I am so excited!  I was invited by some super creative, crafty and talented bloggers to participate in this month’s Top Shelf Clearance Challenge!  Links to all their blogs are listed at the bottom of this post.

The rules are as follows.  Buy at least one clearance item for $15 or less.  Take a photo of the clearance area and the clearance sticker(s).  Then take the item(s) and turn them into something better.  This months theme was A Piece of the Heart, which I was told I could interpret any way I pleased.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won’t cost you a penny more)!

Here is what I came up with for the Top Shelf Clearance…

I have been eyeing these cute Photo Heart Maps on Etsy and thought I’d try to make one for myself.  I mean how appropriate are these for this challenge and for Valentine’s Day?

I went to several stores searching for the perfect frame with no luck.  I hit the jackpot at my last stop, Hobby Lobby, where I picked up this frame for $8.57.  It was originally marked $85.70!  What?  $85.70 for a frame?  That seemed crazy.  Anyway, I bought it because it was perfect for my needs and was way under the $15 mark.  It is a pretty simple frame.  As you can see there is no glass and no back, but the wood is very nice quality.  It is also a weird, non standard size – 9 1/4 – 14.  These things didn’t matter to me though. I knew I could fix it up and would be perfect for what I pictured in my head.

While at Hobby Lobby I also picked up this thick, nice quality 16×20 art board for $4.49.  I planned to cut it down to fit the frame and I wanted a little extra in case I screwed it up.

Top Shelf Clearance Challenge

Step 1 in the Top Shelf Clearance Challenge…

I began by searching on google maps for places that meant something to my husband and I.  Where we met (Braintree, MA), where he proposed (Chatham, MA) and where we got married (Newport, RI).  I printed out each map on some thick paper we had in our office closet and then used our paper cutter to cut them down to size.  Next, I cut them into heart shapes.  (I made the perfect heart shape by folding a piece of paper in half and then cutting a half heart shape.  Unfold it, and viola, you get the perfect heart shape.)  To cut the maps I simply placed the heart on top of the map and held it in place while I cut.  Easy peasy.

top shelf clearance challenge

Cutting my maps…

top shelf clearance challenge

My maps and the heart I cut…

top shelf clearance challenge

Closer look at my heart…

Step 2 in the Top Shelf Clearance Challenge…

I cut the art board down to size using an exacto knife and started playing around with different layouts for my maps.  I settled on the layout below.

Top Shelf Clearance Challenge

Step 3 in the Top Shelf Clearance Challenge…

I wanted to add phrases and dates under each map.  Hello, 7-31-99 (for when we met), Will you? 9-16-04 (for when he proposed – on my birthday, by the way), and I do! 7-22-05 (for when we got married).  We’ve been married a long time! Almost 14 years.  Time flies.  And this year will mark 20 years together.  Wow!

I printed out the words and dates using a font that I liked, then I traced the words onto the art board.  To do this I simply flipped the paper over, traced the words, then flipped them back over and placed the paper on the art board making sure they were lined up where I wanted them, and traced again.  The first set of letters, I didn’t trace the words but rather scribbled over the entire phrase (see pic below).  I don’t recommend doing this.  It ended up making scribble indentation marks on the art board.  You can’t really see them, unless you look close, but I found just tracing the letters looked much better.  Afterwards I went over the letters with my pencil to fill in any spots I may have missed.  They aren’t perfect but look better than me trying to print letters myself.  I surely would have messed them up.

By the way….No, we didn’t meet at the cemetery although it sort of appears that way. LOL.  I used to work near this cemetery and that is where we met.  See below….

Step 4 in the Top Shelf Clearance Challenge…

Once the letters looked decent (the above picture is before I prettied them up even more) I used this double sided tape I found in our office to stick the hearts on the art board.  I wanted them to pop off the paper a bit.

Step 5 in the Top Shelf Clearance Challenge…

And the last thing I did was tape the art board to the frame using duck tape.  It ain’t pretty, but it does the trick!

And here it is all finished and hanging in my house…

I tried it out in several different places to see where it would end up.

It may not be as nice as the ones on Etsy, but not half bad for $8.47!  This would make a great anniversary gift, bridal shower gift, or for a wedding gift.

After trying to several places in my house, I settled on this spot on our master bedroom.

Please check out all the other fabulous ladies who also participated in this challenge.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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