Pinterest Pin Review: Colorful Wood Frames

Me and my husband have lived in our house for almost two years now, and I hardly have anything on the walls! I finally hung a few prints, but no family pictures. Seriously, I had a wall full of family photos in the apartment we occupied prior to buying our home. Pitiful, I know! Part of my reasoning for not hanging anything is, the frames I have are cheap, and are falling apart, and I haven’t brought myself to replacing them all. The other reason: pure laziness!

This week I’m going to use Pinterest to motivate me to finally put pictures on the wall! Today’s pin is from Chic Shindigs. She has a few DIY home things to enjoy, and recently she blogged about her new house, and I hope she has more to share! The chosen pin: colorful wood picture frames.

I have to admit, I almost didn’t do this pin. When I walked into Hobby Lobby, a few steps into the store, there they were! Already painted and (some) ready to be hung wood plaque frames! So, I decide to check them out. They are really nice, and would save time, but there was a few things I didn’t like. Only some of the frames were ready to hang, and the ones that were, only came in one size. The larger sizes were basically wood plaques with a square cut out of them. No backs, no hanging wire on them, and no glass. My biggest hang up was the price. Prices ranged from $15-$30. I would not mind to pay that if I didn’t know I could make it cheaper! If you’re like me, you prolly have half the things you need for this project; mod podge (and if you don’t have that, you can make some), paint (I’ll be using spray paint), you may even already have some pictures you want to use. All I had to buy were the wooden plaques which were 2.99 for the size I picked. I didn’t make time to check other stores, but, you may be able to find them cheaper. By the way, one of my favorite places to get pictures, especially if I want them fast and cheap: Walgreens. I only paid $.80 for 4 4×6, and they always have great deals!

This project hardly took a day to make. Like I said, I used spray paint, and I would do a quick coat in between taking orders from my baby (sometimes that would mean I would only have a 10 minute window of time!). One thing I love about this project is how creative you can get. I decided to center a smaller picture, making the plaque frame the work. The blog took the picture to the edge, which. My next set I think I might experiment with texture like lace. I also like how fast the turn over is. Waiting for things to dry is the longest/hardest part! The one down side to this project is figuring out how to mount it. The blog shows you one way, by using a stand. I have a picture hanging kit that I will be using. I’m sure you more creative people out there could fashion some kind of hanging system…channel your inner MacGyver.

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Our favorite spray paint is Valspar paint and primer in one. It takes less coats to cover your object, and it has such a beautiful finish!
You’ll notice that the pictures look white from the mod podge, don’t worry! It dries clear! Make sure to do light coats of it though, and with each coat, finish in a different direction. It’ll give it a beautiful, hatch mark finish, like a canvas and, if you bought the glossy mod podge, there won’t be such a glare in the finish. One of my pictures I thought I did hatched, but didn’t, and you will see in my final pictures, it looks a little more glared, and it looks like I painted it VS a more canvas finish. Also, on my blue picture you’ll notice I used too much hod podge, and you can tell. It’s still a nice product, but, it’ll be something I will notice forever!

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Here’s a picture of my final product! I let them dry over night. Another boo boo I made last night was, I didn’t wait long enough between coats, and the previous coat tried to come off. So, be patient, and allow ample time between coats.

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I love this way of framing pictures! I love bright, bold colors, and my color choice on my walls can attest to that! The best part though, when people come over and ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ ‘where did you get those done?!’ You get to tell them ‘I made it!’ And please, give your best super hero/heroine pose when you say it! You’ll be beaming, I promise!

This is an awesome project, it didn’t take up a lot of time, space, or money! Have fun, and post any ideas for this project in the comments. Also, I recommend giving any blog I link a read! These are some awesome people, with some kickass ideas!

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A little jumpstart couldn’t hurt could it? An inventory of creativity as it now stands

If you know me, you probably know I’ve struggled with finishing the final requirement to complete my Master in Public Health. However, with an uncharacteristic flourish of initiative, I made the arrangements to participate in a Dissertation/Thesis Boot Camp sponsored by the Graduate School. Last week I number crunched for eight hours a day in a barren little dorm room at Patterson Hall. Yes, I am claiming that as a vacation. This week I am writing 8 to noon and working 1-9pm at the lab. I’m cheating a little bit as Monday was Memorial Day, but four twelve hour days must count for something, right?

Last week went so swimmingly and I was rather proud of myself with the progress I made stitching together my data set and the early attempts to analyze it. I merged datasets, recoded variables, negated skip patterns in the survey, and even began to characterize my sample population. And it was good. The holiday weekend came and went with guest appearances by Adventurer, Conqueror, King, Draw Something, and steaks. Tuesday came and I was ready for it: continuous and categorical variables of interest were estimated and luminous demographic tables were erected. My head buzzed with the tangle of influences on my dependent variable I was beginning to delineate. And it was good.

And then this morning happened. And it was fair at best. Our organic and rather arbitrary black fluffy alarm clock went off at an unspeakable hour and refused to be placated with food, treats, pets, hugs, entreaties, bargains, pleas and barring all of that a good deal of hateful shushing. I’m sitting at Boot Camp (if any military friends care to comment on the oxymoron, you are well justified) now and really can not get started on task at hand. So I am squeezing words onto this blog until the runaway reaction of word fusion takes off and I can actually focus on the real reason I am sitting in a dorm room with nothing but a desk, lofted bed, and window to keep me company when many adults my age are typically at work receiving compensation for their time.

I have really missed posting on this blog. No excuses, just haven’t made time for creative endeavors when I’ve had it to devote until recently. There have been a few highlights but mostly there have been a few day-to-day discoveries I didn’t realize would be so creative. In the main event, my friend Grace and I recently took a “Introduction to Home Brewing” class at the Lexington Beerworks. The information was very accessible and the class covered the basic Brew Day routine while maintaining a largely conversational air of informality. I highly recommend taking a class if you have ever been interested in home brew and there is one coming up on June 2. I am also lucky that Grace’s husband, a beer hobbiest, will let us use his equipment and be on hand for the “oh, hell” moments. We are going to start our first batch this weekend using a “summer ale” kit we will tweak with the addition of orange peel.  Our batch will debut around Independence Day if all goes well. Fingers crossed!

In day-to-day operations, I have found myself completely addicted to Draw Something, a free app where you cooperatively send your friends drawings back and forth to guess the prompt word. I never realized how much fun it could be to tailor a pictorial message to the recipient. It’s comforting that sketches are digital and go away, but it’s leading me to want to sketch things out more often in real life. It’s also really neat to see the way your friends choose to approach a drawing or represent things to you. My only criticism of the free app is that the words are limited and you soon start drawing the same things over and over. However, the full version is cheap and I’m told there are more words and colors to use. If I ever bother to upgrade, I’ll let you know.

I’ve been playing a really fun pen and paper RPG system called Adventurer, Conquerer, King run by my friend Sam. I’ve played in a few D&D 3.5 and higher edition games and one D20 modern campaign but really have never explored other systems. It was an adjustment at first to declare actions prior to rolling for initiative and to hinge on a truly narrative based style of playing but I think it’s kind of the perfect system for me because of the narrative and the necessity of table talk to get things done. Last week we rescued an ankylosaurus and stopped an evil sorcerer from raising his army through ritual sacrifice. Sam runs a great game and everyone who plays does their character justice, something I could do better than I have been so far. Any tips for a Ruinguard from inside the Mandate?

So I maintain that there is creativity present in my life. It’s just used sparingly and not in the form I expect when I get up in the morning. Like what my capstone data tells me in direct contradiction to my hypothesis, lol. But I guess many good things probably come that way, though. Maybe it’s just part of learning to love the incidental discoveries in addition to making good things happen. I think that’s what I’m going with today and hope it helps you out, too, if you need it. I hope you’ll wish me luck as I return back to the world of statistical software packages and data analysis. I should be back soon to report on upcoming challenges for D3Z, Staci, and myself here on the Easel.

Until then,

cryptotox

The Errant Easel Attends the Woodland Art Fair 2011

It was a beautiful weekend for an Errant Easel outing, and we walked with our significant others and a few good friends to the park-turned-fairgrounds to explore the bustling and sprawling artists’ booths. I always genuinely enjoy going to this event. My spirit is never dampened by the crowds, the overzealous sun beating down, or even the humidity.

If you are not familiar with the Woodland Art Fair, there are 200 artists skilled in printmaking, photography, painting, drawing, papercutting, jewelry making, metalwork, sculpture, ceramics, leatherwork, knitting, weaving, quilting, woodwork, and even haberdashery (and that’s just the booths I remember seeing). Not only were the categories of art diverse and extensive, but there were also a variety of methods and materials of choice within each category. Take printmaking, for example. There were woodblock prints, etchings, silk screen, and computer generated prints in the very least.

I see something of myself in these prints

Girls with Bugs Collection

In addition to the the official Woodland Arts Fair, the rest of the Chevy Chase area takes advantage of the opportunity and transforms into additional street fair. These booths are as exciting to me as the official fair. My favorite booth, ran by Cricket Press, is found across the street at the Woodland Christian Church. Cricket Press creates and prints silkscreen posters to advertise music groups and community events. Personally, I am most partial to the original art prints they sell. Last year for my birthday, Brad custom matted and combined four of their prints into a frame to create what we affectionately call the “girls with bugs” set. This collection includes two girls with fireflies (The Collection and Lightening Bugs), a girl with cicadas (The Cicadas) and a girl with bees (The Bees). The cicada girl is my favorite owing to the far away look evidenced by the tilted chin but concealed by aviator goggles. The hum of cicadas seemed as loud as biplanes in the woods of my childhood. Each summer, my dad and I would collect vacated cicada shells to make locust bug stew, a recipe calling for different leaves, grasses, and flowers to be stirred with a broken broom handle in a five gallon dry wall bucket of pond water. I can still remember the smell after the requisite hours spent stewing in the sunlight.

Where the woods meet the sea

Girls with Creatures Collection

This year, I followed up with a “girls with creatures” collection comprised of The Foxes, The Rabbits, Girl in the Sea, and The Woodlands-Squirrels. Hey, I like what I like and what I like is being a girl with an interest in bugs and animals. There were quite a few other awesome art print options, but I couldn’t resist freckled girl with the octopus beehive hairdo. I also really enjoyed the personality of the foxes, rabbits and squirrels in the other prints. I like the use of blues and yellows throughout both groups of prints which (somewhat irrationally) reminds me of the bookshelves I have stuffed with vintage Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books.

If I had returned to the booth a second time, I, no doubt, would have also acquired the art print poster of the kids exploring the woods with a flash light entitled Haunted Woods. It has a really neat pulpy, adventure party feel to it that I really identify with. If you have a spot on your wall for any of these prints or you want to get me the best birthday present ever you should check out their website and Etsy shop. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Link Round Up! *Beware…Mind blowing ahead*

So, since I am between projects (the painting and the new sock…which are both coming along beautifully!) I thought I would share with you some of my favorite links! Of course they are mostly photography and knitting, but peppered in there are some other fun sites that I know you will love! Enjoy! Oh, and Thanks to all those people that are reading our blog! I know we are all excited that our creativity excites more that just us!
okay….here’s some links!

Ravelry  If you like knitting, most prolly already know about this site…but it’s one I am obsessed with! Oh, and this place is especially good for patterns from movies!  That’s where I go for all my Harry Potter inspired knit patterns! The people that are on this site are amazing! Most of them see the garment and make the pattern off of memory…they are that awesome!!….hmmm…one day…I will do this…yes…

photojojo This website is amazing!! I buy so much from these people.  This is a very modern photography site, and they understand budgets!  Don’t get me wrong, there are some expensive stuff, but they offer a lot of accessories to meet you half way to the new lens you wanted, or that rare film you couldn’t find anywhere!  I normally find everything I need on this site! They also have a facebook page, and they have really great articles!

DIY photography So, as a photographer on a budget, I love love LOVE! sites such as this one!  When you put all your money into things like a camera or a new lens, you have to save money else where such as studio lighting!  which they have a tab specifically for that!  They also have a lot of extremely useful tips for your camera and photo editing, and other techniques!

Indie Rock Cafe So, when I am working on anything…I mean ANYTHING (cooking, cleaning, blogging, working, photo editing, knitting…etc) I have to have good music.  Indie Rock Cafe is one of the best sources for indie artist of all kind!  I have found so many new favorites through this site.  My favorite part of this site…they make mix tapes of songs….they have had anything from winter music to help beat the winter blues (one of my personal favorites) to now I remember seeing a mixed tape for Bonnaroo.  Indie Rock Cafe also has a podcast that’s always a pleasure to listen to!

Knitting to stay sane I recently found this blog on one of my crazy pattern hunts for something, and right away what I love about this lady and her site….there is a tab that says FREE!….I didn’t care what was free….but I loved it before I clicked on it….I mean I am American….I loves the free stuff!  Well, of course it’s free patterns, which is like gold to knitters….if good yarn was ever given away for free…then that would be gold….but until that happens…the free patterns will do! This is a lady after my own heart! She knits beautifully, and I really enjoy looking at her work, and seeing what she is doing in the knitting world!

Rebelle So this is one of our local yarn stores, and so far it’s my favorite!  all the ladies that I have seen in there so far are all knitters, and I love all the patterns they have around the shop, and of course I love all the yarn they have! yarn heaven.  Oh boy and do they sell everything for your knitting/crocheting needs!  I  have to watch going in there when I have extra cash!! We (ladies of Errant Easel) are hoping to take a spinning class there at some point or another…drop spindal style.  We support local here hard core, so I had to show some love to one of my favorite places to shop!

 

Well, I guess that’s all for now…there are oh so many more places I frequent on these here internets….but I don’t want to blow your mind completely! I DO want you to come back!