Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time I lived in a lovely three bedroom house in Tempe, Arizona.

The bad part about this house was that it was a rental. 

As you may or may not know, living in a rental house means that painting the walls and drilling giant holes in them is a major no-no. 
Well, actually, we ended up doing both of those things anyway. 
Before we broke all of the rules, however, it took some major creativity to get some color and life in the plain white living room. 

This post is an homage to that creativity. 

The initial inspiration for this room was a quote.

"Pulling the tail off of a tadpole
doesn't make it a frog."

Coincidentally, it's the same quote that inspired me to become a teacher (but that's a whole different story).

Soon after discovering the quote, I found a chunk of old kitchen countertop in the alley behind my house and decided that the two were perfect for each other. 

This painting set the color scheme for the whole room. 

Since the quote isn't painted onto a very large surface, I decided that I needed something big a colorful to fill up the giant white wall in this room. 

Of course I went with an octopus. 

He is very large, over 7 ft tall, and he prompted many conversations about the correct pluralization of the word 'octopus.'
Is it octopus? Octopuses? Octopi? Octopodes?

The next step for this room was to add some lights.
I saw a tutorial online about making string balls using glue and yarn, and decided that this was the perfect way to add a light source to this room.

I wish I had taken pictures of this to create a tutorial.
Since I didn't, here is a quick summary:

Blow up balloons. 
Coat string in glue.
Wrap sticky messy glue-string around balloons.
Spill glue everywhere.
Hang outside to dry.
Pop balloons. 

I then used some old CD's and a pendant lamp cord from IKEA to convert the two hemp balls into lamps.
I hung all of this from a shower curtain tension rod that I wedged in an alcove in the room. 

These three pieces, however, were still not enough to satisfy my craving for color.
I wanted color on the WALLS!
I wanted to PAINT!
Instead of doing something crazy and painting the whole living room bright blue, I went out and found an alternative. 

Contact paper. 

This project was super simple and it's a great alternative to painting.

Step One: Paint the contact paper.
Step Two: Cut the contact paper into whatever shape you want.
Step Three: Peel off the backing and stick it to the wall. 

Alright, only one more project to showcase from this room. 

I somehow acquired a bunch of books from a friend that I needed to find some use for. Another friend and I 
had a great idea one day, and after a lot of glue and paint and hardware I came out with this:

This little guy was the cause of the giant holes in the walls at the rental house. 
Drywall anchors may be a good tool for holding a piece of art on the wall, but they are also a good tool for punching holes in the wall that will later have to be patched and/or covered and hidden. 

All of these pieces were combined to create a fun, colorful, comfy living room in a house where I didn't have much freedom to decorate.

It just goes to show that you can make any room comfortable, no matter what your limitations may be.

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