Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Fence Board Art

 I love using old fence boards for artwork.  I get them for free whenever I see someone taking down a fence, on Craigslist, on a curb . . . wherever I can!  I wanted something to put above my upcycled windows in my living room.  I started with painting one coat of chalk paint on the boards, then sanded lightly and painted on the words.
The words were printed out on paper and then taped together.  Using graphite paper, I transferred the script to the boards and then painted using black, acrylic paint.  Finally, I sanded the words lightly to distress a bit and finished with a coat of clear wax.  When using this technique, I have a few, simple TIPS:
1.  Invest in a good brush.  This one cost me about 10.00 and is a number 2 round brush.  It's perfect for lettering and fine detail. 

2.  Choose a simple font.  The one I love to use is called Abbeyline and was downloaded for free at 

3.  Water down your paint.  I keep a small jar of water on the table and each time I dip my brush in the water, then in the paint (which I pour out onto a piece of cardboard or plastic lid) and then lightly brush the excess paint onto the cardboard before heading to my project.  This was probably the most helpful tip -- you get nice, smooth, fine lines this way.


My favorite kind of project:  Free, simple, quick!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Upcycled Book Photo Album

I love taking photos but like many of us, they don't often make their way off of my devices.  I'm determined to not let that happen as often so I wanted to come up with a simple, inexpensive way to display them after I get them printed.
 Using one of the many old books I have, I began by decorating it with these slide holders, ribbon, etc. You could use anything you want -- so many possibilities! But since I already had these, that's what I went with.

I started by gluing some decorative paper on one half of the slide holder, trimming the outer edges.  
Using an x-acto knife, I cut out the center of the paper.
A really simple way to get nice, clean edges after you trim paper is to use an emery board to file the excess paper away.  Just make sure you are filing down/away from the top of the paper so you don't pull the paper away that you've glued.
When you've finished, this is what you'll end up with.
You could put photos in here but I chose to use the words, "Life is Sweet" and added some ribbon and an old key for embellishment.  
For the photos inside, I simply gathered 8 pages, punched a hole in the top and inserted a brad.  I gathered 8 more pages, punched a hole in the BOTTOM and inserted a brad.  You want to alternate top and bottom so your book doesn't get lop-sided.  Note:  The fewer pages you gather, the less of the book you'll be able to use because the brads will make it get 'thick' quicker.  I chose 8 pages and was able to use the majority of this 1.5" thick book.
 You could use photo corners to hold the pictures in and then change them out if you wanted to.  I didn't have any so I just used photo adhesive to attach them to the pages. At this point you could also add scrapbook embellishments, stickers, etc. but again, I wanted to keep it simple so I didn't add anything for now.
I tucked the opening pages of the book under the ribbon that wraps around the cover but you could leave them or just remove them if you want.
 I went ahead and made all the sections I wanted and inserted the brads so as I get new pictures, I just have to put them in.

A quick, easy, inexpensive way to keep up with the photos you VOW to print out from now on!

Show Off Your Photos!

The holidays are upon us and we will all probably be taking lots of photos.  Where will they end up? For many of us, on our computer, tablet, on "the Cloud" or in some other cyber-storage space.  There are a lot of creative ways to display your photos but you have to print them first! And since the holidays ARE now officially upon us, there is no time like the present to get ready to display the pictures you take! 

I really enjoy Shutterfly.  I love that you can edit your photos yourself, upload them, and have them delivered to your door.  If you don't want just "normal" pictures, they can even put them on calendars, wall art, place mats and tons of other home decor products.  Any of these would make great gifts.  

But if you decide to go with prints, here are a few options for displaying them once they arrive. Because most of these require some DIY work, you can tailor these ideas for your own home:

Use an old book as a photo album. (Tutorial to follow soon)
 Old windows are a great way to show off your family. I used small eye hooks to connect a chain across the panels and used vintage earrings to attach the photos.

Vintage pants hangers made displays for my son's apartment billiard photos
Repurposed mousetraps attached to a scrap board create a fun, unique way to display up to three 8X10 photos
 Glass containers of almost any shape or size can hold multiple or single photos.  This jar sits in my living room and is filled with old photos.
I love how the folks over at Apartment Therapy used vintage bottles to display single photos
A wreath of any kind makes a lovely photo display but I really like this burlap wreath from Thistlewood Farms.
Liz Marie Blog used boards, wire and a few simple items for her photos and you could easily change these photos whenever you like.
 I adore ladders, frames AND old pictures so this display featured over at Itsy Bits and Pieces really grabbed my heart!
And finally, how about this clever idea?  A wall clock using family photos created by Arts and Crackers.  It's a clever way to have a gallery wall in your home.
So this year, let's really try to get those pictures off of our devices, into our homes and on display!