Monday, January 31, 2011

Empty Frame Gallery

Last week I shared my 10 Tips to a Perfect Empty Frame Gallery, and this week I want to show you mine. Are you ready?! I hope so, I love this!! Hope you like it too!




Almost a year ago I started collecting lots and lots of frames. I got some big and some small, some ornate and some basic, some wood and some metal. You get it, I wanted a variety. It took me over a year to get together a little collection from various thrift stores and garage sales and I just kept setting them all aside. (Which is also why I often start off a post saying, "I've had this frame for a while now, but I just finally...")


We got all of the frames together in the basement, and I started grabbing my favorites and laying them out to get a general idea of which frames would look good together and what groupings would work best.

We then primed and painted them. I was insistent on priming because I had several metal and plastic frames, and I wanted to be sure that the paint would stick. However, I was painting them a dark color, so the white peeking through ensured that the frames each needed 2 coats of color. Ugh. So many steps when I was just so anxious to get them on the wall!!


We took the painted frames upstairs and laid them out on the floor again. There were 2 gorgeous golden frames that I chose to leave as they were and went with a monochromatic color scheme for the rest.


When it came time to make the templates for each frame, I decided to use something that I had plenty of laying around - Christmas wrapping paper. It was so thin that it kept tearing as I cut it, so I switched to a thicker roll of brown shipping paper. Let me just say, DON'T DO THIS! Both types of paper immediately rolled up after they were cut, as pictured above. Trying to make paper lay flat on the walls that just wants to roll up is INCREDIBLY annoying, and it took several pieces of tape to secure down, which ruined the ease factor of being able to move the templates around on the wall. Save yourself the trouble and find some flat paper to use as a template (paper bags, newspaper, etc). You will be much happier.


My sister helped me take the paper to the wall and started taping it up until we found the layout that we liked best. We hammered nails into the templates, removed the templates and started hanging the frames one by one.


Now, a note on the layout that I chose for my walls.

I have always loved the look of framed photo galleries, but one of the major things that held me back from starting one in my home is my darling little 2 year old. I was nervous about him bounding down the stairs one afternoon, running his hand lightly along the wall, hitting a frame, and it (and possibly others) tumbling down on him. Sharp edged-picture frames, pictures matted behind glass, glass that could crack or shatter, the potential domino effect of knocking down one in a series of can see why I never moved forward with this. But an empty frame gallery, without the potential danger and weight that glass panes would add, that was much more up my alley.


That said, I still decided to hang my frame gallery entirely on the top half of the wall. This would remove the temptation for my little guy to touch the frames every time that he walked past. Out of sight out of mind, right?


Also, my home has an open floor plan, so as soon as you walk in, you see this.


I didn't want all of my beautiful frames and arranging efforts to be hidden behind a sea of white spokes. Hanging the frames above the line of the railing kept this from looking too busy and cluttered from the downstairs, and added some much needed color and interest.


I wanted to maximize the look of the frame wall up close in addition to the view from the rest of the room, so I focused on bringing out the great details in each of my frames.


The color of my frames is Green Bay by Sherwin Williams. I loved the fun turquoise color, but on the walls and amidst the color scheme of rest of the room, it was just a bit too bright. So I turned to one of my favorite things, Valspar's Antiquing Glaze.


I added a light layer to each of the frames and then wiped them off with a dry cloth. This darkened the color just a bit and added some depth. I used an old terry cloth rag which gave even my plastic frames the slight appearance of wood grain - just perfect!!


I also used it to draw out the details on some of my more ornate frames. I brushed it on heavily, let it settle into the recesses, and then very gently wiped it off.


For the more ornate frames where the details were fairly prominent, I highlighted them using this gorgeous DecoArt Metallic Glaze in Olde World Patina. I dipped the edge of my cloth into the glaze and lightly ran it over the details. The color is similar enough that it doesn't take away from the newly darkened color, but there is just enough shimmer that it catches the light perfectly and helps the details pop.


I used a similar technique on the gold frame with DecoArt's Metallic Glaze in Luminous Gold. See how the little details pop?


I was in love with the look of my frame wall, but decided to take an extra step for some additional security. I pulled out my 3M Command Strips and trimmed them into 1 inch strips. Starting from the bottom of the gallery, I applied my strips to the bottom 2 corners of each frame. I leveled each frame, and then pushed the bottom corners until they were secured to the wall. Then I let out a big happy sigh!! This satisfied my "Mom Paranoia" about the frames falling on my little guy, and my perfectionist side that I was sure would always be standing back looking at the frames, trying to determine which of them were crooked. Now I could be assured that they were all level, and wouldn't shift if a troop of 2 year olds came bounding down the stairs.


Sigh! I'm so happy with it! What do you think?


Have any of you braved hanging a similar gallery? We'd love to see it!! And if you put up one of these beauties in your home, be sure to add it to our Flickr page so everyone can enjoy photos of the fruits of your labor!!

I'll be linking this to these great parties. Swing by and say hi!

Have a great week!!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Valentine Card Holder

With cupid fast approaching, I began to notice how quickly I change my front and back door appearances. Ahh..if only the rest of my home received such face lifts...

This, oh, so simple Valentine Card Holder is made from a few wooden products, a little paint and some ribbon.

Start by painting the wooden wreath ring the color of your choice. While that's drying begin hot gluing your strips of ribbon to one side of your clothespin.

Once the wreath ring is dry, hot glue the clothespins to the wreath.

I found this fun Valentine palette at Michaels for a $1.00 a spool! Any pattern would be adorable.

I LOVE anything vintage, luckily I found these magnificent Valentine cards at a neat little store here in town..hated to unwrap them, but thought they were too perfect! Have a look at the great detail!!

I, of course am fond of the cute little teacher one :)

Lastly, I cut a piece of cardboard for the center of the wreath into a heart and made a bow for the holder. I placed my wreath on my door and have been admiring it ever since.

I'll be linking up the these parties this week! Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chalkboard Door Hanger (Valentine's Style)

I wanted to do something different on my front door for Valentines Day. I think my husband has been a little overwhelmed with all the frilly Christmas Decor, so when taking down our decorations I vowed to take it kind of easy for Valentine's day. The first thing I made for Valentine's day you saw last week, it was this back-door sign...
So, to keep with the same low key Valentine's Day theme for my front door, I took a few random supplies I had in my craft closet...
Painted them up...
Put them together...

Added a little message...
And called it a day!

Can you tell I am on a "simple" kick this new year? I am starting to take bets on how long people think its going to last? I'll be linking to these parties this week. See you there!

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valentine's Day Decor

We switched days up on you all last week.  Erin was so gracious to post on Tuesday for me since I was crazy taking temperatures and giving out medication.  I am happy to be back on Tuesday and happy to have 3 kids that are {almost} all better!  

I love Valentine's Day but didn't actually start decorating for it until about two years ago when my oldest daughter was almost 3.  She loves the holiday more than most and loves to decorate like her Momma so I was inspired to create a few things for my little valentine.

I started with some pillows, of course.  Muslin is my go-to fabric.  I cut a big heart out of red felt that I just knew would make my girl smile...
And I also used another favorite, iron-on transfer paper to put the word "love" onto another pillow...
I got "green" with these pillows and stuffed them with plastic bags...

And we placed them on the bench in our kitchen...

Of course there had to be a banner.  I sewed around the edges and a flap at the top to pull the twine through.  I also cut out and then hand-stitched the white felt letters to the red fabrics.
I added some red felt hearts to the ends.  I added loops of white ribbon to the tops, stuffed them up, and hand-stitched all around the hearts.

The previous pics were from last year.  The walls are no longer green and my daughter added her own paper decorations this year without any assistance. It is only because I am crazy about my daughter and want to encourage her "decorating" that I allowed her to hang paper cupids on our fireplace.  Oh, the things we do for our children. But I was so very proud when I saw the finished product.  She apparently loves symmetry.  She is definitely her mother's daughter.

Then I placed the word love in a couple other places in the house...

And what would Valentine's Day be without some candy conversation hearts? 

I have been loving all the adorable Valentine's Day decor I have seen throughout blog land.  So much fun!  I'll be joining these fabulous parties this week!  

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, January 24, 2011

10 Tips to a Perfect Empty Frame Galley

I finally tackled something that has been on my to-do list for almost a year - my empty frame gallery!!

And I totally totally love it.

I'm not going to share it in it's entirety today, but do you want just a little peek?


The end result is perfect!

However, pulling the whole project off was a lot more tedious than I had been anticipating. My sister and I said the words, "If I ever do this again, I'll make sure that I don't..." more times than I would like to admit. And as I was putting this tutorial together, I realized that it's a bit too much for just 1 post.

So today I'm going to share my 10 best tips for tackling an empty frame wall project, complete with lovely photos of other frame walls for inspiration.

Next week I'm going to show you the detailed break down of how I did mine, with lots of lovely pictures to egg you on in the process. Sound good? Here we go.


(source here)

1.) Visualize (generally) what you want in an end result. Do you want a design that is clean and symmetrical, or a bit more random and whimsical? Do you want the frames to match precisely, coordinate, or be completely mismatched? How much of the wall do you want to cover? Floor to ceiling, just the middle of the wall, or something in between? Get some idea of what you want the end result to be before you start buying materials.


2.) Start collecting frames. You'll want to get lots of frames for this project, but don't invest too much on any one frame. Gathering the materials for this project will take some patience: check thrift stores, garage sales, the dollar store, your parent's basement, your get the idea. I even took a few frames from around my house that were ho-hum in their current location. You'll need some variety when you're putting this together and you don't want to get halfway in and have to stop to run out and look for the perfect frame. You get the picture, gather your materials first.


3.) What should I look for in a frame? You'll want some variety as you are pulling your frame collection together. Get some really large frames, some average sizes (8x10 or 11x14) and some small frames. Look for different textures on the frames: some smooth, some patterned, some rounded, some boxy, some plain and some really intricately designed. Additionally, grab different shapes of frames: basic rectangles, squares, ovals or circles, and some long and skinny frames. As with all thrift store shopping, try not to be distracted by a strange print, an ugly color or any cosmetic imperfections that can be easily managed with a little glue or paint.


(source here)

4.) Measure your spaces. Measure where you want to hang your frames, and mark out a space that is the same size on your floor where you can play around with different layouts. Arrange and re-arrange until you get a good feel for what you are looking for. Snap pictures of any possibilities that you really like, and then re-arrange just a little bit more until you find one that is perfect.


(source here)

5.) Bring a friend and plan on a break. After you are looking at frames and constantly re-arranging and re-evaluating, you will start to feel like you are going cross-eyed. Enlist a friend to come over so that you can bounce a few ideas off of them. Even if you completely disagree with their opinion, it may help you to solidify exactly what you like. It's good to get some opinions under your belt before you start putting lots of little holes in your walls. Also, plan to take a break where you don't look at the frames at all for a few hours. When you come back you will feel surprisingly refreshed and be ready to make your final cuts.


6.) Get your frames ready. If you need to do any repairs on your frames, now is the time to do it. Remove any glass, pictures, staples, backing, etc from your frames. If you want to paint the frames, now is the time to do it. If you are painting plastic frames, don't forget to use a primer to help the paint stick to the frame.


7.) Make a paper template for each frame. Lay each frame that will be going on the wall on a flat piece of paper and cut it out - now you have a template for your frames! Take these templates and tape them to the wall in the arrangement that you like. This will allow you to see the arrangement on the wall and make any adjustments before pulling out your hammer and nails.


(source here)

8.) Start in the middle. When placing the templates on the wall, start with the frame that will be at the center of your arrangement and center it on the wall. (Sounds obvious, I know, but doing this first will (hopefully) prevent you from having to shift the whole arrangement 3 inches to the left, or something like that.) Ask me how I know! When you have the center frame exactly where you want it, then add your other frames to the sides.


9.) Add nails. With the templates still on the walls, hammer a nail into each template to correspond with the hanging gear for that frame. You're almost there!


10.) Hang and smile. Take down the paper templates, and hang up each frame. Spend a considerable time patting yourself on the back. Invite friends and family over to admire your frame gallery and be modest about how long it took you to pull off. But they might figure it out for themselves when you decline to come assist them with galleries of their own.

Be sure to come back next week when I do the big reveal of my empty frame wall gallery! I took a few extra steps on my wall and I can't wait to show you how it all turned out!

Have a great week!

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