Antique shutters; a makeover story!

My favourite stores are very quickly becoming flea markets and second hand shops because I love to find inspiration for my next project. My journey began when a friend I worked with began to show me all her amazing furniture makeover projects and she sparked a fire in me. I quickly became a pinterest addict to get inspiration for easy shabby chic projects that I could try. My very first project was a shelf I had in my children’s nursery and from there I wanted to try more!

My favourite project so far has been a pair of antiques shutters I found right around the corner from me; what a find! Dirt and cobwebs came free 🙂 I began by cleaning them and used my pinterest research to begin the process of deciding what I would do with them. I adore a ‘beachy’ look and hoped to achieve that with this project. I knew I wanted to display them above my front door in the foyer.

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Antique shutters: I paid $25 each

After cleaning, I needed to start with some sort of primer; to save money, I decided to use a chalk paint that I had left from other projects. The paint brand was FAT Paint and the colour was bella blue. This paint has excellent coverage, low odour, dries quickly and is very easy to use. I am amazed at how many projects I have done with this one small can of paint. Chalk paint can be a good option for a project like this since you do not need a primer underneath, just a fairly clean base.

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I liked how the shutters looked after the bella blue was finished but they did not quite feel finished yet. I had seen some great layered paint looks and thought I was ready to attempt a more advanced technique; what is the worst that can happen? If I didn’t like it I could just paint it again 🙂

I gave the shutters a light sanding and then the fun continued. The three items I used to complete the look were ones I already had at home, so again I did not have to spend more money!

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I started my layered look on the back of the shutters in case I did not like it or changed my mind (I am so glad I did because it was good practice!)

I used simple craft paint to get the layered look; with a dry brush technique I began with the folk art brand paint in patina in random areas all over the shutters. Next, I white-washed using the white craft paint mixed with water (about 50/50) and applied it all over with a rag. To give an older look, I then watered down the Minwax water based wood sheen in Colonial Walnut and ragged it on all over. I then used my white-wash again over the stain until I got the look I wanted. I let each layer dry in between coats.

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Just a hint; I did have to leave it to dry and come back to it the next day to be sure I liked it; stepping away overnight helped me to see it the next day with a fresh perspective.

The more I looked at them, the more I loved how they turned out and then wanted to seal it. I chose to use a spray paint in clear satin; I did about 2 coats and one can was enough.

My new foyer look:

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A small foyer transformed.

Thank you for stopping by my nest and I would love to hear about your projects.

Have a beautiful day!

Melanie.

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5 Easy Ways to De-stress this Spring

As much as I love Spring, this time of year can turn into nothing but a long ‘to-do’ list of household chores and Winter clean up projects, but before you get to bogged down with your list, I hope you will take some time to enjoy all the beauty this season has to offer.

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I am pretty sure that most of us have experienced just how therapeutic a walk in the woods can be but I love the term coined by the Japanese called forest bathingI do not believe the Japanese invented nature hikes but they have done some research to fully explain the specific benefits nature has to offer us. You may not live near a forest, but nature is just beyond your door and here is my list of ways to enjoy some simple stress relief this Spring.

  1. Open a window. 

    What a simple way to let nature in! Studies have been done that site the calming benefits of nature sounds during a stressful activity. Spas have been using the power of nature sounds for years to calm clients during services but this is an easy one to try at home.

  2. Go for a walk.

    When I was visiting New York City, I loved walking and seeing the busy streets but marveled at the beauty of the green ivy growing against the trees planted right in the sidewalks and who wouldn’t love Central Park? Green things are everywhere! When I lived in the city I would walk in my neighborhood and look at everyone’s landscaping to seek out beautiful plants I could try in my own garden or just enjoy the fruits of other people’s labour; what a refreshment!

  3. Plant something. 

    Even a small apartment has space for a potted plant so why not get your fingernails dirty? As an esthetician I adore well groomed hands but I think I love digging in the dirt even more. Seeing an ordinary pot or flower bed come to life with colour and texture that my own hands designed simply makes me smile.

  4. Organize something. 

    I agree. This one sounds like work; but being in an organized space really will reduce your stress. Spring cleaning is a common phenomenon and not one that I strictly schedule but I will ‘go with the flow’ to accomplish tasks. Start small and just organize one kitchen drawer this week and see where it goes!

  5.  Stop and take deep breaths. 

    Before you leave in your car, open the window and take in 3 deep breaths. If you wait for the bus, take 3 breaths while you wait. This simple action will create calm. I like the 4-7-8 method which the link will describe to you in more detail. Give it a try!

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    Myrtle Beach: a favourite spot to listen to nature!

 

I would love to hear about any Springtime activities that help you reduce your stress to more fully enjoy this time of year. Have a beautiful day!

 

How to save your skin this Spring

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As the Spring season brings us sunshine, flowers and (usually for me) more energy to get tasks done, it can be a difficult time for our body’s largest organ. The one main issue we can face (pun intended!) is the sun. This guide can help you fully enjoy this wonderful time of year by enjoying the outdoors AND avoiding the damaging effects of the sun.

As with most North Americans, I crave the sunshine after a long winter but I cringe this time of year as many people will suffer from their first bad sunburn of the year; I have already seen some of my friends with one. Because the weather is not yet very hot, sun protection is forgotten. To save your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, I have listed simple ways to save your skin this Spring.

1. Sunscreen

I recommend a day cream with a minimum of a 30 SPF every day, even on the cloudy ones so you do not get caught without protection when your friend says, ‘hey, let’s go for a walk at lunch!’  Sunscreen in your foundation is not enough on its own but can be a good compliment to your day cream. I recommend keeping sunscreen in your handbag and at work so it is always available. I will cover more information about sunscreens in later posts.

2. Wear a hat

Whether you are gardening, golfing or taking the kids for a walk, a hat is essential to shade your face and neck. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen clients with permanent sun damage on their neck even as young as 30. A baseball cap is okay, but it does not protect your ears or neck, so be sure to put extra sunscreen on these areas to prevent damage and skin cancer.

3. Sunglasses

Eye protection is essential not only to protect your eyes but also the delicate skin around the eyes where the first signs of aging can appear (think crow’s feet!) When you squint you are causing lines to form on the face. Sunglasses must be sold with UV protection so even a cheap pair will suffice; good news for thrifty shoppers!

4. Say no to perfume

Like many women, I also have a favourite perfume (or two!) that I like to wear but perfume and sunshine do not mix. Some perfumes will cause hyper-pigmentation on the skin when exposed to ultra violet radiation so to be safe, save your perfume for evenings out instead of daytime use.

Tanning alternatives

If you love the look of brown tanned skin, try using a self tanning product with DHA (dihydroxyacetone) to get a glow without the damage. There are also bronzing products for face and body that can mimic a tan temporarily. Fake Bake flawless is one of my favourites for the body as it gives an instant brown colour that is never orange and dries very quickly.

So get out there and enjoy the beautiful Springtime weather and use these tips to be sure you keep your skin healthy and beautiful!

Welcome to the esthetician’s nest!

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I have started this blog in order to share in my passion for the spa industry and all the beauty I see in every day. I hope to share and develop my own skills as I believe in life long learning.

I plan to share ideas from the spa and wellness industry along with the beauty in nature I attempt to capture. I also hope to advance in my new hobby of shabby chic (heavy on the chic!) makeovers for my home.

As a college teacher in an esthetics and spa management program I have the privilege of sharing knowledge with my students but I also learn from them! It is so true that in order to master a skill, you must teach it; when describing a new technique or idea, you must know it down to the smallest detail so you can easily explain it.

When I share in a home project, I will explain details on how I achieved it.

When I share spa and wellness topics, I will give links to helpful sources.

My favourite season of Spring is here and I hope to get busy exploring, capturing, learning and creating beauty!

Melanie.