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Planning For The End (Table)

We moved to a new state/town/home eight weeks ago, which means we have been using a big, blue plastic storage tote as a end table for eight weeks now. Honestly, it was already there as we unpacked and approximately the right height to sit a lamp on so there you have it. It is time to get it together and get real with our tables.

Last week I popped into a local second-hand store here in Ithaca, the Finger Lakes ReUse, with only about 10 minutes to spare. I knew I was after side or end tables (someone tell me the difference?) and this one stood out in the crowd pretty quickly. Not because she’s beautiful (she isn’t) or flashy (definitely not) but because she was the somewhat-hard-to-find-size we need, very very sturdy, has rounded-corners (we have little foreheads running in circles nearby) and has a shelf below for storage.  At $35 she was a bit more than I would usually want to spend for a second-hand table, but she fit the bill so I took the leap.

Here she is in all her… well, not exactly glory yet…

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

But she will get there. Oh yes, she will.

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

The classic Paloma Pose. This is her version of blue steel. Yes, our children propped all those pullows up against the walls for some reason. I assume they were probably launching something across the room at them… sigh.

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

There is a label on the bottom, but looking up the company online yielded zero results. You can kindajustbarely see in this photo the underside of the top of the table which I think shows the original color of the wood and which was actually quite nice.

It isn’t good wood, just veneer, and is a bit dry and the finish is not in great condition. So it is slated to be refinished for sure. I’m brainstorming ideas, so please let me know if you think I’m on the right track or totally bananas. Anyone else just get that Gwen Stefani song stuck in their heads? No? Just me?

I’ve found some good Pinspiration (not all of the pics linked are of tables, so you have to use your imagination a bit).

Perhaps a glossy black with gold dipped legs like this?

Or an ultramarine blue like this?

You all know I’ve been in a Mid-Century mood, so maybe a nice avocado like this? I’m afraid that might be hard to coordinate, but would be a little unique. The green table linked here is gorgeous too… the color is so bold!

In the meantime, I’ll see what the Mister thinks, get it all gussied painted up, and show it off!

Anyone else doing 10-minute-or-less thrift store shopping? Have a cat with a photo-op problem? Want to dip some stuff in gold?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


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On The Right Track: DIY Train Board (Video Tutorial)

Beyond excited = me sharing this, finally! Our son Lo’s birthday was this past December, and I spent the week beforehand in a mad rush to finish this DIY train board in time for his party. Well, it was sort of finished… all but the sealer that would make it possible for him to play with it without destroying the paint in 2.1 seconds. Living in Indiana, naturally the weather didn’t warm up enough to seal the table with any sort of ventilation until… 4 months later. This was not instant gratification.

Lo really liked his little round-a-bout Thomas train set (seen below in top-right corner of the pic) so we knew we wanted to expand it at some point. We hit up Amazon for a Melissa & Doug track set that came complete with another train, and is compatible with both Thomas and Brio train sets. M&D always saves the day…

Check out this beauty!

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

The kids have so much stuff, we like to brainstorm gift ideas that capitalize on something they already have. Instead of more toys, they end up with better versions of what they had. Well, last Fall Young House Love posted their own DIY train board and the little idea particles in my brain sudden came together. The idea of making the table flat, so it can more easily slide out of the way? Genius.

YHL was the most spot-on tutorial and inspiration for me, but some other Pinterest-worthy ones are at Bits and Pieces of the Better Life and little house blog.

Want to see it in action? It is holding up great, and the kids play with it almost every day… and I put that fine art degree I’m still paying off to good use. Gotta get my money’s worth.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

Here is the “before” picture. I assume it was part of a kitchen counter, maybe the top to a kitchen island? I discovered it in the old-kitchen-construction area at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for something like $12 as I recall. I love that place so much! I gave it a quick rough-up with very grainy sand-paper.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

This blog has helped me to test my comfort-level a bit, but I am still camera-shy. Irony being ever-present in my life, my husband really enjoys photography and actually does videography work occasionally. It comes in very handy sometimes, but means I’m frequently ducking behind a potted plant.

Well, he must have psychically realized I would soon have a blog, and as I worked on this project he filmed it for me. Let’s all ignore the fact that I am basically in PJs and might not be wearing any makeup. Yikes.

You can briefly see where I sketched it out on paper beforehand, and how I filled in the areas.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

As you can see from the video, I sketched an outline on the board of what landscaping I wanted. I used acrylic paints, brushes, etc. I already had on hand. If you’re doing this, you can find really affordable options at most craft stores, and for this project could get away with only a few colors. I was going for a slight hint at realism, so did a bit more blending of colors.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

To finish off the edges of the table, I used painters table pressed down very tightly over the edges of my painted area, using plastic trash bags to cover the main surface (as seen above). I then used the color Seaweed by Krylon Indoor/Outdoor paint in gloss finish. It is a very natural looking color, so fit the bill.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

See the damaged area in the middle of the table, pictured above? Well, that’s what I get for letting him play with it before it was sealed. There were quite a few scratches in the paint, so I busted out my blue and green paints and did a quick touch-up and let it dry for about 20 minutes.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

I used Old Masters Interior Water-Based Poly-Urethane in Semi-Gloss for the sealer, which was highly recommended by my paint guy (at our local Bloomington Paint & Wallpaper store). He said it was safe for something a child would frequently touch, and pretty much fume-free when applying. I was really impressed with how true that last part was. Painted it right in the kitchen (not while cooking) and it was fine! It only took maybe 1/10 of the quart so I have a lot left for future projects. I applied it with a foam mini-roller.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

The directions recommend letting it dry two hours after each coat, applying three coats, and lightly sanding it with low-grit sand-paper between coats. I was nervous when sanding, but it turned out just fine.

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

Here she is without the train parts, all finished!

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny

My favorite part is the ocean, for sure. The little white flecks along the break-line just bring the whole thing together. I would totally take a train ride along this coast!

DIY Train Table | Painting Sunny … and the classic helicopter view. The track just barely fits on the board, but stays put pretty well considering we chose not to permanently attach it to the board. It can be put in several configurations, so we wanted to keep our options open.

Any other must-see train tables and boards out there? Preferences on track brands? This seems to be a BIG deal on the internet, with Brio and Thomas having die-hard fans. The Melissa and Doug version being reversible and the much more reasonable price bought my loyalty! I’m thinking a play-kitchen will be next on the kids big-gift list…


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A brighter, lighter, whiter vintage children’s desk

I’ve been meaning to share this for a little while, so I’m excited to finally have everything together and pictures taken! This is the story of a little beat-up desk which was rescued and refinished and now belongs to a little girl who loves anything pink, princessy, and made just for her.

Here is the finished desk…

Vintage Children's Desk Refinished | by Painting Sunny

… and here is the requisite before-picture:

Vintage Children's Desk Refinished | by Painting Sunny

She wasn’t all that pretty, when I found her. She was a little beat up, and had an odd huge round knob on the drawer. It was really strangely oversized. I found her at our local Habitat ReStore, here in Bloomington, for $25. Not too bad! They had a few of them on sale, but this one was in the best shape and the drawer glided pretty smoothly.

Vintage Children's Desk Refinished | by Painting Sunny

You  may remember my adventures in milk paint from this table and this bed. Well, this desk was finished to match the bed. Once again, this was Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (MMSMP) and on this desk I used Ironestone mixed with the bonding agent, and then finished with the furniture wax. My process this time was a little bit more haphazard…

Now for a close-up of the distressing:

Vintage Children's Desk Refinished | by Painting Sunny
In the beginning, I wanted to be all daring so did not add the bonding agent. The paint peeled at least 60% off, I swear. It just did. So, I took a deep breath and just repainted the whole thing with the bonding agent added, two coats. I didn’t bother to sand off what was left from the first painting attempt.

Then, I used a piece of sandpaper to very gently distress some select spots, so the dark brown wood showed through. The original wood was not very nice, so I was glad to cover it up – and in the glimpses left, it actually appeared a prettier color.

Some of the sorts where it had peeled off now look almost gray under the new paint, but it creates a sort of interesting and naturally aged affect. Like it has had several chapters to it’s life.

The pink knob from Hobby Lobby, and was 50% off… I forget how much it cost but I doubt it was more than 70 cents.

Vintage Children's Desk Refinished | by Painting Sunny

And above is what it looks like with a cat on it. Just to help you visualize, you know. Seriously, Paloma will not miss out on a photo op.

It’s not my husband’s cup of tea (he likes shiny, new, modern) but I think it fits great in the girls room, has a vintage charm, and will all add up to a cozy, pretty, feminine little girl’s room when paired with the other projects we have planned for the future.

Anyone else totally repainting the same furniture twice in a week? Have a cat that is always ready for her close-up? I’m excited to be one step closer to having the furniture in Haven’s room all finished! Next up, though, is a bed refinishing for our boy’s room.

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.

PSS: This post was linked to Miss Mustard Seed.


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Fit for a Princess: DIY Vintage-style Bed Makeover

The work re-decorating our girl’s room started long, long ago… and has been crawling along at an un-inspiring pace ever since. This past November I did manage to update some of her furniture with a little paint job, though, and it made a huge difference in the space. I will share her re-painted desk later, but her bed was a priority as the largest piece of furniture in her room, and as something we already had sitting around – meaning no scouring second-hand furniture stores to find something to re-d0. It was already sitting in her room!

The look I was going for was a girlish and whimsical tone, but subtle; not in-your-face princessness. That is not a real word, by the way.

PS Bed 7 Updated

This was definitely a case of working with what you already have. When my husband and I moved in together, Haven was about two and a half years old and still sleeping in a toddler bed. This wooden twin bed is one my husband already owned and had in an extra bedroom. It had a little bit of an industrial feel, as it was pretty plain and there are holes in the middle of each of the head and food board posts, so it could be bunked.

It is sturdy and clean, though, and fixing it up was much easier on the budget than replacing it!

H's Bed Pre-Painted

I don’t have a great “before” picture, so this year-old iPhone one will have to work. We rent, so this picture was shortly after we moved into our current townhouse and her room was (is) decorated sort of make-shift with things we had laying around; the wall decals were ones Haven very much wanted, and they have made her happy – although they are wearing a little thin on me.

This project was done both pre-blog and pre-camera, so I also don’t have any amazing tutorial-style actions shots. I will try to explain as best as possible!

The kids have also grown considerably since then.

PS Bed 1

Almost as soon as it was available, I ordered several colors of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (or MMSMP as she calls it). You may recall it from this table we talked about a couple of weeks ago.

PS 14

This was my second project using MMSMP, and I chose the color Ironstone for it. In the picture above, it is not pictured on a box… it is the little tiny bit leftover in that plastic bag! I chose Ironstone because I thought the off-white with the gold would still have a slightly royal vibe for Haven, but was classic enough it could grow with her.

Before getting started, I plugged the holes in each head and foot board post up with old paper of all things (it was what I had on hand) and used some wood filler stuff to fill them in further, smoothed them as much as possible with a little spatula, and let them dry before I painted over them.

PS Bed 2

Isn’t that monkey a little adorable?

I began painting, with some bonding agent added (also from the MMSMP line), each piece of the furniture separately  I took it all apart and cleaned it well beforehand. I didn’t bother sanding it at all beforehand, though. I was testing the bonding agent, and am happy to report it passed with flying colors!

After the first coat, I let it dry thoroughly and then painted a second coat, without the bonding agent, on each piece. Again, I let it dry very well (overnight).

The next evening I used some sandpaper to “rough up” the edges and a few other spots on the bed, to give it a little more vintage appeal. It distressed really easily – I was glad I used the bonding agent, however, so I had more control over the whole process.

I then rubbed two coats of furniture wax (again, from MMSMP) on it, letting it dry lightly between coats and buffing it with a rag when the second coat had dried.

PS Bed 3

A few weeks before starting to paint, I picked up two finial post-top thingies from Lowe’s. I think they are traditionally meant for topping staircase posts. They were somewhat pricey by my standards, at about $10 each as I recall. Still, I was geeking out on my new paint and couldn’t wait for a sale or a cheaper option, and knew they would add the princessy touch I was looking for. We don’t have a Home Depot here, I really wish we did!

Above is a close-up of finials – I love how they turned out, even if I cringe at how much I spent on them. They were white when I bought them, which was the only color option they had besides a dark walnut stain. A little Rub ‘N Buff was clearly called for. If you haven’t used Rub ‘N Buff before, Our Fifth House has a great tutorial on it!

I had some antique gold Rub ‘N Buff left over from an earlier project, so used it to buff these white finials to a gorgeous gold! One little tube of that lasts forevs.

PS Bed 4

While I had the Rub ‘N Buff busted out, I thought I would add a little something to the foot-board posts too. Above is a close up! As I mentioned before, there were holes in each post that I had filled in and painted over. It wasn’t a perfect job, though, so I thought the stencil would help distract from the traces of it you can see. The stencil also came from Hobby Lobby about a year ago – it is one of those little gold-colored metal ones.

PS Bed 5

So there you have it! It may not be a Pottery Barn original, but I think it is a definite improvement. I wish the walls were painted! This bed is a start, though, for sure, and I’m glad she is sleeping in bed suitable for the princess she aspires to be!

PS Bed 6 

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.

PSS: This post was linked to Furniture Feature Friday At A Time on Miss Mustard Seed‘s Blog. Thank you! Gotta love a link party.


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A Strange Little Table Redo

There are some benefits for working at a big state university and living in a quaint little college town, and one of them is the amount of used furniture lying around the place. Sure, 80% of it is old tweed sofas from fraternity houses… but the other 20% is amazing. We are lucky that Indiana University has a surplus store that sells mostly leftover industrial furniture, but occasionally antiques and other odd items. I walked past a dark, dusty little antique table one week and thought “That would be a cute little plant stand for by the window” until I saw the $40 price tag. Never mind  Luckily, their “daily special” the next week was antique furniture, and it was discounted to half the price. I took that as a sign from the mythological gods of second-hand furniture. $20 is still a little steep, considering it had a broken leg and was missing some trim-work  but there was something so… odd about the little table, it was charming.

PS table 2

Unfortunately, at the time I bought the table I had neither a blog nor a decent camera… so all I have is this old photo from my iPhone… pardon the message garage, please. It is still just as messy. Here is the before picture:

PS Old Table

Didn’t she clean up nice? She didn’t make it easy, though. I repaired the broken leg (it was cracked right in half) with a clamp and some wood glue, and let it sit overnight. It still isn’t quite as sturdy as I would like, but it does the job.

The bottom shelf also had a split down part of it, so I rubbed wood glue into the split and then tied it tight together.

The trim was missing in places, so I removed it along the short ends completely so I had at least enough spare pieces of it to fill in the gaps along the long-sides. You can see the little nail holes a bit in the picture below. Gives it character…

PS 12

I sanded the short sides smooth, and used Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Tricycle Red. I didn’t add any bonding agent, and I didn’t sand the rest of the table. The wood was a little dry, and it was my first time ever using milk paint (scary!) but I had a feeling it would soak in okay.

PS 14

Two coats of milk paint later, I rubbed two nice coats of Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture wax into it and buffed it to a nice shine. It distressed a little bit on it’s own (as it is supposed to) but I buffed a couple spots with some fine sandpaper (before waxing it) and I like how it turned out. It makes the wood underneath look like it was actually in decent shape!

PS 13

Paloma the Cat photo-bombs.

PS table cat photobombFor my first time using milk paint, I can say it wasn’t stressful at all, and I love that it is low VOC and safe around the kids and kitty. I’ve used it again since then (will talk more about those projects later!) and am sure I will again… I’m pretty much out of paint, though, so I’ll have to wait until the change jar gets a little more full.

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.

PSS: This post was linked to Furniture Feature Friday At A Time on Miss Mustard Seed‘s Blog. Thank you! Gotta love a link party.