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Rachel

The Chalk Paint Challenge–painting an entertainment center

Some of you Pinterest fans may know that pictures of chalk paint furniture redos are hardly new to the blogosphere.  I’m late on the scene in the chalk paint (not to be confused with chalkboard paint) craze.  I read the reviews on the internet, saw other people’s shocking before and after pictures, but painting glossy wood furniture, laminate, metal, glass, and any other number of stubborn surfaces without sanding or priming first?  I was a skeptic, but intrigued, and had to see it for myself.  I decided I was going to try the stuff out, all I needed was a good piece of furniture to try it on.

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Then, I stumbled upon this large oak entertainment center  at a local second-hand store.  It was exactly what I had in mind for hiding my wireless printer and unsightly office supplies in the computer area of our house.  The only problem?  The cabinet itself was a bit unsightly.  I’m not typically one to resist a good furniture redo challenge, and this was no exception, especially at the bargain price of $50.  This piece of solid wood furniture had the form and function I was looking for; all it needed was a couple coats of paint to bring it into the 21st century.  With a little help from A.T. and the boys (okay, a lot of help, this was a seriously heavy piece of furniture), I brought it home to face the Chalk Paint Challenge.

Before and after cabinet painted with chalk paint

I was not disappointed with the results.  The sweat equity I put into this project was minimal compared to the traditional process of painting furniture.  I could write a lengthy review and description of chalk painting how-to, but there are so many of them out there, I think it would be redundant.  With a good google, or Pinterest, search, you’ll find plenty of tutorials.  I’ll hit a couple of the highlights for you:

  1. I bought my Annie Sloan chalk paint online from Perfectly Imperfect.   I purchased one quart in the “Old White” and 4 oz of “Louis Blue,” then mixed them together 10 parts of white to 1 part of blue to get this very subtle light blue. 
  2. Did I mention no sanding or priming?  I just painted this stuff right onto that luscious glossy wood.  Brush strokes are minimal, so it’s very, very hard to mess this up.
  3. I didn’t remove doors or hardware.  Really, I just kind of attacked this thing with a brush and the paint, it didn’t know what hit it.
  4. I did scuff up the paint with a sanding sponge after I was done, to give it a worn look.  But, you don’t have to.
  5. I did this whole project completely indoors, with doors and windows closed because it was raining outside when I painted it.  There were no paint fumes, not even a hint of the smell of paint was in the room.  I was the most skeptical of the claim that chalk paint was low odor, but really, it’s true.  Of course, it can’t hurt to open a few doors and windows if you can.  But, if you start feeling a little light-headed while you’re painting with this stuff, blame the wine.
  6. The paint isn’t cheap.  Since I got the piece at such a good price, the paint wasn’t cost-prohibitive in this scenario, but may be for some.  After the cost of the paint, and including the cost of the cabinet, the total cost of the finished cabinet to me was $125, a very reasonable sum of money for such a large, and functional, piece of furniture.
  7. I did do one layer of Annie Sloan clear wax at the very end (after the sanding sponge step) to give it the durability I knew it would need with the kids going in and out of this cabinet a lot too.  I gave it my traditional fingernail test when I was finished by scraping it with my fingernail to see if if left any scratches.  I’m happy to say, with one coat of wax, it passed the fingernail test!

In addition, I hit up a local antique market I knew of that had bins of antique cabinet pulls.  With a little help from boy #2, and a few frustrating minutes digging through a lot of dusty hardware, we found these antique brass pulls to finish the look:

Here are some pictures of the inside of our reinvented printer cabinet, now storing our printer as well as office and  art supplies.  On the inside of the cabinet doors, we painted one side with black chalk board paint and on the other side, we attached cork squares for organizing loose pieces of paper.  Ultimately, I’d like to add another shelf above the printer, but for now, this works fine.

 There is something very gratifying about closing a door on a bunch of clutter.

If you have any specific questions about chalk paint, I’m happy to tell you what I know, which is very little.  I assure you I’m not getting any kick backs from Annie Sloan on this, I’m just sharing my humble opinion.  Shopping thrift stores for furniture opens up a world of possibilities when you consider what a little paint will do.  I have a lot of chalk paint challenges in tap for the future, I’ll be sure to share more before and after pictures when I do.  In the meantime, the picture below offers a sneak peek.  See the corner of that desk on the left?  I have big plans in store for that, so stay tuned…




Rachel

Natural Flavoring for Snow Cones and other fun things to do with frozen juice concentrate

We love a good snow cone in the heat of summer, but we don’t love all the artificial dyes and flavorings in the versions that you can buy at the store.  So, we came up with our own, natural version of this traditional summertime treat.  The secret ingredient?  Thawed frozen juice concentrate.

Using some squeeze bottles that I found at the craft store, I keep a couple different flavors of thawed, frozen juice concentrate in the door of my fridge.  Using the ice function of my Ninja blender (which turns ice into snow in mere seconds), we blend up our ice and scoop it into some snow cone cups that I found at Walmart in the seasonal isle.  So, when we’re ready for a snow cone, we just pull out our squeezy bottles, pick the flavor of our choice, and squirt it right onto the snow cone.  Voila!  Instant natural snow cones that might even have a few vitamins and nutrients included!

 


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Rachel

Cup ‘o the day coasters

This was not originally my idea.  It was “pinspired” by a pin I saw a while back, where somebody let their kids decorate their own tile, which they then turned into coasters.  They kept the coasters on the counter and each family member had to keep their cup of the day stored on their coaster.  The idea is that it helps to keep track of everyone’s cup, and reduces the amount of cups that are brought out everyday.  I know in our house, it seems like there are at least fifteen cups littering our kitchen by the end of every day–it’s a constant frustration for A.T. and me.

Enter the photo coasters that Laura gave me for my birthday.  (Check out her post on how to make your own.)  I lined them each up on our kitchen counter, and now the boys will have to keep their “cup ‘o the day” on their coaster.  We will see how it works, but I thought I’d pass along the idea in the meantime.  Laura had some other great ideas for these coasters on her post, check them out!




Rachel

Easy Peasy Homemade Ice Cream

It’s been fairly quiet around Tidy Tangle lately.  Since my last post on making skirts from old t-shirts using a sewing method called shirring, I’ve contracted shirring fever.  Yes, I’m in my sewing room these days shirring up anything I can get my hands on.  I love to shirr!

But, it seems cruel to wait till I recover from shirring fever to share with you this fun, pinteresting find–homemade ice cream that doesn’t require rock salt, an ice cream maker, or hand churning.  Yes, it’s true!  And, it works!  I was as skeptical about this recipe as I was about converting a t-shirt to a skirt, but the boys and I tried it and loved it!

With only two basic ingredients, whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk, and whatever add-ins you want, you can now have your homemade ice cream and eat it too.  I didn’t get any pictures of our first batch of ice cream, even if I tried, I couldn’t take pictures as beautiful as the ones at Kevin and Amanda’s website.  So, I borrowed their pictures to get your taste buds revved up and ready to try this recipe yourself.

Here’s the recipe (I renamed it, btw, this name seems more fitting!):

Easy Peasy Homemade Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • whatever add-ins you want (we did 1 cup of crushed mint oreo cookies)
Whip the whipping cream on high until stiff peeks form.  In a separate bowl, mix the condensed milk with your add-ins.  Fold the whipping cream into the condensed milk mixture and stir till combined.  Then, put in the freezer for at least six hours and it’s ready to serve!

We used a container just like this one, it was the perfect size

This is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make, I promise, at least try it once!  And, include your kids on the process, they’ll love it.  My boys are already thinking of different flavors they want to try next.  The hardest part is waiting the six hours for it to freeze.  I caught my boys peeking in the freezer many times, checking on it’s progress.  I had to convince them the more they opened the freezer, the longer it would take to freeze–that seemed to work.

For many different flavor ideas, visit Kevin and Amanda’s post.  Some of the suggestions they offer are Cinnamon Bun, Nutella, Krispy Kreme Doughnut, and Hazelnut Mocha Fudge Swirl!  And, their recipes are all printable–woo hoo!  I will say, they are highly promoting the Eagle Brand condensed milk on their site, but we used generic brand with no difference in results.  So, feel free to use whatever brand you want, I conclude.

Be sure to let us know if you make some, and share your flavor varieties with us!




Rachel

Salsa and Shirt Skirts

Boys #4 and 5 and I just finished reproducing the Easy Blender Salsa recipe to make a gallon of salsa–yes, you heard me right, a gallon.  Making the small batches that this recipe is for only lasted one day, so when I saw this 6 1/2 gallon can of diced tomatoes and Sam’s, and realized that it was half the price per ounce as the normal 14 1/2 oz can, I decided we were going to go all out this time and make enough salsa to last a week (or two??).  And, adjusting the recipe to be larger made a great math lesson for the boys!

Last night, with the help of this tutorial that I found on Pinterest (where else?), I turned this $2 goodwill t-shirt:

Into this skirt:

What??

I know, that’s what I thought at first.  This was “sew” easy (pun intended) and so fun!  In fact, I had never shirred before last night, but I made three of these skirts before I went to bed–it was that simple!

Check out her tutorial, raid your husband’s closet for the t-shirts he hasn’t worn since college, and get started on one of your own!




Rachel

DIY 10-Minute Cardigan

Cardigan made from a sweater

Spring came in like a lion around here, and then summer arrived the next day.  We are having some crazy warm weather, so I may have already missed my chance to sport my new DIY 10 min cardigan.  But, I discovered this pinteresting find a couple weeks ago.  I really like cardigans for the layering option they provide and the flexibility to take it off if I get warm without having to pull it over my head and mess up my hair (that last part was a joke, you can hardly mess my hair up more than it already is).  I stumbled across these clearance sweaters at Old Navy last week for $10 each and was pretty excited to give the 10 min cardigan a try, since I really could use a couple extra cardigans.

Kelsey at Vanilla Joy did a great job with this tutorial, so I’ll just refer you to her site for the complete tutorial.  Essentially, you take a sweater, cut it down the center, do a couple more simple steps involving an iron, some iron-on adhesive tape, and a sewing machine, and voila!  Pictured here is my finished product with the gray sweater.  I haven’t done the white one yet that I purchased, but will add a picture when I do that one too.

You won’t have the option to button it up since there isn’t enough fabric left over to overlap once you’re done.  But, it stills makes a great top layer, just with a little more restrictions than a real cardigan.  For the price, and the short amount of time that it took to make it, it’s worth its limitations.  I highly recommend this project!

My two ON clearance sweaters

 

Finished gray cardigan




Rachel

Suede Bag Made from Repurposed Suede Jacket and DIY Tote Bag Tutorials

Suede purse made from a repurposed suede shirt and leather belt

Bag-making is an illness for me.  When I see someone with a bag walk by, I don’t see the person carrying the bag, I see the bag.  I see it, I dissect it, I cut out the pieces, and then I put it all back together again–all in my head and all in the span of a few seconds.  I think that’s the very definition of an illness.  I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t make money selling bags that were as complex as the one pictured above, and that’s why I turned my business into simpler products that were  less time-consuming; this allowed me to spend more time with my family while still enjoying the creative process of sewing.

In the meantime, I created a couple bag patterns over the years that I use for the purses that I make for myself.  They are not in reproducible form, so I am not able to share the patterns with you.  But, there are so many free basic tote bag tutorials out there, and I will introduce you to them here (scroll to bottom).

I discovered this suede shirt at Goodwill a few weeks ago, after I made my original suede purse from a repurposed vintage jacket.  I couldn’t resist buying it, along with a leather belt that I saw there, so that I could make yet another suede purse for myself.  (The suede shirt was to become the bag, the belt was to become the handle.)  Not sure how many suede bags I need, but as long as I have my bag-making illness, I’m sure there will be more to come. (:

The suede shirt was very wrinkled, so I threw it in the dryer for about five minutes with a damp, white cloth, to help release some of the wrinkles

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Rachel

Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup



Ingredients


Sauteing Onions


Adding in the tomatoes

I’m sharing a wonderful recipe for creamy tomato soup that I found on Pinterest.  I started making homemade tomato soup years ago, but was never completely happy with my recipe.  This recipe had the missing ingredient that I was looking for–cream.  Yes, tomato soup should be creamy!

One word of warning–if you introduce your family to homemade tomato soup, they may never eat the stuff from the can again!  I learned this the hard way, but it was too late, there was no going back.

I made some adaptations to the recipe that I found here.  I doubled it to make it feed our family, but also tweaked a few things that I felt helped the flavor and made it simpler, in my opinion.  The recipe and directions are below.  It makes approximately a gallon of soup.

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Rachel

Antique Canning Jar Wall Vases

Things have been quiet around Tidy Tangle lately.  Laura’s working hard on her master’s classes these days, I’m busy filling Etsy orders and counting down to my 1,000th Etsy sale–today I am at 992, only eight sales away!

In the meantime, I am working on putting some finishing touches on my house decor (yes, finishing touches five years later) as we start trying to sell our house.   For several years, the wall above my sofa in my family room has looked like this:

Blah.

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Laura

Fabric Hoops Decor

I found this great post and couldn’t resist sharing. Such a simple idea, yet so beautiful. I did something similar in my daughters room with scraps left over from a quilt a friend made, but used square frames instead. I like the round hoops better.

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http://www.purlbee.com/swatch-portraits/

For a great way to incorporate it into a nursery, check out this blog
http://aedriel.blogspot.com




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