Friday, May 27, 2011

Gallery Wall

The no-sew valance project that I had been putting off for weeks turned out so well the other day, that it gave me the courage and motivation to have a go at another long-put-off project — a gallery wall of frames. I bought a bunch of dark brown frames in a variety of shapes and sizes during my last trip to IKEA (which you'll recall from this post) that have been sitting in a pile with some others that I already owned near the wall to be galleried (yes, I realize "galleried" is not a real word and I don't care.) Having never attempted a gallery wall (which, if you don't know what I'm talking about, is just a grouping of frames — in my case — in a mismatched, but semi-orderly fashion), I wasn't really sure where to start.

Here are a couple of photos from which I drew inspiration, though I've seen the gallery wall done in lots of unique and fun ways over the past few years.

Here's the link to their (in my opinion) way too
complicated tutorial.
And the link to this tutorial (which isn't really a tutorial, but just an article
about gallery walls).

A couple weeks ago, thanks to the wonderful tool that already has a spot on my "I don't know what I ever did without it" list — Pinterest, I found this helpful tutorial on how to use wax paper to create a template for a gallery wall. Genius. Why didn't I think of this?

So, after sending Ryan out for a new roll of wax paper (mine ran out half-way through my initial attempt), I got to work.

If you're interested in learning more, read on for the step-by-step process. If you just want to see how it turned out (which would be awesome, by the way!), go ahead and scroll down to the end of this post. I won't be offended!

Here's the wall to be "galleried" as it has looked for the last few months. I spend a lot of time looking at this wall as it is directly above my computer desk where I sit for at least a couple of hours every day. And I love both of the pieces that were up there — one is a cork board made by my brothers-in-law out of wine corks (LOVE!), and the other is bunch of photographs of various items that appear to look like the letters P-E-T-E-R-S-O-N — but they just didn't fill up the space in a way that felt appropriate. It just needed more.

To remedy this, I began by measuring out a piece of wax paper the same width as the wall (64-inches).

Since the roll of wax paper was 12-inches wide, I needed to do this 5 times, and then tape all the sheets together to get the appropriate height (58-inches).

Then, I began laying out the frames (on the floor, since that was the only area big enough to see everything). I will spare you photos of the various arrangements I tried before settling on this one. I also took some time to tweak the spacing between each of the frames, not to make them all uniform, but just until they felt "right."

Next, I used a Sharpie to trace the outline of each of the frames onto the wax paper. It is important to be precise in this step because how you draw them on the paper is exactly how they will end up on the wall.

A quick shot of the bare wall before moving this plan into action.

I used painter's tape to affix the wax paper to the wall. I was so pleased with how it looked...

...except for this. The two frames on the bottom corners overlapped the light switches on the wall. I hadn't taken those into consideration. Oops.

While the paper was still on the wall, I marked where the light switches were so that I could make some adjustments.

I will mention that I made a crucial mistake here in that I did not mark where I had placed the paper on the wall before removing it. I guess I figured that when I put it back up there, I would just line up the two light switch squares I drew, but in hindsight, it would have been much easier to mark the top corners of the paper to line things back up later.

Anyway, I took the paper down, re-set all the frames where I had them and then thought about how to fix the problem above. As it turned out, I was able to simply switch around a few of the lower frames that were affected and things still looked pretty symmetrical and clean. Easy peasy. I re-marked those adjusted frames (in red Sharpie this time) and proceeded to the next step.

I (or, I should say "we" now because by this time my dear sweet Ryan was helping out) flipped all the frames over so the backs were facing up and then laid the wax paper back over them. This enabled us to mark where each of the picture hangers/hooks were located for perfect nail placement once the paper was re-positioned on the wall.

See all the little red picture hanger/hook marks? We just nailed right through the paper directly on the marks.

Smiling after the aforementioned frustration of getting the paper to re-align with the light switches, hammer in hand, ready to get nailing!

And we're nailing...and nailing...and nailing...

...and hanging...and hanging...and hanging...

...and aligned everything with a level, to end up with THIS!

I am so IN LOVE with this arrangement! It is perfect! Exactly what I had envisioned!

Now, I need to work on filling all the frames with photos and other fun things. More on that to come...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dog Food Soup

I asked Owen to please put the laundry basket that he got out this morning back where he found it. When he didn't return for a few moments, I went to check on him and found this...

Sorry for the soggy kibble, Kinnick!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No-Sew Kitchen Valance

And now, for my first blog tutorial...

One — of several — projects that I've had all the materials for, but have been putting off for weeks and weeks now (out of fear that I'd mess it up) is this no-sew valance for the window above my kitchen sink. (Remember when I showed you the fabric from IKEA in this post?) Well, since I'm pleased with the results, I thought I'd share the steps I took to get 'er done.

Ryan installed this inexpensive curtain rod for me a week or so ago. I got it at Wal-Mart for like 10 bucks or something ridiculous. Nice, eh? (It kinda looks like a tension rod in this photo, but actually, it's not.)

So, here's what my kitchen window has looked like for that past couple weeks. (And minus the curtain rod, for over a year now.) BOOOOORING!

First, I measured out the fabric so that I had an extra inch on the sides and bottom (for a hem) and 3 extra inches on the top (for the pocket to hold the curtain rod). Since I wanted the finished product to be 42 1/2-inches wide x 12-inches high, I measured it out to 44 1/2-in. x 16-in.

I also wanted to make sure that I had a good amount of the green and black part of the design visible in my finished valance, so I measured and drew my pencil lines kind of in the center of the yard of fabric. Here is the finished piece after cutting.

Now's a good time to mention the supplies I used for this project. They include:

  • 1 yard of fabric
  • Fabric tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Straight-edge object (I used a box from another curtain rod)
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Heat 'n Bond hem tape (this is the "no sew" part of the project)

Next, I started folding over and pinning the edges for the hems. Again, I wanted the sides and bottom to have 1-inch hems and the top to have a 3-inch hem/pocket. I stared with the long edges (the top and bottom), for no particular reason.

Once pinned, I flipped the whole thing over to re-measure and make sure I ended up with a 12-inch height. It was spot-on here...

But in the center and on the other side, I was off by nearly a half-inch. So, I had to adjust my pins accordingly. Since my cuts weren't very precise, if I had skipped this step my finished valance would have been a little lopsided.

Next, I ironed down my hems to create nice creases.

Then, I cut the Heat 'n Bond strip for the top hem. I only did half of the length of the valance at a time so I could be more accurate with the placement.

I just tucked the no-sew strip right under the edge of the top hem (leaving the remainder of the 3-inches open to create a pocket for the curtain rod), and ironed it down, according to the package directions.

I did the same thing for the bottom hem...

...and then flipped it over and ironed the other side — just for good measure, and because the Heat 'n Bond package recommended that.

This next picture could be titled, "Oops!" since I realized when I folded over the short sides that I would be sealing my curtain rod pocket closed. EEEEK!

But, I figured out a way around that by pulling up the edges of the long hems (on all four corners) and making some strategic folds to get everything to lay right.

And it ended up looking pretty nice — probably a lot nicer than it would have if I'd have done the short sides first, actually. Who knew??

Then, of course, I did the same steps with the Heat 'n Bond on the short sides. And finally, one last measure to make sure I ended up with the 42 1/2-inch width I was hoping for. Success!

One last look on the ironing board before loading it onto the curtain rod...

...and then breathing a sigh of relief that the curtain rod fits in the pocket. Whew!

And here's the final shot again...

...with a "before" and "after" view. So much better, don't you think? The plain, boring window just needed a punch of color and this fabric fits so well with the color scheme in the rest of the kitchen and living room.

Now I need to work up the courage to make three more just like it for this bay window by the dining table. The tough thing here is going to be getting all three panels to be the exact same height. Maybe I'll just sit on it for another several weeks....!