Friday, July 2, 2010


Will recently handed over the 4th bedroom, affectionately known as the taupe room, to me, to use as our craft/hobby room.  It used to store an extra bed, extra side tables, and all sorts of other random odds and ends that accumulated after I moved in.  I really like the color of the walls in there, which means NO painting! However, the fan is the original fan from when the house was built- back when gold was the popular hardware color of choice. 
I mean, really, who does white and gold anymore?
I didn't want to buy a new fan. Those can be pricey, and I'm cheap.  While perusing blogs awhile back, I came across a smart lady who had painted her fan.  I thought this was brilliant.  You don't have to buy anything new, no crazy installations (I clearly don't know how to put in a fan...), AND you can customize it to your wants!  First you wait until your boyfriend, husband, partner, mother, is out of the house.  Then tape off everything you don't want sprayed silver. I took off the blades, bulbs, and covers, and used newspaper and painter's tape to cover the sockets and such.  I also covered the floor in a tarp and opened the windows.
Sorry about the crummy pictures, my camera died. I charged it while fixing up my fan. How's that for multi-tasking... Then I got to work with spray paint. I used a large piece of foam board to put behind the fan as I sprayed.  I did several light coats, to ensure even coverage.  After letting it dry for a bit, I took off the tape and newspaper.

The colors that will be used in this room are the taupe color of the wall, and an ashy brown color and orange for accents.  I actually got the color palette from the paper I used to make over my jewelry box.  The wall color matched the flowers in the paper, and I loved the other colors together.  I have more to do to the room before the big reveal, but here is the old, yet greatly improved fan!
Love, love, love the POP of color!
I can't wait to get everything else together to show you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Somebody's got a Shadow... Box

One of my favorite things to do is travel, be it a road trip, a weekend visiting friends, or a big vacation.  Of course, it can get pretty pricey, with hotels, flights, food, and memorabilia.  While I can't lower your airline ticket, or convince the hotel concierge to upgrade your room, I can show you how to create a pretty sweet-looking keepsake.

Will and I went to Washington D.C. back in August of '09 (yea, I'm just now getting around to putting this together, get over it!).  I wanted a cute way to collect memories, without spending a lot of money, especially since things in D.C. cost more than what we're used to here in Texas.  This idea came to me, while in Hobby Lobby (i.e. the mecca of crafty ideas), looking for a frame.  I passed the shadow boxes, and it hit me!  I decided I would keep EVERYTHING, while also collecting cute little trinkets from the places we visited.  I looked for things like magnets, pendents, key chains, and pins.  I kept our hotel key, subway passes, ticket stubs, you name it, we kept it.  I also picked up every brochure, free postcard, free anything from every visitor's center.  Ironically, the most expensive thing we got was the pin from when we visited the Washington Nationals' stadium.

When I got home, I was able to score a shadow box from HL for 50% off.  Then I asked for a sample of American flag fabric that I found.  I decided on American flag fabric to keep with the patriotic theme of our vacay.  Turns out, they'll give you about 3 inches of fabric for FREE!  I used our subway passes to create a border, and put the fabric in the middle of the shadow box.  I glued these down using mod podge.

I then arranged all the pieces I had, until I had them just the way I liked them.  I used tacky glue to set those in place.  Allow tacky glue awhile to dry.  Also, you might need to lay something flat on the tickets and other paper items to keep the edges from curling up.  One of my favorite pieces in here are the pennies.  Most touristy places have those penny engraving machines.  Pop in 51 cents and out pops the cheapest keepsake ever.
Once you've given the tacky glue time to set, hang your masterpiece!  This is in our (now) hobby room!  I plan on making one for every vacation we go on, and hanging them around the room.  It was tons of fun searching for just the right trinket from each place.  And as I said, the most expensive one was from the ballpark at a whopping $7.  Most were between $2-3.  As you can see, some of the things we got didn't fit inside, so I just set them on top! Also, the little bottle of shredded money we got from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing isn't glued in, its just sitting in there.  Good thing we don't live in Cali- earthquakes and my shadow box would not be friends. 

And from far away!

PS- a quick picture hanging tip I came up with for this project: I took a thin strip of paper, placed it against the back of the shadow box, and marked on the paper where the hangers were.  After leveling the dots, I just hammered the brackets through the piece of paper.  Cuts out the lines I used to always have to draw to keep pictures straight.

I'd love to see any shadow boxes you've created- vacation themed or otherwise. There is so much you can do with those little 3D picture frames!!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Vase Re-Face

I'm in love.
She's the object of my affection. I've been looking for her for awhile now. And finally, while perusing the shelves at Goodwill, there she was. For 30% off. What? You don't see it? Her curves, her height, she's a solid 8.5. (inside joke.)

I've been looking for a large vase to put on the tall chest, right near where I hung my first piece from the Amber Original collection.  She was it.

I've never painted on glass before. Well, nothing beyond "stained glass" in 3rd grade Sunday School.  So, I did a little research.  This is what I found. See how she used a nice bright color to bring new life to her lamp? Plus, she fixed all her mistakes and wrote about them, so that we don't make them as well. Bonus.

I first sanded down my vase. Make it a habit to sand down whatever it is you're painting.  It makes for smoother paint jobs, and in cases like the vase, it gives the paint something to hold onto.  I then used spray primer to even out her skin tone.
Once the primer dried, I gave her a VERY light sanding using FINE sandpaper. You could probably skip this step, I just wanted to insure a smooth surface to work with.  Then I painted the middle of her using leftover paint from our master bath, Behr's Plum Raisin.  We colored it to match our curtains, so it matches our master bedroom, as well.  After the paint set, I wrapped ribbon around using just a teensy bit of tacky glue to keep it in place. I didn't use tacky glue directly on the vase, only on the ribbon itself.
Then I took her outside for a silvery spray tan!
One thing I noticed- wherever I had painted the plum, small brush strokes show through, like brushed nickel. I like that affect and wish I had painted all over.  You don't notice from further away, but a close admirer might see the difference.

THIS JUST IN! Literally as I was spell checking this post, Will walked in and saw our new bedroom decor, and I quote, "That actually looks pretty good." Could it be? Is Our House-Divided becoming...... United?!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Faux Dry-Mount Artwork

I know I haven't posted pictures of the master bedroom update yet, but here's a quick background.  The carpet went from covered in someone else's dog's pee and mildew to nice plush carpet we like. The walls went from banged-up white to bachelor pad gray to a nice soft yellow/khaki color.  We replaced hand-me-down (read: FREE, Thanks Melody!) wood furniture and no head board with a new black bedroom suite from Rooms-to-Go and added burgundy (we DON'T call it maroon) curtains/bed spread.  Its been quite a year for this room.  We have still yet to do any sort of 'decorating'- something I'm not particularly good at and/or fond of, and of course, we all know the arguments between Will and I involving home decor. I like colors and prints, he likes modern and abstract.  I figured I could give up some on the decor if 1) I could make it myself and 2) it was CHEAP.

Then I had an idea. We both like the dry-mount technique for pictures.  However, it can be rather expensive.  (Quick, imagine a light bulb going off over my head.) I could somehow make my own dry-mount using foam board! Ding, ding, ding- we have a winner!

I got on Colour Lovers and began creating our artwork! I came up with these two designs, using that website.  I didn't really come up with the designs, they did, but I picked the colors out!
I used the same colors for both pictures, and created two coordinating pieces of art work.  (If your computer shows the top picture darker than the bottom one, its not. I don't know why its doing that on mine...)  We wanted the first print to be smaller and go over our tall chest.  The second one would be larger and go on the blank wall to the left of the bed.  I saved them to a CD and brought them to Kinko's to get printed.  The nice impatient Kinko's employee printed out the first picture 11 X 14. It turned out great. As she went to print the second, I casually asked what it would cost. "Receipt's on the counter," she tells me.  "Receipt? I haven't paid for anything..." I think.  I found a receipt totalling $45. I knew this couldn't be mine, I was only getting 2 pictures printed. I tell her this. "The larger print is $43. The smaller is $2," she informs me. "Impatient-lady-behind-the-counter-about-to-print-a-$43-picture SAY WHAT?!" I kindly ask her NOT to hit the print button. "I'll only take the small one. Thanks." I paid my $2.16 (with tax) and leave with my one piece of potential new artwork. I'll have to figure out Plan B for that larger print.  Notice our still blank wall...
When I got home, I cut out foam board to fit the size of the picture. It was actually slightly smaller than 11X14.  I used our old Xact-o knife with a fresh blade. It worked out fine, I just flipped the foam over a couple times and did some trimming.  Using my trusty foam brush, I put a thin coat of mod podge on both the foam board and the back of my art work.  I smoothed out the picture and viola! Contemporary, one-of-a-kind art for less than $3 in materials.
Up Close:
Two things to note:
     1.  I have moved the jewelry box over to the other dresser, and I'm thinking of replacing it with a nice large vase. Thoughts?
     2.  Yes, you can see an imperfect edge in the up close picture, but who really gets that close anyway??

Hopefully I figure Plan B for the second print soon, because I need that blank wall to be filled with an Amber Original.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My First (and last?) Stencil Project

When my mom said she had a FREE table for me, I knew I had to have it. I'd figure out what to do with her later... After a few days of thinking, I decided to make her a guided reading table for my classroom. I certainly couldn't put her in there in her current condition, though. She was in great shape, nothing a little wood glue couldn't fix, but she was hideous. 
Blech. See what I mean? You can look away now. I filled in all the scratches/dings with wood putty and sanded her down. I mostly used the power sander, but hand sanded the trimming.  She had a wobbly leg, so I filled the cracks with wood glue and clamped it shut for a solid 24 hrs.
Then began the painting.  First I primed the entire table. I really like the Kilz spray primer. It seems to work best for me and is super easy to use. No brushes required = Easy-peasy clean up.  After she was primed, I painted her legs and trim white using leftover ceiling paint.  Then I painted the top.  I used a nice blue color and I wanted to paint a small design in green- our school colors are green and blue.  Ok, so sanding- check; priming- check; painting- check.

I saw this great design here, and knew it would work with my reading table. I wanted something simple, yet enough to bring in another color. I also liked the way the design would create 4 separate spaces at the table.  I printed out the design, well I actually copied it into and cropped the picture, so that it was only one print, instead of a repeating pattern, and printed that out.  Then things went horribly wrong.

Attempt #1: I taped the design down to stenciling material and went to work with my brand-spankin new Xact-o knife.  I paid a lot for this knife, so I was kinda excited to use it.  I was on a roll, when, bloop (imagine me saying that in a high pitched voice), the blade fell out. Will and I literally spend hours trying to get it to stay back in. We couldn't screw anything tight enough to keep the blade in! (I am now picturing my sister saying, "That's what she said.")  It was ridiculous. Anyway, I continued on with my busted Xact-o, which was no longer exact, by the way, and just kept poppin' the blade back in every time it fell out. When I finished outlining the design for my first stencil, I felt such a sense of accomplishment . Then I peeled the paper away, the stencil was BARELY even cut out. FAIL.

Attempt #2: Since I had spent so long cutting out the design, I wasn't quite ready to give up. I tried using the fancy knife, but finally gave up hope on that guy. I pulled out our old, crusty, not-as-shiny-as-the-new-one, Xact-o knife and tried using that on the stencil. Nothing. Nada. Zipola. Wouldn't even remotely punch out the way its supposed to.  Is there some secret to cutting out a stencil that I'm not hip to? FAIL.

Attempt #3: I totally gave up on stenciling material and decided to make my own.  I re-printed my design. Because I'm so in love with mod podge, it was the first thing to come to mind. I painted a couple coats on each side of the design to create a kind of hardened surface. I figured I'd just cut that out like the stencil and paint that.  I used special tacky spray to place my "stencil" on the table.  Once I had it positioned where I wanted it, I got to work with the paint.  As you can imagine, FAIL.

Attempt #4: Obviously this wasn't going to work out. I knew it wasn't, YOU knew it wasn't and you weren't even there.  When I peeled off my "stencil", my design was more of a mess than Lindsay Lohan.  This required massive amounts of tedious touch-ups that I just wasn't prepared to do. I am not a "details" person. I notice details, I don't create them. My hand is not steady, my brush doesn't do what I want it to, and my paint never goes where I say to go.
I just took my time, because this was a free table, and I did need it in my classroom now, and she actually ended up coming out quite nicely.  A little rough around the edges, but hey, aren't we all? :)

So give 'em to me gals, what are your stenciling tricks? I want them, I need them, I'm desperate for them, so this doesn't happen again.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

You're the meaning in my life, You're the inspiration...

WHEW! I have been a busy gal this weekend and its only Saturday! Good thing its a 3 day weekend! I have been working on several projects, including a desk organizer, table re-do, and DIY dry mount-esque art work. Those will be coming soon, but I just HAD to show you my Hobby Lobby inspired plate! While perusing HL recently, I saw a 50% off all glass and ceramic sign- that sent me runnin'. After arriving at the display, and catching my breath, I started looking around. I found these 2 beauties that I knew would look fabulous in our kitchen (remember my WIP post?). 
Unfortunately, my excitement waned when I flipped these babies over and saw the price. "50% off WHAT?!" I shrieked.  That just goes to show you that a sale doesn't always mean a deal.  I still loved the look, though, and knew I had to figure out a way to make it happen.  On my most recent Hobby Lobby trip, I found this bad boy.
Not quite as visually appealing as his sisters up there, but I knew I could do something with this.  And at only $5, plus my 15% teacher discount, I had to have it.  I remembered this killer website my awesome neighbor, Jeannie, told me about, colourlovers.  You can create and edit your own patterns and colors.  After a few minutes creating a pattern, then copying it into, and printing, I had myself a plan.  I painted the plate black, using left over black paint from our kitchen tile redo, and let it dry.  After that I used the glossy Mod Podge to place the pattern in the center of the paint. MP TIP- be sure to put it on both the paper you're using AND the surface you're applying it to.  It keeps bubbling and wrinkling to a minimum.  I let that dry and did 3 coats of glossy MP on top.  Here she is, my Hobby Lobby inspired decorative plate:
And a closer look:
That just goes to show, if you find something you LOVE, but HATE the price, make it yourself!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


As I learn more about blogging, I will continue to add to our page.  Will and I just went through all the "before" pictures of the townhome, that he took right after he bought it.  I have created a new page on the blog that shows you all these pictures.  You can check it out at the top of the blog, under the title 'Townhome'.  As we finish rooms, and get around to taking pictures, we will post "after" pics.  Be sure to check back often because in our house, rooms are always changing!