Monday, July 30, 2012

Let's Pretty-fy those Shelves

Remember my powder room shelves that I made a few weeks back?
I really, really wanted to do more to the shelves.  The plain fronts were looking so generic to me, but mitered cuts were terrifying me.  After I posted a photo of this on Facebook, two of my friends encouraged me to go for it.  So... I did.  It took a few weeks, but I did it.

So, one miter box and saw kit, some inexpensive small trim work, and a little extra paint...

It took just one afternoon.

And here are the results...
Ahhh... now they look more "finished"

A corner shot.

Up close.... so much prettier than a plain 1x12" edge.

What do you think?  Is it more finished now?

Burlap Canvases w/Chinese Characters

Well, the summer of 2012 is almost over... unbelievable!  I'm not ready for school to start again.  But I guess it all makes sense... we've done a lot!

When we've been home, I made it my goal to get some things done in the house.  So, hopefully if time allows, I'll get to blogging about those projects in the next couple of days.

One of the simpler projects I wanted to do was to find something unique, slightly subtle, and fun to make for over the two doorways in our kitchen.j

Here's the kitchen with the two doorways.  The ceilings are tall, so I wanted something in those spaces, but nothing too overpowering or bold.

After searching many-a-store, I gave up on buying something.  I didn't want just anything, and couldn't afford to buy something unique (i.e.

I came across two 16x20 canvases at Hobby Lobby on sale, so I decided to figure out something to do with them.

I started searching on Pinterest and saw that some people were wrapping their canvases with burlap.  Well... Hel-lo!  I love burlap.

So, I needed a picture to paint on the burlap.  I knew that English letters (words) would look a little shaky on burlap and I didn't want anything too intricate or boring.

Since we have some connections to China (youngest daughter was born there!), I decided to find some Chinese symbols that I liked.  I just Googled them 
(and then searched more and more... I wanted to make sure it was correct and that I wasn't actually printing vulgar words on my wall!  LOL)

I found FAMILY and LOVE... seemed appropriate for the kitchen, where everyone gathers numerous times a day, right?  So, I drew my own onto grid paper.

I stretched burlap (the best I could without worrying about steaming or ironing) onto a large piece of cardboard and taped it down.

I chose a light color burlap to match the walls, and found some excess paint from our office room (dark gray).

Then I slowly, carefully began to copy the images onto the burlap, using a thin brush.  I figured I'd just eyeball the image the best I could... if some strokes turned out wider than normal, it wasn't a big deal.  Depending on how the Chinese write their symbols, some look thicker.  
The one above is LOVE.  I decided to write the word LOVE along the edge of the symbol, so that we'd always remember what it said!

After the burlap was painted and dried (let it sit overnight before I removed the burlap from the cardboard), I stretched them around the canvases.
Using a staple gun, I stretched the burlap, first in the middle of each side... then panning outward.

Here is a finished canvas.

Here is the FAMILY canvas.

And here is the LOVE canvas.

I love how the burlap is almost he same color as the walls, so it looks like something is up there without being too overpowering.  

Now every time I leave the kitchen, I'm reminded about my awesome, multi-cultural family.  (OK... two cultures, but that qualifies!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Powder Room Shelves

We have a standard small powder room.  You know... tiny room with one toilet, one sink.  That's it.

Here's how it was decorated before:

We used a long basket to hold the magazines and one or two rolls of toilet tissue, but somehow it always ended up forgotten and no one would replace those spare rolls down there.

Wow.  Puny shelf!

But cute.

These were cute, and I liked the colors: grey, brown and light blue.  However, as you can see in the third photo, the wall seemed a bit bare.  We also had no storage available in the room for holding toilet tissue or tissue boxes.  We would try to keep a roll in the basket next to the toilet, but SO many times, the kids I forgot to replace the rolls.  Here's where they typically were stored:

Yep... those are Christmas tins and candle holders.  Yes, this is the Butler's Pantry storage cabinets directly across from the powder room door.  More convenient than on another floor... but still a little strange to keep toilet rolls next to cookie tins.

So, then I saw this...

and this...

and several more examples on Pinterest.

And then I knew what we needed... shelves!  It took me awhile to decide how I wanted them done.  I decided to use corbels to make three shelves.  I bought the corbels at Lowe's for a little over $6 each.  Then I had them cut me three shelves at 3' each.  I ended up with one more (two 6' shelves)... but I know I'll use that later.  

I primed and painted each one with matching white paint to the trim in the room.
The paint on the walls was Graceful Grey from Behr... it was already there, and I really like it.
After lots of measuring and leveling, I ended up with this:
 Three matching shelves with about 12" in between (the corbels, I believe, are 11" tall).

And then the FUN began... decorating!!

I found two woven shoebox baskets in the craft storage that I wasn't using, and they were perfect for toilet tissue rolls and tissue boxes.

I scrounged up a few other knick-knacks, including some pottery of mine from my college Ceramics classes, an old engagement photo, some vases, beach sands, and a few other things.

Here's the view from the side.

I love this idea of collecting beach sand from vacation spots.  Man, I just WISH I'd heard of this idea BEFORE visiting places like Hawaii (black sand), Bermuda (pink sand) and Playa de Carmen (... um, Mexican sand?)  Oh well, got the NC and SC sand for now.  :)

Awwww... who ARE those two young things??

This little bamboo plaque came from Guangzhou when we met our daughter Gracelynn.  It is a Bible verse in Chinese.

Another vase... and a photo gift from a graduated preschooler.

Here's the close-up of the three shelves.

Here is the view from the sink... of course, it all looks a little warped from the actual view.

But, alas, we are now very happy ... and there is NO excuse for not exchanging the toilet tissue when a roll runs out.  I even put that box on the lowest shelf!

My *hope* is to trim out the shelves to look a little fancier, ala Ballard Design's cafe shelves... but that may take a little time to figure it out and find time.

PS... Birdie update!  Here's the latest....
All five eggs (four blue, one spotted cowbird egg) have hatched.  Unfortunately, things are progressing as expected.  The cowbird is twice the size of the others and flops all over the others, smothering them. Mama bird (finch?) keeps feeding and tending to the whole nest of babies.  Even daddy, a red-headed finch, keeps popping in on them.  

We are away for a short trip, and I'm curious to see if any didn't make it when I get home.  Things aren't looking good, if you ask me.  :(  So sad.  Bully bird!!