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.



Going Green (in which I come up with a new strategy for saving the earth)

This might not be the type of “going green” you were looking for if you’re passionate about nature and recycling and organic stuff. Not that I’m opposed to any of that…I just don’t blog about it. No, this type of “going green” literally means I painted something green.

I know that it will probably come as a huge shock to you that I painted something. Well, let me reiterate our situation…Ken and Anne live in a tiny, 670 square foot apartment. We are doing this to save money. Saving money means that painting the walls (and having to paint them BACK at the end of our lease) is a bit ridiculous.

Which means that I have no other option left than to douse each and every possession that I own with the maximum amount of color I can add.

And when one of my readers Kylie left a link on the Planting Sequoias Facebook page (which, by the way, YOU SHOULD GO AHEAD AND LIKE) to this Etsy listing, I was sold.

(It is probably obvious at this point what I am going to do, but don’t worry; I’ll still give you a full blown tutorial.)

To summarize:



This is a mash up that was meant to be. (Also somehow meant to be: Pink and Fun’s Nate Ruess. I, weirdly enough, love this sad song).

Mine gulls were a mere $.99 and are made out of a lovely faux wood that is actually plastic. I have them soaring with some oil paintings above our TV (see them here), and I was never a die-hard lover of the plastic wood look.

So I did this.

painting plastic seagulls

It was obviously very difficult.

I should note that spray paint would work best for this type of project…it would give it a more glossy, smooth surface. But I was working with what I had. Not spending money means not spending money…there’s not a lot of gray area between zero and zero.

ALSO, the more that I think about it, isn’t the whole “taking something old and rescuing it” a pretty green concept? Perhaps I am saving the earth a wee bit after all. New life motto: I THRIFT BECAUSE I CARE.

The gulls are once again soaring in all their green glory.

painted gulls with oil paintings

Why yes, I did take this picture in the dark of night.

I have no idea what I’m going to do when we actually do have a house and I have the freedom to actually paint the walls.

It is entirely possible that I’ll go color-wild and you’ll find me in an over-stimulated coma from too much color. I’ll long for simpler times like this, then, I suppose.

But until then, nothing is safe from my paintbrush.


Painted Brass Candlesticks (in which I makeover a previous makeover)

In our tiny little apartment and on a similarly small budget, I sometimes feel as if I’ve wrung out the maximum amount of creativity I can from the possessions we currently own.

But then I think, “is that a dare to myself?,” get a little glint in my eye, and begin prowling around the apartment in search of things to do.

(Ken knows to stay out of the way when I get like this.)

This is a project born out of one of those prowl-y times.

I had these three faux-brass candlesticks that I picked up for $.49 each (why yes, my mind is like a steel trap when it comes to remembering the price of anything I purchase). Last summer I gave them their initial makeover by spray painting them, um, brown. Well, the spray paint can read “bronze,” but really it was just brown, if we’re being honest.

I think I thought that it was sort of a “grown-up” color, and perhaps it is. But I am learning that I just don’t always like brown.

brown brass candlesticks

So I snatched them up and began the makeover of their previous makeover, which meant coating them in some nice purple paint.

paint old brass candlesticks valspar purple royalty

(I see your concern about my table’s protective covering…aka coupons…but can assure you that I was not going to use these. Don’t fret.)

The color I used was Valspar’s Purple Royalty. I did two coats to cover up all of my errant brush marks and then coated it all with some polycrylic for a nice glossy finish.

I am pretty sure that between this and the purple herringbone rug I recently painted, I’ve maxed out the amount of purple Ken will allow in this apartment…but unfortunately for him, there’s still paint left in that little sample can.

painted brass candlesticks

Now that I’ve painted these, I’d like to get some pure white candlesticks or do something crazy with the cream ones I currently have (and are therefore free since I already own them…win), but we’ll see where I end up.

Oh, and as for your perfectly valid concern that our future house will be decorated like a circus mixed with rainbows and unicorns, don’t worry. We’re using this apartment as a sort of testing grounds to determine our future style of decor…and it probably won’t be like this in a house. But I guess I can’t promise anything, so you’ll have to wait and see.