Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Clark+Kensington Paint by Ace Hardware - A Review

Ace Hardware is having their Clark+Kensington paint on sale for 20% off this weekend.  Since I've been painting up a storm with it over the summer, I thought I'd share my thoughts on it.

Please note that I have no relationship with Ace Hardware, and they have never asked me to review any of their products.  However, hint, hint Ace Hardware, if you ever need someone who would get a kick out of testing your products.......I'm your girl!

I painted a plastic convex mirror with this paint.  
The only prep I did was to clean it first.
This is the before.

Since last April, Ace has offered quarts of their Clark + Kensington Paint + Primer In One for free several times.  This is almost better than a birthday present to me, and I have not been able to resist taking them up on their offers.  One nice thing has been how much the paint folks at Ace have told me about this paint while they mixed my color.  According to them, significant research has gone into this paint, and they are sold that it is truly the best stuff out there.  Not only does the paint already have primer in it, but it also has ceramic mixed in for durability.

A close-up of the finished mirror.

After painting a variety of objects with it (no walls, yet), here are my thoughts:

1.  This paint goes on very nicely, but it dries quickly on your brush or roller.  A little Floetrol helps with that, plus the Floetrol gives a smoother finish with less brush strokes, especially when painting furniture.  I don't always use Floetrol, but I find it helpful when covering larger areas.

2.  When painting something with much detail, I've found a stiff brush works best.  

3.  This paint seems to be extremely durable after it has cured for a few days.  I have painted smooth metal, metallic wood frames, and even plastic with this paint.  When I did a scratch test after 1 day, I could scratch some paint off.  When I tested after 2 weeks, I could not.  Both tests were performed on painted pieces that did not have a protective finish added.  In my next post, I will show you a metal cake stand that I painted with this paint.  I thought for sure when I did a scratch test on it the paint would come off, but it didn't.  Awesome!

This frame was painted with Light Navaho White in flat.  
It does not have any wax or protective finish on it.

4.  The flat finish is gorgeous!  I don't know how to describe it except  rich and luxurious.  It is really, really pretty.  I have only tried the flat, since that is what the free samples were offered in.

To antique the paint, I used this wax mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with brown shoe polish.

5.  The paint takes wax quite well and, therefore, is great for antiquing or distressing.

 6.  Ace sells this paint in a multitude of colors, but they can also color match to meet your needs.

7.  At about $29 (before the 20% discount) a gallon, the price is competitive with the higher end paints just about anywhere.

8.  It has almost no odor, is water based, and cleans up pretty easily.

 After - much better

That's about all I can think of right now.  If you have questions, please let me know and I will do my best to answer. 

My only reason for promoting this paint is I am just so impressed with it.  I like the results and thought you might, too.

If you have tried this paint, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Thanks for coming by,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ornate Frame Restoration

Frames get me into trouble.  I don't know if it's because I once worked in a photography studio and sold them - or what, but they are one of those things that are hard for me to resist.  I just find them so interesting and beautiful - it doesn't matter if I have something to put in them or not.

My Aunt Alice once asked me after seeing some pictures of my home, "Are the empty frames hanging on your walls a new way to decorate?"  At the time, "no", but lucky for me I think I'm in style now.

While I like almost any kind of frame, my favorites are the chunky, ornate ones - and I say the chunkier the better!  Unfortunately, it's hard to find one that is inexpensive - unless it is damaged.  But here is the silver lining:

 a damaged frame - discount for the damage 
+ little repair job =
 gorgeous piece for your home 

Here is how I deal with the damage:

This is a 24" x 30" frame I purchased from an on-line garage sale.  I think I paid about 15% of what it might retail for.

It had pieces completely broken off that paint alone would not cover.

Using this wood filler by Minwax, I filled the voids and worked the filler until it resembled the general form of the ornamentation.  This filler dries very hard and durable, but you have to work quickly since a hardener added to it causes it to set up in 1-2 minutes.  Once it was dry, I went to work with an ice pick, sandpaper, emery boards, etc., to shape the dried filler to resemble the ornamentation on the opposite side of the frame.  Now, I am not an artist, sculptor, nor woodworker.  In fact, if you look very closely, I did not do the greatest job - but it's good enough!  Now that the frame is painted, no one but me can really tell that the frame had ever been damaged.

This is my carved repair.

I definitely think she was worth saving, 
and look how lovely she looks in white.

This is the painted repair.

This corner is not one that was repaired, yet is about as rough as the side I carved when you look closely.  

So, the frame isn't perfect - 
but don't you just love things that are still beautiful even though they're not?  To me, THAT is the essence of life.

 What do you adore that is far from perfect, but you wouldn't change in any way?  Good stuff to think about.......

Thanks for stopping by,


Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Chalkboard Paint

I'll almost bet you've pinned homemade chalkboard paint from Pinterest, haven't you?  If you haven't tried it yet - can I just say,  
"This stuff is super fun"!!!!

In the past few months, we've made changes to several of our rooms.  One change we're working on is to turn our Garden Room into a Home Office.  We had been using our formal Dining Room as an office, but we decided to reclaim the Dining Room for its intended purpose, thus the office had to go somewhere else.  This is how the Garden Room looked before the changes:

It is not finished yet, so I can't show you an after picture, but I can give you a glimpse of what we've started.

While I love the look of the enormous chalkboards that cover an entire wall, I chose to do something a little different.  Instead of one grand chalkboard, I decided it would be fun to make multiple chalkboards and hang them in pretty, decorative frames.  The idea is to still fill a large space, but break it up a bit.  This room needs to work hard and function as a work space, but I still want it to have a cottage-esque personality.

To make the chalkboards, I first painted three, different frames I'd found while thrifting using Ace Hardware's Clark+Kensington paint in Light Navajo White.  To see more about this paint, read my post here.

Edward cut 1/8" plywood boards to fit the frames.  While the plywood bowed a bit initially, it relaxed as I worked with it and was great by the time I nailed it into the frames.  This made me especially happy, because I wanted to keep the chalkboards as lightweight as possible.  By the way, I've read on Pinterest of a crafter who made chalkboards by doubling up two sheets of foamcore from the $ store.  So, use what you have.

Lavender Tub Tip:

I highly recommend priming the plywood, and also using a sponge roller for the primer and the paint.  The roller makes quick work of the different coats and was super handy in mixing the grout into the paint. 

I could only find this at The Home Depot.

Let me explain:  Following the Ideas Room's recipe for chalkboard paint (basically 2 Tbs. of non-sanded grout in 1 Cup of paint), found here

I realized no matter how much I stirred - the lumps were NOT going away.  In fact, I feel they became worse the longer I mixed.  No worries!  When I used the sponge roller to apply the homemade chalkboard paint, I just kept rolling over the lumps and they evened out perfectly.  FYI - I used leftover latex off-white and black paint to make my homemade chalkboard paint.  I don't think it matters too much what paint you use.

I found 1 coat of primer, plus 2 coats of chalkboard paint made a very nice coating on the plywood.

After letting them cure for at least 24 hours, all that was left was to prime the new chalkboards.  To do this,  I rubbed a piece of chalk over the entire boards, then erased.  With that, the chalkboards were ready for business - or in our case Trigonometry.

 Ok, I had to share this picture to brag: 
 this is what I've been helping my son with for the last 3 weeks. 
 Lavendears, I worked this problem.......on my own.......
I am so proud I can still do a problem like this!!! 
 I know.......I know.......I'm bragging and that is unattractive, 
but not as unattractive as when I showed my friends
 I could still do the splits.......that was not the smartest thing I've ever done.
 I suffered in pain for weeks!

This verse from the Bible has helped me so much.  Check it out here

This truly was so much fun, and this paint makes a quality chalkboard surface.  When you realize you can make a chalkboard in any color - well, who wouldn't want to try this?

Thanks for stopping by the tub today,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Propagating African Violets

My grandmother, Carrie Lou, always had beautiful African violets growing in her home.  I'm sure that's why I'm so fond of them.  They're probably really old-fashioned and out of style now, but I enjoy keeping a few to remind me of my sweet little Granny.

African violets are fairly fuss-free.  They like light, but not direct sunlight.  You can also forget to water them for a little while, and they will still be ok.  The main thing you need to be careful of when watering is to make sure you don't get water on the leaves.  If you do, the leaves will get grey round spots that look like a disease.  It's best to water carefully from the top and then set the pot in a dish of water for a few hours in order to water from the bottom.  

When African violets stay too moist for too long, they rot and drop all of their leaves.  If watering correctly is a pain for you, there are special pots made just for African violets that allow the plant to get only the amount of water they need.  I'm sure your local nursery carries them.

Did you know it is really easy to propagate an African violet?  All you do is snip off some of the leaves making sure to include plenty of stem.  It is better to snip leaves closer to the center than the mature leaves on the outside of the plant, as propagated plants from mature leaves may not bloom.  Next, dip the cut stem in rooting hormone, and push the stem into a pot containing African Violet Mix (which comes already mixed in a bag).  If you do not have rooting hormone (found at garden centers ) don't worry about it as some sources tell you not to use it.  I've had good luck with it - so I do. 

The rest is just keeping your little pot watered, not saturated, and waiting patiently.  After about 8 weeks you should see some new little leaves peeking their heads above the dirt.  I would let the new plants grow for another 2 months or so, but then they should be strong enough to separate and plant in their own pots.

If you are a beginning gardener, this is a great learning project.  African violets are indoor plants, so you shouldn't have all the hassle of too much heat, drying out too fast, bugs, critters, etc.  If you're successful, think of all the little violets you can give to your friends as gifts - and what is more satisfying than that?

Are you an African violet grower?  What tips do you have?  I would love for you to share your expertise.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tray Turned Magnet Board

If you have a stainless steel refrigerator I'm sure you're as disappointed as I am that you can't magnet anything onto it.  Bummer!  I'm a grammie now, afterall, and I have an awful lot of really cute nieces and nephews whose faces I'd like to display.

 To help solve my problem I took an old tray and turned it into a magnet board.  This tray is like a picture frame where you put whatever you'd like to view in the tray.  I framed a remnant of my kitchen fabric under a piece of plexiglass.

Next, I took some sheet metal 

and used it as the backing for the fabric. 

(If you'd like to do this with a tray that does not come apart, just Elmer's glue some sheet metal to the bottom of your tray and then top with a picture and plexiglass.  Use magnets to hold the plexiglass to the sheet metal at the corners.) 

That's it!  It works perfect on top of my fridge, and I love having something in the kitchen I can attach pictures, reminders, or recipes to.  The great part is - I can also still use it as a tray when I need one.  Oh, and by the way, my cute little magnet is just an old fashioned button stuck onto a magnet.

Don't you love simple crafts?  I do.  Color, design, and problem solved - BAM!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Federalist Style ChalkBoard

Chalkboards are everywhere, and why not?  They add a little touch of, "Yeah, we really live in this home".  It doesn't matter if you're young or old - it is fun to draw on a chalkboard.  When I was first homeschooling my kids I read a tip about letting children learn to make their letters by drawing in cornmeal or on something they could erase easily.  Kids can be insecure when they first start writing because their letters are so sloppy.  If what they are drawing in or on can be erased easily, they will likely practice longer before getting frustrated.  Maybe that's why we all like chalkboards so much.

There is really nothing unique about my approach to making a chalk board over anyone else on Pinterest.  I just thought I would share mine.

I found this frame (with a mirror in it) at our local thrift store.  My plan was to paint it creamy white and french blue, but it seemed to be waving its hand every time I shopped my house looking for something to turn into a chalkboard for our dining room.  Fine!  It is probably just as well because with the mirror and the backing in it, this frame is Heavy!

It is pretty old, too, which is quite nice because the backing is so much more substantial than the cardboard backing on a newer frame.  I just decided to paint the backing to make the chalkboard.  For this chalkboard I used a spray chalkboard spray paint that I've had around for years.  They probably don't make it anymore, and I wasn't even sure it would work, but it was great.

Using a Silhouette machine I cut the word "Menu" from some card stock.  I then sprayed the entire back of the card stock with stencil adhesive and laid it on the chalkboard.  Next, I removed the letters from the word, Menu, leaving everything else to be a stencil.  If I do this again, I think I will use vinyl.  Everything went according to plan until the paint soaked into the tiny pieces of paper, like the inside of the "e", and they came up on my roller.

For the paint: 

I know the "in" paint right now in Blogland is chalk paint, but I have to tell you - I am loving Ace Hardware's new Clark+Kensington paint.  I've been lucky enough to get a few free quarts, and this is wonderful, luxurious paint.  I'm not exaggerating!  I've been painting everything in sight and it has the most beautiful finish in the flat.  For this project I used a color called Light Navaho White - and it is a beauty of a color.

Lavender Tub Tip:  When you use a roller to stencil, load the roller with paint but then roll most of it off until you have a fairly dry roller.  This ensures a nice stenciled design without paint oozing under the paper.

I think it turned out just about right for a dining room, and with all the projects I've been working on lately - the menu is pretty much right on!

Candy Canes
Candy Corn
Thanks for stopping by.  Hey, it's Friday - have a great weekend!


Parties I Will Be Linking To:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Touched By An Angel

You knew I couldn't be back for long without giving you an update on my sweet, little grandbaby, right?

  What kind of Grammie would I be?  

This is a picture of my little Paisley Poo taken about a month after she was born.  You can't believe all the amazing pictures the photographer took!  It was sooo hard to choose.

I finally settled on this one, and I love it so much!  I took this close-up to try to show you that it is printed on metallic paper and has what is called a Pearlescent finish.  The print looks very silvery and has such depth.  It doesn't really show, but it is gorgeous.  

And this is what Miss Paisley looks like now.  She really is my precious little angel and brings joy beyond words to my life.  For you poor grammies out there who don't get to live near your little babies - how on earth can you stand it?

I would also like to say what a wonderful Mommy my daughter has turned out to be.  I'm so very proud of her.  She is the picture of patience and is quite smitten with her little girl.  But then again, look at this face - who wouldn't be?

Thanks for letting me gush,


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

She Doesn't Measure Up - A Make Do Mirror

I've been needing a mirror to hang above the sink in my Lavender bathroom.  I actually had a lovely frame hanging there, but as Edward will tell you - nothing stays in one place for very long around here.  Since I really liked that frame for one of my daughter's wedding pictures.......well, you know how that goes.

I found this old frame at a garage sale for $2 - steal - and was pretty sure it was about the right size.  It was kind of ugly with its unattractive paint job, but I liked how old it was.  Also, the space above my sink is kind of touchy because the mirror needs to hang between two sconces, but be long enough to cover the insides of an old medicine cabinet.  I also like a frame with chunkier ornamentation and this was kind of wimpy, but I decided it would do for now.

Since the frame is a non standard size, I realized I would need to have a piece of mirror cut.  Needless to say, I don't think the glass shop and I agreed on how precious their mirrors were, so I decided to make do with what I could find around here.

I actually had a mirror that fit the width of the frame, but was about 4 inches too short.  I also had some other pieces of mirror that I could cut to make up those 4 inches.  Cutting glass is actually quite easy and just requires a little practice.  If you've never done this - just look up how to on google and give it a try.  It's a pretty handy skill to have.

After cutting the piece of mirror, I glued both pieces to a backing of mat board.  I wanted to make sure the mirrors butted tightly against each other.  Next, I glued (using E6000 glue) some rhinestone trim to the seam and also to the top of the mirror to create an area of interest.

I pondered several ideas to give this area some focus and embellishment, and finally decided on this little ornament I picked up somewhere.  [OK, I also bought it at the SGS (some garage sale.)]

The crowning touch really and truly was this crown I purchased at Hobby Lobby for 1/2 off ($6), and painted creamy white.  I think I might still add a few rhinestones and chip it up a little, but I'm still deciding on that.

What is exciting to me about creating things from found objects is how surprisingly beautiful some projects turn out to be.  My plan was to make do with this mirror until I found something I liked better, but the truth is - I really love how this turned out.  For $8 plus materials I had on hand, I think this mirror turned out stunning and actually measures up quite nicely.

Thanks for stopping by.  It feels sooo good to be back!