before and after

by Lara on May 7, 2012

in decor

So, I got those lockers on Wednesday April 25th and finished them on Sunday May 6th. Starting this right after finishing my last painting – I’ve got serious painting fatigue. SO glad it’s over!

After I got them, they were scrubbed down with 409 and David sanded them lightly with 180 grit  (one sheet was enough). I didn’t start priming until that Sunday.

After tightening all the screws, we laid it down in the kitchen and I got to work!

I taped around the latches (wish I hadn’t) and used a teeny 2″ dense foam roller meant for touch-ups. I got it for $2 and it came with the little paint tray too. Replacement foam rollers came in 2-packs for $2 each and I got 3 packs of those. I used a 1/2″ flat paint brush for tight areas the roller couldn’t get to, like around the vents.

For a primer, I picked Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 water-based primer. It says it’s for all surfaces with no pre-sanding needed, and for all top coats. A quart was about $8. I’m really pleased with this stuff and clean up is great. I also have a TON left for future projects!

Because I’m a maniac, I did 2 coats of primer. I chose not to do the interior of the lockers but I still had to paint the pieces that fold in, on and around the doors. Such a pain in the ass! This required the lil’ paint brush and took hours. I had 2 doors open at a time, propped on wads of paper towels and wooden dowels. Luckily the primer dries in less than an hour so, I would work and rest and work and rest. Once I started the colors, I had to do this same process again on the edges, coat after coat, only it was standing up.

For the frame and sides, I used Rust-Oleum gloss enamel in white. A half-pint is about $4. I got a quart and should’ve just gotten the half-pint. Rust-Oleum is an oil-based paint and SO nasty to clean up! The odor is pretty strong too and it takes a long time to dry. Coverage is great though. One coat over the primer and that was it. I did the Rust-Oleum white parts first since it’s easier to clean up latex messes off oil.

Rust-Oluem colors are limited so I had to get latex colors mixed. Home Depot had Behr High Gloss Enamel. Actually, they had 4 Behr gloss bases left so I had to get 2 Glidden brand ones as well. Glidden was far superior to Behr. Totally worth a little extra money! (Also, never get Valspar paint from Lowes. Crappiest crap I ever did use.)

For about $10 a quart on sale, I dropped another $60 on 6 colors. So criminal. I could’ve just done one color or 2 or 3 but I was dead set on 6, which turned into a major disappointment.

I wish they would do custom colors in pints. Oh well. If I ever need to paint anything else around my house a fun color, it’s going to be with this leftover paint I have!

(They do offer little sample tubs of paint in any color for $4 each, which would’ve been perfect, but they were only in flat finishes. So, keep that in mind if you ever need a special color for a tiny project that isn’t glossy, or just put on a gloss topcoat!)

Here are the color swatches (from the Behr site) I picked. Clockwise top left: Atomic Tangerine, Grenadine, Garden Sprout (more acid green), Solar Flare (more bright orange), Aqua Waters, Chocolate Sprinkle


After a couple days of doing other stuff and recovering from back and leg pain (squatting and bending and hunching killed me), I finally started the colors.

David had the brilliant idea to line my paint tray with plastic wrap for easy clean-up between colors! Muah! So great! I had so many lil foam rollers so I didn’t have to clean them out when I switched colors, and just kept them in ziplocks to stay wet until the 2nd coat the next day. Also, some regular printer paper was used in the cracks instead of taping taping taping.

first coats

HEY! GUESS WHAT? I HATED IT!!!! The 6 colors just didn’t work together. It may look okay in that picture but it’s totally different in real life – offensive to my senses. David was being a true diplomat and biting his tongue saying it was very “European.” I think he meant European pre-school for the colorblind.

Colors in your mind are NOT colors on swatches are NOT colors in paint buckets are NOT colors actually painted are NOT colors photographed.

Kelly, a graphic designer, also noted that when certain colors are next to each other in large expanses, it can change the way you see them, bringing out hues you wouldn’t notice if they were alone or smaller. So there’s definitely that.

So… I sucked it up and picked 3 colors instead – yellow, orange and brown – which was David’s original idea so he had the pleasure of hearing me say he was right. At least I tried my original idea first. I would’ve always wondered and you just never know until you do it… $30 and hours down the tubes. I got my wits about me and finished the sucker!

Aaaaand drum roll please!!


We’ve reorganized the kitchen and decided what would go inside the lockers, took meticulous measurements and I got wood dowels and shelves cut to by my dad to maximize storage. I cleared all my spices and cooking stuff off the mantle in the kitchen, got a 2-tier lazy susan that fits in a locker and now have all sorts of clean space on the mantle to decorate!

These two have a shelf 16″ up. The rest have 2 shelves 12″ apart.

repainted the mantle while I was at it

It was just a few days total of real work and about $200 (sigh… I wanted this to be cheaper). Still not bad for what’s on the market right now!

David thinks I should get more of these to paint and sell. Geesh… I just don’t know about that! Squatting and hunching down in my wrecked kitchen murdered my back and legs. I wish I had a workshop!



by Lara on April 26, 2012

in decor

I got the lockers!!

So, the guy who was selling them on Craigslist was super nice and communicated and cooperated well with me to pick them up at 4pm yesterday. He was located in some strange garage on Broad Street near VCU, a few minutes from my place. Oh! And turns out I knew the seller from way back. He used to own an old theater I saw punk rock shows at and he’s friends with my uncle. I love this big small town sometimes!

I was pretty sure I could get them in the trunk of my car with the seats folded down. I was less than 1/2″ off. We measured 3 times with 2 different tape measures. I started to panic and figured my dad would have to help me get them another day on his flatbed truck.

Dude offered to take them to my apartment!! Score! I helped him get them in the back of his pickup, he picked up a friend who was working close by, and they hauled them up the main stairs of my building. Awesome! Dude’s friend was acting like he was gonna die so, they just left them in the main hallway by my front door. Ugh.

When David got home from work an hour later, he and I beasted the thing into the apartment and had to resort to sliding this heavy steel mess on bath towels into the kitchen where it will live.

So, here’s the plan.

First off, it’s filthy. I’m going to clean the bejesus out of it when I get home today.

Two of the door latches are messed up. I haven’t examined how to fix them but if worse comes to worse, I will rig something up, maybe even with velcro. I don’t care.

We discovered the doors are riveted onto the hinges and then the frame. No way I can remove them and spray paint them like I had hoped. Bummer.

My dad called a friend who does sandblasting but it’s going to be crazy expensive plus, hauling this behemoth back and forth again. Sigh. Not happening.

I researched painting already painted metal and got advice from my dad. I’m going to sand the hell out of the entire exterior surface to give it some “teeth” for primer to adhere to and to remove any rust bits. I have to tape around the latches then prime it with a matte metal primer using a fine foam roller (not fluffy) for a smooth surface.

I’ll lay it on it’s back (to prevent drips) and paint the frame (color undecided) and paint the doors some funky colors with more foam rollers. This may take a few coats and I may even seal it with a clear polyurethane for extra gloss.

I’m planning on leaving the interior and back side alone. Less work. No big deal. Eff it. Maybe not though. We’ll see.

There are bolts inside each section for shelves to rest on so my dad is going to cut 1/2″ thick wood pieces for me to maximize storage.

This is going to be a killer time-consuming project but the results should be pretty fantastic!

$95 + probably $50 worth of supplies to fix up something that costs waaaaay more on the current market.

I’m stoked and terrified all at the same time!



new painting

by Lara on April 21, 2012

in art,crafty,decor

On Saturday the 14th, I went to Ben Franklin and bought a 30″ x 40″ canvas on sale for $28.

On Saturday the 21st, I finished my 3rd and last geometric painting! This one is going over the sofa.

Here’s the original inspiration. The proportions are different than the canvas I purchased so there was a lot of stretching and improvising. I also used some different colors and mine will be going horizontally. Whatevs.

Stephen Ormandy

Here are some super craptastic progress pics:

Day 1 – got out a ruler and pencil, mapped it all out and started painting.

Day 5

Day 6 – the 3 white sections are done too but you can’t tell – leaving 4 more to go!!!


I don’t tape off sections. It’s all freehand with a 1/4″ angled shader brush. I also used the same assortment of paints I’ve used for the other geometric paintings so they’ll coordinate with certain colors. Other paintings here, here and here. That makes 5 pieces in my place that I did for less that $100 total! Yay!

I hate mixing my own colors. They usually dry up by the time I need to do a touch-up, but I did mix a few for this one.

Paints are all acrylics – my 12 year old expensive Liquitex from design classes, cheapo craft paints (require multiple coats and drive me mad- Delta Ceramcoat is the best), and those small enamel paint pots that come in strips (great coverage but only for small areas unless you have multiples).

So that’s that! $28 and the paint I had lying around!

Here’s a post I did a while about with tips on doing your own!


craft show

by Lara on April 17, 2012

in crafty

It’s been a super long time since I’ve been to a craft show. My mom and her friend used to make fancy wreaths and sell them at various shows at schools, dragging me along when I was younger. My mom also made a lot of little things like quilted chicken shaped baskets to keep your dinner rolls in (???) and cat pillows (!!!) and sold them at local shops back in the day. Crafting and sewing have always surrounded me but I haven’t gone to a big show since my mom got so sick that she couldn’t come along too.

The Richmond Craft Mafia throws the Spring Bada-Bing show (and a Christmas one) every year and this past Sunday Carly and I went. It was my first time going and I’m so ashamed I haven’t supported this event in the past. It was awesome! It was like an etsy explosion… not your grandma’s craft show for sure.

The venue (Plant Zero) is full of artists’ studios, a cafe and a gigantic space that was perfect.

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera but I grabbed a ton of vendors’ cards so I’ll highlight some of my faves here.

First off, when I saw this table, I gasped.

Thanks for the pic Carly!

I have been wanting one of Robin’s figurines for years. She disappeared on etsy for a while so there was no hesitation in grabbing a piece. (Mine is the blue bird baby planter, already in my hallway.)

The Runny Bunny

Fisticuffs Leather

No two bracelets are alike – all made from repurposed leather. This is the one I got, made from a Fossil bag-

metamorphosis metals

Monkey Dog Studio

The New Woodsman

etsy shop

Hand cast resin & pigment antlers

Modern Atelier

SO many scents! Singular notes like Demeter too, last longer!

Cephalopod Ink Ceramics

Mood Swing Studio

Milk and Honey

she does custom work as well


She will do a custom print of a fave family recipe!

Zouzou’s Basement


inedible jewelry

There were sooo many great vendors. I didn’t get cards for everyone and I know I’m forgetting some more great things. Carly got this pic of the awesome terrariums.

Everyone was incredibly nice and friendly! I also met a reader of my blog, which totally made my day! Hi R! :D

Did you go to the show? What did you get?


+ & –

by Lara on October 11, 2011

in + & -

  • So many things going on! I’ve been keeping myself busy and checking things off my to-do list. Maybe I’m crazy but I’ve already started Christmas shopping – mainly little things for the 12 Days of Christmas I’m doing for my mom and bf. I even made the little numbers for the bags!

got a few sheets of scrap booking paper (some had great patterns on both sides) and 2 things of 99-cent ribbon – cut them freehand – they’ll be stapled to brown lunch bags

  • I spray painted a Breyer horse! He hangs out on the radiator in the hallway. (I found a lil 1/2 size can of gloss white Rustoleum for $3 at Ben Franklin and used the whole thing.)

  • I made that crispy potato roast everyone pinned. Of course I added bacon and topped with cheese later. It was delicious but took almost 2 hours to bake! This is 4 baking potatoes and 4 shallots sliced with their bits stuck between each slice.

  • I met up with some bitchin broads in Colonial Williamsburg for brunch!

It was hard not to shove that adorable cup and saucer in my purse!

cheese and more cheese…

and even MORE cheese…

I had a great time with these ladies! Laura, Jen, (me) and Victoria

  • So I told you guys I was sewing that dog costume for a “friend”. Well the more I thought about it, the more pissed I got. Thing is, I hadn’t heard from the chick in almost 3 years. I had even deleted her from my Facebook in one of those fits of getting rid of people I never talk to. I had been getting an itch to sew and the bf kinda pressured me to be “nice” when she asked me so I agreed. She never offered to pay me either. Then the feelings of anxiety and anger began to rise in me – imagining all the work and ALL the grey fur that would’ve covered my apartment for days. I also have a ton of stuff I need to do. Then, I saw one of those things on Pinterest that said “A real friend doesn’t only call you when they need something.” That was it. I was done. I told her I couldn’t do it and OMG I feel so much better.   (And she never wrote me back.) So yeah, saying NO is good thing.