Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Free Stencil Contest at Stencilsearch.com

Here's your chance to win a full set of our Furniture Border Stencils!

We all love stuff for FREE right? And this give away is a whopper!


Furniture Borders #1 Painting Stencil

Furniture Borders #2 Painting Stencil

Raised Plaster Tremont Furniture Borders Stencil

Simply visit Stencilsearch.comhttp://www.stencilsearch.com to see our new article:
Turn Any Tired, Old Furniture Piece into a Decorative Piece of Usable Art with Paint and Stencils and then follow the instructions to enter the contest.

In this article, I show you how to turn your throw away furniture pieces in to treasures you wouldn't even THINK of throwing away!

And visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for Great Decorating Ideas with Stencils and plaster Molds, A huge selection of Stencils and the most beautiful line of Plaster Molds on the planet!


Monday, September 24, 2012

A Venetian Column Edge Plaster Mold for Home or Faux Finish Business

Oh how I love days there I find unique things to make my home or yard more beautiful. (Or to show to you). Today was one of those days and it popped up right before my eyes, begging me to take a look!

There it was! A venetian column edge plaster/concrete mold. My mind began picturing it's uses. Both in the Faux Finish Industry and for every home owner I know.

Whether you are a faux finish artist doing a room for a client, or a budding interior artist in your own home, imagine these uses for this spectacular mold:

1. You've painted a gorgeous Italian wall mural. (Or even have just a simple stenciled design on a wall). Now, cast this mold to create a wall to wall,  3-D floor element to stand in front of your mural. Not only will it make the mural recede and create depth within the mural design, it will also add an extra architectural element to the room (and a lot more profit in to your sale since you just added an extra service!).

2. Cast two sets of them, separate them by about 2 feet in front of your sofa and then cover with glass for a fabulous coffee table! 

3. Surround your plain front porch with them to create an old world entrance to your home.(I'd use concrete for this, then drill holes with a concrete bit and screw in to the floor boards to hold it good and tight).

4. Edge all the flower beds in your front yard (Wow, how elegant would that make your curb appeal?).

Cast this mold, then once the plaster is dry, take a hammer to one edge of it. Let it break as it will.
Tah Dah!...an "antique" looking, "broken" plaster piece to use as a decorating element on top of a large sofa or occassional table or buffet. Could you possibly have picked it up at a salvage yard in Paris on your last trip?

Buy this mold from Amazon. And I'd love to see pictures of what you wind up doing with it!

Now, what ideas can you come up with? Post them here on the blog and share with us all.

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for more fabulous ideas for turning your home in to a home that delights you, plus all the stencils and plaster molds you could need to accomplish the task.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

There are certain people that I've come across in my industry that are just creatively wonderful and on top of it, terribly sweet! Pro artist Suzanne Rende is one of those people.

Her visions come to life with our plaster molds and she had learned that using just one or two
plaster molds can create large, plaster ceiling medallions that she applies to the ceilings and walls of her customers homes.

Suzanne used our Crowned Acanthus Plaster Mold and Small Floral Medallion plaster mold in a circular formation to create this very ornate medallion. Painting each piece with gold metallic paint before installation made the finishing process quick and easy.

In this unusual yet quite dramatic medallion, she used our Small Cartouche mold on the ends and a combination of our Left and Right Scrolls mold with our Large Acanthus scroll Mold. Imagine how you could paint the inside of the medallion with any paint color to coordinate a room project.

Now this is a girl who shows off imagination when she casts many of our 2 on 1 realistic roses mold and with a cake decorating bag and more plaster, she pipes little branches extending from the flowers around a fixture to create a very feminine design.

Suzanne is amazing and delights me every time she sends me photos of her handi-work.

Now, take some delight in creating your own ornamental plaster ceiling designs.
Casting Plaster is EASY and it's CHEAP! Plaster molds are easy to work with and durable. We even offer FREE Ornamental Plaster Patterns using our plaster molds that make it a cinch for you to create quite elaborate designs without having to come up with a design for yourself.

So whether your are doing it for a client, or for your own home, you have absolutely no limitations to everything you can do with them. And Suzanne Rende is the positive proof!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Decorative Plaster isn't just for Victorian Decorating

Decorative plaster has been around since Egyptian times and has truly never gone out of style. Mansions such as the Woolworth Mansion recently featured in the news and stately homes all over the world sometimes use ornamental plaster extensively on walls and ceilings to add beauty to expansive spaces.

I personally have used ornamental plaster in my own large home and enjoy it's delicate elegance on a daily basis.

But though ornamental plaster decorating found it's US popularity in Victorian Era decorating, it has also crossed over in to today's modern decorating as well.

Ornamental plaster is actually very easy to create. It simply involves casting plaster molds, then arranging the cast plaster pieces in to frames, medallions, frieze and border designs on both vertical and overhead horizontal surfaces.

 The beauty of ornamental plaster in today's world, is that it can be used in our own homes, or incorporated in to our Faux Finish businesses to decorate everything from furniture to vases.

Case in point is Beth Savoie who recently emailed me about using our Ornamental Cabbage Rose Plaster Mold to decorate a bed head and foot board.

Beth is in the business of re-finishing and selling furniture. She found that our plaster molds came in quite handy when creating a new finish for an old piece. The results are incredible! And combining Raised Plaster Stencil designs with plaster molds gives her options she might not normally have for her one of a kind, truly beautiful pieces.

Visit her website at http://www.savoiestyle.com/ and enjoy her designs and maybe purchase a piece for your own home.

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for inspiration, stencils and plaster molds to make a more beautiful home, a more creative life.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to Create an Elegant Home with the Right Inspiration

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm a "Traditional Elegant" lover. I decorate my home in Traditional style, I crave it, I live it, I breathe it. You can see that style in my stencil designs, in the photos of how I've decorated my own home, in how I do stenciling or faux finishing projects and in the types of things I speak of in this blog.

Traditional decorating is timeless. It never, ever goes out of style. It's "high end" looking (even if it doesn't come with the high end price tag). It's the "appearance" I'm looking for. Not being able to say I paid a gazillion dollars for it. In fact, it's much more fun (and shocking to those listening to me) to say I did it myself!

My favorite program used to be "America's Castles". I taped every episode and have watched them over and over. But the program went off the air (much to my disappointment) quite some time ago.

But alas! I've found a replacement! It's HGTV's "Beautiful Homes". This program features high end homes and mansions with my style of decorating. From the furnishings to the wall finishes, I am entranced at each episode.

I view each room and my mind instantly goes in to a mode of how I could create those finishes, that room arrangement, that furniture by doing more inexpensive make-overs of what I might already own (beg, borrow or steal...teasing of course!).

That's what this blog is all about. Taking the most modest home and turning it in to something beautifully elegant, serene and comfortable. Doing it yourself with little tips and tricks, a staple or two, a few yards of higher end upholstery material, some faux finishing and thrift store finds. Yes, some stenciling in there to make the job a little easier.

So visit the site, get some ideas, watch the show.....see what I'm talking about and then follow me and let me give you some ideas of "how to do it".

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for elegant stencils, plaster molds for high end ceilings and walls and more inspiration than you thought possible.

Life is short; Live elegantly

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Stainless Steel Paint Turns Give Any Appliance an Upgrade

I really love it (especially in this down economy) when companies come out with products that give us a less expensive alternative to upgrade the appearance of our homes.

Liquid Stainless Steel is a product that allows you to upgrade the look of any appliance by giving it a new stainless steel painted finish. Check out their website~ Very cool!


Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com for oodles of stencils, plaster molds and ideas to help you turn your own home in to an elegant place to live.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Exciting Faux Finish Products Websites

The sometimes the disappointing thing in the Faux Finish industry is that many product manufacturers require training and even certification to use their products.

Oh, how I've drooled over their sites....those luscious counter top products that when applied, look like real marble, the specialty concretes and sealants and floor products! Then only to find out that I have to sign up for a $900.00 class in order to even purchase and try them! I drop my head and leave the site.

Of course, there are products that you would be absolutely FOOLISH not to learn to use the right way. Especially if you are in the service end of the Faux Finish business. They are so specialized that if you don't know what you are doing, you're setting yourself up for failure.

For me, I'm a busy manufacturer and designer who doesn't have time to take every course on the planet to try their products (and boy, they are sometimes expensive as well!). So whenever possible, I feature companies that let we novices, we non-pro faux finishers, we DIYers try and use professional products without training.

Two such sites are WoodIcing.com and FauxMerchant.com

Rose Wilde at the Wood Icing Company created a product that gives you the ability to create strong, durable surfaces with a product that is not only easy to use, but one we LOVE with our Raised Plaster Stencils for furniture and cabinetry. You don't need a class or certification to try and use this wonderful medium to create stunning textured surfaces.

FauxMerchant.com is a fun site that will whet your whistle when it comes to a smorgasbord of faux finish products. From specialty counter top products, Pro paints and art supplies such as Bas Relief Clays, this site has much to offer! I've got my eye on the Design Crete line of products. Yeah, I have faux finished every counter top in all of my bathrooms, but I'm now wanting to try my hand at something brand new and exciting!

So kudos to those of you who offer the rest of us products that we can play with, create dreams with, learn with. You Rock!

If you know of other companies that you would like to mention, please post in the comments section. We'd love to hear!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for beautiful stencils, ornamental plaster molds, and ideas to dream upon~

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Stencil Raised Designs on Furniture: The Finished Table

For heaven's sake! Just as I get a moment to breathe and finish my table project, I'm once again bombarded with scads of orders and new project invitations and again it got put on hold. But finally, it's finished! Varnish and all.

As I showed in my last post on this stenciling project, I had added the raised designs to the round sides of the table with our Raised Plaster Tremont Borders Stencil Set and then had fun adding a bit more to the design using a cake decorating bag to create additional dots and curved lines.

I then painted the entire table, designs and all, jet black. I LOVE black furniture! It's regal, seems mysterious somehow and shows off a design in a spectacular way. I use black as the accent color in my living room in rugs, pillows and occasional tables. It looks very high end as the anchor color to the soft golds I use in everything else. 

Because the designs from the Raised Plaster Stencil protruded from the surface, it was super easy to paint just the design with an artist brush and metallic paint. In fact, it's totally fun!

I decided that the top of the table needed something spectacular, so I added our Alana Medallion Raised Plaster Stencil design with multi colors of paint. Soft brown, pale green a hint of pink and the same gold I used for the raised design created a lovely addition to my table design.

I finished off the table by doing just some of the trim in the same gold paint color that I used for the raised design. It's easy to go just a bit "nuts" when adding more gold trim so it's important to keep balance and simplicity in mind when ultimately designing your piece. For instance, I could have painted the entire table leg in gold paint. But the result would have taken this project from "elegant" to "gaudy". 

The final table project thrills the bajeebaz out of me since I now have an occasional table for my love seat in my living room (and I'm giving a party in two weeks so it will come in quite handy!)

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for elegant stencils, ornamental plaster molds and oodles of ideas and inspiration!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Decorating With Class Doesn't Mean Spending A Lot of Money

Two things for you today....

Firstly, I'm having a stencil giveaway contest. Help me name my new Raised Plaster Stencil Design and if we choose the name you come up with, we send you that large, beautiful stencil for FREE! (US residents only) Simply like our Facebook Page and then post your suggested name. The contest ends later today so hurry!

I also wanted to share a train of thought with you:
Decorating with Class doesn't mean you need to dash out and spend a lot of money. It's truly about taste, about placement and colors, about the quality you can find.

I love thrift stores, garage sales, salvage shops and consignment stores and I've been decorating my home with many of the treasures from these places for decades.

The music studio in my home in the mountains is an enormous space with a concrete floor. I faux finished the floor to slab flagstone a few years ago which covered the "football field" green that it had been painted previously.

All I had since I moved in was a hodge podge of throw rugs to cover what I could of the floor. I'd spent all my time decorating the upstairs main floor for the past year but now it's time to get busy on this floor as well.

Yesterday, I stopped at the first country yard sale I've seen since I've actually lived here. An old couple who had decided to consolidate were the sweetest folks I thought I'd ever met. Everything I picked up had a price tag, but they would quote me much less than what was posted. "You're a neighbor" they would say.... A neighbor? I'm 5 miles up the road! Gotta love this place for the sweetness of the people.

Well, there it was...on the floor, all rolled up tight: A very large area rug in GREAT shape!!!! On the back was the Belgium manufacturer. No, it actually wasn't made in China!

$25.00???? They surely must be kidding! This was in GREAT shape! I asked: "$25.00? Are you sure?????" (Knowing what I had found). They said, "Make it $20.00". I about fell over. They wouldn't let me talk them out of it (and trust me, I tried).

Since they were being so generous, I bought more items just to make up the difference. They were delighted!

I took the rug home and found no stains, no tears, no wear! Didn't they ever walk on this thing?

I shampooed the dickens out of it and placed it in the music studio (since I've been doing a mega cleaning in there this weekend anyway, it was the perfect time to clean that as well).

Yes, I had been planning to decorate in more subdued colors, but with a find like this, my colors will now change to accommodate this incredible find...and it will be beautiful!

The hunt for high quality, little used pieces for your home can be tedious. But if you hold out and wait for the perfect addition, the hunt becomes fun... a "mission" of sorts. And when you find it, when you find that piece that's worth much more than what you paid (because you didn't buy it new), you feel like the goddess of bargain decorating.

Now, remember that round table I'm working on? The one I just finished priming and that will get painted black with gold raised designs? It's going to fit perfectly in this room because the carpet also has black. Tah Dah! This was simply meant to be!

Vist the VictoriaLarsen.com website for exciting stencil designs, new Raised Plaster Stencils made just for furniture and cabinetry and ornamental plaster molds for exquisite interiors.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Win This FREE Large Raised Plaster Stencil

It's one of our newest designs and I decided to have a contest to help me name it!

Simply go to Facebook, like my facebook page and then post your name idea for this stencil.
The winner will be decided on Saturday. I will then contact the winner for their name and shipping address and they get this free, large and brand spanking new medallion stencil design.

Use this stencil to create ornate medallions on doors, large furniture pieces or as a random, all over wallpaper pattern on walls.

Best of luck to you all!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com stencil website for great stencils, plaster molds and home decorating ideas that YOU can do!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Stencil Raised Designs on Furniture Part llI

Continuing the stenciled table project, I decided to use my Raised Plaster Tremont Furniture Stencil to create the raised design on the round sides of the table.

Taking that design just a hint further, I used a cake decorating bag and tip to create arched lines under the stenciling to add even more flavor. A few raised teardrops and I called that portion "done". I like it! It now looks a bit more Victorian and ornate.

I'm now on the second coat of primer and the painting begins!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for exciting stencils, plaster molds and decorating projects YOU can do!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Stencil Raised Designs on Furniture Part ll

As I sat looking at the table project last night, I got a brilliant idea! I think I will add piped flowers to the peaks of the raised stencil design. I'll simply fill a cake decorating bag, cut a small hole in the tip and start creating! If you've never done this, it's a blast!

Try creating your own raised designs on your walls (such as vines, poke-a-dots or geometric shapes. It's a kick in the pants and when you do it with joint compound, if you don't like it, simply scrape it off and start over.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Stencil Raised Designs on Furniture

Applying raised designs to furniture is easy with a raised stencil specifically made for that application.

This old table I found at a flea market becomes my target "save it" project and I can't wait to see the finished product of my efforts.

I first sanded the piece, fixed a broken leg and then applied the Raised Plaster Furniture Borders Stencil design around the entire edge of the trim piece. Simply tape the stencil in place over the intended area. If need be, mask off areas you don't want to expose the medium you are using.

Once the medium is completely dry, I'll then lightly sand any weird raised areas that appear abnormal.

I applied the raised stencil to the trim of the table to create a piece that winds up being much more ornate than the original version. I love hand carved designs on furniture and that's exactly what this will look like once it's completed.

Now I'll wait for it to dry so that I can get it primed, painted and "prettied". I LOVE projects like this!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for lots of projects, stencils and plaster molds for your decorating design needs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Give Your Old Shed a Dramatic Make-over

I finally finished the make-over of my nasty, old shed! See older posts for a photo of the shed before the changes and the step by step process. But don't look too long...it was truly awful!
I loved watching this project come together with a few 4x1" boards for trim, painted a cheery green color and then the awesome pine design done on the door panel.

But the kicker was that I cast pine cones out of plaster from our Pine Cone Mold and attached them with adhesive caulk.
Now the door design takes on yet another dimension.

Neighbors are just going crazy over the concept (I can see their wheels turning as they view the artwork).

So if your shed, the dog house, even your own home exterior needs a bit of flair, consider this project as a fun and super easy idea!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for exciting decorating projects, fabulous stencil designs and unique plaster molds to make your project come alive with design.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Fabulous Make-over For a Tired Garden Shed

Sheds can be an eye sore. I sometimes wonder why manufacturers (or builders and DIY home owners) don't think about adding elements and trim to make them more appealing in our landscapes.

I was sick of mine. It wasn't built well to begin with but being structurally sound (basically), I knew that with the few carpentry skills I have, I could at least give it a face lift. And that I did!

After adding trim, a new paint finish and a cheery accent color, I then decided to do a pine design on the door.

Yesterday, I showed you the pine branches I piped with exterior brown caulk. Today I'm going to show you how I did the pine needles.

If you closely examine any plant or tree, you will see that it's over all color comes from a number of different colors. So I used three colors within my pine needles painting.

First came brown pine needles:

Then I added yellow green pine needles:

Finally, I used the same cheery blue/green I had used for the trim. Incorporating this green brought the entire design together and allowed it to coordinate with the shed color scheme.

The varying colors within the pine needles create more interest.

Now the shed begins to take on a whole new look. What fun! And so far, the neighbors are dying to see what's coming next. It's fun being the "artist" of this tiny mountain valley neighborhood.

In the next few days, I'll be back to show you the icing on this decorating cake! You're going to love it!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for many more fun projects like this. Check out the gallery section.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Give Your Old Shed A Make-Over

The shed project continues as the heat climbs in the mountains of Northern Idaho. 98 degrees in the afternoons means I can only work an hour or two in the mornings so the progress is slow, but a huge difference has already been made.

The old shed began as a hovel suitable only for the resident chipmunk who got evicted along with all of her nesting debris.

Sanding, priming and a new coat of paint made the surface of the shed look much better. No, I didn't want to replace anything. I need a new deck first!

I added 1x4" pine trim and with a little primer and the same custom paint color I used on the trim on my house, the shed began to take on a much more lively look. Notice the difference on the door? Who even built that shed did a crappy job. With new trim on the top and bottom of the door, it now appears completely straight! Tah Dah!

See all that pine debris on the roof? I'm waiting on sweetie to drag out the huge ladder so I can remove it. At just 5'3" and under 100 lbs, that ladder is bigger and heavier than I am. So muscles are the solution!

I decided to paint the very center of the door pure white to match the white garage doors. This, dear friends, becomes the canvas for my art.

Now....here it comes.....The fun part!

I decided that since the shed sits right against a 100 foot tall pine tree, that I would use a pine theme for the door decoration.

I decided to create raised pine branches on the door.

But guess what I created the branches with? Brown exterior caulk! What a hoot! I simply put the tube in my handy calk gun, cut off the tip and went to town creating cool pine branches angling from the sides of the white interior frame.
Where did I get this fabulous idea to use caulk? From Gloria Uhler, The Domestic Diva, who used my
Raised Plaster Aspen Trees Stencil in her living room using caulk instead of joint compound. What a creative gal! And she gave me a new medium for raised designs that I'd never thought of.

Stay tuned as you watch me apply pine needles and a surprise element to these great pine branches.

(c) Victoria Larsen 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Turning an Old Shed in to a Work of Art

The sun finally came out in the forest of northern Idaho, and when it did, all indoor projects came to a screeching halt! (Meaning, the round table I've been working on, now sits in the garage unfinished for the moment).

Our beautiful valley came alive with the sounds of tractors and hammering, mowers and yard tools. I added to the breaking of the peaceful calm with my own project noises. The re-do of my old shed.

It started out as an eye sore. One I've been wanting to change since I moved here a year ago.

Neglected and tired, it needs new life and I am just the gal for the task! You would think it was a total waste of time. But I simply see a diamond in the rough since it's structurally sound.

My first task was to evict "Prissy" (the chipmunk) since she's been using it as her home for the past 7 years. Prissy didn't take that well and sat on a limb above me in constant chatter as I removed all her many nests, her stockpile of pine cones (that were even stuffed in to each piece of PVC pipe that had been stored in there), and piles and piles of debris from her many years of residency. ICK!!!!! But it's now all been cleaned out and my yard tools now take her place.

Seated beneath an enormous pine tree, I've gotten the idea to give it a "foresty"  new look with paint, caulk and plaster. All in a pine design. Watch it all un-fold over the next few days. You're going to be amazed at the transformation!

Back to my saw horses and tape measure. Stay tuned!

(c) Victoria Larsen 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Create your own drawer pulls and tie backs with cement and a plaster mold

Create Your Own Drawer Pulls and Tie Backs with Cement and a Mold

Most of us think of molds when it comes to candy and candles. But ah, you are missing the best! Join me for an enlightening lesson on the creative things you can do with ornamental molds!
Visit the VictoriaLarsen.Com website for lots of tips, tricks and products to make your home unique and special!

Molds are typically a plastic form of an ornamental design.
They can be filled with anything that sets up hard such as wax, plaster or concrete products.
Get creative with your molds and you will find an endless supply of uses!
Not only can they be used to create ornamental ceiling and wall designs but consider this fun project for creating your own unique curtain tie backs and drawer/door pull knobs!

You will need:
The mold of your choice
1.Wood Screws of a necessary length to penetrate in to your cabinet door or drawer (depending on it's thickness). Note that wood screws have a pointed tip where machine screws have a flat tip. Machine screws will not work for this project.
2. A small bag of cement
3. Release spray such as silicone spray, mineral oil or even cooking spray. If you choose to use mineral oil, you will need a small paint brush to brush the inside of the mold with the oil.

Turn the mold face down. (I place mine on an old towel).
Spray the inside of the mold with release spray or brush with mineral oil.
Mix the cement according to the manufacturers directions.
Pour the mold 1/2 full then tap up and down lightly to force any air bubbles to the surface.
Fill the mold to full but do not over fill.
Check to make sure the mold is level.

After about 15 minutes, insert the head end of the screw in to the center of the wet concrete and press just until the head completely disappears in the mixture.
Prop it up straight with something if it tends to tilt.

Allow to harden completely. I would leave it for at least 24 hours.
Once it has hardened, turn the mold face up and while holding your hand under the concrete, begin to work the mold free.
Once the piece pops out, allow it to completely air dry then paint and varnish.
Fun, easy and stylish!

Friday, June 8, 2012

New Raised Plaster Trim Designs Stencils for Furniture Sparks New Project

I love re-doing furniture. There's just something about taking something worn out and considered "discardable" and making it something to love again.

I found this solid wood, round table at the flea market and instantly, my new
Raised Plaster Tremont Furniture Border Stencils came to mind for the trim on this table. Not only was I delighted at the sight of this aged treasure, but also at the price! He gave it to me for a song...(OK, not literally, but I would have paid him in music too!).

My Plaster Tremont Furniture border stencils are perfect for wrapping around the upper trim to create ornamental detail on this plain table. Don't you think? Then maybe I'll use the Raised Plaster Tremont Element Stencils in the center of the top of the table.

Watch the progress!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Creating life-sized trees on your walls with plaster stencils and metal leaves

Kitty Ariza, one of my long time customers, had the most fantastic idea after she purchased our Raised Plaster Aspen Tree Stencil.

She plastered the tree stencil spanning two floors in the beautiful stair well to create real drama.

She first plastered the repeatable trunk stencil and open side branches, and then (now this is the totally COOL part), she glued gold metal leaves to the plastered tree design. Now how awesome is that????

I quizzed her about just where she got those fabulous metal leaves. She said "The craft store". None of my craft stores carried them, but I did find the following sources on line:





I'll bet you can find your own wonderful sources for metal leaves. But the above links will get you started.

Now that you are armed with yet another new idea, consider using this technique to create tree paintings on wood covered foam board to be used as wall art~

Monday, May 14, 2012

Once a Designer, Always a Designer

Having now been in my Northern Idaho mountain home for a year, the bright sun and warm temperatures took me outside after a long, snowy, cold winter.

There it was. Staring me in the face. The dreaded yard of weeds. No landscaping has ever graced this property and I decided I needed to do something about it.
First it started as just digging up the weeds. It then turned in to a complete design project.
Could I help it? NO! I'm a "designer" for crying out loud! The urge runs through my veins every day.
That undeniable, relentless urge to take something ugly and make it beautiful.
For the past month, I've dug, pulled, laid plastic, laid curves with upright flagstone and though with a tired body, I've enjoyed my designing.

Designing a landscape is no different than decorating your home. You put yourself in to it. Your personality, your style. But rather than with a paint brush, a stencil, or a furniture arrangement with accessories, you opt for colorful plants, lay outs, architectural interest and texture.

 I got the neatest idea! (Speaking of designing). To create a forest "bench".
What more natural legs for my bench than logs?

It came out completely adorable. And it was easy. Simply dig a hole a bit larger than the log round, fill the bottom with gravel, seat the log in the middle, fill completely with gravel so that the hole can drain. Then level front to back and side to side.
I sealed the tops with boat varnish to prevent rotting.
I then screwed two 12" long pieces of treated lumber to the top of each log and attached 4 foot long treated lumber decking, each separated from the other so that water doesn't collect.
My bench is solid and adorable!
I call it all my "artistic re-arrangement of Mother Nature". Certainly fitting a forest home.
Off to now design some new Raised Plaster Stencils.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adding Decorative Touches with Plaster Stencils

The cool thing about stenciling is that there is no shortage of awesome stencil designs!

Here, Phyllis Katheder used 3 different Raised Plaster Stencil Designs to add elegant detail to her walls.

You see the detail, but you don't immediately notice that the stencil designs don't match. Because each stencil was plastered in white to match the white wood molding, it all seems to come together in a beautiful way.

Look for many wall stenciling projects and great stencils and plaster molds on the VictoriaLarsen.com website.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Life-sized Olive Tree Stencil

It started out as just a vision in my head. And then the work began. Drawing it out, scanning each piece in, digitizing it, cleaning it up and then cutting the first tests. 

It was fun creating a large (7 foot) canvas with it....My new Life-sized Olive Tree Stencil.

I began with a mottled gray and lavender background. Heavy on the depth in the lower right corner where the tree would begin, and sponged a few pale clouds along the top.

The stenciling began. First, the trunk stencil was repeated upward.

Then the side branch and trunk top stencils added.

I used the leafy olive branch stencils in gray paint to mimic more distant branches. This not only helps to fill in the tree, but also gives the entire design more depth.

Then, I filled the upper tree with olive branch stencils in gray/green with deep, dark purple olives (mixing a little black paint with purple gives you that rich olive color).

Because each stencil is a single stencil, rather than an overlay, this Olive tree stencil goes quick! But now, deciding just where to put it in my own home is the tough one......on the walls surrounding the master garden tub? Filling the walls of my office?  I was thinking that one of the branches could be used to decorate the wooden planters I keep on my deck. Wouldn't that be adorable?

I've decided to continue with a full mural on this canvas. The focal tree is in place and now I will work on adding a faint, yet full, front garden surrounding it. Tall, spiked flowers and grasses. Besides my Raised Plaster Aspen Tree Stencil, this is now my favorite tree stencil in my collection.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Raised Plaster Stenciling in the Master Bedroom

Have you ever been faced with re-decorating a room and struggling with just what to do? What color do I paint? What pattern do I use? How will I bring it all together?

 Re-decorating becomes much easier if you choose a favorite piece or painting in your room to work around. (Or set out to find a new one!).

For my master bedroom decorating, I decided to take the colors out of my favorite print. It hangs above my bed and I show it off with a decorative curtain rod and sheer swag.

This print has soothing, yet dramatic colors of pale gray/brown and deeper brown. So in my decorating, I decided to work with those colors to coordinate with this lovely focal point.

The resulting ornamental plaster ceiling frame that I wrote about earlier, has these exact colors in it. 

I then needed to incorporate the same colors  in to the other architectural elements in the room.

Years ago, I crafted ceiling to floor wall columns that were once marbled with light, warm brown colors. They no longer coordinated with my new color scheme. 

Notice how they now have been faux finished with the deeper brown within the print and ceiling frame. I kept the existing Raised Plaster Vertical Leaf Frieze Stencil design from our stencil however. It's vertical design works perfectly on these columns.

The room is really coming together! Now just to get that crappy, dark blue carpeting changed out and I'll be a happy artist!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for more exciting decorating projects, stencils and plaster molds to help you get the job done in a beautiful way!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Decorating the Master Bedroom with Stencils and Plaster

In my last post, I showed you the ornamental plaster frame I did with Raised Plaster Stencils, Faux Finish Techniques and ornamental plaster molds on my master bedroom ceiling.

Continuing the project, I re-did my plaster wall frames with the same treatment I did on the ceiling frame.

Before, there was a simple marbleized finish inside the frames. By the way, I created these frames with my Wall Frame Plaster Mold Set and they have been a wonderful, architectural detail to the room.

I painted them the same inner color of the ceiling frame and then added just a portion of the Raised Plaster Floral Central stencil I had used on the ceiling.

I used the same Ornate Round Medallion plaster mold to create a center medallion for the frames. Now, all 6 frames in the room match the ceiling.

My next order of  business is to paint the frames themselves with the same metallic pewter color I used for the medallion in the center and all the plaster pieces on the ceiling. 

As the bedroom progresses, I find it much more elegant, much more coordinated and much more "put together". 

The greatest thing about this whole transformation is that it has literally cost me under $50.00 in paint and plaster!  (Not including the stencil and mold). This goes to show you that you can create high end decorating in your own home for very little money but the results look like you spent a fortune!

Visit the VictoriaLarsen.com website for more projects like this one and all the stencils and plaster molds you need for the job!