DIY Topiary Trees with Tiered Boxwood

What is it about spring that makes everything seem right in the world?  Dull hues of winter are quickly replaced by bright blooms and new green growth.  No matter the length of my to-do list, this season always gives me a sense of refreshment and renewal. 

birds nest

Whether it is the sight of beautiful flowers, the sound of baby birds or the cool breeze, I have decided that spring is without a doubt my favorite season.  I love to reflect this season in our home to bring inside the same fresh feeling of newness and restoration

entry way

One of my favorite ways to decorate for Spring is with boxwood balls and topiaries.  The bright green gives such a crisp contrast against spring flowers.  Boxwood is perfect to use throughout the year as they complement every season’s décor.  

small boxwoods

dining table

My favorite boxwood décor would have to be the two topiaries on my front porch that I included in my post 10 Steps to Affordable Curb Appeal.  They were such an easy DIY project and they make such an inviting statement.

front door topiaries.jpg

I made them at a fraction of the cost of those sold in stores and was able to make them exactly the size I wanted.  I have gotten many compliments on these topiaries and they have held up well over the past two years, even in the hot Texas sun.

finished topiary

What You Will Need:

  • Faux Boxwood balls
  • Long Branches
  • ¾ inch dowel rod
  • Wire
  • Stain
  • Decorative Pot or Urn
  • Aluminum pot – Small enough to fit in the pot/urn upside down
  • Hammer and large nail
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Scissors
  • Brush

Step 1:  Go online to find some faux boxwood balls.  The dried boxwood is very expensive and not the best option for outside.  You can find several faux options online that look very realistic.  I purchased mine at Joann’s.com when they had a 40% off sale.  I have also seem them at Hobby Lobby and consumercrafts.com.

To make a topiary that is configured like mine, you will need two 8-inch balls and one 10-inch ball but really any sizes will do.  This your opportunity to customize your topiaries to the size and style you want!

faux boxwood balls

Step 2:  Pick out a decorative pot or urn.  Ideally, you will want one that is heavy so that it is not easily blown over.

Step 3:  Find some very long straight branches and a ¾” dowel rod.  Combined together they will look just like a real boxwood stem.  If you can’t find branches, you can also use ¼ inch dowel rods at found at Home Depot.  I used branch trimmers to the larger dowel rod to …inches.  You can cut your branches about 8 inches shorter than the dowel rod.  You don’t want the branches to extend down into the aluminum pot, just the main dowel rod.

stem

I then fastened several of branches to the dowel rod with wire to make a large “stem”.  This is way more realistic looking than using one big dowel rod.  I tied wire around the stem branches underneath where each ball would go so the wire won’t be visible when it is all together.  The below picture is a side-view of the stained stem.

stem upclose.jpg

 

Step 4 :  Once you have your dowel rods or branches tied together, it is now time to stain.  I used a sample can ($2.30) of Behr’s semi-transparent deck stain in chocolate, because it is what I had on hand.  You could really use any stain or gel stain.  Ideally, you want to paint the stain on and let it be kind of streaky.  I let that dry for a couple of days.

bucket

Step 5 :  In the meantime, take your aluminum bucket and put it upside down in your decorative pot.  Use gorilla glue to glue the edges in the pot and let it dry 24 hours.

gluing bucket

Step 6 :  After the stain has dried, it’s time to make a hole for the trunk of the topiary.  I used a large nail and hammer and kept hammering holes until I had one big hole just the size of the set of sticks.  You want it to be a tight fit.

IMG_3407.JPG

Step 7 :  When the hole is the right size, squeeze some gorilla glue into the hole so it goes to the bottom of your pot or urn.  Stick in the trunk and make sure it is straight.  Let that dry 24 hours.  The gorilla glue expands and will hold everything in place.

glue is dried 

Step 8:  Take your boxwood balls and cut some of the net-like interior, just enough so the balls can fit tightly on the step

IMG_3412.JPG

One of my topiary balls was sliding down the step, so I wired some of that interior netting to the sticks.  (You’ll find most of these faux boxwood balls are hollow with an interior plastic netting that all the leaves attach to.)

You are done!

twin topiaries

Like I mentioned, boxwood topiaries are great to have around the house because they work for all seasons.  I love that they are the one decoration in the house I never have to change out.

DIY topiaries

Spring reminds me of new life but also consistency.  God tells us in Revelation 21:5 that He will make all things new one day.  Until then, we have spring’s reminder of the renewal and restoration that comes from only Him.

As God’s all about making things new, He offers us rejuvenation from life’s hardships and worries today.  Just as God cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, He personally cares about your every care and concern.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7  Although seasons of life change and our lives never seem to calm down, His love never changes.  He is our true constant, the one thing we can cling to as a calm in the midst of a storm. 

What do you feel is weighing you down?  Where are you in need of renewal and a fresh start?  Know that He cares for you more than you can possibly fathom and He waits for you to bear all your worries and fears.

 

Join us for Renovated Faith’s first giveaway!

Renovated Faith is giving away TWO of these three tiered trays – one for you and one for a friend!  Check back to see how to enter!

1 peter 5 7

 

‘Til Next Time,

 

signature.jpg

Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation

You might remember my pristine DIY Entertainment Center that I featured on the blog a couple weeks ago.  Now marred by water damaged and covered with dust, these pieces currently sit in our garage…..entertainment-center-2Last Sunday night, we woke at midnight to our daughter screaming.  I ran into the living room to check on her, sure that I would find her in the midst of some frantic search for her mermaid doll that fell off the bed.  Apparently, her mermaid not only fell off the bed but went for a swim because she picked it up to find it was covered in water – as was most of our house!

Living Room

Two inches of water from a broken toilet valve now covered most of our home.  We sloshed through soaked carpet to try to move most of our furniture into the garage.   A company came to pull out the carpet and set up industrial fans and dehumidifiers for a week.  Carpet has been pulled up from every room,  much of our furniture is in the garage and the contents of every closet was left in a huge pile in the middle of each room in order to remove carpeting.  The wind and noise from the fans only reminded me that the state of our house was now a swirl of chaos.

For someone who likes to surround myself with order, beauty and solitude, my home quickly became a wet, concrete-laden, obstacle course of wet furniture, carpet tacks and confusion.

I had some unfinished furniture pieces in our garage and decided I needed to finish them up to make extra room.  I pulled a half-completed secretary into our living room (aka ground zero) to touch up.  This was a piece I worked on for my friend Rebecca to use as her daughter’s desk.

Secretary before

I began put the hardware on the secretary and soon a peace came over me.  The drawers had been strewn all over the house as I waited for them to dry.  It was no nice to see them finally come together to make something beautiful. I am reminded that in spite of chaos, God’s peace can still reign in our heart’s and minds – not matter the mess, no matter the struggles or disaster that surrounds us.

Priscilla’s Shirer’s The Armor of God is a Bible study that brings to light the spiritual warfare that surrounds us on a daily basis and how to combat it.  In it she states:

“Anywhere peace is lacking you can be sure the enemy is at work.”

Peace

This quote stopped me in my tracks.  I realized that my heart felt as chaotic as our household because I was allowing Satan’s lies and deception to steal my joy and contentment.

I was blaming my discontent on the state of our house but, in reality, the peace that God gives is not as the world gives. Just because I was surrounded by disorder, my heart can be calm because God can be trusted with even the messiest of situations.

The Lord recognizes that we will have hard times, but God’s overwhelming peace has the capacity to give you rest in the most turbulent of circumstances. 

So many times I have read Philippians 4:6-7.  It is a well-known verse that commonly adorns coffee mugs, picture frames and refrigerator magnets.  Unfortunately, when it comes to this verse, I often confuse familiarity with apathy.

Do Not Be Anxious

 

This is one of those powerful verses that the enemy would love for us to forget.

But how do we really experience God’s peace in the midst of horrible circumstances? 

Priscilla points out that this verse is intrinsically tied to Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

When we make a conscience effort to pray with thanksgiving, instead of allowing anxiety to rule our thoughts and emotions, we are expressing a firm trust in God and His care for us.  By taking this step in faith with thanksgiving, we are affirming that God has the capacity to overcome anything that life brings.

This is the key to unlocking the peace that so often alludes us…

As Priscilla Shirer says, “This kind of faith catches His attention and He response by activating His peace within us – a peace that will not only guard but also guide us by helping us to discern the direction God is leading us to take in our lives.  Note the progression: trust leads to thankfulness and gratitude activates peace.”

As I wrote in 7 Tips To Find Your Calling, let your fears and anxieties become a reminder that you have something to bring before the Lord in prayer.  When we trust our situation to God by submitting our concerns in prayer and thanksgiving, He will be faithful to release His peace in our lives.  Before you know it you will to see the beauty of his plans even in the midst of chaos.

My prayer is that your every anxious thought would filter through this truth leaving you with the peace that only He can give.

Even in the aftermath of the flood, I was able to complete this secretary.  If you look closely, you can see concrete floors in the background.  What a testimony to how God brings beauty from ashes, growth from decay, and hope from destruction.

aquagraysecretary

secretary2

Enjoy some of the pictures of the finished secretary!  If you liked this post, you might also like:

DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

When Anxiety Knocks and God Answers, Part 1

‘Til Next Time,

signature

When Peace is Lacking

 

DIY Entertainment Center (without building a thing!)

When we moved into our house a year ago, I realized we would need a better solution to fill this large wall in our living room.  A small TV stand wasn’t going to cut it.   I needed an entertainment center with some shelves so the space wouldn’t look so barren.

before

I looked at several media centers in furniture stores but they just weren’t my style and most were a few thousand dollars.   I needed a sleek, inexpensive solution to fill a large amount of wall space.

At one of the furniture stores, I stumbled upon this dresser in the “scratch and dent” section of the store.  At the time I purchased the dresser, it went on clearance for $300, less than half the original price!  It had a few scratches and one broken knob – I figured I’ve rehabed much worse!

scratch-and-dent-dresser

I realized I would need something on each end so I found these shelves at Target.  I liked the way the molding and the legs were very similar to those on the dresser.

target-bookcase

I have a deck of Behr paint swatches and found the color that best matched the white of the dresser.  Who knew there could be so many shades of white?!  I used that paint to touch up the scratches on the dresser and also paint the shelves.  (I used Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer before painting since the shelves were so dark.)  This picture gives you an idea of what the shelves looked like with just one coat of primer.  It really made all the difference!

IMG_2689.JPG

To help the bookcases and dresser to coordinate, I bought new knobs for both pieces.  I spray painted the existing dresser pulls and new knobs in Rustoleum Universal in Iron Rubbed Bronze.

hardware

The back of the bookcases was laminate and it was pretty obvious because of the big seam down the middle.  I decided to cover the backs in bead board wallpaper to give it added texture and character.

beadboard-wallpaper

If you haven’t used Martha Stewart’s bead board wallpaper, it’s a pretty great product.  It looks identical to bead board and is very easy to install and paint.  I wouldn’t recommend it for super high-traffic areas like a mudroom by an entry door, but it is excellent anywhere else.  (There’s a bead board wallpaper tutorial to come!)

I decided to paint the wallpaper in Behr Sonata, the same color as the backing of my China Cabinet.  This color coordinates really well with navy and it’s one of my favorites!media-center-after

Next I had to decide how to fill my new shelves!  The nice thing about bookcases is that you can easily change the feel of a room by how you accessorize them.

Now I guess I have more of a traditional, nautical feel but it would be super easy to change out a few items to give it another style.

 

My favorite accessory is this framed quote, something my late grandfather carried around in his wallet.  My mother found it after he passed away: “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong.  Sometime in life you will have been all these.”

baba

He was such an example of godly character and his life personified this saying as He was always kind and considered others as better than himself.  So much I have learned from him has affected how I parent my daughter as I posted in Leaving a Legacy of Faith.

 

 

before-and-after

 

I’m very pleased with my “entertainment center”.  I was able to customize it specifically to my needs and the bead board wallpaper added some extra character and color.  This was a fun project and a much better alternative than our little TV stand.

If you like this project you may also like:

Light and Airy Master Bathroom Makeover

DIY Faux Painted Sign Tutorial with 15 Free Scripture Printables

 

If you would like to receive my posts in your inbox once a week, subscribe HERE.

‘Til Next Time,

signature

*As usual, there are no affiliate links in this post.

without-building-a-thing

 

Writing Desk Makeover

When I stumbled on this antique writing desk, I knew it had incredible potential.  The previous owner has painted portions of it in gold acrylic paint.  This piece took a lot of sanding with my sander to repair some water damage on the top but the results are well worth the process.

before-desk

I’m pleasantly surprised with the outcome as it doesn’t look like the same table.  I also refinished and covered a chair to match.

www-renovatedfaith-com-21

As mentioned, there was an incredible amount of sanding that had to be done on this piece before coating it in Zinnser’s Bullseye 123 water-based primer.  I painted it on and it was dry in 30 minutes.

faith-7

faith-5

I then put on my first coat of blue paint.  I mixed a few colors I had to get just the right shade but it is almost identical to Behr’s Sonata Blue, except maybe a tad grayer.  After the first coat, I sanded the piece lightly with a fine grit sanding pad on my mouse sander.  Then, I added my last coat of blue with some floetrol mixed in to reduce brush strokes.

I thought this desk would be an ideal piece in someone’s living room or bedroom  as a small work space that was still inviting.  My friend Katie bought this piece for her bedroom to do just that.

faith-8

I also recovered the chair I painted to match, adding upholstery trim to give it an extra pop.  Miss Mustard Seed would be so proud!

www-renovatedfaith-com-18

I couldn’t find a drawer liner I liked so I used this Waverly fabric instead.  I ironed it with lots of spray starch.  After cutting it to size, I attached it to the drawer with Elmer’s spray glue.

faith-10

What stands out to me about this project was the massive amount of sanding that had to be done before I started priming or painting.  I used my Ryobi sander which made the task much easier.  The top had some water stains and I had to let the desk sit in my garage a few weeks to make sure it was dried out.  Then, I put on my respirator and started sanding off the damage until I could see a fresh, even wood surface.  Here is a picture of said water damage and also how the surface looked when I finished.

I spent so much time sanding but I knew there was no way around this excruciating task.  To achieve its beautiful finish, a process had to take place.  Rushing the process or skipping over steps would be a detriment to the finished product.  Although painful (especially to my sander), this was a step that had to be endured.

In my last post on Goal Setting, I stated that development is a necessary part of the process.  If you are waiting for God to work in your life for something you’ve always dreamed, know that He already is.  He has not forgotten you and your current phase in life.   Although difficult, your current waiting game  and stage of development is vital to see His plan come to fruition.

He knows what we need to learn and where we need to grow.  That often comes with some sanding but He also knows the end result is worthwhile.

If you have been waiting for God to bring about His Plans, know that the “when” is just as important as the “what”.  There is nothing worse than being where God wants you to be before you are truly ready.

Know this period of sanding is just for a time.  This too shall pass.  For this season, rely on what He has shown you and trust Him for He hasn’t yet.

‘Til Next Time,

signature

 

writing-desk

DIY Nativity Christmas Ornament

As I turn a sharp corner from the tasks of Thanksgiving, I’m met head-on by another rapidly growing to-do list.  My focus on Christmas cards, gift ideas, decorations, and teacher gifts so easily clouds my intention to focus on Christ this holiday season.

Why do I struggle most with finding time to spend with God during the holidays?   How ironic that the word “holiday” actually means “Holy Day” – a time set a side to remember and meditate on the gift of His Love that came in an unlikely manner to an unlovable people.

This year, my prayer is to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and to do away with anything that takes the spotlight off of Christ and His birth.  Maybe that means not doing Christmas cards this year or that many the people on my gift list get gift cards.  Maybe I buy my desserts this year (gasp!).  It’s ok to let some things go if it means having time to relish the joy  this season brings.

What are your biggest distractions?  What tasks do you need to distance yourself from this Christmas in order to grow closer to Him?  What items on your to-do list are life-draining and which are life-giving?  Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your awareness of God’s promised presence this Christmas season.

I like to surround myself with decor that reminds me of the true focus of this time of year – that over 2,000 years ago a baby was born to be a messenger of salvation and love to a lost world.  One such item is this Nativity Ornament.  It is such an easy craft to make with your kids but also a classy addition to your tree.

Here is what you need from any craft store:

4″ grapevine wreath

3/4 inch wood ball

White card stock

Silver glitter scrapbook paper

Gauze

1 inch piece of a dowel rod (1/2 inch diameter)

Silver glitter (optional)

twine or yarn (optional)

Hot Glue Gun

www-renovatedfaith-com-25

First,  print and cut out the “Adore Him” banner on white card stock with this download.  Be careful to cut just inside the gray line of the banner

Next, use the same file to print the star stencil.  Cut out the star on card stock and use it as a stencil by tracing it on the back of the silver glitter scrapbook paper.  Cut out your star.

www-renovatedfaith-com-24

 

Adhere your star to the top of the wreath with hot glue.  Then, add a small amount of hot glue to the back of the banner and attach it to the star.

www-renovatedfaith-com-26

Now, take the round ball and hot glue it to the dowel rod piece like so.  (I cut off a small piece of dowel rod with a trim saw.)  Use plenty of hot glue and don’t worry if it is visible because we will cover that part with the gauze.

www-renovatedfaith-com-27

Cut two four-inch squares of gauze and fold them over to make a rectangle.  Hot glue the baby in the middle, positioned so the gauze just covers the glue on the neck.  Wrap the gauze around Baby Jesus and secure it with more hot glue.

At this point you can sprinkle some glitter over the outside of the swaddle.  The glitter will get stuck in the gauze well enough that you don’t need glue.

Use a generous amount of hot glue to secure it to the wreath.  Finally, add a piece of twine at the top or just a hook and it’s ready for the tree!

www-renovatedfaith-com-22

Now, you have a cute nativity ornament to help you to remember the present of His presence this holiday season.

pinterest-2

Be sure to subscribe to the blog as next week we will make the JOY wreath below!

 

‘Til Next Time,

signature

 

pinterest-with-white

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Custom Curtain Rods

The curtain rods in our new house looked like something out of a 1960 Sears catalog and they had to go.  Knowing I had 16 windows to buy for, I realized the cost would add up fast for something so simple.  Since I wanted to spend more money on curtains, paint and accessories, I decided to figure out a way to make my own rods.

We moved into our house a year ago knowing we had lots of projects ahead.  Every room was crying out for a makeover, but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Making curtain rods was another opportunity to put our own touch on a house we love so much.

simple-pin-final

What You Will Need:

Electrical Conduit (I used ½ inch which is actually ¾ in. in diameter)

Cabinet Knobs

Pipe Cutter

Spray Paint (I used Rustoleum Universal in Oil Rubbed Bronze)

Curtain Brackets

Electrical Tape

Super Glue (Gel is best for this)

4” screws with a Flat Head

Hot Glue (optional)

Rod Connectors for Bay Window Rods (optional)

conduit-in-lowes

First, go to the electrical section in your favorite home improvement store for electrical conduit.  I had thought about using wood dowels, but you would see the wood grain when it was spray painted.  PVC was another option, but it was too flexible, which is why electrical conduit was the perfect choice.

Electrical conduit is my new best friend.  Not only is it durable, and easy to cut, but it is also extremely cheap.  An 8’ piece of 1/2” electrical conduit will run you less than $3.00!  Be sure to pick conduit that is straight as some can be a little bent.

The best deal I found on curtain rod brackets were at Home Depot.  Make sure your bracket will fit your rod diameter.  These worked nicely with the ½” conduit.

mark-it-final

Assuming you already have curtains, measure for your brackets to match your curtain length (don’t forget to account for the height of the rings and clips if you use them).   I needed new curtains in the whole house so I put the brackets where I wanted the rods before even making the curtains.  I bought 110” curtains at Target because I decided that re-hemming Target curtains was cheaper and easier than making new ones from scratch.

Measure the desired width of your rod and add at least 4 to 6 inches so it extends a couple inches past your window on both sides.  In several cases, I extended my rods over a foot on each side of my windows.  I did this to make the window look larger than it actually is.

Notice how small this window is but it looks much larger when I extended the curtains out as far as they would go.  It also lets more light in which is always a good thing!

Mark the new rod size with a pencil so you know where to cut.  To cut the rod, you simply tighten the pipe cutter so the round blade is in line with the line you marked.  Tighten it just enough that you can still rotate it around the rod with some tension.  Keep rotating the pipe cutter around the rod until it gets loose again, tighten slightly and continue to spin it.  Do this until the groove in the rod is deep enough that the end pops off at the cut.

pipe-cutter-final

Be sure to check around to see if you can borrow a pipe cutter.  They are not very expensive but I bought one for myself, only to find out my husband already has one and my dad has two.

Now it’s time to work on the knobs.  For the bay window in the kitchen, I wanted the look of these round glass finials at Restoration Hardware but wasn’t about to pay $50 a pair, especially when I would need so many.   So, I stumbled upon 30mm Glass Cabinet Knobs at Amazon for just over $1 each.  Jackpot!

Next, super glue the head of the screw to the bottom of the knob.  Trust me, it works!

I used an ample amount of super glue and used an egg carton to hold them in place as they dried.  As they dry, you will see some white residue from the glue on the base of the knob but the paint will cover that.   Let the finials dry 48 hours to be on the safe side.

Now it’s time to paint.  We saved this step until now so we didn’t ruin the paint finish when cutting the rod or gluing the knobs.

My favorite spray paint is Rustoleum Universal and I used Oil-Rubbed Bronze.    Read the directions on the can.  They are serious about those recoat times!

spray-paint-final

At the same time you paint your rod, you will also want to spray paint your finials (cabinet knobs) and any other hardware.  If I had to do this over again, I would have painted the brackets too so they are exactly the same color.

pin-square-blue

For the curtains in the dining room, I some orange knobs I found really cheap on Amazon.  Then, I just spray painted the entire knob.  For the glass knobs, I just taped off the glass sphere with blue painter’s tape before painting.

After the paint has have dried overnight, I wrapped electrical tape around the screw so it would fit snugly into the end of the conduit.  Be sure to wrap at least 2 rows of tape around screw.  This will take some trial and error as you find the right amount of tape so the finial end fits. I just kept adding tape until it was tight enough. Secure it with hot glue if that helps.

 

For the bay window rod, I used these connectors which happened to fit my curtain rods.

DIY Bay Window Curtain Rods.jpg

Below is our master bedroom curtain rod, the tie-backs for the breakfast area bay window and the rod for my daughter’s room.

 

After attaching the finials to the rods, I hung my curtains.  I repeated this project for all 16 windows in our house and estimate that I saved a minimum of $500 if I bought all Target curtain rods.  Each rod with finials and hardware cost me about $5.

square-overiew-pin-final

 

binder-rings-final

Soon on the blog, I will share my secret on how I faked pinch-pleat curtains with pleater tape, binder rings and paper clips.

If you like this post, please share it on social media.  You might also like:

Made Over, Inside and Out – China Cabinet Makeover

DIY Vanity Transformation

‘Til Next Time,

signature

complex-pin-final

There are no affiliate links in this post.

DIY Vanity Transformation

header-image-makeup-table

After living in a tiny house and sharing a small vanity with my husband, I knew I wanted a place of my own to get ready in the mornings.  Seeing the perfect location in front of a window in our master bedroom, I was excited to put a classy new vanity in front of it with the morning light streaming in.    As much as I don’t like putting on makeup, I knew sitting at this vanity would make it much more tolerable.

Now that I had built up my own expectations of this glamorous vanity table, it was time to go shopping where I find all my favorite treasures…a used furniture store.  Other than saving money, I wanted to make this piece my own.  This project took a few weeks.  As I sanded, wiped, painted and then repeated this process, my thoughts couldn’t help but to meditate on some specific ways God works in our lives much like I was working on the desk.

before-table

He Sees Us

Upon seeing this desk at the consignment shop among the many other pieces, I knew it would be perfect as a vanity table, a piece I would truly enjoy and call my own for years to come.  I had a much better purpose for this old desk and knew it had incredible potential, but it would need a serious makeover.

In the same way, God sees us through our brokenness.  In spite of the dated molding, shiny laminate surface, burnt orange stain and weird smell, I loved that sad old desk and knew I needed as my own.  Who knew something destined for a trash heap would be one of my greatest treasures.  The same could be said of us.   Because of the stain of our sin, we deserve the trash heap but God cleans us up, transforms us and prepares a perfect place for us in His Home. 

makeup-table-sun

He Redeems Us

The definition of “redeem” is “to regain possession of something in exchange for payment.”  I bought this desk for $40 and the stool for $10.  In order to transform this desk, I had to first buy it.  There was a price to be paid, even for a dirty old desk.

The same can be said of us – we are but damaged goods in need of transformation. Our sin was so much filthier than an old piece of furniture, but a much higher price would need to be paid to give us a right standing before a perfectly holy God.  God knew no amount of good works would ever be able to rectify our sinful condition so he did the extraordinary.  He pulled us out of the ruble and God had to pay the ultimate price – His one and only son.   God rescued us from sin just like I rescued the desk from its awful fate. 

makeup-table-front

He Transforms Us

God doesn’t stop there.  Upon rescuing us, He begins an amazing process of transformation because He loves us too much to just leave us alone. Upon coming to know Christ, an amazing process of renovation begins.  I wasn’t about to bring this desk into our newly decorated bedroom and use it in its current state.  Over a period of time and in several steps, a transformation had to occur.

To achieve my vision for this desk, if it was cleaned, sanded, primed, painted and new hardware was added.  Several of those steps had to be repeated to be effective and each step had to be fully finished before proceeding to the next.  When God brings us into His family, He continues to transform us to be more and more like Him through the process of sanctification.  He renews us daily knowing that sometimes the sanding of life’s trials can be difficult.  However, we are much more content and satisfied when we allow Him to work in us to fulfill the specific plans He has for us.  He breaths in us life, beauty and purpose that we never knew was possible.

backup-makeup-table

makeup-table-hardware

Process and Source List

  1. I took off the hardware and filled holes with a generous amount of Elmer’s wood filler. I then drilled new holes for the new hardware.  I also replaced some old molding with new molding from Lowe’s by using Liquid Nails for wood.
  2. After letting the filler dry for 48 hours, I started the sanding process. I used my mouse sander to sand with rough sandpaper to remove that laminate gloss and I just sanded the legs as best as I could by hand.
  3. After wiping with a damp cloth, I primed the whole piece with Zinnser 123 water based primer and let it dry 4 hours. (It dries fast but not as fast as other primers.  This is helpful because it leaves a smoother finish).
  4. I sanded again with smoother sand paper on my mouse sander and sanded the legs by hand.
  5. After wiping with a damp cloth again, I used the Home Depot brand 6 inch rollers (“Best” with the green line) because it gives you a really smooth finish. I applied two coats of Behr Blue Fox in a satin finish with Floetrol (added according to the instructions on the back).  This helps the paint to settle better, leaving fewer brush strokes.
  6. This is the key for a really smooth – I LIGHTLY sanded yet again but with 320 sandpaper. After wiping down the desk and vacuuming the room, I applied one more coat. (Make sure fans and the AC is off to avoid dust particles in the air from settling on the paint surface.)
  7. After letting the piece dry for 2 days, I added the new hardware (amazon.com) and the glass top. Who knew the desk could look so different!?!

small butterfly frame

I thought my DIY butterfly frame was a perfect accessory for my vanity.  I posted here about how I made it and what butterflies mean to me.

wall flowers

This is a sneak peak of my Master Bedroom transformation that I’ll be posting soon!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these as well:

Light and Airy Master Bathroom

Made Over, Inside and Out

 

Be sure to leave a comment below.  I love to hear your feedback!

‘Til Next Time,

signature

before-after-makeup-table

Coffee Table Reveal and a Word About Transparency

corner viewMany have asked about how we built our turned-leg coffee table and we did it by combining two great tutorials.  Jeremy and I first started with Ana White’s turned leg coffee table plans here.

We followed everything in her plans for the top except we had a hard time getting each plank the exact length as the others.  So, we added 4 inches to the cut length of each plank.  Once we had the table top assembled with our mini Kreg jig, we simply cut 2 inches off each end of the constructed table top with a circular saw.  This was so that our planks would all be exactly the same length.   If we had this project to do over again, we would have used the Kreg Rip Cut, which can be used as a guide to get precise and straight cuts with a circular saw.

We followed Ana White’s tutorial for the entire table top.  Then we used these legs in pine from Osborne wood.  A bottom shelf was a must-have for additional toy storage, so we then adapted the shelf instructions from the Corona coffee table tutorial to our dimensions.   Before you knew it, we had a rectangular turned-leg coffee table with a shelf for storage!

unfinished with watermark

To refinish the coffee table, I decided to do a dark faux stain.   We used low-grade pine in order to cut costs and I didn’t want any knot holes showing through.  So, I used Elmer’s Wood filler and a lot of it.  I pretty much glopped it on since it shrinks a little and I didn’t want to have to reapply.  After letting it dry 48 hours, I then sanded with my mouse sander and a 60 grit sanding pad.  Once the former knot holes were level, I sanded it really smooth with a 220 grit pad.  (The lower the number, the rougher the sandpaper.)

The problem with knot holes and painting something white is that they will eventually show through over time. That is why I first primed the entire table with Zinsser BIN, which can be purchased at most specialty paint stores.  Use it in a well-ventilated area and use a mask or respirator.  It’s pretty potent stuff.  If I do another project with knot holes, I would have just primed the knot holes instead of the whole table.

Once I primed the table, I painted the bottom in Behr Premium Plus in Satin White.  For the faux stain on the top, I painted the top in a color that resembled the shade of peanut butter (Behr Warm Muffin). You want a peanut butter shade to mimic the look of wood coming through the stain.  Very little will show through the gel-stain but you want what does show through to look wood, not primer.  After letting the paint dry 24 hours, you paint on gel stain.  I used Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory which you can buy from Home Depot.   Often times, high-end furniture retailers like Pottery Barn actually use a gel-stain to refinish their pieces because often times different components of wood will have varying shades and the gel stain makes everything consistent.

Gel Stain is amazing.  It is a dark stain that is not very transparent so it easily hides any flaws and imperfections.  You basically paint it on and then with a dry brush, brush the table top lengthwise to get more of a wood-grain look. Gel stain also takes a while to dry so you have some time to play and get the top looking like you want.  Here is a good tutorial on a faux stain to help you with the process.  Basically, the gel stain is very forgiving and will hide imperfections, even making low grade pine pass as a high-grade hardwood with a dark stain.

I then let the gel stain dry 48 hours and then did 5 (yes, 5) coats of polyurethane with an hour between each coat.  You can set glass on our coffee table for an eternity and it will not leave a ring!


 

On the topic of transparency, I felt I should show you how my living room looks on a regular day when I am not taking pics for the blog.  I actually had to stand in a pile of clean clothes on the floor to take the picture.  I feel like the first coffee table picture didn’t represent how we live and who we really are.  Unlike gel stain, I hope I can be as transparent as possible with my many flaws that allow God’s light to shine through.

messy

Sara Groves once said, “One of the reasons we are not free is because we are trying to be good for Jesus.  We are trying to be good PR for God.  I think my best PR moments are when I am weak, and He is strong in me.”  I have learned that there is nothing I can do to make God look good…He’s God and He doesn’t need me or anyone to accomplish that.  However, in seeking Him and submitting my life to Him, others can see Him through me even when I’m at my worst.  That’s what the world needs – not false advertising for a brand of Christianity that is plastic and manufactured, but raw honesty about who God is and how He meets your every need in times of hardship.

IMG_1469

Growing up, our pastor would end every sermon by saying, “You might be the only Jesus someone sees this week so make sure they get the right story.”  I want others to see God in me, not a pharisaical rendition of piety.   John 15 entails the importance of abiding in Christ and by surrendering to Him for help, guidance and strength, He actually works through us.  That’s the best way for others to see Christ in you.

It’s vital to be transparent and honest with how you struggle because we are not called to do good things “for” God but to allow God to work through us.  So much freedom comes in admitting to God that you are too weak, but through Him you are strong.  This is the essence of the Christian life – God never called us to perfection, but the very reason Christ died on the cross was to make an offering of perfection on our behalf.  Now, we have freedom, not to sin, but to enjoy the fullness of allowing Him to live in us, even through our flaws and shortcomings.  When I am weak, He is strong.

front view

tight corner view