Go Bold or Go Home

Congratulations Jamie!!!!  You guessed it and you’re ten points richer courtesy of my imagination.  Our front door is now a bright and bold orangey-red or reddish-orange…oraned, reorange, oranged…you know, I thought since gray + beige = greige and Angelina + Brad = Brangelina, I could surely make something work with orange and red but no-go me is thinking.  Back on the color track though, our newly painted front door:
afterlight (1)
Redange?  Hand slice to the neck Sheena.  Okay, sorry.

The door, the door, oh yes…the door.  Before it was a nice navy but a bubbly navy.  For some reason the navy paint had bubbled and I hadn’t noticed just how bad it was until I went to prep it for paint.  Look:
photo 1 (1)
The decorative moldings were the bubbliest and simultaneously the worst/hardest parts to sand which was just great.  More on that later.

So, I mentioned in the previous post that when I got the hankering to paint the front door it was because I had to have a bright orared (?) door.  So began the month long process of finding that perfect red with a hint of orange.  It had to be bright, not dull and not muted but not screaming ‘Nickelodeon’ either.  After grabbing a few swatches at Lowe’s one day, I taped them up and left them there for a month so that I could see them in every light God said “Let there be light” to that there ever was…
After much deliberation, the top swatch won out.  Until, that is, I went to Home Depot to get the paint mixed (had a gift card I wanted to use) and out of the sea of reds was thee color I had been looking for all along.  It’s called Red Hot by Behr.  I didn’t even take a swatch home to make sure.  I got it mixed right then and there.

So, itching to get that paint color on our door, I started the process of prepping it.  Here’s where I almost lost my sanity and definitely threw out my trait of perfectionism.  My plan was to lightly sand the areas that weren’t that bubbly and really sand the areas that were, like the moldings.  We had a spray can of stripper in our possession that I thought would help that process go a lot faster.  Let it be known that I also thought that the decorative moldings on our door were wood moldings.  Wrong and wrong.  They’re fiberglass.  Fiberglass and stripper don’t mix, in fact, stripper eats fiberglass and fiberglass dies.  Or maybe it just can’t put up a fight so it just boils in the stripper’s wake.  Either way, I totally ruined one corner of one of the decorative moldings because of this critical info I didn’t know.  I didn’t know how to fix it so I just painted over it and painted over my perfectionism as well.  You can see the damage here:photo 1 (7)The moral of the story:  paint stripper is tough stuff.  Make sure you know what you’re stripping before you use it.
Back to the prep though.  I learned my lesson, put away the stripper, and forged on in the old-fashioned way – my hand, a piece of medium-grit sandpaper, and a narrow, metal putty knife.  It took me literally three hours to get to this point:photo (7)
A.k.a. not very far.  And it took another two to finally get to the point where I could call it sanded and begin painting.  Still, I didn’t sand the door down to the metal and it’s not the smoothest door I’ve ever seen but I’m hoping the bright color detracts from the imperfection?  Tell me it does, please…

Next up, paint.  I dedicated an entire day to painting the door (two Saturday’s ago while Anthony was home to entertain the tots) and opted to paint it while it was open so I could get it all done in one foul swoop.  So, I taped off the doorway with some painters’ plastic to keep the great outdoors at bay…
photo 3 (4)taped off the window glass to keep rogue paint at bay…photo 1 (4)and used our sofa to keep curious toddlers at bay.

Then, because of all the dings I made while scraping off paint with my metal scraper in too big of a hurry, I filled in those little dents with some spackle, let it dry, and sanded it smooth.
photo 2 (7)

Finally, as you may have spotted via Instagram, I had a nice, long, much needed session with my therapist:
photo 5
She and I went to town priming the door with some gray-tinted Kilz we had left over from painting the dining room in our first house and it felt glorious.  (P.S.  I love my Wooster paintbrushes!  I’ve had this particular one for five years now and she’s still going strong!  However, I wash my brushes right after painting and take really good care of them so I know that plays into it but still, Wooster’s are awesome!)

Enter my second, maybe third helping of frustration involved with this project.  I mean, seriously, all I wanted to do was paint our front door – a 24 square foot space!  That is, it took me four coats of paint!  I expected one maybe two.  But four?  Ain’t nobody with three kids under two got time fo dat!
[Oops, didn’t get a ‘1 coat’…must’ve been busy face palming.]
I’m blaming it on the paint.  This is my first time using Behr paint and compared to my normal go-to’s (Olympic and Valspar) it was so thick.  I used exterior paint so I imagined it’d be a little thicker than the interior stuff but sometimes it felt like I was painting on layers of Elmer’s glue.  So annoying.  Anyone have else experience with exterior Behr?

So, like I said, four stinkin’ coats and I was done.  The door could probably use another but I’m probably the only one who notices and it’s probably my perfectionism slinking back in and talking.  One thing I did that I love is paint the inside edge of the door.
I love that little surprise that awaits just by cracking the door open.  I’m tempted to go around and paint the inside edges of all the doors in our house now…  :)

I also took the opportunity to spruce up the door hardware by giving it all a coat of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.  After Anthony took everything off the door for me, I first sanded the hardware down just a tad and then I wiped it all off with some liquid deglosser I had left over from our little kitchen overhaul.
photo 1 (6)
After I taped off all the areas I thought paint shouldn’t touch, I gave all the pieces a thin coat of primer (Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer) and a few thin coats of oil-rubbed bronze (Krylon).
photo 3

They turned out awesome!  I’m hoping they hold up and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

But back to the door itself, I really want to paint the inside now too.  The only thing stopping me right now is the fact that I’m not a huge fan of the taupe wall color plus the oragned…yet.  I whipped this up in Pixlr just to get an idea of what it’d look like:
Should I or should I just stick with the white?

While I was at it in Pixlr, I also did a little pretending with my ideal front door.  IMG_4671I like our front door but I’d love more light to come through it by way of a larger glass area.  But right now it’s just a dream.  We actually spotted a glass door just like this at ReStore last year and I really, really, really wanted to get it but it was $120 that we didn’t have to spend on a door at the moment so it’ll be forever ingrained in my mind as the door that got away.  :( 

I could go on and on with tangents here and there but I’ll stop now.  In summary, I painted our front door and I love it and that’s it.  I’m also planning on painting the other outside doors on our house but those posts will come another day.  :)

So, have you ever painted an entry door?  Was it a rough experience like mine or was it easy peasy?  More importantly though, what color did you use?!  Bright and bold or cool and laid back?
[Love is an open doooooorrr…so sorry, I had to.]

About a Door

Once upon a time there was a little flame burning inside me that made me really want to paint our front door.  Then our bestest friends Dan and Lauren painted theirs and it looked so awesome and so cheery and it fanned that flame into a roaring fire.  Except Anthony kept sprinkling drops of water on that fire because “There are too many other things we need to do first”, and “Eh, I don’t know”.  He was right.  There were a ton of things we had on our mile long to-do list that were way more important than our front door, which was navy by the way.  Not a bad color at all.  In fact, when we first bought this house I adored it with the green siding.  But then there were brighter, cheerier grasses on the other side that I was drawn to too (not to mention that the navy paint job was bubbling in a few areas).  So, when Anthony gave the go-ahead (or did I just make that up), I went for it.  I’m not quite finished with it yet…what I thought would be one or two coats is nearing five…so I’ll just share the thought process on choosing a color today in hopes that the door will be finito before the end of the week.

Here’s what it looked like before:
[Picture quality:  Sharp as a dull tack.]

And then I had a little fun in Pixlr making a few (very bad, I know) mock-ups of a few colors I had in mind.  Which one do you think looks best?

Pale blue?

A subtle charcoal gray?

Bright cobalt?

A reddish-orange?
Or cheery yellow?

Which one do you think we chose?  I’ll give you zero hints and tell you it’s the color I’ve been wanting to paint the door since the idea popped into my head.  I had to be sure and test out a few other color choices but this one hit the jackpot…and the front door last weekend.  Stay tuned. 

P.S.  Ten points for a correct guess.  :)

How To Make Your Own Stencil

Well then, let’s get right back to regular programming, shall we?  Specifically, the how-to on the stencil I made for our new entry way rug.


I got the inspiration for this pattern via this rug I found on Pinterest:
[Link from Pinterest done broke so if anybody knows the original source, lemme know.]

The first thing I had to do was create the design from the rug on my comp to be printed out and turned into stencil form.  To do that, I put together the basic design in Pixlr (my favorite, free online photo-editing program).  It’s a little difficult to explain that process but basically I pulled the most basic part from the design which, in this case, was a large circle encompassing a square with notched-out corners that were connected by lines.  (Did I lose ya there?  It’s okay because I’ve saved you from all that leg work by including a free download to the design below so you can skip-to-my-lou right over it all this mumbo jumbo if you’d like.)  I had to pay close attention to the x and y values in my Pixlr document to make sure everything was centered and equal but once again, don’t worry if that’s completely foreign.  Once I had the basic circle and square shapes aligned, I copied and pasted the design multiple times in a row to reflect the entire pattern in order to draw in those lines that connected the squares.  This is what the design looked like after that:
I didn’t connect all the squares because all I needed was one circle to make my design but you get the point.

To get the design for my stencil, I simply cropped the above image down to this:

And, like I said, the good news is that you don’t have to understand or like any of that because you can download the design below, free and clear.

So, the stencil.  (P.S. This method will work for almost any kind of shape and design you want to turn into a stencil.)  To get it from computer to plastic I first had to print it out.  The only way I could get it to print at the size I wanted and without it being adjusted to “fit the page” was to open the .jpg in Microsoft’s Paint.  Using the ruler in Paint as my guide, I sized it until it was as big as I wanted it and hit print.  Using paint allowed me to print so that the design would print at it’s original size which, in my case, utilized four sheets of paper.
   photo 1 (4)

Once printed, I had to cut off all the extra paper surrounding the design.  To do this I used a ruler to draw lines at the designs edges and then I cut along the lines.
photo 2 (9)
First grade difficulty level here folks.
photo 3 (5)

Then I taped the four sheets together to get the design in one piece.
photo 4 (3)

At this point I realized that I wanted my whole design a little thicker so I widened the lines by drawing around them with a sharpie.
photo 5 (1)
If you download the design for yourself, you might want yours thicker too or you may not.  Whatever cooks your dinner I say.  If you do, a marker will help you get there.

The last thing I did was cut my design in half.  I found the halfway point by folding the design in half and holding it up to the light to make sure both sides looked like one side/on top of each other.  Got it?  Super scientific over here.  Somebody call Bill Nye.
photo 1 (8)The reason I cut the design in half was because the whole design was a little too large to fit on the stencil blank I found at Hobby Lobby.  My entire design measured 13.5 inches in diameter but the stencil plastic only measured 18 x 12 inches.  While painting the design onto my rug, I worked by stenciling half of the design at a time, flipping the stencil around each time to do each half. 

To get the stencil onto the plastic I taped the paper design upside-down onto my it.
photo 2 (10)

Then I flipped the whole thing over so that the paper was underneath the plastic and I traced the design onto the plastic using a sharpie.  (You might notice the design in the picture below shows the white lines throughout the black design whereas they’re missing above.  I painted those in after I realized I’d need them to hold the different parts of my design together in the plastic.  The download includes them so you won’t have to worry about them if you use my stencil.)
photo 3 (6)
(Also, I drew the intersecting diagonal lines in the middle of the stencil to help me determine the very center of the stencil.  I used that point while centering the stencil on the rug by placing it right over the center mark of my rug.)

Once I had the entire design traced onto the plastic, I simply cut it out with a craft knife.  I have this Westcott one (affliliate link) and really like it because it has a cushioned grip.  I used a ruler to cut along the lines to make sure they were nice and straight.
photo 4 (4)

And that’s it!  Here’s my stencil all ready to go:
photo 5 (2)

While I was cutting out the stencil I realized that it had a plastic film over one side so I removed it before I started stenciling.  At first I thought it was covering an adhesive but it wasn’t and the package didn’t say anything about it so it’s function is unknown to me.  Enlighten me if you know.
photo 3 (8)

So that’s how I made my very own stencil.  You can get the tutorial on how I painted it onto our entry rug by clicking here.  It might seem like a rather tedious and challenging project but I promise you, it’s really not as hard as it may seem.  If you can trace and cut along lines, you can do this! 

Cost?  Under two bucks.  I bought this stenciling plastic at Hobby Lobby for $2.50 ($3.99 with a 40% off coupon) but the package came with three sheets of plastic so I’ve got two more to file away for future stencils.  In case you don’t have a Hobby Lobby close by, here are a few affiliate links to some stenciling blanks I found on Amazon:
 Set of three 12 x 8 in. stencils
Set of two 18 x 10 in. stencils

Last, here is are the downloads of my stencil in case you want to use it:
Click here to download the whole design.
Click here to download half the design (what I used).

Per the usual, please let me know if you have any questions!  If you use my stencil or use my tutorial to make your own stencil, leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or you can send me an email or tag me in a gram!  I’d love to see what you do with it!

Have a great rest of the week!  I’ll be working on this:
photo (7)

All the details to come.  Until then, say a prayer for me.  I’m positive that my time in purgatory will be spent sanding.  :/ 

Watermark It

*Before I start, I really want to thank all of you who responded to our plea via the blog, Facebook, and Instagram and reported the Faux Facebooker last weekend!  The page is no longer functioning!!  It really means a lot to us that so many people were willing to fight with us and petition Facebook to get this crazy removed!  You guys are seriously the best!*

With that said, after the crazy recent events, I’ve gotten a couple of requests for a tutorial on how to watermark your photos.  In case you’re not familiar with the term, a watermark is a light, sometimes almost transparent image or text on your photo that identifies it with you and makes it difficult for other people to steal it and use it as their own (natural Webster over here).  I watermark my pictures by placing either a semi-transparent box with text or just semi-transparent text over each individual picture.  Doing each picture can be a little time consuming and I’m sure there’s probably another, quicker way to get the job done involving making a transparent image of a watermark and simply cutting and pasting or layering it over any picture you want marked but this here lady ain’t that savvy quite yet.  So, here’s how I do:

(Psst:  For some dumb reason, Windows Live Writer would not publish my post and so I had to settle on posting via Blogger (which is such a pain!) so my pictures are a little smaller than I intended which might make the text in them harder to see.  So sorry!)

 Using pixlr.com, a free online photo-editing tool, I first open up Pixlr Editor.

Then I click “Open Image from computer”, and select whichever picture it is I want to watermark.  You can select multiple pictures by holding down the ‘Ctrl’ button on your keyboard as you click <— possibly a “duh” comment.  Sorry.

Once you have your photo up, you may want to change the size.  You do that under the ‘Image’ menu.  I usually adjust the images for my blog to be 600 px at the longest side.  You may also want to adjust the percentage of zoom (technical term…no clue) of what you’re working with.  Do that by changing the number in the box at the bottom left of your photo.  (I’ve found in Pixlr that if you’re not working with your picture at 100% (aka original size), any text you place on it might not be positioned where you put it after the image is saved.  Not sure why nor do I have a remedy.  So, if you’re working with an extra large file, it might be a pain to work with it at 100% and you might have to figure out how to get your text to stay put sans saving.  Make sense?  I hope so.)
[For example’s sake, I’m working with this throwback gem…you know you’re itchin’ to steal it, aren’t you? *wink, wink*]

So, once you’ve sized and zoomed/unzoomed, it’s watermark time.  To make a simple text watermark, 1) select the ‘A’ button on the Tool bar, 2) click whereabouts you want your text on your picture which will bring up a text box, and 3) insert the text you want in the text box.
Next, type in whatever you want your watermark to say and click on the color button to pick what color you want your watermark to be.  (I typically go with either white or light gray as they seem to get me the most subtle looking watermark but you can use any color really.)  As you type, your text will come up on your picture.  To move it around, simply click and drag it.  Also, if you find you want to change the size of your text, click the size drop-down menu and either type in a preferred size or drag the slider.  To change the font, click the font drop-down menu and choose from there.  Pixlr uses fonts you have installed on your computer.  (Side note:  www.dafont.com and www.fontsquirrel.com are a couple of great places to get some free fonts.)

Once you’ve got your text set, go over to your ‘Layers’ menu and click on your text layer (if it’s not already selected).  Once it’s selected, click the little button on the bottom right of the layers box.  That’s where you can mess with the settings of that layer, including the opacity of your text, which is where we’re going next.

When you’ve clicked on the bottom-right button, the layer settings will come up.  All you’ll want to do here is adjust the opacity of your watermark so that it’s sort of see-through, making it subtle.  Drag the slider or type a number in the box to get the opacity you’re going for. 

You’ll be able to see the opacity adjust as you type/drag so you can experiment with higher/lower numbers until you’re satisfied.  The lower the number, the less opaque your mark will be and vice-versa.  Also, the lower the number the more subtle your watermark will be.  Am I being too obvious?  Probably.  ;)
And that’s how you get a text watermark on a picture.  Bada bing, bada watermark.

Then we can get all fancy-shmancy with text plus a box or shaped watermark like this one:

There are a couple of ways to add a shape to your watermark.  One is by 1) making sure the ‘background’ layer is selected, 2) clicking the drawing tool button on the ‘Tools’ menu at which point the drawing tool menu will pop up at the top of your Pixlr screen.  There you can 3) choose which shape you’d like to create, 4) adjust the opacity, 5) adjust the size of your shape’s border (‘0’ if you don’t want a border), 6) make sure this box is clicked so that your shape is filled in with 7) whatever color you want.  Once you’ve done all that, simply 9) click where you want your shape to be and drag to determine it’s size.  (Totally skipped using #8!  I blame it on the kids…who were napping when I wrote this…sooooo…)

If you don’t like it, you can always undo it and tweak your settings to try again.  Once you’re satisfied with your shape, you can add text by following the instructions above on adding a text watermark.
The other way to add a shaped watermark and the way that gives you lots more shapes to choose from is by using the brush tool.  Do this by 1) again making sure your background layer is selected and then 2) choosing the brush tool from your ‘Tools’ box.  When you click the brush tool icon, a menu will come up at the top of your Pixlr screen allowing you to 3) choose a brush shape and 4) choose its opacity level.  Once you’ve chosen a shape, you can change it’s size by 5) adjusting it’s diameter.  Also, you can upload a lot more shapes by 6) clicking the MORE button in the shapes box.  Last, 7) click the spot on your picture you’d like your watermark shape to be and you’re done.  Add text if you want.

Whew!  That’s it!  Super-detailed and maybe too detailed but in my opinion, when it comes to tutorials more is more, am I right?  :)  Let me know if you have any questions or if I need to explain something better!  Oh, and one more thing, if you’re a blogger and you use Windows Live Writer to write your posts, there’s a super-simple text watermarking feature included in the photo-formatting menu that takes all the work out of it. 

Happy watermarking!  :)