a little photo collage. finally.

behold, my weekend accomplishment..

finally some familiar faces in these frames.

if you follow along you know that it took a loooong time to get here, so even though it was a matter of filling 6 measly ikea frames, it still feels like a major victory.

i started by printing a bunch of 8×10 black & white photos via walmart. it was my first time using walmart for printing and they came out fine.. it was easy and cheap.. shipped free to my house in a couple days, so i’d use them again i suppose.

i got a big white mat at michaels for $15 from their framing department and used a mat knife to cut out some shapes for my photos to sit behind (since the cheap ikea frames are weird sizes). i just traced around a bowl for a circle, traced the shape of the hexagon using an image on my ipad, and measured a rectangle the old fashioned way with a ruler.

the frames are two of these: $9.99/ea. (already included a mat that works with the 8x10s)
two of these: $5.99/ea. (for which i cut my own mats)
and two of these: $1.99/ea. (cut a mat for one and just stuck some white paper in back of the other)

its so nice to look up and see all these happy moments when i first walk in the house.

photos of people you love make the best art. this one of dane chomping down apple sauce in st. martin is our favorite.

so anywho, the good news is you don’t have to hear me talk about this anymore. done. a good thing because we have way bigger fish to fry down below (meaning our huge finish the basement project).

without further ado – the dramatic journey of 6 frames and one mirror:

and still reveling in how improved the whole house feels after the entry overhaul.

more of the same (wall)

i bet you didn’t think i could possibly stretch the execution of one small frame collage into 4+ blog posts. well then you have seriously underestimated my lack of productivity. here is post number 3 where i discuss this wall (and it clearly won’t be the last because, you may notice, the frames are still empty).

it never even occurred to me to hang art up here when the walls were the original dirty yellow, but now with the moody wolf grey i love the contrast of the white frames and the depth the mirror gives when you’re walking up the stairs.

this mirror was $40 on clearance at home goods. i had popped in to look at rugs and was trying so hard not to buy anything random but the mirror was speaking to me. so i was like WWEHD (what would emily henderson do). and i bought it.

AFTER the fact, i’m meandering through anthropology house & home and i see THIS:

vindication (shakes fist triumphantly at universe)! mine is a little different and i have no idea if its cheaper, knock-off quality (probably) but to get a $298 look for $40 is a win in my book.

moving on.

call me sexist, but i always leave the “heavy lifting” (and math) to mike. its for the best. he finally got to hanging these over the weekend and its a nice addition, don’t you think? i’m going to get some photos blown up in black & white to fill the frames. ikea frames are such weird sizes, so i’m hoping i can make it work. oh don’t worry installation number 4 coming soon!

below, you can see the drama unfold before your very eyes…


so what is UP with 2014? its a blizzard, its warm, its FREEZING… come to think of it, my eating patterns are emulating the weather. i drink green juice all day, i eat three cupcakes the next (technically it was one cupcake plus 2 cupcake tops)… i won’t bore you with a belated list of resolutions, but the bottom line is, i am trying to clean up my act. with mixed results. more on this later.. (lets just say i got a nutribullet for christmas and i want to tell you all about it).
any who, here are some adorable pics of baby dane:

so silly.
oh, remember that little teaser i threw in at the end of the finished entry post? well, we have gone from this:

to this:

i am taking baby steps to a whole new level. can the finish-project-fairy please swing by and hang these frames for us please? thanks. notice the christmas decorations are down? that is an accomplishment in itself.

joking aside, we have been very very busy on the home improvement front. busy planning and demo-ing mostly. we are officially REfinishing our basement over the next month or so. not US, someone we hired.. but we plan to be very involved in the process.

(demo (read: destroying) is his specialty.. )

so this will basically become the finishing my basement blog for the unforeseeable future. its all so exciting. a little overwhelming and a little stressful (its a big investment and a lot of faith in our contractor).. but mostly exciting.

the before pictures could not be any more terrifying, so this should be a very serious “before and after of the century” candidate!

i lied when i said i would only be talking about the basement project. i have a lot on my mind. i think i am going to get more random than ever in the coming weeks. till next time!

entry project II

so here it is. we broke up the large expanse of dirty, yellowy walls into a section of decorative molding below and rich color up top. the result is a high impact, major transformation. i am totally in love. the molding was done with MDF. we were back and forth between the MDF and poplar, and ultimately left it up to our neighbor, a very experienced contractor, who decided MDF was the better value. whatever it is, its pretty. 

and look, storage! we have a pathetic little coat closet that is strangely shallow and fits about 3 coats, so the hooks are very necessary.
i’m not thrilled with the floating shelf. it juts out awkwardly far and is a weird width. i would love to have something custom that fits perfectly in the space… but for $30, this expedit unit from ikea will do for now. 
and now i have a before and after shots from just about every angle. the christmas decorations are a bit distracting, but we’ll have to deal.
we’ll start upstairs on the landing..
b e f o r e —
a f t e r —
now facing dane’s room..
b e f o r e —
a f t e r —

facing our room…
b e f o r e —

a f t e r —
going down..
b e f o r e —
a f t e r —
now back downstairs. (so these aren’t really before, before.. you can see the bottom is already primed and the molding is penciled in, but you can definitely still get a sense of the drastic improvement!)
b e f o r e – i s h —
a f t e r —
b e f o r e —
a f t e r —
 b e f o r e —
a f t e r —

as for the “million decisions and details” i referenced in my last post.. here is a perfect example. we had to figure out how to handle this bump-out above the door. it wasn’t a straight-forward wrap-around scenario with the molding. but i think the way we handled it flows, and looks nice.

finally, here is the view looking up the stairs before —

and after — 

… you may notice the “art work” up there… stay tuned to see what becomes of that!

entry project

almost two years in this house. two full years. this blows my mind. i know it’s just walls and a roof and not even technically our first house.. but its the house that we brought our baby home to and really became a family.. the kid, the dog, we are totally grown-ups.
so the house.. its a big deal to me. it definitely feels like home, but it somehow still feels new and still feels like we haven’t completely settled in quite yet. over the past few weeks, we tackled one major project that was another huge step toward making the house feel like ours. because once this was complete, we had officially painted every. single. wall. in this house. every bathroom, every hallway, and come to think of it, the majority of the baseboards and ceilings too.

these are the walls that remained untouched. its a w h o l e lotta wall. this picture is from zillow two years ago. the photos of our house that were on zillow and all the other real estate listings are not representative of what the house looked like when it was actually for sale. we are pretty sure they used photos from years ago when the previous owners first tried to sell the house. this picture looks nice, but these walls were dirty. crayon marks, holes, dirty, dirty walls. but you can see why it took us so long to paint it all.

the money. the height. the decision. 

its a big commitment choosing a color to cover this massive area – the first thing you see when you walk in and the whole upstairs hallway. i couldn’t bring myself to paint it all a white or neutral. i couldn’t do anymore grey. i couldn’t commit to going bold on all this wall either. so these photos below are where i landed. the white with molding below and a different color up top. it would break up all the wall and i could have some fun with the color.


so this (below) is us for a couple weeks. painters tape everywhere. we moved these lines around a million times. at first we thought we’d copy the picture above with the two horizontal boards along the top. this is also when we were still entertaining the idea of diy-ing. less molding felt more doable. but the more we played around with it, the more we were convinced we liked the squares best. especially on the big wall going down the stairs.
the tape method was so helpful and gave us the confidence to move forward with this. i am happy to report that, in the end, we decided this was a ddiy project (don’t do it yourself). especially with the holidays and everything else on our plates. but thanks to our neighbor and his friend, we got a very quality job, at a very good price, and more importantly, 2 guys we could trust would do good work and that we enjoyed working with (because even after the work started, there were still so many decisions to make and so manny details to sort out).

so they got started. on the top: wolf grey (benjamin moore). more bluey than grey.

white dove (benjamin moore) on the bottom.

below is a “before” looking up the stairs (you can see the molding lines penciled in). a world of improvement.

next post i’ll have the finished product along with more detail on the process and all of the before and afters.