Rustic Workshop Trunk Makeover (Before & After)

Rustic Workshop Trunk Makeover (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Rustic Workshop Trunk Makeover (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Well, the last three weeks have been quite an adventure. We’ve had breakdowns, accidents, injuries, life changes, work changes and exhaustion. For awhile there, I was on a simple loop of coping and sleeping. Things seem to be getting to a state of equilibrium now, in my new normal. I’ve been wanting to show you what I’ve been up to, and I’m so thankful I have the time and space to do that again.

First up, my workshop trunk. This little trunk had been waiting for soooo long for it’s turn under the paint brush! I found it at the Goodwill years ago and I’ve been using it for storage in my workshop (i.e. office-slash-craft-room) ever since. I think it was originally a cherry-style finish, but somewhere along the way someone had attempted to paint it. It looked like part spray paint and part latex painted with a roller. Even with all the “distressing” it’s gotten over the years (read: total abuse and neglect), it just didn’t get better. It was shabby, but not in a good way. [Read more...]


Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After)

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

I‘ve been working on my workshop (craft-slash-office space) for some time. I knew that I wanted to paint the main work table, but I could NOT decide what color or style. Stained top? Painted legs? Plain white? Something fun? It’s been a major stumbling block for moving forward on this room. That and the jigsaw puzzle of figuring out that plus everything else — walls, other furniture, slipcovers…

Well, as you know, I finally decided (thanks to the inspiration from Pinterest and this book), to keep the walls white. Then I decided to refinish the wood buffet (still in progress). Which meant, yay, I could paint the table. I knew I wanted the top to be white to aid in photography for the blog, but I also wanted something fun since the rest of the decisions so far have been pretty staid. But what?

Kathy of Petticoat Junktion to the rescue!!

I was reading her amazing blog, and saw this adorable grain-sack inspired table:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via Petticoat Junktion

Isn’t that swwony? I mean, who could resist with the cute turquoise paint and the vintage quilts and chenille. I emailed Karen immediately and asked her if I could copy her for my table, and she graciously said yes (and also said I could share a picture or two of hers here so you could see — thank you, Kathy!!).

This is how I did it. First I had to pick a color. True to form, this was agonizing and took a long time. Here’s just a few of the samples I tried (some new, some from my stash)

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

I’m glad I held out until I found the exact vintage-y blue-y green-y color I was looking for. The legs are Aloe (SW 6464) and the top is Steamed Milk (SW 7554).

I drug the table outside, sanded the top some and stained it dark walnut to give it some age before I painted. The top got a coat of primer and two coats of white, and the legs just got two coats of green since they had been primed and painted white by the previous owner.

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Once the paint was dry I distressed it, then brought it inside to do the stripe. I used the same basic technique that Kathy did, shown here:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via Petticoat Junktion

I used plain masking tape to tape off the center stripe, because that’s what I had on hand, so I cut in against the tape when I painted my center stripe. Then, like Kathy, I hand-painted the thin stripes with a tiny little brush. I used the tape as a guide to keep them straight. They’re definitely hand painted (read, wobbly) and I love them.

I distressed the stripe, too, just a bit, then polyed the whole thing. Three coats, and I buffed in between. I don’t usually bother with multiple coats or buffing, but with a table that will get hard use I thought it would be worth it.

My work table is a repurposed kitchen table that I got for $40 at a garage sale. It’s a standard 3′ x 5′ table, and I thought a 3″ stripe seemed about right. The skinny stripes are small, maybe 1/4″ wide? And the width of the tape apart from the main stripe. You’ll notice Kathy did two skinny stripes on her table, and it looks great. I did mine from memory and only put one. I actually like Kathy’s version better, but it’s already polyed so I’m going to call it good and be happy!

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the before and after:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

And here:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

I’m completely in love with the whole thing. Too bad it’s covered up most of the time with my works in progress! Ha!

I did take a moment to take some pretty pictures before I put it back to work. Here’s a few:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com


Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via cottagemagpie.com

Whew! Now on to the next project.

Do you all struggle as much as I do with making decisions? It seems so effortless for most people!

~Angela :-)

Thank you again, Kathy, for letting me share your great work and copy your idea!

Linking up to: The Shabby Creek Cottage, From My Front Porch to Yours, Fine Craft Guild and Lilyfield Life


Baby Girl’s Tea Cabinet Makeover (Before & After)

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

After that great garage sale, I was feeling like making something happen in my life. Do you ever feel that way? That you just want to Make Something Happen? I do. I definitely do.

The thing is, I have lots of life projects that I work on — building my business, trying to be a writer, homeschooling my kids, all the maintenance that goes with running a home… you know what I mean. And all of those things have looooong project timelines. Little steps, along the long path to where you are going. And I am fine with that. Truly.

BUT. Sometimes I want to just get some results, youknowwhatimean? This last weekend was one of those times, and this little cabinet was the target of my restlessness.

In one corner of our family room is a little spot where Baby Girl plays house, and restaurant and gives tea parties. You can just see the little table there in the corner by the green cabinets.

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

A few months ago, Mr. Magpie found this little wall cabinet at the Goodwill and brought it home. I knew on sight it would be perfect to make a little wall-hung china hutch for Baby Girl’s tea things.

When he found it, it looked like this:

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

Then after the makeover, it looked like this:

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

Baby Girl picked out the colors from my collection of sample paint and helped me paint it. It was her idea to put the pink on first, then the yellow so the pink would show through when we sanded it down.

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

It was my idea to leave the knobs pink. I love pink and yellow together. It’s my favorite color combination. I also love pink and orange and pink and green.

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

It’s not perfect, and I scratched the glass up when I sanded it (oops). But I don’t care. I made something with my little girl, and it was so fun. I didn’t know a 3 1/2 year old child could be so patient and careful with paint. Neither my husband or my son can be, so this is new for me.

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

I love how it turned out, and I can’t wait to get it set up so she can put her little blue bottles in there along with the little tea cups and the vintage plates I found for her. Maybe even with a little posy of roses from the garden for special occasions.

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

Baby Girl's Tea Cabinet Makeover via cottagemagpie.com

Lest you worry that Rocket Boy doesn’t get any of my time or attention, let me assure you that he does. It’s just that all he wants are robots and legos and time with robots and legos… and none of them are very pretty for the blog! Although we do take pictures of all of his creations. I am also working on his summer quilt and helping him organize his room better. Maybe this summer we can finally dig it out enough to do some fun projects in there and you can finally see what his space is like. At least, for the 3.5 seconds that I am taking pictures. After that, well, all bets are off, I’ll just say that.

What about you? Are you careful with paint? Did you have a tea set when you were little? I didn’t, so that part is new for me, too!

~Angela :-)

P.S. For those of you who are new here and wondering why my son is called Rocket Boy, he gave himself that name years ago. Here’s that story.

P.P.S. Linking up to: French Country Cottage, Jennifer Rizzo, Redoux Interiors and Common Ground.


Vintage Radio Cabinet Makeover (Before & After)

Vintage Thrifted Radio Cabinet Makeover via Cottage Magpie

Vintage Thrifted Radio Cabinet Makeover via Cottage Magpie

I know you’ve probably been wondering what cabinet it was I’ve been doing all these projects on! The cabinet access hole, thenlittle mini curtain… clearly I am up to something.

After I got discouraged about the someday mud room, I started working on my workshop (aka office / craft room), and I kind of got on a roll. I decided to just focus on one small area and go from there, so I’m working on the back wall where Mr. Magpie put the built-in cabinets and wainscoting. The first thing I did was hang a gallery of plates, and then I started working on this little cabinet for storage.

A couple of summers ago I found this cute little cabinet at a yard sale around the corner. I can’t remember what I paid for it, maybe $10? Mr. Magpie said it looked like an old radio cabinet, and I said I couldn’t possibly be with all those drawers and mail slots. Guess what? We were both right. I found a sticker inside saying that it’s a radio, but all the mail slots and drawers were added later because they are a different kind of wood and have screws and things in them. Plus… way wonky!

It kicked around the house for a couple of years, waiting to be made over. This last week, it finally hit the top of the list. Read on to see the transformation! [Read more...]


Chippy Painted Green China Hutches (Before & After)

Painted Green Hutch via Cottage Magpie

Painted Green Hutch via Cottage Magpie

So, you know how I showed you my family room the other day, with a little glimpse of the cute green cabinets? Just a glimpse because they didn’t have curtains on them and were embarrassing? Well, we’re friends, right? And friends don’t get embarrassed about their cabinets not being picture perfect. They share. So that’s what I’m doing. Here they are in all their messy, crammed with toys, half done glory.

There are actually two of them, one on each side of the smaller window. Amazingly, both of these were bought at Goodwill, and not at the same time! Mr. Magpie found them separately, a few weeks apart. I still can’t believe it. I had been wanting matching hutches for ether side of the window on this wall, but couldn’t see any way to buy anything. We looked at everything, but it was all just too expensive. I had written off thrifting because — two matching cabinets? Riiiiiiiight. But then, poof, there was a hutch, $30, solid wood. We had to get it. I was going to pair it with something non-matching, but then, a month later, poof, a matching one $30, and I had my almost-identical hutches. Magic.

Anyway. You probably remember that originally the hutches in the family room were plain wood, with gold trellises on the glass.

Cozy Cottage Family Room In Progress

Once I started painting them, they completely changed the look of the room, even without any styling or fabric or anything (you can see also the daybed is gone):

Painted Green Hutch via Cottage Magpie

But clearly, I’m so close, I just need to finish them.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the curtains and such that needs to be done. They’re not all the way painted, either. I had started them in sort of a wild, late-night impulse dash in mid-November, but I couldn’t get them done before Thanksgiving, and then it was the holidays, and so now they’re still only half done. Here you can see them both — the one on the left is almost done, and the one on the right is only just started:

Painted Green Hutch via Cottage Magpie

Painted Green Hutch via Cottage Magpie

(Yikes. Anyway.)

I’m really really anxious about finishing them, which is why I’m stalling. For the first one, I scraped the paint off while it was still not cured all the way. The paint was really soft and so it worked really well.

But NOW, see, it’s been two months, and the paint is really and truly for sure cured. As in, it doesn’t scrape off, at least not easily. I’ve tried. I was all fired up to get them done last week when we took down the Christmas stuff and whammo. Denied. So I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid I’ll never get the second one to look like the first one. I mean, it doesn’t have to match perfectly — it never would have — but I was hoping they’d at least look similar. As in, not wildly different. So I’m not sure what to do now. I’m not really an expert at this furniture painting and distressing thing.

My idea was to put more paint on and that maybe that would soften up the underlying paint enough to distress? Mr. Magpie thinks I should try the heat gun. I don’t know. But that’s why I haven’t finished them. Fear!!!

Darn you, fear!!

Any experts in the house? Or heck, I’m open to suggestions from novices, too. What would you do?

~Angela :-)


Thrifted Mantel Clock Makeover (Before & After)

Paint Detail on Thrifted Mantel Clock

Thrifted Mantel Clock

Over the summer I did a fair bit of thrifting and yard saleing, but I was too busy to do anything with all my finds. I didn’t even photograph most of them! Now that the harvest season business is settling down, and I find myself with little bits of time when I’m not frantically picking, pressing, canning or preserving, the kids and I finally have time to finally tackle some of these little mini fix-ups.

The kids especially love the little projects. Though they do help with the big construction work, there’s only so much they can do, and it’s nice for them to get a quick turnaround and see a finished project quickly.

Oh, let’s be honest, that part is for me!

Daydreaming about finally having a real mantel this holiday (fingers crossed), the first piece I picked out of the fix up pile is this funky mantel clock I found at Goodwill. It’s clearly homemade, maybe even a shop project, and I just think it’s so charming. I immediately imagined it with white paint, so the other day the kids and I jumped in.

Beginning the Thrifted Mantel Makeover Project

Everything I used I already had laying around. Spray primer and the ubiquitous Heirloom White spray paint. A few tools, some sandpaper (these cool strips Mr. Magpie found at Harbor Freight Tools), and a NIOSH mask. I always wear a mask when I paint because even the slightest fumes give me a killer headache.

First I disassembled the clock part so I wouldn’t get paint on it (to see how to do that, see my tutorial on how to take apart a battery-operated clock movement):

Taking the Clock Hands Off

Then we all sanded it. Sanding is always a family activity, right? ;-)

Sanding the Mantel Clock

Then a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to get all the dust.

Wiping Down the Mantel Clock

After sanding and wiping it looked like this:

Thrifted Mantel Clock after Sanding and Wiping

It’s not a perfect sanding job, but since this piece isn’t really going to get any wear or use, I wasn’t worried about it.

Then I set it up in our paint booth.

Clock on Upturned Bucket for Spraying

Just kidding! We don’t have a paint booth. We have an upside down bucket and a back yard. Ha!

I did two coats of primer and two coats of Heirloom White and had a nice blank slate.

Painted Thrifted Mantel Clock

So much better already, don’t you think?

I did a little distressing:

Distressing the Mantel Clock

And then had Mr. Magpie fix up the numbers for me (to see how he did that, and also how I had a mini-project fail, you can see my post How (Not) to Rub’n’Buff Raised Letters and Numbers):

Painting the Clock Numbers Black

Put the clock back together, and it was done!

We took my $1.99 Goodwill clock:

Original Mantel Clock

And made this cute thing with just a bit of paint:

White Mantel Clock

I especially love the little details.

Thrifted Mantel Clock Face Detail

Thrifted Mantel Clock Distressing Column Detail

Not bad for a couple of bucks and an afternoon, eh?

Mantel Clock After

I’m really having fun fixing up all the things I found this summer and finding places for them around the house. What about you? Did you find anything good this summer? Have you fixed it up yet?

~Angela :-)


Dining Room Mini-Reveal (Before & After)

Dining Room Corner After

Dining Room Chair After

I hope you all had lovely Thanksgiving weekend! Ours was supremely relaxing, and for that I am additionally thankful.

As you may recall, I had been trying to make over my entire dining room before Thanksgiving, calling it the “Countdown to Thanksgiving” project.

I didn’t make it.

BUT, I did make quite a bit of progress, and I had just a few moments to snap a couple of pictures of the table set for our family Thanksgiving dinner. It was a dark, rainy day, so the light isn’t great, but hopefully you can get the basic idea.

I don’t know if you remember, but this corner was really dominated by the big, monolithic, grey faux stone wall. It was cool, but it was So. Very. Dark. We live in the Pacific Northwest, so though we’re not as far north as, say, Scandinavia, because of the cloud cover we might as well be. I need every scrap of light I can get.

Here’s the before, in all it’s glory.

Dining Room Corner Before

Wow. I can’t believe we actually lived with that for so long.

And now, drumroll…. here’s the after-for-now:

Dining Room Corner After

Big grey wall? Gone! I covered it up! Not with paint, with plaster! I love how it looks like some old wall in a loft or something. I had thought it would be quick and easy, but it ended up taking several days and over 50 pounds of plaster (and some help from friends, family, children… seriously, I was conscripting people over here). But I love the way it turned out and I’m planning to do the front, too.

We also painted (yes, painted) one of those pink chairs to try that (it worked!), threw some stuff on the wall so it didn’t look barren, and brought my old reclaimed door inside and threw some aqua paint on it to try that out. And of course, you already know about how I tore out the stone planter. No more laundry basket safety feature needed! :-)

I’m still working on it, but already it’s so much brighter that I feel like I might actually make it through the winter with all of my sanity intact!

Dining Room Corner After

Yep, even with all the imperfections and things I still want to change, this little corner makes me happy.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m really feeling the holiday spirit this year, I have to say. I have lots of ideas for things I’d like to do. But I also want to keep going until this room is really done. That and I really need to put my stuff back in the china hutch / cabinet / thingy! :-) So I’ll be juggling both of those things for the next weeks.

I’ll keep you posted! :-)

~Angela :-)