Painting Party

Continuing on with the posts about my birthday weekend, on the day after I turned a year older, we went to a local bar to learn how to paint a picture.

I wish I had taken more of the “during” photos, but here’s Dan and I with our finished works of art.


I think it’s interesting that we started with the same landscape, the same sample painting (our teacher’s), and the same set of instructions, and we created two totally different paintings.


It was fun, but I don’t think painting is my thing. I definitely had no idea what I was doing, and even got a little stressed when the instructor told us what to do next, and I had no idea how to attempt to execute the direction. Clouds are just not as easy as they look.

In the end, I would do a class like this again. It was a good thing to try something new, and going with your hubby or friends always makes an event more fun.

For now, until I figure out what we should do with them, our paintings are hanging out in the dining room on top of our bookcases.


Perhaps we’ll take a poll to see which one’s better, and that one can have a more prominent spot in the apartment.

Bird’s the Word

I went shopping with my mom the other day at Homegoods. I always take a walk down the clearance aisle to see what’s there, though honestly, my Homegoods purchases rarely come from that aisle with the red sale sign over it. Why? A friend and I have a running joke that everything in that part of the store is broken. Whether a candle lid is missing, a ceramic monkey is chipped, or a frame is cracked, it’s all the same. Clearance section = a bunch of stuff that most people would never buy.

I think this bird frame is the first item I found that was salvageable.


Sure it has a huge mark down the middle of it and the cut outs appear to be weird colors that don’t really match, but there weren’t any chips or dents in the frame itself, so I thought I’d shell out the $5, take it home, and see if there was any way to fix it.


I popped out the backing of the frame and was glad to see it wouldn’t be too difficult to change out the paper colors.


I decided on a bold blue pattern for the bird and a dark brown with a slight brick pattern for the branches.


With just some careful cutting and some spray mount, I turned this $5 investment into a fun piece.


Oh, and that black mark was easily removed with a magic eraser.

I like that I can change out the paper choices again and again, without too much hassle (just more cutting and more spray mount). This looks like a pretty spring-y piece of wall art, but I’m thinking an update of shiny silver paper for the bird and some red on the branches would transform this into a great Christmas piece. We’ll see!

Under the Sea

Check out this cute piece of summer wall art I made for free:


I was inspired by this lovely print on etsy.


It just screamed summer to me with those bold colors and playful beachy print.

Since my husband is so wonderfully talented at Photoshop, I knew he’d be able to replicate this print for me, costing nothing more than printer paper and toner. Here’s our version:


I wanted to put it on the shelf above the couch, but I thought it would look too small on the shelf. It did.

Dan and I got to thinking and we decided a set of 3 matching prints would look great together. We brainstormed and thought an octopus and a mermaid would round out the beach/sea theme we had going.


I wish I could tell you how Dan did it. I know he googled to find the images we ended up using, then created a silhouette of them. He said the chevron wasn’t too difficult to make either. You know, because he spends a lot of time in Photoshop.

As for the frame, we’ve long had it in our hall closet. We got it as a wedding gift with a cut out mat that spelled “Wedding Day,” but didn’t have anywhere to put it. Until now.

Is it perfect? No. Does it add color to the room? Definitely. Is it fun for a quick summer living room update? Absolutely.

Admit One

I save everything. Well, everything with sentimental value, which is a lot. Because of that, I’m always looking for new ways to store or display my stored items. I got the idea for this memory box on pinterest, and I think the result was pretty cute. It’s my Admit One box.


I’ve held onto many of the tickets for shows, movies, concerts, exhibits, etc. that Dan and I have seen. Until now, they’ve been strewn around the house on my nightstand, in a pile on a table, or sometimes in a photo album. To make this, I started by gathering up all the stubs I could find. I’m sure in the coming weeks, I’ll find more to add.

Next, I took a trip to Michael’s. I was in luck. All shadowboxes were half off, and then I had a coupon for another 25%. I decided to go with a black shadowbox with a black backing. I wanted the highlight the tickets, not focus on the background of the frame.


I had some shiny silver foil letters, and I thought they would look nice with the black. I centered the letters and stuck them on to the back of the frame. Then, I just dropped the stubs into the shadowbox. I shook the frame a bit, until the tickets were in a configuration I liked, and I popped the back piece back on. Easy to make, and definitely great in helping to reduce ticket stub clutter around the house. Plus, it’s a fun walk down memory lane every time you walk by it.


Fall Fun Printable

All that apple picking really got me into the fall mindset. Since then, I’ve been thinking about all the fun stuff to do this season.

Because I’m a little OCD, I like writing activities down that I want to do. That way, if we’re ever sitting at home with nothing to do, I pull out my list and we have instant ideas on what to do to fill our time. Also, I find that if I make a list, I’ll start scheduling the activities that require a little planning ahead. With a busy schedule, planning ahead really helps.

I planned on writing down my to do list on the chalkboard we made for the office, but then decided against it. I wanted the list to be prominently displayed along with the rest of our seasonal decorations.

I looked online for some printables of this sort, but wasn’t finding anything that I liked or that suited the activities Dan and I would want to do. So, I made my own.


I’m sure there is a MUCH better way to have created this, but I think it turned out all right in the end.

I started by creating boxes filled with each color in Paint, saving it as a picture.


Then, I uploaded the “picture” to, where I added all the text.


Finally, I saved the photo as a jpeg, for easy printing.

I framed my list in a frame I already had. I put the glass in to create a sort of dry erase board where I can check off the activities as we do them.

I’ve already checked off apple picking with the family, making chili, and making the house smell like cinnamon. I burned a candle that smelled like cinnamon buns last weekend. It went much better than the soy Yankee Candle pumpkin one.

Feel free to print your own copy!

Did I miss any of your favorite fall activities?

DIY Chalkboard

This project has been a couple months in the making. A while back, I ordered a chalkboard sticker in a fun shape. I thought it would be a fun touch in the office, and debated what to do with it. Here’s how it came out.

At first, I thought I would stick it to a large piece of wood that I would have painted and distressed before hanging it on the wall. I had some trouble finding some cheap, already distressed looking wood, so I decided to do something else.

What if I framed it? I liked that idea. While on the walk home from a dog park near our house, I stopped at a resale shop to see if they had any cheap frames. I was in luck, I found one for $2.80.

I planned on painting the frame, but once I got it home and cleaned it, I thought it actually would look nice that it’s a different tone than the painted furniture and the wall. Done.

I got out my scrapbook paper supply and saw what I had to work with. I had gotten a bunch of green and yellow patterned sheets while re-doing the office, just in case I wanted to do any small projects.

I came across a yellow pattern that seemed to work. The problem: a standard piece of scrapbook paper is 12×12. The frame was 11×14. Argh.

This is where Dan and his fantastic spatial sense entered the picture. He basically cut out a portion of the middle of the paper and used that to cover the parts where you could still see the frame backing.

There are some “seams” showing where the paper cuts show, but it is minimally noticeable.
We talked about whether we wanted to use this as an actual chalkboard or more for decoration, and the decoration functionality won out. I’m planning to write a funny quote on the chalkboard and then give it a permanent spot on the wall next to the desk.

Through the Trees

Things to know about me:

1. I like to DIY.
2. I like making our small-ish Chicago apartment feel home-y.
3. I love to save money.

As you’ll see, our apartment was a doozy when we moved in. Some highlights: a sea foam-y green dining room, a spare room that has been a nursery and that retained its golden yellow stripes on a beige wall, and kitchen tiles that had images of fish and bottles of champagne on them. Oh yes, our work was cut out for us.

Obviously, since we’re renters, not a lot could be done about those kitchen tiles. But luckily, we have cool landlords that let us paint until our hearts content (and we made some pretty bold choices).

However, I’ll start off with an easy project we just recently did.

This wall above the couch is the first thing you see when you walk through the door, so it needed some pizzaz. And some DIY.


We bought 3 plain canvases on sale. The plan was to find a stencil and a paint color and then go to town. After much searching, we finally found what we were looking for – a birch forest stencil, from an etsy seller. The next decision was the paint color. We tossed around light blue and melon, both colors matching the rug and the couch pillows, but I thought that would be too much. Instead, we went with a deep brown color, Roasted Nuts, by Behr. I liked the way the color plays off both the coffee table and the other piece of art we already have on the wall. Best of all, for a small job like this, we were able to get the small sample size of paint, for less than $3!

OK, now for the how to do it. First, we used painter’s tape to tape off the sides of each canvas. Next, we set up our canvases on top of a bunch of newspaper. Then, we placed the stencil directly on top of all 3 canvases. Now, we were lucky in that our stencil was so large, but if yours is smaller, just do one canvas at a time. We secured the stencil to the canvases with painter’s tape on the side of the canvas. We also had a board game that was the exact hieght of the canvas, so we put that on the table too, so the stencil didn’t slump. Later on, we found out we could have also used spray adhesive to stick the stencil directly onto the canvases. Oh well.


It’s painting time! We got out our little dabber burshes and dab away we did. The key is to use a small amount of paint, so it doesn’t bleed underneath the stencil. Once we did all 3 stencils, we left the canvases there to dry overnight.


The next day, we hung our new art above our couch. I love it.