Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Entrances and Exits, Pt. 2: More Wordy Walls

A few months ago I posted about my entryway project and at the time I mentioned I'd highlight the prints that lined my hallway in an upcoming post. Then time passed and obviously my slippery attention span moved on. However, since I posted about my wordy walls last week I suppose it could once again be considered timely to share, since this is where the 'walls of wisdom' movement all started to begin with.
I had so much fun shopping on Etsy to decorate the walls. I basically stocked myself up on super cheap black frames whenever I found them on clearance (most I bought for $2 or cheaper), and set out to fill them with typography prints that I make or buy. Often the prints didn't fit the prefab frames and in those cases I just filled the background of the frame with coordinated scrapbook paper and mounted the print on top. I know that I just made anyone who's ever worked in a frame shop shudder. I know, since I spent a few years working in a frameshop myself. But honestly? Buying so much art all at once was really pushing my budget, so dollar frames and scrapbook paper was all I could muster for framing. And I think it works for my hodge podge little artsy hallway. I like how the scrapbook paper 'matting' goes with the art and the scrapbook tiles on the stairs. 

Etsy is crazy hard for me to resist on any given day, but going on there with every intention on buying several prints... Madness! I gave myself a spending limit but it was still rather hard to not get too carried away. I am very happy with the prints I bought and there were several more I would have loved to own, but will need to wait until I have funds built up for such sport.

I'll link to the shops where I bought each print. I'd buy from any one of them again. I think every transaction was smooth, professional and perfect. I know I'm sounding like a commercial, but mostly just showing love to artists I like enough to line my walls with. I know I stumble onto blogs all the time and wish they'd post links to where they bought the art on their walls.

 Piles of pictures on my table waiting for me to hang in the hall.

 The happy little hooks I bought from our local healthfood store. 
Home to my kids' dance bags and my shopping bags.

A puppy looking out and a puppy wanting in. :)

This picture captures the dark purple color of this wall the best. This also is another example of my bizarre affinity for pantry shelves. Here it works as a catchall for hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc. I'm always finding a new use for these shelves. I'm oddly obsessed. They hold so much but take up such little space. Stuffed animal storage is one of my favorite uses for them! I also have one in my bedroom that holds my yarn and one behind each kids' door to control dress up accessories.

 A sun catcher my daughter made with a bead charm attached.

 This photo captures the light purple/gray of the outer walls.

 The random frog/turtle collection I've somehow acquired over the years.

A print I made to fill an empty frame. Not the most artistically done print on my wall, that's for sure. But I filled it with one of my favorite quotes and used a color that complimented the prints around it so it makes me happy.

 One of the biggest prints in my hall. Love this!

I never fail to 'see' this one. It never becomes background noise.
It is always a message I need too.

One of my favorite parts of Desiderata. I typed this one in photoshop and mounted it on some of my favorite scrapbook paper to fit one of my larger frames.

 Oh, one of my favorites! To Be Brave by Mae Chevrette

A fun card that I saved. It says: There is a very fine line between "hobby" & "mental illness." Oh, yes. How I dance and skitter and flirt along that line.

I think this was the first print I purchased. Because it is awesome. Duh.

My attempt to fill a small frame in an artsy way. I don't really like this one and planned to change it right away. However, it does in fact, still hang in my hallway. The likelihood of it hanging in my hallway for a long while is very high. So I include it here. And you can't go wrong with "Joy" as a message. Right?

This is the favorite one I made. I had some credits left over from an online vector graphics store, Vectorstock. I used graphics from there for this print and a little coffee one and included some good words and mounted it on scrapbook paper. This is from one of my favorite ee cumming poems.

 Filling another small frame with a card I liked and saved. The quote on it says:
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others,
cannot keep it from themselves. J.M. Barrie

I've always loved otters and my husband and I had this poster mounted in our early days. I can't remember why. I think we liked the quirkiness of it and the colors. Quirky and colorful would be a fitting theme title for my hallway, so it fits in well.

These are two small frames I filled with quick typographical doodles I made in photoshop. I don't love either one but I like the words. And the Princess Bride quote "As You Wish" looks kind of like it's inside of a flying spaghetti monster, so that makes me smile. Since smiling is the main point of this whole project, I kept them.

I love her whole shop. If I had unlimited wall space and funds, I'd buy it all.

Wall placement detail.

 The other simple print I made using a vectorstock image. It is actually cuter than this picture seems. The coffee image is made up of smaller images, like coffee beans and such in a nice chocolate brown.

Have you seen the toxic melted bead suncatcher tutorials going around Pinterest? I followed it and came up with this. Not exactly a Pinterest fail, but it is a Pinterest tale of caution. Other than losing a few thousand brain cells due to melted plastic fumes, I'm very happy with this project. It is a very fun way to make a colorful something for a window. I recommend using an outdoor grill instead of an indoor oven if you've never tried it before. However, make sure your grill isn't upwind to your neighbors, because they will hate you once they realize the industrial chemical fumes that are invading their house is due to you grilling plastic. I may or may not know this from personal experience. Hey! I had already melted my brain from trying it inside the first time, so I wasn't really thinking when I moved the operation outside and away from my own house. Oops! Sorry neighbors! Still... Pretty!

Cluttery landing picture. World meet my plants, Charlie and Lola. Charlie and Lola, the world. Right this second, Lola is gasping out to me. Water! Water! I need water! I am a bad plant mommy.

My sad and narrow entryway. The skinny doorway represents one of the only 'real' closet type storage areas in my house. Old homes are full of fun little storage challenges, no? This is kind of an ugly photo but it shows the two purples against each other.

So at long last, the end of my entry makeover. Very likely not everyone's cup of tea, but it continues to make me happy to this day. Every time I come home and see the color and the happy messages, and I smile. Sure beats the plain white, bare walls that we lived with for over a decade. A vast improvement over entering my home and wincing or feeling down due to my surroundings. Now as I leave or return, I'm uplifted, reminded to find my smile. I like that it does the same for my family. Like a little hug from me as they walk out the door.

At this point I can't change the fact that I live in a small home with old plaster walls, weird curvy stairs, a severe lack of storage and random old house quirks, but I can change how I view living in such a place. Now that I am using my space as a sort of way to express how I feel inside, I feel more at home than ever before. It may not be perfect. But certainly, at this point, it is definitely home.

Wishing everyone a week full of color and uplifting words! :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wordy Walls

Second stage of my quotes wall. I've added art to the top since this photo was taken.

I have been on a mission to get my house prettified. No wall left behind, basically. Though I've been tackling my house since the first day I moved in, this last evolution has been one based more on personality and the emotion I want my home to evoke as opposed to just making it more functional. Like most projects, it has taken me way longer than I've ever thought possible, but it has also been one of the most rewarding undertakings as once the work is done it is there to make me feel happy every time I see it.

It all started when I tackled the entry stairway into my house that used to depress me every time I'd walk in or leave. You can't have that, right? Falling into an emotional downslide every time you enter or exit your home is just sad. So I tried to figure out what I'd like to say to my kids as they leave the house. The small messages of encouragement I that I hope sinks into their subconscious and gives them a bit of a boost as they transition from home into the big wide world each day. That turned into my quote stairway with walls lined with prints I made or purchased from Etsy artists and the stair risers 'tiled' with scrapbook paper tiles and highlighted with a quote.

This wall project also involves quotes. Maybe this decorating phase I've been in could be accurately named, "Read My House" or something like that. I guess I like quotes. However, when my 8 year old boy told me that his favorite quote was "May my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living" by E.E. Cummings, it was enough to make it worth it to me. The words are sinking in. 

I have a love/hate thing going on with Pinterest, don't you? First, there is the whole 'go there for inspiration only to find that you've sucked away hours on the internet and no longer have time to do a project' aspect to it. Then there are the Pinterest fails, a phenomenon that has sparked several spin-off blogs, all of which I could contribute to many times over, if I wasn't wasting so much time browsing Pinterest to have time to blog.

It was on Pinterest that I discovered a project that birthed this project. The whole thing actually started out as a Pinterest fail for me. If you clicked to see the original pin, you notice it is an art wall for the kids to hang their artwork. Well, that might work if I had different kids.

My kids see such thing as a mission to accomplish. If I give them a box and tell them it is to store their art creations, then they set out to fill that box to the very top, within that very same day if possible. They kick into high production mode and all of a sudden there is no paper left in the house. And that is exactly what happened here. Within a week my husband couldn't find one stack of paper to do his weekly paperwork and these poor clipboards were straining under inch thick paper stacks of random drawings of Pokemon and unicorns. Not that I don't ADORE my kids art. I totally do. I just don't like clutter. Or not having paper to bill people for our business so, you know, we can receive money to buy groceries. 

So, one day after the third stack of papers plummeted to the floor after the clipboard gave out, I sat down, opened photoshop, typed a few of my favorite quotes in simple fonts and printed them out on some nicer quality matte presentation paper. (The stuff I keep hidden from my little Picassos.) I actually made a few extra quotes than I had clipboards for, but that has been fun because I can change out inspiration as the mood sees fit.

My now uncluttered clipboard wall. Yay!

You can click the photo to read the quotes, but the photos aren't the best. They read as follows:

"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living" Dr. Seuss

"Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing." Leo Buscaglia

"Think. Think. Think." Winnie the Pooh

"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion." Abraham Lincoln

"Let me guess. Someone stole your sweet roll?" Skyrim Guard (video game joke)

"If music be the food of love, play on" Shakespeare

"Words are, in my not so humble opinion, the most inexhaustible source of magic." Dumbledore

"Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." Steve Jobs

"To be wise is to be eternally curious." Frederick Buechner *I've since replaced this one with another one by Buechner, "Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid."

"Put something silly in the world that ain't been there before." Shel Silverstein

"May my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living" E.E. Cummings

"Let the Wild Rumpus Start!" Maurice Sendack

I've added some art to the top of the clipboard wall now and am also working on another Pinterest inspired wall enhancement on the adjoining wall that is almost finished. So far that one is working out just swell and I can't wait to post about those results. Even incomplete the project makes me smile. No quotes on the new project, but I do use scrapbook paper and mod podge, which outside of quotes make up the other staples in my ongoing home redecorating projects.

Do you use quotes in decorating? Sometimes I think I'm using them too much. Who am I to bombard my visitors with optimistic propaganda? Ah, well. Words have always moved me and since my eyes are the ones that see this stuff the most, I guess my preference outweighs the few people that might see my wordy house as silly or trite. And it melted my heart today to have my son quote one of my favorite poets, showing me that he does in fact read the words I put out there for him to absorb.

I have a couple empty spaces yet on my walls. Favorite quotes, anyone?