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Dixie Belle Paint Review

Dixie Belle Chalk Paint Review

A few summers ago I became infatuated with chalk paint.  It requires no sanding, or priming. Simply prep a piece to be painted by wiping it down and then starting to paint.  I was thrilled to be asked to review Dixie Belle Chalk Paint and I knew exactly which project I would tackle.

before_chalk_paint

A while back, my mother gifted me these amazing cake tables. I loved the shape and height of them, but the color left a lot to be desired. They were an odd royal blue and went with nothing in my house. I knew that at some point I would paint them; it has not been a priority though. Now I can say they are done and they look fabulous!

I have tried other chalk paints before on the lower end of the price scale, but had not tried theirs yet. It is a better quality than the chalk paints I have used from Michael’s or JoAnne’s and sells at a higher price, still it’s not as expensive as the brand that shall remain nameless. I like that Dixie Belle comes in two sizes and a wide variety of colors.

Dixie _Belle_chalk_paint

For my cake table project, I choose their Buttercream. It’s a warm cream that brightened up the tables beautifully. I expected it to take multiple coats of chalk paint to cover the blue and it did. I painted almost three coats over the blue and let each coat dry before applying the next. I then painted a clear coat over it to give it a little glossy shine.

They sent me stain and a wax, but for this project, I wanted the tables to be less aged and more one-dimensional. I have a few other small projects I intend to work on as well, and will try the wax out then.

I have to admit; I did not follow the instructions, and realized I could have thinned out the paint with a little water. It may have helped it to go on more smoothly. Honestly, I do not think I would have had a better outcome had I watered it a bit.

after_chalk_paint

Tell me what you think? Did these come out beautifully? I think they are my new found favorites.

*Sponsored Post – Dixie Belle Paint Company sent me some paint for the purposes of this review.

Sewing Class

The one thing I have wanted to do was take a sewing class and this past weekend I had the chance to take a class at Jo-Ann’s.  The class focused on making a fabric bin. At first I thought it may have been a little above my skill set, but then I realized it was just straight lines.

Fabric Bin project

Fabric Bin project

I started out with 5/8th of a yard of fabric for the main fabric and the liner as well as the interfacing. I needed to get the eye-let kit and rope trim for the handles, although in the end I opted to leave the handles off the bin.  Jo-Ann’s provided me with the single piece pattern. I cut the pattern out three times and then began the process of sewing it all together.  The sewing class was supposed to be a mere three hours long, but almost five hours later, I was done.

Finished fabric bin project

Finished fabric bin project

As it turned out, I was the only one to sign up for the home decor project sewing class and was able to get individualized attention.  I wasn’t he only one there to sew though. There were a couple of 10 year olds there with their own sewing machines learning to make patch work pillows.  I was struck by their level of interest, concentration and creativity.  In a day where most millennials aren’t learning to sew, it was refreshing to see girls much younger learning to.

One of the young girls was a cancer survivor and she hadn’t been to a sewing class in a few years. I felt fortunate to meet the young lady. She’s very talented, creative and inquisitive.  After she complimented me on the Paris print I was working with, I gave her the scrap material I had. I am sure she will do something amazing with it.  I spent most of the day chatting with her mother as I diligently sewed my project.

The cool thing is the pattern for the fabric bin was so easy; I can replicate it at home and make a bunch of bins for other organizational needs.  It will make a gift too.

As for taking a class at Jo-Ann’s, I would happily take another. It was a fun day working on a project where my only focus was what I was working on.  The instructor was patient and helpful. I think it helped that she really enjoyed being there with all of us.

If you want to learn to sew, I suggest checking out their sewing classes. They have a sewing 101 class that teaches you the basics. You will learn about the various hems, stitches and the like.  I may actually go back and take that class, even though it’s a bit remedial for me.

Salvaging old wax to make a new candle

Scented candles this time of year lend a little bit to the season, pumpkin spice in October and November, a bit of evergreen and cinnamon spice heading into December.  A home that has the scent the season wafting through is just a welcoming place to be.  I purchase jar candles at Marshall’s , TJMaxx and Target throughout the Autumn months. They have the best prices and selection rather than spending an arm & leg at the mall candle shop.  Each year though I end up with jars filled with left over wax and a spent wick.  Tossing out a jar with an inch or more of wax seems wasteful. I hate to surrender the wax to the landfill and of course, the jars are worth saving for other uses. So, what’s the trick to using the left over wax? Make a new candle.

 

salvaging wax for a new candle

It’s an easy process and a quick DIY.  Simply melt down the wax over a low heat on a flat electric stove top.  Once the wax melts, carefully pour it into a smaller vessel with a fresh wick.  Just like that, you make a new candle.

small_jar_candles

On occasion, there may not be enough wax left over to fill another smaller jar.  If there are several with little to none left, you can melt down each of them and then layer the different scents. Melt down one and then pour it into a jar with a wick. Let it harden and then then pour in the second layer. Repeat the process until you’ve filled the smaller jar.

 

I love this project, as it lets me reuse the scented wax to create a new candle without a lot of mess or fuss.  Candle making in its own right can be messy with the need for pot to melt the wax, a selection of scents to perfume the wax. This way is a bit cleaner, and a bit quicker. It also allows for some creativity with the style of jar used. In some cases, I will reuse the smaller jar of a spent jar candle. Other times I may find a unique shaped jar, or grab a votive candle holder to turn into a cool new candle.

Book review: How to Fix Absolutely Anything

When I graduated from college, my parents bought me a toolbox and all the basic tools I could ever need for small household repairs. I often joke that when Kevin and I moved into together I was the one to bring the tools.  I am very comfortable trying to figure out how to fix things. I enjoy the challenge, oddly enough.

pink-toolbox

Kevin on the other hand lives for Youtube videos. He often consults its vast library for various household repairs, like fixing a running toilet or replacing an electrical outlet. I on the other hand will just dive in and figure it out.  Now, granted his way saves on frustration but my way can be more fun. Ok, maybe not.

 

how_to_fix_anything

So, imagine when I had the chance to review the new book “How to Fix Absolutely Anything” .  It’s a book put together by Nicole Smith and is a compilation of household repairs contributed by homeowners for other homeowners. The book is over 300 hundred pages long and covers everything from how to fix your car radiator to making an armchair from a coffee table.  It’s not a book I would necessarily purchase, but it was worth flipping through to see what challenges they tackled. I got a good laugh out of some of the projects. My favorites include to how to fix your totaled car for a fraction of the estimate and how to fix a cassette tape, as if anyone can even buy a cassette today.

Cassette_tape

If you want to check out some of the projects, take a cruise around instructables.com There are some very helpful tips featured too, like how to remove soap scum using PAM cooking spray.

* the book was provided for my review

Review of the Peter Fehrentz book Made by Yourself

MadebyYourself-hires

Recently, I had the chance to review the new book Made by Yourself, written by Peter Fehrentz.  Peter has a degree in metal design and has worked as a set stylist,  product designer and photographer for German and international magazines since 1993.  His experience certainly shines through this book.

It’s a compilation of 48 different 100% designer handmade DIY projects complete with materials lists and directions.  The projects range from furniture to accessories and each sparks a huge rush of inspiration.  Most of the projects are super easy and the worst DIY challenged person can do them.  A few are a bit more complicated, but with some patience, and a little effort are easily completed.

Each chapter features different materials including glass, ceramics, fabrics, metals, and cardboard. Most of the materials are re-purposed in creative ways.

quartz_tray

I found some of the ideas to be twists on projects already available on the interwebs.  For example,  there is a tray he provides direction to which is a take on a Martha Stewart tray made of picture frames. Fehentz uses a quartzite stone and vintage dresser handles, giving it a truly artistic flair. As far as unique pieces go, this one does not disappoint. It could be the best convo starter at the next gathering.

Some of the projects featured are wonderful Ikea hacks, using a few of their benches and chests.   One project converts a bench into a bookcase and gives it the look of cement.  It would be amazing in an industrial styled loft or perhaps even a man cave.

FabricOrigami

Or try your hand at fabric origami…

I love that Peter has captured so many wonderful projects and makes them look so easy. I have been inspired to try a few of these as well as put my own twist on a few of the projects.

If you’d like a copy of the book, it can be purchased through Amazon. It retails at $27.95, and well worth every dime if you are looking for imaginative ideas that come with instructions.

 

note:  I was sent a copy of the book for the purposes of reviewing it.