We have a fireplace, set in a wall of brick veneer. I like the brick, but it sucks up all the light at that end of the room...and the room is painted to match it, so all other walls suck up light too. There is no mantel. I've been thinking for a while about finding something light-giving and lightweight to hang over the fireplace, that doesn't involve drilling into the brick.
I used to own lots of craft books, but at the moment we only have one. In this book is a project that uses coarse sandpaper to transfer crayon designs to fabric in a sort of pointillist texture: draw a reversed image on the sandpaper with crayon, place fabric and a press cloth over it, and iron on high.
For fabric, I recently picked up a lot of smaller pieces of white fabric at the church craft supplies giveaway. A couple of the children colored pieces of sandpaper, and I colored several more.
With ironing, some brands and colors of crayons transferred more thoroughly than others, and many were light to the point of being washed out; not necessarily a problem in such a dark room. I used string to hang the pieces of fabric across the brick, in a Soulemama sort of banner, from cup hooks that I set into the wood trim. I made it so that I can easily string up something different later.
In other news, we've been planning next season's gardening. Last year, we didn't know what perennials were going to come up in the flower beds, and we had almost no money to work with. We bought a few packets of vegetable seeds, did some indoor seed starting, and for the rest just planted old seeds from our stash (many of which didn't sprout). In a couple of places I "planted" by selective weeding: choose a couple of the friendlier types of weeds (purslane, for example) to keep, and pull up the rest. This year we have a better idea of where we are starting from, and can throw a very modest amount of money into plants and seeds and equipment. I have plans to build or buy myself a hoe. We have a couple of hoes, but I think I need one just like the one Grandma had. For flowers, I am heavily favoring perennials or self-seeding annuals, to minimize long-term seed costs.