DIY Cabinet of Awesome

As a warning, I have this love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I love being inspired. I love having a place to store my ideas.


I hate when I research how to do something, invest money to make it happen, spend hours of work on it, have to improvise because nothing is ever as simple as one picture makes it look, and then someone says, "Oh, you got that from Pinterest" as though I saw one picture, clicked it, and it magically appeared. No I did not get it from Pinterest. I got it from blood, sweat, and tears. And not that I think I am so wonderfully intelligent and unique that no one else can think up the same idea on their own or that I am spontaneously inspired without any originating ideas, but lots of my ideas formed in my own mind. My projects belong to inspiration, research, creativity and hard work. Pinterest can share ideas, Pinterest can inspire, but please don't give it all the credit. Okay, rant over. Apparently I felt the need to be raw and human and a little prideful. Please, tell me I am not the only one that feels this way.

So, you have been warned, don't look at this DIY and comment with a "Wow, you got this from Pinterest." I may just "rawr" at you. Ha!

That said, the idea for this project started from need. I needed somewhere to store my scrapbooking stuff, I had it spilling out from under my bed. I needed somewhere to put all my sewing and crafting stuff. What started out as 2 neat drawers in a plastic storage unit in the corner of my room, taking up a mere 2ish square feet, became piles of fabric, ribbon, craft stuff stuffed into paper bags and the now-crammed drawers and spilling out into my room... multiplying square footage of messiness exponentially. Michael, now in a schooling program full-time, needed to use our front closet for his uniforms... the closet where I placed all of Addy's games and preschool stuff. The place where I had hung our preschool cork boards was not my brightest moment.  It has push pins, and it is well within reach of a toddler's grasp. (I found this out at a preschool meet up at my house when 3 of my friends had toddlers and immediately 3 sets of chubby little baby hands were drawn to the cork boards and their push pins... a small nightmare. Sorry friends! But thanks for making me all the wiser.)

It needed to be large enough to house all of my stuff. Pretty enough to be located in my dining area. Functional enough to somehow hide preschool learning time and easily pull it back out. Also, it needed to be inexpensive. Could one piece of furniture really meet all these needs?!

Need made me begin to search the internet and, yes, Pinterest, in search of solutions.

Armed with an arsenal of ideas, I hit the thrift stores in search of the perfect cabinet unit.

I found this piece. (Sorry, I once again forgot to take a good "before" picture. I remembered after I had taken it apart.) I wasn't drawn to this piece because I thought it was pretty. I was drawn to it because it met my need of function. I knew I could add the pretty later.

It's a mission-style, dresser cabinet. It has a couple pieces of pressed wood, but the bulk of it is solid wood. It is well-made, though well-worn. Drawers and doors were sturdy built. My favorite part: the cabinet doors closing mechanism is a magnet grip that makes it hard to open... my kids are not going to be able to open this thing for a few years!

I started this project by cleaning the cabinet with a mild degreaser. I took out the drawer pulls. Since I knew I wanted knobs, I filled in the drawers that had 2 holes with wood filler.

I patch up the major dings with wood filler. I let the wood filler dry over night and then sanded it till it was smooth with wood surface. I scuffed up the cabinet with a sanding pad, but later found out the primer I purchased was good enough to not need to sand first (Look for Zinzer 1 2 3 Primer if you want to not have to sand too).

I primed the cabinet. It took two coats.

I enrolled my father-in-law to help me with the glazing. I wanted it to be a blue color that picked up the light and dark blue in my curtain fabric. It took more samples than I think I could count to get it right. The paint I picked out was the wrong color. I had in my head that my curtains had turquoise in them. Definitely not. It was a dulled blue. I think my dad spent 4 days and 4 hours each day trying to get the color right for me. Thank you Dad for being so patient with me!

I applied the glaze using a positive application (meaning I added some glaze and then used my brush to hit against the paint to move the glaze over the piece. I went back and lightly brushed it so there was subtle brush strokes in one direction. This took a little practice and some extender so the glaze didn't start to dry before I was done with a surface). I messed up the entire cabinet once because I didn't thin my glaze enough. It ended up clumpy looking and way darker than I wanted. I messed up my cabinet doors and had to repaint them when the glaze dried before I was done applying it to door and I ended up with lots of patches of heavy and light glazing. I definitely got to that point where I felt like, "I am just SO over this."

I made a very translucent glaze out of my green/gold paint that I used on this project. I applied it where I thought the sun might have faded the cabinet.

It was so worth it to try out glazing. I love the depth this cabinet has. This cabinet is not just a color like it would have been had I just picked one paint color I liked and slapped it on. It ended up being a work of art marked with my own signature brush strokes. The lighter color comes through. The darker color is subtle. The very faint patches of green/gold are barely visible but add the appearance of a sun-aged piece of furniture. The brush strokes are suggestive of wood grain.

Glazing was frustrating, but it was also fun. I felt like a painter and the cabinet was my canvas. I got to be creative and even daring without having to be a talented artist that can actually paint murals or even just a 8 by 10 canvas. I am so not that person. But glazing kind of let me be. I enjoyed that.

Glazing will require some research and some practice. (Check youtube for how to videos on making your own glaze, glazing application techniques and antiquing furniture... I didn't do this but my dad did and he said he found good information that reminded him how to do it... it had been a couple years for him.) It may even require that you re-prime and start over. But seriously, it is so doable. And I think... worth it.

Thank you SO much DAD! You were such a help! He helped me mask it off (one of the hardest parts of painting something is just prepping it to be painted... especially if you are painting it in your home.) He helped me make the new holes for the hardware. He spent a lot of hours fixing my bad paint color choice. Best of all, he gave me the gift of learning how to glaze. He did the first mix. After that I felt comfortable enough to make the green/gold and the antiquing glaze for my bench project. He made it accessible and let me try my own hand at it. Thank you Dad! I know you could have done this and it would have been seriously beautiful and intricately worked by a master technician, but you let me do it. And now I can take pride in my own handiwork and have a new skill under my belt. Time together and skill learned...priceless gift. 

I picked up some beautiful knobs from World Market. They have a great selection of quirky, antique, and unique knobs. I decided to do 2 different ones, mostly because I couldn't decide which one I like better, but also because it added to the aged-effect and uniqueness of the piece.

I think dressing up the cabinet was my favorite part. I got to shop!

I made one side of the cabinet my preschool side. I hot-glued corkboard squares down the middle of the door. I added ribbon detail to make it look more finished and to divide my board into sections.

It was as simple as cutting and folding ribbon over to keep edges from fraying and hot-glueing it on.

I made the other side of the cabinet my scrap-booking side. By the way I haven't finished putting all my stuff in. I promise it will fill up the entire of this cabinet. Ha! I made this side my chalkboard side for Addy to practice writing her letters, but mostly just for fun. Chalk is awesome... Why? Because it doesn't mark walls or stain clothes, and it is easy on mom and Addy. Having the chalkboard housed in a cabinet door keeps the potential chalk dust mess from being available for Addy to make whenever she wants. There is a "lip" on the cabinet door that catches most of the dust to keep it from getting everywhere. Major Win!

By the way...I went to purchase chalkboard paint from Lowes and it was $15 bucks and only came in quart size. So, I checked Walmart and found it in the acryllic paints section in a small bottle for $5. It would be cheaper to cover a large surface with Lowe's paint, but with such a small section, Walmart wins!

Can you tell I love my cabinet? Ha!

I love it. LOVE it!

My new peaceful view (well, when the house is clean anyways, ha!) from my kitchen sink.

$109- cabinet
$45- Paint: 1 qt of Zinzer 1 2 3 Primer in base color, 1 qt of Behr Eggshell in a dulled dark blue color, 1 qt of Behr Eggshell deep base (for glazing)
$15-drawer knobs @2.99 a piece
$10-door knobs @4.99 a piece
$5-chalkboard paint
Free-Wood filler, Roller, Brushes, extender, masking paper and tape were all on hand from my father-in-law. Cork board and ribbon I already owned (but cork board squares were super cheap at Walmart when I originally bought them... like $3 for 4 pack??). I counted the cost of the green/gold paint I used in glaze in cost of bench I made.

I don't think I could even buy something similar for twice as much if I wanted to. I saved a ton of money doing it myself. Perhaps, the style is a taste all my own, but this girl LOVES the way it turned out. I can't express the pride I have (you know, the good kind) from the hard work and creativity put into this thing. The function of it is AWESOME. I have been able to do preschool time so easy. If Addy is bored, I open up the chalkboard side and let her imagination go for at least a good 15 minutes. My sewing, scrap-booking, and craft stuff is conveniently located right next to the table I do all that stuff on, making set up and clean up much faster. I LOVE it!

Sorry if I appear to brag (and to be honest I so am bragging), but I suppose after 5 weeks of a tore up house and hard work, one should be allowed to gush a little. Thanks for letting me.

Bragging rights earned!

I hope I inspired you to go earn yours!

And promise I won't say "Oh, you got that from Pinterest." Ha!

I am linked up at 

DIY Fabric Rose Hair Piece

Alright, so Thanksgiving is fast approaching which means I am already behind on getting my family portraits done for the Christmas cards. What else is new?! I did go yesterday and get some pictures of the kids done at a portrait studio... ugh! So not fun. Jed just came into this world with a serious demeanor, and, while he definitely smiles and laughs, he does not do this for just anybody... and especially not if you are trying really hard. Addy is 3; pretty sure that's enough said right there, but, in case it isn't, she can only handle so many directions before she completely wigs out and your directions might as well be spoken in Swahili because she's lost her ability to understand them. Needless to say, this time I did not have the problem of "so many good pictures it's hard to pick just one;" I had the problem of "Um, which one is tolerable enough to look at in a picture frame until I get around to doing this again?" At least I really like looking at my kids faces no matter the expression on them.

I want my kids and Mike and me to all coordinate for our family Christmas pictures, totally a "mom-thing" I suppose. So I picked up some fabric that will pick up on the varying shades of blue, green and gray in all our eyes and decided that I SHALL do something with said fabric! I made a little button down shirt for Jed that I accented with cow print from a pattern I had laying around, but stopped shy of the button holes. Not sure why, but button holes scare me. Also, I made a mistake. I am still contemplating whether or not I want to go back and seam rip and resew or figure out some way to make it work as is. Me and patterns do not play nicely together and I HATE seam-ripping and resewing. I was going to sew up a little dress for Addy in the same fabric, but I am not so good at making the underarm part and seem to need to rip out and resew everytime I made something with arm holes at least once...

Can you tell not everything is perfect in my crafting world?!

Finally, as the picture appointment got closer and the thought of family pictures is beginning to move to the forefront of my brain, the need for simplicity over took me.

I got the idea to make a hair piece for Addy and a tie for Jed. EASY! FAST! CUTE! SIMPLE! I took my professional pictures of the kids with these accessories and I like the subtle matchy-ness. I am planning on making bigger adult versions for Mike and I for our Christmas card family pictures. This makes me happy.

Fabric Rose Hair Piece:
Need 2 contrasting pieces of fabric (like 2 pieces of 2.5"x6" or so for leaves and contrasting piece of 2.5" by 18+" for rose)
Fabric Glue
Hot Glue
Scrap piece of felt (2" by 2")
Hair Clip
Piece of 3/8 ribbon (about 6")
Optional: Headband and scrap piece of ribbon (about 1" wide)

Cut 2.5" wide strip of fabric about 18" in length. I am using a cheap Walmart cotton print. COW PRINT! Cow print makes me happy. (Note: the measurements can be wider or thinner, longer or shorter depending on what you want your rose to look like) I used scissors to start my cut and then I ripped my "cut" by hand the rest of the way. Ripping is a great way to ensure you are on the grain, keep your cut straight, and, if you like the slightly frayed look of my rose, ripping will help you achieve this.

Fold your fabric in half lengthwise.
Make a knot at the end of your fabric.
You will make your rose by wrapping fabric around the knot, twisting it a 1/2 turn ever so often. This will make your rose petal affect. (Get some practice in before you start glueing and figure out how loose or tight you want your rose to look.)
Now start make your petals and glue as you go.
To finish your rose, take a little bit of left-over fabric and glue it to underside of rose. Be very generous with your glue.
Rose is complete. Now to add the leaves...
Cut out 2 pieces of fabrics, roughly 2.5"x6."
Fold in half lengthwise and pinch in the middle.
Keeping your fingers pinching the middle of the fabric, bring the two ends together flat against each other. It should look like this:
Twist in the middle to get your leaf like so:
Glue to back of rose and repeat for 2nd leaf.
Cut out a oval-ish shaped piece of felt and glue to back of rose.
Because I have trust issues with fabric glue: I made a couple of hidden stitches on the inside of the "petals" through to the back just to make sure this rose would NEVER fall apart. I think in retrospect I was being overly paranoid, so I will say this is "optional" (but definitely worth considering if you loathe unraveled fabric roses no matter how long it lasted prior to unraveling or how slim the possibility is of it actually falling apart. I obviously would loathe this.)

Warm up your hot glue gun. To cover your hair clip with ribbon (this is great for baby fine hair... it stays in place better and is less likely to take their precious hair with it when they pull it out) place ribbon on inside of clip as far as it can go and wrap around to the top side to find our where to put your hot glue. Put hot glue on ribbon and put in place.
Wrap the remaining piece of ribbon around top end of clip to see where to make your cut. Cut and then hot glue. Repeat for bottom of hair clip.
Hot glue hair clip to ribbon.
You could stop here and have a great hair clip.
Our you can use it on a head band.
To make it a head band: Get a head band. Take piece of ribbon and wrap it around part of head band where you would like your flower clip to go. Wrap ribbon loose enough for hair clip to fit through it. Glue ribbon in place on the back side of head band. Slide hair clip in... Et Voila!
Friendly Fabric Flowers and Funny Faces make for Fabulous Photos... Boom! Try saying that one 10x's fast!
Sorry Addy, I made it; it's mine now. HA! Just kidding. I need to make another for me. I am thinking larger and doing the opposite fabrics for mine. :) Love this project. If you know me, you can probably expect to see fabric flowers attached randomly to something on my person... well maybe occasionally. They don't take much time... but they do take some time... ha!

This project took me LESS than an hour. I have a major irritation with blogs that have these amazingly cool projects that claim to be "nap-time" projects and always turn into nap-time+the rest of my afternoon+bedtime projects. Maybe I am not very talented or fast, but don't sell me an idea promising it will take less than an hour, unless it will for the average not-super-crafty person. Because, seriously, the average person is NOT super crafty. Okay, wow, didn't mean to rant, but apparently I needed to get that one off my chest.

Because not everything is perfect in a crafting world... Notes from this project:
  • If this is your first time making fabric flowers, allot time for playing around with fabric.
  • The first time I made a rose, it came undone because either I didn't put enough glue on or I didn't let glue set. Either way, I have been cautious since, and haven't had another incident.
  • Only other notation: This project actually was as easy as it looks! Sa-weet!

Look forward to my next blog post: DIY Baby Tie. Depending on my ability to pack and clean for our weekend road-trip, it should be forth-coming tomorrow.

A little fabric, a little spray paint, and a whole lot of hot glue... makes an old lamp brand new

Last week my daughter decided that she needed to pull on the slightly loose piece of fabric on the lamp shade. The results:

And besides an old lamp made uglier, it also resulted in the motivation I needed to finally redo this lamp. I have had it since I got married (6 years ago!) and Granma passed on some of her old furniture to help furnish our first place.

This project was pretty easy. I happened to have some leftover fabric from a curtain project a while back. Bonus! I can have a lamp that matches my curtain. Am I put together or what?! (And to those who know me well and know that I always have at least one item on my person that does not match, you are welcome to insert your chuckle here).

What I needed:
Old Lamp
Spray Paint
Scrap fabric (I had a like major yardage of an 18" strip... but a yard of 54"-60" would do the trick on a shade like mine.)
Bias Tape
Hot Glue Gun

I spray painted the base. I had thought about making it a nice black. But I quickly nixed that notion... I am a little crazy, so I made it blue. This made me very happy, and I do have little pops of blue throughout the room this lamp is residing in. So it worked and its surprising. I think it's a good idea to have little surprises in your home (and no I am not talking about about your toddler's sippy cup under the arm chair that has a strange smell coming from it or your pair of lacy panties that got lodged between the cushions when you were folding laundry). Not too many surprises, that's overwhelming for the eye; just a few, so the eye has some places to go that make it smile.

Smile Eye. The Lamp is now Blue!

 While I waited for the paint to dry I decided it was the perfect opportunity to clean and sanitize the race car activity station for Jed. Brilliant idea for whilst I finished this project, he was kept occupied (for a little while anyways).
Awe! Gushy Mommy Moment! That smile is warming my heart :)

I took apart the lampshade. I decided to save the lining on the inside in case I wanted to put it back on when I was done.
I put a piece of fabric up against a section of lamp and rubbed a pen along the frame to get my patten. I put seven pieces of fabric together (I only needed 6, but I wanted an extra one in case of mistakes) and cut them out. I made sure the fabric grain ran down the middle.
I worked one section at a time. I hot glued the fabric directly onto the frame of the lamp. It seemed to work best to start on one of the vertical sides (going up the lamp), then do the bottom, then the top, and then the other vertical side. Pulling it very tight was very necessary to keep from there being any weird pulls in the fabric. It took just a little muscle but this wasn't too hard.
I trimmed all the extra fabric.
 I opened a thin piece of doubled bias tape and placed it along the vertical framework of the lamp.
I put the lining back on. It didn't "need" it. I just think the shade looks a little more "legit" with it and it keeps my white on white flowers from standing out too much (I do have to share my home with my masculine husband, ha!) Then I took a wider piece of single bias tape and glued it to the top and bottom.
I thought I would love the lamp with some spring green ribbon trimming the top and bottom, so I added that too, but, alas, I decided it made the floral shade look like it belonged in a girl's bedroom on a hot pink base. But, nevertheless, I bet ribbon could look good on someone else's lamp shade project...
I pulled the green off. I love that about hot glue. It has a strong hold, but not so strong my ill-choiced ribbon had to stay put.

I like the way it turned out. (Btw in the picture on the right it looks like the lampshade is misshapen in one's not. It's the way all the sections are because the fabric is pulled tight.)  For the picture on the left, I used no flash so you could see the subtle-ness of the floral print. I am thinking I like the white on white pattern for a lamp shade. It's a little girly, it picks up the fabric from the curtains, but it doesn't overwhelm the room with "Girl." (Husband appreciates this.)

This project cost me less than $10 because I had almost everything on hand. So next time you are feeling like you need a new lamp--thrift, garage sale, or search your own home for a lamp with a decent shaped base and a shade that has a metal frame. And let the Creating Commence!

I am thinking about distressing the base. I do love shabby chic. What do you think???

Here is the lamp sanded after the first coat of spray paint to give you an idea of what it would look like distressed. I just can't decide! Help! (I used the flash so you could see the contrast... it's not actually that blue)

Also thinking about adding a different colored ribbon to trim the top and bottom of the shade. My white walls make me want more color, but maybe the blue is enough? Maybe a nice beige ribbon? Ah...Decisions...

Thankfully it looks really good in the room as is, so I have plenty of time to process a decision. :)

Because not everything is perfect in a crafting world, my notes from the project:
  • I should have paid attention to what could be seen with the lamp shade on. I sprayed what I thought would be visible and ended up having some brass exposed at the top. It's kind of bugging me, not quite enough to fix it yet though.
  • I sanded the first coat a little to get the next coat to "stick" good, but forgot to wipe down the lamp, so now I have a slightly rough finish where the pieces of paint are underneath. Also, brass isn't the best thing to sand. Sometimes, Amanda... Oh well, it's kind of fun driving my former-professional-painter-of high-end-finishes husband a little crazy.
  • This used A LOT of hot glue. Like 8-10 sticks. Have lots of hot glue on hand before you embark on a hot-glued lampshade adventure.
  • The metal frame of the lampshade was cool to the touch, so it quickly cooled the hot glue. I had to pull off set glue a couple times because I wasn't fast enough.
  • I used a decorator's 100 percent cotton fabric. It's a little more durable than just plain quilter's or dress-maker's cotton. It pulled tight just fine, but I worry that a low quality cotton or different kinds of  finer fabrics may not look good taut or withstand the pulling well. (Also thinking the fabric needs to be one that can withstand the heat of the hot glue without melting???)
  • This took me 10 minutes spread out over 3 hours to spray paint (3 coats) and 3 hours spread out over 2 days to complete the lampshade. So if you have 2 small children and craft on your dining room table, plan on it taking a while. If you have a glorious project room, an empty nest, and dedicated and sacred crafting time, it'll probably take you significantly less time.

Dinosaur Hoodie

 My daughter loves dinosaurs. I love that she loves dinosaurs. So, I decided to make her this hoodie. And since I made one for Addy, I had to make one for Jed too [Of course!]. Thank you pinterest and Handmade by Jill for the inspiration. By the way, if you enjoy sewing and have a moderate skill level at it check out the "Handmade by Jill" link to see how she did it. Hers is ADORABLE!

If you don't particularly enjoy sewing or aren't very skilled at it, here is a cheap, easy way to make a stegosaurus dino hoodie.

Hoodie (Jed's is fleece and was $3.50; Addy's is Jersey-knit, standard sweatshirt material, and was $7.00; both from Walmart)
3 pieces of felt paper (1 white; 1 black; and one color of your choice for stegosaurus plates; only $.20 a sheet at Walmart)
2 wiggly eyes
Fabric Glue

Pick out your color for the stegosaurus plates. I let Addy do the picking... purple hoodie and pink plates...can you tell she picked?? For Addy's 4T size, I folded the felt sheet in half and then cut it in half again so after I was done cutting I had 2 equally sized strips of felt (about 3" wide). (For Jed's smaller 12 mos sized hoodie I made strips 2" wide)
While I am sure you could make a more accurately shaped stegosaurus plate, I went with the super easy to cut triangle. Since sometimes I just want to get stuff done rather than be perfect, I free-hand cut my triangles. I cut my doubled-up strip of felt at a 45 degree angle.
I then took the piece I had just cut off to use as my guide for my next cut.
Now that I had my one triangle cut, I used it as a guide to cut the rest of the triangles.
After cutting all my triangles (I needed 2 sets of 7 for both Addy's and Jed's), I glued them together in sets of two. I did this to make them extra strong.
I placed an even, thick line of glue along the top seam of the hood and began placing my triangles one at a time.
As soon as I got one triangle placed, I pinned the triangle to the hoodie to make sure it would dry in place.
To conquer the problem of the tricky curve in the hood, I folded the hood flat along the top seam, placed the triangle behind it where it needed to be, and used the hood itself as guide for where to cut the triangle.

Place an even, thick line of glue down the center of the back and place your triangles.
I cut the teeth using a similar method to the stegosaurus plates. (Mine had a height of about 1 1/2" and a base of 2 1/4" on Addy's and a height of 1" and a base of 1 1/2" on Jed's). I made a thick, even line of glue on the underside of the hood opening (about 1/2" in) and placed the teeth.
I pinned them in place.
To do the eyes, I doubled up two pieces of white felt and free hand cut an imperfect circle. (Doesn't matter if its perfect...slightly oval looks good...just so long as you get 2 that look the same, hence the doubling.)
I doubled up 2 pieces of black felt and free hand cut the base for the eye, making sure Addy's had some eyelashes. I glued the wiggly eye and two pieces of felt together and then glued that onto either side of hood. (Note: I had my kids try the hoodies on first to ensure a "non-awkward" placement of eyes.) I pinned them in place.
Let glue dry for 2 hours and then they are good to go.

Because things are not always perfect in a crafting world, here are some of my notes:
  • My very-cautious self went back and did a loose hand-stitch over everything. This took some time (but it was a great "breast-feeding" project). The glue seems to have a sturdy hold especially on the fleece, but I can't stand spending time doing a craft only to have it fall apart and I have no experience with fabric glue. 
  • I kid you not, the fabric glue made me high (my husband got a kick out of watching me crack-up laughing over nothing). And while it may be funny, the headache that followed was not. I got one word for you: Ventilation!
  • I laid out the triangles and the teeth before placing them to see how much, if any, spacing was needed.
  • The fabric glue got a little messy, and you can see it in some places if you look closely.
  • I used fabric glue on the wiggly eye and so far it's it's holding strong. I thought I'd give it a whirl, mostly because I was too lazy to plug in the hot glue gun. 
My overall thoughts on the project: It was easy. It was cheap (less than $10 per hoodie). And best of all, it was absolutely worth it when Adelaide put her hoodie on, raised her dino claws in the air, and started rawring. Heart is Happy!