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the great dresser swap & a reveal

A certain two-year-old in our house has decided he’s 2-going-on-22… He’s wanting to do all sorts of “big boy” things [all by himself, of course], like sleeping in a big boy bed, using the big boy potty, etc.  I wasn’t prepared for this.  The artwork in his nursery says “just stay little,” and I thought for sure he’d comply.

print by Sarah Jane Studios

I have been so sadly mistaken.

To accommodate all of this growing up, we’ve made some changes to his nursery, which is gradually unfolding into a “Big Boy Room.” [Please excuse me while I weep a little….]  We got rid of his changing table/dresser combo so we could fit a better size dresser AND his little reading/coloring/be-a-big-boy-in-my-own-room table into the same space.

Turns out we already had the perfect size dresser elsewhere in our house…. in the Master bedroom… with MY clothes in it (ok, with some of my clothes in it, and the rest hanging and stacked awkwardly in the closet, mingling with my shoes and dust bunnies and who knows what else… it was an over-crowded hot mess in there).  I’d found this [too small for me] dresser at an antique mall while visiting a friend in St. Louis and couldn’t pass it up.  It knew it was a bit too small for me, but I loved the piece and, at a great deal, had to have it somewhere in my house.

And so, the dresser swap began.  While the little dresser is perhaps definitely a little more “shabby chic” than my husband would prefer in his son’s bedroom, it will soon get a makeover, too [and of course, a post to reveal].  Besides, it has these darling handsome spindles that raise it up, creating the perfect space underneath for some wire baskets = toy storage!  Score.  And so, the little dresser went to the big boy room, and my clothes went… on the floor.

Classy, right?

That is called motivation friends!

Motivation, because THIS is what I had lingering in my garage, waiting for a makeover, and JUST the right size for my space!

I know, right?!?!?  What a mess.

I was SO excited for this one.  I started by hiring my handsome husband [again].  He’s a super amazing employee.  Works for free, in the freezing cold, and people, let’s be frank, he’s super hunky while he’s doing it!

He used some wood filler on the serious gouges in the top, and sanded that whole top down for me.

Once that part was done, I was ready to paint.  I got the first coat on, went to wash my brushes out, and came back to find the entire piece turning pink.  PINK.  What?!?  I didn’t get any pictures of this because I was too busy panicking and Googling and searching for Annie Sloan’s direct line.

And then it all came flooding back to me… I remembered reading about the stain on dark mahogany or red-toned pieces bleeding through (thank you Pinterest).  And there was an easy solution.  Zinsser Spray Shellac.  A good coat of this, and you’re good.  Ideally, you’ll anticipate this problem before you start painting and put a nice coating of this on first, but… well… now I know.  I got a good layer of shellac on, another coat of paint, and the problem was solved!  I’m pretty excited about this piece.

She’s done in Annie Sloan’s Old White and Duck Egg, with gilding wax in King Gold for detail.

I think she sits beautifully in our Master bedroom with the Duck Egg dresser I did a few months ago.

Oh, and that framed burlap? I made that while the baby napped and the big boy watched an episode of Elmo’s World.  Seriously- I painted a 90’s shiny cherry wood frame with some Old White, and while it dried I used spray adhesive to slap some burlap on the original backing for the artwork that was previously housed in the frame.  Let it dry while I made lunch, distressed it, and wa-LA! I think I’ll use it for reminders… scripture cards…

I really had a lot of fun with this piece!  And more than anything, I’m so grateful to have my clothes off the floor!!


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vintage baby dresser {part 2}

Several weeks ago, I told you how I stumbled upon a sweet little treasure while rummaging garage sales with my baby girl.

It felt like such an honor to take home this dresser, to love it back to life, and to set out to find it a new home.  It was really tough to decide what to do with this one… Should I keep it’s original wood stain and just freshen it up?  And maybe replace the hardware?  Should I do something bold and totally out of the box?  I really wasn’t sure.  Sometimes I battle between transforming pieces into some thing that I love versus a piece someone else could love.  And at the same time, if I don’t love it, it’s not really a representation of me and my passion, so what’s the point anyway?

{Perhaps I’ll just continue to do what I love to the pieces I find, and begin taking custom orders for those that have something else in mind!! Now we’re talkin’…}

SO, I came to a conclusion based on where I saw this piece most likely to be utilized… and that was in a nursery, where it was originally used.  I wanted it to be sweet, simple and pure with a hint of sparkle.  And I think she’s just that:

She’s getting picked up tomorrow to go to a new home in Wisconsin!  A sweet little nursery for a new sweet little baby.  Back to her original intended purpose.

I think it’s just the right fit.


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“God has been gracious.” {3 years ago today}

Three years ago today, I went to work trembling. I was shaking from the inside out. Overflowing.  Overwhelmed. Thankful, and ecstatic. Our prayers had been answered. God had come through. Early that morning, two pink lines confirmed that, against the odds, God had been gracious to us.

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We knew already that God was good and could do all things. We knew of His sovereignty. But on October 15, 2009 we felt the heavens open up and pour favor on us until we were drenched in the goodness of our Heavenly Father. We had prayed. We had tried on our own power. The doctors spoke of a tumor and side effects and infertility. We spoke life. We prayed more. We wrestled and we hoped, and sometimes, we feared. But on this day 3 years ago, God took what was feared to be dead and brought it to life. Our hopes. Our dreams. Our little boy.

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That day was one that will always stand out as a reminder of God’s good and perfect plan for me. When I hoped, He had a plan. When I feared, He had a plan. A perfect plan.

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“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

Jackson = “God has been gracious.”

We never know when God will breathe new life into us. If your circumstances are bleak, hold on. God can breathe new life in an instant. If you are waiting for an answer, be faithful. New life is around the corner.

But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.
He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.
God takes the time to do everything right—everything.
Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.
Isaiah 30:18 (MSG)

This blog is about more than making old things pretty again. It’s about my heart to see the broken restored. It’s a declaration that there is more that what we may see, and that with faith in the One who made us, there is new life…

“…exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20)


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vintage baby dresser {part 1}

My boys have been in St. Louis this week, so I decided to spend the last morning of Norah and I’s “girls week” browsing garage sales.  This is something I love, but hardly ever get to do with two babes in tow.  I came across the sweetest little dresser, perfect for a nursery, kids room, or any small space that could use some extra storage.

The kind, elderly lady selling it told me that it was hers when she was a baby, and that her father had built it by hand for her before she was born.  When I asked how much she wanted for it, I was stunned that she only wanted a few dollars.  While I was thrilled to get such a deal, I was saddened at the same time, wondering if this sweet woman had no one to pass it down to, or if no one in her family cared to have it.  What a loss for them, to miss out on this darling piece of family history and craftsmanship.

As I loaded the dresser into my vehicle, I determined that I would honor the work of the man, probably years gone now, that put hours and hours into this piece for his sweet daughter who was now an elderly lady looking for a good home for her keepsake.  I plan to put some new life into it and find it the perfect home!

I have a few ideas of what to do with this dresser, but I’m just not certain yet.  Spur me on – What are your ideas??


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Duck Egg Dresser

Do I even need to tell you where I found this pretty lady?  You probably already know.  (oh, craigslist. sigh.)

She was just begging for some love and attention!  You can tell someone gave her a makeover many moons ago, but since then, she’d been left to yellow and gather dust (lots and lots of dust).  I couldn’t help myself – I scooped her up and took her home like a sad lost puppy.

Isn’t she pretty?  Her curvy legs and that sweet detail at the bottom?  I just knew she had potential to be a charmer.

The first thing she needed was some cleaning up.  I sat the drawers out in the sun for several days to get rid of the old musty smell, and we had to do some sanding on one of the drawers to get a better fit.

She sat for some time while I decided what to do with her.  I had a lot of ideas, but needed to find just the right look.  I decided she would make a great piece for our master bedroom, so I knew I had to choose a color I could live with for a loooooooooooong time.

Done deal.  People, I have a color crush on turquoise in any shade.  And Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg is the perfect shade of old, velvety bluish-green.  Color choice done.

To give the piece a unique look, I decided to strip, sand and stain the top a dark walnut color.  I hired my husband to do the laborious work of stripping the paint and sanding (I paid him in ice cream), and did the staining myself, using a Minwax Stain/Poly 2-in-1 in the color Dark Walnut.

bare bones

Then the colorful fun began!  The entire piece received two coats of Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg and a coat of clear wax.  Then I applied an ever so thin layer of Annie Sloan’s Dark Wax.  I worked in sections, and used a rag to wipe it on, then wipe it off.  On any areas that got darker than I cared for, I used the clear wax again to remove the dark wax.  It’s like magic!  I wanted a really subtle aged look, but nothing streaky or pronounced.

Once the painting and waxing was finished, I added the new porcelain hardware, and she was gorgeous!

What a transformation!


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New Nightstands

My father-in-law built these nightstands for my husband many years ago.  They are solid wood, and excellent construction!  They had been in storage for a while, and didn’t quite match the design and style I had in mind for our master bedroom, so I decided to give them a little makeover.


My first decision was to remove the doors completely.  Then I turned to my new favorite friend and furniture re-do accomplice, Annie Sloan.  I revisited “Old White,” and gave the nightstands two solid coats.  I used a roller this time, curious to see what type of finish I would get.  I’ve decided in the future I will continue using a regular brush with ASCP, as the roller soaked up a LOT of paint, and I wasn’t as fond of the look the roller gave.

After the paint was dry, I did one coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax, followed by some very light distressing in the “natural wear” areas.  I finished it off with one more coat of clear wax and some new pulls, and viola!  Gorgeous new nightstands for me and the Mister!



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Washstand to Media Cabinet

Let’s just face it.  Craigslist is this mama’s new addiction.  I mean, they even have an app for my iPhone, so I can search for steals on antique pieces while I’m rocking my baby to sleep!

I recently found this beauty for a song, and knew I had to have it.

My first inclination was to use it as a nightstand, but as you’ll see in a post to come soon, I decided on another project for my nightstands…

I wanted this piece in a prominent place.  I loved the look of it, especially the design of the original hardware.  So, into my living room it would go, as a TV stand/media cabinet… but not before some TLC.

I have a new friend, and her name is Annie Sloan.  Ok, we aren’t really friends, but we should be.  Her chalk paint is to die for.  Not only is this paint made to give an aged look, and designed for those who want to “distress” furniture with ease, but it allows a lazy girl like me to give furniture a whole new look in NO time, with hardly any work!!  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is designed to be used on any (any!) piece of furniture, any finish, with NO stripping, NO sanding, and NO priming.  Sounds too good to be truet?  It’s not.  I promise.

I marched to my local stockist and picked up a can of “Old White,” along with some clear soft wax for finishing.  People, I was giddy.  I couldn’t wait to get home and get my hands brush in it!

I gave the washstand one good coat, let it dry, and then followed up with one more lighter coat.  I distressed before applying the clear wax (but later learned that the distressing is 1) more controlled, and 2) less messy if you wax first).  Still, I was really happy with the results.  I applied a good coat of Annie Sloan’s clear wax to finish and let it dry overnight.

Meanwhile, I revisited my trusty Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and gave that brass hardware a new look. Then came the trickiest part… making the top drawer into a compartment for our cable box.  Let me tell you, nothing will test your marriage like trying to turn a drawer into a flip-down compartment door (oh, is it just me?? oops).  But seriously, we struggled to find the right KIND of hinges, the right SIZE of hinges… and frankly, I probably should have done some better research upfront.  I’d never done this before, and really had no idea how tricky it could be!  But my husband was a great helper and stopped himself from killing me maintained his patience throughout.  We finally found a way to get the drop-down door we were hoping for.

Finally, all the pieces were ready to be reunited!

We are thrilled to have this piece in our family room!  It’s so charming and functional!