Category Archives: Before + Afters

The $30 Dollhouse {Before}

I’ve mentioned before several times that I’ve scored some pretty amazing finds at the Gresham Barn Sale in East Texas (I even got to meet a reader there a few years back. Hi, Michelle!)

Well, I struck gold again this past fall when I stumbled upon this awesome (BIG) vintage dollhouse.

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It’s in great shape–just in need of some TLC and paint. I had grand plans of redoing it by Christmas, but all the hustle and the bustle (I typed that in an Inigo Montoya “accent,” if you must know) of the season and aaaaallll of that doll-making I did definitely threw off my dollhouse reno schedule.

I went ahead and gave her to the Della, Evy, and Nola, though, and here she sits, proudly perched in all of her mismatched glory in the girls’ shared room (which I hope to share with you in its finished state soon). Not that they mind.

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They happily bicker-play with her for whole 1′s of minutes before losing interest to devolve into full-blown cat fights (3-year-old twins, y’all. They are not for the faint of heart. Which might be why I get heart palpitations sometimes. Ha!).

No, but seriously. The girls are pleased as punch with her current look. But that’s just because they don’t know JUST how much dreamier she’ll be when I finish with her white + aqua + gold transformation. (Apparently, I’ve been spending too much time on Instagram because I had an almost overwhelming urge to insert a heart-eyes emoji just now).

An exterior makeover is all I have planned for the immediate future, but eventually I would love to go full-on crazy-decorator-mom on that unsuspecting little house. Think: wallpaper, tiny trendy light fixtures, chic fabric rugs.

You know. In all my spare time. (And again with the emoji urge–this time for the crying/laughing one).

Oh! And the best part of all for this little dollhouse is that I managed to talk the lady down from an already very reasonable $45 to $30, AND she threw in a whole shoe box full of dolls and cute furniture!

So, yeah. Consider this your sneak peek at the before of The Great Dollhouse Project of 2016 (I can only imagine I will regret naming it that, but it’s too late now).

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And consider it MY accountability for actually making progress on it.

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Kiss your mascara goodbye (And say HELLO to eyelash extensions)

Here’s the thing: when I get asked to review something, if it doesn’t appeal to me, I just politely decline.

And, every now and then, if I agree to try something out, it just doesn’t work for me, in which case I don’t review it at all.

Which, as you might have already deduced, is why, anytime you see a review of something on this here blog, it’s positive. If I take the time to tell y’all about it, it’s because I really like something and feel like it’s worth sharing.

But then, every now and then, there are things that I actually seek out, breath held in hope that they will be as great as I’ve heard, and what I’m going to tell you about today definitely falls into that category.

Several years ago, Emily posted about her experience with eyelash extensions (all positive), and ever since, I’ve been pretty intrigued with the concept…but majorly turned off by the price (about $200 for the initial application).

So, when I saw a friend post about her experience with lash extensions on Facebook with a friend of hers who was looking to expand her part time business, I decided to seek her out and see if we could come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Code for: she’d do my eyelashes, and if I loved them, I’d tell you guys to go get your eyelashes done with her.

Y’ALL.

To say I l.o.v.e.d them would be such faint praise that it’s a little embarrassing.

(In other words: this not just a review. It’s a rave).

But more than anything, I loved Makenzie.

People, she comes to your HOUSE.

(Let me try that again)

YOUR house.

As in, you don’t have to find childcare for your children (assuming your husband’s around to watch them, or you can schedule a time when they’re all in bed, of course).

And then, she proceeds to play with your children, since you got home later than you hoped and are still running around getting dinner ready. I don’t think that’s technically part of her job description, but, considering that Evy (my shyest child) crawled up in her lap and started babbling away her life’s story in her ear within .03 seconds of Makenzie’s sitting down in my living room, I think she should probably add “Toddler Whisperer” to her business cards. Oh, and “Patient-as-all-get-out.”

And then she sets up all her gear and gets you all situated on this comfy table with an even comfier pillow and tells you, “I don’t mind if you fall asleep. You can even snore. I have people that do that. Doesn’t bother me at all.”

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Note: I can’t guarantee I wouldn’t have snored had I fallen asleep, but…I didn’t. Because Makenzie is such an easygoing sweetheart that you feel like you’re just chatting away with a friend you’ve known for ages. And the time flies.

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I got my first round of extensions done about a month ago in anticipation of family pictures that we had scheduled. Sadly, “rain” has been the predominant theme of our weather this spring (with a heavy side of tornados…yikes!), and our pictures have been canceled so many times that I’ve lost count.

The lashes last about 3-4 weeks, so just this last Monday, she came back to make sure they were perfect for pictures (even though they got canceled again)…AND she brought her husband with her to hold Theo (Shaun was out of town), claiming that he wanted to ride along (pretty sure he could have found a football game to watch or something, but I wasn’t complaining).

Her husband, who was just as easygoing and friendly as Makenzie, proceeded to hold Theo for over an hour, y’all. And T loved him!

Again, probably not technically part of her usual job description, but I was just so impressed with her thoughtfulness and how she went the extra mile to make sure I was comfortable.

Another thing I love? Her rates. She charges $95 for the initial application, which is less than half of what salons cost, not even factoring in the fact that she comes to you. And she’s only $30 for refills (when I told my husband that, his eyebrows shot up, and he said, “She’s going to pay that in GAS coming to our house!” :) ).

When I asked her why she charged so much less, she said, “I just really love helping moms out, and I looooove doing lash extensions and making mamas feel pretty while simplifying their days, so I want it to be as accessible as possible, while still worth my time. And charging more just seems dishonest.”

The first time she comes, it takes between 1 1/2-2 hours as she meticulously glues either silk or mink individual eyelashes on top of your own eyelashes to take them from this…

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{Believe it or not, I have the exact same amount of mascara/liner on my left and right eyes, but the light coming in from the left makes it look totally lopsided; Also, for some reason the only thing I can think upon seeing this picture is: “Selfie of a camel.” Apparently, I shouldn’t take pics straight up my nose}

…to THIS

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That would be lash extensions with ZERO mascara. Zero eyeliner. Zero anything. And I still look awake. (Also, between the automatic “beauty filter” on the reverse setting of my phone camera and good lighting, I have the skin of a 12-year-old in this pic. Don’t be fooled).

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And the best part? They’re completely weightless. I remember sitting up after the first application, expecting to feel the weight of the extra lashes or for them to be tangling with my lower lashes, and I felt…nothing.

Makenzie just smiled and said, “That’s how they’re supposed to feel.”

Mission accomplished.

I’ve had so many people compliment me on my lashes in the past month, and pretty much nobody could believe it when I told them they weren’t real. One lady even told me how pretty and awake I looked when I walked in to teach a 9 AM BODYPUMP class and how unfair it was that I looked so good in the morning, and I thanked her but walked off truly confused.

Because the truth is that I don’t look good in the mornings. I have major puffy-eyes, and even when I wake up with a lot of energy, it takes a long time for my face to get that telegram.

I was puzzling over her words the whole time I set up my weights, until, suddenly it occurred to me–duh!–it’s the lash extensions. They just make my eyes look awake, which translates into a much better morning look, even though I haven’t changed anything else in my routine.

I ran back to tell her why I had made such a good impression that morning and that she should have Makenzie come over to her house ASAP.

Seriously, in case you can’t already tell, I’m Makenzie’s biggest fan. I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Of course, even though $95 is waaaaaay cheaper than you can get it done anywhere else (and did I mention she comes to your HOUSE??! Still blows my mind), it’s still a chunk of change on something that I certainly would not label a “life essential.” I get that. And totally agree.

You know me. I’m the cheap girl. The thrifter. The extra 60% off the sale rack shopper. And I’m usually very low maintenance. I don’t get facials or have my eyebrows plucked. And I can go months upon months without a pedicure or a manicure (I think I’ve had 3 in the last 8 months, and that’s higher than average). I get my hair cut about twice a year.

But this is different.

I would gladly scrape my pennies together for months or have this be my sole birthday gift, if that’s what it took. I can’t even fully articulate why being able to walk out the door with zero eye makeup on is so freeing and enjoyable. But it is. That much I can say for certain.

I would even go so far as to call this a #mamalifehacks post!

So! If you’re in the East Texas area (Makenzie lives in Tyler) and have ever even had an inkling of getting lash extensions, Makenzie’s your girl. All the way. I can’t imagine getting better service or results no matter where you go.

You can contact her at 3 zero 7-7 five 1-9 two 1 zero. (Just replace the words with the numbers they represent. I’m trying to protect her from getting tons of spam calls).

You an also email her for an appointment at: lashesbymakenzie{at}gmail{dot}com

Just tell her Abbie sent ya!

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Well, this is Younique! (BB review + a Giveaway for YOU!)

If y’all remember, I did a review of Younique 3D fiber lashes, eye pigments, and brushes about a year ago. I was really impressed with everything I tried, so when my friend, Crystal, whom I’ve known since middle school, asked me if I’d like to try out Younique’s BB Cream, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

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{Such a pretty girl, inside and out}

The fact that I’d just bought a drugstore BB Cream that was not working for me at all miiiiiight have contributed to my eagerness to test out a more high-quality product.

Here’s the thing. I don’t have the best skin in the world. I don’t have the worst skin in the world either. But it’s just not naturally flawless (or even unnaturally flawless…never flawless is the idea). I’m super-fair (but with the 5,348 pictures of me on this here blog, I’m guessing you already knew that), which means that I’m prone to fine lines and wrinkles. And pretty much constant blemishes + splotchy redness scream, “Hormones were here.” (Hormones? Me, a mother of 6? Never). Not to mention my under-eye circles that stick around long after my babies start sleeping through the night.

Enter my skin’s saving grace: BB cream. I can’t do full-on foundation. It’s just too heavy for me. I end up looking like I have stage makeup on. And while, with three girls 4 and under, there’s enough drama for a dozen Tony awards a day up in here, I’d really rather one of them not be for “Best Cake Face.”

But a good BB cream gives me the right base I need for adding powder or one of my other fancy tricks…like, I don’t know, concealer (I know! What’s next? Contouring??).

Of course, a bad BB cream…well, that just makes things worse.

But I am very happy to report to that Younique’s Flawless BB Cream is not a bad one. It is, by far, the best one I’ve tried, in fact.

Here is my face au naturel. Well, there’s some leftover Sunday morning + afternoon nap eye makeup, but I’m not wearing anything on my skin.

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Honestly, while I did nothing to this picture except lighten it a bit, since it was taken in a rather dark room, it’s kinder than it should be. I didn’t get a chance to take pictures until late afternoon, and the lighting just wasn’t there for a super-sharp picture. So, feel free to imagine lots more wrinkles and blotchiness because they’re there.

Normally, I would apply a layer of moisturizer with sunscreen before anything else, but I wanted to show how smoothly Younique’s BB cream goes on unmoisturized skin, so I skipped that step this time.

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It’s not a huge difference (which I like; I still want to look like me), and I have yet to tackle my under-eye circles in this pic, but my skin is considerably more even-toned and less ghostly (but not orange! not a fan of the orange look) after nothing more than a layer of BB cream.

Just so you know, here is my entire arsenal of skin makeup.

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After concealer, a good pass with the powder/foundation sponge, some mascara, and lip gloss, here is what I end up with.

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Yes, I realize that it looks like I got all sneaky and changed lighting on purpose, but, honestly, my photographer (AKA Shaun) was out working in the garden with the boys, and by the time I finished my primping, we had lost our light for photos anyway, so a yellow bathroom light selfie it was!

So, here are my thoughts on Younique BB Flawless Complexion Enhancer:

PROS

  • It’s super creamy and has a nice “weight” to it, which means that it slides across my semi-dry skin with ease and soaks in nicely
  • It matches my skin tone perfectly. Like spot-on. Crystal told me she uses this shade (Bisque) for tons of her clients, and it works well on a variety of skin tones.
  • It smooths/evens out my blotchiness and tones down blemish redness.
  • It covers much better than any other cream I’ve tried (which are all a little too sheer) but isn’t thick and cakey like foundation.

CONS

  • It doesn’t come with a built-in sunscreen.

That’s really it. I love everything else about this cream, and I plan on reordering it as soon as I run out.

Also, I read recently that it’s a common misconception that when you layer moisturizer with sunscreen + makeup with sunscreen that you can add the coverage together for a combined total of the two SPFs. The actual truth, apparently, is that they cancel each other out a bit, and you can take an average of the two (ergo: 50 SPF + 20 SPF = 35 SPF).

So, I’m actually better off wearing a moisturizer with high SPF as my base (which is what I do anyway) and adding a BB cream without SPF on top of that.

Now, if only I could find a concealer that banishes under-eye circles to the 7th level of you-know-where…where they belong. (Feel free to throw suggestions my way).

ANYhoo, after that glowing review (har, har…glowing…for a skincare review…good one, Abs), I’m sure you’re all dying to try some Younique products for yourself.

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

One lucky duck will win a Younique lip gloss in their best-selling shade (read: universally flattering), Luxe.

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AND I’ll even send it to you in an adorable pouch of your color choice!

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Also, if you’re interested in getting some other products for yourself, Crystal’s got you covered! (You can also contact her at cmada{at}aol{dot}com. And she has tons of great pics and tips on her Facebook page).

All you have to do to be entered to win is answer the following question, using the options I’ve provided.

Have you ever tried any Younique makeup products?

A) No, but I would like to

B) Yes, but I would like to try more

C) No, but my interest in Younique products ends with the giveaway

D) Yes, but my interest in the Younique products ends with the giveaway

{If you answer A or B, Crystal will follow up with you about getting your hands on products!}

Just be sure to leave some way for me to contact you if you win!
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The Kitchen Redo Reveal!

Just as a heads-up, I have 40 edited pictures of every angle of my kitchen to show you…which seemed like a bit much. So today, I’m basically going to show you an overview of the updates we made without too much commentary on the specifics, and then I’ll be back later on this week with detail pictures as well as sources.

Sound okay?

O-kay. (Imagine my doing an awkward fist pump/clap that would make every legit cheerleader everywhere hang her head in shame).

Just as a refresher, here’s what the kitchen looked like last spring.

old kitchen1{If you want to see more pictures of the old kitchen set up from my first reveal, complete with terrible yellow light from 3 years ago, you can here}

I had a Project Elephant list of things I wanted to update, including new stools, new lights, decluttering the fridge/freezer, setting up a family command center, making word art for over the fridge, repainting the island, and sewing a new awning for the window.

Well, I am happy to announce that–although it might have taken me a good 6 months–I finally managed to check every last one of those items off my list.

But wait. That’s not all. Intrigued much? Okay, I won’t hold you in suspense. Without further ado, I invite you to grab a cookie if you like…

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…and take a gander at our “new” and (in my mind) greatly improved kitchen.

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Say whaaaaaat? This color-loving girl painted her cabinets white???

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Yessiree, Bob!

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And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love it (even though the teal was pretty sweet too) for the sheer fact of how. much. BIGGER and lighter my kitchen feels now.

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{Remember my chalkboard menu door? I finally found my spray paint and went for the aqua knob; I fully expect some of the paint to chip off, and I’m fully okay with it because I think it will add “character” ;) ).

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We toyed with the idea of painting the cabinets ourselves (Shaun did it the first time), but with 5 kids + a preggo lady in the house, we weren’t too keen on having to share space with the oil paint fumes for days on end. So, we paid to have it down while we were in Europe. house32

And let me just say that, after DIYing your entire flipping house, it’s kind of beyond awesome to come home to something already done for you. Yes, it was more expensive, but it was also worth it. Times about a million, I think.    house11

Besides the new color scheme, my favorite part of the entire kitchen is something we did DIY…

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…and that would be those funky pipe shelves that turned out even better in reality than they had been in my head.

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A few more faves include my Chiang Mai dragon window awning…

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And my “ENJOY” chalkboard letters + my sparkly new lights.

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Honestly, as much as I loved the saturated colors in the old version of my kitchen, everything about the updated version just screams HAPPY to me.    house2

And, when you’re talking about a room that you spend the majority of your time in and sweep 3 times a day, HAPPY is a very good way for it to make you feel, indeed.

Oh, and just for fun, let’s do a little side-by-side before and after, m’kay?

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So, what do you think? Do you like lighter and brighter? I sure hope so because I am not touching anything in the kitchen for a good long while!

 

 

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Try-it Tuesday: Upstairs Bathroom Reveal—Putting the FUN in Functional

Okay, so I might have been overselling a bit yesterday when I called today’s post “exciting.”

After all, it’s a bathroom.

And I honestly prefer that the bathroom be a pretty boring and mundane place.

Because with three kids under six running around, “exciting” is usually code for “potty disaster.”

Even so, it’s been a looooong while since I’ve done a room reveal around here.

And those are always some of my favorite posts on other people’s blogs, so I’m guessing you guys might like them too.

So, that’s exciting (I hope).

Plus, we just bought 45,000 gallons of paint (from Sherwin Williams during their 40% off sale…woot!) for the garage addition, which means, I know what I’ll be doing for the next 7 years or so, so nothing will be done in there for a while, which makes having an actual, finished room with styled shelves and everything, pretty exciting.

So, yeah.

Maybe I wasn’t overselling at all because it all sounds pretty darn exciting to me!

Okay, first the ugly, unstyled pics—AKA what our bathroom looks like when I’m not making it pretty for you guys.

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Ho-hum, right?

Ready for the pretty pics?

Hope so because there are lots (of pictures, anyway; you’ll have to be the judge of how pretty they are).

First, I’m just going to show them to you. Then, I’ll talk (like you guys had any doubt about that).

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{Did you notice Traylor, the newly blinged out mini trashcan from yesterday?—thanks to Meggan for the name suggestion}

So…feel like you’ve got the general idea?

Lots of turquoise, aqua, fuchsia, and pink. Not too different of a color scheme from my master closet makeover, actually.

And now for that whole “Putting the FUN in functional” bit from my post title.

As I mentioned yesterday, this is the bathroom that is most commonly used by all members of the family.

But just because it’s a “kids’ bathroom” too doesn’t mean that there have to be yellow ducky decals strewn all over the place in order to infuse the space with a bit of whimsy and fun.

The following are my (very unprofessional tips) for making a bathroom both fun and functional.

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I love the “I CAN NOT DO IT ALL” print from Jones Design Company, but I have to admit that the whole “can not” part makes me a little crazy. I realize she was probably just adding emphasis, but…yeah, it still makes my grammar/spelling loving skin shiver a little. (I’m weird, I know).

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Okay, so I know that the “Keep Calm Carry On” trend is a long dead horse that has been beaten a time or two too many, but I still think I should get bonus points for:

a) how absolutely perfectly the color matches the walls

and

b) ironic placement (especially coming from a mama whose firstborn voluntarily constipated himself for an entire year rather than be potty-trained, which made toilet time anything but calm).

Oh, and as far as sources for everything, an abbreviated list is as follows:

Target

Keep Calm sign

Shower curtain

Bath rug

(all about 2 years old)

Walmart

Glass pouf container

White storage dresser (clearance, $70, baby!)

Marshall’s

Towels

Blue toiletry bowl

Ross

White/wicker drawer tower

Floral bobby pin holder/pot (the aqua/orange/pink one on the shelf, which is easily my favorite item in the whole room)

Goodwill

Glass q-tip/cotton ball containers

Pink bird

Capiz shell frame

White flower vase

……………………………………

Also, I should give an honorable mention to Craigslist, where we found our Kohler sink + Delta faucet combo brand new (retail: $500 for them both) for $40, and Lowe’s where we used our retail haggling skills to get a $300 toilet for $50.

Man, I love a good deal, even on a toilet!

Hope you enjoyed the tour today and gleaned at least a few useful things from my tips.

And now, I need a nap.

If only there time to take one!

Have a great day, and take a nice nap for me, okay?

The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Thursdays are Your Days, Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

 

 

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Feature Friday: A Dresser Transformation—from Goodwill to Good Golly Miss Molly!

A couple of months ago, I spotted a dresser at Goodwill.

It was dirty, musty, and ugly.

Here’s proof:

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Nothing like an adorable little helper to make a nasty task (see that grimy pink scrunchy from 1973?) a little more fun.

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Lots of dings, lots of dinginess.

But also, lots of potential.

Did you see the curvy lines, carved floral details, and those fantastic keyhole plates?

The minute I saw her, I knew that this sad, neglected hunk of wood could be revitalized with just a little love and, of course, a lot of paint.

Plus, when I asked Tamara—the super-nice manager at the Goodwill I frequent—if she could lower the price, she said, “For you, honey? Sure!” and then knocked it down from $25 to $15.

$15 for a potentially fabulous piece of furniture? Sold!

There are definitely benefits to showing up every week or so to rummage around—one of which is that the managers now recognize me on sight and are quite willing to knock a few dollars (or 10) off of my bill.

Of course, there are also downsides (check out #3). 

So, I loaded Collette (yup, just decided that now) up in our totally gnarly van (also #3), scrubbed her down (Collete, not the van; Sienna, the van, stays dirty most of the time), and gave her a good coat of Kilz oil-based primer.

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Then, I sprayed the keyhole plates with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White (it’s the shade that Kate of Centsational Girl paints most of her furniture, and, after seeing all of the amazing pieces she’s transformed with it, I just had to give it a try!) because I wanted a little contrast and focus on the details:

Next, I hauled out a half-empty can of Sherwin Williams Quite Coral—the same shade that I used to transform the garage sale chandy in my master closet makeover—and got to rolling and brushing to my little heart’s content (okay, so my heart would have been a little more content with eating cookies and drinking milk while paging through the latest issue of Anthro, but none of that would have gotten get the dresser done, so…).

Here she is, all gussied up, better than new, if you ask me:

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I put Collette in the craft room to house my ridiculously massive fabric collection. I got her finished up just in time for Della’s party, and once I’d stuffed her full of fabric, I used her as a sideboard for the party treats.

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Two of the drawers weren’t salvageable, so I made little “drawer curtains” out of Premier Prints zigzag fabric + some clearance lace I had in my stash.

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I also bought these fantastic knobs for 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby. 6 of them still cost more than I paid for the entire dresser, but in my opinion, they are sooooo worth it!

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Here’s a shot of the whole birthday vignette (man, I wish I’d dropped that banner a little lower!).

These shots are not actually from the day of the party, though it looked essentially the same. I took these pictures yesterday after I’d baked up a bunch of treats to take with us to Thanksgiving, but this is what my cake stand would have looked like if I’d managed to cram everything I wanted to get done into the the prep time I had before the party.

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Here’s the cost  breakdown for the whole project:

Dresser: $15

Knobs: $27

Primer (I used maybe 1/2): $3

Spray paint (I used 1/4 of a can): $1.50

Paint (already had it): $0

Fabric (already had it): $0

Miscellaneous other supplies: 4.50

TOTAL: $51

So, what do you think? Worth it?

I’m pretty smitten, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

I’ll be soaking up every minute I can get with my man before he heads off on another work-trip. : (

P.S. Don’t forget:

 five days five ways | because every day is different

…only 6 more days to enter and/or give to win!

Linking up:

Primitive and Proper

Stuff and Nonsense

Common Ground

Shabby Nest

French Country Cottage

Release Me

Meg and Mum’s

Tatertots and Jello

A Bowlful of Lemons

House of Hepworths

Funky Junk Interiors

DIY Showoff

My 1929 Charmer

Tip Me Tuesday

Christmas – My Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaSouthern Hospitality ~ Ten June ~ A Thoughtful Place

Monday ~ The DIY Showoff Project Parade ~ Made by You Mondays ~ Embellishing Life Everyday ~ Just Something I whipped up Monday  ~ The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Sundays ~ Homemaker on a Dime ~ Sunday’s Best

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Move-it Monday: The Living Room Reveal—the Monster Edition

Okay, first of all, I would like you to know that I very carefully read the blogging by-laws before proceeding with a living room reveal on Move-it Monday. But no matter how closely I read, all I found was, “It’s your blog! Post whatever you darn well please on whichever day you like!”

So, while I will usually stick to my themes, today is about whipping my living room into shape, not my body. Although I must say that, with an average of 170 calories burned/hr. of cleaning/straightening up and 400 calories burned/hr. of furniture-moving, I burned a considerable amount of extra calories working on the living room this weekend (see? I can make it work if I do enough mental back-bends…I wonder how many calories those burn?).

Let’s start with a few before shots, shall we?

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The reason there are no “workers” in these shots is that we were the workers! We built our entire house from the ground up (and by “we,” I mostly mean my amazing husband).

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This is a shot from right before we moved in…or maybe we already had. Either way, finishing up a house (ha! as if it’s finished now) with two (at that time) toddlers running around was quite the pain in the tushy adventure!

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I nabbed these pics from a before/after email I sent someone, so you can just ignore the text (or, if you want, you can make a game out of trying to decipher it by holding your hands around your eyes like binoculars and squinting…maybe a magnifying glass will work…just don’t burn a hole in your screen).

The last shot is the closest to what our living room looked like for about a year out of the two that we’ve lived in our house. The one difference (and it’s big) is that, right before I took these shots, we had two full-sized couches—one where the loveseat is and one where the open space in the foreground is—in the living room. But we sold them on craigslist within 6 hours of posting them (they were either really great couches or I priced them too low…oh well), and I was in such a tizzy that I forgot to take pictures of the before (the color on the walls was Benjamin Moore’s Sunrise, in case you were wondering).

And now for the after:

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The paint color is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt. I made the tufted ottoman from a $40 craigslist coffee table (tutorial included in that link). The TV console is a vintage find from a local barn sale.

I’ll also go ahead and answer the most commonly asked question I’ve gotten since first posting any pics of my living room before you even get it out of your fingers and into the comment box: I got the rug two years ago on Ebay. It’s the Pottery Barn Moorish Tile rug (color: Clementine), and it was pretty much sold out when I bought it.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t do much good for me to tell you where I got something if they don’t have it anymore. I did find this alternative, though. Not exactly the same, but similar. And I’m pretty sure Overstock has some similar options as well.

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This is a view from the opposite direction. I got that bench at Hobby Lobby a couple of years back because I loved it with a passion true and deep and it was 66% off. I remember that I brought it home on the same day as all our carpet (we don’t have much carpet in our house, so it all fit in the back of my dad’s big truck).

The day started out sunny and fine, but pretty much as soon as I got the carpet/bench loaded, a torrential downpour started and lasted the en-tire 45 minute, gear-stick grinding drive home. At the time, it was miserable. After months of hardly a drop of rain, I’d do the whole white-knuckled ordeal all over again if it would guarantee another gully-washer like that. Too bad we don’t need any more carpet.

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I found the mirror at Goodwill for $10, then primed and painted it black.

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I cut and stacked 2” foam to make the bench cushion and then covered it with some polka-dot fabric I found at Walmart. The pillows are from Walmart (they still have the gathered button pillow) and Target (the cream pom-pom pillow, which they currently carry).

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I’m a huge fan of Moravian star pendants but I just about choke on my own saliva every time I look up the prices. So when I found that Pier 1 alternative on sale for $10, I did a happy dance all the way to store (which burned a lot of calories considering that the closest Pier 1 is 30 miles away—see? Move-it Monday references all over the place, I tell ya) and waltzed away with my very own knockoff star…tealight holder (there’s a reason it’s 1/17 of the cost, folks).

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It’s really pretty at night.

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I got the Mitchell chairs from Target for $99 on sale (it’s still on) + free shipping—not too shabby considering that they are well-made, comfy, and cute as a polka-dotted baby bug’s ear.

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Oh! And meet Geoffrey, the giraffe. My mom bought him for me, and I love him!

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In case you didn’t read Friday’s wall feature, the chubby bird is from Hobby Lobby (4 months ago or so), and the teensy birdcage which only wishes it could house a bird that substantial was free from Goodwill (the lady held it up and said, “I’ll just throw it in with the rest since you’re such a good customer.” : )).

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This is a view of the shelf that wraps around from our kitchen cabinets (which are the same deep teal color). The books are from Barnes and Noble’s leather-bound classics collection, and I bought all ten of them together (including the complete works of Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, and The Chronicles of Narnia, among others) here. Almost everything else, including the Van Gogh print, is from Goodwill.

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The sofa table vignette, complete with yet another Jones Design print.

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The sofa table holds some of my favorite pictures of Shaun and me. That’s a picture of our first kiss (which took place at our wedding…no, I’m not making that up…have I mentioned he’s ah-mazing?).

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This one is at my 22nd birthday party, a few days after Shaun proposed (on my actual birthday…I’ll have to tell that story someday. He did gooooooood). It was a swing-dance complete with lessons, dancing, and costumes!

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A funky little storage box from Goodwill ($2) with some snapshots of Simon, my easygoing, snuggly middle child. He has dimples so deep you could happily get lost in them (and I have a feeling many girls will someday…oh dear).

The lamp is another vintage Goodwill find ($7). It’s ginormous (at least three feet tall)! The shade is from Target from a couple of months back.

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I saw a room once on Houzz (if you haven’t checked it out, I suggest you do!) that had a built-in shelf on the wall much like this one, and Shaun replicated it for me.

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I love this little chair from Goodwill. Fortunately, none of my children has tried to sit on it yet.

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More Goodwill (Amazing Grace letters), some Walmart (the silver mirror), and the star mirror is a find from the same barn sale I mentioned earlier.

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I bought these beautiful books for a $1 each at a garage sale. I tried to get the lady to come down on the price, but she almost cried, and I felt terrible for asking. : \ I also covered some paperbacks with pretty scrapbook paper.

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More Goodwill (goose, candle), Marshall’s (vase, which isn’t actually pink but turned that way from the fuchsia flowers…weird). The black and glass hurricane vase is a gift, and I think I stole the lantern from my mom (Hi, Mom!).

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A view of the “other couch” (which is how I actually think of it since it doesn’t have the pretty Target flower pillow or the sofa table). The pillows are a collection of ones that came with the couches (the brand is Corinthian), Marhall’s, Goodwill, and made-by-moi.

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I spent about 8 hours painting my French doors using Jones Design’s painted wallpaper method. I just shrank my template to scale for a door instead of an entire wall (the color on the door is Sherwin Williams Quietude, and the stenciling is done in blend of white/ivory craft paints that I mixed up).

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The dish is a Goodwill find that you can see up close on last weeks 5 Things Thursday. The bowl is from Anthro, and I bought the side table from my bestie and then added a Hobby Lobby flower knob. The mat is from Hobby Lobby.

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Another shot toward the backyard (sorry about the low light, it was getting late).

Finally, I have a question for you. It’s super-important. Are you ready?

If you read about my undecoratable wall (and elves!), you know that I had a Dickens of a time figuring out what to do with the space behind the TV (options considered included an eclectic gallery wall, my Love Letters banner, which, as you can see, did get incorporated when I decided to frame the letters instead, and anything else involving art, picture frames, and other decorative doodads that possibly could be considered in an 8 hour time-frame). I finally had a brainstorm when I dug those matching white shelves out of a forgotten pile in a closet, but what I really want to know is…

Do you prefer this version:

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or this one:

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And did you even notice the difference (other than picture quality; I know, the first one’s better)?

Here’s a close-up of what I added:

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So…whaddya think?

Okay, I’m starving, my children are really tired of Mama being on the computer (they need me to build a hill in their car-track), and the baby has discovered the stairs in a major way, so I’d better head back to real life now.

I hope you enjoyed this Feature Friday on a Move-it Monday (you can blame me if you have trouble remembering what day it is for the rest of the week). If you ate too much cake last weekend and were counting on me to help you work it off, I apologize. I have a HUGE Move-it Monday post planned for next week to make up for it!

See you tomorrow for Try-it Tuesday!

Monday ~ The DIY Showoff Project Parade ~ Made by You Mondays ~ Embellishing Life Everyday ~ Just Something I whipped up Monday ~ The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T. ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ AQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride ~ Lolly Jane

Sundays ~ Homemaker on a Dime ~ Sunday’s

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5 Things

My readers (that’s you guys!) are the absolute BEST!

Sunday, when I had a mild case of the blogger-comparison blues (which quickly got zapped by a healthy dose of CHURCH!), I got several sweet comments from you lovely people assuring me that I was not alone in my insecurities. 

So, today, I thought I’d show you guys how much I appreciate your following along on my little blog-world adventure by treating you to 5 reader accomplishments that have impressed me this week:

1. This pretty Starburst Flower Crochet Blanket that Carole of Gingerbread Girl so cleverly made. I was literally walking through the craft section of Walmart last night (all three kids in tow, of course) thinking, “I need to learn to do something with yarn.” This cinches it:

2.  This adorable flower headband from the olive tree, which, by the by, has one of the cutest site designs I’ve seen in a while. Great job, Christina!

3. This colorful desk makeover by Kelli of More Bang for Your Bucks. Pop on over to check out the scary (her words, not mine!) before.  You won’t even recognize it!

4. This gorgeous cake (Turquoise and red together? Yes, please!) that Evie of Brown Paper Packages whipped up after a bit of…umm…trial and error.  Please head on over to read the entire post. It’s quite entertaining!

…and finally…

5. This fantastic one night nook makeover from Michelle of Our Wonderfilled Life. Isn’t that “Number 7” pillow just adorbs? (Even better since it’s the number of people in her cute family…including quadruplet boys!!!)

A huge THANKS (get it? huge thanks? big letters…never mind) to every single one of you who takes the time to read and to these ladies, especially, for providing me with some inspiration for my Thursday!

Oh! And I have a big (or is it little? you’ll have to be the judge) reveal for you tomorrow for Feature Friday (yes, I know that’s a new title to you guys…we like to shake things up around here!).

P.S. I have brand-spankin’-new buttons on the right sidebar that I’m just a little too proud of. I would be honored if you felt the absolute necessity to grab one! : )

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