Doesn’t every kitchen need more storage?  I have this alley way of a galley kitchen that is sorely lacking in the storage department.  So what to do?

I ‘inherited’ this extremely ugly but utilitarian storage cabinet.  Oh, no! There was no place in my renovation plans for something like this!  Here is a cabinet that is exactly the same as the one I had.  No, just no.

old-pantry

So, in shopping for a replacement, this was on  my pin board:

And this one:

No, can’t justify paying those prices for a pantry cupboard, not while we are still in renovation mode.  And we scrounged the thrift/antique places with no luck in finding a suitable replacement, at the right price, without having to do some work on it.  If I had to paint it, might as well paint the one I have.

So, after some chalk paint, some graphics magic from the Graphics Fairy, and some added molding,  voila!  Old store sign fancy pantry!

Old Store Sign Pantry

Old Store Sign Pantry

 

Before and After

Before and After

Still have to add some handles, but so happy with it!

#GraphicsFairy

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My daughter didn’t think I’d want it back.  In her defense, it was a mess. One of the drawer fronts was fallen off, the back was in pieces, it was dark, dirty and scratched up.

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It just had not fared well with a house of kids and cats.

So it took the four hour ride home with me and sat in the dining room for a couple of months before I got to it. And naturally, I didn’t take ‘before’ photos.  Just cuz.

But here are some in progress shots.  After I removed about a hundred nails. And filled in the scratches on the top with wood filler. And sanded the h+++ out of the whole thing.  And replaced two of the drawer bottoms.  And put the whole thing back together with new glue and nails.

IMG_2600We had a whole pile of old maps from National Geographic Magazines.  I glued (mixture of wood glue and water) some inside the drawers to add some character. I guess I have been in a traveling state of mind lately.

IMG_2601I also had removed the brass hardware off the drawers and gave them a cleaning.  I used an internet tip about using mayonnaise to clean the brass.  It sounds weird, but it really worked.  Put it on, let it set for a bit and scrub off.  I left a little of the patina on because I didn’t want it too brassy, shiny.

IMG_2602.JPGPainted the sides of the drawers to match the top using my home made chalk paint recipe with a sample jar of Behr color called Harbor, although I didn’t want a nautical look, I liked that the color matched the maps. (click the link to find my recipe on that post)

IMG_2605I used a compass image from the net and enlarged it using Block Posters, a free site that allows you to enlarge a photo. The image must be in a format that they accept.

I used carbon/transfer paper to trace the design onto the dresser top and then painted in the design.  After the paint was dry, I sanded it lightly to give it a faded look and then added stain because the paint was a little too bright for the look I was going for.  I just put a little stain on a paper towel, rubbed a little on and buffed it in until I got the effect I was looking for.

IMG_2606.JPGLeaving the wood natural, I added a couple of coats of Minwax Polycrylic to the whole thing, and a couple extra coats to the top.

So with the compass, I decided to use the popular saying from Lord of the Rings, but when I looked up the poem for the proper wording, I found the actual first line, and thought it appropriate for the piece. “All that is gold does not glitter.”  It seemed to fit.

IMG_2694I guess my advice is don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into something that looks like it might be worth the effort.

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(I do not have affiliates.  I provide links so you can see what products I used)

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

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I’ve been creating a lot of art projects, and not a lot of working on the house lately.  So if you are looking for French Farmhouse posts, I do apologize, and please bear with me.  My life is multi-faceted and my home is only one part of what I do.  I will do some posts that will appeal to the French Farmhouse lovers out there.  I promise!

This project was for a dear friend of mine who just reached the BIG 5-0.  She is also going through some really trying times right now and needing to be very brave for a loved one, so I wanted to create something special for her.

Hummingbird

I started with a 9 x 12 canvas and worked from there.  I created the hummingbird from Creative Paper Clay (found at most craft stores or on Amazon) over a foil and cardboard armature, and then attached it onto the canvas which I had added layers of papers and paint and using stencils to create the effects.  I also cut the canvas to create a space to attach the hand made paper roses made from card stock loosely using directions found on Live the Dream blog.  I don’t have a punch to create the petals, so I made my own template and cut them out by hand.  A little more time consuming, but until I find a punch like this one that I can use a 50% off coupon on, that’s the way I roll!

I hope this gives someone inspiration to play and create their own personalized gifts.  A little ingenuity can provide good results!

Have a great inspirational day everyone!

(P.S. I do not get compensated for any products I mention in this article.)

#CreativePaperclay

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My latest project was making a little mouse with ball joints (my first attempt) so that it is posable.  He is made from paper maché clay #CreativePaperclay on a wire armature. Although he is not perfect, I learned so much, and I think he is pretty cute!

He’s not quite French Country related, but I hope you don’t mind my little “Francois, the Little Time Keeper”

I still have work to do on his clock home which was found on the side of the road a few years ago, and is getting a makeover.

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We have shells. Lots of shells. I collect shells, Jeff collected shells on his world travels and we were given his aunt’s collection when she passed away.

I wanted to display some of the sea fans we had received.  I created some shadow boxes with scrap pieces and some weathered pieces of sand fence from Cape Cod.

With ephemera I’ve been collecting (yes, sadly, I have a lot of ‘stuff’ collected)  I created several shadow boxes to hang.  Items I used include Scrabble tiles, vintage stamps, shells and sea glass i collected, and various decorative papers, along with the sea fans.

sand-sea-salt

Jeff stitched them together in photoshop so they look like they are all one, but are actually three separate 6 x 12 inch pictures.

I love the way they turned out.

It doesn’t take a lot of fancy, expensive paints to make over an outdated chandelier.  Don’t let them fool you!  You can get great results from simple, cheaper options.

Chandy Finished makeoverSo, if you’ve been looking into doing this, you have probably found other blogs who have used various name brand chalk and metallic paints. Here are a couple I loved, Diane’s at In My Own Style, and Amy’s at Maison Decor, and a zinc look makeover from Leslie at Colorways, whose chandelier’s style is much like mine was.

Sometimes you have to leave your chandeliers attached to the ceiling while you paint, but we were moving our light (along with the dining table) across the room so it was coming down, making the make over so much easier.

I also love to take apart my electricals and play with them!  I get so excited to start my projects, I always forget the before pics, but you’ve seen enough of these outdated shiny brass chandeliers, haven’t you?

My chandelier being taken apart.

My chandelier being taken apart

But take pictures of any funky ways things are assembled, like the way this wire goes around this part, so you can reference them when you put it all back together.

Take pictures for reference to assist in assembly later

Take pictures for reference to assist in assembly later

 

I took the whole chandelier apart and taped up the sockets to keep the paint out.  Then, started it off with a shot of Rustoleum antique bronze spray paint…. not much of this shows at the end, but I like having that dark base.

Then, I started layering my home-made chalk paint.  Here is my recipe:

Chalk Paint

For the painting process, I have some pictures from a lamp I painted the same way.

Shiny brass lamp to make over

Shiny brass lamp ready for make over

The paint I used on this project was made with a sample of Behr Chenille Spread, which is an off-white.  I used a chip brush and instead of stroking it on, I stippled it, which is a fancy way of saying I dabbed it on.

Antique Bronze spray paint and coat of white chalk paint stippled on

Antique Bronze spray paint and coat of white chalk paint stippled on

Next came a bit of blue chalk paint, this is called Provence Blue.  I used this sparingly.  I wanted to simulate a patina on old metal.

If you do too much, don’t worry.  Just put more white on top.  I would also use a paper towel and dab off if I put too much on.  I liked how that gave it more texture.

The next layer is a bit of brown spray paint.  I kept the can about 18 inches away and let it sputter so it spattered on the pieces.

Brown spray paint spattered on the white and blue chalk paint

Brown spray paint spattered on the white and blue chalk paint

Again, with the white, and if I wasn’t quite happy with it, I just kept adding layers until I was.  There is no right or wrong with this, just do what makes you happy.♥

To add a little shine, the last layer was a Ceramcoat Gleam acrylic craft paint in silver that I had on hand.  I used a foam brush to put it on and then used the paper towel again to rub it in.

Even acrylics can be used to add layers

Even acrylics can be used to add layers

Silver acrylic paint rubbed on as final layer

Silver acrylic paint applied on as final layer

Now to assemble the chandelier parts back together.  I wasn’t entirely happy with the original composition of the pieces.  I played with how they went together.  The top pieces were put back the way they had been, except I turned them upside down.

On the bottom half, I wanted to eliminate the big round piece.  I just didn’t like it.  It is easy to change things up this way.  I had some threaded rods from other lighting projects, but you can buy some different length rods at the hardware store in the lighting parts department.  Lighting nipples

So I just played with the pieces and the rods until I got something I liked.

The chandelier is now going to be a plug in instead of hard wired. (The outlet was wired to a wall switch, so we can flip the switch to turn it on)  I added the chain and attached the new wire to the existing wiring in the chandelier. Wire and chain can be purchased by the foot at the hardware store.  Adding the new wire is pretty easy to do.  All the wires to the various arms of the chandelier all come together in the center.  They were held together with pigtails (those little plastic caps).  Unscrew the caps, remove the old wire that went up to the ceiling and attach the new wire, re-attach the caps.  Done!  Thread the wire through the chain.  There are plugs that you can add to the other end of the wire to plug into the wall.  Ask a person at the hardware store to help you find these.

I also added some bling with glass beads from Fire Mountain Gems.  I used a small drill bit and drilled holes in to candle holders so I could attach the bead drops I created.

Look at the bling!

Glass beads attached to the candle holders

Glass beads attached to the candle  holders

Completed chandelier makeover

Chandelier make over

 

 

 

Fireplace Collage

Our fireplace was pretty blah run of the mill.  I wanted to take our fireplace from, “Oh there’s a fireplace” to “Wow, look at that fireplace!”

We couldn’t really afford real stone, but that was my dream.  I have been on Pinterest pinning photos of country style big ol’ stone fireplaces, and boy, I loved that look, like this one:

Inspiration Fireplace

Inspiration Fireplace

(source unknown)

Or this one:

Another inspiration fireplace

Another inspiration fireplace

(source)

And this was the style I was striving for with the mantle we were going to use.  More on that later.

And this inspiration fireplace

And this inspiration fireplace

(source)

Well, in looking around Pinterest, I found a few people who used a product called Airstone that is sold through Lowes.  They don’t pay me a thing for telling you this, I just want to let you know what I used.

In particular, I used the suggestions and great how to from Diane at “In My Own Style” We used a chop saw with masonry blade (although we went through a couple of them since we did a lot of cutting).

So this is what it looked like before.  Of course, we had already started our ceiling project (which you can see here) so hubby is on the step ladder, and this is the only photo I have with the fireplace intact before I started ripping it apart.

Fireplace: Before

Fireplace: Before

It was an ok fireplace, very traditional, but not very exciting.

So I took it apart. The old mantle is on the left.

Fireplace in Transition

Fireplace in Transition

Then the fun began.  We removed the ceramic tile hearth in front of the fireplace and laid a slate tile purchased from Home Depot. Again, I don’t get paid for that, just providing the info for you.

Then, as mentioned, we used Airstone in the Spring Creek color.  I love all the variations of grey in the stone.  My only caution would be to order new boxes online.  We ended up with a box that we think had been returned to the store and the pieces were all the same color instead of the variations of colors.

 It was easy to use.   We used corner pieces on the edges, cutting them so they laid against the wall, giving a more three dimensional look on the outside edge.

Fireplace in Progress

Fireplace in Progress

Next came the mantle.  We found this driftwood plank on the beach a couple of years ago.

I knew when I saw it that it would be our new mantle.  It has so much character, and after aging a couple of years in the basement, and a couple coats of poly, it is perfect.  We built out a ‘shelf’ to help hold up the mantle and something to anchor it to.

Sorry, I don’t have much for photos on this process, but we built a box with 2×4’s and mounted it to the wall and then the mantle piece to the box to hold it up along with a couple of unfinished Stockport wood corbels.  I painted them with leftover paint from other projects which was flat black and a metallic bronze color, then a couple coats of poly.

Corbels and reclaimed wood mantle

Corbels and reclaimed wood mantle

Here’s another close up of that great reclaimed wood!

Reclaimed wood and shell

Reclaimed wood and shell

It has all the wood grain with crevices and holes–just so much character!  Don’t worry, I sanded it very well to avoid splinters!

So, here is the before

Fireplace: Before

Fireplace: Before

And here is the after

Fireplace Awesome!

Fireplace Awesome!

I’m still working on the vignettes and this is not the permanent artwork.  The artwork going up there was in storage and I’m still rounding up all the treasures I want to display on the mantle, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share our progress.

Fireplace Collage

Let me know what you think!