Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Funky feather frame

So with the new dramatic color on the bathroom walls the accessories had to be taken up a notch, to match the drama :)

I had this plain black collage frame on the wall over the toilet with assorted pics of the family doing vaguely bathroom related poses for the most part. It was handed down to us by some friends who were moving and wanted nothing more to do with it :) It was in ok shape, I just filled in a few scratched areas with a Sharpie and it was as good as new.

It looked too plain when the drama levels in the bathroom went up, though. So I had this vision of glamming it up with graceful feathers. Went out to buy some at the craft store. They had bags with tall slender feathers (only a few feathers per bag) and bags with shorter fuzzy ones (lots of feathers per bag). Although the tall slender variety would probably have been better fitting with my vision it was going to cost way too much, so I walked out of there with five bags of the fuzzy variety.

Now, here's the frame after I took it off the wall and before I started working on it (I never seem to remember to get a true before pic).

Mmm, yes, that's my mouth... And the writing is just my husband's scribbling with dry erase pen on the glass, partly smeared by little hands...

Anyway, I promptly flipped the frame over and started gluing feathers around the frame with hot glue, like so.

It was messy work, bits of feathers flying everywhere. But I was on a mission so I persevered until it was all done. As you can see the ends of the feathers overhang the frame backing so before I called it quits I also cut around the backing board with a utility knife to make sure I could still open the frame in the future if I wanted to. That part of the feathers weren't glued down so they came right off.

Then up on the wall it went.

Hmm. Well. It wasn't exactly what I'd hoped for.

Since I didn't get the tall graceful feathers the elegance I was hoping for was completely missing, the fuzziness of these feathers did away with every bit of elegance. They still had a big impact but more along the lines of "Who put a witch doctor's head dress on the wall?" which wasn't exactly what I was aiming for. I decided to give it some time to see if I was going to change my mind.

So I do what I always do when I've just finished a project. I run by to look at it about every two minutes for the rest of the day, just to see what I really think about it. In and out of the bathroom, over and over, sitting on the edge of the bathtub pondering the feathery impact, calling the husband in to take a look ("Wow, that looks pretty crazy, Sweetie"), wondering what to do with this thing.

So I decide to steer away from the witch doctor thing by adding some bling! All those feathery teenage girl decor accessories always have feathers and bling and they look cute, right?

I now have a witch doctor with jewelry on the wall.... He looks like he's about ready to pounce.

So I take inventory of the situation.

*I spent $10 on the feathers - I'm not about to rip them off and lose my investment.
*The frame has drama - I need drama to balance the wall color and the over-the-top shower curtain that's going up on the opposite wall of this frame.
*It's different - I like different.
*I have nothing else to put up there right now.
*I don't hate it, it's just not exactly what I had in mind.
*I've run out of steam with this project.

So the witch doctor stays for now, bling and all.

By the way, the towels in here are going to be ivory when I'm done with this room. For now we have red ones and that's what you're going to see. It's not terrible but I want the clean look of ivory with the turquoises, blacks and whites.

So, do you hate the witch doctor or is he ok?

Ps. Linking up with A Soft Place To LandSomeday CraftsTatertots & JelloFunky JunkShanty2Chic.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The painted water paradise

Ok, so I caved. I said I wanted my newly painted bathroom to be perfect before I show you. I guess it just goes to show that I'm not good at perfect :) So just beware - it's not perfect but it sure is immensely better than before and I absolutely adore this deep greenish turquoise I painted it! One wall still needs another coat of paint to make an even coat but I haven't worked up the energy to go at it yet (and I don't believe it actually shows in the pics. I was wrong - see the wall above the floor mirror? Yeah).

What do you think?

Ok, the color is a little greener in real life. The deep emerald green turquoise of tropical island water, you know? I ended up with a semi-gloss since it was for a tiny bathroom with sticky-fingered little people in a north facing room. So the gloss picks up the light and distorts the color slightly in the pics.

It's a custom color, I just walked into Home Depot and handed them my inspiration pic and they mixed it up for me. If anyone's interested let me know and I'll give you the exact recipe as printed on the can.

Guess what the inspiration was? Anyone seen this ad in your magazines lately?

I couldn't care less about the car but I wanted the color :) Where I marked the pic is where they took the color from.

Just for fun I'll show you a pic of the blah before.

What a difference some paint makes! Now I feel like I'm splashing in the refreshing waters surrounding some tropical island whenever I'm in there :) Despite being a very small and cramped space it's starting to take on the high end feel I'm going for. A couple more finished bathroom projects I'm hoping to show you in the next few weeks sure add to that feel so stay tuned :)

The one major drawback with finally getting some paint on the wall in our house is that now I can't wait to paint every single wall in every single room with lovely color, asap! And painting may not be complicated but it sure is a lot of work, especially when you need someone else around to keep the wildies from tearing the place apart while I focus on paint, tape and not getting paint on all my pretty stuff.
Linking to Someday CraftsFunky JunkShanty2Chic.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The cottage garden of my dreams

Well, it's still mainly in my dreams since it's going to take me a while to fix it up. AND I'm not a gardener. I don't know anything but what I've read online and in a few magazines. And I don't even enjoy the process, I'm not one of those people who like digging in the dirt while enjoying the outdoors etc etc. But I really, really enjoy the results so I'm trying it out just the same. I've given myself A LOT of work, I can tell you.

I just can't stand having a front and backyard completely barren except for lawn which isn't even a real lawn everywhere but has mounds of clover and other things mixed with ant palaces. Not my idea of a nice place to hang out. I don't really mind the clover but I don't want to sink my feet into ant palaces. And there's no coze-factor if you know what I mean. And the coze-factor is what I'm after. I didn't get any good before pics of the backyard but here's what our front yard looked like when we moved in last year.

The house is cute but the yard only has potential at this point, there's nothing between the house and the street and people cut across the yard (we're the last house on the street). So I have wild and big plans for this. Wild as in wildflowers and vines, big as in removing a lot of the lawn to make flower beds and putting up a white split rail fence around the front. Don't know if it'll all happen this summer, we'll see.

You know, I don't even know if our house qualifies as a cottage but that's what I've dubbed it since it doesn't seem to be anything else either. It's small at least :) And it'll look a lot more like a cottage when I'm done with it.

Since this is supposed to be a shoestring project I've bought a lot of seed to try to save money. While doing some online research about gardening and stuff I came across this website called Wintersown which gave me ideas on how to make the most of my seeds. You basically use recycled containers from food and stuff and turn them into mini green houses, plant your seeds during winter and put them out to come up on their own just like they would in nature. I used milk jugs (we go through a lot of milk).

Since I'm running behind on a lot of stuff lately it sort of turned into spring sowing for me, I only planted the first jugs a couple of weeks ago. It works though, a lot of stuff has come up already.
So far I've planted Pennyroyal (a kind of mint), English lavender, Morning glory, Butterfly bush and Clematis. And I have a lot of other things waiting to get into the ground. Luckily the spring planting season here it pretty long, I should have another month or so to go before it gets too hot.

I love vines and fragrant flowers so that's mainly what I have, and then wildflowers for color and ease, they basically take care of themselves.

While at the thrift store last week I happened to come across a few items that I thought would be great in our backyard. This former message board turned garden art was one of them.

It's already got a nice shabby chic patina and I imagine it'll get more of that hanging out in the yard. I just nailed it up on the fence. Mom suggested I put a Bible verse on there and maybe I will. For now it's good the way it is. There will be a bench underneath it eventually (see the tree trunk pieces? They'll be the supports, half-way buried in the ground with a plank across the top). And there will be wildflower beds on each side.

My husband can tell you I have this thing for dragging home cut up trees lately :) I found some pieces in a park a few months ago and made my husband stuff them in the trunk of the car. And then with the snow storm about a month ago one of my in-laws' trees bit the dust and provided me with some more trunk pieces. I'm not sure what to do with all of them yet, but they look garden-y to me :)

Our backyard has a lot of unused shady corners that collect old leaves, some rainfall mud and grows little or no grass or other things. I.e. nasty corners. So I've determined to turn them into little garden rooms with seating and hangout paraphernalia. One of those corners was this one, on three sides walled in by the garage, the workshop and the kid's playhouse and also shaded by a tree. Since our part of Texas can get scorching hot shade is a good thing, if you know how to use it. I thought this particular corner would be perfect for our hammock.

Ideally I would like to get concrete step stones to put on the ground to turn it into a real mini courtyard. It'll have to wait, though. In the mean time I found another pretty thing at the thrift store, this window mirror (I saw the exact same one at Hobby Lobby for $35 and I got it for $5) and it goes perfectly in our hammock corner.

I can report that it's very relaxing to lay in the hammock and see nothing of the world but what is reflected in the mirror (top of the backyard fence and tree tops) and the sky and trees above :) I know because I spent a couple of hours reading House Beautiful out there the other day :) A rare luxury. Here's the view from the hammock.

No leaves as of yet but it'll only be a couple more days from the look of it. Yea, spring is here!

I also got some step stones a few weeks ago at Lowe's to make a little garden path. Our roof is orange so I thought brick color would be fine, I quite like it actually. I'll bury them as soon as I can get to it. That whole area where my mini greenhouses are will become a fragrant lavender flower bed and honeysuckle and moon flower vines will climb the patio wall.

That shadow in the pic is of my mom, the sun worshiping Swede :) She's been visiting for a month but is going back to Sweden tomorrow. Swedes do this sun worshiping thing as soon as the first warming sun rays appear in the spring. All over Sweden you find Swedes perched on park benches, stair steps or whatever they can find with their eyes closed and their faces turned toward the sun. I guess that's what those long, dark winters do to you.

That broken door is an interior door the former owners just put there so it's peeling now. We haven't bothered with it yet since the whole work shop behind the door is taking in water and we have to fix the whole thing eventually. We plan to turn it into a workout room for my husband, mainly. The hunk wants to keep looking hunky :) I'll try to get a work out in as well, I guess... Hate working out.. But I must.. I guess.

This round thing, which I think is one side of one of those huge "spools" they have piping on when building roads or houses or whatnot, is going to be a low-slung garden table. I found it on the empty lot next to ours in a spot where junk seems to collect. It's a good thing it was close to home since it is h-e-a-v-y, but I was able to roll it home on my own. It's positioned on top of four cinder blocks in a square and I'm hoping to fashion some low seating looking something like the seating in this post (the first couple of pics) sometime this summer. It should be a nice lounging spot overlooking the backyard. Out of sight on the left hand side will be a flower bed with some kind of vegetation and over in the far corner of the yard (at the top of the pic) will be wildflower beds following the fence and softening the corner.

This round flower bed is something I did last summer. Previous owners left this concrete rectangle in the middle of the yard, I suspect it held the pump for the huge above ground pool they used to have (we have a huge indentation in the backyard to show for it, looks like we've had aliens visiting).

So I figured I could hide it in the middle of a flowerbed. I planted some wildflower seed found at the Dollar tree store in the midst of summer last year and they still came up. This year I have a few perennials coming up, like this one.

Don't know what it is but I'm sure it'll be beautiful. Last fall I had a ton of tall pink wildflowers in this bed, I think they're called Cosmos. They set a ton of seeds which I made sure to have land in the flower bed and I think that's what's coming up all over the bed now, just tiny seedlings as of now.
Even have some in here.

This tree trunk won't stay here permanently. I intend to put some kind of statuary or bird bath in the middle of this concrete slab whenever I find one for the right price.

I realize our garden won't be a traditional cottage garden. If I had a gardener to do the work for me I wouldn't mind it, but when it's only yours truly - the less work needed the better. Hence the wildflowers. The vines and the fragrant flowers will be more work as far as pruning and watering goes but I'll give it a try this summer and see how I cope. The watering is really the worst, it's a daily, sometimes twice daily chore around here in the middle of summer. We're also keeping a good chunk of lawn in the backyard for the kids to run around on and some out front as well so we won't upset the city with a wildflower meadow but more like wildflower beds in the front yard. Apparently that's more accepted :)

So this is what I've been up to in the last month or so. I'm not looking forward to having to clear out the lawn to make all those flowerbeds but it has to be done now. Sigh. Hopefully it'll be all worth it when I'm done :) I'll keep you updated as I go along.

Ps. Linking up with Posh Pieces.
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Saturday, March 6, 2010

More silhouettes - vintage kids & carriage

I'm back in the saddle again :)
I've been working on quite a few different projects lately, only most of them are not the instant gratification kind which is kind of annoying.

I've made bedside lamps for the master bathroom but they're still awaiting the socket kits so I can light them and I want them to look perfect before I show you.
I've painted our bathroom finally! But one wall needs another coat of paint and I want it to look perfect before I show you. But boy is that bathroom gorgeous now!
I've sown quite a few flowers but I have nothing to show for it yet :) Hopefully it'll look great in a couple of months.
I've been putting up roller shades in our bedrooms but they're still the plain white variety and I'm hoping to replace the plastic with a nice fabric before the reveal. This one is going to take a while to get done.

My point in telling you all this is to say that I've been very busy working on things but I have nothing or little to show for it yet. Soo frustrating. Because I love how it all looks but it's kind of unconventional. I need it to be as perfect as possible before I put it all up on the blog to make sure you don't think I've gone complete crazy with my decorating choices... :) Crazy, huh?

There's one project I managed to finish the other day. In one of my very first posts I mentioned a silhouette of my daughter that I had made but that it was awaiting the completion of the one of my son. They're both done now and here they are! (I don't have pics of all the steps this time, I got lazy with the lack of blogging lately...).

The white framed one is of my daughter. It's still missing a glass cover in the frame because our (miraculously still not beheaded) cat broke the wonderful, one of a kind domed glass that came with the frame. So I'll see if I can replace it with a standard flat glass cover instead, boring but functional. At least the frame is kind of cute anyway. I found the frame at a thrift store and I had to have it, mainly because of that domed glass. It was a dark green with gold highlights so I spray painted it an antique white, looks so much better.
I simply cut out my scrapbook paper to fit in the frame and glue-sticked the silhouette to the center and I was done!

For my son I wanted another oval shape but I wanted it to be different. So I got a wooden plaque at Walmart and painted the edges black with some craft paint I had around. Then I mod podged a nice boyish-looking scrapbook paper on the front, covered with another layer of mod podge and added the silhouette (made from black card stock) on top. With yet another coat of podge I was done. I considered spraying a top coat on but since it'll be on the wall and (hopefully) not handled much I think it'll be ok the way it is. Nailed a hanger on the back and on the wall it went. I was being a little sloppy so he ended up with a few bubbles and wrinkles in a few places but unless you see him at just the right angle you won't be able to tell. I guess this pic was taken at just that angle...

When I proudly showed the results to my husband he shot me down with a comment about our son looking like a girl.... but that it was "otherwise nice". Ouch :) Yes, he's got some fuzzy hair on him but it's meant to be that way. Both pictures (that I made the silhouettes from) where taken pretty much right before their first hair cut and the silhouettes are meant to be part of their "baby memorabilia".

In my opinion he looks a little bit like the boy on all the match boxes in Sweden, Solstickan. He's got long hair too :) See?

As for how I made the silhouettes it may not be the best or fastest but it works for me. I take one of my digital pics and import it into Photoshop. I add another layer to the image and trace around the profile, make the first layer (the pic) invisible and voila, there's my profile. I've saved the profiles on the computer in case I want to use them in the future as well, or send them to relatives in other parts of the world. I print the profile out on regular printer paper in the size I need it to be, cut it out, put it on top of black card stock and trace around it with a white pen. And then cut it out again, the last time. That's it.

And here are the parade pics.

I like the old fashioned vibe of the oval shapes and how they are similar but different, just like our kids are in real life :)

I also had an empty frame that needed some content. I had copied a whole bunch of old-fashioned silhouettes out of one of those Dover books I found at the library and just simply printed one I liked out on a scrapbook paper and framed it. I placed the frame on a plate stand in a dreary corner of our dining room. Looks kind of cool and so simple.

I feel a little bit like Cinderella looking at it :)

Ps. Linking up with Shanty 2 Chic, Someday Crafts.
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