Clipboard Gallery Wall

A quick glance into our foyer recently convinced me it was time to update family photos.  When your family members no longer resemble those in the pics, you know it's time!  I put together a new arrangement and this time around, included a new item in the mix - clipboards.

Items used:

Am I the only one who struggles with keeping framed photos updated?  I love family pics and have tons of them on my phone, yet the framed pics on our walls are usually stuck in time. Our sweet grandkiddos and adorable niece and nephew are growing fast but the framed pics of them were over a year old.   Something had to be done!

For the gallery wall revamp, I knew I wanted to work around the foyer table and the lamp that is centered on the table.  My anchor was the framed monogram centered above the lamp.  

Starting on the right side of the framed monogram, I placed 2 clipboards to the right (one above the other), and added an 8"x10" frame below them.  Then I added the 7"x14" frame and another clipboard to the end to complete that side of the grouping. 

 Repeated the same grouping on the left side ...

Initially my mind was filled with tons of ideas for decorating the clipboards with stenciling or design paper, or even paint, but the simple minimalist look won out instead - I left them plain in their natural hardboard tan state.  The color is similar to Kraft paper and I like the way the photos stand out against the neutral background.  They take center stage!  

Clipboards make photo updating super easy - no removing frames from the wall, prying off the back, removing the old photo, inserting the new photo ... you get the idea!  :) 

I printed the black and white photos with thick black borders on regular copy paper on our laser printer to try out the sizing.  Will reprint on photo paper - the photo paper is thicker than copy paper and will lay flat against the clipboards ... because I'm a little obsessive that way.  Those of you who are "normal" can just roll with the copy paper photos! 


As with each project, I learn a lot!  Here are a few tidbits resulting from this gallery wall refresh:

  • Lesson One:  Have you ever refreshed one area and it resulted in another needed change?  That happened with this project - after the gallery wall was in place, it was dreadfully apparent the scale of the foyer table was no longer appropriate.  We're now in need of a much longer foyer table or cabinet!   

Parting with the little foyer table will be bittersweet - it was one of my first chalkpaint projects.  In its original life, it was distressed black, and the miracle of homemade chalkpaint turned it into this happy shade of glazed pumpkin. I like the pop of color it adds to our mostly neutral home.
  • Lesson Two:  Photos that are "ok" are good enough.  That lesson is not an easy one for me to accept, but my photography skills are slowly convincing me it is true. 
  • Lesson Three:  It really is best to take the extra time to measure prior to putting a nail in the wall.  Adding 10 wall frames for me usually results in approximately 25 holes in our wall.  There are many quick tips out there for aligning gallery wall frames before you reach for the hammer.  :)
Thanks for stopping by!  Would love to hear your experiences with gallery wall arrangements and/or clipboards! 

Simple Fall Mantel

It's starting to feel like Fall in our area!  Temps have dropped a little in the evenings and mornings, and we're hopeful we'll have a few cool days soon as well.  To get into the spirit of things, I added simple Fall decor to our mantel.  

With the burlap wreath, metal frame and shutters already in place, I added a few other items found in my stash.

I have a tendency to arrange things balanced and symmetrically and really do try to step out and do things a little more free form.  But, balanced won out again this time.  

The method to my madness is to take out anything Fall-like that I have on hand and place it all around me, trying each item and combinations of items on the mantel until I find an arrangement that "feels" right to me.  Our living room becomes an unfortunate casualty during the process! 

By mixing color, textures and different heights, arrangements provide much more visual interest.

Sometimes an item may be just the right height, but is the wrong color or texture, so I weigh options for changing it to make it work.  A couple of those options are to paint the item (my #1 favorite option!), or to temporarily cover or wrap the item in fabric, design paper, etc.  

As mentioned above, the mantel was bare except for:

  • Burlap wreath - so easy to make and I will post a DIY soon
  • Wood shutters - find my DIY post HERE 
  • Framed Metal Art found at Hobby Lobby

As I went thru my stash of decor, the following made the cut and were included in the mantel arrangement:

2 Flameless candles (6" tall x 4-1/2" wide)
2 Candlesticks (9" tall)
2 Flameless candles (5" tall x 3" wide)
2 giant pinecones
2 plate chargers 
2 faux burlap pumpkins
Black striped upholstery webbing
Thick jute twine

I started by placing the two plate chargers in front of each wood shutter, on either side of the metal frame.  The chargers were once bright gold - check out my post HERE to find out how I converted them to the gorgeous Fall-ready oil rubbed bronze color. 

Next I placed the taller candles (wrapped in upholstery webbing) on the candlesticks and placed them on the outer edge of each shutter.  Then, filled in the space by adding the pumpkins, smaller candles, and giant pinecones. 

Finished off with the upholstery webbing banner made by cutting seven 7" strips for pennants.  Cut a triangle from the bottom of each pennant.  On the other end, fold the top of each pennant down 1" to slip over the jute twine.  Secured the folded end with hidden straight pins (or you can use hot glue).  The pennants slide easily along the jute twine. 

The jute twine is tied on either side of the top of the mantel to small tack nails that are concealed by the knotted twine. 


Regarding the framed metal art, have you noticed in any of my photos that you're actually seeing the back side of the frame? The back side is the dark metal finish, and the front of the frame is a lighter colored distressed finish that I'm not that fond of.  I've not yet decided which color to paint it, so have been displaying the darker back side for now.  Sneaky, huh?  In this pic you can see the exposed built-in hangers on the lower corners of the frame ...

A few additional details:

The cute faux burlap pumpkins were Dollar Tree finds and I love the way they're lightly glittered and sparkle in the candlelight.

 The upholstery webbing wrapped candles were secured on the back side of the webbing with a small piece of clear packing tape - can be easily removed and webbing reused.

 The lantern sitting on the floor to the left of the mantel is from Home Depot and is filled with a flameless candle surrounded by natural leaves.

The tall metal candleholder is one of my favorites!  Found at a wonderful local plant nursery, it holds 3 flameless candles and the center section lifts out for easy removal of the candles.

The tall single candleholder next to the lantern is one that I've had for years that I believe was purchased at At Home (formerly Garden Ridge Pottery).

One last note - the three hand painted birch bark candles in the fireplace are from Pottery Barn and are no longer available.  But, they currently offer them in flameless and you can find them HERE.  I love them so much I've never lit them.  

Do you find Fall decor and colors to be as appealing as I do?  The warmth of neutrals and natural elements create such a calm and cozy atmosphere. I hope you've enjoyed my Fall mantel and fireplace decor!  It's been such fun sharing it with you!

Thank you to Gluesticks, Pieced Pastimes, Christman's Creations and Must Love Home for graciously featuring this post!

Spray Painted Chargers

Last year as I was setting the dining room table on Thanksgiving Eve, I realized I was in need of two additional chargers.  And, since my initial remedy for any decor dilemma is to "paint it," I did just that.

Before Thanksgiving, I bought the last of these adorable Better Homes and Gardens Harvest Leaf Chargers at our local Walmart but somehow ended up needing two more.  (I believe this particular charger has been discontinued but a very similar pattern is in stock in stores this year.)

While searching my stockpile of chargers, I didn't find any with a Fall theme.  If you live in a city, this isn't a crisis, but we are an hour away from any craft or decor stores, so a quick trip to Hobby Lobby or Home Goods wasn't an option.   

After repeated failed attempts to work a couple of the gold ones into the tablescape, I knew another solution was needed.  At $1.99 for each of the gold chargers, it was worth a try to spray paint them, and would certainly not be a big loss if they didn't turn out well.

With no time to prep and prime the gold chargers, I jumped right in with my can of Rust-Oleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB) spray paint.  The label claims it is for "any surface" and sprayed "at any angle."  If you've not yet tried it, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to use - the spray nozzle really does spray consistently and smoothly at any angle. 

I gave them two light coats of ORB, letting them dry between coats.  Love the hint of gold that showed through the ORB paint, making them look somewhat distressed.  

You'll notice one area on the lower right side of the charger where the gold finish didn't take the spray paint very well - it could have been prevented with a coat of primer - but, I'm embracing the imperfection.  :)

If you're in need of total coverage and solid colored chargers, you can continue to add additional coats of spray paint until you reach the depth of color you're after. 

My goal was to have the outer edge of the spray painted chargers (the part of the charger not hidden by the dinner plate) match the Fall-themed chargers in color, even though they didn't have a textured border. 

After letting them dry overnight, I worked them in among the other chargers in the tablescape ... thankfully, they blended right in!  I was thrilled that the quick fix worked beautifully!

I think it would be fun to apply stickers to the chargers before painting, and then remove them to reveal a design or border, don't you?  They could also be stenciled.  Just remember to put your design as close to the outside edge of the charger as possible - so your dinner plate doesn't cover the design. 

Or, by using a clear dinner plate, you can place your design anywhere you like on the charger - wouldn't a monogram in the center be awesome?  

Wishing you a wonderfully creative day! 

Thank you to Thoughts from Alice and Oh My Heartsie Girl for graciously featuring this post!

Burlap & Book Page Stocking Ornaments

I've envisioned another Christmas tree in our home ... one that highlights a few of my favorite things ... book pages, burlap, drop cloth and shiny glitter.   When I found unpainted clay stocking ornaments after Christmas last year, I knew they'd be a great addition to the new tree.    

Supplies (click on items for photo):
~~Clay stocking ornament - see below
~~Natural burlap
~~Book pages
~~Canvas drop cloth
~~Jute twine
~~Goldtone fasteners/brads
~~White "school" glue
~~Home Made Modern Golden glitter acrylic paint
~~FolkArt Chunky Gold glitter acrylic paint
~~Craft Smart Pearl metallic acrylic paint
~~Iced Espresso Metallic Lustre
~~Small paint brush
~~Pliers (with side cutters) 
~~Small nail

All supplies were found at Home Depot, Lowe's, Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

Don't you just love after Christmas sales?  I was very fortunate to find the clay stocking ornaments on super duper clearance at Hobby Lobby for 20 cents each and bought the 21 stockings they had left.  

The ornaments are unpainted and very porous.  In lieu of using a primer, I applied two coats of Pearl metallic acrylic paint to the front and back - letting the ornament dry completely between coats.

Note:  I painted the entire ornament but decorated only the front.  Fortunately, they will be placed on a very dense Christmas tree and only the front of the ornament will be visible.

Next was to cover the clay ornament with the book page and drop cloth:


I traced the outline of the lower stocking on a tea stained book page and cut out with scissors.  If you missed my post on "How to Make Book Pages Look Old," go HERE for all the details.

Next, I applied the book page cut out to the stocking with white glue and after it dried, painted the book page with Home Made Modern Golden glitter acrylic paint - this is a very smooth metallic-like paint.  

Note:  Sheet music could also be used instead of regular book pages - would be a really festive touch.


I then traced the top of the stocking (that would traditionally be white) on drop cloth and cut it out.  Applied the drop cloth cut out to the top of the stocking with white glue and let it dry.  Then, I painted the drop cloth cut out with Craft Smart Pearl metallic acrylic paint to add a sheen to it, and let it dry.  

Next, I cut a small rectangle with rounded corners out of the natural burlap and applied it to the top of the stocking with white glue.

Lastly, I removed the prongs from three goldtone fasteners/brads (using the cutter on a pair of electrician's pliers) and applied them to the burlap using white glue and let the glue dry (you can also use hot glue to affix them).  

At this point, I added the jute twine bow where the top and bottom of the stocking meet.  

Now, we're ready for the finishing touches!  Still with me??  :)

I painted the entire stocking (front and back, including the bow) several times with FolkArt chunky Gold glitter acrylic paint.  I love this stuff - it adds lots of shine and sparkle, which is great for a Christmas ornament!

After letting it dry, I was in the home stretch ... added a touch of distressing with Metallic Lustre by rubbing it on just the edges of the lower stocking with water dampened fingertips.   

Last step was to punch a hole thru the drop cloth using a small nail (the ornament comes with a hole in the top of the clay stocking) and inserted a length of jute twine to serve as the stocking hanger.   

As with every project, a few lessons were learned! 

  • When painting unfinished clay, use a base coat before painting with your top coat.  The base coat can be basically any paint you have on hand - the goal is to fill the porous clay which will provide a smooth surface for your top coat of paint. 
  • Use Metallic Lustre sparingly - start out with much less than you think you'll need.
  • When making shiny tree ornaments, when you think you've used way too much glitter, it's just the right amount.  
  • In the spirit of honesty, I didn't plan to paint the drop cloth with Pearl paint ... after applying the glitter paint to the bare drop cloth, there was not enough contrast between the book page bottom and the drop cloth top.  The Pearl paint is brighter white and provided just the right touch of contrast - and, the painted cloth adds texture - much more interesting than just painting the clay. 

One ornament down and only 20 to go before Christmas!  Wish me luck!  

Have you started Christmas and holiday preparations?  I have friends who begin right after Christmas each year - they make or buy decor and gift items throughout the year and are all set well ahead of the holiday each year.  I'm not quite that organized, but do enjoy getting a bit of an early start.  How about you?