A few months ago, I proved myself to be ridiculous by commissioning a portrait of my dog. You know, as if she were the Vice President or something. The Vice President of Licking the Cabinets or of Chewing the Futon Arm. Actually, she's probably the President of those things.

Anyway, we had this awesome custom painting, and we prominently displayed it by propping it up against some books on the mantelpiece. That's not exactly how they put up portraits at the National Gallery, but it worked okay. I traced an outline of the canvas on a sheet of paper and cut it out so that I could look for a frame that was the right size. Apparently, 9 x 12 is a weird size, or at least the citizens of Raleigh are not buying frames of that size and then taking them to thrift stores.

One night, Josh said that the mantel was no longer an appropriate place for the portrait. Actually, what he did was forcefully declare that he was done with the small diving helmet, also on the mantel. I said good for him, because I personally like that small diving helmet very much, so it wasn't leaving. Then he made various suggestions for other ways to use the diving helmet, such as sticking it on a teddy bear, using it as an aquarium, or turning it into a nightlight. However, it turned out that when he moved the portrait from partially obstructing the diving helmet, he decided he liked helmet again.

It's very difficult to decorate your home with a person who says one thing and means another. Actually, this makes a lot of things difficult.

Anyway, the solution was to move the portrait. And since the mantel had always only been a temporary home, that made a lot more sense than buying a fish we did not want so that we could put it in a diving helmet that probably wasn't water-tight anyway (the nightlight idea has potential, though).

So I dug up a frame with an old photo in it that one of us picked up at a yard sale. We took the frame, wrapped a piece of a burlap sack around the backing cardboard and mounted the portrait on top of that. Because when you are a hoarder saver, you always have extra frames and burlap sacks lying around. Also, duct tape. There is a lot of duct tape involved in this frame, but we'll just make that our little secret, m'kay?

We are both thrilled with how it turned out. I wasn't sure about the frame itself, because it's cheap and old, but the gold stripe matches the burlap, which matches the gold tones in the painting. The fabric creates a great texture, which is much more interesting than traditional paper matting, which we had considered before. Also, the dinged-up frame plus the burlap creates a nice folk art vibe, which suits us just fine.

We hung it in the entryway, right above a little reproduction of a mosaic in Pompeii that says Cave Canem, which roughly means "Beware of Dog." Hopefully any burglars that come in will be able to read Latin. I like that it's in a spot where I will see it everyday, but it's not so prominent that I look like an insane person who commissions a portrait of her dog. That'll be our little secret, too.

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