Alina Sewing and Design

Treasure Hunting

You know the kind. The rusty metal baskets waiting to be filled, the dusty ball jars waiting to be cleaned and given use again, the furniture begging for new life…and the things that may or may not belong on another planet (what IS that thing?!). The unique, the never-before-seen, the needing-attention-and-care. And the best part? The hunt itself.

I took a drive out to Marion, KS today with two friends and a sister. We went to Bearly Makin’ It Antiques, Cindy’s for lunch, and then made our way toward Peabody, KS, stopping at the Copper Shed. It was so fun to just browse together or on our own (we did a lot of both), at our own pace, taking in all of the treasures to be had. Our carefully trained eyes were surverying and pulling attention toward the gems that were there for us.

Treasure 1

Treasure 2

Treasure 2.5

Treasure 3.5

Treasure 3

That is…don’t be sorry unless you need to be. 🙂

Treasure 4

Treasure 5

Treasure 6

Treasure 8

Treasure 7

Treasure 9

We came home with a lot of metal baskets, a rolling cart, some fabric (that will probably be showing up in my shop in form of fun items soon), a leather wallet and coin purse, some vintage children’s books, a vintage blanket, and a very dusty bumper! Small town America, we thank you for your finds!

Treasure 9.5

Unfortunately, this is the ONLY picture of all four of us…and it’s out of focus! My self-timer and autofocus had a battle…and the autofocus lost. On the up side, you can see my neighbors house quite clearly. 🙂

Dining Room Update

Happy Tuesday! Today, we’re taking a short and sweet break from the wedding posts for a house update!

Remember when I gave you a tour of our current house? If so, do you remember the dining room looking like this?

And do you remember when this happened to my antique dining table and chairs?
Well, last week, a little of this happened…

 And today, the dining room looks like this:

 *cue happy Alina dance*

I’ve wanted to strip our table since I moved into this house back in October! Alas, I finally crossed it off of the ever-growing to-do list. The chairs went white (there was NO way I was stripping the 10+ layers of paint, poly and who knows what else off of those beautiful turned legs and the details carved into the backs of the chairs!) and the cushions were given a facelift with a fresh navy and white striped fabric. I found a large poster map at the DAV a couple of months back and Cowboy and I built the giant frame that now houses it. We hung some “high and wide” curtains (drop cloth curtains hung from rope!), which was the perfect touch to our nautical-esque room and makes it feel ginormous (<– official word) and tall. The best part was that, while all of these projects have been going on over the past couple of weeks, we got to put the room back together last night, which is my favorite part. I am loving the dining room! It’s not “done” per se, but we’re a few steps closer to having it feel like a more decorated room.

P.S. Do you see that red dresser? You’ve already seen it if you follow along on our facebook page, but that sweet little thing will be getting a lined-drawer treatment, and then she’ll be ready for sale at The Red Barn Outdoor Market, where MYU will have a booth! Make sure you come see us, as this is our debut as an official shop! 🙂

Finally, and unrelated, look at the treasures I found this weekend at a local antique mall! My steal of the day was the vintage folding chair…it was marked for $6 (each…which, sadly, makes me believe there were others that were already gone), but the entire mall was on sale, so I walked out with that bad boy for $5.10! Oh, happy day.

How was your weekend? Any great finds or progress on your to-do list?

Making Ordinary Unique (+DIY Chalk Paint)

Happy almost-Friday, people!!!
Remember that metal box/side table I told you I’d found at Goodwill for $10 in the house tour? Well, like I mentioned then, I’d been toying with the idea of painting some matte stripes or stenciling it with a pattern. Since my original stencil experience, I’ve been harboring ill feelings toward anything stencil-related (the process itself, not the outcome…I think stenciled walls and furniture and pillows…etc…are BEAUTIFUL), so, I went with a simple, Alina-capable stripe. 🙂
Here it is before:

And here it is after!

Just using painter’s tape, I made 1.25-inch vertical stripes. I did the sides first and then moved to the top. Since I wasn’t planning on priming it (I wanted it to still feel smooth, so I didn’t want the paint stripes to be too thick), I did lightly sand my paint area with a sanding block, wiped it down and then painted it.

I wanted a super matte look to balance out the shininess of the metal, so I made my own chalk paint! I picked up a box of dry Plaster of Paris and a paint sample of Valspar’s Tuxedo Tie. (If you clicked the link, you can see it’s a deep charcoal color. I’ve been on a charcoal kick lately!) I mixed one part Plaster of Paris to three parts paint and stirred really well so that everything in the bottom was mixed in (I mixed it in a clear plastic cup so that I could see it). Since I was working on this over a couple of evenings, I kept my paint/paintbrush covered in the fridge between painting sessions so that I wouldn’t have to rinse my brush out every time (and the paint won’t dry on your brush). One time Pinterest told me to try this, so I did and it really works! 🙂

I kind of liked it before for its uniqueness and functionality, but now I REALLY love it!

 Here’s a straight-on shot of the top, too.

I paid $10 for the box at Goodwill, $6.48 for a 4-lb box of Plaster of Paris (and I only used a couple of tablespoons, so I have enough left to last me for a very long time!), and $2.94 for the paint sample (and, again, I barely used any), so total up-front cost comes to less than $20 for a unique side table and place for storage! I’m thinking some of our not-pretty and rarely-used books may go in there since there’s not enough room on the bookshelf!

Have you guys taken anything kind of cool and made it your own? A plain chair that went colorful? Furniture that you rehabbed? Share your stories!

And have a great Friday tomorrow!

Luke’s Studio: the Reveal

I have a confession to make: though I continually apologize for my recent (ahem…the last six…err eight…weeks) lack of posting, I just have to be realistic and say I don’t see that changing until after the wedding (which is in like…THREE WEEKS). While I’d like to be talking to you guys regularly, I just don’t have time! After working all day, we usually have plans starting at 5:01 or are running out the door to run errands (all wedding stuff). We also finally coordinated schedules with the pastor who is marrying us and JUST start premarital counseling last Friday (I didn’t live here, then we were up to our necks in moving every weekend for five solid weeks, then the pastor was in Israel for a few weeks…now it’s the holidays!) Oh man. So here we are…down to the last few weeks and more items on the to-do list than there are days left.

But I’m excited. I’m ready to be married already to this crazy, godly, over-thinking, busy, smart, handsome, compassionate and encouraging man that’s about to be my husband. I’m ready. I know this wedding won’t go entirely as planned, things won’t happen like we are envisioning and the mid-December weather is nothing but unpredictable. But we don’t care…as long as we’re married at the end of the day, then everything will have gone perfectly.

All that said, we’re working on projects out the wazoo! I’ve never crammed so many DIY projects into such a short period! Don’t worry, I may be making you wait, but I will eventually be sharing all of this! I partly wait because of time and I partly wait because I don’t want to take the fun out of it for the friends and family who will be there. 🙂

BUT…I do have a fun little reveal for you today. Remember when I kept talking about a “client” room a few weeks ago? It was for a co-worker whose husband was deployed. She wanted him to come home to a space that was all his. So, with a small budget, my job was to provide the furniture and some fun elements. I was responsible for the couch (Target), chair (vintage…from Craigslist…I wanted to keep it!), coffee table (thrifted), 6-foot leaning chalkboard (I built it; I’ll give you a tutorial…after the wedding, lol!), metal/wood rolling cart and tall media stand (Crate and Barrel, but I owned them), and a lamp, pillows, etc…all for less than $300.

Watch the video below!

$17 Vintage Dresser

Yep, that’s right–$17 is the price I paid for Guinevere! The Salvation Army I was in is moving to a new location, so they had everything in the store marked down by 50%! Shut the front door! I’m at a thrift store AND everything is marked down by half?! Is this real life?

(This means that Kayla wins the free high five for being the first person to guess within $2 of the cost–she guessed $16!)

So when I saw her, I tested the working quality of the drawers, made sure it was solid wood (it’s solid cherry) and saw that, with the exception of being worn, she was in GREAT shape for the $35 she was marked for.

Luckily, she fit right into the back of my CRV. Since Cowboy and his truck are in a different city than this little dresser and I…and I didn’t think to measure anything before following my gut to hand the cashier $17…I was in luck when everything fit nicely. 🙂

She had obviously been “well-loved” in her previous life, but it had also obviously taken its toll. Here’s how I gave her a “new” life!

Knowing I wanted to paint this piece, I almost immediately thought it would look beautiful in a cloudy gray. But, remembering my trip to Good Juju with Krissy back in June, I decided I should try something in color. I didn’t get TOO far away from neutral though (baby steps here, people!), as I decided on Rustoleum’s Slate Blue in a satin finish. Since I was using spray paint for this project, I knew I didn’t want to use a poly to finish it. I decided to try finishing wax for the first time because of the matte finish. (I decided against glossy spray paint for a reason!) Also…just a tip: do you see that Spray Grip down there? You know…the one you can only see half of! Yeah, if you don’t own one, you should. Rustoleum makes them and they’re $2.50 at Wal-Mart. Essentially, they turn any can of spray paint into a paint gun of sorts. No more “spray-paint finger!” Please purchase one before you even dare pick up another can of spray paint.

Anyway, for this project, I used Krylon primer in gray, two cans of Rustoleum in slate blue, finishing wax and one can of oil-rubbed bronze for the hardware (not pictured). (And the spray grip and some sandpaper and some cheesecloth…but we’ll get there!)

Back to business: one of the most important steps in refinishing any type of furniture is the amount of work you put into prepping it. You can skip it and focus your time on the visible finish, but you’ll probably be re-doing it next year (if you make it that long) when your paint starts scraping off. Just a fair warning: time invested in prepping your piece will save you the time and trouble of re-doing it later and is like time earned. (Get it? A dollar saved is a dollar earned?)

SO–first all of the hardware came off (I spray-painted it with oil-rubbed bronze while it was off!) and the entire piece was sanded well, vacuumed and then wiped down.

Once the piece was prepped and dry, I gave it one coat of gray primer and three light, even coats of the slate blue, sanding the piece with a between-coats sanding block to knock off any “grit” the spray paint left behind (she’s as smooth as a baby’s bottom now!).

I kind of love this color because of how it changes depending on how the light hits it. See how it looks gray in the left picture and bright blue in the right picture? I literally took these photos just seconds apart! You’re so moody, Guinevere.

Once the paint had cured overnight, I took a 220 grit sand paper to chip the “high traffic areas”…i.e. legs, outside edges, drawer fronts…and then used the between-coats sanding block to smooth things out (isn’t the original stain peeking through crazy beautiful??). Once that was done, I vacuumed the entire piece to remove any extra sanding dust and wiped it down with a damp cloth. Once it was dry, I began waxing it. This was a new experience for me and this was an extremely helpful resource. My advice would be to go slow, make the coat/layer thin and do small parts at a time, rather than tackling one entire expanse at once. Once the wax was dry (which takes no time at all), I buffed it out with an old pair of pantyhose (whatever you use, it HAS to be lint-free or else your piece will be permanently speckled with dust and lint…NO BEUNO). Worked like a charm! Once that step was done, Cowboy and I put all of the freshly-ORBed (oil-rubbed bronze) hardware on and stood back with smiles on our faces. (And, as you can see, I left all of the interior parts their natural wood…simply because it is in really good shape and is beautiful.)

 Best $17 furniture purchase. ever. (see the moody color difference again??)

Those little framed notes on top (inside of my $1.99 GW frame, of course!) are the “poems” Cowboy wrote for me and tied to my front door both the night after our second date and then the night he proposed. I wrapped the cardboard insert with a piece of scrap fabric, pinned the notes in and put it all back in the frame! Love looking at these as I walk out every day. 🙂

For those of you who love a little breakdown like me…

Supplies I used:

  • 1 can of gray primer ($3.24)
  • 2 cans of slate blue ($7.54…and still have some left)
  • 1 can of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint ($3.24)
  • 1 between-coats sanding block (already owned, but $3-4 if you don’t have one)
  • 1 quarter-piece of 220 grit sand paper (already owned, but $3-4 for a pack if you don’t have it on hand)
  • Finishing wax ($9.46 for the entire container, but I only used around 20% of it, so I’ll count the cost for this project as $1.89)
  • Cheesecloth ($1.98 for a huuuuuuge roll. I probably only used 25% of it…so I’ll count the cost as 50 cents)
  • Dresser  ($17.49)

What I spent: $16.41 for supplies and $17.49 for the dresser, bringing the grand total to $33.90! Total cost ended up still being less than the price the dresser was originally marked for…just sayin’!

I seriously got lucky blessed by my Salvation Army having a half-off moving sale. Have you guys scored any sweet deals by chance like that?

Have a great weekend!

Before & After: Vintage Dresser

Last week, I popped into my local Salvation Army to scout out any furniture they had. Just like any other time, I was looking for something completely different (and NOT for me!) when I saw this:

It always happens when I least expect it. The lines…it’s always the lines of a piece that I fall for. (If you aren’t aware of the love stories I’ve had with thrift store furniture, you can catch up here and here.)
Some love, paint, distressing and sealing wax later, she looked like this:
Sorry for the crooked picture…I was apparently too excited to concentrate on how I was photographing. Love can be distracting, you know.
Her name is Guinevere, by the way. 
Site note: It’s possible I’m naming my furniture & belongings crazy things I’ll never name my children. My Honda CRV’s name is LaCronda. 
I’m not joking. 
Girl’s got a little junk in the trunk! (Haaaa….the puns…oh, the puns!)
I’ll be back tomorrow for the play-by-play and total project cost, but FIRST…tell me what YOU think I spent on this dresser (not including paint and supplies…just the furniture). 
The first person to guess within $2 gets a free high five…you KNOW you can’t resist that! 
Aaaaand, go!


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