Tuesday, November 20, 2012

gallery wall: our little corner of memories

{that's really not so little at all}
I'm in love I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!
Remember this? You guys, this project has been four months in the making. We started this in July, for crying out loud!
{picking out pictures is no joke}
Part of the issue was finding a place that would print such large photos for less than thirty bucks apiece. {especially the panoramic frame}! I researched around for a LONG.DANG.TIME, and the cheapest I was able to find was Staples, believe it or not. They would do color poster prints starting at 4.99 apiece, but their size options were really limited. And, to be frank, i thought i could do better. 4.99 sounds pretty darn good for a poster print, but I needed at least eleven photos printed (not counting spares if I wanted to switch one out) and that added up quickly. Plus some of the sizes were a little odd, and that made things even more difficult.
it's been quite the adventure getting from this point to where we are now. 
My research led me to something called "Engineering Prints", a cost-effective photo-printing cheat that's been trending on Pinterest for awhile now {if you don't believe me, check it out}. Basically, Engineering prints are for blueprints, line-drawings, or anything you need both big and black-and-white, and you can get them done at any printing shop or office supply store (I ended up going with Office Depot).
They are not recommended for photos, but since they were so inexpensive I figured it was worth a shot. It would cost five bucks for a printed sheet so large I could get several photos on one page, which meant I got a lot more bang for my buck :). If they didn't work, I'd figure something else out.
{spoiler alert: they totally worked}

I picked the pictures we wanted to print, then spent some time deciding on which photo would go where. Then, I sized the photos accordingly and created a 36x48 inch slide in Powerpoint so I could arrange the photos in the most tetris-like way. Yeah baby! I was able to fit all  the photos we wanted (plus a few randoms for other rooms and spares for the gallery wall to change things up a bit if we got bored) onto two slides.
The Bottom Line? Twenty-two bucks shipped for twenty giant black-and-white photos (If I had lived closer to a store that did in-store pick-up, it would have been half that). Win. That's a little over a dollar for each!!!!!! Toldja I could do better than a measly 4.99 :)

I got a phone call the next business day confirming my order, and they arrived at my door the day after that. WHOO! We just cut out the photos we wanted, stuck them in the frames, and stuck 'em back up on the wall. Velcro is a beautiful thing. The print job was decent--we lost a little bit of the detail in printing but overall it's hard to tell unless you're up close.
I'm thrilled that we thought to get "spare" prints to switch out now and again; that way, we didn't have to pick favorites with the photos/people who appear on our wall now. Awesome! Plus we can swap out pictures for different seasons, if we get ambitious (ha, right). Since the pictures are up with Command strips, it's really easy to whip 'em down and stick 'em back up!
It's such a happy little place to hang out, especially now that the frames are filled with memories instead of a big wad of empty. Most are wedding photos, which makes it feel a teensy bit like a wedding shrine, but we worked with what we had.

What do you think? Would you use engineering prints for a gallery wall?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

product review: palmolive fresh infusions // diy

Apparently, part of being a "bigtime blogger" (ha, that's a joke) is reviewing products for people. So, here you go. I was sent three bottles of Palmolive's new Fresh Infusions dish soap from Influenster for review, which is pretty darn funny to me. 
pretty smelling dish soap
Why? Well, I hate hate hate doing the dishes. It (along with doing laundry) is the bane of my existence (and I HAVE a dishwasher, so I don't even have to handwash very much! Sheesh). I still do them, but there's a LOT I'd rather be doing instead. 

So when I was sent several bottles of dish soap, I had to laugh. Yeah, probably the only thing to get me to want to do dishes would be pretty-smelling soap. 

And seriously, you guys, it's DANG good-smelling.
Yes, I'm still doing the dishes. 
But they smell pretty. So that's cool. (and aren't the bottles pretty, too? I almost like them on the counter.

Two of these bottles have been relegated to dish duty, but the third got a higher calling.
With all the dirty work that goes on in this house (what with the painting, the cleaning of the previous tenant's gunk off the walls, attempting to garden, etc), we need a good sturdy hand scrub. As luck would have it, one of the main ingredients of Gardener's Hand Scrub is dish soap :).
I filled a container 3/4 of the way with sugar (I used an old cleaned-out candle jar), poured some soap in, and mixed. I added enough soap to make it a scrubby-consistency (maybe a quarter cup?), and voila! Seriously so easy, and it gets gunk off my hands so quickly. Jillee at One Good Thing uses something similar, and this is her verdict:
I'd say that's a ringing endorsement, eh? 

The ginger and white tea scent of the soap I used for the scrub is seriously divine. Debating using it as a shaving scrub, but I'm not sure how I feel about taking dish soap into the shower with me. Thoughts? Regardless, this could make a nice Christmas gift!
Disclaimer: I received this product complimentarily for review from Influenster, but all the words and opinions here are my own!

save it for a rainy day

We had all these great plans for this weekend. We were going to go to LA to see an installation at FIDM, check out the Endeavor shuttle's museum, pop in to see a play or something...

Instead, we did a little of this:
{Instagram username: brittymack}
And you know what? That whole lotta "nothing" was just what the doctor ordered.

What'd you do this weekend?

Friday, November 16, 2012

lessons learned

:: I re-learned that my husband's a champ!!! Finished his half marathon in a little over 2 hours (he totally exceeded his goal!). I'm so.dang.proud.
...BUT as a result of ^^^, Tim will stop at nothing to motivate me to run, including stealing my long-awaited packages before I get home from work and not giving them back until I work out {I'm definitely in the "tough love" phase of my training schedule, that's for SURE}. He's a keeper :)

:: I learned that Murphy's Law applies to Kitchen appliances, too. A week before Thanksgiving, our oven went out. Waiting on the landlady/repairman to help out has been fun {not}.

:: I learned that I bruise much easier than I originally thought, discovered during an episode involving a zombie spider and a bathroom vanity. I have a four-inch-wide bruise covering the majority of my hip that will.not.go.away!

:: I learned that little cold birdies like space-heaters, too. When that thing is put-put-putting away, he'll sit exactly two feet in front of it (never closer, never further) and hunker down. NOTHING can get him to budge after that.

You learned anything fun this week?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

striped accent wall: a tutorial! // diy

Today I'm going to show you how to go from this:
To this:
We are 100% in love. This was a somewhat spur-of-the-moment project and we are so thrilled with how it turned out. The diagonal stripes were Tim's idea; what do you think? I wasn't so sure at first, but as soon as we started painting, I was thrilled we went with his choice. Go Tim!
The darker color was a lovely bluish-gray Behr paint+primer-in-one that we found in the mis-tint section at Home Depot for... wait for it.... SEVEN DOLLARS (for a gallon!!!). I don't know how familiar you are with paint prices, but that's a good 80% off it's normal price. Moral of the story: check the mis-tint section first.
The lighter color was just our darker color mixed with some white paint we had in the garage (it was the same finish). We really wanted a tone-on-tone color pattern, and since a) we didn't want to buy more paint and b) our first color was a botched custom color anyway, we just mixed our own. The ratio ended up being about 2 parts dark to 1 part white, maybe? We kind of played with it until we liked it, then of course painted a test board to make sure it was the contrast we wanted.

We wanted the stripes at a 45 degree angle across the wall, and we wanted them to be about six inches wide.  So, we marked every six inches across the floor and one side wall, then used some basic geometry (Remember that? Huh? huh? Yeah, Tim didn't either.  he was no help) to get the ceiling and other wall marked. It's not as hard as it sounds, I just stink at explaining. Basically, some of the stripes ended in the middle of the corner, and we had to figure out where the other edge would go.

To get a perfectly straight line between the marks, we used a "snap line" as a guide. They sell them in the hardware store, but pssh on that! We used a piece of yarn we had covered with chalk (we literally colored along the yarn, it worked great), stretched it across the wall from one marked point to the other, pulled it taut, and gave it a SNAP!
From there, it was just a matter of taping off the stripes and painting! We taped off the outside of the stripes we wanted to paint, and then figured out our painting technique.
I haven't done a TON of painting in my life, but I've done enough to know that using painter's tape doesn't always guarantee a perfectly crisp line. This of course was a bummer when a crisp line was exactly what we wanted! I tried a couple techniques, but settled on one I first saw on House of Hepworths, which worked really well on our test board:
The lighting in that photo is pretty off (Left and Right photos should be same colors), but it's pretty clear that painting the base color on top of the tape before painting the stripe color really made for a crisp line. Any "bleeding" done under the tape was the base color, which then blocks the accent color from bleeding at all!

So, even though it meant extra drying time, we made sure to paint over the edges of the tape with our base color before we added in the accent color.
After that coat was fully dried, we painted in our accent stripe color. We pulled the tape off when the paint was still a little bit wet, and had no trouble with the removal.

Can I just say that there's nothing more satisfying than pulling off painters tape and seeing exactly what you wanted to see? The most beautiful thing in the world.

We are absolutely in love with our silly little wall. It just perks me right up coming home from a rough day at work (this is one of the MAIN benefits of a pretty accent wall, don'tcha know?).

We finished it off with some $5 over-the-door mirrors from Target, rearranged the furniture a bit, and and of course you can see our "new" chandelier! Just a couple little tweaks made the room look SO different, and we actually like spending time here.
What do you think?

Shared at Not Just A Housewife, Sugar Bee CraftsKrafty Kat

Monday, November 12, 2012

black friday/cyber monday tip

image via

Believe it or not (where DID this year go?), next thursday is Thanksgiving, which means the next day is Black Friday, which means Christmas is right around the corner. Whuuuuhhhh?

I don't know about you, but I usually do the majority of my christmas shopping online (with the exception of stocking-stuffers). It's just so much cheaper (and coupon codes are easier to come by!). But recently, a bigger motivating factor for buying stuff online has been getting cash back from ebates.

Have you ever heard of 'em? You may have seen their really really really dumb commercials on TV, but I seriously swear by them. Basically, when I need to buy anything online, I start at their website {here}.

It's so easy. All you have to do is register, choose one of the 1500 stores to shop from and click on it. That's it! Ebates will track your purchase from there and put a percentage of your purchase into your Ebates account. Every three months, they'll cut you a check! (if the store doesn't participate, it costs you  like 0.0034 seconds of your time. There are so many options though, so I've gotten in the habit of checking just in case!)

Seriously, it's that easy. You get money back on things you were going to buy in the first place! Some stores get up to 25% cash back, and most of them have extra coupon codes you can use on top of your purchase. I got paid for some fabric I bought awhile back from Fabric.com, some slipcovers from Target, a christmas present or two for Tim... The bargain hunter in me is hooked.

Have you ever used Ebates? Are you as enamored as I am?

Disclaimer: I am NOT being paid for this post! I just was stoked to discover this little tip and wanted to pass it on. But seriously though, register; it'll change your life. Okay, I'm done sounding preachy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Trial by fire part 2 // diy

I know I say this a lot, but  I love lace. Seriously a lot. It's so delicate and feminine but also can be edgy and just downright sexy.

If you've been here awhile, you know that I bought a couple yards of two different kinds of lace, way back when. You may have already seen the first project using the lace I bought {here}. However, I kind of dropped the ball on letting you know what was going on with the second bunch. Well, wait no longer!

A long time ago, I asked readers to vote on the shape of the dress I should make. Thanks to all who voted, by the way! I've finally finished it and I'm ready to show you what I ended up doing.

To save you some trouble of clicking through, the winning dress of the poll was Malt Shop from Shabby Apple, followed very closely by Zarita by Diane von Furstenberg.
First place // Second place
So, if I were to keep with the trends you voted for, I needed to make something fitted, above-the-knee, scoop-necked, and with some kind of sleeve. I decided to do a combination of the two "winning" styles, and go with a shorter but still un-lined sleeve.
And, I wanted to do it from an honest-to-goodness real store-bought pattern. As if stretchy lace and underlining wasn't already enough of a challenge.
So came the adventure of finding a pattern. Whooooooamygoodness. Whoever designs the cover images on those pattern envelopes needs to move into the 21st century; most of the "finished products" look straight out of the nineties or earlier. I did my best to imagine what the various choices would look like in my black lace, and decided that this one would work well enough:
I made the picture tiny because it really looks awful. But it's really the best I had to work with. It was on sale for a dolla and I found it  five minutes before the store closed, so I had to make my mind up pretty quickly.
Patterns come with several different "views" to choose from, so I decided to make one with a plain front, scoop neck, and cap sleeves. I would cut two of each fabric piece for the project, one of lace and one of the super soft jersey knit that I would use to line it. I sewed the knit piece to the lace piece for every one of the seventeen pieces that made up this dress, then followed the directions to piece the dress itself together. Easy right?

HAH no.
Like I mentioned a while ago {here}, I had a lot of trouble with this project. Note to anyone who ever tries to conquer a pattern envelope? There are suggestions for the type of fabric to use on the back. If you're new-ish to sewing, you should follow those suggestions.
You can probably guess that I totally didn't.
It still worked out okay, but I had a heckuva time trying to make this project work. The fabric stretched and got wonky, my iron burned some of the delicate lace (what the heck!?!), the zipper ended up determining the shape of the back neckline (oops).
But I love the dang thing, wonky seams and all.
DIY Lace dress, leopard belt, Lipstick, DIY neon necklace, Little Black Dress,
The dress in action at a wedding a couple months ago, worn with my DIY neon statement necklace!

I'm totally still learning. I feel like it will take years and years before I know exactly what a pattern is asking me to do. Even longer still to be able to accurately carry it out.
BUT I'm loving the ride.
Have you ever sewn something from a pattern? How did it go? Did it come out like you'd planned?

Friday, November 9, 2012

some lighthearted numbers

one  ballot cast. Thankful for the right to vote!
two  visitors coming this weekend! Tim's mom and hubby will be coming into town this weekend to see him run the HALF MARATHON! I'm thrilled for him; he's done so well in training. 
three  weeks until my favorite holiday OF ALL TIME. Thanksgiving, bring it on.
four  is the number of temper tantrums that I had to deal with at work.
PS: You would think that temper tantrums wouldn't be something I'd have to deal with working at a college-level institution, right? Haha if only.
PPS: said tantrums were put on by both faculty and student alike. #isitvacationyet?
five  days (including today) until an awesome exciting package arrives at my door! Hint: its a sweet-awesome rug. I'm officially an adult.
six  sounds a little bit like "sick", which adequately describes the lovely bubble necklace that finally was delivered :) I want to wear it every day. 
seven  pumpkin-spice "lattes" (really cafe o'laits) consumed by Tim and I over the course of the week (altogether, not each!). Hey, when they're almost free and dang better for you than Starbucks', I can't really resist them (and neither should you. I'll share my recipe soon).
nine  o'clock; the bedtime of choice the past few nights. Being sick is the pits.
ten  more papers in my inbox..... I can do this on a friday, right? Ready, set, GO!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! First of all, I wanted to thank you guys so much for the support I got from you all about my guest post on Merrick’s Art this week. You are all so wonderful. Those of you joining us from Merrick's blog, Welcome! 
Speaking of the guest post, if you saw this Tuesday, you might be familiar with my discovery of snaps (If not, go check it out!). Tim’s slightly concerned; I’m looking everywhere (in our house, in our closet, in the stores…) for things I can “improve” with the addition of a shiny new snap. His concern is justified.

I’ve been wearing my hair curled every.single.day this week, and haven’t once used a curling iron! (sorcery, I tell you!)
The Headband curl has been my go-to hairdo method lately, and since it’s so quick (and I can do it at night, which means I get to sleep in, yay!!), it’s always been my favorite. Thanks, Pinterest and youtube :) 
Also to be noted about this picture: That red is my current fave lipstick. (Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing in Strength. LOVE.)
I bit the bullet and bought a bubble necklace from Caroline G. this week (okay, I'll admit it; I bought it because there was a half-off deal on facebook. Still excited though!).

Right photo: Source unknown; Left photo: via

We’re housesitting for a family in our church this weekend, and we’re STOKED. It’s in our wildest-dream neighborhood (we can maybe afford it if we win the lottery), there’s BOTH a mountain view and an ocean view, and the best part: both views are accessible via their Hot Tub. AND they said we can have people over. YEE!

Link up with Lindsey!


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