Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mirror Revamp

Hi All,
I'm in the process of redesigning the blog, as well as the name, so stay tuned for those updates. Meanwhile, I wanted to share a little makeover project I did recently. While walking home from picking up some Thai takeout, Jimbo spied a fugly mirror left on the corner. He paused, waiting for my predictable reaction to free stuff on the street; it looks something like this: I slow the pace as I walk by scanning, "sizing up" the piece, then stop, pick it up and nod to myself, approving the decision to take it to my overly full hallway storage. The best piece I ever picked up off the street was a rice maker... Yup, that may make your cringe. But I have had that baby since the beginning of college and it still cooks my rice to perfection every time!
But I digress. In this particular instance, I did not notice the mirror, because as I said it was soooo ugly. But when James stopped, I thought I could be missing something. I picked it up and decided, why not? It's not a big piece of furniture so it won't take up too much space while I decide what to do with it.
Sadly, I can't find the "before" pictures of the mirror, so I will have to describe it for you. The frame was a dirty pastel green, with floral designs painted along the curvy edges. It looked like a sad version of an English tea room. And don't get me wrong, I love a quaint, girly tea house.
But I decided to erase all evidence of the prior design, and painted it black(Graphite by Annie Sloan).
I started drawing some ideas for a graphic design, as you can maybe see in pencil on the frame. I wanted to veer away from the scalloped edges, and do something angular. When I had settled on a design I liked, I painted it in white along the lines I had drawn. To finish, I waxed the entire frame.
Here's the reveal:
I made the last photo almost black and white, because I like how it shows the contrast in the frame. And in the second photo you can glimpse my Christmas tree in the reflection, which I love. By the way, it makes me so sad when I see Christmas trees out on the street the day after Christmas. Too soon, people! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the post. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

DIY Wedding

Hey Ya'll,
I've had quite the busy, fun summer; what with getting married, honeymooning, playing in many ultimate frisbee tournaments and starting teaching again, I've been neglecting this blog. But I'm back! And ready to share about my DIY double wedding bash. My sister and I decided to do a double wedding, since we were both engaged and since we are attached at the hip. We also did all the planning and lots of little DIY projects to make it budget friendly and fitting to our style. I, of course, have to give a big thanks to all our girlfriends who helped out. I suggest planning a ladies craft get-together and it's a lot more fun to DIY your wedding.
The wedding took place just outside of Yosemite at a beautiful, camping friendly property called Paradise Springs. When planning our invitations, we knew we wanted to draw them ourselves. We finally agreed on this simple drawing that tied in the natural elements of the property that we loved so much, as well as some cute flags, reminiscent of some we created for the wedding(you'll see that later in the post).
After making copies of the design on our chosen brown paper, we prepared the invitations for mailing. We decided to stamp a small pinecone design on the back of the envelopes and we ordered a self-inking stamp for the return to sender. Best decision! We were already handwriting all the addresses, so having that stamp was a time saver and it's just fun to stamp(says the girl who played Librarian for fun as a child).
We also began saving and collecting jars about 6 months out from the wedding. In the end, we had a variety of jars for all our flower table arrangements and votives. It takes some time (and eating) but it's a great solution for rustic and FREE vases. We also were saving large cans(I think they are 28 oz.) for our table arrangements. I thought it would look nice to have our utensils and napkins at the table in the cans. This fit the informal, family-style atmosphere we were going for. I tested painting the cans in a variety of ways, first thinking that it would be nice to have the table numbers painted on the cans.
I thought better of that idea. First, it was going to take too long. And second, it might be hard to see the table numbers if they were low on the table. So I tested spray painting the cans gold and white, taping off two bands, so that some of the silver metal color would show.
We all agreed that the white cans were the best choice. Since we were going to have the tables covered in brown butcher paper, the white cans would compliment and contrast the table better than gold. The brown butcher paper was another great FREE solution. Claire had a large roll of it from her college days, so we just used that and after the meal, it was a quick and easy clean-up.
On one of our crafting days we did this table mock-up to test out the arrangement.
This gives you an idea of what the table arrangements looked like on the day, but it's missing the little flags we stuck in the jars for the table numbers. Oh well!
Another DIY project I want to share is our table seating board. First, we bought an inexpensive peg board. Then we painted about 200 clothespins in a shades of pastel. Next, we tied twine lines along the board and then labeled the clothespins with out guests' names and their table number. Finally, we arranged the names alphabetically on the board and voila, a fun, DIY table seating chart. It kind of irks me to put these photos on the blog, but they're my only option. As you can see, SEATING is misspelled (that's what happens when you're exhausted from crafting and you just throw on the letters for a quick picture of the process). Don't worry, on the wedding day, it was all spelled correctly; Claire, the editor, made sure of that.
At the reception guests grabbed the clothespin with their name on it and placed it at their seat, or better yet, clipped it to their clothing. Here's a shot of the reception area during set-up before the ceremony, and another shot of the guests mingling around the tables right before dinner. So pretty!
And finally, my favorite DIY project for the wedding was the bunting flags. I found some old, adorable fabrics from my parent's house, and sewed two bunting banners. On one I painted Claire & Mike and on the other I painted Alden & James. I wasn't sure where we would put them for the wedding, but we ended up finding the perfect spot for them- hanging behind us at the ceremony (that's me and James on the right, Claire and Mike on the left, and our uncle, Denis as the officiant). Can you see the flags hanging in the background? I also added a photo of us walking under the flags after the ceremony- it makes me smile, and I want you to see the back of my dress(hehe). Now James and I have our banner hanging over our couch at home. It's not only a cheerful wall hanging, but it's a reminder of that wonderful day.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Side Table/Media Table

Hi! What with getting married and starting up a new season of ultimate frisbee, I have been neglecting this blog. So I have some past work to show you!
My friend Whitney recently moved to a small apartment in San Francisco and invited me over to give her some feedback about design. Her living space and bedroom are in one room of the apartment. One of the conundrums was her media center. She has a small TV in the corner of the sitting area on a black bookshelf. The black shelf was too large for the corner and on top of that, it was just too much black, making the corner of the room feel heavy.
I'm usually never a fan of black media cabinets or tables. With the black TV, black cable box, black DVD player, on top of black, it's just too much. I'd rather try to hide the fact that you have electronics in the room, drawing your eye to interesting furniture or art displayed on the wall. So, to help solve Whitney's media conundrum(I'm liking that word right now), I went hunting for a small side table that could be used as a media table. Here's what I found of craigslist for about $15.
Clearly it wasn't the most attractive piece, but it was the right dimensions and had the exposed shelving below, which was perfect for a media center. I started by using wood putty to fill in the divots around the shelves, which were there from previous doors that must have been on the piece. Then I removed the cheap drawer pull and sanded the drawer to see if the wood would be worth staining.
Whitney had mentioned that she liked my previous dresser that I stained in in a chevron pattern, so I used that as my inspiration:
I measured my design and drew it with pencil, and debated and debated whether it looked right. Then I decided to just go for it and stained the parts that I wanted dark with my favorite dark walnut stain. Happy with the result, I painted a coat of Miniwax's Polycrylic Protective Finish over the drawer. I also decided to sand the shelf and leave it in its natural wood tone.
For the rest of the piece, I wanted to keep it light, so I used Annie Sloan's Pure White chalk paint. But that stubborn red paint kept bleeding through, so I spray painted the entire piece with Rust-oleum's semi-gloss White(primer and paint in one). Though one of the benefits of chalk paint is no priming, in the future I would first prime if I'm painting over such a vibrant color (then I wouldn't have to use so much of the chalk paint to get a nice coat). For the final step, I bought a simple mid-century style drawer pull and spray painted it gold. Here are some styled shots I took before bringing the piece to Whitney:

I may have overdid it with the styling, but you get the picture. Then I drove over to Whitney's for the reveal! I was I bit nervous, but she was very happy with the piece and after I saw it in the space, I was very happy with it too. The white helps lighten the room and the drawer detailing adds a bit of snazz!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Peek-a-room: Making the Most of a Tiny Space

I have been MIA the last 3 months. I am in the midst of planning my wedding; turns out weddings are a lot of work, especially if you're choosing to do most of the work yourself, as is my tendency. Also, we are doing a Double Wedding! That's right, ever heard of it? Perhaps you have if you've read such wonderful Austen novels as Pride and Prejudice, where extremely close sisters get married to their significant others on the same day. So, my sister and I are following this beloved storyline. You would think we had planned it this way since childhood(if you know the Fletcher sisters, you know that we do practically everything together- and not in a creepy The Shining way, but in a lovable White Christmas sort of way). Here we are as toddlers. I'm driving, of course, while Claire lounges in the passenger seat. Some things never change.
But actually, we just happened to be engaged at the same time, and my fiancé and I latched onto the already chosen date/venue/caterer for my sister's wedding. And there you have it. I will posting soon about some DIY wedding crafts we have been working on... So enough about my sister(as great as she is). I want to introduce you to my hip and hilarious twin brother, Max. Here we are with our mom. As you can see, I always loved to accessorize.
He's lived in this tiny San Francisco bedroom for the past 3 and a half years. Living in a 9'x11' room with 10' ceilings is no easy feat for a man of Max's stature.
But this 6'3" guy is no stranger to making small spaces work. When we were growing up(rather than share a room with his not-so-neat sisters), he moved his bed into the closet and quickly transformed the space into a neatly organized nook of a room. When he was a teenager, he moved into the small office space, which was a move up from the closet, but it was still a small space, at about 10'x5'. I wanted to share his room with you because it is filled with fun and creative solutions for living in tight quarters.
You enter the room from either the bathroom or the kitchen. Max got a bunk bed and lofted it even higher to create this nice sitting space under the bed. He found this vintage love seat in olive green, which is the perfect petite size and super comfy. The wood chest, used as a coffee table, came from my parents house and stores extra sweatshirts.
The artwork above the couch is done by my sister from The Red Balloon movie stills. It was one of Max's favorite movies growing up.
Along the wall next to the couch are makeshift shelves from wood boxes and crates. This is perfect for storing his little knick knacks, books, art supplies and DVDs. The desk sits under a window, which is actually a door to the outside.
Max added a shelf along the wall by the bed to create a bedside table. The little black journal is a daily diary from the 1920's. Max is reading the entry for the correlating day each morning when he gets up.
A dresser fits in the space between the bathroom door and the closet door. Max found an old mirror to sit above the dresser. He also hung a closet door hanger vertically off the back of the door for hats.
The curtains were sewn by Max and match the color from the couch.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek into a lovely old room and perhaps gained some inspiring ideas for your space. Thanks Max!