Category Archives: DIY Projects

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall

Life with a new baby can throw a wrench in the best of plans. And when it is your sixth, well, survival is first and foremost. I finally finished painting the nursery…<ahem> this past fall.

Yeah, I think that having a finished nursery to welcome the newest little one fell by the wayside after Zip, our third child, arrived. And you know what? I don’t think that Pop, Van or even Baby #6 have minded a bit. They all sleep in our room for the first 6-12 months anyway. (And yes, I know that Baby #6 needs her screen name.)

That’s just life.

I must admit though. Finishing painting the nursery walls was a great feeling. I loved the fresh, crisp sight of the white walls. However, I felt like it needed something else-an accent wall of some kind.

So I grabbed some leftover paints (SW interior satin white and SW interior satin mindful gray) and eyeballed mixing the two paints until I was happy with the results. It ended up yielding a very subtle design on the nursery wall. This was exactly the “look” that I was going for, simple but also soft at the same time.

After I mixed my color choice, I only needed one thing: a pattern or stencil. I didn’t want to spend money on one and I also did not necessarily want the look of a stenciled wall. If you have one, great. And I may do a stenciled wall down the road. But this time? This time I was looking for free, fast and fun.

I found what I was looking for in my kitchen pantry. A potato.

Simple and quick was the name of the game.

Here’s the easy how-to

  • I cut my fresh potato in half (width-wise) and then scored my pattern in the surface of the potato flesh (the flat side- see photo below). The cuts with my knife were roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep

*Note: Keep your pattern simple. You will thank me later for that bit of advice. As you can see, I chose a diamond for my pattern.

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall

  • I then took the knife and cut about 1/4-1/2 down from the top….slowly until I reached my scored shape. You are NOT slicing through here. You are just cutting away the excess potato from your desired design.

The goal is to have a raised pattern, thus creating a stamp for your project.

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall

You can see my lovely homemade diamond stamp.

  • I also added small notches on the outside of the potato skin to mark the points of the diamond.

This helped me later to keep my diamonds fairly straight and pointing the same direction. You may want to notch one or more sides of your potato stamp to mark the top of the design, etc.

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall

  • Stamp away. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You are more than likely going to have furniture, wall art, etc. obscuring the continuity of the pattern anyway. No one will notice crookedness or spacing issues. Promise.

Here is my stamp all covered with paint. You may notice the cut down the middle of the diamond. I actually cut half of my diamond off. This allowed me to continue my pattern on the left and right side of the window in my accent wall. (Thankfully stamping above and below the window didn’t involve partial stamping.)

*Note: Definitely keep in mind what you will do with your pattern around any windows, doors and outlets as well as along the ceiling and floor. You may want to adjust your spacing to help with any issues BEFORE you begin stamping.

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall

I absolutely LOVE the finished result. Sure, it is not perfectly spaced. I used my hands, a ruler and my eyes to decide stamp placements.

This room is actually a little hard to photograph. If the light hits the design just right, the pattern melts away into the rest of the wall. This is exactly what I wanted. My pattern isn’t a bold, straight lined, completely colored in diamond shape either. Again, the freestyle of the stamp was right down my alley.

It was a quick little update for the nursery “crib wall” that I was able to finish between feeding times for my little nursling. And trust me, I like quick.

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall

Want to try an accent wall in your home? Are you like me and you love quick and free for your home projects? This easy DIY wall project is right for you.

DIY Potato Stamp Accent Wall


                               Thank you so much for reading.

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Conditioning Furniture with Coconut Oil

conditioning furniture with coconut oil 2

I just love old furniture, don’t you?

For quite a few years, I was scouring Craigslist constantly in hopes of scoring a great deal on a tall dresser for our girls’ room. Every single time that I saw something really nice at my price point, it was either already gone or I dawdled for too long (showing Hubs first before calling or trying to convince myself). I have mourned over many “lost” pieces of furniture.

conditioning furniture

Hubs told me to quit asking him and just to go ahead and buy it when I see it.

Whoa. Did you just read that? Yep. That’s what he said.

Love him.

Last year, I finally found this beautiful, tall (six drawer) dresser on Craigslist that would be perfect for my girls. It was stripped of its previous coat of paint and ready for someone to finish with either paint or stain.

You know me, I can’t make an important decision such as this one (stain or paint) to save my life, so I did nothing.

For nearly a year.old furniture restoration

Indecisiveness at its finest, I assure you.

Whenever I would dust the dresser, it looked so nice “wet” with the polish and then it dried back to its former dull and dry-looking state. I was perplexed until I remembered reading this post from 2LittleSuperHeros about coconut oil and furniture and decided to give it a whirl.

Cautious girl that I am, I only did the top of the dresser. (If I can’t live with the status quo for just about a year, then I can most certainly handle a few more days or weeks of half dullness.)

restoring furniture with coconut oil

As I rubbed it on, it showed such promise that I couldn’t help but get excited. The dresser surface now boasted that “wet” look that I loved. It made the wood look richer, deeper in tone and at the same time, little flecks of white paint were somewhat highlighted. While I certainly would not call this a chippy finish, I am fond of the imperfections that are more clear in the wood now. I’m simply enjoying the current state of the wood while embracing any flaws that the coconut oil conditioning is magnifying.

I enjoy simple projects, and this is—without a doubt—an easy task. Not only does it save me from painting or staining (and making that decision), but it also is non-toxic and green.

Simple and green living is right up my alley.

condition your furniture

It was quick and painless project. I just scooped some coconut oil into my palm and then dabbed it onto the dresser with my fingers. I then grabbed one of my favorite rags and buffed it into the wood.

:: cue the angel choir singing ::

I could NOT believe the difference. It was like Night and Day. Hot and cold. Dark chocolate and vegetables. (Yes, that last one is a common opposite. You’ve just missed its existence all of these years. I’ve now enlightened you. You’re welcome.)

(Just send me chocolate.  😉  )

I was very frustrated at how difficult it was that clearly showed the difference. It was difficult to get an accurate picture of the dull condition and also the brightened condition.conditioning old furniture

Keep in mind that my piece of furniture was an antique stripped of any finish. In other words, it was very evident that it was made with dry, old wood.

It was like the coconut oil was dry skin lotion for my dresser. The wood drank in the oil that I rubbed into the grain and was visibly refreshed.

Coconut oil never ceases to amaze me. I keep adding to my list of wonderful uses for this glorious goo. Conditioning furniture, in this case dry, antique wood, with coconut oil is now a new favorite of mine.

conditioning and restoring old furniture

So do you have old pieces that seem dull and “thirsty”? Try rubbing it down with coconut oil. You will be amazed at the life it will breathe into your antiques. Try it and you’ll agree. Grandma’s hutch never looked better.



The Upstairs Armoire

Doesn’t that sound like a book or movie title?  Really ambiguous, veiled.



Well, its not.  It’s just a simple armoire that’s been in storage upstairs for over four years.  In our previous home, we used it as it’s intended purpose: a tv armoire.  It was perfect in our little family room.  I loved it then and I love it now.



In this home though, we currently have an alcove for tube TVs (remember those?!) above our living room fireplace.  We’ve simply hung our flat screen TV from a ceiling mount and used the actual shelf space for other equipment such as DVD/Xbox player, remotes, etc.  However, I would love to mount our TV on the wall upstairs in our soon-to-be family room {happy dance}.

We could then close off the deep alcove above our fireplace.  *sigh*  Doesn’t that sound nice?  Hubs sees it as wasted space and I see it as a beautiful place to finally be able to decorate…to my little heart’s content.  What else could we possibly use it for?   I mean, really.

So now you may be left wondering,  TV alcove-getting closed off.  TV moving upstairs; yes, but only to be mounted on the wall.  Why are you then keeping that old armoire?  Good question.

First, I love it.  And when you love something, is that not reason enough to keep it?!  Sometimes?

The other side of our attic begs to differ.  😉

It is good quality, solid wood and only cost us $50.  And it is HEAVY.  Like hernia-heavy.  Nope, can’t do it.  Ask Hubs to take it back downstairs after lugging it across five states only to haul it upstairs to sit for four years and never having used it?!  Absolutely not.  I have to exhaust all my options for it first.  All very good reasons to keep it in my book.  So what am I going to do with a “tube tv” armoire?

Repurpose it.

We are going to remove the TV swivel shelving and build some shelves for storage for crafts and sewing.  So yes, basically the beloved armoire is for me.  We have a bond- ha!

Here’s some ideas that I’ve been pinning that inspire my obsession with hanging on to this massive piece of furniture.


Hobby storage.


 A quilter’s daydream.


Scrapbooking ideas.


Sewing options.


I am contemplating painting ours a soft gray.  But you know me when it comes to choosing paint colors,…I’m pathetic.

First, though, it needs a good cleaning.

So what do you think?  Would you keep it?  What color would you paint it?  Tell me.  I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

Framed. Electrified.

We are making some progress once again on our bonus room.

For those of you that are new to Thrifty Stories, one of our home goals 2012 was to finish half of our 700 sq. ft. upstairs bonus area.  We were slow to commit to a mammoth undertaking until mid summer.  We began by clearing out  junk (and yes, that’s exactly what I meant) to disperse into the recycle, donate, sell, save and trash boxes.

In August, my father-in-law and a friend helped Hubs get the framing up and a bit of the electrical started.  In this photo, a small portion of the insulation was put up.  They took it out minutes later when they realized that it would be in the way of electrical work.

Construction came to a screeching halt over the past several months as we were putting off completing our electrical phase of the project.  However, we finally conquered that step this past Saturday and now we are chomping at the bit to press on.


Here’s an updated shot of that same side of the room.  Notice that the insulation is gone and the electric work is now complete.  Yay!

Next on our list, rough-in inspection.  Whoo-hoo.

Then we will be ready for some of the fun choices of a remodel: lighting, flooring, paint colors, etc.  I’d like for us to be able to work on this phase together like maybe on our “Triple T” nights, but the trouble is, I don’t know exactly what I want yet.  Hubs is being very patient with me…so far.

I really am trying to narrow down the lighting choices for the different areas.  I’m leaning towards a barn light for over the kids’ school table.  Perhaps in just the galvanized silver metal finish.  What do you think?

I love some of the colors available in the barn lights, but don’t really want to commit to a permanent color scheme.  I really do love the green and yellow ones though.   Oh, dear.


We’ve (mainly myself here) finally decided where and what type of built-ins we want through out the room.  We’re going with three different options to maximize that space: open shelving, closed shelving, and crawl spaces.  Something along the lines of these two photos:



As far as the paint color goes, I’m leaning towards just white to keep it bright and airy feeling up there.  Boring, I know.  🙂

We already have a couple of pieces of furniture that we’ve found on Craigslist  that we will be painting/redesigning a bit to fit our needs and space. Time to try out some of those paint samples that I shared yesterday.

I’m so excited.  We have a ton of work ahead of us still but we have high hopes of finishing it (for the most part) in the next month or so.

So what do have you been up to?  Barn lights, love them or hate them?  Green, yellow or galvanized finish…or maybe white?  Share.

Thanks for reading.