Thursday, July 28, 2011

What I OUGHT to be doing...

I really should be cleaning up the house. And working on a paper. And a project (both for school). And studying. And stuff like that.

So why have I spent a large chunk of the last couple of days dreaming about ways to redesign, repurpose, and reuse?

Seriously.... when the proverbial bee gets in my bonnet, I get in big trouble. I tend to have a rather obsessive personality anyway, and since my creativity has been more than a little stifled the last few months (24, to be exact), I'm practically bursting at the seams to make... something.

Actually, I have all sorts of brilliant plans, hopefully that don't involve destroying anything. For instance...

My hutch. It was an anonymous gift to us shortly after we were married, and the sturdiest piece of furniture I own that Dad didn't build. I've used it for dishes, Christmas decorations, books, and DVDs. I'm pretty sure the thing is indestructible. I actually really like it, but it's sadly dated and since I didn't know what to do with when we moved, it wound up in this sad corner in the basement.

I have a major storage problem in this house, and because of that, my scrapbook stuff is crammed under my bed and in any spare closet space I can find (which believe me, isn't much). The biggest issue facing me right now is my collection of scrapbook. It's too hot to put them in the attic, too humid to put them in the basement, and there's no room to put them anywhere else. Because most of my albums are 12x12, a standard cheapo shelf from Wal-Mart simply ain't gonna cut it.

But I had one of those lightbulb moments that I love so much. Why not rip out the shelf in the bottom of the hutch and put the books in there? Sure enough, after careful measuring, it's a safe bet that they will fit (Assuming, of course, that I can get that shelf out. It's going to require taking the back off the hutch, which admittedly makes me rather nervous.) Anyway, if I can make that part work, then I'm refinishing the entire thing in jet black. I think it will look pretty cool that way - definitely an update from the dark 70s-style wood staining.

Not only that, but I have ran into another issue here - it's dang near impossible to hang up anything. There is paneling under a layer of something (plaster? something else?), and I think the paneling has petrified. I may never get anything hung up in here. Having the shelves on the hutch available will let me display my photos, so I can still get a personal touch without killing myself trying to make holes in the wall.

Moving on...

I found this wicked-cool blog, Better After, with a bazillion ideas for repurposing and refinishing all manner of items, from the common kitchen re-do to turning old clarinets into lamps. (Yeah, someone actually did that, and I am so stealing the idea!!!) Anyway, it got the wheels turning, so today I found myself at Goodwill just hunting for something to fix up. First I found this disgusting, decoupaged tray with crackle paint. Seriously? Somebody just combined the two craft techniques I hate the most into one item! Ew!

Gag me now. Sanding off the decoupage is going to be a pain in the neck, but I am considering adding either a harlequin or checkerboard pattern in the bottom and painting the sides black - using the paint I bought for my "art"work. (ahem. Please don't send the art police after me for presuming to call that thing I did "art.")

As bad as that is, this is worse:

Um, what are those things? They sort of look like olives with the pimentos already stuffed in, but I'm pretty sure they don't grow that way in the wild... But the shape is usable, and I need something on my dresser to catch stray keys, jewelry, and the like. The problem is that I'm really tempted to paint an Autobot logo on the side, and that might look a little goofy. :)

Although, Jeff did give me the green light to spruce things up a little bit with my own funky touch...


Monday, July 18, 2011

Ah, Creativity

I am, and forever will be, a creative soul. Over the years it has taken different forms; sometimes I dabble in this and that, and sometimes I settle on a particular "art". Scrapbooking and photography seem to be the mainstays, but music, drawing, writing, and many other outlets have been also be tested. If there is anything that I have learned, it is that I truly need time to create - it doesn't matter what I am creating, just that I am creating. The most unfortunate side effect of nursing school is that I have little time to indulge my artist side (well, that - and the fact that most nursing students are hypochondriacs... but that's another post for another day). With the move this summer, I've had no time for such things, and sadly, no room, either. All of my scrapbooking supplies are piled in closets or shoved under the bed, likely to stay there until we move again. Thank goodness for digital scrapbooking! Today I was perusing one of my favorite sites,, and came across so much inspiration that I simply had to scrapbook something. In less than 15 minutes, this is what I had:

Oh, it felt so good to scrap!!!

Now, on to the reason I was seeking inspiration... this:

Ugly, huh? The owners of the house didn't want to take down the TV mount, thinking we'd want to use it. This is true, except that we don't have a flat-panel TV, and won't have one anytime soon. Other than the mount (and the rubbermaid containers in the corner full of scrapbooks awaiting a shelf), the living room looks pretty good. Jeff tasked me with figuring out something to hang over it until we get a TV. I decided I'd rather make my own art instead of buying something, so off I went to in search of inspiration. Keeping in mind that I'm no painter, I figured abstract would be my best bet - if it looked messy, I could just tell everyone it was supposed to look that way! :)

I found several pieces I liked. This one was my favorite, but I wasn't sure I could duplicate it:

Green Petals by Jan Weiss

Then there were classics like Jackson Pollack and Piet Mondrian prints, but neither of those were the right style to fit in the living room.

Finally, I found this, and loved it:

Oxygen Stems

But the colors were wrong, and so was the orientation. I needed a wide painting, not a skinny one. Even so, I figured I could work with it, so off I went to Michaels in search of paint and canvas. The living room is that taupe-y brown color, but the dining room is a delicious brick red, and I wanted to bring that red into the living room. After a couple of hours, and a little advice from my friend, Aimee, here is what I wound up with:

It's far from perfect, but I think it will work. I am a little more confident now in my artistic abilities - or at least my ability to fake artistic abilities - and I'm already plotting future art pieces for the house. Canvases are great, because they are so lightweight that hanging them is ridiculously easy.

And finally, for no reason other than because I want to share, here is a picture of my sweet cat, Fritz, chilling in one of his favorite spots: