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DIY Paint Adventures

Giraffe - painted

I would never profess to be a painter, but I am not afraid to open a paint can and dab away at a boring room or an old piece of furniture. The lack of fear doesn’t necessarily make me do a good job, it just means that I am not afraid to try, and if I mess up, it is my own home, and I’ll try my best to fix it.

From small picture frames to bedrooms and countertops, I have learned that painting is an unpredictable process (and there is a lot of “p’s” in this sentence). Just when I think I have it all figured out, the color will not be as expected, a paint can will rust without warning, or I will accidentally spray sunshine yellow all over my new, black shoes.

Some things are best left to the professionals, but before you make the call there are a few DIY paint repairs and ideas that you really (really) can do yourself.

FRESHEN UP BIKES, LIGHT FIXTURES, PICTURE FRAMES, CANDLESTICKS, DECORATIVE DISHES, CHAIRS ETC

Spray paint is a great, fun fix for old and dated items. Just remember to practice a bit first; give it light, slow sweeping coats (too heavy and saturated will make it drip) and I find that it is best to always do it outside (the mist can reach much further than you can ever imagine) wear old clothes and shoes, and put up newspapers or tarpaulin to protect your deck, patio, fence etc. Personally, I do any spray paint projects on the grass, away from the house, then mow over it.

For old chairs, dressers and tables, you can either sand and saturate them with paint, use a very dry brush to give them a worn, antique look, or rub and dab on some diluted color with a damp cloth to see what happens. I wouldn’t do this on anything too precious, but painting a flea market find, or refreshing an outdated piece, is a good way to while away a few hours.

FIX CORNER NICKS

You know those little annoying corners that you and the children bang into, and because the room has been painted so many times it chips off sometimes? Just spot paint them. If you have extra house paint, use that to dab onto the corner nicks, but if not, try mixing some colors from your kids paint box, or go to the craft store and look for a paint color that matches. It doesn’t get much wear, so it doesn’t have to be the exact right type of paint. Layer it, let it dry for a few hours, then add another. Three or four times should be plenty. Use a cotton bud, eye shadow sponge, your finger, or a small art brush. It will wear off again over time, but it will be a good fix for a year or two, and saves repainting the entire room.

WATER DAMAGE STAINS

This is for old, you-are-sure-the-water-and-the-walls-and-ceiling-have-really-dried-out stains because if you paint while they are still damp, you will lock in the moisture and cause a heap of trouble. Use a stain blocker (in a similar or identical color to the ceiling or wall) and dab it onto the stain. I find that a damp cotton cloth is often easier than a brush, and several light layers are better than one, as you can feather it as you go, and it won’t be as new looking. If it is in a very obvious place, try diluting the paint with a little water (if it is water based) dabbing it on gently, then letting it dry. Leave it for a day, then see what you think. Even softening the look of the stain will make a world of difference.

DOOR KNOBS, LIGHT SWITCH COVER AND HARDWARE

I have painted all of my light switch covers, and most of my door knobs. The outside door knobs I painted with an antique copper finish, and the light switch covers I paint to match whichever room they are in. It is ridiculously easy, makes your home look a little more personal, and lasts until it wears off – which by my estimation is coming up on twenty five years.

A few DIY Paint Notes:

  • I find that the original spray paints are the best quality, and have more staying power than the new, more specialized finishes.
  • Sometimes, it is easier to spray a bit of paint onto a plastic plate, then paint from that with a small (disposable) brush. If you do this, be prepared, as it dries quickly and is quite sticky.
  • I have had no luck with the paint that is made exclusively for plastics – it chips off at the first sign of use.
  • Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint is always in my closet. I have used it to paint my chandelier (which is brass, and I didn’t even prime it first), the stand of my floor lamp, my walls (several upstairs and downstairs), labels on Mason Jars, my bathroom floor (with a polyurethane over it for durability) and my outside light fixtures and lamp post.
  • Acrylic paint will wash off your hands with soap and water (and dries within a few hours). Oil based and Spray Paint is a lot more difficult to get off your skin (wear gloves) and can take a few days to dry.
  • No matter what google says, sometimes paint is impossible to remove from your clothes, hair and shoes.
  • When painting anything near electricity, turn the power off, cover the outlet or socket with painters tape, and paint carefully with a brush rather than using a spray (which could easily get inside the wiring).
  • If you’re not confident in the beginning, just try a very small, easy fix; the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work, but the best is that it will.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Amazing giraffe art from: http://quotesgram.com/giraffe-amazing-quotes/

And for many people, that still means back to school time. So if you’re interested in going back to school to learn a new business, start a new career, or add a new service to your current business, we’ve got you covered! Check out the classes and workshops below for some great opportunities.
 
September also means our webinars are back! And we start out with a great one with Bryan Short of The Sewing Loft of Avon will share with us “Avoiding Pitfalls and Selling Custom Window Treatments”. 
And if you’re really ready to re-charge and re-focus, join us for our conference September 22nd – 23rd in Norwalk, CT! A great opportunity to learn, grow, connect, or reconnect with a fabulous group of designers and stagers!
Interested? Then read more . . .

Visits with a Chair

floral armchair 1
I never took it flowers, or dressed up in my fanciest of clothes, but every week I would go to the old antique shop, say hello to the lady behind the counter, and walk upstairs to visit the chair. She said I was allowed to sit on it for as long as I wanted, but I never stayed more than fifteen or twenty minutes.

It was called a chair and a half; crowded inbetween the plastic flowers and the used books, the chair was covered in a riot of faded flowers and had seen better days. It was squishy in all the right places, fit me perfectly, and just seemed to teeter over the wrong edge of my budget.

She said that no-one would buy it because it wasn’t new, and it wasn’t as trendy as it used to be, but I still loved it. Why wouldn’t everyone want to put their feet up on a giant chair, and feel completely enveloped in comfort? Perhaps it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, being a bit disproportionate for the average person, but delightfully dreamy for the rest of us.

One day, I went to visit, and the shop was closed. With no warning, my visits had abruptly ended, and the chair had disappeared. I do wish I had bought it, because it just suited me, and unless I am in a waiting room or sitting at my desk, I really don’t enjoy sitting up straight.

For a while, the loveseat was everything, and you could barely buy a sofa without one, but I never quite got the concept; it seems too big for one person, but too small for two, so what is the point? A chair and a half, while still taking up quite a bit of room, seems far more useful to me. It doesn’t imply you are waiting for someone else, it is the perfect spot to spend a quiet hour or two, you can squeeze an extra person in if you want, and yet it doesn’t look lonely when it is empty.
The chair and a half, while having one of the silliest name’s ever, might just be my most favorite piece of furniture…

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Photograph from Connie-livingbeautifully 

This one is from Claudia Tiberia of Fresh Spaces, an expert organizer, stager, and redesigner:

For a mini-organizing project, pay careful attention to your routines. Then keep like items together and zoned based on their usage. For example, do you do your children’s hair just before they walk out the door for school? Then keep a container for all hair accessories by the door. Do you pay bills in the family room while watching TV? Then keep a container as a bill paying center complete with checkbook, stamps, and envelopes in the family room. Do you do your hair and make-up in the half-bath while the children are eating breakfast? Then keep containers for everything you need stashed in the half-bath.

Thanks Claudia – great advice!

Are you using Instagram as part of your marketing strategy? What about Instagram video? Interior designer turned marketing expert – and keynote speaker of the upcoming Association of Design Education conference – Nika Stewart of Ghosttweeting shares some excellent advice in her recent blog post. Can’t wait to hear what she  has to say to us at conference!

Using Instagram Video in Your Market Strategy

What type of content gets the best ROI? 51.9 percent of marketing professionals worldwide say it’s video. Four out of five shoppers say a video showing how a product or service works is important, and retailers cite 40 percent increases in purchases as a result of video.

Yes, video is all the rage, and with Instagram’s move to 60-second clips, now is the perfect time for your business to ride the wave. There’s more airtime and lots more freedom to come up with creative content to market your brand. Video is the way to accelerate trust and build expert status. Here, we’ve found the best ways to employ video on the ‘Gram. Read more . . . 

 

Treehouse Book Sculpture with name

There are some people we meet, and we instantly become great friends. While I have never met Stephen Thompson in person, what began as an introduction of designer parallels quickly become a friendship across the miles. Living in Tupelo, Mississippi, Stephen is the owner of Designer Connection, and a writer for the North East Mississippi Daily Journal; his article this week was so beautifully done, that I asked him if I could share it with you.

STEPHEN THOMPSON: Use the power of story to change your décor

Much like a voice constantly whispering in your ear, your décor’s story can either make or break you. You may not be listening to it but, day and night, your décor is talking to you, and it’s influencing the quality of your life.

You may think your story is a secret, but it’s out there. It’s in the color of your front door, the style of your shutters, whether paints are faded or peeling, cracked or in good repair. Listen and you’ll hear its aliveness or tiredness echoed in your upholstery fabrics as you sit or stand. Your sink, stove, refrigerator and microwave speak volumes through their age, size, and, especially, their cleanliness. And subplots abound on countertops, bookshelves and tabletops throughout your home. Is you story clear and well spoken, or is it cluttered, confused and broken?

Broken stories can be fixed. This is especially true when the story being heard isn’t yours, but one you’ve inherited. Hand-me-downs and well-meaning gifts of furniture – the things others gave you that echoed their story, not yours – may be ill fitting and holding you back from living the life you want. Here are nine ways to fix your décor’s broken story.

• Listen to your spirit. Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” writes, “When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” Keep only things that speak to your heart.

• Clear out the clutter. Methodically removing meaningless mishmash will cancel the background noise and let your story be heard. Discard everything that does not spark joy.

• Speak up. If your hand-me-downs are despised and not prized, reclaim the right to set the tone of your own décor. Don’t keep things you don’t like. Why would you?

• Learn to embrace change. You aren’t the same person you were a decade or so ago; perhaps your décor shouldn’t be either. The place where you live should be for the person you are becoming now. It’s much easier to live in the beauty of today’s story than to continually relive the past. Surround yourself only with things you love.

• Choose the right way. If choosing what to discard scares you, then listen to Mother Theresa, “The more you have the more occupied you are. The less you have the more free your are.” Choose what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of.

• Be your own BFF. How would you talk to your best friend if he or she were in the same decorating dilemma as you? To revitalize your story, muffle your inner critic.

• Don’t bring home crap. The surest way to ruin your décor is to bring home items that aren’t in alignment with your core story. Be on guard when you shop. Quality trumps quantity every time.

• Cultivate an eye for beauty. To have a beautiful story, you must first know what beauty is. Step out of your comfort zone and discover the many worlds of beauty found in nature, in cultural events, in books, movies and theater. Let their inherent beauty capture your heart.

• Tell an authentic story. It matters not whether your family room rug is a beautiful yard sale find or a Persian antique. How does it fit with your values? The story of what you want to own is actually the story of how you want to live your life. Let your décor be a reflection of the one that’s in your heart.

p.s. Stephen Thompson, has been creating tasteful interiors in North Mississippi since 1975. For questions, comments, or consultations contact Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or stephen2816@mac.com
Photograph from the extremely talented, Malena Valcarcel

lingerie 1

When we reach a certain age, our lingerie drawer suddenly becomes an unrecognizable mess of fun and function; we lift, we tuck, we squeeze, and we spend a ridiculous amount of time rearranging ourselves into all sorts of things to make us feel pretty, and, dare I say it, youthful.
It’s just not as easy as it used to be, and whereas some days make us imagine we could be Dita Von Teese (or is that just me?) others find us reaching for the vast sea of elastic beige that Bridget Jones regretted wearing on her first date with Daniel.

With these dilemma’s comes a new sort of organization; one that says we are grown-ups, and that maybe it is time to go through our drawers before we sort through our closet. What we wear underneath is just as important, so let’s get rid of what doesn’t fit, what is hanging by a frayed thread, and throw away the sad, dull colors from years ago. Having everything that fits, and does what it is supposed to do, saves us a ton of time, and makes us feel better knowing that our underneaths are just as lovely as our outside.

One of my favorite things to do is to ditch the traditional tiny drawer at the top of your dresser; the one that is supposed to be for your underwear. I use that for my earrings and tights instead, which leaves the larger one below for lots of underwear, and plenty of space to stack my bras upright. Stacking bras vertically makes it easy to see what I actually have, and everything seems to keep their shape.

If you like to match all of your colors and styles, there are wonderful, inexpensive drawer dividers that slot right into place; they help us to keep everything separated and organized with barely no fuss at all. Many of the generic organizers used to be a bit small for the curvy figure, but fortunately manufacturers are becoming more aware of different sizes, so there are far more options than there used to be; these foldable drawers (above right) are one of my favorites.

Lingerie chests originated in the 1700’s, and will take your organizing to an entirely different level (actually seven levels, one for each day of the week) and they can still be found, old and new, very inexpensively.

If you are lucky enough to have oodles of space, then hanging your bras in the closet is even better, and will keep them from getting smooshed and damaged.
Use a
 men’s tie rack, or find coat hangers that have little clips on either side. I even found this sock dryer that I think would easily hold bras if you had the extra space to hang it; kind of like a bra chandelier.

For special occasion pieces, I would store them in a separate place, just to keep the specialness of them. Some can hang on lingerie clips, or, for mere mortals like me who have limited space, a beautiful fabric bag is just enough. If you love vintage, then an old hat box or vintage train case could be perfect, or, if you prefer something new, check out the selection of decorative containers at your nearest home or craft store.

With those other necessities that are more functional than fun, I would treat them just as well as the pretty things, but hide them in the back somewhere; no-one wants to stare at their Spanx every time they get dressed, reminding us that perhaps if we didn’t love ice cream so much we wouldn’t feel compelled to buy them in the first place. So, fold them up sweetly, and put them in a small box in the back of your closet for the next time you need a little extra bit of emotional reinforcement.

Organizing our underthings doesn’t seem like a big deal, but once we do it we are left with a lot more time (and space) for fun, function
and frippery ….

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Photographs from Bloglovin (lingerie and slippers) Lovetheedit (drawer organizers) Horchow (lingerie chest) and Pinterest  (train case) and Aliexpress (sock dryer)

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