Tag Archives: wall art

Through the Keyhole – South Carolina Gullah Art Home Inspiration


I don’t know about you but I love to look around people’s homes. This has inspired a new feature on A Residence, Through the Keyhole. The lovely thing about being a blogger is making new friends online, but you don’t always get to meet or do the simple things like pop over for coffee.

Through the Keyhole gives you a chance to do just that, have a sneaky peak inside someone else’s home. I’m not going to tell you who’s home this is, except to say she is a great writer, her blog like her wall art is full of colour and love and that she no longer lives in the UK, but I will take you though the keyhole to her blog later if you can’t guess, or if you’re curious, which I am sure after reading this you will be.


American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of each November. For seven of the eight years that my husband and I have been together, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in the States. We’ve flown with our young son from the UK to South Carolina – a full day of travel – to spend time with some of our closest friends.

South Carolina is a wonderful place. We gather on a small island, accessible only to homeowners and holidaymakers renting one of the seafront houses. Deer roam freely, dolphins swim off the beach, and large alligators in the marshes keep the golfers on their toes. We fill our fridges with beer, fill our bellies with fresh shrimp and oysters, and fill our hearts with music, laughter and love. It is my favourite holiday.


Last year, for the first time, we couldn’t make the trip. We had just moved from the UK to Australia. My husband was settling into his new job, our son was starting at a new school, and I was busy getting all our boxes unpacked. It just wasn’t possible. So we had to celebrate Thanksgiving with just the three of us, alone in a new land.

Luckily, wherever we go in the world, we take some reminders of South Carolina with us. Every time we have been there, we have picked up a new piece of art at a wonderful place called the Red Piano Gallery.


Red Piano stocks only Gullah Art – paintings, drawings, sculptures and woven sweetgrass baskets made by the descendants of enslaved Africans who live in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia.


Gullah culture is bright and beautiful. When you draw up outside the Red Piano you park by a metal tree covered in blue glass bottles – a way of wardingoff ‘haints’ or evil spirits. Inside, the works of art are infused just as deeply with colour and meaning. Many of them are painted on pieces of reclaimed wood or corrugated iron, and the subject matter often reflects some of the main focuses of Gullah life such as food or music.


Some people might look at our Gullah art and turn their nose up at it. They may think the pictures are too naïve or roughly executed. But every single one of them has helped turn our new Aussie house into a home. The purple watermelon that hangs in our kitchen, the blue crab that sits in my office, and Benny the Blues harmonica player, who greets you when you walk in our front door… We love them all.



I am not sure when we will next be back in South Carolina, but I am so happy that we have brought a little part of that sweet place with us. It always makes me smile.


I love that today’s Through the Keyhole mixes treasures from this families travels into their home decorating, to make a home from home wherever they travel.

Have you guessed whose house this is yet? Do you want to go through the keyhole and find out more?

Okay, time to put you out of your misery, *puts on best Loyd Grossman voice* Who would live in a house like this? Let’s go through the keyhole …just click it.


To take part in Through the Keyhole, please contact me using the links in the sidebar or in my About Me page.

As regular readers will know A Residence is now part of Wayfair, the homes and interiors online store, for more wall art inspiration, check out all Wayfair’s wall art, and some unusual wall art inspirations.

Keyhole picture credit

Who said romance was dead?

My next Kodak Big App wall art project…
Forget the kids, who said romance is dead?
This one’s for my husband.

Don’t forget the Twitter party Wednesday 23rd Nov 1-2pm, get some great printer Christmas gift ideas and, if you tweet #printerprojects, with a tip, craft, idea or example of a Kodak Big App picture, you’ll be entered to win:

  • a 7.1 Hero All-in-One printer with 4 packs of A4 photo paper and 5 cartridges each of black and colour in
  • 1 x M5370 Digital Camera
Terms and conditions apply, see here for more information. This is a sponsored post in association with Britmums and Kodak.
NaBloPoMo 2011

Last chance to enter the Kodak Big App challenge

The Kodak Big App challenge continues, with a chance to win a Kodak printer or camera.  If you haven’t got on board yet, here’s a run down on how to turn your photographs into art, and maybe even prizes.  And if like me you need to see some before you get inspired, I have collated some great ideas too.

In a nutshell
Take one cool snap, give it the Big app treatment via the free Big App on the Kodak site.  The App will turn it into a PDF dividing the image into as many A4 sheets as you choose.  Print the PDF, then either fix it to the wall directly, or frame your creation. Kodak ink is more affordable than other inks so you can go as big and as colourful as you want. It’s also great quality and highly smudge resistant, so perfect for little fingers.

My projects
So far I have used the Big App to remind myself to keep practising the skills I learnt on my photography course, by turning this picture into a collage above my desk.  Here’s me looking pleased with it:

I blew up this photo of my daughter shell hunting on the beach in Wales for her bedroom wall.

And I captured my son in the midst of his favourite activity, pirating! A little Jack Sparrow appearing out of the bushes. His collage was bigger than his sisters, she wasn’t impressed.  He loved it though.

Then my husband wanted to know where his photo was. So the next one’s for him.  And I need to raise the stakes on my daughter’s image.  I have some ideas. And I will remember to lose the margins when I print to make this one seamless, and stick it up straight, and perhaps even frame it to give it an even bigger wow factor.
Challenge entries
Still looking for inspiration for your entry? You have until Tuesday 22nd November. Let me share some ideas I really like from the entries so far, it was impossible narrowing it down, but here goes.
I love Kate of WitWitWoo’s Skimming Stones, moments like this encapsulate so much about the parent child bond, about growing up and learning.  They totally deserve to take over a whole wall.
Again, this shot is just pure magic, and it took Rebecca of Here Come the Girls hours of manipulation to achieve (pop over and find out how she did it).  I can imagine it looking absolutely amazing blown up, and Rebecca’s talking a whole 24 A4 sheets.  She would easily get this many sheets, and many more, out of £10 Kodak colour cartridge.  Bargain.  You can’t beat fairies for capturing small people’s hearts and minds.

Mamsaurus is going to put this in her dining room.  For me it is a million times better than any plaster cast or handprint kit of your baby’s hands, and so much cheaper to achieve too. Plus the colours are just awesome and it’s going to inspire more fabulous art, whilst looking every inch a piece of modern art in itself.

Although I am rubbish at minimalism in my interior design life, I can dream.  I can dream of clean white flowers, blue cloudless skies and a very different, and beautifully relaxing approach from Gadget Mum.  I love the way it changes my perspective, literally and mentally.

So that’s what we did with the big app, what would you do?
All the information on the Big App Challenge you need is here.
This is a sponsored post in association with Britmums and Kodak

Turn your photos into art and prizes with the Kodak Big App

I’m very excited to announce Part One of my promised November secrets. I have finally fulfilled my dream of becoming a Blue Peter presenter. Well, as good as. Britmums and Kodak asked me to be a Big App Ambassador. Which means I get to demonstrate printer wall art projects, on screen. Not a scrap of sticky back plastic in sight. But even better news, you get a chance to win great prizes, just for selecting one of your photos.

The Kodak Big App is a rather marvellous and highly addictive free, internet based app.  Kirstie Allsopp was on telly the other night, refering to machine embroidery as the ‘crack cocaine of the craft world’.  Well Kirstie, you haven’t tested the Big App. Here, have a bit of this, it will blow your mind, you’ll never look at your photos the same way again.

I really hope you are going to join me on the challenge.  I may have bags of enthusiasm after my day with the photographer Jon Cruttenden but I reckon you probably have a much better eye, and therefore a much better chance of actually winning.  There are some great prizes, a camera or printer, just for linking up a picture you would give the Kodak Big App treatment to.  Competition entry details here. Check out the Britmums Big App site.

All you need is an image…

This is a sponsored post in association with Britmums and Kodak.