Blueprint frame

Last week Anna of THE house blog Door Sixteen blogged about this great idea for dealing with posters that are just too big to frame: binder clips and simple strips of pine wood.

And while I don’t have any wall-sized pictures of Morrissey to frame*, I do have a giant blueprint!

I’ve talked about this thing before, but for the unfamiliar it’s drawing of the Fisher Fine Art Library, which is an awesome Frank Furness building on Penn’s campus. This is not a Frank Furness drawing. It was yanked out of the trash years ago by an old boss of mine when the architects who shared office space near us vacated. I think my boss, too, was flummoxed by the framing question — the blueprint is 45″ wide and in pretty lousy condition, so Anna’s quote of $1000+ to have a professional tackle a mounting and framing project is probably similar to what my boss would have faced.

So she didn’t mind passing it along to me. Hooray!

I’ve had it hanging with some bulldog clips for years, but the addition of the wood strips helps make this cheap display solution look more polished. And for this piece, which was probably stored rolled-up for a good long while, it also helps keep the edges for curling.

You can find your wood (hush) in the molding section of your local hardware store. I got two 7′ sections of pine for about $12, and I have enough left over to “frame” the cocktail poster if I feel like it.


While I was puttering around in the craft room today, I also threw Frida into a frame:

Things are really starting to look less like a pile of collected randomness and more like a home around here, I do declare.


*Honestly, my tolerance for Morrissey’s voice is rather low. I know. I know. I’m a bad person. The Smiths are amazing. But you know how occasionally he does that thing where he just oscillates between two notes, for, like, impossibly long periods of time and it evokes in you this deep, powerful anger and suddenly you’re screaming at the radio JUST GET TO ANOTHER NOTE ANY OTHER NOTE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY I BEG YOU PLEASE? Yeah.

Laugh Hysterically

Just a few minor updates around the house. Now that the temperature in Philly has reached egg frying on the pavement IN HELL levels, I had to do something about the sad state of my air conditioning. I possessed a very underpowered window unit for my bedroom and had been dreaming of replacing it for years. But when I mentioned it to my father, he pointed to this beast lying unused in his office:

Fancy. Chilly. The only issue was that this machine pumps the water it pulls from the air into a polymer tube, which relies on gravity to drain. Translation: I had to find some way to feed this pipe down a story. I couldn’t just throw it out the window and be done with it.

This was dismaying; I did not want to drill any (more) holes in my floors/walls/etc. But then I had my stoke of genius:

POW! Okay, not the prettiest thing in the world, I’ll grant you that. But when your bedroom reaches 90-degrees plus, you do whatcha gotta do. Like feed a giant tube behind your dresser, through your closet, down your fireplace flue and into a strategically hidden bucket.


There’s more art to blog about, of course, because there always is. On the suggestion of my typography professor and because I’ve been a bit down lately, I took myself on a solo date to the ICA for the Stefan Sagmeister Happy Show. Here are some terrible cell phone pictures:

When you press the button, you get a card with a little happiness tip. Mine said this:

Regardless of whether I was actually going to laugh hysterically in the middle of 36th street, I decided the card was a good thing to keep around, so I threw it in this tiny thrift store frame:

The bear does the laughing for us both.

And one more addition: I tweeted a while back that I finally broke down and bought the best poster in the world, and after weeks of waiting for shipping from Germany it is here.

The party is officially at my place.

Insects and Antlers

Oh hey! I’m still here. Due to some good old fashioned personal chaos I don’t have much in the way of renovation progress to report, but the Port Richmond Museum of Printmaking and Natural Sciences continues to make acquisitions, and I wanted to show you a few of them.

I figured April was as good a time as any to finally get around to hanging my 2012 calendar.

I never intended to use a wall calendar in any functional way, so I suppose I don’t have to feel too badly for hanging it this late. I’m just a sucker for a beautiful print. And this one, featuring the constellations of the northern hemisphere in silver ink on blueprint blue, certainly qualifies. It’s from the Etsy store littlebrightstudio.

Next to it is an admittedly quirky piece by Grow House Grow, a studio that wound up in my bookmarks folder when it was featured on Design*Sponge a few years back. This is a cropped sample of their Ms. Ward wallpaper, inspired by the 19th century Irish illustrator and entomologist Mary Ward.

I latched on to this particular print because it reminds me so much of my mother, who loved nothing more than to be outdoors photographing and collecting samples of the local creepy crawlies. When my siblings and I were young, she catalog ordered a few praying mantis oothecae — an appropriately icky-sounding word for their egg cases — and from then on, searching for baby mantids in the bushes was a normal family pastime. We named them. We caught yellow jackets and fed them to the adults. We squealed when we spotted one eating another. When the weather got chilly, we took in a big green female we named Lady and kept her as a pet.

As nightmarish as they appear, I’ll always have a soft spot for praying mantids.

But there are mammals here, too. I won this cute little woodcut print at a raffle:

He’s from local artist Kristen Solecki. I like his attitude.

I also spent the winter being mildly obsessed with antlers, after reading that deer shed them in January and regrow them in the spring. I was determined to find some sheds on our weekly family hikes. The weather has been so warm that we have indeed hiked all winter, but sheds proved elusive. I did get this guy, though:

If you can’t find the real thing, get a laser-cut cardboard approximation! This is a buck from Cardboard Safari. He came flatpacked and my brother and assembled him.

But wait, what is this on the cabinet beneath him?

Finally, after three months of keeping my eyes glued to the ground, my (I think endearing, others probably disagree) obsessiveness paid off and I spotted this little shed hidden in some dead undergrowth. It’s a bit gnawed on since it had been sitting around; rodents use these things as sources of calcium in the lean months. But I don’t mind, of course. Nothing is too strange for the Port Richmond Museum of Printmaking and Natural Sciences. And nothing is too dirty for me to pick it up off the ground.

Also, this is happening:

It would be difficult to be down in the dumps when the view out of your bedroom window is this candy-colored explosion. Here’s to spring.

In the last six months or so I’ve been putting together a little collection of artwork for my house. I blogged about a few of the prints before, but the collection has grown again and I just got around to hanging all of the pieces this weekend. On actual walls!

I’ll be working on a lot of house projects this month since I’m hosting my first-ever party on New Year’s Eve. And you’re coming, right? And you won’t care if I don’t own rugs, or serving platters, or holiday garland. Right?

Back to the art. I thought about putting a salon-style collection of prints with gold frames right above my couch. I even had them arranged on the floor in the exact pattern I wanted. But when I placed the first piece on the wall, it looked so good on its own that I scrapped my plans and left it alone.

In decorating as in art, editing is key. Print by Kate VanVliet. It’s an image made from soaked tea bags!

The rest of the prints were rearranged and moved to another wall:

Prints (clockwise) by Melanie Linder, Margaux McAllister, Amy Walsh, and Tory Franklin. Sculpture by me.

Margaux’s piece is actually on a notecard that someone named Laura gave me to me, telling me to have a great semester sometime in 2005. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember who Laura was. If she’s you, thank you very much for the card and I love the image.

The gold frames all came to me through thrift stores — I know they’re kinda kitschy, but I like the way they look in groupings.

And we can’t leave out Nicole Cook, whose woodcut is now in the bathroom due to a lack of gold frameage:

I know it’s really hard to see the details in this piece unless you’re right up close to it, but trust me, it brings the awesomeness. See for yourself by coming to my New Year’s party! RSVP on Facebook, or send me an email if we’re not Facebook pals.

I’m feeling motivated to start making artwork again. Look, I even changed the name of the blog!

One thing that’s helping is that I’ve been spending more time checking out other people’s work (and blogs!), and collecting a couple of pieces to hang up around the house. I’m feeling drawn to cheerful prints with a folksy feel — something far away from the “my work is cutting edge and super-serious” vibe of art school. I think these prints are helping to shift my sour attitude.

From top left, clockwise: Melanie Linder, Amy Walsh, and Tory Franklin. Check out their Etsy stores for many more fun pieces.

What I’d really like, though, is some work from my friends to expand the collection. Do you have a print, drawing or painting you can part with? Or a small sculpture? Drop me a line. I can provide a little drinking money in exchange. ;)