Tag Archives: repurpose

Mother’s Day DIY

I know I’m a bit behind with this post – I’ve experienced some technical difficulties in recent weeks. Boo. Better late than never, I say!

This post is dedicated to one very special person in my life… my Mom. She has always been a pretty crafty woman. She is a superb seamstress, friend to refinishing furniture and gardening guru to name a few of her great qualities. I love making gifts for her on special holidays because I know how much she appreciates the effort just as much as the finished product. Last Mother’s Day I made her some coasters inspired by this and other popular pins on Pinterest.  I put some sweet quotes about why Moms are so great on the first three and used a picture of her with me and my sister on the last one. She loved them! And they use them all the time! This year I decided to use my DIY skillz (’cause I got em, yo) to make her some plant markers for her veggie garden.

Let me talk about her veggie garden for a moment. My mom has the greenest of thumbs. I love that she enjoys growing vegetables because that means I get to eat fresh peppers and herbs while I’m over there, and even get to take home the occasional squash. Yum!
She and my Dad built and stained these raised planters from scratch so that she would have the perfect spot for her tomatoes, hot peppers, zucchini and more. Aren’t they great?!

Vegetable Plant Boxes

I thought plant markers would be a perfect addition.

I’ve seen a ton of cute ideas for garden markers all over Pinterest. This pin was by far my favorite! Stuff that you serve food in to label the food you’ll get to eventually eat? Sign. Me. Up.

So I headed out on an adventure to pick up my supplies. I purchased two 4-packs of inexpensive bamboo spoons. I thought about duplicating the look of the original project (at Little Green Fingers) by using some letter stamps I had in my stash, but decided I wanted to put my own spin on the spoons. Keep reading to see how. Or just scroll to the bottom to see the reveal, I don’t mind! You just do you.

Supplies for DIY Plant Signs

Here is my listy list of supplies:

  • Wooden spoons
  • 3M Sanding blocks in medium and fine grit
  • Varathane wood stain in “Sunbleached”
  • A lonely sock
  • Mod Podge photo transfer medium
  • Pictures of vegetables
  • X-ACTO craft knife
  • Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane
  • Newspaper to protect my work surface

I got to work sanding the spoons, first with medium-grit sand paper and then again with fine-grit to get the surfaces nice and smooth. Then it was time to give these babies a coat of stain! I really liked the idea of the soft grey against the leafy green plants and sage-y green planters.

I applied the stain with the lonely sock mentioned in my supply list and let it soak for the recommended ten minutes to penetrate the wood. Then I took the clean end of the sock and wiped off the excess stain. This is where the newspaper made its first appearance. Gotta protect the ground in my courtyard!

Stained Wooden Spoons for Plant Markers

I would recommend wearing some sort of hand protection during the staining process. I keep a box of latex-free first aid gloves on hand (pun intended) that I use while staining, spray painting or any other activity where my skin (or manicure!) could be compromised.  I let the stain dry for two days instead of one – I wanted to be sure that it would be dry for this next part!

It was time to transfer images on to the spoons. I found some really cute images of different veggies on the internets and printed them out on regular weight paper with my printer properties set to photo quality. My X-ACTO was the perfect tool to cut the tiny veggies away from the bulk of the paper.


I laid the freshly cut veggie pics (pun intended again) out on the spoons to be sure I had the configuration I wanted.

Veggie Plant Marker DIY

Then I used Mod Podge photo transfer medium to get the images off of the paper and on to the spoons. When using transfer medium, keep in mind that your images will be reversed! If you’re transferring words you’ll have to flip them in photoshop or some other program before printing them out. The transfer goo is super cool. First you paint a fairly thick layer directly on your image, thick enough to where you can no longer see the picture. I painted about 1/16″ of goo onto each tiny veggie. You then carefully lay your picture down where you want it to be transferred and softly smooth out any bubbles. Then you wait. At least a full 24 hours.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium
Once the 24 hours had passed, the next step was to reveal the images. The directions say to wet the paper and firmly rub it with your fingers. The paper comes off and what’s left behind is a sturdy version of your image that has an almost vinyl-like texture. The images transferred beautifully! I was not as careful applying the medium as I should have been, though. There were a few dots of dried goo outside of my images. I just carefully scraped those off with my X-ACTO. The spoons were almost done!

DIY Wooden Spoon Vegetable Plant Markers

I just needed to protect them from our crazy North Texas weather… Problem was, I didn’t get the photos transferred until the night before Mother’s Day. For shame. So I planned to present them to my mom in their current state and spray them with sealer after, so that the protective finish wouldn’t be ruined by my presentation. I used a cute little white and grey planter and decorative rocks to display her sweet new veggie signs. Both items were $1 each at the dollar store! Woot woot!

DIY Wooden Spoon Plant Markers

On the day, I gave them to Mom and then sheepishly explained my incomplete present faux pas. A little later got busy finishing the spoons up. I hadn’t used Helmsman Spar Urethane before but I’d read several positive reviews for it online so I thought I’d give it a go. Like with any spray paint or sealer, or tool for that matter, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and protect yourself as much as you can! I always wear eye protection, a respirator mask (like this one), gloves and clothing that I am not attached to when I’m getting my spray paint on. I would be mega sad if I got paint stains on my favorite summer shorts! I was really pleased with the Spar Urethane. Even though the dry time is around 5 days (thanks for the help, humidity) the end result is worth it! They are super durable now! Disclaimer though – the sealant does not protect against red heeler puppies. Bummer.

Red Heeler

Puppy Chewed Plant Marker

Check the spoons out in their new habitats!

Wooden Spoon Plant Marker - Bell PepperWooden Spoon Plant Marker - Hot PeppersWooden Spoon Plant Marker - Potato

My mom can tell her plants apart without them but that’s not as much fun as looking at these super cute markers!

Did anyone else DIY a gift for their Mom or another special woman in their lives for Mother’s Day? Or do you just want to gush about how awesome your Mama is? Do tell…


The LACK Hack

I’ve done a lot of work in our living room. And why not? Much of the time that we clock at home is in there. I’ve already boasted about my media stand, and I promised to return to tell you about the shelves I built to surround her.  I absolutely love them!  Here’s a muddy iPhone pic sneak peek…

LACK Table Hack

My shelves are the brainchildren of a shelf that well-loved home bloggers Sherry and John Petersik made and shared in their book – Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update and Show Your Home Some Love.  Sidebar – if you like to DIY, please [safely] run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and treat yourself to this book.  Like right now.  It’s chock-full of tons of creative (and inexpensive!) DIY ideas that you can recreate or re-imagine to make your own.  And with my book in hand and thinking cap on, I did just that.  Ikea hacking has been around for a minute, but I saw how the Petersiks married a few LACK tables with simple assembly techniques to make a shelf and I jumped right on that bandwagon and told the driver to floor it.

Project Checklist

  • Fairly simple – check!
  • Inexpensive – check!
  • Totally customizable – double check!

I batted my eyes and used a bit of cheap bribery to get my fella to make the trek to IKEA with me.  We picked up six white LACK tables at a cool $7.99 a pop!  My wallet gave me a kiss afterwards.  Not really.  It should have though.  Here I am opening them up like a kiddo on Christmas [note my previous “shelving” set-up in the background, which was a beat up, wobbly hand-me-down]:

LACK Tables

The tables were covered in paper veneer, so I roughed up the surface with a bit of medium sandpaper.  That step was probably unnecessary since I used Zinsser B-I-N primer (which sticks to AN-Y-THING).  But you see, I am paint-paranoid and wanted to be absotively sure that the paint stuck.  Here you see the first set of tables laid out and waiting for a new coat of paint:


I wanted the shelves to complement the media stand since they’d live next to it, but I wanted them to have a unique feature.  I decided that the exterior surfaces would wear Valspar’s Fountain Mist to match the media stand, and the interior surfaces would wear a shade darker.  Behr’s Rapture Blue looks ravishing next to Fountain Mist, no?

Valspar Fountain Mist and Behr Rapture Blue

Photo sources: Valspar, Behr

You might be thinking “why didn’t she use another Valspar color to get the best match?”, to which I’d reply “chill, man, I had a Home Depot coupon!”.  Ok, maybe I wouldn’t be that blunt.  You get the idea.  So the insides got two coats of Rapture Blue, and the outsides got two coats of Fountain Mist…  I somehow lost the progress pics where the exterior was painted. #blogfail.  But here’s a bit of Rapture Blue for ya:

IKEA LACK Tables Painted Rapture Blue

Once painted, the tables all got a double-dose of polycrylic to protect the paint from chipping.  For direction on how I assembled the tables to make these fine shelves, check out Sherry and John’s book.  You’ll thank me, I promise.  And now the finished product!

IKEA LACK Tables Turned to Shelves

Of course I decked them out with some of my favorite books and a few other decorative items.  I like to switch what lives on them according to season or upcoming holidays too, just to keep it fresh and fun.

IKEA LACK Tables turned Shelves

The media stand was nice, but she looked lonely hanging out on the HUGE wall all by herself.  The shelves were just the thing she needed to bolster her self esteem.  Now it’s a substantial, cohesive unit!

DIY Media Stand

DIY Media Stand

I actually added another component to the media area to help fill the void of blank wall that once existed there.  Stay tuned, I’ll be posting about that project too!

Anyone else getting inspiration from Sherry and John or another fascinating home blog out there?  And who else is charming their partner into taking trips to massive, crowded furniture showrooms?  Do tell…

The Media Stand Blues

My media stand is one of the larger projects that I’ve completed in recent months, so I deemed it the perfect candidate for my inaugural post!  I’ve been using the same small dresser as my media/TV stand for longer than I care to share with the internets (as in the Jr High days – whoa).  This poor thing went through years of mistreatment unintentional neglect.



I mean lets face it, polishing wood furniture was just not on my shortlist of priorities as a teenager.  Shocking, I know.  But before I get into how I gave this dresser a much-needed face lift, I’ll give you a bit of history on her.  My mom bought this dresser for a few bucks off of a neighbor who was moving out of her apartment complex back in the mid-70s.  Fast forward to [insert your guess here] years later, my mom has met my dad, created me and my little sister and given me this dresser.  Several other events happened in between but there’s no time for those shenanigans…

The dresser holds our TV and stores a VCR and several old VHS tapes of school plays and possibly, maybe some recorded episodes of Dawson’s Creek…  And a Super Nintendo and a Game Cube.  Because all of those things are still relevant, right?!  She had a few stains and battle scars and just looked sad in general.  She decided that she wanted a facelift.  She told me so.  Just call me the dresser whisperer.

I first sanded her down with my Black & Decker hand sander, which I did in my back alley on a 107 degree day.  Because that’s my idea of a good time.  Don’t judge.



In case you’re wondering, that’s Disney shelf liner in the drawer you see two pics up.  Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto.  The works.  Who knows how long that’s been there.  Let’s keep it real – I left the liner in there.  I felt a little nostalgic about it.  Even though I have no idea who put it in there or when they did it.  Anyway…

I wanted the piece to have something unique about it.  Enter Allen + Roth textured paint-able wallpaper!  I used their design that’s kind of a cross-hatchy, weaved-looking texture.  I felt that it stood out but was still subtle enough to be versatile and adapt to any environment you use it in.  As you can see from the above photo, there are keyholes in top two drawers.  They stand out on their own and didn’t need to join in on the wallpaper fun.  I primed the drawers that were getting the wallpaper treatment and attached the wallpaper according to Allen + Roth’s instructions.

Allen + Roth Basket Weave

Here comes the fun part!  Once the wallpaper was adhered and completely dry, it was time to give this gal a layer of primer and a fresh coat of paint.  I picked Valspar’s Fountain Mist, which is a lovely pale blue.  Oh and special thanks goes out to my fella, who sacrificed the middle of our living room for several days, which is where I set up shop to paint the thing.  He didn’t utter a single complaint, though I’m sure he wanted to.  Shout out for being awesome, babe!  I wish these pictures did the color justice.  Since they don’t, my white ceramic owl “Darius” is standing in to provide a little perspective.

Wallpapered, Painted Dresser Drawer


Since I knew the dresser-media stand hybrid would be getting regular use, I topped the paint off with two coats of Minwax Polycrylic to protect it from chipping.  Minwax says to let the poly dry for 24 hours before use but I waited 72.  I knew I’d be putting a heavy TV on top of her, so I wanted to be extra sure that she was ready to take on the weight without the risk of scratches and chips.  Here she is in her finished state:


I absolutely love how this project turned out!  This dresser used to be something I wanted to cover up so people couldn’t see her, but now I love show her off!  I love her so much that I made her two matching shelving units to flank her sides!  I’ll be posting about them very soon…

Anyone else re-doing old pieces of furniture?  Or maybe you also have a significant other that is sweet and accommodating when your hair-brained DIY projects invade your living space?  Do tell…