Archive for October, 2010

Chalkboard Vase

October 29th, 2010

It’s been kinda fun working from home for a few days, not running to an airport hauling my suitcase behind me with my Blackberry burning up with “Fedex Delivery Notification” emails.    Like a normal person, I get to sit here and drink a cup of a coffee, work from a computer and actually say hello to my  neighbors who walk their dogs down the street as I pick up my mail from–gasp!—my actual mailbox.   Yep, I’m romanticizing about having a normal day and, frankly, I love it.

Anyway, this gave me time to rummage through the craft room and do some cleaning and organizing.  I came across a standard florist vase and a can of chalkboard paint tucked away in the back of the cabinet.   Like chocolate and peanut butter coming together, I thought why not bring these two things together into one?

Painted a light coat of chalkboard paint all over the outside.  Streaky, light and not quite there.   But that’s the key to working with chalkboard paint: don’t overdo it on the first coat.   Think of the first coat like a primer or as if you’re icing a cake: just start with a skim layer to get things going.

Second coat done and dried.

Write right on the vase with chalk (this one was done quickly, but I’m sure you could spend a little more time and draw hearts or something all over it along with a message).  

Fill with fresh flowers and you’re good to go.   I’m going to save this for out of town guests when they come and visit and write “WELCOME!” on the front.    Easy, simple and fun. 

Happy Friday and have a great weekend, all!

To Kill or Not to Kill…

October 28th, 2010

I just handed in the manuscript for my upcoming book Upcycling and one project that has gotten quite a bit of pre-publication buzz is one where I upcycle old Patagaonia rain jackets into a shower curtain.

Sadly, I cut the project out of the book.

If you read the sorta snarky New York Times story on green guilt, you may have seen me confess to my over-use of certain toxic glues and obsessively talk about this upcycling project involving pricey waterproof jackets.    Alas, when I looked at the over 100+ projects we created for this book, this Patagonia jacket project came at the bottom of my list of “loved” projects.


1.   Who has 6-8 unwearable waterproof jackets to begin with?

2.  No matter how much time we spent styling, lighting and trying to get a proper beauty shot, we just could not get one pretty enough in comparison to everything else in the book.

3.  It takes more than 3 steps to make.   Every project in the book is 3 steps or less.

In theory, this is a pretty swell idea for a project: Gortex jackets are waterproof, you have a torn jacket, you use it as a shower curtain.  When it gets dirty, just wash it in the washing machine and hang to dry.   

But even the best projects with the best intentions can end up with mundane results.    My only regret?   Not stopping one of the hardest working stylists I know from making this project at my house a few months back.   I had a little voice in my head saying “not sure about this” a few minutes into her diving into this project, but I let her struggle until it was completed anyway.   Meghan, I think I owe you a big fat dinner with unlimited drinks soon.

Upcycling Halloween Ideas

October 27th, 2010

If you didn’t catch my Today Show appearance yesterday featuring easy upcycling ideas for  Halloween, here’s a recap.    The video of the whole segment is above, but here are some extra crafting notes that didn’t make it into the segment.

Split an old globe in half at the equator.  I used a blunt knife—like a butter knife—and just wedged it into the equator to seperate the two halves of the globe.

Here, I use one half as the trick-or-treat bowl and the other one I upcycled into a pendant light.   All you need is a light cord from Ikea and a bulb to make it into a cool global light fixture.

Love this idea.   Grab a paper bag (this one was a Trader Joe’s grocery store bag) and paint the whole thing with black chalkboard paint.   Let it dry and draw all over it with chalk.   Embellish with white paper silhouette cut outs (like this ghost).

Upcycle old plates into spooky silhouette plates.    What you need is a plate, sticker paper (81/2″X11″ one here from Staples) and something called Porcelaine glaze you can find at Michael’s craft stores.    Print out a silhouette shape on the sticker paper and cut it out with sharp scissors.   Stick onto the plate.   Cover with glaze and peel off the sticker.  Bake at 350 degrees in the oven for 20 minutes and then turn it off.  Let it cool inside the oven and you’re done!

Potion bottles are the simplest.  Use a burnt out spotlight bulb ad attach a wine cork to the top with black electrical tape.  Use a Sharpie marker to write on the bulb like “POISON” or “PINCH OF NEWT.”  

Spooky paintings.   Use a cordless drill and some old string lights to make them glow.  Starlit landscapes and glowy eyed portraits for a wall of Harry Potter-esque portraits.

Enjoy these Photos of the Viceroy

October 26th, 2010

I just returned back from a very very quick trip to Anguilla to attend my friend’s wedding at the gorgeous Kelly Wearstler-designed Viceroy Hotel.   

I’m on The Today Show this morning (in the fourth hour) sharing Upcycling ideas for Halloween, so it’s been one mad dash from one place to another.    I hope you’ll enjoy these inspiration pictures from the gorgeously decorated Viceroy Hotel!   

Haunted Portrait

October 25th, 2010

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to do a little spooky decorating around the old house.

I have this flea market painting that I bought for a buck a few years ago that I glittered to see if I could bring some “life” to it.   Results are kinda mixed, but it definitely looks more interesting now than what it looked like before. 

Then I had a haunting idea…

Took the cordless drill and drilled out two holes in the eyes… centered…right in the smack middle of the pupils.

And stuck two orange colored holiday lights into the eyes.    Imagine this hanging in a dimly lit hallway with the eye  balls glowing with firey flare? 

Spooky, right?

For more upcycling ideas for Halloween, be sure to tune in to NBC’s The Today Show on Tuesday, October 26th in the fourth hour with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee.    I’ll be sharing more fun crafting projects to help you decorate your abode for Halloween.