Happy New Year! We were talking the other day and both had the realization that a new year has never felt so “new” to us before. Growing up, New Year’s Eve/Day just seems like another part of Christmas break. As a teacher, I still work in that September-June cycle and January doesn’t mean a fresh start like it does for so many others. Actually, I’m usually really sad to see New Year’s Day because it means that break is almost over. This year, during the week approaching NYE, I felt really encouraged to start planning the new year and getting my head right. We had set a few house and personal goals at the beginning of 2014. Some of those, like our bedroom, came to fruition (even if I didn’t blog the final product…still…or make the closet curtains- oops). Some others, like birthing a baby or a redone kitchen, did not. We decided to change up our goals for this year and instead of focusing on one specific product (with the exception of the baby), we would focus on things that we hope for this year and action steps we could take to make those things happen. [Read more…]
Hey, y’all! Happy Holidays again! I am so excited about Christmas (though my decorating is STILL not done- sheesh) and was even more excited when Karah and Jessica asked me to be a part of this little jaunt through a bunch of AMAZING blogs with their holiday ideas using ONLY items already on-hand. Hopefully that means some of you are coming from Cuckoo 4 Design who posted her super gorgeous Painted Brushstroke Ornaments yesterday! Welcome!
When asked to do this little holiday challenge, I realized that the room that holds all of my supplies was currently being painted so…what the HECK did I have on-hand to begin with?! I knew we had some old pallets on the back porch and that *somewhere* there was a thing of white paint lying around. I decided to come to the party with a deer silhouette on my pallet. Now, doing a pallet project when you’re in a trail of blogs that includes Karah (who wrote a BOOK on PALLET PROJECTS) is like asking to sing and dance at a party hosted by Julie Andrews…but it was all I had!
-white acrylic paint
-some kind of paper
-picture/silhouette you want to use
-drill and sander
-husband who works outside in the dark for you (optional if you’re a better planner than I am)
My sweet husband cut apart our pallet so that the boards were roughly the same size. Pallet wood isn’t known for being the best wood, but we found 4 good pieces AND he found a thin board to screw them onto. The board happened to be EXACTLY the right size. Fate.
After the boards were attached, I sanded with some 60 grit sand paper to get all the…yuck off. I don’t know what is on pallets. I can only imagine. But I sanded some of it off, at least. Doesn’t it look better?
Yes. I sanded this in my living room floor. Yes, my husband attached the boards in our living floor as well. It’s cold outside, y’all. And the boards were attached VERY late at night. I have no patience for being outside like that. Plus, I was watching Christmas movies.
The stencil, if you could call it that, was the hardest part for me. I basically took some packing paper, like the kind you get your items wrapped in if you happen to frequent antique stores, LAID IT ON MY COMPUTER SCREEN- THIS IS SO GHETTO, zoomed in on a deer silhouette I liked until it was the size I wanted to fit the boards, and then traced over the edges of the silhouette with a pencil. This is REALLY PRECISE AND SCIENTIFIC, EVERYONE. Obviously, due to my extensive precision, the deer ended up being the wrong size. No biggie, I just modified it myself on the paper and then cut it out with an Exacto knife. I chose to use the outside part of the paper (with the deer head missing) and draw around the lines of it, rather than using the less-sturdy deer head to trace.
I’m not going to lie, he looked WAY better than I anticipated. After that, I got a skinny stencil brush (even though the stencil wasn’t on the board anymore) and started painting with the easiest part (the bottom) first.
I did consider staining this first because I had some stain on hand. I’ve never stained anything before, though, and the wood looked better after sanding than I had anticipated. I *may* still go back and stain it before I clear coat (also something not on hand), but I’m going to live with it a minute and then decide.
The antlers were a terrifying experience for me. I was SO scared I would mess it up because my hands aren’t as steady as I feel they should be…as evidenced by this really good picture showing you how precise I was trying to be.
My hand is blurry because…I’m right-handed and I was holding the camera with my left and taking the picture. It was a thrilling scene. I’m sure you wish you could have been here.
Eventually…voila! The deer was done!
We decided that we’ll probably hang him in our entryway, but I have a hard time deciding on an exact height alone, so that will have to be updated later. For the time being, I put him up on our board and batten shelf near the little brass fawn that was already there. I love the way this entryway looks now…even though it JUST looked different last week!
Best parts: this took under 2 hours start-to-finish AND he can change for the seasons…I’m already thinking of getting him a little red pom pom so he can dress up as Rudolph! Thanks SO much for coming by today and PLEASE head over to the unbeatable Caitlin, at Desert Domicile! Go through and read all of the great posts from the last two days. Only 14 days until Christmas! 🙂
Wednesday, Dec 10
Thursday, Dec 11
**Just a heads up: this is a sponsored post. I was compensated for this review with free product. That being said, I wouldn’t say amazing things about the product if I didn’t love it, so all opinions and feelings are my own.**
I have always wanted to try wall stencils. I’m not sure why. My grandmother stenciled my nursery before I was born, so maybe I just want to be like her? That wouldn’t be the worst thing. I always want to be like her. That being said, when Royal Design Studio contacted me about reviewing a stencil, I freaked. It wasn’t the most attractive moment of my life. For one, I was really excited. For two, I was COMPLETELY TERRIFIED. See, my grandmother (and all the DIY bloggers before me who have used stencils) are masters of their domain. They are practically professionals and they always do things the right way and they follow the right steps and ALL THE THINGS (or that’s all in my head). Me, on the other hand? I’m very good at getting impatient and skipping steps and not knowing where to find what I need to complete a project.
Step 1: Pick a stencil. I am star-obsessed. My tattoo is a star (there IS a reason for that). I draw stars when I doodle. The pumpkin I carved this year was a moon and stars. And in the early 2000s when the whole moon/star thing was big in decor? Yeah, I wanted that. Look at the extensive selection of stencils, consider how badly you need to be ready for Christmas AND redo your office, choose Starry Night stencil. Because…stars.
Step 2: Pep talk self while you wait for the Starry Night stencil to come. Remember that you tried out stencils at Haven (a year and a half ago…skills may be rusty) and try to remember the techniques they taught, especially the one about moving the brush bristles in a circle over the edges of the stencil- this really works! When your stencil arrives, read ALL the instructions. They’re very comprehensive and helpful and wonderful. These people make it hard for EVEN ME to screw it up.
Step 3: Go find metallic gold paint at Home Depot and buy one similar to these, but in “Cloth of Gold”. If I had to do it over, I would choose some of Royal Design Studio’s Stencil Cremes. The Ralph Lauren paint worked beautifully and is GORGEOUS paint, but, if I could do it over, I’d use the products that were all designed to work together.
Step 4: Buy a cheap stencil brush at Home Depot and then go back and buy the supplies that belong with the paint part of the way through the project, like a fun nappy roller and big stencil brush (these really helped). This is more proof that I should’ve just bought the supplies that were created to go with the stencil, but this should NOT get in the way of creating your
destiny! stencil wall! Just learn from your mistakes before next time.
Step 5: Receive stencil and hang it for the first time and SQUEAL because it is going to look SO GOOD. This is when I decided to try to do this both ways. I brushed AND rolled. Basically, no matter what you do you have to be sure to not soak the brush/roller and then get off what feels like *most* of the paint. I know this seems counterintuitive, but it really helps the stencil stay crisp, whether you brush or roll. This is all in the instructions with visual aids. A key part of this step is to NOT wash or brush your hair the day you stencil so your spouse/significant other can take shockingly flattering photos.
Step 6: Fall in love with your wall.
We decided we would stencil inside our office closet. I’m sure that seems dumb, but this closet has served as a cloffice (closet-office) for the past 2.5 years and we’re currently redoing the whole office. This became the perfect opportunity to clean out the closet (kind of), stencil, and reorganize it to be practical and beautiful! For the Christmas season, I’m using the cloffice “desk” to display my nativity scene. Get it? Stars? Nativity? Christmas?!
I have to say, I am really proud of myself because I really followed their directions. I made sure to roll my roller on the textured part of the paint tray AND on paper towels. I also blotted my brush (in a circular motion) on paper towels 2-3 times each time I got new paint…except once. This is what happens when you’re impatient and you don’t trust the process, folks.
Chris said we’re naming it (him?) Milton. I was able to get some of the excess paint off of the navy, but, alas, we don’t have any more of this navy to touch it up and I don’t need perfection.
Rolling was obviously way, way faster and I was able to line up the stencil at the bottom so I got almost to the bottom of the wall. I would definitely recommend the roller method if you are using the whole stencil continuously. When I use the stencil in the future, I may just brush for small accent projects. Had I continued all the way down to the baseboards, we would have lots of 1/3 stars, so I’m content with the space. The whole shebang (remove shelves, clear closet, dust walls/baseboards, stencil and paint, rehang shelves, set up nativity) took one afternoon. Quick and painless, people. Just like the holidays should be. 🙂
When the paint was dry, we re-hung the floating shelf (for the Christmas angel) and the cloffice “desk” so I could display our beautiful nativity set. I’m so excited for people to come visit this holiday and see our newly striped office with this GORGEOUS holiday accent wall. The extra-good news is that these gold stars will be festive and glamorous all year long, so they’re staying! Oh, and in case it was too dark on our little model of Jesus’ birthday, I added some gold globe lights. The cloffice already had some Christmas lights strung around the doorway, but you can NEVER have too much twinkle, am I right?!
Here she glows!
Christmas miracle moral of the story here is: a) stencils are gorgeous and Royal Design Studio may very well make the best ones out there, b) buy the brushes/paints from the people who design the stencils- there’s a reason they sell it all, c) don’t be afraid to try something even if you’re not a pro because this turned out exactly how I’d envisioned it, and d) perfection is overrated, but following instructions is not.
This peaceful little scene makes my heart so happy and I couldn’t have done it without the Starry Night stencil. Truly, I just want to go sleep in the office floor with the Christmas lights on. Merry Christmas!