Monday, January 7, 2013

Computer Armoire turned AWESOME TV Stand

I am kind of geeked about this post. I randomly came up with the idea to somehow re purpose the armoire that had been sitting in my living room serving NO purpose (it somehow became my catch-all and was full of junk). I even tried to sell it a couple months ago, but had no luck. 
So, what to do with the old girl? Oh and by the way, I picked this up from an Ad on Craigslist about 3 years ago for $40. You certainly didn't think I paid full price for her, did you? :)

While contemplating my new use for this Armoire, I had to keep something in mind. It's not real wood. It's all laminate, which is a pain in the rear to paint.

OK. So, I decided I was going to somehow turn it into a new TV stand. It would need some tweaking of the shelves on the inside since it's designed for a computer, but it could work!
Here we go.....
I recently learned that Home Depot has EVERY Benjamin Moore paint code in their computers and although they don't sell BM paint, you CAN get the BM color in a Glidden or Behr paint. Ummmm.....AWESOME!
I chose Antique Pewter and got it in a Glidden sample of Eggshell. Since the sample clearly isn't enough to paint an entire armoire (which would likely take several coats), I had to get creative. I am ALWAYS looking to do things the cheapest way possible. I obviously could have bought a larger can of paint, but that's silly.

I had half a can of an Antique White from another project, so I mixed half of my BM sample in with a very large amount of the white. This obviously lightened my paint color substantially, but I was cool with that. I actually really liked the end result of the color.
After 2 coats of paint, it was ready to be sanded. I was going for a very very distressed look for the ol' girl.
Getting there. A lot of elbow grease folks. A lot.
After a lot of sanding and spending a great deal of time (with the help of my trusty assistant, my Sister!) getting the TV, DVD player, Cable box, etc. switched over - we were DONE! I also learned that I was never meant to be any kind of electrician or cable installer. I am a wire moron.
Beautiful, isn't she?
I opted not to paint the inside for two reasons. 1. That would take up WAY too much time.   2. I wanted the look of the wood on the inside. 
It worked out!  
I love having the option to close the doors on it when people come over!
Oh, I just love it!
Moral of today's post: Don't get rid of your old furniture!! Re purpose it DIY style!!
The final breakdown for this project was only $2.94 (sample paint). I already had everything needed to create this gem!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Super SIMPLE Furniture Rehab

OK. This post isn't really that exciting. I'm really hoping that if you're one of those timid "I'm afraid to DIY anything" types that this will kick those fears aside. This is a beyond simple transformation.

My kids have had this little table for a few years. I picked it up at a yard sale for around $5. We've always used it in their play room for crafts, they would eat lunch on it, etc. Good times. I recently rehabbed their play room and there wasn't any room for this table anymore. Honestly, I didn't even try to make room for it. It's pretty worn and ugly.

So, I threw it in the basement and it sat there......for months. I don't know why I didn't bother doing something with it sooner, I just didn't.

Here's all you need to do a simple rehab on an old ugly piece of furniture like this.

A can of Minwax stain in your color of choice. I used Walnut for this particular beauty.

Some paint. I grabbed a sample of Black at Home Depot. Simple enough.

Then I used some sand paper and sanded down just the top of the table. Since I was staining it, I just needed a smooth finish on it. No need to sand down to the bare bones. I didn't touch the legs of the table.

After sanding the top, I added my stain with an old sock. I grabbed a clean sock and wiped off the stain that I had just applied. The wood can only absorb so much at a time, so it's important to apply the stain with one "sock" and then wipe it back off with another "sock". I waited for the stain to dry completely (a few hours) and I repeated this step. It wasn't as dark as I wanted it with just the one coat.

Then I painted the legs of the table with my black paint. I used a medium sized paint brush and didn't bother making it neat. I planned on distressing the tar out of the legs so I knew it wouldn't matter if the paint looked nice. One of the many reasons I love distressing.

Once the legs were dry, I sanded them down with a sanding block to really rough them up! That's it!

Easy as pie! Now, this old dilapidated table that used to be in our play room is a super cool distressed end table in the living room!

Cost breakdown for this DIY:
$2.94 Paint Sample

I had everything else on hand.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kitchen Remodel For Less Than $300

We bought our home two years ago and although the house itself was in pristine condition, it needed some serious face lifting. Our house was built in 1918, so it doesn't lack charm and unique character. I was in love with my house the minute I stepped foot inside the front door - I knew without a doubt that we would live here. However, I hated the kitchen. It was drab and dark and dated.
The second we closed on the house and got the keys, we were in the kitchen giving it some much needed help. We had a budget of around $100 for the kitchen when we initially purchased the house, so not much to work with.
Here's the kitchen the day we bought the house. I want to smack the person who thought the multi-colored tile was a good idea.
I wanted to replace the back splash but because of our obnoxiously low budget, I couldn't. So, I used two coats of Gripper primer, then I put on two coats of an antique white. If you have a small budget, painting tile is super affordable and still gives you a great look.  
After the paint on the tile. :)
Typically in an old house you will have plaster walls - and our house is no exception. The wallpaper on the plaster was NOT coming off. We had planned on removing the wall paper and painting the wall. However, we had to improvise when the wallpaper wouldn't budge. I found a textured paint-able wallpaper at Home Depot that was very affordable. This would help hide the bumps in the OLD wallpaper that wouldn't come down, AND give us the painted look we wanted. Win win!
I wish I had a better picture of the 'after' for the wallpaper, but our camera sucked back then. This was the finished product after the painted tile and the updated wallpaper.
A year or so later, we decided that the kitchen was still too dark and drab. I decided to paint the cabinets. This is by far the BEST and cheapest way to update your kitchen. Our cabinets are in great condition and very much fit the house, but for such a small space, they were too dark.
See? Too dark.
Start off by labeling ALL of your cabinets so you don't have to guess where they go when it's time to put them back on.
Remove all the cabinets and sand them down. You don't have to sand them down to the bones, just get the top layer of stain off to give them a smooth finish.
Then paint. My cabinets took 3 coats of paint each, but the paint dries so quickly, by the time I painted the last cabinet the first one was dry so I started over. It was just a constant run of painting for 10 hours. Exciting!
I used a Semi-Gloss so that they'll clean easily. I probably could have gotten away with less coats of paint had I used an eggshell, but since I was going with white I needed them to be easy to wipe clean.
Mid-project we decided to do away with this entire section of cabinets to open up the room. Best decision ever. I lost a lot of storage, but my kitchen is so airy and open now! Worth the sacrifice for sure!

And....the end!
So, to recap.
-We spent about $100 when we first moved on the back splash and wallpaper.
-We added crown molding for about $40
-New sink faucet (also the best upgrade!!!!!) $99
-Painted cabinets $18 (1 can of paint)
We were able to get away with using the same hardware!
**Total $257 for what looks like an entirely new kitchen!!**
Work with what you have!! You don't need to spend $20,000 on a Kitchen remodel - I mean, unless you really want to.
Get creative and be willing to work a little and you can totally transform your kitchen!
Hope this helps anyone looking to do a remodel on a BUDGET!
I'll post our bathroom remodel soon!!! We totally transformed our bathroom for next to NOTHING!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

DIY Bench Cushion

It's been a few week's since I've posted anything, but I've been super busy with all kinds of DIY projects and other shenanigans that I'll tell you about.

Originally, this blog was created for my amusement. Something to keep me busy and something that didn't involve breaking up sibling fights, wiping butts, and listening to the incessant replays of Disney Movies. I love Disney, don't get me wrong...but it's nice to have something for yourself from time to time. Anyway, my blog was going to be that something....and then I forgot about it, and then I remembered it again but didn't know what to talk about. After some thinking, I've decided to give my blog a new direction.

Welcome to "Design with Pennies!".

My Dad is probably the best haggler on this side of the Mississippi. I grew up at flea markets learning how to haggle and to spot profitable junk . I've always had a fine appreciation for restoring life into someone else's junk and creating a treasure, It's sort of always been a hobby of mine....and although I'm not the best designer in the world (this is indeed a fact), I do have a knack of being creatively resourceful! So, despite the fact that there are 1 BILLION blogs branching from Pinterest, I'm going to do my own thang and share my "how-to's" and how I've decorated my entire house for nearly NOTHING. I've never paid full price for any piece of furniture and the majority of my knick-knacks and decorative pieces are from garage sales and flea markets. I'll recap some of the things I've done in the past and will showcase some of the current projects I'm working on.

Even if no one ever reads my blog, it'll be fun for me and I'm excited. Hopefully if you're reading this, it'll be something you can enjoy and perhaps even attempt for yourself!


I have this really old bench that we've always had. It's not in the greatest condition, but it was painted white and my sister-in-law (who is super talented) painted a mural on the front of it for my daughter. I HAD a picture of the before and cannot find it anywhere....sigh.....  We've always kept it in my daughter's room, but she no longer has room for it and I wanted to put the bench to good use! So, I painted the bench black and distressed it. Now, I wanted a cool cushion for it. However, I don't sew. Ever. Under any circumstances. I don't even own a needle. Fabric glue is basically my best friend. Seriously.

So, here's how to make a cushion for your bench without a needle!!
I started with three 12x12 foam squares. I glued them together. You'll find that I use glue for everything. I should probably call my blog "how to decorate your house using absurd amounts of glue and never doing things the conventional way!". That's not a very catchy title though.

I wrapped the squares in quilting batting...forgot to snap a picture of that part. I do that a lot. Then I wrapped it all in my fabric of choice. Simple enough so far? :)
Time to glue. I applied fabric glue to the end of the fabric and folded over to adhere. This seriously could not be anymore redneck. The corners are a bit tricky. You have to wrap it tight like a present. It took me a few minutes to figure out the best way to fold in the corners, and I came to the conclusion that a lesser amount of fabric on the ends is best. It's less to fold and work with. I made sure that the batting underneath was cut the same length as the fabric ends...this way I just folded everything at once and there was no bunching.
 And there you have it. A bench cushion made with glue.
The breakdown of costs for the cushion is:
-3 foam squares (on sale at Hobby Lobby) $1.59/each
-Batting (on sale at Hobby Lobby) $5.50
-Fabric (on sale at Hobby Lobby....I told you I don't pay full price for ANYTHING...ever.....) $6.95 for 2 yards
-Glue $4.99
Not too bad.
The bench breakdown is simple. I already owned the bench (which I got for free several years ago). I went to Home Depot and got two paint samples for $2.96/each.
The grand total for the bench restoration is $5.92
I'll post about the picture above the bench soon!! It's a new one and was ridiculously inexpensive!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I heart Spray Paint

So, I've been "out of work" for a couple months now and am basically bored to death. I've never been one to deal well with boredom. My Mother always told me to be weary of an idle mind. In her words, "an idle mind is the devil's playground". However, in this "idle mind is Pinterest's playground". When I'm not spending hours upon hours applying for jobs online (a tedious and torturous process mind you), I can most certainly be found on Pinterest. Of course, this is after my wifely duties have been completed around the house. Cough cough.

Now, I've always been pretty resourceful. Even before the magical world of Pinterest existed, I loved refurbishing furniture, making bows, garage saling, etc. As you can imagine, Pinterest has opened up a whole new world for me. A world of magical possibilities. I believe I can fly.

Without a job to put my millions of little brain cells to work each day, and to keep my idle mind safe the devil (lol), I have been quite busy with projects around the house. I've painted a couple rooms, refurbished a few pieces of furniture, switched some rooms around, decorated to my heart's content, and last but not least......I've been busy spray painting!! You simply have no idea how much you can spray paint until you start rummaging. My son says he loves the smell of it so we all win here....

I went to the feed store up the road and purchased myself a few cans of paint, then came home and literally walked around my house looking for stuff I could paint. Imagine me walking through my house holding half a dozen vases and jars making my way to the basement. That's precisely what happened.
This is what I came up with.

Here you have a standard mason jar.
Now, you have a cool flat black mason jar with a festive bow and some greenery and cattails. I have a thing for cattails....
Here we have a standard old milk jar. Cute, but could be cuter.
Now it's a cute pen/pencil holder on my desk. I also painted this flat black.
Another once ordinary mason jar.

Looks swell on the bookshelf doesn't it?
I forgot to take a before picture of this one. I was so excited. I thought I was done painting for the day, until this caught the corner of my eye in my living room. It was metal. Just plain ol' metal.
Now it's a satin ivory. Beautiful.
I am also quite into refurbishing ugly furniture. I do that when I'm spray painting jars and vases.
Here's a few furniture pieces I've done recently.
I got this desk in the trash. True story. Someone was throwing this gem away. After I politely knocked on their door (it was sitting at their curb) to verify that it was indeed free (seemed hard to believe I guess). They responded with a sarcastic "if you can load it, you can have it". I merrily skipped back to the truck to tell my husband of the great news! We quickly found out why they spoke with such a tone. It's a beast. I still to this day don't know how the two of us successfully loaded it in the back of the pickup. I'm certain they watched us from behind their blinds, their ribs just splitting with laughter.
But who's laughing now?! Muahahahaha. Me. I am. That was me laughing. Look at this beauty. It took me FOREVER to refurbish this puppy, but the hard work was worth it. She's glorious.
I had a before picture of this dresser, just don't where it went. I picked this dresser up at a barn sale for $30 a couple months ago. We got er painted and spray painted (naturally) the hardware. It's in my daughter's room now. What a beaut.
Sadly, I don't have any other pictures to bore....I mean share with you today.
I hope you enjoyed yet another blog post about Pinterest. If there's anything I know for certain in this's that there aren't enough blogs about Pinterest.
The end.
Be on your way.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yuletide & Merriment Galore

Tis the season for all things lovely and wonderful! Every year about this time I regress to the innocence of my youth, back when I believed in the jolly bearded big guy, Santa. What a guy, with those rosey red cheeks.


I love this time of year. I love this time of year even MORE now that I'm a Mom. It's WAY cooler to live out the traditions of Christmas through the eyes of your kids. I love that my husband and I have merged some of our own childhood traditions, as well as made up our own. It's even more thrilling now that my daughter is old enough (6 years old) that she can remember the traditions from last year, and anticipates them again this year! Way cool.

One of the more popular traditions this year is the good ol' Elf on the Shelf. Heard of him yet? If not, your rock is too big. Come on out, the weather is fine. ;)

I will educate you on the Elf in case you're somehow not familiar with him. He is a magical elf that spontaneously appears in your home to "watch" your children, and then every night while they're sleeping he flies to the North Pole and "reports" their behavior to Santa. He flies back home just before they wake up, and is in a different spot than the night before. Typically, he has done something mischievous or is being silly.

One of my favorite things about having a blog is that I get to say whatever I want, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. So, that's what I'm going to do now. Say whatever I want.

It's been my observation that Christians, in particular, have been fairly opinionated about Mr. Elf. (Technically, that's what I'm doing right now too.....but remember that part about it being my blog?) I've seen many people blog/post about how Mr. Elf is taking the magic of Christmas too far. Heck, we already lie to our kids about Santa's existence. At least that's what they're saying. Lies. Puh. I disgree. Moving on.

Here's how I feel about Mr. Elf and Santa. As a parent, it is my responsibility to protect and guide my children, and that requires making sound decisions based on our beliefs. Nowhere in the box that Mr. magical Elf comes in does it say that I MUST use Mr. Elf for the way he was intended or else.......
So, we bought Mr. Elf. However, we're doing things a tad differently. I'll explain since I'm sure you're dying to know. Ahem.

Santa delivered this package a few days ago. That's right. Gasp. Santa mailed my children a package. It was fun and magical.
The contents of said package. Mr. Elf - now named Fred, and a typed letter from Santa. Basically, the letter says that Santa thinks they're special so he mailed them a special Elf. Santa talks about Jesus (I stole that idea from another blogger - don't give me any credit for that). He talks about the importance of Christmas and why we really celebrate. He introduces them to this magical Elf and why he's here. Our elf didn't come to our home to spy on my children and run back to Santa to tattle every chance he gets. No no. That would be horrible and my kids would immediately hate him. Who wants a spy? Besides, we don't talk much about the naughty or nice list in our house. We talk about making good choices 365 days a year, so it's not really necessary for us to shove the whole list thing down their throats 30 days before Christmas. There's no grace in the whole list anyway.
Santa gives grace. Even though he's not real. Whatever. Details.

Back to the letter. Santa thinks they needed some responsibility and asked that they keep an eye on this magical elf because he tends to be silly. He comes alive at night while they're sleeping and runs a muck. A muck I tell you!
My daughter's face when I read the part about him coming alive at night. Priceless. How can you not love this?! :)
Logan waiting for him to blink.
They only rule? They can't play with him. He won't lose his magic like it states in the book - but he's not super durable and my three year old son would most certainly tear him to shreds. At $29 a pop, we don't want that now do we?

I'm not sure who's having more fun with Fred? The kids or my husband and I. Every night is like Christmas Eve with Fred. They're so excited to get to sleep, because that's when the magic happens. My husband and I fight over who gets to place him and where. Not actual fights.....just 4 year old "hey it's MY turn" fights. I should probably relinquish my responsibilities of Fred though, as "he" nearly burnt the house down roasting marshmallows this morning. The details aren't important, but Fred has a second degree burn on his hand now.
So, there you have it. I like pretend magical Christmastime fun. It's a blast.

If you have an Elf in your house, I'd love to know how you're doing things? By the book or did you also tweak it?

Happy day y'all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things That Don't Belong On Pinterest

It's no secret that I have an adoring love for Pinterest. The recipes that I'll never make, the fabulous clothes that I can't afford, the how-to's that never turn out like the picture, the few hilarious e-cards, the home decor idea's that I could never actually apply to my own home, I just LOVE Pinterest.

However, there are days that I scroll through the beloved feed and see things of a perplexing nature. Things that make ya go "whhhaaaa???". Things that cause me to be concerned about our culture.

Allow me to share a few examples of the things that "don't belong on Pinterest". That's what I call them. Clever, huh?

The first picture up for discussion - The "wine sippy cup". Yep. That's right. A sippy cup for your wine to prevent those dreaded spills while driving or just perusing the house. And also because it's fun to sip your wine from a childlike cup.

Sticking with the wine theme, how about a "wine bra?" For those days that you want to be a full two cup sizes larger, you simply fill your bra up with an ENTIRE bottle of wine. And to trump the already amazing bra filled with wine, you can DRINK the wine straight from your bosoms from a little nipple attached to a tube.

Your fence slats are too wide for your miniature dog? No problem. Just use this nifty dog stopper collar to reverse clothes-line your innocent pooch when he tries to escape. That'll teach em.
Look closely. Do you see all that jargon attached to his face? This is called the "brain wave skate board". In case it isn't implied, you steer this here skate board with your brain. Wanna go left? Just think it.....and it'll go. Some may thing this is pretty rad, and maybe it is. However, isn't the image of a skater dude supposed to be.....well anything but this?
Next time you're on Pinterest be sure to look for the "Things that don't belong on Pinterest".
These are the actual Pinterest projects I've  been working on the past few days. When I'm not skating on my brainwave skate board, of course.
Wreaths for my cabinets. I didn't make the wreaths. Don't get too excited. I just hung them with a tip I found on Pinterest. I like to keep it simple.
Making an ornament wreath using a metal hanger. This was way cool.
This is what I look like while stringing ornaments on a hanger.
The finished product. Not bad.
*Update* I re-did the wreath. The right side of it wasn't right...I'll post a new picture later.
Lastly, a tomato cage Christmas Tree.  It'll look better on my front porch but my husband won't let me put it out there until after Thanksgiving. I'll post a better picture of it later.
*Update* The leaning Christmas Tree has now been straightened. I'll post a new picture later.
I have lots of other Pinterest projects on the horizon. I know how thrilled you are.
Until next time......never mind. I was going to come up with a neat catchphrase like Paula Deen, but I got nothing.
Happy day. :)