Gallery Wall

It’s been far too long since I posted—apologies to my follower. But now that summer/an active lifestyle is done, I am excited to get back to it! To get into the groove, I’d like to share something I’ve been wanting to post: my gallery wall. I’ve been a fan of this type of setup for awhile and have read (and ignored) lots of tips on how to create your own. And now I’m about to give you tips on how I made mine, so take that with a grain of salt.

My humble gallery wall.

My humble gallery wall.

Please note that I did not intend this to be a shrine to my own artwork but when you’re a. into painting and b. too poor for real art, it happens. Deal with it. I thought I’d mention where the pieces came from and point out some of the vintage or thirty ones BECAUSE IT’S WHAT I DO!

Ms. Foxy: Hardcore fans of my blog (JK, that’s not a thing) will recognize this as a painting I did in my last art class. End of story.

The Golden “B”: The newest addition to the wall! The letter was a few dollars at Target and I spray painted it gold and drilled a hole in the back to hang it. So easy and cheap!

Whale Cribbage Board: A favorite of mine from a local vintage store.

My Passport: Six pages of my passport, separated and framed with a custom-cut mat. Hint: if the coolest stamps are on back-to-back pages, a color copy looks just as good.

My Dad’s Army Photo: My favorite picture of him, because I think he looks like a movie star.

Gold Framed Oil Painting: An original painting of Paris that I got at my favorite antique store by my cabin. Super inexpensive for an original anything.

Mask: A tiny little mask I picked up while volunteering in El Salvador that cost a couple bucks.

Dog painting: My beloved dog Bailey, painted by me.

White Framed Watercolor: This is a painting of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria that I bought from a street artist in the same location.

Eiffel Tower Painting: Another one I did in art class. This one is a copy of another painting.

Wooden Framed Mountain Painting: A painting I did from life (is a mountain alive?) while in Seward, Alaska at a plein air painting weekend.

Silver Framed Boat Painting: Another from the same Seward plein air weekend with a frame from a thrift store.

Vintage Book: A vintage book made into a clock that I bought at a flea market in Brooklyn.

My Humble Advice and Tips:

  1. Mix and match everything. Gold and silver. Black and brown. Homemade and purchased. Photos and other media. Some people go with all photos or all black frames which can look really great, but I love the unmatched look of my wall (and I think it fits my apartment).
  2. Don’t think you have to spend a lot. The most I spent on anything on this wall was probably getting the custom mat for my passport, which was not all that much. Homemade art can look really nice!
  3. Include three-dimensional stuff along with two-dimensional art. It really adds another, well, dimension to the wall. Consider hanging things that aren’t normally meant to be hung. I had to nail a wire to the cribbage board to hang it up, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the wall (and since I don’t know how to play cribbage, no big loss).
  4. Search thrift stores for picture frames. Those can often be the most expensive part, but places like Goodwill are overflowing with them for cheap.
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A Pink and Gold Vintage Cocktail Party

It all started with a Facebook article about the lost art of the cocktail party. So I decided to bring it back. And basically start a revolution. Definitely not just and excuse to dress up and have cocktails.

If you’re thinking these pictures look a lot better and more flattering than the normal crappy iPhone ones, you’re correct! One of my best friends and party guests just so happens to be a talented photographer and designer, too! Check out her company, Clark Creative! It’s awesome.

So without further ado, my first annual hello to summer cocktail party.

On my bar cart below, the decanters, pitcher, sign, lamp, and jigger are all antique/vintage. I used a lot of pink and gold candies to decorate for the party. It was an inexpensive and edible way to carry the theme all over my apartment. Plus, it looked pretty!

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Here’s a glimpse of my bar cart, actually made functional for once!

The other main piece I used to establish the theme colors were flowers and vases. Again, it’s an inexpensive, pretty way to add color and life to the party. I spray painted four thrift store vases in different shapes, patterns, and heights gold to make a mismatched set go together but still be unique.

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Some of the details on my bar cart. Can you tell I love gold?

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I’m just so passionate about my bar cart, I had to get a sign to announce it!

Here’s the thrift store tray I spray painted gold and recently blogged about (here if you missed it). Since I’m short on extra space and table room, I made a makeshift mixer table by setting the tray up on a chair. The cocktail tools are vintage.

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Does the tray look familiar?

I think the candy (or gum balls in this case) in martini glasses really makes for a fancy decoration! I’ll definitely use this trick for my next party. (Plus, I get to eat the leftovers!) Paired with another gold vase with pink flowers, the color scheme spreads to all corners of the room.

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Pink and gold all over the place.

Pretty cupcakes are another thing that can be used as a decoration and a snack. I made these strawberry lemonade cupcakes with lemon cake, strawberry frosting (piped on with a cookie decorating set), and a lemon drop on top, just in case you don’t get the clever theme. Also…they’re pink and yellow which is so close to pink and gold!

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It’s not every day I get to break out the tiered serving tray! In fact, it’s been two days, ever.

Now for what’s really important—cocktails! This drink was a hit! Of course I wanted something pink so I decided to make a champagne cocktail. I blended a few different recipes to make my own. I used champagne, strawberry kiwi juice, strawberry vodka, and strawberries to make a lovely, bubbly, pink concoction. It was a hit, if I do say so myself. And of course, another gold vase with pink flowers and the champagne glasses that I decorated with gold paint.

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Cheers!

Nothing on this cheese platter is pink or gold (well, that sausage might be considered pink), but it just looks so darn delicious. While fancy cheeses are pricey, this is a party located in Wisconsin, so it’s always worth it.

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What a dream come true. Just me?

And here’s a look at my apartment living room, all ready for a party! I can’t decide if leaving the lights up year-round is trashy, but I just love the soft light they gave to my cocktail party (and I’m obviously too lazy to take them down at this point).

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Home sweet home. But 100x cleaner than normal.

And I couldn’t resist including this one because I have to show off the outfit I wore! This is a cream vintage dress with orange polka dots that I picked up in Alaska. I also got a chance to pull out the pearls, which is rare. So that’s my party. Now, please, leave me alone so I can sit here staring out the window, drinking champagne in high heels, like I always do.

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Standard Wednesday.

Pallet and Scrap Wood DIY End Table

I think this is the project I have been most excited about so far! I was cautiously optimistic about how it would turn out, but everyone I told was pessimistic enough to bring me down to earth. Pinterest pallet projects are trendy lately, so there were many examples out there so I could get a good idea of what I wanted to make. However, I didn’t follow any directions*.

*Having a super handy dad to guide you and try to take over the project helps get around this obstacle.

And so here is my Memorial Day cabin weekend project, finally done! This is the before picture. I started with a couple normal pallets and some scrap wood—2x4s and 2x2s. Step one: we pulled a few of the wider, less junky boards off the pallets.

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If you have a dream in your heart and let your imagination run wild, you, too, can see a beautiful table in this old pallet.

Then, I cut the leg and brace pieces to size. These were cut from the scrap wood because the pallet wood didn’t seem strong enough to serve as the support pieces. To decide what height I wanted, I measured an existing end table. Dad pro tip: measure each piece individually and cut before measuring the next one. Also make sure to cut on the same side of the line you mark each time. After this, I screwed the leg and brace pieces together to form the base.

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Craft projects AND power tools? It’s true, I am the total package. Shout out to my assistant, Doug.

Next, we cut the top (I had to pull the tools out of Dad’s hand to give myself a turn) pieces from the pallet wood and drilled holes in them so they align with the wooden supports they’ll sit on top of.

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Geez, give someone else a turn with the drill DAD.

Next, I screwed the top pieces onto the framework. Hey, it’s starting to look like a table (if you flip your computer upside down)!

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Yessir, the table has a top!

Then, since things were going so well, we got fancy and added a fetching little shelf, just for fun. This wood was cut from the pallet too, but from narrower pieces. The width didn’t exactly add up to the width of the shelf, so I left a little gap in between each slat.

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Top and shelf in place…almost.

Then comes a task I truly abhor: sanding. Oddly enough, the electric sander made a giant difference compared to the grating task of sanding by hand for hours. The fact that I decided this table is meant to be rustic and slightly imperfect helped, too. Tip from me to you: if you state that your intended product is a rustic and imperfect one, you will be very likely to get those results and be less stressed along the way.

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Vroom, vroom! (Electric sanding noise.)

Look at that. Smoooooth like butter. You could rub your powder soft cheeks on it, (does she mean face or butt? I’ll never tell) but I don’t necessarily recommend you try. The table is all constructed already! Wasn’t that fast? Now comes the really exciting part: turning it upside down yet again! Hold onto your hats!

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Here it is, all constructed!

But really, this is actually the exciting part. Staining the table really starts to give an idea of what it’s going to look like when it’s finished. The stain was another leftover freebie that my parents had from somewhere.

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Oops, there’s a stain on my table. [Pause for laughter]. Coat #1 done.

As much as my dad stood watching and endlessly critiquing me while applying a second coat of stain disapprovingly, I went for it. And I love the final color. The darker wood is definitely my style and will fit with my apartment’s decor, too.

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Coat #2 complete.

And now for the fun, endless part: sealing. I ended up doing one coat on the entire thing, a second coat on all the visible outer pieces, and a bunch more on the top and the shelf, probably six coats total. The idea of the seal was to fill in as many of the rough and uneven areas as possible. Plus, it gives it a shiny, smooth look.

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Seal the deal.

So, without further ado (this got entirely too long but I am just so excited), here’s the final product!

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No, of course I did not stage this picture. I always read Emily Post by the dim light of my antique lamp.


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It fits perfectly in the spot I wanted to use it!

Oh, just one more picture, why not?

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Me so shiny.

As an added bonus, this entire thing cost nothing! I got the pallets donated by a friend and everything else was leftover from my parents or lying around the cabin. So I finally did it. My big pallet project. Whew 🙂

The Weekend Antique Haul: Up North Edition

A Memorial Day weekend at the cabin is just not complete without a visit to one of my favorite antique stores ever. Saturday was a lovely day so Mom and I made the excuse of obtaining rations and went to Cranberry Creek. I was on the hunt (as I remembered once I saw this) for pink dishes in preparation for my upcoming pink-and-gold-themed cocktail party and found this pink depression glass dish.

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Pink depression glass dish.

It’ll be perfect for candy and to establish the color scheme throughout my apartment, but the pink is subtle enough that it can be used any old time (since my life is basically a vintage- and pink-themed cocktail party). This delightful bowl was only $7.95.

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Check out those depressions! Also, someone please teach me what depression glass is!

The next object fits the definition of “I didn’t know I needed it or it existed until I saw it”. It also fits the definition of “I still hardly know what this is, but I love it nonetheless!” (In my defense, my mom bought a noodle drying rack. Hopefully I never have to actually use this defense.) This little sucker is a slide of the steps of mitosis (see also “science”), so it’s a learning tool as well. The slide looks a little blurry but it’s not me; it’s just how the drawings are! I really have no idea where this would have been used or what kind of device it would have been used in, so if anyone can shed some light, please do. And if you’re like “she bought this thing that she doesn’t even know what it is”, you can shut your mouth because it was a STEAL at $5.95.

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Antiquing sure tired me out, so I had to take an overnight break. The next day, Sunday, was a rainy day, so it was the perfect time to go to another antique store. (If you haven’t picked up on it yet, every day is the perfect day to go to the antique store.) Luckily, the antique stores saved the best for last! This is the mug of my dreams. It will be perfect to hold pens, pencils, letter openers, and various antique riff raff on the writing desk that I am currently curating. It’s also another learning item, so I think I can write if off on my taxes or something. It was $11.95 and I would have paid a million dollars for it.

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I’m obsessed with this mug.

All in all, an extremely successful weekend of antiquing! I just cannot wait to incorporate my new treasures into my apartment with never-ending space for objects. And, just for fun, here’s a bonus find that I got for free (FREE!!) at a rummage sale up north.

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The hat may have been free, but the discomfort it caused my parents is priceless.

The Weekend Antique Haul

Oops, I did it again! The funny thing about saving money and not antique shopping is that it’s impossible. Oh well. At least I have cool stuff! Here’s what I found last weekend at my friendly, neighborhood antique store.

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Find #1: A decoratively etched bottle.

Of course I couldn’t take a trip to the antique store and neglect my precious bar cart. Big decanter, meet your new baby sibling! I don’t want the big decanter to get jealous, but the new one is pretty fancy. The search for a different style to complement the round, squat one had been going on for some time, and I think the intricacy of the new one is the perfect fit.

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Welcome to your new home, decanter!

The second find of the day was a time stamp, in the literal, non-electronic sense. Not that I’ve been looking, but I’ve never seen a stamp like this before. The rubber part on the bottom turns with a clock-like dial on the metal part, so one can literally stamp the time on…whatever (I’ll figure that out later).

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Find #2: A time stamp (next to my treasured wax seal).

The real purpose of the stamp is to kick off the theme of my secretary which I hope to style as a vintage writing desk—time stamp and all! (I can’t remember a day I wrote when I didn’t reach for my vintage time stamp.) It’s going to be hard to use this surface for good instead of evil (junk mail) but the stamp and pencil holder are a good start.

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The stamp situated on my secretary desk.

Oh, and best of all. The total for both items? $25

Urban Gardening

That’s right folks—my green thumb is back! What that means is I’ve purchased pre-grown plants from the store and have made a commitment to them, myself, and all of you to try to keep them alive for a while. The weird thing about doing gardening as simple as replanting when you live in an apartment building is that you don’t really have access to dirt. So I took a mixing bowl and, under the cover of night, snuck a few scoops from the front “yard” (about five square feet of grass) of my complex. Don’t tell my landlord.

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I got the idea on Pinterest to reuse tea tins as planters. And since I had a few English teas in cute tins lying around, I bought a couple of ADORABLE and tiny succulents to fill them! Plus, I, of course, love the British decoration of the tins. Here are two succulents sharing a home in a double-decker bus tea tin. (I’m hoping the sparse one recovers after being dropped on its head.)

image6-2   And here’s a solo plant in an English breakfast tea tin.

image3-2There have got to be tons more things you can do with these tins, but I haven’t come up with any other ideas yet. Anyone have some? Just in case, I better keep drinking tea.

A Foxy Gentleman

Project number two from this session of art class is a painting of a lovely gentleman (I think) fox. I originally thought it was a female and my art teacher didn’t, but I just couldn’t bring myself to paint boobs to make it true. I was inspired by (copied) this painting I found on Etsy via Pinterest. I’ve been very into foxes lately so one wearing a British riding coat seems fitting. It only took about two classes to finish up. I think it turned out pretty well! image1   I like how the plain, really light peachy background sets off the fox and makes it look more like a fancy portrait. My teacher wanted me to change it and add more color, but I stood my ground. Here he is resting on my green leather chair, as fox oil paintings are wont to do. I’ve still got to find a good spot for him/her but I think it would fit in nicely in my chair and book corner. image3The next painting I’m working on is of a rug! I hope it turns out better than it sounds in that sentence.