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Friday, October 24, 2014

{five minute friday} Simple Art Knock-Off that Saves $180!

If you've been following my progress on my master bedroom redesign for the One Room Challenge, then you already got a peek at this project yesterday, but today I'm giving you the details. One of my big projects for our bedroom is a gallery wall to help hide our television. In addition to photos, I knew I wanted the gallery to include several works of art - preferably art with some texture or dimension to balance out all of the metals and straight-lines in our modern design plan.

While shopping at West Elm a few weeks ago, a couple of pieces of art really caught my eye, including a framed piece of handmade paper. I liked the natural texture and color, but because it was square in a square frame, it still had a modern feel to it. The only thing I didn't like was the price tag. I was hoping to spend under $100 for my entire gallery wall, including all of the frames, so there was no way I could spend $189 on a single piece of art. 

Instead, for just $10 and in only five minutes time, I took the idea and created my own knock-off version!  

The best part of creating your own art, besides the savings, is that you can customize it to fit your needs! The original was larger than would fit well into my gallery wall, so I chose an 8x8 square frame. While I could have more closely matched the original by picking a light wood frame, I instead chose a black frame to coordinate with my other gallery wall plans.

I purchased the frame during a big sale at Aaron Brothers frames {both Aaron Brothers and Michaels are currently having BOGO sales on frames - and I had an additional coupon}. The original West Elm art was a framed piece of handmade paper, but I decided to use burlap for a similar look. I already had a roll of burlap that I had purchased for another project, but if you don't need a whole roll, you could buy just a small piece off of a bolt at a fabric store for a couple of dollars.

I unrolled the burlap, cut off a piece, and trimmed off the finished edges.

I originally planned to give my art a grey background, like the original inspiration piece, so I cut a square of grey scrapbook paper to fit inside the frame.

Rather than trying to glue the burlap to the paper {which I feared would look messy because of the open weave}, I simply sandwhiched the burlap between the glass and the paper, then secured the back of the frame in place.

This is what my first attempt at this project looked like {and if you saw yesterday's One Room Challenge update post, this is what you saw}. I liked it, but it just wasn't right. Two things bugged me about it. The burlap looked a little too perfect, and the although I liked the grey background which mimicked the original, I feared it wouldn't look great with the white mats of all of my other gallery wall frames.

I decided to make a couple of tweaks to see if I could improve upon it. I took the burlap back out of the frame and began pulling a few "threads" out from the edges and used my scissors to trim the edges to be a bit less even. I liked the direction it was headed, so I continued to pull a few threads out from the center of the square and used my fingernails to push threads around, making the weave less even.

Since nearly all of my gallery wall frames will have white mats, I wanted to see what my burlap square would look like on a white background. I chose a piece of white handmade paper from my scrapbook supply {about $1.50 from a local craft store}.

Here's what I ended up with. It doesn't read in the photo, but the white background paper has a nice texture that enhances the natural feel of the burlap.

Even though it took me two tries to get to a final product I was happy with, this entire art project only took me five minutes. Talk about an easy way to save $180! My two different versions look quite different, which drives home my point that the best part of creating your own art is the ability to customize it to fit your needs!

The grey scrapbook paper backing looked more like the original {imagine it in a light wood frame, and you can see it would have been a pretty close match}. But the white mat paired with the black frame will flow better with my gallery wall plans, and I ultimately prefer the look of the "less perfect" burlap.

While I was at it, I also created knock-off versions of two other pieces of West Elm art. These other two projects were also very easy, and I'll be sharing the tutorials for them soon.

If you are interested in seeing the other progress I've made on my One Room Challenge space, you can find all the posts here:

FALL 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Modern Metro Master Bedroom

SPRING 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Vintage Preppy Little Man's Lounge

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{one room challenge} Week 4: Knock Off Art & TV Gallery Wall Inspiration

Finally! Finally a week where I feel like I can see real progress and I'm excited to write my One Room Challenge update! Nonetheless, the chaos in our master bedroom {which I referred to last week as the "Storm Before the Calm"} remains. In fact, the chaos increased when we had to move all of the furniture to the center of the room in order to paint, but hubby and I have temporarily relocated to the guest room and having a restful place to sleep has improved my perspective.

This week, my efforts have been all about DIY art projects, but before I get to that, let me share a few other updates.

We banished the beige! The builder of our house painted one charcoal colored accent wall in our master bedroom, which we love, but the remainder of the room was a dark tan. The color itself worked fine with our decor, but I felt like it blended in too much with our stacked stone fireplace, and the color was a real light sucker! Despite being south facing and having a very large window, as well as two sliders, the room always felt dark and a bit bleak.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that we were surrounded by grey paint samples this week. Picking the right paint color is always a challenge, but greys might be the most difficult. As one commenter so perfectly put it - grey is a color chameleon! If you aren't careful, you can end up with a grey paint that reads baby blue, khaki green, or even purple once it's on the walls.

After a lot of consideration and comparisons, we finally picked Benjamin Moore's Metropolitan. Don't you just love when even the color name seems perfect for the space? When I shared my design plans for the master bedroom in week 1, I titled the plan "Modern Metro Master" - and now the room really is metropolitan right down to the paint on the walls. {This happened in Beckett's room during the Spring One Room Challenge as well. Two of the paint colors in my son's "Little Gentleman's Lounge" were called Soft Jazz and Symphony Blue}.

Because of the challenge of painting around the stacked stone in the room, and because of the time constraints, we decided to pay someone to paint the room. I generally do my own painting, so I am surrounded by the color as it goes up on the walls. But this time it was fun to walk in and see the impact of the new color once it was completely painted. The light grey really brightens up the space, and the fireplace now feels like even more of a feature.

My mom is helping me to make the flat panel drapes for the bedroom, as well as a new blanket for our bed, so she stopped by this week to pick up the fabric. After living with only solar shades, but no drapes, for the past 6 years, I really can't wait to see the drastic difference the drapery panels will make!

Ok, now one to what I'm really excited about!! I mentioned in week 1 that I wanted to find a way to make the television on our dresser less of a focal point - especially since it is the first thing you see when walking through the bedroom door .

Long ago I pinned this inspiration photo from Pottery Barn, and I've known since then that I wanted to create a gallery wall around our tv.

via Pottery Barn
With this photo as my television gallery wall inspiration, I began creating a list of photos and other items to fill the space around our tv. Since it's in our master bedroom, I want the photos to be all about the two of us - but I don't want an entire wall of photos of us. To give the gallery a high-end and collected feel, I knew I wanted to mix in some works of art.

A few weeks ago I was walking through my local West Elm when I this awesome framed art caught my eye. I love the spirals that appear to be floating inside the frame, but I didn't love the $199 price tag!

via West Elm
The original was created from thinly shaved pieces of stained ash wood arranged on a linen backdrop - but I knew I could create a similar look in a shadow box using spirals of paper. I love the consistent look of the black frames in the gallery wall inspiration photo, so I purchased a 12x12 black shadow box frame. Rather than creating my spirals from a solid color of paper {which would have looked even more like the original}, I instead went for a modern, graphic look by creating my spirals from book pages. I'll share my full tutorial on this project soon, but here's a quick look at my finished work of DIY art. Best of all, it only cost me the price of the shadow box and a mat...$14!

I was also inspired by two other works of art from the current West Elm art collection, and I managed to knock both of them off for even smaller price tags!

This framed piece of handmade paper from West Elm appealed to me because it would bring a nice natural color and texture to help balance the modern finishes in our bedroom - but once again, the $189 price tag just wasn't in the budget.

via West Elm

For just $10, and in about 5 minutes, I was able to create a very similar look! I'll be sharing the quick and easy tutorial for this DIY art project tomorrow!

Finally, I love the simplicity of Apertures from the Minted for West Elm collection. Unfortunately, the colors aren't right for our room, and at $89, it was more than I could budget for our gallery wall. 

via West Elm

But I put my Photoshop skills to work and created a knock-off version in my color scheme for nothing more than the cost of the $7 picture frame.

I'll share my process for creating this art, and the secret behind my version that makes it extra meaningful, in a future post!

So now you see why I'm so excited! For a mere $31 and a small investment of time, I was able to create three pieces of West Elm inspired art work that are customized to perfectly fit into my planned television gallery wall!

In other news, the chair for my reading nook {the Meloni} that I selected through my partnership with Home Decorators Collection, has shipped and is scheduled to arrive mid-next week. I am counting the days! I also finally found an ottoman that I think will work well in the space {with a few minor modifications that I have in mind}.

The One Room Challenge is hosted by the fab Linda of Calling it Home, and there are 20 amazing designers headlining the event, and more than 80 other linking participants {like myself}. Each week they are sharing their updates as well, so be sure to check out the progress everyone else has made in Week 4. There are some amazing spaces starting to take shape!

You can find all of my past One Room Challenge posts here:

FALL 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Modern Metro Master Bedroom

SPRING 2014 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: Vintage Preppy Little Man's Lounge

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{seasonal style} Modern Peek-A-Boo Pumpkins

Today I want to share the easy tutorial for one of the projects that you saw in my Halloween Home Tour last Friday - my modern peek-a-boo Jack O'Lantern pumpkins!

If you've been out shopping recently, you've probably noticed that these craft carving pumpkins are sold just about everywhere - from your local craft stores, to Home Depot, to Walmart - but the prices vary widely. I originally looked at some white craft pumpkins at Michaels and Hobby Lobby, but I just couldn't justify the $25+ price tag. Then I got a call from my mom letting me know she had spotted these at Walmart for just $7 each. That was much more in my price range!

I already knew that I wanted to paint the inside of the pumpkins and leave the outside white, but first I needed to carve the pumpkin faces. I was planning to draw them by hand, but then I discovered a free font called Punkinhead and realized I could use it to make quick and easy stencils.

With the Punkinhead font, each letter is represented as a different Jack O'Lantern face. I selected a few of my favorites, then printed them out two to a page at a good size for the craft pumpkins.

To create stencils, I simply cut out the black faces using a pair of small, sharp tipped scissors.

I then traced one face on to each craft pumpkin.

To carve the craft pumpkins, I used the same set of knives/saws that I would use to carve a real pumpkin.

The craft pumpkins are made of a thick foam that is fairly easy to cut, but it makes a big mess. When I was done - there wasn't an inch of my kitchen table or floor that wasn't covered in bits of foam. After carving each face, I also cut out a rough circle from the bottom of each pumpkin in order to have easier access for painting the inside of the pumpkins.

I could have instead cut the top each pumpkin {the way you would with a real pumpkin} but I opted to cut a whole in the bottom in order to make it less visible. I have a plan to also use these same pumpkins in my Thanksgiving decor, so I thought they would look nicer this way.

The last step before painting was to sand down all of the rough edges. I used a torn piece of a brown paper bag {which acts like a fine grit sandpaper}. I couldn't get the edges completely smooth - but they were smooth enough for my purposes.

I then began painting the inside of each pumpkin. To match the colors of our living room - I painted the pumpkins orange, yellow, teal {two shades} and grey. I began by using a medium sized brush which fit well through the hole in the bottom of the pumpkins, and painted as much as I could access.

I then used a much smaller paint brush to reach through the eyes, nose and mouth to finish painting the inside of each pumpkin. I quickly discovered, however, that the handle on my brush wasn't long enough to allow me to reach to the far side of the pumpkins, so I used blue painters tape to attach a disposable wood skewer - creating a handle extension that did the trick.

In addition to painting the inside of each pumpkin, I also painted each carved edge. In the process, I accidentally got some of the paint on the front of the pumpkin, but a baby wet wipe easily wiped it away. The key is to wipe up any excess acrylic paint quickly before it begins to dry.

Once all of the pumpkins were painted, I lined them up on my entry table and stepped back to admire them.

I originally wanted to light them on the inside with flameless {battery-operated} tea lights, but because the lights cast such a yellow/orange glow, they really messed with the two teal colored pumpkins, making them look a dirty brown. I am now on the look at for some white LED tea lights {and as of yet I'm not sure if such a thing exists}.

But even without candles or lights inside, the colors of the pumpkins stand out and modern, bold statement! I can safely say that these pumpkins are my new favorites among all of my Halloween decor, and in a few weeks I'll working on another project to make these exact same pumpkins a part of my Thanskgiving decor.

Looking for even more seasonal inspiration?! You might be interested in these fall and Halloween projects:

Friday, October 17, 2014

{seasonal style} Halloween Home Tour

The countdown to Halloween is on, and today I'm opening our doors and inviting you in to see how we decorate for the holiday!

If you are like me, and you love getting a peek in other people's homes, then you are in luck, because there are 14 other talented and stylish bloggers who are also sharing their Halloween Home Tours today! You'll find links to each of those at the bottom of this post!

But before you hop over to any of the other tours, let me show you around my place!

Not a lot of decorations on our front porch this year, but there are a couple of ghosts staked into the ground along the side of our front steps to set the mood. And I love the way the orange shades of the sunset reflect in our frosted glass front doors in the early evening - it creates quite the Halloween-y glow.

 I had originally planned to make a couple of Halloween wreaths, but decided to just leave up the peacock feather wreaths that I hung earlier in the fall. During the day, they are vibrant shades of blue and teal, but at night they appear nearly black and look quite appropriate for Halloween.

As soon as you enter the through the front doors, you'll find our entry table. While shopping at Ikea this week for my One Room Challenge space, I found this fun cobweb light set. I love the way it looks stretched across the modern painting above the entry table.

My boys are particularly fond of the cobweb lights, but two words of warning: (1) as an Ikea holiday light newbie, I didn't realize that I had to buy the AC adapter separately, which meant that hubby had to make another trip to Ikea to pick up the adapter for me; (2) if you think untangling a strand of holiday lights is a challenge, imagine untangling a web of lights...and once they are untangled, hanging these lights is definitely a two person job to avoid immediate retangling.

I added a giant spider that I picked up at our local party supply store.

The fillable lamp on the entry table is a relatively new addition. For my fall decor, I filled the lamp base with wine corks {and I'll put the corks back in for the Thanksgiving season}, but for Halloween I wrapped the outside in cobwebs and added a few black, plastic spider rings. You'll see that the cobweb theme of this year's decor continues throughout the main floor.

My favorite part of the entry table display, however, is the row of white Jack O'Lanterns.

These are faux, foam pumpkins that are easy {but messy} to carve. For months I have envisioned white Jack O'Lanterns with bright pops of color on the inside, and now that they are a reality - I love the way they turned out!

I'll be sharing the tutorial for these fun Jack O'Lanterns next week, so be sure to come back for that! {You can even sign up for emails at the top of the sidebar on the right to make sure you never miss a post!}

The entry way is open to our living room. For the fall, I swapped out our pillows to oranges and yellows, and added some other pops of these colors throughout the space. Since these colors are also fitting for Halloween, the living room decor hasn't changed since my Fall Home Tour. I'll show you a few pictures of the living room, but encourage you to take the full Fall Home Tour if you want to see more!

The Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe that I created remains a bit hit with my boys!

Around the corner from the entry, you come to the kitchen, passing the powder room along the way. In the past, I have never decorated this powder room for the holidays, but this year I just couldn't resist.

My mom made me that tissue box holder years ago when plastic canvas was the crafting rage - but it still fits perfectly with my decor! And the cobwebs and spider on the mirror are window clings that I purchased at Target this year. You'll see more of these clings as the tour continues.

As soon as you enter the kitchen, you see a pennant banner hanging in front of the the stacked stone of our kitchen fireplace.

The pennants of this banner are made from chalkboard fabric. I simply wrote on them with a bistro chalk marker, and hung the pennants with some orange twine. My mom made these reusable chalkboard pennants for me, and I'll be sharing the simple tutorial in the coming weeks!

During my trip to Ikea this past week, I also finally purchased the black and white blanket that I've been wanting. I have a feeling this blanket will be making appearances in just about ever room of our home over time, but for now it looks great in the kitchen sitting area paired with a simple white pumpkin.

On the kitchen table, I grouped three cobweb placemats together to create a table runner.

The sideboard in the kitchen is one of my favorite places to decorate for holidays.

I printed a creepybottle label with a skull onto to a sheet of window cling decal paper, and stuck it to a glass decanter. I grouped it together with two other bottles from our collection that had a bit of an old fashioned look to create a simple Halloween bar display.

By displaying these bottles in front of a framed piece of Halloween scrapbook paper, they have much more presence!

As I often do for holidays, I took advantage of our long, think kitchen window, as well as the space below it, by adding a few more Halloween decorations. In the window I hung three glow in the dark ghosts, and below the window I hung an inexpensive tissue paper skeleton garland that I recently picked up at Target.


I couldn't resist adding a little something to the chalkboard wall, as well. I drew in a quick spider web at the top of the wall, but left Beckett's artwork displayed at the bottom.

A few weeks ago I made some simple and reusable drinking glass clings to temporarily turn our regular glasses into Jack O'Lantern glasses for the holiday. It's so much fun to entertain with these glasses.

I am really happy with the way the kitchen decor came together, but it's especially fun at night when all of the candles are lit!

Even after using the spider and spider web clings in the bathroom and on the wall above the kitchen sideboard, I still had quite a few extras, so I decided to add a little something I knew my boys would appreciate ... spiders leading the way up to their bedrooms.

It turns out that beige carpeted stairs don't make a very interesting photograph, but you get the idea. Beckett got so excited when he saw this!

One last spot in the house that I want to show you before wrapping up this tour is the basement. Since the basement is decorated in orange, grey and white, it lends itself perfectly to Halloween decor. 

These Mason Jar Jack O'Lanterns that I made last year are one of my all time favorite projects, and I think they look perfect sitting on the mantle in front of that orange accent wall!

And they are their absolute best when they are lit up and glowing from the inside!

Thanks for taking the time to tour our Halloween decor! Next up, head over to each of these other fabulous homes to see how they are decked out for the holiday!

Clockwise from Top Left:

If you enjoy home tours, then you may want to take our Fall Home Tour {where you will also find links to tour the fall homes of more than 35 other bloggers}!  And if you'd like to see what our home looks like when it's not dressed up the holidays, you can also take our regular home tour, which includes all of the bedrooms.

Looking for even more seasonal inspiration?! You might be interested in these fall and Halloween projects:

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