24 September 2013

DIY: meaningful art from a hanky and scrap paper

One of my goals in this home, and in every home, is to surround my family with meaningful things. I didn’t always do that – one Hobby Lobby shopping spree shortly after my 23-year-old self moved into my new house meant that I filled my home with impersonal, mass-manufactured prints and tchotchkes. And boy, was this new homeowner thrilled that I could cover my walls with catalog-ready art for so cheap and so little brainpower!

Hmm. Turns out I liked that stuff in direct proportion to the effort involved to procure it.

So over the years, when I cull my art and décor collections, I always end up keeping just the meaningful things. Which means that now, when I look around our apartment, there’s very little displayed that doesn’t have some secret (or not-so-secret) connection to Mr. P and me. And when I buy new art, I try my best to make it something that specifically reflects our interests and experiences. Like these prints that I am STILL so dang giddy about.

That’s not to say I never buy mass-produced décor – I just keep it to those things I really love that fit perfectly in the space. Like the canvas-mounted poster over our fireplace – it couldn’t be more right in that space, and I still love it! But if I don’t a good place for it in our next home? It can go. The watercolor of my father in France? NEVER.

So when it comes to finding art to fill an empty space, I don’t look first in the prints section of HomeGoods. I dig around my storage boxes. And on my most recent art-hunting, I came up with this.

Granted, the frame (from my large collection of black frames) already has personal “art” in it – that’s a scanned and enlarged print of my mom as a baby, having a little bath in the kitchen sink. But I wanted something a bit more abstract... and that’s where the other items come in.

And no, right now they don’t look like much. But you might change your tune if you knew that hanky was originally my baby bonnet, and my mother snipped a few threads to turn it into a hanky I wrapped around my bouquet at our wedding.

Sorry I didn’t sort through the thousand wedding photos (literally) to try to find a close-up. Hopefully, you can see it peeking out under my hand.

And the paper? It’s also from our wedding. I scanned a piece of scrapbook paper, re-scaled and tessellated it to the size I wanted, and printed it out. Then I cut it up to use it as fake “binding” on our wedding programs. Again, I didn’t get a great detail photo of our programs themselves, so you’ll just have to deal with seeing it held upside-down and backward by this gorgeous kid.

Since our wedding, the hanky has been hiding out on a shelf where I never see it, and the few leftover pieces of “binding” paper have been stuck in a box of random wedding ephemera that I can’t bring myself to throw away. Why not put them out where I can see them and let them bring back great memories?

So. Paper was trimmed to fit, with black cardstock to fill the gaps (like I did here). Hanky was artfully folded. Photo of my mom as a baby in the kitchen sink... saved for another day.

Grand total spent: zero dollars and five minutes of my time. Even art from Hobby Lobby isn’t that effortless!

Oh, and if you’re wondering why the hanky looks so wrinkled... that’s because it is. I refused to iron out the wrinkles from its baby bonnet days when I used it as a hanky at my wedding. And I wasn’t about to iron it now!

Because it’s personal. It tells a story! It’s the sort of meaningful item I’d rather look at every day than something I found in the clearance aisle of HomeGoods.

And I do look at this every day. As a matter of fact, I can see it from where I’m writing this moment on the sofa. It’s part of a larger sprucing effort that I’ll tell you about tomorrow!

Until then, though: ever framed a random object and considered it art? I’ve got a few other objects that need to be on a wall instead of hidden in a drawer... join me in getting those special items out where we can see them!


Rachel C said...

As always, I love your meaningful art. I'm slowly working my way around my house trying to decorate with meaning, but not picture, art. I love pictures, but it's so nice having other ways to remember things.

Tina said...

Thank goodness you mentioned the watercolor of your Daddy in Paris! There are certain things I do get concerned about losing touch with when you get in one of your purge surges... ;-)

Miranda said...

Harper looks so much like Tobey!