Dec 27, 2012

Secretaire desk makeover

Secretaire desk after makeover

Secretaire desk before makeover

Furniture makeover is one of my favourite hobbies. In today's consumer society we tend to throw away things,  buy new, then throw them easily, ... I prefer to makeover things and personalize them. This secretaire desk  is one of pieces I refurbished - It was in a good shape and condition, but ugly color and  finished with glossy varnish I hated.


First, I dissembled doors and other pieces, then sanded it and put two layers of primer. I am using acrylic paint. After it dries, inner side of the desk I painted gray, and outside white - actually, very light cream color. This was a basis  for the additional  work. Recently I like to use letters and text, so I did for the desk. I made stencils from plastic foil, used few acrylic colors and you can see the result.

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Dec 23, 2012

How to enlarge fonts in Microsoft Word

 Text, letters, signs - we use them  in many forms and sizes. There are numerous font types on internet. But how to make large stencils or print very large fonts?
It is rather easy to accomplish. Here are some tips and tricks for Microsoft Word.

Enlarge text using font size

This  is very simple. Type a text, pick the font type you want. And then, under Home tab, just enter the font size (any size you'd like or need).

Enlarge text using Wordart

 Insert Wordart, type text. Pick the font type you would like. By dragging corner dot, you can enlarge text to the size you need. Draging other 'dots' you can narrow or extend your text - that is the additional  feature you get with Wordart.

Tip: In Microsoft Word 2010, this doesn't work without some additional tricks (usually for Microsoft, don't you agree?). You need to save the document as Word 97-2003 document first, reopen it and then you'll get the possibility explained above.

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Dec 18, 2012

How to easy make fritters

Sometimes very simple recepies make a difference. These fritters are one of them. The taste is rather neutral, so they can  be combined well  with cream, aivar, chutney  or marmelade and chocolate. I love them most with plum jam. And even the beginners can make them easily.

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Dec 17, 2012

How to personalize (almost) everything

Letters come in many shapes, sizes, colors. There are number of letter types as well. I am familiar with Latin and Cyrillic,  unfortunately not with others. But any of them are great to personalize gifts,  decorate home, design jewerly, there are endless possibilities, why not to use them.

Letters on thousand ways

Find below few beautiful examples - some of them I made, some are done by creative crafters community:

 I refurbished old and ugly  secretaire desk and personalized it with names and  topics we love. In one of my future posts I'll publish tutorial how I did it.

For this sign you can find tutorial how to make it on my blog.

For this interesting pillow read how-to.

Letters on lamp ? Fabulous! 

And here is something for our grandparents.

 This little pad could be a great Christmas gift.

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Dec 2, 2012

How to wrap gifts for Christmas

Went to the city center this morning - Christmas decoration everywhere, large Christmas tree on the main square, stands with Gluhwein, sausages, decoration, gifts
placed in nearby streets. How can I not think on gifts - what to make, what to buy, how to wrap (and upcycle)?

Old magazine + burlap = Gift wrapping

Old magazines and burlap - perfect combination and source of inspiration. Add
pinecone and ivy, stich a little bit  and gift is wrapped.

Burlap + branches = Christmas tree on the gift

Burlap again - I just love burlap and old coffe or grain sacks. Few hot glue branches make the magic.

Jump to see more detailed 'How to' for the both examples!

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Nov 29, 2012

Gift wrapping for Christmas, birthdays, wedding, love

Holiday season started and these days we are thinking more and more about the  New Year's Eve and Christmas. And, of course, gifts for our family, friends, loved ones. I am always much more excited to see if I chose the right gift, whether it brought joy to my loved ones, than looking forward to unwrap mine.

Wrapping gift is almost as important as buying/making them. If you don't have time or inspiration to make something by yourself, at least you can try to be original with wrapping. It is easy to buy, but investing our creativity, imagination and time we show that we do care for others giving them a part of ourselves.

Recycled material is something I prefer. Here are some examples (and tutorials) how to wrap gifts with the material you can easily find at home.

Newspaper bowl gift wrap


I 've always loved book stores and at least once a week I spend some time in one of them, reviewing what is new, particularly on the shelf with crafts books. Few month ago I accidentally came across a book about furoshiki and was honestly thrilled with it. It is 
the art of Japanese cloth wrapping and has been a part of daily life in Japan for centuries.  It originated as a way to bundle clothes  for easier transport, and evolved into the art.    Official Furoshiki site     offers  comprehensive tutorials on how to wrap different items such as wine bottles, books and more.   Some of examples follow:

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Nov 14, 2012

Chalkboard everywhere

 Last few weeks I became a 'chalkboard' freak. Refurbished kitchen using chalkboard paint, then made a frame for notes (you can find this tut in  my post here) , painted inner sides of desk's doors. And found this awesome  tutorial how to make chalkboard wrapping paper . I love the possibilities chalkboard gives me - I can change the images, text, chalk colors, and get renewed interior. 
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Nov 11, 2012

DIY shabby chalkboard frame

A couple of weeks ago I got few wooden picture frames from my neighbor and decided to make chalk board. Yes, we all have mobile phones, send text messages and emails, but I recognized the advantages of the  old-fashioned chalk board near the entrance door - hubby can't have excuse now: 'I forgot my glasses, couldn't read the message.' And one of the wooden frames was ideal for that.
On the photos you can see the final result, and tutorial how I made it find after the jump.

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Oct 31, 2012

How to choose between roller and brush

Is is better to paint using roller or brush? This question I asked myself a lot of time when refurbishing furniture. And  tried with various rollers and brushes to see what works best for me. I love water based, acrylic paint. For larger surfaces, with fine velur roller I achieve the best results (and much faster than with the brush). But, for oil-based paints, as they are a little bit 'sticky', roller is not so good -  fine, good quality pure-bristle brush works better for me. Sponge brushes I found good for corners, in the combination with rollers. Anyway, it is important to pay attention on the brush or roller material, as I wrote in the post How to choose paint brushes  - general rule: use polyester roller/brush for water-based paint and natural material for oil-based paint. And try different tools to get filling. You can always repaint and make changes.     My hubby sometimes doesn't like the color or technique I choose, and I always answer him: Never mind, I can always repaint it if I am not happy with  the final result. And few time I really did - something immediately, some pieces of furniture after a year or two, either I didn't like them any more, or changed the overall style or color of the space.
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Oct 26, 2012

Paper bead jewelry

I am always working on few parallel projects. Sometimes it is OK, I need to rethink about the next step or simply, wait for paint to dry. But sometimes, I am eager to finish everything and have too much on the agenda. I am writing this because I was frustrated this morning when remember that started paper bead necklace few month ago and did't have time to finish it (and needed just the like the unfinished one). Paper is definitely my favorite material. And how to make paper beads and make various jewelry pieces you can find on the paperbeads site. I discovered it recently and love the pieces and tuts I found there.

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Oct 23, 2012

Wonderful news - I am on Totally Tutorials!

I am thrilled my post is published on Totally Tutorials. As a new Blogger it is difficult for me to reach to the people and have followers or readers. Hope this would help, and more surfers will find my blog useful. I learned a lot reading other sites and hope my blog will help somebody else providing some interesting information.
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Oct 19, 2012

How to choose paint brushes

Synthetic or natural bristle brushes?

When painting furniture people (myself too) usually pay attention to choose the right paint - color, type, supplier. For a long time I didn't take take what type of brush to choose. But if you want to achieve the professional look, this is important as well. Basically, the choice of the right brush depends on the paint you are using: for water-based (acrylic) paint, use synthetic - polyester or nylon bristles. Oil-based paints apply best with natural or pure bristle brushes. The natural fibers absorb water, swell up and lose their shape, so using them with water-based paints will cause poor result. On the other hand, 
when using a synthetic brush with an oil-based paint the solvent in the paint slightly melts the polyester or nylon hairs of the brush, clumping them together. 

After this initial choice, there are number of other features to look, like eg. density (better brushes have more bristles and they are tapered) or length, but you need some experience to see what works bets for you. What is easy to test for everyone is to try tug a few bristles out of the brush - if this is done easily, take some other brush. I have three furry pets always moving around me, and I am used to struggle with hairs left on the paint film, but honestly, this is not what I like, and what is appreciated after all preps yoe9ve done. So, choose the good brush and enjoy your work. 

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Oct 10, 2012

Pumpkin, squash, pumpkin

Fall has arrived and  surprised us again with all these beautiful colors. Every Saturday I visit local market and enjoy the variety of vegetables and fruits, and this month, the color, shapes, sizes of pumpkins and squashes. In my country (Croatia, Europe)  Halloween is not part of the tradition, but we love squashes and make meals, soup, cakes and  keep them as decoration as well.

Delicious pumpkin soup

This delicious cream soup is very easy to make, but one of the best you'll ever taste. Read the recipe and enjoy!

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Oct 8, 2012

Furniture makeover - Wood stains

I love trees - you can see that from the blog title. And I love wood and wood grains to be visible on furniture, if possible. When refurbish some old piece, I usually  plan to use stain and to have grains visible. It is not always possible for many reasons - item condition, previous paint layers, too much (manual) sanding efforts. Recently, I decided to stain a table and bought a water-based wood stain. From the beginning I felt something is wrong, the result was too opaque. And then, started to google of course, and found out there are basically two different types of wood stain: 
- low-build wood stains allowing enhanced wood structure appearance  (on the picture above) and 
medium or high-build stains that are rather opaque.

Not to mention that there stains dedicated for exterior and those for interior, etc. But, talking about the impression, take care about the opacity. After all those sanding and preparations, right stain should be applied.

The positive thing is, I now know now that, even if there are imperfections I can't avoid for some reason, I can still use stain (medium-build this time) and get grain at least moderately visible.
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Oct 3, 2012

DIY Shabby-looking sign

Shabby chic furniture look has been very popular last years, and for the reason. It is particularly convenient for the hobby crafters and  beginners as you don't need to be master to refurbish something old  and get astonished new piece of furniture. That is one of the reasons I like it as well. The other is sense of romance this style brings to my home. But personally, I think it should be a little bit careful and not to overdo to use it. I prefer more modern style with some romantic details and space overcrowded with flowers, pillows, curtains,  shabby chic pieces is not what I would choose.
This shabby-looking sign is detail I painted in my kitchen, above the window. 
It is very simple project and see how I did it.

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Sep 25, 2012

Amazing laces

Pag lace

Fall has begun, fashion theme articles, magazines, portals are inviting us to malls and clothes shops. Lace is 'must have' in wardrobe. That reminds me on the art of hand-making lace in Croatia, where I live. We are small country, but there are even three main centres of lacemaking in Croatia, whose work is a continuation of the long-lasting lacemaking tradition. These are: Lepoglava in Hrvatsko zagorje (west-northern part of the country) with bobbin lace, island Pag on the Adriatic see with needle point lace and island Hvar with aloe lace. They are all inlisted on UNESCO representative list of intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is impossible to say which one is more beautiful, for me they are all breathtaking and astonishing. 
When I see such handmade art, I feel embarrassed looking at my own craft work. But it is not appropriate at all to compare masterpiece with some hobby craft. Just enjoy the art and lace masterpieces.

Lepoglava lace 

Hvar lace from agava

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