24 July, 2006

Canvasing Your Creativity

I don’t know about you, but I often have the hardest time finding birthday gifts. Be it a birthday gift for my parents or a sister or a niece or friend, it’s hard, right? I mean, I know I’m not alone on this one. So when my niece’s first birthday was approaching (she also happens to be my Goddaughter, btw) the beginning of May, I started doing some good ‘ol footwork, and hit the pavement walking in and out of some of the very cute little shops we have here to find something really special and unique for her. I mean what on earth could she possibly need? She’s got a closet full of monogrammed dresses and bloomers and more toys that her eyes can see (she is the second, so truly there is an obscene amount of toys by the time you have your second baby, trust me on this one. I know of which I speak here). And in every little shop I went in, I kept being drawn to the same basic item. A monogrammed canvas. “Ah HA!” (I thought to myself). Wasn’t my sister just telling me that MG needed some more cute things for her bedroom décor? Problem solved. Well, sort of. In every store these small pieces of alphabet art were in the $65 range. Some were done on a 12 x 12 canvas, and others were done on cheap white ceiling tiles which were painted (a pretty smart idea, but I also know happens to be a complete waste of $65). So yet again, this was one of those things I looked at and thought I could certainly do myself for about half of the cost.

So I’m sure by now you have figured out that this is my topic du jour for this weeks Monogram Monday. I feel like I should have a cartoon-type announcer with one of those echoing voices announce Monogram Monday. But anyhow, I’m completely getting off the subject. Back to the monogrammed canvas.

I decided to do hers on a canvas because, well I just think it looks so much nicer. So I headed over to Hobby Lobby which I LOVE and got a great canvas at an even better price and was 18 x24” long. So basically it was a rectangle. While I was there, I also picked up some pretty grosgrain ribbon, some latex paints in a bright pink and apple green, and some white paint so I could have slight color variations to mute the pink and green. Oh, I almost forgot. I also picked up that graphite transfer paper that I told you is a monogramming must have a while ago when I was working on my galvanized tin drink bucket. I then picked out a pretty calligraphic border from one of my many decorative border clip art books, and took it to Kinko’s and blew it up to the size I needed. I also took the canvas in with me so they could see what I was trying to do.
As with most of my projects, this one certainly did not go off without a hitch. And what I realized when I got home, was that the copy was just not proportioned right to me, which meant I had to do it freehand. Once I did it freehand on some white copy paper that I taped together the size of my canvas, I then transferred my design onto my canvas using the graphite paper. Oh, I had also put the monogram in the center of my design too (which I made from my computer and printed up). And I do not fancy myself an artist in the slightest bit, so this was difficult. Let me just say that initially I really had my heart set on doing this in oil paints so it would be all thick and 3-D with a nice texture, so I spent a small fortune in oil paints and let me just skip the dramatics and tell you I had to trash the entire first canvas and start over. I will spare you the gory details, but that is why my project ended up being closer to the $80 range by the time I finished it, and also why I opted for latex and paint pens the second time around. And the only reason I am admitting this is so you can learn from my mistake (this also explains why Ashley’s husband, Mr. Ashley, probably rolls his eyes when she tells him she’s going to do one of my projects). But anyway, when I finally finished my canvas and added the cute grosgrain ribbon to the edge to finish it off, I was very pleased with how cute it came out. I tend to prefer things to be more mature looking so this too, is one piece that will age well with my niece, and she can always have with her. What do you think?
As always, I understand if you don’t think you can do this and want to just buy one already done (although it truly is not hard if you just learn from my mistakes I’ve mentioned and keep it simple). So either check in some cute stationary and accessory and nicer baby shops to buy one locally, or you can check out a few online sources. Lovely Stitches, a little store I’ve mentioned before, has some really cute ones for great prices, but make sure you look at the sizes. At 8 x 10, I think that’s a bit small, but you know how I feel about making a big impact! Then I stumbled into the Silver Petal where they too, have a great selection of children’s canvas’ that are a bit larger. But if you’ve got some extra cash and want a really sweet canvas for your nursery, then I prefer the ones over at Net Kids Wear and I think you will too. The same designer who is shown there, also has a greater selection of her canvas’ over at Jack and Jill interiors, so even if you don’t have $250 to throw down on a piece of artwork for your kids room, if nothing else you can get some great ideas here. I also just discovered Baby Oliver Boutique whose tag line reads “Luxuries for Little Ones” and you know I am all about little luxuries, so just have to recommend their very detailed canvas wall art that can also be personalized for children. Of course, you know I had to check on ebay, and I was tickled pink and green to find a few people who will customize a canvas for you as well, such as Kid Canvas by Christine or Farmhouse Five. Know someone who has a beach house that you’d like to buy a little gift for? Then check out the Peaceful Shoreline Custom Canvas Art over at the Personalization Mall. I think that would make a really great gift for a beachy, laid back décor. Obviously, most of these sites only sell the monogrammed or personalized wall part for kids. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do one for lets say a bridal shower gift yourself. Just taper your colors and fonts and decorative elements to your recipients color scheme and taste, and make it more mature looking. Even if you want to do a more streamlined canvas, then you can do a light khaki color wash over it. Then use spackle to do your monogram so it’s a 3-D look, and then do a different light colored wash over the monogram. So it’s very simple and soft looking, but will have a very nice impact in a room. Just make sure you spend a little extra to either buy the canvas without the staples on the sides, or that you buy some pretty ribbon, fringe, or trim to cover the sides to give it a finished look. Next time, I'll tell you how to do this right on the wall to REALLY make a dynamic impact! But until then, I've got to get started on my next project for this week, so I'm headed out the door. Happy Monogram Monday!


Preppy Mom of 2 said...

I tell ya, you've really inspired me as you make it sound fairly simple. My first project...the drink tub w/this preppy mom's monogram. Wish me luck.

Monogram Momma said...

Good luck and send me picts! Just remember to poly it when you're done and you'll be so excited you'll be LOOKING for reasons to entertain just so you can use your tub!

Jo said...

Wow! You did a fantastic job. I would love to see pictures of it hanging in the lucky recipient's room.
I found your blog through preppy guy's blog, which I found off of preppy cafe, and Ijust have to say-you're inspirational! lol.

Anonymous said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site. Keep working. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Nice idea with this site its better than most of the rubbish I come across.

Head Hen said...

I had bookmarked your wall monogram (the one where you used the projector) and came across THIS post where you're doing something similar. Love it!

I think I might give this a try (over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend)... I've not done something this big but I really like this for #3's room.

What font did you use for this? I like that it is a script but not too fancy (I think you used it on your rubbish bin project, too). I don't think I have this in Msft Wrd, but am hoping I am wrong. :(


the condrays said...

love your ideas! thanks so much for sharing. please check out my blog with personalized canvases and embroidered items at www.personalizedbypaige.blogspot.com