A Thrill of Hope

Every holiday this year, I’ve kept decorations to a minimum.  Rather than stressing about getting everything taken out, set up, and put away, all for only a couple of weeks of enjoyment, I’ve used only what I really love.  After sorting out the Christmas decorations, donating what I didn’t want to keep, I noticed I didn’t have anything to put on the mantle.


To fill the void, I knew I wanted to add a wooden sign (for warmth) with a song lyric on it.  After tossing out several options, Ben said he liked ‘A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices’ best.


To create the sign, I used two 1 by 12 inch reclaimed cedar boards, salvaged from our neighbors replaced siding.  After cutting the boards to 36 inches wide, I flipped each over to secure together with scraps of tongue and groove pine and 1 1/2 inch wood screws.


Using Photoshop, I created a digital design and had planned to print it as an engineer print to transfer.  I didn’t have time to get there, but when I picked the boys up from school, I asked a teacher friend of ours if I could use the projector to trace it.


Sure, it took some time, but it wasn’t terrible and the boys decided to ‘help’ me trace.  When I returned home, I laid the paper out, centering it on my boards, then taped one end to keep it from shifting.  Transferring the text is so easy with carbon paper. Years ago, I bought a pack of 20 sheets and have used them for different projects.  I just shift my sheet around to the parts I haven’t gotten and trace the design with a mechanical pencil tip, minus the lead.


Then, I turned on the Gilmore Girls revival and started filling in with paint.  It’s far from perfect, and you’ll see there are still bits of the carbon peeking out if you look closely.  If you have a cutting machine, that is certainly a great option to save time.


It’s the center of the mantle, with a white ceramic house (filled with a battery-powered strand of twinkle lights) and simple bottle brush trees round out the mantle top.


A string of adorable wooden and plaid trees, from Target’s dollar spot, and stockings identified by initials hang from railroad spikes.


I’d love to get a few bigger brush trees to add more height and color on the sides.  New stockings are also on my to do list, since these aren’t my favorite.  I don’t think the boys really appreciate the dangly beads on theirs.


Another super holiday addition is a red plaid throw and a vase of evergreen branches clipped from our trees.


No mess, no stress, and all is easily stored away once the season has passed.

White Versus Colorful Mats

Seven months ago, I found a beautiful vintage dresser on Craigslist, begged Ben to come with me to buy/haul it, and have loved it since.  In that post, near the end, I had taped up a gorgeous Emily Jeffords print that I planned to frame and hang above.

Craigslist-Dresser-with-Emily-Jeffords-Art-VerticalBecause this wall is large, I knew it needed a proportionately big piece of art to fill it.  I ordered a 30 by 40 inch print, but, turns out, that size is hard to frame.  Initially, I wanted to build a frame, but never took the time.  After extensive searching, I didn’t find any affordable framing options and let it simmer on the back burner.  Well, it only took me seven freaking months to get it done, but now that it is, I adore it.


Recently, while browsing Goodwill, I spotted a large chrome frame with near perfect dimensions.  The simple profile was exactly what I had in mind, keeping the focus directed at the art instead.  As a bonus, it was only fifteen bucks.  Once I got it home, I took the glass, mat, and backing out to give the frame a couple of coats of white paint.  Then, for a little drama, I decided to paint the double mat an olive-green.  Nothing as saturated as the colors in the painting to detract from the art, but enough to add interest.


But, to give the art a little buffer, I added a slim white mat inside to give visual separation between the mat and art.


White mats are readily available, an easy go to, and go with anything and everything I’ve ever framed.  Let’s face it though, it’s a safe, standard choice.


Colored mats add unexpected boost to art, and can highlight the art more than a white mat could.  However, colorful mats don’t belong around all art.  Generally, I like to use colored mats when the art is neutral, like these black and white leaf prints.



Do I think a white mat would look pretty?  Absolutely, but I also think the green gives more visual weight to the art, also bringing a touch of green from the curtains over to this side of the room.


If you’re not quite ready to go that bold, layer a colored mat beneath a white one.


A slim grass-green border, just a quarter to half-inch reveal will emphasize the art without being over bearing.


For a more subtle contrast, pull a color from the art to make a small piece of art seem a bit larger.


White frames are better suited to busier, smaller, or more colorful art because it allows the art to be the stand out.


For extra oomph with white mats, I like to use a thicker board or double up.  I found a precut 11 by 14 inch (inside, 16 by 20 inch outside) double white mat at Hobby Lobby for only five dollars to surround our new house portrait from The Littlest House.

Pressed Baby Clothes = Laundry Art

Our recently remodeled laundry room is almost a square, with cabinets on either side of the door.  This arrangement left a blank wall directly ahead, desperately screaming for something colorful.


I briefly hung a custom flag there, but decided it worked better in the hall, so the wall was empty again.


While getting the Halloween decorations out of our crawl space storage, I also rummaged through bins of the boys’ baby clothes.  I pulled out the baby blue two piece outfit they both came home from the hospital in and another favorite I forced them to wear.  I’m not really one for theme-y decor, but the tiny clothes were far too cute to continue to hide away in storage.  Fortunately, baby clothes are small and fit into a couple of 16 by 20 inch frames I had on hand.


After ironing the clothes flat, I carefully laid the clothes face down on the glass.  For a bit more color, I backed the clothes with a piece of green mat board before securing the bulging backs in place.


They’re certainly not perfect, but I adore the little details.


Itty bitty pockets!  Mini arms that can’t reach the head!


As usual, I’ve fallen victim to the ‘if you give a mouse a cookie’ syndrome, and am planning more art.  Near the garage door, I snagged a 20 by 30 inch American Bison screen print from Wolf Jaw Press.


A frame is still to come.  Oddly enough, the cello sleeve and tape aren’t cutting it, but he sure is a handsome fella.


In the guest room, I’m still on the hunt for a pair (matching or not) of proportionately sized dressers to flank the bed.  Until then, I’m propping a random, rotating display of art on the dresser.


Poor, poor blank room.  Still, I’m happy to give things time to naturally come together.


Same goes for the theater room, though I do have a single piece of art to go directly ahead.


Tom Selleck, one of Ben’s favorite cowboy actors and the handsome guy he is, will greet our tv watchers.tom-selleck-print

Just as soon as I make a walnut frame, thanks to the odd, custom size.  I’ve also been dreaming of the beautiful art from Linton Art.  I especially love the gigantic, detailed, graphic look of the Locust Tree to fill the large, empty walls of the theater room.

It’d be a simple, yet striking contrast against the deep green walls.  Any artful additions going on in your home?

Flags as Art

For a long time, I’ve admired the look of a big flag hung in a room to serve as art.  Doesn’t matter how simple or detailed the flag, I’m a sucker for the look.  Emily Henderson has two that show how great this large-scale art can be.  A vintage Red Cross flag above a sofa fills that large expanse without feeling overbearing.

In her current house, she has a simple blue and white stripe flag above a credenza.  Both designs are simple, two color styles that make a bold statement, without needing a frame.

Or, when framed, the flag becomes a piece big enough to anchor a bed, serving as a headboard.

Division Street

So I know flags as art isn’t a new thing, but I’ve recently added one to our home, with a twist.


The lovely ladies behind Flagology recently asked me if I’d want to try a custom house flag, either outside or indoors.  A million options ran through my mind, designs, colors, even where I could hang it.


With such a neutral laundry room, I thought it’d be fun to add large scale, colorful art in the mix.  At 28 inches wide by 40 inches tall, the size fills the end wall perfectly.  While I loved everything about it, I realized the light weight piece would work even better in the basement hall.


Why does the weight matter so much on this wall?  Well, this wall is mostly a pocket door and essentially only drywall to hang anything on.


So I found a section of wooden dowel, ran it through the top pocket, and added twine to hang the flag from.


A thumb tack easily holds the flag in place, and doesn’t need heavy-duty hangers.


Thanks to the thick, outdoor quality fabric, I don’t have to worry about mess hands, shoulder bumps (not to be confused with shoulder pads), or anything else damaging the flag.  That’s not something I can say about traditional frames with glass or even canvas paintings.


Creating a custom flag was as simple as uploading a .jpeg file, clicking the mouse a few times, and done.  Knowing I wanted this to look a bit more like art than a traditional flag, I created a design based on a paint by number scene.  The Flagtastic fabric kept the greens of the mountains and trees vibrant to really liven up this dark little hallway.


Now to get some more art on these walls!  I’ve had a special print waiting in the wings for that wall at the end of the hall.  Getting to the accessory stage is so much fun because that’s where the personality and life come into play.

If you like this idea, you’ll love that Flagology is giving one custom house flag or doormat to a lucky reader!  Just for our readers, Flagology is offering 20% off all custom flags and doormats (does not include Create4Me or accessories)-just enter the code OHA20 to redeem your deal.

This post was sponsored by Flagology, but all ideas, opinions, and photos are my own.  

Painting a Wood Wall White

Last I shared our master bedroom, it looked like this:


We had made some progress, especially compared to our starting point, but the to do list still had plenty of unchecked boxes including a new bed, seating arrangement, and possibly painting the wood wall white.


That last item, painting, was something I’d been considering for a while, to better flow with the white tongue and groove planks in the adjacent bath, entry, and kitchen.  Having painted new wood before, I suspected this reclaimed wood would toss me a curveball thanks to all the tar paper residue.

Reclaimed Cedar Planked Wall

Fortunately, after painting our deck ceiling, I had the perfect product in my possession: Sherwin Williams Exterior Oil-Based Wood Primer.

The reason I had to wait so long to tackle this step was the uncooperative weather.  Stupid summer with temps constantly in the 90’s.  Oil-based primers and paint are always stinky, so I waited for a few days of cool weather that would allow open windows and proper ventilation of the room.  My first coat of primer covered the wood beautifully, but the tar areas bled through lightly.


Per the instructions, I waited 24 hours before reapplying a follow-up coat for thorough, opaque coverage.  This primer is thick, and filled in some of the spaces between the boards, making it look sloppy.


Knowing I’d still have to paint, I held off cleaning out the grooves.  After two coats of white paint, I used a utility knife to scrape the paint out, leaving clean gaps and a full textured ship lap looking wall.


Though I liked the warmth of the wood wall, it didn’t flow with the rest of the room or house.  Painting the accent wall white gives me a blank slate to work against.  Moving forward, I still have projects to tackle, like a new bed, complete with a lovely green velvet upholstered headboard hence the taped up text fabric.


While I was making changes, I switched out the lamps and art.  The triangular lamps I made took up a lot of space on our floating nightstand, so while in Minnesota I picked up two Ranarp sconces from Ikea.

Smaller light fixtures left more space above the nightstand than before, so I painted feathers on watercolor paper to create science poster art.


Each piece cost less than five dollars and didn’t require frames thanks to the style.  I cut quarter-inch thick by 1 1/2 inch wide hemlock strips one inch longer than the paper, applied a coat of special walnut stain, and stapled through the paper into the back of the wood.  A string of twine is a simple hook, also stapled into the wood.


Thanks to the lightweight design, a thumb tack with a small wood slice glued to the front keeps the art in place.


Then, as usual, one thing leads to another and I didn’t like the mismatched look of the dark art wood and the light nightstand.  Not to worry, a coat of matching stain on each was a quick fix and really finished off the look.


Ahh yes, much better.




Up next, sewing a matching set of curtains for the window above our bed.  After many attempts to get my hands on another six yards of white linen, I finally broke down and had the fabric store order some for me.


With the deck project in full swing, I’m not sure when the bed will be a priority, but it’ll make all the difference in finishing off the room.  Now to decide how I want to handle the other side of the room.