DIY: Refreshed Candle Holders


If you are sick of a knick knack in your house, all you need is a can of paint.

That’s what I like to say…or maybe I don’t have the money to buy new knick knacks.  Since I moved into this house in 2003, the theme has been “earth tones”. Which means my house looks like the Fall season threw up all over it.  It’s warm, but I’m so sick of it.  So I’m slowly (very slowly) trying to transform it so it has a more calming and bright appearance. My first step has been refreshing some dark brown metal candle holders I’ve had.


I think I got these from TJ Maxx when I first moved into the house.  I’ve been so tired of seeing dark brown that these have been tucked away on top of our dining room cabinet for years.  So I took a can of spray paint that I’ve had that’s in an ocean blue color and went to town.


I’m already feeling the overdose of chocolate color in my mind diminish as I look at these.  I’m going to use them as my starting point to update my family room to colors that won’t remind me of Snickers bar.


Right now they are sitting lonely on top of my mantle, fighting against my dark chocolate wall.  Hopefully it will nudge me to paint the wall soon (I have leftover paint to use already)!

Not bad for not spending any money.

Lesson:  If you have something you don’t love stowed away in your house (not talking relatives or animals), change it so you will love it!



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Thrift Store DIY: Moroccan-Inspired Stenciled Table



This DIY project has been 5 years in the making.

Yup…I’m totally a DIY Procrastinator.

I have the best intentions, but I am notorious for not finishing what I started DIY-wise…or at least taking an insane amount of time to finish.  Why?  Who knows.  I think life happens and I easily get distracted (is that ADD?)!

So it has been a secret dream of mine to work with my awesome scrawny hands and redo furniture-refinish, rebuild, repurpose, reupholster…  I want to do it all.  And yes, to answer your question

I have NO experience in this at all.

Call it one too many HGTV or home decor shows to make me think I can add value to furniture. But I think it excites me to take something old or unwanted and turn it into something amazing!

Plus if I mess up, I can just give it away or start over from scratch.

So back to the story of the table:  I got this table from a local Freecycle posting. If you don’t know what freecycle is, look it up in your area.  In my city, it is a Yahoo group.  Basically, it is a forum for anyone to publicly get rid of what they don’t want…for FREE.  Yes, free.  Just provide your location and you can even leave what you don’t want on the curb.

Trust me, it will get picked up.

So there is such a variety of items posted on Freecycle, from baby items and furniture to random items like cardboard boxes, yarn, etc.  You can really find some hidden gems for free.  So 5 years ago I saw this posting for a “Chinese table”.  Pictures aren’t normally posted on my local Freecycle, so I jumped at the opportunity to get a piece of furniture that was good quality wood, and possibly had a unique design to it.

This is what I picked up:


My poor husband was with me and had to carry this table from a senior couple’s garage into our minivan.  This thing is heavy as hell!  I thought it would be a teenie oriental table.  Nah.  But I thought it had potential!  You can obviously see this table had a lot of wear and tear on it.

Flash forward to 4 years later.  This table had been in my formal living room and family room just as it was.  I hadn’t done anything to it.  I had my 3rd child which delayed things a bit.  So when he was about 1, I finally decided to do something about the table.

DSC_0120I first stripped the old finish from the entire top of the table, sanded it down with some basic sand paper, and then refinished the outside border.  I used painter’s tape to keep my edges straight…well, tried to at least!

Now flash forward to a year later.  Shortly after I stripped it, I found out I was pregnant with my 4th child.  There goes progress!  So this is how I had it in my living room.



So yesterday I finally got tired of having this project in limbo and rushed through finishing it while both my little ones were napping!


I used the Stencil Ease Fes Wall Paint and Floor Stencil, which I purchased at AC Moore.  It is normally $19.99, but I used a 50% off coupon and got it for half price!  I love the Moroccan trellis look to it and actually have an area rug in my family room with the exact design.  The stencil is super ease to use.  It’s completely a matter of lining up triangles in the stencil itself.  You really can’t make a mistake, especially on a flat horizonal surface.  For a wall, you’d need spray adhesive.  For this project, I just used tape!


When I first started, I was a bit heavy handed with the stain, which ended up getting “under” the stencil.  Agh!  So to resolve my gloppy stain, I first started by rubbing it evenly in the middle of each “open” section of the stencil.


You can see from the top that I was not meticulous at what I was doing and I have some “bleeding” areas I need to fix.  From the bottom picture, you can see that I started getting the hang of how to stencil better!

A layer of protective polyurethane later…Voila!  The finished product!


I think it isn’t too bad for my very first piece of “recycled” furniture and only spending about $25 on the whole thing ($5 spray can of varnish stripper, $10 stencil, $4 wood stain, $4 polyurethane…remember the table was FREE!).

I have to admit that when you take a close look at it, I can’t help but think of the line in the movie Clueless where Alicia Silverstone says

She’s a full-on Monet…  From far away, it’s okay, but up close, it’s a big old mess.


Yet, it’s actually inspiring to see this in my living room every morning I come down the stairs.  I look at it and feel so proud to say “I did that!”.

Happy Friday!



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