Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Narrow Stairs" Custom Canvas Sign.

The stairs to our basement are narrow (very narrow) though not too terribly steep, and more than a little bit boring. Wanting something to look at other than, well, stairs either when going down into the basement or walking past the (often open) door, I decided to whip up a little something on one of the canvases I had lying around. 

While I at first had thought about maybe putting up something abstract or maybe modern, the space isn't very well lit, and isn't great for really 'viewing' art, so a something simple and straight forward (like a sign) seemed to be the way to go.

After playing for a long time with fonts and colours in Adobe Elements, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted everything to look. It was simple, pick a font, print the text at the desired sized and using an box-knife cut out a stencil  to use as a template on the canvas. 

 I've seen lots of various projects done in similar ways, but the big difference here is that I did things the harder, less perfect way. Most folks would go out to their local craft store, buy some sort of spray adhesive for stencils and affix the stencils in that way. I opted to go the old-school way and trace out my stencil text directly onto the primed canvas, not only because I'm one of those people who "has" to do things differently, but also because not a single store in our locale has a clue what spray adhesive is. Seriously. 

{prior to erasing}
Then after all that I erased the pencil marks so there was barely a ghost of the lines visible, added some more painters tape and painted the sections I wanted to be white, white (primarily the lettering of "stairs" and the upper portion where the word "narrow" is positioned). I did this to try and minimize any remaining pencil outlining and have a crisper finish to what would inevitably end up looking like a sixth grade art project.


After the paint had dried I taped it all off again so I could paint the dividing stairs, and fill in the the top text. Let me tell you this, painting the word 'narrow' took longer than the rest of the entire project. Seriously. Itty bitty brush, teeny tiny strokes and constant touch ups to get a solid edge, full colour and crisp lines. Not sure how soon I'll try something lie that again.

And there it is, in all it's simplistic glory, leaning against our thoroughly un-glorious un-finished basement stairs. Eventually it will hang on the bottom side of the loft stairs that run above the basement set, but that will have to wait until some wiring is done and some drywall is hung. For now it will just luxuriate on the ledge, being the only 'finished' thing on that narrow set of stairs.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Trio of Lights

For the past four months we've lived without light in our dining room. It being summer in the northern hemisphere it wasn't a big deal, as the sun doesn't set until 10:30pm in mid June and it's still light until 9-930pm in mid-August. So it became more of a minor annoyance than anything not being able to flip a switch and ta-da! light at dinner time. As I've mentioned before, we had a few set-backs in completing the drywall, which pushed back the completion of other tasks, such as painting and wiring. But now with those hurdles behind us we were more than ready to get some functioning lights back in the dining room.

We had already cut our accesses from the attic and wired our boxes months ago (even before we had received our lights) to replace the off centre semi-ornate dome light that had come with the house.

{the old light fixture}

It was only a matter of deciding on how high to hang the lights, and then installing them. The lights we bought were Industrial Pendants from West Elm, and were fairly straight forward (though a little bit of a pain to convert to hardwired installation due to the fabric cord cover). 

{layout}
We took about a day to decide on the height, at first thinking that a 28" cord length looked fine, then raising it to 26", 24".. and eventually settling on 18" (approximately three feet above the table top).

{let there be light!}
If we had higher ceilings or cathedral ceilings we could have opted to hang with a longer cord length for the ultra-modern look, but we're just happy that Jesse doesn't whack his head on them if reaching across the table during a meal.  

Now that we have light, we can move on to the final steps; trim, casings, crown moulding and a little decor.