decor dash

Before our family visited a couple weekends ago, there were couple of sad rooms that we had just shoved stuff in when we moved here last December.  The week before they got here, we finally got our act together.  Now we only have ONE, albeit giant, room of random storage crappola.

This being our first house and the first one we’ve had to overhaul and decorate, every time we tackle a room I feel overwhelmed.  I often think that we don’t have the right pieces of furniture or decor items.  Well, when we finally got around to ‘finishing’ one of the two guest rooms, I only had a week left so I didn’t have time to fuss over the little things.  Let me correct myself, when I say week, I actually mean about one hour on Thursday night and a touch up on Friday afternoon.  Stresssss.

I thought it might be interesting to go through how I attacked the space and my thought process.  I read decor blogs daily and sometimes I just think, How the heck did they come up with that?!  Today, you don’t have to wonder.

The process was definitely a ‘dash’.  I probably looked like a crazy person, just ask Al.  When I decorate I stand there thinking, picturing things in my head, and then move at light speed.  If that idea doesn’t work or I have another idea, I’ll change course in a second.  This often leads to lots of furniture moving (Sorry Al!) but hey, it works!

The room is about 10 x 10 in size.  I knew I needed to get the bed, the side table, and the dresser into the space so I started with that. My first attempt at the arrangement made the space too crowded – the bed was centered and the dress was on the opposite wall. To remedy the problem, I first shifted the bed to about a foot away from the adjacent wall.  This way it’s not too much of a pain to make the bed!  Then, I had Al help me move the dresser to the doorway wall.  It worked.  You could now easily walk into a nice, open room and get to the different elements.

I initially had the 5×7 rug perpendicular to the bed but it didn’t cover enough of the space.  When getting into bed you would’ve been walking on the bare floor.  So we shifted the rug again, turning it parallel and off-center to cover the floor more.

To complete the first layer of the room (all the big pieces), I moved in an amazing antique desk that I had just brought all the way back home from my grandparents house in New Jersey.  I needed a spot to place my fan -> one of only two purchases that I made for the room!  The sun beats down on that room so the fan was necessary.

I put it in that corner because I already had a lamp on the dresser and if it were on the side table, the wind would have blown our guest out of their bed.  Ha.

Oh and the second purchase was the tan bed skirt. A small purchase that we really needed since for years now we’ve had the box spring and metal bed frame showing.

I decorated the dresser area with a couple of pieces.  The lamp is a thrift store find and so is the mirrored tray.  I figured our guests could wrangle any little items in there.

To figure out where to hang our wedding photo (which I printed at home!), I stepped back to see how it would play off the lamp position.  I forgot to take a dead-on picture of the two to show you but I hung the frame higher than the lamp and off-center from the dresser.

When approaching an arrangement, you want to go with variety.  I’ve got the tray which is super low, a slightly bigger vessel, a taller lamp, and then the frame which is the tallest.  I used to like stuff really aligned with things centered and the same size but I’ve found that moving away from that to more of an extreme (compared to the ‘safe’ centering) really adds character to a space.

Next up I pulled a couple of art and design books from the hundreds in my office -> that’s another room that needs major help.  I stacked them up on the side table and topped them with one of Al’s photos from a high school trip to Germany and some sand (?) from New Zealand that his best friend gave him.  A little interest and more personalization.

In the following photo (that you saw earlier), you can see the art above the bed.  They are just some prints from my graphic design thesis.  I combed through my inventory and found art that I thought would match best with the bedding.  The purple flowers in the prints somewhat match the purple quilt and flowers on the pillows.  I centered the frames above the bed – high enough so our guests wouldn’t hit them when they sleep but low enough so they could work as a mock headboard.

My final touch was to bring in my little indoor plant and a mister.  It really doesn’t water the plant enough if I just mist it so I take the top off and dump the water in. I’ll sacrifice for pretty decor. 🙂

I was shocked at how put together the room looked once I had finished and it only took me about a hour!!  If you ever feel overwhelmed like me just take it one layer at a time! Big items to small.

Of course we’ve got a couple more projects left until I can say this room is complete:

  • update the dresser – paint it or new knobs?
  • update the side table – sand, paint, and stain?
  • paint the walls
  • iron the stinkin’ bed skirt 🙂
  • spruce up the lamp shade with fabric or paint

But for now, I love it!

Thanks for listening, I talked a ton today! Hopefully you learned a little something after reading all that. 🙂

Do you have any questions about the process? I needed to stop myself somewhere!

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sprucing up photography prints

When you’re a fine arts major, you accumulate a LOT of your own artwork.

Until I buy someone else’s awesome art (which I want to do), I have to decorate the house with my own.

It’s been a few years now since I graduated from undergrad so I’m getting tired of the looking at the same old stuff.

Enter: new prints from grad school, scrapbooking paper, and spray paint.

These cheap, black frames have held the same textured prints from a gallery exhibition during my junior year of college. Let’s think -> that was SIX years ago. Time for an update.

I wanted these frames to live above the couch in the den so I bought muted pink paper to tie in with the rug and brownish spray paint to connect with the dark wood furniture.

To paint the frames, all I did was wipe them down and then give them two quick coats. The change in the frame color is subtle but it’s now a dark shimmery brown instead of matte black. It’s easier to see in person!

After about an hour I brought them back inside to figure out my plan of attack.

I bought the paper to be used as new matting for the prints.

After playing around with a couple choices I realized that the pink didn’t work when bordering the photos because prints were too dark. I needed to keep some white in between the two for contrast.

As you can see in the photos above, the image pops a lot more when the white is bordering.

I wanted about an inch border of white around the photo so I measured out my pink paper to leave that amount.

You know that saying ‘measure twice, cut once’? Yeah, here’s proof that you’ve got to do that. I had so many lines going on that I had to add arrows to remind myself of which were the correct ones to cut!

The pink paper wasn’t big enough to just cut to size and cut a whole out so I opted to use four pieces for the matting. I knew I wouldn’t mind the edges showing because it’d just add more interest/texture to the piece which I love.

I eyeballed most of my lines when cutting but If you aren’t a scissor lover, I would suggest heading over to Kinkos where you can use their paper cutter. It’d be a breeze!

Those zigzag pieces are my spacers. Unlike regular matting which is quite thick, my paper is really thin so if I were to place the photo directly on top of it, the image would be smashed up against the glass. Adding in the handmade spacers doesn’t give as much breathing room as the store-bought kind but hey, it’s cheaper!

Everything is held in place using double-sided tape by the way.

See? Nice contrast. Dark (frame) – Medium (pink paper) – Light (white matting) – Dark (print).

All the frames are spaced 2 inches apart. And I read at a couple places that you’re supposed to hang stuff 8-12 inches from the top of the couch. I went with 10 inches.

Now after all is said and done, I’m thinking the super dark prints might be too harsh for this airy room but until I find something a little more ‘fun’, it works! I also might change out some of the pink matting for tan or something. My brain never stops with the ideas, sheesh.

Don’t get me wrong, at 40 cents a piece of paper and one can of spray paint, I love the results!

Adding art and other final touches to the room is really making it feel more finished. SO FUN.

What do you think? What quick updates have you done to your house?

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P.S. This post is super late today because this little lady doesn’t feel well at all. I’ve been at the vet a couple times to check up on her. Cross your fingers for her please!!

personalizing some store-bought decor

A little note before I start -> I added an ‘Eats’ tab up next to my ‘About’ page. It has a list of all the food posts I’ve written. If you’re looking for one in particular, you can find it there!

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The other day I was at Target scanning the sale items per usual. Some decor pieces were calling my name so I picked up two.

Al and I obviously both have ‘A’ names so when I saw this big letter, the graphic designer in me had to buy it. And the motto in our house is ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ so there you go. I swiped these babies off the shelf within minutes of seeing them. Ha.

I knew I wanted to alter them since we’ve had enough of dark wood in this house. Like the past two home projects, I painted the pieces to help them fit into our progressing decor.

I roughed up the wood with sandpaper to help the paint bond before starting. Then I painted a couple coats of some colored acrylic paint that I had laying around as well as latex wall paint.

A little tip! I learned a ton about art while in school but for some reason I really remember this specific ‘rule’ very well: Don’t gunk up your paintbrush like I did in the image on the left. The paint will collect where the bristles attach and become unusable. It’ll also hurt your brush over time because it’s tough to get all the paint out when it’s jammed up into the metal. If that happens, the paint can dry and clump up the smooth bristles. Keeping the paint toward the end of the bristles will keep things cleaner and give you a nice, crisp stroke! Interesting, eh?

So anyways, I painted the ‘A’ white on the front and yellow on the sides. The yellow acts as a little or large pop of color depending on the angle. Fun!

With the saying, I painted the frame white and the original dark red trim a messy hot pink.

I’m normally a clean, straight lines kinda gal but I like the rough look (for example the white on the ‘A’ isn’t uniform) in combination with more contemporary colors. It’s a nice little twist. More homey perhaps?

I’ve got a lot of yellow going on in this living room so my new additions will probably make there way to the foyer or another room but for now I’m just admiring the results. It’s crazy what a little paint can do! Keep a look out for those end of the isle deals at Target. You never know what you might find!

How have you spruced up your space?

volunteering – day 4

Remember how I like to force my family to do art and crafts with me? I talked about it here. Well today I got my sister to join me in a little project!

We used our creativity to help brighten the day of sick and/or injured children. How you ask? By sending them fun cards!
I don’t know about you but I love getting cards. It makes my day, especially with a little personalized note inside.

We had to keep the cards pretty generic so they can be given to anyone but I’m sure the children enjoy them. I even added an ‘in Virginia’ to my signature so they know that the card was sent all the way across the country to them in California.

I broke out all the markers, pencils, and colored paper that I could find. Then we went to town.

my sister stenciling

It was a pretty quick project but fun!

Of course I wish we could go see the kids but a cross country trip isn’t possible. 🙂 I actually looked into volunteering at one of the children’s hospitals here in Richmond but they require a one year commitment which I can’t give since I want to keep volunteering at different places. The good news is, I think there are special events where they need volunteers once in a while. I’ll be looking more into that soon.

the results

If you’d like to give this project a try, here’s the link! Instead of spending Sunday afternoon just staring at the TV why not throw it some coloring while you’re at it? That’s what we did! 🙂

i heart art

I lucked out BIG time. My last day at my current job is this Friday because I got a NEW one already!

Since this is a major change in my life, I thought I’d talk a little about the past – how I got to my current career and how I’ll be continuing certain aspects of it.

A reflection, if you will.

Growing up I was often creating. I even entered my art into contests at the ripe old age of 10! Hardcore. I tried everything from cross-stitch to pastels and loved it all. Note: my mom STILL has a few kitchen cabinets packed with all things arts and crafts. Let’s hope the grandchildren (no, I’m not pregnant) will be able to use up those supplies!

odd, old school art projects

I took a fun art class in high school and then one in college that really pushed me towards art as my focus. Well, that’s not exactly true. I majored in chemistry but that’s another story we don’t need to get into! I guess what those art classes did was just confirm passion and maybe (subconsciously) open my eyes a little to my options.

After leaving chemistry and then computer science in college, I settled on graphic design. I chose design because I loved computers and I loved art. Do a little math to add the two together and ta-da, you’ve got graphic design.

In school I was in heaven. Three hours of an afternoon sculpture class? Yes please! Three hours of a graphic design class? Yes please! Three hours of a 7:00 am drawing class with a naked human contorting in front of you? Eh, not so much. I have to say, it’s a good thing my husband never took a class like that. I would have never met him because he’d be dead after giggling for three hours straight. 🙂

college projects - painting, design, & photography

Now I have a design job and you’d think it’d be ideal but I’ve come to realize that I enjoy creating art specifically and not design (as much). It’s more personal and you can do whatever you want!

I should have come to this conclusion a while ago because I have a massive collection of personal paintings, prints, and photographs at my house. These are the culmination of many years of random urges to do art any day of the week. Family members can attest to me forcing them into doing projects with me. Right Mom? Sister? Husband?

So since I’m changing careers to a completely different field, I thought I’d continue my art and open an Etsy shop! Makes sense right? Now (hopefully) all of the pieces will end up in loving homes and not in a giant heap on my living room floor! I’m a genius.

texture, texture, and more texture

This won’t happen over night since I’ll be creating/selling a new series or two and I’d like to build up the inventory but it’s exciting nonetheless!

I have lots of big changes and projects on my plate. It’ll be interesting to see how I juggle it all but I’m up for the challenge. I’m on my way to a fulfilling career and life. Stay tuned!