January 2013 - Dimples and Tangles


If I was a real designer and had a bag of tricks, this one would be at the top of my list!  I'm such a visual person, yet indecisive at times, that when I have an idea I really like to see what it might look like for real in my space.

So, enter....photo editing!  With a photo of the space I'm working with, I turn to this tool over and over again.

Last week when working on an arrangement for the artwork for my dining room, I played around on the computer before I framed one print or hammered one nail.

Trying several different arrangements really gave me a feel of the look I wanted.  Clearly this would have been going overboard...

I liked this one o.k. but it didn't add any height-everything felt short and squaty.

I finally settled on this arrangement.

Then I used painter's tape to put the prints on the wall, just to make sure I liked how it was looking in real life.

And, the final product:

Here are a few other projects that started with a mock-up photo.  Yes, these are VERY rough mock-ups, but they confirmed my plans and motivated me to proceed.

I imagined what it would be like to have a big green box in the dining room...

and what the backs of the bookshelves in the living room might look like painted in a dark color...

and what the shelves in the office would look like if I painted the backs to match the walls and left the rest stained wood...

and what my daughter's wall might look like with stripes.

I don't have Photoshop which would give more detailed results, so I use my normal editing program, Picmonkey.  If you're not familiar with it, it's an online super easy program.  There aren't specific drawing tools, but I use the "Overlays" tab on the left side and then the "Geometrics" category and choose the shapes I want to get close enough results.  Most of the features are free but there are some that require a membership.  I get along just fine without it.  Really all you need is a program that will let you play around with shapes and colors.

What's your best design tool/trick when thinking about a new space?

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There's nothing like company coming to provide me a little motivation to finish up loose ends on projects. 

Granted, our company this weekend will be around 15 6th grade boys and 3 college students, but still, visitors none the less.  (I will be forever grateful for any little prayers you might remember us in this weekend... 15. sixth. grade. boys.  For three days. With one shower for them all to share.  Oh yeah.)

Are you tired of seeing my dining room yet?  I hope not, at least until I finish the last two projects for it.  After completing the china cabinet I finished up the next to the last project...artwork.

I've told you I have tall walls (10 feet) so there was a pretty big space between the top of the china cabinet and the ceiling.  I considered putting something on top of the cabinet, but wanted to keep a cleaner look, and there's already enough stuff piled inside the cabinet without adding more to the top.  I thought about hanging my new friend over the cabinet, but really like him where he is over the back door.  So, I decided to hang some art over the cabinet, as well as on the sides.

I still love the botanical wall in the kitchen, but thought more floral prints would be a bit too much on this wall.  After seeing these beautiful prints that Carolyn did, I emailed her and she was kind enough to let me know that they came from a set that she purchased at Barnes and Noble.  I bought them right away (on clearance!) and have had them waiting in the wings until I got to this point in the dining room.  Here's a link from Amazon:


Just like the frames I used in the kitchen, I bought the same ones from Michaels again, 12x18, on sale for $7 for a 2 pack.  I used the same method to hang them-2 nails and then I just hook the back edge of the frame on them rather than using the designated hanger on the back (here's the most exciting photo you'll ever see on my blog!):

This keeps the frames from tilting and makes it easy to slide them a little to the left or right to line them up perfectly.  Just like with the botanicals in the kitchen, I mounted the prints on white posterboard with double sided photo splits and popped them in the frames.

The mirrors are Better Homes and Gardens from Walmart-$15!  They were black but I used some Rub & Buff to make them gold.

My weekend bargain...the large mercury globe from Pottery Barn...marked down to $18!  I saw it last week, didn't get it, and when I returned of course there were none on the shelf.  Always ask!  They had a few more hiding out in the back room.

By the way, can I tell you how much I love mini carnations?  I bought these before New Year's Eve, and I think this is at least the third photo shoot they've made it into.  They last forever!  Best $3 at the grocery store you'll ever spend!

Here's a little before and after from just a few months ago...

Just about all done!  Other completed projects include the houndstooth drapes and the upholstered host wingbacks, so the table is the only thing left on my to-do list for this room.

I moved the kids' silhouettes to the originally intended spot in the hall.

The cost of this project, for the prints, 8 frames, 4 sheets of posterboard, and two mirrors came in right under $80.  Not bad for a wall full of art!
Tomorrow I'll show you an invaluable tool I use when I'm in the planning stages of so many projects.  I used it on this one, and it saved so much trial and error!

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Happy Friday Friends!

Just popping in today to show you this really cool feature.  Run your cursor over this photo...

Did you see the Pinterest icon pop up in the center?

I noticed this feature on Kelly's blog A Swell Place to Dwell the other day, and she kindly shared the link with instructions on how to add it.  (Click on that link...Kelly has painted a really cool green dresser also.  Go Green!)

Now, this icon will show up on every image in your post, but there is a line you can add to your image code if you want to block the icon from showing up in that particular photo.  I think this would be courteous if you have borrowed a photo from someone else, so that their photo is pinned from the original source and not from your post.  

Here's the link with instructions on adding this feature if you're interested for your blog.  Be sweet and be sure to click on over and pin from there if you want to save this for future reference.  You can also alter the position of the icon within your photo if you don't want it in the center, the instructions tell you how.  Be sure to back up your blog before making any code changes just in case.  Lisa at Shine Your Light shows us how to do that here.

I think I'll give it a spin and see how it goes...

Have a great weekend!  I hope you get to relax and work on a few diy projects.  We don't have any big plans, but have a hum-dinger of a week coming up!  See you Monday.



Thank you all SO MUCH for all of your sweet comments about the green china cabinet.  It was a lot of work, but a labor of love and I truly appreciate your encouragement along the way, and your excitement with me for the finished product!  Next week I'll have one more thing to show you in the Dining Room, and then we'll move on for a while. 

This is my youngest sister Sarah and her BIG baby Denmark.

She drew my name for Christmas, and I knew just what I wanted.  We both have come to love all things antlers and (faux) deer heads and this creative, resourceful girl figured out how to make her own!  I dropped some pretty good hints :), but still had no idea that she actually made one for me until she lugged a really big box into the living room while we were opening presents.

She was nice enough to share how she did it with us, so I'll let her take it from here...

* * * * * * * * * *
floral foam bricks
popsicle sticks or wooden skewers
paper mache paste
strips of thin paper
scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby
liquid laminator
pipe cleaners
wire hangers
wooden plaque
spray paint (optional)
ribbon (optional)


Create a cube of floral foam bricks that is roughly the size you would like your head to be, not including the antlers. Stick a couple of popsicle sticks or wooden skewers halfway into each brick to secure it to the brick beside it. Once you have your cubes all set, start carving. This is entirely freehand at this point. Grab a picture or figurine to use as a guide. A serrated knife works best. The floral foam is extremely easy to carve and you can turn your knife sideways to do more of a shaving motion for the curvy areas. Leave a flat surface on the back of the head or neck to mount to a plaque or wall when you're finished.

To make your antlers after the head is carved, bundle two groups of pipe cleaners, 20-25, and stick them about an inch down into the top of the head. Bundle two more groups of pipe cleaners, this time 15-20, and tape each bundle to your first group of pipe cleaners already stuck into the head. Trim the ends so that the pipe cleaners are at more of a point, and then use your tape to secure all the ends together, creating a precise point. Curve your pipe cleaners into the desired shape. If they are too heavy to stay up because of their length, clip a wire hanger to the length of the pipe cleaners plus a little extra to stick down into the head. Place the wire hanger inside the bundle of pipe cleaners and stick it into the head. Reshape your pipe cleaners with the hanger inside now. Grab another small bundle of pipe cleaners and cut them in half. Trim and tape off the ends as stated before to make points. Attach as many of these half-sized bundles as you want using tape to secure them to the original pipe cleaners stuck in the head. Gently curve the pipe cleaners with your fingers to create your desired shape.

Mix up a paper mache paste on the stove using water, flour and sugar. Tear strips of packing paper or any other lighter weight paper and dip them into the paste, wiping off the excess. Apply to the entire head and antlers, smoothing any wrinkles as much as possible. Once you have applied one layer of the thinner paper, cut even strips of a thicker paper. I like to use the scrapbooking paper from Hobby Lobby. Using a thicker paper at this point creates a smoother looking and sturdier surface. The print on the scrapbooking paper can be the final look if you desire, or you can spray paint over it. Choose a fun print for the entire head or differing prints for both the antlers and head. The paper mache paste that you coat the paper with will dry clear. Let dry overnight.

After everything dries, paint the entire thing with a nice thick coat of Liquid Laminator from Hobby Lobby. This dries clear while hardening and sealing the entire head for more durability. This product gives the head a nice, smooth, almost plastic feeling finish. Let dry. From here you're either done, or you can spraypaint the head and antlers, or as I did, spray paint the head and cover the antlers in ribbon using a hot glue gun.

Use the flat surface that you left on the back of the head to mount to a plaque. You can purchase these from Hobby Lobby for a couple of bucks. I drilled a few of holes into mine and glued some dowel rods in, then stuck the plaque directly into the back of the head or neck. Attach a hanger to the back and stain or paint your plaque before doing this.


* * * * * * * * * * 

And, here he is in his new home.

I've always wanted something big and interesting and unique for this space over the back door.  He's perfect!

Here's the first one she made for her friend's baby shower...lucky baby, huh?

And in case you were wondering, I've moved this little guy and these to other areas of the house, so it doesn't look like my living room was invaded by a herd of deer.  I know you were concerned.  :)

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Well, here she is!

After almost two full weeks of work (off and on), it's finally done, and I'm going to make you scroll through way too many pictures.

Let's remember the very sad before...

And the oh so fun after!

I wanted to create a glam, sophisticated look and lighten up the inside, so I used my wedding china, crystal, some other white dishes and thrifted milk glass I've collected to style the shelves. 

I like symmetry.

Now for the details, I sanded, filled in gouges, sanded, wiped, and primed before painting three coats of color.  Yes, I can confirm that dark colors are tricky and take more paint.  The color I used was Behr's Pine Scent in semi-gloss.  I used a good Purdy brush for the corners and a foam roller for the rest.  Also, a huge trick I've learned when painting with latex paint is to use a coat or two of poly on the flat surfaces that will have something sitting on top of them.  Latex paint can stay tacky for up to a month, but with a layer of poly it's ready to go after 24 hours or so...no tackiness!

One of the knobs on the bottom doors was missing, and a few of the pulls on the top doors.  I kept and cleaned up the brass backplates on the glass doors, and found these perfect glass knobs at Hobby Lobby.  They are an oval shape rather than round so they fit nicely together where the doors meet.

I also gave you a sneak peak at the chunky hardware on the bottom.  The oversize glass knobs were out of my stash.  Did you guess what the backplate was?  I knew I wanted something big and was coming up empty looking online, and then I remembered I had these...

They started their lives as....Christmas ornaments!  I bought them and used them as hangers for an old window treatment (seen here).  My handy husband drilled a hole in the middle and they were perfect!  Along with the original drawer handles, they got a coat of Rustoleum's Metallic Brass spray paint, and then a coat of Rub-n-Buff in Gold Leaf. 

I had planned to add height by adding an extending shelf in between the two pieces to house some cubbies for storage baskets, but I ended up just needing to get this piece d.o.n.e!  I probably will still add that piece in the future.

I'm so happy to be having a little reveal party with my uber-talented friend Pam at Simple Details.  Pam is one of my very first blogging friends and I love every single project she does!  She's revealing her ultra-sleek (free!) Emerald Green sideboard today too.  We've both been working on our dining rooms off and on for well over a year, and have had many conversations about our green beauties.  It's been so fun to have a friend to bounce ideas back and forth with!  Click on over and see Pam's beautiful piece, too.  We're on a race to the finish line to cross our dining rooms off of the list!

With this project completed, I'm down to artwork and a new table for this room.  I have the table but it needs some work so I am waiting for a streak of warm-enough days outside to work on it.  That probably won't be happening until later in the spring.  Artwork, though, coming up!



Over the Christmas break we took a day to visit a new local library that we had not been to yet.  

I know that many of us enjoy nothing better than reading home design blogs, but sometimes there's nothing like cracking open the pages of a good ol' book.

While Caleb was looking through shelves of books about Star Wars and Emily was looking for e-books to load on her Nook, I wandered over to the home improvement/design/decorating shelves.  I was pleasantly surprised at what I found! 

These were just the 5 that I checked out, but there was shelf after shelf of great choices.  My favorite one that I actually read all of in one sitting was Lara Spencer's I Brake for Yard Sales.  I'll never tire of seeing trash turned to treasure, and what an eye this lady has for all kinds of design styles! 

These pages were from Extraordinary Interiors, a book about incorporating salvaged items into a home's decor.  Look at all of the unique character displayed here!

One of my home goals this year is getting some significant work done on our backyard, so there was good inspiration to be found in the Outdoor Living Idea Book.

And, I checked this book out mainly because the cover was so beautiful!  One, it was a LARGE coffee table type book.  Two, the spine is covered with those awesome stripes, which are fabric.

Three, look at the inside cover liner...yummy!  And yes, the edges of the pages are fluorescent orange.  This one stood out on the shelf!

It had some beautiful designs in the photographs, also.  How's that for a statement wall?

Pretty details-I love the white room with fun pops of color and the pom-pom fringe on the curtain panel.

Have you checked your local library for design inspiration?  I'm afraid in this age of technology, books are becoming overlooked (even if they are great accessories!).  Check the library...you might be missing out!

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