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By: Nicola

August 11, 2011

More than words

So, recently I made this framed piece of wisdom to hang over the suitcase nightstand in the guest bedroom. I have never really been into hanging words onto walls just because they are so literal and usually I find pictures more subtle in expressing what I want to say. But then again, words are way more specific and why not contribute a little bit to keep the lost art of reading alive.

When it comes to creating wall art, I don’t like my handwriting enough nor do I trust the steadiness of my hand. Therefore I gladly take on the help of internet and computer for matters like these. I guess I don’t have to go too much into detail about how to print on paper, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to share with you one of my favorite internet pages besides Pinterest and Kuler when it comes to design stuff: Dafont! You can download thousands of funky, pretty, exotic, or stylish fonts for free and will for sure find the right “handwriting” for your project. The one I used for my travel words is called FFF Tusj. Here are just a few samples of what else is out there:

August 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge

Some say that everyone needs their addiction. So far I have proven those people pretty wrong. Always being the independent control-freak-self addiction spells danger to me. The mere thought of needing a certain substance or thing in order to get on with the day freaks me out. This rather radical attitude has gotten me through life without ever feeling the need to try cigarettes, coffee, or other evil things I don’t even dare to mention. Until I met Pinterest. As soon as I wake up there are already great DIY ideas waiting for me and I won’t sleep until I make sure that I haven’t missed a single inspiration that day. It’s dangerous. Seriously. Or like one of those funny pins says:

But, here is where my built-in alarm starts ringing and the control center in the front of my brain kicks up gears. In one of my strong moments I made a rule for the addict part of me: No more pinning unless I actually implement one of the DIY ideas in real life. At least one per month. Or every 20 pins. The yarn wreath was the first one. And then these crazy crafty girls over from younghouselove and associates started a Pinterest challenge last week. The idea was to make one pinned idea become reality and then come back today with the result. Well, it just so happened that I was in the middle of crafting a map lamp for the guest bedroom when the challenge started, so here we go:

Unfortunately I was already half way through the project when the challenge started (and excuse the greenish light from the window shades), so there is no real good before picture of the lamp. But you can picture it: it was a regular lamp. Yellow porcelain base and white shade. Nothing crazy. Got it for approximately $3 at a yard sale.

I also got maps of the entire USA at Goodwill for $1. They looked very unused and useful so I almost felt sorry to cut them up, but they were from 1996 and probably not as up to date as google maps on my phone. Therefore they were cut into little squares and rectangles of slightly different sizes. I wanted them to not look completely uniform, but somewhat related to each other. Then I started glueing them onto the lamp shade in a carefully planned irregular pattern starting on the bottom and working my way up and around. I made sure to cover the tops of the layers below so that you cant see where they start. Kind of like this:

The finished product has most of Maryland, some Florida, Colorado, and DC on it. All spread out to be found and explored by our guests. Sorry to not have a better picture on hand at the moment. I took it in a rush before Milo came home. Will replace this one tomorrow. Welcome home map lamp:

And this was the inspiration pin:

Of course the original looks much more artsy and whimsical. My little yellow lamp has its own Nicola twist to it – a little more organized and clean. Like it?

July 31, 2011

Home Decor on a Budget

Let’s face it: Home improvements cost money. Sad , but true. Also true is that I have a very limited budget to spend every month. But no need to get all teary-eyed – just one more reason to get creative. Here is how to make home improvements happening on a tight budget:

1. Set a budget! Duhh! That’s kind of given. My “budget” is usually pretty general: Get everything for as cheap as possible. Cannot exceed $100 a month on total expenses. Other folks probably swear by setting a specific cost for a specific project, but in reality you never know how much things are gonna cost, or what additional materials you need, etc. So I am just trying to accomplish as much as possible on my monthly budget and anything that exceeds it has to be delayed until later. Absolutely necessary big ticket items (like a mattress for the guest bedroom) will go on the credit card and have to be paid off within 2 months.

2. Do it yourself! If only it was that easy. Have I mentioned before that in addition to little money I also have very limited amounts of time left over? I know, the most logical approach to life would be to work hard, make lots of money, and then spend it on finished products and hire contractors to do the work. Or the other way around: Work little, have more time, do everything yourself. Well, I guess I got the best (or worst) of both worlds. Here is how I squeeze home improvements in my weekly routine: (more…)

July 26, 2011

Bye Bye Marilyn!

The first tiny little improvement in the guest bedroom is done. Marilyn was separated from the light switch and had to make space for a very plain white switch plate cover. Makes a big difference already, but now I am getting even more ambitious and thinking about something fancier. Maybe prettying up the cover with some cute paper?

These are the future colors that will welcome our hopefully many dear guests. Yes, while it seemed like I was just sitting back and relaxing to recover from the last major room makeover, I have been secretly getting very excited about the next project – the guest bedroom. One, because this room is a very blank slate. All we have at the moment is bedsheets. Two, because this is a room we won’t use on a regular basis I expect very little interference from my practical-oriented husband. Yayy! Last Saturday morning I ran some errands to gather all materials needed for the DIY parts of the makeover and also happened to run into this great moving sale and scored some great vintage finds for the room.

This is what the room looks like at the moment:

And here is the scoop about what is planned:

– Keep the shelves (figure that!) and decorate them with travel-themed collectibles

– Buy a mattress and find a cheap white bed frame or make a headboard out of old wood

– Make nightstands out of suitcases

– Hang curtain rods and sew curtains

– Make some wall art

– Ideally change out the bed sheets for something more matchy with the new room. But this depends on the budget.

These ideas from Pinterest are my inspiration:

After it took me “only” 4!!! weeks of making over Milo’s room (man, I wish making over the house was my only full time job!) it was time for a quick reward project that could be done in two evenings.

Another one of those placeholder items that came with the house had to make way for some real style. The wreath.

While I spent the first 30 years of my life in the belief that wreaths on the door are for old grannies only, this modern twist of the round door decor got me inspired:

Find the tutorial for the wreath and the felt flowers on it here. The only thing I modified was to wrap the styrofoam ring with batting and ribbon to give it some more volume underneath the yarn. And this is the cheerful result that greets our visitors from now on (in reality the blue is more teal, and the orange more yellow):

Doesn’t it totally want to make you stop by for a visit?

July 21, 2011

Ready for the big ONE!

Milo’s room is done! At least for now. Somehow one small detail always remains unfinished in my projects. Like that line of silicone that is still missing to seal the gap between kitchen countertops and back splash. I admit, I have a problem starting new projects before the prior one is completed. I think it’s a way for me to always keep a back-up project on hand in the fear of running out of stuff to do. But I always have a good excuse.

For example this one: The light switch in Milo’s is hooked up to the electrical outlet right behind his crib. Very conveniently located for the kiddo to pull the plug out and stick his finger into the outlet. The plan was to move the wire to the ceiling and install a proper ceiling light. Now that would require Lincoln to go up in the attic to install the ceiling receptical. Let’s see, 100 degrees outside, 70% humidity, take that times 5 for the climate in the attic = not gonna happen until it significantly cools down. In the meantime some tape over the plug has to do it.

Anyway, I declare this project completed. For now at least. Sweet dreams and play time, my son!

Read here, what the original plan was for the room, how the shelf almost caused a divorce, and how the tree came to life.

What do you think? What would you do for a little toddler’s room?