Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Progress in the Guest Room

A couple of months ago we took our scary storage/ workout room....

...And turned it into a guest room.  We started by tearing out the drop ceilings & then having the walls & ceiling re-drywalled.  A closet door  was also added to hide the massive storage closet/ understairs storage.  We took our old guest room and turned it into another office for me & my assistant, Meghan.  (We are still waiting for our furniture to arrive in the office but I'll post pics when we're finished!)

The guest room is pretty much a hodgepodge of things we already had, with the only new item being the linen curtains I had made out of my new Thistle fabric.  I used the vintage wooden dresser I found a while back & truth-be-told, it's stuffed with off-season clothes.  My wooden lady (who is super-heavy) makes me happy:

We're still missing one of the most important elements in the room- the headboard!!- so I have to warn you that the pics really don't look that great, but I'm excited about the progress we've made & wanted to share.  (The pics are also really grainy- sorry!!!)  It's a very tiny room so just room for a bed with a small trunk at the end.  (Which I couldn't even fit into a picture)  I used white/cream bedding we already had & have been having fun layering the bed with different quilts to suit my different moods.  Right now I wanted sort of a Fallish-Bohemian feeling so I used a couple of old vintage quilts.  Here's a blurry pic I snapped of the half unmade bed this morning:

{The quilts are vintage and the 2 boudoir pillows are in a Peter Dunham linen}

I used my favorite pair of massive glass lamps on either side of the bed & was able to just fit in our pedestal table along with the dresser:

{The window isn't centered in the room so we had to go with two totally different sizes of end tables...  Since we were using pieces we already had, the pedestal table is a bit shorter than I'd like so I raised the lamp up with some books to make it more even with its mate.}

I have a collection of old mushroom prints on one wall and wooden printers' trays that the boys & I are working on filling with natural objects on the other, so I'll be sure to share overall pics when we're "finished."  I'm planning on doing a headbaord upholstered in warn oatmeal linen that will stop right at the window sill.  I'm debating on on its shape because I am still to excited over my curtains to cover them up too much with a straight headboard so it will either be rounded or I'll cut out the corners.

Here's a close-up of the curtains in Thistle in Sepia & I'm pretty excited to see them in there:

{I chose them because I could mix them with just about any colors I wanted when my moods change}

Anyway, I'll share more when there's more to see.  I hope you liked it & that you're having a great week!!  I also took a few more photos the other day of one of our most recent installs & will be sure to share.  My client's bedroom turned out beautifully & is really different from this one, so I'll try to post soon.

xoxo, Lauren

If you're interested in purchasing any of my fabrics, you can visit my online store here.

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Using Omni-Gel to Transfer Images

I love transferring images onto wood, metal, terra cotta, towels, etc!  I think I've tried almost all of the ways out there!  

Here's another option that works especially well on tiles for coasters, metal cans and even wood!--Omni-Gel.  I purchased it at Michael's. 

Follow the directions on the bottle:

Print off an image using a laser printer (or make a laser copy at Kinko's) on white paper.  Use the regular image NOT the mirror image for this process.

Apply a smooth coat of Omni-Gel using a foam brush.  Go in one direction over the image and a good amount around the edges.

Let that dry, (it takes about 15 minutes) then go over everything in the opposite direction with another smooth coat.

Let that dry, then brush on a third coat diagonally. 
Graphics from The Graphics Fairy

After it's completely dry, set the paper in a bowl of water.  (I use a Dollar Store dish bucket)

 Let that sit in the water for about 15 minutes. (extra time in the water doesn't hurt)

 I put the wet image on a piece of wax paper or foil so it doesn't move much.

I used to use my finger in a swirling motion to remove the paper, then I started using a micro-fiber cloth.  It is SO much faster and easier!  You may need to spray it with water or dip it back in the bowl to keep the paper damp while you're removing it.

(Please excuse the different images here.  I was making a lot of things at once.)  :)   This graphic is also from The Graphics Fairy

You will want to get ALL of the paper off as it will look cloudy after you've finished your project (not good!)  if you've missed any.  Using the micro-fiber cloth really helped.  I let it dry a bit, then go back and add a little water to see if any additional paper comes up.

If I'm planning to adhere the image to wood or metal, I cut it to size at this point.  I cut right along the edge of the graphic for wood or metal projects.  If I'm going to use the image for coasters, I wait until I have applied it to the tile so it covers everything perfectly, then cut right at the edge of the tile.

Then apply a coat of Omni-Gel to the back of the image and set it on the can or wooden piece.  Smooth out all of the air bubbles and let it dry.

Here is an image applied to a wood box using the same technique.
Graphic from The Graphics Fairy

If you want to make fun coasters, start with a 4" tile.  I purchased mine for 38 cents each at Lowe's.

Apply self stick cork board to the back. I purchased a roll of it at Michael's.

 Use the above process using Omni-Gel.
 Graphic from Graphique on Etsy

 Apply the image onto the tile using the above process.  Set your scissors right on the edge of the tile and cut it.  It will be a little slippery as it's wet with Omni-Gel.  Rub the edges into the rough edges of the tile so they really won't show up.

When it's dry, sprinkle a little bit of salt on the tile and spray it with a clear sealant.  I've had the problem in the past with some tiles where wet glasses would stick to the tile.  It seems to work well to add the salt to solve this problem.

So now you've got several projects you can make with Omni-Gel transfers.  

Happy Crafting!


I am linking to the following parties:

Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesdays 


Photobucket The Graphics Fairy

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm back from Thanksgiving break and it was soooooooo great to get to just relax & hang with my family.  (And eat, of  course!)  I was thinking about it...  and isn't it funny that for this one day a year, almost all of us Americans are eating pretty much the exact same thing?  How weird would it be if we all did burgers on Tuesdays or pesto on Fridays?  ...  the grocery stores would be pretty profitable.  Random, I know. 

{We braved Black Friday - not bad at all, very odd- and found these cute little boots from Gap Kids}

We finally finished raking our yard and I got in a few pics of the boys:

{Christian, 4 and Justin- almost 2!}

I took a complete break from work, which was really nice, but I couldn't help going back to look at pics of some of our recent installs from last week...  Here's a mid-stage pic of one of my favorite rooms as we were moving everything in:

(The curtains are LL Textiles Live Paisley in Gold and I wish the were in my house :)

My client made a last-minute color switch on the walls & they turned out to be too pink.  We're going back to our original color which will be a cream.  {She had a color from one brand reproduced in another brand and it didn't come out perfectly to match the swatch... }    {I'd love to hide all of the not-so-smooth details from you to make it all seem perfect, but just keepin' it real & hopefully it'll help someone with being exrta careful about switching paint brands/ paint matching.}  This room is definitely going to be one of my favorite rooms we've ever done when we're finished.  My clients have the coolest style (she's traditional, he's a bit more edgy- so the mix is perfect) and I'm in love with the room.   

Anyway, I'm off for the day to a master bedroom installation.  I'll be sure to share some peeks!!  Hope your Thanksgiving was special!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Try, Try Again--The Tale of Painting a Table

I found this table at a garage sale this summer for $5.
(For the table redo on the left, click HERE.  For the wall hanging redo, click HERE)

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, so started by sanding it down.

I decided to try homemade chalk paint.  I mixed together 3 parts black paint,  1 part Plaster of Paris and a little bit of water.  I only did one coat, but decided that I did not like the look of it at all.  It was much more grey than I wanted.  Of course, this was after only one coat, so I'm guessing that it would've improved with more painting...

But, it wasn't the look I was going for, so back to sanding it down again.... 


I then sprayed it with Rustoleum 2x Flat Black paint.  After the first coat, I sanded it lightly on the top with 220 grit sandpaper.  I applied another coat of black and it looked pretty good.  After that dried, I finished by spraying the whole thing with Rustoleum's 2x Clear Gloss.  

I added this cute knob I found (I may have found it at Hobby Lobby, but it's been a long time and now I'm not sure.)

I put this old candy machine on it, along with some billiard balls in a jar and a plant.  I'm not sure that I'll keep this stuff on there, but it's a start. 

I would love to try redoing another piece with chalkpaint at some point, and I know that painting it all black might seem boring, but it works with the other furniture and accessories in the room.  And it looks a whole lot better than when I found it.  :)

Thanks for coming by!


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seasonal Spackling or: My First and Only College Thanksgiving

There have been only two instances in my life when I have not been at home with my extended family for Thanksgiving. Two years ago, I made the grievous mistake of attending Thanksgiving dinner at my then-girlfriend’s stepfather’s home in Concord, New Hampshire. It was a bad drive topped by one of the more uncomfortably confrontational family dinners I’ve ever been a party to, in which a slice of pumpkin pie was, I kid you not, thrown at someone’s face. That was the last straw for several situations, including that particular relationship, but most of all, it reaffirmed that the only place I really wanted to be on Thanksgiving was upstate with my family, as much as the idea of staying home and doing some freelance NYC handyman work to make some extra dough allures me.

Indeed, the only other time I ever abstained from my annual November trip upstate was my junior year of college, which I have surpassingly fond memories of. Not of the food, mind you: the turkey came out drier than plywood, the mashed potatoes were served as a type of soup essentially, and the stuffing was like gobbling down a plate of salad croutons. The preparation for the meal is what I remember, especially since it put me in contact with a lifelong friend, currently a general contractor for a NYC handyman outfit out of Jackson Heights.

By preparation, I mean less the strewning of festive colored paper and cardboard turkey cutouts, and more the repairs to this particular apartment. See, the apartment we decided to hold it in was very tiny and we had a lot of people who were staying at college, due largely to the clash between slim college-kid budgets and somewhat unreasonable travel costs. So, we had to get a larger table into a living room about the size of a dorm bedroom, and also had to move around furniture. This may have been an easy task if the group of men responsible for this, my NYC handyman friend and myself included, weren’t stone-cold drunk at the time we performed this miraculous move around. 

As you may expect, there were more than a few holes in the drywall by the time we were done wedging the long dinner table, which we had borrowed from a friend of a friend who worked as part of the janitorial staff in the compute science building. The relief that we would indeed be able to feed all 20-odd people was immediately replaced by the burden of having to convincingly repair these holes. We may have been able to wait a few days to make repairs but the girl whose apartment we were using had what might kindly be referred to as a hissy fit. To be fair, she was a few glasses of dirt-cheap white wine in as well but still, her complaints rang louder and more routinely than even those god-forsaken college fire alarms.

So, we walked across campus to my NYC handyman friend’s dorm and picked up some extra spackle he had brought home from the studio, and newspaper for the bigger holes. It turned out to be a simple fix when we returned: most of the holes needed only a little spackle, followed by some sanding a day or two later, and only one of the holes required a layer of newspaper to fill it. What I have a very vivid and happy memory of is the rest of our friends, happy enough to crack a few more beers and relax while we did the work, commentating on our job as if they were announcers for the NFL. Until you have a drunk philosophy major remark that you have “stepped up [your] spackling game since last season” and “must have really worked on [your] sanding during the off season”, you really haven’t lived.

But as much as I have fond memories of these days, this year I’m thankful to be getting home for a few days and getting a breather from city life. I imagine my short time spent at Penn Station tomorrow will be a hell not worth remembering, but it’s worth it in the long run. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beachy Clock

My husband made some tops for the wine barrel tables that I posted about last week. You can see that post HERE.   As neat as the tops were, they just didn't look right on the bases.  I stained them the same, but because the wood was different in some way, it didn't stain the same color. 

I used Minwax Provincial, then sanded it all down a little.  I kept trying to match the barrels, but it wasn't going to work...

 So I used the wine barrels without the tops and set his project off to the side....

The other night it came to me that the top would make a neat clock.  I had purchased a lot of 3" starfish on ebay a couple of years ago and thought it would be fun to use them instead of  numbers on the clock.

My biggest problem was finding clock hands that were big enough.  I bought some at Michael's, but they were sooo tiny that you could hardly see them.  After searching online and finding some possibilities, but not being thrilled with paying $3 for the hands and $6 for shipping (and then waiting several days for them to arrive!), I remembered that I had some clocks I wasn't using, and luckily, one of them had hands that were pretty big.  

Because the wood was stained such a dark color, I needed light clock hands.  I spray painted them a sand color.

My husband routed out a spot in the back for the movement (so it wouldn't stick out from the wall too far) and attached hooks and a wire for easy hanging.  We did all of this before attaching the starfish to the front.

I then laid out the starfish around the edge.  The starfish are somewhat uniform in size, but some are flat and some aren't, some have all five "fingers" (legs?) the same size and some don't...  I just tried to evenly space them around the board and realized that they wouldn't be 100% perfect, but that was ok.

I used Tacky Glue to attach them.  I like it because it dries clear and doesn't burn the skin off of my fingers like a hot glue gun.  :)

We then attached the clock hands to the movement and hung it on the wall.  It was a really fun and easy project.  (The light spot that shows up in the pictures pointing to the "6" on the clockface doesn't show up like that in person.)  

Thanks for your visit!


I am linking to the following parties:


Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special