Monday, February 27, 2017

Paint A Vintage Suitcase!

Several years ago, I bought some old vintage suitcases for..... get this.... twenty five cents EACH!!!
I've used them for craft show displays, end tables, stacked in the fireplace while waiting for our gas long installation, photo ops, chicken transportation, etc.  Not really on the chickens.  Gotta see if you're reading. ;)

I'm going to dig in the archives and find some of examples:

My stacked suitcase "end table":

Look how cute....  back when she was more cute than sass....

Six years ago when I had the time of my life creating headbands and hats for little sweeties and trying to sell them:

So back to the project at hand!  It really was the fastest and easiest paint job!  I love mixing my own paint colors, and I had this super dark turquoise - which was way to dark for the pop of color I wanted - and I had a sea foam-y green.  Who needs a container to mix paint in?  I just dumped a puddle of each color right on the suitcase and stirred it up with a popsicle stick.  People really do make things more complicated than they need to sometimes.  I used a small craft paint brush so I could easily go around all the leather and metal pieces.  If I wasn't going to take the time to dirty an extra container, I'm sure as the sunset not going to take time to tape off stuff!

 There was no prep work or primer because the surface of this suitcase was very porous and dry.  It soaked the paint in like I soak in water after a triathlon.  Well, if I were ever to do a triathlon... I imagine that that's how it'd be!

And voila! 

 (I'll never forget when I spelled it "Wa La" and a sweet reader corrected me!  I learned the "sound-it-out-method", okay?  Haha.)

So here my newly painted vintage suitcase in it's new home, perched up on the blanket cabinet, giving my brand new hallway makeover a lovely "pop of color" - my favorite aqua blue! :) (See the hallway before and afters HERE.)

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Friday, February 24, 2017

A Hallway Makeover Full Of Function and Style!

So. Many. People. Ask me if our house is done yet.  Well, "pretty much" I was always say... except that rotten hallway with one little light that I just don't feel like painting and finishing...  Well after getting wallpaper off, carpet, thrown out, and refinishing the hardwood floors two years ago, I didn't feel like doing any more.  I got burned out.  So a few weeks ago, I finally just DID IT.  If you've been procrastinating a project, just roll up your sleeves and DO IT.  Cuz unless you're Cinderella and you have a magic fairy, that's the only way it's going to get done.  No abbra caddabra.  Just a little time and determination and probably some chocolate.

I feel the need to warn you before you continue!
There is NO natural light in this hallway and only ONE sconce light on the wall (one of the few original's that wasn't stolen while it sat empty in it's state of foreclosure).  Do you know what that means?  REALLY DIFFICULT for an ammature photographer like me to get a decent photo!!!

Let's see what this hallway looked like when we bought this big old house on an online auction:

It has two mirrored walls, and for at least the first year, I totally creeped myself out every time I walked down that hallway at night.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  If you think I can look scary in the daylight, you should see me at night!

So those tan walls?  That's not tan paint.  It's wallpaper!

Surprise!  Under the tan wallpaper was... more wallpaper!  Just like everywhere else in this house that had wallpapered walls.  More layers....  The thing was, I actually kind of loved the old olive green damask wallpaper that was hiding underneath!  But it was torn bad or missing in a few places, so it all came off.  I still kind of regret not salvaged it on at least one part of the hallway...

The kids were a great help when the going was easy.  Then when we had to rent a steamer...  suddenly they all had to go to the bathroom.  Outside of course, because there was no running water for the first three months of ownership.  By the time we had water, I had to convince my daughter that using the indoor toilet really was the better option. True story.

How about a closer-up of this green carpet?  Hey, it was pretty once upon a time!  Just like the green toilet and green tub in Tobin's bathroom. Gag.

The hardwood floors under the carpet made me jump up and down for joy!
Until it came time to sand.... and $200 worth of sandpaper later...  I got to stain... and poly.... but oh how it was worth it!!!!!!! :)

Then we moved in, and I plopped furniture in the hallway because I didn't know where else to put it and it was great storage since there were no hall closets and then it just sat.  And We stubbed our toes on dresser corners in the dark, and piled up laundry, and it became a crowded catch all with ugly walls and dingy unpainted baseboards.....

Then a few weeks ago I said ENOUGH.  And grabbed the paint and a roller and went to town.
The walls went light gray, and all the dingy cream trim got a a new bright white.

While the paint was out, I painted the black cabinet white and did a "faux tin" look on the doors that you can see HERE.

And I moved the dresser that was holding all my sheets downstairs and turned that into craft storage and see those bags hanging from that awesome chippy board on the left?  Yeah, that's where all the extra bed sheets are now.  In a few pics you'll see that a little more close up....

The trunk holds Tori's toys, the white cabinet has extra blankets and pillows, and the bags hold extra sheets.

A sign I painted on a wood shingle seemed to be the perfect little mushy gushy message for the hallway that leads to the kid's bedrooms. :)

Here's standing at the back of the hallway looking out to the landing:

And here's where all the extra bed sheets now are!  So much more space in the hallway!
I'll do a full post on this thrifty solution in the future - stay tuned!

My collection of old grain sacks are folded up and sitting in my old wire basket.

There is one final area, the back hallway aka "Access Road" that still has old wallpaper and still needs paint!  But I'm just happy to get the main part done for now.  I used every ounce of paint (I mix my own from mistints) and didn't have any left over to do the back.  Maybe that will be a project for this spring... or maybe next winter - who knows!

The old "ACCESS RD" green metal street sign was a given to me by my friend Maran.  It is SO PERFECT over that doorway because it is the "access" to two more bedrooms.  And I love the pop of color it gives an otherwise very neutral area (along with the aqua blue suitcase!).

So although hallways aren't super thrilling, I am pretty thrilled to have it in it's present state.
Hope you enjoyed!!

Fresh and more toe-friendly. :)

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Removing Old Decoupage (Thrift Signs Before/After)

Did someone say 75% off of blue tags at Saint Vincent De Paul?!!!!!
I'm all over that!

Fifty Cents each for these plaques.  The metal screw-in rings on the top are almost worth that!
I scarfed these bad boys up.  Now to get that ancient old decoupage off....

I read you needed to spray them with wallpaper remover.  I knew I had some of that.  Somewhere.  Nope.  Must have been something I hung on to for fourteen years and finally threw out the week before because I was never going to use it.  That one time I shushed my inner-hoarding voice...

So I got a rag, and soaked it in ultra hot water and laid it over the pretty print that was so thickly decoupaged onto the wood.  It took at least twenty minutes to loosen up. I used a metal scraper, but only about twenty five percent of it scraped off, and then I had to repeat the process.  I found it best to just put the hot, wet rag over the picture and let it sit - the longer the better.  I kept it on the drying rack in the sink so I could periodically run hot water over it.  It really wasn't difficult, just not something that I could do quickly since it needed to sit and soak. 

Then I painted two of them black, and two of them white, and got busy with my stencils making signs (plus one odd ball - a jewelry holder with antique door locks!). :)

I can't even remember which doors these old locks came off, but I'm so glad I kept them (would you expect any different? I'm not exactly known for throwing stuff out).

After scrubbing them and getting the loose rust off with a wire brush, I painted them with oil based gold paint.  Then I secured them on with screws.  The black and white chevron pattern made it pretty easy to evenly place them.  I love whenever I don't have to measure!

This is always a popular quote: "What I love most about  my home is who I share it with".  
I hope that's true for you!  
Sadly, I'm all too aware of homes where this is not the case.  

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Monday, February 13, 2017

A Wood Kitchen Chair Is A Blank Canvas!

I'm constantly picking up little wooden chairs.
To me, they're like a blank canvas.
You can take them any direction!
Crazy-funky, plain jane, a place to finally try out that new anchor stencil you got from Mom for Christmas.... :)

If I told you my secret place for getting two dollar chairs, I might have to kill you.
But I have a source.  And only those closest to me know it.
Here's what this one looked like "before.".
Paint splattered and brown - ugh - but sturdy!

I painted it with a home made chalk paint in gray.
(1 Tbls. Plaster of Paris dissolved in 2 Tbls hot water, mixed with a cup of paint)
I used plain ole' white for the anchor on the seat, and tied a blue striped burlap bow on the rungs on the back with some twine.
After distressing the edges with sandpaper, I sealed the whole thing with polycrylic.
Polycrylic, because it doesn't yellow like polyurethane.

Speaking of poly.  I have an amazing thing to share with you!  Did you know if you put your foam brush, full of wet poly in a plastic baggy and STICK IT IN THE REFRIGERATOR it will last a long time????  I would rather scratch my cornea than try to clean polycrylic/polyurethane and I always wrap them tightly in plastic just in case I'll use it again soon.... but whenever "soon" comes, it's always hard as a rock.  BUT THE FRIDGE!  I used it three weeks ago, put it in the fridge and then pulled it out for this chair and it was still fine!!!  I put it back in the fridge.  We'll see how long this can last! :) 

Like this?  Pin it!  I made an image just for YOU! :)

Guess what?  You can buy this chair to own and love for your very own at the

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