A new picture take 3!

Because I'm crazy (as I know the question - 'Another new picture for that spot, but why?' is running through your head).

I couldn't leave well enough alone once again. I could have been perfectly content with the roses I had replaced the original (not bold enough painting) with, but it also occurred to me that I love photography that Elliot and I have taken. We had some stellar prints from my golden birthday trip (a hike in Tennessee's Smokey Mountain State Park). So I found my favorite (which Elliot informs me is his handiwork) and got a new frame so it would have some glass. So here it is. A lovely print of the picture (I had it printed on a metallic paper so the tree edges and the sun flair really glows) framed and finally some artwork big enough to catch the eye from across the room. Tada!

You may be wondering if the roses were then relegated to a back closet or something. No. I really do like them and decided it was time to place something more eye-catching at the bottom of the stairs- which gives the roses the much needed closer look they deserve to determine that the three roses are indeed hand-drawn and using different techniques as well. It's probably a more fitting place for that sort of picture anyway. So they have found a permanent spot (i think ;) ).

This evening I shall be cleaning and trying to figure out how to set the 'friend thanksgiving' table and all that good stuff so perhaps you will get to see what I come up with if it is picture worthy :) If not, you may still get to see. I'm slightly nervous you see because it is 16 people...and it will require some ingenuity to accommodate a group that size :) I mean it doesn't really matter all that much though- these are friends who will love whatever- but I still want it to look nice of course.

So next on the list I guess are the Christmas gifts I will be making for this year. I know I have to make one from my niece (as tradition requires) and then I may *try* to get a few items started for my friends and give them whatever portion is done by that point (and then take them back to finish). I've never given a non-completed gift, but there's a first for everything.


New painting to fill a space

So as you've seen we repainted the basement and it looks great- but that of course means I wanted to update pictures/artwork around the room to match the new lighter/brighter mood. I also felt it was time to remove what looked like a shrine to my wedding (I've been married 7.5 years and I don't need half my pictures on the walls to be wedding ones). The biggest culprit was based purely on size - I had a huge picture (that came free from my photographer when booking) that was an 11 x 17 (my photographer turned out to have no idea  how to take a picture of a large group, so the odd size is because at a standard size family members would be cropped out) and therefore was the largest piece of 'artwork' in my basement. (See it there on the far wall in the center?) This picture is impressive only because of the sheer volume of people - it's something like 27.

It was time to move on. We were married and felt it was time to have some artwork. As we are hosting a friend thanksgiving this weekend (a bunch of friends come over pot-luck style to have a traditional thanksgiving meal without the stress of family :) ) this is the second one we've hosted and I really wanted to have the basement ready for the event. We'll be having between 15-17 people over so the table will be set up down here. That meant I needed to do some painting to fill the space.

I decided to use the same frame (I have no additional money for this right now) so that meant it had to be on a normal sheet of paper because this is a floating frame. I was thinking something with blues and greens and grays to play off the room's colors and on a handmade paper that would have cool torn edges. But I was wrong (the paper is cool, but other than that I don't love this)! Here's what I painted. It's an abstract watercolor of some lily pad like items and reeds. There are a few problems with this- first is the colors. This just doesn't stand out...at all. It would have looked great... when the walls were burgundy (go figure). But just doesn't speak to me on the gray-blue walls. Second is the content - I painted this because it was all I could think of and I have no connection to lily pads/reeds I don't particularly like abstract art even. It doesn't mean anything to me so it just doesn't work. Third thing wrong is the size. It is far too small for the space. This spot needs BIG artwork. Perhaps a tryptic. It's not in the budget right now, so this will stay for a little while until I can figure out what to paint and afford the canvas, but I will post what I put in it's place soon (as I don't want my guests to feel I like this).

See- I even post about my failures :) Don't you feel special for having read it.

Update: I realized- Wait a tic...I was an ART MAJOR! Certainly I have some artwork laying around my house that might work to avoid people thinking I think this looks good. Turns out I was right! (there's a first time for everything :) ) So I dug through and found...three pictures two from 2000 and one from 1999 with the same subject matter and that with a bit of trimming made a pretty successful tryptic (but still in the small frame I own). 

The one on the left is cross-hatching, the one in the center is the 1999 one - colored pencil I believe (with a blue and pink background), and the right is stippling. Not too bad. Probably will still replace it later, but definitely like this a heck of a lot more! It  also has the benefit of being able to be seen from across the room. Definitely an improvement.


Project of the week: Repaint the basement

 I have a very dark basement, or at least I did prior to this week. The first picture is of my staircase the second is of the rest of the living room area (even with the flash it is pretty dark) and we wanted to brighten it up because the basement isn't very welcoming and doesn't really go with our style, but we have avoided painting it because, well frankly, it's burgundy (and who wants to try to paint that). Well, we decided to give it a shot because we are pretty tired of the darkness.

We decided to try the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint, which has the primer in the paint and let me tell you- this stuff works! (makes me wish I had selected this type of paint for the kitchen too!) It is more expensive, but if you want to save time and effort- it's perfect. We did one coat over this very dark color and we were done! This room is pretty big to start off with, so we decided we would probably need two gallons to finish the drywall portions of the room. We also decided to do a two tone wall to give the room some additional interest. We selected Polar Drift for the upper wall and duct work and Blue Willow (which was a special request paint in Ultra because it isn't a standard color for that line) for the bottom of the wall. We ended up needing a third gallon to finish (as there is another set of walls just as big as this area that you cannot see in the pictures. I think it turned out really nice and much brighter. (No camera flash required). Yay!

The biggest issue with the two tone wall idea (especially if you don't have a chair rail like this room) is to make sure you get a REALLY straight line for that color split. To do this get an accurate level (my first attempt with a tiny little level definitely left something to be desired) and a pencil and draw a line all the way around. Don't measure from the floor as it is more than likely not even anyway. Once you draw that first line, paint the top color on the wall so that the edge on the bottom goes over that line. Then after it has completely dried, you will draw the line with the pencil and level again and using painters tape (I highly recommend Frog tape) carefully make a straight strip go above the line leaving the area you will be painting below. Then paint down starting on top of the tape to prevent any bleeds of the darker color from under the tape to above the line you drew. It's not perfect, but it looks pretty close even from within a foot, so I'm pleased with the result.

 I think the room looks much more inviting, especially with the new entertainment center/fireplace we installed because I am forevermore chilly- (see that picture of me sitting on the couch (writing this post) I am wearing sweatpants, sweatshirt and slippers with a thick lining). Our basement is always cold and winter is not my friend and it hasn't even gotten into full swing yet! I have always wanted a fireplace, but it's definitely out of the budget range to put in a real one, I also am not a fan of the look of the little (anti-tip, auto-shut-off) spaceheaters we had been using to get the basement a bit more comfortable in the middle of winter (there is only one central heating vent in the entire basement, and one cold air return, so whenever it fits into the budget you better bet I'll be adding some additional vents! In the meantime, we got this lovely little fireplace/media center from electricfireplacesdirect.com/ and I couldn't be more pleased. This room is huge and this little thing actually puts out enough heat to make it quite comfortable and the flames look realistic enough (it is LED lights- so it is fairly energy efficient too) to pass for the attractive aspect that fireplaces possess. Only downside is, of course, that in the event of a power outage, this fireplace won't work, but since it's from a place called electric fireplace direct - I obviously expected that. It really does add a nice focal point and as an added bonus hides the rather unattractive mass of cables that ran down the wall from the TV to the components. So there you have it! A much more cheerful and bright basement with a bit of ambience to boot.