Going Green

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Baltimore, everything is blooming, and all at once. We had a batch of random daffodils that we didn’t even know existed pop up (1.5′ tall!) in our front yard. The tree we swore was dead has little red buds on the tip of each willowy branch. You can hardly drive anywhere without getting showered by a ton of flower petals. It’s positively gorgeous out there, kids.

To contribute to the greenery, Timm and I decided that it was time to drink the Kool Aid that hippies have been drinking for years, and GO GREEN. I thought that growing little seedlings from a ready-made kit would be the easiest method to start with.

Nope. Wrong. My little seedlings barely grew above a centimeter tall before dying a slow, crying death. This weekend, we went a different route, and it all began with a lot of whiskey.

(Okay, so we didn’t actually drink whiskey. We just bought a barrel that was made to HOLD whiskey.)

We saw this guy and chose to make him into our herb garden. We stocked up on the pre-grown plants at Home Depot. NOTE: None of these pretty little gems cost more than $3.50 each, which is one helluva bargain when you think about how much spices are!

Yes, we had stocked up on spices, but the size of the barrel was still a bit daunting.

To fill in some of the space before adding dirt, we grabbed some of the bricks from the backyard (which is a completely separate story for another time) and put a few brick layers in the bottom of the pot.

Adding the bricks first meant that we only had to use one bag of soil rather than the 3-4 it would have taken to fill this baby up. From there, it was easy plantin’.

…and voila!

We have TONS of rosemary, cilantro, oregano, and chives – all of our favorites. We’re only growing spices we’ll actually use. (I confess – we’ve already used some of the cilantro. Hey, it’s salsa season!) I have a notoriously black-thumb, so here’s hoping I can keep my lil guys alive as long as possible!

Happy Spring!

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I’m drippin’ drippin’ gold

Well, truthfully, I’m drippin’ drippin’ silver. (No disrespect to Static Revenger & Richard Vission.)

We FINALLY got around this weekend to working on a project that I’ve wanted to finish for weeks. Total time spent on the project: 10 minutes tops. Do you ever have something like that, where you’ll put off a project for weeks and then it takes you all of 2 seconds to complete? I’m not gonna lie – it made me feel like a lazy girl. Maybe it’ll be my motivation to get off my butt on projects I’ve been neglecting.

But I digress. A few weeks ago, Timm and I were in IKEA doing one of our random “looking-around-for-everything-and-nothing” visits. (Ah, the benefits of being 10 minutes from a store.) We always look in the As-Is section as we’ve found a ton of great deals there in the past. Just recently, I’ve started looking in the “handyman” corner of our section. Here, you can mostly find things like cabinet doors they don’t make anymore, glass panes to their bookcases, and random pieces of wood. Mixed in, we found this baby.

FACT: I have NO idea what it is or what its desired purpose is, but the second I saw it, I had a vision for it.

PLUS! I’m not sure if it’s the same at all IKEA stores, but at ours, everything in the Handyman section is always an additional 50% off the ticket price, so we snagged this for a piddly $4. Woot woot! Once we got it home, it rested against the wall in the guest bedroom while I decided the perfect place for it.

The blank wall space next to my grandmother’s picture seemed like a swell spot. So with the help of my Much Taller and More Coordinated husband…

We made sure the frame was level and nailed it to the wall using long, 2.5″ nails in four spots along the top of the frame. Once it was hung, we had a lovely, blank grate on the wall. Until..

(Do you see where this is going?)

A’yup. I decided to use this lil puppy as a jewelry holder. The earrings were easy, as those Fancy Lil Devils come complete with their own hanging hooks.

Yes, I have a feather earring addiction. What of it?

With the addition of a bunch of these little guys…

…I was able to hang all of my necklaces on it, too. And then…it was drippin’ drippin’ silver.

I pretty much love it. I’ve always loved the look in store boutiques when the walls just glimmer with glittery chains of all different textures, and I think I have a bit of that goin’ here. I’m a little worried about what I’ll do as my cheap jewelry collection grows, but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll just have to make another IKEA run and grab another of these while they’re still there?

How do you ladies (and gents) display your jewelry? Do you keep it tucked away in a pretty box, lay it down on your counter, keep it all in a bowl, etc? Fess up!

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Spray Paint is my BFF

It took me 31 years, but I’m finally starting to understand why graffiti artists love using spray paint as their art instrument of choice. Not only is it ridiculously cheap for what it is, but you can get the most instant results and the best coverage imaginable. I think I’m having a minor love affair with spray paint, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

I think the “at” symbol was the first place we began our spray paint addiction with.

Then we moved on to bigger and greener pastures. Well, not green so much as the same glossy white we used on the “at”.

Those white nightstands? Yeah, they used to be scratched-up, red-toned wood. In white, they just look so crisp n’ clean! I decided, though, that my love of spray paint had to move beyond the white! Timm and I stocked up on spray paint ready to paint anything that would sit still for us.

The other weekend, I picked up some old, scratched candlesticks at Goodwill for a measly $2 each.

I knew that I loved the shape (and y’all know I loved the price), but I had other visions for them. But oh no, I wasn’t ready to bring out my old friend, Mr. Spray Paint yet. I thought I was smarter than that, Oh ho ho! I darted over to Lowes and grabbed a $3 sample paint pot in Polly Green.

I loaded myself up with an arsenal of little brushes, sponges – the works – and I started going to town, only to find…

Yeah, to be blunt, it looked like CRAP. Streaky, uneven, etc. I just didn’t like it. So, I took a deep breath and decided to talk to my friend, Mr. Spray Paint.

Doesn’t that color just make you want to do a little happy dance??

Three very thin, very even coats later, and Mr. Spray Paint made me fall madly, blissfully in love with some inanimate objects.

They look amazing on our dining room table right now. It has definitely settled my fear a bit in dabbling into the foray of spray paint. Now I’m just worried I’m going to spray paint EVERYTHING. Muah-ha-ha!

Do you have any home objects you’ve transformed with a little bit of paint? What’s your method of choice? Am I the only one who calls things “Mr.” and “Mrs.” (as in Mr. Spray Paint)?

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Man Cave. Mantuary. Man Space.

Whatever you want to call it, the design theme for our “office” has become anything but boring. The reason I had free reign in designing our guest room was because Timm had free reign of the office. Yes, the room has two small desks. Yes, our computers are kept in the room. Yes, there are some books in there. Otherwise, nothing about this room says “office” so much as it screams “Man Cave”.

Note: Timm pointed out that Wikipedia gave some other names to a Man Cave, so “Mantuary” is my personal fave and what I’ll be going with from here on out.

As soon as people see our house for the first time, the Mantuary is what they notice, comment on, and usually like the best – and it’s ALL Timm’s baby.

Completely badass, right? Plus, between the paint color, the furnishings, the accessories, and even the carpet, it’s easily the most put-together room in the house. The paint color (Tempered Steel from Pittsburgh Paints) is completely perfect, AND we got it on a crazy discount from some friends. BONUS.

The music wall is probably the thing you notice first. The line of 5 guitars (with a bass guitar on the floor) makes for SUCH a cool focus piece. Plus, not only does he actually play all of these (and play them well), but see that guitar in the middle of the wall? Looks sort of like a coffin? Yeah, HE MADE THAT FROM SCRATCH.

It’s pretty much the coolest guitar ever made, and the body is made from a cigar box.

On the shelf below the guitars, you’ll find a jar full of babydoll heads (inspired by the opening credits of American Horror Story), a rusty, book-style box, and this SUPER old radio that we found antiquing. Sure, the front is fine and all, but it’s the back of the radio that looks amazing.

The shelf holds books, for sure, but it also holds a bunch of spooky lil relics that go with the room perfectly. That vintage typewriter was a $20 find from a local antique store. It’s actually in working-order – just needs a bit of tweaking.

On the filing cabinet, we have a torso sculpture (snagged at Homegoods for $15!), and Matt Damon. Yes. The two-headed baby’s name is Matt Damon. (Matt is on the left.)

And finally, we have “that piece”. I remember watching bad 80s sitcoms as a kid and there was always “that piece” of furniture that the father of the family loved, and the mom hated. Usually, it was some sort of beat-to-hell leather recliner. In our house, it’s the Red Velvet Monstrosity (or RVM).

Timm showed me the RVM on Craigslist one day and said he LOVED it – wanted to know what I thought. I hated it. Seriously. Velvet is one of those materials that gives my skin the creepy-crawlies, and plus, it’s just.not.my.thing.

…two days later, I found it in the house anyway. Sheesh.

I’ll admit it – it looks like it “goes” in the new office…but I’m still not a fan. What do you guys think? Do you have any furniture/art pieces you just can’t see eye-to-eye with your housemate(s) on? Do you have a Beyonce chicken of your very own?

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Be…our…guest, be our guest!

I like the idea of posting about rooms that aren’t quite finished yet. It’ll give us something to look back on and say, “Remember when we did that? Holy schnikies, it looks so much better now.” And yes – I do say “schnikies”. But I digress.

When we moved into the house, we went on a freaking painting bonanza. It was something akin to this.

(source: Hyperbole and a Half)

We tackled (with some help): Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Sitting Area, Bedroom, Spooky’s room (most of it), Half-Bathroom/WC/Loo, and Office within 60 days.
Note: I’m not sure why each of those rooms required their own capitalization, but so it goes. You’ll live.

The one room that sat COMPLETELY unfinished was the guest bedroom. I just didn’t know what to do with it! Timm had free-reign of the office (a room which I’ll focus on this week), so I was given complete, masterful control of the guest room. That would have been awesome if I had any idea of any cohesive theme for it. Boo and hiss.


My grandma’s painting gave me an idea for the color scheme I wanted to go for – a light, almost robin’s egg blue. I grabbed some swatches and placed them in three different walls in the room to see how each color caught light differently.

After staring at them intently in bright morning light, evening sunset, cloudy light, and Light-From-A-Lightbulb light, I fell in love with Valspar’s Sea Kiss.

Finally…it was on. It was on like Donkey Kong.

Paint, I’m about to make you my bitch.

After a few hours of painting, I had Timm help me finish the second coat while I did some dramatic attempts at Cutting In.

The end result in the sunshine (with freshly painted trim and baseboards) makes me all giddy in my guttiworks.

Of course, as soon as we were finished painting, Timm stepped back and mused, “Huh. It looks like we were painting for a nursery.” Well crap. Being that we’re not in the market to have kids at the moment, we don’t want people getting any crazy ideas. haha Finally, we could move furniture back in! For now, the bed is a temporary (but COMPLETELY generous) hand-me-down. I’d love to have a futon in there someday.

The boring side. The closet takes up a whole wall, so that will pretty much stay as-is. The side table is one that I made from an A-frame and a cabinet door-front that I snagged for $8 total from IKEA’s As-Is section. We have the violin we found in our crawl space laying on the table for now. I figured it was best to keep it close to where we found it in case the ghosts want it back. I’m kidding. …or am I?

View from the door. Aren’t our windows the best?! I think the fun curtains we snagged for $15 from IKEA really go well with the room.


This is my Makeup Command Center™, as it was dubbed by Timm long ago. I have a wee bit of a makeup addiction and it’s pretty much my happy place. Those white drawers on the right? Yeah, they’re ALL filled with makeup. DON’T JUDGE ME.

The only real “decoration” in the room right now is here. We have a shelf with my Ghoulia Yelps Monster High doll, and my two A-MAZING Paint by Number paintings (that I completed) that were a Xmas gift from my Sister-in-Law. Then we have some IKEA spice racks that I use to hold my nail polish collection.

These guys were also a Xmas Sister-in-Law gift that I can’t WAIT to hang – lightboxes with old-time movie monsters. Happy Linda.

In the corner, we have a suitcase with goodies meant for guests to use when they stay over. There are some essentials, like a toothbrush, shampoo, etc., and of course, a teddy bear. (Hey man, anyone who says a teddy bear isn’t essential in life is nutso.)

And of course, on the wall opposite of the bed…

There’s still SO much to do in this room – I’d love to have a futon, a carpet of sorts, more art on the walls, etc. We’ll get there. For now, I’m pretty confident that we have a comfy lil room going for our guests. If you’re ever staying over and that violin starts playing in the middle of the night though, I give you full permission to run out screaming.

I know I would.

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Naked ladies! ALL NUDE!

*ahem* Now that I have your attention with that post, I really do want to talk about a nude woman. Seriously. Stay tuned.

When my grandma passed away a few years back, I immediately knew what I wanted to remember her by. She always had a picture hanging in her bedroom from when I was a little girl. I remember thinking it was horribly scandalous and risque…but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it and how beautiful it was.

My grandfather used to joke and tell people that the painting was of my grandmother. (It wasn’t, but my grandma was so beautiful that I’m sure it was a believable lie.) The picture hung in our apartment, and then was (oh-so-carefully) moved to the new house, where it was decided that it would hang in our guest room.

The light-woodgrain frame never really “went” with our decor, but I was so scared at the idea of changing it that I never attempted it. I was paranoid that I would somehow ruin it and upset my grandma. Silly? Probably, but that’s the way my mind works. Also, the framing/matting job was done professionally, and was of such good quality that I didn’t want to muck it up. It also isn’t in my budget to have it reframed right now.

This weekend, I got up the guts to paint the frame. Every single step of this process had beads of sweat dripping down my forehead, but somehow (deep breath)…I survived. I started by laying the picture on a dropcloth and cleaning it REALLY well. Years of dirt poured off the poor thing!

I trusted my beloved 1.5″ Frog Tape to carefully seal the edges of the frame from the glass covering the picture. I made sure that the edges of the tape wouldn’t allow for ANY bleeding by running the side of a credit card down the tape to ensure no bubbling/lifting.

I was nearly panicking as I was carefully painting the frame with Valspar Ultra Premium Gallon Interior Latex Semi-Gloss Ultra White, first with a mini roller, and then with a finer brush. I did four very, very, very thin coats of paint to ensure there would be full-coverage with no drip or brush marks.

After letting it dry for a full day, I stepped back and surveyed the results.

I. Love. It. I think my grandma would love it, too. It makes the picture pop, and it looks SO GOOD against our freshly painted guest room walls. (Stay tuned for a post this week about the guest room!)

Now we have a pair of fully-glorious boobs on our wall…and I couldn’t be happier.

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New Year – New Promises

First things first…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A few years ago, way back in 2010, Riki Rachtman posted online that he was creating himself a list of 30 things he wanted to accomplish that year. These had to be specific items that you could cross off of a list, rather than general goals. For example, instead of saying “Lose Weight”, it would be “Exercise 10 times in the month of January”. I took the initiative and made my own list.

I was able to cross most of the items off of my list (“Visit a State I’ve Never Been to Before” – Washington), and some items remained untouched. No matter what, though, that list motivated me. It kept me going. It made me want to check every item off of that list. What can I say – lists motivate me. It’s a quirk of mine that my husband loves to tease me for.

I decided that I wanted to make another list for 2012. Some of the old items have popped back on the list, but being that we’re in a house now, many of the items revolve around house projects I want to complete. That’s why I figured that this list wouldn’t be completely inappropriate on this blog.

Without further adieu…

1. Learn to do a cartwheel.
2. Take at least one Level Three pole class at Xpose Fitness.
3. Ride on the back of a motorcycle.
4. Have a huge yard sale.
5. Plan a summer Deck Party.
6. Raise at least $500 for the Yellow Ribbon Fund (alone or with others).
7. Purchase/pose for a photoshoot.
8. Take down the faux-tile wall in the upstairs bathroom. (It’s plastic. A sheet of tiled plastic. Tiled floral plastic. Tiled beige, floral plastic.)
9. Unpack all boxes in the basement. (Truth be told, there might only be 6-8 boxes that need to be unpacked, but it must be done.)
10. Make a more organized bedroom closet.
11. Repaint “bald” spots in master bedroom. (I may or may not have rushed through getting two coats on the walls, only to see a million bald spots.)
12. Get my lil tattoo. (I have a little tattoo I’ve been pondering for a long time now. Key word here: LITTLE.)
13. Wear red lipstick at least 3 times in January.
14. Ride on The Swings at an amusement park.
15. Have my toes buried in the sand at some beach.
16. Make at least one gift for someone by hand.
17. Buy at least 10 Xmas presents on Etsy.
18. Finish painting Spooky’s room. (Yes, my cat kind of has her own room. I’ll talk about that in-depth sometime soon.)
19. Do at least one thing that scares the shit out of me.
20. Travel to at least two states that I’ve never been to before.
21. Attend at least 10 live shows (music, theater, etc.).
22. Attend at least one drag show.
23. Give away at least one thing for free on Craigslist/FreeCycle.
24. Sell at least 10 things online (Ebay, Craigslist, LJ, etc.).
25. Choose a paint color for the guest room – PAINT IT.
26. Take one photo for every day this year and post to ShutterCal.com.
27. Post at least 8 blog posts in January. (I suppose I can take that down to 7 posts once I post this one.)
28. Take at least one solo trip to NJ to spend time with mom & friends.
29. Dance with friends at least once – whether at a club or someone’s house.
30. Do at least one thing that you would consider “life-changing”.

So there you have it. I’m putting this out there to “The Internets” in hopes that it’ll motivate me even more. Do you guys have any New Year’s Resolutions? What projects would you like to complete in your living space this year?


Ghostly Music

Our little house was born built in the 1960s. When doing a little bit of duct-work in the week we moved in, Timm & I found nearly an entire newspaper from 1968 just shoved into one of our air ducts. It was pretty amazing looking through all of the news stories (many of them about the 1968 Preakness Stakes), and even more amazing looking through the ads. (A dozen eggs for 55¢?! Can I go back in time, please?) Aside from the newspaper, though, there was no evidence showing us anything about anyone who lived at our house before we did.

…until now. *cue dramatic music*

We discovered that our heating system wasn’t working as well as it should be. Timm decided to crawl into our crawl-space to seal up any air leaks with caulk. I kept nervously checking on him, convinced he was going to somehow get trapped in the space, calling for my help & I’d never hear him. One of the times I checked on him, I asked if he needed anything. He said, “Yes, I do need something. I need for you to come get this.”

I saw him handing something behind him out of the crawl-space that looked like a small suitcase. I opened it up to find this little gem.

A beautiful (yet completely destroyed) violin in its case! It’s a shame that this one is really busted up, because it looks pretty old. The front is separated from the back, the neck is snapped clean-off, the bow has had its hairs ripped off of it and the hairs are scattered all around the battered case, and the chin-rest is broken off.

Still…there’s something pretty beautiful about it.

Some research has shown that it’s just a replica of a fancier violin, and probably not worth much of anything. We may still have it appraised just for the heck of it, but we’re not sure. Either way, it’s the coolest thing we’ve found in the house to date!

I’m also pretty convinced that there’s a ghost in the house who LOVES his/her violin and is going to be pissed at us when he/she/it sees the violin missing. Maybe I should put it back, just for now…

Have you ever found anything cool in your home left there by the previous owner(s)?

Edited to add: So, to further prove what a DIY novice I am, Timm just corrected me. He wasn’t caulking the vents.
“I was sealing the vents with vent wrap and seal tape. I spray-foamed the hole that was in the side of the house and I caulked the windows and around the vents.”


It’s the End of the World as We Know It…

…and I feel fiiiiiiine.

If 2012 really is the end of the world like some are predicting, I at least want to make sure I’m going into next year with a swank calendar. Priorities, people!

Every year, the insanely creative folks over at Young House Love create their own calendar, and then share the template with their readers. Considering that I work with a lot of artists/designers, I know how hesitant some people can be to give away their design secrets, so I’m always so impressed that they’re willing to do that for their blog followers. That being said, the calendar they made this year was GORGEOUS. Unfortunately, for a little Photoshop-newbie like me, the number of layers contained in that file were a bit much for me.

Turns out that it was much easier for me to go back to their 2011 calendar and edit that into something I could use for 2012. I loved the idea of taking quotes that mean something to us and slapping them on a calendar. It’s funny – Timm & I will say the same quotes over and over again until we’re beating a dead horse, but when it came time to think of 12 of them, I had SUCH a hard time!

Nonetheless, I made the calendar, and I’m pretty damn proud of how it came out. Here are a few of my favorite months:

Each lil phrase means something to us, and it’s sweet to me to have such a meaningful calendar hanging on our kitchen wall that we can see every day.

Do you guys look forward to a fresh calendar each year like I do? Have you ever made your own?

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Artsy-Fartsy. That phrase always makes me think of Aunt Fanny from the movie Robots.

“That’s my Aunt Fanny. She’s a little artsy-fartsy. The ‘artsy’ part is okay, but when she gets fartsy…”.

We’ve collected different pieces of art for a while now. Sadly, in a one-bedroom apartment, there’s only so many walls you can hang things on. Most of the photos or art that we ever bought went into a folder that we kept behind a bookcase to keep everything nice n’ flat. Once we got into the house, it didn’t take us long to be “those people” completely filling our carts at IKEA with picture frames so that we could finally display so much of our collection. Truth be told, we still have a lot of things we haven’t hung yet, but we’re on our way!

Please note two things for this entry:
1) “Art” to me can mean anything from a print of a painting, to a photograph by a pro photographer, to a snapshot taken with a webcam. Art is what you make it.

2) The photos that I took for this entry are Crappy with a capital “C”. I never realized how difficult it is to take pictures of things that are already in their frames without getting such a severe glare.

First, let’s start with some of the art we have in our entryway. When you first walk into the house and hang up your coat, we wanted something to look at immediately.

This is one of my favorite photographs of all time, taken by one of the best people I know. Ed Kirkpatrick is an amazingly talented guy, and a good friend of ours. He and his wife Marti are both fantastic people. Ed is known for taking breathtaking landscapes, pinhole camera pictures, and beautiful panoramic shots. This picture he took of Trotter’s Church in ND takes my breath away every time I see it.

When you look slightly to your left, you’ll see where we hang our keys. Since “keys = home” to us, and “Baltimore = home”, we decided to make this our Baltimore Wall.

Our classy Baltimore Hon was a housewarming gift from a friend…and she’s fabulous.

My good friend and (soon-to-be-ex) co-worker Donald Ely essentially gave us this print of his art as a housewarming gift. (I chose which I wanted.) I’ve always loved John Waters. Coming to Baltimore made that love grow tenfold and made me appreciate his movies that much more. I’ve seen him in the flesh several times, just walking around B-more, and I still get star-struck each time. (Note: He HATES when people get star-struck over him. Oof.)

Going upstairs, my goal is to have our stairwell hallway filled floor-to-ceiling with pictures in frames. We have a good start going with about 15 frames right now, but here are some of my favorites.

In the upstairs hallway, there are only two pictures right now, but because they’re both pretty important, we wanted them to stand out.

First, there’s a photo collage of my friend, Scott Kirkpatrick. Scott was a Sgt. in the Army who was sadly killed in Iraq on August 11, 2007. He was a close friend, and I miss him more than words can say. If you have the time, read this article that Details Magazine wrote about him. Scott’s father is Ed Kirkpatrick, who took the Trotter’s Church photo I showed earlier.

To the right of Scott’s picture, we have a collage of one of the greatest moments of my life.

Pretty much from the moment you meet me, you’ll learn that I have a “thing” for Slash from Guns n’ Roses. In October 2010, I was ridiculously lucky enough to win a trip through My Space (I know, right??) to fly to Seattle to meet & interview the man himself. It was…indescribable. The whole trip was amazing.

There was that time I caught a fish at Pike Place Market.

It happened that I met the man himself.

There were moments of uncomfortable laughter.

And times where I looked like I was trying not to puke from being nervous.

Times when the full dork that I am came out in full view.

And times of complete and utter happiness & jubilation.

If you want to watch the whole she-bang, check it out here.

So yes. The collage I made has my plane ticket to Seattle, the VIP backstage passes that Timm & I wore, the one pro-photograph taken of Slash & I, a whole mess of his guitar picks, the setlist from that night’s show, the documents preparing me for the trip, and a list of my interview questions. Time of my LIFE.

Last, but certainly not least, we travel to Timm’s office (post on that room coming soon…) to see one of his most awesome pieces of art.

Our good friend, Alicia worked on the set of the movie Species II. As a “souvenir”, she took home two of the original set-design sketches from the movie. As a birthday gift to Timm, she gave them to him. He loves them, and they go SO perfectly in his office.

I’m pretty proud to say that I think our art says so much about what kind of people we are and what we’re into. It may look weird to most people, but it’s US. I kind of love it all.

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