when someone gives you a brick….

… don’t get mad… get crafty?!

A couple months ago, someone gave us a brick. By way of throwing it. At our windshield. So for a couple months, we’ve had this lone brick sitting around our house. I’ve seen bricks dressed up and used in different ways, most often as book ends. But it didn’t occur to me until I saw this post on craftgawker that I should turn our gifted brick into something fun. When life hands you lemons…. you know!

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the brick before

I slapped some white paint on it (acrylic craft paint- if it was warmer I would have spray painted it gold) and then sat staring at it, unsure what to do next. I started making black polka dots on it, but didn’t like it, so I wiped the black off and painted it white again. I had white cotton clothesline sitting on my desk, and it caught my eye. I decided to wrap it around the brick. I just winged it and ended up wrapping it in stripes.

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Who would have thought that a brick that withstands being thrown at a windshield (and busting the windshield) would break when I start wrapping rope around it. And did you know that hot glue doesn’t really stick to bricks.. or maybe it was the paint that was on the brick. Either way, I’ll be honest and say this project, which was supposed to be simple and quick, didn’t quite go as planned! The rope holds the broken brick together, but it needs to be handled gently. I never thought I’d say to Gabe, “Be careful with the brick.. it’s fragile!” If I made another one, I’d use different paint (either spray paint or latex wall paint) because the acrylic craft paint got kind of chalky, weird feeling.

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But the end result is kind of fun. And it adds a little something to the books in my crates. And the brick has a story.

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Perhaps you’ve never been gifted a brick. Don’t feel left out. You can probably buy them at a place like Home Depot. You could make a ton of brick bookends for what a gifted brick ends up costing!

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I guess it’s not technically a book end if it sits on top of the books!

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I like the different textures of the painted brick and the rope. I hope you’ve never been gifted a brick the way we were. Have any of you gotten crafty with bricks? What did you make?

our home {Gabriel’s new big boy room}

First of all, I’m having a hard time figuring out how my little babe is a in a big boy room. Slow down, you crazy child! This growing up thing goes quickly. Although, it’s days like today, when a migraine starts to kick my butt, that I’m happy he’s a little independent! I can give him some goldfish crackers (or the whole bag), turn on a movie (or 2) and close my eyes. You realize how much you take your vision for granted when it starts to fade!

Gabe’s been in his big boy bed since January. It was his 3rd birthday present from my parents (lovingly known as Bada and Boom). I’ve slowly puttered around in his room, tweaking things here and there. There haven’t been any major changes from his nursery, but it’s still been a fun little project. I like this room better, but it might be because we have such fun sitting in his big bed and telling bedtime stories as a family! Sweet memories are being made in this space!

In case you haven’t seen this post, I thought I’d show you what his room looked like when we moved in..

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The walls were yellow, ripped apart, and drawn on. But there was such potential!

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My Mom is amazing and found a Jenny Lind style bed for Gabriel. It was what I dreamed of for his room. Can you believe it was $80? Solid wood. Absolutely amazing. And then she got some Annie’s Chalk paint to refinish it. We used French Linen and finished it with the clear wax. I absolutely love his bed.

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It’s a beautiful bed! Right now, I have his backup sheets on the bed. Usually, this time of year, he has adorable doggie flannel sheets that were part of his birthday present. But they’re currently needing to be washed. It makes life so much easier to have two pairs of sheets. Though Gabriel’s a little sad to not sleep with the doggies.

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I got this dresser on Craig’s List for $20 and refinished it (thanks Uncle Carl and Aunt Irene for the Christmas gift)! I like the clean lines and the size is perfect for his room, but it can hold a lot of clothes. I like that it doesn’t actually have any handles. You can kind of tell that the drawer fronts are angled, so you reach under the bottom to slide the drawers out. The wall hanging is a tapestry I found at a thrift store. The trees are actually Christmas decorations!

 

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My Mom gave us the charming paint by number pictures a couple years ago. I love them and so does Gabriel. The mobile is something I found, spray painted gold, and hung old picture of my Dad, grandmother and aunt from! The old photographs are so sweet. The angel was mine as a child.

 

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We keep Gabe’s little suitcase under the dresser. He loves his truck suitcase. Also a gift from my Mom and Dad.

 

 

 

 

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As a child, my Grandpa gave me Shel Silverstein books. I loved them. I was thrilled to find ‘Falling Up’ at the thrift store and used the pages as art in Gabe’s room. We really enjoy looking at the pages, reading the poems and playing I-spy with the illustrations. The bench is from our wedding and the basket holds some books and toys that Gabriel can pick from and take into his bed at nap time. Yes, he loves the story Madeline and has parts of it memorized!

 

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I have double sided tape on the back of the pages, but also used Washi tape to secure some of the edges.

 

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The mobile with the old photographs. The photo in the middle is of my Dad and my Aunt Jan! So sweet!

 

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And this is my Dad and dearest Gran. Precious.

 

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I used more washi tape with the photos, and on the backs of some used left over pages from the Shel Silverstein book.

 

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Back to his bed. His nightstand is an old crate. I found the old piece of wood in the outbuilding and painted the alphabet on it. It was there in his nursery, too.

 

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We found these cloud cut outs in the outbuilding when we moved in. I painted them white and hung them over his crib. When we moved his bed in, I was so happy that they were still perfect where they were on the wall. I didn’t have to move them! I added to stars when we moved his big bed in. They are little wooden star cut outs that you can find at Michaels. I spray painted them gold and used tiny sewing pins to hold them to the wall!

And there is Gabriel’s big boy room! I’m so happy with how it turned out. You can put together a special space without having to spend lots of money! I hope you enjoyed the tour!

(The wall color is Martha Stewart Plumage. I was inspired by Young House Love’s guest room. The white paint on the dresser is Parchment White by Glidden, also inspired by Young House Love! It’s my go-to white paint for furniture!)

round up {kid’s rooms}

I’m so excited to share Gabe’s new big boy room! I have the pictures and post nearly ready, but in the meantime I thought I’d share some fun kid’s room inspiration. I hope to have the post on Gabe’s room up this afternoon. You can check out this post to see his room as a nursery (and how far it’s come since we moved in!). I loved his nursery, and I like his big boy room even more!

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I do love a partially painted wall. And I also love that little toddler bed from Ikea. This looks like a fun, playful room.

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I don’t know any kid that wouldn’t love to have a bed like that. Especially Gabe. The boy takes after his father and loves to climb. Sleeping in a bed like that would be a dream for him. Maybe one day when he’s a little older. I also love the black wall and the green wardrobe piece!

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I love the wall covered in the horse print wallpaper. So charming! I also really like a white painted floor. (We still have to paint the girls’ room floor, Kelli!)

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How fun is that bed? And I think that green dresser is an Ikea Rast (is that right?). I also like this painted floor. A bright, whimsical room. Lovely!

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What fun is this eclectic little girl’s room?! The trunk, the teepee, the bedding… it’s all so charming.

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You could make your own giraffe (or any animal silhouette) out of contact or wrapping paper and add a charming detail to your child’s room!

So how’s that for a roundup of simply delightful children’s rooms?! Check back soon to see Gabriel’s new big boy room! And in the meantime, have a great Wednesday!

diy {coffee sack pattern art… with a printable stencil!}

Happy Monday! If you’re here for the first time and you came from Craftgawker or Pinterest (or anywhere else for that matter), I’m so glad you’re here. I know people always write that. But really. Being artsy-fartsy (a la Pam Beasley, according to Roy on the Booze Cruise.. any other Office people out there?!) is so much fun and so is sharing ideas and making new friends. So welcome. I really am glad you’re here! And if you’re a returning friend, I’m glad you came back!

Nothing like getting cozy inside during a freak spring snowstorm to get you in the crafty mood. Speaking of snow in the spring.. does anyone else feel a little conflicted about this? We live in Virginia. This isn’t supposed to happen. It’s kinda like Christmas music before Thanksgiving. You love Christmas music, but something feels a little off about reindeer before turkey, you know? I love snow, but snow covering my daffodil (yes, there’s just one) feels a little off.

Anyway, while we sat inside near the fire, watching The Tigger Movie for the first, nope, make that second, time yesterday afternoon (it happens when the kid figures out how to use the Roku remote), I got an urge to make something. I wanted to add some black accents/black and white art/something graphic to the shelf above our bed. I love the pattern that’s seen on burlap coffee sacks. (And if you saw this post, you know my affinity for burlap coffee sacks!) So yesterday, I set out to make some simple art using that pattern, while singing along to “Everybody wants to be a Tigger…”

It took some trial and error to get the stencil right for the pattern. To save you some time so you can sip your coffee and browse my little blog, there’s a link to a pdf file with the stencil below!

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What You Need:

A canvas (mine is 14×18 inches)

The stencil and scissors (click the link below for the pdf file of the stencil)

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A pencil or erasable marker

Paint and a brush

A ruler/yardstick

(A side note on the canvas- I often find mine at thrift stores. They’re really cheap. I feel a little bad painting over someone else’s art. But it was, after-all, donated to a thrift store. Since I’m reusing a canvas, I also needed some white paint to give my canvas a fresh, new life.)

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What You Do:

1. If your canvas isn’t white already, paint it white. Or you could paint it whatever color you want for the background.

2. I used a yardstick to measure and then draw a line down the center of the canvas. It was a guide to make sure the pattern was straight.

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3. Then I started tracing the stencil. You’ll notice I started with half the stencil at the top. I traced half the stencil and then when I was painting, rounded it off. You can do your pattern however you want. I traced until the bottom, then drew three circles. (My pattern was half stencil on the right, two full stencils, half on the left, two full stencils etc etc.)

4. To get the bottom ‘leaf’ I traced half the stencil, and then eye balled it and made a little ‘tail’. Then drew three circles.

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5. Start painting. It took a couple coats of paint to fill it in.

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A side note about tracing the stencil… I used my erasable fabric marker. I recommend using something you can erase!

Once it dries, you have a nice new piece of art for your home, or to give as a gift!

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(The pattern inspiration)

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Looking all lovely and graphic on the shelf above our bed! To see how we made our headboard, check out this post.

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This guy isn’t conflicted about the snow at all. He loves it and sat gazing out the window while I took pictures this morning. “Mommy! My snow came back!”

Have you made any art lately? I’d love to see it! Leave a comment below.. or you can always email me at ricedesignblog (at) gmail (dot) com. I really do like to hear from you!

the evolution of a room.

I’m about to share some alarming photographs. But I think they’re interesting.. or at least fun for me to look back at. They are also a self esteem booster for you, my lovely readers. If you’re feeling discouraged by your house keeping abilities, like you’re always drowning in a sea of dirty clothes, these photos should give you some encouragement. For some reason, the only pictures I have of the stages of our room involves an explosion of clothes. I’m not sure why that is. I always keep up with laundry and immediately fold and put clothes away when they come out of the dryer. It’s so unlike me to have any clothes laying out. I do the laundry daily. Not bi-weekly.

Our home needed a little bit, no, a lot, of TLC when we moved in. Here’s a picture of our room shortly after move-in day…

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What you’re unable to see in this picture is just how dirty the walls were.

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January 2012. Clothes explosion. The first time I painted the room, shortly after moving in, I went for a pale blue/green color. While it was a lovely color, it wasn’t me. It felt cold. And just wasn’t right.

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January 2013. I mean really. This is bad. I painted the room a creamy white over the summer. The bed moved to a different wall. Different furniture was moved in and painted black. And then in January (when this photo was taken) I painted a very wide white stripe behind the headboard, trying to give the room a focal point. Didn’t really work. In my defense of this chaos, the room was extra torn apart from painting. This was also the time I got the urge to go through all our clothes and give bag-fulls away. So you’re seeing the aftermath of me ripping the closet and dressers apart. It always looks (so much) worse before it gets (a little bit) better!

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February 2013, the room was looking like this. You can vaguely see the wide white stripe behind the bed. Overall pretty boring. I wasn’t feeling really motivated to do anything else. You could call it a design rut.

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And this is what it looks like today. We built a shelf over our bed last weekend and it does so much for the room. I’m still experimenting with an artwork arrangement up there, and have some diy art in mind, but for now I’m quite happy with it. It feels cozy. I also stained the headboard a bit darker and sealed it with wax. It has a lovely matte finish now and feels so soft.

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I swapped out our nightstands. I stacked 2 apples crates, and painted them white (the same white as the wide stripe and the shelf). They’re more substantial and practical (more space and an extra shelf), compared to our previous single crate nightstands (that now live stacked in the hallway right outside our room).

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I grabbed a bunch of art from around the house to put on the shelf. I want to add some black frames to it. It needs a little bit of tweaking, but I do love that shelf. So does Tristan. Even though he cracked his head on the corner yesterday morning. Ouch.

So there it is… the evolution of our room. It’s gone through many phases, and I’m sure will change more. Hopefully I’ll get more pictures of different angles soon! Is your room the last place that gets any attention? I seem to spend time decorating and arranging other rooms, but seem to neglect our room. No more! I do love how our room is now. And I’m pretty sure I sleep better in it, too. Have a great weekend, friends!

To see how we made our headboard, check out this post.

diy {burlap coffee sack art}

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If you’re ever in a thrift store and see burlap coffee sacks, buy them. Don’t think about it. Don’t inspect them. Run as quickly as you can to where they are and grab them. I wouldn’t even judge you if you pushed people out of the way (unless you’re pushing me, in which case, we might fight)! Then tuck them securely under your arm as you walk around the rest of the store with the a big smile on your face, while everything else you see pales in comparison. You have just found the ultimate thrifting treasure.

I scored some amazing burlap coffee sacks at the thrift store a while ago. So when I tell you what to do when you find some, I speak from experience. The time I found those coffee sacks was my best thrifting adventure ever. You’ve heard of a runner’s high, right? Well, find some burlap coffee sacks at the thrift store and you’ll experience a thrifting high. (It’s either that or the odor coming from the old upholstered sofa you’re standing beside.) You might think I’m being a bit dramatic. But let me remind you that we’re talking about burlap coffee sacks!

When you bring them home, you’ll want to display them proudly for everyone to see. There are a couple ways to do this. 

First, you can just grab some tiny silver sewing pins and tack the burlap right to your wall. I like to use 8 pins- one in each corner and then one in the middle on each side. This holds it nice and securely to the wall and looks just so lovely. I did this in our kitchen, beside my peg board pot rack.

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In our kitchen, beside the pot rack. You might notice this area looks a little different than when I posted about the pot rack here

If you want to get really fancy shmancy and give your burlap a proper dressing, find a big giant frame. Paint it nice and white (or leave it unpainted if it’s pretty). And then use your staple gun to attach the burlap to the back of the frame. You might have to trim the burlap, unless you just happen to find a frame that’s the perfect size.

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Burlap coffee sack art in the bathroom? Why not! This is in the downstairs/guest bath, hanging above some complimentary toiletry items for any guests (I need to restock). 5 star bed and breakfast right here.

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And this is in our living room. It’s the wall behind the TV. The framed burlap is a feed sack, not a coffee sack, but still great. I also have a framed rice bag, too. I intentionally hung the pictures very close to each other, to hide the breaker box that is behind that rice bag and floral picture (that my Grandma painted). 

You could also take your burlap coffee sack and stretch it around a canvas or canvas stretchers and use your staple gun to secure it on the back. This gives it a nice, crisp rectangular shape and looks lovely sitting on top of a dresser.

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This is another feed bag, stretched around a canvas, sitting on top of Tristan’s dresser. And I have his boutonniere from our wedding pinned to the burlap.

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Another wall in our living room. Another feed/fertilizer burlap sack stretched over canvas stretchers. I haven’t gotten around to hanging it yet. Eventually. I have tea lights in those mason jars (that won’t get lit until I hang the burlap)! (I found the feed/fertilizer sacks in my closet at my parents’ house. Thanks Mom!)

There are so many other things you can do with these things. Make a (itchy but so cute) pillow. Recover a chair seat. Make a curtain. Make a table runner. Make a giant floor cushion. Moral of the story: burlap coffee sacks are basically another form of gold.

Perhaps you haven’t hit the thrifting jackpot and can’t get your hands on any burlap coffee sacks. Fear not. You can make a knock off pretty easily!

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I made this last year, before my best thrifting adventure when I scored the coffee sacks. You can buy burlap by the yard at Walmart! This burlap was leftover from our wedding.

1. Cut a rectangle to whatever size you when. Then hem the edges to keep it from fraying.

2. This is a pattern that you see on many coffee sacks. I made a template of the ‘single leaf’ and the ‘double leaf’. Then I traced them over and over on the burlap with a marker. I just added a little tail to the bottom single leaf, then free handed the circles at the bottom.

3. Take regular craft paint and fill in the ‘leaves’ and circles! Make sure you have something behind the burlap because the paint goes through very easily.

4. If you have any letter stencils, you can also add some fun lettering to your art.

And just like that, you have your very own burlap coffee sack art. You know, until you hit the thrifting jackpot!

I’ve called a couple different coffee shops to see if they have any burlap sacks they were getting rid of. Unfortunately, most coffee shops now get their coffee in vacuum sealed bags. So I have yet to find a shop that has any burlap sacks. Maybe you’d have better luck at smaller, local coffee shops.

What do you think? Would you or have you decorated with burlap coffee sacks? Have a great Tuesday! I’d love to see you burlap art if you make any!

diy {a rope pot for my Jade tree}

The other day I wandered into Home Depot. I love hardware stores. I was excited to see their new big displays of plants. I had my change purse with me (that I take thrifting) and I knew I had enough to bring home a succulent. I picked up each plant, inspected each one from all angles, and finally settled on a charming little Jade. It’s cute and makes me happy.

I brought it home and was going to repot it, but the potting soil is frozen outside. Also, I didn’t really feel like repotting it. So a little laziness paired with frozen potting soil and the Jade sat in its little plastic pot, looking cute but a bit naked.

Then last night, I decided to give it a more dignified home. But I still didn’t want to repot it (and the soil was even more frozen), so I got a little creative.

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My cute little 4 inch Jade. $3.98 at Home Depot.

I sat the plastic pot on some aluminum foil and wrapped the foil loosely up the sides, making an aluminum foil pot for the plastic pot to sit in. This is to catch any water that drains through the soil, since the plastic pot has lots of holes in the bottom. (Which is good, because succulents don’t like drowning). I made the foil pot a little bigger than the plastic pot, so I can lift the plant out and get rid of any water that collects in the foil.

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Start making the foil pot like this, to avoid seams on the bottom that water could seep through. Wrap the foil loosely up the sides. 

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The foil pot. I’m patting myself on the back for taking these progress pictures!

Then I got out my cotton clothesline to make a rope pot for the foil covered plastic pot to sit inside. I started coiling it in a circle to make the bottom, gluing as I went. Then when I had a big enough bottom, I started working upward to make the sides. I was careful not to glue the rope to the aluminum foil. So, at this point I have a plastic pot, that sits inside a foil pot, that sits inside a rope pot. Does that makes sense?

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Cotton clothesline. The same thing I used in this post.

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You can also see that I made the rope pot a little taller than the plastic pot. 

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Charming, don’t you think? I love it. Stay tuned to see where this lovely thing is living!

Oh, and here’s the supply list…

A succulent plant in a plastic pot.

Aluminium foil.

Cotton clothesline.

Hot glue.

Have a great Monday, friends!