Wednesday, September 21, 2011

what i want wednesday!

i know i have an unhealthy obsession with wood - trees, branches, woodgrain... but i can't help it! i like what i like people! so this edition of what i want wednesday is more woodsy things- mostly from etsy!

wood modern silver vase slats jalexstudios etsy
Levi Modern Vase by jalexstudios on etsy - love the contrasting wood but that it's still modern at the same time.
embroidery hoop punch birch tree decoration erinf115 etsy
Birch Tree Embroidery Hoop by erinf115 on etsy - would be so cute in my living room

chalkboard cards with screenprinted faux bois turquoise etsy
Woodgrain Chalkboard Cards from UrbanBirdandCo on etsy - and they come with chalk so you can write your own message! how fun!
felt woodgrain purse handbag faux bois
Felt Woodgrain Handbag by Faux Bois - pricey but oh so pretty!

west elm tree stump resin side table white
I know it's not nice to tease you with things that are no longer available, but this resin tree stump table used to be at West Elm. 

 I just have to share a story- about a year ago we needed to have a tree cut down because it was really close to our house and it was basically dead, but I had all these grand ideas - I'll make a stump table! I'll make little candle holders! I'll make clocks out of slices of wood! So I had my husband get the tree-cutters to leave all the wood there (this was a pretty giant tree too, btw) and I even had him cut pieces into 1.5" slices so I could make my clocks.... it turns out that when a tree is dead and has holes in it and the bark is all nasty... there's just no way to make usable pieces.  Well, I'm sure maybe there is, but I couldn't figure it out.  And now, I've got a million tree stumps all sitting out behind my house, isn't that nice? And just in case you're in need of some "tree slices", I happen to have found some at Dick Blick for my clock project... which I never completed. I do that a lot.  oops.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DIY Painted Birch Tree Wall Forest Mural

diy wall painted birch tree wall art mural gray yellow white

I’ve wanted a birch tree wall mural for so long… in case you haven’t noticed from my etsy shop, my living room d├ęcor, or my pinterest account, I’m a little obsessed with trees, branches, and woodgrain anything. So when I decided to redo my office and I knew it would be my area and I could do whatever I wanted, I determined I had to have a wall-o-trees. I did a lot of research and looked at vinyl tree decals, but I decided since I can make my own tree art with a computer then I should be able to make my own tree wall mural with paint. Here are the two pictures I used as my inspiration (the one on the left is my own art, the one on the right is a vinyl decal.)
birch tree wall painted decal aqua red bird owl
Left: Aqua Blue Forest with Red Birds by Priss Designs on etsy; Right: Wild Birch Forest with Owl Wall Decal by designedDesigner on etsy.

The only supplies you need to paint your own birch tree wall are painter’s tape (I love the 2” wide green Frogtape, I think it works so much better than the blue tape), an X-acto knife, and paint. 
frog tape x-acto martha stewart white paint painting a diy wall tree mural
Frogtape; Martha Stewart Paint; X-Acto Knife

 To begin, tape two straight-ish lines for each tree, flaring them out slightly at the bottom. Don’t push your tape too tightly onto the wall at this point. I just randomly made little groupings of trees, although looking back I wish I had done 1-2 more trees instead of having the two bigger spaces, but I couldn’t go back in and add them without it looking weird and cluttered. 
taping trees for tree wall art mural painting

Next, using your X-acto knife, cut slivers of your tape out so your tree isn’t just straight up and down. Think about a real tree and how it has knots sticking out- To begin with, I was just cutting little slivers out of short sections, but by the end I was literally running my X-acto from the very top of the tape to the bottom, weaving slightly in and out as I went down, and it ended up being much easier to remove the tape that way. If you have a brand new super sharp X-acto, you really don’t need to push hard at all on the tape, just lightly score the surface and when you pull off the cut part, it will naturally want to break at your score line. I did need to go back and re-cut parts that tried to tear at the wrong points, and I did make a couple too- deep cuts in my wall (but you can’t tell now that everything is painted), but I really think if you don’t push the tape down too hard to begin with then the tape-wall bond won’t be as strong and the tearing off part will be easier. 
taping and using knife to cut trees for painting diy wall art mural
taping and using knife to cut trees for painting diy wall art mural

No lie, the taping/cutting part probably only took me about 30 minutes. Just eyeball your trees and then go to town with your X-acto knife. 

Next, I decided I wanted a few branches to fill in the spaces between the trees, and I used my tree artwork as inspiration for my branches. Looking at my wall now (and considering the extra work it cost me- I’ll get to that later), I’m not sure I’m in love with the branches. Although someone who has seen it now that it is finished said the branches make it look more like trees (you know, for people who haven’t been lusting over tree walls for years like me, they might not immediately realize that lines on a wall are supposed to be trees). I used my tape to “draw” some rough branch shapes then used my X-acto to cut out the actual shape I wanted. You also have to cut through the part of your original tree’s tape to connect the shapes. 
creating branches for diy wall art tree mural birch trees
Making the branch shapes
creating branches for diy wall art tree mural birch trees
After cutting branches out

When you are finished with all your cutting, then go around the edge of the tape that you will be painting on and really push down on the tape, trying to adhere it as well as possible to the wall. I use a couple fingers or the heel of my palm and rub back and forth. I’ve also heard of using the bottom of a spoon to go around everything. And just on a side note, if you are doing a smaller project and really want crisp paint lines, you can use clear nail polish along the edge of the tape and let it dry, and it seals the tape line so no paint can get under the seal. I did it when I painted one tree on my niece’s wall, but a lot of trees on a big wall would need a whole lot of nail polish! 

Anyway, so now you’re ready to paint! I got my white paint from the Oops bin at Home Depot, $7 for a gallon of Martha Stewart paint, so I think it’s a pretty good deal… not sure why it was in the oops bin, it said “bright white” and the paint looked pretty bright white to me, but maybe they tinted it a little or something. 

I painted my first coat with a small paint roller and it looked like this: 
first coat of white paint on gray wall for diy wall tree painting

Not so great, I know. My husband came downstairs and said “whoa, how many coats are you gonna have to do to cover the gray?”… probably should’ve primed it, but oh well. Well, the answer is three. Three coats of paint. After using the roller for the first coat, I used a paint brush for the second two coats and it really didn’t leave paint strokes and it covered a million times better. 
third coat of white paint on gray wall for diy wall art birch tree painting

After my third coat of paint, I got to the “birch bark” part of my trees. While my tape was still in place, I just started painting lines with a smaller paint brush… some were more like long U’s, some were just straight, some were more like little sideways U’s, and I made a couple ovals that looked like knots. I just kinda free-handed it on the first tree, then took off the tape after a couple minutes to make sure I liked how it was looking before I did the rest of my trees. A couple tips from a design standpoint: I think it looks a little better if you have more “bark” on one side of all your trees (as in, left instead of right) just because there would be more shadows on one side of your tree in a forest. Also, keep in mind that you can always add more, but you can’t take away (well, I guess you could paint over some lines with your white paint again if you wanted less lines, but that would be extra work. So, I did my bark on all my trees, and then removed the tape! This is the exciting part, when you really start to see your vision coming together. 

painting birch bark cutouts on trees diy wall mural
I loved my trees… the branches, not so much. They looked all huge and wonky and I was really considering completely painting over them, but then I decided I just needed to make them skinnier. So I freehand painted around them with a smaller paintbrush. I also went back and filled in some of my “bark” with an even smaller round brush to eliminate some of my paint strokes on the ends of my lines where the paintbrush hairs left little trails. And voila! DIY painted mural birch tree wall. 
diy birch tree wall art mural painting gray yellow

Next up on my office makeover is DIY painted IKEA storage boxes with a yellow chevron pattern. Here's a sneak peak:
painting IKEA paper cardboard boxes with yellow chevron

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

what i want wednesday - pinterest edition!

I've been adding things to my wishlist the past couple weeks in preparation for christmas(!!!) but as you can see it's mostly boring things like coffee pots and coats (although isn't that yellow old navy peacoat just so cute? I'll post a picture of it because it's blog-worthy)
old navy yellow peacoat
Old Navy Yellow Peacoat, $60
So today I decided to do a roundup of things I want from pinterest, because if you're not on pinterest yet, you should be.  Follow me! (or just see all the awesome things I've found without having to sign up.)  There's just so much inspiration all in one place that links back to it's original source so it's easy to create a list of things you want for your living room, for example, and see them all together like a mood board, and be able to decide what looks good together and what doesn't, then when you're ready to buy things just click on them to be taken to the online store.  It's really a great tool but it's also so fun and inspirational.  Here's a list of pretty things I want that I found on pinterest.
gray brown wraparound sweater
Found on pinterest, via polyvore, originally from jane norman uk
Cute wraparound sweater that is no longer available on its website... does anyone know where to get one or one that looks like it? I really really love this sweater. 
Found on pinterest, via designsponge, from Generate by KARVT
I've been considering getting a Mac since starting my webs design class last week and hearing my teacher harp on about how if you're going to be in the design field you really need a Mac, and these woodgrain laptop skins are so awesome.

gray grey green outfit polyvore gray wedge j crew city classic suede purse shoes 7 for all mankind jeans giles and brother necklace green spikes
 pinterest, via polyvore
I want everything in this picture.  Such a cute outfit.  The good thing about finding outfits that have been put together on polyvore is that you can see how everything looks together then go to polyvore to find the links to each piece of the wardrobe.

buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwich spicy chicken blue cheese chicken salad sandwich closet cooking recipes
Found on pinterest, via closet cooking
Another fun thing about pinterest is that you can find great recipes... I found this recipe for buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwiches and just had to make them on monday.  and boy were they good! i omitted the blue cheese and carrots though, and just served some ranch on the side for dipping.  if you haven't seen the closet cooking website you're really missing out on great recipes. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

recent happenings

Some exciting things have been happening around here! I'm well into my office makeover, I started my web design classes, and I've finished three branding projects.  Below are logos (created by me) for PopFelt (a felt wreath company, coming soon to etsy), Estancia Echartea (a guided hunting tour company), and ASCI (a structural engineering firm).  
etsy logo design logos branding web design identity design examples by Priss Designs etsy
What have you guys been up to?