Squared

  You may remember that I helped a friend hang a grid of mirrors last month. I had also been meaning to try it in my own house but I was struggling on where I’d want to hang a grid of mirrors. I bought 10 of the same mirrors we used at Erika’s house and they sat in a pile on the buffet in the kitchen. For some reason I couldn’t commit to a grid of mirrors. Then I realized that the square mirror frames would make the perfect frame for Instagram photos. I started by thing to pry the mirrors out of the frames. Let me tell you- those things are cemented in and I almost lost a few fingers. So trust me when I day that I recommend Modge Podge. You like having fingers, don’t you? Thought so.

What I used:

Ikea MALMA mirrors ($1.99 each!)

-Printed Instagram photos (I use the Walgreens app. They stay in 4″x4″ format, are super affordable and they are usually ready in an hour!)

-Modge Podge

-Paint brush, ruler, sharpie, scissors

-Hammer, nails, level

 First, I laid out all of the photos I had printed. I had chosen to print photos I had Instagrammed of food. I thought it would be a fun addition to the kitchen. I recommend that gallery walls have some so of theme, whether it is a color theme or subject matter. It should make sense to any guest that enters your home. I had about 20 to choose from and had to narrow them to 10. I asked Hubby to help me weed through them. It was easy to toss out photos that were lower quality or had bad lighting. In the end he convinced me that 8 was a better number and wouldn’t clutter the wall we had chosen. He even used one of my favorite design principles on me, “Less is sometimes more.” Sold! Eight it was. We opted for 2 rows of 4. Also considered: 3 rows of 3 to make a square gallery of nine images. These are the 8 we landed on. Hubby pointed out another theme: circles. All of the photos had circular subjects and it wasn’t even on purpose.    Next I measured the mirror space to see if I needed to cut down the pictures. The mirror was just under 3 and 3/4″ so I marked my ruler and got to trimming. I noticed that the photos I had used the instagram filter frame/borders on fit perfectly after removing the borders. Had I known this I would have printed all of my images with borders to save a little effort. After trimming, I was ready to glue the photos directly on the mirrors. I applied a thin layer of Modge Podge to mirror and pressed my photos in place. Some of the photos were snug and needed convincing to fit the corners in but I was patient and gentle. Trimming and gluing took less than 15 minutes! I let it all dry overnight (mostly because of my schedule… you could definitely move directly on to hanging from the point).  Next I gridded out my gallery all on paper with my wall measurements in hand. I moved the buffet and climbed up on a chair. I’m always surprised at how much I enjoy putting nail holes all over my walls… especially since I’ve painted each room in my house at least once since we’ve moved in. Just pounding holes into my hard work but I think you will agree that it was so worth it. Take a peek:

                  All in all I’m really happy with the way it looks and glad I chose to go with photos over mirrors. I even like how it looks as I enter from the family room.

I don’t hate the price tag either! 8 frames x $1.99 each = 15.92! I already had the other supplies. Can you believe this is a $16 gallery wall?!?!

PSST… you can follow me on Instagram by clicking on the Instagram link to the right (in the sidebar) or by finding @hildagotrocks on Instagram. I’m also on Bloglovin’ + Facebook + Twitter which are linked in the side bar as well.

A walk in Old Milford

The other day O and I had some errands to run in an area of town that is one of my favorites: Old Milford. We parked in from of “The Mercantile Mall” and decided to pop in a take a peek.   If the store fronts are adorable. And they are the perfect indication of what you’ll be finding inside… charming finds for every part of your life. I knew I was in for some fun. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I just can’t wait to go back on my own so I can stroll through without a little one hurrying me.             

Navy Chic

I wanted to share a few pics from a project I did with my friend in her new house. Erika’s family room has a wall that was built out to cover an old fireplace (by the previous owner). At first she talked about putting built ins on either side, but later she came to me with an even better and more affordable idea: paint stripes on the protruding wall. Whoa. Why hadn’t I thought of that!?! I freaking love stripes!

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So we got to it one evening after work with a level, Frog Tape, and a great paint color. She chose Behr Vintage Velvet. It has a rich navy vibe with a hint of indigo. When we put the first coat on it was quite purple looking. Admittedly, I got nervous but the second coat had me sold. Between coats Erika painted her sofa table (serving as TV stand for now) navy to blend in a bit more. Above: Erika putting the room back together. But you can see all the elements of the room. I really thing the navy pulls it all together.

Below: A panorama of the room. On the far left you can see that she decided to paint the inside of the door with the same Vintage Velvet. I’m a huge fan of bringing the front door color to the inside of the house… as I’ve done it with mine a few times.

Below: You can see that the striped wall stands out and created a dark pace in the back corner of the room. On a whim we opted to try a full length closet mirror that she had upstairs to reflect lamp light and give the corner something it was missing. The mirror serves purpose as a light source but doesn’t take away from the room or create a busy corner. We’ve all hung wall art where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes less really is more.

  Below: The opposite corner of the room has more natural light with the window and Erika added a cool open shelf to match her coffee table (IKEA VITTSJO). When we were all finished with paint we took a few minutes to grid out a cluster of some small square mirrors (IKEA MALMA) over the couch. 

That wall of mirrors costs less than $25 but makes a great impact. 

In the end Erika made a bold choice by making an awkward wall into the statement piece of the room. Now it feels like a key architectural element and really brings the whole room together. I’m so in love with he ruse of mirrors that I got some for my own house!

Party Paper

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I know it’s been a month since NYE but I wanted to share a fun party trick I used for our little get together. Don’t worry- you don’t have to wait until next NYE, you can use it for any party! I bought a roll of Kraft paper a while back and I’ve been having fun using it for entertaining. So far I’ve used it for book club, casual post-thanksgiving gathering and game night. I love this idea for so many reasons… First you can buy rolls of Kraft paper at many grocery stores and even Walmart on the cheap. Second, it’s disposable. Third, it’s a festive way to add some unique decor and a functional and fun way to label dishes. There is so much you can do with it!

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I simply rolled out my paper (cut to a 12″ runner size in this case) where I was going to have our “bar” area. I used a sharpie to outline the glasses, label wines, and even outlined the corkscrew. I tried to vary the size of the letters and different vibes for each word. I had fun and made a whimsical illustration of Champagne and used the marker to label cranberry juice that I had put in a small carafe.

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As most of our guests are tired young parents like ourselves, I knew midnight was passed most of our bedtimes. I made sure the Keurig was ready (thanks, Santa!) and set out some coffee mugs with a K-cup in each one. Then I wrote simple direction for the Keurig. *** Side note: I just got a reusable K-cup so I can have any local coffee I want and be more “green” …BTW- have you seen this video?!?! Worth a quick watch.

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I also used the paper on our kitchen’s peninsula for some of the food. I left the marker and open spaces for party guests who were bringing dishes to share. I added washi tape to keep everything in place and to keep the end from rolling up.

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Whenever I use this I get tons of comments on how clever it is. It is literally a blank slate for your party. Cut the edges with scrap-booking scissors, use washi tape, different markers, use movie quotes or fun facts that pertain to your theme. Anything is possible! I doesn’t need to be perfect. Have fun with it!

Snow Day Salt Dough

The other day O and I had an unexpected snow day. Hubby worked in the morning and my already short day at work got cancelled all together. I took the opportunity to do a little toddler holiday craft with her. And you guys, I turned to Pinterest. Surprise! Having done salt dough before with kids, I basically knew what I wanted to do but I needed the recipe.

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All the recipes were mostly the same. Here is what I found over and over on Pinterest:

1 cup salt

2 cups flour

1 cup warm water

Optional: powdered tempura paint or food coloring to add color.

Mix all in one bowl. I started string with a spoon and quickly realized my Kitchen Aid dough hook would have been perfect for the job. After it was well blended I just dove in with my hands. The more you knead it the smoother it gets.

Bake at 200F for 20-45 minutes depending on thickness or dry overnight.

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I rolled it out on wax paper, used a cup as a cookie cutter to make circles the right size for O’s hands. Then I helped her make her hand print on each cut out. This is where there were tears. Apparently the kid thought these were cookies and she was really excited about cookies… but then I had to burst her bubble. She just wouldn’t accept that they weren’t cookies. So Mom of the Year over here let her take a bite and she was really disappointed that these were not cookies.

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After she made about 15 prints, I made holes  for a hanger and we left them to dry. I let them dry overnight (as my Pinterest sources repeatedly recommended) but I found them to still be soft, damp and still a little malleable. So I popped them in the oven as many of the sources also recommended. Um, no. NO. No. no. 20 minutes? Nope. 45 minutes? Nope. Try MOST OF THE DAY. I just kept peeking in on them. Not only did they not dry quickly… I realized they weren’t drying evenly. The bottom side that faced the pan was still wet halfway through the day! So I flipped them. And I continued to keep an eye on them. I lost track of exactly how long they were in there but they did eventually dry.

I had originally thought I’d spray paint them silver (a color I knew I had on hand) but I stumbled upon another idea on Pinterest to paint the hand print to look like Santa.

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I used acrylic craft paint that I already had. I’ve broken Santa down into steps above. To be honest, I did these in stages… between laundry, dishes and a tv show’s commercials. An hour maybe total. My only flaw was that I had already punched the holes. Santa will be hanging sideways… but that is ok with me. I was having fun and really considered adding glasses to Santa as a little tribute to O but decided it might be too challenging and time consuming. I sharpied her name and the year on the back. These will be given to great grandparents, grandparents, aunts/uncles and special people over the next few days. If you’re one of these people… pretend you never saw this! Of course, ours already hangs on our tree!

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Hanging ‘Round (Downtown by Myself)

Is anyone else singing a nineties classic?

Over my stay-cation a while back I had time to catch up on a few things that have been on my to do list for a while. I had quite a few art pieces and photographs that I have been meaning to hang around the house.

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Rainboots – Once upon a time I painted this. Don’t ask me when because I don’t remember at all. It was in my arsenal of canvas paintings. I had forgotten all about it until I had the pleasure of cleaning out the under the stairs storage space and organizing my art supplies and collection. I feel like its somewhat unfinished so I think I will be adding some bright red rain boots. My other husband (the gay one… I don’t actually have 2 hubbies. One is just enough, thanks.) calls it “Katrina”… as in the hurricane. And he’s not far off- that looks like one hellacious rainstorm! I almost hung this in our yellow bathroom but something just wasn’t right so I tried this spot at the end of the hall. I’m surprised I like it here so much since I had expected to use a much smaller piece of art here.

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Ceramic Art Piece – I made this in a ceramics class in college. I was inspired by a similar shaped sculpture that hung in my parents’ home for as long as I remember. I fired it in maybe 2003 or 2004… but ever since its been in a box. Surprisingly, it survived at least 2 moves and a garage flood. I don’t know why I’ve never hung it but I’m happy I found the perfect little wall for it.

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Hyde Park Photography – The bathroom was a little naked (pun intended) so I dug up some photography I had in my portfolio. These are a couple favorites of the amazing architecture in Hyde Park Square, Cincinnati. We lived there for 5ish years before moving to the burbs and it is one of my favorite places on earth. We still drive back on the weekends for coffee with our coffee shop family. These trumped the rainboot painting. I usually hang small pairs like this next to each other instead of vertically. The vertical look is really working for me here though.

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So those are a few of the little updates I made. I have so many more on my to do list and a few still to post about.

Put a Ring on it

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Hubby and I are revamping our master bedroom slowly but surely, and of course on a budget. I was scrambling for inexpensive and easy ways to update things we already had for the room. We have bedding we can live with (for now), and I will be repainting nightstands and the dresser but I need accent pillows. In all my rooting through Target sales, Home Goods, and such I was frustrated. I already owned tons of throw pillows. Why do I have to buy more? Then I reminded myself of a couple of pillows I made for my sisters recently. Duh, I will MAKE new covers for the throw pillows!

Here’s the catch- I don’t sew. Not like that at least. When I made the pillows for my sisters I didn’t sew. I bought plain white pillow covers at IKEA and used fabric paint! I think I payed $3 ish for each cover and the paint was existing (but cheap if you had to buy it).

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Quick Tutorial:

1- Line the inside of the pillow case so paint doesn’t bleed through to the opposite side. I used foil, but wax paper or cardboard or something would work too.

2- Decide on a design. I highly recommend simple. The texture of the fabric makes detailed work hard. Consider a stencil, stamp or even tape off a border.

3- Paint away! I used a mason jar ring to stamp interlocking circles on this one. On the other side I printed her monogram but I can’t find a picture. On another pillow I taped off varying widths of stripes and painted a couple of coordinating colors. The possibilities are endless! I smudged occasionally but with a busy pattern nobody can tell and it adds to the handmade vibe. Even if you don’t have a steady hand or aren’t artistic, you could do this.

4- Dry WELL. I used a hair dryer to help it along.

5- Wash according to directions. The paint smell is strong and you will want to “set” your design” by washing it.

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Then fill the pillow cover with either an existing pillow, a filler from IKEA or batting. They zip closed so nothing is super permanent. Ta-da! new life to an old pillow or a new pillow all together! You could make a handful of these for the price of one already made pillow!

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Holiday Banner and tWINE bottle Tutorial

My apologies! It’s been too long since I’ve posted. My computer had a few hiccups so I sent it to a friend to have him clean it out and start me on my first (I know, welcome to the 21st century) external hard drive. {Insert shout out here: Thanks Brad for your help!}

As promised I have put together a couple holiday tutorials from my last post on mantle decorating for the holidays.

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First up is the J O Y banner I used on the frames in my holiday mantle. I used twine but ribbon and the like will do the job. I had some card stock laying around from another project so I used it for the pennant style banner pieces. I used oil pastels for a rustic deep red (crayons, markers or paint could have worked as well).

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I cut out some triangles, wrote my letters…

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and hot glued them onto the twine that I had cut to fit the frame.

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This took a whopping 10 minutes to create!

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Then I just tucked it up where I liked it on the frames and scotch taped it in place. I feel like this little touch actually made the mantle. It’s my favorite part!

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Next up is the twine wrapped wine bottle. Or as I call it, the tWINE bottle. Har har.

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All you need is some twine and a hot glue gun. Ribbon, yarn or string are some other alternatives. I used this technique on a wine bottle but it could easily be applied to jars, vases or flower pots. I started with a generous amount of hot glue at the base of the bottle and began wrapping. Every few inches i did another generous blob for hot glue and continued wrapping around and around. It got trickier at the neck of the bottle though. When I got to the base of the neck everything started shifting and slipping. I just took my time and glued way more often. When I got to the top I just cut the twine and glued generously again. Fairly simple. (I had step by step photos but they must be on my old phone since I just switched to the iphone 5- woot woot!)

Here they are on the mantle!

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DIY Pinterest Inspired Mantle

 

Let’s be honest- what isn’t inspired by pinterest anymore? I recently got inspired to transform my ho-hum mantle into a holiday masterpiece. Check out my Holiday Mantle inspirations here. First order of business: color scheme. I chose a red and gold vibe… since my husband got to choose our tree decor this year (mine would have undoubtedly been red and gold)… ant it would coexist nicely with the tan wall and modest white mantle.

{ho-hum mantle}

I always believe in using what you have – I gathered up a few things. First I grabbed a few things that traditionally go on our mantle: stocking holders, stockings, etc. Then I gathered anything that touched on the red and gold thing I was going for. This included a hodge-podge of items pictured below.

{Clockwise from top left: white candles in holders, old red satin tree skirt, twine, twine wrapped wine bottle, gold picture frames, nutcrackers, stockings, stocking holders (center), red ribbon, beaded garland strands in gold and red, gold glitter sticks (hard to see), red ornaments (and one random gold one), glass vases, monogrammed pitcher. * not pictured: sticks and twigs}

The only thing I bought for this project was gold spray paint (for the frames and twigs)… and a little bit of twine that I stumbled upon on my way out of the hardware store for a buck. So this is literally a $6 project for me.

Think about your mantle in layers so that you don’t throw a bunch of stuff on it and spend all day balancing and removing items.

Layer one is the red satin tree skirt. I bunched it up and folded it to fit the mantle. Other ideas for a first layer could be evergreen garland, a boa -wouldn’t a white one give a cool snow effect?!- any fabric, brown craft paper, mirrors to reflect a little light…. the list goes on. Try anything!

Layer two is where I added my frames. This layer serves as the back ground so you can add anything. Mirrors, faux trees, lights, family photos, holiday pictures, anything you can imagine!

 

 

I also threw on a couple of the large sticks that I spray painted gold … I guess they are technically part of layer one.

Layer three is to add height. I used a tall thin vase and the twine wrapped bottle. I added some gold twigs and a few gold glitter sticks.

 

 

With the fourth layer I sort of skipped to the front of the mantle to hang the stockings. I knew I should add them while I could still make them symmetrical and not have to move much to do so.

 

 

{Stockings hung by the chimney with care}

Then I started layering in a little more height and personality with these nutcrackers. A little off the color scheme but still fit if you ask me.

{Hubby’s nutcracker collection}

{Better view of nutcracker addition. Starting to see a composition!}

{Scattered the tiered candle set for height and balance}

{Create a little vignette by putting ornaments and globes in a vase}

{Coming together!}

With the excess ornaments, I tied them to some of the frames so they could “hang” and give a few more pops of red. I also made “JOY” garland from a little bit of twine and paper. Tutorial coming soon on that and the twine wrapped bottle. There are a couple of empty vases that I plan on adding cranberries to after my next grocery trip. But all in all, that was pretty cheap and easy!

Tada!