Making Magazine Art

Just had to share the latest little addition to our desk. While browsing Real Simple magazine, I was struck by one of their “inspirational quotes”- so struck that I actually tore it out. Then I found an old frame leftover from John’s college years in our “decor store” (a kitchen cabinet where we store lots of vases, frames, candles, and other home accents for easy rotation whenever the mood strikes- it’s like shopping at home) and popped the magazine cut-out inside:


Isn’t that a sweet little quote? I love the peaceful image and the simple sentiment so much. And now it’ll serve as a daily reminder that life is good. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and (most importantly) each other. It’s always nice to remember that we don’t need an abundance of stuff to make us happy. You know what they say: mo money, mo problems. And best of all this little smile-inducing work of desk art was absolutely free. Further proof that money doesn’t buy happiness.


UPDATE: Don’t have any issues of Real Simple hanging around? You can download their free Daily Thought Wallpapers for your computer’s desktop here. They’ve even got one for this “Happiness” quote that we love, but a heads up that the photo’s different for some reason. Enjoy!


  1. says

    It’s so funny how a really (REALLY) bad recession can make people get back to what’s really important. Seems like being frugal is “cool” again which is great. We couldn’t, morally, continue to live so excessively.

    Great post! I want to get the issue so I can do the same thing!

  2. Lori says

    Ditto on the question of the canisters on your desk. Awesome! Love the quote too. Daily, I am glad that I was raised by frugal parents. When things get tight, I know what to do!

  3. says

    Cute ideas! BTW, in previous pictures, it’s looked like your fireplace is painted. Did you do that yourself? I checked your new “How To” tab for tips, but didn’t see anything. We have a horrid old yucky stone fireplace that we want to paint to tide us over (till we have time and money to completely rip the stone out and reface the whole thing). Anyway, hoping you have the instructions somewhere! Thx!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Sarah,

      As for the fireplace painting project, we’ve been meaning to add an easy tutorial to our how-to page. Thanks for the reminder. It’s actually super simple- as in, about two steps. First you should clean your bricks of any soot or crud (a moist rag should do the trick). Then when they’re dry, just apply any interior latex paint (glossy or flat, you decide) and get ready to put on about three coats and go through a lot more paint than you’d expect for such a small area (brick is super porous, it’ll “drink” your paint right up). You’ll want to use a nappy roller meant for textured surfaces and a brush to get into all the grout cracks that your roller might not be able to access. That’s it. No primer is necessary unless your bricks are coated with black soot that you can’t remove and worry that it’ll bleed through the paint (or sealed with some sort of gloss which is super rare). But in most cases brick is more than happy to suck up some paint and call it a day. Both of our fireplaces benefited from being painted. And they each took less than an afternoon. Happy painting!


  4. Christa says

    I promptly downloaded one of these backgrounds. Thanks for sharing!

    I cut out my “motto” from a page-a-day calendar years ago and it’s been taped to my monitor at work ever since. It says “Yoo-hoo! Don’t get too small. Don’t forget to nurture more of yourself.” It reminds me to try new things and grow my interests.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey everyone,

      As for the specific Real Simple issue that we found the quote, we must admit that we’re a little foggy (we recycle ours once we’re done by dropping them off at a local bookstore so they’re no longer around for us to double check). Our best guess would be the January one, but who knows! It could even be from a mailer brochure that we get sometimes (it’s a few pages long with their “best-of” tips and stuff). The good news is that John updated this post with a link to Real Simple’s website where they have a bunch of their quotes (including our favorite one above) along with some pretty images that can work as a screensaver or even be printed out for a bulletin board of a frame that you happen to have handy. Hope it helps!

      Oh and as for where we snagged the white metal canisters… why Ikea of course! We actually use them to store Burger’s food and his treats (thanks to the rubber air-tight seal and the easy accessibility). Since our desk is in the corner of the den (right near his food and water bowl) it’s so much easier than storing those things in a kitchen cabinet or drawer. Gotta love some sleek white storage- and all that added convenience- for something like $8 a pop. And dropping a glass measuring scoop into the food canister (the bigger one) makes doling out the perfect amount of food super easy (no picking up the canister and dumping food all over the place). Happy hunting!


  5. Juliet says

    Hi Sherry and John,

    Can you tell us more about magazine recycling? I’m a bit of a magazine junkie and I’m good about recycling them with my regular recycling. But, if you’re going to the trouble of taking them to a local bookstore, I’m guessing there’s a good reason. If I haven’t butchered my copies too much, I try to take them with me to doctor’s appointments and every once in a while I take them to the library. But most of mine have pages torn out.

    Would love to know more…

    Thanks, Juliet

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Juliet,

      We actually discovered this by accident, but on a recent trip to a local bookstore in Richmond (called Tumbleweeds- such a cute place), we noticed they had a few bins of magazines that said “take three free.” Well needless to say I thought this was the best thing since sliced bread since I’m a total magazine lover, so I carefully selected my favorite three from the bin and took them to the counter to make sure I read the sign correctly. The woman said that her friends started dropping off their magazines for her to have around the store and she quickly amassed such a collection that she liked the idea of giving them away to a good home. This prompted me to mention that I always have a healthy stack of magazines in my recycling bin that I would be happy to donate as well and she happily accepted my offer.

      Now I’m in and out of Tumbleweeds all the time dropping off old mags and picking up a few new ones to flip through and bring right back with my next stack of donations. It’s like clockwork, and the best part is that not only are my magazines getting read by more people before they hit the recycling bin, I also get a lot more inspiration thanks to the extra reading material that’s always at my fingertips. I definitely recommend checking with a local book store if they’d be interested in your old magazines (even if a page or two is removed, they don’t seem to mind since they’re giving them away and not selling them).

      And while we’re on the subject of something for nothing, many Starbucks are now offering up their old coffee grounds for free since they make great fertilizer so be sure to check into that as well. Your plants will thank you!


  6. says

    This is such a great idea, Sherry! I have about a dozen of these RS pages I’ve torn out b/c I just loved their quotes and related pictures. I may have to do this, too–thanks!

  7. Claudia Bravo says

    Thanks for sharing the quote! It reminded me of one of my all time favorite quotes from the book “Tuesdays With Morrie.” For those who have not read it, it’s a quick read but with yet an amazing book that reminds you to live life to the fullest! Here is a conversation (the quote/quotes I love) between the two main characters in the book the book:

    “Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.”
    “A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.”
    “Which side wins?”
    “Love wins. Love always wins.”
    -Tuesdays with Morrie


  8. melissa liddle says

    I just discovered your website by accident last night. I usually go to bed around 9 pm, but I had so much fun looking at your before and after pictures I was up until after 2 am. Loved it!!!! Hope I can copy some of your great ideas in a foreclosure house we are purchasing for our college student children to live in. Looking forward to more ideas.

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