DIY Wall Art from Modified Shanty-2-Chic Tutorial

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Hi all! I am so excited to share this most recent project with you guys… but first a little background on our little group.

In January a few of my closest girlfriends and I started a monthly craft night. What started as a “learning to sew” group has now grown into a more general craft night. First we crafted aprons, which was so fun and my first ever project hand sewn by me! Since I don’t cook very often, so far I’ve only worn it making cookies for Super Bowl! ha! Then the next month we made curtains. I can not wait to show you how those came out, I made them for the office which is SO close to being done!

Okay okay, so then in March we decided to have a 2 night craft project, making the wooden wall art from Shanty-2-Chic, that we had made for Amie’s wedding.

Harvard Photography love wooden sign

The first night, we stained our boards, cut out stencils for the letters, and learned how to make the fabric flowers (tutorial here).

Some behind the scenes iPhone photos…

@jessica_rose_20 sneak peek @samallencreates sneak peek

Those pesky flowers sure took way more time than any of us predicted! My board alone has over 130 flowers and each one takes about 5 minutes to assemble. Ugh, don’t try to do the math there!

But it was totally worth it!!

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Of course, I wanted to try to do a different kind of design than the LOVE, something that was more unique to my husband and me—since it was going in our bedroom. I kept playing around with “established ’07” designs but was just not loving it. Then my friend Lauren reminded me of our first dance song “Me And You” by Kenny Chesney. Which then inspired me to create the board based on my beloved ampersand (&) sign. And let me tell you, I absolutely looooooove this project!!

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The next night, when we all got together with quite a few flowers completed, we laid out our stencils on our nice dry boards and painted out the designs. Once that was dry, we started to add our flowers, but none of us finished that night as we had a ways to go with our flowers. But it was so fun over that next week seeing the girls complete their boards.

Trisha's LOVE wood art

Lauren was smart and chose to not have flowers at all, and I love how simple yet just as gorgeous and rustic hers came out! She also decided to do something different for her board. And I was so happy to hand letter the “love” for her!

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With all that to say, hope you love how our boards came out! Here are some freebies for you, PDFs of all 4 of the designs you see above!

– the sanserif LOVE based on the Shanty-2-Chic original

– Amie’s serifed LOVE

– Lauren’s Love from a 1 John verse

– and my You & Me design

And I’ll end this post with a fun “I just finished and I’m so proud of this project” iPhone photo, taken late at night while I was crafting in my jammies!

@samallencreates done

High Quality Wood Type Letters from Preserve Cottage on Etsy

preserve cottage etsy wood type letters_0028

Being a graphic designer brings with it the obsession with all things type, whether it be an irrational love of the ampersand (&) or an undying love for old printing presses and with the love of the latter, comes the lust for wood type.

And my mother, as wonderful as she is, indulges my love of all things font related because she at heart is just as smitten with the written word as I am.

preserve cottage etsy wood type letters_0036

So it’s thanks to her that these 5 beauties sit upon my mantle, showing off the wear and tear of years of hard work.

And also thanks to Preserve Cottage, an Etsy shop that specializes in “Vintage Letterpress Kitchenwares Homewares and Sundries.”

preserve cottage etsy wood type letters_0032

And with that, my heart is happy.

Evernotes Every Friday

1. Dana Tanamachi’s Chalk Book Covers

I’ve been loving on Dana’s chalk work for quite some time now… so now that I see she has illustrated and created several book covers for Puffin Books… well you see, my heart grew two whole sizes and my eyes turned into big hearts like in the cartoons. And for $7.19 on Amazon this could be mine… Add to cart, checkout!! Wizard of Oz and Pippi Longstocking are also available in addition to Peter Pan. Found via designworklife.

2. D23 Expo

This past weekend was the D23 Expo in Anaheim… I was granted tickets for the very first expo a few years ago and I think I may need to purchase tickets for the next one in two years again. Thankfully, this year, I was able to read a very in depth article on the expo and all there was to see in my favorite Disney blog, Mice Chat. I mean they had an entire wing dedicated to Imagineering, with real Imagineers there to talk with guests. Ahh!!

3. DIY Framed Chalk Entryway

I’m loving this chalkboard wall that Ez created on Creature Comforts. It’s just darling, I love the mixture of medias too that really take this installation to the next step making it a real gallery. My husband I may not be daring enough to paint on the wall, but I like the idea of several framed chalkboards mixed in with other art pieces. See more of this DIY and a painted striped rug DIY here.

4. DIY Wire Basket

Another DIY I found on Creature Comforts this week was a link to Four Corners Design with their tutorial on creating wire baskets out of hardware cloth / woven wire. I love the industrial look of wire baskets but the cost of them sometimes outweighs the product even at Home Goods. Definitely a DIY worth looking into!

5. 15 Ways to Use a Ladder at Home

And lastly, for today, another home product I love… ladders! I have been bugging the hubby to get a ladder to act as a shelving unit and also side table but he’s not digging it. So I will lust after them in this article from Design*Sponge: 15 Way to Use a Ladder at Home. If all else fails, the crate wall in my office just may be tall enough to merit a ladder! (yes, I still have yet to blog my amazing office redo…)

Evernotes Every Friday

Make sure you read through the design posts to find an extra sweet treat discovery!

1. Lettering versus Calligraphy

As I have been exploring the art of lettering and calligraphy—which to many seem one in the same as the term lettering is rather vague—I got super excited to stumble upon the site of Lettering versus Calligraphy. I thought all the mysteries of the typography universes were about to be solved! While the site may not solve my age old question, I did find the site to be a fun adventure in type exploration ::nerd alert::

It consists of a visual dialogue between a letterer and a calligrapher, where they draw/write a letter responding to a keyword given by a moderator. The adventure aims to explore the capabilities of the two technical approaches. It delivers one letter daily and takes place online, where the visitors are invited to vote for their favourite.

Found via swissmiss.

Lettering versus Calligraphy

2. Brad Woodard’s New Site

Another fun site I found this week was the brand new site for illustrator Brad Woodard—a designer I have featured quite a few times now, and the designer of one of my favorite wedding invitation suites ever! Check it out—its full of amazing new work! Found via Dribbble.

3.  1975 Wine Branding

At first glance you may wonder why I would post a seemingly simple or traditional design below, but you see it’s not just the year ’75 shown, but using an old printing technique, the 19 of 1975 sits subtly behind its counterpart making this designer “literally say oooooo.” Designed by CF Napa Branding, found via Pinterest.

4. Custom Typography Wall Art

Continuing the topic of typography, and thanks to a new blog reader, I was reminded of these cool art pieces. How cool would it be to create your own custom images around one of your favorite towns or places? And a fun photography challenge!

5. Cookie Butter

Something that is somewhat widely known to those who have known me for a matter of years—and sometimes new friends of just a week—is that I love chocolate chip cookies. Like seriously love them. To me, a chocolate chip cookies satisfies all food cravings and could possible end wars with just one freshly baked batch. My answer to the question, “what should we have for dessert?” is always the same but I have recently heard of this wondrous creation of Cookie Butter. Say what?! I am salivating already, it’s on my must find—and eat—list. To use this delectable treat in cupcake frosting, check out A Beautiful Mess.

Evernotes Every Friday

Sorry to have missed this post last week, but there was just no way, no how I could manage it—plus I hadn’t spent much time perusing the interwebs either. So carry on to the delayed Evernotes Every!

1. Engler Studio Identity

I love the splashes of yellow amid the bold black and white, but what I really love is the concept behind this design for the interior decorating team at Engler Studio:

We wanted to create a brand for Engler Studio that embraced its interior design skills, as well as its individual design personality. The main element of the brand is a graphic combination of patterns that overlap each other; they represent the images and colors you might find on an interior designer’s inspiration board, and also refer to the play of patterns, colors, light and shadows in a beautifully designed room.

Designed by Eight Hour Day.

Engler Studio Identity

2. Gig Poster for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

So much going on in this poster with the organic yet abstract shapes—yet it has a simple design in terms of color and imagery. It definitely caught my eye while browsing the pins of Pinterest.

Black Joe Lewis And The Honey Bears Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

3.  Antique a Mirror

It’s full speed ahead in redecorating our home office. As I was going through all my current wall decorations, I realized I mostly had framed pictures, so I started searching for other alternate options. A mirror would be a great addition—I also found a 2′ compass, score! But I don’t want any old mirror. In keeping with the Pirates of the Caribeean theme we’ve been dreaming of for 8 years, I thought if I pirate were to have a mirror, it wouldn’t be nice and shiny but rather waterlogged and aged. So thanks to HGTV I found a DIY post on how to antique a mirror, now all I need is a mirror.

How to Antique a Mirror

4. Ikea Moppe Drawer Hack

I started staining the 4 crates I have thus far collected (for my office of course), and let me tell you—I love staining wood! It is just too fun! Thankfully I am liking the imperfections of the wood and the stain otherwise, I may say it wasn’t going so well. Anyway, to further my love of staining wood I found this great “Ikea Hack.” Thank you Pinterest!

	 IKEA Card File Drawers Hack

5. Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars

I can’t help but salivate every single time I look at these scrumptious dessert treats! Find the recipe on CupcakesOMG! Found via Pinterest.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Evernotes Every Friday

1. Pantone 2013 Color Chart

Love each and everyone of these! Found via Pinterest.

2. Jan V. White

You could spend hours perusing the new Jan V. White site. As his About page states:

Jan V. White is a magazine guru and design consultant to publishing companies. He has given more than 1800 seminars in 27 countries on the relationship of layout and graphics to editing. His goal is to persuade word-people to think visually and visual people to think verbally. Understanding each other and blending their skills increases the impact and quality of their shared product.

And now eight of his books are online for free!

Over his forty-year design career, Jan V. White wrote twelve books on grids, page layout, typography, designing charts and graphs, the use of color, and other aspects of information design. Now, eight of his classic design books can be yours, free.

Seriously hours and hours can be spent on this site, truly an amazing gift to the design community! Found via Nubby Twiglet.

Jan V White / Nubby Twiglet

3.  Christel Llop Calligraphy

Just last week I posted about needing to take a calligraphy class, well you guys, this stuff is hard! So far my letters are not looking the way I hoped. That class is looking more and more appealing to me! Especially when I saw the work of Christel Llop on the Graphic-Exchange. Her work is amazing and I love the mixed media pieces she’s created that truly take her lettering and calligraphy to a whole new level of art and design. New design crush right here.

 Christel Llop Caligraphy

4. Map Quilting Kit

Well I guess we can add all things sewing and quilting to my growing list of “new hobbies I want to try.” I have been wanting to try to learn how to crochet for awhile, not that I have done one thing about that, but finding this Haptic Lab quiliting kit that creates a map, well now that is just too cool. And you can get even more creative with it by adding in your favorite places in the city. They have kits for New York, Washington D.C., Paris and a ton more! Found via swissmiss.

DIY - New York City Kit

5. Decorative Wooden Crates Forming A Cabinet

People of the internet, I am finally working on my new office!! Remember when I posted about getting inspiration for offices? Well that day is finally here! And my husband has agreed to allowing the installation of a wall of crates—you may also remember my obsession with those!! I sold him on the idea after seeing this DIY post about getting crates from Michael’s and staining them. I could not be more excited—or antsy—to get started! So far I have 4 crates, but with the size of the intended wall, I believe I need about 20! Oh and this photo here, I love the way the vertical crates break up the design, the various heights of columns, and the way the top ledge is decorated. Thank you Pinterest!

Pinterest Projects: Wooden Crate

I have been loving wooden crates ever since this post on Huckleberry Prairie! Since then, I’ve joined Pinterest and my obsession with crates has increased expontentially. But the thing is, I didn’t own any crates. Not a one. Until one weekend while garage sale shopping for a bride. She was looking for crates too so we came home with 4–5 crates between the two of us! I only bought one, but I love it! I can’t wait to get more.

Here’s my one and only crate, I love the metal detail on the corners.

Here’s to future crates and their decorative uses! Click the image for its source…

Office Inspiration

As I mentioned in my Photo A Day post, I haven’t left the house much. And for awhile, I was working from home a lot which leads me to this post. My home office is a disaster. Andy and I had dreams of a Pirate’s Den even before we got this house but our lair has merged with a distribution center for BBQ sauce! I still have high hopes that we can make our two fields work together, even keeping our Pirates theme. I promise Andy, I will not throw out your endless supply of USPS boxes. For now, I am just thinking and planning—thanks to other bloggers and Pinterest, inspiration is not hard to come by. Here’s just a few of my favorites (click the image for source)… I will be keeping our pirate theme so most of these are organization and layout inspiration for me. What does your office look like? I want to see, comment with a link to your own office post!

I can totally see this as my corner of the office space, plenty of storage but yet plenty of room for visual appeal!

While our office won’t have white white white walls, I do like the typography accents!

This room could totally exist in our house!

Definitely a fan of the chalkboard wall trend, but I hate writing with chalk!

I like the look of this desk out from against the wall but I know I’ll want a much larger, clunkier desk.

Love the whole wall dedicated to a inspiration board.

The following is a shot of Kevin Kidney, a Disney artist’s, office!

We definitely have the cabinets to pull that look off, even with the glass windows!

Oh, for the sake of storage…

Other Helpful Resources

• Design Sponge’s Design Solutions for Working at Home

• A Little Tour of My Office, by Promise Tangeman (I love seeing other designer’s workspaces!!)

• A Photographer’s Workspace, Katelyn James‘s guest post on Jasmine Star’s blog

The Before

And I guess if you must know, just so you know how bad it is. This is our downstairs room that basically stores everything from the office, to BBQ product and shipment, to anything else we don’t know what to do with yet!

P.S. I totally saved this for the end, so the only truly dedicated readers would reach this abomination!

P.P.S. A few days after I took this picture, the small opening in the floor by the window has now been filled with a few dozen cases of BBQ sauce! Help me out!

Now you believe me… please help!

The Allen Home: Christmas Decor, Part 2

Last Saturday, Andy and I picked out our tree from our local Lowe’s. Andy’s family tradition is picking out a tree that hasn’t been unwrapped yet so it is a mystery to how well shaped the tree is… My family (or should I say my mom) on the other hand would go down aisles and aisles of trees selecting just the perfect tree with no browning branches or gaping holes. Our compromise was choosing a tree that had been unwrapped yet not fully open! Gotta love compromise in marriage! Another compromise since we’ve been married is decorating our tree with a unifying “theme.” Theme is loosely based as ornaments just have to fit into the categories of red, gold, silver, rustic, or extremely important! All others may be left for my very own tabletop Disney tree! The tree that is designated for all my more cartoonish ornaments of the Mouse himself and all his buddies! I wasn’t a fan of any of the photos I took of my Disney tree so you can wait until next year for those! So with that lengthy introduction, here is our 2011 Christmas tree!

Oh Christmas Tree!

First up is our nativity bulb as you can’t have Christmas without the birth of Christ!

I am just discovering the beauty in mercury glass! I just love it! Our house doesn’t have too many fancy things so I like that it adds class with a rustic touch. As we were unwrapping our ornaments we found a few that resemble mercury glass! Didn’t even realize we already had them!

For many of you, after you see the following photos, you’ll wonder how I don’t consider this a Disney tree as most of the photos here will be of Disney origin… but you see, I have cleverly presented them to my husband as either in the red/silver/gold or rustic category!

Since our first Christmas together we have been collecting an ornament from Disneyland each year. Here’s just a few of my favorites. They’re in order as we got them. The “castle in the woods” ornament was bought for our first Christmas in our house and the last bulb is the one I bought just last week!

Even our tree topper has little hidden Mickeys all through out! You really can’t even tell, but I know they’re there… and now so do you!

And without any further adieu or blabbing from me… here’s the most beautiful Christmas tree I have ever seen!

Hope you have a merry Christmas!