December 6, 2017:


It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Doing an "Artsy Craftsy" Framed Bird Wall Art

This is one of the photos of my bedroom redo "reveal" earlier today, ta da!

I am very proud of the framed bird print above my 52 or 53 year old Lady Buxton jewelry box atop the bureau.

Here's a close-up - sorry it's not cropped:

I had purchased the frame off a clearance table at TJ Maxx about a month ago.  Paid well under $10 for it.  The outside dimensions are not quite 12 inches by not quite 14 inches, LOL!  The inside dimensions are 8 x10 OR, if you want to use the "mat" that came along with the frame (just the photo cover page in not quite white) a 5 x 7 print or photo would fit over the center area of the "mat." 

I had orginally intended this frame to hold a picture of Mr. Don and I taken in Toledo (Spain) during our January, 2012 trip, but I was not able to do anything with the poor quality photo that was taken of us there (unfortunately we were cast in deep shadow), and even though he is really a graphics genius, Mr. Don wasn't able to improve that photo, either.  So - nix that idea. 

There was the frame - sitting empty on my dinette table. Forlorn. Lonely.  Crying out to me.  "I am USELESS," it wailed.  "No, you're not!" I yelled back.

What happened next I can only blame on too much reading of blogs by women who spend the equivalent of my full-time job each week and more decorating their homes.  Damn - sure wish I could afford to stay at home and do that! 

I already had bird prints that I wanted to use in my bedroom redo.  Four of them are just greeting cards (mostly Christmas cards from past years) that I saved and framed in 5 x7 frames because I thought they were so beautiful.  And this big framed print (about 24 x 24) - that used to hang above the bed in the guest room and then moved to my room after it was painted ts current "Powder Puff" (Sears Easy Living Satin) in 2009 - this photo shows its location prior to my bedroom redo (see prior post for "after" pics to see where it is hanging now:

Not the best photo, that's for sure!  But you can see that the bird pic itself is framed by a square of colors that acts as a sort of "mat," set off by an even darker narrow border, and finally framed by a creamy-colored "mat" inside the frame.

I was aiming for a similar effect in my much smaller TJ Maxx frame.

First, I hunted online for prints of black-capped chickadees because, despite looking, I could not find a suitable greeting card.  I settled on one print from an old book that had been hand drawn and colored.  It had just the "look" I was after!   I saved the image and then printed it out on mat photo paper.  First, as an 8 x 10 and then as a 5 x 7 colored print that I cut down to size with scissors (not exactly even, unfortunately) and laid over the 5 x 7 area of the "mat." 

I decided I liked the scale of the 5 x 7 print better in relation to the size of the frame.  Sorry - no "before" photos while I was experimenting with all of this. 

I hung up the framed 5 x 7 print on the nearly white "mat" and was happy with it. But, it was missing something.

So, I decided to see if I could add some drama around the print.  I took my cue from the inner-most colored area in the 24 x 24 framed bird print:  it's tan/gold/cream brocade-looking (not real brocade).  I didn't think I could replicate it exactly but I did have an idea to try.

I printed out an enlarged image of a beautiful black and white toile wallpaper that I'd saved a few days before.  Unfortunately, when I printed it out, it came out sort of dark grey and light grey, not black and white! 

Even if it had printed out pure white and stark black, it probably would not have worked the way I wanted, because the background of the 5 x 7 bird print I snatched off the internet is very white.

I decided that the wallpaper print needed a "tea-dyed" effect.  I didn't want to bother with making tea, so I made up a strong brew of instant coffee, added hot water to the sink, dumped in the coffee, mixed it up, and then dunked in the photo paper printed with the toile pattern.

I tore off a part of the paper while fishing it out of the hot brew in the sink!  Left it in a wee back too long I guess and it started to turn to mush, eek!  Managed to splat it onto some newspaper and blotted it off with some paper towels.  Turned it over and did the same thing, then set the thing aside to dry. 

This morning, it was a little crinkly looking, but dry.  And a very nice sort of "aged" light coffee color!  I cut it to fit the frame.  Then I took my 5 x7 bird print and after several tries, got it more or less to a satisfactory position on the new "mat."  Here's a photo of the completed look:

The coffee-stained toile wallpaper print that acts as a "mat" for the 5 x7 bird print turned out pretty good!  The coffee-dyed "mat" coordinates very well with the antique gold inner part of the frame and mates this put-together print well with the colors and "feeling" of the professionally created 24 x 24 bird print that hangs on a neighboring wall in my bedroom.

I seriously need to do this cutting stuff on the paper-cutter at the office!  I can't cut a straight line (even a drawn-on straight line) with scissors to save my life!  Wobble-wobble...  I did think about trying to add a black border around the bird print, but couldn't think what to use that I had on hand and thought - leave well enough alone!

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