Category Archives: Art

A bit of art

The beautiful warm days have inspired me to do some freshening up around the house.  There is nothing like bright sunshine lighting up the walls to make me realize just how long it has been since the art has been updated.  I was also going through photos for one of my classes and felt the need to change things up.  I decided it was time to take a look at some of the art I have been pinning and magazine pictures I have torn out and actually create something new for our walls.

I recently saw a painting in DIY Magazine that really stuck with me. It was a colorful abstract of sound waves done by the fun lady behind Cuckoo4Design.  I loved the idea of using colors that I liked to make my own version.  I decided to use watercolor paper and paints, since I had both on hand and I haven’t had the opportunity to use them for awhile.  The kids and I set up a painting station on the kitchen table, and I drew some light guidelines on my 22×30 paper while they happily painted their own masterpieces.

IMG_5715

To start the painting, I used a ruler to draw lines both horizontally and vertically through the center.  Then, I measured ¾ inch from the vertical line, and drew another vertical line.  I marked every ¾ inch and drew vertical lines across the entire piece of paper.  I made sure to make the lines lightly with pencil, since I was using watercolor paint.  Some marks can be erased, but I like to make them light enough that I don’t have to worry about it.

IMG_5729

After making my lines, I started around the center with my colors.  In the center, where the sound wave is focused, I used full-strength color, or less water.  As the line goes toward the edges, I gradually added water to make the color lighter.  I also left some white squares to accent the colors and give it sort of a pixelated look.  I randomly chose the order of the colors to give it a looser and non-repetitive feel.

IMG_5720

 Because watercolors tend to bleed into each other, I quickly learned to leave a space in between lines so the fresh paint had a chance to dry.  Then, I went back and carefully filled in the spaces with a little less bleeding into each other.  Blotting excess water and color with a paper towel also worked pretty well.

IMG_5727

Painting this abstract watercolor took longer than anticipated, but I am pleased with the finished product.  Using acrylic paints and a brush that is the width of your vertical lines would speed up the process considerably.  The fun thing about creating your own art is that you can mix and match colors to work with your decor and create an absolutely unique piece.

I am still looking for a frame that will work with this large of a painting.  Until then, it makes a great backdrop for some recently repotted plants!

IMG_5799

Have you seen something that inspired you lately?  Now is a good time to break out the paints and make your own wall art for spring.

 

Bold, Colorful and Modern: Guest Room

*The idea for this post was suggested by the fun folks at Chairish.com.  Their unique site lets you shop for and sell furniture easily.  I personally love the Mid-Century Modern section because the style is simple, timeless and so easy to pair with other pieces you might have.*

With less than 30 days until my fabulous sister comes to visit for a month, I have guest room updates high on my priority list.  In its current state, our guest room is sleep-able, but I wouldn’t call it highly comfortable or well designed by any stretch of the imagination.  I put together an idea board to show you what I have been thinking:

Chairish Post_Guest Room


1. Wood paneled wall with floating shelves via remodelista.com
2. BRIMNES storage bed via ikea.com
3. Mexican serape blanket via luluandgeorgia.com
4. Pantone’s Radiant Orchid
5. Mid-Century George Kovacs “Caterpillar” lamps from chairish.com
6. Mid-Century Modern Splash Oil Painting via chairish.com
7. Modern Thonet Bentwood Chair via chairish.com
8. Similar Midcentury Modern Sideboard via chairish.com

Our guest room also doubles as my sewing/craft/art room, so we have turned the closet into a work space with a desk, shelves and pegboard for organizing supplies.  We used an old closet door for a desk running the full length of the closet.  I painted it (4) Pantone’s radiant orchid for a splash of color.  My resourceful hubby made me some shelves out of some old deck wood.  The closet is a complete juxtaposition of rustic industrial and modern, which is quickly becoming the style of the room.

We recently purchased the (2) BRIMNES storage bed from Ikea because I needed large drawers to stash my art supplies and paper.  I like how sturdy the drawers are, and the simple design of the bed means it will work nicely with any style.  In order to easily pull out the drawers without having to move a lot of furniture, I would like to have floating shelves on each side of the bed to serve as nightstands. (1) Tying them in with a wood paneled wall or headboard would add some midcentury architecture to our little 1950’s home.

I love the look of simple white bedding topped with a (3) Mexican serape blanket, and it would compliment the bright orchid work desk.  A pair of neutral mirrored (5) lamps and splashy abstract (6) art highlight similar colors and tie the room together.

A comfortable, low profile (7) chair gives guests a place to sit and read or put up their feet.  A dresser or (8) sideboard for clothes or miscellaneous storage takes the place of a closet.  I purchased over-the-door hooks for clothes that require hanging.

There you have it! A fun combination of bold colors, vintage and reclaimed woods and furniture with simple, clean lines.  It all adds up to a comfortable and unique space anyone would feel welcome in.

* I have not been compensated in any way for this post, but it was so fun to put together. I can’t wait to get started on the room!

 

 

IMG_5955

Guest Bathroom Refresh

Have you ever looked at a room in your home and just been completely uninspired by it?  I believe spaces in your home should make you happy by being functional, relaxing and beautiful.  Last week, I was getting our basement bathroom ready for my sister’s upcoming visit when I realized that although the bathroom was functional, it was neither relaxing or beautiful.  I decided to do a quick overhaul to make the tiny space a bit more fun.

 Below is the bathroom Before.  Yes, we have had some leaking up by the shower entrance.  No longer leaking, but the repairs are in process.  I have had this shower curtain for over 10 years, so as much as I still like it, I feel like it is time for an update.  I believe I got it on a good clearance at Target, also.

1. Change the shower curtain.  The first item of business was to replace the shower curtain.  I found a shower curtain on clearance at Target for $5.98.  It adds some softness and bright colors to the little room, and hides the ugly tile that I can’t yet replace.  If you aren’t a fan of adding colors or patterns, I recommend a thick white waffle-weave curtain to give your bathroom a luxury hotel vibe. 

2. Tweak the vanity.  The sink and vanity in this bathroom are on my hit list, but until a new one is in the budget, I need to work with the one we have.  I have an embarrassing stockpile of pretty pots of sample paint.  I searched through my stash and found a dark teal blue that coordinated with my shower curtain.  In less than 15 minutes, I had the first coat of paint on, and the second coat was finished after my kids went to bed for the night.  It was a super quick and budget friendly fix, and the crooked little vanity looks so much happier.

 

3. Add new towels.  Instead of rounding up some mismatched towels, I took advantage of a spectacular sale at Shopko last week.  I bought two bath towels and two hand towels for less than $14.  It is pretty refreshing to step out of the shower and have a soft fluffy towel waiting for you.  I store the towels on an open metal wall rack right next to the shower.

4. Keep toilet paper and washcloths visible.  No one wants to go searching for toilet tissue in someone else’s bathroom.  I like to keep an extra roll or two in a basket on the back of the toilet, along with several washcloths.

 

5. Switch up the art.  I have a set of prints hanging in the bathroom that I have had hanging in one room or another for over 10 years.  I still really like them because they remind me of travels with my sister, but they are a little neutral and boring for the space.  Instead of finding something different, I added some color to the prints with a watercolor wash.  Shop your own home for unexpected art that can add a fun twist.

 

6. Think cozy underfoot.  Thankfully the bathroom doesn’t have carpet, but that does mean toes can get chilly on the concrete and linoleum floor.  A soft rug or two keeps feet happy and warm while also adding a potential spot for color.

There you have it!  Time and budget friendly updates that make a big impact on the look and feel of an often neglected room.

IMG_5902

A Growing Gallery Wall

I finally made some great progress on our living room gallery wall.  My article for ISJ (see below, at end) was what finally got me in gear.

The wall has been in the process for over a year, and I keep adding to it, or unintentionally taking away as the kids decide to remove a frame or two.  For awhile now, I have used all black frames of all sizes.  I liked black because it kept things somewhat cohesive, but it started to feel a little too neutral for my personal taste.  A few months ago, I came across a photo in Better Homes and Gardens featuring brightly colored frames, and I decided to add some color to our wall.  But first, I wanted to change all of the off-white mats to crisp white.  After trying acrylic craft paint, I discovered white spray paint worked much, much better!

But, the white spray paint also gave me the idea that it might be fun to just paint some of the mats bright colors, instead of repainting frames…and so I did.

Similar to giving a mouse a cookie is giving Becky a can of spray paint…it never stops.

On some double mats, I used a paint pen to add color to just one mat.  I also left some white, since my photos and art are also pretty colorful.

I recently added a large circular frame, because things were looking a little to squared for me. And on a recent Target trip, I came home with three fun circular gray mirrors. Since the lighting in the living room could be better, I hung a simple black wall sconce where it could be used for reading.

And another angle:

Plus, sometimes you accidentally end up with free art when you decide to randomly spray paint picture mats!

I am happy with how it is coming along, and very happy that it can be added to as we want to.  Obviously, I just hang pictures wherever I feel like it and don’t cut out templates from newspaper, like I suggest.  Nail holes are easy to patch, although I honestly didn’t have to rehang a single frame yesterday.  That sometimes isn’t the case.

How about you? Any gallery walls or new art hanging in your home?  I would love to hear all about it!

*Article I wrote for the Idaho State Journal, June 7, 2014, slightly edited for the blog.  I will link to flourishidaho.com when the link is available.

One of the things people ask me for help with most often is hanging art on a large wall.  Although one large piece of art can look fabulous taking center stage, often people either can’t afford or don’t want to commit to a large piece.  I think the ever-popular gallery wall is a great solution, especially since it typically infuses the room with your own personal style.  But, if the thought of pounding even one nail into the wall has you sweating, 10 or 15 nails might just delay your picture hanging progress indefinitely.  Here are a few tips to get you started with confidence.

 

1. Figure out the look you want to convey.  Do you like everything symmetrical and matching? Maybe you like something a little more random, but still neat and tidy? Maybe you prefer a look that is more organic and free-flowing.  Some of you will want a wall that is finished all at once, and others will want something that can be added to over time.  Take a look at gallery walls online if you aren’t sure what you prefer.

2. Decide what you want to incorporate.  Some gallery walls are made up of just family photographs, while others have a mix of photos and art pieces.  Still others have mirrors, decorative plates, text, hooks, etc. hung as a collection or mixed in with art and photos.  It is your wall, so make it personal to you and your family.

3. Choose your frames or items.  Look through the frames you already have and purchase more frames as needed. I pick up inexpensive frames at thrift stores, garage sales and discount home stores, and then I spray paint them if needed.  Many people choose all white, all black or all wood frames, but gold frames are also very popular right now.  In the past, I have used all black frames because I typically frame brightly colored photos and art and I wanted to keep the look cohesive.  I am currently enjoying the look of assorted frame colors and styles, so I am mixing things up a bit with some brightly colored frames mats. If you want a more formal look, try frames or items that are all the same size.

4. Experiment with different arrangements.  The best way to arrange your gallery wall is to gather all of your frames, art and miscellany together for the entire wall.  That way, you will be able to lay everything out and arrange it to your liking.  Another tip is to trace each frame onto an old piece of newspaper and cut it out. Then, tape each piece to the wall and get the placement correct before you start pounding in nails.  You can also mark where the nail needs to go, and then hammer it in right through the newspaper.  Consider a grid if you like symmetry, and use a level.   I typically start with the largest piece in the center, and work out from there, leaving about 3-5 inches between pieces on all sides.

5. Hang your art and enjoy the results. Consider hanging picture ledges and leaning your art and photos against the wall for a flexible and layered look.  Now, take a step back and enjoy your hard work.  Gallery walls always attract attention, so be prepared for people to linger!