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Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Other Hobbies

Seems like dieting has become a hobby for me. Actually it's just writing about dieting that is the hobby. But this summer I found the time and inspiration to get back to an old actual hobby - refinishing furniture! My mom has said for years "Amber you need a hobby" to which I have responded "I have a hobby, two of them in fact" and point to my boys.

I LOVE taking something old and ugly and making it pretty again. I also LOVE saving money and finding a deal. Right out of college, completely broke in a new city, I was even known to take a few things from dumpsters. That's right! I am also living in a rented house, so I can't exactly paint the walls, put up new curtains or truly redo a room. That limits my creativity in a lot of ways, until this summer...

The Chair
I picked this chair up at an estate sale 2 years ago for $20. I was waiting for inspiration, knowledge and time. I  have reupholstered a fews homemade benches and my dining room chairs, but never a REAL upholstery project. 

The REDO: First I researched how I should do this, reading blogs and trying to find how-to videos on youtube. It seemed taking the chair apart was the most important thing and you will learn how it is put together from that. That was the worst, pulling all those tacks and staples out. I used the old fabric to cut out my new pattern and bought new batting. I stapled down the seat first, then the front of the chair back. Then the hard part! I sewed a welting/cording thing and stapled it down with ply-grip along the back of the back. Then I lined up the fabric, stuffed it in the ply-grip, rubber hammered it down and was done. I painted and antiqued the chairs legs a pretty white too. I had swore hands and blisters from this project. I learned a lot and its not perfect, but it is pretty. I won't do another upholstery project for a while!

The Ruffled Lamp
This is a $20 lamp I got from Target many years ago. It is made from paper and my boys knocked it over several times and the paper kept ripping at the bottom.

The REDO: I took an favorite old sheet in a putty color and ripped it into strips of fabric. Then I ran them through the sewing machine, right down the middle of each strip. If you don't run back over the ends you can then "ruffle" the fabric by gently pulling on a loose end. After I had it ruffled, I hot glued it all around the paper shade. The hot glue gun rocks! I love the warmness the lamp puts out now.

The Dresser
Strangely we do not have a single dresser in our home. We have moved a few times in the last 3 years and the idea of moving a big heavy dresser convinced us to sell what we had before the 1st move. We now use baskets and shelves for our folded clothing. But that was getting messy and I've been dying to try a new painting method using Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint. All I need was a piece of furniture to try it on. A neighbor had this dresser that even the local charities refused to pick up, so I was in business!

The REDO: The beauty of Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint is that there is no sanding or priming! W00t! So I did 2 coats of Aubusson Blue, distressed and waxed first with clear wax then some antiquing with dark wax. I also took off all the hardware and spray painted it Oil Rubbed Bronze. I needed the dresser to be a little taller (my bedroom TV is going to set on top of it) so I talked the Husband into attaching some 2x4's to the legs. This turned out beautiful!

The Bar Stools
This was a really easy project. I bought these barstools 15 years ago and for a long time they were in storage in our basement. But living in smaller rental homes now, we use them every day and they were looking pretty bad. 

The REDO: I spray painted them white after I cleaned them really well. Then I used Google Images to search for Flour de Lis, found one I liked, increased it's size, printed it and cut it out. I put it on the stool and traced around it. I then used a light blue paint and tiny paint brush to fill it in. I then dry brushed the top of the stool with white paint to make the stencil be more subtle.

The Bookshelf
Also 15 years old, it was a tired old oak and the top had stains on it. My boys needed better toy storage and this was just collecting dust, so I decided to put it to use!

The REDO: I sanded and primed the bookshelf first. I used Martha Stewart's Marigold paint and then antiqued with a watered down brown paint (that you put on, then wipe off, several times) until I got the desired look. I need to put a poly finish on it, because I can tell the boys will be rough with it already! But I LOVE the color pop. I printed off some cute fabric swaps images from Google Images and glued them old coffee cans for colorful storage on the shelves.

So see, I do things other than yack about the Belly Fat Cure all the time! ;-) Next up I'm redoing my dining room table and chairs, and a desk I got for $15 at a garage sale. Did you do anything fun this summer or have a neat hobby?!

I'm linking up to Mom Three Boys.


  1. Sounds like you had a lot of fun doing these. How inspiring!!

  2. I wish I could paint things like that, but I don't think I'm very creative! I'd buy them if you sold them in a shop Amber!! lol

  3. You know, since starting my journey, I have been wanting to get back to "the old me" and re-do furniture pieces too! It is something I did and LOVED in college and after, but you know, life and babies took over. As soon as we get moved, I plan on going treasure hunting for sure!

  4. How pretty! I bet you have more energy now to devote to a hobby.

  5. Those are all so beautiful Amber! I keep telling myself that once the boys are a little older and I don't have so much school/house stuff going on I will do those kinds of things. Right now I haven't been doing any other 'fun' hobbies other than the new blog and trying out gluten free / low sugar / low carb recipes. That's been all the free time i get these days..

  6. Oh my gosh, I am tired just reading this post. Everything came out beautiful though. But as far as hobbies go....I'll stick to wine! Oh and one more thing, I liked how you ventured out into new territory on your blog. I actually started another blog, but never really went anywhere with it. I wanted to have one that other people might read and enjoy even if they weren't following the BFC. I think we all should change it up from time to time!

  7. Bravo Amber. You got a lot done. I have an old record (ha ha) cabinet from my parent's house that I plan on re-staining and adding a stone top. All I've done so far is change out the legs and handles. I need to get with it!


  8. Amber that is so impressive. I wish I had the talent to do that. Plus when you have hobbies like that it keeps your mind off of food..lol

  9. Your make-overs are so great, well done! Thanks for sharing them at Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  10. These are wonderful. You are very creative. :)

    I'm enjoying your blog and love to see your progress.