DIY Backdrop

It’s been a while since I’ve popped in here!    I just had to share this fun little project I’ve been working on (and am still working on).  I’m always trying to find nice backgrounds to take my photos.  A few month ago I found some white faux brick wall paper at Home Sense and taped it up in my garage, it’s perfect for getting a nice clean shot that doesn’t distract from the piece I’m photographing. 

 
Often in my photos you’ll see that I use this old fence panel that was taken down when we had our garage built.  I painted and distressed it and it’s an awesome fun pop of color when I need it in a picture! 

   

When I need a change of scenery I’ll use my old painted shutter doors or even certain walls in our house. The one below I used my silhouette cameo to create these gold polka dots that frame my work station above my desk and below it’s shelf 🙂

  
  

All of these things are wonderful, but I had a stroke of genius last week when we were going through stuff in our basement and lined up against a wall (for the past 3.5 years) sat multiple pieces of this huge puppet theatre.  It used to belong to our church but when they changed their kids church format they needed to get rid of it, and at the time we thought we’d take it off their hands – we thought the kids would love it!  Uhhhh… this thing is massive – way too big to set up in our basement and crazy complicated to piece together!  So it just sat there, for years and years.  Until last week our neighbors let us know they rented one of those huge garbage bins and if we had junk to get rid of we could haul it over and dump it!  And as soon as my hubby had the idea to throw this huge thing away, boom it hit me!  I could use this as a backdrop…. a portable one!  It could come with me to markets and stage my areas, it could create little walls for my space!!   Woo hoo!

Here’s one set of the panels 

  
I’m only going to repurpose/upcycle two of these to box in my market space for now.  

So I went to Lowes and found some adhesive vinyl flooring and got to work! This pack was about $35 and I used just over a half of the package. 

  
It really wasn’t a lot of work.  Just pealing and sticking. A little bit of cutting and measuring – but mostly easy peasy! 

  
Here’s one side of it finished – I’m planning on painting the other white panel with chalkboard paint and then doing another set of two the same way.  I even was considering white washing the vinyl and distressing it, but I’ll have to test that out first.   The back of this is coloured so I plan on covering it with some cute wrapping paper for my upcoming holiday market.  

I’m so happy with how it turned out!  Who doesn’t like quick DIYs that turn out even  better than you imagined!?  I can even use this laying down for flat lays.  I might create a separate smaller one with a panel specifically for that – maybe I’ll do the white washing on that one 🙂

  
What do you like to use as a backdrop!?  There are endless things to choose from – you just have to get creative!

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Gold Dipped Drop Leaf Table Makeover

Over a year ago I bought this little number off of Kijiji. When I received it, the top had more damage to the veneer than I anticipated, and I knew it was going to take a big effort to update, so it sat… For over a year, until the right person just happened to notice it in this photo I posted on my Instagram.


You can hardly see it and it’s details on the left hand side of this photo but my customer had an eye for pretty things!

Here it is before I got to work, it really became a catch all in my garage… so neglected 😦


 I have never stripped veneer off of furniture before, but I knew it could be a challenge.  So I got out some high grit stand paper and a flat knife and began peeling.  I peeled with the knife what I could and oh how satisfying it was to peel off a big chunk of veneer, but there were moments where I fully had to sand down the veneer – two and a half later I had finished just the middle section! 😳
I missed taking pictures of this process, as I was fully focused on the grunt work.  But once I had it smooth and sanded, i moved onto sanding those legs.

I needed a break from the top, so after sanding down and prepping the legs I used my favourite gold spray paint and lightly added layers of gold, letting fully dry before each coat.  Once the spray paint had fully dried, i measured and taped off where I wanted the legs to be dipped to and began painting the rest of the base.  I primed each step with Zinssers stain blocker.  When you’re tackling really old furniture it’s almost a guarentee that it will bleed, especially if veneer is involved and your bright white colour (or whatever colour you’re using) will dry to have a gross yellow look to it – and no matter how many coats of paint, it wont go away.  So you’ll save paint, time and your sanity if you just use a primer/stain blocker from the get go!   The veneer was in really good condition on the actual drop leafs and since I was painting the whole thing I ended up leaving that veneer and just sanded it down.  Although I was using chalk paint, sometimes it’s still necessary to sand furniture.  I much prefer to sand down old surfaces to get the years of grease, and grime off rather than scrubbing it down!  During this process there were a couple edges that I had to fill with wood filler and smooth out, but that’s a much easier process than stripping the veneer!

Here’s a quick shot of the table flipped and the coats of the stain blocker and fat paint.  Being a drop leaf, I had to make sure the underneath looked just as pretty as the top!  I did end up lightly painting the hinges too, but just lightly so that they wouldn’t lock up.

Once I flipped her back over, i finished the table tops using a couple coats of stain blocker and a couple coats of Warm White Fat Paint.  I do use a synthetic bristle brush when using chalk paint – as a roller soaks up and wastes so much.  So I do end up with some brush strokes.  My secret to smoothing down brush strokes is using a slightly damp sanding sponge between coats.  Make sure your paint is fully dry before doing so, and lightly sand over your surface wiping as you go.  It creates such a nice buttery finish.  I used multiple coats of General Finishes Flat Top Coat on the entire piece.  It goes on so nicely and provides such a great top coat.  It’s my favourite!
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I had the table finished for a couple days and it was just hanging out in my garage before i could deliver it and I thought it needed a special touch.  So I used my Silhouette Cameo to add a special little pop inside the drawer.

Please ignore my terrible garage shoes – i’ve stolen them from my hubby – and they’re awesome and terrible lol.
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Now this wonderful piece is in it’s new home over at Greater Goods and it’s so perfect in this space.  It was such a pleasure to make something for them to display so many local pretties on!  This labor of love was 100% worth the work!!

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The Push

Inspired Findings

This past weekend I was a part of my second market and it was so much fun… and by so much fun i mean so terrifying, so exhausting, so awesome, so exhilarating, and so worth all the nervousness and hours upon hours of preparation.  I like to equate being a part of a market like pregnancy/childbirth.  Now stay with me.  When you first decide to be a part of a market isn’t it so exciting!?  You have all of these happy thoughts, “oh this is going to be so much fun!.”  you think about how pretty your booth will be, all the “oohs and aaahs’ as people dote over your precious pieces.

Then reality sets in, time to get to work, you’ll have a sore back – you’ll need help putting your socks on because you’re too sore to bend over.  There will be lots of sleepless nights as you…

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DIY Floral Monogram

It’s been quite the week.  Sick kids, appointments to the allergist, and respiratory specialist, a visit to the walk in clinic, passport office, medicine three times a day for one, puffers two times a day for the other, orders to finish and to be picked up, and then on top of it I hosted three small online garage sales!
It got to the point today, where I just wanted to start and finish something just because – just because I wanted to!  So I did, and believe you me, craft therapy is real!  The Lord just knew what I needed!  After dropping my biggest little at the bus, my littlest little fell asleep in the car, and transferred to his bed without a hitch!  I brewed myself some (more) coffee, turned on Netflix and got my craft on!  I’m so happy with how it turned out so I figured I’d share it all with you in what appears to be my quarterly blog!  I didn’t take a million tutorial pictures along the way, but I’ll share with you what I know!  First things first.  Michaels has a BOGO sale going on for all of their floral stems!  So I bought all of these – regular $49 for $25!

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Gotta love a sale like that.  And if there was no sale, there would’ve been no crafting for me today, and I wouldn’t have this post successful craft high that I’m on right now!

Next I took my wire cutters and snipped off all those pretty flowers and some of the leaves that I would use for filler – and then took a picture of it – cuz gosh these are some pretty fake flowers!
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As my hot glue gun warmed up, I found an old diaper box kicking around and just free hand drew a letter R (for our last name) and took an exacto knife and carefully cut it out.  I tried my best to make it proportionate and straight, but true story – i’m not a perfectionist, and i knew these flowers would hide any of my crazy cutting skills.  In case you’re wondering how my letter looked before I covered it with pretty flowers, well i forgot to take a picture.  But I did just snag a pic of the left over diaper box.   Not the worst R in the world hey?IMG_1076.jpg

Then I got hot glue gun happy!  First I grabbed some super glittery ribbon I had kicking around and wrapped a loop around the top of the R for hanging.  After that I didn’t really have a method to my madness, and no pictures to show what I did… I just filled and made it up as I went.  I did however, first place my larger peonies scattered evenly throughout the R, and then went to my medium flowers, and then filled in spaces with smaller flowers, baby breath and finished by gluing the leaves under flowers, I also glued little flowers over top of the leave so they were a little hidden… So i guess I did have a bit of method to my madness! 😛 IMG_9558

And well Voila!  I’m so happy with how it turned out.  It’s so springy and happy, and makes this chaotic week that we just went through not feel so bad!  I currently have it hanging outside on my front door, but I’m actually considering bringing it in and incorporating it into my gallery wall.  We’ll see.  I don’t trust Calgary weather to be very nice to it, and if it’s hanging inside I’ll get to stare at it all the time.  Ok, I convinced myself, it’s coming in!

Here are a few pics of the finished product!

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XOXO Meryl

Retro Grunge Hutch

I’ve been really slack on my blogging game lately.  I have so much to share with you all about makeovers and different projects and then another project comes up and blogging gets put on the back burner.  Well this morning I figured I’d share my hutchmost recent furniture transformation.

A customer dropped off a hutch that she was less than thrilled about, she said it was boxy, boring, meh and ugly but hoped that it could be revived with a facelift!  Here it was before, she was right, pretty boring and boxy, but look at that retro goodness!  It was full of potential!

IMG_7232First I removed all the doors and gave the whole piece a sand down.  You don’t have to sand down the raw wood, I’d still be there sanding if that was the case.  You want to get as much of that glossy finish off so that the paint has something to stick to!  Once you sanded it down give it a good wipe.  I used a paint & primer so after it was dust free I got right to work.  For big pieces like this with clean lines I like to use a roller (especially if I’m NOT using chalk paint – i find a brush is a better way to apply chalk paint.) you’ll get nice smooth application with no brush strokes.

So here’s the piece all nice and painted.  Looks  nice and clean and already was such a major transformation.  But my client wanted some more depth… grunge if you will!!!  I was more than excited to mIMG_7449ake that happen, and just knew it would give this piece that wow factor.  I used Ralph Lauren Faux Glaze mixed with about a teaspoon of black paint and began the glazing process.  Applying, then wiping off with a wet cloth.  At some points to get the level of glaze I wanted on the piece I would just dry brush the glaze on.  Here’s a picture of the difference!

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We loved the idea of adding some brightness to this dark piece, but it also needed to have some grunge to it!  (forgive the crooked picture!)
IMG_7457After everything was glazed and good, I added some General Finishes Flat Top Coat.  It’s my fave!  Here’s the finished project!!!

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Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some other projects I’ve been working on while prepping for a Christmas market!  Have an awesome Wednesday!
xo Meryl
Inspired Findings

DIY Wood Plank World Map

I’ve been meaning to blog this for pretty much a month now!  Sorry this is so late!  I’ve had a lot of questions about how I did this large world map.  It’s no secret that I use the Silhouette Cameo to cut stencils for projects like this, but the catch is, the Cameo only cuts 12″ wide.  So basically I had to design and cut this like a puzzle in many (i think 4 or 5) sections.

Before I geIMG_4052t into those details, I just wanted to share quick how I did these wood planks that were old fence boards once upon a time.  First after cutting the boards I drilled holes on each side.  Then i stained some of the boards with grey stain and some with antique walnut both by Minwax.  Once they were dry I used FAT’s dark wax over the boards and concentrated it in the drill holes to make it look like it wasn’t freshly drilled.  so Voila!  i was so happy with how these old fence boards turned out!

So back to where it all started.  First thing first.  I had my map shape on the Silhouette Studio and sized my board to be the size I wanted my sign to be.  I have a 12×24 cutting map so once I measure out the size of map that I wanted I began cutting the map into 12×24″ pieces using the knife tool.  Then I copy and pasted the rest of the map that didn’t fit on the 12×24 page to a new page and continued to do so until it was all ready to cut on about 4 or 5 separate pages!  I hope that makes sense!
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Once everything was cut on vinyl I pealed away the landmasses and used the outline as my stencils.  It was tricky measuring out and piecing the puzzle together evenly, but it just takes patience and attention to detail.  I had my computer with the full map open so I could keep referring back to it as I laid my pieces over the wood sign.   I trimmed down my stencils that were still attached to transfer paper and then taped the upper and lower pieces of each land mass together from underneath, mainly to keep the pieces together and be able to space everything out properly.

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Here’s how it looked once I had it all stuck to the boards!

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From there I made sure to seal the inside edges with mod podge that I thinned down with water a little bit.  Once that was dry I applied a couple layers of white paint, and when the paint was still a little bit wet I peeled the vinyl away!  Sometimes little bits of your paint might peel up with your vinyl or some of the paint might bleed (especially if your wood is bumpy or uneven) but thats an easy touch up with either a paint brush or a light sanding.  To finish the project i did do a light sand over the land masses to distress them a bit and then I applied a dark brown wax to make the land masses not so stark white, but more worn in with the boards.

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So there you go!!!  I hope that was clear!  I likely missed something and I hope it wasn’t too confusing!  Please ask questions if you have any and I’ll do my best to answer them!  A lot of times I just make things up as I go but I’m always willing to share my methods!!!
Thanks for reading!

Quick DIY – Trash to Treasure

I feel like I should get paid to thrift shop.  I’m pretty confident in my thrifting skills, but only when it comes to the perimeter of the store… the home decor, the furniture, the frames.  I love clothes shopping as much as the next girl, but when it comes to a thrift store I need to be in the right mind space to sort through ALL. THOSE. CLOTHES…. it’s usually not my thing.  But when it comes to the other stuff, I got that part down.  I have my “thrift circuits” on each end of the city that if I’m going to one, I might as well go to them all, they’re all close enough to each other that it’s worth it to power through them as fast as I can.  I usually can do four in a hour!  That’s including paying and driving to and from each.  Impressed?  I obviously think you should be!  ANYWAYS…IMG_0304. Last week my brother surprised me telling me that he was in the city and so I drove to the other end to see him, which just so happens to be near the north “circuit”… lucky me!  I hit up the four stores and found these gems!  IMG_0432

I’m sure I was getting some looks walking outta the thrift store with this glammed, leopard print, plastic clock.  I sure got some from my hubby when I brought it home.  But I saw it and I had a vision!  I had to have it! (you can’t really see it here, but that leopard print is bedazzled up, kachow!)

First thing first, I had some Krylon Ocean Breeze spray paint on hand – it’s just the prettiest of all the spray paint coloIMG_0435urs isn’t it?!  I didn’t even prime it first to be honest, spray paint is a pretty awesome thing, it sticks like crazy.  I figured since this was just a quick little project for my home, it wasn’t a big deal.  Once it was dry I took some black glaze that I had mixed up and covered the pretty blue then wiped it off lightly until i achieved the vintage, dirty and worn look.  For small glazing projects I’ll sometimes use baby wipes (cuz we always have them).  One will go a long way, as i rinse it out and reuse to wipe off the glaze.  This one I didn’t actually rinse as I wanted the glaze to spread over the surface to dirty it up.  I then did some light distressing on the edges.  Afterwards I sprayed on a clear coat to protect the finish.  Once that was dry I painted the plastic clock face with a couple coats of chalkboard paint and Voila!  Isn’t it fun!  I’m so happy with how it turned out.

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So my tip while you’re thrifting – don’t look at the piece at surface level.  Look at their shape, at what they are made of, their potential.  Don’t look at it for what it is, unless it’s already awesome… It’s kind of like choose your own adventure!  Anything is possible!

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Happy Wednesday, and Happy Thrifting!