Friday, November 28, 2014

I Got Flocked! ;)

OK, so not really - but saying that cracks me up.  "Hey, Pamela - whatcha doin'?"  "I can't talk now - I'm flocking!"  I slay me sometimes.

Anyway.  I have a lovely artificial tree that was given to me by a friend.  When I moved to my current place, I was effectually running away from the trauma of my former life and relationship.  This was a new start for me, and the first Christmas here, I did not decorate.  A live tree wasn't in my budget and I just let the holiday pass by.

When my friend heard that, she gave me this tree.  I've always thought it was symbolic in more ways than one, and I love decorating it every year.

In 2011 (the first year I had the tree), it was a traditional red and green tree

2012 - pink!

2013 - glam silver and white

I've always loved flocked trees.  A new tree isn't in my budget, and besides - I love this one.  I tried the spray-on snow one year.  That stuff is manufactured by Satan, Inc.  Ugh - as soon as it dried on the branches, it started flaking off.  I guess in that respect, it was pretty authentic, but it was a real nuisance.

One year, I tried the Ivory Snow flakes snow.  That was an idea from my childhood - you mix Ivory Soap Flakes (not the liquid) with water, and you whip it like you would DreamWhip (also another thing from my childhood best left there).  You then scoop it into your hands and run them along the branches to deposit the "snow".  It looks great, but the smell of Ivory Snow for 4 weeks made me insane.  It never dissipated and it overpowered every Yankee Candle known to mankind.

So this year, I painted the damned thing.  Yep.  I painted my Christmas tree.  

Here's how I did it:

1.  I used Valspar's "Color Radiance" spray paint.  I bought mine at Lowe's - it's about $5.00 a can - I bought 4 cans and ended up using about 3.5 cans.

The color is "Azure Snow".  It's not white.  It's not blue.  It's not gray.  It's that perfect combination of the three that looks like ... well, snow!  It's gloss, but that doesn't matter.

Before I started, I gave some thought as to how real snow falls on real trees.  It doesn't cover the trees completely (usually).  The undersides get less snow than the tops of the branches.

2.  I pulled out the branches (my tree assembles row by row) by row groups and re-shaped the branches as they had been stored in Rubbermaid containers all year.

With the thought of how the snow looks on real trees in mind, I started.  I sprayed the underside of the branches lightly.  Just long strokes of spray up and down the branches.

I then turned it over and did the same on top.  I sprayed a heavier coat on top.  Not so heavy that it drips or clumps the "needles" together, but I tried to mimic how snow would look.  Don't forget the tips of the branches.  

3.  I sprayed two rows of branches and just laid them on the grass to dry.  It was about 50-55 degrees that day and they dried very quickly.

4.  I assembled the first (bottom) row and then brought out the 3rd row of branches and sprayed them.  While they were drying, I assembled the 2nd row of branches.  I followed this method until all the branches were sprayed.  I'd say the entire thing took 3 hours, so there is a bit of time to be invested.

5.  As I moved up to the smaller branches, I realized that since these would be higher up the treed, they'd be eye level and above.  These branches received a heavier coat on the underside because once they were on the tree and adjusted, they would point upwards a bit and the undersides would be more visible.

This is how a finished branch looks:

It's still green, but it has that hazy, snowy look that I love.

Once the entire tree is assembled, it is a very subtle look.  It's not as "in your face" as an actual flocked tree, but I think it's beautiful

Regarding the paint odor - once I assembled the branches, there was a definite spray-paint odor.  The weather permitted me to open the house and I kept it open that day.  Within 48 hours, the odor was gone.  Please keep this in mind if you choose to try this.

My next post will be the fully decorated tree - I'm excited to see how it looks once it's all tarted up ;)

PS - we had real snow for Thanksgiving!

I'm linking up at:

Mod Vintage Life - Mod Mix Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
ReFresh/ReStyle - Inspiration Monday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I made cornices for my bedroom today.  I used the tutorial and photos from The Polka Dot Closet

Everything went just as described in the tutorial.  Everything was pretty inexpensive; the lecture from the guy at Home Depot about why I should pay eleventy billion dollars to a "professional" and "do it the right way - with wood" was free, so woot.

You can see what my bedroom looked like "before" here

The draperies are duvets - "Linen Rose" from Court of Versailles.  I've been collecting them from eBay for two years now with the express intent of making draperies.  Their retail price is horrific - I think the queen duvet was $495.  I managed to buy 2 queens and a king over the past 24 months at prices I can assure do not approach $495 each.

(not my actual bedroom)

detail of the bedding

The bedding is very heavy.  Heavy to the point that when there's even a down alternative filler in the duvet, it's too heavy for me.  So - after I took the duvets apart, here's what I did:

floral side of the queen duvets - I actually used the reverse side.  These are so well-made that I was able to do that.  The reverse floral picks up the bedroom color (I had Annie Sloan "Paris Grey" duplicated in Behr) and the cream reverse almost has a sheen to them.  I lined then using a plain white bed sheet I bought at SprawlMart.  A plain top to slide on the poles.  The sheers are a lace with a medallion that echoes the floral motif.  I'm not sure if I'm keeping them or going to switch to drop cloth panels (more on drop cloth later)

striped side of the queen duvets - these will become my dining room drapes...I'll use the reverse as well.

floral side of the king duvet - I'll hem that and back it with drop cloth and use it as a coverlet on the foot of the bed.

striped side of the king duvet - cornice for my living room.  I also have enough fabric for sofa/settee pillows and I have yards and yards of beautiful cording for trim.

The cornices for the bedroom are done with good ole' Lowe's drop cloths.  I like the 8-ounce weight.  I wash them, and then bleach them in the washer and let them sit in the water overnight.  They come out a beautiful shade of cream.  

Probably the most difficult part was ironing the drop cloth.  It turned out really well, I think.  The trim is a striped piece from the reverse of the duvet.

As usual, I take awful photos - the link above to my bedroom progress has better photos of the true color of the bedroom walls.

This is my other bedroom window -
 to show what they looked like before the cornice

The finished cornice.  The shadows make it look wonky, 
but I assure your my OCD self made certain it was plumb :)

I had been standing on the bed to put up
the L-brackets that support the cornice, so
it looks like I've been wrestling in it.  
(as if...)

My night stands are actually garden
furniture (wrought iron and marble) from 
Bombay Company.  I wish they'd bring that store

I'm very pleased with the outcome - it makes a definite impact when you walk in the room and see the cornice and the beautiful draperies.

I'm linking up at:

ReFresh ReStyle - Inspiration Monday
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Mod Vintage Life - Mod Mix Monday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday