Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Craftsman style embroidery

Despite traumatic childhood memories involving cross stitch I've found that embroidery can be remarkably therapeutic and enjoyable.  Standard embroidery.  Not cross stitch.  Never cross stitch.

With that I like to collect ideas for possible embroidery designs to spice up a house or to add to clothing.  Textile Studio is an online store with some gorgeous Craftsman style designs and, bonus, you can either buy the items as a kit or admit to yourself that you really won't get around to starting, let alone finishing the kit (I'm still firmly in denial about all those unfinished objects cluttering my crafting corner) and just buy one of her finished items.

Pretty pillows and curtains!  Plus I love that buttercup color on the wall.  Pretty.

I just want all of this room.  The molding, the casing, the bed frame, the color, all of it.

Of course this is all craft and no steam but doesn't this give you some wonderful ideas?  

Other sites to explore:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Instructions on installing craftsman style wood trim

A project for all woodworkers out there - craftsman style trim for your walls and lintles.  I'm rather lacking in the tools and tablesaws frankly scare me (I have two woodworking uncles that are now down a few digits thanks to those things) but for those having the tools and lacking the fear, this is a great way to give your house that extra touch.

For the rest of us - well, I was going to say that Home Depot and Lowe's can help but, judging from their websites, I'm not sure they can - all the mouldings and millwork they show are so fiddly and curvy and so not craftsman style.  Annoying.  I wouldn't be the least bit surprised, however, if they have a larger stock than their website shows.  To make up for it, at least a little, check out Lowe's Moulding Visualizer little interactive program.  Like the websites the moulding is all contemporary or country and anything but craftsman but it at least lets you see the amazing impact moulding can have on a room.  I love a light colored wall with dark stained trim.  So chic!

Inspiration - Craftsman Kitchen Remodel

Interesting article about a remodeled kitchen done craftsman style.  Nothing steampunk but it has pretty pictures.

Papercraft decorations

I love papercraft - it's the perfect marriage of DIY-ism, economy, miniatures, and scissors and glue. This is the sort of fun kindergarden prepared you for. I haven't done nearly enough papercraft (not having access to a color printer at the moment will do that) but I love it. Imagine how at home these would be in a nice craftsman style display case.

Model of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car - instructions are in Japanese so maybe not for your first papercraft?

The Black Pearl!  A zillion pieces and also in Japanese so quite the challenge.

Time machine!  From the only Time Machine movie that I'll acknowledge.

The Nautilus, from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  
Plans for a display stand included.  Wouldn't this be great on a display shelf?

Also of interest:

  • Halloween themed papercraft including various model houses, monsters, coffins, and a few games to print out and make.  And a pocket skeleton!

  • Disney themed papercraft.  Everything from Disneyland buildings and signs to movie bits and bobbles. Totally worth spending some time checking out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bat lights!

I was looking through the Rejuvenation website and all it's lovely period lights and fixtures and found this little gem of an oddity -

It's a bat light!  And it's actually a replica of one made over a hundred years ago.  What fun people those must have been!  I know it's not my normal style but I so want one of these lights. 

Gingko wall art

I first found out about wallies (wall stickers) many years ago when they were first getting started and I loved the idea.  Of course I was also in college and thought christmas lights on the ceiling was the height of modern decor.  Since then I've rather fallen out of love with them as the trompe l'oeil effect of a window looking out to the seaside just doesn't do it for me.  It looks ... well, like a giant sticker. 

 However they do have a few items that I love despite it all.  Current love - their gingko leaf stickers. 

In mini,

I'm not sure where or how gingko leaves got associated with the A&C movement but whatever the history, I'm glad they got together - there's just something cute about those little leaves.  And the smaller ones would be a great touch to a kitchen or bathroom.

If gingko leaves aren't your favorite and you want something a little more steampunk scientist, you can always get the butterfly wallies and mount them in their own little frames.  Very victorian collector without any butterfly fatalities.

Other finds on the Wallie site that show possibilities - 

Chalkboard sticker!  Because every mad scientist needs a place to write down their brilliant!!!! plans.  Keep chalk and eraser nearby.

Tile tattoos.  And while none of the current styles are very arts and crafts-y, they're ALL better than most tile I've seen in older houses.  Not older as in early century chic - older like eighties bland.  We're starting our own house search and, as our current budget best allows for "investment opportunity" houses, we've seen a LOT of bad tile jobs.  And since details like fixing holes in walls and leaks take priority over bad tile, it's great to have something to disguise it.  I might start showing pictures of some of the places we're looking at (nothing identifiable, just pictures of out of date kitchens and 70s country bathrooms) and then giving ideas on how to fix them up Arts and Crafts and Steampunk style.  How does that sound?  It should help me - after seeing so many bad design decisions (faux wood panelling on ALL the walls?  Really?) it should cheer me up and give me some hope for our next place.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Decorating with quotes

Quotes make such great (and easy!) decorations - and, with the right quote, it can really set the mood for a room.

Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian Resort at Disneyland (highly recommend, btw)

Framed quote from ZeroDesignz on CafePress

So how to actually add these to the room?

There's the old but good and very easy method of pulling out that unused frame you've got lying around (I'm not the only one with a shelf of frames, right?), pick and print out your quote (perhaps using a fun font from one of those many free fonts sites) and frame it and hang it.  Easy.

For those that don't want their quotes boxed in there's plenty of other ways to decorate - if you're artistic you can just paint them straight onto the wall.  I can't do that.  

For letters that look hand painted I'm intrigued by Wise Decor.  You enter your quote, pick the size, style, and color, and they ship your quote to you all ready to be applied to the wall.  They don't have a lot of fonts but, as Arts and Crafts is one of the few, I'm a fan.

You can hunt down some stencils (I tried to find some free ones but none of them looked terribly craftsman or steampunkish - sorry!) at your local craft store or make your own with your printer, an x-acto knife, and careful cutting.

Alternatively you can cut the letters out of colored paper or thin brass sheets (also cutesy of your local craft store) or anything else you can think of.  Mmmcrafts has a great tutorial on making fabric covered letters - with the right fabric that could be gorgeous.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Porthole views

Of the different sub-genres in the steampunk world I'm decidedly more an explorer type while my husband goes for airship (with a dash of evil lair for his study).  But some of the most amazing steampunk decor I've seen has catered to the 20,000 leagues lovers.  And I do get it - that was a great book and good movie (the Disney version, none of the tv remakes I've seen have done any sort of justice to it).  I just prefer air to water.  But for those who swing the other way, this collection of ideas is for you.

Wilson's Graphics on Etsy has a bunch of fun and realistic looking porthole wall stickers.
The only downside (besides the lack of mechanical squid and undersea city views) is that they likely look like wall stickies - not so three dimentional.

If you want more realism for your room Antiques of the Sea is so my new favorite place to pick up portholes.  Seriously, this place sells them.  A lot of them.

They recommend using this one in a bathroom (that black bit is actually a mirror) or to cover a small wall safe.  I love that.  They also have gauges, compasses, ship wheels, bells, diving accessories, figureheads, and odds and ends.  The whole site is just one amazement after another.  Like I said, this isn't my preferred sub-genre (pun not intended but quite apropos, no?) but I can see getting a gauge or two for my husband's study.

Apothecary labels, air mail, and other little free bits of happiness

Amy Moss, graphic designer and author of the Eat Drink Chic blog, is almost too talented to be true.  She's like the Martha Stewart of the sweet steampunk world.  Seriously, look at what she's giving to the world - 

Mini airmail envelope packets.  She says they're for holding birdseed for weddings but we both know that's just one of many, many ways these can be used.  

Bubble bath label.  She says it's for a bridesmaids' gift.  Right.  I'm totally keeping this for myself.

Apothecary style labels.  A bit fancier than I go for, but perhaps just perfect for you?  

Octopus and Cuttlefish Embroidery

Though I prefer to point out neat things I'm unaffiliated with in the hopes that makes my opinion a little less biased and more trustworthy, there's times that someone I know comes up with just the neatest of neat things.  This is one of those cases.  These gorgeous (and free!) embroidery patterns for octopi and cuttlefish are just too gorgeous to not share.

My favorite is her Cuttlefish Love embroidery pattern -

And if thread's not your thing these would look great stenciled onto a table (how about that Ikea rolling shelf from a few posts ago?) or embossed onto brass or really anything else your creative mind comes up with.  

Other patterns, including one fantastic mass of rising tentacles, can be found here.

Site to Inspire

While looking for ideas on decorating the Craftsman style way I tripped upon craftman style - a great collection of period pictures and descriptions of the style broken down by the various rooms.  Most of the pictures are black and white sketches but a few show some great color choices.

This is my favorite - I love the mix of lavender and golden yellow.  And is that a trilobite above the door?  Can't you just imagine this living room belonging to an airship pilot?  Perhaps that little mural on the top back wall is the company's logo and the shelves below it hold a globe, some gauges, and little soveniers picked up on her travels.  

Craftsman Kitchen the budget way

I'm a huge fan of Ikea - my first visit (age 6) was a near spiritual experience.  So finding craftsman/steampunk style stuff there always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Beautiful, clean lines and they come in brass!  Because all things are better in brass.

I'm always a fan of more counter space and moveability and this has them both along with two more drawers.  Aren't those clean lines gorgeous?  And if it's a bit too plain for you then some paint and stencils can fix that in minutes.  Imagine gears stenciled on with a darker wood stain or maybe a mad scientist's doodlings on that top.  

I want to fill this shelf up with lots and lots of glass canisters and penny-candy style jars, all full of eccentric stuff.  Though, more likely, they'll just have rice, sugar, and cereal - but a girl can dream.  They'll at least need some great apothecary style labels.