Thrift Store Challenge Part II




The Big Reveal – #Thriftstorethrowdown

It’s so exciting to finally be able to share Part II of the Thrift Store Challenge. In case you missed Part I you can read more about the challenge and see who else is participating, here. As a reminder, these were the goodies sent to me.

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Of the four items, I chose the napkin rings, the pear and the tiles for the upcycle.

Thrift Store Challenge Reveal!

Napkin Rings to Mini Succulent Pots



First, I sprayed the rings with white spray paint. I used cork cut into circles that would act as the bottom; then filled the tiny pots with dirt for succulents & cactus plants.

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I superglued the magnets but once glued, be sure to keep the tiny pots a fair distance apart or they will spin around and connect magnet to magnet! Tossing dirt everywhere.


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Right now these cuties are hanging out on my fridge but they can go on any flat metal. I’m looking for a rectangular metal tray to hang on a sunny wall so these guy get plenty of bright light!

In case you’re wondering how I’m watering them. A plastic pipette (like an eyedropper) allows me to drop enough water without spilling it everywhere.


2016 has been the year of the houseplant in our home! I’m especially loving the hard to kill succulent & cactus plants-I try hard not to overwater. So, these tiny potted plants are my new fav!


Brass Pear to Marbleized to Silver tone Pear


I absolutely loved this heavy little pear when I opened my challenge box but wasn’t sure how to up cycle it. I thought giving it a glossy marble-like makeover and using it as a bookend would be the way to go.

In theory it was, in reality, not so much!

Here’s what I did.

Sprayed the brass pear with some gold tone paint.


Used some nail polish and a lined bowl of water. Dropped in a few colors, swirling for a marbleized look.

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Slowly submerging the pear, the paint colors adhere and when lifted out….


So close, but OH NO!

The swirling pattern was okay but the clumps were not! I let it dry then used nail polish remover to go back to square one. In doing so I removed the original brass and was left with a brushed silvertone.


This I liked even more than the idea of a glossy marble. So my upcycle is more a make(under) since I didn’t add anything.

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Stone Tiles to House Numbers Plaque


A bit of glue easily patched up the broken tile pieces.


A coat of gray blue chalk paint camouflaged the teacup stamps.

Since there were only two tiles I thought using them for a house number sign would be perfect.

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I used a pencil rub to transfer the numbers, then went over them with a sharpie marker.


Black paint filled in the lines.


A bit of constructive adhesive holds the tiles on a piece of woods and it’s ready to hang! I’ll keep this on the wall in my office.

I do have plans for the the two salad bowls. After a bit of tweaking they will be going back to college with my daughter in August. Details to come in a later post.


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This challenge was a lot of fun to participate in and see how creative I could be with random items.

So, how do you think I did? Don’t forget to check out the before and afters of the other challengers!

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Shepherds and Chardonnay

Salvage Sister & Mister

All Things New Again

Lovely Etc.

Three Little Greenwoods

Dukes and Duchesses

One More Time Events

Rachel Teodoro

Shop at Blu

One Mile Home Style

 Sweet Pea

Farmhouse 40

My Life From Home

Paint Yourself a Smile

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DIY art

DIY Glass Cutting & What I Learned


OR something so easy, done the hard way!

It all seemed so easy. I found three vintage botanical prints at a NJ flea market that I wanted to frame and hang in my living room. Pretty straightforward, right?


I went ahead and made some basic mitered corner frames and painted them black. Their dimensions were for a 12″x 18″ opening. Not a standard glass size that I could buy precut. So, I decided to try my hand at cutting my own pieces of glass, using a 24″ x 18″ piece-the closest available size at HD.


First I practiced on some old 8 x 10 glass I had removed from an old exterior window. A few attempts and I pretty much had the technique.

  • clean the glass
  • place on old cardboard
  • press down firmly as you score the glass-you need to hear a crackley sound
  • carefully place score line on edge of table and as you apply pressure to snap the glass

I cut practice pieces several times with good results; it was time to try the big piece!

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I followed all the same steps but when it came time to snap along the score line I guess the downward pressure wasn’t equal because the break didn’t follow the line. I wasn’t able to salvage the piece for this large project but can always re-cut it to fit a smaller frame. (sadness)

Realizing the definition of insanity was applicable here, I went to the local mom and pop hardware store and had them cut the exact size glass that I needed. Some say quitter. Maybe, but I say saving myself the frustration! *Know your limits!

With all the parts ready, it was just popping things together. With a little command strip magic, they’re up on the wall!

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Even though the glass cutting didn’t work as well as I’d have liked, the end results are still terrific, don’t you think?


It’s hard to get an angle where the windows aren’t reflected.


I had to adjust their spacing a bit wider.



So what did I learn? You don’t have to DIY everything, all the time to claim it’s a DIY project. Spend a little money, spare your sanity!

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home renovation

Clean Lined DIY Pine Radiator Covers-Reveal


You may recall my post two weeks ago about my  DIY living room radiator covers. If you missed it, you can read about them here. I had the pine frames built and even primed but was awaiting my cloverleaf aluminum sheets to be delivered.




*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the links and make a purchase I’ll receive a small compensation without impacting the cost to you.* 

Well, the delivery came and with it some seriously hot weather. Not the best for painting outside. I wanted to use my spray gun but it was too hot and humid. This isn’t a complaint, just a fact. Hot weather over frigid anyday, for me!

So, I patiently waited a couple of days and sure enough we had a gorgeous summer’s day. Dragging out my compressor, I cut and stapled the aluminum, then gave the covers two coats of the same Ultra White I used on all the living room trim.


Here they are now, all shiny and white!

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I’m getting much better at using my paint sprayer, just need to remember to paint on a drop cloth to prevent dirt from blowing up onto furniture. #lifelessons

Now that they’ve been finished a few days, the radiator covers blend into the walls, no more silver eyesores.

One more task checked off the list of things to do until the room’s makeover is complete.

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If you missed the July 11 post for the #thriftstorethrowdown – Thrift Store Challenge, just keep scrolling down until you see it or use the search box up top. See what I’ll be working with, then stay tuned for the reveal on Monday, July 25th. I’ve already started the upcycling and am loving how it’s turning out!


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Thrift Store Throw Down Part 1


Two months ago I signed on to participate in a DIY Thrift Store Challenge to upcycle/repurpose some thrift store items. The premise is that one person in our challenge group sends a box filled with thrifted items costing no more than $15. Then, the recipient makes something amazing from said items. The fun/challenge is in reimagining that item as something amazing.

I confess that I cheated and sought out the results of other DIY challenges (unrelated to ours), for insight and inspiration. Yes, I took on this challenge rather impulsively!

You can find some super creative upcycles from items that looked like they had almost no redeeming qualities. But DIY/crafty/thrifty/creative people have an awesome talent to see beyond the present state and find that little bit that’s positive and turn the whole thing around. So, then the question for me became: Could I do the same? (fingers crossed)

My box of treasures arrived in early June and was sent by Amy Dowling, who blogs over at My Life From Home. Before I share what was sent, allow me to share with you what I know about Amy.  I’ve never met her but my first impression is she’s very thoughtful. Why, you ask? Because she emailed me to let me know my package was enroute. That, dear readers, is what a thoughtful person does. This mom of three is a multitasking force of nature! Here’s more about Amy:

She runs a lifestyle blog that covers everything from home decor, affordable fashion, craft projects, family life and delicious food. Fun fact: she is a throw pillow enthusiast. She’s probably drawn to throw pillows the same way I’m drawn to puppies. See them, hold them, want to take them home. She also is the author of the e-book The Personal Style Workbook. For less than the price of a Starbucks caramel macchiato you can hone your personal style and establish a wardrobe that reflects the awesome person you see brushing your teeth everyday (at least twice a day, I hope). Grab some coffee and head on over to My Life From Home and get to know her for yourself!

Now on to the goodies! I love when packages are waiting on my doorstep. Opening this one felt like being a kid at Christmas. These were inside:

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A seriously heavyweight brass pear, two teak salad bowls, wooden napkin rings and two stone tiles. One tile had a rough trip but a little glue can remedy that! The wheels of creativity are spinning.

Since there are four items I can choose what I want to upcycle. I’ll be keeping my choice under wraps until later this month, July 25th, when the group posts their reveals. *One hint on my upcycling plans is: succulents.

Here’s a list of the other #ThriftStoreThrowDown challengers and their blogs. You can hop over and see what they’ll be working on.

I can’t wait to see what everyone received!

Don’t forget to stop back on July 25th for the Thrift Store Challenge reveals. Search your favorite social media platform with #thriftstorethrowdown! Maybe you’ll find reveal sneak peeks!

So which item catches your eye and how would you upcycle it.

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Oldies & Newbies Blogging Network

The Oldies & Newbies Blogging Network Sign Up is Open!

It is now time to sign up for our first round of Oldies &
Newbies Blogging Network!

What is Oldies & Newbies?

This is a partnering of bloggers to teach, to learn and to grow that will last ONE month. In the Oldies & Newbies Blogging Network, old & new bloggers are going to be paired together. No matter your size or how long you have been blogging, everyone has something to teach and to learn.
During our one month time together you will build new friendships, share experiences, teach each other, and learn from one another.
You will be in communication with your partner at the minimum of once a week. You can certainly communicate more often, and that is encouraged! How else are you going to learn?
You can learn how to promote your social media more effectively. How to design your blog, who to go to for excellent design work, or do it yourself!
You can learn how to effectively optimize your blog using SEO and keywords!
There are many things that can be learned while teaching!! Sometimes just bouncing ideas around together can spark something wonderful, get a new program going or even build a lasting bond!

So here is how it works:

The sign up will run from July 7-July 28th!
Once the deadline has passed, you will be paired together with either an Oldie or a Newbie!
This process could take a few days, so be patient. Once the list has been generated you will be contacted by email with your partners information.
Also a list will be generated for you to find your partner through Google Docs.
Your Partnership will run for ONE month, at the end of that time you
sign up again to receive a new partner.

So how do I join??

Simply fill out this form and you are IN!
Yes, it is that easy!

The Rules:
1. Please follow the hosts: Brandy, Miriam, Fiona, Robin, Betsy and Carol.
2. Keep in contact with your partner at least once a week. However we encourage you to connect with them via social media and communicate more often. However you choose to be in contact with your partner is up to you though.
3. If you are unable to continue with your relationship with your partner, please send an email here and I will make make arrangements to reassign you another partner.
4. If for any reason you feel that your partner is not participating, please email me. Note if you do not email me to let me know, I cannot help you.
(Please note that if you are not participating, then you will be unable to participate in the future-This is only fair to your partner, and not malicious).
5. Write a post and link it up with us on August 4th telling your readers about the Oldies & Newbies program! (We will have an separate date to post the end of our experience as well.)
6. Pin the button below to your blog posts so others can see it and grab it. It would be awesome if you posted it to your sidebar as well 😉

Wonderfully Messy Mom

DIY art

What A Pear! Upcycled Art


I’ve been on a DIY art roll lately. With plenty of wall space to cover, necessity becomes the mother of invention or at least inspiration. So I created some upcycled wall art using an old framed poster.


This was a yard sale find for just a couple of bucks. It’s 24 x 30″, with a nice forest green metal frame.

So, without knowing exactly what I wanted to paint, I took it apart.  Black spray paint updated the frame, while white primer coated the poster board to give it a clean slate.

I wanted something that would help brighten up a dark corner of the room. It would also have to be a simple design because I’m not an amazing freehand artist.

Initial thoughts were leaning toward something black and white like this:birdneg

From there I moved toward wanting a design with a little more color. The colors used in my dining and living room are brighter, truer hues of blue, red, green and a tiny pop of yellow.

A bright, cheery yellow seemed like the perfect color to liven up my living room corner. So, grabbing my daughter’s old craft paints I gave myself a couple practice efforts. No photos of these and with good reason! But the practice reminded me that, for most of us, the ability to paint has a serious learning curve. Maybe I just needed to add a big glass of wine to the process. Hmm, next time!

Anyway, while playing around with my color du jour, I painted myself a little pear and kind of fell in love with it’s simple shape.

For good measure I Googled pear images and saw no two are exactly alike, giving me lots of wiggle room to interpret my own.

Here’s my Pear Art:



I used acrylic paint and watered it down to lighten up and blend the color. Pretty sure that technique is for watercolors and not acrylics, but it worked for me. Letting the paint dry, I went back several times to add more yellow, paint the stem and add a leaf for more color and a little more visual balance.


Not sure that Jeff is sold on the giant fruit art but I’m just tickled by how it turned out!

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It’s easily comparable to the $29.99 art found at TJMaxx (no disrespect to TJMaxx) and cost me $0 to make!

I’m considering this an art upcycle and going on record as calling large fruit the next big trend in home decor! What do you have around the house that can be upcycled?


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Silhouette Magazine Art


I’ve been really drawn to negative space artwork recently. It’s striking yet simple and looks great on a large scale. You probably have some negative space logos sitting right next to you.   


Since we still need to add some art on the living room walls, I was inspired to make this little project. A take on negative space with a little color added.


If you’re looking for an easy art project to spruce up a room or just to keep the kids busy, this may be the one for you. I’m calling this scrap craft project for June: Silhouette Magazine Art.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • silhouette image simple in design
  • old magazines
  • scissors, x-acto blade and ruler or paper cutter
  • white glue or Modge Podge
  • little paint brush
  • two sheets of thick paper (cardstock/watercolor paper/scrapbook paper)
  • Tape

How to make it:

Pick a silhouette of an object/person/animal online. Less detail and cleaner lines are easiest to use.  Print it out, carefully cut around silhouette.


Lay the cut silhouette on a sheet of thicker paper, trace it’s outline.

Using a scissors or x-acto blade follow the line of your silhouette, until you have finished cutting around your shape. Set aside.


Look through your magazine for whatever colors you like, try not to get sidetracked by re-reading said magazine. Rip out pages.


Cut thin strips of paper, thickness is up to you. You just need enough to fill in the cutout.


Lay your paper strips down until you have a striped pattern you like.


Brush modge podge on the second sheet of paper and glue magazine strips down. Let dry.


Apply more modge podge on top of strips.

Once the strips of paper are dry, place your cutout on top and see what orientation is your favorite.

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Glue or tape the papers together.



I love this dog silhouette because it reminds me of our dog Aubbie.



Such an easy project that will add a bit of color to a space.


Inspiration is all around us. What’s been inspiring you to create?

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Building a Pine Radiator Cover


Living in a home with old radiators you’re either in one of two camps. Paint them and celebrate their charm, or enjoy their functionality from behind a cover. In my old house with radiators in every room, I choose covered. Our 1940’s home has purely functional radiators.

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Not the cute, patterned kind like these found on Pinterest:

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I’ve previously written about a dining room radiator cover using an old window. You can read more about that here and here.

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As I’m putting some of the finishing touches on the first floor renovation/decoration, these two “beautiful” silver, cast iron monsters flanked the side walls of my living room. I say monsters because they are both tall, at approximately 3 ft and wide at 32″ and 36″.  Mostly they require covers because when I was installing the Pergo floors I had to cut boards around their feet, so the covers will not only hide the metal radiator but also the flooring shortcut.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the links and make a purchase I’ll receive a small compensation without impacting the cost to you.*

Originally, the plan was to follow This Old House’s video tutorial I found on  Thier cover is built using a sheet of MDF. Essentially, you draw the front, top and side panels, then cut them out and screw everything together. Jeff wasn’t a fan of MDF, we decided to use pine. This is where I basically scrap following the tutorial and just wing it.  I chose to use pine boards to build one front and two side frames. The best part of building this was learning to use a biscuit joiner to connect the boards of each frame.



Using the joiner, you make a slot on both pieces of wood, insert a wood biscuit and wood glue and clamp until the glue is dry. If you have lots of big clamps, it really an easy process.

When the three frames ready, they were dry fit using tape on the back as a temporary hinge.

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I cut out the part of the cover that rests up against the floor moulding so everything sat flush with the wall.


So far, so good. Not a bad DIY cover for my carpentry ability. I’m waiting on my order of 3′ x 3′ aluminum perforated sheeting to arrive from Home Depot. For some reason I was able to order it online much cheaper than picking it up in store, so money talks and we’ll wait on delivery. When the screens arrive, they’ll be installed and the whole cover will be painted white. I’ll share the update in a later post.

I’m tickled with how nice they look and knowing that ordering two ready made covers would run me around $200/each, I still saved me a nice chunk of change!

More to come with the finished product, hopefully next week!

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Prepping Furniture for Painting


Last week I wrote a post about what you should look for in a piece of furniture you want to refurbish. You can read more about that here. This week, I’m following up with how you can prep furniture for painting.

Keep in mind that if you ask ten people what they do before painting, you may get ten different answers. There isn’t one definitive process to be successful. Depending on the condition of the wood and the type of paint you plan to use, prep can be minimal.

Here’s the process I typically use.

5 Steps to Prepping Furniture for Painting

  1. Remove hardware. I recommend keeping all knobs, screws, etc together in a little labeled bag. If you are anything like me, you think you’ll remember where you put things, but if this isn’t the only project you’ve got going on things can easily be misplaced.
  2. Clean it up. Wipe down the wood with a 1:1 warm water and white vinegar solution with a squeeze of Dawn dish soap. Some furniture is really grimey after years in storage. Once clean, you can see if any surface repairs are needed.
  3. Repairs. Now’s the time to fill any deep gouges, glue down any loose veneer. Want to change the placement of hardware? Fill those holes with putty.
  4. Break it down (optional). When possible, I like to take things, like chairs, apart. It’s interesting to see how things are built-dowels, mortise and tenon, pocket holes, etc. Whether just removing screws or tapping joints apart with a rubber mallet. This makes it easier to sand and paint.
  5. Sanding. Can be done by hand or with a sander. Start with the coarsest grit (60-80) to remove old paint/stain. Work up to finer grits to smooth the surface:  120,180, 220 grit. If the wood has an interesting grain, I like to sand down to bare wood in case I want to use a color wash, rather than straight color.

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*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the links and make a purchase I’ll receive a small compensation without impacting the cost to you.*

Five steps sounds easy, but to be fair, some old finishes take lots of elbow grease to remove or at least smooth down. This little table took me about two hours to cut through the varnish that was globbed on with a palm sander.

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Every project is different and should be part of the learning curve. Good preparation for painting is important to the quality of the end product, especially if you want the finish to hold up to regular use. Trust me when I say there is nothing quite as deflating as getting a project all painted, only to have that paint wear off because you didn’t take the time to properly prep the previously shellacked surface. True story. One I have yet to resolve. That desk sits in my office, mocking me for the past four years. It’s on my to-do list.DSC04107

So now that you know how to find a great project piece and how to prep it for the finish of your choice, go out there and make something new again! Then share your creation by posting it on my facebook page :

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DIY Faux Soapstone


How many times have you seen something in a magazine or online and thought, I bet I can do that? I was checking out my Instagram feed and saw a faux soapstone topped nightstand (here) that stopped me scrolling.


Hmm, I’ve got the perfect project to give this technique a whirl. This table has a less than perfect veneer top.

My furniture painting has not really ventured far from a few coats of acrylic, latex paint or chalk paint, maybe a little distressing, but not much more.  I shopped around DIY tutorials, there are a variety of techniques used to get the soapstone look: some more flat black, some more veined with white/gray and some mottled with a lighter color.  I liked the mottled color with a smidge of veining. I borrowed the technique that first caught my eye found here.

soap3  (Mostly) Flat Black

soap2  Veining

soapstone  Mottled

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I made my own dark gray chalk paint for the faux soapstone base. Applying three coats on this veneer top.

I mixed a little chalk light gray with come sky blue paint and watered it down. Along with a spray bottle filled with water.

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Work in small sections, apply light gray-blue paint followed by several spritzes of water. Blot with a crumbled up paper towel, alternate the blotting pattern, add more water if needed.

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Shoot for random mottled patterns. I liked a little more dark showing, so I went back over with some dark gray (followed by a few spritzes of water, then blotting to blend).

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After a bit of tweaking, I got the soapstone look I was shooting for.


Once dry, a coat of wax was applied to seal the surface.

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Degree of difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 3. It’s pretty easy as long as you work quickly in small sections-the water bottle allows some leeway with manipulating the paint.

The great thing is, there is no right or wrong end result. If you like the way it looks, you’re good! Soapstone, much like marble, has infinite variations in patterns.


The before and after:

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I’m so happy to have found this technique! It was easy, didn’t require purchasing additional supplies and gives this table a truly unique look.

Have you tried any faux painting techniques? If so, which one and did you like the result? Leave me a message in the comments.

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