Saturday, May 3, 2014

What is art? Are we art? Is art art?

Name that 90's sitcom.

One of my biggest challenges when decorating the house is finding large scaled, cost effective and sentimental art.  Typically, I can hit 2 of the 3 requirements with ease, but all 3?  That's like finding a unicorn.

For instance, I love me some Home Goods and I might be able to find a large, beautiful piece to display, but I have no sentimental attachment to it.  It's just a cool picture of a boat with a monkey as the captain that costs 200 bones.  Or maybe I've got a great picture of my boys to show off but if I blow it up to fill a large void, the 16" tall heads floating above the couch end up haunting your dreams rather than warming your heart.

Well spoiler alert: I found my unicorn.

As any woman of my age does, I was perusing Pinterest for inspiration and found this post.

Fun, right?

I loved the bright colors, the size and the cost.  $8 for a couple packs of shims?  This had potential.  But as I read the tutorial, I kept having the thought that perhaps they'd made this more complicated than it needed to be.  I was very much:

(Full disclosure: I don't think they are dumb at all.  They're obviously creative and fun.  I just think this meme is perfect in every way.  If you don't get the reference, let me enlighten you.  I implore you to click that link.)

I'm not going to recreate their tutorial here, but I will tell you what I did differently.  First, the angles they created were cool, but our house favors a more mid-century feel and I wanted something more in line with that style.  

Plus, what's easier than cutting 45 degree angles with your miter saw?  NOT cutting angles with your miter saw.  Smarter not harder, folks.  The shims are wedge shaped so I was going to get some cool relief pattern by leaving them as they were so I just skipped right on ahead to painting.

Here's where the sentiment came in for me.   To the closet I went, grabbing all the old spray paints I'd used for projects of yore to create my color scheme.  Because I'm a weirdo, my memories are always tied to colors.  True story, if you were to name an NFL, NBA or even MLB player, I would most likely name the color I associate with that person.  That's because somewhere along the way, I saw the uniform they played in, and my brain cataloged that person with that hue.  Then, by process of elimination, I could tell you what team they played for.  It's a weird talent but not one that I've honed.  It's just the way my brain works.  I couldn't tell you what I ate for breakfast this morning but I could tell you the exact shade of orange that the daybed in our old beach house was from when I was 6 years old.  /tangent.

So that being said, as I pulled out each can to paint the shims, I remembered the places they were used.  The bubblegum pink was used to paint a colleague's office as a prank.  The orange was used to redo the chandelier at the Glenwood house.  The blue was used on a project for my sweet friend, Kristine.  I loved the idea of tying all of these memories into one piece.  And the best part?  I already owned the paint so it was FREEEEEEEEE.

I laid out a couple of pattern options and decided on a more staggered look.

Pretty good...


The other part of the tutorial that didn't make a lot of sense to me was gluing these babies directly to the wall.  I'm not sure how that would ever be a good idea.  So I bought a piece of 2' x 4' x 1/4" birch plywood that was a nice large scale and adhered the shims to the board.  That way I could hang it, move it, take it on trips, etc.  I think it put me back about $7.  So if you're playing along at home, this project ended up costing about $15.  (Update: add in the cost of the bolts to mount it and we're up to $17.)

So on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I painted.

Once everything was dry, I laid out my pattern, balancing all the colors throughout.

Nick trimmed off the ends with our saw but they are honestly so thin, you could do it with a box cutter or even an exacto knife.   We pre-drilled some holes at the corners and put the bolts in.  Husbo had the genius idea that if the shim cracked at all where we drilled the hole, a washer would cover that up.  And it gave the mounting a little more substance visually.

Token bolt-tightening action shot.

And the angels sang.

I realize it might not be everyone's jam, but it sure is mine.  The living room is pretty neutral in color (on I can adapt it from season to season) so this pop of fun is just what she needed.  And for under $20?  SHUT YOUR FACE.  I walk by it every so often and try not to stare but I can't help it.  She's a hot tamale.

In my heart of hearts, I believe Lisa Turtle would approve.

No comments:

Post a Comment