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One of my greatest sources of inspiration and joy are my two children. Although they are technically no longer children but young adults, and very amazing ones at that. My son, whom defines himself as a creative, is always challenging me to see through his eyes. He has a great eye for what's important, interesting and meaningful to a generation that I'm purely an observer of due to the age difference.
This year marks an important milestone for him, as he graduates from COLLEGE. He's a student at University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon.
Four years ago we put together a fun high school graduation party for him that I intended to post about. Well, here we are four years later and it never quit appeared on the blog. So to reminisce and enjoy it all again here's the details of that special day.
The goal of the party was to acknowledge and celebrate his accomplishments in high school and build excitement for his college experience. One of the very basic things I started with was working out some common ground between the two school's color palettes. His high school colors were cardinal and gold and his college was green and yellow. So I tweaked both into my preferred color palette of vintage look colors. We were now working with burgundy reds, ochre yellows and olivey greens mixed with the neutrals of parchment, kraft and burlap.
I can't take credit for the concept but I can take credit for the execution of the little suitcase pictured. His school asked that we create a box keepsake and fill it with insightful and inspirational items, quotes and sentiment. I covered his in stickers I created that represent many of the stages in his academic journey. Many were logos I already had on hand from events and projects I had a design hand in through the years.
The box itself contained items that were adorned with small kraft tags. On each tag we came up with short explanation as to why we chose the item. Some of the items were toys he had as a boy.
The handsome heads you see are blow ups of my son's face. We used them as markers to reserve the family and friends seats at graduation. They we fun to wave in the air during the moments we could get noisy and revel.
At the house I used a lot of props, which as a prop hoarder it wasn't too difficult to do. Globes, encyclopedias , typewriters, flash cards, things with letters and ones that reflect the 12 in 2012. A hand painted burlap pennant streamer spans our front porch welcoming guests through the garden.
Small vignettes of photos and props were placed throughout the house. I used books to create fun shapes and opportunities to stage items. While its something we don't showcase year round the digital photo frame was a great addition to the displays. Having k-12 photographs scrolling through time was enjoyed by our guests.
Having a very large backyard gives us many opportunities for merry making. The problem often becomes scale. How to make a party look intimate and special on such a large scale is often the issue. To remedy some of that I strung very long strands of lights to bring the "ceiling" down a little and offer light as the evening waned past sunset. The combination of clear bulbs and paper lanterns were very handsome.
In the revised color palette, collections of school logo cutouts, paper goods and decorative details bring it all together. I found some amazing natural leaf made plates that had great texture. They were combined with the more graphic striped traditional party plates.
A multi layered dimensional height display of suitcases, manipulated books and other props made for a perfect dessert table. Letters and numbers were cut using my silhouette machine.
Now, we're in the planning stages of his college graduation. I might revisit some of these props and ideas to create a new but familiar and welcomed look. Hopefully, I will be good about posting those before another four years passes.
I hope you find a few things inspiring or just fun to look at. Shoot me over any questions or sentiments for the graduate. I look forward to your thoughts...
I've taken the liberty to host the photos above on Pinterest for your pinning! Be sure to follow me.
Here's a DIY I created for sports enthusiasts. It's perfect for a boy's room or a man cave. Whether it hosts your favorite teams game schedule, a fan showing of school colors or a personalized homage to your son's player number, my easy to create jersey chalkboard is a great addition to any sports bedroom. It can be customized to support your favorite sport and team colors. This project includes a recipe to create your own customized chalkboard paint. Combine this unique piece with my vintage sports art and you're set to reign as a champion sports room designer.
Be sure to fan, pin, favorite or follow me for more DIY's and get exclusive access to my upcoming new tutorials.
- 24 inch x 24 inch 1/2 MDF Board
- 2 cups of flat finish or matte latex paint in your choice of color
- Additional latex or craft paint for decorative stripes and accents
- 4 tablespoons of un-sanded tile grout
- 8 oz. of Dark Brown craft paint
- Mixing Container
- Disposable small roller/tray kit
- Paint brush
- Masking tape
- Optional spray adhesive
- One 80 or rough grit sanding sponge or sheet paper
- One 150 or fine grit sanding sponge or sheet paper
- Sawtooth hanger or picture frame hanging wire kit
- Jig Saw with Smooth finish blade
- Protective Goggles
This craft requires the use of power tools. Please read and observe the safety instructions provided with your tool. Always wear safety gear.
1. Determine your color palette and accent designs for the jersey. Remember that chalk is only available in lighter colors so your jersey should be a darker color. The jersey can be tailored to your favorite sport by changing the accents, stripes or details. Utilizing stencils you could also add text or numbers.
Read more for instructions-
A local pediatric office commissioned us to create a treehouse for their lobby. The office was going through a remodel and a new waiting area was being carved out of obsolete storage areas and halls.
The office has a jungle theme. There are creatures in terrariums like a chameleon, turtles and tanks of fish. The doctor wanted something unusual to tie into the theme. We discussed lots of options and came up with a tree house. Now, the word tree house is a bit broad in concept considering 1) there is no tree in the office and 2) the ceiling is low at 8 foot.
I worked out a way to elevate the play space of the tree house, giving the illusion of a height and created access through a hollowed out pretend tree trunk. The exterior is designed to look as if it was built using various parts from other structures. A palm and banana tree were created to look as if they hold up part of the structure.
If you cruise the blog and our social media sites you will see we specialize in creating unusual things. If your professional office, home or business need something unique to entertain your customers give us a call. We'll dream something up for you.
The studio is filling up with projects, so I must be better about selling off a few things. So, heres some gems from previous displays. They are one-of-a-kinds.
This one-of-a-kind anchor was built by the studio for use in a seasonal display. It's in pristine but vintage looking shape. How great would this be used as a photography prop, a signature decor piece or as a theme element in a restaurant. Due to its size, I'd be hesitant to ship it. I'd recommend it find a home in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington metro areas. For more detailed information:
These mixed whites fabric sales are a perfect photo booth backdrop, prop for a kids room or as an accent in a nautical themed space. Due to the weight I wouldn't recommend shipping. But then again anythings is possible.
The following three lights are available. They are made from reclaimed glass containers and glass ware. They're fun, vintage and bohemian.
The imaginary world of superheroes has grown into a sub-culture phenomena. The caped wonders have influenced everything from candy to luxury cars. Gathering places like Pinterest are flooded with super easy, primitive hero DIY's. As an experienced maker of things, I love the challenge of something more difficult. As I'm sure many of you do.
Here I've gathered a collection of 12 superhero DIY's varying in difficulty. They range from easy Kryptonite Jello to multi-step latex hero eye masks. I hope you enjoy the selection as much as I do. If you tackle any of them let me know how they turn out.
The Geeksmiths over at The Geek Forge are sharing instructions on how to make your own professional grade superhero gloves. You could scale them up or down, making them perfect for adults and kids alike. If you want to take their DIY one step further try using multiple colored fabrics to recreate your favorite hero costumes.
With this easy to follow DIY video, Sarza the South from Nsomniaks Dream will help you create a custom eye mask. These latex wonders are akin to what live actors wear in the superhero movies. Be sure to check out her YouTube channel for all kinds of hero and otherworldly make-up effects.
Want a great gift for a superhero fan? Why not make them a one-of-a-kind comic book wallet. The talented team at ForUsToBe have laid out detailed instructions on how to create a wallet using a standard comic book. It's a great idea! Who better to protect your Benjamins than a superhero?
Suddenly, there's a demand for those idle satellite dishes that you see on roofs. I know I'm guilty of having one parked on my roof. Seamster from Instructables.com has the ultimate repurposing guide to transform one of those dishes. Follow the straight forward instructions and you'll have a movie prop quality Captain America shield.
Before you comment that building a cloud is a bit of a superhero stretch, I must remind you that there's quite a few heroes that control the weather. Plus, I can totally see this in a kids room with an action figure flying by. Talk about playtime fun! Serena over at The Farm Chicks takes you step by step, with quality photos. I suppose at step three you could paint your clouds silver. That way when things get tough you'll aways have a cloud with a silver lining! I know, I know.... I had to go there.
Hell bent and intent on finishing my Saturday to-do list I let the day slip by. Around 8:00pm I finally allowed myself to relax . I thought I'd treat myself to an adult beverage and sit on the deck. Having that in mind, I actually opened my eyes to the world around me. I was awestruck, I put my ale down and had to grab my phone for some spontaneous photos. The evening golden light had appeared for its brief visit. My garden lit up like a paradise. I'm a bit of a plant geek so seeing my man-made tropical oasis light up made me proud so I wanted to share it with you. Know that its too cold for most sub-tropical plants here in the wet and cold wintered Northwest. So I worked hard to recreate that look using plants that would survive here. Some marginally, so I baby them through the winter frosts
Shhhh, just between you and me... I live in a neighborhood that has quite a feral gardeners who grow nothing but native plants and I think the term native is a rebrand of the term weeds and crab grass. In this high heat summer- a freakishly long stretch of temperatures in the 90's, their yards are burned to a crisp and mine is a lush paradise ,except my lawn. Good thing I planned ahead and planted my yard prepped for global warming. Now if only I could grow pineapples and coconuts...
These are not the best photos as I really do not know how to use my SLR mimicking cell phone camera. And the light was dwindling so some are grainy and I apologize. Thanks for indulging me in my moment of pride as my garden comes into full "tropical" splendor. As a plant geek, who likes to share, I'd be happy to answer questions.
CLICK READ MORE TO SEE HOW YOU CAN WIN THE $100.00 SHOPPING SPREE
Hey there Today's Creative Life friends, welcome! As a thank you for TCL's love and support in the blogosphere I'm offering Kim's pals a chance to win a $100.00 art shopping spree from my art collection. Kim at TCL has been kind enough to introduce me to you all over the years. She and I teamed up awhile back to makeover her son Lucas's bedroom. You may remember .
Kim challenged me to redo his room with a 300.00 budget. Boy do I love a good challenge. Let's just say I squeaked in at about 297.00. I had just enough left over for a cup of coffee.
That makeover has since become a Pinterest darling and even won best of Houzz 2014, along with one of my nursery designs. What do ya know...
So here's the skinny on the shopping spree-
I've been working on some new mood boards for boy's rooms and keep coming across terrific DIY's and uses for old baseballs. Then it dawned on my... I should share them! So, here are 11 great ways to use baseballs for home decor and 1 accessory I thought was clever for you moms to check out.
I've worked hard to find the original sources for these DIY's. Please, if you share or Pin them always link back so the original source can be found. If you want creatives to share their ideas in the future, then please honor and reward them with the original source link. I've also watermarked the images with the sources so they don't get stripped by the pinning sites.
#1- BASEBALL BOOKENDS
Amanda over at Kaleidoscope of Colors grew up with great baseball memories. Here she busts out the power tools to create these terrific bookends. They're simple and perfect.
#2- RECLAIMED PALETTE BASEBALL FLAG
Heralded as a Fourth of July project, Courtney from Sweet C designs has a DIY that's perfect, at least I think so, for a boy's room, nursery or man cave. It will have you rubber necking while you drive, looking for palettes to transform.
#3- SHADOW BOX BASEBALL FLAG
The age old tool brand Craftsman is offering a how to video that will walk you through the steps to create this timeless treasure. For a kids room friendly variation I'd suggest painting the bats. Imagine them in a grey toned color scheme or the classics red and white.
The workshop is hot today. Not only are we hitting weather highs in the nineties , I have found myself under a welding mask creating fireworks welding. I have to be careful I might just slip on my own puddles of sweat.
I'm welding together framework for a faux bois table. You often see faux bois in historic gardens as benches and archways and in theme parks as railing and fake trees.
While I've sculpted many things in my life, this is my first attempt at cement furniture. Hey, I just dive in with both feet. I've worked with cement before. I sculpt trees from other materials all the time. Why not combine the two?
This table is destined for a retail boutique. It will be merchandised on as a fixture. I'm personally handling the store design for the owners. I want a variety of textures, finishes and hand wrought signature pieces throughout. I'll journal about the store soon, as we are just beginning construction.
Here's my finished armature. I will be wrapping it in metal mesh to provide stability and a surface for the cement to adhere to.
As a feature in the garden, faux bois was very popular in the 1940's. If you own a vintage piece you are very lucky. Given most pieces were exposed to the elements, many have degraded and sadly disappeared.
I'll pop back in and update this journal entry with progress pictures. I'd love to hear from you if you own a piece. I'd be curious how you came to own it.
Update- July 3rd
I neglected to take a picture of the piece wrapped in metal lathe. I was just so excited to get into it. The first coat of cement was to cover the rebar and the lathe. I also shaped the first coat to start creating some of the twists, turns and scars one would see on an old branch. In the photo above you can see the rough first coat in the back (the darker horizontal branch) The two foreground branches are after the second coat which is a finer mortar mix. Once that mortar sets up a little I started carving, brushing and stamping details. I'm excited how much they look like old driftwood with the natural cement color. Once the finished piece is stained they will look more like a wood in tone. More updates soon...
update - July 7th
The legs have dried thoroughly so it was safe to finally flip it right side up. Now I will start applying mortar to the top and sculpting it.
You know him, the beer drinking, pool playing country boy. Here I've created him the man cave that will make him the envy of his band of bad desperadoes. My Outlaw from Tombstone art was inspired by those campy old 40's - 50's pulp western movie posters. And look, the curled up mustache is making a comeback.
I've been know to crank up the Cash while I'm painting. His rugged voice and story telling lyrics are the epitome of a bad boy. While prison cells, gun fights and thievery inspired his music, it's nice to know that his love, June Carter changed him for the better. Yes, bad boys can be changed. Good luck with that! The whole dark black rockabilly honky tonk vibe is evident in my Diamond brand Silver Tipped Boots art. I could so see it as a mural on the side of some ghost town mercantile or on the back of a leather jacket. Am I right?
There's that guy, that one that could smooth talk his way into your life, heart and maybe your sheets (Bad Girls need love too). Well this guy is the perpetual bachelor, his 50 shades of desert gray inspired him to go industrial with a bit of slick, potion peddling art. My Snake Oil piece was inspired by a combination of modern day tattooed carnies and the twisted mustache barkers of days gone by. I like that it has an edge to it. There's something bad about wanting to believe in snake oil. This slick guy has fantastic grooming habits and loves a bit of luxurious living. What else is he going to spend your four easy payments of 99.95 on? Act now!
This guy doesn't have your Mom worried because she dated his clone back in high school. This guy has your Dad all freaked out. That tattoo wearing, motorcycle driving would-be rockstar is up to no good. He swept you off your feet and wants to show you his ultra cool urban loft. Did he mention it's actually in the basement of a brewery? My Vixen Strings and Straps painting speaks to that character. It's part tattoo, music poster with a bit of Betty Page. I hope you can get a cell phone signal in his under dwelling man cave. You'll need your best friend to talk you out of being the Bad Girl.
I'm an equal opportunity rebel finder. I thought I'd toss in the Bad Girl. I know her, you went to high school with her and every man from 16-60 watches her walk by. Of course they're looking at her tattoos...maybe. She's a bit more colorful than the brooding Joan Jett rocker. She knows what she likes when she sees him... I mean it, ya, it! I'd love to see her tattooed #&@#?^!}+% that bears the likeness of my Rebel Records piece.
Whew, now go wash your hands, it's been dirty on the blog today! If these inspire you to do some Bad Boy redecorating don't blame it on me. You knew when you met me that I'm a bad influence! Ha!
I'm excited to have been contacted by a TV show producer who's interested in me as a host for a collaborative design show. While nothing is ever a sure thing, I'm always stoked to have the opportunity to pitch the idea.
The OSAA Dance and Drill Championships have come to a finish for 2015. In a previous blog post I shared the Architects of Light from Parkrose High School. Now I'd like to share with you Blue Ocean as performed by the Clackamas Cavalettes.
A quick bit of background information. I've been friends with the show designer Kurt Jull since the early 90's. We've worked on some fun projects together. Some have been very experimental allowing us both to explore new boundaries. I'll include a little retro Jull/Christensen project at the end of this post.
This year, Kurt brought his vision for Blue Ocean to the table and I was happy to help execute his ideas. To bring it to life, we needed two shoreline floor/mat paintings for the dancers to dance on and a plan to create budget friendly, portable giant coral and other props.
The two floors were designed to be part of a secret effect that would be revealed at the state championship competition. It was quite a risk to wait until the final moment to implement the effect but it payed off and was quite the crowd pleaser.
Here's the entire routine care of Cavalette parent Jodi. Thank you.
Here is a close up of the effect. For you non-dance team folks know that the floors are hand painted on a heavy weight vinyl, much like an awning or banner fabric. Each floor once you add in the weight of dried paint is in the ball park of three to four hundred pounds each as dead weight. The effect created is only achieved by capturing air underneath the tarp as it is pulled back. It's quite spectacular.
After painting the floor I decided to take a stroll along the beach. I know...nice socks. Black hides all the paint splatters they endure.
Close to twenty years ago, Kurt thought I might enjoy a simple challenge. He wanted me to recreate the scene from Michelangelo's sistine chapel "Creation". Did I say simple challenge? Not only was I to recreate one of the worlds finest example of religious art I had to do so while painting it in a Longview Washington Bingo Hall during closed hours. It wasn't quite the Sistine chapel environment with the whirling cash machine tucked in the corner and the lingering smell of corn dogs and cigarette butts. Had there been social media back then, we would have had a fun time posting videos.
I had visions of Michelangelo face palming himself and screaming NO, blasphemy! Sorry Mick, relax your 16th century self....this is for the kids!
For those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about when I refer to dance team props, here's a video of yesterdays performance by Parkrose Elite Dance Team. I'm their prop master and theme development guy. They compete with other teams and are accessed on the performance's level of difficulty, execution, overall concept and other categories. I work with the team and their volunteers directing the painting of their floors and creation of their props and sets. I have a tendency to take the ideas towards fantastic worlds, deconstructed environments and always try to push the envelope in one way or another. Here are my moths denied light living in a decrepit house until they discover light and the power to make it themselves. I proudly present....the Elite and the Architects of Light.
This is a high school team with members that are freshman up to senior in year. The dancers are expected to maintain good grades, be good citizens are practice together from late summer until now. This sport requires huge dedication on behalf of the students and their coaches, whom I adore.
The video is the first of two performances. Here are some close up photos by Patrick Smith Photography (used with permission), copyright 2015.
Welcome to my Embellishments Journal, it's a new feature. I will be posting about some of our projects, sharing pictures and interesting things. Chime in, ask questions and keep your arms and hands inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. -Aaron