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Wilton Mom Tackles Paper Overflow

If you don’t have a place to organize that mess of sports schedules, photos and invites that pours into your house like a river in full flood, check out Marnie Ruane’s memento boards . They’ll keep your clutter visible but tidy.

Marnie, a Wilton mom, was living and working in New York when she decided to look at ways to start a home-based business. “I always loved art,” she says. “I studied art history in college but for some reason ended up working in a bank.” She signed up for an art class and her creative urges bloomed. After learning how to paint faux finishes Marnie started painting and selling flowerpots. Next she painted the frames on notice boards to look like malachite and onyx, dressing up the cork with wallpaper and ribbon. Before long, she was driving up and down the East Coast, selling at all the big craft shows.

“I got tired of the mess from the painting,” Marnie says. She started making her own boards using fabric and wallpaper. “I love, love, LOVE fabric,” she says. And she has a thing about ribbons. Marnie's boards have a sturdy base wrapped in batting and a pretty fabric. She finishes the back of the board with coordinating wallpaper and decorates the front with a grosgrain ribbon lattice design. “You can tuck photos and notes under the ribbon,” she says. “No need to use thumbtacks.”

What Marnie loves about her craft is that it’s constantly evolving. Looking at a finished memento board one day she realized that if she divided it into quarters she could make four individual picture frames. Her easel-back photo frames are now best sellers, especially to her growing network of wholesalers. “I have a large custom business, too,” Marnie says. “Customers can send me their own fabric for boards or frames, and I can monogram the ribbon.”

Hot items in Wilton and New Canaan are the picture frames with 2011 monogrammed in one corner. You can find them at Sea Beans in Wilton Center and Milestones in New Canaan, or directly from Marnie Ruane .

Is anyone still using their refrigerator door to store this clutter? I'd love to hear from you. Email me at fpearson@mainstreetconnect.us.

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