Showing posts with label tennessee decor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tennessee decor. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DIY: WPA-Inspired Smoky Mountain Paintings

When I first moved down to Tennessee from Indiana, I didn't have any intentions of staying. I mean, I was fresh outta college and was looking for a job and an adventure. When I got a job offer in Tennessee I was all, "huh, why not?" with plans to move away in a coupla years (as a kid, I had this crazy notion that I'd live in each state, one year at a time). After settling into Tennessee and meeting my hubs, we realized we just love this place too much to move. And now it's home.

Over the last coupla years, I've been Tennessee-izing our house. You can see my first attempts at TN decor here and a painting dedicated to Nashville made from maps of TN here. Recently, I decided I needed a coupla new paintings for a sad little area at the top of our stairs and was inspired by some WPA paintings of the Smoky Mountains. 
So the WPA program (aka the Works Progress [or Projects] Administration) was established during the Great Depression to give jobs to millions of unemployed Americans. Their job was to work on public works projects like public roads and buildings. Many schools, libraries and government buildings were constructed during this time. An offshoot of this program also employed artists, musicians and actors to do works for the public.
Incredibly talented artists were employed such as Romare Bearden, Thomas Hart Benton (one of my personal faves), The Soyer Brothers (also a fave of mine), Stuart Davis, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, just to name a few. Without this program, millions of people and their families would have been left destitute during this difficult time in our history.

Some of my favorite work created by WPA artists are the national parks posters. I love the almost paint-by-numbers/propaganda style of these works. They are ab fab. In fact, these paintings here are my SECOND time to copy a WPA painting; you can see my first one here. Now, on to the latest ones...
 I started by adding that yellow ochre color to the top and creating texture by scrapping the wet paint with a chopped up plastic card (I have a mountain of hotel key cards just for this reason). Then I began sketching out my plan in chalk.
And then I really went at it paint-by-numbers style. I love painting this way! Y'all, it's so easy and I personally dig the flat look to the painting. Side note: I use our glass dinner plates as palettes. If you ever dine at mi casa, kindly check your plates for paint before eating.
This painting was pretty basic so it came together quickly. I work with acrylic which dries super fast. I like that because I could move on to the next portions of the painting without waiting forever (ahem, oil paint).
 I added a lil bit of texture to the ground by using a super crappy, paint-dried-on-the-bristles brush. Sometimes those brushes have their purpose too.
And last came the trees. Since this painting was super basic (and is going to hang next to one that is uber busy), I decided to add the lettering to the top and bottom. 
Y'all. I hate lettering. It involves measuring and math and both make my abnormally small sized brain hurt. But what's the worst is painting lettering as I always screw up with letters that gradually get bigger and bigger as the painting goes on. So! My solution are Sharpie brand paint pens. I loves them! They work great and create a clean even line. 
The neighbor to my first painting started much the same. Chalk outline (ahem) and color blocking. Cake.
 Howevertown, this painting has a whole lot more details. Which were super fun to paint but did take me a while. So I power watched old episodes of Project Runway and just blasted through.
 (One of these days, my dining room table will be used for...dining.)
 Although it's super busy, I do love how this painting turned out. The colors are my fave part. But I also love how it does remind me of the Smokies. 
Now to get 'em up on the wall! I'll have to share that snap with you when I get to it. Later, kids!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DIY: In the Kitchen (You Know, that Weird Room that Came with the House)

Lemme just be honest with you: cooking is not really my thang. Because when I'm hungry, I like to eat. Like, that very moment. So playing around with the cutting and the chopping and the measuring spoons (where I have to stop and think "wait, what does TBSP mean again?!") isn't my idea of a good time. Naw, I'm more into the eat-a-bowl-of-cereal-and-move-on scene.

Howevers, there's this dude that lives in my house who seems to enjoy a hot cooked meal now and then. I don't know why. I blame his makin'-food-from-scratch mother. 

For that reason, I force myself to cook at least two giant meals a week. What we don't eat, that aforementioned dude and I freeze into lunch-sized portions and dinner-sized meals. A coupla years ago, we stopped eating meat (well, he did. I can't seem to give up sushi which is kinda like food-crack so it's not my fault) which means I gotta be creative with the meal planning. Because, as much as we've tried, one cannot survive on Butter Noodles alone. 

Now, not all vegetarian recipes are created equally. Some taste like, well, boiled down celery stalks and gym socks. With a TBSP of wheat germ. So when you come across a good one, you wanna keep it. For that reason, I recently started jotting down my fave recipes. I settled on this sweet little recipe box a buddy had given me to house my new recipes in.

Like, super cute, right? And while I totes love anything vintage, there was something about this that I just didn't love. So I decided to give it a fresh coat of paint.

But here's the deal: I wanted to keep the carved lettering of the box the original wood grain color. To make that happen, I used a little paint roller and simply rolled over the front of the box. This (for the most part) prevented the paint from completely covering the designs. And, done.
For the recipe cards, I decided to use the postcards I'd purchased from Anthro. I scored 'em at their 1/2 off the sale price sale (which is like Christmas only better because you don't have to be around family to score the goods) and I used a stash of vinyl stickers I found in my craft stash for the labels.
Yes, one of those recipes is for Krispy Kreme Donuts. Vegetarian Meal of Choice, yo.
By the way, I learned how to not cook by one of the best non-cookers I know, my crazy mama! This is a super rare photo of us for a coupla reasons: 1. We're in the kitchen (I think we got lost); 2. Mom's holding a cookbook (definitely a photo prop as this book looks like it's never been opened); 3. We're smiling. Which isn't unusual. Unless we're cooking. In which case we're usually cursing and calling each other names. And then ordering pizza.
And now my recipe box has a home! But, let's be honest, the only reason I'm showing you this cupboard is so you can look on in jealousy at my newly acquired ceramic bird house collection. Drooling yet? Again, that Anthro sale was nutz, ya'll! Got each house for about $20 each. I love 'em so.
If you were in my kitchen right now, you'd find dishes in my sink, an overweight cat tiptoeing on the counter scouring for scraps and this new painting hanging above the window!
I got this really cool, super long frame years ago and promptly painted it black and added this flower. It hung in our bedroom for a while but recently decided that I wanted it for a new sign in the kitchen. So, before I could change my mind (cuz I really did like that flower!), I repainted it black and started planning my new sign.
I measured the length of the sign, divided that by the number of letters in the word "Tennessee" and scoured the interwebs for a fun and funky retro font. I settled on this and began sketching our my lettering. Each letter was then cut out and traced into place on the black panel with a white colored pencil.
(This is how our dining room table always looks. And no, that's not an ashtray. I'm not allowed to smoke in the house.)

 Now I was gonna paint each letter outline...until I had flash backs of this and this lettering experience and decided that I was being ridiculously cray-cray. So I dropped by the craft store and picked up a couple of those white paint pens and just traced my pencil lines. WHAT?! So super easy, ya'll.
Now, I gotta admit, I'm still not certain that this is complete. The letters seem a little...empty? I don't think I wanna fill 'em in necssarily...but maybe just add a little design on the inside? A buddy of mine who has far better taste than me (which, honestly, wouldn't take much) said to leave it. Whatcha'll (translation: "What Do You All") think? Ideas? Thoughts? TBSP of Wheat Germ?

Alright, my friends. That's all I got. Now, unless you plan on doin' those dishes, ya'll best get outta my kitchen!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DIY: Calling Tennessee Home

The Tennessee calendar painting that took me for-evah. Do you think anyone would notice if I just whited out the 2 in 2012 and made it into a 3 come January? Never mind the incorrect dates, no ones pays attention to that sort of thing...right?
Hello Tennessee- and those-that-live-in-other-fabulous-places friends! I'm taking a little break from the thought of cleaning (because the thought alone wears me out, I can never get to the actual doing) and dreaming up my next DIY. I've been itching to create another painting, not having created one since my World War II-inspired love letters and the Soda Jerk painting. This time I'd like to create another Tennessee themed piece.
Vintage postcard found in a local antique shop.
I got the idea to go with a Tennessee theme for the house a year ago. Hubs and I had taken a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the hotel we were staying in had these amazing vintage photos of the Smokey Mountains. I found the source of the photos but they were way beyond my price range. So I 
decided to hunt for vintage Tennessee souvenirs and see what I could create with them.
The little triangle flags (I know those have a name...what are they called?!) have been up since a party we had...and I liked the too much to take down.
I started with this chalkboard piece last summer. I thrifted this frame, complete with tagboard backing. I spray painted the frame with a satin black and painted chalkboard paint onto the surface of the tagboard. Once that was dry, I used acrylic paint to create the image of Tennessee. Super simple DIY!
Vintage photos have got to be my absolute favorite. Never mind that I don't know the people! I just love seeing a snapshot into the lives of the past.
I was super bummed about the high cost of the Tennessee photos. So I started scouring ebay and etsy for such. I lucked out when I won an ebay auction that granted me a family photo album full of a 1940's trip to the Smokey Mountains. I took the photos to our local photography shop and had them enlarged. They are now framed and hung around the house.
Not too long ago, we took a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee which is most famous for it's Incline Railroad to Lookout Mountain. The railroad has actually been left unchanged since the above photo. You can read more about our little trip here.
Other framed vintage Tennessee goodness around the house is an old map and an original large photo of a group of tourists at Lover's Leap. Sorry, they were too difficult to photo what with the reflective glass and all. You get the idea.
In the Smokies, one is bound to see a bear. On one of our trips, we witnessed a crazy woman outside of our hotel trying to get an up close and personal photo of a bear. Thankfully the bear was too distracted by the Taco Bell meal he'd manage to uproot from the trashcan to notice her. Not wanting to witness a crazy-lady-bear-attack, hubs informed the lady, "You know they eat people, right?"
Most of my frames are either thrifted or Target'ed. The above came from Target, complete with the matte. When I find a thrift store frame, I almost always spray paint it black to add some consistency to the look. On two occasions, I've taken my thrifted frames to Joann's for the matting and the glass.
Thrifted frame, tourist map, bits and bobs from the craft room.
This map was modge-podged right over the original image. I then slathered it with some thinned white paint to set it back a little bit. I have a leaf press and went through this crazy faze where I leaf pressed any fall leaf I could find. Everything was hot glued into place and it now hangs in something called The Butler Pantry...aka, the-place-where-hubs-throws-his-stuff.
Just a little close up. The photos were also in the Smokey Mountain photo album.

When hubs goes for his walks in the woods, he always comes home with the most beautiful feathers. I loved this delicate one.

Thrifted candle stick holders, spray painted black, thrifted orange polka dotted bowl, painting by me, TN letters from Joann's spray painted silver.

And here's my latest inspiration! Also picked up at an antique shop. I have a huge 5' X 2' canvas that I plan to paint this image onto. I cannot wait to start on it and I'll be sure to share it with you once complete!
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