Julie Lyles Carr: Shakin' What My Mama Gave Me

Monday, July 2, 2012

Shakin' What My Mama Gave Me

original canvas

I'm sentimental.

Very. Sentimental.

My brothers and I have speculated about our attachment to objects and pieces of family history and lore. We wonder if it has something to do with our cross-country moves as kids. When everything around you changes, it's the familiar objects and linens and toys and wall-hangings and siblings who create a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Whatever the cause, I'm a great repository of family treasures. You've got a cabinet or armoire or table or linens that used to belong to Great Aunt So-and-So? I'm your girl. Bring it on over. I'll find a home within my home for it.


I have ten people living in my house, several of whom are now adult size. Those ten people and their clothing and accessories and school books and toys and dance costumes and guitars take up a lot of room.

Sometimes, my sentimentality and my square footage clash.

Case in point.

There is a painting that has hung in my grandmother's house. And my mother's house. And my house.

It's great. I love the colors, the frame, the composition.

But my style is definitely evolving to cleaner lines and less frou-frou. I'm finding it calming to have more empty walls and cleared surfaces.

And this painting doesn't necessarily fit the bill.

I recently purchased a canvas for my office at Home Goods. It's a cream white depiction of Ptoleme's globe on a distressed black canvas. I really love it. But I'm not sure I love it above the credenza. It seems to compete with pictures of my kids. And I just can't have that.


A couple of my kids are quite attached to the canvas of the fruit and pitcher that has hung in three generations' homes. They would be horrified if I did anything to damage the painting. And I don't want it sitting out in the heat and dust of the attic.

Time to shake what my mama gave me.

I saw this awesome little vignette on YoungHouseLove. Please tell me you've seen YoungHouseLove. Go over there, give 'em a little love and them come back. I'll wait for you....(scroll down a way on their post to see their Pottery Barn Outlet inspiration that caught my eye...)


Pottery Barn prints with addition facts. Love. Love because we homeschool and we rock the math facts flash cards. Love because I have a particular obsession with the number 8. Since I have 8 kids and all. I collect little items that have the number 8 on them. And I knew I really, really wanted a print that had something to do with 8.

Without the Pottery Barn price tag.

Enter inspiration.

I bought a yard of burlap at $2.97 a yard and some computer printer transfer paper. I found a font that seemed reminiscent of vintage addition flash cards and got to some ink cartridge draining.


My printer has a setting that lets me let the printer know that I'm using transfer paper. It automatically flips the image for me and prints it right up. I cut out the numbers and started getting my ironing on...




I originally thought I would use magnets, one of the front, one on the back, in each corner and in along the border of the frame, to hold the burlap in place over the original canvas. I gave it a test run without the burlap in place and it worked like a charm.

Until I tried it with the burlap.


I hadn't originally thought I would take it all apart, canvas from the frame. But as I looked at the back, after my magnet fail, I decided it wouldn't be too hard. I got the canvas free from the frame and decided to take opportunity to treat the frame to a little spray paint spa day.

(Don't worry, Mom. I can always spray paint it back to gold. I have skills.)

After I iron-tranferred my images to the burlap, spray painted the frame and draped the burlap over the original canvas, it was just a matter of stretching the burlap to make the numbers and little personal note at the bottom to align in some sort of straight manner. And slicing my finger open on a staple.

What's a little arts-and-crafting without a little blood-letting?

Then it was time to rehang my numeric masterpiece and give it a glance.

office credenza

I wish that I had trimmed around my numbers a little more closely. I'm not crazy about the translucent-but-still-there transfer paper rim that you can see around the numbers. And I should have held the iron on my little 'love note' notation a while longer...the transfer paper is still a bit too evident for my tastes, up close. I may take a hair dryer to it.


But overall, given that I spent about 6 bucks on this project, I'm happy. I like that the simplicity of the burlap print is less visually competitive with the portraits of the kids.

And, Mom? No worries. The original canvas is safe and sound, protected from dust, direct sunlight and heat. Win-Win.

My sentimental side. My frugal side. And my 8 sides. 5 girls.  3 boys.  And somehow, Mike plus me has equaled 10.

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