Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to Make a Photo Wall

 {Warning: photo heavy post. Pun intended.}

When Roger went to his father's funeral last summer, he returned with a bag full of photos.
Lovely, time worn treasures that begged - nay DESERVED - to be displayed and enjoyed, not stuck in the back of a drawer for ever months.

Hypothetically speaking.

Grandma & Grandpa all gussied up for Senior Prom

And what about all those not-so-old photos that've never made it out of the computer to see the light of day?

Behold my penitence.

I tasked my husband with the job of scanning the images {read: the quickest part of the whole thing}. NO ORIGINALS WERE INJURED IN THE MAKING OF THIS WALL.

Snapfish gives you your first 100 prints free AND THEN there was an "everything on the site 55% off" on top of that. We ended up using about 280ish photos, making the grand total of this project $16.*

*tape not included

I ordered the "lustre" finish to keep them from looking too shiny and to hide fingerprints. I wish I could say there was a formula for placement. Maybe there is? The look I was going for was a bit more casual, something that could easily be updated, and for Heaven's Sake NO GRIDS. To see those photos lined up like soldiers in straight lines would kill me inside.

Hanging them up is a piece of cake, albeit time consuming: just a loop of tape on each corner and pop them on. The photos at the top got cut (very crudely) on a diagonal with a pair of scissors. The chalkboard finish of the wall was perfect for blending in the space where there are gaps and the background shows through. Obviously if you were doing a normal shaped space, this wouldn't be an issue.

Me and my two favorite Lizs.

{facial recognition is a great exercise for kiddos with autism}

After everything was finished and we lived with it for a few weeks, I maaaay have swapped out a few photos for a slightly embellished version. Not only because it's awesome, but because I want to see how long it takes Roger to notice, now that he doesn't study them all as much when they first went up. So far he hasn't.
If any of you squeal to him and RUIN THE EXPERIMENT I will hunt you down.


P.S Before you point out the obvious, NO this would not work in a household with toddlers. Maybe if it were just above a chair rail?? At only a few cents a piece for a replacement should a spot get ruined, it may be worth the risk.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How To Store Wrapping Paper

For those times when one's beloved craft room becomes a bedroom for a child who needs his own space, which means finding a new home for all your crap.

The complete, terribly dull saga is a tale for another time.

For now? Just the wrapping paper. And why nobody needs this much where to put it.

It was late one night that an idea popped into my mind. The kind of idea that festers and compels you to act immediately. In this case had I waited even 24 hours, there would be nothing to store, for the next morning was the house full o' water "situation".

Not only are guardian angels real, they also have a deep respect for craft supplies.

In the old craft room, the rolls were corralled in a thrift store whatsit wood thing. Because floor space is at a premium here, we needed to go vertical.

A $3 piece of wood, held up by 2 L-brackets screwed into studs, runs the length of the wall. We ladies know how every inch counts.


Scraps are drilled into the side, reinforced with a few finish nails hammered in at an angle on the inside. A leftover piece of molding is nailed onto the front as a guardrail to prevent any jumpers.

Of course you will take the time to countersink and spackle and paint so that everything looks-you know- professional.

My style is more of a leave it as-is indefinitely because it was June when it was finished and the white paint is in the garage and it's hot out there. Now here it is in September and find myself not caring if it stays like this forever because I've already gone completely blind to it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

sweet & simple packaging ideas

Awhile back, an unbelievably talented friend of mine (you can see her work here) asked me to come chat about quick, easy packaging and wrapping ideas at a photography conference in the area. Fashion doesn't really interest me, but dressing up photo canvases and books and itty-bitty flash drives before they're given to the families? Oh mama.

Side note: if you ever find yourself in a funk, spending an afternoon blabbing about silly things you love can do miracles for your spirit.

^^ {tip #1 - use old book pages as filler instead of tissue paper}

The focus was less crafty/more premade, but all fast and fool-proof. 
Okay, technically the pom is DIY, but #1 they learned how to make them and 
#2 the tag was from a pack. So it still counts.

A few of the things we covered:

 The sky is the limit with assemble-it-yourself box packs.
The same container can have multiple personalities. In a good way.

 Ripped fabric strips mean FREE "embellishments".

Even better when it's old jeans because it means cleaning out the denim graveyard.
The rosette is another (quick!) crafty project, but Hobby Lobby carries similar poofy things already done.

Using leftover paper scraps (or pulled out of those 6x6 scrapbook pads) dresses up regular ol' newspaper,

or white kids art paper right off the roll.

A thank you card gets slipped under some garden twine from the garage and all of a sudden looks kinda fancy. 

(printable paper bow template here)

And, of course, you can't talk about wrapping photos without wrapping WITH photos.  Duh.

Last tip: a little gold goes a long way.

{Michaels has their colored doilies in the dollar bins again. 
They look good on anything, but super smashing against black.}

Thursday, September 3, 2015

saying goodbye

We had one car as newlyweds, surviving on a surprisingly simple system of drop-offs, pick-ups, and a bike when necessary. About a year later when we were expecting, Roger started talking about buying a house. And I said no. After all, if we bought a house, we'd never have money for another car.

If we buy another car, he argued, we'd never have money for a house. Wouldn't I rather do the one car thing for awhile longer rather than simplifying schedules but at the end of the day be returning to a small apartment?

Three weeks before Sierra was born, we moved into our first home.

 (1998: Our first family room, complete with beadboard, DIY mirror, and a picture ledge, although back then there wasn't a word for those yet. Yes- I realize it was hung high. There were two little monkeys back then, and they LOVED TO TOUCH. More pictures of that house here.)

It wasn't until 2001 - six years of married life- that we got a second vehicle. For any of you doing the math, that puts us getting ready to become a family of six. With a car that fit five. When my great aunt casually mentioned that she was selling her newish, rarely used minivan, it was a no-brainer.

"It doesn't look that bad from the side, Mom. Plus you can't hear it in the picture." -Hayden, age 11

Oh how posh it was. I felt sorry for our 9 year old Saturn which looked old and worn by comparison. A few years later when we had our last baby, the transition to five carseats was seamless. I cannot think of raising children without this van standing proudly in the background. The trips across town and across country. Camping. Craigslisting. Moving. Moving. Moving again.

It has slowly deteriorated over the past 14 years, but it wasn't until recently that my dear husband declared It Was Time. I suppose nearly catching fire and killing your wife late at night calls for boundary lines to be drawn? My tears could not sway his cold, bitter heart into saving my Barney. I had hoped he would make it to 20 years old. 'Twas not to be.

It seemed only fitting that such a majestic, stoic companion be given a tribute.

"Look at this guy.

Durable, rugged, handsome.

Maybe it's just because he's been a part of our family for the last 14 years, or perhaps it's because only one window rolls down(ish) and the AC doesn't work, but either way: this van is hot.

He's got a cracked windshield, but the wipers work mighty fine.

He squeals when you turn him on. No, really. Like the belt makes a squealing noise that you can hear a few streets over. Seems to get worse in the rain or whenever the radio is turned down. Around these parts we call that Curfew Protection. No teen can sneak in unnoticed.

The paint is worn and boasts an elegant patina that pays tribute to years of faithful, dedicated service.

Brakes need replacing, but *dayum* those tires are nice.

The gauges are known to shut off without warning. Not knowing how fast you're going or how much gas you (don't) have leaves a little mystery to the relationship, which experts say is healthy. I used to think they'd eventually go out all together, but just like a faithful pup or creepy ex-lover, they always come back around. As of this moment they are working.

Captain chair middle row seats for easy maneuverability. You know that fabric that's on the top roof on the inside? There must be a name for it. In any case, it's saggy. As one gets with age. You can cry for times where things were more taught and firm, or simply delight in the opportunity to trick your friends. At the right angle with the fabric resting on your head just so, it almost looks like you're wearing a gray sombrero. Very appropriate given all the Taco Bell drive thrus this guy has seen."

{Epilogue: a myriad of more problems happened with the van after posting the ad. Let's just say that he went off in a puff of smoke, just like I always knew he would. His purpose had been fulfilled, and he gave up the ghost. He was taken to vehicle heaven where he was recycled. For a girl who has repurposing pumping through her veins, it seems very fitting. Barney will indeed live on forever.}

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

passing time

I know, I know...some days I plead for it to go faster. "Please Lord, let this be over soon. Nice and quick like a bandaid."

But then I see these itty bitty babies turning into real, actual people and I wonder
"When? WHEN did this happen?".

(2008 - Our first year here in Texas)

You mamas out there with cute little fellas who adore smiling for the camera?

Cherish it, for IT WILL NOT LAST.

One blink of an eye later and this will be the best you can get. Can't you just smell the teenage hormones?

{tip: threaten to take away video games until some smiles appear and then magic happens.}

Speaking of Magic, on Sunday we celebrated our 20th Anniversary. Not celebrate like "normal" people who can go somewhere alone because they have family to watch kids, and vacation days and disposable income, but in our own special tacquitos and honey BBQ anytizers way. Which is better (I think?). We've lasted longer than many people we know, so extravagant whatnots must not be the key to happiness. Thank goodness.

(Also to everyone that said a two-weeks-of-dating-before-we-got engaged relationship would never last long term? You can suck it.)


He still has the Elmo tie I bought him. Blush.

You wanna know what does help keep the love alive? Little gestures.

Picking up milk on the way home.

Folding up laundry without complaining (!).

Or even just the simple act of positioning a life size cutout of Ron Swanson outside your bathroom window and pulling the blinds up so that when your husband gets home from work at midnight and goes potty, he can be reminded of how much he ADORES his wife. So, so much.

What are your secrets for a lasting relationship?