Posts Tagged With: painting

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 🙂

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

Every little helps

I was holding off posting until I could update you on finished house projects. You know the whole “before” and “after” big reveal type things? Well there still aren’t any 100% finished ‘reveal-worthy’ projects at this point (booo.) To be fair we have had a lot going on but I’ve almost finished the bathrooms – right now they are both “fine” but I still want to tweak some bits. The kitchen is half painted – its ALL wood veneer so the prep work has been the most time consuming and did I mention I now have a vegetable patch? *takes a bow*

ANYWAY, for now I will share something I HAVE managed to start and finish in the last few weeks…..*yay*

l_me-fine-logoMonths ago I donated a gift certificate to a local(ish) charity event (<–click to see details of the event itself) for the Me Fine Foundation  (<– click to learn about the foundation.)

The certificate was for one 12×12 custom canvas made by me and awarded to the highest bidder. The event itself was a huge success and after receiving a thank you card from the foundation and hearing nothing more on the matter I genuinely assumed someone had done some ‘pity-bidding’ with no intention of actually cashing in their prize (sad face)

BUT….a few weeks ago I was contacted by the winner *yay again*- she makes soap and wanted a custom canvas with her brand name to display at craft fayres etc. She sent me the font type and these 2 images to go from… (please make sure you visit her page(s) and show her some love – if you click the pics it will take you straight there)

IMG_2332

IMG_2331

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And from those came THIS…..

TaaDaaaa

TaaDaaaa

IMG_2634

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lighting isn’t great in these but I love it 🙂 And apparently Jenny does too which is what matters 🙂

Categories: Crafty Chick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Forbidden Fruit 

It’s been hectic to say the least, I’ll fill you in eventually… or not depending on how much I feel like sharing by the time I make it to the laptop again 🙂

For now, just to wet your whistle I thought I’d share my latest canvas, a gift for my friends little girl. Another “forbidden fruit” in my book (to see what I’m talking about click HERE) so it won’t be published in my Etsy Store but wanted to share with you rather than hiding it away like some kind of dirty secret 🙂

Forbidden Fruit


I like how simple it is compared to what I usually do 🙂 

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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

Rules are made to be curved slightly

When it comes to custom canvases I have one rule: NO EXISTING CHARACTERS/LOGOS

Mainly because there are copyright issues when recreating (and selling) character items – in fact if you’re selling things you also have to be careful of which ‘tag words’ you use…. (did you know “Onesie” is a copyrighted word??) There have been many Etsy sellers ‘shut down’ due to recreating Frozen items or using the wrong tags in their listings.

Random cat...I'm fine with that

Random cat…I’m fine with that

Of course there are loopholes, some can be put under the fan art category or tagged as ‘mermaid’ rather than ‘The Little Mermaid‘ but I don’t really understand that or feel the need to learn more about it. It seems to be luck-of-the-draw as one quick search on Etsy will usually bring up plenty of other stores selling the same copyrighted things …and they don’t get caught BUT I choose not to roll the dice and keep anything like that off of my Etsy site.

The other reason I don’t like to do it is because I’m not that confident drawing. If I’m drawing a random cartoon cat then that’s fine, I can make it up as I go along but if asked to COPY one…. who knows what it will look like in the end.

There is ONE exception to my rule and that is friends and family. If I’m making it for someone I care about I will break my own rule and go for it without listing it on my Etsy page as something anyone can order. The frustrating thing about that is that some of my favourite items have to be kept under the radar so I thought today I would share them on here 🙂

The first one I did was a ‘Trash Pack’ themed canvas for my little man. ‘Trashies’ are grim little critters or creatures you would find in the bin or associated with rubbish i.e. “stink bug” or “putrid pretzel” There are hundreds of these little rubber things to collect and my son was crazy about them so I made this for his bedroom and it followed us across the pond. He’s now into his spider man themed room so I’ve started painting over this to transform it into his newest obsession (I’ll show you when I’m done)

Trash Pack

Trash Pack

Second was a present for little mans best friend who has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed bedroom – he loves it 🙂

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I did another for an Xbox Gamer….

Gamers Dream

Gamers Dream

Most recently my sister asked me to do a ‘Superhero” themed canvas for her boyfriend and insisted I use real images instead of just hints of his favourite heroes so this is the first time I have EVER traced an image (or 4) for one of my canvases. I’m happy with it and so is her boyfriend.

These canvases make me feel like I’ve dipped my toe into some sort of dark, criminal world BUT I love them and I’m proud of them. I think as long as I’m not mass producing or blatantly selling them I’m ok with bending my own rules slightly from time to time 🙂

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

 

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Something (Navy) Blue

In January my husband and I celebrated an anniversary.

With the upcoming move we were both exhausted so I knew there wouldn’t be anything too exciting happening on the day but decided -in true British Chick fashion- to make him (us really) something special.

He changed jobs -and shifts- recently too so weekends are the only real time we get together as a family. Due to this we have dedicated Saturday nights to family only ‘game nights’. Usually board or card games to get us together without a TV screen shouting over us. Once we have spent time entertaining my son with his choice of game (he loves monopoly and game of life and usually beats both of us…he’s 6 by the way) my husband and I will usually dust off the scrabble board and attempt to overcome the Brit-American spelling divide.

Keeping with seemingly random tidbids of information….Our wedding colours were Navy blue and Ivory. It seems to be a growing tradition to give something in these colours each year – well for me anyway ha ha. I wanted a gift that would combine all of the above….

Navy Blue & Cream Personalised Scrabble Gift

Navy Blue & Cream Personalised Scrabble Gift

I bought a box frame -AND got 50c knocked off due to a tiny scuff WHOOP WHOOP!- I then painted it with Navy Blue acrylic paint, bought a bunch of scrabble tiles from ebay (link), warmed up the glue gun and hey presto his gift was created 🙂

Unfortunately I couldn’t remove the glass as I had hoped when painting the edges so its not as perfect as I would like (nor is it sealed) however for something that is to be displayed rather than handled I’m rather pleased with it…and so is he which is the main thing 🙂

 

As always below are some pics of the process – though to be honest it’s pretty straight forward 🙂 Also check out the related posts – I wish I knew how to add my own or change the search criteria in the app I use but alas…the ones linked all hold the ‘DIY/Creative’ theme in common so…enjoy 🙂

 

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A.E.I.Love U! Decoupage Letters ( <— Check ME out)

My sister in-law is expecting (yay) and asked me to make (or rather decorate) some wooden letters for his nursery – and some for her step daughter while I’m at it. She sent some photos to give me an idea of what kind of lettering/decoration she would like, along with photos of their bedding sets and colour schemes. Grey, green and a dash of bright blue for him – and purple, white with lovehearts & stripes for her.

*Deep breath * Let's do this

*Deep breath * Let’s do this

With the amount of pattern involved I knew just painting them wasn’t going to work so I decided to try decoupage, i.e. coloured papers glued onto pre-cut wooden letters (Yup this is where the Modge Podge experimenting started)

I set off to get materials such as letters, coordinating paint, papers & ribbons. The assistant at the craft store was very helpful, she gave me a few tips such as letting each layer dry before adding more and investing in a craft knife & sponge brushes – not just an up-selling ploy by the way.

I started with her Step-Daughters letters “KYA” – the babys name is a secret so I will just show you one or 2 of his letters in case this massively popular blog post gets leaked to the media * rolls eyes *

I decided to paint the wood first to avoid dripping on the paper when painting the back and sides – and also in case the paper didn’t cover 100% of the front. For Kya I went for a purple. Once dry, I drew around each letter, cut them out carefully and whipped out the ModgePodge. The assistant was right, a thin coat first, place the paper and wait for it to dry. THEN another coat to seal it, add any other papers or ribbons on top….let it dry….top coat…let it dry.

The hardest part was trimming the edges, it took some trial and error but I eventually figured out how to trim any overhang without tearing the paper (yup you wait till its dry and rubbery) There were a few slips but a dab of paint covered any mishaps and overall it seemed to work out well.

Taa Daa :)

Taa Daa 🙂

His letters were done even quicker and I’m really happy with them. My sister-in-law has seen Kyas but babys is a surprise, she doesn’t know I’ve started them yet, let alone finished, packed and posted them 🙂 I’m excited for her to get them, fingers crossed she loves them.

I love them more each time I look at them, at first I was stressing about a few minute imperfections but I need to remind myself that the things I make aren’t going to be perfect, the edges aren’t going to be completely flush every time because I’m human. This is work done by hand, not printed by a machine and mass produced…they’re unique and made by me, with love.

As always below is an album of the process and some other shots of the finished letters

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

What’s love got to do with it?

Recently I made some superhero / comic themed magnets (made from mini canvas) for a promotional doo-dah. Their fate (and box) has been sealed and it’s now in the hands of USPS.

Last night I sat bolt upright in bed as the realization hit me – I forgot to sign them 😦 usually I sign the bottom right corner, I had also planned to stick mini “British Chick” stickers on the back of each one but forgot to do that too. Each magnet is in an individual bag with a business card so my information is there but I would have preferred something that would stay on them as a permanent claim and way to tell who made them (and where to order more) you live and you learn I suppose.

Valentine Collection :)

Valentine Collection 🙂

Those canvases inspired a Valentine collection, with Love hearts, burlap, the lot. I even dug out an old embossing set I was slightly obsessed with about 10 years ago. You stamp “glue” onto card, sprinkle with metallic powder & heat with a mini hair dryer type contraption– of course the UK plug/voltage was an issue but thanks to my converter I got there in the end (Even if it was a painfully slow process)

I made them in 2 sizes and each one is different. This time I used Modge Podge – basically a stronger version of PVA glue which sticks things together and glosses over them to give them a nice, flush finish. This stuff is typically used for decoupage and I had some for another project (details of that coming soon) so I gave it a try.

Again, it was a learning curve –

*Thin coats work best

*Leave each layer to dry before adding another/top coat

*Wash your sponge brushes as soon as you’ve stopped

*Wash you hands thoroughly at random intervals throughout– Modge Podge holds any residue and is easily transferred onto whatever you’re working on

Matching Cards FTW

Matching Cards FTW

I’m really happy with how they turned out. I think they’re quite cute AND they serve a purpose (I love practical things) I also made a few matching cards – Matching items for the win!

I would have liked to have spent more time on the back of them. I cover the wooden frame at the back with sheet burlap to hide any paint drips and basically make them more presentable. The wrapped twine on some of these canvases made them quite bumpy/bulky to cover AND meant some of them needed extra magnets to fill the gap. I tested them all before sealing and they are strong enough to stick on a fridge so that’s something and at least it’s the back that could use some tweaking rather than the front – again it’s another lesson learned.

I have already sold 2 (to a friend but a sale is a sale) and the rest are sealed and on display in the local “gift box” where I volunteer and sell some of my work. Again I forgot to sign them but luckily I have the chance to sneak in and change that on my next shift 🙂

Now I have ‘Superhero’ & ‘Love’ under my belt I will have to get thinking about my next themes to try – Of course I could just follow the usual holidays – Easter, Halloween, Christmas – along with Mardi Gras & St Patrick’s day etc but I need some general ‘year round’ themes too…feel free to comment with ideas 😉

Again, below is a few photos of the process & finished products 🙂

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

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