Sunday, June 30, 2013

Goodbye brass doorknob

Our house is fairly new. It wasn't brand new but its under 15 years old. It came with the wonderful brass doorknobs. I've meant to tackle this project a long time ago but was somewhat intimidated by it. It seemed like a big project to me for some reason. The last few days its been really hot so I have been able to work on simpler indoor house projects. Well.. this project wasn't as bad as I had expected in my head.

Supplies that I used:

Rustoleum metallic spray paint $8 at Homedepot
Windex to clean the door knobs
plastic drop cloth
flat head screwdriver
Cordless mechanical screwdriver


1. Go to home depot and gather all necessary supplies. I bought the rustoleum spray paint. I already had the plastic drop cloth and other supplies.

On the bottle it states it adheres to wood, metal, plastic, and masonry.. ...  they forgot to mention skin. I got some on my arm and it really won't come off no matter how much I scrub.

2. Remove all door knobs with screwdriver. I used a flat head screwdriver to remove some of the door knobs that were stuck onto the door. Remember to label each door knob to which door it belongs. I made sure to label them with masking tape before moving onto the next door knob. See picture below. As mentioned earlier, it was too hot to paint outside so I laid a plastic drop cloth in our spare guest bedroom and made that my new workstation.  I didn't take the hinges off the door because it was already white.

3.  After removing all the door knobs in your house, spray everything down lightly with Windex. 
Our door knobs were kinda dusty and some had a little bit of paint on them. I sprayed Windex on them to have a cleaner surface to work on. I didn't sand the door knobs because I'm lazy. I've refinished our dressers knobs and its working just fine so I'm hoping our door knobs will work fine too. I sprayed two light coats over my door knobs and waited a whole day before reattaching them to the doors. 

Review: This project was actually pretty easy and went fairly quickly. Removal of all doorknobs in my house took about 45 minutes with the mechanical screwdriver. I did it by myself with no problems. It started to get heavy towards the end but nothing worth mentioning. I feel this project really makes our home feel a little more complete and polished because the brass stood out like a sore thumb. Our home has dark furniture/cabinets so the dark bronze really blends in well. Its one of those details that really makes a difference. 

Here are the before and after pictures. 

 I still have the front door to refinish. I might just tape around it and refinish it on the spot so I don't have to stay home all day. This was a nice little upgrade for our home for under $10. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Coffee table reveal

Yesterday was a pretty warm day. I spent most of the day inside the house. I really felt lazy and nonproductive all day. I was itching to finish off my coffee table but it was too hot to paint outside. By evening time, it was still pretty warm outside so I found plastic drop cloths and laid them in our spare guest bedroom and brought the coffee table in. It took me about 30 minutes to paint the coffee table. It was very easy with the $2 foam roller set and a few touch ups with the paint brush. I only painted one coat. It seemed to cover well so I didn't even bother to do the second coat.

Here's the updated post on all the steps for refinishing the coffee table.

Cost of project:

coffee table $20 from craigslist
foam/cushion and batting from local upholstery store in Pomona $15
buttons $14 for two packages from Joanns with 30% off total coupon
leather $42 for two yards of fabric/leather with 40% of coupon from Joanns
staple gun/staples already owned
Paint already owned from previous projects

Total cost: $91

Review of coffee table project: I thought this project was a little tough for me to do by myself. The buttons were the hardest part. It was not hard once the buttons were done. Tufting was easy since I only  had to tuft 11 buttons. I don't recommend using leather to make buttons or else I would buy pre made leather buttons to save time. However, once I started using clamps to push the buttons together the process went much smoother. Overall I didn't think the table came out as great as I had expected in my head. It was also quite expensive for all the supplies. I really only wanted to spend $50 on a coffee table so I went way over my budget. The project took me three days to finish including drying time. I really should have bought leather online at because I spotted a similar leather for way cheaper like this Caprice brown leather at only $7 a yard. If I would have been more patient and ordered online instead of recklessly shopping at Joanns I would have saved $28 which would have brought my overall cost to $63.. much closer to my original budget. :( Lesson learned.. don't shop at Joanns.

Here are the before and after comparisons

Today felt like another unproductive day, so I made sure I ordered some poster prints from for my picture frames. Wedding related post coming soon. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DIY tray round 2

Last week I went to Michaels and purchased two more serving trays to DIY. First one was for our master bedroom in an odd niche we have (new post coming soon) and second tray was for my sister. She wanted a pink and white tray for her room. I found the pink contact paper on clearance at Marshals for $4 for two rolls. I didn't really want to buy the pink contact paper because I had a few rolls on contact paper left at home but I figured the design was too adorable and girly to pass up. Maybe one day I can use all of the contact paper in my pantry, closet, and shoe storage/garage makeover. My pantry and Binh's office/junkyard are the two forbidden zones in my house.

Steps for the DIY "Michaels" tray

1. Spray paint the tray the color you want. I only painted the sides and left the inside alone since I will be covering it with contact paper. I recommend painting inside your garage or a non windy area. I tried spray painting outside and I think I got more spray paint on me and my hands then the actual project. Plus when you leave it outside in a windy area to dry it can get dusty and may affect the paint job.  I also recommend using glossy spray paint to get a smoother paint job with this tray.

2. Wait for everything to dry. I had to paint two coats of white. If you are using Michaels unfinished trays I recommend lightly sanding outside of the tray with fine sandpaper first prior to spray painting. I was too lazy to sand the tray so the finished product isn't as smooth as I would like. My very first tray in my master bedroom was finished already so when I sprayed painted it was nice and smooth without requiring any sanding. 

3. Measure the inside of the tray. Cut contact paper to the measurements and cut away. 

4. Attach the contact paper to the inside of the tray and you are done. Enjoy your tray. 

Review of Michaels tray: Overall I thought the price was pretty affordable with a coupon but the size was small, required light sanding, and wood quality wasn't great. However, its convenient to get because thrift stores don't always carry serving trays. If I need any more trays, I will be going to thrift stores/Goodwill to look for them in the future. 

Here are pictures of my sisters pink and white tray displayed on the other side of my night stand with my wedding necklace and picture of our Emily. 

Here are the two trays together.

Simple (car) trash container

Today was too hot for me to get out of the house. I wanted to paint the coffee table but I'll wait until later tonight. Instead, I looked at stuff I had around the house to DIY. I found an empty disinfecting wipes container and decided to make it into a car trash container. Everyone with a toddler knows how hard it is to keep their car clean. Sometimes our car stinks because we would forget a diaper or food inside the car.  It works perfect because its free, smells great even after rinsing it with water because it was a disinfecting wipes container, portable, and cute. So here goes my simple and free DIY trash container. Disclaimer.. sorry if you are sick and tired of seeing contact paper projects. I told you I was in love with contact paper.


1.  I started off with this disinfecting wipes container.  They can be purchased at Target.

2.  Remove the plastic outer label. You can leave it but the contact paper might not cover it completely. It was very simple to remove the label. It was plastic and not even glued onto the container. I just used some scissors to remove the label. 

3. Finally measure how much contact paper you need, cut to the size, and stick onto the container.  This final step took me under three minutes. 

Cost breakdown: Free

Supplies: Empty container, contact paper, measuring tape (optional)

Review: Easy under ten minute project. You can't really go wrong with this project. I love it for the car because it really seals the smell of everything. I'm in the search for a large enough container to use as a diaper container that really seals off the smell of dirty diapers. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

New update on the coffee table

I've finished tufting all the buttons and have stapled the remainder of the leather to the top. I brought the bottom of the coffee table inside to see how it would look inside my house. The colors are off because the bottom is not painted yet. From the pictures you can tell the coffee table is much more proportionate to our sectional and living room. You can also tell the coffee table is made of solid wood and high quality construction.

From the picture you can sort of see the extra leather that haven't been trimmed off yet. I will paint the bottom first before I reattach the top and trim the leather. 

You can see our old ottoman pushed to the side. Its about half the size of the new coffee table. I took the picture at an odd angle to see how it would look if the bottom was a dark color. Its hard to really tell because everything in the picture is darker too so you can't really see the dark and light contrast of the furniture.  I already have dark brown paint so I might just use that and save some money on new paint. 


Today I also went to Michaels to shop for a few things. I bought two wooden trays and a huge picture frame to hang in my room. The two wooden trays were sort of a disappointment. I figured that they were going to be small but the wood quality was pretty bad.  Its not comparable to my $4 thrift store tray. The wooden trays at Michaels were only $4.99 each and with a 40% off coupon they are pretty affordable. You can see the size comparison in the picture below.

I ended buying two trays anyways because I needed a small tray for my next project and my sister wanted a tray for her room. 

More projects coming soon. 

Progress of the coffee table

I'm starting to get tired of our coffee table. I had to make leather buttons and that gave me a blister on my thumb. Luckily my dad took over. He was smart to use clamps to make the leather buttons. Sorry I won't be doing a tutorial on making custom buttons because I only had one eye and its hard to take pictures when you can't really see. Instructions are pretty easy to follow on the package. We made a total of 11 buttons.

Instructions for making coffee table

1. Purchase an old coffee table. It doesn't matter if the top is scratched because it will eventually be covered. Remove the top of the coffee table from the legs and cover with foam/cushion of your choice. Use batting to cover over the foam and staple the batting to the coffee table.

2. Purchase fabric or leather of your choice. Make sure to measure at least half a yard extra just in case. You rather have a little more fabric then not enough and end up wasting the whole piece of fabric.

3. Measure how many buttons you want on your coffee table. Measure and make your markings on the underside of the top. Use a pencil to mark on your wood coffee table. Its easier to use a pencil. Pen or marker doesn't work as well.

4. Make buttons. Follow instructions on package. I wanted leather buttons so it was thicker and harder to make into buttons but its possible with a clamp.

5. Drill holes on the coffee table according to your markings.

6. Use string and thread your button through the fabric and coffee table. I didn't have special thread or a needle so I just used dollar tree ribbon and my bobby pin. Staple the button using thread of your choice in place and use a zigzag pattern on the underside.


I made sure I used two ribbons for each button for added durability. 

7. Tuft all your buttons and staple the leather/fabric to the coffee table. This part is tough because leather is stretchy so I had to use all my strength and pull the leather taunt before stapling. I've only done one side. I'm tired so I'll be back another day to finish up the project. Stay tuned for the final coffee table reveal.


8. Repaint the legs of the coffee table. Wait for it to dry completely before reattaching the top.

9. Reattach the top and enjoy your new coffee table.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

DIY custom gift basket

Today we are going to our nephew's baptism. We usually give parents a big box of diapers but while shopping at Home goods I spotted an adorable Jordan jersey. I had to get it for him because his name was Jordan. The Jordan outfit inspired me to make him a custom gift basket. I love giving out gift baskets because its so much more thoughtful. Here are the steps to making a custom gift basket.

1. Gather all necessary supplies. Our dollar tree carries shrink wrap so I always buy a few of them to have in stock at home. You never know when you will need them. I also bought little gifts to go inside the gift basket. It included educational toys for little Jordan to play and of course cute shoes.


2. Other supplies include purchasing a basket but everyone knows how frugal I am so of course I made my own basket. See the loft shoe box and my beloved blue contact paper from the above picture? Yep.. I turned it into a custom box. :)  I really tried my best to line the design up. You can barely see the paper overlap. 

3.  Of course you can't have a baby gift basket without diapers. I have a small package of baby diapers from previous projects so I stuffed some on the bottom of the basket. You can use old newspaper or magazine paper instead if you don't have diapers. 

 4. Stuff everything into the basket from tallest item in the back to smallest item in front. See the Jordan jersey in front? Isn't it so adorable? I used two rolled diapers and rolled the jersey top over so it can be seen.

5. Once you have figured out the arrangement of the basket, ake out the shrink wrap and place the whole basket inside the shrink wrap. I also tied the top using the provided bow kit from the shrink wrap.

6.  See how the shrink wrap is so loose around the gift basket? Instructions said to use a blow dryer but I don't have a blowdryer so I used a portable heater. 

A few seconds later, the shrink wrap looked like this. Its nice and snug to the gift so nothing can move around. Its much easier to transport and carry. 

7. Last step was to trim the top of the shrink wrap. Its really hard to take pictures of shrink wrap due to the glare. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Return of the dining chairs

Up until today, I never really mention about my dining room because its not anything to talk about. When we first bought our house, our dining table was something we had to buy first so we picked a counter height table with eight chairs.  Our formal dining table is always clean but our regular dining table is never clean. We have a light beige color microfiber fabric on the seat cushion and surprisingly its holding up ok for now. It has some slight stains from Emily but nothing a little TLC wouldn't be able to get out. So a few days ago, I set out to buy outdoor fabric for my chairs. I'm hoping these outdoor fabrics will last the test of Emily. I had to buy three yards of Ellis poolside fabric from Joanns. They were on sale for $7.99  a yard, so total cost for the project was $24.

Here is an embarrassing before picture of our dining table taken a while back to prove that my house is not always clean. Usually when I come home after three straight days of work it will look like this: How a man and a toddler can do this much to my house.. I don't know.. but it happens...

 The pattern and color is fun and really adds color to my house. My house was pretty boring and monotone before. I'm slowly injecting some color into it finally.  I didn't have anything to decorate the table so I placed my dead flowers from Binh on the table so just pretend like they are still fresh.