Monthly Archives: March 2011

Keep Artwork Straight with Velcro

Before I went to law school I was a secretary for the Utah Capitol Preservation Board.  The Board oversaw the work done by the Architect of the Capitol and his staff during the Capitol’s renovation.  One of the women I worked for was the Curator of the Capitol, who managed all of the art in the Capitol’s care and oversaw the restoration of the painting of the Capitol dome.  (Walking the scaffolding to the top of that dome was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done but so amazing.)   One of the tricks she taught me was how to ensure the state’s wall art stayed straight after hanging.

Once you have the art straight, apply a small circle of velcro on a corner of the back of the frame.  Apply the velcro so that one sticky side is on the back of the art, the hooks and loops are stuck to each other, and the other sticky side is ready to stick to the wall.  Making sure that you’re perfectly level, push the art against the wall.

Voila! Perfectly straight art work.

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Chalk It Up to a New Frame

One of my favorite parts of my office makeover was the chalkboard we created for my windowsill. Ryan Taylor had this frame, which  he’d used for numerous parties and home decor projects.  I love that this frame had a life before it settled in my office!

We wanted to strip the color from the frame and show that natural wood.


Ryan applied wood stripper to strip it down.  I’d never used wood stripper before so I held the frame while Ryan used his elbow grease.  After applying the liquid, he used a scraper and a rough brush to remove the layers of paint.

We then cut a piece of  plywood board to fit the frame. The board you use should be smooth as a baby’s bottom.

We then applied two coats of chalkboard paint and let it try before inserting it into the frame.

Chalkboard paint is so versatile and is now available in different colors.  I love mine, but I am concerned about its “erasability.”  Can anyone encourage me to erase it and start fresh with a new quote?

There’s more of this office makeover! Click here for the before and after photos, here to see my bookshelf redesign, here to see how to update an old lamp, here to see how we painted the furniture, and here to see it debut on ABC 4.)

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For Japan, With Love

Kudos to Utterly Engaged and Ever Ours for this brilliant idea.


Donate here.

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Updating a Tired Desk with Paint and Hardware

In order to really get that wow factor out of my office makeover, we started the planning with my furniture.  Here is my desk and credenza before the big paint job.

Both pieces have been with my office for years, having belonged to one of my colleagues since he first went into law practice on his own.  (Sometimes I hope the desk will magically convey some of his genius to me just when I’m sitting there. So far no such luck.)  I love the design but the original finish had worn off and it needed a pick-me-up.  In addition to sprucing up the finish, Ryan Taylor and I agreed the hardware needed to be updated.  Here is the brass hardware before the rennovation.

Because these handles are inset into the wood, we needed to fill those holes before we painted.

I bought Elmer’s Wood Filler for the job. It’s a paste that is slightly lighter than the actual wood itself.

If I may impart some wisdom from a lesson learned: This stuff shrinks! When you press the filler into the hole overfill the hole just slightly to anticipate the shrinkage.  I had to apply a second coat to make up for the problem and I’m not sure it was a good idea or not.

It was a little awkward for me to use a putty knife for the first time, but just start on one side of the hole and press the filler into the rest of the hole.

If you just have a small hole the filler should dry within about 15 minutes.  But if you have a bigger hole like I did, Elmer’s says you should wait 2-8 hours before sanding.  I waited about 6 and I’m still not sure it was long enough.

After all the surfaces were flush, we began painting.  In this case we used a paint with primer already included.  (Anything for one less step!)  I am still learning so much about painting but I learn a lot from the blogger behind Primitive and Proper.

When everything was dry we added the new hardware, which made a huge difference!  These pulls are from Martha Stewart’s line at Home Depot.

Since this paint job I’ve learned about a plastic-based filler.  Have any of you used that product?  Also, I do not love the results I get on furniture with a regular roller paint brush.  Anyone with similar thoughts/suggestions?

There’s more of this office makeover! Click here for the before and after photos, here to see my bookshelf redesign, here to see how to update an old lamp, and here to see it debut on ABC 4.)

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Old Lamp Redo: From Brass to Class

During my office makeover, I learned that Ryan Taylor prefers a neutral color palette.  This whole idea was revolutionary to me – it made planning and shopping so much easier.  After getting the basics done, we chose a few pops of color.  And what better color than power red?

The local thrift store supplied the biggest pop of color, my desk lamp.  We picked up this budget-friendly beauty for $10.

But what a sad, sad state this lamp was in.  Ryan first scrubbed it down with steel wool to remove any grime and rough up the surface. (Steel wool! Genius!)

Next we taped the cord to prevent it from turning red during the spray paint phase.

We braved the cold to apply several light coats of red.

Ryan found this fresh clean lampshade for about $15.  What a difference the crisp white makes.

Click here to see Ryan talk about the importance of lighting on Good Things Utah.  (He even used this lamp as an example!)

There’s more of this office makeover! Click here to see my bookshelf redesign, here for the before and after photos, and here to see it debut on ABC 4.)

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Bookcase Makeover with Crown Molding

My bookcase was a big ole’ bore when compared to the other awesome pieces involved in my recent office makeover. Here it is below awaiting the  transformation from Debbie Downer to Annie Awesome.

(Teach my how to Dougie, teach, teach, teach me how to Dougie)

But with the talented Ryan Taylor on board, we transformed this bookcase for under $10 and the use of the paint from the desk redesign.

We purchased several feet of crown molding and we Doug and Ryan used a chop saw to cut it down into three pieces.   They nailed them to the bookshelf with a brad nailer.

The tricky part of this project was cutting the intersecting pieces at a 45 degree angle for a perfect fit.  Here’s a shot of one of those 45 degree angles:

He sealed the edges and gaps with painter’s caulk to hide tiny imperfections. With a paint of coat on the whole thing, the molding looks like it was supposed to be there.

This is a very inexpensive way to take an ordinary bookcase and turn it into a stately piece of furniture!

Any other creative uses for crown molding? What do you think the opposite of a Debbie Downer is?

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Okay, our winner didn’t win a chicken dinner.  (Given the role of a chicken dinner in a recent case of mine, the thought itself makes me shudder.)  But our winner won a $20 iTunes gift card!

Congrats to our 12th eligible post by Angie!  Angie wrote:

What a great answer, eh? That should be a goal for all of us!

Angie, I’ll email you your iTunes giftcard and maybe you can find some optimistic tunes! (Hmmm… may I recommend “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead?)

Thanks to all of you for supporting my blog and celebrating my 100th post!

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