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Sunday, April 29, 2012

How Make Your Own Notepads

It is so simple to create your own notepads or memory books with a compound glue found at most craft stores. I purchased mine at Jerry's Artarama  in Knoxville.  Available online here.   I used leftover scrapbook paper for a simple notepad.  The possibilities are endless.

Items Needed:
Desired Paper (cut to a matching size for all pieces)
Notepad/ Book Binding Compounding Glue
Thin Cardboard (Gift boxes work perfectly)
Binder Clips
Small Paint Brush
Decorative Tape (optional, if you wish to cover the glue)

Instructions: Attach your desire paper together with the cardboard on the back with binder clips.  Using a small brush, paint the glue on the one side of the paper you wish to bind.  Let sit for 2 hours and repeat the process.  It's that easy!

Chica and Jo 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Affordable Do It Yourself Tile Floor Makeover

I have hated my kitchen floor since the day we moved in.  Plan A was to gut the work and retile the floor.  Bryan and I spent a lot of time tile shopping and then we hit reality when we got a price on the labor cost required to re-do the entire kitchen, $1,200 in labor + the costs of the tile of $500.

I posted on Facebook tiles options to get some friend's feedback and most people said to keep the tiles which was a relief after knowing the cost to replace them.  After a quick trip to the hardware store and a $5 tile grout pen, I had a new solution. I stained the grout and was able to make the floor look brand new.

In my first attempt I used a grout pen which was easy and affordable but dried up rather quickly.  I ended up using a liquid grout paint that I applied with a small paint brush.  The time was extensive but worth it.  The entire makeover cost under $40.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY Outdoor Decor Ideas

I have a couple of DIY outdoor decor ideas up my sleeve but I'm not quite ready to share. So, I will instead share with you some other great DIY ideas and instructions until I get my act together.

The Art of Doing Stuff

Design Sponge


This Old House

Lowe's Creative Ideas

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pros and Cons to Reupholstering Furniture

I am an advocate for reusing and recycling furniture but I am also a very honest person.  I want people to know that there are upsides and downsides to tackling your upholstery projects at home.

Pros to reupholstering your furniture at home:
  • Personal satisfaction of creating a unique piece
  • Saves money compared to professionally done and purchasing new
  • Learn new skills
  • Create the look you desire

Cons to reupholstering your furniture at home:
  • Investment of time to learn the skills needed
  • Investment of tools to complete the tasks

Pros to having your furniture reupholstered professionally:
  • You still achieve the custom look compared to mass produced
  • The craftsmanship should be guaranteed

Cons to having your furniture reupholstered professionally:
  • COST!! It's not cheap to have the work professionally done
  • Time- My experience is the turn around time is about 8 weeks

Pros to purchasing new furniture:
  • Quickest way
  • You see the finished product before buying
  • Sometimes cheaper

Cons to purchasing new furniture:
  • Mass produced item
  • You're not saving piece from a landfill
  • Quality may not exist as new furniture is being built with cheaper materials

For upholstery beginners don't take on more than you can.  Start with simple pieces and build your skills up to more advanced furniture.  I have been reupholstering for almost two years and the thought of a vintage couch scares me.  Please know that anything you do to the piece (besides sawing off pieces) can be fixed.  I also attempt new pieces with thrifty finds.  Lastly, know when to ask for help.  There is nothing wrong with taking your piece to the professionals.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Steps to Refinishing Wood Furniture

I have made many mistakes when refinishing furniture and I want to share my advice for a professional final product.

Tips and Tricks Video on Knox Fox Morning Show

Step #1- Clean furniture piece
I have skipped this before and created more work. Cleaning the piece will allow a shorter sanding job and allow you to better assess what grit sandpaper to use.

Step #2- Remove Existing Finish
If a lacquer or stain exists then sanding will be needed.  The job is tougher if you have a painted piece of furniture.  Depending on the thickness of the paint you may need to use a liquid paint stripped and scrap the paint off with a metal scrapper.  After paint is removed you may sand.

There are many sanding options.  You could use an electric sander, sanding block or sheets of sanding paper.  This is a preference but also may depend on your piece.  An antique detailed chair would need sand paper to get into the detail.  Always start with a low grit (lower by number) and ease into a finer (higher number) sand paper for a smoother finish.

Always use your hands to evaluate your sanding.  It may appear to be smooth but graze the entire surface before moving forward.

Lastly, clean your piece again.

Step #3.5 (Only if nessecary fix any scratches or holes)
If your piece has unwanted scratches, holes or knicks now if the time to use wood filler to create a smooth and even finish.  You won't regret this step.
 Step #3- Prime (If painting)
I have skipped this step and always regretted it.   Use a primer to allow the paint to last longer, better overall coverage, and actually saves you paint.

Step #4- Stain or Paint
This is the best part, choose your stain or paint color.  Always stain and paint with the grain in the wood.   Start with minimal paint/stain because you can always add more.  For stain you can use a foam brush or a rag or cloth.  Painting options include spray paint (be careful of drips), foam roller brush (my preference), bristle brush (careful of brush strokes), or a paint sprayer (I just got one that I want to try out).

Repeat for multiple coats as needed.

Step #5- Protective Coat (Optional)
I suggest a protective coat if the piece will be used on a daily basis.  You'll never regret it and might be upset it you don't.

Follow these steps for a professional refinish look every time.  Don't get discouraged if you make a mistake; practice makes perfect and you can always sand and start again.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Locking in the Energy

Special thanks to Cori for guest blogging.

Cori V- I recently moved into a new home, or should I say, an old home, that is new to me. So far I love almost everything about it, including its age.  It is a home with history and character, but is still in generally good shape.  Despite having weathered many years, it has especially kept its  aesthetics. My only real complaint didn't arise until this winter (we  moved in during the mild beginning of Fall). What I immediately began to notice upon the arrival of winter was a significant increase in our heating bill from the last place that I lived. This house is actually a bit smaller than our last home, which was unnecessarily big, so I began to wonder what could account for this difference in energy use. The windows had all been replaced in the last five years by the previous owner, so I pretty quickly ruled that out as an option. I did, however, notice that whenever I was entering or exiting the front door it was extremely cold. When I say cold, I mean putting a hand up against this door on a decently chilly day felt like laying your palm flat against a large chunk of ice. Ding, ding, ding! Looks like we found the source of the heat leak… 

Since this realization I have been researching some different types of doors and companies. From what I can tell I think composite doors are the way to go. They seem to be the most insulated, energy efficient doors on the market, plus they come with the added benefit of being one of the most secure doors a home can have. It
doesn't hurt that the price is right, too! My next concern is being able to keep with the aesthetic of my cute, quirky old home. I was actually surprised at the how many options there were for style and color.  Yesterday the hubby and I sat down and made some final design decisions and our door is going to be delivered next weekend. I never thought I would see the day that would be so excited about a door! I have filed away all the bills from this year, and I can’t wait to compare notes and see how much I will actually be saving from making an investment like this.

Favorite Furniture Piece: Niko Sol

I am starting a new feature on my blog about favorite furniture pieces and the stories behind them.  First up is my friend Niko Sol who I studied abroad with in 2005.


What is your most prized furniture possession and why?

My most prized furniture possession is a piano. I am a creator, a builder, activated by seems no matter what project or challenge I'm trying to accomplish, having my piano around to just sit down and mess around with or actually construct a song leaves me feeling motivated and confident, warm and fuzzy [laughs]: It's just something everytime I sit down to, I walk away still playing, using the energy from it to pour into the next project at hand. I think once we learn whatever possession we treasure can do for us in terms of motivation and sense of good feeling, the happier us is much more willing and confident to accomplishing their task.

What is the story behind your piece?

I was haunted growing up by my sisters for singing about everything, from "[singing] Oh look, there's a tree, and a truck, and oh wow a bus and leaves!" They'd make fun of me for loving singing so much until I was 6 and my mom's boyfriend bought the house a piano. They must've hated me back then, because I started putting my "trees, trucks, and leaves" song to music [laughs]. Since then, I've never received actual lessons privately, but I practiced and practiced until I developed a style. I think since that day with the piano, my life changed drastically, because I had been surrounded by instrument but never so drawn to anything else like I am to the piano. I've never felt right since without a piano or a keyboard in my household.

What is your home d├ęcor style?

Mmm, I love the antique look of good lumber for cabinets and hardwood floors, but I also love contemporary layouts and futuristically modern pieces mixed in. When I think of my style, I see a really spaced out Jetson's cartoon look, but with dark, earthy hues, sleek contoured walls and high-ceilings, a large grand piano and a grandfather clock to boot.

How does your home reflect you?

I think of it this way: When I walk into my home and it's a mess, I feel a mess. I feel like I need to clean in order to get into a good head space, for my organization is essential to being clear as with what to do next. So, when my home is clean, organized, and styled with a strong sense of feng shui, not only am I inspired to create, I feel like the only left to do is to create; I'm relaxed and ready to explore time with my creativity.

Who do you live with and where do you live?

I've traveled extensively throughout my teenage years and early 20's, but currently I am successfully residing in Sydney, Australia with a phenomenal couple I met while exploring new friendships and artistic circles. Originally from Boston, MA, I moved to London to study fashion at AIU, then to a small college town north of San Francisco named Arcata where I majored in psychology, art, and music. I fell in love and dropped everything when I attended Burning Man 2010, which I know is quite cliche, however real. Although the relationship didn't last, fortunately I managed to actually find focus and solice leaving me completely clear to receive what I believe to be my life's project: N.Ev.Lo (Neo Evolutionary Logic), which is my art platform for all future projects. In 2013, I will be premiering my first album which is foundation to N.Ev.Lo's launch. You see, everything has been centered around me and my piano since day 1.

If your home were the background in a tv show or movie what would you want it to be filmed for?

A circus cabaret show shot live online! [laughs] The flat I live in is littered with art, instruments, beautiful furniture, plants, and centered in a beautiful spot of Sydney, Surry Hills. I think people's eyes would be darting around from the performance to all the artistic eye-candy floating around the shots on camera.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Backyard = Backpain

I can comfortably say that I hate yard work.  The only thing I hate more than yard work is how ugly, gross and impractical my yard is. So, I do yard work.  I know for many people yard work is an escape for stress and considered a 'hobby'.  Let's just say I don't like those people.

The weather in Tennessee has become perfect for outdoor activities and I am working yard to make sure my yard is ready for the action. I am showing you the before and during to prove that I have been very busy.  I will leave you with my inspiration for the future of my yard.

Problems include: Ivy, slope, weeds, poor dirt, rotten retaining wall and ugly cement.

 In process: removed ivy and rotten retaining walls. Time spent: About 6 hours

In process: leveled dirt and built a concrete retaining wall.  Items to do: prime and paint wall, mulch, plant flowers and create stone facade on bottom wall.

I have created a Pinterest Inspiration Board HERE

What I hope my future yard will look like

Better Homes and Garden


Better Homes and Garden

Better Homes and Garden


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Upcycle: Creating a iPad Cover from Hardcover Book

Do you have a tablet, iPad, Kindle, or Nook that you need a case for?  Creating a case out of a hardcover book might do the trick.  I like it because I use my devices for reading and I don't feel as guilty for converting to the electronic book.  An added bonus is that is costs less than $5 to create. 

Supplies Needed:
Hardcover book (about .5 inch thick and just slight bigger than your electronic device)
Razor Cutter
Fabric or decorative paper (for inside lining)
Elastic (1/4 yard)
Super Glue
Adhesive felt 

Step 1: Remove the cover and pages from your book.  To remove pages, slice the binding at the front and back of the pages.  

 Step 2: Adhere fabric (use spray adhesive) or sticky contact paper to the inner lining of the book.  You could also use a decorative paper.

Step 3:  Cut felt pieces for the inside back of the book cover.  You'll want to cut the felt to the exact size of your device.  Next, apply your elastic to the back of the felt.  You have the option to use the elastic on the corners or apply two vertically on the sides of the device.  Make sure the felt is a strong adhesive, feel free to add more glue to enforce the attachment to the book cover.

Optional: You may also add felt to the left side of the cover to help from scratching the screen.

I think this project is a great gift idea and can be personalized for the recipient.  I used vintage home decor books to reflect my passion.  I also plan to use the pages that I removed as framed art and matting for framed photos. 

Additional Resources:
The Books Noop