Just before last weekend's Designer Tour of Homes in Alexandria, we were scrambling to complete our sun porch makeover. If you'll recall, one of the items we were working on was acquiring and hanging four new frames, two on either side of the white hutch.

While we completed the purchase and hanging of the frames a little over a week before the tour, we did so keeping the stock photo that came with the frames. Though I'm sure the girl in the stock photo would be disappointed to hear that she unfortunately wasn't going to be staying for the home tour, though we didn't have anything on hand to immediately use as a replacement. While I'm contemplating framing maps from our favorite travel destinations or as framing food photos from our favorite trips, I needed something more urgently.

Inspired by the season, I started thinking about how to put a holiday twist on artwork that I could create to hang in the frames just during the month of December. When I think of Christmas, one of the first things that pops into my mind are the various carols and songs that we all learned when we were young. Oh Holy Night, The Christmas Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and Silver Bells are all iconic in their melodies and lyrics, and they all sit at the forefront of my mind when I think of my childhood. Then the light bulb went on -- what if I wrote out some of the lyrics to four of my favorite carols? This would not only give us time to get permanent items for the frames, but it would put something festive and fun in the space for the home tour.

On the Sunday before the tour when Sarah, our home tour designer, and I were decorating the house, I talked to her a bit about my idea. As luck would have it, Sarah is actually a skilled  calligraphist, and offered to tackle this project. Knowing how much we had to do in the next week preparing for the tour, as well as how gorgeous her handwriting is, I jumped at her offer.

Midway through the week, Sarah sent us a photo of some of the work she was doing on the first frame's art. All I could say was, "Wow!" Looking at the photo made me so excited to see it in person and hang it in our sun porch. When she arrived the day before the tour to help us finish up all of our work, she did so with carol calligraphy prints in hand. When she gave them to me I glanced them over and was totally smitten.

They were perfect. White writing on black paper, varying size words, a whimsical arrangement, and classic lyrics from wonderful songs...they were just what I hoped they could be. Sarah did an absolutely beautiful job and I'm so happy she offered her talented hand in creating them.

Next, we set out to put the artwork in the frames. They were made on 8"x10" paper, which worked perfectly for the frames I had purchased. 

After a quick cleaning, I used a little scotch tape to adhere the paper squarely in their correct locations, then popped the backing onto the frames for rehanging. They were absolutely lovely and perfect for the space.

Best of all, it was in place and done in time for everyone to enjoy on the home tour.

Not only did I love how it all turned out, but now I'm pretty sure I'm going to take a calligraphy class or two so that I can learn this style. There's almost nothing as nice as a beautifully lettered and handmade item.

The reaction that we received was overwhelmingly positive. The people on the tour who saw the carol prints loved them. (Sarah actually received a number of requests from people to have a set made for their homes, so she set up an Etsy shop to sell them to people this holiday season.) 

This project is a fun and simple way to turn an everyday item in your home into a festive and fun holiday accessory. Don't have any calligraphy skills yourself? Not to worry. This look can be achieved using many styles of handwriting or even by playing around with fun fonts on your computer. Whichever lettering style you choose, this project is a simple homemade way to spread a little holiday cheer. 

If you decide to give this a try, please take a few photos and send them our way. I'd love to see how they look in other homes.

What do you think? Is this a great way to punch up your holiday style? Do you think it's something you'd try? Do you have a great idea for filing frames with temporary items for the holidays or other occasions? I'd love to hear all your great ideas.

Comments 8


Laura F
12/10/2012 at 11:04 AM
Really, really love the look of this!
Thanks, Laura! Us too. :-) I really like how it layers in subtle holiday decorating without being too over the top.
12/10/2012 at 11:34 AM
They are beautiful! I've considered the idea before, but I'm never together enough to make it happen.
You can do it, Kate! If time is limited, go easy on yourself and use the computer font method or a really simple design. :-)
12/10/2012 at 11:42 AM
I did some carol themed art on the weekend as well!
That's fantastic! Great minds think alike? ;-)
12/13/2012 at 4:04 PM
Hi Wendy! I just found your site from a comment you left on YHL. I love these! They're absolutely beautiful and surprisingly easy! I definitely plan on making these this weekend. I can't wait to poke around the rest of your site :)
Hi Michelle, and welcome! We're so glad you found us through YHL and that you're a fan of this project. You'll have to let us know how yours turn out! :-) Happy holidays!
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