Friday, November 2, 2012

Refrigerator Make-over with Chalkboard Paint

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Big Project, Big Impact [Big mess] Big Fun ;)

before and after, refrigerator makeover, rustoleum chalkboard paint, how to,  DIY
While browsing Pinterest one day, I was so excited to find this pin. Those of you who are fellow Pinterest fanatics (follow me here!) know that of the hundreds (or dare I say, thousands?) of posts you re-pin, maybe a small handful are things that you will actually try. Sure our intentions are good, but lets get real here- most of us don't have time in a normal day to re-purpose every dingy piece of furniture or picture frame in our path. So sadly, many pins become reminders of all the things we "would" do with a little extra time. This time was different. This was an, "I am totally doing this," moment that ended with a trip to the local hardware store and in the long run, a 2 week(ish) project that eventually extending over almost 6 months (remember what I was saying about time? Did I also mention my penchant for unfinished projects and procrastination?)

The reality of it all...

We have an small, old, white refrigerator and the way I see it, it couldn't get any uglier besides, having another activity to occupy my daughter is always a plus. Still, if I'm being honest, I did it for me too- I have visions of turning my retro mish-mosh of a "kitchen with potential" into something adorably retro and funky. If I could win some kind of shopping spree at Anthropologie I would outfit my entire home in that store, but as it were I am restricted to the clearance room these days. Still, it's a great place to find inspiration..

Anyway, as of right now my kitchen is a bit more anth-no than Anthro, but I fully intend to tranform this baby and I have tons of ideas brewing (My Pinterest page devoted to my ideas so far...) When it all comes together, my cute little chalkboard fridge will fit in perfectly. Still, I was apprehensive that it just wouldn't work and that I'd be left with a giant, hulking mess awkwardly occupying my kitchen's focal point. Luckily, nothing gets me more excited than a good artistic challenge. Some research led me to The Handmade Home, an awesome blog that featured the step by step that helped me get started with my own version.

Obviously this is not an original idea here, but one thing that sets my experience apart from a few of the others I've come across is that I started with a white fridge and this, my friends, is the biggest issue I had to deal with the whole way through. I found myself wishing many times throughout this project that my refrigerator was black to begin with. There's just a lot of surface area and trim work that I didn't want to paint, but would look strange if left white. I assume with a black fridge it wouldn't be as obvious if some of the interior edges or even the handles were left unpainted. This is something I didn't consider and, though it was by no means impossible, it does involve a few extra steps and a bit more care.

Getting Started: Materials

Your local Home Depot will definitely have everything you need to do this project. I assume that any general hardware store will too, but I found everything I needed at the depot. Supplies will run about $55 and the project itself will take about a full day including drying time between coats. You will need:

- 1 qt. of Magnetic Primer ($19.99) Rustoleum is the brand I've seen used most and what I used myself. The Rustoleum brand is actually black too, which is especially helpful if you're painting a white fridge
- 1 qt. of Rustoleum Chalk board paint in any color ($19.99.) There are so many fun options for different colored chalkboard paint. I even saw a recipe on Pinterest to make your own, so if you'd like to go that route it could save some money (just search "chalkboard paint" on Pinterest.)
- Painters tape.
- A drop cloth or if you want to save a buck, an old sheet or garbage bag works too, but don't forget this step. I assumed being "extremely careful" would be enough and didn't consider all the little splashes of pin size paint droplets that would fly from my roller. I ruined the floor around the (my husband would say it was all a part of my ploy to replace our kitchen floor. He might not be entirely wrong. Black and white check is adorable and one of the reasons I fell in love with our house, but holy moly it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.)
- A roller frame and extra rollers (at least one for each paint.) ($5-10) I chose a 1in. roller so that I could fit it between my cabinets and fridge to paint the side. As for the extra rollers, there are ways to store your used roller so it doesn't dry out while you're waiting in between coats, but it's always good to have another one handy in case it does dry. If you're like me and don't have an uninterrupted day to do this project, storing your roller is inevitable.
-A small detail brush, about 1in. or less.

Surface Prep:

In my research I didn't find much about surface prep, but common sense says it's probably a good idea to clean any grime off your fridge first. I just sponged it down real quick with some dish soap and water.

Next, use your painters tape to cover any brand labels, the rubber seals and any other metal etc. that you don't want to paint. I chose to paint the inner frame of my fridge too because I thought it would just look strange if I didn't.

The first layer of magnetic primer after the
 painters tape is applied to cover
 the hardware, rubber and brand.
Tape covering the side of the rubber seal.
A little primer smudged and immediately stained
the inside of the seal: BEWARE!
Please ignore the contents of my freezer, but do notice the inner
frame that I painted. It would just look silly if left white.

First Layer: Magnetic Primer

Since you will be painting multiple coats of paint on top of your already magnetic fridge, if you want to retain its magnetism this step is essential. I have heard of people who skipped this step and still had some magnetic cling, my thinking was better safe than sorry. For the most part I followed the directions on the can and waited 1/2 hour between coats so basically if I started with the freezer door and worked down, then moved on to the sides, by the time I was done it was dry enough for the second coat.

The image below is after 2 coats of magnetic primer. I think the can might even suggest 3, but I am all about cutting corners when necessary and my thinking was, the fridge was magnetic to begin with, so that's kind of like a third coat, right? No?

Adding the Chalkboard Paint

There are tons of options for chalkboard paint out there, from colors choices to DIY mixes from scratch. In case you haven't already noticed, I went with black after much deliberation. I love the old school feel of the green paint too and was really tempted, but in the end I just felt like it went well with the floors (which became an issue in and of itself.

Once you have waited the full amount of time between coats as per the can, then you are ready for your first coat of chalkboard paint...

Note: At this point I was left the project for a while and eventually came back to it. I tend to have a million projects going at once and am easily bored and distracted by them, if not by my full time teaching responsibilities and other such wifely and motherly duties. Thus, we lived with the primed fridge for a while and in crept the doubts.

At first I felt like made the room feel smaller and darker, but I got used to it after a day. My biggest issue was the texture of the paint. The primer is thick, thick, thick and the finished product was as rough as concrete. In comparison to the smooth surface of your standard refrigerator it's a bit of a change. No big deal if you don't happen to have the world's most clumsy toddler. Bless her little heart, my Violet is the only child I know who can trip over thin air while standing still (admittedly a trait that was inherited from yours truly.) We call her our floppy child. She has her head in the clouds and dances every other step she takes, while stumbling through the rest and we love her for it. Still, you can imagine my trepidation when I realized that we now had a giant cinder block in the middle of our kitchen just waiting to scrape her all up.

Taking Control of the Texture

 This is when I did a little experimenting (almost 2 months later.) With a medium weight sandpaper I lightly sanded over the primed surface to see what it would do to the texture. I was pleasantly surprised to feel that the result was much smoother and kid friendly. I have to say, the texture might vary a bit depending on the nap of the roller you use. It's totally your judgement call. I read many a blog where people never mentioned sanding anything and didn't seem to have any issues with a rough surface, but should you have the same experience I did, that is the solution.

Ok, now you can crack open the chalkboard paint, I promise.

 As you might have guessed, a few more months went by before I actually finished 2 coats of chalkboard paint on the whole fridge. As easy as it was to do, life got in the way, but when the time came I rolled it on following the same steps as I did with the primer (1/2 hour between coats is dry to the touch, 2 hours to handle.) In the time that elapsed, sticky finger prints, spills and crayon drawing decorated the primed surface of my household-appliance-turned-craft-project. I quickly wiped them off with a sponge, but some of the stain were more stubborn. I painted right over them and have yet to notice any difference.

                                                   The Finished Look

I love the beautiful, matte finish and color of the completed project. So much so that I almost cried when I read about the "conditioning" steps that were suggested before using this lovely new canvas. I considered skipping it, really I did, especially when I saw that Ashley at The Handmade Home never mentioned this messy step.
I used the side of your standard piece of Crayola chalk and rubber it all over (not including the top.)
The paw print culprit, Hickory
caught in the act.
By the time I was finished I had rendered about 3 pieces of chalk mostly useless and had a 1/4 in. thick mound of chalk surrounding the fridge like some barrier against evil spirits or detection device for refrigerator raiders. Not to mention the little cat paw prints and toddler (and adult) footprints scattered around our black and white checked floors. YUP- Was anyone else thinking all along that might be a bad idea with my floors? Because I wasn't. At least not until I noticed said pile and tried to sweep it up. I mean, it's a mess no matter what kind of floor you have, but black and white? Duh.

Still, I can honestly tell you it was well worth it. Who am I kidding? My floors are usually a mess anyway, now I just have an excuse! 

Kiss that pretty, matte black goodbye.

I must admit, I was a bit disgruntled after conditioning. I knew that the ever present white haze would mar the surface of my meticulous paint application, but I did find myself wishing I had skipped this all together. Still, after having lived with it for a few months now, to expect it to look even close to pristine when it was done to occupy and 2 year old- that's just silly talk.

The reality is that once you do this project you have welcomed the chalk dust into your life, and lots of it. If this project is really going to be worthwhile for you it will be a welcomed distraction every time someone walks by the fridge. My hubby and I have written cute little notes back and forth, I have started a shopping list and sometimes find my self going to the fridge for a snack and ending up sitting on the floor doodling away.
white fridge painted black, Rustoleum chalkboard paint

Will the novelty wear off? I don't know really, but so far we're having a lot of fun with it...even with all the colorful dust :)

Try it! You won't be sorry.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Halloween Treat

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Quick and Easy Halloween Treat

I had to take a minute to share these. I've been seeing all sorts of cool Halloween-themed treats floating around Pinterest lately. This idea came from a good friend who brought them to our first Halloween party about 6 years ago. We go all out for Halloween and continue the yearly Halloween party tradition that was started by my parents years ago. I decided to bring back these Brownie eyeballs this year, and I'm so glad I did. Everyone loves them (especially Violet who just eats the M&Ms off of them.)

Just a Few Easy Steps:

- Make and bake brownies as you usually would. I went for Betty Crocker's fudgy mix.
- Wait for brownies to cool to the touch, but not completely, then dig in with your hands and roll them into balls. I went for golf ball sized so the M&M iris would be proportionate. 
- Heat up some white melting chocolate (sold at AC Moore and other craft stores.)
- Drop in the brownie balls one at a time very gently. The first one I made crumbled because I was holding it too tightly and picking it up from the top. If your brownies are too hard around the edges, give them a little squeeze as your form them. This should bring out some of the oil and help it stick together a bit.
- Put the dipped eyeballs on wax paper (or foil) and drop an M&M in the center of each. 

Now Decorate! 

You can pick up a small tube of black decorative icing for the pupil and red for the veins. I didn't have the red handy this year and instead mixed some good ol' store bought, white icing with a few drops of red food coloring in a ziploc bag. Poke out the corner out with a paperclip (scissors will create a bigger hole and therefore larger "veins") and decorate! 

And there ya have it! A slightly creepy, but delicious addition to any Halloween spread.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fun Halloween Decor

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Gourdgeous 'staches and Fangs

I am so in love with these little guys and sincerely wish they weren't going to rot away in a few weeks! Thankfully they are super easy to make.

I've had a pin on my Pinterest since last Halloween and couldn't help but snicker every time I came across it. The other night I decided to try my hand at some "pumpkin couture" with a bottle of wine and a good girlfriend. During a quick stop at the local craft store to pick up various Halloween crafties I came across a sheet of fuzzy mustache stickers and just couldn't help myself. When I remembered that I had also just discovered a wealth of plastic vampire teeth among all our Halloween paraphernalia, I knew it was meant to be. Thus came my twist on these Pinterest- inspired little dudes. 

I used a short blade kitchen knife to cut small, rectangular holes for the fangs. about 1.5in. x 3in. Scoop out the pumpkin guts (just a small amount in these itty bitty gourds) and insert fangs.

 Add a mustache and somehow it's instantly cooler.
 You can even draw and cut them out of black paper that you have handy! 

That's pretty much it!

Getting Fancy.

When I could finally tear myself away from my new fanged friends, I used some of the feathers and frills I had to decorate a few more medium-sized pumpkins; Some shiny letters on top of stripes made with glittery, black craft tape, flourished with a sparkly spider- the best part? I should be able to pull some of these decorations off to use again next year (so long as I didn't over do it with the hot glue...)

*Quick tip: Use black electrical tape to cover an unsightly rough patch. It has just enough shine, staying power, and you can paint on it immediately.

                 Trick or Treat!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Update: Fun with Chalkboard Paint- Front Porch Project

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The pots and bucket painted with the extra black chalkboard paint I had left after painting my fridge! Scroll down or click here for the illustrated step by step. Also, check out for 75 more ways to use that extra chalkboard paint and Funky Junk Interiors for all things crafty and creative in the home.

Coming this week (I promise!) The finished post based on my adventures with painting my white refrigerator with the same paint! Here's another preview...

Here's a tip: Black and white floors + chalkdust by the pound =
a colorful mess of toddler footprints and cat pawprints EVERYWHERE.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fun With Chalkboard Paint

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Chalking it up

If you're like me you have seen a million pins and pics showing yet another funky, creative way to use chalkboard paint. I mentioned in previous posts that I have been working on painting my fridge with black chalkboard paint....ok, maybe "been working on" is a bit of an overstatement. I started this months ago and it really could have been a 2 week project, but with a 2 year old who just loves to yank open the fridge door every chance she gets, on top of just being a bit of a procrastinator by nature (what can I say? I work better under pressure) I finally painted the final coat during Violet's nap and it looks fantastic. I can't wait to let her go chalk crazy all over it, but I will follow the directions and wait the 3 days to "condition" it (I am dreading this step. It sounds like a whole lot of chalk dust all over the place.)  After a full week, Ill be able to wash it down and open it for business. Lets be honest, I myself am anxious to doodle all over it, so it's going to be tough to wait... We will see! Anyway, the post detailing my adventures from start to finish is already in the works and will be up in the next week once I can add some pics of the chalkboard fridge in full swing and chalky glory.

Here's a preview of the finished product:
Our old, white fridge with a makeover.
Stay tuned for the detailed "how to" post!
In the meantime, whilst I had the chalkboard paint out today, I couldn't help but spread the love and paint a few more things...

Giving things a little repurpose 

A collection that I assembled on my rocking-chair porch and TA DA!
chalkboard paint pots and accents!

To Spray it or Brush it?

I have a can of chalkboard spray paint that has been collecting dust in my studio for almost 2 years now, just waiting to be used. I thought about cracking it open for this project, but in the end I had a bunch of sponge brushes handy and a whole lot of paint left in the roller tray.

It was storming like crazy, but I had a nice, dry spot on my porch to set up shop and get to painting. There's not much to say about "how to" paint a terracotta pot really, but I'll post my experience with it and maybe it will help someone out along the way. I also painted a square on an old metal bucket I found in my garage (such a killer find. I did a little dance when I spotted it amongst the lawn furniture and beach paraphernalia) using electrical tape to frame out the area; unfortunately my painters tape, which would have been the better choice, was somewhere in the depths of my studio so I conducted an experiment in the midst of my craft session. 

It doesn't look like much, but I was actually
SO close to buying something like this on Etsy.
 It was under my nose this whole time! 


I do love a terra cotta pot, but I just couldn't
wait to see it in a sleek black! 

With a few items being painted simultaneously, I was able to go back and forth between the 2 pots and the bucket so that when I got back to a second coat on one, it was already dry. Two coats were necessary on all parts, painted on thick and evenly with a wooden handled, craft spongebrush.

 The large terra cotta pot after two coats, inside and out. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure how the chalkboard paint will stand up to dirt and watering, since I fully intend to get some plants in all these things, but I thought it would look silly to leave the inside unpainted. Notice the electrical tape! Haha... Not ideal to use for something like this because it's stretchy and obviously not meant for this use, but it worked! I was able to paint on top of some of the seams, and though there was a liiiiittle bleed that happened, it is barely noticeable and I was far to happy with the overall outcome to care.

I am looking really looking forward to personalizing and getting creative with the chalk and will definitely post pics of the pots done up with our Halloween and Christmas decor. I have seen some great stuff on Pinterest that have the gears turning...
How cool is that? Click HERE to check it out at Good!

Can I draw on it yet??!?

So that's the first installment of fun with chalkboard paint and there's more where that came from! I am so excited to share my experiences with the fridge and whatever else falls prey to my chalky whims. I hope you've been inspired too and please feel free to share your own DIY with me should you get a chance to try it out yourself!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Mason Jar Lamp

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The Mason Jar Pendant is extremely popular lately, and for good reason. I have seen them in clusters and rows, tinted and clear, and all shapes and sizes, but it never gets old.

Finished pendant with a 32oz. jar.

I have to tell you, Mason Jars in general just charm my socks off. It just so happens I have about 15 of them in different sizes to play with- so this is just the beginning!

Jars of all sizes for an elegant centerpiece
We used mason jars for the centerpieces at my sister's bridal shower (above) and had a lot left when the festivities were over, however they're extremely cheap by the case at Ace Hardware. For my DIY I was choosing between the two largest jars, both which had the wide mouth opening and fit the same lid. I can (and already have) switch them back and forth until I decide which one I like best and as of right now, I remain undecided...

Ok, but is it really that easy?

Decisions, decisions...
64oz and 34oz wide mouth,
 Ball Mason Jars.
There are tons of tutorials out there that will have the different ways to accomplish this project, so let me just say this; I have no particular way of telling you that mine is better or worse than the rest. What I will tell you is that I decided to do this project on a whim, just using stuff I had lying around the house and figured if it doesn't work, no harm no foul. I am floored that it was as easy as I hoped and will do my best to clearly convey the steps I took.
Maybe these same steps, or even parts of them will lead your to your own version and that's ok too!

The existing pendent light I had in my kitchen.
Purchased at Lowes with lots of shade options
at a reasonable price.



- Mason Jar of your choice and the lid.
- a preexisting pendent light.
- hammer.
- 1 nail.
- a block of wood or safe hammering surface.
- permanent marker
...and that's it!

The Steps:

First, make sure all power to the light fixture is turned off. Then, unscrew your light bulb and find the attachment piece on your pendant that holds the shade on to it. Usually it's a small metal piece that screws on to the socket.  
The metal piece that attaches the lamp shade and the mason jar lid insert.

Next, take the metal disc insert from the mason jar lid and flip it over so the white side is facing up. You are going to be tracing the opening for the metal attachment piece to settle in. Images are below, but the best suggestion I can give that might not be 100% clear in pictures is to pay attention to how the original shade attached to your pendent. Your basically using the same process, but we have to create the hold in the top of the shade, which in this case will be in your lid.

Centering and tracing the inner ridge of the
attachment piece. 
Then, Use a permanent marker to trace the inner ridge of the attachment piece. You could also trace the hole in the existing shade, something I discovered later that would have been easier the first time around. The hole has to be big enough that the top part of the attachment piece fits through it, but not so big that the entire thing will slip through.

Side note: If this seems confusing, read ahead a few steps first and check out the images that show the assembly after the hole is cut.

Now it's time to cut out the hole. This is where the hammer and nail come in. If you're like me, you don't have a slew of saws that can easily slice through metal at your disposal. This was where the real experimentation came in for me. I knew the hole didn't have to be pretty, it just had to be the right size so I use the nail and hammered holes around the the perimeter of my traced circle, spacing them about 1/8 in. apart initially. I did this right on my kitchen counter with a scrap of wood underneath.

Notice the 2 tracings. The better of the two
created by tracing the hole in the lamp shade
Close up of two hammered holes.

At this point you may have figured out how all this hammering tin will eventually lead to a bigger hole, and if you have a saw that will work for this, by all means give it a go, but this worked well and was probably only slightly more time consuming.

After the initial 1/8 spaced holes you'll go around once more hammering hold in the existing spaces and carefully punch out your circle.

Tip: I used the claw side of the hammer at times to wedge into some of the more stubborn areas.

Putting it all together: The fun part!

Now you're finally ready to put your super-cool Mason Jar shade in place! 

First, get that attachment piece and make sure it fits in (but not through!) your hole. (See right---->)

Finally, put the other part of the jar lid around the disc and hold the attachment piece from the bottom as you screw it on to the pendent. Once you have the lid attached to the pendant all you gotta do is screw your light bulb back and then attach the mason jar to the lid. Just twist it right on there and voila!

A cute and easy way to add a little funky style to your space.

The 64oz jar attached. A bigger statement,
but still not sure if it's just TOO big.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Peel and Stick Nail Polish

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Ok, so I'm not 100% sure this counts as a Pinterest DIY, buy I am always in awe of the cool nail art I see on there and have tried in vain many time to recreate them.

I can draw, paint, sculpt and more, but when it comes to nail art I am THEE worst. I think it has a lot to do with patience- I cannot wait long enough without touching anything for my nails to completely dry. Honestly though, even without the drying time issue, I am crap at polishing them.

Imagine how intrigued I was when I saw this new press on nail polish stuff!
(I can't wait to try the houndstooth!)
Its been a while since my last DIY so I figured, why not? If you haven't tried them out, feel free to read through my experience with them and decide to save or splurge and spend that $8 on the insta-manicure.

Intrigued and Overexcited
I'm a visual kinda gal (could ya guess?) So I could barely wait until I got home to open the package and see what these things were all about. They come in 2 of these little packages with all of the different sizes to fit your nails, kind of like sets of press on nails. I made sure to follow all their directions to prep my nails exactly as suggested- so, after filing (not specifically suggested, but what the hey?) I dealt with my out of control cuticles and buffed my nails with the little file/buffer they included in the kit. A quick swipe with some nail polish remover (as suggested) and I was ready to go... And THIS is where my attention to the directions must have faltered a bit. I think I was way too excited to get my hands on the magic, stretchy polish...

"Peel Off"
As you can see there is a tab at the bottom of the polish strip that tells you where to peel. There is also an image and directions included. When I did this, somehow I only pulled the white backing off the polish, then broke the tab off the bottom (so much for paying extra special attention to the directions.) My overexcitement led me astray and I ended up thinking that this whole press on nail polish thing was total crap. SO not true- in fact, there is a clear layer on top of the polish and a white backing behind it. I forgot to peel off the clear layer and it wasn't molding to my fingernail correctly. Lesson learned, and first little speed bump diverted; Peel the top clear layer off, then the white backing strip and snap off the tab. Then you are ready to apply.

Applying the polish to my (short) thumbnail.
You can see the excess polish hanging over the nail before filing.

Applying the Magic, Stretchy Polish
Once you're all peeled and ready to go you CAN handle the polish without worrying about it losing its sticky, so to speak. The warmth of your hands make it stretchy and, as long as you cleaned and prepped your nails appropriately, you should have no problem. It's just like applying a sticker: pick the size tab that matches your nail shape, (both ends of the individual tabs are shaped a bit differently) center it on your nail against your cuticle and press firmly down. I found that pressing down in the center and then gently pulling the sides worked best for me. I then slightly pulled the polish over the tops of my nails and pushed down on the tip of my nail where I wanted the polish strip to separate.

Once the strip is covering your nail bed as desired, you're ready to file off excess (see pic.) I found that filing front to back and away from the polish helped prevent any unwanted peeling, instead of back and forth in the way that we usual shape and file our nails.

And that's really it! The first nail might not be your best and it takes a bit of getting used to (mine first was a little rough and peely, but the pattern was so busy you could barely tell.) By the time I switched to my other hand I was a pro.

Some Pointers
I am by no means a pro at this, but since I was documenting my experience I made mental notes of a few things that might be good to know...

Like I said above, the filing technique is important and DON'T just try to rip the excess off. You will end up ripping some of the polish along with it. Also, I was extremely dubious of the staying power of these things, so I used the flat side of the angled part of the included cuticle pusher to smooth them down around the edges etc. and it seemed to do the trick. If you have any short nails that don't rise beyond your fingertip you might have trouble creasing and filing the excess polish, but it is still possible. I had a metal, double sided cuticle pusher with a pointy edge that I was able to use to actually slice the extra material off. This was also helpful for the instances where I may have stretched the polish too long around the edges- I imagine a metal nail file might work well for this, but again- it's trial by error. My goal is to eliminate a bit of that error for you through my own experience, but unfortunately I can't guarentee that you won't have a few minor hiccups. Still, they are fairly easy to apply.

The Results and Review

Ta da!!! Seriously, I am in love with this product. I already know that I will be stocking up on them the next time I come across them in the store (I originally found them at Target.) Still, the real test is staying power which has yet to be determined, but I will say that I put them on 2 nights ago and aside from a little wear at the tips, they still look great. As the mother of an energetic toddler and a middle school art teacher I am really hard on my hands and so far they have survived hot glue, paint, and multiple washings. I've heard that a top coat can also be applied for extra protection, which I may try in the future- I think I can handle clear polish as long as it's of the quick dry variety!

Hope you get a chance to try these out too! I'd love to see your results

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Use for the Everyday Item

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I have had this iron wall hanging literally directly above my jewelry box (actually, it's more like a jewelry bureau) for over 2 years and just the other day when I was trying to reorganize the tangled mess of baubles and sparklies I had an inspiration: I should hang some of my jewelry from it!

The hanging itself I got from Big Lots a few years back. It couldn't have been more than $15, and now it's doing double duty! I chose to hang some of my more forgotten jewelry items that sometimes get glanced over in favor of some of my signature pieces and so far it had been a great way to refresh my daily accessory selection process- plus, it looks kinda pretty!

Just thought I'd share- not much of a project, but sometimes the quick little tasks can be just as rewarding.

Stay tuned for my next posting chronicling my adventures in painting my fridge with chalkboard paint- it is sure to be full of great tips for those of you who have seen the idea (as I did) on Pinterest and wondered just how "simple" is it REALLY? (Here's a hint: on an existing black fridge it is probably not so hard- my fridge, however, was white. Not a thought I had before starting the process, mostly because I had little to no "how to" information readily available, but you my friends will have it all :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fun for the Kiddies: A Box of Lights

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I saw this original pin a while back and literally made the split second decision to try it out this past weekend. We had (finally) purchased a second convertible car seat that would fit in my Mazda and it got me thinking: with empty boxes? And then I remembered this awesome Pinterest find...

The stay at home mom blog
Above is as link to the original idea

My Experiences
First let me say that this is a 10 minute project; super fast and easy peasy. Unless you're me of course and just happen to be having one of those days where nothing is easy...

I was making this for my gorgeous little 1.5 year old, Violet who is full of personality, willful as they come and so very smart.
There she is in her box of lights :)

She LOVES things that are sparkly, shiny and light up (sounds like mommy;) so when I saw this project I knew it was perfect for her. I was trying to be discreet while making it because if she noticed the lights they would be lost to me, with or without the box. Thus, I chose to put the box on the kitchen table and leave the lights unplugged while working- and THAT my friends, was my first mistake.
Now, I'm no decorating novice- I've strung my fair share of twinklies, I would never make the crucial mistake of decorating first, plugging later. There is nothing worse than spending hours stringing lights only to find out that they are dead, so I'm thinking, I just took them off the tree less than 3 months ago, why wouldn't they work?

Not so much...
So I poked holes in the box, pushed all the lights through and had a Clark Griswold moment when it didn't light. I was now back to square one with another set (the only colored set I had left.)
I checked them (good to go) and had to push them through yet again (really this only takes 5 minutes tops, but I was a bit exasperated at this point.) Unfortunately it took a little extra time since the bulbs on the second set were bigger so I also had to make the holes larger. I had the lights unplugged at this point, still trying to avoid catching Violet's attention while my hubby entertained her and finally they were all strung (again.) Yay!
I found an open space near an outlet, called Violet over and, bursting with excitement, I plugged it in...
and only half of the set lit up.
SO- that's how I left it. You can actually see in the pics that the lights towards the opening of box are out, BUT she loves it. Still, the moral of the story? Keep the lights lit as you work them through the holes!

So here's the breakdown:
Before you do anything, you'll need the right size box and really it depends on the age and height of your child, so it's up to you. To give you a reference, Violet is 18mos. old, about 33in. tall, and the box I used was a standard size car seat box. If she sat up straight the lights could poke her head, but she can still sit comfortably inside.

If you are using standard size (I think they're generally considered "mini" lights,) a Phillips head screwdriver works really well and pierces through the box easily creating the right size holes. The first time I put the lights in, I just poked holes in rows about 2 inches apart and inserted the lights as I went making sure to start with the plug end towards the back of the box. If you have bigger size bulbs (like I had to use the second time around) a pen works great to widen the holes.

Insert lights:
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, don't forget to leave the lights plugged in as you're doing this :)
All you have to do is push the bulb part through the hole and leave the green end hanging out and you're done! The original pin used rounded bulbs, so if the pointy bulbs (the standard ones do have a rounded end, but they're still pointy-ish) are a concern, there are other options, but sometimes you gotta use what you have- I didn't find the good, old fashion colored lights to be a problem.

Here's a close up of the top of the box. I know that standard light sets are made to be safe for decorating and I would be surprised if they could actually get hot enough to ignite the cardboard, but still use caution and don't leave the lights plugged in for too long- just to be safe.
Hours of fun in just a few minutes! Well, more like 5 minutes of fun, twice a day if your kiddo is anything like mine ;)

Hope you get a chance to try it out and don't forget to share your pics if you do :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DIY #1: Silhouette on wooden palette

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It's only fair that I start to share my first Pinterest attempt with the original post that inspired it so here it is:

My version is a bit different as I decided that a deer was a bit too "lodgy" for the shabby chic feel I'm moving towards in my dining room (which is where this will eventually hang.)

   Unfortunately this can't be done without the wood and it really will work best with a beat up old thing. I stumbled upon this piece washed up on the beach on the Outer Banks about 4 years ago and it has been sitting in my studio just waiting for amazingness. When I found that pin I felt like it was meant to be...

Ignore the bird poop...I did.

So I assume if you aren't lucky enough to have one of these lying around, a small palette could work as well.

First things First...
   I started by deciding how I wanted to treat each plank and collected the essentials:
Sandpaper, light teal latex paint and some white acrylic (I use Golden acrylic and the latex was eggshell Behr paint I had laying around from past projects,) a sponge brush, a utility brush , some wood stain in your desired shade and a towel and you're good to go for round 1.

Don't forget your smock! :)

Step 1:
   It's best to start with sanding the whole palette. It's important to pay special attention to any splintered areas since you'll be handling it quite a bit and don't want to worry about slivers ::ouch!::
   A sanding block is ideal (sold at all hardware stores) but any medium to heavy weight sandpaper will do the trick (I used a thin piece I had and it worked fine.) You'll see in the next picture that I jumped the gun a bit and didn't sand the whole things before I started painting...woops! I was a bit too eager. Not a big deal though, because the distressed look I was going for involves lots of sanding all around...

Step 2: Pick a plank and have at it...
   I started with my colored plank. This could really be any color, but there is something about this robins egg, tiffany-esque teal that I love- Start by painting the plank with a hard bristled utility brush (the one I used is shown in the pic of me above.) I mentioned already that I used Behr latex house paint in eggshell and it worked great for me.
   Paint one light coat on the top and sides of the plank. I decided to leave the back unpainted, purely because it will be hung on a wall and not seen anyway. Let this dry while you move on to another plank.

I kept a really light touch in the areas of the wood that I found most interesting. This made it easier to sand through these areas later and let some of the wood show again.

Step 3: Staining
   For the second plank I made sure the wood was really smooth. I was going for a more polished feel to contrast the roughess of the others. I used a spongebrush this time to apply a coating of wood stain, working quickly to help keep the stain even then used a rag to wipe it away. I chose to stain 2 planks so I finished both of them at the same time, following the same steps.

Step 4: Neeeeext...
   For the "white washed" section I used basic acrylic paint and dry brushed some white on. Dry brushing is basically applying the paint sparsley and rubbing it into the wood with the bristles. I kept an extra utility brush on hand as well to help texturize and rub the paint in a bit- this was especially good if I put too much paint down as it helped take away a bit of the excess.

Step5: Sand again
   Now it's time to go back to the beginning and get ready to put some elbow grease into it. Distressing wood creates really beautiful contrast and lets the beauty of the wood grain shine through while keeping those fun, rich pops of color. This step can be done to your taste- The more you sand and the harder the pressure, the more distressed the wood will appear. Don't be afraid to let some areas stay fully painted while some are very worn looking. This is the fun part and you can always add more paint if you sand too much away- sand over all the planks and see what you get!

A close-up of the finished palette...

Now time to add the silhouette!
   Unfortunately I didn't document this part as well as I wish I did now, but I will be specific, and really- there's not much to explain. Now is the point where you decide what you want to paint on your pretty palette. I went for a bird silhouette, but was seriously contemplating the deer like the original inspiration or even a simple owl design. Once you decide on a theme it's always helpful to use Google images for a visual reference (or if you can dream it up and free hand it, go you!) I googled "bird on branch" and found the basic shape I was looking for.
   The easiest way to transfer your image is to make a stencil. A big piece of poster board works great for this- sketch your design, cut it out and then arrange it on your palette in the position of your choice. Use a regular #2 pencil to trace your silhouette and then you're ready to paint!
Above you can see some of my pencil lines and the progression. I used the same Golden white acrylic to paint the bird and standard artist paint brushes os various sizes.

Ta-da! Well, almost...
   Paint as many coats as desired. You can do multiple for an opaque silhouette or paint it lightly and sand it to keep with the distressed feel. Below you'll see the (almost) finish product as it sits in my dining room as we speak Unfortunately, I have a penchant for unfinished projects. I only have a few more branches to fill in on the bottom and when I resume my grand plan to redecorate my dining room you can bet this baby will have a nice focal point to occupy. I'll be sure to post pictures!
I hope you have the opportunity to try your hand at this project- it really was a lot of fun and on a scale of 1-5, 1 being easiest and 5 the hardest I'd give it a medium 3 for difficulty. It's a good 5 hour project, but well worth it. Please feel free to share this, pin this or tell me about your own version of this project email me.

Happy crafting and pinning!


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