Scrabble Art

Looking for a really simple, easy but meaningful gift for the grandparents? When my husband was a kid, his family used to play Scrabble all of the time. I had seen large scrabble tiles used for wall collages saying words like “FAMILY” or “HOME”. I wanted to do a pared down version using all of the grandkids’ names.

You will need:

  • Strong adhesive (glue gun, E6000, etc…)
  • Scrabble letters (Tally up how many of each letter you will need so you know how many sets to buy.)
  • Shadow box frame preferably with matting
  • Printed or colored paper for the background (enough sheets for a redo if needed, see below)

Lay out your “scrabble board” on your background paper with the mat board so you know where to center them. I took one of the letters I knew I probably would not use (Q) and drew a heart with a black sharpie on back.

One thing I always think about when using the grandkids or kids names is what happens when you know your family is still growing? That’s why this project is so perfect, because of how simple it is, it would be easy to pull off the letters and make a new one for additional names!

Twin Baby Room

The twins are 8 months already (!?!) and I have been meaning to share the nursery. (Can you even call it that anymore?)

img_0673It was very hard to come up with a theme for the room.  I knew the color palette I was looking for (orange, lime green, blues, grey).  The question was how to make this room their own while still reusing a lot of my daughter’s baby things and for us, the answer was in the artwork.

Our cousin, Laura from The Corner of Knit and Tea, is a superstar knitter (you may remember her from her Guest Peace!) and crafted these adorable bunnies.  I love how they are similar but different, plus they make great companions for the boys’ monthly photos.


This gorgeous piece is from my sister, Sara. She painted two canvases that fit together as one but also relate to the La Luna painting she made my daughter.


Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur happens to be one of my daughter’s favs.  I love Disney fan art and seeing someone else’s interpretation of the characters. I fell in love with the colors and illustrations in these pieces by Joey Chou.



Another dreamy rendition is this one by Hayley Brynn.  I just happened to stumble across her work on Etsy and I am so glad I did! I love the companionship of Arlo and Spot and how they are so different yet such good friends, perfect for my boys.


This work is from a good friend, Gail from Nightengail Art (Yes! Another Guest Peacer!)  Made for my daughter before she was born almost four years ago, we couldn’t move it as it looks too perfect here.


And the best drawing of all was made by my daughter in anticipation of her two brothers’ arrival.


The main thing I try to keep in mind while designing the nursery is to make it a space that has room to grow and I can picture the boys in here for a very long time.



Guest Peace: A Creative Space

scarethread Rowley familyI share my home with my awesome husband, Ben, two gorgeous children, Jenson and Johanna, and my two hairy feline friends, Fluffy and Shiny. I was born and raised in Vienna, Austria, and moved to England to go to University, where I lived for 10 happy years and met Ben. We decided to move back to Vienna 7 years ago for various reasons, and we are so happy we made that decision! We both love living in this wonderful city so much.
I work for a non-governmental organization, and spend most of my weekends with my children hanging out in a park or lake somewhere. After hours, I am usually eating great food that Ben has prepared for me (he’s amazing in the kitchen!), drinking a cheeky glass of wine and watching Netflix with some embroidery on my lap. I try to make time to sew and draw as often as is humanly possible. If I could have one wish, other than the usual (end poverty, peace on Earth, etc..) it would be to have more time in any given day, or to not have the need to sleep (hmmm…., I love sleep, so scrap that idea). So if it could be arranged that a single day could be extended to 30 hours, and then the extra 6 hours could be used exclusively for creative and leisurely pursuits, that would be wonderful.
Photo: Sarah and her family

The goal: to have a space that was exclusively mine. As a full time working mum, I really felt the need for a space where I could sit and relax and be creative once the kiddies were asleep. It had to be functional, yet Pinterest-worthy. And in this space I would be creative, I would have all the time in the world to create masterpieces, enjoy the quiet alone time I sometimes so desperately craved, all the while sipping blissfully on a glass or two of wine. Happy! scarethread_01.JPGI decided that the bedroom would be the perfect spot. We drove to IKEA and found some amazing grey geometric wallpaper, and this happy looking yellow chair, and table. It was lovely. And I enjoyed sipping my coffee in the lounge chair during the occasional quiet moment. scarethread_02.JPGBut it wasn’t quite the creative space I desired. So, for my birthday in April, I asked Ben for my very own desk. Off we drove to IKEA again, I love IKEA!

I decided I wanted a bamboo top rather than the standard white top. In our excitement, we bought it without measuring (helpful tip: always measure before you buy!). The bamboo top wasn’t wide enough!! But that’s okay because the bamboo looked way better than the white, so I just got Ben to “fix” it by sawing the trestle legs a bit. Photo Aug 28, 8 51 59 PM.jpg
This is the table all ready to go, I just needed to add some finishing touches (notice how we tackled this project with a glass of rosé on the go. classy! And there’s Jenson, making himself at home). While we were at IKEA we bought that plant (now called Agatha, she has since been relocated to the living room, where the cats take a nibble out of her once in a while… sad times), and we also bought that chair, but I think I would like to replace it with something else in the future. I’m not sure what I’m looking for yet but I’ll know it when I see it!

My brother recently bought a gorgeous house just outside of Vienna, and he found a bunch of old window frames in the basement that were used in the house originally. He was going to throw them out anyway, so I think I was doing him a favour taking them off his hands. Best find ever!
Photo Aug 28, 8 59 23 PM.jpgI was tempted to sand them down and paint them an awesome colour, but when I put them against the wallpaper I thought they looked awesome just as they were. They had a rustic charm to them. That decision saved me a lot of work, which meant more time for crafting and wine. Hurray! (There’s Ben again, doing all the manual labour.)

I slowly started to add more personal items to the area to make it a place that I would feel inspired and happy. There are two photos taken by Ben when we first moved to Vienna: he took the same photo over the Danube river for about a year and some of the results we just stunning; an old photo illustration that I had custom made for me back in my early twenties and a number of little cacti plants and other bits and bobs. scarethread_07.JPG

scarethread_08.JPGThis space continues to be a work in progress. Eventually I want to add some shelving so that I can put the cacti and other more useful items on it, which will allow the desk to be a bit more spacious. I also want to add some extra storage to house my small fabric stash that I am desperate to transform into a LARGE fabric stash.

scarethread_11I would also like to get a record player in the room somewhere. I’m in the habit of automatically turning the telly on in the evening, and then I inevitably find myself distracted by zombies or Tom Hardy, depending on what I’m watching. I think it would be lovely to listen to some records and fully immerse myself in my creative little space. I have my heart set on a Crosley X UO Sterling Vinyl Record Player in turquoise from Urban Outfitters. I think this would make the perfect Christmas present (she says with her fingers and toes crossed, hoping a certain husband will get the hint).

Thank you so much for listening! Sarah xxx

For more of Sarah’s creative adventures, make sure to follow her on Instagram! @scarethread

GUEST PEACE: A Gold, Glam, and Fab Bridal Shower

My dear friend, Yadira, is engaged to be married next month and she recently had her bridal shower hosted by Linda and family.  This fam could open their own event planning business with talents in multiple areas! Needless to say, they threw a gorgeous bridal shower.  Here is a peek into her gold, glam and fab shower!

A re-purposed wood sign and thrift store wire screen painted gold by Linda’s daughter and the bride-to-be’s BFF, Katie. Photos hung on the screen by Jordan Hazel.Linda’s husband, Reid and craftsman extraordinaire, painted and put together the posts surrounding the main banquet table.Outdoor bar cart complete with a hand stenciled “Bubbly Bar” sign and lots of rose!Gorgeous floral centerpieces by Linda’s friend, Elizabeth: roses, lisianthus, ranunculus, stock, coffee bean and geranium leaves

The gold containers were spray painted gold by Reid and complimented by paper goods purchased from Etsy and Cake Girls.Catering by Linda’s son, Daniel: smoked salmon, parmesan crisps with a goat cheese mousse, chicken salad on wonton skins, toasted points with micro greens and vinegarette, bruschetta, mini eggplant sandwiches, and mixed greens with carrots, cucumbers, and grilled chicken with a ginger citrus dressing.Linda’s daughter, Sarah, made the naked cake from scratch to accompany the mini eclairs and cream puffs.Custom photo backdrop complete with an old painted bench by Reid, tissue paper tassels, and gold frames.Katie spray painted old wine and beer bottles to place as accent pieces around the garden.Favor bags: pink tea bag with a pink rock candy stickWhite lanterns and glass and gold tea light holders hung from the poles above the table for a dreamy and romantic feel.The beautiful bride-to-be and her flower crown by Elizabeth.  We can’t wait for you and Mike to tie the knot!

Linda is a Southern California native and a passionate party planner in her spare time. Every event she holds is perfected down the the smallest detail.  She has a beautiful eye for color and shabby-chic, rustic decor. She is a loving wife, mother of 6 and has 8 grandchildren!  That’s a lot of parties!

Mermaid Princess Party

While I was (very) pregnant with the twins, my best friend’s daughter was turning 3 and having a mermaid party. I really wanted to help even though I could barely walk through the store at the time! I didn’t know what I was going to make at first but I knew that I would use whatever I could find at the dollar store in one trip.

Looking for anything mermaid or princess, I decided to pull together some centerpieces.My daughter and a I spent some quality art time together dipping shells in fuschia, aqua, and green glitter…

and we carefully placed them in the bowls on top of the glass beads with the mini tiara combs.I wrapped jeweled ribbon around the top of the bowl and glued small styrofoam balls to look like pearls.After everything was done, each centerpiece probably cost about $3 a piece. Such a steal and perfect for the mermaid princess’ special day!I had some leftover shells and pearls. How cute are these for some table confetti?

For more mermaid princess crafts, check out these tiaras and wands!

Guest Peace: Geometric Cork

When I moved into my new office a year ago, I wanted to make it mine in a way I hadn’t done in my last office, but as often happens, I was overwhelmed with such a blank slate. I wanted a way to incorporate photos of family and friends in a way that was suitable for a professional office, that didn’t include a lot of picture frames (talk about too many choices…), and that kept the photos in a place that I could enjoy them. So many of my colleagues have photos in their offices that are only visible to their visitors. I wanted these to be for me when I need a little pick-me-up or to help me escape to some of my favorite places and past vacations.
My plans often came to back to corkboard, but it didn’t seem polished enough or appropriate for the office…a little too college dorm room. Roaming the aisles of Target one night, I was struck with the inspiration to add some geometric designs, fancy push pins, and GOLD paint. All of my supplies were purchased at Target and the whole project easily came in under $20 and took me just one evening to complete. The corkboard even came with adhesive to easily hang them on the wall.  I used painters tape to mark off random designs on each piece of corkboard, playing around with different angles and amounts of space.

 I painted with the eggshell paint first, allowing about 15 minutes to dry in between coats. Since the cork soaks up paint, it took about three or four coats to get the coverage I wanted.

 After the eggshell portions were dry, I removed the tape and applied new tape in different directions to mark off where I wanted the gold portions to be. Again, three or four coats of paint were needed.

I almost didn’t want to cover them with pictures once I hung them, but I love that I can see all my photos when I look up from my computer screen.

 It’s so easy to change them out when I feel like it without worrying about the photos needing to fit in a certain frame or be a certain size, and since all of my photos these days are just inexpensive online prints of iPhone photos, I have a never-ending supply of new material.


Wedding Artwork

It’s February and the month of LOVE.  To express my love affair with metallics, each post this month will be a GOLD project!

We have a good collection of decor photos from our wedding taken by Karen Nakamura. I love that they show the thought and work we put into that day as well as the feel and ambiance of our venue. When we moved into our home from our condo, we switched to white wood pieces instead of dark. Instead of getting rid of this frame, I decided to paint it.

  I found this paint at the local craft store and although I have never used it before, I absolutely love the color. It is more of a champagne gold than yellow gold and it has super tiny sparkles, just enough to make it elegant and dynamic without being too cheesy. I admit that I am not a fan of sanding. I did not sand this frame and instead just put the paint right on. It took about 3-4 coats to cover the black, but a little black still shows through which gives it a really interesting texture. I did gloss it, which took it from home craft project to something you could find in the store.

  The frame hangs nicely in our master bath. You can see how different the color looks depending on the lighting and time of day.

Finding artwork for your home is one of the most challenging parts of decorating. I am always saying how I prefer things with meaning, things you already have access to, and things that bring such good vibes and memories to your home. What’s better than to use photos from your wedding or any happy occasion that you love to remember.

Toddler Table 2

Since making the toddler table for my nephew, I figured that I should probably work on the one in my own home!

Using one of my favorite gold acrylic paints, the same one I used to paint the wedding frame, I put about two coats on the bare wood toddler table.  After drying, a quick coat of acrylic gloss really brought out all of the tiny gold sparkles in the paint.

  I love that this table is simple and classy yet perfect for my little one.  It is still a toddler table but fits right in to the decor of our living room!


Gail_newGail is a native of Florida, but has now adopted California as her own, thanks to her love of avocados and mountains (one of which Florida is lacking). She has been working as an in-house book designer for over 8 years and works on freelance illustration projects in her spare time. She has illustrated one educational digital picture book and hopes to publish one of her author/illustrated stories one day as a classic picture book. For her, picture books bring together her love of illustration, typography, and printing–and she will yammer on about them for hours if you let her.

For the past number of years, I’ve made it a habit to create nursery art for friends, family, and close coworkers when I find out they’re expecting. I’ve tried to make them a bit fancier each time in an effort to push myself to get better at my art and build a portfolio of work. More complex = more time, and recently I’ve run into a dilemma. Between the day job, my own personal art projects, and the number of IOUs for friends and expected little ones, I found that I had more of these art pieces than time to create full colored illustrations for. To find a solution, I had to simplify: pen-and-ink drawings, maybe a hint of color. That is all.


Swatches_scrapI decided to make use of what I had lying around: scrap watercolor paper (Arches, 140 lb), remnants from larger sheets that I cut down to sizes needed for various finished projects. I cut the remnants into 5×7 sizes, with any smaller pieces heading straight to the scrap bin, to be used later to test watercolor mixes before I apply them to finished pieces. Each large sheet of watercolor paper is too expensive to let anything go to waste.
Dog_closeup_eraserDrawings were done in pen-and-ink, sometimes being sketched out first in pencil, sometimes drawn freeform and impulsively. That is particularly true with some of my favorite animals: foxes, elephants, giraffes. They are fun to draw and I’ve probably drawn them a few too many times.
Once drawn, I add a touch of color to accent but not detract from the final images.
The images come from a combination of what I know a person wants as an image and what I’m in the mood to draw that day. They are a nice change of pace from the portfolio pieces that I redraw and redraw until I am (sometimes) happy with them. These are play.

Those of you familiar with Mel and her new years announcement might be able to guess which one of these I created for their nursery.


To follow Gail and her artful adventures:
twitter: @nightengailart
instagram: nightengail