Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Doing What I Love Most In The World

Today was such a wonderful day for a DIY blogger

I painted.....

Worked on plumbing.....
(you have to be fast when working on this little guy)

Shopped at Hobby Lobby.......

Plugged a hole......

Was on the laptop.....
(Actually, the laptop was on my leg and my grand daughter 
was in my lap watching it on her head)

Decorated for my favorite team.......

(lots of kisses)

It was a very productive day, if I do say so.
Playing with my two grand babies is the best job there is!
They are the decorations of my world.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gift Idea - Watercolor Paintings

My hubby's birthday is August 25th.  It is such a mile marker for me because once his birthday is here - I blink and it is Christmas.  No kidding!  I'm always amazed how quickly time flies the rest of the year.

So, the way I look at it - Christmas is next week and I've got lots of gifts to get!

I think a wonderful gift I would like to give would be a watercolor of something special for someone I love.  The only problem is - I can't do watercolor......

No worries in this techy age.  There is an app out there called Waterlogue that turns your pictures into watercolor paintings.  It is such a fun, fun app - you've got to try it.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Our home.  
Wouldn't it make a nice gift for your neighbors
to photograph their homes?

This is my grand daughter sitting on the floor in 
Target reading books.  I think this is a gift to me.

 This is an oil rig, and it happens to be one my 18 year 
old son helped to build this summer.  What a great gift 
for a guy who has everything - a painting of his workplace,  
or maybe a favorite sports stadium.

I hope this will give you some good ideas for getting your Christmas gift giving season started.  Handmade gifts are so much more personal and special.  I don't know about you, but I would love a watercolor painting like this.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

TKO Orange Oil: The Most Awesome Annie Sloan Dark Wax Tip - Ever!

OK, that is just my opinion, 
but it has been so wonderful for me

I have to share this!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is by far one of the best things to ever hit the furniture painting world.  You don't have to sand or do much prep - you just paint with ASCP and finish it with wax.  The results are so, so pretty.  Here is an example of a china cabinet I recently finished  with it.  You can see the full post here.

The paint does take some adjusting to because its covers a little differently and it can dry out on your brush.  You will adjust to that fairly quickly, though.  The wax, however, is another story.  For me, the learning curve on waxing has been a big one - especially the dark wax.  Let me explain - when you paint a piece it will look something like this (paint color:  Old White):

For some pieces, this is great.  You just wax with 2 coats of clear, and you are finished.  However, sometimes you want to bring out the ornamentation and details of a piece, so you use a dark wax for your 2nd coat.  Supposedly you can thin the dark down with clear wax if it is too dark, or you can use clear wax on a rag to wipe off whatever dark wax you don't want.  On some furniture this seems to work fine.  Others, not so much.  Unfortunately, regardless of how many tutorials I read or watched, my china hutch was waaaay too dark and streaky for what I was after.  Even after wiping and wiping and wiping with clear wax on my rag - I still got this (This is Old White with dark wax):

Uuuugh!  After so much work - this really discouraged me.  I tried every technique  I found, but felt like my only option was to repaint over the wax (which is something you can do with chalk paint) - but then what?  Plus, I've had this issue on other pieces.  In desperation, I decided to start trying things to see if I could come up with something that worked for me and gave me more control.  

You know what?
I found something 
and it works amazing!!!

I get this oil at my local health food store.  It has many, many great uses.

I found that by using a tiny amount of TKO, an orange cleaning oil, I could greatly control my dark wax.   

I simply tipped the bottle onto my rag covered finger tip and immediately began lightly, lightly rubbing over the dark wax in long streaks.

Here you can see how easily it rubs off on the rag.

This oil is not cheap at $24.95, but you will not use very much.  In fact, it is a fraction of the cost when you compare this technique with using the clear wax (which didn't work for me anyway and it is $30 a can), plus this is a natural, nice-smelling product.

Can you see where I gently rubbed off some of the dark wax?

Bonus:  it doesn't matter if you wait weeks before you apply the oil - it still works.  Another bonus:  your piece will also have an amazing smooth feel without the tackiness you can get with waxing.  And fyi - there is still plenty of wax on the piece to protect it, but you could add another clear coat, if you like.

I removed some of the dark wax on the upper right corner in this picture.
If you have been frustrated with dark waxing, perhaps this will be the answer for you, too.  I can't even begin to tell you how pleased I am with this TKO oil.  

Lavender Tub Tip:  Pour some of the orange oil into a smaller bottle to work with.  You'll be very unhappy with yourself if you knock over a full bottle.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Today Is A Good Day For A Good Day - 8x10 Printable

Today Is A Good Day For A Good Day!

I saw this quote this week, and it really spoke to me.  With so much sadness in the world - suicide, senseless deaths overseas and at home, a devastating virus, loved ones lost in car accidents - It almost feels like there is no room for anything but despair.

I know grief, and there is definitely a time for grieving.  It is one of the things that makes us human.  In my own life, I have found when you lose someone very dear to you - there really is no end to grieving.  Deep Love = Deep Grief.  And yet, after a long while, you just learn to live differently.  I think that is why this statement means so much to me, because it is a reminder that even in the midst of the sadness and loss - it is OK to give or take permission to have a Good Day.  My loss will not be less over time (that is such a lie - don't believe it), but it does not have to have victory over me.

What about you?  
Are you in need of permission to have a Good Day?  
Please do, my dear reader.  

Today IS a Good Day For A Good Day!

The picture above was taken by my lovely husband in Eureka Springs, AR.  I saw the gate and was immediately drawn to it.  It is old and weathered and worn, but it is still standing looking gorgeous.  I love how welcoming it is to a soul, as if it is saying, "Come venture past the weeds and the shadows - do you see that beautiful day just ahead?  It is all yours 
to enjoy."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spiffed Up Mailbox With A Stencil

Have you ever noticed when you spruce up an area that some things really scream out - "Hey, you missed me"?  Like when you put old light switch covers back on a newly painted wall - all of a sudden you notice just how tired they look.  Such was the case of my mailbox after I redecorated our front porch (see here).

Wow, did it look awful.  Well, we can't have that!  So, I freshened it up with spray paint, and then stenciled a flourish monogram on the front.  I was doing this project late at night and didn't have the right sponge for stenciling, so I used something else that didn't work very well.  You know...... when you're in the mood to do a project, sometimes you just make it happen.  Because of that, I did go back over the design with a fine paintbrush. 

It looks a little hand painted and not as crisp as a stencil, but I'm absolutely good with that.  It certainly is an improvement, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crystal Lamp Upcycle To Apothecary Jar

If you like to decorate with apothecary jars, you might pay attention to the glass and crystal lamps you see while you're out thrifting.  The lamps I'm talking about are usually dated, pretty dirty, and might not look that great with fake painted metal bases - like this lamp.  Definitely something to pass over, unless you stop and look at the glass.

The fake, rusty metal was what I disliked the most, but the crystal was quite nice.  I hoped when I took it apart it would be in several pieces, and like most lamps - it was.

I removed all the things I didn't like, and was left with pieces to make a lovely apothecary jar.  I glued the two bottom pieces together using E6000 glue to create the jar.   Then, I glued a decanter stopper to the top piece to create a lid.

Here it is pictured next to a "real" jar.  They make a nice pair, if you ask me.  I'm not a matchy-matchy person, so this suits my home perfectly.  I like it so much better as a jar instead of a lamp, don't you?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Glass Knobs To Create Baubled Glass Cloches

A collection of glass cloches, apothecary jars, and cake domes is a gorgeous way to decorate.  Not only does everything looks prettier under glass, but I have to say - having 
a collection lets you change out your seasonal decor without having to box up lots of tchotchkes, only to unpack others.  Simply change out leaves for Christmas ornaments, or ornaments for eggs and your decorating is done.

But glass cloches can be expensive and hard to find!  So, today I have a few fun tips to help you make some by adding glass baubles to found objects.  This is also a great way to replace knobs on your pretties that might have been broken off.

But where do you get the glass baubles to add?

For this first tip:

Hold a plastic gem in a flame for a few seconds, then press the gem on a piece of tile or some other surface that won't be harmed.  

This will flatten the point, giving you a broader surface to glue onto a cloche or lid.  I use E6000 glue for these embellishments, and it seems to hold quite well.

 Here is an example:

Also, I bought this set of 2 apothecary jars at Goodwill, but didn't realize the smaller one was missing its swirly handle.  Although it doesn't match, the glass gem still adds a finished look and it isn't too noticeable.  Well, not until now -  
my secret is out.

I love this next bauble idea:

Pick up plastic/glass knobs when you see them for a good price.  I see this style at garage sales all the time.  Heat the metal part of the knob with a lighter for 15-20  seconds, then using pliers - twist and pull the metal off.  

Don't they make beautiful, sparkly baubles?

Lastly, just keep your eyes open for orphaned, unusual knobs when you're out and about.  I found this one at Hobby Lobby for 60 cents.  I have no idea what it was for, but it is my favorite addition of all. 


A little extra sparkle is always in order, don't you think?
 I sure do!