Silver & Gold – A little Rub’n Buff action

So, I have decided to do a complete makeover of my living room decor.  Everything I have in that room is from my old house, bought specifically for that house.  I used what I had to make it work when I came here, but it just isn’t giving me the warm fuzzies in this “new” house.  So I set out to make some changes for as little cash money as possible!

While I am putting the finishing touches on one of the bigger changes, I’ll share a small change I made that was literally an “under $10, only took 5 minutes” project!!

I was doing a little accessory browsing at TJ Maxx recently and I came across this awesome silver vase for $3.

Silver Vase

I loved its curvy pear shape and the detail of the bottom, but it was the wrong finish for my new living room scheme.

I remembered the amazing invention of this stuff……..


I have been wanting to try this stuff out for the longest time, but gold wasn’t an option in my house until my new design scheme was born.  So with $6 of Rub’n Buff and my $3 vase, I got to work.

I had read the best method was to apply the paint with your finger tip.  The instructions say to use a brush, finger tip or rag.


I put a pea-sized glob on my finger and rubbed it on the vase.  A little really goes a long way with this stuff.  Once I covered an area, I let it sit for a few seconds.  Then I took a clean rag and “buffed”, in a circular motion, over the area I just “rubbed” on with my finger.

RubnBuff 2

Some tips I learned quickly that I figured I would share……….

1.  Make sure each area of the item you are rubbing & buffing is fully covered with the paint. If there are any thin areas, the buffing will easily take some of the color off.

2.  Work sections at a time.  Allowing it to fully dry on each area makes the buffing a little tougher and doesn’t allow for a finish with some variation. So buff as you go rather than rubbing color on the whole thing first then buffing.

3.  The instructions say to use this in a well ventilated area…………follow the directions.  This stuff is pretty strong. I had the windows open in the dining room and the smell was around for a few hours after.

4.  When working with a vase like this, DON’T stick your finger in the top while working on the bottom portion if you don’t want it to get stuck.  I was stuck in this thing like a Chinese finger trap.  After a few minutes of mild panic where I contemplated smashing the vase to get it off (or driving to the ER with a vase stuck on my finger to save the $3 vase), I relaxed and wiggled my finger out!


5.  The instructions say to use soap and water or mineral spirits to clean your skin when finished.  I just used dish soap and water, and with a little scrubbing, the paint came off pretty easily.

This stuff dries very quickly and after about 5 minutes of rubbing & buffing, the vase was finished. It wasn’t tacky to the touch or anything.

Rub N Buff After 1

I left the finish on the bottom of the vase a little splotchy to give it a little more visual interest with just a SMIDGE of the silver poking through.

I love it!! And Rub’n Buff couldn’t be any easier to use!! I’m a fan! I have been thinking what else I can transform throughout the house! Silverware? Cups? Lamps? The whole house may be gold soon!!!

Rub N Buff After


Staining Ikea Veneer Furniture

We all love Ikea.  Why? Because it’s cheap.  But the downfall of Ikea? It’s cheap!! You won’t find high quality, solid-wood furniture in rich, dark tones that will last until your grandkids move out of their parents house and you can pass down the heirloom furniture. But for a young person furnishing their first apartment…….Ikea is perfect!

When I got my first apartment out of college, I needed some furniture. Cheap.  I bought this Ikea birch veneer tv stand.  It served me well and was even used in my first house in the bonus family room.

tv stand before

Two months before I bought my house last year, my fella also bought a house for him and his daughter but he was short on furniture.  I was moving into a house that was half the size of my old house and I had furniture I didn’t need.  I volunteered to let him have my tv stand.   He wasn’t a fan of the color (neither was I really but when you’re a poor college graduate anything will work!) So I said my favorite words “I can paint/stain that!!!”  He decided he wanted it stained a darker wood tone so I got to work.

I did some research and read lots of different techniques for painting/staining Ikea veneer furniture.  Most reviews I read said it wouldn’t work, but I decided to give it a whirl anyway and see what happens.

1.  I sanded the entire piece with an electric sander and 100 grit sandpaper.  Because it is cheap veneer, you will never really get the “wood” roughed up enough to absorb the stain.  I sanded to get as much shine off of the wood as possible.

2.  I used a foam brush for even coverage and brushed the stain on relatively thick, but also as smooth as possible.

with foam brush

3.  I let the stain sit for 30 seconds just to give it some time to HOPEFULLY soak into the veneer a little.  I wiped off the excess with a paper towel.  The key is to wipe lightly, removing excess stain but leaving as much color on as possible.

wiping stain

I used Minwax Red Mahogany stain.

Minwax Red Mahogany


4.   I gave each coat at least a day to dry in between.  If it is still tacky when the next coat is applied, the color will just get pushed around.  Because it is veneer, the stain is not absorbed into the wood.  It is actually just being painted on.  Adequate dry time is key to getting an even, long-lasting finish.

5.  After the last coat was fully dry, I applied a LIGHT coat of Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss Polycrylic.  This coat needs to be applied as lightly and evenly as possible to not cause the paint to smear.

Minwax Polycrylic


The stand was left in the garage for 4-5 days for the poly to dry and cure.  Since it was having a tv and other electronics put on it, I wanted it as hard and cured as possible.

Once we brought it in, I thought it looked amazing. And my fella loved it!! $10 for stain and poly and my fella had a “new” tv stand!!

I think it looks amazing!!!  So much better than its former life as a birch colored, new college graduate tv stand!  And its super easy to do!

finished stand 1

finished stand 2_edited-1

And since his house needs a bit of a woman’s touch, I cut these hydrangeas from his garden to spice up his tv stand and make it a little more homey!

Aren’t they gorgeous?!?!


Making it home….one shelf at a time

Sunday marked the one year anniversary that I have physically lived in this house.  I settled on the house a few weeks before moving so I could get some things done like new carpet and painting before moving furniture into the space.  Paint and new carpet are the “critical”  things for me to start with to help a new house feel like my space instead of like I’m living in someone else’s house.  Up until this point, most of the personal touches, designed specifically around the new spaces, were done in my bedroom.

My living room has just been a space filled with furniture from my last house, put in an arrangement that just “works” and nothing really personal or different from where I lived before.  One day I finally got the itch to makeover this space.  I had a good number of things already on hand, so I got to work.

I don’t have any progress pictures with my furniture in the living room – the wall above the old owner’s couch, with two piddly picture frames has sat empty for the past year in my house.  My couch is in the same place and that empty wall was begging to be filled with something fabulous.


In my former house, I made Pottery Barn inspired Hudson shelves here…..


I originally stained them a dark walnut and they hung in my dining room with white plates.  I had no room in this house for the same setup so they sat in the basement unused.

I have been eyeing gorgeous gallery wall ledges like these for years……







My house has been lacking serious personalization, with little to no pictures or things on the walls.  I figured this blank wall was the perfect space for my own gallery wall.

I got to work priming and painting my shelves in my dining room paint studio.


(That could quite possibly be the worst blog picture ever. The painting happened during my days of the broken camera lens so this is all I got. At least I have that solved now!!!)

I used Valspar’s Swiss Coffee color matched to Olympic’s Premium paint.  Once they were dry and ready they sat in my dining room for a few weeks. Now, I will DI-myself a LOT, but hanging heavy shelves while drilling into my plaster walls was something I needed man-muscle for. When I could get my fella’s schedule to work to be able to come to my house (I normally go to him), we got hanging.

Note:  Hanging anything on plaster walls is quite tricky (Let the record stand, if I move, I NEVER want plaster walls again!).  We had 1/4 inch screws but started off drilling with 1/16, then 7/64 inch bits.  This gave the hole time to work into becoming bigger rather than just going gangbusters at the plaster to prevent cracking.  While drilling, we only got about a half an inch into the plaster when the drill wouldn’t budge.  The fella realized we must have been hitting cinder block because it wasn’t going anywhere.  A quick trip to Home Depot for a masonry drill bit and we were back in business.  For all 6 holes we followed the same steps of working up to the 1/4 inch hole, finishing them up with the masonry bit.  Hammer in some anchors made for plaster and we were good to go!!!

And now, the finished product!!!!!


I am IN LOVE!!! They make the house feel 1,000% cozier!! I walk in the front door or down the steps, and I just smile. Heck, I round the corner from the dining room and smile!!!

See, this is rounding from the dining room…..


And some more….just because I can’t get enough!!!





Family vacation shots!


Sidenote: I totally love this picture of me (not the one where I am trying to eat my fellas head) – the little me. I would totally rock that coat today if I had it in grown-up size!!!

So, what do you think?!?! As I stated above “IM IN LOVE!!!!!” They really helped up the “homey” factor of the living room. I can’t stop staring!

Bathroom Progress….Cabinet Update

I have big but feasible plans for my bathroom overhaul (mood board here).  And as much as I would love to just have it all done now, the “Bank of Me” doesn’t allow for it all to be done in one shot.  I am tackling this puppy piece by piece as I can save the pennies I need!

The first major update I did was to tackle those FABULOUS orange-y wood cabinets with gold hardware.  Remember these?

bathroom 1

I knew this would be a super easy project and super cheap!  One quart of Zinser Primer (already had), one quart of Olympic Moonlit Snow paint & primer in one (for bathrooms & kitchens) at $15, 5 new bushed nickel cabinet pulls for $10, and new brushed nickel hinges for $10, I was ready to get started.

Over two days I primed the cabinet and doors………….


Then I gave it all two coats of paint and I ended up with this…….


(Ignore me in the pic…..this room is so small I didn’t have much of a choice…..well I guess I could have stood in the shower now that I think of it. Oh well!)

I love it so much and it makes the bathroom already feel bigger and updated.  Once I loaded the cabinets back up with all of my hair and makeup products, I noticed a bit of a problem……


Most of my hair products come in metal cans. They were scratching up the shelves when I took them out and put them back each day. I searched for cute shelf liners but couldn’t find anything I liked enough. I took a trip to HomeGoods for some baskets and ended up with this wonderful piece of organization!!!


I have an addiction to baskets and any way I can use them to organize and make a space feel prettier I’m all over it!!!

The bottom basket came with two smaller baskets that I used on the other side of the cabinet to help corral my stuff!!!


I’m not sure how anyone else could ever live here with me!!! There is no room left for anyone else other than that top right shelf!! And now you don’t have to come over to my house and secretly peek into my medicine cabinet while you are using the bathroom…..I put it out here on the internet for everyone to see!!! And yes, that is a cupcake covered box holding all of my nail polish.  I love when my niece picks out gifts for me!!

Total cost for the cabinet update?  $47.00. I also had to buy a new, white GFI outlet to replace the beige one from before (which I totally installed myself)!

Having this one piece of the bathroom done is totally making me antsy to get the rest of the bigger projects (new floor tile and redoing the wall tile) underway!!!

White & Bright!

Hey Hey!! I am back from Vegas and with the 3 hour time change, jet lag, and little-to-no sleep the entire trip, my entire week has been pretty much a waste!

I wanted to share one of the early projects I completed when I moved into the house.

You can catch a glimpse of it here…..


My house was blessed with lots of built-in storage options in several of the rooms. One of my favorites is this built-in dresser and storage cubby area in my bedroom next to my bed.  HOWEVER, I was not in-love with it in all of its original glory……


Orange wood and gold knobs….it stuck out like a sore thumb.  I knew immediately I wanted to paint it white to help it blend into the closet more and look like a seamless wall of storage.

I took the drawers down to my dining room (my official indoor painting area) and spread them out on a tarp.  I lightly sanded them to remove the glossy top coat.  Each drawer got two coats of Kilz primer, with a light sanding in-between each coat.


I did the same with the actual built-in dresser, just a little lighter sanding (I was just too lazy to deal with dust in the bedroom!!!)


I sadly didn’t take any during shots……but for the actual paint I used Valspar’s Swiss Coffee color matched to Olympic Premium No VOC paint.  I just hate the smell of Valspar paint. Olympic doesn’t smell and the no VOC thing is a plus.  I tried using a cabinet roller but didn’t like the finish so I used a small handled brush to get a smooth finish.

I knew I wanted fabulous knobs for this space to flow into my feminine bedroom plan.  I know of no better place to get cute, original knobs than Hobby Lobby!  I mean look at that huge aisle of knobs!!!


Look at these awesome options! I wish I had other places in my house for these knobs!

IMG_2327 IMG_2325 IMG_2326

This white rose option fit my “girly” theme perfectly but I wanted something a little more dramatic against the white paint. I settled on these…….


Cute, classic, mercury glass knobs.  I knew they were the right mix of feminine yet chic for the space.  And at $2.99 a piece, I was sold!!!

Once everything was put back together, I was in love!!!!


So much better than before right?? It’s amazing what a few coats of paint can do to change a space!!!