Tag Archives: picture display

DIY: Photographs in Oil

7 Sep

I am so excited about this post!

One of my very first posts (over a year ago, wow!) was about the many uses of mason jars. Within my post, I discussed one particular way to use mason jars to showcase photographs suspended in oil for a unique spin on picture display.

“Lastly, a less common but very interesting way to use mason jars is to make it into a one-of-a-kind picture frame. The clear jars would be best for this, and by pouring olive oil (try to avoid the garlic kind — could get stinky!) in the jar with an upright picture, you can get a sepia effect and a new way to display your pics.”

Inspired by: Flickr

Over the past year, I have received many comments and questions about how exactly to go about recreating the photograph in the mason jar. Mostly what I have been asked is “Would a color or black and white picture work best”?

And after an in-depth experiment when I was bored to tears on one night…I finally have answers.

To break it down for you more easily, I’m about to get old school on you by using the scientific method.

  1. Question
  2. Research
  3. Hypothesis
  4. Experiment
  5. Conclusion
  6. Communicate
Now if only I had this sparkly beau-hunky vampirific lab partner, my night would have been complete.

Why yes readers, that is Edward Cullen awaiting me at our lab desk. The lab desk that we share. We share it since we are lovers...I mean partners. In science. And perhaps in life as well.

Me like-a-da Ray Bans 🙂

Back to the business at hand…

1. Question: What type of picture will work best to re-create this mason jar picture frame? Color, black and white, sepia, or antiqued/faded?

2. Research: Google helped me see if there were any other great answers out there. There are not.

3. Hypothesis: After my research and personal opinions, I believe a black and white picture would make the photo in my mason jar picture frame most visible.

4. Experiment: Using a cake pan filled with about a half inch of olive oil (don’t worry, I didn’t waste much…I used it to cook some pasta afterwards), I submergered 4 different pictures/treatments to figure out which looked best and the most clear. If you want to re-create it to figure out the best results for your particular picture, by all means go for it. Try these easy steps:

Step 1: Fill pan with 1/2


Step 2: Grab a regular color photograph.

Step 3: Submerge color photograph.

Step 4: Observe results. Then repeat for each time of photograph you are considering.


Black & white photo.

Black & white photo in olive oil.

Black & white photo in olive oil results.


Faded/antiqued photo

Faded/antiqued photo in olive oil.

Faded/antiqued photo results.


Sepia photo.

Sepia photo in olive oil.

Sepia photo results.

5. Conclusions: This is a multi-part conclusion.

1) It appears to me that the original mason jar used a black and white photograph in the olive oil.

2) However, I actually ended up liking the effect of the antiqued/faded picture the best.

Therefore as our friend Captain Planet would say, the power/choice is yours.

6. Communicate your results: Done. Boom.


Shelf Yourself: Shelf Decor Inspiration

23 Aug

Nothing can throw off the game of a fabulous room like inadequate shelf decor.

I know from experience. Currently my shelf decor is absolutely nothing to write home about. It is the final resting place — a graveyard if you will — where all of my forgotten knick knacks go when I’ve lost interest in them. One of my next personal decorating projects will be to change that for the better.

I believe it is especially difficult for a younger person with a lack of personally significant doodads to fill up these empty spaces. Even if we do know exactly what we want to put in (like I have pictured in my head), it’s hard to want to buy a $30 vase over a $30 dinner and drinks with friends.

Bookcases are pesky because they either already take up a bunch of space (built-ins) or you want them to cover a large blank space. They are meant to draw the eye while acting as storage. But how do you combine both functions in a pleasing way?  I’m glad you asked. See below for these gorgeous shelving inspirations. Later this week, we’ll go through your shopping list to create interesting and functional shelves!

A somewhat nautical theme with blue back paneling and white ceramic, starfish, and coral pieces. Perfect casual look.

Inspired by: Crush Cul De Sac

A very organized shelving unit. Magazines and books are ordered according to color and/or date.

Inspired by: So Haute Style 

Another painted background. This decor combines books, knick knacks of different shapes and sizes, and prints.

Inspired by: Flickr

Turquoise! Love! White and brass create a vintage look to the fresh cabinetry. Think: flea market and resale shop finds.

Inspired by: Habitually Chic

All sorts of colors brighten these white shelves up. Vases, coral and stacked books seem to be the decor du jour.

Inspired by: 346 Living 

Try a simple build-it-yourself bookcase for extra storage. You've gotta commend the great use of file boxes and binders here that keep things organized without sacrificing the design factor.

Inspired by: Me Oh Mama

These shelves have a slightly Asian feel with the warrior masks and small shrubbery (sp?).

Inspired by: Meloz B

Color themed wallpaper. White and yellow is so clean for a kitchen area.

Inspired by: Porter House

Oversized ampersand and crowded bookshelves. Very home-y, yes?

Inspired by: Lovely Undergrad

Themed Bookcase: Birds! Notice the various textures and types of birds (Figurine, painting, book covers).

Inspired by: With Two Cats

Elephant bookends and more coral -- that seems to be a trend. Organizing the books and magazines in a color code gives the bookcase a sense of purpose and planning. Not the haphazard mess like my own.

Inspired by: Pinterest

Obsession: Leaning and stacking pictures and prints for depth. The different sizes and textures are so attractive to me. Makes me so happy for an unexplainable reason.

Inspired by: West Elm

In this instance, the actual shelves are half of the draw. Using plain white and silver decor on the shelves highlights the funkadelic shape of the floating black shelves.

Inspired by: West Elm

Here's a close up of abstract yet antique design. These pieces are easy to find around your own house or attic and can give a shelf some attitude (i.e. ridiculously long eagle-esque feather).

Inspired by: West Elm

Take a colorful cue from this image and find pieces that really represent you: unique artwork, record covers, and pop art from movies.

Inspired by: Desire To Inspire

Suitcases and apothecary jars with bold ladder shelves. I could see this in a guy's apartment without seeming like you care too much or having to try too hard. How about it boys?

Inspired by: Pottery Barn

It's all about the wicker and natural look here. Dried butterflies included? That sort of makes me sad.

Inspired by: Pottery Barn

Another clean look almost lacking color. Album covers and oversized letters.

Inspired by: Little Blue Deer

Black and white. So industrial-chic and bold. I personally need a little more color but the modern feel inspires me to be simpler. Wish me luck!

Inspired by: Ffffound

Color Me Happy: Yellow and Gray

6 Mar

I’ll admit it — I have been very skeptical about this gray trend. Gray…as an upbeat color? Hmm…

And yellow is a color that has never looked good on me. Therefore I have avoided it at all costs.

But now all of that has changed.


Check it out!

Inspired by: Apartment Therapy

Inspired by: Decor Pad

Inspired by: Apartment Therapy

Inspired by: Architects For Life

Inspired by: Better Homes & Gardens

Inspired by: Canadian House & Home

Inspired by: Canadian House & Home

Inspired by: Chic Cheap Nursery

Inspired by: Create H Design

Inspired by: Decor Pad

Inspired by: Decor Pad

Inspired by: Decor Pad

Inspired by: Decor Pad

Inspired by: Decor Pad

Inspired by: Decor Pad

Inspired by: Design Sponge

Inspired by: Dwell Studio

Inspired by: Dwell Studio

Inspired by: EKB Interiors

Inspired by: Elle Decor

Inspired by: HGTV

Inspired by: Left Coast Luxe

Inspired by: Left Coast Luxe

Inspired by: Left Coast Luxe

Inspired by: Left Coast Luxe

Inspired by: Left Coast Luxe

Inspired by: Left Coast Luxe

Inspired by: Little Green Notebook

Inspired by: Martha Stewart

Inspired by: Martha Stewart

Inspired by: Martha Stewart

Inspired by: Martha Stewart

Inspired by: Mary McDonald

Inspired by: Oh Dee Doh

Inspired by: Rate My Space

Inspired by: Things That Inspire

Inspired by: Things That Inspire

Inspired by: Things That Inspire

Real Readers: Caroline, Taylor, and Sheridan

23 Jan

These days, I am obsessed with the chic, sophisticated and downright pretty house of these cute girls!

Names: Caroline, Taylor, Sheridan

Age: 24-ish

Current City: Houston, TX

Caroline – Event/Fundraiser Coordinator for a Non-Profit Organization
Taylor – Law Firm Recruiter
Sheridan – Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse

Decorating Styles:
Caroline – Traditional,  anything “anqituey” — she likes having a neutral base and then throwing in a splash of color.
Taylor – Shabby Chic, French Country…a self-proclaimed “Plain Jane” who gravitates towards creams, whites, and neutrals over bold and bright.
Sheridan – Likes coming home to a soft, calming atmosphere. She chooses any piece that makes her happy.

Right when you walk in, you are greeted with a quaint little set up. The antique-looking carte goes great with the wall sconces and framed artwork.

The streamers hanging down from the door frames are not a part of their usual decor. They were party decorations for Caroline’s 24th birthday! (Happy Birthday!) This is the visual you get in when you come out of the entry way. Believe it or not, all of these pieces of furniture are hand-me-downs from their various grandparents. The chairs were a completely different fabric and got recovered in simple white from the Design Center of Houston to match the house’s clean motif.

Cute crystal-looking lamps! Try Target, Marshalls’, West Elm or Pottery Barn for some inexpensive ones.

Taylor already had this zebra print pillow in her possession but lacked its matching partner. Thankfully, she found it at a cute boutique in Houston called, A Bientot. Don’t forget to try gift shop and jewelry boutiques for small home accents.

This pretty piece is perfect for holding all your knick-knacks. I even have the same painting they do at the top! Love!

Pretty little dining room set up. All antique hand-me-downs from the grandparents again…slipcovered in a softer linen fabric to protect the seats and cover up older fabric.

It’s all about the crystal and clear glass. Classic and easy to find at so many stores.

Islands in kitchens add SO much space and personality. Obviously not everyone has one built in but if you have the room, you can buy a stainless steel table/island and use it much in the same way. Here are all of Caroline’s birthday treats laid out!

The  curtains actually came with the house! Rather than spending a fortune on new Roman shades (that’s what they’re called) they added a few cute candlitas (little candles? si?) and made it their own.

The couches were covered in white by Sheridan and the unique end tables are from Nadeua in Highland Village in Houston. The glass lamps are from Marshall’s, and the pristine linen lampshades are from Pottery Barn. The pine wooden coffee table is from her parents’ house, but try Craigslist for other people’s old pieces.


These paintings are another great bi-product of Pinot’s Palette…the place in Houston where you get to BYOB and learn to paint a famous painting in a group. It’s only $35 for the canvas and a 3 hour class then you get beautiful art work to bring home.


A beautiful 4 poster bed (handed down from her parents) with stunning white bedding from Kuhl-Linscomb make for a fresh combination or old and new. The walls came the pale seafoam color and Caroline used it to her advantage to keep it classy with the white linens and paisley euro shams (Pottery Barn). Although she is not the biggest fan of her room (she thinks the Pottery Barn pillows were a random impulse buy)…I think it is sooo much more sophisticated than I could ever hope to be. But then again I guess I am 2 years younger than her? Does that count? Let’s hope so.

Crystal knobs on the dresser are a fun add too! Pretty, pretty!


All of Taylor’s gorgeous bed linens are from Pine Cone Hill. At the store I’m working at now, we sell this brand all the time. It has so many beautiful options for a VERY reasonable price. And it looks custom! Check out their website for more details (or come into Nest & Cot to order!).


Even the bathroom is pretty! Baskets are an easy way to both hide and store all of your bathroom necessities. And wicker and white go so well together!


Coral, white and turquoise…oh my! This traditional bed belonged to her grandparents and she had it recovered by a local guy in a flax linen color. She then uses this linen again to create a romantic little vanity.

Cute knobs!

And she has a coral bowl! LOVE!

A plastic organizer for jewelry. It’s great for storage and being able to see exactly what you’re looking for.

In case you didn’t know…How To Be A Lady. I may actually need a copy of this?

A vanity is both romantic and practical. Every girl needs one! (I know all the guys are rolling their eyes at this point…if there is even one reading). The mirror is from Marshall’s. Further proof that you can always find something to fit your style for cheap there!

Caroline, Taylor and Sheridan’s house is proof that you can mix old and new, vintage and modern, inexpensive and expensive to create a comfortable and chic home. And despite all of their class and style, they say their favorite part is actually one of their more modern creature comforts: Speakers all over the house! This includes the backyard and the bathroom (I would know — I was listening to a football game while I was using it!). TMI?! Who cares.

Hope you enjoyed visiting their home as much as I did!

DIY: Household Helpers

1 Sep

We all know this recession is kicking people’s money spending habits in the butt.

So how on earth are you supposed to outfit your home with beautiful, unique personality-filled decorations that are likely to be super pricey?

If there’s one lesson I have been learning in life, it’s that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Seriously! (Like my car for example. She is an oldie but a goodie if you know what I mean) I highly advocate checking out resale shops, garage sales and discount stores for inexpensive decorations, furniture and odds ‘n ends.

However, there is a place literally closer to home where you can find old things and repurpose them to be new and exciting.

It’s your time to become a Recessionista and Do-It-Yourself-ista…

If you look around your house, garage, storage unit, attic, whatever…I bet you can find some of the following items:

  • Ladders
  • Old Doors
  • Old Chairs
  • Shutters
  • Window panes
  • Chains


Simply hang sideways and voila! A shelf.

Inspired by: A Rustic Garden

Depending on ladder thickness, you can place tons of things on your new shelf securely.

Inspired by: Trash to Treasures Decorating

Here an old wooden ladder makes a unique towel hanger in this bright bathroom.

Inspired by: Bijou Kaleidoscope

Check out this baby ladder as a desktop ornament.

Inspired by: Trash to Treasures Decorating

A quick and easy night stand when used with clip on accessories like this desk lamp.

Inspired by: The Lovely Undergrad

Shelving + Showing Off your favorite books and things to collect.

Inspired by: Networx

Use ladders in the kitchen to hang your pots, pans and cute little lights!

Inspired by: Trash to Treasures Decorating

This close up should help your turn that ladder into a hanging pot rack to die for. All you need are some chains and pegs and you're good to go.

Inspired by: Decorating Addict


Repurpose old french doors as interesting artwork against a wall.

Inspired by: Apartment Therapy

Even these cute antique cottage-inspired doors can act as great room decor.

Inspired by: House of Turquoise

An old friend of my sister's, Lindsey, sent me this picture. She took an old door and bought door knobs to screw in all over. Then she could hang her pretty jewelry and purses for display and storage. This is the kind of thing anybody could do and everybody has a use for! Thanks Lindsey 🙂

Inspired by: Lindsey W.


Recycle your old, uncomfortable metal chairs by applying a fresh coat of fun paint and hang on the wall.

Inspired by: Apartment Therapy


This is one of my FAVORITE things in the world. A younger girl in my sorority at UGA, Chi Omega, used old shutters in her room to display her pictures.

Here's a close up. She used clothes pins to hang the pics giving it an extra home-y feel. Thanks for your contribution Ashley!

Inspired by: Ashley H.

Maybe Ashley got her idea from here? These are posted with office clips. SO PRESH!

Inspired by: Decor8

Or just post old window panes against the wall with...giant scissors? Hmm...

Inspired by: Living Etc.


Grab an old window pane and post your pictures in the glass.

Inspired by: Trash to Treasures Decorating

We've already seen this little number in my past article on Real Reader (and Real Sister), Caroline.

Inspired by: Caroline

And this one dates back to one of my first posts, from Sydney's house!

Inspired by: Sydney


Use a chain not only to hang ladders up as pot racks, but as an industrial way to pull back curtains!

Inspired by: The Decorista

So now that you know all of these wonderful things can exist if you just re-think old furniture and knick-knacks, get out there and repurpose some junk! This is your project for over the Labor Day weekend…I better get some pictures people…

Real Readers: Ariel

3 Aug

Thank you everyone who made getting past 3,000 views a breeze! I’m up to 3,101 — I really appreciate all of the support. I hope yall are loving the Funky Bear as much as I love writing it.

Today we are re-visiting an old friend I introduced you to in a past post, Ariel.

Obviously Ariel is artistically talented and creatively-driven. That much can be observed from her skill in wire cross making. But her life adventures and trips around the world traveling have given her a very distinct point of view when it comes to decorating. Today I’m going to take you behind the scenes of her bedroom, which I am obsessed with.

Name: Ariel Hall

Age: 22

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun Fact: Besides moving to Argentina in a month, like I told you in the last post, Ariel has her private pilot’s license! She’s logged in countless hours studying and flying courses so if you ever need a lift, she’s your girl.

Here are pictures of her room in her house in Houston, where she calls home. Be awed, be amazed, but most of all, be INSPIRED.

Ariel describes her style as eclectic, rustic and bohemian. She says that all of her inspiration for the color of the room, the way she displays her photos, the fabrics and lamps she chose, etc came from traveling. Ariel was lucky enough to get to go on an amazing trip to Africa and when she came back, she decided it was time to ditch the lime green, scattered pictures on the wall room of her past and move into a more “grown up” room.

Ariel decided to take matters into her own hands and paint the room herself. Hey — if she had survived the African Serengeti, there was nothing she couldn’t do. Ariel chose blue because it reminded her of the beautiful and peaceful water of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, Africa.

A large standing mirror in the room helps make the room appear bigger (a little trick you can use in any small room, and that many hotels do!) and break up the color block of one of the walls.

Her bed is something I am definitely going to try to emulate in my next place. I love how clean and crisp it looks with the white against the blue walls, and also how cozy and inviting it feels with the warm accents of the printed pillows and throw blanket. The elephant pillow on the bed is from Pottery Barn. Ariel was instantly drawn to it because it was her favorite animal on her trip. From another continent, Ariel got the throw at the foot of her bed as a gift from a trip her parents took to Vietnam. A mix of African and Asian influences can be seen throughout the rest of Ariel’s bedroom as well.

Above her bed, Ariel used a ton of pictures of places she has traveled to with her family to make an organized collage that serves as a daily reminder of good memories. See the elephant!? What a cutie.

She used a plain glass and wrought iron table to hold all of her things to one side. But what makes it interesting is how she layered the table with picture albums and books on the bottom, and a pretty flowery chandelier next to more traditional things like candles and picture frames on the top. Anyone can re-create this look by finding personal knick-knacks and casually yet artfully placing them on shelves, tables, and desks. (See my post on Table Tops for more visual inspiration!)

Even her bedside tables look like they have a story! To get a unique piece of your own, check out local garage sales, consignment stores and antique shops. I know “going antiquing” sounds like something your grandmother would do, but antiques and previously-owned pieces can really add a lot to any home.

In her bathroom is prominently displayed a piece of art her mother painted for her. I told you she (and her family) are artistic! It’s nice to have a personal touch in a place you spend so much time in. Hang up something in your bathroom that gives you happy thoughts or someone has made for you.

Ariel’s vanity in her bathroom serves as another place to remind her of her adventures around the world. Personal pictures of accomplishments (yay for graduating!) as well as street drawings she has bought in places like New York City where she lived for a summer are strewn about her vanity where she can see them while she gets ready for the day. And I think it goes without saying the I am OBSESSED with her little leopard chair. Rawr!

Ariel used a cork board to with beautiful little push-pins to organize and display her necklaces. Easy and effective!

Last but not least…even her shower is finely decorated! The neutral pattern of the shower curtain looks sophisticated next to the chaos of the little desk next to it stacked with candles. And you’ve gotta love a college girl at heart…check out all of her shot glasses stacked on the window sill!

I hope you loved Ariel’s room as much as I do!

Remember, to re-create Ariel’s look, try the following suggestions:

1) Paint your room a bold yet inviting color (think this type of royal blue, an eggplant purple, or a golden burnt orange).

2) Add a plain fluffy white comforter or duvet cover to make for the coziest looking bed ever. Spruce it up with bright colors of pillows and blankets.

3) Try Asian or African influences for an exotic and luxurious look.

4) Bring interesting pieces back from your travel or create some that represent your life. I believe that the more personal the space in your room is, the better.

5) And not matter how well-traveled you are or aren’t, don’t forget to add a splash of your own personality like this on Ariel’s door:

And on that note, I think I’ll end my post.

Obsession: Picture Clustering

23 Jul

Sloppy. Feminine. Organized. Inspired. Pretty. Thought-provoking

No, I’m not describing myself…

I’m describing my BIGGEST OBSESSION EVER (bigger than white couches and turquoise).

Picture clustering.

I am moving to Houston in the next couple of weeks 🙂 and therefore I get to decorate a brand new place! I couldn’t be more excited. When I first started thinking of things I know I have to have in my home…this was the first one that came to my mind.

Easy and fun, I definitely believe every house can use picture clustering in some way, shape or form. Like I said above, it can be organized and neat, or crazy and unexpected. You can choose which style is for you based on the location of the pictures in your house.

Just like with the table tops, every now and then I will be updating you with new and interesting ways to use picture clustering in your home. Take a chance organizing your wall art like so:

You could all cray-cray like this and fill up a whole wall! Even though it's busy, I love how each piece is an interesting little trinket on its own.

Inspired by: The Decorista

A few well-placed large pieces of art can create an interesting and colorful wall.

Inspired by: Design Sponge Online

Even above a big media center, you can still use the clustering method. This especially works for extremely tall rooms/ceilings.

Inspired by: Pottery Barn magazine

Neat, organized, and all in a row is a good look too. Especially for those of you OCD peeps out there who can't handle the chaos of other types of picture clustering.

Inspired by: My  Blue Hydrangea

This style still maintains a semblance of order with all of the rectangular frames. But with different sizes and rotations, it is still super eye-catching. I am decided between using this style and above a couch -- maybe both!

Inspired by: Lonny Mag

I love this set. The different levels and textures with the W, random framing and colors is FABULOUS. It is a great way to fill up a big old white empty wall, which most apartments I will be looking at have.

Inspired by: The Decorista

Here is a modern way to use picture clustering in your house. Try darker images or matted on black with thin black frames (like poster frames you can buy at Michael's).

Inspired by: Living Etc.

Here is the original picture that launched my obsession. This is in a family home along a staircase, and I've seen it done on a smaller level in lots of homes over the years. What sets this apart is that it goes all the way up to the ceiling, and looks both purposeful and artful.

Above the mantle is another great place to use pictures and art to add a centerpiece to your room.

Inspired by: Design Sponge Online

Ah this is another one of my favorites. First of all, I'm definitely down for the above the couch placement. Secondly, I love the order of the frames but the colorful different-ness of the prints draws me too. Try getting vintage prints of old magazine covers or play bills.

Inspired by: The Decorista

Don’t you love it now too? Seriously so easy. Just make sure that if you are going for the clean and polished look, that you have a level handy to check the straight-ness of your frames and so that they all line up evenly. If you’re going for the haphazard, eclectic art look, then have at it — no rules!

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