My Wonderful Walls Blog — Customer Spotlights
Flower Wall Stencils Help Mariette Create Her Happy Room 0
While you don’t have to be an artist or great with a paint brush to use our My Wonderful Walls wall stencils, sometimes having that extra talent sure shows in the murals our customers create. We recently corresponded with a customer, Mariette in and fell in love with not only the mural she created but her lovely spirit!
Mariette is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, author, painter, retired teacher and crafter. She wrote a book entitled, Visiting the Past, which talks about her immigration to Canada from Belgium with her parents and brother, subsequent return to Belgium and then finally their immigration to the United States of America. The family settled in the Detroit area and her book tells of the immigrant experience; both the funny and serious moments. One book reviewer stated, “The people she describes really come to life, and the anecdotes, poignant and hilarious, stick in your mind long after you put down the book. Most of all, it is an example of how one creative and resourceful woman made lemonade whenever life handed her lemons and how she moved on, never holding a grudge.” It must be this positivity that drew us immediately to Mariette.
She credits her parents, grandmother and the nuns at school for her love of life and crafts; hand knitting, machine knitting, crochet and painting. Mariette grew a successful business and website from creating pattern books for sale. She taught machine knitting for many years at seminars across Canada and the U.S. and her husband Roger, who passed away in 1997, would travel with her and sell her patterns. Now at 80 years old, Mariette decided to take her website down and concentrate on writing hand knitting and crochet patterns. But she needed a place to do that, a happy place. A room she had in the basement previously for storing cones of knitting yarn was the ideal spot. She had always intended to paint a mural on one wall, so it was painted sky blue.
Mariette’s original idea was to paint a mural of her grandmother’s garden in Belgium. Now since she has three great grandchildren, 2 girls and one boy, she thought it would be fun to paint a whimsical garden mural for them to enjoy. She often teaches her children and grandchildren about Belgium in her family room which is decorated with everything she brought when she came to America. So, it made sense to use a room just off the family room to show them her love for crafts.
Mariette searched online for help and came across My Wonderful Walls stencils and an idea was born. Being an experienced painter, Mariette didn’t have much trouble using our self-adhesive wall stencils to achieve her vision. She even kept one wall for the little ones with a white board where they can draw. The room is vividly colorful and happy and indeed is called, “Nana’s Happy Room”. Mariette has visitors from the neighborhood come to see her happy room. Her neighbor’s ten-year-old son even called it, “the coolest room I have ever seen”. Pretty good testimonial right there.
Mariette suggests taking great care with your brushes as she always does. When she is done with each color she places her brush in a little pail of lukewarm water with a few drops of shampoo. At the end of the day, she places a dab of shampoo in the palm of her hand and “swooshes” each brush around until no color remains. Each brush is treated this way, then rinsed, wiped with a towel and left to dry overnight with the brush end up. Smart advice for anyone looking to paint a lovely wall mural.
Whether you want a space to paint, to write, to sew or to do yoga we agree with Mariette that everyone needs a happy room. And you don’t have to be a great painter to create something for yourself or your family like this special room. Our self-adhesive wall stencils and wall decals make it easy to get your happy on! Let us know if we can help you create the room of your dreams.
Parents "To Be" Create Whimsical Forest Room for Baby McKenzie 2
Parents "to be" Charles and Genevieve Foxworthy knew without a shadow of a doubt, they were looking for a fox and forest themed room for their new baby girl on the way, McKenzie. Well, once they saw our site: mywonderfulwalls.com, they looked no further! Though we also sell sticker versions of our stencil kits, the Foxworthy's went the stencil route creating a beautiful and whimsical space for their new baby girl. Read the interview we had with Charles below to hear about their nursery decorating journey:
My Wonderful Walls: What gave you the idea and inspiration for such a creative nursery project?
Charles: We have always loved foxes and thought what better way to decorate a baby girls room then to litter it with fox and forest imagery. It is also a part of our family crest which help solidify the center piece of the fox.
MWW: For whom is this Forest Themed mural intended?
Charles: The mural is going to be for my yet to be born daughter McKenzie Marie.
MWW: What made you choose this theme and what made this mural a good fit for your project?
Charles: I picked out the Forest Friends kit, mainly we did this because it had a fox in it and we have always loved foxes.
MWW: What do you think your child's reaction will be to the wall mural when she first sees it?
Charles: Well, once I finished the project I brought my pregnant wife in the room and unborn baby McKenzie kicked her, so we think she’s pretty excited to live in there.
MWW: About how long did it take you to complete the project?
Charles: I think total it took me about 6-8 hours spread out over 3 days. Progress was slow going at first while I was figuring out the best way to use the stencils on the textured wall, but after that, when I started lining up multiple stencils that used the same colors, and I had about 5 brushes with different colors going at once, things sped up considerably.
MWW: What did you enjoy most about the your mural creation experience?
Charles: The best part about the creation of the mural was probably painting those foxes they are just so darn cute and I wanted to cuddle with them.
MWW: Did you add any personal touches to the mural/room other than what came with the kit? If so, what gave you the inspiration?
Charles: Being a woodworker, I made a heart that says, "Love" out of Purple Heart, Mahogany, and Koa. It was a blast to make as well and she will be able to put it up in her kid’s room one day. I also sew and make quilts as well as some other crafts, mainly learned from my mom.
MWW: Do you have a favorite piece or favorite scene you created? If so, please describe.
Charles: Yes, the pink shell’d turtle going to eat the mushrooms reminds me of Mario Brothers.
MWW: Do you have any helpful tips for people who use our stencil products?
Charles: I have some very helpful advice, first have a plan. Put as many stencils on the wall as possible. Then pick color to pain that is shared by most of the stencils you plan to paint. Then paint all the stencils with that color by the time you finish the first coat on all the stencils the first stencil should be ready for a second coat. And repeat the process. Also, don’t try to paint in strokes, dab the paint on, and put as little paint as possible on your brush. This will help prevent bleeding on a textured wall.
Charles: The only resource I used was the how to video on the Forest Friends main page. I also read the instructions that came with the kit. I found both resources pretty useful. It definitely helps to plan the mural out since the more pieces you can paint at once the faster it goes. And the instructional video helped with the technique for painting the stencils.
MWW: Tell us your overall experience with the stencil kit and with the My Wonderful Walls folks in general.
Charles: Everyone was very, very helpful. There was a little issue where McKenzie’s name was missing a capital 'K' and I let them know. They sent out 2 corrected name tags with the correct spelling immediately and I got it like 2 days later. Best customer service ever. <(Aww, thanks, Charles!)
MWW: What else would you like us to know about you and your project?—parents are important too!
Charles: Really, I just like to be unique and this project allowed me to make my daughter's room one-of-a-kind. There is no one on this planet who will have the same layout or room as her. I feel that this room is something special I can give to her even as a baby. I know she will grow to appreciate it, love it, and make it her own. I’m glad I also put up my little wood working heart of "Love" in there as well, since it will be something that can be remembered forever.
Well, I'd say baby McKenzie is in for a real treat! A unique forest room that will grow with her for years to come. Thank you Charles and Gen for sharing your experience and beautiful photos with us!
Calming lilac colored walls compliment room and stencil colors while creating a dreamy sense of wonder. See Charles' handmade "Love" plaque above the bed - perfect!
McKenzie's bi-plane stencil flying high over mirrored closet doors - cute!
Cuddly, plush foxes sit on McKenzie's dresser in the pic below, patiently awaiting her arrival. Also, don't miss the adorable matching deer tote in the corner! - super cute!!
Pharmacy Puts People and Pets First With Paws Park Wall Mural 0
If you’ve ever filled a prescription at a pharmacy for yourself, your family or a pet, you know it can sometimes be stressful. Let’s face it, if you’re picking up a prescription it’s usually because someone isn’t feeling well. That was why John Platt, RPh, owner of The Wellness Pharmacy in Winchester, VA decided to add a Paws Park Wall Mural to his reception area. If he could make his customers smile a little when they came to see him, then maybe their day would be just a bit brighter. And because John is a dog lover and some of his favorite customers are the four-legged kind, he immediately gravitated to our dog and cat themed wall stickers.
The Wellness Pharmacy is a compounding pharmacy which means they fill the need when commercially available products don’t address a patient’s problem. John has been a pharmacist for over 30 years. He tells us that in his first job he was asked to make some special preparations for various patients when commercial products were not available. This is what inspired him to open a compounding pharmacy. Though the majority of his customers are people, veterinarian patients are a large part of his business. Sometimes helping his animal clients means coming up with new ways to deliver a medicine when an animal can’t or won’t take it orally. For example, many cats have thyroid problems but the owners are not able to get their pet to take pills. The Wellness Pharmacy staff can make a transdermal gel that can be applied to the inside of the cat's ear to deliver the medication through the skin and into the blood stream.
And John gets some funny requests from time to time like when the owner of a monkey he was making two liquid compounds for wanted some of the flavoring. Turned out the monkey refused to eat anything that wasn’t on the owner’s breath first.
An animal themed wall mural was a perfect fit for this busy pharmacy and when John went searching online for mural products he found My Wonderful Walls. After asking about making some custom additions to the Paws Park Wall Sticker Kit, John was happy to find he could add a few people and additional trees to the park scene. Though this was his first experience using wall decals, John found them very easy to work with and well worth the money. He painted a background sky and grass with a walking path first to make the mural really seem like a park. Then with the help of his wife Meta, his herbalist Deanna and two pharmacy technicians Diana and Connie, they added the stickers. The only difficulty they faced was putting up the custom large cherry tree which took three of them to get on the wall but is now his favorite part of the mural. He also really likes the white Great Dane and the personalized lamp post sign that reads “Wellness Park”.
Now that the mural is complete John says the reaction has been very positive and customers have even started bringing in pictures of their pets to add to the park. What a great way to make what can be for some a stressful time, a little bit easier! If you would like to add a dog and cat themed wall mural to your home or business, check out our Paws Park Wall Sticker Kit or stencil kit. And if you’re in the Winchester, VA area and in need of a compounding pharmacy, check out our friends at The Wellness Pharmacy.
John's granddaughter Kerry and his two dogs Cosmo (left) and Elmo (right)
Forest Friends Themed Teepees Prove Our Stencil Kits Aren’t Just For Walls! 2
Back in March, our friend Connie from kokoandkoko designs in the UK asked us if she could use our stencils on fabric for a teepee art project she was planning to do with young children. Brilliant idea, right?! Connie has created many different lines of teepees and wigwams for children using a variety of designs and materials. This time she wanted to take the teepees to a new level by encouraging the children to create their own designs using our forest friends stencil kit hoping to ignite within them the same passion for arts and crafts she harbors within herself. We couldn’t wait to see how the teepees turned out! Here's what creative Connie had to say about this fun and rewarding experience:
My Wonderful Walls: How did you find out about My Wonderful Walls?
Connie: I stumbled across My Wonderful Walls while searching for reusable stencils using the Google search engine.
MWW: These teepees are amazing! What gave you the idea and inspiration for such a creative project?
Connie: Having made teepees with applique designs, I thought it was going to be interesting for children to take part in decorating and personalizing their own teepees using permanent fabric markers or paint. This project was aimed to help children develop their creativity and art skills by having fun. I also make plain teepees for doodle art where children can have hand prints, sponge art, and any doodles from their great imaginations.
MWW: What are the first names of the people who did the mural on the teepee?
Connie: The names of the children in the picture are Bithiah (girl aged 10yrs) and Shemaiah (boy aged 6yrs).
MWW: Where was your masterpiece created?
Connie: Essex in United Kingdom.
MWW: For whom is this mural intended?
Connie: This was my new design and lines of teepees and wigwams and intended for children.
MWW: What product did you purchase?
Connie: I purchased the Forest Friends Reusable Stencil Kit.
MWW: Tell us a little about why you choose this theme and what made this mural a good fit for your project?
Connie: I love nature and wildlife. The Forest Friends Stencil Kit has all of the classic nature designs that will always be appealing to little ones.
MWW: What was your son's reaction to the mural when he first saw it?
Connie: My son loved it. He was happy when I asked him to show his art skills by painting the teepee.
MWW: How long did it take to complete the project?
Connie: It took [the kids] a few days as an after school project and a weekend. My son asked if I could create another teepee to paint.
MWW: Obviously you have lots of artistic skill, but describe your artistic comfort level. Have you always had a love for arts and crafts?
Connie: I live for art, crafts, and any other creative activities. Having worked as a children's clothing and accessory designer for many years, designing is my life. I enjoy experimenting, but often I don’t have enough time to try all my designs.
MWW: What did you enjoy most about the teepee mural creation experience?
Connie: I enjoyed using the stencils to create a small indoor wildlife scene.
MWW: Was it what you had expected?
Connie: It is definitely what I expected and I would like to try different media or paint if time permits.
MWW: What did the kids think about the process/experience?
Connie: They would like to do another one. I would like them to colour a lampshade, cushion, or a canvas bag.
MWW: Did you add any personal touches to the teepee other than what came with the kit?
Connie: I added the brown and green felt at the bottom to create landscapes.
MWW: Do you have any helpful tips for people who use our products?
Connie: My advice to people is: do not hesitate to invest in one of the My Wonderful Walls mural kits and grow your creativity. You definitely will not be disappointed but will be amazed with the "WOW " results.
MWW: Did you utilize any or all of the resources on our main website (how-to videos, virtual mural maker, or customer photos)?
Connie: I did not use any videos or virtual mural maker because I had my ideas flowing before purchasing the kit. All I needed was to interpret it onto the fabric.
MWW: Would you recommend our products to others? why, or why not.
Connie: I cannot recommend your product enough. Your products are impeccably awesome, and easy to use. With your products there are guaranteed beautiful wall murals for those special people in your life.
Connie, we can’t thank you enough for sharing your experience using our forest friends stencil kit! If you’re feeling as inspired as we are, see for yourself how easy it is to have fun, and get creative with our unique stencils, stencil kits, and wall stickers. If you have a creative way you’ve used our stickers, or stencils, share your awesome idea with us in the comments! Or, let us know by email: email@example.com. Your project could be our next blog post!
How to Stage Your Home to Sell Quickly 0
Recently, Lori Smith from Red Violet Interiors shared great pictures of an accent wall and canvas art piece she created using our beaded pattern wall stencils. We caught up with Lori to talk to her about how wall stencils fit wonderfully in to her design plan and some tips for homeowners who are putting their house on the market.
Based in the Phoenix, AZ area, Lori has an extensive background in art and real estate and has been renovating and flipping her own properties for 14 years. She has taken her background and passion for design and brings that experience to homeowners who are looking to effectively renovate and stage a home to sell quickly and for a premium!
When Lori discovered the My Wonderful Walls patterned wall stencils she knew they were a great alternative for wallpaper on an accent wall. Accent walls are a super easy way to add drama and interest to a room and can also define a space in a multi-functional area. Our self-adhesive stencils are easy to use and offer you the flexibility of picking any color combination you want. They can also be re-used for future projects. Lori told us, “People need to realize how easy they are to use. I had to start over once the first time I used them because I didn't layer the stencil right. But no biggie, it's just paint and was easy to fix.” She also suggests going back with a small brush for any touch ups once you are finished stenciling. Lori used our Beaded Wall Stencils on both an accent wall and a 4 X 4 canvas so far and plans on using them again.
According to the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp., staged homes spend half the time on the market than non-staged homes. So what if you are selling your home but can’t hire a professional to help you stage it or renovate? Lori offered these tips to getting your home ready for a fast and profitable sale:
- Depersonalize and declutter your space. What that means is take down family photos, trinkets, etc....potential buyers need to picture themselves in the home, not the existing homeowners and it needs to feel open and clutter free.
- Replace any outdated lighting, plumbing fixtures and if budget allows update the kitchen as much as possible with new countertops and kitchen cabinets. It's true that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. When renovating stay classic, not trendy.
- Clean, clean, clean. It's the details that potential buyers will notice, so with that being said it would also be a good idea to touch up paint on the walls and baseboards. And don't forget spaces like the garage, storage rooms, and patios. These are usable spaces and should be highlighted not looked over.
- Neutralize the space as much as possible. Having bedrooms painted in bright colors might work for your family but could be very off putting to a potential buyer. By painting the home, a neutral shade of gray, taupe or white would allow the potential buyer to visualize their furnishings in the space. It is great to incorporate an accent wall, as long as it ties in with rest of the house. This goes for furnishings too. Add pops of color in accessories not in large pieces of furniture.
- If your home will be vacant when you put it up for sale, stage it! It is a proven fact that homes that are staged sell in half the time as those that aren't staged. Here's why, it is very difficult for buyers to visualize their furnishings in the space. By staging the home, it adds warmth to the space and a sense of "home”. Use large scale, original artwork to make a statement (like the 4'x4' canvas with the beaded stencil) and unique accessories. It is crucial to add an emotional element to staging. The goal is for the potential buyer to fall in love with the property as soon as they walk in the door and see themselves living there.
So there you have it, if you are looking to sell your home and want to get the best price, consider hiring a professional like Lori or follow her tips to do it yourself. And for a fun and easy way to create an accent wall in your home, check out My Wonderful Walls Patterned Stencils. You can contact Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with design and staging in the Phoenix area and email the My Wonderful Walls team any time for help with choosing the right stencils to create a brilliant accent wall at email@example.com.
A Musical Wall Takes Center Stage in Vashon Island, WA 3
Here at My Wonderful Walls, we certainly appreciate a unique wall of art when we see one. Our customers often share photos of their wall murals created in their homes, businesses and schools. But a different kind of wonderful wall recently grabbed our attention all the way from Vashon Island, WA. This musical wall was created by Joe Schonbok for his daughter, Shelby’s classroom where Joe volunteers weekly. Joe is the owner of Strum Shop on Etsy where he builds and sells stick dulcimers, a three stringed instrument you play similar to an ukulele. These instruments are designed to be super easy to play and loads of fun because you simply can’t play a bad note. Read on to find out more about Strum Shop and stick dulcimers.
Joe Schonbok has played musical instruments almost all of his life, starting with a trombone in elementary school. He found it somewhat frustrating and eventually stopped playing but picked up string instruments as an adult and fell in love with music. Wanting his daughter to have the opportunity to grow up learning how to play a stringed instrument, he discovered stick dulcimers or “strumsticks” and set about learning how to make his own. Inspired by the story of Andy Mackie and his “Mackie Music Sticks”, Joe had the idea to create a classroom set for daughter, Shelby’s school.
What is a “Strumbolina” stick dulcimer? A stick dulcimer is a three-stringed instrument you play like a guitar or ukulele but it is fretted and tuned like an Appalachian Dulcimer. It is tuned to a single key. Since it is a single-key instrument, all of the notes sound good together. No stress, all fun! They are a close cousin to the cigar box guitar. Joe came up with the name Strumbolina for his stick dulcimers to set them apart. Made from sustainably harvested logs right from Vashon Island, these instruments are made with very little waste and are high quality handmade instruments.
At the Chautauquah Elementary School, the reaction has been very positive to the classroom Strumbolinas. The kids in Shelby’s classroom got to see the very first Strumbolina stick dulcimer Joe built and try it out. They were thrilled to be “in the know” about such a unique instrument. Now they have their very own musical wall where the dulcimers are stored and get to experience the joy of creating music for themselves. With so many schools not having art and music as an integral part of the curriculum, any opportunity to inspire a love of music is priceless. Kids as young as six can easily play a Strumbolina as it is perfect for their size and finger dexterity at that age. And parents will love getting involved with this frustration free musical instrument as well.
Joe plans to eventually add additional handcrafted instruments to his store on Etsy. He is currently working on a few ukulele designs. If you would like to learn more about the Strumbolinas and how you can get one for yourself, check out Strum Shop on Etsy or the Strumbolina Facebook page.