1.30.2011

Free Modern Wall Art: Part II

* UPDATE (6/13/12): Free Printables for this project available HERE.

Another UPDATE: I just used this technique in a nursery, too. Now these flowers have been used in a master bedroom, living room and baby room. Can you tell I like them? It's just SO easy and cheap...

A couple of months ago I made this "art installation" above our bed in the master bedroom out of white card stock and thumbtacks. Then I translated the same concept to our Christmas decor when I hung these snowflakes in our living room.

Today I decided it was time for those snowflakes to come down. (I let them stay up longer than the other Christmas decorations because I figured snowflakes could stay up as long as it was winter, but I was ready for something new.) I really liked how the snowflakes had occupied that awkward wall with the slanted ceiling, so I wanted to come up with something new that I could put up there that wasn't seasonal. This is what I ended up with:



They are very similar to the flowers in the bedroom, but not exactly the same. Compared to the snowflakes, I really like how these are 3-dimensional. Most artwork we hang on walls consist of flat surfaces, so I really like how the 3D effect makes these feel modern and fresh. Here's a close-up:



They are very simple to make, I promise. I'm honestly not patient enough for anything that isn't simple!

I used the white card stock and the burlap wrapping paper that I have been using for all sorts of projects, like this Valentine's Day art. The card stock works well as the bottom layer because it is stiff enough to bend and hold its shape. You could use any paper or fabric for the top layer. You could definitely try different shapes, too. I think a starburst shape like all of the fabulous mirrors out there would be neat. Maybe some 3D stars in a little boy's room? It could be fun in a nursery, too...

I start by cutting both the card stock and burlap paper into squares. They are certainly not exact, and I think it looks better when the flowers are different sizes. Then I cut them into these shapes:

(Notice how the cuts are not perfect. I'm definitely not one to use a stencil or measure anything– I just go for it!)

Next, I layered them on top of one another and bent the petals of the card stock flower upward so that it had that 3D effect. 

I attached them to the wall using flat white thumbtacks, which serve as the center of the flower. You just use your creativity and judgment to decide how you want to arrange them on the wall.That's the fun (and sometimes frustrating) part!

Let me just say that my husband is not a flowers guy, and he doesn't approve when I try to buy floral fabrics or other "overly girly" objects for the house. He does, however, really like these flowers– both above our bed and now in our living room. It's possible that he likes them so much because they are free, but I prefer to think they are simple and modern enough to be unisex.

We did a couple other tweaks to the house this weekend, and we [finally] grouted the backsplash.
 I'll post about the other projects this week. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!
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1.27.2011

Horse Kisses

I have a weird relationship with horses. Quite frankly, they scare me.

My mom says I fell off a little pony when I was three years old, so maybe that traumatized me for life. I grew up in Florida's horse country and saw beautiful horses in the fields everywhere we went, but that was as close as I wanted to get.

On the other hand, I think horses are gorgeous. I have always admired their strength and grace, and I think they have beautiful faces. I have been wanting some horse-related artwork for the house, but I figured I would paint something when I got a chance. Then I walked into HomeGoods and saw this:


It was love at first sight. 

My mom said they look "affectionate." I agree! That's what I love about it. 

Hubby and I were both immediately reminded of our two nuggets. Our two dogs are SO in love with each other, and I like to think these horses are as close as they are. Plus there is a dark one and a blonde one, just like our babies. And that pose they are striking? It reminds me of this, a daily occurrence in our home:


video

(I'm sorry that this is so blurry... I can't figure out why it is coming through that way, but you get the picture. Rory takes good care of her big sister. It's so sweet!)

Now this artwork has a starring role in our living room, and we love it. I don't have a great picture of it yet– this is the best I can do:


I like to think our home is now officially a Texas home because we have two important Texas items: horse artwork and a cow-print pillow. Woohoo!

PS. HomeGoods, why do you put the stupid price tag on the glass of the frame? Just put it on the back of the artwork! I hate scraping those stickers off. That is all. :)

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1.24.2011

HEART ART: Lovey-Dovey DIY

I'm having a "heart" moment.

I don't know if it is my newlywed bliss stage (six months of marriage in one week!) or the fact that Valentine's Day is coming up, or the fact that my brother got engaged over the weekend, but I am really liking hearts right now.

I <3 my Valentine's vignette... probably because it was F-R-E-E!


We already had these Ikea shelves hanging in our dining area, so I took all the pictures away and loaded them up with lovey things. Well, I left one picture– my favorite wedding picture.

That LOVE sign has gone from Christmas decoration to year-round decoration to Valentine's vignette. LOVE is a year-round feeling, right? (Those white flowers were picked up at the Pier 1 after-Christmas sale.)

Those two pieces on the top shelf are new DIY art projects:

HEART ART


I took a small canvas that I already had and used my fingers to smear tiny hearts all over it with old eyeshadow. That's right, eyeshadow! I've carried around this Revlon gel eyeshadow palette for at least seven years. I remember using it to add color to my black and white drawings in my high school art class! The shadows have some shimmer in them and are a bit transparent, which I love. They aren't normal Valentine's colors, and I like that. I feel like this is small art piece that I can move around the house and use where I need some modern, colorful art. I did put a layer of glossy Mod Podge on top to seal it and make it look more finished. 

And yes, I smeared the hearts with my middle finger, just like I do with eyeshadow. Somehow that is my best finger for smearing! :) I would estimate that it took 20 minutes to finish that project, and only because I had to wipe my finger off between each smear. 




OLIVE JUICE

Why do I have an art piece that says "olive juice?" I wanted something lovey-dovey, but I didn't want the saying to be clich̩ or obvious. Then I remembered that when we were in 5th and 6th grade, we used to joke around by mouthing the words "olive juice" to each other across the classroom and cafeteria. It looks like you are saying "I love you," and it is oh-so-amusing to an 11-year old. Who am I kiddingРit still amuses me! I'm sure it will be a conversation starter, which I consider an added-bonus.

How did I make it? It beyond easy and quick! The frame is a floating photo frame from Pier 1 that I previously filled with fall leaves from our yard for some Autumn-themed art. Out went the leaves, and in went a layer of awesome burlap wrapper paper that I purchased from Anthropologie's after-Christmas sale. The heart on top of the burlap paper is simply a shape cut out from the backside of the burlap paper, which has a white, wax-paper texture. I took a calligraphy pen and wrote the words onto the paper, and voila– totally random, inside-joke Valentine art!




I feel like I accomplished bringing a Valentine's Day vibe into our house in a subtle way, minus all of the traditional pink and red. Hopefully doing it this way will allow me to use these fun pieces year-round!

Speaking of Valentine's Day– have you seen these ADORABLE customizable Valentine's cards from Tiny Prints? They are fun, modern, unique and affordable. You can throw your own photos in the cards and send them to your significant other, parents, best friend, children– anyone you want. I think they are just awesome! Yes, I <3 them. And no, I'm not cool enough to be paid to endorse these products. I just think they are really cool and wanted to share them with you!

PS. As part of my "heart" moment, I just want to say that I really <3 you for reading my blog!

Check out all of the other cute Valentine's decorating ideas at the party being hosted HERE.

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1.20.2011

Kitchen Floor: DONE!

We finished the kitchen floor just in time for hubby's mom, stepdad and grandparents to come visit. They should be here in about an hour, and I'm so glad we got it done in time!

Good riddance 1970s linoleum! You will NOT be missed.

It's really looking better, isn't it? In case you're wondering, the plan is to continue the new flooring into the dining room, which currently has some old laminate wood flooring right now. We'll have to wait until we have time to make a giant mess to tackle that room!

That rug by the china cabinet is from Pier 1, and the small rug in front of the sink is from Kohls. I love that little rug in front of the sink so much because it reminds me of my dream rug from West Elm. Luckily my little mat was only $10!








Next up for the kitchen: painting the doors and trim. Our new bright paint colors made the old trim look dingy, so it's definitely time to freshen that up. We still need to grout the backsplash, but we're waiting for my dad to come back and visit because he is the master tile guy. I talked him into doing the backsplash last time he visited, so I'm sure I can talk him into finishing it next time!


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1.18.2011

Sweet Helper Nugget

Nugget #2 always likes to be part of the action, even if the action is hacking away at linoleum glue. :)


PS. What would we do without that Shop Vac? It's the best thing ever. 
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1.17.2011

Kitchen Floor Progress Report

We're halfway done, thanks to hubby and his friend, Clayton. Clayton offered to help with a project if he could borrow our grill to make dinner, so we happily accepted that deal!





Let me just say this: Tearing up linoleum is SO NOT FUN. Ugh! 



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1.14.2011

I Really Like This Thing.

Don't you love it when you buy something to fill a basic purpose, and it turns out to be even more useful than you expected? That's how I feel about the desk we bought a few weeks back. We bought it because we liked the style, thought it was a great deal and would be great to fill the empty corner in our living room. I figured I would put some cute doodads on it and call it a day, but I was wrong.

Now that we have been living with the desk a few weeks, it is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I work from home twice a week, and this has turned into my little workstation.

Why do I like it so much? Basically, it's all because of the pull-out feature just below the top workspace.
This is how I roll when I'm teleworking:

(Please ignore the high-water curtains. Hubs thought he would "trim" them because it bugged 
him how they pooled on the floor, so he grabbed some scissors and chopped them off. 
He cut them a little short, and I give him a hard time about it all the time.)

Anyway, that desk-within-a-desk action is absolutely ideal because it allows me a place to put my papers, notepads, etc. without infringing on the top surface for my laptop. It's also ideal for a "working lunch" because I can put my food on the lower section and not worry about getting anything on my computer. The same goes for "working snacks" and "working ice cream breaks" and all of the other eating I do when I work from home!

When I'm not working, I just roll the lower portion back in and try to hide everything away!




I can also picture this desk being an ideal bar/buffet when entertaining, though I haven't used it that way yet. Can't you see bowls of chips and dip sitting there during a Superbowl gathering? I'm thinking it will be perfect.

That little stool I tuck underneath when I'm not sitting on it? I actually have had three of those stools around my various apartments for years after picking them up in Target's dorm room section. I use one as a temporary bedside table in a guest room, one to hold my printer in the studio/office, and now this one makes a perfect seat for this desk. Love it when things work out that way! It's the perfect size to store underneath the table when we're not sitting there, so the one set up takes up very little floor space. When my bum gets tired of sitting on it, I pull out the upholstered Parsons chair from the studio for a little softer seat! 

I'm just feeling really grateful for the features of this desk today, and I wanted to share it with you in case you are in the market for a small work area. This version was purchased at the outlet and is not for sale on West Elm's website, but I found a really similar version at The Container Store.  

Happy Weekend! 


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1.11.2011

Hob-knobbing

We've been doing some simple furniture updates lately, replacing knobs on certain pieces to give them a new look and feel.

First we worked to update our dresser in our master bedroom. We received this dresser as part of an entire bedroom set (complete with a king bed, mattress and two ends tables) as a wedding gift from my grandpa. It used to be in my grandparents' room, and he saved it for me until I got married. Isn't that sweet? Anyway, the furniture is very solid and classic, but we were hoping that we could make it a little more modern with new knobs.

It used to have traditional brass knobs...


... And now it has modern silver knobs to match the mirrors we have behind each bedside table. I think the knobs make the room feel a little more "together."


Then we added crystal knobs from Anthropologie to our Ikea media table. Looks a little less Ikea-ish, right? 

I don't have a good before picture, but it was the standard Ikea version that looks like this:

And now it looks like this:




Then we continued hob-knobbing into the kitchen, where we used the leftover knobs from the kitchen cabinets to replace the really modern stainless steel knobs on our makeshift china cabinet.

Gone are the modern silver dot knobs...


I think these new knobs make this piece feel less office-like, and more kitchen-y. Plus they tie this into the kitchen cabinets, so I feel like they are a bit of an upgrade. 




Changing knobs isn't really something to write home about, but sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference!
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1.09.2011

Bathroom Vanity Purchase

We had our first snow today! This won't look like much for you northerners, but it's really our first taste of winter here in DFW. All of the snow had melted by 6:30 p.m., so we ran up to Lowe's to pick up our vanity (details below) and can you believe they had closed an hour early because of bad weather?! The roads were perfect- not even wet anymore! 
 
This poor guy was standing at the door trying to get in, saying, "Bad weather?! I just came from New Jersey!" I'm guessing those Lowe's employees jumped on the excuse to go home and watch the NFL playoffs, but that's just my theory.



Anyway, before all of this snow happened we spent our Saturday trying to take advantage of the Facebook discount Lowe's was offering on bathroom vanities.

Originally we planned to just buy the base cabinet because we already have a nice marble top we can use. Unfortunately, we really loved this model that only came as a package with the top.

We debated it for a little while and ended up going for it! Sorry, old vanity top... we'll find you a happy home elsewhere. We loved the color and the style, and I loved the open shelf at the bottom. I can just picture fluffy white towels stacked down there. It's going be so much nicer than what we have now! The Lowe's discount ended up taking about $120 off the price, so that was great. Go Facebook! Seriously, Lowe's has a great Facebook presence, and I recommend friend-ing them if you shop there a lot.

This is the first step toward fixing up our guest bathroom, and I know that our guests (I'm looking at you, Mom), will really appreciate it.

Did we leave Lowe's with just that vanity? Of course not! We also came home with this Kitchen Aid blender, negotiated down to $40 from the clearance rack...


 The Christmas stuff was marked 90% off, so of course I had to get some things. The pile of stuff I came home with? It came out to a whopping $2.67. Ho ho ho!

My pile consists of 8 outdoor ribbons (to replace the ones we had on our fence that bit the dust this season), some frosted pine cone thingamabobs, two 9-ft lengths of pre-lit garland and a three-pack of cute mercury glass ornaments. When my total came out to under $3, even the hubs couldn't complain.


All photos in this post were taken from the Lowe's website– 
except for the snowy one and the Christmas pile, which were taken with my lovely iPhone. :)

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1.07.2011

We are RESOLUTE!

Warning: This post has absolutely nothing to do with decorating (unless you count the budgeting part, which might force us to be more creative with our work on the house.)

The second half of 2010 was a complete whirlwind for us. We bought a house in June, got married in July, and hubby started his new job in August. Since his new job was as a teacher/football coach, the fall was filled with long hours at work, grading papers, going to practice and coaching football games. We never got to sit down and really talk about our goals for our day-to-day activities, our health, our finances and our spiritual lives. We decided that talking about our New Year's resolutions was the perfect time to really hammer some things out and set some goals for 2011. Here we go!

1. BUDGET! 


To this point in our marriage, we hadn't made a budget. We knew how much money we had and paid our bills and all of that, but we didn't have any goals for saving or putting money away. We finally put together a budget that should help us put a lot of money in savings this year, so we are excited about that. Everyone needs an emergency fund in case something goes wrong, and we depleted ours when we bought the house. Time to build it back up!

2. HEALTHY ROUTINE


 

This one has two major parts. The first one involves utilizing our gym memberships to get "fit," not skinny. We were both college athletes and are certainly used to working out, but I haven't pushed myself anywhere near that level since my last collegiate game. Hubby really wants me to get into yoga because they do it with their football team, and he thinks it is great. I've always been intimidated by the classes because my body simply won't bend, and I'm probably the most inflexible girl you will ever meet. He joined my gym and has promised to go to the classes with me (but he didn't promise not to laugh).

The second part involves eating at home more instead of dining out or picking up fast food. We're doing well with this one so far. I'm trying to do better with planning out meals so that I actually buy useful, healthy items at the grocery store. So far so good! (I know it's only been one week, but I'm counting that as a victory.) This also helps out with our budget goals, too!

3. GROWTH


This one, involving our spiritual lives, is most important. There are big things happening in this department. First of all, we are joining our local church! (This has taken so long because hubby worked Sundays during football so we couldn't really settle on a church until that was over.) We have a new small group that we really like. We are starting a coaches' wives bible study with the fellow Flower Mound wives that I am really excited about, and we have been invited to be youth leaders at our new church. I'm still working with the Christian volleyball club whenever I can, and hubs is involved in Coaches' Outreach at his school.  We're also hoping to take part in the Financial Peace University course at our church, which of course ties in to resolution #1. We had prayed for opportunities to get involved, and they have presented themselves in many ways.

The second half of this resolution is to read our Bibles everyday. We were good about it last year but got away from it during the wedding/moving/job chaos, so now we are back with a 365-day reading plan. We have found that reading every day makes a huge difference for us.

I'm sharing these goals with the hope that making them public will hold us even more accountable.

Just for fun, here are some goals for the house in 2011:
* Finish the flooring throughout the house
* Renovate guest bathroom
* Create a cool patio with fun outdoor living space (and less grass for the nuggets to dig up)
* Lighten up the wall color in the main living areas
* Add more lighting throughout the house
* Get The Chair reupholstered

And a personal goal for myself:
* Do more artwork! Make more stuff! Be creative and resourceful so you can help yourself with goal #1 up there.

What about you? Did you make any resolutions? I want to hear about them!
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You're So Vain.

You probably think this post is about you, don't you?

This post is about vanity.
Bathroom vanities, to be specific.

I just wanted to let you know that Lowe's is running a special on bathroom vanities for their Facebook friends this weekend. Friends get 30% off in-stock vanities and vanity tops through Monday.

We are seriously considering the following two vanities because we have been waiting for a sale to replace the vanity in our guest bathroom. We already have a carrera marble vanity top that we picked up on sale awhile ago, so we just need a base that will go well with it. Plus, this is technically Scott's bathroom so it has to be one that he likes (ie: no girly flourishes or finishes). He did approve these two vanities as suitable for his man-bathroom (that will also be used by all of our guests).


With the discount, this one comes out to about $230. 
With the discount, this one comes out to about $285.

I'm leaning toward the first one because a) it's cheaper and b) I think that wood will look nice with the marble. The second one looks a lot fancier to me, which isn't a bad thing. It looks like it is worth more than $285, in my opinion, and that style might go better with our house than the modern one. Hmm...

My question is, what do you think?
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1.05.2011

Repurposing Christmas Decorations

We have now de-Christmased our house, and gone are the reds and greens and golds that were dominating the decor. I found this LOVE sign on clearance at HomeGoods before the holidays. It was painted red and I figured I could use it with my Christmas decor, even though that wasn't its original intention.


As I was putting the Christmas stuff in storage, I decided I liked the LOVE sign enough to find a way to incorporate it into our year-round decor. I threw some white paint on it while we were painting the kitchen walls, but it was looking a little flat. I bought this wrapping paper (on sale!) from Anthropologie that looks like lace, so I layered that over the sign with some Mod Podge to give it a little texture. It's very subtle, but I like it.

(Note: If you are a paper nerd like me, the Christmas wrapping paper from Anthropologie is really neat. It's super thick and has great texture. I got one pack that look like lace, one pack that looks like burlap and one that reminds me of the skins on Mexican tamales- each for $6 on sale. Totally worth it.)





What do you think about putting the LOVE sign on the mantel? I like how unexpected and fun it is in a room that pretty traditional, but I feel like it is missing something. It is solving the little problem we discovered when we took the Christmas garland off the mantel, which is that our mantel is a tiny bit crooked (emphasized by the perfectly straight picture hanging above the mantel). I guess we never noticed it because of the garland, and now the LOVE sign is successfully breaking up those straight lines so it's not too obvious.

I also brought in some white flowers, white candles for our [former unity candle] candelabra, and a shimmery white pillow to lighten up the fireplace a little. Our bright new kitchen has me wanting to paint the whole house a brighter color, including our green-ish living room, but that will have to wait until the hubby and I get a little more energy. We are burnt out on painting for a few weeks after finishing those kitchen cabinets!

I also have some brand new pillows for our sofa! I was checking out the Pier 1 post-holiday sale when I made the mistake of venturing over to the pillow section. I came home with these three and I think their shimmery material glams up our couch. I was trying to explain that to my husband (he never understands my need for more pillows), but his eyes glazed over when I said "shimmery velvet." Oh well!


These pillows are on sale and can be found here (in different colors). One side is velvet and the other side is a shimmery linen material, so both are pretty in their own way. We got the pewter color. I figure the velvet side will stay out in the winter and I'll use the linen side in the summer.

I also brought home several of these faux- Amaryllis from the holiday sale (not in vases, just long stems). Those are the white flowers you see on the hearth. I guess they are meant to be holiday flowers but I certainly plan to use mine year-round. 

Other random holiday items that made it home with me: a miniature wrought iron Christmas tree, a faceless snowman (poor guy), several white porcelain ornaments and capiz garland.

(By next Christmas this poor snowman will have a new face!)

 Did any of you find any great deals at the holiday sales? Let me know if you did– I love a good sale! :)

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