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We all have some ethical dilemmas at some point right? This is a little (and hopefully entertaining) story for those of you who don’t take yourselves or me too seriously. It involves the homestead, my mad (and potentially dangerous) snipping skills, prayer, and a fortune cookie (because, yes, Jesus does work through these too).

It all started with the homestead and that dang House/Beauty envelope. Each month, said envelope gets filled with 5, crisp $20 bills. For all of you who have moved into your first place (besides a college dorm room), you know that $100 isn’t a lot. Especially during those couple of months where you have white walls, a huge Target shopping list and also need contact solution (my label of ‘Beauty’ really consists of all products related to external/internal health and adornment). When I first moved into the homestead, the white walls practically begged to be accessorized. In particular, there was this little square-cut out in the dining area which repeatedly asked to be filled up. In light of the new place and a recent fetish for DIY blogs, I resolved to fill it with a knock off of Crate and Barrel‘s Classical Symmetry Prints.

Aren't they beautiful?

I wasn’t alone. Based on my brief encounter with the blog world, C&B’s Classical Symmetry Prints were hot stuff in terms of being DIY-ed (for example, just click here, here, and here). There were a couple of other things though that helped wave the “go ahead” flag regarding this project:

1) Price – these prints, when available, sold for $369, plus tax. Despite all the cast iron pans, cooking gadgets, shower gifts, and Acacia wood purchases over the years, that amount exceeded my life-to-date Crate and Barrel expenditures. I also knew that I didn’t have the resolve (or the contact solution supply) to save up for four months.

2) Size – The little nook wasn’t big enough to hang the six pieces. As such, since it was pretty unlikely that Crate and Barrel would resize the product for me, I rationalized that it was only fair to take things into my own hands.

3) “Peer Pressure” – Although already indicated above, everyone else was doing it right? For sure, this was the major influencer although I’ll admit it was also a major scapegoat.

And so… how did I respond? I went to IKEA, charmed my Papa into buying me two RIBBA frames, and snipped, printed and trimmed my way into my DIY attempt at the Classical Symmetry Prints. (Psst… although not pictured here, it came out very well.)

A few weeks later, a wall in the office demanded my attention. As I sat at my computer chronicling HBH posts or watching Parks and Recreation episodes, the bare, white walls just bothered me. A perusal through etsy led me to the sweetest little print. Again, everything was “wrong” though:

1) It was sold. As in sold out.

2) It was too small.

3) The medium wouldn’t work either. I wanted a print I could frame with those frames I had scored a few weeks earlier.

In light of this and the fact that the person on the other end was a small business, I sent a quick note inquiring the seller as to whether they’d consider selling me a poster. I didn’t hear anything (still haven’t) within a week and so, once again, I snipped, printed and trimmed my way to another Jessica-compatible masterpiece.

Enough said.

I was happy. For a couple of weeks. And then something (well, rather Someone) started nudging me. In light of all the super-talented friends that I had who were artists and designers, what was I doing? Were my sheepish explanations (and adjacent rationalizations) of my DIY artwork an indication that I knew what I was doing wasn’t up to snuff?

As I sat in my dining room each morning having my “quiet time”, I started to slowly lose the joy I had initially felt when I hung the art that I sat across from each morning. I wish I had jumped up and removed each piece immediately. Nope. It took weeks and stomach-aches and the rediscovery of a fortune from college as I got ready for my best friend’s wedding to move me to correction:

After nearly six weeks of agonizing, the art came down. Once again, I stared at white walls, praying for wisdom and, perhaps, to find a random $400 Crate and Barrel gift card (or to get an e-mail back from that etsy seller at the very least).

Is this post intended to be preachy? Not at all. Is it intended to be funny? Yes. But I also want it to be something that provokes thought and contemplation as we all seek to revive our homes, hands, and hearts as we make purchasing decisions. Personally, I just couldn’t shake the idea that behind the pieces of artwork I “borrowed” was a person with a skill, a checking account and a livelihood to support. What would I do if I met a great person, invited them over to my house and then discovered that they had penned the work I had snipped and printed as I gave them a house tour? Well, after dying of embarrassment, I would probably mumble something about someone giving them to me as a gift and not knowing any different (because blame shifting is always better). I knew this wasn’t right.

So, do I still have blank, white walls? Nope. Fortunately, within a couple of weeks, my prayers were answered. A quick hop over to Jones Design Company‘s website and a receipted purchase of her Patterned Paper Collection quickly came together in a similar, but much more conscience-friendly project:

And as for my office? I didn’t have to wait too much longer to find the perfect Mason Jar print either:

Sorry about the glare/reflections/general bluriness... sigh.

And so, sweet friends, I end this not-so-typical-post with these thoughts and prayers:

May we all have the discernment, creativity and resources to fashion our homes in a manner above reproach …

and may you, personally, never need to be moved along to do the right thing by a 6-year-old fortune cookie adage.


Disclaimer: to those of you who may have been worried, the walls don’t literally talk to me. I was using that for narrative effect. Most definitely. : )