Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer of '14 Home Tour

Come on in...I have the air conditioner running for you to take
a tour of the Summer decorating at The Kat House!

As you come in the front door the entry way and the dining
room are all one space.  Straight ahead of you the French 
buffet holds two glazed terra cotta lamps made from garden urns.

A new item in this vignette that I recently recycled is the lantern.

In its former life it was a light fixture.  I found it at a garage sale
 for  $1.  At first I thought I would try to save the candle
 section of the light fixture but then I decided it would
 be more versatile if the lantern was empty so I just
 cut the wire and pulled the "guts" out.  
The upcycled light fixture got a couple of coats of 
DIY chalk-y paint, a coat of dark wax and a simple
painted wooden ball knob on top. 

To add some nautical feel to it I also added some rope.

In front of the lantern is a shell that was on clearance at Michaels.
I thought that the color of the shell went well with the lamps and
the art print on the wall.  When I researched what kind of shell 
it is, I discovered that it is a Cornetian or Queen's Helmet shell
 that is sometimes used to carve real cameo jewelry. 
Usually the shell is cut into parts and carved into cameos that are small and used in jewelry.
I did see some photos where the cameo was actually carved onto the shell in the space in the
photo above where the dotted circle is. 

On either side of the lantern are fishing floats that came from 
Hobby Lobby.  Between the float and the lamp on one side

The other side of the vignette has faux wave coral from Target.

The art print of shells was sprayed on the back with spray adhesive
and attached to foam core that fits inside the white frame that has
the art changed inside of it seasonally. 

On the dining room table in the same room more shells and
coral are on display. 


The center of this vignette is a grouping of DIY coral and seafans.

It is surrounded by a former Summer wreath that was

The vases in this vignette had sand (cheap at Home Depot if
you aren't going to the beach to gather some) added as a base
for the flameless LED candles and shells.


so large that you couldn't actually eat at the table without
moving some of the stuff so I kept it smaller this year by
just adding candles to the backside of the vignette.

They are also LED candles. I didn't want to permanently make
Summer candles with a shell on them.  To make a place (that
could be removed) to attach a shell to  with glue, 
I added a band of wrapped twine on the candles.

Only a small amount of glue was needed to attach the shell.
I don't think it went through onto the candle. 

Behind the dining room table display is...

....the display cabinet.

This was once a brown piece that I loved for years but when
Annie Sloan chalk paint became available in the U.S. I 
decided to take the plunge and paint it a lighter color. 

I never did completely finish painting the piece but I am 
going to open the doors for you so you can see the DIY
coral collection that is inside for this summer. 
I'm not good at photographing things behind/under glass. 

An update that the DIY coral and sea fans got this year was
to have shells glued onto their base.  They are a couple of 
years old now and the bases needed a little love. 
These are faux coral made to look like Spiny Coral. 

Moving from the dining room into the living room, a stand
that we made from framing wood and covered with a damask
fabric holds an urn with DIY starfish is on your right. 



I brought back my "Beach Boy" to be in the center of 
the living room.  He has some funky "ribbon" from 
Hobby Lobby that reminds me of fishing net over his
shoulder and at his feet.  Shells are attached to the "net". 







Behind "Beach Boy" is the sofa which has pillows with DIY 
cases featuring vintage-looking octopii. 

The fire place and bookcases take up one wall of the living room.

The beach art print also is one that has been attached to a 
foam core board and put into a frame that has seasonal 
artwork inserted in it.  You can see lots more pictures of
the mantle and bookcases in this blog post. 

Another area of this room that has already had a blog post
done on it and more photos and instructions is the white
mirrored buffet holding a re-painted lantern. 



The kitchen area of the house is also open to the living room
on the back side of the house.

A Summer vignette was made for the kitchen table. 

More photos of this vignette can be seen in this blog post. 

A door from the kitchen leads out to our carport.  
Actually, most folks coming to see us come in through the 
back door.  I had left-over summer decorating items and a
baker's rack that I just don't have room for in the house so
to make that space a little more welcoming, I put them
at the entrance to the carport. 

Left-over sand was also used to make this vignette
more summer-y and use a vase filler. 





Plastic star fish and sea horses from the toy aisle at Dollar 
Tree were painted white to use on top of bottles, etc. 



"Not quite right" foam star fish were attached to foam bases
and look like they are "dancing" on the top shelf.

More starfish are stacked in vases on the bottom shelf.

I hope you have enjoyed the Summer tour of my house!
Come on in through the back door next time since we are 
friends now.

I'm sharing this post over at
Under the Table and Dreaming's Sunday Showcase
Boogie Board Cottage's Masterpiece Monday
Between Naps On The Porch's Metamorphosis Monday
Mod Vintage Life's Mod Mix Monday
Dwellings' Amaze Me Monday
A Stroll Thru Life's Inspire Me Tuesday
Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesday

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Look Beyond The Color

When you see an accessory for your home that you like
except for the color, try looking beyond the color because
you can change that easily with DIY chalk-y paint.  
It sticks to almost anything. 

You can customize the color that you want for your
chalk paint too.  Because you can use even inexpensive
acrylic paint as the coloring agent, there are hundreds of
colors to choose from.

The "chalk" in chalk-y paint can be Plaster of Paris, 
plaster from the craft store or powdered wall texture. 

The chalk-y paint covers items well. You may only
need one coat to hide the "wrong" color.
Because it is so inexpensive to make, you can mix several
different shades of the same basic color to give the item a
layered paint look.  Paint on one good base coat then lightly
brush on other similar colors on top letting some base 
color still show through. If you get too much color
on top of your base color you can sand some off.

A good ratio that I have used is one part plaster (or wall
texture) to three parts of paint. Add a LITTLE water (just
enough to get the powder and paint to mix together) at
first.  Then add enough water to get the mixture paintable
and the consistency that you would like. Stir to dissolve
any powder clumps. With this "recipe" you can make
even a small amount of chalk-y paint for a small project. 

A black wooden lantern (that I found at Old Time Pottery
at a great price) recently got a chalk-y paint makeover. 

I like the lantern but I found that the only time it looked
"right" in my home was at Halloween. 

In hopes of making it more versatile and able to use it for
more seasons, it got some layers of white/cream chalk-y paint. 

The black metal top of the lantern also got painted.
To try to give it an aged copper look, I pulled out a "patina" kit
 that I got on clearance at a craft store (for such a time as this).

The original black got coated with the Black Green paint in a
solid color.  It wasn't that much of a change in color.
Then the instructions in the kit said to sponge on the Venetian
Gold color.  The Green Mist comes next. You can make the
layers gold and green layers have less of a "sponged-on"
look by dabbing the color (before it dries!) with a brush
damp with water or even plastic wrap.  

Everyone's idea of what aged copper looks like is different.
Here is a pretty aged copper roof with even several varying
shades of blue and green within itself.

I wanted a little more blue in the lantern's "roof" so I 
added some blue acrylic paint on there too.

Here is another lantern that got a copper look this summer.
It was originally shiny white.  It got a rusty/coppery paint finish
to be used with similar colored items at an after-rehearsal 
dinner five years ago.  Since then it has rarely been used.

Maybe with the new blue and green thinned out paint
colors on top, it will fit in with my home's color scheme
and be used more often. You can see more of this lantern
and how it is used in the blog post about this year's 

Some other items in the vignette with the now-white
lantern that have had makeovers are the fishing bouys.

They were originally terrible colors and had made their way
to the clearance shelves at Hobby Lobby. You can see their
transformation at the blog post Faux Lobster Bouys.

The star of the show inside the lantern is the seahorse.

She started out life as a green seahorse.  I'm not saying she
was a "bad" shade of green but she did not "go" with my
summer color scheme.  She got a chalk-y paint finish.

Her supporting cast inside the lantern is a DIY starfish (see how
to make scads of your own at Whimsical Starfish) and some 
tall candles.  Any small accessories inside the lantern just
seemed to disappear in the bottom.  To make the LED candle
seem taller I stacked two together then wrapped them with
some twine to hide the stacked place and have a surface to 
glue a shell on (without hurting the candle surface).


The other tall candles inside the lantern are real candles
(that don't get lit inside there) that have seen better days.
I didn't mind gluing shells directly on them to give them
a more summery look.

The LED candle can be pre-programmed to come on by
itself for 5 hours a day.  Only the top candle is activated
to come on at dusk to give the illusion that it is real.

The chicken wire in frames hold quotes about the sea that
I also used last year (see blog post Sea Sayings for more
close-ups and instructions how to make them).


No surprize that the frames have been painted with chalk-y paint too.
Somebody stop me!

Some of the small starfish and shells could be attached
to the chicken wire with small clothespins.  The larger
and odd-shaped shells were more of a challenge.

To make them "hang-able" a button with floral wire
through two of the holes was glued onto the shell.

Now they can hang with no visible means of support. 
A thinner and/or gold or silver wire would have been ever easier to hide...note to self and to you. 

Fishing net from the Dollar Tree was added over the
chicken wire for a more nautical feel.









With each batch of chalk-y paint that I made (even though
they were little) I would have some left over.  I started 
painting other accessories that "bothered" me about not
being a color that I enjoyed using with the left over paint. 
 Maybe now they will get in the mix more often too. 

This angel seemed to only get used at Christmas
because she was gold.  Now that she has had thin coats
of chalk-y paint added on top of the gold (which still shows
through little bit) I think I will use her more.
The white angel on the top row is without a wax finish.
You can wax the painted item or not.  The wax does help
seal the paint and make it more durable.  You can use a 
clear wax and it does not change the paint color much.
The bottom two angel pictures show her with a mix of
clear and dark wax added.  Even though I tried not to
use too much dark wax, I think I did.  That's a fine line.
You can mix clear wax and dark wax together to make the dark wax not TOO dark.  
Mash them together with a plastic fork (to throw away) like mixing butters. 

The good thing about chalk-y paint is that it sticks so well that
if you get too much dark wax on, just give your item another
coat of chalk-y paint and start over...it even sticks to wax. 

This thrift store candelabra also got lightened up.
                  Original color                                                  Painted with no wax                            Painted with clear/dark wax added

This bowl of faux daffodils had a blue and white pattern.
I used to use those colors but I don't right now.  The bowl
got painted a neutral color to go with everything now.
              Original color                                              Painted with no wax                            Painted with clear/dark wax added

I have been on the lookout for a head vase.  I saw this
teal one at Hobby Lobby this past Spring on sale.  All she
needed was a couple of varying coats of chalk-y paint to
make me happy with her.  I used a higher ratio of plaster
in her paint to make her have more texture.  I did not put
wax on her finish ('cause I liked the texture and thought 
the wax might ruin that) so I will need to be careful with her.

At a consignment sale I found two plaques for $4 each.
They were not the color I needed (I will use them in my
master bathroom) so they got a makeover with chalk-y paint.

They got a coat of the clear/dark wax mix to make the 
detail in them stand out.
Thanks for enduring this long blog post. I haven't had much
time for blogging lately and wanted to include different
 things I have done recently all in one post. 
 Hope you are having a great Summer!!!

I'm sharing this post over at
Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesday
Imparting Grace's Grace At Home
French Country Cottage's Feathered Nest Friday
Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading

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