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My Little House Design: December 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

DIY: Decorative Initial Art

The good thing about being relatively crafty is that you can make gifts for people. Last week I showed you the DIY Stovetop Scent that I made as a hostess and neighbor gift. Today I'm going to show you the craft I was commissioned to make as a gift. My Mom loves pinterest but isn't super crafty herself so when she showed me one of the things she loves but won't make herself I knew it would be perfect gift. Here's what I made:

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

Yep, it's a decorative initial. It isn't something I would make for myself but it isn't for me so it doesn't really matter. This project cost me... wait for it... $3.99! (Don't worry I bought her other stuff too.) This was a seriously fast and easy project (actual project time about 30 minutes plus 12 hours of drying time). Here is the process which I vaguely followed from here and here:

1) Gather materials: 

Cardboard or paper mache letter. I had a hard time finding this but I finally found them at Joann Fabrics (link to the one I bought: here). This letter is 12" tall. It was originally $4.49 but I got it for $3.99 on sale. 

Tacky glue. I used Elmer's Craft Bond Tacky Glue (here) because I had it on hand (I've honestly had that glue for about 5 years and it still works!). 

Base paint and accent paint. If you go to the paint section of any hardware store there is usually a section of used or returned paints. I always look through there because you can find some gems for cheap. The base color I used here is Glidden's Barely Jade which came from a test pot I got for $.50. The accent color I used (which I'll explain more about in a moment) is brown acrylic paint from a little set of acrylics.

2) I started by drawing a design on my letter. The design I drew is similar to the tutorial I followed because that is what my Mom asked for. This took a minor amount of skill, but I was basically copying so not too bad. If you are nervous about free-handing a design you could always print a design, cut it out, and trace it.

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

3) Trace design with tacky glue.

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

Apply the glue liberally. I went over my design once and then went over it again in parts that looked weak. Remember the point of all this is to get a three dimensional look so you don't want it to be too thin or it won't show up after the paint is on.

3) Let it dry completely. This is was the hardest part of this whole project for me because I am so impatient. When I start a project I like to complete it as soon as possible so waiting is just torture for me. But I managed to waited about 10 hours before the next step.

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

My glue dried clear which had me panic for a minute because I thought it all seeped into the paper mache, but thankfully it still felt 3D which is all the matters really.

4) Paint a base coat. As I mentioned earlier I used a test pot of Glidden's Barely Jade which is an interior eggshell paint. If I were doing this project for myself I would have used semi-gloss spray paint for some shine, but since I was planning on distressing this one anyway interior paint worked great because it absorbed a little of the accent paint. You also need to let this paint dry (this craft is simple but there is a lot drying time).

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

I personally like it all one color but again it isn't for me so on to the next step. 

5) Accent and distress the 3D design. I used a mixture of brown acrylic paint and a lot of water. I used an artist's paint brush which I think helped a lot. 

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

I got in the zone while doing this and forget to take any 'in process' pictures but I'll try and explain what I did.

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

Since I was going for a distressed look I first dipped a paper towel in the tinted water shown above (about 3 parts water and 1 part brown paint) and then sort sponged the whole thing. I wiped and patted until it look sort of brownish all over. I'm not sure if that is how you distress stuff but it seems to have worked. I also did this to the sides because they looked silly without any distressing. 

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

Next, I used my paint brush to outline the glue design. I didn't outline every single place but instead did it every so often. In some places I used the watery paint for a more subtle look and in other places I used a more paint heavy mixture. A paper towel was in my hand at all times so that I could quickly wipe down any parts that got too dark or goopy. 

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

At the last minute I used the brush to wipe the edges of the letter to sort of accentuate the outline of the letter. 

That's it! It was a very simple and cheap project. The best part of course was being able to give my Mom something she wanted. Here is a picture I snapped of it on Christmas day. We just leaned it on a shelf for the time being, but I think she wants to incorporate it into a gallery wall at some point. 

mylittlehousedesign.com diy 3d glue design paper mache initial letter

Did you make any gifts this year? I always feel a little cheap making stuff for people because they know it doesn't cost much, but hopefully the amount of time and love you put into something counts. 

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Minute: Printable Gift Tags

Most of you have probably already bought all of your Christmas presents, I have not. I exaggerate a lot but when I say I have not bought one Christmas gift yet, that is no exaggeration. Oops! It's going to be a busy weekend for me. But there is one thing you do not have to worry about before Christmas and that is gift tags. Because the internet is awesome you don't ever have to buy gift tags again (unless you want to).  All these cool designers have made gift tag printables that are available for you to print for free. All you have to do is click the source link under the image you like, download the original image, print, cut, and paste onto your presents. Easy as can be! Plus these are really cute and you aren't stuck with a package of 750 of the same kind.  Some of these are more traditional, some more modern, and some just nutty (please note the dog on the fifth one down... he looks so sad!). Happy Christmas!

I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging over the next few days so if we don't meet again Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Travel Souvenirs: Christmas Edition

Like most people I love to travel and I also love cool stuff, which equals up to me being a hoarder. I've written about my travel souvenirs here and here, but this post is specifically about Christmas themed souvenirs. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, congratulations! You don't have a retail problem! If you do, then like me you will shop for Christmas crap year round.

I like to buy stuff when I'm visiting a new city. Usually I try to find something that is a nod to the place I'm visiting without being obvious and that I will either use or will fit in with home's style. A pretty perfect example is this hook I bought in New Orleans.

mylittlehousedesign.com Iron fleur de lis hook from New Orleans

Fleur de lis are everywhere in New Orleans so this hook is great symbol of the city and it is functional (Bob's leash hangs on it). Plus, it reminds me of my time in the city without actually saying 'New Orleans' all over it. 

But sometimes you go to a new place and you can't find anything you like or everything is overpriced or ugly... that is when I hit the Christmas section. (Of course, normal people would just leave without buying something.) Yes, every gift shop or tourist location has a Christmas section. If you've never seen a Grand Canyon Christmas ornament/snow globe/stocking than you've never been to a Grand Canyon tourist shop. 

I love Christmas because it is the one time a year where I just fully embrace kitsch in my life. No other time of the year do I have so much little crap sitting out, but at Christmas it's fun to just go with it. So Christmas + Tourist Souvenirs = Kitsch Fest 3000. Do you need an ornament of the Washington Monument? Absolutely not, but if you go the Washington Monument than an ornament is a better souvenir than a crappy little statue you'll never put out. At least at Christmas you can have out little weird things and no one will question it. 

So far I've only gotten one Christmas souvenir, but I'm sure over time, I'll acquire more.

mylittlehousedesign.com Mt Vernon Advent Calendar

mylittlehousedesign.com Mt Vernon Advent Calendar

mylittlehousedesign.com Mt Vernon Advent Calendar

This is an advent calendar that my Dad bought for me on a trip to Mt Vernon. We had talked about going there ever since I had moved to DC and we managed to go the last month before I moved back. It was a fun trip (we also went to Monticello) and when we saw this advent calendar we both loved it. He bought it for me as a sort of heirloom because it is a really large and well made piece. I don't really use it yet because I'm way to lazy to add things to it for just myself, but someday I'll use it. It is pretty country and it's not something I would normally have in my house but at Christmas anything goes and the bonus is that it reminds me of a fun trip I took with my Dad.

Are you souvenir hoarder like me? Please say yes. 

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Craft Roundup

It's that time of year again... the time where you realize that you didn't get everything done that you wanted to do before Christmas (okay, I did get one project done). So in true fatalistic spirit here is a round up of the Christmas crafts I wish I would have done a month ago. Perhaps next year?

Glitter Origami Cranes by Zakka Life. You had me at origami, little ornaments. I've been obsessed with paper cranes since we read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes in fourth grade. So, paper cranes + glitter = the best thing ever. Tutorial here.

Glitter bulb ornaments by Sweet Paul Magazine. Mostly, I just love these old style light bulbs and the addition of glitter and a string makes them extra adorable. Tutorial here.

Felt Ball Wreath by Pickles. I've been obsessed with this wreath for over a year. I just really like how colorful it is. Also, it isn't super Christmasy which I nice. I haven't done this project yet because it looks like it would take forever and I'm not sure the payoff would be worth it. Tutorial for making the wreath here and how to make the felt balls here.

Polka Dot Wreath by The Paper Mama. A friend send me this link a few weeks ago and I love it. Moss is so beautiful already that adding it to a wreath form plus miniatures is like totally my jam. Tutorial here.

Miniatures in a jar by Salt Tree. Seriously, need I say more? It's no secret that I'm obsessed with miniatures and Christmas minis are like my own personal brand of heroine (I am so ashamed I just quoted that book). There are many variations of the 'Christmas snow globe in a mason jar' idea and I think it would fun to do any of them. Tutorial here.

Thumbtack wreath by Canadian Family Magazine. Apparently, I am now obsessed with wreaths. But I think you could do this treatment to other things as well. Basically it is just hundreds of flat metal thumbtacks pushed into styrofoam. Easy and cheap! Tutorial here.

Did you get to do any Christmas crafts this year? Or maybe you are satisfied with just looking and not attempting?

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Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY Stovetop Scent

This weekend I hosted 1/5th of a progressive dinner. It was a lot of fun and since I was going to four other houses I decided to make hostess gifts. A few weeks ago I pinned a DIY jarred stovetop scent recipe (here's the link) and it's been in my brain since, so I decided to give it a go.

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

I think they turned out great! It was a super easy project and it only cost me about $5 per jar. I chose to do a citrus and cinnamon flavored one, but the link above has recipes for other non-Christmasy scents as well. 

Here is what I did:

1) Materials: 
Mason Jars (although you could reuse any jar and spray paint the lid)
Oranges (I used just under 1 per jar)
Whole cloves (I bought a small package that I split evenly between the jars)
Cinnamon sticks (I put about 2-3 in each jar)
Allspice (I did about 3 teaspoons in each jar)
Optional: Star anise (I couldn't find this for the life of me so I left it out)

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

2) Put it in a jar. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

3) Add water.

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

That's it!

It was super easy and everyone seemed to really love it.

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY citrus and cinnamon stovetop scent

Here are the instructions for use:

1) Keep refrigerated
2) Pour into pot and simmer (I added a little more water but that's optional)
2) Let cool and pour back into jar. It should last for about two weeks or 3-4 uses. 

Not a super interior-designy post but it does make your home smell good so close enough.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Emerald, the Official Color of 2013

This was just announced...

I bet you are so excited! Okay, maybe this means nothing to you but apparently it is a big deal when they announce the color every year. What is interesting about this to me is that Pantone isn't announcing the color that was all the rage in 2012 it is predicting that emerald will be the color of the new year. Interesting right? I guess only time will tell if they are right or not. Personally, I love emerald green so I'm happy.

If you don't already know Pantone is "the standard language of color communication." What that means is that if a fabric manufacturer makes fabric that is "Pantone 17-5641 Emerald" then everyone knows exactly what color that fabric will be. I love Pantone because they have these really cool accessories:

Such cool posters, mugs, storage boxes, ornaments, and postcards.

Working off the premise that emerald will be the color of 2013 here are some super cool emerald(ish) things to make your house the talk of Pantone lovers world wide (okay, so some of these things aren't officially 'emerald' but they are close enough for us amateurs). For more emerald/green things check out my post from a few months ago where I totally predicted that green was a trending color.

I love this gorilla pillow from Design Public. It is seriously adorable even thought it is a little expensive at $28.00.

I love this print by Leah Giberson titled 'Approaching Print.' It looks like a storm is about to hit at any second. It is sold by Little Paper Planes for $35.00.

If you want in on the trend for cheap how about this $7.99 Lack table from IKEA? I mean seriously, it's $7.99.

I love this lomography print by Debuisser Benoit entitled "Dans la piscine." (Anybody else see Life of Pi? If you did then you'd know 'piscine' is 'swimming pool' in French :) It sells for 39 Euros at L'Affiche Moderne. 

This is such a cute coat rack. Especially if you hang it low for kids. Prec. From CB2 for $19.95. 

I love this pillow that is on clearance on Target for $12.48. Obviously, this is more teal than emerald but it's the same idea, plus I just love how art deco the pattern is. 

I love this tortoise shell from Nate Berkus' collection for Target. It is a major eye catcher for only $39.99.

What do you think, is emerald going to be the trendy color of year?

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

$1 Craft: Faux Ceramic Animals

Last week I was walking through a craft store when I came upon a bin of cardboard/papier-mâché animals. There were several animals but I was instantly drawn to this little pig. He was only $.99 so I had to have him.

mylittlehousedesign.com unpainted cardboard craft store animal

 Why did I need this little cardboard pig? Because I knew he would make the perfect faux ceramic animal. You may have noticed that ceramic animals (particularly white ceramic animals) are super trendy. And since I am not original (no one really is) I'm completely on board with this trend. I have several ceramics around my house:

mylittlehousedesign.com alice in wonderland faux ceramic statues

 my faux ceramic Alice and White Rabbit garden statues,

mylittlehousedesign.com target greyhound ceramic statues
 my greyhounds from Target,
mylittlehousedesign.com target ceramic paper airplane

and my ceramic paper plane also from Target. While I obviously love ceramic objects, it gets expensive buying them. For example, I am obsessed with these Jonathan Adler head planters but they are $300 so that's not going to happen.

mylittlehousedesign.com jonathan adler head planters

 That is why when I spotted this little pig I knew he would make a good faux ceramic animal to add to my ever growing collection.

mylittlehousedesign.com painted faux ceramic pig statue

Here he is all painted. I just used white paint I had on hand. No priming or sealing, just straight up white acrylic paint and truth be told, I didn't even do a second coat. Next time I buy semi-gloss white spray paint he'll probably get a coat of that, but right now I used what I had and I think he looks great.

mylittlehousedesign.com painted faux ceramic pig statue

mylittlehousedesign.com painted faux ceramic pig statue

mylittlehousedesign.com painted faux ceramic pig statue

The best thing about this project is that it only cost me $1.06 with tax! That is a very cheap ceramic animal since they tend to be about $15-30 each. I had paint on hand so if you don't have paint you'll have to buy that but otherwise it is a super cheap project. You can get this look with lots of other objects like kids plastic animals, garden statues, thrift shop glass vases, or plastic fruit.

So are you in the buy-it or the DIY-it camp? So far I have a mixture of both, which works perfectly for me.

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