Friday, July 21, 2017

Paper Roses in the Nursery

My client wanted a simple, understated baby's room.
No themes. No kitsch. No bright colors.
Just quiet.
I helped her select a neutral color palette of champagne, bisque and white.
She wanted a some type of focal point on the wall where the crib would be.
We toyed with a variety of ideas - monograms, banners, medallions -
and ultimately we decided upon a soft drape of sheer fabric.

To "dress up" my simple painting, I suggested adding Swarovski crystals to the design
and anchoring the drape with roses made from paper.
Aren't they cute?
Could I have painted roses on the wall?
Sure, but it's more interesting to have an unexpected detail as part of the design.
The painting, the dimensional flowers and the sparkle
struck the right note for my client.

Paper roses are easy to make and part of the fun in making them
is that each one turns out differently. 
Just like the roses Mother Nature provides.

 Want to make some?
You'll find lots of ideas and tutorials on Pinterest.
Like these at doodle craft. made from pages of a book.
Aren't they clever?
My paper roses less structured than these -- more "free form"---
which means I didn't follow a pattern or directions.
I winged it!

I used a 2" long strip of 11x14 office paper, folded in half,
and rolled, twisted and turned the paper into a rose shape,
hot-gluing as I went along.
The rose was glued to a small cardboard circle, painted and embellished.
After adding a few leaves, they were ready to be glued to the wall.

Can you see the possibilities for using these paper roses
clustered on top a gift wrapped package...
....Or on a photo frame....Or on a lampshade...
or a home-made card....


Friday, July 14, 2017

White Washing with Chalk Paint

The color scheme for this nursery was pink and taupe.
It was decidedly feminine with toile drapery and a crystal chandelier.
But the armoire was knotty pine, far to casual for the space.
Plus, it screamed orange and dominated the room. 
It just didn't "go" at all. 

a similar armoire via e-bay because I forgot to take a 'before' photo.....again!
I was asked to "do something" that would make the armoire fit into her nursery,
but the client didn't want it painted solid.
She wanted to see the knots and the wood grain showing through.
The only option for this was to white-wash the armoire.

Why did I choose chalk paint for this?
The mess factor.

Since I had to work on site, heavy sanding and spraying were out of the question.
I needed to avoid any mess.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was the solution because
1.  It can go over existing surfaces with minimal preparation.
(note: The cabinet was in great condition.  
I did scuff the surface with a medium-grit sanding block first, 
but didn't cause any dust to fly.) 

Here you can see how one coat of Chalk Paint covers the knotty pine.
White washing is a simple process.  Pour some paint into a tray, dilute with water and stir.
Then brush it on, and wipe it off with a terry cloth rag, leaving extra in the wood's profile.
As with any paint project, work in sections and follow the direction of the wood grain. 
So easy.
So lovely. 

 2.   Annie Sloan Chalk Paint dries quickly. 
I was able to apply a second coat of paint, add more paint in the molding profiles
and wax the armoire within two hours.
Which left time to paint the baby's monogram over the crib!
I love how the armoire has taken on a Shabby-Chic look.
The orange is gone and it doesn't doesn't overpower the room
but rather fades into the background.
Now it fits into the nursery beautifully.

Next week the drapery, and bedding arrive and the room will be complete.
When that happens, I hope to get another photo and share it with you.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Wicker Baby Carriage Update

Sometimes painting involves more than just paint.
It's about creating a memory.

At one time, my client owned a children's boutique. 

She used a vintage wicker carriage as a display in her shop, 
but now, eagerly awaiting her first grandchild,
she wanted to use the carriage for books and stuffed animals.

Initially, I was to freshen it up with paint,
which was easy to do with Rustoleum White spray paint.

But when I looked inside the bonnet, 
I could see more than paint was needed.
A little fabric, some gimp and the ol' trusty glue gun
helped get this carriage ready for new memories to be made.

Now the carriage is ready for it's debut in the nursery!


Friday, June 30, 2017

Zinc Table Top

This handy serving cart didn't fit into to my client's new decor, 
so she asked me to paint it for her. 
Knowing her style, I suggested a shabby effect with a faux zinc top. 

Here's how I did it.

First I did some on-line research and looked for examples of authentic zinc patina. 
I prefer to paint what I see, rather than follow a prescribed "recipe".
This photo became my inspiration.
The darker portion of the photo is oxidized zinc.
The lighter side is zinc metal without any oxidation or patina.

 The first step was to paint the top black.
Then,  I added three different colors of grey and applied them in order of dark to light:
1. medium grey - Black + White
2. Martha Stewart Metallic Paint - Thundercloud
3. light grey - Black + White + White
Zinc is a very reactive metal.  
Exposed to air, it begins to oxidize, turning dark.
Food placed on it surface will cause it to turn brownish, 
and zinc develops a powdery white color (white rust) in reaction to moisture.

Zinc is a popular material for kitchen and bath countertops, 
but be aware that it will oxidize.
To further achieve that effect, 
I added both brown stains and white blooms to the table top,
while allowing some of the black to show through

Here's a photo of authentic zinc followed by my painted version.

The rest of the cart was painted a "shabby white" effect.
It first was painted black, then white, and sanded back to reveal the black undercoat. 
The final touch was to dry-brush more black on top.


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!


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