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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Free May 2013 iWhatever Calendar and Desktop!


Well, I hope everyone liked the color scheme for April's calendar, because this one is quite similar!
In my world, May is pretty much dominated by Mother's Day and graduation ceremonies, so I either had to go with black and white or some combination of pink and roses. I think the white flowers under the word May are supposed to be camelias, but some of the flowers in the paper are roses. ;)

Please feel free to download of this lovely calendar to whatever device you like! If you need help, you can find it HERE. Or if you would like to make your own, you can learn how to do that with Coolibah if you go HERE. If you don't like those options, you can always print it!

This is the calendar I started with if you'd like to use it when you design your own:


Or here it is in white....


And last but not least, here is the desktop version. I like the one with the pink background, but since that might be a bit much if you share your computer with a manly-man, I switched that out for a cream background with two taps of my finger. 



If he complains about the pink, tell him I'll make a blue one in June in honor of Father's Day!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chalk Paint Paisleys (and a Chair!)


Good evening! Sometimes I come up with a quippy little title for a post and that makes me very proud. Other times I pretty much punt. ^ Oh, well. It covers all the important stuff!  :)

The home decorating and DIY blogs are full of posts about chalk paint, and you can't avoid all the chalk-paint-painted furniture ideas on Pinterest. (Not that you would want to!) Nevertheless, Yours Truly had never so much as dipped a brush into a reclaimed margarine tub of the stuff. Not being one to miss any opportunity to make a mess (just ask my mom or my husband), I felt compelled to give it a go. 

I understand that there are some lovely brands of chalk paint on the market. They come in a wide range of  colors and go on very smoothly. But I was planning to paint a chair that took a detour on its way to the burn pile, so I didn't want to pay the rather high price for one of those colors. I did a good bit of reading online and found several variations on basically the same three recipes. One uses Plaster of Paris (POP), another uses non-sanded grout, and the third uses calcium carbonate powder. I went with the POP because I'm cheap frugal. 

I've mentioned before that I'm not really one for recipes. But I thought it might be a good idea to use other peoples' experience to my advantage. I went with a three-to-one ratio of paint to POP, with enough water to dissolve the plaster powder. In a reclaimed margarine tub (You thought I was joking, didn't you?!) I mixed a little water into the POP. Once it was nice and smooth and about as thick as pancake batter, I added the paint. I used a flat white that I kind of splurged on. I was shocked at how little odor that paint had. 

I used a cheapy disposable brush and slapped on a couple coats of white, then added a few drops of acrylic to tint most of the paint that was left, saving just a little white for the stenciling. I wish I had taken pics, but it was just an experiment. I didn't expect to blog about it!

I painted the seat, the strip across the top, and the...uhh...flat piece in the middle of the back(?) with the blue. Honestly, I only left the legs and the spindles white because I wanted to get to the paisleys and it takes a long time to paint around all those spindles. Then I got to break out the stencil!

After all the paisleys were painted, I scuffed everything up a bit with sandpaper. I tried to keep it to the areas that would have worn over the years, like the tops of the stretcher where your feet rub, or where you'd grab the top to pull the chair away from the table.

Next I mixed a little stain with some good old fashioned furniture wax. I think I've had that can in my utility room cabinet for 15 years! I'm sure it was happy to be put to use. The stain was a very red shade, so the white paint looked very pink until I buffed it. I learned that if the wax sets up too thick (in this case, too pink!), you can rub in a little fresh wax and it softens so you can remove a little. Nifty!

Ok. You saw the seat up above. That pic is now the homescreen on my iPad. Here is the rest of the chair:


And another angle....


It will soon have a spot at our booth at Ava Belle's Flea Market in lovely downtown Aurora, Missouri. Hopefully someone will adopt it and give it a loving home. I see it in a nursery. 

Now that I'm on the chalk paint bandwagon, don't be surprised to see more painted furniture, and yes, most likely more paisleys!  ;)

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Finally!



Have you ever started out with an idea for something that sounds SOOOOO simple, but it turns into one mess after another? That could be the title for this post, but it would probably be too long and I would cause Blogger to crash! 

I had projects like that back when we used to sew some of our own clothing because you could buy the fabric and make an item yourself for less than you could buy it pre-made. I would make a bad seam, or put the wrong sides together instead of the right sides, so I would rip out that seam and re-do it. Then I would have a big wrinkle in the middle of my seam, so I would rip it out again and re-re-do it. Then I would--you see where I'm going. By the time I sewed the same sleeve in three or four times (sleeves and zippers were the WORST!), I knew I would never wear that particular article of clothing if I lived to be 120 years old.

When I came up with the idea for this card, I thought, "This is going to be the quickest and easiest card ever!" My plan was to print a bobbin card that I downloaded from Crafty Secrets, tie a ribbon on it, maybe add a button, and adhere it to a card. You can see the bobbin cards and lots of other sewing themed items HERE

I opened the bobbin card in Picassa, a free editing program, and typed "Thinking of You" in the oval in the center. Then I printed it (and ran out of ink!) and cut it out. That's when I realized how spoiled I have become with all my dies. I tied a piece of seam binding tape around the bottom and added a cute flower button. But when I tried to adhere it to a card, it just didn't work. It needed something. So I decided to add a mat behind the bobbin card. Then I spent ten minutes digging through my dies to find one that would work. But alas, I was in store for more fussy-cutting. (Val, this one's for you!)


Even that mat wasn't enough--it still needed more. So I printed a blue polka dot paper that came in a Valentine kit from Crafty Secrets to use as a mat behind the red, then one more layer of red behind that. I love the color combination of anything-close-to-Baja Breeze and just-about-any-shade-of-red. Especially if polka dots are included. I don't understand it, either.... 


Apparently my computer was not in the mood for so many digital images, because as I started to work on these photos, the computer started to throw a fit. Who said it was ok to update in the middle of my photo editing?!

All's well that ends well. I have a lovely card for a dear friend, a new blog post after only a week, and an entry for the Crafty Secrets Linky Party! Click over and check it out! Hopefully I'll be able to make my link with no problems....

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!