I’m so Fancy – the Art Wall. Experience 56.

A friend’s Facebook posts about 20×200 and the site’s images of hip zippy art walls inspired me to tackle the blank hallway wall that has been mocking me since I moved into my place four years ago.

An art wall! It will be fun! It will be easy! I can do it on the cheap! It will be fancy!

Using a canvas painted by my Great Grandmother Sinback as the focal point,


I found three complementary prints from 20×200 (Art! Really pretty affordable!).

art wall.pelicanart wall.blueart wall.stairs

Over the next several months I bought frames, I bought some IKEA prints, I bought some IKEA frames (on the cheap!). I tested out prints in various frames and one of the IKEA frames fell apart (maybe just cheap!). I returned that frame, I bought another one. I decided to swap art around in the frames I had. I bought a couple of photographs at an arts festival (“Would you like the version with them already framed asked the artist?” “That’s crazy expensive!” I said, eyeing the price tag, and wondering “how much can it cost to frame something?” Note: This will become important later.).

I bought more frames, I returned those frames, I bought other frames. I discovered some prints that I’ve had for years that never made it to my walls. I decided not to use some of the IKEA prints and frames I had purchased. I discovered that I needed to buy one more frame for a print that I’ve had for years that was in a frame that did not coordinate.

I finally had all the art and all the frames ready to go except for Grandmother Sinback’s painting, which needed to be framed. Off to Michael’s I went (“I will get Grandmother Sinback’s painting framed on the cheap!”).

I first thought I would price framing a larger painting of Grandmother Sinback’s for a different wall (I was at Michael’s! I would get things framed on the cheap!). They were having a 65% off framing sale (exciting!). I spent a lot (A LOT) of time with a very friendly framing consultant, considering frames, and mats, other mats, and borders for between mats. Finally, we settled on a beautiful framing arrangement and the friendly framing consultant pushed the button that would calculate my estimate. It was … over FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS (NOT on the cheap). I gasped in horror. I told the clerk I did not need/want glass. The no glass estimate was still very high. I told the clerk I would not be getting the large painting framed that day.

I decided to price framing the smaller painting anyway, since the completion of my art wall hung in the balance. The (now somewhat less) friendly framing clerk showed me some options (notably fewer than before) and gave me a (less expensive, but more expensive than I would have liked) estimate. I paid the (holy cow framing is EXPENSIVE) fee then learned that it would be another THREE weeks before I could pick up my custom-framed artwork.

I waited three weeks.

I picked up my custom-framed artwork.

I arranged my art on the floor. I then contemplated how to move the art from the floor to the wall. I measured. I measured more. I taped a tape measure to the wall (don’t ask). I remembered that I suck at math. I gave up on math and decided to wing it. I began hammering nails and hooks into the wall. I hammered more nails and hooks into the wall. I pulled nails and hooks out of the wall and hammered them in again. In some instances I did that a couple of times. One of the discovered/older frame/prints threatened to fall apart. I attempted to keep it together. I drove pliers into my finger tips once, twice (two times too many) until I deemed it together enough.

I hung art on the wall, then took it down while I hammered the next nails and hooks in (two frames, three frames, four frames, more frames at a time! Ah ha ha ha) . I did this over and over again until finally, FINALLY!, all of the frames were hung (just a couple of hours later!).

And now. NOW! I have an art wall!

It was (sometimes and sometimes not) fun! It was (probably not what you can call) easy! It was (decidedly not) on the cheap!

It is, however, (sort of) fancy.

art wall

Even when tutus are involved, Flash is the coolest super hero. Fact. Experiences 53-54.

It was only a matter of time. When tutu-gate recently sparked intense debate over, among other things, who would and would not run a race wearing a tutu, I thought to myself, “I would. I would totally wear a tutu.”

Enter LoziLu, an all-women’s mud run, and repeat partners-in-crime, Katie and Briana.

LoziLu was my seventh mud/obstacle race (two Warrior Dashes, a Rebel Race, two Down n’ Dirtys, and a Tough Mudder), but the first event that I ran in costume.

Yes, my costume involved a tutu, but not just a tutu. A tutu-wearing super hero, which is so.much.better. Obviously.

After considering the finest graphic superhero Ts that Target had to offer, I settled on Green Lantern (Katie chose Superman; Briana, the Flash). Continue reading

Run, Pussykat, Run! Experience … wait for it … 50! Fiddy! 50!

This year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival – an annual cultural celebration during the weeks leading up to July 4th – featured China and Kenya. Along with the traditional food, music, arts, and crafts, the Kenyan exhibit offered daily fun runs with Kenyan runners.

How often do you get to run with a Kenyan Olympian? Exactly.

The festival and runs took place on the National Mall, which is conveniently located just steps from my office. Which also meant that, for a mid-morning work-day run I needed to recruit a partner-in-crime from outside my usual pool of suspects. I enthusiastically recruited co-worker and sometime running buddy, Peter. Who in turn recruited another co-worker, Greg (who runs so fast that he seems like a Kenyan to me). The three of us met on a fine sunny and hot Tuesday morning at the designated festival corner. And waited. And commented on how the festival was suspiciously empty.

Continue reading

How I refinished my childhood dresser: a story just 7 years in the making. Experience 48.

Once upon a time a little girl had a dresser. That dresser was green, but the little girl wanted it to be a bright garish shade of yellow, the better to match her bright floral wallpaper (hey, it was the seventies). So a bright garish yellow dresser she had. Only, sadly, the yellow was a shade too far (in more ways than one) and the drawers got stuck in the dresser. A lot. So when the girl grew a little older and went off into the world she left the garish yellow sticky-drawered dresser behind. Who wants sticky drawers out in the world, after all?

But that wasn’t the end of the dresser. No, after a number of years the girl and her mother hatched a plan to refinish the dresser. To strip it down and make it pretty again! They would be green! They would be sustainable! This before it became a trend. The girl and her mother were ahead of their time. Continue reading

The Happy Place. Experience 47.

For the second Friday in a row, I rose at o-dark-hundred. This time instead of running for two hours before work, I volunteered at the Central United Methodist Church’s A-SPAN Ministry to the Homeless. A-SPAN, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, provides a variety of services to the homeless in Arlington, VA. CUMC helps out by, among other things, providing a hot meal one morning a week. The breakfast offers a brief refuge as well as a place for A-SPAN to connect with Arlington’s homeless and get them much-needed services.

My partner-in-crime was Amanda, co-worker, friend, birthday girl, and volunteer
extraordinaire. Continue reading

Dragons on the Chesapeake – Experiences 43-46

My latest adventures took me to Chesapeake Beach and North Beach, MD, two lovely little towns on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay, just an hour from the DC area, give-or-take (more if you essentially make a U-turn when you’re 10 miles from the beach then drive almost half way back to DC before you realize what you’ve done. I’ll let you guess how I came by that fine morsel of knowledge). Illustrious partners-in-crime Charlie and Anne bought a house there a few years ago and my promises to visit (read: self-invites) had yet to pan out when the prospect of a weekend full of new experiences finally tipped the
scales. Continue reading

My Sweet New (Free!) Bike Bell – Experience 42.

What?! Two blog posts in one day?!

Just a quick one, to share my delight in my recent acquisition of a free! bell for my bicycle.

I was nearing the end of a nice long run on a local running and biking trail on Saturday when I passed group manning a table offering up free bicycle bells. Only if you had a bike, mind you.

I’ve never had a bike bell. I know! I can’t believe it either.

You know I like free.

Continue reading