DIY: Making an Old Dresser New Again

DIY: Making an Old Dresser New Again

This past summer I was ready to get to work with my many ideas of how I wanted to update and makeover our spare bedroom, which had turned into a catch-all and storage room. There was no “bedroom-ing” at all happening. My plan included painting, rearranging furniture, and some new furniture and accessory purchases. Having a dresser in the guest bedroom was included in those plans, as it’s convenient to store out-of-season clothes, and also handy for when we really do have guests!

Lucky for me, when I was describing my plans to my sister, she told me that she had a gently loved dresser in her garage that was used in my niece’s room, but that was in need of some TLC. It was mine for the taking if I wanted it… and when I laid eyes on it, I wanted it!

This dresser is solid wood and so well made and in terrific condition on the inside. It just needed some cleaning, sanding and painting to make the outside gorgeous again, and to make it fit into the look I was envisioning in my guest bedroom.

Look at these legs!! (I’m all about great legs…on furniture!)

I debated for a long time on the drawer pulls, and if I wanted to just use the current ones and spray paint them, or if I should patch up the holes and get new pulls. These are lovely pulls, but even after I spray painted them gold, they looked too traditional for what I was going for.

You can see here how the ivory paint was chipped in many spots on the top and front of the dresser.

After removing all four drawer pulls and figuring out what I was going to do with this beauty, I got to work!

This simple wood filler did the trick for filling the holes on each drawer. I made sure to get one that said that it was “paintable and stainable” so that I could be certain it wouldn’t be noticeable after.

And this is what she looks like after 3 weekends of filling all holes, sanding, and painting on three coats of Aspire Mineral Chalk paint in “Innocence” and then three coats of topcoat!

I had visited a sweet shop in town called Whimsical Furnishings to buy the paint and they gave me great information and advice on how best to use the Aspire paint and topcoat to restore my dresser. They also offer furniture painting workshops to help you get started with the Aspire paint, and you can find more information on those on their FaceBook page here.

Next it was time to find the right drawer pulls for the dresser. I knew I wanted something fancy, pretty and sparkly if possible. I had pictured some cute gift shops where I remembered seeing beautiful and different pulls being sold individually. On the way to one of them, I was about to drive by my favourite HomeSense store and thought I should stop in, because…HomeSense! I’m so glad I did!

I found that this location had quite a few different sets of Lily & Leah doorknob pulls, and they were so pretty and so well priced! I actually couldn’t decide between two different styles, so I bought them both! At $14.99 for four pulls, I had no reason not to! So, I left HomeSense quite happy, with two sets of 4 pulls of each style… one was a hexagon mirrored pull, and the other a crystal ball pull (pictured below).

I ended up using the mirrored pulls on the dresser, but kept the crystal ball pulls for another little update I’m working on. These pulls are great for so many pieces of furniture where by just changing up the hardware, you have a whole new look!

BTW…I did actually go to the gift shop I was thinking about just to see if there were any pulls there that I liked better, and I was shocked to find that although their ceramic pulls were pretty and original, they were $12 each!! I needed eight of them for this dresser, so that was way too rich and unnecessary for this project.

And here is the final product after measuring and asking the hubby to drill new holes in the drawers for me…

I love the sparkly mirrored pulls! I really lucked out with those!

The dresser fits in perfectly with the light and bright guest bedroom now.

Here’s a peek at my nearly complete guest bedroom… as soon as I finish getting some artwork up on the walls, I’ll share the before & after of the room with you too!

OKAY, it’s time for a recap! The BEFORE….

….and the AFTER!

This project was so satisfying…this solid wood dresser was free and for the cost of the paint and topcoat ($80) and the new pulls ($30), I was able to make it work perfectly for our guest bedroom.

I hope you enjoyed following along with my DIY dresser makeover project!

xoxo Nydia








DIY: Christmas Card Display Frame (and an IKEA hack)

DIY: Christmas Card Display Frame (and an IKEA hack)

All of the beautiful Christmas cards that are sent and received every year deserve a special place to be on display for the holiday season.
They are so colourful and lovely that they are Christmas decor in their own right.
I used to struggle with where to display the cards we received and so we used to stand them up on our fireplace mantle. But then we or visitors couldn’t really see them very well or appreciate their loveliness, so I needed to find a better spot for them to be displayed, like artwork.

Two years ago I picked up this Nyttja frame at IKEA (which I believe is no longer available) and took off the plastic cover (it wasn’t a frame with glass so it was fairly cheap), added in some bakers twine across the front and hung my Christmas cards from it!  I was happy with my little solution so that I had a neat and tidy place for all the cards we’d received.  I just took down a piece of artwork that was on the wall and used that space for the frame for the holiday season.



I picked up this baker’s twine in red and green from Target‘s Dollar Spot when they were still in Canada. Boy do I ever still miss Target… especially for sweet little deals like these.dsc_0070

I pulled the twine across the front of the frame and then simply taped it around the back, but made sure it was pulled taut, as when the cards start to be hung on it, it can start pulling down.dsc_0038

I can’t remember where I picked up these little black clothespins, but I think you can find them many places nowadays, like Michaels.  I added some glitter tape to one of them to see if I liked it but realized that I didn’t want to add so much bling as the cards would be out-shined.dsc_0072

I love using my glitter tape!  As you can see I have quite the collection… I picked up a nice set of these at Winners/HomeSense/Marshalls in the last couple of years so you have to keep looking every time you go!

So this year when I hung up my frame ready to hang cards, I found it to be very blah.  Like it needed some Christmasy decorations on it to spice it up.  I happily got out some gold glitter tape and went to work adding some glitter to the edges of the frame.dsc_0062

(And…here is my full collection including washi tape as well (I love washi tape!).  You can get lovely washi tape from Omiyage in Canada.  I digress….)dsc_0058

Then I pulled out my favourite black & white striped wire-edged ribbon from Michaels (I stocked up on it recently as all Christmas ribbon was 70% off!) and used it to add a bow to the top of the frame.  I simply hot-glued it on.dsc_0053

Better, right?card-frame-after-embellishments

But…I still needed a little more.  Nothing says Christmas without some live greenery in as many places you can put it in the home!dsc_0076


NOW I’m satisfied!  final-card-frame

DIY: Christmas Decor

DIY: Christmas Decor

I love decorating for Christmas. Every year I love to pull out all of my previously used decorations and try to either use them in the same way I did before or move them around the house to different areas or mix them with different things.  I do have a lot in storage bins and so I restrain myself from buying a lot of new decor every year by limiting myself to one new thing per year and getting rid of at least one thing per year.

This year I realized what I wanted to add to my decor when my mama asked me if I wanted her to bring me something from Portugal.  Unfortunately, my grandmama passed away recently at the delicate age of 96 and as she was living in Portugal, my mama and papa went back to attend her funeral and be with family.  While they are there, they are noticing that being there during this Christmas season is very different than being there in the summer and so I realized that they would maybe see different kinds of decor that we don’t have here, especially in a different language. I thought of maybe a banner or a type of sign that would have holiday greetings on it in Portuguese.  Little did I realize how difficult that would be.

My mama reported back that she was having trouble finding anything that wasn’t in English.  Most of the decor she was finding was mass produced and all with such sayings as “Home Sweet Home”, “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays”.  Not exactly different from here!

Don’t get me wrong… I love my birth country of Canada and feel so lucky that my parents chose this country to come to and to start a new life in.  I never take that for granted and there is a reason (many reasons!) why I continue to live here.  However, the longing for the lifestyle, the charm, the wine and food (definitely the wine and food!), and the culture of Portugal is always in my heart. This is what we call saudade.

And so, feeling frustrated and wanting to have at least one piece of Christmas decor in my native language, I headed out to Michaels determined to just make my own.


I found this lovely unfinished hanging wood star in the Christmas crafts section, and because it was Black Friday weekend, it was 50% off.  So for a mere $7.49 I picked it up with the intention of painting it and then adding some festive words to it somehow.  While I wandered around the store I found a pack of adhesive foil letters for $8.99 in the appropriate size for the star so I bought those as well with a 60% off coupon.


I knew I already had a collection of colours of acrylic paint at home that I had picked up at Dollarama before.  However, I couldn’t remember if I had a nice glittery gold paint so I picked up this Craft Smart metallic paint in Bright Gold while at Michaels for only $1.79.  I also had a pack of foam craft brushes at home that I knew I could use to paint the star.


First I gave the star a light sanding just to make sure there were no rough spots or edges.  After cleaning the dust off with a cloth, I gave it 3 good coats of the Craft Smart metallic gold paint, letting it dry in-between each coat.

At this point I could have scuffed up the paint a bit with some more sanding if I wanted an even more rustic look. But looking around my home, I knew it was rustic enough just with the fact that you could still see the wood grain through the paint.  We tend to prefer more clean lines and looks and so I thought that just some nice gold paint and white letters would go nicely with our decor.

With the star painted, it was time to figure out how to put a nice holiday message on it.  I lined up the adhesive foil letters on the star and realized that although it was a simple solution, it really made the star decoration look cheap.  I succumbed to the fact that I would have to do some hand painting.

Thinking back to tricks I used wayyyyyy back in elementary school, I first looked up some fonts on my laptop and printed them out the right size I would need.  (I used Zapfino in 100pt) I then cut each word out a little smaller so that I could figure out the placement of it on the star.


I then used a pencil to shade or colour in the back of the letters so that I could use those pencil marks to transfer the image onto the wood star.  Once I was done colouring with the pencil, I flipped the page back over right-side up and used two little pieces of tape to keep it in the right spot on the star.

Then I carefully traced and coloured in with my sharp pencil the whole word that I had printed.  This made the image transfer through and onto the star.


I proceeded to do the same with the second word.


Once the words were both transferred, I used a very thin brush and the white Crafter’s Acrylic paint to paint in the lettering.  This took much patience and a steady hand, and it’s not exactly perfect, but it looks pretty good from afar!  Just don’t get too close! LOL


The wooden star comes already with a hanging twine at the top, so you could hang it on the wall easily.  But for now, I like the look of it on my mantel.

And by the way, “Feliz Natal” is Portuguese for “Merry Christmas”!


I love how simple this was yet so meaningful!  Have you made any homemade crafts for your Christmas decor?  Share your ideas in the comments below… I’d love to hear about them!


DIY: Pokémon Trainer “Ash Ketchum” costume

DIY: Pokémon Trainer “Ash Ketchum” costume

Halloween showed up pretty quickly for us this year.  So much so, that a week before the 31st of October I found ourselves without a costume for my son.

I always ask my son what his ideas are for costumes, and he usually tries to come up with ideas related to current events, what’s hot in toys and games, etc.  This year, with the craze of Pokémon Go taking up our family fun times, he decided that he would love to be the Pokémon trainer Ash Ketchum.  But, he was very specific…it had to be the most recent version, the XY version.  I know very little about the Pokémon world, so since Google and Pinterest are my best friends, it was very easy to find what he was referring to.


Unfortunately, what I couldn’t find was a ready-made, ready-to-buy Ash Ketchum costume.  Now what to do?  Enter my hero, my mama (my son’s grandma/vóvó), who is a skilled seamstress, to the rescue (again)!

As much as I’d love to take credit for this DIY, I must shamefully confess that I did not inherit my mama’s sewing skills.  Nor have I made time to learn them.  I can sew on a button or two, but it takes much longer than it needs to!  I really must make time someday to learn her mastery so that I can at least hem my own pants one day (which at my petite height is necessary more often than not)!

After closely scrutinizing the pictures I could find online, I determined that the only things I needed to have created was the top/jacket, the ball cap and the gloves.  The pants could be any type of blue casual/cargo style pant and a simple black t-shirt was easy enough to find.


Since the weather is never very warm for Halloween night here in Southwestern Ontario, the choice of fabric for making the jacket was important.  As a kid growing up here myself, my least favourite part of Halloween night was always having to cover up my costume with a winter coat!  So when mama and I went out to pick out and buy fabric, we headed right for the selection of fleece fabrics.  We picked out two different colours and made sure to get enough of the lighter blue colour to use some for the ball cap.

We also picked out a small amount of some red fabric in order to make some cuffs to attach to some cheap black stretchy gloves I had.  The gloves that Ash Ketchum wears are technically fingerless, but again, due to the cold weather at this time of year, I decided to forgo that part of the costume and leave the fingers whole.


My son already had a red ball cap in his closet that had the NovoFit logo on it.  Instead of buying a new red hat, my mama suggested that she could simply hand stitch the fleece fabric onto the hat and it’s brim so as not to damage the hat itself.  Because the logo on the hat was a bit large, to get it fully covered mama had to cut the fabric arch a little bigger than it should be.  My son didn’t mind at all that it didn’t match Ash Ketchum’s exactly; he was so excited already for the costume as he saw it come together.

Of course, we couldn’t forget the accessories to bring this costume to life, and for it to be somewhat recognizable to those who don’t partake in Pokémon or Pokémon Go.  I picked up a plush Pikachu, which my son loved being able to add to his collection of stuffies.  I also managed to find a plastic Poké Ball at a local toystore for a reasonable price, although my first instinct was to buy a cheap bouncy ball and paint it to look like a Poké Ball.

The best part of this whole DIY was seeing how happy my son was with his homemade costume and how much more special it was because it was made with love by vóvó.