Gallery Wall

I love Sunday mornings. The dogs are early risers and normally are up and ready to go outside at 6:00. I am an early riser by nature so I rarely go back to bed after I let them out, and with mass not until 10:30 I normally have four hours that to do with what I wish. I find these mornings a really productive time for me. I love finding a small project that will impact the house and can be done leisurely while I nurse a cup of coffee and simultaneously whip up some breakfast. Today I decided to work on hanging some of the pictures that I have been putting together over the summer.

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When plotting the layout of my gallery wall I decided to give the newspaper method a try. I first saw it on Pinterest but I haven’t had a chance to give it a try yet. Sometimes things on Pinterest are not as easy as they seem, but I have to give it to them this time; the newspaper method, although a little involved in the beginning of the process worked well and was very simple.

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First I laid out each frame and either cut out sections the same size from the paper, or in the case of the large frame I taped together a couple of pieces to simulate the size of the frame. At first I began to think it wasn’t worth the time to cut out each piece but when I could quickly play with the layout I realized it was worth it even in just that aspect. I used a level to make sure that each newspaper section was hung level on the wall so I could get a feel for how it would look and simply mark where the nails should go. Measuring the nail spot on the frame and translating it to the newspaper was simple, and then I simply nailed right through the newspaper into the wall. You can see above how I replaced each piece of paper with the appropriate frame, and simply tore the paper down gently behind the frame when it was hung level.
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You might remember this frame that I picked up at a garage sale in town a couple of weeks ago. It had a smarmy print in it but the frame was solid and it had matting also. I painted it white, freshened up the matting with a coat of paint (Yes, you can paint picture matting!) and got a print of a photo that my mom took while she and I visited the Maroon Bells together in Colorado back in 2011.

IMG_7680Here is where I left off when I had to leave for mass. I loved where it was at, but it wasn’t finished yet.

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I love how the final product turned out. I had originally thought I would wait to hang the canvas and the storm landscape in the top square frame, mainly because I wanted to construct a frame for the canvas and get a different print for the square frame. I can easily make those changes after the fact, and I love that the wall feels complete now.FullSizeRender 8

The little shelf was originally supposed to go in the master bathroom, but ended up in a closet instead. I love how the shelf stands out on the wall and gives the eye something a little different to focus on.FullSizeRender 9

 

The antler Zach gave to me after we got engage, which he found out on the Kansas prairie during a hunting trip. I love antlers and would like to learn to shed hunt someday. Our wedding candle found the perfect home on the shelf too (the candle stick is a thrifting steal, found at Goodwill for $1.00,). It had been on our dresser in our room, but the shelf seemed like a better place for it. And of course the shelf wouldn’t be complete without a succulent!

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I am so elated with how it looks. The dining room finally feels less like its in transition. After having completed it a few pieces of advice before tackling your own gallery wall are:

1. Don’t skip prep work – It might seem tedious to really lay out the wall carefully first, but it will make hanging the photos a breeze.

2. Do hang frames even if you are eventually going to change the picture inside. Waiting to hang the frame would have only kept this project half done. This way I finished what I started (always a good thing) and can easily change out the print later on.

3. Throw in an unexpected element – I think the floating shelf really makes the wall in the end. Adding in the different texture from the plant and the antler, and just breaking up the monotony of all frames gives the wall more visual interest.

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I have had most of the pictures sitting around just waiting to be hung for a month or more, and I am so glad that I decided to take the time to hang them today. It really makes a world of difference in the feel of the house.

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Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

It’s Friday morning and that calls for a semi relaxed morning with some Yoga, blogging, and breakfast! I have a ten pound box of Michigan blueberries that my Mom brought me and it calls for some baked oatmeal.

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These babies are so delicious and I have been eating them fresh by the bowl full, or maybe two or three daily….
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I can’t believe how big and delicious they are this year. If you’ve never had blueberries like this you have been missing out. One small warning however; after tasting these the piddly supermarket berries will lose all their appeal. So proceed with caution.FullSizeRender 7Like I said, I may or may not have (Okay, there’s no may not have in this equation… I totally have) been eating 2-3 bowls of these guys every day.

This morning I decided that some baked oatmeal would be the perfect way to use some of the berries, and I adapted this recipe from Emily Reviews.

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Bake Oatmeal

Oven: 350

Prep time: 5-10 Minutes

Cook time: 35-40 Minutes

 

2 Cups Rolled Oats

1 Cup Almond Milk

1/2 Cup Apple Sauce

1 Frozen Banana, thawed and mashed

2 Tbsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1.1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3 Tbsp Sugar (I used Xylitol)

2 Tbsp Flax Seeds ground

1.1/2 cups Blueberries

 

Mix all the ingredients, starting with dry and moving to the wet. I used my coffee grinder to grind the flax seeds. I also threw in a mashed banana because I am all about the flavor that this gives oatmeal. Spray your baking dish with cooking spray (I use spray olive oil) and bake for 35-40 minutes

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I poured almond milk on mine and some chopped toasted almonds to serve.

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Blogging Breakfast Fridays

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Friday is my absolute favorite day of the week. Growing up, my Dad only worked half days on Friday and the first Friday of every month he had completely off. When I got old enough to work for him I loved Fridays because the ones we worked were quiet with less of his staff in the office and you were done by lunch time. My obsession with Friday’s was pretty much set in stone, and after spending a year at IPFW in Fort Wayne, Indiana I transferred to a little Christian Liberal Arts University in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver located off of U.S. 6 West as you are heading into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. To my great happiness Colorado Christian University (CCU) did not have Friday classes, instead having Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday options. Friday’s are the beginning of the weekend, and I love that when you reach a Friday you still have the whole weekend to look forward to.

In the last year I have set an intention to carve out time to work on things that I have been meaning to do but never seem to find the time to do. After working on some creative collaborations with and doing some writing for my my hugely talented older sister Leigh from Savage Design Co. (you should really take some time to check her out because her work is incredible), I had more motivation than ever to engage with my creative aspirations. We had a conversation after a wedding shoot with some creatives in the area, where she told me that what was most important was for me to just do it. Forget being ready, having everything “perfect”, and getting it right, I should just get started and edit on my way. I needed to hear this, as this blog has been a huge goal for me that I have never really gotten off the ground for those exact reasons.

Every time I would start a blog I would realize the name was right, or I didn’t have a back log of posts to pad up my home page (because who reads a blog thats in its beginning stages??). Many of us have likely followed blogs over the years and have watched them grow, but rarely does anyone stumble on a blog in its true infancy. Leigh went on to tell me that she has started doing something she coined “Administrative Breakfast Fridays” where she tackles all administration related tasks related to her business that she used to put off before. By taking herself out for breakfast she has not only started to complete the tasks she used to previously avoid, but also begun to look forward to her Friday morning each week. Thus was born Blogging Breakfast Fridays for Très so that I would have one day a week dedicated to getting some writing done.

Sometimes I take myself out but not every time, and I haven’t been completely habitual in my Friday dedication. However, the intention is there, and because of that I have noticed far more motivation during the week to log things that will go into the blog on the next Friday, and I have finally gotten the motivation to actually publish, instead of waiting for ever for perfection that I will never reach.

One woman and a reciprocating saw

The weather has been wonderfully cool in the morning this past week. Its pretty abnormal for June but it makes the perfect time to get big projects done outside. I decided to tackle all the overgrown bushes in the front of our house and with the help of a reciprocating saw, two days later the house is refreshingly sans bushes.

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Here is a before of the house. The bushes had probably been growing as long as the house has been here, which means over 30 years if not 40. As you can imagine we weren’t sure how to get them out at first. With the root base being so large and established pulling them out with a truck didn’t seem likely, plus with the well lines going out from the house in the area of a couple of them, digging them out with a backhoe might damage those lines.FullSizeRender 22

Zach has been working 70+ hours a week at the hospital because they are short staffed so he’s been too wiped out to help me do manual labor around the house when he is off. His Brother Brady cam and helped me pull out one side of the first bush to open it up so I could reach the center to cut them out. We had thought there would be a chance the root base might be shallow and the truck pull them out but that thought was squashed in about two seconds.

The bushes were so overgrown that I had to climb under them to get near enough to the larger branches to cut them out. The space was too tight for a chainsaw, so Zach rigged me up with his reciprocating saw one evening and the next morning I went to town on these giant green meatballs that were taking over the front of the house.FullSizeRender 20

I successfully removed two the first day in about two and half hours in the morning since I had some things to do the rest of the day. The feeling of cutting out those bushes was so satisfying that I went out later that evening and cut off the bases of the three bushes that ran along the north end of the front of the house, leaving them lay right where I cut them until the next morning. I hauled away two loads of cut up bushes that evening also and the next morning I attacked the rest.

In all, the hours it took me was just a little over one day and Its incredible the difference it makes on the house.

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The front of the house is actually visible now that the bushes are gone and I am so empowered by the fact that I did this alone. Its amazing what a person can do with some motivation, a saw, a trailer, and some know-how. Now that I have taken these out I feel confident that almost anything I want to complete in the yard is fair game!

Home Office

I work from home so one of the first spaces that I really wanted to be completed was my office. Our living room is L shaped and the small end was originally a dining space, but Zach and I decided that we didn’t need two dining spaces. Since I didn’t want to be shut up in one room of the house all day while working and watching our dogs the extra dining space was the perfect solution.

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Here is my handy man figuring out how high to hand the shelves. He cleverly figured out how to mount the shelves to white boards that he had attached to the walls directly to the studs. That way we didn’t have to worry about making sure that all the shelf mounts were lined up with studs and offset the placement. With his mounting system we made sure that the shelves were centered like we wanted.IMG_6402 Ikea Besta storage systems on the one wall create the perfect place for me to my office and craft supplies, and display plants and photos.IMG_6404IMG_6408

I liked the paint in the entryway so much that I decided to use it for two walls in my office. I left the third wall white because it connects with the living room and I will eventually paint it the color I do the rest of the room. I love how it turned out. IMG_6423_2

After going crazy sitting all day, I decided a desk that I can stand up at while working is a must. I got the Ikea Finnvard trestle legs and by mistake I grabbed a top that was a little too small but it was only $5 and I have plants to eventually replace it with a great cut of wood.
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Zach cut this piece of walnut out in his Grandpa’s woods after finding the tree down. It was not perfectly level so he had left it in his shop for ages where I found it. The second I found it I pounced on it and asked if I could keep it. Zach didn’t care because he told me he could get me a better piece eventually. After sanding it for ages with a belt sander and then using a clear varnish coat on it, its now one of my favorite pieces and a lot of people ask about it. Zach was even surprised how well it turned out.IMG_6431

IMG_3379Although this is before painting, this is usually how things turn out while I am working. I never work alone!

 

 

Dining Chair Reupholstery

In my post on my dining room and dining table, I showed a before and after of the waiting room chairs from the 1970s that I have reupholstered. I’m going to go into a little more detail now in case anyone else is looking to redo similar chairs and could benefit from my process and what I learned.

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The chairs were made by Jasper Seating Company in Jasper, Indiana. I can’t find a specific date on any of the tags on the chairs, but the style is similar to Danish mid century modern. The wood is listed as Walnut and is very pretty even still. I contemplated sanding and refinishing them, but in all they are in great shape and I wanted to leave them original if I could.

My parents purchased them for their dental when they launched in 1974, but I think the chairs had a previous owner because the tag on the bottom list the customer as SHREX. These chairs are likely between 45-55 years old and its amazing how great they still are. One was even still being used in an operatory at my Dad’s dental office before I snagged them.

I worked for my Dad over the years during high school, and again after college, and it was during one of those stints that I discovered four of the chairs being stored in the back room of the office basement. One chair was being used in a hygiene operatory, as I mentioned, and another one of a slightly different style was being used in the staff lounge area. At the time I didn’t have any place to put the chairs so I left them there until after Zach and I got married and I could use them in my own house.

I purchased my fabric from Joann Fabrics. I considered ordering some fabric from a retailer with more selection, but after a visit to the store I found exactly what I wanted so there was no need. I researched the style of chair to figure out how much fabric I would need per chair and found some charts that said I should have a yard and a half for each chair. This was way too much fabric. Even though I thought I needed 6 yards, I only ended up purchasing 5 yards of Nate Berkus Wareham fabric for the seats because there was not enough on the roll for 6. I am pretty relieved that there wasn’t because that would just be more fabric leftover in my closet now. I think in all I used a yard of fabric per chair or less, so the estimate of a yard and a half was way more than enough.Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.20.20 AM

 

The fabric was originally $50 a yard but thankfully it was on sale and I got a large additional percentage off for signing up for Joann’s coupons. for $500 of fabric I ended up spending less than $250 for it, and that was including the 3 yards of black faux leather for the back rests.IMG_6279

I took the back and seat cushions and began to remove the hundreds of staples connecting the fabric to the seat base. I kept on original cover to use as a template for the new covers and tossed the rest. I skipped some of the details like the seam down the sides of the seat cushions in favor of simplicity.
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The original foam on the chairs was in unbelievable condition. It wasn’t dry rotted in the least and was still incredibly comfortable. I reenforced it with some new batting but otherwise decided to save the $ and stay with the old foam. IMG_6363_2

The chair backs were a little tricky, but after the first try I got it down. The key was folding the corders well and keeping the material extremely taught.
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I attempted to use upholstery tacks that were folded inside the fabric like the originals but it was pretty hard to work with and didn’t want to go through the pleather . Instead I decided to use upholstery nails in a brushed pewter and I love how they turned out.IMG_6366FullSizeRender 17FullSizeRender 16

The seats I didn’t really document because it was very simple and just like doing the backs. The key is to keep the material pulled taught and just fold it well, stapling as you go. Super simple and anyone could do it.

Steal of a Deal

This weekend was our official town-wide garage sale. After yoga this morning, I decided to take a spin through a few neighborhoods to see what was out there since I had found a great old picture frame and mat for $3 the night before. I have been collecting frames and matting to makeover so I was thrilled to find this baby to add to that collection. You can read more about the gallery wall DIY process here.

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The picture in this frame is pretty awful. Actually the whole thing is pretty outdated. The frame is a little more ornate than I would choose perhaps if I was purchasing it from a store, but as I didn’t I can live with it. Still trying to decide if this baby should be black or white.

I found the frame while I was driving back into town Friday afternoon and almost passed on it, but then decided to turn around and go back. That seems to be my style with garage sales because today I did the same thing. I saw this table from the road and drove by three times before deciding to stop and get out. I know.
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From the road it looked pretty promising, but there have been a few occasions that I have been disappointed on closer inspection by what looks to be a great piece from the road. This coffee table was bigger than I thought from the road, but other than wear on the top it was in great condition. The price listed it at $10, and then the owner said that everything was half price to help get rid of it all since it was Saturday. I had to hide my excitement when I heard him say it would be $5. It was very sturdy and I decided it would hold up to my rambunctious brood of dogs better than my current table was.
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I love how it goes with my couch (Ikea Karlstad!) and the style is a lot more me than the other coffee table.

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This is not my current living room setup, but it shows the tiny little coffee table that we were using before. The picture doesn’t show it but it has a mirror top. It was an antique from that belonged to my Grandma, but the joints were all rickety and the constant tussling of the dogs knocking up against it was taking its toll. I really don’t want to lose it because it was my Grandma’s, so I have been thinking about finding a replacement for a while.FullSizeRender 13I love how this table ended up working perfectly. Piper, our German Shorthair Pointer absolutely loves it already.

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The detail of the wood is incredible, and the dovetail joints add a unique flair to the top of the table. Other than surface damage its in wonderful condition, and I am grateful there are no deep gauges in the wood that couldn’t be fixed by a light sanding.

After a little research on it, I found that my $5 deal was an incredible steal. The Acclaim coffee table was made by Lane Furniture base in Altevista, Virginia in 1960. In addition to being a great quality piece that was expensive in its day, it is going for between $200-$300 today, sometimes even more. I’d say that’s a pretty good days work for bargain hunting. I can’t wait to get the top sanded off and refinished and I’ll be sure to document how that goes.