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 🙂

 

 

Thrift Shop Talk

recycleI PROMISE I will try to get off my thrift shop soap box after I get this out…..(ok, probably not gonna happen, just being honest).  I find myself in thrift shops a lot because I find them a great place to find projects and even a random vintage find for my shop Rustic Eye.  Because I’ve spent so much time in them lately, I’ve come to have a new appreciation for thrift stores.  I am on a mission to convince all of you that you MUST visit them too.  Here is my persuasive essay in bullet point form (I just love bullet points, don’t you?  I use them a bazillion times a day in my “day job”):

  • MaGazInEs: I’ve said this before on my Facebook page, but it is SOOOO worth mentioning again.  Have you SEEN the prices of magazines these days?  I know you have.  And I really like magazines, but how do you justify spending so much on one lonely publication?  Maybe you convince yourself that it’s cheaper than an interior designer, it will save you money (it says so right there on the cover), or your life will actually improve having read it??  I’m not here to mock magazines- I love them, remember…but I found a way to have my cake and eat it too….get your magazines at thrift stores.  I’ve been doing this for about a year now- I have two local thrift stores that always stock them- one sells them for $0.25 and the other for $0.30.  Um, ya, you read that right….I rest my case.  I often find current (within the last month or two) publications and magazines that I love (DIY, Home Decor…ya know, that kind of thing).  Bonus to magazines- you read them- AND they make an adorable accessory (if you ask me)…just don’t keep too many on hand- that is no bueno (Traci translation: NOT good)!  Donate them back when you are finished with them :)!
  • bOoKS: Kind of the same idea as magazines…I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t enjoy digging through to find what I want….but I’ve found a lot of thrift stores are great at organizing- and it is a pleasure to look for, say, my kids’ favorite book series or vintage books to decorate with (dude- they sell those in certain stores and they aren’t even real- they are just selling the look- FIND YOUR OWN)!  Yes, I highly recommend finding books at thrift stores.
  • CrAFt sUPpliEs:  You will never keep me out of Michael’s or Joanne’s…noooo way.  And, I wouldn’t recommend going to a thrift shop to look for a particular craft item.  However- while you are at your thrift shop- please do browse the craft supplies.  They often have great things at amazing prices.  I recently found a lot of about 8 paper punches (normally $15-$20 each), for around $3.  And, I have been all about these paper punches lately, so imagine my surprise and joy when I spotted that one.  I’ve also scored some vintage manila hang tags (which I’ve used for all sorts of projects), and vintage clothespins (which I adore and find many uses for) on the cheap!  If you use yarn- always see that stuff…I personally have no use for it, but just sayin ;)!
  • JaRS: I know, I know, maybe a little overkill with this one- but, for me, please, if you see a mason jar- just get it :)…stick with me and you WILL find a use for it!  I also don’t think it’s gross to use things (properly cleaned) like glasses from thrift shops…ever been to a restaurant ;)???……just see my post on using thrift shop silverware if you don’t believe me.  I’m on the hunt for different mason jars to make a drinking glass set- non-matching of course- I just love jars for drinking out of, simply charming!
  • tRAyS: Everything looks better on a tray- it just does- I can’t explain it.  It’s just this phenomenom that you must experience.  Silver trays are the best- vintage silver trays, to be specific…you just can’t go wrong- you will find five million uses for them…just trust me on this one…you can add to any holiday decor- no problem, use to coral jewelry or keys, there is just no limit to the functionality of trays and there is really no good reason to buy them new…you can’t beat the character in vintage silver trays :).

There are many more treasures to be found at thrift stores- these are just a few of my favs…but I can’t sign off without saying, DO NOT BE A HOARDER!!!!  Note: I have a strange addiction to watching the show…and can’t not look as I drive by my “Traci-diagnosed” neighbor hoarders…I know it’s a serious disease…but maybe looking to see how much more their garage is sticking out due to stuff overflow is too, we don’t KNOW that.  That said, I am a big proponent of organization and lack of clutter- so only buy what you really, really love and can use- and donate what you don’t need anymore!

Best part:  you are not creating more waste- you are recycling- you are being GREEN- woo hoo, go you :)!!!

Let me know what you LOVE finding at your local thrift stores- leave a comment below!

Thanks, Traci 🙂

Vintage Silver Trays, ahhh :)

Vintage Silver Trays, ahhh 🙂

Vintage Books and Jars for Decorating- YES please

Vintage Manila Hang Tags turned hand-stamped treasures 🙂

Magazines- OH YAAA!

Why are Mason Jars so freakin cute!!??

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Honestly, people, I just can’t get enough of Mason Jars.  I’m pretty sure if you look up versatility in the dictionary (do people do that anymore??!!…ok, well if you “Google it”…) you will find a picture of a Mason Jar.   I use these puppies for everything!  I buy them new and keep them on hand…and pick them up in thrift shops…even have started a collection of vintage Mason Jars- I just LOVE them ♥!

So, let’s talk about thrift shops…do you have ANY idea what amazingness is hiding in those things.  Here is me- I know I need something…like, let’s say, new silverware.  Now, that is a HUGE decision, right?  Because it’s such a huge decision, it takes me FOREVER to make it- too big of a commitment and quite honestly- the sets you can buy all put together in a store- expensive (for any type of quality) and BORING!  The other day, I’m browsing a thrift shop like I always do..and it hits me- I’m gettin my silverware here…a mis-matched set- it’s perfect, it’s super inexpensive, and it has the character I’ve come to NEED in my life.  It’s kind of a drug.  I picked out a bunch with a vintage look at $0.25 each (are you KIDDING me with that price??)…making sure they were all stainless steel so they would last.  I then decide they need to be displayed…that was a no-brainer…MASON JARS!!  I spray-painted a few wood tags (from Joanne’s) with chalkboard paint (another love)….wrote “spoons, forks, knives” on each tag, tied to the jars with jute twine (YET ANOTHER LOVE) and vooala….you really can’t get any cuter or functional than this.  I pulled out a wine crate box from my Rustic Eye “I’ve yet to figure out what I want to do with it” stock to prop them up on…and a silver tray to be the background art…and now I will never look at silverware the same again.  OK- to recap…definitely at the top of my fav craft supplies: Mason Jars, Chalkboard Paint, Jute Twine….gotta have them!!

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Upcycled Bench- Yes Please!

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Before (truly! 😉 )

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After- Love this!!

So, first of all I very clearly need some technical help with formatting these blog posts (ay carumba)…and I consider myself pretty tech savy…give me Word or Excel and I can crank out a masterpiece.  Anyhoo….wait until you hear how easy peasy this was to make….

Ok, first of all- you guessed it- this was a thrift-store find…please…keep….in….mind….this was my first re-upholstery job.  That said- piece of cake :).  For this piece- the only prep was to go pick out the fabric…and paint.  I did have to purchase a staple gun…and I have to say- that thing rocks (I’m sooo excited that I finally found another piece today to re-upholster…it’s a chest covered in vinyl… that’s gonna be a bench (oh i have some plannnns)- stay tuned 😉 )  This little beauty was for my youngest daughter’s room which is all done in black and white with some red and pink accents.

Here’s what you do:

  1. take your piece apart- this will most likely require a screwdriver
  2. You may want more padding- you can purchase some padding or get creative if you’d like- I decided I didn’t need to add padding to my piece.  You can totally decide to skip this as well- totally (cause I said so)!
  3. go ahead and paint your legs (not yours, per se, your piece’s) and base- pretty much everything but the part you are gonna cover with fabric (lightly sand first???? if ya want)
  4. while that’s drying (if you chose spray paint- it’ll dry pretty quickly)…try your hand at re-upholstering the cushion part…do not fear- this is not hard…lay your fabric down upside down, lay your cushion down upside down on top of the fabric….now pretend like you are wrapping a present- fold over one side at a time- use your staple gun and pull tight as you staple across about an inch and a 1/2 from the ends…it’s REALLY hard to mess up- fold the corners so they look niceish and do one side at a time- it doesn’t matter too much what the back looks like (i promise)- that’s it!!!  If you want to, you can trim the parts hanging over the staples with scissors.
  5. paint your base/legs again (and again and again)…ya, probably not that many agains…i’m pretty sure I’ve only ever gotten to one again….two agains on occasion if I really mess up.
  6. Finish with a sealer (polyurethane spray works well for me)
  7. After it’s nice and dry (take it from me…wait until it’s dry- walk AWAY from your project….)…then put your piece back together again- ISN’T IT AMAZING…ya, you did that- show ALLL your friends-  😉

Thanks for stopping by,

Traci :)

Thift-Shop Upcycled Lamp- Adorable!

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Before! (sort of lol- you can’t really tell because I got excited and didn’t take a true before picture- but the base was a brass color- icky!)

After!

This was another super duper simple project.  I started with a thrift shop lamp base (that worked- duh!) and shade- just look at the bones- don’t get caught up on colors or patterns….people, they don’t have to match- that is exactly the point!  And, please please please (I beg!!)- look for a good price ;)….I do most of my thrift shop hunting on 50% off day- why pay full price at a thrift shop (sheesh!).

I picked up a couple of cutesie things for the lampshade design (Michael’s)- and some burlap (Joanne’s).  I had the paint on hand….here are the supplies:

cutesie things!

cutesie things!

Paint (purchased at Home Depot)- Heirloom White i believe (I can fly!!??)

The rest was a piece of cake (not that the first part wasn’t…the shopping/designing in my head as I go part is allllways fun!)….

All ya gotta do is:

  1. Tape off the part of the lamp base you don’t want painted with painters tape (like the switch)
  2. spray paint (you may want to sand lightly first- I did not)
  3. second coat- usually a good idea- play by ear- how does it look after one coat?  not so good- ok, apply another (it’s a very *fine* science ;))
  4. third coat- ya, i never go there
  5. For the shade- now I’m not saying this is the best way to do this…this is just how I did it lol (and I probably would have taken more care if I was selling it- but it was just to adorn my daughter’s dresser- so nobody was going to be inspecting it tee hee)…take your fabric, lay it out and wrap the shade in it so you get a rough idea of where to cut.  Leave some play on the top and bottom- and cut your fabric down to size.
  6. Take your handy dandy hot glue gun (safety first- but I usually just expect to be burned- it goes better that way- and by burned- I mean, ow that hurt- not get out the burn ointment and bandaids…now, this is a low temp glue gun- just as a disclosure)…work your way around the top and bottom of the lampshade and glue down as you go, pulling the material tight along the way- it doesn’t have to be perfect- worst case just rip some off and reglue- you got this!
  7. use your cutesie accessories and accessorize- apply with hot glue gun
  8. wa la- you are finished- put the shade on the base- and take some pictures to post to your Facebook Wall- you are a do-it-your-selfer!!! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by,

Traci 🙂

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adorable, ya?? 🙂