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Unfinished Frames on the Cheap

I’ve been trying to stay busy this week to avoid falling into a total state of depression over the recent death in our immediate family. The only way I can get through it all and maintain some joy is to find things to do around the house, play positive music, and work on a few projects that are easy enough so that I don’t walk away frustrated and tense. Stay positive! Keep smiling! That’s the only way to deal sometimes when all I want to do is hide under my blanket.
No hiding allowed.

So I painted a wall in my living room this morning. No clue why, but I felt like painting things was the way to kick my sadness. And it works. Last night, I put those sticky discs on some of my favorite plates like I told you about earlier. No real effort there, but it made me feel like I accomplished something because I seriously detested those wire hangers I had before. So a few easy tasks later, and my smile is more natural and less forced.

But I still feel like painting, so I took this small unfinished wood frame that I found at the craft store and applied a few coats of white paint. I love all the little original works of art that I buy, but most of them look so much nicer when framed and I’m not about to run to the frame store for every little painting I have. I just came back from the local frame shop and $200 later, I have two of my favorite prints up and gorgeous. But still, $200 is a lot of money and I certainly can’t give all of my art work the royal treatment. Unfinished frames, no glass, that’s the way to go for mini paintings. Plus, it makes them appear much larger.

I think this $4 one works nicely with one of my Creative Thursday paintings purchased back in March. These frames come in various sizes and widths, so I didn’t give it much thought, I just grabbed the only one on the shelf assuming that for $4, it will work until I can buy a better frame. It had a 5 x5 insert, the painting is 5 x 5, so what could go wrong. Nothing.

The results are very nice after applying a few coats of primer, a few coats of white acrylic paint, and a single coat of clear lacquer. I simply popped the 5×5 painting in the back and taped to secure. I know I can use hardware to secure it, but until I run to Lowe’s, strong tape will do just fine. So what will I do next? Maybe I’ll go buy a new staple gun and try not to staple my hand as I did last time when I was reupholstering a chair and held the gun backwards. Ouch! Okay, no staple gun projects for me this week. I think I’ll sew something, that’s always great therapy and I do have some pants to hem…

Psst: If you’d like a pretty painting from Marisa, don’t miss her online sale going on today – I’m not sure what time she’ll be posting them, but I’m sure they’ll sell out quickly so make sure you keep checking her blog for updates.

{Update: Marisa just posted her paintings right here.}

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, DIY on September 13, 2007

Plate Hangers: Simple DIY

As hard as I try to like them, I really have issues with double spring wire plate hangers, especially since one just left a crack in my Lena Corwin plate. So I’ve been on the hunt for something that won’t scratch or crack my precious Lena melamine and I found a solution that really works for me.

Did you know that adhesive plate discs exist? They stick to the back of your plates and when installed, no hook or holder is visible. Perfect! They’re imported from England and available at your local A.C. Moore for $3.99 each, where I purchased mine yesterday. What happens in the future when you want to remove them? Just soak the plates in warm water and the disc loosens and you can simply peel it off. They come in all sizes, can be trimmed to fit, and the larger disc can support a 6.5 lb plate.

Since the instructions on both the disc and the web do not make mention of using them on melamine, I decided to experiment with things myself to see if the disc would stick to a plastic plate. After allowing the glue to dry overnight, the discs are bonded to the plate and I have no concerns about them separating. Of course, I also used clear duct tape over the disc to secure them, just in case the disc adhesive isn’t enough.

You simply wet the disc and rub the glue around with your finger.

Then you position it on the back of your plate. Next use CLEAR duct tape and secure over the disc and plate on the back. Wait 24 hours and you’re done. You can hang them on your wall.

I think these discs answer a question I’ve had since viewing this image in Living Etc. ages ago – how did they install them? It looks like some have wire holders, others do not. The image isn’t clear enough for me to see. But I know this for sure, I would prefer to do things my way – no visible holders. And though I can’t be sure, I’m thinking it would be easy with these disc plate holders and a few tiny wood blocks (from the craft store) in varying heights painted the same color as your walls, screwed into the wall, for the lovely three dimensional effect.

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in DIY on September 13, 2007


Jesse from Swatchbox Technologies told me about a new site they’ve launched called DesignMyRoom that allows you to decorate a room virtually using either your own photo or one of the rooms in their library. I haven’t tested it yet since I family here for a few days, and then friends coming in from Montreal so I’ve been running around crazy, but if you’re bored at work today perhaps you can test it out and report in on what you think. I’d love to know. :)

It works like this. You first upload a photo of your own room or select an empty room from their website. Then you decorate it by adding paint, flooring, furniture, etc. You can resize, move, and rotate objects as you see fit. Then you can opt to share it with the community at DesignMyRoom for feedback. Beyond that, I’m not really sure what other features this site offers, but I’m interested in testing the waters next week when I’m back at my desk. It looks pretty cool! Thanks Jesse for the headsup!

(image from designmyroom)

Posted in DIY, Inspiration on August 31, 2007

Design Within Our Reach: Pimp My O’Brien

Love the looks of the DWR parallel shelving that I just blogged but can’t afford either the white-lacquered $1,700 version, or the $2400 find in oak? No worries. Order the sturdy Thomas O’Brien bi-fold bookcase for $239 (74H x 72W x 11.75D) from Target and pimp it! It has great customer reviews, and since I examined this bad boy in person, I know it’s nice and would be fun to alter a little with a mere can of paint.

You can white-lacquer your hearts out, or paint it bold red, black, or leave it alone because the wood is an appealing color in person. You can even do a little two-tone magic on it, like the bookcase shown above from a back issue of Living Etc magazine. Sure, the design is different, but it’s the paint job we’re focusing on here — the lovely two-tone style in white and wood. Oh wait… You see this bookcase and like it so much for it’s compact cuteness, and want that one instead? Well, this is a no-brain situation because you can order the Remsen bookcase as-is from West Elm for $399.

So my friends, we do have affordable options sometimes, ones that don’t involve lumber yards and power tools. Just add paint!

(images from target, DWR, and living etc)

Posted in DIY, Objects on July 24, 2007


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