11.13.2011

our version of the gallery wall

ever since i can remember, i have always loved having my favorite pics framed and setting out all over the house. i've always just felt it's a great way to surround yourself with awesome memories. my room as a teenager was filled with framed photos, and this lovely trend continued when i moved into my own place after college. (let's just say my husband had to get used to this. he's harassed me for years about putting holes in the walls, but he's finally gotten to a place where if he sees me with a hammer, nails, a pencil and a level, he just lets me go. we have an unspoken agreement that i will be the one to patch up the holes in the walls. that's love.)




in our current house, i've transitioned most of my photos to black and whites, in black frames with white mats. (think of the pottery barn gallery frame collection) what i like about this look is it puts the focus on the image. keeps it simple and understated.




we have this large wall in our great room where we've put a shorter loveseat...leaving a wide open wall space just begging for pics. so, i started my gallery frame wall.










the start to the gallery wall



it's still a work in progress with a couple more frames to add, but i love what it's becoming. all family and special memories.





the progress



most of the time it's pretty easy to find frames that will work for the wall...but i recently had two photos - 4" x 6" of noah and a 5" x 7" of my sister and her boy - and i just wasn't finding the frames that would fit. so i decided to break the mold a little and go with small shadow boxes and craft a look that would give some dimension to our little gallery wall.

i started with 8" x 10" black shadow boxes from hobby lobby. (note: these are super reasonable when they have a 50% off sale!)

then, i simply cut two pieces of white scrapbook paper to 8" x 10" size (using my super-helpful fiskars paper cutter) and adhered it to the backer of the shadow box using my scrapbook adhesives e-z runner tape. (note: i never am without this tape. it's so much easier than glue or glue sticks and holds just as well!)

next step was actually placing the photo on the white paper...and make sure it's centered and i wanted to give it a little more dimension. the answer was using my scrapbook adhesives mounting squares. (note: these are an amazing little crafting tool to always have on hand...they work great when making cards or anything where you want to give it a little dimension.)







setting the photo on the paper








positioning the photo with the mounting squares




finally, it was as simple and putting the backing (with my white paper and pic) on the shadow box and it was finished! well, except for putting another hole in the wall....which i did almost immediately. mike was elated. :)





good news is i just have a few more spots to put holes in the wall before i feel like my wall is complete. :)

handmade holiday: one of my favorite things

i love, love, love knitting. whenever it comes to this time of year, i'm rarely seen without some sort of knitting project i have underway....and i am well on my way to making some sort of knitting project history this year (well, for me anyway).



about a year ago, my sister came across this amazingly great pattern for a cowl neck scarf that was inspired by one that was made and sold by a certain brand from england that's known for its plaid pattern and amazing trenchcoats (which i am very, very fond of). (i'm trying to be super careful with not mentioning branding here....out of respect for the creator of the pattern, i'm trying to maintain some distance, while still sharing a bit). so, let's just say that the scarf being sold by this english brand was running over $700 and couldn't be found anywhere, hence why this brilliant blogger and knitter, developed a similar pattern to share. you can find the free pattern here from the garter girl.



between the pattern and the pics below, hope you all get a good idea of the cowl neck scarf....i can say, that it's super easy to make, but at the same time allowed me to learn some new stitch techniques (slipping stitches, using a cable needle....)




the full knitted cowl before stitching...includes four repeats of the pattern



stitching together the two ends to make the cowl



the finished cowl neck


second look of the finished cowl neck



i will say that i did use some different yarn from what was recommended in the pattern (simply because i couldn't track down the suggested cascade yarns venezia merino silk anywhere locally). i've used a couple of different yarns for the three cowl neck scarves i've done and all i picked up at hobby lobby. i went with the bamboo spun in sea blue and the yarn bee alpaca in fog. both are beautiful yarns and have a great texture (and you can get a great deal when you use a hobby lobby 40% off coupon!)


i've loved doing these and a couple of very special people are going to see there in their christmas treats this year...enjoy!

we love lightning mcqueen

it's been almost a month since my last post. i have zero idea where time goes. but the good news is that i haven't let time get too far by without doing some fun stuff.







i absolutely love this time of the year. christmas is my favorite, favorite time of the year. and it's no surprise that i find it way more exciting since the little man has come along. with each year, he just becomes more and more engaged and has that adorable, wanna-eat-it-up childhood innocence that happens around the holidays. love.


like with most little ones, we're in a "this-is-my-favorite-character" phase right now. and the winner is "cars 2" and lightning mcqueen. (note: most of you might know that my son has been flat-out obsessed with mickey mouse for the last year and a half. oh, that obsession still continues.) of course, i had to figure out some way to do something with the "cars" theme with a little handmade-ness for my little guy for christmas. the winner was one of those super-simple no-sew fleece blankets.


i had only made one other of these before making the lightning mcqueen christmas present. (that one was for a sweet little girl who turned three this past fall.) as for instructions, instructions can be found anywhere online (through everyone's best friend, google). i actually got my instructions from my hobby lobby store...it was simple enough to just ask and they had a stack of instructions printed out already. (awesome. loved this.) but to make it easy, here are the materials and super-easy instructions i followed....


no-sew blanket

total time: about an hour to make (note: i did wash my fleece fabric to account for any shrinking before getting started on the blanket)


materials:

1-1/2 to 2 yards of fleece fabric (depends on how large you want the blanket to be)...and note here you'll need two different fleeces. for mine, i did a "cars" theme on one side and a solid royal blue on the other. so you need the 1-1/2 to 2 yards for each fleece you choose.


scissors (either straight-edge or pinking shears)


ruler/measuring tape


seam ripper


to start, like i mentioned, i'd highly recommend washing both cuts of fleece that you get. this makes sure you are getting rid of any shrinking that might happen. then, find a floor space that's big enough for you to lay out the fleece on. put the two pieces of fleece together, right-sides out (for anyone who doesn't know, right-sides are the ones that have the printing on them)


with both pieces of fleece with right-sides out, you need to even out the edges (one thing i saw with the printed fleeces is that the selvege ends have printing on them)



the easiest way to even out the edges is to match up all four sides. then, i cut through both pieces of fleece to trim off the printed selvege end and do the same on the top side of the fleece to even out the top end of the fabric.

once the ends are even, at each corner, cut out a 4" x 4" square of fabric. once these squares are cut, you'll begin cutting the "fringe" pieces all around the perimeter of the fleece. these can be anywhere between 1/2" to 1" wide (i went with 1" wide...when looking at how thin 1/2" would be, i was worried the fringe edge could tear later).









now's the fun part. taking your seam ripper, and one of your top pieces of fringe (in my case, the "cars" fleece), push the seam ripper through the fabric near the top of the piece of fringe and make a slit about 1/4" long. then, take the bottom piece of matching fringe (in my case the royal blue fleece) and pull it through the back of the slit you just made. that'll give you the layered look on the top of your blanket, and by doing it all the way around your blanket, it'll keep the two pieces together.


it's a super simple blanket which makes a great gift for a little one.


additional materials shopping tip: i went to both hobby lobby and jo-ann's to scope out their fleece options. both stores have quite a bit of both printed fleece and solid color fleece. jo-ann's does carry a full no-sew blanket kit, but when i did a little comparison shopping, i was actually able to do my blanket for a little less than the cost of the kit they were selling. and, i'm always a huge fan of using the hobby lobby or jo-ann's coupons and these came in handy when getting the fabric too.

i can't wait to give my little guy this blanket at christmas. if nothing else, it'll be something else that'll help keep him nice and warm this cold winter. enjoy!
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