Tag Archives: Art

Chalk It Up to Johnny

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial


Confession time.  I suffer from a pretty severe fear of unnecessary nail holes, meaning I have a total inability in deciding what and where to hang things on the wall, which ultimately leads to some pretty bare walls in our house.  I’ve mostly hidden it from you all, thus far, but it’s time to come clean and fess up with picture proof.

Sigh.  Our dining room.  It is, by far, the worst offender.  I hung the beautiful painting Chris’ grandfather painted on one of the small walls by the window but, four years later, had still not made a decision on what to put on the largest wall above the buffet.  Now, for the big reveal… the corner of the dining room I’ve been avoiding to show you…

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

The walls haven’t remained empty all these years due to a lack of ideas.  About twice a month a light bulb would go off and I’d excitedely tell Chris all about my grand plans for that wall.  He’d nod and agree, I’m sure figuring I’d never commit and he was safe from any real work.

The real push finally came in the middle of my weekly “Fixer Upper” fix.  Anyone else obsessed with that show on HGTV?  It almost makes me want to move to Waco… until I remember suburbia already feels like the boonies to me.  In one of the more recent episodes, they framed a chalkboard for wall art in the dining room (see below).  Feel free to drool over those lanterns above the island with me as well.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Here’s a closer shot- ignore the creepy shot of the people.  While I’m confessing, I may as well share that this is a picture I took of my TV while this episode was airing so I would remember the idea.  I’d like to say this is the first time but it happens quite a bit… #nojudgments

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Now while the idea of using a chalkboard for art isn’t novel by any means, there was something about the frame they used that got me thinking.  We had one pretty similar that we had scored for free a few months back.  I had used the mirror for something else and the frame had been laying around ever since.  I knew I had to find a use for it soon or else it would meet the fate of one of Chris’ garage purges.

The first decision I needed to make was whether or not I wanted this to be permanent.  While I love the idea of a chalkboard in theory, I have a few problems with it in reality.

1) I hate the sound and feeling of writing with chalk on a chalkboard.  Just thinking about it makes me shiver.  Yech.

2) I know way too many kids under the age of 10 (including two brothers with a sense of humor of about an 8 year old) to know that one look at a chalkboard and the art will be a distant memory.

3) I know myself enough to realize that I’ll spend a ton of time laying out what I want to say and how to write it that I’ll never want to erase it and start over.

So, the decision ended up being pretty easy- I was going to make a faux chalkboard with permanent art.

Next came the hardest part- figuring out what to write on it.  I filled up a whole Pinterest board of ideas and drove Chris crazy with showing him dozens of options on a daily basis.  Should I go with a food pun being that it’s in a dining room or maybe a cliche inspirational quote about homes, hearts, etc.?  I ended up deciding on song lyrics, something meaningful to us and something that could work in case I ever decided to move this into a different room.

And what screams “let’s dine in the fancy room” more than the man in black?  Well, maybe not, but one of Johnny Cash’s songs is pretty sentimental to us so the decision was made and away we went.

Now, get ready to have your mind blown.  This is seriously way easier than I ever expected it to be and I’m going to use this transferring trick all the time.  Once I finally figured out what I was doing and laid out the art, this took no time at all to complete.  Here are the six easy steps to transferring a printed image and pulling off a chalkboard look.

Materials Needed:

  • Plywood
  • Flat black paint (or chalk paint for erasable option)
  • Fine tipped white paint pen (or chalk for erasable option)
  • Chalk
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Printed piece of artwork
  • Tape

Step One: Cut a piece of plywood down to the size desired and paint with flat black paint.  Again, I wanted something permanent but you could also do this with chalkboard paint if you wanted something erasable.  I ended up painting two coats for an even look.  I left it overnight to dry completely.  Pre-paint tip: sand the plywood thoroughly for a smooth surface- I used two different grit sandpapers to achieve the smoothest finish.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Two: print out your artwork.  You can print it on any printer- black/white, color, laser, inkjet, anything.  I wanted a pretty big piece so I had to print my artwork in a panel fashion then tape together.  If you want to be really fancy, you can print it on one oversized piece of paper at a copy shop but paneling and piecing together works just fine- you’re not keeping the paper anyway.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Three: With the side of a piece of chalk, rub the back of each piece of paper and retape it to the board in the final pattern desired.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Four: With a ballpoint pen, trace the lines of the artwork.  Press pretty hard so the image transfers clearly.  I used a red pen so I could see where I had traced.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Five: After tracing the full piece, remove the paper.  You’ll see faint white lines on the board that will serve as a guide for this step.  Using a fine tipped white paint pen (or piece of chalk if you want to keep it erasable), trace over those transfered lines for a clear image.  Tip: I removed the papers one by one and did this in stages so I didn’t accidentally smudge the lines with my palm as I traced.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Six: You’re almost there!  To make it really look like an authentic chalk board, rub the side of a piece of chalk across the board and smooth with your hand for the chalked background effect.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Boom.  Chalkboard art!  I really don’t know why I waited so long to do this.  This was seriously one of our easier (and quickest) projects!  It makes me want to do it again… and again… Hey, Chris, what do you think about a full wall of chalkboard art?  Muhaha.


Confession time. I hate country music. Actually, that’s not much of a confession. Anyone who knows me knows that, as Joe Dirt would say, “I’m a rocker, dude, through and through!”  It all sounds like twangy complaining intertwined with shout-outs to step mommas, guns, and trucks, and I find it really irritating- the exception, of course, is Johnny Cash. While I’d consider his style more in line with rockabilly, he is widely regarded as the godfather of country music, and he’s one of everyone’s favorite artists. In fact, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like at least one Cash song, and frankly, I wouldn’t trust anyone who didn’t.

The song he is most renowned for is, by far, Ring of Fire. While there is some controversy surrounding when, why, and by whom the song was originally written, there is no question that it’s proven to be one of the greatest and most unique love songs ever written. And it’s awesome. So when Julie came to me with the idea that it be immortalized in our dining room, I was totally on board.

Now, here’s the problem: she wanted to do a chalkboard. Last time we did a chalkboard we ended up going for a ride on the failboat, so I was hesitant to give in. After some debate, though, we decided that since we wanted the piece to be permanent and only look like a chalkboard, we could get away with using regular paint. The best part of this project, though, is that Julie had saved an old frame from some other project that had gone awry (why, I’ll never know) and we were finally going to get it out of the garage (it had only gotten in my way EVERY time I tried to do ANYTHING in there)!

Now, making a fake chalkboard is actually pretty easy. The frame originally housed a mirror and had a piece of plywood over the back, so I just pried off that piece and cut it down to size to fit inside the frame. Next, I primed one side and painted it black. We had some weird amalgamation of various sheens of black paint that we decided to use, and we BARELY had enough for two coats… but since the whole thing was getting smeared with chalk anyway, we figured any thin spots would be covered up.

The final order of business, once the art was actually transferred onto the wood, was mounting the wood in the frame. Since the wood was actually a different thickness than the mirror had been, we weren’t able to reuse the same mounting tabs. So, being the lazy fellow that I am, I just ran some short screws into the backside of the frame overlap:

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Boom. Fake chalkboard.


DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial


DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial


DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial


I’d like to say I’m on the path to “empty wall syndrome” recovery but I have quite a few walls left to go.  At least one room has finally been conquered.  And here’s a fun picture I dug up.  Here’s where the room started when we first bought the place (the furniture in the picture was the seller’s before we moved in).  And for those of you who haven’t heard the story of that fabulous leopard print/black fringe chandelier, catch up here.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial



Filed under Dining Room, Easy DIY Projects

Four Trips Around the World

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover


What’s black, white, and chic all over?  That would be my new globe!  Before I go much further, I need to issue a warning to my former geography teacher: if you happen to stumble upon this post, please skip it.  Some funny business may be about to happen to an old globe.  No globes were necessarily hurt in the process, just altered… slightly…

But let me start at the beginning.

Now that we’re slowing down on full-on room makeovers, I’ve been more focused on accessorizing.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by finding things that both fit our decor, fill the space needed, but also don’t just look like I raided all the shelves of Home Goods for a generic look.  Don’t get me wrong- I love me some Home Goods but it’s hard to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces in a box store.  That’s why I’ve been trying to outfit our home with both the new and old to give it that truly lived-in, home-y feel.

To help fill the “old” criteria, I’ve been loving the non-traditional look of black and white globes lately.  It transforms a classic school room item into chic looking decor.

I especially loved the idea of a chalkboard globe, especially with chalkboard’s newfound popularity.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Pinterest

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Domayne 

I found these two retail options- one from Z Gallerie (non-chalkboard) and the other from Anthropologie (made of soapstone for a chalk option).

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Z Gallerie, $79.95

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Anthropologie, $368 

Hmm… a little pricey for a non-functional globe who’s only purpose is making a corner of my room prettier (former geography teacher- are you still reading? Seriously, skip this post).

I figured this would be the perfect candidate for our next DIY.

I know some people have refinished globes and used them as a message board instead, but I actually like the look of all the continents on there so I decided to stay that route (see geography teach, I’m a half truest so not all is lost!).

I was pretty on-board with a chalkboard option… until our 3 year-old nephew was scheduled for a visit and we dashed around the house child-proofing as best we could.  In the midst of our impromptu safety check, I came to the realization that a chalkboard globe was doomed for being erased if ever in reach of anyone under the age of 13 (or with my luck, the cat would think it was her new friend and lick it clean) and the thought of redrawing all seven continents again sounded like a nightmare.  No thanks.  The more permanent, the better.


I’m not much of a geography expert. In fact, unless they make a car or beer I like, I probably can’t find it on a map… which basically means I can only find Germany and Ireland. So when Julie announced she wanted a globe, I figured it would at least be a learning opportunity, so the search began.

Around the same time, my mom knew we were always on the lookout for cool antiques and was offering a few items she had picked up from my grandparents’ house, one of which was, rather conveniently, a globe. Apparently my great-grandfather was a teacher, and she had picked up the globe he had in his classroom. It was about at simple as you could get- it was round, resembled the planet earth, and had a stand that did little more than hold its axis on a tilt and allow it to spin… sort of- but it was all we were really looking for. I got my mom’s blessing to paint it, and now we had a project.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

First of all, since we were going to paint it, we needed a way to redraw the continents after we painted over them. Granted, this thing was so old it still listed Prussia and the USSR as countries, but the continents have only moved a negligible distance since the 50s and Julie only wanted to trace the continents, so it was good enough. I’m so bad at drawing that I can’t even trace, so that part was left to Julie. I just had to spray it.

Since we were going to paint the stand differently than the globe, I had to find a way to hold it up to paint it. My solution? Cut apart and bend up a coat hangar and hang it from a tree in the backyard:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Pretty cool, huh? I wanted to do a scaled-down version of the solar system, but a) our entire neighborhood isn’t big enough and b) I have yet to find globes for the other seven planets. Bummer.

Anyway, once I got it strung up, I sprayed it with a coat of primer:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Now that I turned the Earth into the Moon, it was time for a few coats of black paint. We went with a basic flat black and since we weren’t convinced this would work out in the first place, we just used the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart.

Julie wasn’t particularly fond of me using her curtain rod to dry my globe:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Once it was dry, we just had to paint the continents back on! As I stated before, I can’t even trace, so that task fell to Julie as well.


You know what’s more fun than tracing a full globe once?  Doing it twice.

Okay, so this was the more cumbersome point of the project but I just turned on Brother vs Brother on HGTV to distract me from the mundane task (anyone else watching that show and wishing they just filmed another series of Design Star instead?).

While you may already know they sell carbon transfer paper, did you know they sell white transfer paper?  This really saved the day on this project.  The regular carbon paper transfer would’ve gotten lost on the black paint so this did just the trick.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

I taped the tracing paper I had originally traced the continents onto on top of the white transfer paper then taped that to the globe.  Be sure you have it taped in a few places so it doesn’t slip while you’re tracing it.  I found it helpful to trace each continent on its own tracing paper sheet then trace them on the globe one by one.  I also left myself guides when I ran out of sheet (i.e. Turkey goes here, or match up Spain here, etc).

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Use a ball-point pen (color doesn’t matter) to trace the image.  Push hard on the pen so as you need to go through two layers- the tracing paper and the white transfer paper- but don’t push so hard that it tears the sheet.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Getting up close and personal with the world even taught me a few things in the process:

  • I forgot how close Russia and Alaska were to each other.  I mean, I know Palin can supposedly see Russia from her house but, really, she probably can!
  • Greenland is massive.  I mean seriously, that country practically took up it’s own transfer sheet.

Here’s an example of what the transfer looks like on the globe after tracing it.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Now to make it more permanent.  The best tool for tracing these thin continent lines was a white Sharpie paint pen.  I used the oil-based paint version with a fine point, found at art supply stores.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Yay for tracing the world for a third time!  Seriously, time to enter me into a geography bee (hopefully they use a 1950s map).  Be sure to shake the paint pen and press the tip down a few times to test it before going to town on the globe.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

The paint was showing up a little thin on the first coat so I went over it a second time.  Yup, you counted right… I ended up drawing the world a total of four times.  Good thing a Brother vs Brother marathon was on… although, I’m seriously annoyed by that show.  For anyone else who watched it, was I the only one annoyed that the girl who worked her butt off despite having the flu didn’t even make it to the final two?  Also, how ridiculous was it that they wasted air time having the teams compete to see which house they would work on each week?  No one cares- just give them their assignment and let them start working.  Sorry, rant over.

With the fourth coat, we were done!  Finally!

For those of you wanting to recreate this project, here’s our list of materials:

  • Flat black spray paint (the cheap kind from Walmart will do): $1
  • Tracing paper (found at any art supply store): $3
  • White transfer paper (found at any art supply store): $3 (with 40% coupon at JoAnn’s)
  • White Sharpie pen, fine point (found at any art supply store): $3
  • Old globe: ours was free
  • Total cost: $10

Not too bad for $10 huh?  You can find cheap globes at flea markets and thrift stores so even if your awesome in-laws don’t have a spare one on-hand to let you experiment with, you can still do this project on the cheap.


DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover


Filed under Easy DIY Projects

Our Treasure(d) Map


Our living room is MA-SSIVE.  Seriously, we have way more room than we know what to do with, which in turn creates way more walls than we know how to decorate.   Ah, yes, here’s one of our big, sad walls.

We’ve hung up photos, art, even a giant key (more on that here).  Needless to say, I’ve been running out of ideas for something new, clever, and most importantly, things that take up a lot of wall space.

Maps have been on my mind lately and I wondered if there was a different way of displaying them.  I found these inspiration photos and knew I was on the right track:

Source: Little Birdie Secrets

Source: Desire to Inspire

Source: DecorPad

Source: Pinterest

I had the idea, now all I needed was an awesome map.  I remembered back to a little shop my Mom and I had once visited.  In the veeeery back of the store was a box full of reproduced vintage maps of Texas cities.  At the time, I thought they were interesting but hadn’t yet been inspired to grace my walls with unique maps so, sadly, the map went another day without a happy home.  Little did it know that I’d be sending my Mom back a few months later to grab him up.

I decided to go with this map of Dallas and its “suburbs” from 1891.  This map is hysterical!  Every suburb it lists is now in the heart of the city, a solid 10-15 miles from current Dallas suburbs.  Oh, little did they know…

At the bottom of the map various population characteristics of Dallas from the 1890s were listed such as this gem: “the population is predicted to be 20 million in the year 1991,” a far cry from the 1.2 million who currently reside there.

Much like my inspiration photos, I decided to cut the map up into several slices, creating a more interesting image and taking up more room on the wall.

Before I made the final decision to cut up the map, I decided to use magazine pages to create a template and temporarily tape it to the wall to determine the spacing between each section and its exact placement on the wall.

While Chris thought I had lost my mind when I posed the idea of taping magazine pages to our wall, this was just the thing I needed to solidify my decision.

Would you be shocked if I said our wall stayed like this for a full 7 days before coming down?  You never know what you’re going to find at our house…

Originally, I thought about framing the cut versions much like the DecorPad inspiration photo but I didn’t like the look of the black frames between each of the sections.  It looked too choppy and broke-up the overall look of the map.  I made up my mind to go the canvas route instead.  It would add depth to the map and provide clean lines between each of the sections.  It would also be easy and inexpensive to do.

I purchased six 8″ x 10″ canvases from Michael’s which came in 2 packs for $4 each.

I laid the canvases out on top of the map and it was a perfect fit if we cut off the population statistics at the bottom, leaving just the map.

I then cut the map into six equal sections, centered on the six canvases.

A little measurement was needed… thus Chris was called in (if a project calls for calculations, it only takes me a minute or two to throw in the towel).

Cut, cut, cut.

And then it was pretty much in Chris’ hands.


One of the most prominent features in this house is the living room- it’s bigger than our first apartment (let’s pretend that’s because we have a huge living room and not because we had a tiny apartment). It’s also what the house is really built around, as everything else is basically just there out of necessity. It was also custom built in the late 70s, right around the time the “open concept” trend started to take form but hadn’t been refined to the point of the seemingly supportless structures of today’s modern home: it’s large and open, but also closed off from the rest of the house… hence, lot’s of wall space.

Julie has pledged to leave no wall uncovered, so I was now tasked with cutting up a map, gluing it to six canvases, and nailing it to the wall. Wait… what?

I’ve learned not to ask questions, so I just went to work. I had six pieces of a map (none of which led to any treasure) and six canvases, and had to make them be one. Without any wrinkles.

As usual, I turned to cars for a solution: automotive headliners are usually glued in with a special spray adhesive, which is actually what gives it that “new car smell” (I bet you’ll be the only one of your friends that knows that now, too). Automotive-grade sprays are expensive, thick, really sticky, and get you slightly high, so I opted for a less intense form from the hobby store:

First, I sprayed the canvas. I wanted the adhesive to soak into the cloth before applying the map so it was less likely to bleed through. It needs a nice, thick, even coat in order to adhere properly.

Next, I laid the map over the canvas.

Carefully smooth everything down. Make sure you don’t have sticky fingers (literally) that can tear and smear the map.

Roll the edges. Daintily.

Fold the remaining edges over the ends and staple them down. Ca-chunk!




I’ve been debating whether or not to find a white vintage frame to hang around the whole piece to give it more of a presence on the wall.  What do you think?  Framed or unframed?


Filed under Living Room

We’ve Been Framed!


I’ve been wanting to add something to the blank wall in our bedroom to add some interest to that side.  I was stuck on what to do though.  We already had an iron piece above the bed (more on that here) and a mirror on the wall opposite to the bed (seen here) so I needed something different.  I settled on creating a gallery wall after finding these inspiration pictures on Pinterest.

Source: 4 Men 1 Lady

Source: Better Home and Gardens

Source: Pinterest, Two Twenty-One

It would add personality to our room through personal photos and art while also taking up a decent amount of room (did I mention it’s a BIG blank wall?).

First up was finding the floating shelves.  The shelves in my inspiration pictures were simple white shelves but I wanted something chunkier and a little more decorative.  I struck out at the first few stores (Target- not long enough and a little on the expensive side at $25 each compared to others I’ve seen, Michael’s- no decorative options) but finally lucked out at Christmas Tree Shops where I found not only the perfect shelves but the perfect price- $9.99 each.  DONE.

Knowing I needed quite a few frames, I next ventured to IKEA to pick up some RIBBA frames.  These frames are great- they’re simple black frames that come with white mats already in them.  Now the question was how to lay all this out.  I carved out a section in the IKEA frame area and got to work building a few different options to decide what size frames to take home.


After the fourth dirty look from a fellow shopper trying to reach a frame in my construction zone, I reached my final decision.  I would put four frames on each shelf.  Here’s the breakdown of what I bought:

1 RIBBA 8″ x 10″ black photo frame: $9.99

1 RIBBA 20″ x 9″ (fits three 5″ x 7″) black photo frame: $9.99

1 RIBBA 4″ x 4″ black photo frame: $9.99

1 RIBBA 4″ x6″ black photo frame: $2.99 (I can’t find it on the site but I promise it exists)

2 RIBBA 5″ x 7″ black photo frames: $2.99

1 10″ x 14″ black photo frame from Michael’s: $5.99 (IKEA didn’t have this size in the RIBBA so I found a similar one at Michael’s that would fit an odd-sized piece of art I had)

Now it came down to what I should use to fill the frames.  I had 10 spaces to fill which, at first, seemed exciting but turned out to be an arduous task of finding that many items that a) correlated with each other and b) fit the correct frame size.

Well, after several weeks of frames scattered all over our floor and searching through old photos and Etsy for art at every possible chance, the long journey has ended.  Here’s how I managed to fill all the frames:

Top row, from the left:

1) 4×6: One of my bridal shots

2) 10×14: A painting of a girl with a red umbrella strolling through an alley that I picked up in Prague, Czech Republic

3) 8×10: A typography piece I created using an ee cummings quote.

4) 5×7: A shot from Chris and I’s wedding

Bottom row, from the left:

5) 4×4: A photo of Chris and I from our first high school dance together (seems so long ago!)

6) 8×10: A black and white print of a floral arrangement that I picked up from IKEA for a whopping 99 cents.

7) 20×9: 2 photos- one of our Christmas card photo from this year and one from last and 1 typography print that I created which says “I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night,” a quote from Galileo Galilei (I needed something nerdy to represent Chris).

8) 5×7: Of course our room needed a little more Texas in it so I found this cute print from 1canoe2 Letterpress on Etsy for $18.

For those of you interested in the typography pieces I created, you’re in luck.  I’m giving them both away in free printables!  Happy birthday to you.

Galileo quote: download here

ee cummings quote: download here

Happy framing!


For those of you at home wondering how much of what we say is true, I’ll answer your question: yes, Julie really does lay out frames in the middle of the store, regardless of how many “slip and fall” hazards she’s created.

I’ve built a lot of shelves, but they’ve almost always had some sort of support extending to the ground. This time was a little different, though. Julie wanted floating shelves, which meant I’d have to mount them to the frame of the house. It wouldn’t have been a big deal except that it took me two days to explain to Julie that they could only be moved up and down, not left or right.

Here’s a DIY tip for you: when trying to determine the location of the studs in your house, start with an electrical outlet. The outlet box is always going to be mounted to a stud, and almost always on the left side. So, chances are that to the right of your outlet is going to be a wood stud. Studs are most commonly placed 16″ apart (sometimes 12″ or 24″, though), so just get a tape measure and you should find a new stud every 16″!

Anyway, after finally convincing Julie of the necessary placement, I ran a 2.25″ drywall screw into the stud and measured out the distance I’d need to mount the second screw, using a level to ensure they were at the same height. Since the mounting points for the shelves were 20″ apart, it would technically be unsupported on one side, so I used a drywall anchor to retain a little stability. After making a few height decisions, I mounted the second shelf as offset as possible while still mounting to the stud on one side.

After the shelves were mounted, we laid out the frames. The shelves are somewhat narrow, so getting the thick frames to lean at the proper angle was a bit time consuming. We finally got everything set up just the way we liked it and went to bed. Unfortunately, around 2 AM, we awoke to the sound of the biggest frame taking a nose dive off the shelf and splitting itself in two. Somehow the glass stayed intact, but I had to glue the frame back together. Clearly, a solution needed to be found.

Julie hates it when I rummage through my “car stuff” cabinet in search of anything that will end up inside the house, but I knew I had the solution: double-sided foam tape.

It’s made for vehicle trim pieces but I’m convinced it would hold your car to the ceiling if you wanted it to… so I knew it would work on some picture frames. I cut some small pieces and placed them strategically around the frames to hold them to the shelves, the wall, and each other.

It may be overkill, but we’ll probably have to cut a section of the wall out if we ever want to take them down.

As for the pictures in the frames, we’re admittedly vain and thoroughly enjoy looking at ourselves, and we just couldn’t resist adding some Texas into another room.

The results.


Filed under Master Bedroom

Our Favorite Things: Keys and Speakers


So what have I been digging lately?  Keys.  I’m not talking about piano keys or car keys, here, people.  I’m talking keys used for home decor (deep breaths, Chris, not everything needs a practical use).

Wondering how you can incorporate my newest obsession into your house?  Here are a few examples.

CW from top left:

  • This key ring is just the thing for topping off a tablescape, maybe on top of a stack of books or the final element to a coffee table tray arrangement.  Style Me Pretty.
  • Turn any doorknob into a romantic moment with a little ribbon and an old key.  Idea from French Kissed.
  • The key necklace line from Tiffany and Co. makes any girl drool.
  • Group keys together for an interesting wall collage.  Purchase this set of 3 keys from HomeDecorators.com for $74.
  • A clever solution to using keys for framed wall art by Dream Home DIY.
  • For the techie in your life: a key shaped flash drive.  I guarantee you won’t lose this one with such an interesting shape (yes, I speak from experience). One option available at Houseable.com
  • Have a few old keys lying around?  Why not string them from trees in your backyard for instant interest. Idea from Shanon Manley.
  • Looking for a more modern, unique way to use keys in your house?  Check out these key wall decals in a plethora of color options from KathWren on Etsy.  Best part?  They’re only $24.99!
  • Use old frames, keys and hooks to add an interesting piece of art for any wall in the house.  Idea from The French Flea.
  • I love the idea of a key to happiness incorporated into the house.  And what girl can say no to a pretty pink ribbon?  The Alternative Wife.
  • Some may think this is key overload but I love this throw pillow made from gold key fabric and topped with canvas ribbon and a gold key emblem.  Available for purchase from Julieanna’s Creations on Etsy.
  • DesignSponge shows an easy, gorgeous DIY solution using small knick knacks and spray paint to form a key shaped collage. 
  • Another example of how to use several keys to create the perfect element for accessorizing a room.  Available at BHLDN for $18.

I didn’t waste any time finding ways to incorporate keys into our own house.  You can find old keys (or old looking keys) in a ton of places: art/craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and Garden Ridge, flea markets, and online stores like eBay and Etsy.

Framed Key Print.

I found this awesome print of old keys from Winged Images on Etsy for a whopping $1.  She e-mailed the artwork over within a day.  I went to FedEx and bought a sheet of their “Antique” colored paper and printed it off at home.  One frame from Aaron’s Brothers later and I was in business.  Voilah!  Instant art.  The print is the perfect look for our newly remodeled master bathroom!  Etsy has a lot of great key prints- some offer artwork to print on your own (like I did) and some offer prints that they can mail you.

Ring of foot doom… err.. keys.

I found this ring of iron keys in a small shop in Cordoba, Spain for $15 (Haven’t heard of it?  Not surprised… it’s in the middle of nowhere).  They were heavy but I was determined to get them home.  It’s probably a lot of the reason my bag was 75 lbs.  So heavy, in fact, that my cab driver dropped my suitcase on my foot trying to lift it out of the car trunk.  Ever had 75 lbs land sharply on one point on your foot?  No?  Well, let me tell you the results.  Instant swollen foot.  Attractive purple bruise.  Fabulous footwear (in the form of a bulky boot) prescribed by doctor.  Three weeks hobbling around in boot.  Aka: So. Much. Fun.  Buuuttttt, it was worth it! 🙂  Look how great they look on my stack of books on the coffee table in our living room.

Collage art.

I found this bronze key at Hobby Lobby which perfectly completed my art collage in our living room.  I’ve been challenged with finding items to hang on the walls beyond printed pictures and mirrors.  A key is a nice change to the wall art pattern I was beginning to fall into.


As Julie pointed out, I typically shun anything that isn’t practical. One area that I believe deserves excess and extravagance, however, is music. Much to Julie’s dismay, I love loud music, and not just because I have the hearing of a retired explosives technician. I enjoy volume, but I demand clarity. To the untrained ear, anything better than AM radio is “sufficient,” but somehow I grew an extremely picky sense of hearing that rejects cheap speakers and pop music. There are only three brands of audio systems I’d ever allow in my house, and I’ve listed them in reverse order below:

3. Bose– say what you want (“No highs, no lows, just Bose”), Bose really does produce some of the most impressive audio equipment available, albeit a bit gimmicky at times. What’s unique about these systems is that the components are typically very small and easy to hide. http://www.bose.com

2. Bang & Olufsen– I first discovered B&O in England when I accidentally wandered into one of their retail shops, and I instantly knew I had stumbled upon a quality product. These homes theater systems typically come in very contemporary, almost futuristic designs, but they’re Danish… so what do you expect? http://www.bang-olufsen.com

1. Burmester– There is absolutely no better sound system than those made by German manufacturer Burmester. Each home theater system must pass over 300 quantitative tests before being submitted for subjective evaluation by trained professionals in sound quality. It’s so high-end, in fact, that Porsche now offers Burmester sound in the Panamera and Cayenne. There is one drawback, though- a fully-loaded home theater setup will cost you a cool $60,000. http://www.burmester.de


And Chris says I have expensive taste??


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