Thursday, March 20, 2014

Matting Artwork

Happy first day of Spring!  This painting was a souvenir from a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  It reminds me of warmth and sunshine.  Just what we need for the first day of SPRING!  I brought it back upstairs today (it winters in the basement during the off season).

Have you ever paid to have a photo or artwork custom matted and framed?  It is unbelievably expensive!  Two years ago my husband surprised me with two Renoir Etchings!  They are absolutely beautiful.  He said he spent more on the framing and matting than on the authentic Etchings!  I personally have not paid to have anything framed and matted, I have always done it myself.  It may not be as fancy and I don't have the equipment to bevel the edge of the matting, but I am okay with that!  My wallet is more full because I do it myself.

Today I am working on a quick and inexpensive project to restore these two framed watercolor/pen & ink prints from the thrift store:

One of the prints had water damage in the corner and they were wrinkled and washed out and a little faded looking, but I knew I could spruce them up.

  1. I disassembled the frames & washed the filthy glass really well on both sides so the art can be seen.
  2. Then I ironed the prints.  Yes, I literally ironed the paper between sheets of paper towel so I didn't burn them.  It worked well to flatten them.
  3. Finally I cut a double mat which covers up the water stain in the corner & brings out the colors in the art.
To cut mat board I use a metal ruler, exacto blade and a cutting mat. Starting with a rectangle the exact size as the artwork I decide on the width of the mat I would like.  This is a valuable skill I am thankful I learned in college. Matting artwork and all things rubber cement - Haha!  

Using a pencil I mark off a rectangle.  In this case, the tan mat board was cut to 1" wide and the red to 1-1/4" wide to reveal a 1/4" detail.

The tan looks nice around the artwork, but I think adding a color detail makes the pictures pop!

Someday I plan to visit Venice, Italy, but until then I can dream about it as I enjoy these beauties on my bedroom wall.  This entire project cost less than $12.00.  The framed art cost $5.99 each and I already had the mat board in my stash.  I'll update this post when when I hang them.  I am still debating between two spots - on red walls or cream color?  Either way they will go in our master bedroom.

Do you have photos or artwork that you would like framed/matted?  I would be happy to help!  

Although the first day of Spring didn't get warmer than 30* in Michigan and the snow flurries were still flying, it didn't stop us from enjoying free ice cream cones at Dairy Queen!

 Cheers to much warmer days ahead!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Simple Coat Rack and Gallery Wall

Coat Rack/Art Gallery

A mudroom/laundry room can never have enough hooks and storage.  With kids even if there are lots of hooks they often always throw their coats and backpacks on the floor.  My fingers crossed, wishful remedy - a cute coat rack that is hung within their reach.


Primed wall, applied pre-pasted, paintable bead board wallpaper (from Lowes):

Added a wide trim piece and small ledge.  Details were added with a router & the trim and wallpaper were painted with the same color as the existing doors and trim in the laundry room (Behr primer/paint Ivory Beige color):

Finally my favorite detail was added!  Aren't these dragonfly hooks adorable?! They were purchased a few years ago on final clearance at Target.  They were marked down to a few dollars and I knew they would come in handy someday.

Since the bead board wallpaper went up so easily and looked realistic I decided to try applying it to the cabinet fronts.  It was so quick and easy and I am thrilled with the results!

Cabinet Before/After:

Gallery Wall

The hooks have proved functional and after several months I have finally tackled the blank wall space above. The combination of framed family pictures and children's artwork combine perfectly in this space.  The vertical interest makes this small room feel larger.  

This gallery wall cost $25 for the Lifestyle frames from Michael's (including the matting) and $10 for the picture printing (Costco).  I already had two 11 x 14 frames and the oval frame.  I love the layered look of the oval frame overlapping the 11 x 14 frames.  It makes for an interesting focal point!

Artist Credit:  The large watercolor painting on the left was created by Olivia when she was 3 years old.  The colorful tissue paper collages were made by Addison and Amelia when they were 3 years old.  

Photography Credit:  Family Photos by Vanessa Saven Photography 2014

Construction Execution:  Huge THANK YOU to my Dad who perfectly executed my vision on this project!  He made the shelf/coat rack for me.  

Here is a look back at this room when I began beautifying it.  Click here.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Preparing for Spring Gardening

After enduring the harshest winter of my lifetime I am more than ready for Spring.  A few weeks ago I started preparing for the upcoming gardening season.

(1)  Picked up this vintage blue watering can planter from the thrift store.  I cannot wait to fill this with beautiful flowers.  Hardest decision will be figuring out if it belongs on the front porch or back porch!

(2)  Started saving used coffee grounds in a container.  Usually we add the filter and all to the compost bin, but I like to sprinkle the coffee grounds around my hydrangeas:  

Last year the coffee grounds changed the PH of the soil around the Hydrangeas and turned the flowers from light pink to a gorgeous blue/purple.The plants were also healthier than ever before:

(3) Saving eggshells which will add calcium to the soil and also deter slugs and Japanese beetles.  I have been rinsing out the egg shells and keeping them in a closed container.

I plan to use the coffee bean grinder to make a course powder of the eggshells. They will be sprinkled around Hosta plants to keep slugs away and at the base of roses for the calcium.  I have also read that if you have a Japanese beetle infestation that you can sprinkle it right onto the critter and it will kill it.  Last year a pesticide worked to get them off of my knockout roses, but if this organic method works I will be happy.

(4) Save your large plastic produce containers.  Any size will do, but I like these super sized ones.  I use these to start seedlings.  They have built in drainage and become a miniature green house.  I line the bottom of each container with coffee filters and then add quality potting soil and seeds.  I use a Sharpie marker to label the type of plant and sun conditions on the lid. Once they are all planted I put a board across my kids wagon and roll them into the sun during warm days.  Be sure to take the lids off in the sun or your plants may fry up!  During chilly nights I close up the lids, roll them into the garage and cover them with a thick blanket.

(5) Lastly, do your best to protect your plants from hungry deer. Last year the deer were quick to devour my hyacinth, tulips, hostas, and sedum. This year I will be ready and will spray my plants before it is too late.  I use a large spray bottle (approx. 1/2 gallon size) filled with water and a Tablespoon of Murphy's Oil Soap shaken in.  Simply spray your yummiest plants and the deer will hopefully dislike the flavor and leave them alone.  Respray after it rains.

(6) As I wait for the snow to melt and for gardening season to begin I am staying busy by designing gardens as well as working on projects inside our home.  Stop back soon to see the fun I've been having!  Happy prepping.