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Shabby to Shabby Chic: Dresser DIY

Thrifting called me to this $10.00 dresser. However this dresser needed some love and became one of my favorite DIY project to date.

Starting Point

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This dresser needed it all: new knobs, new color, new contact paper.

Basically it needed  a new life!

This first step to this new life was to sand and prime the dresser.

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A quick trip to Home Depot provided all the supplies. The dresser was sanded by hand with sandpaper. you notice the surface was mostly smooth, but needed a bit of evening out to better take the primer. The dresser took the primer and it didn’t smell too bad! I put on two coats of primer and let it dry for about 5 hours before reassembling.unnamed-6

Then it was to paint the dresser. I again found myself at the home depot hunting for a color on the opps rack. I picked up a $2.00 quart of paint. I painted the dresser indoors and the smell was fine.

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I applied two coats and within 5 hours. The paint went on evenly didn’t require any special brushes or equipment.

I enjoyed doing this project with my sister and in just one afternoon this shabby dresser became shabby chic after the addition of some $3.00 dollar knobs

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Dresser 10
Paint 2
Knobs 27
Total 39
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DIY Penny Dresser for mere Pennies!

A new apartment and new dislike of IKEA called for new furniture. However I wasn’t granted a new budget, so it was time to DIY a dresser with the help of a friend.

After some clicking around other blogs I fell in love with penny projects. However other people were doing a crazy amount of work and even had a blow torch. Hard work and fire were not about to happen, so meet my Penny top DIY dresser with no hard work or flames required.

Step one: Buy/Find furniture 

I bought a plain, yet solid wood dresser on craigslist for 30 bucks

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Step two: Get pennies and get to gluing

Here you have crucial decisions:  Do you want to glue each penny? Do you want to glue pennies in a frame and just throw in the rest? Do you want to mix bright and faded pennies? Do you want to drive yourself crazy and glue your fingers together?

Why so many questions? Look and see:

I started by making a row and column of pennies to determine how many I would need.

unnamed-1 I estimated I would have 20 rows with 47 pennies in each row or about 940 pennies. I went to the bank and got 10 bucks worth of pennies to play it safe. unnamed-2

Now here is where I made a crucial mistake. I decided to glue every penny! CRAZINESS! It would have been smart to glue pennies along the edges, forming a frame, and insert the remaining pennies into the frame and then gloss. However, in the absences of good sense, I got to gluing my 940 pennies.

I wanted a color blend so I soaked some pennies in CLR, others got a soap and vinegar bath, others got spite and glued haphazardly.

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It took me 4 bottles of super glue and three days to glue the pennies. If you decide to glue individually rather than gluing the fame and arranging, stay away from gorilla glue. Gorilla glue expands and will begin to inhabit the space between pennies.

After the pennies were glued on the dresser top it was time to do some improvements on the body of the dresser.

Step Three: Update other parts of furniture 

IMAG2786I picked up a quart of matte Power Gray from the Home Depot and the dusty lilac gray and I got to work. My lovely assistant, Rachel, and I painted the dresser drawers and body of the dresser leaving the front face the original white.

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Step Four: Glaze the Pennies!

We let the two coats of paint dry. Once the paint was dry it was officially time to glaze our pennies.

To protect the new paint I wrapped the upper portion of the dresser in dollar store cling wrap. The knock off saran wrap worked great!

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We mixed up the super gloss and got to pouring.5b5ec4cd-1f10-49d1-b193-7397092d66b5_400

The gloss didn’t smell, and filled every crack with a little spreading help. There were bubbles from air trapped in the gloss mixture, but we popped them with our fingers or by blowing on them. I didn’t have a plastic squeegee so I used the edge of a dollar store dust pan to spread the mixture. You will have about 10-15 to work with the mixture.

I left the dresser near an open window for about 7 hours and the end result was super shiny, super hard and super fun:

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Dresser 30
Paint* 15
Pennies 10
Glaze** 23
Total 78
  • * I only used half a quart of paint. The other half of the paint will be used in a future DIY project
  • **I only used half the glaze and then had enough to varnish some items for my lovely assistant!

This was a wonderful friend activity!

In defense of mineral oil and other naughty ingredients

My hair broke up with mineral oil, silicones, and sulfates and the like many moons ago. Leaving the commonly thought to be naughty ingredients in my distant past, I had the  opportunity to get to know my hair.

I know my hair is fine. I know my hair loves protein, I know my hair is low porosity. I know how my hair hates shea butter. I know a lot about my hair, but why it frizzes has always been a mystery.

I have heard frizz is just a curl waiting to happen. Well it neither happened nor happened to get any better. Then my sister reminded me of an old salon favorite: silicon mix. Studying her quickly emptying jar brought me back to the days of flaming hot dryer and rat tails combs. I looked at the ingredients and they looked as bad as my relaxed hair:

Water, Mineral Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerine, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dimethycone Copolyol, Cyclomethicone, Keratin, Ceramide, Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance.

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Yet I had a suspicion my frizz may be tamed by the added weight of the no-no ingredients. After much debate I spent 3.99 and took home my jar of rollersetting history.

To begin I decide the silicon mix would sit on top of my hair, so I better get some healthy stuff on inside my hair.

I rinsed my hair with warm water and shampooed with my beloved beer shampoo. I then deep conditioned under the dryer with a yogurt and cassia blend. After nearly and hour I introduced the silicon mix. I applied the thick solution heavily. I sat under the dryer for 30 mins. I rinsed and got to rolling!

I could immediately tell this rollerset was going to be different. My hair refused to get wet. It seemed to be coated in some sort of water replant. The spray bottle wasn’t working, so I resorted to sticking section of hair under the faucet.  My hair was well detangled from the yogurt mix, but it seemed attracted to the roller like never before.

As I rolled I could see my hair laying down and clinging to the roller. My hair wasn’t trying to curl. instead, for once, my hair was taunt to the roller.

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The difficultly getting wet helped during the dry time as my magnetic rollers were completely dry in 75 minutes instead of the 100-120 mins.

I am not sure what the long impact of the silicon mix will be, but compare the results and decided if the no no ingredients, should become ” sometimes” ingredients.

Normal setting results:

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Typically my hair has a certain amount of frizz I attributed to my tight, natural curls. However the same technquie plus the silicon mix yielded the following results:

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I feel the silicon mix added a smoothness that allowed my hair to be more taunt and thus more stretched. What do you think are do all ingredients have a place in your hair care routine?

Square Hue and Surprise Gifts

It has been a while since I blogged about Square Hue, or blogged at all. But I am getting my life and my nails back together and Square Hue started my “Operation: get it together” with a mid-month surprise.

Meet Square Hue: Black Label Start to Finish

IMAG2208Thats right ladies and dry-handed gentleman, square hue now has a cuticle oil, base coat and top coat.

The shocking arrival came with a thank you card for being a long standing customer. It also came free of charge!

The free gift inspired me to get polishing!

The almond cuticle oil was nice. It went on smoothly and wasn’t greasy. It was light enough for frequent use and I was able to trim my cuticles with great ease. But on to the stars of the show:

IMAG2210The clear base coat was better than expected. While in the bottle the clear base coat looked a bit watery, the base coat was thick and viscous.

The base coat dried evenly with no bubbles and remained a bit tacky. I prefer a tacky base coat so the polish adheres well.

I applied polish in 3 thin coats and all was looking well until the top coat.

IMAG2211 The Wet Look topic coat delivers in the promise of high gloss. My nails were bling tastic. However, 15 minutes later my nails weren’t dry. This top coat turned my nails into a swiffer duster . Every piece of lint and dust clung to my damp nails and completely ruined my manicure.

I am hopeful that if I allow the polish to dry more the Wet Look top coat can become a keeper because the bling was delicious; however the below manicure is with Seche Vite top coat.

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Curlformers: My low heat solution to straight hair

Forgive my long absences.

My hair and I briefly broke up, but we have recently gotten back together. To celebrate our reunion here is an account of my most recent hair adventure.

My low heat straight hair

The forever curler addict I decided to dust off my curlformers.

My problem with curlformers, you may recall from previous post,  is I get straight roots and slightly molded length, which after a day looks like a hot mess.

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Curlfromers at the start

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Curlformers at the end of the day

Essentially, curlformers give me stretched hair, but no style longevity. So I decided maybe the stretch would work well for straighter styles.

My hope was sleeping with curlformers and introducing a blowdryer into the mix would give me the straight hair I occasionally want without flat iron.

To test the theory I installed a set a curlfromersIMAG2146

I slept in the curlformers and did not use my beloved hooded dryer.

When I woke up I dusted off my cheap blow dryer and unraveled the curlformers two or three at time. I wanted to blowdry in small sections, so I did not take them out in large groups.

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I started by gently brushing out my curls. I then blow dried my hair on cool  with no comb attachment. I was happy that without flat ironing I was able to get my roots flat. IMAG2148IMAG2160

The process was much faster than blow drying my wet hair and I was able to get much straighter roots. I kept my hair straight for about 2 and half weeks and used flexi rods and pillow rollers to style. When given the option this will be the only way I straighten my hair.

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The Lazy Girl Flat Iron: Low heat natural hair Flat iron

The more I grow the lazier I become about styling.

I don’t use combs. I don’t use brushes. I don’t even use rinse out conditioner anymore. However I did need to detangle my hair more thoroughly as it has been about year -so straight hair was my solution.

After a horrible salon experience last year I knew I needed to DIY, but I also knew the process needed to be quick, conditioning and effective.

So to start

I used my hourglass rollers to stretch my hair. I sat under the dryer for 45 mins. My hair was stretched but still damp enough to blow dry

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I busted out my cheap TJ Maxx dryer, sat down in front of a mirror and blow dried. I took several breaks to cool down as a was sweating buckets and I had some matting to work out. Two hours later the blow drying was done.

After that I wanted to flat iron, but I was over it. So I broke my hair into six sections and ran my flat iron over each sections cranked up to 400 degrees. Dangerous, maybe. Damaging, definitely not. My hair revert with no issue because the sections were so large.

I decided to use my trusty flexi rods to give my hair that sleek look

 

When I unwrapped my hair I was greeted with sleek result

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My hair was extra sleek and had a sheen I don’t typically achieve. After i finger combed my hair I had a loose wave.

 

 

 

 

IMAG1955If you are looking for pin straight hair this method is not for you, but if you want to wear your hair down with minimally heat exposure in a style for a week or two, I would definitely recommend.

 

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Naked Nails: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

My nails have come a long way since the days I could peel them like a banana.

Here is how:

I  stared using  Quimica Nail hardener. Note this is not a growth aid–it is meant to make your nails hard. It has made my nails beyond hard: I can pick labels, tap to the annoyance of the general public and even submerge my nails in water without them turning weak and brittle. In order to fully make your nails better you have to have a good starting point.

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Before I started using quimica I filed my nails down to nubs. I filed my nails with ruby stone. They grew back better than before because thee are no more weak points which snag and ruin much of the nail.

Without these constant snags and peeling layers my nails also seem to grow faster. I do not believe my nails are growing faster it is more likely I am noticing the growth because it stays put!

Wile my nails have undoubtedly gotten stronger from the hardener they have also gotten more yellow. Chemicals in Quimica have begun to turn my nails slightly yellow. Because yellow nails are not cool to me I switch it up and use this a base coat every other manicure. But simply adding a base coat on top has also eliminated some of the yellowing.

The texture is thick and viscous and forms a rubber like coat on your nails. But beyond coating your nails you can tell it absorbs into your nails.

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How can you tell? Besides the god awful smell if you get this on your skin/cuticle it will tingle, sizzle or even burn. Yes you read the right it will burn. The directions say when beginning use polish from the middle of your nail to the tip, avoiding over saturation as your nails adjust.

I have experienced sensitivity caused by this polish and my advice?

Tap you nails gently on a hard surface and watch the tenderness disappear.

I purchased on Amazon and consider this polish to be a permeant part of my nail polish arsenal!

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Giving an old ponytail new life

Each week there is time when the rollerset style is done, but re-washing isn’t about to happen. That is when the ponytail is born. Sadly my ponytail normally turns into a bun to hide how boring my hair has become.   However this week I gave the bun a break and tried to give my ponytail new life. Just as I did with my previous flexi rod set on dry hair  I decided to bust out the flexi rods. clipI pulled my hair up with a my extra cheap, extra wide banana clip. These things are great! I have different colors and sizes. I would highly recommend for stretched hair.   With the bulk of my hair pulled back I twisted my bangs as they hate any kind of tension. I then spilt my mound of hair and began to wind it around the  flexi rods that I can still find. I also took this opportunity to moisturize and seal amy ends. IMAG1888 IMAG1889   I left the rods in overnight. They were easy to sleep on because they were at the top of my head.   Before finger combing the curls: IMAG1890 IMAG1891-1   After finger combing: IMAG1893 IMAG1896 As you can see from the bumpit like volume, my ponytail was certainly more alive. What do you all think? Are flexi rods your friend?

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Perserving the curl: Flexi Rods to extend Natural hair Rollerset

Readers know rollersets are my standards. I recently decided to dust off my magnetic rollers because I wanted a smoother look. But how to preserve the curl? This week I am riding the flexi rod train to smooth, lush hair.

To start I washed and deep conditioned my hair. After washing and deep conditioning, I applied my leave in and flax seed gel and then got my roll on.

IMAG1841I rolled on grey 2 inch rollers. I used duckbill clips to secure the rollers and snap on covers from another set of rollers to smooth my hair. This combination gets me the smoothest results, but extends the dry time.

 

I sat under the dryer for one 60 minute cycle, let the rollers cool for 20 minutes and went back under for another 40 minutes and let the rollers cool again for 20 minutes. In total that is 2 hours and 20 minutes of dry time.

 

The benefit of letting rollers cool ensures that your curl stays curled. Without cooling your hair is more likely to fall because while it is dry, it is hot and thus very malleable.

 

 

 

After those nearly 2.5 hours I was tired, but napping with magnetic rollers is a literal pain. So I unrolled and below are my results

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I then busted on my flexi rods. I used a total of 6 rods, but have done a similar method using four. I am not sure as to the size of the rods, but if inquiring minds want to know I will gladly bust out the measuring tape.

I finger combed my hair to make one part down the center of my head. I then sectioned my hair into 6 groups and spiraled my hair onto the rod.

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I place the smaller rods in the back to achieve both a tighter curl and a more comfortable sleep. I used no holding product and in the morning was greeted with:

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I finger combed the results and wore my hair half up/half down

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I have also done this in the past with similarly great results which you can see below

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I then finger combed to achieve this look

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How do you preserve your curl? How do you use flexi rods?

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Jumbo Curlformers

My extra wide curlformers and I are beginning to have issues. The main issue being they are 16 inches stretched and my hair, in places, is 17 inches.

What a wonderful problem to have.

So not wanting to give up the barrel look of curls I search through the bootlegers until I found ashopndiva on eBay who had curlformers that are 21 inches when stretched. After much debate I clicked buy and despite some issues I am happy to report they arrived!

IMAG1790The rollers are both longer and wider than the previous extra wide style. This extra length is just what my hair ordered. But I didn’t realize how hard it would be to get the hook through 21 inches of fabric.

The hook that came with the package had these hair snagging teeth

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I tried the hook once and it was awful. Even though it was a struggle, I used the original smooth curlformers hook. The seller suggest using a nail clipper to cut the teeth down. However that would mean filing the reaming portion smooth. I’m too lazy for that.

The jumbo curlfomrers come  12 in a pack, so I mixed them with my extra wide curlfromers and looked like a crayon box

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The black and white new additions were heavy and hard to sleep in. I used stretched hair ties to contain this colorful mess. I sat under the dryer for an hour and then slept in rollers.

In the morning I was greeted with very different, but equally great curls.

IMAG1800_BURST002This picture best shows the difference in the curls. The extra long extra wide, black and white curlformers gave me loose waves; rather than tight curls.

IMAG1803 you can see the mixture of curls plays nice with each other. When I styled and pulled the curls apart the blend was great!

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Overall I was pleased with the experience. The jumbo rollers gave the same stretch as traditional curlformers. They also gave the same temporary results.

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My hair the next morning

After 12 innings of baseball, some much need rest my hair looked like it wasn’t styled. I plan to wear a bun followed by a braid out later in the week, so overall I am happy. The White Sox won and my hair is stretched !