DIY

Back Yard Surprise

So, this year for Father’s Day, I wanted to to do something special for my husband. I had ordered a back-of-the-door basketball hoop for his office on the drive home from a last minute trip down to Orange County (that he didn’t want to take, but did anyway because he’s a loving dad and hubby)… and it just didn’t feel like enough to say, “thanks for being the great dad you are,” (read: have fun shooting hoops alone in your office while you bring the bread home every day forever). SO I went to the god of ideas: Pinterest. Being summer, there were lots of posts about back yards, and ours is one of the saddest yards I’ve seen. it’s huge, for the size of our house, but kinda odd, and SUPER un-useful. Jordan and I have talked so many times about what we’d LIKE to do back there but just don’t feel like it would be a responsible use of our income at this time… So I thought it might be nice to at least make a small improvement by creating a space to enjoy the outdoors and maybe make the yard a bit more useable.

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Now, my husband is a bit of a scrooge… he doesn’t like to spend money unless it’s on wine/dinners out/ experiences, so I knew for this to TRULY be a gift he appreciates, it would have to be done inexpensively… again, Pinterest to the rescue!

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I came across some pins my sister had told me about a while back and thought they would be perfect: Planter String Light Posts! Party lights make any space feel a little more magical, so it would be a great way to create BIG impact, with little cost… so I used the tutorial on I Should Be Mopping The Floor’s blog. I altered mine a bit- we didn’t need such large posts, and I used plastic barrels rather than the real deal. I had also been in need of a STURDY umbrella stand. I bought an umbrella last summer and was using a cooler to keep it up until I could get a nice one (the cheap kind didn’t hold it up at all), and so I thought this planter post idea could totally work as an umbrella stand! I searched Pinterest and found a few posts that had done exactly that.

Off to Home Depot I went, with my dad in tow, to get all my supplies! Mind you, I thought of this just 4 days before Father’s Day, so I needed to get on it quick!

I needed supplies to make 2 string light posts and 1 umbrella stand.

Supplies:
Planters (real or fake wine/whiskey barrels)   $20-50 each
Wood Posts- 2 x 2 x 8 (1 per string light post) $2 each
Hooks $2-5
1 1/2″ x 2′ ABS/PVC Pipe  $3
50 lb Bags of Cement (2 bags per planter)   $2.50/bag
Potting Soil   $10/bag
Flowers   $3-10/plant
String Lights   $20/strand
Wood Stain $4
Stain Application Vehicle (rag/sponge)
Tape
Level
Shovel or Hoe (to mix cement)
Drill
Drill Bits
Hose

Instructions:
1. Place planters on level ground near where you’d like them set up as they’ll be heavy and hard to move once cement is in. Pour cement in and mix with water one bag at a time. Add the second bag and more water, then mix to the right consistency listed in instructions. Be careful not to over water your cement!

 2. Set your pipe/posts in the center of the barrels. We let the cement set a bit before adding the pipe/posts. Here, you can see I taped the bottom of the pipe so cement wouldn’t get in it (I want the umbrella to set all the way at the bottom of the barrel). Use your level on the top and sides to make sure it doesn’t lean- particularly the pipe for the umbrella! You won’t notice a little lean with the posts, but you will with the umbrella.

3. Tape the pipe in place.
4. Find something to lean against your posts so they won’t easily be moved/toppled. Let the cement cure for 48ish hours before adding soil/flowers. You should be fine to stain and drill after 24 hours.

5. Optional: Stain or paint your posts. I used BEHR Semi-Transparent Weather Proofing All-in-one Wood Stain & Sealer in Cappuccino. I just used one coat.

I am so glad I took the time to do this! It was SUPER fast and easy, and it really gave them a nice color- somewhere between cedar and redwood.

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6. Get your hooks and drill/bits… use a bit slightly smaller than the screw you’re using. I used Everbuilt Screw Hook #6, and a 5/32 multipurpose bit. Drill the hole at your desired height for the light strands on your posts. Screw in your hooks.

7. Then drill drainage holes in your barrel so the water from your plants has somewhere to go! You’ll want to drill them at the level of the cement or at an angle through the cement and side of the barrel (you may need to switch to a masonry drill bit). I did 8 holes spaced out fairly evenly all around.

8. Time for Flowers!! Finally!! When picking your flowers, try and pick what will survive your climate and water conditions- consider if you’re adding drip or watering by hand, sun exposure, etc. I am a major nube at gardening… Haven’t been very successful thus far, but I really WANT to learn and have beautiful flowers! I had a lot of fun wandering around Green Acres smelling and seeing all they had to offer. I really had to hold back and focus on the planters. I got mostly geraniums for the planters, and couldn’t resist the lavender and purple sage for my yard.

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Just add some soil to your planters, remove flowers from their plastic pots and massage the roots a bit before placing them in the planter. Fill in around them with more potting soil, give them a good watering, and make sure the drainage holes are draining!

Above, you can see I used Lantana Bandana Cherry Sunrise & Salvia flowers (2 of each plant) in the umbrella stand since they’ll likely get more sun than the others.

And here are the geraniums in the the light post planters…. I did 3 geranium plants per post planter.

9. String up your lights! I had my hands pretty full hanging the lights and stapling them to the house, so I didn’t get pictures of this step, but, it’s pretty self explanitory. I also purchased a remote outlet for the lights so i don’t have to unplug and plug them in constantly…. SO GLAD I did, because the outlet is under the eaves of the roof, so I would have needed a step ladder every time. Highly recommend!

10. Final step: accessorize your space 🙂 I used 4 chairs with 2 small tables and some solar powered lanterns for the lighted area, and 2 adirondacks with pillows for the umbrella area. I’ll be adding a coffee table/ottoman in the center of the 4 chairs next.

The End Result:

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And that’s it…. our yard is now slightly nicer, slightly more useful, and the parts I see out the windows of the main parts of the house all day look a heck of a lot more inviting. I’m sure I’ll have more outdoor projects to come after this. I’ve already got my eye on a hammock stand tutorial!

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Re-Imagined Dollhouse

I was at a loss for what to suggest my parents buy for our daughter for her 1st birthday. They always ask if there is something specific- needed or wanted by us for our kids or that the kids would want for gifts. A friend suggested a dollhouse, but when I looked at them online at my favorite places (PB Kids/ Land of Nod) they were just so pricey! But I mentioned it to my mom none the less, and what did she find that week at Homegoods? A doll house!!IMG_2402

It was broken and chipped in a few places and missing a door knob and some screws, but I suggested we could paint it, and she saw the potential as well. She ended up getting it for $50 and took it straight up to her barn so we could work on it.

Now, I’m the type of person to jump into creative projects without pausing to make a plan or look over everything thoroughly…. so, I grabbed a brush and just went for it! My mom started asking pretty quickly, “are you sure we should have done this?” with a nervous edge in her tone. Welp, there was no going back. It looked way better already! And also a little worse.IMG_2401 (2)

I wasn’t worried about being too careful with the white because I figured I could go back with white and fix it, but that little 1/8 or 1/16 of an inch edge around the windows and shutters was so difficult to navigate, and I didn’t really think about how much harder black and slate are to cover up with white than white would be to cover up on them. Anyway, this is where I stopped on day 1 of work.

The next day I was much more resolved to be careful with all my painting. I painted over ALL the white with a new white; that took a couple coats. I painted over the birdhouse and tree on both sides, and painted the inside of the side windows with a white paint pen. I thought the flowers looked hokey, so I painted them a dark green. Found something to work as a doorknob and painted it, as well as the french door knobs, gold metallic, and then the door was painted robins egg blue. After all was said and done, I was PRETTY happy with it! It’s not perfect, and it was more work than anticipated, but I ended up with something that was made more special by personalizing it, and that wouldn’t be an eye sore in her room! Now all I will add is a little wreath on the front door to add that last touch of homeyness!

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What would I do differently next time?

-take the windows and trim off the house & paint everything separately, then glue back on
OR (if not possible to take those off)
-tape first, paint WAY more carefully
-use a quality white paint with primer that covers the dark colors easily
-tape the inside of the windows so the paint doesn’t look messy from the back side of the front house door when open. (the whole front swings open to access the inside.

I Didn’t DIY This New Ceiling Fixture

When we moved in, we made a lot of changes that you can see here. But we also left a lot to be done down the road, mainly replacing bath/light fixtures, painting remaining rooms, and carpet. One of the biggest eye sores was this ceiling fan/fluorescent light in what was essentially an undefined space/hallway:


I’ve hated it since we first looked at the house, and we have RARELY even turned it on in the 2 years we’ve lived here. So this year for my birthday, my mom bought me this light fixture from World Market: 

So I had planned to replace it myself with just the helping hands or someone to hold it up, hand me tools, etc. But when my dad came to help and just started doing everything for me, I obliged, and was the helping hand instead.


Things got a little hairy when the + and – wires were both white and we weren’t sure which was which, but my dad being my dad, he just guessed and tested and thankfully was correct and there was no explosion.

We then had problems getting the screws into the plate, followed by an issue with the threading on the bottom piece that secures the ceiling cover to the mounting in the ceiling. But we finally got it, although it felt a bit less secure than we would have liked. Not sure there is anything we could have done though, because it was just a matter of manufacturing as far as I could tell.

This left us here:


I didn’t have anything to shorten/tie up the chain so had to leave it like this until I could get to the hardware store.

And, while I realized eventually I’d need to uninstall, trim wire, remove chain, I didn’t feel like doing it…. So an S hook later, we have this:

 

DIY Body Beautiful Butter

image12I wish I was one of those women that had a stunning pregnancy- barely looked pregnant except for a perfect, round belly…. no swelling, no 1/2 shoe size bigger feet, and no stretch marks.

But I’m not.

I was bloated, swollen, my feet grew out of all my 8.5 size shoes- all those shoes, those beautiful, too-small shoes…. and with this second pregnancy, I got MAJOR STRETCH MARKS!!! And not, like, just one here and one there…. no, its like Wolverine attacked my belly, my sides, and my thighs.

So, I decided I needed to find some sort of solution for these battle scars to make them less noticeable so that one day, when my skin shrinks back and I’ve lost the baby weight, I have the confidence to wear a bikini again without fear of my stretch marks dissuading me from showing off all my hard work at the gym! I’m a doTERRA lover- totally believe in the magic (or voodoo as my husband calls it) of essential oils (EO). Also, they smell pretty! Well, most do. I tried making a roller bottle of a nice blend to start, but it became clear VERY quickly that that was not going to cover enough square footage fast enough to be an easy bedtime routine. What I really wanted was a luxurious-feeling body butter in a pretty jar by my bedside.

Enter, Pinterest.

After looking at several recipes and watching some youtube videos, I decided to jump in and concoct my own potion based on what I already have and what would be easy to get without special ordering. Mostly, because I’m impatient.

Alright, so here it is… my first foray into bath products, and my guinea pig concoction!

Body Beautiful Butter
Post Baby Belly Cream

Ingredients:
1 C Unscented Shea Butter (Same Here)
1/2 C Organic Coconut Oil
1/2 C Olive Oil
7.5 tsp Arrowroot Powder (can be found in bulk at Wholefoods)
10 Drops Patchouli EO
10 Drops Clary Sage EO
10 Drops Geranium EO
10 Drops Helichrysum EO
20 Drops Frankincense EO
30 Drops Lavender EO

Supplies:
Mixer (handheld/immersion/stand)
Glass jars
Spatula
Labels

Directions:
1. Melt shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil in a double boiler to combine. You can use jojoba or almond oil instead of olive- it’s just what I had on hand.
2. Once all have melted, remove from heat. We’re not trying to boil or cook these, just get them melted so they blend evenly.
3. Add Arrowroot, mix in with a fork. **A Note Regarding Arrowroot**

Initially, I tried making this recipe without arrowroot because I didn’t know where to get it and was too impatient to wait to start until getting some, but after making the whole thing, it was FAR too oily/greasy to leave as is. I researched and most people recommended arrowroot (you could use cornstarch powder or tapioca powder alternatively). One person recommended 1 tsp to every 4 oz. My recipe made, roughly,  20 oz whipped, so I added 5 tsp, then used the rest when it still seemed greasy, which was about 7.5 tsp total in the end. You can add more or less but I might even use more in my next batch- at which point, I’ll report back here with a note.

4. Add Essential Oils.

**I added so much lavender to hopefully cover the more pungent scents of the less pretty smelling oils.                               **You can add more or less of each oil depending on your preference/need. I chose those that were most praised for skin health and repair as my aim is to shirk my belly skin and fade/erase stretch marks.

5. Place in refrigerator until it becomes cloudy in color and a film begins to form around bowl edges.
6. Whip with hand mixer or stand mixer for 10 minutes (it’ll start looking like vanilla pudding).
7. Place in refrigerator again to firm up some more (another 5-10 min).
8. Whip again for 5-10 minutes or until stiff peaks form. It should look like cool whip.
9. Place in air tight glass jars, slap on a pretty label,  pass the extras out to other mama friends, and enjoy!

And now, for some photos of my process:

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Here is what it looked like after melting all the butter & oils together (basically like olive oil):image8Mixing it up after it started to appear cloudy:image9

Mixing it an additional 10 min after setting in the fridge once more:

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I ended up leaving it out on the counter last night to let it set some more and then finished mixing in the morning… here’s how it looked before placing it in the jars:
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And there you have it: Body Beautiful Butter for Post Baby Bellies!
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DIY Feather Dreamcatcher Mobile

image3I don’t know if anyone else saw the ADORABLE dreamcatcher mobile on Pinterest, but I instantly fell in love. That love was immediately crushed by the price!!! They were over $100! But I looked at it and thought to myself (as I always do), “I could totally make that.” After making one myself, I understand why they cost so much- they’re not quick or necessarily “easy” to make, but they aren’t so hard that a novice couldn’t work it out with a bit of elbow grease! So this is what you will need (* indicates optional supplies depending on how you want yours to look):

Feathers (2-3 per desired strand) (I used Goose and Duck)

String (I used embroidery floss)

Malleable branch/hoop of some sort

Sinew or string for dreamcatcher center

Leather string

Glue (I used tacky glue on the feathers & leather glue on the leather string)

*Beads

*Dye

*Glitter

*Spray adhesive

*Paint

1. Dye/Glitter/Paint feathers

Dye: This was a bit of trial and error…. eventually I got the best results for a “soft pink” by dipping them and immediately bringing them out. Then just laid them flat to dry- they fluffed right back up once dry.

Glitter: I tried to modge podge the ends and then sprinkle them with glitter… they looked prickly. I think spray adhesive followed by a sprinkling of glitter was a better plan. Hang drying them would yield the best results here.

Paint: You’ll want to use stiffer feathers here- and maybe for glitter, too. I used duck feathers and just dipped them in paint and then in glitter.

2. Wrap string around feather stem and seal with glue (if you’re adding beads in between feathers on your strands, make sure you put them on before glueing the next feather.

3. Lay flat to dry

4. Seal where feathers are attached with super glue

5. Prepare your hoop. You can try and bend a willow branch or grape vine into a circle or use an embroidery hoop or whatever you want. I found some wood branch wreaths at the dollar stop in Target and cut them so that I had just one branch for my hoop. I tied the ends together by wrapping leather string around the ends and used leather glue to secure it.

6. Weave your Dream Catcher. I used this tutorial to show me how to weave it; I ended up with wider than planned for openings and a looser weave than desired, but it was still pretty, and putting the beads on while weaving was too time consuming to  redo it! Haha.IMG_6082

7. Attach your feather strands. To aid me in proper spacing and not glueing anything to the table, I set my dream catcher on a stand mirror. Then spaced them out and tied knots, then sealed each knot with super glue once I was happy with their position around the hoop. I ended up with 8 strands but needed one more to fill a blank spot, so I put some beads on a piece of lace ribbon and hung that.

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8. Let dry for a day or so…. attach string to hoop for hanging your mobile…. I used lace ribbon.

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My colors: pale pink, gold, rose gold, white, light brown…. I did two strands each of pale pink tipped feathers, plain white feathers, gold paint and glitter dipped feathers, and rose gold tipped feathers.

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Ikea Rast Glam-Over

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I have never owned a nightstand I truly loved. Or even liked, for that matter! So when I got married this was something I wanted- because it was finally my call! (I had a whole paragraph of a saga about my nightstand woes here, but it was boorish, so let’s cut to the chase) Now that we own our first home, I still can’t afford anything that I really like and is the right size, so, inspired by my friend Jenna who DIY’d the crap out of some Malm dressers from Ikea, I set to work… Found a few ideas I liked, bought the Ikea “Rast” dressers and some overlays from this shop– I went with the Xandra style- and then they sat in my house untouched for several months. This is typical of me- if I don’t do a project right when I’m excited about it, it sits around unfinished for weeks, months, sometimes until my husband throws it out. Anyway, with this newfound fervor for DIYing, I finally have the drive I need to get this project under way! So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I did get as far a spray painting the overlays gold. But I bought a cheap random gold at Ace, sprayed them on the grass- which meant the sides were hard to get and then a bunch of blades of grass were stuck to them when they were dry, and the shade of gold was just… the most blah gold you could imagine. See that sadness here: FullSizeRender

No sheen, no pop…. blah. So I’m hoping to bring them to life with a coat or two of Montana Gold! And now for the nightstands… so they start out like this:

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Ideally I would have liked to go with a larger, slightly better quality dresser like the Malm that has smooth rolling drawers as opposed to the Rast that has cut outs in the sides of the drawers and a funny plastic bar that they slide on in the inside of the frame, but our bedroom is pretty small and we couldn’t go with anything bigger- bummer, I know. Here they are with the first coat of Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore in an eggshell finish …

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Alright, so the drawers come pre-drilled with two holes for knobs. I feel like it won’t look amazing with two knobs but I can’t just leave the holes. Hence, my first step into the land of wood filler and sandpaper. It may have been more prudent to fill the holes before painting, but I was anxious to start painting. And, as per usual, my impatience won out. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I happened to have some wood filler and a putty knife on hand from the house renovations- all I needed was sandpaper…

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I really wasn’t sure what I was doing so I just went for it and quickly found the more filler, the better! Left is the filler already scraped into the hole and right is the little pile of filler just blobbed on. At this point I realized I’d probably need to let them all dry, sand them, and then add a bit more wood filler so there’s no trace of the old knob holes.

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Here you can see that after the first application of wood filler had dried and been sanded, it still wasn’t flush with the drawer front, so I added more and let those dry.

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I also decided that although I liked the look after just one coat of paint with the woodgrain showing through, I just couldn’t live with the texture of the wood- it felt too rough to touch and was not going to be easy to wipe clean when needed. Anything fabric would probably catch on it… I’m one of those people that can’t stand the feeling of chalkboards or anything similar (like the plates at Melting Pot- cringe!) and these felt chalkboardy to me! It could have been that the wood sucked up so much of the paint that it had that effect just on the first coat, or just that eggshell was too matte of a finish to use on raw wood. Whatever the case, I just had to try and remedy the feel. Off I went to Ace to buy a quart of the same paint but in a satin finish- which they only had in the aura collection that’s pricier, so I went with semi-gloss to save a few bucks and hoped I didn’t regret the decision! Here we are with the second coat- this time in a semi-gloss finish- applied and dried…

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And here is how I got all the edges painted on the overlays:

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I brought one inside with the overlays to see how it looked. I was thinking I miiiiight want to dry brush some light gray on to make them look a bit distressed/antiqued…. So I wanted to see them as they were before making a decision.

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I decided to leave them for now, I could always add the gray paint down the road should I decide they need it.

And now, time to adhere the overlays onto the drawers. I originally bought wood glue, but after watching the how-to on the myoverlays blog, I went with their suggestion of the Liquid Nails Clear Silicone as it can supposedly make them removable if I ever wanted to put new ones on or repaint the dressers.

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See all that grass stuck to the back of the overlay?? Haha, I am so lame for thinking spraying them on the grass was a good idea… but I digress.

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I eyeballed it when putting them on…. I think they turned out even.

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So once they had dried it was time to drill the holes for knobs. I bought two different knobs at Anthropologie to try- one bigger, fancier, girlier- and as such- more expensive, and one smaller, simpler, “fade into the drawer” knob. Deciding which I liked better was not easy at all. Off the drawers I liked the bigger ones the best- perfect match color wise, and just too fun to pass up.

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I just couldn’t decide without seeing them in the drawers, the drawers all in the stand…. But I have no drill, and frankly was worried I’d screw the drawers up if I had tried drilling the holes myself anyway. So away for the night they went until I could convince someone to come over with a drill and help me.

Hoorah! My mom came over and decided I needed to lower my sons crib (which I did, but hadn’t gotten around to) and so she called my dad to come over and help her. He brought the drill and drilled the holes for my knobs! And thus, the night stands were finally finished!!….. as soon as I could decide which knobs to use:

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Boring.

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…nice, but maybe a little much?

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…closer…

And the winner is……………………

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PERFECT!!!!! Now all I have to do is get all new bedding to complement them and some new fabric to drape over my headboard so it isn’t clashing like crazy until we can buy a new one!

UPDATE…. here it is in our room with our new bedding and headboard 🙂

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The Midas Touch

I’m sure you’ve all noticed the influx of all things GOLD on your Pinterest feeds, magazine pages, and store shelves. It’s back and in a BIG way!! I once said (many years ago when gold was NOT in style) that I hated gold and would never wear it. Well, not a year later, all my silver jewelry was abandoned for the glistening gold draping necklaces and baubles. The gold trend is certainly at a high now and I’ve decided to hop right on board! I’ve been pinning DIY project after DIY project for months now and have finally decided to actually do some DIYing.

Enter: The Midas Touch Project

I wanted to paint a few little things at home gold- drawer pulls and drawer overlays, so I ran down to Michaels for gold spray paint. Low and behold they have the Can of All Cans of Gold spray paint- as proclaimed by DIYers- Montana Gold. I bought all three cans they had left. I have pretty much ZERO experience with spray painting, so I had no idea how much I would need. I might actually mention that I tried to spray paint the drawer overlays a few months back with some gold paint I got at Ace…. it was a mess, and I didn’t like the color of Gold in the end. So here we are again buying more paint.

I started with the drawer pulls on a white file cabinet I bought a couple weeks ago. They came silver- shiny silver on the outside edges, and a frosty silver in the middle.

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Instant upgrade!

Then I got the bug. Some might call it nesting, as I’m 5 months pregnant, but I say it’s the Lust for Gold!! I looked around the soon to be nursery for anything I had ever dreamt of painting gold. Immediately I thought of my vanity desk and mirror, then decided to do the magnifying mirror as well because it’s a heinous brassy-gold.

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So here they are in their temporary home. Pretty nice!

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…and then the hanging lamp shades

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Yes- you’re seeing that clearly. The nozzle was leaky and leaked all over the side of the shade!!! Bummer! I’m gonna see if I can hide it before buying a new one. But I’m kicking myself for not noticing it before there were, like, a million huge spots!!

And of course: the drawer overlays for the nightstands I’m supposed to gussy up. I have yet to paint these. I think I’ll save them for the whole Rast Ikea Nightstand hack post I’m planning for when I get around to buying the paint and such for the nightstands themselves! Exciting things are coming!!

What I learned:

1) Clean surfaces well- don’t just dust. I noticed it looked a bit blotchy where I had handled the pieces before painting.

2) Hold the can about a foot away while spraying- I had a few thick nasty messes.

3) PRIME Metal surfaces! I did not use a primer and I can already tell it’s going to be a problem. the paint is scratching off pretty easily.

4) Be patient. This is not one of my strengths, but I tried to go into it expecting it all to take a couple days.

Now, stay tuned to see where all these items’ new homes will be! Turning our spare room/vanity/hubby’s closet into a nursery means re-thinking and re-working a lot of the other spaces in our house!