Sunday, June 16, 2013

Declutter Dark Spaces - Faux Stained Glass

I'm a minimalist. There is no doubt about it. If it were up to me I would always choose less versus more. That's not to say that I would give up quality - I will always choose the highest quality possible. And then there is the purpose of the item - the function. I will always try for dual/multipurpose.

I'm placing this under 'declutter' because a dark room is going to be a DUNGEON without light - so I needed to brighten the living room up - FAST!

The Chore Flowers: I wanted something to brighten up the apartment. I wanted the girls to have chores. Enter - the chore flowers. Both decoration and functional item in one.

Now here is a second example I haven't talked about before - the faux stained glass window I created one afternoon.

First I identified the problem - our living room was dark as a dungeon even though it had two fairly bright lamps in it. (Note: We rent). We have a really big window in the living room but the floor to ceiling blinds are ALWAYS drawn closed. Why? Neighbors are Nosy. And we like our privacy.

My first reaction was to just ignore the neighbors...and then I learned how very nosy neighbors could be.

My second reaction was to look on Pinterest. I found some window clings but the dimensions were all wrong and the designs were not fantastic. To get a really great looking window cling was going to be pricey because our window is roughly 5 feet by 4 feet and we have smaller windows below as well that open. I love stained glass windows and the girls are young enough that Disney style stuff is right up their alley.

The fact that we rent meant I didn't have a lot of leeway with what I could really do to the window. But finding a way to let the light in while keeping the nosy neighbors away was the goal. I settled on creating my own stained glass window with what I had on hand.

Hit or miss - it does the trick and the girls love it. It might look a tiny bit cheesy but I am still proud of what I created with a little wax paper and some sharpie markers.

Having a graphic design background, I took the Disney Beauty and Beast design and added it to a Photoshop document that was exactly the dimensions of our big window. I then stretched, mirrored and fine tuned the image until it looked exactly the way I would want our window to look.

Next, I printed it out in black and white on a regular everyday printer (numbering the pages as they came out so I could lay them out on the carpet like a big puzzle) for a total of about 32 pages or so. Once I had them printed out I took wax paper and did one row of pages at a time (so 4 rows). I taped the pages to the wax paper (carefully) and had four long strips of wax paper with pages taped. Double checked my work to make sure all pieces were in the right spot. Then it was a matter of patience and ignoring the hand cramps. I went over all the lines with black sharpie marker, tracing onto the considerably translucent wax paper.

At this point, the family was pretty confused about mommy's latest crazy project which no one could really visualize. When the love of my life left for work he must have thought I had lost my mind, pieces of paper everywhere, wax paper stretched out on the dinner table and there I sat coloring in line after uninteresting line of sharpie marker.

Finally I had everything colored in (and this did take me forever). The hardest part was coloring, it really was. Then I had to put it on the window. What did I use to 'mount' the wax paper? Simple! (the best solutions are) I used regular old double sided tape. This meant that all the seams could match up perfectly and the double sided tape is clear so there was no worry about it messing up the window. After the wax paper was up, I then colored IN the roses and the leaves (I had only done the black outlines). That took a while as well. A tip - paint markers would have probably worked well for this (if they are a bit thin). But I stuck with markers.

The girls insisted that we should be worried that someone would try to steal our window out of jealousy. But they LOVED it! They think we have the best looking window in the neighborhood and want to make sure were taking it with us when we move next year. I assured them that we would! (Good thing I can slice right down the center of that design and put it in two different windows if need be!)

Would I recommend this? Yes - I think it is a GREAT way to dress up a window if you are picky, love personalized, want something you can do yourself and even if you do a one page version - they are fun to tape up in a window and make a fun stained glass looking piece of art! (The girls want to do the Disney princesses in their bedroom windows now).

And my goals were reached - it dressed up our living room (needed more color!), gave us a LOT of light now that we can have the windows open ALL the time, and it made our living room a little bit Magical but still looks 'nice'.

When looking at any problem - try to find a solution to as many problems as you can in one if you can. Even if that means stopping a while and just thinking, letting the solution come to you instead of rushing into something you can't stand.

And don't be afraid to get creative! If it's not permanent...what's the worry? Try, Try again!

P.S. If you drive by this window - it's mine! Only one like it...anywhere really!

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