Accessorizing with Rope

Book, vase, bowl, painting.  Book, vase, bowl, painting.  Book vasebowsle,painitgn,…  UCHHHHH.  I am so SICK of accessorizing with the exact same things over and over again I could throw up.

At least I read the books.  You can never have enough books.

And if I see one more white painted woodland animal (deer, bird, owl) I might kill someone.  Yes.  I have two of them on my bookshelf right now.  That’s beside the point.

My sister and I have this discussion all the time (when we’re not talking about how most things look better when they have sparkles on them).  We say, Is there NOTHING else to put on a coffee table or bookshelf than a book or a vase???  And then we continue talking about sparkles.

I know there are other things to accessorize with, but it seems everyone resorts to the same things because they’re easy, they look good and you can find them in any store.  And sometimes your basement.  Or a really boring dream.

So when I bought this hunk of rope at Christie’s Antique Show and Sale earlier this summer, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.


DSC 0006-625 X415



I was going to copy the now famous David Stark rope bowl.



After sitting dormant in the corner for several months I finally got around to doing it.  And then I didn’t want to.  I was fully prepared to coil the rope into yet another bowl for display when something FANTASTIC happened.  I had a horrible accident.

After gathering up my glue gun and everything else I needed to make the bowl, I plunked the mess of rope onto my coffee table.   In the process I spilt over a can of Diet Coke.   When I ran back into the living room with some paper towels I stopped dead in my tracks.

My hunk ole’ rope looked great.  Just sitting there like a big ole hunk of rope.  It actually had rays of sunshine coming out of it.

I wiped up the Diet Coke and commenced marching my scribble of rope all around the house.

I can tell you right now, there isn’t a single, solitary place a balled up bundle of rope doesn’t look good.  And the best part about it?  It isn’t a book, a vase, a bowl or a painting.  It’s none of those things.

It’s a scribble of rope.


Rope Bowl 2


Pretty much anything you place on a glass block looks good.


Rope bowl buffet


What I love so much about the rope is it’s unexpected.


rope Bowl 2b


My boyfriend doesn’t “get it”.  He just sees rope.


Rope Bowl 5


I see art.  And rustic charm.  And not a vase.


Rope Bowl 4

 Instructions to obtain scribble of rope look

Take rope, mash it up into a ball.


You can buy old coils of thick rope like this at flea markets.  Newer stuff this size is harder to find but if it were me, I’d go looking for it in ship/sailing stores.  Feed stores might carry something like it as well.

For a total cost of $12 you really can’t go wrong.  Plus … if you don’t like it or happen to get sick of it.  You’ve always got some rope.  You can never have enough rope.


  1. Gayla T says:

    Yes, but this is not an ordinary rope you goofs. It is a rope from Christy’s!!! Ordinary rope from Lowe’s is not like this at all. Howsy ever, on my table I have a ceramic bird house, a candle, a cat and a stack of books. Rope would not go,even your classy rope. I am very traditional. With your modern it is great as a sculpture and I love it as I do anything organic. I think you can find a way to put a clear glass tube in the center and then it’s a vaaaazzze. You know, not a vase, a vaaazzzze! You are right on target on this one kiddo. Did I mention the cat is real? Just saying………..He’s a Maine Coon and takes up a lot of space on the table or anywhere else he wants to be. He’s Alphy the alphabet cat-a grandkid thing and a long story with no point. Talk at ya later. Gayla

  2. Lauren says:

    Do your cats gnaw at it? I could definitely see mine trying it. Or trying to scratch it since they have a sisel scratching post. Not quite as good as the carpet on the basement stairs though…

  3. kelliblue says:

    LMAO! The first thing I thought of (ok, *after* the crazy mental picture of you parading your scribble of rope around the house) was “gee, I wonder what the Fella thinks about this one?” ;-) I have to agree with both of you. It’s cool, it’s different, but yes, it’s just rope.

    But what I really need to know is: WHERE did you get that fabu metal table, oh, i die!

  4. Dan says:

    Did the ends of the rope come whipped or did you do it? If you did it, good for you.

  5. Theresa says:

    as a woman who has rocks hanging on her living room walls ands a hornets nest hanging in the front hall.
    i say … YES to spontaneous rope sculpture. I have a million things that I keep display whatever because I LIKE THE WAY THEY LOOK!
    forge on. anyone who doesn’t get it well to each their own.

  6. Gillian says:

    Wire wrapped rusty junk works great too, but most people don’t “get” that either. I find the best “stuff” at yardsales.

  7. Jody says:

    It looks like art in your home. In mine it would look like more crap my husband didn’t put away. How do you do that?

  8. CourtneyOutLoud says:

    i think your rope needs soap. that would make it complete :) but honestly, i love the idea of the mundane being elevated to art through simply allowing it to be…..

  9. Tess says:

    At first glance, I thought you had lost it. I was then reminded of a root cluster that I kept from a dead bush. I love that root cluster’s chaos. Beauty is in the eye….

  10. Lucy says:

    I get it — BIG time. This from a girl who displays rusty gears in much the same way. Totally unexpected and the textures, forms & patinas call my name. Is it a coincidence that I’m a redhead?

  11. Nancy says:

    Karen honey..if you like the rope than that is what counts..never mind the just don’t get a lot of things that we girls do..and Fella’s Dad…haven’t you caused this woman enough grief with your “pie theories”..oh and Leanne..please tell me where you bought that pizza cause I never want to be eating any of that brand late at night… anyway Karen..if you want to spill Diet Coke and mop up water it’s OK with me cause you are a way cool lady…Hugs

  12. Sarah says:

    I’ll never look at a pile of rope the same way again! Love it!

  13. Tiffany says:

    Ahhhh your boots with calf-down prosthetic legs standing there scares me!!

    • Karen says:

      Tiffany – Pfttt! They’re wooden boot forms. They’re really neat, it’s a set of 3 pieces of wood that fit together in the boot like a jigsaw puzzle. I *do* have something you might be interested in my basement though. Lookee here. LOL. ~ karen!

      • Tiffany says:

        Ahhhhhh hahahahaha! That’s good. At least it’s just one leg though. Your boot forms look like they’re about to start walking at any moment. Or like the rest of the guy is missing.

  14. I LOVE it! You should sell them, you could make a fortune :)

  15. Ruth says:

    Well, I’ll be! :-O

    It actually DOES look good everywhere… in your house. It wouldn’t work quite so well in my tiny space, but it actually works quite well – I must say – in your more spacious digs. :)

    • Karen says:

      Ruth – Well … I’m glad my house at least looks spacious in pictures. It’s not what you’d call huge. (probably around 1,000 square feet) Maybe you could do the same thing with tiny rope! ~ k

  16. mary says:

    I think I see the potential here of someone trying to “do you a favour” by straightening out your rope so you can use it… a father-in-law perhaps? or an auntie? You might have to put it up really high…

    • Karen says:

      Mary – The rope currently rests on the long white table behind my couch. It pretty much looks like an accessory there, so I should be fine. Plus, every time a kid comes into the house I tell them it’s not rope, it’s “art”. They seem to accept it. ~ karen!

  17. marilyn says:

    great karen and if the you and the fella get a little adventurous one night you wont need to run to the hardware store to buy some rope. just rip that accessory off the coffee table and have at ‘…can’t do that with a rope bowl..or book..or white painted owl.

  18. Traci says:

    Hey Karen, I love the rope! I totally “get” it. On a related note, looking around my den, I have big candles on my table in glass candle holders filled with mother of pearl filler, a fossilized fish on the mantle along with a spray of coral and starfish. No books, vases, bowls, here! (Although, there is a white painted woodland animal in the living room)

  19. The fella's dad says:

    I just see rope too.

  20. Leanne says:

    I get it. It makes at least as much sense as the antler next to it. It could be useful. You could tie stuff up with it. What could you do with the antler? Not much really. Maybe scare a baby dear or poke someone with it but when would you have the time for all that? Probably never. The rope is better. (Not sure how this comment turned into a rope vs. antler comparisson. This is what happens when I eat pizza before bed and wake up at 3 AM from a terrible dream. Apparently I go to great blogs and randomly write things that make no sense and no one wants to read. This must be my sober more boring version of the drunk girl texts. Anyway I get the rope. I recently saw on another blog that wasn’t yours (yes I am seeing other people on the side. ((again my apologies. I blame the pizza and the dream and 3 AM and hairy spiders. The hairy spiders are in no way responsible but they are hideous and should be blamed for something.)) But I saw rope on a shelf on another blog. However, it was white and it was in a bowl. So this is more original. And less bowl-ish. Anyway I get the rope and I like it. The only thing I don’t get it how you spilled soda and mopped up water.

    • Karen says:

      Leanne – Um. Wow! You’re a bundle of energy at 3:00 a.m. aren’t you! Hah! Thanks for the heads up on the diet coke/water … it was Diet Coke. Dunno how I changed it to water. Was probably drinking a glass when I was writing it. I do that sort of thing all the time. ~ k!

  21. This is so cool!! I feel like the hubs would like it too because it’s rustic and not sparkly – but he’s the super literal engineering type so I wonder if he would be able to get past it being a rope?

  22. Marti says:

    I’m with the Fella. I don’t get it.

    But I’m still, as ever, in awe of that stump table.

    (I’m a bit thick about things. I also don’t get the movie “Terms of Endearment.”

    I’m missing the girly gene, maybe?

  23. Sara says:

    Mmmm…I think I’d better get out of the I’m-raising-a-preschooler stage of life before leaving large quantities of rope around for decorative purposes. Young curious minds seem to find adventure in the most unexpected places. Just ask the nail polish stain on my carpet.

  24. Centsational Girl says:

    Moments of genius occur when Diet Cokes are spilled. I absolutely love your rope sculpture!

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