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The things you can’t say 

No I’m not taking a page from George Carlin. A lot of you might be too young to understand that, besides this is the internet technically you can say anything. However this is my 50th post and shortly after Tiny Bows’ one year anniversary. So I would like to thank all of you for reading my random ramblings. 

There have been a lot of thank yous this week. Over the last month Mr. Smith and I have had an overwhelming outpouring of support from friends, co-workers, family and even complete (and sometimes anonymous) strangers.

When something as tragic as the sudden death of a loved one too early in life happens no one is sure what to say to you. We are finding that we aren’t sure what to say in response, at least not in a way that adequately describes the gratitude we feel. 

We could have gone out and purchased generic thank you cards, but as you may be able to tell from the other 49 posts it’s not really our style. It also just didn’t feel personal enough. 

  
So instead I got a stencil and some brown paper tags

I then learned that I’m really terrible at stenciling unfortunately so is Mr. Smith. Luckily we found the stencil worked pretty good as a sort of stamp

  
Then we just glued the brown paper to folded up “fancy” paper. If you want to get technical its linen resume paper 65lb weight (aka super thick and textured). Folding it in quarters means it will fit in an A2 envelope perfectly.

  
Of course I had to leave my mark on the thank yous as well so I used a punch and some fancy paper to make tiny bows to cover the holes in the tags. 

    
While we were gathering supplies at the craft store Mr. Smith found a stamp he liked of a creepy tree.

  
So he decided while I was in the shower to put a hallmark on the back of the cards. 

  
As you can see we ran with it. 

I mean really ran with it…. Check out CreepyTrees.co

  
These cards still won’t express everything we want them to, but I hope everyone who receives one knows that they were made with love, and laughter and it is in part thanks to all of them that we can still do the latter. 

  

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Make it Rain

Obsolete money.

Yeah, I have a strange plethora of foreign currency. A good bit of which is obsolete. At least the coinage is. A small portion of the paper currency may still be good, I’m not sure. At any rate I’m not using it for anything but décor. I had one of these done already, but then as I was cleaning out my bathroom for its recent remodel (which you can find here) I found a matching frame … kind of. I had forgotten I painted it to hide its gaudy gold. So then it was a matter of trying to paint the new found one to match several years after the fact.

A little brown, a little black, a little bit of pearl sheen. Eventually I got them to match up. Close enough at least.

Then I just arranged the money to fit into both frames instead of just piling it up on top of each other

What kind of artwork do you have that isn’t technically artwork?

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Tiny Bows, Meet Teensey Bubbles

It all started with this sink a little over two weeks ago. If you’ve been following along on The TinyBows facebook page you’ve likely seen little updates but this is the big transformation.

My Bathroom was A color called “Swimming Pool” and done in ridiculous Gerber daisies as any 14 year old might choose. I still like Gerber daisies. Just not in my decorating choices.

I liked bright colors so much I even painted the door bright green.

In addition to the leaky sink the (oh so lovely) popcorn ceiling started to fall down about ten years ago… As you might be able to tell I just proceeded to scrape the rest of it down

So when we took out the vanity it wasn’t tiled under the cabinet, we knew this going in, the unfortunate part of this is that the cabinent was not a standard size. So we either needed to take up the flooring (not an enjoyable task) or figure out a work around. You might also note that when I painted the walls the first time around I did so directly over the wall paper because this wallpaper is like cement bonded to the wall… Unfortunately that had to go.

So after about a twelve hour day in a steam room we finally got all the wall paper off without too much damage to the dry wall and only minor heat rash and steam burns.

The hideous old brass light fixture came down for a makeover of it’s own

And a paint color was discovered. We seem to choose paint colors based on names. I originally wanted to do it the same color as my office which is called “Sigh” or possibly my bedroom “Blanket” but in the end I was out voted for the aptly named “Teensey Bubbles” from Lowe’s new HGTV Sherwin Williams collection.

We also found our new vanity and sink at Lowes. Due to the original footprint being an odd size we had to build a box around it to make the footprint match. The sides of the box will be painted and the top will be tiled and integrated into the backsplash

The ceiling got the bead board and crown molding treatment (I never want to do a miter cut again) and the door is, thank goodness no longer green.

Hooray no more hideous brass fixtures

And here is the sink post painting of the kickboard and side.

So before and after, keeping in mind the backsplash isn’t done yet. I have to wait a full three weeks for everything to cure before the mastic will bond properly.

I’m so happy to have a functioning bathroom again.

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Cheater’s Chalk Paint

Back to those darn chairs, shall we?

I love the look of chalk paint particularly when used with dark wax. I just don’t love the price tag. A quart of good quality chalk paint can cost upwards of $30 add in the cost of the specialized wax and brushes and you’re looking at a $100 project. I figured I could either do it far cheaper or fail miserably at trying.

So first and foremost I cleaned up my chairs, chalk painting claims not to have any prep work. No sanding etc. but if you are working on old dining room chairs I suggest at least giving them a scrub with some Murphy’s Oil Soap just to get the grime from years of family dinners and years of furniture polish and wax off, or not even the best paint will stick.

After that I just started painting away with my favorite primer, which happens to be a really cheap ceiling paint. Ceiling paint is very thick, and very flat so it likes to stick to things and dries rather quickly, it also has good tooth to it. Tooth is the texture that helps other things stick. It’s like painting a canvas with gesso before starting a painting.

After the primer was dry I went in with the color. I did end up buying a quart of this color (it was a custom mix to match the fabric) just because I love it so I know I’ll use it on other projects, but I could have gotten away with just one $3 sample pot. Even at a quart it was only $15.

After getting the paint done I decided to tempt fate and go for the waxing. I decided to try to tint my own wax, I used Minwax finishing wax in natural (aka clear) which is around $10 for a can and a chocolate brown paint I had lying around. I simply took a scoop of the wax and a drizzle of the paint and very thoroughly mixed the two. As you can tell my measuring was very precise.

EEEEEEEWWWWW

I just used a cheap chip brush to mush the wax on, waited a minute or two, and buffed it off. The finishing wax is technically a matte varnish so it will dry hard and help protect the paint finish on the piece. That also means you have to work in small areas at a time so you don’t allow it to dry all the way before buffing it off. The now tinted wax will stick in recessed areas like corners and carved details and any cracks and scratches that the piece has accrued over the years. You could also distress the piece before starting if you wanted it to have a little more character. I discovered that if you happen to have a patch that dries a bit too much before you get a chance to buff it, it can be salvaged. Just put some wet wax overtop of it, wait a minute, and wipe again. It will soften the dried wax and take it back up.

Keep in mind you don’t have to tint your wax a chocolate brown you can tint it whatever color you like. A darker version of the color you’ve already painted the piece would look amazing I have a feeling. Go crazy and do lime green wax on a bright pink piece. Actually I would really like to see that. Or you could tint the wax with white paint and put it over a natural wood piece to give relief to carved areas.

From this to that to finally done!

Yes I realize in the long run it is a few more steps than chalk paint but it also only cost (even with brushes) around $35 in supplies versus the inordinate amount that doing it with chalk paint would have cost me. So the pros, at least for me, outweigh the cons.

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Desk Part 3: The Cherry On Top

Oh! Finally! The home stretch.

All that’s left is to put handles on. One of those (the one seen in the blog post here) required new holes. I left the drilling of said holes up to someone else. Mainly because I don’t trust myself to get them positioned correctly.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part Zero, Part One, and Part Two

I decided to paint the outsides of the drawer sides. Mostly because I got stain all over them. It wasn’t pretty, and even though I have no intention of leaving the drawers hanging open all the time it will be nice to have them look decent. Instead of looking like I’ve slopped stain all down the sides and hastily tried to wipe it up just to have it spread around. Which is what actually went down. Paint fixes everything in my book.

After one coat of my go to Dark Kettle Black.

I also lined the drawers to cover up the ink stains and various other oddness. This is very much a two person job. Not just a two person job, but a two person job in which you must delegate tasks according to strengths and weaknesses. It turns out my boyfriend is great at spreading out the contact paper smoothly however horrible at holding the contact paper up. I’m the opposite. Actually my boyfriend is likely better at both of those things but that night he couldn’t hold his arms up six inches after having spent the day painting a ceiling. I remember that pain and am not eager to relive it.

The cat approves of this one

The aforementioned handle makes an appearance

To do this you might want a credit card or a small squeegee to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles, as well as an exact-o knife to cut the excess as close to the edge as possible.

So now absolutely everything is done and ready to be moved in. Its time you see why I was so eager to get a new desk.

This is the setup I’ve been dealing with for the last six months. It’s rather unpleasant in the way of room to work not to mention aesthetics.

Yup he approves

This is so much better, although I will be playing around with the setup over the next couple of days and I doubt my CPU will stay up there. Either way a vast improvement.

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Handles

Not that handles

Let me rephrase. Drawer pulls. By that I mean I found some to replace the not so attractive ones that were on my desk. Only problem is I wanted the center (I think this used to be called a glove drawer or something) to have a long lock looking pull but there were none that matched the knobs I picked out

Nothing a little paint and eyeshadow can’t fix. Yes, you read that right. After rough sanding the handle to get off any loose paint or patina I painted it black, or close enough.

I then went over portions of the handle that were in relief or would see a lot of wear and tear with a chocolaty brown color.

Then while the paint was still wet I packed on a bronze colored eyeshadow with a dry brush to match the bronze patina on the knobs for the shorter drawers.

Once I was satisfied I dusted off any excess shadow with a soft cloth, and sealed the pull with a clear acrylic. Now I actually have a matching set.

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Resurrection, or A Lantern for That Glamping Trip

Do you remember that clock I murdered so ferociously without any thought of what I might do with it.

If you don’t you can find it here.

Well I figured out what to do with it in a somewhat round about fashion. I had considered turning it into a lamp but … well, it seemed complicated and despite how this blog may make me appear I’m a lazy person. Then I came across these lovelies on Amazon. They are the tiniest fairy lights you’ve ever seen. They are battery powered and oddly the strand is waterproof. I don’t need it to be but that’s cool none the less.

I also found a roll of window frost on amazon with good reviews. I’ve got a bathroom window that needs frosting and it will only take about 6 square inches of the 9ft roll to do this project so its worth it.

The next bit got a little complicated. Only because I made it so. It doesn’t need to be. I laid the glass over some pretty scrapbooking paper and laid down the frost contact paper over top of it letting the excess hang over the edge to secure it in place. I then used a Knife of Exact Zero* to cut out the pattern of the scrapbooking paper into the contact paper. You can purchase frosted contact paper that has patterns like this in it ready made. I opted for regular old frost since it’s something I’m going to be using for multiple projects, including some I just want to be plain. I decided to stick with the cheaper and more boring frost, and thus created a little bit more work for myself.

After that it was just a matter of spray painting that horrific brass

I then reassembled the glass and faceplate just securing it with a bit of glue and strung the itty bitty adorable lights through the back plate where the clockwork used to be.

Last but not least I happened to have a frame that fit the front of the clock perfect and I glued that on to the front as well to glam it up a bit and voila…

A lantern for your next glamping trip

 

You could skip the pattern in the frost or skip the frost all together by placing some tissue paper (any color) in the lantern. I (or rather my mother) discovered this after the fact but I actually like it a bit better as it also manages to diffuse the light a bit more and hide the wires a bit better. The header picture is of the clock/lantern on with tissue paper behind the face.

At any rate I’m glad our sad, neglected, noisy clock found new life as a glamorous lantern. It will likely come in handy during our regular power outages. What other objects can you think of upcycling into lanterns?

 

 

 

 

*that’s an exacto knife for those of you that are not awesome

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Yet another

I wasn’t lying when I said there was an overabundance of jewelry boxes

So another one got a makeover. First off, milk paint has a learning curve. The whole thing was a pretty open and shut case prior to finding a bargain batch of milk paint a Michael’s one day. I was just going to replace the broken handles and paint it to match the existing ones I had already done. But then there it was screaming at me. Those bottles of pretty pastel powder.

Knowing I was going to use milk paint I sanded the box completely down to the bare wood. It turns out its maple, and it smelled amazing.

As is typical of me I just jumped right in without doing any research. Google might as well not exist as far as I’m concerned. I just read the simple instructions on the back and decided that was good enough. A one to one ratio of the powdered paint and warm water. Ok sounds good. So off I went doing test patches on the bottom of the box that I sanded. I found a color mix and consistency that I liked, this one was three parts blue one part green and an equal amount of water. Then I went to town on the box. I wasn’t satisfied with the coverage so I figured I would do another coat. But oh yeah… water soluble, powdered paint. Guess what happens when you go over it with more liquid. It just pulls up what you’ve just put down.

So in the end I just had to thicken the mixture to get a higher coverage. Like I said it was a learning curve. It’s still patchy but in the end I decided to distress it so it fits with the overall look of the box itself.

The handles came from my usual favorite idea-ology line. They are made for cardboard box storage so have brad attachments but I found making a pilot hole and using a small hammer to pound in the brads worked just fine at securing them into the wood.

After everything I sealed it with a couple coats of satin clear coat to prevent the milk paint from wearing off or going all liquid at the drop of some water. Hopefully that will do it, or if it doesn’t it will give me an excuse to refinish it again and maybe straighten out that top handle in the process.

 

It didn’t turn out too shabby for my first (possibly last) attempt at milk paint. I had to custom mix the paint in order to attempt to match anything else I owned but it actually doesn’t look that bad. Clearly I am biased in this matter. Let me know what you think.

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Best $10

This might just be the easiest project I’ve ever done. It’s also up there as one of the cheapest and most versatile. If you read my On The Horizon post you got to see a little sneak peak of these babies.

But I am beyond pleased with how they actually turned out. They are made out of very light weight (what I think is) balsa ply and ranged in price from $0.89 to $1.39 for the largest one. The paint was $2.89 for a sample pot of Valspar Dark Kettle Black. Of course this project didn’t make a dent in that sample pot and I will likely be using it for various other projects. It’s not really a true black but the most glorious charcoal color ever. Did I mention grey is my favorite color. You could just as easily use spray paint but its more expensive, its messy, its smelly, and it would use a whole darn can just to cover them because it goes everywhere except where you want it to… but I’m biased.

 

Because these frames are so light I just hung them with straight pins. Yes the kind you use to tack a hem. You could just as easily use 3M adhesive strips or blu-tack, but pins were handy and they leave nary a hole to be seen. So for about $10, we will say $13 with paint I turned my money wall into the wall of nothing. The wall of money was far too small for such a large expanse of blank wall so I was glad to find a cheap way to fill it.

These little balsa frames are possibly my new favorite thing and I’m sure I will be getting more for future projects. They would be marvelous with strip magnets on the back for a refridgerator frame, or if you have a massive steel front door and birds who love wreaths (the struggle is real). It would make a good alternative welcome sign to the ridiculous mesh monstrosities adorning houses around the country. You also don’t have to stick with boring black or brown. It would be an easy, as well as easily changed way to inject a pop of color into a space.

It also just makes a lovely thing to carry around in case of accidental photobombing or as a classy selfie prop. Seriously though these would be wonderful hanging from trees or the tent at a wedding for just that purpose as well as adding a bit of decoration to otherwise neglected areas.

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In the rear view

I stated in On the Horizon that there were a lot of projects I had done before I started this blog. Really that’s the whole reason I started this blog. That and some pretty fierce and wonderful prompting from my boyfriend. It seemed about time I document my crazy and creative endeavors for the world to see, or at least so I can remember how I accomplished such a thing down the road a ways.

I’m really quite terrible at taking before and after pictures. I remodeled the house I lived in one time. The whole kit and caboodle, 1960’s floors to popcorn ceiling. We completely forgot to take before pictures. So no one ever believes me when I tell them it had orange shag carpet throughout. When I say throughout I mean even in the bathrooms. Live and learn. Your camera phone is your friend.

I just thought I would take a quick second to share the few projects that I can document, though for the most part without before pictures. If you see anything you love let me know, leave me a comment. If you see anything you want to know how to do or where I found the stuff for let me know I am sure I can recreate some of these for a proper tutorial.

I hate switch plate covers. Particularly ones that are the hideous contractor’s choice beige. It just looks constantly dirty. Sure you can buy new ones for pretty cheap, but you can also mod podge them for pretty cheap, and it turns out much cooler. It also happens to make the light switches easier to find fumbling around in a dim room, and comes off with hot soapy water so this is something you can easily do in a rental.

The wall-o-money is really rather self-explanatory. I have an inordinate amount of foreign money and saw a rather wonderful way to display it on Pinterest one day. So some old frames, some new frames, some paint, and some craft paper and I had myself a strange bit of “art work” for my once bare walls. As a warning it is heavy stuff. You may also notice with a coin collection, whether foreign or domestic that the coins are varying thicknesses. I got around this with a little Styrofoam backing which a lot of new frames will come with. As strange as this looks to people I like to point out that I have a frame full of absolutely worthless currency as the majority of it is pre-Euro era European currency. “It’s a commentary on the transient nature of wealth and the shallowness of our material culture.” Damn right it’s “art work”.

Did I mention in addition to being ridiculously girly I have a … nerdy streak? I’m not entirely sure you would call it that. Put it this way, I play video games (perhaps too much) I like comic books and super heroes (who doesn’t?) and I have a soft spot for quantum physics (mechanics just to placate my boyfriend). Anyway, I think this was my favorite project of last year. I was bored and between jobs so I needed a cheap and yet time consuming project. The super hero coasters were born. Let me know if you would like to see a tutorial on how I created these. I’ll take any excuse to do some more even though I’m pretty sure six is plenty.

 

Of course there have been other painting projects as well. This sad shabby microwave stand got an update as a tv stand

And this oh-so 90’s cherry wood veneer night stand became a not so cherry wood veneer night stand.

Once again let me know if there are any projects you would like to see me create (or reacreate) in future blogs. And let me know what you think by commenting, liking, subscribing, following on Facebook or just sitting there reading. I appreciate all of it.