Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Stepping stone walkway + boxed hedges on the side?

 I've latelly been thinking about how much I love the look of grass in between paving blocks/rocks or whatever they are... I mentioned this to MrB once before and he didn't like the idea. Should I try again? Would this look nicer than an exposed aggregate path to match our driveway?

Would this work with the boxed hedges that I have planned for either side of the walkway? Probably not, hey? Because I don't want grass under the boxed hedges... Hmmmm :(
This is our driveway/pathway/front yard plan so far:

Empty wall solutions

In exactly 48 hours, we'll be road tripping to Orlando to visit the happiest place on earth.

I'm referring, of course, to Ikea. We've been there once before, just over a year ago, when we were first settling into this house and had no furniture whatsoever. I tried to plan the layout of every room and purchase accordingly... but needs change over a year. I've definitely kicked myself a few times for not getting certain things while I was there, and now I have a second chance.

Luckily, no major furniture needs to be purchased. However, there are some walls I need to address, and there's no better place in this world to get frames than Ikea.

Subject #1: The wall behind our bed:

I hope to have time next week to make the upholstered headboard it so desperately needs. Then I'll hang three of these Virserum frames and fill it with some sort of artwork.

And it will look something like this:

Next up is another wall in our master bedroom:

It's not horrible looking, but it just needs a little more action.

So I'm picking up four of these frames, and arranging them like this:

I haven't made my mind up yet on cities and colors, but they will look something like that.

Finally, our living room.

This wall has bothered me since day one. It's so huge and overwhelming to tackle... so I haven't even tried.

First of all, ignore the console table and accessories—they were pretty much just thrown there with no place else to go. Some of the accessories will be ditched, some are getting a makeover, and I plan to lighten the table by removing the dark stain and giving it an au-natural bare wood look (or something simlar, I'll have to see how it goes).

I plan to pick up this mirror and this large frame from Ikea to help fill the wall in:

I may actually set the mirror on the floor instead of mounting it....

I may even end up painting or distressing it so there isn't so much white.

After staring at this picture for a while, I decided something wasn't right, and that something was the vase full of sticks. I'm over it. I ran through a million possibilities of what else I could put in that corner... a lamp? A small desk? More artwork? A bench? A folding screen? None of these seemed to be particularly useful or make sense.

And then.... it hit me:

I will build a ladder that will hold magazines/books. YES! Yes. After an entire year, I've figured it out. I've always wanted a ladder somewhere in my house, and this is the perfect place for it. Hopefully I can manage this one on my own... should be easy enough, right? Any ladder-building pointers?

I will be back next week with an update on my headboard construction, and also the launch of my new site! Can't wait.

Anything other must-haves I should grab at Ikea while I'm there?

What I’m Giving Up (maybe.)

I’m not Catholic and so don’t traditionally observe Lent, but lately I’ve been considering giving something up for a while….. 

And what is that, you may ask? 

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

SHOPPING. GAHthereIsaidit. (Can you sense my inner turmoil?)

There’s something about buying a 2000+ dollar camera plus lens plus accessories that will do that to ya.  Make you question your spending habits and whether or not you can really afford to step foot in another J.Crew for the next, oh, FIVE YEARS. 

But what’s worse is that, as a blogger, I feel it my DUTY to make purchases.  I have rooms in my house to finish so that I may photograph them!  For the blog!  I have outfits that aren’t quite complete or blog-worthy until I buy that extra accessory to go along with them!  Hell, I just need new outfits, altogether!  Spring fashion this year is fabulous! My style is evolving! Must stay current! For the blog!

Well that would all be well and good if there was a money tree growing in our backyard, but I’ve checked and all that’s out there is dog shit.  So I’ve been feeling convicted that, if I want to make some money to be able to buy more stuff, it’s going to take a little bit of sacrificing for a while as I learn the ins and outs of photography and start up my business. 

Sacrifice.  I don’t like that word!  But I’ve noticed that anyone who’s made anything out of themselves in this life was willing to do it.  And for some reason I think what’s required of me, maybe just for the month of March at first (let’s not get carried away), is a bit of a spending freeze.  Or maybe I just allow myself $100 to buy a new dress or as much crap from Forever 21 as I can bleed out of that $100?  I’ll think on this.

Oh, and one more thing.  You know, blogging and blog reading and Pinterest-ing can be THE WORST when it comes to coveting and lusting over material things.  Sometimes I feel like around every bend I’m faced with some FABULOUSIHAVETOHAVEIT item or amazing little shop or “great deal” that I’d be stupid to pass up.  But really, each and every one of us has to look at our unique situation and our end goals and ask ourselves if our spending habits are in line with those goals.  Food for thought.

Here’s a pretty picture.

Feb 21 022-1 Happy Wednesday :)

Beautiful Paper Source

I have been looking for inexpensive art ideas for the model home and I came across the most beautiful decorative paper from Paper Source. They have such a great selection of patterned and metallic paper. And most of it is big enough to frame as art in your home. 

You can also use paper to cover books as I did in this room

Make sure you check out all the paper options here!

photo by Jessica Kettle Photography

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Little Update on... Me!

Well it's been an interesting couple of months let me tell you. I've spent lots and lots of time lying on the sofa feeling sad and depressed. I literally felt like I had all the energy zapped out of me. It seriously took all I had just to get dressed in the morning. And if I was getting dressed it wasn't really that impressive. I've truly been living in sweats. Morning sickness is killer. 

I think (knock-on-wood) that I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm 12 weeks. yay! I am still throwing up but I finally have some energy back. It's AMAZING!! Now that I am slowly feeling like myself I'm realizing that my to-do list is miles and miles long. I am sooooo sorry to all my very patient clients. I promise I'll try and catch up. My inbox is like a big black hole right now that I'm trying to organize and make sense of. And let's not even go into the current state of my poor office. 

Here's a really crappy picture I took with my phone today and believe it or not this is after I spent an hour cleaning it. I haven't seen the floor in weeks! 

 To all of you great readers thanks for hanging in there with me. I am hoping that once I start working again I'll have lots of fun things to blog about.

Second Trimester here I come!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Etsy iPhone Cover Roundup

Maybe it's dumb but I feel so depressed that I don't  have an iphone. I feel like I'm the only one left in the world that can't use Instagram. I'm crossing my fingers that I might get one for my birthday this summer. Here are some iphone covers I'm coveting. 

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Good things come to those who wait

So I hate paying full price for anything... And refused to pay $139 per stool a few months ago when freedom increased their prices before dropping them down again...
Well MrB had had enough and said I must buy them... We went into freedom to order them and guess what :) they had 20% off everything including our stools. I was so happy I wanted to scream :)

They are 2-3 weeks away. Can't wait for them to arrive :)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Something that won't crack

What's the best product for filling the gaps in the architraves/door frames? Something that won't crack (like this BEST product that our chippy used and recommends).

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Moving furniture away from the walls

The decorators often advise moving living room furniture away from the walls and arranging a small seating area to make it more cozy and casual. Do you follow this advice? Does this work regardless of the size of the room?


Building Mirror Frames

This entire process was so not fun, it almost pains me to write about it and relive the horror. To be honest, if I had to do it all over again, I'd probably just go buy some framed mirrors.

But, I owe it to you all to share my experience if anyone would like to tackle this project on their own.

To recap, here are my mirrors now and the frames I built last weekend:

Here are the same mirrors, as I purchased them:

They looked so naked, right? Everyone thought I was crazy and told me to leave them frameless, but I didn't care. It had to be done.

I couldn't do it by myself though.

And that's where Dennis comes in. I met Dennis at a West Elm/Etsy collaboration event a few months ago, where ended up purchasing one of my maps. I later found out he was a master carpenter and invited him over for dinner and crown molding installation. He also offered to help me with this framing project that I had been trying to figure out how to do on my own for months.

You see... you cannot just buy flat pieces of trim or wood and glue them to the mirror. This means they would be floating on top of the mirror, instead of up against the wall as they should. I figured this out right before I was leaving to go to Lowe's to pick up the lumber.

This is what you need your wood to look like:

And to do this you need a router (at least I think that's what it's called, correct me if I'm wrong Dennis).

Anyway, I did not have a router and certainly did not want to buy one for this project. So I consulted my master carpenter friend (that's Dennis), and gave him my drawings:

and he was like "Psh, no problem" and then he did this:

Then I took the freshly routed wood and stained it (using Minwax's Ebony, great stuff)

These are the fronts, the back have the routed edge

So they sat like this in the garage for weeks while I gathered up the courage to try and assemble them without screwing it all up.

On Saturday, I finally went for it. I grabbed my mirrors, measured as best as I could, and very carefully made each cut. It was definitely a long process. A few times I forgot to put the lock down on the saw so the angle shifted and I ended up with some not-45' angle cuts... oops. Luckily, some of my measurements were too long so I was able to go back and re-cut them at the correct angle.

Here's a shot testing the fitment one last time after everything was cut:

Close up of how they fit together:

I really had to get these perfect because there was no room for error. In my previous wood-cutting projects, I could always caulk, spackle and paint over the gaps to hide it, but not this time.

Luckily, my patience paid off and they turned out better than I had thought.

But they weren't 100% perfect. And this is where I messed up. Bad.

What I should have done was place the mirrors in and then secure the frames. But since they seemed to fit perfectly around the frames, I figured it would be easier to assemble them first, and then place the frames in.


But I didn't know, so I began assembly with wood glue and our nail gun to hold them in place before the mirror went in:

Once they were joined together, I touched up the stain in the seams:

And admired my handywork.

The admiration was short lived, however, after I took my liquid nails...

Applied a bead all the way around the routed edge, and attempted to set my mirror in. It was stuck.

Fortunately, it just needed a bit of coercing from the rubber mallet, and it wedged into place. Whew, disaster averted there.

Not so lucky with mirror #2.

After a generous amount of liquid nails, I tried placing this mirror in and one corner would not budge. Not even close. I frantically tried to pull the frame open enough to allow it to slide in, but nope... I had already nailed it together. So I had no choice but to take the mirror out and figure out a plan B.

Also, these mirrors are HEAVY. It was not easy lifting it out carefully, and it made a huge mess:

I had to sand the edge down to allow a big enough opening for the mirror to fit in, so the first thing I grabbed was a metal file. I sanded for about 20 minutes and I still wasn't even close. So I grabbed the electric sander, but only the very edge could fit into the angle of this small routed edge that I was working with. So I grabbed a smaller metal file and began to chisel away. And I'm sitting in this hot garage, all sweaty, sanding for like an hour straight, with globs of liquid nails drying all over my hands and clothes, thinking this is never going to work, all while being attacked by mosquitos.

Finally I busted out a screwdriver and hammer and just started hacking pieces off.

Eventually, I took enough out to where my mirror FINALLY FIT!

Then I sealed it up with more liquid nails.

Those babies aren't going anywhere.

Then I had spend an hour scraping liquid nails off both mirrors (it somehow got all over the second one), and off the wood frames, and resand and stain where it dried onto the wood.


But, I suppose it was all worth it.....

Here's a couple tips for those of you who still want to try this at home:
1. You need a router.
2. Make sure your cuts are all at an *exact* 45 degree angle, and lock your saw so it doesn't shift.
3. Assemble your frames *while* your mirrors are in them, not before.
4. Use a *thin* line of glue/liquid nails (it's better if it's clear), because you'll be able to see the excess reflecting back at you from behind the frame.
5. Make sure to stain (or paint) the routed edge on the inside, because you'll see the reflection in the mirror.

I realize the liquid nails I used was not specifically meant for frames, however, these mirrors are hung from brackets on the actual mirrors. This means the frames do not have any weight or load on them at all so the bond doesn't have to be especially strong to the wood. Trust me, those things are in there for the long haul.

That concludes my adventures in mirror frame-building. Hope you enjoyed.

PS—I was planning on making my upholstered headboard this weekend, but it's been rescheduled because I've been working 24/7 on the launch of my new website. I am SO, so excited to share it with you all...  it is my greatest project yet.

Here's a sneak preview:

I plan to wrap everything up and go live within the next 2 weeks.... so stay tuned! I'll be giving out some fun bonuses to the first customers :)