So, a couple of years ago, I bought a Tarnby rug from Ikea. It's one of those natural fibre dealies -- 100% jute -- and supposedly hand-woven. Only $150. Not bad, eh? It looked great, at first. You've seen photos of it in my guest room, which I've been talking about a lot on the blog of late, so I won't repost those photos. I'll find some other photos of it looking great.

Pretty, ain't it? 
Yeah, it's pretty. It's also horrible.

Pardon my not-French, but I fucking hate this rug. There are so many problems with it. I have heard that others have had similar problems, so I know it's not just me. At the same time, I know some people who are happy with it. I just don't get it. 

Here's a list of just a handful of the problems I've experienced with the Tarnby jute rug:

1. It sheds dirt, constantly. I knew this would happen to some extent -- the natural jute would disintegrate a bit. But I also thought regular care and cleaning would solve the problem. ... Regular care and cleaning did NOT solve the problem. Sandy, filthy dirt accumulates in piles under and around the rug constantly. And moving ALL the furniture in order to get under the damn thing is frustrating to say the least.

2. Speaking of being under the furniture, even if you use protective pads, furniture legs ruin this rug, leaving massive dents that won't come out, holes, etc.  The Tarnby is NOT hardwearing. Walking on it wears it out/down very quickly, too.

3. I'm sorry to say that this rug may damage your floor. Reports online talk of permanently scarred hardwood AND laminate. WTF? What kind of lightweight, natural-fibre rig leaves permanent marks on hardwood!? I've never heard of such a thing. Nonetheless, a lot of people are talking about it. (Sidenote: I don't really trust the racist garbage-humans on that particular thread, though, since some of them are talking about fear of dirt "from a third world country." One is even afraid that foreign dirt might be carcinogenic. These people are being xenophobic ... about Ikea rugs. Psychos.) 

4. The rug attracts bugs. This is embarrassing to admit, but I really don't feel it's my fault. I clean! I have disinfected. I have tried everything. But every damn time I lift this thing to attack the latest sand/dirt/dust deposit, I find myself face to face with larvae. Yep. Worms. Not a lot of them -- just a few each time. They. Won't. Go. Away. I think they are rug beetle larvae. They are disgusting. WHERE are they coming from? They are nowhere else in the house. The other rugs are fine. (I was going to post a picture, but I don't want to traumatize anyone. Pray, do not Google these things. You will be sorry.) 

5. Did I mention the dirt? The massive piles of dirt?
I threw away the Tarnby several days ago. I cleaned out the room, deep cleaned the floor, and lo and behold, everything seems better now. This rug was the source of all evil in my house. I'm convinced of it.

 Even at a measly $150, it's overpriced, in my opinion. I have always loved Ikea. It has never failed me so spectacularly in the past. That general love remains, but this rug was a nightmare. Thought I'd better warn you.

(And if you have this rug and have NOT had any problems with it, I'd love to hear from you too. Where do you live? What is your space like? What sort of magic do you use?)

P.S. I lied about not posting a gross picture. Here's one I sourced online, featuring some very lovely larvae. (Shudder.) 
 
 
In honour of spring (and because I purchased a package of Marshmallow Peeps for the first time in my life) I made a cake. Sadly, much like this spring itself (so far, anyway), it did not turn out as hoped.

Inspiration:
A store-bought cake, ACTUALLY. So I shouldn't feel that bad, right? Via Dixie Delights.
Execution:
Nailed it! 

Whatever, right? The cake TASTED great. It was a moist chocolate and the icing was a classic butter cream. The Peep, as it turns out, was disgusting, so we threw him and his family away.

Ah well. So I'm not much of a baker. Or cake decorator or whatever. I mean well, I swear.
 
 
Alright you guys, I'm back. Back with a new craft project, just in time for easter.

It did not turn out well. (In other words, I think you'll like it!) 
So, if you read the blog you know that I'm not big into religious holidays. But if, like me, you like crafting, then I'm sure you've noticed that a lot of the projects and ideas out there revolve around such holidays. Maybe because it's just too hard to justify this sort of thing without some spiritual stamp of approval. 

(Like if I said, "Hey you guys! I made this insane craft! It took a million hours and was a pain the ass! But isn't it cute? ISN'T IT CUTE?" you'd probably think I was weird, right? AND YOU WOULD BE RIGHT. A lot of crafting is pointless and strange and results in things that have no real purpose. But somehow, if you do a craft because it's a holiday, then God approves and everyone gets it. Right? Anyway. I digress.)

I made a craft. For easter. Dyed eggs. No big deal. Kind of a classic. Martha approved. Before today, I hadn't dyed an egg since about third grade, but what could possibly go wrong? 

Sigh. Anyway, I used this project for inspiration: Marbled Eggs. Looked easy. Food colouring and oil. That's it. I was sure I could do it.
Things started to go wrong right off the bat. First off, I only had brown eggs. (So what? I thought. The colours might not look the same, but I don't mind brown. It'll be fine. It was NOT fine, but more on that later.) 

Knowing my eggs would be beautiful and worth keeping for generations to come, I decided to blow them out rather than boil them. No big. All you need to do to blow out an egg is to make a little hole on either end, poke something inside said hole to break up the membrane/yolk, then blow through one of the holes to expel the egg from inside the shell. Alas, somehow I couldn't manage to make a smooth, round hole. I used an awl, then a nail, then a pin. Not one egg came out perfectly. I don't know if brown eggs have tougher shells or what, but it didn't work well and the results were annoying. 

Gaze upon the ugly holes I made, friends. GAZE.
But whatever, right? Plenty of egg remained intact and while the holes were less than perfect, I decided to continue. I rinsed and dried the blown out shells and set about mixing my dyes. I followed the food colouring instructions. The water was hot. I didn't forget the vinegar. The mixtures LOOKED good. I figured I'd start with yellow to amplify the brown base, then marble with the blue. And blue and yellow makes green, so if they went a bit greenish that would be fine. Green is pretty. Emerald, dudes. Colour of the year and whatnot.
Didn't work. The yellow dye had no effect on the shells at all. I tried the blue as well, pre-marbling, but it just made the eggs look dirty. CURSES.

Not wanting to waste my efforts, I mixed the dyes together (to form a green) then I added a bunch more dark green food colouring to deepen it. MORE DYE, I thought. This will solve all my problems. I popped the eggs in the new mixture and... they floated. Of course they floated. Hollow, they were. So I devised a really silly weight made of stacked, inverted pot lids to hold the eggs down under the water. It looked like this:
After 20 minutes, the dye was taking, but it didn't look great. I decided to move on to the marbling stage anyway. You put olive oil in a different batch of dye and mix the eggs in that. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE EASY.

Again, it didn't really work. Well, no, that's not fair. It sorta worked, but the green on brown was 'effing ugly and I hated it, but I didn't want to abandon the project, so this is where things got messy. I took the eggs out of the oily water and just started dripping straight, undiluted dye all over them. I made a mess.
Red dye dripped on green egg. Actually, they don't look too bad at this stage. They got worse.
In addition to the mess that now covers my kitchen, my fingers ended up dyed too. 
Look at those fingers! AND THIS WAS AFTER 12 WASHINGS. My digits might look this way forever, you guys. I just don't know. 
But in the end, I guess the eggs aren't HORRIBLE. Are they? Are they sorta ugly/beautiful? Or just ugly? I don't know. 
 
 
Guys... I don't know if you are aware of this, but tomorrow is December 1st. TOMORROW.

And gosh darn it... I want an advent calendar. I don't know why. I've never really had one before and I've certainly never made one, but this year, I just wanna. BUT DECEMBER STARTS TOMORROW so I'm in a bit of a rush. I woke up this morning determined to come up with something good. I even started a project. See? I made these little clay disks stamped with numbers. 
And then it occurred to me that this was a dumb idea. The disks are going to take 24 hours to dry. I DON'T HAVE 24 HOURS! So forget the disks. I am going to come up with something else. Something good. Something before the end of the day. Are you with me, folks? Say you are. Will post the results of this silly last minute idea later.

P.S. I've already made the number disks, so what should I do with them?! I don't want to waste my crafty effort. Shameful hint: I used my wedding band to cut them out. It was sharp and the right size. That's not weird, right?
 
 
Hey thrifty, crafty, chic friends. 

I'm back.

Been on holiday for the last couple of weeks, as I believe you know, but I arrived home determined to get blogging again. And with that in mind, I did a little project this week that I'd been planning for some time.

The plan was to spray paint some old tins in a pretty, minty green. (Actual colour name? Pistachio. Why? Because it's what they had at Canadian Tire when I went in.)

Simple project right? But even the simplest projects can be frustrating.

The thing is this: I've spray painted a TONNE of crap over the years, so you'd think I'd know better, but nonetheless, I made a rookie mistake this time around. I rushed.

And what was the result? Gloppy, drippy coverage and a big fat rage black out.
Dang it. 

It's not that bad and it's not that big of a deal. The tins were free - picked out of the recycling. And the paint cost less than $10 and there's still plenty left in the can. But I HATE those damn drips, mostly because they're entirely my own fault. I suppose I can wait until the tins are fully dry, then sand out my mistakes and respray. But dang. That's a lot of extra work on a project that should have been simple.

I am an impatient person. This is one of my major flaws. And it makes me take short cuts when I shouldn't. I also have a tendency to get cocky. I'd spray painted so many times before, I decided I no longer needed to follow the rules. Stupid stupid stupid.

When you're doing a project like this, for goodness sake, don't do what I did. Take the time to do it right. Set it up properly. Do LIGHT, smooth layers of paint, giving coats time to dry before applying additional paint. Be PATIENT. 

Now, if only I could learn to take my own advice. Sigh.
 
 
A long while back, I posted about a project where I decoupaged some birds onto an old stool. Here's a photo to refresh your memory.
I was never perfectly happy with how this project turned out. I felt it needed more birds. Or that the birds weren't well laid out.

But it was good enough, and for a long time, I lived with it.

Then, thanks to a hot cup and a low attention span, I ruined it. I scalded the top of the stool and a big fat chunk of varnish, bird and paint tore away.

This gave me an opportunity to start again.

Using my handy-dandy oscillating sander, I stripped away the old decoupage. (I should have used paint stripper for this. I'm so lazy. Don't be lazy like me. Do things right and you'll save yourself heartache.)

I brushed on a new under-coat of black paint, then found, printed and carefully cut out a picture of a water lily to take the place of the lost birds.

Here's how it turned out:
I used regular paper and my home printer for the water lily. Again, not wise. Decoupage works a lot better with thick paper and inks that won't bleed.

I re-decoupaged the top of the stool with the flower. The thin paper wrinkled and I had major bubble problems along the way. I tried to solve these with a needle and patience.

The result is imperfect. If you look at the stool up close, you can see that the varnish isn't smooth and the flower itself is a bit blurred, but nonetheless, I am very happy with it. It's better than the birds, I think. The water lily has more impact.

I did the whole thing while watching a movie on a Saturday afternoon, so it wasn't exactly hard labour.

Have you decoupaged anything recently?
 
 
So remember when I posted about my super-awesome idea to make faux Billy Button flowers out of wire and craft balls?

Yeah. It seemed like a great idea. But along the way, things went a little sideways.
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The beginning of the project was easy-peasy. I affixed my foam balls to some stalks of heavy-duty wire and snapped a quick photo (shown).
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Cute, right? Round. Ready. Brilliant, really. All that was left to do was to paint. And that (I assured myself) was a five-minute job. Tops.

I promptly went on holiday and forgot about it.

And then, just a few nights ago, go-getter that I am, I decided it was time to spare those five precious minutes. I had a can of yellow spray paint at the ready. Purchased two+ years ago at a Canadian Tire sale, I'd been itching to use it for ages.

Finally! The time for yellow had come.

I suppose that what happened next was entirely my own fault. I'm a DIYer from way back, but a fairly new inductee into the world of spray paint. And spray paint can get addictive. If you've ever refurbished something with a few simple sprays , you know what I mean. Spray paint had taken on mystical qualities in my mind. It was the answer to all my problems, all my prayers. There was nothing, I felt, spray paint couldn't do, couldn't fix. Nothing! I was a spray paint convert and I felt my conversion with the fervor of a born-again bible bunny.

Sigh.

Here's the thing: I paid no attention to the can. I didn't read the name, let alone the instructions. I flew by the seat of my pants, caring only about the colour and nothing else. I was a prideful spray-painter. And I paid the price.

I grabbed my nearly-finished faux billy balls, and headed down to the basement where I proceeded to hit them with a yellow spray. And in turn, they proceeded to... melt.

That's right, melt. At the first hint of paint, the foam...well, foamed. And hissed. And disintegrated like the Wicked Witch of the West. Oh, what a world, what a world!

And the smell. Oh lord, the smell. I was in a well-ventilated area, but nonetheless, I immediately developed a headache that lasted several hours. Not to mention a suspicious and concerning burning in my lungs.

Sigh. As previously demonstrated during the whole "I'm gonna make a down pillow!" debacle, I've got problems.

It's not the paint's fault. I used HomeStyles brand high-gloss enamel spray, by the way, which clearly states that it's for "use on wood, metal, fiberglass and plastics." NOT on little foam balls.

But you know what? The end results really weren't that bad. After the initial hissing subsided and the chemical melt slowed down a little, the balls began to dry. And while shrivelled (and still rather pungent), they don't look so bad.
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That said, next time, I'll read the label. I promise.

Oh, and FYI, this post has inspired me to add a whole new "tag" category to the Chic blog. It's called "Oops!" And I hope (or rather, fear) it will be filled with posts in no time.