Very crafty

Dressed up dresser: DIY

I have a lot of stuff. Like…a whole lot. I also have a small dresser and a small walk-in closet. Therefore, for the past few years, I’ve had overflowing dresser drawers and a closet stuffed to max capacity.

closet

I mean, seriously. And this is after doing a big clean out within the last six months.

I had been thinking for a while about getting a second dresser. After looking anywhere and everywhere I could think of, I realized that I didn’t particularly like anything I could afford.

It doesn’t help that I’m picky. I very specifically wanted something with cabinet space for towels and sheets since I don’t have a linen closet. I also wanted drawers on the bottom, not just shelves or another cabinet. And high-quality armoires aren’t cheap, y’all.

Anyways, after watching a few of pinksofoxy’s DIY videos on YouTube, along with the furniture makeover vid from What’s Up Moms, I decided to give the upcycling thing a try.

I got insanely lucky and found exactly what I wanted the very first time I went to Goodwill to look for a dresser. Seriously, cabinet on top, three drawers, solid wood and made by Ethan Allen. I got it for about $40.

dresser original

To start, I took off all the hardware and removed the doors and drawers. I spent an additional $50 at Lowe’s on sandpaper, paint, primer, a roller, foam brush, mineral spirits and a paintbrush. I bought wayyyyyy too much paint, so that total could have been $10-$15 lower. I also bought really cute new knobs for the cabinet doors on sale at a craft store for $3.

Then, I sanded the entire piece, including the doors and drawers. After I sanded each part, I wiped it down with mineral spirits and an old, soft rag to make sure it was completely dust free. Then, I primed everything. I thought I might be okay with using a paint and primer in one (I wasn’t), but after trial and error, I highly recommend using a real primer solo first.

dresser prime

Once the primer dried overnight, I got to start painting! I did three light coats, and used Milk Paint by Olympic as the white base and Belle Grove Sorbet by Valspar for the minty green drawers and accents. I painted the original drawer hardware the same color as the drawers to make them really unobtrusive.

dresser paintdresser doors

Then, I reattached all the hardware and screwed the hinges back onto the cabinet. I let the paint cure for one more night to give it a full 48 hours before setting anything on it, and then started filling it up with my stuff! I don’t have anywhere really safe to clear-coat and seal it right now, but I’ll probably touch it up and seal it whenever I move or get access to a safe place to polyurethane.

dresser finished

I’m planning to get some canvas bins for underneath to house my running tops, so that I can really maximize my space. For under $100, I was able to get a customized dresser that is exactly what I wanted. It fits so perfectly with my room and the space I have.

The dangerous thing is that now I have 7,000 ideas for what I want to upcycle next. Any brilliant projects to recommend?

Running

So, I finished a marathon

I did it! After starting to dream about running a marathon in 2009, on November 8th, the dream finally became reality at the Soldier Marathon in Columbus, GA. Countless miles, GUs, chats with my bestie, and viewing of Spirit of the Marathon went into the last six months.

Still high off the Publix Half from March, RunningBFF and I signed up for our first full. Unfortunately, our training was plagued by illness, injuries, and a growing sense of impending doom. While we got up to about seventeen miles for our longest run, neither one of us felt great about our training, and our goal was simply to survive and finish within the seven hour time cap.

The course is billed as flat and fast, and while it was pretty flat, there were a fair amount of small rollers and one big hill at mile three where they have drill sergeants out to “motivate” you up the climb. I discovered that years after high school and collegiate sports, I still respond to yelling for motivation.

Solider Marathon Elevation

RunningBFF and I got really lucky and found a pair of sisters (shout out to Andrea and Laura: you guys saved our race!) who were also coming off of a less-than-ideal training cycle and were doing run-walk intervals. We hung with them for the first sixteen miles until we got derailed for a few minutes by angry stomachs. We picked our way home, running and walking, for the last ten miles, taking our time. After we hit the twenty mile mark, we knew we were going to finish without a doubt, which was by far one of the greatest moments of the race for me.

The crowd support on this small race (1,500 runner cap) was incredible! I was so impressed by how loud everyone at all of the water stations were, even after standing out in the cold for five-plus hours. They made a back-of-the-packer like me feel just as special as the top finishers. Also, they gave out GU at four different stations along the course. I was thankful to be able to carry less with me at one time!  Speaking of top finishers, the last eighteen or so miles of the course is an out-and-back to Phenix City, AL. This meant that as we were headed out, we were able to see and cheer for everyone else as they came by.

And then I finished. It’s been a week, and I don’t know if it’s completely sunk in that I finally finished my marathon. After building something up in my head for five years, it seemed simultaneously like the biggest deal in the world and strangely anticlimactic. I hugged RunningBFF, got my dog tags from the (very cute) soldiers at the finish line, then grabbed water and a bagel and hopped in line for a post-race massage. I think immediately afterwards, my normally very emotionally contained father was more excited than I was. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited and proud, but I think I was more contemplative than anything else.

marathon shirt

Of course, I’m super proud. The marathon always seemed like an unattainable fool’s errand, even on race morning. And I finished it. At the same time, I feel ready to move on and focus on other things. I’m ready to run faster at some shorter distances and get back to a place where training doesn’t feel like a chore. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever be back for another marathon. I certainly won’t become a marathon maniac anytime soon. One is enough for right now. It might be enough forever, and I know that separates me from a lot of other bloggers who run. And that’s okay.

The biggest thing this whole process taught me is to believe in myself. RunningBFF and I overcame an awful lot just to get to the start line, let alone to finish, and I went to some dark places in the training cycle and in the race that I now know I can overcome. I know how badly I can hurt, and how much tougher I am mentally than I thought. Does that translate to another marathon down the road? I don’t know. It does translate to a new sense of perspective on myself. What else can I overcome? What’s my next challenge?

While my next challenge isn’t another marathon, I can’t wait to see what it is.