Weekend Painting: Custom Artwork

After spray painting a new magnet board for Vincent, I started creating a painting for our main bathroom.  I looked in our garage and found a 13 inch by 31 inch scrap of 1/2 inch thick MDF.  I really wanted something that was 12 by 36, but it was close enough.  After a quick cleaning, I applied a coat of primer to all sides. 

This is going in our bathroom, and I don’t want the MDF to swell in the humidity.  Priming and painting all sides will seal the MDF, preventing any swelling.

I was inspired by the shadow of leaves the afternoon sun casts on the walls in our house, so I went out to take a picture of our tree. 

After my primer and white paint dried, I began drawing leaves onto my ‘canvas’, using my photo as a guide.  I lightly drew some of the leaves with pencil.  Some areas where the leaves are more clustered together were difficult to recreate, so I took artistic freedom and drew some leaves as I liked.  After 10 minutes or so, I had half of my template complete.

I mixed up a custom ‘greige’ color using a small amount of black, tons of white and some yellow.  Then I started carefully filling everything in.

It was a little time-consuming, taking about one and a half hours, but I actually doing things like this.  Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend an hour or so creating free art than buying something.  Now we have a custom, one of a kind piece of art in our bathroom.

I like the long, rectangular shape and size.  It definitely makes more of a statement than the smaller items that were there before. 

How many of you make your own art?  Whether it’s a painting, drawing or something else.  Do share!  I would love inspiration!!

How To: Add a Personal Touch

I have already given some ideas on how to add a personal touch to framed photos, and now I have some ideas to add personal touches throughout the home.

1.  Add monograms or your family name.  Monograms are a quick and inexpensive way to make a room your own.  Michael’s and Hobby Lobby are great places to look.  The letters on the picture rail hail from Hobby Lobby and cost $9.99 each. 

I had some scrap fabric lying around, so I made custom monogrammed pillow covers for each of our boys.  You can’t really tell, but the painting in the photo above has their monograms, too.  If you don’t want to spend $10 on monograms, craft stores also have cheaper MDF and paper mache versions, like the ones in my office. 

Just add a few coats of paint and you’ve got a custom art piece.  We also have a few monograms in our living room.  I recently picked up some Power Ball-esuqe monograms from Pier 1.

You could also use monogram hooks in an entryway or bathroom to keep each family member’s items separated. 

2.  Choose prints and art with personal meaning.  I also create custom prints if I am in need of a personal touch. 

I love this bird print we have in our entry way because it shows our little family, wedding date, names and the colors are specifically coördinated to our room. 

Another easy DIY project to inject a little more of you into your space are custom silhouettes.  When I make our silhouettes, I take photos of each person in complete profile.  Kids can be much more difficult, but with digital cameras, just keep taking pictures and eventually something will work.  Then I open my photos in Photoshop and trace the outlines.  Then I print right on to my colored cardstock and cut them out.  Simply tape the silhouette onto another piece of cardstock and frame. 

Don’t limit yourself to silhouettes of your family.  The process is the same for making anything, so choose your favorite flower, tree, whatever and make another design.

Choose prints that have a meaning to you, not just something that looks pretty.  Again, I make my own prints, but my I Love You This Much print began as something I say to my boys.  Other typographic prints could look great, too.  Choose a favorite quote, song lyric or phrase.  Translate a phrase to another language for a less obvious, but still meaningful print, like the Je T’Aime (I love you in French) print above.   A great place to start your search is Etsy because you can talk to the seller and ask to have something customized. 

3.  Spruce up a box store item.  Don’t be afraid to spray paint something to take it from the big box store look to fit your home.  Spray paint frames, sculptures or figurines, even furniture.  It will definitely become more personal with little time, effort and money.

Recent Finds: Pier 1 & TJ Maxx

I guess I’ve been doing more retail therapy than usual.  It has to be becuase so many cute things are for sale this season.  Like these Power Ball-esque letters from Pier 1. 

Aren’t they cute?  And for $2.00 each, they don’t break the bank, so I got one ball for each member of our family.  My glass thrift store jar was a perfect vessel for displaying my new purchase, too.

While wandering through Pier 1, these pillows caught my eye. 

I love the texture of both, although the round red pillow seems uncomfortable and impractical.  I might try to make a similar version of the green pillow, though.  The Pier 1 version is made of felt, so it should be cheap and easy to work with.  We’ll see if it will make the cut.  Pun intended.

I also liked this lamp.

After Pier 1, I stopped in TJ Maxx and found matching white rubber backed rugs to replace our old bathroom rugs. 

Note: don’t send a straight man to buy a specific color rug.  I sent Ben out to buy white rugs.  What did he come back with?  CREAM!  There is a difference.  So, we finally have nice quality matching white rugs, all for the low price of $7.99 each.  Who’s happy?  I’m happy.

Window Shopping: Cute or Kitschy?

Do you ever see an item that is so ugly it’s cute?  Or wonder if something is cute and endeering or kitschy and ugly?  I know I do.  I think a few personal kitschy/cute items are fine, so long as it is only a few.  I’ve gathered some of the items I can’t quite decide which way I lean toward more. 

These little guys could be cute in the right setting, especially becuase they are made to look like your family. 

I would like to buy a plain set to make my own, but you get the idea…

This print is simply adorable, not even a hint of kitsch. 

It’s similar to my Love Tree print, too. 

Maybe that’s why I like it?

If only I had a place to put something like this

Which reminds me, I still need to figure out how to make a terrarium (or two or three) for my house.  Of course, with my love of all things miniature, I would need something like these and these.

I have been loving faux bois lately, so these coasters would be a great fix.

Although, so wood (ha!) these.  In the right setting, of course.  Maybe the boys’ room?  Hmmm…  Of course, I would have to make my own.  You know I’m too cheap to spend $45.00 on pillows!

I actually made a pillow for my boys becuase I was inspired by this little monkey.

So, that’s that.  What are your opinions?  Cute or kitsch?

IKEA Finds

Every time I visit my family in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota, I get a much-needed IKEA trip!  Unfortunately, my camera battery died, so I couldn’t take any photos in the store.  Instead, here is what I went home with.

I bought two Lack Side Tables with hopes I can make minor adjustments to the tables to make something perfect for the boys’ room. 

We need to join the two tables together from the under side, but they are a great place for V to sit to look out the window.

IKEA definitely has a great selection of picture frames and even better prices, so I picked up two 20 inch square Ribba frames (with mats!) for our hallway.  I need to update the family trees (the brown canvases in the hall) I made a few years ago, but I want to recreate it in Photoshop, to make the text neat and clean. 

I opted to buy the silver frames for $10.99 and add a few coats of spray paint, and not buy the white frames for $19.99 each.  In fact, all the silver Ribba frames were on sale, so I picked up a few other sizes, just to have some extra cheap frames on hand. 

I’ll post pictures of the redesigned family trees once they’re framed and ready.

I don’t need more vases, but I couldn’t resist the clean lines of the Persika vase

The $3.99 price tag wasn’t too bad, either.  The Farm vase is cute too, so I got one of those.

The smaller vase was actually a reed diffuser from Target I picked up around the holidays.  And, because everything looks better in an odd grouping, I placed a small ceramic bird to keep the vases company.

I really like IKEA’s selection of rugs.  So much in fact, that I bought a new rug for our front door. 

The natural fibers seem durable, but if it’s not, I only lost $10.00.  I do love the neutral colors and the herringbone pattern.

Throw a few white cloth napkins, plastic cutting boards, hanging shoe organizers, mousepads and Kassett storage boxes in my big blue tarp bag and that’s what I picked up on my latest IKEA trip.