You guys are thrifty. You know as well as me that secondhand classic, clean-lined frames are reasonably easy to come by in the 4×6 – 8×10 range. However, I rarely find frames that are bigger in size, so when I stumbled across a bunch at the summertime estate sale of a late museum curator, I gave myself permission to stock up. What I ended up bringing home was a big box full of black and silver Nielsen Bainbridge™ metal frames at just $3-$6 a piece. Nielsen frames are nothing elusive from a design standpoint–notorious for their affordability, ease of assembly, and endless size customization–but nice to have on hand. Each framed a photograph, and was fitted with a cut mat board and glass (maybe even Conservation-grade “Museum” glass), both of which had some inherent value to me. One must not pass over nice mat board and glass.
I figure that the all-in value of each of the frame kits, the mat (purchased and cut), and regular glass might have run me between $40-$50/each, so bringing them all home for less than feels like a worthy splurge, even if some of the frames sit around for a few years while I collect more art.
We’ll always been seeking out new pieces for our collection, but already had a few things stashed away awaiting larger frames. It didn’t take me long to piece a few of the kits together. One of the first missions had been to find a home for an original abstract mixed media piece by Jaime Derringer, shown hung above. It was a birthday present from Pete, and it’s layered and beautiful and definitely a statement piece that I know we’ll have and admire for along time. I don’t even think that he realized I had bought one of her prints a few years ago off Fab, but really likes her work so in addition to the original, he also bought us a print of hers from art.com scaled to 30″x30″ earlier this year when there was a 30% off offer available (of course, today prints are 40% off so if you see something you want, jump on it). The larger print will be perfect for a number of walls in our home, but we’re still working on the frame and mat needs. You’ll see it eventually.
The colorful art in the lower frame, though not intended to complement Jaime’s print so well, is an marker drawing by Julia at age 7. When good kid art happens, it must be recognized, so as much as I want to collect a wonderful amount of professional prints and paintings while we live here, there’s no doubt when I’m through we’ll have a small gallery of drawings like that to balance things out.
Some year+ after purchasing what the salesperson told me was “the ugliest fabric [she] ever saw,” I figured out the magic recipe for getting things done, and that recipe is a late night peppermint mocha (thx, SB BOGO).
I bought the fabric in the dirt cheap clearance clear-out, and allow me to segue for a second while I comment on how I always find weird, odd fabrics in that sale section – patterns and textures that I’ve never seen in amongst even the most eccentric clothing-making or quilting fabrics. Where do they come from – some other region of the country? A second quality supplier looking to clear discount inventory? I don’t know, but it ain’t normal. And this fabric is nothing normal, but at the same time, it’s really wonderful.
As sure as I was that I’d never have found this fabric anywhere but the clearance rack, I was obsessed with it right from the get-go because it’s insanely soft like a cashmere sweater (rub-my-face-all-over-it soft), and patterned in a way reminiscent of something a little more exotic, moroccan meets ikat meets aztec or something that I’m not really sure how else to describe. At the time I bought it, we had just painted everything white and bought a fairly neutral gray couch, so adding color in accessories was one thing I had been focused on.
I always intended to make a few pillowcases out of it; I had guesstimated how much I’d need to cover 3 random 16″ square down inserts that had been squashed in a closet, and it turned out to be just enough.
I’ve made pillow cases in the past which have turned out pretty nicely, but I’m neither a seamstress, nor one to be able to teach you exactly how I whipped them together with correct sewing grammar. It involves a bit of trial + error + the ability to maintain your end vision of the thing as you sew every detail. Also, make the squares a little smaller than you think you need to, and your pillows will automatically be poofy, since they’ll be squashed into their cases. No chopping necessary, thank goodness, because chopping is annoying. I admittedly don’t follow any formal pattern, but I’ve toyed around with adding zippers to pillows enough now that it usually doesn’t turn out too badly. These zippers, actually, were ones that I salvaged from three felt pillowcases I made a few years ago, but later “retired” and disassembled at some point after they got irreversibly matted with dog fur. Short version: No tutorial, but they’re basic pillowcases with recycled zips.
In a room that demands a serious amount of furnishing, a few extra pillows do seem to go a long way. Make anything ugly lately?
Due to a well-timed partnership with Legrand last year, I had no good reason to put off making some upgrades to the electrical outlets and switches in the main living spaces of our home. There was obviously an economic benefit to the accepting of free product when I did, but I still had to do the rest of the house on my own dime. Our three bedrooms are the spaces which hung most in limbo over the spring and summer, but I finally checked it off my list, and think they turned out pretty awesome.
When you’re buying products from the Adorne line, it’s no different than picking out your switches and wall plates in the electrical aisle at the store. They’re just sexier. Initially I figured that I could save some money by buying non-Adorne outlets for the bedrooms since the furniture in the rooms covers about 75% of them, but the longer I thought about it, the more I realized that this was a one-time investment, and for consistency’s sake, it would be really lux and less choppy to take the same style product throughout.
The combinations that I picked out for our three bedrooms didn’t price out too badly, which is why I made this decision. The wall plates I chose for all of the outlets was the most basic gloss white product, a white face with a black contrasting backside at $5.50/each. There’s also a white-on-white product for a few cents more, but as all of the mirror white wall plates used in other rooms of our home have the black backside, I went for consistency.
The pluggy part of the outlet itself is a simple white 3-prong tamper resistant unit sold at $4.58/each, making the total cost for each of the 13 outlets I needed to buy just $10.08/each. Obviously, if you’re satisfied with a $0.39 duplex outlet and the $0.28 cover, you’re not going to be dancing around singing *woo, bargain!* but when you’re looking for something veering modern and out of the ordinary, I’m here to tell you the Adorne line can be obtained pretty easily.
(I stress the affordability angle because, for comparison’s sake, the switch and outlet plates used in the rest of the house from my previous partnership are mirror white at $34+ each. They are a different material, and they have a nickel frame. I can’t say that I favor the one above more or less than the one shown below because they’re both nice products and a good quality, but the “rich” effect is a bit more appreciated on wall switch plates since they’re always visible and being touched. Bottom line, if you’re going to splurge on Adorne, I’d focus on the switch wall plates, and use more basic covers on the outlets… but even the less expensive plates are great in their own way, if you use them throughout.)
Now, fingers crossed that the Adorne line doesn’t go extinct before we can buy switches and outlets for future bathroom and kitchen remodels. It would be ridiculous to just buy up as many products as I *think* I’d need now though, right?