Creating an Antique Look with Chalky Finish Paint

Easy Peasy Slipcover

I've got cats and cats love sleeping on furniture.  My long-haired cat is forever choking up hair balls, usually while she is on my sofa and then I have one royal mess to clean up.  I've been combatting this issue by using throws over the areas where the cats sleep - but I am so tired of the look of throws everywhere...

Here is my sofa:

I like my sofa, I'd even like to just leave it looking like this all the time, but I can't stand the cat hair and cleanup duty.   I explored the idea of sewing my own covers for the cushions only, but I don't have a sewing machine and the thought of hand sewing the covers makes me shiver.  I Googled slipcovers but I find them all horribly expensive, especially since I only really want them to keep my sofa safe from cat hairballs and such.   

I want something inexpensive, reasonably attractive in a colour I like and that I can chuck in the washer & dryer as often as I like.

Enter Ikea and the Indira 100% cotton bedspread for under $20.  Can you say love??  LOVE LOVE LOVE.   I already own 3 of them because they are so versatile and they come in green, white, brown & navy.  They come in two sizes as well (bigger is more expensive, of course).
INDIRA Bedspread  INDIRA Bedspread IKEA
The chocolate brown one would be sweet, but since I already have 3 of these bedspreads, I'll spare myself the $20 and use mine.  

I don't like the look of those slipcovers that look like a blanket thrown over the couch - reminds me of those movies where people go into unused houses and everything is covered with dust sheets.  Instead I wrapped and tucked the bedspread around the cushions only.  If I was really into it, I'd sew the outer edges around the cushions (the ones that can't get tucked in) just to keep things from sliding around but since I'm lazy, I'll use a safety pin instead.   The bedspread is long enough that it doesn't come untucked from behind either set of cushions.   It doesn't slide around that much either, I'm very happy to report!!
 That's Maggie.  Doesn't she look so sweet, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth??  NOT!  For my next trick, I'm going to figure out how to paint those raised bars to look like ticking stripes...  have I mentioned paint is my life??!!

Not bad for $20 and 5 minutes worth of tucking and wrapping!  


Funky Boat Lantern Lamp

I have this really cute boat lantern tea light holder.  When I was looking at it today (because it is right in my line of site in the living room), I decided to use a different approach to lighting it up.

I have one string of battery-powered LED lights kicking around in a drawer in my kitchen.  I decided to use it with the boat lantern, but it's just one tiny string of lights and the boat lantern is quite large in comparison.

Cute huh?

The idea of cramming grapevine balls came to mind, so I got out a few but the opening of the boat lantern was so tight that I knew I would never get those balls back out again.   Enter the simple 1 cup mason jar.

Here are my tools:

I wound the light string around my hand to distribute the lights evenly and pushed it into the mason jar.  I had to use the lid to cover the tea light holder in the bottom because the jar kept slipping off it.

Make sure the battery pack is at the top & the switch is facing you!!

Hmm, this seems to be working out!

Cute!  Crooked, but cute!

Cute, funky boat lantern lamp.


Rainy Night & a Quote

I painted my very first oil painting quite a while ago but I decided to share it today with all the fabulous artists over at Paint Party Friday.  But first, the quote of the week from the fabulous and very wise Maya Angelou:

I began my project by searching through Google for paintings with bright colours.  My inspiration piece:

 Isn't it fantastic??!!  The artist is Mike Grubb.  I love the colours and the chunkyness of this work.  The brushstrokes are fabulous and the whole painting draws me in.  I love, love, love it!

So I began by painting the background.  Don't ask me what that spoon-like thing is behind the first streetlight!

See my makeshift easel?  It's a chair!!  lol

Here it is when I first finished it:
 And then I "fixed" it

And "fixed" it again!  Here is my final version:

No chunky strokes or fabulous amazing colours on colours here.  I guess I blended things too much.  See what obsessive compulsive behaviour gets you?!  If I could go back, I would have left the painting alone at its first inception; however, that being said, I adore my painting and although it bears only a slight resemblance to the original inspiration piece, I am thrilled with it!

Overall the oil paints were too smelly for my liking and took too long to dry in between layers - I am way too much of an instant gratification junky to wait that long!!  I did really like how the colours merged and blended together, though.  Maybe someday I'll try oil again, but only if I'm outdoors!!

found on Pinterest

Signs, Signs, Signs (Crackling with Elmer)

I love signs but I'm not very good at making my own!   When Meg from Nutmeg Place and I both liked the same sign on Pinterest, we decided to do a shared blog post on creating our own crackled paint signs.

I googled more home made stuff and found out that you can use Elmer's white glue as a crackle medium.  Well, I have Elmer's glue on hand and I'm always up for trying home made stuff so I glopped it onto a board I had handy and used a foam brush to swirl it around.  I waited 5 hours and painted over the top, careful to follow the instruction of using one thick coat and not brushing the paint more than once or twice.  Apparently the more you brush, the less the glue will crackle the finish.  That part went really well and I got a crackled look.  Then I completely screwed up my words on the sign and had to start over, duly forgetting the part about not over brushing.  It didn't crackle... I sanded off the top coat of paint and tried re-lettering.  My sign looked old all right, in fact it looked ancient!!

Painting Out 1930s Wood Trim

I can't believe I did it.  I can't believe how much work it was.  I can't believe I plan to do more...

But it looks pretty amazing!! 

Part of the charm of the home I bought a year and a half ago was the untouched original woodwork.  Unfortunately, someone along the way had decided to shellac the wood making it very, very shiny which, of course, accentuated all the dings and scrapes that had occurred over the years.  In addition, the woodwork was made out of fir which generally turns a dark orangey colour over the years.  I'm not fond of orangey wood any more...

So last year, I took the plunge and painted the two wood paneling walls in the house - one in the dining room and one in the living room.  I love the look of the painted paneling.  Here's the before & after of the living room wall:

and here is the after shot of the dining room wall of paneling (I never took a before shot of the room - too much of a hurry to do my project!)

See all the orange trim???  Beautiful in its own way, and that is what made it so difficult for me to take this plunge.  That being said, half the baseboards in the living room were original to the house and half were replaced when the addition was built 3 years ago so they are not the same colour.  Plus the wood colour doesn't match the floor colour.  My choices?  Strip and refinish the old wood or paint everything the same colour.  It was a dilemma!  Until I had a conversation with one of my girlfriends on Friday.  Her words - " ya, fir always turns orange over time".  !!!!!  Lightbulb moment!  So even if I go to the backbreaking, long & tedious work of refinishing this wood, it was just going to turn back to the same ugly orange again.  Decision made - paint it is!!!

I washed all the trim and doors and baseboards with TSP and then rinsed them.  I also used Zinsser's Cover Stain oil-based primer because it's supposed to cover shiny surfaces without the need for sanding.  I didn't sand either.  The paint is Behr's paint & primer in one in a colour I mixed myself to be more of a light coffee cream colour than the Almond Cream that I had bought.

Let me say now that I am not good at cutting in. In fact, I will generally do anything in my power to avoid that job, but in this case I had no choice.  I have to say that overall it was a good experience because I am now very practiced at it and have developed a better technique.  But it took me 12 hours to develop that technique.  12 hours of crawling across the floor.  I hate trim...

Here are the befores & afters:





Granted the dining room looks much more impressive than the living room but the exposure is so much nicer in this room.  My living room is quite dark in comparison!  I'm also hoping to use my favourite door as a replacement for the door to my front porch -

It's too tall and 1/4 inch too wide so I need to figure out how to cut it down to fit.  Wouldn't it be fab?!

Incidentally, I never did paint the newer trim in the living room because it joins up with the hallway trim and I thought it would look odd.  The living room portion is mostly hidden by the couch anyway.  Once I got used to the idea of  painted trim, I decided that it would look best if all the trim in the spaces that join up visually were painted the same creamy white.  So, how to avoid another 12 hours of cutting in?  I'm going to paint the entire hallway - ceiling, walls & trim - the same colour! The trim will be in a pearl finish so it should look a little different from the wall, but no cutting in other than where the trim meets the floor!!  I am so brilliant I've even inspired myself!  lol

Have a happy & creative week!

To see all the before photos in their horrifying highly lacquered orangeness:  It's Decided
To see the rest of the updates:   the Turquoise Door

Easy Peasy Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

I've seen mason jar soap dispensers all over Pinterest lately and this weekend I finally took time to create my very own version!

Tah daaaaah!!!

I had the jar, I had the lid, I had a soap pump because I just finished using up a Christmas gift plastic soap dispenser - put it all together and EASY PEASY CUTE SOAP DISPENSER!  Forgive me for shouting...

The only part that I struggled with a bit was making the hole in the lid big enough to fit the pump that I was going to use.  I drilled a hole in the center of the lid and then used needle nose pliers to bend back the opening little by little until I had just the right fit.  Once I got everything assembled, I realized that the lid would look better if it was the same colour as the pump - so out came the black spray paint.  I love this project!  Total time spent:  10 minutes (not including waiting 1/2 an hour for the spray paint to dry).  You can also use a glue gun or silicone caulk to keep the pump securely in place.  That might prevent some rusting as well.

I had two jars to choose from - a clear jar and a jar that I had painted last fall by dipping the jar in a can of paint (that was a very messy job that I don't recommend anyone else try!!!).  I like them both, but opted for the clear version so I know exactly when I'm running out of soap.  A little extra touch was a twine bow and it's good to go!!

UPDATE:  My soap jar has been used multiple times daily over the last 14 months and the lid now needs to be replaced due to rust.  My suggestion is to make several lids at the same time so you can swap them out when the rust gets bad.   Easy peasy!

Have a happy & creative week!!

Home Made Paint for an Antique Look

Home made paint with a chalky finish - what a concept!  No sanding? No priming?  Are you serious???  OK I'm so in!!!

A fresh new look & I've been tagged...

My blog has been revamped!  After three separate reviews and only one reviewer that liked my blog as it was, I opted to lighten up the colours and change my font and header photos.  I'd love to know what you think of the new look, so please leave me a comment!

I've been TAGGED!

My friend Myric from Petites Passions has tagged me.  The rules for the game of tag follow:

The Rules: 
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then
create eleven new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
4.Tag eleven people and link them on your post
5. Let them know you've tagged them! 

So here goes:

Facts about me: 

1 - I am a Pinterest junky!
2 - I will do a project over and over and over until I get it right.  This probably doesn't qualify as a "fun" fact.
3 - I am an early morning riser and I love it!  Usually nobody else is around when I hop out of bed, fresh as a daisy every morning :)  
4 - I am becoming a power tool junky (thanks a lot Gail & Mimi!)(no I really mean that!!)
5 - I love to paint and I will paint ANYTHING!!  My ex-boyfriend used to say that I would even paint him if he sat still for too long...
6 - I love to write & I've just started writing for a local e-newspaper.
7 - I love clothes - 'nuf said!
8 - I want to go to FRANCE!!!!!!!!!!  
9 - I love to travel, but other than England, I haven't been outside of North America.
10 - I designed & helped to build my last house.
11 - whew, this is hard!!  I love the blog friends I have made & look forward to meeting many more new friends through blogging.

This is probably more than you ever really wanted to know - and now there's even more to come:
  1. Where is your ideal retiring place?
    Carmel, California (for when I become a millionaire)

  2. Which food you do not see yourself eating?
    NEVER will liver&onions pass these lips.

  3. If you have an opportunity to ask one question to your favorite celebrity, who and what question will it be? 
    I can't say that I have a favourite celebrity...

  4. What do you think is the most romantic food?

  5. Whose blog do you visit the most?
    Karianne from Thistlewood Farm, she brightens my day & always makes me laugh, not to mention being an awesome decorator!

  6. If you are to award one blogger who and what would it be?
    Karianne again!  The Wittiest Blogger.

  7. What are you passionate of the most?
    Creating anything - from food to buildings.  I love coming up with an idea and then using my own hands to create it.

  8. What other foreign language do you wish you could speak?
    I speak French and English but would love to learn Spanish.

  9. Which era in the history would you like to go back for a visit and why?
    I refuse to look back!!

  10. Were you a member of a club in high-school? If yes, what was it?
    The Rifle Shooting Club - probably should have mentioned this in my fun facts, lol!  I'm awesome with a '22 but years later when I tried to learn to shoot a '357 magnum, all I could hit was the overhead light in the shooting range (I was really, really good at doing that too!!  If you need any lights shot out, I'm your girl.)

  11. Do you prefer Savory or Sweet dish?
    I can't decide so I eat them both.

    I'm going to break with this tradition here and only tag 3 people because I've already mentioned them, they're fabulous & I think you should all get to know them better!  and the questions for you to answer are the same as the ones I've just answered above (yet another fun fact about me is I sometimes cut corners...).

    Karianne @ Thistlewood Farm
    Mimi @ Blue Roof Cabin
    Gail @ My Repurposed Life

    Have a great week!!

My Impossibilities Challenge or How to Reno a Bathroom for $3000

Via Pinterest
My home has two full bathrooms - or rather had two full bathrooms.   One was installed four years ago and is up-to-date and comfortable.  The other ... well,  whoever reno'd it last thought tongue & groove pine from floor to ceiling in an orangey stain colour would be an attractive compliment to mint green fixtures.   The light fixture over the sink had a chain attached that was strung along a wall through eye-hooks over to the door trim to switch it on & no, I didn't take any before photos...

Anyhow, when I first bought this house and did my kitchen reno, I was dating a contractor who was going to help me do the work on the bathroom. The bathroom is now gutted, the relationship is over, the budget is minuscule and guess who is going to do a lot of the work?  Yup, that would be me.  I love a challenge!!

I've removed the toilet and bathtub and all of the plywood(!) tub-surround and bathtub tiles.  I hired a plumber to cap the lines so they are now out of the way.  I even found a framed-out space for a window when I ripped out all the tub walls, so I can install a new window myself!  Whew, what a relief not to have to worry about headers and structure and all.

This is what the bathroom looked like after I pulled the toilet out and pulled all the tiles down, thing of beauty, eh??
There was a storage bin over the bathtub.  Weird!!

I want a timelessly lovely bathroom.  Wish me luck!  I'll keep you posted on my progress.


Check out Part II  HERE

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers (Painting & a Quote)

This has been two weeks of flower paintings!  I definitely have spring fever!!!

Here is the quote of the week:
Via Pinterest

and now for the paintings:

Another birthday, another painting!
Acrylic on 5x7 canvas board

I sponged cream paint over an old painting to get this look.  Not sure I like it!
Acrylic on 8x10 wrapped canvas

Acrylic and Watercolour on 9x12 Watercolour paper

Acrylic on 9x12 watercolour paper
Pretty in Pink

Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself.
-George Bernard Shaw

Have a happy week!

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