Dresser Redesign

Get ready you are going to get a story AND a tutorial! (I know, I know – two for the price of one!)

Two weeks I finally attempted and completed my DIY dream (or plan rather) of redoing a dresser! I know, I know – not that big of a deal but for me it is HUGE! Growing up (and still if I am being honest) I really disliked the look of painted wood. I can remember hanging out at my sorority house in college and grimacing over the white painted trim thinking to myself “I really don’t care for (re)painted wood…” I honestly cannot tell you why but for the longest time using paint (and not stain) over already stained wood just pained me in great detail, I just could not do it. And while I have slowly moved forward with the times and realizing that there is a lot of merit and artistic quality that can come from painting wood I can still tell you there are certain pieces of furniture that I have no intention of ever painting, maybe staining but not painting. I guess there is something almost final to me about painting furniture/wood. (I know it is silly, because I have completed my research I know a lot about painting and staining furniture/wood.)

Years ago I made up my mind that I really never wanted a changing table for our child’s room.  For me personally, while it served it’s purpose while the child was little, I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with it afterward when the child was older.  I made up my mind that I wanted a dresser.  A dresser is something most people use to hold clothes or make into a buffet.  In my pragmatic mind this was the best of all worlds.  A dresser as a dresser/changing table. While we were going through the process of what we now know as infertility I could never bring myself to go and by a dresser.  They were so expensive and it was so hard to see “the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak” – so I never bought one. A few weeks ago it became quite apparent to me that this whole process and journey of adoption was going to happen.  That at some point in the future we would have a child.  I was determined at that point to find a dresser!  I decided I didn’t want something new, something small or something cheap.  So we set out to search for an older dresser already painted or one I could paint.  I searched for nearly a month only to find dressers that would work that were over $200 (and not exactly what I wanted anyway) or were not what I wanted at all. I joined facebook groups, went to Antique and Thrift Stores and nothing within my budget or what I wanted. Needless to say I was disappointed.

Then one random Saturday I happened to get on Craig’s List and there listed were two dressers each for $100.  The listing said they were wood and they looked big.  $100 was at the top of my budget but both dressers looked pretty close to what I had in my head.  I text the guy and he graciously measured the length and height of both dressers (one is going in our room).  After conferring with J I called my dad and he met us to get the dressers. (Oddly enough the dressers were located less than a mile from our house – small world.) Sideways picture of the dresser (sorry our garage had not been organized and this dresser was much too heavy to move by myself!)

photo So a few days later I got started (because while it wasn’t necessary I wanted this dresser finished before our home visit!) I decided to use a chalk paint but in all honesty I am way too cheap to pay for it so I did my own version.  Now with chalk paint there is the notion that you don’t have to use primer and while that may be true the way I ended up mixing up my chalk paint there was no way I was going to paint this without primer. Some before pictures:

photo 1

photo 2

I used zinser primer (the 3,2,1 Bullseye kind I think).  To make my chalk paint I used a tutorial by LiveLoveDiy.  The color we chose is a neutral cream color by Valspar from Lowe’s.  (And as much as it pains me it was the color Josh picked.)  Keep in mind when making your own chalk paint that you may not always get the clumps out of the paint after you mix in your plaster of paris.  In most cases the clumps won’t show up but just be prepared.  Also it is much easier to use a small roller (like ones for cabinets) and a brush to paint this on furniture. Primer! photo 3   Two coats of primer and two coats of homemade chalk paint later! photo 4   I was wanting to the distressed look and to be honest I was not confident in my skills to attempt to make something look “distressed”.  Normally you would sand and let the original wood stain show through but that was not my plan for this dresser and honestly I really didn’t want any original wood to show up so my goal was to cover it!  So distressing with paint was the answer! photo 5I tried to use milk paint and make it look “distressed” but I got frustrated so I decided to cover it.  As you can tell that really didn’t work because we didn’t want a brown dresser.  So  . . . . . . . back to the drawing board. photo 6Finally decided that I needed to try dry brushing again.  This time I got another color of latex paint (the color we are going to use on our other dresser), mixed it with glaze and added water.  I then took a ton of time to dry brush all over, each drawer and section at a time.  I am quite pleased with the look. Once the paint was dry I then began the process to use polycrylic to seal the dresser.  I chose polycrylic because the smell isn’t as strong, several blogs have used it and recommended it and the upkeep would much better in comparison to wax. 3 coats of polycrylic, carrying it across the house and you have . . . . photo 7A new dresser and eventual changing table! photo 8   Since I quickly painted the inside of the drawers I decided that they needed a liner.  I found two rolls of aqua (not quite the color of the room but adorable anyway) shelf liner on Amazon for around $10.  The price was great and 5 drawers took a roll and 1 drawer was used by the second roll (there is still a lot left on that roll). While this room is slowly being transformed into a room for a child, it still holds my desk and is therefor my “office” (though I don’t always call it that anymore).  This dresser is being used as a dresser to store various things and until our child comes that is what it is – a dresser.  Then it will be their dresser and changing table.  Either way I am loving the piece and this room gives me such peace.  So I will take it!

Coming up soon – I have more things in the works for the room (now if the heat and humidity would cooperate so I could paint!)


Well today was our homestudy.  Given to my true moments of OCD I cleaned like a crazy person and have been working for well over a week to make the house look “wonderful” in my eyes.  I steam cleaned carpets, dusted (noticed places I missed later of course), I took care of laundry, vacuumed and washed rugs (later realizing I forgot to look over the couches and the dogs managed to drag grass in), painted the kitchen (that was three months in the making) – in other words I took the opportunity to get some projects I had wanted to do accomplished.

The home visit in itself was easy.  The questions were a continuation of what we had already answered on our paperwork and this time they did not take nearly as long.  Our social worker toured our house, saw the backyard, and met the dogs.  The visit lasted maybe 2 and half to nearly 3 hours which was the time our social worker planned.

To be honest I wasn’t that nervous. (I was more anxious about sweeping the floor before she got here.)  As soon as she got here I immediately relaxed and we just chatted as if no time had past.  All the hard work (and obsession) to make the house perfect was not necessary (I/We honestly probably could have done less) because the tour probably lasted less than 10 minutes including hanging out in the backyard.  While it probably wasn’t necessary to be so detailed and insistent on being so cleaned/organized it really made me feel better.  I love it when I have the time to really deep clean and organize.  Now I can tell you at least 5 other things that need to be cleaned/fixed in the house but between the two of us we managed to tackle some “big” things (like attempting to reorganize the garage and bless my bestie for helping me paint the kitchen) I feel so much better.  I might even be able to relax before going back to work!

So where does that leave us at this point?

Well, our social worker told us that she has already started the file on our homestudy and it should be finished within a few days.  Our birthmother letter is nearly finished and will be sent in soon and I think I am nearly finished with our photo book.  (If I will just make up my mind on pictures!  LOL)

I would like to say that is our only hold up but it isn’t.  We turned in our fingerprints for our federal and state background checks at the beginning of June.  I would have thought that it would be relatively simple but apparently not.  At this point those checks are taking 10-12 weeks.  (ACK!!!!!!)  I had contacted DHS to find out the status of our paperwork and the lady called me back and left me a message.  When I heard the return time is 10-12 weeks I nearly cried.  That puts our approval at the end of August quite possibly the beginning of September.  (I was so frustrated I text a friend who is a police officer asking why on earth it would take so long and he thinks it due to the fact so many new teachers need those background checks and there are lots of conceal/carry background checks going through.I will go with reasoning at the moment.) While I knew that we would obviously have to wait to be matched I really didn’t think that this would be a hold up to be approved (and this is our last piece)!!!

I am trying to look on the bright side.  Sure it will give us a little more time to continue to save money and as my dear friend pointed out that it will give me more time to work on my office/one day baby room but I would be lying if I didn’t say I disappointed in having to wait essentially another month when we are ready to move forward in the process.

But it is what is so here we are  . . . waiting.

I wanted to to thank everyone for the prayers and kind words, it really means at lot to me!  And please feel free to share our facebook page to people you think that might be interested in our journey/experience.

Office Visit

Friday, June 27th we had the first part of our home study – our office visit.

The office visit could take as long or as short as we needed it.  Our social worker did not have any other appointments before or after us.  (That was probably a good thing too since it ended up taking 6 hours!)

I know right? 6 hours!  That seems like a long time and in some ways it was.  But it wasn’t because we were being asked crazy or intense questions it was because we were just talking that much.  Our social worker is so nice and so it was not unusual for us to talk or get sidetracked.  I think that was a good thing because it allowed us all to get to know each other in addition to the questions that were asked.

We started out answering questions together and then we each did an individual interview.

The questions themselves were not difficult.  In reality there were nearly identical to the questions we filled out on our HUGE application.

She asked questions about how we met, how long did we date, how long we have been married, what brought us to the decision to adopt, etc.  She also asked questions about our infertility, about how we saw our life with an adopted child, how we saw our relationship with the birthmother/parents, our plans for our child(ren) and their future.  She asked us about how we saw our spouse, their qualities, strengths and weaknesses.  In some ways if you think you might be asked that question before becoming parents it was probably asked.

It was interesting.  I wasn’t too nervous because I have done my research on these questions and these were already questions I had answered on our paperwork.  There were times it took me a few seconds to answer because you just aren’t asked those questions everyday.  For example she asked me to describe my husband and I was like well . . .  LOL  I have no idea why I kind of sat there but once I started listing off his qualities it didn’t take long for me talk on and on.

The other interesting thing was my husband talked A BUNCH!  Normally I am the “chatty” one but not this time!  I of course gave him a hard time about it in the car later.  In addition to us both being chatty we realized we knew each other even better than we thought.  Going over our individual interviews later on the way to a late lunch we laughed because we realized our answers to some of the questions were almost identical.  Apparently we have been around each other for awhile now!  =)

So what comes next?

Our social worker is scheduled to come next Tuesday to finish our interview and see where we live.  While our house doesn’t have to be spotless I have been on a mission (a tiring one no doubt) to get my inside projects finished.  I have reorganized the kitchen, nearly finished with the guest bathroom, my office is nearly cleaned out, the kitchen is nearly painted (except for behind the fridge) and I have a dresser project I am working on that should be finished this weekend (more on that later).  Our house won’t be spotless (because I am convinced that may never really happen with two dogs, one who sheds a bunch it seems – LOL) but it will be clean, homey and comfortable as always.  Not to mention my summer projects will be finished – so two things down for the price of one!

My summer is quickly coming to a close!  Where has the time gone?

How to eat an elephant

Haha.  As if I would really eat an elephant!  I am not really sure you can eat elephant and to be honest I really wouldn’t want to eat one anyway if you can.

While not intentionally, I didn’t blog for the last few days because it has been THAT busy and for a few days there really wasn’t much to write about – on the adoption side of things anyway.

So I guess I can recap and then we will get back to that elephant business.   =)

Nearly two weeks ago I got to Orlando with some work colleagues.  It was fun and I learned A LOT (I am still trying to determine what is going to work for this year for me – it was a lot to process).  I also learned that lack of sleep and a ton of walking will make you exhausted when you come home!  During my 4 days/nights in Orlando it was non-stop learning during our 8 to 5 days (and one went until 8:30) then we would quickly change into non-work clothes and hop on the nearest mode of transportation to take in the sights. I never realized at the time how much I was trying to do in such a short amount of time on top of trying to learn/process so many new ideas.

I was grateful to get to go and learn on this trip but I told my boss on the way home that I didn’t need to fly for awhile (turbulence was a little much for me on the way home) – I would drive if I were to go to a conference again.

Last Wednesday when I got home we celebrated my dad’s birthday (quickly because my flight was an hour and a half late).  The following morning (Thursday) I got up and went with my best friend to my university to present my first three chapters of my dissertation to my dissertation committee.

Long story short – my study was approved! I can start my study but I have TON of work to do before my actual study begins . . . . and my corrections are due within a month’s time.

That evening we left to go to Abilene (yes we are still talking about last Thursday – the same day)!  The following morning would be our office visit (more on that later)!

So that brings me back to my original statement:

Q:   How do you eat an elephant?

A:   One bite at a time.

How do you eat an elephant


I use this phrase/question because that is how I am feeling at the moment (as if I am expected eat a huge elephant for dinner and I have no clue where to start).  I sat in my home office the other night trying to figure out where to start on all of it (cleaning my office, preparing the house for my standards for our home study, my dissertation, work stuff I need to work on, etc. ) and I ended up doing nothing.  I was a little overwhelmed to be honest.  As much as I am excited about various things moving forward it all seems to be happening at once.  Not to mention, I am perfectionist so I of course want things to be a certain way. So here I am – I am trying to digest everything I learned at the conference, I am trying to figure out just where to start on fixing my dissertation (in a short amount of time) and on top of that fixing things for our home study visit up here in two weeks.

It seems like quite a bit to take in so I have kind of done very little in all departments – other than thinking or planning.  So tomorrow it begins – no time for excuses.  (We are going to eat this metaphorical elephant one bite at a time!) So first things first we start working on offices and the yard with the hopes we will make a dent by this weekend! (Either way I think making that slow but steady progress will bring me peace and make me feel good not only for our visit but the rest of the summer!)

Here’s to moving forward and having progress!

More on our office visit in my next post!  =)

Our Crazy Life

Our Crazy Life