Dressing up the Drawers

I shared a few days ago about our new to us dresser and how we refinished it with DIY chalk paint. It was a pretty fun process. But the inside of the drawers left much to be desired. 

 I knew I wanted to line the drawers so I waited to find the perfect drawer liner. I looked on amazon, but for the price didn't find anything that really struck my fancy.

I ended up finding this ikat inspired geometric pattern shelf liner at walmart.com. They just happened to run a 1 day free shipping (got the alert on my phone), so at 11:35pm one night in early December I jumped.
I don't really love walmart's shipping speed, but I really was in no hurry.

It was really hard to get good photos. The shadows from the drawers really messed with the lighting! But you get the idea!

Applying this stuff really intimidated me at first, but it's VERY forgiving. I used a tape measure and scissors to measure and cut. Since it's a pattern it was pretty easy to keep the lines straight. And if you do mess up you really will never be able to tell. If you end up with bubbles you can pull it up from one of the back corners and try again.

I love peeking in and seeing a whole lot of happy when I open these drawers! Not to mention it covered up the nasty spills that wouldn't come off when I cleaned them.

**By the way: Happy New Year's Eve! Excited about 2015. I'll have a few goals posted tomorrow that I hope to accomplish this year.

Thrift Store Dresser and a little Master talk

I don't think anything makes my heart race and beat happy more than finding an awesome piece at a thrift store for very little $$ (well maybe except a good surgery on Grey's Anatomy). Moving on.

I'm going to apologize in advance for not having a better before picture. You know when you get into a project and you are just so dang excited?? That happened. This baby was $49 at Goodwill. It had been marked down from $69 earlier that day. It was one of those play it smooth and don't act too interested in it so you don't draw attention to yourself in the store. There was another couple "sharking" it. Sharking is what I call it when people circle and circle an item multiple times. I totally had to play it cool and act like the bottom drawer wouldn't shut. The mirror that went with it left much to be desired, so we (for the time being) decided to not use it. You can see it in the background of this picture.
The top was beyond damaged. It wasn't even real wood. It was some sort of hybrid particle board that had been water damaged. And water damaged particle board is beyond helpless. 
We took out all the drawers and removed all the hardware. I didn't clean the drawers until after the 
drawers were painted and the hardware was replaced. 

I really liked the handles. I feel like keeping the original character of pieces is important and I just really loved these. I'm not against adding new knobs. But if they work- go with it. They got a fresh coat of oil rubbed bronze* paint. This stuff is the bomb. I used this paint to spray all our door handles in our old house. It goes on really in one coat. I always do 2 just to be sure and it LASTS. Super durable with very little effort. 

Meanwhile Josh was working on rebuilding the dresser. There was significant amount of damage to the bottom pieces so he replaced those and reinforced the whole thing with an extra 2x4. 
I looked at some inspiration photos and realized that the ones I loved had chunky feet. So I asked for chunky feet! Love these guys!

Next up was cutting the top. We used a high quality piece of aspen wood. It was not in the "raw" wood section of Lowes but rather in the finished wood section. We spent almost as much on the top as we did on the whole dresser. But in the finished product, the top is the show stopper. I really wanted it to be NICE. 

After he cut the piece to fit the dresser, he had to router the edge. His router is actually missing a piece so this was easier said than done. Here he was practicing and it definitely got worse before it got better! 

Once the top was cut it was time to stain. In my very VERY limited staining knowledge I have learned that preconditioning* the wood is a crucial step. CRUCIAL. Don't take short cuts here. I kind of compare it to putting the right moisturizer on before applying makeup. It helps the top layer look it's best. 
I was so excited to get that stain on there! And boy it didn't disappoint! The color is Red Mahogany by Minwax*. We tried our best to match the stain to our bed since we don't have any pieces in there that match. If you don't have the Mixwax stain brochure with all the colors... you should. It's a lifesaver when you get to the store and are smacked in the face with 20 different browns. 
While the top dried (I applied 2 coats about an hour apart and then finished with Minwax's Polycrylic*) I got working on the drawers. I really dreaded this stage. But it wasn't as bad as I thought. I started by prepping the surface with this liquid sandpaper (which is also a deglosser). This saves a step since it cleans and deglosses* in 1 step. No need to clean beforehand because this stuff will take off any gunk. 
Then I lightly sanded with 150 grit sandpaper*. I didn't really sand too hard. I wasn't trying to take all the stain off, just buff the surface and prepare it for paint. 
I missed taking a picture of the next step... sorry about that. After sanding wiped all the remaining dust away and sprayed it with Rustoleum's primer. That gave it a good prepped surface, ready for paint.

The only problem? The paint. Oyyyy I hate making decisions. We had a tiny bit of trim paint leftover in our garage and I used it for Luke's accent wall in his room. The can didn't have a color (must have had a bunch mixed at once) so I had to guess what color it was. I really wanted to stick with the trim color so we didn't have too many whites/creams going on. 

This is the color I settled on. Behr's Lunar Light in Matte (Flat) finish. I tried to test it in not an obvious place that got good light. Sorry about the toilet in the background. 
I knew that given the type of wood I was painting and the fact that I didn't prep it with an electric sander that I wanted to use chalk paint. I have dabbled in chalk paint briefly last year and was super impressed by it. This was a pretty big project so I was a little intimidated but ready to get to work. 

I bought the calcium carbonate* on Amazon and mixed about half a cup into the yellow cup. Then I filled the paint up to almost the top (I left enough room to stir the calcium carbonate up). I try not to add too much calcium, but you want to add enough. The mixture will look lumpy. And it may even paint on lumpy. But as you apply the strokes the lumps will disappear. You really can't go wrong with calcium carbonate. And if you have any lumps leftover let them dry on the piece and lightly sand afterward. Remember it's chalk paint so it's going to have an unfinished feel. 
It took 2 coats to get a flawless finish. And it only took about 1/2 an hour to dry between coats. That's the benefit of chalk paint!

Probably the most fun of this whole project was lightly distressing it! I just used the 150 grit sandpaper (although 220 is ideal). I tried using steel wool, but it just didn't work as well as the sandpaper. The steel wool almost left the cream dirty. I really love how distressing really allowed the lines to pop!
I was able to add the handles later that day and we were well on our way to being finished. 

The final step I did was wax. This was my first time using finishing wax. If you are familiar with Annie Sloan chalk paint she apparently has a great finishing wax. From doing a little research, I found that in order for furniture to not have that chalky feel the wax is the secret. But when I couldn't get AS wax (not sure of the price anyways) and when this popped up on Amazon*, I jumped. 

Finishing wax was very interesting to work with. It was much harder than I thought to apply. I didn't use a brush (like the directions say) but instead used a few old rags (like some tutorials said). Overall it was a difficult product to use and the fumes were ROUGH, but it really added a nice finish. I guess you could use a clear coat instead, but I didn't want a shiny finish at all. This adds more of a matte finish. Definitely want to try a stiff stencil brush next time. 

All total it took about 3 days from start to finish. Of course we did it over about a week, but 3 actual days of work. I thought the drawers would take the longest, but actually the dresser part took the biggest chunk of time.

This shows you the whole wall that I am working with. I'm not sold on our lamp. And I'm still not set with the mirror. But overall I'm very happy with how this wall is coming together! 

Now the fun part! We've had red accents in our master for the last 7 years. And while I love a moody red, I'm over it. 
So when I decided to start thinking about this room I realized I could choose any color my heart decided. Our entire master bedroom (and house for that matter) is tan, so dreaming of master bedroom colors has been so fun! We aren't quite ready to pull the trigger, but I wanted to choose a paint color so we can begin accessories and bedding. Here is my inspiration. 

For the last 5 years my dad has given my mom and I matching Tiffany's jewelry for Christmas. It's become a tradition and while I know what I'm getting each year, it's always a surprise what he chooses. And I love aqua. So Tiffany blue it is! I plan to do an accent wall with aqua and then the other 3 walls gray and our master bath aqua. 

I think I've decided on Cool Jazz by Behr for the color. The teal ice was just a smidge too light. I will never use anything besides Behr. I just love their colors and the paint goes on super smooth!

I mentioned earlier that I hate choosing paint colors and we have an interesting dilemma here. In both kid's rooms (here and here) and their bathroom (coming in January!) I opted to paint their ceiling the color of their walls. Reason? Because our whole house has tan ceilings. BUT this room (since it's the master) has crown moulding. So as I was choosing the dresser color I needed to keep that in mind.  I wanted to use the same gallon of paint for the dresser as well as the ceiling. I'm really excited about it lightening up the whole room! 

Also when I chose the Lunar Light color I went with the paint/primer combo. It was a little more expensive than a regular gallon. I did this to hopefully save a coat or 2 on the ceiling. Hoping to cover this tan with cream in 2 coats!

**Contains affiliate links. See my disclosures here

A day in the life...

I've had some questions recently about what "Create Pretty" is and how I am able to run a business, chase 2 kids, work part time and wear clean clothes all at the same time... total LOL to the clean clothes part. Cause at our house laundry is NEVER caught up. See at any given moment everyone is wearing at least 3-4 items, multiply that by 4 and that's practically a load of laundry. So it never ends.

Create Pretty is a legit business that I started in my home. I've been embroidering for over four years. My husband bought my machine when our son was 6 months old. I am completely self taught and have worked HOURS perfecting my skill. I create custom embroidery items for my wonderful customers. I have a business license and pay taxes. I am the only person working here. I brainstorm ideas, order my items, stitch them, ship them, juggle the books and try to keep my sanity. Hehe.

I also work part time at our church. I love leading the elementary kids to Jesus. They are sweet, spunky, and melt my heart a little each time I am around them. It's the perfect "job" that allows me to use my college degree while still being home with my babies. 

I thought it would be fun to lay out what a typical day looks like here. Everyday is different and if I tried to pick a "normal" day it would be too difficult, so today is the first day of Thanksgiving break. I have both kids home with me and Josh is working. I usually work Tues/Thurs at the church.

Here are my goals for today:
Finish an order (Christmas PJs and a sock monkey shirt)
Prepare 1 order to ship
Clean up my sewing space
Plan dinner
Work an hour for church
Get a handle on laundry
Run to post office
Dr. Appt for Emmie

Sounds easy right? I try not to turn the TV on except for a little in the morning (hello coffee time) and Luke gets to watch when Emmie is taking her afternoon nap (assuming she actually takes one). Here goes!

7:45am- Wake up call. I do not usually turn on an alarm. But especially today since Luke doesn't have school. I did my fair share of getting up at 5:45am for years teaching school. Luke is begging for food. Emmie is fussing. I drag myself out of bed and grab breakfast (today it's donuts and greek yogurt). Donuts are a treat leftover from church yesterday. Breakfast was complete with a round of "Father Abraham had BABY sons." OH he keeps me laughing.
9:15am- while the TV is on I did some house straightening. Carried things upstairs, emptied the van from last night, threw dirty laundry in the washer, and I cleaned the kids bathroom. There is a mountain of laundry on our bed that is looming... I'll do it later.

9:30am- Emmie goes down for a nap. We have a doctor appt. this afternoon  and I am hoping for her to be somewhat rested. She doesn't normally take a morning nap, so we'll see how this goes.

I find an art project for Luke to do later and start working on Create Pretty. I post a weekly item (try to do this on Monday), and jump over to Etsy to manage some items there. I find that having right at 50 items in Etsy is when I do best, so I renew expired items, list a few new items and answer any questions and messages I have. Then I brainstorm what I'd like to accomplish today embroidery wise. Luke is still watching TV. He's on his last episode of Wild Kratts.

10:05am- TV is over. Luke is painting pumpkins for our Thanksgiving table.
I decide to knock out a skirt order that I have that I'd like to ship today (hello procrastination).
While the cutting mat is out and I'll be sewing anyways, I decide to make Emmie a dress.
10:30am- Emmie didn't nap. She was quiet for 20ish minutes. By 10:15 it was clear she wasn't going to sleep. I put all my cut pieces downstairs to get to later. I send Luke into her room to play with her (he usually dumps a bunch of toys in her crib and they play for a while) and I jump in the shower.

11:35am- Shower is done, both kids are dressed, and the laundry mound that looked like this:
is slowly making it's way to order. The kids laundry is sorted, folded and gets put away. 
Everyone is hangry so I make lunch. I also pull out frozen chicken so it thaws in time for dinner. 

12:00pm- Make the excruciating decision of whether I want to try nap time again. Dr. appt. is at 2. If I put her down now she'll only sleep for 1.5 hrs (tops if she falls asleep the second I put her down). If I wait until after the appointment I risk her being too overtired to sleep. Decisions.

1:20pm- Emmie's been asleep for over an hour. Luke played legos, and since he gets to watch TV when she's sleeping he's watching Justin Time. I took the quiet time to finish the skirt order I was working on and photographing my most recent orders for the shop. Then I printed my label for the order. I'd like to ship this after the Dr. appt.

2:30pm- Dr. appt is over. We got in and out in record time. It was a shot only visit and hooray since she hasn't been well enough this whole month to get her shots. Very thankful that she's feeling better. I run to the post office and drop off the order. Since the postage is prepaid I can just leave it behind the counter. Hooray for $15 postal scales! Worth EVERY penny since the line was 10 people long. 

We head home and the kids immediately run out to play! It's unusually 74 degrees in November- I'll take it.
3:15pm- Daddy's home! We chat about our day and plan tomorrow. I decide I don't feel like what I planned for dinner and he mentioned he needed to run to the store, so we pack the kids up and go.

5:15pm- Dinner is started: I decided to go with THIS amazing recipe! Oh and we remember that my tire light is on- AGAIN. Yep, it's my SIXTH flat tire this year. Sigh. Josh goes down to fix it while the kids play more outside. We live in a neighborhood that is still being built and while I don't drive in the unfinished parts, I am thinking that it MUST be the culprit. Although I don't see our neighbors out fixing tires! Ugh.
6:40pm- Dinner is done, table is cleared, leftovers are stored, the dishes are being done, my tire is fixed, and Emmie is getting ready for bed. We only do baths 3ish times a week in the winter because of dry sensitive skin. So no bath tonight. She's usually down by 6:30pm but dinner went a little later than normal.

7:20pm- both kids are in bed. Teeth brushed, pjs on. Ahhhhh... peace and quiet. Emmie didn't sleep well her first year and then with sickness earlier this month she regressed to waking every few hours. Thankfully she's back to her good sleeping self!

7:30pm- After doing NOTHING for 10 minutes, I decide how to spend the rest of the night. Tonight, it's more orders for Create Pretty. Some nights I veg on the couch. Other nights I do some work for church.  Just depends on my work load and what's most pressing. I also make sure the diaper bag and my work bag is ready to go for tomorrow. Nothing worse than facing a morning unprepared.

Josh usually heads to bed around 8pm since he is up around 4am. I spend the rest of the night at my machine! Bed time came around 10:30pm.

Overall it was a productive day! Some days I get more done. Other days, not so much. So it's totally a toss up how each day will go. Usually my life is wrapped around carpool line and doing the preschool drop off and pick up 4 times a week, but this week we get a break! yay!

I think I'll be fun to look back, even in a few months to what a typical day looked like around here! I'm sure our routines will change as the months go by.

Oh and how did I do with my goals?
Finish an order (Christmas PJs and a sock monkey shirt)
Prepare 1 order to ship
Clean up my sewing space
Plan dinner
Work an hour for church
Get a handle on laundry
Run to post office
Dr. Appt for Emmie
So while I did ALOT, I didn't get to it all- there is always tomorrow!

High Five for Friday!

1. I feel like I can really high five- since it really is Friday to me! For a year we've lived with our weekends in the middle of the week- Wed/Thurs or Mon/Tues. Josh's schedule has finally normalized (at least for now) and I'm happy to have a normal person schedule again! Although it was nice with him being off in the middle of the week- going to Dr. appts without the kids was a breeze- I'm happy with this schedule!

2. We did all the "fall" stuff last week! We visited the pumpkin patch, carved pumpkins, went to a harvest festival at Luke's preschool and the of course Halloween. It was super fun. I liked leaving everything until last week because it really felt festive last week!

{yes it's sitting on the toilet- needed a dark space to test it out}
3. I busted out my sewing machine and I have been making some items over at my shop! It really is therapy to sew so I'm excited about other things I have planned!

4. Be still my heart... my baby is turning into a toddler. Most people say this transition happens at a year. But I beg to differ. Emmie wasn't even walking at a year. So to see her walk right out to play with brother may have made me misty-eyed.

5. We've had a rough sleeping week with sick littles. I'm ready for spring. We have the humidifiers going, vicks busted out, and tissues on hand. Already been to the doctor this week and cleaned up puke. And my amazing children who sleep all night have been up at 6am everyday. Oyyyy. I'm exhausted!

Playing with Thread

It's no secret that I love my embroidery machine. I totally covet bigger machines and I will upgrade one day... but for now I am LOVING my single needle.

When I upgraded my machine back in May, I was a member of dozens of online forums and Facebook groups to learn more. One of the tips I came across (that I had NEVER heard in the 3 years before) was to never pull the thread back through the machine.

See when you thread any sewing machine you pull the thread from the top to the bottom- threading it through all the crevices in order- until you get to the needle. Typically when you finish you pull the thread spool off, yanking the thread back through the machine. I did it every time with my old machine.

Well this advice to not pull the thread from the top made a lot of sense. That the sensors and levers were only designed for the thread to go top to bottom not bottom to top. It messes with the timing and tension discs. Is this scientifically proven from the manufacturer? No. But ever since taking this extra step, I haven't have 1 issue.

So how DO you get the thread off since it's attached at the spool? Cut it! Of course!

With the thread still attached, I take my tiny scissors and snip it right at the spool.
Then (making sure the needle position is up) I pull it from the bottom by the needle.

 Voila! I'm left with the amount of thread that is strung through the machine.
So this is where the "playing" comes in!! What DO I do with all those scraps??

Why I collect them in a vase of course!
When I first started, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Some people leave them in a vase, others fill shadowboxes with them. I liked the vase idea, but I wanted to take it a step further.

I LOVE these little lamps that you can fill. And what better way to display my thread scraps, right? I love that EVERY project I've worked on since getting my new machine is represented here. I'm kind of sentimental- so I just love this!!!
Right now it sits on the fire place. I turn it on at night for dim lighting when I'm working or watching TV. I can't stand dark rooms when watching TV! I'm going to keep it up (my machine has 2 million stitches on it and it's going strong) and once this lamp is filled I'll find another project to make and use up the scraps.
P.S. I found the lamp at Lowes. It was less than $15 with the shade. I couldn't find it online to link it.