Getting the Yard Summer Ready

Please join me over at True Value where I will be talking about getting your yard ready for summer.

This winter was extra tough on my yard!  
It actually motivated me to check a bunch of projects off my list, like expanding my garden beds and FINALLY adding cobble stone edging to my patio.  Hop over here to see how it turned out!


Part 2: Starburst Tube Sculpture "not reals"

So yesterday I made a tubular brass sculpture using real brass.  It's not for the faint of heart... you need a soldering iron which can run you between 20-30 bucks, as well as a few other supplies.  Not to mention the soldering part is hard and gets freaking hot hot hot!  Its great if you want the "real deal" on a budget or want to make a light fixture of something that needs to be very durable.

Today I made the same sculpture using drinking straws, some super glue and gold spray paint.
Quick, painless and cheap.  

Here is a look at Round 2.
I have yesterday's real brass sculpture on the left and the new drinking straw version on the right...
 Not bad, I just wish I had a brighter gold spray paint.  The one I had kicking around is a bit on teh brown side. 
 So here is how I did this one.  
Gather supplies.
-A dozen paper drinking straws.  Smoother thicker plastic ones would be the best, but I was using what I had.  I found a link for rigid plastic tubing you can buy by the foot in several different diameters here.  Much cheaper than buying rigid drinking straws suprisingly!
-Super glue/ glue of your choice.
 Start by gluing (2) groups of 3 straws together to create "A" shapes...
 Once dry (about 3 minutes- patience is needed or else your fingers are gonna stick together) glue the 2 "A" shapes together forming a teepee.  Add straws one by one to complete your sculpture.
It feels a bit like Pick-Up sticks...
 I actually really liked it striped.  I thought it would make great centerpiece or table toppers, even hanging decorations for parties...
 Here it is in front of my new painting from Jenny...
 and here it is after one coat of gold spray paint...

and an up close...
you can see the paper straw lines, but if its going up on a shelf it would be fine.
This is why smooth thick plastic tubing is the ticket if you are painting it.
and one more side by side.
Super easy and super cheap.
Thats all for now folks!
Later.

Brass Starburst Sculpture "for reals"

 I say "for reals" because I have only made these out of wooden skewers, not actual brass before.
(see sculpture here and light fixture here)
I decided to go for the real thing for this one...
 I have a client that saw this and loved it, but not the $$$$ attached to it...
Having welded my kitchen lights this winter with my Dad's help I felt ready for the challenge.  
I also took jewelry design in art school and inhaled my fair share of lead making stained glass so I thought "no big deal"... its actually quite a big deal.  This is a level 7 on a scale of 1-10 for difficultly.  
*If you don't have a soldering gun or trust yourself near high heat, spray some drinking straws gold and then glue them together. See tutorial for that here*  

So, I picked up some 36" long 3/8" brass tubing at my local True Value Hardware store, a soldering iron, solder-without lead cause that is BAD for the brain, and a mini tubing cutter...
 These tubes also came in 12" lengths, which is what I will be using for my client, but I wanted to make a smaller "sister" burst to go with it/ practice on.
I marked the 36" tubes at 9" intervals..
  Then I used a great little contraption called a mini tubing cutter.  Best tool I tell you!  All you do is put your tube in and tighten the clamp.  Next twist the tube once and tighten the clamp again.  Repeat until the tube cuts in half.  Its like magic!
 It took me 3 twists/ tightens to make this happen...
 They are so smooth I'd drink from them if 
I wasn't such a "don't know where that tube has been" type!
 I made (12) 9" pieces from (3) 36" tubes...
 Now for the hard part... soldering.
I used a piece of leftover ceramic tile with a layer of aluminum foil for my work area 
since this gets VERY (900 degrees) HOT!
Gather your soldering iron, solder and some fine steel wool.
 You will need to rub the tubes down with the steel wool to make sure they are clean.
Very important!  If there is any coating on the brass the solder will not stick and it will just break off.
 I recommend having three arms for the next step if you are new to soldering, so grab a friend.
Here's the deal... you need to hold the soldering iron to the metal areas you want to solder until they reach a temperature that will melt the solder.  It gets tricky because the tubes natural want to roll, so I used masking tape to hold the end in place that was farthest away from the heat source.
I used a solder with a rosin flux core (this helps it spread easier and bonds the metals together).  If you use basic solder be sure to treat the area with flux separately.
 I touched the solder to the brass until it melted and then I quickly lifted the soldering iron.  This takes a lot of practice!!!!  Next, let the solder cool before handling.
Please note my messy soldering marks... rookie.
 I kept adding tubes and using tape to hold ends in place since I didn't have a third arm or a buddy...
 It's my first attempt so it's quite obvious...
 I used my Krylon Paint Pen to cover up the majority of silver solder marks...
Here is the breakdown on cost...
The actual tubing cost less than $18:
(3) 36" brass tubes @ $5.99 each
This is the "tools" cost, so if you own any of this you are ahead of the game...
Tubing Cutter $9.49
3 oz. Solder $11.99
Soldering Iron $31.99
About $50.  Gets pricey, but just think of all the cool stuff you can now make!
Now I am off to practice some more and make one for my client.
I'll keep you posted!

One Pot Painted Three Ways

I can play this game all day!
I've been staring at a couple of metal cachepots that have been sitting on my kitchen window sill for the past year and thought "these little buggers would be so easy to zhush up"- but then the phone would ring, or someone needed a snack or I'd see a squirrel and then I'd forget about them...
SO today, in the midst of a big deadline, I decide NOW was the time to bedazzle those babies. Procrastination gets shit done that doesn't really need to be done- am I right?
This took me an hour to do, and I have about 50 more ideas on how to paint this little pots, but for now I'll show you three.  It just takes a little paint, a steady hand and your imagination.

There's a style for everyone here-
 traditional chinoiserie, clean and simple modern lines and the eclectic/funky "evil eye". 

 Here are some tips...
-don't try this after drinking 2 cups of coffee- shaky hands, disaster!
-If using spray paint let your base coat color dry completely before doing your top pattern, otherwise the Sharpies and paint pens will get gooey/smudgy.  Learned this the hard way. 
 Use acrylics to avoid the wait.
-I used a white chalk marker (this one) because it was very smooth and fluid for drawing the chinoiserie scene.  It also will wash off with a wet rag if you make mistakes, so be sure to seal it with and polyurethane when you're finished.
-Sharpies work great for fine detail, just be sure to use an acrylic polyurethane on top, since some oil-based ones will make Sharpies bleed.
-Krylon Gold Paint pen does it again!  Easy peasy for lining the rims and coloring in the feet.
-I used a ruler to draw in the lines on my mint green pot, and then free hand traced to beef them up a bit.
-For the eyes, draw in the whites first with a chalk marker or acrylic paint.  Add colored irises with paint, and then line, lash and dot with a black Sharpie.
 The change up is fast and easy to do, and they'd make great little gifts.
What's your favorite?

p.s. -I found my pots at a local floral supply shop last summer, but I've seen these ingarden centers too.

yard stuff

Sticking my head outside for a moment...
I love this idea for quick and easy garden beds/planters using pallets:

And I really dig this idea of adding stones to my garden beds.
a) It looks cool.
b) Less weeding

SUMMERNESS




I'm in total summer mindset even though it's a cool and very breezy 50 degrees here.  As a New Englander I live for the few precious beach days we get,  so I'm rounding up my top summer essentials that will be accompanying me to the sand and surf.

Second Time's the Charm

Spring always gets me excited.  The warmer weather hails the start of one of my favorite pastimes... the yard sale.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely do my fair share of rummaging through thrift shops and Craigslist during the colder months, but there is something to be said about the ability to drag something outside and spray paint it on a whim.  I also tend to have a backlog of projects by spring that are just too large or stinky to finish indoors, so my fix-it-up mojo is in high gear these days.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some practical repair tips for salvaging used furniture as well as some tips on how to know if your find is a keeper.  

 I found this little table on the curb for free.  It had great lines, was very sturdy and actually looked very similar to a side table I already had.  It also had a bunch of defects which made it a perfect candidate for this post.  So lets get right to the fixing part!

Splat!

Hey folks!  I've had my face shoved in a computer screen the past couple days finishing up the edits for a new fabric collection on Spoonflower.  
The Splat Collection is now done and live!
 So far 15 colors- "single" and "multi-color" variations, 
as well as one reverse on a blue background...

This is the scale for wallpaper...
Spoonflower, you need to get a better table/chair scenario!

Basket Shade- via IKEA

My daily equation works something likes this...

A.M.- caffeine + iTunes + work/internet
P.M.- wine + iTunes+ work/internet...

and somewhere in that mix I can be found  
making some shit or having "mind dancing awesomeness" delusions. 
(I have no moves due to my short mental capacity and 5'11" frame but in my head I'm awesome)

Today we'll continue stick to the making...
Available in 12 5/8" and 19 5/8" diameter & a couple color flavors for the cheapness of  $4.99 & $9.99 respectively...

What's Your Style Series: The Bedroom


Welcome back for the last round of the What's Your Style Series!
 So far we have covered the living area and the kitchen, and we wrap it up with the bedroom.  I have been struggling with this space for years, but my bedroom is about as finished as it will ever get.  
So what is my style here?
I'd have to say Preppy / Eclectic...
I painted the walls Brittany Blue by Ben Moore for a calm backdrop,
and then added a lot more blue and navy.  We recently upgraded to a king size bed and got the navy linen headboard is from Home Decorator's Collection.  I will never go back to a hard wooden headboard after having an upholstered one... I'm a klutz and would always sit back and bang my head, so I consider this an investment in my brain cells.

Painted Buffalo Plaid Wall "How To" and my Entry Makeover

 When I posted a sneak peek of my painted buffalo plaid entry wall 
a while back on Instagram I got a bunch of requests for a tutorial. 
I've been dying to share the nitty gritty with you, but it was for a True Value DIY Blog Squad post.  Well, the post is finally live on their site and I am so happy to be able to share it with you.   
It is such an easy technique, and it really transformed my space.
Besides the painted wall, there are a ton of other projects and DIY's crammed into this makeover!
I'm talking organizational solutions for clutter and easy ways to spruce up old furniture.
Please hop over to StartRightStartHere to see the full entryway makeover.
See ya there!


Painted Geometric Drapes

 I had the flu a few weeks ago and spent a week in bed and a good deal of time staring at my unfinished bedroom and overdosing on Pinterest.  Once I was well, I had a crazy new project list, a pile of mojo and the sudden need to cut bangs (thanks again Pinterest) which I did almost immediately due to pent-up impulsiveness.  I also started wielding a paint brush like a crazy lady.  (If you follow my Instagram you probably already know this and saw the peach office going down- still on the fence on that one).  One a more successful note,  I finished my bedroom drapes.  I took my old white IKEA panels and painted new life into them...
I did this about a year ago with a black and white version that was looser

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