Sunday, March 31, 2013

DIY thrift store tray

Spring has arrived! But only in the technical sense of the word. The weather yesterday was bright and sunny and 60. Which, if you're used to a northern climate is not too shabby. Living in Virginia, I was expecting maybe something a bit more...springlike?

Anyways, spring is officially the start of DIY season in my opinion since it's really the time you can open the garage door and sand things down and paint in your driveway without gloves and a parka.

I plan on spending many a weekend refurbishing or creating things for our home in the sunshine and warm blacktop of our driveway.

The funny thing is, from when we moved in until when I got a job was almost 2 months. 2 months of uninterrupted stay at home time to clean and create and refab. The problem, of course, is that I did almost nothing in terms of decorating and DIYing in those first 2 months. Now that I have a job (and less time to be productive) I am ready to get out there and start being creative. It's strange how I always say to myself when I'm working, "if only I had a spare day off I could get so many things done." When in reality when I had so many spare days off in a row I became lazy and comfortable and I didn't want to do anything that didn't include laying on the couch reading blogs. yep.

All that aside, I've finally begun to do my thrift store shopping (but I think that coincides with having an income again) and I'm trying to take things slow but also create items that will have a large impact.

Yesterday, since it was so beautiful and sunny, I stopped into Goodwill and Salvation Army. At Goodwill they had this wooden tray with the picture of a snowy house carved into it. Now as much as I'm sure someone would have loved that tray just the way it was, I didn't and I knew immediately I was going to change it. For $1.96 I made the investment and took it home.

Unfortunately I did not capture any pictures of it myself because I wasn't sure how soon I would be doing anything with it (turns out almost immediately) but I found a picture of it online here

yep. That's it! I've found several of these online being sold for anywhere from $5-$25 so I ended up nabbing it, even in it's original um...snowy condition for pretty cheap.

I wrestled with the idea of leaving the outside portion of the tray wooden and painting the inside a fun color or pattern but I ended up going the quick route and spray painting that bad boy.

Since it was slightly warm outside it took less than an hour to complete 3 coats and have them dry.

I didn't paint the inside pattern because I wanted to mod podge a pattern on top of it. 

I really wanted to use some of the cute wrapping paper I bought from Paper Source but since I downstairs living room/dining room area is taking on a white/grey/red theme I decided to use a red patterned scrapbook paper.

I wanted this to look sort of worn and aged and I decided that if I didn't like it down the line I could always scrape it up and start new.

So I smeared a layer of mod podge on the bottom of the tray and tried to patiently wait for it to become tacky and dry a bit. This is of course at 8:15 when Shaun came home with the truck that we needed to pick up a mid century dresser piece I bought from Goodwill before 9PM (more on that later).

So I impatiently applied the scrapbook paper and tried desperately to smooth out the bubbles that formed in my haste to get it covered.

When I came back I finished the rest by cutting another piece of scrapbook paper to fit perfectly along the pattern of the last one. 

When I sealed it with another coat of mod podge I realized just how bubble it was and tried desperately to smooth it out with not much effect.

Here you can see how bubble it ended up, but I decided I would use it on the shelf to hold books anyway so the bubbles weren't as prominent.

I'm sure I'll end up redoing it in the future or putting it somewhere you can't see the pattern but for now, it was a nice fresh pop of white in an otherwise very industrial feeling table.

For $2 and about a hour worth of work, I'm pretty happy with it.

That's what thrifting has become for me. I used to look at things only in their original state of beauty and it was hard for me to look past the terrible floral pattern or stained wood.

Now I look for shape and practicality and ask myself, can I paint this or refinish it? Can I cover this with something more attractive? And I am realizing that there are even more inexpensive options out there than I realized! 

I plan on doing something fun with the top of our kitchen cabinets soon as well but that will most likely be from objects acquired over a longer period of time. Now that I have determined my color scheme I can finally fill that empty space between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Adventures in Picture Taking: Warrenton

Yesterday was Thursday, which is always a good one around this house. Shaun is off (usually) on Thursdays so we get to spend the day together either lounging around and cleaning the house, putting together furniture or occasionally taking little adventures and doing some countryside exploring.

Yesterday we opted for waking up to a nice big breakfast and listening to country music. I cleaned the kitchen while Shaun put together the rack for his new free weights. We actually ended up putting together that monstrosity of a bowflex last night and let me tell you something, it's worth it to buy preowned workout equipment if for nothing else other than the fact that PUTTING TOGETHER WORKOUT EQUIPMENT IS THE MOST HORRIBLE THING EVER!

No, I mean it. If you think that some furniture assembly instructions are hard never ever buy a home gym. There are literally NO instructions, a bunch of parts that are either mislabeled or not labeled AT ALL and then just a big picture of the assembled monster that allows you to figure out for yourself how the heck it goes together.

Oh also, there are a lot of moments when you start assembling only to realize that one larger piece needs to go through a smaller pulley and therefore you have to unbolt everything you just bolted and start again. Yep. Has anyone else ever had this experience? Before I went downstairs to help, I thought Shaun just wasn't getting it. But after a few hours of cursing and exasperating sighs it was finally done and I vowed to call that customer service number and make someones life just as horrible as mine was for those past few hours.

Now that that little PSA is out of the way, I'd like to explain how we spent the better part of our day.

Shaun grew up in a little town about 20 minutes away from where we just moved. A little bustling country town called Warrenton, VA.

Shaun and I had driven down there once while we were living in Fairfax but only at night and only to drive through and look at houses on the way.

Yesterday we left early and headed west, to the mountains.

The funny thing about yesterday is that it was officially the 2nd day of spring. However, the temperature never broke 35. It was frigid. I absolutely loved walking down Main St and checking out little cafes and thrift stores but the cold just proved to be too intense.

I learned that taking your groveling boyfriend into a tea room is a really bad idea.

I also learned that Shaun hates nothing more in the world than tea rooms.

How can one hate something that is so delicate and beautiful and fun? I'll never know, but as soon as we stepped foot in there to grab a cappuccino (it's a cafe/tea room/antique shop) Shaun instantly went from complacent to just down right angsty and miserable. It was like I had a teenager in tow.

But we got through it and on the way back home we stopped at this amazing farm store which is like a giant Country grocery store. Equipped with blaring country music, pickaxes and farm tools nailed to the wall and big woven baskets full of classic candy at the front. I was seriously smitten.  Unfortunately Shaun forbade me to bring my camera inside so I'll have to snap a few pics next time I go in by myself.

All in all the day was pretty magical and I spent a lot of time squealing in excitement over the rolling hills scattered with cows, horse farms and tiny shops and a bank ATM turned into a cheesecake place.

 No really it was glorious but Shaun was still bitter about the tea room I guess, or maybe the fact that I played the song "Downtown" by Lady Antebellum and sang along with it about 4-5 times so we didn't stop and try the amazing cheesecake ATM.

Anyhow, here are the pictures of our day yesterday! I'm so happy to get to relive the pure joy that was most likely our last Thursday to spend together before I start my new job next week. Hopefully we can turn this back into a Sunday ritual!