Monday, September 15, 2014

Painted Waterfall Dresser - How To Cover Water Damage On A Dime

I found this beautiful, wooden waterfall dresser... OK, it was pretty ugly actually, but I needed a dresser and it had potential. This one was going for pretty much nothing on Craigslist, so I picked it up and started playing dress-up with it. :)

You can see from the pictures that the veneer on the top of the dresser was peeling off. It was the same story on the dresser sides at the bottom where there was water damage. But the refurbishing ideas were brewing....

I'd heard that you could peel off the veneer on waterfall dressers and still have a decent top. So I did it - and immediately regretted it. As you can see from the picture below, under the veneer was warped, cracked, and sorry looking to say the least.

The next idea was to cover it with contact paper. But to do that I would need a smoother surface. So I tried to glue it down, then attempted a sanding and paint job...

...but to no avail. Leaving me with a severely misshapen surface, this dresser was determined to look ugly.

Calling on my clever sister Summer, she suggested I try covering the damage with duct tape and THEN with the contact paper.

I gave it a go.

I was delighted with how well it worked! Seeing that the duct tape was sticking firmly to the painted wood (no peeling up) and it smoothed out the surface, I covered the whole top with a duct-tape veneer.

Yes! Now it was time to test out the contact paper and see how well it stuck to the duct tape.

Beautiful! The contact paper had a bit of a hard time adhering to the back of the dresser (which was NOT painted). Another strip of duct tape just along the edge did the trick (of course, where no one will see).

Time to address the water damage on the bottom of the dresser (thankfully just on the sides). I covered them with contact paper, but seeing that the warped wood showed through the contact paper, I turned again to my sister's brilliant idea...

...and covered every cracked and peeling piece of wood with duct tape!

I even covered the underside of the dresser because it looked pretty sorry too. I was afraid the contact paper wouldn't stay tucked under if it didn't have a good surface to work with.

I didn't bother painting the underside. I simply cut off the pieces that were destined to fall off anyway, cleaned the surface of any dust and splinters, and put the tape right on there. And it worked!

I finished applying the contact paper, using my trusty library card.

The edges got a perfect trim with my never-leave-home-without-it pocket knife.

Once I finished covering the dresser sides with contact paper, I tucked the contact paper up and underneath the dresser sides. And just like I did with the top of the dresser, I tacked on a couple strips of duct tape over the edge of the contact paper to make sure it wasn't going anywhere.

With all the water damage and peeling veneer now taken care of, it was time to make it pretty!

After taking off the hardware and painting each drawer front white, I taped off a thin square on each drawer and gave it a sharp black edging.

It looked a little unfinished, so I grabbed a rubber stamp, dabbed it in black paint and PRACTICED ON A PIECE OF PAPER! Always practice first. It keeps you from making really dumb mistakes and having to repaint your stuff.

The first stamp always blobbed, but the second one looked good and the third looked even better - perhaps a bit distressed. The slight imperfections of the second 2 stamps were perfect!

So I stamped a beautifully *imperfect* row of flourishes across the bottom of my dresser. Press rubber stamp in the paint, stamp on paper (to remove blobs), stamp on dresser once or twice, and repeat!

And that did it! It was finished. I put the handles back on (which already had a great worn finish, almost an industrial look to them) and put it in my room.

See? Much better!

And just so you know, I made this project about a year ago and everything is holding up really well!

Just remember to follow the contact paper instructions... I should have overlapped the contact paper on the top more than just a quarter inch. Half an inch to an inch would have been best since I had plenty of contact paper to work with, and you can't even see the seam in the design across the top.

But everything else - duct tape, contact paper, paint and all - is working out just swimmingly (and with a couple of young kids that love to use everything as a hammer on my dresser, that is saying something)!

I hope this helps someone out there refurbish their water-damaged, warped, or peeling furniture piece that needs a little love. I'm tickled with the way my painted waterfall dresser turned out. :)

Happy DIYing everyone!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Inexpensive Pantry Organization

   Once upon a time there was a girl who had a very messy pantry.  It was never easy to find what she needed and she often ended up buying more of items she already had because she couldn't find them in her disorganized pantry.

   Then one day, she had an epiphany.  "I'll organize my pantry!" she thought.  "But how?"

   She jumped on the internet and came across many lovely organizational ideas, but all required a larger budget than she had available.

   The she had another epiphany.  "I can just affix a laminated tag to my wire shelves under where each item should go," she said.

   But then she realized that printing, laminating, and cutting all those tiny tags would be quite time consuming and could be a bit costly. "If only I already had some little plastic tags that I could just insert a label into and attach to my wire shelves," she said.

   And then she had a third epiphany.  "I have oodles of extra labels from the hanging file folders that I use in my filing cabinet.  Maybe those will work."  And they did!

She went to her computer and typed up the names of the foods she had.  Then she cut them out and slid them into the plastic holders.  But what she did next was the real ingenious thing. 

She slid the labels in between the wires on her shelf and they stayed--no tape or ties or anything!

Now her pantry is neat and tidy.  And she can always find what she needs for her recipe and can always see when its time to pick an item up at the grocery store.  

And she and her pantry lived happily ever after.


---The Tiff-girl

Friday, June 27, 2014

Quickest 5-Gallon Bucket Seat EVER!

I've made a very simple and quick cushion for a 5-Gallon bucket. Easiest thing EVER!

Here's the link to the instructions:  Quickest 5-gallon bucket seat EVER!

Happy Creating!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY Christmas Advent Chain Idea & Free Printable!

My family loves the DIY Christmas advent chain... but how do you make it look fantastic? My struggle is that it always looks like some scraggly chain that doesn't fit in with my Christmas decor.

So this year, I used cardstock that matches my home for the chain (as opposed to any old left over cardstock), then made a cute little printable to put in a frame (you can get it too... when you scroll to the bottom)! 

It hangs on the door from a ribbon on a wreath hanger. Then the kids can reach the loops, and it doesn't look like I just taped it to the wall... although I did just tape it to my picture frame. :)

Make your advent chain (many of us already know this tradition, but for those who don't: cut paper strips, write down the number of days until Christmas - one number per paper strip - then staple them in loops in order, and tear off each loop as you pass each day).

Now you need a place to hang it!

Get your picture frame and decide what size of the printable you want on the wall. My frame was square, and much bigger than an 8x10 - but my printer doesn't print any bigger than 8.5 x 11. So I chose a small square.

But my large picture frame needed a matte...

... so I framed my lime green Christmas wrapping paper! Then I added a blue border of cardstock and used my printable for the centerpiece of the picture.

However you choose to doll it up, frame your printable.

Next, hang it up! If you have wall space, great. If not, do as I did - find an empty door and grab your wreath hanger. Use a sturdy ribbon to hang the frame from the wreath hanger.

And last, tape the advent chain to the picture frame. The kids love it. I love it. Actually, my husband thought it looked fantastic too. And I can reuse it again and again. Yay!

In the spirit of giving, here is your free printable!
 And if you ask my daughter how long until Christmas, she'll tell you. Thanks to the advent chain. :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Creative Gift Wrapping

Sometimes you want to give a magazine (or something like that) to a friend.  How do you wrap it?

I have the solution. Wine bottle tube.

 Just roll up the magazine and slip it in.

 I always like to add a little something extra.  Here I felt like a little cookie was just the thing.


Check out my other blog:


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wire ribbon gift bags tutorial

For Teacher gifts this year, I made little gift bags out of wired ribbon, then stuffed them with pocket size anitbacterial hand sanitizer, Ghiradelli chocolate, and kisses and mint bells.
 This is what I used: Hershey's peppermint bark bells and kisses, Ghiradelli chocolates,  Bath & Body Works pocket bacs, gold wired ribbon, at least 2 inches wide, and tulle on a spool.
Here's how to make it: Cut 28" of wired ribbon. Fold in half. 

From fold, sew a straight basting stitch to the end. Repeat on the other side, making sure to start from the fold, so the bag won't have a pucker toward the bottom/fold. Trim strings.

There's the bag. I slipped the pocketbac in the bottom, and two Ghiradelli chocolate squares. They fit exactly. 

Then topped with kisses and bells and tied of with about 12 inches of tulle ribbon. 
Here they are. Easy and cheap and flexible. Fill with whatever you want.
Happy Christmas! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

How to Thaw a Turkey... and How Long Does It Take to Thaw Him Safely?

Every year I hit the search engines to find out how to thaw a turkey. Inevitably, it's less than a week away from Thanksgiving before I wonder when to set my bird out on the counter... oh but wait! That's bad. Never set poultry out on the counter to thaw...

So I need it to thaw fast!

Once I find the answer, I have to do a separate search to find out how long it will take. That's always different because my turkey is always a different size. One year, it was small 8 lb bird. Another year we bout a 20 lb (ish) bird to share with other families and stash in the freezer for sandwiches. This year, we bought a home grown turkey and dressed him ourselves to put in the freezer. Homegrown turkeys can get clear up to 40 lbs or more! That's one BIG bird.

Then they make me do math. "Multiply your turkey's weight by this number or that number, blah, blah, blah...." I hate math.

So I made a handy little chart for myself. It combines the recommendations which seemingly all experts agree on from the US government to recipe gurus and frozen turkey suppliers. And it gives basic instructions at a glance - which makes this visual learner very happy. :)

So if YOU want to know how long it takes to thaw a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, 
search no more! Just use the chart below.

The top 2 methods are for my memory's sake. I use the "Combined Method" listed at the bottom.

Here's a brief example: my turkey this year is 26 lbs. I got it in the fridge 3 days ago, but I want to brine it tomorrow, so it needs to be thawed today.
  1. Find 26 lbs on the last chart with your finger.
  2. Move across to "3 days" in the fridge and...
  3. Tada! I need to spend 5.5 hours thawing my turkey using the sink method. That means, every 30 minutes for 5 and a half hours, I'm refilling my sink (with my turkey in it) with cold water. 

 Happy Thanksgiving week!  

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