Archives For art

Thanks for the Support

September 26, 2012 — 4 Comments

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called ‘Pets as Interior Designers,’ a sort of tongue in cheek look at all the cool pet related design items for the home. One of the shops I featured was Diesel & Juice. This Etsy shop is adorable. Seriously, adorable. Well, to my surprise and delight the owner of the shop, Michele, found my post and commented on it*. In my post I had I mentioned that I loved her custom dog portraits but they were out of my price range so she kindly added a new option for a more ‘budget-friendly’ custom portrait. Isn’t that awesome?!


These amazing custom pet portraits are only $60 which is perfectly affordable. So this is just a public ‘thank you’ to Michele from Diesel & Juice for reading this blog and for responding so kindly. I hope you guys go visit her shop and buy something because it’s all so cool.

*This is the coolest thing that has happened to my blog so far!

Buy Art

August 29, 2012 — 3 Comments

I did a post about Etsy, but there are so many more great places to buy art online. Here are a few of my favorite places to buy art.


Animal Locomotion: Plate 733 (Elephant) by Eadweard Muybridge

Apres Grande 12 by Christian Chaize

I love 20×200. I haven’t actually bought anything from here but I do hope to some day. The best part about this place is that you can get most of these prints for $24! They have a huge selection that rotates a lot. It’s good to check this site often because the $24 prints sell out quickly.

Canvas & Canvas



Canvas & Canvas is a shop whose goal is to “rescue the world from sad walls.” Such a fun goal, right? The prints sold here are around $160, but they are on stretched canvas and they are 2’x2′ so it’s a pretty good price for such unique art (they are usually a limited edition print with about 100 in circulation).

L’Affiche Moderne

N.5 from the BALLET series by A. Borisov Studio

I love stripes 2 by Van den Heuvel Daphne

L’Affiche Moderne is a European company that ships world wide. The prices are listed in Euros but a smaller print from here will run you about $50. Not bad for cool art, especially since you can say, “Oh yes, that ol’ thing is from Europe.” You’ll sound super pretentious and people will want to be you.

Little Paper Planes

Bird in Flight Large Format Print by HANDSworkshop

Matthew Walkerdine Print 3 by Matthew Walkerdine

Little Paper Planes has a huge selection of prints under $25, under $50, and under $100. I love it when shops give you the choice of looking in your price range. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a piece only to find out it is $400. These two prints are $25 and $35 respectively.

Bold & Noble

New York City Type Map in Sheer Slate

Trees around Britain in Yellow Moss

Bold & Noble is an English company that sells typographic art. I love all the maps made of the city names. The prices are listed in pounds but these prints here will run you around $68. That’s not cheap but these are pretty big prints around 2’x2.5′.

Happy art shopping!

I love a good gallery wall. If I had to describe my style it would be ‘eclectic vintage with a side of gallery walls.’ In my fantasy land my walls are covered floor to ceiling with art and photos and other beautiful things. What I love about them so much is that when people come over to your home they can almost instantly get a sense of who you are as a person.

In my opinion there are two kinds of gallery walls. Matching and uniform and eclectic and mismatched. Both have their merits so lets take a look at them both.

1) Matching and uniform.



This type of gallery wall is definitely more popular in homes across America. They are very pleasing to the eye and they are easier to accomplish in your own home. I love this look when all the images in the frames are related images like black and white photos of the same city or all portraits or something like that. The problem with these types of gallery walls is that it can be expensive to buy that many frames that match. My tip to getting this look is getting frames from garage sales or thrift shops and then spray painting them in a uniform color like all black or all white. An easy way to create a template for a gallery wall like this is to use painter’s tape and computer paper to test out the placement of your frames. Oh, and always use a level.

2) Eclectic and mismatched.



As I am sure you can guess this is my favorite type of gallery wall. I love the mismatched look of these walls, it’s as though they have been collected and cultivated over years of travel and experiences. The best thing about creating these kinds of walls is that there are no rules. You can uses whatever frames you want, whatever art you want, and you can go rouge and do unframed items. The daunting thing about this type of gallery wall is the fear that it won’t look the right kind of ‘mismatched.’ Well my advice is this: Do whatever you want. It’s your house! If you have thirteen black frames, five white ones, and two natural wood frames… use them all, mix it all together and do it with confidence. If that is hard for you I’ll try and give you a few tips from my own gallery walls.

Here is my process for creating gallery walls:

1) Choose your wall. It can be a large main wall, a smaller section of wall, or a hallway. Once you find your wall get a good idea of the size of it (4’x6′, 2’x5′, etc) so you can plan your frames accordingly. I like to lay my frames out on the floor before I hang them so I can move them around until I find the perfect lay out.

2) Consider the surroundings. What color are the walls? What furniture will be near this wall? What is the overall feeling of this room? Will people be walking past or sitting under this gallery? Are you looking to showcase family photos or your map collection? Once you answer these questions you will have a better idea of what type of gallery suites your room best.

3) Use what you have. If you want a perfectly uniform gallery wall you may have to make some purchases but if you go for a more free form look you can easily pool together what you already have and make it work. Gather the frames you have and start playing with arrangements. Don’t worry if the frames aren’t filled with the perfect pictures yet you can work on that later (in fact, tomorrow I’m going to post on what to put in all those frames).

4) Push yourself. This may seem like a weird step for gallery walls but this is something I really try to do myself. Yes, perfectly matching frames with perfect family photos in black and white looks amazing but an important part of designing your own home is accepting imperfection. Don’t second guess yourself. If you like something go for it. Maybe you’ve never seen black and white frames mixed together but that doesn’t mean it won’t look good.

5) Go with the flow. Probably the best thing about gallery walls is that they are fluid. I have rearranged, added, and subtracted items on my gallery walls several times. Some changes are simple like exchanging one photograph for another or spray painting a frame, other changes are more complex. A couple of months ago I bought a larger piece of art and decided to add it to my dining room gallery wall so I took down two smaller items and added the new large piece in their place.

The first image is from about a month after I moved in and the second is just a few days ago. You can see the difference between the two. Is started out smaller and over the past few months I got a little bolder and when all the way to the ceiling. Tomorrow I’ll be back with my tips on what to fill all those frames with.

Etsy Love

August 13, 2012 — Leave a comment

I’m kind of over Etsy… okay maybe ‘over it’ is a little strong, but my love affair is definitely in the ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you’ stage. Four years ago when I got my very first job my co-worker introduced me to the website. She was planning her and wedding was buying a lot of stuff off of it. I like to consider myself crafty and at the time Etsy was mainly just home crafters so I opened my own shop. I sold notecards that I made. I sold a few but after about a year (and very little updating on my part) I shut down my shop. Since then I have enjoyed looking at all the shops, buying a few things for myself, and buying a few things as gifts. So why am I over Etsy you ask? My main beef with Etsy is this: shipping costs. I hate when I see a super cute item that is reasonably priced and then I see the shipping cost is as much, if not more than the item itself. Mostly this is because Etsy is global so you can see a cool piece and then find out it is made in New Zealand and it will take three weeks to ship. Boo. So my Etsy rule is this: buy only paper items or jewelry. Why those two items? Because they are lightweight and shipping costs are much lower. I still do enjoy looking on Etsy I just don’t expect to buy anything… it’s more of a ‘window shopping’ website for me now. In the four years I’ve known about Etsy I’ve purchase nine items and favorited over 400 items. So yeah, I’m definitely more of an Etsy browser not buyer. But here are a few of the things around my house that I purchased from Etsy.

This is the first thing I ever purchased on Etsy. I don’t know what it is that drew me to this print but I really liked it. It cost $25 (plus $3 shipping). Looking back I am surprised I paid that much for it, thankfully I still like it. I put it in a Ribba frame from IKEA. In this picture the wood is blond but since this picture I’ve painted the frame white. This print was purchased from 1canoe2.

If you’ve ever been on Etsy you’ve seen these prints on book pages. They are very popular and the many shops that sell them have hundreds upon hundreds of images to choose from. Sometimes I think too hard about things and think that these images are too trendy or the trend has passed, but then I remind myself that my house is my house and I can do whatever I like. I happen to still like these images so that is my response to ‘that trend is over.’ These are also in the wonderful Ribba frame from IKEA. These prints were purchased from EncorePrints and cost a total of $32.75

My most recent purchase on Etsy was a set of five prints to go over my bed. I really like the little birds. I bought them from the Australian shop Matou en Peluche. This purchase perfectly exemplifies my Etsy rule… even though these prints came all the way from Australia the shipping was only $3.00 because it was such a light package. I bought them on special, five for $25 so I paid $28 total. They are in clearance frames from Michael’s that I gold leafed (I hope to share that project with you some time soon). The shop no longer sells the fifth print that is why there are only four close ups. So those are my meager thoughts and purchases on Etsy. Some day I would like to to do a whole post on some of my favorite shops on Etsy because I’m really good at favoriting things 🙂

Go Art Yourself: Updated

August 11, 2012 — 6 Comments

In this post I attempted a DIY abstract painting with lettering. It turned out… eh. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t good either. I’d lived with it on my wall for about six days when I decided I just couldn’t take it. The colors weren’t right for the space and it was such a large piece I knew it would bother me forever. As I was looking through the post I was really inspired by this picture:

I remember thinking when I was at this stage that I really liked it, but at that point I was all ready to paint so it was a fleeting thought. What I like about this is how graphic and bold it is yet so simple. So I took the canvas off the wall and got myself set up to paint…again. I started off by putting the vinyl stickers back on. I didn’t have enough so I cut it up other letters to fit what I needed. It didn’t have to be perfect because my plan was to paint over the whole canvas in white, peel the stickers off, and fill in the letters with black paint.

Once the stickers were all on I had to decided which paint to use. Because I am the ‘Worst Artist Ever’ I decided to use interior house paint again. I used ‘Ballet White’ from Behr. It is the same color I used in the bathroom. I used a large brush and painted the whole canvas white.

This picture is after I did a second coat. I had to do a second coat because the first coat re-wet the paint of the original painting and it got mixed in with the white. I don’t mind a little color coming through but it was quite a lot so I decided to do the second coat. By now this canvas has 274 coats of paint and starting to look like I plaster of Paris-ed it. I’m loving the look. After I let it dry a couple of hours I pulled off the stickers and started outlining and filling in the letters. Because there were so many coats of paint it created a sort of natural outline for me to paint around.

This piece of art has really become a many hour project but I’m VERY happy with this version. I’ve had it up for a day and I haven’t once thought that I want to change it… good sign!

What I like about this version is that it brings the black and white of the rug over to that wall. It looks good with the Union Jack dresser and it has more texture to it than if I had just painted it white from the beginning. But seriously… I’m done painting for a while.

A Traveling Collection

August 8, 2012 — 1 Comment

I love to travel. I mean who doesn’t right? Experiencing new places is amazing. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to go shopping. Growing up I was guilty of buying some crazy touristy things like t-shirts, shot glasses (I thought they were just tiny glass cups), and snow globes, but as I grew up my tastes matured. For the past 10 years or so I have really tried to buy cool stuff that is useful. That may sound obvious but it’s not always easy to find beautiful and functional things that also represent where you traveled. In my next post I am going to show some of the odds and ends I’ve gotten on my travels but this post is solely about my “collection.” Do you have a collection? I never was much of a collector. Sure I bought a lot of CDs (before digital music) and DVDs (before digital movies) and books (before digital books…hmm, trend?) but not really much else. Some people collect certain things when they vacation. My mom always buys a magnet from where she travels and my youngest brother always get a t-shirt, but I never really got into just one thing. That is until I went London in 2008. While I was there shopping in Covent Garden I found a beautiful pencil drawing of London Bridge.

This started my love affair with pencil drawings. How mean seriously, how cool is this drawing? I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it but I think it was around 30 pounds (can’t figure out how to add that symbol), so about $60. It was expensive but it came framed and matted so I thought it was worth it. The next week when I was in Paris I happened across a street artist who was selling pencil drawings and I thought… This is it! This is the collection I want to start. So I bought an awesome pencil drawing of Paris for only $20! The artist was very kind and took American dollars because I was out of Euros. It is a pretty large picture and did not come framed but I put it in a floating frame when I got back.

My collection only consisted of those two drawings for a couple of years until I went to New Orleans for a conference in February. I was walking around Jackson Square where all the artists showcase their work and I saw a guy who did pen drawings. Not exactly a pencil drawing but pretty stinkin’ close. I chose a small 5×7 drawing of a mansion in the French Quarter. I like it because it really evokes the feel of that area with the iron work and hanging plants.

I think this drawing was about $20 or $25. I’ve collected all my drawings into one space, the bathroom. Maybe it’s a weird place to assemble a collection but I think they look good in there with the gray and white/off-white tones.

I’ve been “collecting” for the last four years and I only have three pieces to show for it but it’s not for lack of trying. Most recently I was in Mexico and I was really excited to find another piece for my collection… but no such luck. I looked all over for a pencil or pen drawing (I was really hoping for one of the Mayan ruins) but I found nothing. I did buy two things which I’ll share tomorrow. My collection may still be in the beginning stages but I have the rest of my life to travel to new places and find cool drawings.

Go Art Yourself

August 7, 2012 — Leave a comment

DIY art is all the rage these days. Blogs started the trend and Pinterest popularizes everything so no self-respecting crafter/creative person hasn’t tried to make their own art. I have tried my hand at painting but never successfully so why do I keep trying? The answer is simple, I have no idea, but here again. This time I did try and prepare myself a little more. Here are my two big inspirations for this art project. 1) Jordan at Oh Happy Day! and her post on DIY abstract art. (

I mean, hello?! Amazing. But her husband is an artist so that’s kind of cheating, right? At least that is what I tell myself. 2) A Beautiful Mess did a cool thing by putting vinyl stickers on top of a cheap painting and painting over it so when the stickers are pulled of the picture shows through. Such a great idea: (

These two inspirations have been floating around in my head for a while when one day… BOOM… they collided. I decided to do a quote with an abstract painting around it. Brilliant. I like to think it’s an original idea but nothing is original any more. The quote I chose is by J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Such a great quote. I went to Michael’s and with a 40% off coupon I got a huge canvas. Not sure of the exact dimensions but it’s about 2.5′ x 3′ and it cost (with the coupon) about $25. At this point I’m in deep. I’ve bought a huge canvas and all the cooresponding materials (vinyl letters and paint) so this painting better be good. No pressure. I started by using painter’s tape to make a straight line across the canvas. I played around with the letters some to decide what words I wanted where. And then I carefully applied them.

I was worried about the letters being straight and the words being spelled correctly but little did I know this was the easiest part. Next I had to actually make it look good.

After removing all the painter’s tape I went over all the letters with my fingers just make sure there were no bubbles where paint could seep in. On Jordan’s blog she suggests ‘toning’ the canvas first which means to coat the whole thing in a sort of base coat. I used yellow, white and little black to make a grey shade.

After the whole canvas was toned I start color blocking.

I know what you are thinking, “this girl’s crazy, that painting is hideous.” Yeah, well we all can’t be “phenomenal” artists like Luca on HGTV’s Design Star. The next 27 layers of paint were basically white and really washed out shades of the existing colors. I layered and layered and layered until my eyes went blurry and I had to go to bed. Here are few of the stages:

When I’d finally had enough I took off the stickers and leaned it against the wall where I want it to go, just to test it out. I decided to sleep on it because I wasn’t sure.

The good news is that the stickers really held up under all the paint. I like that there is just a tiny bit of leakage around the edges. It looks very cool.

As strange as it sounds I thought about this painting all day at work and when I got home I decided I wasn’t done with it yet. It needed more white. Here’s where I make a horrible confession. The worst possible offense for an artist to make. Actually I don’t know what the worst possible offense an artist can commit but this has to be up there, I mixed water colors, acrylics, and worst of all… interior house paint! Yeah, I know, totally bananas. I started out with just watercolors but I misjudged how much paint I would need to cover such a large canvas so I started to mix in acrylics. But then I ran out of white in both and I really needed more white and I am super lazy so I used off-white wall paint. Insane. But it actually kind of worked… that is until my 57th layer where it started to get really globby in places. Then I did another really terrible thing, I started wiping sections of it off with paper towel. When will the madness end?

This is a particularly bad section. Artist of the year, right here. Finally, I’d had enough and my poor canvas was sagging in the middle from too much paint and I was sweaty and grumpy and well, it is what it is:

Is this the best painting in the world? That’s a stupid question. Of course, not. But I think I might like it. So cheers to a semi-but-not-complete DIY art failure!