Dot Photo Frame Refresher

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Leveling Up

Many people in my social bubble have turned to handcrafts during the covid-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen such a wide spread of projects and patterns and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s a project of my own.

I’ll share what I thought would be a quick photo frame refresher but turned out to be anything but. The results are worth the effort, though, so all’s well that ends well. 🙂

I wanted to make over two older, uber-cheap 5”x7” wooden photo frames. They’re made from pine (I think) that had yellowed over the years, and I was quite tired of the darkened wood. I’ll first give the short version and the before and after photos, and after that the full saga.

Here’s a frame after the complete refresher: white wax, faux nailhead trim done with paint, and permanent marker polka dots.

Dot Photo Frame with Pens

Dot Photo Frame After

Apparently I didn’t take a before photo, but here’s a photo of similar untreated frames:

Walmart Wallniture Unfinished Wood Photo Frames

Walmart

The only difference is my frames were much more yellowed. (Oh, boy, how much more!) Here’s a frame in the middle of the transformation:

Dot Photo Frame Middle Closeup

I originally intended to try whitewaxing the frames. It’s a new-to-me technique I found via Cami at Tidbits. (I like her clear tutorial and whitewaxing projects; please visit her site if interested.)

However, I accidentally bought clear wax instead of white. (I worked on this just before and during some of the worst covid-19 panic in Massachusetts; I guess I had a coronabrain on.) Even while working on the frames I didn’t notice, because the clear wax looks white in the jar. Only after applying a couple of layers did I start wondering why the frames don’t seem to be gaining the lovely transparent white surface I expected… D’oh!

After some thought and more research I tried adding white acrylic crafts paint into the wax and wiping that on with a rag. Either I didn’t mix it properly or the rag wasn’t the best tool, for the surface came out quite uneven. You can see some of the effect in the photo above. However, it was much closer to what I had envisioned.

Perhaps I should’ve left well enough alone – indeed, in hindsight I think I would be quite happy with the improvised faux white wax – but at the time I was disappointed and wanted something else to “improve” the frames. I had an idea of trying to mimic nailhead trim with paint.

Dot Photo Frame Middle

I used an eraser at the end of a pencil and blue acrylic paint. Unfortunately, that made it worse. I’ve never been a polka dot person, and apparently this faux nailhead trim is close enough not to appeal to me. Plus, the eraser was a bit difficult to load with paint and use, even though I started with a clear expectation that the result wouldn’t necessarily be very even.

At this point I had to set the frames aside and chew the matter some more. Eventually, while looking for something else, I ran into two permanent marker tutorials. One is by Jessica from Cutesy Crafts (posted at DIY Candy), and the other by Tasha at Kaleidoscope Living. Both used letter stickers to mask off an area and applied small permanent marker dots all around them, spaced very tight close to the stickers, and wider and wider apart the further you went.

Bingo! I adapted the idea and used markers in five different colors. First I had to make a few dry runs on paper to see what kind of dot distancing and which color combinations I liked best.

Dot Photo Frame with Pens

I ended up starting with a few small brown spots here and there (maybe 4-8 in an inch of frame). Then I added dark blue and green dots, increasing the density slightly. Next, a few more spots of turquoise. Finally, I filled almost all remaining gaps between the blue “nailhead trim” and the rest of the marker dots with lime green.

Here’s the after photo again:

Dot Photo Frame After

…and a closeup:

Dot Photo Frame After Closeup

And only very, very belatedly did I notice that I completely forgot to wax-treat the inner edge of the frame, the one closest to the photo. Fortunately at that point I was able just to laugh at my poor coronabrain project!

And it actually doesn’t look that odd in the end. Live and learn! After all of the rigamarole, I was definitely able to earn a number of experience points from this project.

Online Finds: Desktop Wallpaper for Organizing Tasks

Bits in Spaaace!, Colors, Inspiration

Diane Henkler made and shared this clever organizer wallpaper:

Diane Henkler Computer-Desktop-Background-to-help-you-organize-what-you-place-on-your-computers-desktop-screen

Diane Henkler at In My Own Style.

Being a visual person, I love the idea. It’s simple but helpful for arranging your tasks and finding them at a glance. Love the cheerful colors, too; just the thing to counter grey fall skies. 🙂

The .jpg is available for several screen resolutions either with the default categories (To Do, Files and Misc) or with blank label holders in case you want to use your own. Visit In My Own Style to download.

Thank you for sharing, Diane!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

When Serendipity Delivers: Saturated Rainbow Hues

Colors

Just by happenstance, my recent Internet browsing is full of saturated rainbow hues. (Content note: large, hairy spider at the bottom.)

Rainbow-hued origami street art by French street artist Mademoiselle Maurice, this one from Italy:

Mademoiselle Maurice Italy Fate Festival Glass Sphere

Mademoiselle Maurice, Fate Festival in Italy, photo by Antonio Sena.

Recycled and painted cans as planters by Claire at Pillar Box Blue:

Claire Pillar Box Blue Tin-Can-Planters-GL8

Claire at Pillar Box Blue.

Free printable feather wall art by Linda at Burlap & Blue:

Linda Burlap and Blue feathers-on-brick-768x512

Linda at Burlap & Blue.

Barista Mason Salisbury on Instagram makes me wish I liked coffee (or that someone did this with tea):

Mason Salisbury Instagram Green Blue Latte

Latte by Mason Salisbury on Instagram.

Handwoven kilim wool and sari silk rug from 1800getarug.com:

1800getarug Kilim Wool Sari Silk Rug

1800getarug.com.

A rainbow of eggs by Brittany Wright / Wright Kitchen on Instagram:

Brittany Wright Instagram Rainbow Eggs

Brittany Wright / Wright Kitchen on Instagram.

Gooty sapphire ornamental tree spider by William Foster on Flickr:

Flickr William Foster Gooty Sapphire Ornamental Tree Spider

William Foster on Flickr.

Saturated colors tend to make me happy even if they’re not all personal favorites. It’s always a treat when randomness results in something enjoyable.

What has serendipity delivered for you lately?

Favorite Handmade Xmas Presents from 2014

After Hours, Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials

Happy New Year to each and everyone! I had such a relaxing Christmas and a great break in general. I hope that was also the case for you. It’s good to be back to a fresh start, though, with some fresh snow outdoors. I just love how everything looks so clean and clear and soft after snowfall.

Speaking of soft: Every year, I try to include something handmade in my Christmas presents. Here are some soft projects from 2014 that I most enjoyed making:

2014 Handmade Xmas Presents

Clockwise from top right: three nesting bins in the recipient’s favorite colors; simple gift wrapping with a hunter green envelope, a bunny paper clip and a recycled Christmas card cut down to size; freeform hand-embroidered rosemary sachets, cotton on cotton muslin; two nesting bins out of blue Marimekko poppy print fabric; and eight fabric coasters with felt innards and fringed edges, complete with a small custom storage bin in coordinating colors.

In this case, part of the pleasure came from being able to use for personal gain a fabric bin construction technique I developed for my business.

Any handmade gifts you either made or received that you’d like to share? Please do!

Lucky Little Bin Seam

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials

This week has dealt me several challenges, some of them not very pleasant. It was therefore a lovely surprise to see this result with a sewing project:

Thank You Present for Customer

I made this little fabric storage bin as a thank you gift to a customer. See how the pattern lines up almost perfectly at the seam? I did not painstakingly calculate the circumference of the bin or the repeats of the chevrons, and line up my starting point accordingly; it happened by chance.

In an interview in The New York Times, Peter Dinklage gives his thoughts on luck:

“I feel really lucky,” he said, then added, “although I hate that word — ‘lucky.’ ” When I asked him why, he mulled it over for a moment, looking away. Then he focused back on me. “It cheapens a lot of hard work,” he said. “Living in Brooklyn in an apartment without any heat and paying for dinner at the bodega with dimes — I don’t think I felt myself lucky back then. Doing plays for 50 bucks and trying to be true to myself as an” — here he put on a faux snooty voice — “artist and turning down commercials where they wanted a leprechaun. Saying I was lucky negates the hard work I put in and spits on that guy who’s freezing his ass off back in Brooklyn. So I won’t say I’m lucky. I’m fortunate enough to find or attract very talented people. For some reason I found them, and they found me.” (Reported by Dan Kois.)

I do see his point. I have been fortunate myself, but this was not one of those moments. It was pure luck. And, just this week, I’m going to take my free, undeserved luck and not feel at all bad. Next week I might consider adding a pinch of guilt. 😉

May your weekend be happy and relaxing!

Serving Suggestion: Green, Lime Green and Yellow

Colors, Moodboards

Mood boards are wonderful tools for collecting inspiration or seeing what an item might look like in a room. For this green, lime green and yellow decorative pillow cover

Throw pillow cover

Pillow Cover in Green, Lime Green and Yellow. Playfullygrownuphome on Etsy.

…I imagined a bedroom with a vibrant accent wall and luscious, chocolate-colored bamboo floor with a sheepskin rug:

Serving Suggestion

Serving Suggestion for a Decorative Pillow Cover.

The accent wall is painted with concentric rectangles, separated with white lines, and a white-framed rectangular mirror rests in the center above the bed. White modern furniture is softened by the bedding, pillows and curtains in yellow and green tones. It’s a grownup version of this boy’s room, if you like:

Contemporary boy's room

Brandon Barre Photography.

Brandon Barre Photography; via decorpad.com.

Below is a full source list for my mood board:

For those preferring a little less color, I created a calmer room with just the green on the accent wall:

Serving Suggestion

Serving Suggestion for a Decorative Pillow Cover.

And the source list:

Floor: Morning Star Click Tongling Bamboo at Lumber Liquidators

I’d be happier with the simpler room. Which one would you prefer?

Online Finds: Wallpapers from Vera Bradley

Bits in Spaaace!, Colors, Design & Designers

Vera Bradley has made several downloadable wallpapers available for free. There are three sizes: desktop computer, iPad and mobile phone. There’s a Downloads archive as well for more browsing. I think the Summer Cottage (from summer 2012) is my favorite:

Vera Bradley Summer Cottage iPad Wallpaper

Vera Bradley.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Window Shopping for Inspiration…

Colors, Inspiration

…and maybe chairs.

I had a few errands to run today, so I took the opportunity to look around for inspiration while I was out. I like visiting Pier1 in person because of the colorful displays.

Not everything there tickles my fancy, of course. I love pale wood in furniture – birch or ash, for example – but they’re difficult to find in the U.S. if you’re not into modern style. To me, the darker wood colors that Pier1 favors feel heavy and oppressive, so I tend to give the furniture a cursory glance and concentrate on the smaller items.

Here are a few things that drew my eye today:

Inspiration item collage

All items Pier1; collage by Eppu Jensen.

I’ve started taking photos of things I like and consider buying to see if I still like them after a night or two. The trick has saved me from quite a few mispurchases. Right now I’m considering those metal stools (they’re on sale, too).

Any favorite shops or shopping tips you want to share?

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.