home decor, on a budget (of nothing): part one

When youre nomadic, as I recently was, the last thing to which youd devote money or space is artwork. Where would you keep it? And why? Theres simply no need for it, and its much easier not to have any. But we are no longer nomads. Before moving to Pittsburgh, we were very lucky to receive all the furniture we really needed from Chases parents (you dont keep much furniture around when youre traveling, either) But as soon as we begun settling in, I became acutely aware of one fact, which is that a house doesnt really look like a home until its decorated. You know? I felt a strong urge to rectify this immediately. 

Unfortunately, the second fact of which I have become aware is that decorating isnt cheap. Do you know how much it costs to frame something, for example? And even if you wanted to spend the money, youd have to have something to frame in the first place. But youd be surprised what you can do with some clothespins, some cardstock, and a little ingenuity. 

Like I said before, I dont have much art; however, what I do have are postcards and pictures--two things readily acquired and easily retained while traveling, which are at least as personally meaningful as any larger framed piece of artwork one might acquire, and virtually free of cost. Since there was already a hook-eye sticking out of the wall in the corner of our living room, I thought the easiest, cheapest, and most immediate way to get some art up in our living space would be to hang a sort of clothesline across the wall, to display some of my favorite postcards Ive received over the years (and even a sketch I did myself, there in the middle). It was easy, and, while it might not look like much (Im just working with the camera on my iphone here, you guys) it really filled up the space nicely. 

A few years ago, a friend and I rode a train from France, all the way to Budapest, and of course I took dozens of pictures. Ive always liked these three together, in particular, and one day Id like to have them englarged and framed... but I wanted to see how theyd look more immediately. On their own, these 5x7 prints were too small to occupy an entire wall, so my second super-quick project was to fashion these  mock-up frames out of a few squares of white cardstock I had lying around. I drew black frames right the way round with sharpies, and then centered, and taped, the photographs in the middle. The resulting faux-matting effect more than doubles the area taken up by these images. It may sound a little rinky-dink but they dont look nearly as unprofessional as they most certainly are. I actually think the resulting effect is quite pleasing. 

Thankfully, the walls of our sunroom, which is just off the livingroom, are mostly windows and as such need no embellishment. But I wanted to do something about the wall just by the front door, as it faces me directly when I sit at my work table. Now another problem Ive been having lately is that I own no paper calendar or planner, which is something Im pretty sure I need to stay organized (fuck the icloud). So I thought Id kill two birds with one stone ad make my own, using yet more spare cardstock. How I do love measuring out a grid! Below my calendars is the paper map of downtown(ish) Pittsburgh I got free at the Library, another combination of form and function. 

Like I said, all of this may not look like much. But in comparison to bleakly blank walls, what little I have done has made a huge difference, at least in my mind. And as it cost me not a dime to produce, you can hardly say it wasnt worth it... 

Hey, and now you know, sort of, what our living room looks like! 

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