Monday, December 31, 2012

A new powder room mirror sparks a full-fledged renovation!

You know that phrase that talks about a spark starting a fire? Well, in this case a mirror is sparking a full-fledged powder room makeover. And I am so excited!!

This mirror was a thrift shop find I scored for about $15. I loved its scrolly-top and the mirror was in perfect condition. It came home with me and got the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint treatment in Old White with clear and dark wax.

Since it didn't sell at the holiday show I exhibited at, I brought it home and claimed it for my powder room. We built our home 2 years ago, and the powder room was pretty standard, with the builder-grade oval frameless mirror. So, I took it down, patched and painted the holes, and hung Miss Pretty over the sink!

I snapped this quick photo, posted it to my Facebook biz page, and knew immediately that this room needs paint! White walls do nothing to accentuate the curves on the mirror. I want it to pop out at you as the showpiece in the room (even though it will have to battle it out for the title against the fabulous ironwork shelf). A quick survey about paint colors generated some of my highest ever Facebook stats! Many of you said to paint it a various shade of blue, or plum, or chocolate brown. I'm still on the fence about the paint color, BUT, I know exactly what I intend to do in my space to give it some pizzazz...STENCIL!!

This moroccan beauty is available on Cutting Edge Stencils. I'm going to purchase this stencil and do one wall with it.

TIP:  I had a friend ask how to do this without having bleeding edges (when the paint seeps under the stencil and your edges are not crisp). I watched several tutorials on Cutting Edge's website, and the trick  is to wipe paint off your roller onto a paper towel, before you apply it to the wall. The same goes for furniture, whether you stencil with a roller or a brush, always blot your tool on a paper towel to remove excess paint!!

I plan to tape off the toilet and sink, and go to town. But first, I need to find a new light fixture for over the mirror. It too is builder standard and not attractive at all. I'd love to find something really cool, like a barn light. If you know of a great, inexpensive source, share the love!

I'd like to get this work all completed in the coming month, so I can surprise hubby when he gets home again. Stay tuned, there will be a tutorial video coming for this project!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Time to play blog catch up - a recap of what I've been up to lately

Has it really been a month since I blogged? I'm sorry folks, time has really gotten away from me this past month. I can blame it on a lot of things, like being uber busy with work (both painting and book publicity), preparing for the holidays, or one of the biggest events that sucked me dry - a holiday show that I painted several large pieces of furniture and accessories for. So let's start there - with a recap of the show...

The Holiday Extravaganza show was a huge success for me. I sold all of the furniture I took, and nearly all of the small decorative pieces as well. And more importantly, I made many contacts with people interested in custom paint work. It was so fun to see many of the friends I have made on my Twig and Twine Facebook page, as well as my son's teachers, and our neighbors. And my hubby was home! So I had his muscles to help with the heavy lifting - thank you baby!

Here's a photo of my space:

Since the show, I've done no painting. I took the remainder of December off to decorate and prepare for the holidays. We put up a couple of trees.

And crafted gingerbread houses for my son's kindergarten class.

We had out of town family come for a visit, too. Here's a first - I made a breakfast pizza. (I'll stick to painting!)

Our family celebrated the holidays a bit early this year, as hubby had to deploy before the 25th. But, it's okay, he got to see Ohio State beat Michigan, so all was good!

We also began a major basement renovation. Well, not really we...a construction company is doing all the work. But, we get to make a lot of design decisions, so that is fun. Phase 1 is complete, which included a week of major noise (poor Charlotte was hiding in the closet for most of it). They finished all the framing, HVAC, plumbing and electrical. Here's a sneak peek...

We had selected pendant lights for the bar area that turned out to be too big for the space. So, instead of returning them, we hung them over our kitchen island. I LOVE them! In fact, I think they are perfect for our kitchen (which probably means they wouldn't have been perfect for the basement bar). See, everything works out like its supposed to!

Christmas morning came and we opened Santa's gifts, which included Skylanders and a pooping reindeer for Saxon.

Charlotte enjoyed her new comfy sherpa blanket.

And hubby gave me a fabulous new I-Pad mini - perfect for the mass amounts of reading I love to do! Mother-in-law gave me gift cards to Home Goods and Pottery Barn (she knows me so well)!
With those I bought a weathered wood mirror and a lantern.

We did some traveling to see family and are now having our first evening alone, with nothing to do, in weeks. Hence, why I am sitting here, able to play blog catch-up. My lack of blogging has been eating at me. I laid in bed thinking, "I have got to get on the computer and write something!"

And speaking of writing, here's something that perhaps I shouldn't even mention, because its so far from being a reality at this point. But, it was flattering and exciting nonetheless...I was asked to consider writing a how-to project book for painting furniture! If more develops on this topic, I'll be sure to let ya know.

So, the holidays are almost over and I hope to be more regular with my blogging. And with the New Year comes resolutions for things I hope to do with the blog. Of course I want to grow my blog and Facebook audience, and to do so, I want to provide a lot more how-to. I plan to provide more tutorials for craft projects, for painting, and other decorative goodies I have in store. So, please come along into 2013 with me...and always feel welcome to leave comments, concerns, requests or questions! Happy New Year my Nester friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stacked Burlap Tree Tutorial

Recently I received a catalog to one of my favorite home decor retailers. It included gorgeous holiday items, like it does every holiday season. And every year, I sit, turn the pages, and day-dream about decorating just like the pages. (enter the loud, shrieking sounds of a tractor-trailer braking here) Why - because the stuff in this catalog is salty! I mean, geeze, why does everything have to be so friggin expensive?

When I spied their cute stacked burlap trees, I knew I had to have one. But wait, wouldn't they look much more adorable in a little grove of trees - yes! However, each tree was nearly forty bucks! Damn, to get the three trees I really wanted - I'd have to spend the kind of money I spend on crap like, oh I don't know - groceries!

So I made them...

Here's how you can make your own stacked burlap trees, too.

Materials (all purchased at Michael's craft store):
-Unfinished wooden plaque - I used small oval-shaped pieces - $1.49
-3/16" wooden dowel (one dowel will make 3 12-inch trees) - $.39
-Wood beads with a hole through the middle - about .10 each
-Burlap - I got 2 yards of the red for $9.99 and a roll of the natural for $7.99 (You can get about 3 trees per yard)
-Paint, if you want to paint the wood base and bead

First, I painted the bases and beads white. After they dried, I drilled a small hole in the wood plaques, which became the tree's base. Use a 3/16" drill bit. Then I used a hand-saw to cut the wooden dowels down to 12 inches each. I inserted a dot of hot glue into the hole and inserted the dowel.

Grab your scissors and start cutting! You'll be cutting and stacking strips of burlap that gradually go from about 4 inches in length down to a half inch. There's no exact science here, in fact I never used a tape measure. As usual, I winged it.

Find something to make a small hole in the center of each piece. The tip of a pencil would work perfectly.

(okay, my finger nails are really not crusty, I swear - this is white paint!)

Slide the hole down over the dowel.

Start stacking your pieces of burlap. You want to turn them so that they are angled differently with each layer.

Get a good base going, and then start working your way up the three by cutting the strips a bit shorter in length. I used the previous layer's length as a guide - I laid the last strip against the burlap and just cut the next row about a half inch smaller.

You will cut a lot of strips! While this is an easy and inexpensive craft, it does take time.

By the time you get to the top, your strips will only be about a half inch in width.
If you feel like the tree isn't graduated enough, take them off and go back. I did that several times!

When there's about a half inch of dowel left, it's time to put on the bead.

Insert a tiny dab of hot glue into the hole.

And slide it on the top.

There ya have it!

I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. They look exactly like the pricey-retailer ones. Next I want to find white burlap and make a few more. Enjoy making your trees!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Busy painting for a show

I signed up to be a vendor at my son's school on December 1st. So, I've been furiously painting in the garage to get ready. I want to have a few large pieces on hand to show my custom work, but I also have been working on smaller ticket items, so I can recoup my registration/table fee. Here's some images of the stuff happening in the garage - which is getting pretty crowded these days!

Here's a vanity table I started painting in Paris Grey...before and mid-way in the paint process:

It is done now, but I am waiting to show you the final work, until it's mirror is complete. Here's a shot of the mirror as it is now, but I hope to have it started tomorrow. This will be gorgeous!!

This vanity has a matching dresser and full-size bed, with a ornate headboard and footboard. The headboard is complete. See the before and after photos below!

I started a small set of pedestal occasional tables. They were just your typical brown. Now they are Old White, with heavy distressing. On one of them I repeated a french damask stencil in Coco and distressed it down. I am debating if I want to do this to the other table to make a set. Not sure which would sell better - two of the same, or one like this and one just plain white. What do you think?

I also painted a vintage mirror - I love this - it's really heavy, with a fabulous top! And for being vintage, the mirror glass is in very good shape.

I've also white-washed a few little barn-wood boxes...

And I started painting mini wood trays to make them into cute little black boards. Here's the table of them in progress today, and a finished piece as well.

I thought these would make cute Christmas gifts.

Next on the docket will be pallet-wood signs. We got a shipment of tile not too long ago and it came on a pallet. With my neighbor's help, I dismantled it, saved the wood boards, and began sanding them today. I plan to dry brush them with a combination of grey, white and brown paint, so they look like weathered barn wood. Then I'll transfer or paint words on them, like "Imagine, Faith, Family, etc." I should be able to make about 12 signs.

I've got just under a month to get my hands on more goodies to have at the Gravely show. Very exciting!!