Brass Lamp Be Gone

Hi! Today, I give you my “new” green lamp.

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

On the way home from Ithaca last week, we stopped at a few of the gazillion thrift shops  along the way and in the weirdest of them all (a former grocery store, complete with defunct freezer aisle) I found a gloriously awful and yet awesome big brass lamp. I didn’t know where to put it or what to do with it, but I figured I couldn’t go wrong for $3.99. So, in all of it’s thrift store brassiness:

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up  Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

A quick note – if you are getting a lamp at a thrift store or a garage sale, see if you can find a bulb and an outlet to make sure it actually works. If it does, great, if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. Most lamps are not that hard to rewire and I have a project coming up that will prove it.

Once we got it home, I thought maybe I would look good in our bedroom, which is super boring right now. AND I finally found something that I can paint green!

Supplies

  • A lamp
  • Painter’s tape
  • Primer suitable for metal
  • Spray paint – I used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch in Meadow Green Gloss
  • Spray lacquer  – I used Rustoleum Specialty Lacquer in Clear

First I cleaned the lamp with some dish soap and a toothbrush, dried it really well and then left it in the sun for a bit to dry any drops I missed. The spray paint won’t stick if there is any moisture.  Once I was sure it was all dry, I taped off the socket and the cord and primed it. I put on two light coats. I was thinking of three, but the spray paint is paint+primer, so I figured two would do it. I waiting about 15 minutes between coats and it seemed to work fine.

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up  Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

I covered the primer with three light coats of green spray paint and then two coats of lacquer.

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up  Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

Luckily I had a shade that fit and all of the paint except the green, so it was a really inexpensive project. I used one of my finials – a malachite and brass one – that looks great with the green.

Malachite

I have vague plans to de-Ikeafy our bedroom. That’s a project for another day, but I thought the lamp could be a good start to sprucing up at least the bureau wall. This is what we are working with. Not bad, not amazing. Except the shell jewelry box that my dad made for my high school graduation, which is amazing.

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

Moving on to the bureau situation, the most difficult part was hanging the mirror, which is a heavy beast and of course, the hangers on the back don’t have the same spacing as the studs in the wall. I got Sam to find the studs for me because he is just generally more careful and I decided I would rather take a shower. He put two heavy duty screws into a couple of studs for me, I added two larger picture hangers to the back of the mirror and then hung it up.

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up   Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

Much better.  The bad brass is all gone and at that wall is at least a little more interesting.

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

I replaced the cardboard box and plastic Revere bowl that Sam keeps his stuff in with a not-plastic Revere bowl, and moved the 100k of his business cards that end up in there into the study. I purged the weird stuff that ends up in the stuff bowl on my side too.  And those bowls? Yours truly won Most Improved July 1995 and 1996 in sailing class. Actually kind of embarrassing. Let’s not talk about July 1994. As I recall there was a whole lot of crying.

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

And my extremely cute sisters (they have since grown up a bit and are now extremely accomplished and beautiful women) and really cool parents (they look basically the same now):

Brass Lamp Be Gone by Just Something I Whipped Up

The orchid came in a purple pot, but a few coats of gloss white spray paint made it look way better. A few pictures of family and our honeymoon and we are in a much better place.

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XO,

Julia

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Coffee Table Makeover

Hi! We were in Ithaca visiting Sam’s parents this weekend and I found some pretty awesome stuff – in particular a pair of mid century side tables. Stay tuned for a post on those at some point, once I get around to fixing them up.

Once we got back, I decided it was high time to lighten up our living room. It is a room full of stuff I love, but somehow it was just off and I realized the other day that it is because there is so much red, black and dark brown, which are just not colors I love. My first fix was to pull out the red rug under the table.  I got it for our bedroom in our old apartment and it didn’t work, but I held onto it and it landed in our living room. After a while I got a big sisal rug to go under it and went with a cool layered look, but instead it came off as dark and busy. So, I finally took it out and things were immediately better (phone pics, sorry):

Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up

Aaaahhhh, much better. But then it threw the other two glaring problems into focus. 1. The soot above the fireplace from when I almost burned our house down after owning it for 4 hours. Not exaggerating. No matter how small and burned down your first fire starter log is, DO NOT ADD A SECOND. Ugh. 2. The coffee table. To be fair, some neighbors from our old apartment left it out on the curb and we snagged it, but then left it in the not-enclosed garage there for a year so it is actually in pretty good shape, considering. Shabby chic looks great in some rooms, as does “well loved” furniture, but I don’t love the shabby chic style for my own house and it was really more well-neglected than well-loved. So at long last, I decided to paint it.

Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up

Supplies:

  • Coffee table
  • Random orbital sander
  • Sandpaper  – 100 and 150
  • Mask
  • Cloth
  • Primer – I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3
  • Painters Tape
  • Brush – my new fave is the Wooster 2 in. Shortcut Angled Brush
  • Paint tray
  • Paint – I used BM Ultra White and Pelican Grey, both in Semi-gloss
  • Floetrol

We brought the table outside and then I sanded. And sanded and sanded and sanded. The random orbital sander worked wonders on all of the chippy black paint on the flat parts. The rest was hand sanding which was hot and dusty and long. In the end, I had a black sawdust bathing suit “tan.” It was gross.

Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up

Then I wiped everything down and put on a coat of primer. I started with the roller but it wasn’t all that much more helpful so I bagged it and went with a brush from there on out. It wasn’t a perfect coat, I really just wanted to cover everything. I love my new little brush. It is great for cutting in and has a comfy rubber handle. I did one coat on the base and two on the top.

Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up

While that dried, I went to fetch the paint. Weirdly, Frager’s was HOPPING at 3:30 on a Tuesday. Finally, everything was mixed and I went home. I decided to mix in some Floetrol, which is supposed to reduce brush marks. I didn’t measure it out, just sort of eyeballed a little bit based on the instructions on the bottle and mixed well. I taped off the middle rectangle and the legs and then painted the middle, the sides and the drawer gray, and the edges of the top and the legs white. I put two coats of grey on the sides and four on top – I will probably go back and add a topcoat soon.

Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up

And some before and afters. I also went after the soot with some soapy water and  a scrub brush and it went a long way.

Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up

Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up Coffee Table Makeover by Just Something I Whipped Up

There is still a ways to go in our living room, but things are slowly brightening up. There is just a ton of STUFF in there, which does not help, but once the study bookshelves are done I can redistribute and that should help too.

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XO,

Julia

DIY Campaign Desk

Hello! I am back from Haven and learned SO much and met so many amazing bloggers.  At first I kept thinking about how my three blog posts only juuuuust qualified me to be there, but by the end I was so energized and inspired that I was feeling pretty good about what I have so far.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

So luckily, I have been working on our study, where I plan to do all of my bloggy things. The first thing I did was find a good desk. I wanted a cool midcentury one, but all of the ones I found on Craigslist that I liked were a little too expensive, so I switched tacks. While looking, I found a white World Market Josephine desk for $50 and I remembered the campaign-style desk from Caitlin at Desert Domicile and decided to do a little makeover of my own. Here is my inspiration – a vintage campaign desk from Circa Who:

circawhodeskMine:

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

DIY Campaign Desk

Supplies:

  • Plain desk
  • 20 flat corner braces – I used these  ($2.47/pack of 4)
  • One campaign pull – I used this one ($20)
  • Two finger campaign pulls – I used these ($8 each)
  • Dremel and router bit – the router bit does not come with the Dremel so you need to buy it separately
  • Goggles and a mask. Seriously, sunglasses and your shirt over your nose don’t count on this one.
  • Drill and drill bit set

First I gathered my hardware. It took me a little while – like a week or two – because I was being super picky and this project is all about the hardware. The big campaign pull I finally ordered was a little expensive, but I really think it makes the piece, so I think it was well worth it. It would have been better to use three of the same pull, but then it would have been REALLY expensive.

Once I had everything together, I held the bracket up and marked the holes. Then using a drill with a small bit, I made pilot holes and screwed on the brackets. One important note – on the corners, the placement of the brackets means that the screws will run into each other. I ended up removing the two screws in the vertical leg of the bracket below so that I could use all four screws in the bracket on the front, where missing screws would be more noticeable. I did the same on the right side of the desk as well. I went with four each on the sides and then four on each side of the front, basically creating the illusion of side drawers. I also put one on each side of the small middle drawer. You can see the placement in the top picture or further below:

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once the brackets were on, things really started to come together buuuut that meant the easier part was over. The next step was to rout out the spots for the inset hardware. Full disclosure – this was my first routing project and while the Dremel absolutely did the trick, it took some time and serious concentration. To start, I traced the back of the large pull on to a piece of paper, cut it out and taped it on to the middle drawer. I also taped a shoebox to the underside to catch sawdust. Why not just put down newspaper you ask?  Honestly, the shoebox and tape were closer to me, and seemed like they might catch more sawdust before it spread out.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Then I traced the shape onto the drawer with a pencil and routed out that area. This is the point where I should have put on goggles and a mask, but it wasn’t until I was sneezing and had dust (thankfully nothing worse) in my eye that I thought to do it. The routing took endless stopping and checking against the pull until it was as deep enough everywhere, while making sure not to go outside the line. It definitely skipped out on me a couple of times and left marks, but someday I will get around to patching them. I am not saying it’s beautiful behind that pull…

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Next, I marked the places to make the holes for the bolts using the same paper cut-out of the pull. Using a drill bit large enough to fit the bolts, I drilled the holes then screwed the bolts to the pull, fed it through the holes and put on the nuts.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Upd

The process for the side finger pulls was almost the same, but with one important difference – where the bolts for the center pull went through the routed out area, the screws connecting the side pulls to the desk do not. I carefully marked where the screws went and then routed out the space inside.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Those pulls had screws that required pilot holes, so I switched back to the small drill bit, made the holes and then screwed in the pulls.

At that point I thought I was done, but then noticed that a lot of my inspiration pieces have hardware on the feet too. Since I was using 2 in. brackets, only one fit per foot but I think that was just enough.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

So there you have it. It was not super fast – I watched 1.5 movies while I did it, but I was figuring out a lot as I went along. I am SO pleased with how it came out. The study is slowly becoming one of my favorite room in this little house of ours, and I will be sharing a bunch of the other projects in here – including the built-in bookshelves we are working on which are now lovingly know as the F**king Bookshelves.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

And the obligatory before and after. Ignore the maze of cords on the wall. As crazy as it looks, it is a vast improvement over the jumble on the ground. Organizing the router and all of that other important junk could be a post in itself.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

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XO,

Julia

Imaginary Craigslist Shopping, Anyone?

I hope everyone had a great fourth of July! I am back in DC for a hot minute before leaving for Haven – a 3 day home DIY blog conference in Atlanta – on Thursday. I took a bit of a leap of faith and registered WELL in advance of starting this blog. So, maybe more that I set a date on which I would leap and hoped I would get my act together in time. Either way, my blog exists! Hooray!

Today I thought I would share the fruits of my daily Craigslist trolling. I have a bunch of things I search for most days juuuust in case. In case of what? In case a wicker scroll queen headboard pops up down the street for $25? A gal can dream.

So without further ado, today’s winners:

 Mid century modern chair – $40

chair

Here is a sweet little desk chair for you. It looks like it would be pretty easy to reupholster the seat yourself with some batting, fabric and a staple gun. I’d go with a colored pattern on white – maybe yellow stripes. Or go nuts with something like Schumacher’s Chiang Mai. More expensive than the chair by a long shot but it would be a pretty cool statement.

Bentwood Rocking Chair – $45

rocking chair

Maybe paint the frame white and leave the cane natural and put it in a nursery or a kid’s room?  Leave the wood alone and out it on a porch? I am going to assume there is a good reason it is $45 and not $5,550 like this one on 1st Dibs. If not, probably best to leave it unpainted just in case…

Rowe Sectional Sofa – $220 – Four pieces, one not shown.

couch

An oddball, yes. Roughly half a bazillion dollars to reupholster? Probably, but $220 for a four piece sectional is a steal, so you still come out ahead. If you have the space, it is a pretty dope couch and the existing upholstery isn’t bad. I like the green. Besides, if it doesn’t work out, those are a whole bunch of original brass tipped feet that you could put on eBay (I have seen lots of sets of 4 for ~$40). If our house and that couch were not roughly the same square footage, it would absolutely be in the running to replace our remarkably adequate white Ektorp.

Pair of 84 inch tall vintage Henredon brass trimmed cabinets – $195 each

cabinets inside

These are pretty formal, but I love the look. They are 18 inches deep and could work on either side of a desk in a study or flanking a fireplace or windows in a living room. I have never seen a man’s walk in dressing room in person – do they actually exist in real life or just magazines? – but I could imagine these being in one of those. My white campaign desk would look awfully cute between these dudes. Now that I am thinking about that, I sort of regret sharing these.

Wicker Rattan Corner Shelf Unit 3 Tier Display Stand 5ft Tall – $190

etagere

I know. Grandma city. BUT ever since I laid eyes on the Serena & Lily Peacock Scroll mirror, I have been slightly obsessed with scrolled wicker like that. If I had a guest room or, you know, any extra space, this bad gal would get a few coats of glossy kelly green or white, if it turns out that my imaginary guest room is the perfect – and elusive – green room (which, incidentally, our kitchen was NOT), and let her grace a corner with some pretty things on it. Or a bathroom. She would look suuuuper cute in a bathroom. See? A totally versatile piece of furniture.

So, those are some of the random things that struck my fancy today.

XO,

Julia

 

Fourth of July Tablecloth

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

It’s almost the 4th of July!  I love the 4th because it means the summer is about to really hit its stride. This year, before we head to HP, I wanted to have a little pre-fourth cookout with our friends in DC. I decided that a festive tablecloth would be a fun project without going overboard.  It was a pretty easy and inexpensive project that can be changed for any party.

Tablecloth Supplies Supplies:

  • Canvas drop cloth. I got this one in the 4’x15′ size so that I can make three.
  • Scissors
  • Stitch Witchery bonding tape
  • Iron/Ironing board
  • At least one roll of painters tape, depending on design
  • Newspaper or plastic sheeting
  • Yardstick
  • Foam brushes and/or a pouncer (I swear it’s a thing). For oil paint, get one per color.
  • Paint. I went with Rustoleum oil paint because it was all our local hardware store had and it ended up working perfectly.  I grabbed some acrylic gold, red, white and blue that I already had just in case.
  • Cardboard

First, measure the table and cut the drop cloth down to fit.  I got a drop cloth specifically to be the right width for the table so that I only had to hem one side.  Make sure the line is generally straight across, but don’t go nuts making the cut perfect since you will be hemming it. Next, hem the cut side.  If I had a sewing machine, I would have used that, but stitch witch is a pretty great substitute.  First, fold the side to be hemmed over and iron flat.  Then lay a strip of stitch witch under the flap – see top left picture.  At this point, if you are not me, your iron won’t start randomly turning off and on and the rest of the ironing parts will be a breeze.  If you are me, this simple project will turn into one which requires the patience of a nun.  Which I definitely DO NOT HAVE.  Anyway.  Using the hottest setting on your iron, slowly run the iron over the flap until the tape melts and fuses the sides together.

Stitch Witch Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Then snip the very ends at an angle and fold the newly-hemmed part over and repeat the preceding steps to get a nice neat hem.  It will take a lot longer for the tape to melt on the second pass because there are more layers to get through, but it will melt, don’t give up.

Cut Corner Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Let the hem cool for 10 minutes and then put the drop cloth through the washer and dryer to soften it up. You can skip this step, but the resulting tablecloth with be much stiffer and won’t drape over the table as well.  Once it is dry, iron it (the damn iron again…).  At that point I folded it in half the long way and made a small crease to mark the middle.  I ran a pencil over it so that it would be easy to find later. Now for the fun part.  Lay the drop cloth out with newspaper or plastic sheeting under it on something large and flat.  The ground would be ideal if you don’t have a handy-dandy huge piece of plywood like we do.  Full disclosure – it is for drinking games. Not an adult.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once your drop cloth is all ready, use painters tape to block off stripes starting from the middle and moving out to the sides. I sketched mine out on paper in advance. I used the yardstick to make sure that the wide stripe in the middle was actually centered around the middle, but after that I just eyeballed the widths of the strips. I pressed that tape down as best I could. In the end it didn’t prevent all bleeding, but I like how it looks slightly freehand. At least for me, actual freehand would have been a wobbly mess.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once you like the look of the stripes, paint in the blank spaces. The cloth absorbs a lot of paint, so it is more dabbing than painting. I ended up sticking with the Rustoleum paint and only used the gold acrylic paint for the stars which I added once everything was dry.  While the paint was drying, I cut a star shape out of some cardboard (a frozen pizza box). Once it was ready, I used a foam pouncer and some gold paint to add stars down the middle. Pull off the tape and let dry.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

So there you have it. An easy party project that you can use whenever you need an inexpensive update to impress your friends. Now, like a blog party favor, I leave you with a close-up of my most recent and one of my most fabulous ($5) flea market finds. Thank you Eastern Market for my new brass lobster buddy. May I never again misplace the spare keys.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up XO,

Julia

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