Retro Travel Art and Accessories for Kids’ Rooms

Every time I walk into Lavish in Hayes Valley, I find a great piece of wrapping paper to use for a new project. At just $4 a sheet, these provide a lot of creative bang for the buck. First, there was the graphic red print I used to line J’s nursery bookcase. Next, I found a sweet hydrangea paper for my craft studio. Most recently, I was inspired by this retro air travel print from Cavallini & Co..

Retro air travel paper from Cavallini a& Co.

Retro air travel paper from Cavallini a& Co.

I didn’t originally plan a themed bedroom for our older boys, and I still want to keep it pretty neutral. The travel theme evolved first from these beautiful retro-style city posters by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

Retro-style city art prints by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

Retro-style city art prints by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

When I saw the wrapping paper, I knew it would tie in perfectly. I framed a section of paper as art – easy! – and then used more for DIY pencil tins and magnets for our DIY racing stripe magnet boards.

Upcycled DIY pencil tins with cool retro air travel paper.  From Jewels at Home.

Upcycled DIY pencil tins with cool retro air travel paper.

Upcycle advertising magnets with some fun paper.  Jewels at Home.

Upcycle advertising magnets with some fun paper. Jewels at Home.

Here are those new items pictured in the boys’ room.

DIY upcycled pencil tins with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

DIY upcycled magents with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

DIY upcycled magents with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

 

Kids' gallery wall with retro travel art, DIY wall initials and DIY frames with clips to change art.  Click for details and tutorials.  {Jewels at Home}

Kids' gallery wall with retro travel art, DIY wall initials and DIY frames with clips to change art.  Click for details and tutorials.  {Jewels at Home}

And here’s a summary of the fun projects I did with this new paper: pencil tins, magnets, and framed art:

Ideas for fun wrapping paper projects: DIY pencil tins, magnets, and framed art.  Jewels at Home.

There’s still plenty of paper leftover. I’m thinking it would be perfect for luggage tags!

Yay! I’m excited to see the boys’ room slowly coming together!

“Jewels”

Art Clips for Kids’ Fridge Gallery

Well, first of all, I never dreamed I would put a picture of our fridge in this blog. The whole kitchen is terribly dated and doesn’t reflect our style at all. However, it works, and given the cost of a kitchen renovation, we’ve decided to live with it for a while.

I’ve been trying to spruce the space up a bit and add some functionality – for example, I got a kitchen island cart that added just enough storage and counter space, as well as a small eat-in area for the kids. If you can’t afford a renovation right now, it’s definitely a good option, and there is a huge range of size and styles.

Sometimes, it’s the little things. It sounds a bit silly, but even though we are living with the pink (yes, you read that correctly) counters and floor and the impractical cabinet layout, we were really missing having a place to display our kids’ art. Like a lot of fridges, ours does not hold magnets. And I only wish this were because it is cool stainless steel – no, it’s 80s/early 90s black.

I will credit hubby for coming up with the idea of using clips to attach art to the fridge. His “beta” version used plain clips and poster putty, which showed behind the clips and lasted about a month before falling off. I decided to take his idea and “Jewels-ify” it with some improved engineering and design.

I started with plastic clips leftover from the temporary shades we had everywhere when we moved in. They are great for this project, because they are small and lightweight. The spring is not as strong as a clothespin, which makes them easier to use when attached to a surface.

I cut out strips from scraps of our Imperial Trellis wallpaper to fit the clips. I think it would have worked to cut random strips, but I tried to make patterns like stripes, “V”s, and zig-zags. This wallpaper went in the powder room and living room bookshelves. It has been the Energizer bunny of home decorating for me – it just keeps going and going! I’m totally in love with the elegant, classic, clean-lined pattern and the glow of the silver.

covered clips

plain plastic clips covered in wallpaper. I used hot glue, because the clips are not flat. (By the way, someone really needs to teach me some photo editing, so I can do proper "before and after"s!)

Finally, I used command adhesive strips from 3M to attach the clips to the fridge, and now we have a place to hang artwork and reminders! Yay!

20120429-075750.jpg

command adhesive strips to hold the clips on the fridge.

art on fridge

Finished fridge gallery.

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Close-up: how happy am I to look at this every day?!

I think these clips would also work on a door, art display board, or wall, not just on the fridge, so give it a try and send a picture of your results!

What a good feeling to have at least one thing in our kitchen that I enjoy looking at!

“Jewels”

New Powder Room from Top to Bottom – Wallpaper!

Our powder room facelift is going slowly… but surely!  Unfortunately, I started taking apart the space and then developed some inertia about getting the wallpaper up, as I hadn’t done wallpaper in a long time, so the sad state of this space got sadder before it started getting better.  Today, I put our toddler in daycare for an extra day, so I could go to Kindergarten Spring Sing at kids’ school without distraction.  After the performance – which was adorable! I took full advantage of the rare stretch of several hours “off” from both my office job and my mom job by having a lunch date with hubby and pledging to get this wallpaper up!

Vanity area before

BEFORE: The whole room was very white – blah – with dated gold-tone fixtures and a pedestal sink that has no room for storage or even the soap!

A powder room is a perfect place to use wallpaper – it makes a beautiful statement, without overwhelming you visually, financially, or logistically, as you only need a small amount.  I splurged big-time on the Imperial Trellis wallpaper in silver.  It was pricey, but I had enough to do the powder room, as well as line the backs of our living room bookcases.  I love the glow of the silver to brighten up our dark spaces.

Imperial Trellis wallpaper in silver by Schumacher. Click the picture to go their website for more information and colors.

I hung wallpaper once many years ago, so I remembered the basics, but I quickly refreshed myself with these instructions from This Old House.  Some of the planning steps did not apply to me, since I was doing such a small area.  I’m only hanging it above the (future) chair rail on one wall, because the ceiling slopes on the other walls (the powder room is under the stairs), and I thought the wallpaper on those walls would just draw attention to the changing ceiling line.

Here’s an overview of what I did:

Tools for wallpaper

TOOLS: From left, you’ll need
1. Squeegee: they make ones specifically for wallpapering, but a regular shower squeegee worked well for me.
2. Ruler or putty knife: to keep a straight line when trimming
3. Utility knife: for trimming paper at corners. Make sure it’s very sharp!
4. Pencil: for marking a plumb line.
5. Brush or roller: for applying wallpaper paste.
5. Wallpaper paste: mixed from a dry powder.
6. Sponge: for smoothing paper and wiping off excess paste.
Not shown: level or plumb line to mark a plumb starting line.

Booked wallpaper

After spreading the wallpaper pasted with a brush or roller, fold the paper as shown (called “booking”) for the adhesive to set.

sponging wallpaper

Line the first piece up with a plumb line. Then, using first a damp sponge and then the squeegee, gently smooth the wallpaper from the center towards the edges to remove bubbles and excess paste.

Wow!  Wallpaper

Wow! I was amazed at how the wallpaper made the room seem brighter and bigger. The silvery glow spread the light around the room, and the lines of the pattern made the space feel wider and taller.

Once the wallpaper was up, I started adding a few accessories: a large mirror which, again, helps with spreading light around the small space, a new chrome towel bar, and some art that I pulled from a calendar (more examples of this great art in an upcoming post) and put into an frame found for a few dollars at Goodwill.  Again I used silver, to brighten up the room.

new mirror and towel bar

New mirror and towel bar added to the room. The “top” of our top-to-bottom facelift is done!

I am SO happy with the result so far.  It’s now a pleasure to enter this room that I had been avoiding!  What is the plan for the rest of the makeover?  I’m going to add a chair rail and paint the area below in a warm blue-grey, like this inspiring powder room by Sarah Richardson.  I’ve also got a new vanity going in to give us a little storage and counter space.  Hope to post the finished room here soon!

[UPDATE:  The powder room is finished!  You can see it here.]

An inspiration for our powder room. Click the image to go to the image on Sarah Richardson’s website.

And on a different note, what projects on the horizon have me all excited?  Check out these FREE chairs I am going to make over for my craft room/ office!  I can’t wait (though maybe I should finally finish the powder room first…)

Queen Anne Chairs - before

Sneak preview: A glamorous makeover is in store for these Queen Anne chairs I got for FREE through Craigslist.

“Jewels”

Jewel-Toned Antiques

I was running errands in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco when I came across a unique and stunning boutique called Forgotten Shanghai.

Forgotten Shanghai logo

Amazing and unique store in SF. Click the logo to go to their website.

Their showroom is packed with furniture and decor items that range from Chinese antiques to modern designs with an Asian feel.  There are lots of treasures to browse, and I could have spent hours there, if I didn’t have two kids in tow who were on the verge of becoming the proverbial bulls in the china shop (haha!).

The products that caught my eye the most were the wooden chests and screens that were painted in blue and green jewel tones:

forgotten shanghai boxes

Media and File boxes in gorgeous colors. Click the picture for the product website.

Lacquered wooden screens in a range of fresh colors. Click the picture for the product website.

Tragically, at several hundred dollars a piece, their prices exceeded my budget.  I kept thinking about them, though.  I love adding Asian elements to my home – the classic lines are elegant and complement the Arts and Crafts pieces we have.  And with the fresh blue and green lacquer, these classic forms feel contemporary.  Luckily for me, I had a couple of pieces at home that I could make over to get the same look.

Painted wooden chest

I picked up this solid wood cedar chest off craigslist for $99 a few years ago from a woman who used it for staging homes.  It is stamped inside with “Wills Cabinet Shop Somerset, PA,” which looks like it is sadly no longer around.

chest before

Before: Cedar chest bought off craigslist.

Regular spray paint comes in limited colors.  I had a false start painting with a really unfortunate electric blue from the craft store.  If you don’t find the color you are looking for at the hardware store or regular craft store, I would recommend Montana Spray Paints, which are artists’ paints.  I found this color, Fjordonline, but I later discovered that Aaron Brothers carries Montana paints.  After sanding, priming, and painting, I added several layers of a glossy clear coat.  This really helps give a finished look as well as prevent any color from rubbing off on walls, etc..

painted teal chest

After: chest painted in Montana Fjord with a glossy finish.

Window screen

Another great find was this Chinese wooden window screen that I found at a consignment store for just $65!  Similar screens usually cost several hundred from a knowledgeable seller.  I was torn about painting it, as it always feels a little “wrong” to paint good quality wood.  In the end, I went ahead, thinking that I really needed something to brighten up our living room, which already has a lot of wood on the floors and in the larger furniture pieces.  The paint color is “Swept Away” by Benjamin Moore.  I had it leftover from painting our kids’ bath.  Again, I finished it with several coats of a clear finish to seal it.

Painted screen

Chinese wooden window screen painted in pale blue "Swept Away" by Benjamin Moore.

I’m so happy with how my Forgotten Shanghai copy-cats turned out! I’m especially excited that I make them from things I already had around the house. I have one more screen that is left-over from a carpentry job that I am thinking of painting in a glossy black for the foyer. I’ll post a picture when it’s done!

“Jewels”