May 20, 2018:


Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...


Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Look for Less: Ballard Designs "Petite Indigo Botanical Art"

Hola everyone!

The weatherman has promised us temperatures rising into the 20s by tomorow and into the mid 30s by next week, fingers crossed.  Even a few days of relief from this bitter cold will be welcome.

House bound except for extremely necessary and brief as I can make them errands (like quick walks to the Family Dollar for bread, milk and peanuts for the squirrels and the liquor store in the same shopping strip for wine - not for the squirrels), I am already itching for spring and fluffing up Maison Newton.  When I'm in the "fluffing up" mood I look at a lot of decorating sites, shops, etc., but I usually don't buy.  LOL!  That being said, today I felt the urge to do a "look for less" post - I haven't done one in ages and I do enjoy viewing websites like "Copy Cat Chic" and the High/Low articles in HGTV's monthly design magazine.  I wish Sabrina Soho's "The High/Low Project" was still on, sigh. 

I headed over to Ballard Designs, a favorite site for inspiration and way out of any price I would ever pay for anything they sell - even on super-sale, and looked around.  There, I came across these lovely botanical prints on sale:

Petite Indigo Botanical Art.  Normally each print is $75, right now on sale for 25% off, a net price of $56.25 each.  The size is large (well, I consider it large):  15 x 18 1/4, wood frame 1" deep with silver finish and glass over artwork. I think they are gorgeous!

Buying all four prints even on sale would be outside of my budget: $225.00 at the sale price or $300.00 at the regular price, and that doesn't include shipping or possibly sales taxes.  Yikes! 

So, being the type of home decorator who wants it inexpensive, fast and easy, who frames pretty greeting cards that I fall in love with and prints things for free off the internet (or cuts up calendars) for framing, here's my let's cut this price way way down attempt at duplicating the Ballard Designs prints!

First stop, the Simply Made by Rebecca website, where she just happens to have cached free printable botanicals of the blue hue variety, yippee!  Standard print-out is on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, but she also provides a downloadable/uploadable option for 11 x 14 paper that you can upload to a commercial printer or do on your own printer if you have that size option available (I don't).  NOTHING MUCH BETTER THAN BEAUTIFUL AND FREE!  Here are the four I would choose:


Second stop, Ikea to look for inexpensive picture frames.  Rebecca recommended the Jallvik wood frame, but I could not find it at Ikea online, so I guess it's not available any more.  However, Ikea does have an assortment of different colored woodish frames, among which I thought the Silverhojden Frame might do the trick.  It is made from wood products (not solid wood) and has a faux "foil" finish (not painted finish), and has a polystyrene cover over the art rather than glass, so it depends if you like the look or the safety of polystyrene over glass if there should be an accident with the frame:

Silverhojden Frame by Ikea, $7.99
Finish: Silver color
12 x 16 without mat
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 with mat
Outer frame: 13 x 17

If you buy four of these frames, it would cost you approximately $32.00 plus shipping, and maybe sales tax depending upon your state.  Far cry from $225.00 or $300.00, before adding shipping and possible sales taxes if you purchased the framed prints from Ballard Designs. 

I would float an 8 1/2 x 11 (letter size) print-out on my home computer of each botanical over the mat inside the purchased frame or remove the mat altogether and add some white lining paper cut to size underneath, rather than cutting off some of the beautiful print by placing it underneath the mat, which would reveal only a 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 size!  The overall 13 x 17 Ikea frame size would be just a bit smaller than Ballard Design's outer frame size of 15 x 18 1/4, but I think the overall impact would be pretty much the same.

You may already have your favorite budget-family wood (or wood look) with glass frames that you buy from your favorite craft or art-supplies store/source (Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, etc.), and could paint up the frames to get a silvery look if they don't come in a silver-toned finish (or not, if you don't care for silver).  Or you could go with an 11 x 14 size, have the prints commercially printed at FedEx uploaded from your smart phone or tablet and fill the entire frame with the print - similar to the look of the Ballard Designs prints, which float across the entire width and length of the frames.  If you purchase a 1" width frame, the outer dimensions would finish at 12 x 15 (compared to 13 x 17 for the Ikea and my Family Dollar frame [see below] versus Ballard Design's outer frame measurement of 15 x 18 1/4). 

You could also get thither to thy favorite dollar store or thrift shop and look for an 11 x 14 or more custom-sized frame.  This one that I now have hosting a horse print (cut from my 2017 calendar), has glass over the artwork and a champagne colored inner edging on the frame, so I would leave it as is rather than trying to give it a silvery finish (not my favorite finish anyway).  Bonus: its dimensions are identical to the Ikea Silverhojden frame, but only costs $3.00:

Four of those on a wall would pack a big punch and cost $12 to $16 (if your store charges $3.99 instead of $3.00) plus sales tax.

Or, go cost free except for the cost of paint or silver-leaf (if you refinish), if you might have a stash of old frames, like I do.  I bought the $3 Family Dollar frame because I didn't like the supply of 11 x 14 and somewhat larger frames I already have in my stash for the space I wanted to fill and I did not want to have to bother with refinishing to black to match my existing decor. 

TA DA!  There you have it.

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