Archives For pencil drawings

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.

Bathroom part two. After I got the mirror put in I waited a few weeks and then had the tile put in. The floor in there wasn’t that bad in the sense that it was all intact, but it was so ugly that I could not stand it. Here is the before:

See what a good job I did covering it up? You barely notice it, but still… I knew it was there. Initially, I told my friend that I hired to do the tile work that I would do the demolition. I thought that I could easily pull out the floor… but I over-estimated my abilities. This is how far I got:

My dog was no help. So I left it up to the professional. Apparently I wasn’t that off base because the floor was hard for him to get up too. He pulled up FOUR layers of old flooring! He stripped it down to original studs and the put cement board on top of that. Needless to say it was a big old mess, but it really needed a new sub-floor so I can’t complain. Here is the project mid-way through:

Yeah, it was a mess. But, it was all worth it because it got done and it looks beautiful!

So pretty right? I chose white hex tiles from Home Depot. I vacillated between the all white and the black and white for a long time, but finally decided that the white may be better for reselling the house. I also decided to add some more art and storage to the walls. This is an old orange crate that my grandma gave me. I set it on it’s side and added baskets for storage.

I went to a local salvage yard and found some more crates and decided to hang them on the wall. I also decided to group together all the pencil drawings I’ve collected which is a total of… three. My collection is a little young but it’ll get better. Here is the final collection which is above the toilet opposite of the medicine cabinet.

I’m very happy with the way it all turned out!

Part One: Bathroom problems. Not like that though… I just really hated the bathroom when I moved in. And since there is only one in this house I was itching to make it look better fast. Here are some before shots:

It’s actually not that bad. The toilet and pedestal sink are a classic style and they are white so I can work with those. The shower tile is okay. I like that the majority is white, but that green border annoys me and it all needs re-grouted. The medicine cabinet was disgusting. It was too small in the space and it was so rusty I could barely open it. The flooring was also pretty gross. Hunter green faux marble tiles, they were basically laminate stick on tiles… ugly. My game plan was this: add shower curtain, change out medicine cabinet, paint, and tile floors. A modest over haul. But since I couldn’t start the remodel right away I added a few things to make it passable for a nice bathroom. I bought an awesome shower curtain from West Elm, I love the bold stripe. I also added a pencil drawing from Paris and my mini make over was done until I got the mirror installed.

While I was waiting for my handyman to make time for me (another story all together) I decided to paint. I made a rash decision at Ace Hardware one day and bought a light yellow color.

uh, it was HIDEOUS. I mean seriously, it was like a highlighter exploded in there. I couldn’t stand it for even one day so the next day I went out and bought another color. This time I thought, how about a nice mint color? You’d think at this point I would have been more cautious and bought a sample but no I just went balls out and bought a whole gallon. Ugh

I really, really wanted to like this color for many reason. One, I just bought a whole gallon of it and two, I am super lazy and didn’t want to paint again, and three, it wasn’t that bad… right? WRONG. It was way too bright and just too much so I painted it for a third time. You should know by now I am super ashamed of how rashly I acted so many times in a row, but alas that is my personality. I decided to go back to what is was originally… a soft cream. I actually had a gallon on hand from another project so thankfully I didn’t have to buy a third gallon. For now it looks good. It is a soft color that is slightly warmer than the stark white trim. Perhaps some day I’ll try again but for now I’m happy with it.

My next project was the mirror. I am a Craigslist junkie so when I came across this Kohler medicine cabinet new in the box for $115 I knew it was for me. I negotiated it down to $100 and then hired a friend to help me put it in.

Unfortunately, I didn’t properly measure before buying (a common problem for me) so my friend had a lot more work to do before it could be installed. After pulling out the old medicine cabinet he had to make some major cuts to make it fit. Because of the sizing problem he had to improvise by building a frame around the mirror. Here it is before I painted it.

And here it is after two coats of white paint.

I actually like it better with the frame around the mirror, it adds another layer of texture. I am so happy with this upgrade!

I’ll come back tomorrow with the second half of the bathroom remodel.