Use What You Have

When we moved into our new home I decided  I wanted our master bedroom to have a warm sophisticated feel.  I wanted dark neutral paint colors and dark wood furniture.  Fortunately we budgeted for a new bed frame and   nightstands, but that was it.  In the end the room turned out awesome, but we were left with a nice dresser that did not match and no budget to replace it.  So, of course, I thought of the next best thing, lets stain it.  Keep in mind, I have never stained before, but I wanted my black-brown wood dresser and I did not want to pay for it.  Besides, I have watched enough HGTV’s DIY shows to know I can do it, right?

My husband had to help me on this one.  We did some research to figure out how to accomplish this goal and the final conclusion was it only required a few items, a sander, wood conditioner, stain, and a polyurethane finish.  Well, it turns out, it is actually pretty simple to stain a dresser and the best part of the actual staining is that you don’t have to be that neat.  The point of the stain is to be absorbed by the wood.  I was unaware of that so I was pleasantly surprised to find out i was nothing like painting.

This project can easily be accomplished in a weekend, but due to our schedules and having a 20 month old, one can imagine how excited I was to finally be finished with this project after a week and a half.  I am so elated over the finished product and the feeling of finishing a DIY project is priceless.  As an added bonus, when I was eagerly putting away our clothes (several days of pulling clothes off beds and couches became quite old) I realized that my dresser felt a bit fancy.  I am not sure if it is the stain choice or the smooth finish, but I feel like I now have a  piece luxury furniture in my bedroom.  Despite the work and the smell (please note, the fumes from the chemicals are strong and unpleasant), I would do it all over again.

The Dresser Before as Purchased from Ikea (On Sale $250)

The Surface of The Dresser Post-Sanding by My Husband

The Second Application of Stain

First Application of The Polyurethane Finish

The Finished Product



Price to buy the dresser: $299+

Cost of Wood Conditioner, Stain, and Finish:  $24

Cost of knobs: $40*

*Note this cost could be significantly lower.  Check the amount of knobs you’ll need before purchasing.  I ended buying two $19.99 boxes from Target….arrrrgg!

Total Cost:  $64

Total Saved: $23o+


Eeyore-Themed Baby Shower with a Purple Twist

When my best friend of over 20 years told me she was pregnant and wanted me to do her baby shower, I lost it.  I was so overwhelmed with excitement and not to mention I had taken up her suggestion to start blogging about decorating just before she asked.  Once we found out it was a girl, I asked what was her designated color scheme.  Now, I already knew here favorite color was purple, but apparently I missed that is was also blue.  Oh and it doesn’t stop there, she doesn’t like pink.  And of course, the theme had to be based on her favorite Winnie the Pooh character, Eeyore.  Truthfully, themes suggested by the guest of honor always make it easier.  I think that even if I am not given a theme request, I make one up.  It seems to help one stay consistent and not have too many random pieces and ideas exploding all over the decorating space.  Another piece of the process is that I let her tell me the theme and the colors and after that, she was banned.  People have to remember showers (Wedding, Bridal, Baby, etc.) are not weddings , if you are lucky you will get to make a suggestion, but someone is throwing it for you so you just sit back and be prepared to be surprised.  With that said, I had to be kicked out of my baby shower planning.

For certain, I was using the Eeyore theme, but I refused to eliminate pink and for those familiar with Eeyore you know he has a pink bow on his tail.  At this point in the process I was doing my sneaky villain laugh since I found a way to sneak in pink.  Initially the only blue I incorporated was a few balloons and the Eeyore dolls which I found for a good deal online.  Turns out that Disney, who actually had the best quality of dolls and the best price, only offered Eeyore in his original gray color.  Apparently blue Eeyore, my bf’s favorite, was a seasonal version that became popular.  The blue hydrangeas actually were not done on purpose, but worked out.  The floral company I used could not come up with the origianl 40 stems of purple I offered.  Of course I did not find that out utnil I wen to pick up my order.  Thank goodness it worked out anyway and turned out better than having all purple.  After that, I decided to focus on varying shades of purple as the  color scheme.  In the process I learned new colors like periwinkle and that Lilac is a lighter Lavender like color.

I came up with the centerpiece first and foremost.  I love hydrangeas with their fullness and rich coloring and wanted to incorporate something that made it like a baby shower.  Somehow my interpretation turned out to be a hydrangea centerpiece with a twirl pop in the center.  This centerpiece I made on a great budget with the help of my favorite party planning mecca, downtown Los Angeles.  Thank goodness for my resident town, because I was quoted $4-$6 per stem in Las Vegas (site of the shower) and paid $1.50 per stem during Valentine’s weekend in the wonderful flower district.  You better believe it was worth it to transport the flowers the 200+ miles to Vegas for that kind of savings.  The florist provided me with buckets for free.  Ask and you shall receive.

The event turned out great and the final decoration product turned out great.  I always say you never know how the final product will look, after all, it starts off a vision in my head.

Thanks to I was able to turn a $4 a pop cookie into a $0.30 cookie

Budget:  $600

Spent: $700

Guest Count:  50

A 40th Birthday….Miami VIP Style

The goal was to decorate a penthouse suite in a luxury hotel for a VIP birthday without spending a lot of money and without there actually being a party.  My cousin was turning 40 years of age and wanted to celebrate in style.  She had a whole weekend bash planned and, to my surprise, did not want any of the weekend’s festivities to be in the actual suite itself.  Yet, she wanted to feel as if it was her birthday weekend whenever she was in the room.  As if that wasn’t challenge enough, the hotel was almost 3,000 miles away from our home in the amazingly sensual city of Miami.  Now this may seem like a pointless endeavor, but an excuse to finally visit Miami and do one of my favorite things (party plan and decorate) made this a no brainer.


My first challenge was to pick the décor keeping in mind that whatever we purchased or used would have to be able to be transported on the plane and we all know the rules on luggage.  Also we wanted to keep it simple.  I mean, after all, it wasn’t for an actual party.  It was to just to give an already amazingly furnished suite, a party vibe.  Considering the distance and the fact that I would not be able to see anything until we arrived for the 5 day vacation, I had to live on the internet.  I am pretty confident I became addicted to the virtual tour option offered on the hotel website.  It was to the point that when I arrived at the suite I was sure I had been there before.  Oh and I must give a grande shout out to YouTube for facilitating the celebrity oneabies that created  make-shift “Cribs”  allowing me another visual perspective of the suite.  I definitely recommend these visual options when the venue cannot be scouting before the event.  I am not sure how the professionals do it, but I absolutely must see the decorating space before I can know what I want to do with it.  I was also fortunate enough that  I found everything I needed via internet, including an amazing company, Décor For A Day, that provided me with candle holders and apothecary jars for a minimalist candy bar  and hotels that allowed us to ship items directly to their site so the items would  be there waiting for us.

In the end, it all came together and fell within a very small budget.

The color scheme was white, cream, and chocolate which I now realize, as I type, sounds like an amazing dessert.  The balloons and lanterns were very easy to transport.  The delicious cupcakes were brought to us by a company in Miami called Teatime cakes.  The only items I had to purchase in Miami were the helium tank  and the aforementioned glassware.  I was very satisfied with the final product and the guest of honor was so happy, it made it all the more enjoyable.

Budget:  Not Set

Total Spent:  Approximately $140

Big Ticket Items:  Cupcakes