Paper Poppies

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of “paper” projects. My scrap booking days ended in high school, and I’m just not all that good with it. Some people have a natural gift and are able to create beautiful embellished cards or other super awesome crafts. For some reason I just can’t get creative when I see the wall-o-paper at the store.

But one day I saw a vase of these at my friend Amy’s house and had to have them!

 

Image courtesy of Martha Stewart

(click image for tutorial)

I was literally amazed that they were made of paper! I didn’t know you could do these kinds of things! Amy patiently helped me make my own, despite the fact that I have the scissor skills of a 4 year old (I am left handed, but learned to use them with my right hand…) and limited tracing ability. It turned out ok though, as I was highly motivated. I wanted to use them in my new guest bathroom. At some point, I’d had some pink flowers in there and loved the navy and pink combo. I thought these beauties would make great 3d wall art. With some leftover pallet wood, I made 2 plaques (one larger than the other). I still have to add hanging hardware, but to show you how it looks I popped one of the flowers on with some tape and leaned it against the wall.

Here’s a close- up of the flower itself (beware, these are kind of addicting…you’ll find tons of places to stick them)

Not too bad for a 4 year old, right? And since you know I love doing things on the cheap…when everything is all put together and on the wall, this project will come in at around $6 for the paper and hanging hooks. I can’t wait to get this done and show you the final result in the bathroom reveal!

****GIVEAWAY!!**** JustKenzie

I’m SUPER excited today to host this giveaway from JustKenzie! Mackenzie is an Asheville local that I met at an event for small businesses. I loved her work so much that I google stalked her until I found her etsy site. We ended up meeting for lunch (probably a good idea given my previously mentioned stalking behavior…lol) where she generously offered to give away a piece of jewelry to my lovely readers. Yes that’s YOU!

Some of her awesome work:

 

So here’s a little bit about Mackenzie…

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I went to Kent State University in Kent, Ohio and got a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing.While at Kent I was able to study abroad in Florence, Italy. That experience changed my life forever; seeing life elsewhere made me re-evaluate my own. I realized that my hands were my gift and gateway to my future.

My love for what I do roots from my passion for life. We have this one life and this one body, why not adorn it with jewels? My enthusiasm allows me to see beauty in everything. This is truly reflected in my work due to the use of recycled materials. I visit our local scrap yard in Asheville about once a week to find my hidden treasures. I want to turn a copper pipe that might have been under bathroom sink into a beautiful necklace, in which that pipe is unidentifiable.

Color is one of the most amazing visual affects this world gives us. It can relate to anything; a feeling, a taste, or a smell. This is why I incorporate it into every one of my pieces through the process of enameling. I have a personal connection with each one of my pieces and hope that whoever buys and wears the piece does as well. My jewelry reveals my inner most thoughts and feelings, because what is life without feelings? I want you to feel my jewelry when you wear it- feel beautiful in it.

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Here’s what you have a chance to WIN

A gorgeous pair of earrings!

There are three ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment below after visiting Mackenzie’s website or etsy shop and tell me what your favorite piece is.

2. Fan JustKenzie Jewelry on Facebook and leave a comment there saying Lovely Crafty Home sent you!

3. Tweet or share this giveaway on Facebook and let me know you did (leave your @twitter or FB page in a comment below).

The giveaway will be open until midnight (EST), July 5th. The winner will be chosen via random.org. Good luck!!!

 

 

Sneek Peek

…of what I’m working on.

Lovely Crafty Weekend #26

Wow I guess we are halfway through the year already! I can’t believe it! I really appreciate all of you who come back here every week to share your projects. Here are the top four most viewed entries from last week:

Tara from Tales of a Trophy Wife Daughter shared her favorite go to casserole, which looks and sounds DELISH!

Image courtesy of Tales of a Trophy Daughter

Check out this awesome beach bag tutorial at Artsy VaVa made from window screen fabric!

Image courtesy of Artsy VaVa

Jen from Domesticated Nomad showed us how to make a bamboo mat out of simple supplies…the result is amazing!

Image courtesy of Domesticated Nomad

You know I love a good stenciling project, and this side table at Liz Marie really delivers.

Image courtesy of Liz Marie

Thank you to all who participated! If you’ve been featured, grab a button from the sidebar to show off. Now onto this week’s party:

1) Please link to a specific post, not your blog address.

2) Share the love and comment on other people’s blogs! We all love comments!

3) Please join my Google Friend network.

4) Please grab my linky party button from the sidebar and link back so others can join in the fun!

Fat Quarters

That’s not a weird way of saying I’ve got a lot of coin, but rather the material I used to make this super-de-duper table runner.

My friend Amy and I were tooling around town looking for trouble when we found ourselves in a fabric store. Do you think it’s weird that trouble lies in a fabric store? I sort of do, but our husbands would disagree.

In any case, we came across some lovely Amy Butler fabric but were afraid to buy any for fear of messing it up. We’re pretty amateur seamstresses. On a little display table, though, was a basket of fat quarters. If you’re a quilter you know what a fat quarter is, but if you don’t it’s basically a square of fabric (I’ve seen them in different sizes I think) that is pre-cut and sold at a flat price/quarter. You’ll often see bundles of them in coordinating patterns/colors sold as a set. These happened to be 5/$10, mix and match.

Amy: I looooove this fabric. Maybe I could recover that chair that Blu [the cat] destroyed in something like this.

Rachael: That would be SO cute. Do you want to get some?

Amy: Nah it’s kind of pricey, and I’ll probably eff it up. Plus it’s not really upholstery fabric.

Rachael (looking at basket of fat quarters): Let’s get fat quarters and make a table runner!

Amy: YES!

Seriously I have no idea why I blurted out that idea, but we were both so stoked about it that we spent the next 30 minutes picking out the 5 most perfect coordinating squares (polka dots-you’re out…no wait, you’re back in). Amy chose blue and green (shocker!), and I went a little crazy with some peachy pinks and purples.

I’m not even going to show you the step-by-step because this was so stinking  easy. Just pin all your squares together in a row (right sides together!)  and sew each seam, then trim the whole runner  to the width you want and hem all the edges.  My table is rather wide, so I only cut off about 4″. Five pieces seemed to be perfect for my table length, but you may need more or less. It’s not really an exact science (you know how I feel about measuring).

What you’ll end up with is a super cute $10 table runner!

 

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Sandpaper: A Hate Story (or how I refinished my dining set)

I’m the kind of person that likes to talk and talk and talk about doing a project and then promptly move onto something else more interesting. So it’s not surprising that after purchasing my new $100 dining set in February and blabbing about my intentions of refinishing it…it sat in my dining room like this for 4 months.

Even my chandelier got swapped out before I touched the table!

It took me a long time to get around to this ginormous project because I absolutely hate sanding. Oh yes, that’s (one of) my dirty little secrets. This DIYer will avoid sanding at. all. costs. But I’m not delusional about the importance of it so, rather than do a crappy job, I’ll just wait until I’m properly motivated to tackle a sandpaper heavy project. Oh that reminds me.

[begin rant] I also hate the fact that it’s SO FLIPPIN EXPENSIVE. I mean seriously…it’s paper with sand stuck to it. You make me think I’m getting a bunch of it with that cardboard package until I realize that it’s 3 sheets for $4.50. Yet I continue to buy the small packs because paying $15 for the large pack is just too scary for me. I mean I can get at least 75 yards of drop cloth for that price which is way more useful to me. [end rant]

So anyhow, moving on…

I started with the chairs and took some 80 grit to them. I really wanted to scuff the surface because this set had a super glossy finish on it. Apparently two of my cats thought I was in need of assistance or moral support or something (which I probably was).

Yes, I like to sand things in my house. Only by hand though. Do not try to get a friend to hold a vacuum hose while you use a palm sander in the house. It doesn’t work, and don’t ask me why I know.

After sanding 4 chairs and the table legs, I applied two coats of primer then two coats of Sherwin Williams “Creamy” from a color test quart.

As you can see, it’s an improvement but not nearly finished. This next part is where I got a little lesson in distressing and glazing. I went to town on the first chair with the sandpaper all over, but especially in areas I thought would be worn over time. I think I used 120 grit paper. EPIC FAIL. When you put your glaze/stain on, you will see every single scratch of the paper. Fortunately it’s only really bad up close, and it ended up not sticking out amongst the rest of the chairs as much as I thought it would. Plus I figured once I get all 8 done, I can swap it for one of the extra chairs we keep in the basement (we only use 4-6 regularly). On the next chair I tried 180 grit and only in the areas I wanted distressing. It was much better and more organic looking. I had a Goldilocks moment and on the 3rd chair tried 220 to see if I could get it *just right* but it took a lot of work and wasn’t really any better. So 180 it is from now on. In any case, despite my grab bag of techniques, all the chairs came out with the same overall look so it’s hard to tell a difference. I used the same glazing process that I shared for my buffet makeover, the brush on/wipe off method-except I also sanded after the stain because the curves of the chair made it so difficult to get the stain on evenly. Lightly sanding afterward evened everything out and lightened the color.

Then I moved on to the top. It took a long time to sand the poly off. I have never used a chemical stripper-and quite frankly they scare me- but after this I may be tempted. I found out in the worst possible way that my “solid wood” table was actually a thick veneer when I sanded through to an interesting grain pattern I like to call particle board. Fortunately I realized it quickly and it was only a small area. Here’s how everything looked all nekkid on top and glaze-y goodness on the bottom.

I applied a coat of Minwax Dark Walnut to the top with a brush and wiped off the excess, working in small areas with the grain. The next day I sanded with some 320 and applied another coat for good measure. And finally, I finished it with Minwax Paste Wax (clear). Well I’ve chatted about everything enough, I suppose it’s time to show you the final pics!

Keep in mind the stain is not perfect because the veneer doesn’t act the same as real wood…but I like way it turned out.

I think it’s a HUGE improvement, and I’m totally in love with it. It’s all ready for summer with some bright colors (I’ll tell you more about the table runner this week also). I actually have plans to make slipcovers for the chairs because I hate the ball finials and am afraid to saw them off. But, for now, I hate them less than I used to.

What do you think? Am I the only one who hates the “balls”? Have any of you tried paste wax yet?

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Wax On, Wax Off: A Dining Room Buffet Makeover

You’ve seen pictures of this stuck-in-the-70s-orange piece that serves as our bar.

It’s been around for at least 2 years, but I finally bit the bullet and painted it. I’m not quite sure what the hold up was…I guess because even though I hated the color, the finish was fairly decent so it just took the back burner while I tackled more “I need help RIGHT NOW” projects. Of course I considered all my standby colors for this piece like white and oil rubbed bronze, but in the end I decided to go a little crazy and used a color I’ve been dying to try.

A sophisticated purple.

This is Sherwin Williams Plum Brown. I swear I haven’t lost my head or ignored my own advice about neutral furniture. I figured, it’s easy to repaint later on if I get tired of it…unlike a red sofa. Here’s a little secret I’ve just discovered: The $5 color tester quarts at Sherwin Williams are a great deal to do a piece of furniture :)

I lightly sanded the buffet, then applied two coats of Kilz waterbased primer followed by 3 coats of paint. After some light distressing, here’s what she looked like:

Then I applied a glaze using Minwax Dark Walnut (the same color I used on my paper bag floors). Using a foam brush, I brushed on the stain then quickly wiped it off with a rag. On a paint color this dark, it basically just warms it up a bit. After it dried, I went back with some medium grit sandpaper over the edges.

To finish it off, I tried a product I’d never used before but it’s quickly climbing the list of things I’m obsessed with.

You basically rub it on with a rag, wait 10 minutes for it to dry, then buff it off with a clean rag. It yields a wonderfully hand rubbed satiny sheen that is completely different than any poly I’ve used. I LOVE IT. I might be waxing everything in my house. Well, the furniture at least. Before I reveal the finished look, let’s check out a before shot.


Wow, that’s blinding! Alright, now the fresh and funky after:

It’s hard to see the character of the distressing in the photos, so here’s a closer shot.

I gave it new knobs (well, recycled from the downstairs bathroom vanity and painted oil rubbed bronze).

So what’s the verdict? Too crazy? Just right? Have you ever used a risky color on a piece of furniture?

 

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Summer Grillin

As summer approaches (I believe it’s the 21st?), I thought I’d talk a minute about one of my favorite warm weather activities: grilling!

Image courtesy of HGTV.com

Hahaha yeah…I wish.

Our outdoor kitchen consists of one of those basic round charcoal Weber grills, which has worked great for us the 5ish years we’ve had it. But now I’m feeling like we might need to upgrade. We just need a BIGGER grill with all the parties we’ve been having on our new patio. Some storage space would be nice as well for all the BBQ specific tools- like that giant spatula that you can’t put in a kitchen drawer. The Weber Genesis grills are grills + storage cart, which would definitely suit our needs. I love that the genesis e310 comes in a sweet green finish- this ain’t your momma’s grill (or mine, for that matter)! I’m a little worried about switching to propane though, to be honest!

When it comes to the grill, are you a propane or charcoal kind of person?

I find that along with questions like coke or pepsi, people seem to be very polarized on this issue. I can appreciate both sides- the instant gratification of the propane is clearly a huge benefit while the charcoal imparts a flavor that can’t be duplicated. But, patience is a virtue I don’t have-shocking I know. Maybe we’ll seriously think about going for the propane. Where do you stand on this? Do you have a preference? How about sharing your favorite grilling recipe to get us started this summer!

Lovely Crafty Weekend #25

Hi everyone! Sorry for the errr….lack of post yesterday. I’ve got a few big projects going on (including the refinishing of my dining room table) which I hope to share with you next week! For now, let’s take a look at some features. Now with my linky tools service I can see how many clicks each project got, so instead of choosing them myself, I’m going to highlight the most viewed projects by YOU!

These super cute homemade sugar cubes at Nifty Thrifty Things are perfect for a brunch!

Image courtesy of Nifty Thrifty Things

Snowflakes and Dragonflies taught us how to make our own foam hand soap…no more expensive refills!

Image courtesy of Snowflakes and Dragonflies

I love love love this blue buffet at The Modern Cottage Company. Especially since I’m about to tackle my own buffet…

 

Image courtesy of The Modern Cottage Company

I can’t believe how awesome this DIY wall chandelier at MeiJo’s Joy turned out, what a statement piece!

 

Image courtesy of MeiJo's Joy

Thank you to all who participated! If you’ve been featured, grab a button from the sidebar to show off. Now onto this week’s party:

1) Please link to a specific post, not your blog address.

2) Share the love and comment on other people’s blogs! We all love comments!

3) Please join my Google Friend network.

4) Please grab my linky party button from the sidebar and link back so others can join in the fun!

Tutorial: Recycled Pallet Memo Frame

I submitted this project to One Month To Win It, but I thought I’d share more details about how I made it for you lovely readers.

If you don’t have access to pallet wood, you can use new 1×4 boards, distressed with any number of techniques also recommended for anger therapy: banging them with a chain, hitting them with hammers or a bag of nails, or denting them with screwdrivers.

I used 4 boards, 2 of which I cut in half. Each side has 1 1/2 planks, and the top and bottom use the other 2 halves. It ended up working out perfectly to create a floor length leaning style piece (this would make a totally awesome mirror!). I used flat brackets called menders to connect the boards together (just FYI, I found these at Lowes- my Home Depot didn’t have these). I put wood glue in between each joint as well.

I sanded lightly to remove splinters but left the wood as is otherwise. Twelve screw-in eye hooks create the twine grid. I just calculated the spacing by measuring the inside opening. Some vintage-y images from Graphics Fairy are held in place by clothespins.

I’m leaning it on the stair landing for now, but it may move around the house-possibly to our bedroom. I’m in L-O-V-E with it :)

Oh and the best part for a cheapskate like me: the total cost was about $7 since I had everything on hand except the brackets and the eye hooks!

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