Deck the Walls

Our apartment is 900 square feet of white walls. White kitchen. White bedroom. White living room. White white white. We’re prohibited from painting. I bitch and whine about this, but in all honesty, it’s fine. I’ve watched my mother agonize for weeks over selecting a wall color. Just like her, I’d carry paint chips in my purse, tape them on the walls, order sample pints, and interrogate a husband who just wanted me to make a decision. My mother once cried for an entire afternoon when she saw the color she’d chosen up on the entryway wall (only to love it later). So perhaps it’s good that I’ve been spared from this emotional rollercoaster.

To combat the wide blank expanses, we’ve been accumulating wall decorations: the obligatory arrangement of travel and wedding photos, enlarged pet portraits, prints from parents’ basements…and some honest to goodness art.

The most recent addition is a painting from Bethany (creator of this most awesome mixed media piece that was our wedding present).


It’s a little watercolor, my half of a swap that started with me sending Bethany a cherry red kami hat. What color frame and mat do you picture with it?


The other artwork in our apartment was painted by my dad. After a long career  managing my hometown’s city parks, he retired and started to paint. He joined a local art guild, took classes at a nearby college, then started to sell his work. I think it’s so cool.

When I was home for Christmas, I helped him photograph his work so that I can build him  a website. We followed the instructions in this youtube video for photographing work on the cheap. There were a few glares that try as we might, would not go away, but all in all we got what we needed. I’m going to use, which is free and offers some readymade portfolio templates.

If you’re wanting something new for your walls, may I suggest an 8 x 10 photo of Samson? No? FINE. Okay then, perhaps the contact information for one of these super talented artists I’m lucky to know and love?


A handmade holiday

Buying handmade for the holidays is kind of like eating organic – even if you really believe in it, 100% compliance rate is really hard. But every bit matters. The Handmade Gift Guide is asking people to sign this online pledge: at least half of the holiday gifts I give are handmade (by me, a friend, or a super cool artist). 

Let’s do it! Remember, handmade doesn’t have to look like it was made in a camp craft room. It can be sleek, functional, classic. For  inspiration, here are ten pledge-qualifying gift ideas.

1. Ruffle gold & silver hoop earrings  – $28

2. For the techie, a clever ipod/ipad charger made from a book – $55
(looks like they’re sold out for Christmas, but I still had to include it. It’s too cool. Maybe you have a January birthday to plan for?)

3. Coasters made from Turkish rugs – $36 for a set of 6

4. 8×10 winter scenery print (can’t you feel the crisp cold air?) – $15

5. Instructions for how to upcycle an old frame into a chalkboard serving platter for your favorite host or hostess – $ a few dollars

6. 2012 cityscape letterpress desk calendar – $30 (cut along the dotted line at month’s end and voila! it’s a postcard, ready to send)

7. Instructions for turning a photo into a paint-by-number (paint it yourself, or package it with paint as a kit for a crafty friend…yeah it’s kitsch, but everybody’s got a kitsch-lover on their list!) – $ a few dollars

8. It’s probably too close to Christmas to make an entire blanket from felted sweaters, but this felted ipad cover is doable.  – $ cost of goodwill sweaters

10. And if someone’s been very, VERY good, perhaps this handmade leather bag – $140

What handmade things are you giving this year? What are you making yourself and what are you buying from others? Whatever you gift, handmade or not, you can snazz up the wrapping with these free gift tag  printables from Eat Drink Chic.  Happy gift-buying, making, and giving!