Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Return to Paradise

Yes...paradise does come in the form of furniture.  Or in this case a $40 Craig's List refinished dresser for my DIY room!

Remember its humble beginnings? (Click here to see the story / adventure of how it ended up in my garage.)

Well, after some sanding and painting it now looks like this...

Don't you just love the color?!?!? Yup, you guessed is Return to Paradise by Benjamin Moore.

As I began the sanding process a couple of weeks ago I revealed lovely wood hiding beneath all the layers of paint.  So I decided to show it off  and leave the dresser top its natural color.  One coat of poly and it came out beautifully.

Now all I need to do is get it up the stairs and into its new home in my DIY room...real wood furniture is heavy!  If you want more details on how to refinish and paint furniture like this keep reading for a step-by-step break down.  (Otherwise just enjoy the pretty pictures.)

The how-to breakdown...

Tip 1: Find solid wood furniture - you do not want to do this with mdf / laminate furniture.  It wont work.

Step 1: Sand!  Paint sticks to wood and primer.  It does not stick to other paint as well.  So you need to rough up the existing paint.  This is also a great way to get out scratches, dings and damage.  You can also fill larger dings with wood putty.  You can sand by hand but if you plan on painting even more then one piece of furniture I really recommend buying a sander.  Not sure which one to buy?  Read this!

Step 2: Prime or Paint In the case of this dresser I did not prime it because it is not going to get a ton of hard use.  However, when I refinished our kitchen table I primed it first because I knew it was going to get a lot of "love".  So either put a coat of primer on now or move right to the first coat of paint. 

Step 3: Paint Some More Depending on the color / furniture / paint brush / alignment of the stars you will need 2 or 3 coats of paint so be patient.  And use long strokes to eliminate lines.  And light coats to avoid drips.  You can also use a small foam roller rather then a brush.

Tip 2: If you like a more rustic look try this...once the paint is dry (before you do the poly coat) lightly sand small areas to let the wood and / or former paint peak through.  Like this.

Step 4: Poly Coat  I like to use a light clear coat on areas that I know will get more use.  For example, I put a clear coat on the top of this dresser.  But you can do the entire thing just to ensure you wont have to go back and repaint later.  Again, go light on the brush and use long strokes. 

So that is the scoop.  If you have any questions at all just comment below or email me at  Happy painting!

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Monday, November 28, 2011


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!  What a treat to have a long weekend with my family.

It is Monday again which means another fun holiday craft to share with yall as I'm sure your homes are filling up with lovely Christmas goodies.

This project is as simple as it gets!  All you need are sticks (yup, the ones that fall off trees), spray paint and some ornaments.  And look what you get...

I re-used the sticks I had collected a few months back for this project and lightly spray painted them gold.

I picked up these great N-O-E-L fabric ornaments at Marshall's for $5.99 and after performing a little balancing act I was done.  I filled  a couple of vases I already had with some Christmas candy and my entry-way was complete for about $9. 

And my husband and I both agree this is our favorite new decor this year!   

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day of Thanks


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.  I hope your day is filled with joy, love and yummy food!  And a GREAT BIG thank you for being a part of Mission Decorate.  This blog allows me to follow my passion and as a reader you help me to follow my dreams everyday.  No seriously, I mean that.

So from my home to yours...Thank You.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Quick Ornament Wreath

Just about one month until favorite day of the year!  Every Monday until Christmas I will share with you an easy holiday decorating craft that costs little money and takes little time but will make your home feel warm, welcoming and personal for the holidays.  Here is the first of more to come...

I know you have been anxiously awaiting to hear what I did with this frame.  Well, I am here today to let all your stress and anticipation go.  (Wow, this would all be a little sad if it were truly the case!)  It has been Christmas-a-fied...

...and is now the home of my lovely and quick ornament wreath.  How did I make that wreath, you ask.  Again I am here with all the answers.  You will need.

1. A wreath form which I found at Michael's
2. A glue gun
3. Ornaments!  I bought mine at the dollar store.  $1 for 15 ornaments!
4. Wire ribbon which I also found at the dollar store for you guessed it...$1

The first step is to remove the cap in the ornaments.  You know, the place that it hangs from.  Like this...

Then you start gluing!  I glued a my ornaments at every angle.  I found it hard to get them to stay if I glued them at the "cap".  It worked much better the more surface area I glued down.  You will have to hold them in place for a bit until the glue hardens but otherwise it is just that simple.

When you are almost all the way around take a break to attach the ribbon.  Simply loop it around the wreath form and glue it down on the the front and back.  Leave lots of extra to tie your bow.  It was only a dollar so be generous here.  I would hate for you to get caught short.  (True tragedy of Christmas!)

Then keep gluing those ornaments!  This is so simple that it is a great way to create a holiday craft without being scared.  Try it even if you are not "crafty".  But truly, even if we hate to admit it, we all have a little crafty in us.    

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Friday, November 18, 2011

My hands are still vibrating

The final project to be completed for the DIY room is to refinish the Craig's List dresser I purchased a month ago...

It has been sitting in my garage since the day I brought it home...starring me down every time I walk by.  But honestly, I have been lacking motivation.  And that motivation got even harder to find as the temps have begun to drop.  Spending time in my ice cold garage is not so appealing.  But when my friend Celia asked if she could borrow my sander for a few projects of her own the clock started ticking.

I told her I would bring it by Thursday (yesterday) which provided exactly what I needed...a deadline.  Sometimes I find this is just how I work.  Give me a date something must be done by and it is done.  Tell me "whenever" and whenever might actually turn into never.

I got to work Monday.  I started with the top of the dresser, which I decided I would fully sand to remove all of the paint.  And just as I had hoped, beautiful wood popped up underneath all that paint.  Which means I am going to put a light coat of poly on the top and leave the natural wood exposed.

The rest is going to be primed and painted so all it needed was a once over to rough it up, remove the paint that was pealing and smooth out the scratches.  But it wasn't a quick job.  I worked at it Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and my hands still hurt and feel like they are experiencing a minor earthquake.  (Typing this post right now is not helping the issue!)

But it is done and ready for the next step...primer.  All I need now is someone to tell me they need to borrow my primer to make it actually happen!  Otherwise it might stay looking like this till Spring...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Plate Wall...You Make Me Hungry!

Have I mentioned that I LOVE the wall stencil in my DIY room?!?!?  But with that said it did need a little something to break it up.  To much purple damask is just to much purple damask!  So I came up with a frugal solution...

I have been wanting to do a plate wall for awhile.  I was initially planning on adding it to the dining room (which still has paint samples on the wall from months ago...shhhhh) but there may have been mentions of "granny decor" from the male in the household.  Now let me first say that I agree, acient flowery china on the wall can be a little gray haired walkerish but this age old tradition has been updated as of late and is popping up everywhere!

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Oh, and I couldn't not show you this one.  It is insane!  I just hope they don't have an earthquake!

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(From here, here and here)

So granny plates are back ladies and gentlemen but they are updated, new and farmhouse chic!  But back to my plate wall...

I have been collecting these plates over time.  One is from Anthroplogie (my big $16 splurge), 2 are from World Market (I think around $4 each), 2 are from Goodwill (a whopping 69 cents a pop), 1 is from Target (on sale for $3) and the last one is from Marshall's ($2.99).

Rather then using plate hangers, which I recommend if you plan on eating off the plates at some point, I used wire hangers.  You know, those hooks that you attach to the back of a frame and then string a piece of hanging wire between.  I hot glued them to the back of the plates and let them dry overnight.  Then simply hung them on nails in a random somewhat pre-determined pattern.

I think the white does a lovely job of breaking up the purple.  Don't you think???

P.S. Check out my great new lamp from Target...on sale of course!  I love her!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Wall Stencil How To

I am still basking in the glow of my lovely new stenciled wall.  Isn't she pretty...

I promised you I would return with a how-to so that you can all do this at home, so here it is.  The most important part of this how-to is you must watch this video!  I bought this beautiful Nadya Damask Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  They not only have an amazing selection of fantastic stencils but they really do send you a top notch product.  You have to check them out!  

So now that you have watched the video you have gotten all kinds of great tips, but let me break down a few things.  The question that kept popping up from your comments was "how did you space everything so well???"  The absolute secret to my success showed up at my door step for $12 but honestly I would have paid twice that because it was invaluable.  So what's the secret...the wonderful, fantastic Cutting Edge Clip-On Stencil Level.  Seriously...GET IT!  It made the process SO much simpler.  

You just clip it to the top, make sure everything is level each time you move the stencil and then you are set to go.  

But lets back up and take you through this step by step.  You will need a small foam roller, paint, a paper plate, paper towels and painters tape.  

First tape off the space you are stenciling.  I was doing one wall so I taped the top and bottom at the trim and then the corner where the non-stenciled wall met my work space.  Then start in the middle of the room - now I did not do any fancy measuring, I just eyeballed it.  I imagine that you could measure off the room and place the stencil in the exact middle which would make the pattern perfectly even but honestly I don't think it is necessary.  Unless you stare at it at length your eye will simply see a repeating pattern and not even care exactly where it starts and ends.   

Place the stencil against the wall, make sure it is level and then use painters tape to tape it down at the corners. 

Put a light coating of paint on the roller and then roll it on the paper towel.  This is the most helpful thing the video taught me so DO IT!    Why?  Because this step evens out the paint on the roller and removes any big globs (yes, that is the technical term).  You want to apply the paint in an even thin layer and globs of paint will just make that impossible 

Then start painting!  Use medium to light pressure.  Do not press hard, instead roll over the stencil numerous times with a lighter pressure returning for more paint often (and using the paper towel method each time).

Now it is time too move the stencil.  Remove it gently but don't be to afraid - the tape should come off easily and the paint should be fine.  As you see in the video, if your stencil patterns allows for this, overlap the top pattern of the stencil with the the bottom of what you just finished painting.  (Sorry if that is confusing,  the video really shows it clearly.)  This trick is what made easy spacing possible! 

If your stencil pattern does not allow for this then I would imagine more measuring would be involved.  That right there is enough for me to take this into consideration when deciding what pattern to use.  Does anyone have a good solution for this?!?!?

When you get to an outlet just be sure you have fully taped it over with painters tape then just roll right over it.  When you get to the corner use some more tape to secure the stencil to the wall, then bend it into the corner.  If you are having a hard time using the roller to get deep into the corner then use a brush.

At some point you will need to clean your stencil.  I was able to complete my single wall without cleaning it but it was getting a little dicey at the end.  To clean the stencil lay it on a plastic cutting board and then use soap, water and a gentle sponge or brush.  With a little patience it should come completely clean. 

Oh and one more little tip for you...most stencils will be packaged rolled up.  If you want to speed up the flattening process so you can get to using it quicker take a hair dryer to it.  The heat will help flatten out the plastic.  And if possible store your stencils flat.  This will keep it in much better shape if you ever want to reuse it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Get Those Wrinkles Out

The DIY room is creeping toward the finish line and I'm having a great time pulling it all together.  Today I took on a split personality project - I little bit function, a little bit fun. 

As you all know I am on a budget so I don't have much moola to spend on wall art so I figured why not make it out of the things I know I need in the room.  I started with an ironing board.  We usually hide ours in the closet but since this space is all about creating then why not have fun with what I need to create.  So I introduced my ironing board to a little fabric paint. 

It was super simple and fun!  All I needed was some painters tape, about $4 of fabric paint, and a couple of sponge brushes.

I taped off the ironing board in a totally random, not even measured out, pattern.  I went with simple stripes but you could do just about anything.  (I also thought about chevron but didn't want to add another bold pattern to the room.) 

Then I started painting.  As always, multiple thin coats works much better then globing it on.  The yellow took a few more coats then the silver but it was all very speedy.

And while the paint was still wet I gently pulled off the tape.  To complete the project I attached two white hooks to the wall, hung it up and easy as that, I had not only a pretty place to iron but a homemade piece of something lovely for my wall.

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Feathered Nest Friday

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Winter officially arrived today and while most people were bummed to be cooped up inside I was thrilled!  Why??? Because it finally gave me the chance to take on the project that has been making me nervous for weeks.  Yes, the stencil.  As you may remember from this post, I was just a little bit scared to get started but WOW am I excited I finally did it.  IT IS AMAZING!

I am actually so excited about it I am bursting at the seems.  So instead of taking the time to give you the how-to play-by-play right now I am just going to show you lots of pictures.  But don't worry I will follow up with a how-to because you have to try this yourself.  And there are some very helpful hints that I think you will appreciate.  But for now, on to the pictures...

Yes...that is MY WALL!  Here is a full view so you believe me.

My friend Anna came over this afternoon and she said if this was her house she would never leave this room.  I think she may be on to something!

I hope my husband doesn't mind serving me meals and bringing my laundry to the new room I may never leave.

I mean, it is only one flight of stairs.  People will still come to visit me, right?

That is if I'm willing share my room with them!