January 31, 2011

Photo Collage

Wall collages sure seem to be the new "in thing". And I love them. I've been seeing them all over the place: websites, magazines, catalogs and all the cute blogs I subscribe to.

In fact, one of my blogging friends recently posted about her photo wall that she created at her home, if you're interested you can see her hints and tips here. Since I was only halfway through my own wall collage project when she posted on hers, I was lucky enough to be able to use her tips myself!

Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn

It all started when we received this large/narrow piece of wooden wall art as a gift from our friends Keely and Tucker and it became the starting point of the wall collage. We also used this piece to pull accent colors from for our living room-more on that later.....honestly probably much later. I used the length of the wooden art to define the length of the overall wall collage and it really helped me keep the size and spread of the collage in check.

You'll see in the inspiration photos at the top that some of them have rigid spacing, while others were more chaotic and random. I decided to go with the less rigid, more imperfect look figuring that way if one of them got moved a little bit it wouldn't drive us me nuts like it would if every picture had to have the same exact spacing around it. I have a little case of OCD when it comes to object placement.

This first image shows the start of our wall collage. You'll notice there are several gaps (frames I didn't have yet, or were being painted), some unmatched frames, there are even some frames with no photos at all. Had I not already started my collage, I would have followed Rachel's tips and spread them out on the ground first....but a few extra little nail holes never hurt a landlord right? RIGHT! Moving on....

This second photo was taken about a week later, after I'd gotten more of the photos printed, and decided what I wanted to add to that previously awkward gap. I'm lovin' the monogram thing lately, (also went with that theme for our wedding welcome bags) so I picked up a wooden "J" and spray painted it silver. It fits the space well, and because its hanging with a lean I think it adds a bit of whimsy to all the straight lines of the frames.

I used a lot of pictures from Hawaii (both wedding and trip) to brighten the wall. They looked so sharp against the crisp white frames.  When I got an email offer from "canvas people" for a discounted canvas print I jumped at the opportunity. I knew it would add just the dimension I was hoping for on the wall collage. Eventually I'd like to add a little console table underneath to collect all our important things: keys, wallets, and dog leashes and keep them in one easy to access place.

While I don't feel like the wall collage is "done" its at least "shareable"- is a piece of art ever really finished? I'm sure we'll be tweaking things here and there on the wall collage for as long as we're in this house, and really that's the beauty of it.  I'll probably start an envelope to keep favorite photos in so we can easily switch out the photos in the frame and re-vamp the wall collage without much effort. I like to change things seasonally so I love that this is so manageable. All in all this was such a fun experience, and one that I'll re-create someday when we own our own home...only next time I think I'll use a level :)

Sleek Storage

I found this lackluster cake stand at goodwill for a whopping $1.50. It was ugly, scratched, and dented but I knew it was nothing a sanding and paint job couldn't fix.

Found this image on google- I forgot my "before" shot, this was the next best thing

Since I didn't know where the cake stand had been in its previous life, and we'd already gotten a MUCH prettier one as a wedding gift (thanks Matt!) I thought it could be a fun way to keep some of our bathroom essentials accessible, and organized.

So far I'm enjoying the unexpected storage solution, and my morning routine now involves less opening and closing of the medicine cabinet :)

January 19, 2011

Wedding Welcome Bags

This post has been in the "in progress" stage for literally months now. But we're finally ready to share! Not only did the welcome bags for our wedding take some time to create and assemble, but we've had to keep it a secret because the receivers of these gifts also happen to be some of our favorite blog readers. We didn't want to be accused of being surprise-spoilers. We ended up creating one bag per couple who attended, with the exception of Sophia who got her own. The bags were designed with the women in mind, because realistically I don't see my dad, brother, Todd, Chad or Randy running around with one of these slung over their shoulder. If I'm wrong...let me know, its not too late to make amends ;)

The first bag that I completed was for Sophia, our niece. Her bag was a good starting point to give me ideas on what I'd like to do with the "grown up" bags. She's been excited to go to Hawaii for months prior to our trip, so I really wanted to make a beach themed back for her full of things she could enjoy on our trip.

She was stylin' in those glasses!
Her bag has wooden fish beads around the top rim, trimmed with a brightly colored ribbon. I went with a monogram theme for all of my bags, so she's got an iron-on "S". My favorite part about her bag is the little sunglasses I tied onto the handle with a bit of pink palm tree ribbon.

Her bag was the most fun to fill too! She got some of the same things as the adults, a mini sunscreen and a decorative jar- although hers had organic treats instead of bath salts. I tried to get a few things for her to enjoy at the beach and a few things to keep her busy during various day to day activities. She had a coloring book and crayons, a Hello Kitty sticker activity book all designed to help keep her busy.

    The second bag I went to work on was for Jake and I. At this point I was still experimenting with different techniques of applying materials to the bags and was unsure how they'd all work out. Sophia's bag had turned out great so I felt ready to tackle ours, and I figured if I messed it up at least it was better than messing up one of the guest bags right?

    That's when I discovered the 'freezer paper stencil method.'   Long name, amazing results. This I knew, would be the solution to my monogram stencil problem. Instead of seeking out store bought stencils that were the right size and font, I'd just make my own, on the cheap. Wooo hooo! Freezer paper stencils don't make the perfect clean line every time, but I ended up really liking the un-perfectness of it. It gave them a vintage look, or handcrafted look, or a mixture of both. I'm not quite sure. I just know, I liked it.

    Some of my favorite things are the little details:

    I almost died when I found this "measuring tape" ribbon to accessorize my moms "quilting" themed bag
    and this cute herringbone pattern for Mel's bag

    I had a little help when it came to the goodies within the bags. We knew all along that Kona coffee would be a part of our bags, its such a well known product of Hawaii, and our families are huge coffee drinkers so that was a no-brainer. Julia put her design skills to the test creating custom chapstick labels as well as stick on labels for our sunscreen bottles.

    I'm hoping to eventually round up more photos of the bags at their final stage. I remember someone snapping a photo of them lined up in the condo before we gave them out, but I was in my dress getting ready so I don't have any of my own. Anyone who finds these photos on their camera be sure to email me so I can update : )

    January 10, 2011

    Reduce, re-use, up-cycle

    This craft happened completely by accident, but the results are phenomenal.

    It all started when I decided to go through some old clothes and see what we could donate to goodwill. Our new house doesn't have a whole lot of storage which meant that paring down our possessions was a must. In all reality, this is something we should have done prior to our move to Kansas, but better late than never right?

    So I've been sifting through our things, clothes, electronics, books, shoes etc to see what we have that we just don't need. Deciding what to do with said items is easier once you've got a pile going. But craigslist, goodwill and free-cycle will be my top "go to" places when its time to ditch the goods.

    A majority of what I've found to be "donatable" at this point have been old clothes and shoes. Jake has a t shirt collection to rival an entire basketball team I swear. And most of them don't fit him anymore/never get worn. Time to say sionara to those suckers. I tackled my own closet, dresser and shoe section to find some giveaways I never wear either. I also found a few sweaters in my closet that I don't wear and for awhile they sat on the donate pile, until I realized I could make them into.....

    A pillow cover of course. A sweater pillow. And its luscious to lay on let me tell you! The DIY of this project couldn't have been easier. I started by cutting the arms off of both of my sweaters and then used my machine to sew three of the four sides. I found a few new pillow forms on sale at Hobby Lobby and the sweater was the perfect size for one of them. To sew the bottom closed, I first ran it through my machine using gray thread, and then finished with a line of fabric glue underneath to strengthen it. Since our bedroom colors are working toward a gray/white/green theme I added a green button in the middle and viola! a bed accent pillow was born.

    The second sweater pillow turned out a little more oddly shaped than the first one. I was a little bummed out and not sure how to fix it when I realized that the odd shaped pillow was shaped exactly like an owl! I love owls, so of course I had to make an owl pillow. I used felt for both the eyes and beak and that was a quick upgrade to the blank white canvas I had started with, but I knew it still needed something....maybe wings? I haven't quite figured it out yet, so the final product will have to wait for another post.

    Also coming soon:
    - napkin pillows, which are about 100x cooler than they sound I promise!
    - and Jake is back in class next week, so we can all look forward to more of his project updates.

    January 8, 2011

    Wedding picture preview

    Hello all! We're back from Hawaii and adjusting back to reality. We had an amazing time on a remarkable island....more details and photos to come.

    We had a professional photographer at our ceremony, and will be receiving a CD of his photos in approximately 2 weeks;  for now, we've got some some great photos taken by camera wielding family members.

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