DIY BarAh, the beginning of a year. Those New Year’s Resolutions of last year (i.e. blogging regularly) went out the door. That doesn’t mean I won’t try again this year. I wanted to share a few projects that I did have fun with, so you may see a couple of posts pop up. Let’s start with the DIY bar.

This project all began when I realized: (1) I was living with someone who had a large alcohol collection that was overrunning a wine rack and (2) the price of a bar large enough to fit the collection was outrageous for the quality/materials being used. Pinterest was a great place for inspiration. One particular post for a mini bar struck my fancy and something that seemed reasonable to do.

The Hunt

Without an existing book case, I ended up surfing Craigslist until I found the right piece. I fell in love with a bookcase with rounded corners that reminded me of Mad Men. However, it was missing all of its shelves and the top had some serious water rings. A quick trip to home depot resulted in some new shelves. Plus, they cut the wood to the dimensions I needed for free!


Yikes! Look at those rings.

The Cleaning

After much debate, I decided to refinish the wood surface on the top. The YouTube videos made the process seem so fun and easy. Haha- I was in for a treat. This endeavor required purchasing wood stripper, stain, top coat and specialized tools to apply all of these harsh chemicals. It appeared that the piece had a veener on the top making the whole thing tricky.

After spending a half day finessing the top of the piece using the wood stripper, it did not seem to do much. I opted to use fine sandpaper by hand and then gave up and broke out the big gun, the electric detail sander. Luckily for me, the veener layer was thick enough to handle it and the sander worked wonders. The staining and top coat were much easier in comparison. However, being outside was not ideal as little dust particles would blow into the top coat. When all was said and done, the top looked 100 times better. However, in hindsight, for the amount of time it took, I may have gone the route of painting the whole thing instead.

The Finishing Touch

With the top all shiny and new, the rest of the exterior needed some love. I happened across a bottle of Feed and Wax product by Howard around the house and it worked miracles. One of the biggest problems with wooden furniture is that it gets dry over time and things like Pledge just don’t cut it. The conditioner goes into the wood and helps it to really shine. The piece of furniture I bought was so thirsty, it needed a few treatments. The results were so awesome I went around “feeding” all the other furniture (yes, I get a little overly excited about cleaning). Just be aware that you need to apply it to the whole piece of furniture because it can darken it. You should probably spot check it before going crazy like I did.

To the make the piece not look like a bookshelf, I opted to buy some shelf lining paper from Amazon to add to the back. A word of wisdom on this- buy paper that is easy to match. I had to use two different rolls with three strips of it to make it work. It is also best to lay the furniture down when adding the backing.

The attempt to stain the new shelves to match the top of the piece failed miserably- mixing wood types does not work! Luckily for me, I scored a free can of paint from Kelly-Moore to celebrate a new paint line. The shelves got a rich chocolate color to match the lining paper. I also purchased wine glass racks at a local building supply shop to hold the martini glasses.

Finally, I was able to move all of the alcohol in and sprinkle in accessories like a vintage shaker from my grandparents and bar towels. After all was said and done, I was happy with the end look.


Natural Winter Wreath

I do enjoy the occasional craft project. When I found the adorable rose shaped pine cones in my parent’s yard, I could not resist. This wreath can be made for Valentine’s Day or just as a winter decoration. You could even paint the whole thing red to look like roses.

Add some decoration during the long winter months.

Add some decoration during the long winter months.

Natural wreath for Valentine's Day.

Natural wreath for Valentine’s Day.

How to Make the Wreath


  • Styrofoam wreath: I used a 16″ flat. However, it was a lot to cover.
  • Deodar Cedar Cone Roses: I used at least 100. You’ll be surprised how many it takes
  • Sheets of green moss: if you opt not to paint the wreath a color
  • Spray paint: optional and not used on the wreaths pictured above
  • Natural bark covered wire (if you want a heart)
  • Red berries (if you want a heart)
  • Wire: 24 gauge
  • Hot glue: lots of it!
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Scissors to cut the moss


  1. Using the 24 gauge wire cut multiple pieces about 1.5″ long. With your needle nose pliers make a small closed loop at the end of the wire. The loop should be about 1/8″ or less. Make it tight around your pliers. The theory behind adding the loop is it will help to make the bond with the pine cone more secure.
  2. wired pine conesThe pine cones have a natural hole in the back. It makes the perfect spot to add the wire. Add some hot glue to your wire loop and place it inside the hole. Leave the pine cone upside down to dry. These lovely wired pine cones could now also be used on other projects.
  3. If you are painting your wreath, now would be the time to spray it down with the color. Make sure to use paint that will not eat through the styrofoam. If you are going for the natural look, now is the time to place your moss sheets on the wreath. Try to cover the edges as well. However, don’t worry if you have some small gaps. The gaps can be covered with pine cones. You may need to cut the moss to fit the wreath. (I did mine a little backward because I decided to add the moss after I’d already set the pine cones. The pine cone color looked too pretty to paint.)
  4. Adding mossStart pushing your wired pine cones into the wreath. Pack them in as tightly as possible to create a fuller wreath. If you are using the moss, the wired pine cones will act as the bond to the wreath. Aim to put the wires at the edges of the moss and through the thicker areas of the moss.
  5. Your wreath is now complete as a winter wreath. Add a ribbon to make it festive. This would be the time to spray paint over the pine cones if you are going for a solid look. Continue reading if you would like to add a heart to the middle.
  6. Take the bark covered wire and make a loose heart that just overlaps with the center of the wreath. This should give you a general idea of the length. Add a little extra to be safe.
  7. With the initial length in mind, triple up the wire. I found that the one wire by itself was too skinny. Now cut the wire and twist the three pieces together to make a vine like structure. The twist does not need to be perfect. The gaps will make it interesting when you add the berries.
  8. Heart shaped wireStart to form a heart shape with the vine. Make it so the point of the heart and the two curves overlap with the edge of the wreath. Again, do not worry about making it absolutely even. You want it to match with the natural elements on the rest of the wreath. However, do make sure it lies flat on the ground.
  9. BerriesUsing your hot glue (yes, this is a lot of glue) make a tiny strip of glue on the front of the heart following the wire. Add two or three berries. Repeat this process until you cover the whole heart. The goal is to follow the lines of the wire so that you have spots where you have three berries next to each other and other spots where you just have two. By laying the berries this way, you will keep the natural feel of a vine.
  10. Cut 3″ of the 24 gauge wire and bend it in half. Feed the open arch through the bottom point of the heart between the wires. Using your pliers twist the wire so it makes a tight wire stake. Repeat this process for the two arches.
  11. Take your finished heart and lay it on top of your wreath. You may need to temporarily remove a few of your wired pine cones to place it in. Using the three wires, secure the heart to the styrofoam. Add back in any removed pine cones. You may also need to re-glue any berries that came off during placement.
  12. Voilà! You have a Valentine’s Day wreath. I secured mine to my door using a loop of fishing line.

Did you try making a wreath for the winter of Valentine’s Day? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!