Monday, August 31, 2009

#66...from me to you part cinq

This is the fifth and final pillow cover up for grabs in my weekly August pillow cover giveaway, and it is fall inspired, with its orange and yellow leaf print. The back side is a yellow and white gingham with a black and white striped button and herringbone ribbon envelope style closure. It fits an 18x18 inch pillow form. To throw your name in the hat to win, leave a comment below, and for more details on this giveaway, click to see my first, second, third and fourth pillow giveaways. Good Luck!

Friday, August 28, 2009

#65...pillow winner #4

Les Invalides garden flowers, Paris

Eight names went in the hat for my fourth pillow cover giveaway......AND THE WINNER IS...MELIFAIF...congrats! and thanks to everyone for playing. Tune in Monday to try and win next week's pillow cover!

(Melifaif, email your shipping address to

Thursday, August 27, 2009

#64...shoe storage

I saw a photo like this of photo shoe boxes in a advertisement years ago, and have always wanted to store my shoes this way. I somehow believe that if all of my shoes were on display for me to see on the outside of a box, then I would have more willpower when shopping and stop buying luck though, as you can see that so far I have only photo catalogued about 10 pairs, and they are never what I am looking for, so I still find reason to buy more!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

#63...surfing baby

Today I am headed to San Francisco to spend a few days with family and friends. I thought I would share a DIY project I did out there last year for my niece Audrey. My sister wanted Audrey's nursery to be a surfing theme, and we did it big with this giant wall mural. To create the mural, I drew it out on paper and then drew a large grid on the wall. Next I transferred my design on to the wall grid square, by grid square. I used a total of ten colors to create the mural, and you can see me below painting a section down by the floor. You can also see Tyler painting too... he did the silhouette of the surfer coming through the wave, which really makes the mural one-of-a-kind.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

#62...dorm daze

This past weekend, I went to Austin to help my cousin get settled for her freshman year at The University of Texas. It has been quite a number of years since I have stepped foot inside a dorm, and walking through the halls, all of the smells, study lounges, community bathrooms, and tight living quarters brought me right back. Her dorm was built in 1969, and the wooden furnishings have a real mid-century vibe, including a bed that slides in and out to convert from couch to bed.

Inspired by the book House Proud by Danielle Proud, I made the bean bag cube pictured above for Natalie's dorm room. (You can never have enough seating right?).....The book gives good instruction on making and filling the cube. The corners are the trickiest part, as three seams have to come together, and require careful machine stitching and then some corner clipping to make sure they turn nicely.

dorm room before
This is the bland, blank dorm room before. And below is Natalie's new pad. Besides the cool bedding, rug, and cute cube, we added the striped background to her giant bulletin board using a $2 vinyl tablecloth cut to size, and some colorful thumbtacks for a border. Additionally, the backrest of the couch was made of a scratchy, vinyl fabric, and was kind of gross from all of the years of use. Using a $5 clearanced linen-like drapery panel and a glue gun, I reupholstered the back bench cushion. Natalie can just rip off the upholstery when she moves out at the end of the year. Hopefully, her cheerful new digs will get her in study mode, bringing her lots of schoolwork success!

Monday, August 24, 2009

#61...from me to you part quatre

This is the fourth pillow cover up for grabs in my weekly August pillow cover giveaway, and it is my personal favorite! It is made from the leftover scraps of Alexander Henry's Spotted Owl fabric, a cut up Urban Outfitters coverlet, and some textured white cotton. It features an envelope style closure, and fits an 18x18 inch pillow form. To throw your name in the hat to win, leave a comment below, and for more details on this giveaway, click to see my first, second and third pillow giveaways. Good Luck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

#60...pillow winner #3

Les Invalides garden flowers, Paris
Ten names went in the hat for my third pillow cover giveaway......AND THE WINNER IS...TYLER (no, not my Tyler)...congrats! and thanks to everyone for playing. Tune in Monday to try and win next week's pillow cover!
(TYLER, email your shipping address to

Thursday, August 20, 2009

#59...a painting in stages

In January, I was honored to have a write up in the Houston Chronicle covering some of the DIY projects that I have done in my own home. You can read the article from the archives here. (unfortunately no photos are archived) One of the photos featured in the paper was that of an oversized painting I did for my dining room that you can see here.

After the article ran, I got several inquiries about my painting, and was commissioned by a local Houstonian to paint a similar piece for her dining room. This is her painting in stages. I have never taken "during" pictures of any of my paintings, so I thought it would be a good idea to post this, so I remember to do so in the future, as it is neat to look back and see how the artwork evolved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

#58...decoupaged canvas

I often turn to the book Animals for reference when doing a painting or art project that involves animals, seashells or insects. It is a book of copyright-free illustrations from the Nineteenth Century, back when anatomy was documented by detailed drawings.Once, when working on a painting, I copied and cut out a few of the drawings to use them to help me determine placement and size of the things I was planning to paint on my canvas. After laying down the cutouts, I really liked how the detailed line drawings looked against my more abstract painted background. Since the images are copyright free, I decided to try decoupaging them to my canvas and incorporating them into my painting. To decoupage, all I did was photocopy the image on good quality paper, carefully cut it out with tiny paper cutting scissors, position it on my painted canvas background, and glue it down with acid-free artists glue. I used my pastel sticks to add a little graffiti-style colored lines to the clip-art, and then I simply lacquered my entire canvas with acrylic varnish. Below are two pieces of art that I have incorporated these decoupaged images into.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

#57...seashells by the seashore

This past weekend, Tyler and I were on the West Coast visiting his parents. While there, I came across this seashell mirror that I made for them about 10 years ago, hanging in their hallway. I had forgotten about it, and it looked so pretty and chic that I thought I would share this project, as it was a really easy one.
1) A mirror in a paneling or framed style that has a flat, depressed area that can hold the shells and mortar while still having a clean edge. (something that looks like this)
2) Bits of seashells.....I used broken flat pieces of various white and purple shells
3) Pre-mixed or powder thin-set mortar in white like this (this is a 50lb. bag, which is tons more than you need.... look for a smaller bag)
To begin, read the directions on your thin-set, then mix and spread onto your mirror in small sections with a plastic putty knife. Arrange and embed your shells as you go. Clean off the edge or frame of your mirror with a damp paper towel or sponge as you go. Let dry for a day or so, and you're ready to hang!

Monday, August 17, 2009

#56...from me to you part trois

This is the third pillow cover up for grabs in my weekly August pillow cover giveaway. It is made from the leftover scraps of yet another cut up Antrhopologie shower curtain. It features an envelope style closure, and fits an 18x18 inch pillow form. To throw your name in the hat to win, leave a comment below, and for more details on this giveaway, check out my first two giveaways here and here. Good Luck!

Friday, August 14, 2009

#55...pillow winner #2

Les Invalides garden flowers, Paris

Eleven names went in the hat for my second pillow cover giveaway......AND THE WINNER IS...TERI...congrats! and thanks to everyone for playing. Tune in Monday to try and win next week's pillow cover!

(Teri, email your shipping address to

Thursday, August 13, 2009 facelift

My friend Lisa wanted to update an old family dresser, so last week we dragged it out to her driveway and in a few hours we were done! Lisa spent about $60 on this update, mostly on the new knobs and pulls. We also refinished a matching nightstand at the same time.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#53...candlelit fireplace

Currently, the fireplace in my 1920's bungalow does not work. Someday, we'd like to have it repointed and get it in working order, but for now I light it up with these glass hurricanes that I wrapped with jewelry wire and glass beads. I saw the idea for the hurricanes in a high-end boutique for about $50 each and loved the sparkly look that the wire and glass beads give the basic glass hurricane. I decided that I could make them for much, much less.

To start this project I purchased cylinder glass hurricane candle holders in a variety of sizes that I wanted to use. Next, I purchased wire and several packs of glass beads from Michael's Arts & Crafts Store (their website does not have an online shopping option, so I can't show you exactly what I bought), but the glass beads came in a pack of about 300 for $3, and the wire was bendable metal on a spool found in the jewelry section. It is important to make sure that the gauge of the wire you buy fits through the opening hole in the bead you select. Additionally, don't buy a wire that has any type of nylon coating on it, as it won't be as malleable.
I started off stringing the beads onto the wire about an inch apart, and twisting the wire around each one like a twist tie, to hold them in place. See photo below.
After stringing the beads around one spool of wire, I began wrapping it around and around the hurricane, overlapping the wire as I went. See below photo.

Each hurricane took me a couple hours to make, but cost me less than $10. It was a good project to do in front of the TV, and I even made a couple extra that I gave as gifts. I light them with tea lights so I don't ever have to clean candle wax out of the bottom of them.

#52...miller time

This is Miller......he is the 6 week old pug of my friends Matt and Kelly. To welcome him to his new home, I appliqued him this blanket with his name on it. It was a simple project that took me about an hour to complete and cost me less than $10. Here's how I did it:

1. I purchased a pre-made, washable, soft, acrylic blanket from Ross Dress for Less for $6.

2. I selected the fabric for the letters from my stash (it is a Denyse Schmidt cotton). You need a scrap of fabric about 9 inches by 30 inches to cut the letters from.

3. I chose a font I liked for the letters from my Microsoft font list. I enlarged them to 450 sz. so that they came out at least 6 inches each. I printed the letters in 10% greyscale to save ink. (see photo below)

4. I used Saral wax-free transfer paper to trace the letters onto the fabric. (see photo below)

5. I cut the letters out of the fabric, and positioned them on the blanket.

6. I set the letters in place using stitch witchery so that they would not move around while I stitched around them on the machine.

7. Lastly, I stitched around the perimeter of each letter using my home sewing machine set to a close zig-zag stitch that was wide enough to catch the letter and the blanket on each zig and zag. I pressed the blanket once I was finished using muslin between the blanket and the iron, as not to burn the acrylic blanket.

Now I just need to make one for Miller's new lab sister Macy who is coming home this week!

Monday, August 10, 2009

#51...from me to you part deux

This is the second pillow cover up for grabs in my weekly August pillow cover giveaway. It is made from leftover scraps of a navy and white former Antrhopologie shower curtain, and a scrap of white and lime seersucker. It features an envelope style closure, and fits an 18x18 inch pillow form. To throw your name in the hat to win, leave a comment below, and for more details on this giveaway, check out last week's pillow giveaway. Good Luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

#50...pillow winner #1

Les Invalides garden flowers, Paris

Thirteen names went in the hat for my first pillow cover giveaway......AND THE WINNER IS...Kendall...congrats! and thanks to everyone for playing. Tune in Monday to try and win next week's pillow cover!
(kendall, email your shipping address to

Thursday, August 6, 2009

#49...yarn wrapped lampshade

I have been culling through my old photos looking for creative projects that I have done in the past to share. I came across this yarn wrapped lampshade that I made a year or two ago. The lamp base came from Anthropologie, sans shade. When I first got it, I tried a million different drum shades on it, most being too wide, too short, or too opaque. While in the Goodwill, I came across this old lampshade...a metal cage covered in cream, dirty, thread bare fabric circa 1970's. It cost me $3. I took it home, and realized it was the perfect size for my base. Once I took the shade apart and was left with the cage, I really liked how it looked on my lamp, so I tried to think of a way that I could make the light somewhat translucent and still show the cage. I raided my yarn bin and came up with a skein of black metallic yarn and one with a hint of gold metallic in it. I tied the yarn to the top of the cage and started wrapping, stopping occasionally to try it out on the lamp with a low-energy, cool burning light bulb. This is the end result. It cost me less than $20 to make, and I love how arty and edgy it looks atop my fairly traditional, antique styled base.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

#48...faux bois obsession

I have a special love for faux bois, which you may know from my post on my faux bois paneled walls. I thought I would share another faux bois idea that is a little less bold than covering your walls. An accent piece of furniture in faux bois may be just the right amount of faux bois for you. It is a really fun painting technique, (which is probably why I keep looking for things I can try it on.) The end table featured below I found at the Goodwill in the late 90's. It has undergone a few transformations. In the before, you can see that I had it painted red for awhile. It now has an aqua and brown faux bois finish that is my favorite of the many colors I have tried on the piece.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#47...the power of photography

The bathroom vanity pictured below is from a recent real estate listing that I staged. I thought that this was a really good example of the power of a professional photograph. Don't you agree? In this instance, a picture really is worth a thousand words. The before shot is saying dingy, old, broken, and cluttered, while the after shot is screaming clean, fresh, charming and spa-like. There actually was very little done in this bathroom to get it ready to sell, and yet such a dramatic difference. The counters were cleared and all towels, robes and bathmats were removed to open the space up and depersonalize. The cabinet doors were rehung so that they close properly. The walls above the muted yellow vintage tile were painted bright white instead of the greenish/gray they were before. Normally, I love grey and yellow together, but in this bathroom the grey did nothing for the muted yellow tiles except make it look dirty and old. The rusted metal wall mounted soap tray above the sink was replaced with a new clean white ceramic version. A few new white and soft aqua towels were folded and hung and a new modern white soap dispenser finished the room out. These homeowners spent less than $100 to fix and clean-up this space, and their efforts helped result in a quick sale.


Monday, August 3, 2009

#46...from me to you

I have piles and piles of fabric leftovers........scraps from various projects. The scrap fabrics are so pretty, but not really big enough for most projects, and have remained folded in my stacks....some for years. I was clearing out one such pile this weekend, toying with the idea of giving away some of the decent size scrap pieces, when I had this idea that I could comb through the scraps, whip up some pillow covers, and give them away here!

It is so cathartic to clear out, and equally as self fulfilling to be able to give away something pretty that I made, to those friends, family and readers out there that have been supporting me by following my endeavours on this blog.

So....... each Monday in August, (there are 5) I am going to post a different scrap pillow cover that I want to give away to You! All you have to do to put your name in the hat, is leave me a comment on this post. I'll randomly draw a name on Friday, and post the winner of each week's pillow cover. Each pillow cover is an envelope style pillow that fits an 18x18 pillow form (sorry, I'm not giving the filler pillow away). Each cover is made of a cotton blend, and can be tossed in the wash over and over. Shipping to U.S. destinations is included for each pillow cover giveaway.

The first pillow cover up for grabs, is made from scraps of a tablecloth I got from Anthropologie. It is white and chartreuse and I added mint green plaid striped ribbon ties to hold the pillow form in.

Good Luck and thanks for reading!