Thursday, August 10, 2017

Faux Barnwood Tutorial

It has been way too long since I sat and wrote a blog post but after putting several videos up on my Instagram I had quite a few messages asking me to share this technique.  I have missed blogging and the community of friends I've made here but haven't felt much motivation to write a post until now.  Here is to hoping I get back to it regularly!

Now on to what this post is really about...Faux Barnwood!  
Faux Barnwood TutorialI have this ugly desk and shelving unit in my office and have been dying to get something new but just hadn't found anything that would give me the same amount of storage so I had planned on building something or making an Ikea trip and buying individual pieces and building around it.  However that day didn't happen and I was getting more and more tired of looking at the awful laminate so I woke up one day and knew just what I wanted to do with the furniture to give it a new life.  So I got my white paint and got started but then I didn't like how white it was so I hopped on Pinterest and looked up faux barnwood and found several great tutorials but most weren't using laminate but real wood so I knew I'd have to do a lot more than just using stain. I decided to just go for it because worst case scenario was to paint right over it if it didn't turn out.
 
 I started with the desk first and as I got started I was convinced I had ruined it and it'd never turn out but two days later and about 12 paint colors I was in love!  Don't worry you will not have to use 12 paint colors if you decide to do this and it will not take you 2 days like my first try did.  Once I realized the colors and technique I liked I was able to do my shelving unit in less than an hour and my work table surface in just about 45 minutes.  

 I am going to give general paint colors in the list of things you need however I will tell you exactly what colors I used.  I know you may not have access to each of these colors so just something similar will work.
You will need:
Sandpaper
Old t-shirt or rag
Gloves
Primer (I like Zinsser)
White chalk paint or any white paint you like
Rustoleum Carbon Gray Wood Stain or something similar
Black Paint
Dark Gray Paint
Brown Paint
Beige Paint
Light Gray Paint
Chip Brush
Valspar White Wood Stain 
You will want to do one light coat of primer over the surface you plan to use this technique on.  I didn't do anything thick but wanted to make sure there was at least a little bit of primer to cover the laminate.

Once the primer has dried you will use your Rustoleum Wood Stain in Carbon Gray.
I started with a chip brush but found that it was much easier to just use an old t-shirt and rub the stain in that way.
I didn't do a thick coat of stain and wiped as much off as I could.  Honestly I liked it just like this but still wanted to add some color/dimension to it which is where the other paint colors will come in.
Even though you saw all kinds of colors in the photo above these were the ones I ended up using.  This is kind of a trial and error process so if you have other colors you want to add in I say go for it and know you can always just paint over it if you don't like it.
I only used 1 chip brush for the entire process.  It doesn't hurt for the colors to blend into one another so that is why I only used one brush for the whole project.

You will start with any color you want and very very lightly make swiping motions all over the desk with the desired paint color.  I did this in quick sweeping motions and then once all the paint was off the brush I went back and blended it in by rubbing over it with the brush.  Basically just blending it in so the streaks weren't so harsh.  I did this with each color and then blended the whole surface with an old t-shirt so that it really softened the look.  I then went back with some of the colors and added a little more and then blended it again.  I did this until I was happy with the look.  Don't worry if you are layering a ton of paint.  Also do not give up if you think it's not looking right.  I thought it looked horrible and almost threw in the towel many times but I'm so glad I didn't.  There really isn't an art form on this but just keep at it until you are satisfied with the appearance.
Once I was please with how the surface looked I used a sanding block and sanded the whole surface to soften it a bit more.  I then went back over it with more of the Rustoleum Carbon Gray Wood Stain to blend it all together even more.
As you can see here once I went over it with the Carbon Gray it softened the surface so much.  I went back and added a little touch of color here and there just to add a little more "streaking" that the carbon stain may have blended in too much.  You wouldn't have to do this step though.
Second to last step is to use the Antique White Wood Stain from Varathane and go over the entire surface.  Again I used an old t-shirt for this and really used some pressure when rubbing it in so that it blended the colors really well.
The final step is to seal it with Polyacrylic.  I used 3 coats of this to really protect the surface.  It gives it a nice smooth finish and because I used Satin it has just the tiniest bit of sheen to it.  

That is it!  Don't let this project intimidate you because I promise it's easy.  It's really just layering and playing with it until you are pleased with the results.  I know you can do it! 

 This was a labor of love but I sure do love how it turned out!  It was definitely worth the time and energy I put into it because I love the end result and so has everyone else that has seen it so that is a major win!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Faux Reindeer Antler DIY

I love that antlers are making such a big appearance in decorating but I'm not a fan of the idea of a real antler sitting around.  I know I might be odd but I just am not feeling having a body part of a live animal sitting in my house. I know that deer don't have to be harmed to get their antlers but it just creeps me out...call me strange.  I do however love the look antlers give to your decor so when I ran across these silver metallic floral pick antlers at Michael's I knew I had a craft project.  I picked these up before the holidays for around a dollar each so you really can't beat that!  With the popularity of antlers I would imagine that the craft stores will continue to carry some form of antler in floral department.
As you can see it's a pretty antler even in the silver but it's not the look I wanted.  
This was the look I was going for so that it'd look a bit more realistic so out came the spray paint and wood stain.  First I used pliers to remove the floral pick by tugging it out.  It was very easy to remove but if you can't get it off you could also cut it off right at the base of the antler.  It does leave a tiny hole so if you wanted to fill that just use a little filler there.  I didn't bother because I knew my antler would be displayed with things around it and you'd never see it anyway.
To achieve the look of a real antler I used Rustoleum Heirloom White spray paint.  This is a gorgeous off white and works well for so many projects.  I didn't cover the antler entirely so that some of the silver color still showed through a tiny bit.  It's really trial and error.  I have done at least 5 of these now and every one of them turns out slightly different which I love so just play around with the coverage.  Once the spray paint is covering your antler on all sides and it's dry you will now need to use some wood stain.
For my wood stain I used Minwax Espresso and Classic Gray.  Always make sure to shake the Classic Gray stain because all the pigment sinks to the bottom and without shaking it you will get little to no coverage.  I used an old tshirt and dipped it into the Espresso stain and quickly wiped it all over the antler.  I then wiped the bulk of it right back off.  I worked quickly so the stain wouldn't get too dark but if you don't work fast and need to redo it just add another layer of spray paint and try again.  Once the Espresso stain is wiped off I then did the same thing with the Classic Gray.  After I wiped the gray back off I then took my Espresso and dabbed it onto some of the raised areas of the antler so it would have tiny bits of dark spots and did a few areas in the Classic Gray stain as well.  I let it dry and that was it.
 I know it may not be a perfect match to a real antler but I was certainly pleased with how it turned out.  So pleased that I went on to make some for my mom and more for myself.  I loved that each one turned out differently so they are unique.
Even though these photos are from Christmas I will continue to use the antlers in my decorating long after the holidays. I hope you will take a chance and give this a try if you like the look of antlers in your decor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Snack Mix Recipe

If you follow along with me on Instagram, and you should, you will maybe have seen my insta-story talking about trying out Pumpkin Spice Cheerios!  I am the only one in my house that likes pumpkin so when I could only find a family size box I knew I had to come up with a way to use them up.  I really like the flavor of them since I'm an all things pumpkin lover but it was still way more Cheerios than I can eat by myself.  I pondered ideas and decided to use my Cheerios Snack Mix Recipe from several years ago but adapt it to work with the pumpkin flavor and boy did it turn out amazing!  I did a insta-story on making the snack mix and was amazed at the response and people wanting to know the recipe so I figured I would do an updated post for you all to grab this recipe but if you want to make it with the original Cheerios the post is still up and you can click HERE to get to it.
Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Snack Mix
 You can print the recipe HERE
Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Snack Mix
 This is a fun recipe for kids to help with because they love the part where you add the baking soda to the Karo mixture and it gets all foamy!
Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Snack Mix
 I just love the mixture of pumpkin spice and the dried cranberries with this new twist on the original recipe!  

This snack mix is usually a big hit and is something that a lot of people have never had so it's unique too. I hope you all enjoy it as much as my family does.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Painted Faux Pumpkins for Succulent Arrangement

 The other day I was cruising stalking Instagram which I tend to do and came across the prettiest faux pumpkins filled with succulents.  It was done by my friend Amy @cutertudor (go follow her!) and they looked awesome.  I had bought several cheap pumpkins at Walmart and had already started painting them and bought a bunch of inexpensive artificial flowers to fill them with but then when I saw her succulents that completely changed my mind about using the flowers. So flowers were out and I headed back to the store to spend a fortune on succulents.  Let me tell you these little picks aren't cheap!  I had 20 bucks in one pumpkin so this isn't the cheapest project if you are wanting to keep it from breaking the bank. Anyone has a source for inexpensive succulent picks I'm all over it so please share!

So armed with my succulents I went home and used Robin's Egg spray paint from Rustoleum to spray one of the pumpkins.  I have never used this color before but have fallen in love with it!  It's the prettiest light aqua!  For the second pumpkin I used Martha Stewart's Vintage Chalk Paint in the color Eucalyptus and brush painted it.  It takes a bit longer to brush it on but well worth it to use such a pretty color!
Once I had my pumpkins painted I then used my Minwax Furniture Paste which is my bestest friend for all paint projects.  I let it dry and then buffed it up and it left the prettiest finish and was so silky to the touch!
Now for the fun part!  I used a serrated knife and cut a small circle in the top of the pumpkin  and scooped out some of the styrofoam.  I would start with a samll circle because it's easier to make it bigger than to try to shrink it down after you made it too big.
Then I just started placing my succulent picks where I wanted them and of course because the inside of the pumpkin is styrofoam it's super simple to dig the sticks into it so they hole well.  Once you get those arranged just the way you want them you are just about finished.
I bought a package of sheet moss and just tore chunks of it off and placed it all around the top of the pumpkin,  In between the succulents and under the succulents etc.  Just place it anywhere you think it needs a little something extra.
Um, can you get any easier than that?  This project may not be the cheapest but it sure is a pretty one that makes it worth spending that money on the succulents!
 Here are a few photos of the finished pumpkins that I hope you will like!
 



  
 I ended up having one extra pumpkin leftover so I gave it a shot of the Robin's Egg Paint.
 I then hollowed out the hole at the top and added pieces of twine down along the grooves of the pumpkin just to give it a little interest.
  Then I filled the hole with chunks of the moss and placed a small candle in the center of it and then added a little more moss so it was visible from the top of the pumpkin.  Now it makes a pretty little glow at night when I light it.  Just don't ever leave it unattended!  A little disclaimer....I am not responsible for any damage done by following this tutorial. 

I hope you enjoyed this quick little project and would love to see yours if you make one.  This idea was based on @cutertudor's original Instagram post and she said she got the idea from Pinterest.  I have put my own twist on it so they may not look the exact same but the idea is similar for sure.  I think the next one I will make will be with the faux flowers I bought to originally do mine since I have so many of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

West Elm Blogger Preview Event

There was a group of local bloggers that were invited to our brand new West Elm store for a preview event before the doors officially opened to the public.  We met with their PR Manager and he was fantastic with showing us around the store and explaining all the great things West Elm does to get involved in the community and some of the cool collaborations!  If you aren't aware of West Elm they have gorgeous home furnishings and have a fantastic website you can visit if there isn't a store near you.

 I will mostly let the photos do the talking but there are a few things to tell you about.  West Elm started in Brooklyn, NY and is a branch of Williams-Sonoma.  They design almost all of their products in house and believe in using organic, handcrafted and fair trade certified products.  One of the things I like most about West Elm is their support of local makers!  As a "maker" myself I think it's so admirable for a large company to give us little guys the support we need to grow and West Elm is all about that!

 Myself, Amy (Atta Girl Says) and Kristi (Chatfield Court)



 As I mentioned above that West Elm is big on supporting local artists/makers and this bag is a perfect example.  The artist lives right here in Greensboro!  How cool is that?













 They also do some very neat collaborations throughout the year!

























 If you need another reason to think this company is so great they also give back!  Again another admirable action on their part.











 Kristi, Amy, Dru (West Elm PR Manager), Ashley, Myself and Jen



















 Isn't my mom a cutie!  She went along with me for the preview and had such fun.
This particular West Elm is located in Friendly Center, Greensboro, North Carolina!  It's a gorgeous store and is so worth your visit!

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