Friday, February 7, 2014

Great Things

You guys know my place has white walls. This apartment and the one before it and the dorm rooms before that have all had white walls. I know that, when I buy a place of my own, I'm going to be excited to paint. When you have white walls, I think you've got to be careful about other objects in your place that are also white, or cream - especially stuff you're intending to hang on the wall. You can avoid buying the stuff, which is what I often do. But there was one thing I had that used to decorate my office in grad school.
Sorry for the blurriness in this photo - I hope you can still read the words okay. I mean, who doesn't love this message? I think its a little inspirational, especially to move you from the "I was reading blogs and thinking about how beautiful my house will be one day..." to the "I'm writing on my blog and actually picking up messes and doing projects!" It's good. Also, Anatole France is a historical figure who is somewhat familiar to me. When I studied abroad in France, my friends and I often went to a cafe after school that was located near a metro stop named in his honor. The cafe has since gone out of business, and the metro line is thousands of miles away, but I think of him. He's like a French F. Scott Fitzgerald.

With the cream colored metal sign a part of the permanent collection around here, the next step was to figure out how to display it.
I stumbled upon this guy - on clearance no less!

I don't have anything to hide: here's the label. Yes, in case you were wondering, this is from the teenager home collection marketed as Xhilaration at Target. Yeah, I went there. And yes, I was inspired to walk down the bulletin board aisle in the first place after I saw Jackie's post about her recent find.

I was originally thinking I would cover the cork with patterned burlap. I really wanted a blue polka dotted pattern.

They had a lot of choices at JoAnn's... seriously! I was imagining something sort of like the gold dotted fabric in the middle - but I couldn't do gold polka dots. I don't know where I got the idea that I wanted burlap. It was a little strange, though, because the burlap is the same color as the cork.

Then, inspiration struck. If the backgrounds are the same color, then maybe the answer is simple. Painted polka dots!
I've free-handed polka dots too many times before, and I'm just never happy with the result. So, I broke out the ruler and pencil, bound and determined to measure the distance between dots. I hadn't realized it before, but the pencil is definitely the wrong tool for marking cork. I decided to use the blue pen pictured above, which is actually a washable pen that I typically use for marking embroidery patterns. It's washable, so I figured that was a good sign. And, more importantly, I knew the color of the pen would be close to the color of the paint, so I felt confident it would blend right in.

I used the sponge tool on the left to make the dots, basically. I used the brush to perfect the dots. There were times the sponge did coverage that was good but not great, so I used the brush to add a little here, and remove a little there.

All done!

I tried it out in its new home. I was pretty happy.

The more I thought about it, though, I began to realize it was just a little too plain.

I found these little crocheted flowers in the dollar spot at Michaels. I tried a couple of different layouts, as you can see above. I thought I had my mind made up, but I was busy with other things, so I wound up putting the board back to display and putting the flowers away to keep thinking about it.

Once things calmed down again, it was time to get down to business.
I grabbed my Elmer's All Purpose glue and got to work. It didn't take more than a moment to glue all of these down. I also wasn't super careful about applying the glue, because I knew it would dry clear.

After giving the glue just a moment to dry, I slipped the whole thing back into position. Since I'd spent so much time dreaming about this one, I knew it was time to move on and act on my next project!

The flowers just add... something. I can't put my finger on the word, but, even though they were an extra step, they were definitely worth it. 

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