Friday, June 23, 2017

A Dreamy Nursery

I love working with expectant mothers as they plan their babies' nurseries.
Each mother has a unique vision for their little one's room,  
and they find their inspiration in unexpected places. 
This nursery was inspired by a card attached to a gift received at a baby shower. 
The wall where the crib will be is painted dove grey,
while the remainder of the room is pale blue-green.

We decided to keep the design very soft and dreamy.
First, I sketched the cloud and moon on the wall.
Then, washed around it with a watery mix of color.

 See the cornice at the ceiling?
That's where drapery panels will hang.
The sheer fabric is flecked with metallic thread and will drift around the crib.
I glued Swarovski crystals across the background to give the effect of twinkling stars. 
If you're going to do this, I can recommend E-6000 glue.  
You can find it at Target, Walmart and Michael's.
Tho' they don't show well in the photo,  
the crystals catch the light from the windows and sparkle brilliantly even in daylight. 
Notice both the pink and blue teddy-bears....
will it be a boy or girl?
Our expectant mother wants to be surprised, so she's planning for both.
By the time you read this, the room has been completed and the baby has arrived.
It's a girl!

Friday, June 16, 2017

FLEA MARKET SIGN - getting the words onto the wood

I've been asked how I made the FLEA MARKET sign in last week's post about tiling our fireplace.
I'm glad to share with you how this one was made.
Making signs is fun and easy.   Plus, they make great gifts for your shabby-chic friends!

The wood came from my favorite antique/salvage shop.
I bought it because of the shape, but you could easily make this sign with a new board
and it would be just as interesting.
The shopkeeper told me that this wood originally was part of a fireplace mantle,
but it seems more likely that it was once part of an oak dresser.
At 42" and with a routed profile, it was perfect sign-making material. 
Oh yes!  I snagged this!

Because the wood had so much character, there was no need for extensive sanding and painting.
I loosely brushed on white paint, leaving it heavier in some places and lighter in others.
Then I took a little black paint and accented the routed edge.

If your computer doesn't have the font you like, head to the internet.  and  are two of many websites
 that offer free down-loads of fonts.
You can spend hours browsing for just the right font.  
It's easy to get distracted. Believe me, I've done it!
For the FLEA MARKET I used OLD BOB font.

Here are two ways to get the words onto the wood:

1. Use an overhead projector, (like this) or project directly from your laptop if you're able. 
  • With your computer's Word program type the text. Enlarge the type size. 
  • Print the words on Transparency Film.
  • Project the image onto paper cut to size of the sign. 
  • Transfer the text onto the surface using charcoal paper.  Paint.
2.  Use
  • Use your computer's Photo editing program to create a jpg file of your text.  
  • Go to and follow instructions to up-load your file.  Blockposters will let you customize the size and layout of our design. 
  • Down-load the file to your computer. 
  • Print the sheets and tape them together.  Transfer the text onto the wood.  Paint.

To make painted letters look old,  dry brush some of the background color over them.
Check out the THE GRAPHICS FAIRY for vintage images to use in your design.
That's where I found the image of the pointing hand.
Her designs are jpeg and readily can be used by Blockposter.
So have fun with this!


Friday, June 9, 2017

Fireplace Up-date with Herringbone Tile

Several years ago we added a fireplace to our livingroom.
 At the time, I couldn't decide what to do around the firebox, 
so I plastered the area temporarily until I could figure it out.
Somehow, tiling the fireplace was low on my to-do-list 
 until one day it was time for a change.
Then I saw this herringbone tile at Home Depot and knew it was just right for the fireplace.

Here's how we made the change: 
 First, in order to hide the raw edge of the tile,
we added a metal channel at the edge of the firebox.
While I measured, Dearly Beloved set up the wet saw.
Normally cutting tile is fairly straightforward.
However, this tile, with its raised profile was a challenge. 
The small triangles wobbled during  each cut, so it took a bit of finesse to get it right.
But oh my!  Seeing the change taking place was exciting!

Little by little, the new tile went into place.
I'm lovin' it!
The tile's profile made it impossible to grout with a rubber float. 
Doing it by hand was the best approach. 
Don't you like my fancy gloves?
As far as most of my DIY home projects go, this was fairly inexpensive.
It cost slightly less than $150 and we completed it in an afternoon.
To me, the result is priceless!


Friday, June 2, 2017

Another Oak Kitchen: cabinets painted black

Shawn likes everything about her home - everything thing except her kitchen!
She's planning to update by adding granite, new lighting, a tile backsplash and a new wall color. 
Custom cabinets weren't in the budget, so I was asked to paint the old ones.

Although these are builder-grade, standard cabinets,
they have two things going for them: 
they are in great condition and they have Shaker-style doors.

The cabinet bases were brushed, but I sprayed the cabinet doors in the workshop.
However, finding an efficient way to dry all of them at one time was a challenge.

The problem was solved with ladders and lengths of 1x2.
We set up several stations in the workroom, 
and found we had ample space for all the doors and drawers.
I've shared tips for painting Kitchen Cabinets before.  You're welcome to read more HERE

We decided to lightly distressing the edges of the cabinets.
Distressing gives the doors brings bit of personality,
plus it will camouflage any wear-and-tear that may occur over time.

Here's my favorite sanding tool:   DREMEL MULTI-MAX 
(I'm merely giving my opinion based my experience, and receive no incentives!)

So why do I like the MULTI MAX?
It's light-weight and the sanding pads easily attach with velcro.
No slipping or tearing.
But best of all, the triangular shape lets me control where the distressing goes
and how much to add.
See how easily you can skim the edge?
Another bonus for this project:
The family allowed me to paint the cabinets while there were out of town.
This was ideal because I didn't disrupt their daily routine,
and the paint had ample time to cure before the cabinets were used.

What a treat it was for them to arrive home to their "new" cabinets.
The entire character of the room changed!
And it will only get better from here, as more gets done.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Recipe Box Makeover

This recipe box lounged about for years, unpainted and forgotten.
I rediscovered it in a cabinet while cleaning the workshop.

Because painting is much more fun than cleaning, 
I put down the broom and decided to do this project IMMEDIATELY!

I painted the box with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint because it dries quickly 
and requires no priming.
A scruffy brush and a dab of black paint dragged over the white paint
 gives the box some character,
while the design on the lid is a portion of a stencil.

I thought about gluing a snippet of ribon around the base of the box......

,,,,,but why do that when you can paint the design?
I traced the ribbon onto the box and painted it with a liner brush. 
Here' s tip:
Adding legs to a plain box or tray creates instant personality.
The you see on the box, and the tray behind it,  are wooden doll heads from Michaels Crafts,
attached with Gorilla Glue.
The cute knob came from Hobby Lobby.  It was left over from another project.

In less than an hour, the forgotten box was sitting in the powder room.
Who knew cleaning could be so creative!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Bedroom Furniture Re-freshed

When a client offered me this bedroom furniture, how could I resist?
The curved foot board and the caning immediately grabbed my attention.
And the raised motifs.....simply perfect!

The furniture likely dates from the 1930's.  
It's solid wood with dove-tail joints and extravagant detail.
I could picture it it in a little girl's room, painted white.

You might ask why I'd want to paint these beauties, but guess what?
Originally, the set was WHITE. 
At some point the furniture was stripped and stained,
so by painting it white, you might say I'm actually restoring it!

  I decided to keep the wooden top because it contrasts nicely with the paint.
But I wanted to re-stain it with a darker color.
To do that, the top needed to be stripped.

What's the best way to strip away decades of wax, varnish and stain
without spending hours scraping and sanding?

My (not-so) secret weapon is MINWAX FURNISHER REFINISHER.

It cuts through old varnish and stain,  to reveal fresh wood underneath.
What could have been a tedious job, was done in less than 30 minutes.

Now comes a true confession!
Have you ever had an idea, but it doesn't work out the way you imagined?
That's what happened here.

First I painted the furniture a delicious Butter-Yellow.
BUT I didn't love it. 
The color detracted from the wood's beautiful detail, and the wood looked red. 
You may agree.
However, with paint, there are no mistakes, just extra work!

So, I shifted gears and mixed a mellow off-white color using
equal parts of  Annie Sloan Pure White and Old White Chalk Paint.

After sanding to distress the new paint, some of the yellow paint peeked through.
Ahh, this was so much more appealing.

The beds painted up beautifully, too.
Both are already spoken for, but the dresser and nightstands for sale.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Painting the Look of Weathered Wood - a Coastal Wall

Rather than move to a new home, my clients decided to renovate the lower level of their home
which opens onto a backyard oasis featuring a pool and lovely lake view.

Often, what I do is part of a larger project, so I rarely get to see things finished.
That's exactly what happened here.  I'd love to see how it all turned out. 

The homeowner has a charming style.  
I'd call it "beach house glam" -- a mix of rustic wood and lots of sparkle!
My job was to paint the wood for her feature wall.
This was made easier because I painted the boards before they were cut and installed.

The wood is NEW rough-sawn pine cut into 4" to 10" widths. 
But how do you lay out so many boards at once?

We set up saw horses and work tables in the garage.
This way we could work with several boards at a time, then move them to dry.
Once dry, they were sorted by size and stored on the rungs of the ladders. 

The best part of this project was working with my Mom.  
She was visiting us for several days when this project was scheduled.
I told her there was no sitting on the sidelines!
There's work to be done.   Here's a roller -- go for it!
And she did. 

To get a scruffy, weathered effect, we first rolled each board with a base color, 
then randomly skipped on other colors with a roller or brush.
There's no right or wrong way to paint these boards.
It's all very un-structured.  
And what fun we had!
Thanks Mom for your help!

Each board was different, but the over-all effect on the wall was soft 
and reminded my client of beach glass.

Another part of this project was to paint the switchplate covers to match the granite and the tile.
It's all about details!


......and Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
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