DIY PROJECT: THIS OLD STEREO STAND

Now that the cats have a new feeding stand, an old wood project from my high school years can be touched up and used for something else. Woot! So a long time ago I decided to make a new stand for my dad’s stereo/record player (hence no top) for a shop project. Even with careful measuring and well meaning plans, the stereo didn’t fit my thoughtfully made stand. Even now, I know where I had made my mistake, but all the shop terms and lingo have long escaped my mind that I can’t correctly explain my error.

Obviously, my dad couldn’t use the new stereo stand so I think my younger sister, Becky, moved it to her room and used it for something I can’t remember. I’m not even 100% positive Becky nabbed it for her use when I was still in high school, but I remember she had it when she moved into her first house with her husband. Whenever I visited her and saw the stand, I thought, “Hey! I made that!” Then a second thought usually occurred to me, “Why does Becky have it and not me?”

A few years ago, Becky finally returned the stand to me, and it was used to hold a canvas bin and then a feeding stand for the cats. I’m not quite sure what happened to the proposed stereo stand after all these years, and despite all the nicks, scratches and unexplained color splatter (the brown streaks were my test to check if I should use a primer before slathering it in brown paint), it still holds up. My craftsmanship is just amazing! Maybe I should have my own show on HGTV.

The stand was finished with a stain so I guess I needed a primer to help the brown paint adhere. To be honest, I’m still learning what items should be primed before painting. And if I prime, can I use old leftover paint AND primer (as most paints these days are) for my base? Or do I need a special primer? I had plenty of old leftover paint plus primer that I had used as a primer on the step stool and the cats’ new feeding stand so I just used that instead of running to the hardware store.

I am so new to repurposing old furniture into something new that I don’t even know how many prime coats are needed. One? Two? Since I have no idea I have been using one coat of prime before focusing on the brown paint. Stupid Pinterest projects — the pins look so easy. I spent a few days painting the stereo stand a deep rich brown that I had used on the feeding stand and the step stool, which leads me to a question. Does all the decor in the house need to match?

Our color scheme is a basic rich brown — the reclining couch, TV cubicle stand, and some other small pieces are all deep brown. Should everything match? Or should I throw caution to the wind and paint something red or gray or some other color that complements the color scheme? This is why I’m not an interior designer. Anyway, after days of painting and touching up small areas the stand was ready for the final top coat. A sealant, I guess. Have I mentioned I’m not a professional painter?

Riley gives me the stink eye because I won’t let him outside (he’s an indoor cat). The patio screen door is used when someone can keep an eye on the furry little turd because he likes to press his body weight against the screen to pop it out. In the background of the picture, do you see the upside down food dish? That’s his handiwork and the reason for the new feeding stand. I love my little troublemaker. Who can resist that big ball of orange fur?

I decided the old stereo stand is the perfect place for the paper shredder to sit on top and binders containing important paperwork inside the cabinet. A slim magazine holder — to house documents ready for the shredder — will fill the small space between the paper shredder and the right edge. Once the previously white cabinet stand is ready for use, it will go next to the paper shredder stand and be filled with office supplies.

DIY PROJECT: DRINK AND PAINT … AT HOME

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Painting Supplies

Ever since I enrolled in my first paint class, I have sort of been obsessed with the DIY painting canvas. When I glanced at the instructor’s upcoming schedule, I immediately zoned in on two or three classes I wanted to take. I love the idea of taking a painting class with friends — talking, laughing, drinking, painting — every now and then because I don’t mind dropping $30 for the class and another $20 on drinks and food. But should I spend $100 (excluding drinks and food) for three more paintings?

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With a ton of research on Pinterest, I figured I could teach myself some of the easier paintings. First, I need to buy the supplies. Surprisingly, I spent less than $20 for 20 small bottles of paint, a package of paint brushes, and 10-pack of 8×10 stretched canvas. Hint: use coupons and look for sales. Once I had all my supplies, I was ready to paint! Thanks to Pinterest, a ton of simple and colorful paintings caught my eye and made me think, “I can paint that.”

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One of the first paintings I tried on my own was the pretty red daisy I learned in class. For some reason, I’m unable to replicate the pretty red daisy after several frustrating attempts. After trying different methods and paint mixtures, I was not satisfied with any of the replications — I just didn’t like the look. So, I decided to try different colors — the blue, green, and white combination. Using leftover colors on my palette, I created a multi-colored daisy, which I absolutely love!

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In an upcoming post, I’ll go through the step by step process of painting a pretty daisy at home. After replicating the daisy painting a few times, I tried painting a few different flowers — hydrangeas and dandelions. I thought dandelions would be super easy because I can paint lines and dots. No problem. Maybe my standards are set too high, but I really hated how most of my dandelions turned out (which led me to repainting the canvas several times).

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My hydrangeas were easier to paint — although my sister, Becky, pointed out hydrangeas aren’t orange or dark peach-ish and my leaves should be much bigger. Back to the dumb dandelion, I finally successfully painted one that met my approval (see picture). Thin short lines and small dots were all I needed for the flower part, and I kept the simple stem curved and thin. For the almost perfect dots, I dipped an unsharpened pencil into the paint and carefully pressed the end onto the canvas.

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Because I pinned a ton of paintings on my Pinterest board, I wanted to test my newfound painting skills on smaller canvases instead of the huge 16×20 canvases normally used at “drink and paint” events. Side note: I scored a 5-pack of 16×20 canvas for $9! How cool am I? Super cool. I plan to use the bigger canvases on a painting I love and adore. I still plan to enroll in painting classes with friends, but I’m also happy to paint by myself in the comfort of my own home — and drinks.  😉

SPOTLIGHT: CORK N CANVAS

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My lack of drawing and painting skills held me back from trying one of those “drink and paint” classes. Even though the classes are especially designed for people like me, I didn’t want to be “that person” who managed to ruin the most basic paint by number drawing. Finally, after having other friends and my sister, Becky, rave about the popular social event, I pushed my fear aside and picked out a class — the popular corner flower.

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The Cork N Canvas instructor was really friendly and encouraging, and I had a great time. From the moment I sketched my petals — even with a template! — I thought my painting was in real trouble. My fear grew a little worse once I started painting the background petals because the petals weren’t perfectly pointed — even my newfound friends on my left and right painted perfectly pointed petals. *sigh* The instructor recommended using big long strokes and not overbrushing the paint.

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The instructor also mentioned to not overthink the process. Easier said than done. My fears started to disappear a bit once the background petals started to take shape and the colors began to shine. Unfortunately, the perfectionist in me started to nitpick the little things and I started overbrushing my petals. At least I wasn’t alone because my neighbors were second guessing their handiwork and wondering whether their petals looked pretty.

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Once the background petals were completed, time to focus on the front petals! With long brush strokes here and there and with different paint colors (red, maroon, white, black, grey), my flower started to look so pretty! If I had my way, I would have painted the background first, using long steady brush strokes in one direction, and then painted the petals. Then again, I’m the mere beginner student full of fear and self doubt and not the expert teacher.

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Once I was satisfied with my beautiful petals, I chose a dark grey for the background. Filling in the wide open space was easy. Painting between the petals was not, but it gave me a chance to touch up and fix some of the petals. Finally, coloring the partial center of the flower was the last step. I mixed the last bits of paint on my palette and filled in the center. The instructor’s flower example showed beautiful dots covering the center, and I aimed to for the same beauty with my flower.

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The thumbprint dots did not meet my high expectations despite what the instructor and other students said. Once the dots were dry, I simply painted over them. If I had more time (and patience), I probably would have tried the thumbprint dots again, but after a little more than two hours, I just wanted to go home. Anyway, I am super happy and incredibly proud of my first painting! I would recommend pushing fear aside and trying out a class. I’m glad I did.