Collect Art You Luv

Metal and pottery artIf you luv art, would like to collect a few pieces but never feel like the size your wallet agrees – just skip the wallet discussion! I don’t mean to say charge it or hock your heirlooms to pay for art that will put you in debt for years. I do believe in the advice to collect art you luv! It’s not a matter of buying expensive pieces or by famous artists- especially since you never know who will become famous someday. It matters that you buy pieces that speak to you and that you just luv to look at!

Yep, this means that your grandma’s charcoal drawing from art class you admired, a nice mat and frame is all it needs- or maybe it’s better hung as is. Or how about that thrift store find that calls out to – yea go ahead and buy it for $3. The price really doesn’t equal how much you luv it.  Here’s my thrift store find, a mermaid pottery piece. I just wanted a little color so a paint wash was all it needed.

Thrift store pottery art


I’m also a fan of steel drum art – old oil drums become amazing metal art. I luv that’s its re-purposed! Since it starts as flat metal, I really like the texture too- holes, twists, bumps- that’s been added by the artist to bring out the character.

oil drum art


My recent favorite art find is this painted metal piece from my recent trip to the Artisan’s Gallery in Los Olivos, CA. The metal art comes from Mexico City.

Mexico City painted metal art


Enjoy collecting art you luv and hopefully this means your wallet won’t become weightless!

Here’s a few places to search for inexpensive art you might luv:

Etsy Haitian Metal

Birds and Flowers Haitian Recycled Steel Drum Metal Wall Hanging - 8" x 34"-JJ-610

Goodwill Buying Online: Goodwill’s across the nation!


Old World Charm Accessories

DIY French accessories

The teen room makeover in the Old World Euro French look needed a few accessories to tie it all together.  Here’s where we started with a few key furniture pieces DIY Euro Vanity and the DIY Euro Desk.

The decorative wire mannequin dress form was a must have key accessory and absolutely makes the room!  The DIY light switch plate cover was small project to add a finishing touch.  Any light switch cover works. I liked the selection of scrapbook paper at the local craft store, so it was just a matter of picking one that fit the Euro French look. For DIY light switch covers you can also use your favorite wallpaper, contact paper, wrapping paper or generally anything that can be glued.  Modge Podge is my go to craft supply for gluing and sealing the paper to the light switch cover.

The gold leaf boxes were a lucky find! They started out as plain wood boxes found on a random thrift store trip.  Using Modge Podge and scrapbook paper the sides and top were glued and sealed with coordinating patterns. For a bit of sophistication and keeping with the gold in the DIY Euro French desk, gold leafing was used on the box edges.  Gold leafing is a great way to quickly give the box some ‘aging’. Gold leafing can be picked up at your local craft store and is as straight forward to do as using gluing and sealing – just a little messier with the leafing which is super super thin.

DIY Gold leaf box

And the final touch was the bedding – a bold floral which picked up the rooms neutrals and the pink and purple accents!  Pillow variety like the Palmistry pillow and the Once Upon a Time pillow added great text elements to balance the flowers!

Teen bedding



Enjoy your spare time making great DIY accessories that WOW!

DIY Euro Desk

DIY French Desk

If you didn’t see the DIY Euro Vanity this is part 2 the DIY Euro desk. This is all part of my teen’s room makeover. She wanted something a bit more sophisticated with an old world french design.  The desk was a craigslist find for $35 but it needed a serious makeover! Since I was looking for a very polished finish I decided to use spray paint.  A light sanding then a few coats of Crayon Black sating spray paint had it looking pretty good. I also added a couple of coats of clear satin polyurethane (applied with foam brush) to the top only to protect it a bit more. Clear glass and gold drawer knobs add just the right “French” look for a bit of old world charm.

DIY desk drawers

Here’s the DRAB to FAB desk and the only thing you don’t see in the before picture are the large wooden drawer knobs…

DIY Desk


DIY french desk


With the desk we needed a chair and a rolling number would be just too modern. So a solid chair with enough comfort for studying was in order. Single chairs that are sturdy seem to be a tough thing to find.  Easy to find wobbly ones that are beyond repair.

This chair found me! It was sitting on curb about a block from my house.  Yes, this is one of those moments as you drive by, see the chair and throw on the brakes. Running over to the curb it was a quick check to be sure it was still study and lucky for me the peeling baby blue paint is all that needed to be changed.  The DIY chair makeover used the same Crayon Black satin spray paint, clear satin polyurethane on the seat and side posts of the chair for a polished finish.  It did require quite a bit of hand sanding to remove all the old paint but well worth it!

Found this fabulous french looking chair cushion at Home Decorators. Fits perfect and there’s a good 3 inches of padding!

french chair cushion



So what’s next? The accessories and the bedding! All important pieces to tie the room together.

Enjoy your furniture makeovers in your spare time – drab to fab is such a satisfying process!  Have a question on a piece your working on shoot it over.

DIY Driftwood Mirror

DIY driftwood and shell mirror

I luv the ocean, so anytime I can take the ocean with me I do!  Mirrors work anywhere and i had been wanting to add a fun element to my patio. The DIY driftwood and shell mirror added just the right unexpected element and was is not only easy to make but fun to go hunting for driftwood.  What do you need for your own DIY ocean mirror?

  • one mirror – any shape and size with a frame that is somewhat flat – basically anything you can glue to.  Thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets are all great sources!
  • driftwood – collect shorter pieces and more than you think you’ll need since it’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to fit it to the frame
  • shells – I like the smaller shells for this size of mirror since it becomes more of a treasure hunt when you tuck them in the driftwood. Puka shell necklaces from your Hawaii trip 10 years ago work great, or the party stores usually carries them too!
  • glue gun or clear waterproof liquid glue – for this mirror hot glue has held up just fine outside, but if something does fall off I’ve used Arleen’s waterproof clear glue

Then it’s all just a puzzle! Lay out your driftwood first, glue and then spread around your shells and glue.

I didn’t have to paint the mirror frame before I glued, since it was already black with gold trim.  Thought the gold would weather nicely once I covered the black area., but you might want to consider it if the frame has too much color.

Here’s the finished version…

DIY driftwood mirror


Enjoy taking the ocean with you in your spare time!

For inspiration a few other ideas to get you thinking…

Baja Sunburst Driftwood Mirror - Small


Visit Los Olivos


Artisan Gallery los olivos

What’s not to luv about a road trip that involves wine, art, coffee and a garden store! Visiting Los Olivos should be on your travel list when you road trip through the Santa Ynez wine country.  A great small town, lots of wine tasting, great food too!  Not to be missed is the Artisans Gallery. A collection of local art everything from paintings and jewelry to leather and glass.  Great spot to bring your lunch in the open courtyard where art mixes with the outdoors!

Need a coffee break to revive? I highly recommend the Corner House Coffee shop. Rustic and cozy and it’s right next store to Stafford’s chocolates.  Besides a great coffee, it has baked goods and gelato – how can you go wrong!

Corner House Coffee los olivos

Need to a place for eye candy? Just 2 short blocks from the Corner House Coffee after passing Artisans Gallery you’ll reach J. Woeste.  You’ll know it from the eclectic outdoor garden art like owl shaped rocks, huge wind chimes and bells. Succulents are everywhere in all the unusual shapes and fun indoor home decor pieces.  It’s a little on the high side for my wallet, but well worth the wandering!

J Woeste Los olivos

Just when you think this small town can’t get better, you’ll also find pieces of public art sprinkled through the town that will make your walk even better! Gecko water fountain and this great flower mural will have you smiling without even knowing it.

Public Art los olivos


Enjoy your visit to Los Olivos in your spare time!


Fence Fish

Fence Fish

I’m a sealife fan and luv adding mermaids and fish to my outdoor areas. Enter the DIY fence fish.  My inspiration was painted wood fish whose former life were a picket fence. Luv’d the upcycled use of old wood, only wish I’d saved some of my own run down picket fence pieces a few years ago. I almost asked a neighbor for the demolished picket fencing in the back of his truck, but I didn’t actual know the neighbor and thought it might be a little weird for our first meeting to start with “Hi I’m your neighbor down the street. Can I have the fence trash out of your truck”.  Ok, next time I’ll be a bit more gutsy – I mean really I’d probably be doing him a favor and saving dump fees!

How to make DIY fence fish? I did have lying around a few old 1 x 4 boards (I think. I’m really not a lumber person so it’s my best guess).  Made a quick pencil outline – nothing exact and cut with a jigsaw. I went back after my first cutout and made a few additional cutting tweaks like rounding the front a bit more.  I used regular acrylic craft paint with a bit of sanding for the worn look. Opted to leave off the clear top coat for quicker aging.  Added picture hanging hooks to the back.

In case you need inspiration for your own fence fish here’s a few fabulous finds.

Enjoy your time finding or creating your own DIY fence fish!

Fence Fish - Click to enlarge Picket Fence Fish Set of 6 As shown Beach Cottage Nautical Nursery and Coastal Decor

Hand Painted Fish Made From Salvaged Picket Fence


DIY Euro Vanity

DIY Teen vanity

As my teen decided to redo her room, the theme “French County” and “Classic European” started to evolve. This meant black furniture, rich accent colors with a bit of a modern art look to keep it from looking just plain “old”.  Wanting a bit more style we took down the loft bed and went on the search for solid wood pieces that had character and could be made exactly as needed.  First was the need for a vanity.  A special place to pull together the “I feel awesome and beautiful” every morning (even if you don’t start out thinking it) was on the list. Now that I think about it, this should be on the must have list for every woman even if it’s just a corner of the counter with a flower in a vase- because who wouldn’t want to start the day that way!

As luck would have it, the first trip to my favorite Salvation Army netted just the right 2 pieces that fit the exact dimensions for the vanity table and a stool with flair! The original stool was a not so glamorous white vinyl faux ostrich material in boring gray metal.  A quick liquid sand, black spray paint and new swirly Euro rich purple fabric made it DRAB to FAB!

DIY vanity stool


Recovering the seat of the stool is a very straight forward DIY.  You need only a screwdriver and pliers to remove the seat and pull off all the staples. Using the fabric you removed makes a great patterns for the new fabric. Next is just a staple gun moment to tack down the new fabric. Looking for upholstery basic how to’s? Check out one of my fav sites Design*Sponge.

The vanity table was an old fashioned mission style table. Solid wood but really lacking anything special.  While I generally brush or roller paint larger pieces, all the wood slats screamed for spray paint to get just the right coverage and save time.

A light sand across all the table pieces and then several coats of crayon black satin Krylon 2x coverage spray paint. I luv this stuff (and no has paid me to say that)! I do highly recommend using a face mask, something to protect your eyes and the usually clothes protection. I generally also like to wear a pair of gloves to avoid extra paint on the hands. To finish off the vanity table and keep the top looking fresh, I also added a couple coats of Polyurethane clear satin finish.  Goes on great with a foam brush.

Here’s the original mission table found at Salvation Army

old mission table


Looking for other DIY Vanities? Here’s a few more with different styles

Vanity Area

Enjoy your spare time looking fabulous!


Antropologie Public Art

Anthropologie dish peacock


Now in your nearest store – free public art! Yes, a visit to the nearest Anthropologie has the most amazing art displays. I know the real purpose is to sell more things, but really I’d put some of them on my DIY art list and my favorite public art.  I’m pretty sure my oogling the art has distracted me from many purchases.

Just last week this amazing peacock – part mosaic part dish wonder had me wishing it was for sale. The mosaic was pretty standard but when you look at the dish tail and legs this is just fab piece of art! Someone tell them to start auctioning off the pieces for their fav charity.

tape paint pot


Elementary school art project? This was another art find in a San Francisco Anthropology visit. It had me flashing back to the days of making a vase by tearing tiny pieces of tape and adding paint then proudly gifting to my mom.  Who know it would make such a classy come back as retail display art.

Fabric cutout paintings


This classic canvas oil painting in the San Francisco Anthropologie store made do a double take.  On the first pass I dismissed it as just an oil painting. By the second pass I noticed the fabric inlays on both of the out buildings. What a great twist! Now, it’s on my list of looking for my own fabulous oil painting for a DIY project.

paper owl


I’m always amazed at the skills of paper artists.  They can make such an ordinary item into such a fabulous creations that bring out texture and movement in no way the ceramics or metals can!  This was a great piece of paper art in the Los Angeles store.

Shredded Paper Wall

For the few of you who enjoy a bit of industrial art, this was a wall of shredded and molded paper at the Los Angeles store. It had such great texture, depth and shape a photo just can’t capture.  I’m not sure how I can fit a shredded paper wall into my home decor but it has me thinking!

Enjoy a bit of free public display art at your local Antropologie store!

p.s. I’m not affiliated in any way with Anthropologie.


How to Make More Time

How to Find time

It’s already January 1st and everywhere I turn people are planning their resolutions for the rest of the year. It’s usually never quite a fresh slate since there are things you are going to have to keep doing but you can always choose how, if and when you do things!  Every year the top resolutions usually have some form of “exercise more, lose weight, learn or do more xyz, eat healthy”.  Almost all of these involve time. In my experience it’s always the lack of time we point to as the reason for not doing something we truly wanted to do.

So…. here’s an approach I found usefully as you make those goals with yourself.  It’s super easy – you can do it in 10-15 minutes and always go back if you want to spend more time!

(1)  Make a list of things you “wish you had more time to do“. If you can be specific, it’s even more helpful to keep you focused on what really matters to you.

Here’s a few ideas to get the juices flowing from my list:

  • Have more picnics with the family – at least once a month ( I won’t care if the food is grocery store pre-made, fast food or home-made)
  • Make a new dinner at least once a month
  • Time for a one-hour yoga class twice a week
  • Sleep 7 hours
  • Read 1 book a month

(2) Make another list of “how you really spend your time“. This is a little more challenging. Don’t worry about listing every nickel and dime of time but buckets of things and think through a couple of months.

Here’s a few ideas for this list as well:

  • Planning and making dinner for family every night
  • Gardening
  • Car maintenance every quarter ( oil change, tire rotation, wiper replacements)
  • Work 8-5p M-F
  • Laundry (collect from rooms, sort, wash, fold & put away)
  • Walk dog

Now comes the fun part! First, go through the second list on how you really spend your time and make a note for each item based on the following criteria:

A = Delegate
Can someone else in the family do it – or at least help, can you pay someone else to do it or can you exchange with a friend to do it.  If you exchange with a friend will it save you time if they are faster and enjoy something more than what you are exchanging to do.

B = Do less well
Yes this means you have to check-in with yourself and have a discussion on whether you really need it done to the gold standard you set for yourself.  My “do less well” was gardening.  I would luv to grow many varieties of veggies, but decided I’d be happy with the veggies that are easy to grow, my family really likes and I only plant a few. In my landscape beds, I also only plant perennials, succulents and fruit trees since it requires less time and is just as satisfying for me.

C = Limit distractions
These are the things that seem unexpectedly to suck your time without much return. Things like work email after hours (generally the non-critical kind), internet searches, blog reading and Pinterest top my list.  Don’t get me wrong I haven’t cut these out of my life but for me I usually set a time limit.

Second, go back to your list of Wish you had time to do and see if any of the criteria apply (Delegate, Do Less Well, Limit Distractions).  I found that Reading 1 Book a Month could be a “B-Do less well ” since I’d consider listening to a book on CD or itunes.  I also don’t think it’s “doing less well” since listening is a good skill and it gives a bit a variety.

For me, I also found prioritizing and picking a few key items on the Wish you had time to do list helped narrow it down.  So now you just have to stick with your new way of thinking (A,B or C) about how you spend your time to make time for things on your Wish you had time to do list!

Enjoy making more time for things you want to do this year!