Bedroom Makeover Tips: How I Redecorated My Room on a Budget

I have always said that I am my father’s daughter. We just loved to keep things simple. (Eat, sleep and watch TV were our routine.) My mother was of a different breed. She kept herself busy by making our home beautiful. She could move furniture at a blink of an eye. There were times when my father left for work and came home to a completely different house.  Hahaha If my mother had a choice on what she wanted to be, she would have been an interior designer. But they were poor and she worked her way to college so she finished a degree in commerce.

I am blessed that my parents left me a roof over my head. Ever since they passed away, I always feel guilty for not taking care of it as well as my mom did. This year, I had the home repaired. We were infested with termites and we had to replace several walls. I also had the roof fixed. I asked my uncle to repaint my walls. One thing led to another. I decided to redecorate my room.

This is how my room looked after I cleaned it last year.

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This idea of redecorating my room has long been in my head. I have collected photos of home interiors in my Pinterest. When Ikea released its catalog this year, I fell in love this layout and color.

Source: IKEA Catalog-2015

Source: IKEA Catalog-2015

After seeing this spread in the IKEA Catalog, I wanted my wall to be gray. I asked my uncle to paint the wall gray. Well, not just gray but dark gray to which he initially protested because he said that dark gray would … well, make the room dark. But I insisted. He was not even convinced even if I showed him the IKEA catalog. He had no choice. It was my room.

I knew my accessories and sheets would have to be white to make everything lighter. I was planning to hang a painting of mine to make the room truly my own. However, I cannot find a canvas large enough to use. Beside, I do not know how to do oil painting. I do watercolor painting which means I need a large thick paper which is not available here. My next option was to have one of my black and white photo printed and framed. I asked for the quote and it would cost me a lot since large format printing is priced per square inch. Good thing I found these picture frames for Php 1K. I think it is a perfect contrast for my wall. I also picked photographs that I like.
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I knew I need cabinets as storage. I used to  have those plastic drawers which, I think, do not look good with my gray wall. I found 2 black and white cabinets for  Php 1.9K and Php 1.4K.  I bought plastic boxes to organize my things.

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I also wanted a lamp for the room. Good lighting creates drama in a room. However, I cannot afford the lampshade I saw in a home store. I found this star being sold as Christmas decor. Since it is white, it fits into my color scheme. I just added the Christmas lights. I was glad I found this star; it has better outcome than the expensive lampshade. The other lampshade was a gift from my cousin.  It was a little bit small for the room . By adding the star, it looks larger.
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I notice that the key to a good makeover is to keep the space clutter-free. I know I have to do something with the cosmetics I use. I found these black and white dustbins (those on top of the computer table).
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Those dustbins hold my grooming stuff.
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I put everything together and this is the final look of my room.
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Oh, the huge K is a DIY project. I got the idea from this photo.

I do not think I can jigsaw a wood to form the letter K. Instead, I bought a 1-inch styrofoam board, cut the shape and wrapped it with a cloth using a staple gun.

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I am happy with the outcome of my room makeover. I vowed to maintain the cleanliness of my room. I can now say I am my mother’s daughter. I hope I made her proud.

Here are some tips in planning a home makeover:
1. Find home photos that you like. My favorite sites are Apartment Therapy, Pinterest and Dwell.
2. Go window shopping. My aunt and I were hopping from one home store to another. It took me weeks to decide on buying the cabinets. I opted for affordable ones.
3. Innovate. Since I cannot afford the lamps, I used Christmas lights.
4. Re-purpose. One product may have different uses. Dust bins are turned into cosmetics holder.
5. Find alternatives. Try the DIY route.
6. Have fun.

 

The Black and White Photography Challenge

The Black and White Photography Challenge is making rounds on Facebook. I love looking at the work of my friends.They never fail to impress me. Their work gave me ideas on how to shoot photos the next time an opportunity arises. Sometimes I ask them questions on their techniques and accessories they use. They are also generous in sharing what they know.

For some reason, two friends of mine tagged me to do the challenge on the same day with photos from same shoot location. I obliged. These are two people I look up to in photography. It is an honor to be challenged by them.

They both tagged of a boardwalk in Siargao. I am now convinced to go there next summer.

They both tagged me  in a photo of a boardwalk in Siargao. I am now convinced to go there next summer!

The two of them identified me as a blogger. Hence, this blog post. In the challenge, I was asked to post 1 Black and White photo each day for five consecutive days and tag one friend each day to do the challenge.

I started choosing photos in my folders that I think were crisp enough to be manipulated using photo editing software. Yes, I often compensate my limited photography skills with my IT skills.  Googling is one of my special talents. I searched Pinterest for ideas and forums and blogs for tutorials. Kinarir! (You’d think this is my career.) In a recent out-of-town trip with my cousin, I choreographed some shots and I told him how I would post-process the photo. To which he replied, “You are not photographer; you are a photo editor.” Haha Well, yes, I am an editor!

As much as I love colors (proof of which is my tendency to bump up saturation sliders in apps to get the brightest of colors in photos), black and white photography has its own charm. I would rely on shadows and shades to allow my photos to show depth and character. In many instances in the past, whenever I get blurred photos, I turn them to black and white to save the photo from deletion. This time around I specifically chose photos that have potential for enhancement. I post-processed some photos that in the end did not pass my strict standards for this challenge. Feelingera lang, may standards pa akong nalalaman. (I am pretentious. I have make-believe standards. Hehe!)  Here are the samples of the rejected photos I edited. Charing. Parang reality contest, may elimination round. (Kidding. Just like a reality contest, there is an elimination round.)

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In the first photo, I wanted to it to have that enchanting forest feel to the image but it was a blurry image and I felt dizzy after staring at it while editing. I chose another style of editing for the second photo that I had to redo post processing. In the third photo , the flower did not stand out from the background.

These are the photos that made the cut. Naks!

This was taken while I was on a pumpboat to Magallanes.  I like this photo because of the reflection on the water. However, there is something that needs to be done here . We live in a flood-prone area. Those living near the water need to be relocated. This photo was taken a year ago but I still saw these houses when I passed by this area two weeks ago.

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My cousin recently bought a car. We took the vehicle for a joyride around town. I was seated in front and I brought my camera along. Thus, I got a good spot for snapping photos. I re-edited the photo. This is one of my rejected photos. I rejected the editing. I am fond of high contrast and high exposure photos that I end up with bright whites which in the rejected photo eliminated the beauty of the clouds so I repeated the post processing and went easy with the exposure.
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When I first bought a digital point-and-shoot, one of the few tricks I tried to learn was to shoot using its macro feature and my favorite subjects are flowers. Nine years later, I still love taking flower photos. This is a photo of a flower called cosmos. I hope I got the name right this time. This is an example of my tendency to edit photos using high contrast and detailed sharpening. One can see the grains and specks which I shall declare that they add character to the photo. Palusot! I have edited the photo several times over because I worked on a low resolution one which showed some pixelation when viewed on a tablet.  OC lang. My cousin gave me some tips on working on the luminance to remove the black specks (in photography, they call that noise). I will keep that in mind.

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For my fourth photo, I wanted to use a photo taken from one of my trips.  Because I noticed my fondness for jet black photo, I tried to go for a lighter tone. I also learned how to add some haze on the photo for that dreamy effect. This was in Kapurpurawan, Ilocos Norte.

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For the fifth and final day of the challenge, I saved the best for last. KIDDING!!! I tried to showcase (showcase talaga? kumikitang kabuhayan? NOT!- — Really? Showcase? Like a successful livelihood?) the range of the what I can do with photography my editing skills by using different subjects and different compositions.  I try to post photos I have not posted before. For the final day, I wanted to do portrait.  Because I lack time to find a model and most of my photos of people are already on Facebook, I have no other choice but do a self-portrait. (Napilitan lang kunyari. — I am acting like I am forced to do this.) Having tried to photograph myself using the timer (lumabas din ang katotohanan. ginusto niya to! LOL – The truth surfaced. She likes doing this. ), I know how exhausting it is to go back and forth, set the timer and pose for the camera; only to find out that the focus did not turn out right.  Here’s the secret to a stress-free self-photography: tripod, camera cable and laptop. Prop your camera on a tripod, connect the cable to your laptop, use the live viewer of your camera software, position yourself in front of the camera while holding the laptop, view the image on the laptop to get the angle and pose till you get the shot you wanted then click the button on your software to take a photo. Oh, another tip:  take advantage of the diffused morning light from your window. ;) Voila!

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This has been an exercise on creativity. I have not done much watercolor art recently so I welcomed this kind of challenge in creativity. I realized that there is so much to learn but I enjoyed the process.  Oh, by the way,  I added my watermark on the photos. It is not  a font. It is my own handwriting. I used an app called Sketches.  I used the tablet since the screen is bigger. I used the app and wrote my name using my forefinger, saved the image and superimposed it on my photos.  (I googled how to make the background of my watermark transparent so it would look like I wrote directly on the photo.)

That was a long post.  Thank you if you have read until the end of the post. I hope you learned a few tips or two. Feel free to leave a comment  below. You may give a critique about my photos.

By the way, my friend, Kit,  belongs to a group who does wedding photography and videography. Like their Facebook page if you want to hire them or just be inspired with their work: Infinity Studios.

My former colleague, Joseph, also does wedding photography. To get in touch with him,  like his Facebook page: JosephGaw Photography.

Home Updates

Before my cousin’s vacation came to an end, my aunts asked her to help clean up the garden. My aunt got sick for a few weeks so the upkeep of the small garden in front of their house was amiss. My cousin declared that she can’t wait to leave since we had her working for the past few days by letting her cook and putting her into gardening duties. She said that in jest because I know she was proud of the outcome of the garden space.  She rearranged the placement of plants.

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And the outcome is this:

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Not bad for an hour of work. I helped her with some lifting and cleaning up.

My own home underwent some changes, too. My walls was repainted with lively colors. This is now my office area.

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This used to be our dining area when my parents were still around. Since I now live alone, this has become my work space. My house is beside my aunt’s so I eat my meals with them in their house.

The rest of the house still needs some sprucing up. This wall near the kitchen needed some loving. My aunt was annoyed that I have uneven wall surface that she bought some decals to hide the cracks and bumps in the wall.

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Shopping for the home has become easier. Instead of driving to home stores to buy furniture and things, you can now do that in the comforts of your own home. You do not even have worry about transporting the things to your home since the items will be delivered to your doorsteps. You can even get discount coupons from Promos4Home.com. Whether you are doing major renovations, rearranging or a simple home organizing, it is a lot more fun to get things done when you get save a few dollars trying to make your space look pretty.

How about you? What are some of your home makeover tips?

 

How I Paint Watercolor Portraits

If you are my friend on Facebook, you might have been sick of me posting my artworks several times in a week since I started on May 1. Nevertheless, I still get encouragement from friends. Some have expressed their interest in my work by asking me to paint for them. The usual request was to paint portraits. Err, I still need to practice that. I have done self-portrait once before as a requirement in art class. What I did was face the mirror and start sketching my face freehand. The sketch hardly looks me like except for the headband since I used that accessory almost everyday back them. With portraits, you really need to get  it right.

Since I know I cannot copy faces by hand, the next best thing is to use gridlines. I picked a photo I wanted to copy. Using photoshop, I added gridlines. I followed the instructions from this site.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

The next thing I did is to draw gridlines on my paper by counting how many squares I need to draw. A little arithmetic does not hurt. ;) Then I start sketching square by square. This way, even if I did not get the details right, there is one thing I can be certain. I get proportionate baseline drawing.

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Then, I erased the gridlines. (Tiring eh?)
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Then, I started with the underpainting. An underpainting is the initial layer of colors which serves as a guide as you add more and more color. I took note of the shadows and light.
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I added more and more colors to the underpainting until I got tired of trying to make it look like the picture! haha!

By the way, watercolor painting deals a lot of blending of colors. I test my mix by having a blank page of the sketchpad nearby. I try my stroke on an another paper first to test the color.
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I also keep tissues nearby to wipe water off my brush.
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I always stop painting when I think I can no longer do anything about it. Sometimes, I leave the painting halfway or close to completion to rest and get a better perspective on how to improve it.

With this portrait, I just want to move on. Haha
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When I posted this on Facebook, one honest friend commented that I looked slightly cross-eyed in the painting. Still, there were those who wanted their portraits made, too. I promised then they’ll get one from me when they reach 40. Haha! I have to work on those eyes.

Maybe I should start with pets first. I found a random painting of a dog on the internet which I practiced on.

I missed a few hairs  on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting.  Oh, the things you see under the lens!

I missed a few hairs on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting. Oh, the things you see under the lens!

Since my problem is painting the eyes, I found a temporary solution. One cousin wanted a painting of her son with angry birds. I found a solution when I saw her update her profile pic. This is the final painting.

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Cannot copy the eyes? Put sunglasses! hahaha

I hope you get to try to paint portraits, too!

My Own Art Journey and How You Can Learn to Draw and Do Watercolor Painting

We had art classes in high school. Fine Arts was part of the curriculum for two years so I had prior knowledge on how to do watercolor paintings, sketch and use oil pastels. I did not just wake up one day and decide to do watercolor art.

In the past 25 years, I have picked up a pencil every now and then and did some sketching. In college, when boredom inspiration strikes, I sketch or paint. I kept a sketch pad (Care bears pa!).

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I lived in a dormitory so the easiest things to sketch are those near my table. Haha

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I also found time to pick up the brush. No, I had no morbid thoughts on that knife painting. It was the easiest photo of an object I can copy from a magazine. The second painting is an eye of the Philippine Eagle.

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That was in college. I have not really actively engaged in art not until recently.

In recent years, I was really inspired by the artsy stuff that Alessa Lanot does. And I have recently seen Ala Paredes’ work. I used to read her blog and was impressed with her drive to pursue her art. Recently, I have come across her watercolor painting in her instagram. It was really impressive. So I decided to give it another try.

Ala wrote a piece about art and learning: that art can be learned through repetition. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, said something about doing things regularly like it would take some 10,000 hours to become an expert. Relying on sheer talent and not doing anything to improve it is useless.

So, I am sharing with you the YouTube videos I viewed to learn some drawing and watercolor techniques. I have received a few comments about being interested in learning how to paint or draw. The good new is… YOU CAN! You just have to try.

These are the videos:

These are the artworks I did based on the videos:

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For now, I practice by copying existing images on the Internet. I am having fun doing it. One day, I hope to create original work from original ideas.

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In case you are interested on the tools I use, here is the list:

1. Faber Castell 0.7 mechanical pencil+ refill+ Pentel eraser
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2. Brushes + mixing tray. In high school, we only use chinese brushes. I am most comfortable using those. Regular trips to the school supplies store yielded me all these brushes. The blue and black brushes are sets and are inexpensive. (I think I paid Php50++ for each set.) The two brushes on the left were part of the watercolor set I bought.
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3. Watercolor. I have accummulated several kinds in the past month. I am most comfortable using the tubes but I just recently purchased those. In some of the artworks I made earlier this month like the apple, strawberry and flowers, I used the watercolor in palette.
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4. Paper. I use 200 GSM board. I recommend thicker boards for landscape painting. This type I use bends with water-heavy type of painting.
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I think I have shared everything you need to get you to try watercolor painting. Let me know when you have created your work. I would love to see them.

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