Thursday, June 30, 2011

how i paint furniture

I've shared a few of my painted furniture pieces lately and although I am no expert, I have gotten down to a little system that works for me and thought I'd share it here in case you are wondering.

Here is a quick breakdown of each step:

1. Prep your space

2. Sand your furniture

3. Degloss if necessary

4.  Paint!

5. Finish with Paste Wax

6.  Enjoy your masterpiece!

And here is a bit more about each step: 

Step 1:: Prep your space

I use drop cloths and tarps to protect my surface from spills and drips, which are inevitable no matter how careful you are.  I also use milk crate{s} to stand the furniture on so that I can get to all the surfaces at once.

Step 2:: Sand your furniture

I prefer to use a palm sander which makes this step sooo easy and saves a ton of time.  A palm sander will run about $60 at Home Depot. Or you can rent one from your local tool shop for about $17 a day.  You will need to buy a pack of 220 grit sanding circles made especially for palm sanders which will run about $4 for a pack of 4.  The sheets just velcro on the sander and you replace them once they've lost their grit.  Easy peasy.


If you'd rather, you can use 220 grit sandpaper for this {just tear off a small piece and work it over the piece going in one direction until it feels smooth}. 

Step 3:: Degloss if necessary

Some areas like turned legs and carved detailing, or other ornate woodwork are hard to get with sandpaper or the palm sander.  For these areas, you can use the deglosser.  Just pour some on a clean cloth and wipe it onto the surface.  It will leave a matte, chalky surface, ready for paint.

Step 4:: Paint!

Pour a little paint into a disposable tray set inside a regular paint tray, cookie sheet or my high tech option: the top of a cardboard box.  It really doesn't matter what you set the disposable tray in/on as long as it provides a little support because the disposable trays are pretty flimsy.  Using a standard size high density foam roller, a small/trim high density foam roller and a 2" brush, apply the first coat of paint.  It's important to remove any excess paint from the roller or brush by running it along the bottom of the tray {the bumpy part} because the worst thing you can do is apply too much paint at once.  You want 2 or 3 light coats, not 1 thick and gloppy one. 

Using the largest foam roller first, roll as much of the furniture as you can, going in 1 direction and overlapping the roller lines a bit.  Then go in with the trim roller and get as much of the remaining areas as you can.  Lastly take your brush and get any remaining spots {there shouldn't be too many spots left to get, just the hard to reach areas or the intricate detailing that the rollers missed.}

Wait for the first coat to dry {about 4 hours} and repeat with a second coat.  A few pieces may even need a third coat, but most will be good with 2 coats.

{By the way, the brush I use is a Purdy XL Cub.  It's made for smaller hands so it's much more comfortable for me than the larger brushes which are usually made for a man}

Step 5:: Finish with Paste Wax

Most people will tell you to finish your furniture with Verathane or Polycrylic.  There isn't anything wrong with those, but it's not my preference.  I have tried them and I don't think they come out as smooth and glossy as furniture treated with Paste Wax.  You can experiment and find what you like best, but this is my fave. 

Once your piece is completely dry, apply some Paste Wax to a clean cloth and rub it over the furniture in a thin even coat.  Let it dry for about 15 minutes and buff it off with a second clean cloth.

You can also add stains to the Paste Wax if you want to add a patina to your furniture.  I use Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, but it does have a light peachy tint that can show up on white pieces.  So for white or very light pieces, bowling alley paste wax {which is clear} is your best bet and is guaranteed not to yellow.  Here is a great blog article about paste wax if you want to read more about it. 

One last thing...

Some pieces of furniture may have damage and require wood filler.  You will want to apply this with a putty knife after you have sanded the piece.  Allow the wood filler to dry completely, resand the area and paint.  This is also a great technique if you have a piece of furniture that you'd like to change the hardware on.  Say if you have pulls {two holes}, but want to change to knobs {1 hole}.

So that is it!!  I hope this is a helpful little reference for you.  My best advice would be to just go for it!  You will get more comfortable over time and you will develop your own little system. 

If you have any questions, just post them in the comments and I will be sure and answer them!

Happy Painting!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Snapshots Week 2 {Linky Party!!}

Happy Wednesday to you!!  It's week 2 of the Summer Snapshots series!  I had so much fun checking out all of your blogs and snapshots last week!  Thanks so much for joining me!

This little link up is pushing me to be more intentional, to take out my camera more often and to capture the little moments.  I hope you all are enjoying it as much as I am!

Last week, Emily posted a great tutorial about creating a photo collage in Picasa, which is a free photo editing program.  If you haven't seen her post and are curious about how to arrange your photos in a collage before posting them to your blog, you can check out her tutorial here

I decided to give it a try this week.  It was super easy and I think its fun to see the week in one snapshot like this.

Monday: We met some friends at Reid's elementary school to play and then took the boys to swim that evening.

Tuesday: Grant's 2nd birthday!!  We woke the boys up very early {can you tell by his face?!} to head to Disneyland to celebrate.

Wednesday: Reid had a friend over and they started work on a lego set.  I learned after about 5 minutes that if you assign one child to do the even numbered steps and one child to do the odd numbered steps, there is no bickering!  The child who is not building is the "assistant" and helps to find the pieces needed for that step.  It worked brilliantly!

Thursday: Reid continued working on the set in the morning and then we packed overnight bags for the boys and drove them to Amma and Poppa's to spend 2 nights.  They both get super excited for trips to Amma and Poppa's house!

Friday: Splashing around at the community pool at Amma and Poppa's.

Saturday: Trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is kind of like the zoo, but you get to view the animals roaming in a natural habitat.  They spent the afternoon running around and lounging in the backyard and my parents snapped this sweet photo of them hugging.  Not much is better than seeing your kids love on each other. 

Sunday: We had a little party for our immediate families to celebrate Grant's birthday, open a few gifts and share some cupcakes.

And that was our week!  I hope you will link up below and share your photos!!

If you link up, I would love it if you would please add a button to your post.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"new" furniture

I spent the majority of last weekend painting furniture.  The list of furniture I wanted to paint was getting very long and it was time to get busy.  Plus, my parents are getting ready to head out of town so they wanted to get a grandkid fix for a couple days before they head off.  With no kids underfoot, I had the perfect opportunity to get a lot done. 

Here is our newly repainted coffee table:

{the balloons were from Grant's little party}

I love the size and shape of it in the room and I love that light shade of gray too.  It was $35 on Craigs List.  It was knotted pine and the top had bits of paper plate stuck to it where someone had left a hot paper plate.  Eeeew. 

I don't have a great "before" shot, but you can sort of see it in the photo below.  It's that very back piece of furniture.

Do you remember the coffee table I was using in here before?  Here it is:

This one got a little spruce up also and is headed to the loft.  I'm not quite finished with it yet or I would share a photo.  That will come soon...

I also painted this little desk:

I had originally bought it for Reid to do his homework at.  But...we've been using it as a console behind the sofa and I really love the fit, so I may have to find another desk for Reid before he heads back to school in September. 

Those baskets are currently holding a bunch of board games, but I think I'm going to store extra blankets and sofa pillows in them instead and take the board games back upstairs to the loft {which is where I stole the baskets from}.

Here is the "before" of the desk:

This was another Craigs List find.  It was $40 and the woman was sad to get rid of it because she had just painted it green.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was going to paint it!  It was sort of a minty shade and whatever had been used to seal the paint was yellowing pretty badly. 

Those baskets are Smith and Hawken from Target.  I think those chalkboard labels are super cute.

Both pieces are painted the same light shade of gray which I think works well with the white chairs and the dark brown leather.  It also doesn't fight the wood stains in the room.  I wish I had the color name for you, but I had it color matched from a Pottery Barn furniture chip I had saved from when we bought Grant's changing table.

{I will look at a couple of my paint decks and see if I can find a pretty close match.}

So, there you have it, a new desk/console and coffee table for $75 and a little hard work.  On Thursday, I'll share with you how I paint furniture.  I'm no expert, but I'll share what works for me as well as a few tips I've learned in the process.

Don't forget that tomorrow is the 2nd week of the Summer Snapshots Linky Party!!  I hope you'll come back and link up!!  I can't wait to share my own and see what you all have been up to!

Friday, June 24, 2011

thai chicken pasta

Here is a quick little recipe for your weekend!  I made this pasta the other night using a quick sauce from this guy and made it my own with a few extra ingredients.  I was trying to recreate the Thai Chicken Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, but in a pasta. 

We really liked it and it was super quick and easy to make. 

Here it is!


1 lb Pasta {I used linguine, but I think bow tie would work well also}
1 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
1/3 Cup, plus 2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Asian Chili Sauce {use a bit less if you are not a fan of spicy food}
Shredded Chicken {I just shredded up a pre cooked chicken from the Deli section of the grocery store to make it easy on myself}
Bean Sprouts
Carrots {cut in very thin strips}
Cilantro, chopped

Start a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan stir together the peanut butter, broth, chili sauce and soy sauce until well combined and warmed through.  It will be slightly thick as well.

When the pasta is done, drain and return to pot.  Add the peanut sauce and mix well.  Serve onto plates with tongs and top each plate with the shredded chicken, carrots, bean sprouts and cilantro.


Happy Weekend!  I am off to work on a few projects that I hope to share next week!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

pillows and other progress

I feel like the new house is finally starting to come together.  Granted, we still have a long way to go, but much progress has been made since I first shared these photos

The Living Room is the first thing you see when you open the door and when spend a lot of time here as a family.  I've been focusing my efforts on this room and I thought I'd let you peek at how it's coming along.

Remember when I purchased these fun sofa pillows {from here} back at the beginning of the year?  Shortly after that, we decided to move and they remained in a box until just last week.  I love the way they dress up the sofa and I love the fun surf colors.

The white bench is from Craigs List.  I initially bought it for the dining table, but it just didn't seem right.  We used it at the foot of the bed and we've also used it as a coffee table.  And now it's landed here in the Living Room.  I love it with the big striped pillow and it adds some extra seating without taking up too much room.

The purple velvet pillows are from HomeGoods.  I was on the fence and my mom was like "you have to get those."  She was so right.  Love them.

On the other side of the room, we added a pair of these chairs.  This room doesn't get a ton of light so pops of white and bright colors make it fun and inviting.  I plan to paint the coffee table, and find a more proportionate lamp and a better storage spot for the blankets, but for now it's progress and that's a good thing. 

{before}                                                                         {after}

We have also been working on the not so glamorous, but much need replacement of all the doorknobs.  It was not so much for beauty as it was for function.  The old ones were really, really old and they kept falling off.  So, when you went to open the closet or the kids room door, BAM, right on your foot.  And they were very heavy.  Since we are barefoot or in flip flops most of the time around here, it was getting old fast.  I picked up some oil rubbed bronze doorknobs at Home Depot and now we no longer have to worry about heavy doorknobs dropping on our children.  And, as an added bonus I think they look better too!

{Please excuse the awkward self portrait and the extreme lego mess in Reid's room. Every night that gets cleaned up and every night it looks just like that all over again...sigh.}

Since some of the downstairs doors are stained, I wanted to pick a finish that works on the paint and the stain finishes.  I think the oil rubbed bronze does the trick!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Snapshots Week 1 {Linky Party!!}

Yay!!  Week 1 of the Summer Snapshots series is here!  I have been taking photos all week and I hope you have too!

I also got busy making my Summer List.  Here it is:

I just used a big roll of craft paper and some sharpies.  We decided to hang it in the loft where we can see it all the time.  I plan to print the summer snapshots from each week and make a photo border around the list with them.  Should be fun!  And...we already have two checked off! 

Okay, on to the week of Snapshots!  Monday was our last day of school, so our first day of summer was Tuesday.  I am going to end with Sunday each week just to make it easier for me!

First day of summer and a sleepover.  Can you tell they are having fun??

Reid and his friend were playing two square on the side of the house and I saw Samson and Grant watching them through the sunroom.  It's so hard to be the little brother sometimes!

Later that day we went to the Farmers Market

Another sleepover, this time at a friend's house.  I think the boys were less than thrilled that I brought my camera in to take a photo!  But, aren't they cute?

Disneyland and an overnight date {in a hotel!} with Grandma.  Super special.  Reid was pumped!

With Reid gone for the day, Grant had plenty of time to do his favorite thing: play in Reid's room without being bothered!  I love this photo - he really wanted to see what was in there!! 


My mom and I did a tour of some historical homes in San Diego and I asked my Dad to take a photo of us. All by himself, Grant came and stood in front and said, "Cheeeese!!"  We were totally cracking up.  I guess he's pretty used to the camera :)

Sunday {Father's Day}
Love those boys!!

So, that was our week in snapshots!  I hope you'll link up and share yours below.  I plan to visit each of them!!  If you link up, I would love it if you would take a button to add to your post. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Two years ago today, after a three year journey of trying to conceive our second child, Grant Martin was born.  When I look at that picture above, I can still feel his warm little nose on mine.  I remember when they handed him to me and I just cried and I kept saying "I love you.  I love you.  I love you."  The wait was over.  He was ours.  It was an amazing moment.  It's so crazy how as a parent, you just instantly love your child.  I love this quote:

"Before you were conceived I wanted you.  Before you were born I loved you.  Before you were here an hour I would die for you.  This is the miracle of love"  - Maureen Hawkins 

So true.

Grant, you are the sweetest, happiest, most snuggly little boy.  You bring so much joy and love to our home and we all just adore you.  You make our family complete and we are so glad you are ours.  Being your mommy is such a gift.  I love you more than life.

Happy Birthday #2  Baby Goose!!

To celebrate Grant's special day, we are headed off to the happiest place on earth - Disneyland!! 

I'll be back tomorrow and I hope you all will be joining me for the first Summer Snapshots Linky party!!  See you then!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

for my dad

As a little girl, he was the one I ran to when I got hurt.  There is something about your dad that is instantly comforting.  Even now, just hearing his voice on the other end of the phone at the end of a bad day feels reassuring.  He reminds me that I'm loved, that he's proud and that what matters most in life are the people you love and the ones who love you. 

When I have big news, when I need encouragement, or when I just want to talk, he is always there. 

As a little girl I worshipped him.  And as an adult, I treasure all that he is in my life and all that he is for my boys.  Seeing the love in his eyes when he looks at them warms my heart.  He loves them wholeheartedly and unconditionally...the way he's always loved me. 

When I was growing up, he always told me, {and he still tells me now} "I love you very much, no matter what".  Isn't that all our children need?  To know that they are loved and that there is nothing that can take that away?  That kind of love gives a child confidence in who they are and where they come from and that kind of love has gotten me through tough times as an adult, too.

I don't think little girls ever outgrow their daddy.  I know I'll never outgrow mine.

I love you so much matter what.

Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

summer snapshots at the starfish blog {linky party starting next wednesday!}

It's summer!  I don't know about you, but I always start the season with such big hopes and goals of all the fun things we will do and then next thing you know it's September!  So, with a little inspiration from Meg, I decided to make a Summer List.


Pretty awesome, huh?

Now that I have a 2nd {eek!!} grader, I am realizing that time goes so quickly and I don't want to miss a moment.  I want to soak it all up and enjoy my sweet little things while they are still little and still think I'm cool.

So, in addition to making a summer list, I decided to take a snapshot each day.  I am going to be posting them every Wednesday, sort of as a way to recap our week in photos and hopefully it will make a fun little way to remember our summer when September comes.  I think it will also make me more intentional about capturing and creating fun moments and memories for my kids.  I'll share our summer list and our first week of snapshots next Wedesday.  Want to join me in the adventure?  I'll have a linky tool and I'd love for you to link up your week of summer snapshots here each Wednesday with me!  It should be fun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

do you read holly?

Do you read Holly Mathis' blog?  I totally do and I also advertise there.  It's filled with inspiration and style and beautiful photos.  And Holly is a super sweet Texas gal so it's hard not to love her.

Just for fun, we thought we'd have a little summer promo over there.  I'll let you read all about it {here}, but I'll give you a hint: it involves a free Taylor necklace.  And, you can all get one.  Not just one lucky reader.  All of you.  Head over and check it out! 

{Sweet and simple Taylor}

Have a beautiful Monday!
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