Christmas Countdown Calendar- Tutorial

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Some call this an Advent Calendar…I call it simply a “Christmas Countdown Calendar”…it could be either or both ;)!  I just want to start by saying I owe credit to many people out there that have inspired me (mostly you Pinterest peeps)…but I’m just gonna tell ya what I did to make mine!

>>Get a window- the chippier, older, warn down, the better…but really just get one to your liking.  I have some suggestions on WHERE to get one at a decent price if you don’t happen to have a barn as a backyard (I do not, just to throw that out there…I kind of want one though…especially if it came packed with rustic treasures…oh now i’m just day dreaming…).  Craigslist is an option…but do this- go to Facebook and search for Facebook Groups in your area with words like “shabby chic”, and “vintage” in the titles…if you live in an area anything like mine…there are many of these boards and they are a great place to grab old windows on the cheap (ish)…they are very trendy right now, so you’ll likely have to accept the “trendy mark up” ;)!  If you absolutely can’t find a window- what about an empty frame (no glass)…could paint and distress for more character…just a thought…

>>To Paint or not to Paint…I did not- if you do you will likely need to chip some old paint off, sand and then repaint and don’t forget to distress! :)…WARNING: old windows ‘prolly contain lead paint- be careful and smart if you start doing anything to it- wear a mask, etc ;)…

>>Other things you’ll need:

  • Paint (I used Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint (Chalk Paint) in Ivory<<<one small bottle of this goes a long way, you will notice this is the same paint as my last post- same bottle!!)
  • Number Stencils (#s 0-9)- I used Martha Stewart Cardboard Stencils- just make sure the size is right (about 2 inches)
  • 24 Bags -I used mini-burlap drawstring bags (two packages, about 3″ tall) from Michaels (wedding aisle ;)))…but you could really use any small bag that looks cute to you…I wanted something I could re-use year after year, but you could even use disposable bags
  • 24 small clothespins- I used white clothespins purchased at Michaels (one package).
  • Twine
  • Tape/eye hooks
  • Wire
  • Staple Gun
  • Sponge paint brush (the disposable kind works well)
  • Cardboard (from a cardboard box, for example)
  • Optional for Paper Banner- Scrapbook paper, alphabet stamps, ink, banner paper punch, small circle paper punch, glue gun, paper glue

Here’s how you make it…

  1. Make the bags, 6 at a time (I dunno why I picked 6, it just fit in my space- pick your own number imagethat works for you ;))-
    1. Cut out 6 pieces of cardboard to fit inside the bags and keep paint from bleeding through while giving you a hard work surface…place one inside each of the six bags
    2. Use the stencils and paint to put the numbers (1-24) on the bags…eyeball it- the placement doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s part of the charm ;)…I just held the stencils in place with my hand…you can tape them down if you want, but that will take you longer…I usually take the “get it done quick” path…(tip: use the sponge paint brush and push down a little to get the paint completely covering the burlap…being careful to not let it bleed through the sides of the stencil…don’t sweat it the numbers are not perfect, mine definitely are not- look closely)!
    3. Remove the cardboard and place those six off to the side to dry…repeat steps with the next six and so on until finished with your 24 numbers.
  2. String the twine…this also is not a fine science…just use tape (I used packing tape) to place the string where you want it, attached to the back.  I left it like that for now (just tape), but you can finalize the placement by screwing in eye hooks where you taped it, and stringing the twine through the eye hooks in the back.
  3. Attach the bags to the twine with clothespins when paint is dry- in an order that looks good to you :)!
  4. Use a Staple Gun to attach wire to the back…I staple once, fold the wire over my staple from the bottom and then staple at least once more over the fold (above the first staple)…this makes it securely fastened!
  5. Hang (woo hoo)!  Fill with candy or small treasures for your kiddos or grandkiddos???
  6. If you want to make a mini-banner for a little color, like I did, use supplies on hand- if you don’t imagehave paper punches- cut by hand using a little template off the internet, etc.  I punched little circles in white, stamped a letter on each to spell “Merry Christmas”, glued to the banner punches out of scrapbook paper (red christmas pattern), hot glued to the twine and voila! 😉  Hang where it looks good, attach with tape or tie to the wire.

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I would love to see what you create!!  Post below or on my Facebook Page (or both) :)!  Make sure to click on the pictures to see closer up detail!

Thank you,

Traci 🙂

 

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Real Milk Paint Review- Desk Makeover

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If I could use spray paint for everything, I totally would…nothing beats its ease of use AND convenience AND cost, IMHO!  However, like any good artist (haha, yes, I just called myself an artist 😜)…I have to explore my medias, tools and supplies (duh ;))!!

Up for today’s experiment- The Real Milk Paint and a little desk I’m upcycling for my 9-year old daughter >>>Rainli<<< !!!

"Before"

“Before”

My up-front concerns:

*I have to mix it (eeks- that’s a LOT of work, and I’ve done the mixing thing before when I tried to make my own milk paint via a Pinterest recipe (results: not the opposite of FAIL, just saying)!!

*It’s a little pricey…hey, we all know I’m a bit “thrifty”…but I had a couple incentives to try it anyway.  One– while I’ve used chalk paint many times now, I’ve never tried milk paint and the suspense is kinda killing me and two– a cool friend is a distributor!

*I guess that’s it for concerns ✔️

So- the color I decided to try was Peacock blue (and black, but I’ll talk about that later)- I wanted to try something a little different color-wise, but I’ll admit, I played it a bit safe by sticking to a shade of blue…a very different shade of blue so give me that much credit lol.  I also just love love love the trendy “stripes” on furniture…and I’ve used them on smaller pieces…but I’ve been itching to use them on a desk- it’s just ’cause there are so many cool painters out there that did it first >>>copy cat<<<!

A couple things to know about milk paint- it’s actually made from milk (who’d have thunk), it is non-toxic and super durable (inside and out)…you are warned to use a bonding agent with it (if not applying to raw wood )…AS IF (lol)…more info here: The Real Milk Paint Company.  Before I got started, I did some research and decided to use Shellac spray first on the desk since it had a shiny surface…as that would help the milk paint adhere better (so “they” said…they being someone on Pinterest, of course hehe).  I absolutely wanted a chippy/rustic look, which is why I purposely didn’t buy the bonding agent…it’s the whole reason I wanted to try milk paint- for a different look/result :)!

As I got started, I realized it was easy to mix (1 part powder for 1 part water- couldn’t be easier)- so far, so good!  The consistency was way different then what I was used to working with (say, with latex or milk paint)- it’s much runnier and almost looks lumpy at first…but as long as you follow the directions- don’t worry!  I believe the “lumps” are actually just air bubbles.  Mix for at least a minute (I mixed in a mason jar- if you have any left over, you can seal and store it)!!  I used a plastic spoon to mix.  Then- let stand for 20 minutes (I missed this part of the instructions the first time and it was fine…go figure)!  I used a standard bristle brush, and got to painting…it goes on different from other paints as well…just go with it ;).

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Painting Stripes with Painter’s Tape

 

Tutorial on the desk:

1.) Before starting I removed the hardware and drawers.

2.) I then sprayed the whole desk with Shellac (two light coats).  You might also want to test a small area to see how the milk paint is going to adhere and make sure you are cool with it before doing the whole piece (if it just flakes right off- that’s not a good sign- you might need to suck it up and get the bonding agent (talking to myself here- most normal people would have gotten the bonding agent haha)).

3.) I painted two coats of Peacock Milk Paint on the desk and front of drawers- but the second coat was more just a touch up- not a full second coat.  I missed a small spot on the bottom (oops, gotta go back and fix that when I mix more up- one downside of having to mix it…for now, it’s hard to see my oops, so no biggie)!

4.) Then, I used blue painters tape to do my stripes across the top/right side and down the right drawers in Martha Stewart Chalk Paint in Ivory (technically “Vintage Decor Paint”………….it’s chalk paint lol).

5.) I then used the sticky side of more painters tape to remove some of the milk paint in some areas (remember, I was going for the chippy look)!  I learned this trick during my pre-research of milk paint buah ha ha- it worked pretty dang good!

6.) Sand/Distress- this is my favorite part because it’s the most artistic step…just sand edges and wherever looks good to you.  Also experiment with different sand paper for the results you like!

7.) Seal- don’t skip this step- it protects your piece and keeps it in the finished state you left it in (i.e. it shouldn’t keep chipping off once you seal it!  I used my favorite- Minwax furniture wax.  Just use a clean towel to wipe it on…then buff after it has been sitting for a bit (about 30 minutes or so)…I usually put more coats on the top of the desk to really protect it.

That’s it!  Well, truth be told I actually added some flair to the top drawer- I put in a piece of curved wood (some wood scrap from my neighbor, sawed down to size rather sloppily and sanded a bit until I could shove it in there<<<WAY SKILLED lol!!) to serve as a pencil shelf, painted the shelf and drawer inside and sides in the same Pearl white and decoupaged the bottom of the drawer in a cool patterned scrapbook paper.  Finally, I put the hardware back on- didn’t do a thing to the hardware because I really liked the way they looked as is!

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There were some really cool surprises to the milk paint…it kind of takes on its own personality…some areas were chippier than others on their own…and there was even a little crackle (I’m not a huge fan of crackle, but I liked the little bit I did get).  I also liked how the character of the wood…though totally transformed, showed through and helped preserve the aged look.  Also, I only used about 1/2 the pack…that’s about $5- way more than reasonable to cover a desk and not really more expensive than spray paint- huh! 🙂

Final verdict- LIKED MILK PAINT A LOT and I RECOMMEND it..I LOVE how the desk turned out, don’t you?  Make sure to click on the pictures to really see the detail up close- gorgeous!!

Thank you for visiting,

Traci 🙂