Reader Vote: What looks best?

When this little blog started there was a corner of my living room that I am ashamed to say it looked this:

Now I am pleased to say it looks like this:

It’s not fabulous (yet!), but this little corner has definitely (finally!) graduated out of eyesore category. We’ve painted and paired down and cleaned up. We’ve also pulled some furniture switcheroos  (That dresser lived in our bedroom until last Saturday.)  It’s time to add a little pizzazz!. A little art to fill the space above the electronics. Nothing too flashy, after all, it can’t compete with the TV  or the new gallery on the staircase (will be posting about that soon!)

Another current. Full frontal this time.

Now here’s where I need your help. I’ve scoured the web for inspiration. And I’ve got a bunch of ideas. Problem is, I’m having trouble picking a direction. I played around in Photoshop to see what looks best. (Please excuse my mediocre Photoshop skills.) What do you think?

Option 1: Graphic Art

I love the idea of a pretty little message to remind me of the little things that are really important. This one comes from http://www.behance.net/gallery/MACHEETE-Posters/4664583

Option 2: Abstract Art

I’m not sure, but I think the abstract art might be my favorite. A pop of color. This brilliant piece was found at http://zacharybrown.wordpress.com/category/abstract-paintings/18-x-24/#

Option 3: Wood Poster

I like this option because of the amazing texture combined with the personalized silhouettes. This idea comes from http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2012/03/pallet-art-silhouette.html, along with a tutorial!

So, tell me, which one, if any, makes your spine tingle?

Option 1: Graphic Art.

Option 2: Abstract Art

Option 3: Wood Poster

Feel free to offer any other suggestions too! And thanks for your help! I can’t wait to see the results!

Paper Mache Safari {My DIY Zebra Head}

I spotted this image a couple weeks ago.

And, instantly, I fell head over heels in love. It would be perfect for the munchkin’s room! It’s by Dwell Studios,. You can purchase it on their website. Unfortunately for me, they sell it for a whopping 76 buckeroos. Don’t get me wrong- I think that’s a fair price for such a delight, but I don’t have that kind of money budgeted to spend on faux taxidermy.  Despite the price, I couldn’t get this little guy out of my head. It has been forever since I’ve done anything so thoroughly creative, and the idea of attempting it myself was a little intimidating  But I got over it.

And here’s what I came up with….

Dum- de- dum-dum….

So what do you think? It’s far from perfect, but I think it’s awesome. So awesome, that I kind of want to make more, like a lot more, like a different animal for each room in the house. (Can you imagine a ducky head for the bathroom? Intense!)

But back to this one. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1. I formed a zebra-head-like shape from gridded wire and garden wire (both found in the garden section an Lowes). Some people preferred to use chicken wire. I choose to use the gridded wire partly because it is sturdier, but mostly because I already had it on hand. This step takes some serious patience. It took me about to weeks to form a zebra-head-like shape that I was mildly happy with. And make sure that you wear some heavy gloves, that wire is painfully sharp.

Step 2. Duct tape. This was mostly a safely precaution. I didn’t want those sharp wire ends to have a chance to cut my almost two year old’s hands. As for how much tape- I just kept layering until the whole thing felt smooth.

Step 3. Modge Podge and Newspaper. My muse was covered with French text. As hard as I looked, couldn’t find a foreign newspaper in anywhere in Baton Rouge. I even looked for foreign books at Goodwill. Nothing. So I had to settle with two copies of the USA Today. I cut them into strips and got to glueing. I used a foam brush to apply the glue. It was the first time I’d ever used Modge Podge. And I’ve jumped on that gravy train! Love it. I only wish I’d had more experience with it. If I ever decide to paper mache a giraffe head, I’ll definitely put of couple coats of Modge Podge on before applying paint. (I only applied one coat.)

Step 4. Paint. I used ‘Carnival Pink’ by Americana craft paint. (Although, if I ever do if again, I’ll probably use something thicker. The craft paint took 5 coats for good coverage)I tried to draw the stripes on with pencil, but it was a fail because I couldn’t see them. So I took my paint brush and winged it. I tried my best to create equal amounts of positive and negative amounts of space.

Step 5. More Modge Podge. As recommended on the bottle, I applied 5 coats, at 20 minute intervals, for a final finishing coat.

To hang it I punched a hole in the bottom. I took some wire and wrapped one end around the gridded wire on the inside and formed a loop with the other.

Then I hung it from a small nail.

Back to the eye candy…

It’s like he’s watching over Kennedy as she plays.

And I swear, when we read in the rocking chair, it’s like the zebra is paying close attention. I’m not sure if it’s a creepy or charming accident.

So what about you? How do you feel about this whole paper mache animal head trend?Love it or hate it? Have you done anything crafty lately? Are you obsessed with any animal heads?

Playroom Inspiration: Brain Dump

We’ve had our playroom slash guest room for over a month and I still haven’t shared my plans for it. And believe me, I have plans. Too many plans. I’ve got so many ideas that I haven’t gotten very far. And now that we’ve been temporarily transplanted to Chicago, all I can do is think about the playroom’s untapped potential. So here’s a post full of playroom inspiration.Can’t wait to tackle some of these projects!


 Where should I start? How about the color palette:

I’m going for lots of pattern. And a bit texture. And fun!

And lots of color. Perhaps a smidge girly, but mostly gender nuetral. I’m going for primarily orange, purple, green and navy. Those other colors will be there, just less. (This color palette was created with Adobe Kuler, btw.)

From there, the vision gets a lot less vivid. What would you think of an ombre accent wall?

Laundry Room

I saw this laundry room in Lowes Creative Ideas and thought a blended paint treatment would be brilliant for a playroom. Then again… maybe it’s too much. especially if I go ahead and make these awesome horizontal striped curtains (which I’ve already purchased the fabric for.)

(from http://www.theyellowcapecod.com/2011/01/bold-striped-diy-drapes.html.

Speaking of fabric… I am super inspired by these diy fabric wall decals. The possibilities are endless!

cornstarch fabric decals...

Toy Room decor  tree

http://sewingforscarlett.blogspot.com/2010/02/tutorial-fabric-wall-decal.htmlhttp://www.apartmenttherapy.com/cooper-campbells-cool-vintagek-139542http://ginnyphillipsphotography.com/blog/

But would that compete with brightly painted doors? Look at that yellow door (from this toy story inspired room!) It’s delicious!

hello yellow doors!

http://www.scenicoasis.com/portfolio/our-portfolio/scenery/general-interior-sets.html

Let’s talk art. I definitely want a place to display my progeny’s works of art. I could go with something like this:

kids gallery wall

or something less formal… Like this:

childs gallery wall

http://www.spearmintbaby.com/2011/07/ten-creative-ways-to-display-childrens-art/

or this:

toy room project

Or I could go another dirction and to this (which is just about the coolest gallery wall I’ve ever seen!)

Art Gallery Wall!

http://www.spearmintbaby.com/2011/07/ten-creative-ways-to-display-childrens-art/

But then again, I saw this image and kind of fell in love with the idea of framing old school game boards.

2011-06-20-boardgames.jpg

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/displaying-game-boardsinfarran-149687

And what about the cieling? No playroom is complete without something special hanging from the cieling.

I love, love, love(, love!) The idea of hanging a few globes or birdcages from the ceiling.

globes

http://jonesdesigncompany.com/

birdcages!

Or maybe just a simple paper chandy will do.
Ombre paint chip chandelier DIY tutorial
And then there is this ah-maz-ing rug (from CB2) for the floor. And it’s totally diy-able, no?
HopscotchRug4x6AV2S10
Now lets talk playroom content. We’ve already got a toy shelf and an in-need-of-a-bit-of-sandpaper-and paint-love play table, but what else? How about a swing? Or a slide?
swing for play room, yes please!
And, of course, no modern playroom is complete without a teepee!
Flags: I think yes!
summer reading teepee
Ahh, my brain is buzzing with excitement! So many possibilities! Believe or not, there’s a few more ideas, but I’m not sure this post can handle anymore. All this and more is on my Inspired: Playroom board on Pinterest if you want to be inspired yourself, in a less wordy format.

Some projects I’ve already started, others won’t make the cut. Some I’ll plan for but just won’t get around to getting done. Some may get started and but never finished. We’ll just see where this party goes…. What are your favorites? I think I am in love with that rug! What do you think gives playroom that slightly over the top magical feeling? Help me out!

Embracing the Rainbow: DIY Painted Candlestick Holders and Lessons Learned in Accessorizing your Fireplace.

Mantle decorated… go ahead and check that off the list!

This living room is starting to look like the people that live here have got it together! (Don’t let it fool you, we definitely don’t)

Three sentances in, and already on a tangent. Any hoo… Look! Look!

Ok. So, I know mantles are not the most exciting topic in the world, And, as far as mantles go, it’s probably not the most amazing mantle in the world. But, still, I am pretty proud of it!

I have a confession to make, Decor accessories freak me out. Ceramic knickknacks, while I often admire them on the racks at TJ Maxx, we don’t own a single one. (I really love those glass sand timer things… but I have no idea where it is appropriate to display one) I always look on in envy at the little vignettes, created of frames and candles and odds and ends, that other people are able to arrange so easily. I’ve just never been able to do it. Until now.

What really makes the mantle, is those rainbow candle holders.  My latest little DIY project. (When I dreamed this up- I thought I was a genious! That this was a completely original idea. Then I started seeing painted candlestick holders all over Pinterest. Martha Stewart even has a tutorial… Damn you Martha!)

Here’s how I did it:

I bought several brass candlestick holders from the local thrift store. All of them were under $1 (What a deal!) (Kennedy liked them too. She wanted me to tell you they make a lot of awesome noises when you beat them against the floor.)

Next, we washed them. (Or rather, I tried to keep the water in the bucket while Kennedy helped.)

There was still a little wax residue in the hard to reach spots. So we boiled it.That did the trick.

I gave the candle holders time to dry completely.

Time to prime. I used a primer made by Valspar (from Lowes) that was designed especially for metal. I sprayed a coat of primer over each candle holder. The candle holders had a lot of nooks and crannies, and I wanted to be thorough, so, after a couple hours, I turned them upside-down and sprayed another coat. 

Then I went wild on the spray paint aisle. I looked at dozens of colors before settling on these (later, I switched out that farmhouse blue (upper middle) for a brilliant orange):

And sprayed away. This took several coats. Some more than others. I used a variety of spray paint brands. The most difficult thing was getting the color even on such uneven surfaces. A more experienced spray painter may be able to do it in a coat or two.

(As you can see, at this point I had developed a vision for the mantle and added a couple frames.)

And look at those beauties! Don’t they make you smile!

Here’s a close up of the other side, just in case you’re wondering about my the rainbow frames.

Turns out I didn’t use all the pieces I spray painted on the mantle. It looked way too chaotic with the whole mantle filled  up. It took me countless rearrangements and hours of staring to figure out that the ‘less is more’ mantra is really the way to go when it comes to mantle accessorizing.

I may used the extra candlesticks somewhere else. Maybe on our bar. Or maybe one day I’ll get the courage to attempt a centerpiece arrangement on the dinner table and they’ll be a part of that. Who knows? Another post for another time.

For now, lets just admire my beautiful mantle one last time. It’s everything I could hope for in a mantle… playfully sophisticated… subtly colorful … eclectically traditional.

Do you love it?

What about you? Have you been playing with spraying paint lately? I now have a collection of spray paints in the garage and I am on the prowl. Give me some ideas!

Our World

I am so excited. So so so excited. I have been agonizing for weeks over what to by my husband for Christmas. He’s one of those that are impossible to shop for. He has may interests but they are all too specific for gifting. He doesn’t read for fun. Clothes won’t do. To be honest, I usually default to beef jerky. But not this Christmas.

This Christmas I got creative. I have seen a lot of maps on Pinterest and around the blogosphere.

Like…

vintage-framed-map-pin-board-frame-art-travel-project-how-to-diy-cheapNail Wall Art World Map, Bold and Beautiful PalettePinned Image

from http://www.younghouselove.com/2008/02/the-frame-game/http://www.etsy.com/listing/73262666/nail-wall-art-world-map-bold-and?ref=sr_gallery_15&ga_search_submit=&ga_search_query=map&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_page=3&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmadehttp://astepinthejourney.blogspot.com/

I love the idea of personalizing a map, showcasing our travels. Devin, however, would not be truly impressed with a simple framed map (ever the critic).

I wanted something unique, something oozing with masculinity. This is what I came up with:

I used wood planks as my ‘canvas’ and nails to outline the land masses as well as document the places we’ve been. You can’t tell from the photo, but I used shorter nails to outline the continents and longer nails on our various vacation spots.

I love it! It isn’t the world’s most practical ‘map’ (1 nail covers as entire state, or even country in some cases) but Devin and I will know what each nail means. Plus, it is truly a art piece. Even if he doesn’t like it, I do. But how could he not like it?

Here’s how I did it:

The first step was to go in search of a world map. A map of the US of A would have been much easier to find, not to mention much easier to complete this project with. But I didn’t want to send the wrong message, we will travel the world one day. So a world map it was. The map needed to have each continent in one piece. Turns out, this isn’t the easiest thing to find (and there was no time to order one online). I settled on this one from Hobby Lobby:

Next, I found some 2×6′s in the Garage (I swear our garage is a bottomless pit) and cut them down to 37 inches. I wanted to use what I had on hand, But I’d recommend using thinner wood, 1′ thickness would be better. This thing is way too heavy! Then I linned the 2×6 planks up and used a thin line of Gorilla Glue to glue them together

I then found some more scrap wood in the garage and glued two pieces vertically along the back. Then I nailed it together. Then I sanded the whole thing down. I forgot to take a picture of the back, but here is the front at this point:

Next I stained the wood. I used 1 coat of leftover ebony stain, but it came out way to dark. So I sanded it down and applied 2 coats of mahogany stain.

Now to the fun part!

Once the stain dried, I taped my map to the front of the wood planks.

And I got to a-hammering. I hammered around the perimeter of each continent. All this was done during naptime and it’s simply amazing that all the banging didn’t wake the baby up!

I was very liberal with the perimeter, the nails only loosely follow the shape of the landmass. As for small islands, I experimented a bit, but I found it best to use a single nail to represent it. If we ever travel to one of those islands, I’ll probably replace the short nail with a long one.

That’s my dog, Niki. She helped.

Canada got a little confusing up at the top. I never realized it was that segmented.

And a few day’s later, Voila! World map complete!

Then I used the long nails. Unfortunately, we haven’t been many places together, so it didn’t take long.

Then I had to pull the poster up. This was tedious work. I used an exacto knife and a pair of pliers to assist me. Although it took forever, it was kind of exciting, like opening a present…. I kept thinking, “What’s it going to look like?” and “This is going to be so awesome!”

Some of the nails came out as I tugged on the poster. I just nailed them back in. The nails that landed between the wood planks didn’t want to stay put so I applied glue to the tips.

Once the poster was off. I had to do a little stain touch up. The nails had caused the wood to split in a few areas, so I used a thin paint brush to stain those areas. After, you couldn’t tell!

Yep she’s a beauty!

 Here’s a closer view of North America:

You can see we have mostly stuck to the Southeast in our travels. (At this point, my pride demands that I mention that I have been out of the US quite a few times, just not with the hubby)

Hopefully, one day, every continent will be filled with nails.

I hope he loves it as much as I do! I can’t wait to see what he is going to say!

A quick and clean diy

Some of you may remember that a couple posts about a bathroom renovation. It’s coming along, but very slowly. It’s hard to find time to play with a nail gun when you have a 16 month old running around, not to mention the holidays and the traveling we’ve been doing. But this diy isn’t actually about that bathroom. (Although one could say it was born from it’s slow progress) It’s about our half bath, downstairs.

This bathroom is your standard tucked-under-the-stairway-5′x5′-half-bath. Very difficult to photograph.  I wish I could say that it’s current state was my handiwork, but we hired a guy to redo it back when I was working. The tile, wainscoting, sink, hardware and paint is all new. It’s probably the most complete room in our house, and probably the nicest too. Can you guess what is still missing? Art! I decided to try my hand at some graphic art. From the beginning, I knew I wanted the message “wash your hands.” It is simple and bathroom appropriate. And from the mommy standpoint, I want as many letters around Kennedy as I can get (not to mention that she should wash her hands)

I was really inspired by these:

Pinned ImagePinned ImageKids Bathroom Art, Wash Your Hands, Brush Your Teeth, Set of Two, pick custom colors, size 8x10

www.4men1lady.com

 http://www.etsy.com/listing/60648253/wash-your-hands-8-x-10-wall-art-print,

 http://www.etsy.com/listing/85419992/kids-bathroom-art-wash-your-hands-brush?ref=sr_gallery_4&ga_search_submit=&ga_search_query=wash+your+hands&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmade

One my first try I used Photoshop and came up with the image below. I didn’t like it.  It was slightly pixelated, the black bubbles looked kind of like ink splotches, and the graphic was too similar to one of the images I was inspired by. And the colors were just a little too jarring in print.

So, a few days later, I tried again.

This time was a success! I used Indesign, which is more appropriate for this type of art than Photoshop. I love the layout and colors (btw- I used Kuler for the color palette. Never been there? Check it out, it’s a forum for color palettes, and it has all sorts of tools for creating your own color palettes. If you have adobe products, you can download the palette right into your program. It’s awesome!)

I feel a little egotistical offering this, but here’s a link to a PDF if you want to use it yourself (or give it as a gift!)- Wash your Hands. I just ask that if you do use it, you share a photo with me!

I spray painted a thrift store frame white (it took 3 coats), and I used pink craft paint to paint the matte that came in the thrift store frame pink (also three coats.)

… And drum roll please!

Looks much better! (We also switched the light to a daylight florescent, which makes the whole room less yellowish.)  I’m contemplating whether I should hang it on the wall, or leave it leaning. For now, I’d rather not put a hole in the wall.

What do you think?

I have all kinds of ideas for other kinds little messages. Like “Put your dishes in the dishwasher” for the kitchen. Ok, that was a joke; a bad one. But seriously, this graphic art thing is so easy, and it has serious potential. What message would you frame?