Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New Art, Part 3

All this sunshine we've been having makes me want to DO THINGS!! There is nothing like a beautiful day to motivate me. With all that Vitamin D & optimism, I finally got my rear in gear and set about getting this little project started (and finished!). I was largely inspired by this blog post I read several months ago, and knew exactly which photo I wanted to use, and where it was going to go. Luckily, my mom had an original of this photo of my Gran on the beach at English Bay, so I brought it home with me after Christmas. 


I love this photo! I love the bathing suit, the striped shoes, the fact that Gran is on English Bay in Vancouver. (At least I think that's where she is. Seems plausible since as a young woman she did live in Vancouver, and in her memoirs wrote that English Bay was where she learned to swim.) I like to imagine that Gran was with a group of friends, maybe her sisters & cousins, and that they were having a beautiful afternoon on a sunny beach. I can just imagine that there was laughter & playing, a picnic lunch, jokes told, water splashed. Unfortunately, the photo was a bit worse for wear. Not quite enlargement quality. Well, that didn't stop me! I scanned the photo, and with the help of some free photo editing software (Photoscape), was able to touch up the colour a bit, and mostly fix the creases. I straightened it a bit too. I still wanted it to look like an old black & white photo, so I didn't worry too much about getting everything perfect.

After my fake  photo shopping job

So, great. I had my photo ready. Next, I put it on a jump drive and went to Staples. Oh wait, first I got a frame. And before that I measured my wall space. Yesterday I took a little trip to Ikea with a friend (you have to make that trip worth it, so bring a friend!) and purchased a Ribba frame. I tried to keep in mind that with large format printing, the widest you can get (for relatively inexpensive) is 36". Drafting school coming in handy right there! I opted for this one. The price was right at $20, so I was sold. 

At Staples, I just asked to get my photo enlarged to 20" wide & 30" tall (just over the dimensions of my frame), and got it printed on the cheap(er) black & white large format printer. You could also get a glossy poster made, but I wasn't sure how the quality would be since the original photo was only 3" x 4.5". My poster size print only cost $5.56, and it looks great! 

Next, I had to trim it down a bit. (Because Ikea doesn't make normal sized frames for standard North American photo sizes. Metric!) I got out my self-healing cutting mat, exact-o knife and metal ruler and got to work. I used the paper insert thing from the frame as a template to know how much to cut down my print.

Now time to hang it up. I use a handy trick to hang frames: I make a paper template of the frame, marking the location of the wire or hanging ring on the paper. Then, tape the paper up where you want, make any adjustments to location, and use a nail to poke through the hanging mark to make a small mark on the wall behind. Pull the paper off and hammer in your hook/nail, and your picture hangs in the perfect spot! (I think that makes sense...I took no photos of this process.) 

Anyway, here's what it looks like done:

And to give you some context as to where I hung it up:

I quite like it. I realize that Dan might not want to see a photo of my Gran on the beach everyday, but come on, she was a babe!! And I did talk about this project for a few months, so I'm sure he's used to the idea by now! I thought the frame I bought was quite large - guess I could have gone bigger. Oh well, I think once my plan/dream of one day having a stairwell photo gallery takes more shape, the seemingly wonky scale won't be so obvious. So that brings the frame count in this area to 6. Only another 2 1/2 walls left to fill. Small steps, people, small steps.

P.S. For any cousins/aunts of mine reading this, if you'd like a copy of the touched up photo, let me know and I'll email it over!


  1. I was just thinking, "Wonder what Dan thinks about seeing Gran every day coming down the stairs!!!" Love it! What a great idea and she really was a babe! Although when I look at that picture, all I see is Auntie Lynda! And the aunties all blended together. Great job...I have often thought about what to do with my black and whites...this picture, the one of Boppa standing with his hands in his pockets and some older colour pictures of the aunties. Where to hang? How to group? What colour of frames? Matching or not? I am not good at this!

    1. that's funny - I see Hillary!! I guess we've always known though that Hillary looks like Auntie Lynda sometimes, and that they both look like Gran did!
      My "theme" in the stairwell is family, and I've decided to use only black or white frames. Gives some continuity, I hope!

  2. Hillary5:24 PM

    Love this! Good job on the fixing of the photo. You are such an all star.

  3. Anonymous5:30 PM

    oh Erica, how positively darling and unique! I love the photo and everything you say about it is completely correct! One thing you may not know is that the fellow that you see peeking at Gran is her brother Frank! And now you know.....the rest of the story!
    I love it and you too.
    auntie rose
    ps, you certainly mended that picture beautifully.

    1. Hmm, I was wondering who the dude was! Thanks for telling me!

  4. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Very nice Erica. As usual, you did a great job with Gran's photo of long ago.
    Love mom

  5. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Yup, I saw Auntie Lynda right away as well. That is such a cool idea. I would love it if you would email me the pic.