Baby's Leaving the Crib

Painting-by-Denver-artist-Jonathan-Fenske It's official: baby's flying the nest. Our third daughter, who is three, is the proud owner of a new twin bed (actually, it's the bed her older sister used before moving into her own room). The twin bed has a super comfy mattress which is much more luxe than her natural fiber organic crib mattress.

She's used the new bed a few nights and all in all, it's been a success. I think she likes the "bigness" of the experience. For us, it's not even bittersweet. I am happy that our family is growing up. I used to be sad when the kids outgrew their clothes and such, but now, with a 9, 6 and 3 year-old, I'm excited that we can drop naps and do things. We travel easier. We see movies. We don't have all the gear. 

Friends with younger children will ask me, "When do you know it's time for a big-kid bed?" Of course, every child is different but we generally evicted our first two girls from their cribs when a new sibling was almost on the scene.

With Girl #3, it just seemed like the right thing to do. She's getting bigger and the aforementioned organic mattress had a groove worn in it. Baby was also waking a lot at night. We think she probably just wasn't comfortable.

So far, so good with the new bed. She's sleeping great and seems to understand she should stay in the twin bed and not roam around the house at night.

Here's a link to a children's room interior design Pinterest board I made when we set up the room the first time with two twin beds. It doesn't look much different now. I think I've said it before, but the painting in the picture, above, is my favorite of Jonathan's.

Bonus: we're selling things on eBay to help fund our summer vacay. This is incredibly fulfilling because our basement just has too much stuff: outdoor equipment, books, kid stuff. So, that crib will get a new home and we'll be a little closer to the beach!

Crib: Baby Mod, "Modena"; Painting: "Poultry in Motion," by Jonathan Fenske; Pouf: Crate and Barrel; Rug: Angela Adams

Girl Nursery + Guest Room Budget Makeover

I redid this room a few months ago, but I could never get really good pictures, so I put off writing about it. I still don't have great snaps (sorry!), so I'm just going to throw it out there. Ya'll are crazy understanding and super supportive, so I think it will be okay. Let's dive in! Here is what we were dealing with: a combination guest room with queen bed and nursery space + crib for our third daughter. (Third kids don't get fancy nurseries....life IS unfair, I know.) We had the green wall color for about six years and I was over it. I had replaced the duvet cover with a Target sale duvet cover but it really wasn't the right choice. It was high time for a redo...something that our little girl could grow into when the crib was removed and she would sleep in the big bed.

Nursery_Guest-Makeover
Nursery_Guest-Makeover

I usually start with a color "feeling" and in this case, I wanted strong, intense colors like aqua, raspberry and perhaps yellow. But in recent years, I have been dialing back the saturated wall colors in favor of more neutral tones. (I did this with our family room makeover last summer. Gray was the word of the day.). So, I decided in this room, I would go for a neutral wall and then turn up the volume on the bed covering and the accessories.

Here is the "After":

DSC_0472
DSC_0472

I went with "Pink Cadillac" by Benjamin Moore color-matched to Valspar Ultra No VOC on the walls. This delicate paint is almost cream with a hint of pink. I love it and it gives the room a warmth that was unexpected. Jonathan painted the butterflies on the wall. I have seen a lot of 3D paper butterflies tacked onto girls' walls on Pinterest, but I have to admit that my girls are rough. They would tear down paper thingies in seconds. Plus, I figured I would be forever sticking butterflies back on the wall once the adhesive wore off. So, I asked Jonathan to paint some butterflies and he agreed. Love my man!

The art is from Michael Mabry and it's actually cover art from Land of Nod catalogs. Michael designed LoN catalogue cover art for about ten years, Google tells me. We found these beautiful, professionally framed prints in a thrift store for $10 each.

The curtains are pretty polka-dot cotton panels that we had in the linen closet from our last house. I love reusing things and it saves money!

A closeup of the modern bed with pink pillows and artwork
A closeup of the modern bed with pink pillows and artwork

The quilt coverlet (Overstock.com) really set the tone for me to jazz up the room with fun pillows and art. The monogrammed pillows are from my friend Laura's Etsy store, which she has since closed. The gray pillow is from HomeGoods and the flower and butterfly pillows are MudPuppy from Target.com.

Monogrammed by SimplySweet by Laura on Etsy
Monogrammed by SimplySweet by Laura on Etsy

I was able to add a pop of yellow color with the lampshade (Threshold from Target) which we simply affixed to an ancient Martha Stewart lamp base we have had forever. The art is from my middle daughter and is framed with a Target frame. Chair is vintage.

A picture of a nursery and guest room painted with Benjamin Moore Pink Cadillac paint color matched to Valspar No VOC
A picture of a nursery and guest room painted with Benjamin Moore Pink Cadillac paint color matched to Valspar No VOC
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DSC_0490

Jonathan painted the Fisher Price race car above the BabyMod crib. You can purchase a canvas print of the car on our Fat and Appy store. The rug is from Angela Adams--we have had two of them for a long time.

A picture of a Fisher Price race car by illustrator Jonathan Fenske
A picture of a Fisher Price race car by illustrator Jonathan Fenske

That's it! The room is bright, cheerful and has a young sophistication that will grow with our sweet babe. Plus, we can still host overnight guests (and the baby can bunk with us).

If you liked this post, you might enjoy the True Tale of the Millionaire's Chandelier, stuff you can decorate with for just $6 and our Family Room Makeover.

Fisher Price Supa Dupa: Original Art from $49

Hi all. Jonathan looooves to sketch and draw. This week, in between children's book stuff and painting commissions, he sat down and sketched some of his favorite vintage Fisher-Price toys and other playthings. I asked if we could put them on our Etsy store, and he was cool with that. So....drumroll...here are four new drawings that are perfect for the beginning art collector (priced at $49-$59, unframed). An original sketch by Jonathan Fenske of a bear from Goldilocks Fisher Price playset

Denver artist Jonathan Fenske's drawing of a bear from the Fisher Price Goldilocks playset

Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske's sketch of the black Fisher Price dog

A drawing of the Fisher Price knight by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan Fenske's sketch of a 1950's deer figurine

A graphite drawing of the knight from the Fisher Price Castle playset by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

A detail of a Little People Fisher Price drawing by Jonathan Fenske

You can find these one-of-a-kind drawings at our new Fat and Appy Etsy store. We're planning on using the Etsy shop as a place to experiment with new products, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, leave them in the comments! Thanks for stopping by, as always. We love ya'll.

Playskool + Fisher-Price Painting: Lakeside Fun

Jonathan just shipped out another commission to a favorite client (oops, can I say that?). She has commissioned two other paintings,  "The Things We Leave Behind" and "Working Well Together." The latest painting is definitely one of my favorites. "Life Is Built of Memories" suggests the client's beloved Minnesota summer cabin with Lincoln Logs, vintage Playskool figures and a Fisher-Price kayak.

Fisher-Price-painting-by-Denver-artist-Jonathan-Fenske

Thanks for stopping by! If you would like more information on painting commissions, please contact Jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com. We also sell beautiful Giclee prints on canvas of Jonathan's work at fatandappy.com. Prices start at $99. 

Art for Sale: Original Fenske Drawings

It's time to move art! (You know we love doing this...) Jonathan and I are making room for some new pieces on our walls, and we have a few drawings we're going to sell. As a side note: it's sometimes hard to part with favorite art. But as we tell the girls all of the time (when they want to hoard things like paper wrappers from straws): "We can't save everything."

If you are interested, please shoot me a note (jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com). Shipping is additional to the prices below.

The Little Woman,  graphite on illustration board. Image is 11"x14"; total board size is 16"x20"; 2008. $99.

Fisher Price cowboys

A drawing of a Barbie by Jonathan Fenske

An image of a vintage bear

The drawings will need a frame with glass. (We like frames at Dick Blick.) If you would like Jonathan to paint something just for you, please contact me as well for commission information. And we feature a fun line of Giclee prints of Jonathan's work (on well-made, gallery-quality canvas) at www.fatandappy.com. Prices for prints start at $99.

We also just uncrated four paintings from storage. Fun to see these beauties from a few years ago.

A painting of a red tricycle
Ride Free, 30"x24", acrylic on board, 2008.
A painting of a spring horse from a playground
Spring Chicken, acrylic on board, 18"x24, 2008.
A spring horse from a playground
Buck-A-Duck, 24x18, acrylic on board, 2008.
A painting of Legos by Jonathan Fenske
Building An Empire, 16x20, acrylic on board, 2008.

When Life Punches Your Pumpkins

Someone out there needs to read this, right now: your creative dream is worth it. We believe in you, even though it seems no one else does.  A picture of some rotting pumpkins in Colorado

What you paint or draw or write matters. It's creation, it's beauty, it's art.

The world needs what you make. Otherwise, the cesspool that is currently passing for our entertainment culture will continue to devolve. You need to fight the good fight.

So, hear these words, friend: Lift up your head and keep going. Write another page. Sketch another character. Write another verse. All of us in the creative community, we're rooting for you.

Jonathan and I know creative disappointment. People ignore our emails; editors take months to respond to proposals; often the answer to our labors of love is "no." We get it. But we keep going, and you need to, too. Even when you are exhausted and discouraged.

Take a deep breath. We recommend a good walk (Jen) or a thrashing run (Jonathan) and then get back at it----the screenplay, the novel, the poem, the picture. Your dream is so valuable to this world.

Don't hide it; keep going, dear dreamer. We're with you, all the way.

Love,

Jennifer & Jonathan

We're Jennifer and Jonathan Fenske and we write children's books and novels, and once, we made an app for iPad. We also make baby girls, with some regularity. Visit our online store for modern art for kids, FatandAppy.com. 

Fat and Appy Is Open on Etsy!

We opened Fat and Appy Modern Art at FatandAppy.com a few months ago, using the Shopify platform (which we love). But a lot of people we respect (and have successful Etsy shops themselves) nudged us to "get on Etsy." I've been shopping on Etsy forever, so it wasn't a hard sell. I just knew it would take a lot of work to load in the store, set up tags, photos and pull it all together in the "About" section. And then last week, we finally decided to take the plunge. Jonathan and I both worked hours rewriting copy, enlarging jpegs and brainstorming tags. We also launched a new design, called "Identity Crisis." It's available in four sizes, starting at $99.

Rody bouncing horse by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Our new Etsy store can be found at FatandAppyModernArt. I think it's so exciting to be in the company of thousands of creatives who are making things. I hope we can debut new products on the Etsy store or maybe even original drawings to get feedback. I've even been cooking up a 3D printer project. I have endless ideas...but I just try to take them one at a time and decide what to pursue. My notebook is full of ideas; Jonathan has a similar notebook and his is crammed with project ideas, too.

And now we can check off Etsy. Hurray!

Tomato painting by Jonathan Fenske

A fox print by illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Yeehaw Colorado painting by Jonathan Fenske

A fried egg print by Fat and Appy, designed by Jonathan Fenske

Vintage Bear Illustration

Jonathan looooves old vintage squeaky toys. We have more than a few. Here's a bear he drew back in 2010 called "Bear Capture" that sold in Atlanta's Matre Gallery. Pro tip: Love an artist's work but can't afford a painting? Look for their pencil on paper sketches or ask if they can do a pencil commission. The difference in price can be significant and you still get a piece of work you love! Be sure to budget in a nice frame to protect the drawing. We like frames from Dick Blick and Target's RE collection. Like this drawing? Be sure to check out our line of affordable Giclee prints on canvas at Fat and Appy Modern Art for Children

An illustration of a vintage bear by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Family Room Makeover: It's An "After"

We're done with our DIY family room makeover! Well, I guess you can never say "done" because there's always something, right? We would loooove to install hardwoods one day. And we'll always arrange art around our house. And I did just order a Threshold side table on Target's "Clearance on Clearance" online sale. Target, you vixen! Anyway, we all know decorating a home is an ongoing process. This summer's project, however, has come to a close. You can get caught up on the beginning and our open shelf building and even our desk construction. Other readers will remember this is where we started in June: too much kid clutter, a green wall color I was beginning to loathe and bookshelves that were falling apart:

A family room

And here we are now. This is our "After."

A modern family room

We arranged the chairs and couch to create (we hope) a welcoming space that says, "Sit down and relax." Before, the couch faced all of the toy mess and I always felt like sitting down was something to do in a hurry, on my way to pick up a toy. I rarely ever sat on my couch (that I love!). I would despair of the kid junk, too. We don't have a toy room or spare room for kiddie flotsam. I just couldn't figure out how to fix it. And then I did.

Two orange chairs with a yellow coffee table

We ended up donating most of the baby's toy bin. Rattles and teethers were all tossed, since she's past that stage. Toys she never played with (even if I thought they were so cute or so German or so eco-friendly....all donated because if a child doesn't play with a toy, then why keep it?) After all of that purging, we were left with a basket worth of awesome baby toys. Then, we sold the bins on Craigslist. The second toy bin was curated down in the same manner, although our 4 and 7-year-olds had veto power over most of the save-toss decisions. We placed that bin in the basement and if they want a toy that they can't live without, they can go down there and get it. This has happened exactly once.

Pillows from HomeGoods

The yellow table was a surprise. I originally wanted an ottoman in front of the couch and even started a jam jar fund (when I want something that's outside the household budget, I start a glass jar with a picture of the thing I desire. I sell stuff on CL until I have enough funds.) Anyway, as the jar fund began to grow, the ottoman started looking pretty indulgent. For the cost of a well-built fabric ottoman, I could do a lot more with my decor budget. So, I shifted gears and went the coffee table route. But I wanted rounded edges, no cold stone or rough wood. I found an inexpensive Queen Anne-style coffee table for $40 on CL and then purchased about $21 in paint. I used Valspar's Oatland Daisy after I sanded the table and did some very minor repairs.

A living room makeover with Petrie sofa

The open gray shelving combined with the mid-mod dresser is definitely my favorite part of the entire room. You know how you want something to go in your head sometimes? And it hardly ever turns out that way? Well, color me happy, because this time, what I envisioned actually worked out. I hope I'm on a roll.

Modern shelves with wooden shelf brackets

I won't lie, the baby knocked over this vase of zinnias after she woke up from her nap. We do not keep anything delicate at her height. (I held back the other two girls by drawing an imaginary line behind the couch while I took pictures.) I'm just keeping it real, folks. This room does not look like this now. It won't ever look this way again. That's why there's a stack of library books in the next picture. The only thing we can keep down low are books and usually, they are strewn around the room. We don't do knick-knacks. Or balls of pretty HomeGoods twine. Or jars of sea urchin skeletons. Are you kidding me?

A vase of zinnias on a coffee table painted with Valspar Oatland Daisy

The art on this wall is work by (clockwise from top); Robert Matre, Matre Gallery, Atlanta; Near and Deer from Fat and Appy; and Katie Fenske Bridges. You can see her amazing Etsy jewelry shop here. The chair is vintage.

Jonathan Fenske art and other artists

I posted this picture the other day (it's from last week). I love my desk and I'm thrilled it cost a fraction of a store-bought desk. Hurray!

A picture of a family room makeover with Jonathan Fenske art

A DIY wooden desk

I thought the coffee table might be too hard at first for our rough-and-tumble girls. All of the girls have rolled off the couch and hit it at least once. But they are learning to avoid it. And I placed a few extra pillows under the coffee table for fort building. It's funny...now that they don't have all of their broken and abandoned toys living in the family room, they use my stuff to play: baskets, pillows, blankets, cushions.

A Petrie couch with a yellow coffee table

Whew, that was some summer! You can't see it, but the girls are panting around the corner, dying to be released to trash the room once more. But that's living with kids and I'll take it every day of the week. The best part of the new room? I "enter" by walking past the couch and snuggle into the cushions. Within minutes, at least one child has piled on top of me. Babies climb up, 4-year-olds nap and 7-year-olds talk theology and pranks on that couch with their mama. It's heaven. So, I would say my main goal of making the room fit our family better has been achieved. And I don't have to paint anything anymore...at least for a while. Happiness!

Sources:

Wall paint: Benjamin Moore "Moonshine" color-matched to Olympic's No-VOC in satin; Couch: "Petrie," Crate and Barrel; Mid-mod dresser: Mod Mid Century; Orange chairs, ottomans: Storehouse; Wooden desk: custom; Open shelves: "Straight 10" shelf brackets by Tyler Morris Woodworking, Fort Collins, CO; Paint on desk and open shelves: Benjamin Moore "Storm Cloud Gray" color-matched to Olympic's No-VOC in semi-gloss; Rocking chair: vintage; Coffee table: Craigslist, painted with Valspar "Oatland Daisy" spray paint in flat (legs and sides) and same color but with liquid paint in satin (top); desk chair: a store in Atlanta, I've forgotten the name, sorry!; Media cart, curtains, trash can and silver shelf: IKEA; Pillows: HomeGoods; White pouf: Crate and Barrel; Art: most is FatandAppy.com or Jonathan Fenske; also, Robert Matre, Katie Fenske Bridges; Bruce Clark; Emma Klingbeil. We're Jennifer and Jonathan. And we're parenting three girls and making art. Thank you for visiting our blog! Please stop by again. 

A New Wooden Desk in the Family Room

I'm happy to report our family room makeover is complete. Today, I'll show you the corner desk Jonathan and I collaborated on. A little backstory: I don't have a proper desk in our house. We have a desk in the living room where Jonathan works, and I mooch off of his space when he's not working. It's an arrangement that we started once I quit my social media job back in April. So, we've kind of limped along, me working when he's not. We know we need a permanent solution (finish the basement? rent a studio offsite?) but for now, we're winging it. That's how I came to the "what should I do with that corner in the family room?" You might remember that the "Before" family room looked like this:

A family room

Check out the back corner on the right---that space to the right of the red rocking chair. I knew I could put something there special, and it finally hit me: a DESK! My own desk, lah.

Jonathan is Mr. Frugal and when he heard I was looking at $300 West Elm Parsons desks (he heard because I said, "Honey, I think I'll put a Parsons desk here!"), he went into DIY mode. Love my man.

We picked up a cheap piece of oak plywood from Lowes (about $15) and some thin oak strips to give the cheapie board a nice edge. Then, we used the paint we had for the open bookshelves, Benjamin Moore Storm Cloud Gray color matched to Olympic No-VOC Premiere paint in semi-gloss. (You can read all about those shelves in our recent shelf bracket DIY post.)

First, Jonathan attached the thin trim strips to the front and one side of the desk (the back and other side would touch the wall, so they didn't need trim.) He pre-drilled the holes (to keep the wood from splitting) and used deck screws and wood glue. Then, he propped it up in our indoor/outdoor woodworking shop. (Otherwise known as a "garage.") It was now my turn!

A picture of a DIY wooden desk being built

Jonathan countersunk the screws for me, leaving a little hole to fill with Plastic Wood. I scooped some up with a spackle knife and swiped it on. The Plastic Wood tends to sink, so I did this twice after letting the first application dry. We did all of this so the trim edge would be smooth with no bumpiness from the nails.

DIY-desk-how-to-build

After that second application, the hole was nice and flush. I sanded it well.

DIY-desk-how-to

I then brought the desk top into the house and primed it, using the Valspar Bare Wood primer we used for the open shelves. I also primed the two Parson legs I bought from Lowes. They were about $9 a piece and are made of a solid hardwood. Pretty and simple. We just needed two because the back of the desk was designed to rest on little rails. More on that later.

DIY-desk-how-to

The next day, I moved on, painting the legs with the gray paint. This is my favorite picture. Of course, we have peanut butter on the floor. Don't you? (True story: Our 17-month-old toddler will go into the pantry, take out food and leave it on the floor. She'll sit down beside it, as if to say, "I like to eat, people. So, why aren't you feeding me NOW?")

DIY-desk-how-to

I painted the desk top, using the roller. I like the even coverage and it's faster (for me, anyway). Gray happiness!

DIY-desk-how-to

At this point, Jonathan jumped back in and attached the leg brackets. This was pretty cheap---I think a few dollars each. We bought two, of course.

DIY-desk-how-to

And here's a shot of the table leg, masterfully painted, don't you think?

DIY-desk-how-to

Jonathan carefully measured and mounted the poplar support rails, pre-drilling the holes before attaching them to the wall.

A how-to-DIY desk project from I Love Your Work, Jonathan Fenske

Using a level, he made sure the desk top was level before attaching the desk to the rails (from underneath, so the screws wouldn't show, and, once again pre-drilling the holes).

DSC_0440

And after drying and arranging, here it is:

A picture of a family room makeover with Jonathan Fenske art

Sources:

Orange chair: Storehouse

Desk, custom: (read this post!)

Art: Sweet Pea in Blue and Fast Car, both by Fat and Appy™ Modern Art for Children (this is our line of modern art prints on canvas). Canvas of rock and tree with silver frame: original still-life painted by Jonathan Fenske.

Paint: Benjamin Moore Storm Cloud Gray color-matched to Olympic Premiere No-VOC in semi-gloss.

Chair: Modern furniture store in Atlanta---can't remember the name

Trashcan, curtains, silver shelf: IKEA

White porcelain votive holders: Target

Sitting fox: Zsolnay

Stained glass window: Vintage

And another shot, from the left.

A corner wooden desk tutorial from I Love Your Work, Jonathan Fenske

You know me, I like to get all artsy.

A picture of a colorful birdhouse from I Love Your Work, Jonathan Fenske

This is a tincut from the Georgia folk artist R.A. Miller. This is the first piece of art I ever bought. I was 18. I still adore it.

An RA Miller tincut in artist Jonathan Fenske's family room

So, that's the path from boring blah spot to my own little corner and my own little chair! I'm really happy to sit there, work, organize and kind of just daydream sometime.

What's next? Pictures of the entire room so you can see how our family room makeover turned out! I was held up a little by some long days of cloud coverage (photos with a flash drive me crazy, and I wanted to spare you that). Also: I picked up a Queen Anne-style coffee table and painted it, so that took a few days. It's in the new room and I wanted to debut that cutie pie table here. So, soon and very soon!

A Fenske Commission: Straight to the Moon!

Another commission is leaving the studio. This (as yet untitled) painting is for a client who wanted a vintage Western + space story using Jonathan's collage-style painting method. They have a Cape Canaveral and NASA family background and were fun for Jonathan to work with over the past few months. I loved seeing this one take shape...it's really cool. A painting by Jonathan Fenske

If you're interested in a painting commission, drop Jennifer (that's me!) a line at jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com. If you like the collage-style painting method, but don't want to go the commission route, check out our online store of affordable Giclee canvas prints. Here's Yeehaw Colorado ($119) for a 16"x20" canvas print:

A painting of cowboy themes by Jonathan Fenske

Pro Tip: Don't forget! Sign up for our emails and save 15%! This discount will go away this weekend (we're dropping it to 10%) so make sure to save now! 

DIY Book Shelves: Gray Goodness

Our DIY family room makeover continues. We have shelves! This is terribly exciting because we have three small children + a ton of books that have been stacked all over the place for the past week while we work on the room. The book issue became a bigger problem as the days wore on because the baby (age 1) would knock them over. The other two girls (ages 4 and 7) would swoop in and then crack open the books, sit on the books, build forts with the books and fling books at each other. This led us to coin a 500-year-old proverb: "Books belong on bookshelves." (You can read about what we did with the old bookshelf here.) Luckily, we were in the process of making open wood bookshelves. Here's what we did.

First, we headed to Lowes. We picked out the three least warped "white wood" boards for the shelves we could find and then had them cut to our desired length at the store. Since we went with the cheapest wood (about $37), we knew we would have to sand and carefully prepare the boards, even more than usual.

Baby in stroller at Lowes

Children love going to large home improvement stores. They seem really grateful and happy to accompany their parents on such errands.

Seriously, we just try to keep them alive at places like Lowes. If you turn your back for a second, our two older girls will be playing house underneath 20 tons of drywall.

Jennifer Fenske at Lowes with piece of plywood

Once we returned home and after I nursed an iced tea to erase memories of the shopping trip, I set up my woodshop outside the garage.

Ya'll about to get jealous....this is one sexy wood working area:

DSC_0316

That's right. Picnic blankets make the BEST woodworking tables. Tyler Morris would not approve.

I sanded the "white wood" (what? is that like "white fish"...you don't really know what kind of fish that is? Did I buy Frankenwood?) making sure to round the corners and the edges. I used a sander we've had forever. It made it really easy.

DIY shelf project

The next day, I wiped the boards down with a damp cloth to remove any sanding debris. Then, I used Valspar Bare Wood primer and painted both sides of the boards and the edges. Jonathan walked by and said, "Why don't you roll it?" when he saw me waxing on and off with a paint brush. I think I thought the paint strokes would look....I don't know, painterly, or something so I ignored his advice. Big mistake---more on that later.

Wooden shelves with DIY gray paint

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the gorgeous shelf brackets were ready, so Jonathan started using his stud finder to locate the studs in family room wall. Here's a picture with the first shelf bracket up and ready for business:

Jonathan Fenske hangs gray DIY shelves

And here is Jonathan doing the ubiquitous "Stud finder? I'm right here!" picture. We are too cheesy, I know:

Using a stud finder to hang wooden shelves

After a while, here is what it looked like when all nine brackets were up. Loveliness! Jonathan is uber careful and used a level, measuring stick and anchors (for the non-stud areas) as he worked. We took this photo the morning after he installed the brackets. You can see the now-dried shelves, at right.

And speaking of those shelves, I ended up using the roller on the tops and sides of the shelves after my attempts to go "authentic" failed. The paint applied with a brush looked clumpy and sloppy. But with a few gentle roller strokes, the boards looked beautiful. Should've listened to my man, I know. Next time!

Straight 10 Shelf brackets from Tyler Morris Woodworking Fort Collins, CO

Gray wood shelves with brackets from Tyler Morris Woodworking, Fort Collins

I should note that Tyler's brackets come with little wooden caps to cover the screws. We are thinking about leaving the screws uncapped, for a more "gritty" look. Or, I guess as "gritty" as a suburban Colorado house gets.

After all of this work, I flopped on the couch and read HGTV magazine. A nice bit of escapism...especially when your house is torn up and the children are mewing for food and you're not really sure if you can get to the refrigerator.

A picture of HGTV magazine

Jonathan then installed the shelves, cheating one just a tad to accommodate its unexplainable shrinking overnight. This part went really easily, so easily I wasn't even around to help and just woke up to new shelves one morning. That's service! Thank you, Mr. Fenske.

Finally, we moved our mid-century dresser we found on Craigslist into place, added books and a pared-down collection of favorite things and installed our art from different rooms around the house:

A DIY family room from Jonathan Fenske of Fat and Appy Modern Art

We're not done yet...and we'll show you the rest of the room soon as soon as we install the desk. We're in the process of building it now (while baby naps today, I will be sanding it out in the "wood shop," er, garage.) The desk will go to the right of the Sweet Pea in Blue. You can see the white edge of the desk chair where it will be installed.

Going to nap now. Just kidding! I promised I would stop ignoring my children while I feverishly paint and try to find room for all of the books that do not fit on our new shelves (by design...we really wanted to start fresh with less stuff in the family room. Guess that means a book purge is in my future!)

Enough about us. What about you? What projects are you working on? Feel free to leave a link in the comments. 

Art Movers: Home Edition

Jonathan thinks the best way to enjoy your art is to move it around. From time to time, Jonathan will play art swap and move a painting or print from one room to another, from family room to kids' rooms or from a bedroom wall to the living room.

Most of the time, I love this where-will-it-turn-up-next game. But every so often, I think, "Nooo! You can't move that. I'm too in love with it where it is."

But every time, I end up appreciating the new location. And then I think, "We should have done this before!"

This week, Jonathan moved "Painting" by Bruce Clark. I was totally reluctant. I love "Painting" (I blogged about it here) and thought it reigned over our living room in eye-popping 1980's glory. Here's what it looked like at nighttime:

A Bruce Clark painting

But Jonathan had a new plan, and so I consented. He moved "A Need to Nurture" into the space. At first, I wasn't sure.

A Need to Nurture Modern Art Print by Jonathan Fenske of Fat and Appy

But now after a few days, I really love it. I'm even eyeing other pieces, thinking of the places they could go---someday.

What about you? Do you move art around? Share your tips! We'd love to hear from you. 

The Bunny Makes the Journey

I wrote recently about art coming out of the trash. In this case, art is coming from eBay. Jonathan purchased this little fella recently for a few bucks. He's kind of on a squeaky toy kick right now. A vintage rubber bunny

Then, Jonathan sketched the bunny, dodging our well-meaning four-year-old who often "adds" to his drawings.

A squeaky vintage rubber bunny

Jonathan's currently working on the bunny design that we'll add to Fat and Appy, our online store for modern children's art. We'll post again when the bunny makes his complete journey. Come back, won't you?

Is vintage art your thing? Check our Near and Deer, Fast Car or A Need to Nurture at FatandAppy.com. 

Don't Step on This Dog

Don't Step on This Dog A word to the wise: if your house is covered in toys and you have a habit of stepping on things, whatever you do, do not step on this vintage Fisher Price dog toy. Just don't do it. Trust me.

We have a special houseguest this weekend. Jonathan's youngest brother is visiting from Nashville and it's been wonderful having him here. We miss our families, way out here on the edge of the Colorado plains. So when we are blessed with a family visitor, I tend to really soak it up and enjoy the entire visit. I love hearing the kids tease their uncle and just generally fold him into our daily life.

Tonight, we had a simple meal:

Two kinds of rice (brown basmati and white) Three kinds of beans: Aduki/Northern mixture and Black (doctored with cumin, cayenne, chili powder) Sharp cheddar, cilantro salsa Homemade cornbread + butter Roasted carrots with a little salt Chocolate chip cookies (a free tub we got at Papa Murphy's for taking a survey. Gotta love free cookies.)

Hope you are enjoying a weekend full of family and friends. Happy Spring...we finally have warm weather here in Denver!

3 Pieces of Art That Make Me Happy

It's snowing (again!) and I'm having a quiet afternoon to write and work. I've been home from my corporate job for about a week a half and my new way of life is still sinking in. (I resigned from my social media job to run Fat and Appy and help Jonathan's career; you can read more about it here.) The house isn't perfect: clothes are strewn about and stubs of crayons the baby has chewed litter the floor. But there are signposts of peace--small pieces of art around the house that tell me I am home. They make me happy. I thought I might share a few with you.

1. Elephant Tea Pot

I realized I loved design and decor when I got out of college. I was in possession of my first apartment outside of Asheville. On a cool, fall Saturday, I wandered into an antique store in Asheville. I spied this elephant tea pot and bought it, relishing in the freedom that came with having a little money in my pocket. (I am sure it was a small amount of money, but still, it was mine!). This little pot has been packed and repacked a half-dozen times...it always goes with me.

Picture of an tea pot shaped like an elephant with baby

2. Blurry Pop

I love this painting by Mr. Jonathan Fenske. One humid summer day in Atlanta, Jonathan decided to lay out some popsicles on a board in the front yard. As they melted, he took pictures every 15 minutes or so. The art project came to an end when Kemp, our Australian shepherd, discovered the pops and ate them. (Want your own Pop? We have a Giclee print version inspired by Blurry Pop in our online store.)

A painting of a creamsicle by Jonathan Fenske

3. Swinging Bird Timestone Clock

We picked up this clock for super cheap at a thrift store. This hangs in our kitchen and is just delightful. It makes me happy just to look at it. You have to see it in action for the full effect (I took a five-second video).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2OB_WI2Pmc]

That's it from here for today...what pieces of art do you have that you love and make you happy? If you liked this post, you may enjoy our blog post, Art on a Budget: Six Ways to Find Art That's Affordable

From Out of the Ashes: A Piggy Phoenix

Two pigs get married Sometimes, art comes out of the trash.

Jonathan purchased these cute pig figurines a few years ago. He loved their whimsical pigginess, the look in the groom's eye and the blushing playfulness of the bride. He promptly set them up and photographed them. He planned to paint the little pigs. (Jonathan has always loved painting vintage toys. You can see examples of his Fisher-Price/vintage toy paintings on his website.)

Alas, Jonathan never got the chance to paint them. The fragile porcelain figurines proved too alluring for our then-five-year old and she destroyed them with one swipe of her hand. Into the trash they went, a pile of shards.

Until last week when Jonathan came across the photograph he took before the pigs shattered. He asked me, did I think they would translate well to our new Fat and Appy canvases? I said I thought they would, and so he created a digital drawing of our besotted pig friends on their Big Day. I wish them well, don't you?

"Marry Me Pig" is available in green, gray and peach at FatandAppy.com, starting at $99. All purchases through April 24 receive a free copy of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske. Sign up for our emails and receive 15% off your next purchase. 

Children's Modern Art Canvases + Free Autographed Book

It's crazy exciting to announce our first promotion for Fat and Appy: Modern Art Canvases: A Free Autographed Copy of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske with purchase. No coupon code needed: We'll throw an autographed softcover copy of Love Is in the Air* into each order through April 24, 2013. Shop on, art lover! If you have been following our blog, you know we have been moving toward focusing Fat and Appy on art, rather than apps. We still love apps (hello, Apple!) but our first love has always been art. So, Fat and Appy is officially relaunching as Fat and Appy Modern Art Canvases for Children. 

A happy fat tomato with green background

There are several reasons for our new direction. A lot of parents want to have affordable art for their children's rooms and play spaces. Too often, they are stuck with tacky prints at big-box stores. Simple, short-run prints have a place, too, and you can find them on Etsy, for instance, but then you have to frame them and we've found not everyone wants to do that.

Need tips for finding affordable art? Check out our post, "Art on a Budget: 6 Ways to Find Art That’s Affordable"

Another reason is that we discovered an amazing partner to create our canvases. They are handmade in North America, guaranteed not to fade or crack for 99 years and we offer a 30-Day Happiness Guarantee. The quality is so good, I practically swooned when I saw the first sample.

An orange popsicle on a blue background by Jonathan Fenske

We've added 18 designs to the store, starting with the artwork from Healthy Creatures (that's our app for iPad!) plus some fun Popsicle illustrations. Jonathan is hard at work on more illustrations, so if you have some ideas, leave a comment below.

Two peas with faces with pink background

More details, if you are in to that type of thing:

-High-quality canvas stretched over 1.5" wooden frame

-Printed with gallery-quality Giclee method

-Available in four sizes

-Designed by Jonathan Fenske

-Canvas wraps around sides providing a white finished decorative edge

-Durable piano wire mounted on back for easy hanging

Thanks for reading, and for supporting us!

--Jen and Jonathan

Who are Jennifer and Jonathan? Read about us, here.

Image of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske

* While supplies last. Softcover copy of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske has a retail value of $3.99. Sorry, we cannot personalize the autograph. No cash value. Offer ends April 24, 2013.