Scandinavian Trophy Head Straight From Nature

I recently spotted a very unique and natural décor item at Deco Crush. It was featured in an article called Get The Look, 10 Decorating Ideas For A Beautiful Scandinavian Kitchen (10 Idées Déco Pour Une Jolie Cuisine Scandinave). Nature holds a prominent place in the hearts of Scandinavians, and it couldn’t be more obvious than in the magnificent trophy head made from branches of wood featured in the piece.

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Because it captured my eye, I just had to knock it off! I first scanned the forest that surrounds our house and collected fallen branches.

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Then using small hand clippers/shears, I cut pieces (that were similar in width) to the same length. I looked for two branches that looked like deer antlers and two that mimicked horns.

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Branches that look like antlers and horns

I cut two branches to be placed horizontally (one for the forehead and one for the chin). Using hot glue, I glued the antlers and horns to both horizontal pieces.

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Then I glued the pieces that were similar in length and width to make up the face. I used 12 pieces total gluing them to the front and back to emphasize the 3-dimensionality.

IMG_2241Once all  the pieces were glued and dried, I sprayed a light coating of white spray paint over the entire piece to make all the branches match in color and to cover any flaws.

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Once the piece was dry, I hung it in my living room.

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I love it! Now, I have a little touch of Scandinavia in my very own home.

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It works well with our rustic stone fireplace and the forest outside.

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I love my Scandinavian Trophy Head Straight From Nature. I hope this motivates you to make one!

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An Original Christmas

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I came across some cute Christmas decorations that are quite original. I love the wooden santas (above) made by my very own sister’s sister-in-law, Jenny.

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My own sister made this tiny rustic twig star. It is comprised of only twigs and red paper clips! So easy and so original.

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I found these adorable felt star ornaments at Craftaholic. I love that she personalizes them in greek. I will definitely have to order some for my own Greek kids!

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I adore these little trees made out of popsicle sticks. So cute! From Simplyredd.hubpages.com.

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I can’t wait to try these simple aluminum ball ornaments made from aluminum wire and ribbon. Such an easy diy project for something so unique and modern, from Le Blog Creatif.

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From LaLoLeblog comes this very original Christmas wall art made from sticks! You can keep the sticks natural or paint them white like she did. The white branches really make the colorful ornaments pop. Very unique!

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I love these delicate twig ornaments (above) made by michelemademe. A nice way to add a natural yet artistic touch to your décor.

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From Philzendia.com, comes this very unique twist to the traditional Christmas tree décor. She made tabletop Christmas trees from newspaper. Very original!

 

 

 

Easy, Elegant and Inexpensive Holiday Decor

Unfortunately, the holidays often seem to be all about money, money, money these days. Like most of us, we run ourselves ragged shopping for gifts for family and friends. If you’re like me, you end up spending loads of money not only on gifts but on food as well. (My husband is Greek. And he loves having all the Greek dishes served up when entertaining. The ingredients are expensive). So, I hesitate to buy any new holiday decorations. And I could buy the entire Pottery Barn Holiday catalog if you let me, mind you! In order to not feel guilty and not go over my budget, my holiday décor purchases have to be inexpensive. Here are some wonderful, unique, easy holiday decorating tips and diy ideas that are beautiful, unique and simple and will help keep you within your budget.

 Berries, Pine sprigs, and branches in ordinary containers

Go outside and clip a branch of berries or buy artificial ones and place them in a basket. Put firewood and pine sprigs in a container you already have. Or, clip a handful of barren branches, spray paint them white or a metallic silver and prop them up in a vase. Easy, elegant and simple holiday decorating. Below, is my very own holiday branch décor that I did last year. I added mini white lights! See my Branch Art diy project.

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Birch Branches and Candles

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From Ballard Designs

Have Firewood? An easy and different way to dress up the interior of your fireplace is to use branches as pedestals for candles. White birch with white votives can create a very elegant embience. Or, put smaller birch logs on the fireplace mantel. Rustic charm without the LL Bean pricetag!

Suspended Tree Branch

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From Ballard Designs

A great alternative to the ordinary Christmas tree is a suspended tree branch with ornaments. Keep the branches natural but hang pine cones from white ribbon for the rustic yet elegant combo. Stay monochromatic by using the same kind or same color ornaments. Or, spray paint the branch and hang colorful ornaments.

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Ballard Designs

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For the more modern and fun approach, suspend an aluminum tree from the ceiling and hang colorful glitter ornaments like the ones above created on curbly.com.

White Candles with Evergreens

For the minimalist approach, try plain white candles with touches of evergreens. Easy and classic. Perfect for a New Year’s party.

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From Pottery Barn

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From Grandinroad

Carboard Trees?

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Yes, cardboard. From Comme un air de fete comes a wonderful and easy diy Christmas tree project. Cut out pieces of cardboard into triangular Christmas tree shapes, drill holes and insert lights. Perfect for an entry hall or covered porch!

Modern Cone Trees

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From www.curbly.com comes a very easy and inexpensive diy holiday decoration using paper-mache cones. Just drill holes, sand down and insert battery operated LED lights. They can be an exquisite all-white display or a colorful one.

Advent Calendar Fun

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Create an advent calendar to commemorate the days leading up to Christmas. From C’est Bientot Noel comes a simple and easy idea of using an ordinary clothes hanger or a simple branch. Suspend small wrapped packages (she also uses Chinese food containers and envelopes) with string. Put the number of the day on the outside and have your kids open a package on the corresponding date. Great way to add suspense to the season. And so cute!

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 Newspaper Star Wreath

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Yes, simple and plain newspaper! Comme un air de fete creates a unique, edgy and hip twist on the conventional Christmas wreath. You could use a star cookie cutter as your guide.

String Art Christmas Tree

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From mypoppet.com:  A very unique yet creative way to have a Christmas tree and star on your wall. This is also a great idea for someone who has limited space. Hang your cards or photos or just decorate with colorful pom poms and bows. Adorable!

Chandelier Ornaments

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From Ballard Designs

An inexpensive and very doable holiday decoration is the simple technique of hanging ornaments to a chandelier or light fixture. Stay monochromatic for a touch of elegance or mix it up for a lighter approach. I do this myself every year! Below is my chandelier decorating version using pinecones and twine.

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You can also add holiday greens and berries.

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From Ballard Designs

Wrapped wire ornaments

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Another simple diy Christmas decoration is this ribbon wrapped wire star featured on Craft and Creativity. These would look great on an oversized tree or hanging in windows. I love the twine wrapped one. You could also use burlap! Or use a light blue ribbon for Hanukah.

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I hope you found these Easy, Elegant and Inexpensive Holiday Décor ideas to be an inspiration. I’m off to create my own easy diy knock offs. Stay tuned to see what I come up with!

La Bella Autunno… Fall Leaves Garland

Autumn Leaves GarlandAhhh! What a beautiful autumn season we are having here in Princeton, NJ. Just yesterday, on my way back from meeting my kids’ school bus, my kids and I noticed a gorgeous colorful tree. While my youngest was busy kicking and scampering through the leaves, my daughter and I picked up some of the most beautiful fall leaves.

Beautiful Fall leaves

Beautiful Fall leaves

I thought we would just display the leaves around our pumpkin/fall themed centerpiece. But when I went into my office/studio I noticed a can of polycrylic clear protective finish I was using to finish off some bedroom furniture I had recently painted. Hmmmm? Could I use that polycrylic finish to somehow capture la bella autunno we had just witnessed? Here is what I came up with…

First, I laid out all the beautiful leaves we had collected and applied the clear gloss polycrylic finish to each side of the leaves, allowing approximately 3 hours of drying time for each side (with the help of a fan).

Applying a polycrylic finish

Applying a polycrylic finish

Secondly, I cut off the stems, and using a hole punch, punched holes at the base of each leaf.

Cutting the stems off

Cutting the stems off

Punching a hole in each leaf

Punching a hole in each leaf

I then tied twine on each leaf looping it through the punched hole.

Tied a loop of twine on each leaf

Tied a loop of twine on each leaf

After putting a twin loop on each leaf, I laid the leaves out in a row and ran another long piece of twine through each loop.

Running twine through each loop

Running twine through each loop

And there you have it. I’m bringing la bella autunno inside my home with this unique and festive fall leaves garland. If I pack it away carefully in tissue paper, I’m hoping to enjoy for many years to come. But, I’m sure this same technique could be done with artificial leaves as well.windowgarlandwithlogo

Multi-Language Baby Name Plaques

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As a stay-at-home mom who is always busy multi-tasking and juggling family responsibilities, I treasure the moments that I can be creative and express my artistic side. I’ve created an at home small business that does just that. It is called Global Baby.

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Global Baby offers baby name plaques in multi languages. I produce my plaques using canvas and wood and acrylic paint. I offer names in English, Greek, French, Gaelic, Hebrew and custom languages as well.

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Here, I’ll illustrate how I design and produce the 6″x14″ wooden name plaques.

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First, I begin with a plain unfinished wooden plaque. I sand it to make it smooth. I paint it (both sides) and then attach a pre-painted wooden ornament (can be purchased at Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby or any craft store and online).

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Then, using a graphic-oriented software (I use Publisher), I produce the names on my computer with related ethnic fonts. I flip the font horizontally in order to produce a negative image. I then print it out on normal copy paper. I trace the name with a very sharp black charcoal pencil.

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I then lay the outlined charcoal name face down on my painted wooden plaque and burnish the image with a blending stump (found in the drawing art supply section of any craft store).

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Blending Stump

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I carefully paint the outlined name with black acrylic paint.

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After two or three coats to make sure the letters are solid (letting each coat dry approximately 1 hour), I use a special artist eraser and carefully erase any pencil marks or lines. I then spray approximately three coats of clear gloss acrylic spray. Then, I staple the ribbon on and form it into a bow, using a bit of hot glue to make sure the ribbon appears and stays straight.

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And there you have it! Global Baby’s personalized wooden baby name plaques. I produce them in Greek, English, French, Hebrew, Gaelic and the language of my customer’s choice (hence the Russian above). See https://www.etsy.com/shop/globalBaby to order your very own custom plaque.

Decorating On A Peso

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Thought I’d share with you some of the many ways I’ve saved a lot of money by decorating on a peso! I love a bargain! And, I especially love when something is free, handed down or recycled. No doubt I get my frugal approach from my mother who was born during the Depression. She also had 9 children. So I was raised in a household where money was never wasted. Even today, I think her approach is very practical and wise in this over consuming, conservation-conscious world.

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Yes! I found a nearly new micro-fiber sectional in perfect condition on Craigslist for only $125! And I spotted the sofa table on the curb in downtown Princeton. It just needed to be dusted.

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I found this beautiful mahogany buffet for only $5 at a town-wide tag sale in Hopewell, NJ. They have it every May or June. It is a tiny bit scratched up, but all the drawers and cupboard doors are in perfect working order.

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When we moved into our house, there was an existing elaborate brass chandelier in the dining room. I loved the design but hated the brass. So we spray painted it black. It now adds a nice dramatic effect to the room.

I searched and searched for a nice sisal rug with a well-made border. I compared Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Homegoods, etc. With 3 kids, I really didn’t want to invest in something too expensive but wanted something well made. Believe it or not, I found a Sisal/chenille blended 7.5×11 area rug that also had matching runners for my hallway. I love it. And, it’s well made.

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I am a big Craigslist fan. I found the wrought-iron 6 piece patio set for only $200. My sister once told me that wrought iron is always the way to go. If it rusts, just scrape it down and repaint it. It will last forever. I have to give credit to my husband for always being willing to go on a Craigslist escapade!

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I will often find wonderful decorating items at my local grocery store. I waited until these vases went on sale to nab them. They add a little ethnic flair to my dining room. Another great tip for unique souvenirs:  use elements from nature to make unique and inexpensive one-of-a-kind souvenirs that aren’t tacky. While we were walking around an ancient site in Greece some time ago, I had my kids pick up a few rocks. They were on the outside perimeter of the site so as not to disturb the archaeological authenticity of the site itself. Once we got home, I painted them using the Greek alphabet to spell out the ancient site, Olynthos. Very unique and creative. I get lots of compliments! And it reminds of us our lovely trip.

 

Globally-Inspired Decor

Indian Inspired bedroom at madaboutpinkblogspot.com

Indian Inspired bedroom at madaboutpinkblogspot.com

Bedroom from Elle India.

Bedroom from Elle India.

 

These blue and white Tribal African Drapes (below) can add a splash of ethnicity to any room. I like the use of blue instead of black for a refreshing twist.
Again, the use of blue in this woven West African Hamper adds a subtle tribal influence to a bathroom.
The Danish style which is so popular because of stores like Ikea, is a great way to celebrate your Northern European roots. Streamlined, pure and simple shapes and lines emphasize a modern and clean look.
Bedroom by Jake Curtis for IKEA

Bedroom by Jake Curtis for IKEA

From Decorate Workshop, Holly Becker at decor8blog.com

From Decorate Workshop, Holly Becker at decor8blog.com

Adding French burlap in the form of pillows, dishcloths, table runners, etc. adds a French country flair whether you’re French or just a lover of French Country design.

French burlap pillows at Si un mas m'etait conte.

French burlap pillows at Si un mas m’etait conte.

 

French utencil holder and dishcloth at Ciel D'Orage.

French utencil holder and dishcloth at Ciel D’Orage.

French burlap at Dentelles Oxydees

French burlap at Dentelles Oxydees

A delicate Chinese pillow from Zarahome.com (below) paired with a delicate bedding can reflect one’s Chinese heritage in a subtle way.
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Asian incense spirals (below) from VivaTerra offer a unique yet modern approach to an Asian inspired room.
Asian Incense Spirals vivaterra.com 3 for $59

Spanish-Inspired DIY Ottoman

Because of my love for globally inspired interior design, I’ve seached the internet for many diy project ideas including DIY ottoman projects. I wondered if I could do one myself (but with a little touch of Spanish flair depicted in Spanish tiles and pottery). So I went ahead and tried it. And, here is the end result with a detail explanation of the how-to.

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First, I took my inspiration (Spanish tiles) and tried to find a fabric that related to the colorful palette. I didn’t want to be literal with the design (exactly like Spanish tiles or pottery) but wanted my fabric choice to emphasize the vibrancy of Spanish design.

My fabric is Kaufman Breeze Tapestry from Calico Corners.

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First, I took a basic palette that was leftover from a recent bathroom renovation. The palette measures 32″x40″, so it is pretty substantial in size. I bought a piece of 4″ foam and 2 1/2 yards of batting.

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I spray glued the foam on after cutting it to size with an electric carving knife . I put some foam around the edges as well to even out the sides. The palette was not perfect. Then, I stapled the batting over the foam.

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I then layed the entire piece with the foam and batting in place on my 2-1/2 yards of fabric and began to staple. But before I stapled the fabric, I placed a plain sheet of white fabric over the underside and stapled it into place (so if you look at the ottoman from the underside fabric covers all the bones).

globalknockoffs 018 For the corners I used a technique I utilize for making beds – hospital corners! My father was a marine in WWII and always made sure that when we made our beds, we made them right, using hospital corners. Because the ottoman with the foam and batting was chunky like a mattress, this technique worked wonderfully. You just pull up the corner piece of fabric directly to the top of the corner, tuck in the sides until the fabric to the right and left form a straight edge. Takes a bit of maneuvering. Pull tight and staple into place.

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I then bought four unfinished wooden legs with four packs of straight top plates to mount them (from Lowe’s). I painted the legs black. I then realized they were too long so I cut the legs so my ottoman would measure 18″ high.

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I sanded them a bit to give them a more old world feeling.

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I then screwed them into place at each corner.

And there you have it! A DIY Spanish-inspired ottoman that is unique and elegant. It really ads alot of color and style to my livingroom.

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Thanks for looking! And feel free to come back for more globally-inspired do-it-yourself interior design projects.

Furniture Redo DIY project…Spanish style

As a do-it-yourself interior design enthusiast, I always have a vision of how I could transform or renew something old. Of course, my ambitious dreams don’t always turn into reality (do to kids, household chores, social engagements and just the business of life). But hopefully, that will change since aquiring some beautiful furniture pieces from a close friend who is moving. I’m thinking of painting these wonderfully crafted pieces with a Spanish flair! Here are the pieces…

1) Soon to be our “Old World Wine Cabinet!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Buffet

3) Tall Dresser

Found a great website that is chalk full of great vintage european furniture painting ideas

 I love the old world look that has been captured with the mint green, and the combination of paint and stained wood. I may try to use this technique but with the addition of Spanish style stencils on one of my own redos.

I’m going to check out their ebook (Guide to Furniture Finishes) they sell on their site. I’ll let you know how I do. I’m not that experienced in furniture redos, but I’m sure with a little patience, I can master. Here are a few more before and afters from www.europeanpaintfinishes.blogspot.com that I just adore. Wish me luck, and check back for my finished projects!                                         

 

Here is a tall dresser before picture that looks similar to the condition of the one I have.

 

Here is the finished product! I hope to paint my tall dresser white as well with perhaps a little French twist to it.

 

 

 

 

 

Europeanpaintfinishes also did a dining table. I love that they aren’t afraid of painting over wood. I always hesitate to do that. Since I don’t have any emotional attachment to my pieces above, I think it will be easier for me to do too.

Here is their dining table after…

Again, I love the mint green. I may use this color on the wine cabinet redo.

Wish me luck. I’m hoping my globally inpired diy interior design enthusiasm will kick in soon! It would help if my calendar cleared up as well. Stay tuned for future posts to see the end results!