Dining Room Furniture Makeovers

There is a lot of painting furniture makeovers out there (love them!) but staining furniture is another beautiful option. I have two before/after projects to show off! Lauren (nestie artsywife07) submitted her china cabinet. Here is her note:
“This cabinet was given to us for free by my mom’s friend and I decided to stain it to match our new table and chairs. I gave it a light sanding by hand and then wiped it down with a tack cloth. I mixed two different finishes of stain together (a latex with poly built in and a gel stain). I’m sure you’re totally not supposed to do that, but it was the only way to get the finish and color I wanted. I applied the stain with a sponge brush (pay the few dollars extra for high quality ones from Lowe’s or Home Depot, I tried cheaper and the finish wasn’t as nice). I did one coat and then a lot of touch ups. I also decided to get rid of the window pane pieces to give it a more streamlined look.”

(New light fixture too!)

I love the rich dark color! Staining is so much more work than painting in my experience (I loathe the sticky/oily feel when working with it) but your project shows it’s so rewarding. It’s gorgeous! Great transformation and lucky you, Lauren to score a beautiful piece of furniture for free! You did a beautiful job with it!

I’m also showing off for Marlen from Northern Living in the South. Her dining room table transformation is unbelievable. I never would have believed the before and after pictures were the same set! Here is her post:

THE DINING ROOM TABLE IS FINISHED AND READY TO BE EATEN ON, FOR PUZZLES TO BE ASSEMBLED ON AND TO BE DANCED ON. don’t act like you don’t dance on your table when no one is looking. oh? me neither.

quick history- the table was given to us by my grandparents who moved down to fl and no longer wanted it. it was a pine 8-top piece of craftmanship with two removable leaves. here is a before photo without either of the leaves in.

after sanding the entire table at the wood shop on base, we were ready to start staining. we went with a black stain even though some recommended using black paint. here i am, staining the second coat with the leaves in. i told you it was big!

it ended up with 3 coats of stain and 3 coats of polyurethane finish.

the table was a piece of cake compared to the chairs. luckily, josh did most of the sanding, but i was still left with the majority of painting and covering the seats. check out the old twill seat covering!

josh removed the seats with his handy dandy drill and i covered each of them with a staple gun. the hardest part was getting the corners nice and tight without any fold in it. i actually hated this procedure but someone had to do it and it was not about to be josh. he just pointed and laughed at my frustration. and then took a picture.

we were told we didn’t have to sand the chairs all the way down to the bare wood if we used spray paint instead of stain. and that is exactly what we did. sanding anything previously stained down to the bare wood is a pain in the you know what. if there is a short cut, i will take it. and i did. how many cans would you say it takes to cover six chairs? you are wrong, it took 19. NINETEEN! you may be wondering what happened to the other 2 chairs? well, lets just say they are getting a pretty little slipcover for now. the base actually ran out of the spray paint we were using and we didn’t want to risk having two ugly ducklings by using a different brand. if we ever need all 8 chairs, the slip-covered chairs will be placed on the ends of the table. maybe someday when i get the crazy idea to refinish a dining room set again, i will tear off the slipcovers and spray away, once again. here they are, all lined up, drying in the sunshine. ta da!

the chairs took three cans each to cover completely. i then covered them with a thin coat of polyurethane so it had the same sheen (low luster) as the table itself, and to protect them from getting scratched up. below, is a finished chair. i am happy.

and for the grand finale!

it is finished and i am very pleased that it is. you will not see me jumping on any more refinishing tasks.. for now. hey, you wanna discuss those candlesticks? because i do. they are steal with tons of bead work. originally, they $50.00 for the tall ones and $40.00 for the shorter one. you wont believe what i paid for them… $28.00 total. let’s just say it together- “what a deal!” now let me fill you in on yet another secret- they are actually taper candlesticks! however, with the help of the hub, i removed the taper holder and voila! i bought these springy tri colored pillar candles separately to liven up the dark colors. enjoy!

It’s awesome Marlen! Thanks for showing it off!

Awesome Giveaway Alert!

I have to share! HomeGoods (wish there was one closer than 1 hr away…but it makes for a fun road trip). HomeGoods is giving away a daily gift card AND a $5000 shopping spree weekly giveaway (imagine that one…heaven!).

Taken from the HomeGoods website:

“Great style doesn’t require great sums of money. It comes from self-knowledge and surrounding yourself with things you love that suit your lifestyle. This quiz will help you define the style that is already yours, allowing you to better navigate the vast world of décor options and giving you the confidence to experiment and create a happier home. We all have to have the basics — a bed, a sofa, a coffee table — but it’s the last 10% that really expresses you, and turns your house into your home. It is with that in mind that I created the StyleScope for HomeGoods.

Deborah Needleman was the founding editor-in-chief of Domino, a magazine whose mission was to make stylish decorating accessible to all. She is also co-author of “Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home that Makes You Happy.”

Take the short fun StyleScope quiz to enter. Here were my results:

You are a Country Classic

You have a naturally refined sensibility with an appreciation for tradition and history. You value beauty, craftsmanship, and family heirlooms, but you like to open things up with pretty, easy-going pieces like painted wood or distressed furniture (DUH! haha), lovely florals and other patterns, and bunches of fresh flowers that give your home a breezy, relaxed feeling. You love unique finds, have a thrifty, creative side, and can make these things work together.

You value serenity. While there are probably a lot of interesting things in your home, they are joined by your taste or a certain palette that keeps them in harmony. You appreciate the beauty in simple forms. Whether fancy or plain, you appreciate things that are well made and function as well as they look. You also have a strong respect for the environment and craftsmanship. You care about how things are made, and how they are used.

What did yours say? I almost want to submit different things to see all of the answers! lol Head over and get signed up! Or not (more chances for me)!

Thanks to Sandi from Wayside Treasures for the tip! Stop by her blog for more details and for a visit to her beautiful blog!

~*~Stay tuned! Coming Friday – details for another sweet giveaway! ~*~

Baby Bibs & Burp Cloths

Hey – I’m late … as usual. I posted this Monday, but I love participating too! Here is the DIY project I worked on last weekend (and a little tutorial from While They Sleep too):

You guys know that I love introducing you to new creative DIY-ers, right? I’m so excited to show off this next post for Hannah from While They Sleep. It IS very easy and she has a lot of cute projects and 3 darling angels, so click over and take a peek!

I love etsy – I could “shop” there all day and when I kept seeing the cutest bibs and matching burp cloths while shopping for my soon-to-arrive nephew, I knew I must get some. But…I wanted 5-7 sets and it gets a bit pricey so I thought – I’ll tackle these myself! VERY easy and VERY inexpensive.
I made this:

Here is Hannah’s tutorial for the bibs which is nearly exact what I did (I added my comments in bold italics – hopefully her tutorial with my minimal comments will help you):

The EASIEST EVER Bib: A Tutorial

You could probably just scroll down to follow the pictures and understand how to make this but I will provide commentary just in case. I decided that the girls can never have too many bibs (these girls can DROOL like nobody’s business…not to mention the projectile spit up we get to experience a few times a day).

So I decided to save some dough and make my own. I figured that using a thin, cheap towel (from Target) (I got mine at the dollar store and was able to use washcloths – but make sure they’re the ones with the woven band on the end (the bottom)- the ones without the woven band will shrink too small. You can get 2 bibs out of 1 handtowel, 1 bib from a washcloth if it has the woven strip towards the bottom.) and some of my scrap fabric the total cost is about 25 cents each. I also love the idea of having bibs that are unique (me too!). So here is the tutorial:

I just traced one of the girls bibs that I liked (size-wise). Then just cut the it out to make my pattern. (I did this too. I made myself a homemade compass using a sharpie taped to another one. One with lid on and one with lid off. I then traced the real bib with the lidded sharpie to create a small sewing allowance. I also traced the finished pattern directly onto my fabric with a washable marker – easier to cut out without the pinned-on pattern. I don’t have bibs, so I did purchase one at the dollar store to use as a pattern for my “pattern”.)

Make sure that your fabrics are washed and ironed…I hate this step because it requires patience which I have very little of…but it is really important for things like this. You don’t want your bib to be all weird after it gets washed do you? My new rule after I purchase fabric is to put it right in the washer when I get home…then when I get the urge to create…I don’t have to wait! (I agree and I hate this step too…fabric does get all wrinkly and frayed, but it is VERY important!)

Next just cut out your pattern from each piece of material…the towel…

and then your scraps.
You should have two shapes that look like this.

Then just put the right sides together and pin.

Now it’s time to sew!
Sew almost the whole thing together but make sure to leave about an inch and a half un-stitched so you can turn it right side out.

then…turn it right side out

and it looks great except for that little opening…so now just tuck both sides in and pin
(I ironed during this step…but cool to know it’s not important.)

and then I just start there and sew about an 1/8 inch all the way around

almost done…
Then just sew your little 1 inch velcro onto both sides and …
(Remember – One on the fabric side on the left and one on the towel side on the right.)

YOU ARE DONE!!! The front

the back (or whatever side you choose).

Laurel likes it…in fact she thinks it good enough to eat!

How cute! I don’t have a model…but here are the ones I made for my soon-to-arrive nephew.

Additional Tips:

  • I also sewed in the middle of the bib when completed to give it a little bit of a “quilted look” and to help with future washings.
  • I recommend using thread that is the same color as the towel – to help keep it looking good. For example – in Hannah’s tutorial above, she could have used a bright blue thread, but the white side of the towel would have shown the seam and using white isn’t as noticeable on the patterned fabric.

Coordinating Burp Clothes

Here is a quick tutorial for the burp cloths I made (step by step photos to be edited in later):


  • 1 – cloth diaper
  • 1 – 6″ x approx. 21″ piece of fabric
Again, wash fabric and cloth diaper before sewing.

Iron both.

Fold in 1/2 borders around the strip of fabric and iron.

Pin to center of cloth diaper (over the extra padded strip)

Sew onto cloth diaper. I used 3/8 seams. I also sewed a geometric pattern throughout some of mine to help with future washings. It looks quilted and will help the burp cloth keep it’s shape. I also find that using the same color fabric as the cloth diaper helps to disguise crooked lines/etc.

Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial, Hannah! It’s a wonderful gift idea!

What do the DIY Show Off readers think?

More from The Fourth Door – A Kitchen Update

Eva from The Fourth Door also submitted her kitchen makeover. She’s a DIY queen! I love the charm in her old home and she did a fantastic job keeping the character with her update. Here is her kitchen (her bathroom is the post before this).

The Kitchen, Before

While touring the house, the old owner sat in the breakfast nook and told us that the kitchen was entirely new. I’m almost positive that her exact words were “That kitchen is all new. All new kitchen”. The part she left off was the year it was all brand new… In 1968.

I’m almost embarrassed to post such a messy picture, but its the only true before shot I have. So gross. (The amount of plastic bags is also very cringe inducing). However nothing is worse than the gold veined marble look counters and matching back splash.

The size of the stove is hard to see in this picture, but it was huge. I’d say it was a little bit bigger than most residential six burner stoves on the market today. Except it was only four burners, with only two of them that worked. Of those two only one worked right because the other one had no temperature control, so it would be red hot no matter the level at which you wanted to cook with. Did I mention that the one working burner tilted so far to the left that the contents of the pan would all slide down to one side? Fun times cooking on that stove…

Here our fridge, the Kelvinator, is seen. Oh, you’ve never heard of the Kelvinator brand before? Yeah, me neither until I bought a house that came with one.

Wide shot from the formal dining room door, looking through the breakfast nook onto the kitchen. What a lovely patterned floor we had…

The new updated kitchen!

We lived with it in all its deliciously 60’s dated glory for a few years. When there is a roof that you can stick your hand through the houses fug-o kitchen gets bumped down the list on things to do. Despite that the stove was a monster with only one completely working burner and a strong lean to the left.

Eventually the time came to come up with a game plan in the kitchen. We lucked out that the flow and layout were amazingly really workable, so thankfully no plumbing had to be touched or moved! As old as the cabinets were, they were solid wood and in good shape. Not having to demo and replace the cabinets was a huge contributor to keeping the costs down. Pete decided that painting them was the best way to update the look for the cheapest.

Off came all the fronts, hardware and drawers. Everything was carefully numbered so we would know exactly where to put it back. All paint-able surfaces got a good washing to remove any residual ick. Once completely dried we started the painting process. When it comes to painting cabinets time and patience is needed. Between each coat we let the paint cure for a week. Rushing a paint job like this can cause you lots of problems later down the road and we didn’t want that. It took a total of almost 4 weeks before we felt ready to place the fronts and drawers back into the kitchen.

New hardware was added, everything is now a great antique-y oil rubbed bronze finish. It fits perfectly in my not bias at all opinion. A normal sized stove was added and the answer to all our domestic problems was installed. Hail to the dishwasher! You have no idea how many spats we had about (not) hand washing the dishes.

A natural stone counter top would look too modern in our house, in our opinion anyway. It was also light years away from the modest budget we were working on. Laminate would have fit the budget, but neither of us found anything we really thought would compliment our house. Large tile was at the top of our options until Pete found the butcher block counter top at Ikea. The butcher block worked with our budget, complimented the house and he was able to DIY or installation.

The back splash was my first experience with tiling and I learned I’m a natural (pats self on back). Tiling speaks to my OCD and anal tendencies that I have when it comes to projects. I like lining the tiles up and making sure every grout line is even. (such a nerd). Pete did all the cuts with the wet saw and I blew through tiling the open walls, together we finished the back splash on one very rainy Saturday.

Finally the kitchen was finished. We ate a meal cooked on a stove with all four burners working and level. The dishes got placed in the dishwasher and all the leftover went inside our non weird name fridge. Live was good.

And, despite my strong Gemini desires to have everything change all the time, I still love the kitchen. Except for a few of the paint choices. But those are really a minor things that don’t count.

Great job Eva (and Pete)! It’s a huge improvement! Thanks so much for sharing your bathroom AND kitchen transformations!

Amazing Bathroom Before & Afters

Hi! Ready for the weekend? What are your plans? Anything DIY?

Have you seen the poll down on the left side bar? Before/after room transformations are in the lead! So, start submitting your before/after room makeovers! Here is one submitted by

I even love the clever name of her blog. 🙂

Here you go:

Before- I Showered in that?!

Welcome to the bathroom, where the color Lilac came to die.

Everything in the bathroom was purple. From the purple veined tiles down to the lilac flecks in the linoleum floor. Where does one find a purple toilet you ask? I have no idea. Because even in a huge warehouse full of old toilets (Second Chance Warehouses in Baltimore, Awesome for salvage stuff) I did not even see one lovely lilac commode. Take notice of the soap holder in the shower, it fell off on our friends foot one day not long after the picture was taken.

You like the wallpaper? It was actually shelf paper. Which is very thin, sorta see through and was tough as nails to peel off. Ironic, but the shelf paper/wallpaper was NOT used to line the shelves of the bathroom’s linen closet.

i love my shower…

In our old and lovely lilac bathroom, I would clean by pouring bleach on the floor. Watching the bleach work its way down my tilted bathroom floor and pool into the corner was the only way I felt like the germs lurking under the peeling vinyl tiles would die. After my massive bleach pour I’d have to go lie down from the fumes and that would cut my bathroom cleaning time short. There is always an excuse when it comes to cleaning for me.

Here is the result from when we tried to fix the room up a bit… That meant replacing the toilet and sink with ones that looked like they were manufactured this century. Also I may have gotten over zealous again and peeled off all the wallpaper (shelf paper) in a fit of disgust for it.

Clearly the whole thing would have to get demo’d. There was no fixing this hot mess with paint alone. We got to work gutting everything, but leaving the original foot print of the bathroom in tact. Dealing with permits and moving plumbing are not my idea of fun and would have slowed the process down a ton.

I helped my husband hang drywall and it almost killed me. I held the entire ceiling sheet over my head as he screwed it in and my lungs threatened to blow up while inside my chest. My upper body was sore for days afterwards… I’m a complainer by nature though…so maybe it was more like minutes or hours.

Choosing the bathroom colors/tiles was pretty easy. The room is small and needed to look airy so a light color was in order, but we wanted something that looked like it could have been part of the house originally… or original to when indoor plumbing was invented. I love the subway tiles that are on the wall and shower more than a person should really love tiles.

The upper walls are leftover bead board, painted a cool grey because bright white walls would have looked too stark. The sink console was the best non sale buy we’ve ever gotten from Lowe’s, it included everything! Even the mirror. I’m seriously in love with it and haven’t seen it since we bought it. I guess they realized it was a good buy and discontinued it?

However the best thing about the room is something you can’t see. We put in heated floors! and they are amazing in the winter. Everyone doing a bathroom renovation better put that on the top of the must do list. I can not stress enough how it makes getting out of your warm and cozy bed on a cold winter morning just a little less jarring.

What a beautiful transformation! Grandma’s lilac was definitely dated! And the new white/black tile is gorgeous! I love how bright it turned out! And heated floors?! I’d spend all of my time in there in the winter! Awesome job! Thank you so much for ‘showing it off’!

TGIF all! Have a fabulous weekend and if you’re working on a DIY project, let us know!

Dress up your gifts!

Gift bags made gorgeous from Jo at To A Pretty Life:

I usually prefer using wrapping paper instead of gift bags, because I like to have fun with ribbons and flowers, and I have always thought that gift bags didn’t allow me as much creativity. I may have to change my mind after making over these two 97-cent Walmart gift bags. This is how they started out:

After I added some ribbon, flowers, and tissue paper I already had, and tied the bag shut with jute string, the pink one was transformed from plain to pretty:

With the green one, I glued on the same ribbon, and free-handed a design with yo-yos that I made when I was 16 and staying at a crafty friend’s house. I have a whole ziploc bag full of these yo-yos, and while I think they’re cute, I didn’t ever have any use for them. This bag was tied with jute as well, and for a card, I tied on the little tag that came with the bag, and glued a yo-yo to the outside, both front and back. This green gift bag went from garden-variety to gorgeous!

Sorry for the bad alliteration…maybe I’ve been watching too much daytime reality TV.

Thanks Jo! Great job! I love making my presents pretty too!


Here’s another idea that I sometimes do:
(Some of you have seen this at Evangeline’s Vine…it’s okay, I know you’ve forgotten all about it by now, right?)

A one-size-fits-all-shirt! Isn’t this a cute idea for dressing up a gift? I’ve made a few different money-origami gift tags recently and they’re a HUGE hit! This was my gift to my nephew for his 16th birthday. Everyone loved it and it immediately went into his wallet unfolded. 🙂

I also folded other shapes and tied them to the small gift package with ribbon. So cute!

Here are links to helpful sites. Money Origami and Origami Resource Center.

If I can do it – you can do it! It does take a few tries to get it just right, but in the end…it’s a great way to accessorize your gift. I’ve gotten big hugs in return!

A New Look!

The DIY Show Off has a new look. Woo Hoo! (It’s late and it doesn’t take much to excite me…it’s the simple things, my friends.) What do you think? Improvement? I think it’s definitely easier to read and friendlier on the eyes. (Sorry old blog but you were u-g-l-y!)

It’s nothing too advanced as it’s DIY and I’m not a professional web designer. It is on my list of things I’d like to be when I grow up although so is writer, supermodel, design star, $-making blog author, inventor, doctor and boutique owner. I’m forgetting something, but it’s 1 a.m. here. Zombie isn’t on the list. Anyway, Google search is a huge help for discovering tutorials for dummies and downloads. I found my blog template here (thanks Christy!) and I thought this site here was cool (thanks Tricia!). My simple header was created with my beginner Paint Shop Pro skills.

Oh and you might have noticed my DIY Projects are listed on the left side bar. You may not have seen some of them since some are links to my other blog. I also included blogs where I was featured and loved and some I find inspirational (on the right side bar).

Where do you find the best blog help? Any suggestions for more changes or features?

I’m participating in Kimba’s DIY Day too at A Soft Place to Land! It’s my favorite blog party of the week – access to TONS of DIY projects. Head over and check out all of the DIY links!
I used my BBQ/baby shower blog post from Monday.


One more thing – I just discovered I’m featured here today:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Head over and check out all things adorable & baby related. 🙂


Magnificently Marvelous Makeover – a dining room table facelift

Nicole from Magnificently Marvelous is showing off her dining room table face lift. I think it’s pretty in her before pictures, but I LOVE the distressed black after and her re-upholstering. Here is her post:

I really liked my dining room table but my kids have banged it up so much it looked terrible. We wanted to get a new one but I knew that we wouldn’t get much out of this one, so instead of spending more money on a new one I decided to sand it down paint it and recover all 6 chairs. This really doesn’t take very long if you can get motivated! This picture was taken a few years ago so it still looks really good.

This picture was taken right before I ripped all the fabric off and sanded it down. See the stains (yuck)
This is the after. I covered the chair in a green and tan gingham. I painted the chair black and distressed it with the electric sander. it looks so much better!
This is why I tought it would be hard, because it has a front and back to the chair back.
I also did the piping. Again this is easy!

And here is the finished product.

I am really happy with how it turned out. I thought that black would be hard to work with as far as decorating but it is actually easier.

I searched the internet trying to find a how-to on recovering the backs of these chairs and came up empty handed. I finally decided to take it apart and wing it. Turns out that it is really easy!

Awesome job, Nicole! Thank you for showing it off!

Thrift Store Find Redesign

submitted the cutest DIY tray. Here is her post:

I picked up this old plaque at The Love of Jesus for $1.00! I think the guy at the counter thought I had lost my mind for buying it and decided to give me a bargain. Anyway, this is what it looked like when I bought it….apparently someone took the important part and gave the rest away. : ) It’s thick and heavy so it should stand the test of time.

After pulling the felt and metal plate off I primed the plaque using Kilz 2. Then I painted it using Benjamin Moore Super Spec semi gloss white. (both the Kilz and white paint I had left over from painting trim) After painting I hemmed a piece of fabric I had left over from a previous project to fit inside the frame. I measured the inside of the plaque and had a piece of glass cut to fit at Lowes. So here’s the low down on the cost of this project:

  • Plaque: $1.00
  • Paint and Primer: Free
  • Fabric: Free
  • Glass: $3.49

That makes a grand total of just $4.49! So there you have it this beautiful tray to hold my perfume and whatnot on my dresser for less than $5.00!

Here’s the finished project:

Great vision Allison! I love your redesign! Your tray is so pretty and useful! Thanks for ‘showing off’!

A BBQ/Baby Shower

Some of you know that I just hosted a co-ed baby shower/BBQ and I want to show off! I hope it’s inspirational and helpful to those planning the same since I found very little info via a google search for BaBy Q when I was planning.
Entertaining involves a different kind of DIY, but anyone planning an event knows there is a lot of DIY involved.

Note: Some of you have seen bits n pieces but I wanted to include it all in one post for those who haven’t…please be patient with me or really, go ahead and holler out that you saw it first – I don’t mind!

I want to share what I’ve been working on for a few months – in addition to the barn/patio/grape arbor projects. 🙂 Lots of hard work, some injuries, a deadline and lots of fun. I love party planning!

Yes-rsvp’s total was approx. 106 including women, men and children. It evolved into a fun family reunion. (Getting 50% yes rsvps was a myth in this case. Every one loves a family event!)

I created the above mosaic courtesy of DIY instructions from Bargain Hunting & Chatting with Laurie.
Thanks Laurie!
(Laurie – Now you can tell your family & friends that you’re an international computer software instructor…if only that came with a $$$ income and benefit package, huh?)

I couldn’t find what I had in mind for BBQ/baby shower invitations. Red/white checkered tablecloths are fun…but not the theme I wanted for a baby shower. So I used Photoshop to create my own simple post card. Vistaprint was running a special for 100 free postcards – how awesome! I paid the extra for faster shipping but 100 invitations cost me about $25 which when pricing them – is an awesome deal. Postcards are also less expensive to mail out.
(The word “beer” encouraged the male species to look forward to attending…tricky, ain’t it?)


I considered doing a nest/baby bird theme but since it was a BBQ/baby shower with women, men and children, I opted for just using shades of blue so Iwasn’t tied to just 1 theme. “Blue” is a pretty wide range for being able to find things easily.

I purchased the Martha Stewart pom pom kits from Michaels. They’re beautiful decor. Martha Stewart even has DIY instructions for making them out of any color of tissue paper (without purchasing the kit). They’re such a pretty option for an event decoration, don’t you think ?

We were lucky enough to get tables/chairs free of charge from a local club since my sister is a member (A membership is $30 a year…it’s worth joining just to have access to free ta
bles/chairs…have you ever rented them? $$$! ) We did have to set them up without tablecloths and under trees because of the sprinkling rain. I was way too distracted to have an OCD flare up about the tables not being evenly spaced & lined up. 🙂

I also put together a little clothesline using baby clothes (gift for mom-to-be & decoration – hurray!) and added a simple quote to our DIY chalkboard:

Centerpieces & Prizes

Centerpieces are mason jars tied with ribbon. I added fresh flowers purchased from Sam’s Club. I also tied on little envelopes with lottery tickets. I numbered them because I wasn’t sure how I would do the drawings, but didn’t end up using the numbers. We just drew names from envelopes that guests had signed with their name/address – to use for thank you cards. It was a hit. Who doesn’t love flowers & lottery tickets? We even had some winners! 🙂 Giving centerpieces away as prizes was also cost-effective, not to mention…a few $1 lottery tickets are more fun than dollar store kitchen towels, right? If not…I bet those who won will run out and buy dollar store kitchen towels with their winnings (nothing personally against those…just using them as an example, btw).

I over-estimated my flowers and had enough to make a few bouquets as well.

I had a few other prizes on hand as well for the games. A big rubber ball for the kids and a utensil holder with utensils and a few lottery tickets.
We only had two games, (see below) but there was participation and they were fun (I didn’t think the guys would go for the usual baby word scramble. (Although I love that game – I always win!) We also had some outdoor activities such as bad mitten (correction = badminton, who knew?), volley ball and bean bag toss. There was also a bon fire. It’s a little wimpy on the “bon” but it was perfect for roasting marshmallows after dark and in August…no one is interested in it for the heat, right?

Party Favors

Isn’t it nice to include party favors as a way of letting guests know you appreciate them? Coming up with a unisex and usable party favor was easy. I purchased these bbq-sauce and hot sauce bottles from here then added my own labels and tied with ribbon. These also served as double-duty…decorating the tables. (We had a little rain when setting up, so no tablecloths and the centerpieces and favors were the perfect choice because a little rain didn’t ruin anything.)

Kids – Favors & Activities
I did a children’s table with favors just for them. I got Chinese style gift boxes (on clearance from Michael’s), tossed in a mini-container of play dough and a ring pop.
Michaels also had mural coloring pages. It was perfect for covering the table. I added a few bowls of crayons too.

The teenagers also helped with face-painting for the kids. Crayola washable paint pens were perfect:

BBQ smoked ribs – Russ is famous for these. 7 racks of ribs which are low-maintenance and all of the prep is early in the morning (marinating over night).

Fried Chicken (WalMart…large guest lists warrant easy arrangements. Can you imagine the time it would take to make it myself? 100 pc. chicken was $60).

Hot Dogs – inexpensive, easy and kids love ’em!

Before I had a chance to continue with menu planning, I found that guests were offering to bring side dishes. This helped out A LOT and we had more than enough food. I’m so thankful for the unsolicited help! 🙂 Since the atmosphere is casual/outdoor picnic – pasta and potato salads, baked beans, hashbrown casseroles, veggie/meat/cheese trays, pretzel salads, etc. were perfect accompaniments!

The casual cook-out/picnic atmosphere allowed for kegs of beer (plastic cups), bottled water, cans of pop, plastic bottles of Little Hugs (with straws). We also just used styrofoam plates and plastic silverware. I did wrap the silverware individually in blue napkins secured with homemade stickers (leftover labels from party favors). Easy to grab 1 bundle and festive. 🙂


Sam’s Club cupcakes are perfect for a large guest list. I ordered equal amounts of chocolate/vanilla and buttercreme/whipped topping then decorated them myself. It keeps me sane when there’s so much going on and they are tasty. 🙂 I added a plastic baby to the center of one “pregnant” cupcake. It’s another way to give a prize without having an actual game. I chose a microfiber blanket for a prize…since it could have been an any-age-group winner. I did warn guests in advance!

We did two games:
  1. Don’t Break Your Water (all ages). Guests lined up and a finish line was marked a short distance away. Each guest was handed a water balloon. They were instructed to place them between their knees and to get to the finish line first without “breaking their water”. Kids and adults enjoyed this one and a prize was awarded to each.
  2. Baby Bottle Race (adults). I filled dollar store baby bottles with 2 oz. of beer. You should have heard the guys complaining and bragging that it was only 2 oz. until I said “go”. It’s harder than it looks. A full 8 oz. baby bottle would have worn out their jaw before they finished. Hilarious! This is what it looks like:

Misc. Tips

  • We find that using a kid’s wading pool is GREAT for ice/pop & water bottles.
  • I made a sign on poster board for guests to easily find our house:

  • Inexpensive paper lanterns make a nice entrance:
  • Designate a “photographer”. I thought I’d have time to take pictures but there was no way. (Thanks Celeste!) As hostess, I was busy organizing games and drawings, keeping food stocked, giving home tours, mingling with guests, etc.
  • Add a few bottles of hand sanitizer to the food table.
  • Citronella candles and food tents are helpful for outdoor events. So is having tents on stand-by in the event of rain. (20% rain = 80% sunshine when you see the glass half full…but best to have a back up!)
  • Have band-aids and disinfecting wipes on hand.
  • Open gifts as guests arrive. Most guests are only excited to see their gift opened and it doesn’t create a long time frame of gift opening boredom. We displayed opened gifts on a table so guests could see them.
  • Do not stand on an unsteady wicker chair to hang decorations. Nosebleeds are not on your to-do list. Slow down and breathe. 🙂
  • Have fun!
The mom-to-be, my sister, Bobbi.

   This post is brought to you by Pink Lining,  stylish designer changing bags for your baby.

A Great Beadboard Bathroom Remodel

Hi! Hope you had a great weekend! Any DIY projects completed? 🙂

I’m showing off a wonderful bathroom transformation for

Here is his post:

My wife wants to start deconstruction in the 2nd upstairs bedroom. I have informed her that we need to complete all of our unfinished projects downstairs before I will start another project. This is how it has gone for our home improvement projects. We begin a project, then we begin another project…then another…I think you get the picture.

Well…the list of 10 or so projects is down to 2. One is the bathroom with the 1950’s speckled tile. The other is the wine cabinet to fill in the space between our new cabinets. We have decided to have someone build the wine cabinet and I will complete the bathroom.

Over the last 2.5 years that we have owned the house, the bathroom has gone through an almost complete renovation. We started with the tub surround. The tiles around the tub/shower were loose. I removed those, which exposed the crumbling plaster from being wet for so long. Removed that to expose some mold and wet insulation. Reinsulated, killed the mold, put on new fiberglass drywall, and installed vinyl window. Then we had Bath Fitter come and install the single piece shower surround so I would never have to worry about moisture problems.

We had to remove a couple of extra tiles for the Bath Fitter installation which has left exposed Liquid Nails for the last 2 years. Not a pretty sight when you have some tile and some holes where tile used to be. Don’t ask me why they used Liquid Nails to install the tiles, but it is the reason we had water problems in the shower. But it is also the reason I am able to remove tiles with just a putty knife.

Then when we replaced the linoleum floor with heated, ceramic tile which required removing the bullnosed floor tiles. That has been like that for the last year. We also installed a new toiler and vanity/sink combo and removed yet more tile that was behind the toilet so I wouldn’t have to remove the toilet after installation.

Then we replaced the door, which required removing the door trim. Missing door trim for the last year.

So…it has been a long time coming. Here are the “before” pics. These are before the final removal of the tile. You can see the spots where tile used to be, but liquid nails is now showing through. Beautiful I know. Sorry for the crappy pics, but the bathroom is 8×5, so it is hard to get a good picture.

(what a sweetheart!)

Under construction…tile removed.

And here are some more after pictures:

The final steps included removing the remaining tile. To do so, I had to disconnect the sink and remove the tank on the toilet. This, of course, made it into a full day project.

Since the bathroom is so small, we have to come up with some creative ways for storage. The house has 1 bathroom and it is 8’x5′ (not including the shower).

I added some shelving above the toilet. But, in order to still have access to all of the internal parts of the toilet, I added a piano hinge to the shelf. I then added some front supports to keep it level.

I notched the beadboard for the sink so that it would sit flush against the wall. I had the beadboard come flush against the top of the sink so that I could pull the base of the cabinet away from the wall an inch or so and have the sink be supported by the cabinet.

Overall my wife and I are VERY happy with the outcome. The beadboard is so much nicer than the tile that was there.

Michael – it’s beautiful. I love beadboard and the wall color is so pretty! And the piano-hinge shelf is so clever! Great job! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Spray Paint Post by Decor Mama

Hi! TGIF! Ready for the weekend?

I’m having a crazy next few days with hosting a huge BBQ/baby shower but I have time to introduce a DIY-er for the 2nd time. Jane from Decor Mama had a great post on spray paint (I’m addicted – easiest way to DIY a transformation). Look at her Adirondack chairs. So cute! I love all of the outdoor/patio projects going on. (and remember Tricia’s Adirondack chairs?)

Thank you so much for sharing Jane! Your chairs look so bright and so fun!

Here is her post and head over to her blog to say hi! Have a great weekend everyone! I can’t wait to catch back up with you/your blogs and your projects!

Spray paint is a DIYer’s best friend! Let me list the reasons why:

  • Inexpensive…I’ve said this before but paint is cheap!
  • Easy…just point and spray. Now of course you need to spray long even strokes holding the can 8 – 10 inches from your target. Also, remember to apply several thin coats of paint.
  • Fun…I think of all the Do-it-Yourself projects out there, spray painting is one of my favorites, and often provides instant gratification.
  • Economical…did I mention spray paint is cheap. Let me reiterate this…you will save $$ on every project!
These Adirondack chairs had seen better days for sure, and frankly I was undecided as to whether I should re-new them with paint or just trash ’em. But the DIY diva in me came out and got the job done, although it did take months to finish. FYI…never start a project at the start of Summer, as this is just a crazy, busy time of year. In my case, I had to compete with kid 1’s Summer baseball, and kid 2’s Swim team, not to mention North Carolina’s hot & humid weather. (painting & high humidity are like oil & water…they don’t mix) This project also took longer than I expected because the wood in these old chairs is really old and therefore porous (even with two coats primer). As a result, the paint kept soaking into the wood, rather than coating the surface of the wood. No worries…these things happen with DIY projects and you can be sure nothing ever goes perfectly. So the solution I found was to spray on a couple of extra coats of paint. Here’s a run down of the steps I took to complete this project. First, I lightly sanded the wood and removed all loose dirt and paint. Second, I applied two coats spray primer – Killz is my primer of choice. Third, I applied several thin coats of spray paint in Rust-Oleum’s Regal Red. And finally, I applied one light coat of Polyurethane protective clear finish. Here’s a link: How to Spray Paint Like a Pro.

Now that these old chairs are finally finished I am, once again, thrilled with the result! I can’t wait to kick back with the Hubby and a glass of wine on a breezy Summer’s night and enjoy the fruits of my labor. That’s the beauty of DIY projects…it’s all about taking old pieces and giving them new life…and for me there’s nothing more rewarding! Got Spray Paint?

Easy Office Accents

Looking for a few new office accents? Head to Goodwill, like Kristen did.


Used to be this $4 chair:
Here are are her helpful photos showing the transformation:

Coordinate items you already have with new fabric, ribbons, embellishments or spray paint. Kristen’s old memory board:

Is now a matching accessory.
Great job Kristen. Even little projects can be fun and a great way to change a room! 🙂
Thanks for “showing off”!

Patio Primping

I love Amber’s quick, easy & inexpensive patio makeover. Adding color made her space fun and her furniture look brand new. Here is here email:

As new homeowners, we have had all sorts of projects, but when my mom recently visited from Michigan, she helped to create some of the cheapest and most dramatic makeovers so far!

The house we moved into had been vacant but “staged” for almost 6 months. Part of the staging was an aging lounge chair in the back yard. We didn’t think much of it when we saw the house and figured it would be gone when we got here, but our neighbor saved it from the Goodwill trip for which it was fated. When we finally signed the papers, he was proud to give it back to us, but we didn’t share the enthusiasm.
While browsing in a high-end store in a neighboring town, my mom spotted a terry cloth lounge chair cover, to be used poolside. We noted its construction and thought of giving the old lounge chair in the back yard a facelift with a similar treatment. Later that day, while shopping at Target, I spotted a large outdoor table cloth in bright stripes. At $19.99, it seemed like the perfect solution for covering our chair.
After measuring the chair, we determined that it would be easiest to keep the original hems on three sides by leaving the table cloth full length. We then created a pocket at the top to slip over the back of the chair and keep the cover in place. A few seems and a few ties later, and we had created a cheap solution to our ugly chair.
As if fate was shining upon us, my husband and I were showing my mom around the neighborhood later in the week, when we spotted another lounge chair in the trash pile at the end of a neighbor’s driveway. Knowing that my mother is a firm believer in the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” I shouldn’t have said a word, but my loud mouth blurted out, “Look, another lounge chair like the one we just covered!”
Maybe you can see where this is going…

Later that afternoon, my mom and I made a covert mission back to the neighbor’s driveway to pick up the ugly chair, and after another few seems and ties, our original creation has a twin.
Both chairs were covered with the same $19.99 table cloth, but I went back to Target to buy another to make some additional outdoor accessories. Overall, I spent just over $40 for the chairs, new patio chair seats, a small table cloth for the patio table, and a pillow for one of the lounge chairs. I have additional fabric left over and have big plans for another small head pillow and a larger pillow for another patio chair.

Cost: $40 (for everything, $19.99 for two lounge chairs)

Time: 2 hours

Skill level: Beginner. Sewing stripes is so easy that a first-timer could do it. If you were to choose a pattern, it would up the skill level a bit.

Tools: Measuring tape, sewing machine, pins, fabric (Optional: grommets and grommet maker for patio chair cushions, filling for pillows)

FANTASTIC job Amber! So clever! I love the fun summer stripes and the new look of your patio! Thanks for “showing off”!

If you’re new to the DIY Show Off, check out these beautiful outdoor makeovers too:

More Fabulous Furniture Makeovers

Hi DIY-ers! I have a few more furniture makeovers to share. I’ve included before & afters as a well as a link to the creative blogs they came from. Click “show off” to be redirected to the original blog post for more details and to meet the creative ladies behind these fabulous furniture transformations. They’re all fabulous – the ladies and their furniture! What do you think?

#1 One Night Stand
Show Off: Open Hand Living



#2 A Chalkboard Cabinet
Show Off: Happy Nester



#3 Revamped Bench with Nailhead Trim
Show Off: Project Pretty



#4 Black – Not so Basic
Show off: Decor Mama

#5 Painted Bench Redo
Show Off: Posh Pieces



I’m amazed each time I see paint transform furniture. Every time it produces beautiful results. Great job ladies! Thanks so much for sharing with us!!!