Monday, January 2, 2012

The Bedroom Fit for a Jedi Knight

"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." ~ Yoda

Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to an environment that feels comfortable and familiar. Just ask the dinosaurs! They were the focus of our boy's room before the big redo...
We loved his little IKEA bed, which we tricked out with canvases I painted with dinosaur silhouettes. The kids and I had fun painting the T-Rex, Triceratops, and the big Brontosaur together, too.
It was a bright, cheery room (a much brighter yellow than we planned!). But as much as our boy loved his prehistoric friends, they were destined to become extinct. He moved right into Star Wars, much to the delight of uncles everywhere (both biological and honorary). So in celebration of his 6th birthday, we redecorated his room with new colors and some galactic appeal!We started by painting the walls SW Loyal Blue (took 5 coats ... nerds!) and with the help of our handyman Ed, installed beadboard to give the walls some oomph. Fabulous, it is!
Found these lined drapes on sale for $23 a panel at Target ... score!
Yaya found an out-of-this-world fan at the Depot ... The framed photo of the Earth by Apollo 17 came from the estate of Yaya's dear friend Liz.Santa brought the Darth Vadar alarm clock (which freaks out even Mama).The kid-sized desk was built by Grant's great-great-grandfather Heston, making B the fifth generation to use it to become brilliant. Oma and Baba gave him this awesome light up moon that shows all the phases.
Fantastic hutch from Yaya's collection. "That's where I'll keep my trophies," B says...Mama painted this bookcase and dresser Perfect Greige, but we found there was no room for the dresser except for in the closet...
Oh well, I can let go of my fear of not fitting everything in the room. Just like Yoda says...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Biggest Mural Ever

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life must you proceed with balance and stealth. ~Patti Smith

Yup, here it is ... the biggest mural I've ever painted. Ta daaaaaa! I painted this several months ago for my friends Doug and Durell, who live in my ole hometown of Jacksonville.

I waited a while to post it because my only photos of it were the ones my son took with my iphone:

Well, I guess that isn't so bad.

Anyway, D&D have a simply gorgeous dining room with lots of natural light and a beautiful vintage chandelier. It just needed a little visual interest to make it fabulous. Durell loves classic designs that seem breezy and effortless. When she came upon this House Beautiful feature, she fell in love (cue angels singing). So we copied the designer's handpainted wallpaper, which is based on a classic Swedish pattern.
As always, I started out with chalk sketches and went from there. After two solid days of painting, here's the result... I love the colors and the fact that the pattern is unusual, yet nature-inspired and calming. Isn't it great to have friends who are brave enough to strive for the unique? (And daring enough to let you paint all over their walls!)
Here are some details...
I added the little nest. It represents their home and their sweet little family -- mama, daddy and baby girl.

These flowers took me a while to get. I stressed about every little detail. Then I took a step back and realized those imperfections are what makes a handpainted mural special. Soooo ... it's really gonna be OK.
See? Take a step back and get some perspective. Maybe a good metaphor for life!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Decorating with Kids' Art

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up." ~ Pablo Picasso

Nothing says "we have kids" like finger paintings taped to the refrigerator. Whether they try to create their own Jackson Pollock like Olivia over there, or just love drawing houses and rainbows -- kids often make beautiful art that can bring bold color and personality to your walls.

And while it's fine to have your little Picasso's masterpieces stuck to your Frigidaire, here are some slightly more creative display ideas.

1. Changeable Frames

I came up with this one and love it so much. I found two simple 22 x 28" black frames at Michael's (always on sale). I used the "Extra 25% Off All Frames" coupons from the paper to get them for $23 each. Then I bought two pieces of black mat board (here in Orlando, the best prices on this stuff are at Art Systems on SR 436) and cut them with an art knife to fit into the frames. I centered the kids' art and attached it right on top of the mat board with a tape runner . The kids and I painted small wood letters of their names (again, from Michael's), which I hot glued to the frames to give the artists proper credit.
This has been such a fun feature in our playroom and always draws compliments from visitors. We switch it out to decorate for holidays and seasons, or just when they bring home something new that they're excited about. I especially love their abstract paintings for the color and the amazing scenes they imagine! Just in time for fall ... my pumpkin's pumpkins!
I think framing kids' art -- even temporarily -- shows them you value their work and creativity. I have no research to prove this, but that never stopped me from postulating before!

2. On Line Creations

Also inexpensive and even easier to change is the IKEA Dignitet curtain wire, which makes a great "clothes line" for clipping on artwork. Brave IKEA (not on a Saturday), buy the little metal clips that come with it and you're set. We made one long wire in our son's room...But a series of smaller ones looks even better!

3. Stuck On Art

Finally, these stick-on frames cut out the hassles of framing AND hanging! No holes in the wall and super easy to change. They wouldn't be a good idea for thick art paper, but would hold your average doodles...

No matter how your choose to display your kids' artwork, be sure you take advantage of their fun, FREE artwork!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Frame and Fortune, Part Deux

Art's purpose is to sober and quiet the mind so that it is in accord with what happens. ~John Cage

Hello fellow framers! My post today is about framing photos and art to make your own gallery. I LOVE decorating with family photos -- old and new -- especially in hallways. You can even go really crazy with photos from floor to ceiling, like these folks featured in Martha Stewart (right).

I like the idea of documenting our kids' childhoods and our family life on the walls of our hallways. We have two long halls in our house, so I've made a gallery of black and white photos in one...And color photos in another... I chose black frames to unify the gallery and make it seem more like a collection. If you have frames of all colors and styles stashed in the closet, take the glass out and spray paint them all black. Bingo -- instant gallery frames! You also could mix silver and black frames, gold and silver, or bright colors that coordinate with your decor. Just so long as there is something that ties it all together.

Themes are kind of fun too. In our powder room is this gallery of black and white photos of places we've traveled...
The wonderful thing about creating a gallery of photos, souvenirs, artworks and other family memories is that it can be done gradually. Start with a few frames in the center of your space and work outward.

Now for the tricky part, everyone gets nervous about arranging these suckers on the wall. Here's how you keep it simple and avoid unnecessary holes in the wall.

1. Gather your frames (I'd start with five or six) and lay them on the floor on a big piece of paper (newspaper, art rolls from your kids' easels, etc.). Play with the arrangement until it looks pleasing to you. Then outline with a Sharpie.

2. Measure where your hanger is on the back of the frame, then measure the same distance on your outline and mark the spot where you'll want your nail. (When you lay the frame on the paper, press down a bit so the hanger makes an indentation on the paper. That way, you'll be sure you got your measurements right.)

3. Tape the paper to the wall and nail or drill your holes where the marks are. Pull off the paper and you're in business.

Arranging your frames is a matter of taste, but my advice is to keep an equal distance between your frames (even if they don't "line up" like the photo below), to make the collection cohesive. I like the way these folks lined their frames up in their hallway. And the wide white mats really make it look unified...

Finally, here are some tips from this month's Allure magazine about how to mat and frame a photo or artwork. It's not as hard as it seems to DIY! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Frame and Fortune

A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you. ~Brigitte Bardot

Hello friends! It's been way too long. My new goal is to post shorter entries once a week. Will it work? Dunno. But that's my goal!

So my topic today is frames. I love decorating with family pictures! Framing stuff and making mini galleries of photos, artwork and such is a fun, cheao way to personalize your space, show off your creativity and decorate for the seasons.

Like my fall mantel, which I decorated with mismatched frames I painted black and pictures of fall leaves that I tore out of magazines and coffee table books. But frames can be expensive ... and professional framing means even more $$$. So I improvise with spray paint (of course), cheap pre-cut mats I buy from Michael's and other DIY touches. Here's a quick project I did recently to show off a series of pictures my friend Shannon took of my little lollipop:
I found this frame with a three-opening matte at Marshall's for $12.99.
I wanted it to be white to work in her room, so I took 2 minutes and spray painted it Rustoleum Antique White. To add a little somethin'-somethin', I covered the mat with this beautiful paper I found at the world's greatest art store, Sam Flax.

I cut the paper to fit the outside of the mat, then flipped it over and traced the openings.

I used an art knife to cut x's in the center, then create flaps to fold back.
I painted Allene's Decoupage glue on the front of the matte, lined up the paper and smoothed it over.
Now this is the tricky part. I carefully and tightly folded the flaps over and used scotch tape to secure them (glue would just squeeze out and be all grody).
Then I taped the photos onto the back of the mat and put it in the frame. Viola! This frame job would cost beaucoup bucks in a frame shop, but it cost me less than $15! In addition to cool papers, you can use coordinating fabrics, wallpaper, wrapping paper or paint to dress up your mats too.
More on wall galleries and frames next time!