Monday, August 30, 2010

Petty projects

It's time for another petty projects round-up! For those of you that are new to the concept of petty projects - they're those projects that are small/easy enough to not really need a tutorial or that are copycat projects where I can easily link to someone else's tutorial. And occasionally I'll throw in some other things as well, just depends on what I've been up to :)

Earring holder

I found an empty gold-colored frame by the curb and decided it would work perfectly as an earring holder. I had a super pretty dress found at a garage sale a few years back for a few dollars that wasn't my size and dry clean only to boot, but this was the perfect thing to use it for. Here's the before.

I cut up the dress and the lining and stapled the fabric and then the lining onto the frame (I didn't want the wall to shine through the fabric since it's full of holes). Now I have functional wall art in my bedroom.

Isn't that fabric just the coolest? :)

Tree sculpture

Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago about this black tree sculpture in our living room.

I hauled home a huge and heavy tree limb cutting that one of our neighbors had left on the curb (can you see a theme here? The lady with the two kids in tow hauling this and that off of people's curbs? :) But hey, it works for me.)

I took said tree limb, stuck it in a bucket that I had previously sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (it works!), poured some concrete in there and let it sit in the garage a few days to harden.

I yanked on the tree, my husband yanked on the bucket and out came the tree with a nice little concrete foot. For drama I painted it with that black semi-gloss outdoor paint I've used a lot lately. And I also measured and trimmed all branches to get a custom fit for it all between the pedestal and ceiling. I wanted the tree to be as big as possible in the space, big is better for drama :)

The tree alone seemed a little stark, like something out of a Hitchcock movie. I probably will add stuff to the tree according to the seasons, at least when I feel like it. But for now I decided to make some flowers out of Dollar Tree rose petals and chandelier prisms found at the Habitat store for next to nothing.

I roughly followed the instructions here to make these flowers (I actually followed someone else's instructions but I couldn't find them now and the process is the same) but I just used the pre-made petals instead of making my own. And I coffee-dyed them to make them look more vintage as well as add a clear glass gem in the center (I don't know what they're called but they're at the Dollar Tree store all the time). I put a safety pin on the back of each flower and hung the chandelier prisms from there and then added some wire to attach them to the tree.

I think these vintage looking flowers would make great wedding decor, they're kind of romantic looking :)

Exotic frame

I found this one at the Habitat for $5 and I like the zebra looking pattern on it.


And a close-up.

I will fill it with something but while I'm waiting on the filling it looks pretty good on it's own.

That's all for today, folks!

Ps. Linking up with
The Girl creative
Making The World Cuter
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Contact your fridge

I may have completely gone off the deep end on this one but that's what I did, I stuck Con-Tact paper all over our fridge. Crazy, huh? :)

We have your average plain, white and huge fridge and because our kitchen is teeny-tiny the fridge doesn't actually fit in the kitchen but ended up in our dining room. Like a very big, white elephant in the room.

As a cool side note here I'll throw in these pics of a real elephant in the room and I wouldn't mind one of those actually. The elephant was supposedly not bothered by the paint, let's keep our fingers crossed that it's true.

 Image source 1 and source 2.

Anyway, back to the story. So the big, white fridge-look had to go and having a very fickle decorating taste I decided that it had to be non-permanent for when I change my mind. Otherwise painting or decoupaging could have been perfectly fine. 

Having heard good things about contact paper lately I went with that. I found a huge roll of it (75') on Amazon for about $20 and I already have plans for the leftovers (I don't know how many feet I used for this project but it barely made a dent in my roll).

This Pottery Barn rug pattern was my inspiration, it's Moorish so what's not to love, right? :)

Image source.

I free-handed the pattern pieces and made two templates from scrap paper. This is what I was working with. 

And before I started cutting in my contact paper I did a test run on the fridge with a dry erase pen to see if I would like it (it wiped right off, FYI). Oh, and please excuse my sloppy censorship of our private information and that of our friends, it was a quick last minute fix.

This is what it would look like for you gals out there with black fridges if you were to use white contact paper.

And then I copied the templates onto the contact paper and cut out about a billion of them.

And then I started to put them on the fridge. I eye balled the placement of each piece and there's slight variations in the pattern because of it but it still reads right when you see it as a whole. Because the pieces are pretty small it was very easy to get them on right without bubbles or wrinkles, I even peeled a few of them off to reposition them without any problems. 

Here's my before shot.  Standard, messy looking and a general eye sore. The censorship isn't helping it one bit either...

This is what it looked like half-way through the first side of the fridge. Don't you love my jungle shot through the leaves? :) That's me trying to be creative with my photography :)

And the lovely afters. 

This last one is the view from the front door. When you step through the door at our place you KNOW the fridge is your destination, it draws you in with the stylish pattern. Oops, that's probably not a good thing, come to think of it..... :) Too late, I guess, because I'm already in love with it.

If you noticed the twine wrapped handles I used the same technique as with our outdoor chandelier, and I only did that to cover up the very fridge-like plastic handles and make it look more un-fridgey. The twine has already been on there for a while and it's holding up nicely. 

I also wanted to mention that the contact paper I got is matte black. I probably would have gotten something fancier (crocodile pattern in bright blue or a brown faux suede would be definite contenders, there are many options in contact paper) if I wasn't trying to keep it on the cheapish side. Black is classic and I can use it for many other projects. 

Our magnets still work on there, but to my husband's chagrin I would like to keep the fridge magnet free from now on, for the sake of aesthetics. The fridge is wipeable and the kids have not tried to peel the contact paper off so far. It's even survived the kids climbing on the doors like the true monkeys they are... So I dub it a success. And now for the judgement - what say you, the jury? :)
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Poster printed wall art

You may have seen in my last post that I had some new wall art on the wall behind the couch.

That space has been empty since we moved into the house a year and a half ago. I really wanted to put a mirror there but had a very specific design in mind (=DIY) and that just hasn't happened yet.
So in order to make this room feel more put together I came up with some wall art. I would still like to ultimately put a mirror there, for the sparkle and extra light, but now it's not as urgent and in the mean time it feels like a "real" room.

I made this Moroccan/Indian type triptych for about $10 using foam board and copyright free images off the internet, poster printed on our printer at home.

Here's the supply list.

7 foam core boards, 20"x30"(I found mine at the Dollar Tree store for $1 each)
images, high resolution is great but not necessary at this size
Elmer's glue
Mod Podge
hot glue
paint of your choice for "frame"
twine (for hanging the finished art)
block printing device (advanced printer/photo editing program/freeware)

I used PosteRazor (freeware to download to your computer) for the block printing. It was a first for me but I found it really easy to use and am very happy with the results. In the past I've used and that works well too, the only drawback being that they won't let you use images larger than 1MG so as you blow the image up it gets grainy. I am partial to the crisp and clear images so I'll definitely be using my PosteRazor in the future. Anyway, here's how I went about it.

1. I found my images on places like Flickr, doing searches like "Moroccan color" or "Indian market" and the like. I fell for these three because of the brilliant colors and their Indian/Moroccan flair. They don't necessarily have to be high-resolution pics, the blue door one of mine was only 72dpi which is not high at all but it still came out looking great in 20"x30". If you're an inch or two away from the pic you may see some graininess but you'd have to really look to see that.

2. Open your block printing device, in my case PosteRazor and decide how many pages you want your poster to be. I found that 9 pages per image came out to approximately 20"x30" (all my images had slightly different sizes but I'll show you later how I solved that). Print your images, which I did on my printer's normal setting to save on ink. I find that they come out looking just fine on the normal as opposed to fine setting.

3. To make my art three dimensional I cut one of my foam boards into little squares about 2"x2" and sandwiched little stacks of squares between two foam boards, gluing everything together with hot glue.

I just spaced the stacks out as I saw fit to make the sandwich as stable as possible.

And I had my sandwich on mug "stilts" because things were about to get messy.

Oh, and before I glued the backside of the sandwich on I poked two holes in the back and threaded some twine through so I would be able to hang them when done (no pic of this step, sorry). I reinforced the two holes with duct tape (which is what you see inside the sandwich in the pic above) because I knew this art was going to live within reach of our two monkey babes with sticky fingers.

4. I diluted a little bit of Elmer's glue with water and decoupaged wide strips of printer paper to the edges. Even if the glue is quite watery it'll work just fine. When I got to the corners I just folded it like I would when wrapping a present and glued it down.

5. Time to decoupage the image onto the "canvas". I first laid out my image and tried to estimate where I needed to place the first block in order for the image to be centered and then went to work. I used ModPodge for this part since I wanted the surface to be protected when done. I slathered podge on the canvas, placed the image on there and smoothed it out. When all blocks where on I went over the whole thing with another coat of podge. I ended up with quite a lot of wrinkles in my image but I decided to go with it and not worry about it. I could have diluted the ModPodge a little for easier placement but I was worried about the image smudging with the extra moisture. And I was also a lot more focused on lining up all my blocks correctly. So it didn't smudge and I more or less managed to piece the images together but I ended up with wrinkles. Figured it'll look handmade and more primitive, I still really liked how it came out.

In this pic above you can see that I had to let the bottom right corner run over the edge in order for the doorway to be centered and that I also have a white border showing. I had those borders with all my images because the sizes varied. You can also see the folded corner as mentioned in step 4.

6. Now to cover all those white borders and sides I grabbed some left over black outdoor paint in semi-gloss and painted a rough frame around all the images. I made the edges uneven on purpose and tried to get the brush strokes to be visible for more texture. And set them to dry overnight in the kitchen. Sorry about the trash :)

Some close-ups for you.

Wonderful blue Moroccan doorway with covered up woman.

Wrapped up marigolds at an Indian market.

Cascading peacock tail.

The before and afters.

So there you have it. Not too complicated, huh?

I kind of like the modern look of the crisp images with their brilliant colors and black frames coupled with the primitive handmade and wrinkled look. These images together pretty much cover all of the colors I'll be using in this room so it's a good way of tying everything together. And since I made them on the cheap I won't cry (too much) if the monkey babes happen to kill them. So far they've been good about leaving them alone and they've even cut back on the couch back climbing = complete success :)

But imagine the possibilities with this block printing idea. Pics of your kids? Life sized animated figure? Personalized wall paper? It's all possible using this technique. Will you try it?

Ps. Linking up with
Funky Junk
Someday Crafts
Beyond The Picket Fence
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Friday, August 6, 2010

The green room - color shy people avert your eyes!

I've been busy painting again. Our living room this time and I've been doing one wall at a time over about a month's time, whenever I could find the time and energy :)

The color is Behr's Citron, a color I "test drove" a couple of years ago in a temporary living situation and loved so much I used it again here. It's the top color on the strip below (the color may not be completely accurate since this is a screen dump pic for lack of other pictures).

It's a nice and bright yellow-green but it's not bright enough for your eyes to hurt :) It's a lot more daring than what most people would go for but we love it! Mind you, I'm pairing it with a lot of neutrals but will also add plenty of colorful accents throughout the room (that will be a later chapter of the story. Curtains, pillows and other accents in the pics below are still temporary for the most part).

So here's where we're at at the moment. I'll give you the tour of the room starting in the doorway from our dining room overlooking the living room, going in the clockwise direction.

So what do you think? "Too much color" for your taste or "kinda' cool"? :)

Here are a couple of befores (one got censored because the naked people were roaming free at the time I was snapping pics).

And the after again :)

Ahh, so much better!

I can add too that I didn't just roll the paint on here. I diluted it a little bit with water (3 parts paint to 2 parts water) and rubbed it on with a rag so the original off-white is shining through in some places. Also, since I got the paint in semi-gloss the faux finish makes the walls very varied, where the paint is on thick it's a little shiny and in other areas it's completely matte. Gives subtle variation to the walls but it's not really visible unless you really look for it for the most part. It's not distracting is what I'm trying to get at.
And it's a GREAT way to save on paint! I only ended up using about 1/3 of the gallon of paint I got and normally a gallon probably would not have been enough to cover this whole room when painting the traditional way. So now I have some green paint to play with for other projects (play house - here I come!).

So. The future plans for this room include a brown and gold floor cloth, orange and beige curtains, pillows in blue/orange/green/red, slipcovers for the ottoman (red I think) and the chair in the middle of the room (blue? Haven't quite decided but these things usually work themselves out as I go). So much to do still, but I'm happy with what we have so far.

Ps. Linking up with
Funky Junk
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