Making a Mini Gallery of Art

It took me forever to write this post, not because it’s so complicated but because I haveno idea what this thing is called! Wall art? Art collage? I don’t know. Does it even have a name…?

UPDATE: Recent musings of the internet indicate that this might be called a Gallery.

Anywho, Tim and I have wanted to put something above our radio for a while. It used to look like this which was fine, but it just didn’t feel balanced with the mantle or anything else in the room really. Just a little bare… Tim came up with the idea of putting a bunch of pictures together. Something like this by the incredible Emily Henderson, but smaller:

I was totally on board, but it took a surprisingly long time to get the artwork together. Here’s our version with a closeup!!

Here’s the breakdown of stuff…

  • The postcards are from an antique store in Salem, MA - $2 to $4 each
  • The key art was from the same store - $25 (it’s a little more than I wanted to spend, but I priced out making my own and this was actually a good deal. Keys were $2-$3 each, plus burlap, a frame, and taking the time to do it)
  • The silhouettes are from an antique store in upstate NY - $15 for the pair
  • The metal bird was from a design store in Encinitas, CA - about $6 (can’t remember exactly)

I wish I remembered all of the store names, but it’s been a while. I’ll try to do better next time :)

Either way, it’s a great little addition to our living room. I’m really excited to keep collecting more wall art. Happy-sadly Tim and I will be moving in a month into a new apartment in San Diego, CA. We can’t paint the walls there, so I’m sure we’re going to use a lot of wall art. More wall-art-collections-collages-combinationsofpicturestogethers.

Sigh… if you know what it’s called let me know!


Pretty Small Things: decorations and an ottoman

I had a fabulous time antiquing with Kait Moreno today! We went to the Cambridge Antique Market - a five story, vendor based, store. It’s really fabulous and you should go (but please leave some of the cute things for my next trip).

Here are the spoils :)
  1. Bentwood Bird - $7
  2. “The Boll Worm” print - $8
  3. Small brown ottoman - $6 (actually from a little yard sale down the street, but I wanted to go in order of the pictures…)
  4. “Room In Use” sign - $19.50 (marked down 70% from $65 woo!)

I almost bought these really cute metal birds, but they’re $37 and I just can’t get myself to do it.  Also, I was on the lookout to find a painting to do this project, but couldn’t find the perfect one:

Maybe next time :)


The Perfect End Table

As I mentioned in a past blog, I’ve been looking for perfect end tables for my living room for fooreeevur (pronounced like this from the Sandlot). Well, Tim and I finally broke down and shelled out the cash for this end table from West Elm that I love love leurve.  
Since both of the chairs there are low and from very different styles, we needed an end table that would be the right scale and neutral enough to fit in without competing stylistically. I can’t tell you how perfectly this end table fits the bill. Well, I guess you can just see in the picture!

I styled the stump with a metal donkey my Dad got me from Mexico, some similarly colored books, and a small jar with a twig. The jar was from a garage sale and the twig is from my back yard. It’s simple but makes us very very happy.

Bonus: Tim and I are moving in September. This is very sad, because this is the best apartment ever, but such a neutral and timeless end table will look good in almost any room. A great design investment :)


Pretty Things Need a Place

I’m definitely an avid lover of small pretty things. I love a combination of vintage, whimsical, industrial, mid-century, who knows what else. With a rather large and evolving collection of pretty objects (don’t you dare call them knickknacks!! Chotchkies?! I’ll never forgive you) I’ve had a lot of fun arranging them in pretty combinations. Here’s my latest attempt to “style” the two bookcases that flank the little sitting area in my living room.

Here are some things I try to keep in mind when I’m arranging:
  • Evenly space color: For example I have two green vases and a green model car. I made sure they are spread out, so it wasn’t like “oh hey, look there how you used that green a lot.” Instead it’s more of “wow, these objects are random, but it all works. It doesn’t seem planned… how did you make it so cohesive!?”
  • Evenly space and mix finishes: I was really conscious of the finishes I had and made sure to mix them up. For example I have two small bugs: a mercury glass grasshopper and a brass ant. I could have put the brass ant next to brass hourglass I have, but that would have been a lot of brass all together. Instead, I spread it out.
  • Rule of threes! I’m sure you’ve heard of this and it is SO HANDY! Now, I think the trick is, three doesn’t mean three objects. It can be more like three heights or three weights. Take the right bookshelf: The top cubby has three items, period. BUT the second cubby has 10 objects (technically). If you count the books and the jar with balls as one thing each it has 4, which still isn’t 3…  BUT, since the large jar/balls is stacked on top of the books and they’re all in the same-ish color scheme it becomes like one bigger object to your eye. Then the hourglass and the grasshopper pop off of it. So, the rule of threes still kind of applies. Hey, you gotta embrace the rules to break them right?
  • Height and weight: This one was trickier for me. Height is height right? But weight? Visual weight?  Whaaaaa….?  Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to…
  1. Color: Neutrals and colors with low contrast are lightweight. Colors that are bright or have high contrast have more visual weight.
  2. Sheen: This one is a bit of a mix for me. Shiny objects look and feel more lightweight, but they also draw your eye in certain contexts. So for this one, I think this is a case by case thing. Most of the time, they’re visually light.
  3. Transparancy:  A really simple one. The more transparent something is, the less visual weight it takes up. Glass jar - very light.  Block of (dark) wood - very heavy.
  4. Size:  This is pretty simple too, if something is tall and wide, it takes up more visual weight. Tall and thin is less. Short and thin is even less. So my brass ant, doesn’t take up a lot of visual weight at all. The big basket behind it takes up a lot more weight.
SO, let’s take a case study in visual weight.  My lightbulb jar and my owl lamp.
  • Color: The Jar has a little color on the top, but it’s not very bright. The owl is dark and has a pop of orange.
  • Sheen: Neither are particularly shiny…. 
  • Transparency: The Jar is 99% transparent. The owl is opaque.  
  • Size:  They’re basically the same size in both height and width. 
The Owl is definitely more visually heavy by color and transparency. Thus, if you put them next to each other (which I wouldn’t suggest because you want to vary your heights) the owl draws your eye and will act as more of a visual center. At least… this is what I’m thinking from my experiments…
Anywho… I for height I tried to make sure that the “pattern” of heights and weights vary from cubby to cubby.
Ok ok enough about staging. I’m probably totally wrong anyway :). But I love it and I guess that’s all that matters. My REAL advice? Check out Emily Henderson’s styling and try to learn by watching. She’s kind of my styling hero and has really encouraged me to mix things up and not worry about matching. I’ve never liked matchy-matchy so her work has been really validating and inspiring.  
I’d also love to hear what you guys think?  Totally wrong?  Vaguely wrong?  Did I blow your mind?  Are you just shocked that I obsessed that much about cubbies?