Friday, 2 December 2016

Personalized Pocket Tool Using Cricut

I recently joined an online Facebook group for Cricut users and it has been amazing! If you haven't joined one and you own a Cricut you have got to check one out!!! The members are full of amazing and creative ideas and are willing to share their knowledge and help out when you just can't figure out the next step.

With Christmas just around the corner, the online world of crafting has been full of projects people have shared that they have made to commemorate loved ones lost. One lady shared how she had converted her grandmothers handwriting onto a Christmas ornament for her tree and I knew I wanted to do something similar with my 4 year olds super cutesy chicken scratch!!!

On a recent trip to Michaels I found this pocket tool in a basket near the checkout and I fell in love, a tool with a hammer! How perfect for my husband who I love to tease about his ability to "bash" things!!! And so out came a little piece of paper and a black sharpie...

1.) I asked my son to write DADDY on a piece of white paper using a black pen (for easy contrast), I asked him to write this as straight as he could (I'm not going to lie there were 4 or 5 attempts before we got it all on 1 piece of little notepad paper).

2.) I snapped a picture of the piece of paper using my iPhone and emailed it to myself so I could save the file onto my PC.

3.) I uploaded the image to to convert it to an SVG file that the Cricut could read as cuttable. After uploading I scrolled through the various filters until I got the clean lines I wanted (this is where the black on white comes in handy). See sample below...

4.) When the image looked the way I wanted, I saved it to my PC as an SVG file.  I then opened up Cricut Design Space, uploaded the file using the "Upload Image" feature and cut it out of black vinyl.

5.) I used a small piece of scrap transfer tape to transfer the vinyl lettering to the pocket tool and Voila! Personalized Pocket Tool <3

Happy Crafting!!!

Vintage & Varnish <3

Saturday, 13 August 2016

How To Use Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream

How To Use Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream

I recently acquired an old coffee table with claw foot legs, the finish on the table was in rough shape so painting it was a no brainer. The glass top was surprisingly in much better shape than the table itself but I decided I wanted to do something a little bit unique to compliment the great legs.

I decided that I really wanted to try my hand at glass etching so I got out my Cricut and started planning out a stencil. After 2 days of agonizing over what to stencil on the table (I kept going back to Moroccan tiles but they just don't match the look of the table LOL), I decided on some angel/gargoyle wings and I cut them with my Cricut.

Side Note: I use 7mil Mylar for any stencils I plan to reuse. For this stencil I decided to cut 1 wing and flip it for the 2nd wing rather than cutting 2 vinyl stencils. And I thought hey I can reuse these for sure but then like a dope I caught the stencil on my shower drain when rinsing it and ripped it HA typical me :)

Stencil Placement
To prep the glass for etching I washed the glass with water and dish soap (Dawn to cut the grease) and then I washed it again with vinegar to remove any residues. After the glass was cleaned up I measured out and placed my stencil. I marked out my stencil placement by squaring out the corners with a Sharpie permanent marker as shown below:

"Sharpie" corners

One of the most important keys to any stencil project is preventing any creams from bleeding under the stencil and causing blurred lines. The Mylar I use to make my stencils does not have an adhesive backing so in order to ensure the stencil was tight and did not move I sprayed it with temporary fabric adhesive (this is AWESOME stuff for stenciling, it rinses away with water and leaves no residue on the glass), and I adhered it to the glass using my sharpie corners for guidance.

Here's Where Shit Gets Real People.

I applied the etching cream to to the table using a hard bristle crafting brush and following all the guidance I found reading other blogs:

1.) Use Armour Etch in a well ventilated area. I personally did not find the smell that overwhelming but I did my stenciling on the floor of my ensuite with the bathroom fan running and the window open.

2.) Wear rubber gloves and eye protection - you are working with acid. Feel free to drink wine while you work but I would recommend a plastic etch proof cup and no more than 1 glass!!!

3.) Apply the etching cream using a hard bristled brush and using even one directional brush strokes to prevent swirling etc. in your finish.

4.) Apply the etching cream THICK. This is an important step and one my cheap ass failed at (that cream is expensive!) I applied my cream too thin and after rinsing my stencil was patchy and barely there! I had to try and perfectly line up my stencil again and re-apply. But if you're cheap like me here's the good news! The cream is reusable so when you're done, before rinsing, scrape off as much of your cream as you can (carefully so not to bump your stencil) and put it back in the bottle. YAY! Thrifty :)
5.) Leave the etching cream on for 25 minutes. When your cream is done doing it's magic it is time to rinse. Rinse with cold water BEFORE removing your stencil. For this step I used my shower because I was working with such a large piece, I simply placed the glass on the floor of the shower and hosed it off. The more water the better! You not only want to clean off your glass thoroughly but you also want to dilute the acid so it's not sitting in your sink/shower etc.

6.) Clean your glass again with glass cleaner to remove any residue from the adhesive and pat yourself on the back. YOU ARE ALL DONE!!!

When I finish the table itself I will have to share an update on the final look. Until then, Happy Etching Friends :)

Vintage & Varnish
    <3 Kelly

Friday, 5 August 2016

DIY - How to Whitewash Brick

When Mr. B and I picked out our forever home I was ecstatic that the house we chose had a wood burning fireplace. I just LOVE sitting in front of the fire with a glass of vino on a cold winter night and I'm not going to lie we have definitely taken advantage and made s'mores in the middle of January LOL.

As an added bonus our fireplace was brick, another favourite feature of mine in a home :) Unfortunately our brick was very, well, RED. I've got nothing against red but it was kind of limiting us to our colour scheme for the room and our couches were green... I like Christmas but 365 days a year is a little much.

I tossed around the idea of painting the brick but I was nervous, what if I didn't like it?! It was a big commitment and I didn't want to lose all the texture and colour variances in the brick. I considered going with a two tone paint job like I'd read in this DIY post and finally after 18 months of internal debating I decided to whitewash the fireplace. So here goes nothing!

How to Whitewash Brick

Things You'll Need:
  • White Paint (or lightly tinted - your choice)
  • Water
  • Container (preferably disposable - a milk carton cut in half works great)
  • Paintbrush
  • Rags (or a couple old TShirts)
  • Drop cloth
  • TSP
  • Painters Tape
  • Newspaper
Step One: Clean & Prep
First off I gave my fireplace a once over with the sm all brush on our vacuum cleaner to ensure all
cobwebs and dust were removed from around the brick and in all the grout lines. Next I gave it a wash with some TSP and water (I use about 4 tbsp. dissolved in about 4L of very hot water). I concentrated my scrubbing on the areas around the fireplace opening where soot had stained the brick and sap had crackled and popped all over the hearth. Some of the sap was stubborn and I had to use a piece of steel wool to get it all off. I let the brick dry overnight to ensure all the water it may have absorbed was good and evaporated and then gave it another quick vacuum to remove any bits that had loosened during my scrub down.

Next I used painters tape (my preferred brand is the Painter's Mate Green) to tape off the areas I wasn't painting such as the walls, the floor and the mantel. Whitewash is very runny and messy so to be safe I went with the widest roll I could find at Home Depot which was just under 2" wide. I then covered the top of the mantel with newspaper to protect it from drips and threw a drop cloth over the carpet - don't skip this step, whitewash is MESSY!!!

Step Two: Mix Your Whitewash

For my paint I used some leftover pure white paint I had kicking around from when I repainted my daughters closet. You can use any latex paint you have kicking around in any shade of white, cream or light gray depending on the final look you want to achieve. Make sure you give the can a good stir and then mix up your paint with water - this is where the milk carton or an empty yoghurt container comes in handy. There is no magic formula for a whitewash - the more thinned out the paint the lighter the wash. I mixed my paint with approximately a 2:1 water to paint ratio.

Step Three: Apply Your Whitewash
To apply the whitewash I started at the top of the brick so I could work down and over any drips to prevent streaky lines. I painted and wiped small areas at a time, about 3 bricks across and 2 rows down. I started by painting in the grout lines and then painting the brick and immediately blotting the excess paint with a rag. The brick will start to absorb the paint so don't worry if it looks like you're getting more coverage than you wanted when you first apply the paint. Every 15 minutes or so I stood back to eyeball my progress and make sure there were no paint drips or areas I missed. When I got down near the carpet at the bottom of the hearth I switched over to a small craft brush so I could better control the paint and not have excess running under the tape edges.

Once you've finished your first coat and allowed it to dry (at least 2 hours) you can decide if you've achieved the level of coverage you were going for, I stopped here because I wanted to keep lots of colour variance in my brick. If you want to go lighter you can do a 2nd wash on your brick but I would recommend adding even more water to your paint first.

Once my brick was made over I definitely wasn't loving the oak mantle! And I could see right away
the painting I had mounted above it just wouldn't look right anymore :( I decided I would need to paint the mantle and I knew right away that I wanted to use the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, it was creamy and soft and a perfect addition to the hard look of the old brick.

I gave the mantle a quick once over with some TSP and water and let it dry. I then painted two coats of Annie Sloan Old White and let it dry. After about 12 hours I sealed the paint with a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax to protect it from my garland craziness come Christmas time ;)

Here is the final look....

Its not easily captured by the camera but in real life there is definitely a noticeable difference between the "pure white" I used to wash the brick and the "old white" I used on the mantel and I needed to find a way to tie them together. I just happened to have a painting hanging in my bedroom that no longer matched since I changed out our bedding and it was a perfect fit with that Old White!

I'm really hoping to come across some beautiful, tall, hand carved wooden candlesticks in my future treasure hunting to finish off the décor for my mantle and I've yet to decide what I want to do to the adjoining walls until hubby creates the built ins on each side but until then I am definitely happy with the changes we've made to our living room.

Vintage & Varnish
    <3 Kelly

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Brass Fireplace Insert Makeover

When I originally completed this project I had no plans to blog about it so I didn't take any pictures and now I'm regretting that decision. This project was SO easy and made such a huge difference in our home that I just had to share it.

Here's a photo of our very plain and very boring gas fireplace as it was when we bought our house and before I made any changes. I took this photo when the ceramic birdie stocking hooks I ordered came in, aren't they just the cutest?!?! Too bad they leave sparkles everywhere, Mr. B just hates sparkles LOL 🤗😏...

The fireplace insert had those awful brass accents for the heat vents and I have made it my personal mission in life to banish any and all brass from our house... Originally I thought we'd have to replace the entire insert  but when I gave my head a shake and really looked at it I realized the brass was only an accent and the remaining insert was black. Ok, so easy fix right? Just paint it! I headed on over to the Home Depot and bought a can of high heat spray paint in a flat black.

And then I put the spray paint in the closet by the garage door and there she sat for...... 18 months! OMG the thought of taping everything up and attempting to spray paint only the brass in an area with all that was so daunting that well it just didn't happen LOL.

I have a bad habit of parking projects until I buy something else for the general area of said project and suddenly having a renewed sense of  GET ER' DONE. Oh how I drive Mr. B crazy :)  So this summer in my garage saleing adventures I found a gorgeous mirror that perfectly matches my future vision for this fireplace and I just didn't have the heart to mount it with this hideous brass because I'm crazy that way so out came that can of spray paint! Here's that mirror for a sneak peak at better things to come...

Soaps I got ready to attack the brass I made a major discovery. This is life changing folks!!!! That brass, that hideous 90's lifts off!!! No taping. No spray painting over carpet. No nothing! Just lifted off the whole front cover and we are ready for action!

Now this brass isn't REALLY brass, it's more like a shiny painted plexi-plastic type product so to prep it for painting I cleaned it with water and TSP and then scuffed it up with some sand paper to help the paint adhere. I then spray painted (2 coats to ensure I got all the brass from every angle), let it dry and back onto the fireplace she goes! Oh my god it was soooo easy I can't believe I waited so long! Just look at the difference this super easy project makes -

And another side-by-side

Not bad for an $8 can of paint! Eh?!
So if by chance you're not loving your gas fireplace insert, take a closer look and maybe, just maybe, you'll get lucky like me!

Vintage & Varnish
<3  Kelly

Friday, 22 July 2016


I love art. Colours, patterns, textures, layering different palettes - anything and everything design or decor related. In July 2014 my husband and I bought our forever home, which we have lovingly nicknamed our 1990 poster child - floor to ceiling oak, brass and purple flowered linoleum *grimace*. Mr. B made me promise before we signed the papers that I would not attempt to refinish the house in a week... He knows me so well LOL.

I completed my first major home renovation in 2010 after I bought my first house. Ya'll are so lucky the camera can not capture smell LOL! What a dump! I bought the place after my beautiful sister who just happens to be my mortgage broker informed me of a little thing called a "renovation mortgage" yes folks that'a really a thing! The bank WILL allow you to buy a dump and  mortgage the renovations AMAZING. My property search just blew up! Here's a quick peek at some of the before and after shots of that gem!

There's a running joke in my family going back to when I was 5 or 6 years old. I insisted on collecting little scraps of wrapping paper from Christmas and every birthday party. I would cut out hundreds of little squares from the paper so that I could mix and match and glue them up into my own little masterpieces, I had BAGS of the stuff. This was the beginning of big things my friends LOL!!!!

There I am!
A crazy haired kid with big design aspirations ;)
By 13 years old I was "refinishing" furniture with
anything I could get my hands on. I literally repainted my night stands, by hand, with glitter and nail polish. BEDAZZLED! I can't believe my mom didn't ground me for life, she's so supportive :)

At 15, I refinished all my bedroom furniture with REAL paint, I have a soft spot in my heart for army prints so I hand painted my dressers desert camouflage and even finished them off with a varnish (go me!)

And here I am 16 years later turning a life long passion into a full-time job! I'm one lucky lady to have a husband who supports me in my new endeavour and backs me every step of the way!

I am definitely a big believer in DIY and I'm an even bigger believer in a good deal so I have created this blog so I can share with you my many design adventures as well as some money saving hacks and do-it-yourself tutorials.