Tag Archives: Art

DIY Kitchen Word Art: What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

Easy DIY Word Art Tutorial - Design Lively

Last week I posted on my latest adventure with beadboard wallpaper – my kitchen backsplash. Well, I got inspired and decided to re-do the art above my stove.

About a year ago I made a word-art sign that hung above my stove that said “What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin'” because it’s not an unusual occurrence for someone in this household to burst out singing this song.

While I loved the pop of yellow, the text didn’t read well from far away, so once I had my new backsplash I was inspired to give it another go! This time around I choose a higher contrasting blue and white letters and a chunkier typeface – Helvetica.

As a reminder of how I transfer my letters on to my wood board, see below!

The EASIEST Way to Transfer Fonts to Wood Boards:

Easy DIY Word Art Tutorial - Design Lively

1. Choose a font and what you’d like to say – and print it out!

2. Turn the paper over and rub it with chalk

3. Tape the paper (chalk-side down) and tape it into place. Trace over the outlines of the letters with a pen or pencil.

4. The pressure of the pen should leave a chalky residue behind, transferring your type.

5. Begin painting! Start with the outlines and then fill the letters in. I used craft paint and a tiny paintbrush.

6. After the paint has dried, the chalk residue will just wipe away.

Easy DIY Word Art Tutorial - Design Lively

You tell me, what’s cookin’ good lookin’?

(And on that note – I need to cook some dinner!)

I submitted this project to Beneath My Heart’s “Best of DIY October” Link Party

Touring the Wacky and Whimsical Mackenzie Childs Victorian Farmhouse

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

The types of artists and designers that I truly enjoy the most are the ones that create things you don’t see with your two eyes. J.K. Rowling, Lisa Frank, Alex Katz, Betsey Johnson. And Mackenzie Childs.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Mackenzie Childs creates whimsical ceramics, furniture and household items. All pieces are created and painted by hand in one of several trademark patterns (the most famous being black and white checks).

The headquarters, store and inspirational-styled Victorian farmhouse are located on what used to be an old dairy farm in Aurora, NY and open to visitors. While the men in our family were headed to the PGA golf tournament, my mom and I decided to have a girls day out and visit Mackenzie Childs.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

There is a lovely shop full of everything you can imagine – candlesticks, to rugs, to champagne glasses, to patio furniture. The only downfall of Mackenzie Childs – it is not cheap. But still fun to poke around.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

In a small theater off the shop is a 20 minute video where you can learn all about the ceramic molding, firing and glazing process. There is also a massive and intricately decorated dollhouse – my eight-year-old self was in heaven.

Visitors aren’t able to tour the work area – where all the pottery is molded, fired and glazed. But, we were able to peek through a few windows at the shelves full of works in progress!

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

There is a beautiful courtyard you can sit at and enjoy. Sadly it was a misty, rainy day, so we were unable to linger in it very much that day.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

The free Farmhouse tour is given hourly and is quite a treat.  Have you ever been to one of those home expo tours and go through beautifully styled homes?

Well, it was like that! Except Mackenzie-Childs-esque – which you’ll see is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

We had to wear protective booties because of the rain.

The style is not exactly how I’d decorate my own home, but I love how the brand beats to it’s own crazy colorful drum and doesn’t look back.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

There are small details all over the house – from funky reading glasses perched on open books, to classical painting that have been “modified” with crazy black and white checked pants and flowers.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

How adorable is this kitchen? I love the pink knobs.

I feel like I only might bake cupcake and french toast though if this was my kitchen. It doesn’t exactly scream grilled cheese or stir-fry to me.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Mackenzie Childs style waffles between eccentrically funky and decidedly feminine.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

How fun is that chair? I could actually see something like that in my house.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Small details like beautiful bottles of soap, large floral print wallpapers and decorative vintage handkerchiefs filled the hallways.

But the tiles in the bathrooms were some of my very favorite features!

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Hunter Boots even offers a Mackenzie Childs boot!

Mackenzie Childs Hunter Boots

The premises are beautiful and on Cayuga Lake – complete with gardens, ponds, and farm animals.

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

I had to take a picture of this – even the sawhorses in one of the outbuildings are “on-brand” with the classic checks!

We were there a week after their annual sale – which is pandemonium with people traveling from all over the country. Women camp out on air mattresses and wristband access is required to get into the tent to score goods for up to 80% off! About 15,000 people come to the annual sale event – yowza. I’m not sure I am even crazy enough for that.

After our farmhouse tour, we headed into the tiny town of Aurora (population 722 people!) and stopped in a few shops and had (a delicious) lunch at the Aurora Inn – a beautiful building in the center of town.

Aurora Inn

The restaurant overlooks Lake Cayuga, and the grounds are right at water-level.

The Aurora Inn

(It would be a great place for a wedding – if anyone is looking!)

The town of Aurora and the Mackenzie Childs farmhouse are around 1-1.5 hours from Rochester and Syracuse and definitely worth a day trip! While it would have been nice to stroll the property in nicer weather, I definitely walked away inspired!

Mackenzie Childs Farmhouse Tour

While Richard and Victoria Mackenzie Childs (the artists who started the brand) no longer own the company, they also restored another old home on Cayuga Lake. You can see it on one of my favorite websites – Hooked on Houses!

Have you heard of Mackenzie Childs before? What do you think of the crazy and whimsical patterns?

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Thanks for stopping by! : ) Kat

Italy Travels: We Came, We Rome-d, We Conquered – Part I

3 days in Rome, ItalyI failed to mention this in my last post. We trip-journal. I’d definitely recommend it. At the end of every day we each record the events of that day from our own recollections. It’s funny to see what we each remember differently. Plus, 12 days of vacation can turn into a giant blur if you don’t write it down each day!

When in Rome. All roads lead to Rome. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

There’s a reason Rome is a natural part of our vernacular.

3 days in Rome, Italy
Amazing view walking from the Spanish Steps up to the Borghese Gardens

Rome was… chaotic. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this “super-city” and I’m still not quite sure how to describe our experience in Rome. We flew in and out of Rome, and spent three days in this bubbling city.

Our trip began and ended in Rome, and I have mixed emotions about the city. Rome was cultural. Rome was crowded. Rome was rich with history. Rome was overwhelming. Rome was, certainly, unlike any other place I’ve ever been before.

3 days in Rome, Italy

Walking into oncoming traffic to cross the roads. Ignoring the (crowds of ) aggressive street peddlers. The swarms of tourists (in hindsight, we should have schedule Rome for mid-week). The sneaky swindlers looking to guilt tourists into tips for unrequested “services” (we had an incident on a train).

Yet, Rome is also unbelievably historic. Richly beautiful. Lively and Italian.

Vatican Museum

The Sistine Chapel was one of my trip highlights. There’s a famous scene in the movie “Good Will Hunting” that takes place in Boston Commons. Robin Williams is talking to Matt Damon about the difference between living and experiencing life and says, But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel.

You can bet I took a deep breath while standing under that glorious ceiling.

3 days in Rome, Italy

The Vatican Museum in general was just amazing. The two main draws, the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Room, did not disappoint. I also particularly enjoyed the Cartography Hallway, and the courtyard with amazing statues, including the Laocoon.

To visit the museum, you must reserve tickets in advance. This will let you skip the line outside of the building. However there is still a line inside (we waited about 20 minutes). Although your ticket has a reservation time on it, they didn’t appear to pay any attention to the particular time, so if you are late – like we were – don’t sweat it.

I3 days in Rome, Italy

While inside the museum, just follow the basic flow of traffic and you won’t miss anything. We were packed shoulder-to-shoulder for most of our time through the museum. But don’t let the crowds rush you along. Take your time, particularly in the Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel! We used the free Rick Steve’s audio tour for the Sistine Chapel. It took us about 3 (non-leisurely) hours to make our way through the museum.

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world, and the most opulent church I’ve ever stood inside. The impossibly long nave with gleaming, golden intricacies, Bernini’s glowing canopy over the tomb of St. Peter, the iconic dome-to-inspire-all-domes, Michelangelo’s famous Pieta statue. The entire inside literally glows with golden hues. The religious and artistic significance of St. Peter’s Basilica is astounding.

3 days in Rome, Italy

St. Peter’s Basilica can be easily and quickly accessed when leaving the Sistine Chapel. The basilica is free to enter, and much less crowded than the Vatican Museums. We used the free Rick Steve’s audio tour for the tour. It took us about 1 hour to make our way throughout the basilica.

Trevi Fountain

3 days in Rome, Italy

The Trevi Fountain is a magical place. We saw two proposals there in one night! (One looked like it went well! The other… not so much.) While the Trevi is magical, it is also crowded. We visited it each day in hopes of finding a thinned out crowd. Well, let me tell you, even at midnight on a Tuesday, the place is packed. I don’t believe it’s ever without crowds of on-lookers enjoying the massive fountain and tossing coins over their shoulder. Just try your best to shimmy down on to whatever surface you can call a seat and enjoy the experience.

(PS – Rome collects over $3000 dollars a day from coins in the Trevi! The money helps feed the homeless.)

3 days in Rome, Italy

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps were neat – not my favorite site in Rome, but a fun place to sit among loads of people. Just don’t bring a slice of pizza there. Apparently people in Rome think eating in public is really weird. Oops!

The streets are the Spanish Steps are picturesque and classic “Rome” in my mind. It’s also the place to go for upscale shopping, if that’s your thing.

3 days in Rome, ItalyItalian men dress up. Even the ones on the bathroom sign.

Campo di Fiori

Take this with a grain of salt, but being in Campo di Fiori made me feel like I was in the spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp. I guess that means it felt like the quintessential Rome piazza experience.

It was there we found our favorite Rome restaurant – Mercato.

3 days in Rome, Italy

We loved it so much, we went twice! We never had a dish that we didn’t like, but the pizza was particularly tasty.

3 days in Rome, Italy

There is also a Grom gelato in Campo di Fiori – yum! Grom is one of the more popular gelato chains, as they use all fresh and organic ingredients.

I’ll be back later this week with the rest of our Rome adventures! Ciao!

Also, today’s my Mom’s birthday!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DORTH VADER!

DIY Subway Art

DIY Subway Art - DesignLively

I have finally succumbed to the mega-trend that is subway art.

There is a lot of “word art” out there in the world today. “Real” subway art, or bus scrolls, are black and white and use the typeface Akzidenz-Grotesk, though modern updates of any official subway signage are written in Helvetica.

DIY Subway Art - DesignLively

I created this sign in Adobe Illustrator using Helvetica, and altered the kerning (space between letters) and letter height for variation. I printed it at Staples using the “Engineering Print” category – purchasing this huge poster for $4.99. Then I spray-mounted the poster on a piece of large foam core (black foam core so the edges blended) with 3M Super 77 spray adhesive and finally just hung it up in our bedroom.

The locations I chose are all places that meant a lot to us during our days of college.

It makes me happy! And gives us a big piece of meaningful art for only $10.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!