Monday, April 4, 2016

Let's Get Chalky!

We're back with another short-"ish" tutorial on how to use the amazing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!

Hello again!! I have been meaning to write this post for a long time now. The pictures from my projects have been hanging out in my phone for months now, just waiting to be used. I tried to take as many detailed pictures as I could because, I don't know about you, but when it comes to figuring out something new, I am a very visual learner. So I'll try to keep it short and sweet and just include as many pictures as I can. Here we go!

I recently became obsessed with chalk painting when I decided to change up my daughter's bedroom...I found an amazing vintage dresser at a flee market and it screamed "paint me!". It also started the upward spiral of my chalk painting frenzy. Much to my husband's dismay...I have nearly chalk painted every piece of furniture I possibly can in our house...the struggle is real...if you are reading this and planning a chalk painting adventure...I'm warning you now, nothing in your house is safe after you finish that first glorious piece.

Annie Sloan paint is great because you really don't have to prep your piece of furniture at all. There is no sanding, or priming! The drying time is super fast and you can finish a large piece with two coats in just a couple hours. This paint is fool proof and that is why I recommend it, especially if this is your first furniture remodel. It is a little on the spendy side, but you really do get a lot of bang for your buck. I can finish 2-3 large pieces with just a quart of her chalk paint...a little goes a long way!

Before you start it is important to gather all your materials. Here is what I usually have on hand:
1) Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, 2)a natural bristle brush (avoid synthetic bristle brushes because they can lead to unwanted brush strokes), 3)Annie Sloan soft wax (for this project I am just using clear wax) 4) Annie Sloan round wax brush.

5)wood filler to fill in any scratches, 6)putty knife 7)fine sand paper

8)cheese cloth, 9)baby wipes, 10)plastic spoon and container.

Here was the dresser before painting...I was going for a pink vintage chic look in my daughter's room and the yellow just wasn't fitting. I decided to go with Annie Sloan Scandinavian Pink for a really girly look.

First you need to prep your piece by simply wiping off any dust or dirt with a baby wipe (you could probably use a different type of wipe..but with a 2 year old running around, I have a lot on hand and they work great!). Take all the hardware off and tape the insides of the drawers. (If you are planning to paint your hardware the same color as your piece then you can leave it on)

Normally, there is no sanding necessary, but in my case, this dresser had been painted before and the black paint was peeling...I'm not sure what they used, but it was not the right type of paint. It peeled off almost in one whole strip.

The dresser drawers are prepped, cleaned and edges sanded. 
The next step is painting. Some key things to remember here are to apply a thin layer of paint evenly...the paint will appear streaky after the first coat. This is normal! 2-3 coats are common with Annie Sloan paint. 

See how streaky it is after the first coat? 
This chalk paint will dry very fast and most of the time I can start to apply the second coat about an hour after starting. For the second coat, you will need to thin the paint out a little so that it applies evenly. Use a paper cup and add about a tablespoon or two of DISTILLED WATER to the paint in the cup. You are going for a runny "normal paint" consistency. (The consistency of normal latex paint, if that makes sense). Do Not add water strait into the can cause it to mold over time. 

See the difference when you apply the second coat? The color becomes rich and the coverage is perfect. 
You will want to let your piece dry overnight before you start the waxing step. Clean all your brushes with warm water and let them dry. The next step is my favorite...waxing!! You can paint your hardware while you wait (if you are planning to so). I chose to spray paint my hardware a gold color. I used Rust-oleum metallic finish spray paint. 

For this particular piece, I wanted to add a different color to accent the drawers. I mixed a little of Annie Sloan's Old White with the Scandinavian Pink I was already using to create a lighter pink for the edges. I applied this before the waxing step. I wasn't too worried about being perfect because I was planning on adding a gold paint detail to the piping on the drawer. 

After you've let your piece dry overnight, the next step is to wax it...this can be the most intimidating part, but it really is way easier than it seems! If you want to watch an awesome video of the waxing process, check out this Vlog from 

Clear Waxing Step.

The idea is to apply a thin layer of wax and then, using your cheesecloth, wipe off any excess. You are going for thin layers here, you don't want globs of wax in the edges. Use the round wax brush to apply the wax in a circular motion and then wipe off. I run my hand along the piece to feel for any sticky areas. Work in a methodical way from top to bottom, front to back. 

I usually like to add two clear coats to my furniture pieces, and for this dresser, because it would be used in my daughter's room, I added 3 coats to the top. You want to let the wax coats dry fully in between applications. This step goes pretty fast and I usually complete it over the course of a few evenings. 

To finish this dresser, I added a small gold detail to the piping on the drawers to tie in the gold handles. I also added it to the scrolling detail on the legs of the main piece. Be sure to let your piece sit undisturbed for at least a week to fully cure!

And you are done!! Here is the finished piece!

I also picked up a coordinating smaller dresser from Craigslist and a small nightstand from the Goodwill to finish off my daughter's bedroom furniture. Here are a few picks of those and their transformations!

 I used modge podge and scrapbook paper to replace the paper inside the drawers. I also added some cute butterfly paper to the sides of the drawers for a fun pop of color. 

Here is the other small dresser:

I loved how these turned out! And they look so cute in my daughter's room. I love how they all look like they were meant to go together as a bedroom set! Let me know if you have any questions and I'll be sure to answer! 

Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to use dark wax and distressing to add depth to your furniture makeovers! 

Until next time,


Friday, January 22, 2016

Creating Busy Boxes and Activity Schedules for your Toddler

Hello again! I'm here to share a quick post about busy boxes and activity schedules. If your toddler is anything like mine, then you know the stresses that come with trying to make dinner, fold laundry, clean the house, basically anything besides devoting full attention to your little human. Why is it that they pick the times when we are the busiest to become the most needy? It's like a 6th sense they all have! So I came up with a few "busy boxes" to help make evenings a little more smooth and a little less like a giant hot mess. 

Some things to keep in mind...

#1 - You DO NOT have to make your activities super extravagant. Your toddler will be excited about anything you pull out of your containers...seriously, if you are excited about it, they will be too.

#2 - You need to spend the first few times showing your toddler how to "play" with the items. So I suggest pulling out your chosen activity 1-2 times before just throwing it at them while you try and prepare dinner. 

#3 - Designate a special area for your busy boxes...these are not meant as a "free for all". My toddler has a little table in the kitchen where she plays with her busy boxes. She knows that the items need to stay at her table. You will thank yourself later when you have avoided scooping mini pom-poms out of the couch crevasses and every other area of your house...avoid that...seriously.

Ideas for Busy Boxes:

Stamps and Stickers...just add some paper and your toddler will enjoy creating a masterpiece!

Good ol' color crayons and coloring books. Remember, this does not have to be toddler gets excited the minute I pull out a container, no matter what's inside. 

Paint, paint brushes and sponge stamps. I would not recommend this activity during the times when you really need to be super productive with your house work...unless you enjoy scrubbing paint off the floors and walls!

These dot markers are so fun! And you can buy the coordinating dot coloring books. They are basically like a giant stamp/marker all in one. Your toddler will love stamping away!

For this box, I just threw in some old craft supplies that I had laying around. My daughter can glue pom poms or feathers to paper, we have even attached feathers to toilet paper rolls. She loves this one!

This one is my daughter's absolute favorite! I love it too because it is one of the less messy options that I have. I usually pull this one out during dinner prep time and it gives me a good half hour of work time. I have since added beans to the tub to make it harder to find the colored bears. My daughter sorts the bears into the coordinating cups and loves to scoop and dump them back out into the bin. I bought this set at learning palace for a very reasonable price. 

I usually pair this one with some measuring cups and spoons. My daughter enjoys scooping and digging in the pom poms. Sometimes will will even throw little toys in there for her to scoop out. Remember what I said earlier about giving your child ideas about how to play with each box? Yeah, check out the picture below...while it was a ton of fun for her at the time, I was finding little pom poms strewn about the house for the next month! LOL!

Play Dough! You can't get must better than that! Add some cookie cutters and utensils and your little one will have a ton of fun. 

Pipe cleaners and large buttons. This box has so many options! You can add a kitchen strainer and have your toddler insert pipe cleaners into the little holes. You can teach your child how to string the buttons onto the pipe cleaners (a great fine motor activity) Or you can just let them use their imagination! This is another one of my daughter's favorites!

Flash cards! The most simple idea is sometimes the best!
I'm sure whatever you come up with to put in your toddler's busy boxes will be a fun addition to your little one's daily routine. Remember, if you make it fun and a really big deal...they will too!!

Using the "PECS" System in a Home Setting:

Here is another great idea to help you busy moms manage their "at home" time with their toddlers. I don't know about you, but for me it was becoming harder and harder to keep my little one entertained at home without blasting the TV all day long. Our days were becoming filled with whining and frustration because it was hard for my daughter to place her time. She would constantly cry for a snack every time I entered the kitchen and it was hard for her to grasp the concept of "not yet" or "later". 

My background is in elementary teaching and I have seen this system used in schools before with fabulous results. I bought this PECS system online and it came with the CD to be able to create your own images. Simply, laminate and add a little Velcro and you are set! We call this her "schedule" and my daughter loves it! It has been life changing when we are getting out the door in the mornings, with filling our time with meaningful activities, and with bedtime routine...not to mention that my two year old can now function fully independently without me having to say anything. If I have to get something done, I put it on the schedule and she helps me. There is no more crying at night time or when it's time to go potty. She simply goes to her schedule, puts the picture up at the top and proceeds to do the activity. When she is done, the picture goes in the "finished" box at the bottom and she grabs the next activity from the top of the list. I have even made coordinating pictures to go along with each busy box that we have. 


I have made up a notebook to hold all of the picture cards. I've even printed ones for family members when we are planning to visit them that day. Lylah gets so excited when she sees her "Gamma" on that day's plan. This system has been so great in keeping an organized home. It even reminds me to plan fun activities for my daughter...and I can add my chores to the list so we can make sure to get them done! I highly recommend! 

Here are some examples of some of the pictures we have printed: