Thursday, May 29, 2014

6 Tips for Staining Wood

A lot of the projects I do involves staining wood.
I've learned a few tips and tricks along the way and want to share with you what I've learned!


1. Choose Minwax over Rustoleum
Yes, there are many more professional brands, but we use Minwax stain and it works great for us!
Rustoleum doesn't seem to absorb as well.



2. Softwood stains much better/easier than hardwoods.
For a list of woods by type check out this page.

We have used red oak (a hardwood) for several projects. It's more expensive and "nicer". 
  Hardwoods take longer to absorb the stain and you're often left with lighter wood and a tacky surface. 
We have also used select pine, or standard 2x4's and 2x6's which are commonly made from Spruce, Doug-Fir, or Southern Yellow Pine.
We found that we usually like the cheaper and softer woods better for several reasons; the cost, the wood grain character, and the ease of staining.


3. Sanding Prep
Sand your surface with a medium grit sandpaper first (100) and then finish with a fine grit paper (220) for the best results in staining. If you prefer to sand once, opt for a 150-180 sandpaper and you'll probably be just fine!


4. Stain with a pad, not a brush or rag. 
 Found in the paint section near brushes and rags and all. This is the ONLY thing we ever stain with. They are simply called "staining pads". Please WEAR GLOVES. This is from Google images and they will end this project with brown hands, so please don't forget the gloves!
source
Just dip the pad into the stain a little bit and rub the pad along your surfaces, going with the direction of the wood grain. This method helps you to rub the stain into the wood and doesn't leave a lot of excess stain on the wood that you have to remove later. In fact after I've stained everything I immediately wipe it down again. No soaking and wiping off for me!


5. Don't sand between coats of stain
Why on earth would sand what you just stained? How does that make any sense? You remove color and create dust? No thank you... If you read the jar it actually tells you not to. Yet I know some people who still do this.
I usually do 2 coats of stain and am able to achieve the color I want. This will depend on the color you use and want.


6. To protect it, use a polyurethane
When choosing your polyurethane is okay to buy the Rustoleum brand. In fact we prefer it, since they have a matte finish. We like the matte finish for our rustic farmhouse style.
If your surface or piece will have a lot of wear and tear - like a table or nightstand you would want to use something to protect it from getting scratched. If it's a decor piece that won't get constant wear and tear than no polyurethane is necessary.
You do want to use super fine steel wool between coats of poly. It will ensure your finish doesn't peel off. Just rub the steel wool along the surfaces and brush off the particles it leaves behind.
**We didn't do this on our first table and the finish started peeling - so this is highly recommended!

Rust-Oleum Quart Ultimate Poly Matte Polyurethane
source


I hope my tips have helped you feel more knowledgeable and confident to take on a staining project!

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Personalized Name Print

I'm super excited about this deal I just purchased from GroopDealz!
I'm sharing with you in case anyone else loves this as much as I do!

 I chose the style on the right, and it will be printed on a natural oatmeal linen. I personalized it with our last name and est. year.
Before I purchased it, I thought maybe I ought to try and make this myself, but then I decided it would be easier just to order! :)

 

It's sold by Simply French Market. Check out their shop on Etsy, they have sooo many cute things! I'm dying and want to buy them all! I'll be sure to take some pictures once I get the print and decorate with it!

The last time I ordered from Groopdealz was in Sept 2012, and the experience was less than awesome. Here's to hoping this one is better!

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Rustic Bench



You may remember the Pottery Barn knock off table we built last year. You can see the post here. Since then we sold it and built another. And since the new table, we built a matching bench!



The best part about this bench is we didn't spend any extra money on it. We used only materials left in our garage!

The legs are made from a 4x4 trimmed down. The sashes from trimmed down 2x4's.
 The top middle portion is red oak plywood cut into strips, with red oak edging adhered so you wouldn't see the plywood layers. The top ends are scrap red oak boards we had left over from the table.


We distressed the top with the grinder, various hammers,  and other misc tools.

 

The doggies approved of it!




Thanks for stopping by!


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sargento Freebies

A while back I joined Influenster. This is my second Influenster box and I love getting freebies and trying new things!

A few weeks ago I was greeted at home with this:


This box included coupons for a free package of cheese slices and $1.00 off another package. Yes - it was a promo deal to get us to try and review Sargento's new product, their ultra thin slices.

Do I mind a little bribe to try out something new?
Absolutely not!!

For my free coupon I chose the Swiss. Let me tell you...that cheese was actually really really good! I snuck in a few slices by itself and it just melted in my mouth - no lie!

I also tried a Sargento recipe, the Sassy Turkey & Swiss Cheese Sandwich. Recipe found here.

My favorite part of this Influenster box?
The bag...


This awesome bag was included in the box and is my new lunchbox for work! Yay!!

If you're looking for a lower calorie cheese, try these new thin slices! If you're not looking and not interested, well thanks for reading my post!! :)


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Friday, May 16, 2014

Decorate with Wine Crates

If you're like me and love wine -
I mean wine crates!

Here's some ideas on how to use them in your home.

1. Stack them
Nothing fancy, just staggering them on top of each other.
 
 (these crates were sanded and stained)



2. Turn them into shelves
Nothing permanent, but stagger them on top of each other on their sides.




3. Make a Planter Box
All of the above crates were stained, however they weren't distressed or finished with a protective finish. I wanted to add more detail to this one so I spent some extra time. Here's what I did:

The crate started off pretty rough...

After some sanding and repair I distressed it. I used the grinder, some nails, and misc tools.


After the distressing I stained it with English Chestnut, and finished it with and outdoor polyurethane.



I have yet to fill it with flowers, but you get the idea. :)

Something like this...
I (heart) wine boxes.  and flowers too!

 Here's some ideas of what other people did with their wine crates:
If you're like me, then you are probably a little short on cash right now.This is a nice reminder that lots of things lying around the house can be turned into household decorations etc. Cheap, easy, and it looks nice.
Source

Easy DIY coffee table from wine crates | Offbeat Home
Source


MEDIUM Wine Crate Ottoman - Made to Order - 21.5" wide x 13.5" deep x 15" tall
Source

I hope these ideas help inspire you to make something new and unexpected out of your old wine crates! If you don't have any, check out your local spirits store and ask them for some!


Linking up with Liz Marie Blog this week for her Inspire Please Linky Party!

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Friday, May 9, 2014

SF Trip Recap

Hey there! I meant to post earlier this week but found myself catching up on TV shows, working late at home, or trying to un-pack! 

I had a great time in the San Francisco Bay area! I got to celebrate my birthday, see old friends, and cross a few things off my bucket list! Here's some of my favorite photos from the trip!

Loved these weird looking flowers!


Wine country...ummmm yeah!!
 


Castello  di Amorosa
AMAZING!! If you're in Napa Valley you have to see this castle and explore. It was so much fun!




 Corey and I pretending to be the king and queen... :)




Because every castle should have some cats...
(yes they were real)
 

I love this cart. I wanted to bring it home!! 
 

The next day we saw the Golden Gate Bridge!

 From the SF side...

 From the Sausalito side looking back to SF.

Then we headed on over to the Muir Woods National Monument.
This is also a must if you're visiting the area. $7 park admission and totally worth it! They have a great path to casually walk on, and tons of trails to hike on. The trees are unbelievable!!

Photo Op time!!
 


More pretty flowers!


These trees!!! Oh my...
 



Then we headed on over to Muir Beach and was amazed again!!
 


I had fun climbing the rocks! Though it was touch to get up there!


I could stare at these views all day!! <3


We also got to see a few friends while we were there, visit the Jelly Belly factory, go olive oil tasting, see the "Full House" house, and lots more! 
Such a cool trip, I'm glad we were able go! 
Hope you enjoyed seeing my pics! 

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