Thursday, February 28, 2013

How NOT to Paint a Rug

You know what I love about the whole DIY movement? I love that people are trying to use the old things they find around the house to update them and reuse them before just going out and buying something brand new. It's a little like the depression era mantra of "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without." That's what I'd like to think at least. Right now our decorating style is "Early Married." You know...grandma's dresser, your cousin's tv, your neighbors leftover rug, etc. We just don't have the means to decorate really, and we know we'll probably move within the next few years so we don't want to go overboard and then just have to take it all down and move it. Thus is the life of the young married post college couple. We love it, but it does mean that we have to get creative with our decorating. Redoing items is big.
Our carpet isn't the greatest, but it's not bad. I've been on the lookout at thrift stores for a decent rug, but I have not found one yet. Really, who gets rid of a good rug these days? They are all old, colored funny, or have cats on them and say "Welcome to Meow Home" or  "'Cat"ch ya later!".
 I scratched finding a good rug off the list of "things someone accidentally gave to the thrift store". But then we got an excellent submission from Beth and I now have a few great ideas on how to transform the "cat"astrophic rug into something else. 
Here's Beth's story, in her own words:
It all started with the discovery of this old cotton rug in the basement.  Unused, just waiting for a home.  I had been planning to come up with some sort of small rug to go with the new pop of green in our bedroom and this rug was the perfect (and perfectly free) solution.
Then I remembered seeing a little painted rug tutorial on Pinterest

So I decided to give it a shot.  I gathered my tools together.  Only, I didn’t have painter’s tape, so I used packing tape instead.  Same difference, right?
painted rug craft fail @
I had taken the lamp to Home Depot with me to try and match the color and it turns out Behr makes a shade identical – the third one in from the left on the paint chip above.  BUT I also am very good at mixing paint to match things (a hold out from when I dabbled in art school) so I decided to skip buying the sample pot of paint and just use some acrylic paint I already had.  Same difference, right?
painted rug craft fail @
painted rug craft fail @
Once I had the paint mixed and the simple stripes taped, it was time to get painting!  I decided since I was hand-mixing the color, it would be best to work from the outside in, so if color variations occurred it would have a neat ombre effect to the middle.
painted rug craft fail @ BandBBuildALife.compainted rug craft fail @
The paint was looking great, but it was really soaking in, so I decided to water it down juuuust a touch, which really seemed to do the trick.
And to pass the time, I decided to gaze into the eyes of Matthew Crawley and the rest of the Downton Abbey gang…
painted rug craft fail @
…..a few more stripes were laid down before I even realized what was happening.
painted rug craft fail @
Yes, I had a bad case of BLEED going on beneath the tape!  I was so drawn into DA that I wasn’t paying attention to how much I had watered down the paint!
painted rug craft fail @
painted rug pinstrosity @
So, what started out as a totally free custom rug, turned out to be a totally free blotchy mess!  Fortunately, Kermit stepped in and showed me this beauty for the bedroom:
kermit the frog approves of the stripped rug @
You win some, you lose some.   Next time, I’ll spring for the frog tape and sample pot of paint!
What projects have you learned from lately?
~ Beth
craft fail paint rug @

So now I have some great ideas of what to do (and what not to do). Thanks Beth! This project is definitely now on my to do list. Good by cats, hello...crap, now I have to come up with what I want to paint on the rug. This could be an adventure in and of itself. Hello "Rug Redo board". Just kidding. But am I? 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ombre` Cake!!

Are you sick of the ombre` trend? We get SO many emails about this trend I literally can't not talk about it (double negative schouble negative).

Apparently I am not, because I just did nude ombre` nails on myself last night!

Here Sonia tried the ombre` cake that we have all been seeing all over Pinterest. She decided to make this cute little treat for her coworkers for Valentine's and as a bonus she could show off her mad skills!
Check it out!
The Original

Fun right?! And such a fancy frosting job too! This fun sight Eddie Ross , which I immediately thought of as "Martha Stewart-esque", is actually quite Martha-esque. He used to be one of the head designers for Martha Stewart Magazine, and is now on his own with several returning articles in different magazines around the country. Also I didn't even realize it till now, but I just a read an article about him in Country Living! I LOVE Country Living magazine. Like really, love! Anyone else with me?! Anyway we will leave the biography for another time yes? The cake!

I love this cake, it just screams "EAT ME!!"!

Here is Sonia's take on it...

The Pinstrosity

Here is her story:

"...I can say in my own defense that I never looked at any of the instructions. In fact, I just went out and bought 3 white box cakes and 4 cans of vanilla frosting, and thought "what the heck, can't be that hard".

So away I went with the first box/layer of my cake. I just squeezed the heck out of the little tube of hot pink gel food coloring until I had a nice shade of dark pink. Baked it as instructed on the back of the box. I wish I would have taken a picture of the first layer coming out of the pan. My first failure of the day. The dang thing stuck around some of the sides leaving my bottom layer weak from the get go. I figured I would just use some of that icing to "glue" those pieces back together.

For the next box/layer, I squeezed about half of the gel color into the cake. Looked a lot lighter and what I thought was a good in between pink shade. This layer came out great! Didn't stick at all as I made sure to spray the non stick spray on every square centimeter of the pan this time twice.

Now for the final box/layer I squeezed that tube of gel color again. Only the color of the last cake looked very similar to the second cake. So I squeezed what I had left in that little tube and tried to get a different shade of pink. The cake turned out great with no sticking at all.

So, I began my layers.

Spreading that icing nice and thick using what I had to glue back together the pieces of cake/layer one and in between and on top of the cake.

Now here is the epic fail of the entire project.

The dang thing was so heavy and that first layer that I had so easily glued back together just wouldn't hold up. And so the leaning tower of Ombre` began to lean to the right.

We had quite the laugh at how ugly the dang thing turned out. I decided there was no way I was taking this ugly leaning mess to work and show my co-workers what an epic fail I had made for them. So my sweet husband decided he would give it a taste. This is when I realized my Ombre` cake was really just 3 layers of pink cake two of which were the exact shade of pink! Ugh. At least he thought it tasted great. "

So what happened? Well unfortunately for Sonia, this one has not instructions. This recipe is just one of those picture projects. I know some of us do ok with those, but others don't. Everyone has a different learning style, and when a recipe is involved I think it always turns out better if it is written word for word.

Now the Eddie Ross cake has 6 layers. One the one hand that would be easier to tell a subtle difference in colors from top to bottom, however on the other hand it would be difficult to make slight changes in food coloring amount for the batters!

On the original pin, he has the varying different shades of pink batter, bakes them, lets them cool completely and then shaves the top and bottom off all the cakes to 1. Make them thinner for layering. and 2. Make them have even flat surfaces for easier frosting. I don't think Sonia did this which may have contributed to her leaning tower of ombre`.

Another thing, if her first layer came out pretty awful like she said, she may have been able to salvage it by making it the top layer instead, and shaving off what makes it uneven. Once it's frosted no one would notice. The ombre` would then just start with dark at the top and light at the bottom. Just a small deviation.

To make her ombre` come out more apparent she may need to really make the first layer dark pink. The middle layer a medium pink like she had, and the last layer just a slight hue of pink. All though I really don't think her cake colors came out bad at all (I think it looks nice!), her leaning cake is a problem. I did a layer cake for Thanksgiving, and it definitely takes some practice to get those layers to sit even!

As for Eddie Ross's frosting job, he makes it looks super easy, anyone want to test it out and let us know how it goes?!

Anyone have any luck with the Ombre` Cake?! Let us know!
Happy Wednesday Pinstrosipeeps!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Hair Raising Experience

I'm playing mom this week to 4 kids while their parents are in Hawaii...and I'm finding I'm not as good at time management as I thought. Hence Mix It Up Monday become Monday the Missing. There's just not enough time to do everything! Props to you parents out there.  The two little girls have asked me to help them with their hair the past few mornings and I just laugh to myself each time. I know what my mom and I did with my hair as a kid in the 90's...but I haven't seen those styles for a while. One luckily wanted curls, but the other wanted "something fun". So I did a modification of this tutorial:

Only the one I did ended up being just a net on top of the head as I didn't add new hair every time. The girl loved it though and was so excited to show her friends her cool new do. The password on their computer got changed by the lady that was watching the kids before me, so I've just been winging it on recipes and hair dos. Now that I'm back at my house for the day while the kids are at school I'm scouring Pinterest for food and hair ideas. While doing so thought I thought I'd give you a montage of some of the various hair submissions we have been sent, along with restating Emilee's awesome hair advice from an earlier post. 

The Original Pin

The Pinstrosity
"The night before thanksgiving I wanted to do a no heat curl thing that required you to twist then bobby pin it on top of your head and sleep on it. I had tried it before and it had fallen flat so this time I tried to pump up the volume by adding mouse before I twisted it, the result was worse than last time. This time I looked like Gene Wilder in the movie Young Frankenstein! I was so sad it looked horrible."

The Original Pin
The Pinstrosity
"We tried to braid our hair, but it ended up knotted, and separated into two sections. This picture shows me pulling down as hard as I could trying to undo the knot..."

The Original Pin
The Pinstrosity
"I followed all of the directions, except teasing my hair at the top of my head.  I had literally just gotten my hair cut about 30 minutes before trying the hair style and I had ample product in my hair. In short, the whole thing was a hot mess."

The Original Pin

We've had a few entries for this one actually. I'll show you three of them. 

Pinstrosity #1
"I think it's important to start out by telling you I have very thin, fine hair - which means there's pretty much nothing I can do with it. No washing it before bed (second-day hair translates to "greasy, flat mess" for me) and curling it, even when clean, is completely out of the question - no matter what I do, it always falls flat and loses its curl after an hour or two. And when it's too long (which, for me, means nearing shoulder-length), it falls completely limp and looks totally awful. At that point I usually try to pull it into a stubby little ponytail until I can get in for a haircut. Bottom line: No fun hairstyles for me, unless they are constructed by a professional."

"But one day - having gone too long between haircuts (again) and inspired by a pin I had seen earlier that day - I decided that maybe, just maybe, I would get a different result for once."

"SO wrong."

"That night, after getting home from my workout and showering, instead of letting it air-dry, I twisted it into the knots as the blogger suggested and pinned them into place. (I'll admit at this point that I twisted them pretty tightly - my husband even called me Gwen Stefani at one point - but hey, I was worried that they would fall out of the bobby pins during the night, because of the fine-ness and thin-ness.) The next morning, I headed downstairs and unpinned the mini-buns, eager to see my curls - and instead recoiled in horror at the Bozo-esque look I was now rocking. My husband came down the stairs shortly after and immediately burst out laughing - and he was all too happy to practically hold me down and snap the attached picture. (Just look at his gleeful grin!)"

"So, it is back to morning showers and my trusty hair dryer for me...and I'll be sticking to food-based pins from now on, thankyouverymuch. (Crockpot ones actually seem to do really well for me.)"

"And on the GCT Fail Scale? I'd rate this either a 4 or 5 - if I didn't have to get my daughter to preschool that morning, I definitely would have re-showered and started over! Instead, it ended up in a really wavy, frizzy-ended ponytail for the day. (Hmph.)"

Pinstrosity #2

Pinstrosity #3
"So we actually saw a pinstrosity and because it was so bad, we decided we might be able to make a go of it as well.  We were actually hoping it would fail like the others!"

"The original pin:"

"Your post about it:"

"Attached is our outcome of the pin.  NAILED IT!  At least, the pinstrosity version of it anyhoo.  It will go nicely with my daughter Emily's Mad Hatter costume for this Halloween!"

And here's what Emilee has to say about trying new hair-dos from Pinterest:
The hard truth, like we have said before, is not everyone's hair will do everything, and it definitely won't do it perfect the first time or otherwise.

Here's some good news: it might do what you are wanting. Doing wet twisted curls with your finger and pins isn't always going to give you the same end results. Here is why. Variation. Every time you do it you may be pulling harder, pinning looser, taking smaller chunks, taking bigger chunks, inconsistency is the issue a lot of times. That is the other issue with Pinterest, did any of these pictures come with directions ON them? NO. Now if you are lucky enough to have had a link to go with your picture, and smart enough to follow that link, watch the tutorial video, and then follow those directions, you might have had a fighting chance. However if your hair is different than the tutors, then you run into more trouble. Let's be real here also, nobody's hair is exactly the same...I have had clients whose hair does not work with heat, others who do not work without heat, others who had to wash it every single day  in order for it to anything, and others who washed it once a week or it looked like a wig on chicken. Everyone's hair is different. 

Now that I have the hair pow wow over with I CAN give you some tips to help out.

  • Some pins you need wet hair, others need dry, look at the picture, does the original pin picture have nice tight twists on top of their head or do you see "fuzzies" sticking up everywhere? If you see an abundance of "fuzzies", there is a good chance the pinners hair is DRY. If it looks slick and clean is is most likely wet.
  • Using a leave in conditioner will generally help with tame the"fuzzies" for when you take your hair out, but humidity is a WHOLE 'nother ballgame. 
  • Leave it in over night. Most of these pins require you to sleep on them. Those of you who have thick hair, your hair will most likely NOT be dry in the morning. Like I said in a previous hair post, you  MUST blow dry it. Use the blow dryer gently on low heat low speed...gently. Too vigorously and you will look like you put your hand in a socket. No bueno. 
  • Those of you with fine limp hair, this is tricky. You don't have a ton of hair and it generally doesn't have a lot of volume. I would put a silver dollar size of mousse in your roots before twisting it up, this should help add some volume. Also when you take it out tousle your roots with your fingertips while your head is flipped upside down, but don't shake like a dog. Too much will ruin the effect. Definitely use hairspray. 
  • Section sizes, it's hard to tell you what size to take because everyone's hair thickness is different, but I would say thick haired people use 1" by 1" squares all over if you want good defined smaller curls. For bigger more wave like curls take bigger sections, but I wouldn't suggest anything bigger than 3" by 3" or you will have a problem with it not drying in time. 
  • Another thing to think on: if you are sleeping on your do perhaps use a hair net or cap over it to add some security. Some of us aren't still sleepers. Food for thought.
  • DON'T brush it out. Use your fingers to separate it. If you are desperate use a pick. Again, go GENTLY.
  • In general you will almost never see a hair style like the above styles on Pinterest that hasn't been touched up with some sort of curling iron/straightener/wig. It is just the way of the game. Just like photo shop and magazines they think no will notice and that everyone will think that's just how they look. The jig is up, America knows. A great tutorial can be found here:
The moral of the story is, don't get discouraged, make sure you have directions, or someone who has done this before to maybe help you out, and figure out your hair, it's yours, own it! Everyone's is different, and with that will behave differently, so remember to take that into account...and don't be ashamed to do a two minute touch up. I'm not, and I am a hairdresser. -Emilee

I hope you enjoyed those hair Pinstrosities and that Em's tips help! Good luck with your hair adventures and as always, don't forget to send them our way if they go wrong. Keep on the lookout for a video tutorial about how to do those awesome hair bows. Em's going to show us all how it works. 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Canvas Wrap and Mod Podge Woes

I don't know about you, but I've been eyeing those canvas wrap photos for a while, but I just can't bring myself to pay what the companies want me to. So I just don't. I've seen many pins for making your own canvas wrap, but I haven't tried it sounds a little iffy if you ask me. Cait was braver than I am and plunged into one of the versions of the DIY canvas wrap. Here's her story:

The Original Pin:

Cute, no? And I love those gnomes. 

"FAIL #1:  I followed the tutorial's instructions and tried using a piece of tissue paper.  It never came out of the printer.  I spent about 20 minutes picking ink-covered tissue paper shreds out of my husband's printer. I probably should have taken that as a sign and stopped there."

"FAIL #2:  I tried translucent vellum paper next, which is used for invitations and is meant to be used in inkjet printers.  My photo printed out perfectly... I was excited! I figured if I can't use tissue paper, this would be the next best thing!"

"I put on what I thought was a thin layer of mod podge.. turns out it was way too much.  The second the vellum paper touched the mod podge, it curled and wrinkled and then the ink started to come off. To try to save it, I started mod podging the top, which only made the bubbles and wrinkles worse.The result would almost be passable as some sort of "texture effect" except the computer ink bled all over when it touched the mod podge."

The Pinstrosity:

"NAILED IT!  It looks like a photo canvas that barely survived a house fire."

 "All the red you see is computer ink:"

"Oh well.. live and learn."

I have a love and hate relationship with Mod Podge. I have such a hard time using it successfully with paper. I ALWAYS get wrinkles. I'm getting better slowly but surely, but it still isn't great. And I haven't had huge luck with mod podging something down after it came out of my printer. The ink just wants to spread and run.

Here's how "awesome" I am at Mod Podge.  I'm working on redoing a nightstand for our room. 
Here's the little beauty. I picked this up for $20 at the Antique Mall. 
I sanded it down and repainted it, but the piece had received water damage on the bottom (which is why it was so cheap at the Antique Mall) and I wanted to cover it up. I had the great idea to mod podge some scrapbook paper on the bottom. I tried to be careful and at first I thought I had it wrinkle free, but as the paper soaked up the mod podge, it began to wrinkle. I kept smoothing it out and pushing the air bubbles out, but I finally gave up. I went back to it the next morning expecting to have to pull the paper off and as the paper had dried it had tightened back up somewhat and the wrinkles are a little less pronounced. It's still not as pretty as I had hoped, but it's not bad. 
The green paint is still drying, so you get to see my awesome carpet while the nightstand lies flat for the drying time.
I think a little fairy or gnome stepped on the drawer before the turquoise paint could dry. Anyone else see the little tiny footprint on the right side of the drawer?!

 Mod Podging paper can be a little tricky (okay, for me it's a lot tricky). Ages ago I saw this pin:
Tips for successful Mod Podging. I know...Mod Podge seems a no brainer, but this has some great tips!

I immediately pinned that to my "Reference Section" board and promptly moved on to find the next amazing thing to pin. I never opened it and read it, until today. Isn't that how it goes? Genius, I know. So I just went and read it and here are the tips they give for mod podging paper:

  • "Paper – If you are working with thinner sheets of scrapbook paper, it may help to spray your paper with a clear acrylic sealer before Mod Podging. Spray both sides and allow to dry before using."
  • "Tissue Paper – There is nothing that you need to do to prepare tissue paper, but just be advised that because it is so thin, it is very difficult to Mod Podge without wrinkles. The good news is that wrinkles are typically part of the charm of using tissue paper and add a little character to your surface. Mod Podge tissue paper carefully so that it doesn’t tear."

  • Had I only read this before doing my nightstand project I would have known to spray it first and mod podge second. Next time I'll try that. 

    I also found that when I am trying to smooth down the paper to be wrinkle free that if I have a ruler or some straight edge, I can use it to help press down the paper as I slowly lay it on the mod podged item. 

    But...I'm still not great at it. It's a learning process. Anyone else have some more tips for successful mod podging on paper?