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Tag Archives: how-to

How To Make a Space Saving Sliding Utility Wall

Laundry Room Space Saver Cheltenham RoadAs you may have gathered from my last post I want everything to slide out.Pull Out Slide for ShoesChletenham Road Slide Out Shelves for Pantry Makeover Read the rest of this entry

Things As Lovely As My Sisters 2

My stalwart sisters have been at it again.  Cruising around the web finding the coolest of the cool ideas to share. Read the rest of this entry

Paint Chip Calendar Tutorial

I’m having one of those “work from dawn till midnight” kinda weeks.

You see, despite my screw up with the deadlines Unique LA let my apply late and I got and and the show is this weekend.

It’s gonna be great!  I’m pretty excited and a bit nervous.  This will be the first time, I have a whole booth to myself.  I’ve been working on new set up (pictures to come…. spoilers – I used the color green!  Shocking I know!), building display, making tons of coasters and, well,  everything else – letters, home signs, subway art, candle blocks etc etc.

In the meantime – the paint chip calendar I made for my workroom makeover seems to be popular on Pinterest and I’ve had a couple of people ask me how I made it so I thought I’d do a quickie tutorial.

By “quickie” I mean that I really don’t have any pictures to illustrate much so bear with me.

I used:

  • Poster frame ($2 from Good Will)
  • Sand Paper – fine grit
  • Spray Paint (optional)
  • Fabric
  • Spray adhesive
  • Paint chips
  • Glue dots
  • Spray Paint

1)      After a light sanding I painted the frame with a gloss white spray paint.

2)      My frame was empty when I bought it so I cut a piece of foam core to use for the backing.

3)      I sprayed the adhesive on the foam core and then placed my fabric over it smoothing out the wrinkles.  I then flipped it over and folded the extra fabric on the back and taped it in place.

4)      I needed a big calendar and I found that Home Depot’s Behr line has the largest paint chips around.  They were a little too large actually.  After doing the math I trimmed them down to 3” wide and 5.75” tall.  I also used my little round-over corner trimmer on the top left corner.

5)      As you may have gathered this was a bit of “grab what’s around” project and I had some of those glue dots so I used them to stick the paint chips to the fabric.  To be honest this met with mixed results.  A few of the paint chips just would NOT stay stuck.  I have no idea why – the rest of them seemed to be with the program, but just a few kept falling off.  I eventually (and somewhat crankily) just used a dab of Elmers glue to hold them in place.

6)      I just used a piece of card stock and Microsoft Word to print out the days of the week to run along the top (same with the Notes section at the bottom – just a piece of cardstock cut to fit)

7)      I re-assmbled the whole thing and BOOM! Wall calendar.Paint Chip Wall Calendar TutorialSo, I apologize again for the lack of photographic accompaniment but I hope this answers a few of the questions about the calendar.

And if you’re an LA kinda person please do come to the Unique Show this weekend!

Please Pardon Our Mess

Well, my noble goal to become totally organized, amazingly efficient and completely together is……going to take longer than anticipated.

Honestly, I think I made more of a mess this weekend than ever before.  But I have faith that it’s a mess that is going in the right direction.

And I must say you folks are a great motivator!  Thank you!

I spent my weekend working, working, working to get the room finished (among other things) because I kept thinking “I promised this for Monday.”   Clearly DEADLINES are going to be the key to my success.

I’m happy to report my workroom is almost done and I’m very pleased with it.  But, I’m waiting on a couple of finishing touches so the big reveal will have to wait a day or two.

In the meantime part of my weekend was spent prepping and finishing my latest Mod Podge Rocks Project which Amy posted today.

I’ve been contemplating for a while how to make a vase using  PVC piping and, while discussing the idea with my imaginative friend Karla she suggested making a Mother’s Day themed vase using old photos and it all clicked.

So, I took rather random assortment of stuffAnd made this centerpiece that I thought was a fun way to celebrate family history.

Of course, since I finished it, all I can think about is all the OTHER ways I could do it and all the possible variations.  I love it when an idea takes off like that.  So we may be revisiting this one later as well.

If you’d like to find out the details please head on over to Mod Podge Rocks to check out the full tutorial

In the meantime I’m back to the workroom project!

Pay no attention to the man behind the garage door!

Part 1

First off I apologize for being a total tease and I am now happy to report that the awesome Amy of Mod Podge Rocks has completed her cross-country trek and has posted my tutorial for the Subway signs! So, if you’re at all interested in learning how to make theseOut of some bits and pieces then by all means head on over to Mod Podge Rocks  to get the full tutorial.

They are easy to make and, of course, totally customizable to whatever city inspires you.  For a local store I’ve since made ones for London and Chicago!

Part 2

I arrived home yesterday afternoon and discovered this in front of my garage door. Just patiently sitting there, waiting for me.

Now, I think I’ve chronicled my exploits of furniture acquisitions:

  • Beg: “you gonna take that with you when you move”,
  • Borrow:  “Does taking things left on the street count as borrow?” and of course
  • Steal: It wasn’t my fault!

Bottom line: I’m all about getting furniture wherever I can.

However, I’ve never had a piece of furniture just walk to my front door of its own volition.

Logic tells me, of course, that a friend, knowing of my sickness, dropped it off.  However, there was no note or subsequent email.

So, I’m choosing to believe that word has gotten out among the cast off, discarded and dilapidated furniture subculture that “there’s this guy in LA who can help you out.”   And, even as I type, pieces of furniture are making their way carefully down the yellow brick road to my door.  There’s no place like home…the garage.  There’s no place like the garage…..!


Vintage Postage Tray Tutorial

When I come across a good, affordable tray I always pick it up.  They are a great canvas for my graphic obsession and pretty easy to make.  I created a bunch for the recent Unique LA and they were a hit.and I thought I’d share how I made my Vintage Postage tray that I made using images from the invaluable Graphic’s Fairy.

I say they are “easy to make” and it’s true – however it does take a few days as they require a lot of drying time between steps.


  • Tray (was that too obvious?)
  • TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate)
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray Primer, Paint and Sealer
  • Wood filler or spackle
  • Painters Tape
  • Graphics Fairy images!
  • Envirotex
  • Foam Brush
  • Plastic mixing cup (not pictured)
  • Mod Podge (not pictured – I use the matte finish)
  • Toothpick (too small to be pictured)
  • Wooden Coffee Stirrer (not pictured – used the last one in my coffee without thinking…sorry)

I gave the tray a light sanding and cleaned it with some TSP.  A  quick coat of primer ensures good, even paint coverage.  (The primer will also reveal any spots that need a little touch up with spackle or wood filler.  If you do have some spots just fill and sand and then do some spot priming to even everything out.)

NOTE:  You don’t need to prime or paint the actual bottom the tray where your images will be.

I wanted a stripe on the tray so I painted the sides of the tray the color of the stripe.

After that paint dried VERY THOROUGHLY I used painters tape to tape off the stripe (I measured but I’ve eye-balled it too and been OK)

and then top coated the whole thing with a couple of coats of Heirloom White.After 20 minutes or so I carefully removed the tape and gave the whole thing a coat of satin sealer

Now it was time for the best part – the graphics!

As I mentioned the majority of my images come from the oh-so-generous Graphics Fairy.  She has, literally, thousands to choose from and you can create your own “theme” so easily.  Or if you’re not into that sort of thing a commercially produced paper will work too (in the picture of my Unique LA trays up top the Paris tray is actually a commercial paper).

I design my collage on the computer and then print it out.  I use Photoshop now but I used to do these in MS Word so that’s a very doable option.

I save each image as a JPEG and then start playing around until I’m satisfied with the design.This particular tray is larger than the largest size paper I can print so I broke the design down into print-size chunksI printed out several “chunks” and then some individual pieces that would fill in the gaps.

I then layed (laid? Lay?) them in the tray for a dry fit.

Then I removed each piece, marking on the tray, if possible, where it went.   I also stacked them in reverse order – the bottom-most pieces were on the top of my pile – so I could remember what order to lay/lie them down (OK, I’m just giving up on proper English) in.

I then got busy with the Mod Podge.

Since I was working in layers I Mod Podged just the area I wanted to stick down and then layed/laid/lay that image on the tray.  Then I moved onto the next section and did the same until I had covered the entire tray.After giving it a few hours to dry I top-coated the whole thing with a layer of Mod Podge.  This step is very important.  The Envirotex will discolor any paper it comes in contact with so the sealing layer of Mod Podge needs to be thorough – go into all the corners and along all the edges.  It doesn’t need to be a super-thick layer but it does need to cover thoroughly.

After that I set it aside to dry overnight – I wanted it to be thoroughly cured.  The next morning I mixed and poured the Envirotex.

Envirotex is a great product and the only time I’ve had any trouble with it was when I didn’t follow the directions to the letter.

There are no pictures of me pouring the Envirotex as I’m not that coordinated.

However, here are my Envirotex tips.

  1. Follow the mixing directions.  Measure carefully, mix thoroughly.
  2. Humidity and heat do play a factor.  Warm up the fluids, if necessary, as directed.
  3.  I use a wooden coffee stirrer to spread out the Envirotex and gently nudge it into corners and such.
  4. I always have a toothpick handy to pop any stubborn bubbles or to fish out little bits of “stuff” that always manage to fall into the mix (or bugs…stupid bugs that manage THAT VERY MOMENT to decide to commit suicide by tray…stupid bugs….)
  5. Give it plenty of time to dry in a dust free(ish – lets be honest, outside a lab there is no such thing as “dust free”) environment.

Once it dried thoroughly I was ready to go.

If you have any questions or if something seems unclear please don’t hesitate to ask or point it out.  I realize I said it was “easy” and then provided a loooong tutorial but I assure you that once you do it you’ll realize just how straightforward it is.

Some other, random thoughts.

  1.  I have a laser printer and I’ve found that, during the Mod Podging stage, if I dip the images in water for just a few seconds it allows them to lay down more quickly and more smoothly.  I almost never have bubbling issues.  However, this won’t work with ink-jet printers as the ink will run.  Also, if you’re using a commercial paper test a little section first to make sure it will hold up.
  2. Make sure there are no gaps in your tray (like at the corners).  The Envirotex is a liquid and it will find any decent sized crack and pour out if given the chance and it’s a huge mess….trust me…I learned the hard way.
  3. Mod Podge drying time is also affected by humidity – make sure to check that your final seal coat has dried before you pour the Envirotex

Hope that was informative.


Linking up here:

Make Your Own Decorative Knobs

Thank you for all the kind responses about the London Underground dresser!

I’ve had a couple of questions about the top two knobs so I thought I’d share how I made them – it was pretty easy and oh so inexpensive.

First off, I have to give credit to The Muse (otherwise known as Geralyn)!  Almost everything I do gets run by the The Muse for approval and tweeking before execution.  In this case she helped me nail down the city and then worked with me to come up with a good design for the knobs.  We tried the Union Jack but finally settled on the logo for the Underground.

OK onto the “how.”

I’m going to use my Underground image to illustrate but this method would work for any kind of graphic you wanted to work with.

Steps 1-3.  Sand, Prime, Paint!A good sanding is key (wooden knobs seem to be doused in evil paint resistant shellacks and varnishes) and I ‘ve become a big fan of Zinzer’s  BIN Shellac Base Primer which creates a great finish.  And I painted it with a couple of coats of flat black spray paint.

I created my own version of the Undergound logo in Photoshop  but it was also pretty easy to create in MSWord using shapes and a text box.

Of course a simple scan of any image you wanted to use would work as well.

I then put a black background behind the image.  This made it easier to cut out and let it blend in a little better on the knob.You can do this in MS Word too.  Just thicken the outline around the circle (mine went up to 50) and add some small, black boxes behind the ends of the “Underground” text.

To be honest I was a little too lazy about my cut out on this one.  The black edge gives you some wiggle room but you do want to cut as close to the edge of the image as possible (ie, cut it out better than I did this time around).

Mod Podge:  If you’ve read my Mod Podge Rocks tutorials you know that to create a smooth bubble free adhesion I like to soak my images for a few seconds in water before applying them (test your image first – some inks won’t hold up to a bath).

So, soak it, mod podge it on there and wipe up any excess glue.  After that was thoroughly dry I went in with my sharpie and touched up those tiny white edges that always appear.  If you were using a more unique color you could do the same just using a fine brush.

I did a couple more sealing coats of Mod Podge to minimize the edge where the paper meets the knob and after the Mod Podge had thoroughly dried (and I mean thoroughly, like, overnight or longer if you can swing it) I did a very light sanding and then top-coated with a couple of passes of an acrylic sealant.

And there you go.  A totally specific knob for almost nothing.


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