Kitschdesigns

Making And Crafts–Alphabet Artwork

October 4, 2012 22:38 by ehouston

For a long time now I have admired those alphabet prints that are EVERYWHERE.  You know the ones with the “I”, “O” and “U” in a different color, and the “O” replaced with a heart to reveal a not so hidden message.  As the decorating progressed in my son’s new room and the nursery I decided I wanted one for each space.  This was one of those projects I knew I could handle on my own and that a cheap Target frame with a matt would turn into a pricey looking piece of artwork. 

So, I started with a basic design:

ABC-Loveu

This was originally intended for my son’s room, so I used a dark gray for the letters and a simple deep red for the personal message.  Later I realized that I should have used his favorite color, Orange, instead.  Later STILL I realized I wanted to use this one in the nursery.  However, once I got further along with the nursery decorating I thought it might be neat to use a font with a floral or garden theme to tie in with all the floral prints in our little girl’s room.  Plus, I wanted to try switching the main alphabet color to that of the rainbow, while using black for the hidden “I Heart U” message.  And, then I found this font…

 ABC-Garden

It’s called 101 In My Yard and I LOVE it!!!  I think this piece turned out really cute and will definitely grow with our sweet little girl.

After finding such a whimsical font for the nursery art it seemed fitting to do something equally fun for my son’s room.  That is when I switched up the original artwork to what you see below.ABC-OrangeAndGray

I just used Word and the Sybil Green font, replacing the “O” by Inserting a Heart Shape and coloring all of it to match his new space.  At first I was concerned about messing up his ability to learn his ABC’s by using this crazy font, but later I realized he knows his alphabet pretty well already and should be just fine. 

When he is in therapy later we can talk about this in more depth, I guess.

The frames are both from Target and included white matts cut to an 8” X 10” sized opening, so just remember to adjust your margins if you decide to make one.  Two pieces of custom artwork for the price of a little time, two pieces of cardstock and a bit of printer ink, and $33.98 in frames ($16.99/each).  Not bad, I would say!

Kitsch Krafts


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DIY–Big Boy Room–The Reveal

October 3, 2012 05:51 by ehouston

Back in April I wrote about my latest undertaking, the “Big Boy” bedroom that we were creating to help my son give up the nursery to his new little sister. We were also giving up our spare bedroom, which had come in handy for extra guests and served as my crafting and sewing space. More on where I work later, right now I want to share where we are with the space now that the Little Guy has blissfully taken to his new room. First let’s recap where we started with some lovely photos….or, we can just use the usual CSI style crummy ones that I manage to take.

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(This was the space to the left as you walked through the door.)

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(And, this was the right side of the room, taken from along the side of the bed.)

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(A close-up of a couple design challenges in the space.)

The first thing we had to overcome in this room was the heavy floral border and matching “tray” ceiling effect the previous owners had placed up above with more wallpaper and lavender paint. I actually had a pretty easy time of removing the borders and the lavender went down with one coat of primer. Yeah! The next challenge was that all the trim and both doors had been painted with oil-based cream paint making the finish rock hard and super shiny. Just to be sure primer and paint would stick, I wiped the surfaces down with a deglosser and then used a coat of oil-based primer to help seal off the shellac-like paint job. That seems to have done the trick because after applying two coats of the glossy latex, bright white top coat, the finish has remained nice and smooth. I had a fear that after all my hard work the layers would start to peel or run- so far, so good!

Going into this project I knew only a couple of things: I wanted the base of the room to be gray so I would not have to change it again in a couple of years and I hoped to come up with a fun wall design that could stand the test of time as well. Also the Little Guy loves the color orange and insisted on using it whenever asked about his decorating ideas. Mom-inclusion Fail! I really should have known better than to ask him because this meant finding the fine line between nice room with cute accents and bright construction barrels along the side of a gravel strewn highway.

Once all the trim was painted out I used leftover wall color from our dining room to knock out what had been lavender overload. As I wrote above I wanted the walls to be gray, but came across a nearly full gallon of bluish-gray paint in the garage and figured I would just use it instead. The whole time I was painting the color on the walls I kept thinking, “where is this paint from?”. It wasn’t until I completely finished that I realized it was the color I mixed on my own and had matched to Valspar in Eggshell at Lowe’s for above the chair rail. It was also at this point that the paint was drying enough for me to see that it was definitely more blue than I had intended for this room. No worries, free paint is free paint and obviously we like the color. Due to the dark shade I did end up having to buy another gallon in order to add a second coat and get nice coverage all around. I then purchased a can of bright white Valspar paint in Eggshell finish and mixed it with the darker shade already used on the plain walls to create a lighter gray for the horizontal stripes. My original plan called for adding horizontal stripes to the main wall where we thought the bed should go.

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Later, I decided to add the same horizontal stripes to the opposite wall too. I figured that way if we changed up the furniture arrangement it would not look as weird if the bed landed on another wall. In the end we have two plain and two striped walls and we are all pretty happy with the look.

The second item to tackle on the bedroom “To-do” list was to figure out how to house his clothes, toys and books, seating for family reading and possibly a nightstand. A headboard and/or full bed were not necessary because we planned to push it against the wall and possibly into the corner. Plus, the twin we were using already had a basic frame and I was able to create a simple bed skirt from a new, but thrifted curtain panel to help hide the wheels and under bed storage. After a few short weeks of Sal. Army stalking I came across this shelving unit that appeared to be just the right width and height for the space between the windows.

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Many weeks later, just as I was about to give up on finding a deal, I made one last trip to the Sal. Army and scored this dresser and nightstand set to complete the storage item checklist.

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Both are pretty sturdy and I expect that they will serve their purpose well against the destructive forces of an almost 3 year-old little boy.

With the storage issues under control we were then able to focus our energy on the decorating and bringing the seating into the space. After many an online search had failed to reveal a decently priced upholstered and overstuffed rocker, we decided a better bet for our growing family would be an extra large bean bag chair to plop next to the bookcase. I did manage to find a 4-footer online from Comfort Research at a cost of $118.00, making this the most expensive item in the whole room. Honestly, we probably would have paid double for this kind of comfort, though. It’s super fun to drop into when cuddling up at the end of the day for story time.

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Although for a while I had a problem with my big belly preventing me from easily getting back out of the thing without help when the story had ended. ;o)

The last neutral decorative aspect of the room was the curtains. Again, I wanted to stick with gray to make things easy in the future, however I did not want them to be totally boring. At the same time I found the brand new curtain panel used for the bed skirt at the Goodwill, I also found a second pair of curtains in a light gray heavy cotton. Since I prefer stationary panels with blinds these were perfect for cutting in half, and trimming out to make a set for each of the single windows.

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I chose a border fabric that reminded me of a blown out tweed pattern, with a retro sort of vibe. Plus, in a way it matched up with the tweed-like fabric of the other curtain panel used for the bed skirt. Matchy without being too matchy-matchy, know what I mean?

Since we wanted this room to grow with my son all traces of the color he loves, orange, are found in easy to change accents. I painted a thrifted frame orange to hold a cute alligator print by Funnel Cloud Studio that we picked out at the Richmond Craft Mafia’s Spring Bada-Bing craft show a couple of months ago.

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Since then we discovered several other inexpensive accents in orange by Room Essentials from Target; storage bins, picture frames and a clock.

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To add some fun shapes, color and extra lighting we hung a bunch of paper lanterns from Hobby Lobby and Party City and plan to cover the existing overhead light with a clear plastic IKEA knockoff from Target.  More on that soon (I hope!).

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I even got crafty and made him an alphabet print with the “I”, “O” and “U” in orange to spell out “I heart u”.

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Of course we kept his vintage globes and topography map (over the head of the bed) and added a light up globe for his nightstand.  These all worked nicely since they have lots of muted oranges to add to the overall design scheme.

At this time, the room is as complete as I can make it without starting another big project.  I do have some half finished artwork for the wall above his bed and some pillows for the bean bag chair sitting in sewing limbo.  The only items we planned to put in here, but could not find space for are his tiny table and chairs. They are still in a state of disarray and sitting in the dormer window of the playroom. We thought they might work well in the walk-in closet, but I think he prefers to use his desk while I am working away at mine. So, for now this set will stay put and get a face lift as soon as possible.

Whew! This has been a long one and I don’t even feel like I covered all aspects of what went on in this space. In fear of killing everyone with boredom I will move on and do a quick “Before and After” post later of several elements. Please tell me what rooms you guys have been working on over the last couple of months. I’m always looking for inspiration.

Kitsch Krafts

PS- Here is a cost breakdown:

Dresser – Thrifted from Sal. Army                                $59.99

Nightstand- Thrifted from Sal. Army                             $14.99

Beanbag Chair- From Comfort Research                        $118.00

Bookshelf- Thrifted from Sal. Army                               $59.99

Bed- Already owned                                                    Free

Paint (Walls and Furniture)–

               Some already owned/Some Purchased           $60.00

Bedding- Sheets Walmart & Target                               $30.00/two twin sets

Bedding- Down comforter-Target                                  $29.99

Curtains- Thrifted/Joann’s Cotton for Trim                     $29.97 with coupons

Bedskirt- Thrifted/Already owned fabric                         $5.99

Frames- 4” X 6” – RE Target                                         $5.99 for 4

Clock- RE Target                                                          $6.99

Shelf Storage Bins – RE Target                                      $15.98 – ($7.99/each)

Orange Paper Lanterns- Hobby Lobby                             $7.99/for 3

White Paper Lanterns- Party City                                    $9.99/for 5

Initial Frames – Hobby Lobby                                         $23.99/for 3 with coupon

White Frame w/Matt- Target                                          $16.99

Light Kit for Paper Lantern – Target                                $19.99

TOTAL:                                                                          $516.83


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DIY– A “Big Boy” Bedroom–Getting Started

April 16, 2012 09:02 by ehouston

If you are just popping in for the first time around here I will let you in on a little secret, we are expecting baby number two in July and I am just about killing myself to transition my 2.5 year old out of the nursery before that time comes.  I had already planned to update our guest bathroom during the first quarter of this year, along with our kitchen.  Unfortunately the looming due date made for a tough reno and pushed back any work on the kitchen until probably some time next year.  Wah-wuh…  In the meantime I am still working at full throttle, well as full as my big belly and lack of decent energy will allow, to get the “big boy” room together and the nursery girlied up a bit!

This post is really to let you know where we began in the process and of course to drum up any sympathy possible for my tired, aching bones.  ;o)  Being older and pregnant really kicks your butt!  So, without further ado here is the room we started with…

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This lavender and cream boudoir boasts a lavish (and I’m sure early ‘90’s Waverly) floral border worked into a faux “tray” style ceiling detail.  Meaning the lavender was also painted along the edge of the ceiling and another portion of the floral border was laid along the edge of that painted line and around the ceiling.  Ooooh, lovely!  Actually, in all fairness I’m sure this was a nice look at the time and I am also sure the original owners spent some cash to have this treatment done to create this effect.  Let’s just say, it’s really not for us…especially the little boy who is about to move into the space.

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Not only did this room serve as extra sleeping space for our guests, but the wall opposite the king sized bed housed my sewing and craft nook. 

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You can also see the edge of the door to the little walk-in closet, known as the fabric stockyard, in the shot above.  I will fully admit this room was decorated with whatever I had on hand that I felt could make it work for the time being. In decorating the space I felt more than a little trapped by the color scheme and floral details.

Heck, even the curtain rods had gingko leaves on the ends, which are nice, but still not the look I was going for in the space.

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The headboard consisted of a large piece of foam, originally purchased to create cushions for another nixed project, covered in a vintage dotted coverlet.  The large patterned barkcloth pillows, bed skirt and curtains were all vintage finds that seem to always get pulled out whenever I had a room that needs something to pull it together on zero budget.  I used extra pillows covered in vintage hand-embroidered pillow cases and another vintage coverlet to finish off an admittedly very out of character feminine look.  The side table, another vintage find, was topped with miscellaneous craft/sewing room décor from previous houses, a clock radio and some family photos.

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On the other side I stored my dress form, covered in vintage clothes.

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Over time, some of my creations ended up being pinned up on the walls, not only to keep them from being damaged while awaiting a buyer from my Etsy Shop, but also for my enjoyment until they left for a new home.  This room would be perfectly straightened up, as evidenced by these photos, for all of about 20 minutes before a new idea would hit and I would have piles of fabric and supplies chaotically strewn across every inch of useable bed, desk and floor space.  I enjoyed using this room, as did several guests, but it was time for a change that the Little Guy was anxiously awaiting.

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Over the course of the last few months I had tested the border to see how “stuck” it really was and just like the guest bathroom wallpaper, it came down easily and within minutes.  The Mister had talked me into moving one of the twin beds that had made up the “king” sized bed for this room, into the playroom for more comfy seating and to attempt to get me off the “I want a sectional” nagging bandwagon.  I will admit it’s better than the numb buns you get from sitting on the futon, but it only delayed the sectional talk for about a day.  Sorry dear! 

In the meantime, I had made up the other twin into a day bed we could enjoy until the real work started in the “big boy” room.  As you can see above, more toys had also been moved from the playroom into this space to help keep the Little Guy occupied on the occasions when I had to do some sewing for business.  Nothing like a mini tool bench to keep a kid happy for, oh, ten minutes.  Am I right?

As of today, the room has been cleared of everything, accept this bed and the floor has been covered in protective plastic.  The band of lavender along the ceiling got a first coat of primer and tomorrow I hope to tackle priming the most dreaded piece of this room to paint – oil-based painted trim!!!!!  UGH in SEVEN LANGUAGES!!!!  I am being lazy and praying that a good oil-based primer will solve my problems, but this could be the breaking point for the timeline of this mini-makeover.  I will keep you all posted on the success of that combo as I go along.

As for the plan of attack, here goes:

-Take the lavender to light gray, with a white ceiling and white trim. 

-Add horizontal stripes in a gray just a couple of shades darker than the other walls to the main bed wall. 

-Add already purchased simple bedding in gray and newly created bed skirt in a tweedy fabric. 

-Spruce up the windows with some thrifted, but new, curtains that I plan to customize with a patterned fabric border. 

-I hope to customize the Little Guy’s IKEA desk and chair set to be placed on one wall.

-Add a magnetic chalk board above the desk area.

-Add an already purchased large, family-sized beanbag chair.

-Clean up and paint an already purchased thrifted shelving unit.

-Find a small dresser for the space- clean up and paint as necessary.

-Add artwork and pillows in fun colors (primarily orange, the Little Guy’s fav!) against all the gray.

-Working on a possible A, B, C’s letter wall.

-Add brightly colored paper lantern lighting over the bed, if possible.

-Find something to use as a nightstand.

-Change out current light fixture in the center of the room for anything that isn’t brass!

-DIY a larger rug for the desk area from some thrifted rugs.

I’m sure I will think of more things to do as I go along.  For some reason that’s how it seems to go with any project I do for my kid.  I just want to do more, add more, get everything I think is cute or that he might like.  It’s a sickness really and I’m sure it doesn’t get any better as you add to the flock.

Stick around and I will add photos as things progress.  Please wish me luck in getting all this done, too, before we end up with one more family member to love!

Kitsch Krafts


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Decorating : The Formal Living Room Update

October 5, 2011 00:59 by ehouston

I know it seems like all the posts recently are about decorating, and well, they are!  I have been working to change the things I can change in each room and/or finish smaller projects that have been lingering for what seems like an eternity.  In the case of our formal living room, we are simply neglecting the space.  It’s a pretty basic room at 11 feet by 14 feet, with two large windows looking onto the front yard and nice wide crown molding.  There are a couple of issues with this space, though, the main one being the two large passageways on either end.  They make for a great flow right into the formal areas when guests arrive, but they leave the formal living room with only two walls for furniture placement.  I guess that’s really no big deal since we don’t spend a ton of time in there, but it has made decorating this room feel awkward.  Below are some before shots of how we had things laid out.

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In the shot above, you can see a typical formal living room set up with the couch along the main wall, flanked by side tables and matching lamps.  Yawn.

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Opposite the couch is a pair of wood framed chairs with coordinating blue cushions and a side table that matches the tables on either side of the couch.  For filler, and lack of a better place to locate them, I added our vintage black metal display shelves on the little wall in between the front windows and the chairs.  As seen in the far right corner of the photo above is the angled bookshelf, also a vintage metal piece, acting as another display shelf/table.  You can also see the other problem with this space- lack of good light.

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Here is another shot of the chair side from the dining room.  You can see I also added a couple of vintage black metal magazine racks, a vintage wood and metal floor lamp and our vintage Seth Thomas wood panel clock. 

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This view of the couch side, from the dining room, shows another angle of yet another vintage black metal shelf.  This mini shelf holds our funky metal flying pig made of old oil drums.  In the center of the room is a wood slat coffee table that extends at each end to give as much or as little tabletop space as needed.  You can also see the old, smaller rug in these shots.  This was the set up we lived with up until the beginning of September 2011.  All pieces in this room are vintage, modern and out of synch with the rest of our 1992 Colonial style home in the burbs.  However, I actually don’t mind having furniture that does not seem to go with the rest of the home.  I always feel that if you like a piece you can make it work.  It may take time, but eventually things will start to mesh and mingle well with each other.

There are many changes we look forward to making in this room.  First, will be to change the paint from purpley-brown to something in the grey/blue-grey family and to paint the dingy cream trim to bright white.  We have already switched out the rug for a pale, steely blue little number that now fits the scale of the room.  Next on the list is to buy or create some chunky side tables to flank the couch since this space is all legs right now.  I would also like to sell the vintage ceramic lamps from the 1950’s and possibly add something in clear or seeded glass instead.  I will know those when I see them, I think.  I am also strongly considering a tone-on-tone mural for the main wall and hope to pull something decent together soon.  In the mean time I wanted to share the recent updates that have happened in there.

After taking the room to this…

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….for the Little Guy’s 2nd birthday bash, I decided to hold off on putting all the furniture back in their original spots for a few days.  For a while now I have been hoping to find two skinny display cabinets, with glass doors, to put on either side of the opening from the formal living room to the formal dining room.  Unfortunately, most glass display cases are not very tall, are to wide and usually not my design taste, so no luck with those finds yet.  For now, I thought that I could make better use of the vintage black metal shelves that we already “use” in that space.  I say “use” because they were mainly in there just to take up space and so they would not be getting dusty in the attic.  I never intended for those pieces to stay in that room for this long, but that’s what happens sometimes when your design tastes don’t match your design budget.  ;o)

This time around the two vintage metal shelves went back into the room in the little bit of wall space on either side of the passage to the dining room. 

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Even though each shelf is different in width and height, visually they seem a little closer in size when balanced with the framed photos and other pieces from our travels.  I also tried to move the display items on the top shelves to roughly the same height as each other.  The black and white photos spent their early years hanging above the couch in the family room prior to being nixed in favor of the Little Guy’s 1 year portraits.  They are shots from vacations that I had blown up to 8 X 10 size and then placed in metal frames from Target that already had white mats.  Below the photos I reworked some of our display items into the collections on the shelves and pulled some more things out of storage. 

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I was also able to use the smallest of the vintage metal shelves as a plant stand in one of the opposite corners of the room, which looks much more proportioned than it did before as a flying pig stand.  I eased the chairs together a bit to balance that wall, as well and placed the floor lamp in between for reading.  It’s hard to tell from the shot above, but that green glass blob is a really cool elephant sculpture that I found at the Sal. Army a few weeks ago for only $3.99.  Not sure if it’s old or new, just thought it was neat looking and a nice color.

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There are still a bunch of changes on the horizon, but for now we are really enjoying the new view of our collections and more balance and cohesion in the formal living room.  It’s amazing what moving your things around can do for a space.  Now we will just have to figure out where we are going to put the Christmas tree this time around!

Kitsch Krafts


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DYI- Chair

September 25, 2008 10:07 by ehouston

I am getting geared up to head out to the flea market this weekend and while letting my imagination go crazy thinking about all the great stuff I hope to find I remembered my end of the summer trip from last year.  I had been searching for what seemed like forever to find just the right dinette set for our eat in kitchen and simply could not find the right thing.  I finally settled on something in late spring of this year and as that project is completed I will add a new post.  Last fall I headed to the market hoping to find a cool, inexpensive set of chairs.  What I ended up coming home with is what I consider a really cool shaped chair, but in a color that just did not work for my space.  Sadly, there was only one of these chairs to be had, I decided to reupholster it and use it in my bedroom to create a cozy spot.  With all the other projects that were already on my plate I put this one off until the beginning of the year, and worked on it through the dark and cold winter months.  After just a few evenings I had the thing stripped down, repainted, springs retied and a new cover sewn and fastened in place.  I changed up the design a little and did not use any gimping.  Instead I just tucked the edges of the fabric under while holding a nail in place and hammered through the fabric.  Probably not the best way to do this, but it worked.  The fabric was a great find at Joanne's ETC in the fabric to order section.  I had never really looked through this section in depth before because it always seemed to be full of pretty boring choices to me.  Now they have all kinds of cool patterns, some, like the one I chose, that have a vintage look.  I love the nubby gray on gray fabric and the swirly, almost floral design.  I think it almost looks like an old piece that was well preserved and it seems to fit in nicely with my other retro furnishings.

Wish me luck this weekend!

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