Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Art Gallery

So, I haven't blogged in ummm...almost 2 years. I've been to China and back, had a second little one and probably a million other things worth noting. I've thought about blogging. I've written posts in my head. But what really made me want to start up again? Pinterest. It's a virtual pinboard. It's like my granny tearing out magazine articles out and mailing them to me, but ON THE INTERNET. I'm in heaven. It's given me so many ideas I want to try out.

I've been wanting to create a better art gallery for my boys. My littlest just turned one and I know the artwork from him will begin rolling in soon. The three frames I had previously hung, was not going to cut it. I was really tempted to put up the an IKEA Diginet System. I've seen one in a neighbor's house and it looks pretty nice. But my sister had me worried about the wires and kids so I just hadn't gone for it yet. Then I saw this via Pinterest from Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss: Very cool! I searched Pinterest and found more and more cool ideas, but collecting various vintage frames really stuck with me. And thus the journey began.

First up - vintage frame shopping. LOTS of it. I discovered that here in Chicago, Village Discount Outlet had the best selection for the price. Most of their frames were between $.80 and $3.80.
Though I love Brown Elephant, I quickly discovered their prices ($15 for a random print or painting?!) were not conducive to this project. I did buy a couple there that had more ornate frames that I really wanted. I also braved Unique Thrift Store on a Monday for everything is 50% off day to get another unique frame I really wanted. I had forgotten how much I enjoy thrifting, though I really have little to no time for it these days. I started with about 10 frames, pliers, scissors, a flat-head screwdriver, the remote, lots of trashy tv and a glass of wine! I tore into all the frames, removed staples, pulled out the previous 'art' and then using some crappy holiday wrap (drove me nuts to wrap with it - it tore too easily!) my husband bought last year I made a paper template of each frame. I numbered each template and then numbered the back of each frame as well. Then I started hanging the templates in my space. I quickly realized that 10 frames was no where near enough. More shopping, chopping and labeling ensued. Twenty two frames! Finally my templates filled the space. I also laid the unpainted frames in the configuration I had taped up, just to double check myself, but it was hard to envision without them painted. There was lots of re-arranging. My trusty sidekick Annie watched all of this...

Once I was relatively satisfied with the frames and layout, it was time to move outside.
I started with one can of primer, and three cans of universal glossy white spray paint. Naturally, Annie came along:
She ran away fast once she realize what was coming! Smart choice on her part. I made several lazy rookie mistakes.
1) Using newspaper. The wind kept blowing it up despite my careful arrangement and it stuck to a few of the frames. Also the grass. Ugh. Cardboard would have been a better choice.
2) Not buying enough spray paint. When you live in a city that doesn't sell spray paint, this is a major PITA. I had to paint the interiors of the frames as well since th
ey are visible as you walk up and down my staircase. I started the project with 1 can of primer and 3 cans of paint. In the end I needed SIX cans of spray paint - yikes!
3) Not enough prepping. I should have sanded several of the frames as I didn't realize the nicks would be so visible with the white paint. In the grand scheme of the gallery it's not a big deal, but if you look closely you can see my mistakes.
4) Not wearing shoes or socks and ruining a brand new pedicure!
My first pass with the 3 cans of paint covered all the frames, but on a more superficial level. I had to
return the next day, pick each frame up, get the sides and the interior sides.

One day to dry and I was itching to hang my new beauties! I tried to keep the bottom edge lined up and the far right edge, along the straight walls. I worked from the bottom corner and just kept measuring the spacing to be even between the frames as best as I could. Here's the work in progress - slowly hanging frames and removing templates...

Heading up the stairs

My last step - add the art! I decided against adding clips and just used poster putty to hang the creations. I feared all the crumpled creations my son comes home with would curl up in spots and one clip wasn't enough. I wish I had better pictures, but despite reading tutorials, attempting to figure out my own camera, etc. I just couldn't find a great way to capture a stairwell w
ith no natural light! But anywho...


Who knows if I'll be back with a blog post for the next two years. But I enjoyed this one ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A good night

So, I've been sick for what seems like forever...nothing too major, but it's morphed into this horrible cough. Once I get going, it's tough to stop. So I told Henry tonight that I would play a little bit longer and then we had to do three short books because Mommy's throat hurt. We read our books and I prepared for departure...

Necessary cars in bed? Check.
Sippy cup of water? Check.
Pillow up on the side of the bed so we don't end up with an arm stuck through? Check.
Green alien nightlight? Check.
Tucked in tight? Check.

Generally after this, the best method is to tell him Mommy & Daddy love him and make a dash for the door. No lingering or we get lots of requests - more books, more water, snuggle please (that one is tough to resist!), etc.

So tonight I make the dash, I'm closing the door, trying to avoid any 'requests' and as I'm closing Henry yells "I LOVE YOU MOM!!!" :D He hasn't been one to spontaneously bust out the 'I love yous', so that pretty much made my night.

Monday, October 12, 2009


How does one return to a blog after nearly a three month, unannounced hiatus? Hmmm...I've gone back and forth over this one...do you attempt to explain why? Recap events from the past three months? Just pretend it didn't happen? I think what keeps one away even longer (as mentioned by funny Chi-town blogger momtrolfreak whom I believe I discovered during said 3 month hiatus), is the feeling that the return post must be MONUMENTAL. EPIC. AMAZING!

Screw it. First post back? I want this pillow:

It's from Target - Home Ikat Dec Pillow

After just a year and half in our new home - I'm ready to re-decorate! Well, sorta. I want to paint our powder room a snazzy cobalt blue, switch out the dotted rug we've had for years and maybe go for a solid blue to accent the powder room. And these pillows, which are sorta navy & grey would be a perfect start. I just wish they sold pillow covers instead of straight up pillows. I've got *way* too many throw pillows already!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My crazy ideas

So, often in the course of decorating my home, I get these ideas in my head. For the most part I can visualize them, but it doesn't mean I know that specific item/plan exists. I do this with clothing too. I know *exactly* what I'm looking for and what I want, but who knows if it's out there or is feasible. I blame my mother. She does this too. It makes shopping difficult sometimes. Rumor has it, it makes us difficult to buy gifts for also.

Our pergola project definitely started as a picture in my head. When we realized this thing had to come down, I knew what I wanted, but wasn't sure how to create what I had imagined. Well, in this case, my vision definitely paid off! I posted a few months back about it. A quick reminder of the before:

Whole top section was rotten. Took very little effort for my Dad to yank that crap off the top. Then a rented truck from Home Depot, a bunch of treated lumber, some deck hangers, blood & sweat from my Dad (thanks!) and we had this:
Next step? LOADS of time on a tall ladder, a bucket of paint, some cursing & sweating from me, but I eventually finished the painting. And, I found this guy on Yelp to transform the bolt of Sunbrella fabric into strips that fit my vision. So, here you can see, painting done, strip number one on it's way up (and lots of giant plastic uglies yikes! as least the picnic table in neutral right?! that's what I tell myself)Once we figured it out, the hanging process was sort of fun, watching the whole thing take shape. It involved a staple gun, some hanger bolts, wing nuts and lots of ladder time. And alas, it's done!
We are still in search of a new pendant light. I had purchased a six arm iron chandelier, but a) it isn't a hard wired fixture and b) it's a bit too much. If anyone knows a good place for outdoor pendant fixtures, I'm all ears!
The front end fabric piece can be pulled down so that when the sun is blaring it's way down in the west, the person dining in the sunny seat isn't blinded. Z and I sat outside on Sunday night, watched the sun go down, chatted and shared a few drinks. My crazy idea seriously paid off this time. Seriously. LOVE our new pergola!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Though I am no clean freak, I am certainly a clutter freak. Everything has it's place in my house (well, almost everything). So, it's only fitting that Henry's artwork now has a place too!
When I discovered these Artwork Display & Storage frames at Target I had to have them. Henry's artwork now hangs in the hallway, over the steps as you head to our basement. And when it's time for new art, they open magnetically, have space to store the art you take down, so it's a quick and easy process!