7th House on the Left


posted by Ashley  /  16 Comments

Custom framing. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the process. So many choices. So many decisions. When Michaels asked us to test drive their custom framing service, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant at first. The more I thought about it, the more I was intrigued, and we ultimately decided to give it a go.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Keeping in mind that Michaels can frame pretty much anything (including guitars, jerseys, quilts, etc), we racked our brains for a few days trying to narrow down what to have framed. We didn’t have any vintage guitars or quilts on hand, so we thought it would be fun to have our prized vintage gas station number framed. For over a year, I’ve been noticing a ton of old red gas station numbers at our local flea markets and antique malls. I’ve been keeping my eye out for a number 7 for what seems like forever and found a plethora of 3′s, 2′s and 6′s but no 7′s. About six months ago, I finally found a 7. It was $20 – which was about 75% more that what all of the other numbers were marked – but that was okay because it was exactly what I’d been looking for. Finally. Since then, Greg and I’ve been wondering what to do with it.  We couldn’t necessarily frame it because that’s not really your standard frame size.

Next, we had this box of post cards that had been sitting around for almost two years. My mom gave them to me as a part of my birthday present, and the moment I saw them, I thought they would make great wall art. I envisioned them being hung in a grid of 6 or 9. Since the postcards are 4×6, with a tiny white border around the edge, and we wanted a slightly larger than average mat (at least larger than the other 4×6 frames we’d seen). That made them perfect specimens for custom framing.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

When I arrived at the store for my custom framing appointment, I met my framing expert, Kate – who by the way is a very talented illustrator (I so wish I could draw). I showed her what I had to frame and the style I was going for (simple/timeless/modern-ish).

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

To start off, Kate took a photo of the metal number using a digital camera on an arm that hangs over the table – or what I refer to as the “handy dandy sky cam”. The photo was immediately uploaded to the computer where she loaded it into the in-store Frame Visualizer. By the way, the consultants put on the white gloves to protect the artwork they’re working with, which is a very nice touch, if you’re working with something that’s easily damaged or discolored.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Michael’s has tons and tons and tons of mat options. 480 to be exact. They also have different textures, finishes and details to choose from. For both of my framing projects, we decided to go with a simple white, classic mat.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Now for the frame. Oh my goodness. So. Many. Frames. Luckily, I wasn’t too overwhelmed because we already had an idea of what we wanted for this piece. Since we’re thinking about hanging this in the kitchen (or at least near the kitchen), we wanted a dark frame to stand out amongst the white cabinetry. I showed Kate a photo of the space we were thinking about hanging it and she agreed – a simple black frame was the way to go.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Each frame option has a “grade”, and each piece of artwork graded based on its dimensions. The grade of the frame has to be the same or greater than the grade of the artwork, or the frame won’t work. At first, I was thinking more along the lines of a small, thin frame (like the one on the far leftt of the counter), but since the frame’s grade was a lot lower than the grade of the gas station number, we had to upgrade to a beefier frame.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Since the width of the frame was smaller than the width of the red number, everything actually balanced out perfectly. As far as the mat, Kate and I both thought it would look really cool to mount the number on the mat rather than having the number surrounding the mat like traditional matting. I’m so excited to see the results of this! Now, on to the next framing project…

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

The box of post cards came with 100 book covers. Before coming for the consultation, I narrowed it down to 9 cards. Once I laid them all out on the counter, I thought that 6 framed cards might look a bit less cluttered, so I narrowed them down to six. Once I settled on the six we were going to have framed, Kate took each one, measured the artwork and took a photo of it using the handy dandy “sky cam”.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Once again, we went with the simple black frame – but this time around, using the smaller one. As for the mat, Kate suggested we do a double white mat. It brings more depth to the simple design of the framed piece as a whole and overall, gives it more “oomph”.

The entire consultation took about 45 minutes to an hour. It really didn’t even seem like that long because, honestly, it was a lot of fun. Not at all as tedious or laborious as I expected. Before I left the store, Kate gave me a paper for each frame (7 total) that included the overall dimensions of each frame and the style frame and mat we used. This will definitely come in handy when we decide to have more pieces framed in the future. The turnaround time for our frames (and most framing projects) is two weeks. We should probably be getting them sometime next week, and I can’t wait to see them!

Out of curiosity, I asked Kate about the largest piece they’ve ever framed. She told me about a guy who is trying to make his own custom-sized projector screen. He’s having a wooden frame made at a local lumberyard, bringing the frame to Michaels and having them stretch a blank canvas over it. Did I mention this “frame” is gigantic? She said it covered both framing tables then some. Now, that’s a big project.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com


posted by Ashley  /  30 Comments

Ever have one of those moments at an antique mall, flea market or thrift store and see something that you must have? You have no idea where you’re going to put it, what you’re going to use it for or even why you want it… but you have to have it. Well, a little over a week ago, I had one of those moments. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know what I’m talking about.

Vintage Bingo Barrel // 7th House on the Left

Yes. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a vintage gold bingo barrel. I saw it on the sidewalk of the antique mall I go to pretty often (Cold Harbor Antique Mall for you locals) and I immediately took a photo of it. I guess you can say it “spoke” to me. As I was walking through the store massive warehouse, my mind kept going back to that gold beauty sitting on the sidewalk outside. Nevertheless, I ignored my inner shopper and went back to my car empty-handed.

After I posted the photo on Instagram, you guys came up with some really interesting suggestions: from turning it sideways and making it a lamp or side table to transforming it into a planter for succulents. Even though these were great suggestions that got my mind going, I didn’t immediately go back and grab it. I let a few more days go by, but I STILL couldn’t get the vintage gold bingo barrel out of my mind.

Over this past weekend, Greg and I went back to the store to see if it was still there. I told myself that if it was still there, it was meant for us to have it. When we pulled up and I didn’t see it on the sidewalk, my heart sank a bit. Knowing that they frequently move things around the store, all hope was not lost. We walked through the store a few times, but there was still no sight of the bingo barrel. Just when we were about to leave, I asked the owner if she remembered the large bingo barrel that was on the sidewalk last week and if she knew if it was still around. She said, “Oh yeah, it’s actually in my basement. I was going to sell it at a yard sale next week.” She offered to bring it back to the store the next day and said she would sell it to us for $10. Sold!

Vintage Gold Bingo Barrel // 7thhosueontheleft.com

Greg and I are now the proud owners of a vintage gold bingo barrel.

Vintage Gold Bingo Barrel // 7thhosueontheleft.com

Once we got it home, I realized how big it was. Coming in at about 26″ wide and 22″tall, it’s a lot bigger than it seemed at the store. Regardless, I’m still in love with it.

What are we going to do with it, you ask? We have no idea. For now, we’re going to clean it up a little (it was pretty clean when we got it, but a little rusty in spots) and let it float around from room to room until we find the perfect place. Maybe one day way down the road, when we have a game room, it will be a great conversation piece for a console table. Until then, we might just have to start hosting bingo nights! ; )

I had another post ready to go up this morning, but I’ll have to wait on that one because I need to take one more photo… and… I forgot to charge my camera battery. Really? What is it with me and charging things?!

Anyway. I thought it would be fun to share a few photos I’ve been obsessing over lately. Obsessing to the point of saving them to my phone and flipping back and forth between them while I lay in bed at night. I keep showing them to Greg and say, “Now, what can we do to [insert room here] to give it that same look and feel?!”. It’s so inspirational it’s frustrating. So, here are my top four victims…

Fireplace Inspiration // 7thhouseonthelft.com

ONE // We have a large, wide, mantle-less, white, brick fireplace. Even though it’s rather large, it doesn’t make a statement or act as a focal point like most fireplaces do. Whenever I see fireplace transformations pop up on Pinterest, I immediately click over and drool at their awesome handiwork. So far, this is the photo at the top of our inspiration photo list. It’s a little more “cottage” than we’re going for (which is gorgeous, but we’re going for more “modern(ish) rustic(ish) vintage(ish)”… if that makes sense), but we’re really loving the idea of adding a white wood surround and painting the hearth dark gray. Greg and I both really, really, want to start on this project yesterday because we think it will help kickstart the living room decorating process (we’re still sporting the old furniture from our first apartment!). However, we have a few other irons in the fire we need to finish first. Which makes this photo… so inspirational, it’s frustrating. Image found here.

Kitchen Inspiration // 7thhouseontheleft.com

TWO // I know, I know. Our kitchen is “done”. But when I see photos like this with dark base cabinets, it makes me want to whip out paint chips and a brush something fierce. Then, the other little Ashley on my shoulder is saying, “Are you kidding? Mess up your nice, crisp, clean, white base cabinets? Once you paint them, you can’t go back”. So, with that, I stifle my urge to whip out the paint and add it to my “Things We Might Do In the Next House” list. Image from here.

Office Inspiration / 7thhouseontheleft.com

THREE // My office is still in a state of flux. Something must be done. Soon. Before I loose my mind. We’re in the process of weighing out the pros and cons of adding french doors between my office and the dining area. So far, the main cons is that fact that it might make the main living area feel more closed in while the main pro is not having to make sure whatever it becomes has to completely “mesh” with the living/dining room). The office space above is inspirational because, for starters, I love the white cabinetry and gold hardware. I also like the idea of a chalkboard “backsplash” although in reality I don’t think I could handle the chalk dust. Another thing that really “rocked my world” is the oriental lamp. I would have never thought to buy a lamp like that. But it works! Overall, I just love this photo because I find this little space organized yet an inspirational space to work in… and I so long for a functional, inspirational “done” office. Image from here.

Master Bedroom Inspiration // 7thhouseontheleft.com

FOUR // What I love about this room is that it’s calm, peaceful, neutral, but still shows some personality. This is the look we’re (eventually) aiming for for our master bedroom. Before we can move on, we need to drum up the courage to sell our current furniture. The bed and night stands have to go, but we love the dresser. I’m still wondering it will work with what we’re aiming for. The wall color is very similar to what we have now. However, rather than hanging art above the bed, we have 6 of these mirrors waiting in the wings. We would also like to have larger/beefier side tables. Image from here

So those are the top 4, most frequently viewed photos on my phone at the moment. Hopefully they’ll lead to “ah ha moments” and we can get going on making some actual decorating decisions. Thanks for listening to my brain dump. It feels good to get this off my chest… I guess you can say it’s kind of like “inspiration-therapy” if you will.