DIY Wine Label Art

03.31.2010

I enjoy a nice glass of wine…or sometimes two if it’s been a really rough day…a few times a week, but I am FAR from a connoisseur.  I most often buy bottles based on funny, pretty or ironic labels.  The bummer about buying based on looks is that they usually get tossed, or you end up with a bunch of empty bottles of wine laying around looking like you have some sort of problem!  A few months ago, I came across this Label-Off wine bottle label remover kit and inspiration struck!

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I had five bottles around that survived my frequent cleaning fits.

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I followed the directions, and applied the exposed part of the sticker to the bottle.

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Slowly peeled off the backing…

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I applied pressure just like indicated on the instructions…

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And was BARELY able to get it off.  This is the only bottle this method worked on perfectly.  The label with the question mark came off partially, but started to tear in the middle and I couldn’t save it.  So…it’s probably best not to try this method with a really memorable label!

So, with a tired arm from applying pressure to the first two labels, I went to Google, and found a hint about pouring boiling water into the bottle, and loosening the adhesive from the inside. The successful method ended up a combination of the Label-Off sticker to grab the label, and boiling water sitting in the bottle for a few minutes.  I used a razor blade to get the label started, and presto!

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The I trimmed off the excess from the plastic (you can see that it’s sometimes necessary to use two sheets).

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I chose a brown paper as a mat for each of the labels to create a unified arrangement…and because I happened to have some laying around!

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The frames were picked up for a steal at Goodwill, and then painted white.  I tried a couple of different arrangements – I was aiming for asymmetry, but it was harder to achieve with four labels rather than the five I’d hoped for.

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In the end I decided that the largest frame looked best on the bottom thanks to the visual weight, and it was really a toss up on the rest of the arrangement.  To hang them, I simply relied on the tried and true measure, mark on the wall, nail and level!

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I’m pretty pleased with the results!  The Label-Off set me back about $10 at a local wine shop (The Wine Cellar) and the frames were less than $10.  (The wine would have been purchased in any case!)  If I did it again, which I probably will to add to my display, I’d either use standard contact paper, or possibly nothing at all, but there is a greater risk of burned fingers with my boiling water technique!

– Kim

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Barbara Barry

03.30.2010

I found this Barbara Barry design from Veranda magazine to be a very calming one.  In fact, if I had to describe it as if it were a human, I’d say it is a very introverted design.  Soft, muted colors that encourage you to turn inside and reflect but at the same time very sophisticated and elegant.  It is also a reminder to me that white as a wall color can work very well…it all depends on how you design the details.  In this case, the white serves as a quiet backdrop to the grounding blacks and dark browns, all of which allow for the blues to stand out as something special.

Breakfast Nook

Living Room

Fireplace

Dining Room

Kitchen

Casual Dining Room

Dressing Room

Sunroom

What do you think?  Could you see yourself living here?

-Sara


Chunky Knit Blankets

03.29.2010

One of my goals for the year 2010 was to learn how to knit.  Kim and I went to a knitting club a couple months ago at the local library, and since she knew how to knit, she taught me how to cast on and how to knit the basic knit stitch.  Two weeks later when I grabbed my knitting needles and yarn, I realized I had completely forgotten everything she taught me, but thankfully remembered her recommendation to check out You Tube if I needed any help (this was a great tip and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn–there are a lot of videos out there to help you).

I got into the rhythm of the knit stitch and then got a little carried away with my practicing.  Here’s what I ended up with after a couple of weeks:

Now I just need to learn the purl stitch and then my plan is to make a real scarf (much wider than my practice scarf).  I bought this really pretty blue yarn, as I think it will look good with both my brown fall coat and my black one:

 

After that I’m hoping to move onto bigger projects, like throws.  I love the really chunky throws, like this one from West Elm:

Or the Chunky Ribbed Throw from Pottery Barn:

Baby Alpaca Throw from Amenity Home:

A nice chunky cable knit is also quite nice…although I’m pretty sure my knitting skills will never advance to cable knit, so this is something I would have to just buy from the store.

I’ll post pictures if I ever get around to making my own throw, but be warned–this may take a good year or so!

-Sara


Safe Oil Based Paint?

03.26.2010

Image and article

I just read an article about a new product called Safecoat Naturals – an oil based paint that is supposed to keep all the benefits – spreadability, coverage – but get rid of the nastiness – the odor, difficult cleanup, harsh chemicals. Personally, I’ve always shied away from oil based paints due to the chemicals, not only in the paint, but in the cleanup. This might be just what I need to make the switch.  I was able to find a price of $17, but it didn’t say how much paint that will buy – I’m assuming that is the quart price, which is just a bit higher than $13 for the standard Safecoat at the same retailer.  Has anyone tried it? Anyone steadfastly on the side of oil or water based paints?

-Kim


Turning my Attention Outside

03.25.2010

I tried my hand at gardening last summer, and I got exactly four strawberries, lettuce, tiny peppers, and a TON of green beans. I’m really good at growing green beans. (part of that problem might lie in not building the garden until July…) I’ve always thought I had a black thumb as I’ve killed many a houseplant. Seriously, even a cactus. BUT, last fall I had my husband create a shelf for me in the bare spot above our sink, and I’ve had living herbs there since. Maybe not thriving, but living.

This isn’t the best image, but my little plants are just visible.

I’m operating on the theory that my plants aren’t thriving due to their eastern exposure. The problem is that none of my south-facing windows gave me a great opportunity for plants, as you can see in the photo above. The south-facing window is just adjacent to my refrigerator…so it’s not really ideal to put something in front of it! However, inspiration has struck – I CAN utilize the OUTSIDE of that window, as well as the two others on that side of the house on the first floor. Enter – window boxes. I think they will work out quite nicely on my Cape Cod home, and give my kitty something nice to look at when she wedges herself into that window sill. We’ll enjoy them as well…and on the chance they don’t fill in nicely, luckily they’ll face my backyard and passersby will be none the wiser!

With that, here’s a roundup of the images I’m using as inspiration…and a friendly reminder to my husband as to what I’m aiming for him to build!

http://www.weneedavacation.com/Cape/3315.htm

Casa Sugar

http://www.hooksandlattice.com/fatiandwibox.html

http://www.flowerwindowboxes.com/Blossom-Window-Boxes.html

Apartment Therapy

Country Living

What do you do to dress up the outside of your home?

-Kim


Currently Loving

03.24.2010

This Felted Stone Lumbar Pillow from Viva Terra…

I think it would be really cute on a chocolate brown chair…in a corner with an alpaca throw nearby and a side table with a warm cup of tea and a good book…ah, what a nice nook!

-Sara


Natural Beauty

03.23.2010

The bare wood, natural fabrics, spare but solid furnishings in this Shelter Island home featured in House Beautiful are so refreshing. The great thing about honest materials and natural décor is that they are appropriate in all seasons, but they feel especially fresh to me on the cusp of Spring.

Don’t you love when white bedding has that lived in look?

There is a great article and even more photos at the website, but these are just a few of my favorites. All images via http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/washed-wood

-Kim

p.s.  Interested in design services?  We are working hard on getting our official website and PayPal account set up, but you can email us anytime at info@efedesigns.com in the meantime for package information, images we are considering for our online portfolio, samples of our standard package book, and special introductory pricing!