Showing posts with label Home Office. Show all posts

Salsa Dancing With My Paintbrush

Before we start dancing to the rhythm of a spanish techno beat, I just want to thank you all of you who commented, sent emails, and wrote messages after my little heart to heart Thursday.  I think I had tears coming out of my eyes ten times that day just because of the overwhelming love and support.  You have no idea how good it was to hear over and over that, even though my life can come across as always neat, always perfect, and always sunshiney via a “pretty blog”, that you don’t take me as some self-centered, creativity junkie with an immaculate home.  Seriously!  You are all so amazing and I thank God for you!  :)

So, dance with me.  I’ll explain why a little bit later.  It involves the desk and that my friends, is done. desk 025

I LOVE how it turned out.  A big, big thank you to Sarah Dorsey and her amazing blog (seriously, if you click over prepare for hours of gazing) for the inspiration, her coral nightstand in particular.  I wouldn’t normally go to coral as a furniture paint color.  It’s bold, real bold, and I love it! 

Before I get to the details of how I primed and painted and all that jazz, here’s a picture I pulled out of the cobwebs of this old HP of the desk in the state Anthony bought it in:guest3 ip
This is how our guestroom looked a few days after we moved in and threw it together for company.  Pretty, no?  Off-white trim, stained walls, and mismatched everything made for a straight shot to House Beautiful.  I kid, I kid.  Anyway, the desk was stained an ugly blackish color with red streaks…perfect for an Anthony Bachelor in college, not gonna fly with me.

Soon after our guests left, it was one of the first things I tackled.  I wasn’t sold on a color and wanted to wait to see how the rest of the room evolved before I chose that, but I took some primer to it which brightened it up a thousand times.  I didn’t care if it was streaky (don’t they call that shabby chic?), it was tons better than the black-red.  Well, that was four years ago and I never did get around to painting that baby…until now.

Here ‘tis, moved to our room (the new workshop in this casa), ready to be painted:  desk 001

One big mistake I made in priming this thing, way back before I knew any better, was that I used water-based primer instead of oil-based.  Nor did I sand it down even the tiniest bit.  Not sanding wasn’t a huge deal considering it didn’t have a sheen to it at all but I definitely should’ve used oil-based primer because it blocks out stains and wood can tend to have spots/stains that seep right through water-based anything.  (Lucky me they stayed put in this case.)  FYI for any of you looking to paint any wood furniture.  Always use oil-based primer!!!  You can used water-based paint on top of that (but you can’t used oil-based over water-based!) and all will be grand.

So, moving on, before I got to painting I made sure to stick some tape over the backs of the hardware holes so no paint dripped through them and into the insides of the drawers.  Two second protection.  You can also see the existing hardware holes I filled in in the pic below.desk 005

Here’s where things got a little dicey.  I used a pre-mixed sample of Coral Reef by Valspar (Lowe’s) to paint the desk.  At jar’s glance, it looked like the perfect coral color.  However, after I got the first coat on…
desk 003  

I had a desk the pink panther would be jealous of.  Definitely not was I was going for.  (Bummer because then a few days later I came across this desk via Instagram that Krista at Goodwill Glam painted with the same exact color.  Hers definitely comes off as a little pink too but doesn’t it look gorge?)

I didn’t even try a second coat but instead loaded the twins up and off to Lowe’s we went where, after much deliberation, I decided on getting a test pot of Valspar’s La Fonda Spanish Dancer.  Nothing like that name to make you wanna dance, no?  I wish I could say I salsa-ed while I painted but I’m not quite that good…almost, but not quite. ;)

Here’s an in-progress picture that shows the difference in the colors:desk 006

One quick aside, I’m really picky about painting furniture and the direction in which my paint brush moves.  Using a roller is a different story since you don’t see “roller marks” but paint brushes can tend to leave faint lines, which I don’t mind, but which you have to work with.  So…desk 004
The above diagram shows how I do.  Generally, I paint in the same direction as the longest part of the area I’m painting.  Makes sense?

So, desk painted and dry, the last step was to put a coat of Polycrylic on just the top of the desk for added protection against coffee mugs, pens, the normal destruction that comes with working at a desk.  (P.S.  I let the paint dry for a whole 24 hours before this step.)desk 007

First I taped off the top. desk 008

Then, using my paintbrush, I painted on one coat of the Polycrylic.  Side note:  Don’t use Polyurethane!  It tends to yellow…I found that out the hard way (sorry Maria!).  Polycrylic does not.  Clear acrylic would also work.

A few hours after I painted the top:
desk 017 

While the poly was drying I wasted no time in putting the hardware back on the drawers.  I found these pretty silver and white darlings on a 70% clearance end rack at Target a few years ago ($3.99 each marked down to $.99).
PicMonkey Collage

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the desk is antique – dove-tailed drawers, casters, and all – so it’s been roughed up in the past, hence why in the above pic you can see some dents and scratches.  Character is what I call it.  :)


And finally, you ready for this?  My favorite desk of all time:desk 022 

Here’s a sneak peek of the fabric-lined drawers:  desk 028
Tutorial on those coming up this week.  Super easy.

And now, it’s off to freshen up the chair that’s going to marry it.  Should be fun!desk 023


Have a great weekend everybody! 

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P.S.  Anyone else ever painted a piece of furniture?  Have any tips you want to share?  Comment them!  Also, I’m a fool for pictures!  I don’t have time to make this post a link-up so post your pictures on Bean In Love’s facebook page!  :)

Home Office Project: Signing Off

The month of July is now gone and it's time to move on to another room.  Our office looks so much better than it did and I'm satisfied with the work I've done.  It's been a super busy month for us with a trip to Florida for me while Anthony was in Georgia and Tennessee.  At the end of the month we had Vacation Bible School and a parish trip to New Orleans which sucked up all of our time and energy.  On top of all this, Anthony has been busy reading and studying for his Masters', hence why the office this month was completely my project.  But we got through it all and are the better for it.  It's hard to believe I even had time to paint and concoct a space to get our business done but I did.  Decorating and painting is my time to relax...if you can call it that.  I love doing it and it's, for the most part, mindless work so it's easy on the brain.  Anyways, here are some before and after pictures to document the mini-transformation.




Small changes but everything jives much better and it's so much more inviting, especially when we have to be in there to update our Budgeter or pay bills.

Here's a close up of more "floralizing" I did.  I put together the fabric flower on our pillow cover the same way I put together the one on the lamp.  Find out here if you didn't read that post. 

If you've been following along with our home office project, you'll notice we didn't get everything done we/I wanted - the homemade headboard, a homemade cushion for the window seat, picture frames up on the walls, spiffying up the bookcase, and new "real" closet doors.  Those projects will come another day, another other words, when we find the materials we need either on sale or for cheap.  We're really excited about August's project in our bedroom, which I'll spill more on later.  Until then, ta-ta for now! 

From Farm Girl to Seamstress

Let me begin with a laugh...I almost named this post "I'm An Official 'Sewer'", meaning a person who sews ('sewer' may or may not really mean that though) when I noticed that, coincidentally I could be telling y'all that I'm a festering puddle of human and/or animal excrement...great!  So, I nixed that title.  

On to more important things though...I made my first pillowcases today!  I also made my curtains with an actual 'sewing machine' rather than iron-on tape!  I am pretty much a professional seamstress...or, I'm really not.  I'm pretty sure I probably broke every sewing rule making these but it worked.  The only thing I've ever "made" by myself with a sewing machine was a tote bag for 4-H in like 4th grade...up until today.  But making that tote bag definitely prepared me for today.  :)  Let me give you the details.

A few days ago I was looking around in my favorite discount store when I found a light green, full size, flat sheet that matched the green of our duvet cover in our office.  It was Target brand and the best part...2 BUCKS!  I happily waltzed out of the store knowing that I could get a pair of curtains and two matching pillowcases out of that baby before I was done with it. 

So, this morning I set up my convenient, sewing workspace.
And yes, I will use the fact that our dining room also doubles as a great craft room as a selling point someday when we decide to sell this house.  :)

When I was out and about the other day dreaming about the new sheet I would soon transform I picked up a hand-held sewing machine (since I won't have a real sewing machine until Santa comes) at Wal-Mart for about $16.  Yes, cheap it is and my job it will do.

To make the curtains I simply cut the sheet in half, cut off the excess, vertical length after measuring my window, grabbed my little machine and wizzed away down the unfinished sides.  Before I started sewing, I ironed a crease down the side I sewed and drew a light line with pencil that I could follow to make things a little easier.

Here's a close-up of my cute, little stitches.  Not bad for a beginner, eh?  :)

I found a curtain rod for $5 at the same store I found my sheet, bought 14 curtains rings for $7, and up went my finished curtains.  I even hung the rod all by myself!  I was so excited!  It's the first time I've ever...or the first time Anthony's let me...hang anything but picture frames on my own! 
(Keep reading to see the finished curtains.)

Now on to the pillowcases.  First of all, I don't do zippers...or, I don't know how to do zippers (yet) so any way that I sewed a pillowcase had to be easy and done without any zippers.  My best friend is pretty much a genius though and (unknowingly) provided me with inspiration on how to make pillowcases that could easily come off and be washed.
First, I took the excess fabric left over from my sheet and decided to fold it in half so that the fold would end up being one side of my pillow...if that makes sense.  So I only had to sew three sides.

Then I measured the width of my pillow with a ribbon measuring tape from side-seam to side-seam to make sure I made my new cover the right size. 

The day my best friend inspired me with this project was when she used a standard sized pillowcase to cover a really small pillow by placing the small pillow inside the pillowcase and then folding the leftover 'case' into the back and inside of the encased pillow.  That is the only way I know how to describe it and I'm so sorry if it leaves your mind spinning.  So, I'd have to make my pillowcases longer than the needed to be and with one side open so that I could just tuck in the extra and untuck it when the case needed to be washed.
Hopefully this picture helps.
When the pillow is displayed from the front, you can't even tell the fabric is tucked in in the back...score for being easy, convenient, AND pretty!

So back to the sewing, after I sewed together the sides of my pillow (inside-out when sewing them together) and securing some ends with a quick seam, my cases were finished...well almost.  Next up is spicing them up with some white paint in some sort of design or maybe a monogram on the front.  But that's for another day.  :)

Here's my sewing masterpieces!  Sew cool!

As always, I want to know about your projects!  How do you make cheap cute?!

Please Step Into Our Office

Here's the progress you've all been waiting for...not done yet, but looking better.  Sorry it's taken so long but I've been semi-vacationing with my sister in Florida...and helping her organize details for her wedding in October.  Details of that trip to come soon! 

So here's the office/guest bedroom before: 

The biggest changes are the fresh paint on the walls, trim, and filing cabinet...and that's basically all I've gotten done so far.  It's looking a little 'blah-zay' in there right now but more of my plans will take shape next week. 

Here's another side of the room:
Curtains and homemade pillowcases to match are next on the list, then a 'Do-It-Ourselves' upholstered headboard to turn our bed into a day bed, some art up onto the wall...maybe a collage or something but who knows yet, and then a homemade cushion for the window seat.  We also want to replace the curtains that enclose the closet with real closet doors, so eventually this will all get done.  The way we work is month-by-month.  This month was dedicated to the office and so we'll get as much done with the time (and money) that we have right now and if we can't get it all done, we'll do more another month. 

Next month we're moving back into the master bedroom that was the first room we painted when we moved in.  I'll share our project for that room at the beginning of's going to be so cozy and "Island getaway-ish" so keep in touch!

To Be Filed

I'm almost finished with the biggest spray painting job I've ever done...the filing cabinet. 

Lucky for me, white spray paint is considered a 'basic' color at Lowe's and a Valspar satin white they sell is only $3.12!  I'm lucky because so far I've gone through four cans (and my pointer is feelin' it).  Here's the run-down so far:

I can't wait to be done!

Here's one of the drawers before I painted it:
I removed all of the hardware before I painted because it's easier than taping them off.  I couldn't figure out how to get the little thumb lever off so it's going to be white too, which might make the hardware look more symmetrical...or that might just be an excuse to not tape it off.

Here they are all done, organized, and labeled!

To make the labels I had to decide on a short word(s) to sum up what was in each drawer.  This is what I came up with:  A to K, L to Z, Random, and Paper.  The top two drawers are filled with lots of paperwork in alphabetically arranged and labeled file folders.  The next drawer has file folders for Anthony's classes, computer software, and some legal-sized paperwork that won't fit anywhere else in it.  The bottom drawer has all sorts of paper in it:  printer and copier paper, resume paper, photo paper, loose-leaf paper, and extra file folders.  I love being organized!

I made labels using a font I found on called "Angelic War".  It was so simple.  I typed my labels up on Word, measured with the little ruler on Word to make sure they'd fit into my label holders, and printed them out.  When cutting them out, I made a stencil with thin paper that I held over the label to make sure I was cutting it out evenly and just cut around the stencil...if that makes sense.  I also cut out a few pieces of thin cardboard (I used an old, white folder) to place behind my cut-out labels to make them a little thicker.  They'd slip out the bottom of my label slot otherwise.

Now we can be organized and stylish!  Who knew a filing cabinet could be both functional and fashion-forward?!

Stay tuned to see the finished project in it's place!

Red + Blue = Purple...

And brown + brown = brown!  Which also, in my case, equals free paint! 

So, we have a couple of cans of paint leftover from previous projects plus a couple of leftovers left from the previous owner of the house and they are all either light, light brown or medium brown.  Since I know we might be painting the office again within the next couple of years to convert it to a nursery, I didn't feel like buying paint that would just be painted over.  Plus, it feels good to use leftovers instead of letting them go to waste.

I originally was only going to use three leftover cans, but when the three didn't add up to enough paint, I added another brown.  I almost added a little light green too in which case I would've tested a couple of drops in a little bowl to make sure the colors jived but then decided against it.

This is after two cans.  It looks scrumptious, huh?

This is the final color, which looks darker on the walls then it does in the can and I love it!  It actually is pretty darn close to the color in our living room and hallway, maybe a smidge darker.  Also, the four paint colors I used weren't the same sheen - two were satin, one was eggshell, and one was semi-gloss but in our old house I combined two different colors and sheens to get the green color in our second bathroom and I found that the sheens mixed and just made one sheen...if that makes any sense at all.  Point is, you can't tell.  :)

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So far, I've painted the trim and started painting the corners and edges of the walls.

Here's what the trim looked like before...mind you, we had a whole house filled with grungy and dirty-looking trim before.

I kind-of make a mess when I paint trim so please excuse it.  If I'm painting an entire room, walls and all, I always paint the trim first so that I can get every angle of it.  I use a edger, paint thingy (ceiling guard maybe...not sure what it's called but we got it at Lowe's) and stuff it's edge under the bottom of the trim so that I don't get paint on the carpet.

See how much cleaner?!  The reason I said I make a mess painting trim is that I am bound and determined to get every level of it so that means that I get trim paint on the wall just above the trim to make sure I've gotten the top part of the trim.  I could probably paint it without painting the wall too but that's too tedious to me when it'll get painted over anyway.  :)

Next I paint the wall color in corners and around door edges and such, anywhere that a roller can't paint.  Usually Anthony helps me and he paints the edges while I roll but I'm doing this one alone while he's at work and studying so it works better for me this way.  If I were to do both at once, paint part of an edge and then roll that part, move to the next part and do the same thing, I'd either ruin my brush or roller because they'd dry out.

Stay tuned to see the finished paint project!

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A little random note:
I'd like to welcome everyone to Big Bug Country...a.k.a. The South.  Let me explain.  I went outside this afternoon to start spray-painting the filing cabinet.  So I walked over to our little shed alongside which is the big piece of plywood I spray-paint everything on when this is what I saw...(beware)...

THIS!!!  Being the bug-o-phobic I am, I found something else to spray paint on and used 14x zoom (so I could stand far, far, far away) on my camera to take a picture.  Anybody (uhhhh...Dan the butterfly man?) know what it is?!  It looks like an overweight butterfly tarantula that came out of my mixed brown paint! 

Well, thanks for reading my extremely long post about paint and a big bug!  Have a grand 'ole day ya'll!