I wanted to title this post, “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the h*ll they’re doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino!” but I figured that was kinda long.
We got married in November of 2001 and had been planning to honeymoon in New York since I had always wanted to visit New York in the Fall. Okay, not always. But definitely since 1998 when Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks convinced me it was the most perfect place in the world (aren’t they the best together?). We kept hearing how gloomy and depressing the city was, and how it would take months or even years for them to recover from the events of 9/11. We didn’t want to see New York like that and decided last minute to go to Breckenridge instead. The plan was to hopefully go for our first anniversary. Then life happened. When our first anniversary rolled around, I was eight months pregnant and we had just used every penny we had for a down payment on our first house.
Several months before our fifth anniversary, I realized that we were on track to be able to afford a vacation (we hadn’t really taken one at all since our honeymoon, unless out-of-town weddings count? visiting friends in Texas?). Like most young couples, we started off in debt…school loans and vehicle loans and absolutely zero savings (we paid for our own wedding too, remember?). So yeah, we were wiped out! We worked hard and lived well within our means to get out of debt. God blessed our financial decisions and we were able to do immeasurably more than what I had envisioned the moment I saw that +hpt. We were debt free (besides mortgages…we still have several of those!), we had a few houses under our belt and we were finally to the point that we “allowed” ourselves to set up a vacation fund…and we actually left money in it! (We often decided that we’d rather have something to show for our money once we got a nice little chunk saved…like stainless appliances or whatever. But as our kids have grown, we’ve definitely started taking family vacations. If you can afford that, I’d suggest it! The memories are priceless and you can get new appliances when the kids move out. ‘Cause they’re going to. Sooner than later. *sniff*)
So anyway, all that to say that we went to New York for our fifth anniversary. And it was a huge deal! And it is still a huge deal even seven years later! That trip was a milestone. It was a reward. It was a celebration. It was the end of an era. It was the moment my husband got/appreciated/respected my desire to set aside money for traveling. I was in my first trimester with our second son, after years of secondary infertility. On and on and on…It just has so many memories tied to it, I never want to forget it or what it represents for us or where we were in our lives or how God brought us to that point. I want to soak in every memory of that as often as I can.
So, what the heck does all that have to do with my house? We purchased a few prints (“prints” sounds a bit more grown up than “posters”) of New York landmarks as a sort of souvenir. (But not REALLY a souvenir, ’cause you know I didn’t buy them there. I totally got them cheaper online. Duh.) And then we proceeded to leave them in the cardboard tube for a couple of years because I felt like hanging posters in my house was a bit too frat boy for the vibe I was trying to achieve, ya know?
Then we needed some cheap art (I call anything that hangs on a wall “art;” if you are a true artist, please forgive the slang) for an office staging at a house we wanted to sell. So, I drug out those three posters and stapled them around some scrap wood we had in the garage. I wanted them to look kinda like canvases. That’s a bit better than frat-boy posters, right? I didn’t want to spend the money on actual canvases, though. They aren’t cheap! No wonder artists are starving. Dang.
I kinda liked them and I especially liked the emotions they stirred in me, so I said, “screw it, I can have posters in my house if I want.” In the bedroom of course, not in the living room. Good grief. We don’t live in a frat house! So they ended up in our master bedroom and have remained the bedroom decor ever since, even through a few moves.
I chose one of Radio City Music Hall since we were able to see the Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular while we were in New York. We aren’t really that into the performing arts (okay, we’re not at all into the performing arts…is that what dance is classified as?), so I got this one to remind me that we can appreciate, and even occasionally enjoy things that we don’t fully love. I’m deep, y’all. Really.
I also chose one of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kinda for the same reason. We aren’t that much into the other arts either. (What is it called when it isn’t performing arts? Just plain “the arts?” I have no clue!) The night that we went was one of my favorite evenings in New York(there were several great nights to choose from, we got to stay an entire week and it was not long enough). I didn’t expect it to be. And I know it was the hub’s least favorite night.
No wait. I think the Laugh Factory was worse. I totally just went to hyperlink that for you, and apparently the NY Laugh Factory has closed. Just as well. It was horrible. So, true story, we kept hearing about Michael Richards’ incident at the Laugh Factory (TVs are everywhere in Times Square!) and at first I was like, “he wasn’t there. We were there!” Duh, there is also a Hollywood Laugh Factory and apparently that is where all the stuff happens. Same night. Across the country. Weird. I’d link that rant for you, but it was baaad! I’m sure it is still all over youtube. Oh yeah, you know what else happened that week? Tomkat got married. That’s all I saw all week long. Every restaurant we went in, TVs all over Times Square, everywhere I turned it was Michael Richards bleeped out and Tomkat in Italy.
Anyway. What was I talking about? Art. Yeah. The museum. We went because we were told it was something we just had to experience. It was fancy. Like they take your coat and give you a ticket and you’re supposed to pay them lots of money for doing so. They did that at the Tavern on the Green too. So fancy. Hey, you know what, that place also closed. After being in business for like a kazillion years. We must be bad luck. Do not invite us to your place of business. Yikes.
Oh yeah, the museum. I loved it. Not for the art. Or at least not for the paintings and sculptures and that kinda stuff. But holy MCM! (If you think that means Man Crush Monday, smh. You are not twelve!) They have some amazing mid-century modern pieces. My husband was so bored, I’m sure. But he is great! Have I mentioned that? He let me look until they closed! There was also an exhibit (collection? IDK) of photography from New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina. We both enjoyed (that doesn’t sound like the right word) that very much. The rest of it (and there’s a lot!) was not really my thing. I think my husband appreciated the armor/weaponry stuff.
Actually, I was not talking about the actual museum. I was talking about the “print.” This is how my brain goes, all day long, guys. So I got the Met Museum print to remind me to try things and places that I have prejudged. I’m deep, see?
I also got a small print of the Brooklyn Bridge. Because it had pretty lights and the right color of blue to match my lamps. Okay, so I’m not THAT deep. It did not come from All Posters. It came from ebay and I searched the hardest for it just for the bright blue. I know, I know. Shallow.
So yeah, those first three original prints were wrapped around scrap wood. But not just any scrap wood. They were prototype doors from the first time I asked the hubs to make me new cabinet doors. He had no idea what he was doing (he still had a borrowed table saw back then, aww the good ol’ days when we parked in the garage), and I made a few adjustments in my requests. He is so patient! I love that man! We hung these prints three years after those doors were made, but I was still hanging onto them. They are special!
Someday when I die and my kids are clearing out my crap, they will laugh-cry when they realize this “art” is frat-boy posters wrapped around some old plywood doors. They’ll be all, “Mom was so cheap!” and “That was my favorite thing about her.” “Look at these millions of dollars she left us because of it.” Okay, maybe not that last part.
So we don’t have a very big scrap pile of wood in the garage yet. We try not to move that stuff from house to house. We JUST donated an entire kitchen’s worth of old doors when we moved. Blech. Happens every time I get rid of something. I was able to find this one piece of wood that would work for the smallest print.
I just marked it a bit smaller than the print, to allow for folding it around, and cut it to the size I needed.
I had my dimensions in mind and was “on the look-out” for a couple of weeks for any cheap canvases or old frames or anything that would work. I try to have projects in mind, remember? I spotted this thing at Goodwill.
I love scripture, and I especially love to sing for joy, but this isn’t exactly my style. It didn’t hurt me one bit to cover up those pretty birds and flowers. In fact, I didn’t just cover them. See that flower showing through into my New York sky? Look really hard! (I’m telling you, not fancy quality. Frat-boy quality. Thin!) A couple of coats of primer and it was all gone.
I couldn’t find anything big enough for the Radio City Music Hall poster, so I just built a frame. I used 1×2 for the frame (scrap left over from a classroom project we are currently working on), and a piece of quarter inch wall board left over from a white board project at our last house. I was kinda “saving it” for use in the pantry, but it got pretty scratched in the move, so it was relegated to the scrap pile.
Just wrap your cheap ol’, thin, not made-in-USA, ships-from-way-far-away-for two-cents frat-boy poster around your canvas/wood/piece of drywall/shoebox lid/whatever you find lying around and staple it. Much like wrapping a present. Or upholstering a chair cushion.
Once they were all ready to hang, I measured the wall space I wanted to fill and then marked that on the floor using measuring tapes. I moved them around a few times until I found an arrangement I liked; this is always a very difficult process for me. I’m OCD about symmetry, so having varying sizes throws me into a tailspin.
The next part is crucial. Measure, measure, measure! Measure carefully and take into consideration the spacing you want between each piece. If you also factor in where on the “art” the hanger sits (mine were all different) and allow for that before you hammer, then you won’t end up with swiss cheese walls. Be patient. This is tedious.
Don’t forget to make sure that everything is level as you go along. It is really great to round up an extra pair of hands for this part. Holding a level, a tape measure, a pencil, a hammer, a nail, and maybe a camera is kinda hard by yourself.
*The posters I purchased from All Posters were much thicker and of great quality! I highly recommend them. I also recommend purchasing cheap stuff on ebay. Both are great, but they are not equal!