Monthly Archive: June 2012

A little country road trip & my newest furniture find

This past weekend I drove out to my Mom’s house for a visit. She lives out in the country, about an hour away from the city I live in. I mainly went to her house to finish up the makeover on her buffet turned TV cabinet. Once I got there, we ended up needing to make a run to the nearest town to pick up some clear coat because I totally forgot to bring mine when I left my house. Doh! I just had to have some though because I needed to add a few more coats of topcoat to her cabinet that day.

While we were out and about we thought it might be fun to go on a little road trip to some of the local towns in my Mom’s area.  First we headed over to Willingdon, Alberta to check out their town garage sale. It is a tiny little town with a population of only about 250 people. The goods they were selling at their garage sales were also slim pickins. Too bad!  I did manage though to find a vintage sewing cabinet for next to nothing. I will be sharing its before photo further down in my post.



Willingdon, Alberta


We also came across this little antique store in Willingdon. In addition to the goods being sold in the garage sale out front, the place was packed from floor to ceiling with every vintage/antique collectible imaginable. I was excited to go inside just in case they were some amazing treasures to be found. Unfortunately,  I was a little disappointed to see that everything was way overpriced, so I left empty handed.


Andrew, Alberta


Next we headed over to Andrew, Alberta (about 30 minutes away from Willingdon). During the drive from town to town, all that can be seen are farmer’s fields for miles and miles. Every once and a while you will come across a large house or some farm buildings spotted here and there along the road. That’s about it!

To my surprise, we happened upon this gorgeous Ukrainian Orthodox church and I told my Mom that I just had to stop and take some photos. Isn’t the roof-line on this building amazing?



Andrew, Alberta


Here is a photo of the back side of the church. Still stunning!



Andrew, Alberta


I also thought it was a little funny that almost every small town in Alberta has its own town mascot/monument. Andrew, Alberta is famous for having the world’s largest Mallard Duck monument.



Mundare, Alberta


Mundare, Alberta (about 30 minutes away from Andrew) is famous for the world’s largest sausage monument. Yes, my Mom and I made sure to pick-up some Stawnichy’s sausage while we were there to take back home. Yum!



Vegreville, Alberta



Lastly, the final town that we ventured out to was Vegreville, Alberta. As you can see it is famous for its gigantic Easter egg.


Does these photos remind you of some of the small towns in your area? Don’t you agree that is fun sometimes to head out to the country once and while to get away from all of the hustle and bustle of the big city?

So when was the last time you went on a little road trip in your province or state? I think another road trip may be in order this summer so I can check out some of the other small towns in Alberta.  I found this trip interesting to say the least.

Anyway, if you have some time on your hands and you are interested in viewing some more photos of the country-side in Alberta, Canada, this site has some beautiful photos.  




Here is the before photo of the little 1950′s sewing cabinet I ended up finding at one of the garage sales in Willingdon for only $1.00. Although I think it is very outdated and a little bit on the ugly side, I am convinced that it has some great potential.

My plan is to give this cabinet a full makeover. So it will be getting a paint-job and I plan to immediately remove the really ugly handle on the front and possibly the outdated feet at the bottom. I would also like to create some custom storage for the inside of the cabinet. This cabinet doesn’t have a sewing machine inside anymore but it still has some of the workings that will need to be eventually removed.

I most likely will be selling this cabinet when I am finished because I don’t have any room for it in my house. I need your opinion on something. What else can you see this cabinet being used for besides a sewing cabinet? I would be love to hear all of your great ideas.




As you see, I just couldn’t pass it up for that price!


This little sewing cabinet is next on my list of makeovers, right after my drum table gets finished. Make sure you stop back to see what this cabinet looks like after I have had my way with it. I figure that it can’t get any worse than it is. It can only get better from here!


Until next time,







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A buffet turned TV cabinet – the reveal

Hello friends! How was your weekend? Mine was really relaxing for a change. On Saturday I went out of town to visit my Mom and this time I was on a mission to finally finish the TV cabinet that I had partially completed for her weeks ago. You can read about its first makeover HERE.

In the morning, we decided to take a little road trip to some of the small towns close to my Mom’s house. Stay tuned for a few photos from our adventure later today along with a before photo of a vintage sewing cabinet that I found pretty much for free. In its current state this cabinet is a little u-g-l-y and it is definitely in need of some TLC. Just you wait until I get my hands on it though!


Anyway, here is the before photo of the vintage buffet that I found for my Mom on Kijiji a while back. It was tired looking and had seen better days. I knew though that it would be the perfect size to hold her flat screen TV. All it needed was some paint and some new hardware and it would end up looking fabulous!




Fast forward to this next photo (below) which was taken after I had painted my Mom’s cabinet in her favorite turquoise paint (Behr Gem Turquoise 500-B4 mixed at 50% strength). She and I agreed on one thing; it looked so much better with its new makeover but we both thought that something was still missing. In her words, “it needs a little oomph!”


Buffet to TV Cabinet - Almost There


This time around I hoped that the Moroccan stencil I had planned to add to the drawer and door fronts would be the perfect finishing touch and give it the “wow factor” that my Mom was looking for. Scroll down a little further to see what her TV cabinet looks like now.

What do you think? Do you like it?

The burning question is…what does my Mom think of her cabinet now? She loves it!  She hasn’t been able to stop talking about it for the past two days she is so happy! My job here has been done. Haha!




You may be wondering if I have changed the color of the final cabinet because it looks a lot lighter than in the ”almost there” photo above. Actually, no I didn’t. The body cabinet color has stayed the same. Only the fronts of the cabinet have been re-painted.

It was so dark in my Mom’s house by the time that we finished up the stenciling so in the photos the cabinet color looks like it is a light turquoise when in fact it is really a vibrant turquoise color. Isn’t it amazing how lighting can change a color? Please humor me and just pretend that you are actually seeing a vibrant turquoise cabinet here ok? Thanks! Haha!

Honestly, I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t take some bright and clear photos to share with you because the photos I took aren’t really doing this cabinet any justice. It looks so much better in real life!

As I said, my Mom’s house is just so dark even with all of the curtains open and lamps added to provide extra lighting. I just had to seize the moment and take the photos otherwise it would have been at least another month before I could get over to my Mom’s house again to take more photos. Maybe one day I will be able to share some better photos of this cabinet with you but for now these will have to do!




Now for the finishing details. Since I had already top-coated the drawer and door fronts with my favorite clear coat I had to sand off the top layer so that my new paint finish would stick properly. First I taped off only the area that I wanted to paint with Frog tape and then I sanded it down with 220 grit sandpaper to give the wood a little “tooth”. I then removed all of the sanding dust with my tack cloth and I was ready to stencil.

For the stenciling, I used the same stencil that I had used for my Mom’s step stool makeover HERE (Martha Stewart’s Arabesque Stencil Set). The aged stencil pattern was achieved with many layers of light turquoise paint mixed with white gesso, then an overcoat of burnt umber glaze, another coat of a darker turquoise glaze and then finally a light turquoise/gesso paint coat mixture again.

Isn’t this a great idea for those of you not wanting to re-do your entire piece of furniture? You can just repaint/stencil only one part of it to give it an update without to having to go through the intensive process of priming and painting everything.




Moving right along. Once I had the look that I was going for and everything was completely dry, I gave the final stenciling a sanding with 400 grit sandpaper to prepare it for topcoating. I then coated it with a few coats of clear coat for protection. I made sure to sand with 400 grit sandpaper between coats and remove the dust with my tack cloth before adding another coat.

I was then ready to attach the hardware on the drawers and doors and move the cabinet into place.




Here you can see a close-up of the aged stenciling that I did. Again had the lighting been better you would have been able to see this in more detail. The shading adds a lot more dimension than just a plain stenciling would have.




Oh ya! If you could please divert your eyes away from my Mom’s pink carpet I would appreciate it because there is some major clashing going on here. It is so 70′s! This carpet looks so bright in these photos but actually it is not that bad in person.

Since my Mom will be moving soon and changing out the carpet is not her in budget, the furniture she has will just have to work with the carpet for the time being. So pink carpet it is!




The original hardware on this cabinet was changed-out with the handles from her old TV cabinet. I think they work perfectly with her cabinet’s new look and the finish matches exactly with the existing door hinges. It really was meant to be!




I am really loving the crystal knobs from Anthropologie that my Mom picked out for this cabinet. They are simple yet they add just the perfect touch of “glitz and glamour”. What do you think?




I think they really “pop” against the stenciled background on the drawers now.


My Mom even had a piece of glass cut to protect the top of her cabinet. It looks amazing!

So if you are currently on the lookout for a vintage buffet to use as a TV cabinet you may want to keep and eye out for these maple buffet cabinets at your local auction houses, on Craigslist/Kijiji or at garage sales. They are the perfect size for a smaller living room and they provide loads of storage space for a DVD player, DVD’s, board games, Xbox consoles and games, magazines, you name it! Another bonus is that these cabinets are made of solid wood (no MDF or particle board here!).


The cost breakdown for this makeover is as follows:

Vintage buffet: $50.00

Knobs from Anthropologie: $6.00

Door handles: $0.00 (taken from another cabinet)

Paint and supplies: $20.00 (I already had many of the supplies on hand)

5 mm protective glass (optional): $30.00

TOTAL COST: $106.00

Where can you find a solid wood, handpainted TV cabinet with a glass top in a store for that price?

In other news…

I am still plugging away on the painting of my drum table. Since I had pretty busy weekend this past weekend it is taking a little longer that I had originally planned to finish it. I promise I will be sharing its makeover with you soon. Stay tuned!


Happy Monday!





 Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ Home Stories A to Z – Tips and Tutorials Link Party ~ A Stroll Thru Life – 122 Table Top Tuesday ~ Not Just a House Wife – Show Me What Ya Got ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday ~ Vintage Wanna Bee – Talent Tuesday ~ Organize and Decorate Everything – Home Decor and Organizing Link Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Adventures of a DIY Mom – Terrific Tuesdays ~ Uncommon – Uncommonly Your Linky Party ~ The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Delightful Order – Delightfully Inspiring Thursday ~ Doodles and Stitches Fabulous Friday Linky Party ~ Decorating Insanity – Furniture Friday ~ Finding Fabulous – Frugalicious Friday ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Five Days Five Ways – Feature Friday Free For All ~ It’s a Hodgepodge Life – It’s a Hodgepodge Friday ~ Miss Mustard Seed – Furniture Feature Friday ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge – Feature Yourself Friday ~ What – Show It Off Friday ~ Liz Marie Blog – Link Up With Me Liz Marie ~

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DIY decorative books with raised stencils & image transfers

Hello friends! I have been promising for a while now that I would share my raised stenciling technique with you after receiving a few e-mails from my readers asking me about the raised stencils on my vintage sewing storage boxWell…I am excited to share my latest DIY project with you this evening. This project combines the use of raised stencils, image transfers, aging techniques and vintage books all into one!

I found the vintage books below at my local thrift store for 10 cents each. Yes, you read right; they were only 10 cents each! For that price I couldn’t pass them up.

What also caught my eye, besides their amazing price, was the ribbed indentations that were on the spines of the books. To me they looked similar to old antique books that you might find in a library in England somewhere.

As much as I loved the shape of these books, there was no way that their original burgundy color was going to fit in with my decor. They just had to have a makeover!




Here they are all prettied up! What a great improvement, don’t you think?

I really love how they turned out!



If you would like to make over a set of your own books to put on display in your home, I have included the full tutorial below.

Why not make over a set for display on your mantel, your bookcase, or your coffee table? You could also use this tutorial to transform a hardcover journal that’s a little on the boring side or to make over a wedding registry book to give as a gift for a bride-to-be.


Here’s how I did it:


Supplies You’ll Need:

  • three new or vintage hardcover books
  • two printable images found here and here
  • damask stencil or a stencil of your choosing
  • Golden Soft Gel Medium (I used semi-gloss)
  • Golden Light Molding Paste
  • Mod Podge (I used matte finish)
  • acrylic gesso
  • Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray latex paint ( a taupey-gray color) or color of your choice
  • acrylic paints in burnt umber, medium grey and light ivory (I used Folk Art Burnt Umber, DecorArt Storm Cloud Grey and Delta Ceramcoat Light Ivory)
  • fine grit sandpaper (I used 400 grit)
  • small paint brushes, 4″foam roller and a spray bottle
  • ruler, pencil, tin foil and scissors
  • painter’s tape (optional)
  • plastic plate/tray for paint
  • rubber brayer or flat spreader
  • plastic trowel/spatula or old credit/debit card
  • paper towels
  • dish scrubber
  • plastic drop cloth to protect your workspace






Start by wiping your books down with a barely damp cloth to remove any dust or grime. Then give them a light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper and wipe away any sanding dust.




Coat the outside of the book covers with two coats of white acrylic gesso using either a foam brush or a 4″ foam paint roller. Once dry, sand lightly to remove any rough spots.




In your plastic paint tray, place a medium-sized amount of Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray paint on one side and the same amount of white gesso on the other side. Scrunch up a paper towel and dip it into the Sharkey Gray paint. Dab off the excess onto another paper towel. Pounce your paper towel randomly onto your book covers leaving some of the white gesso showing through as in the photo above.

NOTE: If you don’t have Sharkey Gray paint, don’t worry! Just use what you already have on hand. Sharkey Gray is a great neutral taupey-gray color so if you don’t have a paint color at home that would work you could easily mix up some acrylic craft paint to create a similar color instead.

Next with a clean piece of scrunched-up paper towel, pick up a small amount of gesso from your tray, dab off the excess and then lightly pounce over top of your book cover leaving small amounts of Sharkey Gray showing here and there. This technique will give your book cover a great aged marble look.




Mix up equal amounts of Storm Cloud Grey (medium grey) craft paint and gel stain medium. Paint a light coat on your cover working in one section at a time. Before your gel stain has a chance to dry, wipe off the excess with a damp cloth. Gel stain medium gives your paint color more transparency and more working time, much like a glazing liquid would.

Again, if you don’t have the specific paint color I have mentioned above, any medium grey paint will suffice. As well, if you don’t have gel stain medium you could instead use a glazing medium or just dilute your paint with water.




In this photo you can see how the paint stays in the crevices when the gel stain/paint mixture is wiped away.




What’s next? Photo transfers.

I recently found Graphic #1 (below) on The Graphics Fairy’s blog HERE. I knew that I wanted to use some vintage handwriting for this project and The Graphics Fairy’s site is the first place that I go when looking for images to use for my projects. Did you know that all of her images are free? I know, awesome!

I downloaded her poem graphic and then prepared it for transferring by removing the aged background, flipping the image to “mirror image mode” and reducing it to fit on to the front of my book.

To save and print this image for your own project, click on the image below and right click to save it to your computer. This image has been sized to fit the front of my books. Please re-size it to fit your specific project.

Graphic #1


This next image I found online a couple of months ago but for some reason I misplaced the source for this graphic. I searched all over Google for the source but didn’t have any luck finding it. If you happen to know where this graphic came from, I would be grateful if you could please let me know so I can properly credit the site where it came from.

To save and print this image for your own project, click on the image below and right click to save it to your computer. This image has been sized to fit the spine of my books. Please re-size it to fit your specific project.

Graphic #2


To start, measure the spine of your books to make sure that Graphic #2 will fit the entire length of the spine once printed. Print out the graphic onto regular plain copy paper using either a laser printer or have it photocopied at your local photocopy center. Be sure to print off at least 4-5 copies of each image so you have extras. Also, if this is your first time transferring images, you may want to test your technique on a piece of cardboard at least once before working on your actual book covers. “Practice makes perfect!”




Using a ruler and pencil, measure and draw out the size of the Graphic #2 image needed for the spine of your book with enough to wrap around the sides as shown below. One print-out should be large enough for two book spines side-by-side. Be sure to erase any pencil marks left on your image after cutting it out or the marks will show up on your final transfer.

Place your image face up on a piece of tinfoil and coat it with a even layer of soft gel medium. Quickly and carefully lift up your image from the tinfoil handling by the edges only and place it face down on the spine of your book. Try to line it up as best a possible before you place it down because once your transfer is stuck down it cannot be moved without messing it up.




Use your fingers to push out the air bubbles and then use your brayer with a little bit of pressure to roll over your image in all directions. This will help to make sure your image is firmly stuck down. Wipe away any excess gel medium with a damp cloth.

Leave your transfer to dry for at least two hours, preferably overnight. The longer you leave your transfer to dry the better your image will come out. You can use a hair dryer to manually dry your image if you are short on time.




When your image is fully dry, use a spray bottle or a damp paper towel to wet part of your image with water. Wait 1-2 minutes and then use the pad of your pointer finger to rub away the paper layer of your image. Work in small sections and keep your image moist.

Try to get as much of the paper residue off of your image as you can but don’t rub too hard with your finger or you may rub away part of your image!




Once you have removed as much paper as you can with your fingers, dampen a kitchen scrubber (type shown above) and rub lightly over your image in a circular motion. Be sure to scrub gently especially around the edges of your image or it may start to rub away. Use your hand or a dry paper towel to wipe away any leftover bits of paper.




You will be using Graphic #1 as a transfer for the front of your book right above/below your raised stencil.

Print out the graphic provided and cut it out with scissors in a slightly larger size than the space you are wanting to fill. Tear away some of the edges of the paper to age the image further.

Transfer your image to the front of your book using the techniques described for Graphic #2.




Next is the raised stencils. My most favorite product to use when creating raised stencils is Golden’s Light Molding Paste. When you first open the jar of molding paste you will be surprised about how thin and fluffy it is.

I love this product because it is so easy to work with, it can be tinted to whatever color you want and it dries to a nice hard finish that can be sanded and painted. I find that it looks a lot like plaster when its dry but it has much more durability.




First decide where you are going to place your stencil on your book cover.

Sorry, I don’t actually remember where I found this damask stencil as I have had it in my stash for a while now. Michaels or any other craft supply store should have a similar stencil if you are wanting to use something close to this one.




When you are ready to mix up the molding paste for your stencil you will want to have everything set-up and ready to go as molding paste dries very quickly.

IMPORTANT: You will want to wash your tools and stencil immediately after using molding paste, especially in between stencil impressions as it will leave a residue and harden on your tools if you don’t. I wash everything up with water and a little bit of hand soap as I go which works really well.

For the mixture above, mix equal parts of burnt umber craft paint and medium gray craft in your plastic paint tray. Then add in an equal part of molding paste and mix thoroughly with your spatula.




Hold your stencil firmly with one hand and use your other hand to trowel on some of the molding paste mixture on to your stencil. I found that the easiest way to do this is to put on dollop of molding paste on the corner of your stencil and use the flat part of your spatula to spread the paste around lightly covering the entire stencil in an even layer. If you keep your spatula flat you will avoid digging into the stencil and possibly getting some paste underneath where you don’t want it. (see photo above). It is almost like icing a cake!

To remove the excess paste, turn your spatula on its side and lightly scrape across the top of your stencil putting the excess back into your paint tray. If you are using an old credit card as a scrapper, you can just drag it across your stencil lightly. You want a raised stencil that is at least 2-3 millimeters thick.

When you have your paste spread out in an even layer and you are happy with how it looks, carefully lift your stencil straight up. You should be left with a nice clear and clean impression.



The photo above shows what the raised stencil looks like when it is still wet. Don’t worry if there are some ridges and/or bumps on your stencil. Once dry, these ridges can easily be sanded away or left alone for more texture.  FYI, you will see below that I sanded the ridges off my raised stencil once it was dry.




Next, coat your stencil with some medium gray craft paint mixed 50/50 with gel stain. Leave some of the original brown color showing through near the edges of the stencil. Once that is dry, mix up some light cream craft paint also 50/50 with gel stain and add highlights to your design as show above.




As a final step you can age your books even further by glazing over them with a mixture of medium gray craft paint, with a touch more burnt umber craft paint and some gel stain to make a glaze that will settle into the cracks and crevices on your books.

Just brush it on…




…and use a damp cloth to wipe it off. Continue this treatment over the entire book leaving extra glaze around the spine of the book and over the areas you want to look more aged.

Finally coat your book with at least two coats of Mod Podge for protection. Leave your books to dry for 1-2 days before displaying them side by side so they don’t stick together. Please don’t ask me how I know this! Haha!







I decided to change the placement of the raised stencil and transfers on the three books so each of them were different.




To display my books all together, I tied them into a bundle with a pretty piece of cream ribbed ribbon from the Dollar Store.




In case you didn’t know, these Readers Digest books are either burgundy or gold colored at the top of the books so I decided to paint out the book pages so that they would blend in better with the rest of the book.

If you have the same kind of books you can paint the tops of the pages by dry-brushing some white gesso on top of them. Then you can then age them further by lightly dabbing on some Sharkey Gray paint or some of your medium grey craft paint randomly.

To keep the paint from seeping down into your book pages, use one hand to firmly hold the pages together while painting with the other hand. Also, use a fairly dry foam brush or roller to paint with. If you do this you should have very little seepage onto your book pages. After you have applied your paint and the top of your book is slightly dry, fan the pages a few times to make sure the pages are not stuck together.




So instead of sending your old books off to the recycling facility or giving them to Goodwill because their covers are ugly and you plan to never ever read them again, you now have a tutorial to help you to turn them into a set of decorative books that you would be proud to display in your home.

You know what else you can do with these books to make them even more functional? You could cut one big rectangle out of the middle of each of your books to use as a “safe” for your keepsakes, jewelry and money. Place a small cardboard box that has been measured to fit inside and no one would be any the wiser as to what your books contain!

These decorative books only cost me $1.00 to make! That’s it! It was 0.40 cents for the books with tax, 0.60 cents for the amount of ribbon I used and the rest of the supplies didn’t end up costing me anything as I already had them on hand. Woohoo! I love projects that cost almost nothing to make, don’t you?


In other news…

I have a buffet cabinet that I am working on right now that is taking a little longer than I had hoped. Hopefully it will be done soon so I can share it with you. Also, later this week I am off to my Mom’s to finally finish off her buffet turned TV cabinet that I had shared HERE. Stay tuned for the final transformation coming soon!

Well it is way past my bedtime so I am going to call it a night. Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and for leaving me comments. I really appreciate it!


Until next time…






 Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesdays Treasures ~ Home Stories A to Z – Tips and Tutorials Linky Party ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday ~ Not Just a Housewife – Show Me What Ya Got ~ A Stroll Thru Life – 121st Table Top Tuesday ~ Vintage Wanna Be – Talent Tuesday ~ New Nostalgia – Anti-procrastination Tuesday ~ Creating A House of Grace – Twice Owned Tuesday ~ Today’s Creative Blog – Get Your Craft On ~ Domestically Speaking – Countdown to Summer Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Organize Your Stuff Now – Home Decorating and Organizing Link Party ~ Uncommon Designs Online – Uncommonly Yours Link Party ~ Free Pretty Things For You – Whatever You Want Wednesday ~ The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party ~ The Sasse Life – Crafty Sasse Wednesday ~ The Well Crafted Home – Well Crafted Wednesdays ~ Restored Interiors – Restored It Wednesday ~ House of Hepworths – Hooking Up With House of Hepworths ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ Somewhat Simple – Blog Link Party ~ The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Adorned From Above – Blog Hop ~ Liz Marie Blog – Link Up With Me Liz Marie ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ The Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ Five Days Five Ways – Friday Free For All ~ Redoux Interiors – Link Party #61 ~ I Should be Mopping the Floors – Mop It Up Mondays ~ Keeping It Simple – Motivate Me Monday ~ Brassy Apple – Make It Monday ~ Funky Junk Interiors – SNS Link Party ~ Homemaker on a Dime – Creative Blogger’s PartyCraft-o-Maniac – Craft-o-Maniac Monday Link Party ~ DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Mondays ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~ Family Home and Life – Wow Us Wednesday ~ What – Show It Off Friday ~ Tatertors and Jello – Weekend Wrap Up Party ~ Fox Hollow Cottage – Power of Pinterest Party ~

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DIY sewing storage container

Hi there! How are you this afternoon? I have another DIY project to share with you today that is very inexpensive and easy to do.

Do you have any tin storage containers at your house that are not being used right now? Maybe you had received one of these containers as a gift once upon a time. I know, it probably came to you with cookies or popcorn inside and you immediately ate its yummy contents and then you were left with a container that you had no idea what to do with. Sound familiar?

Maybe the one you have is kinda ugly because it is covered with some cookie or liquor brand advertising all over it. It’s not like you would ever put it out where someone could see it. Right?

OK, perhaps you don’t even own one of these containers, but if you frequent thrift stores like I do, you might have previously walked right past them without giving them a second thought.

Actually, these containers provide some great storage for all of those smaller items that don’t have a home around your house. Why not give them a little makeover and then you will have something that is not only useful, but good-looking at the same time?




I found the container above at Dollarama (one of our local dollar stores) for only $1.00 a couple of months back. I know, it’s a bad example of an ugly container! This one is printed with the works of the Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha.

I decided to give it a makeover because I thought its pattern was a little too busy for display on top of my antique sewing cabinet, but I liked it because it was the perfect size for the space. It would also provide some great storage!



Here’s what my container looked like after its makeover. I really love how it turned out!



Since I am about to share my tutorial with you, what if you want to make over something else that you already own instead of using a tin container like I did? It is no problem! You can use this tutorial to get this same look on any number of things such as a wooden storage box, a clay pot, a side table etc. Here’s your chance to be creative!


 Supplies You’ll Need:

              • a tin container or object of your choice to make over
              • Mod Podge (I used the matte finish)
              • sewing patterns
              • images from The Graphics Fairy (Sewing Machine image found HERE) & (Anchor Frame image found HERE)
              • acrylic gesso
              • turquoise acrylic paint or another color of your choice
              • Golden Soft Gel Medium or other gel medium
              • fine grit sandpaper (I used 400 grit)
              • paint brush, spray bottle, tin foil and scissors
              • painter’s tape
              • rubber brayer or flat spreader
              • Exacto-knife and Sharpie Pen
              • knob for the top of your canister (optional)
              • drill and drill bit (if adding a knob)
              • plastic dropcloth to protect your workspace




I recently found all of these vintage sewing patterns at Salvation Army for $1.98. It is difficult to see here but there are 10 separate patterns stapled together within these packages. I now have enough sewing pattern tissue for oodles of projects.

Ohhhhh… and don’t you just love the styles these ladies were sporting way back when? Woohoo!




Here’s a little information about the turquoise paint that I used on my container. I picked up this artist’s acrylic paint at my local art supply store for $7.99. This isn’t like the regular acrylic paint that you would find in the paint aisle at Michael’s craft store. It is so much better! You only need the tiniest little amount (about the size of half a pea) to do a color wash over your entire container, with some to spare. It is that concentrated! The color is so vibrant too! One container of this paint will last you almost forever.


Now on to the tutorial…


Preparing your container for paint

  1. Wipe down your container with water and a small amount of dish soap. You’ll want to remove any greasy spots or the paint may not stick. Leave it to dry for a few minutes.
  2. Next, put your lid back on your container and take a Sharpie pen or a pencil and draw a line underneath exactly where the lid closes to (you can barely see my black Sharpie line in the photo below). The reason you want to do this is so your canister will close properly when you are all done. You don’t want to get paint stuck under the lid because it will frustrate you every time you open and close your container!
  3. Using painter’s tape, tape off underneath where your lid would be following the line you have drawn.
  4. Finally, give your container a light sanding all over with fine grit sandpaper. Wipe away all of the sanding dust before moving on.




Painting your container

  1. Use your foam brush to coat your container with two coats of acrylic gesso, letting it dry between coats.
  2. After your canister has dried, you can age it with a very diluted mixture of your turquoise paint and water. You basically only want to have thin blue water when you are done mixing it.
  3. Put some paint on your brush and dab it on a paper towel. Then brush lightly and randomly all over your container in one direction (see below).




Now you are ready to transfer your graphics onto your container. If you are not interested in having graphics on your container (don’t be nervous, it is really easy!), you can move on over to the next step.

I found these amazing images that I used on The Graphics Fairy’s blog. If you would like to use the same images as I did, the antique sewing machine graphic and the anchor frame graphic can be found HERE and HERE). If you don’t want to have a sewing-themed container, you could put any other image of your choosing on your container. Use whatever you like!


For detailed instructions on how to transfer images, you can read my tutorial How-to-Guide: Transfer Photos to Canvas HERE. For those of you short on time, I have written up abbreviated instructions for you below.


Transferring the images to your container: Abbreviated version

Helpful tips to know before starting:

  • The sewing machine image needs to be printed in “mirror image” mode so the text comes out correctly when transferring.
  • You will need to adjust the size of your graphics before printing to fit your particular container that you are transferring to.


  1. Prepare to transfer the frame graphic first. It will be easier to place your sewing machine graphic on your canister if you do it this way.
  2. Carefully trim around the frame leaving about 1/4″ of white space around the outer edge (see above photo).
  3. Place the frame graphic on a piece of tinfoil face up and coat the printed side with an even coat of Golden soft gel medium.
  4. Working quickly, place your image face down centered on your canister. NOTE: Once your image is put down it cannot be moved, so try to place it as close as possible to where you want it!
  5. Used a rubber brayer or spreader to smooth out any air bubbles. Make sure your image is stuck down well.
  6. Wipe away any excess gel medium and leave your image to dry for at least 2 hours (you can speed up drying with a hair dryer).
  7. Once the paper is good and dry, spray one area of your image with your spray bottle. You want it to be wet but not sopping wet.
  8. Use the pad of your finger to gently rub the back of the paper until you see the image come through.
  9. Rub away as much of the residual paper as you can, taking care not to rub off your image. Make sure the area you are working on stays wet.
  10. TIP: You can use a kitchen dish scrubber to lightly rub away the residual paper without the image coming off. Rub in a circular motion and be careful near the edges.
  11. Prepare your sewing machine graphic using the same method above. Try to center it inside your frame as best as you can. I just eye-balled mine.
  12. Once both of your images have been transferred, your are ready to decoupage.




If you haven’t ever used sewing pattern tissue paper before, it is a lot of fun to work with. I love using it because it molds perfectly to whatever you are sticking it to.  It is also transparent so it takes on the background of whatever you are attaching it to. See an example from my mixed media collage HERE.

Silly me! I forgot to take photos of the actual decoupaging part of this tutorial but I am sure the majority of you already know how to decoupage, so I will only be giving you the simplified description for this part!

Decoupaging your container & finishing touches

  1. Take a piece of sewing pattern tissue paper out of its package and find an area of the pattern that you really like the look of.
  2. Line it up on your container so you know where you are going to need to rip it.
  3. Tear your tissue as evenly as possible to fit one side of your canister. It’s ok if it is going to wrap around to the adjacent side.
  4. Coat the side you are working on with Mod Podge and apply your tissue peice to your container. Use the palm of your hand to smooth out the wrinkles. Try to keep the paper as smooth as possible but some wrinkles are inevitable and I think it just adds some character.
  5. Put a coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper you just attached.
  6. Continue to add paper all over your container, overlapping it in areas to give the container some depth.
  7. When you get to the edge of your container or lid, wrap the paper under the edges slightly and use a small amount of Mod Podge to stick them down firmly.
  8. Once everything is dry, tear off the excess paper or use your Exacto-knife to create a cleaner cut.
  9. Once your entire container is covered with paper, coat with two coats of Mod Podge watered down 50% with water.
  10. Once that is dry, lightly sand your entire container to remove any lumps and bumps.
  11. Use some of your diluted turquoise paint to age your container. Paint it on randomly, wiping it off as you go and leaving some areas darker than others.
  12. Coat everything with at least two more coats of Mod Podge for protection and to unify everything together. Remove the painter’s tape and clean up the top edge with an Exacto-knife.
  13. OPTIONAL: Drill a hole in the center of your lid for your knob using your drill and drill bit. You can also use an awl if you are careful when poking a hole through the top. Attach your knob and you are done!



Here you can see the area at the top of the container that I purposely left unfinished. Since I will always keep my container closed, only I will know that it looks like this (of course now you will know too!)



If you haven’t already noticed, I made a mistake and put on some of the tissue paper on the upper left corner of the lid on backwards. Haha! I didn’t realize I had done that until I had already glued the paper down. Oh well, that’s just the way I roll sometimes.






The crystal looking knob that I used is actually a plastic knob I had found at Michael’s for $1.50 a while back. It is a pretty good “fake”, don’t you think?






Well there you have it! I know it seems like a lot of steps to this tutorial but there really are only 6.

A re-cap of the steps:

  1. Prep your canister for paint
  2. Paint it
  3. Transfer your images
  4. Decoupage it with sewing pattern tissue paper
  5. Aged it with paint and clear coat it
  6. Attach your knob


One of these days I am going to try to get over my shyness and make a video tutorial for those of you who are visual learners. Would you find a video tutorial helpful or would you rather just have a written tutorial? I am open to your suggestions!


I hope you love my storage container as much as I do. You will see below that this little DIY project cost me next to nothing to complete! My kind of project!




I hope that I have inspired you to make over some of those not so pretty storage containers that you have tucked away in your closets or elsewhere in your home. I know that they are so functional, but there’s no reason why they can’t look great too!

This is also a wonderful way to reuse materials that may otherwise have ended up in the trash!


Until next time,





  Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Domestically Speaking – 130th Power of the Paint Party ~ Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ 733 Blog – Sugar and Spice ~ Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ House of Hepworths – Hooking Up With House of Hepworths ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Fine Craft Guild – Time for a Party ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ Organize Your Stuff Now – Home Decorating and Organizing Link Party ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~

Tip Junkie handmade projects




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My first mixed media art collage & some weather woes

Hello there! How are you doing?

I am feeling much better after hurting my back lifting a piece of furniture last week. I am still not 100% but I have some of my energy back and it doesn’t hurt to move around anymore, which is awesome! I have already been to one session of acupuncture which helped quite a bit and I have been taking things easy (no more lifting furniture for a long time!).

Thank you to everyone who responded to my post here and for all of the e-mails I received with your suggestions and get well wishes! It means so much to me that you took the time to leave me a message. You guys are amazing!

Since I have been feeling better I have been in the mood to get some of my projects done outside; my garden seriously needs weeding and I have some furniture pieces in the garage that really need to get finished. Mother Nature though has another plan in mind as it has been raining here almost non-stop for the past few days and there is no end in sight!




Here is the view from my family room window yesterday looking into my backyard towards my garden shed. Everything is all green and the plants are starting to finally fill in. With all of this rain though my garden will be overgrown in no time!




And here is the view outside of my window today..It looks the same doesn’t it? Mr. Sun, where have you gone?





I do love the rain because it makes my garden look all pretty. It is really starting to put me in a funk though, especially when I see this long-term forecast for our area. Yes, you are seeing right! It is supposed to rain almost every day until the end of the month. What gives? Really??? I am hoping that the Weatherman is wrong because his forecast is making me depressed!

You know what? I decided I am going to try to make the best of all of the this wet weather and get some things done inside the house instead . I have been busy working on some art and craft projects this weekend and yesterday I went to a full-day course on Mixed Media Collage which was a lot of fun. What is Mixed Media Collage, you ask?

Mixed Media Collage is the combination of text, found objects, scrapbooking supplies, art mediums, drawing and painting to create expressionist artwork on a canvas or a birch panel. Techniques used include raised stencils, digital grounds, drawing, gel transfers, crackling and sealing.


Below is the collage that I made in the class. I think it turned out pretty cute and better than I thought it was going to. When I first started on this piece I had no idea where I was going to go with it. Here I was staring at my blank canvas with all of these paints, scrapbooking supplies and patterned papers in front of me. What do I do with them? What if it turns out ugly? The instructor had also just told us that at the end of the class we have to share our collage with the 24 other people taking the class so we can be critiqued on our work. Um, what? Ya, pretty nerve wracking!

I did know one thing for sure. I knew that I wanted to incorporate some french text from The Graphics Fairy in my piece, so I decided to use this french graphic found here. The Graphics Fairy has so many wonderful images to choose from it is mind-boggling. There is never a shortage of inspiration for me when visiting her blog!



So what do think of my first collage? Do you like it? I wanted to make something that would go nicely with my turquoise sewing cabinet in my future sewing/craft room so I used a lot of turquoise in this piece.


If you are interested in making your own mixed media art similar to the one I have just made or maybe just want to learn something new, I have included some general instructions of the techniques and materials that I used in my collage below.




First, I started out by painting 2/3 of my 12″X16″ canvas with a very watered down turquoise acrylic paint. Before it had a chance to dry, I used a kitchen sponge to tamp up and down which created the light blue area in the middle of the canvas. It almost looks like clouds when you look closely at it.

Then for the aged brown area at the top, I used watered down brown acrylic paint and a sponge to age it. I painted the brown paint on the canvas and then used a sponge stamping it up and down to give the canvas an aged look. I then dripped some water over top of the entire area and dabbed that off with my sponge. This made the brown look like it was aged with an acid treatment.

To create the dotted brown area underneath the text, I used a piece of burlap like a stamp with a little bit of brown paint added to it. I just dabbed it here and there along the edge of the brown area.

If you didn’t already know this, burlap is not just great for making things for your home, it is also wonderful for adding texture to your arts and crafts. Who knew?




For this area (top left), I used some Japanese mesh wrapping paper like a stencil along with some dark gray-black acrylic paint. You can see the paper in my previous post here. After stenciling the paint on, I decoupaged a corner of a sewing pattern piece (see below for more details) on top. The lines of the pattern almost look like they were drawn on with a Sharpie pen but it is the sewing pattern that has created this design.




On the far left I decoupaged a paper doily on the canvas for some added texture. I used gel medium underneath the doily and then I added more to the top to seal it. I then painted it with watered down turquoise paint and once it was dry I added some crackle medium on the top. You can sort of see the subtle crackling that took place with the addition of the crackle medium. I finished the doily off by antiquing it with some burnt umber gel paint to bring out the crackled design.




Now for the french text. I added the photocopied image to the canvas using Golden Gel Medium and it was left to dry for two hours (see my How to Transfer Photos to Canvas Tutorial HERE for specific instructions ). Since I was in this class I didn’t have time to leave the transfer to dry overnight, so when I removed the paper backing some of the text came off in spots. Usually, I leave my gel transfers to dry overnight but I think it all worked out well this time as it gives this piece more of an aged look. I also love how these transfers show up transparent and allow the background to show through.




Moving right along…this circular shape was made using Martha Stewart’s Arabesque stencil which I shared in my previous post here. I used a special paste mixed with a small amount of turquoise acrylic paint to make a raised stencil. Once my stenciled area was dry, I again stenciled the same design over top but I moved it over to the right slightly and this time I used a dark gray-black paint to give the design a bit of shadowed look.

Don’t worry, I am not trying to hold out on you! I will be sharing with you my raised stencil technique later this week including what product I use to stencil with.




Here I used the same raised stencil technique except I didn’t add a second set of stenciling over top. I then decoupaged a sheet from a sewing pattern on top. I tore the edges to give the tissue paper more interest and made sure to wrap the paper around the edge of the canvas.

Did you know that you can use sewing patterns for your artwork and craft projects? They are so much fun to use and so inexpensive! Because sewing patterns are made of tissue paper, they go on transparent when decoupaging and they will take on whatever background is already on there. So neat!




Here you can more clearly see the raised stencil.




These two photos show how I have continued whatever technique I used on the front of the canvas over on to the sides.




When I felt like my collage was all finished, I coated it with two coats of gel medium in a matte finish. This helps to protect your collage so all of your hard work won’t be ruined by little fingers, spills, dust, etc. and so everything will be stuck down nice and firm and be unified together!




If you haven’t had a chance to create a mixed media collage before it can seem like it would be a lot of work and it also might make you feel a little intimidated. I know for me it did. I am so happy that I decided to give it a try anyway because I learned some new techniques and I now feel confident enough to create some more collages in the near future.

You don’t need to be an artist to do this! All you need is a little bit of creativity, some patience and some courage to try something new. What’s the worse thing that can happen? If you collage ends up not turning out the way you wanted it to you can always cover it up with more paint, stencils and/or images whenever inspiration strikes again.

Making your own art is very inexpensive too. The canvas I bought only cost me $7.00 and the other supplies I brought with me to the class or they were provided to me as part of the course fee.

If you would like to see some examples of mixed media collage Pinterest is also a great source for inspiration.


In other blog news…

Stay tuned for some more projects that I will be sharing this week. I have been a busy girl…

Also, if you haven’t had a chance to enter my giveaway from Molly Maid just click on the “ENTER HERE” below. There are 5 ways that you can enter to win. One easy way to enter is to submit your favorite cleaning tip. Easy peasy!


Molly Maid has generously offered one of my readers the chance to win a “Take Care of You” gift pack (a $50 value)! It includes a nail file, foot pumice scrub, microfiber cleaner, and more!




Until next time,





Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ Homemaker on a Dime – Creative Bloggers Party ~ Under the Table and Dreaming – Sunday Showcase Party ~ Be Different Act Normal – Show and Tell Saturday ~ Tatertots and Jello – Weekend Wrapup Party ~ Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight ~ Funky Junk Interiors – SNS Link Party ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Mondays ~ DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Craft-o-Maniac – Monday Link Party ~ I should be Mopping the Floor – Mop It Up Mondays ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesdays Treasures ~ Today’s Creative Blog – Get Your Craft On ~ Between Naps on the Porch – 177th Metamorphosis Monday ~ A Stroll Thru Life – 120th Table Top Tuesday ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday ~ Home Stories A to Z – Tutorials and Tips Party ~ Sew Can Do – Craftastic Link Party ~ Mad In Crafts – Mad Skills Party ~ House of Grace – Twice Owned Tuesday ~ ~ Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Domestically Speaking – 130th Power of the Paint Party ~ Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ 733 Blog – Sugar and Spice ~ Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ House of Hepworths – Hooking Up With House of Hepworths ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Fine Craft Guild – Time for a Party ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~

Tip Junkie handmade projects



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