Friday, February 2, 2018

January Round Up

A Quick Entryway Update

With the temperatures outside still pretty frigid I've been using the winter to knock some smaller projects off my list, starting with some quick updates to my entryway and hallway.

First off, for those wondering the door color is Sherwin Williams Sensible Hue.  If anyone if thinking of painting the back of their door but doesn't want anything too colorful I recommend going two shades darker than your wall color.  You will get a high contrast but in a more subtle way.  We had changed out the boob light last year for this beautiful glass and wood pendant I found at HomeGoods, and I loved my little gallery wall next to the door, but something was always missing from the lower half.

Since I'm changing things around in the front room, I moved this little endtable (from Target FOREVER ago) next to the door and Voila - it's honestly like it was made for this spot!  The curve doesn't get in the way of people coming in the front door, and it fits perfectly over the floor vent.  I actually spray painted it black, which may seem pointless considering it was dark brown, but now it really brings out the door hardware.  I added a vase from Target's spring line, a marble dish I picked up at HomeGoods, and framed a souvenir from one of our amazing Vegas Meals.  Now this corner finally feels complete!

While I was at it, I also took the opportunity to finish up one small addition to the hallway gallery that had been on my list.  I already had the mirror and the two photographs, but I needed something lower on the wall to help ground it.

I had mistakenly bought these comically small (but beautiful!) brackets for my kitchen island so had wanted to use them for a simple shelf somewhere.  Now not only do they finish out this wall, they also bring tie into the black hardware and the new entryway table.  I'm still on the lookout for some sort of long, thin tray to put on here, and I probably will get a runner for the floor one day, but I'm loving my hallway so much these days and the view to the front door is one of my favorites in the whole house!

Mirror  |  White Hanging Frames  |  Shelf Brackets  |  White Vase  |  Accent Rug  |  Brass Hanging Frame  |  Ferris Wheel Print  |  Light Fixture was a HomeGoods find but this one is similar

Why I bought a Truck instead of an SUV
So let me start off by saying I loved my old car!  It was a 2011 Chevy Equinox that we got the winter after my oldest was born.  I loved that I got to enjoy it when it was brand new, and I loved that it was old enough that I could throw 2x4s into it and not worry too much about scratching the dashboard.  I was hoping to drive it for as long as I could, and I'm actually pretty angry that I had to say goodbye to it well before then.  But when the time came to buy a new car, I was not psyched at all about getting another SUV.   It was perfect for running errands and trips to Florida, not so great for hauling lumber, and I knew that as soon as I got a new one, even a used one, the first thing I would do is load it up with wood and ruin the interior.

The only thing that I felt remotely excited about was the idea of getting something completely different that could help me expand my business - so enter my brand new baby!  It's a 2015 Chevy Silverado, so it's not brand new but it really feels like it is.  My biggest fear was that it would feel gigantic to drive (almost like driving a UHaul) but for how big it looks, I feel totally comfortable driving it.  Besides having to watch where I park and be aware of some more sharper turns, I am totally at home behind the wheel.  It's got a smaller cab, but my two guys fit perfectly in the backseat and they can both climb into it fine.....and I gotta admit I feel pretty badass at kindergarten pick up now!

January Recipes
Check out My Recipe tab for these and some of my other favorite recipes

Lemon Chicken Soup w/Spaghetti

This one was so good quick and easy I made it twice this month (and honestly could go for a bowl of it right now!)  I love it without the chicken, but for my meat-loving husband I add shredded chicken instead of cubed - Giada's Lemon Chicken Soup with Spaghetti

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

This is one of our all time favorites!  I found this recipe years ago in a Better Homes and Garden Magazine and love to make it on lazy weekends for Sunday night dinner (if I can I make the pulled pork in my slow cooker the day before)

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Chocolate Recipes

A few years ago Food Network Magazine had an issue with a year full of chocolate recipes - and as a full-fledged Chocoholic I made every single one.  They were all good, but some were definitely better than others.  Since we broke out the recipe for Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding this month I thought I'd share with you the chocolate desserts that we liked best and have made again.

Double Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries and Cream
Chocolate Carmel Banana Ice Cream Pie (THIS ONE IS AMAZING IN THE SUMMER!)
Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ideas for adding Unique Art to your House - the Cheap and Easy Edition!

Since I'm not tackling as many big projects this year, I want to spend some time sharing the smaller touches that make my house feel personal - starting with the most near and dear to my Artwork.  For those that don't know, I was an Art History major and attended Grad school for Art Education.  I never took the plunge and became an art teacher, but my love for the subject burns just as bright as ever and I like to try to use this blog to inspire others to take risks by adding more unique and personal pieces to their homes.

This week I'm bringing you part One of a Three part series where I'll share some of the ways I inject art into my house from the cheap & easy to the expensive & involved.  Mixing high/low art is a great way to give your space a more eclectic and collected look, so although it's probably gonna be info overload I wanted to cover lots of options!

Photo by Lauri Tripaldi Photography

My one ask for every piece of artwork that you put in your house is to make sure it makes you happy!!!  Why hang something that depresses you on your wall and have to look at it every day?  I would rather frame a page that I tore out of a magazine that makes me smile then something that cost a lot but now I can't stand.  So if you're reading and thinking "oh yeah I've got one of those staring at me right now" here are some quick, cheap, and easy options you can use to update your room.

Not your Parents Vacation Photos

Next time you're on a family vacation consider snapping a few pictures to hang on your wall back home - just think about taking the family out of the frame.  You don't need a close up of everyone's sun-burned faces to bring back memories of the beach, so concentrate on getting a beautiful picture of beach instead.  On our last trip to Hershey my husband took this great picture of the Carousel while we were on it, so when we got home I filtered it to B&W, had it printed it out as an Art Print from Shutterly, and added a small caption with the location at the bottom.  I don't even think you can see us, but I can remember that wonderful night and that ride perfectly when I look at this picture.

If you really do want to include your loved ones in your vacation photos, how about changing up the angle?  On our last trip to Florida, me, my boys, and my dad spent a great morning on the beach and I grabbed an awesome picture of them running towards the surf.  I then ran the pic through a cool artistic filter, and had it blown up and printed as an 8x10.  Because you can't see their faces, the picture instantly goes from family snapshot to interesting photograph.  Just a note - if you decide to use a filter like this I recommend picking something that is slightly distorted to begin with so when you blow it up any image integrity issues are less noticeable.

Ditch the Glass and Embrace Change

I always have more ides for art than I have spots to put it, so I love having a few places where I can easily change things out.  Now I know that replacing a photo in a frame is not that difficult, but an even easier way (that also can add some variety to your mix) is incorporating a few glass-less frames or shadowboxes.  I have two open frames in my house that I built using plans from Shanty-2-Chic where I can swap out the artwork simply by clipping up a new piece of paper.  The best part?  I use free online printables to change these up - there are loads available on Pinterest.  Depending on the look I want, I either print on in-expensive white cardstock (like the Brothers sign in the playroom), or I use a water-color paper specifically made for printers (like the Be Brave sign in my entryway).  If building your own isn't your thing, you can find frames like these anywhere these days and they're usually very in-expensive.  For example, that brass hanging picture frame was $10 from World Market and easily opens at the top so I can switch out the pictures with the seasons.

Brave Printable  |  Shadowbox Frame  |   Brothers Printable   |  Chippy Wood Frame

If you like it put a Frame around It

So this one isn't anything new, but it is the definition of easy and cheap so I'd be remiss not to include it.  Basically - if you come across something that you like to look at, consider putting it a frame or shadowbox.  Pages from old calendars or art books, pieces of fabric or wallpaper, even puzzles - if there's something you're holding on to because the thought of getting rid of it is upsetting, why not find a way to display it?  I just did a quick makeover in my entryway and added this peach drawin - you wanna know where I got it?  It was the takeout bag from a restaurant we went to in Vegas this fall (Momofuko good!); my husband was smart enough to take it home and not only does it give my hallway a good does of playfulness, it also reminds me of that amazing meal.

An old boss of mine gave me a beautiful set of notecards with different pressed flowers on each one.  They were way to pretty to send so I placed them in cheap IKEA frames and have them scattered around.  When we moved, I took some clippings of the apple tree that we had planted out back and pressed them myself to make some companion pieces (you can read all about that in this old post).  Bottom line, don't let size or shape deter you...if it doesn't work, worse case scenario it just goes back in the memory box for another day.

Encourage your Littlest Artists

Before I had kids I had pinned so many super creative ways to display their non-existent artwork - but then real life hit and I was like "who has time for this???"  So I've come up with much simpler ways to incorporate my boys work into the house.  For starters, I use it to decorate their bedroom and their playroom.  Find a method where you can easily display (and change out!) a lot of papers at once, like a cork board, a clothesline, or just attach a few clothes pins to a piece of wood.  Your kids will love having a place to display their favorites and it will give their rooms a great personal touch.

If there are drawings or painting that are really special, consider displaying them outside of the kids room.  By cropping them down to a smaller size and mixing in with other pieces, they go from "kids drawing hanging on the fridge" to custom abstract work of art in a hot minute!

A visit to the Antique store is NEVER a bad idea

You can certainly spend a pretty penny in an antique store (and I'll get to that in part 2), but there is always the chance that you can stumble across a great find especially if you can spot something that isn't framed or framed in something cheap.  I found this beautiful bird illustration for $8 (cheap frame included!)  I took it out and threw it in a floating frame from HomeGoods - done for about $20 total.  Same thing for the art ledges in my living room - I picked up that little landscape and the old fruit crate to finish off these shelves for probably about $15 total.  So before you pull the plug and buy something ready-made to finish a space, put aside time to browse the aisles at a local antique store and keep your mind open to the possibilities.

Free Online Resources

I mentioned searching Pinterest for free printables earlier, but look around for other great online resources where you can grab free and unique artwork to print out and frame yourself.  For those that can't get enough of Joanne Gaines, did you know they release free printables every month with their Magnolia Journal - click here to check them all out!

These resources can sometimes pop up in the strangest places.  My husband sent me the link to a gallery that NASA put together that included a collection of cool mid-century inspired posters for space travel - and they are all free to download!  I picked out three of my favorites, framed them in IKEA RIBBA frames, and now they happily live in my mudroom and give it just the right amount of color and fun.

One of my favorite places to waste time is in the New York Public Library Digital Collections.  They have over 700,00 scanned images to dig through and download.  I found a collection of beautiful blue and yellow botanical prints that I saved and printed through Shutterfly.  One piece of advice - these will not be high resolution so print them out in 5x7 or 4x6, or if you want to print out as an 8x10 as I did above, add a border on all sides to reduce the size of the image itself.  (Side note - that fish picture was a cheap find in the IKEA clearance section.)


And because your quick/cheap art needs quick/cheap frames -  here are some of my favorite places:

  • Michaels - keep an eye out for when they are 50% off AND have a 20% coupons that include Sale items....or check out their seasonal decor at the end of the season when everything is 80% off - often times there are frames hiding in there!
  • IKEA - the hands down best simple matted frames are the IKEA RIBBA frames; extremely inexpensive but extremely stylish looking and they come in a lot of different sizes
  • HomeGoods - Especially keep an eye out for Brass or Black floating frames, Capiz, carved wood, or faux Bone Inlay...they can all get pricey

So I know that was a long one - trust me I tried to keep it short - but I honestly could go on for days because talking about Art makes me incredibly happy.  I hope you guys found this interesting and maybe will feel inspired to try out a few things this weekend!

Check back next week and we'll kick it up a notch with my "Moderate Time or Money" ideas!
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