Sunday, March 30, 2008

Decorating With Stencils

I've put wallpaper and wallpaper borders up on my walls for years. I love the way it looks but the hate the way it looks years later. I stopped putting wallpaper up years ago (for the most part) and just stuck with wallpaper borders. Even these didn't really do well over the years, especially in the bathrooms where there is so much moisture. That's probably why I started faux finishing my walls and not bothering with wallpaper at all. It's too much work to put up and too much to take down.

If I really want the look of a border I can just stencil instead. It's more time consuming but very satisfying when it's all finished. You have complete control over the style, design and colors which really appeals to me. Some of my rooms are painted plain and have stenciled borders and other rooms have faux painted walls with no stenciling. Buying stencils templates could not be any easier. They are available on the Internet and in craft stores. Extensive varieties are there for you to pick from. I use blue painters tape to keep my stencil up there. I also use "dry" stencil paint that comes in small tubs. The beauty of stenciling is that you can shade with lighter and darker colors. Here is a stencil that I am currently working on in my guest room. In this particular case I just wanted something very neutral with not much color.

I'm not completely finished with this stencil project but I'm happy with the way it's coming out. Usually I prefer color but in this particular room I stuck with very neutral tones of white and gold.

Stenciling may be more time consuming to actually place all around a room, but when it's all done the final results are beautiful. The good news is that it won't curl at the edges or eventually come away from the wall. When you get tired of the design..............simply paint over it.01 02 12

Friday, March 28, 2008

Storage Ideas

Two teenage girls............too little space. Their bathroom has become a dumping ground for so many "beauty" products, hair dryers, flat irons, makeup, brushes, shampoo and never ending bath products.

My solution (and I'm sure I must have seen this somewhere) was to hang a shoe rack behind the bathroom door.
Almost everything goes in here. These shoe racks come in cloth and clear plastic. The clear one seemed like the best option so they could see everything in there. I liked the idea so much that I now have one behind my bathroom door as well. Costs about $10.00 at Walmart.
If you have a bathroom full of things that you have need to find a home for, try this solution and see if it works for you.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

More Mod Podge

The craft stores are full of interesting unfinished wood items just waiting to be purchased and decorated. The one pictured about cost about $5.00 on sale. It's a good size measuring 10" X 10", plenty of room for a supply of nail polish. I found it especially interesting since it came with little legs.

I felt lucky to find this African print tissue paper to apply for a really different look. Using Mod Podge I cut small squares and applied them to the entire box. The tissue had two patterns-checkered and a random print, so I decided to use both of them.On the very top of the box I glued a small wood embellishment and Mod Podged right over it. I put four very small screws under the top in all four corners and added tassles.

Check out all the unfinished wood items in your local craft store and come up with some creative ideas to decorate them.

Lately I've seen:

  • birdhouses
  • trays
  • picture frames
  • all sorts of boxes
  • shelves
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Creative Pet Door

Here was my dilemma-the dog eats the cat's food, so I needed a way that she could eat in peace. I thought that setting up the litter box and her food in the laundry room would be a great idea, but how would she get into the room? The only solution would be to install a pet door. I went to Home Depot to take a look at the selection of these doors. They are plastic, cheesy looking flip doors and not something I wanted to have in my hallway.

My solution was to build my own pet door. I first located a space between two studs and cut a hole big enough for the cat to get through and small enough so the dog couldn't. I used a key-hole saw and cut the square out. That part was very easy. I used a stud-finder to locate the studs (an asset to any homeowner/decorator).

The door itself I built using all scrap wood I already had. You'll notice I added some wood embellishments like the one directly above the door, decorative trim around the opening, a wood flower with a glass bead at the peak and wood biscuits on the roof. The biscuits are commonly used to fasten wood together, but many times, I use them for more decorative things.

This pet door has sides on it too (you probably can't tell by the photograph). I used plywood to make it, small screws and wood glue to put it together and L brackets to hang it. When it was all finished I painted it and added some decorative touches. Acrylic paints worked well for this project. Finally I sprayed it with a clear coat of polyurethane to protect it.

This house really beats the plastic ones they sell at the home improvement centers. I doubt the cat appreciates it, but I certainly like the way it looks.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Get Organized With Your Decorating

Like all the rest of you, I'm pretty busy with my life these days. I really wish I could be more organized, especially when it come to decorating. I'd really love to know what year I painted the den or the master bedroom. Wouldn't it be great to know exactly what paint you used on that particular room or wall so you could touch up things years later?

After all these years of painting and re-decorating rooms I now can be organized. So organized that I have everything I ever did in that room recorded into one book.

I purchased this great organizer a while ago at Home Depot. It has divided sections with pockets for paint chips, pieces of fabric, lined paper for notes and helpful tips for painting. I separated mine into eight sections: kitchen, den, bedrooms, dining room, bathrooms, basement, office and misc.

The book came with several color wheels, two CD's on faux finishes and loads of tips including: choosing a color scheme, priming, getting ready to paint, how to figure out how much paint you need to buy, project list, paint sheens, faux, glazes and disposal tips.

If you can't find one to purchase they are easy enough to make for yourself. A binder, some page projectors, some pocket folders, plain white paper and lined paper. You won't get all the great tips, but you can always get that from other sources. Easy and cheap! The best thing about this is that it keeps everything organized and keeps a record of all the changes you make in your home. A great reference for future projects.

You can use this book for recording other household things so it really comes in handy. Include items like new roof, windows, repairs, filter changes, counters, floors, rugs, etc.....

A really great way to get organized.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shabby Chic Decorating


We looked at Traditional decorating a while ago so I thought Shabby Chic might be interesting.

So what is Shabby Chic anyway? Think casual, pastel colors, lot’s of white, vintage items, rod iron, distressed furniture, colorful prints and worn out furniture. Originally created by Rachel Ashwell back in the 80’s, Shabby Chic has become a whole theme by itself. People love it and you now commonly see it in all the decorating magazines and shows. Rachel Ashwell came up with this design theme after spending countless hours at garage sales and thrift stores looking for furniture with clean lines.

Photo credit: Rachel Ashwell

Colors Include:
Pale pink
Pale blue
Pale green

Furniture includes:
Worn out tables, chests, bookshelves
Painted furniture
Distressed furniture
Thrift store finds
Garage sale items

Fabrics include:
mis-matched fabric

This decorating style is warm and inviting. If you are on a tight budget this d├ęcor is right for you and don’t forget to ask you grandmother, she may very well have some great stuff to add!
photo credit: 01 02 12

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fun With Clay Pots

Just like the picture frames in the previous post, clay pots are can be fun to decorate. Below are some examples of what you can do with them.

Paint, decoupage or mosaic them for a unique and creative look. Remember to spray them first with a sealer.

This is a project that you can even get your kids involved with. Have some fun and create some new pots for around the house.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fun With Picture Frames

Picture frames are relatively cheap these days. There are so many to choose from, every design, material and color you could possibly want. But what if you need a frame to match your decor? What then?.........

There are so many ways to make that frame match the space you are putting it in, not to mention that it's fun to create your own look. Basic wood frames are great for this purpose.

A few years ago I created a space in the basement for my teenagers with accents of yellow and black. I wanted to put their pictures into frames that would look good in the room.

I took three white frames and simply painted them with acrylics. I added some little painted lines to the yellow frame and black frame. In the copper frame I just added irregular spots. This project really didn't require any artistic talent either, just lines with a brush. I coated all three frames with a clear high gloss to protect them and make them cleanable.

The next frame was created with Mod Podge and tissue (the wrapping paper kind). The wrapping paper was gold and black, just like you see it below. The pattern turned out so interesting and random. I really liked the way this one came out.
Here are a few more made the same way. The frames below were originally white ceramic with little roses which just didn't go with my home.

The next picture is obviously not a picture frame but I thought you may be interested in this simple project. I purchased this "sun" which was made plain ceramic. I used black and gold tissue and Mod Podge to create this look. When it was all finished I used some gold cream (found in a small tube in the craft store) and rubbed it around the sun. You can see it on the black side of the moon. Instructions for using Mod Podge.


paint brush, Mod Podge (glossy or matte finish), wrapping paper tissue cut into little squares.

Apply the Mod Podge with your brush to the item and then place the little squares of tissue onto the piece. There is no special way to do this. Random is the nature of this craft(sometimes). You can overlap the tissue. I've talked many times about this product in prior posts. I use it all the time because it's great to work with and you can create so much with it. For any further information on the product you can always take a look at their web site at:

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Monday, March 10, 2008

DIY Headboards

Recently I received a request from Kathy who asked me if I had any ideas on making your own headboard. I have plenty of ideas, in fact I’ve made a few of them over the years. Before I begin there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

How much do you want to spend?
How much time do you have to devote to this project?
How handy are you?
How creative are you?
What room is the headboard going into? Is it the Master bedroom, guest room, teen’s room or child’s room (boy or girl)?. This helps you decide what style you are going for.
Do you want your headboard to move or will it be permanent?

These questions can help you decide exactly how involved a project you can take on. Let’s assume you have the time and resources, then the sky is the limit. Here are a few creative and relatively inexpensive ideas for headboards that you can make yourself.

Keep in mind the following measurements:
Twin bed=39 X 75
Full bed=54 X 75
Queen bed=60 X 80
King bed=76 X 80

Your headboard should be about the size that will properly fit your mattress. The measurements above should help you with that.

Some ideas:

Build a Picket Fence Headboard
This is one that I built several years ago for a 12 year old girl. I purchased slats of wood and positioned them onto two horizontal boards, leaving a few inches in between. Short screws and wood glue held it all together. Each individual picket was a different color which made it look like it was for a young person. When it was all finished I threaded a silk vine through each picket. It was fabulous when completed. This particular headboard could be adjusted to look great in a guest room. Paint the pickets all white and wrap the vine through. This look is quaint, but more sophisticated.

***After a few years I decided to throw is away and create something else. Someone came to my door that day and asked if they could take it out of my garbage and use it in their garden as a trellis. What a great way to re-purpose my headboard.

photo credit:

Build a Padded Headboard
There are directions for building these headboards all over the Internet. You’ll need a sheet of plywood or MDF ½” thick. Cut it to fit your bed with a jigsaw. Purchase padding at the fabric or craft store. Tack around the headboard and secure to the back of the plywood. Cover with fabric and staple to the back. There are many variations with this look. You can add trim to the perimeter or upholstery tacks for a geometric quilted look. Use some of the same fabric to sew up some matching pillows.

Photo credit:

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Hand Paint A Headboard

If you are artistic you can paint the headboard right onto the wall. You can also use stencils. Keep in mind, you better never move that bed. This wouldn’t work for me because I always move my furniture around.

Make A Headboard Out of An Old Door

I've seen this done using new hollow doors, old antique doors and french doors. A great way to create a headboard. They can be hung horizontally or vertically for a more dramatic look. They can be painted, distressed or stained and you can even hang a piece of artwork in the middle. Trim can be added for an extra effect.

photo credit:

Build A Canopy Headboard
These are fun to put together! Purchase a small piece of plywood or MDF wood. The home improvement centers sell them in 4’ X 4’ (take it home in the car) pieces that are just perfect for smaller projects. Cut out a half circle, use one or two large L-brackets and center it a few feet above the bed. Staple fabric around it that will hang to the right and the left of the bed. Embellish with silk flower vines, tassels or trim. Make your little girl feel very special. This same concept can be done for an adult bed.

Padded Squares
This contemporary look is made from 12 inch X 12 inch squares of plywood or MDF wood. Each one is covered with padding and then fabric. Install them above your bed like tiles, leaving a few inches in between each one side by side and above and below. A great look! Again, if you like to move your furniture around this may not work for you because it is somewhat permanent.

photo credit: HGTV

Plywood, Plywood, Plywood
A piece of plywood, a jigsaw and you can cut any shape you want. Circular, rectangle, a crown, castle, scallops… get the idea. You cut out a creative shape and paint or decoupage it. A simple solution and a creative way to make your own headboard.

Build A Padded Headboard Using Squares
Purchase plywood or MDF wood and cut out a dozen or so 12" X 12" squares. Using the same technique as a padded headboard, cover each square with padding, fabric and secure behind with staples. Space them out evenly on your wall. A great contemporary look.

photo credit:

Buy A Decal for A Headboard
This couldn't be easier: buy a decal to throw it up there.

photo credit:

These are just a few ideas to work with. In some cases you don't even need a headboard. Arranging art work above you can give you the focal point that you need. Many headboards can just be hung directly onto the wall above the bed. Others are tall enough that they just sit behind your bed and can be moved. Just remember to put little furniture protectors behind your headboard to protect your walls. I personally like the idea of having books shelves behind the bed. This seems to really work well for the teenagers. Those shelves come in handy for books, pictures and a lamp for reading (yeah……….do they really read?) I made one to put behind my daughter’s bed out of pine planks and it worked out really well.
There is plenty to think about when it comes to headboards. Don't forget to check your local thrift store for headboards that you can work with.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Catering To The Sports Fanatic

Like many households in our country, sports are woven into the fabric of our family. Our children have all participated on various sports, my husband is an ex-jock who still loves following his favorite teams, which often takes him to destinations around the country. A product of his trips as well as the kids participation is that we have accumulated alot of sports "stuff". While this paraphenalia, memorabilia, and stuff is nice, I really do not like the fact that it is cluttering the shelves and walls around our house.

To be fair, I enjoy sports as well. However, do I really need the New York Giants full size helmet, and autographed Eli Manning football staring at me from atop my fireplace every day? How about the New York Yankee die cast cars, ticket stubs from the World Series or autographed framed photo of Yogi Berra and the "Scooter" Phil Rizzuto celebrating the Yankees 1956 championship? Do I need them cluttering up the walls and shelves of our everday living space? Clearly the answer is a resounding, no! The challenge here then becomes: where to display all this stuff and how do I make it look tasteful? (Have you ever tried incorporating the likes of the Arkansas Razorback mascot into your den?)

My brother-in-law, Mike came up with a great idea: Display all of it, together in a small foyer that is located at the bottom of the basement stairs.

The project starts with a complete paint job. The foyer and stairway walls had been painted a dark tan color. Certainly too dark for a small, poorly lit area.

I picked a light cream paint to keep the walls bright and coffee colored shelves to display "the stuff." Painting is always time consuming but worth the effort. It is the single biggest improvement you can make in a room and the least expensive. Looking back, we should have primed the walls first because two coats of paint were necessary for complete coverage.

We collected some of the sports items in the house and displayed them into the new area. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The best part is that there are no more helmets, bobble heads or "Razorbacks" hanging around the families everday living space. Everything now, is nicely displayed and organized. I'm happy, the fans are happy, and the Trough, Buzz and Aubie, all have a nice new comfortable home! It's a beautiful thing...!

So how do you like it? All the "stuff" in one room.............................Yeah!01 02 12