Mid Century Modern Cedar Chest Makeover Debacle

Today I was going to share a Mid Century Modern Cedar Chest Makeover that I could be proud of. I took great pains in stripping the chest down to the natural wood and was dancing for joy with the beautiful dark walnut stained drawer fronts. I couldn't have been happier with the crisp lines of the white painted triangle too. The makeover turned out exactly how I had envisioned it.

Cue the dramatic music.

Mid Century Modern Cedar Chest Debacle

After standing back with a cup of coffee and admiring my hard work, all that was left to do was protect the finish.

Mid Century Modern Cedar Chest Makeover Debacle

I decided to give Hemp Oil a try. It had been getting rave reviews from other bloggers so I had to see what this product was all about. If I can find a way to avoid the labourious task of applying and buffing clear wax, I'm all ears.

I brushed all the chalk painted surfaces with hemp oil using a chip brush and wiped away the excess oil with a clean lint free rag. I was thrilled with how easy that was.

MCM Cedar Chest Makeover with stenciled top

Then everything went to hell in a handbasket.

MCM Cedar Chest dark walnut stain ruined with hemp oil

Hemp Oil can use used as a protective finish on bare or stained wood, milk or chalk paint, and can restore old wood. Perhaps the stain wasn't completely dry, despite it being over 24 hours.

Or I applied too much hemp oil. Whatever it was that lovely dark walnut stain was turning into oozing oily goo that dribbled down my perfectly painted white triangle.  

MCM Cedar Chest with white painted triangle ruined

Every attempt I made to dab off the excess oil made it worse. I had the stain on the paint and paint on the wood.

Not willing to admit defeat, I persisted in my feebish attempt to clean up the paint using fine artist brushes to achieve those crisp lines again.

MCM Cedar Chest makeover gone awry

Look how awful the finish is on the stain and this is after my attempt to reapply stain over the damaged areas. You can see a dribble line on one of the feet in the picture below.

MCM Cedar Chest Makeover with ruined protective finish

So guess what I'm doing today? Stripping the entire front of the chest back to the natural wood and starting over.

Failed MCM Cedar Chest Makeover

I won't stop until I know the finish is perfect and then the stain will get my trusted polyurethane finish.

Oh, I almost forgot, this is what the chest used to look like...

Mid Century Modern Cedar Chest Before

I successfully finished this makeover and couldn't have been more thrilled with the results. Stepping away from this piece for a few days was enough to clear my head and come up with a new plan of action. You can see how it turned out here Mid Century Modern Cedar Chest.

Those of you who refinish furniture, I'd love to hear your project from hell stories in the comment section below.

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Easy DIY Faux Fireplace Insert With Real Logs

Recently I shared how we turned a Mid-Century Modern Headboard into a Faux Fireplace. Originally we added a trio of candle holders into the fire box opening but I wasn't happy with the look. The plan was to replace them with chunkier wood candlesticks until I got this idea...

DIY Fireplace Insert With Real Logs

Easy DIY Faux Fireplace Insert With Real Logs

This is what the original candle holders looked like. Wouldn't you agree, they were just not working?
Faux Fireplace From An MCM Headboard
...and here is the fireplace with the real log insert. Much better, right?
Faux Fireplace With Real Log Insert
To refresh your memory, in case you missed the From Headboard To Faux Fireplace post, this is what the headboard originally looked like.
Vintage Headboard Before Repurposed Into Faux Fireplace
Remember those headboards with sliding doors on the top? Perhaps you still have one or see them at thrift stores all the time. They are not difficult to repurpose into a faux fireplace.

Step 1 - Finding the perfect logs

We foraged through the wood pile in our back yard to find some logs that stacked well together.

Wood Piles = Mice

Mice = Screaming Woman Running Down The Street

Thankfully no mouse was found in the making of this fire log insert.

Step 2 - Stacking the logs 

After we found the perfect log configuration we flipped the stack upside down and screwed them all together using #8 2-inch wood screws.
Stacked Logs Attached With Screws For Fireplace Insert

Step 3 - Aging Fresh Cut Logs

The logs are from an old tree that fell down in our backyard this Spring during an unwelcomed snow storm. The cut ends of each log were still green so I aged them with what I call Giggle Juice. I always have a batch at the ready in a sealed container.

Aging Wood Solution Recipe:

White or Apple Cider Vinegar
Grade #0000 Steel Wool
Container with lid

  • Fill the container with vinegar and soak steel wool for several days in a sealed container.
  • Apply using a sponge or brush but be sure to wear gloves or your hands will be stained for weeks.
  • Reapply until you reach the desired aged patina.

Step 4 - Drill Holes For Votive Candleholders

Using a 2 1/2" Hole Saw Bit, drill holes into the logs where you plan to insert glass votive candle holders.
Drilling Holes For Faux Fireplace Insert

Step 5 - Insert Candles

For safety reasons, I placed battery operated tea lights into each glass votive holder. You could place battery operated wax candles in the holes instead.
Battery Operated Candles In Log Faux Fireplace Insert
Here is the left side of the faux fireplace with real log insert...
Left Side Faux Fireplace with Real Log Insert
...and the right side of the faux fireplace.
Right Side Faux Fireplace with Real Log Insert

Headboard Faux Fireplace with Real Log Insert
If you like the idea of using real logs and candles inside a faux fireplace or existing wood burning fireplace box, please share this with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

How To DIY a Fireplace Insert With Real Logs
Which look do you prefer, the look of natural logs or using candlesticks inside a fireplace opening? I'd love to hear about in the comment section below.

You will find this project shared at these fabulous Linky Parties.

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Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard REmakeover (Sometimes you have to tweak before they speak)

Let me Reintroduce you to Old Violet, a 1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard. Those of you who have been following me may remember her from several months ago. She's a gal in her 70's who came to me with some scars and showing her age. I spent a few weeks getting to know this old gal and she cleaned up real well...or so I thought. If you missed it, you can catch up here at 1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard Makeover.

Her matching table and chairs sold and one-by-one so did the furniture around her until she was the only one left in the room. Bound and determined that all she needed was to find the right buyer, I patiently waited.

...and waited.

Until I swallowed by pride came to the realization that sometimes you just have to tweak before they speak and so Old Violet returned to the workshop.

1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard REmakeover

1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard REmakeover

This is how she originally looked before we became friends...

1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard before

This how she looked after her first makeover...

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard First Makeover

I think her namesake painted interior exposed to the world might have been a little too risque and scared people away. So I covered her back up again.

What was supposed to be a quick afternoon tweak ended up with some snags? I'd like to know how a door that hung on a piece for several decades and was removed no longer fits when it's put back on?

1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard Makeover Left Side

Putting the middle door back on gave her a much cleaner look.

1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard Right Side

...with the key to her heart, I bid her farewell.

Painted Cast Iron Hardware on Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard

Don't you agree, painting the cast iron hardware white looks so much better?

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard Hardware

Where she was once bare...

Art Deco Buffet Sideboard With Open Storage

...she is now covered.

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard With Painted Cast Iron Knobs And Pulls

She has so many great features like her fabric lined drawers...

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard Fabric Lined Drawer

...and her painted graphic on the top with Parisian flair.

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard With French Graphic

...and her namesake painted Old Violet interior with loads of storage.

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard Painted Interior

So now it's round two of finding her a new home.

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard REmakeover

Here's where I could use your help. You, my lovely readers, have given me some great feedback and advice on other projects and so if you don't mind, I'd like to pick your brain again.

Which do you like better, the first makeover?

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard First Makeover

...or the REmakeover?

1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard Second Makeover

1940's Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Sideboard REmakeover

UPDATE: August 26th
I am thrilled to report that Old Violet sold within days of listing her back for sale. Even more exciting is that she moved back to the same town her original family resided in when they owned her. Talk about coming full circle!

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DIY Bistro Set {From Candle Holder to Table}

In my post last Thursday I shared how I turned a candle holder into a bistro table using a Jigsaw for the Power Tool Challenge.  Today I'm sharing Bistro Chairs that I picked up for a song at a local auction and how I unified them with the now table to create a DIY Bistro Set.

DIYMetal Bistro Set from auction chairs and a metal candle holder

To see how I turned this Metal and Glass Hurricane Candle Holder...

DIY Bistro Table made from a metal candle holder

...into a Scalloped Table Top PRESS HERE.

The bistro chairs looked like this when I purchased them. The paint was a little chippy and the feet a little rusty and I could have left them as is.  But the look on the metal kitty said, "oh you mustn't".

Metal bistro chairs before makeover

...so I listened.

Metal Bistro Chairs After makeover

All three received a few coats of Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Paint & Primer Semi-Gloss in White.  They were also protected with Rust-oleum Semi-Gloss Sealer in a Clear finish.

Metal bistro chairs and a candle holder unified with white Rust-oleum spray paint

In my Candle Holder to Bistro Table post, I shared how I copied the pattern on the chair seats to the new Bistro Table Top.

Pattern on Bistro Chairs Repeated on DIY Scalloped Table Top

For a Summer vibe, I filled the glass hurricane with decorative sand and seashells.  The fun part about this table is that it can be changed out for the seasons!

DIY Scalloped Bistro Table with Glass Hurricane Underneath filled with sand and seashells

This would make a cute set on a covered stone patio or apartment balcony.

Bistro Set from a candle holder and auction chairs After

The wood on the seats is a laminate and wouldn't hold up well exposed to the elements.

DIY Bistro Set After painted with White and Aqua Rust-oleum spray paint

It could also be used indoors in a small kitchen or sun room.

Bistro Table and Chairs After Makeover

As much as I'd love to keep this set, it will be listed for sale soon.

Bistro Chairs and DIY Scalloped Bistro Table After

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Hurricane Candle Holder Repurposed Into A Small Bistro Table

I've joined forces with several tool savvy, skill sharing blogging friends to encourage and empower our female readers to step out of their comfort zones and try simple projects they can make themselves using a power tool. This month our featured Power Tool for the One Power Tool Challenge is a Jigsaw.

Several weeks ago I purchased two metal bistro chairs for a song at an online auction. Unfortunately, a bistro table didn't come with them.

When racking my brain trying to figure out what I could make using a Jigsaw, I remembered deep in the bowels of my storage room was a metal and glass base hurricane candle holder that I refused to get rid of. Low and behold, the metal was a perfect match for the chairs!

Now you're probably wondering; Marie, what the heck does a Bistro Table have anything to do with BACK TO SCHOOL?
absolutely noth'n

When reading the rules for this months challenge my menopausal brain saw the word JIGSAW, and Jigsaw only.

Back to School days are so far in my rear view mirror now that I'm in the Grandma phase of life that my brain leaped right over those three words.

Words that used to give me hives!

I hated back to school shopping, I found it worse than Christmas Shopping. My kids didn't need a timeout during those shopping trips - I did!

So it must have been a Freudian slip that my brain bypassed that tidbit of information.

So here is my Not So Back To School Hurricane Candle Holder Repurposed Into A Small Bistro Table.  A table that took longer to paint than it did to assemble!

Turning a hurricane candle holder into a Bistro Table

Materials List

  • 3/4" plywood (25" square) (Home Depot sells off cuts in smaller sizes)
  • 1 x 1 lumber
  • Jigsaw
  • Jigsaw blade for wood
  • Mouse Sander
  • Power Drill
  • Awl
  • Hammer
  • Wood glue
  • 1 1/4" nails
  • Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Paint & Primer Semi-Gloss White
  • Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Paint & Primer Satin Aqua
  • Rust-oleum Semi-Gloss Sealer Clear
This is what the candle holder looked like before...

Hurricane Candle Holder Before

How To Make A Table Top Using a Jigsaw

Step 1: Creating a table top template

In PicMonkey, I created a template for the design using a Spirograph overlay. Then using the erase tool, I removed all the detail inside the graphic.

Pattern to make a Bistro Table Top

Step 2: Enlarging the graphic

In Block Poster, I set the size of the poster to 24" x 24" and saved it on my computer. The poster printed onto 6 sheets of paper.  I taped them together and cut out my template.

Template for making a bistro table top

Step 3: Tracing the table top pattern onto plywood

Next, I taped the template onto the wrong side of the plywood.

TIP: By working on the wrong side you avoid chipping out (rough cut splitting of the wood) and will get a nice clean cut on the good side (top).

Tracing template onto plywood for making a bistro table top

Using a sharpie marker (unlike my pencil mark) trace the template onto the plywood.

TIP: a jigsaw creates a lot of sawdust build up which makes a pencil line difficult to see.  A dark sharpie mark makes it more visible.


I was almost too embarrassed to take a picture of my jigsaw.  It's a relic from decades gone by, but it works.

Cutting a bistro table top using a jigsaw

Step 4: Cutting the table top pattern

Now it's time to cut the pattern using a jigsaw but first I want to provide a few helpful tips.
  1. Wear safety glasses.
  2. ALWAYS unplug the jigsaw before changing or adjusting the blade.
  3. Ensure the blade is not touching the wood when starting a cut.
  4. Cut along the outside edge of your sharpie mark.
  5. Keep the metal plate level with the plywood while cutting.
  6. To turn the jigsaw around corners and curves, drill holes using a pilot drill bit on your power drill (staying outside your sharpie mark).  This allows you to pivot the blade while you are cutting.
  7. Let the blade stop moving before lifting it out of the wood.  This helps avoid bending or breaking the blade.
  8. Don't worry if your cuts are not perfect, you can always go back and remove any excess wood and clean it up like I did.
There are great tutorials available online and if you are still feeling a little nervous, I've included a YouTube video for you HERE.  

Cleaning up around the jigsaw cuts for a bistro table top

Step 5: Sanding the rough edges

Using a sander (I used a mouse sander) smooth all the edges.

Sanding jigsaw cuts on a bistro table top smooth using a power sander

Step 6: Making guides to secure onto base

This is how I secured the table top onto the candle holder allowing the top to be removed to change the display inside the glass hurricane.

I placed my candle holder upside down onto the underside of the top.  I marked a pencil line on each side of the metal scrolls.  Using 1 x 1 lumber, wood glue, and 1 1/4" nails, attach the blocks on each of the marks.

Wood guides to secure bistro table top onto the candle holder base

Step 7: Match pattern on chairs onto table top

I wanted to repeat the pattern on the wooden seats onto the table top.  To do this, I measured the top to locate the center and placed a seat onto the table.  I poked an Awl through each hole and pressed firmly so the pattern would be marked onto the plywood.  Then I put the Awl back into the top hole and simply pivoted the seat onto the opposite side and repeated the process.  To make each hole the same size as the ones on the seats I used a pilot hole drill bit.

Recreating the pattern from the bistro chairs onto the bistro table

Bistro Table finished and ready to paint

Now for the pretty!

Step 8: Spray painting the base

I sprayed the metal candle holder with several light coats of Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Paint & Primer Semi-Gloss White.

Step 9: Painting the table top

I sprayed the table top with several light coats of Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Paint & Primer Satin in the color Aqua.

Bistro Table Top painted in Aqua color

Step 10: Protecting the finish

The base and table top were both protected with three coats of Rust-oleum Semi-Gloss Clear Sealer.

Step 11: Filling the hurricane base

I love how the glass hurricane can be changed for the seasons.  I filled mine with decorative sand and seashells for Summer.  During the holidays, I might fill it with faux snow and a large ornament.  The possibilities are endless!

Filling the glass hurricane base with sand and sea shells

Bistro Table Top secured to the hurricane candle holder base

I like it much better as a Bistro Table than I did as a hurricane candle holder!

Hurricane Candle Holder used as a base for DIY Bistro Table Top

So while my Bistro Table has zero connection with the Back To School theme unless it's being used as a respite for Mom while the kids are in school, I did use a Jigsaw.

I hope my project inspired you to pick up a jigsaw and make a table top for yourself.  For the base, you could use a tall plant stand, an umbrella stand or even a wine barrel.  The contents of the later could be enjoyed around your table after the kiddies are all nestled in their beds.

I'll be sharing the Bistro chairs next Tuesday but in the meantime here is a sneak peak...

Hurricane Candle Holder to Bistro Table for One Power Tool Challenge

Now let's go see what each of the talented group of bloggers created.  If you like what you see please Pin directly from their blog rather than the links below.

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