Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tea Towel Art

A while back I discovered a fabulous Etsy shop, Fresh Pastry Stand. The shop owner/creator, Deva Mirel, makes amazing vintage-inspired housewares, from beeswax candles shaped like antique bottles and cake stands made of vintage plates to Pyrex tea towels!

Being a true Pyrex fanatic, I knew I had to snatch one up for myself. With some Christmas money I bought myself the Butterprint tea towel, which was at the time the only print available. Then I checked back into her shop months later, only to see that she'd added Pink Gooseberry, Friendship, and more! Even though my other tea towel was back in Kansas City, I decided to treat myself to two more towels and make them a trio.

I chose a pink Gooseberry towel and a red towel featuring two vintage milk bottles. And once they arrived I realized they were much too pretty to actually use, so I chose to frame them instead!

This project did confirm one thing for me: when shopping for frames, if at all possible, bring the art you plan to frame with you so that you can better visualize it inside its future home. Silly me--even though my tea towels are easy to travel with, I neglected to stick them in my purse when I went shopping the first time around. Thus I ended up with two gray faux-barnwood frames from Michael's, scooped up for $44 total during a half off frames sale.


They were quite large and had a great weathered look to them, but something about their blue-ish undertones just wasn't right to me. It kind of made the unbleached tea towels look dirty/yellowy because the two tones were competing, not complementing each other. Kinda like how red lipstick can make teeth look yellowed.

Enter this lovely natural wood frame from Target ($19.99). Originally I bought two to frame my Macklemore Challenge photos from Goodwill ($4.99 for both. Woot!)



The photos looked good in there, but then I realized the tea towels might look even better.

I used the true lazy man's way and just popped the new, lighter frame around the already-framed towels to see if the whole image would fit and how the colors looked. That way, if I decided to stick with the gray frames after all, I wouldn't have to re-frame the towels.



I loved the lighter wood frames right away. They matched the yellow undertones of the natural linen towels so nicely! Another bonus? I was going to have to attach a sawtooth picture hanger to the back of the gray frames, because when wrapped around the backing the tea towels covered the existing hanger:


But my lighter frames had the picture hangers on the actual wood, so the tea towels wouldn't cover them!



Oh, and I didn't cut the towels down to size or anything, in case I want to do something different with them in the future. I just used the backing of the frames and wrapped it like a present, making sure to center the design on the front. The fabric was light enough that I could fit the backing into the frame's grooves so that the glass is secure.


The tea towel art lives over my yellow table where my map previously stayed--as you could see in the living room tour, I relocated the map there.


I love how it looks with the wreath and table.


And the red in the milk bottle towel really looks great with all the red accents in my corner shelf.





Once we're back in KC in our new place, I plan on buying another identical frame to house the Butterprint tea towel I got for Christmas. And maybe I'll even buy another one to make a set of four? We'll see.

Anyone else framing items as art? Do share!

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Tiny Tweaks

As you can tell from my pantry re-organization post shared Monday, lately projects around my place haven't been major undertakings, but just little tweaks to current rooms. I'm here today to share a few of those tweaks, all involving the addition of a little art to brighten up some empty apartment corners!

First up, some laundry room love. I found three cool vintage laundry-related pictures from The Graphics Fairy, an awesome site for finding free printable art! I had a trio of frames (previously in my bathroom) that were empty, so I printed the iron, ironing board, and washbasin pictures, popped them in, and hung them up over our washer & dryer. I dream of having one of those beautiful laundry rooms someday--like this or this or this--and these prints will look lovely in a space like that :)

Another area that received a little tweak was the new corner gallery wall in our bedroom. As I was staring at the area one day, I remembered a little wooden shelf I'd bought during my first trip to Echo Echo. I'd loved the little guy for just $5, but had never found a home for him. But he fits right in here!

I liked adding some 3-D objects to the gallery wall for more interest. You might recognize the tree (a $0.99 Goodwill find) and clock (also $0.99) from my thrift recaps earlier this year. I like how the gold helps tie in the gold from the frame and Montana art.

Another gallery wall that received some attention is my kitchen Happy Wall. Can you spy the changes?


Let's start in the upper left corner. I spray-painted the little square frames I scored for $0.69 at Goodwill and popped in a tomato soup can label that I'd saved to frame. It was an Andy Warhol anniversary edition one sold at Target last year. It fits right in with the color scheme of the whole gallery wall and also brings out the red in the striped mat.

And in the opposite corner I framed another Graphics Fairy print--a Ball Ideal jar with wire closure. 

The Graphics Fairy strikes again! I also printed this art depicting different types of arm fractures and hung it up in our bathroom.

Now I'm off to go enjoy the lovely Montana weather! Hope your weekends go great!

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Pantry Revisited

Since I first organized our hallway pantry and shared it here on a blog a year and a half ago, it's become my most-visited post of all time! Thus, I thought it was high time to share a few tweaks I've made to make the space even more functional for us.

When we last left off, our hall closet was a sort of pantry/linen closet, with food occupying the middle shelves, and extra sheets, towels, & our vacuum cleaner occupying the upper & lower spots.

However, once we added a chrome shelf to our laundry room to create more storage, I had plenty of space to stash the linens 'n things (ha ha!) in there, opening up a ton of space in our pantry. Since we buy our basics like cereal, crackers, rice, canned veggies, and pasta in bulk from Costco, new pantry space = great and much-needed!

So here's what the space has evolved into since making those changes:

Let's zoom in a bit, starting on the left side.

The top left shelf is home to our pasta. We buy in bulk from Costco because pasta is a quick and easy side dish, and Ryan is sort of a spaghetti addict.

The second shelf has more of our snack foods--crackers, cookies, dried fruits, etc.

Just below that I stashed our rice, granola, nuts, & candy, along with these "Spice" and "Flour" cannisters I got during one of my first trips to the Missoula Goodwill way back when. They were $1.99 apiece. 

I stash brownie mixes (from Costco) in the "Flour" cannister and extra spices in the "Spice" one (go figure!)

Below that third shelf is a pretty large open space that I always struggled to fill in an effective way. These stackable baskets from Target did the trick. They're sturdy and don't wiggle around like some stackable bins tend to do. I keep chips & dip-making stuff in the top basket, cheez-its and goldfish packs in the one below, potatoes/pantry veggies in the third from the top, and pasta sauce in the bottommost basket.

And now the right side:

I added a wire shelf to create a little extra space here and take advantage of the height of the pantry. This is our little "breakfast nook" which holds cereals, Ryan's breakfast drinks & poptarts, plus some fruit strips. Once I am reunited with my Silhouette machine (it's back in MO) I plan on making cutie vinyl labels for these containers, similar to Jen's.

You know I'm a sucker for vintage storage (especially if it has fun graphics) so I liked using my two vintage cheese boxes here. They're the perfect size to hold the tarts & drink packets. The oil-rubbed bronze basket is from Target's Dollar Spot.

I love how the graphic even peeks out when you look at the other side!

I placed a faux-vintage crate (one of Threshold's lovely containers from Target) just below the breakfast area.

The crate houses overflow food items that don't fit elsewhere.

Below that is my little baking corner. I got rid of my kitchen cannisters a bit ago to free up counter space, and my sugar, flour, chocolate chips and such look great in the Oxo containers and are just as accessible here.

On the shelf below, smaller versions of the blue stackable baskets sit atop a shoe rack from Target.

The baskets hold baking mixes, sauces, and overflow K-Cups that didn't fit in my new coffee corner.

The lower shelves of the shoe rack house all our canned goods. There was just enough room under the bottom of the rack to slide in one of the K-Cup storage drawers that used to be out in the kitchen. There wasn't enough room for two of them side-by-side, but that's alright--as you can see I stashed some overflow food there (Costco Cheez-Its, how I love thee!)

Oh, and for those wondering, all of the labels are from Better Homes & Gardens, and I got most of my Oxo containers over time from Ross and TJ Maxx. I also got a set at Costco a while back, and now my Costco has a larger set in stock for $47.99--maybe check your store to see if they have them as well?

Of course someday I hope to have an awesome walk-in pantry with built-in storage (like this one, or this one), but for now this space totally works for us! 

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