Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Photos to Canvas to Art

The gray on the walls of the Family Room creates a calm cool vibe which I just love.  But it did leave our feature wall looking like this, needig this...

And as we all know finding the perfect pieces of art is not only a long process but can be an expensive process.  However I do think that this wall, that we stare at everyday, is one of the spaces in our home truely worth the investment.  But as I said, in addition to money this takes time.  So to pass the time I came up with an inexpensive solution to fill this space and bring the pop of color it so desperately needed.

OK, so what the heck are you looking at?!?!?  Well lets back up a few steps...

On a quick trip to Chicago a few weeks back my husband and I spent a little bit of time in Millenium Park.  I brought my trusty (and wonderful) camera and snapped a few shots, including these...

I played around with them on my favorite website, Picnik and created the fantastic dot art that you see above.  Oh, which by the way look like this when you step back from them...

Then I ordered them both in the largest size Shutterfly offers - 20 x 30.  I also ordered two 20 x 30 canvases on Amazon.  (It turns out 20 x 30 is not a standard size Michaels or JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby carries.  Trust me, I called them all!)

Once everything arrived my handy assistant (my husband) and I affixed the pics to the canvases using spray adhesive.  Have you ever used spray adhesive?  I definetely recommend finding some help if you are going to use this stuff for anything larger then the size of your hand because it is seriously sticky and before you know it you will be having a Christmas Vacation Clark Griswald tree sap sticking everything to your fingers moment!  (BTW, this is on my top five favorite movies ever list!) 

But the result is great.  It turns what started out as basically posters into a little more upscale piece of wall art and it is much less expensive then getting your pictures printed on the canvas.  Which is by the way super cool and something I have done before.  But at this size it was going to cost me $80 per piece and that was just more then I wanted to spend.  Instead I spent $29 on each print and $10 on each canvas.  A much happier price for something that is supposed to be temporary.

So once all this was said and done we hung the canvases and gave each other a pat on the back cause it didn't look to shabby.  Not the final solution but not bad for the mean time!

Not to bad for $40 each.  But you gotta love when the completion of one project makes you instantly realize what the room is missing!  And in this case the answer is benches.  

Two upholstered benches a la Ballard Designs style would look amazing!  (Click here to see what we are thinking.)  Which means the hunt is on.  Let me know if you find something great (for half the price)!

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Red Ladder

Bit by bit I have been bringing more color into the Family Room.  I started with the Vogue art print, then added pillows and now I have completed what I like to call my red ladder.  The idea for the red ladder started months ago when I saw a great antique ladder repurposed as a quilt holder.  I really great country look that I thought might be a little to country for my space so I took the idea and put my own spin on it.

I began with a "ladder" from Menards (our local version of Home Depot).  Except it wasn't really a ladder, it was a basic wood frame in the shape of a ladder which I found in the shelving section.  I think it is supposed to be used for framing out shelving but who knows.  It was a steal at $9 so I grabbed it!  Now this is no "ladder" for climbing.  It is not even close to sturdy enough but it was perfect for what I wanted.  I painted it Fire Engine Red (actually the color is called Ruby Red by Benjamin Moore but I think that is a horrible name except no one asked they should have!)

This red is my new obsession.  I LOVE it and you may see it pop up in a few other places!

Next I picked out two fabrics at JoAnne's.  Quickly here was my thought process on that...I was going to use throw blankets but I just wasn't finding anything I liked.  And even if I did find them I probably wouldn't let anyone take them down and use them anyway (you know, decoration not actually functional) so why not instead save a ton of money and buy a couple yards of fabrics I really like that look like they could be throws.  So that is what I did...

First I picked out this one which I loved the graphic look and the quality of the fabric.  Also I loved the fringe on the end...

...more throw looking that way.  Then I picked out a French Thule with thoughts of my husband.  He loves French Thule!  I think it is because his grandmother has very classic, traditional taste which includes a good amount of Thule and he has always loved her house.  (The man has strong opinions about odd things.  Another reason I love him.)

I folded the fabrics to look more like blankets.  Hung them on my new ladder and propped it up against the wall in the Family Room. 

I felt like I was off to a good start with this.  I liked the pop of red that coordinated with the couch, the gray that tied in with the walls, the blue that brought out the other blue accents in the room but it felt like it needed more.  So I went hunting, around the house that is, and I spruced it up a bit...

Once the art is in place on the adjoining wall (hopefully by the end of this week!) this room will be one step closer to "dang we really need new carpet".  Actually, I am kind of already there but that is an entirely different post!

This post was shared at...

The Girl Creative

Savvy Southern Style

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Halloween Banner!

I seem to be feeling very crafty this week...a little bit unlike me!  But the weather is cooler and the house is cozier so I have been feeling more inspired to curl up on the couch and work on a crafty project then go sand and paint things in my garage.  Which all means you get another quick craft tutorial this week and this time it is an easy peasy Halloween Banner...

All you need for this one is some colored paper, rope / ribbon / twine / I'm not picky, some cute little Halloween critters and that wonderful - burn me every time I use it - hot glue gun. 

To begin I printed out "BOO!" on my computer.  Tricky...I know.  OK, it actually was a little tricky getting the size I wanted and I apologize to the trees I wasted on the extra paper.  Sorry guys. 

Once I did get the size right I cut out the letters... 

I took one piece of red paper and cut it into 4 pieces.  Then I glued the cut out letters to the red paper.  (Glue stick on burns yet.)

Then I quickly spray painted a white piece of rope I had laying around so that it would be darker and blend in a bit more.  I love how you can spray paint almost anything!  I held up the rope to the mantel to quickly measure how long I wanted it and then mapped out where the letters and little friends would go.

From there I simply hot glued the top of each paper to the string.  I also put a dab of hot glue on the string in between each letter to affix the hanging creatures (oh which I got at Michael's for a couple of bucks.  Sorry forgot to mention that.)

And to wrap it up I secured the banner to my mantel with some itty bity clear plastic Command Hooks which you totally cannot see from the front.  I guess no one is allowed to stand up on my fireplace and look more closely for a month or so :)     

So another quick craft to match the weather. 

Next up I want to create a Fall wreath.  wreath = very crafty = good chance I will screw this one up

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Simple Project For Fall

I love this is simple, inexpensive and instantly brings color to any room.  I first saw it on a great blog, Burlap and Lace, and just had to try it out.  And just look at my new flowers!

And now look a little closer since they are not flowers at all...

They are simply sticks and tissue paper.  Great, right!  My daughter and I spent a few minutes collecting sticks at the park the other day.  (A great toddler activity.)  Then I picked up some tissue paper on a trip to Pier 1 that had a great subtle pattern.  And then I followed these simple steps...

First cut 2"x3" rectangles out of the tissue paper.  (This is an approximation...please don't measure.  It doesn't matter that much.)

Next take one rectangle and pinch it in the middle.

Twist the paper until the flower is the size you want and you have enough of a "stem" to glue it to the stick.

Get out your glue gun and glue the flowers to the stick in any order / pattern / or non-pattern you like.  WARNING!!! It is impossible to use a glue gun without burning yourself.  Why...I do not know...but it is a fact!!!

And lastly, arrange the sticks in a vase.  I used some sticks with flowers and some without but again that is up to you! 

A wonderfully simple project completed in about 20 minutes for about $2.  I would say that makes for a pretty good Tuesday!

This post was shared on...


The Lettered Cottage

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Has Sprung

There is no use denying it, Fall is here.   And I actually really like Fall.  (But it does make me slightly dread what comes after it...but we wont talk about the W word right now.)  I love the crisp cool air when the sun is shinning.  I love the trees as they start to turn colors.  And I love digging out my warm cozy layers and then peeling them off again on a warm Fall day.  And I really love filling my home with hints of the new season.

Now I am not a "seasonal" decorator.  I have just never really been into holiday displays (other then some wonderful Christmas bling).  I don't put up scarecrows or scary zombies.  I don't set up a graveyard on my front lawn.  I like to be a little more subtle.  But I will say now that there is a little one in my house there may be a few more Halloween craft projects then in the past...but more on that later.

But with all that said I do think it is important to have the feel of the house match the feel outside.  So with that I did a little "Falling" to my accessories.  What got me started on the update were these great owls I found at Marshall's for $7.

I thought they were so cute and would be great on my mantel.  But I have been trying really hard to focus the family room on greys, blues, yellows and more upbeat colors so I wasn't sold on the brown.  But hey for $7 I can fix anything.  And fixing is what I did...some oil rubbed bronze and cream colored spray paint did the trick and helped make these little guys pop.

I also added a little green to the mantel because Fall is just as much about life as any season and this little fern does a great job of capturing that...

The front entry table was also spiced up with a fern and the bright greens and blues were toned down with deep red, wood and earthier greens.

The kitchen table got the most "seasonal" decorations of all.  I picked up a couple of pumpkins at Michael's at 30% off and bunched them with candles and earth toned balls (I mean what else can you call them?!?!) on this wonderful decorative plate I got years ago at Pier 1 Imports.  I love how the plate brings bright pops of color to the toned down palate.

So in all, I spruced up the house for Fall with just a few dollars.  Oh and by the way, while all this beautifying was going on at adult level this is what was going on at toddler level...

Anyone want to come over and play???

This post was shared on...

The Lettered Cottage

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Found A Solution!

All of my problems have been solved!  OK not all of my problems but one very important problem! I am no longer at a design stand still!  Just moments (well days) after writing this post I was stuck by inspiration and it all started with a trip to a tropical island...OK not really, the trip was to Chicago but same idea...kinda.

My husband, friend who was in town from Cali and I went to Chicago for the night this past Friday. (The Bean had a cousin sleepover that apparently was a blast!). And that afternoon we walked around the famous Millennium Park. Even though it is very touristy, Millennium Park provides the perfect opportunity for picture taking especially if you love taking pictures as much as I do.  As I snapped away I secretly hoped I would catch something good I could use for some kind of project back at home.

After a great afternoon in the park and an evening spent laughing our a$@ off at Second City (the amazing improve company that spits out all the greats from SNL) we returned home and I got the chance to finally download my pics. And at first glance they weren't to shabby...

The very first thing I do after I download any shots is upload them to Picnik. Have you been to Picnik yet? If not...listen is time to pay attention. PICNIK IS THE BOMB!  (Yes, I said "the bomb".)

The basic features of Picnik are free...cropping, color and exposure adjusting, sharpening and resizing.  Picnik also offers great effects for & white, sepia, color boost, soften, cinema scope, texture and so many more.  And then for a small fee, $25 a year, you get access to all the premium features and they rock and are worth every penny!

OK, but back to my pics.  I started playing around with some editing and great Picnik features and I came up with this...

All super fun options but not exactly what I was looking for to solve my Family Room art dilemma.  As I have shared (whined) with you, I have been searching endlessly for art to fill the big blank wall in our Family Room.  You know, the one that looks like this...

I have been looking for something with bright, primary modern colors to bring punch and drama to this wall.  There is tons of amazing art out there but none of it fits my budget so it was time to get creative and that is what Picnik helped me do.  And this is what I came up with...

and this...

Pretty darn fabulous, RIGHT!?!  The prints arrive in a few days and then I will share the rest of this story with I turn pictures into wall art!