Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Barn Rescue

Nearly 20 years ago, I filmed several woodworking shows for HGTV, including one on how to make this mahogany Federal-style table. One of the two versions I made ended up stored in my barn, where I came across it last week and decided it deserved a better fate — provided I could find the drawers, too!

The safest, most effective way to remove 20 years of grime was with a spray bottle of Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner, which quickly released the beauty of the mahogany from layers of dirt.

After the Wood Cabinet Cleaner had dried, I could see that the mahogany had lost some of its natural color, which I replaced with a coat of Minwax® Wood Finish Stain (“Gunstock”). After letting it soak in for five minutes, I then wiped off any stain the wood did not absorb.

This style of furniture would have originally had a glossy protective coating, which I could easily duplicate with Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer. Here you can see the first of three coats I applied.

Fortunately for my nephew and niece, Leigh Ann and I don’t have a place for this table (which explains why it was in the barn!), so its going to be a surprise addition to their new home, all of which goes to prove that hidden under layers of dirt and grime, beautiful wood is waiting to be released, restored, and re-used!

Until next time,

Find your next hidden treasure!



Organize and Unclutter with a Simple Media Organizer

Beneath our wall-mounted television set, we have had a jumble of receivers and players stacked atop one another next to our fireplace. I knew I had to make something to hold them, so when I saw in one of our local home improvement stores these non-plywood, pre-glued panels (on right), I knew it would be easy to cut, assemble, and lightly sand this simple media stand.

The wood was knotty pine, and while the label claimed it was “stain grade,” trust me:  knotty pine does not always accept a stain very evenly. To make it less susceptible to blotchiness, I first gave it a liberal coat of Minwax® Water-Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

Since the sides of my stand were vertical, I elected to use Minwax® Gel Stain “Cherrywood” to compliment the other woodwork in the room. Gel Stain is thicker than conventional stains, so it clings better to vertical surfaces — and does not run down the sides before you have a chance to work it into the pores. After applying the Gel Stain to each panel, I wiped off the excess stain going in the direction of the grain of the wood.

After the Gel Stain had dried, I protected it with two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. The next day I moved my stand into our family room and organized all the equipment and cords, which made the whole room look much better.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Create a Centerpiece For All Seasons

When I spotted this old wooden crate stuck away and nearly forgotten, I decided that I could find a new use for it — and create something unique for our house.

After wiping off the dust, I rubbed on a coat of clear satin Minwax® Wipe-On Poly. It sealed the wood, made minor scuff marks and scratches disappear, and gave the old crate a satin rather than gloss appearance that preserved its antique look.

I then took a piece of inexpensive florist’s foam, cut it to fit the crate, and then slipped it in.

I now have a unique centerpiece that I can easily change with the seasons simply by swapping out these artificial flowers with whatever ones match the month.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Sarah’s first Shelfie

Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick has shared yet another simple and inexpensive way to decorate your home. See her how she created her first “shelfie” using to warm up her kitchen wall.

Well hello! I’m so thrilled to tell you I am this close to done with the kitchen. My list is still long but it’s little stuff. Lots of painting and touch ups to do. I’m thoroughly enjoying it right now because I’m so happy with the space and did I mention I’M ALMOST DONE.

Today I’m sharing my first shelfie. 😉 Yeah I totally went there. I’m so excited to have the shelves up on the empty wall. Having a blank slate for so long was kind of nice — so open. But I was definitely craving some function and to warm it up a bit.

The last time you saw this space (the area to the right) it was empty.

Before Shelfie Kitchen

I have worked with Minwax on a few projects over the past few months and this is another one. I use their products all the time and I’ll say it again — I love staining. It’s instant gratification. Seeing the color go on and how it pulls out the beauty of the wood is a winner every time.

At first I thought I wanted thick chunky shelves but then I ended up going with something more streamlined. The two inch thick wood that is readily available has a lot of knots and I wanted something without. I went with a piece of poplar.

Shelfie Poplar Wood

Here’s a tip to make sure your wood isn’t bowed — you want it nice and straight for something like this. Turn it on it’s side and eye it down the length of the wood. You’ll be able to see if there are any curves or bows.

Sorry for the garage floor. I obviously do this in the hardware store before I buy and that would have made for a much nicer backdrop. ;)

Sorry for the garage floor. I obviously do this in the hardware store before I buy and that would have made for a much nicer backdrop. 😉

I’ve preached this before but it’s so important — use a pre-conditioner before you stain. It takes just a few minutes to swipe it on and it makes a big difference in how the stain absorbs.

Staining Poplar Shelfie

If it’s rough in between coats of this or stain, use some steel wool to knock down the texture a little bit. You can go ahead and stain within a few minutes of applying.

I was going for a little lighter stain than what I typically use. I loved this Provincial color when I did the planked wall a couple months ago and decided to go with that.

Provincial Wood Finish

It went on much darker than I expected, but I love it. More on that in a bit.

The brackets were something I’ve been planning to use for awhile. I first fell in love with these when I showed you Nicole’s kitchen here. I had to have them! These are the Arc Bracket from Restoration Hardware and they were a splurge! But they were on sale and I found an online discount so that helped a bunch.

Arc Bracket

They are big and heavy and really substantial — you get what you pay for. I knew that Nicole had painted hers and I knew as soon as I saw them that I wanted to do the same. I wasn’t a big fan of the brown color.

Arc Brackets Spray Painted

I used a black spray paint and they looked SO much better. It works so well with the black lights and other touches we have in this room.

I got the brackets and boards up and then started the process of adding a polyurethane to the top.

Shelf with Polyurethane Applied

You can do all of this before you hang them but I like to see things up and figure it out before I do this final step. It’s easy to finish them up while hanging.

See how much the poly brings out even more of the wood detail? Love it.

I use a foam brush to apply the poly — it helps to cut down on bubbles. Bubbles are not your friend when doing this part. If you get them.

Bubbles and Polyurethane

Be sure to make a swipe over them to make it smooth. If you don’t they will dry that way.

This is the fast drying version but I let it sit overnight anyway.

Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane

I was able to fit quite a bit on these two shelves! I put our plates and some decorative items up as well.

Decor for Shelfie

This hangs right over the dishwasher and let me tell you — it is AWESOME to just put stuff right up there. I don’t worry about dust because we use these nearly every day. Love.

It’s funny — I thought for sure I’d want white dishes up there, but I put our green plates up and LOVED it. I did mix it with some white we have as well, but the green looks so pretty.

And even though the stain came out darker than I expected, it turns out it works perfectly with the bamboo shade on the window and with the wood chairs at the island. I don’t believe woods and metals have to match in a space — that’s a matter of personal preference. Variety = interest for me. But you do want to try to tie things together somewhat.

Speaking of that, I’m so glad I painted the brackets.

Close Up of Finished Product

They tie in beautifully with the lights in this room and some other accents like our pantry door and the chalkboard wall. It’s all coming together and I couldn’t be happier!

Many of you have asked about the cabinet to the right and my plan with that. I knew all along that I’d still be able to open that up — it opens plenty to access everything inside, but I do have a trick up my sleeve. More on that later if it works out. 🙂

There you go — my very first shelfie. Not gonna lie, I’m excited to dress these up for the holidays as well.

Finished Shelfie 1

A little tip when hanging shelves like this — look at both sides of your wood and pick the prettiest side for the top of the lower shelf and the bottom of the upper shelf. Those are the only parts you’ll see. 🙂

This is probably the last you’ll see of the kitchen until I share the reveal next week. Not sure what day it will be but it WILL be next week! 🙂

P.S. It’s driving me crazy that my text won’t all align left in this post. Sorry for the back and forth — it’s being wonky today.

Sarah’s blog, Thrifty Decor Chick, features more great DIY projects that will help you have a lovely home without spending a ton of money. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more.