Art Vs. Clutter

Perhaps Spring cleaning has gotten into me, but I want to declutter.  Nothing is safe.  I’ve looked around and realized I accumulate a lot of stuff. Of course, I like it when I buy it.  Then it serves a purpose, I get bored, and change things up.  I went on a house wide rampage, putting everything I didn’t like, have a use for, or questioned keeping in a box.  The basement is now a hoarders paradise or the makings of a garage sale.


I’ve found this allows me to really focus on the stuff I do like and not feel buried by or in things.  While I love cute little things and art, they often group together to look like junk.  So I’m making myself a promise not to buy things I don’t absolutely love or need.  Including, but not limited to decorative accessories, pillows, art, and kitchen ware.  Now I can focus on the things I do love.  Like these map art pieces.  They’ve floated around here, but I like them stacked together in this nook best.


Eventually, we plan to add benches beneath the window to make a long, wall to wall seat.


I’m not sure why, but I love how it feels to have art closer to the floor.  It feels cozier.  The fig covers part of the lower, but it’s just a nice layerd effect.


On the sides of the entertainment center, I’d love to create large art on these two foot by three foot canvases.


Neutrals, but light enough to balance the dark cabinetry.


For another simple art piece, I’ve found the perfect spot for this rusted saw.


My father in law gave it to us.  He’s had it for 30 plus years, since he found it in the garage of the first house he bought.  It’s meant to be a two person saw; the handle on the bottom is completely missing along with the wood for the top piece.  I’d love to make a stand for it to rest in to set on the shelf above the television.  Something simple like the driftwood pedestal.


Of course, this will be much heavier to prevent tipping.  It’ll be a nice swap from the art and accessories I’ve had up there.  One more rustic thing for the house, too.  FIL is happy about this change.

Don’t Have a Cow

I may or may not have gone off the deep end with this one.  Increasingly, I’ve found myself drawn to far more rustic pieces and elements than I have been in the past.  Giant Longhorns, natural textures and wood tones, even manly pillows.  Yes, that’s almost an oxymoron.  Heck, I’ve even got a rusted saw I’m trying to find a home for.  So it kind of makes sense this happened:


Done gone and framed a cute little cow.  Then said that in my most Montana voice.

It all started when the boys and I went to Handy Sammy’s work on Easter to help feed the animals.  He had us a ‘baby animals.’  What can I say, I’m a sucker for anything tiny.  This cute little calf, Button, had the three of us cooing.  Using my phone, I snapped a few photos of her and then we went home.  Both boys asked to see the pictures several times that night, which got me thinking.  This photo was so cute, why not get it blown up and framed?

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I mean, how can you resist that little face?  And the speckled nose?!  Gah, too stinking cute.  I emailed the photo to myself and opened it in Photoshop to resize and set to black and white.  While out running errands, I stopped in FedEx Office to have a large format printed for $2.50.


Back at home, I took out a frame (the glass broke when we moved) and used double-sided tape to stick this to the back of the foam.  Originally, I intended for it to hang at the bottom of the stairs near the garage door.


On a whim, I set it on the entry console.  And I’m surprised by how happy it makes everyone to be greeted by a cute little critter.


Everyone in the house, Ben, the boys, and Handy Sammy, got a kick out of it and smiled.  Mission accomplished.  I know I just hung my Painting Well landscape, but this is a happy little change.


So what do you think?  Leave it at the entry, or put it at the bottom of the stairs?


Would you like an adorable little face watching you come and go?  It seems to lighten the mood and turn frowns upside down.

Keeping It Simple

I have a tendency to over complicate my life and the things in it.  I’m slightly OCD and a perfectionist by nature, so laundry must be folded just so.  The dishwasher loaded the correct way.  And I don’t do well with messes.  Of course none of these things really matter, I understand that.  Trying to get the crazy side of me to recognize it however, is a different story.  Another area I’m trying to simplify is my decor.  Too often, I feel the more, the better.  Look at the old entry for instance:


Statement-type mirror, frames, necessities (the light, key tray and bench), and knickknacks.  Wiping the slate clean after the tongue and groove wall really made me realize how nice the simplicity is.  I propped a black mirror up, but didn’t like the added visual weight.  And the reflection looked cluttered.


Instead, I replaced it with a white frame, large white mat, and a sweet little painting from Painting Well.


Balanced by the large expanse of white, the small rectangle of cheery colors don’t over power the space.



Nor does it compete with the horns.


Keeping the art lower to the console means the art ‘interacts’ more with that scene than the higher horns.


As for the console decor, we’ve got the basics.  The small bench for putting on or taking off shoes.  A lamp to leave on at night, the mitten/hat drying rack, a key tray, and small bowl of stamps.  More than enough room to set things like mail or sunglasses, but they’re not permanent.

Put it on a Pedestal

Sometimes, putting a completely ordinary item on a pedestal transforms it into a sculpture.  A shell, log slice, or in this case, a piece of driftwood.


I’ve had a love affair with driftwood for a while now.  This fall, I collected several pieces from my father-in-law’s ranch to make something.  I drilled several tea light holes in this large piece to create a centerpiece.  Usually it stays on the patio table, but I brought it in to take this picture.


After seeing Dr. Vogel’s giant sculpture, I really wish I hadn’t drilled the candle holes in that piece.


It could have looked really neat as a similar large sculpture.  Instead, I used a smaller piece from my collection along with a 1/4 inch oak dowel and a scrap of 2 by 4.


After sanding the board, I measured 2 inches from each end and center on the wood before drilling holes.  Then, I set the driftwood on the board and made marks to line up with the holes.  With the holes drilled, I put the dowel in and made a mark where I wanted each cut.


Wood glue securely holds the dowels in the holes, and then I painted the base white.  A little more glue in the driftwood and I’ve got a sweet little sculpture.


It’s interesting and different from all angles, which is really fun.


I thought it would stay in the guest room, but I really like it on the shelf above the bar.


It’s a reminder of a fun day spent with our family.  And adds a lighter object to break up the books and picture frames.


I’d love to find another large piece to make an oversized sculpture.  Not sure where it’d go right now, but I’d find a place.  For items you can’t or don’t want to drill into, epoxy would work well, too.  Just be sure your base is heavier than your display item so it won’t tip.  Do you have anything on a similar pedestal?  What do you think of this easy way to display simple items?

Quick Paints

Between finishing up the bathroom remodel and plotting our next project, I haven’t had much energy for little projects.  So what I have made recently is quick and no frills.  I’m talking about you, plant stand and copper vase.  My two most recent home additions aren’t any more difficult.  Quite opposite, actually requiring only paint and a gold paint pen.  Last summer, we found several cheapo plastic planters in the attic.  I wrapped one for my cabbage plant.


Around Christmas, I bought a little Norfolk Pine from Home Depot.  I’m happy to report it’s still going strong and needed a larger pot.  So I cut off the rolled rim, spray painted it flat white, and made a loose herringbone pattern with a gold oil Sharpie.


With dreary winter, I’m so happy to have live green plants in the house.  This one lives at the top of the stairs.


Right next to my newly thrifted chrome and black vinyl sling chair.  I wasn’t going to get it, but it was only $7 and 25% off.  The entry closet is only a few steps away, so this is a natural place to sit to put on or take off shoes.  And the lightweight frame and slim size is perfect for the area.


Ben has enough black or cream leather to give this a makeover.  Cream looks to light, and the black won’t look different.  Perhaps black woven strips?  What would you do?  The vinyl is in great shape, so it doesn’t need anything…


Ignore the baseboard-less, patchy walls, and unfinished toe kick.  That will happen, eventually.

While cooped up in the house, the boys and I have painted.  Our entry is unfinished and boring, remember this?  After discussing hooks, we decided they’d just add clutter to this small entry.  But a painting is simple:


Something to fill some wall space, but it’s an awkward wall to work with.


The stairs angle up, making a small sliver at the top.   In the not too distant future, the entry will probably get a makeover (new front door, tile, wall treatment, and new paint).


Another case of, “I’ll live with it until we get around to a full makeover.”