What I’ve been up to…interior design studies!

Hey there Nesters! How have you been? I hope you’ve all been keeping busy and distracted from the fact that I’ve had another hiatus from this blog!

I thought a life update was in order because so many things are a-changing! And I mean exciting things!

First – if you didn’t already know, I’ve stepped away from a few side businesses. I am no longer painting furniture or selling Simply Said. They were both something I really enjoyed and I truly believe they came into my life to lead me where I am going. Both gave me the joy of decorating, but not really – you know? They were just small parts of a grander picture.

Thus , I finally made the decision to go back to school and study interior design. And I am loving it! I wish I had discovered this joy when I was in college all those years ago. But I firmly believe my path was to study creative writing, work in marketing and PR and and end up doing something I love, with a lifetime of experience in things that will make an interior design business better.

I’m still working my book publicity job, and fitting in school when I can. Fortunately, the program I am enrolled in is all go-at-your-own-pace and online. So far, I’ve studio a lot on color. It was a good refresher from my days working in graphic design and advertising. The program also includes a lot on furniture history. I now know the differences between all the french Louis styles!

It also includes a ton on furniture placement and making sure a room and it’s contents convey the right mood, are of the correct scale, are functional and that together all of these elements are harmonious. There was a great section on textiles (you know I am a fabric lover). And now we’ve just covered lighting and window treatments. And much much more. I expect to complete the program by summertime.

What comes next, you ask?

Well, I will start doing small projects. A room here and there. And to prepare, right now I’m getting the business established. I’ve come up with a name (to be revealed soon!), and hired a firm to do my branding. I had hoped to do this myself, but found that I’ve been away from the Adobe Illustrator game far too long. So, they will design my logo, marketing materials and website. I cannot wait to see how it all turns out!

In the meantime, I am going to my first-ever High Point Market in a couple of weeks. It’s the largest bi-annual trade-only event to feature what’s new in home furnishings. There’s seasoned designers providing educational talks, as well as over 280 showrooms of eye-candy! So stay tuned, because I have a feeling you’ll get to see a lot of photos from this adventure!

I hope you will stick with me, as I make this transition. The business, blog and social media names will all change, and interiors will become the main focus. I know you guys love a pretty room!

Have a lovely day, friends!

Weddings with a personalized touch!

Wedding season is around the corner, and ideas for crafting a truly unique day are blooming across the internet and Pinterest. I love the many homemade touches that brides to be are bringing to the ceremony and celebration – like DIY mason jar centerpieces, hand-sewn chair covers, even paper flowers to look like the real thing!

I’m also loving the personalization trend. People are painting chalk boards and using them to indicate seating, table numbers, even which side of the church is for families of the bride and groom. Messages of love abound as decor for inside and outside the church. And nothing is as special as a beautiful piece that can serve as a wonderful photo prop and treasured keepsake.

Here’s some creative ways to use Simply Said vinyl designs on the big day!

Weddings with a personalized touch (1)
This photo is so cute! I love that the couple chose a BLUE banged up suitcase for this shot. It looks like they took to the train tracks and are running away – and in love!

 

Weddings with a personalized touch (2)
“I Do” on the bottom of the bride’s shoes! Ingenious!
Now make the vinyl blue and you’ve got your “something blue” all squared away!

 

Weddings with a personalized touch (3)
Iron on vinyl designs are perfect for denoting the head table’s most important seats!
There’s a design for “Mr,” too! Choose to make this in the color that matches your wedding colors.

 

Weddings with a personalized touch (4)
Weddings with a personalized touch (5)
Simply Said has inexpensive designs that you can adhere to walls, glass, mirrors, even cars!
They are easily removable and won’t damage the surface. So they’re safe for antiques like this beauty!

 

Weddings with a personalized touch (6)
There’s so many designs that can be personalized with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date. Apply them to our accessories or the item of your choice!

 

Weddings with a personalized touch (7)
Etched glass vinyl can be applied to windows or mirrors and look like a million bucks!
Here’s a little video with even more ideas for crafting a unique wedding day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJXLuI8bXaM&feature=youtu.be
And if you would like to order any of the designs you see here, or want to create something unique, please contact me! I’m happy to design something as special as your upcoming day!

Fun times to come in the man cave!

This week my husband’s new girlfriend is set to move in. Admittedly, she’s beautiful.

But, I’m not jealous.

Fun times to come in the man cave! (1)

 

On the contrary – I’m super excited. The new pool table is lovely to look at AND it comes with a ping-pong top. (I’m much more skilled at ping pong then billiards.)

So I foresee a lot of family fun in the man cave!

Our barely-used table of 9 years will hopefully be finding a new home at a local Boys and Girls Club. I’m awaiting a return call from them this week, hoping they will take our donation. Fingers crossed!

Fun times to come in the man cave! (1)
UPDATE 1/20/15
The new table arrived and hubby, Saxon and I have played some fun games on it already. The pool table is fast and plays great. But the real fun has been the ping pong!
Fun times to come in the man cave! (2)
Now that my husband is home for a visit, we’ve been able to get the basement all squared away again since the flood renovation is complete. We’ve hung things back up on the wall and moved furniture into place, etc.  I made this bar mirror as a Christmas present for Damon, and I love how it looks on the wall!
Fun times to come in the man cave! (3)
And this week we think the Boys and Girls Club is coming to pick up our previous table! I like the idea that kids will be able to enjoy playing on it, and that it isn’t going to sit in a landfill.
Now, I must go practice my serve! (Damon is really good at ping pong, and I have to step up my game.)

 

Decorating Bottles for a Vendor Event

This past weekend I did my first vendor event with my Simply said business. It was at Haymarket Day, in down-town Haymarket, Virginia, on an incredibly gorgeous day. As you would expect on a sunny, warm Saturday afternoon, the masses were out. Who doesn’t love a parade, beer garden, and bands?  And over 250 venders?!!  I do, I do!

I had the great fortune to be placed right next to the kettle corn truck. Oh yeah – a mile of people waiting in line to get their grub on, all the while eyeing up my Simply Said goods! They’d walk right on over after getting their giant bag-o-popcorn, and say, over and over again, “What’s Simply Said?”

 By person #1,345 I had gotten pretty good with my response. And a jar full of registration slips proves it. But seriously, I had a lot of very interested folks tell me they want to host a party. I even took a few orders right on the spot. And I sold about a dozen of my fun, little decorated bottles.

I made the bottles in an attempt to try and make up some of my investment for the booth. Normally I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a vendor event, but, I know I have to grow my biz outside of my lovely community, and figured this was the biggest show I could afford to do. Especially if these bottles sold like the kettle corn did!

I made thirty of them. I did not sell thirty, however. The Christmas ones didn’t move. Guess when its sunny and 80-some degrees outside no one is thinking about Dec. 25.  They did love the candy corn bottles, though!! (kettle corn, candy corn…this is starting to sound like a sponsored post)

I should have made all of them with the white/orange/yellow combo of colors. But, I wanted to give people variety! So, I made these, too…

It’s okay, I have two more vendor events coming this holiday season, so I hope that the festive designs will be in demand then.
So, I’ve had a lot of questions on how to make these lovelies, so here ya go:
1) Drink a lot of wine! Or better yet, host a Simply Said party with me, and let your guests drink all the wine. (psst…drunk ladies like to buy stuff)  Kidding. Kind of.
2) Once you have some empty bottles, soak them to loosen the adhesive on the labels. I soaked for about an hour, then scraped the labels off. I got all remaining goo off of them with mineral spirits. Rubbed it on, and wiped them clean.
3) I bought cans of Valspar gloss spray paint at Walmart. I took the bottle outside and set them upright on a flattened cardboard box. I sprayed them each with three coats.
HINTS FOR SPRAY-PAINTING
-hold the can a few inches away from the bottle at all times
-spray using even strokes back and forth
-do not expect to have complete coverage on the first coat – its better to have very light coats
-if you spray in one spot for too long, you will get a drips
-go around the bottle in a circle – spray from 12 o’clock, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock
-let each coat dry before adding a second or third coat
-when overlapping layers of color (for instance in the candy corn bottle) spray with a fine light mist at the point where they overlap for seamless blending
-spray on warm sunny days and a bottle dries in a matter of minutes
-let paint cure for at least a day before attempting to decorate with vinyl designs or accessories
4) After I sprayed the bottles, I let them cure for 2 days in the garage. Then I applied Simply Said vinyl designs to each. All that entails is rubbing and removing paper!
5) Next I embellished with ornaments, ribbon, jewelry and other pretty little trinkets. 
6) For a decorative touch to make these bottles look like vases, I go into the woods, fetch a bunch of twigs and skinny branches, and spray-paint them as well. Then I pop them into the tops of the bottles. Done!
The grocery store gave me a few wine boxes and they made it so easy for traveling with the bottles. No clinking around, or worrying about dinged paint jobs.
So there ya have it, instructions for decorating your own wine bottles. Drink and be merry my friends! See ya at the next show!

The Mood of Color

Raise your hand if you like to play it safe and go with neutrals. I do. Sometimes. In some rooms, beige or grey feels right. 

But, some spaces demand color. Why? Probably because you’re trying to convey a message. To communicate a feeling – or better yet, to bring on a mood. Certain colors and combinations of colors contain visual cues that trigger certain responses, like excitement, comfort, or peace. Think about it – most people want their bedrooms to be a calming or soothing retreat. That room demands a hue that elicits those feelings, like sky blue.
Whenever I’m feeling uncertain about a color combination I turn to a book that’s been in my library since my early days as a graphic designer. It was printed in 2000, but its content is classic. It’s called Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color. The book’s focus is on using color in printed design, like magazine advertisements, but its theory applies to home decorating, too.
It’s fascinating really – reading about color and the subliminal human reaction we have to it. Color wields power – in both marketing and in your home. The color red causes excitement because upon seeing it a chemical message is sent to the brain and releases the hormone epinephrine. I know, that’s a lot of mumbo-jumbo to me, too. Basically it increases your heart rate. Neutrals impart a message of dependability. They’re seen as timeless, enduring – probably why people who love the traditional style of decorating like neutrals.
So back to this book – when I’m feeling ambitious about color, and want to go for a combination that shouts – look at me…I open this book. Check out the pages here. They include color combos with specific non-verbal messages.

Here black with yellow rivets the eye and makes us think of stinging insects. It feels pretty powerful to me!

Oh my, this is adorably romantic! Soft pink – I’d do this color scheme in my own bedroom if hubby would allow it!

Purple creates a sense of the surreal. Probably why so many churches have purple stained glass, and lighting.

This certainly elicits a calming feeling for me!  I have this same color paint in my sunroom, where my office is. It helps me concentrate.

What kid wouldn’t love to play in this room!!
There’s no doubt about it – color is awe-inspiring. Thank God we see in more than just black and white!

 

Why aren’t you painting anymore?

I know what you are thinking. A blog post from Twig and Twine Nest? Yes, after 8 months I am writing again, and this might just be the cause for all of our recent snow! Ha. Okay, that’s the last time I will speak of the evil white stuff again.

Anyway – I have missed blogging, crafting, painting, etc. I took some time off from it all to focus on other things -like my family. And myself. You see, I kind of got carried away with my little side business. And that’s what it was supposed to be – a fun sort of hobby, that I could do when I wasn’t working my book job, or taking care of hearth and home. 
Instead, I dove in head first. My hobby got a name, its own business cards, a blog (a full-time job in itself), and a Facebook page. It started to grow and breathe and consume me. I invested in training, books, and countless hours of YouTube tutorials to hone my craft. When I wasn’t learning, I was painting. In a garage that was either 80 degrees or eight. 
And let’s not get started on the search for furniture – hours at auction, or driving from one thrift shop to another for a deal. Hours in bed at night searching Craig’s List. Taking my husband’s truck and begging neighbors to help me lift my haul. 
Soon I was painting furniture to sell, and taking commissions. At any given time, I had half a garage full of stuff waiting for its turn. The cars had to sleep in the driveway. It irritated my husband. The gym became an afterthought and I gained (more) weight. But, I loved the satisfaction of a finished piece of furniture – the transformation. So, all else took a back seat. Laundry piled up. The house wasn’t its usual spotless abode. Saxon had to fight for my attention. And my husband was last in line. 
And right when it was becoming clear to me that something had to give, the paint business started changing for me. Selling was becoming difficult. The local area seemed to explode with interest in repurposing furniture, and suddenly everyone was dipping their brushes into the collective paint can. I lost commissions to lower priced painters. My inventory wouldn’t budge (unless I slashed prices like Crazy Bob). Tax time came and when my accountant told me I took a loss on my “hobby,” I was devastated. Here, I thought I was helping my family earn additional income, while doing something I loved. Instead I SPENT money. Ouch, that was a tough realization. 
Soon, I decided to hang up my paint apron. I sold off my inventory. I stopped taking commissions. And while it gave me more time to focus on other priorities, I missed it. I felt ashamed, like a quitter. And my blog, which once gave me delight, became a source of sadness. It hurt to look at previous posts. And as each month passed, I felt guilt for ignoring it. I still do.
But, a lot of good has come from my time away. My jeans dropped 5 sizes. Saxon is reading like an “above grade level” champ, and I like to think its due in some small part to the time I spend with him and open book. My marriage is stronger than ever. 
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on myself. It’s obvious I am an all or nothing kind of person. Twig and Twine was my baby, and come hell or high water, I was going to see her to the prom. Yet, I skipped right through the joys of infancy. That business model might work for some, but it wasn’t right for me, or my family.
In the past eight months, I’ve still enjoyed decorating my home. I have painted a couple of things, too. For myself and a friend – without the pressure making a profit or turning it around in time for the next project. I’ve enjoyed trying new crafts, cooking healthy meals, teaching fitness classes, walking my dog, playing board games and other activities. I’ve found a better way of living I think. One that gives me flexibility, while still including so many things I love.
I’ve learned one person can only have so many jobs. My plate is still full. But at least now I have time for a blog post! So when someone asks me, “Why aren’t you painting anymore?” I just say that its not the right time in my life for painting as a business. But painting will certainly remain a hobby. Until the next thing comes along to absorb me!

Recent paint projects

It’s been a while since I posted about my recent paint projects. Here’s some of the goodies that have rolled out of the garage!

This twin sleigh bed is fit for a princess. She’s painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Antoinette. I sealed the paint with soft clear wax, and aged lightly with dark wax. I added a wooden applique to the head board and brushed it with gold gilding wax. There’s a touch of the gold on the footboard too. This bed makes me wish I had a little girl!

BEFORE – a yellowish whitewash look

AFTER!!

My husband asked if I would paint his dart board box. So here it is in ASCP’s Graphite, with about 3 coats of dark wax to bring the shade closer to black. It had been a cherry color. Sorry I forgot to snap a before shot.
BEFORE
AFTER
This is an old lyre chair I picked up at auction. I gave it a coat of Old White, lots of distressing, and both clear and dark wax. I easily swapped out new fabric for the seat as well. I still have the matching chair to finish – better get on it!

BEFORE

AFTER
Here’s a pretty jewelry armoire who’s finish had seen better days. I painted in ASCP’s Duck Egg Blue. I painted the knobs in Graphite. This piece turned out so funky with its scrolled legs – loved it!

BEFORE
AFTER
I did a custom toy box for a client who was gifting it to her friend’s newborn baby girl, Scarlett. She selected Emile and Versailles – such a pretty color combo! I stenciled the french motif on the sides. 
To create the name, I used a “transfer” technique. First, I printed “Scarlett” using my computer’s 
word-processing application onto 2 sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper. Then I taped it together and placed it over transfer paper. I laid them over top the wood, and used a stylis to “trace” the lettering onto the box. Then I filled in the letters with paint! Easy-breezy!
BEFORE
A client purchased a pair of off-the-shelf, unfinished pine cabinets. We painted them in Paris Grey and used dark wax to give them a rustic finish. They are hanging in her mud room over the laundry. 
They look great!
Here’s what I have to work on next…
Aren’t they amazing! I’ve gotten the fabric removed so far, but that’s it. Time to work!

Baby its cold outside, and the painting is at a standstill

A few weeks ago we had some record warm temps here in Northern Virginia. It was January and in the 50’s/60’s! But as all good things must come to an end, the thermostat dropped and this week it was frigid. Like 15 degrees cold! So painting in the garage is on hold until the forecast shows temps at least in the 40’s.

Here’s a large gorgeous piece I was able to finish before the Ice Age hit.

 BEFORE

AFTER

This gorgeous cabinet was painted hunter green inside and out. The client’s decorating has changed and she didn’t want to see any green on this baby anymore. To distress this piece and not have any green show through, I had to sand away the green paint in all the areas I planned to distress. Take a look…
I got out my truster Black and Decker Mouse and sanded off the edges – farther back than I intended to distress – so I could be sure the green didn’t show through. For the most part, this was successful, although I will admit, tiny hints of green did appear in some of the finer areas, like the molding up top. But, when it was all done, those areas looked more like dark wood than green, and the client was pleased with the overall appearance.

It’s painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey on the outside. I clear waxed the entire piece to seal the paint. Then I distressed lightly along the edges, and dark waxed in select areas to give it an aged look. Don’t you just love how this grey looks? 

On the inside I painted the shelves (plus two more not appearing here in this photo) and the entire inside in Old White. The dark wax on the bead board made this back really pop! 

This was a really big project, and I can’t wait to see how my client decorates it in her home! While the weather was still nice, I started another big piece of furniture (for the same client) – this white armoire.
We’re going to give it a more masculine appearance, and match the paint scheme to this piece of furniture.
I’ve already painted the whole piece in Annie Sloan’s Graphite. And as soon as the temperature creeps back up next week, I’ll work on that chippy blue effect. Wait till you hear about this – you do it with Elmer’s glue!
While I was between custom projects, I got a great deal on this used shelf. It was originally black and I wanted it to be red to match my laundry room colors.
I brought it inside and painted it in my kitchen! This puppy was painted and waxed in just a couple of hours.
I think the washer and dryer are jealous!

Alrighty folks, think warm thoughts! And pray for Spring to get here soon!