Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Trick-Or-Treat, Smell My Feet

Trick-Or-Treat, Smell My Feet. That phrase is so weird, right? Who the heck even thought of it? Feet totally creep me out, but I absolutely love Halloween and trick-or-treating. So, let’s not talk about my fears and focus on the things that I adore.

It is so much fun to embellish everything with creepy décor and pumpkins in the fall. And I love to come up with costumes for Trick-or-Treating each year and watch as my kids go from door to door collecting goodies. Instead of going with the whole plastic pumpkin buckets and/or plastic bags this year, I decided to take the classic pillow case candy bag and vamp it up a bit for a cool candy carrier that any kid would be proud to sport.

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 1

I love that these treat bags can be so versatile and hold a ton of loot for my kids (which I will kindly raid of all chocolate and caramel items post October 31st.)

These are the supplies I used for this project:
– 1 king sized pillowcase (a standard size will work as well)
– Printed Template
– Freezer Paper
– Acrylic Paint
– Fabric Medium
– Sponge or Spouncer
– Pencil
– Scissors/Craft Knife
– Iron
– Ribbon
– Sewing Machine (Optional)

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 2

Since I had an extra unused king sized pillowcase in storage, I opted to use that, although any size will work. My huge pillowcase would have been too big for either of my kids to lug around by itself, so I decided to cut it into two pieces, sewed up the sides and hemmed the tops, which created 2 separate bags. You could also do this with a standard pillowcase, but the bags will end up being just a bit smaller than mine. Or you can skip all of the cutting, if you prefer a bigger sack, and proceed onto the part with the freezer paper. Below is a photo with all of my cutting, sewing and hemming lines. The left side of the pillowcase is the open end where the pillow would be inserted.

Does this make sense? Because Emily didn’t get it at first, but that isn’t all that uncommon. *wink*

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 3

After my bags were ready, I tore off some freezer paper just a bit bigger than my prints. (I had two different simple prints which I made in Photoshop, but anyone could easily whip up the same thing in a Word document. I used the font Boogaloo, found {here} and my own bat design, which you can download {here}.) Each print was taped to the waxy side of the freezer paper (facing up) and then I traced the letters and image on the matte side with a pencil.

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 4

Once everything was traced, I used a craft knife to cut it all out.

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 5

Next, I centered and ironed the freezer paper, waxy side down, onto the bag. You can see here that the middles of the R’s, O and A were also cut out and ironed on to complete the letters.

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 6

Then, using a small cup, I mixed black acrylic paint and fabric medium in a 1:1 ratio and applied it on top of the freezer paper stencil using a spouncer.

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 7

After waiting eons for everything to dry, I peeled the freezer paper off of the pillowcase bags to reveal my finished stencils. This is where you hear the angels singing. Ahhhhhhhh.

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 8

Then, all that was left was to add a couple of ribbon shoulder straps to each bag. I attempted to use the sewing machine to attach them, but after a few hiccups with that whole process (my sewing machine hates me,) I opted to hand sew the rest of them on. Pain. In. The. Butt. However, totally doable for those of you without sewing machines.

Pillowcase Halloween Bags 9

Besides a few little leaks on the letter “K” of the word Trick, I think that they turned out pretty great. They are super sturdy and can easily hold 5 lbs. of Jolly Ranchers, so I think they will be good to go when my kids drag them around the neighborhood in a few weeks.

Painting Upholstery

Have you ever found a project and thought to yourself “I can do that?” And then you tried it out and it was a complete failure? No? Me neither.

Just kidding. The great thing is when you do a project and it turns out pretty awesome, even though somewhere along the way you may have wanted to set it on fire. What’s that you say? You haven’t wanted to do that either? Well, then you are lucky. Anyway, this is a story about awesome things that almost got set on fire. Enter the painted barcalounger…

Painting Upholstery 1

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Isn’t she purdy?

I actually started out with two of these puppies. You may remember this photo from awhile back. (Don’t bother looking for the post. It disappeared into oblivion when we lost all of our blog posts {mentioned here}. That is a lesson on backing things up!)

2 Green Chairs

We scored both of the chairs on Craigslist for FREE. Yes, you read that right. And they were is great condition. No funky smell. No nasty stains. Only a small amount of dust and hair clung on for its life as I vacuumed them off.

A while ago, while perusing {Pinterest}, I found a photo of a beautiful upholstered wing-back chair {by Kristy Swain of Hyphen Interiors} that had been painted with latex and acrylic paints, of all things, and immediately knew I wanted to work that kind of magic on my own set of twins. Plus it is a much more inexpensive option than reupholstering.

I decided to see if anyone else had painted their upholstery and there were a ton of tutorials out there, so I figured that this was totally a project I could pull off. I gathered my supplies.

These included:

– One quart of Glidden Satin Latex Paint in Granite Gray
{Ceramcoat Textile Medium}

Painting Upholstery 2

Also:

– a spray bottle filled with water
– a disposable cup to mix the paint in
– a paint brush
– white semi-gloss paint for the legs (already owned)

These supplies were based mostly on Kristy’s process, minus the acrylic paint, after I read about several successes using only latex.

Then it was time to get to work. I started by removing the head and arm rest covers (do those things have a real name?) and pulled the seat cushion off as well so that I could paint it independently. Next, I mixed my paint with the textile medium and some water in a 1:1:1 ratio. With the spray bottle, I spritzed the water onto the fabric of the back rest and used my paint brush to spread the mixture onto the fabric. You can see below that the first coat looks like it is going on decently, considering I was painting a light color onto a darker fabric.

Painting Upholstery 3

I spritzed and painted until the entire chair was covered, making sure to get in all of the nooks and crannies with my brush. Then it was time for a break so that everything could dry and I could make lunch.

One salad and five gluten free pretzels later, I headed back to check on the drying process and that’s when I started to freak out. It looked like there was the slightest bit of dust on the chair, but not any sort of noticeable difference in color. I didn’t even take a photo because there was nothing to photograph. The chair literally looked the same, like the right side of the photo above.

I mixed up some more paint, medium, and water, this time changing things up a bit and using a 1:1:1/2 ratio and hoping that this would allow for a bit more coverage. Spritz and paint and wait. Again, when I came back, it only looked as if someone had sprinkled a light dusting of baby powder on top of the chair. Grrrrrr. It was time for someone to light the fire, because this chair was going to burn. I could only imagine how many more coats I was going to have to do to make any sort of impact.  10? 20? 100? So I waited. And waited. A couple a of days actually.

I knew I couldn’t give up on this chair, so after some whining to my husband and sister, I again mixed up my paint, medium and water, but opted not to use the spray bottle with water. That, my friends, was the secret to my success, because the next coat was definitely showing some decent coverage. Just a little green showing through.

Painting Upholstery 4

One more coat after that and I was done. Finally, my green chair was gray. I slapped some white paint on the legs and once that was dry…

Painting Upholstery 6

I used a hair dryer to heat set the medium, which seemed to make the finish a little more pliable.

Painting Upholstery 5

This chair is so lucky that I had a little perseverance and with a little more, it’s twin sister will get the same treatment so that we will have two GRAY barcaloungers.

Painting Upholstery 1
We love the way this chair turned out, regardless of the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. Parent approved and kid tested.  Hmmm… I wonder how spill resistant it is???

Painting Upholstery 7

Things to note:

1. I would describe the texture of the chair as being similar to waterproofed outdoor fabric. It is a bit plastic-y, but still squishy and very comfortable to sit in.

2. My theory is that the final texture of the chair has a lot to do with the beginning texture. My fabric was fairly stiff and rough to start out with, so a more plush fabric may produce a softer finish. No guarantees on this though.

3. I used four 8 oz. bottles of fabric medium and one quart of latex paint, which equaled four grueling  coats of paint. This amount would have been less had I done fewer coats with my newly figured out mixture. (1:1:1/2 ratio of paint, medium, and water with no spray water bottle added.)

4. Use a coupon. I could have spent around $12 less if I would have utilized coupons from my local craft store. Doh! You can even load a lot of them onto your phone with the right apps!

5. The kind of chair I chose to use may not have been the best candidate for this project. Barcaloungers move and lounge (duh!) and have foot rests, so a stationary chair may be a better choice because it will have less surface area to cover. This will definitely be something I take into consideration in my future upholstery painting projects.

Moral of the story:  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  We would love for you to share your upholstery painting stories with us if you end up trying this out!

Tips for Mixing Your Own Paint Color

Mix Paint 1

 

We have so many buckets of paint just sitting in our basement waiting to be chosen for the perfect project.  Most of our home is painted  in some form of gray. Although we do have other colors, I think we have about 50 shades of gray in our basement and I am not talking about the book.  The paint I used for our {Half Bathroom Remodel}, I mixed myself. Here are a few Tips for Mixing Your Own Paint Color.

1. Be Prepared
I always lay a drop cloth or newspaper down before I start, to keep my floors paint free.

Keep these items handy:

Leftover paint- of course

Paper towels- for cleaning drips and spills.

Stir Sticks- use a larger stick if you are mixing in 5 gallon bucket

Pen and Index Card- for record keeping.

Paint Brush- to test the color on your wall or project.

Old Measuring Cup- (optional)

2. Stir, Stir, Stir
Before combining colors, thoroughly mix your leftover paints. Some of our paint we have had around for a while and it has separated. I like to get all the pigments fused back together before using.

3. Some Paint Is Unusable
Freezing through several winters can be hard on your leftover paint. After stiring, if it doesn’t seem to mix up well, do not use. If there are any funky smells upon opening your can of paint or you notice mold or mildew  do not use. If your paint was made before 1978 it may contain lead and any paint made before 1991, may contain mercury and you will want to avoid using any these for obvious reasons. Do not use.

4. Mix Same Type of Paint Together
We all know, oil and water do not mix, so don’t try to mix them. Combine only your oil based paint with oil based, and water based paints with water based. If you accidentally mix the two together, you will end up with a clumpy substance that resembles cottage cheese. Do not use.

It also works best if you do not try to associate interior with exterior paint. Do not use.

Mix Paint 3

5. Blending Different Sheens
Just remember, the more high gloss paint in your concoction the glossier your finish will be and the more flat paint you add, the less glossy it will be. If your heart is set on a certain finish, then fuse only that sheen together.

6. Mixing The Right Amount
Keep in mind the amount of paint you will need for your project. Mix your paint in an empty 5 gallon bucket, for a large room or combine your paint in an old paint can or even a paint tray for smaller projects.

8. Keep Records
Weather I am trying to duplicate the color or achieve the same sheen, I keep a record of how much paint I am adding of each color. I also love going back and seeing what went into each “homemade” color. This step is completely optional but I always find it very helpful.

Mix Paint 6

9. Elementary Art

Remember when you were in school and learned how to mix colors according to the color wheel? Now is a great time to utilize that knowledge. ie: red and blue mixed together is purple.

*Making a color darker is much easier than lighting it.

10. Storing Unused Paint

Between coats, you can cover your brush and tray with plastic wrap, and store in fridge, so it doesn’t dry out. Once you have finished painting, store any extra paint for touch ups, in an old paint can or a plastic container with an airtight lid.

11. Have Fun!

It’s not brain surgery people, you’re just mixing paint. So it’s okay to have a little fun. This is something you can’t really screw up. Or can you? I personally like to name my final color. Meridith Grey, (Grey’s Anatomy anyone?) is the name of a color I mixed and used for my kitchen cabinets.  My loving sister named the paint applied to my bathroom walls, Blayne (Blue, Gray, Green.)

When I feel like changing things up, I mix my nail polish colors together using a lot of these same tips, to create a new one.  Not all of these tips will be needed for nail polish and you will be working on a much small scale. I mix my colors together on a smaller plastic plate and rinse the nail paint brush when I am finished.

Mix Paint 5

So, just sit back, relax, and mix away.

 

Packing a Carry On

I just came home from visiting one of my best friends in Atlanta and I wanted to share what I packed in my carry on tote for my flight. Who doesn’t like to see the inside of someone else’s bag?

Packing A Carry On 1

I’m a planner, so it seems like every time I’m getting ready to do something, I’m writing lists and going over my options. Having all of the items I might need at arm’s reach is really reassuring when I’m cruising at 35,000 feet off of the ground. (My flight was a short, domestic one, so packing needs for other types of flights may vary.)


The Tote

Packing A Carry On 2

1. I don’t have any fancy pants kind of bag that I use. I believe that I bought this big ol’ purse at Target a few years ago and it has been used for a little bit of everything. Diaper bag. Beach bag. Laundry bag. Just kidding on that last one, but you get the point. Find something that is reasonably sized and has pockets and multiple compartments inside to store all of your loot.


Essentials

Packing A Carry On 3

2. Wallet & ID – This is a given, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it. My wallet holds all of my important items, like my license, credit cards, extra cash and change. Don’t forget your passport if you are traveling internationally.

3. Keys – Wouldn’t want to be locked out of the car or house when coming home from a trip!

4. Hand Sanitizer – I’m not the world’s biggest germaphobe, but I do know that airplanes and sickness can go hand in hand. A little cleanliness never hurts. (This was originally packed with the rest of my liquids in another carry on bag with my clothes, toiletries, etc.)


Comfort

Packing A Carry On 4

5. Scarf – An extra layer that can be used as a makeshift blanket or pillow in a pinch.

6. Sunglasses – I rarely go anywhere without them. They are perfect for those times when your seat mate thinks that having the window shade open during the middle of the brightest afternoon ever is a great way to get a tan. Also, they can double as an eye mask of sorts when you want to take a snooze.

7. Wipes – Perfect for cleaning off tray tables, mopping up spills and freshening up.

8. Wisps (Toothbrush and Paste in one) – Quickly gets rid of “sweater mouth” caused by the re-circulated plane air.

9. Lip Balm – Again, to help combat the dry air on the plane.

10. Extra Hair Ties – Can you ever really have too many?

11. Pain Medication – Just in case of a headache.


Nourishment

Packing A Carry On 6

12. Water Bottle – To fill up after I go through security and keep me hydrated during the flight.

13. Clementines – Sweet snack. (For domestic flights only.)

14. Gum – Helps with all of that ear popping.

15. Almonds in Snack Bag – Washable and reusable dry snack storage. Tutorial coming soon!


Entertainment

Packing A Carry On 6

16. Magazine – I love to read something light during takeoff and landing when I can’t use electronics.

17. Notebook & Pencil/Pen – Great for doodling or making more lists. I prefer the latter of the two.

18. Ear buds – Used with my iPhone.

19. iPhone and Charger – Music, movies, games, the Internet and my boarding pass all on one tiny, little device.

So, that’s what is in my tote. Is there anything extra that you would have included? Excluded? Let us know in the comments below!