Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Welcome to my boho hall of vintage mirrors

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BoHo Home

I’ve missed posting my usual three days a week for two weeks in a row, but I’ve been busy crossing off more of the too-many tabs open in my brain I told you about.

Be aware: Stealing art from your hallway to use in your living room leaves you with an empty hallway. And an already dark and narrow hallway that is also empty looks quite forlorn.


What to do? 


My solution: I hung vintage hand mirrors where the art had been! Then, when I didn’t think the installation had quite the boho vibe I was looking for, I dressed the mirrors with tassels, webs of colorful thread, and handles wrapped in bright yarns.


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Here’s the peek I gave you of the hall’s progression as vintage looking-glass finds from ebay and Etsy arrived.


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And here’s the view from our great room, through my study to the same hall of mirrors, now be-tasseled, strung and wound with boho love.


I bet you’d like a closer look, so here ya go…


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BoHo Home

This is a small hallway, and the only natural light it receives spills over from a bedroom at either end, so it's tough to photograph. I’ve wrestled with how to make it a brighter, cheerier place, and I think I’m finally on the right path. I still have a bit of work to do on the opposite wall, so those mirrors have something pretty to reflect when I’m not back there snapping photos. 


Here’s how I yarn- and thread-embellished the mirrors:


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BoHo Home

Some handles got wrapped, with a knot tied in the back to secure the yarn, and the excess trimmed off.


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BoHo Home

Those with uneven outside frames that would hold thread in place I gave a spider-web treatment. 


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BoHo Home

Still others I hung with tassels made using the nifty Boye tassel maker. Mine came with a set of pompon makers in various sizes, but it’s also sold separately. Tabs fold open or shut, depending on the length of tassel you want to make. Begin by cutting two shorter strands to tie off your finished tassel. 


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Loop one of the cut strands around the right-hand slot at the top (left). Then take both ends, ties at the left-hand slot, and bring the ends down to be held by the flap just below the one you’ve chosen as your final tassel length (middle). Take the end of the skein of yarn and also position it under this tab, then hold it shut to hold the loose ends in place, and start wrapping (right). I found that you want to wrap your tassel away from the fold to make it easier to get off the tool when finished.


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Continue wrapping until your tassel is the fulness you want it to be (left). This will depend on the weight of yarn or other thread you’re using, as well as personal preference. I used anywhere from 25 to 40 wraps for mine. When you’re done wrapping, free the ends for the top tie from the tool flap, untie, slide until each side is even, then tie a tight, secure knot (right). 


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Take the other short strand you cut, thread it through the wider slot (left) and tie another tight, secure knot.


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Slide your tassel off the tool and cut the loops. Then trim off any uneven ends (left). Knot your finished tassel so it can be hung (right). I found this tool to be more precise than winding yarn around a piece of cardboard. It’s also quicker and easier. 


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Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!



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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Boho yarn wall-hanging for the knit- & crochet-impaired

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BoHo Home

I never learned to knit or to crochet, but this past weekend I learned the comfort of working with yarn by making a simple yarn wall-hanging for our master bedroom. I also got to check a couple decor chores off my to-do list and close some of those tabs open in my brain that I wrote about last week.

Several people tried to teach me both knitting and crochet when I was younger, but I’m left-handed and they were right-handed, and the instructions never flip-flopped in a way that made learning easy or fun for me. (Thanks for trying Cathy and Martha, and I hope you found other students that were better learners.)

This project only requires cutting yarn, making a simple looped knot, and braiding (optional, of course). The most challenging part is deciding what yarn to include and in what order, but that's the kind of task I enjoy mulling over. It's easy yet contemplative work. The yarn is soft and the colors are soothing. In that respect, it reminded me a little of gardening, just not as hard on the knees.


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Anthropologie

I drew the color palette for the yarn I chose from Anthropologie’s Open Market Throw, which we added to our master bedroom earlier this year. 


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Seems like I always buy way more than I need—the yarn aisles at Joann’s are my new favorite place to go for a color and texture fix!—but these are the yarns I ended up using, as well as what was left when I finished. The tutorials I read suggested mixing different weights of yarn to add to the texture of the finished piece, so that’s what I did.

I bought two packs of Lion brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in oatmeal (bottom) because it was to be my base. I wanted something chunky and natural looking, and this had flecks of dark brown/black throughout, which gave it a rustic appeal. Each of these packs was 106 yards (97 meters), and, as you can see, I used all of one pack and most of the other.

I bought just one pack of the other yarns and used only a portion of each. Color came from the two yarns on the right—one a lighter-weight ombre mix of pink, peach, lavender, and yellow. The other was a raspberry/tan twist. The remaining four yarns brought in a bit of variation in color, but mostly different textures. 

It’s hard to see their neutral colors well in this photo, but the three at the upper left are mostly shades of off-white through light brown. The one at the left also contains fringed flecks of light gray. The middle yarn is the same brand/grade as the oatmeal but a darker color. And the one to its right is a lighter weight but similar color, with tiny flecks of green, orange, yellow and red thrown in. The fuzzier ball in the middle left is a sari thread yarn with multi-colors on an off-white base. I used it as an accent. 


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As a hanger I used a half-inch in diameter wood dowel rod cut to 27 inches to fit my space. I came in three inches on each side and drilled a hole straight through the center with an 1/8-inch drill bit. Then I used a darning needle to thread a strand of the oatmeal yarn through each hole and create a hanging cord. I tied a double knot to stabilize it where I wanted it and cut the excess off.

Instead of a dowel rod you could use a branch, a metal ring or wreath base, or even a wooden coat-hanger.


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In retrospect, I should have left the end of this as long as my other lengths, and it would have blended into my finished piece. That’s a tip so you don’t make the same mistake. If I ever get in the mood, I may do that part over.

I previously had a watercolor painting hanging in the space where I wanted to place this piece, so I just hung the dowel rod in place to work to add the yarn. I thought that would give me a better idea of the scale I wanted and the color distribution within the room.


I admit to having NO plan when I started this project—only inspiration


I’ve been collecting photos of yarn wall-hangings on my Crafty Stuff Pinterest board for several months. Some have tutorials, others don’t, but all use the basic looped-knot approach. Here are some of my favorites: 


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Tres Studio

I love the simplicity and restfulness of this one but thought mine needed more color. I did, however, buy some wood beads, just in case I decided my finished piece needed them. I’m sure I’ll use them in a future project.


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I also LOVE the various techniques blended together in this one—braids, twists, pompons, knots, etc.—but decided to save it for a future effort.


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In the end, these three influenced me the most—the left one for its colorful palette, the middle one for the braiding, and the right one for the bottom cut pattern.


Cutting and knotting and cutting some more


You can wrap the yarn around a piece of cardboard to measure out several lengths of yarn at once. Since I planned my hanging to be rather large, this would have been cumbersome, so I simply measured an approximate yard from the tip of my nose to my fingertips.


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BoHo Home

To make the looped knot, fold your cut length of yarn in half to make a loop as shown at left, then tuck the loop under the dowel rod as shown at right.


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BoHo Home

Next, tuck the loose ends through the loop (left) and pull the two sides until the loop is tight around the dowel rod (right).

The only difference from the photos is that in knotting your hanging you use more lengths of yarn together to make one knot. I used a minimum of five lengths for each section, but you may want to use more or less, depending on the weight of your yarn and on how chunky and/or full you want your hanging.

And if you don’t want the loops to show on the front, simply reverse this process pictured and start with the loop under the dowel rod. This allows for a sleeker, less chunky top. If you look at some of the examples on my Pinterest board, you'll see it done both ways.

As I said, I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted, so I started by making some sections in the oatmeal yarn and distributing them at either side and in the middle. Then I worked from side to side, adding sections in different yarns. I didn't take pictures because I wasn't sure I'd leave it that way.

At one point I asked my husband Chris whether it needed more color, which he thought it did, so I redid some sections. When I had the dowel rod covered I decided to make it fuller with some additional sections of oatmeal for definition.


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BoHo Home

Here’s what it looked like when I finished looping the yarn and cutting the center section even. As you can see, I didn’t get consistent lengths all the way through. It’s not only my measuring skills at fault. Some yarns are springy while others ripple, and I probably didn’t extend each length tight as I measured. But this is an extremely forgiving project, so you can even up all your ends AT the end.

I decided to braid four sections as well, leaving the colored braids longer than the neutral ones.


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BoHo Home

After further consultation with Chris, I decided to cut mine similar to this one.

I had already cut the nine sections in the middle the same length. Then I picked out seven sections on each side and cut them a few inches shorter. Finally I cut the remaining seven sections on the outsides a few inches shorter still. 


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BoHo Home

I used a level to help get the opposing side even, but I imagine I’ll be snipping and trimming it for a while.


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BoHo Home / Anthropologie

I think the color palette and overall style go well with my throw…


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BoHo Home

…And it adds texture to the room.


While we’re in the master bedroom…


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BoHo Home

I took another stab at styling that end table that sits below our TV, and I’m more pleased with the results this go-round.


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 BoHo Home

I had books on the middle tier before and decided to add them to the bottom tier as well. The table surface is so large that accessorizing the entire bottom sans books looked too busy. I used a small tray to corral the TV and sound system remotes on top of the books on the middle tier, then I added just a few trinkets at the front of each level. 

I'm happy with it. For now anyway, and I LOVED checking TWO whole to-dos off my list!


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

My projects in process


Do you ever find yourself with too many project starts and not nearly enough project finishes? That’s where I am right now. HELP!!!

Sometimes I put the pause on one project because I’m waiting for something I ordered for it to arrive. Sometimes I just need to mull it over to decide what it needs next. And sometimes, I admit, I just get distracted and ramble on to something else as if I have home-decor Alzheimer's.

Never happens to you, right? Sure! Tell me another story. 

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got going right now, in various stages of completion (or non-completion, depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty type):
 

Tab #1: Shelf styling on multiple fronts 


Remember back when I wrote about updating my living room and enumerated projects yet to complete? I even managed to complete ONE, but that was over a month ago, and you probably think I’ve been sitting on my hands since then. Not true.


BoHo Home

One of the projects involved installing shelves that wrap a dead corner in said living room, and after much haggling back and forth with the hubs about studs and bowed walls and what materials to use, I’m glad to say the shelves are finished. And you could even say they’re STYLED, since I’ve arranged four or five versions. 


BoHo Home

Although “editor” is a job title I’ve held officially, I’m more practiced with words than with décor. I’m still working on styling these shelves—adding, taking away, rearranging, studying photos of shelves I like, then doing it all over again. One of these days I’ll settle on a look and do a full reveal. 

I’m also making styling adjustments to bookcase shelving in my office and to a couple pieces in our master bedroom. 


BoHo Home

This photo shows the most recent version I’ve shared, but we’ve been to hell and back a couple times since then. I had a lot of blue and white chinoiserie pottery in the bedroom, as well as a watercolor of a Chinese scene, that doesn’t really fit in there all that well since my spring refresh a few months back (see it HERE and HERE). 

I moved it all to my office, sent the green temple jar from my office to the bedroom, pulled a few pieces out of storage for the bedroom, and bought a couple new pieces that I still may return.

Sigh!

Anyway, I liked the chinoiserie in the office just fine, I was satisfied with the arrangement across the top of the shelves, and I THOUGHT I was happy with the arrangement of the remaining shelves until I saw this photo…



…at which point I began moving everything hither and yon, yet AGAIN, to get this look.


BoHo Home

Here’s as far as I’ve gotten. I wore out somewhere around the halfway point, thanks to the effort it takes to move all those books. Notice I didn’t bother to clean up my other projects (which always seem to accumulate in my office) before photographing.

That’s sort of the point of this whole post, so try to think of it as literary transition, okay? You’ll surely figure out the reasons for the mess as we go along.

At least I made SOME progress.


BoHo Home


I like how the master bedroom armoire top is shaping up. I also like the ceramic knobs I added in place of smaller satin-nickel ones.


BoHo Home

And I like the looks of this end table (styling-wise) better than all attempts to date, but I’m still not completely happy with it.


BoHo Home


We did restore the table finish with the same products used on my dressing table. That nasty old spot on the top isn’t gone, but it is appreciably diminished.

So much for shelf-styling.


Tab #2: Lamp shade recovering 


Was that a project I mentioned in my living-room posts? If not, I should have.


BoHo Home

I finally found and purchased the fabric for this project—it’s Pueblo Stripe in the teal colorway, from Carrie Bloomston’s Dreamer collection—as well as the twill tape for the inside edging. I still need to pick up some spray adhesive and fabric glue.

The fabric hunt was a bit annoying as I ran into an inhospitable seller on ebay who, when I inquired about the direction of the stripes, just said “I don’t know.”

“Could you check, please?” I asked politely.

No. All in the information available was IN the photo, she said. Only none of the information (basic stuff, c’mon!) was IN the single image posted. She also apparently made a mistake in listing the fabric, which she discovered when I asked my question and then raised the price! To top it all off, she blocked me from purchasing from her!! Have you ever been blocked on ebay? Me neither, until now.

Don’t buy from africaadorned09 or essie788 on ebay, K?

Before I forget, I found the Pueblo Stripe at VINESnIVYFABRICS on Etsy, and the seller was lovely to do business with. She answered all my questions about railroading and repeats and even sent additional photos. Can’t wait to get these shades done and show you. Maybe I'll send a photo to africaadorned09 too.


Tab #3: Mirror wall


Did I even tell you about my hall of mirrors? My answer to brightening up a small, dark hallway.


BoHo Home

I’ve taken photos at various stages, thinking I’d go ahead and post, then didn’t. Something just didn’t feel finished, so I kept adding mirrors—mostly vintage, sourced on ebay and Etsy, mostly wood. Now that I have enough mirrors, something’s still missing for me. I decided I need to make some small but colorful boho tassels and hang them over the handles of those that are inverted. I think it will be a perfect finishing touch.

I’m also working on some additions to the opposite wall. When I brought the Chinese watercolor into my office, I moved the art that was there to this wall. But I plan to add some additional items to the arrangement, so more on that later.


Tab #4: Yarn wall-hanging


Tres Studio Blog

To fill the space left where the Chinese watercolor hung in our master bedroom, I want to do a simple yarn wall-hanging. Not necessarily exactly like this one, though I do plan to use a wooden dowel. I have all my supplies for this one. I just need to get busy.


Tab #5: Make-do makeover for my patio


Remember all my plans for my patio? Well, I’m partway there. 

BoHo Home

We finally got the rest of the furniture out Sunday and Monday, and bought and potted some plants and flowers. But that’s the same old faded coverings on everything.

You may recall from the same article, the puddle and the cracks that formed in the new concrete poured last fall. Well, thanks to all the rain central Indiana has been blessed with this spring, the concrete contractor is waaaaay behind. The REDO of our job isn't on the schedule until JUNE. 

We delayed so long in putting our furniture out BECAUSE we thought they’d be back anytime now. And we called and called and never got a called returned, until last Friday.

It won’t be fun moving all that stuff when they do finally show up to fix it, but the weather is just too beautiful right now not to have someplace to sit out and enjoy it. More on my plantings and sprucing up soon, I hope.


Tab #6: Painting my bomb vases


BoHo Home

I also mentioned this in my living-room project post, but all I've done with the vases since then is put flowers in them.


Homedit

Here’s sort of what I WANT them to look like, paint-wise. Again, supplies are purchased; all I need to do is tape the vases off and spray away, easy-peasy! 

Easier said than done.


Miscellany & et cetera


As if I didn’t have enough irons in the already rampaging fire that is my life, I also have…
  • A vase-painting project in the works (got the vases, decided on technique, still need to practice). 
  • Plans (hopes? dreams?) to open an Etsy store and start selling on ebay. 
  • Two blog interview features in process—another Everyday Artist and the success story of an ebay seller/gallery owner in Lithuania. Both women are probably wondering if I’m dead or in jail, but don’t lose faith, Sandi and Egle! I WILL get your features done and posted!! 
  • Plans to make window treatments for my living room and office when I find the right fabric. (Damn that africaadorned09 on ebay!) 
  • Plans for a gallery wall in my husband’s office (don’t tell him). 
  • Probably a dozen or so more things I’ve forgotten but will recall in the middle of trying to finish up one of those listed. 


If you want more, note that I do too…


More time in a day and more days. Wish I could clone myself. Also more money. Wish I could make some money doing this so I could hire staff. Wish you all would become FOLLOWERS, which might improve my chances of making money (and at NO cost to you, I might add)!! Here are all the ways you can follow me (the more you choose, the better):

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A page from my PATTERN JOURNAL / Lichen on concrete

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The Internet is full of recipes for aging a concrete garden ornament. Most call for blenders, starter moss, and yogurt. A few decades ago, when I first started gardening, I considered trying to make my concrete garden ornaments look as if we’d both been plodding away a lot longer than we actually had.

But in the end, tending a garden is a busy enough business without creating new chores for one’s self. So I left my ornaments to their own devices, and lo and behold, they’ve rewarded me a wondrous patina created by nature—wind and rain exposing the aggregate so moss and lichen can take up residence.


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BoHo Home

Today’s PATTERN JOURNAL is about an aspect of the patina on my sleeping-cat ornament. I always think of my sweet Molly-Bear when I look at this concrete kitty in my garden, purchased long ago, because she's one of the kitties I had when I bought it.


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BoHo Home

But I have to admit it looks a lot like my current sweetie-gal, Maisie-Cat. What’s not to love here?


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BoHo Home

I was initially interested in how the surface of the concrete cat had weathered. But as I looked closer, I noticed the rusty colored lichen spots. I circled the largest patch in this photo, but there’s also some on the inside of the left-hand ear and on the tail.


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Here’s a closer view...


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…and an enlargement of a section of the closeup, though some of the definition is lost due to the limitations of my phone's camera.


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Yet it’s in that tight shot that the image yields its link to pattern in the world around us.


Where else does it lead?


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Monica Feudi photo, Balmain Fall 2017 collection / Marcus Tondo photo, Agi & Sam Fall 2015 collection / Monica Feudi photo, Balmain Fall 2017 collection / Monica Feudi photo, Balenciaga Spring 2017 collection

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Fae Factory / Etsy

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Deconstructed Frida by Loui Jover / Via Redbubble

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Untitled ceramic sculpture by Bari Ziperstein / Artsy

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Jason Ball Interiors / Via Decoist

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Eric Piasecki photo / Martha Stewart

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Via Amazon Home

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David Duncan Livingstone photo / Martin Kobus Home Design / Via Style Saloniste


Lichen-on-concrete moodboard


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If you want more…

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