Saturday, May 11, 2013

The ever-expanding wall of "art"

The gallery wall is one of my favorite things in the apartment. I'm of two minds about it's location: I'm sad that it's in the bedroom where most people never get to appreciate it in all its glory, but I'm happy it's the last thing I see every night when going to bed (besides my lovely fiance) because it's pretty and full of things I love and it makes me smile.

I would highly recommend that everyone have a gallery wall in their home, and here's why: while most approaches to wall art mean that there's only so much you can have displayed at any given time, a gallery wall is intentionally a hodge podge of things that can easily be expanded. That means there's a place for me to display so many things that are meaningful to me in a way that looks intentional, not just cluttered and disorganized the way just slapping too many unrelated things on the same wall can look. Basically I just have to put it in a white frame and add it to the gallery wall.

In that spirit, I've recently added two new items to the wall. Both are pieces of "art" that I made myself. One I made in March for Sam's birthday. One I made when I was 7. Honestly the one I made 20 years ago is hands down better. But we'll start with the newer one:

Okay when I say I made it, I mostly mean I typed it on my computer and then colored in the heart with a red marker. What is it, you ask? Well Sam and I recently got really into the Myers-Briggs personality tests thanks to our visit with his family over Christmas where we all took the test and then analyzed ourselves and our whole lives. Turns out it's pretty fun to read someone who doesn't know you write things all about you that are scarily accurate. Like predicting that I would be interested in social impact work, don't like conflict, and do like interior decorating. I mean seriously, that's better than I knew myself like three years ago.

Anyway, we discovered that Sam's type is "INTJ," while I'm an "INFJ." I won't bore you with the details, but apparently not only are we super awesome (okay I may have injected that value judgment myself), but we're among the rarest types and also one of the most compatible matches for long term partners. I guess it was even more fortunate than I'd ever realized that he got hungry for the enchiladas his roommates were cooking for me and my friend one evening in their kitchen and came downstairs to join us for dinner (that's not some sort of weird euphemism, there were actual enchiladas involved when we first met). Anyway, the print I made is sort of supposed to celebrate that...the ways we're different, all that we have in common, and how we fit together and complement one another. Who knew MS Word + acronyms + personality tests could be so romantic.

The other piece of art -- arguably the much much better piece -- is something I painted when I was 7.

My mom and I came across it when I was visiting a few weeks ago to help her get ready to move out of her house and onto a boat...that's a whole different story...she and my stepdad are currently off on their new sailboat starting an amazing new adventure! But anyway, she'd saved this painting for the past 20 years along with a bunch of paintings that definitely did not deserve such treatment (my art skills seriously deteriorated as I grew older, go figure). We determined that we couldn't possibly get rid of it, and then I realized that the gallery wall would be the perfect place for it since it doesn't exactly deserve/need a whole wall to itself.

How do I know I was 7? Well, the back of it very clearly states that it was painted by me in 1993. On a Tuesday.

So I grabbed a frame from Michael's hoping it would fit, and lo and behold it fit perfectly.

Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

And here's the whole wall as it currently stands. Mostly a mix of things I've made, meaningful photos/items, and a few pieces of real art that we love (sorry for the bad lighting).

In the next place we live, I'd love to have a gallery wall in one of our more public rooms -- but we're not going anywhere in the near future, so I'll continue to savor the view from bed every night!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tony Stark isn't the only one with his very own Pepper Pots

Okay first of all, I'm sorry for the terrible post title. But I couldn't resist some topical humor, what with the release of Iron Man 3 this past weekend. Anyway...

Spring is making its way to Boston in its usual fits and starts (70 degrees one day, 50 the next), and we're doing the best to enjoy the weather and the season before it inevitably turns to heat and humidity in a few weeks. Sam has been making a foray into gardening over the past few years, so we made a trip to the hardware store today to pick up some seeds and other supplies to kick off the season. We especially like to grow peppers, hence the title of the post.... It also gave us good reason to start using one of the birthday presents I got Sam while I was in New Orleans (in addition to the Jack Daniels cheese plate featured here): a handmade wooden contraption I found at a craft fair used to hang garden pots:

Doesn't look like much, right? And how on earth does it work?

The first step in putting it to use was to procure some generic terracotta pots at the hardware store in varying sizes (we got two each of three different sizes).

Then I decided that I wanted to spruce things up a bit since I've been craving a crafting project and had recently seen some pot-decorating ideas online that I liked. This project was easy peasy -- all told it probably took me about 30 minutes, including clean-up.

First I gathered together some leftover paint from past projects in three different -- but related -- shades. I used the robin's egg blue from the hallway makeover, the turquoise from my dresser project, and the "platinum" from my armoire stenciling project. Then a scrounged up some rubber bands, and was ready to go.

I placed the rubber bands at an angle around the bottom of each pot to create a straight line, going for a "dipped in paint" look (shout out to Wit and Whistle for the inspiration...but I swear I would have used turquoise even if she didn't, given my well-documented obsession...). Then I painted the bottom of each pot below the rubber band, using two coats (the paint dried extremely quickly, so this didn't slow me down). Like so:

I did two in each color, then left them to dry upside down for a few extra minutes.

Then I took them outside along with my wooden hanging contraption, and voila:

We're excited to get some plants growing in there -- I think it's going to be a fun addition to the front porch! The gentleman who sold them to me demonstrated how sturdy the hanging apparatus is (it uses the weight of the pots to keep everything in place) -- they can be knocked around in the wind and not come loose. If you're interested, you can take a look at his website here. There are so many different arrangements possible, it will be fun to play around with them.