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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    I feel obligated to get this. I could work in our room... Am I crazy for considering this? Also, it's $35. Adorable cow and calf. Cute as a button, because that's her name. Another weekend, another window. Bigger, better, and brighter!

The Fix Up

Finding a diamond in the rough at a thrift shop or second-hand store is a thrill.  Rescuing something that others consider trash is kind of fun.  Taking something from ugly to beautiful while giving it a new life is an economical way to add to your house.  By fixing up an old piece, you’re saving it from the landfill.

Which is Crucial Vacuum‘s goal.  Crucial Vacuum supplies replacement parts for vacuüm cleaners and other small appliances.  Too often, a vacuüm cleaner that just needs a little TLC gets thrown away.  Crucial Vacuum wants to see how you are re-using, recycling, and repairing wherever possible.  We’ve joined forces to host a fun little competition.  Show us something you’ve fixed up/reused/recycled/upcycled and in one week Jess at Crucial Vacuum and I will choose one winner.  That lucky winner wins a $100 Amazon Gift Card, courtesy of Crucial Vacuum.

We’re certainly no strangers to rescuing items from shops, Craigslist, or even the trash.  Several years ago, I refinished a beat up bookshelf that originally belonged to my great grandparents.  It happily lives in the boys’ room:


More recently, we pulled small marble remnants from a junk pile to top old end tables.


A thrifted dresser got a new lease on life after stripping down old layers to reveal a beautiful cherry wood Drexel dresser.


These five dollar chairs I scored didn’t look so hot before refinishing and upholstering.

MCM Chairs by Fireplace from Breakfast Nook

To keep our couch usable, Ben fixed our broken couch support.


But the biggest saved from the trash project we’ve tackled is our reclaimed wood beam unique deck.


From that alone, we saved thousands of pounds of wood from the landfill.  Even better, we have a sturdy, schmancy new deck.  Now it’s your turn!  Show us any projects you’ve tackled that have saved something from becoming trash.  Anything goes.  You can share a link in the comments section here OR post a photo on our Facebook page OR use the tag #OHAFixMeUp to share on Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post; we were not paid or compensated to share.    Just love a fun, friendly competition with a $100 Amazon Gift Card winner prize provided by Crucial Vacuum. 

Honing Skills

Many times, the little details and changes make a surprisingly big impact.  Like this small change that brightens our living room.


Do you know what it is?  Here’s a hint:


And now, look on the bright side.


This weekend, our weather was incredible.  Almost 70 degree high yesterday, though we might get snow tonight.  Ben took advantage of the nice weather by cutting marble remnants to replace the chipped laminate table tops.  It’s a super dusty task, so it’s best to work outside with a mask on.


When we bought our hall bathroom slab, the guy tossed in a few scraps of Carrara marble.  Two of which were the perfect size for these tables.  Free pretty marble is free for a reason.  These pieces were chipped, scratched, and had a few starter cuts.  For that reason, I decided a honed finish would work best.


Ben used a diamond blade saw to cut the rectangles, then a right angle grinder for on the edges, and followed up with sandpaper on an orbit sander to smooth the top.  The honed marble feels a little more rustic and used.


Glad I bought these $15 tables years ago, because the bases are super sturdy and pair nicely with the marble.  Sure beats the peeling fake walnut veneer.


And the new lamps look great on there, too.


Now I need to finish my patched walls, pick a paint color, and go to town on this room.

Fauxrarra Marble

Winter is still here in full force, which means I’ve been stuck in the house.  A lot.  So I’m forced to keep my self entertained, often involving a project.  Precisely why I’ve painted this table top for the third time in less than one year.  Third time’s the charm, right?


See, as I flipped through the new West Elm catalog, I kept imagining the Reeve Mid-Century Coffee Table in our house.

Then it dawned on me, I already have a similar clean lined, handsome wood, brass footed table.  The big difference?  It didn’t have the beautiful, sophisticated marble top.  Instead it had a bold chevron top.  At the time I painted the stripes, I loved the added pattern.  Now, I’m kind of over it.  Not over it enough to paint over it, oh no, that took too long to do.


Ideally, I’d have a real marble slab, but I’m afraid the folding base design couldn’t handle the added weight.


But the other side, a minty green, was fair game.


I painted three coats of eggshell white latex on it and then started my faux marble paint treatment.

Using a few gray and black craft paints, I watered each color down.  I didn’t measure (and don’t have pictures) but I’d guess it was 1 part paint to 2 parts water.  Super runny and I barely mixed each color, which helped create a more natural variation.  A feather worked best to apply a thin, free-flowing line of watery paint.  Immediately after making the line, I used a 2 inch angled craft paint brush to stipple the paint.  Just after stippling, I followed up with a damp paper towel, blotting to blend the paint and soften the edges.


Some areas are much lighter and more blended.  A few other veins are darker with black patches.  If I didn’t like how one area looked, I used my damp cloth to wipe the paint away and start over.  Once I finished, I coated the top with satin Polycrylic for a protective finish.


The sides are painted to match.  Carrying the marble paint to the sides helps give a more realistic effect.


Maybe I just needed a change, but I’m enjoying the lighter, more subtle top.


I think it balances the base better and lets the interesting leg shape shine.



Not a bad result for a free project and 10 dollar base.  What coffee table tops do you like best?

Cart Wheels

The thrifted bar cart has a new home and new purpose.  Miss Scarlett, in the dining room, with the candlestick.


Okay, actually for me, in the dining room, holding plants.


When I bought it, only one shelf had glass.  To make the cart fully functional, I had Ben cut a piece of of 1/4 inch MDF and painted it white.


Plants sit on the glass shelf, which is great because it’s super easy to wipe up if I drip water.  This sunny spot is perfect for keeping my growing plant collection happy.  Including the $2.50 orchid I recently picked up from the grocery store clearance section.  It’s not looking good right now (hence the clearance price).  Do you have any tips to help me revive this beauty?


The new bottom shelf holds napkins, placemats, extra plates, and a few decorative items including mini disco balls.  Having napkins and placemats easily accessible has come in handy at dinner already.


I’m glad to have a place to corral my plants, while keeping them happy.  And to put this little wheeled dude to practical use in a tucked away corner.

Tangle of Triangle

Going stir crazy this winter, I’ve been looking for changes I can make to the living room.  It’s not terrible, but we have barely touched it.  I’d really love a new sofa, but I’m settling for new lamps right now.  I remember seeing the Isosceles lamps from Land of Nod (now unavailable) months ago, and loved the simple design.

So I recently made a version for about 12 dollars per lamp because I already had the white shades.


At Home Depot, I bought 12 feet of 1/2 inch round wooden dowel for six bucks.  To make the bases, I cut 7 1/2 inch long pieces, with 60 degree angles to form each base triangle.  And another set at 3 1/2 inches to make the top equilateral triangle.


A little wood glue and tape to hold it in place until it dried did the trick.  To connect the triangles, I cut 15 inch long pieces at a 20 degree angle, though my cuts were slightly off.  But that’s okay, wood filler will make it look okay.  Ben helped my by shooting in pin nails while I held the pieces together to make this:


The triangles face opposite directions, and the connectors swirl around, point to opposite point.


Fill in all gaps and corners, then let them dry.


Because I wanted slightly rounded corners, I used 50 grit sand paper to quickly take off the extra base triangle point.  Holding the sand paper at the same angle as the vertical while I worked made for a more seamless corner.  Then I followed up with 150 paper for a smooth finish.


Then, to hold the lamp socket in place, I but two more triangles from 1/4 inch MDF.  The top looks normal, but to fit snugly without falling through, I sanded the bottom to fit the rounded shape.  Before putting the top in, I found the center and drilled a hole large enough for my threaded piece to fit through.


More wood glue holds this top in place, giving the socket a resting place.


I bought two bottle lamp kits from Wal-Mart for $6.50 each, and used these pieces in addition to the wire.


To cover the threaded fitting, I bought a small chunk of brass tube to make a sleeve.  Once cut to size, I spray painted it white to match the lamps.


Then threaded the piece through the hole:


And secured it with the small flat nut on the underside.


After connecting the wires, I popped the shade on and voilà, a new lamp.  Like the Land of Nod lamp, the cord isn’t hidden, just tucked in the center and drapes along the back.



No more clinking of lamp chains from our old lights.  And the taller lamps give have a warm, even glow.  I tried lining the shades with gold fabric, but it blocked too much light, so I had to nix it.  All the gold paper I could find wasn’t long enough to fully wrap around the shade.


I’ve got a plan to update those cheapie end tables, too.  White marble remnant in the garage, prepare to be used.  And look how happy my fig looks!  It has already sprouted two new leaves and is working on a third.  Those tulips should bloom in a few weeks, too.  I’m so excited.  Loving all the green in the house during this dark, cold winter.  Anyway, back to the lamps.  If I were to make these again, I’d make the top triangle a little larger to have a wider spread.  But, I’m still happy with the result.


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