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.

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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!





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?


Jul 162014

When you see a cool container, are you like me and have a hard time throwing it out, knowing it MUST be good for something!  Certainly there is a way to up-cycle the container to keep it out of the trash!

Well this is how I feel about the containers the Cascade dish washing  tablets come in. 

I have used it for my homemade dry laundry detergent until I found a bigger and better container. 

Then one day after my daughter and her friends had been in my car, I noticed they left so many tissues and wrappers on the floor.  (Pretty girls but slobs!)  So I decided I needed some sort of garbage container.  I was just going to put it in there as is but since I seem to have a surplus of scrapbook paper, a light bulb went off.

This little project took me literally 10 minutes!


Up-cycled Cascade Container

I didn’t even remove the labels.

I cut the paper to size.  Added Mod Podge to both the container and the back of the paper.  I lined it up and pressed out the bubbles then added a top layer of Mod Podge.

Easy Smeasy!

IMG_2452 copy

Such a cute and easy project: Up-cycled Cascade container

Now it is a matter of getting them to USE it!

What containers have you re-purposed?

I LOVE comments!  So drop me a line!



Oct 282013

My dog’s idea of keeping me company while I work!


Okay, I admit it.  I pick up other people’s trash.
It started a year ago.
Now it’s an addiction.
When walking the dog or driving, I’m on the look out.
I make U-turns.  I scurry back to the site.
What can I say?

Last year, while walking my dog on trash day, I spotted a beat up but very solid wooden parson’s table.  It had apparently been used  as a play / colouring table for kids because it was a mess of paints, crayons and gouges.  But it was solid,  nothing sanding and paint would not fix.  I zoomed over later with my car and brought it home.

Sadly I don’t have a true before picture but let me say, this little table has become a very useful practice piece for me.

Life #1:  It was  sanded down and spray painted with a metallic paint.  Sadly, the top was not sanded smooth enough to look good.

Life #2: The top was  re-sanded, removing the paint.  I decided I didn’t want it to be metallic so I just left it and used it as a low work table.

Life #3:  It became a test piece for transferring graphics with Citra-Solve and Mod Podge

So here it is in it’s hodge podge state of metallic paint, a bit of primer and graphics transfer samples.



Life #4  for this table was inspired by Beckie at Infarrantly Creative.
Using an 80’s style coffee table., Beckie created an ingenious LEGO TABLE for her kids.
Her table is GORGEOUS!  She really had a great vision!  I think she should patent those plans!

My idea for this table was to NOT make it cute or perfect.  This little table is my second Great Aunt project and will be used by three little boys.  Repeat: THREE boys!  So as a play table, it should be capable of taking some abuse.

Using left over ivory homemade chalk paint, I painted the frame with one coat then lightly distressed it, allowing the grey metallic paint to show through.  I reversed printed a CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SIGN using their last name on two sides and a shorted version on the other two sides.  I applied the words using the Modge Podge method I used here.

Since the Mod Podge needs to thoroughly dry, I moved on to a chair I was painting black.  Every time I looked over at the little table I thought it just looked too…


Especially for a “construction crew”.



On my way to wash the black paint out of my brush, I took a chance and

DRY BRUSHED the table with BLACK.
YES!!! A grunge look!

Grunge! That’s more like it!



The Mod Podge transfer worked very well.
Now for the Lego Plates.

I used a carpenter square to make sure the Lego Building Plates were level with each other and Weldbond glue.  I placed a large heavy book and a weight on them and waited for them to dry.




A large Rubbermaid bin fits under it!
(NO they do not have that much Lego! LOL)

I love how it turned out.   It definitely has a “masculine” look about it.
I am not going to wax or apply Varathane either.
I would say it’s rough and ready for building!

I’d say it’s definitely

“Nicer Than New”


You may find me linking at these great parties.
Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!


RRbutton125 Heavens Garden Three Mango Seeds DIY Show Off GiveMeTheGoodsMondaynewbutton
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home
party   Monday Funday at TWCS  
Metamorphis Monday
Inspire Me
Tuesday @
A Stroll
Thru Life
A Bowl Full of Lemons
Linky Party
The DIY Dreamer MamaBuzz
  Ivy and Elephants

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The Thrifty Groove Tickled Pink at 504 Main The Shabby Nest  
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Furniture Feature Fridays
  vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300
DIY It's Overflowing     TDC Before and After  

Sep 122013

Do you ever feel that way? I sure do!

This week, I was bound and determined to do, among other things, get rid of junk out of my office and get myself organized. For several weeks, although I am churning out work on both this blog and other projects, I am living in a MESS. I won’t even post a picture of my very large office space because quite frankly, it is a rather embarrassing mess of clutter and STUFF!

This sort of mess is not allowed in the rest of the house so how does it happen here.

Oh wait! Everything that was cluttering other rooms gets dumped in this room, pending some future destination.

As sentimental as I am about 60 year old board games that were old back when we played them, a time comes when some things just gotta go. (Just not that weird and quirky Snakes and Ladders game that seems oh so politically incorrect in this day and age!)

Regardless of my efforts, I did tackle a couple of little projects. I loved the Mod Podge graphic transfer on my little table a couple of weeks ago and was itching to try it again. Below is the before and after:

While I was at it, I updated a very plain tray left at my home after a book club meeting and
turned it into something I LOVE!
(Sorry forgot the before picture but let’s just say it was cheap plain balsam wood.)

French Pastry Tray

French Pastry Tray

Thank you again Graphics Fairy for your amazing Graphics!

Do you have trouble purging items you KNOW you should get rid of?


This week, I will be partying at:

The Graphics Fairy
Three Mango Seeds
Too Much Time On My Hands
DIY Show Off
1-Funky_Junks_Party_Junk_link_party.29-AM Furniture Feature Fridays

Aug 312013

graphic table before It’s Saturday of our Labour Day weekend and I am finally getting in a “Let’s get at it!” mood. Jet lag and fuzzy brain have caused some serious procrastination at my house this past week.  Before I start to use my new toys from yesterday’s post, I thought I would finish up a little project I started before our vacations.

I picked up this cute little table off an auction site called along with a couple other items for $5. I love the oval pie crust top and the interesting detail of the base. I wonder if it might have been part of a nesting table set due to the curved support bar at the bottom. It was my latest Home Made Chalk Paint project. The recipe I use is 2/3 paint and 1/3 calcium carbonate with a bit of water. I mix the calcium carbonate and water to make a smooth paste then I gradually add the paint and stir until nice and smooth. Apparently you can use any paint. For this I used ceiling paint in BM Navajo White.  It happens to be the shade of all the trim and ceilings in my home so if I keep this table, it should blend in.

graphic table I wanted to make this table unique by trying my hand at transferring a graphic on to the top.  Being the crazy, procrastinating researcher, I finally decided to try a Mod Podge transfer method  since I had a jar of it.  Karen at The Graphics Fairy has amazing FREE vintage graphics.  I selected a Patisserie or bakery sign.  The graphic must be printed in reverse and on a laser printer for this method.ere is the table painted, lightly distressed and ready to go.  Note the fancy dollar store art brush.  It literally took me a couple of minutes to paint the Mod Podge on over the printed parts then turn over and smooth out the paper.  I initially used my finger and then really smoothing it out with the top of a Glysomed hand cream jar that happened to be handy.

All the websites say the hardest part is waiting for it to thoroughly dry. They were right! I had to hide it in my office so I would stop looking at it and went off to work on something else.

The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game

After waiting about 6 hours and I just HAD TO find out if I was successful AND OMG!! It is amazing!!!! SO fun! SO EASY! And one of the things I did while I was waiting was prep another table for another graphic. I may be hooked! graphic table done

The potential is amazing! Colour photo copies! Photos! What do you think would be fun to try?

I am newbie blogger taking baby steps. With this post, I am trying to expand my readers and connect with other bloggers by trying my hand a “Linky Parties”. This week I am partying on the following blogs…

DIY Show Off
Heavens Garden A Bowl Full of Lemons
Three Mango Seeds Trash to Treasure Tuesdays at Kammys Korner
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Furniture Feature Fridays Inspire Me Tuesday @
A Stroll Thru Life

The Cottage Market!

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