Thursday, February 16, 2012

gallery wall.

When we started decorating our house, I knew I wanted a gallery wall. I love having photos of family, friends, travel, pets, etc. out. Ideally I'd love one that extended down the length of a long hallway.


But alas, our house does not have such a hallway.  What we do have, however, is a great blank wall at the end of our hall.

Originally we thought we'd put a great piece of art here, or one large photo. Then we realized that our hall linen closet would always be blocking half of the piece. Not an ideal situation for art.

Then we thought, this would be great for a gallery wall. If the cabinet covered parts of some of the frames, it would be ok. I was so excited to have a spot for the frames, and started planning.

There are so many different ways to do a gallery wall. Which is fun! There is the mis-matched frame look,

Southern Accents

the same color frame, but different frame look,

Coastal Living

same frames, but random placing,

And so on and so forth.

But, I've always had a special place in my heart for a same frame color, same type, even around the edges gallery wall. To me, it reads less chaos. It's my cup o tea- and was actually fitting for our small space. If we had the longer wall, I may have gone with a different option.

My frame of choice was Pottery Barn's wood gallery frames. I love the basic frame and chunky mat, but also chose it since I had a collection already. In our old place, we had this mini gallery wall:

So I only needed a few more to get this wall complete.

Once I had my frames (a total of 14 in various sizes) I placed them all on the floor and tried a few arrangements. My strategy was to make the outside edge a rectangle, and to minimize the spacing between the frames.  My first design looked like this-

Not bad, but I wasn't 100% loving it. I did a few frame switcheroos, and came up with this.  I really liked it, and Ryan agreed.

So we went with it. Next step I made same sized templates of each frame out of newspaper and scrap paper I had lying around.

The goal here is so I could put them on on the wall to make sure it fit the space ok, and looked right.

And it did, or so we thought so! Then we went to town hanging it up. It was a pain. But, turned out to be worth it.  I hung up a few frames, and Ryan did the others.  We both have different methods. I hate his way, and he hates mine. His involves a lot of pencil markings.  But what I do is I take the template (doesn't have to be same size of the frame at this point, just enough to cover the top of frame and hanging apparatus), and lay it on the back of the frame. Tape it so it won't budge, and have a piece of tape, sticky side facing out.

Then take a pencil or pen, and puncture a hole as to where the nail should go.

Then take the picture, with the secure template, and hold it up to where you want it to be. Level it off, and space it out accordingly.

Then push hard on the tape facing the wall, and peel up the tape on either side. (If a large frame, call in for assistance.) As long as you haven't moved the paper (it can move up and down- if so, just start this step over) you have the exact location where the nail needs to go.

Now, it doesn't guarantee good nail hammering- so on occasion I had to repeat. But overall I found it works out well.

After we each conquered a few frames, we had the darn thing up!

I then made a Costco photo order, filled up the frames, and we were done!

Both happy to check this off our 'to-do' list!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

barbie girl.

I wish I lived in London. And I wish I had an extra £100.

So I could own this Barbie and Ken Kate and William

Y'all know how much I love the Royal Wedding. So if anyone is headed to the UK, please get one set for me!

pancake day.

This basically sums up yesterday. I was a lucky girl and had pancakes. Twice.

I woke up to pretty roses, a latte made with love, and blueberry pancakes!

After a day of work, we relaxed to a full homemade breakfast dinner, mimosas and Glee. (I also threw Dance Moms in there, but Ryan decided he had to "work on something" at that point.)

It was a great low-key night filled with all the things I love!

Oh- and while I don't have it yet, Ryan is in the process of getting my pearl I picked up in Japan (Japan, Disney World)

to be made into this cute necklace!


Can't wait!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 03, 2012

the amandas.

Last night I donated blood, which then gives me an excuse to chill on the couch for the evening.  With nothing promising on my DVR, I proceeded to channel surf (not something I do too often). Glad I did, because I stumbled on a little gem called 'The Amandas' on Style.


It's about a professional organizer and her team. The leading lady's name is Amanda. And she calls her employees "Amandas" as well. Once you get over that, the show is splendid if you love a good container, matching hangers, and a power-purge.

They are a little fancy-pants as they wear high heels and dresses as they get to work, but they get the job done. Going into people's homes and cleaning up their clutter is my cup-o-tea. I'd love to get paid to do her job!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

upgrading our headboard.

I showed y'all our plan for the decor of our master bedroom eons ago.  To refresh- I want we want an upholstered headboard, chunky side tables and chunky lamps. Something like this:

Southern Living

I even want a white duvet.  For our room we are going for clean, sophisticated, relaxing.  You with me?

Alright.  So I am terrible at progress shots, and I do have update photos regarding our new nightstands, and the new super cute lamps.  So stay tuned. But we're talking headboards today.

For our anniversary, Ryan selected a super cute necklace for me. He also said I could order the headboard I've been dreaming about.  Well, enter Elliot, and that extra gift was on hold for a bit.

But that's ok, because I wasn't not 100% sure of what path I wanted to go.  Since then,  I've done a lot of research- and finally selected the winner.

If cost were not an issue (and space), I would but the Colette Bed from Crate and Barrel.  Hands down my favorite bed of all time.

But at $1,800- it's about $1,000 too much. Even the thought of saving up for the bed over time doesn't seem smart, because let's face it- my tastes will change, and I don't want to be stuck with this bed for the rest of my life because I spent an arm and a leg on it.

I looked at a few other headboard + frame options. Macy's had the Berkley bed- and while priced better, it was still too much, and looked "chunky" to me. I also didn't like their fabric options (all suede).

As Ryan and I were looking at upholstered bed options (vs. just headboards) we realized that we weren't big fans of the upholstered bed railings. We liked the look of just a bed skirt + upholstered headboard. This was a nice realization as it saved cost, and it was nice to both be on the same page.

So headboard only it was- but there were many options down this avenue too. Problem was, many of them didn't extend all the way to the floor. The upholstered portion would stop around the mattress.  Even though once the bed was made, and pillows fluffed it is hard to tell. But it was something I didn't really like.

Example seen here, a very popular headboard from Skyline Furniture- yep I'm picky.

Then I found the Raleigh headboard at Pottery Barn. I actually saw the piece in the flesh at the store and thought "this is the headboard I've been picturing in my head". It was chunky, great fabric, and extended to the floor. It also had nailhead accents along the sides.

It was perfect. And I was ready to buy. But then started to second guess the purchase. Looking at the piece, it looked like it could be DIYed. Between some wood, batting, and linen fabric it could be crafted.  I even found this great Raleigh Headboard tutorial. Then I started second guessing that thought, coming to the realization that I didn't own half the tools needed to complete the project, and I wasn't convinced I could pull the look off. The last thing I wanted was my headboard to look like a project gone awry.

I didn't want to feel guilty every time I walked into my room- but I also didn't want to noticed the crooked headboard I crafted either. In the end I jumped the gun and bought the headboard. My deciding factor (beyond Ryan not super keen on having another 'to-do' on our list) was that our room is small, and basically houses our bed, so it would be nice to have a 'nice' piece in our room. Another thing to sway me was I made my decision around my birthday, just in time to ask for gift cards.

It was fun to go into the store and place our custom order. Such a grown up, we-own-a-house thing to do.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

finally finished my chalkboard.

I've been working on making a chalkboard for our kitchen for a few months. I'm happy to say I finally finished last week!  3 cheers for crossing things off our to-do list. (Which can now go on the chalkboard!)

We had this wall space in our kitchen:

I had rotated a few prints that I have, but thought it would be way cooler to have a chalkboard here. A great place to write reminders, love notes, or when Ryan gets a hold of the chalk- random drawings + words.

I decided to go the route of a pre-made frame plus 'wood painted with chalkboard paint'. (Another option is to buy molding and build a frame). So to start the project, I did not have a frame that was large enough, nor intricate enough to work for the space. I wanted this guy big. So I hit up a few thrift stores and found the contender. It was a little pricey for a thrift store find ($35) but it was exactly what I wanted, so I caved in. [Also included was a neon-Venice painting, available to anyone who wants it : )   ]

After popping out the art, I pulled out my drop cloth and spray painted the frame. Green. Of course. A black chalkboard, green frame, and white chalk is absolute perfection.

Color of choice: Rust-Olem Eden (satin finish)

I didn't sand the frame, just wiped it with a damp rag, then went to town spray painting. I followed the process of many, very light coats. This worked well, and I had zero drips. I think I ended up doing around 8-10 coats. Patience was needed.

For the chalkboard portion, I went to Home Depot and picked up a light small piece of MDF. Instead of buying a large sheet, I bought one of the smaller ones, then had them cut it to size. It's so helpful to have them cut wood since we don't have a table saw at home!

The next plan was to paint the MDF with chalkboard paint. The cheapskate in me decided to originally buy chalkboard spray paint, versus a can of paint (a savings of a couple bucks).  After many coats on the MDF, I went back and picked up the can. I didn't like the way the spray paint was applying. It wasn't even and seemed to be coming off. (I assume it was user error, but the paint ended up being so much better.) I used Rustoleum Chalkboard paint, and a small foam roller.

Once the MDF looked good and coated, I put the board in the frame and secured it with bent nails. I had contemplated using liquid nails for a super-secure installation, but knew at some point I would want to change the frame color. And it will be so much easier to bend the nails back and pop out.

I added D-hooks on the back along with picture wire to allow it to hang.

Lastly I added rubber circle pads to the bottom corners so it would rest up against the wall without any scuffing.

Ryan then entered the scene as my master picture hanger, and we put her up.

I put on "M" on the top with a chalk pen. They are totally removable, but look spiffy. I found them at Michaels.

Clearly we are using it for the utmost important notes. Our names. And a heart. But we do have our 'to-do' list going.

It's been fun to have, and we are excited to use it!
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