Some days I have to pinch myself for being so lucky to live and work in this artist filled town!   There is more inspiration to be found in Savannah, than time to execute the ideas that are generated from mingling with so many exceptional artists.  My friend Diana Daley represents one of these artists.  Not only does she have mad skills with her camera, she truly loves what she does with every fiber of her being, and it radiates through her photography.

So why did I want a maternity shoot?  Well…I may never do this again, so I better capture this time while it’s here…and let’s face it…pregnancy and the swollen feet and the extra 40 pounds and the morning sickness…and the mood swings…(you get the idea)  isn’t all that glamorous.  So to feel pretty for a day and celebrate the miracle that all this hard work is cooking up, is well worth it!  Thank you Diana for your professionalism, your friendship, and for these awesome photos!

Diana Daley Maternity Photographer

Diana Daley Maternity Photography

P.S.  Can’t wait to see the outtakes!

 

People always assume my house is covered with murals.  The fact is, I’m usually painting a wall for someone else and I’m quite indecisive when it comes to my own decor.  That said, I have dreamed of the day I would get to design and paint my own nursery, and the time has finally come!  I thought I’d document some of the process in case in of you DIY folk out there would like to try your hand.  And yes, I’m fully aware that you can buy a vinyl decal these days, slap it on the wall and voila…but where’s the fun in that?  This technique will show you how to take a simple sketch, blow it up, and transfer it to the wall.  All you’ll need is a pencil, some paper, painters tape, acrylic paint, good brushes, and a steady hand.

Since our nursery was already blue, I decided long before we found out we were having a boy that rather than repaint the whole room, we’d go with an Under the Sea theme.  (some of you may recall a similar project I worked on a few years back…click!)  Our nursery is small, so I wanted a focal point over the crib, and decided an Octopus would be fun to paint…

Mural Sketch

I sketched a few options with my favorite color scheme (blue and yellow-green with accents of red-orange) and chose the version with the white undersides to balance out the white in his sailor cap.

Next I scanned my tiny sketch into photoshop and printed him out to scale on regular letter sized paper.  In the past, I’ve been known to free-hand a mural or two, but in the interest of keeping my proportions and minimizing the amount of touch ups needed, an enlarged template is never a bad idea.

Octopus Mural Painting Step by Step Instructions

Yep, that’s my big ole belly making a cameo.

After putting all the pieces back together with tape, I flipped over the template and used the side of my pencil to roughly apply graphite to the black lines visible through the paper…

Graphite Transfer Mural Technique

It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact it’s best if you go a little outside the lines here.  The more graphite applied, the better it will transfer to your wall.

Graphite Transfer for Mural Painting Template

Next, tape your template to the wall using painters tape.  You can move it around until you get it just where you want it…

Octopus Mural in Progress Graphite Transfer

I measured our crib and marked the height with those little pieces of painters tape to make sure that Ocho (yes, that’s his name) would be properly placed without being cut off.

Next, I took my pencil and traced over the black lines, applying medium pressure.  This will transfer that messy graphite to your wall.  Before you remove your template completely, be sure to sneak a peek and make sure that all of your lines transferred nicely.

DIY Graphite Pencil Transfer Technique for Mural Painting

The lines will be faint, but they are there!  Those little white spots are patched holes where we had nails from other artwork prior to making this the mural wall.  To save myself from touching up blue paint, I strategically placed Ocho’s arms in the areas where the holes were.

Now it’s time to prime…and prime some more….and some more after that…and some more after that.  Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step if you’re planning on painting a colored wall.  It will save you LOTS of time in the long run.  I used Killz low VOC primer that we had on hand from another project.  (with windows open for good ventilation of course)

Priming Octopus Nursery Mural

Now that you’ve laid quite the foundation, it’s time to start painting the fun stuff. I always paint from the background to the foreground.

Ocho Underpainting

I kept my sketch of Ocho nearby for reference.  Oh and I won’t lie…yellow-green, though one of my favorite colors, usually requires many, many coats for a nice opaque layer…this green took 4 coats to cover well…I’d probably still be applying coats if I hadn’t primed!

Octopus Nusery Mural with Sailor Hat and Starfish

Here he is!  Spots and all!  I’m really happy with how he turned out!  He’s bright (no pastels for my baby) and he’s the perfect size for over the crib…measuring roughly 3 feet tall by 4.5 feet wide.  I won’t lie, he was definitely time consuming…roughly 20 hrs, start to finish, but totally worth it!

Octopus mural over crib nursery mural painting

The best part?  He’s completely custom for our lil man.

I’m sure I’ll be adding some additional features to his room as time goes on, but for now, this is about all I have in me…(and standing on a ladder probably isn’t too terribly safe for a pregnant woman anyway)

I’d love to see some pics of your own DIY murals, and hope this little tutorial gives you a few tips to help you create something really spectacular!

My sweet cousin Rebecca is getting married this year and I have the honor of standing in her wedding.  I hosted a bridal shower back in December and wanted to share some of the handmade details with you.  While I still struggle with my baking skills (I spilled an entire tray of cupcake batter in my preheated oven, total mess!)  I relish any opportunity to get crafty with pretty little things.  Here goes…

DIY Paper Rosettes

I started with paper rosettes, constructed with sturdy papers found at World Market.  For a tutorial on how to make these super easy gems, see my guest blog for Be@Home.

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Next, I printed the lettering onto card stock, used a circular punch to keep them uniform, and adhered them to the rosettes with a dab of hot glue.

Love is Sweet Wedding Banner Paper Rosettes

The finished piece reads “Love is Sweet,” though my photo doesn’t do it justice.

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To compliment the custom banner, I cut corners and purchased these hanging decorations from Party City.

Custom Calla Lily and Daisy Bridal Shower Invitations

I had the most fun designing her custom shower invitations.  Her wedding flowers will incorporate yellow calla lilies and daisies, so I painted a simple floral swag to adorn the invitations.  (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was hooked on custom florals!)

Custom monogrammed keepsake box - Advice for the Bride

In lieu of a guestbook, I painted the couple’s wedding monogram on a keepsake box, and had guests write their “Advice for the Bride” onto little wooden hearts.  It may look fancy but all you need to recreate this monogram are some letters printed on paper, a sheet of carbon paper to trace the letters onto your surface, a good brush, and a little bit of paint!  If you don’t have a sturdy hand, make your monogram with larger block style letters.  For the last little detail, I used a scrap piece of handmade paper to line the inside of the box.

Calla Lily and Daisy Thank You Notes Vintage Inspired

I thought long and hard about favors.  I have received so many favors in the past that just get tossed in a drawer and long forgotten, so I wanted guests to have something they could actually use.  My solution was to print coordinating Thank You notes and bundle them with scrap ribbon I had in the studio.

Bridal Shower food table

Last but not least, the spread!  I purchased the little sugar flowers from Sweet Edibles to dress up the cupcakes.  The cake stand in the middle was a “I can’t stop myself purchase” from our local Humane Society Thrift Shop (seriously, $4 and all I had to do was change out the ribbon!)  The vintage embroidered tablecloth came from my friend and expert vintage scout, April Joy’s shop The Mint Green Tag Sale.

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Pam, Mother-of-the-Bride, Sierra, Robin, and Elizabeth

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The glowing Bride-to-Be and me!

We’re already  hard at work with details for the Big Day, so be sure to check back for more handmade wedding goodness!

Tasked with cleaning out from under the bed today, I happened upon a relic from my past.  I had to pause for a moment when I saw the date….

SCAD Rising Star Certificate of Comletion Heather L. Young

strange, no?

Rising Star Program Savannah College of Art and Design

The summer of 1998 was probably one of the best summers of my life.  I was in between my junior and senior years of high school (dating myself here, I know) I had been accepted into the Rising Star Program at SCAD, and had managed to earn 2 scholarships to help afford it.  I had my first real taste of college life, the career I had chosen, and the freedom of living on my own that summer.

I remember the feeling I had on this 14th day, 14 years later.  I felt driven, inspired, and excited for the possibilities of the future…and a little sad I that I would have to return for one more year of high school before coming back to SCAD.

I’ve worked up more paper goods for family and friends this year than ever before.  It’s an honor to me to be trusted with their special announcements, and I do enjoy the extra bit of creative freedom that I can pour into family jobs.  Here’s a round-up of some the goodies I’ve neglected to share…

Fleur di lis Wedding Programs

Bi-fold wedding programs for my darling cousin Rachel.  The custom emblem mirrors the bead-work on her wedding dress.

Fleur de lis wedding invitations by theinklab

I played up the Fleur De Lis, a little nod to her home state of Louisiana.

Magnolia Tree Engagement Party Invitations

Sweet cousin Rebecca was the first to use my Magnolia Tree on her paper goods. Engagement party invitations are just the beginning, you can bet I will have my hands in all sorts of details for her upcoming wedding!

Black Damask and Purple Ribbon Bridal Shower Invitations

Ribbon embellished bridal shower invitations for my soon to be cousin-in-law.  Eggplant has been a HOT color this year!

2012 Graduation Invitations Modern

Last but not least, modern, geometric graduation invitations for Rebecca (yep, it’s a big year for her!)  I wish my graduation invitations hadn’t been so stuffy!  So glad to see graduation invitations getting a bit of modern flair.

I knew 2012 would be a busy year!

Finally took our new mountain bikes out for a spin at Skidaway Island State Park today.  It’s an easy ride for a beginner, a 3 mile loop with an observation tower overlooking the marsh.  Lots of beautiful old trees, marsh views, and even alligator ponds!

skidaway island state park savannah georgia

We only took a few photos, as we were having too much fun testing out the new bikes, but I’m sure we’ll be back.

nick and heather

Hope you all enjoyed a lovely weekend!

Aunt Pam and I decided to leave early for Liz’s Bachelorette Party in Hilton Head, we wanted time to decorate the condo and shop prior to the bride’s arrival.

aunt pam and i

We spent most of the day filling my small SUV with vintage bottles, trinkets and glassware from area thrift stores.  (Who knew Hilton Head had that many thrift stores?!)  Then we came across a deal we simply could not pass up.  Two antique mahogany chairs for $15 a piece!!!  (Let it be known that Pam is the good luck charm here, as she is a magnet for fabulous steals)  We told the employees at the thrift store that we’d take 2 for $20 if they could find a way to fit them into our already overflowing vehicle.  There is such a high that comes from finding a quality treasure that just needs a little love to be brought back to life.

DIY antique chair recover

I spent all of 30 minutes recovering it with a 1/2 yard of fabric. ($3.50)  It’s a super easy DIY project, all you need are scissors, a screwdriver, and a staple gun.

Antique Chair Recover Butterfly Pillow

My best friend Leslie sent me this adorable throw pillow from Nordstrom Rack.  I love how the wings wrap around the pillow, and even though you can’t see it, it ties in the blue from my living room.

Bride to be in Hilton Head

Oh and how was that Bachelorette party you might ask?  FABULOUS!  (but I’m only sharing one pic!)  We had quite the story to tell the girls when they arrived…and plenty of money left over from our thrifty shopping adventure to spend on fruity drinks by the beach.