Creating an Antique Look with Chalky Finish Paint

Easy Peasy Slipcover

I've got cats and cats love sleeping on furniture.  My long-haired cat is forever choking up hair balls, usually while she is on my sofa and then I have one royal mess to clean up.  I've been combatting this issue by using throws over the areas where the cats sleep - but I am so tired of the look of throws everywhere...

Here is my sofa:

I like my sofa, I'd even like to just leave it looking like this all the time, but I can't stand the cat hair and cleanup duty.   I explored the idea of sewing my own covers for the cushions only, but I don't have a sewing machine and the thought of hand sewing the covers makes me shiver.  I Googled slipcovers but I find them all horribly expensive, especially since I only really want them to keep my sofa safe from cat hairballs and such.   

I want something inexpensive, reasonably attractive in a colour I like and that I can chuck in the washer & dryer as often as I like.

Enter Ikea and the Indira 100% cotton bedspread for under $20.  Can you say love??  LOVE LOVE LOVE.   I already own 3 of them because they are so versatile and they come in green, white, brown & navy.  They come in two sizes as well (bigger is more expensive, of course).
INDIRA Bedspread  INDIRA Bedspread IKEA
The chocolate brown one would be sweet, but since I already have 3 of these bedspreads, I'll spare myself the $20 and use mine.  

I don't like the look of those slipcovers that look like a blanket thrown over the couch - reminds me of those movies where people go into unused houses and everything is covered with dust sheets.  Instead I wrapped and tucked the bedspread around the cushions only.  If I was really into it, I'd sew the outer edges around the cushions (the ones that can't get tucked in) just to keep things from sliding around but since I'm lazy, I'll use a safety pin instead.   The bedspread is long enough that it doesn't come untucked from behind either set of cushions.   It doesn't slide around that much either, I'm very happy to report!!
 That's Maggie.  Doesn't she look so sweet, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth??  NOT!  For my next trick, I'm going to figure out how to paint those raised bars to look like ticking stripes...  have I mentioned paint is my life??!!

Not bad for $20 and 5 minutes worth of tucking and wrapping!  


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Funky Boat Lantern Lamp

I have this really cute boat lantern tea light holder.  When I was looking at it today (because it is right in my line of site in the living room), I decided to use a different approach to lighting it up.

I have one string of battery-powered LED lights kicking around in a drawer in my kitchen.  I decided to use it with the boat lantern, but it's just one tiny string of lights and the boat lantern is quite large in comparison.

Cute huh?

The idea of cramming grapevine balls came to mind, so I got out a few but the opening of the boat lantern was so tight that I knew I would never get those balls back out again.   Enter the simple 1 cup mason jar.

Here are my tools:

I wound the light string around my hand to distribute the lights evenly and pushed it into the mason jar.  I had to use the lid to cover the tea light holder in the bottom because the jar kept slipping off it.

Make sure the battery pack is at the top & the switch is facing you!!

Hmm, this seems to be working out!

Cute!  Crooked, but cute!

Cute, funky boat lantern lamp.


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Rainy Night & a Quote

I painted my very first oil painting quite a while ago but I decided to share it today with all the fabulous artists over at Paint Party Friday.  But first, the quote of the week from the fabulous and very wise Maya Angelou:

I began my project by searching through Google for paintings with bright colours.  My inspiration piece:

 Isn't it fantastic??!!  The artist is Mike Grubb.  I love the colours and the chunkyness of this work.  The brushstrokes are fabulous and the whole painting draws me in.  I love, love, love it!

So I began by painting the background.  Don't ask me what that spoon-like thing is behind the first streetlight!

See my makeshift easel?  It's a chair!!  lol

Here it is when I first finished it:
 And then I "fixed" it

And "fixed" it again!  Here is my final version:

No chunky strokes or fabulous amazing colours on colours here.  I guess I blended things too much.  See what obsessive compulsive behaviour gets you?!  If I could go back, I would have left the painting alone at its first inception; however, that being said, I adore my painting and although it bears only a slight resemblance to the original inspiration piece, I am thrilled with it!

Overall the oil paints were too smelly for my liking and took too long to dry in between layers - I am way too much of an instant gratification junky to wait that long!!  I did really like how the colours merged and blended together, though.  Maybe someday I'll try oil again, but only if I'm outdoors!!

found on Pinterest

Signs, Signs, Signs (Crackling with Elmer)

I love signs but I'm not very good at making my own!   When Meg from Nutmeg Place and I both liked the same sign on Pinterest, we decided to do a shared blog post on creating our own crackled paint signs.

I googled more home made stuff and found out that you can use Elmer's white glue as a crackle medium.  Well, I have Elmer's glue on hand and I'm always up for trying home made stuff so I glopped it onto a board I had handy and used a foam brush to swirl it around.  I waited 5 hours and painted over the top, careful to follow the instruction of using one thick coat and not brushing the paint more than once or twice.  Apparently the more you brush, the less the glue will crackle the finish.  That part went really well and I got a crackled look.  Then I completely screwed up my words on the sign and had to start over, duly forgetting the part about not over brushing.  It didn't crackle... I sanded off the top coat of paint and tried re-lettering.  My sign looked old all right, in fact it looked ancient!!

Painting Out 1930s Wood Trim

I can't believe I did it.  I can't believe how much work it was.  I can't believe I plan to do more...

But it looks pretty amazing!! 

Part of the charm of the home I bought a year and a half ago was the untouched original woodwork.  Unfortunately, someone along the way had decided to shellac the wood making it very, very shiny which, of course, accentuated all the dings and scrapes that had occurred over the years.  In addition, the woodwork was made out of fir which generally turns a dark orangey colour over the years.  I'm not fond of orangey wood any more...

So last year, I took the plunge and painted the two wood paneling walls in the house - one in the dining room and one in the living room.  I love the look of the painted paneling.  Here's the before & after of the living room wall:

and here is the after shot of the dining room wall of paneling (I never took a before shot of the room - too much of a hurry to do my project!)
See all the orange trim???  Beautiful in its own way, and that is what made it so difficult for me to take this plunge.  That being said, half the baseboards in the living room were original to the house and half were replaced when the addition was built 3 years ago so they are not the same colour.  Plus the wood colour doesn't match the floor colour.  My choices?  Strip and refinish the old wood or paint everything the same colour.  It was a dilemma!  Until I had a conversation with one of my girlfriends on Friday.  Her words - " ya, fir always turns orange over time".  !!!!!  Lightbulb moment!  So even if I go to the backbreaking, long & tedious work of refinishing this wood, it was just going to turn back to the same ugly orange again.  Decision made - paint it is!!!

I washed all the trim and doors and baseboards with TSP and then rinsed them.  I also used Zinsser's Cover Stain oil-based primer because it's supposed to cover shiny surfaces without the need for sanding.  I didn't sand either.  The paint is Behr's paint & primer in one in a colour I mixed myself to be more of a light coffee cream colour than the Almond Cream that I had bought.

Let me say now that I am not good at cutting in. In fact, I will generally do anything in my power to avoid that job, but in this case I had no choice.  I have to say that overall it was a good experience because I am now very practiced at it and have developed a better technique.  But it took me 12 hours to develop that technique.  12 hours of crawling across the floor.  I hate trim...

Here are the befores & afters:





Granted the dining room looks much more impressive than the living room but the exposure is so much nicer in this room.  My living room is quite dark in comparison!  I'm also hoping to use my favourite door as a replacement for the door to my front porch -

It's too tall and 1/4 inch too wide so I need to figure out how to cut it down to fit.  Wouldn't it be fab?!

Incidentally, I never did paint the newer trim in the living room because it joins up with the hallway trim and I thought it would look odd.  The living room portion is mostly hidden by the couch anyway.  Once I got used to the idea of  painted trim, I decided that it would look best if all the trim in the spaces that join up visually were painted the same creamy white.  So, how to avoid another 12 hours of cutting in?  I'm going to paint the entire hallway - ceiling, walls & trim - the same colour! The trim will be in a pearl finish so it should look a little different from the wall, but no cutting in other than where the trim meets the floor!!  I am so brilliant I've even inspired myself!  lol

Have a happy & creative week!

To see all the before photos in their horrifying highly lacquered orangeness:  It's Decided
To see the rest of the updates:   the Turquoise Door

Don't miss another post!

Easy Peasy Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

I've seen mason jar soap dispensers all over Pinterest lately and this weekend I finally took time to create my very own version!

Tah daaaaah!!!

I had the jar, I had the lid, I had a soap pump because I just finished using up a Christmas gift plastic soap dispenser - put it all together and EASY PEASY CUTE SOAP DISPENSER!  Forgive me for shouting...

The only part that I struggled with a bit was making the hole in the lid big enough to fit the pump that I was going to use.  I drilled a hole in the center of the lid and then used needle nose pliers to bend back the opening little by little until I had just the right fit.  Once I got everything assembled, I realized that the lid would look better if it was the same colour as the pump - so out came the black spray paint.  I love this project!  Total time spent:  10 minutes (not including waiting 1/2 an hour for the spray paint to dry).  You can also use a glue gun or silicone caulk to keep the pump securely in place.  That might prevent some rusting as well.

I had two jars to choose from - a clear jar and a jar that I had painted last fall by dipping the jar in a can of paint (that was a very messy job that I don't recommend anyone else try!!!).  I like them both, but opted for the clear version so I know exactly when I'm running out of soap.  A little extra touch was a twine bow and it's good to go!!

UPDATE:  My soap jar has been used multiple times daily over the last 14 months and the lid now needs to be replaced due to rust.  My suggestion is to make several lids at the same time so you can swap them out when the rust gets bad.   Easy peasy!

Have a happy & creative week!!

With a small budget, big dreams and a love of a challenge, Anne blogs about renovating and decorating her tiny 1930s bungalow. A self-taught artist and professed power tool lover, she enjoys writing, gardening, photography, nature and diy'ing. And she's never met a dumpster she didn’t want to root through! Come along for the ride!!
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