Sunday, August 26, 2012

Personalized Family Signs

Okay, I'm loving this new sign I made.

I used the same technique with our painted memory subway art:

 So, I had a friend who saw these signs I was selling . . . . .

. . . . . and asked if I would make a family "established" sign for a wedding present.  And I'm very happy they asked.

What I think is super unique about my signs is they are all made from reclaimed wood.  This one happens to be a leftover scrap from a cabinet I built.  The wood was destined to be burned in a fire pit, but now it serves an honorable role as an established sign.  I've made my signs from pallet wood, old barn doors, discarded lumber . . . . I try to give them all a happy home.

Each sign is about 24" long and 6-7" wide.  My friend preferred the black and yellow, but the sky's the limit for color choices.  I would be thrilled to make you one too.  Just check it out in my shop

  Sharing with:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family Wall Vignette

It's been three months I've been working to transform our living room . . . . transform it to reflect our family.  Our family has changed so much in the last nine years and the prints I had from college or hand-me-down furniture just wouldn't do anymore.

So, for the last three months, I've been spying this wall and creating various items, hoping I could group them all together into something cohesive.  And you know what?  I'm actually happy with the way it came together.

The wall is the first thing you see coming into the room

So I tried my hand at my very first painted subway wall art.  Since I'm looking to personalize the space, I listed a bunch of memories I share with my husband and kids.  I used my spanking new Silhouette machine but chose to get crazy and use contact paper as a template for the words.  As a template, I mean that is actually paint on there, not vinyl. I really like the way it came out.  A tutorial is definitely in the works.  :)

As for the photos, I got the idea from Natalie's Sentiments.  She helped me to discovered PicMonkey.  It's a free site where you can have all kinds of fun editing your photos.  LOVE IT!  I will put together a tutorial for this one too. 

This photo is so special to me and my husband.  We had to put our Nala girl down over two years ago, and now we can see her again every day.  Thanks for PicMonkey, she looks like the angel she was.

We had some very weathered fence posts sitting in our shed and so of course I thought, "Let's make a letter!"  Well, I did and I'll share with you how I did just that . . . . in a later post.  Ha!

Loving the gray and the contrast between weathered and new wood

Awhile back, on the front cover of a magazine , I saw that someone had taken old suitcases, cut them down, and made them into floating shelves. Ingenious. Well, I found six beautiful old drawers sitting at our local landfill (yes, I am one of those people that jumps out of the truck, wearing flip flops, to scrounge through the trash).  I finally got around to making one of them into a floating shelf, and I'm kind of loving the interest it adds to the wall.

LOVING the pulls.

So, I'm feeling pretty good about our family wall.  It will definitely be in flux, as our family is always changing and growing (that means "maybe" more pets and definitely NOT more kids, in case you were wondering).  Making your own personal wall space can be tons of fun, but don't rush it.  Think about what makes you happy and what you would want to look at everyday.  Then smack it on a wall and call it a vignette.  :)

Sharing with:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Make Your Own School Papers Organizer

It's nearly here . . . . . . can't you just feel the vibrations of the hundreds of thousands Moms jumping for joy to know school is just around the corner?!?  Okay, perhaps there are a few of you out there who are saddened to see summer go.  I'll miss it too, or perhaps miss the thirst quenching margaritas on 100+ degree days.  ha ha  (okay, not joking).

Anyway, it's important to start thinking about how to keep all the crap important papers they bring home organized. While searching my lady Ana White's site, I came across a fabulous plan for just what I needed.  I made a few adjustments and now we are in business.

Before the organizer, I stapled and roughly taped a manilla folder, naively thinking it would hold even a week's worth of papers. 

Then it was time for Haley to attend school, and I had to get making an organizer:

The free plan for the organizer is here, but I did make my own adjustments.  I needed specific size to fit in this space, and I wanted a place to hold the keys and the mail.  

And because it turned out to be so essential to my sanity, I had to make one for my friend Kristy:

I actually followed the plan more closely this time and used a super large frame I had from Ikea.  I still added the mail holder using some brackets, and then just painted over them.

Well, then I HAD to make another one for Laura.  ;)

Hey, if I can make three, you can make one, right?!?

Sharing with:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Painting Your Stairs

Before I get to the stair painting, let me briefly recap my home buying experience:  when we walked into the house, I knew right away that it could be home.  After looking at over a dozen other houses, this was the only one that made me feel that way.  I could see beyond the orange kitchen counter tops and brown melamine cabinets.  I knew there was hope for the glaringly bright green and black tiled bathroom.  And I could even forgive the pink walls and pink carpet.  Yes, pink carpet. Because hiding underneath that pink carpet was oak.  I will never understand the choice to cover beautiful oak wood with carpet, never mind one that resembles Pepto-Bismol. 

(Please forgive the photo as it's a scanned version of the listing photo I kept from 9 years ago).
Do you see the pink?  Can't miss it, huh?
So, the first order of business was to pull up all that pink carpet.  But, alas, the oak did not make it's way to the staircase.  We just had plain, ole' pine wood.  Rather than replace all the treads with oak, I decided to keep the cost down by painting and stapling on my own runner.  This was a vast improvement and fit well with my decorating style at the time.

But times do change.  And so did my decorating style.  Deciding I could not find an affordable runner carpet that I liked, I went for the full-on painted stairs.  And although there was a few glitches along the way, it was a pretty easy to do.  Just have a bunch of patience in reserve because you will probably need it.

I knew I didn't just want to paint a solid color, nor did I just want to have a "runner" painted alone down the middle.  Of course I had to get fancy and add the strips on the side.  Your job will be infinitely easier if you decide to NOT take this step as I did.  Although, in the end, I am glad I did.

Tools needed:  paint and primer, tape measure, pencil, lots of painter's tape, an angle, and a DVD movie case.  DVD movie case?  Well, I used the movie case because the width of the spine is about how wide I wanted my outside grey stripe.  Seriously, why do the extra measuring if you can find something around the house that does the work for you?

For a little bit more info. on the paint, I decided to go with a low-lustre enamel paint.  I chose the Porch and Patio Floor paint from Behr and had it color-matched to go with my furniture.  After first priming then painting the outside of the stairs my base color (which happens to be the trim in the house), I went to work on taping.  I used a tape measure and decided how wide I wanted my center "runner" to be, used the angle to get a straight line then used painters tape to create a line on each step.  It definitely gets tricky going over the lip and trim pieces, so you want to make sure you seal the edges well.

After getting the first piece of tape on, I marked the width of my trusty DVD case (we were watching The Lion King, so what the heck?!?), made a straight line with the angle and applied this next line of tape parallel to the first, making sure, again, to seal the edges well.  Then do it all over again on the other side of each step.

Here's a photo of the tape lining both sides of the stairs.  I think she's ready for the grey.

I had a little help with the priming.
Since you are working with stairs, and chances are you need to use them at some point before you are finished, you will need to think of how to paint them so it doesn't affect traffic.  I first painted the outside lines and the risers (fronts) of the stairs since no one really steps there anyhow.

Even though I thought I was being painstaking about making sure the tape was on good, I still had problems.  My husband says to try the "green" tape next time, as he thinks it would have done a better job.  Well, guess what buckoo, there will not be a next time.  ha ha

Houston, we do have a problem.

Oh, for the love of Pete, does it look like I even applied tape?

But, you see, this was just a small set-back in the life of a DIYer.  And it was nothing that an artist's flat brush and a dixie cup of paint couldn't fix.  And hours out of my life.  Over days.  And days. But I have a sweet reader who reminded me of a very special tip (that I forgot until AFTER the stairs were painted):  paint over your tape edges with your base color.  If you do so, you will seal the tape with the base color, and the next color (in my case grey) can not get under that pesky tape.  BRILLIANT!

Once I had those lines as clean as can be, I then painted the tread of the stairs.  You may want to paint every other step, giving yourself a dry place to climb the steps.  I chose not to do that since there was enough dry room on the sides to step up and down.  Let it be noted that I did add paint additive that gives the stairs a little rough texture and creates traction.  I didn't want my little girl to wake up one January morning, socks on feet, and slipping down the stairs to me.  Additive can easily be found in the paint section of your paint store.

And there she is.  I've decided I like the stairs.  They are much easier to clean too, as I just sweep down and vacuum up.  I chose not to put poly on the stairs, but I have no problem with them looking "worn" over time.  Oh, by then my decorating style will have changed again anyway.  :)