Thursday, February 2, 2012

Displaying Treasures

Over the years our inn has become a repository for all kinds of treasures. Some were made especially for us. Some were chosen to go with the “thyme” theme or the teapot collection. But others were items that were special to the giver, usually from their family, and things they thought our other guests might enjoy. These items create the history of this house...a history that is a palpable presence to me as I move through the rooms.  It is part of the reason this new building has such a warm feel.

We have come up with some fun and creative (and inexpensive) ways to showcase these gifts. Future examples will also be under the label of "Displaying Treasures." Check back often for more ideas.

My first challenge was a collection of old keys that a friend had saved since he was a child.  They came from his grandmother’s attic and arrived to me in an old box. It took some time to decide how to display them until I found the spot where they would hang – a nice long space in a room accented with black & white checks. I found a great long unfinished wood frame at the craft store (half price) and painted it the same black as the dresser.

Next, I cut a piece of form board to fit into the frame (slightly smaller to allow for fabric wrapping), cut a piece of batting the size of the foam board and adhered the two with glue stick . I had a great old piece of loose woven, unbleached cotton which I cut a few inches wider on all sides than the board so I could gently stretch it over the batting and around the back.  I used wide packing tape to secure it to the back side of the foam board. 

After I had the fabric framed and secured into place, I spent some time playing with the arrangement of the keys until I came up with a design I liked. I used a clear silicone adhesive to hold the keys to the fabric.  It has been hanging for 14 years and only one key has needed reattaching.

If you want to finish it so it looks professionally done, take brown craft paper and glue it to the wood on the back side. When the glue has dried, spritz the paper lightly with water and then dry with a hairdryer.  This causes the brown paper to tighten up against the back. Attach your choice of picture hanger to the frame and to the wall and you are set.

This is a great way for displaying non-delicate items that do not need the protection of a glass cover. You could choose stones, seashells, corks or whatever you have stored away in a box.  Bring it out, display it and enjoy it.

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