Mod Podge Makeover

IMG_3888In early May, Hubby traveled back to New England to visit with his folks and work on a blueberry “fort” for his mom–dang those pesky birds! I don’t typically look forward to him leaving, but this time I could hardly wait to drive him to the airport. I had plans to work on a project I’d been itching to tackle since shortly after Christmas, but I wanted it to be a surprise, so couldn’t start until he was gone.

I dropped him off at the local airport early Saturday morning. A few short hours later, I’d pulled out the drop cloths (old tablecloths) and got to work…on my mahogany bedroom bureau.


Yes, that’s dust on the surface. I have two friends who read these posts and who each keep their houses spotless. I can imagine the looks of horror on their faces at seeing the state of my bureau. 😉

When Kreh and I were first married, eighteen years ago now, we received much of our initial furniture from a good friend’s grandmother when she was moving into assisted living. Through that family’s generosity, we were able to outfit (and thus move into) our little attic apartment with bedroom, living, and dining room furnishings mere days after returning from our honeymoon. A huge blessing for newlyweds who hadn’t lived on their own up to that point.

Over the years, we’ve replaced several items. We bought a new bedframe when we moved to Colorado in 2002. Upon moving to Nebraska in 2003, we bought a bigger couch and matching glider at auction. Before moving to Montana in 2008, we replaced the dining chairs. And the mahogany coffee table now resides at Hubby’s office.

We have yet to replace our bedroom bureau and dresser, however. Mostly because of cost. Someday it might happen (we’d like to match whatever comes in with the cherry-stained sleigh bed we currently have), but after Hubby saw the relative success I had in redoing the mahogany sideboard, he’d uttered the words I’d been hoping to hear for a while: “When are you going to do the bureaus in the bedroom?”


Sideboard makeover


I had ten days to complete my bureau and matching mirror before he returned. Sounds like plenty of time, but since I was pulling both mommy and daddy duty that week and a half, shuffling kids hither, thither, and yon, I only had school hours to work on it…plus I was committed to writing a certain number of words each day for a writing challenge. I succeeded in both, but the makeover took all ten days—and the master bedroom, being the temporary “workshop,” was a mess in the meantime. 😉

Here’s my process in a nutshell:

I used Bulls Eye 1-2-3 for the primer. It claims to have “outstanding adhesion to dense, glossy surfaces such as enamel paints and varnishes, paneling, laminates…” but so far, I’m still at a loss for a successful primer that won’t get knocked away (taking the paint with it) at the slightest bump. I used Valspar Warm Putty and Indigo Streamer in satin for the colors (along with tiny brushes for the indigo), and I’m very pleased with that outcome. And I used my trusty Mod Podge to adhere the fabric onto the drawer fronts. Lastly, I changed out the hardware, going with rounded square cabinet knobs from Amazon. Love them!


The mirror was the tricky piece, with the scrollwork and different surface levels, and I had a tough time figuring out how much blue accents I wanted. In the end, I think it came out perfectly balanced (IMO). 😉 Again, tiny brushes and a steady hand! (And if you’re wondering why the mirror-before-paint is hiding behind the door…it was the only angle that wouldn’t reflect my cluttered room in the background!)





Hubby loved the makeover–as I hoped he would–so the plan is to work on his dresser and the matching bedside tables over the summer. We’ll see how far I get, heh heh. Considering my children’s second semester of school zoomed past in a blur, I know this summer has the potential for speed. No blinking!

How about you? Have you been able to tackle any spring projects since the weather has warmed up? Do you have grand summer plans ahead you hope to accomplish? Share in the comments below!


We’ve been shuttered!

“So what have you been up to today?” my mom asked during our late Saturday afternoon phone call last week.

I smiled. “I finished making the shutters for my house.”

Pause. Then, “For your house…or Ellowyne’s?”

Touché, Mom.

Considering the plethora of doll-sized work I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks, her question didn’t surprise me. In fact, the clarification of whose shutters I had made was on the tip of my tongue when she voiced her confusion.

Rest assured, Ello’s front porch will have shutters—but the ones I completed are for my human-sized house.

A little back-story here. Though Kreh and I have lived out west for more than twelve years now (!), we were both born and raised in New England, and there are things back east we still enjoy—the fall foliage being one of them. 😉 Shutters flanking house windows are another. I felt that very strongly with my recent visit back “home,” where the majority of houses—even those newly built—have shutters. Out here in my corner of Montana, the majority of homes do not have shutters. When Kreh and I go for a drive, while he is on the lookout for wildlife, I am on the lookout for cute houses—and nine times out of ten, the houses I consider cute are those adorned with shutters.

For me, a house without shutters is like an actress at the Oscars without any bling. Something’s missing.

Naturally, then, when Kreh and I bought our current house, one of the things we wanted to do was add shutters.

Something's definitely missing...

Something’s missing…

That was almost six years ago!

But it all came together so quickly and easily, I’m flabbergasted as to why we didn’t do this during year one!

I built the shutters out of cedar picket fence boards, cutting them to size and angling the corners at the top where applicable. When all the pieces were cut and knowing I was going to screw in the horizontal pieces from the back, I drew lines on the garage floor using a right-angle ruler and my children’s chalk to indicate where to place the horizontal slats and where to place the vertical pieces so things would look even and uniform from the front when all was said and done. Cedar is soft wood, which means no pre-drilling for the screws, so while my girls played inside with their American Girl dolls, I put together seven pairs of shutters.

Cut the boards...

Cut the boards…

Assemble the boards...

Assemble the boards…

That evening, Kreh and I laid out planks of wood in the backyard, upon which I set down all the shutters and for three and a half hours the next Sunday afternoon/early evening, I stained both sides of fourteen shutters.


Stain the boards…

And Kreh went hunting.

(I’m teasing him with that last comment. In truth, he felt a little guilty leaving me to do all the staining, but I urged him to go hunt. We all need time for our passions, otherwise we get cranky. And Kreh blessed our family that night with a bull elk for our freezer, so it was a win-win all around!)

Thanks, honey!

Thanks, honey!

Between Kreh’s success hunting, open house at the girls’ school, and our other “extra-curricular activities” during the week, it was late Friday evening before we finally attached the shutters to the house—and fully dark by the time we finished. I could hardly wait for the next morning to see fruit of our labor!



























Close up...

Close up…

Another view...

Another view…

So our dream of shutters took five years longer than anticipated to see realization, but it was well worth the wait. I might not have a green thumb, and landscaping is not one of my strengths, but with the help of my hubby’s power tools and the abilities God has given me, I’m grateful to be able to bring a bit of charm to our little Montana home.