Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DIY Project: Framed Quote Print

This morning, a friend of mine posted this Voltaire quote on Pinterest, which really resonated with me. It linked to an Etsy shop, selling among other things, ceramic plaques with famous quotes.

Image Source: mbartsudios Etsy shop via Pinterst

A plaque like this wouldn't really work in my office, but I had the idea to print & frame it, in colors that would coordinate nicely with the rest of my decor. I made the print in Pages, and then printed it on photo paper, using my Canon photo printer for a saturated, professional look.

The shine on the glass makes the first line hard to see in this photo (it's easy to see in person), so I've added this closeup, which looks all dark & drab, but that is just so the lighter text will show up in the picture.

This was such an easy project, perfect for some quick DIY satisfaction, as a boost between finishing larger projects. And as it turns out, it fits perfectly in my new office, I'm so happy with it.

Image from my Instagram:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DIY Project: Stenciled Pillow

So, who knew finding rad pillows where such a nightmare? I sure did not.

For example, I just got these pillows, which arrived in the mail this morning. I got them on sale, at a killer price, but they were not returnable. When I ordered them, what was described on the website as "sequins" looked all kinds of gorgeous. I LOVED the look, and was literary squealing with happiness at my incredible "score". On arrived, it turned out what some people call "sequins" should have been called "sea shell buttons", and I was not pleased, to say the least. Sequins would go perfectly in my new office. Shell-button-covered pillows? Not so much.

However, the pillows are obviously very photogenic, since even my pictures make them look pretty cool, and a lot prettier than they are in person. But if you squint and look at the picture, with a little bit of imagination, you might be able to discern what I though they would actually look like, if they would have been made with actual sequins.

But there is no fooling anyone that these are "sequins" when you see them up close.

So, what's a girl to do with two pillows who scream "sea cottage" instead of "fabulous"?
Well... burning them did come to mind, but only for a second. Then I raided my craft supplies for 1 letter stencil, 1 black fabric marker, & 1 sharp blade.

First, I had to cut off all the buttons, and remove the thread left behind. It didn't take long, and I was left with a really nice, high quality linen pillow, complete with a hidden zipper.

The sea-shell pillows looks crazy good in pictures, and you can't event tell it's not sequins.
Here they look just like they did on the website, deceptively GORGEOUS & perfect for my room.

I started filling in my letters with my marker right away. I didn't work too meticulously, since I wanted a stamped, kind of rough look. Just as I thought "I better not have any typos" I quickly printed a typo. Le sigh. In the end, my repeated "it" got covered by a heart, and I'm ok with it as it is. Clearly, it's handmade, but it looks pretty good & offers nice contrast with the rest of my pillow population. I even kept one of the pillows in it's original, button-covered state. On it's own, it looks less cottage-y, and with a bit of squinting it looks almost half as pretty as it's picture.

The quote is from a David Gray song that my Husband & I listened to a lot when we met.

What do you think? An improvement, or best left as it was?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DIY Project: Trundle Guest Bed

As I've mentioned before, I'm currently redoing my office. My old office was a pretty boring space, built for studying, and studying alone. Since I'm not in school anymore, I've wanted to evolve my space to better suit my current needs. One of them being the need for a guest bed (or, preferably, two). We're having a lot of overseas guests coming to stay this year (yay!), the first set of which are scheduled to arrive in a couple of weeks. The air mattress we usually squeeze into my office to accommodate overnight house guests basically renders the entire room useless for anything besides sleeping on said mattress, and I'm so sick of it. So, spurred on by the shrinking window of time before soon-decending guests, I started making plans for my new office.

I decided upon adding a daybed, and I really wanted a trundle for it as well, to get two twin-sized guest beds. I found tons of daybeds with trundles online, none of which I wanted in my office. Then I found this daybed at World Market, and absolutely loved it.

It was just the thing I was looking for; nice quality, solid wood, sturdy, it fits a twin mattress, and it's gorgeous. To make it even better, it was on sale, and half the price of the other daybeds I'd seen online, and those had been made of cheap composite board. While it does fits a twin mattress, it didn't come with a trundle. But I got it anyways.

Then I started hunting for a freestanding trundle, to fit underneath the daybed. Yeah... that proved to be quite the challenge. They were all either too long, too high, too short, too ugly, or too expensive. Exasperated with my Goldilocks dilemma, I though 'why not make one?'. I mean, how hard can it really be? Well, as it turns out, not very.

I used Ana White's 'Trundle for Bed or Storage' plans to build my trundle, which made the whole project ridiculously easy, since her plans include a comprehensive list of supplies needed, the tools to use, where & how to measure for a correct fit, and a complete cut-list. Perfect! One lengthy trip to my local home improvement store for supplies, and I was ready to begin.

The build was super quick and easy, and quickly followed by sanding, priming, and painting. And then the worst part, waiting. My daybed is a blueish-gray tone, which I doubted I could recreate very well, so I decided not to try. Instead I painted the trundle in this white & gray striped pattern. Then all that was left was adding the hardware. Piece of cake!

Here is my newly finished trundle:

I'm still waiting for a lot more pillows to be delivered, as well as the new mattress for the trundle (trundle is pictured with a placeholder). I got the new mattress for the daybed at Target. It's a 10" memory foam mattress, and the quality actually exceeded my expectations. It's SO COMFORTABLE, and for $200, a total steal! The mattress that will go in the trundle is another memory foam, also from Target, but it's only 6" due to the lesser clearance. It will go all the way up to the bottom of the daybed, and not leave that gap that is there now. These pictures are a bit awkwardly angled, I know. I'm trying to keep the rest of the room, which isn't done yet, under wraps still. Better pictures will come with the full office reveal.

Total Cost (not incl. mattress):

It could have been made much cheaper, using cheaper wood than what I did, for somewhere between $50-$100 according to Ana White's calculations. Still, it was several hundred dollars cheaper than the cheapest store-version. So, by making this trundle myself, I got a trundle with a mattress for the same price as a store-bought, lesser quality trundle without a mattress, with very little work. Not bad.

All things considered, I am really happy with the outcome of this project. It was cheap, super quick, and really easy. I was a bit worried the trundle would look flimsy & obviously homemade, but it looks really good, and fits perfectly under my daybed. Even though it's a couple of inches shorter than the standard twin, it still fits a twin mattress with ease. Although, I'm thinking any tall friends hoping to be future house guests should call shotgun for the daybed asap.

Thanks Ana, for the excellent plans!


We have gotten so much use out of this daybed/trundle combo, but the one negative I wanted to mention is that the trundle bed can't be raised, to make a double bed. It's probably not a big deal if you're using it for your kids, but a few couples that have slept over have mentioned that having their partner sleep down on the floor, out of sight, was strange, and I wish there was a way to add folding legs that would allow us to raise the trundle when in use, like some models I've seen at several furniture stores. Just something to keep in mind for anyone coming by this post in the hunt for a daybed/trundle combo. The option to raise the trundle is a great feature. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

DIY Disaster: Touch-Up Paint Fail.

I'm currently in the midst of redoing my office, and figured I'd repair all the old nail holes and touch-up any scuff marks on the walls while I'm at it. Great plan!

So, very late last night (I had planned to do it in the morning, but since I hate waiting, I figured it would be much better to do it right then, and have it dry while I slept), I started filling all the holes with spackle, and the Husband retrieved the paint from storage in the garage. While I waited for the goo to dry, I started touching up the rest of the house as well. Before long, both the Husband & I were walking around the house, paintbrush in hand, determined to erase years of wear & tear off the walls. As we stumbled to bed several hours later than planned, I noticed that the areas that had already dried didn't look better at all, they looked worse! As if instead of erasing the flaws, we had sprinkled glitter on them to make them stand out. Oh hell, what now?

Yeah... So, as it turns out, ass-u-me-ing that you're working with the correct paint is not better than making 100% sure you're working with the correct paint. Who knew? (Really wish I had a sarcastic font right about now...)

Just typing that, I want to slap myself in the face.

The full scale of this DIY Disaster is hard to fully appreciate in the photos, but I've included this anyways. For laughs. (I'll be the first to admit, I find this particular snafu rather hilarious. Annoying, but hilarious nonetheless.)

If you've every wondered what glosse-white-on-matte-white chickenpox would looks like, now you know.
You're welcome.

And if you will ever need to touch-up your walls, now you won't forget to make sure the paints match.
You're double welcome.

Wow. I'm so glad we did every. single. room. instead of just my office. (Yeah, I'm really going to need that sarcasm font...)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DIY Project: Studded Flats

While catching up on Fashion Week inspiration I spotted some amazing studded heels, and instantly feel in love. A quick search lead me to this absolutely fabulous DIY from A Pair & A Spare and just knew I had to do my own version.


Love, love, LOVE!!!
Here is my version, using flats:

Studded Flats DIY:

What you'll need:
1 pair of shoes, heels or flats
6 screw-on studs
1 hole maker
1 flat screw driver

I used a pair of coral flats, from J.Crew, and 10-inch silver colored cone studs.

What do do:
1. Assemble materials.
2. Make holes for the studs.
3. Insert screws.
4. Tighten studs.
5. Done!

Quick, easy, and so freaking awesome!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

DIY Project: Painted Rug - Redux

I decided to paint the second rug I use in the backyard as well, to go with the one I made recently, and coordinate the colors/pattern, but not match it. Instead I did this chevron stripe, alternating two of the colors I used on my first rug, using the same technique as before. I also painted our old outdoor furniture, which after winter, pretty much looked like they were at death's door.

Here is my new rug:

Furniture Before/After:

I love the rug, and I'm glad to be able to milk another season out of our old patio furniture. I'm happy the color of the furniture how matches the lounge furniture under the canopy.

I still need to get a new umbrella, after the Husband decided to be nice & wash the old one, which surprisingly resulted in the umbrella disintegrating into a wad of shredded fabric. Ooops!

Now, my backyard is that much closer to be ready for Summer. I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DIY Project: Neon Shoes

Today's post were supposed to cover one of the 3 huge projects I completed this weekend, but they will all have to wait. The fabulous Maegan, over at Maegan, unknowingly threw a monkey wrench in my plan by posting this wonderful Neon Shoes DIY & Painting Leather (Seriously, check this out if you haven't already! It's amazing!) project this morning:

The Inspiration/Tutorial:

As soon as I saw the gorgeous shoes she had created, I died. It was love at first sight! That girl is so freaking talented!!!

Instantly my brain started buzzing with ideas, and then I remembered the Pour La Victoire sandals that were collecting dust at the bottom of my shoe closet! I got them last year from Gilt, and I've never even used them. And though my shoes are tan, not nude (I wish), and flats instead of heals, I figured I might be able to work it anyways.

After digging the shoes out of hiding, and raiding my nail polish stash, I got started. The project took almost no time at all. Of course, impatient as I am, I did use a hairdryer to cure each coat in between applications. And, shhhhh, I didn't tape each section off either, I just painted it on using the brush from each polish. The Wet & Wild polishes, in particular, have really great, wide, smooth brushes that apply polish surprisingly well. While my shoes fully dried, I snapped this in-progress pic:

After the polish was sufficiently cured, I cleaned up the edges with a few brushings of acetone, and then I was done! So quick & easy! Here are my finished shoes:

I love the colors, especially against the neutral leather, and the lacquered surface looks like patent leather. Although some parts, like under the toes, are not as smooth as it could have been, if I would have been more meticulous with the white "base" coat. But the color is so bright that you can barely tell, unless you're really peering at them up close, and my toes are going to be all over that always. Trust me, nobody will want to inspect them too closely for fear of getting toe-daggered in the eye. The minty green strap (my favorite), and the pink section, both look really good, and all the visible edges are crisp. While I was a bit worried about that buckle, it all works perfectly.

The colors I used:

Spoiled by Wet & Wild - Pretty in Punk
Spoiled by Wet & Wild - Mind Your Own Beeswax
Loreal Nail Colors- Club Prive
OPI - Swedish Nude

I honestly had no idea that you could use nail polish on leather, but I love how it turned out, and will definitely try this again in the future. While I wouldn't usually buy a lot of super trendy things, I'm really happy with my new neon shoes. Finally, I might actually get some use out of these sandals.

Thanks, Maegan, for the brilliant inspiration & great tutorial!