Posts Tagged With: DIY

I know, I know, here I go again *rolls eyes*

IMG_2009It’s been so long since I’ve been able to sit down and get my ancient laptop to actually DO SOMETHING I ask it to do (Maybe I should have been TELLING it what to do all this time instead)

All I can do is hold my hands up (again) and apologise for my absence…and maybe blame a MASSIVE percentage on rubbish technology and joint pain but I digress…

I HAVE been busy with all sorts though. From ALMOST finishing painting the kitchen (photos soon eventually I promise) to starting a new job (yay me) – or a pretty intense health scare (thankfully all clear now) to a handful of new fur-babies coming to stay with us. It’s been a roller-coaster indeed but I’m still here and I’m still smiling 🙂

For now I just wanted to say Hi and also direct your attention to the “snapshots” on the right hand side —> That WAS linked to my personal instagram – click here if you’re an Instagram(mer??) & want to follow that account – but it has now been updated to share snapshots from my BritishChick account instead so hopefully that will let all you crafty people see the relevant things I’ve been up to…. rather than selfies of me and my dog…. *rolls eyes*

I shall return! (famous last words I’m sure but this blog is always on my to-do list so the intention is still there)

I hope you are all well and happy 🙂

Categories: Desperate Housewife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Hippie Pics (#2)

As promised (here) These are some more tie-dye pics from the Hippie Party we went to  – it was so much fun and check out that cake! Since the party, little man and I have got a good amount of wear out of our tie-dyed items 🙂

 

Categories: Crafty Chick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hippie Chic

We have a fancy dress/costume party coming up and the theme is “Hippy/Hippie” (I think it’s spelled IE but the host thinks Y so whatever)

Of course the obvious place to start was TIE DYE! (Yay!) 

We grabbed a $6 fabric dye kit which contained 3 different colours in easy to pour bottles and went to town. 

I wet each item first (not sure if I was meant to but it worked) and experimented with different techniques suggested in the “how to” pamphlet that came with it. 

   
 

  
8 hours of “setting” later, I washed and dried them…. Here are the results 

  
         

My costume consists of a long floaty dip-dyed skirt in a grey-navy tone so I made a less vibrant vest-top to wear with it BUT I may wear the pink and blue vest-top instead depending on how I feel on the day. Here is the less vibrant one…   

All in all im happy with the results, it was a fun activity and good excuse to get messy with my little man 🙂 

 
(He wasn’t happy because I had just asked him to help me weed the garden ha ha!)

Here is the link for the dyes I used http://tiedyeyoursummer.com/get-inspired.html

And this is the “pin” on Pinterest which helped with my ombre vest-top http://www.mybeautifulmessblog.com/2012/10/10/successful-ombre-dyeing/

Apologies if this post doesn’t work well, I’m writing it from my phone *eeeek* I’ll post pics once the costumes are complete 🙂 

Categories: Crafty Chick | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Cloudy with a chance of spray paint 

I promise this blog isn’t going to be ALL about my house BUT while that’s what I’m working on I’ll share as I go-otherwise you’ll never hear from me. This time is all about my kitchen table transformation

Ignore the mess....focus on the wood :)

Ignore the mess….focus on the wood 🙂

My kitchen is very… Wooden. The walls will eventually be painted cream or “off-White” (is there a difference??)  The one thing I want to keep is the black metal handles on the cabinets so with that in mind black will be the accent colour.

My husband is fed up with the dining set we have, mainly because it’s a cheap Tesco table that has been with me for years but also because I’ve used it for painting on, one chair is broken and again it’s very… Wooden.

After hunting for dining sets and hearing my bank balance scream I decided to update our set and give it a new lease of life.

*Enter my two enemies, the sander and the spray paint*

First I sanded all pieces (with the right type of paper)

Then I set to work fixing the broken chair. This bad boy has been held together with a mixture of wood glue, duct tape and sticky labels ever since my then-toddler had a tantrum and knocked it over.

This is my new favourite thing

This is my new favourite thing

I found this stuff which claims to be harder than steel… A quick dip, squeeze and wrap later and it’s stronger than it’s ever been. It can also be sanded and painted over.

I took to the garden and got going. Remembering previous mistakes I took my time, opting for a few light sprays from a distance.  Then the thunderstorms happened so I moved to the carport *note to self- check weather before starting a project*

This particular spray paint claims “no drips” but it lied!! A light (hand) rub down with ultra fine sandpaper removed any splodges and I simply sprayed over it lightly to cover.

Also it turns out the weather really does matter! Humidity+ water+ spray paint = cloudy results and/or cracking in parts, especially if rain droplets find their way onto whatever you’re spraying

After a good day letting it dry, googling cloudy-removing solutions, spending a good 30 minutes of hair-dryer action and fearing that the clear coat spray may give the same results I resorted to my backup plan – THIS stuff. A brush on paint AND sealant in one.

Moving into the house, armed with rollers, sponge brushes and plastic sheeting I lightly sanded the pieces and painted over them. I found that light coatings with drying time and light sanding in between works best. Any thick/drippy bits were easily sanded and re-coated

I'm in love :)

I’m in love 🙂

4 coats later and I’m in love. With the addition of some beige/cream chair cushions and a random place-mat with jug combo I’m really pleased with the outcome. It definitely kept me busy AND saved some money (even more so when I returned the left over spray paints)

Cushions $20

(Wasted) spray paint $14

Rollers, brushes & tray $10

Polyshades $11

Jug (gift)

Place mat $2

$57 for a new dining set

As always here are more pics to show the stress process

 

 

 

Categories: Desperate Housewife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who knew stripping was so hard

The bathroom – part 1 (don’t judge me)

I made a mess of my bathroom (paint) and I’m upset with myself. I make no secret of the fact that I am NOT good at DIY – or making good choices OR being patient for that matter

Pink and brown...mmmmm

Pink and brown…mmmmm

The Problem: First off- this is what I had to work with…. typical pink (or nude) and brown (or skid mark) tiles and matching unit that was popular when it was built and decorated in the 70s (and kept that way ever since) It has lovely green carpet too(in pics below)… Luckily for us it’s just laid over original tile and easily lifted -or it will be when the time comes, it’s just a shame the tiles aren’t more appealing.

 The plan: I wanted colours which could tie in with the tile -meaning less work in the long run- but I also wanted something warm and inviting. For the main wall I chose a warm caramel it has “warm” in the name so the choice wasn’t that difficult, the tiles will be eventually cream and the accent colours for example the nice pink unit will eventually be a chocolate brown…. Easy enough right?

*my dad calls this colour “baby poo”, it looks very different on camera than real life and the reflection from the remaining pink tile isn’t helping either but trust me it WILL look nice in the end*

"Baby Poo Brown' with primed tile

“Baby Poo Brown’ with primed tile

The lessons I learned the hard way: 

  • Work from the top down: I decided to prime the pink tile as that’s that main thing that irks me (aside from the carpet) but after priming one wall I realised I should probably start at the top and work my way down. A little time wasted but no biggie
  • If the advice at Walmart is “Maybe your should go to Lowes” … Go to Lowes
  • Buying paint at Walmart purely because it’s closer and I’m lazy I happened to be there when the urge to impulse-buy paint struck wasn’t the best idea.
  • Don’t trust the “paint-finish-key”: I’m used to buying paints marked “bathroom” etc but Walmart just has flat, satin, glossy and semi-gloss The key told me semi-gloss was the way to go… It wasn’t

 What I learned about semi-gloss (this deserves its own section:

  • Unless you’re going for a very light colour or painting a large room with natural light… Stay away from semi-gloss
  • It’s going to end up darker than the picture on the tin
  • You’ll feel like you’re in a wet, dark, cave
  • Gloss paint shows up every imperfection in the wall! So either sand the wall or go for satin. Otherwise shelling out for paint “pads” which are “smoother than a roller and quicker than a brush” is completely pointless.
  • If you hate the look of the first wall… Painting the others will not make it look any better.
The sander is NOT my friend

The sander is NOT my friend

The outcome: I backed away and went to bed- when you lose sleep over something you know it’s got to change. This morning I woke up determined to repaint it with a satin finish and googled whether that was a possibility or not….it is.  A friend suggested sanding it first to remove the obvious brush strokes showing through from the previous owners so I bought a hand power-sander to help speed things up. *yes I can see you cringing*

Lessons about sanding: 

  • Using the wrong type of paper when sanding over gloss paint can remove 3 layers of paint in patches all over the place leaving the option of attempting to paint over the patches OR removing all paint from that wall with a tiny paint trowel I found in my craft drawer….

3 days (and some wine) later the wall was stripped, patched, primed and ready for round 2

I’m so much happier now it’s not as shiny, I painted over the other walls (without sanding) and it acted like a second coat, filling in any patches and calming down the cave-feel. I’ve since started on the tile – with the RIGHT kind of paint (thanks Lowes) so I’ll update you once I’ve come down from the fumes 🙂

 

Categories: Desperate Housewife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Maybe it runs in the family….

I have a few posts in the pipeline but many are being written in real-time (usually part way through an awful a challenging DIY project) so I will wait to see how they pan out or at least edit them a bit better  before posting. In the meantime I wanted to share my little mans latest Artwork.

I have mentioned before that he wants a Spiderman themed bedroom. Well with the exception of any major changes like the colour of the walls its beginning to take shape with the help of some blue and red items (such as his Spiderman-blue book crate I painted here), some shelves and bedding etc. I have a few more tweaks, including a huge canvas but eager to get going he wanted to make one of his own.

so here it is….

SpiderMan

SpiderMan

I love it 🙂 You can tell what it is and everything -or I can anyway. I gave him free reign on this – which given my worrying controlling  picky nature was a big step forward for me and I’m so proud of him. He’s reminded me that he doesn’t need me to hover over him and help all the time and that hes more than capable of making something beautiful unaided.

Speaking of which…. we received a letter from his school informing us that one of his art pieces had been chosen to represent the school and be displayed at the local “mall” (VERY PROUD MUM ALERT)

Here he is with his art 🙂 Can you tell what it is?

Whoop Whoop!

Whoop Whoop!

 

Categories: Crafty Chick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The day the Spray Paint almost won

Over the past few months my little man has learnt to read. I’m a big reader so I’m thrilled that he enjoys it so much and want to encourage him to keep at it. His growing library is rapidly outgrowing his book rack so I began the hunt for extra book storage I can cook-up ready for the move.

SandPaper is my friend - as is cardboard

SandPaper is my friend – as is cardboard

Sadly the majority of ideas offered by Pinterest involved sewing to make a “book sling” so they went out the window, basic shelves crossed my mind but that would involve some kind of spirit level and something stronger than drawing pins to hold it up…not to mention book ends *urgh* (I must state here that 90% of my wall-hanging objects are held up with drawing pins and/or bluetac)

I eventually decided on wooden crates. EASY! Just grab some Spiderman Blue spray paint, nail them to the SpiderMan Red wall (after trying and failing with pins no doubt) and the books can stay put regardless of how wonky they are 🙂 (yes I realise I could make my life much easier by investing in a spirit level – or just digging out the one that’s buried in the garage) BUT painting is my thing, DIY is not… This crate idea seemed to be a winner….

I found a crate/box in a local charity shop (I wish I had a “before” photo) and went to work on it. I don’t know why I chose a late afternoon to start this project… In the garden… And the wind but it happened.

Turns out paint and spray paint are two very different mediums.  The can wouldn’t spray colour unless is was pointing straight forward (like spraying a wall) but it simply dripped down the wood if sprayed at this angle. After adjusting and experimenting I seemed to have the distance, angle and speed worked out and managed to make my crate look “alright” until the wind blew my protective newspaper (yes Blue Peter would be proud) up and onto the wet paint.

SpiderMan Book Rack *Whoop Whoop*

SpiderMan Book Rack *Whoop Whoop*

The paint was just tacky enough to hold all alien materials to it so I was left with large chunks of some cartoon character seemingly immortalised on the box. *urgh!* To make matters worse, in my panic to remove the offending paper I had run inside in search of sandpaper; thus freeing the puppy who then ran around the garden, knocking the crate onto another of its wet sides…. MORE paper stuck to it.

I spent the rest of the sunlight sanding the whole thing down, chasing Toby (the pup) in order to retrieve the sandpaper he insisted on eating and vowing to start again tomorrow.

Tomorrow is here and I’ve finished. (Yay) I’m happy with it & can’t wait to see it against the red of his (future) wall. It’s a small victory but I’ve learnt a few things for next time…

1-Read the can! The angle/distance wouldn’t have been such a surprise if I’d done that

2-Cardboard is a much better surface protector than newspaper (especially on windy days)

3- Less is more (but less work ha ha) Light coats dry quicker and more evenly

4- Rushing is not an option– waiting 2 minutes between coats saves a few hours of sanding to fix a problem

5- Puppies & Sandpaper do not mix– Toby spent the rest of the night throwing up the remains of it (he’s ok now though)

6- If you’ve used most of a can of spray paint on one small item… You’re probably doing it wrong

And finally

7- Just because something LOOKS easy, doesn’t mean it actually is. It turns out people who make “easy” pinterest crafts have probably spent some time tweaking their methods.

Categories: Crafty Chick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pipe Dreams

Well, it seems the weekly writing challenges are rather elusive these days – which kind of removes 50% of my blogging fodder – hopefully they will start them up again.

This week I signed up for a promotional “thing” where 25 of my samples are sent out with orders from another store so I will be working on those samples over the next few days. I’m thinking little tiny versions of these…

Superheros are always a hit...right?

“Superhero” is always a hit…right?

Obviously a little less detailed and rather than saying Lucy Lu they will say things like “POW”. When your focus is custom items it’s hard to find a happy medium for ready-made items but I think these will work well 🙂

We have started packing up the house ready for the imminent move and established that my little man wants a SPIDER MAN theme bedroom (It was either that or Pokemon) so I’ve picked up a few bits from the local charity shop and WILL be fixing those up (and posting pics to prove it). I have a feeling I’ll be dreaming in red and blue in a few weeks time.

Categories: Crafty Chick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 steps to world domination

BcardsOk so maybe that’s a SLIGHT exaggeration…

Happy New Year 🙂 The start of 2015 marks the start of my 2nd year here in the states.

I seem to have settled in nicely – I’ve made friends, we have a new addition to our family, I can now drive without wanting to open-mouth-scream-cry at the sight of a 4 way stop AND I’ve started my own small business. Yup, I’m doing what I love and painting for people other than my mother (yay). Admittedly it’s still getting off the ground and I have a few other tricks up my sleeve but I have faith in what I’m doing and building my British Chick Empire is top of the list. So what better way than to kick off with some resolutions?

Start an Etsy Shop: TICK

This crafty stuff has always been a hobby; moving here I joined a local a craft group and it stemmed from there. I discovered a little giftshop which holds hand-made items from over 40 local vendors – now including me 🙂 I set up a facebook page dedicated to my business and an actual online shop seemed like the next logical step. Its very fresh and rather daunting but it’s open and I’m adding to it every day (it’s here btw)

Blog again: TICK

I have missed blogging. However – busy schedules aside- the physical act of typing has a lasting affect on my body (cause to be determined) Because of this

I think I'm going to need bigger pots...

I think I’m going to need bigger pots…

I find it easier to avoid typing too much too often and that didn’t suit my previous blog schedule so it fizzled out completely. This time I am aiming for shorter posts and/or less frequent. I really miss the writing challenges so I think with all things considered it makes sense to change up the old blog and focus on my passions.

Get my DIY on: (Pending)

We are in the process of buying a house (eeeek) it’s definitely a fixer-upper as far as cosmetics anyway and I know we are going to have to do a lot of work to make it a little more bearable to live in -IF the sale goes well. I really want to try and do as much DIY as I can (or as my body will allow lol) and hopefully learn some new skills along the way (I’m sure the disasters & triumphs will make entertaining blogging material) I hope that by this time next year I will be a DIY QUEEN with a beautiful house – or at least part way there.

Of course the list could go on forever with the usual stuff like call grandma more often or stop nagging PEOPLE *cough cough* for leaving the toilet seat up…so I’ll leave you with a few ongoing aims (in no particular order) that have made it on to my list:

THIS is our new addition - Toby

THIS is our new addition – Toby

Work in progress:

Understand Taxes – a must when registered as self employed

Train the puppy – Pee pads are expensive

Be nicer – think/act/sound

Ebay/Donate/Throw away the clutter – started and vow to continue (if only to make money and room for more clutter

Health sorted – always a good one

New Recipe each week – I fear my family may run away at the sight of yet another spag bol

Family games night once a week – we got loads more games for xmas (and actually played them) so I want that to continue

……I think I’d better get started 🙂

What are your New Years Resolutions?

Categories: SophiE-Mail | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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