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Just Because | Manolo for the Home - Part 5
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Making Time For a Good Book, Indeed

Er, you might not actually want to use a particularly good book for this sweet little DIY project from Ruffles And Stuff. Better to use a good looking book rather than one of your old favorites since the poor book is going to get gutted in the process of transforming it… into a clock!

book clock project

Overall, this DIY project won’t take that long to complete, though I recommend buying clock guts from the craft store as opposed to eviscerating a cheap clock from the discount emporium, if only to save time. Plus, it’s easy for those of us who don’t spend all of our waking hours gluing things to other things and refinishing furniture and sewing new drapes from old quilts.

Beautiful Shadows

I try to check out Megan Hobson’s Entertaining, Events & Beautiful Things at least once a week because it features a great mix of home decor, fashion, and *squee* wedding stuff. A few days ago, she posted that Le Papier Studio and Paloma’s Nest (maker of adorable ring bearer bowls) have put their heads together to create a lovely line of hanging custom silhouettes.

silhouette ornaments 2

There are pre-fab silhouettes to choose from, but what fun is that? Especially when a custom silhouette ornament will only set you back $40. The deets:

Each ornament is crafted by hand by Paloma’s Nest utilizing fine pure white clay which has been fired and then finished with a special protective surface treatment. Silhouettes are hand painted to perfection with the finest black ceramic paint.

silhouette ornaments 1

Don’t think that you have to use these hanging silhouettes as holiday ornaments. We’re planning on having one made of our daughter’s silhouette and it will be displayed in the hallway all year long. They could also make fun (albeit slightly pricey) gift tags, no?

Style to Fool the Eye

Commitment-phobic decorators can still get their fun on, sans nails or paint or anything else that will leave a lasting impression. Decals are the order of the day for those who can’t fathom keeping the same decor for more than six months and apartment-dwellers whose landlords have given them a clear thumbs down when it comes to changing anything more than the window treatments. Stick ‘em, unstick ‘em, stash ‘em when maman comes to visit, whatever.

Trompe L'oeil Chair Decals

Old chairs become new again!

Trompe L'oeil Chandelier

Low ceilings no longer mean having to forgo pendant lighting!

Trompe L'oeil Headboard

Why spend a lot on a headboard that doesn’t actually do anything?

Trompe L'oeil Mantle

No fireplace? No problem.

Trompe L'oeil Lights

The chair backs, socket lights, and headboard decals come from Blik, while the mantle decal comes from Urban Lola and the chandelier decal comes from Single Stone Studios.

No Room For a Chandelier? No problem!

Sweet hip printed cotton canvases by DuffyLondon take the place of actual lighting fixtures when tiny houses and apartments simply cannot handle the introduction of something as impressive and imposing as a full-size chandelier. All the glamour without the threat of banging one’s head or snagging delicate glass!

crystal chandelier print 1x

Some of the DuffyLondon prints even glow — the images are digitally printed onto cotton canvas and stretched over wooden frames that installed with low energy strip lights that illuminate the prints from within. Interesting, but sounds kind of ghetto, a la the glowing crucifixion scenes one can purchase at the Dollar Tree.

crystal chandelier print 2x

Or you could just opt for a straight-up crystal chandelier poster, like this one from ElectricPopSpot on Zazzle:

crystal chandelier print 3

It’s not quite as chic and cheeky, but the colors are fantastic and with the right frame it could be a lot of fun!

Inspiration: Grouping Photos and Wall Art

Arranging wall art creatively shouldn’t be a frightening or overwhelming task, but the fact is many people are intimidated by the idea of doing anything other than side-to-side framed photos or paintings. The key to grouping success, however, isn’t talent but prep work. Decide ahead of time what pictures should go in what rooms, and where those pictures will look best grouped. If you have any kind of smaller, offset, or unusually shaped walls, consider using them as your canvas.

Here are some examples of arrangements that complement the rooms they’re in:

grouping pictures

grouping art 2

grouping pictures 2

wall frames

silhouettes in frames

low frames

If you’re not quite sure how to start grouping framed photos or artwork on your walls, you can always begin with a unifying element. Think frame color, the size and shape of your pictures, or a theme. Design Hole posted a gorgeous primer for those people who want to cover their walls with images in a fun yet beautiful and cohesive way. Check it out here (and then go read the rest of that delightful blog)!

Of course, you could just go nuts and end up with something like this…

frames crazy

Or this…


Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Coolness: Bottle It

Though to some extent they’re a dying breed in the U.S., glass bottles remain plentiful and easy to find. I only say that they’re on their way out because we use plastic soda bottles, you can buy champagne in cans, and plenty of jugs of gin are sold each year. In Costa Rica and elsewhere, soda is still sold in glass bottles and beach glass remains plentiful. Why am I bringing this up? Because decorating with bottles is easy and generally quite inexpensive.

antique bottles

For example, a few antique bottles (easy to find on eBay and elsewhere) get a chic makeover with papercraft labels and vintage jewelry, as created by Brenda Walton.


When mixing bottles and modern decor, try Jeff Crandall’s Poet’s Bottles, which are sandblasted with text that provides the user with contents and instructions like “Hope (warning: do not abandon).”

bottle labels

Country Living suggests outfitting your fizzy water bottles with paper jackets that match your party color scheme or decor.

beach bottles

And if you’re decorating a beach house, think beach glass. Ballard Designs‘ Azure Beach Bottles Set is reminiscent of pale blue beach glass, which is (in my opinion as a long time collector) the rarest color of all.

wine bottle vases

Another modern take on the humble bottle repurposes wine bottles into sleek vases. Green Wine Bottles from David Guilfoose are an eco-friendly way to store loose collectibles, display flowers, or give your space a touch of green.

decorated bottle

Finally, there are these. They’re not for everyone, but if you like them you can find the DIY instructions for them at Crafty Chica.

Get Hooked

Fish gotta swim, bird’s gotta fly… and sometimes stuff has got to hang. Like coats. And keys on lanyards. Diaper bags. Even sneakers. Round these parts, we’re partial to using the largest size planter hooks as coat hooks because they end up looking interesting and different, but they cost a lot less than some other interesting and different options. Which isn’t to say that most coat hook options are that pricey. Check these out:

bach coat hookdart coat hookswooden coat hook
flip coat hookbird coat hookeye coat hook
colorful coat rackjardin coat rackchrome coat hook

My favorites are the dart coat hooks and the weird eyeball one. (As always, click on the pic for more info.) Now you tell me, where do you hang your hat?

A Real Monster of a Piano

I’ve dreamed of owning a piano for quite some time, but two things have deterred me. One is of the cost of moving the darned things from one home to another. You may not know this, but a lot of people give away pianos on sites like Craiglist. Acquiring a piano can be as easy as paying to have one hauled to your home. But then there’s the second deterrent, but which I mean the crazies who are giving away the pianos.

While I’m sure some of the wannabe former piano owners are perfectly sensible people, the ones I have met were not. Sorry, but you cannot ask me to give you a cash deposit for a free piano that I am taking off your hands so you don’t have to pay to move it into your new fifth-floor walk up. And if you call me five times a day while I’m still finding a piano mover to ask if I’m actually going to take your piano, the answer will be “No, I’m not. Stop calling here.”

Can you tell I’ve been burned on this? No matter, I’m still dreaming of the day I can take someone’s unwanted piano off their hands. It’s just a matter of finding the right person and the right piano. Leah, of Futuregirl Leah Riley’s Art Shop, obviously found the right piano (possibly from the right person). It just needed a little… something.

painted piano 1

This is what she started with. Her piano was yellow, which many people might like, but she didn’t like it, and that’s what’s important. It wasn’t just the color that was lacking, however. This piano needed personality!

painted piano primed

After a bit of sanding, the piano was primed and ready to accept proper paint. How to paint it was the question, and to come to an answer, Leah conducted a poll letter her blog readers choose between two potential faces.

Faces, you ask? Yes, faces. Monster faces. Adorable, super fun monster faces.

painted piano blued

After two coats of Robin’s Egg Blue flat, the piano was looking quite nice and was ready to get its new mug. Had Leah stopped there, it would still have been a successful project, in my humble opinion.

painted piano done

Leah had this to say about her monstrous creation:

The finished piano monster paint job – I didn’t want it to beat you over the head with its monster-ness. Just some subtle monster suggestions. Here it lurks just around the corner, waiting to trip you, pounce, and eat your hands!

Very cool!

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