DIY Distressed Shabby Chic

DIY distressed shabby chic

One of my first posts on this blog was back in March of 2014. I had written about a Do It Yourself (DIY) project that I had been working on – breathing new life into an old piece of furniture, creating a distressed shabby chic look. I showed before and after photos, but today I am going to show you tutorial pictures that will help you to create this look for yourself. My taste in home decor has changed somewhat since I last wrote about dresser repair; however, I think that shabby chic furniture pieces go with an array of styles. For example, I am currently very into contemporary and eclectic home decor. I’m loving white walls with minimal wall furnishings, green plants, and splashes of gold speckled throughout the house. Yet there is something about a distressed piece of furniture that just blends seamlessly into a variety of decor styles: coastal, contemporary, cottage, and eclectic to name some. Continue reading “DIY Distressed Shabby Chic”

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DIY Ideas From My Baby Shower

My baby shower was three weeks ago and it was a beautiful day. The people, the weather, everything. Although it would have been less stressful to not have known about it, that’s just not in my nature. So not only did I want to know when it was, I also had to plan and decorate it as well. And THAT was so much fun for me. I looked for months on Pinterest searching for ideas from centerpieces to ceiling lanterns. After talking with my friend Becky about it one night, she mentioned I should do a surf themed shower, and that’s how it all began…

witkowskicopyI knew I wanted colors like turquoise, brown, and cream, but finding the right shade of orange and green was a little trickier because I really didn’t want it to look too bright or circus-y. But that’s what Pinterest is for.

I found this great site that sold party supplies for a lot cheaper than the well known suppliers. What I loved about them was that they had about 8 shades of each color, from Caribbean blue to navy blue and so on. You could also choose the size; I decided on 20 in diameter paper lanterns. In retrospect, I would have ordered a variety of sizes and hung them at different lengths, but they looks super pretty anyhow.
I found this great site that sold party supplies for a lot cheaper than the well known suppliers. What I loved about them was that they had about 8 shades of each color, from Caribbean blue to navy blue and so on. You could also choose the size; I decided on 20 in diameter paper lanterns. In retrospect, I would have ordered a variety of sizes and hung them at different lengths, but they look super pretty anyhow.

IMG_2723My friend Becky also happens to manage a bar and was able to get her hands on dozens of empty liquor bottles. When I told her my idea for the centerpieces, she dropped off 3 cases of empty bottles to my house one day, and because I’m such a procrastinator, they stayed outside my house for a good 2 months until the weather became nicer and I finally decided the time had come to decorate those bad boys. I bought spray paint and Goo Gone remover at Michael’s craft store. I had read someone else’s blog post about how miraculous this Goo Gone was, so I thought this would be a cinch. No way. This was such a pain in the ass. Although they came out so so great, you would have to pay me big bucks to do this again. Perhaps it was the quantity that put me over the edge. Or the fact that I was 9 months pregnant when I did this. Either way, it was an arduous task and not one for the well-manicured. Luckily for those brave ones who would like to do this anyway (and it really was not that bad, just tedious), I documented the progress in photos, so please enjoy.

When picking bottles, try to choose ones that only have a front label - it'll save you some time!
When picking bottles, try to choose ones that only have a front label – it’ll save you some time! These bottles were left to soak in a cooler overnight. The longer they soak, the easier your job is.
After you scrape off what you can, apply the Goo Gone and let it sit for a few minutes. I poured my Goo Gone into a spray bottle for a smoother application.
After you scrape off what you can, apply the Goo Gone and let it sit for a few minutes. I poured my Goo Gone into a spray bottle for a smoother application.
Treated with Goo Gone. Scraped and then scrubbed with soap and warm water. Oh vey!
Treated with Goo Gone. Scraped and then scrubbed with soap and warm water. Oh vey!
When spray painting, less is more. It's a lot easier to apply multiple coats than to wipe off drips and try to even out the paint.
When spray painting, less is more. It’s a lot easier to apply multiple coats than to wipe off drips and try to even out the paint.

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Initially I was just going to spray paint and that was all. However, I find the more you tap into your creativity, the more the ideas start to flow. So when the bottles were dried, I started playing around with the supplies I had in my house. All of these shells are pieces that I have collected here at home in Rockaway Beach, but mostly in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Initially I was just going to spray paint and that was all. However, I find the more you tap into your creativity, the more ideas begin to flow. So when the bottles were dried, I started playing around with the supplies I had in my house. All of these shells are pieces that I have collected along the way, some here at home in Rockaway Beach, but mostly brought back from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.

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I came across very eye-catching surf board banners during my search, but each time I had to just keep saying to myself, I can totally make that. And so…I did.

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I bought a book of craft paper at Michael's craft store. Then, I drew a picture of a surf board on card stock, cut it out, and traced it onto each patterned piece of paper. Next, I punched two holes into the top of each surfboard. Lastly, I weaved twine through each piece.
I bought a book of craft paper at Michael’s craft store. Then, I drew a picture of a surf board on card stock, cut it out, and traced it onto each patterned piece of paper. Next, I punched two holes into the top of each surfboard. Lastly, I weaved twine through each piece.

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All of the painted shells were done by the talented and adorably cute Justin!
All of the painted shells were done by the talented and adorably cute Justin!

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No party is complete without cake. Or in my case, cupcakes! I ordered these cupcake holders on Amazon, but also came across them in Party City for a fraction of the price. The candy surfboards were also ordered on Amazon. With a little crushed graham cracker acting as sand and some shredded coconut for white wash, these darlings were complete.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a close-up of the cupcakes with blue icing and coconut, but you could imagine for yourselves!

All in all, it was such a special day. I’m not always comfortable being the center of attention, but my friend Jean was right. She said there’s something really sweet and special about a baby shower, and she assured me that I could handle it. Well, I was overwhelmed with joy and love that day. I may not be able to handle another party centered around me anytime soon, but give me a job as planner/decorator, and I’m in! Here are some other pictures from this beautiful day.

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Justin must’ve painted about 50 shells, but with the craziness of the day, I never got a chance to take photos of some of my favorites. However, our cousin Jackie sent us a pic of a couple of them!

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These were created by my thoughtful friend, Jenn.
...and these by my other sweet friend, Lauren.
…and these by my other sweet friend, Lauren.
This amazing clothes line was created by my group of friends and completely made my heart melt.
This amazing clothes line was created by my group of friends and completely made my heart melt.

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Sea Glass Crafts

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As I sit here, I’m watching HGTV’s Flip or Flop and it’s inspiring me to want to organize, decorate, and remodel. Justin and I will (hopefully) be moving soon to a house around the corner, so in the meantime, I will have to pour my creative energy into small, DIY projects which I can use to decorate our new house! This latest project was inspired by a local shop’s inventory, but for a very hefty price tag. One of the many benefits of living on the beach is the unlimited supply of sea glass that washes up on the shore. I have an extensive collection and keep it in a large vase in front of a window where the sun shines right through it. Also, our love of traveling has also added to my eclectic shell collection (which sits in a plastic bag in a dark cabinet…).

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This is just the first of many sea glass projects I have in store for myself. Just take a quick look on Pinterest and you’ll be inspired for days. Next, I’m looking to create a distressed wooden mermaid with a  sea glass tail, but that’s for a later date!  All you need is a picture frame with its glass window, a hot glue gun (or another sort of super glue), sea glass, and whatever else you have on hand.

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Barbados September '15
Barbados September ’15

Fitting the pieces together took the longest amount of time, but it was a beautiful feeling when it was finished. This is my idea of meditation : )

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DIY Pantry Shelf

IMG_9844Since I’m a huge homebody (typical Cancer…), I very much need my home to be aesthetically pleasing. I love collecting furniture pieces that are unique – I especially love when items have that vintage-y feel to it. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping in places like Home Goods, but I often ask myself, “I can make that, am I really going to pay $150 for it?” Not likely.

IMG_9838I have so many potions and powders for my recipes, so I wanted to make a shelf in my kitchen where everything could go, since my windowsill was no longer cutting it. Along with these ‘recipe staples’ were some balanced bella dishes I use for photographing my meals which I wanted to store separately from my everyday dishes.

Hurricane Sandy took a lot from many people, including our beloved boardwalk. This winter, however, the boardwalk began washing up on our shores here on Rockaway Beach. I had given Justin a visual of what I wanted my shelf to look like, so when he spotted boardwalk wood resting on the sand after a tumultuous year and a half journey, he picked it up and brought it home. Luckily for me, he’s a high school teacher with a wood shop in his building and was able to take the wood to work, let it dry out for weeks, and then begin playing with it. So I suppose this is more of a DIY by Justin project, because truthfully all I did was order the shelf racks from Etsy! But shh. My point is, you may not have a wood shop, but any kind of base will do – my next shelf project is going to be a bunch of twigs tied with twine, resting on shelf racks. It’s all about thinking outside the box 😉

Rockaway Beach, NY boardwalk (pre-Hurricane Sandy)
Rockaway Beach, NY boardwalk (pre-Hurricane Sandy) Photo: flickr.com

After some research, the types of wood used were ipe, Cumaru and greenheart. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous these planks were once they were restored to their original state. As you’ll see in these pictures, the wood was dried out, glued together, planed down, given a plate groove, coated twice, and hung on specialty shelf racks ordered from etsy.com. It was quite the process and I smile every time I walk passed it… ❤

Once dried, wood glue was applied to the planks and held together with clamps.
Once dried, wood glue was applied to the planks and held together with clamps.
This was the product once it was cleaned up using a wood planer.
This was the product once it was cleaned up using a wood planer.
The finished product with two coats of polyurethane. I'm 5'11", so it's a little easier to tell how long (and heavy!) this piece is.
The finished product with two coats of polyurethane. I’m 5’11”, so it’s a little easier to tell how long (and heavy!) this piece is.

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Do It Yourself (DIY) Dresser Repair

My neighbor’s elderly mother had given us her old furniture last year.  The furniture was gorgeous; it was high quality, durable, and had that certain old-fashioned flair that I love oh so much.  The dark stain was out of date, however, and it definitely had its fair share of nicks and bruises.

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I started researching DIY projects and ideas.  So, one weekend, I sanded, painted, and distressed one of the smaller dressers that she’d given to us.  Then, I did the same to the two end tables.  They looked gorgeous and I was very impressed with myself, but there was still the large dresser that I needed to accomplish.  My procrastination set in, and the large, bruised, nicked, yet beautifully designed dresser sat in the corner of the bedroom unloved and neglected – until of course, this weekend, when I poured all of my energy into giving my dresser what it deserved, a much needed makeover!  Not only did it come out better than all of the other pieces, but it ties the whole room together and adds an extra touch of serenity.

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