Gifts or Bust

Get it??? Bust??? That’s what this post is about after all. When we were brainstorming about what to give our parents for Christmas, we thought and thought and thought. Then one day, I spotted these at Walmart….


Burlap canvases for around five bucks a piece. And I asked myself… what do you get the grandparents who have everything??? Why, more pictures of Lucas, of course!!! I thought the burlap canvases would be the perfect backdrops for black silhouette busts of Lucas’s sweet profile.

In preparation for this project, I took advantage of a rare moment of stillness and snapped this shot of Lucas way back in September…


Then, I procrastinated for three months. I tell ya, I always have good intentions. Every year, I try to plan presents early. It’s the execution part that I seem to have a problem with.  So anyways, when I finally motivated myself to get on it, I pulled the pic up on our computer screen and stared at it for a while as I decided how to proceed. Then, I held the burlap canvas right up to the screen and realized that thanks to our newly upgraded monitor, the pic was the perfect size for the canvas as is. Right there on the monitor. So, I held a piece of computer paper up to the screen and simply traced the outline of Lucas’s head with a pencil.


Which left this….


Worked like a charm.  I’ll bet you could do this on just about any monitor, too (as long as it’s big enough).  Just zoom in until you reach your desired size and use the screen as a lightbox of sorts.   I cut out my baby boy’s profile….


And placed my paper template on my canvas. I used a fine-tipped black sharpie to CAREFULLY trace the outline of Lucas’s head onto the burlap. To be honest, I was sweating bullets during this part. When I lifted my paper after I’d completed my outline, I was pleasantly surprised…..


YESSSSSSSS!!!! It looked like him and everything!!!! Then I used this multipurpose paint (which specifies that it can be used on fabric)….


…to fill in the lines. I used a thin painters brush to do the outline. I filled right up to my sharpie line. NOT over it.


Then, I used a larger brush to fill in the inside. This is when I realized that although burlap seems low maintenance, it’s really quite greedy. With paint anyways. It soaked up a surprising amount. Then, wanted MORE. Burlap, you little diva, you.  Anyhow, here’s how it looked after one coat of paint….


I let that dry, then applied another. And here’s the finished product….


After I was done, I waited a few days to be sure I was fresh, and repeated the process again so that both sets of grandparents would have a cute little Lucas profile.   

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how quick this project was. I fully expected it to take longer. I used the same Lucas template for both canvases, which helped save some time. The longest part was simply filling in the lines with paint, which wasn’t bad at all. And in the end, both sets of grandparents seemed to really like them, so I’m calling this project a success!

So anyways, I hope everyone had a very Merry and safe Christmas (or Hanukkah or Festivus or whatever holiday you celebrate)! So, tell me, how’d Santa treat you guys?? Any fun DIY gifts in you’re parts?

Can’t get enough frame walls….

Before we put our last house on the market, we engaged in full house decluttering.  This process included renting a storage unit and storing every item that we didn’t absolutely need in an effort to make our closets appear more spacious.  Several weeks ago (almost a year and a half later), we finally got around to unloading our storage unit and bidding it adios.

I’ll tell ya, sifting through things that you forgot you had is pretty fun.  And I say that literally.  Its like shopping out of your own stuff for free.   Among the old Lucas baby paraphernalia and random college textbooks we found a few gems worthy of sharing.

First is this neat, hand-carved whistle that Joey’s had since he was young…


It sounds like a train whistle when you blow into it. The picture of the train is burned on.  And check this out…


I wonder if his patent ever went through.   Next, we have this awesome ink drawing of St. John’s Bridge in Oregon….


Then, I found a box of memorabilia from our wedding.   It was only five and a half years ago, but I have to wonder why I boxed some of this stuff up.  For example, our cake topper…


I had searched high and low for a cake topper with a bride and groom on a bicycle, only to find one cartoony (read: ugly) one, so Joeys parents graciously offered to make us one.  It was drawn by my mother-in-law and cut out in wood by my father-in-law.  And it turned out awesome.  Grossly enough, it still had frosting on it when I pulled it out of the box.  I’m wondering why I packed it like that. Ick.

And just for fun, because it’s difficult to describe the travesty that were my bangs as a child….


They seriously went back to the middle of my head.   Heehee!  Ah, memories!  Growing them out was interesting (and not in a fun way).

After tossing these items around in my head for a while, I decided to use most of them (Ie: not my bang pic) in a casual photo collage wall. I know… Another collage wall? Oh yes. You bet. But I wanted this one to feel more organic and natural.  Less uniform and organized than our living room photo collage.

I decided to extend upon this wall in our foyer….


You can see I was already experimenting with placement of the ink drawing. I decided to start by creating some easy art with our cake topper. Here are my materials…


The shadow box is from Ikea and the fabric remnant was 99 cents from Walmart. I simply cut out a small swatch of the fabric and taped it onto the back of the mat with scotch tape…


Then, I used a spare Command strip from a package of utensil hooks to adhere the cake topper within the shadow box. I cut small pieces to fit behind the cake topper like so….


And Command-stuck it to the matting. Ta-Dah!!


Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Then, I took the whistle and tied a piece of twine around it….


And hung it with a finishing nail on the wall between the two existing pictures. I left the twine long so that I could adjust the length if needed once hung.


I hung the shadow box next to the whistle and added a double black frame from Ikea that I also found in storage. I filled it with a piece of striped fabric layered with a scrap of wrapping paper…


Then, I stepped back and observed…


But the arrangement felt a little lost on the wall and slightly off balance. I adjusted the length of the twine on the whistle to lower it some and added a few more frames up top (that were also found in storage. Seriously, shopping in your old stuff rocks.)….



Much better. Ill probably tweak the arrangement a smidge as time goes on, just because that’s what I do, but I’m really satisfied with it for now.

I didn’t use any techniques to plan out frame placement with this one. I just winged it and hung the frames where I felt like it. I’m really liking the different styles of frames and the mix of black, white, silver and wood tones. It might be fun to extend this one from floor to ceiling.  Hmmm…. Oh the possibilities.

Here are a few close-ups….




It feels good to have gotten started on this wall, for sure.   It stared at me for far to long just begging for some pizazz.    So, anyways that’s my story of forgotten treasures and frame walls!  I hope everyone has a happy Wednesday!!    🙂