by Tammy Taylor
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I’ve been revamping our guest room lately. Last week I shared with you the headboard that RancherMan & I made from repurposed barn wood pulled from our 1880’s barn when it was refurbished a few years ago. I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out! But now what to do with that wall? RancherMan & I don’t like much visual clutter so I was in a quandary. Do we just leave the wall blank? Well, maybe, but I think it looks a little TOO bare. What to do… Then I remembered a great piece old aged wood that RancherMan had to cut off the original boards we were using for the headboard because it was split, but I loved the split. And the ridges. And the knot-holes. It was a beautiful piece of aged wood. So I asked him to save it for me. My mind was spinning on ideas to make a meaningful pictorial wall feature.
Now there are lots of artistic people in my family – MOST members of my family actually, but the artsy tendencies skipped me for some reason. Oh I can usually plink something out if I can see a picture of it first and go verrrry sloooowly, but I’m not good at actually picturing a project in my mind and seeing it through to the finish and having it turn out even remotely the way I originally envisioned it. But I’m also the eternal optimist so I jumped in with both feet anyway. I picked out several pictures that I had taken around our ranch over the years & contacted a local printer in town. Bada-bing, bada-BOOM for a whopping $1.29 and in about 24 hours time they reproduced several full-color pictures for me. Gotta love living in a small town!
I cut out each photo with my handy-dandy * photo trimmer and set them all aside. But these prints were printed on card stock and for what I had in mind I needed them to be a little more sturdy. Hummm… I KNOW! I’ll cut out pieces of cardboard and mount the pictures to them, almost like matting. But where to find the cardboard for the mats… I started looking around the house for colors, textures & thicknesses I wanted and found the perfect thing. I disassembled the packaging from a 12-pk case of cola and voila – that cardboard was the color I wanted and the thickness I needed. (say it with me folks – my motto? USE WHAT YA GOT! LOL) Using one of my prints as a template I cut out appropriate-sized squares of cardboard for my mat. Yeah, I like that! So far, so good.
Then it was simply a matter of a few squiggly lines of glue on the back of the pictures, attach the mat and use two of my heaviest books to press the pictures to the mats for awhile. Can you tell that I love me some Amy Dacyczyn? Her * Tightwad Gazette books were faves of mine – so much so that I bought the book that had all three volumes AFTER receiving one volume as a gift in the 80’s and buying the second volume myself in the 90’s. You Tightwad Gazette lovers know what I mean. I think Amy would be so proud of this project!
Now that the pictures are cut out and glued to their mats I turned my attention to that old board. Sigh… What a beautiful piece of wood. So interestingly ridged. Such perfect patina. So beautiful. And since it came from my own old barn so meaningful to me. But being artsy is tough sometimes so I pulled out the hammer & hacked up the smoothly-cut edge with the claw of the hammer so it would have a more rugged appearance. LOL Then I hammered a couple of star-headed nails on each end of the board, strung & wrapped some jute baling twine and attached some vintage clothes pins so I could tell what kind of spacing I’d need and how many photos I could use.
Now this wall-feature board is going to be hanging on the wall. In our guest room. OVER THE HEADS OF OUR SLEEPING GUESTS!! There’s no better way to be declared the worst hostess ever than maiming your guests in their sleep during their overnight stay at your hacienda… So I wanted to make absolutely sure it was secure when I hung it on the wall. I asked RancherMan to put some heavy picture-hanging wire on the back of the wood, using screws to anchor it in place.
Then when all was finally ready I hung the wood on the wall and placed my favorite newly-printed photos on it using those lovely aged vintage clothespins. I had more pictures printed than I actually needed so I’ll be able to change them out periodically if I like, and that certainly works for me since I picked out the photos that I loved the most! Now that my little work of art is finally finished I take a step back to see how she looks…
I love it, and it came out exactly how I hoped it would. (fist pump!) But because it’s apparently my nature to be cruisin’ for a bruisin’ I can’t leave well enough alone – I’m now in the process of painting some of the furniture in the guest room distressed white to tie in the old farmhouse theme I’m looking for. Now I enjoy painting to the degree I would enjoy, say, a root canal, but I’m determined! Because I’m distress-painting the furniture in this room white, I’m thinking about maybe milk-washing this old piece of wood to tie the aged barn wood patina of the headboard with the distressed white of the other furniture. But then again I may leave it alone, it looks great like it is. Decisions, decisions… Whaddya think?
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