Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How Painting With Water Has Taught My Family

As you all know I love art. The name of my blog is Thrifty Artsy Girl after all, and I'm always up to some kind of artsy project. I also love involving my toddler son, Jackson, in creating his own works of art. Hopefully he will love and appreciate art as much as both of his parents do.

Now that Jackson is in pre-school he does numerous art activities there, and unfortunately less at home. I still try to get some type of artsy, crafty projects in but it's sometimes hard to squeeze it in to our busy life style.

With that said, I was given the opportunity to review an "artistic" product and since anything "artsy" is right up my alley, I jumped at it. The product I'm sharing with you all is called the Buddha Board. The Buddha Board is very minimalist in design (it definitely looks like you would find it sitting out in a Japanese house). Basically it's just a flat board (with what looks like rice paper on it) that rests in a tray (with notches for the Buddha Board and paintbrush) that you fill with room temperature water to dip a traditional Japanese paintbrush in.

To use the Buddha Board you simply paint on the surface with water, after a minute or so the image will slowly evaporate and then you can create another masterpiece :). The Buddha Board is intended to help relieve the stress of most people's chaotic, busy lives by helping you to slow down and relax while painting on the Buddha Board's surface and watching your artwork disappear along with your stress, ultimately leaving you with a clear mind.

Right when I unpacked the Original Buddha Board, Jackson was on it. He wanted to be the first to try it out ;). He painted with the water for quite a while, watching the image disappear and then painting a new image on the board.

Cory and I are no strangers to painting. Before we knew each other we had painted numerous canvases and other surfaces with our own unique styles. *Sigh* It seems like a lifetime ago. Without us even realizing it, our busy lives involving jobs, parenting and renovating several spaces took over and forced us to trade in our delicate artist paintbrushes, replacing them with the poor substitute of painting endless amounts of walls and trim. With the Buddha Board we were gently reminded, like a visit from an old friend, of our love for this past life.

Cory came home late one night from working in the ER and saw that the Buddha Board was set up. I had told him all about the Buddha Board and its intended purpose of helping you let go of the stress from your day by painting on the surface and watching it disappear. He sat down and immediately started painting. He told me the next day that the Buddha Board not only helped relieve a lot of his tension but that he believed the Buddha Board could be a great tool for the out of practice artist. I could not agree with him more.

I noticed the same thing when I used the Buddha Board. Memories of why I started painting in the first place came rushing back to me. Artistic painting (not painting walls and trim) has always been therapeutic for me. The Buddha Board has definitely inspired me to bring more art back into my life.

Since Cory's a very private artist (shh don't tell him I told you that ;) the Buddha Board is perfect for him because everything he paints simply disappears in a few minutes. No one sees if your painting isn't perfect (and believe me, most artistic types don't think much of anything they do looks perfect!) Another great thing about the Buddha Board is that you're not creating any waste since you're painting with water and when it dries you have a clean "new" surface. And of course there's Cory's favorite: you're de-stressing and practicing painting techniques at the same time. 

I've discovered it's not only great at painting cleansing your day away, but that it can be used as a teaching tool for Jackson. Since he's a little young to have stress in his life (I hope) and he's currently learning how to write letters and numbers at school I've found a great way for him to practice at home with the Original Buddha Board.

The first time I tried my theory it worked out perfect! First I called Jackson over and I wrote a letter J on the Buddha Board surface.

Next I instructed Jackson to write the letter J right next to mine. He did great for the first try!

As Jackson grows more accustomed to writing his letters I'll have him wait until the letter I have painted has evaporated and have him paint that letter from memory. This picture is the second letter we tried. Not bad at all for a 3 year old!

The next day Jackson went up to the Buddha Board on his own and with no prompting, he painted the two letters that we had painted the day before. I'm glad my camera was sitting right by the Buddha Board so I could snap this pic before the letters evaporated!

We all love the Buddha Board in our household. It has brought back memories of why we love art and has quite possibly brought us back to making art like we used to. It will be used for years to come since it has so many uses including relieving daily stress, a teaching tool, a painting practice tool, and the list goes on and on.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was given this product complimentary to review. However all opinions expressed are my own and 100% true.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Power of Paint: Shades of Grey Apartment Bathroom Reveal

It's finally time for an apartment renovation reveal! This post is basically the reason I wanted to start blogging guys! I know, I know, you were all expecting more on Jackson's owl bathroom. Well, we've been working on another bathroom at the same time! Overachieving is one word for it. Or glutton for punishment. Either way I'm up to my elbows in bathroom makeovers!

This is a huge post for me, with multiple projects done over the course of many weeks. I could have split it up into several posts but I just didn't have the time or energy while working at two different spaces on multiple projects. Plus this was kind of an unexpected renovation and I didn't do all the work so I just took pictures of our progress.

Since I started blogging last year all of the apartments have been occupied (except one that is getting a major overhaul, more on that another time) so we couldn't do any kind of updating or reno. Shortly after my lower unit grey apartment tour, the tenants living there put in their notice. While the apartment looked really nice, Cory felt a little sprucing up was necessary.
First we painted a bedroom a greenish grey that had been boring beige. We let Jackson "help" with the painting. I couldn't resist snapping a few shots of our budding artist at work.


Cory also patched and painted any damage. We painted, painted and painted some more. We focused most of our mini makeover energy on the bathroom and small back entryway/hallway between the bathroom, a bedroom and the kitchen.

Here's a couple before shots of the bathroom and what I could dig up of the hallway (Cory started working on it while I was at work so I didn't get a before picture).

We worked on the two areas simultaneously. Cory decided he wanted to try something new with the back entryway. His sister Erica had put up board and batten (like wainscoting) in her bathroom (see her tutorial here) and it inspired him to try it in this small area to make it look more interesting and more to the period of the house. We had a bunch of pine furring strips and other small wood boards in the basement leftover from a huge shelving/storage unit Cory built a while ago so he decided to use those. You can pick furring strips up for super, super cheap (pennies for a 4 foot long board) at any home improvement store. Cory framed the whole hallway out for less than $5 worth of wood.

He simply measured, placed the furring strips equal distance apart (he didn't even have to cut them as they were already the same height), then he glued them to the wall, taped them until dry, then painted the wood and wall white and lastly he used some caulk to give it a finished look. He did cut and fit slightly larger boards that were also in the basement for the top rail piece. Here's a few pictures of the process. Since we painted the board and batten white we had to bite the bullet and paint the woodwork and doors white to match.

Here's the brand new/old looking entryway!

At the same time the hallway was going back in time, the bathroom got a fresh new look, a facelift, to give it a more modern appearance.
I started by painting the sad 80's wood vanity with some of my favorite new $5 Waverly chalk paint in the dark grey elephant color. Here's a before shot of the vanity right before I started painting.

Here's the vanity after painting. I painted the medicine cabinet to match and still had a tiny amount of paint left. I also put a clear coat on to protect the paint from water and normal usage.

We reused all the knobs, towel bars and toilet paper holder. Cory soaked them in paint deglosser overnight and then spray painted them oil rubbed bronze and put touches of worn penny paint on all the fixtures to give them a true oil rubbed look. He completed the process by spraying a clear coat on everything so that the paint won't knick or scratch off. I found a can of light grey oops paint that I had purchased a while ago for $12 to paint the walls to match the new vanity color.

The wall board in the bathroom was not the white color we would have preferred. It was in good shape just off white. 

Instead of pulling it all down Cory decided to try a new product out to see if we could transform the wallboard for little cost and effort. For about $12 Cory purchased Zinsser Bondz. We already had the paint deglosser which Cory used first (so the Bondz would work even better) on the wall board by scrubbing it onto the surface and then he applied a coat, let it dry for a half hour and then painting on the Bondz primer. 

Right after he painted the Bondz primer onto the wallboard he then finished with two coats of white paint and primer in one.

We are super excited with the outcome from the Bondz primer. The wall board looks fresh, clean and best of all white. We can't wait to use Bondz on one of the numerous surfaces it says you can paint on such as vinyl, garage doors, metal, glass etc.

My favorite part about this bathroom makeover is the feet on the claw foot tub. Ever since I bought a can of Rustoleum mirror effect spray paint for my gold glitter mercury glass pumpkin we've been looking to use it on tons of objects we want to be shiny silver. I suggested we paint the white claw feet on the tub to make them look more expensive. This was the easiest paint project in the bathroom. I cleaned the feet, taped them off and Cory sprayed them. Instant wow factor. Makes me wish I had this puppy in my own home...

Here's a picture of the whole completed bathroom.

Not too shabby for less than $50 worth of paint and supplies. It really is amazing what a little paint and elbow grease can do for a room!

Until the next time!


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the products mentioned. All opinions are my own from my own experiences.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Easy DIY Button and Bead Elephant Nursery Wall Art

I hope you all are having memorable, happy holidays with family and friends! With that said, obviously I was just a little too busy this holiday season to get any blogging done. With work, festivities and the hustle and bustle this time of year brings I'm lucky if I even get to sit and let it soak in for five minutes. 

Don't worry though I was doing plenty of crafting, creating and renovating in between the ol' job, festivities and sleeping. Today I'm going to show you one of the projects I managed to slip in between the chaos.
As you all know I just love making my own wall art to decorate my house. So naturally I would want to create some for my family and friends too! When one of my super sweet coworkers announced the she was expecting her first baby (it's a boy!) I knew immediately what I wanted to give to her: a button elephant.
Sounds exotic doesn't it? On one of my Pinterest adventures I spied one of these adorable framed button elephants and ever since then I wanted to try to make one. Here's one of my favorite elephant pins by busted button that I was inspired by.

I started crafting this elephant with the intention of just making it and giving it as a present, no tutorial. But when I was finished I couldn't help but post an instagram pic of my finished product and one of my wonderful followers asked if I had a DIY post about it. I swear I always do this to myself. The projects I don't document are the ones that people really want to see!

Lucky for me I did snap a couple cell phone pics of the process. So while the pictures aren't the greatest, I'll do my best to write a tutorial anyone can follow on making a button elephant.

I asked my friend for paint samples from her baby's room so that I could match my wall art to the space. She was doing a grey-blue and grey scheme in the room. Just perfect for a grey elephant. I gathered products I already had and purchased the rest of my supplies off of eBay. I am not a button hoarder (as of yet ;) so I bought a small lot of grey buttons of varying sizes and I also picked up some grey toned beads (to fill in the gaps) for $3 all together. Here's the break down of supplies I used:

Button and Bead Elephant Supplies

  • Buttons of varying size, of the color of your choosing
  • Beads to fill in the gaps, of the color of your choosing
  • Canvas (I used 8x10)
  • Empty frame to put around the canvas
  • Hot glue gun
  • Small tools to help place beads (tweezers, guitar pick, container etc.)
  • Time
I used an 8x10 canvas and rifled through my frame stash for a frame that would slip right onto the canvas since it worked out so well for my kitchen spoon art I figured I'd give it a go for this project. I found one that I had purchased at Salvo complete with price tag that said $1.79. I mixed some paint up and color matched the blue to the baby's room and painted the previously brown wood frame to a sweet baby blue.

By then I had received my buttons in the mail (if you don't want to purchase buttons on eBay they have packets of buttons at Walmart and craft stores in all the colors of the rainbow). I laid them out on the counter just to see how easy it would be to make an elephant shape out of buttons. It was not difficult at all. Here's a cell phone shot of my first attempt.

I then laid them all out on my canvas. I used Cory's opinion on how the elephant was turning out because I thought I might be biased and I wanted the finished product to leave no doubt in anyone's mind that it was indeed an elephant. At first I wanted to use a black button for the eyeball. Cory put the kabash on that idea. He said he couldn't tell what it was. So I painted one of the buttons white and placed a black button on top for the pupil.

Here's a cell phone pic of my "dry fit" complete with some beads that Cory put squirting out of the elephants trunk.

After I had all the buttons right where I wanted them I simply picked them up one by one and put a dab of hot glue on the back and placed them right back where they were. After all the buttons were glued I got out my beads.

I put a small amount of beads into a Tupperware container to shake out onto my glue. I didn't want any bare spots so I simply piped some glue into the spaces between the buttons and shook beads out onto the top of the glue. Then I tapped the canvas over the Tupperware container to catch any loose beads. I used tweezers, a guitar pick and my fingers to form the glue and beads into the shape of the trunk, legs and back.
I made the tail completely out of beads. I put down a layer of glue and then shook on some beads. I did have to use the tweezers to place the darker beads so the tail would show up.
Here's some pics of the finished project. I love how my button and bead elephant turned out and it cost about $5 to make! It was a very simple project, although very tedious so make sure you have a couple hours set aside to do it.

I like the variety of the buttons and how some are beat up and scratched, like they have a story to tell.

I also made her a little wood sign out of a fence picket to hang above her little boy's door. I'm a little obsessed with hand lettering right now so I'll find almost any excuse to write a cute quote on anything I can get my hands on! This was a free project since I used fence pickets and some eyelets that we already had.
I hope she likes my home-made wall art! While I'm at it I'll give you guys a peek at some of the Christmas presents Cory and I made this year! We decided that since we were a little low on funds this year we would put our talents to good use.
I stained and stenciled a crate for my Grandma and her husband.
Cory and I collaborated and made a cat bed for Cory's 93 year old Grandma out of a crate. This was my favorite Christmas project. I removed a couple pieces of wood, then painted and glazed the crate. Then Cory cut two pieces off one of the boards at an angle, glued them on and used the leftover pieces to make ears for a Cheshire cat he painted on the back. I added feet to the bottom, Cory added finials to the top. I then hand lettered Baby on the front to complete this one of a kind cat bed.

Cory also made a coat hanger for his Mom and Step Dad out of wood from an old deck.
So you see I've been very busy, just not with blogging... I do have tons of posts lined up though ;). Since the hectic holiday season is now over I'm going to get going on all of those! Up next is a bathroom post that I can't wait to show you all!
Until the next time,


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