Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

19 Jul 2013

Printables For The Win

You guys! Life is insane these days.  I am not sure if I'd ever recommend selling two houses (our rental and our own) and trying to buy a house all in the same month.  I actually feel like I am losing brain cells on a daily basis.  Keys? Sunglasses? Cell phone? These days I don't ever seem to know where they are. I used to know ALL. THE. TIME. where my things were! I am losing it.  But, at least I know that it will all be over soon, and someday I am sure I will sit back and laugh at how nuts we were.   

I have to admit...I am not sure what I am going to blog about for the next little while.  I usually have a plan, but all of my plans have gone out the window.  I don't have time for projects these days....and clearly I'd be a little nutty to put MORE holes in the walls at this point in time.  So, please bear with me as we work our way through this time of transition.  It might be a little quiet around here...but just wait until we get a new house....then you are going to tell me to shut the heck up!

Ok, let's get to the point of this post.  

Our Realtor didn't think we needed to do much to stage our house before we listed it.  I was really thankful for that, as I wasn't really up for moving a bunch of furniture around or renting a storage locker to make our house look sparse.

One thing we did need to do though was remove all of our family photos.  I didn't realize how much I love our photos and how many times a day I look at them until I took them all down.  Sort of made me sad! 

Most of our photos were in free standing frames, but I did have a few on our gallery wall and a couple more in our bedroom.

gallery wall with printables

Instead of paying to print more photos at the photo lab, I decided to fill all of the newly empty frames with free printables that I printed on my home printer on plain ol' white paper.  I have a Pinterest board dedicated to printables, but hadn't used many of them in frames in the past.  It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to try and find prints that I liked and that also fit in the frames I already had.

The "I can & I will" worked great in the black frame.  Although it's only made to look like chalkboard, I think this affirms that I am a chalkboard addict.

gallery wall with printables

The "Be Kind" print is actually available in a bunch of different colours.  I thought the teal and pink brightened up the stairway space.  (Just ignore the mat that has yellowed like crazy beside the window!)

gallery wall with printables

The frame that holds 3 vertical 5" x 7" prints was a little bit trickier to work with.  

The feather is from My Daily Randomness, which is a blog that I actually read quite often, and the "Hello Sunshine" is just so darn cute.   Then I got stuck.  I couldn't find another vertical image that was working for me and kept a consistent style.  Once I removed the back of the frame I realized that I had left the stock images that came with the frame behind our family photos.  I picked the one I liked the best and slapped it in there.  Surprisingly, it actually sort of matches!

gallery wall with printables

And here's how the gallery wall looks now.  I am a little sad that I don't get to Fin's beautiful newborn pics any more (was she really ever that small???), but I am already planning in my head how I am going to display them in a new house. I've been wanting to paint all of these frames white for about a year, so you know for sure that they will experience a colour change before they get up on any new walls. 

gallery wall with printables

In the bedroom I changed out the pics for 2 free botanical prints.  I really love these botanical prints. I think they'd look great with a bunch of them lined up in skinny gold frames. Maybe in the new house....

So there you have it! The changes that I made before listing our house, which took about an hour from start to finish.   

Tell me, how do you feel about house staging for the purposes of selling?  Would you judge people by their pictures if they were up and you were looking at a house?  Any favourite sources of free printables? 

3 May 2013

Circle It!

Since I finished the kitchen last fall, there has been something bugging me.  It was this:

kitchen before

Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but I just never really loved it in that particular space.  The more we lived with it the more we bumped it.  Almost every time we pulled Fin's chair out from the table we'd bump the big frame and it would move.  Crooked.  All. The. Time.  You want to know how to drive me nuts?  Just put a crooked frame in a place that I spend hours a day in.  It probably wouldn't have been so obvious except that it was frames within frames, so if one was off then everything looked wonky.

So, I took all of the frames off of the wall (hurray for Command Strips that don't leave marks) and hung up 2 brand spankin' new pictures.

new circle prints

The actual photos are ones that I took when we were in Greece a couple of years ago.  They had been sitting on the computer untouched, and I finally decided that instead of hiding them, we should enjoy the images of the place we loved so much.

Circle photo

Circle photo mykonos

I converted the pictures to black and white (in Lightroom) and then I used Pixlr to make the circle crop.  Pixlr is free and is a great alternative to Photoshop.  

I had two 16" x 20" frames that weren't being used, so I figured I'd work with what I had to save some pennies.  I sized the images so that the circle part would be centred in a 16" x 20" print with white space around it.  I ordered the prints from, which is an online photo printing company.  I waited a few weeks for a sale (20% off), so each print ended up being right around $10.  With the shipping (via FedEx, which was CRAZY fast) my total for both prints came just over $30.  I am totally happy with the quality, and they came packaged in a shipping tube so there was no chance of the prints bending.  ( also prints on Acrylic which I would love to try one day....looks pretty cool!).

Once the prints arrived all I had to was pop them in the frames.  And try and keep a million dog hairs, dust particles, and my finger prints from showing on the white paper!  I sort of wished that I had some of those dorky white gloves like they use in galleries.)

It's taking me a while to get used to not having so much on that wall, but I am happy to have that big frame out of the way.  So far we haven't bumped into these new frames at all.  (Except for when I bumped it right after hanging it and one frame fell and busted the corner.  Just ignore that, ok?  I have to figure out a farmer's fix for it still.)

Greece Prints

But I do really like how the white and silver matches the cream can on the other side of the dining nook.

A Swell Place to Dwell - The Kitchen

My plan down the road is to paint the frames.  I think that a bright coloured frame will look great with the black and white.  Or maybe I will splurge and buy new frames since these cheapy ones are starting to show their age.  Either way, I don't think I will make any decisions until we move into a new house (which we are still hoping will be in the fall).  I also still really like the big frame that was up there before, so I  need to find a new home for it (still within our home...).

Greek Man Circle Photo

I'll work on a tutorial on how to use Pixlr to make the circle crop and centre it, etc in case any of you are interested in doing the same sort of print for your wall(s).

Kitchen @ A Swell Place to Dwell

So tell me, do you also hide pictures of your vacations on your computer and hardly ever print them?  Has anyone else been to those windmills in Mykonos?  I LOVED them...could have stared at them for hours....

19 Apr 2013

Dresser Mirror Turned Wall Mirror

Ok, enough about all the crap-tastic stuff that's been happening in our lives....let's get back to the teeny tiny bathroom in the basement, shall we?

The space is fairly dark, and on top of BEING small, it also FELT small.  In an attempt to add some lightness to the space, I decided to hang a mirror above the toilet.

Dresser mirror on the wall

Recognize it?  

Maybe this will jog your memory....

Refinished Aqua Dresser

Yes, it's the mirror from Fin's dresser.  It's like killing 2 birds with one stone....but since that's not a nice's like killing 2 rooms with one dresser.  Booyah!

All I had to do was remove the supports that attached it to the back of the dresser and screw in a couple of picture hanging thingies (I have no idea what their technical name is).

Then we just hung it on the wall.  Of course, hanging it level was the hardest part of this whole project!  We didn't use anchors since there were two hooks and the mirror wasn't too heavy (rebels!).

Hang a dresser mirror on the wall!

I know it's not really traditional to hang a dresser mirror on the wall, but I really like the shape of it and the colour that the teal brings to the space.   The teal colour is Sweet Rhapsody by Behr.

Mirrors in the bathroom.

I am sort of obsessed with seeing mirrors in mirrors.  Reminds me of a fun house.  Strange for a bathroom?  Maybe....

I am still undecided on that dark broze mirror, but am leaning towards making it white.  I did think about switching the mirrors out and putting this teal one above the sink, but it didn't fit between the sink and the vanity light.

Basement bathroom with mirrors and antique windows.

I found a rug, a soap holder and a towel hook over the past few weeks, so this space is sort of starting to feel a little more finished.  I also plan to attack some accessories with a can of spray paint over the next couple of days to fill that awkward space beside the toilet.  If all goes well there will be more bathroom posts next week.

So tell me....would you hang a dresser mirror on the wall?

p.s. If you are looking for another project to do with a dresser mirror check out the one that I turned into a giant chalkboard

p.p.s.  I recently took the plunge and joined an ad network (other than Google).  I am still playing around with a few formatting things, but you will notice a few new ads around here.  I plan on writing a whole post on monetizing my blog, but since it might take me a while to write it, I wanted to be totally up front with you about the ads now.  Yes, I do make a bit of money (like a Starbucks a month...) off of the ads.  I hope that my content still prevails and that you don't find the ads too obtrusive.  If you do please let me know as I am open to suggestions of how to make them less obtrusive!

3 Apr 2013

Antique Window Art

When I was a kid we had a cabin that we went to every weekend in the summer.  It was an old tiny little 2 room cabin that had an attached sunroom, which was turned into my room.  When I moved out to go to university my parents decided that it was finally time to move out of the city.  They spent years planning the perfect house, and when they were ready, they tore down the old cabin and built a beautiful new house on the same land. 

Before tearing down the cabin my Mom took the time to remove all of the doors and windows.  She hauled them around for years through a few more moves.  A few years ago, I asked if I could have 2 of the windows and she happily obliged.  

The windows hung in our kitchen for a while (prior to the makeover last summer), and I converted one of the windows my Mom still had into a chalkboard/memo board for my Mom's office.  Since I took the 2 down from our kitchen I've had them in the basement just waiting for a new place to go. 

I wanted to use them in our basement bathroom, but the space is small and dark and needs more colour than just white windows.  I figured there must be a way to brighten them up without loosing all that authentic chippiness (and it is totally authentic - no messing around on my part).

I dug around in my frame/poster closet and found 2 old posters that we no longer had hanging up.  The colours happened to be exactly what I was going for.  I think the posters were originally from Ikea (like 10 years ago or so... hoarder....).

old windows and 2 old ikea posters

I laid the posters out on the floor and measured them each out into quarters.

Cutting poster

Since staring at white paper isn't very exciting I figured I'd add some visual interest with Diefenbaker.....he is always the start of the show anyhow.  

I used the T-square to mark my lines and then just used scissors to cut  each poster into 4.  Since the raw edges were going to be hidden by the window cross bars, cutting perfection wasn't required.

poster cut into quarters

Once I had my 4 pieces I then used tape to attach each piece to the back of the widow.  It took a little finagling to get each one in the right spot so that it didn't look wonky with the cross bar.   

I should mention that my posters weren't big enough to cover the whole back of the window without cutting.  If they had been big enough then I probably would have just tapped the whole thing down in one piece.

Once I had everything taped down my 2 windows looked much happier and brighter.

Antique Window Art

One of my windows was missing a pane of glass.  I decided to leave that pane empty instead of taping the picture in there without any glass in front.   I am usually obsessive about symmetry, but for some reason that one window just looked better to me with one bare pane.

Turn an antique window into art using an old poster.

I love the one with the man and his flowers.  I wish someone would deliver flowers to me on a beautiful turquoise river and an old wooden boat.  A girl can dream, right?  I won't complain....Mr. Swell does quite well with flowers (he knows not to buy them at the grocery store!).

Each window has 2 sawtooth hooks on the back, so they just hang on the wall with 2 nails each.

old posters behind antique windows.

I love how they look against the dark gray (BM Trout Gray) in the bathroom.

Antique windows in the bathroom

Yup, the bathroom is so small that I had to stand in the hallway to fit them both in the picture!

Put old posters behind antique windows for unique art.

Project 1 for the basement bathroom is complete!  The best part.....$0....FREE.  Love that.  Sometimes my hoarding tendencies really pay off!

So tell me, am I the only one who hoards windows?  Anyone else have windows and doors hanging around?

22 Aug 2012

Funky Faux Taxidermy


Faux people...faux taxidermy. Not real taxidermy, that is not for me. I am very happy without little beady eyes staring at me (besides, I am sure it would scare the crap out of Diefenbaker).  But faux taxidermy that is cool, fresh and modern...bring. it. on.

About a year ago Mr. Swell and I saw a white ceramic stag head in Urban Barn and we stared at it and stared at it. We debated, quite seriously actually.  The problem was that it was $100, which was too much for us at the time - when we were really in need of a couch, not a lovely stag head.  About a week later we decided that we could swing it - the stag head and the couch. So I got in the car and drove to Urban Barn to find out that it was gone. Apparently the stag head was quite popular and there wasn't a stag head to be found anywhere in Alberta.  I hung my head and went home, headless.

Ever since that sad day I have been slightly obsessed with faux taxidermy.  I wanted a head of my own.  I debated buying a ceramic moose head off of Etsy, but was having a hard time swallowing the shipping costs (moose heads are big and cross border shipping adds up faaaast). Then during one random google search, I ran across a tutorial for a DIY faux deer head that was made out of foam core (see the tutorial here).  A $3 piece of foam core was definitely in the budget. And a taxidermist (of sorts) was born.....

The tutorial came with PDF print outs for each of the pieces, so all I had to do was print them out then cut out each of the shapes.  Once I had the shapes cut out, I traced them onto my piece of foam core (20" x 30" from Michael's).


I then used a sharp x-acto knife to cut out each of the shapes. It did take a while to get the hang of it, and I eventually found the easiest method was to cut on one side, pressing fairly hard, and then flip the foam core over and using light pressure just follow the cut line again to ensure that the paper is all cut.  If the paper on both sides isn't cut, it will tear when you try and pop the shape out. 


The tutorial that I used as a launching point used spray adhesive and wrapping paper to apply pattern to the shapes.  I didn't have any cool wrapping paper or spray adhesive, so went to plan B. Paint and a stencil.  Seemed easy enough....until I was on hour 2 of stencilling and was going slightly insane.  


I used left over paint that we had from our front door project (Behr exterior...I'm a rebel and used it inside!) and a stencil that came in the same kit that I used for the guest room dresser. The trickiest part was getting the stencil lined up on some of the tiny pieces, but after some deep breathing and positive self affirmations, I eventually got it done.

Instead of stencilling the back piece, I spray painted it silver.  I actually tried gluing on some faux wood scrapbook paper, but didn't like the look so I just flipped the piece over and hit it with some spray paint. Much better.


Using a little punch, I punched a hole on each side of the neck so that I could thread a wire (I used a paperclip) across for hanging.  You can see the faux wood that I nixed.


Then it was assembly time.  Quite easy actually, each piece just slides into the other.  Miraculously my pieces fit together perfectly, so I didn't even need to use glue.


Then Mr. Deer was hung on the wall, inside a glassless frame.  The frame is actually one that I had picked up at the Salvation Army a few weeks ago.  I had put it on the stairs to bring down to the basement (anyone else do that...then it sits there for days??), but then tripped over it which sent it slamming down the stairs and the glass broke all over the place. So I was left with a frame with no glass.  I put the empty frame in my frame closet (like any good hoarder would do) and knew I'd find a place for it.  Framing Mr. Deer was the perfect fit. It didn't even need to painted, gotta love that!


Here's how the little corner in the basement is looking now....with the new painting and the craft crap all stored away.



What do you think? He makes me laugh every time I see him.  Mr. Deer and his beehive stencilled self, just hanging out above the craft crap cabinet. I still really want a big ceramic moose head (or maybe a rhino), but for now Mr. Deer will do. Any faux taxidermy (or real taxidermy for that matter) in your house?

By the way, we have finally come up for air after devouring 3 seasons of Sons of Anarchy in about 2 weeks.  We haven't done any real projects for 2 weeks - I am just catching up writing about everything we had done already.  I can't wait for season 4 to make it to Netflix, but for now I am glad to have my life back.  Any Sons fans out there? Tell me I am not alone in my love for Jax.  

17 Aug 2012

Artist in the House

Artist. Ha! I suck at Pictionary, my stick people aren't even proportionate.  My Mom and I have to play Pictionary together because we are the only 2 who can tell what each other is drawing (if you are reading this and are in my family, I know you know this to be true!).  But smooshing some paint around...that I can do. 

Remember the giant painting that I picked up at a garage sale a while back? The one where the lady went on and on about how fabulous the painting was. 

I have plans for the frame, but didn't intend to use the painting. I actually planned to toss it out on our next trip to the dump.  It hung out in our garage for a while (as do most things in our house that we don't know what to do with).   

Remember the giant hole we have in our basement?  The one that I talked about here.

Here's the thing, and I am warning you now, this is a bit of a tangent....

About two months ago we cancelled our cable.  It was costing us way too much and we weren't watching it.  So, we upped our internet speed and decided we would just watch everything we wanted to over the internet. We bought an Apple TV and hooked up Netflix, and sat down on the couch to watch everything it had to offer.  Well...we are hooked.  There are TV series that we haven't had the chance to see before...and all for $8 a month.  Love it.  We are currently mowing our way through the second season of Sons of Anarchy.  Any Anarchy fans out there? It's so bad, but oh so good. I'm totally addicted (and secretly in love with Jax Teller). Anyhow, to get back on track.  I got tired of watching my Anarchy boys while staring at the ugly hole (it's right in my field of view during tube watching).  I had to cover the hole. The Anarchy boys deserved better.

Guess what?  The ugly canvas would totally cover the whole.  The only problem?  It was ugly....and bumpy.

I didn't want a bumpy painting.  What gets rid of bumps?  Sanding!  I hauled out the palm sander and went crazy sanding the painting.  Mr. Swell thought I was insane.  I probably was, but it worked. (If you get crazy and do this too, don't forget to wear a dusk mask)

Here's the canvas post sanding:

I couldn't get all of the texture off without sanding through the canvas, but I did get the big bumps off.

Then, using a foam brush, I brushed on 3 coats of primer.  I just used the primer I had laying around, which happend to be Zinsser 1-2-3 Bullseye.

I put the paint on really thick, so it took about a whole day to dry.  

I decided to go for an ombre look on this one.  I still love most things ombre, and I figured it was one of the only things that this non-drawer would be able to pull off.

I started with one big stripe of Navy Blue.  The paint is actually an exterior latex - Wrought Iron by Martha Stewart that we used for the front door.

Then while it was still wet I added grey on either side, blending as I went. The colour is Rockport Grey by Benjamin Moore - latex interior eggshell.

I didn't wash the brush in between, which helped things blend.  I also made sure to stand back every once and a while to make sure I was staying somewhat even.

Then I used the primer again on the ends to blend white into the grey.

I waited a couple days for it to dry and then moved it down to the basement to cover the giant hole.

It's so big that it doesn't even need to be hung - it's just resting against the wall. 

Upcycled Canvas to Abstract Art

Upcycled Canvas to Abstract ArtUpcycled Canvas to Abstract Art

I've considered painting the edges so that you don't see the drips, but I actually sort of like the unfinished look.  It looks much more expensive gallery, right?

And in case you are wondering, the wall paint in Spartan Stone by Behr.  It's a really great light khaki colour. It's reading a bit more minty in the pictures than it really is - the lighting in the basement is not conducive to good photos.  Also, just ignore the unfinished ceiling, ok?  Half of our basement still doesn't have ceiling as we've put it on hold until winter.  Hanging ceiling is a good project when it's -40  degrees outside.

Let me tell you, this is much better to look at while watching Jax Teller.  I also consider it a freebie.  The picture did cost me $10 at the garage sale, but I bought it for the frame, not for the painting and the paint was all left overs that I had hanging around.

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