Brave New Home

creating authenticity where it matters most


Fling: Oversized Animal Art

fling  (flng) noun: a short period of unrestrained pursuit of one’s wishes or desires.

Lately, I’m really feeling large, over sized, black and white animal art.  They’re such a statement!  Here are a few of my favorites:









couch with oversized animal artI think the spot above our love sofa would be a perfect candidate for a large black and white animal print!  Doesn’t this lama just make you smile : ]  I think a large animal print in conjunction with the cowhide rug in our living room might be animal overload though.  It’d be neat to snap a photo of an animal and have it printed as an engineer print (you know, those really large black and white posters you can have printed at Kinko’s).

How do you feel about animal prints?  Yay or neighhhh?  Hehe.  I think this may be the only way my husband let’s me bring another animal into our home :P

dark grey jennifer at brave new home signature


Is Art Art?

If you know where that quote comes from, you may be a child of the ’80s : ]  (By the way, it was said by Lisa on Saved By the Bell).

After my first two attempts at creating a diptic, I took a more structured approach to creating a painting for our living room by creating a board of large scale art.  Only what I ended up creating looked nothing like anything I had pinned.  I wanted lots of color and total abstraction and ended up with just the opposite: a two-tone highly geometric piece.  Sometimes you just end up doing what you want to do.
diptic tapedI taped off a square leaving additional room towards the bottom edge (it gives more visual rest) and painted the inside white.  White on off-white, things are starting to get exciting here.diptic templateI created a pattern with the intent to tape it onto the back, shine a light through, and trace directly on the canvas. Only after, hrm, five or so coats of paint, light is not getting through.  So I penciled the lines, flipped it onto my canvas, and gave it a rub.  I know there’s a technique for using tape to create lines (particularly for chevron stripes) but I never quite like the look; I prefer to just free-hand it.IMG_60602On to the second canvas.  I love going through Anak’s camera to see what he found camera worthy.  On that day, apparently it was me painting :]  Warms my little heart.diptic too saturatedIf you’ll notice, the lower half has two coats of gold paint and the look is a bit heavy.  I actually liked having the paint strokes visible.diptic nail polish removerSo I tried removing a layer with nail polish remover hoping the strokes would come through.diptic with white paintBut they didn’t so I added some more white paint then another light coat of gold paint.diptic finished frontHere they are together.  And there’s my floor lamp that I picked up from the swap meet on the same trip as finding my canvases.  The lamp was $5 (working bulb included!) and the trapezoidal lampshade I picked up from Target for $12 and spray painted it black.diptic finished sideI think getting those pillow covers will add some nice color (finally).gallery lightOh, and I left this combo out as a little hint to The Hubs to please find a way to mount the art lamp above my diptic only I think he thought I was leaving my stuff lying around all over the place…as usual…

Linked to Home Stories A to Z, Our Fifth House, Lines Across, Emily A. Clark, This, That & Life.

Have you ever purchased original art for your home?  Or do you stick to making it yourself?


Third Times the Charm, Right?

I really hope so cause I’ve just about run out of white paint trying to (re-re)finish my painting!  Lemme back up a bit.      swap meet findsYou may recall when I was reflecting on the progress of my living room, that I wanted to incorporate more second hand finds.  I had asked The Hubs to make a giant stretcher board for me to create a canvas above the sofa but I came across these two 3’x3′ paintings at the swap meet and they seemed like a good deal (that, and I’m impatient—The Hubs is still away for several more weeks).  I haggled them down to $25 for the pair with the intent to use them together as a diptic.  Hard to make your own canvases with frames for cheaper than that!  removed staplesI pulled out the staples securing the canvases to their frames giving myself a blister in the process.  These things were legit!  airing out canvasesAfter giving the canvases and frames a wipe down with my go-to concoction (a mixture of white vinegar, water, soap, and lemon juice), I let them dry overnight.  The next day I realized they must have been housed in a smoker’s home so I took them outside, frebeezied them (another one of my homemade concoctions), and left them out overnight.   Then repeated the whole process two or three more times, it was that bad.  diptic layer oneI gave them a yellow tone and added some white texture.  I left it alone for a bit and thought about stopping right there.  They were pretty but I knew I wanted more color.diptic layer twoSo the next night I added another layer.diptic layer three The next night another. diptic layer fourThen another.  By then I knew it just wasn’t happening.  I should have known by the very first yellow tone.  The yellow was too rich when really I just wanted a warm white.  And I was incorporating too many painting techniques.  It was a mess and I didn’t know how to fix it.  So I started over.diptic white and greyAnd came up with this.  I also quite liked it but it wasn’t what I was going for (not that I knew what I was going for but whatever it was, this wasn’t it).diptic greySo I gave the boards a fresh coat of white with a greige undertone that I’m pretty happy with.

Creating art for a living space is a bit different than just creating art for the sake of art.  I kept standing back and thinking, Is this what I want to be looking at every day?  Will this go with the rest of the decor?  If I was just creating art, I would have pressed on or called it a day and added the piece to my portfolio.  But this is a bit different.

So I’m going to comb through more images and figure out what I’m trying to create and then pick one or two painting techniques and stick to them.

Have you created art for your home?  Do you have a abstract painting technique that works for you?


DIY: Suspended Post Card Art

Psst: Check out the Free Custom Mood Board Giveaway post for an update of who won.suspended_postcard_in_frame_textHere’s another little no-cost project I created while watching an episode of Portlandia (season 2 is on Netflix, w00t w00t!).living_room_makeover_phase_1_couchWell, those blank stretcher boards (that were supposed to inspire me to cover them with fabric) have been hanging above our couch for months and months now (maybe eight months plus?).  Using them to hang our stockings at Christmas gave me the idea that it might be worthwhile to try hanging something in there during the interim.  The interim of what?  Well, now until I suddenly become overcome with inspiration!  And apparently that can takes months and months.suspended_postcard_in_frame_suppliesI pulled out some postcards from my travels, some jute string (man, I love that stuff!  I am earmarking it as a permanent fixture in my decorating arsenal), glue and mini-clothes pin (a buy from years and years ago because they were just so darn cute and itty bitty!).  Simply tie a knot to one end, hot glue a clothespin on, repeat on other end, insert postcard and voila!

Here’s what I came up with:suspended_postcard_in_frame_above_couchAnd some close-ups of the individual postcards:suspended_postcard_in_frame_3Salzburg, Austria.suspended_postcard_in_frame_4Somewhere in Thailand, I wanna say Bangkok.suspended_postcard_in_frame_2And Singapore.suspended_postcard_in_frame_1When I used to backpack around pre-Anak (I can’t conceive of living out of a backpack for six weeks while toting a toddler, the days of backpacking are long gone!) the only thing I would be able to pick up during my travels were postcards because they took up so little space.  Needless to say, they’re all very special to me.  However, on a permanent basis I would like to incorporate something that has meaning to all of us since it is the “family” room after all : ]covered_ac_unitAh, and can you spot my newest update?  I sorta hope not cause the whole point was to camouflage what was there!  Christine gave me the idea to do something to conceal our AC unit.  We literally use it less than two weeks of the year so I was comfortable simply putting something over it that could easily be removed when we want to turn it on.  We got some great cardboard boxes as a byproduct of Christmas (do you still get excited over those, too?) so I fitted one to our AC unit and painted it white.  There’s something therapeutic about painting cardboard.  I wish every surface could be that easy!  For comparison, here’s the before:living_room_makeover_phase_1_full_viewLinked to Lines Across, Making the World Cuter, Mad in Crafts, Sarahndipties, DIY Home Sweet Home, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Project Inspire, Craft-O-Maniac, Keeping It Simple, Homemade Ginger, DIY Showoff, The Gunny Sack, The Blackberry Vine, Hope Studios, Crafty Confessions, Him & Her, New Nostalgia, Elizabeth & Co., Giggles Glitz & Glam, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Clean and Scentsible, Not Just a Housewife.

Have you thought of any creative ways to display your travel trinkets?