A Bit of Color & Pattern – and some wallpaper paste…

This little addition has added some much needed pattern to our lives and is, surprisingly, the glue (or wallpaper paste as the case may be) that has tied all the random color in our little abode together. It also provides, shall we say, a bit of a warning of what is to come (it is located at the front door). Prepare yourself…

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I like quite a bit of color. I am not a “paint the whole place a carefully chosen white” and “layer in the neutrals” or add “pops of color in the accessories only” kind of decorator. I believe that I may be the only person on the planet that doesn’t swoon over a stark white kitchen with wood accents. Though, I do love natural wood, some white bathrooms, and white linens. Anyway. I like an entire room with bold colored walls. I love a colorfully tiled kitchen or bathroom. I love stained glass in bright, beautiful colors. I like certain colors more than others. I love, love green. Little bits of red are a must at our house. It brings in a hit of necessary energy to get me moving. I have a love hate relationship with yellow. I am drawn to the more sunny and vibrant yellows, but the buttery yellows kind of bore me. Blue tends to lull me into non productivity. I could lay daydreaming on the grass all day, staring up at the wide open bright blue sky. I do like blue accents as a break from all the other bright and energetic colors I lean towards. Purple is my favorite color, but is similar to blue for me – a little lazy. So, I can only take it in small doses in the form of an accent. I recently read somewhere that every room needs pink in it. No way. In my opinion, pink is hard to live with. Though as I look at my art piece, I notice the dribble of pink,

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which pulls in a pink flower center in the stained glass window,

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and some pink ants in the anteaters belly,

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and some rusty pink in the vintage car prints I have hanging in the dining room. Hmm…

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The color I think should be in every room is black! I like bits of black here and there. Why? I don’t know. I just think it looks and feels good. And, it is easy to intentionally pull off rather than that pink thing.  I don’t think I can intentionally put pink in every room. I just can’t do it.

I like less pattern. I believe I use pattern more as an accent to add a little bit of visual interest rather than to make a huge statement. I am not a statement maker in any part of my life. I am generally pretty basic, nothing too fancy, but hopefully not too boring either. Thus, my home decor pattern choices are also pretty basic. I tend to lean towards larger, simple, graphic patterns rather than small, pretty, highly detailed patterns. I love sharp, contrasting patterns rather than the soft blend-ey kind of pattern. I like blocks of different colors that create pattern. I also love artwork that creates pattern.

With all that in mind, here is how our bedroom, living room, guest room, and bathroom paint colors came together. Spoiler alert – it was all very non textbook like, very non scientific, very non theoretical…

Me: “I have to get some paint by the end of tomorrow. So, any general recommendations in regards to colors?”

Tad quickly responds: “Platinum Grey for the bedroom. Otherwise, I am good with whatever you pick”. Good thing I had already, secretly, decided to let him chose the bedroom color – as long as it wasn’t blue. Tad had previously tried to talk me into blue. Specifically, some sort of a navy blue. I had shot that blue thing down long before. As previously discussed, I like blue accents not blue rooms.

Me: “Okey dokey.” An hour later, I returned from the paint store with a few samples. I painted paper sized samples for better reference. I chose my favorites. I presented the options to Tad.

Tad – pointing to each option: “Too dark. Too green. Ugly. Not platinum-ey enough.”

Me: “Not Platinum-ey enough? What does that mean?”

Tad: “I don’t know. It just isn’t like Platinum.”

Me: “What are you talking about? Does it need to be more silvery? More grey? Sparkly? Warmer? Cooler?”

Tad: “I don’t know what you mean by those questions. It just isn’t Platinum-ey?”

The next morning I was at the paint store bright and early for new samples.

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Tad’s niece, Makenzi, came over and helped me paint the new samples. We all liked the same one. Yay! The bedroom color was finalized.

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Next was the living/dining room…

Me: “We need something that looks good with new bedroom color, the kitchen (which is green with purple, grey, and acid yellow tile), and the orange sunroom/mudroom. Plus, it needs to look good with the maple floor and cherry trim. I think green.” I love green, and green works with everything, in my opinion.

Tad: “I vote against green.”

Me: “Really? I thought you said I could pick whatever I wanted?”

Tad: “Did I?”

Me: “Yes, I believe you did. Well, if it isn’t green, then I guess we will have to go with a grey of some sort?”

Tad: “Sounds good.”

I gathered up all the grey bottles that had been previously rejected for the bedroom. Again, Tad’s niece, Makenzi, helped me paint the samples. There was one sample we both shunned right away. It had a weird pink/brown undertone (and we already know my feelings about pink).

Makenzi: “All these colors are kind of boring.”

Me: “I know. I kind of feel the same way, but we need something that works with grey, green, purple, acid yellow, orange, maple, and cherry.”

I chose one that felt “warm”.  I mulled over my choice for the rest of the day and into the night. Eventually, I realized that my color choice was the one that Makenzi and I initially thought had pink and brown undertones. I checked every wall, in every possible lighting situation. It felt good in all situations. It felt warm. Probably, because it had some pink undertones in it. I like warm. I had a hard time accepting it was the pink/brown undertone-y one. Eventually, I gave in and went with it. Edgecomb Gray is lovely. You can’t tell it has pink undertones up on the wall. Weird. Plus, that description is so me. I am a total sucker for paint color descriptions…

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The guest room was easy. Makenzi and I quickly chose one of the greens that were rejected from the living room.  As mentioned previously, I like green. I wanted green somewhere. The guest room got green.

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I already talked about the bathroom paint color in a previous story. I was looking for something completely neutral given all the different tile colors and finishes going on in there. It wasn’t what I expected once up on the walls. However, it has actually worked out ok. I don’t completely love the color, but I do like the description below. So, it will stay in the bathroom for now…

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The entry hall was an unexpected diversion.

Tad: “What color is the entryway going to be?”

Me: “The same color as the living room?”

Tad: “That is surprising.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Tad (and Makenzi): “That doesn’t really seem like you?”

Me: ” I agree, but I am all out of color ideas for the moment.”

Tad: “I think we should paint it a welcoming color.”

Me: “Ok then!”

I grabbed my color sample case. We start to review options.

Tad: “I vote for Santa Suit Red.” He had dropped the color swatches all over the floor and Santa Suit Red landed on top. Tad thought that was a sign from above?

I like red as an accent for energy (as already mentioned) rather than an in your face full on red room. And, honestly, I love Christmas, but Santa Suit Red is too much Christmas all day, every day, year round. We did not go with Santa Suit Red in the entry. We all eventually agreed on this yellow…

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Alrighty. The paint is on the wall. It is lovely, in my humble opinion. The living room is a nice, neutral back drop and transition to all the other areas it is open to – yellow entry, gray/multicolored bathroom, green/purple/acid yellow/grey kitchen, orange sunroom/mudroom, platinum bedroom, green guest room.

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Ok. To get this conversation back on track, let’s circle back around to the miracle piece of artwork that has tied all this color together and added that much needed pattern to our space.

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Now. I would have loved, loved, loved to cover our entire living room wall in this paper. It is hand painted, unique, original, and looks amazing en masse. It would have been sooo cool with just the stained glass window and cherry trim on our living room wall. Fun, graphic, simple. However, sadly, I could not afford to do the entire wall. Why-Oh-Why was I not born into wealth, or somehow figured out how to make my own millions so I could have an entire wall of this???

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I have to just be thankful that this artist, Nama Rococo, does sell individual panels for the less financially fortunate, such as myself. I am thankful. Very thankful.

So. I taped the panel to the wall for several weeks while trying to decide how it would be best framed. I actually considered leaving it just taped to the wall in the name of “art”. It looked and felt kind of artsy with just the tape. Something an edgy gallery might do…

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Tape...

Eventually, I decided “edgy” wasn’t my thing :) However, I did opt for something other than traditional framing given it is wallpaper. I liked the idea of it sort of being out there like wallpaper rather than behind glass. So, I ordered a hardwood panel (Claybord) made specifically for art, glued the wallpaper to the panel with wallpaper paste, did a little repair on one corner where I had ripped the paper (this was my first time working with wallpaper), added some hanging hardware, and now I call it art.

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I did move the black and white photos that were previously in that spot to the other side of the window. It feels more balanced that way. I think.

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Though, I am now searching for something sculptural to hang above the colorful panel – to complete the balanced look/feel.

Unbalanced...

It is always something with me.

Anyway.

Tad’s critique/response to the artwork was a slow up and down head nod followed by “Hmm.” Makenzi’s comment was “Did you paint that yourself?”  Her face was wrinkled up when she said that. I told her that she should probably get used to it because it is going to her in my will.

Oh, and you may have noticed those little colorful cubes sitting below. Yep, those cubes came about as a result of that artwork. More in the future on those.

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Use What You Have – Scrap Wood…

Last week, I was all on task to clean the garage. That was going to be my “project” of the week.

I got sidetracked.

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It all started with me gathering together a bunch of small scrap pieces of wood that were scattered around the garage – left over from the wood work during our renovation 6 months ago.

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I didn’t know what to do with all the small, seemingly unusable, pieces of cherry wood. I got mentally stuck on these scraps. What to do with the piles? I couldn’t move on until I decided what to do with the scrap wood. Or, maybe, I was looking for an excuse to procrastinate the garage cleaning task. I don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t want to just throw the wood away. On the other hand, I didn’t want to stack it up in the corner somewhere to be forgotten.  Eventually, I decided I needed to use it or loose it. I opted to use it. Also, I justified this side project in my mind – technically I was still cleaning up the garage by getting rid of the scrap wood? Anyway, the jigsaw came out and I started cutting. Two hours later I had cut 32 pieces of wood for an art project…

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I hand sanded the sharp edges a bit. I liked the contrast of light and dark of the different pieces so I opted to maintain that. The already older, darker pieces of wood got a coat of oil. The light pieces of wood stayed naked – without oil. A spray finish was applied to everything. I, then, glued the pieces together to create flowers…

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I thought the flowers looked pretty good, but they didn’t feel quite finished…

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I remembered my fancy hardware experience from just 2 weeks earlier – The Secret Project. This project was going to be out in the open. It needed some fancy hardware, so off to the neighborhood hardware store I went.

Yep. Fancy hardware was the detail these flowers needed to feel finished…

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I will pair these posies up with a cow in a sunflower field print and call it an art installation – for work.

Cow in Sunflower Field...

Put your orders in now – we’ve probably got another hundred pieces to transform into something fun :)

Scaring Squirrels…

This year’s garden experiment is about trying to scare some squirrels away from my strawberries.

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The squirrels think I plant strawberries just for them.  To date, that has been true. I believe I have had only about a dozen strawberries ever from my own garden. The squirrels sit on the fence to monitor the ripeness of the strawberry field from above. The second a strawberry is ripe, they swoop in and steal it.

Obviously, the best way to keep the squirrels away would be to net the plants. We have a neighbor down the street that has her strawberries contained in a raised bed that she successfully nets each year.  The problem is that my strawberry plants are mixed in with all my other plants.

Some are with the sedum,

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some are hanging out with the hostas,

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others are mixed into the rose garden,

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and, most recently, I have planted some amongst the blueberries.

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Netting doesn’t seem a realistic option in my urban garden.

You may have noticed that the strawberries in the above pictures aren’t of the edible variety.  Why would I have decorative strawberries in my garden, you ask? Or, maybe, you aren’t asking that at all.  Maybe, you are just saying to yourself “Oh my gosh, can we just get to the scaring squirrels part.”

Yes, let’s get to the scaring squirrels part.

First, though, I want to point out that I have successfully scared away other forms of wildlife. Once. My fake wasp’s nest doesn’t kill the wasps – it just scares them away from my outdoor living space.

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So, I am definitely open to trying to scare other pests.

I had read somewhere that painted rocks fool squirrels into thinking you are growing really bad strawberries. They move on and they don’t come back. As a result, you enjoy a sizable strawberry crop that you don’t have to fight the squirrels for.

I will admit, I find it hard to believe that squirrels don’t have more sense than to realize the difference between fake strawberries and real ones.  Hmm.

At the very least, it was fun to paint a few rocks.

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And – they look pretty cool in my spring garden.

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Stay tuned for the answer to “Are squirrels smarter than painted rocks?”