Month: May 2013

diy FAIL – Chalk Painting a Velvet Chair

You can’t even imagine the look of horror on my husband’s face when at 7PM one evening I declared I was heading out to the garage to paint our velvet side chair.  It seemed like a good idea at the time…!  I could say it was my big “oops” but instead, I’m choosing to think of it as a learning experience!

Chalk Painting Velvet

I bought the chair from HomeGoods (on clearance because the frame was cracked) and it’s sat in the corner of our living room as a “display only” chair for years.  I love the shape of the chair and the carved details, but never really loved the army green velvet, which had a somewhat dull appearance.  I don’t know how to upholster and thought I’d try chalk painting the fabric.  Sounds good, right?

Velvet Side Chairt BEFORE - Tidbits&Twine
BEFORE – You can even see where my cat mistook the chair back for her scratching post…

Well, here’s the bottom line.  I love the new color, but not the texture or sheen.  The velvet feels more like canvas now and because I had to seal it with a Satin Finish, it’s now shiny, which doesn’t have the look I want.  But I will say this….I love the idea of using chalk paint to change the look of fabric so I’m sure I’ll try this again at some point, although next time, maybe not with velvet….

Project Materials

  • CeCe Caldwell Vermont Slate
  • CeCe Caldwell Satin Finish
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Purdy Brush

Chalk Painted Velvet Chair Materials - Tidbits&Twine

I ended up painting the chair with three coats of Vermont Slate, but was unhappy with the cracking and uneven coverage.  So I then painted the fabric with one coat of Satin Finish, on top of which I painted two more coats of Vermont Slate.  Then I sealed the chair with three coats of Satin Finish.

Chalk Painted Velvet Chair CeCeCaldwell - Tidbits&Twine

The funny thing is, just looking at the before and after pictures, I can barely tell the difference in color, although I can definitely see the difference in texture.  In person, the color difference is more noticeable, though.  And despite the fact that I’m not happy with how this particular project turned out, I learned a lot about chalk painting and the various painting techniques, so even an “oops” can be a good thing!

If you want to try your hand at chalk painting fabric, here are a few things that I learned along the way.  (Note that these tips apply only to use on fabric, not other surfaces.)

Fabric Painting Tips & Tidbits

1. Use a roller, not a brush

I suppose it depends on the type of fabric and how it is used, but my experience with the velvet chair is that the fabric absorbed the paint so quickly that it was difficult to spread with a brush and resulted in a saturated, blotchy look.  I did a test on a scrap piece of velvet using a paint brush and a roller and you can instantly see that there is better coverage with the roller.  You’ll also end up using less paint.

Velvet Paint Test - Tidbits&Twine

2. Use the paint at full strength

I also tested out the idea of using the paint full strength versus diluted.  In theory, the diluted paint might not make the fabric feel as stiff, but in reality, when the paint is diluted it takes more coats to get the same coverage and with the additional coats, it ends up feeling stiffer than the full strength.

3. Use a Satin Finish, not Wax

If you plan on sitting on the fabric, be sure to use a Satin Finish, not a Wax, because the heat from your body will heat up the wax and rub off on you while sitting.  While that would make quite an impression on your guests, I don’t think that’s the impression that you want them to get from your newly painted chair!

4. You can use the Satin Finish as a base layer

The nap on velvet causes the paint to coat in some places better than in others and the surface can come out looking blotchy no matter how many coats of paint you apply.  But if you paint a layer of Satin Finish and then paint over it, the Satin Finish creates a consistent base for the paint to adhere to, giving it a more even coverage.   It also helps to eliminate the cracked appearance that the velvet can get as a result of the nap.

5. Be careful how you tape

While it’s important to tape off any areas that you don’t want painted, it’s equally important that you carefully remove the tape to avoid having the Satin Finish stick and peel off from the fabric.  The nice thing about chalk paint, though, is that if you do get it on a part of the chair that you don’t want to paint, a little rub with a damp cloth and it will wipe right off!


If anyone has more experience with chalk painting velvet and has some suggestions for me, please let me know!  Otherwise, I guess I’ll soon be teaching myself how to reupholster!









DIY Family Memory Jar

Creating a Family Memory Jar

We all lead busy lives and sometimes, we forget to appreciate and celebrate the little things that happen on a day-to-day basis.  Thanks to Pinterest, I came across this fantastic idea for keeping a Family Memory Jar, which is a great way to keep things in perspective and to help remind us of life’s joys!

Memory Jar - Tidbits&Twine

At the beginning of the year, we start with an empty jar.  Every time something good happens, we each write a little note with the our name, the date and the good thing that happened and then we drop the note in the jar.  I also use the jar to keep track of cute things that the kids say or do.  Then on New Year’s Eve, we empty the jar and read all of the notes to remind us what a great year it was!  It’s a great way to celebrate as a family!

We’ve been keeping this for some time now, but I didn’t get around to decorating our Family Memory Jar until just recently.  I decided to leave the jar clear so that we could see the notes as they accumulate, but added a bit of embellishment to match my decorating style.


  • 1 Jar (I used a $4.99 74 oz. BURKEN jar from IKEA because it doesn’t require the kids to screw the lid on but still has an air-tight seal closure)
  • Naturals Burlap Sticker (on clearance at Michaels)
  • Recollections Chalkboard Label (40% off at Michaels)
  • Recollections Metal Rimmed Tags (40% off at Michaels)
  • Idea-ology Word Band
  • Twine
  • Vintage Key
  • Chalk Pen
  • CeCe Caldwell Kansas City Wheat
  • CeCe Caldwell Satin Finish


I chose to paint the lid with Kansas City Wheat so that it would better fit with my kitchen decor (versus the silver) over which I applied two coats of Satin Finish.  To complete the lid, I added a word band reading, “capture life’s moments“, a tag with the year written on it and a vintage key.

To decorate the jar, I layered two different stickers and added an “M” in chalk for our family name.

Other ideas for decorate the jar include:

  • A collage of family photos
  • Glass etching your family’s last name
  • Painted jar with a color that matches your decor
  • A vinyl decal with your family’s initial
  • Inspirational quotes around the outside of jar
  • A decorative band around the middle (using paper, wallpaper or adhesive shelf paper) embellished with ribbon or burlap or even a flower
  • Family handprints around the jar


Enjoy the journey!







Tidbit Tuesday – Tips for Cleaning Houseplants


If you love decor (like I do!) you probably already have enough to clean in your house without adding one more thing to the list, but houseplants need cleaning, too!  Outdoor plants are constantly being cleaned by wind, rain, etc., but our indoor plants rely on us to clean them.  Just as with any other item in the house, plant leaves can accumulate a layer of dust.   This not only dulls the look of the plant, but is actually harmful to it.

Plant leaves contain small pores called stomata through which gases are exchanged.  When we let a layer of dust and grime to accumulate on the leaves, it reduces the plant’s ability to photosynthesize and ultimately, affects the health of the plant.  To help plants take in the sunlight they need and maintain their health, we need to keep them clean.  While this might seem like a lot of work, a little bit of cleaning will actually make for a healthier plant and a healthier living environment in the long run!

Give Them a Rinse

The fastest way to clean plants is to give them a quick shower using lukewarm water (as both hot and cold water will injure them).  Smaller plants can be washed off in the sink, while larger plants can be moved into the shower for a quick rinse.

Small, delicate plants or those with fuzzy leaves might need to be dunked upside down in a container of water and swished around a bit to remove dirt and debris.  You can water the plant beforehand to help prevent the soil from falling out and then cover the dirt with plastic wrap or foil before turning the plant upside down to wash the leaves.

Always allow the plant to dry before returning it to its place.

Wipe the Individual Leaves

Some plants are just too large to give a bath and in that case, you will need to wash the individual leaves.  Use a soft, damp cloth in one hand to wipe the top and bottom or each leaf while supporting the leave with the other in order to avoid breaking or cracking the leaf.  Commercial leaf shine products are available, but they aren’t really necessary and there is some debate as to whether these products actually harm the plants by clogging the pores.

While working at a plant nursery as a teenager, I was taught to use milk to wipe the plant leaves to help make them shinier.  Again, there is some debate surrounding the use of milk (and mayonnaise) on houseplants and although I personally have never had an adverse effects from using milk, I can’t really tell the difference between leaves cleaned with milk and those cleaned with water.  Given this, I now just use water.

Leaf Before Cleaning - Tidbits&Twine
Fiddle-leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) Before Cleaning
Fiddle-leaf Fig After Cleaning with Water
Fiddle-leaf Fig After Cleaning with Water

Dust them Off

For plants like African Violets, whose leaves don’t like to get wet, you can use a soft brush to wipe the dust off the leaves.  Try a paint brush or a soft toothbrush and use small, gentle strokes to brush off the dust.

Once your plants are clean, be sure to incorporate them into your regular cleaning routine by giving them a quick dusting on a regular basis to prevent large amounts of grime from accumulating.


How often you’ll need to wash your plants really depends on the environment in which you live.  The best way to tell if it’s time to clean you plants is to blow the dust off of a leaf, then get eye level with the leaf to see if there is still grime left.  If you can see or feel grime, it’s time for a bath!