Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My Latest DIY + Contest + Giveaway!

by Lee McKenzie

Here’s what I love about do-it-yourself projects:
• having fun
• being creative
• saving money
• a one-of-a-kind finished product
For my latest DIY, I decided to search for a small dresser to use as a bedside table because I needed extra storage. Since I knew I’d be painting the dresser once I found it, I really only had two criteria:
• it had to be no wider than 34”
• and it had to be cheap!
The search is half the fun, and after a couple of months of on-and-off scouring online sites and local second-hand shops, I finally found this one.


The dresser had good bones and the insides of the drawers were pristine—important features!—but the rusty brown color was drab and the faux brass drawer pulls were uninspired.

Even before I found the right piece, I knew I wanted to paint it with Annie Sloan chalk paint, and I’d decided that Versailles, a lovely shade of soft green with undertones of grey, would coordinate perfectly with the soft turquoise walls in this space.

To find out more about Chalk Paint, visit Annie Sloan's website!
Chalk paint is super-versatile and can be used to paint virtually anything. Wood, glass, vinyl, even fabric! Best of all, it adheres to surfaces with little or no preparation. It dries quickly and the second coat can be applied within hours, and then when that’s dry it gets a light, even coat of soft wax. I used Annie Sloan’s clear wax because I didn’t want the wax to affect the color.

The drawer pulls definitely had to be replaced. I love all things shiny—I’m a bit like a crow that way!—and I knew I’d found what I was looking for when I spotted these rhinestone-studded beauties at Home Depot.


These were wider than the previous pulls so I had to fill one set of holes with wood filler and drill a second set to accommodate the new pulls. Totally worth it, if you ask me! What do you think?


The final tally:
• Dresser: $40
• 6 new drawer pulls: $60
• Paint and wax: $15 (approx)
I sold the six original drawer pulls for $15 to the shop owner where I bought the paint, so my grand total for the dresser is about $100. The total cost of the paint and wax was more than $15 but I only used a small amount to refinish this dresser and have lots left for several future projects. I’m just not sure yet what those projects will be!

Although I often daydream about the DIYs I’d like to do, the reality is that I only have time for occasional projects. What about you? Are you a DIYer? A scourer of thrift shops and second-hand stores? I hope you'll post a comment and share your story, or feel free to comment on my latest DIY, or just say “hi!”

I have a giveaway this month as well—a copy of The Daddy Project (one of my backlist books that has a heroine who's an interior decorator and loves DIY and bakes amazing cupcakes) and to go with the book, an adorable shopping bag from the world-famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City. Because even though not everyone is DIY fan, who doesn’t love cupcakes?
On Thursday, August 27th I’ll make a random draw from all the commenters and post the name of the winner here on the blog and it will also be in my September newsletter, Life in the Slow Lane. Click the link if you'd like to subscribe!

I'm also inviting readers to enter my Name This Furry Friend Contest. The heroine in my next Heartwarming has a pet hamster, and this sweet little girl needs a name.


Each of the stories in my new three-book series about the Finnegan family of Riverton, WI, is populated with furry friends. In To Catch a Wife (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016), newspaper reporter Emily Finnegan’s pet hamster needs a name. While Emily’s working, this sweet little girl likes to snuggle in this red box on her desk and keep her company.The Name This Furry Friend Contest is now open! Lee will be accepting entries until midnight (PDT) on Sunday, September 13, 2015. The entries will be judged by me and my family, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 23, 2015. The winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and receive an acknowledgement in To Catch a Wife. One entry per person.

Good luck! 

Until next time,

Lee
xoxo

Lee McKenzie...writing fifty shades of pink

To Catch a Wife (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016

57 comments:

  1. Lee, I love it! I have a similar dresser (the man's version) sitting in a closet. Yours looks so much better! Isn't it crazy how the drawer pulls cost more than the dresser?

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    1. Melinda, I did some humming and hawing over whether or not to spend the $$ on those drawer pulls but after I found them, nothing else would do! And since the overall cost wasn't going to break the bank, I decided to splurge. And I'm so glad I did because I'm loving the sparkle (for which my photos do not do justice).

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  2. I love the dresser and my husband works at the dump/ recycle center. He's always bringing good finds for me to do... I redid the side porch into a pantry last summer and we used old barn board that was thrown away to make cabinets. A nasty old big shelf that I stripped and repainted and looks beautiful, a ugly wall shelf that I painted over to give it a crackled look. and old louver doors that I repainted... that one can of paint was 10.00 from home depot and did everything and some nice old hooks for free from dump to hang pots on....and everything else was free.....was time to have house reappraised and ended up reappraising for thousands more!

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    1. Diana, I read your description and thought, "Oh, wow! This woman needs her own HGTV show!" Your pantry sounds amazing! And congrats on the reappraisal. Your creativity has clearly paid off.

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    2. Diana, I read your description and wanted to see a picture!

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  3. name to me for a little girls hamster that looks like that would be Snow White!

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    1. Sweet! Could you please click on the link above and use the official entry form? Thank you, Diana!

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  4. I'm a DIY wannabe--in other words, a total klutz when it comes to the actual doing. I love your project!

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    1. It's usually best to start small, Liz. I also happen to love the challenge of finding a good bargain!

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  5. I'm like Liz Flaherty in the DIY department. I admire those who can dig into projects and repurpose or redo fabulously. That dresser looks incredible!! I've seen items that I'd thought would look better if only......
    Thanks for showing us the dresser transformation. Seems you've got a knack for DIY projects.

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    1. Thanks, Laurie! These things are fun to do. As I said, I have way more ideas than time.

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  6. Great job with the dresser, Lee! It looks terrific.

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  7. You surely do keep busy. Once my husband and I found the wooden front of a fireplace that was used as a theater prop. Eventually we attached it to a fake fireplace made from old bricks and inserted a real working fireplace. It’s still being used. I love DIY projects.

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    1. What a great way to use an old fireplace surround, Marion! And what fun that it's even been used in a play!

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  8. The dresser looks great, Lee! I'm all thumbs when it comes to DIY projects. I guess I'm a DISEer...someone else. I love the rhinestones!

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    1. LOL, Jill! I have been known to get my husband involved in a project or two. There's a good reason that he's known as Handy Man :)

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  9. Nope, I buy ready to use, but I'm willing to dream about changing things for the better. I, too, am amazed that the pulls cost more than the paint LOL

    I love it.

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    1. Pamela, I was not surprised by the cost of the pulls. I've seen many that are pricier. The paint is often the least expensive part of a DIY project.

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  10. Beautiful! Love your refurbished chest. I'm not a DIYer, although in earlier days I did manage a few projects to perk up old pieces of furniture. It's fun. Those sparkly drawer pulls are great. Bling is always good.

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  11. Lee, love the refurbished dresser. Furniture is so expensive these days you did good.
    BTW I love the cover of your American Romance. When did it come out? That dog is too cute.

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    1. Thanks, Roz! That was one of my favorite AR covers! It came out a couple of years ago.

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  12. Wow, that is quite the transformation. We have a couple similar pieces in our home that I have not been motivated to refinish, you may have provided the push I need.

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  13. Didn't realize my name would be my screen name. Lol

    Michelle Maw

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  14. Didn't realize my name would be my screen name. Lol

    Michelle Maw

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  15. Good job on the dresser/bedside table! It's gorgeous, and am happy to know about that paint. My husband and I did a lot of DIY projects together, but since his hands no longer work, I realize how important his half of the contribution was because things never turn out quite right anymore, so, like Pam, I buy ready-to-use. But so admire those of you who have such skills. And, wow. Kudos to Diana.

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    1. My Handy Man does a lot of projects around the house, Muriel. One of these months I'll post pictures of the remodel of our back porch/mudroom. He wasn't crazy about my choice of colors and materials until it was finished, and now he thinks it's the nicest room in the house!

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    2. Looking forward to those pictures!

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    3. Looking forward to those pictures!

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  16. I have a friend who sells Annie Sloan paint and she gives lessons. All of her pieces that she paints fly right out of her store! I knew the pulls were going to cost you an arm and a leg. lol. I found that out when I redid my kitchen.

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    1. The shop where I buy my paint also offers lessons, but the owner gives all of her customers a lot of helpful tips. I love some of the French country finishes she does, but for me a little of that goes a long way.

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  17. You make this all look to easy!! I have so many great ideas of what I would like to do but that is as far as most of them get, just ideas!

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    1. Thank you, Darlene! I think it's best to start with a project that's small and easy to complete, then work your way up to the bigger items.

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  18. Great dresser. I did a similar project: a second-hand nightstand. I used gel stain to darken it to match the bed, and decoupaged a map over the top. It goes with the suitcase table on the other side of the bed.

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    1. Beth, this sounds fantastic! What a great combination!

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  19. Beautiful! I've seen some people do amazing things with pallets, but I'm a little too nervous to tackle that DIY project yet. I need a lot more research. :)

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    1. LeAnne, I can relate to your trepidation. After you've applied that first brushstroke, there's not turning back! Many shops offer classes these days, and that can be a great way to tackle that first DIY.

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  20. I'm a DIYer too and love projects. Awesome job with the dresser! Looks great!

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    1. Thanks, Rula! This one was very satisfying.

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    2. Hi Rula! :) Awesome to "see" you!

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  21. Hi Lee, super cute dresser project! I think it turned out terrific. I going on Pinterest to see what neat ideas people have for chalkboard paint... and magnetic paint, too! :)
    I'd like to submit two names for the nameless hamster: 1) Cubby or Cubbie as in "cub reporter" and 2) Cashew - "Cash" for short because he loves to nibble on cashews all day.

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    1. oops.. I *love* going on Pinterest

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    2. Thanks, Krissie! I realize now that I wasn't clear in my post, but I used chalk paint, which is totally different from chalkboard paint. The paint I used can't be written on with chalk.

      I have heard so many wonderful things about Pinterest, but I'm not it. I desperately want to be, but it sounds like the kind of place where I could spend hours and hours and...well, I simply can't afford the time :(

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  22. I love going on Pinterest and even though I can't do as many DIY's as I used to, I still like to look. I'm totally fascinated with mason jar projects and I swear I'm going to do a couple before Halloween.

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    1. Linda, I adore mason jars! All my dried beans and grains and cereals are stored in mason jars in my pantry. I use them for vases with a few strips of narrow ribbon and a string of beads tied around the top. And I especially love the idea of making candle lanterns with mason jars and hanging them up around the garden. Hm. That might be fun for Halloween!

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  23. A lovely make-over. Giving me ideas.

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  24. Love projects that turn ordinary into extraordinary. And I love little furry creatures. Tadpole or Tad for short would be my name choice.

    I love the giveaway and am sure keeping my fingers crossed especially since the name of our business is Magnolia Brush. Love the Magnolia!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Melanie! The name of your business is intriguing!

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  25. The dresser is beautiful

    alysap AT yahoo DOT com

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  26. When I married my husband (30 years ago), he came with an old chest of drawers that he bought at a garage sale (and was very proud of, ahem) from a woman that passed away. I've hated this ugly thing for 30 years. I'm using your article to motivate him. Wish me luck! :) Thanks

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    1. I love this story, K! Good luck, for sure!

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  27. Many thanks to everyone who dropped by the blog and posted a comment! The winner of this month's giveaway -- a Magnolia Bakery shopping bag and a copy of The Daddy Project -- is jcp smith. Congratulations, jcp! I'll be in touch by email.

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