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Monday, November 30, 2015

DI Chandelier Makeover

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Well…hello friends! It’s has been a long while since I last posted on our blog. I am just grateful to my sister and her desire to share her breast cancer story with all of you while I took a little break. Her story is inspiring. I am grateful for her strength and desire to keep moving forward while going through this difficult and scary time in her life. I am grateful she is still here with us and I love her. =-)
A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of a small chandelier I found at DI. My friend Allysun saw it first; she was thinking it would look good in her living area, but after a few minutes of pondering she decided it did not really fit the style she was going for. That’s when I jumped in and said “Are you sure you don’t want it? If you don’t I will take it!.”  “Go for it.” – she said. A few minutes later this young mom saw me holding my great find and told me how lucky I was that I had found such a treasure. She had been looking for one for a long time, but her son had to go to the bathroom, and when she came back this awesome find was hanging from my left hand. Mmmmmm…should I have given it to her? Now that I think about it I feel kind of bad. Oh well…too late now to feel bad. Note to this mom: when you see something you like at DI, grab it!
I was not really sure what to do with it at first or where I would actually hang it. Initially I wanted to replace the shades, but after searching on the internet I realized these kinds of shades are not cheap–at least not the ones that I liked. Here is a before picture of the chanderlier:
I only paid $10.00 for it, and it is heavy wrought iron. After pondering for a bit I decided I wanted to paint it white and distress it. I thought about doing a glaze over it too, but since the base was a dark brown I could just distress it and have some of the brown color show on all the edges.
I took it to my garage and spray painted the whole thing. I even spray painted the sleeves where the bulbs are screwed into. Make sure you give it several coats and that you cover all the little nooks and crannies. Start spraying it in the position shown (remove shades first, of course) and then turn over. I do the bottom last as it is the area that will show the most once it hangs from the ceiling.
One word of advice – do not buy cheap spray paint. I bought a generic brand that was on sale at Ace Hardware and the paint was horrible – no matter how much I shook the can the paint was still coming out clumpy and gross. I still used it, but then I bought some Krylon spray paint in satin and it was sooo heavenly smooth and steady while I sprayed. So…note to self (and to you!): cheapy spray paint gives you cheapy results (not to be confused with ‘chippy’ – we do want that!).
Once the paint was completely dry, I took a piece of sandpaper (medium coarseness) and went to town distressing the whole thing. I focused on the areas that would normally wear off with the years, like all the edges and some crevices here and there. Some people like a lot of distressing and some don’t – and that’s Ok! Just do enough of it until you get the look that you are looking for.
I tried covering the shades with scrapbooking paper, and even though the result was decent, when I put them on I did not like the look. Once I had my husband help me with the wiring and hanging, I decided it looked way better without the shades. It looks classy and dresses up my daughter’s bedroom very nicely.
Here are some pictures of the end result. We have plans to repaint her whole room and do a different color scheme, and the chandelier will still go perfectly with whatever we choose to do.
Enjoy the pictures! Let me know if you have any questions about this quick and easy project!
See you soon!

DIY Nativity Stable

DIY Nativity Stable

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As promised, I will show you how easy it is to build a pretty stable for your nativity scene out of wood scraps. Are you ready?
Materials needed:
Wood ( I used plywood from my storage trunk project).
Miter saw
Wood glue
Chalk paint or stain
These are my 4 pieces of wood already cut. I drilled pocket holes on my two longer pieces deep enough to fit my 1 1/4 inch screws.  I used a Kreg Jig to drill the pocket holes. If you have never used one, don’t panic. This small tool comes with easy to follow intructions and will tell you exactly what to do to get the right depth for your pocket holes. It is all determined by how thick your wood is (mine is 3/4 inches thick). Here are the measurements of my wood pieces:
Right hand square piece – 10 X 10 inches
Bottom left piece – 5 X 10 inches
Top left longer pieces – 3 X 14 inches each
Now, these measurements are based on the size of my tallest figurine. Joseph is about 11.5 inches, and I decided to make the stable three inches taller to make it roomier and more comfortable for them. =-) The top piece is 1/2 the size of the bottom piece. However, it all depends on what you want your end result to look like. I cut the bottom piece first, placed the figurines on it, and then decided the height and width of the side pieces. My nativity is from Hobby Lobby and with a coupon of 40% off I paid $30.00. I bought this back in October, and I am so glad I did! I was there last week and there were no nativities left. Here is what the box looks like:
So, let me show how I did this. I attached the side pieces to the base first:
The top was next:
And this is the end result ready for paint or stain:
Don’t forget to use wood glue before you screw the pieces together. Apply the glue where the pieces touch, then screw. It will give you a very sturdy bond. Any wood glue works. You may find it at any craft store.
Ok, now we move on to paint. But first I wanted to stain it as I was planning on distressing the whole thing. I wanted the dark stain to show on the edges. However, if that is not your thing and you want the end result to be a solid warm white, go for it! You can skip the following step.
I took an old rag, dipped it in the stain, and started applying it. A small amount goes a long way! I used the same stain I have used for many of my projects. It is the Minwax brand in the dark walnut color. You may want to protect the area where you are staining. Put some newspaper or wax paper down for easy clean up. Also, take the time to change into clothes that you won’t care if they get stained.
Note to self: Follow my own advice. =-)
(As a side note, if you are wondering how I hand painted the back wall in my dining room, you can find the tutorial here.)
My daughter Natalia wanted me keep it like this. I really liked it too, but it would just get lost with all the wood finishes that there are in my kitchen. My buffet is also a dark wood stain, and I wanted the stable to blend with the nativity and to stand out on the buffet. But, if the furniture piece you are placing your nativity on is white or light colored, I would stick with the stain look. It is all about what you have going on in your space.
Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of my painting process. I got too excited to finish and forgot all about taking more pictures. But, I will explain what I did.
  1. I applied some vaseline in the areas where I wanted the paint to chip off (most of the edges and some random areas).
  2. I painted the whole thing with chalk paint (NOT chalkboard paint) in a warm white. It took about three coats as chalk paint soaks into the wood easily and dries really fast.
  3. I took a sanding block and sanded all of the edges and random areas where I applied the vaseline.
  4. I applied more paint or stain in areas where I thought I sanded too much, and sanded more where I thought it needed it. It was a good 10 minutes or more of touching up, sanding, stepping back to look at it, and touching up again. =-)
I am pleased with the results! I ended up placing a red runner under it to give it more depth, and added my DIY Christmas trees. I made these before I started blogging – someday I will write a post on how to make them.
The glass lamp is a DI find and I replaced the shade. The snowy branches I bought at a local craft store, and I still have to fill my glass vases on the right with something Christmasy.
Thank you for stopping by! Let me know if you have any other questions.