DIY Wedding Guest Book Alternative

This past week two of my loveliest most awesomest friends got married in a small ceremony in their beachy hometown. Instead of a wedding guest book, they opted for a piece of art. Made by yours truly!

plywood and wood canvas art  Originally, they outlined an idea for a frame with a suspended canvas in the middle of it but that would have required maybe a grommet maker or a lot of hook and eyes and honestly I just wasn’t that confident I could do it- I can build anything, but I’m not so much a crafter. So I took some artistic liberties and this is what I came up with:

rustic wood and rope guest book art

The frame is made of 1×2’s  mounted on a half inch thick sheet of 24x24in plywood. I glued the 1×2’s onto the frame with Gorilla Wood Glue and since there was a little overhang I added some staples to the seams (from the back) as well. I adhered the canvas with Gorilla Super Glue and it worked great- I just put some weights on it overnight to make sure it set well.

gorilla glue- wood and super

The frame and plywood is stained with Minwax Special Walnut. Depending on the type of wood the stain might go on with a little bit of a greenish undertone, but that totally fades once it dries. On the 1×2’s it had the undertone, but on the plywood it didn’t- it must be how quickly it absorbs or how it looks wet. I’m not sure.

Once all the glue was dry I cut and hot glued about a million strips of rope onto it- just about 2 full packs of this rope. I could get the curves sharp enough, which is why I glued individual strips.

DIY wedding guest book - close up

I love how it came out! Very rustic and a great looking piece of art while still being sentimental and full of meaning.

**Gorilla Glue supplied me with the wood and super glue, but honestly I would have used it anyway because it’s a go to product for me. 


Heirloom Dresser Update

A few weeks ago my brother called and ask me to come over and help with “a few projects”…. Which turned out to be redoing an end table, two dressers, a mirror, and a bookshelf hack.image

The dresser this post is about is that big orangey piece one in from the left. As you can see from the writing on the back, it was purchased in November 1943 (by my great grandmother- that’s her writing!). It originally belonged to my grandfather, then lived in my room at his and my Nonna’s house while I was growing up. Now it’s passed on to my brother to use as a buffet in his dining stained chest of drawers before

The yellow orange stain was really dating it, but I just can’t bear to paint a vintage piece like this so we decided to strip it down and re-stain it instead.

It had this sweet applique on the center drawer that I remember staring at all the time when I was growing up- is it a doe? a reindeer? the green fairy?? Who knows. It broke my heart to sand it off but at least now it’s captured in a photograph.

wood applique- close up

My brother sanded the whole thing down with the lowest grit sandpaper we could find, then I wiped it all with a damp cloth and applied two coats of Minwax charcoal stain and three coats of wax. I would recommend sanding it with 100 or 150 grit before staining but it was 90* out and we had been sanding forever so we opted to skip that step. It left a few spots with the old stain still in tact, which ended up looking pretty cool.

To apply the stain:

  • brush it on, let it sit for a few seconds, then wipe off the excess with a rag.
  • repeat 2-3 times until you reach your desired tone and coverage

…that’s it! Don’t let staining intimidate you, just apply a little at a time very slowly so you have lots of control over how it turns out.

gray stained antique bureau- close up

We also switched out the (old, round, wood) knobs for some nice metal ones my brother picked out. They read as gold in the pictures, but look more antiqued and silver in real life.

stained vintage dresser- close up

The dresser is gorgeous, and looks so good in its’ new spot. I can hardly tell it’s the same piece!! I really like the spots where we didn’t get the old stain and poly off and the original color shows through- it gives it an awesome weathered/rustic look that I totally dig and pays homage to it’s original form.

bureau turned dining room buffet - after

Once it was dry I rubbed on three coats of wax, which are glaring horribly in that picture above but really don’t show up that harshly in real life. This piece isn’t going to get heavy use, so just a few coats of cured wax should protect it plenty over the next few years of little ones with sticky fingers. 😉

I’m so glad this piece is staying in the family and can live on in a new way, the stain really updated it without being to bold or overbearing, and it looks great in its’ new spot.

DIY Vintage Dresser

On Turning 30

Today I turn 30. Or, as I prefer to say, I turn 25 for the 5th time. I am struggling with this age. My twenties were awesome, which makes it difficult for me to not stay in my twenties forever.

In the past 10 years I have:

…earned a Master’s degree (age 21)

…bought a house & started this blog (age 25)

…adopted a dog (age 25)

…married my stud muffin of a husband (age 27)

…gotten 2 nephews (and married into having 3 more nephews and a niece!)

…paid off my credit card debt (…twice. whoops)

…switched jobs (3 times! whew!), started a second job as an adjunct professor, and signed a contract to freelance for

A few months ago I was scrolling through  my personal Tumblr page to grab graphics for a class I’m teaching and I stumbled on this post, from 2010, that I totally forgot about:

30 before 30 tumblr screen shot

25 year old me decided a 13 before 13 list was good enough, and I thought I’d check back in on that now:

  1. Well I haven’t made a construction paper craft, but I have done a TON of construction paper crafts with my Silhouette so I think I’m covered (check out this owl themed baby shower with TONS of paper crafts)
  2. Uh yeahh, I’d say I bought a house. 😉
  3. I did not join big brother/big sister but I do donate to them almost monthly, and I work with an underprivileged population through my day job too.
  4. Definitely reduced my dependency on paper towels! Yay environmental awareness!
  5. Stay hamburg free? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  6. Covered it up on Saturday- although I went with a rose instead of a marigold.
  7. Haven’t toured the finger lakes wineries, but I have toured like 5 other wineries so maybe let’s call this half covered. 🙂
  8. Thanks to my husband, I have seen all the Rambo movies.
  9. Haven’t visited that darn zoo yet and I’m still dying too!
  10. This summer we vacationed in the Bahamas. IT WAS BALLER. (and we’re planning a trip to London for 2017 too!)
  11. I’m glad I put “create,” because while I didn’t paint, I did turn a shower curtain into a canvas (here).
  12. Dyed my hair black a few summers ago. And I loved it! But my husband hated it, so I’ll stick to reds.
  13. No hot air balloons for me yet 😦

Soooo… 9ish out of 13 without me even remembering the list. Not too bad! But it still doesn’t make feel great about officially being in my 30s.  ::insert scared face emoji here::