Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DIY Faux Fireplace

It has taken me a while to get this post together, but here it is at long last!
We are fortunate enough to have a very large living room.  With one end being anchored by a makeshift dry bar,  and couch/TV in middle of the room, the far end was in need of a focal point. 

Cue: My need for a mantel!  I'm sure the fact that we moved in around Christmas [think: hanging stockings, reindeer decorations, etc.] made this even more urgent.  I did a bunch of pin and web searching and this image became my main inspiration:

I did a quick search on Lowe's and Home Depot's websites, but that would have involved assembling them from scratch.  Not totally out of the question, but not ideal.  Next up, craigslist and ebay.  After a week long search covering most of NJ, and lots of clunkers, I finally got a hit with a couple discarding their great condition fireplace surround.

Despite the fact that they were 89.9 miles away (really!), the decent price, good condition and GREAT detail work made it impossible to pass up.


We were fortunate that the previous owner is into sailing and therefor knew some pretty advanced knots to tie it to the top of my dad's car.  It would not have been fun to have that thing flying off on the GSP!

The first step was to give it a good sanding, and wipedown.

Next, a good layer of primer [SHOULD have been two layers of primer. I used Zinsser I think].
And three (or was it four?…) coats of white semigloss on top.  My only regret is not having coated the top surface of the mantel with flat paint to prevent things sticking and chipping.

I had Home depot cut me a large square of hardboard to go into the arch (since fires aren't an option!).  I coated that with black chalkboard paint.  The spray on kind supposedly worked best, and I can't argue.  No lines or smears or splotches. 

After tapping that into the back of the arch, she was all set!!!

Post-Christmas, there have been more transformations, so I will have to post them soon ;)
Still haven't completely come up with the solution for the interior of it.  My genius idea of using artists pastels and making a kick-butt image inside was foiled when my test piece turned out to be 'un-erasable'.  Good thing I tested!  Toying with the cut wood idea. 
Or something like these DIY cardboard logs:
Anyway, it was a fun project with huge payback.  I can't imagine our living room without it!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Save the Dates

Hello All, 
So today I am going to share some of the fruits of my labor.  I am happy to say I am enfianced to a truly wonderful man and we are planning our wedding.  

I've been working on the design for the invitation suite for a little while and the save-the-dates dropped just over the holidays. 

I ordered the 5" x 5" kraft envelopes from an amazon shop and was pretty stoked when they sent a double order for the price of one.  Ooops.  :)

I ordered a custom return address rubber stamper that I designed, from this awesome company: Simon Stamp Shop.  Seriously, they turned the whole thing around in under 72 hours.  I give them 5 stars.  A white stamper pad from Michael's, and done.  [Note: The stamp isn't pictured since I placed it on the center of the envelope flap.]

Dolphin Stamps = Total Meh!

Michael's also provided me with the paper for the envelope liners (this made a huge difference in the overall quality), and it invites themselves.  I found the only decent paper was in the scrapbook section, sold in 12"x12" size and on sale for 25¢ a slice.  Oh yeah, and simple white milky pens for addressing, which didn’t take as long as I expected!

After all that, and some assembly line printing, tearing, stuffing and sealing, they were outta here!  

Le Fini!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This Little State of Mine...

Hi all.  This morning I wanted to share with you one of the most momentus holiday gifts I was given this season.  A 53% toll increase!
What better way to ring in the new year than a massive toll hike. Oh, NJ, you shouldn't have!
Of course, the 1st place my anger goes is to our friend C.C.  He takes this like a real man though, and blames Corzine for the New Year’s toll hikes.
This leaves me with but one thing to say....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Your Musical Prescription for 2012

No, all my posts won't be about music.  But, after that last one, I thought I'd share some of my  runners up from 2011.

If you don't tune into these already, now is the time!  Here are some of my favorite 'stumble-upons' from 2011.  These are in some particular order, but nothing too precise.  

10. Tres Mts.- Three Mts.

9. Neon Indian- Era Extrana

8. The Black Keys- El Camino

7. Tokyo Police Club- Elephant Shell

6. Monogold- The Softest Glow

5. Youth Lagoon- The Year of Hibernation

4. Givers- In Light

3. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion

2. Bear Hands- Burning Bush Supper Club

1. Phantogram- Eyelid Movies

It goes without saying that all other albums by these bands should be checked out as well!  Who were your favorites from 2011??