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Fickle & Fabulous

Britt Schaefer is a self-proclaimed wanna-be designer, artist, and Martha Stewart.  She’s all about making things pretty, creatively – up cycling, repurposing, etc.  The founder of A Penny Saved, Britt blogs about all sorts of frugal, yet fabulous design ideas and projects.  We recently discovered this Sharpie artist when she posted a Sharpie-made wall design created in her very own home! The outcome of the project is nothing short of amazing.  After seeing what Britt can do with a Sharpie, you can’t help but to be inspired to Uncap What’s Inside! 

How would you describe your personal style?

Fickle!  It seems to change from day to day.   One day I’ll find myself on a Hollywood Regency kick, the next, I’m loving Swedish design, then it’s traditional, mid-century mod, French provincial, etc. 

Where/When did you come up with the idea to use Sharpie to create such tremendous wall art? Why not just wallpaper or paint?

I fell in love with some designer wallpaper, but with my fickle tendencies, I just couldn’t see spending hundreds of dollars on something that I might not love once installed.  Then I saw a similar project where someone had drawn a bold pattern on their walls with Sharpies, and I thought, why not create my own version of the designer paper that I had fallen for? 

What is your creation & design process like?

I don’t really have a process, per se.  I spend a lot of time scoping out blogs, magazines, and interior designers’ sites for inspiration.  Then I just figure out how to make things come together, using upcycled, reinvented, thrifted and handmade items whenever I can.  Each room & each project is different. 

Who is your favorite interior designer? What do you like about their work?

I’m a big fan of Ruthie Sommers.  Like me, she doesn’t seem to be able to stick to just one style, but she’s a master at blending several styles to create spaces with lots of personality. 

 Favorite Sharpie? Why?

It’s so hard to choose just one!  (See a pattern here?)  I love Sharpie pens for just about anything, but for special occasions or for a little extra sparkle, I love the metallics! 

Tell us about your blog, A Penny Saved. What is it about? How long have you been blogging? What inspired you to start?

It is a random collection of my favorite design ideas, DIY projects, and bargain finds, with a little about my life thrown in. I started blogging about a year and a half ago.  My husband and I had just moved half way across the country, into a brand new house, and I wanted to document the process of turning it into a home.  In the year and a half since, I started adding in posts about whatever was inspiring me at the time.   

We have something huge in common, I too love thrifting and going to yard sales. What do you love most about going to Yard Sales and Thrift Shops? 

I love getting great deals, of course, but I also love not knowing what to expect – you never know what you’ll find and how you’ll end up using it. 

What’s the best thing you’ve ever found? 

A free baby grand piano at an estate sale. 

What are you currently searching for? 

An antique lantern fixture, a chinoiserie dresser, and maybe another tole chandelier. 

Scrolling through your blog, you seem to have collected so many great pieces! Do you have any tips for finding those “diamonds in the rough”?

Don’t look just at the condition or the intended use.  Think about what a piece could become if you painted it, reupholstered it, repurposed it. 

 Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?

I’m hoping to freshen up my kitchen a little…..painted cabinets, subway tile backsplash.  Nothing too labor-intensive or expensive, but hopefully it will make a big impact. 

 What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

Be flexible! 

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If Walls Could Talk

When moving into a new home you are more or less handed a blank slate – A lot of empty space that is just yearning for color, texture, shapes, personality.  This new place gives you the opportunity to convey who you are through design.  You may not see it this way, but I feel that decorating your personal space is an outward expression of your inner self through lines, colors, furniture, and art work.  Think of it this way, home decor is like your wardrobe but much larger in scale, more expensive and for most, if you don’t like what your home is “wearing,”  tough, you can’t simply change the outfit in a snap.  

A few weeks ago, I moved into a new apartment, my first and I’m all on my own.  I have free range to decorate how I want.  So now, I’ve got this blank slate in front of me and I really do not want to screw it up – I want my place to scream who I am!  I have all the furniture but the walls…well, they are still bare as a bone with no art displayed upon them. 

The problem is, I do not want to, nor can I, spend a hefty chunk of change on artwork.  I have concert posters (Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Flatstock) that I plan to frame and hang but that’s not exactly doing it for me.  I keep coming back to what I preach every day of the week – SHARPIE.  I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of the “Sharpie basement” and all sorts of Sharpie wall artYES! I do love these but also YES, my landlord would have fit if I attempted them.  So what else can I do to bring in that unique, urban, DIY, Sharpie-esq element?

I think I’ve found it…

Several stores I’ve bought furniture from have a similar theme going on that I can only describe as a “paper-recession motif.”  In other words, using paper, card stock, cardboard, etc… to build make inexpensive, yet tasteful art.  While none of these stores necessarily have incorporated Sharpie, I do see an appropriate place for the markers & pens. Using Sharpie to add details and personalize the following examples would be a fun, easy and inexpensive way to make it your own.  If these don’t necessarily fit your style, try taking the ideas and interpret them to fit your personality.

 Here, pictures from magazines and books and pieces of card stock were cut out and hung with clothes pins on a long piece of twine to add some color to a pretty neutral corner .  Another idea would be to hang actual post cards and greeting cards that you’ve either collected or bought for this purpose.  On new cards use a Sharpie to write inspirational quotes, music lyrics, anything you’d like.  Or keep a Sharpie and Polaroid camera nearby, next to bowl of clothes pins for when you have company.  Take pictures with friends and family, write a little note and hang the pictures up.

Using corrugated strips of cardboard, this store built HUGE murals shaped into daisies.  These pictures do not even do justice, this honestly was amazing and I stood in awe for a good five minutes.  Imagine building these to fit your wall(s) and adding little touches with Sharpie markers - rain drops, lady bugs, veins on leaves, details on petals… Oh the possibilities.

Use patterned paper or gift wrap to cover old books and bring new light to a book shelf.  Use the same paper in similar patterns and colors to make flowers (or in any shape for that matter) and hang in place of a framed picture.

Tear out pictures from magazines, books, newspapers, or trace new drawings with a Sharpie onto paper to make your own wallpaper collage.  Don’t be afraid to overlap, we’re going for a sloppy, yet put-together feel here.  Hanging plates as shown here, is a great way to pull everything together.

This wall was really interesting…  Sheets upon sheets upon sheets of white paper were stacked to cover the entire wall.  To add a pop of color, flowers were made using wired twine and rolled up colored pieces of paper.  Add any details you want with Sharpie to achieve your unique vision.


 It just goes to show how creative you can get using inexpensive materials, a creative eye and your own individual style to make unique pieces that will easily brighten up any room.  I’ll send an update once my apartment is all set up to show you what I’ve done with the place. 

 What unique ways have you decorated your home, bedroom, locker, or office?

Try some of these things out and let me know how it goes!

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Yes We Canvas!

Deciding on a new piece of art can be intimidating, yes, but what if I told you that you had the option to pick out EXACTLY what you wanted.  You could tailor your art to fit exactly your needs.  We’re talking size, shape, color, patterns… Forget about spending countless hours, days, months hunting for one specific piece, not to mention you wouldn’t have to break the bank to get this art.  Sounds like a dream come true if you ask me!

Well with the new year comes new opportunity, so why not start off 2010 by hanging a one-of-a-kind “(YOUR NAME HERE)” art work on your wall that actually looks pretty spectacular!  All you will need are plain white canvases (it’s up to you how many), Sharpie markers and a bit of creativity and imagination to create art that will update any space!

An option to make this DIY project a bit easier for those who may be intimidated – just do what I did - hunt around online and search for patterns that you like and can recreate.  I found my pattern online and used an assortment of Sharpie permanent markers in Red, Navy Blue, Green and Yellow to draw on plain white, hard wood canvases (see pics below) to make my Sharpie wall art.  The great part about this is that your options are endless – you can choose to make one giant piece, several small canvases, or collect an assortment of sizes.  With so many different Sharpie colors to choose from, when it comes to color and design the choice is completely yours!

Sharpie markers used

Sharpie markers used

Reverse side of canvases

Reverse side of canvases

…What do you think?





*Another great thing about canvas art is how free your are to arrange the pieces until you figure out what works best for you.  Have fun with it!

Do you have any Sharpie art work that you’ve made?  Share it with us on our Facebook Page or post it to SharpieUncapped!