Tag Archive | Mod Podge

Mod Podge Makeover

IMG_3888In early May, Hubby traveled back to New England to visit with his folks and work on a blueberry “fort” for his mom–dang those pesky birds! I don’t typically look forward to him leaving, but this time I could hardly wait to drive him to the airport. I had plans to work on a project I’d been itching to tackle since shortly after Christmas, but I wanted it to be a surprise, so couldn’t start until he was gone.

I dropped him off at the local airport early Saturday morning. A few short hours later, I’d pulled out the drop cloths (old tablecloths) and got to work…on my mahogany bedroom bureau.

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Yes, that’s dust on the surface. I have two friends who read these posts and who each keep their houses spotless. I can imagine the looks of horror on their faces at seeing the state of my bureau. 😉

When Kreh and I were first married, eighteen years ago now, we received much of our initial furniture from a good friend’s grandmother when she was moving into assisted living. Through that family’s generosity, we were able to outfit (and thus move into) our little attic apartment with bedroom, living, and dining room furnishings mere days after returning from our honeymoon. A huge blessing for newlyweds who hadn’t lived on their own up to that point.

Over the years, we’ve replaced several items. We bought a new bedframe when we moved to Colorado in 2002. Upon moving to Nebraska in 2003, we bought a bigger couch and matching glider at auction. Before moving to Montana in 2008, we replaced the dining chairs. And the mahogany coffee table now resides at Hubby’s office.

We have yet to replace our bedroom bureau and dresser, however. Mostly because of cost. Someday it might happen (we’d like to match whatever comes in with the cherry-stained sleigh bed we currently have), but after Hubby saw the relative success I had in redoing the mahogany sideboard, he’d uttered the words I’d been hoping to hear for a while: “When are you going to do the bureaus in the bedroom?”

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Sideboard makeover

Swoon!

I had ten days to complete my bureau and matching mirror before he returned. Sounds like plenty of time, but since I was pulling both mommy and daddy duty that week and a half, shuffling kids hither, thither, and yon, I only had school hours to work on it…plus I was committed to writing a certain number of words each day for a writing challenge. I succeeded in both, but the makeover took all ten days—and the master bedroom, being the temporary “workshop,” was a mess in the meantime. 😉

Here’s my process in a nutshell:

I used Bulls Eye 1-2-3 for the primer. It claims to have “outstanding adhesion to dense, glossy surfaces such as enamel paints and varnishes, paneling, laminates…” but so far, I’m still at a loss for a successful primer that won’t get knocked away (taking the paint with it) at the slightest bump. I used Valspar Warm Putty and Indigo Streamer in satin for the colors (along with tiny brushes for the indigo), and I’m very pleased with that outcome. And I used my trusty Mod Podge to adhere the fabric onto the drawer fronts. Lastly, I changed out the hardware, going with rounded square cabinet knobs from Amazon. Love them!

 

The mirror was the tricky piece, with the scrollwork and different surface levels, and I had a tough time figuring out how much blue accents I wanted. In the end, I think it came out perfectly balanced (IMO). 😉 Again, tiny brushes and a steady hand! (And if you’re wondering why the mirror-before-paint is hiding behind the door…it was the only angle that wouldn’t reflect my cluttered room in the background!)

 

 

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After

Hubby loved the makeover–as I hoped he would–so the plan is to work on his dresser and the matching bedside tables over the summer. We’ll see how far I get, heh heh. Considering my children’s second semester of school zoomed past in a blur, I know this summer has the potential for speed. No blinking!

How about you? Have you been able to tackle any spring projects since the weather has warmed up? Do you have grand summer plans ahead you hope to accomplish? Share in the comments below!

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When words fail…use your hands!

I’ve been doing a lot of research and menial rewriting over the last couple of months. Researching agents, tweaking the first 10-50 pages of my manuscript, writing query letters, tweaking query letters, more researching… I hadn’t had much time left over for actual writing—you know, the kind that gets a writer’s butt into the chair and keeps it there—so two weeks ago, I decided to take a break from the research and querying and work on “downsizing” one of my almost-completed manuscripts. It’s 150,000 words, with some scenes that still need to be fleshed out. Ideally, the word count should be around 90,000. That’s a lot of chopping.

I started my attack by hacking off the first few chapters and jumping right into the sixth. Great. Except I cut out pertinent information and character development I now need to squeeze into my new beginning chapters without them sounding like “info dump.” Not so great. Or rather, not so easy. Suffice it to say, by the end of the week I was drowning under old mindsets and negative thinking and had to yank my head out of the water so I could take a breather. And give myself permission not to write for a few days.

Perfect time, then, to make curtains for the living room and finish an American Girl backdrop.

Before

Before

After

After

 

I knew changing the curtains from those drab brown ones could only be a good thing, but I wasn’t prepared for how much a simple piece of hemmed fabric could breathe fresh air into a stale room! Needless to say, I bought more of the same fabric so I can attack the bedroom curtains during my next writing funk.

As for the backdrop…

American Girl backdrop

American Girl backdrop

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…I’ve been wanting to work on it for a while, but writing has won out week after week until now. Good thing, too, since my kids get out of school in a week and a half and I wanted this finished by then so they could spend summer days playing with the backdrops as well as their doll furniture!

Some of you might remember my first attempt at an AG-scaled backdrop: IMG_1278

Ever since then, I’ve been playing with ways to make the backdrops easier to maneuver and have come up with this for now:

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A simple 2”x4” piece of wood with grooves cut into it via Hubby’s table saw, into which slide two 2’x2’ halves of a MDF board. Having smaller boards to work with made the decorating go much easier and faster.

To make the wood paneling, I cut strips of balsa wood, glued them in place, then primed and painted the area.

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I then primed the area behind the “wall paper” (because fabric on white backing is brighter than on a brown MDF board) and used Mod Podge to glue the fabric to the board. Mod Podge worked much better than the adhesive spray I used last time. After letting the glue dry, I painted two coats of Mod Podge over the fabric, sanding after each coat had dried. Lastly, for my lip edge, I glued pieces of trim (found at Lowe’s) that I had first primed and painted.IMG_3132

All in all, the steps themselves are easy; the time it takes to cut, prime, paint two to three coats, Mod Podge, and glue, on the other hand, can sometimes be hard to find.

My next big project? Moving my soon-to-be middle schooler out of the bedroom she shares with her younger sister into her own room. A room currently dubbed the office/guest room; a room of clutter and one long, shallow, ill-functioning closet. I aim to have this accomplished before the new school year begins in late August.

Gulp. Wish me luck!

(Up for a laugh? Keep scrolling…)

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A Taste of Spring

Bonjour, mes amis! C’est moi, Ellowyne Wilde, back for another post now that spring break is over–for Laurie’s daughters are once again at school and quiet reigns here at the house. While February and March teased Montanans with unusually mild temperatures, April seems to have decided at least one month must come in like a lion and it might as well be her. Yet while out-of-doors still reflects the winter—sans the snow because New England confiscated it all—we dolls on the Front Porch enjoy spring-like views.

Yes, Laurie finally managed to get to a larger craft store in Missoula a few weeks ago and brought us back…well, just this:

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This is all we get? Sigh.

 

In times past, she’s spoiled us with lots more goodies to enjoy, but apparently the store was running low on dolly-sized items. Nonetheless, this sprig of flowers is all we really needed to complete our spring project: a topiary tree!

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Wink Wink

Laurie spruced up our pot, using Mod Podge to affix scrapbook paper to the pot’s exterior and then brushing another two coats of Mod Podge over the paper to harden it and give it a glossier look. We dolls don’t go anywhere near glue for obvious reasons (plus, one never knows what ideas it might put in Mistletoe’s head), which is why Laurie also had to attach the flowers to our tree.

 

 

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Topiary pulled apart

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About to use Mod Podge…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But once the glue dried, it was our turn to do some work…and that ended up being relatively easy (especially since we can divide and conquer jobs between sixteen dolls).

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Within minutes, we had the tree planted and set “just so” on our porch.

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I say the topiary looks fab. Prudence says it looks lonely. Laurie says she’ll keep her eye out for more foliage.

I won’t hold my breath.

What do you think of our tree? Are any other dolls out there decorating for spring? I’d love to see some pics!

Just a Little Spritz Here…And a Little Dab There…

Ellowyne has been in a mood these last few days (she claims she hasn’t received much “screen” time since I started this blog), so I thought I’d use this post to highlight two of her favorite things in her bedroom…and appease her ego at the same time.

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In the picture to the left, in which Prudence showcases a lovely white top, you’ll notice Ello’s wardrobe behind her—a birthday or Christmas gift from my mom a few years ago. Along with the wardrobe came a mirror of similar color. The pieces suited Ello just fine…until she watched me paint and Mod Podge an unfinished doll bureau for my niece. All of a sudden, she wanted a makeover for her bedroom furniture, especially as she would be moving from her perch in my bedroom into her new “home” in the dining room. “It just won’t do to have dark brown furniture clashing with my blue and white walls,” she bemoaned.

Thankfully for her, makeovers are relatively easy to accommodate in doll-scale…and even easier when done with spray paint! I had never spray-painted a piece of furniture before (life-sized or otherwise), but there’s a first time for everything, right? So after protecting Ellowyne’s mirror with masking tape and my garage floor with newspaper, I went to play—er, I mean work—in painting the furniture with two coats of semi-gloss, paint + primer spray paint, bought at a local hardware store. There’s a certain sense of instant gratification in watching brown change to white with the press of a button.

But my favorite part came after the paint was dry.

Using Mod Podge and a 1” wide paintbrush, I glued scrapbook paper (cut to the required specifications) to the wardrobe door fronts and to the front of the mirror drawer, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles and release any air bubbles. After letting it dry, I then reapplied Mod Podge over the paper to give it a glossy look and more durability. For fun (and to make it more pleasing to the eye), I did the same thing to the inside of the wardrobe.

Newly Revived Furniture

Newly Revived Furniture

You can’t see it in the picture (apparently I need to make Ello some more hangers for her clothes), but the paper doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom—I ran out. I do intend, however, to make a little shelf that will sit on the floor of the wardrobe and effectively mask the imperfection. For now, Ello can just keep the door closed.

Ellowyne in Whine: Preening in front of the mirror

Ellowyne in Whine: Preening in front of the mirror

So: Mod Podge and spray paint. A quick, fun, and easy way to refresh some tired-looking doll furniture. Great for life-sized pieces, as well. I’d love to try my hand at giving our antique sideboard a face-lift, but because it’s mahogany, my hubby won’t let me touch it. Sigh. Guess I’ll just stick to sprucing up Ellowyne’s abode. She did say something about wanting a fireplace for Christmas…

Dolls on Parade

It began sometime after I received my fifth or sixth Wilde Imagination doll: The inspiration to create a backdrop for them. Thanks to my mom, I already had a wardrobe and chairs to start the scene and I had painted and stenciled an unfinished bureau from a nearby craft store, as well as stained a mini doll shelf. All that remained to complete the semblance of a room was…a wall! Here is a picture of the first backdrop I made:

Three Ellowynes, one Prudence and Senson's Tori camp out on my bureau.

Three Ellowynes, one Prudence and Senson’s Tori camp out on my bureau.

Because I didn’t have the funds to go crazy elegant or complicated, I simply picked up a 2’ x 4’ presentation board and some fabric from Joann’s and, together with craft sticks, lace, a razor blade and little nails I already had on hand at home, I fashioned my backdrop. It served me well for about two years…and then I was ready for a change and something a little more permanent–and I was willing to use some of my birthday and Christmas money to make it happen!

I have to pause here and say “Thank you!” to my indulgent husband, who allowed me to take a corner of our 11’ x11’ dining room and make it Ellowyne’s “home.” Ello and Pru had inquired after something bigger, but I apologized and said, “Not in this house. You’ll overwhelm any guests we have!” (I am making them a front porch, so that mollifies them somewhat.)

Their new backdrops are made from a 2’ x 4’ MDF board, cut down to Ello’s scale. In future posts, I’ll go into more details about each room, but for now let’s just skim the surface of how I created them.

Ellowyne's Humble Abode

Ellowyne’s Humble Abode

For the living room, I used Mod Podge to glue fabric to the MDF board, and then applied two more coats of Mod Podge over the fabric to mask its cotton origins and make it hard to the touch. The floor is from an 8’ x 16” board and after cutting it to my specifications, I used an awl and Hubby’s square ruler to create the look of floor boards. When stained, the color seeped into the crevices so it remained darker than the surface of the board. I finished it off with two coats of Polyurethane.

For the bedroom walls, I used wallpaper left over from my grandmother’s bathroom (thanks, Mee-Mee!) and the “wainscoting” is painted balsa wood, with lines etched into it via the awl. I painted the floor white, and then glued pale green fabric onto it to give it some interest. Again, I used Mod Podge and again, I applied two more coats on top of the fabric once it was glued down to make it hard and durable.

For the loft area (yes, I have plans to make a railing and ladder—stay tuned!), I used joint compound on the walls, then primed and painted them. The wooden “beams” are stained pieces of balsa wood. Though one can’t see the floor without standing on a chair, I still finished it on the chance some interested guest wanted to “nose” around (that is part of the reason why Ello’s in the dining room and not stuck in the bedroom, after all). Once more, I made it look like floor boards and stained it the same color as the “beams” then followed through with Polyurethane.

None of the rooms are 100% complete, yet. Each one is missing a crucial element or two (or three), but all in good time—as in, when I find the time. At least the prospect of blogging any future progress should help me stay motivated and moving—and perhaps it will even inspire you to create your own backdrop! But be forewarned: Your dolls will have a propensity to get carried away with aspirations for their dream house. Stay firm and remind them: You’re the one paying the mortgage.