Rust-Oleum Mystery Box Challenge

Hello friends! I don’t know about you, but I am ready for spring. I’ve already started decorating our living room and kitchen for the season, so that’s what I want to give you a sneak peek at today.

I recently had the opportunity to be a part of the Rust-Oleum® Mystery Box Challenge happening over at the Creator’s Studio. If you love DIY projects, you need to check out this site. There’s a ton of information and inspiration, as well as fun projects and free giveaways going on all the time.

The Mystery Box Challenge involved Rust-Oleum sending me a box of goodies, which I had to use to create something unique. In my kit, I received a small, unfinished planter box, Varathane® Wood Stain in Golden Oak and Wood Grain Enhancer, and some other odds and ends I could choose to use to decorate the box.

Here’s what I crafted from my mystery kit:

Step 1

I used the wire brush in my kit to “open up the grain” on the wood planter box by brushing, in the direction of the grain, all sides of the box. More brushing will equal a more pronounced effect, less will be more subtle.

Step 2

I applied the Varathane Golden Oak stain to my box. I often use a paintbrush to apply stain. I also like to coat it on nice and thick, letting it soak in for about 2-3 minutes before wiping it off with a lint-free cloth. I find this gives the best uniform, rich color. Too often, folks make the mistake of applying stain sparingly and wiping it off too quickly, which can lead to an uneven finish.

Step 3

After the stain was dry to the touch (about an hour), I applied the grain enhancer. I used a rag to wipe it into the grain of the wood, working in the opposite direction of the grain. I wiped off the excess with a dry rag.

Step 4

Time to decorate and personalize! I taped off the corners of the box using painters tape.

Then I applied two coats of aged bronze paint. I like Modern Masters® Statuary Bronze metallic paint color.

After that, I used bronze upholstery nails I had left over from another project to decorate the edges.

Finally, I filled the center with floral foam and stuck in a few sprigs of faux greenery I got at Hobby Lobby.

Tip: Use an electric bread knife to trim foam for a quick, clean edge.

Done! I placed my new planter box on a side table in our living room.

What do you think of my project? I hope this inspires you to think spring!


Tale of a tired china cabinet (a furniture redo)

Hello friends! I hope you’re staying warm. We’ve been experiencing very cold temps here in Pennsylvania. Bring on spring! 

Today I wanted to share a sneak peek at my next furniture project. I found this china cabinet – or buffet and hutch, whatever you call it – on Craigslist for $40.

We had to drive a little over an hour to pick it up with our trailer, but it was worth it. It’s a solid piece with a traditional design that’s not too fussy … right up my style alley.

I have visions of this piece completely redone and sitting in my dining room. Here is the finish I am going to try and replicate:


The cabinet has some interesting neoclassical features, such as the lions head hardware. If I had to choose a style that I lean toward, it would be traditional. Traditional furniture takes inspiration from English and French styles of the 18th and 19th centuries such as Baroque, Rococo, Romantic and Neoclassical. In my home, I prefer furniture with less ornate details, but I do appreciate substantial pieces that showcase good craftsmanship and quality materials.

Matt thinks I should keep the lions head knobs. If I do, maybe I’ll spray paint them a darker bronze color. What do you think? Should I change out the hardware … keep it and spray paint it … or leave it alone?

The silverware drawer is felt-lined, which is kind of cool. It just needs a good cleaning.

Here are some of the products I’m using to refinish the piece.

Stay tuned for progress on this project coming soon!

Have you ever defined your own furniture style? The following article may help provide some clarity:

Last-minute DIY gift idea

Hello friends! I hope you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season. We are, for sure, although I wish (as usual) I was a little more prepared.

Today I wanted to share with you a quick, easy and inexpensive holiday gift you still have time to whip up for the folks on your list. 😉

You can knock about 10 of these out in less than 3 hours.

Step 1: Order 1-hour prints from

You can pick up a copy of the free printable I used here. I also like to browse Pinterest for “Free holiday printables.” I chose 4×5.3″ prints at about 6 cents apiece. I rounded the edges of each print with scissors.

Step 2: Find a scrap board to use for the backs of the signs.

I chose these 2×6″ scrap boards from my garden shed.

Step 3: Cut 2×6″ boards to length on a miter saw.

This size is perfect because you don’t have to rip off any of the width. You only need to cut the pieces length-wise.

I cut my pieces about 6.5 inches long. (My prints were 4×5.3″ – or true digital size.) After cutting, I cleaned off the boards really well to prepare them for stain.

Step 4: Stain the pieces.

I chose Varathane® Wood Stain in Briarsmoke.* I like to brush stain on and allow it to soak in for a good two minutes before wiping any excess off. It creates a more uniform, rich color.

Step 5: Sand the edges of each piece.

This will give the blocks a weathered appearance and smooth any rough edges. I used an orbital sander for this step to help speed things along.

Step 6: Adhere the prints to the wood blocks using Mod Podge® matte water-based sealer. 

This part always makes me nervous, but the sealer dries clear. I promise. 😉

Done! The wood plaques stand up nicely on their own, making them cute decorations for window sills and tabletops at Christmastime.

Have you DIYed any gifts this holiday season? I’d love for you to share your project(s) in a comment.

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