Planting Sequoias

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


Sponge-Painted Thrift Store Art (in which I discuss my feelings on internet trolls and overcome selfishness once again all in the same post)

It’s a well-known fact that I have some pretty incredible friends. If you are reading this blog, I count you among that group, unless you are in fact a mean internet troll, in which case you should just get back under your bridge. Back! Back, I tell you! No one likes mean people!

I feel better now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. *breathesdeeply*

Where were we?

Oh, yes, friends. I HAVE THEM. Which is a source of constant amazement and gushy feelings but I already went on one tangent so I am NOT going to go there even though this tanget topic is obviously infinitely nicer than the previous one.

One of said friends once asked me to make her a piece of artwork.

I was so astonished and so flattered. It just so happens that this friend is one of the coolest people I know (she LONGBOARDS). And that astonished feeling was quickly replaced by some inadequacy feelings (yes, she is that cool). So I let several months go by before I acted.

But then the thrift store spurred me into action, as it often does. What would I do without other people’s cast offs? (Don’t contemplate that question for too long, husband. NOT going to happen.)

I found a sweet piece of cheap/fake vintage artwork…really just a piece of cardboard that happened to be colorful.

And then I took a picture of it with a jar of paint and a sponge and a scissors on top of it.

supplies for sponge painting

I know, I know. You can’t really see the fake cardboard design. I’m the worst. But you can see that it had one issue there on the right side…the design was not centered and there was a nice off-white LINE on the side. I pondered what to do to cover it (since I knew I wouldn’t be able to cut it off nicely) and then I did this.

sponge paint thrift store art

Sponge painting/minty green triangles to the rescue! It didn’t completely cover the weird line but it definitely made it less noticeable.

Next I harnessed my shaky hands by sheer willpower and went to town with a quote.

add cursive lettering to thrift store art

I really have pretty bad penmanship, so the fact that this turned out this well is a small miracle. I found it easier to heap gobs of paint on my paintbrush, and that helped.

repurposed thrift store art

Then, I let it dry.

And I loved it.

And of course I wanted to keep it.

But if you’ve been to our apartment recently, you’ll see that there’s no more room in it for anything at all (except chocolate–always room for that), so my selfishness was squelched once again.

Karen, this is headed your way in 7-14 days. Congrats on the new (well, a few month’s ago) apartment. Also–I did not come up with the quote myself, which means you can interpret it how you’d like. But don’t forget that you have two adorable kittens at home. They might be sad if you do not come home for days at a time, so perhaps I should have written “take the medium-but-not-very-long way home” for you, but I was afraid that would not fit on the artwork.

And I’m rambling again.

So. Enjoy.



Cross-Stitch Painting (in which I very nearly veer into the realm of “granny-chic”)

After seeing this lonely (huge) mass-produced piece of 70s artwork week after week (unloved) at the thrift store, I knew I had to do something about it. It was basically calling my name.

Ken was appalled, as he frequently is when I come home from the thrift store. Though I’m not quite sure why. The orange tulips have a sort of charm.

transform old thrift store artwork

When I took this huge piece home, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to do with it. That’s usually my cue to not purchase said item from the thrift store in the first place, but this was only $2.50 and I knew that I could eventually do something with it. So I pondered for a bit, all while this thing sat in our hallway, much to Ken’s chagrin.

BUT THEN I remembered this pin of a painted cross-stitched rose and everything clicked.

Well, mostly. Since Ken is not really into “granny-chic” (nor I, for that matter), I knew I needed to make this less pink and flowery. So I compromised slightly and found this image that I created a pattern for.

colored flowers cross stitch pattern for painting

I made sure that I had easy measurements–each X took up exactly an inch. And I wanted the design centered on the painting, so that’s why I used those gray squares to roughly show where not to paint. I did mentally adjust the design over to the left one space, since you can see that this whole centering thing was difficult for me.

how to paint cross stitch art

And so I painted and painted and painted. I used whatever paint I had on hand, from flat wall paint to cheap craft store acrylic paint. I used a tape measure to keep myself on target along with some strings to show me where everything was in reference to each other.

Once it all dried, I coated it with polycrylic to give it a more polished sheen. I also painted the frame–first with a coat of yellow and then with a bit of gray brushed on to tone it down.

And then I hung it up in our bathroom (the Van Gogh is currently hiding under our bed).

painted cross stitch  art flowers

It looks pretty cool reflected in the mirror (this is what we see from our hallway).


When Kenny and I registered for wedding gifts, I was very concerned with getting everything to match a certain color scheme…but now that we’re actually living life together, I find that we like colors in general. I needn’t have been so worried.

Oh, and cross-stitching holds a special place in our hearts…here’s the story of how I traded an actual cross-stitched Star Wars sampler for a diamond ring. 🙂

Anyone else rescued any pathetic cases from the thrift store lately? I can’t be the only one with a soft spot in my heart for the ugliest things.

Linking up here and here and here and here and at Thrifty Decor Chick!