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Category: DIY

Creating an Ash Blonde Finish

Happy Friday friends! I’m so glad you stopped by! Are you ready for the weekend? I know I am. Speaking of weekend, 2 weeks ago I started a simple “weekend” project. I decided to refinish our 12-year-old kitchen table. The table top was a dark cherry finish. It had all sorts of “memories” etched into it from my kids when they were little. I love my kids and I love a well-worn rustic finish, but after 12 years, this table was in desperate need of an update! I wanted to lighten it up with an ash blonde finish. To be honest, I don’t know what kind of wood my table is made of, but if I had to guess i would say it’s Cherry just because it has red hue in it’s natural state.  So anyway…after trial and error, my weekend project was more like my 2 week project. But now that it’s finally finished I love it! It really feels like I have a brand new table! However, it really shouldn’t have taken me that long. So I thought I would share a few tips on how to get the popular ash blonde finish WITHOUT the trial and error process.

The before & after

You will need:

*read all directions on back of cans before applying

 

1. Sand wood with 150 grit sandpaper with an orbital sander. This will strip off the existing finish, dents and scratches.

2. Clean off sawdust. Sand with 320 grit sandpaper for a nice smooth finish.

3. Wipe down furniture with a tack cloth.

4. Rub Minwax Pre-stain wood conditioner into wood with a rag. This will prevent blotchiness when applying stain

5. 2 hours later, apply Minwax Weathered Oak Stain with a clean rag. Let sit 5 – 10 minutes then wipe off.

6. 4 hours later, apply Minwax Pickled Oak Stain with a clean rag. Let sit 5 – 10 minutes, then wipe off.

7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 every 4 hours, alternating stain colors, until you achieve desired finish color. I did this 6 times (3 of each color)

8. At least 4 hours later, wipe with a tack cloth and apply Minwax Spar Urethane with a foam brush.

9. Let dry a minimum of 4 hours, then sand with 320 grit sandpaper.

10. 4 hours later, wipe with a tack cloth and repeat steps 8 & 9

11. For a matte finish( just to keep it rustic 😉 ) sand again with 320 grit sandpaper

12. Wipe with a tack cloth and you’re finished! Literally 😉

Blessings,
Karen

Simple DIY Valentine’s Decor

Hello!  It’s hard to believe Valentine’s Day is almost here!  I have to admit that I not a very crafty person.  My kids have never been the ones bringing homemade Valentine’s to school.  And on the occasion that I do craft…well…let’s just say the simpler the better for me.  So, if your craft-challenged like me, but would still like to add a little love to your house this Valentine’s Day, here are a few simple craft ideas that even I can do!  Just click on the pictures for a the DIY details.  Happy Crafting!

Paper Doily Heart Garland

  • I love the neutral color and simplicity of this project.  You can drape this garland across anything that needs a little love.

Pink Painted Mason Jars

  • Place fresh flowers or baby’s breath in the jars and place on a table or sideboard

 

Kisses Artwork

  • I love this simple artwork!  Frame it in white and hang it on a white wall for an added pop of color.

Heart Tree

  • This would be a great centerpiece for a table or sideboard

Heartstring Artwork

  • This can be hung anywhere in the house that needs a little extra love.

Felt Ball Garland

  • I love this draped across the chalkboard.  It could be draped over a mantle, mirror, or artwork, as well.

Sweater Heart Pillow

  • These fun accent pillow for Valentine’s Day and a great way to recycle your kid’s sweaters!

 

“I heart U” Printable

  • Just print, frame and hang in your daughter’s room all year round as a daily reminder of your love.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

xoxo,

Karen

 

DIY Pallet Accent Wall

 

Hello, thanks for stopping by!  We finished the pallet accent wall in my husband’s office this week and it turned out better than I imagined.  I love it when that happens!  But I think my favorite thing about this project is that it was absolutely free.  My husband owns a landscape company so he always has an abundance of old pallets laying around.  So it was kind of fitting to put them on the wall in his office because they are such a big part of what he does for a living.  

Today I wanted to show you how we went from a bunch of old pallets at his yard to a beautiful accent wall. I’ll also tell you where you can find your own free pallets.  Just a quick note, if you decide to do a pallet accent wall, plan on it taking 2-3 weeks because it takes a while for the wood to dry and acclimate to your home before hanging on the wall.  You also may want to paint the wall black first.  There will be visible gaps and having a black background will highlight the wood more than the gaps.  In our case the wall was already painted a charcoal gray so we left it this color because it was so dark.

1.) We started with old weathered pallets like these.  I have no idea how long these pallets have been outside, but they looked weathered and worn and the nails were already rusted.  The more weathered the better, however they should still be intact and definitely MOLD-FREE!!  We used approximately 30 pallets for a 17′ x 11′ wall.  Keep in mind that some boards may be unusable so you’ll want extra pallets on hand.   It’s ok if the boards are different widths.  It’s also ok if the boards are cracked.  They can be nailed together on the wall.  

2.) Once we gathered our pallets, we cut the nails of flat slats off of the 2×4’s using a reciprocating saw with a long blade.  This is quicker than pulling the nails and it also preserves the rusted nail heads in the slats, giving the wall a more rustic look.  We did not use the 2×4’s.  We only used the thin slats.

3.) We wanted to keep rustic natural look so we left the boards unfinished and unsanded. However, we knocked off the dirt and filed them down a little by scrubbing all 6 sides with a wire brush.  Don’t worry about damaging them with the wire brush, it only adds to the rustic charm! (for a more refined look you can sand them, however you may have to stain them to get a more weathered look)

4.)  After they’ve all been wire brushed we layed them all out outside and hosed them down with mold and mildew remover just to ensure they were clean and mold and mildew free.  Then we rinsed them with the hose, flipped them over and repeated the process.

5.) Next is the drying process.  This is probably the most important step.  It takes a while for wood to dry completely and it is super important that the wood is completely dry before putting it on the wall.  It is also important that the wood dries flat or it will bow, making it impossible to put on the wall.  

We stacked the boards in a square pattern, which kept them flat and allowed for airflow.  We started outside, but then had to move re-stack them in the garage due to the threat of rain, so I would suggest doing this in the garage or a covered area.  It took about a week for them to dry, even then they weren’t completely dry.

6.) Next we moved the boards into the house and let them finish drying and acclimate to room temperature.  This took another week.

7.) Once the boards were dry and acclimated we sorted them.  We looked for straight boards with straight edges on both sides.  We used these for the long pieces and we used the crooked boards for the cut edges.

8.)  Using a stud finder, we found the studs on the wall and drew a straight line the length of the wall for each stud.  Then we found the level line at the base of the wall, using a long level, and drew a line the length of the wall for our starting point.

9.) Using a finish nail gun we hung the first row on the level line, nailing only on the stud lines.  We hung all boards nailhead side up.

10.)  We hung the rest of the boards, making sure the seams were staggered and the rows were level all the way up.  If you have boards that are different widths like we did, just make sure each row of boards is the same width to keep lines level. Create a random pattern with the widths.  Keep in mind that these boards are imperfect.  For the most part you want to have straight lines, but they are not perfectly straight and there will be gaps.  It just adds to the rustic charm.  The most important thing is that you want to keep the lines level the entire way up the wall.

11.)  For the ends of the wall we cut off  the straight ends of the crooked boards and used those so they wouldn’t go to waste.

12.)  We finished the wall with baseboard and window trim.  Then we put the outlet covers back on the wall and rehung the floating shelves and we were done!

If you’re looking for free pallets a local landscaper or stone mason is a great place to start.  They should have an abundance of pallets to choose from.  Give them a call and ask if you could take them off their hands. I’m sure they would be happy give them to you for free if you pick them up.  Don’t shy away from them if they are in a dirty pile out back. Those are the best kind because they are probably well weathered. The most important thing to look for is straight slats and NO MOLD! And get a few more than you think you’ll need.  If you don’t have any luck there you can probably find them on Craigslist for a few bucks a pallet.  

I hope you get the chance to try this fun project.  It really does make a statement.  I would love to see pictures of your completed wall! I’m so happy that we are one step closer to having this office complete.  I can’t wait to show you what’s next for the ceiling!

Blessings,

Karen 

 

 

 

 

Simple Christmas Wreaths

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Happy December!  It’s time to haul out the Holly!  I love fresh natural decor.  So I wanted share with you these simple Christmas wreaths that I made.  I used the trimmings from the Needlepoint Holly and Nandina bushes in our yard.  However, you could also use Boxwood, Juniper, Magnolia or Cyprus leaves.  All of these shrubs and trees are commonly used in landscape.  Most likely, you have at least one of these in your yard too.  Soooo….grab your clippers.  It’s time to trim those shrubs and make a wreath!  This is multi-tasking at it’s finest y’all!

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You will need:

  • Trimmings from plant of your choice 
  • Baling wire
  • Floral wire
  • Ribbon
  • Christmas music (optional, but strongly advised)

 

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  1. Cut baling wire to desired length. (I cut 46″ of wire to make a 15″ wreath)
  2. Bend baling wire in a circle and twist ends to secure
  3. Center stem on baling wire. Wrap stem and baling wire tightly with floral wire at the base of stem.  Wrap several times to secure.
  4. Layer leaves, moving around the circle and securing.  Repeat process all the way around the circle.
  5. If you have berries that are separate from leaf stems (such as Nandina) place berries on top of leaves, dispersing evenly around circle, and secure tightly with floral wire.
  6. Round out shape ~  Trim off leaves that are sticking out, make sure all pieces are secured tightly, add extra pieces to balance circular shape.  
  7. Cut ribbon to desired length.  Wrap ribbon around top or bottom of wreath.
  8. Hang and enjoy!

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The Nandina wreath is a thin, soft, wispy wreath.  It’s perfect to hang in front of interior windows and doors.  I attached this wreath to our french door by stapling the ribbon to the top of the door using a staple gun.  

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The Holly wreath is a thick, full wreath. You can hang this wreath anywhere you want to add a pop of holiday color.  It’s also perfect for the front door.

Happy wreath making!

Blessings ~

Karen