DIY Art: Using Stencils

I’m working with a friend on a piece of art for over her fireplace.  We were inspired by a piece that I found online, but it didn’t fit our budget.  We both like DIY projects, so we figured we could totally do this.

051I figured the easiest way would be to use some stencils.  Stencils are everywhere, in case you haven’t noticed.  There are so many styles and options, and you can find them online and in stores.  It’s almost mind boggling.  Which is why I have none.

Never fear.  I did have some cardstock and scissors, as well as an hour on the couch with Ave while we folded and cut random shapes and patterns.

013 Then I just laid them out in a random pattern on some scrap wood I found.  You could do this on canvas or artist’s paper for a less rustic look.  I didn’t spend much time on it, as I was just trying to figure out my method.  I imagine if you had spent a little more time and thought with your design than I, it wouldn’t turn out so weird quirky.  I didn’t care.  I figured I could always take the finished product to the lake, where everything else quirky ends up.

006Then I took some spray adhesive like this

010 - Copyand lightly sprayed it on the back of the stencil.

011 - CopyUsing my fingers, I lightly pressed the edges down onto the board so the paint wouldn’t bleed through.

017 (2)Then I got my paint.  Just my usual suspects.  I picked colors from my palette at the lake, red, yellow, turquoise, etc…

020 - CopyI used a dabber, or whteveryoucallit.  Just remember when you load it up, don’t over blend your colors.


025This will help them to blend easier.  I wanted my piece to be full of color, and for those colors to blend into an almost airbrushed look.  Anyways, again I was totally random in my application of my paint.  I just tried to keep it fairly symmetrical.

029I went ahead and filled in both the positive and negative spaces.  I’m not sure I meant to, but once I did there was no turning back.  At this point, I knew it would end up at the lake.  I just didn’t know if it would end up on a wall or in a bonfire.  Totally freaky looking.  I still rolled with it.  Heck, I even added more stencils.  Why not?  I figured I couldn’t mess up something that I had no plans for, right?

031 (2)Skipping forward (I think it got too dark to take pics and I couldn’t wait till morning to move forward), I removed the stencils.  After adding a little more detail by freehand, like little dots, and giving it a good sanding here’s how it ended up…

055 (2)See how the colors blended and faded into one another?052Some of that is from painting it two different colors, then sanding to reveal the bottom color.  See my corners?  I love how the red is coming out from under the turquoise.

056 - Copy053In the end, it turned out nothing like our awesome inspiration piece, but I’m not too disappointed.  I gained some perspective on a method, and am able to give her some tips when she decides to tackle this project for herself:

  • Take your time with your design.  It’s the one thing you can’t necessarily change in the end.  But, at the same time, don’t over think it.  Keep it simple.
  • Add layers of both color and detail.  It gives depth to the finished piece.
  • Have fun with it.  There’s really no way to plan out exactly how it’s going to turn out.  Just focus on the colors and in the end I think it would be successful.

051I’m thinking this piece is going to end up on a wall, after all.  We’ve got lots going on at the lake these days, including some new floors.  I’ve been taking some photos, and when we get a little further along, I’ll share them with you, as well as a photo of where this thing ends up.

Go out, be inspired, and be inspiring today peeps.





Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie

048 It snows in Texas.  No, I’m for real.  Living here most of my life, that’s not something I’ve ever really said.  Yeah, we’ve had snow in the past, so you could say we’ve seen it before, but you wouldn’t really say it snows in Texas.  But, for the last few years, we’ve actually seen snow more than once during the winter.  Heck, we had a white Christmas this year.  And not just a few flakes.  Real snow.  And, it’s snowing again today.

The cold hit on Sunday, and I could think of nothing better than some warm, comfort food for dinner.  The kind that makes your kitchen smell warm, and when you’re finished you feel full and satisfied.  So, we made Shepherd’s Pie.  Now, I know this isn’t the prettiest food, but you’re going to have to trust me on this.  It’s sort of like a beef pot pie, with its rich, rosemary gravy-like sauce and tender vegetables.  It’s a one dish meal, which my family loves.  Make it this winter and your family will hug you.  Here’s the recipe…

0841 lb lean ground beef

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced, steamed carrots (I steam mine in about 1/2″ water in a covered bowl in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes)

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced or quartered

1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained

2 tsp worsteschire sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 cup beef broth

2  large potatoes (diced, cooked, and mashed your favorite way–butter and milk for me)

1.  In large skillet, saute beef and onion till beef is brown and onions are translucent.

2.  Add carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, worsteschire, and rosemary.  Use your spoon to sort of break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces.  Simmer 10 minutes.

3.  Mix flour and broth till smooth in a separate bowl.  Pour into beef mixture and stir.  Cook about 5 minutes, or until thick.

4.  Pour beef mixture into a large baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with the mashed potatoes, spreading evenly.

5.  Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes until bubbly, and the potatoes are starting to turn golden.  Garnish with fresh parsley.  Serve with crusty bread for sopping up the sauce.  Enjoy!




Friday Finds

Today I finally got all of the kids back to school.  I’ve been cooped up for quite a while, so I couldn’t wait to see what was out there for me to discover.  The weather was gorgeous, which was a good thing seeing as how I was in and out of my car 231 times, scouring my little end of the world for finds to share with y’all.  I wasn’t messing around, either.  This is what happens when you deprive yourself of something you love…when you get it again you go nuts.  Bear with me, there’s lots to see…maybe something for you!

First up we have this great little Early American bench.  Tell me this cutie wouldn’t look great in your foyer with a couple of pillows and a mirror over it?  Perfect little zone to put on shoes or to drop your bags on your way in the door.  $125 tells me it won’t be there long.

IMAG1509 Next up is this adorable black barley twist twin bed–headboard and footboard.  It has great patina, and it’s only $50 so I doubt it will be around long, either.  This would look so good in a boy’s room.IMAG1512I also found lots of accessories to share, including this milk glass pedestal.  I can see it with apples or other fruit for everyday use, but it could also do double-duty to hold cupcakes or petit fours for a party.  So sweet. $32 IMAG1513 Do you ever pick something up in a store with the intention of buying it, only to put it down at the last minute because you don’t really need it, then to get home and really wish you had bought it?  Well, that’s what happened with this bamboo-framed art.  The art itself is ugly as hell, but I loved the frame and thought it could be reused for another piece of art.  And, it’s marked down to just $12.  I’m so stupid.

IMAG1514No, I haven’t been smoking crack, I truly believe that this China cabinet has major potential.  It has glass shelves along the sides and more storage/display inside.  The brass hardware was great, and if you were to paint it, I’m sure it would command attention in a dining room.  $180. IMAG1504[1]This chest of drawers stopped me in my tracks.  Hello.  Again, awesome hardware, and the finish wasn’t bad either.  It would look good painted or left as-is.  $85 and it’s gonna be gone by tomorrow. IMAG1505[1]I liked the lines and the size of this coffee table.  I’ve seen better bargains at $75 but it’s a good solid piece of furniture, and it would be great painted, or left as-is. IMAG1506[1]This sofa table actually is a bargain at $65.  There are so many uses for a table like this, besides behind a sofa.  I think it would be great in a foyer with baskets below for holding shoes and mittens.  Add a lamp and mirror, with a bowl for your keys and you’d have a welcoming entry.  Again, the finish was good, but paint wouldn’t hurt, either. IMAG1507[1]Oh, this mirror.  Tell me you don’t think it’s beautiful and I’ll tell you you’re nuts.  Would you like to put it above that little bench, or maybe that table?  I would.  $65 and it can be yours. IMAG1498[1] This little drop down desk may end up in my living room.  I’ve been shopping for a secretary for that room, and haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for.  This isn’t exactly it either, but the dimensions and price are right…$160!  I wanted something with storage above (like a secretary), but this could work.  And, I could probably even DIY a hutch for it.  We shall see.IMAG1500[1] Another fun little accessory I found was this teal marble obelisk.  The color was fab, and it’s only $16.  IMAG1499[1]These green plates were my first find of the day and they got me so excited.  They caught my eye immediately because of their color, and I thought they’d look great hung on the wall together as a grouping.  They were priced individually, but all together they were $55.    IMAG1496[1]Everyone needs a globe at home.  This one is pretty, with its shiny brass stand, plus it’s on the smaller side, making it a good size for just about anywhere.  $20 IMAG1497[1]And, last but not least is this alabaster lamp.  The shade is awful, but that’s easy to change.  It’s a smaller lamp, so it would be good on a desk or small table.  $56. IMAG1503[1]Well, that’s it for today.  I hope you get to get out and do something you love this weekend.



It’s not so hard being green

Well, again I left y’all hanging. I truly had good intentions of posting more holiday photos and recipes, but then that awful thing happened in Connecticut and I just didn’t feel like it.  Like most everyone else, all I wanted to to was hold my family tighter than ever and create warm and loving memories with my kids during what should be a joyous time of year.  Working and decorating weren’t even on my radar.  We did end up having a special Christmas, and I did take pictures which I will (hopefully) get around to sharing one of these days.

But for now it’s a new year, and I’m looking forward to it.  Having 3 kids at home for 2 weeks meant that I didn’t get out much, so I spent a lot of time organizing, cleaning out, and rethinking some areas in my home.  I’m working on some plans for them that I will  share when I finish.  They are definitely lofty for my budget (which is nill), but I’m going to try to show you how to get the biggest bang for your decorating budget by doing little things at a time.  Stay tuned for that.  One of my resolutions will be to share more with y’all on this here blog.

To begin, I wanted to share a moodboard I did featuring Pantone’s 2013 color of the year: Emerald.

photo(5)Pantone, in case you don’t know, is the color standard for pretty much everything.  They standardize color for a wide range of industries like fashion, architecture/design, and printing.  Each year they announce a color of the year, and when they do, you can be sure you’ll see it popping up everywhere.

Here’s the sources:

Sofa–when your big furniture pieces are neutral, it’s easy to change up the look with art, accessories, and pillows.

Rug–another neutral

End Table

Floral Lumbar Pillow–this pillow is so pretty, and notice all of those shades of green

Grey Polka Dot Pillow

Orange Velvet Pillow–add a complimentary color into the mix to keep it interesting.

Green Chevron Pillow–(this one’s no longer available, but here’s another)

Vintage Egg Print–I use these all the time

Vintage Foo Dogs–these guys would look great nestled in a book shelf

Tray–in our accent color

Butterfly print–aren’t those colors amazing?!  I could see this as part of a vignette with a chest below, and that lamp.

Go out and be inspired.  Have a great day!



ps…linkin’ up here