Browsing Category: The Mother Cabinet Project

Tips for Patching and Sanding – That you probably haven’t heard before!

Hi Amigos!

I’m finally able to share with you some of my knowledge.  After literally spending days of my life sanding The Mother, at least I’m A. Ready to prime the heck outta ‘er, B. Happy to have dust out of my hair, house and nostrils and, C. Can really say that I’ve earned my big girl sanding pants!

Don’t know what The Mother is?  Please read up here, so we can all jump for joy together on my super-duper, long overdue progress!!

With me?

Now let’s talk Sanding….

The hub got this when I had me back turned
The hub got this when I had me back turned

Tip #1 – Make sure that your sander has the right pad

Maxi pad?  No, not quite.  Although, you could use that as an analogy… get the wrong pad and you could have quite a disaster on your hands… er pants…er tmi, sorry.  I’m talking Backing Pad.  I have a Bosch sander and if you do too, you are in luck.  You can chat with them on-line about your product (this goes for any of their tools) and they will give you the product codes that you will need.  (So useful when you’re in a bind!)  In my case, I needed a backing pad for flat sanding or a “hard pad”.  A soft or extra soft pad would be used if you are doing contour sanding, i.e. edges, rounded corners.  Different pads run about $10 bucks each and take about 30 seconds to change out.  Wondering what the pad looks like on your sander?  Well, it’s the black area that you put your sand paper on.  You will also need to change the pad once the paper doesn’t stick anymore.  Who knew, huh?!


Tip #2 – Before filling any holes, run your hands along all wood seams and apply force.

Did anything move?  Wiggle jiggle?  If your seams/joints are not tightly glued, screwed or nailed together you will have issues later.  What do you think your powerful sander will do to those patched seams?  It will find the weakness and chip out the filler.  No bueno, friends.  You will cry after you spend hours diligently filling all those cracks – Don’t let this be you.  Apply wood glue to seams, and reinforce any areas with screws, where possible, BEFORE you sand.

*After you force glue into the seams make sure that you wipe the residue with a damp cloth.  You don’t need extra work sanding!

Tip #3 – Use caulk to fill larger gaps before filling them with wood filler

Under normal circumstances you would not do this, but if you’re knee deep in a project like this where you are repurposing pieces and trying to make it all fit together, then yes, you’ll have some gaps to deal with.  Pick a latex formulation that’s easy to clean, cut the tip straight (rather than at an angle) and fill those larger gaps!  Wipe up any mess with a damp cloth or sponge.  So much faster and more durable than just using filler!!  While you’re at it, patch up any moulding that needs fixin’ too!

Tip #4 – Expect to fill holes 2 to 3 times

I know, I know… that’s a lot of work and I hate to be the bearer of bad news.  But it’s just a plain ole fact of wood filler.  It contracts when it dries, often cracks and usually doesn’t lay flat on the first application, even on the smallest of holes.  Prepare yourself, you’ve been warned.

What I started with…see the wood piece added on the left side?
2nd application of filler
2nd application of filler
Finally smooth!
Finally smooth!

Tip #5 – Yes, you can use wood filler like an artist.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not get this moulding on the front to match when I installed it.

See how the curves are all mismatched?
Yup, this is the kinda thing I had to deal with.
Yup, this is the kinda thing I had to deal with.
After the Dremel and the 1st application of filler
After the Dremel and the 1st application of filler

Now you can hardly tell!  Using the sanding attachment on my Dremel to file down raised areas and then building up dips using wood filler with my finger, you’d have to really look closely to see the seam.  I used an ultra fine sanding sponge for this area since I needed something to go in the grooves – worked great!

Got some dust particles there, but otherwise, smooth as eggs!
Got some dust particles there, but otherwise, smooth as eggs!

Tip #6 – Your eyes can deceive you.

If looks smooth, well maybe it is and maybe it’s not.  There is only one way to really tell.  You MUST run your hands over the wood and filled areas to be sure.  Please don’t get all girlie here and not want to get your hands dirty.  They’re already dirty.  You’re already a freaking mess of dust!  Just listen to muah, and don’t let those rose colored glasses seduce you.

Now I know I don’t have to remind you to wear a mask and protective eye gear, right?  You’re too good for those types of suggestions!  And of course you know that you will end up going through different types of sand paper – starting with a high grit, like 80, then using 120, and finishing up with either a 220 or going one more round with 320.  And of course you know, that you will require 2, possibly 3, different sanders; one for the large expanses of flat areas, one for the corners and details and if you’re lucky, like me, a Dremel might come in handy too.  I’m preaching to the choir?!  Amen, then!

Don’t get discouraged!  Keep with it – ’cause once you start it’s a race to finish.  I was dying over the film of dust covering the house… even though I covered stuff with plastic and vacuumed between sessions, it really gets everywhere.

I can’t wait to show you a finished photo!  It gives me mojo!!

Happy Creating, as always!  Jessica

One Room Challenge – Week 5

Hello all my fellow design freaks out there!


Let’s see, how to sum up week 5 in a few words??  Hmm… Sickness, comes to mind.  As does, Halloween costumes.  Needless to say with the whole family feeling terrible (can I double bold and highlight terrible – it sucked, big time) and with feral trick-or-treaters breathing down my neck, I didn’t get as much done as I was hoping for.


Aren’t minions supposed to be helpers?  I don’t think mine got the message!  They’re more like monkey-minions, if you ask me!!

But hey, hey, hey check out The Mother!  She’s all there, baby!  Right up to the ceiling!!


Oh la, la that ladder is the piece de resistance!  It used to be in a book store, which I think is the coolest!


And you can see that we had to carefully remove the existing crown moulding to move it forward about 16 inches.  For that little job, I used my Dremel with the multitool, #561.  Just in case you’re looking to do something similar!  Lucky me, that the moulding came out in one piece!!  PHEW!

Now I’ve relegated myself to patching and then sanding.  See what I’m dealing with?


Because I was taking apart pieces that were already put together, I have to fix the areas that the crazy, strong, super glue ripped off.


Once she’s all nice and painted, you won’t see any of this gnarliness.

Around Monday, when I was finally able to successfully move my legs, I got 3 chairs painted and then finished up 3 more yesterday.  Of course, they’re drying in my garage so although I don’t want to tease… well, I guess in this case, I must!  I will just say that the color is muy perfecto!  Only took like, forever!

So, I’m going to go ALL IN for the grand finale!

Will everything be done?  Only time will tell!!

Wish me luck and please check out the other amazing bloggers also linking in to the challenge!  And thank you again to Linda for letting me crash your party!

Happy Halloween to you all!!

And Happy Creating!  Jessica

One Room Challenge – Week 3

Howdy All!

Once again this week flew by so darn fast… and I got that butterfly thing in my tum when I wrote “week 3.”  Uh… say what?!  Does that mean I should be halfway done?!?!

Yes, progress is being made (deep breath) and I am happy about that.  But, BUT!  I just want everything done in superhero speed!  (Can you tell I have 3 little boys around me at all times?!)  Or maybe if I could just stop time like Evie, then I could go DIY crazy yo!


Enough with the daydreaming about powers (again) I know you are just dying to see The Mother.  She’s starting to really come together!  Literally.


Check out that jewelry!


See how we had to notch that rod into the top piece of the wood?


That was the genius work by muah and the FIL (father-in-law).  What’s the hardware for?, you ask.

Wait.  I have to stop for a moment.  Do you ever feel like there is some fairy decorating godmother watching over you?  Scoff all you want, but I had one of those moments.  It’s very real I tell you.

I wanted a library ladder.  This you know from the inspiration photos I shared on Week One.  Of course I wanted a vintage, super cool one for a steal.  I checked out Craigslist and would you believe that there was a dude selling one?!?!  I know!  Thank you fairy godmother!


This is the photo that sold me.  The ladder is in great shape and used to be in an old Barnes and Noble.  ‘Cummon, how sweet is that?  And, it was my first Craigslist purchase so now I can officially be sworn into the Craigslist community.

So, yes the ladder will look so smart perched on top of The Mother.

I’m still wondering how the boys will react to it…hmmmm…

Other than that a few decisions were made this week.  Hardware has been ordered for the door fronts –  I purchased these from Look In the Attic for $12.99 each.  They are (or will be) 3 inches of pure perfection.  Did your mind just go to the dirty place?  Mine too!



Fabric for the window pelmet, I found at the garment district for $20 a yard but it can also be ordered on-line.  It’s Waverly’s Peaceful Temple.


And while I was out there, I picked out some fabric for the chair cushions.  Since my last fabric choice was destroyed by little, climbing feet I knew I wanted vinyl.  Dur-a-ble!  But when I got it home it was kinda blah… embroidery perhaps?  This is the color and I’m still working out the rest –


Oh yeah, and the sconces!  I am pretty set on the Restoration Hardware torpedoes.  The comment by Lisa hit me – it’s about the shape and the color.  Uh, ya.  And those have the right shape.  The other options were a little too wide for what I had in me mind.  With that said, I’m hoping to make the trek tomorrow to see them live and make the final call.

Wish me luck!

Lots to do, so little time!

Happy Creating!  Jessica

Oh, and thank you everyone for your input!

One Room Challenge – Week 2

Hello Everyone!

Did this week just fly by for you too?  Were you able to make some headway on any of your projects?  I have to say that after a day of deer-in-headlights, I threw myself over the dining room make-over cliff.  Panic, anxiety, excitement… all strong motivators to be sure!  And if you have time later, see what the other bloggers have got going on – Plenty!!  Go here.


So, let’s just get this party started right. Cue C&C Music Factory (y’all better know who that is).

The Mother has officially moved in.  Nothing will ever be the same.



See all the wonderful vents I’ve had to contend with?  The bottom register will be the perfect spot for a desk area and the air vent above will be virtually hidden once the shelves go up to the ceiling.  Yay-yo!

And just for fun, some make-it-work highlights…’Cause when you buy a pile of who-knows-what, you’ve got to seriously unearth those puzzle skills!IMG_0977 IMG_0993

This bad girl’s getting sawed in pieces to fit in the center… See?


Try to avert your attention from the wall color as I want to talk about that later.  Yes, I did put a coat of Dunn Edwards Red Ink in high gloss… am I done with the color?  Not too sure on ‘er there.

But isn’t design (and almost anything for that matter) all about decision making.  There are A LOT of options out there, and it can get soooo overwhelming to pull the trigger.  Your mind is swirling with a zillion fabric swatches, magazine photos, trends, opinions and (damn it) that little voice inside, all smug, and British for some reason, asking you, “Are you sure?

When you and I see a room in a strangers house all those nitty gritty choices have already been made.  It looks so easy.  Well, homies, it ain’t.  It just ain’t.

So, wanna help me with what I’ve got percolating?

Let’s talk articulating sconces.  This is kinda what I’m going for and I want to place them so they light The Mother up and show off all her goodies.


And here are the choices… all good I think.  But which one?!?!  (Major finger biting!)

Ebay – Vintage
Restoration Hardware
Etsy – Handmade

Which of these beautiful lights says?… I’m playful, but sophisticated.

I’d love to hear your feedback!  Share, Share!

What’s on the agenda for next week, you ask.  More work on The Mother (obvs), chair make-overs (Going Blue!!) and maybe the paint color’s finally done.  Dare I ask for so much?!

Thank you so much for staying with me!  We’re kinda in this together now, aren’t we?!?

Happy Creating!

One Room Challenge – Week 1

Hi Friends!

I’m so excited that the One Room Challenge (ORC) has been opened up!

It’s like Festivus for the Rest of Us!  

Interested in linking up?  Just visit Calling It Home and follow the instructions.  We get 6 weeks to transform a space, any space and anyone’s space – doesn’t have to be yours.  Although given the tight 6 week timeframe, it’s probably easier to live in it.

After much (MUCH!) deliberating, I’ve decided to work over the dining room.  Gotta tell you, that was difficult to put out there – there is a holy grail lot of work to be done and I’m more than a little nervous that I can bust it out.

Use the Pressure, Be the Pressure – My new mantra, by the way.

So, here’s the room when we moved in 7 years ago and sadly not too much has changed.


Poor little dumping ground for old, improperly sized furniture.  That table came with me from two houses ago, the “bachelorette pad,” the screen and cabinet, though beautiful, just don’t go and the rug, too traditional for my taste.

I knew I wanted red, red, red!  So I had grasscloth installed on the bottom with a chair rail on the top.  Then, I tried my best to match the red wallpaper with a flat paint on the top.  Such a no-no.  The rail cuts off the room and the flat paint is so blah.  It needs to go high gloss, BABY!

Here’s where I’m going…

OB-Dining Room Inspiration

And some Inspiration Photos, of course…

tr red rooms red and blue room Suzy-q-better-decorating-bible-blog-Asian-feng-shui-china-red-living-room-intense-ideas-valentines-day-blue-dragon-zebra-carpet-rug-hide-powerful-wallpaper-accent-one 09- Emily A Clark Custom Office Bookcase

Yes, I realize they’re not all pictures of dining rooms, but that’s cool, man.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.  You’re creating something new, so there’s not going to be one picture that tells the whole story.  Si?

Now for the mighty to-do list.  Me fave!

1.  Gloss up the Red

2.  Install The Mother (click to catch up) on the funky blank wall with the zillion vents

3.  Paint The Mother the perfect color -tbd

4.  Switch out the dining table with Grandma’s heirloom piece and mix up the seating.  A settee would be amaze balls.

5.  Chandelier.  Hello?!?!!

6.  Brass Sconces for The Mother

7.  Window treatment; pagoda inspired, perhaps.

8.  New rug or maybe no rug or maybe multiple rugs… hmmmm

9.  And last, but not least, organize The Mother with all my fun Chinese porcelain, get some new plants, table cloth, art… you know finishing touches =)

Can I do it???  I will remain doggedly positive until Week 5!!  Stay tuned!

And as always, Happy Creating!