Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fairy/Gnome Dwelling Tutorial

A new project on the blog!! I created a tutorial post over on my other blog Lightly Dappled, Click the picture to check it out. The entire project was done with things I had laying around the house and yard!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dining Room Update: Goodbye Brass Ceiling Fan

We have been hitting the projects pretty hard over here! We're working on a new retaining wall to cover up our tire one (yes, we have an ugly tire retaining wall in our yard. ugh!) and on Monday we are getting a new door and windows in our basement. Be on the lookout for posts about those coming soon!

I also have been planning an overhaul of our dining room. New paint on the ceiling and walls is in order, because it is the same TAN that is the bane our house. Not only is it all tan, but there are two different shades of tan on the ceiling... it's GOT TO GO!! I'm hoping a white ceiling will brighten this room considerably, because you'll see that despite the big window it's a little dark. I think I've decided on a Requisite Grey for the walls. It's a nice greige that will look okay from the tan living room and yellow kitchen!

{  Requisite Grey  }
 I've also been at a loss as to what to do about a dining room light. When we moved in there was a ceiling fan with three upward facing tulip bulb things (I am not one for technical terms, I suppose), and that's what we've left there up to this point. It's always kind of bothered me though. I dream of having a really cool chandelier light fixture, but the practical side of me really says we should keep the fan there because it's the only one on this side of the house.

{  The existing ceiling fan  }
I have kept my eyes peeled for a cool dining room ceiling fan, but they definitely don't exist in my price range, and I'm not sure they exist out of my price range either... ceiling fans are just functional and pretty lame.

SO I decided to try my best at updating one that we already had in the house. My goal was to create a more interesting light for it and let the fan blades blend into the ceiling color, which will soon be white instead of this awful tan. We had a different fan in my "boudoir" that already had white blades, and four bulb sockets, so I decided to update it for the dining room instead.

It was a lovely brass, but brass is NOT what I was envisioning. Here is a before shot of what I was working with. Tulip glass went over the bulbs and cast all kinds of weird light around the room when the lights were on.

We took the whole fan down and I bought a can of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. I saw somewhere (HGTV) that you can rough up the surface of brass by soaking it in a concentrated salt water solution and I started trying that on one of the blade pieces, but I got impatient and started sanding it down instead.  

I used a 120 grit sand paper I think... It was a spare piece in the garage that wasn't labelled on the back (come on sandpaper company, you should ALWAYS label your sandpaper!). I would recommend going with a finer grit than that, 220 probably. I didn't do a perfect job sanding it, but just roughed it up In hopes that the paint would stick. Since it's a ceiling fan, there's not much that is going to come in to contact with it to scratch it so this worked well, but I don't think it would be very good for something that gets touched a lot.

I sprayed it all down with a few thin coats of the paint. I was debating what to do about the plastic sockets, because they are going to show and I really wanted them painted, but I also don't want to start a fire. The paint says it's good on surface up to 200 degrees, and a touch test told us that the sockets probably don't get that hot (but this is probably not a reliable source!... I'll let you know if my house burns down from it.)

Instead of putting regular bulbs and the glass shades back up I opted for edison bulbs instead to give it a more modern feel.

Eventually, I'll do a shot of the whole dining room, but the table (which I am also almost done refinishing!) is a mess right now, so it's not going to be featured yet ;)

I'm not sure how I like it yet. Ideally, I wanted something that made more of a statement. I don't think this is quite it, but around here we generally rate things on improvement and I definitely like it more than what was there before! For an approximate $20 update I think it was well worth it. We may continue playing with it and if I come up with something better, I will be sure to post an update. What do you think about it?!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Writing Desk Makeover

Finally, another project to go up! I actually completed this project last June, but never took any "After" photos of it until now. I had been wanting a desk to turn into a makeup table and started a Craigslist hunt. I ended up with this hunk of a desk. Winky face. (I'm rather disgusted that I just typed that out)

Since it was going in my "Boudior/Closet room" I wanted it to be a fun and funky color. But since I created this project I found an even better desk to be my makeup table (it has a fold-up mirror). So this one gets to be a real desk again. 

Here's how I conducted the makeover:

First thing was to sand down the dried duct tape remnants off of the front legs. Yuck. 

I really didn't want to sand the whole thing so I decided to try a recipe for homemade chalk paint instead. 

Materials Needed:
  • Desk
  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdrivers
  • Paint/Primer
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing Stick
  • Container in which to mix your chalk paint

I followed I Heart Naptime's instructions for creating my chalk paint.

how  to make chalk paint on #DIY
{  Source  }
Then, it was as simple as removing the drawers, taking off the hardware, and giving it all two layers of the chalk paint. I decided to leave the top as is, because I liked the rustic look and even found the drink rings rather charming. (It also ended up being a lot less work that way. Hooray!)

And VIOLA! Here is the finished product.

We moved it into the basement for it's revamped life as a vibrant writing desk. 

I love the pull-out writing surface! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Solar Chandelier

Remember this sneak peak I posted over a year ago...?? No? I don't blame you.

With the new house we have had our hands full, but it has also inspired to finish some projects, like this one...

I have always liked chandeliers, except I have never lived (and probably never will live) in a very chandelier-y type house. So to get my chandelier fix, I decided to go for a fun, vibrant outdoor light fixture. 
The project was pretty simple... I found an old chandelier at our local Habitat ReStore and took a can of spray paint to it. 

Then it was a matter of getting some outdoor lights to add to it - part of the reason it took so long to make this was because I found a great deal on Halloween solar lights that were orange and had spider webs (just like these).... the plan was to pray paint them, but that did. not. work. So then I ran out of motivation and didn't buy any others until a few months ago.

With outdoor solar lights the stake generally just pulls off and then you have a nubbin to work with. With this particular fixture, I decided to wrap the ends in duct tape so that they would fit snugly in each socket area. Depending on the fixture, it may work better to use a different method. Hot glue, super glue, electrical tape, or maybe you will be lucky and it will fit perfectly. 

Not counting the sunk cost of the Halloween lights, I spent around $40 dollars on this project. (This number will vary greatly depending on how cheap you can get a chandelier and how many solar lights you will need.)

Right now we have our chandelier hanging from our carport... super classy, I know! but I'm hoping to add it either to our hammock area in the woods or attach it to a branch and set up a little al fresco eating area on the side of our house... Pictures to come after a decision is made. 

{ By Day }
{ By Night }

Happy Chandeliering!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Chalkboard Window DIY

You know what days I love?

Big trash pickup days!

It is great to drive around your neighborhood and see what kind of stuff your neighbors are throwing out. A lot of times you can find some really great and useful stuff. My favorite is finding wooden furniture, but people throw out all kinds of things like plant pots, rolls of chicken wire, old paint, scrap wood, the list goes on...

Last spring our neighborhood did their spring cleaning trash pickup and one house had a whole bunch of old windows out in front. We went by and snagged a couple for future use for the wedding. I wasn't sure if I was going to use them as menu boards or maybe as part of the seating chart, but I ended up turning them into chalkboards for decorations at the wedding.

I'd made plenty of chalkboards on wood but I had never done it on glass, but here is a simple tutorial how I did it...

Materials Needed: Window(s), Primer (specifically made for glass would be best), Paint brush, Chalkboard paint, Chalk

{  My big trash pick-up windows  }

Step 1: Clean the glass in the window very well. Use your cleaning method of choice. I used Windex with a newspaper wipe-down to get rid of all the streaks.

You may also want to clean up the trim a little bit, but be careful! Depending on the window you are using it could have lead paint. Try to get rid of the dirt and dust but not disturb the paint chips for true vintage charm. If you choose, you could scrap/sand the trim (taking proper safety precautions) and repaint the trim a fun color for a more modern outcome.

Step 2: Prime your window! Glass is smooth and the paint probably won't stick to it on it's own. They do make primer specifically for glass, but I did not find it readily available at the local hardware store so I chose to use a Zinsser Primer made for "All Surfaces". If you are planning to use your chalkboard heavily, I recommend taking the time to find actual glass primer. I hear bonding primer is the way to go so a primer like this may work well.

To keep the window effect, do not prime the entire glass surface. Leave the edges clear to show off your chalkboard's past life as a window.

I chose soft, uneven edges leaving a few inches of clear glass on each side.

If you want a perfect line, use masking/painting tape to tape a square or rectangle on your glass and then prime and paint inside.

Step 3: Time to paint your chalkboard. Use chalkboard paint to cover the primer. I've been pleased with the Valspar Chalkboard paint pictured above. Follow the manufacturers instructions for drying times and re-coating instructions.

I recommend at least 3 coats of chalkboard paint, and for the smoothest finish try painting in a different direction for each coat (i.e. if you paint the first coat with vertical strokes, paint the second with horizontal strokes). Multiple thin coats are best for adherence. I've used both bristled brushes and sponge brushes and have had success with both.

Step 4: Let it dry! No sense in wasting all your hard work because you didn't wait long enough before you tried writing on it. Be patient.

Step 5: Let your creative flag fly and put that chalk to use! You now have a window chalkboard!

{  Last 3 photos by Stephanie Bannon Photography  }

I made three window chalkboards for the wedding. Since I was making them for a special occasion and didn't plan on using them frequently (like for my weekly grocery lists) I used a regular primer. I was careful not to scrape too hard while drawing with my chalk. Two of the boards I had no problems with at all, but one was scraping up a little bit when I would accidentally press too hard. For this reason I recommend the special glass primer for this project. If anyone tries this and finds a really great glass primer, please let me know for future projects!

UPDATE: If you want to see the other chalkboards we used for the wedding, check out my blog about the planning, decorating, and details of the wedding.