Monday, January 07, 2019

painted kitchen transformation

Ok friends, I've got a fun kitchen update to share! Those who have been following along for a while will know that I really enjoy finding creative and budget friendly ways to transform our space. And as much as I love DIY home projects, this was supposed to the year that we actually renovated our kitchen counter tops! We had white quartz countertops picked out, we scheduled the work and then we discovered that a nest of rats had somehow found a way under our house and completely eaten our heater ducting which meant we needed to get it all completely replaced and it wasn't cheap! We had to make the decision to put our little kitchen renovation on hold because of our budget.

I gotta say, I spent a good day feeling bad for myself simply because I've waited 6 years to replace our old, 1980's laminate counter tops. When we first moved in they were a "lovely" shade of green until three years ago when I couldn't take it anymore and painted them with Rusto-Oleum countertop paint in a light ash color. 

While it wasn't my first choice for a transformation, it actually brightened things up and have held up really well for the last few years.
But over the summer we thought it was time to actually invest in the type of counters that we wanted until we hit our budget road block with our heating system and had to change our plans. For about a day I was bummed, I might have even shed a silly couple of tears but then I snapped out of it and decided to follow through with a little budget friendly kitchen renovation only using paint!

Today I wanted to share this transformation with all of you because I think it is important to share inspiration when it comes changing things up when you don't have the money for your dream home, updates and renovations. With home decor shows, home decor Instagram accounts, big budgets, fancy home updates, I just want those of you out there on a budget to see that it is so possible to create a fun transformations on a budget with simple supplies! Ok here we go!

There are all kinds of countertop paint out there and because I already had experience with another brand, I knew that it is so possible to paint your countertops and have it hold up really well. But I was looking for was something that would look more like stone- my dream is to someday have a white with grey quartz counters and my huge dream would be marble countertops. I've always known that there are a variety of techniques that can be used to paint surfaces to look like marble, quartz or granite with acrylic paint and I could use these techniques but I needed paint that was made for countertops. And in my search that is when I came across Giani Paint Kits (not sponsored). Giani makes a variety of countertop paint kits that can be used to create a granite look. I knew immediately that I could use the kit and hack the process to create more of a marble like affect for our counters!

We have tons of countertop space space so I ordered two of the white diamond countertop paint kits. I also ordered two cans of another shade of white called Pearl Mica (that has a pearl like look to it). 

The first step was to clean our counters, tape everything off and then apply the primer which is black. This process was quick and took me about one hour and then I let it dry overnight.

The next step was to build layers with a sponge. This is where I went a little rogue in the process and I began with color Pearl Mica that I had purchased separate from the kits. Since this process is all about layering shades of white, I wanted a "pearly" like affect that would show through in small ways (at least this was my thinking).

I cut up my sponge (which comes in the kit) into different shapes and sizes. For the first layer I went super thick and sloppy! Something to keep in mind if you want to create more of a marble look is to sponge that paint on in a specific direction. After hours of studying photos of real marble, it was pretty clear that there is veining in that stone and those layers of white sponged paint needed to move in the same direction as the veining. I kept a photo of a real marble countertop in front of me for reference and to help with the process.

You cannot tell in the photo but once dry, this layer of Pearl Mica almost had a metallic like affect to it.

I painted the layer of Pearl Mica first thing in the morning and by the afternoon I was starting on the second layer of sponge painting with the color Quartzite (this color comes in the kit)

Once this layer was dry, I went right back into the surface with another layer of White Limestone (which comes in the kit). As you can see, the more layers you add the more white it will be and will cover up that black primer but will still have flecks of grey showing through which begins to create the look of stone.

After the layer of White Limestone was dry, it was time to create veining on the surface! I've painted countless murals and surfaces but this process made me nervous! I used the color Greystone which comes in the kit and is supposed to be used for sponging and creating flecks of grey within those layers if you are going for a granite look (again this is what the kit is intended for). But I went rogue and ended up using the color Greystone for painting the veins.

I started by painting a really distinct line  (all going in the same direction). 

Then, using a small piece of my sponge I dabbed and dabbed and dabbed those lines until they were blurry and more subtle.

While this process ended up being really easy, it was tedious and time consuming but so worth it!

A trick for creating more of a real marble look is to continue those veins over the edge of the counter.

After I painted veins all over the entire counter and the backsplash, I went over it all with a really light sponged layer of White Limestone- this made those veins look a little more subtle.

The last step was to roll on a protective top coat and the cool thing about this top coat is that it has tiny little flecks of glitter in it. Once dry, the surface is super shiny but also has the faintest little bit of sparkle to it. 

I wanted a super shiny counter so I actually ended up applying second layer of topcoat.

The last step in our little kitchen transformation was to paint our cabinets and luckily Gianni also makes cabinet paint.

I used the color Tidal Haze and you guys this paint was amazing- it took two coats and the quality and color is really nice. We replaced out door cabinet handles and pulls and called the project complete!

When I set out to make the best of our budget and situation, I wasn't sure how it would turn out but I am so happy with the results! We have been living with out new counters for over a month now and I can say that so far they are very durable and easy to clean. For a few hundred dollars and about a week's worth of work, I was able to completely transform our kitchen with paint.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

just a few more days to get in on early bird pricing!

Hey friends, there is just a couple more days left to get in on the early bird price for my next online class Watercolor Mandalas!

$15.00 $10.00 Early Bird SALE!
Launches January 8th
More information or register HERE

Creating mandalas is one of my favorite ways to get lost in the process of creating. In this class we will be making use of a brush and watercolors to create mandalas. I will be sharing a variety of simple, colorful and creative techniques that will take those mandalas to the next level! 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

small things matter

If you are like me, and you spend time on social media, you are probably seeing lots of highlight reels from the people you follow, lots of beautiful photos filled with reflections, big 2018 moments, success, accomplishments and inspiration. You also may have a moment of feeling less than, like perhaps your 2018 looks small in comparison to other people. And if you are like me, you may even feel like your own 2018 accomplishments were way too simple- like paying the bills every month, finally going to the dentist, growing dahlias in your back yard, making a new friend, choosing to eat an avocado every morning instead of cookies, being kind to your husband, practicing patience with your kid and sometimes just being happy that you survived a hard season with your sanity. In the social media world these things MIGHT FEEL like they fail in comparison- because it looks like everyone else went on that exotic trip, everyone else found themselves, everyone else had a year of self care, everyone else had a year filled with abundance or dreams coming true.

Well, today I want to tell you that all those simple things that happened in 2018, the accomplishments that seem boring or routine or maybe even unconventional- they matter! They may not be captured in a beautiful photo or feel like anything important but let’s remember, real life doesn’t work like the internet and social media. It is not a highlight reel or fancy photos and happy captions. Most of the time real life accomplishments are about putting one foot in front of the other each and every day. It’s about doing the hard work, even when it’s boring or difficult, it’s about walking through the everyday moments and it’s about finding success in the ordinary! Please don’t be fooled by your Instagram feeds or blogs or Facebook posts as the new year begins. Don’t compare or feel less than or as if your small moments in 2018 don’t matter. They matter! And in my opinion, they are very likely the most important things that happened to you this year.

Monday, December 31, 2018

lets talk about setting goals

As a goal minded kind of gal, I love planning for the future, day dreaming and finding ways to make things happen. For years I chased big (unattainable) goals that were all about fast results and I failed over and over again! It wasn’t until I began setting small attainable daily goals that I created lots of momentum in my life. I’m not saying to stop dreaming big but sometimes small steps will lead to amazing things!

With the new year upon us, today I wanted to share some of the best advice I can give about setting goals!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

last 24hr flash sale! the business bundle!

Ok friends it's my last end of the year FLASH SALE! I've bundled my business classes together for $30 (compare at $130 for all three) a cost savings of $100! If you are interested in learning all about the business side of art and creativity, this is the deal for you! Head on over to the shop HERE for more details or to register.

Offer ends Sunday, December 30th at 5pm PST

Bundle includes: 

Back in 2005 I started a blog to document my journey as an artist and today my little blog has grown into something I never could have imagined- I currently have millions of readers all over the world, my blog has enabled me to generate income for my creative business, many of my posts and projects have "gone viral" or been picked up by a variety of sites and magazines but the best part is that I have been able to inspire and connect with amazing people! In this class I will share all of the blogging tips, techniques and secrets that I have discovered over time. We will dive into a variety of topics such as- design, photography, how to come up with unique content, staying organized, blogging schedules, growing readership, using Pinterest and SO MUCH MORE! Blogging is something that I am incredibly passionate about and I am excited to share that passion with you!


In my opinion, there is no magic formula for growing a creative business, in fact there is all kinds of free information that you can access online. I am not going promise you the secret to success in this class. Instead I want to share with you what has worked for me. It has been a long (sometimes painful) 20 year journey with just as much failure as success. I've tried just about everything in the creative world- from working and showing at galleries, to framing art, to teaching at retreats, to selling at craft shows, to freelance, to design and more. I was always searching for a big break and it never came but through it all I was loyal to my love and passion for art. Slowly my creative business grew into something that today supports our family. In this class I share as much information as I can- everything from defining who you are, insight on creative professions, branding, marketing, blogging, managing finances, how to deal with failure and rejection, how to grow and handle growth and so much more. Again, I am not an expert, I am simply an artist whose had a lot of experience finding her way and I am excited to share my story, my knowledge, my success and failure. So if you are looking for the inspiration to jump start your creative goals in 2015, this is the class for you!


Back in 2009, I quit my day job to pursue art full time. I spent over 15 years working towards my dream of being a full time artist. If there is one thing I have learned from my own journey, it's that when you make time and space in your life to pursue your dreams, big things can happen! In this little class I will be sharing my experiences, practical tips and tricks for going after your creative dreams. If you are looking for inspiration to grow as an artist, launch a dream or find motivation to go after something big, this is the class for you!

Friday, December 28, 2018

24 hour flash sale! art journal bundle!

Ok friends the end of the year flash sales continue! For the next 24 hours I’ve got my art journal bundle on sale!

Starting this evening I've bundled four of my favorite art journal classes together for $30 (compare at $105 for all four)! If you are interested in learning a variety of different ways to keep an art journal, this is the deal for you!

Head on over to my shop HERE for more details or to register!

Offer ends tomorrow, Saturday, December 29th at 5pm PST

Grab that art journal and meet me in the garden! In this class we will be using the garden as as the backdrop for exploration and creativity! We will be using a variety of techniques and materials to discover and document inspiration, memories, garden planning, wildlife observations, weather patterns and more! I will share all kinds of techniques- from sketching, collage and painting to create colorful and layered art journal pages.

I carry an art journal or sketchbook wherever I go, even when I travel! The result are pages and page full art, free writing and collage inspired by my experiences. In this class I will be sharing some of my favorite concepts and techniques for keeping a journal dedicated to travel and adventure.

I spend  A LOT of time sketching but I probably spend just as much time working in an art journal. For me there is really a fine line between an art journal and a sketchbook. For my sketching process I limit my supplies- But when I work in my art journal, I explore all kinds of mixed media techniques like painting, collage, sewing (with paper), stamping, doodling, drawing and printmaking. My art journal is a small and accessible place for me to practice, explore and brainstorm all kinds of techniques. 

In this class I will be sharing some of my favorite simple art journal techniques that anyone, any age or any level will be able to create. From using everyday things to incorporating photography to doodling to painting pages to printmaking to stamping and more, I have gathered up my favorite ways to fill an art journal.

Art Journal Delight has been one of my most popular classes to date so I have created another fun class dedicated to art journaling. In this class I will be sharing more of my favorite simple art journal techniques, tricks,  and prompts that anyone, any age or any level will be able to create!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

24 hour flash sale! floral bundle!

Ok friends I am continuing with the end of the year flash sales this week with my floral bundle! 

Starting tonight at 5pm I've bundled four of my favorite flower classes together for $30 (compare at $60 for all four)! If you are interested in learning a variety of different ways to create floral art, this is the deal for you! 

Head on over to the shop HERE for more details or to register!

offer ends Friday, December 28th at 5pm PST


Flowers and acrylic paint make the perfect pair! In this class I will be sharing all kinds of really simple techniques for transforming your favorite flowers into expressive, beautiful and colorful acrylic paintings.

There is something so colorful and expressive about creating with pastels. In this class we will use my favorite subject: flowers, to explore a variety of wild and expressive ways to use pastels.

There is something so simple and beautiful about creating with ink. In this class we will use my favorite subject: flowers, to explore a variety of expressive techniques. From using brushes to found objects to items from nature, we will experiment with creating dynamic and bold floral ink brush paintings.

Flowers and watercolors make the perfect pair! In this class I will be sharing all kinds of really simple techniques for transforming your favorite flowers into expressive, beautiful and colorful paintings. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

24 hour flash sale! painting bundle!

I've got some fun end of the year deals happening for the next few days- a 24 hour flash sale each day until the new year.  Friday sale later this month.

Starting tonight at 5pm I've bundled four of favorite online painting classes together for $30 (compare at $130 for all three) a cost savings of $100! If you are interested in learning all about the business side of art and creativity, this is the deal for you! Head on over to the shop HERE for more details or to register.

Offer ends Thursday, December 27th at 5pm PST

PAINTERS BLISS: Join me for a colorful and messy class dedicated to breaking free and finding the bliss that comes with the process of acrylic painting! I will be sharing all my favorite supplies, techniques, tips, tricks and prompts when it comes to painting from the heart. From art journal pages, to small surfaces to painting on a variety of unique materials, we will explore different painting surfaces. We will explore color, expression, movement, composition, how to "let go" and discover ways to listen to our intuition when painting. 
LARGER THAN LIFE: There is nothing more liberating than working big, and this class will introduce you to working larger than life with paint and a variety of different surfaces. Forget about being confined by the size of your surface and start embracing what it feels like to get inside your paintings. We will experiment with working on the floor and on the wall, as well as reaching, crawling, and stretching around our large surfaces to get up close and personal with the creative process. You will learn about simple/affordable supplies, composition and a variety of painting and collage techniques to use on a large surfaces.
BEAUTIFUL BACKGROUNDS: There is nothing more important in my work than creating a really dynamic background and over the years I have developed and sharpened my skills when it comes to creating backgrounds. Beautiful Backgrounds is little class where I am sharing my favorite techniques and materials for creating a really great background. From painting with watercolors, acrylics to using collage materials I will share all my secrets for creating a really great background!
ARTFUL HANDS: You haven't lived as an artist until you have used your fingers and hands to make art! In this class we are throwing away our brushes and tools and using our hands. I'll be sharing a variety of my favorite tricks, tips and techniques for using our hands and fingers to create beautiful and expressive art.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to say thank you guys! So much of what I do depends on my customers, my students and my readers and I so appreciate the support for my crazy creative business. I want to wish everyone out there a joy filled holiday. And from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you for being a part of our life!
Merry Christmas
xo Alisa, Andy and Lucy


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