DIY Hanging Wood Frames.

I would consider myself a moody decorator.  I change out throw pillows, move furniture around, put different art up not just seasonally but sometimes weekly all according to my mood.  And why shouldn’t I? People dress according to their mood, eat according to their mood, style their hair a certain way according to their mood.  I get that going out and buying a new a new pair of jeans is a little different than buying a new sofa just because your in the mood but still…

Remember a couple weeks ago I talked about my hallway gallery wall dilemma? I came up with a new solution that cost me under $6.00 per piece.

before and after

I love hanging family pictures on the wall. They bring personality and uniqueness to a home. Instead of using traditional frames with glass again that will end up getting broken with three rowdy boys, I opted for something a little different…

I first needed some updated photos of my family.  I’m a wanna-be professional photographer.  The majority of pictures I take are with my phone.  I do have a DSLR Cannon Camera as well as tons of books and how to use it but I still shoot the majority of the time on automatic.  I find that when I’m trying to grab my camera to capture a “moment” I”m not worried about fooling around with lighting, settings, etc.

Last week I staged a very informal, organic photo shoot with my family.  No fancy outfits, no prep, just them, a white wall and my camera on automatic.  In fact, whatever they were wearing is what they got snapped in.

4men1lady 1

My seceret weapon to making my pictures look somewhat decent is free online photo editing programs like PicMonkey or my favorite free phone photo app Aviary.

family photo shoot without logo

Julia did a something very similar if you’re a fan of Photoshop.

I could have had them printed at a professional photography lab but remember, I’m a moody decorator.  Instead I went a really inexpensive route and had them printed at Staples on the Engineered Printing Paper (which I did here once before).  For $1.99 each they printed them 24 x 48.   That way if I get tired of them in a short time (or my 4 rowdy men find a way to ruin them) I won’t feel guilty having not spent a whole lot of money.

IMG_5474 with logo

The prints come on thin paper that is typically meant for things like blue prints.  To give them more stiffness and substantiality I used spray adhesive to attach them to a piece of poster board cut the same size.
Hanging wood poster frames are nothing new but I recently fell in love with them for visual uniqueness and affordability they give to a piece of art.
I was really inspired by these here, here and here.
Next, I picked up some window trim at my local hardware store for around $1.00/ft. There are a lot of other inexpensive options out there. After I put my projects together I kicked myself realizing the trim was almost the same dimensions as a large paint stir stick which is free…duh. (See my paint stir stick house numbers project). Next time.  I cut my trim down then used a Walnut shade to stain them with a rag.

with logo

To attach the trim to my picture I flipped the trim over (wrong side up), then the picture (also wrong side up) and aligned the picture on top of the trim securing with a hand held staple gun.


I attached trim to the top and bottom of my picture, only the front side of the picture.  Next I attached two eye hooks to the top of my trim pieces and tied everyday twine to them which holds the piece up.

IMG_5491 with logo

I never pictured three little men in my life pre-children but boy, I’m smitten.

IMG_5627 with logo

IMG_5628 with logo

IMG_5629 with logo

You can’t beat $6.00 for a custom photo shoot, print and framing.
There’s so much to love about this project but one of the things I like best is the price doesn’t guilt me in to feeling like I can’t be a moody decorator when I’m ready to change it out in the not too distant future.

I used the same inexpensive framing idea to hang this piece by  Light and Ink above my mantel.

IMG_5619 with logo

I followed the same process to put together this piece however, I used trim pieces on both the front and back, top and bottom of print to give it just a little more polished of a look.

IMG_5616 with logo

I sandwiched the print between two trim pieces then attached a wood screw to secure the trim and print together.
IMG_5622 with logo

Had I framed this print it would have cost me a pretty penny because it is an unusual size and it would have had to be custom.
For under $10.00 I was to just use trim, a 6 screws, a couple of eye hook screws and some twine.
Tune-in to see what mood strikes me to change my mantel to next.

2014…Year in Review.

 I’m a day late for a year in review as 2014 has officially come and gone.
After taking a look back I’m surprised how much we accomplished.
Let’s take a little walk down memory lane…

We made a lot of progress to the basement in 2014.
The best completion was finishing a family room in the basement.


We also finished a basement bathroom to service the family room and guest bedroom (makeover coming in 2015):


The laundry dungeon was turned it in to a bright space that makes me enjoy doing laundry now (well, not really).

before and after laundry

Our basement mother-in-law apartment got some much needed love as well.  This basement apartment kitchen is 100 times better than the Mr. and my first three residences.


The apartment basement bathroom also got a pretty update using some budget-friendly finds.

IMG_0657 with logo
Upstairs, we had ALL our cabinets refinished and repainted by the worlds most amazing cabinet maker/refinisher.  They had a terrible paint job to begin with and didn’t last the 2+ years we had been using them so the refinishing was a much needed repair. This bathroom got a new shade of paint, new counter and new faucet.


2014 marks lots of growing men in our household.  They were quickly out-growing their room so instead of going out we went up with some built-in bunk beds.

IMG_9232 with logo

But the cherry on top was that we finally finished our master bedroom complete with a DIY wing bed and Herringbone Sharpie wall.

Before and After

Outside, our patio got a little facelift during a fun Style Challenge with Home Depot.


In other projects I helped my dad design a new kitchen space for one of his rental properties.


In addition to all our room makeovers that kept us busy, we always made time for DIY projects.
Here are a few of our favorites:

projects 1
1. Two toned bench.
2. Brass plated stool
3. Hanging door stop


4.  PVC projects
5. Wood slat door mat
6. Tomato cage pot holder

Projects 3

7. Two-toned stool
8. Magazine trolley

January 2015 marks us being in our Utah home for just about 3 years.  You may recall we came to Utah from Tucson, AZ and moved in an apartment while we went through construction on the house.  We pretty much started from scratch ripping everything out and starting completely over.  One of the most popular series we tackled in 2014 was a complete review of all the finishes we picked from marble counters to faucets to flooring.


Reviewing our kitchen cabinets.
Reviewing our kitchen counters.
Reviewing our kitchen appliances.
Reviewing our kitchen sink, faucet, message center.
Reviewing our wood floors.
Reviewing our concrete counters.
Reviewing our master bathroom (part 1).
Reviewing our master bathroom (part 2).

We had the wonderful opportunity of working with great sponsors this year.  Without them we wouldn’t be able to have such creative freedom to dream big.  We thank you all for being a fabulous audience that we get to share our projects with.  We have big plans for 2015 and look forward to sharing them with you.  Bring on 2015!



Setting a holiday dinner party table.

This post is sponsored by Staples.

One of my favorite shows on tv is House Hunters.  If you haven’t seen it, the premise is a buyer(s) looks at three houses for sale and buys one at the end. It’s always interesting to listen the prospective buyer’s comments.  9 times out of 10 they talk about what a great entertaining space the living room or dining room would be.  When the Mr. and I were house hunting we said the same thing.  The funny thing is we are so not the entertaining type.  Family life has consumed us.  We’re all concerned about making a comfortable space for our guests that we have over once or twice a year.  I’m curious, how often do you people host a party?

 Even though we’re not the “let’s throw a party” type we do we try and make it special when we actually host guests.
Luckily Staples approached me and asked if I’d like to participate in their holiday hack challenge called #HandmadeHolidays with some items of my choosing from their store .
I was a little skeptical…décor it up from an office supply store? Hmmm?
However, after doing some shopping at their store I could have gone a hundred different directions on making something cool for the holidays.
So I decided to throw our once-a-year party…Staples style!


The first thing I did was cover the table with brown Kraft paper.  Not only does it look cool but it makes a perfect disposable table runner.



Kraft paper is the best supply EVER! I use it for table runners, art paper for my kids, wrapping paper and décor.   I even put it down on the floor as a protector if I have workers in the house doing maintenance.  It’s just so versatile.
If you’re going to use it to wrap presents I would recommend a 40# weight. 30# works but can be just a tad thin for my liking.

Next up: DIY place cards.

pine cone place card

Staples carries these very chic jumbo gold paper clips.
Using my glue gun I attached them to some pine cones I picked up in my yard (feel free to come get some, I’ve got about 500).
Next, I found these cool stencil letters from Staples which were perfect for designating the first letter of the name for where everyone was supposed to sit.


Some of the pine cones sat lop-sided so I put a little dab of hot glue down right under the pine cone then they sat perfectly. You can also put them in a small glass tea-light holder.

For the center pieces I used these mini trees.  The containers weren’t very pretty.  No worries, more Kraft paper to the rescue!

Faux brown bag container

1. Put a large Ziploc baggie around the container so the moisture doesn’t leak.
2. Wrap Kraft paper around the container and tie it up with twine. You can leave it like this however, it took up too much space on the table with the paper wings sticking out.
3. Roll the paper “wings” down and under to mimic the look of a rolled down paper bag.

The holidays about giving.  A special gift left at your guests table setting doubles as table décor.

PicMonkey Collage


I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I can’t stand gift bags, they are so impersonal. No one wraps presents anymore.
Julie Andrews was right on when she sung, “Brown paper packages tied up with string…these are a few of my favorite things.” Mine too sis-tah!

1. I used my favorite Kraft paper to wrap up the gift.
2. I found this Bordette at Staples which teachers often use on their classroom bulletin boards.
3. I cut the scalloped edge off to make a present wrapping accessory.
4. In addition to Kraft paper being one of the most versatile materials ever I will also say that brown twine ranks up there too. I use it for everything.
5. I cut a little sprig of this whatever-bush-it-is from my front yard to garnish my gift and table with.


Another one of my secrets for adding flowers to a table on the cheap…

Bud vase
You can often find grocery store flowers that are really inexpensive. By breaking them up and putting them in small bud vases you can make several small arrangements.



I’m also sold on desert being something de-lish but simple. I found these glass cups of chocolate mousse at a wharehouse grocery store.

I put them at each place setting with dinner…that way people could indulge when they were ready. Plus it wasn’t something major I had to make a big production of after the meal.


Party went off without a hitch.
If you don’t have a Staples store close to where you are you can always order from their online store.