Monday, April 8, 2013

DIY Herringbone Art

Hello again !  We are finally getting some nice, warm weather down here in Virginia !  So glad !  Here is another post about my spring break projects.  This one is about our master bath.  Even though I put up a new shelf and word cloud in our master bath, above the bathtub was in dire need of some artwork.  See how bland looking this is??? 

This big, blank wall has just been begging for something to cover it since we moved in and I haven't been able to find the right piece of art…until I came across this gorgeous picture:

It was love at first sight.  I knew that I wanted to attempt to make this for the bathroom using sea blues and greens to match the teal in the word cloud I made a couple of months ago.  Plus, I think that blues and greens are soothing and calming.  So, I gathered my materials and went to work.

  • Canvas (any size you'd like - mine was 24 in. X 30 in.)
  • Painter's tape
  • Paints of your choice (used acrylics - some are waterproof)
  • Paint brush
  • Something to put paint in to mix
  • Foam roller brush
  • Tweezers (if needed)

I searched through my old paint class materials and found my disposable pallet pad.  It is essentially a tablet of wax paper.  It's pretty cool and easy to use because once you are finished, you just roll it up and throw it away.  I just squeezed dots of paints onto the pallet, mixed colors, and painted a crazy meld of colors.  Once the canvas was covered with paint, I almost wanted to stop here and put it up, but instead I proceeded to the herringbone pattern.

I let it dry for about a day before I placed the tape on it.  Cutting the tape was the most tedious part of this project.  I cut about 108 pieces of tape at 4.5 inches each.  It helped to stick the pieces of tape on something as I cut it, hence the chair full of tape.  I suggest cutting all pieces first, then place the tape on the canvas.  

For the tape, I started on the top left and placed the first piece of tape.  Then I placed a second piece of tape perpendicular to the first, and then the third as parallel to the first - this picture might explain better:

After I finished one row, I started the second row.  After all rows were finished, I pulled some pieces of tape off to get the "blank" pieces.  I ran out of tape midway so had to use a different brand of painter's tape that had some design on it, just in case you were wondering why there are two colors of tape.

Then I took my foam roller and white paint and rolled over the entire canvas.  I only did one "thick" layer of paint.  This part was fun !

While the paint was still wet, I started to peel off the tape.  The edges were easy since there was tape to grab, but I needed tweezers to grab the corners of the other pieces in the middle. Some paint did get under the tape and left little splotches.  I was able to carefully wipe some off, but I figured from far away no one would really notice. 

It was pretty neat to see how the pattern came put as I continued to peel off the tape.  Here is the finished product :

I love it !  The colors are great and the pattern looks awesome.  The first row is a little slanted, but who would notice?

It didn't take long to dry and when it was finished drying I added some wire to hang it like I do my frames.  Then I grabbed a picture hook and went upstairs to our bathroom to hang it.  

Well, let me tell you that once I hung it in the bathroom, I no longer liked the painting. I mean, I like the painting, but not in the bathroom.  I think the colors are all wrong and the herringbone pattern is too much pattern with the tile below it.  AND, I think that the canvas is too small.  Ah crap.  

It has been hanging up in the bathroom for over a week now and I'm trying to get used to it, but it looks like it might end up coming down.  Then I'll be back to square one with a big, blank wall.  The painting might end up in another room…or in storage until I find a better home for it.  Even though it didn't work out in the bathroom,  I'm glad that I made it because making the pattern with tape was a lot of fun.  And painting brought back some good memories from my painting class in college.

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Going Vertical

This summer will be our third summer in the new house.  Each year, I start a beautiful garden in the back with hopes of a fruitful harvest and each year (well, just the past two since we've lived here) I get squash squat.  Actually I do get a zucchini or two, but my tomato plants rot from the bottom and only a handful of beans will grow.  It is a pretty pathetic site. 

This year, I am set on not letting it happen again.  I've decided to take a different approach this year.  Beans in the back up against a trellis, tomatoes in the front, and lots of potted veggies, like lettuce and bell peppers.  Also in pots will be my herbs - but I always grow some hearty herbs in a pot...I suppose you can't really mess up herbs (Hopefully I didn't just jinx that).

I have already started my garden in the little newspaper pots like I did last year, in hopes of planting them into the garden in a few weeks.  By the way, Punxsutawney Phil needs to look for a new job - spring did NOT come early this year.  The weather has been wacky lately.  We just had 4+ inches of snow last week - but hopefully it'll soon be warm enough to plant my seedlings.  

So on to making my garden better: the trellis. It is pretty simple to make, but I had to bring in some muscle to help me near the end (hubby to the rescue) to finish it.

  • Hand saw (or saw of choice)
  • Drill
  • Wire Cutters
  • Pliers (if needed)
  • Hammer
  • 3 pieces 1 X 2 X 8 treated pine 
  • Cage wire
  • Wire Cloth Staples
  • Screws/Nails

First, I sawed the wood to a little over 5 feet so it wasn't taller than my fence.  I used two of the leftover pieces for the top and the middle.  I used my drill to make holes and then screwed all the pieces together. I used some nails for extra reinforcement near the top.  Here is what the frame looked liked:

After the frame was made, it was time for the cage wire.  At first, I thought my heavy duty staple gun would be able to connect the wire to the wood - WRONG ! The cage wire was so thick that the staples kept popping out.  Maybe the staple gun would have worked with a thinner wire (or a seriously heavy duty staple gun).  So I had to run over to Ace and grab some staples that I could hammer in.  Thankfully Ace is less than a mile away because there was one time when one of us (hint: not me) went there more than a handful of times in one day while doing another home improvement project.  For this project, I just needed one visit :). 

I used the wire cutter to cut the cage to fit across the cage - not up and down because the frame was just a bit too wide.  This is where the muscle came in.  Kerry had to finish cutting the wire because it was just too hard to cut. You would think cutting wire wouldn't be hard, but after getting an arm workout cutting just a few wires, I couldn't finish it.   Once the hubby was done cutting, we hammered in the big staples over the wire. We hammered the staples in about every 2-3 inches, sometimes closer to make sure the wire stayed on the wood.  Even some of those kept popping out too!  It was like playing a game of whack-a-mole - we would hammer in one and a staple would pop out at the other end. 

Once we were finished, I just set it in my garden and leaned it up against the fence.  I used some floral wire to attach it to the fence so that it won't fall forward.

Now I just need my beans to sprout and some warm weather to plant outside !  We'll see how well this trellis holds up through the summer.

How do you go vertical in your garden?  What is your favorite vegetable to plant vertically?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Monday, April 1, 2013

Coasting Into Spring: DIY Tile Coasters

Boy, did spring break go by fast ! If you celebrate Easter, I hope you had a wonderful weekend full of family, candy, and eggs.

I'd like to make a quick post about some coasters that I made.  This is a fairly popular project around the internet and it is easy to do.  Last year I made a bunch of these as Christmas gifts but now I'd like some for our house to use outside when we entertain.


  • Scrapbook paper with the design of your choice (I've also seen people use pictures, maps, or pretty cloth)
  • White 4.25 X 4.25 inch tiles (got mine at Lowe's)
  • A foam painting brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Sealing spray
  • Cork
  • Tacky glue

Cut your scrapbook paper into 4 X 4 inch squares.  Then brush some mod podge on the tile to "glue" the paper on. Place the paper on the tile and carefully smooth it out with the brush.  Make sure there are no air bubbles in the middle. You might also need to hold down the corners and edges for a few seconds so that they do not pop up.  

Then use the foam brush again to cover the entire top of the tile with the Mod Podge.  This helps to seal and protect it. Let it dry completely.  Maybe a half a day or less.  

Once it is dry, take the tiles outside to spray with a clear sealer.  This helps to make it water resistant. I placed mine on a cooling rack on top of cardboard to make sure that the grass doesn't get stuck on the tile when it is sprayed.

Let these dry outside for about a half a day as well.  Sometimes the spray has strong fumes, so you might need to keep it out longer (as long as it is a nice day out).  

Once the sealer has dried out, the tiles are ready for the backing.  The bottom of the tiles are a bit rough, so you'll want to put something on the bottom so they don't scratch your table.  I cut 4 X 4 inch pieces of crock from cork sheets that I purchased at Michael's a while back.  You could also use felt or some other soft, yet firm material.

I just used tacky glue, spread it all around the back, placed the cork on and let it dry.  Once the cork is on and the glue is dried, they are ready to be used !  

Now we just need some warm weather and friends to pop over for some fresh drinks.

If you're making them as gifts, stack them up once they are dry and tie them together with a pretty ribbon: 

How are you getting ready for warm weather?

Now you Can Do It Yourself Too !