Archive | February 2012

Horizontal Stripes = Huge Impact!!

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  It was a good one for us, just busy.  I started the weekend helping out a friend with a bedroom makeover for  her daughter, and ended the weekend with a little project of my own.  The bedroom project still needs the finishing touches and some touch up, so I’m not ready for that reveal yet, but I’ll show you what I did at my house:

I painted stripes!!

This is the hallway that you see when you come in through the garage door.  This is where we keep coats, backpacks, etc.   At the end of the hall is our laundry room.   That room could use a makeover, but the inspiration hasn’t hit me yet.  Here are a couple more pics:

 In this picture I am standing in the laundry room, and that is the powder room off to the left.

Now for the details…There is definitely a “right” and a “wrong” way to do stripes.  Especially if you have a textured wall, which most people I know do.  The texture is the bumpy stuff that looks like an orange peel on the wall.  I think that textured walls are more popular on the western side of the US as compared to the midwest and east coast.  My in-laws live in Ohio, and their walls have very little texture.  They are almost completely flat.  It’s interesting that there would be differences like that throughout the US, but oddly enough there are many differences in home styles and architecture.  Maybe someday I’ll do some research on that.  Hmmm….Anyway, what was I saying?  So here is what we started with:

The wall was plain with some hooks that I found at Hobby Lobby a while back.    Here is the wall on the other side of the entrance to the kitchen:

My awesome hubs almost always does the taping for me when I paint.  He makes it look so easy!  I also recommend using Frog Tape too.

The blue painters tape works, but I have had much better results with this stuff.  It is a little more expensive, but in my experience it has been worth it.

The first step is to take the height of your wall and divide by how many stripes you want.  I have found that fewer, wider stripes look less busy.  My wall is 9ft, so I decided that it would be easy to just do nine stripes, 12inches each.  I took in to account the baseboard, which is about 5.5 inches, which left me at about 11.4 inches each.  You ALWAYS want to do an odd number of stripes!  The reason is because your baseboard is white, and your ceiling is white (usually) and that way the colored stripes aren’t touching the baseboard or ceiling.  It is hard to explain why, but take my word for it, it just looks better that way, and it is easier.  So start by painting your wall your base color.  In my case, I already really liked my base color, so that was a major step that I could skip.  It is a creamy beige color, so I chose white for my stripes.  I actually used the last of the “oops” paint that I bought to do my armoire.  If you missed that post, you can read about it here.  You just want to make sure that if your base paint is a semigloss, than your stripes should be a semi gloss also.   So here are my taped off stripes:

You might notice that some stripes appear larger than others.  That is because  your tape is on the inside of the stripe that is staying your base color.  Does that make sense?  Also, my hubs used my handy dandy laser level to get these stripes perfectly level.  It is a life saver I tell ya!  I need to contact Black and Decker and let them know how much I advertise that darn laser level.  Anyway, now onto the crucial part.  Mark the stripes that are going white (or whatever color you’re using) with a W.  It can get a bit confusing.  Next, take the base color (in my case beige) and paint along the inside of the stripes labeled with the W.

The reason you do this is because no matter how good you tape, some of your paint will bleed.  By painting with the base color just along the tape line, the color that will bleed will be the base color, and you’ll never notice it.   It will create a seal, and once it dries you can paint your white over the top and none of the white will bleed.   I learned this after much research and blog reading etc.  My first stripe project was at my last house and it was a stripe FAIL.  The colors bled and the more we tried to fix them the worse it got…..I plan to do a post all about my last house and you’ll see what I mean.

I rolled the white on with a roller and used a small angled brush to get really good in the corners and along the tape.  I used about three coats of white.  When the paint was almost but not quite dry, I peeled off the tape.  I’ve heard horror stories about peeling the tape the next day and taking some of the paint with it, so remove it before the paint is completely dried.  And here are my perfect stripes!

I couldn’t seem to take a decent picture close up, but trust me, they didn’t bleed AT ALL!! I just love them. They really dress up the area. I switched out the mirror for a more ornate one that I got at the Mona Lisa auction, and hung my hooks back up.  Here is another look at the before and after:


Are you bold enough to try stripes?  Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for coming by!


This Just May Be My Favorite Project Yet!

Hello everyone!  I am just over the moon about this last project.  Partly because it was purely experimental and it worked, and also because it involved a photo of my kids.  I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get enough photos of my kids.  It’s like capturing them in time and there are so many moments that I don’t ever want to forget.  As I sat and looked at this project last night I kept thinking about how I will be looking at this picture ten years from now reminiscing about when they were that age.  Sniff… Anyway, it is one of my favorite pictures of the two of them together, so I just knew that it was right for this project.

It all started when I was scouring thrift stores looking for the perfect desk.  I didn’t find a desk, but I found this:

I love that frame!  There are a couple of things I never pass up at thrift stores, and ornate frames are definitely one of them.  This beauty was higher in price than what I usually go for, but I couldn’t resist.  It was $8 and I seriously contemplated it.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it.  I knew it needed a really special picture so I started brainstorming.  A photo of my Dad? My husbands late grandparents?  Hmmm…so many good choices.  Then it hit me.  My favorite picture of the kids that was taken this past fall.  I love that picture so much that I knew I always wanted it framed, so it was a no brainer.  I remember hearing somewhere in blogland (I don’t remember where or I would site the source, sorry) that you can get really large prints done for super cheap at Office Max.  They are done on paper, not photo paper, just paper.  So I loaded my favorite pic onto one of those zip drive stick thingys and headed to Office Max.  I got an 11×17 print made for $.22.  Score!  22 cents is definitely in my price range.  This is what it looked like:

I headed out to my paint booth yard, and spray painted both the frame and the cardboard (painting?) white.  I just used $2 gloss white spray paint from Wal-Mart.  I sprayed the cardboard part white also because I didn’t want the dark colors to show through when I transferred my picture to it.

By the way, spray paint and snow don’t mix and it started dumping snow when I was one coat into this, so I rescued it from the yard and had to use my hair dryer to dry up the little drops of water.  Good times…  I finished it up in the garage, which I don’t like to do because the floor in there is still pretty unblemished, unlike the garage at my last house that looked like some sort of bad paint experiment…Anyway a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do and there’s no patience in crafting.  I went to work on my photo.  I covered the back of it with a pretty good coat of modge podge using a foam brush.

You can find this just about anywhere, even Wal-Mart.  I swear I’m not a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, but I could be, right?  Anyway, after coating the back of the picture I stuck it to the cardboard and smoothed out the wrinkles using a wrinkle smoother thingy that I think is meant for smoothing wallpaper.

I got the majority of the bubbles out, but a few wrinkles did emerge.  I liked that though.  I wanted something that looked like a canvas, not just a glossy photo.  If I wanted a glossy photo I would have just used one.  I wanted the look of one of those expensive canvas pictures.  After smoothing it out I started coating the top of the photo with the modge podge.

Modge Podge is basically glue.  It goes on white, but dries clear.  I coated the whole thing, let it dry for about 5 minutes, then coated it again.  All in all I coated it 4 times.

When it was all dry I put it into my newly painted frame and Walla!  Here it is:

I love it! It has a finish that is imperfect and it looks really good like that.  This entire project cost me less than $10 dollars. I already had the modge podge, so I bought the frame, spray paint and the print.  Here’s one more pic:

This was seriously so simple, anyone can do it.  I just love it when an experiment works out. Winning!  

Thanks for coming by!

How To Jazz Up A Bulletin Board…

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to complete a project that I’ve been working on. Boo…. I am turning a small coat closet off of my kitchen area into a small office/organization/craft area.   I bought the paint and the rest of the supplies and found a small desk on Craigslist.  As I went to pick it up though, I discovered that it wasn’t the right size for the space.  It is a tricky little area and I may have to disassemble the desk and rebuild it once it is inside the closet.  I am really hoping to find a cheap perfect little desk to salvage and redo for the space.  Something with a little character.  On a brighter note, as I was scouring thrift stores in the search of the perfect desk, I did find some really great things to repurpose into something AWESOME!  Stay tuned for that….Anyway, I did start on one portion of my office/closet makeover.  I started with this:

I found this at Wal-Mart for about $9.    I wanted a bulletin board to hang up my calendar, kids school schedules, etc.  I had hoped to find a bulletin board at a thrift store, but by this point I was losing my patience and this one was the perfect size for the space.  I wandered over to the fabric area and bought about 3/4 of a yard of a fun little fabric.  The fabric was about $4 a yard, so it cost me around $3.  I took it home and began stapling the fabric to the board like so:

Once it was all covered I decided that it needed a little flair.  Something like nailhead trim.  I just love nailhead trim.  I really didn’t want to have to go to Home Depot or anywhere else though, so instead I found these

They were on clearance at Wal-Mart for about $.60 a box, so I bought three.  I just started lining them up.

It was a little difficult to keep them in a straight line, but in the end it really wasn’t that noticeable.  When I was finished I had this:

And against my black door…..

 I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  It will be perfect for my closet/office makeover.  The entire project cost less than $15.  Thanks for coming by!

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Who Says You Can’t Paint Tile?

Hello Everyone!  I just have a quick post today to show a little tweak I did.  In case you missed my post about my stencilled wall you can read about it here.  After looking at it in different lighting, I decided to make a small change.  Here it was before:

And here it is now:

Do you see the difference?  It’s subtle….I painted the tile surround in the fireplace black.


And after:

I never have liked the color of that tile.  I had rubbed some silver rub-in-buff on it awhile back because the tile almost has a pink hue.  I wanted a contrast and didn’t feel brave enough to paint the entire mantle black.  What do you think?  Do you like it better.  I’m pretty sure I do.  And yes, you can paint right onto tile.  That is just regular ol’ latex paint.  One thing to keep in mind though, this is not tile we walk on, and it isn’t exposed to any water like in a bathroom.

I have one other trick to share with you.  My Mother-In-Love shared this with me shortly after we bought the house.  If you have a gas fireplace similar to mine, this may work for you too.  Here’s what I’m talking about:

See the two brass strips?  Ya, they’re removable.  Who’d a thunk?!  They are stuck to the fireplace with magnets.  They pull right off like this

I’m just not a fan of brass, so I ripped those suckers off right away.  Pretty crazy huh?  One last picture:

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great day!

A Stenciled Wall…

Hello everyone!  I’m excited to share my latest project with you!  Yesterday my wall went from this:

To this:

Isn’t that fun?!  (Please ignore the cute kiddos on the couch with bed head and the dog who is giving herself a thorough cleaning).  So let me tell you how I did it.  First I drew myself a stencil.  There was a bit of trial and error in this, I just found a shape I liked and drew it onto a piece of cardstock using a ruler and the edge of a bowl.   Next I folded the paper in half so that both sides were even and cut it out.  This is what the stencil looked like:

Next, starting in the very center of the wall at the top, I traced around my stencil using a pencil.  At this point my daughter began projectile vomiting on the couch, so I turned it over to my lovely assistant, Kash.

We had a few concerns with making sure that everything was level.  Each stencil builds on the last one, so if you were to start going crooked you’d have an entire crooked wall, so we whipped out my handy dandy laser lever  (LOVE that thing) and started lining up the stencils that way, working vertically down the wall.

I would love to be able to say that this went really quick, but the truth is, it was time-consuming and tedious.  After about four hours of this we had the whole wall covered.

You can see from the pictures that this was not exact.  No matter how perfect we tried to make it, there were some that overlapped, and some that didn’t touch at all.  In the end, it really didn’t matter.  We stopped at this point and the next day I went to TruValue and picked up this:

It cost about $6.75.  I started tracing over the shapes we had pencilled on the wall.

This part actually went really fast.  I think I had the entire wall done in about an hour.

When the entire wall was covered I took a damp cloth and wiped it all down to remove any pencil smudges.  Here is the before one more time:

 And After:

 I love how the silver looks different from different angles and lighting.  Sometimes it is very noticeable, and sometimes it is really subtle.  I love how it glimmers in the sunlight.

The entire project cost me $6.75 for the paint pen.  I LOVE it!  Thanks for coming by!

Oh ya, my lovely assistant, Kash, is still single.  And….he works out.

 Love that kid!

The Last Of The Details (A Bedroom for a Princess)

Hello Everyone!  This is my last post about my daughter’s bedroom.  Thank you for all the sweet comments!  It really means so much to me.  I’ve had a few questions about the tree so I wanted to share how that came to be.   I had seen a few murals of trees and came up with my own version.  I really liked the idea of having the frames hanging from the tree, and I wanted the tree to be in the corner and branch out to both of the adjacent walls.  I wasn’t completely certain how it would look before I started, so I just got started and it fell into place from there.

 I knew I was going to need to draw it out before painting it, and since I didn’t know exactly how it was going to come together I didn’t want to use pencil or anything else that might be difficult to get off the wall.  As I was pondering the situation I ran to the garage to grab a beer  soda, and stumbled across my kids sidewalk chalk and presto! Chalk would work perfectly!

I know it is hard to see in this picture, but that is our chalk outline.  Once again I utilized the drawing skills of my Brother-In-Law, Kash, to sketch the tree onto the wall.  He sketched and I critiqued, we wiped it off and started over, and then the look that I was wanting started to emerge.  He started to fill in the branches with a small fine brush while I started on the trunk of the tree with a roller.

I knew I wanted the picture frames to look like they were hanging from a branch on the tree, so the hardest part of the whole process was just measuring out where the frames needed to hang, then making sure that the largest branch fell through that line.  Lucky for me my fabulous hubs got me a laser level for Christmas and it worked beautifully!  When the paint dried we just wiped the chalk off the wall with a soft dry cloth.  Now onto those frames….

Those are $4  8×10 frames from Wal-mart.  Nothing fancy.  I knew I wanted my daughter’s initials, I just wasn’t sure exactly how it would come together.  I honestly walked around Michaels for like an hour trying to pick out the perfect scrapbook paper.  Just when I thought I’d found the perfect thing I’d second guess myself and put it back.  I ended up leaving empty-handed.  I remembered that I had some leftover fabric from one of the pillows I recovered so I cut out pieces of fabric and put that into the frames.  Next I cut pieces of black ribbon and hot glued it to the back of each frame to get the hanging effect.  Now how was I gonna get those initials?  I don’t have a Cricut or Silhouette or any of those fancy machines that cut vinyl and paper, so I had to get creative.  I found the font I wanted and enlarged it to the approximate size, then just printed it out on cardstock through my regular ol’ computer printer.  Then I just carefully cut each one out with scissors and attached them to the fabric with a bit of elmers glue and Walla!  There you have it, three frames with initials for about $14.    Now onto that chair…

Recovering a chair is a really simple and inexpensive way to get a whole new look without a lot of work.  This chair was a rescue from an abandoned shed at a house we rented a jillion years ago when we were first married.  I wish I had a “true” before photo.  I know my husband thought I was off my rocker when I dragged that filthy thing into the house.  I gave it a quick makeover with random fabric I had and used it at our computer desk.  Here is what it looked like with its first makeover:

That is a terrible picture, but the legs were black and very chippy looking, and the seat had a floral fabric while the back was covered in leopard velvet.  (My tastes have changed over the years)  Anyway, I started by spray painting the legs with this:

If you have never seen one of those spray paint dealy-bobs on the top of the can, let me tell you, they will save your finger in a big project!  Next I just covered the seat in some of the fur that I had left over from this project.  The top of the chair got a silvery,black floral velvet.

I think about the only other thing I haven’t covered in the room is the chandelier.  If you love chandeliers as much as I do, I really encourage you to look for them at yard sales, flea markets, etc.  So many people have taken down what they think are outdated chandeliers and replaced them with more modern ones, but with a little paint and a few crystals, you can completely transform an ugly chandelier.  This beauty was a beigy, yellowy, cream number that someone had attempted to redo already.  They had painted all the little flowers pink and the leaves green.  It was a nice attempt, but it really was hideous.  I have collected crystals over the years that I have found at antique stores and flea markets, so I just adorned it with a few of those after I sprayed it black.  I did it several years ago, so I don’t have any before pictures.  It really adds elegance to her room.  I just love it!  Total cost?  About $15.

That really wraps of the details of the room.  If I could give some advice on how to do a room like this, I would have to say to not over think it.  Don’t be scared to draw and paint on your walls, and just remember that it is YOUR creation and it will turn out fabulous.  There are no rules and no way to mess up!  Have confidence and just get started.  Once you start you have to finish, right?  Let the momentum carry you through.  Ok, enough motivational speaking…One more look at the finished product:

Thanks so much for coming by and reading about my daughters bedroom!  Have a great day, and stay tuned, I’ve got another fun project up my sleeve!

About That Armoire…

Hello everyone!  I wanted to break down some of the details of the armoire from my daughter’s bedroom.  In case you missed that post, you can read about it here.

The armoire was a Craigslist find from several years back.  My kids have a ton of movies and like to watch them in my daughter’s bedroom, so I needed a space for the TV and movies that wasn’t a total eye sore.  I wanted an armoire so that I could just close the doors when they weren’t watching.  The armoire is a very heavy piece, but nothing special.  It is just a pressboard concoction covered with a “wood look” laminate.  I had seen some furniture creations on pinterest and other places and had a few ideas about what I wanted.  I was a little worried about painting on laminate though.  This is how it started :

And here is what it looks like now:

I’ll just be honest though, this is how I really feel:

So here is how it all came together…Many of you have heard of chalk paint (not to be confused with chalkboard paint).  In a nutshell, it is this fabulous new invention that allows you to paint the surface of just about anything with little to no prep work.  You know all that sanding you hear about that has you completely turned off to refinishing a piece of furniture?  Ya, not with chalk paint.  I did no sanding what-so-ever, and this is laminate peeps!  The original inventor of chalk paint is Annie Sloan.  Although her paint is fabulous, it is extremely expensive and hard to find.  So what’s a girl to do?  Google it of course!  I googled how to make my own chalk paint, and there it was.  One cup latex paint with one tablespoon of unsanded grout.  So I went to Wal-Mart and found a can of “oops” paint that was marked 50% off.  Score!!  It was a basic white, so I couldn’t go wrong.  They didn’t sell grout, so I went to Ace hardware and found a box for about $8.00.  It is huge and will last me forever.  Here are my supplies:

It really cracks me up how this whole project came to be.  My husband, brother-in-law and I took the kids to seriously the worst restaurant ever for breakfast and over much heartburn and indigestion I completely convinced my brother-in-law to start this project with me.  He’s no stranger to my crazy, spontaneous decorating adventures.  He is a single college student who just landed an awesome intern position in the same town that we live.  Pretty awesome.  He has always lived several hours away until now, so it has been a blast having him around.  I know that he is seriously scared inside every time I start talking about a new project!!  Anyway, he has dabbled with drawing over the years and so I knew he’d be the perfect person to help me carry out this vision of mine.  Here is a pic of it right after we got started:

All we did was mix our paint (one cup latex to one tablespoon grout)and stirred really well.  We took off the doors and handles and taped off the rest of the hardware.  We just painted it right where it stood with a big sheet under it.  There was no way we were moving it downstairs!  I used a small foam roller while he used a brush.  The grout gives it an almost textured finish, so we decided that the brush strokes of the brush looked better than the roller.  This proved to be a MUCH bigger project than I initially thought!  Not hard, just time consuming!  It took several coats.  Sometimes the paint/grout combo would get a little thick, so I watered it down with a splash of water and just stirred it right in.

I made Kash pose in this terrible shirt (he had to borrow it from me because I wouldn’t let him run home and get paint clothes) that was way too small.  Here it is with only one coat on it.

After about three coats we let it sit and started on the walls.  The paint color I chose for the wall was Granite Grey by Gliddon

I gave the armoire one final coat of white without adding grout to finish it off.  It turned out awesome.  We actually didn’t start the design on the front until the rest of the room was finished and the paint had dried on the armoire entirely.  This is where Kash had to use his skills.  I printed out the picture I wanted him to draw and showed him exactly where on the armoire that I wanted it to be.  I wanted it off centered and to seem like it was falling off the edge.  He was able to take a small picture and draw it on the front of the armoire to scale.  And he made it look pretty easy.  At this point we used a little finishing brush to fill in his drawing with the same grey Gliddon paint that we used on the walls.  I considered using a lacquer to seal the entire piece, but decided against it when I noticed that it was yellowing the paint.  So it has a very thin coat of lacquer underneath the TV, but nowhere else.  So far it is holding up great!  It was quite a bit of work, but I think it was worth it, don’t you?

So back to that Brother-In-Law of mine…Did I mention that he’s single, and in a frat?  Oh ya, and here is a better picture of him:

Alright, now he’s gonna kill me.  Thanks for stopping by!  Let me know if I can answer any questions for you about painting with chalk paint!

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