French Side-Table Makeover

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Side Table 2I purchased this lovely little side table from craigslist.

This is how it looked like before I put some work into it.

The veneer was peeling up in multiple places. It had some deep scratches, and a few dents. Also a piece of the trim was broken off.Side Table1

(I had forgotten to take before pictures of it, because I dived right into the project. However the person who sold it to me was nice enough to email me his craigslist photos. :))

This piece had beautiful details,  and was made of solid wood.  Thus, even though it was in a rough shape, I knew I could work with it.Side Table 3

Deciding to paint it was an obvious choice. I had to fill in multiple imperfections with wood filler, and I had to take off some of the peeling veneer, thus staining the natural wood was not an option  I managed to completely built up the trim piece that was broken off with wood putty.  So, after some good sanding to make sure it all blended in with the old, the coat of paint made it look as good as new.  I used homemade chalk paint to paint the piece, and it gave it a nice buttery smooth finish.Side Table 4

I then went on to clear wax it, and then dark waxed it around the details and legs.  The dark wax deepened the color a bit, and gave it a more vintage appearance. I didn’t want the paint to look too new, and not match the style and age of the piece. The hardware on this was absolutely beautiful; it had a natural aged patina which I did not touch.Side Table 5

I really love the color I chose. It is a blue/green, which looks different depending on the light. It is very similar to Annie Sloans Duck Egg Blue, which some may be familiar with.

Well that’s all for now. I hope you guys like my projects. I have another one that I just finished, and will talk about in the near future.

As Always,

Elza :)

Fall Is In The Air!

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Happy AutumnFall is here! I’m loving the crisp air, and yet still warm sunshine, which calls for cozy sweaters and blazers. Something about this season just really makes me feel invigorated. :) I’m really anticipating the changing leaves, that are particularly vibrant in New England. Nothing like the bright, yellows, reds, and orange colors of autumn foliage.  I don’t go crazy when it comes to fall decorating, but a few touches around the house really get me in the mood for the season.

Here are a few snapshots of my fall décor.

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I’m in love with the hydrangea my mom cut me from her garden. I’m hoping they will dry like that.Fall 2013 Collage 2

20140915_114612Happy Fall everyone! Soon its time for apple picking and pumpkin Pie! :)

I’ll leave you with a picture of my munchkin enjoying the last days of summer.20140915_124556

-Elza-

How to Reupholster a Chair

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20140910_154316

Well I tried my hand at upholstery for the first time, and I’m glad I did. It was quit the learning curve, but actually not that hard when you do a little research.

My dad had purchased a set of Queen Anne chairs for me, and though I loved their shape, I wasn’t too keen on the style.  A little too Victorian for me.  (Don’t mind the fabric swatch)

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Also they were a little worn in some places.

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So I decided to try to redo them. How hard can it be?

I started by taking off the old fabric.  This was not all that easy. There were hundreds of staples holding it down. In some places if I tugged hard enough, I could pull up the fabric with the staples, but otherwise, I had to take out each staple one at a time. At first I tried to do this with just a flat head screw driver and pliers, but that wasn’t working so good. After jabbing myself several times with the screw driver and making very little progress, I eventually went out and purchased this special upholstery staple remover and it was a huge help.

812Wv3HQNiL._SX522_[1]I have to say this is a handy little tool to have for projects like this. I actually found mine at my local Walmart in the sewing/crafts section, but it is available on Amazon also.  20140824_215131Look at all those staples!! Had to take out each one! The padding on my chair was in good condition so I didn’t touch it.20140824_224450

Next I went and purchased some upholstery fabric, and cut it to the relative shape  of the old fabric I took off, adding several inches extra, so I could have something to hold on to when I needed to pull it tight.  So I placed my fabric onto the chair and began stapling. This is when the fun really began.

I thought I could do this with my regular old staple gun. However, I quickly realized that it will not work. Every time I tried to staple the fabric, the staples would either bend or not go all the way in.  I tried using different length staples, yet nothing worked.  Frustrated, I turned to Google for help.  As it turns out upholstery staples are a lot thinner than what your average staple gun uses.  Comparing the staples I pulled out to the ones I was using, I could definitely see that they were a lot thinner and had sharper tips. Good quality furniture is usually made out of hard woods. Ordinary hand held staple guns are made for softer construction material such as plywood.  The other option would be to use an automatic air staple gun, which would have enough force, yet is also not ideal, because 1. its expensive, 2.  it requires an air compressor, 3. the staples are still bulky and if you make a mistake pulling them out is not an option, and 4. you risk splitting the frame of your furniture.

So what did I do? Did I go and buy an upholstery staple gun that is only available for purchase online and costs about $60-$200 dollars?? Plus the staples another $30?

Nope!  I don’t have enough patience or money for that! :)  I went and wandered the aisles of home depot looking for another option.  ..and you know my friends some times I think I’m genius.  :)

Exhibit A: This is your regular T-50 Staple gun. $17  –> for my purposes USELESS

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Exhibit B: Stanley Light Duty Staple Gun $8 –> IT WORKS!!05ff169b-2d1b-41f8-82f7-79ade07465ed_400[1]

So this Staple gun is like the little brother of the T-50.  He is a lot smaller and scrawnier looking, and probably would go unnoticed hanging right next to the bigger and stronger T-50.  Yet why did this little guy save the day? It so happens this staple gun uses thinner staples.  So I gambled with this purchase and won! It actually worked. The thinner staples easily went into my chair and my project could go on! You could thank me for this discovery later. ;)

I will say though, if you plan to reupholster often or something larger like a couch. You should probably invest in an upholstery stapler, because this does wear on your hands after a while.  However for me, the impatient casual DIYer if worked fine.

This is my chair after I finally finished stapling late in the evening, and trimmed all the extra fabric on the edges.20140825_202723

YouTube has some good videos about how to place the fabric when stapling. This video in particular was helpful. –> LINK

Lastly I went back to the fabric store and purchased some trim, which I hot-glued in place, hiding the fabric edge and staples.

I have been really loving the look of velvet upholstery lately.  It is becoming more and more in style.

These were some of my inspiration photos.  Most of these chairs cost $500 and up! Definitely not in my budget..

upholstery CollageI went with a beautiful sage green. It has a nice vintage wash to it, yet still looks modern. It was $25 a yard, but so worth it.  Total, this project cost me about $50. This includes fabric, trim, staple gun, staples, and staple remover.Chair

It looks fantastic in our bedroom.

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Now I just have to repeat the process with the second one. :)

Have a great day,

Elza

Antiquing with Chalk Paint

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Chalk Paint Horse 1I have been experimenting with different painting techniques lately.  I purchased this lovely little metal horse at a thrift store and decided to test my antiquing skills using chalk paint.

Chalk Paint Horse 2As you can see in the before picture, this horse is cast out of a shiny metal material. Though it was nice as is, I felt it was a little too shiny for my taste, and I wanted to see if I could make it look older and accent some of the intricate details a bit more.

Chalk Paint Horse 3To get this result I mixed up some grey colored homemade chalk paint and painted on a thin coat. After it was dry, I clear waxed it.

20140904_080256To accent all the little details, I tinted some clear wax with brown and black acrylic paint, and then stippled it into the details with a paint brush. Then I wiped it away with a dry rag, leaving the dark wax only in the crevices of the piece.

20140904_080323Lastly, I took some coarse sand paper, and sanded off the paint on parts of the horse, in order to reveal the gold metal underneath. This gave it a really rich gilded look.20140904_081358

I really love the final outcome. It matches my décor perfectly and looks like its a really old antique piece. I had lots of fun with this project. When I started painting that first coat of paint, I thought “Oh Boy, I’ve killed this poor horse.”  However in the end I am very pleased with the results.

Have a great day!

Elza

P.S.

Let me know if you want more details about homemade chalk paint and tinting clear wax.

Self Worth

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Self Worth…  Who gives it to us.. and what determines it? Is it something I can give myself?? Is it determined by our talents.. our looks… our paychecks, our accomplishments???  Lately I have been thinking about my value as a person, as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a Christian, a friend, a member of society… and so on.  This value is so often manipulated by the world around us.. whether it be by our relationships..  good or bad, or  the media and pop-culture, which idolizes a certain type or  trait.  This constant shift in the degree of perceived value has me reeling at times. It causes me to grasp for something that gives me intrinsic  value.. This is a worth that is given in spite of myself.. for my own sake.. or in its own right.  Our society likes to flout the importance of  self esteem… but I’m referring to something deeper.

It seems that more and more people are having a hard time finding the intrinsic value in life, particularly their own life.  It seems I can’t go a week without hearing about a person who decides that his or her life has no more value.  Suicide is rampant today, and it is hitting a younger and younger population.  Not only do people not find value in their own life, when they take theirs, they often take the life of another with them. Why is it so many people find no value in life?? Life intrinsically, despite its success or failure??

Questions.. I ask many questions.  I don’t have many answers. However, when I examine myself personally, I find that I am searching for worth in the wrong places. I search for it in the eyes of others. I search for it in my talents and my material possessions.  Yet I often find so little self- worth there, leaving me feeling lonely, dejected and hopeless.   Yet when I think even deeper.. I realized something stunning… The only place I found intrinsic value my whole life, is at the foot of the cross. There I find that despite my failures, my disappointments, I have value. I am unconditionally loved.  Now I’m not here to preach. But I must say, that the only constant value I can find in life itself, is in the majesty and miracle of its creation.  Thus I turn to its Creator to give me value, to show me why I live despite the evil that often surrounds me.  …and when I allow myself to understand this, life becomes precious! My life is precious, purposeful, and valuable.

God help me! I want to live with this understanding as my motivation!

Elza

 

Vacation!

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We are leaving for vacation tonight! We are heading to Cape Cod. We spend time there every summer, and I find it to be one of the most relaxing places. My family has been going there since I was a little kid, so there are a lot of great memories associated with the place. I’m really glad that now my little guy has the opportunity to go there too! I’m looking forward to exploring the beach with him. He has been there twice already, but he is finally at an age where he actually understands and loves playing in the sand and looking at boats. 

I just have to finish packing and we are on our way! Yay!

Product Review: Rose Water

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Things I loveFor my first product review I would like to start with something pure and simple, but that feels refreshing and smells lovely. Let me introduce you to–> Rose Water.  As I was researching different natural skin care products, I kept reading about the benefits of rose-water. People raved about this simple product; that it naturally soothes and moisturizes your skin.  So one day as I was in my local health food store I saw a bottle of Heritage Store Rose Water, and couldn’t resist picking up a bottle to try for myself.  This is as natural as you can get; just water and Rose extract.  Let me just say.. I’m in love!
Rose Water1Rose Water

So actually I got two bottles. One is just pure rose-water with a regular top, and the other is Rosewater with glycerin and a misting top.  The first one I use on a cotton ball as more of a toner, while the one with glycerin I spray directly on the face when I want some hydration. :) Both leave the skin feeling soft and supple. I particularly love this product because it is summer time, and considering the humid weather I don’t need a very heavy moisturizer.  Also when it’s really hot this just feels really refreshing misted on your face.  …and it smells like a garden of Roses.  If you love the smell of roses you will be in heaven.. if you don’t.. then it’s probably not for you. (The smell reminds me of my mother’s garden.)

So here is a little research: Rose water has actually been used in skin care for generations, (especially popular during the Victorian era) and can often be found mixed into the ingredient lists of many of our 21st century creams and potions. (Maybe someone still has a granny that speaks of its benefits??)

Here are a few ways rosewater works wonders:

1. Rose oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Thus rose-water can help to reduce redness from irritation or heat.

2. It is a great cleanser and aids in removing oil and dirt accumulated in clogged pores.

3. It has astringent like properties, which is why it is often used after facials to close pores and tighten capillaries. (Applying rose-water after steaming or a shower is really good)

4. The aroma of roses is said to be a powerful mood enhancer. (Some people spray it on their pillow so that they feel calm and sleep better.)

I find the that the best and easiest way to use it is to apply it as a toner at night. It helps clear any impurities left on your face after cleansing and soothes and tightens the skin.

Lastly I want to say.. When you start looking for rose-water, you will find many different brands out there. Some of them quit expensive.  Usually you are paying for a fancy glass bottle and not so much the product.  Though Heritage Store’s rose-water doesn’t come in the most fanciful packaging, I am happy with the quality of the product. ( It’s food grade..so you can even drink it if you want ;)) So be wary of anything too expensive.. and look out for ones that have other stuff mixed in. Oh and I forgot to mention..  Glycerin adds a bit more substance to the spray rose-water so that it stays on your skin a bit better… that’s why I purchased that one in the misting bottle. Pure vegetable glycerin actually has some health benefits for your skin too.. but that’s another subject for another day.

Until then,

Stay calm, cool, and collected.

Elza

P.S. Heritage Brand rose water can be found on Amazon and your local Whole Foods or health store.  (I purchased mine at Choice Health)

“Things I love” Introduction

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So I have decided to do some posts about some of the products I have been loving lately, particularly skincare. I have been really into natural skincare products and have found some new things that I really love.  There are some really good natural products that I have been using on a daily basis, and my skin is looking really good as a result. Also I have been trying some Korean skincare and cosmetics brands. Koreans are known to produce some of the most advanced skincare products. Korean women often pride themselves in having clear complexions, and girls are taught to take care of their skin from a very young age.  It is said that the Korean cosmetics industry is a good decade ahead of the U.S. So I have some pretty cool stuff to share with you in the near future.  I think I will call this group of posts ” Things I Love.” I will try to present a new post every week.

Until then…I hope everyone has a great day!

Elza

I’m Back!! Did you miss me??

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Ok, so I have not blogged in a very long time. Mostly it was due to the fact that my computer got a virus and was acting slow and glitchy, thus making blogging tedious.  However we just purchased a brand-spanking-new lap top, and I am excited to get back into blogging.  I also got a better camera. so hopefully I can take some better pictures too.

I’m thinking of taking a slightly different direction with this blog.. maybe even changing up the front page a bit. We shall see…

Until then.. I just want to say “It’s good to be back!”

Elza

Natural Dishwasher Detergent

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who knewSo I ran out of dishwasher soap two weeks ago, and decided to experiment.  I have never been happy with the store-bought detergent, because it smells so strong, and who knows what is in it.  (Did you know that cancer patients are often advised not to use dishwasher detergent, because of all the harmful chemicals it contains.  Makes you think doesn’t it..)  Since we have an older model dishwasher, it doesn’t seem to get as hot as the newer ones do, so I would always find soap residue on my dishes.  This obviously doesn’t sit well with me. Also, when my dishwasher is on, and the steam comes through the vents, the smell of the soap is so strong that I can’t even stand near it.  So I did a little googling to see if I could find and make a home-made natural solution.  A came across the idea of using baking soda, and decided to give it a try.  So I filled the soap slot with baking soda and put on a load of dishes.  It worked pretty decent, however, I did find some baking soda residue, and water spots. After a bit more research I decided to try adding about a dime size amount of liquid Dawn dish soap to the baking soda, and added vinegar to the rinse cycle.  It worked like a charm!  The baking soda provides grit to clean the dishes, the Dawn some bubble action, and the vinegar helps eliminate those water spots.  I have been using this method for about 2 weeks now and my dishes and dishwasher have never been this clean before.  (Once i put in a little too much baking soda I think, and I did find residue on top of the cups… However I don’t feel so bad about it, because as least I know what it is, and that it is safe.)

So I’m really loving this method…  however I do wonder if its good for the dishwasher and pipes long-term…  So I don’t know if I’ll never have to buy the nasty chemical stuff again… but for now, so-far-so-good.  I’ll keep you posted.

P.S You can buy natural dishwasher detergent online… however this can get pricey. Also there is a dishwasher detergent recipe floating online that uses Borax.. but I’m not a huge fan of it because Borax can be harmful too.

Elza

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