Monday, February 28, 2011

Modern Bird Studios! Look What Arrived At Our House...



Do you recall Max as French Fred? This is one of my absolute favorite photos! Then it got even better, when a hand painted portrait was created from the photo by Modern Bird Studios. Look what just arrived last week...Max is thrilled and proud, telling me exactly where to hang the portrait in his room. I'll post those photos later this week.


And now, how would you like to have the chance to win a $250 gift certificate and see your favorite photo turned into a beautiful piece of art? Well, that is the Giveaway I'm hosting today!

Modern Bird Studios creates personalized, modern art from your photographs. Each work is a one-of-a-kind, original studio piece created with a combination of digital, hand, and painting processes on an Oak composite. 





Gregg is the artistic talent behind Modern Bird Studios, while Megan runs the business side of this family venture.


Gregg and Megan also recently began a new business named Modtots. Here they are creating adorable art for nurseries and children's rooms.


For your chance to win the $250 gift certificate, visit Modtots or Modern Bird Studios to see more of their wonderful work. Tell me in a comment what favorite photo of yours you would have transformed into a hand painted piece of art or what delightful children's art you would select. For an extra entry tweet about this giveaway, and please let me know you've done so in a comment.

This giveaway runs through next Tuesday, March 8th at midnight, PST. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced the following day. Isn't this a great giveaway?!

{open to U.S. & Canadian residents}

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Updated Look Of Stencils: All Grown Up & Sophisticated



Oh, you know how much I love a great stencil design! Recently stencils have gotten quite the sophisticated update, and my personal favorites are geometric designs.

The above stencil design from Cutting Edge Stencils beautifully demonstrates how fabulous a stenciled wall can look in a bedroom, replicating the look of an expensive wallpaper at a fraction of the cost. (Labor not included!)

If you are ready to give stenciling a try but don't know where to start, read a great round up of tips on Kate's blog here and see my tutorial written for HGTV.com here.

To see more stencil patterns and rooms showcasing them, visit Houzz to read this week's Ideabook.

Have a great weekend! Janell

Friday, February 25, 2011

While I Wait For Spring, I'm Working On Christmas

If you think you're confused, can you imagine how I'm feeling?!

A group of holiday DIY projects for HGTV are nearing completion, just in time to make the March 1st deadline.


How happy was I to see the first snowfall of the year on Thursday...just in the nick of time to get this photo!




If I forget to show these projects in more detail once the holidays roll around again, (in a mere eight months) please remind me...

In the meantime, check out my other articles written for HGTV.com here or on the sidebar of this blog. 

Is anyone else happy it's Friday?!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where I Go When I Need A Dose Of Happy!

Is there anyone out there that doesn't know about Absolutely Beautiful Things, the blog written by Australian designer Anna Spiro?


When I am looking for a big dose of happy inspiration, this is one of the first spots I visit.


This week Anna posted a photo of her grandmother Ellie, who had stopped by the shop Black & Spiro. Look how chic she is; I want to dress like this when I'm a grandmother. Heck, I wouldn't mind wearing a dress like this now!


It is always a pleasure to see what is being displayed in the shop window...


...and her beautiful and simple flowers. Just pure loveliness.

Thanks for the inspiration Anna!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Pair Of Dining Room Chairs Meet A Drop Cloth

I have two dining room chairs, that once dressed in slipcovers, will be great placed at the ends of the newly refinished table.


(These legs need covering, not a good match!)



For ideas on how to tackle this project I looked around the wonderful blog Pink and Polka Dot, the place I found my inspiration when covering the two chairs for Max's Bedroom.


before



after

For this project I'll be using drop cloths, which are being pre-washed...


...and that is as far as I have gotten!!

I did say the kids have had some extra days off from school, so a little progress is a big achievement.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sign of the Times: School Budget Cuts

The school my children attend has experienced significant budget issues and one way to deal with this has been to cut the number of school days this year. It is a troubling situation that leaves a parent wondering if their children can continue to excel academically and stay on track with fewer days in the classroom. Fortunately, both of my kids are doing fine so far, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.


In the meantime...what can I do to provide not only entertainment during time off, but help them learn something as well? One disappointment I have in the school curriculum is the lack of art education. As you may guess, art was one of my favorite subjects when I was a kid and I can't imagine what I would be doing today if these classes had not been available. Drawing, photography, painting, ceramics, sculpture, wood working...great stuff! So in the absence of these classes in their school, I'm setting up art school today at home.


Isabella got a head start while Max spent some time at a friend's house.


Once home he joined in...but if this was a school classroom I'd say he was looking to cheat!




All you really need to do is set out a variety of supplies, introduce a few ideas and let the kids take it from there.


A phone book to tear pages from, magazines to cut images out of, decoupage glue, paint, brushes, scissors, water, pastels, paper towels. Just sit back and assist if asked. Clean water, a towel?




It's interesting to see what captures their attention: nail polish inspires Isabella...


...and big globs of paint gets Max going.




The result of today's "lesson"?


Mixed Media...


...and A Collage. 
(Inspired by our recent trip to the Picasso exhibit.)

I didn't think they were paying attention to my ramblings about this and that technique seen in the art we were viewing at the show, but apparently they were. Enough to try a few things themselves.

Now please, I'm not saying I have a couple Picasso's on my hands. But they had a lot of fun...and I think they learned something as well.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Table Happiness!

When the large table arrived for our dining room I was thrilled with its beautiful lines and how well it was made. What came as a complete surprise was the green finish, very similar to moss...beginning to turn brown. Not a pretty sight!


Luckily a sanding job took care of that. The table top was also rougher than I had anticipated...so sanding fixed this issue as well. Perfect.


The wood tone now features a mix of grays and browns, just beautiful, and made from reclaimed wood this table looks like it has been around for years. Not wanting to alter the color or lose the worn characteristics, I tested several products to give the table a protective finish, finally having success with Briwax! 


Below the right side of the table has a layer of clear wax while the left side does not. A subtle sheen is added, yet virtually no color change. What I was surprised by is how the wood now feels to the touch...incredibly soft.


As recommended by Suzi, I applied three layers of wax to the table top to provide protection from spills. 


Afterwards I decided to test the repelling qualities of the wax.


Aren't these beads of water beautiful? 


After letting them sit from several minutes, I wiped them away with no evidence in sight. Impressive.


The wood tones look great against the walls...


...and while the turned legs proved more difficult to both sand and wax, they turned out beautifully as well.


So despite all the work that was required, particularly on a new table, I'm thrilled with the result! I think it is better than I had even envisioned when selecting the table in the first place. 


I'd say this adds up to table happiness, to be sure.