Monday, June 20, 2011

Painting Laminate

I feel like I should be back with something fabulous after being away for so long.
However, it's 8:39 on a Friday morning. I've got about 20 minutes until my brother in law shows up to drop off my nephew and my own kids are awakened by my two dogs barking their heads off at the knock on the door. So instead of fabulous, you get fast and easy :)
Fabulous will come later.

Every DIY/Crafter wonders about painting laminate, right? It's the one thing that no one wants to say "sure! we can do that!"
That's because there are so many different TYPES of laminate. Some are a lot cheaper than others. Some chip off the particle board underneath them.
Some of them, however, are perfectly suitable for painting. It's just a matter of finding a piece that will work. Look for one without chipping or peeling. You shouldn't be able to get your fingernail into the laminate seams. And it should just FEEL thicker. Less glossy.
It's hard to explain, but if you look at enough laminate furniture, you'll be able to tell the decent stuff from the crap.

I found this 3' tall, 2' wide bookshelf at my local DI for $5. For that price, I thought I'd try it. I was my daughters room mom this year, and I really liked her teacher. I wanted to give her something special for Teacher Appreciation Week, and a bookshelf for her classroom seemed like a fun, appropriate gift.

First step was sanding. I used 80 grit to go over it once - fairly lightly - then 100 grit to go over it a second time.

Then I gave it a coat of spray primer.

I painted it a pale aqua - a beautiful color I had mixed at the Home Depot in one of the Glidden paint samples for less than $3. I like using Glidden because their tiny pots come in both flat and eggshell, instead of just flat (like Behr.)

Once it had a couple coats of gorgeous on it, I decided it still needed...something. I considered distressing, but decided to go with a stencil on the sides, instead.

They totally played up the "grandma" feel of the piece - which I loved <3

My daughters teacher loved it, too.
On the last day of school I helped her move some furniture around the room - it all had to be stacked in one area so the rest of the class could be cleaned. The paint had held up perfectly - despite a class of 25 third graders using it daily.
So...painting laminate is definitely possible - as long as it's good laminate, and you do it right :)

NOTE: 8:39 on Friday morning actually turned into 9:15 on Monday morning, because on Friday the kids woke up at about 8:42 and my brother in law showed up at about 8:45 and then, before I knew it, it was Friday night at 9:30 when I was finally done doing kid stuff. Whew! Blogging is tough when you're a mom!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Valentines Decor?

I'm not even going to talk about how I'm the worst blogger ever. I'm just going to post a new project and try to be more dedicated than I have been. Forgive me, followers! I still heart you!

I saw this project posted eons ago and filed it away in my head.

At one point, I even purchased the wood to build my own.
I never got around to it, though.

This is the view from my front door when looking directly to the back of my house.

The little wall over the stairs has never bothered me before, but a couple of weeks ago I suddenly decided it was the perfect place to hang something. I was putting my Valentines decor out at the time, and all the "Love" themed pieces must have reminded me of my Beatles inspiration piece.

The wood I had in the garage, however, was far too big. Instead I picked up a 2 gallery canvas's at JoAnn's.

For my letters I created a custom document in microsoft publisher that was the same size as my canvas (24x12) and played with the size and stretch of the letters until it fit the way I wanted it to. Then I turned those letters light grey (so as not to waste too much ink) and moved them to a standard letter size sheet of paper to print them out. 
Then I cut the letters out and attached them to my canvas with a regular old glue stick. 
(I started by just doing one canvas. That way, if it didn't work, I'd only ruined one, lol)
I love this reverse-stencil technique - and using a glue stick to make the paper stay works perfectly. It peels off without too much trouble but stays well enough if you don't jostle it around.
Anyway, I sprayed over the entire canvas with black spray paint. Two light coats.

When it was completely dry, I peeled the paper letters off. They came off surprisingly well. So, instead of printing and cutting out an entire new set of letters, I reused these ones. They were a bit curled, but I pressed them with my iron between two towels and they were perfect.

The letters stood out as extremely white and the black was just a pit too perfect for my taste, so I took some fine grit sand paper to it. Then I diluted some bronze paint and rubbed it over the canvas, giving the letters a bit of color and softening the black.

I love the result. The question is, is it Valentines Decor, or not?
I'm leaning towards not. I think I'll probably keep these up all year long.

Before and After:

Now I just need to replace those hideous sconce's. Bleck!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Giveaway is closed - the winner is Lee Ann! 
Congrats, Lee Ann! I hope you love your sonic scrubber as much I do :)

ETA: The people at Sonic Scrubbers sent me a note letting me know that there is a discount available right now! Go to

I have been MIA for a while and I apologize for that! It's been hectic around here - there's so much going on this time of year! Plus, we went on vacation for a week, so that took a lot of time, too.

I'm returning with one heck of a giveaway, though!

A couple of months ago I was contacted about trying a new cleaning product and then posting a review for my readers. The best part was that the company offering the product was one who's cleaning products I already loved! Score!
I heart scrubbing bubbles - disposable toilet brush's rock :)

Anyway, they sent me this new, high tech toilet brush, and I tried it out.
Here's what it looks like

Like all the other scubbing bubbles toilet brush's, this one is disposable and has the cleaning solution build right in, so you don't have to squirt anything inside the toilet.
The cool thing about this one, though, is that it's battery powered. It does all the work for you!
I purposefully let my toilets go a little extra time between cleaning before I used this the first time. We have really hard water, and it stains the bowl...the longer it sits without cleaning, the harder I have to scrub. I figured if I was going to review it, I should really test it out ;)

Okay - the product itself:
So it's this long handle, and at the end is this square button looking thing.

Then the brush is a round scrubbing pad with a square hole in the back.

The handle clicks into the scrubbing pad and you're in business. Easy-peasy :)

Then you just push the button and it comes to life!

I'm not sure if it was the battery powered scrubbing or the cleaning solution that's built into the head, but this toilet brush REALLY cut through the grime! I was definitely impressed!
My one complaint is that when I pushed it into the deepest part of the toilet and started angling it around I popped the head off. I had a moment of panic, but all I had to do was push the button back into the button hole (still in the water - I didn't actually touch anything with my hand) and it was fine again.
Of course - I didn't really need to PUSH at all...I did it more out of habit than anything. On the second toilet I refrained from pushing and didn't have any more popping off :)
Also - this thing has plenty of cleaning power in it! I cleaned BOTH of my toilets with the one scrubbing pad and that was with them being extra dirty!

So here's the cool part!
The people at Sonic Scrubbers agreed to give one of my readers a Power Toilet Bowl Scrubber of their own!
Just leave a comment here to enter.
You can earn extra entries by "liking" them on Facebook - here's a link to that!

Good luck to everyone! I sure do like mine!

(giveaway will be open through Wednesday, December 1)

Friday, October 8, 2010


Sometimes my creativity runs out.
In particular, I have trouble coming up with anything original for Halloween.
So instead, I stalked some blogs and copied some things.
Hooray for plagiarism!
Even if it does make me feel like a (hallo)weenie. LOL

First - this adorable "Trick or Treat Frame" from Crafts & Sutch
I made my own - and I love it :)

Next - I loved these cute "Scrap Spookies" from Diary of a Preppy Mom
So I copied them, too.

The Pumpkin (mine had a wood stem and glitter in the paint)

The Mummy (mine is wrapped in white burlap instead of muslin, and I used buttons for eyes)

The Frankenstein (no fabric on mine, and he has button eyes like the Mummy)

I did manage to come up with one additional scrap spookie...
A Bat! (his wings are cut from leftover hardboard)

The one original Halloween decoration I made this year was a wreath for my front door.
I died black tulle (and a tiny spot of purple, for interest) around a metal wreath. In the middle I attached a metal spiderweb I've had for years. Then I added some scary spiders. I love it!

Happy Halloween, everyone! And thanks to Erin @ Craft & Sutch and to Preppy Mom for making such cute projects! I had a blast copying them :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Garage Door: Take 2

If you have the time/weather for one more outdoor project this year, let this be it.
Because it's fab.u.lous.

Okay - from the beginning...
Last Spring, I attempted to turn my metal garage door into something more decorative. I lusted after those super expensive wood doors, and had seen the standard metal doors painted to look like wood, and I decided I could do that, too. I didn't go at it blindly...I did some internet research...and the results were pretty impressive. At least, I was impressed. Here's the original Garage Door Makeover post.

Unfortunately, the finish did not hold up to the elements. Our home is on top of a mountain, and we have pretty severe Winters. Gusting winds...driving get it.
The garage door came away from the Spring thaw looking a little (lot) worse for the wear.
(not quite this bad - this picture was taken later in the summer...)

So I thought and thought about what to do to fix it.
Meanwhile, the garage door got worse and worse.

My darling husband begged me just to paint it black.
"But it's so boring!" (I wailed)
To which he replied "It's a garage door" (and he's thinking - how exciting does it need to be?)

But I'm nothing if not a rebel. And anyway, I figured my garage door is 50% of my home's curb appeal! It DOES need to be exciting!
So I did a little more internet research - I even looked into having the door faux painted by a professional. The cheapest price I could find for that, though, was $450.

Here we go.
First, I pressure washed the garage door. The old stain was still flaking off in places, though, so it had to be sanded. I won't lie - the husband did 90% of this part.

(sanded and ready to go!)

When that was done I painted it this disgusting caramel color. The neighbors were terrified, I'm sure.
Next I added some faux wood grain marks (using a wood graining tool) to random spots.

Finally I started painting it. I used three different colors - the gross caramel color I started with, a chocolate brown, and black. I mixed them on the brush, in buckets, and on the door, working towards a natural wood look - with lots of color variation.

When I was done, I applied 2 coats of spar urethane to seal it.

(in the sun)

 (in the shade)

This took a long time! I only worked on it while my little one was outside playing near me, though. If I had just worked on it straight through, I'd guess it would have taken about 3 days. One day for the base coat and first set of wood graining, one day for the painting part, and another day to seal it.

I love the way it turned out, and I've gotten a TON of compliments on it. Several of my neighbors have stopped to tell me how beautiful it is, and one even asked if she could pay me to do hers! I declined...for now. I'm pretty confident that this will hold up - the door was sanded first, I used all exterior paints, and I sealed it with an exterior urethane product. But still...if this one chips off, I don't want it happening on someone else's house!

Here's the original before. The garage door as the builder painted it. Blah!

Here it is after my original "faux wood" treatment

And here it is today - absolutely gorgeous :)

The new finish is a HUGE improvement over the old one - live and learn, right?!
Linking up all over town to show off my oh-so-labor-intensive project!
Transformation Thursday at the Shabby Chic Cottage
Get Your Craft On Thursday at Life as Lori
Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans
Strut Your Stuff at Somewhat Simple
and maybe some Friday parties, too. I'm really proud of this one! lol

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bow Tutorial

A few weeks ago I posted a Bow Holder project I had made for all my daughters hair bows. I mentioned then that I would post a Hair Bow Tutorial at some point in the future...
So here it is!

There are a lot of ways to make hairbows - mine probably isn't the best/most professional/easiest way. It's just the way I do it - and it works for me! My daughter is VERY (over)active, and these stay together for her - so I must be doing something right!
Type A: The Boutique Bow

To start I cut two lengths of ribbon based on what size I want my bow to be. I singe the ends with a lighter and fold them into loops. I use hot glue to attach mine - a very tiny bit! Otherwise you won't be able to gather the bow in the center.

(I used to use sewing glue, but found that hot glue holds about a millions times better and dries about a million times quicker)

Put one loop inside the other and turn them so they make an X

Then cut your additional ribbons. For this bow I used 1 wide organza ribbon and 4 coordinating gross grain ribbons (2 of each pattern.)

Again, I singe the edges with a lighter, then layer the ribbons on top of my X.

I use super thin floral wire to wrap the middle as tight as I can get it.

At this point I added another ribbon - it felt like it needed some more pink.

Then I choose a coordinating ribbon to use as the center wrap and attach it with a dot of hot glue.

I attach the barrette to the back of the bow with (yep!) more hot glue - then wrap the ribbon over it.

And there it is!

Type 2: The Pony Bow

I just learned how to make this style, and I love it. I actually purchased one from Gymboree so I could examine it closely. Mine are just as fabulous as theirs are, and are SO MUCH CHEAPER.

Start with several pieces (I used 10) of coordinating ribbon in different widths and patterns cut to about 14 inches long.

Make sure they're nice and flat - I use a 1/2 inch flat iron to smooth mine out.

You're going to choose two "main" ribbons to become your T for the bow. One will be the bottom, the other will be the top. They should match each other.
Start with the bottom ribbon and begin crossing ribbons over the top of it.

The goal is that no two ribbons sit directly on top of each other - so you can see them all when it's laying flat - but you want to keep them pretty close together or the ribbons don't fall as pretty when it's in the pony tail.

Once they're all laid out how you want them, sew them together. You don't have to use a machine for this, but I did.

Sew it in an X, so you're sure to get all the ribbons.

Then you take your elastic, stand it up right and use your second "T" ribbon to attach it.

I marked where I wanted it and sewed the first side without the elastic in it.

Then I slid the elastic back in and sewed the second side down.

And that's it.

Here it is in my daughters pony tail. I love this style of bow! It's so sweet - but a little more "grown-up" looking :)

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