Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9 of 10: Orange bench

Michaels sells a couple brands of chalk paint, so I decided to give them a try to see how they stack up against the Annie Sloan stuff. I took a little unfinished wooden bench that we've had forever and gave it one red coat followed by two burnt orange coats.
The paint went on easily and dried quickly. I can't report much difference between brands. I did use my Annie Sloan soft wax to seal it, and wow, what a difference that makes to the richness of the color.
I'm starting to wonder if you can get good results with any paint at all, as long as you seal it with the magic wax.

The detail shot above makes it look much more yellow, but in real life, it's orange. The Texas Longhorns fans that live with me are impressed. Theo is too young to know team colors, but he thinks it's a good place for stuffed animals to sit.

Monday, September 21, 2015

8 of 10: Chair makeover with chalk paint

My birthday month project has gone a few months beyond schedule. It's never too late to finish, right? Here's number 8, and I hope to crank out numbers 9 and 10 this week as well.

Surprise! More blue chalk paint!
My lovely assistant Matt cut a new drop-in seat bottom from plywood, and I covered it with one of the most delicious fabrics ever made.
The chair was black when I bought it at a thrift shop, and I painted a layer of lime green first, then blue. I wasn't planning on distressing all the way down to the black layer, but that's what happened, and it works for me.

 Here's the before and after:
I'd like to do the second chair another color, but I'm not ready to spring for another can of the good paint. Any chalk painters out there want to do a trade?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I dye

I finally admitted that mustard yellow is one color that should never be near my face, so I gave a makeover to a sweater that was cute in shape but wrong in shade. Sadly, I forgot to take a "before" picture of it, but it used to look very much like this. Here's the simmering vat of kelly green dye water.
 I also threw in a white t-shirt.
Here's the result. I don't know if I didn't use enough dye, but the t-shirt came out lighter than I had hoped. However, I love how the cardigan turned out.
 I stepped outside to get a truer picture of the color. Man, I'm terrible at taking selfies. I'm just like, "Am I supposed to smile at myself? Look aloof? I feel stupid..."
Fresh off my green sweater success, I turned to another couple of items whose design I like but color I don't. Pale, peachy pink and bright tangerine are both great, but not with my skin.
 Here's what they looked like after a dunk in wine colored dye:
(It's missing the middle button. I'm working on that.) These last two photos were taken by a child standing on a wobbly chair. But at least we avoided my selfie face.

If you are thinking of playing with Rit dye, I recommend starting with something that's not precious to you, preferably purchased for two dollars at your favorite thrift shop. My limited experience says that the best results come from starting with a light colored fabric and adding a dye in a related but darker color.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer motto

Remember this?
I was ready for a change, so I let the big boys paint over it with black.
I've wanted to turn this song lyric into a piece of wall art for a long time. To get the spacing right, I sketched the words on paper and laid them in place. Then I removed one at a time and painted each word on the canvas.
In order to get a slightly different font than my regular handwriting, I painted the letters in the opposite direction that I usually would. For example, I wrote the letter S starting at the bottom rather than the top. You could also turn the whole thing upside down and write your letters that way. (I think that's a forger's trick.)
Don't you hate when you see a sign where the letters don't all fit on the line? Like GARAGE SAle, with the last couple letters scrunched up on the right? I tried to avoid that by writing the middle letter first, and then building the rest of the word around it. It didn't quite work with "friend", but I'm going to let it go.
I hung it in a conspicuous spot, so that naughty boys will see it each time they are sent to their rooms due to fussing and fighting.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Here's what I've been reading:
 Such a great cover, such a depressing peek into the mind of a single dude. Nate, you stink.
I liked the blog when I first discovered it, but the finished products included here were often not stellar enough to justify an actual book.
I'm in the middle of this and loving it. This is what a feminist looks like.

Last night I went with some friends to see Shakespeare in the park.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there's no room for feminism in The Taming of the Shrew, as long as you are using the original text. The show was well done, but the story...blech. I love Shakespeare, but I'll stick with 10 Things I Hate About You when it comes to this one.
Last weekend we showed our kids the Hobbit cartoon.
It was a fun flashback to my childhood, and no Gollum nightmares (so far). Hooray!

However, in other nightmare-inducing news, last week I found a scorpion on my son's backpack and ran over a four foot snake as it crossed the road just a few houses down from ours. According to the neighbor who found it, unharmed, and GATHERED IT INTO A YARD WASTE BAG before re-homing it somewhere wilder, it was a harmless rat snake. Ok, then.
I am thankful for all of the rain we have been getting recently. It is desperately needed, and I wish we could somehow share it with California. But I don't appreciate the side effect of snakes seeking dry ground in the same place where my toddler toddles.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

7 of 10: Chalk painted mini drawers

Let's cut straight to the before and after, because I think it's pretty awesome:
 (Purchased at Target many years ago from one of their dorm room collections.)
I've never used chalk paint, but my sister Rachel raves about it. There are tutorials for making your own, but for my first attempt, I bought the brand name stuff.  I found it at a shop called Kalology on South Congress, and though the store is charming and the lady was very helpful, it was still tough to hand over the $70 it cost for a small pot of blue paint and even smaller pot of wax sealer. As my dad would say, Annie Sloan sure is proud of her stuff.
(Everyone swears that it goes a long, long way, so once I've covered everything I own in blue, I might be ready to buy another color.)
I've got some chairs I'd like to paint, but I decided to start small and get the feel for it. I did a coat of purplish craft paint first, then two coats of the blue chalk paint, sanded a bit to let the purple show through, and then waxed it.
For a minute I thought, "This stuff is beautiful! Let's paint all the kitchen cabinets with it!" But then I got to the "wax on, wax off" step and changed my mind. I hardly had enough elbow grease to finish my approximately 2 square feet in one sitting.
I used scrapbook paper and Mod Podge to cover the front of the drawers, and voila! A beautiful hiding place for about a hundred electronics chargers and other miscellany.
I'm sure my counter will stay exactly that neat and tidy from now on.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

5 and 6 of 10: Necklace and painted frame

I've had this necklace 80% finished for about a year. Now it's done!
I love the idea of an off-center necklace, but in practice, it is difficult to get the weight to balance correctly. I'm going to have to road test this one to see if that leaf stays put or twists around and falls to the bottom.
Next up is a frame that I've had for years and always disliked the colors. I know that the shabby chic aesthetic had its moment in the sun, but was barn red and minty toothpaste green ever a good pairing? I say no.
I used cheap craft paints and covered up my least favorite shades with blues, greens, and gold. Now I love it.
This frame holds a bunch of pictures from our European backpacking adventure of so many years ago. Here's Matt pretending to dance with me in front of the "you are sixteen, going on seventeen" gazebo in Austria. Yep, we took the Sound of Music tour. It was cheesy and fabulous.