Thursday, September 30, 2010

mr. zebra

yesterday, i began this fun craft project that i am really excited about! i'm going to be helping my step-brother's wife with their baby boy's nursery, and i am really looking forward to it. we've come up with a fun color scheme, plans for the walls (don't worry - i'll share that with you guys soon!), selected fabric for the seamstress to make baby bedding with, and talked about the loose "theme" that we want, which is a few animals - mainly the zebra. we're not goin' crazy with a theme here, just kind of a few furry friends here and there.

so, enter the future mr. zebra:
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like i said, he's not done (it's a real bummer that paper mache takes 24 hours to dry before you can move on with the project. i'm more of an instant gratification kind of craft person...i want it done NOW!), but i think the majority of the "hard" part is done. here's how i made him:

i loosely followed a tutorial from a recent copy of better homes & garden's "DIY" magazine. they had a tutorial on different paper mache crafts, and a faux deer head was one of them. i'd admired paper mache animal heads and busts for a few months now (they're all the rage, after all), and considered making one, but i didn't have a reason to, until now. i edited the instructions a bit, and it worked like a charm!

here are all of my supplies:

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1. elmer's glue
2. water
3. styrofoam rectangle from the floral department of a crafts store
4. masking tape
5. newspaper
6. old, empty, dry laundry detergent bottle
7. a big bowl to put your paper mache mixture into

the diy magazine recommends using a small styrofoam ball as your animal's head and a small waterbottle as the neck of your animal. i was going to just form these with newspaper, since i knew that i wanted something larger than the deer that they made, but lighting struck when i noticed the laundry detergent bottle jordan had put in the trash earlier that day. crazy! it was the perfect size and shape for an animal's neck. i took off the top of the bottle, and stuck the styrofoam into the laundry detergent bottle.
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then, i followed the magazine's instructions to use masking tape to keep it from falling off when things start to get "goopy":
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after that, i wanted to fill him in a little bit (so that he wouldln't look like a laundry bottle with a square head, hah!) so i balled-up newspaper and taped it around him to give him shape:
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it takes a little imagination to think of it as a zebra head ;)

next, i did a little more forming by cutting off some of the styrofoam to make it rounder (use a bread knife when cutting styrofoam - it cuts through it much better!).
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annnd, here comes the fun part! the gross, nasty, fun part. i mixed up the paper mache mixture... (i used 1 part water to 4 parts elmer's glue, or roughly that)
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use a big bowl so you can get your newspaper parts down in it later...

then, i cut my newspaper into about 3" strips. in my instructions, it says not to cut, but to tear, so that your strips will have torn edges that blend into each other nicely. i cut, because i really didn't care if you could see the "seams" of the newspaper..it's not like i'm trying to make a real zebra head, here! :)

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i wasn't really able to take photos of the application process, since my hands were disgusting, but i'm sure you can imagine!

i just applied them on top of everything, totalling to about 2 layers all over.
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eventually, he will look something like this:
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except this guy's eyes are a little scary, and he doesn't have hair like mine will! i'm waiting for him to dry, then i will add his ears and "hair". the magazine claims that if you make your glue mixture with mostly glue, like i did, you are able to sand and drill it when it's all said and done. we shall see!





Wednesday, September 29, 2010

painted bookshelves...

recently, i painted the backs of our bookshelves the same dark, bluish grey that i painted the walls in our bedroom. i'd been thinking about it for a while, and always intended to paint the backs of them, so i thought it was time. i couldn't decide if i liked it at first, but now i have decided i definitely do. the color is similar to the color in the curtains, and it almost makes the backs of the shelves appear deeper.

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i also like how it makes all of my little decorative items stand out!

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i painted the trim that was peeking up from the bottom before...it blends much better now. i should probably paint the lightswitch that is inside the shelves, too, huh?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

house update!

i am always trying to improve things on my blog (why does it always seem once you are satisfied with one area of something, you immediately are dissatisfied and want to change another section? is it just me?), but my "home tour" section has been neglected for a little while now. it's not totally done, but i thought i'd let you guys know that i updated it, incase you were interested!

our kitchen looks different now, but i haven't had a chance to photograph it, so the old, colorful kitchen remains.

p.s. i am ONE reader away from having 500 followers on my blog! who's going to be lucky 500?

****UPDATE - i now have 500 readers! thanks, guys...i'm not sure if this means anything, but it makes me feel like at least a few of you are out there paying attention to my ramblings and projects!

Monday, September 27, 2010

new nook.

hi, guys! i went on a little long- weekend vacation to florida, and forgot to say that i wouldn't be blogging while i was there. i had a great time hanging out with family, but i'm always glad to be back to work and normalcy!

a couple of weeks ago, i decided i wanted to change things around at the little landing at the bottom of our stairs, so i switched things up with items i already had. you may remember that our landing used to look like this:
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this is where i store all my 'office' items, and keep my ginormous collection of prismacolors and sharpies.

i knew that i'd be changing up our bedroom soon, so i took down the framed artwork that was hanging in there, and brought it downstairs. i walked around the house and gathered some items that i thought might be cute in the frames, and then played around with them on the floor until i configured an arrangement i liked. i have lots of fabric samples that i've bought over the years, so i actually ended up framing two of those, and then the other pieces are just drawings and paintings i've done in the past.

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i had to iron them all out! don't you love my ironing board? hehe....


and voila! the finished product:
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i like salon-style hanging, and i think this arrangement is really domino magazine-y. i'm sure that sooo many people are soooo over this look, but it makes me happy right now, and it cost me no money!

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i tucked a photo of my grandparent's engagement photoshoot (probably my favorite photo i've ever owned) into one of the frames, along with a polaroid from my sophomore year of college - my friend and i are doing "the robot".

do you guys ever switch things up around the house for no reason?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

horse in the room.

yesterday, i painted a horse silhouette on the wall of a cool downtown loft. i sketched out the horse with chalk...
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started filling in the lines with paint...

and voila! horse on the wall.
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i love it! i thought it was such a cool idea.
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he hangs out in the living and dining space...

simply staged.

i thought i'd do a little shout-out today to my friend, tasha moody. tasha runs a staging business here in atlanta called "simply staged". if you are in the atlanta area, and have been trying to sell your home, or are about to put your home on the market, call tasha! she transforms spaces to appeal to the buyer, and is excellent at what she does.

quite often, tasha will have me paint a client's existing furniture a solid color (or sometimes do a finish on it), to update it without having to buy all-new pieces. it's a great way for people to work with what they have, and get "new" use out of old pieces. here are a few pieces i did yesterday for one of her clients:

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the dining table and chairs were a basic stained set, that was a little dated-looking, and really just blended into the wall...not to mention, the top had some damage...(sorry for the bad camera-phone photo)

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it's really a basic transformation, but it does a wooorld of good for the pieces, don't you think? the key is to do (or have someone) a very clean, brush-stroke-free application that is smooth.

i also did the barstools:

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not bad, but they just blend into all the wood, right? and for a homebuyer, you don't even notice the fact that there is a bar there!

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now they stand out on their own, and look more modern.

here are a few photos of tasha's staging work! you can visit her website here.

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BEFORE - Red sofas against darker blue walls + a tiny table and chairs for the dining + entering to the back of a sofa = no good for selling a house! AFTER - A new softer gray-blue, furniture and artwork give a fresh, contemporary casual look to the room. A larger dining table with a full six chairs actually makes the space feel larger (counterintuitive I know), and the addition of low barstools shows that there is space to pull up a chair without intruding on the walkway.

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info: BEFORE - Formerly a terribly unattractive mini-kitchen, this space was rarely used and stood in the way of a much-needed bathroom for guests on this floor. AFTER - New hand-scraped hardwood floors, a custom vanity with granite countertop, chic chandelier and oversized mirror finish off the transformation into a desirable bathroom for guests.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

shelves. and pillows.

i played in my room yesterday after work, and this is what i came up with.

i hung the shelves that used to be at the bottom of our landing (the ol' classic ikea shelves) in our bedroom yesterday. one of them hung facing downward (super annoying - and is, apparently, a common problem with this shelf - blah!!), so i decided to try and hang it upside down this time to fix the problem, and it worked. for now. hopefully it continues to work! anyway, this is what it looks like:

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it's super-bright in our bedroom in the mornings, so this photo looks a little crazy! i decorated the shelves with things that i had around the house.

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i put some leftover fabric from my chair project in a frame i already had for some graphic "artwork", and used black and white photos for the frames. the prefontaine poster was a copy i made of a sports illustrated poster jordan had (he's a runner, so he loves prefontaine). the deer head cup/vase is from tuesday morning, and the big lantern was a thrift store find (originally from JC Penney). the gigantor silver wishbone was a gift from my dad - isn't it cool? little gold tealight holders were from target a few christmases ago, and the glass jug was from marshall's (i tied some rope around it).

in other news, i got some grey and white paisley pillows for the bed yesterday. exciting, no? heh.

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you may or may not be a fan of the "karate chop". i know some people think its SO DOOOOOONE, but i'm a fan. i like the pillows. i like how they add a small print to the really colorful, graphic space, and i think they look classy. sometimes i have to bring a little class to a room, because i tend to buy so much weird, crazy stuff, that i forget to just be calm. does that make sense? no? ok, i need to go get ready for work. bye friends!

Monday, September 20, 2010

my walls.

i painted my bedroom this weekend! wa-hoo.

i've been having the urge to change things up in there, so this weekend was the designated time. i didn't get around to doing it all until yesterday, so now the painting is (almost) complete, but i really haven't done much else in there. i'd love to get a new dresser, and hang some artwork, maybe paint the nightstands, etc, but for now, this is making me happy. (and i didn't finish it until 9pm last night, so it's very fresh! hah.)

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incase you don't know, my room used to be a chocolate brown, with yellow/blue accents in the room. i did that about a year ago (along with the faux-bamboo headboard i painted on the wall), but i get tired of things really quickly, so i've been eyeing this room for a re-do for months now. i know my obsession with changing things around so often is a little silly, so i try to keep things smart by just changing up paint, and spraypainting accessories here and there.

here is my room it in its old look:

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i painted all of the walls a charcoal grey, except for the wall that our bed is on. i painted this wall white (it took 3 coats of primer and one coat of white paint to turn that puppy white, and i still need to go back and do some touch ups!), and used the stencil i made to do the morrocan medallion pattern in a tomato-red on this wall. i was going for a wallpaper-look, and i am really happy with my result.
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i did a drawing beforehand, just for kicks.
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i do have a chandelier that needs a home, so i sketched it in here, but there's no way the ceiling fan's coming down :( it's just too hot in that room at night to opt for a pretty chandelier over the ceiling fan! bummer.

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here you can really see the colors and the detail of the stencil. like i said - i still need to go in and do touch-ups, and i have a lot of work to do in the room, decorating-wise, but i wanted to at least show you guys my happy new room!

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hope everyone has a nice monday. :)


Friday, September 17, 2010

little red bench.

almost as cool as a little red corvette. :)

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blah.

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yay!

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***

if you live in or around atlanta, georgia, and would like to talk about having some decorative painting done, please email me at kristen.fountain@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

aliens!

i'm having a really busy week here, but i thought i could show you guys a little peek at some vintage-looking paintings i did for a baby nursery with a solar system/robot theme! i'll be posting pics of them hanging in the baby's room eventually, but here is a little taste....

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

custom painting.

i received an email a while back from one of my blog readers (!) asking me to do a custom painting for her bedroom. she was soooo very sweet, and basically gave me a blank slate to work from. she said that she liked the painting that i did that used to hang above our sofa (this one), and gave me some specifics about her color choices in the room, and what she thought might look nice on the painting. this is my result!

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as you can see, it really resembles the painting that i did a while back, but i used anne's color choices of black, grey, white, citron, coral and mint green. i love that combo! i tried to make the painting a little more masculine since anne says her boyfriend has to deal with lots of "girly" stuff, and she thought the painting might be a good place to add a little modernity and masculinity to the space. i hope he likes it, too!

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i had fun playing around with texture and drips in this painting...the drips remind me of graffiti-spraypaint drips.

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here is a detail of the vine-like pattern i painted on the piece. i loved the bright splash of color, and i really like how when i add the glossy varnish at the end, it makes everything perk up, color-wise, and gives it a very finished, unifying feel. this is also another good example of the texture i was playing around with.

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more vines.

thanks so much, anne, for the commission. i really enjoyed working on this piece - hopefully it is all you wanted it to be!

***
if you are interested in a custom painting, please email me at kristen.fountain@gmail.com

Sunday, September 12, 2010

sweet baby room beginnings...

this baby room is in the beginning stages of getting all prepped for the bambino, and i think it's coming along nicely. the room was just painted this pale minty green, and the bedding is pottery barn's "abc" collection. the mom contacted me because she had two pieces of furniture for the baby's room that needed a little love. after thinking about doing some stripes, we decided to just paint the furniture a simple pale yellow, with a little distressing. i like distressing because i feel like it adds character to old furniture, and keeps it from looking like you are just trying to "cover up" something.

here is the furniture before:

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i love the wavy lines of this dresser, and the hardware is the coolest! cassidy (my client, and the baby's mom) pointed out that the bottom pulls look like birds, and i think the top ones look like mustaches!

i refinished the hardware with a simple brown finish to match it to the rest of the room and to match it to the other furniture.
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and here is the dresser after a little TLC:
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details of the distressing...

here is the little nightstand. it's such a cute piece, and i love the pulls and the little authentic vintage knob.
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and, last but not least, i painted a vintage window frame to be hung above the baby's crib (similar to this one i did a while back, and this one, too). i tried to sort of match it to the bedding...here it is before i painted it. we are keeping my friend's cat for a few months while she is living in california, so now all my pieces have 2 cats attacking them everytime i bring them in.

i love how they act like it is so interesting:
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after sniff-inspecting it, mika decided it looked like a comfortable bed:
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here are a few of the pieces all together. can't wait to see this room when it's all said and done!

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***

if you live in or around atlanta, georgia, and are interested in having decorative painting done in your home or a vintage window painting done, please email me at kristen.fountain@gmail.com.