faux finish

I have been meaning to share a cheap DIY makeover with all of you, but haven’t had the chance yet! Today is the day.

I needed a piece of furniture to go against the wall near the entry to the apartment. I wanted it to be unobtrusive, but large enough to store my china… sort of like a mini-buffet. But, I didn’t really want to spend money on it.

Which brings me to a surprise garage sale at which I stumbled upon this gem:

2-shelf interior

The handles were kind of a nasty greenish color that matched the inside. Gross. I bought these old-fashioned looking blue glass handles for the cabinet door and small drawer.

Initially, I wanted to refinish it. (Surprise, surprise.) But alas, it was made of cheap particle board with laminate finish. But for $10, how could I pass it up? I decided to figure out a different finish. I decided on crackle paint.

Crackle paint gives a distressed look to any finish. I prefer real wood that has become distressed, but we can’t just have everything made out of historic, repurposed barnwood. Sigh.

I like the look of contrasting crackle paint. So my first step was to pick a bottom color. I chose a very dark, chocolate brown.

I painted the entire piece brown (minus the butcher block top… why would you mess with butcher block?) You have to let bottom coats dry for quite some time if you want to use crackle. This is the crackle medium I chose, by Folk Art:

Crackle medium is sort of a learn-as-you-go type of product. However, I can offer a few useful tips from my trial and error (mostly error).

Crackle tips:
* If you wait too long to paint the top coat, the crackle will just dry and offer hairline fractures only
*If you paint top coat too soon, the whole crackle/top layer will sort of melt downwards
*If you paint a thin layer of top coat, the cracks will be much smaller and appear in the direction of your brush stroke
*If you paint a thick layer of top coat, the cracks will be bigger and appear both vertically and horizontally (which is the look I prefer)
*You cannot paint another coat on top of the top coat or it all falls apart

So in summary- to achieve the best look:
*Paint the top coat when the crackle layer has become tacky (aka if you touch it, it should feel a little sticky, but you shouldn’t have the crackle medium on your finger)
*Paint the top coat with plenty of paint on the brush
*Brush in only one direction

I was pretty pleased with the result. As far as furniture goes… it’s not really that well-built, but it definitely works for our current needs and space. I imagine this being a piece that we have until we move out of our apartment, but I couldn’t keep it in such an ugly state for a few years! Especially when the whole thing cost about $15 (including the new knobs!)

Happy Thursday!

 

 

m & z

A few months ago, my brother, Zac, married my friend, Melinda. Even though I was very annoyed at him for having stolen my friend when they first started up years ago, things really couldn’t have worked out better for me because my friend is now my sister-in-law and is stuck with me forever! yaaaaayyyyyy!

Anyway, as I love weddings, I ended up partaking quite a bit in the planning and designing of this absolutely gorgeous wedding. Someday, I’ll share some of the photos. In the mean time, I’ll show you the invitations I created for them (Zac also contributed quite a bit).

Disclaimer: I am not an artist. I am not a graphic designer. However, I do <3 art and graphic design. So I try. I make mistakes. I work around tools I don’t understand. And sometimes, cool stuff comes out of it.

For Zac and Melinda’s wedding, I was really inspired by Rifle Paper Co. which used to be sort of an obscure, Once Wed secret, but now is blowing up and can now be found at Anthropologie and all over Pinterest. Anyway, I love the rich botanicals of Rifle, and the almost cartoonish quality of their simplified art. So without ripping off their art too much, I set off to paint something similar. This is what turned out:

And, of course, the RSVP card:

This was the first time I physically painted something and tried to turn it into print. I would say it was mostly successful as a small amount of the detail was lost in the scanning process. All in all, it turned out pretty splendid, all things considered.

Stay tuned for more invites and designs!

Easy, Peasy Drink Tags

Life is crazy and busy and beautiful all at once, as per usual, but I am going to continue to strive to keep up these posts! I have been working on a few things lately waiting to be posted. I recently walked about 30 blocks checking out a super neighborhood-wide yard sale in Chicago hoping to find some gems, but alas, it was to no avail.
The good news is, there are a couple of weddings coming along that will hopefully involve some fabulous DIY projects to post.

The first wedding, my friend Beth’s, is set for July. And it is going to be fabulous.

The setting: a rustic farm in Oklahoma
The color scheme: turquoise and yellow
 The first project: adorable drink tags.
The basic set-up for the drinks at the wedding will be something like this: 4 different drinks in large pitchers (like this one that I found at Bed Bath & Beyond) all displayed on the table. We’ll put bunting on the edge of the table in turquoise and yellow. Because there will be a variety of drinks, we decided they needed labels!
I created a template on plain paper and after some drawing, folding and redrawing I had an even shape for the signs. This would maybe be easier if you had those tracable shapes they sell for scrap booking. I didn’t though, so as usual, I just made it up.
Once I had the shapes cut out, I made up an oval template that would fit nicely. Then I tested out a few sharpie and paint colors. In the end, I went with paint despite the fact that it’s more time consuming because the color match was more exact.
If you have awesome handwriting, you could just go for at this point. I, however, have what has been classified as “boy hand-writing” so I have my own little trick. I either pick a font I love, or find a free one online and download it. Then I type up everything that I need to write and use that to freehand. If you have terrible handwriting and you can’t freehand either, try printing your words with colored ink. Do a practice run first though in b&w just in case!
Once everything is pasted together, use a tiny hole punch for punch a hole in each side and string some embroidery floss or thin hemp through, securing the tags to the drink pitchers. Here is how ours turned out!
These are so quick and easy, you could totes throw them together for a casual yard party. Everyone knows that some cutesy decorations can immediately jazz up your average party!

a bit obsessed with bunting…

I’m not sure what it is about bunting these days… but I just can’t get enough of those darling little flags!

 Since Kev and I aren’t exactly in the market for high-end art at this point in our lives, (let’s be real… even the sale section of HomeGoods can be a bit over-priced) I decided that it was going to be my undertaking to create/find fabulous decor for our little home.

My sister-in-law Emily gifted me this fabulous little book for Christmas this year. Her taste in decorating is amazing and she has created quite a few splendid things herself (guest blogging potential? I hope!). This is my first project from the book, but I’m sure I’ll be attempting others in the future.

Step one is finding some fabulous patterned papers from your local craft store, scrapbook store or specialty paper store. You’ll notice that I did not end up using all of these, but I’m sure they’ll find a crafty home somewhere.

Step two is collecting some thin card board; cereal boxes are a good source. Using a straight edge and ruler, cut a triangle out of the cardboard. Mine is as wide as it is tall, but yours doesn’t have to be as long as the angles are the same and the edges are straight! Using your pattern, create as many cardboard flags and you’ll want to use. I did eight flags, which made a decent-sized strand. When you have the cardboard ready, trace the shapes on to your paper, cut it out and paste it to the cardboard using modpodge. Use a hole punch to create holes about a half-inch in from the side in the top corners. This is the point at which I strayed from the book a little. Instead of using individual 5″ pieces of ribbon to connect the flags, I decided to string them on some jute so the flags would be spread out a little more.

I used leftover 3M hooks to put them up (I used the super cheap kind that come in a large pack for hanging Christmas lights). I put three on an angle to give the look a little dimension and break up the cornery-ness of that area of the room. You could easily just tack loops at the end of the string with nails if you wanted to hang them straight!
If you want to try this at home, you’ll need:
Thin cardboard
Ruler/straight edge
Patterned/colored paper
Hole punch
ModPodge
Ribbon/twine/jute
3M mini hooks/nails
First of all, yes, that is obviously Nick Stokes from CSI and I obviously did not want to turn it off to improve the picture because this part was clearly riveting. 🙂
Second of all, I was happy the result of the flags. I noticed a few flags that were on a sharper angle slid a little, but that is an easy fix with a little glue on the back of the flags.
I am using this a more of a permanent decorative item, but you could easily make these for a party because they are pretty quick and easy to make. They are also inexpensive because most crafters probably have most/all of the supplies at home anyway. Try making them for a party! You could also use contrasting patterned paper/solid paper to make letters and spell something out on your flags.
Let me know how your version turns out!

impromptu thank yous!

I have been seeing banners everywhere lately. First, in my paper crafts book, I found a project I intend to start shortly for a wall banner with different prints. A few weeks later, my friend B Head emailed me a project she found online for a banner necklace, but I am waiting for us to get together before I attempt that one.
Banners somehow just exude happiness to me. I think maybe its because they’re springy and bright and make me think of being outside in warm weather. So I decided to make up my own banner project!
Inspired as well by my ever-shrinking but still daunting pile of wedding thank-you notes left to complete, I wanted to make an extra-creative thank you for my cousin who is an artist. He gave me an original painting of his and I thought it deserved an extra thanks!
I recently acquired a set of alphabet stamps (future project coming soon) and wanted to do something with individual letters- huzzah! A banner that spells out thanks!
I started with some paint swatches that I had picked up a while back. They worked perfectly for a project like this when you need small pieces in a variety of colors. The best part is- paint samples are free!

So pick up some in a variety of colors. I went with pastels/dustier colors myself, but that also had a lot to do with the paint samples I already had.
I created a banner template on a piece of cardboard. Mine is about the size of a postage stamp. I traced on different colored paint selections and cut them all out. Then I laid out the flags and rearranged until it was just right. I stamped each one with each letter.

After the banner was laid out and stamped, I looked for a card for attach the banner too. The first card, a square shape, wasn’t wide enough for 6 letters (something to keep in mind if you try this yourself) so I found a wider card. I used a natural colored hemp string and glued each end to the back of the card, leaving a little slack in the string. I glued each letter to the string and glued down the bottom point as well for a little security.

Here is the final result:
 I think it looks pretty cute on the patterned card, but would also look great on plain card stock, or with a more natural background.
If you want to make this at home, you’ll need:
A blank card
Paint samples in coordinating colors
String (colored embroidery floss would also be cute!)
Alphabet stamps or a marker and good handwriting

Mod Podge or some other type of glue

This was a quick and easy project you can make with materials you probably already have at home, or those you can find for free/cheap. Try it at home! You could make one to express thanks, or love or maybe use it for an invite. Let me know if you come up with anything great!