Large DIY Chalkboard

 I have been OBSESSED with finding a ginormous framed chalkboard for our dining room ever since seeing this picture on Pinterest:

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 It has seriously been over 1 year…1 YEAR…since I got this idea in my head. My main problem wasn’t finding the board, but finding it for the price I wanted to pay (as they are all a bagillion dollars….for the life of me I can’t figure out why).

This project is affordable, fun, and easy.

Supplies you will need:

1 Large slab of masonite (Lowe’s will cut this for you. It comes to about $8) I had mine cut down to 3ftx5ft but I would have done 4ftx6ft if I could have fit all that in my car.

1 Quart of chalkboard paint (I had some on hand and still have plenty left after many chalk projects) $9.99

Paintbrush or roller

Sandpaper

Hot glue

Molding

Fun color of spray paint or paint (optional)

Drill with screws

Miter box (you don’t need this, but it makes things easier)

An extra hand (or 2) for hanging the board (I usually skip this part and try to do everything myself, but my amazing in-laws were in town and made everything so much easier!)

Step One:

Paint one side of the board with 4 coats (or more if needed) of chalkboard paint, allowing time to dry in between each coat.

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While your  paint is drying, you can paint your molding the color of your choice. I’m super cheap, so I used an old can of Champagne Nouveau spray paint and lightly dusted an uneven coating over the molding. I wanted an antiqued/aged look, so it didn’t have to be perfect.

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Step Two:

After board is completely dry…aka 3 episodes of The Walking Dead or Gossip Girl (depending on current mood) on Netflix…sand top coat lightly. I also sanded down my molding to complete the antiqued look. You can’t really tell in the pics but I promise you it is noticeable in person.

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Step Three:

This is by far the hardest part…and I usually skip it but this time I held fast: wait THREE DAYS for board to cure.

Step Four:

Hang board (with help if needed). You don’t have to worry about what the screws look like as long as you keep them as close to the edge of the board as possible. You’re going to be covering that part up with the molding anyway.

Step Five:

Cut molding into 4 pieces to make frame. My father-in-law did this part, as I was banned from utilizing sharp apparatuses for accidentally slicing my hand open with a bread knife while making wine cork place card holders for Thanksgiving (which turned out real cute, I might add! Don’t even get me started on how ridiculously expensive place card holders are!).

 Step Six:

Once cut, you can attach the molding to the board in a number of ways. We chose hot glue, due to it’s simplicity and just the fact that it really works well. The guy at Lowe’s was super interested in my chalkboard project and gave me some additional recommendations though. You can use nails without a head and simply just nail the molding on, or attach it using some other form of glue.

Step Seven:

This is the fun part! Now that your board is cured, take a piece of good ole’ regular chalk and color the WHOLE THING! Erase. Now it is ready to write on! Congrats! I also decided to decorate mine with some garland that I found at Hobby Lobby (half off, of course), and then I jotted down our Thanksgiving menu:

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I was able to complete this project for under $20, because I had a lot of the items needed already, but even if you don’t you will still save a ton of money with this DIY as opposed to buying a large chalkboard at PB.

I realize this chalkboard is not nearly as grand as the Pinterest pic I modeled it after, but it’s a start! I plan on adding ginormous wall sconces to each side for grandeur…I will add that pic to this post when completed.

{Note: I have attempted to add these myself, but apparently there is metal behind this wall, and now also a large hole that I made with my(husbands) power tools. I will find a way!!}

We had a lovely first Thanksgiving in our home with friends and family and can’t wait to celebrate Christmas! Even little Olive enjoyed some turkey:

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Hope ya’ll are having a wonderful holiday season!

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Pretty Lil’ Things

Our guest room is still a work in progress (eh, and so is the rest of the house, what am I saying)…I’m constantly moving things around in here and adding new junk. So far, I have a paint color and bedspread that are staying put. We have yet to add closet doors to the mix (which is why I cannot do a full room pic yet…you will freak out) but of course I already have pretty pillows and decorations hanging on the walls…priorities.  Even though it’s not totally finished, I thought I’d share some on here:IMG_4535

The vanity (that my momma bought for me) is from a cute little store in Jacksonville Beach, Fl, that is sadly no more (I think). It was called “Ooh La La Laurette.”  (If I am mistaken, someone please let me know! I love love LOVEDDDD her stuff!) However, if I remember correctly, Laurette still sells her stuff in a furniture consignment shop right next door to her old shop, “Cottage by the Sea.” If y’all are in the Jacksonville area, it’s definitely worth checking out. The little vanity chair is from Home Goods and they offer many different options.

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I believe I found these little apothecary jars at Hobby Lobby and Home Goods.

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The hanging hand mirrors and metal laurel leaf wreath are from Hobby Lobby as well.

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Baskets from Ross Dress for Less (yes, they have more than clothes!). This comforter totally needs to be steamed/ironed, but I promise it’s super cute. It’s part of the Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s collection. The really pretty rectangular beaded pillow is from Home Goods.

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And now, for a secret I rarely share with anyone…the two little square, beaded pillows are from….Burlington Coat Factory. Gasp! They were $7 a piece…and in perfect condition. I found the cute little vintage lamp in the corner at my favorite antique shop in Jacksonville, Sugar Bear, and I believe that’s where my mom found this side table as well.

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This headboard was a quick DIY project, I just used some spray paint to give it the look I was going for.

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Next I’m looking for something to hang over the headboard. I also want to add some type of a bench or storage at the foot of the bed, and add a pop of color with some homemade curtains. I’ll keep y’all posted on the progress. Let me know if you have any great ideas for a guest room! Thrift on!

The Mermaid Desk

If you follow me on Instagram, a long while ago I posted a picture that looked like this:

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…and then never mentioned it again. It just totally slipped my mind to do a before and after of my desk, but I’m doin’ it now! I haven’t really had an actual desk in years. My previous one was super tiny and right now is being used in our bedroom as a small T.V. stand. It’s really cute, there’s just no place to put anything on it! So, I began my search for something a bit larger. I looked through about 3 million pictures on Pinterest to give me some ideas, and then of course fell in love with desks that were way beyond my meager budget. I turned to my trusty friend, Craigslist, and became obsessed with finding something on there. I had previously lucked out by finding these 4 barstools for $5 a piece and gave them this makeover:

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But the desk…it was a bit tougher to find, because every time I found one I loved, someone had already snagged it. Finally, I came across this plain ole’ Ikea model that was listed for $65:

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I talked the guy down to $40 (which was still $20 over what I wanted to pay, but by this point I would have taken anything) and we went to pick it up in Parker’s truck. Rule #1 about Craigslist, folks! Don’t go pickin’ up stuff alone!!! Buddy system! Rule #2: do not lose hope! You will find what you want, eventually 🙂 I always use Live Love DIY‘s Craigslist tips and tricks to help me out when searching for what I want, and they never fail me!

Anyway, this is how my little desk started out. I love, love, LOVE this desk makeover from Love Grows Wild and chose to go with this light mint green color. I picked out the sample card, Olympic’s “Sweet Pea,” from Lowe’s, waited for more than 15 minutes without receiving any help or service, then took the sample to my local Home Depot where they mixed it and had me out the door in less than 5 minutes. Just sayin’.

I didn’t sand the desk or anything, I just gave it two coats of some leftover primer I had laying around and let that dry. Then I used a paint brush to do 3 coats of the mint green. I still have yet to seal it and probably never will, but it’s holding up fine for now.

*sorry for the photo quality (or lack thereof). I still don’t have a real camera!

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I then added a cute little knob from Hobby Lobby that reminds me of something Ariel (the mermaid) would find in her little cave of “whozits and whatzits galore.”  Then I laid out all of my little “thIngamabobs,” crammed my computer in the center, and wahlah! Mermaid desk.

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Im going through some major separation anxiety living this far from the ocean, so to make me a happy wife, Parker took me on a day-date to Laguna Beach this past Monday. No, I didn’t have any real housewives sightings, or run into  Ste-Vennn (sorry Ali and Chelcie P!) , but we still had a grand ole’ time!

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Hope y’all are having a lovely day/night…wherever in the world you are! Thrift on!

DIY Herb Garden

As promised, here’s my quick instructional for a diy herb garden:

First, find an old bucket, barrel, tub, planter, or something totally off the wall that you can put a plant in. I chose an ice bucket with a stand that was really cute but just did not fit in with our color scheme.

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If you don’t have anything, no worries! You can hit up a flea market or garage sale on the weekend and I guarantee you’ll find something interesting!

The first thing I did was drill some holes in the bottom (if it already has drainage, you’re one step ahead). I learned this important step from previous failures :/

Next, I chose my spray paint colors. I spray painted the stand with Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze, and used Rust-Oleum Flat Metallic Antique Nickel for the bucket. When doing this, choose an area with good air circulation…or else you may pass out. I always spray paint in my backyard or if it’s windy in my garage with the garage door open. I try to cover the floor with cardboard or trash bags…but I’m still in big trouble from the hubby for the layer of gold paint film in my surrounding spray area.

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Next thing I did was use my handy dandy chalkboard paint to make a little square in the middle of the bucket, like so. You can make any shape you’d like, though! Get creative! I used Rust-Oleum Specialty Flat Black Chalkboard Paint and an old, cheap, paint brush. I did 3 coats of the paint, letting each one dry for a few minutes before adding the next.

After this is COMPLETELY dry, you can start adding your dirt and herbs. I just went to my fave store, The Home Depot, and bought some Miracle Gro and 5 different herbs that I actually use in my cooking.

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I just happened to have these little chalkboard plant-markers, so I used a chalkboard pen to write on the front of the bucket and the markers to identify each herb (incase i lose my sense of smell, then I will know which is which! I know, so smart). I wouldn’t recommend using plain chalk, because when watering the herbs it will wash right off and you will have to keep writing down the names over, and over, and over…

Anyways, that’s it! Simple! Here’s the before and after:

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I’d love to see your own personal diy herb garden projects! You can tag me in them on Instagram @thethriftymermaid or share on here! Thrift on!

Outdoor Oasis

When my husband and I first moved into this house, we were already in love with the backyard area. Of all 236 houses we looked at (just kidding, but it felt like that many), this backyard was top 3 hands down. Now, I know what y’all are thinking, “that little space?!” Um, ya, this little space in California is like equivalent to 10 acres back home in Florida, thank you very much.

(Sorry for the quality of these photos…I use my iphone 4s and am a horrible photographer!!) IMG_9994IMG_9993 So upon moving in, I decided two things, 1: We have a patch of grass! We need to celebrate by getting a puppy. 2: We have to have a baller area to relax and chill with friends and family, and said puppy.

Here’s the little brat in the flesh:IMG_4225We call her Olive.

Anyways, I’m kinda frugal, thanks to my mom. (Side note: This is pretty terrible, but we even got a discount on little Olive) She taught me how to thrift, find really great sales, and that if you can’t find exactly what you want, then you make it. Thanks, mom! So when I started perusing patio furniture, I just about fainted at the prices. It took me about 6 months to find the deal I was looking for, but I found it! The catch was that the slipcovers for the certain line I chose were discontinued, so after a few years of avoiding a sewing machine I realized the cold, hard truth: we would meet again. I used this tutorial to sew all TWELVE slipcovers…blah! I chose this one in particular because it seemed super simple and I am able to trick people into thinking I spent a long time on these when in reality it only took me a couple hours 🙂IMG_4432After that was finished I added a rug, the fire pit we chose (which is a whole other story…we really saved some moolah on that!), two half barrels from Home Depot as side tables, some homemade pillows out of left over fabric, and a diy herb garden which is super simple (I’ll post how to do that soon). IMG_4298The finishing touch was an outdoor chandelier I found on super sale at Hobby Lobby, which I may hang lower but we shall see. We weeded and mulched the back area, and voila! The perfect start to our outdoor oasis!IMG_4474It’s comfy, perfect for sunny days or cold nights, and it makes me feel like I’m on a mini vacay! If y’all have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments! Thrift on!