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



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.


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


Dresser 10
Paint 2
Knobs 27
Total 39

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


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!


Reform the Door: DIY Coffee Table

When I’m not trying to make friends, I try to reaffirm  my current relationships and that has taken the shape of building a table!

You read that correct. The him and I salvaged an old door and got to work making the best coffee table pocket change could buy.

Step 1: Find your door

We started at Chicago’s Rebuilding Exchange. This spacious warehouse features everything from cabinets to sinks; windows to plumbing stuff; and yes, rows and rows of doors. They have retail hours throughout the week, but we attended a monthly event featuring local vintage collectors and DIYers. We found our door here for $20.00.  We picked a smaller door as to not overwhelm our couch/living room. Be sure to measure; not all doors are created equal.

We also looked on craigslist and while we found some doors, the Rebuilding Exchange had better quality, prices and a helpful staff that gave us a lot of confidence.

Step 2: Clean your door

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We wiped down our door with old rags. Above picture is what became the underside of our table.

Step 3: Select your colors and get painting

We picked colors to help highlight our chocolate brown couch.

We picked up two store brand  acrylic colors at Blick called blickrylic, for a total cost of $9.00.We selected a metallic gold base color called Metallic Brass  and a red top coat called Venetian Red.

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We layered the metallic brass paint, as named by Blick, on in medium even coats. We completed two coats and left the door to dry outside overnight. IMAG0751

After the base coat dried we painted the door a deep red.

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We layered the red on thick because we wanted it to be the dominant color. After three layers we allowed the red to also dry outdoors overnight. We did, however, do all the painting in our living room and the fumes were faint to non-exsitent.

Step 4: Sanding

This was admittedly my him counterpart’s favorite. We wanted our table to have a vintage look, so we buffed and sanded until our table was a bit distressed. We used an electric sander with a vacuum bag to catch most of the dust. An electric sander saved so much time and clean up, some sweeping required.

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Step 5: Find your table legs

This was the hardest part. The Rebuilding Building Exchange had nothing in ways of legs, so the hunt began. We went through things like: metal braces, pvc pipes, wooden planks; everything we could think of. We even found a craigslist seller who makes tables and table legs, but they wanted 20 bucks a legs.

Everything was earlier not sturdy enough, not the right height, not the right price.

We decided to go to Home Depot to try our luck.  In the lumber department we discovered wooden beams that were typically used for railings. The lumber department cuts wood to request free with purchase so their we picked up what would become our legs. The beams were $3.97 per 8 feet; costing a total of about 8 bucks for the two required beams.

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While there we picked up a pack of wood screws, metal braces, in addition to renting a hammer drill to affix the legs. While we do own a drill we needed more voltage to penetrate the wood, so the hammer drill was necessary.

Step 6: Enjoy your table

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We loved our table, but found we needed a cross-bar to make it more sturdy. So back to Home Depot we went where we purchases two more pieces of wood.

Before adding the extra support beam our table looked like this:

IMAG0827 Continue reading


You can always go home again and likely things will be just as you left them.  Or so I discovered on a recent trip to Jersey.

When thinking about my lack of friends I have to ask myself : what happened to all my friends?

What happened to my colleges friends?: relocation for job/education opportunities, spouses, or they quit drinking.

I can live with that.

What happened to my highschool friends?: Nothing.

Now I believe post 23 high school has no place in conversation, but there I was back in Jersey and thinking why not dust off the phonebook and rekindle old times.

Call me old fashion. Call me nostalgic. Call me depressed.

My friend from highschool, K, is exactly as I left her when the windy city wind carried me west.

Same living situation, same shit guy shit situation, same “ one of these days I’m going to” situation same everything. It seemed nothing had advanced but me. Was I being pretentious or did the small town get even smaller

The latter.

I seriously thought she was going to ask me to go on myspace so little had changed.

I felt bad. We used to be such good friends and suddenly there was nothing there. I kept defaulting to lecture mode and felt preachy. She squirmed under the weight of my lecture, but continued to solicit my advice and claimed “ she never thought about it that way.”

I guess it proves true that sometimes people grow apart and, less cliché, sometimes you are right to search out for more.

Have you had a ” i need to keep expand” moment when it came to friendship/relationships?


Some things never change, but should

105 degrees, 40% humidity with a chance of Friendship

After weeks of terror today was the day.

Today was the day for hot yoga. 105 degree hot yoga to be specific.

My Craigslist friend date from the post Blind Date Jackpot, CA, had suggest hot yoga as a friend date some weeks back and today it was time to sweat it out.

Now lets be clear:

  • I have never done yoga
  • I have never endured 105 degree temperatures without an ocean
  • I have never been so terrified for such an extended period of time


I walked up the stairs to and I was already sweating. Sweating because I didn’t want to embarrass myself. Sweating because I wasn’t sure three towels was enough. Sweating because I doubted 32 ounces was enough for 90 minutes. Sweating because I was already fucking hot.

So I entered this sweat box and it wasn’t as hot as I thought. It felt hot stuffy, but not unbearably hot. That was until my body was so saturated with sweat commandments to grab my foot was met with an awkward slipping and sliding.

Despite being nervous I am happy I stepped outside of my comfort zone and not only got a great work out, but actually because I had a good time.

While I’m not running back to the sweat box anytime soon, having this experience with CA reminded me what this all about: trying new things with new people. After we had lunch and traded heat stroke symptoms.

Basically this third friend date was hot as hell. Get it, huh?

So tell me what is your ideal friend date?



Running into Trouble at the Gym

Not all social things are created equal.

I knew this, and hope you did too, but I had the pleasure of learning it all over again with one of my craigslist friend dates.

As you may recall or later scroll down to read. My craigslist post included that I “run.” Now I run at the gym, with headphones, for a fixed amount of time and closely count the minutes until the experience is over. So when I got the suggestion from lets call her Peek to go for a run as a friend date, I was less than excited.

  1.  I can’t run and talk
  2. I don’t want to run and talk
  3. When I exercise it is business
    1. I don’t work enough to afford to have a half ass work out
  4. I don’t like to do social things that involve sweating

BUT In the name of making new friends and my new accountability to this blog I gave a begrudging  yes and plans were made.

The day of the run comes and it is 85 degrees, raining and feels like a high school locker room outside, so I suggest we move things to the gym where I have a membership and she can be a guest.


Here is where things get odd. We decide to do 3 miles around the track and then some cardio/weight machines I just wasn’t sure of the protocol:

  1. You want to talk and run, but I don’t. How do I say don’t talk to me?
  2. You run slower than me. Can I leave you behind?
  3. I don’t want to elliptical. Can I leave you?
  4. You don’t listen to music when you run. Can I?
  5. The machine immediately next to you isn’t one I want to use. Can I walk away?
  6. You’re talking not working out. Can I say get back to work?
  7. You want to stay and I want to leave. Can I leave?

Basically I was really awkward. I don’t go to the gym to be social. I go to the gym to get things done and go home and this was clearly something different for which I was unprepared.

I hope to exclude working out from all future friend outings until I know how serious the work out is going to be.

Have you worked out with friends before? How did it go for you.

My 14 minutes on Girlfriend Social

So I had a girlfriend social account from 8:27 pm- 8:41 pm.

While Girlfriend social may be a life line for some, I hated everything about it including, but not limited to:

  1. I hate being called girlfriend. Who says that anymore?
  2. They asked way too many questions. I get it the website wants to collect data about members, they need to share information to incite member, but here is the issue: finding a friend should not be an algorithm  based on how much money you make. There are certain topics/personal data that should be revealed over time. What I do for a living, my favorite sport team or my favorite author are no secret when you give those things so much value and make them so transparent you are not representing a whole person but a disproportion picture of a person
  3. I get that Mothers are people  ( and important people at that), but I don’t have kids and the fact that every suggestion for an input field has something to do with children is a major turn off.
  4. I felt like I was on a dating site. You see the same pictures of women trying to make themselves look thin with pictures taken from weird angles.
  5. I felt pressured to over detail. Do you care about my favorite brand of shampoo or if I like spicy food? You shouldn’t.
  6. oh, and all that fucking pink. I like pink too, but lets step away from the cotton candy theme and get serious.

I want to make friends, but I don’t want to have brainstorm my hobbies to fill out some mandate field. And frankly I don’t want to know everything about someone before meeting them. While I few issues with meeting people online, when it comes to friends I want to give someone a chance to be multifaceted rather than the sum of arbitrary list.



Hit and Miss Craigslist Friends Round 1

Because inquiring minds may one day want to know:

Craigslist ad was posted for 7 days

In that week I got 5 replies

I exchanged a total of 57 e-mails

I met 1 person

Those aren’t great numbers, huh?

Now what about the four people I didn’t meet?

  1. The copy and pasted reply. One person sent me a reply that was obviously generic as it responded to nothing in my post and was pretty general. I think she axed me off her friend this when I refused to share a picture. Call me a weirdo, but something about it made me uncomfortable. I also don’t have Facebook so I think she thought I was a creeper and blew me off.
  2. Too slow on the draw. One girl seemed cool, but after it took me 2 days to reply to her e-mail was just over it.
  3. My bad. I just discovered my reply was a draft and not sent.
  4. Too boring. After re-reading our e-mail thread I see I was just being too plain. How is school? What are you studying? Oh that is so exciting! Type of stuff. No wonder that kind of trailed off.

Lesson learned:

If you want to make friends on Craigslist.

Reply quickly, actually reply, be genuine and be willing to let some of it go.

I plan to repost the ad on Craigslist and see if I can meet another person face-to-face. I will also write a separate post about the one person I manged to meet, so stay tuned.


Blind Date Jackpot

Blind Date (U.S. TV series)

Blind Date (U.S. TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first craigslist date was yesterday and though a made a host of social blunders it went well and I will tell you why in  a series of rambling list.

I was late:

  • I couldn’t decide what to wear. Normally a first date I would just show some cleavage, but that doesn’t do it for heterosexual women.
    • I decided to show of my really bright toenail polish instead
  • I got caught checking out my reflection.
    • my hair was stressing me out and i didn’t realize she was behind me
  • I couldn’t decide if my hair looked better up or down…meaning I took it down and put it up  repeatedly  .
    • It likely looked like I was playing with my hair.

Beyond me being a bit nervous things seemed to go well


  • She asked one question: what made you turn to craigslist, which led to
    • my love of thrifting–her love of saving–shifting social scene of twenty somethings–work–hobbies–boyfriends–marriage–feminism–etc
      • The conversation developed really naturally. I still talked over her at some points, but I tried to listen more than I talked

I’m a pretty awkward person in general and not in that comically TV way. I’m awkward in that uncomfortable sigh way


  • I kept trying to finish her thought and I never guessed right
    • outside of my tendency to talk over time I likely spend too much time with people I know really well giving me the belief I have the super power of reading minds
  • She hugged me at the end
    • I think the last women to hug me was my mother. Even that was a bit uncomfortable because like a true weirdo  I lean away for fear of women thinking I am accidentally groping them.

All that said I had a really good time. Do you think she’ll call?

Platonically Putting it Out “There”

I plan to start this adventure where most misadventures starts: craigslist.

In an effort to feel less like a use car salesman trying to sell damaged goods I tried to keep the post short and easy to read.

My craigslist ad will look something like this:

So lets see: I’ve got a boyfriend who I love, an apartment I need to clean, a library card I use  mostly for  Kindle check outs, running shoes I put about 10 miles on a week, bottles of nail polish I look at daily that I need to use and lust for draft beer I need to satisfy. Basically I’m an AA girl who has got it all with the exclusion of female friends ( which I guess would all exclude the use of the word all, huh?). After college most of friends relocated leaving me here with no one to indulge in girly/Chicagoy things.


I included a bullet list of some of my interest in case you’re too lazy to read paragraphs ( like me)

• I like museums

• I like to read ( [post] modern fiction)

• I like naps

• I like draft beer

o Light wheat beer

• I’m addicted to bread

• I enjoy deep conditioning my hair

• I like the color purple

• I love mozzarella sticks

• I drink, but I don’t smoke

• I have 6 stamps in my passport

• I run

o Not fast or well, but I try

• I am from Jersey

• I like make that love nail polish


What do you think? Would you reply to my ad?


I will also be replying to others ad. My method will be skipping right to the first date. Operation Friend Request in full effect