gallery wall without nail holes

Monday, April 29, 2013

Remember the gallery wall in our last living room?

Loved it.  Sure, there were a lot of nail holes in that wall, but to me it was worth it to have all of those pictures up.  Now that we're renting, I'm not hip on having to patch and paint a bunch of holes in a couple of months.  Mr. Landlord isn't either. 
But, I still wanted my pictures up.

Here's a little tip on how to get a gallery wall without making a single hole in the wall - Command Strips for photos.
Coolest thing eva!  Did you guys know about these?  I had no clue.
I ran across them by accident and was so excited when I saw them.  Super easy to use.  And since they grip over a larger area, an added bonus is you don't have to worry about your photos hanging wonky when you dust them or if a door slams too hard.  Score!
Anyways, I had to share since I know there are a lot out there that want the gallery wall but stay clear because they don't want the holes in their walls.  Problem now solved.

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This is not a sponsored post, just thought I'd share a cool find.

samuel - 5 months

Thursday, April 25, 2013

{shirt - oldnavy, shorts - target, shoes - sperry}
I'm not exactly sure how accurate his height and weight measurements are this month since I did them myself, but I do know we've had a MAJOR growth spurt.  Like, completely blew through his 6 month clothing in a matter of a couple of days and is already wearing 9 month jammies.
He is also blowing through his clothes in other ways too, if you know what I mean.  I swear, they need to have wingback chair versions that go up to their shoulders.  It truly amazes me.
He has the rollover thing down, going from his back to his belly.  And, his belly laughs are getting bigger and bigger every day.  A surefire way to get him to laugh is when Izzy and I fake sneeze.  Brings down the house I tell ya! 
And, the biggest news yet - he is finally sleeping 12 hours through the night!  Thank you Jesus!!!!  I knew he was just getting up out of habit, but I was too busy/overwhelmed/completely pooped to deal with it.  But, all is good now.  That is until the next stage hits and you swear all your hard work has gone down the drain and they'll never sleep again and "don't you even try to tell me this is just a phase because it feels totally different than last time" and I should just accept that I'll never get a full nights sleep again... phase ;)
Looking Back:

reader's sunburst mirror

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I wanted to share with you guys a photo sent to me by Betsy in Illinois.  She recently finished her sunburst mirror using my tutorial.

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Isn't it gorgeous!!! 
The center mirror was a $15 find from Wal-Mart.  She used the bronze metal and patina glaze from Valspar, and I'm just so digging the color with her red piano.  I mean come on, how fun is that piano, right?!
Gotta hand it to Betsy, she nailed it!
Has anyone else given the sunburst mirror a shot?

the most perfect home

Monday, April 22, 2013

I've got a house on the brain, and I can't get it out.
While in the process of looking for our permanent home, whether we build or buy existing, I've been digging through my Pinterest boards trying to gather ideas for what I want our home to look and feel like.  Which could be an entire month worth of posts as I am finding I'm all over the place at times.  I'm suffering from DADD - Design Attention Deficit Disorder.  I blame Pinterest.
Anywho, I kept coming back to a particular image I've had pinned for a while.  I finally clicked over to see where it originated from and instantly became obsessed with the entire home.  It's insanely amazing.
The home belongs to New York Times Bestselling author Jane Green.  She has named this stunner Figless Manor, and you must head over to her blog to hear the home's story.
Ok... take it in!

{all photos via Jane Green}

I know right!!!
Can't get it out of my head.  Especially the kitchen and casual living/eating.  Like, I NEED to live here. 
So, that's what I'll be dreaming about tonight.
What's your favorite part?

our tx rental - entry and living room

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ok, so here is our new place!  Well... at least for the next 6 months that is.  Our lease will be up in November and we'll get to move again.  Yippee!!!!  At least it will be into our own place, so that part I am really excited about.

Since we're only going to be here a few months I'm working with what I've already got.  Not that I got real crazy with anything, but it has been fun figuring out new ways to use our old furniture pieces.

If you look closely at the photos you'll see some are hanging sideways and upside down.  I stuck things up there based on size and then haven't done anything about switching out the photos.  It will probably be one of those things I never get around too :)  


I know I just said I was working with what I already have, but we need a rug in here in THE WORST way.  I can't put Sam directly down on the floor, and all I can think about is dropping him and cracking his head open.  I ordered this one, but it's on back order until the middle to end of next month, so it will be a while.  It's nice and neutral, and I should have no problem finding a home for it in our next house.
This place has several magnolia trees in the yard.  I just love those darn things!  So, I helped myself to some clippings.
Ok, so this room has the most awkward layout, it drives me freaking nuts.  Every wall it at a different angle.  This was the best furniture arrangement I could come up with. 
Oh, and here's something kinda funny.  Notice the sock wrapped around the top of the fan?  Yep, I don't know how the owners got it up there, and I've got no clue how to get it down.  There are also Nerf darts and little balls stuck in the foyer light.  I can't get to them, and I'm afraid that if I turn on the light I'll burn the house down.  That would be my luck.

So, there she blows!  I'll post some pics of the master bedroom before too long so I can show you guys the new headboard I ordered before I found out we were moving.  Me likey.

DIY baby photos and editing tutorial

Monday, April 15, 2013

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A few weeks back I posted some of the photos I took of Sam at 3 months.  Several of you asked about my camera, settings, and how I set up the space I was shooting in.  I figured it might be easiest to do a post on the process and a tutorial on how I edited them.
First off let me just say that I am in no way, shape, or form a real photographer.  This is just what worked for me, a gal without Photoshop who wanted to snap some easy, cheap pics of her baby :)
Camera - Canon Rebel EOS
Nothing too fancy schmancy here.  No special lenses, just the 18-55mm lens it came with.
The Set Up
I kept the set up really easy.  Literally just a plain white sheet on the ground with one end draped over a chair back.  A Boppy under a sheepskin or soft blanket is perfect for propping up little ones.  I made sure I set everything up in front of a window with good light so there would be no need for a flash.
Camera Settings
Everything was shot in Manual Mode.  On this particular day there were clouds passing over the sun so my settings changed based on that, but for the most part shutter speed was between 1/80 and 1/160, and ISO was set between 100-400.
Editing Tutorial
I use PicMonkey to edit all of my photos.  PicMonkey is a free online photo editor, but you can pay a small fee to upgrade and have full access to all of their editing tools.  I think it's totally worth it.  Some of the edits I use for this tutorial include the upgraded tools.
Here's the photo directly out of the camera.
You can see around the white sheet backdrop, and it just doesn't have any oomph.
Below are the steps I used to edit several of the photos I took that day.
STEP ONE:  Upload your photo to PicMonkey.  Under Basic Edits (molecule icon), go into Exposure and hit the Auto Adjust button.
STEP TWO:  To smooth out the backdrop, go under Touch Ups (lipstick icon), and go into Airbrush.  Click on the Strong option and set the fade to 0%.  Run the brush over your white background to smooth out the wrinkles on the sheet.
STEP THREE:  If need be, go back into Basic Edits and crop your image.  I love up close and personal baby shots.
STEP FOUR:  For filling in any background that may be peeking out, go into Effects (beaker icon) and click on Draw.  Set brush hardness to 0% and click on the color selector to choose a portion of your backdrop.  Fill in any unwanted areas.

STEP FIVE:  To brighten eyes, go into Touch Up and click on Eye Brighten.  Use the tool to fill in the eyes.  I usually fade the brightening in 70-75% so they don't look too overdone.

STEP SIX:  I wanted these photos to feel really light and airy.  If your photo is still feeling a little dark, go back into Basic Edits and increase brightness in Exposure.


STEP SEVEN:  Go into Effects.  One of my favorite effects that I added to the photos was their Tranquil effect.  I faded it in about 50%.  It's so soft and pretty.  And, that's it!
Some of my other favorite effects are layering a few together.  Like now going into Black and White and then fading the color in very softly.
Take a lot of photos.  I mean, A LOT.  I took around 200 photos that day.  I knew a huge number of them wouldn't come out and I wanted to increase my chances of having several winners.  They're going to be photo bombed by a dog here and there, they will almost always start crying, and some just won't turn out like you thought they would.
Do it at a time of the day where they are in a good mood.  You know, for the most part ;)  For us it is the first part of the day after we've had our nap and have milk in our belly.
Keep it simple.  Aside from doing a few photos of him in his froggy bath towel, I didn't use any props.  Just baby on a soft fuzzy.  It was just me taking the photos and I didn't want to be fussing with hats or baskets, hoping I could get back to the camera in time to get a good shot.

UPDATED: Don't automatically assume the photo didn't turn out.  I forgot to mention this when I hit publish, but I think it's important.  At first glance I thought this photo wasn't going to work.  Go ahead and play around with editing on some that you're not sure of.  You might be surprised!

So, that's it folks!  Anyone going to be busting out their camera today??


I'll be linking up to these fab parties!



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