Mixed Media Mon…err Tuesday: Spring Pages

Mixed Media Journal Spring Pages

I did make these pages yesterday, but I wasn’t able to upload it to YouTube until this morning. I can’t wait for spring! I’m so tired of the snow and cold.

Colorado Snow 2015For this page I used old pattern paper, a few gelatin prints, flowers cut out from catalogs, a label, stencils, watercolor paint, and a tracing paper sketch I had made for another project.

Mixed Media Journal Spring Pages

Watch me make the pages below, and don’t forget to tell me if you enjoy the video!

Recognizing and Cleaning Marble

In my last post I showed you my new little thrifted marble topped plant stand:

Vintage Marble Plant Stand

The wood legs and base are in decent shape, but the wood top in between the marble and legs has significant water damage. Cleaning Marble

The marble top was badly scratched, had several deep water mark and was generally yellowed. Since I don’t know yet what I will be doing to the wood base, I thought I would at least tackle getting the marble clean.

Although it’s usually pretty easy to decide if something is made of stone, sometimes the type of stone isn’t apparent. I could already tell the stone was marble on my plant stand. However, if you are unsure if your stone is marble or granite the easiest test is to try to scratch it in an inconspicuous area. If it scratches easily it’s marble. Granite is much harder, you can also inspect the pattern for the characteristic speckles (salt and pepper look) of granite. Marble is going to have more swirls and veins. Granite left and marble right:

Marble is a metamorphic rock, it contains calcium carbonate which means that it reacts to acids. This is why marble countertops are sensitive to lemon juice, vinegar etc and why knowing a stone is marble should change how you clean it.

I tried to get a picture of the scratches and water marks on my stone in the sunlight, you can kinda see the water marks:

Cleaning Marble

The first thing I tried was a paste of baking soda and water. It did clean up the surface and had a slight whitening effect but didn’t budge the tougher stains. I think for newer stains or well cared for marble this would be a good option.

For my scratched, stained and yellowed marble more drastic action was needed. I took 220 sandpaper in little circles all over, I was amazed at how easy it was to get all the scratches and marks out. It probably took less than an half hour. The hardest part was changing sandpaper often enough as the dust is very fine and coggles the paper quickly.

Cleaning Marble

I tried to do a before and after of the micro scratches, which you can sort of see

Cleaning MarbleCleaning Marble

Here is another comparison, you can really see how much whiter it is after a little sanding. Before:

Cleaning Marble


Cleaning Marble

I want to get some stone sealer to protect my newly revealed surface, but for now I think it’s a huge improvement.

Cleaning Marble

If you want to sand your own marble, go slowly with very fine paper. I would go back through with 400 grit before sealing the stone. If your marble is very large like a countertop remember that you will have to go over the whole thing. The sanded area will not blend easily with the rest of the stone, especially if it was sealed or polished to a shiny surface.

Projects in Progress

Have you noticed that the amount of project posts have been right around 0 lately? Well that isn’t for lack of working on some, it’s more a lack of finishing any. So I thought I would do a little roundup of all the projects I’ve been working on around the house which will eventually turn into awesome posts.

You might have seen the hideous faux brick back wall of my kitchen in this post, which I have been laboring over. Here it is with the removal started.

Faux Brick Removal

If it were me I would rip ALL of the nasty bricks down but… Matt likes them. We decided to keep all the bricks around the sliding door, painted white of course. I’ve cut a line through the edge bricks to even them out, and applied multiple coats of drywall mud to the rest of the wall. There is still some sanding and painting left to do and we need to pick out some kind of wood/metal molding/trim end piece to finish the bricks off.

Faux Brick Removal

I have also been experimenting with paper mache clay. I am trying to make a custom floor vase out of this cardboard vase for the branch display I made. Here is how it looks now:

Paper Mache Clay Vase

There is quite a bit of dry time on the clay, so it’s been slowly getting to this stage for a few weeks now. I want to do another full coat to even out the texture and then I’m not sure about color or pattern for the finished product.

I have also been fitting in a little thrifting, I found this today:

Vintage Marble Plant Stand

It’s a vintage plant stand, with a marble top. The whole thing has some pretty bad water damage, but I love the legs and it was only $15.

I also found this lovely little vase last weekend that looks so pretty filled to brim with carnations:

Vintage White Oval Vase

It’s similar to the large round vase that usually gets to sit on my coffee table:

Large Round White Vase

If you have read any of my posts the last few months, then you have definitely heard about The Great Wave. I didn’t like the orange background on my blue walls and have subsequently been repainting it every other week:

The Great Wave Re-Paint

It is currently this salmon color:

The Great Wave Re-Paint

Maybe I would like it better red.

I have also been taking care of lots of little things around the house. For instance patching the huge hole in the bathroom wall where we moved the plumbing and hanging this mirror which has sat against the wall since we moved in a year ago.

Dining Room Mirror

Have you ever seen the tiny succulent display’s at Home Depot, they are all $2.50 and I can never resist picking up a new baby cactus. Which it why I needed to do some repotting today:

Re-potting Succulents

Although this gorgeous fabric wasn’t from a thrift store, it is vintage. Vintage Flower Fabric

My wonderful aunt took me around a bunch of awesome handmade/vintage/indie type stores that she lives next to in Denver last week. So many cool ideas, sooooo many things I want to go back and buy. I want to make a blousy tank top with lace straps out of this fabric.

In addition to all my real world projects, I’m in the middle of redesigning my blog into a new website which I thought would take me days and is quickly turning into months.

Anywho, I really should get to work on at least one of these projects so I’ll leave you with my tired basset hound looking styling in my sitting room:

Sitting Room and Basset Hound

Mixed Media Monday: Oil Pastel Scratch Art Background

Did you ever do scratch art in school with the black board, that once scratched revealed another brighter color? There are tons of ways to achieve the same effect without buying the boards. The basic procedure is to put down a layer of crayon and paint over it with a black opaque layer. Try one of these links for recipes along those lines: PBS Scratch Art Paper, Makezine DIY Scratch Art, or ArtRoom 104 Homemade Scratch Art.

For my version, I used oil pastels. The great thing about this technique is there is no dry time, and no need for heavy cardboard. Coat your paper in a layer of oil pastels, and then coat it again in a darker contrasting color. Use a tool to scratch away the top layer, I use an orange stick (the kind for pushing back cuticles). Here are a few examples I did a while back on watercolor paper:

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

You can also use printed paper so long as it’s glossy and resists the oil pastel like I did for this layout:

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

Watch me make a scratch art background for my art journal in the video below. I tried some new things with this weeks video so let me know if you like the new format!

Houseplants and Thrift Store Finds

Plants in WinterMy little indoor lemon tree is doing so great, it’s absolutely covered in blooms. The lemons are about nickle sized now. It’s so refreshing to smell a faint summery citrus scent while watching the snow fall outside.

Indoor plants are wonderful year round, but mid winter when it feels like spring is ages away they’re especially gorgeous.

Plants in Winter

Plants in Winter

I also found a couple cool things at thrift stores this week. First a couple great down pillows:

Thrift Store Finds

The red one is from Crate and Barrel and I think it’s hideous. I’m sure it was expensive… money just can’t buy class. I might keep the white embroidered one as is, I like the look and it’s in perfect shape.

I also found this great little book of reproduced Russian postcards:

Thrift Store FindsThrift Store FindsI think they are going to be an interesting addition to my mixed media journals.

Shadowboxes are usually a pretty common thrift store staple, unlike their flashier cousin the letterpress tray. However, I couldn’t pass this one up. It’s shelves are removable and reorganizable:

Thrift Store Finds

Thrift Store Finds

Why would that be intriguing? Ummmm not sure… but it does open up the possibility of covering the back wood with something fantastic. This thing was a bit pricey for the second hand world at $10.

I have always liked the look of the green shade desk lamps, but the ones that wind up at thrift stores are always without exception chipped. This one is chipped but it’s sooooo tiny it took me forever to notice. I actually passed it up several times, until the other day when it was 50% off and I thought $2.50 was a reasonable amount for it.  Thrift Store Finds

I hate the base, I want to gut it, steal the shade and use pipe to create a tall reading lamp for the sitting room. Like one of these:

anthro-inspired industrial pipe lampIndustrial Style Pipe Lamp with Green Glass Insulatorsdiy industrial pipe lamp

Left is an Anthropology inspired wall lamp from NellieBellie, a no longer available pipe desk lamp from Etsy seller TRoweDesigns and last a DIY pipe lamp from Always In Wonder.

Pop Art Print Styled Painting AKA The Lips

I’ve been working on this painting very sporadically for at least 6 months. I finally put the clear coat on it a few days ago:

Pop Art Lips PaintingThe wood that this painting is on is actually a project I did years ago, for a different house with a different dining room. Check out what it use to look like here. Matt and I had both really wanted some type of big bold looking pop art in the dining room but had a hard time finding one we liked. Pop art is cliche, the bold primary colors, the simplistic style, I love it but any print that instantly makes you say it’s pop art has to remind you of what you’ve seen before. I found this print from Deborah Azzopardi (check out her website here) that I really liked it but when I first found it, it was out of print.

Saturday Night Giclee PrintHowever, I see on allposters.com it is avaliable again. I wanted to make my own, large painting based on this print. I started with a rough oil pastel sketch based on the scale of my wood piece:

Pop Art Lips Painting

I thought originally that I wanted to mimic the comic book primary colors typical of this style. I started with bright blue, true red and a very primary yellow but after repainting all the colors dozens of times (not exaggerating) I landed on a more modern color palette.

Pop Art Lips Painting

To do the outlining I tried out some paint markers, which I had never used before.

Pop Art Lips Painting

I had tons of fun using the pens, the only hard thing was how sticky the paint was as it dried. If I tried to go back in to a line before the paint was dry it would pull up the drying paint. I decided at the last minute the pink needed to be brighter and ended up having to re-line all the pink areas. Pop Art Lips Painting

Here it is with the brighter pink, in my basement where you can barely tell:

Pop Art Lips Painting

I loved the new pink, and the first day the temperature was over 50 I took it outside to clear coat it. It was a total disaster, probably since it was so big no matter how slowly and evenly I sprayed the acrylic coat on it looked blotchy. I was really worried that I would have to sand or repaint or throw it on the scrap pile, but I bought a can of water based poly and painted it on. Pop Art Lips Painting

To my immense relief it worked beautifully. Here it is again all finished waiting for a frame:

Pop Art Lips Painting