Category Archives: Arty

Night Lights

One thing I didn’t talk about too much when I debuted our new art was the picture lights.  I searched high and low for just the right thing and never quite found what I was looking for – so I MacGuyvered up a solution.

I was looking for picture lights that were a) affordable and b) white.  Affordable large art lights were surprisingly hard to find.  I finally stumbled up these at Shades of Light (not the best picture but all they had on their website so I took a leap of faith).


I got out my trusty spray paint and sprayed them matte white so they would blend in with the wall and not fight with the other metal finishes we have going on in the room.  The lights mount to the actual canvas and then we used two screws at the outer corners to mount the canvas to the wall and allow space for the cord to travel down the middle.  They’re hooked to an extension cord behind the bookcase so one flip of the power cord switch and both lights come on.

Night Light

And voila, we have art lights.  The cords peek out at the bottom of the canvases but are mostly hidden behind the record storage unit and camouflaged by the tchotchkes sitting on top.  So in the evening we have a nice glow in the living room and a subtle highlight to the art pieces we worked so hard to create!

Cheers – CT



Another one about homemade art

One more post about artist canvases.  I’m not a painter.  I never had any formal training in painting.  I did have to take one drawing class in college and it was miserable.  I hated the critique days and having to put my deformed and pathetic sketches up next to my classmates beautifully rendered images.  But sometimes you need artwork for your house and you’re cash-strapped and you resort to painting it yourself.

Let me rewind for a minute.  A few months back I picked up a little canvas at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop.  I searched high and low for the original images but to no avail — when I bought it, the canvas had a lavender background with white flowers painted on it.  It looked like something I would have presented in college had I been required to take a painting class (a little amateur-ish to say the least).  I felt a little bad when I jesso-ed over the canvas until I remembered it had been consigned over to St. Vincent de Paul.

Part two of this long-winded and potentially underwhelming story has to do with the brassy arc lamp I picked up at the auction at Vandeventer Vintage.  I was considering giving it a new coat of (spray) paint, maybe in black to help it fit in with the living room a little better.  (Read more of my angst here when we brought home a second lamp).  I decided instead of painting this great vintage gem, I would bring in more brassy/gold goodness to make it feel at home.

Back to the painting.  First I jesso-ed it, then I applied a few coats of a gold spray paint I had on hand.  I found a cool example image on Pinterest that had large blocks of color and used that as my starting point.  At first I had taped the canvas off with some 1″ painters tape we had around the house but the proportions felt weird so I “had to” order some washi tape from Etsy.


The washi tape didn’t perfectly keep the paint inside its boundaries so I had to do a little touch-up once I removed it.   I took over the tulip table and spent a couple of days mixing up paint colors like a mad scientist.  I used the kitchen blue color, the living room accent wall (SW Urbane Bronze) in its full hue and also lightened a few shades with white and a few new colors.  JT requested “light red” and I told him he just asked for pink.  However I was able to mix up a nice red-orange that seemed to satisfy his request.


The brassy/gold undercoat plus the paint colors from around the house really work to tie things all together in the living room.


Also, white fingernails!  Because Easter was last Sunday, I  feel like we’re in the clear  for white shoe season and I celebrated by putting one of my favorite colors on my nails.  Yesterday (Friday) was one of the first days it really, really felt like spring around here and everyone fled the office for City Garden at lunch.  I had lunch at Lulu’s, an all-vegan food truck (so good!) and took in the sights.  I know I talk about the Flaming Lips a lot, but this sculpture struck me as being very Wayne Coyne-esque.


On to the weekend everyone!  I’m taking Cameron to an adoption event today at the Kirkwood Wal-Mart from 11am to 1pm.  Stop by and say hi to the old guy!  Cheers – CT

Ideas and Inspirations

Contrary to public belief, us designers do not often start out with a blank slate.  Often we are inspired by an image or an idea and evolve it into something new.  The great part is that inspiration is all around . . .

As I mentioned in the last post, our ink abstract is one of my favorite pieces in our house and also gives me a lot of design inspiration.  I pulled the teal blue color from the ink splotches to paint the front door and it spiraled into a whole new color palette for the house.I have always been a lover of the color blue (case in point – sapphire engagement ring below! — I wear blue every day)  but up until now, didn’t really have any in our home.  Pretty crazy.  After already painting the front door and knowing I wanted to used some of the colors from our artwork to inspire the decor, I found this fabric swatch (in the image below left) at a local upholstery store (and it’s outdoor fabric so when I make it into some accent pillows they will be very dog friendly!)  When I got it home, I saw that the green in the fabric swatch was very similar to the nice lime-ish green in our artwork and I knew it was a match made in heaven.  The swatch also came with a helpful little color guide (isn’t color #1 a perfect shade of sapphire) that I snipped off and put into my wallet so I would have it with me at all times — just in case. That way if I am out and about and considering a pillow or some drapery fabric, I will know for sure if it will go . . . I also carry a little notebook with a list of things I am looking for (Saarinen table?) and measurements of my rooms and such.  It might be a little bit of overkill, but we’re talking about a person who has drawn her whole house in AutoCAD so I’m okay with an OCD/anal retentive label on this issue. 

Another place I get ideas and inspirations is from magazines.  I have a whole stack of pages I have torn out and saved away for future inspiration.  I kept that picture of the orange and blue kid’s bedroom on the top of the stack because of the amazing herringbone carpet.  (Because I am anal retentive I also try to write on the page a comment about why I tore it out because sometimes when I go back to them 6 months later, I’m not always sure.  My tastes can change that fast.  Yikes).

I also keep a folder on my thumb drive called “Ideas and Inspirations” and am always right-click saving anything I see online that catches my fancy.
When I save an image from the internet, I am trying to get better about keeping its source location and/or who created it so I can possible share it here on my blog later.  Since I’ve had this file for a while, not all of my images are very well tagged.  I’ve been using Tin Eye to do reverse image searches and that has worked out about 60% of the time.  You can see my obsession with the letter T is not limited to 3D objects and has crossed over into fonts as well.  I need help.

Another inspiration image for our new house palette came in the mail at the beginning of the year and since January (and still) I have had my PPG calendar turned to the April/May/June page. 
I love the teal/turquoise color along with the rich leathers, glossy white light fixture and all the old books.  It also had a nice color palette along the side but I knew the yellows and browns would not be right for me. 

I also have loved getting a “robot phone” or an iPhone as most people call it because then I can capture ideas or things I like where ever I am. 

I took this image (another illustrating my crap photography skills) on a trip to Kansas City.  We stopped in at a new(er) restaurant, UnForked, and I really liked the warm industrial/funky atmosphere they had going on. The food was really good too so that helped. 

How do you guys find inspiration?  How do you remember/save/recall your ideas and inspirations?  Are you as OCD as I am?