Monday, January 27, 2014

My First Chalk Paint Project-Resources for the Beginner!

On the TO DO list here at Sweetwater are a couple o furniture painting projects.
These projects involve furniture that has been oiled or waxed.
That means that in order for MOST paint to adhere properly.....there needs to be a lot of prep work involved.
If you know me....I HATE prep work!

 This little end table started it's life in Mr. S's childhood home.....

It has seen several different coats of paint.....and I would have to say that the latest coat is probably my LEAST favorite...

Bad color....and the (my) paint job was less than stellar!

This is also a nice small project!

Perfect for my first foray into the world of Chalk Paint! ugly as this is....what could I lose!

Many of my favorite bloggers are always "waxing" eloquent about Chalk Paint....and the projects they showcase are pretty wonderful!  But to be honest, I never much paid attention to the products or the process these clever DYIers were using.

It was time for ME to do my research....which of course I am  sharing with you!

If you want the very basics about Chalk Paint....check out this post from Chic Mouldings!   It has basic information about using Chalk Paint....specifically the expensive Annie Sloan product....but the information is generic.

What I learned:
When you paint with Chalk Paint you do not need:
X Prep
X Sanding
X Sealing
X Cleaning
X Priming
X Solvents

If you use Chalk Paint you can paint over just about every surface, wood, plastic, tile, metal, or glass. The paint will even  cover a piece of furniture that has previously been sealed with wax. 

Wow....I knew this stuff was I see why!

But "Sweetwater,,,,we have a problem!"

Annie Sloan paint is super expensive (in my humble opinion)..

....more doesn't seem there are a lot of places around here that sell it! 

....even more problematic....I wanted to do this project NOW.....not wait until I could go to the store....if I could find a store! And remember....we are in a Polar no way was I going out!

More research.....and guess what....there are recipes out there to MAKE YOUR OWN Chalk Paint.... that is way more "Sweetwater Style"!

 This is a great post with several DYI Chalk Paint Recipes from Salvaged Inspirations!
Diane over at In My Own Style does a comparison of DYI Chalk Paint Recipes HERE!


Since I am all about "Using What I HAVE", I opted for the Plaster of Paris recipe....because I HAVE some!

I mixed it up.....poured it into the paint I had....with a little help from Marvin of course....

Hmmmm.....I wonder if you can Chalk Paint a cat?

I won't bore you with all kinds of pictures of the process.....I figure you all know how to paint!  Or if you don't.....just GOOGLE it!

I only did one coat of the Chalk Paint on this.....then a little sanding and distressing....and a lot of elbow grease with the coat of Johnson's Paste Wax....which I had to thaw out because it was stored in the garage!!!!

I am pretty pleased with this simple transformation.....and I learned a bunch about Chalk Paint! Mainly that it is fuss....and very forgiving!

I can't wait to decide on colors for my other painting projects and get them done soon!

Have A Great Day!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Wrapped Fabric Wall Art!

Oooh...I wasn't going to complain about the weather!  But is either way way below zero or snowing at Sweetwater! has been cancelled for COLD 3 days in January....and the rumor is that on Monday there is a chance we will make it 4 days!

Before I get to the Wall Art project, I thought you might enjoy this little parody that was posted on Facebook by an alum of our school!  The time stamp on it means that she whipped this up in less than 15 minutes!!!  Guess we are pretty good educators....and her talent is amazing.  Enjoy!

"The Night Before Finals"

Twas the night before day two of finals, when all through the town
The high-schoolers were studying, not making a sound.
The Facebook chat bar was absent of dots of green,
Since one must prioritize when one is a teen.

Their younger siblings watched them, filled with fears,
For that would be them in a few short years.
Then mamma dragged the kids away and put them in bed,
because her normally sane teen is not currently right in the head

When out in the kitchen I heard the telephone ring
I sprang from my seat to go answer the thing.
Away from my desk (dungeon) I flew like a flash
And into the kitchen I promptly dashed

I heard on the phone a voice familiar to me
The automated voice message system of the city of SLP
The computer-lady then said a phrase that relieved all my sorrow:
"For grades K thru 12 there is no school tomorrow"

Upon realizing the meaning of her words, I released all my dread
I was so sleep deprived, I could soon rest my poor head
More rapid than eagles the Facebook posts came,
And they all whistled and shouted and I did the same!

Now on to the project!
This bright happy fabric called out to me from the sale bin!
It is a nice outdoor canvas weight.
Perfect to create a splash of color for the wall.

I had a plain wooden stretcher frame in my stash of stuff.
I had some quilt batting.
I have a glue gun.

It was simple enough to wrap the batting around the stretcher and glue it down.
The corners were mitered and the edges were trimmed!

I used the staple gun to attach the fabric to the frame.

You know the drill....put one staple in the middle of each side....stretching it tight...
Staple the mitered corners tight...
Then go around and secure the fabric tightly all around! 
The whole project was finished in 20 minutes.....
less the time it took for the little "drama" 
of needing  Mr. S to pry out the stuck staple in the staple gun!

 A little Winter time cheer for the Laundry Room Wall!

Here are a couple of wrapped fabric wall pieces from the past....

Lots of impact for very little effort and money...

and what I really love is that they are so easy to switch out when you want a change....and I always seem to want to change....

Have A Wonderful Weekend!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Going Straight! Placemat Tutorial!

The place mats at Sweetwater took a beating over the Holidays with all the entertaining we did!
It was time for new ones!  
I spent some time shopping for new ones.
I wanted something basic....probably brown to co-ordinate with our decor!

I found some at
 They aren't too expensive, but not exactly right and I want at least 8!

And these at Target are more what I was looking for, but it would still be $40 for 2 sets.....

I just happened to find some really nice plain brown fabric in the sale bin for $5 a yard!
 I bought 3 yards....cost of $15!
I decided to make my own!

If you are like know it is always a struggle to sew something that needs to be perfectly straight and square!
to do it over and over and over again!
I was determined to come up with a plan to make it easier to get the place mats perfectly straight this time!
The 3 yards of fabric  is enough fabric for 12 place mats.
I planned a 2 inch "hem" for each single layered place mat.

I hit upon the idea of using my mat cutter as a simple way to cut perfectly straight edges.
The straight razor was the perfect solution....and the rulers built in to the mat cutter made it easy to be sure that each place mat was the same size!
The system made it super simple.....but any straight edge and pencil line would work.
I don't have a rotary cutter....hmmm....go figure??? but that would also work!

Now I had 12 perfectly straight pieces of fabric.....the trick would be to get the mitered corners the same size and keep the sewing part straight!

I cut a template for the mitered corner.  
Each side of the triangle is 2 inches.  
This way the miter will control the depth of the hem.
I cut the corners on all the place mats using the template!

Using the "most important" sewing tool....MY IRON...I pressed a narrow 1/4 inch hem around all sides and stitched it down.  More pressing to get it perfectly flat!

Now for the miter! And this is the really great trick! I surprised myself with how easily it worked!
Start by folding the two edges together.....remember the triangle that was cut off earlier....that makes this diagonal that is ready to stitch.

I used the serger....nice because that was another STRAIGHT line tool that kept the seam exactly the right size.  But a careful stitiching with the regular machine would definitely work too. Serging these seams meant I didn't have to trim the if you use a regular machine be sure to closely trim your seams.

Turn the miters right side out.....use a sharp tool to push out the corners and press the whole thing flat.

The beauty of this mitering system is the way it forces the 2 inch border to be exactly the same all the way around!

The final step is to stitch all the way around the mat at exactly 2 inches.
When I need a perfect size hem and do it more than once....I put a piece of tape on the machine as a guide!  This keeps me on the straight and narrow!

I have finished 8 of the 12 place mats.....if you got out a micrometer.....
you would see that they aren't absolutely perfect.....
but always say...
"I aim to be pretty good!" 
and these turned out "Pretty Good" if I do say so myself.
at a cost of less than $2 a piece....a bargain besides!

Have A Great Day!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Weird Week it Was!

weird  (wîrd)
adj. weird·er, weird·est
1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural.
2. Of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange.
3. Archaic Of or relating to fate or the Fates.

On Monday the Governor called off school because the wind chill was -40 degrees!
On Tuesday our School District cancelled school for the 2nd day because of the cold!
By Friday.....the temperature had risen to above freezing!


It is also that WEIRD time of the year when I tend to take care of "little" projects instead of taking on big ones!  

I thought that I would share "Seven Little Sweet things" that I did accomplish during this weird week!

Simple Lamp redo....
The lamp on the entryway table wasn't working...I hunted around and found a "buffet lamp" on a shelf downstairs.

The green color was OK, but I was inspired by this photo of the wrought iron fences in New Orleans.

There was shiny black spray paint in the basement....

A couple of quick coats of that.....

A new black shade.....

The updated lamp really mimics the look of the wrought iron!

 Somehow when the weather gets cold and there is lots of talk about the flu, it seems wise to think about healthy stuff.

It was time to start making fresh grapefruit juice from the box of fruit purchased from a church fundraiser.

This link from last winter's post has the recipe!
It is a delicious and healthy pick me up!

I love me my UGGS!  In fact....I have a couple of pairs of boots and a pair of slippers.  They are several years old and well fact....the sheepskin insoles were pretty worn on the slippers and the oldest pair of boots. The boots and slippers still have lots of life in buying new would be un-thrifty!  
An on-line purchase of these $15 replacement insoles from ZAPPOS got me two "almost" new pairs of UGGS!  And the shipping was FREE!
 Pretty thrifty!  Pretty Comfy!

 Once all the Holiday decorations were put away, it was time to update the family room mantle.

The Hurricane lanterns with the candles, the "sugared grapes" and the round tray are left from the Christmas Mantle.   The addition of some artificial Ginko leaves, two green plants in matching Haeger planters, and the goodwill pomegranates make this one of the favorite treatments I have done on the mantle so far.  It feels fresh and clean....but not too stark!

I was a "Feline Healer"!  What you ask?
Well...a couple of weeks ago, we noticed that Marvin always looked like he had been in the fireplace ashes or some other dirty corner!  His chin was always gray.  Pretty soon his gray chin was getting black!  We did a little research on the internet and found out that this was probably "Cat Acne" (who knew) caused by dirty food bowls!  (Oh the guilt!!!!)

The solution (cure) was pretty simple.  CHANGE THE FEEDING BOWLS every couple of days!!! heal the acne....hydrogen peroxide or Witch Hazel wiped on the black spots a couple times a day!  I am proud to say that Marvin's chin is now white and snowy once more!

Homemade Swiffer/Mop cover from an old towel.
There are way too many old towels around here.  I try to give them away....but now I am on a mission to find "crafts" to make using them...
My internet search led me to find out that there are lots of ways to make homemade mop covers.....  Here is a link that has a bunch of links to patterns for making them.  There are even some knit and crochet patterns if you want to spend time making them.

My idea is to make a bunch quickly....use them....launder them a few times and then throw them away.

I made 6 of these from one towel (minus the one that I made that had too long of "flaps" and wouldn't fit...oops)

It took about 15 minutes total....and cost nothing!

( I don't use a is the mop that goes with the wood floor cleaner I use....but the idea is the same!

Three Days to do Five Days of School!

The rest of the WEIRD week was spent trying to fit library use for 500+ kids into a short week!  You do the math....500 kids times 4 library books in 3 days!
Oh....and that means that they BRING BACK 4 books that need to be checked in and shelved as well!  But the good news....touching all those books with all those germs probably helps me build my immunities!  Hopefully the "kid hugs" do too!

You can see that our Media Center is a very busy place....!

There you have it....a Weird Week....
I Hope the one coming up is a little more on the normal side!

Have a Great Day....and Week!

Link Parties
I Am Not A Trophy Wife   
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