Monogram Canvas Tutorial

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As promised, I have created a little tutorial post about the monogrammed canvas I recently hung in O’s room. Its no secret that I love almost anything monogrammed but this is my first go on making my own.

I like the look of a square canvas so I started with a 24″x24″ square gallery wrapped canvas and painted it with a sample container of beige I had from a friend who had given me samples after deciding on an exterior paint color- jackpot. I have at least 5 Sherwin Williams test quarts of greys, tans and whites.

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I waited a few hours for it to dry well before doing the next steps. Next I traced a large bowl for the circle shape in the middle. Its hard to see in this picture but I just eyeballed the middle and traced. This is where the monogram will go. Then I taped off stripes for the background. I had considered chevron but went with stripes after realizing chevron would be more precise, time consuming and a little more visually busy than I’d like.I didn’t measure the stripes- just too impatient today I guess. Then I gave the stripes 2 coats of a paper bag brown acrylic craft paint… painting around my faint circle mark.

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After the brown dried I peeled the painter’s tape back. Inevitably the paint had bled in a few spots under the tape. Canvas is an uneven surface so I had kind of expected that to happen. I touched up the spots and got to work mixing the pink for the monogram. I used the creamy beige paint from the base coat and a liquid red acrylic craft paint to make the pink so it wouldn’t be bright pink and would instead be a softer almost mauve color. I freehand painted the circle according to my tracing lines and where I had stopped painting the stripes.

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Then I started on the lettering. I highly recommend doodling around with your monogram a ton before deciding the style you want and putting brush to canvas. I had originally really liked the script look but after a bunch of failed attempts on paper plates I knew I just didn’t have it in me. I also realized that we tend to like cleaner lines and more modern designs around here so straight typeface was more our style anyway. Now don’t hate me but I didn’t trace this… I just went for it freehand with the brush. Sometimes I work best under pressure. I started in the middle with O’s last initial and went from there. I had a few smudges as I went but I just touched up afterward with the beige again.

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After an afternoon of painting I had this cute monogram!

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We hung it centered above her bed. We were sure to hang it high enough that she can’t reach it. We also used 3M Command Strips instead of a nail. That way it can’t swing or bump off of the nail. The strips say that 2 should do for a piece this size and weight. I used four- one on each corner. It’s not going anywhere. I have massive faith in the 3M Command Strips. We hung everything in our plaster walled apartment with them. Nothing ever fell off the wall and they were easy to rearrange and came off clean when it was time to move out (5 years later).

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Baby O’s Style

She’s only 18 months but O has quite a personality. From her nonstop chatter and giggles to hand-on-hip attitude and waving her (already) jewelry wearing arms, she’s all girl. When we found out that we were having a girl we were thrilled. I daydreamed of sweet sundresses, hair bows, little bathing suits, baby dolls and more. There was one girl thing I wasn’t up for: nursery decor. I dreaded painting bubblegum pink walls… and worse- repainting over those in a few years when suddenly she loved lavender. Hubby agreed. After several trips to the paint chip wall at the home improvement store, we had settled on going with beige, greige or khaki tones. Boring? We know. But we had a few reasons. First, we had chosen to give O the largest of our bedrooms. It was inevitable that we’d be spending a lot of time in the nursery, so why not the bigger room? And incase nobody tells you, kids come with a lot of stuff. This room was largest and already had a well designed (and fairly modest size) closet. Also, most of our family lives in town so we host only a few overnight visitors a year. We could afford to have a smaller guest room. Second, we wanted to be able to switch O’s room to a boy theme later down the road if needed. We also knew that any of the soft beigy tones could easily lend itself to a big kid room, office or guest room if we decided to do any rearranging. The last reason is that we were painting over bright, gross sunflower pollen yellow. Said yellow was sloppily painted over a light purple color (we could see it through a bunch of spots on the walls). Beige would surely drown out all that nasty visual noise. Or at least thats what we told ourselves. The color we married was Behr Roman Plaster. Why do I say married? Because later on that same color graced the family room wall with stripes and then I took it all the way down our main hallway. Still in love.

I’ve mentioned a tour of her room before… I recently had a few minutes to clean out O’s drawers, organize her books and do a basic clean up of her room. I snapped some shots because I know it won’t stay like this for long.

From the doorway:

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From the closet side:

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And from the corner near the crib:

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And a few little details I enjoy:

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This dresser. It is Hubby’s from his single days. I don’t have a before pic but imagine it DARK. You know, bachelorhood dark. And the cubbies on the right used to have an awkward cabinet door. I vetoed that when I doused it in high gloss white paint. I like the look of the baskets instead. And less places for little fingers to get pinched.I changed out the funky hardware for softer brushed nickel pulls and knobs.

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I added a couple of things to her dresser that were a little more about us. I was given the sculpture of the expectant mother by a dear friend of mine. I used to sit in the glider before she was born and just admire this space and the sculpture. So peaceful! Next to it is a photo from our wedding of Hubby and I kissing in the ocean. A little reminder of our love for O and each other. The lamp is wrapped in a cloth ribbon that happens to match the bedding set and theme.

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What is a baby room without some super sentimental handmade gifts? The pink frame holds a cross stitch that hung in my own nursery made by my Aunt Jackie in 1986. The frame above holds a similar baby cross stitch made for O by Mama Lisa (my friend Molly’s mom).

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I have yet to hang her little coat rack but O’s bookshelf is stocked with books. My mom and sisters gave me gobs of children’s books at each shower. Some are favorites from my own childhood. A few are based on an Olivia the Pig character. I also received books from many friends. My boss gave me a book with girl poems, my friend Chelsea gave me a dozen of her own childhood favorites. My mom even found my old The Giving Tree book. A family friend gave it to me when I was a toddler. He’s no longer with us but I have his loving inscription forever “From one tree lover to another” he wrote. Which will explain my next picture.

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I chose to display pages from the book above O’s dresser. I tried to photo copy my favorite pages for framing but I ended up with low quality images and curved edges. I can’t believe I did this, but I bought a second hand copy of the book and cut pages out of it. I love books. I never dreamt I’d purposely destroy one. Cardinal sin!!! I hope this is worthy enough cause to cut pages from a book. The message of The Giving Tree, the simple illustration and the sentimental value it holds for me made it the perfect choice for nursery wall art.

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My pride and joy: O’s mobile. I made it when she was just weeks old. I was inspired by many pinterest and etsy versions but I ended up making this myself for just $6. You can see the tutorial I made here.

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O received this small handmade globe rattle from some of Hubby’s Japanese business associates. You should know that Japanese culture is based on honor, family, loyalty and honesty. To show this, our Japanese friends arrive with arms full of gifts when they visit. We have gorgeous scarves, art, pottery, dishes, figures and more from them. I don’y know much about this particular piece but I know I love it. In fact, it is already the inspiration for O’s big girl room.

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O’s extensive collection of stuffed animals lives in her bassinet. I felt like I just had to repurpose it since it was only used for a few months.

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O’s monogrammed canvas is the latest addition to the room. I made it just this week. Look for a tutorial on it soon.

Where items in this room came from:

Crib: gifted Bellini crib in “Annie” style

Bedding: CoCalo Daniella bedding set (sans bumper)

Dresser: Hubby’s old one. Refinished.

Glider: Hand-me-down. Which is why it’s blue/purple.

Shelving: Target. This is the closest one I can find like it. I was too pregnant and tired to get my behind up to Ikea for the Expidit cube shelving unit.

Picture frames: Target ages ago.

Curtain rods: Hand-me-downs, Pottery Barn Kids

Curtains: White Sail Cloth Curtains from Target.

Storage bins and changing basket: JJ Cole

Changing pad cover: Target, Circo brand

Diaper bin: Diaper Dekor. I love it (and hate Diaper Genie)

Elephant Humidifier: Target Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist … quiet, easy to clean, safe and cute!

Whomp, Whomp. My Wall Art FAIL

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It’s no secret I like love coffee. And Hubby does too. In fact, we spend a couple hours every weekend at our favorite local coffee house. For us, the coffee is great but it’s also about the people. We’ve been going to the same coffee shop for nearly 10 years. Until a couple of years ago, we lived around the corner and went each morning before work. This place and the people there are a big part of our lives. Many of them have attended our baby shower, mentored us on business and family, and even exchange Christmas cards and gifts with us.

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Now that you understand how important all things coffee actually are… Hopefully it will make sense how much I love these burlap coffee sacks. I saw them at coffee shop and asked if they had any empty ones I could have. I was given two sacks right on the spot. Now I need to find a way to incorporate this quirky tidbit into our decor. Until I found the coffee bags I had considered painting a still life if a mug or a coffee bean for the gallery wall but those were just too literal.

So I attempted to hang one directly on the half bath wall. Like- I NAILED IT TO THE WALL.

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Something’s not right. I hung it sideways so it would be more graphic and abstract. I was disappointed at how it looked so I sent out a pic to a few friends. The responses were hilarious! Hubby said it was too homeless beach hobo style for him. Molly said it dominated the small bathroom. Another friend asked if I had purposely hung it horizontally. And my sister was disgusted that I hung what would otherwise be “trash” on a wall. Tell me how ya really feel! The point is that it’s not working. I still want to use this in a fun way somewhere in the house. This half bath just isn’t where it belongs. Back to the drawing board. I need to find a use for the sack and wall art for the bathroom.

Tell me I’m not the only one! What have you tried in your projects or decor that failed miserably? What did you learn and how did you fix it?

Sharpie on Beauty

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If you have a dollar and 10 minutes, you can do this project. I found some adorable wrapping paper in the dollar section at Target. At the time I had no planned use for it but it was cute and only a dollar. I couldn’t resist! I guess thats why they call them impulse purchases.

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A couple of weeks later I was fishing through my art supplies to find a few things for an art piece for our half bath. I grabbed the gift wrap (I was a little eager to use it) and this old canvas. Its one of the alphabet canvases from O’s original bedroom theme. I hadn’t painted over it yet because it had a gash in the canvas. For some reason I had not yet tossed it in the trash.

I started  wrapping the canvas with the wrapping paper like so. I used scotch tape to secure the paper to the canvas and to other sections of the paper.

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I used a Sharpie paint pen to write a quote on the panel. I chose a quote about beauty by Marc Jacobs. I like the idea of a positive quote about beauty (by a fashion icon no less) hanging near a mirror. I’ll be hanging it in our half bath as soon as soon as I have time to paint it. And I’m sure I’ll be finding more uses for the gift wrap! How many projects can I get out of my dollar impulse purchase?

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Gallery Wall Breakdown

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As promised, a gallery wall breakdown. What we chose, how we chose, how we (mostly I) made it. I love love love gallery walls. In fact, this isn’t our first gallery wall. Its at least the third. And third time is a charm my friends. But it IS the first gallery wall (and probably only one for a while) in our own grown-up house. I’ll do my best to go left to right with some up and down in between… don’t get dizzy now!

First up:

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The top left item is a small canvas I painted ages ago when I was dreaming of filling O’s wall with the alphabet. The idea for her room evolved (I guess I should post about her adorable room one day?) so I was left with a bunch of canvases of letters. I painted over most of them but I saved the A (for our last name) and waited for the right spot to hang it.

Below that is a Chinese paper art cut-out of an ox. I received a book full of paper art and cut outs from one of my father’s Chinese business associates. I framed this one because it had a great composition and the most bold colors of them all. It once lived on our hallway wall in our first apartment but it fits right in here.

The largest piece is a large print of our wedding announcement. We eloped in secret to Jamaica and had my mom send these out from “Loveland, Ohio” on the day we wed. Our good friend Erica made it. The entire thing is a water color treasure map depicting our engagement at the Cincinnati Zoo and our surprise Jamaican wedding. There is even a pirate ship and a treasure chest with our wedding rings. I think Erica and I came up with the rhyme together and she did all of that calligraphy by hand. Gorgeous work and one of my most prized possessions. Here is a closer look at it.

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Seriously one of my favorite things in the world.

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Closest to the door is a print of a photo I took of driftwood on one of our trips to the lake ages ago. The frame had a traumatic move but I plan on patching it with wood filler and giving it a fresh coat of paint. You can also see a little more of the Chinese ox in this picture.

20130312-114312.jpgOne of my favorite DIY wall art techniques is to take simple items and display them in an interesting way. Here I have done that with keys. I collect keys. I don’t know why but I have a shoe box full of them. So last time we did a gallery wall at our old place I grabbed our old car keys… Hubby had his beloved Volvo and I had my dream car Wanda the Wrangler. (Yes, I name my cars. My current ride is a 2012 charcoal Honda Pilot. She’s dark and boxy and looks like a Rhino so I named her Rhina). Enough about keys… The point is that all I did was paint a small canvas and hot glued my keys on. Then we each signed out names. The keys above are also on a canvas that I painted a coordinated chevron pattern on and glued some replica skeleton keys to it.

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This is our old apartment key and you guessed it- I painted a canvas and glued on a key. Then I used a sharpie to label it “Our First Apartment” and the address. I like it because it is sentimental and it ties in with a few other items on the wall. I chose orange to add a little color and pick up some of the vibrant colors from the Chinese ox.

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The next picture is of Hubby kissing O when she was just a day old. I especially love it in black and white with the silver frame.  It is a daily reminder for me of why I’m here doing what I’m doing each day.

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Above that is a smaller picture of me with O on the same day. I can’t believe she was ever so small.

And next to that is another driftwood picture that I took at the lake. Hubby and I used to stare at this picture and talk about what we see. I see an old man’s face. What do you see?

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Ah, and then there is a giant print of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Hubby and I have agreed that she is only a placeholder for something else… should we ever find anything more fantastic than her.

The red frame holds corks. Its another free art piece I made with an everyday item for our old gallery wall. I even left the wire cage on the champagne cork in true Hilda style. Can you tell I like wine and corks? Because I posted about them here, here and here.

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Next is a framed sepia row boat print purchased from The Market in Charleston.

And then there is an adorable little Baby O foot print in plaster and a copy of her Valentine’s Day themed birth announcement. The natural wood frame is nice but the rest of the frames on the wall are black, white or silver so I think it may eventually get painted to give it more cohesion with the rest of the wall.

The last piece is a typography print of an eye exam chart but it says “I love you past forever and longer than always” instead of the alphabet. I bought it on Etsy as a valentines day gift for Hubby years ago. I wish I could remember which shop it came from.

So I that’s the novel version of our gallery wall. It is actually the second time I’ve written it… apparently WordPress ate my last post so I did this all over again. That’s love people. I love you! I didn’t mean for it to be so long but each piece has a story. The stories are what is starting to make our house a home. What makes your home?