Demo Time

When we bought our place, it was technically livable, but really it wasn't. It was built in 80's and had never been updated. It was also a foreclosed property at some point, so came with some problems. And some weird smells. Our plan all along was to completely re-do the inside.

We tore out all the carpet and tile floors, took out the whole kitchen, a tiny wall and the master bathroom, and removed all the popcorn ceilings. When I say "we," I mean we did about 10% of the work and then hired out the rest. Had we done all the demo ourselves, we'd be working on it until next year. It was money well-spent. So we're left with one ugly in-tact bathroom, that we'll eventually demo when the other is completed. Let the real work begin!

We're Homeowners!

So, it's official. We own a home! Actually, it was official back in December, but I'm just getting around to posting this now. We bought a fixer-upper and have been knee-deep in renovations and home projects. Along with working full-time and trying to have a life. Hence the web silence. As projects are completed and I learn new things, I'll hopefully post some of those here.

Some Lynchburg Love

I spent just over a year living in Lynchburg, VA before moving back to Florida a couple months ago. What I admired about the city was their drive for improvement. They were always looking for ways to make it better and to bring people together. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to brand one of their newest ongoing events, Food Truck Thursdays. Here's a look at the design.

It started with a sketch, then moved on to creating the truck illustration, several versions of the logo and the poster design.

Creative Missions 2015

In May I had the opportunity to travel to Boise, Idaho to spend a week in the creative trenches with local churches. It was so good. So good. I met up with a team of 21 people, some of whom I'd gotten to know on my last Creative Missions trip two years ago in Alaska. It was a reunion of sorts. In one week, the teams finished 10 websites, 12 logo/branding packages, 27 print designs, 3 photo shoots, and a bunch of other things. The goal of Creative Missions is to partner with local churches and provide sustainable creative resources. It requires a lot of hard work and late nights, but totally worth it in the end. It was quite the adventure.

Milk Paint Frame

I recently heard of milk paint for the first time. Sounded a little weird so I thought I would join a workshop in town to see what it was all about. You can read all about the paint here, but basically it's a natural paint with no odor and when used in combination with different techniques, you can get some really cool vintage-looking results.

The idea was simple. Pick two colors—one for the bottom that shows through and one top color. I chose gray and yellow. After I painted the first coat (it dries super fast), I added some wax to the areas that I wanted to show through. Then I painted the top yellow coat. The whole project was done and dry in an hour.

Repurposed Spice Rack

I came across this spice rack at a local thrift store and thought it would be perfect to organize all our bottles and shakers. I estimated the sizes of the bottles and assumed they would fit, but in the end they didn't. So why not turn it into a jewelry rack!

I'm a big believer in using things I already have lying around, so for this piece I used paint and fabric left over from previous projects. I started by removing one of the shelves and lightly sanding the surfaces. Then I covered the whole thing with a coat of dark brown paint.

Since the teal paint is from a previous furniture project I did, I went for the same effect on this piece. After it was all painted, I wrapped a piece of cardboard with leftover fabric, stapled it to the back and added some hooks. It actually ended up being way more useful this way than as a spice rack!

Custom Letter Pillow

The first time I attempted to sew a pillow, I was in 7th grade. The project was for my Home-Ec class—yes, that was a thing when I was a kid. The pillow was supposed to be an octopus, but ended up looking more like a green, three-legged version of a Pac-Man ghost. And I loved it anyway just because I made it.

One of the things I love about making things is it takes so much more care than just buying something. Even when I end up with a finished piece full of imperfections, there's something special about a hand-made project.

For Christmas I made a pillow for my friend Laura. I value her friendship and wanted to give a gift that said that. I think it turned out well for my first pillow attempt since 7th grade!

I picked a floral fabric and color scheme that I thought fit her personality. She's a talented illustrator and painter so I wanted something with an illustrated feel. I cut out the letter shape and sewed in onto what would be the front of the pillow.

Luckily I found out months prior that Laura has a strong dislike of buttons. Hey, everyone has their thing. So I chose to assemble the pillow with Velcro, so she could take off the cover to wash it when necessary. Then I lined up the pieces back-to-back, sewed all around and then stuffed it with a pillow insert. Ready for gifting!

Pinterest Project Success

I spend my fair share of time on Pinterest. A while back I was seeing lots of pins for how to decorate with lighted marquee letters. But purchasing them was out of the question. Just one letter can set you back a few hundred dollars. Luckily Pinterest is also a great place to find the DIY version of practically anything!

So I found some instructions on how to fake old metal letters using card stock and a little spray paint. DIY project success!

I started this project on the computer of course. I'm a graphic designer and a perfectionist, so free-handing was not an option. I printed the letters, cut them out and traced the outlines onto black card stock.

I cut those letters out, punched holes where I wanted the lights to go, and then hot glued 2-inch strips of card stock all the way around each letter. Finished up with some dark orange spray paint and a string of white twinkle lights. And that's it! Made a cozy little edition to our place.

Ornithology & Drawing

Six weeks ago I signed up for a class call Ornithological Drawing at The Art Box. I love birds, but I’m terrible at drawing so I thought it was perfect! It was taught by Emily Smith, the Natural History Collections Manager at Randolph College. She is equal parts artist and scientist, so we were able to get up close with the bird specimens.

We started with basic techniques in pencil, moved to Micron pens and finished up with watercolor. The bird I chose is called a Pyrrhuloxia. Looks kind of like a Cardinal, but lives in Texas apparently. I’m a fan of any bird with a fluffy crest. 

The other finished birds from the class.

The other finished birds from the class.