Bright Baby Shelves

Today is all about bright baby shelves I helped a girlfriend paint for her new baby’s room.

She wanted to add a touch of color and to create a reading space for when the baby gets a little bigger, so we started out with a cute denim “Bean” chair from Pottery Barn Kids and some plain wood shelves.

Here's an image of the bean chair I grabbed off of PB's site. Cozy and cute!
Here’s an image of the bean chair I grabbed off of PB’s site. Cozy and cute!

Kate (the mommy-to-be) bought some unfinished shelves online, and it was up to us to make them shine.

First, we sanded around the edges just to make the wood smooth and get rid of possible splinters. Then, we went over the whole thing with a tack cloth (sticky cloths that get all debris off of an item before you paint… believe me, they’re worth it!)

My biggest recommendation when painting anything a bright color is to use primer. Sounds simple, but every time I skip the primer, I feel like my projects don’t look as clean. While she stood well away from any possible fumes, I primed them with a spray primer (which is my favorite, it just looks better than one you’d paint on, and you can control the coverage.)

Me priming in her yard.
Me priming in her yard.

After a couple of coats, we left them outside to dry. A few days later, she painted them a bright orange that we chose and had mixed. She painted them with a brush.

Ready to be installed!
Ready to be installed!

After a couple of texts back and forth on technique, I think I should tell you guys that the best advice I have for painting with a brush is light strokes with less paint than you think you need so you don’t get those streaky brush marks.

Streaky brush marks are the equivalent to paint drips. In other words, avoid at all costs. But if you do get streaky brush marks or paint drips (we all do sometimes), I to sand them down a bit with a fine grain sandpaper, run a tack cloth over the piece, then get back to painting!

Okay, so here are the finished shelves installed. Cute, right?!

photo copy


And, just for fun, here is another corner of baby Caden’s bedroom. I love the animal theme!

photo 3


Weekend Wreath Project: Complete

Okay, so I didn’t quite finish over the weekend (it was super busy and this little thing called “school” keeps getting in the way…) but I finally finished my wreath project last night.

After trimming up a bunch of succulents, I had to leave them for a few days to callus.

All of my tray projects came in handy here... and an old W magazine!
Some of my tray projects came in handy here… and an old W magazine!

I got so busy and had to wait a couple more days than I would have liked, but they didn’t look too bad once I started assembling the wreath.

moss on form
Putting the moss on the wreath form: big mess!

I made a huge mess putting the moss on the form. You’re supposed to soak the moss, squeeze it out, then tie it to the form. I used this wire tie stuff they recommended at the hardware store. Oh, and online it says to wear gloves when working with moss, FYI. Apparently you can get a fungus that gives you lesions. Yuck. Anyway, I decided to opt in on the glove wearing.

So, finally, here is the finished product:

Not bad, huh?
Not bad, huh? It is sitting on a trash bag for now because I’m attempting to protect the floor.

It looks a little wild, but that’s okay with me– I’m a little bit messy myself. Here’s the thing– you are supposed to let it lay flat for a while so that the succulents can take root. You mean you can’t hang it right away!?! That’s right, you’ve gotta let it sit. I think I may put a bunch of candles in the middle and use it as a pretty table topper til it is ready to hang.

All in all, I am pretty pleased with the results. I would post a link to a tutorial, but I kind of combined a bunch of methods because it seemed like pretty much every tutorial wasn’t detailed enough and I had to do a lot of outside searching about different aspects of the project (how to trim succulents, for example).

Here’s what my inspiration looked like:

If all goes well, my plants will grow in and the wreath will look fuller like this one. The tutorials said to space the plants out for growth.

So, now to answer all the questions that you rehabbers have in mind:

How much did it cost? It ended up being $45 for all of the succulents, and I could have made two small wreaths or one large. I opted for a large. The wreath form was $3, the floral pins were $2. The moss and the tie stuff cost $17. (I had gloves and trash bags :-)) I had to go to three different places (and to the Valley, which if you’re from LA, you know that’s a major pain) to get all of the materials. And it was a whole lot of work. So, in total, I paid $67 for the wreath (not including labor).

Would I do it again? It was a fun project, I like that I got to pick my own plants and lay out all of the colors. I don’t like that I have to wait to hang it. I really didn’t like cutting up the succulents– you had to get your hands in the dirt, and the first time I touched a snail, I almost freaked. There were spiders, rollie pollies, and worms in my plants. They were grown outside- that is normal, I get it. Bugs aren’t my thing.

There’s nothing like the satisfaction of being creative and making something from nothing, but for $35 more, I could have a ready to hang wreath with no work. I love what I have now, and I’m glad I did it, but I probably wouldn’t take on this project again. I was toying with the idea of making friends wreaths as a surprise for the holidays, but that idea has been thrown out the window. If you want to take it on, I suggest ordering a pre-made wreath online. You can get it for as cheap as the form, moss, and ties combined (if not cheaper) and it will save you a lot of time and mess.

Holiday Weekend Wreath Project

succulent-wreath-lStumbled across this baby on the Southern Living site and can’t wait to make one for myself. The best part about succulent wreaths is that they’re living, so you don’t have to replace them all the time!

They sell at Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn for upwards of $100, but in true rehabber fashion, I think this is more of a DIY endeavor. How low do you think I can go?

Makeover Made Cheap!

Here’s the thing…

I am SO TIRED of my living room. It is really, really pretty. I have a beautiful sage green couch that you just sink into, a gorgeous hand me down paisley goldish-colored chair. I have a green and gold rug with gorgeous vine designs with accents of burgundy and the tiniest bit of blue peeking out. To accent that blue, I’ve anchored a gorgeous baby blue vintage kitchen door onto my main wall. The walls are a pretty dove gray (it took 3 different colors to get there). Yes, the details are there, but they’ve also been there pretty much since I moved in three years ago… and it is dark! These colors are gorg but I wanna switch it up for that bright, airy, LA vibe. Hey, we’re so close to the beach, why not?!

You’d think that’d be an easy thing for a rehabber to fix, right? Well, I guess this little thing called time keeps getting in my way. Oh, yeah, and his friend money.

This project has been mulling around in my mind since Spring. I got rid of my dark wood coffee table and side table and started the stenciling project and made the $2000 dollar (but better cause it was under $20!) coffee table. Then I ordered a slipcover, but it didn’t fit. So I took it back, and the project has been on stall ever since. I think my mom is sick of me sending random texts saying, “hey, do you think making a slipcover is too hard for me?” (My sewing skills could use some work.)

Last week, I started cleaning some stuff out and re-arranging in preparation to begin this project again. The goal? Breathe new life into my living room for under $500. (And I would prefer to avoid painting the walls at all costs… after trying three colors, multiple coats of each, and painting three coats to get the maroon ceiling white (what’s wrong with my landlord?) I said, “God as my witness, I will never go through painting again.” Scarlett O’Hara brat attacks aside, let’s avoid painting, the gray is there to stay.)

Think I can do it? Is $500 reasonable for a total living room makeover? Do you have any tips?

Roadside Find: Picking a Fabric

Sometimes the hardest part of reviving a piece is picking the finish/ color or fabric that you want to use.

This roadside find was in awesome shape, so I’m leaving the finish for now (with a few little touch ups here and there) but I may eventually white wash it. That being said, I love it how it is for now.

I went downtown and picked out fabrics, and now that I’m laying them out, I think the search has just begun (can you say changeable cushions?! Yes!)

Here are the top contenders:

I almost think a thicker stripe would be better on this piece.
I almost think a thicker stripe would be better on this piece.


I love the retro feel of this bold pattern, and I originally envisioned this chair with a blue and white cushion.
I love the retro feel of this bold pattern, and I originally envisioned this chair with a blue and white cushion.


I LOVE the beachy feel of the seahorse print. I think I will make this cushion first, even if it is out of season. The bright coral reminds me of the south!
I LOVE the beachy feel of the seahorse print. I think I will make this cushion first, even if it is out of season. The bright coral reminds me of the south!

Inlay Effect: Making a $10 Table Look Luxe

Yes, I am all about inlay. Yes, I have been debating getting a similar effect with stencil, yes I struggled to find just the right side table to stencil, and, yes, I had a bit of trouble learning the “right” way to stencil. The key seems to be patience, which I severely lack.

And since I lack patience, I want to give you an update on how the stenciling project is coming along. It isn’t quite finished yet, but I just can’t wait.


Isn’t it just GORGEOUS!? I have painted the different underhang-y parts (we’re technical here) with different designs to see what looks best, and since the legs are curved, it has been a bit hard to line the stencil up just right, but I’m still pretty pleased.

Here are a few photos of the process:

After being sanded- since I was painting it black, the main purpose of sanding was a smooth surface. I didn’t care about removing all of the paint.
After the first coat of black paint (I opted for two).
After the stenciling process began. See how messy it is around the edges? Yeah, that took some getting used to!

Again, here are the before and after photos:


When to (Not) Quit: Tricolor Table

Remember my post about  knowing when to quit?

Apparently I don’t.

And that’s not always a bad thing. Here’s a picture of the dining set finally finished (and I’m so, so happy with it!!!)

2013-07-29 12.46.14
How cute is this?! Note the orange tray from my DIY Tray post!

The neutral gray legs and chairs balance out the bright orange and Tiffany Blue. I’m sneaky and took a Tiffany & Co. catalog to get matched at the paint store. I love this set so much I am tempted to keep it, but it would look terrible in my hot pink dining room and wouldn’t be good for my hoarder-ish tendencies. Yeah, I just made up a word.

Anyway… here’s another pic!

side view table
Side view- don’t the colors work well together?

Okay, so I almost quit… but I couldn’t give up that easily. Plus the chairs were basically done, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to mess with it a little more.

I ended up staining the lighter side one more time then re-staining the whole thing, which made it a lot more even. I actually like the differences in the wood- it really shows that this isn’t a new piece, and I LOVE that it has history!

Table Top
Once it was all put together, I really don’t mind the difference in color. It is aged wood, after all, which is part of the beauty of up-cycling!

I’ll do another post with some before shots so you can see just how far it has come.

Trend Report: Two Tone Treasures

I’ve come across two different two tone pieces in the past month or so… and think they’re totally going to be the new thing. It’s really a lovely look for a guest room, for a guy’s room, or if you just want to make a statement.

Best of all? It’s a totally easy update for rehabbers at any level!

Love the legs and the shape.
Love the legs and the shape of this dresser at the Fairfax Flea Market. At $125, it’s kind of a lot. I mean, a good rehabber could get something like this at a yard sale or Goodwill and paint it for less than half the price. Plus, the top of this one was a scratched up mess. 

Forget about rehabbing an entire piece, just paint the trim, change the knobs, and you’re good to go! For a piece that’s more plain or doesn’t have trim, you can create the look with painter’s tape.

Two Tone Dresser at Rosebowl
This dresser (from the Rosebowl Flea Market) was black and white. The lighting and my bad photography skills make it look pink, which wouldn’t be all that bad, if you ask me. I think it would be AWESOME if you painted the black parts navy and gave it a nautical flare.

Wait and see, this look will be EVERYWHERE by next year. It’s a simple (and inexpensive!) way to update a classic, make a statement, and give your room some pizzaz.

Fairfax Flea Market Finds

A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles is at the Fairfax Flea Market. In the parking lot of the high school on Fairfax and Melrose, this market has live music, good food (tacos, crepes), and lots of stalls with all kinds of goodies. Of course my favorite items are the ones that have been re-worked or repurposed.

I’ve been going to the flea market for years, and have noticed that with rising popularity, prices have also gone up. The key to flea markets is negotiating, so you can still get some things at very reasonable prices.

Here are a couple of my favorite things from yesterday:

Coffee Table @ Fairfax Flea

This was just awesome. I wasn’t brave enough to even ask how much it was going for, but it would make an amazing statement!


I love the look of all the industrial/ metal furniture from the 40’s and 50’s and have noticed a trend where stores have been stripping the paint off pieces to show off the pretty natural gray. This table is wood, the effect is achieved through paint. A pretty cool piece, and the drawers were stable (it’s pretty normal to find a piece you love that’s a little off kilter.) The center of the table lifts up, it would be a great place to store your notebooks and laptop if you’re a student, or you could install a mirror on the top and keep your makeup inside. He was asking $230 I think, but you could probably talk him down. Still, I think that’s a little overpriced.


This piece was awesome. The guy had some really cool stuff. His lamps were cool, too. I love the metal and wood mix that’s so popular right now. This piece was super sturdy, and my friend and I both were wishing we could weld. This booth was kinda in the corner, so he wasn’t getting as much traffic as he should, but people were still flocking in, talking about the pieces, and taking photos. Because his stuff is clearly that good.

I didn’t end up buying any furniture, I prefer to source stuff that’s a lot less expensive (and a lot of the vendors have pretty much already redone their pieces.) But more on that later! All in all, a pretty successful and inspiring Sunday afternoon at the Fairfax Flea.