Monday, October 22, 2012

Horse Silhouette Art - Tutorial

There have been some requests for instructions on how I made my horse silhouettes, so I thought I would get this tutorial up first.

(For the full living room tour, click here.)

They came together pretty easy.  I first saw a picture of this art here.  I believe it is originally Pottery Barn.  I debated doing other shapes for my silhouette but then decided since my husband and I met on a dude ranch, the horses would actually be quite fitting.

First thing first.  I measured the wall sections where I wanted the horses to go.  Then I sent the hubs out to the garage to plank some wood for me to the size I wanted.

I wanted the wood to look like it was varying shades and different pieces of wood so I taped up sections of all different widths.

Then I scrounged through my husbands stain drawer, and started wiping on stain.  Once the strips of varying stains were dry, I ran some walnut stain over the whole thing. 

While all that dried, I pulled out my electronic cutter - the Silhouette SD.  This was a bit tricky because my cutter would certainly not cut the horse the size I needed it.  So I cut it out in bits and pieces and taped it all together.  I used cardstock for my paper.

Then, I soaked the back of my horse with spay adhesive.  It is important to get every square inch really good.  You don't want the paint to sneak under your paper.

After I made sure the horse was stuck to the wood good enough, I took a can of white glossy spray paint and painted the whole thing.

I was too impatient to wait for it to dry - so I peeled the horse right off.
Once it was dry, I took a sander to the whole thing, scuffing to my pleasure.

It really turned out better than I had hoped.

So while I went to do the second horse, I had always intended to do the same method, so my silhouette was already cut out.  However, when I stuck the paper horse on I realized how much I would like it if the staining and painting was reversed for the second piece. 

So at that point, I took a pencil and traced the horse shape onto the stained wood.  Then I carefully hand painted the horse on in white, and sanded after so more wood grain would show through the stain.  This method definitely took longer.

Had I known I was doing this beforehand, I imagine I would have kept the outer part of the silhouette that I cut out, and then spray painted like I did the first one.

Does this make any sense?

But now that it is all done, I am quite pleased with my horses.

I really do love making my own affordable art.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012


I'm guest posting this idea over at Get Your Crap Together Blog, and sharing the How-To's over here. You have to check out that site! She is running a 31 Days of Halloween series and it is all sorts of fun! 

So if you aspire (like me) to be the most memorable home for Trick-or-Treaters to come to, here are some fun, easy, and cheaper than candy (I won't even mention the sugar highs and cavities) ideas to help you become that house on the street.  

They are pretty simple, but I've included some basic instructions for how I put each activity together.

Everything is cuter the smaller it gets.  (Except chocolate)

Free print off's, and dig into your 25 cent crayon stash.

Who knew ghosts could be so cute?

And even cute little finger pumpkins.

Hours of entertainment in the dark with simple shadow puppets and a flashlight.

Bean Bags filled with rice (because beans actually hurt pretty bad when you get smacked in the fact with one).

Wanna make some?

I'll show you how.

These sketch books need only one simple stitch.  You can do it.

Gather some cardstock.  I know you all have some of that on hand. 

I was able to make 1 sheet of cardstock and a small stack of printer paper yield 4 mini books.

-Cut your paper to the size you want. Fold the cardstock down the middle where you will sew.
-With your printer paper evened up, stitch right on that fold.  Keep those papers secure in your fingers while you sew so they don't shift.
-Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.
-Crease all the papers along the previous fold and where your stitch line is. 

That's it!  But you will need a new sewing machine needle now.

For the coloring pages, get online and print all the free Halloween pictures you want.

Then try to remember back to middle school on how to fold them with a pocket.  Can't figure it out for the life of you?  Don't worry.  I couldn't either.

Check out this site for help.

Stick in a few crayons and it doesn't get easier than that.

For the ghosts you only need a small sheet of white felt and some black paint.

1.  Make a pattern on the fold of a paper.
2.  Give it about an inch around your finger.
3.  Using your pattern, cut the shape on 2 pieces of felt.
4.  Stitch around the ghost leaving the bottom open.  Be sure to backstitch.
5.  These are super easy to mass produce.  Sew them back to back so you don't have so many threads to clip.
6.  Using the back end of a colored pencil, dab it in some black paint and make two dots for your eyes.

The pumpkins are just about the same as the ghost.

Just a few more steps.

1.  Make your pattern on paper.
2.  Cut out your pattern in felt, 2 pieces for each pumpkin.
3.  Cut a strip of green felt for a stem.
4.  Insert the stem inside the pumpkin on the top middle section.  Sew around the edges leaving a small gap for turning and for the finger at the bottom of the pumpkin.
5.  Using paper and a knife, cut out a simple pumpkin face and use it as a stencil for painting.


If you have an electronic cutter (I own the Silhouette SD) these shadow puppets are so quick and easy.  Just cut your shape out of cardstock, and hot glue it to a stick.

But you can of course make simpler shapes with scissors or an exacto knife.

For the bean/rice bags -
I didn't get a tutorial but you basically sew a square up, wrong sides together.  Leave a gap for turning and fill it with rice.  Stitch your gap up. 

Not rocket science around here.
All these ideas don't have to be just for Trick-or-Treaters.

Group them in a cute package and give them to your class, grandchildren, your kids friends, or hand them out as party favors. 
The children will no doubt be delighted.

And you will have had a lot of fun making them.
Happy Halloween!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Living Room Tour

For any regulars around here, you should understand after this post why it has been so quiet on this here little blog. 

I've kind of been having too much fun decorating. 

When we bought our home 4 months ago, the living room looked liked this. 

A little dark and gloomy for my taste.

But full of potential, none the least.  (More before info, here).

Now, 4 months later, we have finally completed {a} room.  It's going to be slow going at this pace.  But the house is surely livable, and all the painting and plans I have for the rest of it are plenty to look forward too.

If ever I get discouraged, I go and sit in my new light and bright living room.

Of course, sitting in here myself, the curtains don't look near as blown out as my camera is making them look.

Just try to look past that. ;)  They really are pretty.

I'll try to leave some brief details throughout the post of how things came together.  You can expect a few more posts with tutorials on them in the following weeks.

Being on a strict budget, most everything you see is handmade, with some exceptions - like the couches, and rugs.  What wasn't homemade was most likely found at thrifts stores or garage sales or miraculously free.

There are a few antique store purchases mostly because I can't seem to avoid those places.


But I would say, the most common pattern for our living room is this.

I think it, he makes it, I paint it.

That seems to be how we roll.  And I have such a good husband who so willingly submits to my every request.

Our bargain is - the yard is his and I can't say a word about it.

Totally okay with that.

I despise yard work.  And he loves to do woodworking.  We are a match made in heaven - no doubt.

You can see from the cut out window above, the kitchen looks nothing like the living room.  Nor does any of the house now.  But plans are in the works.  You can imagine a lot of white paint.

Any way, lets get to some fun details.

The bucket was left from the previous owners.  Found it in the yard.  Told hubs to drill a hole.  I absolutely love it, but in case you don't - just know it is a huge improvement from the light fixture that used to be there.

The Butcher Block was free.  But much uglier and stinkier than it is now.  It was once used in a meat cutting place, then given to a furniture company and used as a work table.  The owner to that company was our old neighbor and gave it to my husband.  After a lot of chemicals, and paint and sanding -

it is one true beauty.

The old suitcase was my husbands grandfathers trumpet case.  The trumpet is still in there.
The lamp is from Wal-Mart.
The books are from a thrift store.  A dollar a piece.
The big ugly speaker - well, it doesn't fit anywhere else and there are somethings you just don't ask your husband to get rid of.
The horse art - I was inspired when I saw it online here
My husband - Kevin is his name - planked some wood together and I went to town painting them.
They are somewhat symbolic.  We met on a dude ranch.  Best love story ever.

But my mother suggested if there is ever a time when I am super angry with him, I should switch the horses around so he would know his standing at the time.  Ha ha.  Any way, the tutorial for this art can be found here.

The "LOVE" sign was inspired from here. (Tutorial coming soon).  And the pumpkins are a little touch of fall in our house for the moment.

The baskets house toys, books, extra blankets and pillows for naps, and trays and linens for entertainment.  Some thrifted, some bought at hobby lobby with a coupon.

The bench side table was inspired from here.  The basket was 1 dollar from a thrift store. 

He built it to measurement, and I had fun personalizing it.

The super soft blue throw was found at a discount store - it is originally Pottery Barn.  The white pillow was a pillowcase painted by my great grandmother.  I sewed it to fit a small throw pillow.  (Tutorial coming soon).

My absolute favorite part of the room is my coffee table.  Built by Kevin, with wood found in my recently passed grandfathers junk yard, cut from the saw mill he made himself.

Weathered and beautiful.

A timeless treasure.

And makes a great statement in the room which represents much of the reason behind most of our decor.

The tool box - not so sentimental - and weathered by a sander.  But still beautiful.  I found it at a thrift store.

Together, they make me smile.

The little rocker, my husband won at a family reunion raffle, made by his uncle from and old tree. And painted by me.  I know - shameful.  But the blue is so cute.

The X side table was inspired from here.

The Kleenex box was thrifted and painted with the help of my silhouette. 

The couch pillows came with the couch and I covered them in fabric I found at Joann's.

The empty wall behind it has big plans for a family gallery.  I just got anxious to post the room.  

Vintage chair was from a garage sale - 15 bucks.
Corner piece spoke to me at an antique store.  I used my birthday money.  It was all natural wood then I painted it 2 tones and stained the top.
Basket from hobby lobby - with a coupon.
Throw from Ikea.
Boxes inside hold all sorts of treasures in an organized fashion.

Made that sign and posted about it here.

The window sills were like that when we bought it.  Kind of different.
The curtains I made out of super cheap fashion lining fabric.  It only cost 60 bucks for 8 panels.  I would like to see you try to match that price.

Almost done - I promise.

The entertainment center was of course - painted.
Kevin made new farmhouse doors for it.

And the insides surprise you with some fun yellow.

(Update:  Turns out, the yellow was making me crazy.  It was throwing the whole room off for me and it took me awhile to figure it out.  Click here, and you can see that I painted it white.  Lesson learned.)

The girls love to pull up there bean bags (made with this tutorial) and plop in front of the T.V.

It also houses all sorts of nick knacks to look at.

The chicken was also a love at first sight buy from an antique store - then spray painted for even more love.

Everything else was from thrift stores or from around the house.

The log basket was a gift from someone to our family when my father passed away when I was 11 years old.
I found it in my mothers burn pile.
Oh the horror.
I will try to not hold it against her.
For it is saved.

I found that leaf print at hobby lobby - for 8 bucks.  Then Kevin made a frame.  I didn't want to buy glass so I left the plastic wrap on the picture to appear as glare from glass.

Shhhhh.  That can be our dirty little secret.

But I love it.  It is simple and beautiful.

My big clock was cut by Kevin as well.  I was inspired here to make it look similar to that.  Hobby Lobby had the clock making hands and gears. (Tutorial coming soon).

The mantel was actually blogged about here, but I found inspiration for the wood piece here.
The piece in the center was cut from wood from an old cherry tree that used to stand where my husband grew up.

We are sentimental like that.

And that is a wrap.

A few final things in case you are wondering.

The paint on the walls is Benjamin Moore.
The white is Super white, gloss.
The grey with a subtle hint of blue is Sterling, 1/2 tinted.  I love the color so stinkin' much.

The rugs were purchase online from Garnet Hill.

Is there anything else you want to know.

Thanks for sticking around for all those pictures.

I had fun showing you.

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