Merry Christmas from the Rowlands!
Sending Christmas Cards might just be my favorite Christmas tradition. I love getting them in the mail from our family and friends and I love looking back at our past Christmas cards and seeing how much we’ve changed over the last few years. Ours this year includes our sweet little Violet. It also includes my hand-lettering again! See last year’s card, here.
Here are all the Christmas cards since we’ve been married! 2012, 2013, and 2014! All washi taped to our French doors along with the other cards we’ve been receiving. We’ve gotten several more since I took this picture and now almost the entire door is covered up.
Our tree looks pretty similar to last year, with just silver, gold, and white ornaments. I love using the beads we’ve caught at Mardi Gras parades here in New Orleans on our tree.
My favorite part of our simple Christmas decor is the sparkly, white, metal snowflakes we hang from the curtain rods in here. The closest thing to real snow we see here in New Orleans!
This year I also added some homemade Crochet Snowflakes to our tree.
I also finally bought a tree skirt as well! (The last few year’s I’ve just bunched up a quilt under the tree.) I bought this metallic gold fabric one while shopping with my sister and mother-in-law the day after Thanksgiving.
We also have a sweet little wooden nativity scene out this year. It was a Christmas gift last year from my mother-in-law.
Love my Lindsay Letters print of one of my favorite Christmas songs.
Of course, the most difficult part of this Christmas has been keeping this little kitty out of the tree! I’ve hung lemon slices along the bottom of the tree and we daily spray it down with orange citrus spray which helps, but she still gets in there. I didn’t put breakable ornaments on the tree this year, so I’m less worried about the tree and more worried about her unwrapping all the gifts. Eating paper is her favorite. So far, most of the gifts have a few bite marks and a few straightened bows, but only one gift has had the paper ripped off. Hopefully it stays that way!
Past Christmas Posts:
In the last couple weeks I’ve finished yet another project that has been on my to-do list for years: re-finishing Drew’s childhood dresser.
Here you can see what it looked like before. When Drew was younger a faux metal paint finish had been done to the front of the drawers. I painted over it as a temporary solution years ago until I had the chance to sand the entire thing down and completely refinish it. The top had some water damage (from a fish tank that had leaked) and the sides were just generally beat up from years of use.
I paint stripped the front of the drawers, sanded the entire thing down, gave it a good cleaning, applied a coat of wood conditioner, three coats of dark walnut stain, and three coats of satin polyurethane (same process I used here). The results are pretty gorgeous.
I think it turned out beautifully. I love the new crystal and brass knobs I found at Hobby Lobby (they were on sale, so I got all 8 for $20) and I think they accent the dresser perfectly.
So happy with the results and to have this project off my to-do list!
P.S. You can see that we also re-painted our bedroom walls this weekend too…
If you’ve been reading my monthly life re-cap posts, then you know that I’ve been talking about hanging a new gallery wall in the living room for months (seriously, I talked about it here, here, here and here.) The old gallery wall we had in there didn’t really have a lot of personality, I didn’t really like the frames, and it was a little too small for the size of the wall. I’ve wanted to change it out for a few years now, but I didn’t take the old frames down until this summer when we painted the living room. That wall has just been sitting empty for the last few months, until now:
Sorry for all the glares on the frames. There is a wall of windows opposite these, so getting shots without a glare is impossible! I’m really happy with how this turned out though. I think it is so much more interesting and meaningful now.
“I love you” print hand-lettered by me, my favorite vintage photo of my grandparents, one of my first surface pattern designs (!!!), a test sheet out of my watercolor sketchbook (that one will probably change eventually, I just put that in for now), an elephant print that reminds me of my Mamaw (she collected little elephant figurines and that print reminds me of a shirt she used to wear), “Yours Sincerely,” painting I did a few years ago, my favorite picture of my sisters/nieces/nephew that I took when we were in Puerto Rico (with a stray cat), “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a gold skeleton key that opened my childhood bedroom door (and was the official key for our secret club), a photo I took of my childhood front yard when I was home for my Papaw’s funeral last Spring, and my final drawing for the first art class I ever took at Tulane.
I also love the more neutral color palette of this gallery wall. I love the gold/wood/white frames and the black and white photos and prints. Now let’s just all imagine that couch is really a deep grey, clean lined, velvet sectional…
Meanwhile, Violet is all like, “Ma, we all know who the real attraction in this room is…”
One of the things I learned in art school is that, as a creative professional, it is important to surround yourself with work (specifically by other artists/creative persons) that inspires you. Your work becomes better by looking at other artist’s work and thinking through their processes, studying their compositions, color combinations, flow, brush marks, lines, movement, etc. I love using Pinterest and Instagram to follow and pin work of artists I love, but I find that it is most helpful to have that inspiration close at hand (in physical rather than digital form) in my studio/office space.
When I was in college, I turned an old thrift store ornate frame I had into a inspiration board (see here in my Tulane studio and again here, here, and here in my home studio). I loved having my inspirations close by, but it was a really small surface area and I was constantly having to pick my favorites to put on it. For a while I’ve wanted to build something a little bigger than that, but I just hadn’t decided on what. Should this one be another fabric-covered cork board or should I look into a large piece of metal to make a magnetic one? I was talking through my ideas with Drew one evening and he was all like, “Don’t you have a bunch of washi tape? Why don’t you just tape them to the wall?” Well hello, genius!
I had an empty wall in my studio just sitting there waiting for all these beautiful photos!
Washi tape is great for this because it holds the images up nicely, but is also easily removable without damaging any walls. I love that the tape can add a little extra color/pattern to it all as well.
My placement got a little crooked but I don’t care. That is the imperfect beauty of it. The only bad part is that the only wall space I had for this was next to my desk area, which is across the room from my painting studio area. I wish I could have these right next to me when I paint, instead of across the room, but this solution is still better than what I had before. Plus, I still have extra space to expand with more inspiration in the future. No more having to pick favorites!
Aren’t all of these pieces just gorgeous? I have a few paintings and prints by these artists, but I wish I could buy them all!
Since there are so many images, it is too hard to list sources in a clearly labeled and legible way on here, so if you want to know what artist a particular painting on here is by, check out my “art” board on Pinterest, which includes the photos and links to the artists, or comment about which one you are wondering about and I’ll give you the info. They are all fabulous artists so go check out their websites and follow them on Instagram or through their blogs!
What inspires you? What are your favorite artists?
P.S. These inspiration images are for inspiration only! Never copy another artist’s work and make sure you keep track of the artists that you are inspired by to give them proper credit.
This Summer was the Summer I finally said “enough” to the living room paint color. I’ve wanted to paint the walls in our living room for years (I didn’t like the color and they were splotchy from being touched up with color matched paint that wasn’t perfect), but for one reason or another, had never gotten around to it. Finally, I not only painted the living room, but I finally painted the French doors in there (red isn’t my color of choice), and the foyer/dining room as well! It was a productive Summer for painting rooms!
It seems like August is the time to work on projects in the living room for me. Last August, I added the Teal/Turquoise pillows in there, the August before that I added the photo gallery wall above the couch (which I’ve since taken down and plan to re-do soon), and the August before that, we re-arranged the space and added the Drop Cloth Curtains and TV stand (the curtains I just replaced this Summer).
Here is a little tour of our foyer/dining room & living room now:
We still LOVE the plant/console table we built ourselves (one of our favorite things in the house!). Curtains are from Pottery Barn Teen, which I love, but I’m a little disappointed in them. They weren’t cheap (they were my Valentine’s Day present one year, lol!) and they’ve faded quite a bit, especially in certain spots. Dining room table is from the Nashville flea market, dining chairs are vintage, rug and baskets on the console table are from Target, milk glass bowl, old Reader’s Digest books, small white cabinet were thrifted, wood stump was the cake stand at our wedding, black lamp was given to us by Drew’s mom and then I gave it a makeover, Self-Portrait woodcut and small abstracts are done by me, the glass jar candles on the table and console are from our wedding, door wreath I made, and gold plant pot is from Home Depot that I painted gold.
I really love how the color on the walls came out in here. It’s a nice taupe-y grey (Smoked Oyster by Valspar in a Satin finish). It’s two shades darker on the same paint swatch card as the color in the living room, so they tie in well together. All the windows in this room really play well into having a slightly darker color on the walls. I love how it makes the art and trim pop.
I’m so happy that the entire house isn’t painted the same fleshy-red-tan color anymore!
I finally replaced our Drop Cloth Drapes with some simple white curtains (I made these out of white twin bed sheets I ordered online for super cheap!) I love how the white brightens the room up! I was tired of the dull tan of the drop cloths and the seam down the middle of them always bothered me. They served us well for several years though!
I LOVE the French doors in black. I think they make such a pretty and dramatic statement. I love that they are a neutral color that allows my art and accessories to really shine. I didn’t love the red before because I don’t use the color red very often and I felt like they didn’t go with the rest of our house.
Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, white bookcase is from IKEA, painting above loveseat was a wedding gift from my sister and her husband (by New Orleans artist Adam Hall), big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), light blue pedestal side table next to loveseat is from Nadeau in New Orleans, cream and white damask throw, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), remote box, and wooden @ symbol from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!), 8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), wooden ladder and quilts were thrifted, beads are from Mardi Gras parades, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), small pink table is from Target, and the abstract paintings and ceramic artichoke were made by me.
The coffee table/bench is also new! When my childhood best friend, Tonya, and her husband, Peter, were visiting New Orleans this Summer, we spent one evening in the French Quarter eating and walking in antique shops before heading to the Frenchmen Art Market and to listen to some music on Frenchmen Street. In one of the little shops we walked into, I found this wooden table base (without a top) and we bought it for $30. I cleaned it up and rubbed it down with some coconut oil, and Drew and I made a tufted table/bench top for it out of wood, foam, linen fabric and fabric covered buttons. It was an exhausting project (much more so than I had expected), but I’m pleased with how it turned out!
The wall color in here is Asiago by Valspar in a Satin finish. I wanted something that was almost white, but had a soft white creaminess to it (to go with the trim that looks white, but is really pretty creamy-off-white). I love how this color turned out. It brightens up this room and I think it is really going to look great with the new gallery wall I have planned for above the sofa! I really love how it looks with the black French doors (I’m loving the high contrast of black and white these days) and the color in the foyer/dining room too.
Last, but not least, this photo is of the small little hallway at the back of the house (right off the long hallway that spans down most of our apartment). It leads to the bathroom and our bedroom. We painted it Semi-Sweet by Valspar (also in a Satin finish) this Summer as well. I think it looks great! Dark and moody and works so well with all the white trim and the fact that the bathroom right next to it is full of white tile, white walls, white sink/toilet/tub, etc. The art in the white frames pop off this wall so perfectly! It makes this little space feel more like a “room” and less of just a pass-through space.
I’m so happy that after 3 1/2 years of living in this apartment, we have finally painted some walls! Only $30 for a gallon of paint and a few hours of time, I don’t know why I put it off for so long!