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Going for the Gold: Part 2

4 Sep

How was your Labor Day weekend?

I hope it was as relaxing as mine, which consisted of baking, shopping, Downton Abbey marathons, the last stretch of birthday celebrations and getting some art on this place’s naked walls.

Sponge Painting

I’ve been wanting to fill the large wall in my bedroom for some time, but the sheer size of it had me at a loss for what to do. A few weeks ago, I remembered the large fabric-covered canvas I had hung above the couch in my old place. It was pre-blog, so no pictures, but it looked good at the time.

The fabric doesn’t really go with the new place, but the large canvas does! After tearing off the fabric and covering the entire canvas in white primer – the canvas used to be a really, um, let’s say interesting, splatter painting – I was ready to start anew.

You may recall my love of gold right now, so I decided to carry a bit of that into the bedroom. There are already touches of it in my mirror and in the curtain fabric, so I knew it would work. I wanted some texture, so I decided to sponge on some gold acrylic paint.

Sponge PaintingI know what you’re thinking. Sponge painting? You mean the horror from childhood bedrooms in the early 1990s? Sponge painting has a bad reputation, and a lot of it warranted. But, if you use the technique sparingly (i.e. on a canvas instead of on a whole room) it can be pretty modern.

Sponge PaintingAfter dipping the natural sea sponge in water and ringing it out completely, I dipped the sponge in the paint and started dabbing it around the canvas. I worked outward in a circular motion, but really had no further intention for how things would turn out.

This was the third life of this old canvas, so I kind of just wanted to see what would happen.

Sponge PaintingHere’s the finished product. It has a marbled feel to it, almost as if I crumbled up a piece of gold paper and then flattened it out again.

I love the waves created throughout, and even how the texture from the previous splatter painting comes through just a bit.

The best part? When I grow tired of it, I can just slap on some primer and start again. I have a feeling this canvas may live many a life by the time I’m through with it.

Do ever paint over old canvases? What’s your favorite piece of art in your home?

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10 Tips for Stretching Small Spaces

20 Jun

Hi there! This week I’m having fun and learning like crazy at the Haven Conference. While I’m there, check out the Every Day Pretty Facebook page and Instagram for real-time updates. I’ll be back next week to share all the Haven fun!

Remember Andrea, my friend with the cute new loft? Last week, we explored tips for maximizing space in her kitchen.

Today, we’ll take a look at overall tricks for making a small space (in this case, a 450-square-foot studio apartment) look and feel bigger.

maximize space

via Creative Space Organizing.com

living room curtains4

  • Hang ’em high: Nothing changes the feel of a room like curtains. To make a room feel open and airy, always hang the curtain rods at least a few inches higher than the window. Stretch out the rod a few inches beyond the width of the window too, to let the maximum amount of light in.
  • Mirror, Mirror: You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s so true. Hanging a mirror, especially a large one, can help trick the eye into thinking a room is bigger than it is.
gold coffee table

You may recognize this as my dream coffee table. Still on the hunt!

3. Light and Airy: Think of a breeze flowing through your room. With a small room, you want that breeze to be able to flow under and around furniture. Choose seating with exposed legs and tables that feel light. Heavy furniture will stop the eye; light furniture will present a continuous flow, making the room feel larger.

light rug

4. Light Underfoot: If your home has hardwood floors, choose a rug that isn’t too much of a contrast with the color of your floor. A sharp contrast will catch the eye and reiterate the size of the room.

multi-functional room

See how these chairs are almost the same color as the floor? Your eye flows right through them, making the room feel larger.

5. Clear the Clutter: In small spaces, it’s even more important than usual to keep the clutter at bay. An eye will land on clutter and the room will feel smaller if there’s too much hanging around. Ottomans with built in storage space are great choices, as are open shelves with drawers like those in the image above.

6. Think Light: For the most part, lighter colors make a room feel bigger, while darker colors make a room feel smaller. Apartment walls are usually white. Consider emphasizing the hue with sheer white drapes and lighter furniture.

7. Pops of Color: Lighter colors make a room feel bigger, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love color! The eye needs a place to rest, so pops of color in the form of pillows, art or even a piece of painted furniture provide resting places and show off  your personality.

Wall Art

The art is awesome, yes, but do you see those chairs? Obsessed.

8. Less is More: When it comes to decorating the walls, consider one statement piece rather than several smaller pieces. Yes, gallery walls are all the rage right now, but they tend to make a place look smaller, not bigger. A large piece of art with plenty of wall space around it can make a room feel open.

Tip: Wait until large canvases are on sale at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, wrap it in some pretty fabric and hang it on the wall for instant art.

Open and Airy Room

9. Use What Ya Got: Andrea’s studio was built in the 1920s so it has some of that great architectural charm you just don’t find in newer homes. Flaunt it! Using your home’s natural attributes will make your furniture look more at home, keeping the room balanced.

10. Decorate the Whole Enchilada: Often times, we think about decorating in terms of rooms. I say think about the entire home at once. Colors should flow throughout the home, to give each piece and color a sense of belonging. This is especially important in a studio apartment.

Consider this rule of thumb: If I put all of the colors and patterns in my home together on one board, would they go? (Go, not match!) If so, you’re on the right track.

So there you have it: ten tips for making any space feel a little bigger. Andrea, I hope some of these tips are helpful as you continue to make your new place into a lovely home!

Do you have tips to share with Andrea? What are your favorite maximizing space tricks?

The Ballerina Project

27 Apr

Continuing with the New York art theme…are y’all familiar with The Ballerina Project?

ballerina project

It’s a whimsical project dreamed up by photographer Dane Shitagi. He beautifully shoots professional dancers in stunning backgrounds in urban settings, mostly in New York City.

Sometimes the dancers seem to be one with the scenery, sometimes they’re very much opposed.

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ballerina-in-recession-327x472

ballerina project 659

The collection combines two of my loves: beautiful urban photography and ballet. I was a ballerina once upon a time and it’ll always be a part of me. These photos show the equal amounts of grace and strength in these professional dancers, and they show what I preach on this blog: you can find pretty every day!

Mailboxes, refrigerators, graffiti-covered street lamps? There’s beauty in everything.

The photos are available for purchase and you can check out the ever-growing gallery of images on The Ballerina Project’s Facebook page.

Which is your favorite?

Vintage New York

25 Apr
Brooklyn Bridge

Painters hang from suspended wires on the Brooklyn Bridge October 7, 1914

The New York City Municipal Archives today released about a million previously unpublished images of New York City, many showing the grit and growth happening around the turn of the last century.

The photos are fascinating from a historical perspective, and some, like the one above, are simply works of art. That photo terrifies and intrigues me all at once.

For more information about the photos and to see the collection, visit the New York City Department of Records website.

Which photos stand out to you?

Pretty Taxes?

4 Apr

Ah, the beauty of tax returns…

No? Not seeing it?

Look a little closer…

1997_tax_file_new_detail

Nava Lubelski

North Carolina artist Nava Lubelski used tax returns (plus rejection letters and other not-so-happy papers) to create these intricate paper sculptures.

1999_Tax_File

Nava Lubelski

1998_tax_file

Nava Lubelski

Aren’t they amazing?

I am always fascinated when people can trasform ugly (hello tax returns) into beauty. Such vision!

Check out Nava Lubelski’s website for more of her beautiful work.

January Blues Buster: Pretty Tile Coasters

9 Jan Tile Coaster in Action

Do you feel like your house is empty, now that you’ve taken down the Christmas decorations?

I do. It’s amazing how warm the garland and lights of Christmas can make a room feel and how cold it can become after they’re removed.

Since taking down my decor, I’m on a mission to bring the cozy back. One little way to do that is to take an everyday item – a coaster – and make it into something pretty and unique.

Best part? The whole project costs pennies.

Tile Coaster Supplies

First, gather your supplies. You’ll need:

  • 4 x 4 tiles, available at hardware stores (I found them for under a dollar at Home Depot.)
  • Scrapbook paper, cut into squares slightly smaller than the face of the tile
  • Mod Podge (This was my first time working with the stuff – I now understand why it’s so popular!)
  • Clear Acrylic Coating Spray (Matte or Glossy; I used Matte)
  • Self-adhesive felt
  • Foam brush (I’d grab a couple – they break easily and regular paint brushes aren’t as easy to work with.)
  • Scissors

Next, dip your foam brush in the Mod Podge and paint a thin layer of it on a tile. Then, place a cut piece of scrapbook paper on the tile, give it another layer of Mod Podge and set it aside to dry.

Once the tiles have dried (about 20 minutes or so), take them outside and spray them evenly with the Clear Acrylic Coating. I placed them all touching in a shallow cardboard box for this step to protect my driveway.

Let them dry overnight. I wanted to be extra-sure they were waterproof, so I sprayed my coasters once more with the Clear Acrylic Coating, letting them dry again for several more hours. You can test them out by dripping a bit of water on them and making sure it bubbles up.

Once dry, cut felt squares slightly smaller than the tiles, remove the adhesive backing and place on the bottom of the coasters.

Tile Coasters

Ready for Acrylic Coating

Tile Coaster in Action

Tile Coaster in Action

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These make great gifts too. I made a bunch as Christmas presents this year.

Tip: Don’t attempt this project after a manicure. You fingertips will be covered in Mod Podge. It’s a complete throwback to elementary school art class.

Most people wouldn’t think of cold square tile as cozy, but adding the pop of color through the scrapbook paper make these coasters a bright everyday item. You can even use photos! Follow the same process, but instead of scrapbook paper, use photos printed out on cardstock.

How are you making your home pretty after taking down the Christmas decor?