Monday, August 24, 2015

Featured Site: Knockoff Decor

Hi guys! Wanted to share a great way to both get inspired and increase your blog traffic.

No, it's not Pinterest.

Beckie of Knock Off Decor has a great resource for finding DIY knockoff projects for just about any brand you can think of: Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, West Elm, Crate &'s a treasure chest of goodies.

She also provides an easy way for bloggers to share and submit their own knockoffs to be featured on her site. Simply find "submit a knockoff" on the top menu and follow the directions for the submission form.

That's it! In usually less than 48 hours you'll hear from Beckie if your project meets their qualifications and to let you know it's live on the site.

Knock Off Decor has been kind enough to feature several of my own knockoffs through the years, such as...

West Elm Tall Tufted Headboard

RH Wood & Metal Bookcase

RH Antique Grey Dresser 

Every time one of my knockoff projects have gone live on her site, I've received a nice amount of traffic, and they continue to residually bring in monthly traffic as well, which is the best thing for a blog.

Have fun on her site, and enjoy finding new bloggers through her as well!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Tale of Two Rose Headboards

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..."

Dramatic, yes?

This is a tale of two headboards.

...and why custom paint colors and wind don't play nice.

Indeed, they had their share of highs and lows, glamour and woe.

It all started off innocently enough.

The headboards were destined to be rose-colored. They just were. It was a matter of fact.

So that is what I did.

I whipped up a custom color of my own combining General Finishes milk paint's Red pepper with Snow White to get the light rose hue, perfect for making the headboards into a sweet pair.

They turned out awesome.

However, their rosey happiness was taken away all too soon.

The headboards had just been beautifully finished. Leaning them against some tables outside on the driveway, I was able to stand back and admire the handiwork. As fate would have it, I had just temporarily given my attention to something else when out of nowhere a sudden gust of wind swooped in and knocked them both carelessly face-forward to the ground.

They got royally scuffed by the pavement.


Cue despair.

How was the custom color ever to be found again?

Admittedly, they were left in the garage in that state for a few months before I could muster the time or will to try again.

Somehow, surprisingly, amazingly...I was able to match the former color. 

Here they are, looking once again like the charmers I remembered them to be.

They'd look so dear as two twin beds for two sisters, or for when a friend comes for a sleepover, or for when one has grandkids visiting. 

I do hope to see them in a good home. So-so-so happy that they turned out the way they did again!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Because It's All About da Brass...Or How to Quickly Transform Your Hardware from Blah to Bling Bling

Please feel free to virtually slap me for this post's title. I can't stand that song and now I know I just got that torturous song in all of your heads as well.

Earlier this week I shared the newest project, my slate blue Martinsville side table, and a quick bit about cleaning the brass hardware for it with this before and after pic:

Amazing, right? Who knew such a beautiful finish was hiding underneath all that?!

The product I used was Bar Keepers Friend's amazing fairy dust of powerrrrrr.

Note: do not brush your teeth with this stuff. It will not taste good. In fact, you may not be able to taste at all after... ;)

I'd seen several recommendations by my fellow bloggers about this lil charmer, and this was the first chance I've had to truly try it out.

First, the cons:

For all it's cleaning power, it is decidedly not a product you would say is healthy for you and I highly recommend taking some precautions. I wore cleaning gloves for the whole project, and even washed the hardware with Palmolive after using BKF on it. It was also something that I did in my open garage for ventilation - I am super sensitive to chemical smells, so I needed a lot of fresh air for this.

For the rest of the setup I laid down some newspaper, sat a disposable bowl of water near me and had a cheap toothbrush as my tool (dollar store pack of brushes ftw!).

I used the powder form of BKF , so my method was I would dust the hardware with it, dip the toothbrush in the water, and then scrub the grit away. The original shine started to show up with just the first few strokes.

Pros: I am wholly impressed. It took some time working that toothbrush into the grooves, but the effort paid off rather easily.

It's no wonder BKF has been around since 1882 (yes, 1882!). Not to mention it's still produced here in America. It has a wide array of uses, even taking rust off of lawn furniture, grime off of your stainless steel, BBQ grills, car name it! Their tagline should be "bringing back your bling since 1882". 

Or maybe not...

And that, folks, is how you clean your hardware.

* This  post contains affiliate links. I was not paid or given samples of this product, these opinions are 100% my own. If you purchase through these links, you'll help support Draven Made (at no extra cost to you) and you'll have a great product you can use for your DIY projects! Thanks! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Slate Blue Martinsville Side Table

I'm baaaaaack!

Boy oh boy it's been awhile, eh? July turned into August way too fast, and now it's already nearly the middle of the month! Dang I hate how fast summer flies by, don't you?

The commercials are finished and out, but I'll have to save all the yummy behind-the-scenes scoop for another post.  Here's a teaser:

To y'all who have been following me on Instagram, you've already seen that pic and are probably less than fazed right now. So here's a little bonus for yas:

Mickey wasn't doing his job of censoring that day...

I kid.

It was a good experience and I got to meet and work with some cool peeps, so I am looking forward to sharing it all with you guys! But for now...

...the newest piece makeover!

I bought this table from a nice lady a few weeks out from filming, and it patiently waited for me to wrap things with the production before I started in on it.

It was dinged and had awful wear and scrapes all over the top's surface.

To its advantage though, every bit of this piece is SOLID wood, being made by Martinsville. Its original fixtures were also a heavy brass that simply needed a good cleaning.

This baby had tons of potential.

First order of business was the top. I elected to use my trusty orbit sander (Tip: don't bother buying new power tools - go for used. You can always find quality used power tools at auctions, yardsales, and craigslist. Test them and make sure they work and haven't been misued of course, but otherwise you can't go wrong. I bought my sander a long time ago from Habitat for Humanity for a whoppin' $15, and it's been worth every penny).

As with any sanding project, you're gonna get dirty. Always wear protective glasses and a dust mask, and cover anything in a 15 foot radius that you don't want getting a layer of dust on.

I forgot to cover things other than myself. So learn from my mistake.

My fingers tingled after the 30-or-so mins of sanding that it took, but it was well worth it!

I went over it again with some finer grit sandpaper by hand to make the surface extra smooth. I was pretty excited at how much more the wood grain now showed.

I painted it with my faithful General Finishes Queenstown Grey, a color I used before on our own nightstand. It's such a lovely grey-blue color. [Check out my Paint Prep Tips for your own project]

After a few coats, I applied GF's High Performance topcoat to seal. I liked the natural look of the wood top so much that the top received a very natural stain that brought more depth to the color and grain, then sealed.

I cleaned the brass fixtures and re-attached them (how I cleaned them will have to be another post).

Here's what it looks like now:

Such a difference a little muscle work will do!

Glad to be back! I have posts lined up as there is much to catch up on! See y'all again at the end of the week!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Life is a Little Crazy

Hi all. I've been noticeably sparse with my posts lately, and it's no small wonder. Life has been stockpiling on "crazy" and just dumped it all on us recently. Long story short, another failed house offer (our third), damaged finished furniture from a nasty gust of wind, and no car for a week were the bad kind of crazy. But a good crazy also fell out of nowhere and has had me, and will continue to have me very busy for a number of weeks. It's an amazing film gig, and it's very likely that both spare time and inspiration will not magically coincide for writing posts until after late-July.

So although that means that this blog will be on a short hiatus, I'm stoked to be on this project (if you don't know already, filmmaking is my first love - just type "film" into this site's search box and you'll see what I mean, hehe). I'll still be sharing what I'm doing both in life and on set on Instagram @dravenmade, so follow me there so I can continue to interact with y'all!

previous short film worked on
[Speaking of Instagram, go and check out my two latest thrift finds and custom-color painting project]

I hope all of you are having great summers so far - I'll see y'all back here the end of July! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Save Money While Mowing Your Grass - Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel 18-inch Review

Mowing season is upon us, folks! I know some people enjoy it.

I'm not one of those people.

Growing up, my folks had 5 acres. As myself and each of my siblings got old enough, we would mow it all.

I'm done with big yards.

Karl is too.

Which is why we want a small plot of land in our first home.

In preparation for (hopefully) moving soon, Karl has been researching mowers for a long time, but was inspired by one of his fave blogs, Art of Manliness to look into push mowers [the article is called "In Praise of the Push Reel Mower" for those interested in reading it].

Why a push mower?

For starters, it's quiet. The first time Karl used the Fiskar, he came back smiling and saying how peaceful it had been, and promptly showed me a picture he'd taken of a bee on a nearby flower that he had been mowing near. I've been in the yard with him while he's mowing and we can chat - kind of crazy sounding, right?

It's a pleasurable experience to mow, something neither of us can recall mowing ever being before.

It's a money-saver. Psssh, buying fuel or charging with electric to simply mow our lawn? Our ancestors would be shaking their heads at us.

The push mower itself is inexpensive as well - the best price I've found for it is on Amazon for $190, free s/h. [note: affiliate link] Or do what we did: good 'ol Craigslist! I found a nearby seller who had used it only twice whom we bought it from for $150. Nice!

Bonus: Want exercise and muscles? Buy this instead of exercise equipment.

There. You just saved money in three ways already.

Push mowers are like taking snipping shears across your lawn, allowing the grass to grow in a healthy manner, and also giving your lawn a nice manicured look.

Lastly, push mowers are much safer. Ever catch a rock and the mower chucks it at major league baseball speeds? We've had siding from 50 ft away get punctured by such a scenario. Imagine if someone had been standing there? Yikes. Then add in the hot motor to burn yourself on and the continuously spinning blades even when you're standing still.

No motor on a push mower, and the blades stop when you stop. You would have to run right over a person to actually catch them with the blades with a push mower.

Why the Fiskar mower?

adjustable height, from 1-4"

It trims very well and has different settings for how high or low you want to cut your grass. Unlike a lot of push mowers, it also allows you to cut right up against edges of walls.

Is a push mower for everybody?

To put it simply: no.

If you have a yard that's more than half an acre, you'll probably want to get a bigger mower.

Is your yard crazily uneven or rocky? Then a push mower may not be your best bet. You'll have a harder time moving it across your lawn, especially if you like cutting your grass very short. See the video here for a little demo of cutting it very short on uneven ground:

Although, if you ever wanted an excuse to redo your lawn so that it is flattened and smooth, this would be a good excuse.

Overall we're glad we have a push mower. I'd say to really look into them if you're interested and go for it!

Shared On: fromdreamtoreality, hitmewithyourbestshot

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yardsale Haul - May 2015

This past weekend I got to have one of those yardsale experiences of finding one amazing bargain piece after another, including specific items I'd been looking for.

Using my go-to resources for finding good yardsales, I geekily mapped out an itinerary days before so I could hit-up 6 big multi-sale and moving sales all in one morning. Two especially stood out: a retirement village, and the other a multi-vendor sale in a park.

My cash budget was a wee $30 from a recent selling of my ancient Gameboy, so it was a lot of fun to put my wheelin' and dealin' skills to use again! In fact they allowed me to walk away from the retirement village with a hand truck (we've been looking for one awhile now!) and these two awesome large glass jars for a total of $5! Goodness did I have a big grin on my face as I stowed it all in my car! A good hand-truck alone can run $50 and upwards, so this was a steal!

Later at the park I hadn't walked by many booths before I saw IT.

The Federal Style of furniture has always appealed to me. No, that's an understatement. I LOVE it. I'd also been on the lookout for such a piece to be in our entryway or as a TV stand. So I immediately bee-lined it to the dresser and checked for a price. Not seeing one, I asked the gal how much.

"That? Asking $40, but make an offer."

Ooo. Now I was definitely tempted. But there was still one problem...

...I was driving my Mini. It can fit a lot more than most would believe, but a dresser...

"Hm, maybe if I can find a way to get it back to my house I can consider it. I'll make a call and see."

"Oh! Do you live far? We could probably just drop it off for you."

Oh heavens, not have to lift it myself or commandeer a vehicle? She was singing my tune.

As it turned out, I happened to be just down the road from the sale, so I told her as much and then added that I wanted to look at the rest of the vendors and then I'd come back with a decision. She kindly said she'd hold it for me.

I probably took no more than 10 minutes to see the rest of the vendors. I also double-checked what cash I still had on me. Only $25.

It was time to get my negotiation skills to work again.

Coming back to the Federal dresser, I gave it a closer inspection - opening drawers, the "sniff test", etc. Satisfied, I approached the lady again and offered $25.

She countered with $30, citing the delivery being included. It was truly a good deal, so I showed her my cash remnant and said that $25 was all I had, but that I could pay the final $5 when it was delivered to the house. We shook hands and that was that!

Her father immediately went to work getting it in his truck, and no more than 10 minutes later it was sitting in my driveway as I had a nice chat with the father (he had a story about one of our annoying neighbors that had me laughing) and handed over the $5.

So, here it is, all for $30!

It's sitting in my garage for now because it has some missing veneer on the sides and drawers, so I'm going to be restoring it (this will be my first time trying to restore veneer, so if you have tips please send them in!).

Y'all have any awesome finds or deal-making this past weekend? Do tell! :)

Shared On: fromdreamtoreality


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