The Peanut Gallery

Well, not a Peanut Gallery in the usual sense. It’s more of a peanut-sized gallery, fit for a NYC shoebox apartment.

Once we settled in the apartment and hung our artwork on the walls, it became very clear that we had some pretty large empty spots to fill. Now, I know I spoke earlier about keeping things “simple” and having spaces were your eyes can rest, but my eyes were overly rested – they were bored.

One area in particular needed my attention. As we sat in the living room and faced the television (which is pretty much the only way we ever faced in that room – let’s be real), we had a chunk of wall that was highlighted by the morning sunshine, and was begging for me to fill it in.

I looked everywhere for a photo of this empty wall, but apparently its emptiness made it unconsciously unworthy of a photo. This photo is from moving weekend, but it shows the way the sunshine taunted me highlighted our lack of artwork every morning.

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After spending too much time on Pinterest, the “gallery wall” kept popping up in my feed as something everyone was trying, and it seemed like a perfect solution to my problem. I was happy to jump on the bandwagon.

The only problem was, I didn’t have any frames.

The only framed pieces of artwork in our living room were some matted images of NYC that my mom no longer needed. They were black and white photos, matted in white and framed in simple black frames. These set the tone for the rest of the frames I needed to find.

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The balance of this arrangement was driving me nuts, but as always, it was a work in progress.

Here are a few examples of what i was hoping to accomplish:

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Source: Project Home

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Source: Made by Girl

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Source: Pinterest

I shopped online at IKEA, Target, and Kmart, hoping to find the perfect assortment of frames for the right price, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay 50 dollars or more for my gallery project. Luckily, Mom stepped in and saved me from throwing my money away.

I think I may have mentioned before that my mom is a master thrift shop treasure hunter, if not…just take my word for it. She’s unbelievable. Mom promised to keep her eyes peeled for black and white frames with white mats and she encouraged me to check the thrift stores in NYC.

I was far less than successful than she was, and by Christmas she had a stack of black frames waiting for me! The most amazing part was the ridiculously low prices that were still marked on each frame! I think her biggest splurge was 1.50 for an 11×14 frame! I couldn’t wait to get take these guys home and get them up!

When I got home with my frames, I realized that I didn’t really have anything to put inside them. I knew I wanted the overall theme to be black and white, but I hadn’t thought about collecting any interesting artwork.

A normal person would have waited patiently to acquire the perfect pieces that truly spoke to them, but I’m not always the most patient (or normal) when it comes to decorating. Besides, we were throwing a New Year’s Eve Party at our apartment and I wanted that wall to have ART!

I laid out the frames from Mom and moved them around on the floor until I was happy with the balance. I also grabbed a sign from our wedding that was in hiding in a drawer. It wasn’t my favorite assortment, but it was better than nothing!

Gallery Layout

Six frames felt like a lot when I was carrying them home on the plane, but after laying them out – I knew I’d continue searching for more (and I hoped Mom would too).

Now to fill them.

I knew the center one would hold my favorite wedding photo in black and white. I had an 8×10 printed at Duane Reade and found a white mat at Michael’s.

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Photo Credit: A Day of Bliss

But as for the rest of the frames…I was scrounging.

 I’d seen a few ideas on Pinterest that I’d been wanting to try so I went hunting for my inspiration.

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Source: Country Living

I thought this was a really clever idea for out-of-town guests, and although Country Living says it is a “Guest Room Essential” my living room is basically my “Guest Room” so I figured it could work as wall art in my gallery. When I came across this image, I was all set:

I didn’t want the words to take up the entire frame, so I sized it down and added a DIY matte created from my scrapbook paper stash. (Which essentially meant attempting to fold but not crease the paper in half, then cutting out a rectangle from the middle – a lot like cutting out a heart when you were little). It worked alright, and considering that it is one of the only original items left in the “gallery” – I’d say I’m happy with it.

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You can either dry erase marker your password in (if you change it frequently) or type it in before printing. Ours is typed, but blocked out since we aren’t extremely creative with passwords around here.

You can also see where I folded my DIY matte. There is usually so much sun coming through the window you can’t notice the imperfection, and truthfully I don’t mind that everyone knows I made it myself anyway.

Four frames to go!

The Pinterest photo below gave me inspiration for filling another frame with a wedding invitation we’d just received. One of my best friends worked hard to self-address her entire batch of wedding invitations with the most beautiful calligraphy. I couldn’t bear to throw the envelope away and I realized this was the perfect opportunity to celebrate her hard work and beautiful hand writing (along with the address of the first apartment my husband and I owned together).

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I searched for a black and white background on Pinterest and found a cute herringbone design to print as the background. Here’s the final product:

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At this point, I was running seriously low on time. Whether it was because my husband was coming home (and I prefer all projects to be in a finished state before he views them) or because I needed to start cleaning for the party, I rushed through the last three frames throwing in a random quatrefoil background image from Pinterest, a feeble attempt at graphic word art, and chalkboard image I’d printed out months earlier at Kinkos.

The award for Cell Phone Photographer of the Year goes to…

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Yep. That is a downright horrendous photo. The “interesting” lighting is brought to you by Christmas lights alone (perfect for photography) and my android really captured the details of my hard work, don’t you think? Wow, that’s pretty embarrassing. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t plan on blogging about your adventures and you are left to hunt through old cell phone photos for project progress.

You know what? I can’t stand that being the last photo of this post. I’m giving you a peek of what it looks like today, and I’ll update you on how all that came about later.

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And just in case you were worried about the balance of the other black and white frames in the room, a wedding present saved the day and gave us the perfect piece to even out that little “gallery.”

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Ah, balance and symmetry on either side of the television.

Now, I can watch TV in peace.

One thought on “The Peanut Gallery

  1. Pingback: That’s a Wrap | Tickled in NYC

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