Friday, May 18, 2012

Framed Venetian Mask


Are you ready to see what I did with that frame I painted, which I showed you last week? Sorry to keep you waiting, I had two long weeks. Busy at work, conference over the weekend, you know how it goes.

Without further ado, my framed Venetian mask:



I've had this Venetian mask for several years. It was a gift from my Aunt from when she went to Italy a number of years ago. It's really beautiful, and it hung in my bedroom in my parents' house until I moved out.



When I moved in to our current apartment, I brought it with me, to hang it up again. But with my dark purple walls in the bedroom, where I wanted to hang it, I knew something had to be done as it wouldn't really show much.

If you read my first post, you already know that I got this frame secondhand from my parents, and spray painted it white while trying my best to keep those bronze details (again- read the entire post here).



I thought the details in the frame would match well the mask, and would provide a nice white background to make the mask pop. And the goldish/bronze details in the frame match well with the golden ones in the mask. I thought it was a perfect fit!



I was a little afraid at first that the frame was too big for the mask. I tried to think of some way that I could fill the empty space, with jute/twine, or some felt flowers, or even paper flowers. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would look like too much. I often have to downplay my ideas like this, or else everything would look like a circus, haha!



I had also spray painted the poster board white with the same spray paint as I used on the frame, because there were some scratches on it, but it seemed too white and bright, especially against the dark wall. Painting it with some Antique White craft paint dulled the brightness just enough to make it good to go.



I had to change the orientation of the frame, since it was originally landscape and I wanted it portrait. I had to move the saw tooth frame hanger on the back.

It was easy enough, just popped out the nails with a small flat-head screwdriver...



...measured the middle of the frame in it's width...



... and just hammered them back into place.



As for the mask itself, the wire hanger in its back is not centered (as you can see below), so I centered it by eye as best I could, lifted it a little and marked where the wire touched the poster board.



Then I put a small nail on the mark. FYI, the smaller the better. At first my nail was too long and poked out the back too much, so I had to use a smaller one (it's one that is used to nail in those saw tooth hangers). That is why you see a hole above the nail there... small nail wouldn't fit the previous too big hole.



While I'm on this picture, question for you all. I wanted the paint on the poster board to be streak-free, and I had read a few times that using foam brushes diminished those a lot. Well, not for me, the lines that were left behind by that brush were so jarring (you can really see them in the above picture)! I went over with a normal brush afterwards, but it still showed through...

Are there such things as bad foam brushes?? I was so sad when that happened :( . Never using those again. Might also put a new painted poster board because those streaks might really annoy me in the long run. Any advice you can give me on this matter would be very welcome!!!

Anyway, back to the frame... I put a bit of tape on the back where the nail poked through so it wouldn't scratch the wall.



And I was done! Ready to hang in my bedroom.



Here are a few pictures all hung up. It's really hard to take pictures in there when the sun is not shining directly in because of the dark walls, and also because of where I hung up my framed Venetian mask.



From the opposite night stand:



And a view through the mirror, with the lamp on:



I love it! My boyfriend has mentioned a few times that it creeps him out. I ignore him ;)

So glad to have it back up, and it looks so stylish in its new frame, don't you think?










I party at these parties.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Giving an Old Frame a New Look

What’s better than “shopping” your home for new decorating items for a space? Shopping your parents’ home!

My parents are going through a redecorating phase and a lot of rooms in their home are getting a facelift. Which means they have a lot of decor that they aren’t using anymore. That gives ME the perfect opportunity to get some free stuff!!

That’s how I got my hands on this beauty.



Of course there was a print in it but I only needed the frame. I don't know what to do with the print, it's from when we visited Nova Scotia and is from a local artist, I don't want to throw it out...

It would be a shame to let that beautiful detailed frame collect dust in their basement, don’t you think?



Only thing was that it was too dark for what I wanted to do with it. I knew I wanted it in my bedroom where the walls are dark purple and it would barely show.

So I decided I’d give my hand at spray painting it. I wanted to keep the golden/bronze details, but I wasn’t too sure how to go about doing that... I thought that if I could spray paint it lightly and immediately wipe it off with a wet rag, the golden details could show through. It seemed like that's how the frame was made to begin with, if you look closely. I stared at it quite some time before settling with that hypothesis haha!

So that’s what I did.

Note: Since then, I’ve found this wonderful tutorial from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom that explains an other way to do this, so check it out if you're interested in painting a detailed frame like mine.

I set myself up outside in the backyard of our apartment building. I put down a plastic drop cloth, grabbed my white spray paint and tentatively tried to paint this thing.



I sprayed a section at a time, not too thick, just enough to cover it up a bit.



I liked how it wasn't super white and the brown from underneath was toning it down.



Then with a wet rag, I just wiped. If you’re gonna do it my way, you will want to squeeze out the water as much as you can, or else it leaks and dilutes the paint. And you have to work quite fast, the thin layer of paint I applied dried super fast!



You'll learn quickly enough that you don't need to be afraid to remove too much paint, the rag doesn't get much deeper than the surface of the details.



It maybe wasn't the best method, but I still like the end product.



Sure there are sections that are darker than others (where I squeezed water from the rag and it kinda just diluted the paint in that area...), but really not that noticeable unless you know about it, am I right?



I might still redo it the way Scattered Thought of a Crafty Mom did it with the stencil paint cream, but for now I am quite happy with it.



I would've liked to be able to wipe off more so the bronze would show more, but it really dried too quickly for that.



I think I had finally mastered this technique once I got to the sides (which I almost forgot to do! haha!), it's so much more even throughout and the bronze shows through nicely.



Oh and this poor guy got a bit of a paint treatment too, I guess I had it to close by... Note to self: always put everything else away, far far away from the painting zone!!



I'm pretty proud of myself. I was SO scared of messing it up, but it turned out well in the end.



I'll share with you what I did with it next time. It took me a month to finally decide exactly how to use it. I knew what I wanted to put in it, but it seemed just a bit off at first. Finally got to finishing it this weekend, and I'm super happy about it!

Stay tuned...

Edit: Part 2 is up!





I party at these parties.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Alternative Use for the Electric Kettle



How many specialty appliances do you have in your kitchen, those that are only really intended to do one thing? Chances are you have many, and they take up a relatively large amount of space in your kitchen, either on your counter or in your cupboards.

Wouldn't it be great if you could get more out of those items? Most of the appliances I have I've found many uses for.

One such item I have is my electric water kettle. Growing up, we didn't have one of these things, we only ever had the ones you put on the stove. But when I moved out of my parents' this was one of the first things we bought. I REALLY love hot chocolate! And it's so useful to have it STOP when it's reached boiling point. My dad has ruined quite a few kettles because he just went away to do handy stuff in his garage and forgot it was on. (He's stubborn, he does NOT want an electric one.)



I use it almost daily for the dishes now (hot water takes a while to get to the tap and so as to not waste too much, I boil it). For making coffee or tea or hot chocolate. It already gets a lot of use. But I've found one more way to make it useful for us.



I use it to make hard-boiled eggs! I think it's pretty genius of me hehe!

Have you read that to make the perfect hard boiled eggs you bring the water and eggs to a boil, stop it, cover, let rest for 15-20 minutes, and transfer the eggs to cold water? What if there was an appliance that would STOP the water boiling once it reaches boiling point FOR you? (ok, that sounds incredibly lazy now that it's written out lol)

So that's what I do, I just gently put the eggs in the electric water kettle (you don't want to chip them because cleaning this out is harder than a pot).



Now, our kettle is actually broken and won't turn off on it's own. But we make it work, the process goes faster actually since I boil the eggs 5 minutes, turn it off, and let stand 5 minutes before transferring to a bath of cold water.



My water bath is just an old mushroom container. I keep them around the kitchen and reuse them a lot, to thaw meat, to put my cut veggies as I cut them instead of a bowl (they are often all dirty lol), etc. They are a great size and shape, and I like reusing stuff :)

I also change the water in the water bath a couple of times. Alternatively, you can put the container in the fridge.

I use a timer because I'm super forgetful, and I'm used to having one in the lab so I don't need to think about times.

If you have a functional electric water kettle that will stop once it boils, then put 20 minutes on your timer when you turn on the kettle. You may have to adjust times if your eggs are still not cooked through.



Wasn't that pain free?! I like this method because it goes super fast. The cooking times makes it so that there's no yucky greenish-grey film around the yolk.

It takes total less than half an hour from the fridge to the finished product (in my case, devil's eggs). We often make eggs also to put in ramen noodle soups.



But wait! There's more!

I also want to share tips for breaking the shell of the eggs. There are some other tricks out there, keeping the eggs in the pan with a bit of water and shaking gently will remove all the shell pieces, but that's a little messy for me. I think it would be really great if you had a bunch of eggs, but for a few eggs I got a better way. I think...

What I do is I hold the egg horizontal and hit it staight down to make an indentation.



Then I roll the egg to make a line of broken shell.



I remove those pieces of broken shell, so there's a line in the middle of the shell. I always have a little trouble with removing the first piece... that's why there's a little nick in the egg.



Then I can just remove the 2 big pieces in one shot. You want your broken line big enough or else removing the big pieces is harder.





I've never seen anyone else break shells like this, but I like it. It makes it kinda fun, trying to remove the biggest shell piece possible!

So were my tips helpful? Do you think you'll try it or you got a better way?

Oh, and I cleaned my water kettle just for this post. I realized after taking the first set of pictures that having it that dirty just would not cut it.


Gross right?!

I don't think I'd ever have cleaned it this good if it were not for this blog post, but boy does it feel good to not see it all yellow inside!! I just boiled some diluted vinegar (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) in it. But that didn't do much. Had to use my cleaning toothbrush...



There are still some corners that were next to impossible to reach, still. But better than before! Especially the nozzle!



Ahhh! So much better :)

Those of you on my Facebook page, where I shared a sneak peak that I was cleaning my water kettle for a post, did you ever think it would be about this?!

Oh and if you liked how I used my electric kettle to boil eggs, WAIT til you see how I use my rice cooker! Coming soon...

Thanks for reading!



I party at these parties. If you would like to invite me to your linky party, please do so on my linkies page, thank you!
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