Friday, May 16, 2014

My Top 11 Graduation Gifts from Etsy


My Top 11 Graduation Gifts from Etsy
Gifts that are unique, thoughtful and affordable.



This June my oldest son Hunter will graduate from high school. It is an exciting time. There are senior dinners, awards ceremonies, proms and soon...graduation parties!

And that means lots of graduation gifts. 

For years, I had always given the children of friends and family a gift of money. Of course, money is always appreciated. But now with my own child, I have realized that graduation is one of the most meaningful days in a young adults life. So, wouldn't it be nice to give a gift that is meaningful too? I set out to do some online shopping and was thrilled to find some gifts that were unique, thoughtful and affordable. 

Here are some of my favorite finds, from my favorite website Etsy.com. Give them on their own or add a little more with gift cards and money.

  1. (a &b) Every student needs a back pack or satchel and these two are both stylish and sturdy. Handcrafted and beautiful from Leizi Studio.
  2. I love this bracelet for its simple and powerful statement, "Make History", as well as for its sleek style. Designed by Amy Waltz at Amy Waltz. Her jewelry is not only beautiful, but also  empowering.
  3. I had a t-shirt quilt similar to this made for my husband after college and he loved it. And he is hard to buy for. Trust me, a graduate will love this. JJs Quilting.
  4. This necklace is designed with the perfect sentiments for the graduate. Visit White Lilllie Designs to find even more special charms and quotes to inspire your graduate. 
  5. How fun is the title of this notebook/journal which is also personalized. I can't even tell you how many other cool sayings are available. Check them out at Zany. I have already ordered one for my son with a Steve Jobs quote. Slip some money inside for a unique money holder.
  6. Of course a bottle opener is best suited to a college graduate. But I love this design. It is simple, on a handy key chain and customizable with dates and words of your choice on both sides. Love the typography too. Find it at Tomi's Treasures.
  7. A monogram makes even something ordinary special. And these towels won't end up lost. Choose one from Embroidery by Sharon.
  8. Maps are such a classic way to personalize a gift and they make a cuff link suddenly interesting. Choose their college town or where they are headed after graduation. Design yours at Bookity.
  9. Dorm caddies from Studio Four Designs. Every student needs one of these for the dorm and at only $20 each, they are super cute. Fill with essentials to make the perfect gift. 
  10. This item is from my own shop. A custom mile marker sign. A friend of mine requested this for her son's graduation and I think it makes a great gift. Custom made at Tweak and Style.
  11. I think these luggage tags are classic and so affordable at only $7.99. So many other cute styles available at Village Vinyl. Want to add a little more to your gift. Add new luggage with the tags.










Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Farm House Tour

A Barn and an Anvil Stole my Heart...The Wilson Green Farm Tour


For years my husband and I had talked about moving. We lived in a normal builder four bedroom colonial. Over the years, we had fixed it up, adding character with things like wide plank wood floors, new banisters and a white country kitchen. The house was pretty and comfortable and the neighborhood was great. Excellent schools, trails and parks and even a historic downtown. Our kids loved it.

However, by middle school we had started to send our boys to a private school. A  great school, but not a great drive. It was a 45 minute commute each way. That's 1.5 hours round trip. And that was a lot of time and gas.

So, we would day dream about moving closer to the school. We would day dream about just making a change.

I longed for something different. I had visions of front porches, plaster walls and private gardens. But, the market was moving quickly and I didn't know what we would find. Or, what we could afford.

All I kept telling my husband was that it had to be "something special." That didn't mean big. It didn't necessarily mean expensive. It simply meant a home that had charm and character. A home with spaces to sit and dream. I didn't want anything to do with typical.

And along came Wilson Green Farmhouse.

grey shutters on brick

The funny thing was I had our wonderful realtor Donna take us to Wilson Green, but I hadn't told my husband. I had shown him online pictures and he wasn't interested in seeing it. The interior design wasn't really our style and it didn't translate well to pictures. But, now that we were already out seeing other houses, he agreed to look, reluctantly. We walked through with the owner as she showed us around the home and like me, he fell in love. Donna fell in love with it too. And she made certain the not real cow conveyed with the home.

Earl the Cow....and yes I know it should be a girl

Long story short, after weeks of dealings, stressing and reassuring our boys it absolutely wasn't haunted, we moved in.

Now many people don't get old homes. They are work, they are quirky. But to all of us that love to touch the walls of an old home that have surrounded families for generations, they are the only places that really feel like a home.












After moving in, many friends have expressed their love of old homes, how they always wanted to live in something old. I want you to go ahead and dream. Hold whatever you truly want in your heart and it will come to you. Your old home will find you too!

Debbie




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Add Some Character to a Fireplace. Flank it with Repurposed Closet Panels and Lanterns.



Recently, we put our house up for sale. After years, and years, of commuting our boys 45 minutes each way to school, we finally are hoping to get closer to their school. YAY!

And this putting a house up for sale thing is extremely consuming.

Every minute has been about getting the house ready and keeping it clean. Every minute. How do you keep a house clean? I finally figured it out. All you do is clean. So, due to all this cleaning, my posts have been down and my inventory on Etsy is low.

But now, I am eager to share some things. In preparation for putting our house up for sale, I did finish a couple of projects. Here is an easy DIY you can finish in a day:

One area of our current home that has always bothered me, has been all the negative space around our fireplace. Lacking any windows or built-ins, it needed something to flank the fireplace to give it more presence.


I had purchased these two closet door panels at $5 a piece at the Second Chance store in Baltimore. I had planned to use them to flank the our master bed, but when I changed some design ideas for our bedroom, I decided to use them around our fireplace.


I first used wood putty to fill any holes and then lightly sanded. I painted the already off-white panels with Navajo white chalk paint by the American Paint Company, then lightly distressed them and added some dark wax along the edges to bring out the wood details. Finally, I screwed in a metal hook and painted it white.


Next, I hung a pair of lanterns I already had on the hooks and added some battery operated candles on timers.

Now, instead of a fireplace swallowed up by a large wall, it has become a beautiful focal point.
 Best, of all this project was easy and inexpensive.




Find beauty in your day!
Debbie










Thursday, January 23, 2014

Modern Masters Shine Big, Shine Small - Vintage Glam and Rust Patina #Modern Masters

This post is part of a campaign with Modern Masters and LooksiSquare.  I was provided with materials for my projects, but all opinions are entirely my own.

Modern Masters Shine Big Project
miss mustard seed's Ironstone

I have been working in decorative painting and design for over 15 years and in that time my favorite specialty paint company has always been Modern Masters. Honestly.
Their products are always on my shelves.

So, when the opportunity to work with their products 
and create a unique finish came along, I was in.

The promotion I joined was the Modern Masters Shine Big, Shine Small campaign and the task was to create one large and one small project using 
my choice of Modern Masters Paint.

For my Shine Big project, I wanted to create a furniture finish that combined the shine and glamour of a Modern Masters Metallic with 
the vintage beauty of Miss MustardSeed’s Milk Paint. 
 Vintage glam. 

 Visit my post, Two Toned Glam Distressing with Duck Egg Blue here to see a similar finish using chalk paint..and of course, Modern Masters!

Now let me tell you that, like I said, I had a vision in my head 
and usually with an idea, I just get off and painting.

So, sometimes the unexpected happens.

And sometimes the unexpected is wonderful.

For this project I used:

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Ironstone
Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Primer
wax

Miss Mustard Seeds Ironstone

To begin, I applied a base coat of primer. I did this for two reasons. To ensure good adhesion of Modern Masters Warm Silver to the furniture piece and to provide a neutral base for Warm Silver to show its true color.


Next, I brushed on 3 coats of the Modern Masters Warm Silver Metallic Paint. Keep in mind that Modern Masters Warm Silver is an opaque color. I recommend choosing one of their opaque colors for this finish since you want to achieve a solid metallic finish with the fewest coats.




The next day, I began the top layer. After mixing my Miss Mustard Seed’s Ironstone, I applied 2-3 coats with my brush, waiting about 30 minutes or until dry to the touch between coats.


Now, if any of you are familiar with working with Milk Paint, you know that without a bonding agent, you can expect some pealing for that chippy look but…you never know. Sometimes it may peel a lot, sometimes not much at all. 

So, just what would happen over metaliic paint…hum??




Well, there was minimal chipping. Not good because the effect I wanted was to have the metallic peeking out of the weathered milk paint.

But, there was a sweet surprise. Remember, the unexpected?

What appeared was a beautiful, fine crackling, revealing the sweet sheen of metallic underneath. Unexpected, but wonderful. The crackling was so authentic. I had never liked crackle mediums because they were so unpredictable. 
But, these two products created their own magic.

modern masters warm silver

Because I wanted an aged piece with some randomness to the distressing, I waited a day, and then also wet distressed the edges and moldings with a sanding block.

ironstone milk paint


Wet distressing this way is my favorite way to distress. Just dip the end of a sanding block into a small bowl of water and sand gently along the edges. The water softens the block and the paint, revealing the color beneath, in this case Modern Masters Warm Silver without sanding through to the wood. The sanding block gives you great control and you can follow up with a damp rag to easily rub off more paint now that it is soft, revealing more glamour.


Beautiful vintage Glam


modern masters warm silver


modern masters warm silver




 Modern Masters Shine Small Project
rusted urn

For my Shine Small project, the product I selected was ModernMasters Iron Reactive paint from their Metal Effects line. 

For this project I used:


With this project, I wanted to show how authentic the rust created with Modern Masters Iron Reactive Paint is and how you can transform a plastic urn into one that seems old
 and stately.



Here is a picture of one of my two urns I madeover for this project. I have had them for years and they were under $15 each and sadly they sort of looked like it.

I started by applying 2 coats of Metal Effects Primer.
 then
 2-3 coats of Iron Reactive Paint
Followed by
spraying on the Activator

Remember to wear rubber gloves, respirator and goggles when working with the activator.

When the paint is dry, follow with 2-3 coats of activator, waiting 5 minutes or until dry between each coat, and watch the magic. I did 3 coats to achieve the look I wanted.
For outdoor use, you will also want to top coat this with 
Modern Masters Permacoat Xtreme topcoat.



After 15 minutes..a beautiful transformation.
Thank you Modern Masters!

Check out these other great Shine Big, Shine Small projects at these blogs:

Patio furniture from A Nest For all Seasons
Bathroom Nook from The Benson Street
DIY Puppet Theater from Fynes Designs


So have you ever used Modern Masters products for a furniture finish or other project? I'd love to hear from you!



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Easy Barn Wood Styled Favorite Places Mile Marker Sign


Wow, isn't it crazy that we are already more than a week into January of 2014! With the kids back in school, I sat down to post some new items to my Etsy store and I wanted to share a project.

Over the holidays, I had several requests to make signs for gifts. The fun thing about custom requests is that many times a they turn into one of my favorite items.

This sign is one of those favorites.

This particular sign was for my best friend Tamara's brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Tamara wanted me to create a mile marker sign that listed some of their favorite places. Favorite vacations spots, where they met, home towns...just really personal and special places.

She also wanted to keep it fun, distressed and sort of beachy.

One of the things I loved most about this sign was the paint finish. Using just a simple 2x4 foot plywood board cut to a 2x3 foot, I used an easy aging effect, with a white wash and a simple scoring to create a barn wood effect. This sign is going up in my Etsy shop but it's easy to create yourself.


Here's the how-to:

Supplies :
2x3 foot plywood or scrap wood of your choice
aging solution
white paint
chip brushes
yard stick
ice pick tool
water color pencils
sharpie paint pen




Using the publishing layout on my computer, I listed the towns and their mileage. In this case, I chose a more casual and fun font called "Connie." I used letter spacing to widen each word to make them all stretch to fit the same width...keeping it with a subway sign layout style. I then printed it out on an old page protector to use with an overhead. 
Tip...for images I will only use once, I print out my layouts on left over school page protectors from my boys. It is cheaper than transparency paper but just don't smear it! That's how I created this mural project.




The boards I select for signs are 2x4 feet which I usually have cut down to 2x3 at Home Depot. I also usually select the birch wood plywood which I find has a smoother finish than pine. This runs about $16+ dollars and I use the leftover scrap for small signs. ww.homedepot.com/p/Project-Panels-1-2-in-x-2-ft-x-4-ft-Birch-Plywood-154153/203504316#  
Tip...always view your wood sideways to check to make sure it is not warped.




To prep and age my wood boards, I always use a solution of vinegar and steel wool. Here is a link to my go to recipe at one of my favorite blogs, Country Design Style. I store it in an old jar. Just brush on and in hours the solution will give your wood an authentic aged looked.
Tip...as the solution ages the tint deepens...it looks good at all stages but if you want a
certain look you may want to consider this.




To create a beachy white wash effect. I used some left over white paint thinned with water and applied vertically, leaving some open more "open" then others, revealing the weathered wood.







To create the barn wood effect. Measure increments even or uneven if you like, across the top and bottom.
Tip...I use a water color pencil so I can easily wipe away marks later. Looking back, I would have used a brown pencil just to add depth to the scoring. Who knows why I grabbed neon yellow??? Oh yes, I'm lazy and it was probably closest.




Using your yard stick and pick, press down and score the wood. I did this several times, pressing hard, to get a nice deep grove.





Once you have your board painted and scored, transfer your image. I use a projector and traced letters with a black water color pencil.




I hand painted the letters and numbers in using a sharpie acrylic paint pen. I highly recommend these for letters...keeps it neat and so easy!!








Find beauty in your day! Debbie









Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...