Monday, August 29, 2011

Antique Distressed Dresser using Chalk Paint

If I know one thing about marriage, it's about compromise.

When we moved into the house we live in now it was the first house that my husband and I owned together.  In fact, we built the house ourselves creating a space that fit our family perfectly.  However with more space came lots  We didn't quite have enough furniture to fill our new home.  Fortunately my gracious in-laws decided to send us a truck of furniture culled from both of my husband's grandmothers' previous homes.

Some pieces were lovely, some pieces were not so lovely and others just needed a little TLC.

Once we got all of the pieces arranged around the house we were left with a dresser that was a bit of an odd man out.  It just didn't work in any of the rooms but Georgia Boy refused to get rid of it because of its sentimental value.

As an anti-hoarder I am usually inclined to immediately part with something if it doesn't work or we don't need it.  I don't like keeping things around "just because."  But Georgia Boy wasn't going to budge on this one.

One evening while contemplating the ugly dresser dilemma it finally dawned on me that I might be able to make the dresser work as a kind of sideboard in our sitting room.  I asked Georgia boy if I could paint it and he agreed!

In most of the living areas of my house I tend to favor warmer colors but my bedroom is very cool and calm.  I decided this would be the perfect place and piece to try to create the pale blue French antique look instead of my traditional warmer/off-white tones.  I also decided this would be the perfect piece on which to try Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Here is the dresser before.  Great lines, no real problems but it was the traditional 1960's brown with black flecked finish.

I first painted the whole piece in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old White.

I then lightly glazed it with a mixture of 3 parts clear glaze and 1 part Sherwin Williams Silvermist latex paint and then distressed it with a rough grit sandpaper along the edges.

Next I applied one coat of Annie Sloan clear wax with a stiff brush.  I then applied a coat of Annie Sloan dark wax.  I was tempted to skip the step using the clear wax but I had heard stories of people who went straight to the dark wax and ended up regretting it because it turned their piece way too dark instead of giving it the lightly distressed and antique look that I wanted.

The trick for this piece was to use the clear wax first and then use a very light hand to apply the dark wax.  I barely tapped the end of my bristles into the dark wax and very lightly, with an almost dry brush technique, applied the wax.  I then rubbed the dark wax into the piece with the brush that I had used with the clear wax to soften the appearance of the dark wax.

I left the hardware in its original state.  I really felt like I couldn't improve on the color and the contrast with the painted wood kept it from feeling too girly.  I am really pleased with the result and the good part is that Georgia Boy gave his approval too!

No rest for the weary, though, because I've got more pieces waiting in the wings!

Happy painting Cheap Mamas!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

$1 Painted Wall Sconces

Does anyone else out there have that one item that when you see it on sale (or not!) you just can't seem to pass it up?  For my mother, it's lamps.  For me, it's candlesticks.  I don't know if it's the straight lines or the promised candlelit ambience that they represent but I love candlesticks, candelabras and wall sconces.

You can imagine how excited I was when I found these wall sconces for $1 a piece!  Never mind that they were made of some sort of resin and had that awful brown/black-flecked look, I couldn't pass them up.  Visions of painted sconces were already dancing in my head.

The sad brown and gray wall sconces.

I painted them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.  Mostly because this meant that I wouldn't have to prime them and also I was painting a dresser at the same time in the same color so it was just too easy to slap some paint on these sconces while I had all of the supplies available.

After the coat of Old White I lightly hit the edges with some gold leaf paint I had on hand, distressed them with sandpaper and then hit them with a light touch of Annie Sloan dark wax.

Basically it was a complete experiment for me but I figured there was no way I could go wrong on trying different things on my $1 sconces!

I'd say that is quite an improvement, wouldn't you?  And all for $2!  That makes this Cheap Mama a very happy Cheap Mama indeed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Basket Lady

There are cat ladies, bird ladies, bag ladies and then there's me, the basket lady.  I love utilizing baskets in any room and for any purpose.  I love the organization that baskets provide while at the same time being beautiful enough to leave in plain view.  To me, bins say "put me in the closet" but baskets say "leave me out to be admired."

When I started photographing all of the baskets in my house I don't think I realized just how much I love baskets!  These are only about half of the baskets that I have throughout my house.

I used to shop for baskets at my favorite discount stores or when Hobby Lobby had them on sale but recently I discovered just how cheaply baskets can be found at consignment stores.

The Habitat Restore, Goodwill, garage sales and other consignment places are wonderful places to find cheap baskets for organization.  Some of the baskets below cost me as little as $1 or $2, some even less!

I love baskets for holding...


Toilet tissue

Bathroom toiletries

Books for the baby

Changing table items

Homeschool Supplies

Remote controls

Games, DVDs, Wii games and controllers and toys, oh my!

For books, magazines or snacks on the playroom ottoman

More books!  I love wire baskets too!

Throw blankets in the living room 

Books in the living room

Dog toys

and shoes by the back door.

Now I'm off to spend some much needed time with Georgia Boy watching a movie.  Did I mention the movie stars Matthew McConaughey?  Not a bad way to spend a Friday night.

Happy weekend, Cheap Mamas.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Gyro Bowl and Other Evil Things

I am pretty strict when it comes to what my kids watch on television.  My stepson who is almost 11 years old, bless his heart, is always having to choose between watching Bubble Guppies or Little Einsteins with Superman instead of his beloved shows with pre-pubescent children who make more in one episode than most adults do all year.

However as Superman neared his fifth birthday I decided he was a big enough boy to watch a couple of shows on Disney XD.  Little did I know what I had just unleashed upon all of us.

I failed to taken into consideration that this move to big boy shows also came with commercials.  Lots and lots of commercials.  The evil geniuses who write these commercials have taken a page from Dora the Explorer.  You know how when Dora is on an adventure they say the same thing a million times like


Say it again!


Where are they going?


until you want to stab yourself in the eyeball with a pencil?

Well, these commercials are just like that only worse.  Instead of simply repeating the same thing over and over they are also creating tiny kid robots who can repeat the same thing ad nauseum to their parent
until the parent completely caves and buys the dang thing just to shut the kid up.

Or maybe that's just me.

I actually held out for several months before folding like a cheap suit and buying this from Wal-Mart in the "As Seen On TV" aisle.  That counts for something, right?  During those months I had to endure multiple sales pitches from Superman where he recounted each of the fantastic features of the Gyro Bowl.

It's dishwasher safe Mom!

It comes with a Stayin' Fresh Lid Mom!

You can take food in the car and it never spills Mom!

After hearing this multiple times a day I'm actually proud I lasted as long as I did.  He knew he couldn't order one himself because, as he told me, "you have to be 18 or older to order."

After Superman had his Precious in hand I continued with my usual shopping list.  As I was trying to decide which dishwashing liquid to buy he shrieked from behind me, "But wait!  We can get a second one FOR FREE!"

Later as we were driving home he couldn't contain his joy and decided to open the package immediately.  After checking out his purchase he exclaimed with delight, "I can't believe it came with the Stayin' Fresh Lid!"

I want my kid back, Disney XD people.  But I'll settle for some Pajama Jeans to review.
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