Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monogram Knife Block

Knife blocks are a fabulously convenient part of many kitchens. I love the one I got for my wedding last year. But I knew there was a way to make it better. As with most things, monogramming it made it personal, unique, and like I said, better. I first saw this idea on Pinterest  (originally from here) a long long time ago and finally broke down and bought stencils the right size to do the monogram on my own knife block. I am so happy with the results. It is far from perfect (because I had to paint over the bumpy logo) but from 2 feet away or further you'd never know the difference. Here's the play by play:

I picked up these stencils for $3 at Walmart. They are cardboard instead of plastic, so they might not last forever, but I'm also not planning to use them all that often. They came with doubles of each letter too, so really they could be disposable. It didn't hurt that they are bright green like my kitchen :-). My stencils held up fine after use though, I just let the paint dry on them before putting them away. I used Folkart paint and a special stenciling brush from Michaels ($2 or $3 for 2). I taped my stencil in place, then got to work "pouncing" the paint on. For a stencil tutorial and more about pouncing, click here.

Below is what the monogram came out like right after removing the stencil. I cleaned up the outside edges a little using a pencil eraser, then connected the lines in the middle. If you want a more old school stencil look you can leave the gaps there. I prefer my monogram lines connected though.

Above you can see what I mean when I say I connected the lines. The one on the right was taken after I connected them with a fine tipped brush. Very carefully.

The paint matches my utensil crock perfectly! I scored that utensil crock in the Hobby Lobby clearance section for less than $5 last summer. I think it is supposed to be a planter or a vase (it is a little taller than most utensil crocks) but it works for me!

In the picture below you can really see how I painted right over the logo. It is very hard to see in person though, I caught the light just right in this picture.

It even springs up the kitchen a little in my opinion.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Painted Rug

I have been jealous of this front door situation I saw on the Better Homes & Gardens website for awhile now. That in combination with how unhappy I am with our front door porch area pushed me to start to create this look - for much much cheaper than they do in the magazine.

During my spring break a couple weeks ago, I spent some time at my mom's paint store where she happened to have a giant roll of linoleum she uses to paint "floor cloths," or pretty rugs on the back of linoleum. I thought it might be the perfect surface to create a rug like the one above, for a lot less than $600.

I just cut a giant square (5.5x5.5) out of the linoleum and drew my circle off later. 

I tried to pick colors that are already in my color scheme (which also saved me money on paint because I already had leftovers from painting various rooms in my house) but could not decide on the second to last ring. In the picture below you can see I was experimenting with teal, aqua, and brown. I ended up choosing brown because it matched the rest of my house better. So I only had to purchase brown paint and hot pink paint for the outside ring. I was especially ok with buying the pink because I have big plans for the rest of the pint of paint I bought (hint hint it will be another project on the front porch).

I went old school with my circle drawing method - the old string and pencil trick. I just changed the length of the string (which was really a ribbon) for each size circle. It sure isn't perfect, but it is definitely perfect-enough.

We had a bit of a fiasco with the pink paint and in the end painted the very inside circle pink instead of the green it was supposed to be. This resulted in some color order switching, but we stuck with the same colors. Mom was a huge help with the sharp lines between colors. She is a pro at using the "chiseled edge" of her paint brush to make clean lines.

While I had the yellow out I decided to do the tops of these barstools we are currently using (until I can garage sale some with backs this summer). They had blue tops when we got them, I spray painted them all white (you can see in the picture below this one) - and now they are white and yellow. I did not even tape off the edges - just carefully painted on the yellow with a foam brush. 2 coats. Very cute I think!

 Lola was being especially cute during the whole process - the footstool (see how I refinished it here) is her new favorite perch to bark at bikers out the window.

And here is the rug out by my front door:

Notice how the shiny red brings out the dings in the door? I am SO ready to slap some less shiny paint up there. I am also still working on the chairs in the picture below. I love their ice cream shoppe feel - but the color is not fun enough for me yet. If you squint real hard you can see that the chair on the right is silver... I have been experimenting.

Other new spring happenings at the Halls:

These adorable bird sticks (technical term?) are from the dollar aisle at Target.

To finish off the rug and protect it from water/dirt/make it easier to clean - I put one coat of Minwax poly on it.
There is much work to be done in the front door area - but small steps are the name of the game around here. Hopefully a front door re-painting post is coming soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Skirt Part 2

On Monday I posted about this spring-inspired chevron skirt and promised I would post about another skirt Wednesday - well today is the day. This aqua pink yellow etc. floral skirt is made out of fabric from Hobby Lobby. They had a sample garment made out of this fabric and I thought it was so cute - the only problem was that the sample was a baby dress. I thought hmm... how can I make this more adult? The pencil skirt was a clear answer. I paid about $8 for the fabric (pencil skirts take less than a yard) and already had a zipper on hand. Not too shabby!

  Ever wonder what the inside of a "home-made" skirt looks like? 
Here it is...

 This is my "come on T.J." face.

 This makes for a pretty darn comfy skirt - I used a fabric with a little bit of a stretch for forgiveness. To make the skirt I started with a Butterick pattern - 5333 - but made some significant changes to it. I added a slit in the back and tapered the bottom of the skirt a lot tighter. I have made this particular skirt twice before, the first time following the pattern exactly, and the second making small changes. To make the changes this time I held up a store bought skirt with a fit I really like and just sort of drew off where I wanted the pattern to be smaller. I am in the process of making a plain hot pink pencil skirt from my altered pattern right now. So what do you think? Does it still look like a baby dress?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Springy Chevron Skirt

In honor of this ridiculously early springy weather, my next few posts will be all about the spring time changes around the Hall's house. First, I have been looking at quite a few fashion blogs lately (like this one, this one, and this one) which I think are fun. Maybe because they focus on people (voyeuristic much?) instead of objects and design projects like all the DIY blogs I love. So today and Wednesday's posts are part DIY + part fashion blogging - or at least my attempt at it. I had to drag T.J. around our yard to take pictures of me.

Both of the skirts in the picture above I recently sewed for my spring wardrobe - I will give details on the second skirt in Wednesday's post.

Like most of the blogging world, I am obsessed with chevron. And when chevron is pink, it is beyond obsession. Check out my Christmas card photo for example - I am a festive and traditional girl when it comes to decking out for Christmas, but this year because I found a pink chevron shirt on black Friday - the chevron shirt made its way onto our Christmas cards.

Joann's has been pretty slow on the chevron trend but finally got in some nearly-chevron fabric a couple months ago. It may have been a mistake - but I found a bolt of a springy orange and pink chevron-esque fabric on the red tag shelf and decided I could wait no more, I was going to take the plunge and sew myself something chevron. I don't remember exactly what I paid for the fabric - but it had to be less than $10 all together. Half off red tag at Joann's is the best. I absolutely love how this skirt turned out, and clearly love the fabric (notice a zoomed in shot of this skirt is the background for the header of the blog).


I used McCall's pattern 5856 to make the skirt - and have actually used the pattern twice before to make a blue striped skirt and a brown and coral floral skirt. I find the pleating very flattering. It is great when you finally find a pattern you love - you can make it over and over again and no one knows the skirts are the same. In progress shots below.

Here are more pics from our photo shoot:

See where this indoor greenhouse started here.

More about these earrings here.

I am ready for Spring!
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