A Piece Of Americana: Upcycled Windsor Back Chair

Since I began upcycling, crafting, and decoupaging, I have wanted to make an Americana art piece.  I was uncertain as to what the object would be.  I was waiting to see what life, or thrifting was going to place in my path.  Then one day, I spotted this chair in a Goodwill Store.  The chair needed a bit of TLC, and had some issues.  Most of the finish was worn off the chair, and the spindles and legs were loose.  The chair passed “the sit test” I sat on it and I didn’t end up on the floor! Nothing I thought a little love and wood glue wouldn’t fix. Despite it’s problems, I knew this chair was something special.  The chair displayed several design elements I found intriguing, and the chair style looked very “American” to me.  I will be honest, I  didn’t actually know anything about this chair, but I knew one thing- I liked it.

A woman behind me saw me looking at it ,and said “That’s a Windsor Back Chair.”  She was from New England and these chairs are popular in that area. Then she simply walked away.  She was eyeing it up, but I had a tight grip on it.  By now the chair was in my cart and rolling with me out of the store.  The chair cost $5.99, but for this I think I would have paid a little more, so it was a great deal!

Windsor Chair

When I got home, I did some research on the chair and It had several of the Windsor Chair Design elements.  I found this great website for a company that makes these chairs Gummel Chair works and they feature an interesting history of these Windsor Chairs Beginning with their origins during the reign of King George in England to the shores of New England and the Early American Colonies.  It also states it became “preferred” in some circles to paint these chairs to bring out their unique design qualities.   This made me feel better about painting the chair, and since I did not have the space to keep the chair out year round, I thought it would be a nice to showcase the chair during the patriotic holidays.  Having a reproduction in need of some work seemed exciting and the “perfect” Americana project candidate,  It also happened to come along at the perfect time.  The July 4th holiday was quickly approaching, and I had to submit an original project for the new Green Crafting Book The Green Crafts Lifestyle .

Materials Used:

Red, White and Blue Acrylic paint

Decal, Print, Patriotic decorations for decoupage

Foam Brush to apply Mod Podge

Paint Brushes of various sizes


I cleaned the chair before I got started with a damp cloth.

I primed the chair with two coats of a white latex primer.

Chair Materials

I applied the Mod Podge with a foam brush to the seat surface generously.  I took the patriotic image I was using and carefully glued the image to the seat.  I used my hand to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles.  If you have one available, you can also use the rubber Mod Podge, or roller tool to do this as well. Once dry, I applied a layer of Mod Podge with a foam brush over the image to seal it.  Now it was time to paint the chair.  I used a red white and blue color scheme and continued the pattern featured on the patriotic image for the chair seat.  Once the visible parts of the chair were dry, I flipped the chair over and painted underneath.  I then cut out some small white stars I wanted to decoupage to the top of the chair to add some additional flare.  I applied Mod Podge to the top of the chair with a smaller paint brush and applied the stars to the chair.

Once the chair was dry, I carefully inspected the chair for any painted areas that needed touching up, and added additional paint needed to these areas.  I allowed the chair to dry thoroughly overnight in front of a stand up fan. The next day,  I applied 2 coats of Mod Podge over the entire piece using the foam brush for larger surfaces, and a smaller paint brush on the smaller areas and chair legs.

An Upcycled Windsor Chair draped in Americana Decoupage:

Patriotic Windsor Style Chair:

Before and After:

Patriotic decopage Painted chair before and after


“On The Upcycle” Featured In A New Book~”The Green Crafts Lifestyle”

I am excited to announce the arrival today of the new Amazon book for Kindle by the very talented Mahe Zehra Husain known by her fans as MZ.  She has an amazing green crafting company and website called Altered Upcycling.  Make sure and check it out!   “The Green Crafts Lifestyle”  is now available for download on Amazon for only $4.99!  I have been privileged enough to take a peek inside and it has some amazing green crafts, and features upcycling artists from around the world.  It also features artist bios and my very first step by step photo tutorial.  You can buy it here: 

Altered Upcycle Available on Amazon

Tomorrow’s blog will feature my “Secret Americana Project” An Upcycled, American classic, Windsor back chair.  A project that is debuted in the book. I was unable to share it with my readers…Until now!

When I started this blog back in April, I couldn’t have imagined having a oppurtunity such as this!  I am featured with some of the most talented and amazing artists, and quite frankly, I am not sure that I am even close to being in their league!  I feel very honored and grateful.

I would like to send out a special Thank You to Katherine from Pillows A-La Mode who encouraged me to “throw my hat into the ring” with this project. Make sure and visit her craft blog.  She is an amazing talent! It is an exciting first for me, just a simple working mom from NJ who loves to create!  Thanks also to all my readers for your support,  It means more than you know!

Checking In While Checking Out: Upcycled Photo Refrigerator Magnets

As I was on-line at the thrift store waiting to check out, I noticed they had a bunch of refrigerator magnets behind the counter. I began to drift off in thought and Then it hit me! I imagined these would make great DIY photo magnets and they were only .59 cents each! I decided to buy two of them for this project.


I printed wallet sized photos on my printer I wanted to use. I then traced the magnet onto the back of the photos.  I cut them out with scissors, and set aside.  I applied the Mod Podge to the surface of the magnet, and carefully adhered the photo to the surface.  Once dry I applied the Mod Podge over top and allowed to dry in front of the fan.

This was a great Monday night project, simple and easy and there is no better way to upcycle old magnets then using family photos!


Weekend Warriors: A Thrifting Revolution.

This past Saturday, My sister and I took a trip with the little one to Red Bank Battlefield in National Park NJ.  An important battle was fought here during the Revolutionary war, and the area is now part of the Gloucester County, NJ Park System.  My daughter loved the playground and refused to get off the swing (insert 2 year-old temper tantrum here) Despite this, it was a beautiful day to get out and enjoy nature, after weeks of torrential rain and heat waves!



We also got to visit an awesome thrift store called Glassboro Thrift Village.  To say they had everything would be a understatment! I especially liked the “free” items they had out front.  They happened to have a chair marked free and I was very excited to see it! I have been for sometime, searching for a spare chair seat.  I have a great chair I have been wanting to restore with a broken seat.  I scooped up this “free chair” and was amazed at all the great items they had inside.  This would be a great place to get furniture for college students or people just starting out.  I picked up a few future crafting items and a magna doodle for my daughter for a dollar.  They also support local charities with a portion of their sales. I want to go back here sometime in the future to take a more thorough look around.  Can’t wait to get started on a few new projects this week!


Upcycled Tile Coasters Made With Mod Podge

The word has gotten out: I am a certified decoupage addict! The nice thing about this being public is people have brought me things out of the goodness of their heart for me to use for decoupage: scrapbook paper, fabric you name it!   I always appreciate when someone takes the time to pass something along they can’t use to someone else, as is the case with these really neat bird paper cut outs a friend at work passed along to me.

Avian paper cut outs


There were three just like this, and I couldn’t wait to use them.  They were very pretty, but very delicate and I was nervous handling them outside their plastic sleeves.

I had some left over tiles from my DIY Kitchen Backsplash, and thought they would make great coasters.  I also had some packing foam material, that came with a package that would work great when attached to the bottom of the coasters.



I placed the tiles on the foam and cut the foam to fit the bottom on the tile,  I applied Mod Podge to the bottom of the tile and adhered the foam to prevent scraping and skidding while using the coasters.  You can also use felt if you have it handy.  I applied the Mod Podge to the top of the tile.  I used outdoor Mod Podge, so it would be tougher if exposed to moisture from a sweaty drink. This is where things started to go terribly wrong.  The cut outs were very delicate and I had to be extra careful when placing on the tile.  I tried to apply the Mod Podge  carefully with a soft brush.  Despite this, the cut out’s ink ran and smudged the entire first tile, which could not be saved. Crafting is like life, it is unpredictable at times and does not always go according to plan.

And then there were two…

Now, I was really nervous! Looking back, It would have been better to use a spray adhesive instead, which Mod Podge makes.  I didn’t have this handy, so I tried very gently, and quickly to apply the Mod Podge.  Despite a slight change in the color, it didn’t smear this time and neither did tile # 3.  Phew!!  Once it was dry, I applied another coat, and no smeared color this time!  I was so glad these turned out and I was able to salvage this project.  I would have been disappointed if I didn’t get to upcycle these tiles!

upcycled tile coasters



Upcycled Spaghetti Jar Decorative Lamp

I was upstairs in the attic last night searching for a lost box of crafting materials, when I came across a box of light bases that were at one time,  miniature decorative table lamps. The glassware that was originally attached to them had broken.  I had forgotten I had kept these items.  I am sure at the time, I was thinking I may be able to utilize them in the future in some way. and then I thought to myself, the future is now!

One in particular caught my eye.  It was a black, metal, pedestal light base that utilized a night-light bulb. My initial idea was to utilize a glass jar to replace the broken glass. but several different glass items could be modified to use for this project. Ball jars, glass vases from the dollar store etc.  I just happened to have an old Spaghetti sauce jar in the recycle bin.  I happily removed it cleaning it with hot soapy water.  I placed it in a bucket of hot water to remove the jar label.

Broken Lamp and Glass Jar


Mod Podge

Light Base


Foam Craft Brush, Scissors

fine tipped marker

I had some great fabric left over from Ugly Accent Table Makeover.  If you are looking for something more colorful you can try holding  different fabrics up to the light.  That way, you can tell what the finished lamp will look like when the light illuminates it.  I took the fabric, and wrapped it around the glass jar so I knew how much fabric I would need.  I measured and cut and placed aside.  I wanted to also add fabric to the “bottom” of the jar, which would be the “top” of the lamp. I traced the jar onto the back of the fabric and carefully cut it out with scissors.  I cut inside the tracing to factor in the edges of the glass, so the fabric would not hang over.    I then applied  Mod Podge with a foam craft brush to the glass.  I applied and smoothed out the fabric, adhering it to the glass.  I applied another coat of Mod Podge over the top of the fabric.  In this case I applied a total of two coats allowing to dry throughly in between.  I couldn’t be more happy with the result!  A true upcycle and a great decorative lamp for a fraction of the cost!

Upcycled Spaghetti Jar Decorative Lamp

Spaghetti Jar Lamp Made with fabric and Mod Podge

It’s a Good Night To Be A Doll : Upcycled Wooden Doll Bed

I saw this nice little wooden doll bed propped up against a thrift store wall, and found myself compulsively reaching out, and placing it in my cart.  It was priced at only $2.99, and I am a total sucker when it comes to children and doll furniture.  It looked like it was lovingly hand crafted and bore the battle scars of previous use.  It had charm, and for these reasons I couldn’t resist it.


I decided to go with scrapbook paper for the decoupage.  I picked these sheets up at Joann Fabric for a mere $.59 cents each.  The biggest challenge was cutting out the paper to fit around the tiny spindles.  I probably could have done this more cleanly in retrospect.  I decided to square them off and I filled in any bare spots with brown paint. Once the paper was trimmed to fit, I used Mod Podge to slowly glue the paper to the wood smoothing out any air bubbles in the process.  I allowed to dry and then applied another coat of Mod Podge over top of the paper and waited until the area was dry to begin painting.  I decided to go with the bright pink and brown color scheme.  I used two coats of pink and brown acrylic paint to paint the entire piece.  Once the paint was completely dry, I applied another coat of Mod Podge over the entire piece to seal it.  My plan is to add a doll pillow and an old receiving blanket for doll bedding. I would like to make one myself, but sewing is not one of my crafting strong points.



Now, my a little girl’s dolls have a stylish place to rest when in the world of my daughter’s imagination.


Wooden Doll Bed

Mod Podge

Three sheets of scrapbook paper

Foam Craft Brush (to apply Mod Podge)

Pen/Scissors/paint brushes

Acrylic Bright Pink and dark brown paint

Inexpensive Storage Ideas: Repurposed Wooden Boxes

I am always on a mission to organize our family home, but with an active 2 year-old it is usually easier said then done.  When I come across wooden boxes, and any items I can upcycle into storage containers,  I jump at the chance to buy them.  Thrift Stores, or even items you already have in your home can be  altered to fit any style and repurposed into inexpensive storage containers.  Today, I chose to upcycle an ex Melissa and Doug Toy Box.  I believe at one time it housed an elaborate wooden puzzle, and somehow ended up a simple, empty,  wooden box on a thrift store shelf.  Our biggest storage issues at the moment are kids toys and books.  I decided to repurpose this into a kid’s toy storage/book box.  I had purchased this lettered scrapbook paper for a previous project, but decided not to use it. It was a perfect fit for this project.



Scrapbook paper


Mod Podge


Foam craft brush

Pink Acrylic paint/Brush

pen or pencil

I traced the bottom of the box onto the back of the scrapbook paper cutting it out with scissors.  I applied Mod Podge with a foam brush and glued the scrapbook paper to the wood. while it dried, I painted the remainder of the box pink. Once the piece is completely dry,  A final coat of Mod Podge is all that is needed to seal the entire piece


Colorful and Bright storage options at a fraction of the cost!

Expect The Unexpected: A Couple Of Weeks In The Life Of A Thrifter.

When thrifting, part of the excitement is, you never know what you are going to find. Sometimes you walk out a winner ,and other times the goat for having wasted precious time without reason. Lately, I  have been unable to come up with many upcycle project items. I have found some great pieces and items that were better left in their original state, so I am not exactly complaining!  Of course, Thrift stores are also never short on “interesting folk” for example who would have thought I would have struck up a conversation with the famous Woodbury Dancing Man ? Never a dull moment.  I can hardly call that a wasted trip!

I thought today, I would take a moment to share with you some interesting items I have picked up over the last couple of weeks.

Bert's Blockbusters

Who didn’t grow up and love Sesame Street? I jumped at the chance to buy this record from 1974 featuring the voices of the late great Jim Henson and the talented Frank Oz.  I am a small collector of records and still love listening to them on my vintage stereo. For me this was a must buy item~ The price for this lovely item you ask?  Just .99 cents!


I came across this vintage wooden nut tray and didn’t think much of it at first until I took a 2nd look and was lured in by price a mere .99 cents! I could tell this tray was quality made and it was stamped on the bottom Weavewood Inc. Minneapolis.  After some research turns out trays like these are going for $ 15-$20 each on Etsy.

vintage pyrex glassware

Vintage Pyrex items are a rare find at best in my area, but I jumped at the chance to pick up this 1 1/2 court Pyrex bakeware item for $2.99 at Goodwill.  Of course, I was disappointed it did not have a lid, but the nostalgic gal in me couldn’t resist buying it anyway!  Who’s family did not have at least one piece of Classic Pyrex Glassware growing up?

VHS Disney Movie Collection

I am not ashamed to admit that we still have a VHS Tape player in our daughters playroom. While looking through Goodwill’s .99 cent video collection I noticed that they had most of all the classic Disney movies many of which I enjoyed myself as a much younger person. I couldn’t resist them at such a deeply discounted price, and jumped at the chance at building our daughter’s Disney movie collection. (Of course if you look closely I also couldn’t resist the classic Muppet Move in between Pinocchio and the Aristocats.) An amazing bargain! I got all of them for the price of one DVD!

Stay THRIFTY my Friends…..and happy hunting!

Old Timey Decoupage Lemonade Dispenser

We have been in the middle of an extreme heat wave for the past week. temperatures have reached 100 degrees and over.  Most people search for ways to beat the heat, and this made me think about a cold beverage I love : Lemonade. There is also nothing sweeter then a child’s lemonade stand. Someday, I hope to help my daughter build and run a stand when she is old enough.

I had a glass beverage dispenser that was in great shape, but was a little plain.  I have seen these in thrift stores for only a few dollars.


I searched the internet for vintage lemonade images.  When I found the images I wanted to use, I printed them out on my color printer.  I also found some great lemon slice clip art to decoupage on the back of the dispenser.


I cut out the images, and I decided to use Outdoor Mod Podge for this project.  Since this is a beverage dispenser, I wanted to use Mod Podge that was more water proof on the outside for when the dispenser needs rinsing or when condensation occurs.  I used a brush to apply the Mod Podge and applied the images to the outside of the glass.  I applied the lemon slices to the glass double-sided so the image would appear on the inside of the glass.  Once dry, I applied 2 coats over the images to seal them to the glass.  Now I have a great piece with a more vintage feel.