Restoring an Old Steamer Trunk

In December I was doing a little antiquing with a friend when I stumbled on a really great find….an 1895 steamer trunk for $60. It was in really good condition. Most trunks you find have to have the canvas removed because it’s in such bad shape, which leads to many many hours of removal. This trunk’s canvas was in good condition and didn’t need to be removed. Now, I’m a huge fan of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and love doing something fun with antiques but I really wanted to stay true to this trunk. So if you’re looking for that look there are many other blogs about restoring with chalk paint. I just wanted to enhance its beauty to a more original state and not do anything that compromised its original look. It took me about 4 weeks to finish it. And here are some of my tips and tricks. Here is the BEFORE shot… imageThe first step was to remove all the old wallpaper that was on the inside. The old paper was making the inside smell terrible too. The wood underneath the paper was in beautiful condition. But this was the hardest part of the restoration. I don’t know how many hours I spent scrapping paper out of it. All you need is a water bottle and scraper. Spray the water, let it sit for about 30 seconds and then scrape. Sometimes you’re lucky and it’ll come off in big pieces but mainly its a lot of little pieces to remove. image image image imageI was lucky to not have to remove the canvas but there were some noticable rips on the inside lip. I used a razor and just trimmed it to give a more clean appearance. And then I was just going to stain that inside lip the same as the interior. imageimageimageNext I sanded all of the wood on the exterior of the trunk. It had some leftover varnish that I wanted to remove. I did not sand the interior since it was raw unstained wood and didn’t need it. Here are some pictures from that process. image imageI also spent some time gently sanding the lock on the trunk that had a pretty heavy covering  of rust. It’s an amazing old lock. One of the things I’d like to do later is get a key that fits it. There are several websites online that will sell you old keys. imageNext I used a black paint to paint the metal on the sides. It was pretty banged up and the new paint really helped. This top corner is with the paint versus the other portions you see. I tapped off so you didn’t get black on that beautiful wood. imageimageimageNext I took a black craft paint and a brush and basically “dry brushed” it onto the canvas. This trunk had white paints marks on it from someone storing it in a bad location. And the canvas was a little dull in color. I didn’t want to soak my brush in paint and apply, just a little bit on the brush and brushed, brushed and brushed. Just to give it an enhanced color. Here is a picture of one side dry brushed and the other not. You definitely see how it helps enhance the canvas without completely painting it. You can see from the tiny bottle of craft paint and how little I applied to my brush basically what I’m referring to by dry brushing. Make sure your exterior has been cleaned with hot soapy water before you do any painting to remove all dirt and debris. imageimageimageOne very common problem with trunk restoration is the leather handles are broken off. I mean it is 120 years old, those straps definitely had done all they could do! Lol! It’s very easy to order replacement handles online. I found mine for $15 for the pair and they’re real leather. You can research your trunk and find which handles are appropriate for yours since there are a lot of different style and color handles. imageimageNext thing was to stain the wood on the interior and exterior. I used a Minwax wood stain with varnish, all in one in a medium brown. I brushed and wiped. It took two coats. imageimageThis picture really shows the before and after on the exterior slates. The stain really made it beautiful. imageThe interior looks absolutely gorgeous! imageNow here’s a side-by-side of before and after. It makes me appreciate the hard work I did in scrapping off that old wallpaper.

One final touch I did was getting a stenciling kit and did the initials of me on one side and my husband on the other. I did not want it to appear perfect but like some old stamping. This piece was done to go in our bedroom to store extra blankets and bed linens. I’m really proud of how it came out. I definitely would like to do it again and maybe do something fun with chalk paint next time. trunk imageimage

DIY: Jeweled Heart on Canvas

My mother passed in July and I was left with more jewelry than I could ever possibly wear. There were a lot of costume brooches and several broken pieces of jewelry. So I decided to make a heart on canvas with them. It’s a special way to use some of the pieces of jewelry that I wouldn’t be able to wear and just stuck hidden in a drawer. It’s very simple.

You need the following:

8×10 canvas (or any size of your preference)

Lots of jewelry pieces.

needle nose pliers

Gorilla clear fast drying glue

imageNow you could use E6000 glue and I know that’s a preference for most crafters and I do like it a lot as well. But for this particular project, I like the clear Gorilla glue because it’s fast dryer and it really is able to handle holding up those heavy pieces of jewelry, and the last thing I want is pieces falling off over time.

I started by drawing a heart with a pencil. I used a necklace to create a clean line with the outer walls but you don’t have to do it like that. You can just use the jewelry to form the shape.

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Now place your larger pieces down first so that you can build around them with the smaller ones. I wanted the cross in the center so I placed that one first.

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It had a pin back AND a hook to wear it as a necklace, so I popped that off very easily with my pliers.

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Once I had my largest pieces arranged and used their natural curves to make the top of the heart then I placed smaller pieces. Some I broke down even more so I can use a single stone to fill in a void. I had a bracelet with my moms name, so I tore that up so I just had the name part and placed it within the heart. It really makes it super special having her name in it. I even tore up an old Brighton watch that she wore and just included the watch face.

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The finished product! Took a total of 45 minutes. Now I’m off to Hobby Lobby to get a really cool frame for it. I absolutely love it! You can easily recreate this with broken jewelry, jewelry from thrift stores, antique stores. It’s a cool way to make art.

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Lego Mini Fig Display

I have a 9 year old son that loves Legos. He loves the mini figs even more than the actual sets so he has tons of mini figs. In an effort to organize the chaos, I decided to try to make him a mini fig display. I tried looking on Pinterest and all I could find were shelves and I could see those easily coming down with the shut of a door. So on a recent trip to the Lego store I filled up a tub of 8 bricks in different colors to come up with our own and it’s pretty awesome! Now, of course he needs another since this one is filled!

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I filled up a tub of 8 point bricks at Lego store. It was $14.99 for the large size and I used about 3/4 of them. I alternated colors. The frame was something he used to have an old poster in and I took out. I glued the bricks right to the glass with a 99 cent tube of super glue in the dollar bin from Target. I used painters tape to keep me level. A small amount of glue across the brick locks it in place. I did leave a good amount of space between rows for things the mini fig was holding and your hand wouldn’t bump into the next row. I wanted to test the glues holding power before I posted about it. But one month later and nothing has fallen off. He uses it daily to take things off and put back as he plays. It’s a great organization, plus display for a boys rooms.

DIY Painting Wine Glasses

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Yeah, my nails match my glass…lol! These were my New Years nails.

Here’s a super easy, fun, affordable DIY ladies, painting your own wine glasses. I own a few of those glasses you see in the stores and boutiques that sell for $20-30 each! I’ve been wanting to try this for some time and finally got around to it. I started off simple, so stay tuned for some more elaborate designs later on. I used Folk Art paint and Martha Stewart glitter paint from Michael’s that sell for about $1-2 a bottle. Using what I already had, I decided to go for metallic gold and gold glitter.

The stemless glasses I found at Target for $1 each. I like using a blunt edge paint brush because I feel like it’s easy making straight lines, but you could tape off as well. I used the end of my paint brush for polka dots.

The supplies list is super simple. Wine glass, paint and paint brush, and a paper plate.

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Dipping the end of my paint brush into the paint and just dotting it on. I used the Metallic paint first, let it dry for about 30 minutes and then went back over each dot with the gold glitter paint.

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For the martini glass, I left it as plan metallic paint polka dots. I really like how it turned out. Simple and cute.

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On another glass, I painted about a quarter of the bottom in metallic, allowed to dry for 30 minutes and then used the glitter. I’m sorry I don’t have a finished version. I didn’t “love” it. I think because I didn’t bring the paint up high enough and my line wasn’t as straight as it should have been. I probably was drinking wine out of another glass while doing this craft, making my lines wonky. So I blame it on the wine 😉 But I do like the glitter layered with the metallic. It creates a nice gold sparkly finish.

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Stay tuned for more elaborate designs. I’m excited to try this again. I expected to have to cure the paint in the oven but it really is unnecessary. I always hand wash my glasses anyway otherwise they get broken. So I only recommend the oven if you put yours in the dishwasher and then it’s 350 degrees for 30 minutes to set the paint. Happy painting!

Antique Desk revamped for a Pre-teen

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It starts with a funny story….asking my husband to take down a plain white desk from target to the garage so our daughter can paint it something fun. Then….there’s a crash and he drops the desk down the stairs and it breaks into a million pieces. My hubby “it was crap anyway”. Well, thanks. There goes that idea. So I decided to look in some local antique stores and found a cute roll top desk to revamp. I loved the pull out for added space and the fact that she could close it up and all the mess was hidden.

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First stop was Hobby Lobby. I let my daughter pick the paper and knobs. She loves music so she picked music note paper and glitter chevron for the pull out and drawers. She had talked about incorporating sea horses into her room for some time and I had no clue how to do that without it looking tacky, so this knob was an easy solution. It was painted in Annie Sloan Emporers Silk chalk paint and sealed with clear wax. The paper was applied with Modge Podge and sealed with the same. It took me a day to complete this piece and it truly represents her. I highly suggest hitting up a local antique dealer for some affordable pieces made of REAL wood and personalizing it. Now my other three kids want one too….lol

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DIY Glitter Pumpkins for Fun Fall Activity

Fall is my favorite season so most of my traditions are settled in fall time. I would say our absolute favorite activity is our yearly glitter pumpkins. This year was our 9th year. I’ve certainly done some “tweaks” to make it better each year. I saw it on Martha Stewart’s tv show in 2005, and she was just doing a simple gold glitter pumpkin. I had a 2 year old and 1 year old at the time so we got out a glass dish and tried to do a glitter craft indoors. Big mistake! I think I still was finding random glitter a year later.

Fast forward nine years and I’ve added two more kids to the mix, we now do about 20-25 glitter pumpkins with all kinds of designs and in every shade of glitter you could imagine. Every year the trick-or-treaters comment on how awesome our pumpkins are and ask me a host of questions. It’s all very simple. You need: pumpkins, elmers glue and glitter. That’s it. I always buy my glue when they’re doing the back to school sales because we typically use 4 full containers of it and maybe a couple glue sticks as well. I buy my glitter at Wal-Mart because it’s only $2.97 and you get a pretty large container of it so I can buy lots of glitter and not stress about my 3 year old dumping way more then she needs onto the driveway. I found a bunch of the mini glitter tubes in Target clearance bin for 20 cents this year so that was nice.

Step One: Glitter pumpkin day is usually around the first or second weekend in October, but it must be on a good day. No rain. We sit in the driveway where we can be as messy as we want and the glitter can be blown away later with a leaf blower.

Step Two: If you are doing an all over glitter then apply Elmers and spread with a brush or your finger. Some years I have brushes and this year I forgot. Oh well…maybe I’ll remember for our 10th year 🙂 But apply a good coat but not so thick it runs down the sides because then your glitter will shift.

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Step Three: Pick it up by the steam and rotate a good glittering all over and let it dry. That’s it. So simple and fun. Now you have a pumpkin that looks like an apple. We also do green steams too.

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In the Target clearance bin I also found tubes of glitter glue for 20 cents so I did a nod to Chanel for my couture pumpkin. Lol

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Some of our finished pumpkins. This year we did a chevron too – used a glue stick to draw on the chevron and then added glitter per stripe. They’re not perfect but I don’t do crafts with the purpose of it coming out flawless. I like fun and easy. If I’ve spending too much time for it to be perfect then it’s not fun. And really I want my kids to have fun and I don’t tell them how it should look. Tip: make sure your pumpkins are on a covered porch away from direct rain or the glitter will wash off in places.

DIY: My first time chalk painting.

You’ve seen it everywhere, all over Pinterest, DIYers across the board are raving about Annie Sloan chalk paint. I was surprised to hear it has been around for 20 years in England and America has only recently gotten ahold of the chalk paint craze. I was naive in my pursuits, simply walking into a Hobby Lobby and asking for it. I was simply told “we don’t carry it”. What?! Well after a little internet research is when I saw it’s origins and how you have to purchase it through a select few boutique DIY stores across the country. It’s got a high price at $34.99 for a quart. And shipping doesn’t help either. But I really wanted to try it, so I ordered several colors and received it within 48 hours from a store called The Purple Painted Lady.

Of course I couldn’t simply just paint one solid color, I was all in. I was desperate to try to achieve this subtle multi colored finishes. In the end, I was thrilled. I had one little hiccup but it was easily fixable. I don’t usually do “finishes”. I like solid clean looking colors but I really wanted to try something different. It was hard at first to get ahold of the concept of just simple brush strokes, not heavy and full coverage, but once I saw the effect, I got the hang of it and really liked it. I will say even with the hefty price, everything where it says it covers 50% more is accurate. I was blown away by that. You can add water for washes or if you do full color it covers and covers WELL. By the time this desk was done, I think I chalk painted pretty much everything in my house. I tried it on fabric, candle sticks, frames and other furniture. I felt like for a $130 investment I was able to revamp some old furniture and give it that “boutique” look that I love. Annie Sloan chalk paint lived up to its hype which is pretty cool since few things ever do. But here’s my DIY with chalk paint. Give it a try and let me know. If you have questions, feel free to ask!

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