Monthly Archives: March 2013


Going slightly off the beaten path, I recently found some great sandals except that they had cork soles.  I am not a fan of cork shoes, and frankly I do not think you would ever catch me wearing any, ever, but my immediate reaction to these was that I could add a pattern to the soles and take the shoes to a new level.  So after a little research on painting on cork I chose the following method.

Here are the shoes, before and after.  (got them at DSW)before after

What you will need:

cork soled sandals


permanent markers, one fine point, a second thicker marker for filling in

acrylic matt spray sealer

1.  Hold the stencil as flat to the sandal as possible.   The first step is outlining the stencil on the sole.  You will have to shift your hand as you move over the sole’s curved surface.



2.  After you are satisfied with your design, carefully fill it in with the thicker permanent marker.

close up3. the final step is to shield the leather and lightly spray the stenciled area.

And you”re done!

finishedIt’s me viv.



fixing holes in walls.

This seems straight forward enough, but I showed this to a contractor, and he’d never seen it done this way before.  There are any number of reasons why you would have a hole in a wall.   Moving wires, adding light fixtures, cable connections, college kids, (did I say that), and then mystery holes that you discover after you’ve moved into your new very old house.  I had my electrician add two fixtures over my bed as there is hardly enough room for a night stand much less a lamp on it that would give me enough light to read, sew or sketch in bed.  When he was done, I had seven holes of various sizes to fix.  Not a problem.

What you will need.

Scraps of wood, (you could probably use really stiff cardboard)  (I used paint sticks and pieces of wood cigar boxes.)

Some longish wood screws.  (you will use these to hold the wood in place)

Durabond 45 Powder   (ace hardware)

Bowl and paint stick for mixing

Spatula for spreading the plaster

So here are the holes, two in my bedroom, and then a massive one that was hidden in my kitchen. The inspector didn’t even see this one.



you can see that one of the holes already had a piece of wood with a screw ready to go.



ready to plaster


This is Durobond.  I am in love with this stuff.  It dries rock hard.  It also makes a mess when sanding.  Neither Lowes nor Home depot carries it.  Go to Ace Hardware.durabond 45

Cut your wood just slightly bigger than the hole.  There is no need for perfection here, as you will never see this piece of wood again.  For the small holes a single screw is adequate to hold the wood in place, the larger hole in my kitchen I used 2 screws.  Only put the screws in far enough to be able to keep a grip on the wood piece.  Next manuever the wood with screws in the hole, and make sure you can pull it up tight against the drywall with the screws.DSCN0644

Now you are ready to mix up your Durobond.  Cut a small hole in the bag, because this powder goes airborn easily.  I used a large spoon to put it in the bowl.  Add water little bits at a time, just when you think you need a little more, it will suddenly surprise you, so stir stir stir as you go.  If you add too much water, you can wait as some of the water evaporates, or try adding a little more powder.  You don’t want it to be too liquid it should grab the wood and drywall.  When almost dry, (5 to 10 minutes), you can gently remove the screws.  Your second application is to fill the screw holes, and create as smooth a finish as possible.mixed plaster

And now you are ready to do your first application



when still somewhat soft to the touch, gently unscrew the screws.



With the screws removed, wait for this application to dry and then do your second, again as smooth as you can to minimize any sanding.  You can see the kitchen “mystery hole” is ready for paint.  (And I think you can see that the kitchen is in need of serious work. . . later)

ready for paintIn this shot, you can see there is no evidence of any holes.


I think this is amazing.  Many thanks to my “go to guy” for house stuff.

It’s me, viv, becoming more fearless everyday.


Paintable wallpaper and a bathroom door

I wouldn’t be the first to say you can transform anything with the right attitude, tools and materials.  Here’s a perfect example.  The bathroom door in my bedroom was in pretty bad shape.  And I love texture.  Paintable Wallpaper and my love of texture inspired this bathroom door fix.


What I used / what you’ll need

original door

green frog tape


One Time Spackle  (ace hardware, this stuff is fantastic)

Kilz Water based primer

enamel paint for finish coat

Different color for trim

swelligant metal paint and patinas for hardware  (cindy Friessen)

paintable wallpaper (do a google search to find one you like.  This will be your biggest expense.)

wallpaper adhesive for non porous surfaces.  (lowes)

wood trim (I used the tiniest I could find)  (lowes)

sponge rollers for wallpaper glue and for paint.

1.  Take the door off the hinges and remove hardware, or tape it off with green frog tape.  Lay the door on some flat surface.  I sanded with a rotary sander, till most of the varnish was off, until I had a very smooth surface for the wallpaper.  Fill any holes with One TIme and sand again when dry.

door 1


2. Next prime the door with Kilz.  It needs to be white underneath the wallpaper.  Sand lightly when this dries.  The emphasis here is that you really want a very smooth surface.  I did 2 very thin coats of primer.  Cut the wallpaper to the size you desire.  (It helps to have a squaring tool of some sort.  I have a sewing ruler that is a right angle and works well.)  If necessary make sure you cut the paper away where it goes over any of the door hardware.   Also give yourself some pencil marks directly on the door so you know exactly where to lay the paper.  You do not want to do a lot of repositioning.  I was so happy that I was able to lay a glued piece without a second pair of hands.


3.  To apply the glue, I lay brown craft paper on top of the door, lay down the wallpaper wrong side up, and applied the glue with a sponge roller. I then quickly pulled the brown paper out, grabbed two corners of the wet wallpaper and lay it in position on the door.  Because of the texture, I used my hands to burnish it.  The smoothly sanded surface was what made this work so well.  (Sorry no picture of this stage, but using the door as the flat surface worked perfectly rather than running through the house with a sheet of glued paper. . . )

4.   Next paint the door.  I used 2 coats of the oil based enamel paint and a sponge roller to go over the whole door, wallpaper and the sides of the door.

painting door


5.  Measure your trim, grab your miter box (if you have one), and saw the trim with 45 degree angles for your corners.  You can use the one time to fill in any little gaps when you connect these pieces.


6.  Paint the trim BEFORE you nail it in position. (I used my bedroom wall color) Once dry, use small wood nails to lay the trim down.  I was going to use some wood glue, but decided it wasn’t necessary.  Honestly I didn’t want to figure out how to apply constant pressure to the trim as the glue dried.  I sunk the small nails into the trim using a tiny screw driver, because of course I couldn’t find my nail sinks.  (Found them as soon as I was finished).  Use the One TIme caulk to plug the tiny nail holes, sand when dry and paint.door6

7.  Finally, I replaced the door knobs with vintage looking crystal, (it just felt like the right look) and rather than buy the whole door knob kit, I used Swelligant Bronze metal paint on the rest of the hardware. Once dry, using cotton balls, I applied several coats of Stazon dark brown archival stamping ink.  That darkened everything to the right value of bronze.  (Swelligant is a product by Cindy Friesen, there are any number of tutorials on how to apply this metal patina.)

You are done. Remount the door.  I absolute love how it came out.  There wasn’t a single hitch. . .


* the trim around the door was already painted when the door was reattached.  It is sticking in the upper right hand corner, and I am in the process of sanding the door down, until it stops sticking of course.

That ‘I did it, I am finished” moment is highly elusive in the world of “do it yourself “.

Now imagine all the possibilities with this wallpaper.  There are some beautiful designs, and i was thrilled at how easy it was to work with.  I did not however, use this paper where I needed to put down more than one piece and match the repeats.  That’s a bit more challenging.  Another time perhaps. Probably the kitchen.

it’s me viv


DIY, by viv

Although I have not even begun to test the outer limits of chalk paint, it is only one of many materials I do and plan to work with.  But before I go in search of the next piece of furniture, or next project to share, please indulge me as I demonstrate my credibility as a crafter, illustrator and designer.

Beginning with Hallmark Cards, I have been a commercial illustrator since 1982, and over the years I have created many art pieces for my daughter, my home, and my friends.  The internet has become an endless source of information and inspiration on just about anything you can think of.   Consequently I have become a student of what I love, making things.  My tool box and skill set grow a little more everyday.

So here we go with some show and tell:

dresserSome time between 1984 and 1986 I found two dressers for $40 In Kansas City.  In 1992, while pregnant, Using acrylic tube paints, I painted one of them for my daughter.  I think it is our first family heirloom.  While finishing the very last drawer, my water broke.  Good timing.  Fact, true story.

mirror fullmirrir 4I found this mirror in New Hampshire in the late nineties, and it was the first project i tackled when I moved into my last home.  We lived there for 12 years.  This mirror nows hangs in my new bedroom in my new old house.  Formerly a white frame, I transformed it using acrylic paints and metallic waxes, and vintage german glass crystals, of which I have a wonderful rather large collection.


This next piece is a memory quilt that I made for my daughter for christmas last year.  I had so much fun dressing her when she was little. As she out grew her cloths I cut the designs out of the fronts of t shirts, and some dresses, and threw them in a box for later.  The end result is a machine washable queen size quilt.  It is lined with cotton batting to keep it soft, the polka dots are felted wool roving, and it has a flannel backing.  She really does love it.  And I still have a small box of a few more pieces so she may get a couple of pillow covers still.

Here are a couple of my robots. . .

Moe + teetsie

Lastly.  this is one of several of my favorite easter bunny illustrations.  It’s early I know, but if you’re interested in a giclee or several other format options please visit my etsy store. (I love easter)  I will be listing them soon.


Thanks for reading, it’s me, viv