The Learner Observer

Good morning readers!!

As you read this, I am getting ready to land in beeeeeeautiful London, England! Get ready for picture-overload on Instagram VERY soon! Shockingly, I did think to write a couple of blog posts to schedule while we’re gone, so I’m not completely ignoring you and the blog because I love you too much! K let’s get going on today’s post…

Every now and then I get these crazy ideas in my head and I just start picking things up, taking out paint, and getting messy with stuff that has been sitting around the house for ages.

That is the story of this frame.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s how it all started. Nothing to write home about, right? Just a simple peachy-coloured frame that I picked up for 50% off at the local Goodwill. It was $2! I couldn’t pass it up because the opportunities were endless here! The particle board is leftover from the chalkboard project last year, so it cost nothing – but if you need to get your hands on some, a large sheet of this stuff is under $5, and large enough to make about 4 of these! Oh and the map? That was a Junction Flea find, so yes… this map has been sitting idle at the house for almost 8 months! I got it with some antique books for $5. It’s a beautiful little map, and to be honest, I kind of wanted to frame the back of it too. It had some gorgeous 50’s style illustrations and some quirky France facts. I should have taken a picture!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe map magically fit onto the particle board, so I promptly taped it on (rather than glue, because I might want to remove it one day). 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe particle board magically fit behind the frame without me having to do any cutting, so I promptly nailed it on. I had some hanging hardware leftover, also from the chalkboard, so I also nailed that on, eyeballing the middle of the frame. 

I loved the frame, but not that colour. It’s sooooo peach! So, of course I had to paint it, but not before taking a Sharpie to it first! See, my idea was to emphasize the detailing on the frame with the black, then paint it over with the white paint and ta-daa!!!  Magic, right? Ummmm… not exactly…


Frame makeover with a Sharpie and paintThe black now looked blue… and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Also, in case you’re wondering, yes I did paint with paper towel. Why mess up a brush when you can just rub paint on with paper? That’s what I always say…

So here’s a detail shot of how my Sharpie and paint project turned out:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt definitely grew on me, and I like the quirky, weird pattern on the frame. It’s a little unusual and matches the blues on the map, so I’m good with that! How do you feel about my last-minute, impromptu painted frame, readers? Is it crazy or awesome?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis lovely yellow wall is not where this map will live forever. I happened to work on a related project that same day and this map now has a much lovelier home. Stay tuned to find out where it’s gone!

Oh, and it wasn’t intentional that I framed a map of France when I happen to be travelling to France this week… Like I said, this frame has been in my house for months! Even before we booked our trip to Paris! Maybe I should buy more maps of different countries and leave them around the house… it might mean I get to travel there, right? It’s worth a shot…

I hope you’re following our adventures along with our hashtag #MurraysInEurope!


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  1. Reply

    Emily @ Two Purple Couches

    April 8, 2014

    I would never have guessed you created this look with a Sharpie! Total genius idea (or happy accident) on your part! Have an amazing trip!! I long to go to London, so I will definitely be living vicariously through you!!!

    • Reply


      April 28, 2014

      Aww shucks! Thank you!!!! It was definitely a happy accident!

  2. Reply

    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    April 9, 2014

    Oh my goodness. You are a genius. Seriously, I would have never guessed that you worked that wonder with a SHARPIE except that you showed me the play-by-play. (I actually LOVE that it turned more blue…now it looks like paint!) Brava, friend. And I hope you are lovin’ life in London right now. How can you NOT be?

    • Reply


      April 28, 2014

      I also love that it’s a little blue! It makes more sense with the map and the whole wall in general, now that it’s finally on the gallery wall! Thanks for the compliments, my friend!

  3. Reply

    Raven Corwin, aka Meggie

    April 20, 2014

    I was in Target last evening and found this frame that looked a bit like yours. Had my hubs take a photo with his phone so I could share it with you (pinned it; hope you don’t mind the shout out for your frame tutorial). :)

    • Reply


      April 28, 2014

      Oh. My. Goodness. You are incredible! And so is your husband for taking the picture!!! Thanks for the shoutout and for being so darn thoughtful!!!!!

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