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?

Flower Power, an Easter Tradition?

New Year’s Resolution # 5- Decorate the house for every holiday.

Ok, confession, I lost the list. I’m not sure what number it was but I know the resolution was on there. And so far I’ve failed miserably at it. I really, really want to get into the spirit of every holiday for the munchkin’s sake. I want her childhood to be nothing short of magical, and holidays are like a shortcut to magic. But it takes time… and planning. I better start prepping for the 4th now.

While we managed to squeeze in  something like 5 separate Easter Egg Hunts, we didn’t hang a single Easter decoration. It was mainly because I arrived home (after 5 weeks away) three days before Easter. No time to get creative and I wasn’t about to spend a ton of cash on something that would be marked 50 percent off with in a fortnight. It’s a pale substitution, but here’s what we did instead:

Bright yellow flowers. (They are zinnias, maybe?)

And bright purple tulips.

They may not spell out Happy Easter, and can’t be draped across the mantle, but they are most certainly the very definition of spring. And fresh flowers make everyone a little happier. (I’d be willing to bet there is a study out there that proves this!) And in total it cost about 6.00 dollars. I am still determined to one day hang an Easter wreath on my door (and perhaps display an Easter Bunny in every room), but perhaps this year is the first year of of a new Schmitt House tradition, the tradition of Easter Flowers (although maybe we could tweak the tradition so they are purchased by a very thoughtful husband… ahem.. that’s a hint my dear. You know we never get anything perfect the first time.)

So what are your traditions? And how did they come about? Tell me all about them! Obviously, I need some ideas! And how are your resolutions coming along? Am I the only one still thinking (from time to time) about them?

An Epiphany

On Tuesday I revealed my latest obsession, clocks. The obsession took root a few weeks into my trip to Chicago. I spent hours pouring over online, trying to plot a plan of action… which clock to buy, where to hang it…. maybe even how to make it. Then suddenly I realized. I had an amazing antique clock that had been sitting in storage for years. It wasn’t just an antique clock, it was a clock built by my Great-Grandfather. It was handed down to me years ago… and I treasured it. The problem was, I treasured it so much that I could never find a place worthy of hanging it. Eventually, I completely forgot about it. For years, It’s sat at the bottom of a closet.

But no more. The day after I got home we brought it out and hung it up.

It may not be quite the style I had planned on for the living room (you can read about that here) but I absolutely love it. Words can’t describe just how much. It looks like it was destined to be hung there next to the fireplace.

It makes takes the whole room to that next level, gives it whimsy and a wonderful sense of home.

And the clock itself – I love it. Now that it’s out for the world to see, keeping it hidden in the closet feels like it should be a criminal offense. I love all the details. I love that it keeps track of the date, because I can never remember. Growing up, my parents had a grandfather’s clock, So did my grandparents. I love hearing the pendulum tick tock tick tock tick tock. I love hearing the chimes that it makes every half hour. Sounds weird, but hearing those sounds makes me feel all grown up. (Anyone else ever have a hard time remembering they are in their mid-twenties?)

The story doesn’t end there. After all, I haven’t mentioned any epiphany, and what good is a title like “An Epiphany” without an epiphany?

Finally having the clock up on the wall got me thinking. What other treasures did I have that were sitting in the back of some closet? Things that I could never find quite the right place for? I don’t think of myself as a hoarder, but after only a few minutes I could think of atleast half a dozen of things. All with serious potential. That’s when I realized these objects need to come out. I was given/ purchased/ kept these objects for a particular reason. And they were all waiting for the perfect place to be (in most cases) hung. And (in most cases) the perfect place was never found. What good are any of these items sitting in a dark corner collecting dust? It makes no sense, what am I waiting for? I have a ton of blank walls, it’s time to start filling them up.

Plans are good… But not without action. So I dug these delicious red frames out of another dark corner. I bought them on super clearance at Dillard’s when I was planning Kennedy’s nursery. When color didn’t work, and they were forgotten.

The photos are from a family outing to the State Fair last fall.

The pair now lives in the living room. And just like the clock- it looks meant to be.

I feel so silly for not hanging them earlier.

Here’s a group shot of my recent accomplishments. It’s funny how hanging each thing just took a couple minutes to hang (and didn’t costa dime!) but the room has so much more personality. It’s so gratifying!

So, tell me, am I the only one that let’s beautiful things sit in storage, going to waste? Do you have any objects, patiently waiting to shine? Or perhaps you have some new addition to your walls, something that makes your home that much more complete? Tell me, tell me! I’d love to hear your stories!

A post about clocks

I have a new obsession. Clocks. Not exactly new to the market, but suddenly I can’t get enough of them. They are the best of both worlds; functional and decorative. And there are so many options, you can find any style, any shape, any size. And, if somehow you can’t find what you want, it’s so amazingly easy to go buy a clock kit and DIY a clock. (Atleast I’m guessing it is, I’m haven’t actually diyed a clock… yet)  Gallery wall of clocks…. admit it; reading those words you were just hit with a sense of wonder followed by a touch of giddyness at the possibilities that flew through your mind. I’m going to go ahead and call it; clocks are the next big trend.

It was hard to narrow down my favorites to a reasonable enough number to share, but here’s few of the clocks that make make me burn with envy.

Let’s start this thing off in proper Schmitt House style, with a pop of color. I can imagine this clock on almost any of the wall in my house. I adore it. To bad I can’t figure out where it’s from (any one know?) (The image is from here)

numbers

This white ceramic alarm clock from West Elm is nothing short of amazing!

white ceramic clock

Gotta love a good retro clock, like this one from Target:

turquoise

What about this vintage beauty, from Restoration Hardware:

vintage

I think my favorite has to be gear clocks.Something about inner workings exposed just gets me ticking. (Pun intended!) Like this one, from World Market:

Gear Wall Art with Clock | World Market

A few more clocks, in well styled context.

Tivoli Console Table - Tuscan Chestnut stain

Via Pottery Barn

November 2011 114 1_thumb

Via 320 Sycamore

wall of clocks!

Via RH Baby and Child

Oh, I’m in love.

Is anyone else obsessed with clocks? Or is it just me? Or is there some other genius piece of decor that makes your heart skip a beat?

Our Nursery

Even 18 months in, there are a few things I’d like to do before I consider it complete, Little things, like the curtains that resemble high waters, and the naked wall to the left when you walk in. Still, the nursery is my favorite room in the house. It’s so peaceful in there, I swear it even smells better than the rest of the house. I thought I’d share it with you.

If I had to describe the “theme,” it would be color palette, which was taken from the crib bedding, this pattern:

Over time, stuffed animals were added into the mix, like in every nook and cranny of the room.

We got the dresser from Goodwill for 20 dollars. We painted it and bought new hardware and now it’s the perfect pop of color, aka dresser, aka changing table. The shelves hold an assortment of her, (well, truthfully, my) favorite toys, knick knacks, and a few photos.

Gotta love Mr. Potato Head.

Over her crib, her name is proudly displayed in flowery letters.

I got the letters and the backings from Micheal’s and painted them with acrylic paint.

The French Doors let a lot of light into the room. First thing in the morning, when the curtains are still pulled shut, the whole room glows in pink light. It’s amazing. You feel like your inside a girly sunset.

The rocking chair is really comfortable. I’ve logged a lot of hours on that thing. (Yes, that is Kennedy playing with the diaper pail, it’s now the toy pail.)

This corner of the room needs help.

Yep, that’s a bed, a full size one. Until recently, Kennedy’s room has had to double as a guest room on the rare occasion that we have had overnighters.

On the upside, a giant cuddly puppy lives on the bed.

But now that we have a playroom that can serve as guest bedroom, so that mattress is on it’s way out. We’ll be replacing it with some much needed custom store toy storage.No promises, but I’m hoping to share on Monday!

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!