Weathered School Desk Chair

Weathered School Desk Chair - laughingabi.com

Weathered School Desk Chair - laughingabi.com

Welcome to Furniture Refresh project #2. (Check out my last post if you need a reminder what the Furniture Refresh group is all about.)

This month’s theme is “weathered” and I’m gonna be honest, it’s just not my thing. I’m more of a modern, clean edges kind of gal and that’s usually the style that inspires me when I’m working on a piece.

I was racking my brain trying to think of something to share and remembered a client/shop owner recently asked me to try the Old Fashioned Milk Paint she carries in her store. She provided an old wooden chair and a bag of yellow paint. Her only request was that I create a weathered or distressed finish. Perfect, right? I wish every problem was so easily solved.

Here’s the chair before. It was in good shape but she wanted it to be more bright and playful.

Weathered School Desk Chair - laughingabi.com

The first step with any furniture I work on is to clean, clean, clean it. I use a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. I apply it with a spray bottle and then “scrub” the piece with a green Scotch-Brite Pad. (A trick from the folks over at General Finishes.) Next comes a light sanding – nothing crazy, just enough to rough up the surface for paint.

With my prep work done I mixed up a small batch of paint and got to work. The first coat was so scary! I had never used powdered milk paint before and it seemed so thin and runny and . . . . non-paint-like. But I pushed on and after a few coats it all came together.

Finally, it was time for the fun part: Sanding!

For me the key to distressing furniture is to sand in the places that would naturally age or wear over time. For example, the top of the chair where hands grab over and over again to pull it away from a desk.

Weathered School Desk Chair - laughingabi.com

Or along the edges and corners where book bags might brush against it day after day.

Weathered School Desk Chair - laughingabi.com

I should mention too that the Old Fashioned Milk Paint I used is designed to chip and peel so it did a lot of the work for me.

Weathered School Desk Chair - laughingabi.com

Last, and most important when using a weathered finish, is to seal the project with a clear top coat. Otherwise the paint will continue to chip and peel. There are lots of options out there but my client asked me to use the Safecoat AcriGlaze she carries in her store. I put on three coats and called it DONE.

Weathered School Desk Chair - laughingabi.com

If you’re a fan of weathered finishes make sure to visit these other “Refreshers” for more ideas and inspiration. Enjoy!


SHARE THIS POST

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

(QUICK NOTE: This furniture redo is based on the theme “Inspired By”. Make sure to read my exciting news at the end of the post for more info and more furniture ideas.)

I work as a “creative consultant” for my salon/spa. It sounds fancy – because I totally made up the title for myself – but really just means I get to make cool stuff for their customers and for the salon space. (These hand-painted mugs are a project I’ve done for them.)

Several months ago they asked me to reupholster this chair from their lobby.

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

I don’t know anything about upholstery so of course I said, “yes, I can do that.”

I’m not gonna lie, that chair sat in my basement for a long, long time. I had no idea what to do with it. Every time I googled “how to upholster a parsons chair” I got confused. Every time I went to the fabric store I came home empty-handed.

Then the salon went through an amazing expansion. I could go on and on about it but all that really matters for this story is the slat wall in the new spa lobby. Guys, check this out.

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

Gorgeous, right?  Can you believe one of the owners created it using upcycled fence pieces from her back yard? I can’t get over how much color and texture it adds.

Needless to say, I was inspired. I stormed the fabric store like Kanye during a Taylor Swift acceptance speech and came home with the most perfect material in the exact same color palette. Success! Now on to the upholstery job.

NOTE: This is NOT a tutorial. It’s more of a story about how a first-timer tackled an upholstery project with no clue what she was doing. Also, I should let you know that I went into this with basic sewing skills. I’ve made pillows and curtains and can follow a simple pattern but that’s the extent of it. Enough chatter already. Let’s do this.

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

TIP #1: Take tons and tons of photos BEFORE YOU START AND EVERY SINGLE STEP ALONG THE WAY. I cannot emphasize this enough. You’re getting ready to completely disassemble this piece of furniture and without photos you’ll have no idea how to put it back together. The pics don’t have to make sense to anyone else but you. Just take a lot. Then take more.

With my camera in hand I started “un-upholstering”. Staple by staple I removed the old pleather cover. Then, with it off the chair but still in one piece, I got out my Sharpie and marked things up.

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

TIP #2: Use a Sharpie to mark the old fabric you remove from the chair. I made notes about direction. I scribbled reminders about which side of the seat it came from. I drew arrows that would help me remember where seams connected. I marked anything that I thought might be helpful down the road when I was trying to put the puzzle back together. Again, the notes don’t need to make sense to anyone but you.

Next I “unstitched” all the seams with my seam ripper and voila! — I had the perfect pattern pieces to create my new chair cover. Now it was just a matter of basic cutting, pinning, and sewing like I would with any store-bought pattern.

TIP #3: Consider using scrap fabric (or an inexpensive flat sheet from Wal-Mart in my case) to sew a “test cover” before you start cutting your expensive upholstery fabric. This idea has its advantages and disadvantages. It did help me avoid some costly mistakes but, on the downside, the sheet was so cheap and flimsy that it was frustrating to work with.

(If you follow me on Facebook you already know there was a mishap involving a certain cat and this project. #eightlivesleft)

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

TIP #4: When cutting, add several extra inches of fabric on the edges that will be stapled to the chair frame. This will ensure you have plenty of room for pulling and stapling at the end of the project.

Oddly enough while this stage is where the pieces started coming together and the magic started to happen, there’s really not much to say about it. It was a lot of pin, sew, swear, repeat. Oh, and a lot of referencing the photos I took. They were invaluable when it came to figuring out how the back and seat pieces fit together.

One other thing I want to point out. Those tight curves at the top of the chair back were a beast! Thankfully a little google research revealed that cutting small slits along the curve helps the fabric lay flat and run through your machine without gaps or puckers.

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

Here are a couple of links that explain it much better than I can. They offer several solutions but for me a few simple slits or notches was enough to get the job done.

http://sweetbriarsisters.com/blog/sew-opposing-curves/
http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/02/sewing-curved-seams/

So with the sewing done it was finally time to put the new cover on and staple it in place. This was by far the easiest part of the whole project. I didn’t follow any specific rules or instructions – just pulled things taunt, made sure everything was smooth and stapled my heart out.

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

Spa Inspired Upholstered Parsons Chair | laughing abi

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! It was a challenge but definitely worth it. If you’re thinking about trying something like this don’t be intimidated like I was and let it sit in your basement for months. It’s really just about taking something apart and then putting it back together in reverse order.

Remember the news I mentioned waaaay back at the beginning of this post? Here it is – I’ve been invited to join a new group called Furniture Refresh.

furniture refresh logo 2

Every month we’ll each be sharing a “refreshed” piece of furniture based on a changing theme. All of the projects will be shared across our blogs so it’s the perfect opportunity for you furniture lovers to find some great new ideas. This month’s theme is “Inspired By”. Enjoy!


Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons

Hello friends. Before I dive into this Mid-Century love fest I want to chat briefly about my posting schedule. I decided to tackle some new projects this year and they’re taking longer than I expected (you’ll see one example in this post). As a result the blogging side of things has slowed down. A lot. Hopefully it will pick up again as I learn more and can work faster. Until then, I’m still sharing, just less often.

Now that that’s out of the way, get a load of this.

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

I. Can’t. Even.

The Mid-Century Modern lover in me wants to whisper inappropriate things to it over cocktails in a dark, smoky bar.

Sure, it’s got a broken leg – a new one has been ordered and will be here soon – but it’s still so damn sexy I just couldn’t wait any longer to share.

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

So for now we’ll do some cropping to hide the “stump” and show off the gorgeous legs it does have.

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

You might also notice there’s no fancy staging or styling – the paint job on the wall isn’t even done. That’s because this room is (eternally) under construction. This dresser and another one I plan to share soon are the only finished things in the space. Gotta start somewhere.

THE STORY

You can probably guess from the title of this post that the refinishing process did not go smoothly. I’ll start at the beginning with this not-so-exciting “before” shot.

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

Not in bad shape but there were some scratches and dings that needed attention. Worst of all, this ugly laminate top.

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

So I started by stripping the drawers with Citristrip. Then I hit them with a few coats of General Finishes Java Gel Stain. Everything looked beautiful so I finished them off with General Finishes Gel Topcoat, patted myself on the back, and went to bed.

The next morning I found this on all nine drawers.

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

What the what? What happened? And more importantly, how do I fix it?

THE INVESTIGATION

I asked everyone I knew. Instagram friends. Facebook family. General Finishes customer support. Everyone. In the end no one was exactly sure why it happened but most seemed to agree on the solution: re-strip, re-sand, and re-stain.

But I wasn’t convinced. Repeating the same steps and expecting different results seemed ridiculous. I wanted to find out what actually caused the spots so I decided to do more investigating.

My plan was simple: Follow the same exact steps but on a different dresser. If the spots appear again then I know it’s something I’m doing. If not, then it must be something on the wood. Maybe a spill or splatter from the previous owner?

Here are the discouraging results.

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

It’s a different kind of wood so it doesn’t look the same but there are definitely spots.

So what the bleepity-bleep was I doing wrong? I had just finished another dresser last week using the same products and it turned out beautifully – no spots, no problems, no drama. Why was I having so much trouble now?

Then I remembered something! I had done one tiny thing differently on that spot-free dresser from last week: I used a liquid deglosser to remove the paint stripper residue. On the spotty dressers I used a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water that I had on hand. If that mix wasn’t strong enough to completely clean off the thick, waxy stripping goo it could prevent the stain from soaking into the wood evenly, which would result in spots. Mystery solved!

THE LESSON

The Citristrip label clearly states, “use a paint stripper wash or odorless mineral spirits to loosen remaining residue”.

I used something else and it was an epic fail.

So today’s furniture refinishing lesson is: FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE PRODUCTS YOU’RE USING.

It’s so simple that it’s embarrassing. Let’s move on.

THE HOME STRETCH

Now that I knew what to do – and what not to do – it was time to finish this thing up. I scrubbed everything down with a Scotch-Brite scour pad and deglosser, then sanded and stained. The top coat went on beautifully with no spots to be seen. Success!

With the drawers finally done it was time to tackle the dresser frame. I started with a light sanding, followed by a coat of Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer (my go-to product for laminate surfaces). Lastly, a few coats of Benjamin Moore Cloud White and it was done!

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

Refinishing A Mid-Century Modern Dresser: Mistakes & Lessons | laughingabi.com

I’m not gonna lie. This one was slow and painful and aggravating. But I definitely learned from it and I absolutely LOVE the results. Now I’m just waiting on that leg to show up in the mail so I can officially call it finished.

Have you conquered any painful projects lately? Was the challenge due to a simple mistake like mine? Or something more complicated?

DIY Painted Mugs That Won’t Wash Away

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

You’ve all heard or read how to draw your own designs on a coffee cup then bake it in the oven to make it permanent. And half of you have probably tried it only to see your beautiful masterpiece wash down the drain – literally – even though you followed all the directions, used an oil-based marker, and gently hand washed the darn thing.

Well I have the secret solution just in time for the Christmas gift-making season – these magical glass markers from DecoArt!

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

 

I know they don’t look like anything different but I promise they work miracles. I bought mine at Michael’s but you can find them at most craft supply stores or online.

I won’t bore you with a “draw-n-bake” tutorial since they’re all over the internet (this is one of my favorites although I don’t know anything about the markers they use) but I do want to share some tips I discovered when working on these mugs for a client. (My first custom project! Go me!)

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

TESTING

First things first. If you’ve been burned on a DIY marker mug before you might be a bit gun-shy to try another. I get it. I was too. I recommend doing a test draw then. Turn your mug upside-down and make a mark on the bottom. I wrote the year. Then bake it and wash it. Once you’re sure it’s really going to be permanent you can get down to serious creative business.

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

ERASING

Before you start drawing gather up a few items from around the house. These supplies, along with some warm soapy water for drastic cases, are your “erasers”.

  • rubbing alcohol
  • cotton balls
  • cotton swabs
  • paper towels (I cut mine into little squares so they’re easier to work with.)

Let’s say you’re writing “Merry Christmas Uncle Joe” on you mug and you accidentally end up with “Uncle Joo”. No worries. Simply dip a cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol and carefully wipe away the mistake. It may smear the ink and seem a mess at first but that’s ok. Just keep dipping and wiping until your mistake and any smears or haze are gone. Let it dry, then grab your marker and try again.

You can use the cotton balls and paper towels the same way. It all depends on the size and detail of your mistake.

What if you totally screw up and think it’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen? Just go to the sink and scrub your mug with warm soapy water. Voila! You’re back at square one with a new blank slate.

WAITING

So you’ve finished your masterpiece and now you’re itching to pop it in the oven and make it permanent. WAIT! The ink needs to cure for at least eight hours first. Set it aside, go to work, run your errands, drink a few pots of coffee – whatever you need to do – then come back and get your bake on.

BAKING

There are a few baking rules which are all printed on the back of the marker for easy reference.
1. Don’t preheat your oven. Put your piece in first then turn on the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Set your timer for 40 minutes AFTER the oven has come to temperature, not when you put the mug in.
3. Don’t take your mug out when the timer goes off. Instead, turn off the oven and open the door. Let the mug cool as the oven cools.

Again, all this info is on the back of the pen in case you forget. So convenient.

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away | laughingabi.com

I hope you decide to give these markers a try. I’m so happy to finally find something that works although I will admit I haven’t tested any pieces in the dishwasher yet. I’m content to wash mine by hand just to be safe. I’m planning to try some plates next then glass canisters. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Painting Stripes On Stairs

(NOTE: If you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been sick for, like, ever. The coughs and snots have kept me down for a while but I’m feeling much better today and will be silenced no longer!)

UPDATE: Click HERE to visit Andrea from Faded Plains. She’s my inspiration for this whole redo.

Last time we talked I shared Phase 1 of my basement stair project. Guess what? It’s done! Before I get into the nitty-gritty details check out these AFTER pics.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

I’m so happy with how they turned out. Best of all my kids, who were the inspiration for this whole idea, love them.

So let’s rewind to this pic from my last post. I had ripped out all the dark carpet, pulled staples, filled holes, and painted.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Next I needed to tape off my widest stripe. While this should have been a simple measure, mark, and tape system it turned into more of a cuss, swear, and cry process. The problem is my steps are not square. Or level. Or even the same width.

At all.

(When I say they’re different widths I’m talking about the ones at the bottom that are supposed to be the same. Not the ones up top that vary because of the wall and ceiling.)

I won’t bore you with the numerous mathematical fails or vodka-induced epiphanies I went through to figure things out. I’ll just say that in the end I used a series of cardboard templates.

Template #1: the distance from the wall to the starting edge of the stripe (approximately 4 inches).
Template #2: the distance from the starting edge of the stripe to the ending edge (approximately 26.25 inches).
Here’s how it looked all taped out.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

TIP FOR SUPER CLEAN TAPE EDGES: Paint a coat of your base color over the tape first.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comThis seals the edge of the tape and any seeps that may sneak underneath are invisible because they match the base color. That being said if you have an especially rough or textured surface there may still be some bleeding. (That’s called foreshadowing my friends.) Also, I always use Frog Tape and make sure to burnish the edge with a credit card.

Finally, it was time to paint! Two coats of Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and it was done time for more taping.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

The next set of stripes went much quicker since I had already established a set of straight lines. I made a couple more cardboard templates, because that’s what works for me, and got to work. Here it is ready for paint.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

After brushing on a coat of my base color, like before, I added my first coat of  this delicious teal from Valspar. It’s called Night Scape.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

After a second coat it was time for the big reveal. Remember earlier when I mentioned that rough or textured surfaces + tape = some seeping no matter what you do?

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Womp, womp, womp.

It was a little discouraging but easy to fix. I grabbed a small artist’s paint brush and hit each spot with the same stain-blocking primer I used here.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comThen, after it dried, topped it with a coat of the Revere Pewter.

And then I was DONE!!!

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comCan you believe the difference? I still want to get a coat of poly on them for some extra protection but I’m researching exactly what kind to use. Any advice?

Here’s a couple more glamour shots for ya before I go.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comPainting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comI’m usually pretty noncommittal but I think I might love them.

Next is painting and re-installing the handrail. Then I’m getting rid of those yellow walls. Gah! Can’t wait!

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1

I kind of lost my mind last week and started ripping up the carpet on our basement stairs.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

Don’t get me wrong, it was dark and ugly and needed to go but the basement hasn’t been a priority for seven years. (We worked on it when we first moved in but ran out of steam and haven’t touched it since.)

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.comAll that changed one day when I went to pick up Teen Queen from a friend’s house. Her family was having their basement finished and I couldn’t believe how excited my daughter was about it.

I mean we have a basement that’s already finished and she hardly ever goes down there.

Um, maybe because it’s dark and ugly? And dreary and uninviting? Ya think?

So while they were explaining, “the toilet will go here” and, “this is where we’ll watch TV” I was making my own plans. The next morning I started hacking away at our stairs before the school bus even pulled away from the corner.

Under that nasty carpet and padding was this. Not the greatest but it definitely could have been worse.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

Next I pulled out eleventy-million staples. Which left me with two-eleventy-million rusty staple holes.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

I filled them with wood filler, let them dry, and sanded them smooth.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

Then it was time to caulk all the seams. I’m always amazed how much difference caulking makes. It’s the difference between a bunch of painted wood planks and a seamless, finished piece. I’ve ranted about it HERE before so I’ll spare you the soapbox again.

Finally – time to prime and paint! I used this Zinsser Primer because I knew it would cover all the stains on the stair treads as well as the orange wood on the surrounding wall and pillar. (I actually used two coats on the orange wood.) As for paint, I chose Valspar Duramax Paint + Primer because I had it leftover from the back porch project and figured outdoor paint would be a good idea on the steps anyway.

A TIP for painting steps: paint every other step so you can still go up and down the stairs if you need to. It takes a little longer but you’ll thank me when you need clean underwear from the basement laundry room.

Here’s how it looked after the first set was done. Oh and the orange wood too. So glad to see that go!

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

And the second set. Excuse the terrible lighting. It’s a basement.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

And with that Phase 1 is done! There’s still a lot to do though – trim to cover all those gaps on the right, the railing needs to be painted and reinstalled, and those yellow walls have to go. But before any of that happens I have more painting to do – something fun. Because a Pinterest addict like me couldn’t possibly stop with plain white stairs.

Five Days of Fall: Upcycled Scarf Organizer

Welcome to Day Five of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

In my house Fall marks the end of shaving season and the start of scarf season. So I thought it would be the perfect time to share my Upcycled Scarf Organizer.

upcycled scarf organizer

I made it out of these two unexpected items.

scarf storage before collage text

The idea came when I was shopping for a scarf and realized the retail display rack was the perfect storage solution. It was nothing but a series of “pegs” and plastic rings but it held tons of scarves in a small space. So I set out to recreate it in my closet.

The plastic rings were easy to find. The clearance tag was a bonus.

upcycled scarf organizer

The pegs were more of a challenge. I considered building something or using a pegboard and straight hooks like this. But then I found an unused wine glass rack stashed in the basement! (Similar to this one.) Who says hoarding is a bad thing?

Put those two seemingly random pieces together and you’ve got storage for 24 scarves in a 2 foot wide space.

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

Oh and in case you’re not sure how to loop the scarves onto the rings (I wasn’t at first), here ya go.

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

I’ve been using this hanging rack for a couple years and it still works great. Don’t you just love it when the simplest solution is the best one?

Catch up on days one through four here:
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard
Day Three: Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip
Day Four: Autumn Entry On A Budget

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget

Welcome to Day Four of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

Today I’m sharing my itty, bitty, teeny, tiny Autumn Entry. The only thing smaller than this space is my budget for decorating it so I had to get creative.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

In the end I only spent $2.50 for that little white pumpkin. Everything else I found around the house. (Are you noticing a theme in my decorating style? Maybe I should rename the blog “usingthecrapihave.com”)

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

For example, that orange and white chevron? That’s actually a scarf I pillaged from my closet. And the driftwood branch? It used to be in our lizard tank. Oh and my favorite part is the photo. We took it when Baby Girl was in kindergarten and we were making an alphabet book together – A is for acorn. I love seeing her pudgy little fingers and remembering how much fun we had walking the neighborhood searching for things that started with the letter A.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

The pedestal is actually a thrift shop wine glass and platter that I glued together. It floats from room to room depending on what random thing I decide to use it for. I topped it with a few fake leaves for more color, added my splurge of a pumpkin, and called it done.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Simple but sweet. And cheap. Can’t ask for more than that.

Catch up on days one through three here:
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard
Day Three: Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip

Welcome to Day Three of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

Today I’m jumping on the pumpkin-flavored bandwagon with a recipe that does double duty as a bagel schmear and an apple dip. (Note: I did not create this recipe. It’s from a 2004 edition of Cooking Light magazine.)

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip |laughingabi.com

This is one of the easiest things you’ll make this season. If you can use an electric mixer you can do this.

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip

  • 6 ounces lo-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Mix cream cheese, brown sugar, and pumpkin with electric mixer until well blended.
  2. Add maple syrup and cinnamon. Beat until smooth.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes and serve.

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip |laughingabi.com

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip |laughingabi.com

You have to try this one. I promise it’s the perfect balance of sweet and creamy and fall flavors. Mmmmmm. I hope you love it as much as we do.

If you missed Day One and Two you can find them here.
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard

Welcome to Day Two of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn. Today we’re talking chalkboards.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

If you’ve been here for a while you probably recognize this chalkboard that hangs right inside my front door. Last October it looked like this.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

But this year I wanted to go with a Fall theme, something I could leave up through Thanksgiving. I was searching for inspiration one day and spotted this on Instagram.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Super fun and super simple. Perfect for us.

After experimenting with different fonts and sizes I came up with a layout I liked then used this method to transfer it to the chalkboard.

NEW TIP! Did you know you can sharpen chalk with a pencil sharpener? True story. Find one of those cheap little sharpeners with two holes (you’ll use the oversized one) and give it a try. You won’t believe how much easier it is to draw with.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

I added some freehand swirlys and leaves to fill things in and it was done.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

I’m really happy with how it turned out and I love the playful message. I almost changed it to “get off the computer, put down the phone, and go jump in the fling-flanging leaves” but it wouldn’t fit.

(My apologies to those of you who were expecting something pumpkin flavored today. I had it all ready but then my photos turned out kind of suckish so I’m going to try again. I promise it’s coming soon.)

If you missed Day One you can find it here.
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf