Category Archives: Inspiration

The Elephant in the Room

A current decorating project has left my mind full of how to address “the elephant” in the room. In this case meaning a large empty wall above a low rise child’s bed. The budget is being spent on necessities like new bedding, curtains, paint, and some framed art for the opposite wall and there is little money left to address this blank canvas. Here is an accumulation of ideas for how to decorate “the elephant” in the room for under $50.

WE are currently leaning towards tying up a couple strands of gross grain ribbon and attaching laminate comic book pictures to it.

We are currently leaning towards tying up a couple strands of gross grain ribbon and attaching laminated second hand comic book pictures to it.

 

If you have a bit of an artistic streak a few $7 spray cans can make a huge impact.

If you have a bit of an artistic streak a few $7 spray cans can make a huge impact.

A simple strand of lights spelling a word like "love" would be simple and beautiful.

A strand of lights spelling a word like “love” is  simple and beautiful.

Stencils are always a great option but not everyone is cut out for the work involved in a full wall stencil. Some simple stencilled birds can add a whimsical touch and is easier (and much cheaper- $20ish) than a full wall stencil.

Stencils are always a great option but not everyone is cut out for the work involved in a full wall stencil. Some simple stenciled birds can add a whimsical touch and is easier (and much cheaper- $20ish) than a full wall stencil.

Recently saw this indoor climbing wall on Leave It to Bryan. Not for the faint of heart but what little boy wouldn't love to be able to climb his walls? Check out Ebay for some killer prices.

I recently saw this indoor climbing wall on Leave It to Bryan (ignore the stencil, it’ll run you $100). Not for parents who are faint of heart but what little kid wouldn’t love to be able to climb their walls? Check out Ebay for some killer deals.

A collection of vintage plates from the thrift store makes a charming vignette.

A collection of vintage plates from the thrift store makes a charming vignette.

Wall decals can be expensive but you search you can find ones for under $50 on Etsy or at stores like Lowes.

Wall decals can be expensive but if you search you can find ones for under $50 on Etsy or at stores like Lowes.

These book ledges are sold at Ikea for $15 each. Where storage and art meet in the form of storage for attractive books.

These book ledges are sold at Ikea for $15 each. Create a focal point with some attractive books and save room as well.

Making and attaching a simple frame to the wall then filling it in with magnetic paint is a great way for you child to display favorite pictures.

Making and attaching a simple frame to the wall then filling it in with magnetic paint is a great way for your child to display favorite pictures.

If you can find a discount fabric you like, making your own stretcher board with some cheap wood from the harduying some simple frame board from the hardware store

Stretching some inexpensive fabric onto a large homemade frame and stapling it in place can create instant wall art.

If your short on closet space why not display you finest as wall art. A perfect idea for a little girl's nursery.

If you are short on closet space why not display your finest as wall art. A perfect idea for a little girl’s nursery.

An inexpensive gallery wall can be made from collecting cheap frames from thrift stores and filling them with pictures from thrifted books.

An inexpensive gallery wall can be made from collecting cheap frames from thrift stores and filling them with pictures from second-hand books. The frames can be painted if you want to unify them.

To put together a all of vintage mirrors for $50 would take some time and patience but with Craigslist, thrift stores, and garage sale finds i is possible.

To put together a wall of vintage mirrors for $50 would take some time and patience but with Craigslist, thrift stores, and garage sale finds, it is possible. This would be beautiful in a girl’s room young or old.

These are only a few of the many, many routes you could take to inexpensively address a large blank wall. As you can see from the pictures, these ideas are not all limited to use in a child’s bedroom but can make a statement in any room that needs some pizzazz. I’ll be sure to post pictures of this project when it is done, including the budget breakdown for our wall art.

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What’s in Your Closet?

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Skeletons? Probably not. But if you’re like me and have a bit of clutter phobia there may be some treasures that you have hidden away behind closed doors. For me this looks like wooden sculptures from my husband’s and my separate trips to Africa and trinkets inherited from beloved family members.

I was recently reading an article in a design magazine where the designers were complaining that when they went to a house to take pictures they always had to go through people’s cupboards to draw out personal items to add flavor to the home’s design. Looking around my own home, I see that my clutter phobia has left few personal touches in the space. Unless you count copious amounts of hot wheels and play mobile as a personal touch.

The recent removal of my Christmas tree from the corner of my living room seems to have left a giant decorative gap. I had decided on what I thought was the perfect unit to display some of my “hidden treasures” but it ended up overwhelming the space, so back to the store it will go. Until I find that “perfect” unit for this corner, I have decided to take up some of the space on the playroom bookcase to display a few treasures. I’m much happier with the overall styling of the  bookcase now that I have shuffled things around to include these items (and as you can see, I finally found some stylish little toys baskets to fit the billy bookcase)

As you can see near the bottom, I finally found some stylish little toys baskets from Walmart.

Top left is a gorgeous engraved jewellery box my sister bought me in India and an alphabet crochet my mom made me when I was a little girl.

The brass apple is a buy from a lovely fellow vendor at the flea market.

The brass apple is a buy from a lovely fellow vendor at the flea market.

My husband brought home this lovely wooden statue from Burkina Faso.

My husband brought home this lovely wooden statue from Burkina Faso.

These keys belong to my husband's recently deceased grandfather who worked in telecommunications during WWII.

These keys belong to my husband’s recently deceased grandfather who worked in telecommunications during WWII.

In my mother’s generation these kinds of treasures were displayed in china cabinets but since my decor style leans more towards modern, I love the idea of using etagères as modern day “china cabinets”. Given the smaller living quarters most of us inhabit these days, the airy openness of these pieces helps to take up less visual space than a traditional china cabinet. The downside: get your dust cloths ready.

I'm a sucker for vintage bamboo etageres painted in bold colours.

I’m a sucker for vintage bamboo etagères painted in bold colours like those framing this couch.

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These are great for a more industrial look.

The vittsjo shelving unit from Ikea is sleek and super inexpensive at $50.

The vittsjo shelving unit from Ikea is sleek and super inexpensive at $50. They are easy to customize with spray paint, and if you google these units you’ll find them made over in a variety of gorgeous shades.

I'm a sucker for a good glass and brass/gold etagere and I love the Asian of these two pieces.

I love a good glass and brass/gold etagère, and the Asian influence displayed in the lines of these two pieces is beautiful.

Leaning shelves are another stylish way to display your treasures. Check out Crate and Barrel or the Container Store for some nice options.

Leaning shelves are another stylish way to display your treasures. Check out Crate and Barrel or the Container Store for some nice options.

 

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Filed under At home, Eye Candy, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Wild Dreams

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Animal prints are one of those design statements that travel in and out of style with ease. Zebra prints particularly come to mind, perhaps because they tend to be more in style than out, and perhaps because I have a personal liking for them. Flipping through my daughter’s Kid’s National Geographic Magazine I was struck by a different kind of animal print: tortoise shells.

On a side note, as I recover from my first trimester of pregnancy I have been doing a lot of day dreaming. I’ve been too tired to get around to much actual DIY but my mind has been keeping busy with a variety of random notions. For example, I wrote an epic story in my mind and actually typed out twenty-two pages before I started reading the Hunger Games Series and realized my ability to translate my story from mind to paper is fully inadequate. I next became enamored with the idea of decorating my whole home for fall with a series of DIY projects invloving leaves, pumpkins, paint and glitter. I got as far as buying the glitter and letting my daughter make a mess of glue and glitter on paper. Finally, my mind has settled on tortoise shells.

My latest day dream is to develop a collection of home decor fabrics with patterns inspired by a variety of tortoise shells. Of note is the fact that I have little hands on artistic ability, no connections in the industry, and more generally, no idea how to make this dream a reality. But a girls gotta dream when she’s sitting at home with the kiddos.

Check out what I mean. I looked around for fabrics with the kinds of patterns exhibited on the shells below and didn’t find anything to compare. I love the the variation of light and dark neutrals, the texture and the lines. So beautiful. Could you imagine it on a pillow? a curtain? a rug even? I could.

One of my favorite patterns is on this African star tortoise.

One of my favorite patterns is on this African star tortoise.

A delicate but beautiful pattern on this African Helmeted Turtle.

A delicate but beautiful pattern on this African Helmeted Turtle.

This spider tortoise has a stunningly bold pattern.

This spider tortoise has a stunningly bold pattern. Look at the texture the ridges create.

The sulcuta tortoise.

The sulcuta tortoise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most likely nothing will come of my wild dreams but it is beautiful to imagine. My sister directed me towards a website where you can create your own fabric. If I give it a go I’ll be sure to let you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going Gold with Etsy

If you follow my blog then you know that I love Etsy. Not just the ease of clicking a button and having beautiful purchases delivered to my door, but also the feeling that I am supporting “the little guy”. I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to run an Etsy shop and it has made me realize that it takes a lot of time and effort, not just good product, to succeed in this venue.

In my previous post I was encouraging readers to (carefully) try out one of 2014s big trends, mixing metals.  If you are thinking of mixing up your cool metals with some warm ones, Etsy is a fantastic place to find unique pieces, both vintage and handmade.

Here are some of the golden beauties I discovered.

Textiles: These fabrics would be gorgeous in a white, gold, and silver nursery. All the product shown below can be purchased in silver as well.

I love the idea of using these types of fabrics to design a white, gold, and silver nursery. Very glamorous. These all come in silver and white as well (gold blanket, Modfox; deer pillow, Regan's Brain; White and gold pillows, Sarita Lutrell.

Gold blanket, Modfox; deer pillow, Regan’s Brain; White and gold pillows, Sarita Lutrell.

Vintage: Remember the picture of a mixed metal gallery wall from my last post? Etsy is a fantastic place to buy collections of vintage frames as well as other vintage decor items.

Handmade: The gorgeous stars below are similar to the geometric sculptures I bought for my bathroom wall. I’m considering ordering one of these lovelies to top my Christmas tree this year.

Even if gold decor isn’t your fancy there is plenty to be found on Etsy including jewelery, clothing, and art. Take a gander and keep your wallet close by.

Researching for posts like this is dangerous. I officially want to buy a gold star and a deer head pillow now 🙂

 

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Book Art on the Cheap

Thanks to a “Christmas card” from my frenemy Revenue Canada (love the tax return, hate the tax audit), my art budget for my living room dwindled to nothing. However, not before I purchased these lovely (far too expensive!) frames from Chapters.

The warmth of the silver leaf frame and the texture of the linen matte are what made me fall in love with these frames.

The warmth of the silver leaf frame and the texture of the linen matte are what made me fall in love with these frames.

Due to the change in my budget these lovely frames hung empty on the wall for several weeks. My longer term goal is to order these simple, yet beautiful herb prints from etsy.

They aren't too expensive. Just too expensive for the moment.

They aren’t too expensive. Just too expensive for the moment.

Painted by "The Paper Wing" on etsy

Painted by “The Paper Wing” on etsy

However, since even these reasonably priced prints are a bit rich for me at the moment, I went out shopping with a budget of $10. One can only stand empty frames for so long! I headed to Chapters to look for some kind of book with pictures I could tear out and frame. Over in the bargain books section I found many options within my price range. I decided on a book full of cherry blossom prints which rang up a grand total of $6 (below budget!). So much better than blank frames!

Poor Steve spent so much time hanging the frames in alignment then I went and skewed them (as seen)

Poor Steve spent so much time hanging the frames in alignment then I went and skewed them (as seen)

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There were so many options. I also scored a lovely day planner, on sale for $10 with beautiful pictures from the collection at the FIT Museum (Fashion Institute of Technology). Fashion is by no means my forte but I know it will come in use for my fashion savvy sister whether she uses it as a day planner or frames the pictures for creative inspiration in her sewing space.

One of the images in the book

One of the images in the book

Another fantastic option for framing was the Penguin classic postcards. For under $35 you can get 100 postcards with pictures of different Penguin Classics. If I ever have a designated library/study room you can be sure I’ll be picking up these beauties and setting up a display like the one below.

Clearly I'm not the only one who realized how fantastic these would be to frame.

Clearly I’m not the only one who realized how fantastic these would be to frame.

A note of warning: If you plan on tearing apart a book for the sake of wall art, I recommend doing it when your toddler is not around…sets a confusing example 🙂

The kids are always in the picture...both literally and figuratively (you can even see the little hand in the right lower corner of one of the pictures above).

The kids are always in the picture…both literally and figuratively

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Wishing you a colourful Christmas

Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Not “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”.  Merry Christmas! Hanukkah gets to be Hanukkah. Diwali gets to be Diwali. Regardless of what you believe, let’s call it what it is without the fear of being “politically incorrect”. Christmas.

Now that I’ve blown off the steam caused by that yearly pet peeve, I wanted to share some pictures of Christmas decorating in different colour schemes. This may be a bit late for those eager beavers who begin their Christmas decorating as soon as Thanksgiving is over, but food for thought when you consider what direction to go in when decorating next year.

While red and green are a favorite Christmas time colour combination, I wanted to go beyond that and see what wild and wonderful decorating ideas people have come up with which fit into specified colour schemes.

A monochromatic Christmas:

This Christmas tree is actually black. A fad that has been catching over the past few years.

This Christmas tree is actually black. A fad that has been catching over the past few years.

A very modern and casual take on black and white Christmas decor.

A very modern and casual take on black and white Christmas decor.

For the sake of contrast, a polychromatic Christmas comes next:

I'm glad that they went for a white tree with these decorations. It keeps it from going over the edge.

I’m glad that they went for a white tree with these decorations. It keeps it from going over the edge.

Apparently this polychromatic tree was in the White House one year. I'm not sure but it looks like the "ornaments" are actually balloons. An interesting idea.

Apparently this polychromatic tree was in the White House one year

Red and green is the traditional contrasting colour scheme used at Christmas time but I decided to look for something different to show you, a blue and orange contrasting scheme:

Go Gators Go! Okay, honestly I don't know who the gators are, a sports team I assume, but pictures of orange and blue Christmas decorations are hard to come by.

Go Gators Go! Okay, honestly I don’t know who the gators are, a sports team I assume, but pictures of orange and blue Christmas decorations are hard to come by.

If I were ever to do blue and orange Christmas decor I would go for more of a bronzed orange like this. I find the full-fledged orange a bit much.

If I were ever to do blue and orange Christmas decor I would go for more of a bronzed orange like this. I find the full-fledged orange a bit much.

This year I am going to be switching up my home’s accent colours from violet and yellow to blues and greens, hence my interest in yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue analogous Christmas colours. These pictures were easy to come by. If you go into the stores this year you will see a wealth of decorations to go with this scheme.

analchrist2analog3analogous christmas

Keeping it neutral:

Very subtle and classy.

Sticking to the home’s every-day neutral beige decor. Very subtle and classy.

I’m not getting to every single colour scheme in this post but will instead finish with a classic, monochromatic red Christmas decorations:

Traditional and elegant. I love the balance of the red and white.

Traditional and elegant. I love the balance of the red and white.

For a less traditional twist on a monochromatic red scheme (hint: pink is a tinted red).

monochropinkchrist

I hope that you have found these pictures entertaining, if not inspiring and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

For more general information on colour schemes see: Colour Schemes 101: I can sing a rainbow.

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