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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Make Your Own Pottery Barn Inspired Faux Coral

This tutorial originally appeared in House Revivals in the summer of 2012, and continues to be one of our most popular posts. Enjoy!
Are you still loving all the faux coral decor we've been seeing at places like Pottery Barn and Horchow?  I know I love it!



By using faux coral, you can enjoy the casual beachy feeling of decorating with coral, without worrying about how the coral was harvested.  Sometimes that faux coral comes with a pretty steep price tag, so I've come up with a way to create beautiful faux coral using very inexpensive materials.


My faux coral was created using paper mache pulp.  Although you can purchase paper mache pulp in craft supply stores, I make my own pulp using toilet paper!


Start by unwinding about a half a roll of toilet paper into a bowl and soaking it in hot water from the tap.


After a few minutes, it should look really disgusting.  Next, drain off your excess water if it's really soupy, and agitate the toilet paper with your fingers -- toilet paper is made from really short fibers so that it will break down easily, which is why it works great for paper mache pulp.


Now, add a giant handful of joint compound and about three-quarters of a cup of flour to the bowl.  Mix it all up together with your hands (or use an electric beater).  Some people like to add a giant dollop of glue to the mix at this point.  I add it if I have it, as it really does strengthen the final product, but you don't need to use it, as the flour is your "glue".  I also sometimes add talc to my mix (the kind we used to put on babies' bottoms) if I think the mixture needs more "body".

(The talc and the joint compound act as "filler", while the paper fiber adds strength.  The flour and glue cement it all together.)

Congratulations, you have just made paper mache pulp!


Now you need to create an armature to apply your paper mache pulp to.  Here, I created an armature from florist wire I had on hand.  Baling wire would probably have been a better choice, but I didn't have any when the "inspiration to create" struck.  For smaller projects the florist wire is fine, but for heavier projects, you will want to use a heavier gauge wire.


Because the paper mache is wet, it can cause the wire to rust and stain your pulp, so I wrapped it all in masking tape.  This also gives the armature some "tooth" for the pulp to hang on to as you apply it.


You may need to do two or three coats, depending on your project.  Allow your project to dry completely before adding another layer of pulp, or you might end up with a wet moldy mess.  In Arizona, a layer might dry completely in a couple of hours, while here in the Pacific Northwest, I wait at least a day for a layer to dry. Sometimes I can hurry it along by placing a project on a rack over a heating vent. After your final coat is partly dry, you may want to experiment with adding texture to the surface of your project.  I poked at mine with a wooden skewer to make it look craggy.

If you would prefer a smoother surface, be sure to smooth the wet pulp as you apply it (you can use a little spatula for this).  You can also sand your project when it is completely dry.


When your sculpture is completed, add a coat or two of gesso and any sealer you like.  I actually used an antiquing glaze on my faux coral.  I wanted it to feel like an antique specimen you might find in a dusty old library.  If you like the sun-bleached look, you might want to skip the antiquing step.


If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to your favorite social media sites.

Learn to make faux starfish by clicking HERE!
Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Easy Pineapple Casserole Recipe for Lazy Cooks!

This is one of my most favorite and most versatile recipes. It is wonderful as a brunch dish, a side dish for your ham dinner, or as a hot dessert served with a scoop of ice cream!


I first tried this dish waaaaaaaaaay back, when my husband was a young lieutenant at Ft. Riley, and I was home with three tiny babes. It was a lifesaver for a busy mom, and it always impressed our guests.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Make This Pillow Box -- Free Print Out!

Mother's Day is just days away! For a special way to package gift cards, homemade cards, or treats, get this free pillow box printable template, below.


What mom wouldn't love one of these sweet hand made gift boxes?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Create This Folding Flower Greeting Card!

Here is a great card idea for Mother's Day -- or hang the card from a neighbor's doorknob for May Day.


It's simple to make using our free template!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Best Ever Smoked Salmon Fillets!

I don't do a lot of recipes on House Revivals, but every now and then, something turns out so amazingly well, I just have to share!


My husband and I love to fire up the smoker on the weekends we spend at the beach house. We often hit the grocery store when we pull into our little beach town and grab something that we think will taste great smoked, but won't require watching the smoker all day long. Salmon fillets are perfect for this, because they don't need to sit in a brine or dry pack for very long, and they usually cook pretty fast.


While my husband usually mans the smoker, I usually choose the preparation method. I've experimented with dry packed salt and brown sugar, for a sweeter product, but this time I wanted something a bit more savory and less sweet.

To start, you will want one large salmon fillet, cut into about four pieces.  Next, pour about a half cup of hot water into a measuring cup. Now, add salt to the measuring cup until the level reaches three-quarters of a cup. Put this mixture into a glass dish (a baking dish works best), and add a couple quarts of cold water (enough to cover your fillets).  Add a generous amount of garlic powder or minced garlic (I added about a tablespoon of powdered and a tablespoon of minced), and add two or three tablespoons of sugar (or less). Experiment with seasonings you may like, such as onion, cumin, cilantro, or paprika. Add a generous amount of pepper, if desired. Mix everything together and add the salmon to the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or two.


Heat your smoker to 225 degrees before adding the salmon.  If you'd like a "candied" crust, sprinkle the tops of the fillets with brown sugar right before putting in the smoker.

When the salmon reaches 140 degrees, it is done. Smokers vary, but in our electric smoker, a one inch fillet usually reaches 140 degrees within an hour.


While you're waiting for your salmon to brine, you might want to try this recipe for the Best Bloody Mary Ever!

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to your favorite social media sites.

Thanks so much for stopping by!



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How to Decorate With Free Stuff From Craigslist

I love Craigslist. Especially the free stuff. I am forever amazed at what you can get, simply by going to get it!


I've seen good quality paint, gardening supplies, furniture, sports equipment, and toys. Recently, these were a few of the items I found listed on Craigslist one Saturday morning.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How to Draw a Floral Wreath {a beginner's guide}

You don't need an expensive inventory of stamps and tools to create pretty cards and scrapbooks and art journals. There's nothing wrong with using stamps and other products -- there are some beautiful products out there; but sometimes, you just don't have what you need in your stash, or you don't have room in your budget, or you don't have space in your home to store lots of supplies, etc. Also, it's really relaxing to pick up a pen and draw something pretty.


This simple floral wreath would make a darling card front, or could look sweet framing a picture in a scrapbook.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How to Make Paper Peonies {Without Fancy Tools!}

Have you ever wondered how how to make dimensional paper flowers? Well, there are some wonderful tools you can buy to make perfect curves in your petals, but if you don't have access to a craft store or don't have the budget for fancy tools, here is a hack for making pretty paper flowers.


I love working with vintage book pages, but other sturdy papers will work with this technique, as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How to Draw Pretty Flowers on a Trellis

Do you wish you knew how to create pretty doodles for you card making, Bible journaling, or art journaling projects? I promise, it's easier than you think!


You don't need to be a trained artist, or have lots of fancy art supplies to create pretty stuff. I keep a basket of kid's art supplies at our weekend beach house. On rainy winter mornings, I'm likely to be sketching and doodling, using Crayola markers and pencils. For paper, I rarely grab my nice materials -- I just pull some pages out of an old Reader's Digest Condensed Book.


To create this doodle you will need:

Crayola Markers (go ahead and splurge on Crayola brand -- you and the kids are worth it!)
Crayola Pencils
Regular pencil and white eraser
Black permanent pen
White gel pen, or White-Out, or white chalk marker or white china marker (optional)
Paper (I prefer a paper with some tooth. If the paper is too smooth, it won't grab the colored pencil)

Begin by lightly sketching in your trellis branches. I used a simple line to indicate where I wanted each branch to be. Sketch lightly, as you will be erasing these guidelines later.


Next, sketch your branches using a squiggly line.


Lightly indicate the placement of three large flowers, two or three buds, and three or four leaves. Don't fret over how to draw a simple flower. Just remember how you drew simple flowers when you were a child. For the five-petal flowers shown here, I drew a small circle, and drew five imperfect petals around the circle. The upward facing flower started out as a bowl shape, and details were added (lightly, in pencil). The flower buds were created by first drawing an elongated oval. The leaves started out as a slightly curved center line, as a guide, then the squiggly sides were sketched in.


When you are satisfied with your composition, trace over your sketch with a permanent black (or brown) pen. Use your white eraser to remove the pencil lines.


Now, very lightly, scribble some base color onto your drawing, using colored pencil. I like to put down colored pencil first, because this "seals" the paper and allows me to move the ink around when I get to the marker step. Don't fuss too much, don't press too hard, and don't fill in every bit of white space. These papers have a limited amount of tooth, to receive colored pencil medium, and we want to be able to add more layers.


Keep adding light layers of color. Add depth and interest by using more than one color for each element of your drawing. For instance, I first added scribbles of yellow to my petals, then added a little pink, then a little red. Leaves have layers of yellow, green, orange, and even some pink.


Next, you can add marker. Add your marker layers the same way you added your colored pencil. You will notice that the marker behaves differently over the colored pencil areas than over the bare paper. Use these characteristics to float your ink around and blend, or to create darker unblended marks.


If you have a white pen, you can add highlights to whatever side you want your imaginary light source to originate from. Use a darker colored pencil to add shadowing on the other sides.


You can use these techniques in your Bible art journaling, altered art projects, scrapbooking, or card making projects. This sketch will likely be cut out and attached to a card base, with a stamped sentiment.

What would you do with your sketches?

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to your favorite social media sites.

Thanks so much for stopping by!



Friday, March 25, 2016

How to Weave a Pretty Seat

I popped into a Goodwill the other day and found the cutest little bench -- that is, it could have been cute. If it had a seat.


My husband has a running joke about my love affair with "broken chairs". We've moved broken chairs half-way across the country and back again.