Tag Archives: Art

Moral of the Day

Dark chocolate (we’re talkin’ 85%+) is a frequent treat in our cupboards.

This morning (yes, morning, don’t judge) Daniel asked me if I would like a square of our Blackout dark chocolate. As it is delicious, I accepted.

It turns out, after one square … I really wanted another. So I proposed we each have another, but Daniel hesitated. I suppose his conscience began whispering, “It’s morning” on his shoulder just about then. But rather than leave myself at the mercy of his unpredictable answer, I swiped the foil-wrapped goodness off the counter, placed one square in his hand and the other one in mine.

However, along with that piece of chocolate, I offered a piece of sage advice:

“Never give a girl a piece of chocolate unless you’re prepared to give her another.” 

This little nugget of wisdom, or “moral of the day” inspired two pieces of art in our household today…

Inspired Artwork #1) This drawing by moi.


Inspired Artwork #2) This message, by Daniel, on our fridge with those wonderful magnetic letters.


… which then got rearranged to form this:


Fun in the apartment this spring break!


Dear Plexiglass, You Made My Day

Is there anyone else out there with a piece of art they adore that has some awkward measurements that don’t fit in ANY frame, but you don’t have the money to buy a custom frame … or the skills to make your own?

That is the story of me and this great print, Violeiros, by Brazilian printmaker José Miguel. I found it at lovely Tesoros Trading Company on South Congress for a pretty reasonable price for a piece of art that you love. You might have noticed it in my last post, laying on the chest beside the sofa like the lost piece of art it was when it was replaced by the frame collage.

This piece of art has caused me a good amount of distress, especially when I first bought it, couldn’t wait to hang it, and found that not even the mothership of home stores, IKEA, didn’t have a frame that would fit it. So about 9 months after hanging it squeezed between two swaths of wood boards, I decided to hang it with a DIY plexiglass frame. The bathroom wall was the only wall left that was JUST the right size for it.

So I followed a combination of instructions I found online, which I can no longer bring back up in my search! So here it goes at a summary how-to.

STEP 1: Measure your piece and buy plastic sheeting from the glass and plastics department at Lowe’s. Do NOT think you can do this at Home Depot, because they will not cut your plexiglass or plastic for you. Lowe’s will. For free.

When measuring, give yourself about 1.5 inches for margin around your artwork. This is enough space so you can drill holes for the screws, but small enough to not drown your art in a floating frame of nothingness.

STEP 2: Add to your shopping cart 4 screws, 4 nuts, 12 washers, picture-hanging wire, and a picture-hanging hook.

STEP 3: Place your art where you like between two sheets of the plastic. Perhaps tape it into place with tape on the back of the piece if it won’t damage it. Also tape the sheets of plastic together to prevent them from sliding when you drill the holds in the corner.


STEP 4: If you notice the cloudy look of the plastic, it is due to the protective film on both sheets, which you will remove entirely at the end. For now, just peel off the corners of the film protecting the plastic so you can drill. Leave on the rest of it until you are ready to hang to prevent getting fingerprints all over it while you are handling it.

STEP 5: Measure where you will drill your holds — about 1 inch from each border.

STEP 6: Pick the right drill-bit for the size of your screws. Start small and work bigger until you find the right one. I held up my screw to my drill bits and picked one I thought would work, but erred on the small side. Daniel drilled, and we tested to see if the screw would make it through the hole. When it didn’t, we went 1/8 of an inch larger until we found the right one. Then drill your holes.


STEP 7: Screw the plastic sheets together. You want a washer on the front, between the plastic sheets, and at the back before you screw the nut on the back.

STEP 8: Loosen the nut at the back slightly so you can wrap the wire to each of the top screws. Follow the instructions that come with it to make sure it is stable.


STEP 9. Install the hook in the wall, peel off the rest of the protective film, hang the picture, and … voila!



And here’s a before and after for you…





Frame Collage

Above our sofa – the focal point of our apartment, basically – we had two prints: an artsy map of Austin, and a print I love by a Brazilian printmaker, José Miguel. They are both odd measurements, so we just pinched them together between some wood pieces. But something was lacking.

Then, of course, I discovered and fell in love with younghouselove.com, and their frame collages inspired me to do my own.

I started by searching the apartment (this took about 30 seconds) for other frames I had that 1. had something in it I wasn’t crazy about, and 2. I could repurpose.

I took them all outside and spray painted them white to match some other frames I had bought at good old Target. (I kind of liked the look they left behind on the paper bags. If we had a larger place, I probably would have hung them up on their own as a piece of art.)


I then went on the search for art, and discovered I had more art I thought I did. One discovery is that if you have hardbound books with the jackets still on, remove the jackets and you may be able to frame the jacket itself … or the book underneath might itself be a work of art, like Kevin Henkes’ Old Bear I picked up at a Half Price Books a while back. This is what was underneath:

Kevin Henkes

Or like the book jacket off of my personal favorite, The Giving Tree.

The Giving Tree

Or a nice birthday card, like this one:

Happy Birthday

Other unexpected art came from some vintage Spanish vocabulary cards I got for $1 apiece at Uncommon Objects (due to which, Austinites, we are thankful they were not $300. Uncommon Objects, we love you. Why don’t you love us back?) I framed some of them in semi-phrases…

Spanish Vocab Zoom Out    Spanish Vocab Zoom In

paired another one, la mitad, (the half) with one amazingly enthusiastic earring I bought while studying abroad in Rio (because I had lost the other), and put another one, el par, (the pair) with a pair of creatures Daniel and I had put on our Christmas tree a year ago, as you can see in my Recycled Christmas post.

La mitad    El par

Even a 3D object, like my grandmother’s trivet (I just had to look up that word) I realized could be art!

Gma Jessie

Anyway, Sherry and Peter have a great tip for arranging and hanging a frame collage. But I was impatient and had not paper to follow the instructions, so I just laid them out on our bed (the only flat surface big enough in our apartment) until I had the arrangement I wanted.


I think just used my tape measure and level to hang the pictures one by one, starting from the center and working my way out. The before and after  pictures are pretty fun to look at!


BEFORE: sans art


AFTER: collage complete!

And if you’re wondering who illustrated this amazing postcard my wonderful friend Alyssa sent me …

Eric Carle

It was Eric Carle. (Yes, children’s literature is a theme. It would be for you, too, if it was your job to be obsessed with children’s books.)

And if you’re wondering who is so awesome that they would MAKE and WEAR a piñata costume for Halloween, then send out a card printed with a picture of herself with a heart for Valentines Day to her friends …


her name is Carter. And yes, she is as awesome as she looks.

And if you’re wondering what I’m doing with policemen in Mexico, I’ll tell you some time.


And that is our frame collage! It makes our space so cozy when we walk in the door! I love it.

frame collage from door