THE ONLY SECRETARY I’LL EVER HAVE—VIVA THE FLIP TOP DESK

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in MUFFINTOP DIY, Uncategorized | Posted on 29-01-2014

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Who wouldn’t love a secretary?

“I’m terribly sorry, Muffintopmommy cannot come to the phone right now, she is rather busy watching the Biebs burst into flames, whilst snacking on a Pop Tart. May I take a message and she will return your call when Real Housewives is over and the keg has runneth dry?”

Dreams are free people, come on! Come fly with me—-it’s one degree out and life is too short!

Ahem….if you can’t afford a real, live secretary…..tada! How about a flip top desk aka secretary? A year ago, the husband and I decided to paint our family room—when I looked at the gold I’d chosen years earlier, a French’s mustard nightmare is all I saw. What was I thinking? Add those walls to the list of personal and societal transgressions—pegged pants, banana clips, Caillou…need I go on??? This of course set off the inevitable chain of decorating and DIY events. One thing we despised about our family room were two indentations, roughly three feet wide, on either side of the fireplace. Total wasted, awkward space; they screamed for built ins. Finally, we decided to get a quote. And….nooooo. Moneymoneymoneymoneeeeee! Thanks for playing…..If only these pesky kids didn’t need to eat all the time.

Type B, Plan B. Craigslist ho’ing. I love the lines of the old secretary desks, and just like the sideboards, they are as sturdy and practical as they are beautiful. Dood! More drawers to hide stuff in style—I’m all in. I wanted one with a serpentine aka curvy front for added interest, and I held out until I found the right deal. Scored one for $75, solid cherry, Dovetail drawers, a little banged up but overall a solid piece. Due to the unfortunate 6 year old dumping my phone in the toilette incident of 2013, I do not have any before or during pics (but I do have eyewitnesses who saw me painting in the driveway!). This is a different one currently for sale on the CL, and is roughly what it looked like prior:

Behold...a facsimile!

Behold…a facsimile!

And…..after:

Cue up Stevie Wonder..."Isn't she loveeeely...."

Cue up Stevie Wonder…”Isn’t she loveeeely….”

Why are my pictures sidewards again???????? *puts down Pop Tart to investigate…..

Here you can see the indentation of which I speak and see how great the secretary fits in!

Here you can see the indentation of which I speak and see how great the secretary fits in!

*finishes Pop Tart….yeah, I still don’t know….*&^% Too bad I don’t have a secretary to ask! Damn!

Anyway, this is how the DIY went down….I painted the drawers and the outside of the piece in Annie Sloan chalk paint in old white, distressed it lightly, and added a coat of clear wax and a coat of dark wax, just like the demilune shaped sideboard in my last post. The biggest benefit to using Annie Sloan paint is that you don’t have to prime first. However, in this instance, because it was a reddish toned wood to start, I found with the old white it needed one more coat than usual—I did experience some reddish bleed through. Something to keep in mind if you’re doing a similar project.

Also, Annie Sloan paint dries to a flat finish, and that’s why you add the wax step after painting—the wax protects the piece, but it also adds a lovely silky feeling to the finish. As for distressing, that’s totally a personal preference. Some hate it, some love it. I like it but try to limit it to places on the piece that might have naturally worn away over time. On this piece I chose to keep the hardware because it’s classic and I really can’t imagine any other hardware on it. I painted right over the hardware and distressed that in places as well, and I do like how it turned out. You could always unscrew the hardware and spray paint it if you wanted a different look for a minimal price, as I did with the demilune.

Here is the finish up close...

Here is the finish up close…

I kept the inside of the secretary in the cherry finish because it was in decent shape and it cleaned up well with a coat of Restor-A-Finish. It could probably use another coat as it’s been several months. And check out the cool compartments inside the flip top! You invest in a piece like this and it can truly perform so many functions—it could be used as a writing desk, a lovely addition to a dining room to store dishes, or even a bedroom piece. If you had an old school bathroom, you could use it to store linens. I have a feeling my little secretary friend will serve me well for years, even if we wind up moving from the house with the awkward indentations some day!

Annnd....we're sidewards again. Have you been drinking?

Annnd….we’re sidewards again. Have you been drinking?

AGGH! For now, my little workhorse can house stuff like this…

It was no Trouble to finish this....I'm not Sorry I bought it...(I'll regret this like the French's mustard paint, won't I? Badum dum...)

It was no Trouble to finish this….I’m not Sorry I bought it…(I’ll regret this like the French’s mustard paint, won’t I? Badum dum…)

photo-41

I should really hide some top secret shiz in here….

I'm not gonna lie..I'm digging the two tone....

I’m not gonna lie..I’m digging the two tone….

As you can see, it is not perfect. And that’s okay— just like C is for cookie, it’s good enough for me! I’ve already found Lego’s and Beyblades bouncing around in there, so until the Queen of England comes to stay, we are good! (And even then? Pfft. What has she done for me lately?!!)

So that’s it—–if I can do it? You can too. Any questions before I go get my Bravo TV on?????

WHADDYA KNOW? I’M A CRAIGSLIST HO! ALSO? I’M BAAAACK.

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in MUFFINTOP DIY, Uncategorized | Posted on 22-01-2014

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I know, it’s been a while.

Anyone still out there?

Haaaaaallllloooooo?

I couldn’t stay away. I mean, I could. I did. I even forgot how to get on this thing. Dude, seriously. I did. But, I’ve been doing a whizness business of DIY’ing over the past year and it seems like I can’t stop. So? I thought I’d share some of my projects and hope they can inspire some of you, while still reserving the right to rant about nothingness if the mood strikes. This is not Martha Stewart’s blog. This? This is more like her wicked bourgeois step cousin once removed who drinks beer out of a can, buys store bought Valentine’s in the box, and produce in a bag because she’s too lazy to wash her own damn greens always sometimes. Hey ecoli, give me a shout out if that triple wash promise on the bag ain’t true, would ya?

See, it all started because I got really bitter that my three sons would bust everything nice I had. Literally. But I still wanted my house to look cute, and so, a type B DIYer was born. Once I found Craigslist and realized I could buy stuff, not get murdered (yes!), and make the stuff actually look halfway decent for short dough, I was all in.

This is the DIY blog for Type B, laid back lazy, and/or economically challenged mamas who choose to feed and clothe their offspring rather than shop at the store we all have lovehatelovehate relations with, Lottery Barn. Btw, if you are breaking out in hives right now and your OCD is kicking, get off my lawn now–you will not survive my ‘eyeballing it’, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’, and ‘meh, no one’s gonna look THAT close’, attitudes. You will want to smother me in my sleep and really, that will help no one. So you ready to get this party started? Sing it!

From shizz to shine, all on a dime.

I gots to save mah money for cute shoes and wine.

So let me not briefly review some of my projects—some of which I shared with you in more detail last year when I didn’t know if this was just a phase like exercising and avoiding alcohol on weekdays! (Also, I have some bad news–many of my pics are a. iPhone quality –let’s review, type B, and who would trust me with a good camera? and b. many were lost due to a tragic incident where 6 year old might have dropped my old phone in the toilette….and now you know why I shop on Craigslist!)

Anywho! Let’s do the best we can with what we have! Today we’re gonna talk sideboards. Let me say, my love affair with sideboards came to fruition when it dawned on me that they not only make a lovely statement in a room and add lighting, HELLO, they are a place to hide crap when your OCD, Type A friends are coming over and you fear they will sign you up for Hoarders. Score!

Sideboard #1, this is my dining room and this is where all the magic started. I got it for $25. No, seriously. Here’s the original post and here are some pics:

HERE SHE IS!!! AIN'T SHE GRAND?!!!!!

HERE SHE IS!!! AIN’T SHE GRAND?!!!!!

This was her before:

ONE DAY IN CASA DE LA MUFFIN TOP GARAGE AND ALREADY, CLUNKITY JUNK ALL OVER IT. CAN YOU SEE THE SCRATCHES ON IT? SHE WAS A BANGED UP DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH....

ONE DAY IN CASA DE LA MUFFIN TOP GARAGE AND ALREADY, CLUNKITY JUNK ALL OVER IT. CAN YOU SEE THE SCRATCHES ON IT? SHE WAS A BANGED UP DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH….

 

Sideboard #2:

Ok, this one still bothers me because I bought it from a lovely newlywed couple for only $60 and it came with a mirror that I now have hanging in my dining room above sideboard #1. (Pics to follow!) I painted it a champagne color. I feel like I stole it but they just weren’t into it. Here’s the before–look at those lines! Look at those legs!

BEFORE

BEFORE

 

And…….after. She was sort of banged up on the top, so I used some stuff called Restor-A-Finish because I had no clue how to strip something and restain it but wanted a two tone look. Enter the lazy girl solution! You wipe the stuff on and boom. For real. And no, I am not getting anything to pimp Restor-A-Finish since this is my FIRST official DIY post of 2014 AD! (But feel free to call me, sponsors. Mama needs new Spanx!) It worked great and has held up. The bottom got two coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in old white with clear wax and dark wax (wax on, wax off!) and I spray painted the hardware in oil rubbed bronze. Dude. So easy. Be not afraid.

TADA!

TADA!

Here is a closeup of the hardware which I just think is so pretty, and the sideboard in action today, a year later. (Of course I’m not opening those drawers–but yes, they are dovetailed and yes, they do have crap in them!) And yes, I know Christmas was a month ago but how can I take that fabulous deer wreath down so soon????

photo 2

Yeah, I have no idea why this came out sidewards but I’m not going to waste valuable TMZ time to fix it. Just turn your head to the left. Annnnnd, now your cardio is done for the day. You’re welcome!

They do not make hardware like this today!

They do not make hardware like this today!

So just proving that decorating can evolve and it’s fun (and free!) to move stuff around your house, please see the mirror from this sideboard over the green one, post spray paint. I updated it for the very LONG holiday season with an ornament wreath.

Dude, you can't get a mirror at Homegoods for $60, never mind WITH a sideboard. Crazy, right? Btw, who is PUNKING me with these sideways pics? Come on!

Dude, you can’t get a mirror at Homegoods for $60, never mind WITH a sideboard. Crazy, right? Btw, who is PUNKING me with these sideways pics? Come on!

 

Once again, a very Merry sideways Christmas to you and yours!

Once again, a very Merry sideways Christmas to you and yours!

Finally! Sideboard #3. My MIL had this for years and gave it to us last year and we shoved it in our garage and gasp! used it for storage. It was banged up, mostly I’m afraid after being in our garage for a year. I regret there are no before pics but I sanded the top down with a palm sander, primed it, and it got two coats of semi-gloss black–it took me all of a few hours out of my day.

TADA!

I LIVE AND BREATHE. IT'S NOT ON ITS SIDE!

I LIVE AND BREATHE. IT’S NOT ON ITS SIDE!

I do have a pic of the original color because I didn’t paint the inside of the piece. I’ll get to that soon never! Really, why would I bother? Are you gonna come to my house and open my drawers? Good luck to you if you do!

photo 2-3

OH WAIT, THAT'S ME SHOWING OFF MY NEW KOOZIE MITTEN.

Seriously? How would I find time to live the vida loca with my new koozie mitten if I was busy painting the insides of things????

 

So the deets….The acrylic glass knobs are from Home Depot and I bought the fork and spoon hardware on Amazon because I thought it would be fun for the kitchen. The lamp I moved from a hall table upstairs, the wine cork jar was on the cream sideboard and I still want to move that to a smaller jar, the cookbooks I had on the other sideboard, the owl was in another part of my kitchen, and the vintage scale I scored at a local shop for only $20! Oh and the framed print of wine country above is from a pre-kids trip from another lifetime!!!! So for very short money–about $30, I got a whole new look for this part of my kitchen! My MIL came over the other day, exclaimed she loved it, and wanted to know where I got it. Not kidding. So there, that makes this blog VALID! You can totally change the look of something with a little elbow grease and some imagination–it might even be lurking in your basement or garage and cost zeros dineros! (You don’t even need imagination! Go on Pinterest and steal other people’s ideas, hello. It’s not even a sin you need to confess to your local padre–that’s the whole point of it!)

Close up of the hardware or, the bling that makes this piece SING!

And so, if you look at my paint job closely, you'll see some crackling. I totally meant to do that! It's possible that's the result of hastily painting in a 15 degree garage--I have no idea!

And so, if you look at my paint job closely, you’ll see some crackling. I totally meant to do that! It’s possible that’s the result of hastily painting in a 15 degree garage–I have no idea!

So I hope this was fun and you feel inspired to go DIY something up or have a beer in your mitten–whatever rocks your world? Wanna come back next time? I hope you do!

 

 

 

 

 

PSST….IS THAT A VINTAGE GOSSIP BENCH OR A MOMMY’S TIME OUT CHAIR?

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in Awesomeness, Boys, boys, boys! And did I mention, boys?, Friends...you got what I ne-ed, Mom-ness, OH &^%$!!, Retail Therapy, Some things just don't fit into a neat little box. The uncategory! | Posted on 31-01-2013

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Have you ever heard the words?

Gossip bench.

If that alone doesn’t intrigue you just fuhget it and get off mah lawn now!

A gossip bench, or telephone table, are gems from a time gone by. Basically, it’s a chair attached to a little table. Way, WAY (and by way, way, I’m really not sure how long, lemme be honest) before cordless phones were even a thought in some MIT trained brain and people couldn’t yuk it up in every corner of the house, people had beauties just like this:

ONCE AGAIN, I NEED SOME PHOTOGRAPHY 411 BUT YOU GET THE IDEA. ISN'T SHE GRAND?

 

Look at this lovely detailing:

THAT'S THE WAY, UH HUH, UH HUH, I LIKE IT, KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND!

 

So the rotary phone went on top of the table part, and the phone book went underneath. And the gossipy hausfrau’s arse went on the seat. Amen. I really wish that table could talk. How many incredible conversations might have gone on? I believe this table might be from the 40′s, so my imagination runs wild thinking about it. A GI calling his girlfriend? A mom calling her newlywed daughter to share recipes? Two teenagers talking about what—I don’t even know what?! Two gossipy hausfraus talking about seeing so and so’s daughter at the five and dime with a too short skirt? WHO KNOWS!

All I know is I love this random piece of furniture! And hubs loved me enough to schlep it for me from some guy I found…wait for it….on Craigslist. A man who…let me just say, hubs said after picking up this piece of history, “I don’t want to speak of it again. Sanford and Sons. Without fun Sanford. Or his son.”

Okay then.

For better or worse, people. We took vows!!!

The wood on this table was actually in pretty good shape–you can’t see too well from my iphone trick photography, but it wasn’t the best stain job. All I did was unscrew the seat and slap two coats of miracle Annie Sloan chalk paint in the same Chateau Grey shade I used on my sideboard redo. It took no time at all.

SCALPEL, PLEASE. HA HA. JUST A PHILLIPS HEAD. I FIGURED IT OUT---THIS ISN'T BRAIN SURGERY, KIDS!

 

I bought some fun, sturdy (yet elegant!), upholstery grade fabric at Hobby (I love you!) Lobby, cut a square, and stapled it. I have skillz. (Not really. Noooo.)

WE MEET AGAIN, RUDOLPH SCISSORS!

THIS PART IS ROUGH. PAY ATTENTION. YOU FLIP THE CUSHION OVER, PUT IT OVER THE CHAIR FRAME, AND SCREW IT BACK IN. NEXT WEEK I''M TOTALLY APPLYING TO GRAD SKOOL AT HARVARD.

Before I put the cushion on permanently, I did wax and buff it so it would have a softer, less…well, chalky finish. I did distress it lightly as well.

So here are some pics of the almost finished product:

THIS WAS PRE-WAX AND DISTRESS.

 

I PUFFY HEART THIS FABRIC.

 

And…..now my gossip bench is ready for some 21st century action. I have actually renamed it the Chatty Kathy bench or Mommy’s Time Out chair. I love my kids, you love your kids, all of us who have kids LOVE OUR KIDS. But sometimes, they are ginormous PITAS! (Pains in the asses. You’re welcome.) At which point, we need an escape. Well, the French New Hampshire riviera is not always possible. I give you, Mommy’s Time Out Chair:

PEEP, A KINDLE, SOME VINO. YES, I DO BELIEVE THIS IS THE RECIPE FOR SOME MODERN DAY GOSSIP. I FEEL PROUD TO UPHOLD ITS HERITAGE IN A MODERN WAY!

YES, PLEASE.

 

ONE MORE SHOT. BECAUSE YOU KNOW I DIDN'T GET TO REALLY SIT FOR THAT LONG!

 

The funny thing is, with all of my recent Craiglisting, and seeing what these go for redone (and even not redone) on Etsy, Ebay, and Craigslist, I planned to sell the Chatty Kathy. But hubs —who wouldda thunk?? Has taken a shine to it and asked me not to sell it. What!? I know.

However, if you are reading this and you have a pocket full of cash burning a hole in your pocket, I will totally cut it free behind hub’s back  (For better or worse, people!) for the right price. Because the French Riviera Disneyworld is calling my name!

 

 

 

OH WINTER, LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in OH &^%$!!, Random Rage, Suburban Madness, Things that make you go....awwww, Uncategorized, Yo! It's a girl thing! | Posted on 30-01-2013

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I hope everyone is enjoying winter—especially all of you who live in warmer climes you lucky bastards. No hard feelings! Even 4 year old is over it. He asked me “When can we see the grass again?” on the way to school the other day. What a sad sight—him gazing out the window like he was missing a friend. “I dun like the cold!” That’s mah boy!

 

I WILL ADMIT *GRUMBLEGRUMBLE* IT CAN BE GORGEOUS. WHEN I'M NOT SKIDDING, FALLING ON MY ARSE, OR FEELING MY EXTREMITIES GO NUMB. I AM SUCH A GLASS HALF FULL PERSON! *PATS SELF ON FLEECE CLAD FREEZING COLD BACK

I’m getting to the point now that after a few weeks of zero-ish temps, and all of us being cooped up inside like mad science experiments, that in addition to buying stranger’s furniture on Craigslist and covering it in Boca Raton-esque fabric, I’ve taken to asking random, warm climate people on social media if they’ll adopt a 39 year old muffin top. That’s not weird right? It’s….social. What? I said I’d bring drinks and party snacks–I’m no free loader. My hubs is apparently not into me running away from home to become a carnie or shack up with internet strangers. Buzzkill. Instead, he had me scouring the internet for cheap flights to Florida. I said, “We didn’t budget for this!” with the faux indignation of an English major, and he said, “Sell your body on the corner!” (I’m kidding! Don’t worry—I am not dropping my Merona drawers—that would clearly get us nowhere.) Btw, is anyone skeered  the English major is the one talking budgets in this joint? I’m just saying, a few misplaced decimal points could have me bagging groceries at Market Bucket when I’m 80. I need to look into that. As soon as I get back from my budget trip to Flerida in April.

I'M A BUDGET HAWK. SEE? STORE CEREAL.

Of course the store cereal was met with hisses and boos this morning. “Where is Tony the Tiger?!” to which I responded, “Shut up, hubs. The $2 I saved is gonna get me a 1/3 of a beer in Flo-rida!”

Damn right.

In a high fallutin twist, I did make a coffee cake  this morning(Pillsbury. FANCCCAAAY!) which thoroughly confused my ingrate kids more than the absence of Tony the tiger.

4 yo: What’s that?
5 yo: Coffee cake.
4 yo: Is it spicy?
5 yo: (With utter disdain…) NO! It’s doesn’t HAVE coffee in it!
4 yo: Well what’s in it then?
5 yo: CAKE! Cake is in it!
4 yo: I dun like it. (Didn’t even try it.)
5 yo, half way through his piece: I don’t like this cake. It’s gross.

Mature Adult aka ME: It is NOT! Eat your fake Frosted Flakes!

But not even old man winter or the biting culinary reviews of preschoolers can cut down the spring in mah boots. Because you see, I’m so loving, I get hawt emails from my hubs. Last night he was putting the kids to bed and shocker! Must have left our tv on (pertinent to the story!) which led him to email me from upstairs. (I know, let that one sink for a while. He emailed me from within the house.) The title said, “HOT BOOTIES” and the inside of the email was blank.

What the? *Blinks* I didn’t know we had THOSE channels!

I emailed back—from all the way downstairs, “I have no idea what to say right now.”

He wrote, “Google them.”

Oh ladies! The romance is ALIVE! Keep your roses on V Day and rock my world with MICROWAVEABLE SLIPPERS!!!!!! and a 30 pack, jack! Every kiss does NOT begin with Kay–it begins with Mama having warm feet!!!!

I present, “Hot Booties!” (What are you waiting for? Prepare to have your mind blown. Click it! Wait. This is not what it looks like. I swear!)

OMG, THEY ARE EVEN ON SALE! SHAZAM!!!

Who needs ya’ now, Flerida!!!!!!!!!

 

 

NO SEW UPHOLSTERY? DON’T MIND IF I DO!

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in Awesomeness, Mom-ness, Retail Therapy, Things that make you go....awwww, Uncategorized | Posted on 24-01-2013

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Oh yes, yes I did. I’m talking no sew upholstery today. First, a friendly muffin top warning because I love you long time.

Do not read this post if you:

A. Are type A

B. Can sew

C. Are a perfectionist

D. Have reupholstered a chair the correct way or ohgodno are a real upholsterer person!

E. If you are all of the above, run, run for your life! AND DON’T LOOK BACK, WHATEVER YOU DO!

If you don’t heed my warning, I am not responsible for any injury that may occur, both physical or mental. I am not responsible if you throw up or break glass from your shrieking. My methods are not recommended for all, but only meant as a rough how to if  you would like to potentially upholster a chair in all the wrong wrongity wrong ways! Believe me when I say I searched hi and low for a slacker’s guide to upholstery and found NOTHING. Nothing!!!

So! Now that we have our muffintop surgeon general warning out of the way, the rest of you lovely readers type B slacking em-effers in da housee! who are still with me and wanna know how you can DIY upholster a Frenchy chair in 52 easy, totally wrong, and barbaric steps, buckle up!

You will need: a cheap chair to practice on (Don’t start with granny’s antique!), pliers, scissors, fabric, a staple gun, a glue gun, fabric, adult beverages, a spirited vocabulary, and Band-Aids.

So! New Year’s Day, I decided to grab this fabulously sh*&%y French Country armchair with ottoman (bonus!) I spied on Craigslist. Though it had great bones (Ethan Allen—excuuuse me) it was a grubtastic dog! The owners were very proud of its former glory, but hel-lo.

You can’t even tell how gross it is—YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME.

WAIT!

PLEASE IGNORE THE POST XMAS PLAYROOM SQUALOR. AND THE CUTE PHOTO BOMB!

Obviously, I did not think these “Before” pics through! You really can’t tell how grungy the ottoman was amidst the playroom squalor!

So, first, after I got home with hubs having not been stabbed with a pitchfork (We’re 3 for 3 on living through Craiglist purchases—not to get all braggy!), I vacuumed underneath the chair (don’t even bother to ask!) and washed all the wood with Murphy Oil soap. Then decided it needed a fresh coat of paint.

DUDE, THIS WAS AFTER WASHING. SEE WHAT I MEAN? BLEACH YOUR EYES! BLEACH YOUR EYES!

 

Hence, the paint. And the beer. To wash away the memories.

THE BEER HELPED FREE MY INNER PICASSO.

 

I’d planned to get the chair reupholstered, but after I got home (file under I can’t make this shizz up), my dishwasher went kaput.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MEEEEEEEEEE!

LET’S REVIEW. Now I have:

1. a hangover

2. a grubby chair

3. and I’m getting jiggy with mah old pal from my apahtment days, Dawn, “It softens hands while you do dishes!” (Bullshit! That’s to make poor souls who have to wash dishes by hand feel better! To me, “NOT DISHWASHER SAFE” is just a dare. You take my dishwasher? You take my SOOOOULLLL! ) And  hey, nothing against you Dawn, but you ain’t my style! (Which is Lazy. Capital L. Party of one.)

Despite my obvious appliance emergency, and because I loooove to laugh out loud…I dared to dream.  The scene in mah head: Muffintop skipping through a meadow full of flowers….LOLOLOLing all the way until she plunks down in her pillowy soft, clean, newly upholstered in chic fabric, French Country chair whilst cradling an adult beverage and smut magazine….ahh. Then came the reality: I decided to get some upholstery quotes even though I needed to make a date with an appliance man. The upholstery quotes ranged from $275 plus fabric to $275 for just the OTTOMAN plus fabric PLUS $675 plus fabric for the chair.

L NO L to that fuzzy math!

Btw, $275 is a good deal as it turns out, but at this point, I figured this thing is going in the corner of my office (and by office I mean, the room I call an office but is really the place more accurately known as school paper graveyard/where I grab envelopes to send in lunch money/field trip money/conduct other super serious hausfrau banking/order shoes online). (Call me, Donald. I will totally hawk crap in Times Square on Apprentice! I have glue gun cred, Donald.)

I looked at the chair and thought, “I can do an ok job on this chair, stuff myself in the corner on it with my beer and Kindle, and that is good enough for meeeeee!”  Scratch the frolicking in a meadow. But seriously, if you can sew, you could for real do a kick ass job on a chair like this. Since the cushions aren’t attached like a regular arm chair, this is a good type of chair to start with! (And possibly, ahem, end with.)

I trolled online for fabric (the upholsterers said fabric would be $10 to $40 per yard and I’d need 7 yards). I found  Waverly Solar Flair Fruit Punch fabric for $8.50 a yard at Jo-Ann Fabric (coupon code–halala!). Suck it, upholsterers. I’ve not seen it for less than $16 a yard elsewhere online.

IT IS RAINING SUNSHINE UP IN HERE!

 

BOOM!

It’s not for everyone and I think speaks to a caged in muffin top’s psyche on a 5 degree January day. Ahem. I also thought maybe the pattern might hide mistakes?

So, I started with the ottoman, figuring that would be easier than the chair.

First I had to pull off the double welting trim–double welting trim is what covers up upholstery staples. If you’re fancy and you can sew (why are you still reading this?!) you can make new trim, but I can’t sew, as we know, so I had a plan (more later!).  I swear that trim was glued on and stapled to that chair better than my house is put together.  They must have upholstery ninjas at Ethan Allen. What. the. frack. I envision a mean man with a fireplace poker prodding hunched over, underpaid workers sneering, “More glue! More staples! If anyone should find a Craigslist bargain on one of our chairs, they shall never, never, never be able to pull it apart and must live with the original fabric forevaaaaaah!” in a meany, old school, 18th century, I own the whole world and several colonies, British accent. (I’m not talking about you Fergie. Or you Prince William. Let’s party sometime!) But that’s just me. I’m sure the good folks at Ethan Allen are just like you and me! (Nooooo.)

I needed pliers to start prying off the cemented on welting, and had to put some muffin top into it. Ultimately, the chair was no match for my laser beam focus. Actually, I bent my hub’s pliers I had to pull so hard and almost took my eye out. (Safety first! Meep. I recommend goggles! Can you see it? “Good news! I saved $275 upholstering this chair! Bad news, I’m blind in one eye!” Dum de dum dum dum….)

PULLING OFF THE DOUBLE CORDING TRIM. IT WOULD BE EASIER TO SKIN A CAT. NOT THAT I WOULD WANT TO SKIN A CAT. BUT IF I DID WANNA? I JUST KNOW I COULD!!!

The next step should be to pry off all the upholstery staples and then the fabric. But this is lazy ass, muffin top DIY, so after it took me like twenty minutes and one finger cut to pull out three staples, I said, “Schluck this!” , took a swig of my beer, and ripped the fabric off sans staples and decided I’d just staple the new fabric OVER the old staples. Sing with me Montell Jordan, “This is how we do it!”

FABRIC OFF. STAPLES STILL IN! YOU WIN, ETHAN ALLEN, YOU WIN. SMUG BASTARD.

 

Next I saved the ottoman fabric that was remarkably intact –despite my bastardization of the pulling off process–to make a template. I traced the old fabric onto the back of the new fabric, cut it, and stapled it.

YES, I DID. I CUT THAT FABRIC WITH MY RUDOLPH CHRISTMAS WRAP SCISSORS.

THESE ARE THE PROFESSIONAL GRADE TYPE TOOLS YOU WILL NEED…..

It looked like this:

I’M AN OBVIOUS PERFECTIONIST.

 

YOU DO THE CORNERS LAST. YOU PULL AS TIGHT AS YOU CAN AND FOLD AS NEATLY AS POSSIBLE.

AND THEN….

GIMP! A NO SEW PERSON’S BEST FRIEND! I GOT LIKE 800 YARDS FOR $12. OK, LIKE 15 YARDS. BUT STILL. I JUST HOT GLUED IT ON TO COVER THE STAPLES INSTEAD OF FANCAAAAY DOUBLE PIPING.

BUT WHAT, THERE’S MORE?

NOT BAD FOR A TYPE B, L NO L’ING, MUFFINTOPPER!

 

This was my best work, peeps. It got harder from here.

THE PROPER THING TO DO WOULD BE TO SEW A ZIPPERED COVER, BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT WASN’T GONNA HAPPEN. SO I DECIDED TO WRAP THE FABRIC UNDERNEATH.

 

Like so….

HELLO HOT GLUE, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? ALSO, I CAN NEVER FLIP THE OTTOMAN CUSHION, BUT, ETHAN ALLEN DIDN’T EITHER—THERE WAS VELCRO ON THE BOTTOM OF THEIR CUSHION SO EH, WHAT’S THE DIFF?!

 

And the finished ottoman:

LIVING UP TO MY TYPE B EXPECTATIONS–FABRIC IS NOT CENTERED, NATCH!

 

PART B, THE CHAIR. Dudes, this is getting long and I’m thirsty and want to schlump into mah chair, so I’m gong to illustrate most of the rest through pics.

The decking turned out to be the easiest part. I couldn’t rip the whole fabric bottom off because it was sewed on. No WAY was I was gonna mess with that Ethan Allen scary ass shizz!

I USED MY SCRAP MATERIAL FOR THIS PART. SCORE!

 

CAN I GET AN AAAA-MEN FOR STAPLING OVER STAPLES, PART DOS?! VIVA LA MEDIOCRITY!

 

THE FABRIC WAS SURPRISINGLY EASY TO SLIP BEHIND THE ARM OF THE CHAIR. I WENT BACK AND STARTED THE SEAM NEXT TO THE ARM SO THE GIMP WOULD COVER IT.

 

VOILA! AND HEY, WHAT’S A FEW THIRD DEGREE HOT GLUE BURNS! I AM MUFFINTOP. HEAR ME ROAR!

 

The arms weren’t bad at all!

I RIPPED THE FABRIC OFF THE ARM IN THE SAME PRECISE FASHION AS THE DECKING. AHEM. AND THEN USED IT AS A TEMPLATE.

STAPLE, STAPLES EVERYWHERE! SNIP SNIP WITH MY RUDOLPH SCISSORS TO GET RID OF HANGING THREADS!

 

OH GIMP! WE MEET AGAIN. YOU MAKE MEDIOCRITY MAHVELOUS, DAHLING!!!

And without further ado, meet my *new*, clean, BRIGHT and SHINY, if monstrously perfectly imperfect, fun French country armchair and ottoman!

DONE! THIS IS WHERE THE MUFFINTOP SHALL RESIDE WHEN SHE WANTS TO!

Is the chair perfect? Hell no! Far from it. The cushions don’t have double welting (piping) trim, can never be flipped, and the fabric is not as “tight” as I would have liked. The cushions are squishy so trying to pull the fabric tight underneath, to then (Gasp!) glue the fabric like I did the ottoman–which was firmer—was much more difficult. But hey, for only a coat of paint, some elbow grease, an inexpensive chair with only $60 worth of fabric, I have this fun-can-never-be-moved-from-the-corner-chair! Oh and bonus—I had enough fabric left over to upholster my desk chair (aka a Queen Anne style dining chair) and make two no sew curtains (deets to follow).

From shizz to shine, all on a dime! I gots to save my money for new shoes and wine!

Salud, Muffintoppers! I swear my wine tastes better in my fun chair!

Oh, and p.s. Yes, that is Mommy Mixology: A Cocktail for Every Calamity on the table next to the chair. Now available on Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, and other fine retailiers! (What? I have a new DIY habit to support! Forgive the shameless plug!)

 

 

MUFFIN TOP DIY—OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN.

17

Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-01-2013

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Itch, itch.

I’ve been bitten. By the DIY bug. I started and now I can’t stop. All aboard the cray, cray, crazy train????

Backstory…..Hubs promised 7 year old a desk last year so he would have a quiet (?? Under this roof? Dude.) place to do his homework. In theory, I like this idea because often wild hyenas little bros jump all over him, literally, when he’s trying to do homework. But this promise, made by a well meaning man, did not take into consideration that a first grader generally needs supervision and/or help with homework by a trusted adult or zookeeper. So, I procrastinated and then, to be honest, suffered from desk sticker shock. A little kids desk should not cost more than grown up furniture or a bender to Vegas. Wolfpack!

I'M SORRY, WHAT POTTERY BARN? YOU WANT $500 FOR THIS THING? FOR $500 IT BETTER GET MY KID INTO HARVARD SOME DAY!

 

What.a.racket. Even a simple desk at the unfinished wood store was a few hundred bucks and then you still need to prime and paint it.

No, Homie, no.

Enter my fun Craigslist furor! Feeling emboldened that hubs didn’t get stabbed with a pitchfork on the last Craigslist run I sent him on (let’s review…still alive….yay!), I had him grab this little beauty (and by little beauty, I mean, please disregard my Appalachia garage once again. The rest of the garage, like where I keep my beer, is extremely pristine. Note the funny angle because I was wedged between a bumper and a desk. Good thing I’m so skinnayyyyy! I mean, aren’t I getting to be a pro at this! Better Homes and Gardens will surely call me for these professional before and after shots!) Let me say we are 2 for 2 with no bodily harm–woot. Desk guy is a hipster and it was his dad’s desk—a cool, sturdy, dovetailed, well made Maddox desk. (Oh son, you might regret selling that one day but….fitty US dollahs says that ain’t my problem!) The top even has a glass top so 7 year old can put old ticket stubs and baseball cards underneath, or I might put a world map under there because he’s really into geography all of a sudden. (No, we can’t go to London for school vacation, dude. I am buying you a desk on Craigslist, connect the dots you high fallutin’ little thing! God save the queen and you save your pennies!)  So here she is:

I KNOW. I KNOW. AT THIS POINT I DON'T EVEN THINK A MOUSE WOULD LIVE IN OUR SCARY ASS GARAGE. COOL DESK THOUGH, HUH?

So this is the part where I tell you after I gushed all over the Annie Sloan paint that I used for my sideboard that I actually didn’t use it on this piece. Ahh. WHY, GOD, WHY?!! For this, I wanted a vibrant, glossy, strong red.  So I went with Heritage Red by Benjamin Moore in the semi-gloss (they can’t do gloss in red, boo) and I LOVE it. What I didn’t love? Priming and then painting that $hit thing three times! Wedged in a small space in my basement. (Again, skinnayyy! Not. I couldn’t walk for two days because twisting an almost 40 year old muffin top like a pretzel ain’t coo. But I love my boy!!!!! And he, in second grade now, needs a quiet place to do his homework all by himself. Not really. No. Not at all. )

GUYS, GREAT GAME BUT I GOTTA RUN. MY MOM PAINTED ME A DESK AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SIT DOWN ALONE AND DO ALL MY SPELLING WORDS. TWICE. .

No really.  Here is the result of my blood, sweat, tears, and salty linguistics:

WHAT'S UP, POTTERY BARN?!!!

I forgot to mention, I probably could have kept the old hardware, but I really wanted a total update so I scored those pulls for roughly $3 each at Lowe’s. I love the look with the red.

You know, even my brandy new slippers from Santa took a hit on this project…..

THIS IS NOT EASY WORK, PEOPLE. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW MICHAELANGELO'S DEARFORMS LOOKED.

The pink slips are now striped in red in places—every time I get something pink it gets sucked into the vortex of this frat house, I swear. But how about his chair?

HERE'S THE DESK IN ACTION....THAT LOOKS LIKE SERIOUS HOMEWORK HUH? AND THE CHAIR!

 

So I thought I was all DIY sly. I had a Windsor chair in my basement collecting dust that I was gonna paint, and boom, the seat was too wide to fit under the desk. DIY disaster! DIY disaster!  So I shot down to the local consignment shop and picked up that awesome ladderback chair with rush seat (in primo condition) which I LOVE. $15 dollahollah!!! It was a reddish cherry stain which would have clashed big time. I primed the chair and used some blue paint with primer combo (Behr–could not read the name on the label. Probably because I’m OLD!!!!). We had it kicking around from some previous furniture painting shenanigans. This thing took four coats and honestly? It needs one more.

Annie Sloan, I bow to your genius.

$15 and not over $100 like rhymes with Lottery Smarm!

 

So that’s it—I think I scored another muffin top DIY bahgain. If I can do it, you can too.

$50 bucks for desk

$15 for chair

$18 for paint

$21ish for knobs (They were $3 and change each. I forget! I’m an obvious accounting major!)

Swearing and multicolored slippers….free

For a grand total of….$104 and change!

(Plus the cost of admission to Harvard. I’m sure I can find some used textbooks on Craigslist!)

MUFFIN TOP DIY….

20

Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in Awesomeness, Retail Therapy, Some things just don't fit into a neat little box. The uncategory!, Things that make you go....awwww, Uncategorized | Posted on 03-01-2013

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Wow, so the title didn’t scare you away, huh?

I love you guys! Happy New Year to all you crazy muffintoppers. I hope 2013 brings you much peace, happiness, and prosperity.

Speaking of prosperity, or a lack of it, ahem, I have some fun stuff to share with you. During the holiday season, I got my DIY on.

 

Shizz to shine….all on a dime. 

I gots to save mah money…..for new shoes and wine. 

Or somethin’ like that. I also like feeding and clothing my kids. They are so demanding like that!

Quick backstory. When I got married and was all off with my bad self with a double income and no kids, I bought a traditional, pricey cherry dining room set. Which, I have grown to dislike over the past almost 13 years. Practically hate. I know it’s great quality furniture with dovetailed drawers and blabbity blah, but it’s not really my style anymore which is a gut punch because the planner in me thought I’d always like it because it would never go out of style. BURN! When I look at it now all I see is big and brown and… bor-ing. But at the same time, I feel kinda married to it because it cost a lot of money and because the practical part of me knows I can’t sell it for near what I paid for it. So, I decided if I can’t beat it, I’d join it. Or somethin’ like that……..I’mma show you some pics of my DIY but please forgive my craptastic iphone and pocket camera pics….I’m a writer not a photographer (definitely chose the wrong gig!).

I'D SHOW YOU THE TABLE BUT SHE'S CURRENTLY INDISPOSED.....WITH CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS ON TOP OF HER!

So the big Bertha china cabinet inspired this whole DIY kick. Enter Craigslist. I’ve been on enough blogs lately to know if you have an eye, you can score some nice pieces on the cheap and get your magic on. “Pfft! I can do that! I think?” , I huffed inside my head as I perused all the afters on blogs and Pinterest. So I decided I’d look for a sideboard to break up all the brown in the room and paint it a fun color. I also wanted a place to throw some lamps for extra lighting and a place to display some pics and other fun shenanigans.

I sniffed around and then boom, scored a cherry, dovetail, old school, sturdy as my muffin top, sideboard on Craiglist! FOR $25!!!!

TWENNY FIVE DOLLAH?

TWENNY FIVE US DOLLAHS! HO HO HOLLA!!!!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO MEEEEEE!!!!

ONE DAY IN CASA DE LA MUFFIN TOP GARAGE AND ALREADY, CLUNKITY JUNK ALL OVER IT. CAN YOU SEE THE SCRATCHES ON IT? SHE WAS A BANGED UP DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH....

You can see some damage here:

LITTLE SCRATCHY......

AND….

SCRATCHTABULOUS. AND NAKED--NO KNOB!

The top was a tiny bit sketchy:

A LITTLE SKETCHAROO BUT TWENNY FIVE DOLLAH!!!

Did I mention I politely asked made hubs drive an hour and fifteen minutes to east bumbleberg randomville (It’s not every day you get to drive by a nudist park! You’re welcome!) to meet a stranger at a barn to pick this up because I was skeered that this was too good to be true and that someone would stab me with a pitchfork and stuff me in a hayloft instead of selling me this thing of beauty for TWENNY FIVE DOLLAH! (Maybe I should write fiction!) The woman was a doll, turns out. WHOOPS!!! I mean, phew, because that really would have stunk if hubs was stabbed with a pitchfork and stuffed in a hayloft all because of Big Bertha! (I don’t even know what a hayloft is but I’m assuming it’s a loft with hay and a good place to hide a dead Craigslist shopper.)

After hubs got home, he was kind enough to A. wash the sideboard with Murphy Oil Soap because, hi, the kind lady bought it auction and who knows where it was and who had it and what they had in it and……eww and B. he took off all the hardware for me  and then he picked me up some special, magical paint called Annie Sloan chalk paint. (Not to be confused with chalkboard paint.)

Let me tell you something right now. I read about it online and wasn’t sure what to think. The fact that it’s $40 a quart (as in $15 bones more than the piece!) and the nearest place to get it is a cutesy boutique 45 minutes from my house did not help sway me! BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They said you could paint something without priming and without sanding. I liked the sound of THAT. They said it adheres to anything. Often with only one coat, but that you should probably wax it afterward because otherwise it would be a very flat, almost chalky texture. It’s known to make distressing easy, if you’re into that. And, they said, one quart goes a long way.

I had to try it—I thought if this beast could become a beauty with this paint, it was worth the price of admission.

So here’s my piece (minus drawers) after two coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Chateau Grey—I’d applied them both the night before. I personally thought it was too streaky with only one coat but it covered crazy, crazy well considering the condition and color of the piece and no sanding or priming. I’m a belieber now. Seriously. And after two coats, I still had over a half a can left!

I did distress it lightly with some 140 grit sandpaper–first time ever. It was pretty easy!

I LOVE THIS LITTLE DETAIL AND THOUGHT THE DISTRESSING WOULD HIGHLIGHT IT.

Now here is where things got a little ugly: waxing. It was twenty degrees the morning I hauled this out on the deck to wax it. The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint peeps recommend you buy their wax but I was a. skeptical and b. really skeptical and c. trying to stick to my DIY cheap theme and so I thought, “HA HA! I don’t need no fancy Annie Sloan wax for….twenny five dollah! I can get a sideboard for twenty five dollah! I will buy Minwax at Lowe’s for TEN dollah and save $15 dollah! for beer/shoes/Cheerios.”

Par-tayyy!

Except it wasn’t. I wasn’t sure if it was because it was TWENTY freaking degrees. (Dumbarse couldn’t have gone all DIY in August? I had to start this shizz in December?). The wax was hard, crumbly, not pliable. I thought I’d just “Wax on, wax off!” ala Mr. Miyagi. Apparently, I ain’t no Karate Kid. I knew it had been going too smoothy–and the kicker? It started to SNOW and I could not haul this thing in my house because the wax is SOO STANKY and would have for sure given 7 year old some kind of asthma attack. As an added bonus, I had major bed head, was clad in polka dot pajama pants, and we finally got new next door neighbors and they were moving in just as I was fighting with a yellow wax can, sputtering and yelling at a green sideboard on my deck, which happens to face their house.

“Welcome to the neighborhood!”

I haven’t seen them since.

Anyway, lesson learned on the wax. I threw a hat and legit pants on, screeched to Lowe’s and bought the cheapest buffer they had for $30 bones and went over the piece and it was like silk. But next time I have a rough piece like this, I won’t hesitate to spring for the fancypancy wax.

Anyway, enough of all this! I wanted to take you through the process in case you are on a budget and want something pretty and shiny!

Here she is now:

HERE SHE IS!!! AIN'T SHE GRAND?!!!!!

 

OH! Here’s a close up of the new bling knobs I got at Hobby Lobby (Hob to the Lob–where have you been all my life?!!)

THEY WERE SERIOUSLY LIKE $3 EACH. OMG!

 

And check this out:

AFTER I SCHLEPPED THEM HOME, I COULDN'T BELIEVE HOW MUCH THE SHAPE MIMICKED THE SHAPE OF MY FAVE ASPECT OF THE PIECE! I HAVE NO IDEA IF THAT WAS SUBCONSCIOUS OR A HAPPY ACCIDENT!

 

I think my new beauty will have a long and happy life here.

OOOH, MOOD LIGHTING! THANKS TO THE TARJAY LAMPS I SNATCHED OFF MY DRESSER!

Sorry for the long post, Muffintoppers! I know some of you might not be into DIYing and want to just stick to the funny biz, so I’m thinking of starting a little fun DIY blog on the side. I figure if I can do it, ANYONE can. I have some other projects up my sleeve. I’d love to hear what you guys think. Should I go for it?

Update:

Wait! A reader told me I forgot to tally what I spent on the whole shebang;

sideboard: $25

gas to get sideboard: I dunno. I stink at keeping track of stuff like that.

hubs not getting stabbed in a hayloft: Free. That makes the trip to get sideboard, and finding out where the nudist park is, a free joyride.

paint: $40

wax: $10 (but I can use it again–when hell freezes over or my new neighbors work up the courage to speak to me!)

buffer machine thingy: $30 (But I can use it again! To get hubs ready for the nudist park! Too much? I’m kidding, people!)

Hobby Lobby bling knobs: $6

So let’s see….25 plus free plus 40 plus 10 plus 30 plus 6 carry the 1 = $111? Yup. $111. Dude, you can’t get furniture at Tarjay for that! I’ll take it!