Barn Print Tutorial and a Mishap

Last summer I gave a no cost update to one of my favourite cross stitched pieces by painting the frame and mat and now I love having it in our family room.

I recently was given some early 80's art prints in very large frames. The size and quality of the framing really made them worth rescuing. This print was faded, not my style and the layers of mats had dark green accent borders. I'm sure many of you have remade old frames, but for those who are hesitant I am sharing a simple tutorial. Hang in for the surprise ending!

The first thing to do is find a suitable frame.


I measured the opening and ordered a 16" x 24" reprint of a favourite barn photo I took this summer at a relative's farm. Choose a print from your own photos, or order one from places like etsy. The reprint cost $24 from our local photo store.

Then I removed the paper dust backing and took the print, mat and glass out. The glass should be cleaned well to remove dust and fingerprints (both sides.) Just be cafeful as you handle the edges of the glass. They can be quite sharp.

I used my Benjamin Moore mistint in black to paint the frame with a brush. The wood frame was in fairly good shape, but I wanted to get rid of the gold accent. The black also suits our home and the barn photo better than the previous colour of wood. Allow sufficient dry time between coats, depending on the paint label instructions. 

The photo above shows a can of black spray paint, but since it is too frigid cold here to use spray paint outdoors I decided on the latex paint. If your weather is mild, you might want to save time and use the spray paint.

The mat was in good shape but I wanted it to be a nice crisp white instead of the off white. I also wanted to cover the dark green lower mat. I used white Behr Paint-and-Primer-in-One that I had left over from other projects. Again I used a good quality wall brush to paint several thin layers (to avoid drips and to get in to the different layers of mats.) As for the frame, allow enough dry time between coats.

I made seven dozen of our favourite Toll House chocolate chip cookies between coats of paint.

I waited overnight for the paint to dry thoroughly before putting everything back together. That's when we had the mishap! My son was helping me handle the large piece of glass and it just wasn't settling into the frame properly. I had just started to say "don't force it" when he applied a bit too much pressure and the glass broke! Luckily there were no injuries. I am ordering a new piece of glass from the local glass company and will share the 'after' once I put it all back together.

Cost breakdown:
Frame, mat                free
Paint                          free leftover paint from other projects
Print                          $24
New glass                 $ to be determined
Total                         $ to be determined

Even though we had a set back, I'm really glad I tackled this project. I love the results so far and the final cost will still be way cheaper than gallery framing! I'm joining The Lettered Cottage's How To's Day. Hope to 'see' you there!

The Lettered Cottage


Going Greener ~ Bar Mops

In our home, we have long been guilty of using lots and lots of paper towels.

Even though our region has a compostable kitchen waste recycling program that includes paper towels, I decided to try and reduce our use of them. Better for the environment and money saving too. Did I mention that my husband goes way overboard with paper towels and uses almost half a roll to clean one patio door?!!

We have lots of rags made from old towels, but I wanted a supply for the kitchen that were a little nicer looking. I chose white so they could be easily bleached too. I bought several inexpensive bunches of small bar mops and thin dish towels to use for quick wipe ups and to swipe dirty fingerprints off our white kitchen cabinets.

I think it helps to have them handy in a cute container so we are more likely to reach for them. We hang the soiled ones to dry in the laundry room and then wash a bunch at a time. I also like that they are so sturdy compared to paper towels. We still use paper towels, but not nearly as many. Now I need to work on using more earth-friendlier cleaners.


My Quilts ~ A Simple Picnic Quilt

We often pack a lunch, or stop for takeout, on day trips or trips to the beach. Having a picnic quilt really comes in handy.

I made this simple picnic quilt using red and blue twill, denim scraps and black cotton broadcloth. The coloured squares repeat in rows diagonally and it is bordered first in denim and then in black cotton. The backing is a blue bed sheet. It is very sturdy and easy to wash, perfect after a day of fun and sun. Do you have a favourite picnic quilt or blanket?


My Quilts ~ Northwoods

Northwoods is the name I gave this scrappy quilt. The main fabrics I worked from are novelty prints with a lodge theme (moose, canoes, snowshoes, bears, pine trees, mountains...)

I made it around 2003 (I drew up the pattern after seeing a photo of a similar pattern done in flowery fabric.) This was an inexpensive quilt to assemble because all the fabrics were bought on sale or collected. Not a single piece of fabric was from a quilt shop. The off white fabric is muslin and the black borders are broadcloth. It was a great and cheap project for a young mom (me) on a budget.

Our oldest is hiding behind it to hold it up.

The backing is the same as the binding, a navy blue with white dot/cross-hatch that was free from a friend.

This quilt is also in our basement guest suite. I've sent a lot of the 'northwoods cabin' themed decor accessories to the thrift store this week trying to simplify, but I'm keeping this quilt.


March Break ~ Day Trips and Spring Cleaning

March Break is coming to an end this weekend and we have accomplished quite a bit.
We did some fun things like visiting the farm.

We took a day trip to the Mennonite area of St. Jacobs and Elmira, Ontario.

photo: via world66.com

We stopped at the Ontario Livestock Exchange (K's favourite), Picard Peanuts (J's favourite), and the Quilter's Nine Patch quilt shop (my favourite.) Hubby's favourite part is lunch and driving through the country. By letting the guys hang out at the livestock exchange to see animals and livestock trucks (apparently this is fascinating) for a couple of hours, they sleep in the truck are very patient while I stroll through the quilt shop. This time of year is so quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of market days during the summer and fall seasons.


We also accomplished lots and lots of sorting and organizing. We took several boxes and at least 7 large garbage bags of stuff to the thrift store. It is nice to start spring with all our closets organized and all the boy's too small clothes cleaned out. I was way too into it to take many photos, but I couldn't resist a photo of the mess in the entry hall cupboard. Embarrassing, but this was right after we emptied all the junk from a day trip out of the truck (looks like I need to fix the door panel too.)


I already had the baskets and they fit much better than the cheap plastic ones in the before. Being heavier they don't tip over either. It's too early to put away all the scarves, hats and mitts but they are so much tidier now. The top left is for our dog Remington's stuff, and J, K and I each have one. When warmer weather comes and actually stays, all the winter gear goes in lidded plastic tubs on the top shelf of the hall closet. The baskets will then hold sunscreen, summer hats etc. Our home doesn't have a mudroom or side entry, so all traffic and stuff comes through our small front entry. This little pine cabinet is narrow enough not to get in the way but holds enough to make it practical. The cutout in the wall above the cabinet lets much needed light flow into our living room, but makes it impossible to put coat hooks on this wall. In lieu of that I added hooks to the trim in the first set of steps into the basement. My teen boys are allergic to hanging their coats and hoodies on the hangers in the more convenient closet, so hooks are the solution. Now I'm off to drool over some gorgeous mudrooms. SIGH! Have you started any spring cleaning or organizing?

My Quilts ~ Where It All Began

I have always had a love of quilts and grew up watching my mom sew. She made us dresses, dolls and doll clothes and kept the annual church bazaar full of hand sewn items. In later years, she even attempted a Sunbonnet Sue quilt and made beautiful stuffed animals and nativity figurines.

In 1992 we were married, bought our first home and my first sewing machine. It is a very basic Kenmore from Sears that I hope to replace one day with a new quilting machine. That year, I signed up for a beginner quilting course at The Hobby Horse in Glen Williams, Ontario with a friend. We purchased fabric for our quilts at the shop and each week we carried our sewing machine to the classroom in the basement to learn how to cut and sew a Log Cabin/Fields and Furrows layout quilt the Eleanor Burns 'Quilt in a Day' way, and how to 'stitch in the ditch'. These were the colours of our bedroom in that new home. Navy blue walls below the chair rail, and light pink above. Hello '90's!

Sadly the middle blue colour faded after the first wash. It was a defect in the fabric that the quilt store replaced, but the quilt was already assembled. We sold that first home and moved to our new hpme, the double bed became our son's bed, and this double sized Log Cabin quilt became a spare in the guest room. Simply made and faded, but loved all the same. 

I'm joining the air your laundry friday textile party at Freckled Laundry. 'See' you there!


My Quilts ~ At The Lake

Today I am sharing a quilt in progress, At The Lake.

I bought this fabric at the Creative Sewing and Needlwork Festival in Toronto a few years ago because it reminds me of all the time I have spent in beautiful Ontario cottage country. And it has been sitting in my fabric stash since then. I began cutting and sewing the other night. No pattern in hand, just the fabric, a few hours to myself, and a need to keep my mind busy. I cut the panels into squares and added 2 1/2" strips in a log cabin style. I may or may not add sashes between the blocks. There are 28 blocks, so I will lay it out and decide.

Finding time to quilt is not always possible, but I enjoy it when I do. I dream of being able to buy any fabric I want, without concern for the cost. And a fancy quilting sewing machine! Forget shoes, this girl loves fabric! My fabric stash would be huge because while I love neutrals in our home, I have no problem with colour in quilts.

Working on organizing our basement guest suite has reminded me of the number of quilts I have made over the years. They are neither fancy nor perfect, but lovingly made and used. We have taken bags of items to the thrift store, but I'm not parting with my simple quilts. I took photos of some today, on their way to the washing machine, and I will be posting them over the next while as a way to keep a record of them. And as a reminder to appreciate what I have.

Wishing you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I'm sharing this at Jami's air your laundry friday party! I hope you stop by.


My Quilts ~ Flannel Plaid and Ticking Quilt

The mini makeover in our basement guest bedroom is continuing. I made a whole cloth quilt with a large plaid flannel sheet and backed with a blue and white ticking stripe.

The natural cotton batting is a really nice weight, neither too heavy nor too light and not too lofty.

I've really been working on decluttering and I like the results so far. The night tables have already been changed to a cute pair I picked up at a yard sale last year and painted white. I'll update the photos once I hang the skis (from here).

Changing to white pillows and sheets is something else I plan to do. Currently the sheets are navy and the bedskirt is denim. I love the mixture in my favourite inspiration photo below -frilly white cotton, ticking stripe and blue denim. 

I also really like the landscapes in the photo below, from Country Living. I have collected three so far, but I'm not sure if the room will look too cluttered with a collection of landscapes and a photo gallery.

Lots still to do but it feels fresher already.

What would you do, landscapes, photo gallery or both (it is a large room)?

I'm joining the Handmade Tuesday party at Ladybug Blessings.


A Gorgeous Hat

I won a giveaway at Rubies' Place. This gorgeous knitted hat is coming my way!

It is a little blue/green/beige tweed hat with a modern curly flower on the side, so adorable.

Thanks Tina from Rubies' Place!


Inspiration Journey Linky Party

I'm joining the Inspiration Journey Linky Party at Modern Country Style. Sarah describes it as "a party where you can link up WHATEVER images have given you inspiration on your quest for the prettification of your home."

I'm inspired by beautiful white trim like in this Blue River Cottage.

image: Stephen Alexander Homes and Neighborhoods

I'm trying to add some trim personality to our plain builder home. So far I have a couple of walls in the kitchen started and love the results. I have plans for lots more as time permits.

I'm inspired by black Windsor chairs, Pine farmhouse tables and hutches. I love the simple rustic country feel of these pieces.

image: Ethan Allen

This month I shared a post about my design style and how this image helped me to better understand the elements I feel comfortable using in our home. I'm inspired by quilts, ticking, white linens, lace, leather, painted wood, white curtains, galvanized and wrought iron metals, browns and tans, blues, white and black. Rugged sturdy denim and romantic lacy cottons.

I'm also inspired by barns, cows and agriculture

Image: The Weisen's Dragonfly Farm in Caledon Ontario via Country Living

I'm inpsired by white china and glassware.

image: White Flower Farmhouse

I'm also inspired by so many blogger's homes, many of whom I follow through my sidebar. I hesitated to use my favourite photos here without permission from the blog authors.

I hope you stop by Modern Country Style to see the other links.