Archive of ‘Home’ category

Mailbox Makeover

Mailbox Makeover_Social

The mailbox that came with the house just looked kinda…meh. The gold numbers looked so out of the box blech. So time for a mailbox makeover. I took the mailbox off the wall and brought it in the house. The mailman refused to deliver my mail because I didn’t have a mailbox (which was the dumbest thing ever because I said he could just leave it on the floor).

Mailbox Makeover_01  Mailbox Makeover_02

So here’s what I used for my mailbox makeover:

  1. X-Acto Knife, or Rotary Cutter
  2. DIY Goo Gone (baking soda and canola oil) or Goo Gone
  3. Optional: Gloves
  4. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  5. Pliers
  6. Rubbing Alcohol and Cotton Balls
  7. White Vinyl
  8. Transfer Paper
  9. Optional: Silhouette Cameo

To start, I need removed the most annoying part of this stupid mailbox. There’s this center piece that lets you lock the mailbox but it just flaps open and shut and slams down on my fingers all the time. I opened up the box, exposed the hinge that the flap was attached with and pulled out the piece of metal that held it in.

Mailbox Makeover_03  Mailbox Makeover_04

Mailbox Makeover_05

Problem solved.

Next, I needed to remove the original number stickers on the mailbox. To do this, I used the blade of the rotary cutter and pushed it at an angle under the stickers to lift it off. Probably wasn’t the best idea to do it with a round blade, so use an X-acto knife if you have one.

Mailbox Makeover_06

I did this to the front and sides of the mailbox until I removed all the stickers.

Mailbox Makeover_07

I was left with gooey, sticky sticker goop. I swear I had a small bottle of goo gone laying around. Now that I actually needed to use it, I couldn’t find it. This always happens to me. I was at home and not really in the mood to drive anywhere to buy a new bottle so I Googled a DIY version that I found at DIYnCrafts. Its basically two parts baking soda and one part canola oil. The recipe says you can use any oil, but canola is what I had on hand. I mixed the stuff up in a plastic cup (1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp canola oil), put on some gloves, and slathered it on the mailbox.

Mailbox Makeover_08  Mailbox Makeover_09

So, it didn’t really work all by itself. I was looking around for something else to use and found some Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges. I broke off a piece and started scrubbing away at it with the DIY Goo Gone mix. WIN. It totally worked and cleaned a bunch of nasty dirt off too.

Mailbox Makeover_11  Mailbox Makeover_12

After a bit of scrubbing with the sponge all the sticky stuff came off and I rinsed the mailbox in water and wiped the whole thing clean. To make extra sure it was clean and ready for some vinyl, I used some cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe the surface too.

Mailbox Makeover_13  Mailbox Makeover_14

Next, I designed my new numbers in my Silhouette Studio program. I did this based on some house numbers I bought for the front of the house. I put some circles around each number and added the stripes. Here’s the Studio and PDF files for the cut file I used. Just replace the numbers I used with your own.

I loaded the vinyl into my Silhouette Cameo and hit the cut button with the standard vinyl settings. If you don’t have a Silhouette Cameo, just trace the design onto the vinyl and cut with an X-acto knife, being sure to cut only through the vinyl and not through the paper backing.

Mailbox Makeover_15  Mailbox Makeover_16

Next, I peeled back the excess vinyl around the design. The thought of wasting all that vinyl killed me so I cut around the design and saved any large pieces I might be able to reuse later before peeling off the excess vinyl around the design. Waste makes me cringe.

Mailbox Makeover_17  Mailbox Makeover_18

Then, I took my transfer paper and applied it to the design. I had some scraps left over from another project that left me with pieces smaller than the design, but I just pieced the two together over the design.

Mailbox Makeover_19  Mailbox Makeover_20

Once I applied the transfer paper, I flipped it over and peeled away at the vinyl backing (light blue paper). I carefully scored the backing around the numbers design with an X-acto knife (being super super careful not to cut into the vinyl) so I could peel back just the backing for the numbers. I wanted to focus on applying the numbers correctly first before dealing with the decorative lines.

Mailbox Makeover_21

Next, I lined up the design where I wanted it on the mailbox and applied carefully to the mailbox. I started by placing the design down from the right side and smoothing the design down with my hand towards the left to make sure there were no air bubbles.

Mailbox Makeover_22  Mailbox Makeover_23

Once the numbers were placed, I peeled back the transfer paper, but only around the numbers. Since I hadn’t placed the decorative striping, I didn’t want to peel the transfer paper off the stripes quite yet. I peeled back the transfer paper super super carefully, making sure that none of the vinyl came up in the process.

Mailbox Makeover_24  Mailbox Makeover_25

To finish up, I had to place the striping detail. I removed the vinyl backing and used the transfer paper as a guide/tool to place the stripes. I held the transfer paper and moved it up and down, eyeballing the straightness of the lines and smoothed the vinyl stripes down with my finger (from the numbers design outward to prevent any gapping/bubbling). I wrapped the excess vinyl around the back of the mailbox so you can’t see any jagged edges from the front or sides.

Note: Since the mailbox tapers towards the bottom, there was some minor gapping around the corners as I applied the stripes around the corner, but since vinyl is slightly stretchy and forgiving, I very carefully pulled it a little to stretch it around the corner.

Mailbox Makeover_26  Mailbox Makeover_27

So…my problem with cutting out designs is that the negative stuff (what I cut out) is wasted. I just can’t bring myself to throw that stuff away. Instead, I saved it and stuck it to the inside of the box. Tah dah!

Mailbox Makeover_28

Now my mailman is EXTRA sure its the right address when he drops the mail into the box (even though its obviously on the front too).

Here’s what it looks like hung up on the wall.

Mailbox Makeover_Cover  Mailbox Makeover_29

I’m happy to report that the mail man was glad I put the mailbox back so he could properly deliver my mail. He also complimented me on the new numbers which made me do a little dance on the inside. Fixing up the house…one small thing at a time.

Restained and Reupholstered French Settee

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I got the reupholstery itch again and began searching Craigslist again for a bench to add more seating to my living room when I discovered something called a settee. While its supposed to seat two or more people and isn’t really defined by overall size, these seemed smaller than a traditional loveseat. Honestly, I don’t even know what the difference is and I’m no expert on furniture names. I liked the size options that came up in my search and ran with it.

I found a few pieces online posted by a local antiques dealer, but I have a hard time paying for some old beat up furniture at prices that are sometimes more expensive than new furniture. I kept searching for a few days and came across this beautiful ugly settee and got it delivered for $50 after a bit of haggling. The guy said it was an antique. It was definitely reupholstered more than once. The green seems like the second upholstery, and the pink stuff the third. Someone consciously picked this heinousness pink fabric. WHY!? (Excuse the photobombing dog. He thinks its ugly too.)

French Settee_02 French Settee_01

So I set out to refinish the wood and reupholster the fabric. Here’s what you’ll need in addition your thrifted/Craigslisted/found piece of furniture:


  1. 1 sheet of 120 grit sandpaper (or something around 120 grit)
  2. Sock or rag
  3. Paint Brush or Sponge Brush
  4. Wood stain (Sunbleached)
  5. Plastic covering/Plastic bag/Anything to cover the seat
  6. Optional: Brush cleaner


  1. Flat head screwdriver
  2. Pliers
  3. Staple gun (Manual Staple Gun or Pneumatic Staple Gun)
  4. Staples
  5. Fabric (grey/white stripes and grey/white dandelions)
  6. Scissors or Rotary Cutter and Rotary Cutting Mat
  7. Ruler (preferably long)
  8. Glue Gun and Glue Gun Sticks
  9. Pre-made cording/trim or ~20 yards of 6/32 welt cording
  10. Optional: Sewing machine and double cording foot
  11. Optional: Thread

To get started, I began by tearing the chair apart. Basically, removing all the ugly bits: the fabric. This process requires some muscle. I started on the back and used my pliers to start tearing away at the trim that was hot glued onto the chair. I made my way around all the upholstered parts of the chair. What I uncovered was horrible: nails. I’ve never come across this before, but

French Settee_03  French Settee_04

I found an unattached piece of fabric and started tearing it off the chair (also crossing my fingers that the nails would come off in the process). This is great if you’ve got some aggression to take out. Keep tearing at it until you get all the fabric off. I found that once the fabric was gone, it gave me some space to wedge a flat head screwdriver to pry the nails out. It was tedious…but I did it. Only to uncover another layer of fabric and…staples. This is the gamble you take when you decide to take apart an antique.

French Settee_05

So I kept tearing away and wedging my flat head screwdriver underneath the staples and wiggling them out until i finally unveiled the stuffing. FINALLY. I also did this for the back rest and the back side of the settee. For the back rest and back side, I set the stuffing to the side since it was just sliding off the back and I wanted it out of the way for the next step. There was nothing wrong with the stuffing/padding in the settee I didn’t buy any replacement stuffing/padding.

French Settee_06   French Settee_07   French Settee_08

Next up: STAIN! I took my newly stripped settee out to the garage and got to work. First, I started by taking a plastic bag and covering the seat. It probably isn’t all that important, but I wanted to keep the seat area dust/ paint stain free. I took my sand paper and did a rough sand on the whole thing to scratch up the surface, similar to spray painting in my Repainted Dining Chairs post. Next, I took my husband’s old sock to clean up the sanding dust. I dampen the sock, flip it inside out and use the padded side to grab all the sanded residue so it doesn’t fly off the chair and settle back onto the chair.

French Settee_09  French Settee_10

Now its time for some stain. I used some free stain I got from my contractor. Who doesn’t love free? I popped open the can and stirred (lesson learned from another project), dipped my brush in and started slathering it on. I used a regular bristled brush for this and in hindsight I wish I had used a sponge brush to show less brush strokes. Use whatever you’re comfortable with or what you have on hand. It probably doesn’t matter that much. A sponge brush for stain is just my personal preference. Voila. Stain all done. Yay for one coat stain! I let this sit in the garage for a few hours before moving it into the house to dry. It probably sat in the house a few more days while I waited for my fabric to arrive in the mail.

French Settee_11  French Settee_12

Selecting fabric took me longer than usual. I thought about going with a geometric print, a solid, and damask. I didn’t like any of them so I went with a simple wide stripe that I thought would be a good contrast for the more intricate wood work. I was pretty happy with my choice.

Once my fabric arrived, I realized I was faced with another choice. Which way do I make the stripes go!? I was reading Young House Love and saw that they used some rendering program to see what a design idea might look like. I have no such fancy tools. I have Paint (not the paint kind of paint, but that program that comes free with Windows). So…here’s my version. Don’t laugh. I make do with what’s free. Also, if I stand far enough away from my computer screen and squint a little (I promise I did this), it doesn’t look so bad.

French Settee_14  French Settee_13

I decided on vertical stripes for the back rest and horizontal for the seat. Now it was time to cut the fabric to fit the seat. Normally (and logically), you’d save the original seat fabric and use it as a template by tracing it with an extra 3-4″ around the edges. However, I was an idiot and threw it out. Don’t do that. Be smart. Save yours. I had to measure the seat and cut a rectangle to fit with an extra 4-5″ just in case. I’d deal with the corners later. I did the same thing for the back rest and seat back. Those were much easier because they’re just rectangles. Lesson: don’t throw out the old fabric!

Next up is the fun part. AIR TOOLS! You can use a regular staple gun for this, but I can’t even put in words how much fun a pneumatic staple gun is. SUPER fun. So, I set up my pneumatic air gun (follow instructions for the one you have or use a manual staple gun), and got to work.

I stapled one staple in the middle of each of the four sides of the seat, making sure the pattern is locked down and straight before I make way way around the edges. I made sure to pull the fabric tight as I stapled around. To make sure it didn’t turn out wonky and crooked, I used the lines in the pattern lined up to the seat edge as a guide. However, I did not make sure to leave 4-5″ from every corner, but you should. I ended up pulling those out to do the corners later. Learn from my mistakes.

French Settee_15  French Settee_16

Once I did all the sides, it was time to work on the corners. Because you left the right amount of space and didn’t staple right up to the edge like I did, you can pull back the corner and start cutting in a diagonal line. I had to remove a few staples to get enough space to work with. Womp, womp. It doesn’t matter a whole lot how straight you cut here, but it is important to make sure that where you stop cutting is the actual corner of the chair. If you don’t, your corner is going to be crooked and ugly. So don’t mess up! Adjust your cutting line as you go and aim for the corner.

French Settee_17

Next, I folded/tucked the excess fabric underneath until i got a straight edge against the side of the chair and the corner laid flat and neatly matched up to the corner of the wood leg. I also made sure that the fabric folded under was laying flat so there were no bumps or wrinkles. Then, I secured the corner down with staples. I did the same for the other side of the corner. Repeat on the other 3 corners.

Tip: For some of them, I had to cut deeper into the corner to make sure it laid flush against the corner of the wood. Better to cut too little to start than to cut too much!

French Settee_18  French Settee_18a

Repeat the process (minus the corners) for the back rest and seat back. Start by doing one staple on each of the four sides, then make your way around the edges.

Tip: I tipped my chair over to make it easier to work with. The fabric kept sliding down when I was trying to staple and then I thought: DUH. Stop working against gravity.

French Settee_19

After I finished this, I trimmed all the excess fabric beyond the staples. I trimmed close to the staples, but left as much fabric that would hide underneath the trim I’d glue on later. Its a balance between having hanging fabric shreds poking out the trim and not compromising the fabric near the staples.

French Settee_20

Next up, the trim to finish off the chair. You can either buy your own trim/cording from a fabric store or you can make it yourself. I decided to make it myself to ensure that it matched the fabric on the chairs. What YOU should do is save the original trim and measure how much you need. I threw mine out because I wasn’t thinking. Instead, I measured out how much I needed. and added an extra foot just in case.

I decided to do double welt cording to cover the staples and because I think it looks extra classy. I started with 2″ strips of fabric cut on the bias (cut on a 45 degree angle) with my rotary cutter, rotary cutting mat, and ruler. Once I got my first cut, I just measured 2″ out and followed the angle of the first cut. My ruler has grids on it so it was quick work to cut these strips.

French Settee_21  French Settee_22

Next, I sewed all the strips together on an angle. This is how everyone did it on YouTube, so I did it too. First, lay the strips together with the right sides facing together and at a 90 degree angle: one sideways, one vertical. Then sew at an angle, from one corner to the next, then trim the excess fabric, leaving 1/4 – 1/2″ and spread the fabric so it lays flat. I did  this for all the strips until I had one continuous strip as long as the trim for the seat. I did this again for the back rest and seat back as well.

French Settee_23  French Settee_24  French Settee_25

Next, I sewed the welt cording into the fabric. First. I folded one edge of the fabric over the welt cording until it was completely covered by the fabric, then placed the second cord next to it and rolled the whole thing over. Welt cording in a blanket.

French Settee_26  French Settee_27 French Settee_28  French Settee_29

Now, I was ready to sew. I got my double welt cording foot and attached it to my sewing machine. I have a Brother I bought a few years ago and I bought this AMAZING set of feet to go with it from Amazon. Best. Deal. Ever.

French Settee_30  French Settee_31

The foot attaches as a snap on foot and the two cords fit nicely into the grooves underneath the cording foot. All I did was adjust the needle so it sewed through the hole in the center of the foot and it was like sewing a straight line with a regular sewing foot! Actually, it was easier because the cord under the grooves automatically fed it through straight. AMAZING. As I sewed, I readjusted the fabric over the welt cording, making sure it was wrapped correctly. Minutes later (seriously…minutes), I had my own double welt cording! It was SO easy. If you have any excess fabric that wraps around, just trim it off. I didn’t have any for mine so I skipped this step.

French Settee_32

Time to glue this stuff on to finish up the chair. I plugged in my glue gun and let it heat up and had about 10-15 sticks of glue off to the side. You’ll need A LOT of glue to do this. That stuff runs through a glue gun like water out of a faucet!

I started at a less obvious corner and applied some glue and began applying the cording. I went all the way around the chair in 12-16″ sections applying glue, then placing the cording until I got all around the chair. I used the point of my scissors to hold down the cording in some places to make turns around the arms of the chair. Other than that, this was pretty straight forward.

When I got to the end, I detached 1-2″ of cording from the fabric and pulled back the fabric to expose the cording. I cut the exposed cording to match exactly to the edge of the start of my welt cording. I then took the excess fabric, folded the raw edge under, then wrapped it around the start of my cording to create a clean attachment. I secured this all with some glue.

French Settee_33  French Settee_34

I did the same thing for the back rest and seat back and I was FINALLY DONE.

French Settee_35French Settee_36

Oh. Surprise! I did the back in a dandelion fabric from my Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs post. The settee is in another room so it ties the fabrics together from one room to the next without being super obvious.

Nail Polish Keys

Nail Polish Keys_Cover

When we first moved into our house, we had all the locks changed. We hadn’t realized that the previous owners used a different lock brand for nearly every door, meaning a different key to every door. My house is tiny, but it sure has a lot of doors! I wanted to find a way to differentiate between all the keys that was cute and not those rubber things I’ve seen. My locksmith wasn’t about to cut me any cute printed ones I got from Home Depot.

So…back to my trusty Pinterest. I saw this pin by A Bubbly Life and decided to make my own version.

Nail Polish Keys_01

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Rubbing alcohol
  2. Cotton ball/paper towel/cotton pad (whatever to use the rubbing alcohol with)
  3. Nail Polish (OPI Need Sunglasses, Essie Recessionista)
  4. Optional: Glitter Nail Polish (Essie Silver Bullions)
  5. Top Coat (Seche Vite)
  6. Keys (obviously)
  7. Toothpick or Dotting tool
  8. A place to wedge your key (more on this later)

Nail Polish Keys_02

To start, I prepped my key by using rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to remove any dirt/grime/grease to ensure that polish was going to stick to key. I lied. I used nail polish remover because I can’t find my rubbing alcohol. It all works the same. You just want to clean it.

Next, I painted my first THIN coat of yellow polish (OPI Need Sunglasses?). THIN is the key. Ha. No pun intended. Seriously though. Thin coat. Its like polish on your fingers. Many thin coats are better than one gloppy one. Make sure to go around the sides, the edges and the little hole at the top.

Nail Polish Keys_03  Nail Polish Keys_04

Nail Polish Keys_05  Nail Polish Keys_06

Voila. First coat done. You’re going to need some dry time in between coats. The first time I did this, I walked around the house waiving the key around like an idiot. Lucky for you, I’ve found a better solution. This is the part I tell you about the place to wedge your key. I placed my key on top of my face cream (if you’re curious its Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar) with the painted part hanging off and my little tube of toothpicks on top to make sure they key doesn’t tip over. This image is after 3 coats.

Nail Polish Keys_07

I know. I’m a DIY MacGyver. Kidding. This sure beats walking around like an idiot waving a key around.

Next, it was time for the pattern. I decided on hearts because…why not? I took my mauve colored polish (Essie Recessionista) and dropped a globby onto an old business card. You can use anything you have on hand. You just want something that isn’t going to absorb all the polish. You want polish to sit like little gobbies on top of whatever surface you use. Magazine covers would work great for this.

I took one toothpick dipped it into the polish globby and began drawing some hearts. To make these you dot two dots next to each other and then drag the polish down to draw the point. You can use a dotting tool or toothpick for this. I tried both, but I found the toothpick gave me a better point than a dotting tool, so that’s what I went with. A zillion hearts later…

Nail Polish Keys_08Nail Polish Keys_09

They hearts don’t look perfect and I didn’t expect them to. There’s nothing like some glitter polish to cover up some less than perfect painting. I painted a coat of a fine silver glitter polish (Essie Silver Bullions) to distract from all the imperfections. The more imperfections, the more glitter and polish with bigger glitter pieces.

Side note: This is also how I cover up a botched nail art attempt.

Another side note: This is the best type of nail art because you don’t have to figure out how to paint your non dominant hand.

Nail Polish Keys_10

Let the glitter coat dry (if you used it), then slather on a top coat. This is where I say, thinner is not better. This is the protective coat that’s gonna seal in your design and make it last longer. It definitely extends dry time, but who cares? Maybe you do walk around waving your key around like a crazy person until it dries.

The other keys I painted have lasted well over a year. Here’s my newest key to add to the collection:

Nail Polish Keys_11



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