DIY Art Update

gibson girlThis really is the simplest project I completed for my loft update.  I purchased this large canvas from Ikea a couple of years ago in the “as is” section for $25.00.   It has been hanging in Riley’s bedroom, but needed a new home after we redid her room a few months ago.  It was similar to these two canvases available at Ikea right now…

audrey hepburncharlie chaplin
Audrey Hepburn & Charlie Chaplin

I initially bought the canvas for a few reasons:  it is big (3 ft. x 3 ft.f), it is square, and I love the artistry and simplicity of these images.  Also, I’m a sucker for anything artsy that depicts girls and/or women.  It was a nice neutral color and looked good on Riley’s deep burgundy bedroom wall, but its new home required an update and a bit of glam.  All three canvases are the same color…light tan background with dark brown image and the background can look a bit dirty.  So I decided to paint the background a bright white and the image a metallic gold.

Such an easy and satisfying project, and in only two steps:

diy easy art update

I’m very happy with the final product.  This beautiful lady smiles down on me every day while I work away in my office loft.

gibson girl 2

DIY Bubbly Disco-Ball Chandelier


I’m giving us all a break from My Happiness Commandments…so much introspection is a bit heavy and exhausting.  But, I am enjoying every minute of it!  To lighten things up a bit, I thought I would share the light fixture I made for Halle’s Tween Room Redo.  This was one of the most rewarding projects we did…easy, inexpensive, and it added a bit of glam.

Bubbly Disco-Ball Chandelier

There are so many possibilities for this project.  I chose clear glass because I wanted the light to shine through the balls, but colored might be fun too.  I added the disco balls because what tween girl doesn’t love sparkly gold disco balls hanging from their ceiling?  Lots of fun!

Inspiration from You Are My Fave and Twig Décor

My Change


*old light fixture, I got mine at ReStore
*ceiling medallion
*old ornaments, I used clear glass balls and mini disco balls
*fishing line
*gold leaf paint
*clear, round light bulbs

Total Cost: about $10; $5 for fixture + medallion and light bulbs


1.  Prepare your light fixture.  Mine had rectangular glass plates hanging from each of the spokes on the light fixture.  They had a little rubber piece that held them on, so I just removed the rubber tip and the glass plates came right off.  This particular fixture did not have a piece to attach to the ceiling, so I just picked one up at Home Depot.  I was going to paint it black, but decided that I liked the gold, so I left it.  It is easy to spray paint a light fixture, though, so you could make it whatever color you want.

2.  Prepare your ornaments.  The ornament hangers at the top of mine were silver so I brushed them with a bit of gold leaf paint so they would blend better.  I don’t mind mixing metals a bit, but I used lots of gold/brass in the room and the silver just looked funny.  These could be painted any color as well.

3.  Remove old light fixture and wire new one and attach to the ceiling.  I know nothing about wiring, but Joe is great at it so he did it for me because he is that kind of a guy!

4.  Add the ornaments.  This was the fun part.  I added ornaments to the light spokes with pieces of the fixture’s chain that we had cut off to make it higher.  I pulled the chain apart with needle nose pliers, slipped an ornament on, and then bent the piece of chain in to create a hook. 


Next, I used clear fishing line to hang the rest of the ornaments from various spots on the fixture, making sure that the spacing and heights were balanced, but not even.


5.  Add the light bulbs.  I used round, clear bulbs to blend with the rest of the chandelier, and to give a more direct light than a white bulb.  Using these bulbs also makes for some fun and dramatic lighting at night…circle shadows on the ceiling and walls.

6.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the tips of the fixture’s spokes…add the rubber tips or find something else.  I was in Ikea’s clearance area and spotted the tiny gold ornaments on clearance for $.75, so I snagged them, took off the tops of the ornaments, and stuck them on the ends of the spokes.  Done, and done!  I love how light and bright and shiny it is.


DIY String Art Panels


Another DIY from Halle’s bedroom redo…string art panels.  When I started planning Halle’s bedroom , she gave me a lot of input about what she wanted…black and orange were her color choices.  After some negotiating and lots of Pinterest views, we settled on something a bit less Halloween-like.  I realized the best strategy was for me to pick a few things that I could live with, and then let her choose from them.  When it came to art above her bed, string art was her number one choice.  So we found an inspiration piece and then changed it a bit.  She picked the string colors for each letter…they were exactly what I would have chosen.  Awesome!

DIY String Art Wall Panels

Here are the instructions I used and my inspiration piece: 

Inspiration and Instructions

My Change


*cabinet doors…one for each letter
*paint & brush
*pattern for letters…as Jen directs, make sure the font you choose is straight with no serifs

*colored string…I used embroidery floss

Total Cost = $25 for cabinet doors (I had everything else at home)


1.  Sand and paint cabinet doors.  I was a bit hesitant to put so many nail holes in Halle’s freshly painted wall, so I decided to create wall panels instead, using cabinet doors that I picked up at ReStore for $5.  After a good sanding, and two coats of white paint, they were ready for the nails and string.

2.  Add letters to cabinet doors.  Make letter patterns on your computer and center them on cabinet doors with a bit of painter’s tape…make sure you center them both vertically and horizontally.

3.  Add nails. Hammer a nail into the corners of each letter, leaving 3/4” poking out. Then carefully tear the paper away so that you don’t rip the nails out.   Ironically, the nails I used were too long and too fat so they came out of the back of the cabinet doors and split the wood.  I ended up nailing the cabinet doors to the wall after all, but I still like the framed look that the doors provide so I’m happy with that choice.

4.  Add string.  I followed Jen’s directions for adding the string, and actually Halle did most of the work herself. 

Now step back and admire your handiwork, and don’t even give those many nail holes a thought…spackle is your friend.


*Just a thought.  If you have children who are still at the jumping on the bed stage, this would not be the best project to place above their bed…above a dresser or closet would probably be a lot safer.  Halle was even a bit nervous the first night she slept with her string art above her bed.  Now she thinks it is the coolest thing ever!


DIY Confetti Wall Art


My favorite part of Halle’s bedroom redo is all of the fun DIY projects.  They add such a unique and personal touch to her room.  They were simple, inexpensive, and easy enough that we could do some of them together.  First up:

Confetti Wall Art

So simple, I’m not sure it is even worth explaining, but I do have a few little tips.  Also, my DIY projects usually follow this pattern:  I find an inspiration piece then change it to fit with my design, budget, supplies.

Inspiration Piece

My Change


*old frame
*art canvas that fits in frame
*mod podge
*sponge brush
*metallic circle confetti, comes in a variety of colors…I found these at a party supply store
Total Cost = under $5


1.  Plan your design.  I wanted to do a bit of an ombre effect, but I knew that some of Halle’s treasures would be sitting on the shelf at the bottom of the frame and they would cover the majority of the confetti.  So, I simply flipped the ombre effect.  Love how it turned out!

2.  Create.  Using your sponge brush, lightly brush mod podge onto the entire canvas. Then simply sprinkle the confetti where you want it.  I started at the top with a heavier amount of confetti, and then decreased the amount as I moved my way down.

*If you are using glossy mod podge, make sure you cover the entire surface of the canvas.  I missed a few spots and you can see the difference in the textures, but they were small so I didn’t worry about fixing them.

3.  Enjoy.  Let the canvas dry, hang inside your frame (don’t be worried if you lose a bit of confetti in the hanging process), and admire your handiwork.

*My canvas is not actually attached to the frame…I hung each one separately.





Image at Houzz

So exciting…my Paint Chip Calendar is in the Houzz !  If you aren’t familiar with Houzz, here is some of the Press they’ve received:

“As a launching platform for your decorating project, or just as idle inspiration while daydreaming about your next one, Houzz is practically a bottomless well of inspiration at the tip of your swiping fingers.” – September 10, 2011, See #26



“The Wikipedia of interior and exterior design.” – June 11, 2011


“The online equivalent of clipping decor inspiration from magazines… browse more than 40,000 images submitted by interior decorators, architects and design-minded users (filter by space, style and more), then save them in your virtual idea book.” – September 2010 issue, page 60


I’m thrilled to be featured on such a great website.  Design is my not-so-secret love so I’m definitely going to need to explore Houzz a bit.  It looks like a lot of fun.

Ornaments Part II


Next up for the ornament tutorial…sparkly white spheres.  I love these!  They are so retro, festive, and fun and can be used in lots of different ways.  Even Joe did a double-take when he saw them and commented on how great they looked.  I was inspired by these ornaments at Crate & Barrel and these spheres from Better Homes & Gardens. 

Sphere ornaments are also a very kid-friendly craft (except for the painting process)…I even convinced a couple of my daughters to help me with them.  I wanted mine white for Christmas, but I think they would be so fun painted a bright orange or shiny gold.

The full tutorial after the jump.



Supplies: flat toothpicks, styrofoam balls, spray paint, glitter
*Make sure you use flat toothpicks so they are not a hazard.  You can use any size styrofoam balls you like.  I chose relatively small ones so they would fit between the branches on my Christmas tree.  I did choose one a few sizes larger to use for the “star” at the top of my tree.  I used glossy spray paint to add some shine, and the glitter is white.
Step 1:  Push toothpicks into styrofoam balls.  We experimented with different distances between toothpicks, and decided that we liked them as close together as possible.  This does require a bit more paint and glitter.


Step 2:  If you need to, add a long skewer to one side and put skewer in a glass to hold it up while you push the toothpicks in.  I pushed the skewer through a cardboard box to hold the sphere up while I pushed the toothpicks in.  That way, I could leave it in the box while I painted.


Step 3:  Spray paint the spheres…make sure you do this in a well-ventilated and protected area.  As soon as you are done painting, sprinkle with glitter so it will stick to the paint.


This is a close-up shot before I glittered.  As you can see, there are a lot of places without paint.  You could leave them like this for a more natural feel.  I wanted mine really covered with paint and glitter, so I let them dry and then flipped them over and added more paint and glitter.  If you will be doing this, wait until the last coat of paint to add the glitter.


This is what it looked like after the glitter.  They are more sparkly than they look in this photo, but not quite as sparkly as the Crate & Barrel version.  I’m happy with them like this.


Now, I just have to decide where to put them because I want them everywhere!  I did place some on my little stick tree and I’m going to add some to my traditional Christmas tree.  I’ve also saved a few to put on my front porch in baskets with greenery and pine cones.  I think they would also look great on a wreath, hanging in front of a window, or across the top of a mantle like the Better Homes & Garden’s version. 


What do you think?  Too retro for you, or kind of funky and fun?

Ornaments Part I


I’m excited to share a few ornament tutorials with you today.  First up, Jolly Rancher ornaments.  These are a tradition at our house…one that our kids won’t let go of.  We hang these on the tree, make them into lollipops, and one year we packaged kits for a fun family gift for our neighbors.
Jolly Rancher ornaments are easy, kid-friendly, and with a Christmas tree light or window behind them, they resemble stained glass.  They are also easy to fix if you break them or make a mistake…just re-melt them and start over.

Read the full tutorial after the jump.


Supplies:  Jolly Rancher candies and disposable foil pans. 
*You can also make these with metal cookie cutters if you want festive shapes.  I like the retro look of the circles.  I make large circles with the smallest size individual pie tins, and small circles with muffin tins.  I have also made these with silicone muffin cups, which are great because they are reusable, but they are not as translucent so the stained-glass look is not as effective.
Step 1:  Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and unwrap candies.  You will need 7 candies for the pie tins, and 3 for the muffin tins.  Place candies in tins according to your design choice:  solid, color-blocked, speckled, or swirled.  For the speckled ornaments, crush the candies with a hammer before you place them in the tins.


Step 2:  Place tins in oven for approximately 5-10 minutes.  You want them completely melted, but not bubbly.


Step 3:  If you want some of the ornaments to have swirls, mix the colors together with a toothpick as soon as you take the candies out of the oven.  Do not stir them too much, or the colors will mix.  If the candy hardens before you get the effect you want, just put the tin back in the oven to melt the candy again.


Step 4:  After you have gotten the effect you want, allow the candies to cool slightly.  You can do this on the counter, or if you are impatient like me, you can put them in the freezer for about 2 mins. or until somewhat hardened.  Now you are going to make a hole to hang your ornament with.  I used the non-sharp end of a skewer, but a toothpick works great as well.  Make the hole about 1/2” from the edge of the ornament…f it is too close to the edge, the ornament may crack.  If the candies have hardened too much to make your hole, just pop them back in the oven for a couple of minutes and then make the hole.


Step 5:  Cool the candies completely…about 5 mins. in the freezer.  When they are completely cool, gently pull the tin away from the sides, and the ornaments should just pop out.  If you break them in the process, simply put them back in the oven and start again.  The tins get somewhat bent in this process so they are not always reusable, but you need the flexibility of the aluminum in order to pop the ornaments out.  I save the bent tins for future craft projects or I recycle them.


Step 6:  Hang with your favorite string or ribbon.  This time around, I used fishing line.  The ornaments will get sticky if you handle them a lot, so try and make this process quick.  This is what the finished designs look like…


Color Blocked



If you don’t like the scalloped edges that the tins leave, you can carefully break them off.  I like them, and I also like the impression that the pie tins leave in the ornament. 
Now hang where you like…this year, mine are hanging on a painted tree in front of a window.  They look lovely in the natural light.

Stop by later for a full tutorial on the sparkly white spheres…they are new this year and I love them!

Handmade Christmas


If I had time, everything at Christmas would be handmade…decorations, gifts, food.  Not only did my mom teach me that a handmade gift is so much more meaningful, I love handmade items because I get such a sense of joy and achievement.  My project board on Pinterest is overflowing with projects and I’ve added a lot more to my artsy board and Christmas board.  I’ve also been gathering supplies and starting on a few projects and I’m so excited to immerse myself in Christmas creations. 

I think handmade items used to have a bad rep, but companies like Etsy and Big Cartel are changing public opinion on handmade.  The media is helping with that, too.  Today I read a fantastic blog post on Design Sponge…Skip the Stores, Use Your Hands by Grace Bonney.  Here are a few quotes from Grace:

With all that’s going on in the world and most of our lives these days, sometimes the idea of buying something or dealing with shopping can seem a little hollow.

These ideas are things I’ve thought long and hard about giving (or wanting) this season- not because they’re fancy or trendy- but because if you were to receive them from anyone, you would immediately know that thought, time and care went into them.

As much as we all love shiny new presents, most of the gifts that people remember for years to come have a special story behind them, and I think these ideas are the right start for creating that sort of memory.

My feelings exactly!  I know that for many of us, time to handcraft anything at Christmas feels impossible and handmade can sometimes be more expensive.  But one thing I’ve discovered is that if I choose a few things to make and I have a clear set of directions and plans, I can make my gifts almost as quickly as I can buy them and for a lot less money and a lot more meaning. 

This year is going to be a big handmade year for me, but I’m going to step it up a notch with a lot of “thing changes,” transforming things I already have into something new.  I’m excited for the challenge and hope you might join me in a creative, crafty, handmade Christmas.  If you need some ideas, here are some of my favorites, and don’t forget to shop at Big Cartel and Etsy for unique and handmade gifts.  (Handmade doesn’t always have to mean handmade by you!)  I started my handmade shopping today by ordering Marta’s Christmas Poster.

Handmade Christmas Ideas
D*S Best of:  Handmade Gifts
Liz’s DIY Gold Toe Flats and her Craft and Tutorial Roundup series
Pinterest-search for what you want to make and choose your favorite DIY.  For example:  gift tags, pinecones, soap, candles.  Or choose a recipient like gifts for men, little girls, babies, grandmas, neighbors, etc.

Thrift Store + DIY

Image at Re-Nest

Loved this article at Apartment Therapy’s Re-Nest .  It lists 10 common thrift store finds, and then suggest ways to use them in DIY Projects.  Here are their top 10:

1.  Dishes
2.  Artwork
3.  Shelves and Secretaries (the furniture kind)
4.  Sweaters and Blankets
5.  Trunks, Suitcases and File Cabinets
6.  Dining Chairs
7.  Dining Tables
8.  Lamps
9.  Rocking Chairs

I love a great thrift store find and incorporating it into a DIY project is my kind of heaven!  In fact, I almost always repurpose or re-do thrift store items and make it my own.  I definitely gravitate to specific areas of the thrift store, so here are my top 10 common thrift store finds: 

1.  Lamps
2.  Artwork
3.  Mirrors
4.  Dishes
5.  Shoes
6.  Baskets
7.  Books
8.  Belts
9.  Frames
10.Wood Furniture

My latest purchases have been artwork for the “all girl” gallery I am creating on my landing and items for Halle’s bedroom redo.  I am also on the hunt for all-wool sweaters for felted wool Christmas stockings, but so far no luck.  How about you…anything you would change on these lists?