Friday, October 23, 2015

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." This is a quote from William Morris.

I read a decluttering book in September. As I cast my eye around my living room I realized that the four very large paintings of loons (and one lone wolf) I had from an Inuit artist were too big for my wall. These four paintings are gorgeous, they are originals, I had them framed by a museum quality framer (ouch, $800) quite a while ago. And they aren't my property. They belong to a friend who was letting them roll around his basement floor because he didn't have any plans for them. It was a shame to see such beauty treated that way and I convinced him that "we" should get them framed, which "we" did.

Okay, this is Mr. Winston, the paintings are behind him
And Winston is a thing of beauty so he gets to stay.

The paintings were always on loan to me. These days I no longer spend any time with this friend and I was probably holding onto them more out of greediness than true appreciation for their beauty. A decision was made, they would go back to their owner. I channeled the "Let it go" philosphy of the decluttering book. I contacted him and offered to give them back in exchange for my half of the framing cost. He was there within a week to claim his paintings, and I waved goodbye with one hand and clenched onto the $400 with my other hand. I had a plan!

I love looking at the photos I take on my canoe trips. I have most of them on my work computer and they are on rotation so I see a different one every few seconds. Ah, the joy I get in seeing those pictures, reminding me of the precious moments that were spent on the lakes (and even portages become fond memories after time passes).

I decided to choose a number of photos, have them printed out, frame them, and hang them where the four large paintings had been on my living room wall. Okay, this was easier said than done. I've got hundreds of pictures and I love them for the memory they bring, not necessarily for the photographic value. I think I have a pretty good eye for taking pictures (of things and places, not people). I don't alter my pictures in any way, no editing or photoshop for my sexy lakes!

It took me a while, but I whittled the selection down into a special folder on my computer at home "Possible Prints". I asked a friend for advice on a photo editing software (free, of course). I tweaked the pictures slightly. Made sure my horizons lined up (very obviously needed in a lake picture, LOL), I did a little colour enhancement. But mostly, it's just my pictures. The product she recommended was FastStone Image Viewer.

Then I had to decide sizes. My $400 went a long way at Ikea with the Ribba frames. I bought one large one, four that would hold 8x10 pictures, four that would hold 5x7 pictures and two of the long frames that also hold three 5x7 photos. For the latter two frames I decided one would hold sunset pics, the other waterfall pics. Themes!

I was able to place my order online with Costco to print out the photos and within 24 hours the prints were ready for pickup. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong print size for the largest picture and had to re-order that. No worry, with a turnaround time of less than 24 hours, I wouldn't have to wait long.

Yesterday while reading one of my favourite bloggers, she was talking about how to decide where to hang multiple photos on your wall at home. How timely! Her suggestion (which she got elsewhere) was to make a brown paper cutout representing each one of your photos. As I had been opening each Ribba frame to put the picture in, I had to remove a piece of paper the size of the frame. I had tossed these pages into my paper recycling bin, but was able to fish them all out and tape them on the wall with masking tape.

Also, when framing each picture, I wrote in pencil on the mat where the picture was taken and the year. I decided I wanted the display to look more like a gallery. I'm going to line all the photos up along a top line, which isn't too high. See the picture above for an idea.

Once I got all the pictures in the frames and started to hang them, the fun started. I'm being sarcastic here. This was the hard part! Trying to get each picture in the frame without any little piece of dust pressed between the glass and the mat was a struggle. I hung the biggest picture first. I moved on to do the 8x10 frames on each side of it. The top ones went on pretty good (all with tweaking - nothing ever seems to be at the right height.) 

Note, when I say 8x10, it is the size of the picture inside, the frame is bigger. When I started to put up the 8x10's on the bottom, uh-oh, they didn't line up properly. What? It took a bit of head scratching to realize that the paper cut-outs were indeed slightly smaller than the frame. Ohhhhhh. 

Also, as you can see in the photo above, there is a lovely heating control on the wall that breaks up any perfect alignment that I might be able to do. That's okay. We all need an excuse to not beat ourselves up over imperfection.

When working with the four 5x7 frames, I discovered there weren't two grippers, only one, so I couldn't string a wire across the back to hang the picture. The one gripper has a hole in it, but the Ribba frames are too deep for any sort of nail or picture hanger on the wall that can use the hole to suspend it.
So far, missing two 5x7 frames
I worried a bit about my choices. But when I think about how much it cost to get the prints made and how quickly it can be done at Costco, I realize I can just pick another photo to replace a picture with. The overall cost for the prints was $20.99 the first time, and $6.77 for the largest print the second time. Plus I have an extra, fairly large print I can maybe hang at my cubicle at work. The Ikea frames were $115. For under $150 I replaced the four paintings and I have $250 to put towards some new gear! I think I need to get a Henessey Hammock for myself. 

LT is coming over on Saturday to inspect my handiwork. I'm sure he'll suggest the pictures are hung too low. He's very tall. When I go to the bathroom at his house, all I can see of myself in his bathroom mirror is the top of my head and my bangs. 

See here to look at the pictures I chose.

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