Utilizing rule No. 1: Above is a watercolor painting that was in my grandmothers house for many years. I always remember seeing it when I was younger, and thinking how beautiful it was. Last year when she moved of of her home and into a retirement community, she gave it to me as she had known how much I loved it. When I took this home and tried to hang it in my own home I realized how much it needed a small makeover. The matte was yellowing, the glass was very old, and the frame and filigree needed a spruce. Definitely in need of a refurbishing! What did the trick? A can of cheap black spray paint for the frame and the filigree, a trip to my local frame store to have a new acid free matte cut, and UV protectant glass to replace the old. Voila! I have a new beautiful (and sentimental) piece of art for my wall.
Utilizing rule No. 1 and No. 2: This is one of 3 prints that were purchased on a trip to Italy in 2008. There are old magazine clippings and prints for sale in the markets around any city. The cost of this particular print was around $6.00 US Dollars. For all 3 that’s $18.00!! I had matte’s cut at a local frame store because the clippings were odd sizes. Then I purchased black wood frames at a craft store for $17.00. That’s a set of three pictures for under $70.00. Also, and most important: sentimental. I think fondly of our trip every time I look at these, and imagine myself strolling through a Florence market in the beautiful Tuscan sun. How’s that for thoughtful?
You don’t have to go Italy. Inspiration is all around. You can go to any antique store and look through their loose prints. I have found these for under $1.00. Look for prints or images that you find interesting or beautiful. I am inspired by this post on the Little Green Notebook Blog. Check out how Jenny created inexpensive artwork for her mothers bedroom. This is a great idea for a nursery as well. Of course, I have no children yet, but I am for sure storing this idea in my design rolodex for my future baby nursery.
Utilizing rule No. 3: I cannot take credit for this one, my sister in law Allison gave me this photograph as a gift. Although, this does have a very sweet story attached to it. Several years ago, when my husband and I were still dating he lived in New York City, and I was still in Portland. Long distance dating from across the country meant that we were only able to see one another about once a month on short weekend trips. Needless to say we had to make the most of our time on a very limited budget. We would explore around New York, mainly in the villages, looking for restaurants and coffee shops where we could sit and chat. Cafe Dante pictured above, became one of our very special places. When my sister in law was planning a trip out to New York to visit some of her girlfriends, I gave her a few suggestions on where to sip and dine, and this was of course on the list, as they have the best lattes in the world! That Christmas, which was our first holiday as an engaged couple, she gave me this picture she had taken, enlarged, and framed at a craft store. Like the cry baby I am, I burst into tears when I opened it. This now hangs in my kitchen, a very fitting place because it is an outdoor shot of a coffee shop. Now, every time I look at it, I think of those special dates in NYC, and also think of how sweet, thoughtful, and creative Ali was in making me this dear present. I love this idea and have been busy snapping pictures from recent trips, will keep you updated on the progress.
The main point in all this rambling is: It is better to surround yourself with artwork that brings back special memories, or has a “story” behind it. Wouldn’t you rather look at nostalgic pieces that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling? Rather than stuff that just fills space on your wall? I know I would! Happy hunting, refurbishing, and creating!