Sunday, October 15, 2017

How To Cut Your Own Custom Picture Mats

Custom framing is soooo expensive!
Even when you take advantage of deals at the frame shop, a typical framing job will cost you a bundle.

I found this great website that has a princing estimator built in: https://www.framebridge.com/pricing
I ran the numbers for a 16 x 20 print....
YUP....$99!  Now that might seem reasonable to you....but NOT to me.  Especially because I am someone who wants to change out the stuff on my walls a LOT!

Here at Sweetwater, I have found a way to mat and frame things without spending this kind of money.



Sometimes you have to spend some money to save some money.

This post is all about that!


A few (or maybe many) year ago, I invested in a professional mat cutter like this one.



Okay.....$220 seems like a lot of money.....but remember how much ONE 16 x 20 picture cost?

You also need to buy matboard and frames.
I buy matboard at Dick Blick.  A 32 x 40 inch piece costs between $8 and $10 depending on how fancy it is.....
I buy my frames at the thrift store.  The array is pretty amazing.  You look at the FRAME not the ugly art that is in there.

Any new tool can seem intimidating.....but once you learn the basics....you can mat and frame your piece in less than 30 minutes.

So let's get started on the tutorial!

I was "just gonna" go down to the craft room and do a step by step photo shoot for you....
And then I realized that....hmmm.....somebody probably already did that on YouTube!
Watch this and see how it is done!
(this is the link if the video doesn't load)  https://youtu.be/PT1n0r_87tQ


It really isn't that difficult after you have practiced a bit.

Now the fun begins!
With a few pieces of mat board and some thrift store frames....the sky is the limit!

Framed Projects Around Sweetwater


A spooky photo of a graveyard in a thrift store frame.  Instant seasonal decor.
  Favorite photos from Halloween past.  Mats only....displayed on the big chalkboard in the stairwell.

 
 Gallery style display of photos taken by the Sweetwater Son.
 This old window is from the childhood home of Mr. S.  The poster was a gift from the Sweetwater Daughter and SIL.  The Minnesota Home print from the Sweetwater Son and DIL.
My family always gives me fun things to frame because they know it can be done inexpensively.


Nobody wants to see ALL of our vacation photos....but making a quick collage is a fun way to display just a few.  This is an unframed mat with a foam core backing.  The back has magnets that let it hang on the refrigerator.  A quick way share without "oversharing".  BTW....Ireland was amazing! 


This is a tea towel that I picked up in a fun boutique on a trip to Florida.  It can easily be switched out when I want a new look....or find a new tea towel!


More Minneapolis themed art....would you believe that I actually took the top photo....good for me!


A cluster of framed posters and photographs lean against the wall on Mr. S's desk in the office.
I love the look of the vintage posters....The blue and green one was purchased on a trip to Voyageur National Park.

We have had this chalk pastel for many years.  I love being able to change the mat color to coordinate with what ever decor scheme we have.  No need for new art.....just $10 for new mat board.  I am always amazed that you can find a color in your favorite image that goes with any scheme.


These white mats look nice with the off white walls.  This is another photo by me and the New Orleans scene is another we purchased at an art fair in Memphis....go figure. 
These are just a few of the ways I have used the ability cut custom mats....
Even better....
Now that people know that I have the mat cutting system...they come over and either mat their own things or let me do it for them.

I always tell folks...."I MAT FOR WINE"....

Hope this inspires you to spend some of your crafting or decorating budget on a mat cutter....you will be glad you did.

Have a Wonderful Day!



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Quick and Easy Halloween Decor Ideas!

What is your Halloween decor style?
Do you go all out Haunted House....?
Or
Do you settle for a simple Jack-O-Lantern or two?

I like to find a middle ground....that pretty much eliminates the "haunted" stuff.

Here is a round up of some simple decor ideas that have a Halloween feel with a bit of elegance and/or whimsy.

Display old and new photos of Halloween's of the past!

I have so many fun photos of the Sweetwater kids in costume.  It is simple to have prints made and then find a fun way to display them.  I have framed them and clustered them around the house.  This year the display is a simple "gallery" of the photos matted and mounted to the big chalkboard in the stairwell. There are some spaces left for some new photos I need to get printed....but I wanted to get the post done!


Get Your Pumpkins ON!

Simply placing these interesting pumpkins in odd spots through the house makes a Halloween statement with out SHOUTING!  The thrift store is a wonderful source for interesting Halloween themed decor.




Keep those Real Pumpkins Looking Good!

 




This trick will keep your real pumpkins and gourds from getting rotten.  If you follow this "recipe", you may still have usable gourds at Thanksgiving!  














Inject some Humor!

These little plaques are easy to make....but would also be simple to print and frame.
Check out the tutorial here or take a few minutes to browse for some funny quotes to use on a chalkboard.



A trip to the craft store is the start of this craft project.  These little books tucked on a shelf or set on a table are a subtle seasonal touch.  TUTORIAL HERE


Don't Forget Accent Pillows!

A few whimsical pillows can add a touch of seasonal decor too.  If you have never tried printing images on canvas using your inkjet printer...you really should check out these directions.  The possibilities are really endless.


So there you have it....a few little ideas that might inspire you to get your Halloween on in a tasteful way!


Have a Wonderful Day!  It is gorgeous outside today....maybe a trip to a pumpkin patch is in order...oh wait...I seem to have ENOUGH pumpkins!


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Using Twinkle Lights for Fall Decor

Yesterday, the thermometer in the car said 100 degrees.....but the calendar says it is Autumn!  
Go figure!

I have been gradually switching the decor around Sweetwater to reflect the season....NOT...the temperature!
The family room was first....and honestly it took about 30 minutes to go from Summer to Fall!

The chair covers on the rattan chairs are now back to a muted color scheme. (I do love slipcovers for a quick change!)

  • These two purple pillows make sense when you look at the chair fabric.
  • A wine crate filled with interesting orbs and cotton bolls is fall like without going all "pumpkin" flavored! I often find these decorative balls at Good Will for a fraction of the cost they are at a decor store.  The same goes for the wine crate...keep an eye out for interesting containers.
  • The mantel got the "pumpkin" treatment complete with mood lighting!  I used my copper collection and a great pumpkin swag that has been around forever. 

I am totally obsessed with twinkle lights!
I love the battery powered strings that are on tiny copper wire.  The wire bends around to twist through the stuff and almost disappears.
A search on Amazon finds a really wide variety of these fun strings for a very low cost.  I have also seen them at Tuesday Morning and Dollar General.  You really want to have these in your decorating stash!!!

 I used a string to light up the Spooky Fairy Garden last season.....I will definitely do that again when October rolls around.

Look at some of the fun ways that other people have used twinkle lights:


Source
HMMMM....I could probably weave a string into my wine crate!
















Source
Source








































































































Hope this inspires you to do a bit of fall decorating and add some twinkle lighting to your projects...

 I love the quote from the movie "You've Got Mail" when Kathleen announces that all will be fine, but "in the meantime, I'm putting up more twinkle lights."


Have A Wonderful Day!

Link Parties

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Versatile White Ceramic Vases

One of the best reasons to shop thrift stores is to build collections.
A wise woman would probably choose ONE thing to collect....but no one ever said I was WISE!

So what do I collect?
Mr. S would probably ask "what don't you collect.

Copper, Silverplate, Fitz and Floyd, Red Wing and Haeger are just a few of my favorite collectibles.

Oh...here is my disclaimer!

When collecting is healthy, the display or storage of these things does not impede the use of active living areas of the home. When a collector expands acquisitions beyond well-defined collections and loses the ability to keep these possessions organized, it becomes a hoarding problem.  NY Times


And HEY....I use my collections all the time!
And Hey....I let my friends use my collections too!

Back to the main topic of the post....the versatility of white ceramic!












I love this ceramic "jello" ring mold.

It has a center hole that can hold a candle.

The shallow ring makes it easy to put short stemmed flowers all around.

Using a mirror to set a vase on is a fun way to add "double" the impact.

How to get this look?

Keep an eye out for pans like this at the thrift store.  You can give them  quick coat of spray paint...I would probably do white or beige...then you have a versatile vase of your own.

This photo shows the Haeger pottery collection.  The peonies are actually small bouquets that were used as favors for the Sweetwater DIL's baby shower. 

How to get this look?
Never go to the thrift store without looking at the vases.  Then pick a color or style that you like and keep adding to the collection. 
Whether you keep them in a cupboard....boxes....or on display, you will have a way to display your pretty arrangements. 
Here are those same vases used for table arrangements for a wedding reception in an old barn.
 
 





Keep your eye on the lookout for this classic urn shape.  Flowers almost arrange themselves when you have this as a base.














This collection of white ceramic is not any fancy brand....and all of the little rectangular vases were $1 at Goodwill.  The platter is one that I have had for forever!  What an impact for not so many flowers!

How to get this look?

I think IDEA has these little vases or something like them....but of course I couldn't find them on the web site. 
You could use little ceramic ramekins like these:

These are from a restaurant supply company if you can't wait to score a thrift store find.

The whole idea is a cluster of similar, small vases on a tray....so simple!

Back to that whole collecting thing....I am struggling a bit to figure out how to display this particular collection.  I want it available.....so I opted for a shelf in the lower level....who knows how long that will last! 

Oh my....looks like I don't have much room for any new pieces!

Happy Collecting!
Happy Flower Arranging!
and
Have A Great Day!


Monday, September 4, 2017

How To Build DIY Industrial Shelving

All great DIY projects have a back story to them.
This is the story of the DIY shelf over the television in the Sweetwater family room.

Once upon a time in the "Sweetwater Castle" the "Queen" decided it was time to repaint.

With the help of a wonderful painter....the yellow walls became a beautiful "griege" color.

All was well in the kingdom of Sweetwater.....

UNTIL....the "Queen" noticed the big blank wall above the television.

"This will not do!" she decreed.

She called for advice from the "Princess",  who suggested a floating shelf as the "crowning" accent for the wall.

"It shall be done," commanded the "Queen".

What follows is the "real" story behind this fairy tale!




 I was thrilled when the Sweetwater Daughter gave me the perfect shelf for Christmas.....
well...since it was on back order....she gave me a "picture" of a shelf!


Hey...you might be saying....that isn't very DIY !

The deal was.....the shelf never arrived.
With much follow up and a bit of confusion, the order was cancelled.






Now we are ready for the DIY part.
I decided I wanted to have the look of the exposed galvanized pipe and board shelf.

Hey....we could do this!



Mr. S ...or the "King" decided that it would be almost the same price to order the pipes already made as opposed to piecing them together.  We got two pipes from the OverTheLedge Etsy Shop. 


And they sat waiting for the shelf....and they sat and sat and sat.










After a couple of months.....we headed out to get the board.
That meant a trip to HomeDepot and Menards.....
We bought stain too.

And THAT sat and sat and sat.




*Disclaimer:  Sweetwater household projects were necessarily interrupted by several trips and other diversions.

Then one day.....we decided it was time!

We measured carefully and then measured again and those pipes were fianally put up!

We went to get the board out of the garage to try it out before sanding and staining.
OH MY!




And...we learned that there is no way that a board from a big box store can age and stay completely flat!



Mr. S headed to "a real woodworking store".





He purchased a lovely piece of red oak that hardly needed any sanding.
It was cut to size....and stained.

This board is PERFECTLY flat and straight.




This project was really not that "thrifty".   You could probably buy one from a store for about the same or less cost. 
The lesson learned....do your research about whatever shelving you decide to use for whatever project you are doing!

If you do want to tackle this Industrial Shelf look for your house: Great Tutorial...step-by-step...clear and concise.  Cherished Bliss has done a way better job of the process than I ever could.  (Especially because I never remember to take photos during the project!)

The REAL moral of this cautionary Fairy Tale is:


Have A Wonderful Day!