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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Guest Blogger: Homemade Ginger!

When I look back and see who wrote my first-ever guest post, I’ll be so proud to say it’s my friend Megan from Homemade Ginger. She’s one of those artsy types, so talented, with an amazing sense of style. She loves all things DIY, crafty and natural. Plus, she has two of the most adorable girls in the world, Lula and Jane, and how cool are those names? But I digress. I’ll be posting, as well as featuring a giveaway from my Etsy store over on Homemade Ginger today, too, so go check it out!

Hello Grandma Great’s Treasures readers! Erin and I have become friends through our Bible study over the past couple of years and I was so happy when she started this blog and her awesome Etsy shop! I blog over at Homemade Ginger and am always inspired by vintage things and anything DIY, much like Erin!

I’m so honored to be guest posting today.  I have been doing a little makeover on our master bedroom and I thought I would share my progress so far with everyone! 

When we moved in, the room was pretty much a blank canvas.  


The first thing I did was come up with a mood board for some inspiration on colors and textures:

Although the room now looks pretty different from the mood board, it definitely helped me get the ball rolling.  

We went with a medium gray color for the walls and painted all the trim white.  Anyone who has painted trim knows how much of a pain that can be!!
I bought some fabric online in grays, yellows and oranges.

The top two are both Robert Kaufman’s Metro Living, followed by Joel Dewberry’s nap sack and Khristian A. Howell Bryant Park’s  Rooftop Garden Stone. After painting the walls, I made a yellow headboard.

Such an inexpensive and easy project!!

I used this tutorial as a guide. I also painted some bedside tables that I had inherited. They were looking rather sad before:

But after a few coats of white paint and a new cheerful knob, they are perfect for the space!

My next project was to paint a vintage $6 mirror that I snagged at an antique store.  Originally I was going to put it above the bed, but I decided that hanging it above the dresser was the perfect spot.

After some white paint and a little sanding, it now looks super cute against the gray walls!

To clear up some clutter on the dresser, I came up with a necklace storage solution using a shelf

It adds a little bit of color and interest to that corner of the room, plus it’s an easy way to stash all my necklaces!

On the subject of storage solutions, I whipped up a little fabric book holder for the side of the bed.  As you can see, our bedside tables are pretty tiny and I found this pattern in the book One-Yard Wonders. It has worked great for stashing magazines and books!

My next big project was to make a light fixture for the room. When I saw this coffee filter light tutorial, I knew I had to try it. It was a little time consuming, but definitely worth it!!

As you can see from this next picture, the windows needed a little help with new curtains.

After going back and forth, I decided to make some simple roman shades using some of the yellow fabric that I bought.

I love them. They create such a clean look for the room and the fabric is perfect!

I dyed some white sheets to make curtains for my closet-turned-sewing nook… This was the closet before:

And after (still not totally complete, but much better!)

The curtains were so fast and since I couldn’t find anything in the shade of gray that I wanted, dyeing them was such an easy solution!

Finally, I knew the space above the headboard was empty and drab. After seeing many tutorials on sunburst mirrors, I tried my hand at one and I love how it turned out!! This is the tutorial I followed most closely. Here is the mirror in progress:

And here it is hanging above the bed!

It makes the room feel complete.

I still have a few things I want to do for my master bedroom, but I always leave room for more projects around the house! I don’t think any space will ever be 100% complete. DIY projects are just way too fun! Thanks so much Erin for having me today, it’s been fun!


Easy DIY Door Desk

Easy DIY Door Desk

First let’s put some perspective on this project. The magazine I work on full-time was purchased by an out-of-state company early this year, so starting in February I began working from home. After nine months, the space looked like this:

It wasn’t pretty. Add to that the fact that the Rock Star stays home and watches Liam during the day; so imagine us both crammed together at a corner desk trying to work at the same time. Of course I did make a point to photograph the space at its messiest, just for the effect.

Something had to be done. Inspired by Young House Love’s DIY desk project as well as this space and this Pinterest image here, I decided the most economical, practical and fun solution for my office space was to DIY a door desk. Now, I don’t own a Kreg Jig like YHL, nor did I want to spend a million dollars on a custom piece of glass; the name of the game was cheap.

I visited our local Habitat Restore and found a perfect hollow door for $5. It measures 24″ x 80″. Most of their doors are $5 unless they’re solid or carved or something. It was painted on one side and was relatively in good condition. I gave it a good sanding with the orbital sander and the Rock Star used his crazy mad puddying skillz to fill in the spaces where the hinges were and a couple of random holes where a hook had been installed. I didn’t bother filling in the doorknob hole you see on the side of the door here because it was going to face the wall anyway.

I forgot to take a picture of the after-puddy shot, but I tell you I cannot tell where those holes are anymore. Next I gave the door a good coat of primer and a few coats of Exterior white paint. I used exterior because one lady at Home Depot told me it was more durable, but a guy at the same store told me the only difference was an anti-mildew compound. Oh well…paint is paint for this purpose.

Now for the fun part. You can set a door desk on just about anything, just measure to make sure the height is comfortable to sit at. Mine supports are just over 26″ (we had to cut 1-3/8″ off the sawhorse legs) and perfect for me (and my chiropractor’s rules for ergonomic workspaces). Google DIY door desk and you can see a multitude of things you can use to support a door desk: bookshelves, file cabinets, saw horses, etc. Since most of my house is very vintage, I wanted this space to be sleek and modern…maybe since it goes so well with the equipment. So I chose to use a lateral file cabinet that I got from my previous work for $5 and “splurged” on black sawhorse-looking legs from IKEA. If IKEA would wake up and put a store in KC, it would have only been $15, but I found a deal with a local company called Blue Box Delivery who does the driving and shopping for you and it only cost me $29.45 (much better than IKEA’s shipping cost). Once I set everything in place and re-hooked up all the equipment, I was pretty happy with the result. (Ignoring the broken window and mess of cords.)

Next step is accessorizing, which I started with spider plants in pickle jars and matte spray-painted mason jars for the pens and paperclips.

But it still needs more work. And the problems I see now are the mess of cords (although the doorknob hole makes for a very good cord drop) and how to hide them. If only we just had two laptops to hook up, but when you factor in a modem, router, two computers, a monitor, telephone, two printers, etc, that’s a lot of cords. I was thinking of hanging fabric from the back, but wondered if that might be a fire hazard…guess it’s time to google some ideas.

This was such an easy project that anyone can do. No sawing, no screwing, no nailing, just some paint and the IKEA legs came with rubber pads on the top which helps hold the desk in place.

How about your home office? What have you done to make it more functional or comfortable? I’d love to hear about it!

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Cleaning Chrome

Almost two weeks ago I picked up a beautiful blond with curvy legs. OK, OK, so it was a mid-century blond maple table with beautiful chrome legs. I showed up at a random sale and the guy must have liked me (old guys tend to give “young” whipper-snappers like me who are crazy enough to be interested in old things lots of attention, and lots of deals), because he sold me his beloved table for $40. His friend who helped me remove the legs to fit in my car told me exactly how to remove the surface rust from the chrome legs, which he didn’t have to do, and I love learning new things. I had never cleaned rust off of anything before. Little did I know it is as easy as some coarse steel wool (he recommended 4x, but the highest they had at Home Depot was 3 and it worked great), a flat head screwdriver, some car wax and some elbow grease. I was amazed at how the steel wool erased the surface rust and really made these babies shine. I’ll be selling the table on Craigslist soon! Here are some before and after comparison shots. You can see the caked-up grime and rust on the feet and the spotting of the surface rust all over.

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Bluebirds of Happiness

K-Pax is one of my favorite Kevin Spacey movies, and one of the more endearing moments involves mental patients searching for the Bluebird of Happiness. This bird throughout our world symbolizes (according to Wikipedia) cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health, new births, and the renewal of springtime.

I found this lovely pair at an estate sale for $1, and while I love a good vintage finish, I just knew these two deserved a good ole coat of spray paint.

I really debated on the color. I have acquired a plethora of spray paint and the decision came down to royal blue and cherry red, both glossy. Since I tend to favor red, I decided to try out the blue, and with the above description of the Bluebird of Happiness, it was probably the right choice.

I spray primed and painted these two lovebirds and I think they turned out quite nice. This is mid-spraying:

And this is a more realistic color image. It’s dark, but it gets dark so early now, this is what I have to deal with. They are really more royal blue.

Bringing life to old, dingy treasures is fun and super easy! These Bluebirds of Happiness make me smile. What piece in your home makes you happy every time you look at it? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Happy hunting!

Weekend Strawberries and Furniture Binge

Last weekend was a great weekend for treasure hunting. Most of the time I’m buying things to resell, but this weekend was a good weekend for ME (and my birthday monies). First, my favorite piece, which turned out even better than I dreamed. When I refinished our entertainment unit (this re-purposed buffet) I sadly realized none of the components (dvd player or stereo) would fit in the side compartments. So for a while now we’ve had a makeshift stand holding the dvd player so our son doesn’t go crazy without his Baby Einstein. It was a nightstand my mom stained for me, that would be fine and dandy except for the fact that our beloved Francisco chewed one of the corners off and I have yet to fix it (in 5 years). So when I spotted a fantastic piece half-off at a Brown Button estate sale on Saturday, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. She ain’t perfect, but she’s just lovely in this space.

And now I have storage for the dvd player which is mostly out of sight. AND a nice place to display seasonal decor, like these pumpkins from my surprise birthday party. Speaking of display space, check out the top of this piece!

The gold inlay on the inset faux something-or-other…I’m kind of in Heaven with this one.

Anyway, on to the rest of the weekend’s loot.

From the left: A 3-piece strawberry sugar/creamer/napkin holder set ($3), embroidered napkin/small table cloth set ($4.50), six flower coasters in original packaging ($.75), two ceramic birds ($1), eight woven placemats ($2), retro apron ($2), orange framed yarn art ($1), white/yellow ceramic bowl/lid ($1), set of four thin woven placemats with yellow napkins and flower napkin holders ($3.50), yellow mushroom pot holder ($1), and finally a set of five strawberry mugs ($1.25). This collection was actually from two estate sales and two garage sales. I also bought the husband a couple of records (Chet Atkins and the Beach Boys) since I ended up being gone longer than I had planned and he’s always so kind to watch the babe.

I also purchased this awesome plant stand (with a box full of pots that I’m in desperate need of since my spider plants decided to sprout more babies than ever this year) for $5, so now my spider plants have a place to live inside this winter.

What I’m most excited about however is a pile of furniture in my garage:

Ignoring the shiny dark oval table which I did not purchase last weekend, there is a rustic long coffee table on the right that I’ll probably replace the legs on ($19), and an amazing blond maple mid-century table with chrome legs (detached) that I plan to clean up with some steel wool and resell ($40). Then there is a blue coffee table that opens up on two sides of the top. I have great big plans for this that I’m very excited about. And it only cost me $3. The mid-century table and the blue piece were from the same sale. The guy was wanting to get rid of everything and made me a great deal on the maple table. After I invited my dad and stepmom to come to the sale because of the millions of dolls, they spent $50 so I cleverly negotiated the blue table noting the fact that I brought the guy $50 worth of business and all I had left in my pocket was $3. I also purchased this corner stand from him for $5, but it’s already out the door at my boss’ house for $10. I love turning a quick profit!

Whew…longest treasure-hunting post ever I’d say. Happy hunting everyone! Looking forward to a weekend working on projects!

Find all of these treasures and more for sale in my Etsy store.

Refinished Mid-Century Magazine Rack

I found this mid-century magazine rack at a garage sale. I saw it from the street as I drove by and the woman was anxious to get rid of it. I paid $1 for it. It was powder-coated black, had a little bit of surface rust and was missing one rubber foot. Here’s what I did.

After some sanding, the metal started to peek through the black powder coating.

And the sanded powder coating turned my hand into this.

I applied three coats of spray primer. Jovie was less than thrilled...

And then I applied three coats of aqua spray paint

I considered buying one of these spray paint guns and then found one in my workshop. Silly. It works great and definitely saves the finger.

I added new footers, which I found in the closet section of Home Depot. They were perfect!

Here's a reminder of the before condition...

And after all was said and done! Isn't she purdy?

If I wanted to be fancy, I’d apply some clear coat to seal the paint, but it seems to be holding up really well. This was an easy afternoon project that anyone could do! Have you finished any small projects lately? What room in your house is your favorite to accessorize?

Happy refinishing!

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Hello, 30

I’m assuming everyone has mixed emotions about every age starting with 30. As C.S. Lewis put it, time is a strange concept for beings who were created eternal, and the fact that I’m turning 30 tomorrow is frankly really, really strange. But, we are who we are and tomorrow, I will in fact be one year older, which just happens to be 30. It’s a number and I’m still me. And I like me. As a point of reflection on this important turn in my life, I thought I’d look back on all I’ve accomplished in the past decade.

Had the most wonderful man propose to me
Grew my hair out
Spent summers as a camp counselor
Graduated college with an associate’s degree for the first time
Took a semester off, substitute taught children and waited tables
Got hitched
Started school again
Waited more tables
Graduated college for the second time, with my bachelor’s in Journalism
Got a dog
Got my first adult job
Lived without my mom in the same state for the first time
Got my second adult job
Moved away from my hometown
Chopped my hair off
Started a business designing wedding invitations
Bought a house
Got another dog
Came face to face with the idea of losing my father (thankfully it did not happen)
Had a baby
Bought my first-ever new car
Started a business selling vintage things and refinishing vintage furniture
Figured out who I really am
Started growing my hair out again

Along the way I made some really great, lifelong friends. I found out parents and brothers can be some of the best friends you’ll ever have. I’ve celebrated 12.5 years with the love of my life, who is the most understanding, supportive, caring, amazing Rock Star I’ve ever known. And I’ve known the unconditional love of becoming a parent.

I visited Mexico, San Diego, Las Vegas (twice), Branson, Pagosa Springs and Phoenix.

So bring it on 30, because I’m better than ever, and so excited to see what the next 10 years holds.