Subtle Changes

The gallery wall in our office is charming enough on it’s own as it is an eclectic collection of original pieces from various artists and friends … and/or friends who are artists.  Why “Yes” that IS a needlepoint of Chris Cornell stitched in chartreuse thread.

BeforeI, however, recently stumbled across this Etsy Shop and figured why not make that gallery wall even more fabulous…which I did with the purchase of a series of ornate frames and an equally ornate clock.  Taking the fab gallery wall to nothing short of uber-fab.

After

After

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Seems So Obvious

The kitchen in our rental home is large, functional and much nicer than your average rental kitchen.  Although the landlord had clearly anticipated that the original red accent stripe might  not be agreeable to everybody and at some point had it painted black, the stark white blacksplash still lacked a little je ne sais quoi.

Before Tea Before

I just thought it needed a little upgrade – a temporary, cleanable “can be removed without a trace” upgrade.  While I originally thought wall decals would be the “go to” method for this project, I couldn’t find any available pattern (despite an extensive Etsy search) that fit my 3″ x 3″ tiles.  So, as per usual, I improvised.

Using the same method I use to create my china, I created waterslide decals and applied them in various places along the tiles.  The result is a pattern that fits my decor, and the decals can be completely removed from the tile without a trace.  They leave no residue, no sticky substance, and no discoloration. The decals could be sealed making them permanent.  I will, however, need to be cautious in not using anything abrasive to clean the tile, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will hold up to the heat behind the stovetop.

The entire project took about an hour, including creating the template, printing the tiles, cutting them out and applying them.  My boyfriend took one look and said “Huh, why did you never do that before?  Seems so obvious…”

After Stovetop

 

After Whale

After Skull

After Mango

 

Apothecary Vessels (a/k/a Not your Mother’s Decor)

French pharmacy jars date back to the early part of the 20th century and are quite expensive when you do come across them, the average price point being about $100.00.  I suspect that way back in those days of yore, people probably legitimately kept cocaine, arsenic and opium in these gorgeous apothecary vessels.

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Jonathan Adler created a similar line of “vice” jars and while I love how whimsical they are, they too come with an equally unreasonable (for my wallet) price point of around $140.00 EACH.

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Taking a page from both of these proverbial playbooks, I created my own fantabulous vice jars with a more palatable price point of about $40 for all 3 (and I didn’t even pay for them out of my wallet – they were on my Xmas wish list – knowing in the back of my head the entire time what I was going to do with them).  While they don’t house any of the items they suggest, you will find them in my bathroom housing q-tips, cotton balls and makeup sponges.

J 3 Jars

1987 Called – It Wants its Bathroom Carpet Back

We LOVE our home, but it’s a rental, and with rentals come compromises.  For example, white walls, and, often times, carpeting.  I personally cannot stand carpet.  I just KNOW dust bunnies are constantly having a keg party in a carpet.  And while our entire upstairs is wall-to-wall berber carpet, I’ll give my awesome landlord credit where credit is due…it’s high quality.  That being said, however, the berber carpeting extends into the upstairs bathroom.

As evidenced by this post, https://janellerene.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/bathroom-before-n-after/, when we first looked at this place, my immediate reaction to the upstairs bathroom was “Meh, I can live with this…”  Several years, and a refinish of the built-ins later, I was able to “live with” the carpeting in the bathroom less and less.

Our landlord, undoubtedly slightly reluctantly, gave me permission to pull up the carpet.  Actually, I’d already pulled up a corner, (praying the whole time there was some old terrazzo, or even laminate under that carpet), only to find your typical plywood subflooring under there.  I came up with a pitch, approached my landlord in a detailed email, and waited.  I knew he was going to be apprehensive, but my pitch explained that the floor would be properly water sealed, and thoroughly prepped so that he could do anything he wanted to the floor in the future, OR I would recarpet the area in the event we moved out.  He contemplated it for seemingly months.  When he finally gave me the ok, I didn’t have any time to actually execute my plan.

With the thanksgiving holiday, I finally had the gift of time to refinish the floor.  My guy was like “how do you know how to do this?!” … I responded: “the interwebs of course.”

While there are a myriad of tutorials online, I’ll spare you the details.  It took longer for the paint to dry than it did to actually complete this project.  Subtracting out those wait times, I suspect it only took me about 4 hours of actual work time.  It’s not perfect, but perfectly imperfect and we are quite pleased with the results!!

Carpeted Floor

Carpeted Floor

Carpet Removed

Carpet Removed

Tack Strips

Tack Strips Removed

Filled seams with wood filler and sanded

Filled seams with wood filler and sanded

Primed - covering water stains and sealing the floor

Primed – covering water stains and sealing the floor

Sand colored base coat applied

Sand colored base coat applied

Stencil Bitches! The detailed stencil hides a multitude of sins (i.e., the imperfections that remain in the floor)

Stencil Bitches! The detailed stencil hides a multitude of sins (i.e., the imperfections that remain in the floor)

Back to Business (so to speak)

 

This Chair is Covered in Bees … Honey Badger Don’t Care …

I found this quaint little yellow chair at a Salvation Army for $10 a few years ago. I had initially purchased it for the kids’ room and while the sunny yellow fabric was cheerful, it wasn’t in the best shape, and eventually ended up in a corner in my bedroom.  When my friend Emily told me she’d found somebody that did reasonably priced reupholstery jobs, I finally decided to have it redone.

I scored some delightful quilted bumblebee fabric for 50% off at Michael Levines in downtown LA.  I only needed 3 yards, so I couldn’t have scored a better deal at $20 per yard for this reversible fabric that was originally $40 per yard (uh yeah, I know a little math, especially when it comes to $$).  I’m beside myself at how beautiful it came out … Check out the Before and Afters below!

Sunny Yellow Chair BEFORE

Bumblebee Chair AFTER

He used the white side of the fabric for the piping and masterfully lined up all the little bees…

He even covered the buttons with individual Bees!

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Oh Fudge!

Not too long ago I had covered up an air conditioning unit with a makeshit piece of wall art (shown HERE).  While simplifying our lives recently (shown HERE), I came across the letters I earned in junior high (a “C”) and high school (an “F”).  Apparently I was athletic back then … go figure.

In my typical fashion, I just thought I would use the letters to make some snarky wall art.  Using the “lettered” letters, and 2 similar fonts I found at “Michaels” (and having to paint a Union Jack on the “u” because it seemed necessary) – this is what I came up with…

DSCN0453 DSCN0456

This of course sparked a lengthy conversation in my household about the origins of the somewhat taboo word.  Quite frankly, I think my boyfriend was concerned with how were going to justify that I’d put “Fuck” on the wall, which promptly caused me to yell across the kitchen something like “stop trying to quash my artistic expression”  and “your kids have heard the word a gazillion times”.

Turns out, there is a lot of controversy as to just where this word originated.  He was convinced it originated in merry old England standing for “Fornication Under Command of the King” (or “Consent” as some believe).  This folk lore started circulating in the early 1960’s.  It was believed that unless a person was in the Royal Family, they were not permitted to have sex and would have to seek permission from the King in the event they wanted to have a baby.  If they were granted such permission, they were given a placard that read “F.U.C.K.” to hang on their door.  My boyfriend really wanted to believe it meant this … and that by painting the “u” with a Union Jack I’d somehow said “FU” to the King and subsequently “FU” to the government and by using the striped fabric in the back, I’d somehow simulated the American Flag.  I told him I thought he was really overthinking it.  Then he reminded me of THIS

Another story suggests that in colonial times when someone was punished for prostitution it was used as an acronym for the words “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and that this actually dated back to early the 1800’s in London when officers got tired of writing out “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and reduced it to “F.U.C.K.”

Seems both these theories have been debunked over the years and the word “Fuck” isn’t an acronym at all.  Turns out it may have originated around the 15th century from the Dutch and that very little actual evidence exists because the word was so taboo it wasn’t even written down.  The first time it was believed to have appeared in print was c.1500 where it was disguised as a Latin word AND encyrpted – gxddbov – which was later deciphered to mean “fuccant”, which was faux-Latin (think Spanglish) for “they fuck”.

Meh, it’s just a word … and it’s now hanging on my wall.

Source

Simplify

With the Holidays in full swing, it’s hard to get anything done. But what happens right after the Holidays?? Downtime…sometimes really boring downtime. I don’t always know what to do with myself when I have a few days off with nowhere to be and nothing really scheduled to do. And let’s face it, sometimes the less we have to do, the less we want to do. It can result in lying around mindlessly watching Law & Order SVU marathons. But why not take advantage of all that downtime to clear out the old and get ready for the new. My boyfriend and I did just that this past Thanksgiving weekend. And I suspect before the New Year is upon us, we’ll finish what we started.

We started to clear out the clutter in our environment in an effort to clear out the clutter in our minds. I’m always happy to purge things and this is by no means the first time I’ve done it this year alone (as seen HERE).  But, when my boyfriend started following suit and embracing my philosophies about “stuff” and a simplified life, things started to get awesome around my house.

He and I discussed at great length how our house is arranged. It’s very well curated with a lot of art and books and decor, but there’s no excess anything. There are small collections of things, but not a plethora of knick knacks. For example, we only have one set of towels for us, (with only one additional set for guests) and one set of sheets for each bed. There is no abundance of anything. We’re trying (together) to get rid of absolutely any excess anything. It clears up a lot of energy. It also gets rid of the old to allow for new things to come into your life – and not necessarily new stuff, but new opportunities.

After a major upheaval in his life, my boyfriend went through a period where he had a real attachment to things. He spent the last couple of years mostly accumulating books because he felt like he needed to own some stuff. Now he’s realized that he can get books at the library or on his Kindle so he pared down his books considerably and we’ve only kept the really nice ones. I think books are wonderful, but I don’t need my house to be a library.

While he was going through his books, I went through a lifetime of photos which I reduced to a small pile which I’m having scanned and digitized. Do you have any idea how many photos you probably have of people you don’t even remember?? I also went through gigantic files of old paperwork from properties I had recently sold and we had a little bonfire and set all the old documents on fire … which was really lovely … until the fire department showed up. NOT the worst thing in the world to have 3 firemen show up at your door.

By the end of the weekend, I had cleaned out a storage closet by about 70% and we had boxed up dozens of books.

With the New Year right around the corner, why not clear your stuff out? Simplify your life a little! You’d be amazed at how much clearing the clutter can clear your mind!

Here are some simple tips:

• If you receive paper bills, shred them immediately after they are paid, but consider transferring all your accounts and paying your bills online.

• Go through your mail immediately and discard anything unwanted immediately. Don’t put it in a pile that will just accumulate more mail that you’ll have to spend an entire afternoon sorting through.

• I use an APP called “Paper Karma” – when a catalog comes in the mail, I immediately scan it to the APP and they unsubscribe me from the mailing list. Let’s face it, isn’t your phone always at arm’s length away?

• Gather up all your important paperwork – deeds, wills, insurance policies etc. and scan them all to a jump drive – that way they are separate from your computer – then put the original documents in a safe deposit box.

• Purge your closet. Let’s face it, don’t you only wear about 14 things in there anyway?

• Purge your kitchen cupboards…how many glasses do you really need?

• Go through those old boxes of pictures and either put them into albums, or digitize them.

• What’s in your garage?  It’s already out of sight out of mind … do you really NEED it?  Why not get rid of some of that nonsense!  If you do you might be surprised that you can actually park a car in there.

• And while you’re on a tear, why not clean out your Inbox – unsubscribing from unwanted emails only takes about 5 seconds more than it does to delete them. Then when you open your daily email, you’ll have considerably less junk to filter through.

• Clean out that old paperwork … but maybe consider shredding it instead of burning it … unless you want some cute firemen to show up at your door.

Thrill of the Thrift – Hookers

I found this gem at a yard sale in Miami around 2002. I paid $10 for it. Despite its name and subject matter – “Hookers” – it had a child like quality to it.  My research revealed that the artist, James Rizzi, came up with the idea of 3D multiples by creating an etching, printing it twice, hand coloring it and mounting parts of the print on top of the other.

It’s like a serigraph or a lithograph – it’s signed by the Artist and it was a limited edition with the artist producing only 300 of them.  The only one I was able to find sold for about $700.  I need to eventually re-frame it as the matte has some water damage – which I imagine contributed to why I scored it for $10.  James Rizzi passed away in 2011, leaving me to wonder how much it’s worth now?

Thrill of theThrift – Antique Wardrobe

Every few years or so Warner Bros. has a “Lot Sale” to benefit a local charity and every year that comes and goes and they don’t have one leaves me praying that next year will be the year. It’s been about 4 years since the last one. It’s full of clothing worn by celebrities, all kinds of props, lighting, and tons of furniture.  Really amazing, awesome furniture too … and all at a price point that would make Ikea shudder.

I bought this beauty back in 2007.  There was buzz around the hallways about it, and it was reasonably priced at $200.  I, however, waited until the last day when everything went to 50% off and scored this bad boy for a mere $100.00.

It’s a fabulous antique.  But it served as a prop and was painted an ICKY flat brown.  I originally purchased it thinking I’d use it for it’s intended purpose – a wardrobe – but it’s shallow inside and a regular sized hanger didn’t fit.  So I repurposed it to use as a supply closet and it now houses all my craft supplies.

Using my go-to method for furniture upcycles (seen HERE for example), I refinished the whole thing.  It didn’t have any handles on it, so I used to curtain tiebacks and created my own.  I think they give it the gothic look it deserves.

Sitting on top are the Vegas Showgirls shown HERE