Friday, December 7, 2012

What is Shabby Chic decorating exactly? According to Wikipedia, Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their age and signs of wear and tear or new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. Accessible, affordable, comfortable and eclectic, this popular style features white painted furniture, painted motifs, colors, slipcovers and vintage fabrics.

And, yes I do love the look of Shabby Chic.

I've also noticed that other people love it as well. Let's face it, the vintage, eclectic look is back.  Granny's furniture is now looking very, very good. We no longer look to match everything exactly.  It's a free for all with decorating these days, and that bodes well for all of us!  Thrifty finds, garage sale treasures and furniture that can be converted into WHAT WE WANT, not what some furniture company wants us to buy. Lucky for us, right?
Here are some great examples.  These pieces of furniture probably looked a lot different at one time.

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I've decided to make myself some Shabby Chic style, framed chalkboards. There was some trial and error usual, but I finally got a finished product that I liked.

Supplies Needed:
*1 (any size you like) wood frame.  I got mine at the Goodwill for $2.00.
*Spray paint.  Color is your choice. White, cream and robin's egg blue work nice with this style.
*wood cut-outs or embellishments.  Found mine at Michael's Craft store. 2 for $2.00
*black glaze.  Got mine at Lowes.  Valspar black glaze-$18.00.  Not cheap, but lasts a long time.
*large piece of chalkboard found at Home Depot. Measures 2' X 4' for $9.95.  Much more cost effective than buying the chalkboard paint!  I got four chalkboards out of mine.


 1. Remove pictures and or glass from your frame.  lightly sand your wood frame.  Don't worry about dings and scratches-it's suppose to look old.

2. Glue on your wood cut outs.  Use a clamp to hold them.  Let dry.

3.  Spray paint your frame with the color you wanted. Let it dry over night. Here is one of the frames (the picture is sideways....ugh), but it has the wood cut outs added to the corners and it's spray painted blue.

Below is a closer view of the wood cut out.

4. Brush on the black glaze liberally.  Immediately wipe off with a rag.

Above is the frame with the addition of the glaze before it's wiped off.

5. Cut your chalkboard to the dimensions you need. I used a jigsaw to cut mine.  The chalkboard cuts very easily.  Sand the sides and then place into your frame. You can use staples or small nails to hold the chalkboard in place.  I my case, the stable were already in the frame.

Hopefully you already have a hook on the back, if not, just add one.

Your done!
Finished product shown below.
This one has the blue undercoat.

This one below has the white undercoat.

 And below......some little stained glass angels I made for our Christmas tree.
Cute, right?

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    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    Thrift Store Find

    I simple little project.  I found this "key" box in a local thrift store.  It was painted white and cost about $4.00.

    I started by giving it a light sanding.  I do this so the new coat of paint will adhere.  It only needed one coat of ivory to get the look I wanted.

    My next step was to use white and brown acrylic paint that I randomly applied to the front.

    After the paint dried, I sanded just where I placed the white and brown paint for a distressed look.

    The grand finale included a simple hand painted design on the front.  When you close the door, the design meets.

    Now we have a place to store the keys!

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    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    Sink Jewelry

    Bathrooms need updating, correct?  But who has the money to replace all of the fixtures, cabinets and floors? So the question becomes: how do you update, improve and bring up the value of your bathrooms?  There are at least a few things you can do that won't cost you tons of money.

    1. Painting is cheap and easy.  It can give you a new look, a fresh feel and make it look new again.
    2. The cabinets can be painted, stained or faux finished.  New handles can help update those old, tired cabinets.  Since you won't need many handles, it doesn't cost lots of money.
    3. New curtains, rugs and towel fixtures can help as well.

    I have posted plenty of tips on all these ideas in the past so you can always scan through the archives and check things out.  A while ago I took a good look at my bathroom on the main floor.  It had recently been painted and I had refinished all the cabinets and the floor was still in good shape, but it needed something.  Perhaps a new faucet?  Yes, indeed, that is what it needed.  The old one was a cheap, contractor grade faucet.  I enlisted some help from my brother in law and picked out a new one at Home Depot.  I've had him help me before replacing faucets, and I must admit that I'm getting better at it by watching and helping.  Actually I have found that taking out the original is hardest part!

    This is what I replaced it with.     It kind of reminds me of an old time water pump.  I love the look and especially the dark bronze finish.

    But, it needed something else.  Maybe some artwork? Sink jewelry?


    So I decided to add some art.  Specifically mosaic art.  I looked around the Internet and found these leaf shaped tile.  I placed them around the sink in a design that looks good to me.

     Next, I glued them on using Weldbond glue. In the past, I have mentioned this glue.  It is the very best for mosaics and other tough jobs.  Goes on white but dries clear.  Below is a closer look of the mosaic leafs.

    Here is a shot of the completed sink.  I know what you may be it hard to clean?  No, it really isn't.  I use a large soft brush and wipe.  No problem.

    I feel like the bathroom is truly updated now.  Painted walls, cabinets, a wood frame around the plain mirror, new faucet and some sink jewelry. People who visit always comment on the design, like they've never seen anything like......maybe they haven't.

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    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Faux wood graining saves the day.

    Faux Wood Technique

    Out on my back porch there are several wood columns that are currently painted white. I decided to change the color scheme of the entire porch from gray/white to soft gold/dark brown. To make a long story short, I had a problem....
    I painted the columns a dark brown. Three coats. Still streaky? ugh. I did sand them before painting but they still remained streaky. A few family members mentioned that the streaky look was appealing......... which gave me an idea. Why not try to do a faux wood finish on the columns to make it look just like a real piece of wood. I just happen to have a faux wood tool downstairs, so why not give it a try?

    Here's the tool.

    And how do you use it? I watched some videos on first and did a little research on Google. Basically it's a rock and drag motion. The more you rock, the more circular wood like grain you get. It's all in the wrist!
    I mixed up the original paint (dark brown) with black glaze. 3 parts paint and 1 part black glaze. The glaze takes some time to dry so you really have some time to work with it. If you make a mistake, you can fix it. I practiced the technique on an old piece of wood before starting this project.

    This is the streaky piece of wood that I didn't like: it actually looks like wood right now.
    Here it is after applying the faux wood technique.

    Now you can see a real distinct wood grain.

    Although you can't really see the column that well from the picture above, you get the idea! They now all look like that and a lot better than before, so the faux wood technique rescued my streaky paint job!


    My "sneaker head" son dared me to custom paint a pair of his sneakers. He wanted them painted in the "nerf" design (whatever that is). He downloaded a photo and gave it to me.
    He gave me a pair of white sneakers to work with.
    I had to use leather paints and a leather finisher.

    Here they are: I won the bet!!

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    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Fun and Easy Candle Holders

    It's not like I haven't made these before, but the more I make the more creative they seem to get. There is just no limit to what you have do to these candle holders. The glass globe or glass can be purchased at Walmart or any dollar store. I've never paid more than a buck for them.

    -Glass globe
    -Mod Podge (glossy or otherwise is fine)
    -Clear Spray for finishing
    -beads, small tiles, acrylic paint or anything else you have around
    -tissue (the kind you use to pack up gifts)
    -medium size paint brush

    I start out by cutting up squares out of the tissue paper. I used Mod Podge to attach all of them around the glass overlapping slightly. This process takes time, but goes by quickly. This actually gives the surface an opaque, mosaic look. White tissue works really well especially if you are going to add another design, but any color will do. Once this is complete and dry, you can add another tissue design and then embellish with paint, beads or anything else.

    Below I've got my Mod Podge out with some cut squares. Next to it is the globe, with some of the squares already applied. Yellow, in this case.

    I've cut out six petals from the tissue and Mod Podged them onto the glass globe. After that dried, I hand painted some random designs onto it using black acrylic paint. In the center I glued a yellow bead with some Weldbond Glue. Weldbond is great for glueing mosaics, stones and glass to any surface. I just discovered it last year and I'm in love. It sets up quickly and dries clear. It has superior gluing abilities!! Check here if you are interested in finding out more.

    Here is another one with a white background and red bandana tissue for the design, adding a white bead to the center. Notice I did not apply any tissue to the bottom rim. I just felt that it didn't need to be there.

    The same technique was done on this $3.00 thrift store tray. The tray itself was in great shape so nothing was done there. I simply cut large petals out of black & white tissue paper and mod podged them onto the tray in random positions. Again, adding a few red beads to the center of every flower.

    Everything gets a few coats of high gloss- clear coat on top. All sprayed before the beads are glued on.

    Below, taken from a past post are several more candle holders that are out of my porch. Same idea here.
    Last but not least, also taken from an older post.......some pumpkins.

    I'll be making some more of these for Halloween but his time on the round globes. These are just fun to make and easy too. I use t-lights in them for candles.

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    Saturday, July 28, 2012

    When In Doubt-paint your rooms neutral.

    I've received lots of email lately about painting rooms in the home, specifically the color. Many of those emails come from teenagers who are wondering what color they should pick. I've heard it doesn't like my choice, I'm going to college in 2 years and they don't want to repaint the room and I'm just not really sure what I want. Sound familiar?

    Painting a room is the most cost effective way to change the entire look. The color choice is sometimes good and sometimes, not so good. Pick the color, get the can home, put it on the wall and it looks terrible. It's happened to me plenty of times. Colors also change the feel of a room. Blue makes it feel cool, green is a great color to promote healing, red, orange and yellow promotes appetite (who needs that) and pink can make a room feel warmer. Timing plays a part too. What if you are planning on moving in 5 years? What if the kids are leaving for college in 2 years. Do you really want to paint that room a deep shade of red and then have to come back and redo the entire room again, primer and all??

    I responded to all that wrote to me about painting their rooms. My suggestion was to paint the room neutral. If you are moving, that works. If you kids are leaving for college soon, that works too. But what about color? Everyone has a favorite, so why not use that too. A neutral room with all the perfect colors. For the mom who didn't want her kid painting their room electric green, then paint it neutral and add the electric green everywhere else. A few examples.

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    The two photos above show neutral paint colors with bright punches of color and it looks great. Once the furniture and accessories are removed, you have a neutral colored room.

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    The above photo shows a bedroom where the neutral walls even exist in the brick work.
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    The above den has some real colorful accents added but the surrounding environment remains neutral.
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    This is especially pretty. The neutral wall color is white and the blue accents look amazing.
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    Neutral colors with additions of pink and green. Remove the furniture and your room is white.
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    I especially love the above room. Neutral beige on the wall, white furniture and tropical green accents.
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    The neutral walls work great in a kitchen as well. Here, the cabinets are also neutral. The lime color in the stools add so much to the room.
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    Pink and brown accents with a beige environment.
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    Black and hot pink against neutral. Wild and crazy, but removable.

    There are many things that can make painting a room neutral the right choice.
    -if you like change, go with neutral and change you accents frequently.
    -if you are going to sell your house in a few years, go with neutral. Selling agents always recommend neutral tones when selling your house.
    -if the kids are heading to college in a few years, you have just made your life a lot easier.

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    Monday, May 28, 2012

    DIY Decorative Hooks

    This is my latest project.  DIY decorative hooks. Easy, fun, cheap and yes, you can match them up to your own decor (that's my favorite part).  I purchased most of the items you'll see at Hobby Lobby.  Not everyone has this store near to them, but any craft store carries the supplies.  You can use just about anything you want to create this hooks. I started by buying a few wood plaques.  They ran me $1.00 each.  Took them home, sanded them slightly, and gave them a base coat.  See below.

    On the back, I installed a keyhole hook.  These hooks are put in so you can efficiently hang them onto a wall.  They are available at Home Depot and Lowe's.  I used my Dremel to sand out a pocket to the keyhole could be inserted. Fuzzy pic....but you get the point.

     On these hooks I added some small mosaic tiles.  I used Wellbond glue (the very best there is for mosaics). Let that set up.
     These are the hooks I purchased at Hobby Lobby with a 40% coupon.  They are porcelain and look very pretty on the plaque.  I used Wellbond again to adhere the hooks and then inserted 2 small you can see below. I painted those screws a dark brass color to match.

     I purchased this turtle in New Orleans and made a hook out of it. On this hook, I just painted the plaque green, adding some painted grass. (not seen in the photo, I added it after).

    Below is another hook I purchased in New Orleans. I painted the plaque brown, added some mosaic tile and finally, the hook.


    and there you have it.  Some fun, creative and functional hooks for the home.
    You can use mosaics, paint, Mod Podge, beads etc for the hooks.  They also make great gifts.

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