Our Virginia House: One Year Later

I can not believe it’s been a year. Well, it’s kind of been a year. Today marks one year since we first walked into this house with our realtor, Gwen. This was the first house we looked at that day, and we were both ready to write an offer before we even got back to the car. We had about 6 more that she had made appointments for, so we dutifully checked those out, but none even came close to this one. So, the next day we went to her office to make our offer, and the next day she called me to let us know that it was accepted. Yay!

We closed on the house in early December, and literally started tearing down the things we didn’t like on day two. I remember standing in the living room, talking about what we wanted to do with the space. Graham started taking down the chair railing, I started pulling off wallpaper, and before we knew it, the room looked like this:2015-12-20-11-24-39-1

We’ve done SO much over the past year. Everything from small projects (like painting the bedrooms), to HUGE projects (like brand new siding), and I honestly think we both love this house more and more every day.

So, let’s me bombard you with a ton of before and after photos.

The House: 2016-06-05 11.42.31grey-house-pink-front-doorgrey-house-pink-front-door-32016-06-16-20-52-24You can read more about our siding & the pink front door here. The only thing left on our exterior to do list is to update the landscaping. A very hot, dry summer killed nearly all the plants out front. Luckily most of them were planted in galvanized buckets, so they’ll be easy to get rid of. We’re going to keep it simple (and low maintenance): boxwoods & hostas in the front beds, aerate and plant more grass, and in the bed on the side, I think I’m going to plant something bee friendly.

The living room:living room 2016-06-17 00.11.292016-06-17 00.12.002016-06-17 00.09.46This space is so close to finished. All we have left to do in here is to hang pictures over the couch, and for Graham to build doors for the two bottom shelves of the built-ins. We’ve also updated the ottoman from the disgusting grey and white one pictured to a solid grey one. Considering it’s sitting on a grey rug, the room needs a pop of color. So, I’m on the hunt for a bright rug, but I’m not in any hurry. If you want to see more before and after pictures, you can read more here.

The Dining Room:Dining room2016-06-17-01-18-492016-06-17-01-20-322016-06-17-00-45-46The dining room used to be a second living area, which we don’t need. It would literally have ended up as another storage space. What we DID need though was a bigger kitchen. So, we decided to turn the second living area into a dining room, and expand the kitchen into the old dining room (we now refer to that space as the kitchen annex). This room was the easiest room of the house to update. There was no wallpaper, no paneling, no chair railing (the only room on the first floor with none of those things). All it needed was fresh paint (Benjamin Moore’s Black Pepper). It does still need a light fixture, but that’ll come next year when G gets home.

Half Bathroom:half-bath2016-09-02-03-52-022016-09-02-17-33-48This room is 100% finished, and I love it more than it’s probably normal to love a bathroom. You can read more about the remodel here. I’m so glad that I let Graham do the wainscoting, I’m so glad we splurged on the tile and the sink. I just love this space so much.

Master Bedroom:master bedroom 2 Master bedroom 2016-03-11 04.42.57 2016-03-11 04.45.052016-03-11 04.40.45Excluding the hallway, which has wallpaper, the rooms upstairs are only in need of new paint. However, our bedroom is the only room that has actually been painted. It’s not the largest room in the world, but it’s a good size. I can’t get over how tiny it looks in the before photos.

Kitchen Nook:12226966_10102221202589367_3226349745380194267_n2016-06-23-16-48-392016-07-05-23-34-172016-07-05-23-35-02
Taking down wallpaper only to put wallpaper back up felt pretty ridiculous, but it was necessary. It was after we started ripping down wallpaper that Graham mentioned how lucky we were that the wallpaper wasn’t covering really bad walls. That thought never occurred to me. Then I get to the nook, and the walls were REALLY, really bad. The walls were so bad, it made me wonder if the nook was an addition. They just looked and felt different. So, we decided to put up wallpaper, to save ourselves about 4 years of spackling and sanding. We also decided to put trim up on the opening. Corners are the worst part, and they’re so delicate. So, this substantial trim not only makes the opening look more finished, but it also will help protect the walls over the years when people inevitably bump into the corners with pieces of furniture.

And for the rooms that still have a looooooong way to go (and for the most part look SO MUCH WORSE than they did on that first day)… no pictures of those since they’re depressing to look at. Maybe next time I do an update the after pictures will be blog worthy 🙂

 

Life Lately

If I’m being honest, lately my life has been uneventful. It’s been a little over a month since Graham left, and while I had big plans to stay busy and positive, it’s been really, really hard. I usually give myself a good sized “wallow in self pity” period, but I feel like this time I tried to jump back into life too quickly, and it made everything so much harder.

The day before he left, we were walking Hermione, and he suggested I go get a massage to help myself relax. That was the greatest idea ever, so I immediately call the Spa at Colonial Williamsburg and make an appointment for the next day. I had a lavender and lemongrass body scrub, and then a 60 minute classic massage. It was amazing, and just what I needed.2016-09-07-10-55-08 2016-09-07-10-55-24

The next day I went back to work, and then that weekend my friend Sarah and I took the dogs on a walk. And I felt okay.2016-09-11-11-31-01-2

Then over the next few days, the depression seeped in. And it was bad. I just wanted to cry. All I wanted to lay on the couch and cry. I was better when I was busy, but then when I stopped moving, I wanted to cry. During the weekend, I drove to Virginia beach and went shopping, and I started crying while sitting in traffic, and just cried on and off all day. That day I did go home, and lay on the couch and do nothing for the rest of the day. I needed my time to wallow, and be sad. I needed to actually let myself feel the way that I was feeling. The next weekend was hard, but not as bad. The weekend after that, I finally started feeling like myself again.

I know why it’s so much harder this time then it ever has been. He’s gone for a year. A whole year. We don’t have an exact homecoming date yet, but my guess is he’ll be gone for one year + a week or two. And it’s hard to wrap my head around that. We’re going to see each other for Christmas, and in April (hopefully), but I still miss him so much it hurts.

But, the past few weeks, things have gotten better. Mom was supposed to come for a visit last weekend, but since the weather was terrible, we rescheduled. I’m so glad we rescheduled, because I work up Friday morning and felt like death. I literally spent the whole weekend on the couch watching movies.2016-10-08-03-31-36 My adorable companions kept me company 🙂2016-10-08-03-36-17-2

But, I’m feeling better not (both physically and emotionally) and I’m ready for the next eleven months to go by in a blur. I even bought a piece of furniture to refinish, so I’d have a project to do. 2016-09-30-12-23-16

I’ve wanted a card catalog for AGES, and when I saw this beauty at the ReStore, I knew I would absolutely hate myself if I left it behind. So, I bought it, went home for Graham’s car since it wouldn’t fit in mine, went back to get it, and then managed to get it in the garage by myself (after taking out all 60 drawers). I stared at it for about two days, before deciding I just couldn’t live with the color. So, I read up on stripping stain out of furniture, and got to work. It’s a process, so I’m doing one side at a time… Right now I have 2 sides pretty much done. One side needs more sanding (it’s a little splotchy), but I love how it’s turning out. It may very well take me the whole year Graham is gone (stripping those 60 drawers, and then cleaning 60 pieces of hardware may take forever…) but it’s going to be so beautiful when it’s finished.

The previous owner used this piece to hold small tools and accessories in his garage. I kept finding these slips of paper when I was taking the drawers out. 2016-09-30-03-22-34I’m glad the bottom detached. Otherwise it would have never fit in the car. I’m also glad that removing the drawers made it light enough that I (with the use of a hand truck) managed to get it in the garage. It took 3 guys at the ReStore to get it in my car. 2016-09-30-03-21-59It’s amazing how some Brasso and an old toothbrush can take away 50ish years of grossness and make the hardware shine like new. I don’t mind cleaning all of these though. The thought of buying new hardware sends me into a panic. Not only the cost of it, but finding something that matches up with the existing holes? Ugh. No thank you. 2016-10-03-16-22-09So splotchy…2016-10-10-16-44-13After a little googling, I found out I needed to use a grittier sandpaper for this portion of the project (I had been using 220, which is for the finishing step). So, after checking out a few forums, and Young House Love, I settled on 80 grit. This looks better, but it still looks splotchy. 2016-10-12-16-29-09I still don’t really have a home for it yet. The place I want to put it won’t be available till we start on our kitchen renovation when Graham gets home, so I’m seriously in no hurry to get it done. I’m so obsessed with it though.

So, that’s been life since Graham has been gone. I hope it continues to get better. I hope seeing him at Christmas doesn’t put me back into a deep depression once he leaves. I hope Hermione stops eating bags of baby carrots. I hope I can be productive. And most of all, I hope he continues to stay safe and I hope he’s home soon.

This $50 Craigslist dresser was a major pain, but…

… it’s FINALLY done, and even though I wanted to set it on fire many, many times through out this process, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love. We bought this thing almost two months ago to the day. I had big plans for it to be finished in February, but this thing fought us every single step of the way. When I saw it on Craigslist, I was able to look past the neon colors, and see it for what it could be. I wanted to strip the paint off, sand it, stain it, and take it back to it’s former glory. Other than the neon colors, the dresser was in excellent shape, and once we started working on it, we discovered a Bassett marking in one of the drawers, which made me even more excited about the $50 price tag.

White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love.

Obviously, that didn’t happen. The previous owner spray painted it, and didn’t prep it well. So, the paint came up really easily in some spots, and wouldn’t budge in others. After three days of trying to get it up using paint stripper, mineral spirits, steel wool, you name it, we finally admitted defeat & decided to paint it.

White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love. White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love.

My initial color palate initially consisted of the frame being painted white, and the drawers to be painted gray, ombre style. But while I was browsing online for inspiration, I found a picture of what the dresser probably looked like once upon a time. It’s not the exact same, since ours has a 5th leg, but other than that, it’s identical. And I noticed something I didn’t notice before, thanks to the color: the handles actually formed a pattern.

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Noticing this changed my plan completely. I decided I wanted the handles to stand out, so, I decided to paint the whole thing white, and paint the handles gold.

White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love.

White: Behr Moon Rise | Gold: Rustoleum Champagne Mist

Once we decided to paint, I thought it would be a breeze to finish. No. It literally fought us every step of the way. I guess it liked being purple. It took so many coats of paint to get a nice, even look. Then we let the paint cure for a week, before we taped everything off so we could spray paint the handles & legs gold. Unfortunately, it was really cold when we were doing this, and cold spray paint doesn’t work very well. So, we brought the spray paint up to the apartment to let it warm up, and then tried again. MUCH better this time!

White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love. White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love.

So, it was ready for a coat of polyeurethane. Graham wanted the dresser to have a glassy finish, so he decided to spray the poly on with his paint sprayer. This took a special trip to a fancy pants woodworking store in Virginia Beach for a special (and pretty expensive) brand of poly, and it required hanging tarps throughout the garage, so none of our things would end up getting sprayed. So, he was finally ready to spray it. And along with the poly, all kinds of other crap came out of the sprayer. Including dust, dirt, and hair. Not to mention, our garage isn’t very big. It has poor lighting & not a lot of space for maneuvering, so when he sprayed the sides of the dresser, he oversprayed. And it looked really, really gross. This was INCREDIBLY frustrating, and we were both ready to pitch this thing in the dumpster.

Unfortunately, we had to sand the poly off and make the surface smooth again before we could re-poly it. When we were sanding the poly off, the paint started coming off, so then we had to touch up the paint in places.

Before we started on this dresser, Graham had committed to building some bench seating for our friends’ restaurant. They were on a definite time crunch, so we needed to clear some space in the garage so Graham could work on the benches. So, we moved the dresser upstairs to our guestroom. We had wrapped it in a drop cloth to protect it, but the drop cloth got stuck in the tires of the hand truck. The dresser fell against the edge of the hand truck when we tried to pull the drop cloth out, which gashed the paint.

We spackled the gash & repainted the area, and touched up some of the other spots that were messed up thanks to that unplanned sanding we did, and we were finally ready to put another coat of poly on the thing. Thanks to our felines, there is cat hair EVERYWHERE in the apartment. We kept them out of the guestroom during this process, and wiped the dresser down constantly, but we still ended up with a few cat hairs in the finish. It’s barely noticeable, and we were over it at this point, so we just said screw it and called it a day.

White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love.

And I think Charlotte’s glad we’re finished too. She and Buddy are happy to have their room back. And Graham is very happy to have their litter box out of his bathroom, and back in the guestroom/cat room.

White & Gold Mid Century Modern Dresser | Bake. Create. Love.

So, while we love this dresser & we’re very happy with how it turned out, I don’t think I will paint any more furniture white while we’re in an apartment. White is way too unforgiving, we lack the space to do it properly, and all of the complications we ran into made this much, much harder than it needed to be.

Being able to refinish furniture… that’s a definite mark in the pro-column of whether or not we should buy a house next year.

Weekend love.

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Graham took this week off, and since I’m always off on Monday, we had another long weekend.

Friday:

Friday we had a sushi date at Kero Sushi. We’ve tried a few places here, and Kero is definitely our favorite. The sushi is inventive and delicious, it’s close to the apartment, the decor is nice and the prices are reasonable.

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(and they give you free soup or salad when you order two rolls.)

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This trip we had the rainbow roll (duh), the mango shrimp roll, the samurai roll, & the New Year roll. This was the first time ever that we absolutely loved every roll we ordered. The mango shrimp roll was especially delicious.

Saturday:

Saturday was all about vintage stuff & furniture. We started our day at Everything Vintage in Toano. Multiple people have told me about this spot, and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Everything was totally amazing, and completely out of my price range.

Once we left there, we stopped by Williamsburg Antique Mall on our way home. That place is amazing. First, it’s HUGE. Second, they have a little bit of everything. Third, some of their stuff is just completely ridiculous. This old Happy Days game made me smile. We’ve been doing a Friends rewatch, and you can’t have the classic beach episode of Friends without the (strip) Happy Days game.

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The Seventeen Cookbook. SERIOUSLY? How crazy is this. If they hadn’t been asking for $45, I probably would have bought it.
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Fun fact: I saw Titanic 18 times in theaters. Saying I was obsessed would be putting it very, very mildly. So how in the world did I not know this doll existed!!! Granted, I was 14 and didn’t play with dolls, but I still would have wanted it!

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I did buy this cookbook though. Marcella Hazan is one of the 50 Women Game Changers, and this book is considered the Bible of Italian cooking. I checked a copy out of the library a few weeks ago, and knew instantly I would end up buying it. I’m so glad I found this copy (in perfect condition) for $4!2015-01-24 15.29.35

Once we finished at the antique shops, we went to look at a dresser I found on Craigslist. Nice, huh? Ugh. It hurts my heart that someone did this to a vintage Bassett dresser, that’s in pretty good condition. I can’t wait to see how it’s going to turn out!2015-01-24 16.34.33-1

Sunday:

Sunday was really delicious. I woke up and wasn’t in the mood for the stuff we usually eat for breakfast (eggs, waffles, grits, oatmeal), so we ended up at Venture Kitchen & Bar. We started out with $2 cocktails (a mimosa for me, and a bloody mary for Graham).

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We started our brunch with an order of their housemade tots. You may recall that these made the list of the 10 best things I’ve ever eaten. And they didn’t disappoint this time. 2015-01-25 10.50.57

Graham had one of their specials, the steak & eggs. This looked so amazing, and the steak was delicious. Dishes like this make me wish I didn’t really, really hate runny eggs. 2015-01-25 11.03.25-1

I had the best french toast & bacon. It was served with a lemon custard and a blueberry compote and was perfect. 2015-01-25 11.03.49-1

Since we had a late brunch, we skipped lunch. Then around 4:00, we got hungry, so I made us this amazing snack plate. We shared an apple, blueberries, Ritz crackers, everything pretzel this, toasted naan, hummus, vermont cheddar and a spoonful of coconut peanut butter. This was delicious! 2015-01-25 15.24.25-1

We also got started on our new dresser. We bought some paint stripper and tested a small spot on the dresser and on one of the drawers. It came off pretty easily, and the wood underneath was in really good condition. So we covered the whole thing with paint stripper and let it hang out overnight.
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And that night we finally went to see the Hobbit. We stopped at the drugstore first for some candy (I promise all of this wasn’t for me). I enjoyed the movie, but I like the Lord of the Rings trilogy better. The only characters I really cared about were Bard, Gandalf & Legolas. The dwarfs were very hard to like, since Thorein was such a douche for most of the movie. 2015-01-25 20.05.49

Monday:

Since Graham was off, he made waffles for breakfast. I love waffles. A lot.

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Then we got to work on the dresser. We were pretty excited to see how the paint stripper had bubbled up, but unfortunately all of the paint didn’t come off. 2015-01-26 11.20.23

We’re going to try a little bit harder to get the paint off, but if we can’t we’re going to paint the whole thing. It’s going in the guest room, so as much as I would love to paint it navy blue with gold dipped legs, I’m thinking white with gold legs & drawer pulls. But my mind has already changed a few times, so we’ll see…2015-01-26 13.59.00-1

DIY: Easy Clay Gift Tags

Clay Gift Tags 16 - Bake. Create. Love.

A few weeks ago I was wrapping gifts and had a thought. I had driven to every TJ Maxx and Homegoods in two states looking for a specific rolls of wrapping paper. I spend tons of money on ribbon to make real bows. And yet, I use cheap stick on labels. I decided to change that this year. I was scrolling through Pinterest, and found tons of name tags & ornaments made from polymer clay. So, I headed to Michael’s, bought the clay, ordered a stamp set from Amazon and got to work. These were stupid easy to make. I had all of my tags cut out & stamped in less than 30 minutes, and sat back while they baked and hardened.

So. Here’s what you’ll need:Clay Gift Tags - Bake. Create. Love

A clean work surface (a sheet of parchment or wax paper works perfectly), polymer clay, a knife, cookie cutters, a small screwdriver (or any tool to make the hole for the ribbon), and the stamp set. There are LOADS of stamp sets out there. I bought a super cheap one from Amazon, but maybe next year I’ll work my way up to a fancier set with a prettier font.

Clay Gift Tags 2 - Bake. Create. Love

Slice off a piece of the polymer clay, about a 1/4″ thick. Cut out your shape with one of your cookie cutters and place on a baking sheet.
Clay Gift Tags 3 - Bake. Create. Love. Clay Gift Tags 4  Bake. Create. Love.

I hate waste, so when I had cut out a good bit of the shapes I needed, I rolled out my scraps and cut more shapes out of the remnants.
Clay Gift Tags 5 - Bake. Create. Love.

Heat your oven to 275 degrees. When all of your shapes have been cut out, start stamping them. Press down gently, or otherwise you’ll have a circle around your letter.
Clay Gift Tags 6 - Bake. Create. Love. Clay Gift Tags 7 - Bake. Create. Love.

Take your screw driver, or other hole making tool, and make a small hole for the ribbon on each one. When you’ve finished, bake them for 20-25 minutes.
Clay Gift Tags 8 - Bake. Create. Love

After they’ve baked, and are a little less delicate, I like to clear out the hole a little bit more, to make it easier to get the ribbon through. (An exacto knife works reallllllly well for this part.)
Clay Gift Tags 12 - Bake. Create. Love.

Put the ribbon through however you prefer. The first method just has you putting the ribbon through the hole and tying the two loose ends together.
Clay Gift Tags 9 - Bake. Create. Love.

For the secon method, just bend the ribbon in half, put through the hole, put the two loose ends through the loop & tie to your packages.
Clay Gift Tags 10 - Bake. Create. Love.

Clay Gift Tags 11 - Bake. Create. Love.

Clay Gift Tags 13 - Bake. Create. Love.

Clay Gift Tags 14 - Bake. Create. Love.

 

 

 

(I’m linking up with Celebrate Southern this week! Head on over and check out what everyone else is up to!)

Things I Make My Husband Build: Floating Shelves

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I know building things out of pallets is trendy these days (thanks, Pinterest), but that look isn’t very appealing to me. It’s just a little too rustic. And pallets typically stay outside, so the thought of what has crawled on them, or what they have been sat in, just makes me feel a little queasy.

When we were in Charlotte in late August for a camping trip with G’s family, we stopped by his dad’s shop on our way out of town so that he could take some pallet wood with him. He gashed his head open and nearly gave himself a concussion getting this wood, got home and after all that he decided not to use it for what he had intended. A few weeks later, I decided I needed shelves in the living room. Our living room has plenty of wall space, and in the year that we’ve lived there I’ve thought about shelving a lot. But I’ve never followed through because the perfect space for them is the wall where the thermostat controls and a light switch are. So, I just laid down on the floor, and just studied the wall. I thought about starting the shelves above the switch & control panel, but that was exactly why I kept changing my mind- I wanted them lower than that. I thought about putting them on the opposite wall. The space over there is perfect as well, but that wall is already pretty busy. Our black frame gallery wall would be on one end, and a white Ikea bookshelf would be on the other. Finally, I decided I was tired of my decorating ideas being held hostage by an eight inch area on a massive wall, so I just decided to work around the panel & the switch.

We decided on four shelves, at 48 inches long. We were hoping to use the pallet wood, to make this project pretty cheap, so we headed down to the garage to see what we had, and luckily we had enough for almost the whole thing. We had enough to do the front and the sides, and just bought another piece for the backs. We also bought a large sheet of ¼” plywood for the tops, and carriage bolts just to give it a little something extra.

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So while this project was fairly cheap, it did take a while. Since we didn’t want the wood to look like the gross, pallet wood we had, G had to plane it all down. Which took forever. And was messy. He filled one of those large black trash bags with sawdust, and a good bit of it is still all over the floor. It took about two days to get everything planed down, all the holes drilled, and the small wood pieces installed that would hold up the top piece.

Then it was time for staining. I love the look of stained wood, but unfortunately you never really know what you’re going to end up with. We used the same stain on all four shelves, and each of them are slightly different colors. I love the way it ended up, I think it gives it character. I’m just glad that all four are different, instead of one being the different and all four being the same. Staining was easy though. Then we added a coat of polyeurethane to protect them. We have no air circulation in our garage, so it took forever for them to dry! We let them dry for about four days and finally were able to hang them yesterday. And I am in LOVE. I love the warmth of the color. I love the wood grain showing through. I love the way the bolts look on the end. I love that since this wood did come from gross old pallets, it has a lot of character. You can see the original nail holes and funky spots in it, and I think it looks pretty cool.

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And I love that I finally have places to display some of our things that have been in boxes for ages. Like books. I have books shoved everywhere (the bottom of the linen closet we use for DVDs, a shelf in the guestroom we keep the printer on) and about 10 boxes of books in the garage. Even though these books are more about style & color, and less about practicality, I love being able to get some of our things out of storage.

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I love having a home for the statue we bought of the Sears Tower (Willis Tower) in Chicago.

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I love having a place for this giant print, since we no longer have a mantel to put it on. Graham was finally able to put out some of the cool beer glasses he’s gotten from various places.

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And this fake flower clipped to this fake Ikea plant is actually the flower I wore in my hair at our formal wedding.

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And yesterday after G’s parents left, I threw an old comforter over the guest room bed, so the animals won’t ruin the pretty bedding I have for that room. Graham suggested that I take it off, but we seriously have zero storage space. Anyways. A little while later, I walk in the room and see a Buddy sized lump, under the blankets. So, we woke up the lump and introduced him to the shelves. We were anxious to see if they could handle our little ninja. So far, so good…

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(I’m linking this post up with Celebrate Southern.)

Gold “Dipped” Bar Stools

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The bar stools we’ve had since we moved to Virginia were in really bad shape. Really bad. They went with our kitchen table from Arkansas (and we accidentally left the table in Arkansas… oops) and Hermione chewed them up pretty bad during her puppy days. They’re decent stools and the damage would be easy for Graham to fix, but they were too busy (in my opinion) against everything else going on in the kitchen.

I saw this tutorial on Pinterest and thought that something like that would look great against my purple wall. I set out to find some cheap ones on Craigslist, but I never found anything. So, I bought these at Target. They were $15 each, but I used a Cartwheel deal that made them $11 each.

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Unfortunately since they were brand new (and shiny), they required a good bit of sanding first. I. Hate. Sanding. It didn’t take too long though and then I started the painting. In the tutorial linked above, both colors are painted using spray paint. I was afraid that I would end up getting over spray on the color I had already painted so I went a different route. I spray painted the gold parts and then taped them off with Frog tape and painted the cream-colored sections with a test pot of Glidden.

After the gold spray paint had cured for a week I started on the other part. I taped them off right above the lower rungs and did a layer of primer with Kilz. Once that had dried I used a foam brush to paint. Since foam brushes don’t hold as much paint, it took three coats to get a nice, non-streaky layer. You could use a regular paintbrush for thicker application, but then you’d have a higher chance of having brush strokes.

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Once they were finished, they needed a coating of satin polyurethane to protect them from normal wear and tear (and animal claws). I used the same satin that we used on our entertainment center and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.

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And this cutie (as well as the other feline) seems to enjoy them =) But they love anything they can climb on, so they’re not exactly picky.

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