Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Makin' my Mama proud...

Jeramie and I have lived in our house for almost four years. We bought it knowing that we wouldn't live here forever and, other than painting, we didn't do much to it when we first moved in. In my mind, this house was just a step-up from the apartment we had moved out of, and a step-down from our ideal home.

Basically, we've never really thought of it as "home".

It was about this time last year when we decided to put the it on the market and find a more "family friendly" house. You know, a yard for Ethan to play in, somewhere with a playground close by, and our very own driveway (maybe even a garage!). It sat on the market for six months, with tons of traffic, but no serious buyers. Finally, we got to the point where we had to make a decision due to financial reasons. We decided to take it off the market and refinance; this allowed us to save a bunch of money each month, but we still didn't have that cozy home kind of feeling.

Since refinancing, I've taken the if-we're-going-to-stay-here-then-we're-going-to-love-it stance. We've replaced flooring, painted some more, hung curtains (finally!), and rearranged furniture. I'm determined to make these walls feel like home to us, and I've enlisted the help of a few projects to do so.

Now, I am not a decorating guru, nor would I even know how to operate a sewing machine if I owned one. I needed easy, quick, beginner-level projects, and I got the ideas for the first two off of some online tutorials. I tried to find the websites again today so that I could link to them, but they're nowhere to be found! I'll give you the basic instructions but, if you Google the general idea, I'm sure you could find some other tutorials, as well. I'm also sure that, if I could do this, so can you!

Project #1
- Fabric Wall Hangings

This is about as easy as it gets! All you need is an art canvas* (size and quantity depend on where you want to hang it), some fabric (amount dependent on the size of your canvas), and a staple gun.

*The tutorial I read said to use a wooden frame, instead of the art canvas. Surprisingly, I found single, wooden picture frames at Wal-Mart and bought three to use for this project. Tip: Don't use wooden frames. Go with the canvas. (After royally messing up the first frame, I took the other two back and bought four canvases instead.)

Lay the fabric, printed side down, on a hard surface. Position the canvas (also face down) in the center of the fabric. Pull one side of the fabric over the side of the canvas and use the staple gun to fasten the fabric to the backside of the canvas, staying away from the corners. Repeat on the opposite side, top, and bottom, being sure to pull the fabric taut.

To staple the corners, do it much like you would when wrapping a present. The goal is not for it to look perfect on the backside, but to create a nice, tight corner on the front. You'll find a method that works best for you. This is how I chose to fold mine:

Trim any excess fabric from the back of the canvas, and there you have it! Instant wall art.

Project #2 - Dry Erase Board

Remember that wooden frame I had left over from my first attempt at Project #1? Thanks to the multiple staples that lined one side of it, I was unable to take it back, but I really wanted to use it for something. Enter Project #2. I found some super simple instructions for making your own dry erase board, and I ran with it.

For this project you will need: fabric, one complete picture frame* (frame, glass, cardboard backing), and tape/fabric glue. Again, the amount of fabric you need will depend on the size of your picture frame.

*If you're in a similar situation as I was, with only the frame, Michael's sells a frame kit that comes with a piece of glass and cardboard for $10 (only $6 if you use one of their 40% off coupons)!

Just like the wall hangings, lay the fabric print-side down and place the cardboard backing in the center. Wrap it in the same way, pulling the fabric taut, and securing it to the cardboard with tape/glue. (I used clear packing tape, combined with masking tape when that ran out, and it worked great!)

Place the fabric-covered piece of cardboard in the frame, just like you would with a printed picture and ... DONE!

The only change I would make is to add a magnetic strip somewhere under the fabric.

Project #3 - Picture Wall

As if I hadn't blown away my fabric-lovin' Mama already, I decided to finally hang some pictures! At one point we had about six pictures on our massively huge wall, but we took them down once we put the house on the market. That wall has been bare ever since, and my poor Mama cringes every time she comes to visit. Well, not anymore!

I've seen these all over the bloggy world and decided it was time we made one for ourselves. You've probably seen it, too. Walls covered in different sized picture frames, varying in color and shape; as if you've thrown your family album on the wall with very little thought as to what went where.

Too bad I'm extremely anal, though. I want the eclectic look, but I need planned eclecticism. So, what does any Mama do during Friday afternoon nap-time? Create a mock-up, of course.

A girl's gotta know how many landscape vs. portrait prints she needs, right?!

So, with that, we have a basic idea of what our picture wall will look like. It will be a little different, given that my scaled-down version includes only the print size, not allowing for the additional size of the frames (oops), but anything is better than what we started with!

We're about halfway through the hanging process, as you can see, but I'll be sure to post a picture of the finished product. And, by the way, Target is having a major clearance on frames right now; $1.98 for more than half of the frames that are on our wall!

So, overall, the house is getting there. We're focusing most of our efforts on the downstairs right now but, don't you worry ... upstairs guest bathroom, you're next!


Derek said...

Awesome ideas!! Love the picture wall but especially the do it yourself dry erase board!

Carolina Carters said...

Great "home-y" touches Joye! :) I'm definitely going to try the dry erase board. I think it'd be perfect in my kitchen! Thanks for the ideas!!

Jen Foster said...

Careful ... we'll suck you right into our crafty gals! We made those dry erase boards as teacher gifts one Christmas - quite the hit!

Meg Guenther said...

Sassy! I love it.

Aaron and Allyson said...

Oh Joye! You have motivated me to make our house a home too! We have been here for almost a year and a half and I haven't been motivated to do anything!!! I really like what you have done :) Thanks for the motivation!!!

Stefenie said...

Cute ideas Joye!! Love them all and can't wait to try a few!

Anonymous said...

your home has a warmth about it Joye. You have done a great job making it "Home Sweet Home".

I am very proud of you!

Love Amy

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