Thursday, March 29, 2012

Upcycling with Blackboard Paint

Let's face it, blackboard paint rocks. There is something about a matte surface that can be changed at the whim of a chalk tip that is mesmerizing. I love that blackboard paint can be any color not just black. Just like an empty sheet of paper beckons me, anything covered in blackboard paint calls to me, "Create!"

Tonight, I am talking about some amazing examples of items that were upcycled using blackboard paint.

Blackboard with Frame - Miss Mustard Seed
upcycled paintings

Whether you have a painting that belonged to your great uncle or a random painting from a yard sale, that tacky painting has more potential than you might think.  If the painting is acrylic, a print, or on board, simply paint over the painting with blackboard paint!  As simple as that you have a framed blackboard.

If you do not have any unseemly paintings, you can actually buy a frame that when the glass is removed has MDF board behind it.  Paint the MDF with blackboard paint and you have a framed blackboard surface on which to plan your days.

Last option for an upcycled framed blackboard.  You can actually paint over glass with blackboard paint!  If you know that no one is going to come along and try to scratch your blackboard with their fingernails . . . *screeeeeeecccchhhh* . . . then take any frame with glass and upcycle it into a blackboard!  Note:  Scratching may remove blackboard paint from glass.

Upcycled Blackboard Wine Bottles - No Place Lyke Home
upcycled wine bottles

Some wine bottles are so pretty.  It feels shameful to throw away the pretty glass shapes and now you don't have to, upcycle them instead!  Simply prime the glass bottles with Rustoleum primer, then paint the wine bottles with the blackboard paint!  Simple as that you have an excellent way to remark on your days, label your flowers, or even remind yourself what vintage the wine was.

This concept works with bottles of all shapes and sizes.  Consider upcycling old canisters, spaghetti jars, baby food jars, and older plates.  Think about a wall plate display with all blackboard painted plates!  Beautiful and resourceful!

Cabinet Door Chalkboard - The Door Stop
upcycled cabinet doors

If you know a friend who is redoing their kitchen, stand in line for their cabinet doors.  Treasures in disguise these doors make great blackboards!  Sand down the middle portion, sand the rest if you'd like to change the color, then lay down the color.  Remember, you can make blackboard paint in any color you want, so get creative!  Match a blue board with green chalkboard paint.  Paint a purple and pink polka dot border with a hot pink center.  Are their boundaries with chalkboard paint?  I see no lines!

Silver plated Blackboard Platter - Pumpernickel and Wry
upcycled platter

When is a platter not a just a glorified tray?  When it's a blackboard!  Find a vintage platter from a yard sale or a tray from a thrift store and you are in business.  Rough up the surface of the tray, then apply a primer.  Apply your blackboard paint and ta da!  You have a beautiful trimmed blackboard.  Classy and environmentally conscious!  Saving the world one platter at a time!

Consider that can be applied to other metallic items.  Old watering cans, canisters, even cans from canned food can be upcycled with blackboard paint.  My suggestion, search Pinterest, Google, or Etsy to find ideas about other possible metal blackboard projects.

Antique Furniture Blackboard - Marley and Lockyer
upcycled furniture

Granted I wouldn't paint just any piece of furniture with blackboard paint.  Like this beautiful antique to the left.  It would have to be mighty dinged up for me to take away an antiques natural beauty for the sake of a blackboard project.  However, I know of lots of furniture that is dinged up, has paint chipping off, or never looked good to begin with that would benefit greatly from being upcycled.

An old chair that needs some TLC is a great candidate.  A child's dresser can be painted with blackboard paint and then you can label the drawers.  A bookshelf can be painted on the sides with blackboard paint and a contrasting color can go inside each shelf.  The options are endless and furniture supplies so much wonderful surface area for creativity.  Be sure to chalk it up after painting it.  Think polka dots, stripes, flowers, beautiful quotes, and even miniature pieces of artwork.  Never leave your blackboard empty, chalk it up!

Last but not least, no discussion about chalk board paint is complete without a Blackboard Paint Recipe!  Since I first learned about the recipe from Martha Stewart, I will always give credit to my original source.  Here she goes:

Blackboard Paint Recipe
1 cup of flat latex paint in your desired color
2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout

Where to Buy
Home Depot

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Boho Jewelry - Wordless Wednesday

Featuring my newest line of Etsy products - Boho Leather Jewelry

They will be loaded on Etsy soon, if you want first dibs please comment below and I will make them a custom order.
Boho Leather Feather Earrings

Black and Red Leather Feather Earrings

Boho Diamond Earrings

I Heart Leather Earrings

Hippie Peace and Love Earrings

Want to make one of these pairs of earrings yours?  Comment below for a custom Etsy listing.

I'm including a Blog Link Up - Blog Hop in today's post!  I'm excited to visit your blogs, so please link below!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pinterest Manners

This one is for the road ;-)  I had one of my Pinterest pins posted to someone's "Um . . . That's Strange" board.  Then I realized how easy it is to criticize from afar.  Therefore, I created this jpg so that anyone, anywhere who get's their artwork, crafts, or photos pinned to a "That's Stupid" or "That's Strange" board can respond with this pin.  Below is my friendly little list of Pinterest Manners.

Pinterest Manners
  1. If you don't like it, don't pin it.
  2. If you don't like it, don't repin it.
  3. If you can make it better, do it cheaper, or think it's a rip off, don't pin it.
  4. If you hate the company that someone pinned products from, don't pin it.
  5. If you don't like it, don't comment on it.
  6. If you can make it better, do it cheaper, or think it's a rip off, don't comment on it.
  7. If you hate the company that someone pinned products from, don't comment on it.
  8. Don't create a board labeled "I hate this," "That's Strange," or "That's Stupid" and pin people's personal photos, crafts, and artwork in the boards.  It's just rude.
  9. Listen to your mamma, "if you ain't got nothing nice to say, don't say nothing at all!"

Friday, March 16, 2012

Creating a Color Spiced Bookshelf

I hate things that are boring.  I detest white walls unless accompanied by beautiful home accents perfectly chosen to contrast the overwhelming whiteness.  I cannot stand the color mauve (though if it's your cup of tea . . . that's your business).  So in general, I cannot endure plain particle board furniture.  It's boring, it's standard, and it's just there.
Here is the boring, yawnerific bookshelf that I began with today. (Not bad, just needs a little spice!)

White 9 Cube Organizer at Do It Best
I was extremely lucky and instead of paying the typical $54.99 for this product, I paid $25 at a second hand store with it sealed in the box.  Since this project is for my church nursery, not for personal use, I'm very glad to have been able to pass on the savings to my church.

My original intention was to buy a darker wood imitation product for the church nursery, but since I can't pass up a deal, I now had a plain white particle board bookshelf to put together with thick cardboard backing that needed to be attached.

I put together the piece with only a few minor setbacks.  If the peg doesn't seem to fit . . . don't force it you probably have it in the wrong place.  I'm smart like that, if the peg doesn't fit . . . I go get a rubber mallet and make it fit.  So after having to use the rubber mallet to pound the screws into the hole with the plastic pegs to get them back out of the incorrect holes, I now pass on my newly learned knowledge about plastic pegs and inadequately sized holes.

After having the bookshelf together and only needing to attach the thick cardboard panels to the back of five of the openings, I realized that I had to do something different with this bookshelf.  How could I make this piece of furniture match what we were planning to do with the rest of the room?  Here is the color scheme we choose thanks to Design Seeds:

City Brights by Design Seeds
I wanted to find some way to incorporate these colors in this piece.  Then I thought about all of the lovely pieces I've seen that utilize color inside of the shelves of a bookshelf or hutch.

Chenin - After on Design Sponge
Colorful Bookshelf - Unknown Source
(if you know where this came from, I'd love to know)

So I decided to use four different colors inside of the bookshelf to emphasize the color scheme we are using for the room!   Here's how I did it:

My Colors of Inspiration
1.  First, I printed off my color inspiration.  I used the Design Seeds City Brights and brought them with me so I could attempt to color match as much as possible.

2.  I used sponges to apply the color to the thick card board panels.  You could definitely go for a brush or even for spray paint. 

It's Coming Together
3.  I chose to paint the backsides of the cardboard panels thinking that the surface would be more porous and hold the paint better.  If I had it to do over again, I would choose to paint the white cardboard area instead.  The white finish would act as a base coat to make the paint colors stand out more and would help to prevent the cardboard from becoming as wet.

Painting the Cardboard Blue
4. I mixed each color then painted each cardboard panel.  I do one color at a time so that the mixed paint doesn't begin to dry before I'm ready to paint the next panel.  Unfortunately, I used older craft paint and it had quite a few lumps while I was applying the paint.  To have a flawless finish, be sure to use fresh paint.

5.  Finally, I attached each panel to it's prospective shelf.  Be sure to hammer the nail into the center of the particle board.  If you get too close to the surface, the wood may expand causing a ripple in the wood.

Here is the finished product!

We may at some point buy the fabric drawers for some of the cubbies, but for now, the bookshelf is looking good with a spice of color!  Our church is working on redoing the entire nursery:  a baby room, a toddler room, a cry room, and the Pre-K room.  If you have any interest at all in being a part of this project, go to our church website at:  You can choose to donate time or money to Gulf Coast Worship Center to be a part of our project.  Thanks for reading my blog!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Buying the Best Dryer Balls

Back in March of last year, I made my first purchase of a set of dryer balls from Etsy.  This began my venture into the world of dryer balls!  A year later, I am reevaluating my current dryer balls and looking to purchase a new set.  Here are the factors that I am considering when buying new dryer balls.

the benefits

Why use dryer balls? Dryer balls do many different things for your drying load of laundry. Heavier dryer balls help to break up clothing, cloth diapers, sheets, and towels while they are drying. This makes your laundry dry faster and saves you money. Dryer balls are also known for their ability to lessen static and are often used as a replacement for dryer sheets. Scented wool dryer balls can help your laundry smell extra fresh and are often scented with natural oils that are much healthier than the chemicals used in traditional dryer sheets.

Stoney Mountain Farm Wool Dryer Balls
wool vs plastic

I buy wool dryer balls.  Wool is fantastic not just because it is a natural fiber, but because it is naturally resistant to bacteria.  This is why wool is used in many cloth diapers as well.  Local stores will carry plastic or rubber dryer balls, but these products are made with PVC, which is a chemical that is poisonous.  If you desire more information on this topic, please check out this article at TreeHugger: Nellie's Dryer Balls.  In addition, you may have heard to use tennis balls in the laundry to fluff coats or bedding while they are drying. Tennis balls are made with rubber and can also have extra chemicals that are released with heat.   I prefer to know that no extra chemicals or colors are being released into my clothes while they are drying. 

scented or unscented

Many wool dryer ball artisans offer to scent the dryer balls with natural oils. This can be great if you have a favorite scent and love to have your clothes to have a fresh dryer smell. You can also buy a separate set of scented dryer balls for the bed linens and towels. Imagine how much safer the natural oils are compared to the random chemicals in traditional dryer sheets!

However, using scented all the time can be problematic for men's clothes, when your guy doesn't want to smell like an orange. It can also compete with your favorite perfume. So be sure to consider the pros and cons of scented wool dryer balls and also know that you can choose to scent them yourself using your favorite natural oil.

felted over wound

Wool Dryer Balls by Green Baboon Designs
From my experience so far, I find that a felted wool dryer ball will hold up better than a wound dryer ball.  The five ball set that I have used so far were wound and have gradually unwound (though still functional), pilled, and become a bit less pretty.  The felted balls are less likely to be pulled, will only become more felted, and may pill slightly but are unlikely to unravel from pilling.  Both felted and wound dryer balls will continue to work even when they begin to pill or have other signs of wear.  For the person who likes the wound look better, just be sure that the seller has placed a thick layer of the colored yarn over the ball so the ball will stay the right color for the duration of its use.

I attempted to buy "felted" dryer balls the first time around but they were not felted at all. The Etsy seller may have gone through a partial felting process, but the yarn strands were very obvious.  So if you desire to buy a felted wool dryer ball, be sure to differentiate between balls that are slightly felted and balls that have undergone the full process of being felted.

the natural look or the brighter the better

Deciding whether to go for natural colored fibers or to go with bright colored dryer balls is a matter of personal preference.  The natural fibers often contain no dyes, which can be great for a family with allergies.  Otherwise, have fun with the colors!  Most shops who sell wool dryer balls have a beautiful array of colors to choose from and many combinations packages as well.


Tons of tutorials exist on how to DIY dryer balls.  Personally, I don't have the time or patience to sit and wind my own dryer balls.  This be said, I will link you to the best tutorials for making wool dryer balls for all of you awesome people who will do this yourself.  You rock.

How to Make a Sewn Dryer Ball

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls Tutorial by

Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls by Good Mama Diapers

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls From an Old Sweater by Melody Gould

How to make a sewn dryer ball from recycled materials by Rebecca at Night Owl's Menagerie

Video Tutorial

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls With Wool Batting by carlynicoleelliotte

my top choices for dryer balls

Below are the wool dryer balls that have made the biggest impression on me.  I planning to buy one of the following for my dryer:

Wool Dryer Balls - Set of 6 by Bog Berry Handicraft

Update:  Here's a little coupon love from Bog Berry Handicraft!!!  Use the code DesigningLife at checkout for 10% off
Handmade Wool Dryer Balls by Natural Cuties
All Natural Wool Dryer Balls by Subito Farm
 Recycled Sweater Wool Dryer Balls by Ela's Idea

your favorites

Feel free to link below to your favorite dryer ball.  I'm completely curious and would love to see what dryer balls you've tried out.  Thanks for reading today's blog!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bedroom Design: Headboard Creations

Who says a headboard has to be a headboard?  These creative artists of the bedroom throw out the rules on what is and isn't a headboard.  Don't do ordinary, go extraordinary!

Shabby Chic Vintage Door Headboard by Kayleen Melena
How A-door-able!

Had to go for the obvious pun.  This stylish headboard created by Kayleen Melena on Etsy goes to show that even a door can be utilized as a headboard.  Her headboard can be found at the following link: Shabby Chic Vintage Door Headboard

Pallet Headboard by Hokie Sloan
A Pallet for Two

Instead of packing on the boxes, consider packing on the dreams with this Pallet Headboard by Hokie Sloan.  The pallet is stained and constructed to fit King, Queen, or Twin sized beds.  This is the perfect piece for a collector of industrial repurposed home decor.  You can find this Pallet Headboard on Etsy in Hokie Sloan's shop.

Removable Vinyl Wall Decal Headboard by Qinqin Decal
Not Board at All!

This headboard is but an illusion, but a beautiful illusion it is!  A fully removable vinyl wall decal headboard isn't metal and it isn't a board, but it creates a wonderful headboard effect for any room.  This is perfect for a person who wants the dramatic appeal of a headboard, but lacks the two to four inches of space to make it a reality.  Check out this Wall Decor Decal Sticker Headboard at Qinqin Decal on Etsy.

 So the next time you go shopping for a headboard, have high expectations.  Don't settle for routine, go for something that makes a statement for your life and for your dreams.  After all, your head needs some inspiration for all those big dreams!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Current Project - Crayon Art

I love trying out new things.  Today, I tried out two new craft projects.  One will be revealed at a later date . . . dum dum dum.  The other is inspired by wonderful crayon artists.  No, I am not talking about the 2-4 year old crayon artists that steal our hearts away, I mean experienced crayon playing adults!

Here are my favorite examples of crayon art:

Melted Umbrella Crayon Art by lightandspoon
Item Name: Melted Umbrella Crayon Art

Etsy Shop: Light and Spoon

First, I am in love with LightandSpoon's crayon art canvas that includes a figure of a couple in the rain.  The canvas only has the crayon drippings rather than the tacky crayon coverings making this canvas classy enough for any room.

Monogrammed Circle Crayon Art by QueenCityConceptions
Item Name: Monogrammed Circle Crayon Art

Etsy Shop: Queen City Conceptions

I love this crayon art especially for a children's room.  It's imaginative and quite frankly . . . it's psychedelic!  This canvas definitely reminds me of tie die and with the finishing touch of a monogram, it is styling!

Auras Crayon Art by Woodfairyamber
Item Name: Auras Crayon Art

Etsy Shop: Wood Fairy Amber

The Etsy artisan Woodfairyamber chooses the brightest colors and the most beautiful designs to cover her canvas.  The effect is breathtaking.  This is only one of her unique designs.  Be sure to check out her shop for other excellent items!

My Attempt at Crayon Art
My Experiment . . . Gone Wrong!

To express how amazing the designs above are in the realm of crayon art, I will share with you my attempt at Crayon Art.  The canvas to the left side of the screen is my "crayon art" or perhaps my crayon not so much art.  I utilized my son's broken and injured crayons, then glued them to the top of the canvas.  After this, I pulled out my hair dryer and began to let the heat have its fun.  While the process was fun, my finished product is more like an expression of a room after a party is finished.  Well!  Maybe next time!!!
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