Mar 182015

I love typography art and I also love a great DIY Knock Off.

Left $2.00. Right $260 on sale for $130! (source)

Ever since I absolutely fell in love with this creation by Virginia at LiveLoveDIY, I knew I just had to “do” an ampersand art piece.

Isn’t this GORGEOUS!

I love her idea of a simple white background and a design created with only thumbtacks.  Brilliant!  And one day I may borrow this idea for a piece of my own.  A monogram perhaps.  We will see.

Then last fall, I received a home decor flyer from one of Canada’s biggest and most iconic retailers, the Hudson’s Bay Company.  There on page 3, just inside the cover was this great, mid-century modern inspired room.  As a furniture painter, I was immediately drawn to the chest of drawers with different stains and THEN, I saw the ampersand print.  (Note:  there are NO AFFILIATE links in this post… just the facts!)

ampersand001 bay ad

I love the multi-stained drawers of the dresser but the ampersand print drew me in

Again, I loved the simplicity of it.  However, when I saw the price in “the fine print”… $130!  on sale from $260!  My mind said

“Hmm… I think I could make this with my Silhouette Cameo and a cheapo dollar store canvas!”

I stashed the flyer on my desk but the plan was always in the back of my mind.  

I found the exact font on Google and some time ago, I picked up some black and white wrapping paper I thought would make a great pattern.

I didn’t get to this project until I was struck down with bronchitis a couple of weeks ago.  Bored out of my mind and not able to do anything too “busy”, I decided to tackle the project. 

I loaded and sized the ampersand font in PhotoShop, saved it, then imported the file to the Silhouette software.   I tried to cut out the black and white wrapping paper only to find it was just too thin.  You see, I am a newbie Silhouette user who, if I continue to screw up like this, will need a new mat.


Isn’t that pretty? Pretty YES but far to thin for this project.

Next, I checked out my stash of scrap book paper.  Why I have this stash is beyond me.  For years, I thought I would try scrap booking and 10 year later… not a single page.  Regardless, I did not find a suitable monotone paper but I did find paper in my favourite colours.  Colours that made me think about spring! 

The first paper, I ruined because like I said I am a newbie Silhouette user and I have the settings wrong. 

Next page was MAGIC!! and gorgeous!


The sewer in me told me to use pins to keep it in place. Go figure?

 Using Mod Podge, I glued it into place.  Easy Sm-easy!

For the label, I picked a nice simple font and, similar to the stencils I used for my glass etching gifts, I created a stencil out of cheapo dollar store contact paper.

IMG_0564 copy

Stencil made with Silhouette Cameo and dollar store contact paper

First, I painted over the stencil with Mod Podge to seal the edges before applying the paint.  This step is IMPERATIVE to have crisp edges with no seeping.  Mod Podge dries very quickly so I was able to start to paint the letters.  I was thrilled to find I had the perfect green in my stash of craft paint.

IMG_0565 copy

It took about 3 coats of paint to make a nice solid colour.

I was SO PUMPED with the outcome.  Even with the mistakes, it took me about 2 hours of elapsed time! 


How cute is this on my mantle with my favourite green bird. I LOVE APPLE GREEN accents!


What a fresh addition to the mantle!


It even ties into the dried hydrageas I pilfer from my neighbours bush. (With their permission of course!)



Like I said the scrap book paper had my favourite colours in it. How cute is it on this side of the mantle with my turquoise squirrel?


So let’s re-cap the costs incurred:

  • 12 x 16 canvas from Dollarama   $2.00
  • scrap book paper  $0.00
  • craft paint $0.00

So if I bought the print on sale for $130,
I guess I saved $128

AND I think mine is more fun!


Do you love it as much as I do?

I am thinking of doing a “set” of labelled symbols  and putting them in the main / guest bathroom, a room in need of some colour!

Love to hear from you!  Would love it even more if you followed me on Pinterest or Bloglovin’ or whatever!





Dec 132013

Mr. Nice is coming home from England today after a week long stay with his elderly parents.  Yes, my hubbie is an ex-pat Brit who came here to work in his twenties and soon made Canada his home.   Some of his more British loves are table tennis, soccer (football) and snooker!  So 20 years ago when we were house hunting and we toured this house, he could barely contain himself when he discovered it came with a full sized snooker table.  Full size meaning 6 ft x 12 ft!  Yes, it is big.  So there are also some big bare walls around it.

(When guests see the snooker table and comment on its size, I always reply “Yes, we bought a snooker table and the house came with it!”)

Back in October when I FINALLY unpacked my Silhouette Cameo and used it to create a stencil for my Pottery Barn inspired Chair, I also shared the photo below of the bare wall behind Mr. Nice’s big ass snooker table.  This wall  used to have a very large knock off painting I picked up at HomeSense.  However, the painting has since found a better home in our dining room. 


Instead of buying something for this wall, I decided I would create something…. perhaps something British.

And this is what I came up with:


The background is BURGUNDY… not black or rust or whatever it appears like in the picture!

I had picked up a couple big canvasses at Michael’s (using coupons of course). 

I created the stencil using my Silhouette Cameo and cheapo dollar store Con-tact paper..  Before sticking on the stencil I painted the centre area ivory.  Now I am not sure if it was because I painted it first or the fact that is canvas and bumpy, the cheapo Con-Tact paper did not stick very well.  I decided to persevere and try to be very careful when I painted.  I even did the important step of painting over the stencil in the background colour to create a seal.  This step may have helped a little but in the end, I needed to spend an hour touching up the lettering.  If you stand close you can see imperfections but across the table, I think it looks great!


In case you are wondering about the long wall, to the left of the view above, it has the scoreboard, the rules of snooker and a big picture of Tiger Woods. 


 So when you’re lining up your snooker shot, you are faced with
Tiger lining up a putt!

I wonder what Mr. Nice will say about our new piece of “art”? 
A good thing about this piece is, if we get tired of it, we can just paint something else over it!

What do you think? 
Are you a fan of the “Carry On” posters or
do you think they are over done?

Love to hear from you! 


Oct 152013

Several weeks ago, I purchased a Silhouette Cameo.  Don’t ask me why.  It was a spur of the moment thing.  I don’t do scrap booking but I love the way people use them to make stencils and labels, etc.

My New Toy!

Oh how I LOVE new toys!

One restless night, I was browsing Amazon and lo and behold, there was a bit of a “sale” on these things. From my understanding, Cameos NEVER go on sale.   Impulse got the best of me and it arrived a few days later.

Where it sat,
in the box,
in my office,
for many weeks.

Every day, I kept asking myself
“Why did I buy that?”

Finally, I was inspired by something I had pinned last year.   I had a boring little oak chair sitting in my garage that was too low and too wide for the couple of desks I have already sold.  I decided this little lovely would be my test piece for a Silhouette printed stencil and paint project.  Being cheap thrifty, I decided to go the Con-Tact paper route since I already had both a patterned and a clear roll.   Debbie at Painted Therapy has a wonderful tutorial on how use your Cameo to create subway art with Con-tact paper.

My other inspiration has been the various knock-offs of Pottery Barn’s numbers subway art.
I thought it would look cute on the seat of the chair.  Pottery-Barn-Numbers-on-Black-Canvas

I lightly sanded the chair and wiped it down with de-glosser.  For the seat, I had a sample of brown paint that was close to the colour of the wood.  I added one coat.   I painted the rest of the chair with ivory home-made chalk paint I also had on hand.

Original chair

Original chair

First coat of white and brown

First coat of white and brown

Brown seat

Brown seat

Now for the numbers!  I first created the layout in PhotoShop because for me, there was no learning curve.  I loaded the JPEG into the Silhouette program and figured out I needed to use the “trace” tool and away I went.  Well not exactly right away, I had a few failed attempts because I didn’t load the paper properly and I had to adjust the cutting tool setting.  In the end, it was painless.

Below are the numbers after I pulled off the surrounding paper.   I then cut a clear piece the same size and placed it, sticky side down on top.

Using an old credit card, I pressed very hard to ensure it was completely covering the numbers with no air spaces.

Once I removed the non-sticky backing, I carefully placed the numbers and clear Con-tact paper on the chair seat.

Only the numbers remaining

Only the numbers remaining

Transferred using clear Con-Tac paper.

Transferred using clear Con-Tact paper.

I smoothed it out again with a credit card until there were no bubbles.  BUT when I started to take the clear sheet off, the numbers wanted to come too and some of them are a bit fragile.  I did my best.


Paint over the stuck on pattern (numbers) with the BACKGROUND paint colour.  In my case it was the brown paint.  Why?  Because it will create a seal over the edge of the stencil.  By doing so, the topcoat paint colour will not seep under the stuck on stencil and you will get nice crisp lines!

However, the trouble I had when removing the clear sheet of contact paper did leave a few gaps that even the brown coat did not seal.  I planned on distressing the chair so I did a bit of extra sanding where the problem occurred.  (Note;  I think the problem may have occurred because the clear sheet was REAL  Con-Tact Brand and it was more sticky than the Dollar Store brand but I don’t know for sure.)

Regardless, I love the end result and essentially, it cost me ZILCH!
I think it would be cute in an entryway or a little boy’s room.

What do you think??

You can download the full-sized jpeg  HERE!

Love it!

Love it!

Not perfect but very cool!

Not perfect but very cool!

Painted numbers

Painted numbers

So now that the Cameo is out of the box, plugged in, tried and tested, I think I’m ready to create!  I already have a project started so keep posted!  For now, I will tell you it will be on a large canvas next to Mr. Nice’s snooker table!


Big Ass Snooker Table in need of some ART!

Yes, we have a humongous full sized snooker table.
What can I say… he’s British!



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