Our Living Room Project

My husband and I recently decided that while the painting we had had for over 7 years hanging over the couch in our various living rooms was beautiful, it didn’t really reflect our family.  We wanted something with a sense of fun that was also wonderful to look at and something we would truly enjoy seeing on our wall multiple times a day.

As a pinterest fan, I tend to save DIY projects and recipes the most frequently, and I strive to actually do them.  Well, I strive to do some of them- I am fully aware that some of those will never happen. 🙂  One project I did want to tackle can be found here.

I’ve always liked the photo canvas look but never quite could digest the price- or when I did find a good deal, I often didn’t have a great quality picture to upload because so many of the pictures I take are from my phone and the resolution is too low.  When I saw the link on pinterest to Girl in Air’s blog tutorial about her 4×3 art work that cost under $10 to make, I was intrigued and determined to try it!

Knowing that Staples provides 4 x 3 black and white engineering prints for only $4.99 definitely took the pressure off of needing perfect picture quality.  We had gone to the beach recently and had a picture of the kids running towards the waves with that amazing child-like abandon they possess, and I knew that was the picture I wanted for our wall.  Not only does it put a smile on my face every time I look at it, but it reminds me to let go and not be uptight and anxious about things, as I have a tendency to do sometimes.

After picking up our print from Staples, we made sure I had the other supplies we would need like spray adhesive (Loctite), the foam insulation board from Lowes, black craft paint, and the sealant to apply after we had attached the print to the board (Krylon’s “Preserve It”).

Once the kids were in bed and presumably out for the night, Will and I got to work.  The foam board was certainly the most expensive cost of the project (Girl in Air already had the board and we had to purchase ours, so it made our cost go up a bit).  The nice thing about the board is that when you buy a sheet of it you end up with enough to do two “canvases” if you like.  Anyway, Will cut the foam board down to the right size using a razor blade and we then sprayed it down with the adhesive.  (In hindsight, we should have peeled the plastic off the foam board as it makes for a cleaner finish around the edges, but it works with it on also.)

We then CAREFULLY laid the print down onto the adhesive-laden board.  I didn’t have a flour separator handy to use to smooth out the wrinkles so I used my Pampered Chef scraper :).   I can’t remember what random item Will was using in the picture below.

So after smoothing out any wrinkles to our best ability with our random smoothing items, it was time to make the picture look even more like a canvas with a bit of a vintage-y feel by emulating the treatment Girl in Air did and applying black craft paint to the perimeter.  I did this while Will used a roller on the sides to make it all uniform.

After letting the paint dry, our final step was to spray the whole thing down with the sealant we had bought.  Don’t do what we do and skim the directions- really read them! 🙂  This way you will know to hold the picture upright when you spray it rather than laying it down to spray it.  Apparently laying it flat can result in a few water spots.  This was no problem for our picture, as since it is a beach picture, it looks like there was water on the lens and I like the effect!  Anyway, here’s the final product hanging on our wall…

I love how it turned out!

Next on the list is to track down some pretty pillows for our new-to-us sleeper sofa off Craigslist that we got for a great deal and maybe doing a refinish on our floor lamp. Now that the canvas is on the wall, I’m thinking the lamp would look nice with a different metal finish… oh well, one thing at a time! 🙂


Finally! The post about our “new” headboard and other fun things.

Approximately 12 months ago, I began my quest to replace our headboard (the one that I had had from middle through high school) with something more grown-up and, for my husband’s sake, less feminine.  I had started a list of fun headboard ideas in my mind and started at the top.  First up was a fireplace mantle (I wanted an older one big enough to serve as a queen headboard).  I learned over time that finding one that was both big enough and the style I wanted would be too expensive for our budget (which, on a scale of 0-100, was on this side of zero).  Next up was creating a fabric-upholstered headboard.  As I thought about what I wanted our bedroom to look like down the road, I realized this wasn’t exactly the look I wanted.  Third on my list was finding an antique or vintage door that could serve as a headboard.  Given that this search started a year ago and that we actually implemented our plan months ago (ahem, beginning of September), it is a bit embarrassing to just now be getting around to writing this post.  It appears I am not so good at remember to upload pictures, hence the wait…but better late than never!  And I had promised many of my friends that I would do a post on it when it was done.  Or close to done, in our case.

This is the before (please ignore my little boy fast asleep and his little belly)…

I’m sorry I couldn’t find a better before picture of the headboard, but this gives you the idea!  I loved it in middle and high school, because it was unique and pretty.  Will, however, was ready to move on. And having had it for so long, I was as well.

And here is the after…

I looked at a couple of flea markets and couldn’t find the door I envisioned for the right price. I ended up checking out our local Habitat for Humanity and found it.  It was simple with clean lines, and while it wasn’t as old as I had hoped for, I figured with some distressing it would be perfect.  After my husband sawed it down a bit to just the right size, I cleaned it up and decided to go ahead and put it on the wall.  I’m very visual when it comes to DIY projects and wanted to really picture it before we did any more to it.

As I looked at it up there on the wall, I discovered that I didn’t want to distress it any more after all.  A few coats of on of my favorite paint colors (Laura Ashley’s Ivory Glow) and it would be perfect.  Well, that and I’m still looking for the vintage doorknob I have in my mind.

Since getting the headboard up, we’ve gotten some other projects checked off the list as well.  My definite favorite is the project above the headboard.  Will and I debated over what we should put in the empty spot above our bed, discussing framed pictures of landscapes from trips we’ve taken to one big piece of artwork, but we couldn’t quite decide on something.  I’ve been a sucker for vintage windows for awhile now, and had already worked on one that is in our living room.  When a good friend called me and said she had gotten some extra windows and would I like some, I jumped on the offer (thanks again Margaret!).  I had various ideas bouncing around in my mind, but what I wanted to do most was convert it into a mirror.  I wasn’t sure of the best way to go about it and explored how to get glass fitted to the individual panes.  It was then that I discovered this…

Krylon Looking Glass spray paint.  This stuff is great.  If you are looking for a perfectly clear, looks-just-like-a mirror surface, then you may not want to go with this.  But the slightly hazy appearance it gives was perfect for our vintage window.  I love the way it turned out, and as a bonus, the mirror really adds a lot of reflected light and makes our small bedroom look bigger.

Our most recent project then became our curtains.  Oh, sometime I need to blog on our curtain story- craziness (and thanks again Kristy!).  When we first bought this house, I purchased many of our curtains at World Market during a great sale they were having on window coverings.  For our bedroom, we went with some ivory burnout drapes in a jacquard pattern, which were light and pretty and would go with a variety of colors.

This is what they look like:

As time went on, we discovered two minor issues: 1) they let in a LOT of light and 2) we need more color in our bedroom as we also had ivory colored bedding.  We decided to move those over to our office/extra room and after looking for quite a while for some that were both affordable and fit with the warm spice color of our bedroom walls, we ended up getting some gorgeous floral/tree of life patterned ones that add some wonderful color to our room.

So here is our room currently:

I still have some other projects I want to tackle- the doorknob for the headboard, painting our nightstands a matching color (I found our current ones at a consignment shop and liked the fact that they were similar but weren’t identical) and putting a long shelf up between the headboard and our window mirror.  I’m thinking of some whitewashed reclaimed wood on wrought iron brackets.  Something like this

but a bit more simple and spray-painted white.  A shelf would allow me space for books, pictures, or other fun things.

Anyway, there it is.  I enjoy changing things a little at a time and have come to really love filling our home with things that we love and doing so on a budget.  It is stretching my creativity and allows me to dream a bit more than I may otherwise!