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The Postcard Wall

January 6th, 2011

During our recent visit to see Mike and Liz in Kansas City, I noticed that they had started a postcard wall in their kitchen.  You might remember that Liz’s folks back in England also had a postcard wall in their kitchen.  With five daughters who all love to travel, you can see that Liz’s mum’s kitchen wall is very full.

I think that a postcard wall is a fabulous decorating idea!  It’s not only an interesting, colorful, conversation piece, it is also very cheap!  Heck!  The people sending you the cards are paying for it!

Of course there are a few problems with getting a postcard wall started…

1.  You have to know people who travel.

2.  Those traveling people must like you well enough to go to the considerable trouble to send you a postcard in the midst of their trip.

3.  I guess you could send postcards to yourself when you travel which in some ways is even more interesting.

4.  You could also pay people to send you a card or at least send the postage stamp along with them alleviating some of the trouble involved.  This also gives you the advantage of hurt feelings when they fail to send you the card followed by a subsequent guilt trip from which no postcard will ever be sent – but it does improve the odds of receiving a postcard from their next trip. 

5.  You could also rely on your considerable charm to manipulate people into sending you a postcard from their trip. 

Whichever!  As long as you get a postcard wall, who cares how it is done?

I think I am going to have to start one myself.

Speaking of great movies…

Remember the scene in On Golden Pond, when Ethel Thayer is making strawberry shortcake in the kitchen and behind her is a wall full of postcards… or were they photos?… for the sake of this story I am going to go with postcards. I couldn’t find the strawberry scene, but I did find the scene where Norman tests the phone in the cabin.  There is a wall of small photos behind him similar to what I remember in Ethel’s kitchen.  It’s very casual and random and careless which is exactly my favorite kind of decorating.  Besides!  If it’s good enough for Ethel and Norman, it’s good enough for me.

One of the things I managed to accomplish during my recent blog hiatus, was to re-paint the center hall, and finally hang up some family photos!  I considered painting the above bench in one of the colors on the paint chips, but by the time I had painted the hall (in the same boring off white that it was before) and hung up all the photos, I was far too limp and pale and weak and exhausted to paint that bench.  





To hang the photos, I found a pleasing pattern by laying them out on the floor.  Some of these photos were taken by Mrs. Mama last Fall.  Some of them are wedding photos taken by Rick Mitchell in Lawrence, Kansas and a few I took myself.

I got the frames with the wide mats at Target.  I couldn’t decide which style of frame I liked the best, so I eventually bought a few of each variety.  The wedding photos were framed a long time ago in the cheapest frames I could find.  





I cut newspapers to the size of the frames and hung them up just like I had laid them out on the floor.  I quickly decided that the frames were going to go up too high on the wall and they seemed to draw my eye right to the ugly doorbell and the unsightly wall vent… so I trudged back to the drawing board and started all over again.  





I re-organized the photos to have less height and more width.





I re-hung the newspapers….

And I re-hung them

and re-hung them

and re-hung them…

Until my freshly painted walls were covered in enough newspaper ink to completely disguise the fact that they ever were freshly painted walls.






I eventually found something that I thought I could live with and I started hanging photos.





I started in the center, screwing the wall mounts right through the ‘x’ I had marked on the newspapers.





I kept going…





And kept going…






I am not much of a perfectionist, so I was relying heavily on gestalt and luck and an innate reckless abandon that has guided me throughout my entire life.  














I think it turned out pretty good!  The hallway is not nearly as bleak and soul-less as it was.  Did you know that I did this exact same project once before?  The problem with family photos is that they just keep changing.  How many more times will I re-do this wall?  And what about that bench?  Do you think it could use some color?








And how long until I find a spot for all the left-overs?

Salvaged Medicine Cabinet

July 8th, 2009

Originally posted October 2007

Over the course of building our house, I have had a few very minor disagreements with my builder, Dennis.




A few months back, he did not appreciate my decision to leave the pine treads and risers on the steps to the loft unpainted.   I had originally told him that I was going to paint them and with that in mind, he did not choose flawless boards for the treads. Some of the boards have tool marks, and some minor dents and dings, but I don’t mind. I think they look rugged and edgy and cool and I am just going to apply a few coats of polyurethane and call it done.  





Dennis does not agree, and would have chosen perfect boards if he knew they were going to be left exposed to every eyeball that ever looked their way.  






He also does not like this medicine cabinet.

That is to say – he does not like that I am not going to re-finish this medicine cabinet.

When he first saw it, he asked me if I was going to paint it.

“No” I said, “I think I am just going to leave it like it is.”

“With all that peeling paint?”

“Yes – I think it looks cool.”

Dennis shook his head, sighed deeply, rolled his eyes and said, “You are a dingbat.”

I bought this medicine cabinet at Architectural Salvage in Kansas City. I bought it because according to every single home design article I have ever read in Country Living Magazine, This Old House, Country Home, BHG, Popular Science, The New Yorker and National Geographic – if you don’t have a piece of salvage in your house it is not really a house. It is really more like a hovel…or a cave…or a hole in the ground. Desperate to live up to the standards of these style setting tomes, I went out and got me some salvage.






I must say that I do really love this cabinet, and I do really love the peeling paint. I am not just some sort of mindless, catalogue junkie, magazine article directed, bunko playing, ceiling fan watching housewife without a brain. Dingbat is a much more accurate description.





It is pretty ain’t it?