Entries in DIY (4)


DIY Varsity Letter Art

The book I've been collaborating on over the past few months has to do, in part, with flea markets and home design. And that means I spent much of my summertime browsing the aisles and bins of fleas in the tri-state area. (It's been heavenly.)

Seeing as how I live in 475 square feet of space, however, I am not able to take advantage of most of the deals I come across; there simply is no extra room. Except apparently when it comes to art. If the stash I've been accumulating lately is any indicator, I have no problem with the idea of purchasing something I can later frame and hang -- like this varsity letter I unearthed at the Golden Nugget in Buck's County, PA, while visiting my friend Danny (himself a flea expert).

I've been collecting A's for around 15 years at this point, so am a bit overloaded on the letter, to be honest. But this little treasure was one of a kind and only $1. It reminded me of pennants I'd seen framed at the Boat House in Lambertville, NJ. Plus, I liked that it has a history: it's probably from an old-timey letterman jacket worn by some jock with a greasy pompadour and a comb in his back pocket. (Or whatever. Just let me dream my Danny Zuko dream, okay?)

Danny (Seo, not Zuko) (although I am pretty sure Seo could rock a pompadour much better, if he wanted) advised that I put it in the freezer overnight, just in case its fabric contained dust mites. When I was in the clear (whew!) (and gross!), I mounted it on a piece of $1 hot-pink felt. I cut the felt to the size of a $10 Ikea Ribba frame, and then used similar colored thread to sew the letter to the felt. To keep it stabilized, I also stitched the felt to the frame's paperboard mat.

For a grand total of 12 whole dollars, I now have a new letter for my collection that sits and cheers me on at my desk. (I need all the help I can get, really.) Cute, right?

Oh! And P.S. This where I insert a "tell me about it, stud" joke. You're welcome. xo


Smart Ways to Wake Up the Wall 

Don't you dig it when someone hangs up something that isn't just a painting or a print?

Check out a few pieces that have inspired me recently. These top two photos are from the Boat House bar that I mentioned last week (old pennants and badges in frames--always a fan). The third pic of lace in a glass frame is from my boy Danny Seo's cottage (would be amazing to frame my great-great-grandmother's lace like this--Mom, take note!). And lastly, the necklace of hotel soaps is another Seo stroke of genius (it's also featured his new book Upcycling). It was hanging in the guest bathroom in his main house. Is there anything cuter?


Three Coats of "Yellow Rain Coat" and Counting

I've been a little MIA for the past couple of days because of the below wooden stool and a paint color called "Yellow Rain Coat." (I mean, leave it to a piece of furniture and a cleverly written name to keep me overly occupied.)

I wrote about this project a few weeks back, when I was debating what color to paint my collection of letter As. And while I'm still battling THAT whole issue, I have really been noticing how tired I am of this boring old dark-stained Pottery Barn stool collecting dust in my bathroom. So, while snooping around my neighborhood hardware store over the weekend for some new light bulbs, I stumbled upon Benjamin Moore's color samples. And oh, the rainbow goodness!

I had recently received a great tip on Twitter (thanks, @Sophiedow) that these mini pots are a perfect for use in smaller paint projects like mine. So after eyeballing the yellow section (I was originally intending to use a tasteful canary yellow), I came upon "Yellow Rain Coat." And then it was on.

Now, I am lots of things. But I am not terribly crafty. So I just bought the items I thought I'd need for this project: two paint samples, a spongy paintbrush thingy, and also a sandpaper thingy. (Because wasn't I supposed to do that?)

(Well, it doesn't matter or not, because I did.)

And then I starting painting. And also remembering: Aren't you supposed to prime things before you paint them, particularly if they're dark to begin with, and you'd like them to be lighter?

Ahhh yes. And that's probably why there are dark spots immediately showing through the Yellow Rain Coat.

Here's the old girl after one coat. Dark spots and all.

Three coats later, she's shaping up nicely. There's still a few dark places I'd like to cover, so it looks like she'll be gettin' one more coat tonight. And for the record, it's been a fun being temporarily crafty. But I won't lie: I am still undecided whether this freshened-up piece of my apartment is looks chic, or if it just looks like it belongs in the designated children's area of a McDonald's restaurant. (French fries, anyone?)

How PowerPoint made my home pretty

If I could have the pleasure of drafting a memo to the men and women who designed and built my apartment, I would say this: "Nice job on the flooring. Appreciate the spacious-ish bathroom. Enjoying the nook next to the closet. But for the love of all things holy, why oh why would you ever place the phone for the front desk almost smack-dab in the middle of a nicely sized wall that is just asking--ney, PLEADING--to be adorned with with beautiful pieces of art?"

This issue has plagued me for several years. And to be honest, I've just let it sit there and mock me, naked and white--unused, underutilized, and boring the heck out of me. So recently, when 20x200.com (one of my favorite art sites) had a sale, I decided to stick it to my big white wall (er, literally AND figuratively).

I purchased three pieces that I thought would go together nicely as a color series: "Squeeze" by Gary Petersen, "Curvilinear Time" by Jessica Snow, and "Shill" by David Corbett (as you may recall, I gushed over David Corbett in an earlier post). [Sidenote: At one point, I thought it would be funny to do a series on telephones. But then, I realized that I just didn't want to own several art prints of random phones. So that was out, and color was in. And color always wins.]

True my somewhat OCD-ness, I then got to work trying to decide how to hang those suckers around the annoying phone. And how did I do that? Digital photography + PowerPoint.

The above are some shots of my computer screen. I took photos of my white wall as well as individual shots of the framed pieces of art. I then inserted all the photos into PowerPoint slides, making the wall photo large and in the background, and re-sizing the framed art to how they'd fit on that wall in real life. And then I just played around.

I came up with several different ways to hang the pictures together as a series, and I am so glad I did. I originally thought I'd just hang them side by side in a long, horizontal line, with the phone acting as part of the series. But playing around with the photos on my computer showed me a better solution. Here's the final result:

I picked this option in the end because it's interesting, a little unexpected, a bit off-center, and, if you could see my whole studio, it helps reinforce where the kitchen ends and the living room begins (always nice in a small space). I also like how it looks like it's trying to sneak a peek around the corner at the bookshelves.

What do you think? And how would you have dealt with the giant white wall?