DIY American Girl Bakery with Craft Store Materials

2nd December 2015


DIY American Girl Bakery with Craft Store Materials


My daughter Sophie has recently taken an interest in American Girl dolls and is asking Santa Claus for the 2015 girl of the year “Grace Thomas.”  Apparently, Grace was motivated to start her own bakery with some friends after a trip to Paris, France.  The American Girl store sells Grace’s adorable French bakery for a wopping $500 and a smaller pastry cart for $150! Since Sophie and I love to bake, I decided to create a budget-friendly version of Grace’s bakery for some fun imaginary play.

For this project I used materials from Michaels craft store and Joanne Fabrics.  


-Half-size unfinished wood crate

-3 square long wood rods from Michaels (see picture below)

-4 rectangular wood boards from Michaels (see picture)

-Small hand saw

-Small screws

-Hot glue gun

-Paint of your choice (I used chalk paint and craft paint)

-Wood plaque


First Mr. Wilson assembled the basic frame of the bakery by attaching two square rods with small screws (using a drill) to each side of the back of the crate.


Then he attached one of the rectangular wood pieces to the top of the rods.  After that, I had him attach another rectangular piece on top of that piece so I could create an awning.


Here’s a side shot of the top and how it was attached to the frame.  Make sure to use small screws so that it does not break the wood when they get drilled.


At this point, my daughter said she wanted some shelves in her bakery and a longer counter to display the baked goods, so I purchased some additional items.  I used the square rod as the base for the shelves by cutting them to the right length using a hand saw and then hot glued them to the inside of the crate so the rectangular boards could sit on top of them as shelves.  I also had to cut off a few inches of the rectangular boards for them to fit horizontally in the crate.  

Lastly, I drilled the long plaque to the top of the crate to create a longer bakery counter…and yes I used a handsaw and drill myself…girl power!  My confidence with power tools is at an all-time high right now because all of my appendages are still intact after this project!


After the bakery was assembled, I painted it with a horrific shade of pepto pink and then was really questioning how this project was going to turn out.  So I decided to use some gray, white and black paint to create a marbled effect on the counter to break-up all the pink.  The awning is just black and white striped cardstock paper that I folded to create a canopy effect and hot-glued to the top wood piece.diy-american-girl-doll-bakery

Here is a close-up of how the shelves were assembled.  I styled the counter and shelves with a few chalkboard easels and plaques that I found at Michaels.  The play bakery food I found on Amazon. dig-american-girl-doll-bakery


The little dessert stands are made from mirrors I got at Joanne Fabrics glued onto the plastic pillars that are used between layers of cakes.  You can find them here and the mirrors here. I painted them with acrylic craft paint.





I can’t wait for Christmas to come so that Sophie can play with her new Grace doll and pretend bakery.



I am linking this post up to: 

Live Randomly Simple

Concord Cottage

Finding Silver Pennies

Virginia Sweet Pea

C’mon Get Crafty

Elizabeth & Co.

Ladybug Blessings 

Cupcakes and Crinoline

Home Stories A to Z

The Curator’s Collection

Liz on Call


Affordable Living Room Design

18th November 2015


Today I wanted to share the progress that I have made with my living room re-design.  I was able stay on budget, by using items I already owned and completing a few DIY projects to save money. Nothing in this re-design cost me over $100 and the total cost was around $350.  At the end of this post, I will share each project and the cost breakdown per item.

Here is the mood board I created for the space.


Here are some photos of the finished space.



Here is the french country settee I painted and reupholstered, you can read that post here.


This is one of the cane chairs we reupholstered, which you can read about here and the boxwood topiary on the mantle was a DIY project I shared here.  When we purchased the home, we painted the dated fireplace bricks in “White Dove” by Benjamin Moore and had a carpenter build a custom-mantle surround.


Here is the $5 vintage bar cart we spruced up with a little gold spray paint and some accessories you can read about here.





Cost analysis:

  • Teal Bench-purchased from HomeGoods for $60
  • Jute Rug-Pottery Barn purchased off Craigslist for $75
  • Cane Chairs– Reupholstered ourselves- $40 for the chairs, plus $60 material
  • Wood Side Table-Antique-given to me by my parents
  • Botanical Prints– DIY project using Botanical art from this book that was $1.50 on Amazon and I framed them in frames I already had, spray painted this color.
  • Bar Cart– purchased for $5 from a yard sale, you can read about that DIY project here.
  • Wicker Coffee Table– Free from my generous in-laws
  • French Settee/Bench– $75 off of Craigslist, painted and reupholstered in this post.
  • Yellow Lumbar Pillow– $20 from HomeGoods
  • Matching Yellow and Teal Pillows– I purchased two yards of fabric from Ebay for $9.99 a yard and made the pillows myself using this amazing tutorial for beginner sewers.
  • Sofa– Ikea (no longer sold in stores) was moved from our den into the living room.
  • Fireplace Brass Andirons– Free- given to me as a gift from my in-laws, purchased at an Estate sale.

Other sources:

Paint Color– Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore, Trim is White Dove from Benjamin Moore

Drapes– Purchased years ago from Pottery barn

Circular Mirrors– Given to me from my mother

Happy Decorating!!!



I am linking this post up to:

The Turquoise Home

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Live Randomly Simple

from Gardeners 2 Bergers

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating


C’mon Get Crafty



French Provincial Dining Table Makeover With Chalk Paint {Tutorial}

15th November 2015

french-provincial-dining-table makeover-before-and-aftertablebest

French Provincial Dining Table Makeover With Chalk Paint

I purchased this french provincial dining room table sight unseen off of a Craigslist add.  It came as a set along with these six cane chairs and a hutch.  The table was pretty beat-up with lots of stains and grime and once again Mr. Wilson was questioning my judgement.


It was pretty clear that this table was not handled with care.


There was a lovely “speckled” finish that you find with mid-century furniture.  It was their way of making it look older or antiqued.


So Mr. Wilson and I did what we had to do, we removed the old finish with Minwax Furniture Refinisher and gave it a good sanding. I will not be using this product in the future, because it has a very strong odor.


This is what it looked like after being sanded down with 100 grit sand paper using both an electric palm sander and sanding by hand.


Next I sanded down the legs and removed the speckled pee-yellow color paint.  Then I pondered for days what to do with the top.  My first instinct was to stain it a rich walnut color and paint the base off-white.  Then Mr. Wilson had a great idea, he suggested that we bring it in the dining room and then decide.  Once I had it in the dining room, I realized that staining it dark would just not work in the space.  Upon the suggestion of a Facebook friend, I decided to whitewash the top to give it a brighter look.

I used some left-over Country Chic Paint in Lazy Linen which is a very light gray color to mix up my own whitewash with a hint of gray.  Basically I just added about 60% paint to 40% water.


I have never whitewashed anything before, and it was pretty daunting to do an entire table top, but I made it work. I used a regular paint brush to paint the wash on the table one section at a time, then I immediately wiped it off with paper towels.  The key is to use a clean, dry part of the paper towel each time you wipe off the paint so you don’t unknowingly deposit blotches of paint back on the table top.  I love the variations in the finish, I think it gives it a beautiful aged finish.


Then I painted the legs in Annie Sloan’s French Linen chalk paint and waxed it with Annie Sloan’s clear wax tinted with a little Old White Chalk Paint. This gave the legs a whitewashed finish to match the top.






I couldn’t be more delighted with how it turned out! Now I am going to whitewash all of the furniture in my house…just kidding…well maybe.

Next I need to finish the six cane chairs that go with the set, and my dining room will be ready for a nice Christmas dinner!

I am linking up to these awesome blogs:

58 Water Street

French Country Cottage

The Curators Collection


Sweet Pea

Funky Junk Interiors

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

The Cottage Market

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Finding Silver Pennies

AKA Design

Tatertots and Jello


Too Much Time on My Hands

Pieced Pastimes


Nifty Thrifty Things

Cupcakes and Crinoline

Live Randomly Simple

Liz on Call







Antique Eastlake Chair: To Paint or Not to Paint?

8th November 2015


Antique Eastlake Chair: To Paint or Not to Paint?

I was browsing a local antique store this weekend, and I stumbled upon this little antique chair.  For $15 I couldn’t pass it up, I am a chair hoarder after-all.  


Some of the thrill of finding antique or vintage pieces, is learning about it’s history.  During my research, I learned that this chair is most likely from the Victorian period 1870-1890 and fits into the category of “Eastlake” style named after Charles Lock Eastlake.  It looks like it has been hand-carved out of mahogany, because for a small chair it is quite heavy.  


I have seen Eastlake style chairs all over Craigslist and to be frank, the style is not my cup of tea. However, this chair has more subtle detail and carvings which makes it feel more feminine than some of the other Eastlake furniture I have seen.


My idol Sarah Richardson, painted a similar chair in a creamy white color to match the other furnishings in a girls bedroom she designed. Normally, I would consider painting the chair to give it a fresh new look, however I am afraid some of the detail of the chair may get lost.  Isn’t that polk-a-dot fabric adorable?


Photo Credit: Sarah Richardson Design Photography: Stacey Brandford

I have a thing with black and white striped upholstery, it is so classic and elegant.  Sarah M. Dorsey designs made over a $10 channel-back chair from the Goodwill in a black and white striped fabric, and it turned out fabulous!  


Image Courtesy of Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

I had a left-over sample of fabric from this post so you can get an idea of what the chair might look like decked-out in black and white stripes.  The fabric can be found here.


Here is another fabric option that I think may compliment the dark wood.  It is Fleur Summer by P/Kaufmann found here.  This fabric would look great in our master bedroom because we have watery-blue painted walls (Glass Slipper by Benjamin Moore).


What do you think?  Should I paint the chair or leave it natural wood?  Which fabric choice do you like…black and white striped or the floral option?  I would love your input!

Linking this post up to:

Funky Junk Interiors

Concord Cottage

C’mon Get Crafty

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Little Miss Celebration 



How to Create a Great Holiday Card Without Breaking the Bank

4th November 2015



How to Create a Great Holiday Card b

Without Breaking the Bank

Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving and Christmas are quickly approaching and unfortunately for us New England folks, so is the cold weather…eeek!  If you are a planner like me it is time to start thinking about a holiday cards and family photographs.  I have been kind of lazy over the years and have not sent out any holiday cards until last year.  

I have made many excuses for why I didn’t send out any cards, but the main reason was that I didn’t want to spend $$$ to hire a professional to take family photos, worrying that one of my three children would be having a bad day and ruin all the pictures!  I have seen some gorgeous family photographs taken by very talented professionals, but for some reason I always had doubts that everyone in my family would cooperate to take a great photo, and I could flush the money right down the toilet!

Here’s my son Reid trying to climb out of the wagon to escape!  There goes that photo!


So last year, I decided to plan ahead and take photographs of my children only (excluding my husband and I to make things easier) at Thanksgiving, giving me lots of time to edit the photos, select the perfect card and mail the cards out in time for Christmas.  I was very happy with how the cards turned out, that I wanted to share some tips that I learned for creating a holiday card without breaking the bank.

 {Tips and Ideas{

Take the Photos Yourself:

Take the photos yourself or enlist a family member or friend with experience in photography to take pictures for you.  You don’t need a fancy camera (although that’s a PLUS), I take all my photos with my iPhone.

How to Take a Great Holiday Card Photograph

Plan Ahead:

If you are taking the photos yourself you need to start planning a few months in advance.  This means deciding on a location for the photographs, outfits for your children and any props you may need.  You may need to do a couple of photo sessions depending on how the photos turn out, remember if you are not a professional photographer, it may take a couple of rounds to get the perfect shot.

Locations for photographs could include your own yard, a local park, apple orchard or farm. All the photographs in this post were taken in our backyard and my parent’s backyard, so you may not have to travel far to get a beautiful backdrop for your holiday card.  

How to Choose Outfits for Your Holiday Cards

Use Outfits You Already Own:

You don’t need to purchase new outfits for all of your children, just pick clothing that coordinates well and is fairly neutral.  Work with what you have and what suites your child’s individual personality and flatters them.  You can use inexpensive accessories to make the outfits cohesive.

If you need to purchase something new, I have found a lot of great stuff at children’s consignment stores, especially high-end consignment stores that carry a lot really great designer brands for a quarter of the retail price.

Use Props:

If you have a toddler that will not sit still for a photo, get creative!  I have used a vintage wagon and an old toboggan to pull them around in.  If you don’t own a wagon or a sled, try looking on Craigslist or ask around if a friend has one you can borrow. This also makes the experience as a whole more fun and spontaneous, which will yield a better photo!  


Tips for Taking a Great Christmas Card Photo

Take Lots of Photos…I mean LOTTTTSSSSS:

You make take 100 and only 1 will turn out great, just keep pressing the trigger and taking those shots.  You can make some slight adjustments with each shot in your positioning relative to the target (the children) to see what works the best with the light and the angles.  Sometimes you may need to move the children around to a few different spots at your location to find the perfect backdrop and light.

Edit, Edit, and Edit some more:


There is great, free apps and software that you can use to turn mediocre photos into amazing photos.  Try different filters or changing the photo to sepia or black and white to see what works.  The ones I like to use are: 

-For my phone: Adobe Photoshop Express App

-Computer: Pixlr

Non-Edited Photo


Photo After Editing


 Choose a Great Card:

Since you are saving money by taking the photos yourself and using outfits you already own, you can splurge a little on the card itself.  There are many great websites out there, where you can upload your photo and pick the perfect card to fit your style and make your photo standout.

My absolute favorite is Minted because their designs really appeal to me. Some other websites include SnapfishShutterfly, and Vistaprint


 So don’t waste any time…..start getting into the holiday spirit now!


I am linking this post up to these wonderful blogs:

The Turquoise Home

Live Randomly Simple

Liz On Call

Chic on a Shoestring

Sweet Pea

Concord Cottage

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Cupcakes and Crinoline





How to Reupholster a Dining Chair the Easy Way {Tutorial}

30th October 2015


How to Reupholster a Dining Chair- The Easy Way

I little while ago, I purchased a french provincial dining set on Craigslist containing six cane back chairs, a dining table and a hutch.  I plan on sewing cute little slipcovers for each of the chairs alla Miss Mustard Seed which you can read about here, but in the meantime I wanted to show all of my readers how EASY it is to recover/reupholster dining room chairs.  My method allows you to remove the nasty, probably stinky, old fabric WITHOUT wasting all of your precious time removing 1,000 staples (yes, you can thank me now).

This project is particularly good for BEGINNERS at upholstery.


-Dining chairs with seat cushions that are removable

-Upholstery or Home Decor fabric of your choice (I used this Nate Berkus fabric that I got 50% off)

-Heavy duty staple gun or pneumatic staple gun (I use this one)

-Staples (I used Arrow T50 5/16″ 8mm) 

-Low loft batting (I used this)

– Needle nose pliers (to remove staples)


-Flat head screwdriver (to remove staples)

-Philips-head screwdriver or drill

-Ziploc bag for saving screws

**This project is for dining chairs with removable seat cushions.  Typically the seat cushions are attached with four screws underneath the frame.

Please don’t be intimidated by the length of this tutorial, I wanted to make sure I provided detail regarding each step so that even a beginner at upholstery can do this project.

  1. Turn your chair over and using a drill or philips-head screwdriver, remove the screws from the underside of the chair.  Place the screws in the ziploc bag for safe-keeping, believe me you don’t want to lose them!  Remove seat cushion from chair frame.

If you are re-painting your chairs, do this step prior to reupholstering your seat.  My chair was sanded down and painted in Annie Sloan’s Old White Chalk Paint.  (You can see why I am ripping off this hideously stained fabric…it’s just NASTY!!)seat-cushion-removed-from-chair

2. Flip your seat cushion over and using your flat head screwdriver and your needle-nose pliers, carefully start removing a few staples in the middle back section of the seat.  Make sure your free hand is not in the crossfire so that if your screwdriver slips, you won’t get cut (I am speaking from experience here).  You are just removing enough staples to get your scissors up underneath the fabric. (I am using a special tool designed for this type of thing, but you can just use a flat head screwdriver)


3. Once you have removed just enough staples to loosen up the fabric, insert your scissors and start cutting the fabric down towards the main section of fabric (the top of the cushion).  Be careful not to cut any of the batting or foam.recovering-a-dining-room-chair

4. Flip your cushion over so that the top is facing up and start cutting down the middle of the cushion, cutting the fabric only.easy-way-to-reupholster-a-dining-chair

5.  Once you have completely cut the fabric down the middle you can peal the fabric off the top of the cushion (although it will still be attached to the bottom of the frame via the 1,000 staples).recovering-a-dining-chair-cushion-the-easy-way

6. At this point, you are going to be cutting all of the fabric off the frame, moving along the base of the seat cushion.  The only fabric that should be left attached, is the part that is stapled to the bottom of the frame.  This way you remove the old, nasty fabric without spending the time to remove 1,000 staples!


7.  So when all of the fabric has been cut off the frame, it should look like this.


8.  You are left with all of the foam/batting intact…ready for some fresh fabric.recovering-dining-chairs-the-easy-way

9.  Next you are going to wrap the seat cushion in some low-loft batting to smooth out the old foam and give the seat a nice shape.  If your foam is in bad condition, you can replace it or add a few extra layers of batting.  Wrap and staple the batting to the bottom of the frame, pulling fairly tightly.  Trim off any excess batting.

Recovering a chair

10.  This is what it should look like when your done.  The batting should be nice and smooth without any wrinkles.


11.  Lay out the new fabric, wrong side facing up.  Place your seat cushion facing down on the fabric.  Cut out the fabric using the shape of the seat frame as a pattern, leaving a generous amount of fabric on all sides for wrapping and stapling the fabric to the frame (a good 6-7 inches depending on the thickness of the foam and batting).recovering-a-dining-chair

12. Make sure you fabric pattern is lined up and straight, then pull the fabric tightly and staple it to the frame. A tip that I learned from watching upholstery videos on Youtube, is to make sure to grip the fabric like this so that there is nice even tension and you don’t get puckering in the fabric.how-to-staple-fabric-to-a-frame

13.  First I put six or so staples in the front center of the frame, then I put some staples in the back center.  Next I put a few staples in each side of the frame.  I leave the corners free because those will be stapled last.how-to-staple-fabric-in-upholstery

14.  This is what your corners should look before you finish them.how-to-staple-corners-chair

15.  To get a nice neat corner, you are going to pull the middle of the fabric tight and staple it to the frame.


16.  Next you are going staple the excess fabric on the right to the frame, pulling it over the middle section on a diagonal.


17. Then staple the left side in the same manner.

diningchairs lef side staple

18. This is what your finished corner should look like.


19.  Once all the fabric has been stapled and secured, trim off any extra fabric.  Re-attach the seat cushion to the chair using the screws that you saved in your Ziploc bag.  And you are done! Give yourself a big pat on the back because you just finished your first upholstery project!






I am linking this post up to these amazing blogs:

58 Water Street

AKA Design

Chic on a Shoestring

Funky Junk Interiors

Sweet Pea

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

The Curator’s Collection

Pieced Pastimes


Cupcakes and Crinoline

Live Randomly Simple

DIY Show Off

The Turquoise Home

Liz On Call

Elizabeth & Co.

Home Stories A to Z

French Provincial Cane Back Dining Chairs-Before

23rd October 2015


French Provincial Cane Back Dining Chairs-Before

With the holidays quickly approaching I was in the market for a new dining room set that would accommodate my family of five, plus our extended family. I had been searching Craigslist for a while now but came up empty-handed until I stumbled upon this set.  It included 6 cane back french provincial chairs, a french provincial dining table with 3 leaves and a hutch.  For a price of $250, I couldn’t pass it up. 


Mr. Wilson was once again pretty skeptical about this purchase, given the condition of the chairs and fabric.  You can see the nasty stains on the chair fabric in the picture above.  But I could see beyond the stains and the dirt…… I had visions of Miss Mustard Seeds beautiful cane-back dining chairs dancing in my head.  She has such amazing taste and has transformed many dining chairs with some paint and drop-cloths.  Yes, you heard me right…DROP-CLOTHS!!!


Image Curtesy of Miss Mustard Seed

Although my sewing skills have progressed, making slipcovers for 6 chairs will prove a challenge for me.  Thank goodness Miss Mustard Seed has an excellent tutorial on how to make dining chair slipcovers and it looks pretty straight-forward…haha, famous last words.  I plan on using this chair as my guinea pig and so far I have removed the seat cushion and lightly sanded it.  Next, it will get a coat of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in “Old White,” a creamy off-white color.  Then I plan on getting started with the drop-cloth slipcovers.


Do you think I can pull it off?  I guess we will see!

You probably noticed I do not have a picture of the table and the hutch.  That is because the table was disassembled for transport to my house.  I will write a later post on the table.