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Thank God–A Bathroom Story


My bathroom is done and it makes me want to drink dance! It’s been the bane of my existence for about five months. A half bath should NOT have taken so long, but I get sidetracked so easily!

No time for talking

on to the pictures!

Before

Before

Before

Before

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During

During. Adding a sink.

During. Adding a sink.

During. Finished.

During. Finished.

New Trim. $1 at Habitat for Humanity ReStore!

New Trim. $1 at Habitat for Humanity ReStore!

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

After

…then I exhaled.

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Layered Faux Dry-brush (Say What?)


My favorite painting technique is dry-brushing, hands down. Ever since I was little I loved the idea of painting with virtually no paint. However, I am never satisfied with a tried and true method. Of course, I must reinvent the wheel (then crash the cart, but we haven’t gotten there… yet.) When I “faux dry-brush,” essentially I treat the dry-brushed paint as though it were a faux finish. After I dry-brush, I wait for the paint to dry for 5 minutes, then I wipe across the painted surface with a paper towel just to thin the paint layer and antique the item a tad more (See? Faux finish style, just like I said.) The layering comes when I wipe off paint to reveal other previous painted layers…that’s a pretty simple concept.

Let’s see it applied…

Lovelies...?

I started with these crazy coin-ish type wall hangings which are about 7 inches in diameter. I spray painted them purple (photo not shown because I am not organized…but I digress.)

Once the purple spray paint dried I used steel wool to rub off a bit of the purple on some raised areas to reveal the previous gold color underneath.

Then the dry-brushing began (here’s a super short VIDEO, just for a visual.)

As I previously mentioned, when the dry-brushed layer had set for about 5 minutes (for satin and matte paints), I wiped hard with a paper towel to thin out some areas. The wiping removed the top layer of dark craft paint and allowed the gold and purple to peek through.

I didn’t even bother with a top layer of poly because they are wall hangings and I don’t foresee myself touching them too often.

Bird

chick

The whole point of my layered faux dry-brushing was because I wanted to age my pieces after I spray painted them purple so they’d blend better in my bedroom.

Now they look like just another another old lady bedroom treasure.

Mother’s Day Schmother’s Day


Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Please do not be turned off by my title, mothers are the most important person in a child’s life. We do everything; give life, love, feed, nurture, wash, discipline, color, teach, play, go for days with our hair in messy buns on our heads but ensure that our children are squeaky clean every day for school. We are amazing.

However, I have a four-year-old, which means… I am not getting celebrated on this sacred day. I don’t mean to rain on your parade, you’ve earned it so live it up; gush over macaroni necklaces and flowers picked from the neighbors yard. I’ll get mine eventually 🙂

Now let’s get plumbing…

Pretty right?

As I sluggishly move along on my bathroom update, I think I need to celebrate little victories on the road to completion. Today it is plumbing my sink.

Upon removing my sink I discovered a rusted pipe that broke very easily and water lines with so much build-up that they just had to go.

So essentially, this is the bare bones.

Cuffed

I was able to just twist the broken metal pipe off and replace it with 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe and this nifty cuff. Easy enough. I didn’t replace the water valves because I am cheap and they still work. Also, the plumbing was originally in the wall but was moved to come up from the floor, so I knew that everything was a little less than standard. I just didn’t want to make more problems for myself.

No Room

I bought a vanity and knew I would have to drill a hole for the pipes, but I didn’t realize just how close to the wall the water valves were soooooo a simple hole wasn’t going to be enough.

I literally had to knock out the whole bottom AND take a layer of backing off just so I could fit the back of the vanity between the water lines and the wall.

I also removed the beauty rings from where the pipes meet the floor because it kept making the vanity rock; which is the same reason I chipped up chunks of uneven grout. Trust me, this SOB is sturdier than a 75-year-old Oak.

During

Honestly, the plumbing was easier than reconfiguring the vanity.

The hardest part was cutting through the PVC pipe with a hack saw.

At this point, the plumbing is correct but a pipe must have a crack in it (what next?) so I have caulked as a temporary fix. I will probably be ripping this apart (slightly) one final time to replace the cracked pipe that came with my faucet. Then I will cut some wood to rebuild a half-shelf… but first things first.

What can I say? A mother’s work is never done.

Freehand on Furniture: A Video


Princess Bookcase

If freehand painting a whole mural seems a bit too daunting, start small with furniture. Tips and tricks on my latest video! ENJOY!

Hiring for your Business


When you start a business, retail or service related, there comes a point (hopefully) that your venture becomes so large that you just can’t do it alone. Hiring employees can be daunting because human relations and character evaluation isn’t for everyone. Personally, I am a trusting soul and will probably have a number of missteps when I first start hiring talent. However; getting, keeping and managing good employees is worth your time and effort, and there are a few basic keys to getting started on the right foot.

Finding and Keeping Talented Employees

1) Be genuinely interested. Remember birthdays, childrens’ names and anniversaries. This doesn’t just make the people around you feel special, but it’s a push toward earning their loyalty and their family’s loyalty.  After you send the Mrs. flowers on her anniversary, her allegiance may make her more likely to push her husband out the door on the days he’s considering calling in sick.

2) If you have a labor-intensive business, the scientific approach is key. Find the EXACT way an employee should perform the task and teach them EXACTLY how it should be done. This not only helps you earn money in a shorter period of time, but it keeps up the worker morale. Nothing brings a person down faster than working tirelessly without making headway because their hard work isn’t refined or efficient.

3)  Feel free to delegate tasks to an employee without much instruction (if  is not labor-intensive or allows for creative interpretation,) “Why don’t you and Jen take care of the seating and table settings for the investors’ lunch meeting? $300 budget, practical but somewhat formal.” Something as simple as that would give any worker a sense of pride that you trust their judgement and decisions. PLUS, that’s one less thing you have to worry about and you’re left to prepare for the lunch meeting presentation.

4) Hire motivated people. It is far too arduous for a small business to extrinsically motivate workers. Find people who like to do well because doing a good job satisfies themselves internally. That’s not to say bonuses aren’t a good thing, but they should not be used as an incentive to simply do a job well– that’s what they should be doing in the first place. Look for someone who uses words and phrases like, “self-motivated,” “hardworking,” “provide the best service,” “put forth every effort.” These are big statements that people who always need a push are unlikely use.

5) Pay well. Granted, you don’t want to go broke due to your generosity. But pay more than labor unions suggest (if you aren’t a union shop.) Don’t pay less than what you would like to be paid for doing their job. It is not a good thing to go home at night thinking, “Wow, I sure can’t believe they are willing to do all that for $xx an hour.” Feeling like you’re taking advantage of your workers will always have you checking over your shoulder, waiting for them to quit or steal from you.

6) Deal with crisis calmly. Do not ever let your employees see that you don’t know what to do in an emergency situation because chaos and doubt will soon follow, or worse– they may lose respect for you and question your leadership abilities.

7) Learn your management style and stick with it. Whether you want to be democratic or completely authoritarian, choose a style and commit. People want to know what to expect from their manager on a regular basis. Do NOT let your mood affect how you interact with your employees.

8) Communicate well. Use more than one method of message delivery– maybe mention something at a meeting then follow-up with an email. Try to make it short; you don’t need 5 examples for every touchpoint. Read your audience. If they look bored, then they are truly asleep on the inside– speak quickly so as not to lose their attention.

9) Praise in public and discipline in private. No one wants everyone knowing the mistakes they’ve made, yet we would love for our boss to advertise when we’ve done good work. Be generous with praises, it will make others want to earn them as well. Be gentle with criticism, you don’t want your employees to feel that their efforts are unappreciated or are overshadowed by their errors. Persuade and convince them to do a good job, rarely order or demand top performance. 

10) Just be honest. Be honest in your words and be honest in your actions. If your business needs to eliminate a shift to save money, don’t hide that from your employees or let the rumors get to them first. I guarantee if you tell them that you need to let them go in 2 months, yet you will write them a recommendation so shining that their mothers would wish it were true, then you probably will get that last 2 months of work out of them. If you hide that fact? The rumors will have people quitting within weeks. People know when they are being lied to and they know when they are being cheated. Keeping it real and fair will foster trust and loyalty throughout the company. 

Top 10 Mural Tips!


Hoot

I was recently commissioned to create a nursery mural for a baby boy’s room. I would love to give you a step-by-step guide on creating this, but it’s unlikely you will want this EXACT thing. Besides, creating something from scratch out of just a vague idea in your head is a lot of fun (also a lot of work, time, energy and second guessing.) But if you do decide to venture down the path of painting (as opposed to decals) then here are some hints to help along the way.

10 Mural Tips

1. Expect the process to take 60% longer than the time you have allotted for it. Straight lines are thoughtless and cruel time wasters.

2. Don’t be afraid to mark-up the wall while planning. Sketch with pencil or even tape an outline to help you visualize before your brush hits the wall.

3. Have a huge array of brushes on hand, even if you use just one. Options are the best and you never know when the oddball brush you NEVER USE will be just the thing you need.

4. Prioritize. Figure out your order of operations. I mix most of my colors so I know I have to finish those areas before my paint supply dries up (I do not have nearly good enough luck to mix that same color again.)

5. Mix craft paint with a little bit of white wall paint to get the smooth benefits of wall paint and the color of craft paint. When you are using several colors, paint can get expensive. Craft paint alone (even when it’s made for plaster or drywall) can be hard to apply and take several coats.

6. Use paper plates, newspaper or cardboard as your paint palettes when you need small amounts of several colors— it saves a lot of time at clean-up.

7. Start by painting items smaller/thinner than what you would like. It’s easy to make something bigger, but it’s a real pain to scale down.

8. For large areas of a solid color, don’t be afraid to use a roller.

9. Fill all of the color in on every part and then straighten the edges for the whole mural last. Granted it will take 5 hours to straighten them, but doing it last ensures that you’ve had an up-close look at every detail before you call it quits.

10. Don’t get discouraged when it’s not fun. There is a lot of leg work (and arm work, and back work) to get through before the creative details get added. Just soldier through the boring basics; the fun parts are worth a good foundation.

You can check out more photos of the mural progression on the Space-Lift Facebook page.

Glassless Tables


So HOPEFULLY you saw the cabinet demo video, now it’s time to show the finished product. With the weather being less than hospitable, I’m lucky I had three days to finish these before the freezing rain started…again.

Let’s check out this nonsense!

Bedside Tables

I had so much convincing to do in order for my friend to agree to these tables!

So I couldn't let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

So I couldn’t let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn't do, so I "removed" the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn’t do, so I “removed” the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don't care who you ask.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don’t care who you ask.

Then came the "glass." My friend didn't want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn't want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

Then came the “glass.” My friend didn’t want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn’t want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach...and for some reason that appealed to me.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach…and for some reason that appealed to me.

This is how my experiment turned out!

This is how my experiment turned out!

Love this little guy!

Love this little guy!

And I love this big guy!

And I love this big guy!

Dramatic sunlight view.

Dramatic sunlight view.

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