Hot Chocolate Station on Easy Handmade Serving Tray

I have to thank The Wood Grain Cottage for this project. I didn’t come up with it on my own but I have shown it to several people and have come up with ways to tweak it. I have to warn you, this was my second one, the first one didn’t make it. I had problems with the screws being too short that came with the handles, but a nice Lowe’s employee helped me and made it much simpler.

What you will need:

A round board (these are found in the wood section of Lows and I used the larger one)

two drawer pulls

Wood Stain (used Early American)

soft foam cushions

Wood filler (may or may not need)


Sandpaper and/or fine steel wool (personal preference)


1. I realized I like to decide where the handles go first and drill the holes. Some of the wood wanted to chip off so you may want to add some wood filler if it will show. Also not all the wood is perfect, this is personal preference so you may want to ‘touch up’ some places if you want it perfect.

2. Sand–This is personal preference and I lightly sanded this one but on another one I did that I did, a square one, I sanded the edges and used steel wool to make it really smooth.

3.. Stain (the FUN) part. I just LOVE to see the wood transform! Follow the instructions on the can and add as many coats as needed to the desired look

4. Wax–all kinds so if you buy stain Min Wax had some. This seals the stain and makes it look a little shiny.

5. Add the handles and some soft cushions with sticky backs, peel and stick (to protect from the screws) and TA- DAAA!

So I made a prettly little Hot Chocolate Station:


These are absolutely beautiful and unique. I am making one for a gift but using a rectangle from a board. I will post it later. Everyone I show has Oohs and Ahs over it.

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I don’t like the light switches showing but, oh well, and the little dresser is a $10 dresser from a garage sale that I will post about later, it is primed and ready to paint, but not sure what color and where to put it.

I made the tea towels.  Bought the towel at Craft Warehouse 4 for $10 and then a fat quarter for about $2.50.  I cut the fabric in a strip (I got 2 strips of 7” wide and used the full length from the fat quarter).  Washed all of it, cut, ironed the folds to hem the edges, pinned it on and sewed around the edge using a pretty stitch on my sewing machine.  I would have used red but didn’t’ have it at the time.  I used these as gifts and added a gift-tied a pretty bow in the middle and added a gift card with them.


Painting Tips

My first paint project was the dresser turned entertainment center shown in the last post.  The second was the coffee table also shown in the last post.  I recently painted a dresser for my son’s room and I learned several things about getting a smooth finish.  Sorry I don’t have a pic at the moment.   I read all over DIY blogs about Benjamin Moore so I went with them and I was definitely impressed.  The lady shared some tips with me that I tried and they definitely worked.  I used the best of Valspar from Lowes the last time and the conditions were definitely different but I really liked how this paint went on.  Valspar seemed ‘sticky’ to me.  Benjamin Moore seemed more smooth.  So…Here are some tips:


1.  A guy at Lowes showed me Bin Primer Ultimate-Shellac Base.  This equals NO SANDING!  I cleaned the dresser really good and put it on with a good paint brush.  I think I paid around $12.00 for my brush.  I put one coat on–it dries VERY quickly but I didn’t have to worry about brush strokes with this.  ***You will need DENATURED ALCHOL if you go this route to clean your brush of the primer.  It worked great and worked really good to really clean off the other paint after rinsing it in water.  I am HOOKED with this product.

2.  Then I learned about sanding between coats.  So after my first coat of primer, I did a quick sand then put another coat of primer on.

3.  All sandpaper is NOT the same….the higher the number, the finer the finish you get.  I had 100 on hand and I wish I used a higher number because I noticed some scratch marks.

4.  After putting on a second coat,I sanded again (Quick sand just to smooth out) I added the paint and her is what I learned about the paint…..


1.  This is what the lady at BM said:  it is best to paint in a cool temperature.  I painted my other dresser with it fairly warm.  She said the coolness gives the paint more time to fill in and settle brush marks.  I painted in the mid to upper 60’s.

2.  Don’t paint in the garage…..what???  She said that all the little tiny particles will be attracted to the paint and it won’t give you a smooth look.  I have NEVER painted inside (I have never painted walls either–that won’t last much longer)  but I have to say, it didn’t stink.  The second step to this process is to have the AC/Heater OFF.  She said if it comes on while the paint is still wet, all the tiny particles will be attracted to the paint.  (This is true, I forgot to turn the heat off while I was doing the second coat)

3.  Sand between coats, us a higher grade of sand paper.  This is a QUICK sand and it makes all the difference in the world!  When you are done, wipe it of good with a towel or paper towels.  I used 100 so I would go a little higher than that, the package ma say:  for smooth surface or something like that.  I bought some at Harbor Freight and it said something like that.

4.  I learned this off of Thrifty Décor Chick:  put your paint brush in a Zip Lock in between coats, it will keep the brush great and you don’t have to wash your brush out every time.

So,  after trying all of this I am very pleased with the result.  It took several weeks to let the paint ‘cure’ but the brush strokes are barely there, the dresser looks smooth and I am more confident with painting.  I am excited to attempt a new project knowing I can get good results.

This all may seem like a lot, especially if you haven’t painted anything, but this only being the third piece of furniture I have attempted, it went very fast.  I even got another small dresser primed for painting in the near future.


See the hand print on the glass?


I realized they are getting higher and higher.  A woman told me when she was a young mother she was complaining about all the handprints on the window  she recently cleaned.  Her mother gently reprimanded her and said that one day there wont be any more little hands to make those prints.  Now this woman is in her 70’s with her children thousands of miles away with their own families.  She tells this story to help us remember:  life changes.

A widow once said to stop complaining about the big shoes that weren’t put away but to be thankful you have a husband to fill those shoes.

So, if you have smudgy windows and doors about 3 feet high, count your blessings.  If you have toys spread around like a big wind stopped by, count your blessings.  If you have big shoes you just tripped over, count your blessings.  If you are frantically cleaning house for all the family coming over, count your blessings.  If you still have to go grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving, be thankful.  I am talking to myself here but what is good for the goose….:  Think about the things you want to complain about or that just ‘gets to you’ and let us be thankful for the people that fill your home.  One day they may not be there.

Living Room Before and After

When my son was born, six years ago, we had only lived in our house about 2 years.  I really truly believe it takes at least 5 years to really get ‘settled’ in.  I had little organization going on, especially how and where to store toys, I’m horrible with paperwork but getting better, and had little idea of how to decorate.  All I knew was that our house had great potential and I determined to enjoy the journey.  Well, about 3 years after he was born, I discovered DIY blogs and I started to see our home and my crafty personality in a new light.  Our ‘entertainment’ center, AKA an old dresser caught my eye at a garage sale I was helping at.  This was after I had been checking out DIY blogs for a few months and a light bulb went off…DING!  It had truly N-E-V-E-R occurred to me to use a dresser for anything other than a dresser…in a bedroom. We got a free TV, as you see in the pic, but….it didn’t fit into our big bulky entertainment center, I was so sad (not really) to get rid of it.  But, that left us with using our coffee table to hold the TV until we found something.  I think this lasted almost a year… ????????????????????? ????????????????????? As I was helping at the garage sale I sat and stared at this dresser and my wheels turned.  Then I measured and the dresser was an exact fit.  So for $25.00 I was off on an adventure.  The exact fit was great until I forgot to include the base boards…so I got help taking the side boards off and then it was an exact fit.  I took off the pulls, sanded ( I never would have sanded, I just discovered B-I-N primer with polyurethane in it, works WONDERS! ) then primed with some KILZ and bought the best Valspar from Lowes (just tried some Benjamin Moore and LOVE it) in Birch White.  I discovered the great challenge of getting brush lines to go away.  I just did another dresser and learned several things I will share next week–HUGE tips. I added some cute molding/trim along the top, took out the 2 top drawers and nailed some boards in to make room for media players, added molding/trim to those and molding/trim to the bottom.  I just jused wood glue and it worked great, hasnt’ come off yet.  Then ordered some new hardware off E-bay, a French style.  The screws were too short so had to drill in with a bigger drill bit to get them to fit, I would recommend going to the hardwared department to get longer ones.   So with 4 coats of paint and having to decide to accept some brush strokes and adding new hardware, I was done.  it took me a couple of weeks but I was pretty happy with it. . ????????????????????? ????????????????????? ????????????????????? ???????? ???????? So after adding the ‘entertainment’ center, I added curtains, two garage sale chairs: ???????? and bought slip covers for them, a side table from the thrift store and spray painted it, got a new slip cover for the existing couch (sure fit stretch) and making pillow covers for the old pillows, a chair from my Grandma and Grandpa (it is black, in the back left corner), a coffee table for $25 that was painted bright blue: ??????????????????????????(here it is after sanding a bit), and thrift store side table, spray painting a lamp and adding new lampshades, a small lamp from the thrift store (it was brand new from Target) a new area rug, over three years…………….. and a lot of patience and using my birthday and Christmas money……………………..this is what it looks like now: ??????????????? ??????????????? ??????????????? ??????????????? I’m very proud of it, even though it doesn’t look perfect like this every day, I have noticed through my efforts and struggles, I can pick up and clean my house quite fast these days. I now have storage with the ‘dresser turned entertainment center’ and the baskets under the coffee table. Yes, there are still toys showing here and there, but it is so comforting and relaxing and am pound (the good kind of proud : ) ) of my home and efforts. (I’ll show you what is hanging on the wall to the left one day soon, it’s a love/hate relationship  : )…)

Posted on The Scoop from Stone Gable:

Carring a Decorating Idea Through Several Seasons

Hello to anyone who stops by!  We are all snowed in here in the Boise, Idaho area.  We had a snow day and my hubby happened to schedule a day off so he didn’t have to go to work.  My Girls,(chickens) wouldn’t even come out of their house until the snow was brushed off!  I’ll introduce you to them one day.  They are so much fun!  I thought I would show some pillows I made for fall, even though it seems like winter.

Fall is a fun time of year and I went all out last year, decorating tables and putting leaf everything everywhere.  It has been very busy this year and I decided to go small with fall decorating and I have decided I really like it.  A little here and a ittle there and use what I have was my theme.  I made these two pillows and I really like how they turned out.  The big leaf pillow, I already had the fabric and a purchase of a cute girls sweater from the thrift store for $3 made the small one.  I used the basic backing for these which makes pillow making so much faster.

1.  I laid the front square piece pattern side up, got some cheap muslin and rough cut two pieces to where they overlap each other and folded them in a little, pinned it, used the picture side as my guide to sew, that would make the muslin side underneath as I sew, and the pins too but I pin so far in I don’t have to worry about getting it in the sewing machine

2.  Sew all the way around, NOT worring about any openings along the edge, then I go over it again all the way around to have secure seams

3.  Turn it inside out and TA-DAA, you have a pillow!

I use CHEAP pillow inserts for the seasonal pillows.  I bought regular pillows at Walmart for under $3 and mark where I want the size, cut off the top and sew it back together, right across the top, no need for tucking it in or making it look nice.  I works really good and makes for  a CHEAP pillow insert

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I like some décor that you can leave up for a while, like the knitted pillow I made.  I paired it with fall but I can replace the leaf pillow with a Christmas pillow and after Christmas I can pair it with a ‘Wintery’ pillow for January-February.  For this pillow, I did the same idea but added a backing of muslin to the front to give the knitted look some stability.  I just sewed it on then followed the same instructions from above.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.  I also used the same method for the pillow insert.  With this method, you can make all kinds of pillow sizes.

Free Garage Sale Picture = Awesome Decor

So, last summer my son and I stopped by a garage sale and they had this free sign of this picture.  The corner was broken off, didn’t get a pic of it but where you see the white putty in the pic is where it was broken.  I just knew there was something I could do to fix it.  So….for free, OH YA!  I took on the challenge.  I used what I had on hand:  Elmer’s putty you use to fill in holes.





I gooped (spell checker said that’s not a word, but that’s what I did) on some putty, let it dry, then did it some more until it was a little higher than the frame then sand papered it down to match the rest of the frame.  Then I took a square of sandpaper and folded it in half and used it to sculpt to match the frame.




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Then I painted the mat with paint I had on hand (the mat had some warping but again, FREE), cleaned the frame and glass on both sides, put the pic back in and spray painted the frame in the aged bronze, cleaned up the paint spots on the glass with Goo Gone and hung it up!


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??????????????????????????The chipped corner was on the bottom left.  You can see some warping in the bottome right, this pic really makes it show but in ‘real life’ you can’t see it that much.  Not bad for free.  Its hanging on my stair well.


Posted on my Favorite Blogs!:

Fall Display on Sofa Table



Just wanted to show a little fall inspiration.  This is our living room, where we hang out.  I will show the before and after pics in another post.  Since I discovered decorating blogs, I have been braver. and this room has really started to transform!

Blogging is a whole new world for me, just learned how to make my pics larger!  I bought this sofa table last year.  I want to paint it, but haven’t decided what to do with it yet.  I bought it for $20 and was a part of my plan for organization.  I bought a large basket to go underneath it to hide some toys.  It works pretty good!  It works VERY well with family gatherings since it is right next to the kitchen.  It gets cleared off and becomes the dessert table!

Organized Entry

We have a very open front entry.  The door coming from the garage is very close to the front entry door so we don’t have a mud room, you come in from the garage right into the front of the house, and what do people do when they come in from the garage???  They DUMP!  Shoes, seasonal clothing, paperwork, backpacks, more shoes, more paperwork.  I have been working for the last year to make it easier to solve this problem.  Mind you, those items won’t find their place by themselves, but with a little effort, training, and having a place for these things, it makes it look nicer and is easier to clean.  I had another bench here, witch is in the pictures of how I made both.  So this ‘shoe bench’ has evolved from our old coffee table to a new, cheap $6.00 coffee table I found at Good Will.  I almost passed it up, but it was soooo cute, I just knew I needed it!  It was out in the garage for a while and then I moved the first bench to the end of our bed, and painted this little table and put it in this spot.  I was disappointed that I had to loose a basket underneath, but…it fits much, much better.  My solution, which I’m still on the look out for is a tall basket that my husbands very large shoes can fit in.  He has dress shoes, inside shoes, church shoes, and they NEVER find their way to our bedroom closet, upstairs.  My entry closet is narrow and has become an extended pantry and we always take our shoes off at the door, I don’t think they would make it even if we made it the ‘shoe home’.  So, I am very pleased with this.  I want to add a couple more pillows but it will do for now.

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How I Made This…
-an inexpensive coffee table,
-Kilz and white spray paint (the price would be a lot less if I used regular paint but I was impatient and I didn’t worry about painting the underneath as well as the parts that you can see),
cheap particle board, already had this but you can get your Lowes to cut if for you in the dimension you need,
-painter’s drop cloth (this is the fabric I used)
-foam topper, got it at Wal-Mart for $10.00-durning going back to school season,
-button kit (Wal-Mart).  If you have never tufted, that is the buttons that make it look puffy; you will need to buy upholstery needles (I won’t tell you how many times it took me to get ‘upholstery’ spelled correctly!) and upholstery thread (got mine at Hobby Lobby a while back),
-can of repositionable glue/sticky spray (Lowes),
-staple gun (already had),
-scotch guard
-hot glue gun and glue

1. I painted the table (didn’t sand, just wiped off good)
2. cut my wood and drilled the 3 holes for the buttons.  I’m not a good math person so I started with the middle, then added so many inches on each side from the middle.
3. Sprayed the repositionable glue (you don’t need this but it helped) I used the whole twin mattress topper.  I got 2 layers and had to cut and piece together the 3rd, use this on the bottom then. I spread out the drop cloth/fabric and placed a layer of batting, you know the stuff you use for quilting, then carefully turned the wood with the cushion positioned on it over in the middle, made sure I would have enough fabric for each side and made sure the cushioning was in place  and pulled over and started stapling.  I don’t know how to do corners, I just played around with them to get them to look good.
4. Then I did the ‘make your own buttons kit, but the fabric was too thick so I used the form to get the fabric to lay down and used my hot glued gun.  I used the upholstery needle to pull the fabric down then used my glued gun again to glue the buttons in place.
5. I put the finished cushion on top, didn’t glue it down or anything, it stays pretty good.
6. I also used scotch guard before I put it on.

I didn’t’ need to add a shelf to the bottom, I could have easily, just get wood cut to size and paint.  My baskets fit just right with the little bar that goes across. Here is the first coffee table, you can see how it sticks out…it did look pretty and was a huge help in keeping organized, but the smaller one works better.  The longer one would have worked, but there is a part of the wall that sticks out.

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Carrot Tops!

I saw this idea, I think, from a magazine.  I knew I had the carrots, but my hydrangeas weren’t quite there yet.  So I was finally able put this idea together, and it worked pretty good.  It even lasted for a few days and was very pretty and unusual.



All I did was stuff in some carrot tops from my carrots in the garden and add some Incrediball Hydrangea I have been growing.  This was last year’s flowers, this year they were even prettier.  This would be pretty with many other flowers!


I have debated about blogging my adventures of ‘all things home’.  I am a stay at home mom, who loves to be at home, decorate, do DIY projects,  loves to cook, garden and loves to help at church, and runs a preschool in my home as well.  I have a full plate and will keep my trying to keep my priorities where they should be.  With that in mind  here it is…. I have a new chapter in my life coming, starting tomorrow.  I will be taking my son to kindergarten.  So many emotions and ponderings.  I am excited and nervous for him and me!  I thought this blog would help with my need for creativity and maybe be an encouragement for others as some of my favorite blogs have been for me.  I will post once a week.  For the last two years, I have taken pictures of my DIY  projects, just in case I wanted to start a blog…see you soon.