Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

too cute

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

For the last several months I have been busy with a very special project.   In this situation, we are updating the old farmhouse my client grew up in.  First on the To Do List:  redesign the bedrooms for two little girls (ages 9 and 7).   This was a fun and unique opportunity for me to play in the world of COOL and CUTE.  Here are couple snapshots for your viewing pleasure.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!  The 2nd floor hall and dual stairways received a major transformation as well.  Stay tuned for more images to follow.

staying warm

Monday, October 7th, 2013

When we bought the house this summer, I already couldn’t wait for fall.  The thought of colorful leaves, festive pumpkins, and wonderful baked goods were highly exciting.  With October now upon us and a batch of apple crisp under my belt (literally), my focus has shifted to a more responsible viewpoint:  staying warm this winter.

Window treatments are an excellent way to improve the energy efficiency of your home.  I consider mine as an investment that will compliment years of pellets my husband will stockpile in our basement.  But the benefits don’t stop there!  Great treatments add privacy – especially valuable with the shorter days and longer nights of winter.  As an added bonus, updating window treatments can also be a great way to bring new life to a tired room.  With the holidays quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to get your home ready to impress impending guests.   

If you are looking to update the treatments in your home or office, please don’t hesitate to call.  I’d love to help you stay warm and fashionable this holiday season.

Finally, before I go, here is a tip I must share.  Window treatments are like dress shirts – they need to be ironed.  Messy, wrinkled, sloppy curtains look bad.  The creases from when you took them out of the package are not a design characteristic that was meant to be preserved.  Please iron your curtains people!

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at last

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Some projects are small, some projects are large.   Some projects are fast, some projects take years.   

As you will recall from previous posts (here and here), I have had the fortunate opportunity to participate in the Endicott Hotel renovation for the last year or so.  At long last, our chapter has closed on this project and the happy tenants have moved in.

The images below capture the large unit (blues/green), the smaller unit (reds/orange), and the common areas we furnished/staged.

styling

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I know what you’re going to say…  How’s the house coming along?  My answer:  Slowly. 

The last month has been wonderful, getting settled in.  Grilling dinner just about every night, hanging out, and loving life.   Normally I would feel a sense of guilt for taking it so easy, but then I remember that we went from wedding planning straight into packing and moving.  A month of reprieve was well deserved and much appreciated! 

Now that I’m ready to jump into home improvement, I thought I would get my feet wet with a smaller project – styling the built-in bookshelf.  To be honest, I was preparing for this to take the whole day.  A bookshelf can be more complicated than it sounds. Yes, I am being totally serious. 

I wanted the bookshelf to be functional (similar subject matter grouped together) but aesthetic and artistic too.   Here are some images I used as “research”.

Source:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5

And now…  Before.

and After. 

Surprisingly it only took me 2 hours.  The first of what will likely be MANY configurations.

wedding DIY

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Early in our engagement, I became quickly OBSESSED with all things wedding.  Researching vendors, brainstorming (and organizing) ideas on Pinterest, consuming every morsel of wedding blogs possible.  It’s hard to say how many weeks or months passed before I looked up from my laptop one evening to see my honey watching me.  I quickly realized that I was so dreamy about the wedding, I had lost focus on my relationship.  For the next several months, I chose to be present with him and enjoy this unique time together.

That is until it was crunch time.  There were many crafty touches to my wedding – let’s begin!

Paper Garland:  One advantage to committing to a DIY project early is that you can keep an eye on craft stores to see when supplies go on sale.   I was able to purchase my scrapbook “Ritz cracker” hole punch and colorful, palette-appropriate cardstock both on sale at Michaels.   Next, I had a volunteer (thanks Mom) go to town punching “Ritz crackers” out of cardstock.   Eventually it came down to Mom at her sewing machine as I “fed” her “crackers” and protected the garland from tangling.  I will say the first batch did get dreadfully tangled, but I was proud of myself for letting go and tossing it, rather than spend ungodly hours trying to salvage the mess.  We found the best way to transport the garland successfully was to wind it around a tube (in our case, an exercise foam roller), and wrap each layer with plastic wrap to prevent the separate layers from tangling.  All in all, super cute and affordable.  (We did toss the garland after the wedding).

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Escort cards:  Those who know me best understand that I have an affinity for rocks (a trait I inherited from my father, I suspect).  Therefore it is only fitting that I find some way to tie this fascination into my wedding as well.  This image from GreenWeddingShoes.com was the answer I was looking for. My version involved rocks smoothed by our dearest Atlantic, peach yarn, faux greenery, and a hot glue gun.  Names were printed on cardstock (“Segoe Print” font).

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Sweetheart chairs:  Here is an image of inspiration I originally found on MarthaStewartweddings.com.  Simple.  Elegant.  Natural.

I found our chairs on the side of the road…  No, I’m not kidding.  They had such a pretty silhouette, I knew they would fix up great.  My advice:

  1. don’t waste your time with sandpaper - go straight to the power tools.
  2. buy more spray paint than you think you will need (3 trips to Michael’s later…) and
  3. don’t wear flip-flops while spray painting.

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Directions:  Our FANTASTIC venue was on top of a mountain.  Literally.  My goal was to have some sort of cute sign to help guests find their way.  Here is one example I found on StyleMePretty.com.

In the realistic world of wedding DIY, you have to prioritize projects.  This was one that we managed to squeak out, but just barely.  This project looks easy as pie, but living in an apartment without any tools or space where you can really make a mess complicates matters.  We used:  (free) laminate flooring samples from Home Depot, wooden steaks, cardboard to make a stencil, white paint pen, and a staple gun.

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Wooden place card holders:  I still don’t know what to call these things – tree circles, wooden wedges, table name tag holders… whatever.  Super cute.

This project is one I delegated to dear ol’ Dad.  Thanks Geo!  From what I understand, it was a bit tricky making the groove for the paper to sit just so.  We were able to use Silly Putty to help the cards stand upright.  (As you can see, we also named our tables instead of numbering them.  And yes, I heart Harry Potter.)

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Guest book:  I knew early on that I didn’t want to take the traditional route with a guest book.  Kinda boring, not too personal.  I also knew that my bestie strongly disliked her approach with guests signing a matted picture (“Seriously, where the frig am I going to hang THAT?!”  she would say – lol).  My idea derived from the trending “wishing tree” where guests offer a word of advice, or other personal message of their choosing.

For our guestbook, I scanned/cropped/manipulated images into black and white vintage-looking pictures that represented Ray and I.  These images related to design, cycling, outdoor adventures, nature, etc.  Each card was cut to fit plastic sheets for baseball card collections.  The book itself was a 3 ring binder (I got on sale) that my mom covered with linen and lace.

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Ring pillow:  Speaking of linen and lace, this image helped to inspire the design of my ring pillow.  Thanks to Mom for putting it all together for me :)

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Seating chart:  I had loved the idea of incorporating oversized picture frames into the wedding.  Whether these were used for general décor, photo-booth, or something else, I started looking early.  Empty brand-new picture frames were more than I wanted to spend.  It was a visit to my favorite Goodwill where I struck gold.  The painting was an original on canvas with a solid frame around it.  The frame had a few nicks, but those could be sanded/covered easily enough with paint.  The painting itself was absolutely hideous.  But!  I only paid $2.99 for it.

The original plan was to use chalkboard paint to turn this ghastly painting into a lovely seating chart.  Since we were short on time, we ended up with a flat black paint and white paint pen instead.  The results were amazing!   Anyone looking for a chalkboard-effect should definitely use the paint pen instead (trust me, I used chalk to make the menu).  The paint pen is smoother, crisper, and doesn’t smudge.  To help get it right the first time, I essentially used a carbon copy technique described in this Pin, with the paint pen as my final step.

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I think that just about wraps up the majority of my wedding DIY projects.  Hopefully you had fun and perhaps picked up an idea or two!

Snippets, II

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

First, I’ve got to say that I’m sorry for such a brief and ever-so-slightly lame post last week.  Yes, things are busy but that is good!  Today I thought I would offer a few snippets of all my “things in progress.”

Project 1:  Front entry/laundry room renovation.  This has been in design development for a while now, but it looks like construction is right around the corner!

 

Project 2: Kitchen reno.  This active family can’t wait to tear down the wall currently separating their kitchen from the dining and living room areas.

 

Project 3: New office space.  I recently helped a business get settled into their new office.  These chairs worked perfectly with our palette.

 

Project 4:  Another mudroom/laundry renovation.  I have to admit, the storage solution for this mudroom is spectacular!


Project 5:  Commercial restoration.  This project has been under major construction since their groundbreaking ceremony I last posted on here.  Today will actually be the first time the ladies and I have been able to enter the building for almost a year.  Can’t wait to see the progress!

 

In other news…  I’m working out.  Excercise has always been one of those things that I’ve struggled to prioritize.  With the wedding on the way, I have been following through pretty well on a morning exercise regime.

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I’ve been practicing up-do’s.  With a DIY wedding, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least entertain the thought of doing my own hair.  While I am not 100% which direction to take, it has been fun learning how to style my hair differently.  You’ve got to check out thesmallthingsblog.com.  She’s fantastic!

I have a super productive day on tap so it’s time for me to go.  See you again soon!

shine bright

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Morning!  One project currently in progress is a kitchen redesign with a super fun client that I originally worked with last year.  For this redesign, we will be updating the wall color, light fixtures, and furniture – eventually.  Lighting updates, as well as a fresh coat of paint, are two easy ways to bring a lot of change to a space.

Since I’ve been a busy bee researching light fixtures, I thought I would share a few sparkly ones that caught my eye.

 

Crystal Blossom Twelve Light  Pendant Chandelier

Sausalito 22" High 3-Light Silver Gold Pendant Light

 

Sources:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5

DIY and done

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Here we go!  Without further delay, let me tell you about 2012′s holiday season of DIY.  I would consider there to be quite a few successes (“You MADE that?!”) with some minor disappointments as well.  Let’s begin…

The Sharpie Affect

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Instructions:  Use permanent Sharpie markers to draw/write on white ceramic dishes.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees to permanently set your design.

Aimee’s observation:  This was a project I will absolutely do again.  Not only are white dishes super easy to come by (Dollar Store, Christmas Tree Shop, etc.) but this was a fast, fun, and easy project with unlimited potential.

A bit of advice:   Purchase an extra dish or mug to allow for a test-drive.  I found this particularly helpful as some colors changed considerably through the baking process.   For example, most turquoise and lime colors turned brown, but pinks/oranges/purples held true.  Also, keep Windex handy to erase imperfections prior to baking.

  The Etching Experiment

DIY etched glass | The Sweetest Occasion

Instructions:  First, purchase a glass etching cream such as Armour Etch.  (This is available online or through most craft supply stores.)  Please be aware that this is a chemical, and it’s important to follow the directions specified.   Next you will want to create a stencil of some sort.  Mine were made by printing an image from my computer onto sticky paper.  I then stuck this image onto vinyl contact paper and used scissors/Exacto knife to cut out my image.  (Printing or drawing directly onto the contact paper did not work as the ink was not absorbed by the vinyl.)  With your stencil complete, you are ready to position it to the glass to be etched.   Liberally apply etching cream to stencil with a brush.  Allow cream to set for at least 10 minutes before rinsing completely under running water.

Aimee’s observation:  Super fun!  The cream is a bit pricey, but I will get my money’s worth for sure.  Originally I picked up a few 50 cent glasses at the Salvation Army to practice with.   Again, this has oodles of possibilities and glass is very easy to come by.  Be prepared to practice quite a bit before having consistently perfect results.

A bit of advice:  Be sure to press your stencil down VERY well before applying the etching cream.  As far as how long the cream should sit, there was conflicting information so ended up going with 10 minutes because it felt like long enough.  I know, that’s not very scientific of me…  Pieces that sat longer didn’t necessarily etch better.  For what it’s worth, I recommend keeping your stencils simple – not only because they can be a pain to cut out, but complicated patterns allow more opportunities for error.

The Bleach Technique

Love Bleach Shirts (1 of 1)

Instructions:  (You will need a bleach pen for this project.)  Begin by creating a vinyl stencil as described in the previous post.  When your stencil is ready, prepare the T-shirt by placing a piece of cardboard and/or aluminum foil inside the shirt (you don’t want the bleach to go all the way through).  Now you are ready to apply the stencil to the shirt and “color in” with the bleach pen.  Allow the bleach to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing off.  Complete by washing as normal in a washing machine.

Aimee’s observation:  This project was one of my failures…  The bleach seemed to seep around the stencil vs. altering the center of the stencil.  I’d say it’s worth another try though.

A bit of advice:  Mistake #1 = I didn’t practice .  Rather than test the process on a rag of some sort, I jumped right to the shirt I had purchased for this gift.  Mistake #2 = I repositioned my stencil probably 2 or 3 times before applying the bleach.  I think this is what allowed the bleach to seep around the stencil.

The Glitter Treatment

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Instructions:  Generally speaking, I think there are two ways you can approach a glitter project.  You can 1) spread your adhesive then sprinkle your glitter, or 2) add the glitter to your adhesive and then spread.  For this project, I utilized the latter.   In either case, you will want to use an adhesive that will dry clear (good ol’ Elmers in my case).  Allow the adhesive to dry completely before repeating the process for full glitter coverage.

Aimee’s observations:  In this situation, I added glitter to an otherwise boring mirror frame.  Of course my niece loved it, but Perfectionist Aimee was a little disappointed by the chunky, bumpy finish.  Things may have been different if I went with glitter application #1, but that may have also resulted in a constant glitter sprinkles.  Oh well.

A bit of advice:  Again, I did not think to practice here.   I struggled with whether to use Elmers or Modge Podge - it pretty much came down to the flip of a coin.  I’d love to hear any other advice or tips on the subject.

 Your Standard Singer

So what else can I do?  Well, you can add a simple sewing project to the mix.  What you see here are flanel pillow cases to use with ice packs.  What makes these so special is that I added straps to them to help hold them in place.  These were a great gift for my parents, and I’ll probably end up making a few for active/Weekend Warrior type friends of mine.  Not to mention a couple for yours truly…

Wicked Woven

There’s no doubt about it – I come from crafty people.  My mom is a creative guru with a number of talents, one of which is basket making.  Having grown up around it, I have woven a few in my day, but a good 15-years have likely passed since last I tried.  Overall I’d say it came out pretty well.

Sugar Scrub Solution

Ingredients:  1 C white granulated sugar, 1 C brown sugar, 1 TB honey, 1 TB vanilla, 1/4 C olive oil.

Instructions:  Combine sugars in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Store in air tight containers.  Apply to hands, feet, or body.  Rinse and pat dry gently.

Aimee’s observations:  It seems like I did quite a bit of research/experimentation for this project.  Originally I wanted to do a lemon scrub of some sort, but couldn’t get a robust lemon scent that was to my liking.  Many similar recipes exist if you are interested in modifying this one.  This is a very reasonably priced gift, especially if you hold onto glass jars as I did.

A bit of advice:  Be careful about adding too much olive oil as it may leave you feeling greasy, and your shower dangerously slippery.

 That’s it!  Let me know what you think :)

Revealed

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Saturday was the big reveal for Building on Hope’s renovation of Girls, Inc. in Manchester.  This was such an incredible experience for me to learn, give, and grow.  Below is a snippet of the the program from the big day.

 

 

Thank you again to everyone involved.  We made it happen as a team!  I’d like to offer special thanks to Brushworks Painting, BSR Services, Ed’s Flooring America, JR Langley, Liberty Hill Construction, Harvey Construction, Rowland Studios, Surplus Office Equipment, Warrenstreet Architects, and Melissa Amorim.

Check out before and after pictures in the Gallery!

Mac & Cheese please

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Time flies when you’re having fun, and fall 2010 has been fun!  Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the owners of Mr. Mac’s Macaroni & Cheese restaurant.  Located on Hooksett Road in Manchester, Mr. Mac’s has amazing food available for dine in, delivery, pick up, as well as take and bake.

Inspired by the quintessential comfort food, Mr. Mac’s features a cheerful palette with homespun flare.  Original photography by local artisian Max Bittle (www.maxbittle.com) is also on display and for sale. 

While a few finishing touches are still pending, I encourage everyone to pay Mr. Mac’s a visit.  Have I mentioned their mac & cheese is amazing? 

Be sure to stay tuned for details of their grand opening!

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