_Matheus Lopes is an artist/illustrator from Brazil. I've been seeing his stuff all over Pinterest lately, and I just had to share some of it with you. I really like it. Partly because it's pretty, but partly because it's clever too. Take a look:
A Way Out © Matheus Lopes
Colorphobia © Matheus Lopes
Independence © Matheus Lopes
 
 
Whatever happened to the Pete Project?

It died. But in a good way. The big plans died, but Pete is ensconced in his apartment, which is the mirror image of my own in layout, and right next door to boot. And it is lovely and cozy, but it's not a modern, tribal, man cave. This is probably a good thing.

This happens sometimes. The initial vision gave way to the realities of the budget, and we had to make room for curb-side finds, inherited IKEA pieces, and a bunch of culled from parental basements and the like.

Pete really took care of the whole thing himself. And it turns out, he's quite a stylish fellow.

Anyway, just because the project didn't go as planned, doesn't mean you don't deserve pictures. So pictures ye shall have!

Let's start with the "before" shots:
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Picture
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And now, much more importantly, the AFTER pictures:
How cute is that giraffe? Pete's sister Ruthie needle-felted that little guy by hand. I'm in love with it.

Truly, the whole project was Pete's doing. He had little-to-no help from me. My one contribution is the Windsor chair in the living room - a classic piece that goes well with Pete's slightly rustic style. Let's all give Pete props from his super low-budget, super cozy, super cool new home.
 
 
A long while back, I posted about a project where I decoupaged some birds onto an old stool. Here's a photo to refresh your memory.
I was never perfectly happy with how this project turned out. I felt it needed more birds. Or that the birds weren't well laid out.

But it was good enough, and for a long time, I lived with it.

Then, thanks to a hot cup and a low attention span, I ruined it. I scalded the top of the stool and a big fat chunk of varnish, bird and paint tore away.

This gave me an opportunity to start again.

Using my handy-dandy oscillating sander, I stripped away the old decoupage. (I should have used paint stripper for this. I'm so lazy. Don't be lazy like me. Do things right and you'll save yourself heartache.)

I brushed on a new under-coat of black paint, then found, printed and carefully cut out a picture of a water lily to take the place of the lost birds.

Here's how it turned out:
I used regular paper and my home printer for the water lily. Again, not wise. Decoupage works a lot better with thick paper and inks that won't bleed.

I re-decoupaged the top of the stool with the flower. The thin paper wrinkled and I had major bubble problems along the way. I tried to solve these with a needle and patience.

The result is imperfect. If you look at the stool up close, you can see that the varnish isn't smooth and the flower itself is a bit blurred, but nonetheless, I am very happy with it. It's better than the birds, I think. The water lily has more impact.

I did the whole thing while watching a movie on a Saturday afternoon, so it wasn't exactly hard labour.

Have you decoupaged anything recently?
 
 
Over the weekend, I hosted a little crafting get-together at my apartment. I wanted an excuse to work with the pine cones I've been hoarding for the last year. I've posted about these before. When my niece was three, she helped me gather a whole bag full, and I've been trying to think of how to use them ever since.

Here's what I finally settled on:
I got this garland idea from Twig and Thistle. Their DIY pine cone garland is really gorgeous. That said, the Twig and Thistle instructions are a bit difficult. I doodled around with a bunch of different supplies before I settled on a plan of my own that yielded a similar effect, but was less work to execute.
I didn't bother with drilling holes in the cones, using screw hooks, or even ribbon. Instead, I used an old beaded necklace and attached the pine cones simply, with white thread and basic knots.

As a result, my cones hang horizontally, with the florets opening out, as opposed to pointing down, vertically. But I think they look good. Also, using a beaded necklace rather than ribbon meant I could just count out the same number of beads between each cone to end up with an even placement. (No measuring!)

I used an uneven number of cones (so one cone would fall in the centre of the garland) and eyeballed the sizes to make that centre cone the largest, moving out from the centre with cones in decreasing sizes, and placing the littlest cones on either end.

I knocked a couple of new nails into my mantle and strung it up. Done!

What do you think? Rustic and festive, right?
This would be an easy project to do with kids. Even the littlest little ones can gather pine cones, and if you consider paint, there are a lot of different possibilities for pretty garlands to match your decor. Let me know if you try it!
 
 
Remember when I wrote about wanting new dining room chairs and about how I'd decided on the (fake) Eiffel chairs from Kitchen Stuff Plus?

I never posted a reveal of how they look! So... that's what this is.
As you know, I'm no great shakes at photography, but what do you think? Good decision?
 
 
So. The Apartment Therapy photo shoot for my upcoming house tour has happened and I've finally been able to relax and stop tweaking and rearranging and "fixing" in preparation. The fact that Apartment Therapy was coming really put a fire under my bum to finish some projects, and in the next few weeks, I'll be posting about them. This one, I finished literally less than 12 hours before the photo shoot on Saturday. It's a huge piece of DIY drip art for my living room.
See, I have this big living room wall that I've been debating about. What I wanted for it was something perfect. Some perfect piece of art. And I was willing to wait until something that looked right and affordable came along. But with Apartment Therapy coming, I ran out of time. So last Friday night, I decided to DIY a temporary piece to fill the space instead.

Here's how I did it:

1. I garbage-picked a big square of plywood from an alley in my neighbourhood (you could also buy a canvas, but this was cheaper).
2. I cleaned the plywood with a damp rag.
3. I primed the "front" of the piece with a couple coats of high-adhesive primer, applied with a smooth-finish velvet roller.
4. I decided which side would be "up" in the painting, and turned the makeshift canvas upside down, so the "bottom" was at floor level.
5. I used mat black paint (left over from a variety of other projects such as my front door makeover) to brush a thick black strip along the top (which would eventually be the bottom) of the piece.
6. I filled a plastic measuring cup with the same black paint and dribbled it along the black stripe so that globs and drips would start to crawl toward the floor. I kept doing this until I was happy with the effect.
7. I blow dried the whole thing so I could install it right away (drilled directly into the wall), but even now, some of the globs are a little wet.

No matter. It looks pretty good, in my opinion. Voila:
This is very much a "for now" piece. Something to do duty until I can find and afford something really special, but nonetheless, I'm quite fond of it. It was not a lot of work and it makes a big impact. Consider making something similar if, like me, you're looking for a space-filler, or even just a fun and messy art project.