Arianna’s mural is finally finished!

by Meredith 12. June 2013 22:28

I started working on her room back in October of 2011 with texture painting all of the walls and adding new paint to the trim. In November of 2011 I painted the arches of night sky and then the project sat, and sat, and sat until January 2013. Granted, was 6+ months pregnant and Arianna was born during that gap. After that it only took me about five months of working on the room off and on. It was definitely much harder to work around two kids than one.

Arianna's Mural: Moving into the Room

by Meredith 9. June 2013 06:30

Busy weekend getting stuff done! Arianna has been moved into her bedroom and I think she likes it. She slept there last night and seemed to do OK. She did cry out a few times but resettled easily. Madeline was a super awesome builder girl and helped me put the shelves together for Ari's toys. Both girls had a blast pulling out and putting away all of the toys. We still have little projects to finish up in there like power outlet covers and curtains. The murals look even better with furniture in the room.








Leaving a Mystery for Scholars to Ponder Over

by Meredith 5. June 2013 06:22

All the painting supplies have been cleared out of Arianna's room and the walls have been washed. I'm going to vacuum tonight and maybe steam clean (children willing). Pretty sure this will be the cleanest her room will be until she moves out.

I found a minor mistake in the mural, something I marked to edit but then forgot about. I've decided to leave it. Years after I'm dead and scholars are studying my work they will wonder "what was this mark supposed to be?"

Arianna's Mural: Thinking About Color

by Meredith 2. March 2013 05:58

I'm going to start a new phase of Arianna's mural today. I want to fill in the images with a light wash of color. Last night I created a board in Pinterest to collect ideas. I'm leaning towards muted colors of a cool grey-blue and a warm orange-red. The intent is that all the images will have the same color treatment instead of looking realistic (e.g.: I'm not going to make the bears brown and the pegasus white).

I have a swatch of fabric tacked to the wall that I keep getting drawn to. It is a grey blue that has brown threads woven into it so there is a orange-red shimmer to the fabric. The orange and blue are complimentary colors and I like the way they resonate but I want to tone them down so that they aren't super bright and hyper. I want cheery but in a calm way (if that makes any sense).

I don't know if I am going to apply the paint really watered down like a watercolor or really dry like a dry brush. I'm going to mix paint and play around on some paper or canvas first. I'll take pictures after today's work.



On the fence about outdoor décor

by Meredith 17. July 2012 21:40

Surfing Pinterest inspired me to make some artwork for the backyard. Hunter had recently completed a fence project and there was some scrap lumber leftover. Stapling the wood together made some nice size canvases to play with.

The project combined two popular “pins” into one finished piece. These were how to distress painted wood and to make plant silhouette artwork. I won’t go into details describing how to do these techniques because I think the other websites do a great job but here is a brief summery of my steps:

I first painted the boards (6 total) a base color; 3 yellow & 3 green. I then coated one side of some plant cuttings with spray adhesive and arranged each onto a board. Next step was to carefully paint the board a second color using the plants like a stencil. (Note: Unlike the tutorial, I used latex paint and not spray paint because it was what I had on hand in the colors I liked.) I also added some random brush strokes of a third color just to add a bit more variation. Once the painting was done, I peeled off the plants and let the boards dry thoroughly overnight. The next day I did a little bit of paint touch up, adding highlights to some of the plant images. Then I used an electric sander to distress the boards; removing some of the layers of paint and in some places I took the paint completely off exposing plain wood. The final step of distressing/aging the wood was to lightly brush on a dark wood stain with a cloth. To protect the finished artwork I added a coat of polyurethane.

The only thing I would have done differently would be making the plants more firmly attached to the boards. It was very tedious to paint around them; often the wet brush would lift the leaves as I painted and made a mess out of the stenciled image. After applying the glue I laid a piece of cardboard on top of the plants and then stacked heavy objects on top of the cardboard (like you would do to press flowers). This worked well but I should have been more patient and left them on there for more than an hour (perhaps overnight would have been better). The more firmly the plant was adhered the easier it was to paint over them.

Overall I think the project turned out great and am really happy with how they look on the fence.

Window Dressing

by Meredith 13. September 2009 10:01

I added privacy film to the condo's kitchen window. I think it turned out pretty cool. 

Not as much light comes through compared to no film, but the privacy has been really nice while the neighbors come and go all weekend. We're not even going to bother putting the blinds back up because I don't think they are needed. The color is also really nice and cheery (and adding color is important with the gray skies of the coast).

The film is super easy to install (you just spray the window with some soapy water, peal the backing off the film, and press it against the glass. Use a credit card and squeegee out the extra water and air bubbles. The print repeats in every direction so you can expand as needed by matching the seems. 

For the top all I did was cut out with a sharp utility knife only the portions of the print that I wanted to continue upwards. I pieced together different sections of the print to fill in as I wanted. 

I highly recommend this stuff if you need something for privacy on your windows. Not sure how it compares price wise to blinds or curtains. This stuff (magnolia is the print I selected) was $20 a roll and I used two rolls and have some scraps leftover to play with elsewhere.

Refinished Trunk (cat not included)

by Meredith 8. August 2009 12:30

I hit a local Goodwill a couple of weeks ago because I was looking for a cheap stool or table to use as a plant stand. Didn't find a table but I found a killer deal on a trunk. I picked up a smaller trunk that they only charged me $3 for! I wasn't totally sure what I was going to do with it, but for $3, all my guilt regarding the purchase went out the window. :)

For the first step, I needed to clean off the outside. The trunk is lined in metal and most of the bottom had rusted. With the trunk outside, I sanded down the surface, wiped it clean and then gave it a good coat of black spray paint over the rusty spots. I decided to turn the trunk into a coffee table and bought some simple wood finial-things from Home Depot to use as feet. I sanded and sprayed those black as well. Later when paint was dry Hunter used some Gorilla glue and glued the feet onto the bottom.

The inside of the trunk had contact paper that was dirty, stained and was peeling off in places. I spend a couple of hours with a spackle knife and scraped the inside surface as smooth as I could get it. I then applied fresh contact paper to the inside. Man that was a bitch. Not a perfect application, but whatever, it's on there now and the whole inside surface is now clean and fairly smooth. :P

For the outside, I bought a bunch of scrap booking paper, tore it up into strips and then used watered down Elmer's to decoupage the surface…just like plain old paper mache. :) Once the surface was covered I tore up strips of black paper napkins and made ivy swirls and leaves to go over the top. I like the patchwork look of colored paper, but wanted another pattern over the top to make it a bit more random and organic. 

The black hardware still seemed a bit too much of a contrast to the colored patchwork so I used a balled up paper napkin and some black paint to sponge on some black shading around all the edges and hardware. For the final step, to bring some of the original brassy/gold color back to the hardware, I painted the rivets with a dot of gold paint.

And yay refinishing is done! :) For final touches I still need to give the outside a top coat of some kind of sealant, as well as buy a piece of plexi-glass to set on the top. I also think adding a chain to the inside so that the lid doesn't open all the way would be nice too.

Experimenting with Knitted Wire

by Meredith 12. January 2009 13:59

Here's a knitted wire project that I was testing out. The lampshades were just not working for me so I wanted to dress them up a bit. I bought some brass colored wire and bulk bags of glass beads (thank you Shipwrecked Beads!). Next step was to create a pattern. I did several test patches until I could figure out what my gauge was and worked out the sizing so it would fit over the shade. Basically, each shade is two halves of knitted wire that I then stitched together to fit over the shade. With my pattern worked out I sorted out my beads and loaded them onto the wire. I wanted the colors to be random but the size of the beads is smaller at the top of the shade gradually going to larger beads at the bottom. Once the pieces were knitted I stitched the halves together. I didn't take progress photos except at the very end. Here's photos with 4 out of 5 of the covers installed on the light fixture. You can kind of imagine the before/after of the project. I like how it turned out.

About Meredith Cook

Welcome to my repository of creative expression. I'm not a happy camper unless I am making something and over the years I have dabbled in quite a few different kinds of art projects. Some projects come from taking art classes, others are completely hobby driven, and projects like home decor come from a need to customize an item and make it better or unique. The overall theme behind what I do is to learn how to manipulate objects and practice what I know about visual aesthetic and good design. Oh yeah, and to have fun.