Piano Reinvented

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A long time ago an old woman died and left me her piano. I don’t remember how old I was, maybe 12? I’m not sure. It was a really big deal that she left me the piano. I think it was the biggest thing I had ever owned and it wasn’t that I was that close to her and had spent many days playing her piano. I do remember her being very very sweet and quiet. For whatever reason she decided to will her piano to me and not to her children. Maybe they were grown and had their own pianos. I don’t know. I was taking lessons at the time and showing a real interest in playing. Every time I played that piano I thought of her and what an amazing gift it was.

It wasn’t the greatest piano. The lower “A” key never played which made for interesting arrangements to get around that missing note. But it was a cool piano. It had a lot of decorative wood and I loved it. But I could never have it because I always lived in an apartment that was too small to haul a piano into. So it lived at my parents’ house and I would play it every time I visited.

Over the years it got more and more decrepit. At one time Rapunzel drew all over the keys when she was little. It got dustier and dustier and more and more out of tune. That poor old sad piano. But my parents kept it for me hoping that someday I would rescue it. Someday I would pay for it to get tuned and find a home that it would fit into.

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That day never came. In fact, that poor sad neglected piano sat in my parent’s mobile home for so long that the floor started falling through underneath it. It started to be a problem for my parents. Then my parents started cleaning up their property so they could move out of their neighborhood that has been continually getting worse and worse. All the old stuff had to be gone through and hauled off to the dump. My piano became more and more of a burden. Finally my parents gave me an ultimatum: Come and get your piano or we take it apart and haul it off to the dump. They didn’t want to take my piano to the dump of course but nobody had the $400 to pay a piano mover to move it and I didn’t have a space big enough in my house to put it if I did finally get it moved. And I still didn’t really want to give it away. I still loved that piano. It didn’t play very well but it was so sentimental because of the old woman who had given it to me.

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So my parents took the piano apart and saved the pieces for me. The big metal harp had to go to the dump but all the decorative wood and keys were saved for me. They got stuck in the back of my parents SUV and one day they brought them to me.

Poor Payam, all the pieces got to live in his wood shop for a month while I got my head around what we were going to do with it. They took up a lot of room. They seriously cramped everyone’s style. But I couldn’t let go.

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We played with all the pieces. I talked about hanging the decorative middle panel as an art piece. We thought about making a 70’s-style starburst clock out of the keys…but it’s not like we have a lot of blank walls in our house just waiting for art. We have art coming out of our ears and no walls to put them on. So we settled on a bench. We would make a pew style bench and put it in the foyer in front of our front door. It would be amazing.

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It still has a long way to go. We plan to stain the legs so everything matches of course. I do feel a bit sad putting it out of doors in the weather but I know Payam will help me weather-proof it and it is under the eaves so it’s not like it’s going to get rained on. What is cool is that it will be used. I can foresee many photo shoots in the future with friends and family sitting on this bench.

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We still haven’t figured out what to do with all the pieces but I have a feeling they will all turn into something loved. And someday I’ll buy a house with space for another piano. Not this piano, sadly but that’s okay because this piano is going to stay in the family (as a bench!) for as long as I have a say.

The Big Dramatic Peony Print

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The BIG engineer print came from Parabo Press (thank you Deborah for the tip!) and I finally figured out how to hang it! It actually came several weeks ago but I was not so smart and didn’t order the 36″ wooden rails that they offered to go with it. I thought I’d be cheap and order some off amazon instead and then I did and I ordered the wrong size TWICE. I’m not the brightest fork in the drawer sometimes. Creativity I have in loads but double-checking-measurement skills not so much. I was so steamed at myself. And then when I finally caved and decided to order the right rails from Parabo they were out of stock. Doh!

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But that’s okay because I happen to have a boyfriend who is handy with wood!  The real question is: why didn’t I ask him first?!!

I studied the design and figured out it was just four 36″-long pieces of wood held together with those super strong tiny refrigerator magnets. I gave Payam the measurements, ordered some magnets and he came back with perfect rails ready for hanging! And three weeks later I finally hung my amazing dramatic peony print.

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I love it. I love it so much better than that mass-produced Bed Bath and Beyond print that Payam had hung up in the dining room for so long.

I loved the sentiment of Payam’s old art though that’s why I left it there so long. But it offended me badly with it’s 90’s choice of fonts. You know how that can drive a graphic designer crazy.  It said “Teach music to the child and you give the soul a voice after you go.” which is really cool, right? I thought I would recreate it and keep the words somehow but nothing brilliant ever hit me. Then I fell in love with the giant peony print idea and now the 90’s music quote art lives in the office/kid’s tv room until I can somehow find a new way to keep that sentiment. I’m still perking on that.

Isn’t it cool that Payam loves me so much that he puts up with my redecorating? He puts up with a lot. Funny story: I have these really really eccentric palazzo pants in a crazy black and white boho print. I LOVE them. They are super flow-y and comfortable (except for the too tight waist band which is what I get for shopping at Forever 21 when I probably should be shopping at Ann Taylor Loft). From time to time I wear them and they are the kind of pants that stop you in your tracks. You can’t not acknowledge them when I walk in because they are screaming I’M CRAZY PANTS. So you can imagine Payam’s reaction the first time I wore them. And you know what he said?

“I love you and so I love your crazy pants.” He actually hates my crazy pants but he’ll never say that. He’s my guy.

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But back to the print. When it arrived the mailman brought it to me in big long tube that was mangled on one side. Of course that worried me so the mailman asked me to open it in front of him to make sure that it wasn’t damaged. Unfortunately it was a really hot day and I stupidly chose to open the tube and unroll the print on the hood of Payam’s black car that was really hot. The damaged tube didn’t hurt the print but me unrolling it on a hot surface did. Right away the print crinkled right down the middle. I realized my mistake and rolled it back up as soon as I could but the damage was done.

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The paper is so thin it is very easy to damage it. Thankfully, the center crinkle in it doesn’t really show BUT it does curl on the sides which kind of bugs me. I’m not sure why it curls other than the fact that the paper is very thin and it works like a barometer measuring the humidity in our house or something. So while the rail hanging idea is very affordable ($20 vs $400 to frame it)  it’s not perfect. I’m still not sure what we’re going to do. But it is a good temporary fix.

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In fact it’s so affordable I’m already plotting my next seasonal switch. :P