Planting Sequoias

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


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.



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?


Making a Picture Frame Bigger Without Actually Making It Bigger (in which I use a power tool and don’t die)

The title of this post will hopefully make sense by the time I finish the post, if I’ve done my job right. And. Disclaimer. Probably no one will ever have this same problem that we did, so this pseudo tutorial is wildly unnecessary, but still. I USED A POWER TOOL and that in and of itself is blogworthy.

Here is the scenario last Thursday before dinner. I had just come from the thrift store, where I’d picked up a fairly nice wrapped-canvas painting (fake) for $3.99. I had just planned on putting it on the last remaining 5% of wall space that isn’t covered by anything in our teeny apartment, when we realized that I had a perfectly good frame that was in desperate need of something (anything) in it. See it here on the right (from this post)? Yeah, you can’t really miss it.

fine art gallery wall with birds and oil paintings in antique frames

I had actually, the day before, cut out a piece of foam board in order to convert the frame into a chalkboard. But the new canvas represented a new, intriguing possibility. But it was not without this tiny little REALLY IMPORTANT problem:

picture frame doesn't fit

Yeah. The painting was about a half inch too big on one side. I was all like, “well, we could do major surgery and make the painting smaller” but that sounded like a LOT OF WORK and NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE to do well. But then my brilliant husband suggested that I just carve out a bit of the frame. He pretends that he is not interested in my crafty endeavors, but secretly he loves it and is very invested, I think.

So. I got out my Christmas present generic-Dremel for its inaugural run. And since Ken was hungry since it was now past our normal dinnertime, he got to work on making food. We all have our special skills.

use a dremel to make a picture frame bigger

Of course, what with the lack of a workshop in our tiny apartment, I had to do this all in the living room.

living room workshop chaos

Magically, Ken’s idea worked like a charm and I retained all of my fingers.

Carve out a frame that is too small

Here you can see how the picture now fits into the frame. This isn’t technically correct, but we’re pretty thrilled that our zany idea worked.

frame a canvas

We popped our new artwork up on the wall where we’d had the frame but quickly realized we had a problem with that location…the horizon was hidden below the TV and it looked just like a painting of some sky and a bush (the top of the tree). So I spent the next 4 hours (give or take) moving the pictures around and around and around. We’d eaten by this time, so both of us were less hangry (hungry/angry), and Kenny was a good sport of me standing on a chair directly in front of the TV during the NCAA basketball games that night. I found myself a good man.

living room gallery wall oil paintings

I rather like the new arrangement, and this shot of blue sky and greenery was just what this fancy gallery wall needed. And yes, we’ve determined that the plastic birds are staying. 🙂

Linking up here.


Stormy Ocean Artwork (in which I spend 1/3 of my budgeted allowance on watery decor)

It has been my long-held belief that Ken and I are sailors at heart. Nevermind that the ocean (which I’ve only seen once) sort of scares me and nevermind the fact that no, we don’t own a boat (or know how to operate any seafaring vessel other than a kayak), but still. We both love the water. We actually met while working together on the shores of Lake Michigan…a gorgeous place.

It should then come as no surprise that this gorgeous gallery wall tickled our fancies. Check out the whole phenomenal house tour of this space here…complete with a really really  inspirational story.collection of vintage oil seascapes

I’ve had this image pinned for more than a year, and ever since then, I’ve been combing thrift stores to begin a collection of my own.

I tried to placate this desire with some other original oil paintings, but they didn’t quite have the same effect (understatement of the year). I still love those, but I’d really love it if they would become a bit more…watery.

You can then imagine my delight when I finally stumbled across this moody seascape at the thrift store.

oil painting seascape with navy frame

After looking furtively to the right and to the left, I casually approached the shelf with this painting, and as soon as it was within my reach, I pounced. With thrift store gems like these, it is important not to look too excited (you gotta avoid tipping off all the other shoppers).

It was $6.99, and since my entire thrift store/allowance/work lunch moolah budgeted for the month is $20, I paused for a split second. But then I came to my senses and purchased it anyway.

oil painting seascape painting in kitchen with navy frame

It now hangs moodily in our kitchen and provides some great contrast to the crisp purple herringbone rug. Once I amass a half-dozen or more of these type of seascapes, I’ll gallery-ize them and probably get some coordinating thin frames for a cohesive look. But at the rate my collection is going, it’ll take me about a decade.

The moral of the story: I may have to increase my time spent thrifting and  increase my allowance budget. Just sayin’. 😉

Shameless plug/awesome deal: last week I bought a sweet chalkboard wall sticker (that’s 6′ long! that you can cut up into awesome shapes!) from Eversave. If you use my link to sign up, you get a free $5 to spend and can get one too for just $10! Check it out here. Deal valid until 3/25.


Adding Words to Artwork (in which I attempt to minimize the amount of times I freak out per day)

If you’ve ever met me in person, you would probably place me in the category of “moderately well-adjusted.”

I have you all fooled.

What’s really happening under the surface is that I’m thinking about how to avoid attracting attention to myself or worrying that I (heaven forbid) might actually have to talk on the phone at my real job or reminding myself not to mouth my words when thinking and walking down the hallway (it’s awkward when you meet someone while doing that).

So the other day I created a little reminder that things aren’t quite as bad as they often seem to be.

I started with this piece of nondescript fake woodland scenery from the upper right quadrant of our gallery wall.

gallery wall for a grown up

I scored it at the motherland, aka the thrift store, for a mere $.25, so I felt no remorse for defacing it.

Also, it came with a super swell plastic frame with fake wood grain. I just had to point that out.

It is Well lettering on artwork

I cut out some letters from white cardstock and lightly glued them smack dab in the center of the scenery. I then slathered on the mod podge, which actually matched the gloss and fake brushed texture of the rest of the painting remarkably well.

Oh, and I was very careful to center everything just so…I used a tape measure and everything.

Nothing negates the phrase “it is well” more than off-centeredness.

mod podge paper letters onto artwork

Oh, and the phrase comes from my sixth or seventh favorite hymn. Cutting out all of the letters from my favorite hymn, “Praise ye the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation,” seemed like a rather daunting task so I took the easy route.

mod podge paper letters onto artwork

Yes, it’s sort of crafty looking, and it is a bit of a cheesy reminder, but it works. For the most part.


The only better reminder I could think of was getting this phrase tattooed on my head, and Ken nixed that idea right off the bat. So there’s that.

And yes, I know that sometimes all is not well, not well at all. But God is in control, so therefore, this message is very, very true.

Sappiness over and out… *drops microphone.*