Mar 072015
 

I recently wrote a post describing my unintentional blogging hiatus.  The puzzling thing about the break in blogging was that I was still busy and had lots to share!  Regardless, today I want to share some etched glass Christmas gifts I made for family.  I had a couple of failures which I will also share.
(NO affiliate links … just the story)

I only see my one brother, his wife and their grown kids at Christmas and we only give little gifts.  All my gifts were around $10 per person.  I decided on a personalized casserole for my SIL, beer glasses for my brother and one of his sons and stemless wine glasses for my other nephew and his wife.

Double walled glass

These are great! They keep the beverage cold and don’t sweat!

 I picked up everything at a great Canadian store called Kitchen Stuff Plus.  They sell all kinds of dinnerware, gadgets, etc. There, I was able to buy all the glassware for my projects.  For the beer glasses, I found these great double walled pilsner glasses.  I did check to ensure they were glass and they were and made in Italy.  I also picked up a Pyrex brand casserole for my SIL and stemless wine glasses.

I used the Martha Stewart etching cream I picked up a Michael’s with a 40% off coupon.  Thank goodness because, although it goes a long way, the creams are expensive!

I purchased the images I wanted to use from the Silhouette Design Store.  After I created the design, I used my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencils on basic dollar store contact paper.  I also used clear contact paper to transfer the stencil to the glassware.  I wanted the monogram to be clear with a etched box around it.

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Yup! I am of Irish descent through and through!

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Martha’s etching cream is brown…. The little bowls are to stop it rolling.

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My SIL’s casserole. The stencil is in reverse and on the OUTSIDE of the bottom.

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Etching cream on the OUTSIDE of the casserole.

Fail:  Etching Creams Do Not Work on All Glass

Both of the above attemps FAILED!

I later found the creams do not work on PYREX brand.  Not sure what happened with the other glasses.  It was glass.  When I removed the cream, I was so disappointed…

glassetch19

FAIL! It didn’t make a single mark on the glass.

Successes!

I went back to Kitchen Stuff Plus and picked up some basic glass beer mugs and they worked perfectly!  This time, I decided to have the monogram etched without a frame.  My brother and my nephew loved them!

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LOVE THEM!

 

My nephew has a “thing” for owls.  Always has.  He collects owl art so I knew the wine glasses for him and his wife would have owls.  I purchased these images from the Silhouette store as well.  I just love how they turned out!

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Aren’t these cute??

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Who needs wine glass charms when you have your own owl!?

I think my family were a bit stunned to receive such personalized gifts.  They all seemed to love them but I think they may have thought I put a lot of time and money into them but to be honest, glass etching is SO EASY!  When you have the right type of glass!

You know, after I finished these, I posted pictures on my personal Facebook page and since have created at least 10 other gifts for my friends to give!  Maybe I should keep my “talents” a secret!  LOL

Have you used glass etching cream?

Any failures other than PYREX?

Love to here from you!


Joan

Nov 252014
 

I love dabbling in Photoshop Elements to create unique DIY gifts.   Recently our family was blessed with another baby boy. For me, he is my SEVENTH great nephew and they named him Wesley.  I love it when parents come up with names that are nice and not too common.  As a “welcome to the family” gift, I decided to create a baby  name piece artwork as I had done for his older brother, Liam.

For, Liam, I found a really GREAT Flickr site where the owner has created a collection of pictures for each letter.  (NOTE:  These photos are for NON-commercial use only).    I had an odd shaped rectangular frame, 8″ x 16″,  on hand that was perfect.  Using the letter photos, I created a unique photo alphabet print of his name to fit the frame.    The parents loved it.

Baby name artwork photoshop elements

I love the industrial letter in this print.

For Wesley, I did not have a long narrow frame so decided to be more conventional and create something 8×10.   And rather than a birth announcement, I would just create a cute name graphic.

I tried to find a cute whale image (as in W is for Whale) but I failed.  However, I did find this  cute train graphic via Google and I loved the colours.  Once loaded it into Photoshop Elements, I played around with different fonts and came up with this.

Baby name artwork photoshop elements

W is for WESLEY

After selecting the graphic, the process took me about 30 minutes to complete.  The best part is now that I have the layered Photoshop file which can be easily modified for any new babies who come along… 

I have had a love of photography for decades and I once worked at IBM in a technical and software support role.  So it seemed natural for me to feel comfortable dabbling in Photoshop.  My Photoshop skills have been self taught over the past 10 to 12 years.  The “self taught” part is evident by the dozen or so Photoshop Elements books I own and the number of great online tutorials I have bookmarked. 

Once I get an idea I like (that part takes forever!), I love diving in and experimenting.  For me, these two baby name projects were extremely simple.  Someday I will post some of the tougher stuff I have worked on when my Miss Nice was in competitive dance.    I was a very popular mom at the studio because the dancers and dance moms loved that I could extract the dancer and add a new background and song lyrics, fog or whatever they wanted.  Those projects took time but I loved it.  Here’s an example of one of my favourite lyrical dances Miss Nice performed in 2010.  I loved the song, the costume the dance … the whole package. 

photoshop elements dabbling

Isn’t Miss Nice beautifu? If I do say so myslef!

The original photo was a stage shot with a black floor, stage curtains and banners hanging in the background.  To create this picture, there were 13 layers and various techniques, many of which I ‘ve probably forgotten.  This photo is one of  many on our gallery wall .  Every time I pass it, it brings back great memories of her years of dancing.

Have you ever or do you dabble in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements?

I know PicMonkey is easy and does many of the same functions but I can’t be bothered learning a new program.

I would love to hear from other Photoshop dabblers and pros!
Feel free to  leave a comment or email me!

Joan

Nov 212014
 
Mid Century Pinterest 2 copy

MCM tables with classic MCM update

This past  summer, I picked up two blond wood step tables for less than $10 for both.  They were not the typical “country” look but rather, a  sleek look with nice lines and angles.  Very MCM / Mid-Century Modern!  However, they were not especially sturdy or heavy duty.  Regardless,  they have survived years and I was smitten!

mid century step table mcm geometric

Great lines and angles!

I hummed and hawed about how to paint them.  Two-toned?  Two toned with dark and light stained wood?  Plain single colour? 

I tried out a few MCM patterns in Photoshop but they didn’t grab me.

I love playing in Photoshop!
pattern for tables 3 copy

Geometric 1

pattern for tables 2 copy

Geometric 2


 
 
 

 
 After some research on Google and Pinterest, I found the perfect inspiration I needed!
Check out this super cool Mid Century Plant table. 

MCM Plant table

How cool is this mid century plant table?? I was crushing on the black surface! Source

I loved the black level and decided to use narrow painters tape to tape off the angled lines and let the wood show through. Then add colour in random triangles.

To begin, I stripped the tops and stained them with my go-to walnut stain to darken up the wood. I just love the rich brown it produces. Then rather than trying to plan a pattern in Photoshop, I just grabbed the roll of tape and went to town, randomly taping various angles. The result is the two tables are completely different. 

To get crisp lines, you must ALWAYS paint the base colour over the tape to seal it. But since I wanted wood to show through and not paint, I used Mod Podge to seal the tape edges.

mid century step table mcm geometric

Taped and sealed with Mod Podge to get crisp lines

I love the cool tone of SW All Purpose Enamel in 6990 Caviar,  which I used to paint the base colour.  For the splash of colour in the random triangles, I used craft paint in MCM colours I had on hand. Finally, I topped it all off with a couple coats of Varathane Diamond non yellowing finish.

 I just love how they turned out!  

mid century step table mcm geometric

Mid-Century Geometric Design

 Mr. Nice thought they were brilliant!

mid century step table mcm geometric

The designs were random and different on each table.

 

Mid Century Pinterest 2 copy

MCM tables with classic MCM update

 

 If you are in the Toronto area, they are for sale!  Email me. 
Or they may go in Miss Nice’s first apartment when she leaves university residence.

 

What do you think about this revival of Mid Century style furniture? 

I think the show Mad Men has helped make it more mainstream. 

Betty Draper would love these!

Do you have mid-century pieces in your home?

Joan

Nov 032014
 

Just before I delivered a few pieces to my client she had someone drop off a super cute  vintage magazine rack made of dark wood with brass pulls and brass casters.  The client simply said…”Get rid of the dark wood and have some fun!”.  This is the same client for whom I transformed her old toy box to a very cool Union Jack coffee table.  She liked the blue and this magazine rack was for another room so it did not need to match.

This magazine rack was cute but a bit fiddly and spraying it would be faster and easier.  I happened to have some dark blue spray paint on hand.  However it was Rustoleum Tremclad Rust Paint. Although the piece was wood,from experience, I knew this paint would cover and adhere well.

I removed the brass pulls from each end as well as the cute little caster wheels from each of the legs.  I updated these brass coloured pieces with some brass spray paint I had on hand.

BTW–NO affiliate links — Just facts!

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Brass caster covers updated with paint.

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The pulls at each end were also renewed with brass paint. A lovely contrast to the royal blue.

I  then primed the piece with a spray can of primer I also had on hand because  I did not want the dark wood to bleed through.

Once dried,  I applied two to three very light coats of Rustoleum Tremclad in Glossy Dark Blue.

I love any dark blue with brass and this application did not disappoint.  The client just loved the finished product and so did I!

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Royal Blue and brass is such a winning combo!

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Such a cute piece! Any colour would be nice!

I have a couple of pieces of  campaign style bedside tables in my garage and I am thinking royal blue, like the Union Jack chest, will be perfect with the brass embellishments. Cannot wait to start them.  The only problem is they are the heaviest night stands I have ever encountered.  I will need Mr. Nice to help me get them into the basement workshop!

Stay tuned for more BLUE and BRASS!

Such a simple project and it looks so pretty and updated now.

Have you ever used Rust Paint on Wood?
What was the outcome?
I would love to hear from you!

Joan

 

 Posted by at 2:31 pm
Oct 272014
 

Last week, I shared the Vintage Secretary Desk I completed for a client.  I love the way it turned out with the grey paint and the contrasting walnut stained top.  It looked so fresh.

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk Before and After

This desk also came to me with a chair.  A very dark chair with gold velour upholstery.  I love the shape of it and the lovely caned back but it too needed an update.

Chair

Desk and Chair

I primed and painted the chair the same SW West Highland White I used for the cubbyholes on the desk.  Then I covered the chair is a lovely peacock fabric, picking up the grey of the desk.

reupholster desk chair

A lighter, fresher look.

Steps to reupholster a basic chair:

Re-upholstering a chair like this is relatively simple.  I considered doing a tutorial but there are a plethora of similar tutorials out in Blogland so I will just give you the key points. (NO affiliate links)

  • Unscrew the seat from the base
  • Remove the existing cover and foam by removing all the staples. 
  • Using the wood seat base as a guide, cut 3 or 4 inch foam at least one inch bigger all around.
    • This excess with ensure you cover the wood edges when you add the new fabric.
    • I have a basic electric knife I use specifically to cut foam
  • Using the wood seat base with the foam on top of it as a guide to cut the fabric.  Be sure to make it large enough to wrap both and be able to staple underneath,
  • Optional:  Add a layer of quitting batting over the foam / under the fabric.
  • Center the fabric over the seat and begin to staple.
    • I like to begin with a few staples on one side then go to the opposite side and pull tight and staple a few there. And continue until you are finished.
    • I have used a regular wood staple gun but often they are not powerful enough.  I purchased a stronger stapler requiring a compressor and it makes all the difference.  I am fortunate to have a neighbour with a compressor who lets me “store” it for him.

The upholstering part of the chair took about an hour. The basic tools I used really help, especially the pneumatic stapler.

Reupholster desk chair

Basic Upholstery Tools ~ source ~ source ~ source ~ source ~      

Here is how the desk and chair look now. 

What a transformation! 

I just love these pieces and kind of wish I could have kept them 😉

 

reupholster desk chair

Vintage Secretary Desk and Chair before and After

What do you think?

Have you upholstered a basic chair? 

How did it go?

I have a few bigger and more complex pieces I want to try and upholster soon.  Stay tuned.

Be sure to follow me by email or Bloglovin to keep up to date.

Joan

Oct 142014
 
Toy box to Union Jack

Before and After

When a client dropped off an old toy box her son had outgrown and asked me to “do something” with it, I was a bit apprehensive to say the least!  It was the cutest toy chest with Nursery Rhyme scenes painted on each panel. But like my client, I know there is a time when the nursery rhyme stuff is OVER.  I was pleased with her confidence in my creative ability but I really wasn’t sure what to do with it!

Luckily, she later sent me pictures of the rooms where the box might become a coffee table.

After looking at them, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to try.  

living room copy

Client’s living room

For ages, I have wanted to try my hand at a Union Jack.  I loved what Alison  over at ReFunk My Junk did to an old trunk and I used her design as my inspiration.

calc

I printed out Alison’s photos and did the math

The toy chest needed quite a bit of preparation. The client had added texture on her vignettes: clouds and wool on sheep etc.  And may I say again …SO CUTE!

I stripped off the textured paint with a paint stripper then I proceeded to sand down the rest of the piece to a smooth finish.  I primed it using my new Home-right Paint sprayer (NO affliation).  It was one of the first projects where I used the paint sprayer and it literally took a couple of minutes!  After the primer dried, I sprayed the chest with an off white, Navajo White from BM.  (All my trim and ceilings are this colour).  I allowed it to dry a day or two and then I taped it up as per Alison’s design.

To ensure a tight seal, I brushed a coat of the off white over all the tape edges. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR A CRISP LINE!

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It is so important to paint over tape with backgound colour!

Starting with a  sample pot of a bright red, I mixed it with some burgundy paint, both of which I had on hand. This created a lovely deep red to work with.   I purchased a litre of SW Seaworthy.  (I have plans for the leftover paint. . Using the printed photo as a guide, I applied two coats of the colors.

When I removed the tape, I cannot tell you how excited I was!  I just loved it!

IMG_2887

I LOVE it!

I also added a couple of coats of Water Soluble, non- yellowing Diamond finish by Varathane.  (No affiliate)

Finally, to make it moveable and more “industrial”, I added 4 small caster wheels.

IMG_2891

New casters make it portable!

A mutual friend picked up the chest and dropped it off at the client’s home for me.  I seriously believe I could hear the client’s squeals of delight all the way across the city!

Union Jack toy box

Makes me want to visit the UK soon!

Don’t you love when some an attempt at a new design turns out perfectly!

chester and chest

Chester theLabradoodle pup is forever by my side!

box2

Mr Nice is a “City Fan”. Do you follow “football”?

Toy box to Union Jack

I just love this transformation and I so want to do something like this for our home

Mr. Nice is from the UK and perhaps I should do something for our home …. or maybe a Canadian Maple Leaf Flag version!

What do you think of this transformation?

Do you love Union Jack decor?

Do you have any in your home?

(NOTE:  I was rather happy the Scots lost the referendum… I would have had to change the design!  LOL!)

I love comments.  They make my day!

Joan

Sep 112014
 

About 12 years ago, when my daughter first began dancing competitively, I made her a ribboned memory board for her room.  It was perfect for displaying ribbons, pins, photos etc from the competitions.  Over the past decade, the board has collected so much memorabilia, I am surprised it can stay on the wall.

Here is the state it is in now. 

mere_board

There are YEARS of memories on this board!

After I made this one, she and I made several more to give to her friends as Christmas gifts.  Instead of cork, which is expensive, I used a product called Homasote.  It comes in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets from a building centre.  Builders use it to sound proof walls.  It’s relatively light and soft enough to allow the use of pushpins. 

Here is the one in my office:

My Board

Oh my! I need to add more recent pictures!

It is 48″ x 36″ and I love it!  ( I won’t be sharing the state of the desk below this any time soon!  It looks like my office was ransacked by burglars!

At the end of August, my lovely daughter moved to Kingston, Ontario to begin her new adventures at Queen’s University.  Miss Nice is not overly sentimental so I was surprised when she asked me if I would make her another memory board.  And two of her friends wanted one too.  They do have bulletin boards over their desks but they wanted something “pretty”.

I realized I had a problem and could not make them the way I normally did.  You see, the walls in her residence / dorm room are cinder block so no nails can be added.  Although the Homasote is light, it would most likely be too heavy for a Command Strip.  So I needed to put on my thinking cap.

Michaels just happened to be having a sale on canvases in a 2 pack.  So I picked up four 18″ x 24″  Then, I dropped by Dollarama, where I knew I could get two 12″ cork tiles for $2.00.  I had the rest of the supplies already.  I have so much fabric stashed away as well as quilting batting, ribbon and boxes of the nice upholstery tacks.  I picked up the stash of ribbon 12 years ago when a large Canadian craft store chain went out of business.  Why I bought so much is beyond me.  Perhaps another sign of OCD 😉

pinnable

Instructions below

Here are most of my supplies. (Note:  there are NO affiliation links in this post.  Just links to products I used).

Supplies

Gather supplies

ribbon

Cork and ribbon

tacks

Upholstery tacks

Here is the process I used:

  1. I glued the cork to the front of the stretched canvas using a general purpose white wood glue.  I had to cut some of the cork pieces to make it fit. I needed three squares of cork for each board
  2. Using spray adhesive, I attached a layer of quilting batting to the cork.  This will make the board look more tufted.
  3. After cutting and ironing the cream on cream damask table cloth fabric I had, I covered each of the boards by stapling the fabric to the back of the wooden frame  with my power staple gun.
  4. Then I measured out where the ribbons would go on each edge and marked the spot with a straight pin.  I had the ribbon meet at FOUR spots on each side.    I attached the ends of the ribbon to the back with the staple gun.
  5. Finally, where each ribbon crossed, I added an upholstery tack as well as tacks along the outside edges.

Voila!  Three very light-weight memory boards.  It took me about 3 hours.   

boards2

I love the colours!

boards1

The tack on the outside edge is a great touch

side

I used brass tacks for the navy ribbon and silver for the others.

Cost:

Canvases: 2 for $16  x 2 = $32 — I still have one canvas leftover so the real cost is $24
Cork: 2 for $2 x 5 +=$10 (I have one cork square left)
Fabric, Ribbon, Tacks, Glue and Staples = $0

Each board cost less than $12.  Bargain!

However, the Command Strips were $6 each!!

Regardless the girls were thrilled and Miss Nice’s board looked pretty in her room. Howeverm it did look small on her long empty wall.

What I would do differently is:

  • use a far bigger canvas
  • make the diamonds larger

Other than that, I loved the way they turned out.  Homasote does warp a bit but these frames are  nice and square.

Have you ever made a memory board?
What materials did you use?

Joan

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