Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Green Birthday Party Ideas

Vintage 'Eco Green' Party Pennants - Merry Go Round HANDMADE
You can design a home, you can design your life, and yes, you can design a party.  Just like in designing a home, you have to start somewhere.  You can start with a color, a theme, or maybe a favorite flower.  This time, I started my party designs with a color.  My son who is turning three this month decided that he wanted a circle cake and a green birthday party.

green party ideas

I scoured the web for ideas on green birthday parties.  Here are a few themes that surfaced in my search:

Dinosaur Birthday Party
Frog Birthday Party
Bug Birthday Party
Pink & Green Birthday Party
Money Birthday Party
Lepracaun Birthday Party
Shamrock Birthday Party
Picnic Birthday Party
Green Train (Percy) Birthday Party
Caterpillar Birthday Party
John Deere Birthday Party

Then finally, my husband and I had a breakthrough.  Green . . . green . . . a GREEN birthday party.  We decided to "Go Green" and plan an environmentally conscious and friendly party!

We have only just begun planning for my son's Going Green Birthday Party, but I will post more as I go along!

Here's a generic copy of the invitation we e-mailed to his guests:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Arrange Picture Displays on a Wall: Six Stylish Designs

I hope you enjoy these six frame arrangements that have been prepared especially for my blog readers!  Remember if you want your own custom Room E-design which includes a frame arrangement design, check out my Etsy Shop Designing Life for more details!

Seven 4 x 6 frames with connecting ribbon

One 4 x 6 frame, two 5 x7 frames, and one 8 x 10 frame

Four 4 x 6 frames and one 8 by 10 frame

Three 4 x 6 frames, two 5 x 7 frames, and one 8 x 10 frame

Three 4 x 6 frames and two 8 x 10 frames

Four 4 x 6 frames and two 5 x 7 frames

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tips for "Picture Perfect" Picture Hanging

Upcycled Frames by One Vintage Rose Etsy Shop

Even though I have an interior design background, let me make one thing clear . . . my interior design teacher never held a class on hanging pictures.  All of the sudden after completing four years of college with a BA in Art, I walk into a job interview and they ask me to hang some decorative frames on a wall.  What?!  Fortunately for me, I'm very resourceful.  I took the tools provided and hung the frames on the wall.  The only comment they made was that I hung them a little high . . . lol, I had overcompensated for my shortness and they were about two inches higher than they technically should have been.

Suffice it to say, I had to learn how to hang pictures just the same as anyone else has to learn.  It takes practice, it takes attention to detail, and it takes a lot of patience.  Alright, I guess it does take an eye for design to get the placement visually appealing, but I know you can do it.

Here are some tips that I've learned along the way that make picture hanging that much easier:

Stanley Measuring Tape via Amazon.com
use a measuring tape

While this may seem elementary (my dear Watson), it isn't.  We all think we are just that good and think that if we just eyeball it we'll get the frames hung at the same height.  No.  Not really.  I'm not even that good.  And yes, I learned the hard way.  I have a wall that still haunts me (don't know why I haven't fixed it) . . .

Stanley 43-511 Level via Amazon.com
use a level

Granted, most times I really can eyeball how straight a frame is by looking at it, but there are a surprising amount of people who absolutely couldn't hang a picture straight if their lives depended on it.  Even when I think I've got the frame perfectly straight, this girl uses a level.  So save your guest's nerves some strain and get those frames leveled out using a level.

Clothes Pin Marking Tool Via The Scrap Shoppe Blog
use a special tool

Some pretty fabulous tools exist to help you get your pictures hung.  For instance, the Hang & Level.  You hang your photo on the tool, then press a little button to mark your nail spot.  Even with this product, you still need a measuring tape and a level.  This just saves you the torture of placing your picture frame up on the wall in the exact right spot, pulling it off, then missing the "mark" and hanging it crooked anyway.  Been there, done that.  Cool tool.

Alternate and cheaper option (thanks to The Scrap Shoppe Blog) . . . take a clothes pin and hammer a nail through it. Hang the picture from the nail on the clothes pin, hold the top of the clothes pin, place the picture where you want it hung, then push the frame towards the wall to leave a mark where you need to place the nail.  Voila, cheaper = smarter!

Paper Bag Trick via BHG.com
use paper bags

No paper bags are not just for groceries.  I found this awesome little trick on Pinterest (originally from Better Homes and Gardens) and am in love.  Place your frames on top of a paper bag (you may need to cut open and lay out the paper bag).  Trace the frames and cut out the shapes.  Take the frame shapes to your wall and use painters tape to attach them to the perfect spots on the wall.  Move them around as needed to find the best placement.  And yes . . . you still need a measuring tape and a level.

 P.S. BHG says to use Kraft Paper . . . so let's just call using paper bags my cheaper version of the same principle.

use your imagination

Just because you've been at tons of people's houses where they hang one piece of art on an entirely empty wall doesn't mean you need to be that boring.  Sorry boring wall folk . . . add some spice!!!  Try making a collage of frames with pictures, landscapes, and creative photography.  Create a zig zag of frames across the back of your sofa!  Whatever you choose to do, just remember to be creative and use that imaginarium aquarium . . . (brain).  Think out of the frame ;-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Upcycling Project: Refinishing Vintage Glassware

This project was a hard project to complete.  I had to obliterate the beautiful red tint that existed on the 1950's Ruby Red  Teardrop Compote in order to upcycle the glass and fix it's unfortunate flaws created by time's passage.  I'm all for keeping vintage and antiques as is flaws and all, but not when I'm attempting to sell them.  Let's face it, the scratches and blemishes that give a piece character also make them unsellable and less valuable to the consumer.  So though I loved this Ruby Red Teardrop Compote, I began a project to make it a perfect upcycled piece sellable and desirable by all.

I began my project by removing the red tint that had become scratched over the years. My first attempt utilized finger nail polish remover and a cotton ball.   That would have taken a while . . .

I then decided to try out the copper scrubber that my husband told me is great for scrubbing glass without scratching the glass itself.  Here's the product in case you were interested:  Chore Boy Copper Scrubber.  This really took me a lot of time and muscle power to scrub each teardrop on the compote and remove every single grain of red paint.  However, it was thankfully quicker than the nail polish remover.

Finally after much scrubbing, scraping, and rubbing, I had a clear surface.  A starting place for a new compote . . . a brightly colored refinished compote.

Now I needed my color to make this piece pop.  I searched all over the craft store for the right product.  I checked the paint section, the glass painting section, the beading section, the glassware section, then finally I found my product of choice in the spray paint section.  Basically, it is a translucent paint for glassware, metal, tile, and other like surfaces.  And it was the PERFECT color.

So I set up a plastic sheet on my sidewalk outside my house, shook the can for two minutes, popped off the top, and slowly began working over the surface with the paint.  I didn't want the color too deep, so I really took my time.  It looked stunning!  I even was able to lightly coat the stem just like the Ruby Red color had been previously on the stem.  I'm in love.

Here is a close up on the teardrop sides:

I am so pleased with the color and the look of this piece.  Unfortunately, today's forecast is rain, rain, rain, so I really couldn't get enough light to make these pictures perfect.  I'll take what I can get!

Here is my Before and After shot!

 I'll be sure to post when I put this up on Etsy!  Right now I'm still trying to figure out how much to charge with all the time I spent on the project and the price of the paint.  Now I know how to upcycle and refinish glass items, so fun!

Comment suggestion:

Let me know if you've ever refinished glassware.  What's your favorite paint?  Do you use stencils?  Maybe the etching product?

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