Wednesday, July 28, 2010

mirror, mirror...

I know I'm a little late to the "chalkboard paint party" but I've had a chalkboard paint project in my mind for a LONG time now.

One of my friends gave me this amazing frame that used to house a mirror in its former life. I had it in my old place but never did anything with it, but now that we're in our new place, it completely matches our comforter. So the project was ON!

My plan was to take the frame and back it with some extra illustration board I had.

Since much like my aversion to spray paint, I have a thing against exacto knives. Honest to goodness, I have NEVER been able to cut anything in a straight line with those things. So I had to enlist the help of one of my art directors at work. 

Once it was cut, I painted it with chalkboard paint and a foam brush. In 30 minutes it was dry. I mounted it to the back of the frame and VOILA! A chalkboard with a contemporary twist.

It goes perfectly in our room. Now the room is a work in progress, the nightstand needs to be refinished, painted black and fitted with new knobs, but it is coming together. 

It was a really simple project and I love that we can change the message. 
It's like revolving art! 

So as a late arrival to the party, tell me what kind of projects you've done with chalkboard paint. 

Beth over at The Stories of A to Z is hosting a Chalkboard Paint Party. Go check it out for more great ideas for using chalkboard paint!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

near and dear...

it's always true that great things come when you're not looking for them. this weekend I headed to the flea market. While I had a few things on my list, I came home with nothing I intended to get, but a great idea came to me at the show. 

recently painted an armoire that I purchased off craigslist. the pop of yellow is great, but it needed some more yellow to make it feel more at home in the space. On my list was to get something vintage and ornamental that I could spray paint the same yellow to hang on the wall and balance the yellow.

Well I didn't find that but I found something even better. Digging around a booth, I found reclaimed road signs that have been cut into the individual letters. LIGHT BULB! While the selection of letters was slim, I knew the impact would be just right. 

I love when a project just comes to you and works out just like you thought. Now the letters I purchased on Saturday but they didn't have an ampersand. But I went back today and another booth had stencils, so I thought I could paint one black.

Despite my aversion to spray paint that has been well documented, I grabbed the glossy black and changed that bronze ampersand to black. I think it turned out really well. It wasn't what I had anticipated putting in the space, but the fact that its so unique is what I like about it.

If I had my way I would change the lighting and the trim, but it's a rental. So for now that has to stay and I think the new artwork and the yellow armoire are steps in the right direction for giving the cold, rental atmosphere a warm, personal feeling.

And it's a nice reminder to remember those things I hold "near & dear."

What are some unusual art projects you've done?

my project was featured....

My yellow armoire was just featured on Life in the Fun Lane for Fresh Coat Friday! If you haven't checked out Holly's blog, you should. She is an amazing furniture restorer and part of what inspired me to start a blog. Check out my Fresh Coat Friday post here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

people get ready...

the Randolph Street Market is back and that means more projects are going to be in the works after this weekend. I have a long list of things I "need" for the house, so we'll see what I come home with.

If you're in the Chicago area and have never been, you need to check out the market. For a ticket price of $9, you get access to booth after booth of great antiques, vintage furniture, decor and jewelry, and also the Indie Designer market where local designers show off their goods. It's indoor and outdoor so there's a lot to see.

Check it out - I'd love to know what you find!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

wall in the family

Ever since we moved into this new place in January, our living room wall has been taunting me. It's huge. And our couch is huge. I knew whatever went on that wall had to be big as well. It was overwhelming so I just tried to ignore it.

The wall to the right is the wall in question, not the best angle for the pic. 

But it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door, so I couldn't ignore it for long. But big art means big $$$. Something I just don't have for one piece of art.  Plus, everything I found was nice but it didn't mean anything.

Then one day I was talking to my cousin, who just happens to live across the street form me. (side note: we are both from Cincinnati, but ended up living on the same street in Chicago - it's great to be so close to family when you're far from home.)

She a middle school art teacher and was talking about this painting she did for her brother. It was amazing! Then it hit me - I'll commission a painting for the living room.

My cousin was more than willing to do it, so all I had to do was find the right picture to turn into a painting. I knew exactly which one I wanted:

The Chicago skyline is amazing. It's perfect for our living room. My cousin took the photo, got some supplies and two weeks later, my new living room art is ready to be unveiled. 

Isn't it amazing? The shading alone just amazes me. My cousin is a fabulous artist and I am so honored that she did this for us and it's now hanging in my home. And doesn't it look great in the space? 

It fills up the space perfectly -- it's 36 inches long and just the right size for the space. My boyfriend and I both love it and we had friends over last night and they were commenting on how beautiful it is.

If you're not finding what you need at the store or don't have the $$ for it, get creative. Ask someone you know who is artistic if they'll create something for you. Or better yet, create it yourself. Art is personal - let it reflect what you love.


Thursday, July 15, 2010


Yellow, black and white. When designing with these colors, there is a fine line between a pop of sunshine and looking like your room is home to a family of bumble bees. 

I've had my eye on a jewelry armoire for a while now. I finally purchased one thanks to the wonders of craigslist. With no room for it in my bedroom, it found a home in my bathroom. However, the light wood was not meshing with my black and white decor. It had to be painted. 

Turquoise? Red? The same celery green that punctuates the majority of my house? Nah. I kept going back to yellow. 

So, thanks to the ridiculous "no spray paint" laws in Chicago, on a trip back from Indiana, I purchased two cans of sunshine   yellow paint at a small town hardware store. Once home, I prepared to paint. Let me tell you, I think there are two reasons spray paint is banned in Chicago: 1) of course, graffiti 2) it is ridiculously hard to paint in a tiny courtyard without totally covering your neighbors deck in Sunshine Yellow gloss paint. 

But after much blood, sweat and tears -- well just a lot of sweat -- I finished it and couldn't be happier. It totally gives my bathroom the pop of color I was hoping for, and the yellow is a nice happy color to see first thing in the morning. Behold... 

My bathroom is not conducive to picture-taking so this is the best shot I have. The yellow goes perfectly with the black and white design I have going. The bath is attached to the master bedroom and the bedspread and accent towels have the same damask-like pattern. 

Even after my issues with the spray paint, this was a fairly easy project. I removed the handles, and it was a miracle I kept track on the teeny tiny screws. I sprayed it with the drawers intact - simply because I was too lazy to tape off the inside of each drawer so I wouldn't spray the fabric yellow. It actually worked out fine, nothing stuck together. The only problem I discovered was with the side doors. Closed, they look great. Open, that's another story. But you live and learn. 

Maybe I'll fix it someday, but really no one but me sees it and I'm cool with it. My little burst of sunshine is a bright sunny spot for me on dreary mornings before work, and I couldn't be happier with it. But I am officially retiring my spray can until I have a yard or really cool neighbors who don’t mind yellow speckled cars.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

and so it begins....

Today is my birthday (yes, I'm a shameless birthday celebrator!) and what better way to celebrate than launching my very own blog.

I've been tossing around the idea of having a design blog for a while. Partly to keep a record of my design projects, party to inspire me to follow through with the ideas that pop into my head. But I struggled with how to make it different than all the others out there. After going round and round, I finally decided - who cares! It's different because it's mine. I enjoy reading tons of blogs because they always inspire me with tons of ideas that I can use or put my own twist on. Hopefully my blog will do the same - or at the very least, entertain you. 

So welcome to my life... by design.