Pressed & Sealed

I saved almost every single petal of every single rose Anthony gave me while we were dating.  My thick college textbooks were the perfect places to press them - I’d pick the petals off dying flowers and carefully stick them in random pages.  I’d leave them there for a few weeks and into a big bowl they’d go with the rest of the pressed petals once dry.  I didn’t really have any intentions or plans to do anything special with them while I did it though.  I just saved them because of the love and thoughtfulness they signified.  Fast forward to those months in the midst of planning our wedding, when I had this great idea to have them made into a rosary for Anthony; my gift to him on our wedding day.  I had heard from a friend of a convent of sisters who would do just this out in California (I think that’s where they were at least) but when I wrote them, I was sad to receive a letter back saying they no longer made rose rosaries.  I looked into some other options but the prices were higher than I could spend while paying for our wedding so the idea wilted and life went on. 

Fast forward again, only this time to present day, and to the ziploc bags filled with those dried petals that I’ve held onto for all these years.  I’ve finally found a place for them, or at least some of them. 

IMG_8206See ‘em?  They’re inside that shadowbox frame on the wall above our desk!  :)  That frame was one of many inside that bargain cart we bought a few years ago at Dirt Cheap.  (Here’s a similar frame*, though not square.)  I’ve had the idea to fill it with the roses for about a year now and, per the usual, my plans always get delayed by life.  But here it was, before I got to work on it last week:IMG_1162The starfish that was inside had come unglued and floated around wherever gravity let it and the backing of the frame had a little dent in it.  In other words, it was bumped and bruised and the perfect piece for a project.

So, after removing it from the packaging, I turned it over and ripped off the brown paper backing.  It was just glued on around the edges.

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Next, I took off the white carboard backing.  It was stapled to the frame so I just grabbed a small flathead screw driver to pry up and off those staples.IMG_1164
The hanging hardware kept me from getting the top side off because of the way it was attached, but three sides were enough to open up the frame and get inside.IMG_1165
Once I was in, I took out the mat.  It was held in with a bunch of staples.  I just removed all of the staples along the bottom of the frame and a few from each of the other sides so that the mat slid right out from the bottom.  When I was finished, I’d just have to slide it right back in and wouldn’t need to replace the staples.  I wasn’t diggin’ the off-white color of the mat so my next step was painting it white.  The white spray primer I had on hand did the trick.

I also wanted to ditch the blue background for a crisp white one so, I grabbed some watercolor paper I had (similar*) and used the mat to cut it to the size of the frame.
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Completely undocumented because it had to be quick to beat the end of naptime, I got out a little bit of black acrylic paint, a paint brush, and some water and lettered “you & me” onto the paper.  I waffled between a lot of different sayings – the lyrics to our wedding song “When God Made You”, a favorite verse from the book of Tobit, and some other sappy sayings but in the end, settled with simple yet profound. 

Enter the bags of rose petals.  They were going to be carefully laid inside the bottom of the frame, high enough that they’d show above the mat but not encroaching upon the “you & me” that would also be in view.
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At first, I didn’t think I’d have enough petals to fill the bottom of the frame enough that the flowers would peek up over the mat.  Thankfully, in this case at least, estimation has never been my strong suit, because I had way too many.  I mean, I probably used about 1/4 of the petals.  I’m really, really, really not good at estimating.  Once I realized I had too many petals, I went through and picked out the brightest red ones to use inside the frame.  The others I saved for another project; another day…maybe I’ll get that rosary made one of these days.  :)
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Once I was satisfied with the amount of petals inside the frame, I glued the watercolor paper with the “you & me” lettering to the inside of the cardboard backing (covering up the blue), and then ran a thin strip of Elmer’s glue along the back of the frame to hold the backing on.
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Since the back of the frame is against the wall, I didn’t add any brown paper to the back, but left it as-is.  Call it lazy or call it efficient, you decide.

Up it went, the start of a collage that will eventually make its way up this small expanse of wall.IMG_8212 
The evening after I shot these “after” photos, I took off, kid-less, to my favorite local haunt, Dirt Cheap, where I found this gorgeous cantilever floor lamp*.  It was on a bottom shelf, in a box that had never been opened.  I carried it around the store whilst I shopped, unsure if I wanted to spend the $25 it was marked at.  I’ve been using our desk to do finishing work on my pillow covers recently – things like cutting strings and serging edges – and the lack of light has been frustrating me.  But now, my $25 lamp has solved that problemo.  Yep, I got it.  It just makes the space, doesn’t it?     IMG_8221
As far as everything else goes, the chair was a Varage Sale buy ($15) that I plan on reupholsering someday, the desk was a yard sale find ($30), the rug was also a Dirt Cheap buy ($25), the basket was clearanced at JoAnn Fabrics ($7), the plant was a gift and the vase it’s in was thrifted ($1), the curtains were once sheets, the valance is fake and is a diy I’ll share one of these days, and the mirror was a cheap diy project.  The wall color is “Heaven on Earth”, by Benjamin Moore but color matched to Valspar at Lowe’s and the carpet is original to the home and something I’d replace in a heartbeat if we picked the right numbers.

This desk, you can’t see the whole thing, but it’s pretty big.  And, it’s been a big mess until recently.  It was the home for many an item labeled “to-do” and many a paper waiting to be filed.  About a month ago, I unburied the top of it so that we could utilize it and we’ve worked hard to keep it a clutter-free zone.  It’s been a much-needed space away from the kids for me to sew and a space where Anthony can study for his Masters’.  It’s not ideal for us to have an ‘office space’ in our bedroom but it’s the only place we have now that all the other bedrooms are taken by little people.  But, it’s been fun for me to make it “pretty” so that we venture more toward ‘creative space’ and farther from ‘office space’.  I mean, nobody wants to think about work when they’re in their bedroom, right?  So, the prettier and more integrated into the entire design of the room, the better in this case.

Anyone else have their office in an odd space?  Any tips on making it feel like it belongs or so that it doesn’t necessarily look like a work-only space?  I’m sure I could tweak a few things over here so I’m all eyes.  Type away.  :)

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5 comments

  1. I love it! I work from home & we live in a tiny 950 sq ft 2BR 1BA cottage built in 1888. Most days I just work from our dining room table while our kids are in school.

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    1. That's where I do my sewing! Sometimes all you need is a really big table anyway! ;) Lots of room to stretch out.

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  2. Such an awesome idea! So romantic & sweet too :). I think you've made the space lovely. My desk & the family computer is out in our main living space. It is very difficult to make pretty­čś×

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes I feel like I'd rather our desk/workstation be out in our living space! That way I could pay bill or whatever and still have my eye on the kids. But, I know that does probably make it hard to keep it nice and pretty. :)

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  3. This is the sweetest idea. And good for you for saving all those petals! I wish I had more foresight :P

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