9.04.2014

Concrete Coffee Table DIY


Generally speaking I'm so changeable when it comes to furniture. I have commitment issues on the subject. Chairs, rugs and tables regularly cycle in and out. However I've had the same coffee table and couch for almost five years now. That's pretty impressive by my standards. The coffee table is something I found from Overstock.com. It's no longer available (probably hasn't been for sometime). The first few years I had it, it put up with abuse pretty well but in the last few years the laminate on top of the MDF started to stain, bubble and chip. No Bueno.

So I started to casually shop for a new one, looked online at my usual stops and nothing really stood out. The thing is, I really love the shape and lines of my table. It has plenty of room for whatever tchotchkes I want to pile on it and still have room for feet or dinner in front of the TV. 

I thought about painting it, meh. I thought about cutting and staining a piece of plywood. eh. Then I thought about concrete hmmmm. The lovely Rosemary and Robin from Ink + Smog Editions had just done concrete countertops in their studio kitchen and they looked fantastic. I trolled Pinterest for other people's results and it seemed like something I could do. So I did. Here's what happened:


Here's the before of the table. It looks fine in the picture but really it's not. There were stains, bubbles and chips and it was remarkably hard to clean. It was a magnet for dust.


Almost every DIY tutorial I read said to get Ardex brand feather-weight concrete. My Home Depot didn't have that brand and when an associate finally came down the lonely concrete aisle and I asked about it he said "nope don't have that" and disappeared. So...thanks? I was left to my own devices and with no cell service in the store I couldn't consult the internet. Nightmare times.

So here's what I got: A quick setting concrete, high gloss sealer, miscellaneous sandpaper grits, different trowel like tools and some cups and stirrers. Did I get the right concrete? Who knows. It worked for me but if I was doing countertops I'd probably try harder to find a brand other people had used with success. My total for supplies was $60.



Oh wow, wet concrete. amazing!


Just to give you a basic walkthrough; I sanded the table top, got it rough so the concrete had something to grab on to. Then mixed it in a 2:1 mix/water ratio. Sometimes more water, sometimes less water for different thicknesses when I was doing the sides. When the first layer dried I sanded. I learned quickly that a super light sanding was going to be my friend for the sides. They liked to just fall off. Foolishly I thought the 10lb bucket of concrete mix I bought would be enough for this project and a few others. Concrete stools! Concrete pendant lights! Concrete bowls! Ha Ha, No. I used ALL of it. 

When people do these amazing kitchen countertops with concrete they sand and sand and sand to get a super smooth surface. Because that's what you want for a countertop. I did not do this. I really liked the look of the textured concrete and I'm super not into being in 90ยบ heat and squatting and sanding for hours. So I sanded until it was relatively even, hosed it off, added concrete and repeated until all the sides stayed and the top were covered. Then I wet cured it, which for me was misting a few times a day and covering it in loose saran wrap for a day and a half (be careful if you do this the saran wrap will discolor parts of the concrete). Then four coats of high gloss sealer.

I really love how it turned out. It's textured but doesn't make things wobble when you set something on it. It's got different shades happening and I've even got a favorite trowel mark. 







So, hopefully it's durable and hopefully much easier to clean than before. Most likely it will hurt much more when I bump my shins on it.

8.20.2014

Summer Thrifting

Yikes! It's been a minute since I posted!

So...how's your summer? Keeping it real? I've been keeping busy with all manner of random things. I've had some good luck thrifting as well. If you follow me on Instagram you've seen my finds. If you don't follow me, here they are:










Some good stuff to be sure. Jonathan Adler, George Nelson, Charley Harper, Dansk...the hits keep coming. The Nelson Bubble lamp was a great find to be sure. Only $40! The Charley Harper book was like a lightning strike. I found it far from the book section on a chair, so someone had pulled it out, thought about it and put it down...

What have you found this summer?

6.19.2014

DIY Leather Strap Shelf

Here's a quickie DIY I did over the weekend that cost me zero dollars. The best kind of DIY. I saw the original idea here.

Here's what I used:
  • Piece of wood (Shelf sized)
  • Wood stain
  • Drill
  • Leather laces
  • Two hooks


I drilled holes in each corner and inch from the edge and a half inch from the sides. Then I stained the wood. When it was dry I took two lengths of the leather laces the same length. I made a loop in the top and then put each string knotted it on the bottom and put the loops onto the hooks. Boom simple, beautiful, utilitarian shelf.









4.03.2014

Eye Openers

Sometimes amazing things happen. Well, scratch that, everyday amazing things happen. Currently there's humans in orbit over the Earth. The phone in your pocket has more processing power than the computers that put the first men on the Moon. In particular I'm amazed by the things that line up to make other things happen.

Take my new friend Felicia for example; She's been a reader of this blog for a while. Long enough to know that I have a particular obsession and last week she walked into a thrift store and she happened to look through the Catalog and Magazine section. She happened to pick up a catalog and her eyes happened to fall on a page that she knew would interest me.



To me, this find is monumental. It's the last piece of the puzzle. I finally have a (possible) name, date and seller. I'm not sure if the "Eye-Opener" is a clever catalog write up or that's what they called it.
For years I've only had "Taste Setter Collection" to go by. I assumed it was made by a company called "Sigma" only because they have a line of ceramics by the same name. So I had to assume right? I still don't actually know. I think I won't know that until I find someone who actually helped produce these. 

What I DO know is the lovely Felicia found this in a Neiman-Marcus 1972 "An Early Taste of Christmas Catalog". Naturally I went straight to eBay and asked all the sellers of vintage Neiman-Marcus catalogs to look through and see if they could find the pattern. No luck.



So right now it only existed in this mini catalog. I know a lot of you vintage hunters can empathize with the joy in finding out crucial information like this.  Of course me knowing this doesn't really change anything. It's not like people list it for sale under "Neiman-Marcus Eye Opener".

The catalog is a pretty important find to me. I can't thank Felicia enough and everyone who has helped in the search.

4.01.2014

Quickie DIY


Can we all agree that Instagram is the new Twitter and Twitter is the new Blogging? Yes? No? Well, either way I'm addicted to Instagram. Less typing I suppose. If you follow me (and you should follow me) you'll know that one of the new details in my new kitchen is a DIY trivet.

It's tremendously easy to make and you can do it on the cheap. I saw them first on Remodelista.

You'll need:
Leather Cord ('natch I had some on hand for Love and Arrow)
40 1" Wood Beads. Any craft shop ought to have these otherwise Ebay is a good place to get them on the cheap.

This made two trivets for me. I've seen people do three trivets in descending size. It's really up to you. I really have no use for a 3" trivet.

And that's it. Stupid easy, I know.






I used 20 beads on each trivet. You can make the loop anyway you please. You could even make them just one long strand so you could coil it in the shape of the pan you're using. I wanted to hang mine so I just did a large loop and oiled them with Olive Oil. That's it. Done.
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