I’ve had a little idea brewing for a few months, but it took me reinstalling the handrail in the stairwell to give me a the little boost I needed to get the project rolling. I finally installed that little gallery of frames!
Reason for my interest in getting in it done? I think the banister is an eyesore. I’m still thinking of ways I can make it a little better (thanks to those who have offered suggestions!) but in the meantime, this collage helps to take the eye off the handrail and more on the detail of the hand selected prints, photos, and drawings.
I started out by selecting the frames that I knew I wanted to surround the big center print you see above in the white frame (it’s the Mark Twain House print that I splurged on at Hero Design and wrote about over here). I simply laid them all out and had a good look at what I had to work with:
And you might recognize some of those black ones as the frames I painted with my new Sherwin-William’s product (the Color-To-Go product worked better than expected).
I like to think I’m spatially adept (major segue: I scored really high on a test in grade school that somehow translated into me being the champion of fitting the most in the dishes in the dishwasher = I should also be good at organizing a simple wall pattern). The thing with these frames though, I couldn’t figure it out. I had been stumbling while trying to organize a concise configuration, and consequently hung several frames oddly (contributing to several new totally weird holes in the wall that will still need to be patched)… but then that handy couple over at Young House Love showed how they did their pretty frame wall (read about that over here) and the RIGHT way to do it became very clear.
I made a template for each frame quickly with newspaper, taped them up, shifted them, re-taped, shifted, and lived with the pattern for a few days.
Then I gradually began hanging new frames into place. I did a few frames a day instead of all at once to take my time and make sure I could live with the placement before I got too far ahead of myself. I also needed the new red-orange and yellow frames to dry well before they were hung. And the sailboat print that I bought over the winter finally found a home in a RIBBA frame above the radiator (I bought it from Amber Perrodin, and you should check out her other prints too if you like what you see here). Eventually there will be enough frames to connect it to the main collage but I wanted to put it directly beneath the window and above the radiator because 1) I didn’t want it to get disguised in a slew of frames and 2) I wanted to be able to see it from the couch in the living room, which I can.
Some of the frames feature prints that I’ve accumulated over the years. A few others are Julia’s art or my own photographs. A few more feature images from Anthropologie catalogues. FYI – I save every Anthro catalogue for tear sheets since the photography and imagery style is usually quite consistent… makes for nice material when you’re looking for something cute and colorful to frame.
I even incorporated a recycled paper bulletin board that I bought from Bed, Bath & Beyond’s clearance section not so long ago – I’m kind of liking how it adds a little functionality to the otherwise static display.
I’m excited over how well it turned out. I hope I made it look easy so you might be encouraged to try it yourself – it really adds a lot to an otherwise stark wall, and since I worked with frames I already had, it didn’t demand any additional investment.
I mentioned last week when I wrote about Pete moving in that we were still working on the whole clothing storage solution. Lots of stuff went straight to Salvation Army before it even made it’s way into my house. His list (itemized for tax purposes):
Yeah, that says 25 stuffed animals, all in good condition and ready for a new home. If I don’t have enough space for 25 t-shirts, I really can’t justify storing 25 animals that Julia has already forgotten about.
The donation helped make some room, but there was a lot more that needed to be done (on my part) to make an adequate amount of closet space for the dude. He needed more than the two dresser drawers I cleared out originally; my master bedroom closet itself is very small, so giving him space in there wasn’t even a feasible option. I decided to unload lots of the items in my third bedroom’s closet (it’s a tiny room, so I proclaimed it my walk-in-closet, after all). I’m usually pretty good about donating an item if I haven’t worn it in a few years, so I bit the bullet and began to detach myself from the loads and loads and loads of clothing I had been storing “just in case”… you know, “just in case” I decided I needed a red shirt or “just in case” it fit me again or “just in case” I went clubbing, woo-girl style.
In true Emily form, I made a list. And it too was itemized. (For you guys who don’t realize this, when you drop off goods, you have the option to itemize your materials and save the document for itemized tax purposes. Paid well for me last year. Bingo.)
Yes, 11 skirts, whoa.
On top of everything else, I’ve put 10 purses and 8 winter jackets aside. The purses might be a nice addition to the future garage sale, and the jackets will go to a consignment shop next fall when they’re in higher demand (sealed in a plastic bag and shoved under my bed for now).
My giveaway was enough to clear out the whole guest room closet and give Pete space to hang basically everything he brought over. How’s that for spring cleaning?
If you’re like us, you’ve probably gone ahead and purchased inexpensive furniture (shelves, bedside tables, TV stands) from Sauder to save a buck or two. If you’re like us, you’ve probably experienced your share of Sauder breakdowns too.
It’s not the highest quality and some would argue not even worthy of saving. This shelf almost went straight into the trash when we moved it from Pete’s apartment, because after being used for two years to store lots of (really heavy) books, it had become a little wonky. OK, a lot wonky.
Pete said he tried to lift it up once and ripped off the top. Busted fiberboard is basically equivalent to death in the Sauder world. Frankly, I’m surprised he was able to continue to use it even in this state for as long as he did.
Call me crazy, but since I thought it would be complementary to the IKEA EXPEDIT shelf that’s already in my living room, I decided I wanted to try and make it work (with as little financial investment as possible, because let’s face it, you don’t usually put money into fixing this type of furniture). Pete suggested reinforcing the structure similarly to how we upgraded the built in shelving with added, unobtrusive support to prevent bowing. The boards I found to use were free… salvaged from a past project. Remember when Pete tore apart the basement bathroom and used the lumber to make a workbench and gardening table? (Read about it here and here and, oh, here too).
Really, he probably suggested adding supporting pieces to the back of the shelf so he could bring out his nail gun again. Even though the pancake compressor freaks out the dog, it’s amazing to have. If you haven’t caught on by now, we really like this tool and want you to have one too (these are unsponsored good words in support all nail gun brands).
First things first, I wanted to put a little glue in the exposed wounds. We considered Gorilla Glue, but couldn’t find it in the mess of the move; we also considered that the expansion of the Gorilla Glue might even warp the shelf a little more (or would have to be clamped more securely than we could have managed with the tools we had on hand) so in the end we resolved to test out plain old Elmer’s wood glue.
After the glue was spread liberally on the exposed fiberboard, we stuck the original top back into place. A few wooden pegs were left on the middle-most post to help secure it from slipping around, but I still brought in lots of books to add weight to the surface and create a strong bond between the boards and the glue (just like what I did when I was fixing the IKEA RIBBA drawers).
Once the salvaged boards were cut to length, we squared off the structure and nail-gunned the top most panel to the back of the shelf. The board overlapped all legs and the back of the shelf top as well so we could make sure we were nailing into as many pieces as possible.
Hey, here I am looking very serious while I nail gun. I was enjoying myself, I swear.
Oh, well I was enjoying myself until I screwed up, nail gunning a little too close to the top edge (and at an angle), which made the nail blast through the top panel of the shelf.
We couldn’t even get it back out the same way it came in, so Pete came to the rescue with the cutting wheel on the Dremel and corrected that little snafu. Thanks dude.
Just like the top, we secured the bottom with a reinforcing beam to add to the keep-it-square plan. If you really wanted to go all-out, you might want to consider adding boards the entire length of the shelf, top to bottom. Seriously, how sturdy would THAT be?
Oh yeah – one other thing I did while the glue was drying? Took some stain to the edges of those new support boards. I had some dark brown stain on hand (an “oops paint” find from Home Depot, priced at $1) which wasn’t exactly the same color but was close enough to get the job done, particularly along the edge of the top board where the non-stained edge would have stood out loudly if left untreated. Yes, sometimes the DIY response is “close enough”. See the before/after comparison in this photo:
I let the glue dry overnight before removing the DIY weights, although it probably would have been fine with just a few hours – the new supporting boards on the back added loads of reinforcement to the previously wobbly shelf.
And that’s how you can fix a broken shelf. It’s basically been brought it back to life.
I bet there’s a biblical Easter story in there for you if you look really hard.