Friday, October 31, 2014

DYI Skeleton Costume

Need a last minute Halloween costume? Here's an easy yet sweet-looking skeleton costume that took me about 20 minutes to make. All you need is a white or black t-shirt (one size bigger than you normally wear), a white or black undershirt (opposite of your top shirt color), this pattern from Martha Stewart, a cutting board, rotary cutter, and scissors. You'll also need black and white face paint if you want to go all out but even without the makeup this costume would still be fun.
 I found the makeup tutorial here on YouTube.
 My daughter and me at our family Halloween party

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Computer Desk Refinish

I picked up a desk and chair from a garage sale for $40. Instead of paying someone else to refinish it for me I thought I'd give it a shot myself. After watching a few YouTube videos and figuring out what paint and materials to use I went for it. It turned out beautiful and it was much easier than I thought. If you have an old piece of furniture lying around give it new life just by painting it!
First, I decided on the color Marina Isle by Behr. Instead of buying a ton of paint I just bought a sample size for $4 in a satin sheen. It turned out I needed two of these but still, I only paid $8! This is just regular paint you would use for your walls. It's not a special wood paint or anything.
 This color is a minty green/blue color. The color right above it would be gorgeous too but I wanted a pop of color for this desk.
 I used Kilz 2 Latex multi-purpose Stainblocker as my primer. This cost around $9 at Home Depot. 
I was worried that the desk would have streaks in it since I wasn't using a sprayer but it turned out fine by using just a small roller with a smooth finish sponge and a regular paint brush I had lying around.
I used this Black & Decker sander that my husband had. If you don't have an electric sander I bet you could rent one from a local hardware store or find a nice neighbor that will loan you one.
For the first sanding I used 120 grit sand paper and then I used 220 grit for the second time around. The lower the number the rougher the texture of the sand paper. For any parts of the table and chair I couldn't reach with the sander I just held the sandpaper in my hand and gave it a mediocre sanding just so the primer and paint would stick well. After sanding make sure to wipe your furniture down well with a wet cloth to remove any dust.
The last step is to cover the paint with a clear top coat to protect it. I used Minwax water based Polycrylic protective finish. This was the most expensive thing I had to buy ($17). I could have gotten a smaller one for $8 but I figured I'd be using it again for future projects so I might as well get the large can. The small can would have been enough to do 2 coats on this table, it goes far.
Here's a before picture of the table. Not bad, but it didn't match the d├ęcor in my dining room where this desk would be going. I don't have a picture of the chair that matches but you'll see that refinished.
Step 1 -  Sand the table and chair 1st with a lower number grit (I used 120) then with a higher number grit (I used 220).
Step 2 - Wipe down the table with a  damp cloth and make sure there is no dust left over from sanding. Then with your paint brush paint the edges and parts where the roller won't reach. Go over the whole table with a light coat of the primer using the roller. Let the first coat dry and then repeat and do a 2nd coat. The picture above is after 1 coat of primer.
Step 3 - Once the primer is dry (I let it sit overnight) start your 1st coat of paint. Use the same process as you did with the primer using the brush to get in the cracks and then rolling on the paint with the roller. Let the 1st coat dry and decide if you need another coat. Mine was still a tad streaky so I used 2 coats.
Step 4 - Distress (if desired). This desk looked fine without any distressing but I wanted it to match some other furniture I have so I did distress it lightly. Just go around the edges with the sandpaper in your hand and rub off some paint where the furniture would wear. You might be afraid to do this step since you just painted it and it looks so nice. If you want it distressed just go for it! You can always repaint over if you don't like it.

Step 5 - Put on the top coat. The Minwax top coat I used is very thin and watery so you don't need a ton. I put it on the same way I painted the primer and paint. I did do 2 coats again just to make sure it was covered well.
Here is the chair refinished and reupholstered. I just bought some cute fabric from Hobby Lobby and stapled it over the old cushion. It was simple! But it made all the difference.
Voila! The finished product back in my house. Overall I think I spent around $40 to complete this project. Next time I need to refinish something I'll have everything I need except the paint so it won't cost near as much.
I'm loving my little computer corner now!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gingerbread Skeletons and Mummies

I LOVE that we can make gingerbread men for Halloween now! I usually only make them around Christmas time but I found these cute gingerbread skeletons and mummies on Pinterest and they gave me a great excuse to make them for Halloween.
I didn't decorate mine too special but they still turned out cute and taste delicious!
Here's my favorite Gingerbread Men recipe that I found on

Gingerbread Men -

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg and water. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8 in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4 in. cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Reroll scraps.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired. Yield: about 2 dozen cookies.
Frosting Cement-

2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups powdered sugar
  • Beat eggs with cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar. Beat for 10 minutes. Add next cup and beat for 10 more minutes.
  • Place in piping bag and decorate your gingerbread men.

This recipe is simple and hard to screw up. Even my two year old daughter can make it! The cookies are SO yummy and the frosting is perfect because it sets up well.

Family Room Remodel

It was so fun to see the family room in our house come together! I had been collecting furniture and decorations and had to wait to put it all together until the floors and walls were finished. Here are some before and after pictures of how it turned out: 
This room was closed off completely to the dining room and kitchen. We knew we wanted an open great room so thanks to my Uncle Blaine, who's a contractor, it happened. Those shelves had to go since the wall it was on was the one that we were knocking down.
 This is a picture looking from the dining room at the wall that was coming down. Jake is pointing to it.
 Look how much brighter and better it looks without that wall closing everything off! Blaine and his apprentice, Jake, made a beam and put it up so that the house wouldn't fall down.
The wall color I chose was a gray called Gentle Rain by Behr. And for the white on the bottom I used Pure White by Behr.
This is a painting of a picture that I fell in love with when we visited my parents in Brazil. My mom, Laurel Hart, surprised me and painted it for me to hang on my wall. She's amazing! You can check out more of her work here. The colors in this painting were the inspiration for the room.
I love this little sitting area in the front window! The only thing left for me to do here is get some decent wood blinds and get rid of these old metal ones. The chairs are from Down to Earth at Gardner Village, the table is from the Black Goose, and the lamp is from Pier 1 Imports. And I got the drapes from Home Goods. 
You can see behind the loveseat in this picture where the wall was taken down. It opens up to the dining room and kitchen. I got my couches from RC Willey, pillows were from the Quilt Shop and Down to Earth at Gardner Village, and the rug is from Down East. I found my coffee table and end tables on in the classifieds section for like $120 and then I paid a lady named Jodi Brimhall (Cottage Charm Creations) in my neighborhood to paint them. She did an amazing job! I painted a computer desk recently and now that I know how easy it is I'll never pay someone else to do it again. The only thing I have left to do is get some nice lamps for the two end tables.
There were no lights in the ceiling in this room so my brother-in-law, Skyler, put in some can lights and wired for a light in the middle of the room so Jake could put in this fan. We got it at Home Depot.
This entertainment center is directly across from the big couch. We got it at the RC Willey Outlet and it was one of the first things we bought for the house. Miraculously it fit the wall perfectly without me even measuring. It was meant to be. I'm not finished decorating it how I'd like yet though. We'll get there...