Monday, July 27, 2015

Back to Basics: Cheater Art Framing

Hello my friends! I hope your weekend was wonderful! 

You may have noticed lately that I'm writing about smaller, simpler projects more often. Over the past year or so I've had this desire to take things back to the way they used to be with blogging -- I used to focus on quicker projects more often and I'm trying to get back to that. I've never stopped doing them, I just always want to give you guys worthwhile content and tend to focus on bigger stuff. 

But there are so many things that I do in my home and after all this time I tend to assume most know how to do the same -- but it's not the case! And sometimes I take shortcuts that turn out just fine (and save a lot of money!) and those are the little tips that I LOVE about blogging, so I'm sharing anther one of those today. 

This is one of those basic projects I do ALL the time. I've done this DIY "matting" for years when framing artwork -- it's super easy and way cheaper than buying a mat or paying to have one custom cut. I do this so often because most of my frames are from Goodwill and don't always have a mat or are an odd size. 

I have some art I've had hanging by our fireplace that I've been meaning to re-mat. Years ago when I first framed these I painted the "mat" gray and I've been warning to switch them out for bright white. You don't need much to do this -- just some scissors, tape, your art and a piece of poster board: 
DIY photo matting

The paper trimmer is not necessary but I'll show how I use that shortly. 

The great part about this is you can use basic poster board from the dollar store -- super cheap. You could use anything really -- I've even taken the cardboard backing from the frame and painted it. ;) That's the SUPER cheap way to go. You could use wallpaper, scrapbook paper, wrapping paper for your mat -- the possibilities are endless. 

For this I wanted simple white and I went with a little more expensive paper I find at Michael's -- it's got a pretty texture to it that I love. They were $3 each but you can use a coupon or get them on sale at times. 

I just trace the size of the cardboard backing onto the paper so I know exactly what size to cut out: 
This cut doesn't need to be perfect, the edges will be hidden behind the frame. 

Cutting out the art is where I like to use the paper trimmer: 
free art prints
By the way, that art was a free download -- I blogged about that years ago here. It is an AWESOME resource!

I like using the trimmer for the art or photos to get a really clean cut -- even if I have a straight line traced on it I don't tend to get a super straight line with my scissors. I didn't use this trimmer last time I did this so I just cleaned up the edges a bit.

I like to use double-sided tape on the back of the art and then I eyeball where it goes on the poster board: 

It looks a little wavy here because it's not pressed against the glass yet. 

I honestly can never tell a difference between art that has an actual mat and those that I use this method on: 
free art printables

You want the back to be as secure as possible on the frame so the papers are snug against the glass -- if you have any give you'll be able to tell the art is just taped on top. If not, it's hard to tell even close up!

Love it!:
I used to buy a mat the size of my frame but I quickly realized it's not something I need to spend money on. I especially love this because of all my second hand frames -- it makes them easy to reuse for exactly what I want to frame out. I use this method a LOT for my son's artwork that doesn't fit in a mat perfectly:

You could make your art any shape or size that you want. :) 

It's been almost a year since we finished the family room renovation and we are SO happy we took down that wall! Our fireplace is one of my favorites in our home: 
dark gray fireplace herringbone tile

There you go! My simple, cheater photo matting method. ;) When you combine it with a Goodwill frame and a free printable, you get some super inexpensive art! This is especially helpful when you're putting together a big gallery wall with a lot of frames. I've also painted the poster board the same color as the wall so it looks like the art is in a floating frame -- love that look too.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Living Room, Then and Now

Today I'm going to take you back…way back. To the old days of our living room. These are about my favorite posts ever! Living here for 11 years now makes it especially fun to look back at our spaces, and when they've changes as much as this one has it makes it even more fun. 

I've been thinking about this space a lot lately because for the first time I truly LOVE it. It's always been a hard one for me because of the high ceilings and the layout. Breaking out of the box of pushing all the furniture up against the walls is what really made me fall in love. 

Let's start from the beginning, shall we? I shared this photo with you all at the 11 year tour I shared a few months go -- it's one of the best I have of this space soon after we moved in: 

I thought I was working with the tall ceilings by putting art way high up. I've since learned that I don't need to fill all of that space and bringing things back down is what makes it feel more intimate.

The furniture was handed down from my Dad and the nesting tables were a new purchase from my absolute favorite store for years, Bombay Company. RIP to the Bombay stores (they are still online!).

You'll notice I always had the sofa pushed up against the only solid wall in the space -- here's a look at that rectangle on the wall with the new sofa we got a few years in: 

I've said it a million times but it's worth saying again -- I'm not one to bash my old styles. I LOVED that rectangle on the wall at the time. I still think doing something like this is a super easy and inexpensive way to fill large wall space. 

I changed it up a bit later by adding some molding (so began my love affair) and then adding some dark red accents. Red and gold were my JAM:
That DIY sofa table cost less than $20 and worked SO well. I loved that it allowed for some accents behind the sofa. I added more molding and that rectangle looked even better:
art on large walls

I started moving away from the red and gold and I think that's when it really hit me that our walls were PINK.  Like, truly, completely, 100 percent pink: 


They looked a little more brown in some light, but most of the time…pink:

I always felt like that little spot between the windows needed something. I tried lots of things there, as you can see: 

Then, thankfully, we painted over the pink. Whew, WHAT a difference! My new favorite neutral, analytical gray, was added to the house:

I tried something new between the windows. (Ha! Told you.): 
sisal rug

That rug was soooo pretty but not so comfy and the dog chewed a hole in it within a month of getting it. Cleaning it was a pain too, so it didn't last long. 

That corner I told you about earlier this week saw a lot of changes too. I had a chair over there, then a desk: 

Then I moved that to a new spot and tried the bookcase there: 
tall bookcase

I quite liked it so it stayed like that for awhile. I felt like we were getting there…I loved the windows trimmed out sans drapes. I feel like they became the star of this room, which was good because it took away from the ginormous wall in there. 

Now, what looked like this:


Now looks like this: 
walmart slipcovered sofa

Obviously I think it looks better now because it feels more like us and my style right now, but I liked the before too. :)

Here's the before shot of the tall wall:

And how it looks now. Adding the wainscoting really helped to ground the space!: 
scrapbook art

And here's one that shows that you don't HAVE to have window treatments on every window: 

 I think they look better without fabric:
craftsman trim on windows

I quite love looking back at old photos. It's like looking back at a baby you've painted and added trim to over the years. ;)

I think my favorite part of the transformation is this corner that I was always messing with (OK, I was always messing with the whole room):
sisal rug

Now looks like it should have always looked like this: 
half wall bookcase

If you missed my tutorial on that project check out this post. :) 

The point is that our home has always been a learning curve for me -- I feel like it's taken me ten years to figure out what I really love and how we really use spaces. That's a long time! Not saying it should take that long for you, I'm just saying don't get too frustrated if it doesn't come to you right away. It will eventually. You just may have to live in your house for a decade, no biggie. ;)

I don't have many regrets in life, but I do regret trying to fill up our spaces with furniture after we moved in. We bought things because we hated having empty rooms -- and I didn't wait to figure out how I'd use them or what I really loved. I think a lot of us do that though and it's part of the process, right?

Have a great weekend! I'll be dancing to Luke Bryan -- I'm not a huge country fan but he gives such a great show, looking forward to it!