Can’t afford art? Sleep on it and think again.

Our family’s art budget is virtually non-existent and certainly comes after anything and everything for Little Miss, the mortgage, food…and my shoe fund!  However, unless you are going for the full minimalist look (which takes enormous effort and dedication and certainly benefits from a complete lack of children in the house) a well styled home requires well dressed walls.  So, how to do so without breaking the bank?

Sleep on it…literally!  One of my favourite, if a bit unusual, pieces of “art” are decorative pillow cases.  Printed tea towels work well too, as do greeting cards and even pieces of fabric.

To set up a little gallery wall near Little Miss’ teepee I purchased some simple frames from West Elm and DigiDirect (ranging in cost from around $20 to $70) and collated some relatively inexpensive items to use as art. To keep the gallery wall cohesive I opted for pieces with a consistent colour theme – in this case shades of blue.  This did mean searching through the many thousands of photos of Little Miss to find some appropriate ones, but worth it in the end as these adorable shots of her trying banana bread for the first time work perfectly with the rest of the pieces.


The details:

* Top left – three 4 x 6 photos of Little Miss trying banana bread.  Cost – less than $1

* Top right – Little Miss’s first ever finger painting.  Cost – about $10 for paint (with plenty left over)

* Large frame – West Elm standard pillow case. Cost – $34.95

* Bottom left – illustration from a 2013 paper calendar.  Calendars are particularly useful for inexpensive art.  Each year, as you clink your champagne glasses and welcome in a new year, the prices of that year’s calendars suddenly drop.  Most paper calendars have a print or illustration at the top with the month set out with one square per day on the bottom.  Provided the print or illustration does not contain, or can be cut to remove, the month name or any advertising, each calendar will provide at least 12 prints that can be framed as art.    As it is May, I found this illustrated calendar significantly reduced and whilst each of the illustrations are adorable (and may well be used elsewhere in the house), I particularly liked the one chosen as the little girl depicted has strawberry blond hair…just like Little Miss. Cost – less than $4 for the whole calendar!

* Bottom middle – photo of Little Miss and her dad at swimming. Cost – less than $1

* Bottom right – greeting card purchased at The Design Hunter in Bronte.  Cost – $7

Costs exclude the cost of the frame.

A few more ideas…

– another West Elm pillowslip –

Inexpensive art1 Inexpensive art2 Inexpensive art3

– fabric stretched over canvas –

 LM art 8

Here I have used fabric from Edit – check out their pop up store at Shop 1, 92 Queen Street Woollahra from 21 May 2013 for seriously lustworthy prints, available in a variety of fabric types.  Canvases of various sizes are available from Eckersley’s Art & Craft and Riot Art & Crafts.  Art and craft stores will sometimes stretch your fabric over the canvas for a fee, however if you take your time and have a good quality staple gun (and some one to help you) it is possible to obtain a quality result with a DIY.

–  finger paintings – 

LM art 5  LM art 6

Children’s art is very much of personal taste.  That is, if it not by your child you are unlikely to want it in your house (grandparents and very good friends excluded!).  However, if it is something your child has created, I for one, can’t get enough, provided it is displayed correctly.  Add their paintings to a gallery wall (as above) or give your child a canvas to paint on.  Another alternative is to display their art in various sizes in clear acrylic frames – giving their little creation a bit of polish.  Colour control is key and, as my mother keeps reminding me, it is essential to “stop the finger painting before it becomes a brown swirl”!

– frame a favourite piece of music –

LM art 9


The song from the first dance at your wedding or the one that always gets you and the girls on the dance floor.  

If it has visual interest or sentimental value and can be framed or mounted try it as art to brighten up those walls.


DIY Kids Style: Shoes too slippery for your little walker?

My little daughter has tiny feet and decided at 8 months that she was ready to walk around pushing her push walker. This has created a small problem when outdoors – shoes!  The shoes that fit her are designed for newborns so they have absolutely no grip on the sole as they are essentially for decoration.  So…I decided to give these little baby shoes some gripping power.

The supplies:

* A pen

* Scissors

* Grip mat (used to line kitchen drawers) – available at most supermarkets in the home wares aisle, or Howards Storage World for around $8.00

* Craft glue – to begin with I used Tarzans Grip and later I used ordinary craft glue and both worked perfectly well.


* A cute pair of shoes that fit your little one (soft soled shoes are best for tiny feet)



1. Trace the shape of the sole onto the grip mat.  The shape made will be roughly the shape of the sole and can be fixed up later when cutting it out.


2. Cut out the grip mat. Fix up the shape.

3. Glue the grip mat onto the sole of the shoes.  I used a cotton bud to help spread the glue on the grip mat then flipped the grip mat over and pressed it onto the sole of the shoe.  I then flipped the shoe over and pushed the shoe down hard against the table I was working on (with a piece of newspaper to prevent glue from sticking to the table).


4. Wait for the glue to dry & admire you little one wandering around. I left the shoes sole side up while drying to they would not stick to the newspaper.

IMG_7890 IMG_7893

Now…for the rest of Little Miss’ shoe collection!


xx catherine and grace

The details:

* Sole attached – (used to line kitchen drawers), available at most supermarkets in the home wares aisle, or Howards Storage World

* Silver sneakers – Cotton On Kids

A second life for your wedding cake?

Some time ago (almost two years), when I married my husband I had dreams of saving the top layer of our wedding cake to use as a christening cake for our first-born.  We recently christened our daughter (see the styling of her christening party here).  So…did the cake survive?


Our Faye Cahill wedding cake


 – Photo: Carmen from Encapture Photography –


– Photo: Carmen from Encapture Photography –


– Photo: Carmen from Encapture Photography –


YES!  Somewhat surprisingly the cake was absolutely delicious; a little crumbly and hard to keep the pieces neatly cut, however the taste and texture were divine.

Our little girl’s christening cake

Photos for blog015

– Photo: catherine and grace –

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– Photo: catherine and grace –

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– Photo: catherine and grace –


My mother-in-law kindly took care of the top layer of the cake immediately after the wedding and brought it over to us just prior to the christening.  For anyone else who is interested in giving your wedding cake a second life here is how we did it…

1. Choose the right type of cake. Firstly, the top layer of our wedding cake was a dense fruit cake (I can’t be sure how this would work with a chocolate or other type of cake). News just in…Faye Cahill has personally confirmed that the freezing technique will work on other varieties of cake, not just fruit cake! – see her post on Facebook.

2. Wrap in foil & freeze. The cake was wrapped tightly in a couple of layers of aluminium foil and then placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer, the day after the wedding.

3. Defrost. 48 hours prior to the christening, the cake was removed from the freezer and left to slowly defrost in the fridge.

4. Remove from fridge & style. Around 4 hours before the christening was due to commence, I removed the cake from the fridge, took off the foil and styled it up.

5. Ta-da! Enjoy.

xx catherine and grace


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