Getting Crafty – Making your own recycled mosaic mirror

This project is a great way to make use of any unwanted ceramic tiles after refurbishing your kitchen or bathroom. This project is for beginners and could be a great activity for the kids (with parental supervision of course). Recycling those unwanted pieces of ceramic tile to create a mirror is a great, eco-friendly way to decorate the house and also makes a great gift.

You will need the following items (always check to see if you have any of these things around the house before you go out and buy them).

 

G10m2728. Kirsten Makin. Graduation Reply Slip

-A Mirror
Buy a new mirror (if you have to) or use an old one that needs a bit of sprucing up.
Make sure when you choose the size of your mirror you are also taking into consideration the size of the mosaic border you want to create around the centre of the mirror.

Gloves, face-mask, safety goggles (And any other protective equipment you need to style yourself DIY-ready)

-A Strong Adhesive (Sticky stuff)

Some form of ceramic tile adhesive would be best but check with your hardware-person if you are unsure.

Tile cutting tools, Pliers or Nippers
Again, check with your hardware person if you are unsure as to what will work best. It is also wise to make sure that those handling the tools do so with the proper care and supervision.
Grout (The stuff that goes in-between the tiles)
This can be your usual tile grout. Try to get it in white but grey will also do fine.
– Palette Knife
The palette knife can be used to apply the grout.
– A Sponge/ Cloth
To wipe down the tiles after you have applied the grout.
Sandpaper

Paper, pens/pencils and a ruler/tapemeasure
And last but not least-
Old ceramic tiles, bits of wood, stone, glass and whatever else you would like to add to your mosaic.
Side note: Everyone is free to use their creative license and go carte blanche with this project. If however you feel like you need some help why not get onto google and look up some mosaic patterns and colour schemes? There is no harm is seeking inspiration.

Now that you have all your tools and equipment here is what you do-

1. Blueprints

– Draw/sketch your mosaic mirror design onto your piece of paper. Try to use the correct measurements and make sure your mosaic border does not take over the whole surface of the mirror.

G10m2728. Kirsten Makin. Graduation Reply Slipyyy

2. Prepare your mirror

– Make sure the mirror is clean and dry. Consider protecting the mirror with painter’s tape and wax paper (a great suggestion by http://crafts.creativebug.com/make-tiled-mosaic-mirror-1283.html)

-Using a ruler or tape measure plan where you want your border to go. Use a non-residue tape (like scotch/magic tape) to make the boundary extra clear.

-Grab your sandpaper (gloves are option but do add badass-DIY cred)

– Now “scuff” the mirror using the sandpaper. Be careful to only scuff the area marked off as the border. Do not scuff the glass that will later be used as the mirror. Do not sandpaper all the way through to the base of the mirror.
– Dust off using cloth

3. Start mosaic-ing

– Cut the tiles/ ceramic pieces and whatever you have decided to use into the desired size and shape (This can be done prior). Please be extra cautious when using tile cutters and other sharp objects. Gloves and Goggles aren’t a bad idea at this point.

Here is a helpful tip from Creative Bug, “Break ceramics for use as mosaic tiles by placing them in a plastic bag, wrapping the bag in a towel and striking it with a hammer.”

– Arrange them into the shape/design that you want. Here is when you refer back to your blueprint.

– Using your tile adhesive (it’s a good idea to follow the instructions on the back of the bottle as to the drying time of the glue) stick the mosaic pieces to the mirror in the demarcated area. Put the adhesive onto the area in which you wish to stick the tiles
– Give the adhesive an adequate amount of drying time.

4. Grouting

– Mix the grout as per the instructions on the packaging

– Apply the grout to the gaps between the tiles. Using the palette knife (if you are using your fingers you should be wearing your gloves)

G10m2728. Kirsten Makin. Graduation Reply Slipyyyhyujyu

– Once the grout has been applied wipe the tiles clean using your sponge/cloth. Please take careful note of grout drying time so as not to allow grout to dry on the tiles.
– Allow to dry

5. Make sure the mirror itself has not grout on its surface. Wipe down the mirror before leaving to dry

6. Allow 24 hours to dry

7. Dispose of everything correctly

8. Hang your mirror is a featured spot and enjoy

 

*If you are ever unsure about anything, seek help.

A bit of a book list

Great Reads

Great Minds

In the words of the great Stephen Fry

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators”

The end of the paperback has been predicted for many years. With the arrival of the Internet, Kindle and the “e-book” it was assured by all and sundry (with exception of Stephen Fry it seems) that books were on the way out. Whether this prediction is merely a prediction is still to be seen.

Books are inevitably a great buy. With their snazzy titles and smooth exterior there is very little stopping you from taking advantage of a paperback or coffee table book (especially since no one really knows how long they are still going to be around). They are a great addition to any home (I mean who in their right mind doesn’t want an overly-large and hugely pretentious bookshelf decorating the far wall). Books are a great feature piece in any room and also make you look super-well read and smart.

Since last month’s post focused on becoming a design ‘guru’ using mediums such as the Internet. We have decided that this month we are targeting the less techno-savvy individuals. And yes, that means books.

We have done some research and picked our favourite interior design books. With a little help from some very informative sources We have  put together a list of some of the best books to purchase for all your interior design and DIY needs.

1. Vogue Living: Houses Gardens People.

By Alfred A. Knopf

This books looks to be a crowd pleaser. What with an intimate exploration of the interiors and exteriors of 36 renowned individuals (We are talking about their houses of course). This book is a best buy  as far as we can see.

We were inspired by this read and found it at http://www.themost10.com/covetable-coffee-table-books/

2. Pale & Interesting

By Atlanta Bartlett.

Sourced from henriettabird.blogspot.com

Sourced from henriettabird.blogspot.com

This book can only be described as simplistically elegant. For those who love muted shades and paste colours this book is a must have. This book’s design philosophy is one that every aspiring design guru should keep in mind.
“Keep it Simple, Keep it Relaxed and Keep it Real.”

We found this inspirational book at http://www.perfectlyimprefectblog.com which has a range of other great interior design books.

3. Dictionary of Architecture and Construction (Dictionary of Architecture & Construction)

By Cyril Harris

Because what is a booklist without a dictionary to help you touch up on those important definitions and that essential terminology. This book comes highly recommended by Designer Marketplace

We found this gem at http://www.wsidesignermarketplace.com/content/designer/Design_Blog/2012/02/13_books_to_add_toy.html

4. Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator

By Elaine Griffin

Sourced from elainegriffin.com

Sourced from elainegriffin.com

We think this one is great. Why? Well largely because its taking us back to the basics. This book is combines a bit of a “how-to guide with some other useful tips to help you cater your design to your personality and personal style.

Check it out at
http://www.realsimple.com/magazine-more/inside-website/daily-finds/decorating-books-00000000021003/page3.html

5. Vintage Remix: The Interiors of Kishani Perera

By Kishani Perera

How can one not fall in love with a book entitled “Vintage remix”? Even the cover of this book makes us want to buy it. Our source, http://www.Houz.com describes Perera’s work “[as] part style guide, part eye candy.” And to that we say, yes please. We don’t want to give too much away. We would much rather you read it.

http://www.houzz.com/photos/5896248/Vintage-Remix–The-Interiors-of-Kishani-Perera-contemporary-books-

We have only listed five of our favourite books here. But there are hundreds upon hundreds of interesting reads to get your hands on.

So we suggest you take a trip to your local library or bookshop and get browsing. For those of you with a bit of know-how these books are all available from amazon.com

Sources

http://www.themost10.com/covetable-coffee-table-books/

http://www.perfectlyimperfectblog.com/2013/08/favorite-home-decor-coffee-table-books.html

http://www.wsidesignermarketplace.com/

http://www.realsimple.com/magazine

 

Becoming an interior design ‘guru’

 (while drinking coffee)

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We are living in an information age. The internet has revolutionised the way in which we live and subsequently the ways in which we learn. With so much information readily available there is nothing to stop us from becoming the leading experts in any field we desire. Whether it be butter-churning or Shetland pony grooming (Unfortunately this is not the platform for such things).

So in the spirit of being information-saturated we have put together 12 DIY steps to help put you on the path to becoming an interior design guru (or at the very least slightly more design-savvy).

1. Take advantage of the information at your fingertips. In essence, read, read, read and read some more. Here are some of our favourite reads but there is tons of literature out there: Elle Decor: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/ and Home and Design: http://www.homeanddesign.com/

2. Keeping contemporary is key: this is largely about knowing when vintage is modern (and acceptable) and when vintage is old (and unfashionable).

3. Familiarise yourself with the lingo. Find an old notebook and create a Design Dictionary . Fill it with with words like, Armoire, CMT and Eclectic.
Here is a useful site to get you started, http://thedesigntabloid.com/decor-dictionary

4. Get an eye for detail. This may be something you have naturally (lucky) otherwise train yourself. When you are walking outdoors or sitting in a coffee shop, look around you and take in even the most minute details. Ask yourself, what makes a particular environment unique? What makes it classic, quirky or minimalist (this is usually signified by a lack of detail).

5. Practice. Practice, Practice. Re-design your children’s bedrooms or your office space. Play with tones, textures and prints. Be bold or go bare but always be brave.

6. Keep a scrapbook of patterns, prints, colours, textures, ideas and notes. This will help keep your inspired and give you a point of reference.

7. Speak to other people who are into interior design (friends, family, really anyone). Share ideas and exchange information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

8. Remember that there are never bad ideas or bad designs but a general appreciation of your work can be a rough guideline.

9. Go with your gut, and if this doesn’t work out then go with someone else’s (maybe someone from who wears a name-tag and knows the difference between rosy pink and pinky rose).

10. Always look for more resource like this one, http://www.sheknows.com/home-and-gardening/articles/1005235/interior-design-experts-reveal-their-favorite-tips, for more tips on how to become design-savvy.

11. Use all the resources you have at hand to make it happened. A great resource is the internet but also speak to those in the interior design field. This includes people who work at retail shops, selling tiles, carpets, paint etc. They are professionals in areas of interior design and can be a great resource.

12. Remember to always stay stylish (or at least try).

*Please note: All of the following can be done while drinking coffee and wielding a fresh bagel.

Mosaic: the pretty & the practical

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When it comes to decorating our homes we tend to lean towards the pretty rather than practical. And so what? Life is hard enough. What with taxes and public speaking to concern ourselves with.

Amidst the conflict between the pretty and the practical we seldom find a happy medium. That is until we begin discussing the anomaly that is the coloured tile. 

Mosaics have a long and, excuse the pun, rather colourful history. A history that lends itself to the balance between the pretty and the practical. A history that some of you might find rather fascinating.

Or perhaps, for the less historic minded of you, the history of mosaic can be seen as something useful. Useful, in its ability to convince your significant other of its rich historical and cultural value. And of course how, in its acquisition, it will add that much needed dimension of socio-historic culture to your all-be-it-lacking guest bathroom.

Historically, Mosaic has its roots in the practical. It was first used thousands (yes`, thousands) of years ago. Not as sophisticated as it would later become as an art form, mosaics were first made by positioning pebbles and stones into patterns that conveyed messages or directions (how practical). 

As an art form, records show that Mosaic has been around since the fourth millennium B.C. The first mosaics were found in Mesopotamia. They were made from an array of materials. Including shells, semi-precious stones and ivory. The Greeks played a significant part in discovery of mosaic. While the Romans played a role in its development.

St. Mark’s Basilica. The cathedral of Venice. Renowned for its Byzantine architecture and mosaics. Consecrated in 1094.

St. Mark’s Basilica. The cathedral of Venice. Renowned for its Byzantine architecture and mosaics. Consecrated in 1094.

“Christian art furthered the decorative technique in churches and other religious buildings, but under the Byzantines, mosaic art became a privileged language to express divine, supernatural and mystic themes. The use of manufactured materials, including gold, and the techniques of setting the tesserae at different angles and depths, created magical lighting effects.” (Goetz, 2007)

Mosaic is considered to be both a modern and an ancient art form. Its position on the continuum of modern art allows mosaic to remain “trendy”. And it remains a firm favourite in the ever-shifting world of interior design.

Emma Biggs, is a london-based mosaic artist. She founded the Mosaic Workshop, the largest mosaic studio in Britain, and produces private and public works around the world. Some of her most famous installations include Made in England, Five Sisters, London’s Wharf Walk pavement mosaics, and Mosaic Rill .

Mosaic tiles may be seen as contemporary derivative of Mosaic as an art form. Adding texture and interest to a room mosaic tiles are a pretty that always pleases. Practically, they can be used as a non- slip surface in showers.  

So what is so wrong with spending your well-earned pounds on a wall of colourful, and aesthetically pleasing tiles? Nothing. Nothing is wrong with that. If anything it will make your teeth-brushing ritual a more cultural experience.

Check out the great variety of mosaic tiles at Grand Taps. When in Rome do as the Roman’s do: http://www.grandtaps.co.uk/products/cat_763842-Mosaic-Tile-Samples.html

This post was inspired and drawn from A Journey Into the World of Mosaics: Historical and Contemporary Use By Lewis J. Goetz, FIIDA, FAIA

If you would like to read the entire article go to: http://www.iida.org/content.cfm/a-journey-into-the-world-of-mosaics-historical-and-contemporary-use

New year, new designs

Often, if not always, New year is welcomed in with a heap of enthusiastic, or rather not-so-enthusiastic, resolutions. These dreaded undertakings, which we feel so inclined to make after a few glasses of bubbly and a hearty rendition of Auld Lang Syne, are always the soon-to-be regretted commitments to which we are completely and undeniably uncommitted.

As January falls away and February quickly approaches. The resolve which we held onto so firmly only a month ago slowly crumbles. And the urge to do nothing takes hold.  Once again it seems we are destined to end up spending our free time on the couch watching day-time T.V.

So before the novelty of this year’s New Year’s resolutions wear off, we wanted to put together a few ways for you to re-invent your 2014 kitchen. So you can finally fulfil your promise to ‘do something with that space’ and put a big tick on that 2014 to-do-list.

The ‘something’ for that space

Our ‘somethings’ were inspired by House Beautiful, tips for 10 Kitchen Details That Wow and 14 Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Mirrors and Mosaic. Space and light are a must for your 2014 kitchen. Use mirrors to create the illusion of space. While mosaic tiles create patterns of light and colour.

Use mirrors and mosaics to create space and light in the kitchen

Use mirrors and mosaics to create space and light in the kitchen

Use mirrors and mosaics to create space and light in the kitchen

Detail, detail, detail. Don’t let the idea of a ‘functional space’ stop you from creating personal details that are quirky and original.

Use details such as old biscuit tins to give your kitchen a quirky character

Use details such as old biscuit tins to give your kitchen a quirky character

Get textured. Use wood, concrete/stone, glass and tile to reinvent your kitchen.

Use textures in your kitchen to create interest and character

Use textures in your kitchen to create interest and character

– Colours and Patterns. Go warm or go cool but be sure to use a range of tones to create a quality of depth. Pop-colours are a must.

Subtle colours with a paisley pattern offer a soft sophistication to any kitchen

Subtle colours with a paisley pattern offer a soft sophistication to any kitchen

Get Artsy. Use statement pieces to create a sense of grandeur. They can be bought from that obscure little gallery on the corner or made by the kids at school.

Pottery is a great addition to any kitchen

Pottery is a great addition to any kitchen

Retro reverence. Black and white checks? Yes, please.

You can never go wrong with a vintage/retro twist.

You can never go wrong with a vintage/retro twist.

Get innovative. Use old records as table mats

Get innovative. Use old records as table mats

If predictions are anything to go by, and we think they are, then interior design in 2014 is all about the personal. Involve the family in the re-invention of your kitchen, go arty with some mosaic or go professional with a silver finish and black and white tile. The choices are endless and entirely yours.But be sure to give your kitchen its much deserved attention this year.