My grown-up rock collection

This is possibly my new favorite art. I know I said that just yesterday about the Fancy Nancy thing, but I've wanted to do this for YEARS now and it's finally done. It feels good.

Hold onto your butts (Jurassic Park, anyone?) because here it is:
{The sample I had for the upper left frame was just a tad too big, so I have to decide what to put there instead.}

It's rocks in shadow boxes! Hence calling it my grown up rock collection.

A bit of background- I got my bachelor's degree and did my graduate work in geology and I LOVE it. Seriously, it is so cool. I even worked at a nearby university for a couple years, teaching the intro to geology course as an adjunct instructor. Because I've been a geologist for so many years, I have a giant rock collection. Just tons and tons of rocks. When I was first married I kept the best ones out on a side table dedicated solely to rock displaying, but then we had our first little one and they got packed away.

As I mentioned before, I've wanted to do this for a long time. Even before we had drywall up, I had this section of wall earmarked for the rock collection and just a few days after the basement was completely finished I had the shadow boxes I had up and ready to roll, with the 4 remaining spaces being reserved with pieces of paper cut to the right size. On Monday I finally got to IKEA and bought the last frames I needed (the Ribba 10" shadow boxes, online here).

Here's how the rocks are mounted:

I took the chipboard frame backing and folded a piece of normal, 8.5" by 11" cardstock over it. I thought about painting the frame backing or cutting out cardboard and painting it white and gluing the rocks to that, but this was much easier and should hold up well.

Then I used the hanger clip to hold the paper in place. Easy. 

{Sorry it's blurry. Nighttime photos, right?}
 Then I flipped the mats around (the mats that come with the Ribba frames were a little bit off-white, but the back is as white as the cardstock I was using), centered the rock inside of it, on top of the cardstock, and just used hot glue to stick it there. Since the cardstock wasn't secured to the backing except for that little clip at the top, the whole thing was kind of floppy until I got the frame all put back together. And now they're all fine. And awesome.

{Don't mind the distracting surround sound wiring- that's going to get moved up by the ceiling and out of my way.}
 Here are some close ups of my favorite samples:


And since the scientist in me just can't resist, from the top left and going clockwise, it's kyanite, muscovite, rhyolite (some people call this variety "wonderstone" because of the banding) and a quartz geode.

Another cool thing- I didn't have nice slabs of all of these, until I thought of it while we were renting the tile saw for the downstairs bathroom. After we were done with the tile, I had a little fun with all my samples.

I did one other thing before I mounted them, too. A fresh cut surface of rock is very dull compared to polished rocks, but I didn't have any plausible way to polish these (in a lab I'd use a series of finer and finer abrasives on different lapidary wheels) until I realized that I could use baby oil for a fake polishing effect:

{Before and after, of course}
Anyway, I couldn't be more pleased with my grown up rock collection.


My new favorite art

I love having something a little different in picture frames, instead of all family photos all the time. I have my fair share of those, of course (I do love looking at my family's faces, after all), but it's always kind of a fun surprise having something different in a frame. Prints are great, but they add up, so finding cheap and large art that's not a photo can be tricky sometimes.

Without further ado, here's my new favorite art:

It's a book jacket! I hate book jackets (especially on kid's books) but I also hate throwing them away. This was totally a light bulb kind of moment and I still kind of feel like a genius. My daughter LOVES Fancy Nancy (it's been a Fancy Nancy for her bedtime book for months now) and this is, of course, in her room. She thought it was a pretty great idea, too.

Here's the 'tails (if you don't know what I mean by 'tails, you need to watch more Parks and Rec) :
 *I didn't cut the back of the book jacket off, I just creased it flat.
*Since the book had that cute little border on it, I attached it to the front of the mat instead of behind it.


Used furniture is the best kind of furniture

So, I've been looking for a few different things on KSL (a local classifieds) and craig's list for some time. Since before our basement was finished, at least. Anyway, I finally got a great deal on a white mid-century dresser to use in our living room! And just a few days later, I found an awesome industrial-ish old metal desk to use for my sewing table! Huzzah! I should hurry and do some more thrifting before my luck runs out. Anyway, here they are:

Do you see that giant pile of junk off to the right? That's not even half of what I had to move to make room for this desk. Oh man.