The very boring blog post about a picture frame.

PRIOR WARNING: This post contains content of very dull info on the redecoration of our living room.  I wasn’t going to write such dullness but I figured it would be nice to look back and think “ooh do you remember how long that took just to decorate one room?”!!!

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

So last week when I got to wander around the shops with my ma we picked up some crazy bargain picture frames – only they were picture frames WITH a pin-board.  Very cool.  The frames were black and straight away I knew I wanted them white and distressed.

I wish I’d taken a photo of it when I bought it for the sake of comparison.

So the first one I used I painted with  regular old satin wood.  It took a few coats to look even but by then it didn’t want to be scuffed up at all.  Uh.  I banged it around a little and I like it but it definitely needs roughing up a bit more.






The pictures are not clear at all.  It makes them look way ‘whiter’ than they really are.  The pinboard section has been bordered with string.

The second one I used spray paint and it was soooooo much quicker.  Plus, because it was a lighter coat, it scuffed up so much easier too.  Perhaps too much, I’m not sure.





I’m gutted that attempt #2 has bubbles in the pin board.  I fought temptation to mess with it with common sense.  I doubt any cork would remain if I had a scalpel in hand.  I’m not feeling the love with the picture frame people either.  But I figure once the pin-board has all sorts pinned onto it you’ll never see the little bubbles.

I learnt way more painting two frames.  I went back to the shop to get a load more and they’d all gone! Boooo!

The ones I do have though definitely have the weathered feel I was looking for and I love the string border on the pin-boards.  I think I just have that on the brain.  In any shop I gravitate to anything in the shade of teal or anything distressed or white.  Well not anything white.  That’d be just silly.  One wall in my living room has now got some paint on.  Granted, it is a base coat to secure the new plaster, but it has paint on it nonetheless.  I think everyone in the house is getting a little tired of everything being out of place so that’s an incentive to try and get the painting done. 

I’ve started distressing the fireplace that we took off to plaster the walls, and we’ve hidden the little bits and pieces we’ve bought for the room in a cupboard until the room is ready for them.

Not long now.


Faking it.

Its that time of year. Time to get the legs out. In fact that time of year sneaked up on me (am I the only one?) and I was very unprepared. With having a bad back, let just say I have struggled to maintain smooth legs.  The husband took every opportunity to make fun of this. But my vanity overrode my (very limited) wisdom and stretched this way and that to sort that situation out. With Rob’s razor. That’ll teach him.

I think I’m possibly getting more vain as I grow older and I didn’t think that would be so. I blame a certain woman (who will remain nameless) cough-BeckyFrance-cough cough who lured me into having a spray tan with her a couple of years ago and in all honesty it made me feel…totally…wonderful. I would just sit and admire my arms. But visiting the salon every week is out of the question. With my two little lovebugs there’s not much chance of lying in the sun to soak up a suntan either so there’s only one other option: Fake tan.

With fake tan, my whole brain screams out to me to buy the ‘good’ stuff. We all know the brands. But there was an impulse buy on Thursday. The purchase process went something like this:

Sunny morning…Weather man says we’re in for a very warm week…by lunchtime I’m sweltering in my jeans…pop in to Home Bargains to get some rabbit food and I walk past some fake tan…brain working very fast…contemplate trying to pull on and squeeze into my shorts that are lurking somewhere at the bottom of my drawer…cheap fake tan is  dropped into my trolley.

Not being someone who has ever really looked after herself I’m vaguely familiar with the idea of exfoliation. Generally  this isn’t a step in one’s beauty regime that mums of young children get to experience. Sometimes it’s a result to wash your hair, and you feel pampered if you can wash your hair and shave your legs. But when I was rubbing this very dark looking mousse into my legs I wondered if it really made a difference.  I thought I’d live a bit try it out.  And not being one to go down the simple route I was intrigued by home-made body scrubs on pinterest.  They look pretty simple and quick to whip up and seem to either have a sugar base or a salt base.  There were a couple though that managed to out their own spin on it.

Carlee over at Deliciously Organised explains how to make a summery Orange and Coconut Scrub

Image credit to Deliciously organised.


I love how Rachel from Maybe Matilda has made her home made body scrubsinto gifts for mums-to-be.  I’m all for pampering a pregnant mamma!

Image credit  to Maybe Matilda.

There were loads more but I just couldn’t celebrate creative divas without acknowledging the ultimate domestic guru Martha Stewart.  I only discovered her a couple months ago.  In a non-idol-creating way – where has she been all my life?!?!  Amongst a gazillion other home-made ideas she has a video of making an exfoliating scrub.

Right, I’m gonna go make me some body scrub!

It worked for me: Chalk Board.

As soon as I  bought some chalk board paint I was desperate to try and make my own vintage-y distressed chalk board.  It has a been a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge learning curve, and I think I now know a little more about how the stuff works.  My original vision for the chalk is completely different from what I ended up with but I’m ok with that.

Most of my projects have been off the cuff, requiring a lot of winging it.  But this one, ironically, the one that was a pain in the bum, is the one I looked into.  I read countless times that chalk board is so versatile it will paint onto anything.  Call me a little naive but I took that at face value.

I wanted a really intricate frame, and when I find one I’ll make another chalk board, but all I had at the time was a reasonably plain picture frame.


The glass was actually stuck onto the wooden frame, which was an obstacle in itself.  Had they been separable it would been a matter of painting and distressing the frame and chalk boarding up the glass.  But it wasn’t like that so I had to work with it.

First up I concentrated on the frame and I grabbed my trustee friend:


and a couple sheets of old newspaper (next time I’m at B&Q I’ll be dumping the masking tape for a new best friend that goes by the name of Frogtape.  It’s said to be the king of all tapes when painting anything.  I covered up the glass and sanded the frame down a little.  I did not prime the wood.  That was me being too impatient because I wanted to do it that afternoon and because I wasn’t able to drive then, I couldn’t get out to buy some.  Next time I paint anything I will definitely prime it. From what I’ve read I’m convinced it will improve the overall finish but I’ll let you know after I’ve tried it.


I wanted the frame to be a ‘distressed’ white so I used my enamel spray.  I’m too lazy to get the brushes out and start using a tin of satin wood.  I don’t know what the best medium should have been.  This worked for me.



Easy peasy lemon squeazy.  I sprayed a couple of coats, letting them dry properly in between, until it looked even.


This is the part I was looking forward to.  And it didn’t disappoint.  This chalkboard paint brushed on really nicely.




The story should have ended there my friends.  Well, after sanding and battering the frame a little.  But it kinda went down hill for a while.  MY BIGGEST MISTAKE: Not painting over the glass fully, so when it dried you could still see through little parts of the glass.  No biggie, I thought, I’ll just paint another layer on.  It’s really tricky to explain – apart from to say it did NOT work for me!  I should have taken a picture of the disaster that was my chalk board right then.  The second layer of paint somehow unsettled the bottom layer that was adhering to the glass.  the whole surface of the paint cracked into weird little ‘islands’ that ‘floated’ on top of the glass.  It’s a shame because I had the white frame all nice and distressed


I don’t exactly know how I came about wiping the blackboard paint with a damp cloth, but for some reason I did and all the freaky little ‘islands’ wiped straight off.  Hmmmmmm, I reckoned that maybe I could fix it afterall.  I cleaned the whole thing, and although this wrecked messed up the frame, I was happy to start from scratch.  Waste not, want not and all that.  When the picture frame was cleaned up and dry again I tried again, but this time a different way.

I wanted something that would stick the blackboard paint to the glass so rather than cover it over, I left it exposed when I spray painted the frame  I picked the can up and started spraying only to find that I’d picked up the wrong can of PINK rather than WHITE  Within seconds though I considered the pink and continued with it.  A happy little mistake in the end.

This could have been the end of this project though, had I not liked the pink on the frame the whole think would have been thrown straight into the bin! Morale of the story: ALWAYS CHECK THE CAN BEFORE YOU USE IT!!!

The spray created a light coat of paint on the glass that would hopefully be a more suitable surface for the chalkboard paint.  I made a point of painting it on thick to cover all the glass fully, and when I was done I checked to see if I’d left any gaps.  It dried fine and there was no need to put on a second coat and risk creating those freaky islands.  Phew.

The chalk board was actually a chalk board now, so there were only a few final touches needed.  I roughed up the frame a bit using sand paper and a chisel to make it look ‘distressed’  I read on a lady’s blog that she drags small pieces of furniture along her road from her car to ‘distress’ it.  That made me laugh but I decided against it.  I also wanted some string to hang from one side to the other as a mini ‘clothes line’ for receipts, notes etc.  We (meaning The Husband) screwed in some tiny hooks to anchor down the string.


All done!




It worked for me: Art Gallery

One of the first images I fell in love with on Pinterest was this way of displaying children’s pictures.  I wanted to use different words and make it a little more ‘home made’ but I loved the concept.  so I got thinking and figured it should be pretty straight forward to make my ‘Art Gallery’.

I went over to B&Q and picked out  a batten 3.5 cm wide and 1 cm thick.  I didn’t even know what it was called, I had to google it.  See, DIY can be educational as well as fun…! I don’t remember how long it was but we (meaning The Husband) cut it to 88cm long so it fit nicely above the radiator.  I wanted it white, and thought about using simple White satin wood paint or white enamel spray (for all kinds of surfaces).  I went with the spray because it’s loads easier and quicker. 

The spray paint may well be a ridiculous error.  I totally understand that there’s a proper way to do things.  But as you’ll see a lot in these DIY posts – It worked for me, so I’m ok with cutting corners and making up my own rules.



Those black shiny babies there behind the batten are my previously silver cupboard handles.  But back to the Art Gallery.  I wanted the Gallery to have the option to easily come down so I couldn’t nail it or stick it to the wall in any way.  So I took two of these off an old picture frame.  perfect.


Screwed into the back of the batten and jobs a good’n.  For the front of the the Art Gallery I wanted a bit of sparkle so I took some regular wooden clothes pegs, spread clear glue over the whole surface of one side and sprinkle glitter over.  Tapping off the excess glitter and the pegs were ready to dazzle.




Using my glue gun I glued the razzle dazzle pegs to the batten and the Art Gallery was ready to hang.

I wanted to to Have ‘Art Gallery’ on the wall somehow and my mind went into overdrive to get the creative juices flowing.  As soon as I saw some 3-D cardboard letters in a little craft store I new I was onto something.  I wanted to team them up with some vinyl stickers and I searched and searched for someone who would create a personalised sticker and not charge a bomb.  But I was too impatient and wanted to get the Art Gallery up so gave up on the stickers.  I know I could have found it if I had more time so if you’re looking for something to brighten up a wall there are loads out there.  So instead of the stickers I went all Blue-Peter on the project, printing out letters, cutting them out and sticking ‘em directly on the wall.

And there we have it.  Our Art Gallery.




If you look you can see the ‘Art’ is not centred above the ‘Gallery’.  This is the kind of thing that normally drives me crazy.  I totally have an OCD thing with symmetry.  But this time I’m choosing to be ok with it and embrace imperfection.  And not start twitching whenever I look at it.

You might have spotted a pink chalkboard, which has nothing to do with the Art Gallery, it just happens to be near it.  And this pink chalkboard will be the next ‘It worked for me’ Post.

mayhem, paint and emulsion.

I have a new love.  It was not love at first sight, in fact before very recently I’d pout at the thought of being in the immediate vicinity of the object of my affection.  But since we decided to and started doing a load of work in our house ourselves, B&Q and I have become quite close.  Even when back is spasming I get a jolt of energy as we pull into the carpark.  I could easily wander around the isles for hours.  Rob had to hurry me up when we were there a couple of days ago when I was staring at a massive display of screws.  We don’t need screws right now.

It’s probably a good thing I havn’t been there alone, I wouldn’t want to be that weirdo.

The girls don’t mind going to B&Q, they like dragging the wheely-baskets around and enjoy the extra space you don’t get at the supermarkets.

Ruby enjoys the space a little too much.  She likes to dive under the isles.  You’d be suprise how many hide&seek opportunities there are for a three year old.  But mostly she just runs.

For a long time I’ve loved the idea of working on batters and worn furniture, so having a load of ‘projects’  on the go at the moment, I’m having to force myself to limit the time I spend on them.  It’s hard working on these projects when you shouldn’t be bending, lifting and stretching.  So I’ve been trying to take it easy and control myself.  I’ll write about each project individually, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. Taking photos of the creative process has allowed me to slow down and appreciate it as much, if not more than the end product.

I’ve been using a lot of sprays on some projects.  Much less messy and I like the finish they produce (that’ll make more sense when I write about reworking our old dining chairs).  And the choice! Be still my beating heart.

And in case you didn’t clock them:

I’ve been racking my brains to find some furniture that would look nice glittery but I’m yet to come up with anything.

We’re at a place now when everything should come together very soon.  All the woodwork has been painted, the cupboard handles are ready to go back on and the offensive tiles have been covered.  I want to write more about tile paint sometime soon, now that I’ve had a bot more experience with it.  The kitchen/hallway/stairs/landing flooring is coming tomorrow and we always marked the new flooring as the end of our work.  For the kitchen, hallway and landing anyway.  Its weird, I love the process of decorating and upcycling but it’s been very demanding and intense so we’ll be relieved when it’s all done.  I’m surprised The Husband is still standing.  He’s a warrior.

I was looking after my girls this afternoon and tried to multi-task as we approached the twilight zone of 4.00-6.00pm.  I don’t do multi tasking.  Apparently it’s infused into the core of every woman so I must have been at the back of the queue.

This is what happens when I try to multi task.

I mourned the loss of two eggs for a little while but then pulled myself together and cleaned it up and slowed it down.

And through all the mahem, pain and emulsion there is one member of the Steward family who always sits backs and watches from the sideline.

Tonight The Husband brought this back for me:

We’ve been looking out for them ever since the TV campaign of new flavours.  I was totally expecting them to be like Reeces cups but they’re not.  the peanut butter is more salty.  It still worked though.

Time to climb into bed.  Hope it’s nice and sunny in the morning…!

painting tiles?

So I’ve had this problem with our kitchen.

It’s nothing personal.  We were not destined to be together that’s all.  I’m just not the shiny silvery leafy tile type. I had to wade through months and months of photographs to actually find a one with one of these tiles on and there was much cropping and zooming.

The offending tiles are surrounded plain white unoffensive tiles.  The quickest, easiest and cheapest fix’it was to get me some tile paint.  I’d still see the leaf but it will be hiding behind a sheet of white.

I am no DIY expert.  In fact I’m pretty clueless.  I probably should have researched the appropriate method of painting tiles but I was way too impulsive and impatient for that.  Instead I made my own rules up, and told myself I know exactly what I’m doing.

First, of course, I grabbed the good ol’ masking tape to seal of the edges.

Next up I needed to protect the white tiles.

Now don’t be intimidated by the technique.  I promise you, with the right equipment and lots of practice you can totally pull this off.

Take a couple of carrier bags and rip ’em up.

Fix the carrier bag pieces on the white tiles around the offending-about-to-be whitewashed silver leaf tile.  Masking tape is preferrable but if you run out half way through like I did you can just get crazy with the cellotape.

The angles must be just right.  And the right amount of tape must be used.  How loose the carrierbag is – something I like to call ‘the waftage’ – should be calculated accurately.

And that is how it should be done my friends.  All ready to paint.  You have a choice between brushing the tiles with paint or using a spray can.  Small tins of tile paint were about £18, so I went for the cheaper option (£10) of the spray can.  I thought it would be easier too, no brush strokes to stress about.  Bye bye silver…

Here’s some things not to do when painting tiles:

Do not rip off the masking tape carelessly, and thus ripping half of the new white coating off the tile (I was really surprised about the texture of the dried paint, it’s like a rubbery plastic coating.  At least it was a couple hours after drying.  I’ve not touched any of them since for fear of ruining more tiles).

Do not go through all the preparation, spraying, drying, spraying again, drying again and removing the plastic bags, only to find one still-very-silver rogue tile that must have been hiding the whole time.  Guess who has to get the carrier bags out again…!

Do not decide to spray paint in the kitchen just before you need to start making tea.  That stuff stinks! It’s not even a painty smell –  it’s a chemically/plasticky burns-your-inner-nose adour that requires a lot of ventilation.

Apart from that, jobs a good’n.