DIY: FREE Halloween Art

A few weeks ago when I was looking for my Halloween decorations, I happened upon an image that inspired me to DIY a little Halloween art. You can look back at that post and see my inspiration here. As promised, I’m going to share how I made it so you can do the same!

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt - ONE

I looked at Wikimedia Commons and found a bunch of options. This one was my favorite. It looked aged and hand sketched like it actually had a scientific or medical purpose instead of just a picture of a skull. Intentional Art – I love that!

Skull aged WikimediaCommons

Here are a couple of my other favorites. I ended up searching both skulls and full skeletons.

Skull Wikimedia Options

The first option looked aged already but I wasn’t sure if it would look the same after I printed it, and the others were bright white. I decided they all needed a little doctoring {wait, I seriously didn’t say that to be funny}. Do you remember in grade school when you soaked paper in tea after you crumpled it up and smoothed it back out? Well that’s exactly what I did. I printed the image on a regular printer, soaked it in tea, crumpled it up, let it dry, and then framed it and hung it on the wall. Take a look:

What you need:

1. An image printed on regular white printer paper

2. A 9″x13″ pyrex baking dish, or other container that is at least the size of your paper and can hold hot liquid

3. Three to Four tea bags {any variety you have on hand is fine}

4. Hot water

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt - 2

First things first – get your water hot. I used my tea kettle on the stove but you could just as easily heat some water in the microwave. It needs to be hot enough to release that beautiful color from the tea leaves in your tea bags, and the warmth of the water will also help the paper absorb the color.

Once your water is hot {but not boiling} pour it into your dish so that you have about an inch of liquid. The amount of water will vary depending on the size of your dish {and the size of your paper} but I used between 2.5 and 3 cups of water. Add your tea bags and dip them repeatedly so the tea leaves inside are fully saturated and plenty of the color is released. Then place your piece of paper in the water and use a utensil to make sure it is fully submerged – you don’t want it to just sit on top of the water. When I did this I used my finger but the water was pretty hot. Please make sure you don’t burn yourself!

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt - 3

CitySouthern DIYHalloweenArt 5

CitySouthern DIYHalloweenArt - 4

Now that the paper is fully covered in brown water, you can leave it alone or you can place the tea bags directly on top of the water. This will create a few spots of darker color when you remove the paper from the water – it’s completely optional but I like the effect because I want the end result to be imperfect and uneven.

DSC_0298

Let your paper soak in the water for a while. 30 minutes is probably long enough. The time will vary depending on what type of paper you use, how saturated the tea is, and how dark you want the result to be. I would suggest not leaving the paper in the tea for longer than an hour so the paper doesn’t get too soft.

When it’s time to remove your paper from the tea, use caution because the paper is delicate and will rip easily. Carefully transfer the paper to a flat surface for drying. I used a cookie sheet with two layers of paper towel on top. This helped to prevent a big mess and also absorbed some of the excess tea.

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt - 6

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt - 7

If you want to take the aged look one step further, there’s one final optional step to this process. Take that piece of paper that I just told you to be super careful with, and crumble it up into a ball! Of course, you have to be even more careful when you open the paper back up.

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt - 9

See how much more authentic that looks? Instant age!

Once your paper is completely dry, the only thing left to do is frame it and hang it on the wall. I used a simple black frame that I happened to have on hand. You can get the same one here. I figured a black frame would help the image stand out now that I made it all a bit darker. Plus it’s for Halloween and black is the obvious choice for the theme.

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt

CitySouthern FREEDIYHalloweenArt - 10

So there you have it, friends. A fun little Halloween DIY that will cost you nothing but your time and a few items you probably have on hand already. This is also a fun project to do with kids! If you try it for yourself, be sure to come back and let us all know how it turns out!

Catherine Calligraphy

 

 

 

Autumnal Inspiration and Kara Rosenlund

Let me walk you through this recent chain of events while trying to gather some autumnal inspiration and plan festive outfits for Avery.

I recently purchased Avery this top for Halloween {on SALE for $5!!} but really wanted some orange leggings to go with it. Then I remembered that Jessica of Little Baby Garvin had both of her adorable girls decked out in some super cute orange striped leggings which would be perfect! You can see their matching Halloween ensembles here, and here. The leggings are only available in 4T so I scratched that idea and returned to Little Baby Garvin to catch up on the latest posts. I read this post which reminded me that Jessica was participating in the next Home Depot Style Challenge and I thought oh yea, I should head over to The Apron and see if there’s an update on the Fall style challenge. So I looked and remembered that Joni of Lay Baby Lay was participating in the current challenge. Some of her past challenges have turned out amazing like this playhouse. I haven’t visited her actual blog in a few weeks and wanted to catch up and see if there was any progress teasers for the challenge. So over to her blog I went and there I saw this post from yesterday on Fall Inspiration {or Fall-Spiration as she called it}. How appropriate since that was got this whole little chain of events started in the first place! Joni featured the image below.

KaraRosenlund Fall Place Setting

I am all sorts of OBSESSED with this place setting. If we host Thanksgiving this year, here’s your preview. Grey linen, natural burlap, white plates, fresh herbs and spices, feathers, monogrammed silver, pretty penmanship?! In. LOVE. {Even if Mom hosts this year I think I will demand to take over tablescape duties}.

So I clicked on the link from Joni’s blog which led me to The Kitchn. But this beautiful image did not originate from The Kitchn. Oh no. This image was featured here by Aileen of At Home In Love who did a whole post on the photographer who took this image. And now my obsession goes way beyond the table setting.

Meet Kara Rosenlund.

KaraRosenlund 4

KaraRosenlund 1

KaraRosenlund 3

KaraRosenlund 2

Her photography is amazing. Her style and styling is impeccable. Her aesthetic is my vision brought to life. And she’s only 30! Australia is lucky to have her.

Discovering Kara when I did was perfect timing because her images really did help inspire me for some Fall decorating, and they’ve also inspired me for my upcoming photography class! I start on Monday! And that makes you some very lucky readers because my less-than-wonderful iPhone photos aren’t the best for the blog. I can’t wait to see how I improve!

That’s all for now. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten to share my Halloween DIY art that I promised. That’s coming next week!

Have a great weekend!

Catherine Calligraphy

 

 

All images in this post via Kara Rosenlund and I strongly encourage you to check out her work. Please credit original source.

The Little Things: What a Fox

I haven’t the slightest clue how it started but one of my most recent obessessions is foxes. It’s weird to me that I like foxes because they hold no special meaning to me and my only real life experiences with foxes have been ones I’d rather forget. {Growing up in such a wooded area means lots of foxes. A howl from a fox sounds like a woman screaming which is a very unsettling noise to wake up to in the middle of the night. Also, I was very young when I witnessed Animal Control…take care of…a fox in my front yard. Traumatizing.} I also hate that stupid song that tries to play on my Kids’ Radio station on Pandora. The fox doesn’t say that. Anywhoo, I’m going to blame my love on the coloring of foxes. Real foxes and pictures of foxes seems to have my favorite color combination of black, white, and brown. Sometimes the brown can look really orange but other times it’s that perfect saddle brown leather color. The colors together seem to be the palette I prefer when interior decorating.

I use lots of paper clips at work. {I know that sounds completely random and unrelated to foxes but just stick with me for a minute!} My paper clip storage and access at my desk just wasn’t working. And then I found a fox that would fix my problem and add a little bit of fun.

CitySouthern Magnetic Fox

Not only is it wood, white, and gold…It’s magnetic! When the package with my new fox friend arrived in the mail, he came with a paper clip and a bobbi pin. How genius is that?! Not only is he perfect for your desk but you could stick this little guy on your nightstand or bathroom sink to help you corral those loose hair pins! Trust me, if he goes on sale, I will buy a second one for that very purpose. I love that the clip and pin were attached in the box to show you ideas on how to use him to the fullest!

It really is the “little things” that make such a difference in life. Last time I mentioned how fresh flowers can always brighten my day. Now this little fox makes me happy every time I see him on my desk. And we could all use a little happy at work!

If you’re jealous, head on over to CB2 and get a foxy friend of your own!

Getting Ready for Halloween

The end of September is near and I’m getting ready for Halloween. Avery was just a little lump of a tiger {she was Aubie} last year for Halloween at 3 months old. But this year she can walk around and is a little more aware of what’s going on which means I’m excited to see her reaction to it all! When it comes to holidays, there’s something about having a kid that gives me back the kind of excitement I had when I was a kid. We have plans for a trip to the Pumpkin Patch and I’m researching costume ideas. I also decided to locate our Halloween decorations…and had no luck! I was in a slight panic last week thinking that the tub of Halloween stuff was donated with the last trip to Salvation Army. If the plastic skeletons that hang from our front tree didn’t make it, then I’ll be okay. But the actual home decor that’s a little more chic {and expensive} is what I’m worried about. Not to mention I’ve been collecting it since before Chris and I ever started dating so it would take me a long time to build back up to what I had before!

Should the old stuff be truly gone forever, I need a backup plan. So I started thinking ahead to how I can quickly and cheaply add some new decorations this year and I came up with a few ideas. I was inspired by this picture I found on Houzz.

CitySouthern Halloween Decor Ideas

See the skeleton picture reflected in the mirror? I saw that and thought – that would be great to hang on the wall for Halloween! I began searching Etsy for a skull print and there are tons of options. This one seems to have similar qualities to the inspiration photo with it’s sketched look and antiqued paper.

Skull Artkurka Etsy

It’s a really reasonably priced little print which makes me happy. And I’m sure I have an empty frame I could use. But I’ve got the DIY bug and I don’t want to just buy an aged-looking crisp piece of art. I want something that looks and feels like a page from an antique book, or was hanging on the wall of creepy haunted mansion. Maybe it was salvaged from an abandoned asylum? It’s Halloween afterall! So…I decided I’m going to DIY it. For FREE! I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out but at least I know I’ve got etsy as a backup plan!

And because I love a good happy ending, I found the box of missing decorations when I cleaned out the entire garage this past weekend. {There was definitely an embarrassing happy dance in the driveway for all the neighbors to see.} I can’t wait to start putting them up!

So when do you put up your Halloween decorations? Comment below, and stay tuned to see how my creepy skull print turns out!

Catherine Calligraphy

 

 

UPDATE: My artwork is complete! To see the tutorial for my DIY Project, click here!

I Can’t Decide on Fabric

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this picture. It’s an ottoman that I reupholstered once upon a time in a far away land where I had free time that I took for granted didn’t have a kid yet.

Ottoman Instagram

The light blue chevron doesn’t go with anything anymore. I should take that back. It goes with the one blue accent wall in our living room. {That I did not paint. That I do not like. That I have finally decided to paint over.}

Since the wall is getting painted, it’s time to RE-reupholster the ottoman. And to reupholster it’s twin that I never got around to. Or maybe I just knew that the chevron wasn’t quite right and wouldn’t last so I was saving myself the future trouble of removing all those staples?? I’m not really in love with the curves of the x-base on these ottomans anymore either but using them is cheaper than replacing them so I will gladly spend a few dollars on the fabric. Especially when the retail price for just ONE of the ottomans I fell in love with on One Kings Lane is about 5 times the price I paid for BOTH of the ones I already have!

Ottoman - X base inspiration

{Ottoman, currently unavailable}

Back to the dilemma: I can’t decide on the fabric to use to reupholster my ottomans! We are still rearranging the furniture in our house so I’m not even sure if they will stay on the main floor or move upstairs to our bedroom, but the colors in both areas are the same {and neutral…shocker} so whatever fabric I choose will go with the rest of the room either way. I’m very into geometric prints right now and I’ve always had a thing for ikat prints. {haha, i-kat…I just noticed that. yes, I’m weird and my nickname starts with a “k” even though my full name starts with a “c”. complain all you want but The Dutchess Kate does the same thing and I don’t hear everyone complaining about her!}

I couldn’t find any upholstery grade fabrics at local craft stores or cheap online fabric retailers so I started looking at Spoonflower because I can find the pattern I like and then order the type of fabric that I need. If you haven’t ever looked at Spoonflower you should – it’s kind of like Society6 in a way. All these artists submit their designs and Spoonflower will print that design on a range of fabrics for you! Each artist will tell you if you are allowed to sell products using their design or not so it would be a great resource for an etsy shop owner too.

I’ve been loving a few fabrics with triangles ever since I saw this Nate Berkus fabric at Calico Corners. So I searched for triangles and came up with these that are similar:

Fabric - grey and cream triangles

{ one | two | three }

I also found some prints while searching for triangles that had a more Southwestern vibe. I certainly don’t think my house currently has an overwhelming “Southwestern” vibe to it but I keep finding myself drawn to the patterns and textures.

Fabric - Southwestern

{ four | five | six }

And there were a few that had a burlap look but I’m not sure how they would look and feel in person.

Fabric - burlaps

{ seven | eight }

Swiss Cross designs have been a bit of an obsession lately. {Did you see my new bedding? You can buy it here.} These are some of the options I found for swiss cross.

Fabric - Swiss Cross Natural

{ nine | ten | eleven | twelve }

And of course, this black and white one is the opposite of my bedding so that would be pretty cool in the master bedroom.

Fabric - Spoonflower - kleababy crosses white on black

{ thirteen }

I have to keep in mind that the legs of the ottomans are a very dark wood so I’m not sure that a black background is the way to go. But I might still drape a sheepskin over top like you see in the first picture. With the new fabric the sheepskin would be there to break up the dark colors and to add a layer of texture where as it is currently there purely to cover up as much of the blue as possible.

So if those were your options, which fabric would you choose? Alternate suggestions are more than welcome! Thanks in advance for voting and I will be sure to do a full reveal when I’m done!

Catherine Calligraphy

 

FALLing for Nate Berkus

I am at Target a lot. No really, a LOT. I often end up with lots of things in my cart that weren’t on my list. I often walk around the store and think it over while I get the necessities, then put some of the other things back because I don’t need them. More often than not, the things that I can’t live without are part of the Nate Berkus for Target collection. The new items for Fall are no exception. It seems there are many pieces that I just cannot live without. My design asthetic has always  been all about the neutrals and right now I’m loving black, white, gold, and mixed wood tones, with lots of textures. I think Nate must have read my mind because that pretty much describes the line. Take a look for yourself and see if you don’t just FALL in love with it yourself! {And snag up some of last season’s Nate items on clearance before they are all gone!}

Nate Berkus for Target Fall Collection on City Southern

 

Lamp | Faux Fur Stool | Gold Vase | White Vase | Wood Bowl | Baskets | Mirror | Table

The Little Things: Flowers

Sometimes, it’s all about the *little* things. Small or seemingly insignificant moments, gestures, even purchases, can brighten your day, change your mood {for the better}, and make you realize what’s really important in life. Today, it’s sitting at my desk, looking out the window, and seeing the flowers that Avery helped me pick out on Sunday. They are mums because the weather here lately has made me realize that Fall is right around the corner, but they are vibrant shades of purples and oranges because I’m clinging on to what’s left of this Summer. And because Avery really did help pick them.

City Southern Mums

Flowers always do the trick for me. Potted flowers, fresh cut flowers, even air plants and straight greens {a crate full of succulents may or may not have made it into my wagon at the plant nursery too} – I’ll take them any way I can get them. 

So tell me, what are some of the *little things* that brighten your day?

 

PS – *My Bad* on not posting in FOR-EV-ER. It’s been a little cray-cray over here and we have lots of catching up to do! Dozens of half-written posts are waiting to be finished and posted, but in the meantime I’m promising myself {and you readers…all 30 of you} that I will get more posts DONE and PUBLISHED even if they are super short and not “perfect”. It’s better to get sh*t done than for it to be perfect! {…or is it?!}

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Catherine Calligraphy