Sunday, October 12, 2014

For the Soul Sundays

Everyone would like to have stronger faith. By themselves, the scriptures may not strengthen your faith, but being faithful to what they teach, does. In other words, faith cannot be separated from faithfulness. -John Bytheway
Source: LDS Living

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kitchen Table Makeover


I have been wanting to do this for the longest time, and I FINALLY got to do it. I thought maybe we should get a new dining set, but then I thought that ours was still in good shape structurally, it was just in bad shape cosmetically. I would save us big bucks if I refinished the one we have. Our set is hand-me-downs from my sister-in-law, which she used for quite some years. We moved to our house back in 2004 and this dining set is still in use, after many, many kids mistreated it! The table had so many scratches that I had to sand it so well I thought I removed like 1/4 inch of surface. I used a 60 grit sandpaper for that! The chairs were really stained and super dirty and there was grease all over the place. The table specifically had a very thick coat of varnish that took me forever to remove.

This is how my beloved table looked like:


It was really a disaster especially on the top. Plus I am not a fan of oak either. My son even had fun once poking the top with a pencil all over the surface. Yikes. But one thing I ADORE about this table are the pedestal legs...so pretty. I did not want to stain the bottom part but I wanted the table to be two-toned, the bottom white and the top dark walnut. For the chairs, I stripped the varnish, sanded them, painted them with Krylon paint + primer in black and then applied two coats of Polycrylic in semi-gloss. They look so much better compared to what they were!
For the table, I cleaned it well using soap and water, then I applied Citistrip stripping gel (you can see it on the picture) pretty much you paint it on the surface and wait a minimum of 30 minutes. I actually let it work for several hours. When the paint looked like bubbles and I scraped off the finish easily. Some of the finish remained but instead of doing this again I decided to sand it. I used a 60 grit sandpaper with an orbital sander first, and then I finished it with a 220 grit for smoothness.


Here it is after the good sanding. This step is tedious but if you want a good result it is needed. Make sure you ALWAYS sand and stain following the grain of the wood.


 All the varnish is gone!


 I used these products. Once you try Minwax, you do not want to try ANYTHING else! I applied the wood conditioner before staining. It prevents the stain from blotching all over.


Using a stain brush, I started staining following the grain. I applied a good amount of stain (this product is thick) and then after 3 to 5 minutes I removed the excess with a clean towel. 



First coat. I let it dry completely, 8 to 10 hours minimum. And yes, I was tempted to do a second coat after a couple of hours, but I resisted...I worked on the pedestal instead!


After the second coat and drying...


We had fun eating on the living room table for a couple of days!

 Here is a close-up of the finish:


I then applied two coats of Polycrylic in semi-gloss but to be honest, I would like to apply something glossier than that.

                                     

For the bottom, I primed it with Zinsser primer and gave it two coats of Behr Ultra White in satin.


Now we are enjoying our "new" dining set makeover for less than $50 that I spent on materials.



Much better!




Just in time for fall and Halloween decorating!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Uruguayan Pancakes

Our version of "pancakes" in Uruguay is different than the classic American pancakes. Ours are more like crepes than pancakes but are called "panqueques"in Spanish  They are usually made for dessert or for "merienda" which is a n afternoon snack.They are super easy to make and we really like them. They are filled with dulce de leche (caramel) and they are sinful with Nutella!
You can also use this recipe for any dessert crepe you'd like and fill them up with fruits. They are also delicious with cinnamon sugar!


Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp pf salt
  • 2 cups of milk (I use 2% milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 TBSP of  melted butter plus more for the skillet
Combine all ingredients and put the batter in a Pyrex for easy pouring into the skillet



Step one: put a little butter in the pan, and add about 1/3 cup of batter into skillet.


 Keep turning the skillet so the whole surface is covered by the batter. With a spatula keep loosening the edges and when it is brown flip so it can cook on the other side.


Yummy!


Spread a little dulce de leche, roll up and sprinkle with powder sugar.


Enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Trash to Treasure: New Life to Old Lamps

I have been looking for a set of lams for my family room. I live in a tri-level home so the family room downstairs can be a little dark despite having two big windows and recessed lights. I wanted something cottage-y, distressed or patina-like. I saw some awesome lamps at Target (my absolutely FAVORITE store I can't live without) but they were $49.99 a piece. For a frugal girl like me that is too much for a lamp. However, I must confess that one day I even put them in my cart when my mind told me "go ahead", but then my heart told me the price was outrageous and I decided to follow my heart (I needed two ;-)...no way! EVAH)
So off the the Goodwill I went. I found these pair of matching lamps for $12.99 and I though they could be saved:

They needed some work but overall were in good shape. They even came with the lampshades that are no that bad, I might use them for further projects. They were just not what I wanted for my family room.


First, I cleaned them very well with water and soap and let them dry. Then I applied two coats of Rustoleum Spray Primer. 


Then I applied two coats of Rustoleum "Slate Blue" it is a gorgeous color!



Even though the color was beautiful it wasn't what I had in mind and I wanted to do sort of a glaze to antique them a little. So I used some leftover Americana glaze in dark walnut.


I applied it with a cloth and then I wiped it down with a damp cloth. A little goes a long way!
Here you have them with and without the glaze:




After I wiped off the excess glaze, I applied a coat of Annie Sloan's clear wax (my all time FAV)



Then I found some shades at...yes, you got it! TARGET on CLEARANCE for 13 dollars that still fit what I wanted. 
So here they are now:

Must reads on the table" Stand a Little Taller" by Gordon B Hinckley that my grandma Lu gave me once for Christmas and "Your Happily Ever After" by Dieter F. Uchdorf

I LOVE the extra shine  and protection that the wax gives them!


Now they fit perfectly in my family room for only $26 dollars! 

Pillow covers are from another FAV store: H&M!, throw and frames from TJMaxx, table is hand me down from my in-laws and painted, basket is from JCPenney outlet


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