Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stencilled wall panels

Sorry for the delayed post - blogger was down last night and this morning. How frustrating!

Inspired by this photo that I posted a while back...

Savant Interior Design for Washington Design Center's Dream Home

my Mom suggested we think about doing something similar in her dining room.  We'll be spending next week visiting my family, and I'm hoping we'll be able to work on some design projects - maybe even this one.

Browsing for stencils, I came across Cutting Edge Stencils, which has some very stylish designs.  These are some of my favorites.

All images above via Cutting Edge Stencils.
Alternatively, we could use wallpaper... I'll post some pretty options tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY Decoupaged Trash Can and Tissue Box Cover

When I was designing the girls' bathroom, I wanted to bring in some fun, colorful accessories.  I had seen images of cute, decoupaged tissue box holders and trash cans like these...

available here

available here
I figured this couldn't be too difficult of a DIY project and started to hunt for find the perfect containers and paper.  Finding the paper was pretty easy.  Having drooled over the gorgeous options at Paper Source before, I headed back there.  I ended up purchasing wrapping paper, which is less expensive than the art papers, and also lighter weight - which seemed like a good idea for decoupage.
available here

Locating inexpensive appropriate containers actually proved trickier than I expected. At first, I tried to use an old acrylic tissue box cover I had on hand, but it had curved edges, which were impossible to work with.  This is my sad first attempt.

Never mind the white electrical tape.  I was trying to see if I could do SOMETHING to hide the ugly!  No luck there.

So, armed with a stack of 20% off coupons, I headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and found just what I needed.

The curved edges on this trash can were ok, since it was otherewise square.  The paper wrapped the entire can  neatly without any fussing.

I have to report on one small problem, unfortunately.  I've noticed little rust spots on both of these pieces now that they're all done.  They're hardly noticeable - like little pin heads.  But, if you can find a plastic vessel for this project, I would recommend going that route.

The photos below show how I went about covering the 2 containers... I think the photos (along with my minor commentary) speak for themselves, but let me know if you have any questions.

I used just a thin layer of Mod Podge to affix the paper to the box.

On the top, I just glued down the edges, as I intended to cover the top with a square piece.

To fit the square piece on top, I traced the shape of the opening and drew cut lines.

Once it's glued down, I outlined the edges and cut off the excess paper.

I used a narrow strip of paper to cover the inside rim of the opening.

To seal it, I used the sponge paint brush to dab Mod Podge all over the outside (working one side at a time).

Then, I smoothed it out.

As you can see, there are some wrinkles and air bubbles.  I couldn't really avoid them, but tried to smooth them out wherever possible.  Now that it's all finished, it's hardly noticeable.  You'd have to pick up the item and inspect it to see them.  I think I did 2 or 3 thin coats of Mod Podge on the outside of the paper.  And, that was it for the tissue box cover! 

Making the trash can was virtually the same - other than a few variations in the shape of the container.  What I liked about this trash can is the metal lip at the top.  This allowed me to cover the sides with paper, and have a neat finished rim at the top.  If there is no such lip, I would probably go all the way to the top, but not fold over to the inside.  Then, you could consider painting the inside of the can.

Nothing's perfect... notice the little tear?  This, too, is hardly noticeable when all is said and done.

So, overall - it's pretty simple.  If you're a perfectionist, I think wrapping paper might not be your best choice, since the light weight of the paper is probably a contributor to the bubbles/wrinkles.  Wallpaper would probably work well - and fabric is another option.  But, if you're like me - and don't mind a few imperfections - this is an inexpensive and easy way to personalize your everyday tissue box cover and trash bin!

As a reminder, here they are in the girls' new bathroom.

I was thinking of adding a monogram in dark pink, and still have not gotten around to that.  Since this room is shared by both girls - it would probably be just a single lower case "g" for our last name.  What do you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nutella Goodness

Mmmm... Nutella.  I just can't get enough of it!  In all my recent baking adventures, why have I not thought to use Nutella as an ingredient!?  Well, the thought occurred to me yesterday as I was setting about to bake cupcakes for a party at work... Nutella-filled cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting

I have to admit, these photos were partially an excuse to try out my new tripod.  Wow - how did I make it this long without one?  It makes such a difference - especially when shooting in low light, as I often do.   

Gotta love Betty Crocker (devil's food cake mix)!

To create a space for the Nutella, I cut a cone shaped piece out of the top of each cupcake - and then cut off the tip of each cone.

Next, I filled up each hole with a dollop of Nutella.

Then, the cones get placed back on the cupcakes (ideally, each back to its original cupcake, since the cone shapes are not going to be perfect circles).
The chocolate ganache frosting was a little too liquid at first, so I followed the instructions and let it cool and then whipped it to create more of a frosting consistency.

Since Nutella is not for everyone (how could it not be!?), I made a dozen plain chocolate cupcakes topped with cream-cheese frosting.

Snazzy decorations from Williams Sonoma.

All packed up, and ready to go!
By the way, if you transport cupcakes to work/parties/preschool/etc... I highly recommend this Progressive cupcake carrier, which holds up to 24 cupcakes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Update

This morning, we took the girls on their first hike at Great Falls Park.  The weather was perfect as we admired the river...

a friendly turtle...

and a beautiful butterfly.

Lucky for me, the girls conked out on the way home, so I had a free hour to explore a local estate sale.

Lately, I've been on the lookout for interesting and inexpensive decorative accessories.  I have several surfaces in my home that feel pretty static to me, and I hope to amass a little collection of accessories, so that I can swap things out and create new vignettes from time to time.  This is probably a dangerous by-product of design blog/magazine overconsumption... but, it's fun to have a purpose when you go to yard/estate sales and thrift shops.  So, lucky for me, I found a few little objects that caught my eye.

Pretty rocks and geodes make attractive paperweights, and are a nice finishing touch atop a stack of books.  I remember them being popular in the early nineties... but, they seem to be making a comeback in the design world.

I collected elephant figurines as a child, and have always had a soft spot for them.  The estate sale was chock full of elephants - the homeowner was a serious collector, but I limited myself to just this one.

This cute little Socrates was covered in dust and forgotten on a rickety bookshelf in the basement of the home.  I think he cleaned  up pretty nicely. 

I liked the look of this bust, but had no idea whom it depicted when I bought it.  It's labeled "Sumner" on the back - which I assumed was the artist, but a little googling led me to discover that it represents Charles Sumner - leader of the antislavery forces in Massachussetts.
Here they are all together...

I'm too tired tonight to find homes for all these trinkets... but, will keep you posted on where they end up!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.