daughter are keeping me pretty preoccupied, however I make sure to make time to do some projects now and then.

I thought I would start off with one of my more simple projects just to get things rolling again.  I’m excited for all the things I have in store for this blog so please stay tuned. Thank you for your patience as I slowly add more projects that I have completed as time allows.

This project was simple and fun. I found a lone vintage drawer at our local thrift store. It was sitting underneath another piece of furniture without a price tag. I asked the staff if it was for sale, and after they searched the store and their back room and didn’t find a home for it, it became mine for $4.24. A real steal, in my opinion!


Vintage Drawer

A lone vintage sewing machine drawer. How could I resist?

I loved the detail on it and it had a slit at the very top front that I knew I could make use of. I used some left over Annie Sloan Pure White chalk paint, however acrylic paint would’ve worked just fine as well. I also had some wooden tags left over from another project that I sprayed with chalkboard paint. They just happened to be a perfect fit for the slit:

finisheddrawer2 Finished DrawerI added a little bit of twine to the tag and pushed it in the slit, then filled the drawer with pine cones. Most of the pine cones were found around my neighborhood. I painted a few of them with white tips for a seasonal touch.

Decorative drawers are a perfect addition to a coffee table, or side table. They are so charming and each is unique.

In the coming weeks I am going to show you how we did budget wainscoting in our living room to really give it an elegant look, and how to make some really inexpensive palette-looking wall art. I’m excited!

Thrifty and Original Light Features

Whenever the time changes and it starts to get dark earlier in the evening, I start trying to add additional light to my home. I just love lights and the warmth they give off. They provide excellent ambiance during the holiday season and create a cozy and homey feeling.

This year, I have 2 light features I’m especially thrilled with. Both are created from secondhand items and they provide a unique look.

Light Fixture, Vintage, Birdcage, Bird Cage, Pendant Light, Crystal, Light Bulb

Vintage metal birdcage with pendant light and antique-style light bulb.

This is a vintage metal birdcage that I’ve hung a decorative pendant light in. I chose one with a crystal-like shade because I wanted the light to reflect in all different directions, like a chandelier. Originally I wanted to use a small chandelier but I couldn’t find one that would fit inside nicely. I think I still achieved the same effect though. Although they are kind of pricey, I splurged and purchased one of the antique-style light bulbs from Lowes. I really love the way it turned out and how warm the light is.


Light Fixture, Vintage, Birdcage, Bird Cage, Pendant Light, Crystal, Light Bulb

Vintage metal birdcage with pendant light and antique-style light bulb.

birdcage2The second light feature I recently made, was really simple. I found a wooden case of an old clock from the early 1900’s at the Goodwill. The clock pieces weren’t all there anymore, but the case itself and the woodwork was beautiful, so I had to get it!

DIY Old Clock Case Light Feature

Antique germanic clock case, turned upside to set on a mantel. Secondhand mason jar with bulb lights inside.

Look at the beautiful domed and beveled glass! They wanted $30 for this solid piece and I thought it was totally worth it. I added a secondhand mason jar that I got for .29 cents and put battery operated bulb lights inside (Big Lots). I love that you see the glowing jar centered through the antique domed glass. So pretty!

oldclocklight2Both of these projects were relatively simple but add so much character to my antique buffet and family room mantel. And best of all? They are the only ones of their kind. Mission accomplished!


DIY gift for the coffee lover in your life

I’m a coffeeholic. No doubt about it. One of the luxuries I have in my house is my espresso machine that I use on a daily basis. I got it for Mother’s Day last year and it’s one of the most well used gifts that I’ve ever received.

My sister-in-law’s husband is also a coffee fanatic. He drinks it by the shot because he has a very physical day job that requires him to be active for 12 hours a day. Coffee is part of his morning routine.

Guys can be kind of difficult to know how to shop for. I’ve always been a fan of homemade gifts because they are economical, thoughtful and fun. I saw ideas on Pinterest using a sweater to create a coffee cozy. As I stated before, I don’t own a sewing machine and my hand sewing skills are extremely limited. But if I can do this, you can too, as long as you know how to sew a button and do a simple hand stitch. And even if you don’t know how to sew a button, I suppose you could use a hot glue gun instead.

DIY Coffee Cozy Gift Set

I went to the thrift store looking for a grey sweater. I wanted to do a grey and red type of theme. I found one that didn’t have stains and was in pretty good shape. After that I took it home and washed and dried it, then got the scissors out. I cut off both sleeves to make a nice sized cozy. Then I took some red thread we already had and sewed a few buttons on for fun. I also did a hand stitch around the top and under the cuff part of the sleeve to give it a little bit of color around the edges. I think this took me about 15 minutes total once I had the supplies. And I ended up making two because I had two sleeves.

Since we buy coffee beans in bulk I just took about a half cup and put it in one of those cellophane party bags. I also had a 4×5″ piece of cardstock so I folded it in half, folded the top of the bag down and stapled it together. I designed and printed the tag from my home computer and printer, cut it with an x-acto knife and ruler and “double-stick-taped” it to the front.

If you want, you can download the pdf of the tag I made. download here.

I purchased a set of two plastic coffee cups at Home Goods for about $5. Since I already had a second coffee cozy made, I was able to make 2 gifts. So when you break it down piece by piece, the whole project was about $4 for each gift. Granted, if you don’t already have cellophane party bags, cardstock, thread or buttons, it would be a few dollars more, but still really a very reasonable price for a gift.

There is a lot of creative freedom in this project. There are a lot of sweater, button, and thread options out there. You can make larger cozies that cover the entire coffee cup. I’ve also seen people use an old mens tie that they wrap around once and then hot glue or sew together at the tip. There are all sorts of things you can use to embelish the cozy. Let your creative juices flow.

Simple DIY wall or mantel art

I found this idea on Pinterest in various forms and since I always have several extra picture frames that I’ve collected from thrift store trips, and I had some extra twigs that came with a set of lit branches I found at a garage sale, I figured this project would not only be free, but fun too.

If you haven’t noticed, I use my hot glue gun for a lot of my projects. If you don’t have one, you should get one. You can buy small ones at Hobby Lobby for a few dollars and if you have a 40% off coupon from their app or the paper, it makes it really cheap and it’s worth investing in one.

All I did was take out the glass and backing of the frame so it was just a solid frame. Then I just snapped the twigs to approximately the size I needed within the frame. I arranged them ahead of time in the way I wanted them to stay and then just started to glue them on.

Back of Framed Twigs

Easy peasy.

I let it set for about 15 minutes and then it was ready to place on my mantel.

Winter Decor

A nice addition among many other thrift store finds.

Since this was so fun and easy, I made another one for the wall in my living room. This time since I’d used the twigs I already had on my first project, I just got some from the Dollar Tree.

Framed Wall Art

Easy, cheap and cute.

And this is how it looks on my living room wall mixed in with everything else:

Monogrammed Pillow in Living RoomSo if you’re feeling crafty but only want to spend a few bucks, this is a nice winter touch to add to your walls, or place on a shelf, or your mantel.

Mercury Glass is all the rage

This year mercury glass was absolutely everywhere. I love the look of it, but I don’t always love the price of the items I see at chain stores. For about $9 plus a few extra for various glass items at the thrift store, you can create a ton of mercury glass masterpieces for your home.

I found a tutorial on Pinterest awhile ago on how to create this look yourself. Check out this awesome tutorial when you have a chance.

I was able to track down the Krylon Looking Glass paint from Wal-Mart. Not every Wal-Mart carries it but one about 10 miles away did, so I jumped on it. They only charge about $9 for it as well, so it’s even cheaper than ordering it, especially if you have to pay shipping.

I was ecstatic when I found the same exact glass pumpkin at a thrift store as the one she uses in the tutorial. It was $2. It had a bunch of nasty wax in it but after putting it in the freezer for a few hours I was able to break it and take it out cleanly. Then I threw it in the dishwasher. I was ready to roll.

Mercury Glass Pumpkin

$2 glass thrift store pumpkin, plus $9 for the looking glass paint and I had this beauty, plus lots of extra paint for future projects.

It turned out awesome and I was very pleased so I didn’t stop there. After another trip to the thrift store I found a goblet for $1 that had textured glass. So I made this:

Table Arrangement

DIY mercury glass goblet (goblet from thrift store, looking glass paint from Wal-Mart). Pine cones from my neighborhood. Mercury glass ornaments from Big Lots (awesome sales just before Christmas).

Then I found an awesome glass vase/bowl. I liked the shape of it and it looked like it would be a perfect center piece for our coffee table. So I made this:

Coffee Table Center Piece

DIY mercury glass vase (vase from thrift store, looking glass paint from Wal-Mart). Wicker plate from thrift store. Pine cones from my neighborhood embellished with some white craft paint. Small ornaments and bells from Dollar Tree.

I had a few votive holders from Dollar Tree, so I decided, why not?

Mercury Glass Votive Holder

DIY mercury glass votive holder (votive holder from Dollar Tree, Looking Glass Paint from Wal-Mart). Filled with Dollar Tree ornaments.

So I guess I went a little crazy, but the cool thing is that I still have a lot of paint left to use for projects next year too.

And even though it seems like it was pure luck that I stumbled upon that glass pumpkin at the thrift store, my mom found the exact same one at the Salvation Army when she came to visit for $1.50. Since we were both able to find these I’m assuming they are pretty common. Especially since it’s the same pumpkin as the one used in the tutorial that I followed. So don’t give up. If you want a glass pumpkin just check your thrift store frequently and I think your chances will be good.

There are so many glass items you can use this method on. Thrift stores and the dollar store are both great places to get glass. If you keep your eye out you’re bound to find some really nice things that you can “mercury-glasserize”!

Winter wreath for less than $10

I think that my favorite DIY project this winter was this wreath:

Winter WreathIt was inexpensive, fun, and easy to do. The most challenging part was fitting all the pieces together to try to avoid gapping. But I brought home a bunch of tiny pine cones with me from Hawaii that worked great to fill in small gaps.

You probably think I have some sort of pine cone fetish. You’re probably right. When I found these beautiful Ponderosa pine cones in my neighborhood and realized that stores were selling packs of pine cones for several dollars, I went on a pine cone scavenge. I picked the best of the best and scattered them throughout my decor all over my house. It was free, what can I say?

Combining these pine cones with some dollar store ornaments and a pack of thrift store ornaments, I was able to create this cute little wintry wreath. Once again I used the bronze pine cone ornaments from the dollar store to help fill in the spaces. I also found a few silver ones as well. And around Christmas time you can find loads of bagged ornaments at the thrift store for a really reasonable price. I stumbled on a bag of white glass pine cone ornaments mixed with some white bells. I incorporated them into the project and hot glued everything to a foam floral ring from the dollar store.

Winter WreathWith any of these DIY projects, the important thing is to remember to keep an open mind and let yourself be inspired by what you find. If you spend enough time on Pinterest or other blogs looking at ideas, you’re bound to find something similar when you’re out on a thrift store hunt.

This wreath was my inspiration:

Wreath InspirationSince I already had this in the back of my mind, the items I found at the Dollar Tree and the thrift store jumped out at me. Your end product may not always be the same, but that’s usually a good thing.