Thursday, March 02, 2006

Awash in a sea of cardboard

There are more boxes prominently displayed in the downstairs portion of my house than in Cum Guzzling Sluts XVII. Not that I have seen such a flick mind you... but I'm sure it exists.

We are officially moved into our new home. And after the moving experience which can only be described as a disaster of epic proportions, it's sort of surreal. [Seriously, the move was horrible. The movers we hired were so exhausted by the time they got to our house, they could barely stand. They had done two full houses before us that day, so they were beat to shit - and Michael and I ended up helping them move furniture as they were so slowwwwwwwwwwwwww. They left our house at around 1 a.m. - and we were supposed to pick up the U-Haul at 10 the next morning. Only, U-Haul had given away the truck we reserved, so we ended up not being able to move the boxes until Monday after work.]

We ended up cleaning the old house out yesterday morning and still need to pick up the lawn mower from the old house (although why - I'm not sure - as the Homeowner's Association has a contract with a yard service, so our HA fees cover all yard work).

But for the most part, we're in. It feels bizarre after years of renting to be so extremely cautious about trying not to bang into walls with the furniture... about feeling so responsible.

The cats are dealing with the move a lot better than either of us expected, well aside from when they get lost, and just sit there and meow loudly for someone to come and find them.

I need to get a lot of art work for the walls, as they're incredibly bare right now - as our wall space basically tripled. We've got a few small pieces that we picked up in Paris and in Amsterdam that will fill in some bare spots. I'm trying to find our box of photographs - as there are a few of Michael's B&W 35mm shots that I'd love to get blown up and framed. I've bought a few watercolors from an artist in the last few weeks that I'm sending out for framing, and one my dearest friends is contributing a piece that I'm so excited about that I can hardly breathe.

I want our house to be warm and inviting. A place that feels lived in, and loved.

Unfortunately, with the looming tax bill from the IRS - and the fact that we need to buy new furniture for the second guest room - my budget for art is somewhere around next to nothing.

So, what are your creative ideas for art on the cheap, or at least at low cost? What items do you have on display in your home that are special to you, or that are conversation starters?

I'd love to hear your ideas...

20 Comments:

At 5:19 PM, Blogger DD said...

I like the idea of hanging quilts (old or new) in the bedrooms, but that can seem a shabby-chic if you are into modern. Even a lovely table cloth adds interest and texture to an otherwise blank dining room wall.

"Live" in the house for a while. You may be surprised by what you may or may not want on your walls.

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger Beth said...

One of the things I did when I bought my first home was to find botanical prints in calendars - I would take several prints that were in the same theme and mat and frame them for groupings.

I agree that you should "live" in the house for awhile before adding too much - perspective changes with things on a daily basis. Glad you're starting to settle in.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger Sunny Jenny said...

I would absolutely recommend our good friends. They're local artists. They do cut glass art. It is amazing and very beautiful. Here are links to their sites!

http://yourfavoritepetinglass.blogspot.com/2005/06/rats.html

http://willi-works.blogspot.com/2005/07/van-gogh-iris.html

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Jenn said...

I have only a few thing on my walls, but they are mostly either things I've painted or photographs/drawings I've done. I do have a few prints framed, and another etched glass piece I made (etched a design on the glass of an empty frame then just framed some plain dark fabric so you can see it). I also have some iron grate type square things (they are actually pretty but I can't describe it) in the living room.

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger julia said...

Getting phots blown up is pretty cheap these days, if you can tolerate the quality not being perfect. Drugstores will do them very inexpensively. The botanical calendar idea is a good one - I may swipe that for myself. Framed postcards are nice, too, in those 3 to a frame er...frames. I've also seen that done with wine labels - interesting labels, not the bog standard Turning Leaf ones. :D

And IKEA has nice, plain frames for next to nothing. They also have framed prints that are inexpensive - $35 - 40 for a big, framed poster. Of course, you'll have to deal with the fact that there will be exactly 8,947,352 houses with precisely the same print....

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger Cricket said...

I know a great pastelist who works pretty cheap...

 
At 7:27 PM, Blogger Larisa said...

I have a picture I took in San Francisco - I blew it up, and edited the colors - so there are 5 prints of the same picture all tinted different colors. B&W, red, blue, green, sepia. Everyone always asks about them.

I also have a tile "mosaic" - my aunt made it for me. It's different colored and textured tiles (all the same size) in a frame. Everyone asks about it too.

 
At 8:38 PM, Anonymous statia said...

If you have a decent digital camera, you can take pictures nature type things, make them black and white, and get the prints matted and framed.

 
At 10:03 PM, Blogger Ms. Pants said...

You can get prints of any photos you like on flickr. I have a ton of stuff like that in my house. I have beer adverts (Guinness) and tea towels on the walls. I have cork boards. I also have postcards framed all over my loo. Statia can tell you that my loo fucking rocks. I also use a lot of hanging paper lanterns to warm up my place. It helps more than you'd imagine.

As for that painting, hopefully your friend will finish it soon, though I hear it's a wonky size. (Not large wonky either.) But I hear the colours are cool enough that you'll probably dig it. :-p

 
At 7:21 AM, Blogger sirwilliam said...

I know it is rahter commercial, but IKEA has some excellent inexpensive framed pictures. They range from photos to watercolors and some that are just plain oddly cool. Being in a similar predicament for decor funds, my walls are rather decked in IKEA prints.

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger Thalia said...

How about using colour on the walls rather than art - using different colours as you turn corners sounds horrible but can be fantastic.

 
At 9:03 AM, Anonymous T said...

I'm a HUGE photograph person - so I have tons of photos on the walls. I also have some great egyptian papyri that I've framed and some cool old maps. Mostly photos though.

I also agree w/ Thalia - liven things up with different colors - doesn't have to be very obvious either. I have a darkish green (sage) in my kitchen, this opens to the dining room which is about two shades lighter - it's a nice contrast.

Oh and yes, moving sucks - so glad you're in your new place!

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Lori said...

I'm sorry the moving experience was a disaster. U-Haul has pulled similar stunts with us and I now try to avoid them at all costs.
I wish I had some artwork suggestions but I'm not much of a decorator. I like Thalia's suggestion of using color on the walls.
Good luck getting settled in!

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger N said...

My future SIL is a textile designer and in Sweden in general it is rather fashy to hang up fabric. Go to a fabric shop (online you can even find great stuff) and buy a woodframe in the desired size. with a nailgun or one of these machines that you use when changing the fabric on chairs (don't know what they are called in English, but they are quite cheap and you get them in normal hobby shops), you can mount the fabric around the frame, making it a beautiful "wall covering". Also, you could paint yourself. By canvas and some colors and go really modern art, some crazy sprinkles some strikes with a brush, some cat paws (baby safe color...although I still think cat's won't like it too much), integrate your favorite pictures...there are lots of things you could do. Blowing up favorite pics in black/white next in combination with your favorite poem printed out in a huge size is nice too I think.

Or do what we in Sweden call font-walls - by crazy wallpaper (cool stuff from the 50s and 60s available in second hand shops) and put it up on one wall (i.e. the wall behind the bed). But font-wall mostly only look good in rooms that are painted white or a shad of white or in a light other color!

Good luck and please update on what you do to the empty walls :-D very interesting!

Sorry for the long comment..:-D

N

 
At 12:16 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Congrats on the house...what a happy happy feeling it is when closing is over and it's officially yours!

Sorry I don't have any decorating tips. We've bought/sold/moved houses across state lines three times in the last six years (done now that we're back home, thankfully), and I've been lax on the decorating after the first one. All that moving took it out of me. Hope to get my juju back one day.

In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through all the great ideas posted here :-) Good luck choosing!

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Donna said...

My advice would be not to try to fill up all the space, and not to do it quickly. We've been slowly finding the right pieces and colors for our house for the past 5 years. We have maps from places we've been matted and framed, they are a nice reminder of good times, and lots of photos.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Vacant Uterus said...

So glad to hear you're in your new house! Sarge and I were not pleased with U-Haul either. I don't think we'd use them again.

I love the decorating ideas that have been put forth already, especially the quilts and textiles. I'm a lover of quilts and textiles though so maybe that's not a huge surprise. There is a genre of quilt called the "art quilt" that involves the quilter painting various bits of her quilt with fabric dye/paint. maybe you could mesh that idea with N's idea of framed fabric to create your own painted fabric square?

The only other idea I have is to frame pressed, dried flowers or to hang dried flowers in bunches. I have a few dried yellow roses hung between a few bouquets of dried basil (cut from my garden last year) tacked up in a corner of my kitchen. It looks sweet and romantic and all it cost was a little string and some thumbtacks.

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous wessel said...

Hmmmmm . . . I'm still putting $15 posters in $100 frames and sticking them on my walls, so not sure I'm qualified to contribute here.

I do have a couple of historical maps that I had professionally framed and that look really neat. People seem to be drawn to them and they are a great conversation starter.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger deanna said...

Congrats on the big move!!! So glad you all survived!

As for arwork, we got really lucky in that we live in an art town, and therefore, have several artist friends, who painted us freebies. Outside of those, we bought the rest of our artwork while I was managing a gallery and got them at artist-cost. Like I said, lucky on all sides. But, I love the idea of framing fabric art. Some of my friends have done that and it actually turns out really cool.

 
At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Leggy said...

Sorry the move sucked so much. Re: art work. Every house we've ever lived in together (4 houses & counting), we've had to have a dedicated wall for the Europe pictures. We have a ton of pics from my 3 month backpacking tour and his year in Italy. We got really cheap black metallic frames from Michael's Crafts so that they don't take away from the pics itself. We did them in a mix of 3x5, 5x7, and 8x10. Its a great conversation piece. I'd do the same with your husband's photos, since it sounds like he's a good photographer.

 

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