Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Painted Brass Candlesticks (in which I makeover a previous makeover)

In our tiny little apartment and on a similarly small budget, I sometimes feel as if I’ve wrung out the maximum amount of creativity I can from the possessions we currently own.

But then I think, “is that a dare to myself?,” get a little glint in my eye, and begin prowling around the apartment in search of things to do.

(Ken knows to stay out of the way when I get like this.)

This is a project born out of one of those prowl-y times.

I had these three faux-brass candlesticks that I picked up for $.49 each (why yes, my mind is like a steel trap when it comes to remembering the price of anything I purchase). Last summer I gave them their initial makeover by spray painting them, um, brown. Well, the spray paint can read “bronze,” but really it was just brown, if we’re being honest.

I think I thought that it was sort of a “grown-up” color, and perhaps it is. But I am learning that I just don’t always like brown.

brown brass candlesticks

So I snatched them up and began the makeover of their previous makeover, which meant coating them in some nice purple paint.

paint old brass candlesticks valspar purple royalty

(I see your concern about my table’s protective covering…aka coupons…but can assure you that I was not going to use these. Don’t fret.)

The color I used was Valspar’s Purple Royalty. I did two coats to cover up all of my errant brush marks and then coated it all with some polycrylic for a nice glossy finish.

I am pretty sure that between this and the purple herringbone rug I recently painted, I’ve maxed out the amount of purple Ken will allow in this apartment…but unfortunately for him, there’s still paint left in that little sample can.

painted brass candlesticks

Now that I’ve painted these, I’d like to get some pure white candlesticks or do something crazy with the cream ones I currently have (and are therefore free since I already own them…win), but we’ll see where I end up.

Oh, and as for your perfectly valid concern that our future house will be decorated like a circus mixed with rainbows and unicorns, don’t worry. We’re using this apartment as a sort of testing grounds to determine our future style of decor…and it probably won’t be like this in a house. But I guess I can’t promise anything, so you’ll have to wait and see.



Purple Herringbone Painted Canvas Rug (in which I reveal just how cheap I actually am)

When word got out about the Pinterest Challenge last week, I embarked on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.Pinterest Challenge Winter 2013

First, I was like “awwww” to this adorable video announcing the challenge to “pin it and spin it” featuring the kids of Young House Love and Bower Power Blog. (This season’s challenge is also hosted by Michelle and Megan.)

Then I was like “yay!” Time to surf Pinterest and do more crafts!

And then I was like “ohshootiactuallyhavetodosomething” (a harsh, self-imposed realization).

Then the stage fright set in. (Not sure why. This is my third time participating. I first made a wedding card mailbox and last time I made a succulent terrarium).

Compounding the issue was the fact that I had already blown through my budgeted allowance for the month. One too many work lunches’ll do that to you. So my budget for this not-yet-thought-of project was a whopping $0.

(I should take the time here to note that, when he realized my plight, my husband actually went on Pinterest and surfed around for possible craft ideas. That is how I know he really loves me.)

But then I saw this picture from the Vintage Revivals blog and an idea was formed.

Entryway Makeover Vintage Revivals

I love this entryway on so many levels. But as our apartment has 8 foot ceilings in our entry-hall and I’d have to paint over it when we moved out, I did just as instructed and did my own spin on this project.

See, I had this rug. I got it from my mother-in-law’s last garage sale. She put it out with some outrageously cheap price on it to make it sell fast and I immediately descended upon it screeching “nooo!!!” while simultaneously trying to sneak it into my car without anyone noticing. At the height of emotion I am not the clearest of thinkers.

Handpainted Canvas Kitchen Rug

This is a canvas sort of flat rug that is great for kitchens. My MIL had it custom made and painted to match another rug she had in her dining room (which I unfortunately could not sneak into my car on that fateful garage-sale day). I already redid this rug once this summer, when I eradicated the red from the circles. And I still like how it looks and didn’t want to lose the circles just yet.

Rug before.

My plan was to paint the back. This looks lovely, right? My apologies to local craftwoman Mary Claire, whose autograph I completely disregarded.

Back of Handpainted Canvas Kitchen Rug

After carefully washing off five years of kitchen grime, I began taping my lines–in  a herringbone pattern, of course. I consider herringbone to be the slightly more grown-up version of chevron but I like them both.

I first determined how many rows I wanted (4) and then used a tape measure to mark off the columns. For the crooked rectangle shape (I’m sure there’s a geometry term that I’m missing but I was after all an English major), I cut a template out of a pizza box that I used to get the angles correct.

I wanted to make the herringbone seamless, unlike in my inspiration photo, so I made this nifty diagram to show how to tape everything. I also numbered it in case you don’t realize the order goes from top to bottom. 🙂

How to Paint a Herringbone Pattern

You may have noticed where my cheapness came in on that last picture if you have an eagle eye.

I reused the same pieces of Frogtape over and over and over.

My Grandma Donna would be so proud.

This is what my kitchen looked like mid-craft:

Reuse Pieces of Frogtape

(My frugality makes more sense when you consider that the total budget for this project was $0. There’s not a lot of wiggle-room in that number.)

As for the paint, I used what I had on hand–some free samples of water-based Valspar (Porch Gray and Purple Royalty). Once I’d done two coats of the purple and one coat of the gray and let it all dry out good and proper, I slathered the whole thing with Polycrylic. Oh yeah, and I did all of the painting of this rug with a 1″ paintbrush. $0 budget, remember?

Seal a Painted Rug with Polycrylic

Finally, I cautioned  Kenny repeatedly not to step on it and we let it dry.

Herringbone Painted Canvas Rug

Ta-da! (you can picture me doing a celebratory gymnastics finishing pose on the rug, if you want).

Painted Herringbone Kitchen Rug

If I ever get sick of this side, I can flip it over to the original circle-y side. But for now, I’m loving our apartment kitchen’s new look. And I stuck to my budget, so all’s well that end’s well. I love a happy financial ending, don’t you?

Linking up here.