Saturday, February 2, 2008

inexpensive original artwork

If you are a music lover and looking for cheap artwork to frame, consider concert posters. No, I don't mean those flimsy, glossy band posters you used to pull from Teen Beat magazine. I am talking about screen printed originals created by artists commissioned to render something eyecatching including the band's name, venue and performance date. For around $20-$40, you can purchase one of the prints featuring your favorite bands. I have only just started my collection and have five prints. The neat thing about this being so inexpensive is that you can buy like four or five posters and simple frames (typically sized 18X24ish) to start, then rotate out based on colors for the season, to coordinate with a change in your decor, or to spotlight a new favorite band. Chris and I got going on this at Flatstock at Seattle's Bumbershoot two years ago. There we discovered rows and rows of these high quality prints and were truly inspired. I think we spent about $40 and got three posters. Later, when JoAnn Fabrics was having a half off sale, I got three frames for around $60 and got the prints up on the wall. The prints required a little trimming with a straight edge and exacto blade, but it took just a few minutes and I had started a fun art gallery in my living room. A few artists to try: Furturtle, Strawberry Luna, and Delicious Design League. Most of them also sell other great art prints.

Ben Harper by Furturtle; Spoon by Strawberry Luna

Thursday, January 31, 2008

thoughts on slipcovers

Slipcovers are a thing of beauty...but only when your cats don't scratch on them,as badly behaved cats might, on normal upholstery fabric. It has occurred to me that there is absolutely no good reason for Chris and I to spend $1800 on a nice sofa because our kitties, love them as much as we do, just live to sink their claws into the sides of our unsuspecting(mostly second- hand) furniture. Max and Basie were just too old when we adopted them to make declawing an option. So, they sort of wreak havoc on the upholstery despite our somewhat irregular attempts to get them scratching on posts. ( It may be enlightening to add "undisciplined" to the long list of qualities that our kitties possess.) Take for instance this bargain: a wing chair of sound design rescued from St.Vinnie's for a whopping $18.oo. A somewhat bland but decent slipcover from Target for $40. Sibling cats from the Moscow, Idaho Humane Society...priceless. Nonetheless, they add everything that is cozy, cuddly, silly, and happy to our home. So Chris and I came up with this saying to keep light of it in our minds: " Hey you guys, can't we have other people's old things?" This has become sort of a mantra for me and all of my decorating endeavors at home.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

great design basics

A wonderful resource to guide you in creating your ideal home environment is Better Homes and Gardens "New Decorating Book" (2007 edition). It leads you through assessing your style and color preferences and educates about basic interior design concepts and principles. It is full of beautiful color photos to spark ideas and help you visualize your space in a new way. As your first step, it encourages you to create a design inspiration board. On a bulliten board post up pictures of rooms that you like, paint swatches you could see on your walls, fabrics you might use on a chair or pillow, and other objects or magazine cut outs you are drawn to. This will pretty much help you pinpoint your decor style and give you a comprehensive picture of what "home" is to you. I am about to embark on this project myself and will share it when it is complete. Surprised I haven't done one yet? Well, the thing is that my tastes and ideas and preferences are constantly evolving. My hope is that this board will just affirm some of the things I've always been drawn to and perhaps expose some exciting new trends to pursue. Anyway, check out the book if you have the chance. It will surely not disappoint you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

metro sofa

I discovered a very inspiring website yesterday: The Florida based company takes antique/granny sofas and turns them into modern conversation pieces. Updated with fabric and paint, these frames are saved from the dump and redesigned so as to give them a second life. I was excited for a moment, thinking that this might just be the fate of my version of grandma's sofa, then dismayed in realizing that an ultramodern fabric comes with a very contemporary by the yard price, not to mention the labor of hiring an upholsterer to do the job right. Is this a road I want to venture down as an avid do-it-yourselfer? Upholstery remains uncharted terrain for me... I am on pins and needles here. Will I randomly teach myself how to master this fine art, or will it just never happen becuase it would be way too freaking expensive?