Before I jump into the blog post, I wanted to explain my limited blogging this summer. As my husband and I age, we have made a conscious commitment to being “lifetime learners.”  He accomplishes this by continuing to consult in the nuclear cleanup field at Hanford, and in a moment of temporary insanity last June, I enrolled in a six-week Geology class at Washington State University, Tri Cities. This was normally a 15-week semester curriculum, condensed into six weeks for the summer session. Needless to say, between daily classes, plus six hours of lab per week, it was intense! But it was also so stimulating to be back in college around much younger students, and learning about something totally new to me. Aided by some good notetaking, extra credit projects, and my husband’s eagerness to accompany me on a couple of field trips, I got an A in the class. I’m not going to lie…that felt pretty good!

With my confidence bolstered, I am taking more classes in the fall, including a Business Management class in wine tasting and food pairings. When my advisor suggested it, I was stunned that you could actually get credits for that, and told her the class “had my name written all over it.” I’m also venturing into the Fine Arts with a studio drawing class, and a History class on migration and immigration that sounds very interesting. I will continue to blog as often as possible, in large part because I miss the creative expression and the connection with all of you. So bear with me as I try to keep my brain active:)

Today I have a super easy DIY that even the “non-crafter” can make. In fact, it is so simple that it would make a nice project to do with the kiddos while they are home these last couple of weeks of summer.

First, a little back story on how I came up with this idea. I found some cool little 3×5 pages with typewrite looking quotes on them at a local home décor store. I think they were on sale for 25 cents each, so I snapped up several, carefully selecting ones that weren’t too wordy. Initially, I thought I would just frame them on a parchment background in a standard frame. But then, while going through my craft drawers, I found a box of silver clips left over from another project, and the lightbulb went off. If I combined the clip with the quote, they could work in a shadow box. So off to the craft store I went!

At our local Craft Warehouse, they had black, brown, and white shadow boxes on sale for $5 each, so I scooped up a few. For the background, I selected some pieces of scrapbook paper that weren’t so busy that they would detract from the wording. The purpose of the craft paper is mainly to provide a finished background for the quote, so any paper would work, including gift wrap.

The list of supplies needed are:

Shadow boxes (mine are square), scrapbook paper, metal clips, quotes on cardstock or other vintage paper, tape or glue stick, and hot glue. That’s it!

The assembly is pretty straight forward. Cut the scrapbook paper to fit your shadowbox frame and attach to the back using two-sided tape or a glue stick. Insert your quote into the clip and attach to the back with a glue gun. Embellish the collage with charms, buttons, keys, or any other ephemera you find laying around. It was fun for me to figure out words to spell with my assortment of Scrabble letters. When you are happy with your collage, assemble the shadowbox using the hardware on the back. And, ta-da….you’re done!

A couple of side notes on putting the boxes together. To create more dimension, I used some double-sided sticky circles that you can attach to any of the papers to bring them away from the surface. This creates a feeling of depth and makes the display more interesting. Second, there are no boundaries as to what you can use for embellishments. House numbers, keys, stamps, charms, old music sheets, etc. For one of the boxes, I used a couple of paint chips that I had from the hardware store. I’m sure Ralph Lauren would be so pleased:) Just be forewarned…when you are working on a collage project, your table will look like a bomb went off on it, but that’s part of the creative process and the fun.

These little shadowboxes are pretty cute and super versatile. The possibilities for personalization are unlimited, just by changing the frame, the scrapbook paper, and the quote or wording. If you don’t happen to run across ready-made quote papers as I did, they are simple to create yourself using interesting fonts on cardstock, parchment, or the paper of your choice. When I decided to use the small padlocks and keys that my mother had given me from old luggage, I looked up a quote that talked about “unlocking the key” and I had found my theme. The clips can be painted a different color (I did some in gold, but rusty or a bright color would be fun, depending on your look) and the entire thing can be geared toward the recipient for a truly custom gift.

This concept could be taken a step further by looking up quotes for a teacher, grandmother, etc. and then using for an end-of-school teacher gift or Mother’s Day present. A wedding invitation, backed with scrapbook paper in the wedding colors would be a meaningful gift, as well. In a guest room, you could print the Wi-Fi password and shadowbox that. Likewise, your family monogram, with an interesting background could make a nice addition to a collage wall.

By now, I’m sure you get the idea. For a very small investment, you can create art for your home, inspirational words for your guests, or a thoughtful gift, all with a minimal investment. There is just something about putting something under glass that takes it to another level. So, come on… It’s time to get shadowboxing!!

Good tidings,


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