My client sheepishly made what she thought was a strange request. "Can we have animal heads for the store mannequins?", adding that she loved it when the big department stores did that for Christmas. Well, of course I said yes. That discussion lead to the idea of a Wonderland, minus Alice and all the trappings of red hearts, cards and royalty. It would be a Spring garden party.
Within the Spring soiree, I designed and created some "Drink Me" potion filled bottles, an "Eat Me" faux cake and arranged it all among a scattering of staked chairs. All of the chairs, including the upholstery were painted with a tried and true homemade chalk paint. One dry, a glaze of pastel color washed over the upholstery to give it a fresh Spring feel. Continued.....
As part of my new wall art and decor collection entitled Blitz, I thought I'd include a do-it-yourself tutorial and shopping list for my pipe goal post.
Print yourself off a shopping list and head to the hardware store. While I show it in black pipe, you can also hunt down galvanized and copper plated, if you prefer a different look. Download below.
Announcing the Blitz Collection! Color is king, in this new series for the football enthusiast. I wanted to create some pieces that wandered out of the traditional football color palette and introduced more color. Featuring varied colors of football balls and some colorful accessories, these pieces would be a great add to a more modern home and yet, with the rustic leanings, they would also be terrific in a farmhouse or more vintage styled space.
What is DMCA? Simply, internet retailers and sites that host products, posts and distributes information gleaned from the internet must provide a way to have the information removed if it is infringed upon. This process, if adhered to by the site keeps them safe from lawsuits for infringement. In most cases reporting means filling out a form that asks you to identify the material infringing and provide verification you have a right to report it. Again, as this buffers them from lawsuits, they are usually quick and efficient in removing the infringing material. This not only applies to sites, it applies to hosting companies that "host" sites that infringe. Meaning, if xyz retailer sells infringed goods, and you can not get them to stop, you may be able to file a DMCA takedown notice with their hosting company ie.. HostGator, GoDaddy, Ipage, Shopify etc. You can also report any links that Google provides in search results, image results or imagery within Youtube and have that taken down. Meaning, if xyz retailer shows up selling infringed goods in Google shopping and there's a photo on Google image of it, you can have those taken down too by reporting to Google.
Special note: If you are dealing with a foreign company infringement, many countries do not comply with US copyright law but you can work fairly effectively in tamping down their US sales by reporting the http links of which your property appears on social media, search platforms or sites that are located in countries that do comply with US copyright.
I am not a lawyer and this information is being shared purely from my experiences as an artist that has been infringed upon often.
More on DMCA-
I painted my first scoreboard back in 2004. It was picked up by Pottery Barn Kids shortly there after, as the first they ever offered. Since then, with the launch of Etsy in 2005 and Pinterest in 2010, the idea has been uh-hum copied, re-copied, butchered and even bettered. So every once in awhile I like to bust out a new one, just to stir up the mix and see what comes about. Instead of one, this year I decided to launch several.
If you would like to see all of my scoreboards you can see them HERE.
Who doesn't love a good tropical vibe? My latest installation for my client Willows, in Vancouver Wa. was a bohemian tropical trim.
My client and their customers enjoyed the live plants, making them well worth the trip. You see, Willows is in Vancouver, Washington just across the river from my home base Portland, Oregon. Neither of these cities can play host to tropical plants, it's far too cold in the winter. You don't really see great quality plants at the big box stores, so I needed to come up with some other option.
So I hit the nurseries in Phoenix, Arizona and Palm Springs, California with a U-haul. I partnered the trip up with some other business. I rented a truck and began my quest for tropical boho beauties.
I'm an avid gardener and a bit of a tropical denial plant enthusiast. I'm my Portland garden, I've gathered as many tropical looking plants as the garden could hold. Many of them are knocked back severely if we happen to have an extreme winter but otherwise bounce back from our more mild ones. Anyway, I've learned a lot about tropicals and selected varieties for the store that would endure the intense window light and the drier humidity of a store environment. I also incorporated timber bamboo into the displays. As a matter of fact, the timber bamboo is from my garden. After a decade plus of growing freely, there were some great 3 and 4 inch diameter pieces to harvest.
The addition of macrame added a bohemian charm to the displays. There are a ton of great macrame tutorials online. I found them easy enough to follow and I think I came up with some simple yet fun pieces. The lanterns were from different sources. They were originally table top lanterns with glass votives to hold candles. I tore out the inner workings and nailed in some plywood bases to hold a lamp socket. The 10 ft. wiring follows the weavings and turns them into hanging lanterns.
The tropicals were planted in various pots and planters. To accentuate the curated tropical theme and throw in a bit of on-trend garden love, I created various pot stands from a white oak and teak. They smelt so good when I made them. There's nothing better then the scent of wood shavings.
It was amazing how much the plants grew during the 3 month display. The store was looking so lush and event had the fragrance of the tropics. You see, I also dangled a real pineapple in a macrame hanger. The fruit gave off the perfect aroma.
In one of the displays I also included a baby pineapple. It was a great novelty to have a growing pineapple in a Northwest store. It continued to thrive but didn't grow to more than 3 inches wide or so before it started to ripen on the "vine".
The boho tropical themed summer display was a hit. My client loved it and the customers were surprised and delighted.
If your visuals need some help or you need some fresh ideas, I'm available for consultations and/or I can provide you information on my visual display services. Contact Info
You know how you can end up going down the Google rabbit hole? Well, I was doing research for client and somehow ended up looking at old abandoned buildings. One struck me, it was a Eastern European stadium. It was an old Olympic training site. Since its closure graffiti artists have taken up residence to cover the concrete with their art. The loose illustrative style and the bold images in monochrome inspired me. Announcing the Rough Game Series a collection of sports imagery layered upon chalky white, rendered in black, white and shades of gray.
The 13 image collection offers baseball, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and golf as subjects as well as a multi sport scoreboard, a trophy piece and some motivational posters. Presented in framed, poster and canvas options, they would make great statements in a gallery wall type presentation or showcased as individual nods to a sport. To round out the collection, I've also included some studio made decor such as the personalized acrylic name plaque and the black canvas pillow.
Riffing off of the art collection, I've created a fabric series as well. It is available from my Spoonflower.com fabric shop. With their array of fabric choices, the patterns would be a great coordinate to the art as bedding and pillows.
I hope you enjoy the collection. Your interest in my art is appreciated and so are all the likes, shares, pins and comments!
Rough Game Sports CollectionTHe Rough Game Sports collection
I have several of the branded blade cutters and haven't really got to used to using them. Their software is a bit clunky for me. I recently bought a Glowforge laser and decided to give it a go cutting paper. The verdict is in, it did a wonderful job. Not only did it cut the sheets with precision, I was able to stack and cut multiple sheets at a time. What a time saver! Anyway, this isn't a commercial for laser cutting, nor is this a sponsored post.
The laser uses SVG files just like the blade cutting machines. I did have to play with the settings to prevent too much scald on the papers edges. There's a little, but I don't mind it, it seems to help define the shapes.
The project was a window and store display. I wanted to do something a bit bolder as large florals are all the trend. Here I painted the backdrop with florals and featured one wreath. Down below I placed galvanized orbs that I made from scratch using 3/4 light duty galvanized strapping and a spot welder.
For the wreaths I chose clematis flowers. They're dimensional and easily to recognize.
In another window I created a backdrop by stapling ombre dyed coffee filters. You can use Rit dye in different dilutions to achieve the effect.
More coffee filters were hung from fish line to dangle from the store's rustic reclaimed wood tree.
Galvanized tubs become hanging planters filled with cut paper flowers. Galvanized orbs round out the display. (Pardon the photo bomber, I tried waiting until she turned away, but she was probably curious what I was doing...ha!)
Glowforge Referral Program
If you're intrigued by the Glowforge let me know. They have a referral program and I might be able to save you some $$$.
I love vintage ornaments and Christmas decor. The patina of time just adds something special to them whether its a bit of fading, tinge of tarnish or the flattening of colors into a mellowed palette. Sadly, the good stuff is expensive, fragile and gasp, you better not re-craft it into anything but its original purpose. So, using some techniques I've developed over the years, during my stints as a department store visual designer, I cheat and make my own "vintage" using less than the best. I'll use dollar store decorations.
To recreate the vintage look we have to either create the illusion of age or deconstruct the finish somehow. Here are some simple ways to do it.
1) mimic age using pigmented paste wax
Using a soft lint free rag rub on a coat of pigmented paste wax. The wax I use is Howard's in a dark oak color. The wax dulls the mylar like finish and alters the colors to more of an antique hue. Fake silver becomes more champagne and gold becomes more brassy. The snow like mylar glitter starts to resemble glass and Mica glitter which was used in the early 1900's. The paste wax can be buffed once it is dry and removed selectively with either steel wool or a scotch brite pad. Notice on the mylar plastic tinsel tree and wreath how the paste wax makes the tinsel look like the old silver and tin used in days gone by. I love it.
Paste wax is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation.
2) Distress the finishes using steel wool
3) Use Rub-n-buff to mimic glass or metal
4) distress using fingernail polish Remover
Fingernail polish remover is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation. It may also dissolve and soften some plastics. Please test an inconspicuous area first if you are experimenting.
Using a combination of the steps above, I distressed a bunch of ornaments in a variety of sizes. Most of them I bought from the Dollar Store, Target, Michaels and Wallyworld aka Walmart. Keep an eye out for heavy discounting as the season moves on and start working on next years big wreath or faux vintage assemblage. Using the ornaments from this post, here's what I created. Share with me your newly vintage ornaments over on Facebook or Instagram or drop a comment or questions below. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me to you!
Halloween is probably my favorite holiday when it comes to decor. As an experienced prop maker, I want to give kudos to some outstanding haunters of Halloween. You can see these top 5 and all of my frightening picks in my Pinterest board "Embellished Halloween"
#1 Make up tutorials by madeyewlook
Seriously talented make-up FX artist Lex Fleming stuns with her library of tutorials.
#2 Deliciously deadly poison apples
Over on Wannabite Nate takes you through the steps to create these near black beauties.
#3 ghosts by christopher mckenney
Photographer turned Halloween illusionist Christopher McKenney captures the creepy. Learn more about McKenney here or visit his Flickr to dig (get it) deeper.
One of Martha Stewarts creative monsters offers up a DIY about casting hands. Having created cast props, I do warn you it's messy but worth it's weight in ghouls.
#5 creep the lights on for us
While the first photo is what captivated me, I couldn't find the source...broken link pinners, bad form! But, I did find a similar look DIY from House of Dewberry, I guess Dewberry do good.
For more haunted hits check out my Pinterest Board, it's to die for (get it)?
Please visit my Spoonflower shop and explore the latest fabric designs I've added. The latest are yardage that coordinates with my superhero line of wall art. The fabrics are perfect for bedding, upholstery and crafts. You can also buy finished good from Spoonflowers' sister site Roostery. There you will find sheet goods, pillows, accessories and home decor all available in the fabrics I've designed.
Faced with an awkward second story rooftop patio that had no practical purpose, my client hit me up with an idea. "Can you build a fairy garden for my daughter?" He asked. Then the cementitious siding, synthetic decking clad box mulled through my mind.
It was a winning idea once it merged with their young daughters wish for a fairy garden and a new dog house for her puppy.
Being a bit of a plant geek, I had fun incorporating some of my favorites and offering lots of texture and color play. For my fellow geeks you'll spot Aspidistra, Clerodendron, Echium, Persicaria Red Dragon, gigantic Ornamental Rhubarb and some annual Musque De Provence pumpkin. Most of the plantings are perennial and winter hardy, although I did mix in some annuals for instant color gratification.
People love to bring the outdoors in and I am asked to play Brutha Nature and create trees all the time. Big ones, little ones, realistic and modern. So here I am poised once again to create a one of a kind piece for a client, I had to go idea browsing. We settled on the idea of a tree shaped bookshelf. One that was modern and architecturally interesting. So I gathered together a Pinterest board with a variety of tree ideas.
You can see in the tree that I built, there are angles and pieces that point downward. These provide vertical strength, so the shelf can't be pulled down or tip down off the wall.
I'm a bit obsessive with building things straight and true. So this tree stands perfectly upright, the backing is all on the same plane. Great you think...but no, I mean NO! The wall I was to mount it to had been where a doorway was covered up, so it was really out of whack. I had to loosen my branches to tip them back a bit. This left gaps in my seams... oh hell no! So I went through painstakingly and finessed bondo into every little gap, sanded it and primed it. The final finish was to coordinate with a maple counter across the room so I faux painted the piece using a series of color washes and treatment with faux finishers graining tool. A topcoat of shellac gave it that amber wood tone I needed as well as protect the piece as a non-toxic clear coat. Shellac is safe for little nibblers that put their teeth and mouths on everything. Remember this is a pediatric dental office. I'm sure there's some little munchin munchkins giving it the beaver treatment as we speak....gnaw, gnaw, and gnaw.
Jump over to my Pinterest for these and other photographs of inspirational trees. I've included the following tree bookcases we've made here in the studio.
Other tree shelving ideas by Embellishments studio
This week I'm celebrating the launch of my new collection of kids wall art entitled Cosmos. The series is about space, robots and loving someone to the moon and back. Well, on that trip of love from here to the rock in the sky, you best take some provisions. Forget the dried astronaut food, I'm talking cookies! What if they were meteor cookies...ooooohhhh?
Here's a simple way to turn any cookie recipe into ones that look like meteors. Think about it, a meteor shower of cookies, you can't get any more deliciously spaced out than that!
What you'll need:
Black Food Coloring
Your preferred cookie recipe and ingredients.
The secret is to incorporate chocolate rocks. But, unlike chocolate chips, if you mix them in only a part of them will show and the effect won't be as obvious.
You could alter any cookie recipe for this. Keep in mind that the chocolate rocks are similar to M&M's so you'll want to expect that crunch. For this post I am making the classic Tollhouse cookie recipe and have simply left out the chips. I'd suggest choosing a cookie that's dark in color so you only have to use a minimal amount of food coloring.
First step is to make the cookie batter according to your recipe. Once it's mixed, add in black food coloring to override the cookies color. Fold it in thoroughly. The second step is to load your cookie sheet with dollops of dough. I separated the chocolate rocks into colors.
Now that your dollops are placed you'll need to pile on the chocolate rocks. They will settle and spread out as the dough cooks. Be sure to place some around the edge of the dough. Then bake the cookies according to your recipe.
Allow the cookies to cool. In a bowl add hot water into the a cup of confectioners sugar. Mix until it becomes smooth and free of sugar clumps. You'll want to add enough water to make the mixture thin enough to enable brushing it on. Holding the brush at a steep angle and simply dry brush across the surface in a couple directions to hit and highlight the texture and rocks. Let the sugar mixture dry.
My favorite color ended up being the turquoise blue. They gave the cookies that gem stone look.
The chocolate rocks look like well,.... like rocks. I imagine you could try this technique matching the rock colors to colored cookie dough. Yellow on yellow, red on red would be very space like. If you try a variation let me know how it goes and send over a photo I'll add it to the post. -Enjoy!
I'm happy to reveal my latest collection entitled "Cosmos". It's available now in my shop.
Are you hosting a birthday party, decorating your astronauts room or looking for some fun space themed activities? Be sure to follow me and visit my Space Themed Pinterest Board.
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
SHOP MY FABRICS ON SPOONFLOWER.COM