Category Archives: (re)finish

It Has Got the Midas Touch- a tired chair gets a golden touch on the cheap

It Has Got the Midas Touch- a tired chair gets a golden touch on the cheap

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I don’t know how many tired, dirty saggy chairs I have passed up while thrift shopping for my projects.  Over and over I walk-on-by because somehow I had the impression that upholstery is an expensive hobby.  Perhaps it is all the tapes, nails and underlays that I see at the upholstery store – or the $50.00/yard price tag on some of the fabrics I drool over.

This project is proof that with a little creativity, a lot of staple pulling and some clever shopping – a dusty old thrift store find can become the golden girl in your room.


Before you begin, grab a notepad or even your camera and document how you take the chair apart. You’ll be glad you did, trust me!

There is no need to break a sweat sanding every surface – just smooth out any chips, then paint with a can of your favorite spray paint. I got started with some heavy sanding first, then decided that it really wasn’t necessary.

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Money saving tip #1: Use as much of the original foam as possible. We added a thin foam underlay and a thick quilt batting to the top of the original yellow foam. A few whip stitches keeps it all together. Or if your foam isn’t reusable, find a camping foam or foam baby mattress to upcycle


Pick apart the original pieces to make a pattern for the new covering

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Money Saving Tip #2 – Don’t buy expensive upholstery fabric.  Look for discounted tablecloths or curtains. Or, hit your favorite vintage shop and find something fabulous.

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Add a covered button for a little style – and to secure the fabric tightly to the curved back.


Then put it all back together – and fasten where needed.

No longer tired and saggy – this chair has got some style.

Cost for this project:

Chair: $5.00

Paint: $4.75

Foam and Batting: 10.00

Curtains for covering: $11.00


Short and Sweet and to the Point- a handsome nightstand redone

Short and Sweet and to the Point- a handsome nightstand redone

I have big dreams- and sometimes in my excitement to fulfill them I rush into activity.  But wisdom (and I guess I am getting to the age where this word is now part of my vocabulary) tells me that slow and steady trumps instant and rushed.

Here is one of my dreams: One day, I hope to have a community space where I can share my love of creating and recreating- visions of workshops, retreats and people working on their dreams together-  my little ‘ole heart just starts a-beating!

But for now, I am preparing.. and refining.

Part of this process is found in my garage – a small workspace carved out between my stored boxes of books and camping gear.  And here I get to create beautiful things for beautiful people.

This handsome nightstand, while small in stature, makes a big statement.  It reminds me of a suave gentleman, dressed out in his best white uniform.  (Can you see it too?)

This sat for some time, dejected in my garage, a lone piece that accompanied a set I had purchased.

 With handles missing and scars born in the many moves by its previous owners who were in military service, a little attention was needed.

One day, a friend spotted this nightstand, standing under dust in the corner and asked me to bring it to life for her new home. Now I think of it as an officer and a gentleman.

I didn’t have to work wonders on this piece – it was well made.  But I did have to do some cosmetic work and I was asked to give it a mildly distressed off white finish.

The new black handle pulls were just the thing to finish of his sophisticated look.

He now serves faithfully in my friend’s beautiful room- chivalry at its best 😉
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How Not to Get Schooled – A Roll-Top Desk Chalk Paint Revamp 

How Not to Get Schooled – A Roll-Top Desk Chalk Paint Revamp 

My baby is starting highschool this year.  And, yes, I am avoiding pondering the significance of this very thought.

In preparation for the year ahead, it dawned on me that she needed a better space to study. A place not tucked into the deep recesses of her room, but also not in the midst of the family noise.  I found a perfect place- however, it is the first room you see when you walk in the front door. This posed a little aesthetic problem for me.  Visions of paper strewn about, piles of books and pencils scattered was enough to send me digging into my garage looking for a solution. 

This is my knight in shining armor

He has the answer to all my problems- deep drawers, cute cubbies and best of all- a fabulous roll down top to hide any residual chaos. 

While I planned on using this to help my my daughter’s education, this desk had more than a few lessons to teach me.  And I thought perhaps I could pass a few of them on to you- to keep you from being schooled by a roll top desk. 
Lesson #1 – Deep dark wood grains are hard to cover with white chalk paint.  


   Despite sanding and cleaning, the wood grain and some persistent stain kept seeping through. I had hoped three coats would cover, but it did not. 

Solution: Ideally, I read that sealing the wood before painting is the best option. There are primers and sealants on the market designed to do this, but I read mixed results on them. I tried a few less expensive options. First, I tried waxing the stain seepage. Sadly, it didn’t completely block the stain.  

 Next I tried a poly-coat test over one particularly dark area.  It blocked it a bit better, but sadly, not completely.  

After a determined effort, I finally decided to go with the flow, and changed my plans for the desk to include an aged appearance. A little dark wax rubbed here and there at the end and the imperfections just seemed to disappear.  

 Lesson #2 -Moving parts and paint don’t like each other. 

I suspected this may be a challenge, so I read up on how to best paint the roll top portion of a desk. Light coat, avoid tracks etc.  Sadly, even following these well meaning tips- it was very difficult to roll up and down.  

Solution: remove the roller cover completely, clear channels and repaint while detached.  Once it was dry, a simple light wipe with the paint in the channels lessened the contrast of the dark channel with the ivory top, yet still provided the flexibility it needs to roll freely. Once dry, I tightly rolled the cover a few times to make sure everything was nice and loose. 

In addition to avoiding getting paint in the channels, it is also important to not allow a build up of paint on the edges where the cover fits into the tracks on the desk. I sanded the edges of the cover 1/4″ from the edge to keep the cover moving freely in the grooved tracks.  A bit of candle wax rubbed into those tracks before reassembling the top helped everything to glide smoothly as well. 


Lesson #3– Cubbies may be cute but they are painful to paint.  


 This may be obvious to everyone but me, but long handled brushes and tiny spaces make for a clumsy effort. Brush strokes, unintentional paint build up and the incessant “knock-knocking” of the brush handle just about made me pull out my hair.  

Solution: A shorter handled brush, if possible; a bit of patience and determination;  and, eventually, removing the back panel of the desk for better access.


In the end, it was all worth it.  It has a lovely old world charm that works so well in my room, yet will give my daughter all she needs to achieve her scholastic goals. A win-win for sure.  Don’t you agree?


A Sweet Bunny Who Totally Rocks! – a doll cradle (re)Done!

A Sweet Bunny Who Totally Rocks! – a doll cradle (re)Done!

My grandson’s favorite book is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.  I think it is the illustrations that has captured his imagination, as well as the squeezes I give him as we read it. Capturing imagination is what it is all about!


When I found a very tired, old cradle at a local thrift store, I couldn’t pass it up.  It brought back memories of me lovingly rocking my favorite doll and doing all the things loving mommies do.


It wasn’t hard to decide what to do with this poor scratched doll cradle.



Can’t you just imagine some sweet child leaning over this cradle, rocking the object of their adoration?

This item is currently available for sale! One of a kind and hand painted! $40.00 without mattress and pillow

Bed measures 23″ long and 13″ wide with cradle feet measuring 17″.

This would also make a great photo prop for newborn photos!