Art for the Little Ones

As I’ve let the design plans for the kids’ rooms simmer in my brain, I’ve been surfing Etsy for art that might work for their rooms.  I’ll have to hit up some used book stores and thrift stores before ordering anything online, since much of what I’m looking at is vintage bookplates and posters.  I like the vintage route for art since it is affordable, beautiful, unique, and adds so much character.

For L’s room I already have the Month by Month prints from Sarah Jane Studios.  I bought the little notecards long before I even had kids because I loved them so much.  So I’ll definitely be putting these in her room somewhere.

(“October in Polka Dot Wellies" from the Her Month by Month series by Sarah Jane Studios)

I also want to play with florals in her room - because where else can you do this with abandon than in a little girl’s room?  I often call her “Sweet Pea” so I’ve been on the hunt for vintage seed packets or books or illustrations of sweet peas, like this one:

(Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums [laser print of seed box] from Victorian Rose Prints)

Or perhaps a botanical print like this one:

And wouldn’t those yellow sweet peas look lovely paired with these little yellow butterflies?

(Both prints from Early Bird Sale)

She also adores animals, and has a particular affinity for puppies (one of her first words) so I’ve been searching out dog breed illustrations like these:

(Vintage Dog Breed Illustration from Iowa Jewel)

For the boys’ room vintage maps are such an easy go-to for art.  They’re interesting, beautiful, educational, and still pretty neutral.

(Antique Topographic Map of Canada from Reclaimer Vintage Goods)

M has some ideas of his own, though.  He’d really like some superhero pictures in his room.  And though he’s never watched anything Avengers-related, he’s obsessed with them and has a few toys and colouring books with them.  I kind of cringe at the thought of something character based being featured, but this minimalistic poster is pretty cool:

(The Avengers Variant Poster from William Henry Graphic Design, also comes in blue)

Though I’m not sure he’d find that sufficient.  Another route I’ve considered is framing vintage comic books. (Though it’s quite the hunt finding one that looks cool, features his favourite characters, yet is without anything scary or any scantily clad women on it!  Sheesh.)

(The Avengers No. 151 Comic Book from Sidewalk Comics)

One item I’m totally kicking myself over not purchasing is this 1921 Canadian flag.  My kids really like flags, and they might find it cool that pre-1960’s our Canadian flag was actually different.  This flag is linen, it’s cool, it’s patriotic, it’s historical, it’s beautiful - what a treasure!  But I waited, and it sold, and I can’t find anything like it online (for a decent price).  Darn.  Seriously kicking myself.

(Historical Upper Canada Flag from PapillonArtBoutique)

This old bookplate is pretty cool, but given its age it’s missing a lot of provinces and actually has the old Saskatchewan flag, which may annoy M or confuse my kids as they learn.  So I’m not sold on it.  And really I just want that old linen flag.  

(Flags of Canada from Peony and Thistle Paper and Print)

I obviously won’t be getting all of this, but the hunting sure is fun…. We’ll see what I end up with!

Country Kitsch, anyone?

When tying to explain that I like “country” style (because people ask me that aaaall the time in everyday life.  OK, no they don’t.  But I’ve had the conversation a handful of times.), it’s hard to express what country style means to me.  Because in my mind it is not your stereotypical “country” (tons of plaid, roosters, sunflowers, or cow print, for example).  I like a clean, neutral, more modern approach to country that is largely void of kitsch and clutter and anything related to the country trends of the 90’s.

But I think there’s room for a little kitsch.  For example, one of my favourite country home inspiration pictures is from this New York farmhouse featured in Country Living:

(photo by Michael Lupino for Country Living)

What do I like about it?  The bead board wainscoting, the neutral colour scheme, the weathered wooden table, the white dishes… but I reeeally like that vintage cow poster.  It’s kind of charming, and cool, even if it is a little theme-y and kitschy.

I kind of want to feature something similar in our farmhouse - maybe in the dining room.  I think the key is to present it in a modern way (i.e. a simple, minimal picture frame, or a modern arrangement of the artwork), and to stay away from anything too “theme-y” elsewhere in the room.

So, lets turn to Etsy, shall we?

I love the look of vintage illustrations, and one (usually) cheap and easy way to get these is to find old children’s storybooks:

Vintage Lithograph Farming Posters from beanandbag on Etsy

Large Book Plate Print circa 1930s from Totally Old School on Etsy

Antique Linen 2-Sided Book Page from Totally Old School on Etsy

Antique book from on Little Beach Designs on Etsy

Since most of these illustrations tend to be small they would work well for a salon-style or gallery arrangement of pictures in different sizes of frames.  (I did this in Little M’s nursery with a vintage Smokey the Bear storybook.)  You could cut out pages from the books, or if the covers are really pretty, like the green one above, you could feature a group of storybooks in shadow boxes.  Or you could use just a few small illustrations framed with oversized mattes to create a bigger piece of art. (See an example of this below)

You could also expand your search to other educational materials, such as posters or flashcards:

 

1913 Vintage American Agriculture Print - Wheat from Holcroft on Etsy

(*Side note: this shop also has plenty of great vintage fruit and flower botanical prints if you want to replicate the look of Sarah Richardson’s farmhouse master bedroom!)

Design by Sarah Richardson, photograph by Stacey Brandford


Vintage Educational Classroom Poster circa 1966 from Luv Me Two Times on Etsy

French and Spanish Vocabulary Flash Cards from Totally Old School on Etsy

Vintage Playing Cards from 30one on Etsy

If you find a large educational poster you could hang it unframed (like in the inspiration photo from Country Living at the top of this post) or find a simple frame for it.

If you had a set of flashcards they would work well framed in a symmetrical arrangement, like this one by Cameron MacNeil in House & Home, June 2011 issue.

I really like the use of a little vintage valentine in the bottom centre frame.  How about this one?

Boy and Cow Vintage Valentine Card from Paper Prizes on Etsy

Another idea for creating a larger piece of art is to frame one, or several pieces of fabric, such as table cloths, tea towels, or - my favourite - old grain sacks.

Vintage Farm Scene Tablecloth from Uncle Bunks Trunk on Etsy

Rare Grandma Moses Barkcloth from Chenille Bliss on Etsy

Vintage Farm Print Novelty Fabric from Thoroughbred Threads on Etsy

Assorted Vintage Grain Sacks from Linens Lace and Lattes on Etsy

Wouldn’t those grain sacks look awesome in plain black frames?  I’m going to scrounge through the old barn and some nearby shops to find some of these, I think…

And if you can handle the really kitschy stuff, a needle point or paint by number could look awesome, if presented well, like this cottage from Country Living:

Old paint-by-number paintings displayed on a shelf.  (Photo by Aimee Herring for Country Living)

Vintage Paint by Numbers Horses from Lady Libertine Vintage on Etsy

Vintage Needlepoint from Lady Cluck’s Vintage Treasures on Etsy

Vintage Embroidered Pillow Case Set from Patchworkz on Etsy

And my favourite?  This set of 6 farm animal puzzles.  I imagine them assembled, glued to a white matte, framed, and arranged symmetrically:

Vintage Farm Friends Six Puzzle Set from Jody’s Vintage on Etsy

So, there’s your fill of country kitsch for the day!  I think the key to using stuff like this as art is restraint - use simple framing, in a fairly neutral room scheme, without too much else that fits a farm or country theme.

Sunbeam sash clutch from Etsy seller eclu.  Lovely.

Sunbeam sash clutch from Etsy seller eclu.  Lovely.

Remember how said my love for yellow is restricted to month of January?  Well, it’s leaked into February this year.  This front page of Etsy totally captivated me with its sunny mellow yellow!

Remember how said my love for yellow is restricted to month of January?  Well, it’s leaked into February this year.  This front page of Etsy totally captivated me with its sunny mellow yellow!

Red Umbrella 3D wall art from gosh & golly

3D wall art with rainbow raindrops.  Yessss.

Red Umbrella 3D wall art from gosh & golly

3D wall art with rainbow raindrops.  Yessss.

Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader by Susan Parada of Parada Creations

This one is so cute.  If I was a librarian or a classroom teacher I’d own it by now.

Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader by Susan Parada of Parada Creations

This one is so cute.  If I was a librarian or a classroom teacher I’d own it by now.

Cobblestones from Kecky

Like a page from a storybook.  That’s a good way to win me over!  This one is waiting in my Etsy shopping cart to be purchased and hung in my front entry!

Cobblestones from Kecky

Like a page from a storybook.  That’s a good way to win me over!  This one is waiting in my Etsy shopping cart to be purchased and hung in my front entry!

Canal Houses from Laura Amiss

aaand another cityscape.  This one with applique (fun!).  And some major points for styling the shot in that lovely white home.

Canal Houses from Laura Amiss

aaand another cityscape.  This one with applique (fun!).  And some major points for styling the shot in that lovely white home.

New York Print by Lorena Siminovich of petitcollage

Did I mention I love cityscapes?  Especially ones with New York City.

New York Print by Lorena Siminovich of petitcollage

Did I mention I love cityscapes?  Especially ones with New York City.

Arriving in Stockholm by Matte Stephens
This was my Christmas present from my brother this year.  I don’t think I can aptly describe how much I like it.  I’ve wanted some Matte Stephens art for what seems like forever!  I have a serious thing for cityscapes, plus I really like Sweden (probably from so many years of cheering for Mats Sundin.  Like, I’m talking “posters on my wall, collecting hockey cards, still remember his birthday” cheering for Mats Sundin.)  So yes, I’m excited to have this one in my possession. :)

Arriving in Stockholm by Matte Stephens

This was my Christmas present from my brother this year.  I don’t think I can aptly describe how much I like it.  I’ve wanted some Matte Stephens art for what seems like forever!  I have a serious thing for cityscapes, plus I really like Sweden (probably from so many years of cheering for Mats Sundin.  Like, I’m talking “posters on my wall, collecting hockey cards, still remember his birthday” cheering for Mats Sundin.)  So yes, I’m excited to have this one in my possession. :)

More Art I Love

Today I’m posting some art I’ve recently been smitten with.  I’ll post them in separate pictures so that you Tumblrers (Tumblites?  Tumblians?) can reblog with ease.  However, I do ask that you keep all of the info about the pictures with the pictures out of respect for the artists, and don’t cut and paste the images, OK?  Swell.

And here’s the art I purchased from Blanca Gomez on Etsy… I love it so much!

And here’s the art I purchased from Blanca Gomez on Etsy… I love it so much!

More art that makes me happy

I have adored the calendar prints from Sarah Jane Studios for years now.  I have the set in card form, and I love them!  They seem like snapshots from a story book.  And I love the change of seasons, so these are perfect!