Sunday, 26 June 2011

New Stuff

I've picked up a couple of pretty little things over the past few weeks.

First, I used some of my birthday money to buy a mirrored bird tray from Urban Outfitters, which is now hosting a trio of vases in my bedroom:
Then, when we were in Santa Barbara last week, I found a carved wood tray and a carved wood box at an Indian stall on the side of the road:
Aren't they pretty?

Oh, and while I was looking to see if that first tray was still available online (it wasn't, sadly), I discovered that Urban Outfitters has started doing King size bedding. Do you know how exciting this is?! They still don't have my favorite (this one), but they do have these pretty ones in King now.
Painted Medallions Duvet CoverWaterfall Ruffle Duvet Cover Corner Ruffle Duvet CoverFloral Medallion Duvet Cover
Go check out the rest here. :)

Friday, 24 June 2011

Chalk Board Frame

I still haven't gotten round to painting S's room. Or the bookcase. Neither have I finished beautifying my binders. Want to know why (apart from going on vacation)? Because I found this - the Ung Drill frame - at Ikea, and all my other projects went out the window.
UNG DRILL Frame black Width: 23 ¼ " Height: 33 ½ " Picture, width: 15 ¾ " Picture, height: 19 ¾ "  Width: 59 cm Height: 85 cm Picture, width: 40 cm Picture, height: 50 cm
I marveled at it's beauty for a second and then I realized I simply had to buy it and turn it into a chalk board. Obviously.
The black plastic wasn't doing it for me, so I pulled out my Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer. It claims it can be used on any surface without sanding, and I've had a tub sitting in the cupboard for months waiting to be used on the bookcase.
After I'd coated it, I wasn't convinced. It looked streaky and freaky.
I do wonder whether it did that because I was painting in 95°f/35°C) heat (it's recommended not to paint above 90°), but when I googled for images of other things primed with Zinsser and found one that looked similarly streaky, I let it dry and then started on the paint.
(I also gave that varnished wooden frame a coat but I have yet to do anything else with that.) 
It took two coats of Benjamin Moore's Tranquil Blue to cover all those fiddly bits, but the paint stayed put - Zinsser works!

I have to add here that I used a cheap-o $2 brush for the primer, thinking that with all the dabbing necessary to get in all the crevices, it might wreck my lovely Purdy brush. It so wasn't worth it. I used my Purdy for the paint (which took twice as much dabbing), and look at the difference after all that:
Cheap-o brush was destroyed and went straight in the bin. Purdy has been with me for two years and is still going strong - best $16 I ever spent (on a brush).

Oh, by the way, this whole process would have been infinitely quicker with spray paint. But I live in an apartment and there isn't really anywhere to spray paint here, so I did what I had to do. The whole painting part probably took about two and a half hours total (for three coats).

Then came the fun part. I have been itching to give the metallic wax finishes by Rub & Buff a go for yonks. I couldn't decide which colour I wanted, so I threw caution to the wind and bought all of them. (I feel like I should insert evil laughter here or something. Maybe that's my guilty conscience? Ah whatever, they were only $33.)
My initial thought was to use gold, but then I saw the pewter and went for that instead. I tried using a cloth to apply it, but it was easier to just use my finger. Once I'd spread it over all the pretty details, it was looking pretty good...
...But when I stood back, it didn't feel finished...
Since I had the option, I decided to go back to Plan A and use gold to accent the Pewter. I tried Gold Leaf first, but it was a bit too yellow, then I settled on Grecian Gold. I didn't use much - just a little to highlight certain areas.
Where it felt a bit washed out with just the Pewter, the Grecian Gold gave it more depth and looked better from a distance. I love it.
That was the frame done. Yay. Next, I gave the glass insert a couple of coats of Rustoleum Chalk Board Paint using a weeny roller (waiting four hours in between). You can buy chalk board paint in lots of colours but I went with basic black.
I reassembled it, covered the chalk board completely in a light dusting of chalk to activate the surface (as per the instructions), and my new chalk board was good to go.
It's currently sitting in the kitchen, but I'm not convinced it really works in there. It might end up above our desk when we move our office. Anyhoo, such decisions can wait.

One more time - before...
And after...

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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ikea Hackers Feature & Chalk Board Preview

My coffee table was just featured on Ikea Hackers, which is rather nice. :) I love trawling through all the ingenious things ideas on Jules' blog, so I'm really excited that my table has been added to the mix. Check out the post here.
Speaking of Ikea hacks, last weekend I got completely sidetracked from all the things I said I was going to get done when I was perusing the frames section in Ikea and came across this beauty...
{Yes, that would be my reflection. Hi!}
The cogs started turning the minute I laid eyes on it. I brought it home and started working on it. I really wanted to get this finished so I could show you all before we left for our vacation but it didn't happen. :(

I'll share all the details next week; in the meantime, here it is on it's way to fulfilling its destiny - as a turquoise chalkboard!
See you next week!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Kreativ Blogger Award, Yo

Aww shucks. Miss Charming from Charming has awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks missus! 
I've only just discovered her blog (like about half an hour ago) but I already love it! Go check it out - she has done some drool-worthy furniture makeovers and other equally gorgeous DIY projects (crepe paper carnations, anyone?) and I totally love her game room makeover - gorgeous!

Here are the rules of the award:
1. Copy/paste the Kreativ Blogger Award picture onto your blog
2. Thank the person who awarded it to you and post a link to her/his blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself we do not know
4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award
5. Link to them
6. Notify your 7 bloggers of their award

So, you wanna know seven things about me?

  • I miss English binders. Or lever-arch files, or whatever they're called. America is very good at so many things, but apparently filing products are not included.
  • I love turquoise. No, really.
  • I really want to visit China.
  • I met my hubby while I was on a year abroad at UCLA. I was 19, he was 20. We had a long distance relationship for two years before I moved here to marry him.
  • My dog's full name is Theodore Woofy. It was a bad idea - I think we set the course of his character traits from day one (he is very, very woofy).
  • I have an affinity for beautiful ballet flats. I may or may not have 45 pairs. (Okay, I don't. But I wish I did!)
  • I had five wisdom teeth.

Aren't you glad you know all that? Probably not. Anyhoo, now I shall pass this on to some other wonderful blogs (in no particular order):

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

How to Decorate Without Paint - UK Edition

A couple of my readers have asked whether the products I talked about in my original version of this post are available in the UK. On that note (as promised!), here is a Brit version of How To Decorate Without Paint!

Temporary Wallpaper
Sadly, Tempaper (makers of fabulously removable temporary wallpaper) doesn't sell in the UK. Still, you might consider using normal wallpaper with temporary adhesion, like Winston's Roost did here - this gorgeous wallpaper is attached to the wall with thumb tacks and the edges are held down with blue tack.

Laura Ashley has some exquisite wallpaper designs (like Oriental Garden paper I used on my coffee table) but other places worth a look include Amazon, B&Q and other DIY shops.

Make Your Own "Wallpaper" with Fancy Masking Tape
HappyTape sells gorgeous Japanese washi paper tape from about $3 for a single 50' roll - perfect for a tighter budget. Jenny at Pearl Street Interiors used their aqua masking tape to create a subtle diamond pattern in her entryway. Genius!

From here

I haven't found a stockist in the UK, but HappyTape does ship internationally and it's not much more expensive than shipping to the States ($4.25 to the States versus $6.95 or about £4.20 to the UK).

A slight less renter-friendly option is to use ribbon and thumbtacks like Rita from Design Megillah did. You might be left with a lot of patching to do when you leave, but it sure is pretty!

From here

Use Sticky Back Plastic (aka Contact Paper)
If you have plaster walls (this method isn't so great on drywall - it can be hard to remove), sticky back plastic can provide an inexpensive starting point for more interesting walls. Stephanie at Sabbe Interior Design used white contact paper to create a chevron pattern in her rental.

See the tutorial here

 She used the same method to make bird decals too.

Some of the designs are yummy enough to use as-is:

Left: Heritage Flock Black & White - £5.99 (450mm x 1m)
Right: Glitter Fablon - £4.99 (450mm x 1m)
Available from UK Wallpaper

And if you'd rather not stick it on the walls, you can always use it to cover the back of a bookshelf or a china cabinet, like Jesyka at Visual Vocabulary did here:
{Love love love!}
You can buy plain, transparent sticky back plastic at WH Smith. Look for more decorative versions at B&Q, Homebase and other DIY shops. UK Wallpaper sells a range of Fablon sticky back plastic, including solid colours, lookalike wood grain or granite and the pretty designs above. Prices start at about £2.99 per sheet.

Wall Decals
If you have drywall in your place, or you aren't interested in making your own decals, ready-made decals can be an equally affordable option. They range in price starting from as little as £7.

B&Q has a limited but pretty selection, including these beauties (available online only):
Gold Mirror - £27.98
Damask Giant Wall Sticker - £19.98
Lace Giant Wall Sticker - £26.98
And All Posters is definitely worth a look, with a much bigger selection, including these lovelies:
Grey Branch With Birds - £26.99
{Cute for a girl's room}
Butterflies - £19.99
Sophia - £6.98 (on sale)

Black Chandelier - £26.99 (also available in white, hot pink, grey and other colours)

Jazz Up A Kitchen or Bathroom with Tile Stickers
Got a boring back splash? Give it a custom look with tile tattoos.

UK stockists include Benporium (which also ships free to the US):

Geometric 01 - £12.50/$20.00 (set of 8)
And Mibo:
Ventnor Blue - £12.50 (set of 8)
Other UK sites include Tile TransfersEasy Tile and Spin Collective.

Starched Fabric Walls
Another alternative to wallpaper - take enough fabric to cover your wall, apply liquid starch (available in supermarkets) with a roller, and stick the fabric to the wall like Kim Myles did here. When it's time to move, dampen the fabric with a sponge and it'll come right off again. I am itching to try this myself!

You could also use decorative thumb tacks to secure fabric to the wall for even easier removal.

Please let me know if you find anywhere else in the UK that sells any of these products, and if you decide to give any of these ideas a go, I'd love to see your results!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Pretty Kids Rooms

There is a trend is contemporary design to create children's rooms that aren't "too childish." Think muted neutrals or very dark color palettes, monochromatic styling and grown-up accessories. While I can certainly appreciate that aesthetic, it's not really my cup of tea. So for S's big boy room, I'm embracing "traditional" bright colours and kid-friendly design with a focus on lots of his favorite things (not just picking one - I'm also not one for overly themed rooms).

I've shared the design board for this room before (here and here), but here it is again:

There wasn't one particular room that inspired this design, but I did love the color choices in this one:
From a Crown Paint catalog
 And the striped walls in this one:
Pottery Barn Kids Madras Nursery
Here are some other colorful kids' rooms and nurseries that aren't afraid to echo their occupants' young, fun personalities.
All the rooms pictured above are featured on OhDeeDoh, as is this one below. I have to give this one a special mention though because, even though the walls are grey, there is still a lot of color. And, more pointedly, it's in a Chicago loft very similar to ours! See more details at kitschicagoan.
My plan this weekend is to at least get started on painting my little man's room. After all the painting I did in our master bedroom, I'm finding it a bit difficult to get motivated to begin another whole room, but seeing pretty pictures like these always helps!

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