Planting Sequoias

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


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.


Fine Art Gallery Wall (in which I question whether or not to put a bird on it)

really like saving money. I’m the type of person that will make laps around a store (after going to two or three others) and come home with nothing because I don’t want to part with my moolah.

But I also love great deals, and sometimes I can be convinced to part with some hard-earned cash. Sometimes.

My most recent interest began last year when I found a fantastic original oil painting of a city scene at the Goodwill.

IT WAS $3.99.

I can handle that.

I grabbed it, threw my four dollars at the cash register lady, and ran.

A few months later, I found this original framed painting, and for $5.99, I was also convinced it needed to come home with me.

I’ve been scouring the thrift stores around here for a third (or fourth or fifth or sixth) that would round out the collection, since odd numbers are better, but haven’t found anything yet. Anyway, yesterday I finally got around to actually hanging the paintings.

fancy oil painting gallery wall

I’d found another similar frame that fit the criteria (big, chunky, ornate), but the canvas that was in it was

a) priced separately from the frame (frame: $.50, canvas: $15. NOT JOKING.)

b) not even a real painting

c) was not at all attractive (think renaissance nuns or something).

I’m still not sure what to fill the frame with (for one thing, my oil painting skills are not only lacking, they’re nonexistent), but for the price I couldn’t leave it at the thrift store. You understand.

fine art gallery wall without birds on it

But the 2 paintings + 1 frame collage was begging for a little something more, in my opinion.

So I put a bird on it (or two).

fine art gallery wall with birds on it

The birds are fake plastic that look like wood, another thrift store find ($.99).

Ken does not think they belong.

I beg to differ.

I think they kind of look like they’re in their natural habitat, flying off into that bundle of sticks, right? And it rounds out the collection a bit more.

fine art gallery wall with birds on it

I need some opinions on the gulls (preferably ones that agree with mine) to win Ken over to the “put a bird on it” trend.

And just for fun, I’m going to break down the cost of this collage.

Large painting (city scene): $3.99

Medium painting (flowers): $5.99

Empty frame: $.50

Gulls: $.99

Total: $11.47 for a fine art gallery wall.  BOOM.

To be continued. The thrift stores are not safe from me anymore.