Upcycled DIY

DIY Friday~ Upcycled Wood Frame

Not sure if it’s the release of Hearth & Hand by Magnolia that will be coming to Target soon, OR just the simple fact that I love upcycling items. (especially when they’re free) Recently I created my now favorite upcycled DIY project. Much of the inspiration came from Joanna Gaines. (gosh, I love this lady, anyone else?) I needed to find out how I could make my own wood frame wreath decor, but at a low cost (because have you gone to the store lately and seen the prices?!)

My inspiration

(source: https://www.etsy.com/market/birch_bark)

I have been on the search for rustic wooden frames (or old wood window frames), but I haven’t had any luck (mainly because I’m looking for them to either be free or at a very budget friendly cost!) A few weeks ago I was at Ace Hardware picking up primer and I spotted the paint stir sticks sitting in the corner. Here’s the great thing about stir sticks….

1. They’re FREE

2. They’re WOOD

I had this notion that somehow I could turn these into a decor project for my small home. So…I asked the cashier if I could take as many as I wanted and her response was “Of course, they’re free aren’t they!” (My kind of cashier!) 😉 I honestly didn’t know what type of project I was going to create at the moment, but I knew something great could be made out of these simple stir sticks. I saw the p o t e n t i a l.

It was the week after Hurricane Irma when our power was still out and I was getting restless. Little Johnny was napping, my house was dirty, and starting to smell, but it was impossible to clean in the FL heat…so, I decided I needed to release my tension by getting my creative juices flowing. I went outside and stared at these stir sticks for a while, then it hit me (probably because I’ve been watching Fixer Upper lately…) these sticks can be used as a frame! I pulled out my stain, wood glue, paint brush, and away I went in creating a wooden frame!

So much joy I found the moment I brought this frame inside of my house where it hung perfectly in my kitchen. I honestly felt the release of some stress flow away from me…We all have our “things” that help us to feel better and I finally have found mine. I focus so hard on these DIY projects, which for those moments, the fear, anxiety, and overall life problems seem to just drift away…

seriously gloat over this beautiful frame every morning when I drink my coffee and remind myself of that “stress free” moment I had when creating it. (I know, “it’s just a frame”, but to me it was the actual experience in making it.) If you’ve been wondering about the name of my blog (capturing life’s gifts) much of it has to do with the fact that I have finally “captured” my own personal gifts that life has to offer…one of them is pulling out my inner creativity…

Upcycled Wood Frame: Using Stir Sticks 


{Supplies}

  • 4 wood stir sticks
  • wood glue (or a hot glue gun)
  • stain
  • very accent paint color (I went with a slate blue)
  • paint brush

{Steps} 

This time I created a video that includes the steps, since it was such an easy project. If you like the video, let me know so I can plan on doing more videos on easy DIY Home Decor projects!

Thanks for following along and I hope this inspired your creativity!

Happy DIYing!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

DIY Items for Little Ones, Upcycled DIY

Weekend Recap & Part 2 of DIY Kids’ Chalkboard Table

Sometimes you need a good Sunday outing to get yourself back into high spirits. With the passing of Hurricane Irma life has been chaotic and nerve-racking. The built up of anticipation and preparation drained everything out of us (especially me). I am thankful that we didn’t endure any significant damage as I know so many people have (continually praying for them everyday). We were without power for a few days, but that was nothing compared to what other went through.

Now we are s l o w l y  trying to get our lives back into the groove of things. This past Sunday was a much needed time to get away for a bit. Little Johnny just got over being sick and he was restless (as was I). While Big John was at work for most of the day I decided to treat Little Johnny and myself to a day out in Mount Dora, FL (the cutest little town I have yet to come across here in FL).

My intention was to attend an event held by Renninger’s Florida Twin Markets, although it ended up getting cancelled due to the damage from the hurricane. So, instead I discovered the best Antique Market and spent some time strolling down the Marketplace and soaking in all the beauty from the old treasures. I did not end up buying anything, but I sure wanted to! 🙂

After a while Little Johnny was getting antsy, which what better way to fix that than ice cream, right?! 😉 So, we ventured over to an ice cream shop and found an amazing park for him to play at. In my terms that was a Sunday Funday  for us! We even found time in the evening when Big John got off work to fish over at Lake Ivanhoe. Little Johnny is becoming a pro as casting! I loved seeing his little hands “reel” in the fish (lots of support by daddy). 🙂 It’s truly the small joys in life that help to lift up your spirits up nowadays.

Onto the DIY Kids’ Chalkboard Table…

A while back I started this project and all that needed to be done was painting the pallets (which are used for the legs) along with attaching the table top. Well..it’s been a few weeks now and I have yet to post about my “part 2”. (Here’s the link for “part 1” if you missed reading it!) They say that completing a project in “mom time” takes you double the time, I can attest to this! Most days it’s hard to find moments for my DIY projects, but I’m not letting that stop me from actually completing them. I have come to terms that it’s just going to take me a bit longer, and that’s okay.

Here’s a secret…I’m still not actually done, but it’s “done enough” where Little Johnny can use it and I can share with you all about it. What’s missing is I need to fill the holes on the table top where Big John helped me attach it to the pallets. Not sure why I’m holding off on this, but eventually it will get done.

On my social media accounts I had people vote for the paint color of the pallets, which butterfly wings was the winner! I’m glad it was because I was leaning toward that choice too! This paint was leftover from Little Johnny’s nursery, which painting the pallets with a traditional brush  would have taken much longer (and like I said I’m in “mom time” mode), so instead I was given this amazing gift by my Aunt…a paint sprayer! Best thing out there, hands down! If you’re a DIYer like me, please but this on your list of tools to purchase (no, this is not sponsored…I just really like it!)

What do you think? Is this something you could see yourself making?

Here’s to the week ahead!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ Kids’ Chalkboard Table with Pallets as legs (Part 1)

Not sure if it’s because we’re already in the back to school month, but right now I’m on a “chalkboard kick” mainly because it’s so fun to have within the house! I tend to really focus in on certain DIY materials, so this “month” it’s chalkboard paint! 🙂 (Previously it has been mason jars, spray paint, and weathered wood.) I have always wanted to make a chalkboard table! I just never knew what I could use for the legs that would make it unique. Over the past weekend I was outside trying to figure out my next project, and then I saw it… the pallets I had stored away for a while in the corner were just calling me to use them!

I’m all about “using what you have”, especially when it’s free! So far this project has cost me $5, not bad for a kid’s table!

I’m dividing this post into 2 series, mainly because it’s taking a lot of “elbow work” (I’m hand sanding) to get the pallets to where I can paint them, and also I just haven’t had time. But, I did get the first step done, which is painting the table top with chalkboard paint! So this Friday I’m taking you through my easy tips and steps, which you’ll probably walkaway wanting to chalkboard paint everything! 😉

DIY Chalkboard Table Top 

So the big question is what did I use for the table top? I actually ended up using a shelf from our old entertainment center. It was the perfect size and fits so nicely right on top of the pallet legs!

Tips

  • Always, always, always us a base primer, it helps the chalkboard paint to stick much better and doesn’t end up peeling off.
  • Make sure to really wipe down any residue or dust particles as they will show up once you paint if you don’t have a clean top.
  • Use a roller instead of spray paint or a paint brush. It helps the chalkboard paint to go on smoother.
  • Apply at least 2 coats. I actually went with 3 this time, but you want to make sure you
  • “Season” the chalkboard before writing on it. Simply take a piece of chalk and rub the entire top with chalk dust. This helps so that once you write on it the writing will actually come off and there isn’t any imprints. Here’s a great resource with step by step instructions- how to season your chalkboard.

Steps 

  1. Wipe down table top
  2. Apply primer (make sure to let it dry within the appropriate time)
  3. Use a roller and apply the chalkboard paint with at least 2 coats (make sure it dries in between coats)
  4. Season your chalkboard
  5. Have fun drawing with chalk!

I always like to plan out my DIY projects and set it up within the room I’ll be using it in. It helps to avoid most DIY fails, and gives me a sense of the look I’m going for. While I’m not finished with the project yet, I did end up bringing everything into my living room and staging it. I love the result and now all I have to do is sand, paint, and screw! Next Friday I will reveal the end result, so stay tuned!

(While writing this post I realized I need an apostrophe within “kids’ table” oops, mistakes happen even with bloggers! )

 

 

In the meantime, help me choose the color for the pallet legs! I posted this image on my social media accounts and had great feedback! The most votes win! Reply with your favorite color within the comments below!

Happy DIYing! 

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

 

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ turning your fridge into a learning center

This week I’m bringing you another fun activity for toddlers! The season of back to school has approached here in Florida, and not sure if I’m missing that feeling of getting a classroom ready, but I thought it would be so much fun to incorporate an interactive learning center for Little Johnny!

We live in a small place so I’m always making use of every square foot! This leads me to our fridge… We have open space there and it’s a great place for a learning area because it’s a huge magnetic board, so that’s a plus to start with! We also always seem to be in the kitchen, anyone else feel that way?! Another bonus is it’s very easy to hang things on the fridge. I’m a big fan of command hooks, so I totally used them within this project.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “Will this last after “rough” toddler hands play with it?” The answer is, not sure…but I’m willing to find out. Even if it just lasts a couple months it’s totally worth the “little” effort that went into making the area.

Exposure is great at this age and even though Little Johnny isn’t the biggest talker I can tell he is definitely soaking everything in, consistency is key (along with a ton of patience). So I’m hoping this exposure will help to boost those language skills! 🙂

Most things I already had at home, but we did recently go on a “Target Dollar Section” run, and oh my! So many fun educational things, especially since it’s back to school time! I could get lost in that section!

DIY Fridge Learning Center 


Before going into detail about the items, please excuse our old fridge! Not very pretty for pictures, but it does the job. 🙂

This area is our “water painting” and dry erase board. Little Johnny loves paint brushes and the idea of just using water to paint indoor is genius! Sometimes we draw on our chalkboard paper and then water paint over it. You can see the chalk disappear and it’s a neat reaction for little ones. I used a mason jar with velcro on the back to store our paintbrushes and dry erase marker. So far Little Johnny hasn’t taken it off yet, but we’ll see how long that lasts. 😉 Doesn’t hurt trying, right? As for the dry erase board, I had a picture frame that I bought from the Dollar Tree a few months ago. I placed bright green construction paper in there to give it more color. I used an adhesive tape that holds up to 10 pounds and stuck it on the fridge, so far so good! This is probably Little Johnny’s favorite activity!

These were our fun finds at the Target Dollar Section! The letter board is great exposure in learning vocabulary terms and when Little Johnny gets older we can use it for blending cvc words. I used velcro to attach it onto the fridge, that way if we wanted to we can take it off and use it else where. The small storage bin was something I bought at the Dollar Tree a while ago and just spray painted it a pretty slate blue color. As for the chalkboard paper, it’s another Target Dollar Section find! I used a white bucket to store the chalk and command hooks to hang the items.

I made this easy shape activity a while back and it’s been tucked into a bin, which we haven’t used in a while.(By the way, excuse my “chicken scratch” handwriting!)  I wanted to bring it back out and when it’s exposed the more use we’ll get out of it. I added songs on the back so we can sing about the shapes and build the shape using popsicle sticks. It’s a fun interactive activity. Command hooks along with a binder clip came in handy when attaching it to the fridge.

Little Johnny received a leap frog magnetic number learning activity for Christmas that we still use to this day! I love the one-to-one correspondence with the numbers, so this is our “numbers” area. I have always wanted to make him  a felt board and instead of going out and buying felt material I actually had a felt blanket that we don’t use and just re-purposed it into a felt board. The transportation felt set was another Target Dollar Section find.

Little Johnny in Action! 

This was an exciting project for me! My hope is that I will instill in Little Johnny that learning is fun because “the best type of learning happens when you’re having fun!” I don’t have a checklist and I haven’t isolated any numbers, shapes, or colors we’re simply just enjoying the exposure to these educational items! Little Johnny leads in his play and sometimes it lasts for 5 minutes, other times it can last longer, and as well all know it definitely depends on the day.

We’re making learning interactive and fun in our household!

What are some activities you have incorporated into your home? Please share! It makes me so happy to hear others share their creativity or just ideas they hear of. Even the simplest ideas are much appreciated! I will say that if you share a suggestion I usually end up doing it because I’m all about trying out new things.

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

DIY Home Decor

DIY Friday~SofaTable Makeover {Garage Sale Find)

I am so excited to share with you this beautiful sofa table makeover, which I have been working on for probably about 2 weeks now. This was way over the amount of time that it should have taken, but you know…m o t h e r h o o d…always comes first!

This gem is coming all the way from Cocoa Beach and it landed right into our apartment, which I’m currently using as an entertainment center. Here’s the story…we were heading to the beach with our friends.  As we got into town, I turned the corner and spotted this beauty at a garage sale. I wasn’t going to purchase it, but my friend and her boyfriend insisted, which they actually ended up buying it for me (can’t thank them enough!) 🙂

So many qualities about this piece captured my attention…the character of this wood has many unique features, which I knew I wanted to expose and have it become the main attraction. There were a few scratches, but overall in decent shape (perfect to attempt the distressed shabby chic look). My favorite part about this piece is the ‘knots” within the wood. I also fell in love with the shape of the beautiful legs along with the detailed lines this piece showcases. I’m simply just making it pretty again.

I challenged myself to only use the supplies I had on hand.  I always have a can of white paint stored, and I knew the contrast would look very chic when matched with the lighter wood. I explored with some different techniques found some of my own along the way (that’s the best way of learning right?!) 😉 I figured why not be bold and forget about the rules! 😉

This result ended up being something I would definitely purchase in a store. It opens up our living room and adds just enough detail that’s not overbearing. It makes a beautiful statement in our home.  I’m just so happy with this piece and I can’t stop staring at it!

Supplies


  • white paint for the legs (it took me about 6 coats to get a full coverage…at some point i need to invest in a paint sprayer)
  • accent color
  • sidewalk chalk
  • pine stain
  • dark walnut stain
  • polyurethane
  • coconut oil
  • vinegar
  • canola oil
  • vaseline
  • paint brushes
  • old towels

The first thing I did was clean the table with soap and water. Then I restored the wood, which I wanted to try a more natural way to clean up the scratches. I found that mixing vinegar and canola oil along with rubbing coconut oil on top after did the trick. I followed instructions from lifehacker.com and it seemed to smooth out most of the light scratches.

I had a pine stain that matched perfectly to the original stained color of the wood. I re-stained the table and then when back over the knots and details in the wood with a darker stain as an accent. I wasn’t going to paint the middle top portion of the table, but after looking over it for days I finally decided it needed a pop of color, which really attracts your attention to the lines of the wood now.

I didn’t want to just paint it a solid color, so I decided to go ahead and apply a distressed look to the top. I applied vaseline to the areas that I wanted it to look weathered and then applied a light greyish paint. Now, I would have totally used a chalky paint because that works best when creating a distressed look, but remember I wanted to “challenge” myself without buying anymore supplies so that left me with problem solving and coming up with a different idea as I didn’t have any chalky paint on hand. As I was painting I saw Little Johnny’s sidewalk chalk in the corner of my eye and I decided why not give that a try….

Yes, I used sidewalk chalk to attempt a “chalky paint” look. And it worked!

After I let the paint dry I then used the sidewalk chalk to rub against the wood, making sure to display the weathered areas. After that I used a dry brush to remove the chalk dust. I went back over it with white paint using a “dry brush” technique (where the paint brush is relatively dry, but still holds a little paint.)

I almost wasn’t going to apply a top layer of white, but I’m glad I did (thanks to my husband for the suggestion!) By the way, quick side note… Big John literally said he wants to do a flea market challenge with me and see whose is liked best by my followers like best! So, it may be happening soon, stay tuned! 🙂 I’m always up for a fun challenge!

I finally sealed the top with polyurethane and it looks amazing! This step is a must because without it, the paint will start to wear off after a while.

The legs of the table were very easy, it just took many coats in order for it to display a crisp and clean white color. For the knobs I sanded them down a bit and applied a darker stain, which created a two tone look that I really like!

I realize the wires look tacky, still working on a better way to display it, but for now this is it! 🙂 If you have any suggestions for hiding wires, please share! This was such a fun project and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

DIY Home Decor, Upcycled DIY

DIY Friday~ Vertical Shelving Made From A Pallet

We have all seen the many different projects you can create from a pallet, specifically shelving. A few months back I found an old pallet on the side of the road that was calling my name! I hauled it home and it’s been sitting under my car port waiting for me to transform it into home decor projects! So far I have made a mail box organizer for inside, and now I added my second item from the scraps of a pallet…vertical shelves! These shelves are narrow, so items like small pots or jars are the perfect items to display on there.

This pallet that I found has so much character, as it’s older and more run down. (which is the best!) The boards are no where near straight, they have more of a curve appeal to the wood, which I LOVE. It adds the simplest details and naturally stands out.

You seriously should have seen me working with this pallet! I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to create, so I just kept cutting away with my jigsaw until I came across this simple masterpiece! 🙂 Finally I turned one of my cut out pieces vertical and saw the end result! I didn’t have to screw anything else into this piece. I simply stained it and had my husband (because I’m terrible at drilling…) screw it into our wall. I decided to go ahead and display this piece outside, as it truly makes a statement when plants are added to it.

Side note-My work area is outside under our car port, which faces the front of the house. It’s always a sight to see me working out there and when people walk by I definitely sense them viewing in on what I’m up to…Hello, I’m the DIY gal in the neighborhood. HAHA! If you’re in the neighborhood stop by on Wednesdays/Thursdays as I’m usually creating things outside!

There are not many steps to this project. It requires cutting, staining, and screwing into the wall. I have to make this post short and sweet because currently Little Johnny is up and pretty much destroying the house, haha. He’s playing in the Tupperware cabinet right now, but who knows how long that will last! Might I add too that it’s 7:30am in the morning and this little guy woke up at 5:30am! WHAT is that about, huh?!  MOTHERHOOD…Anyways onto my DIY project!

Vertical Shelving Made From A Pallet 


 

I could see this displayed inside a home as well. You could also create more than one to add more to the look. Where could you see yourself hanging this?

Enjoy the 4th of July weekend!

Happy DIYing! 

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

DIY Home Decor, Dollar Store DIY

DIY Friday~ $3 Kitchen Cabinet Update (Requires No Paint)

When you live in an apartment there’s only so much you can do to update the style (especially when it’s outdated). I have been wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets for the longest time either an off white color with silver hardware, or a light grey color with gold hardware. Well, painting is out of the question, but I needed to do something to lighten up the dark cabinets! The key was to find something that wouldn’t damage them.

So are you wondering what I used and what’s the trick?! 

CONTACT PAPER 

Long story short, Little Johnny and I were at the Dollar Tree picking up contact paper for a craft project we did this past week (sun catchers! which by the way, you should definitely do this with your little one. Here’s the link.) Anyways, I noticed how many pretty patterns of contact paper there were, so I guess you can say it inspired me to somehow use it within me home. I bought only one just to try it out on my kitchen cabinets and I ended up loving the result! So, I went back and had to buy 2 more rolls in order to cover my top cabinets, (hence the $3). Seriously, I would have never guessed contact paper would do the trick for an easy update to my kitchen! This was an idea that just popped into my mind while at the store, but of course many others had the same idea after I did a quick google search. 😉 That just means it truly works! 🙂

“BEFORE”

P.S. Here’s my color scheme I’m trying to go with in the kitchen. I have a lot of red throughout, and I’m just not liking it anymore. I want light colors to brighten up the room. The yellow in the picture below is a bit too bright, so I may find more of a softer yellow to coordinate with.

Do me a favor and go get yourself some contact paper, there are so many beautiful patterns and a variety of places you can use it in your home for an easy update! Don’t just stop at kitchen cabinets (my husband may come home one day and find our whole house in contact paper…HAHA!)

{Steps}

  1. Make sure to wipe down the cabinets with soap and water
  2. Measure out the height and length of what you want to cover
  3. cut out the measured piece and peel back a small corner to start. The key is to do small sections at a time.
  4. the best tool to use is a credit card or some type of plastic card (I used my library card.) 🙂
  5. Take the card and use it to spread the paper down making sure to get any “bubbles” out. 
  6. Use the card to tuck in the edges and make a crisp clean straight edge. 

That’s it! So easy, but it’s something that makes a huge change to an outdated room! I love how it brightens up our kitchen (although I still want to paint the cabinets white!) haha. Also, keep in mind that if you live in a small place and rent, that doesn’t mean you can’t update the place and personalize with your own style…decorating isn’t just for homeowners. 😉 Any space can use a sprucing up!

“AFTER” 

Have you done any updates yet to your kitchen? What are some tips and tricks you have developed along the way?

Happy DIY Friday! 

Wishing you well,

~Amanda