Sunday, October 30, 2016

TM BBQ Fest


Alright, if you're a BBQ fan then you absolutely have to go to the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest next year!!! and every year after that!! Tickets are expensive but it's totally worth it...at least once!! It's the top 50 Texas BBQ's and it's all you can eat!! And...a ton of people had Ziploc bags to take even more BBQ home!! WHAT?!?!?  Also, there's no reason to get there super early. Basically each stand will have a line the first 90 minutes because everyone is hungry. But after that everyone is completely full so there aren't any lines (and there's still plenty of BBQ left). 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dining Room Table



I bought this dining room table for $65 off Craigslist, but it definitely needed some work! It came with 6 chairs, all of the cushions were ruined and 2 of the chairs didn't have backs. I'm still working on those 2 chairs, they're gonna take a little longer to finish. The table itself was in decent shape. It had some scratches on the top, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Here's the "Before Photo":

Here's are the steps I took to refinish the table:
  1. I stripped the table top using Citri-Strip Stripping Gel .  Be sure to follow all of the safety precautions. Strip the table top in a well ventilated area (I did mine on my apt patio), wear safety goggles, wear old clothes, wear gloves, place a tarp under the area you'll be working, etc. I used a foam brush to cover the table top with the stripping gel. I followed the directions for waiting time and then removed the stripping gel using a plastic scraper (metal is more likely to scratch the wood). For the groves on the table, I used a brush like this one: Furniture Stripping Brush. I found a cheap set at Walmart. I also bought steel wool, but I didn't really use it. Once the majority of the stripping gel was removed, I wiped the table down with Mineral Spirits. Once the table was dry again, I sanded the table using 60 grit and then 320 grit. 
  2. I wiped the table with Mineral Spirits again, just to be sure the table was clean. I then focused on staining the top. I stained the top of the table once and realized something just wasn't right. Parts of the wood were turning darker than the rest of the table. So I had spots of super dark stain and then the rest of the table looked normal.  I did some reading and found that with certain woods you need to use a Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Here's one of the articles I read: http://www.furniture-refinishing-guide.com/articles/pre-stain-wood-conditioner/
  3. So off to the store I went to buy some Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.  I tried to sand off some of the dark spots before applying the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, at this point I was really tired of sanding this stupid table. I applied the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, followed the instructions on wait time, and then stained the top again. I still had spots that held onto the stain more than others, but it was much better. I waited the appropriate amount of time and then applied another coat of stain. Basically you're going to keep adding coats until you'd reached the color/darkness you're looking for.
  4. Let's seal the top! Why do you need to seal it? Well think about all of the cups and plates you'll be putting on the top of your table. Sealing the top will protect it from water stains, hot plates, etc. I like to seal with the Minwax Polyurethane Satin so it's not too glossy on top. Follow the directions on the wait time and then apply a second coat. I tried to sand in between coats, but I really didn't notice a difference. Here's a helpful link on determining a good top coat: http://www.thesawguy.com/polycrylic-vs-polyurethane/
  5. So now that the top is done, let's focus on the rest of the table. I didn't strip the table legs because I was just going to paint them white. I only stripped the table top because I wanted to stain the wood a completely different color. Since I just want to paint over the legs, I decided to just sand the legs enough to get the top coat off. Once I was done sanding, I wiped the legs down with a wet cloth to remove any sand/dust. 
  6. Now it's time to paint the legs! I bought some General Finishes Milk Paint-Antique White from a lady I met at Round Top. She had the cutest furniture and she really talked this stuff up, so I gave in and bought some from her. Mistake! I felt like it took a lot of coats to get the desired color. When I tried lightly sanding in between coats, it took off the coat completely. I ended up putting like 3-4 coats of this stuff on. Then I switched over to some Behr paint I had left over from a previous project. Done! I just love the Behr flat paint--it looks like chalk paint but it's cheaper. I've also used the Rustoleum Chalk Paint, which is another paint I would recommend for this project. 
  7. Now it's time to seal the table legs. I sealed the legs because I wanted to protect them from chipping easily. I bought SafeCoat AcriGlaze from someone I met at Round Top a few years ago, yes I love going to Round Top. I LOVE this stuff though! It protects the furniture without giving it a glossy look and it's easier than glazing over chalk paint. 
  8. Table is done, so let's move on to the chairs. I removed the cushions, which can be easily done by flipping the chair over and removing the screws. I then sanded the chairs down to remove the top coat. I wiped the chairs down with a wet cloth to remove any sand/dust before painting. I started with the cane backs of the chairs. I cheated and decided to just spray paint the backs. It was super fast and efficient. I was worried that if I painted the cane, I'd have paint drip problems. Be sure the spray paint you're using matches the paint you have picked out. Mine was a perfect match, so you can't even tell I used 2 different products. I always use the Rustoleum spray paint; any time I've used other brands I've had major problems. 
  9. Now let's paint the rest of the chairs. Since I had so many problems with the table legs, I skipped the milk paint and just painted the chairs with the Behr paint. Two coats and the chairs were done! So much faster than that stupid milk paint!  I used the SafeCoat AcriGlaze as a top coat on the chairs. Now the chairs are all pretty and white--but what about the cushions.
  10. I'll be honest, I was nervous about the cushions. I don't have much experience with upholstery, but I figured it was worth the shot. I bought some outdoor fabric at Joann's and used a 40% coupon to help save some money. I didn't use upholstery fabric because that stuff is just to expensive! I didn't want to spend $200 on fabric when I wasn't even sure I could make it work. So I found the outdoor fabric and decided it was about the same thickness/durability as the upholstery fabric. That was just a big guess on my part. 
  11. I removed the current fabric, paying close attention to how the corners worked. I then removed the cushions from the wood backing. The cushions were super old and nasty. So I ran over to the good old Hobby Lobby and found some pretty cheap 2 inch square cushions for like $7 (actually I might have used a coupon for this). I used the wood backing to trace onto the square foam. This was my outline for cutting the foam...so now what? I read that you could just use a kitchen bread knife to cut the foam. So not true! Epic Fail! So I read another article that suggested using an electric knife. Yes, that meant another trip to the store to buy an electric knife. I'm not giving up on this project yet! Here was a helpful video tutorial on cutting foam with an electric knife: Cutting Upholstery Foam. The electric knife was totally worth it! It was super fast and made nice clean lines. I cut 4 pieces of foam to the desired size in about 15 minutes.
  12. To attach the foam to the wood backing, I used Loctite Spray Adhesive. It worked better than I was expecting. Next I added some batting, but I wasn't sure how to do the corners.  Honestly, this website was the most helpful in explaining how to do the corners: The Painted Hive. The flat parts are easy to do, but the corners are tricky. Once I had the batting secure, I was ready to add the fabric. Again, I used the tips from the Painted Hive website to help with the fabric. I had a little fabric bunching up in the corners, but overall it looked pretty good! I screwed the cushions back into the chairs and then it's time for the last step! I sprayed Scotchgard on the cushions to protect them from spilled drinks and food. With white cushions I figure you can never be to careful! 
Update: Well I still LOVE my table and chairs! The Scotchgard was a smart decision because I've spilled things several times and you can't even tell. The only thing I would change would be the fabric I used on the cushions. I should've used something stronger, because some of the fabric on one of the cushions has stretched a little. But it's just one cushion so it's not a big deal. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wooden Pumpkins


It's FALL!!! I love fall!! It's so festive and the weather is gorgeous! I bought the cheapest 2x4 wood I could find at Lowe's and cut it into 3 different sizes (4 inches, 6 inches, 7.5 inches). I spray painted them white as a primer, so the wood grain wouldn't show through as much. I guess you could just spray paint them orange, but I didn't think of that at the time. I then painted them with orange acrylic paint (I think it was like $3 at Walmart). Once the paint had dried, I added the little sticks to the top using wood glue. I found a branch on the side of the road and just cut it into little pieces. I then used twine to make little bows, super cute!!