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StampingTitleImageRecently I was hired to design an entry wall at Leslie Salon, a hair salon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Leslie Holtmeier had been searching for a unique treatment for the curved wall entrance. I chose a technique that gives character and design flexibility while keeping costs to a minimum. Years ago I would have immediately turned to stenciling, but I have found that stamping is a more freeing and expressive way to pattern a wall. The inconsistency of application gives a more hand-crafted feel, and the individual stamps can be turned and rearranged for a more freeform pattern. For this motif, I designed a more structured pattern as a base and then stamped a more fluid vine-like pattern over the base structure. What really added to the look was a metallic paint product. By using 2 different colored metallic paints I was able to convey a more modern and elegant quality to the overall design. When the light shines on the wall, the design shimmers. This is a very simple technique that anyone can do and it is not supposed to look perfect! Here’s how…

StampingImage1S T E P   1 :

Cut Out Your Stamps

My favorite go-to material are those foam craft sheets because they are so easy to cut (like butter) and they make the perfect stamp! You can choose to freeform cut, or you can print out a pattern to size from your computer, spray a light mist of spray glue to the back of your pattern, stick on your foam craft sheet and using an exacto knife (no. 11 blades) cut out each piece of your stamp. Note: You can also use the negative leftover pieces as stamps too!

StampingImage2S T E P   2 :

Glue Stamps to a Foam Core Backing

The most important thing to remember about this step is that a stamp should be BACKWARDS from what you want it to be on the wall. So, if your are stamping numbers or letters, remember to glue your stamp on the foam core so that it reads backwards. Using a standard white glue (I prefer Tacky Glue), put a light bead of glue all over the foam cut out piece and lightly press to the foam core back (be sure to wipe away any glue that squeezes out). Let glue dry fully and then trim down the foam core close to the stamp so that you can see some of the edges of the foam when it is positioned against the wall. This helps when you are trying to position the stamp on the wall next to an already stamped element. You can also cut the backing board with a consistent distance edge so if you are stamping a border along the ceiling, you just have to push the edge of the stamp against the ceiling and it should all match up. It helps to think this out before you cut down your stamp backing.


S T E P   3 :

Painting and Stamping

Now is the moment of truth! I always do a test stamp on a painted piece of cardboard just to get the feel of it. The key to painting stamps is a light touch. I use really cheap foam brushes and just barely touch the end of the brush into the paint. You do not want a lot of paint on the stamp because it will ooze and spread if too heavy. Like crepes, the first one is never that great because the stamp needs a little base of paint on it. I put a few strips of masking tape on the top of the stamp to help hold it in place while I am tamping it. So, lightly paint your stamp, position your stamp, press the tape and start tamping lightly with the side of your fist all around the back of the stamp. Note: After awhile, it helps to take a wet paper towel and clean some of the paint buildup. This keeps your impressions crisp.


S T E P   4 :

Second Color Overlay Stamp

I wanted this design to have a structured base and a more vine-like pattern to contrast the structured pattern. This is when I really like stamping because I only had to make 4 different vine stamps and by simply rotating them and combining them differently, I achieved a very freeform pattern. I made different leaves and buds randomly placing them on the vines to create a very natural look. This second color was again a metallic, but it was a darker bronze color.

Special Note: Part of this wall had a curve to it, so after I was finished with the straight part, I simply made vertical cuts (not all the way through!) to the back of the foam core base (approximately every 1 inch or so). That way the stamp was able to flex around the curve.


T H E   R E S U L T S :

My favorite part of the finished wall is the way the light hits the metallic paint. It has a beautiful patina and the freeform vine pattern recedes in some areas and jumps out in others. The overall motif fits the salon personality well. It was fun stamping the wall during her business hours because her clients were really intrigued with the whole process. I received a very nice followup note from my client Leslie Hotmeier who said, “You know that saying, ‘if I had a dime for every time I heard that’ ?  Well, it’s fitting in this case because I have had SO many compliments on the beautiful wall design you did here at the salon.” That is the nicest way to complete a job! 

M A T E R I A L S   L I S T :

Craft Foam Sheets, 1/4 inch Foam Core Board, Rustoleum Metallic Accents Paint (Champagne and Bronze Medal), Foam Brushes,

S P E C I A L   T H A N K   Y O U:



I want to give special thanks to Gina Weathersby Photography for beautifully documenting this story for me. I am in awe of her mastery of visual storytelling and her friendship means more than I can say. I also want to thank Leslie Holtmeier for having the confidence in me to put the image of her Salon in my hands.


Elegant Plastic Tablecloth Idea


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One of my most repinned Pinterest images has been my Black and White Affair post which shows the use of inexpensive plastic tablecloths that come in rolls used as ceiling draping. Using common, everyday materials in a different way has always been a trick of mine. For 4 years, I helped the kids at my daughter’s high school decorate their main room for all of their dances. Since we had no budget and a very large space to fill, I turned to materials that I could purchase large quantities for little money.

For this dance we painted a leaded glass linear design using black latex paint and cheap foam brushes on white plastic table covers. Since the plastic is translucent, I was able to paint the first design and the kids used it as an underlay to trace the other banners. So, they all matched perfectly! The foam brushes made it easier to paint even lines. If a teenage student can do it, so can you.

The chandelier is made of clear plastic plates (you can get a huge amount of these at Costco) which were then spray painted gold around the edges and strung with fishing line. We hung them from a gold, spray painted, foam core circle that had holes punched in them. The finished chandelier was very lightweight and easy to hang from the ceiling. The kids put this together themselves and were very proud of the finished product. That was the best part of helping them, seeing their self confidence and creativity grow!

Mother Nature: The Master Designer





I am constantly inspired by nature. Last summer a huge hornets nest appeared on the maple tree in our front yard. For months I watched this phenomenon from afar wondering what was inside. During the winter months, the nest looked like a natural christmas ornament. Even though I knew the hornets were long gone, I was reluctant to take this bauble off the tree. Well, this weekend, my husband cut the nest down and let me explore the inner structure. Of course, I went online to make sure there were no baby hornets waiting to emerge and I found that after their life cycle and the temperatures dip below freezing, the hornets abandon their nests and go somewhere else to hibernate for the winter. Still, it was a bit unnerving taking a knife to the very light papery nest. But what I found inside was incredibly beautiful!

Mother Nature really knows what she is doing.

Garden Life Lessons


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SageImageMontageThis past weekend was spent in my gardens cleaning and pruning from one of the worst winters ever. A lot of plants that I hold near and dear to my heart did not survive including a fifteen year old thyme plant, my chives (which is killing me not having them right now), three Santolina plants and a few others that I am keeping my eye on. The most disturbing casualty is my Sage plant which is more than twenty years old. I transplanted it from my old house and have used it regularly in my recipes. I was really distraught but then I discovered an unexpected surprise. I brought the metal tub, that holds my Rosemary, out of the garage (a perfect place for wintering the plant because it likes the cool air and does not get dried out) and found little seedlings growing under the plants. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were from my Sage plant! The seeds had blown from the plant into the tub and the garage protected them from the polar vortex. I have new little Sage babies that I can plant around the older mother continuing its legacy.

I then started thinking about the comparison to my design career. Like my Sage plant, my design career is over twenty years and I have been in my own seasonal patterns. Now, with the economy and the shift in our profession, I have been sending out new seeds to see what takes root and hopefully starts new growth. Funny how nature can teach us so much about life if we are willing to look close enough.


New Year Wishes

PrintI LOVE the new year and all the possibilities that come with it. This is the time when I am huddled in my house enjoying the quiet beauty of winter and reflecting on what I want to accomplish for this next year. I am not a big planner type of person, in fact I usually don’t know what I am going to do the next week. But I do like opening my mind up to new ideas and opportunities. This is my time for visual exploration and personal reflection.

My Wish for everyone is a year filled with a lot of happy moments.

Scarf Clips on L I S A Lounge


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ScarfClip1 ScarfClip1HiRes ScarfClip2HiRes ScarfClip3HiResStill looking for a last minute Gift? You can now purchase Scarf Clips on L I S A Lounge. These lightweight Aluminum clips turn your Scarf into a Necklace! You simply open up the rings, put each end of your scarf through each ring of the clip, slide it up and squeeze it flat. Now your scarf will stay in place and look fashionably pretty. Be prepared for lots of compliments.

If you order by the 20th of December, you can still receive it by Christmas (only for Greater Cincinnati area)


Find them at the Goose


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PrintKnow someone who is decorating a nursery or child’s room? Do you have your own inner child looking for something to make you happy? Then get yourself over to The Spotted Goose in Oakley square. They now have my Happy Animals in removable decals and Pillow Covers. You can also find my Wild Things Pillow covers along with so many other creative products, your inner child will have fun. Please SHOP LOCAL this holiday season!the_spotted_goose_logo