Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


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New Lease, New Gallery Wall (in which I add another hundred nail holes to our already riddled walls)

Ken and Anne are on the cusp of signing another year-long lease on our little apartment. This news does not thrill me, so I’ve begun taking out my frustration on the apartment itself, most recently in the form of another hundred nail holes or so.

Why yes, I did redo another gallery wall, this time our oil painting one. Things get changed around here a lot, if you haven’t noticed.

Oil painting gallery wall layout.

With the addition of two new-to-me oil paintings, I got to work and tried a gazillion different arrangements on the floor. Nevermind my propensity to abandon the plan when things start going up on the walls…I like to challenge myself (and add way more nail holes than necessary).

But I was thrilled with how things worked out in the end. THIS is what I’ve been picturing from the beginning when I began collecting oil paintings…almost. Ultimately the wall behind would be a dark graphite color, but since we’re renting, I refuse to put actual $$ into the place (not counting our $2 addition to the kitchen).

Oil painting gallery wall

To clarify, the Van Gogh in the center is not an original. I know you were wondering.

My current favorite piece (though it changes by the second) is the weird tiny girl painting. She’s blonde, probably 10 years old, and very mysterious. I think she’s also Ken’s favorite, though he won’t admit it…he also loves the floral paintings.

Oil painting gallery wall

I also spraypainted the green birds gold. It was a tough call, but when faced with the opportunity to spray paint out of an aeresol can, I always take it.

Oil painting gallery wall

Finally, I added some dried billy button flowers to the blue vase by the TV. I actually pilfered them from this fancy event Ken and I went to a few months ago–best decision ever. Second best decision ever: using the word “pilfered.”

Since we’ve got another year to go in the apartment (give or take), you can safely assume that this is not the last you’ll hear of this gallery wall. But for the moment, I’m loving it. Oh, and if you’d like to see some of the evolution of this wall, check that out here, here, and here. And here and here. I know. I can’t stop myself.


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Polish Brass with Ketchup (in which playing with food actually has a purpose)

So, I got this little tarnished brass sailboat at the thrift store for $1.99.

Not wanting to spend money (or brain cells) on chemicals to clean the brass, I turned to this natural solution: Ketchup.

Check out how it worked.

Polish brass with ketchup!

Boom. Take that, chemical cleaners! My mom is gonna be so proud.

Before and After Polish Brass with Ketchup

Now I must go and wash my hands again. I keep thinking I’m at a cookout.

Great. Now I’m craving a hamburger.


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Fantastic Finds (in which I increase our fancy art collection by almost 50%)

What is it with bloggers and alliteration? It’s like we can’t help ourselves. I just let it happen now…no use fighting it.

Anyway, I’ve had some fabulous thrift store finds lately, and since I love hearing about what other people find secondhand (seriously, do tell!), I thought I’d share with you.

First is this super sweet little original oil painting. If you recall, I love oil paintings with hefty frames. The painting itself is an 8×10, so with the frame it’s quite a bit more substantial. If you squint, can you see the price tag? It was  just $3! Can’t beat that with a stick.

original oil painting $3

I would totally have paid that much for the frame alone! It’s a great gray-wood finish that I’m really digging lately. And did I mention that it’s an original? Love that.

At the same thrift store, I also found this original painting (why yes, I was silently screaming with joy inside my head). Ken wasn’t digging this one as much because of it’s floral nature, but I think I like it a tad better than the first because of the teal-y green colors.

original oil painting $2

Again, that frame. Worth way more than the $2 I paid for it (at least in my professional opinion). This is just a tiny painting–probably 5×7–and I did throw the idea out to Ken that I could perhaps paint a seascape that tiny if we do get sick of the flowers. You know, to add to our “collection.”

There was a third $3 oil painting at the same thrift store, but I used some discretion…it was an interesting painting of a thatched roof house and some dutch people in 1800-era costumes. I’ve had enough dutch costumes for one lifetime, I think; more on that later (if I ever work up enough courage to share THOSE photos)…

And then I found something at the Goodwill that made my heart burst into song and put a weird/sneaky grin on my face as I approached it stealthily. No, that giant green ball is not a weird decor decision for me. It’s an ice cream maker–the kind you literally throw around while doing other fun things like camping. This is the second unused one I’ve found at the Goodwill; the first one I passed on and mourned its loss for months. This one was just $4.99.

icecream maker and brass sailboat

I also got a brassy little sailboat at the Goodwill for $1.99. It’s going green around the edges and has a little sticker residue, so I’m off to Google how to polish brass to bring back its luster.

I thrift a lot–I think I normally hit 3+ stores a week–but probably 90% of the time I walk out empty-handed. So if you’re the type of person who “never finds anything at the thrift store,” keep an open mind! It’s like a treasure hunt…and lately, I’ve found lotsa treasure.

Have you found thrifted gems lately? Share your story in the comments! I love a good deal!


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Mint and Coral Gallery Wall (in which I redo something for the 27th time…surprise)

To say that I like changing things around the apartment would be a gross understatement.

It’s not that I don’t have other things to do (see this post if you want to hear me grumble a wee bit), but I frequently find that I just need a change of pace.

This is why we’re on version 27 of our dining room gallery wall. Let me walk you through its evolution, mmkay?

It started like this. I always think that a place doesn’t feel like home unless there are things on the walls. So I slapped this up soon after we moved in. It was very youthful and fun, which is why, now that Ken and I are old and mature (obviously), we got sick of it.

old gallery wall with bright colors

Actually, I don’t think Kenny cared either way. But he doesn’t say anything. Good man.

My next inspiration came from this image, found here (actually, that’s just a Pinterest link. The real link is lost forever. I tried…).

gallery wall inspiration with emerald green distressed frames

I didn’t exactly achieve it, as seen below. Maybe if you squint a lot you can see the resemblance.

dining room gallery wall for a grown up

So last week, I took it all down and started afresh. (GASP. A blank wall. Anne does not know how to handle that.) Yes, that’s Kenny’s bike in our dining room. His bike is too good for the garage, you know.

Dining Room Wall--Empty.

After repainting a bunch of stuff (like this clock and this frame), I began laying things out on the floor. Rearranging things on the floor is way easier than pounding hundreds of nail holes in your wall. I know–I’ve tried both ways. Trust me on this one.

Lay out a gallery wall on the floor to plan.

Then I started transferring over my design onto the wall. Ken clapped gleefully as each item went up. Or perhaps that was me? Not sure.

mint, coral, and gold gallery wall

I was going for a gold/mint/coral theme and it sort of worked out. I repainted a few frames and dug out some unused items. My favorite makeover is the “It Is Well” artwork–gold spraypaint drastically changed that plastic frame.

mint, coral, and gold gallery wall

I’ve apologized to Ken about 12 times for how, um, feminine this turned out but he insists that he does not mind, possibly due to the amount I’ve also gushed to him about how much more I like this gallery wall than the last.

Poor guy doesn’t have a choice but to love me, ya know?


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Framed Hanging Card (in which I compose and share a completely useless tutorial)

This tutorial really has no reason to exist (it literally is that simple), but I love the way it turned out, so you get to hear me blather on about it for a whole post. Lucky you!

This “project” (undeserving of that term) began from a little “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation–namely, “if you give Anne some paint she will change everything in the whole apartment.”

I painted this clock with some minty green paint and LOVED how it turned out, so I then began painting everything close to me. Ken barely escaped. This frame was one victim (it used to be a bright yellow but bright yellow is so last week).

Hang a card in a frame.

I gathered the rest of my supplies and got to work. I had gotten this SUPER SWEET card for free from a card site online, and it was one of those things that when I got it, I realized I loved it altogether too much to give away. The colors–mint and coral and pale yellow–were so perfect for the frame that I knew what I had to do.

I had to break out the power tools. (I’m not sure if a staple gun qualifies as a “power tool” because it doesn’t actually use electricity or battery power, but I feel powerful when using it, so there.)

I stapled down a little piece of rope-like string to the frame, anchoring it with a knot.

Staple a string in a frame.

Then I hung the card over my little clothesline I’d created. Warning: this part is HARD. Be careful.

Hang a card in a frame.

But as you can see, the card kind of splayed out. Not very far; that’s about how far I can do the splits, but far enough where it bothered me.

So I used poster putty to adhere the card front to the card back. And took the most unnecessary picture ever.

Hang a card in a frame.

You just wait. I’ve already hung this in our new and improved gallery wall and am plotting that blog post as we speak.

Tune in next time.

Tease.