Make It Work: Vintage Rock Collection Before and After.

If someone asked me to describe the home decor style of our tiny home, I would have to say that it’s, well…very… eclectic. 

In other words, just about anything goes: antique, modern, mid century, yard sale. But some how, it all (sort of) works.

See the mix and match of things  in my home here:

And here:



It’s kind of a crazy style but it’s all our own and somehow we’ve managed to incorporate family things along with kindergarden art projects! The trick? I just kind of go with whatever we have.Here’s something neat: I once read that if you really love something, it will work in your home. But I’ve also found that a little make-over will make it work too. And it’s easier than you would think to give something a face-lift.

For example, if you are attracted to more modern things but your great aunt Matilda gives you a gorgeous family rocking chair that’s covered in an old-fashioned fabric–think about covering the chair in a really modern graphic fabric (like stripes, dots or chevron) as a contrast. You’ll be amazed how this will make the chair “work”. Or that bench you saw at the yard sale (you know, the one your husband rolled his eyes over when he saw you saw it?) how about a fun, bright colored paint job? What about hot pink? Go wild and love it, and that fun will show! Another trick? Accessorize in your home with modern elements to make something vintage, for example, look stylish and up-to-date.

I did just this with a Vintage Rock Collection from the 1970′s that my father gave my daughter. Not yet ready to put it in her bedroom (I was a little nervous with the glass) we decided to display her new collection in the living room.

What did we do? We painted the frame, removed some older tacks on the inside to spruce it up a little then we hung it. We also visually “anchored” it with some modern vases on the table below which made it look less 1970′s science project and more (hopefully) Domino magazine inspired home decor.

The result was a spruced-up rock collection that has been handed down generations and now will be enjoyed by all of them.

Tutorial: Hearts Display with April at Gingerbread.

Although we have four monthly contributors here at The Southern Institute, I wanted to make sure that there was a place here for more of you to share the space. Once or twice a month, I will continue to invite guests to share their inspirational projects. Today, April is with us and I can’t wait to let her have the “floor”. Take it away, April!

Hello, my name is April and I share my projects over at Gingerbread. I’m a wife, mother and general DIY kinda girl. I am constantly drinking coffee, looking fs and a new project I can start. My motto is “make crazy messes and have big adventures”,  and that pretty much sums up my blog! Today I’m sharing a crafty project that involves my collection of heart shaped rocks. I LOVE hearts. I can remember doodling them in school when I was bored. I could cover an entire page with hearts! Now that I’m a mom I tell my two boys to always be on the lookout for heart shape rocks whenever we are outside. I have a small collection that I thought was going to waste just sitting on my bedroom dresser, so I thought it would be a fun idea to showcase them on canvas so I could actually see and enjoy them.

You will need: >> Heart shaped rocks  (really you could use any rock collection that holds special memories for YOU) >> Various colors of paint >> Hot glue gun >> Plain white canvas (I used a 5×7) >> Paint brush

First I painted both sides of rocks with two coats of paint. Then I hot glued my rocks to my canvas. I used a big dollop of hot glue and pressed from both sides of the canvas until the glue is dry. Some of my rocks were larger than others and I wanted to make sure they didn’t fall off. Haha.

I hope you will come over and say hi! I have a link party called Sweet Saturday for all of your crafty goodness, recipes and DIY projects! Thank you Jenny for letting me come say “hi”, I hope you have a great weekend!

april xoxo

Leaf Painting with Margaret from Star Graf Designs.

One of the best things about blogging, I have found, is the people that you meet.  I have lost count of how many wonderful women I have met in just two years of writing this blog.  This really is such a wonderful community!  Today I’m happy to have Margaret visiting, from star graf design.  Margaret links up regularly with Creative Me Monday and always has great ideas.  After seeing one of her Make a Mess Monday projects I invited her to share one of them over here.  Here she is!

Hello Southern Institute readers my name is Margaret, and I’m super excited to be a guest blogger today. Besides showing off my handmade creations and sharing random tips & tricks on my blog Star Graf Design projects, I came up with “Make a Mess Mondays“. My two little misters and I create art projects, hopefully teaching them {and reminding myself} that it’s okay to get down & dirty, letting go of “the rules” in the process. Since it will soon officially be Fall, I chose to use leaves for this Make a Mess Project.

I like re-using things I have laying around the house. So we stole from our household painting supplies a small roller, a paint brush and a paint tray. I like to use crayola’s washable paints because they easily wash out of everything, yes everything.

First thing’s first, walk around the yard finding leaves of all shapes and sizes. Next spread the paint on the leaf, either with a brush or smashing the leaf into the paint. We found that using a little bit of paint on the bottom side of the leaf {the side with all the spines} made the neatest leaf prints.

With my own boys the bigger the drawing space the more they engage in arts & crafts projects. When they’re not contained to a small sheet of paper, painting can be more of a whole body experience making it more enjoyable. Want to engage your boys?  How about using a roller on the sidewalk to roll watered down paint onto the leaves. Once the leaf has been painted stamp it on the sidewalk, a nearby tree or even your front steps if you dare. Don’t worry- you can always wash it off with the hose later.

Not messy enough yet… Try using your feet to press the leaf onto the paper or another surface. Notice our own little experiment pictured below: the bigger the paper the more leaf stamps my two little misters were interested in doing.

To be quite honest, painting with my kids stresses me out and making messes is so not my strong suit. But I am trying to let go of my “clean freak self” to have fun creating with my sons. I’d love to hear your favorite leaf projects or stories attempting to make this mess in the comments. Thank you Jenny for letting me share this Fall kids art project!

You are a brave woman, Margaret!  I’m with you… I don’t take to messes very well, which makes paint something that doesn’t make appearances too often.  I have to be feeling pretty ambitious!  But taking it outside makes it seems much more appealing!  Thanks so much for sharing with us today.  I encourage you all to check out Margaret’s Make a Mess Mondays archives.  She has really fun ideas!

Have a great day, everyone, and don’t forget to link up your projects with Creative Me Monday!  You can link up as many projects as you’d like, Monday through Saturday night!