Friday, December 26, 2014

Simple DIY Family Photo Gallery Hallway

I have always had a family photo gallery wall and I figured after four years in this house it was time to JUST DO IT. 

If you go to Pinterest or Google images or anywhere online looking for inspiration you could get bogged down with the overwhelming creativity and ideas. Trust me on this.

I know from experience that it is almost impossible to keep all the framed photos on a gallery wall straight. So frustrating! But we came up with this design a few years ago and we've been doing it this way ever since.

So we keep it simple and with a bare bones budget, really CHEAP. 

Like, less than $18 cheap.

Here's one end of our project. It's a GOOD start!

For this really simple gallery wall I chose three - 1" x 3" x 8' molding boards for $2 each. They are made of a lightweight wood, usually pine or poplar. It is important that you peer down the long side and make sure the boards you pick are STRAIGHT. Turn them over and look at them from all angles. This will make your project much much simpler, trust me on this. 

Then I had the lumber guy cut them off at 5', so I now had six pieces. Three five footers and three that were three foot long. The store will cut your lumber for free!

Just as important as the straight boards are the bulls eye  rosette blocks I got for each seam. They look just like what they are called and they are IMPORTANT to give your project visual interest and style.

I paid less than $2 apiece for the 6 blocks we needed. What a deal!

I painted all the boards and bulls eye blocks white before we put them up. I know in the photos they look unpainted but they are not.

We laid out our shelves based on the basic framed photo sizes we were using plus we had to work around a smoke detector and the furnace thermostat/controls. Measure twice and make sure your marks are accurate because now the fun stuff starts!

Use a level. Use a level. Use a level. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do it.

We used wood glue and our handy dandy favorite brad nailer to attach the boards to the wall. Easy. Simple. Accurate. And the nail gun makes a really satisfying 'kachunk' sound.

Kachunk! Yes, you can have a turn. 

You can also use regular nails or screws and just fill in any holes with wood filler when you're done.

And here you see how the bulls eye blocks give our gallery wall just a bit of punch and visual style. We staggered the joints on each run for some interest. And even though they look like plain wood here, the blocks and boards are all painted. Though if you choose to leave them plain or even paint them a fun color, that is up to you on your own wall!

I like this alot! There is room up there for dozens more framed photos!

Oooh aaaah. One of my favorite projects, EVER.

Did I mention the neat kachunk sound the brad nailer makes?

A family photo gallery wall doesn't have to be a huge complicated project. Keep it simple, keep it cheap and just DO IT. 


DIY Chair Rescue With a $4 Sheet

Here's my FREE wing back chair next to her sister, the Red Velvet Throne Chair. They both look good in red, no? 

They didn't cost an arm and a leg. The throne chair was only $7 at the tail end of a local yard sale. The wing back was given to me by my mom. She knew I wanted it and she threw it my way. You rock, mom!

Both chairs started out that marvelous 90s mauve. Pink. Almost lavender. NOT the best fit for my red, brown, turquoise, blue and gold living room.

Here's the throne chair before. See?


The wing back was similar to the pic below but not as pretty and certainly more worn. Lots more worn. Okay, really worn and old looking.

So I had enough red velvet to finish the throne chair. I added some antiqued brass finish upholstery tacks and look at her now. She is secksy!


But I didn't have enough red velvet for her sister chair, so I went to my favorite cheap fabric alternative - a twin flat sheet from Walmart for only $4! There is several yards of fabric for about $1 a yard. That's my kind of bargain.

I got to work with my pins and scissors and easy touch staple gun and look how the sisters in red are doing now!

There are dozens of DIYs and videos online telling how to pin fit a cover for a chair. I always check out a few before I start a project like this just to refresh the details in my mind.

Ladies, you look marvelous!

I shirred the front of the cushion to give it some softness...and also because I didn't have what I needed to make piping. Truth be told, it will take at least half of another flat sheet to finish the back and one side which is still naked, but hey, for $4 I love how she's turning out! And even on my budget I can afford that. I'll be adding some brass upholstery tacks when I'm almost done.

Eventually I'll have enough red velvet to make them truly twinners. But for now I am LOVING the bright red vibe in my living room.

Because life is too short to live without bright colors!

And besides being thrifty and fairly easy, a big plus is that I can do both chairs all over again in a DIFFERENT color just for the cost of a couple of flat sheets from Walmart. That's a cheap thrill and I love it!

Projects Projects Projects

I am not going to give you alot of excuses but I will give you lots of pictures. It has been a busy year. Baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, reunions, holidays, plus my Etsy shop....Lol. You get the idea and most of you are also living it. And so.... 

Look, shiny!

Restyling books to look like vintage editions...

......and in January, another big family wedding!

But you know, it is life and I'll take it!

I'll try to post more in the new year but know that I am still here and boy, do I have projects!

Faux Stacked Books Card Box

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this is no less true than on the eve of a family wedding. 

We needed a card box, stat! 

So, I made one out of stacked boxes made to look like a pile of big books.

I had some boxes in my stash that were just the right dimensions so I proceeded to make them look like books. I used the same techniques that I show in this the link to my DIY on making vintage style editions....

I added front and back "covers" to each box using pieces of cardboard. I added spines to each book with hot glue. Then, using watered down school glue I covered each book shaped box in Dollar Store tissue paper. I used three silvery/wedding style patterns so they would complement each other.

Starting with the bottom book box, I cut a rectangular hole in the top cover. I cut holes through BOTH covers of the middle box then stacked it and secured it with hot glue on the bottom book. The top book only needed a hole in the bottom cover and a slit in the top cover so cards could be slipped inside. Don't be shy with the hot glue. Use plenty to make sure all three book boxes are secure.

I had the labels in my stash and they were perfect for these books!

I dry brushed all the edges with silvery grey paint and also a tiny bit of black to bring out all the textures in the spines and in the crinkly tissues. I faked some pages with sharpie marker then dry brushed those edges, too.

The big book stack measured 12" tall x 14" wide and looked elegant and REAL. Touch up your edges with additional glued tissue paper and a bit more paint to blend your stack together. Remember that in dry brushing, a little paint goes a long way!

Two wine corks and skewers and a handmade banner completed the project. We didn't have to run out and spend money on a card box for the wedding and the fake book stack looked great. I call that a win win, and that's my favorite kind of project!

Glittery Silvery Snowflake Chandelier DIY

Ah, time for the wintry holiday season and bright Christmas decor. Also, another restyling of the brass and glass chandelier that the Welding Man loves.

Can't get rid of it so I decorate it to a fare thee well every chance I get. Forthwith, this year's pretty snowflake chandelier project.

With many thanks to the Dollar Store, thrift shops and yard sales for a nice variety of glittery snowflakes and faux icicles.

Here's how I redid it for fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
It's even prettier when it's all lit up. 


When it's all decorated all pretty and shiny and glittery and silvery like this, I can totally forget that it's all brass and beveled glass.

Now I have to figure out how to decorate it for Valentine's Day!!!

Tree Branches and Leaves for Bright Autumn Corner Decor

I know this is hugely late but I'm posting it anyway. Life and projects have eaten my time for months!

Here is the corner of my living room where I keep this urn and painted branches almost all year. The square corner table is perfect for the space and easy to dress up for every season. I change the table cloth and the decor with stuff I have on hand and, of course, bright silk foliage from The Dollar Store.

But first let's go back a bit when the corner was looking a bit cluttered at the end of summer. These two couches form the favorite lounging corner in our house so I try to change it up seasonally. 

Ah, Number One Son likes that spot.

And here it is again, all fluffed up with autumn decor. I added a vase of leaves in a basket on the coffee table

I added a stack of my restyled books which I've crafted to look like vintage editions.

And here's a link....

Then I just played around with everything until I liked the design as a whole. That's the fun part!


I have muslin curtains hanging over lace panels on my window wall. So I added my big coffee filter wreath (made from a Dollar Store hula hoop!) and more leafy garlands.

Here's a link to that easy rosette and autumn leaves wreath decor....

All done fussin' and ready to start enjoying. I love how the corner decor looks with my own paintings on the wall and the ever changing pillows I made for the couches. Holiday season, bring it on!!

Pretty Faux Wood Grain Glass Table Top? Yes, Please!

We have this corner on our front deck that needed a convenient table and I also wanted  it to be pretty. Here is what we came up with and m...