Remember the time I starting a painting? Here it is, hanging over our bed. I might add to it eventually (the big orange splotch in the left corner just doesn’t look right to me), but it was sitting in a corner for a month and a half “to be finished later” until I just said, “Ah, fuck it, I’m not touching it anymore.” and hung it up.
(I don’t think you’re supposed to say “fuck it” when it comes to art.)
p.s. In looking at the photo, it is very obvious to me that I painted this through a very happy and then very awful stage of my life. You see it? The right side is SO much better, and happier, and the left side is… not that great. Totally weird that even though painting isn’t my medium, the art was revealing anyway.
I adored our rainbow bookshelf but wanted something more streamlined; still organized and color-coordinated, but less in-your-face than an obvious rainbow. We wanted to incorporate some of our display items, too, so it’s not just books. Using this photo from my Pinterest as inspiration, Monique from Decor Musings and I made it happen.
When I first “rainbowed”, all of our DVDs were on the bottom shelf, but we put them in a book with sleeves (and the cases in storage). Then we put all of our “stuff” on the bottom shelf.
Photo courtesy of Rob Blatt
The “stuff on the bottom” thing looked messy, and insane, but our new configuration is perfect! It’s more grown up but still quirky. I love it!
photo from Oh Happy Day
Using the Ferney’s instruction’s as a rough guide, and Michelle Armas as inspiration, I’m making a piece of abstract art for our bedroom. I wanted something colorful for not a lot of money, and managed to score a high-quality, previously sketched-on but never painted, stretched canvas, sized 4′ x 2′, for $10 (new, it would retail for about $60 or $70). Craigslist rocks.
I haven’t painted anything in ten years or so. My grandmother and I were admiring some painters on the Seine River while we were in Paris, and she asked if I ever painted any more. I said I didn’t, and she said I ought to – I’d always loved to. So I’m doing it.
It’s been just as long since I’ve bought paint, too, and I was shocked at how expensive quality acrylics are. I decided I couldn’t afford as many tubes as I wanted, so I just bought five: black, white, red, yellow and blue, which, in theory, means I bought every color in the world – and a whole lot of work for myself. Mixing to get colors exact is super challenging, and not something I’ve done since high school in art class, but that’s part of “my process” (said the budget artist).
The whole set up is in the back yard, and I started yesterday with steps one and two, and now I’m ready to go “get serious” about it, and I’m nervous. I’m trying to relax and let go (and let Art!) but I really don’t want to fuck up! Isn’t that awful?
I’ll let you know how it goes.
P.S. Ok, so I’m looking at what I did yesterday for the first time with fresh eyes, and it looks like someone menstruated on canvas. I am demoralized.
Subtitle: how a piece of furniture taught me that I might not be the world’s biggest fuckup after all.
Ladies and gents, behold: my first piece of grown up furniture. Unlike everything else we own, it isn’t second-hand, from Ikea, or gathered from the side of the road. Woah.
When it arrived, I was so excited to unwrap it, and then… “Ooof. Shit.” were my first words when I saw it.
It’s built differently than I thought it was, and can’t hold as much as I’d hoped. See our TiVo sitting on top*? It makes me angry. Also, there are no holes in the back for cords to go through, so we had to take a drill to the back, an endeavor that was nerve-wracking but ultimately successful. What sort of crummy MEDIA cabinet doesn’t have holes for cords?
So I panicked.
You have to know something about me: I never panic, sometimes even when I should, so freaking out over a piece of furniture is totally out of character for me. I was bewildered by this, and it took half a therapy session talking about this fucking piece of furniture to realize why: owning it is more to me than just a newer place to stash the Wii. It’s my first GROWN UP piece of furniture and since it wasn’t working out, I was, ergo, failing as a grownup.
Dumb, right? Because when you put it into words, throw a good strong light on it, you see how LAME that is, but at the moment… well, that’s where I was: failing at being “almost 30″ and berating myself for trying to venture beyond Ikea.
Anyway, it came in a dark coffee color, a shade that does NOTHING to show off how quirky and adorable it is.
from Brocade Home
I don’t know about you, but I can HEAR it begging to be painted something fun. That was a difficult process, and not just the execution: it was hard to unwrap something so NEW and alter it so drastically. I kept hearing my grandmother moaning, “Why are you ruining that nice EXPENSIVE piece of furniture?!” The first sandpaper stroke was a tough one. I decided to spare myself and leave the feet as is, and now it looks like it’s floating in place, which I love.
By the way, when I related this whole story to Patrice, she started laughing.
“You’re grown!” she said. “You have a husband and went through a wedding and everything. It was a piece of furniture that undid you? God, I love how fucked up we all are.” That made me feel a lot better about the whole thing. One needs a good therapist and blunt friends to maintain levity.
The mishaps kept going. The paintbrush started to fall apart and leave bristles, the paint sprayer we borrowed from a friend didn’t work, and by the time we concluded we were better off just painting it by hand, we had diluted the yellow paint so much (to use in the sprayer), it was difficult to work with. Dog hair blew into the wet paint. Getting every single little curlycue in the front by hand was a huge pain. We bought spray paint to finish and had to buy it one shade off. It started to rain mid-project.
So, on top of being a Big Deal it was also A Learning Experience, and friends? I’m exhausted. But it’s done! It’s all set up! I love it. And look!
It is beautiful.
*The thing on top of the TiVo is a remote switch so we can cut off power to the individual things in the media cabient we aren’t using, preventing vampire power. This one happens to be a clunker from Rob’s teenage computer, but a modern power strip will do the trick. You’ll save a bundle.
from my Pinterest, by Claiborne Swanson Frank for Vogue via You Are My Fave
If you keep up with my Pinterest board, you know I’m checking out loads of home decorating ideas.
For me, it’s a giving-in of sorts. We were only meant to stay in this apartment for a bit, and have gone so far as to look at other, larger apartments around the neighborhood with our real estate agent. The overwhelming conclusion is that we probably have the best backyard-featuring apartment in Park Slope for what we’re paying and we are better off just leaving well enough alone, staying put, and making do, probably for a few more years or so.
from my Pinterest, by Clive Nichols for Gap Interiors, via Red Online
For the two years we’ve been here, our apartment has been not-quite-right-because-we’re-not-going-to-stay-here-long: mostly a combination of Ikea and pieces of furniture gathered off the street. We hung a few bits of art on the walls in ill-fitting “but it wasn’t that expensive” frames, and, although Rob never minded, I’ve been living with a depressing living room wall color that I knew, as soon as I set the paintbrush down in 2009, was a mistake.
It’s not terrible; I’ve managed to carve out a studio/office for myself and have clients come over, and everything is mostly fine, and clean, but it still feels overwhelmingly haphazard and unpretty. It’s time to make things pretty!
from my Pinterest, source unknown
Of course, it’s the same story with me that you’ve probably heard before: I feel guilty spending money on non-essentials. I would rather experiences and travel than a perfect house, but the fact is we spend loads of time at home, and we entertain often. It makes sense, and I had to let myself realize that before whipping out the credit card.
Monique from Decor Musings is helping us out with her smart ideas which is really fun, but, honestly, it’s hard to trust someone else’s thoughts. For instance, she suggested that we add decorative elements to our shelves among the books, and I told her that I have an objection, philosophically, to putting things on shelves that I haven’t collected legitimately. Like, I will never buy a conch shell at a shop in Manhattan, but I’ll fly to a tropical beach and pull one out of the ocean myself (the one time I did that I found one that was already being used as a home, so I had to let it go).
But who’s to say that “legitimately collecting” something can’t mean late-night eBay surfing? You know? So she’s challenging the way I think about things, and that’s really cool.