Do It Yourself: Nail & String Art

Yesterday I tried a project, which I had been wanting to do for a while now – string art.  I think it came out great, but the wood was not the best – old shelf from a broken bookshelf – so instead of tossing it out, I recycled it, but it’s not “real” wood.  Also the nails were too short, so must keep that in mind when I buy more nails – longer are better.

First you put in the nails, then wrap the string…. this can be done in different patters and colors, but for the first one I didn’t fuss much.

Final item.  I think it’s cute and I have it in Soren’s room.

Maebh wants one so will do one for her possibly on the last shelf thing I have but what I really want to do is Massachusetts.    There are a few examples out there which I like so will do something similar but not exact.

If I ever get around to doing more, I’ll update.

DIY: Santa & Christmas Cookie Plates

Last year at the kids’ school’s Winter Fair, I made some cute Santa shell Christmas Tree ornaments from the shells we collected up at Portrane Beach in Donabate.

This year, I agreed to make something else for the same Adult/Holiday Gifts table.  I am going to be doing up some Santa & Rudolph Cookie plates.   I bought a few 1.00 plates at Ikea the other day, but I need to get the ones with flat rim edges as I think they’ll look cuter.  Some people make these type plates with Sharpie markers, but I have a whole kit of brilliant porcelain paint markers from Ross Baker, which will set better.   After you draw on the porcelain, you set by putting in the oven on 160 c for 90 minutes!   It says safe to eat off, but I’m still hesitant on that… so best use for “Santa’s Cookies and Ruldolph’s Carrot”.

Anyway, here are a few plates I did up  – some are cuter than others but all in all are pretty decent for my first try.   The ones with the rims will help prevent the paint from running down and allow for them to be personalized, if requested.

Happy to report they sold at the Winter Fair and we kept the perosnalized one for future visits from Santa!

DIY: Map Tile Coasters – GREAT Christmas Gifts

A month ago, I was planning on making a few teachers & friends some cookie mix in mason jars, but after much thought, I opted do something a little more creative.

I made homemade tile map coasters instead.  I was on a mad dash to find maps of Norfolk, but they are not easy to come by… unless I wanted to buy maps at 7 pounds a piece, which I didn’t.  So for one teacher, who I know visits London a bit will get ones from London.  Another the London tube… and again, while I’d like to give everyone here coasters from North Norfolk, it’s not going to happen on my budget.

I tried smooth wall tiles at first, but I like these travertine ones better as they are more rustic, though more expensive.  After several coats of Mod Podge and sealer, I think they are very water proof and with stand a hot coffee [or at least that was the intent].

I made myself a set – I love them!  What do you think?

DIY: Maebh’s Room Progress – Part 2

I’m back doing Maebh’s room.  If it were only so easy as the DIY shows who make updating a room in a day so easy. The paint is causing Nils to be dizzy, so I have to push forward and get it done asap. For the past two days, he has slept downstairs on Maebh’s mattress in the living room, to be far away from the paint.

When we first got here that room was the “black” room – complete with a big black wall with silver damask wallpaper.  Clearly not my “style” [not that I have one] or for a three year old girl.

I spent some time peeling it back completely exposing a wall with tons of glue and gunk.  After trying sugar soap, water, vinegar, cleaning products, etc.    With the wall not being the best shape, I thought I’d just
re-wallpaper over it with either a bold pattern or a textured one which you’d then paint over. But after much back and forth, painting it was the way to go.

So our friends came over on Sunday and helped me tremendously by priming the entire room white.

As I had to work Monday and then serve lunch to the volunteer staff at Felbrigg Hall and then I spent nearly all today at the kid’s school getting the Christmas Fayre Tombola tables ready, I only was able to start painting the color after today’s Christingle.

Originally I was going to get the Dulux Light & Space specialty paint in the color Fresh Surf, which is a very light blue color which I loved, but as it is £44.99 per 2.5 litre and they have to mix it, I decided to scrap that idea completely and go with a less expensive paint.

Naturally, I kept changing my mind on what color I’d like to paint the wall.  Maebh wanted pink but I knew that was not a good idea – so I was on the fence with a light lavender but decided to go with blue color which I think will look great, once I have a second coat on.

There are dozens and dozens of lighter turquoise shade options in Homebase and as my head was spinning, so I decided to go with “Azure”.

Here is where it is now, with half room with the first coat of paint.  I’m not sure if it will lighten up, as it’s wet and this photo was from my iphone at night or will it be this color.  Clearly though, I need a ladder as I cannot reach the top! 🙂

There are some rooms on which I really liked for one reason or another so, hopefully her  room color comes out similar.



Off to put the kids to bed & take one more quick photo of the room to see if it’s drying lighter or darker.
Based on the two photos – [dark out with iphone] it seems to be a bit lighter.

Second Coat of paint on the walls.  Looking better, but still needs more work.

Finally done painting the room walls… ugh, such work, but I think it looks great.  I’m actually happier with this color vs. the lighter one I originally wanted.  Now the bed & the dresser.

Nils asked if I could wait until the Spring… but I think if I put down paper and then prime it with BIN 1-2-3 and then a glossy white, I can be done in a few days. Plus with him traveling early next week, I might just get it done then on Monday & Tuesday,

I’m just on a role, I’d rather keep going so I can move on to something else.

DIY: Chalkboard Wall

My DIY projects have really slowed down this week.  I worked, Saturday, Sunday & Monday so when I finally did have time, it really has been too wet to take out my primed tables from the shed and paint them. So, instead I’ve started on another DIY project only indoors.

Next project: Chalkboard Wall
I always wanted to paint a spot on the walls for the kids to have a chalkboard wall and just a quick
search on and you’ll find tons for inspiration like these few images.

The area across from the dining area which we’ll use for the kids, seemed like the perfect spot. Right now they have just clear boxes filled up with toys, but tomorrow, two bookshelves will arrive and be put in each of the corners.  And thankfully, our wardrobes, will be delivered.  I’m happy to say that I’ll finally be able to put some stuff away.

I picked up a good sized container today at Homebase and was excited to start.  The container was about 12 and I’m sure I’ll have left over paint. They had pink, blue & black so I opted for black as I think any other color would be too much for our space.
To start, I used some masking tape to outline the space which I am going to paint.  I don’t really know if they were 100% lined up as I don’t have a level but I’m hoping it was pretty straight.  If not, when I remove the tape, I’ll just do a little extra here & there to make it as perfect as possible.
Today I did one good coat and tomorrow when Maebh is at Nursery school again, I’ll do another good coat.  After doing some research online, I read before you start using chalk on it, you should first allow the painted area to cure for 3 days before using it as a chalkboard.  (Hope we can wait!)  Then, prior to initial use, rub the entire surface with a piece of white chalk.

The kids had funny reactions when I told them that black area was a chalkboard.   Pretty excited, I’d say!

As I’ll have left overs, I might actually do a small square in the kitchen to be used as a note board for shopping lists, or to do lists, etc.

Oh and I have to buy some chalk – but I also read there was something called dustless chalk – sounds perfect.

UPDATE:  3 coats have been put on and are now drying and will “cure” for the next 3 days.  Hope we can resist … (better just not have chalk in the house, so we can’t.)

I’m going to run to Homebase or B&Q one of these days to see about putting a crown moulding edge around it.  I like the look of a block on the top two corners and lined wood down each side a bit like this one which was used to frame a mirror.  I think it will give a clean, finished look.

Update: Took a trip to Homebase to pick up some paint for my tables and I got a great color.  Can’t wait to start that, hopefully today.  But they don’t have the type of moulding architrave which I’m looking for – only skinny strips of wood but you have to cut it yourself and then paint it, etc.  I think the best bet is to head to B&Q with my measurements and hope to get it there.

After putting in the bookshelves next to the wall, it NEEDS a frame asap.

UPDATE:  Sept 23, 2013 – a little before school chalkboard wall play and tonight before bed, Soren & I played Tic Tac Toe.