Let’s Polka!

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When I was much younger, my parents decided my older brother and I should take music lessons.  My brother got a brand new shiny black and white electric bass guitar.  I got my grandpa’s accordion…. true story.  And maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if I had learned some romantic Parisienne melodies or even  some funky zydeco, but this was not the case.  Jaunty Polka.  Oh the injustice.

But polka also refers to dots, and polka dots always make me happy! I don’t care if they are on clothes, home accessories, artwork or food, I am a big fan. Good segue, no?

You’ve all been so patient about the washroom transformation, so here it finally is!

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Here’s how I got to this point:

IMG_1979  I bought a Fiskars circle cutter and some black vinyl used to laser cut quotes in one of those cutting machines crafters use. I tried the giant circle squeeze punch Fiskars also makes, but after about 3 sharp cut circles, they were raggedy and unusable. The circle cutter has directions you download from their website.  They really need to reconsider those directions.  Not so good.  But I figured it out and blew through that vinyl roll in no time. These dots are 2″ in diameter. The vinyl and cutter came in at around $50.00. There is a company called Urban Walls where you can purchase pre-cut dots and other shapes who have a great website, but I really wanted to give DIY it’s fair shot. In hindsight, I don’t know that I saved much money my way, but it was fun doing it, so whatevs.

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Next was figuring out how many circles, how far apart and how to apply them straight and in corners, etc.

You would have been so proud of my math skills on this one! Or maybe I’m just finally getting the hang of math. Or it was just a plain old miracle. ANYway, I measured out the first wall, and taped off the size on my floor.  This allowed me to play around and see how it would look without any commitment.

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As I started transferring them to the wall, I only peeled back part of the backing, so I could move the dots how I needed without having to fully peel them off constantly. Under the picture of the single dot you can see a light purple line. That’s water colour pencil I used as a guide to line them up properly.  It wiped away with a damp cloth when I was done.

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After the first wall, I was able to go around the room with the pencil lines as my guide and BAM! it was completely finished in about an hour.

The finishing touches:

IMG_2064 I forgot a before pic, so this is as good as you’re getting, but you get the idea anyway.  Teal ceramic stool.  Gold spray paint on the top portion, high gloss white on the bottom, sealed with spray high gloss sealer.

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Next, the dilemma of what to put over the toilet to hold T.P., soap and washcloths. I looked for ages and although I never found exactly what I wanted, I found exactly what I already had.  It’s a planter from outside, spray painted gold and will do just fine until I happen across the ideal piece. The art above it is a vintage flash card from the 70’s. (Are things from the 70’s vintage?) The chandelier art was moved from the front entry.

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So there it is in all it’s polka dot glory. I will say here and now, there will be no accordion music to accompany whatever goes on in there, unless it’s playing on Songza, and I guarantee it won’t be a polka

Cheap Wallpaper comes from the Devil.

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And Bouclair Canada sells it. And their customer service doesn’t care. #LAME

That said, it looked good for about a minute. I look back at my blog post about using that wallpaper, and there’s a whole lota foreshadowing going on.  I wish I had taken my own advice.  If you want to see, click here.  In the end, all the flaws did end up driving me crazy and I was always worried people who had to use this washroom were playing Spot The Flaws, and so it HAD to go.

See this wall? 3 hours of peeling teeny tiny pieces of wallpaper. IMG_1986  IMG_1990 This small. Three bags full. A total of over 9 hours. Nine. Hours. But I have learned my lesson and also the lesson for you. Pay for the better stuff. Just do it. Don’t be dumb.

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Does this one look a little like Italy? I was ready to go to Italy by the time I got to this point. I like Italy. I don’t like peeling this wallpaper.

Ok so enough whining. The job got done and I gave the walls a nice fresh coat of Ralph Lauren’s Pocket Watch. A creamy white.

I also painted the brown vanity white, but made the Pocket Watch into chalk paint.

Half a cup of plaster of paris, half a cup of warm water, one cup paint.  Mix well.  It goes a long way.  Once you paint the amount of coverage you want and it dries, some people sand away edges and corners to give a weathered, antique look.  I kept it solid. I then gave a good rub all over with a little clear furniture (I used Min) wax to protect it and give it a good hard shell. Like an M&M!  yumm. Don’t forget the coffee…

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I will show you the finished cabinet in the bathroom reveal… And let me show you my inspiration for my new bathroom:

My friend’s glasses!!

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Can’t wait to show you.

 

The Writing’s on the Wall

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I made this headboard a few years ago.  The fabric was an attempt to just get the darn thing done, and I never liked it.  I covered over it a few times with this and that, but none of them seemed quite right either.  I thought I might tackle it again, and on a trip to Homesense, I thought I might have found an answer with these tablecloths:

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I draped each one on the headboard:

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Nice pattern and colour, but horrible polyester and too narrow.

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I love the idea of this one, but overall it’s just too much.

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Love the drama, but again just too too.

I reverted back to my roots: IMG_1212

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I admit I would have preferred the colour to be less taupe and more cream, but the price is right (door number 3, please) $14.00 – and I could do whatever I wanted to it.  And what I wanted was peace and solace at bedtime when all the worries of my life tend to bombard me, so I turned to scripture. If you don’t dig that, you can quote Dr. Suess, song lyrics or 50 Shades of Cat Dander.  Whatever you want.

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You can do the math and figure out where to start, where it will end and how big you should write. You know I didn’t bother, don’t you?  And yet, it finished at the end of the passage. Meant to be.

Let me interject here. You will not see all the writing, EVER.  You can write it so you have a border to staple and not miss the view of the words, but the pillows will be in the way at the end anyway, so if it isn’t as perfect as you might like, (bad spelling, drips and blobs, crooked lines) no big deal, it can still look great when you make up the bed real purty like.

I just used craft paint watered down a teeny bit to make the writing more fluid. It takes a bit of time to go over the letters, but I worked on it here and there when I had some time.  Overall, not Rocket Science (or math, MY way anyway – Hallelujah!).  And a side note to the dropcloth fabricators out there – should the paint have leaked through to the table?  I think not.  BUT IT DID…you failed your only real job, dropcloth (but I still love you).

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Make sure, if your headboard has cleats like my headboard, that you place the headboard on the fabric facing the right way before you start stapling. And miracle of miracles, I noticed mine was upside down before the first staple.  Though, I would have still rocked it!

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I lowered the cleats on the wall about half a foot to give a different feel to the overall look.

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If you are interested in the Board and Batten wall technique I used, click here, if you are interested in how I made the rope lamps, click here or the potato print bench at the end of the bed, click here and if you want to see how I gathered silk worms, collected the silk and wove it into my bedspread, click here – just joshing- it’s from West Elm!

 

 

 

Cross Stitch on Steroids

 

 

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If you’ve ever done cross stitch in any form, you’ll understand how fun it can be, how relaxing and mind numbingly TEDIOUS!

I saw these :

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I thought to myself, how do I do these in giant form in less time?? Ceiling grid tiles came to mind, but they are plastic and flimsy at best.  And then it hit me! Peg Board!

IMG_1827 It has holes that can join up to make the x’s needed in cross stitch, it’s bigger than any cross stitch canvas and it’s cheap at $8.00 for a 2’x4′ sheet. (which let me interject here is a double edged sword as I’ll explain shortly).

I have used peg board to make a fabulous headboard, and now it could make a piece of art.

After deciding on the retro girl, I had to figure out (CURSES! Math!) how to draw it on the board and how the stitches would fall and how to position it.  After a few false starts I got it figured out.  I drew out a grid and then x’d my pattern on the backside of the board, in chalk, which was great to erase and start over when I needed to – more times than I’d like to admit actually. Ok, I’ll admit it was 4 times, or maybe five….I quickly saw that because of the size of the pegboard and the number of x’s in the actual pattern, I wouldn’t get the whole picture on the pegboard.  If a seam would not bother you running through your cross stitch, you can attach pegboards together to get the size you need OR you could separate the pegboards and make a cross stitch tryptic (Ha! say THAT 3 times fast) which then I would be jealous I didn’t think of that until now.

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Tip number 1: Unless you want it opposite to the actual picture, remember to flip the original so that when you start your stitches on the back side it will translate properly ( I didn’t do that since I really didn’t give it much thought, and it took me awhile to realize why I wasn’t seeing the results correctly. Duh.)

Tip number 2: Because the holes are large, you could use ribbon, thick string, or like me, left over wool (thanks, mom!). Another blogger who is a knitter, suggested getting bits and bobs at thrift stores, which of course is genius.

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Tip number 3: And speaking of the wool, cut longish manageable lengths so you aren’t continually reaching for another strand but not too long that it makes that frustrating knot mess that can happen. (Happened!)

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Tip number 4: Tape the end of the wool with any tape you have on hand. It makes a good needle-ish apparatus to jam through the hole and keeps the wool from fraying.

Tip number 5: I found holding the pegboard upright like how I imagine a harp player holds a harp was the easiest way to check out the back and front as much as I needed.  Maybe wearing something you don’t mind getting chalk on is a good idea too since you constantly come in contact with it.

And it’s off to the races.  Because the grid is drawn on its fairly easy to count where you start and switch.  I chose to keep it super simple since counting is still in the math family and I tend to get distracted easily.  The nice thing (think) is if you muck it up and the stitches are dropped and forgotten, it’s no big deal.  It can still look really cool and like you had planned it that way all along!

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I kept it simple with the black and red (a little wink of pink).

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I messed up the eye on the left a bit, but like I said above…and I love that she almost looks like Betty and Veronica. I love Betty and Veronica.

And there you go! I’d say it took about 3 hours of actually stitching – there may not seem like a lot, but it is a lot of work balancing the board and counting and stuff.

I think I may try just painting x’s on a canvas.  Could be x-citing…….

 

My Frankenstein Globe

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I have been on the hunt for a globe like the ones I’ve been lamenting (ok if you look up the definition of lamenting, perhaps I am being a bit over-dramatic ) on Pinterest.  I knew I could paint one up as good as the rest of them, the problem was finding one that needed rescuing.  Globes are hot right now and are not on the cheap side.  The painted globes I’ve seen around town are upwards of $250.00. Need I say more?

So imagine my delight when on a whim I stopped in at our local Homesense store and found this beauty:

IMG_1726  A bit worse for wear really:

IMG_1729 IMG_1730  IMG_1728  But I gleefully grabbed it and almost skipping, with a slightly crazy grin (not a picture you need in your head), I made my way to the checkout as fast as I could manoeuvre through the throngs of people all eyeing my amazing score…

IMG_1767 See???

I almost made it uninterrupted to the till when a Homesense associate stopped me in my tracks.  “I’m sorry, dearie,” said the lovely little Scotts woman before me “did ya see tha it’s broken?” She asked with a look of dismay and pity. “YES!” I blurted. “Isn’t it GREAT?” I think my eyes may have rolled a little and I almost chortled at this point.  She backed away.  I made a football move and with globe under my left arm, right arm sticking straight out I barrelled forward as fast as I could, only to be stopped by yet another concerned citizen who thought I must be impaired in some way since I had this damaged world in my hands.

“Oh, it’s broken!” she said, sadly shaking her head at me expecting my exuberant thanks for saving me from this terrible monster I called MINE. I ignored her pity, still feeling a little high from the fumes of a great find and said. “I KNOW! I’m so LUCKY! She too, backed away. I could tell she was considering calling in the troops, but fortunately I made it up to the till without further incident.

I don’t remember the drive home, but I made it safely I’m assuming, and started working to piece together my Frankie.

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Since I had every intent on painting the entire thing I wasn’t too concerned about the broken-ness.

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First gold, then black.  I apologize to all those whose countries I have decimated in this process, but it was never to be a functioning geographical globe, as you have surely noticed.  I penciled in the phrase.

IMG_1776  There’s an old song by Jackie Deshannon that I’ve used some of the lyrics from: What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love. I thought it appropriate.  And if you’ll notice, the word LOVE covers the broken part of the globe. Awwwww!

For fun I added this glow in the dark product on all the dots.

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It actually works, they look like stars and would make a great night light for my imaginary grand-children…(no pressure, girls). I tried to take a picture but they did not show their glowing awesomeness. I’m pretty sure you can use your imagination though.

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From there I added this vintage from the 60’s hard covered suitcase and started to source some travel stickers.  I didn’t find what I wanted so I tried to make some myself.  Epic fail.  Dollar store stickers – good deal but I wasn’t willing to invest the time to do a really decent job on the copying part, so I took them off.

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I’ll keep looking.  If you know of a good source, let me know!

 

 *No staff or customers at Homesense were harmed in the making of this post

 

Does This Wall Make Me Look Fat?

IMG_1514Nice enough wall, but starting to feel insipid to me.  And this one, well, sad and pale.

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Time to give them a punch in the gut.  But how do you do that? you ask.  Taking a inspirational cue from this blogger’s post Making Progress (about his fabulous dining room), I saw black as my answer.

To make sure my new edges remain as crisp as the old, I taped off the edge and painted the inside edge with the original white.  If it bleeds, it will bleed the colour already on the wall. What? Genius!

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If you want a more detailed step by step, check this out.  Peel off the tape before the paint is fully dry.

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Just look at this edge. Seriously, sharp enough to slice a tomato.

Time to re-dress the walls.  But wait! There’s more!  After I put up the artwork on the big wall, I felt like it needed a little finishing touch.  Pulled out the level, measuring tape and chalk. With the chalk, I framed out the black panels with a double line. Yes, I could have used a paint pen or I could have painted it in, but I didn’t want it permanent just yet. Besides, I wanted a less formal feel.

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Don’t ask me if I removed the artwork before I drew in the chalk lines… you know I didn’t.

And no, I did not use blackboard paint to begin with, though you could.  I used basic flat black.  You can still draw with chalk on regularly painted walls, it still wipes off with a damp cloth.  Years ago I used to write phrases on my kitchen wall in chalk.  No one told me I couldn’t, so I am now telling you that you can! If it rubs off, put it back on. If you make a mistake, wipe it off and try again.  Sheesh, could it get any easier?

Next, I found an old frame, inserted wrapping paper into it that I held in place on the glass with this glue.

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Instant white board for messages, postcards, reminders, whatever! Black things got painted white.

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Black is so slimming.  Now, don’t get too fond of this set-up, I feel a change coming on…..

Merry Christmas, Dawg!

 

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My token Christmas post is done.  The thing is, I don’t think I’ll be showing you anything you haven’t already seen out there already. However, it’s my take on it, in my eclectic tightwad way.

DISCLAIMER: In my last post I stated that the 3M product I used was my best friend.  My HUMAN best friend had a problem with that statement, saying she had never found herself in the predicament of being replaced by a craft product before.  I would like to clarify that the 3M product is my BFF in my DIY life only.

Lampshades too expensive to replace for the Christmas season?  Use wrapping paper and Washi tape for a quick- fix.

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Washi tape and sticker dots sprayed gold:

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Father-in-Law’s intricate Christmas ornaments – my fave is the little birdhouse with lights, snow and bird peeking out.

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The upside-down vase with Epsom salt snow, pinecone tree and sequinned deer.

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The branch secured to the ceiling by another fabulous 3M product which is NOT any form of best friend, only a mere acquaintance. Just so we are clear I did NOT have any relations besides a working relationship with said 3M product. (which is actually made to hold your cords to the wall to prevent tangling).

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Add painted and/or snow sprayed pinecones, bits of tree, sparkly bits and bobs.

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The giant canvas turned from former Wedding seating chart to light-show at my exterior entryway.

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Draw on chosen word with chalk.

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Paint word in.

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Poke holes along word (I used a small screwdriver – we are old friends, nothing more.)

Add exterior Christmas lights. Push bulb through to front of canvas keeping the mess behind. Like so.

IMG_1553  I glue gunned a circle of glue around the front of each light to hold it in place on the canvas.  Some of the holes ended up being a little bigger than the light, so it filled the gap.  Make sure it works inside before you take it outside!

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Decorate your dog, but do not overly embarrass her. I may have crossed that line…

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And lastly, have the most beautiful, warm, loving, Jesus filled Christmas you can possibly muster!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

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Did Somebody say CAKE??

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Is this not one of the coolest art installations ever??  I saw this in a coffee shop months ago and just had to take a picture.  I stored the idea in my little brain and thought about it now and then and how I could do the same thing on a smaller scale in my house.

But where?  And what drawing?  I think a giant bird swooping down in my little house could just send someone over the edge.  Alfred Hitchcock I am not.

After deciding that the kitchen wall above my island, though smallish, was the ideal spot to implement this project, I set out to figure the best way to execute it.

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First I measured the wall and picked which books I didn’t mind losing to the project.  I laid them out to see how it could look.  I once had the famous phrase by Marie Antoinette  “Let Them Eat Cake”  laser cut from vinyl and applied to the bulkhead in my kitchen in a former home.  I really loved that quote there and thought it would be appropriate to repeat it in my kitchen now.  We all know you can never have too much cake…

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I played around with the layout, with the amount of books and how and with what I would apply the words.

Husband graciously drilled the holes in all four corners of each book for me (let me just add here that I am totally capable of drilling holes in books myself, but he offered so I accepted.  We roll like that sometimes.)

IMG_1461  I used these nuts and bolts, sometimes the WRONG way (nut on the SAME side as the bolt). My husband had difficulty with that one.  He kind of argued that I shouldn’t really do it that way.  Really, husband?  Will the Nut and Bolt Police come arrest me??  Team, if you learn nothing else from me today, it’s RELAX.  There is no wrong way to do your art.  Who cares if someone thinks you are doing it inappropriately!  It’s your art so you get to set the rules.  Some of the books didn’t even end up with matching nuts and bolts.  Some are even a different colour! I’m not kidding.

I added a good gob of hot glue gun glue on the back of the nut/screw/bolt/washer/whatever to secure it to the pages and book cover and to semi protect the wall from the scratching bits.

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I thought about painting all the words and drawings on the pages in black craft paint, but I was concerned the wet paint could warp the pages. I ended up colouring in what needed colouring with a good old Sharpie, and did that shading the back of the drawing thing with pencil lead so you can trace the drawing you want on to paper.  The retro woman I pilfered from the free clip art images on the internet.  I could have drawn her, but why mess with perfection?  The cake and the first two words however, are freehand.  If you make a mistake or aren’t crazy about how a drawing looks, TURN THE PAGE!  You have a multitude of chances to get it right.

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Here’s the next step.  These 3M products are currently my best friend (sad, isn’t it?).  Follow the directions exactly.  Using these, I  mounted them on the wall without any fear of damaging the paint job and they can be removed easily without a trace that they ever even existed.  Like dinosaurs.  Except there IS evidence for dinosaurs.  So never mind.

IMG_1470  After measuring to find the centre of the wall – a little math but I got through it, I placed the tape strip to guide where I wanted to start and stop and how high. Did you know there’s an App that works like a perfect bubble level?   I did, and I used it.  It was free.  My favourite thing.

Laying the books in front of the wall I chose in the order they were to go helped me visualize the job ahead.

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Up they went.

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And there you go.  Let them eat cake.  Figuratively and literally!

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Copy Cat Carrera

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Before we venture any further into this post, I want to say although I would LOVE to claim this idea, I cannot.  I was scrolling through Pinterest (as usual) looking for the coffee table idea to replace that lovely but easily sullied ottoman (yes, I realize I just posted a project on it – but it’s already worse for wear – thanks for nothing, everyday living).  I came across The Hunted Interior blog which showed the thing I blatantly stole and am posting here.  I am thrilled about the outcome, and you can easily have the look for yourself.  I promise!

Start with the very inexpensive Ikea Vittsjo nesting tables. IMG_1403I put the tables together before spray painting the metal bits with this:

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I still love this product over all the other gold sprays out there.

Putting the tables together after spray painting could scratch the finish.

IMG_1347IMG_1348 Once the 3 coats of gold were dry, I sealed it with clear matte spray paint of which I can’t find right now to show you but it’s a Rust-Oleum product. (Geeze I really need to buy shares). I sprayed the brown shelf high gloss white like marble would be with left over product I had.

IMG_1352 How blue paint drips get on a white lid, I’ll never know. I digress.

After painting the shelf white, I delved into the faux marble part.

Okay, I know you well enough by now to know you have shut down the brain because you think you couldn’t possible get this part right.  I’m here to tell you that you can so!  It’s really just a matter of simple technique.  Marble comes in all sorts of looks – heavily veined, hardly veined, dark grey, light grey, mixed, almost all white.   I say that however your way turns out, it’s probably out there somewhere.  So, chillax as them there young people say.  Go forth with confidence.

IMG_1356 IMG_1358 These are the supplies I used.  Just notice the black and white blobs of paint, ok?  I recycle paint pans a LOT.  Fact: you can peel dried latex paint off most anything if it’s thick enough. I just didn’t bother.  I’m trying to show how much black I used in comparison to the white. Or maybe that isn’t even clear by this pic, but it’s lots of white to very very little black.  You can make all kinds of greys from this.  I used very little paint total.

I had three different paintbrush sizes.  Some people also use a feather for the veins or even jagged pieces of cardboard.  It just goes to show that there are many ways to do this faux finish.  I actually googled images of Carrera marble to give myself ideas.

But wait! If after all my encouragement you still can’t pull out the confidence, there is many a contact paper out there with a Carrera marble look.  Slap some of that on and you can quit sweating in fear.  You could wrap it in funky paper or fabric or just keep it high gloss white if you want- or any colour for that matter. But I still think you should try this first.  If I didn’t say that, I couldn’t call myself Found This Painted That now could I?

IMG_1357 I started by brushing paint on here and there.  No water.  Dry brush immediately after to blur the edges and give it a soft quality.  Always with the big brush, and always right after so that it doesn’t dry as a hard line. Now just layer and layer until you like how it looks. Or at the very least, tolerate how it looks.

IMG_1359 Next comes the veining. my way is to push my small paintbrush straight up away from me starting from the bottom moving to the top.  Dry brush until you’ve blurred the edges on the veining.  Add paint and brush, paint over and brush, vein and brush, over and over and over until you are either happy with it or just exhausted.  Whichever comes first. I’ve been told people sip wine while doing this part because it loosens them up.  Frankly, the last thing I need is more loosening.

IMG_1360  When you are satisfied or like I said, too tired to go on, give it a coat of latex polyurethane (oil base yellows over time) or use the lovely Rust-Oleum clear gloss spray as I did.  Make sure everything is very dry before you put the shelf and the glass tops on to the frame to avoid re-spraying the gold yet again. Yes, as a matter of fact, I AM speaking from experience.

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Here is the awesomest part.  If you still think you did a shabby job when all is said and done, you can be secure in the knowledge that you can cover most or all of it with magazines, books and trinkets.  So take heart cowardly lions, no one will be the wiser and you will have accomplished your first foray into the world of Trompe L’oeil. Tres Bon!

 

CROSS my heart and hope to DIY

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You may remember this quick fix with my dingy ottoman and our queen duvet cover.

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Dingy Before

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After

And how I thought when summer was over I would carefully remove the staples and reclaim the bedding…

IMG_1271 Well, THAT didn’t happen.  But never-mind, I will still use the part of the fabric that wasn’t destroyed for some project later on.

So now what?

I found some muslin. But it was not thick enough to hide the b&w pattern underneath, so I lay some scraps of duck cloth (thin canvas) that I had down first.

I took the muslin, laid it on the table and got out my fancy-shmancy painting tools. I used my gold craft paint. Be sure to cover the potato well, otherwise your design may need filling in here and there, which is really no biggie either.

IMG_1288 IMG_1289 IMG_1294 Honestly, this took way longer to do than I ever thought.  Two hours!!

Perfectionists, look away for a second. IMG_1293 Those of you still looking, you can see that some of my crosses are not as straight as the others.  If this would bother you, you can tape off lines to follow with painter’s tape.  I cared not.

IMG_1303 IMG_1307 IMG_1306  I finished it off and found that leftover rope from my The long and winding ROPE post.

IMG_1309  Hot glue gunned it all around and once more around the legs.  There’s nothing like a few good burns from your glue gun to remind you that you’re alive.  And that you willingly put yourself in harm’s way. Geez.

IMG_1313  And there you have my temporary ottoman cover.  I say temporary because I finally found a coffee table project I am very excited to do.  I am thinking about it as I type this.  I’m so fickle.

I updated this vase with a little more bling and styled the tray. Voila!

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And why do I have this sudden craving for French fries?

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