Friday, March 25, 2011

Etsy: Hand Cut Paper

This post combines two of my favorite things....
Etsy and hand cut paper!
I love the look of hand cut paper, and it is an art I admire soooo much. I can't imagine the patience and steady hand it must take to create these images....two reasons why I will NEVER be a paper artist!

Here are a few shops I found who specialize in hand cut paper.

Above the Thistle Bush from ruralpearl by Angie Pickman
Check out her Etsy shop here:

Lovely personalized paper banners from Ay Mujer
Check out their Etsy shop here:

Sprinkler by Jessica Alpern Cuts Paper
Check out her Etsy shop here:

Karen O'Leary does had cut maps of cities from all over the world. Amazing!
This one is Berlin.
Check out her Etsy shop:
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And so it begins......

The contractor showed up today to get started on turning our basement in to a wonderful, cozy, functional family space. I snapped these "before" photos to prove that this space is currently anything BUT wonderful, cozy, and functional (for more than anything but storage!).
It will be a long process....but in the end, we look forward to having a place for our family to hang out and watch movies and play games. A place to entertain friends and family and host many many sleep-overs!
I know home improvement projects are roller coaster rides....but right now we are just getting started up that big hill, and we're looking forward the thrill on the other side!
Let's see how long our enthusiasm can last!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Channeling David Stark

I am constantly inspired and amazed at
the incredible ideas David Stark comes up with!
He is nothing short of a genius.....a total rock star
(from Mars even...just like Charlie!)!!

From whimsical to sophisticated, the simple to the sublime...he does it all! Whether you design children's parties, weddings, or backyard barbecues, you'll find some inspiration here! And if you design nothing at'll want to start after you check out his work.

I love the simple, graphic read of this "PARTY" grass wall. It would work great as a monogram at a wedding.

MOMA's Art Party in the Garden

This would be fun for a children's party with a "Mad Hatter" or tea-party theme!

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards
His paper flower pieces make me want to create a whole garden of my own. Such simple elements, really; but when done in mass it makes such a statement!
Sundance 27th Anniversary Celebration

Minneapolis Institute of Arts Gala

New Yorkers for Children Fall Gala

And he loves paint chips too!

Check out this space....the walls are covered in paint chips!

Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS

And these hanging curtains of paint chips are GENIUS!

Above and below: American Patrons of the Tate Gala

So if you're bored of checking out the latest blog posts (except this one of course!), and no one on facebook has anything interesting to say....head on over to David Stark's website (which is such a brilliant/fun design in and of itself!). You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mosaic Tile Mirror Project

So with the basement remodel starting soon (if the contractors ever get their butts in gear!), my husband and I have been busy clearing out the basement. There was so much space to store things without being in our way...that I'd really forgotten what was there! After a couple car loads to The Salvation Army, we were left with a few pieces that we just couldn't "give away". I made my first ever sales on Craig's List (a queen sleigh bed and a Pottery Barn coffee table)...I would have done it much sooner if I would have known how easy it would be. Listed and sold both items within an hour! I was sooooo excited to have those items out of my basement/life--an awesome bonus that I made $160 on top of it!
Anyway....I was left with this mirror:

Target circa 1997.
I didn't have a place for it, and there is certainly nothing special about it, but I didn't want to just trash it either. My friend Chris is quite the mosaic expert, and it is something I've always wanted to try for myself. I have a little bit of mosaic experience, working on a large mural at my son's elementary school 2 years ago...but not enough to really feel confident in what I was doing.
This was a great project to experiment on. The wide, flat mirror frame made it easier to work with....and if I ruined the whole thing, I would have tossed it in the trash and not batted an eye.
Here is the final result:
I think it turned out pretty well....and this basement castaway will now hang proudly in our basement bathroom (if and when said contractors decide to start our project!).
I'm hardly qualified to give a tutorial....and there are already so many great video how-to's on YouTube, so I won't really try.
But I will show you a few details of my project and encourage you to try it for yourself. This mirror took me about 3 hours....spread out over 2 days because of dry times. If you don't have a potential trash-to-treasure project to rescue from your basement, try it on an inexpensive photo frame.

I love glass tiles...and I knew that was what I wanted to use. I picked up some "moonlite" and "sunrise" 1 inch tiles from Lowes for about $5. I loved this textured porcelain tile ($8), and was hoping to incorporate it in to the project; but once I got it home, it just didn't work for me.

Tiles from Lowes $18
Mosaic adhesive from Michael's: $1.99 (clearance)
Small bag of white sanded grout from Michael's: $.99 (clearance)
(as you can see...this is a pretty inexpensive project...especially if you subtract the $8 for the tile I didn't end up using!)

The first thing I did was tape off and paint the inside bevel and outside edge of the mirror white. This was easier than trying to cover it with tile later.
Next I laid out the tiles to try to determine the pattern I wanted.
I broke up the porcelain tile, and tried working them it...but I just wasn't feelin' it! I ended up using just the two colors of glass tile, in a random pattern.
I simply painted on the glue, allowed to get tacky, placed a bit more glue on the back of the tile, and stuck it to the mirror. Simple.
The project needed to sit overnight to make sure everything was good and stuck!

The next night, I mixed up the grout, used a wooden tongue depressor to apply it to the tiles, used a wet sponge to make sure it filled in all of the spaces, allowed to set a minute, and then wiped the tiles clean...until it looked like this:

The next morning I removed the tape, polished the tiles, and voila!

Could not have been easier! A brand new mirror for about $20!

Have you ever done a mosaic project?
Are you dying to try one now?!?!
I may have found a new addiction......
and I still need to use those fab porcelain tiles on something!