Gilding the Pumpkin

Earlier this week, when I shared our fall mantle with you, I promised a tutorial on the gold pumpkins that I used.  To be honest, I feel a little silly even calling this a tutorial – I am pretty confident that y’all can figure out how to get the look without my help!  Still, I’m not about to go back on my word, so here’s a quick rundown on what I did to turn plain-jane foam pumpkins into these golden beauties!

DIY gold pumpkins

I know, I know…gold is everywhere.  It seems everywhere I look – in stores, online, on Pinterest, etc.  gold is going strong as the metallic du jour.  Honestly though, I’m not complaining – I have jumped wholeheartedly on that bandwagon.  As much as I love stainless and silver, nothing warms up a space quite like a touch of gold.  Plus, it goes so well with the colors of the season.  From russet, to crimson, to goldenrod, to chocolate – gold sets them off in such perfect harmony.

So for my mantle this fall, I decided the only thing better than pumpkins would be GOLD pumpkins. Well, sort of – I didn’t use real gold (on a budget over here, remember?), but I did use the next best thing – liquid leaf.  As for the pumpkins, I got them at Target after Halloween when everything was marked down 70%.  You can also buy them at craft stores, Big Lots, Dollar tree. or through the affiliate link above.

Now as an official fangirl of everything golden, I have alot of products in my arsenal that can give something the Midas touch.  Someday, I’ll do a big, fat, comparison post of them all so you can see the differences.  I love my gold spray paint and my Rub ‘n Buff, but when I want something to really shine, I turn to liquid leaf (similar, in classic gold).  Yes, it’s smelly (it’s oil-based).  Yes, it’s expensive compared to, say, gold craft paint.  But the shine – oh baby…the only thing that compares (other than the real deal, of course) is gold leaf sheets, which make such a mess that I only use them when I absolutely must.

Liquid leaf comes in a bunch of colors, from silver to copper, but for this project I used the color “brass.”  It’s gold without being too orange – it has just enough green in it to avoid looking like pyrite.  While this product can be used anywhere you would use normal paint, I find it is shiniest and most metallic when used on smooth, non-porous surfaces, like polymer clay or plastic.  In this case, I was painting over some dense foam pumpkins that had been sealed, so the surface was perfect for liquid leaf.  I just used a craft brush to paint a coat of liquid leaf over the pumpkin – no primer.  On most of them, I found I only needed one coat, as the product if very opaque and a little goes a long way.  Make sure you shake the paint well though – the metallic flakes in it tend to settle to the bottom, so if you don’t shake it it will come out streaky and transparent.  Here’s what my ugly duckling pumpkins pretty much looked like before:

foam pumpkins unpainted

SUCH a realistic color and pattern, don’t you think? Yeah…not so cute.

And with one coat of liquid leaf:

one coat of liquid leaf

Ahhhhh….much better!

I did find that the liquid leaf picked up some warmth from the base color of the pumpkins.  So, the pumpkins that started out white were more of a true brass tone, while the orange pumpkins (like the one in the picture above) took on a warmer, golden hue.

After I got everything painted, I could have easily called it a day – they were beautiful just as they were.  But if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I have a bit of a hard time leaving well enough alone.  So, to add some additional color variation and depth, I went back in with some of Viva’s Inka-Gold in “old silver” and rubbed it into the high points of the pumpkin.

What is Inka-Gold, you might ask?  Well, if you’re familiar with Rub ‘n Buff, it’s very similar.  Basically, it’s pigment suspended in a soft, waxy base that you can rub onto surfaces to deposit color.  Once it has set, you can buff it with a cloth, which shines up the wax and makes the pigment more brilliant.  Though I love my liquid leaf, it can be a bit shiny for my tastes.  By adding the Inka-gold over the top, it softens down that shininess so it’s more of a satin/glowy finish.  Depending on what color you use, it will also change the hue of the paint underneath.  Here is a comparison shot so you can see what I mean:

comparison shot of liquid leaf and inka gold

liquid leaf on the left, liquid leaf + “white gold” inka-gold on the right

It’s hard to see in the photograph, but the pumpkin on the right is significantly less shiny than the one on the left – it’s still metallic and reflective, but softer.  One other big advantage of Inka-Gold over Rub ‘n Buff is that it is water-based, which means you can thin it with water to make it more of a paint consistency, and  it cleans up super easily from both your hands and your project with regular soap and water.  If you over apply, all it takes to remove it is a damp cloth!  Rub n Buff is great, but it is hard to wash off and it is oil-based which means cleaning up with mineral spirits.

Here’s another shot of the completed pumpkin closer up so you can see the color and sheen variation:

pumpkin closeup

And one of them on our mantle, so you can see them in context:

DIY fall mantle with gold pumpkins and bookcase wreath

I didn’t seal these, but if you wanted to give them a quick shot of clear gloss I am sure you could .  I was a little nervous that the aerosol would melt the styrofoam pumpkins though, so I decided not to risk it.

So, to sum up:

1) Get foam pumpkins

2) Paint foam pumpkins with liquid leaf of choice

3) Optionally, apply Inka-Gold or Rub ‘n Buff to add dimension

4) Do a happy dance – your pumpkins are done!

Let me know if you try it, and feel free as always to leave comments or hit me up on social media – I’m on instagram, twitter, and facebook!

Till next time,

Sarah

A girl and her sharpie – aka how I brought Cole & Son wallpaper into my budget :)

Hi again!  See, I told you I’d be back 🙂

So, when we last met, I introduced you to my Larry, my DIY fail.  I also mentioned that I had already redone the accent wall in the craft studio, so today is a reveal post/mini-tutorial.  If you guys want something more in-depth, let me know and I will elaborate with a full-blown tutorial for you.

Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I have a rather long-standing tradition of falling in love with design elements that are WAAAAAYYYY out of my budget.  As much as I love those design elements, I also kinda love a roof over my head, food on my table, and, um, my marriage.  All this means that I can’t blow my budget no matter how much I love a given table, rug, lamp, etc.  But ask anyone who knows me, and they will probably tell you I am stubborn determined (and resourceful).  Luckily, I am also not afraid to take risks with paint.  Here’s why:

cole and sons

source

Oh, Cole & Son, your wallpaper is so pretty, so my style, so…FRIGGIN’ SPENDY!  I first saw this wallpaper on Anthropologie (a website I only browse when my wallet is safely in the other room where I will be too lazy to fetch it), but at almost $200.00 a roll, it just wasn’t going to happen.  So, I decided to DIY it.  After looking on the internet, I found a bunch of birch tree stencils, but nixed these immediately since they didn’t really nail the original wallpaper. Plus, I thought it might hurt Larry’s feelings if I tossed him aside, only to do another stencil.  Y’all know I couldn’t risk that, haha.  Further searching led me to this post on Apartment Therapy, though, and I knew instantly that I was close to a solution.

marker tree

source

Finally, looking over my Pinterest boards, I found this pin of Vintage Revival’s gold sharpie wallpaper.

DIY Sharpie Wallpaper Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals[7]

source

Cue the lightbulb moment:  gold sharpie + hand drawn trees = the perfect solution to my craving for Cole & Son wallpaper.

And here it is!!  Pardon the less than ideal nighttime photos and the “storage unit chic” look this room is still rocking – it’s coming along, but it’s not done yet.

Fotor01014234557

Here’s a quick description of how I did it:

First, I pulled up a picture of the original wallpaper on my tablet so I could refer to it as I went.  This was super helpful in keeping the look uniform and preventing me from getting distracted and just doodling on my walls (not that that was EVER a concern…at all).

Next, I sketched out the tree and branch outlines very roughly in white chalk.  I also added in some knotholes.  I used the standard schoolhouse stuff that you can get at the dollar store and was perfect – not only did it show up really clearly on the navy walls, but it also came right off the with a damp sponge when I was done.

I then took the thinner of my two sharpie pens (I used both the medium and fine tip oil-based paint sharpies in the gold color), and drew roughly horizontal lines across the trunk of all my trees to fill them in.  I spaced these about 1/3″ apart on the main trees in the foreground, and wider on the skinny trees in the background.

Next, I took the heavier point sharpie (medium) and filled in between the lines with a combination of lines and dashes.  I tried to keep the pattern fairly regular between adjacent lines, but vary it overall so that nothing looked TOO uniform.

Finally, I used the fine point sharpie to add extra dashes on the one side of the tree trunks, to make them look more shaded and dimensional.  I also added some fine branches and leaves at this point, and added the Doctor’s and my initials in one of the knotholes for a personal touch.

All in all, I think I went through about 4 fine tip sharpies, and 3 medium tips.  I got all of them at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and used 40% off coupons, so all in all I spent around $15.00 for the whole wall, not including the navy paint.  If you add that in it’s probably more like $30.00.  Regardless, my DIY job was MUCH more in my budget that the $200.00 original. As an added bonus, I got to do it in my chosen color combo, and I kept the Doctor happy 🙂

So there you have it – the basic breakdown of what I did to create my own personal golden forest.  Feel free to comment with any questions you might have, and if enough people ask, I will do a full tutorial with pictures of each step and such.

Till next time,

Sarah

Entryway makeover and an introduction…

Let’s get the formalities out of the way, shall we? Hi! I’m Sarah, and my hubby and I are in the trial by fire process of fixing up our very first house. It’s a 1932 cottage (hence the incredibly clever blog name), and while it has its quirks, we love it. Much of the heavy lifting had already been done for us (well, sort of – more on that in future posts) since the house was a flip, but in the process of renovating the previous owner stripped away much of the charm that was in the house :(. So, we are on a mission to bring back that charm, while still keeping with our modern aesthetic – blending the two into something new, homey, and uniquely ours. Oh, and we’re on a preeeeeety tight budget too, so expect creative thinking and DIY projects.

Speaking of which, I just redid the entryway of our little house. Here’s (a terrible iphone picture) of what it looked like before – try not to run away in terror!

Yep, it’s a beauty, isn’t it? Cheapo college-era wire shelves? Check! Shoes everywhere, all out in the open? Check! Pathetic attempt at a drop-zone for all the mail, bags, and general nonsense we lug home every day? Right there (those would be the baskets overflowing with stuff, in case you missed it, lol).

Needless to say, this was not the first thing I wanted people to see when they walked into our home. However, we are a “no shoes” house – those dark floors show every speck of lint and dust someone’s shoes may track in – so getting rid of the storage wasn’t an option. And as much as I might fantasize otherwise, the reality is that the mister and I are not going to stop leaving our bags and such by the door. I knew I needed something with hidden storage to stow away all the shoes, and I wanted to turn that little nook into a focal point. So, off to Pinterest I went – a search which turned up these examples of gorgeousness (drool).

Problem was, I wanted something:
a) fast
b) cheap (or better yet, free), and
c) with a minimum of building (what can I say, we had just finished 450 linear feet of hand built fence, and I wanted a break from power tools).

After some looking around the house at what I already had, I realized that while the Ikea bookshelves (similar) we had in the office were full, they really didn’t need to be – at least half the stuff on them we never used or needed. Just like that, I had the first piece of the puzzle! For free!

So I packed up some of our stuff, gave some more of it away, and moved the now empty bookcase into the entry nook. On its side and with some legs from Ikea added, it was a perfect sideboard. Add in a painted damask accent wall (more details on that in an upcoming post), some lighting, and a few accessories, and this nook went from bedraggled to beautiful.

All it took was one weekend and ~$70.00. I also added some of these baskets from Target to store shoes, and the rest of the cubbies house a basket of stuff for our fuzzy daughter, Isabelle, as well as bags and the aforementioned crap-ola we bring home each day.

So now, drumroll please, the after pictures!

 

….and for comparison’s sake, a side-by-side:

I know the pictures are not up to snuff.  Nighttime photo sessions + iphone camera = not so hot. I will do better, I promise! I also still need to add the finishing touches, like a new overhead light (our house was FULL of the dreaded boob-lights…ewwww), and maybe a small piece of art on the short wall.  But seriously, I love it so much, y’all, I can’t even tell you. For now, I’m a happy girl!

Till next time,

Sarah

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