Tuesday, February 26, 2013

wall art for cheap : photo shelves

Art doesn't have to be fancy or expensive to have an impact. It took me 6 months to realize this.

I had been waiting months to hang up an art print I bought shortly after moving into this apartment last August. We don't have a Target up here in Halifax and Wal-Mart has the worst selection of modern frames. I wanted a thin, white wood frame with a mat. I couldn't find one, so I tacked it to the wall, still in it's plastic sleeve. It looked a bit sad.

Sometime last fall I was browsing the dollar store and spotted these shallow white ledges. I think they're called postcard ledges or photo shelves or something like that. Anyway, a few years ago I lusted over similar DIY shelves on YoungHouseLove and thought the art print might look nice perched on one. As I stood in the aisle, trying to think of a reason to buy a few more, I remembered some treasured travel photos I had fished out of my parents' old photo boxes. The shelves were only $2 each so I got three and practically skipped home to show D my finds.

After months of stalling contemplating the perfect spot, I finally decided on the space above my craft table - which you finally get to see! I was originally going to hang all three of them in evenly spaced parallel lines, but then I saw Rachel Howe's home tour on DesignSponge.

Photo by Chris Fantauzzi for DesignSponge

And just like that, I was sold on an asymmetrical arrangement. I leveled the shelves and hung them using the provided tacks. No nails needed! I lined these two shelves with a few photos, one tiny art print and a postcard that says Be, which was a sweet gift from a close friend (hi, Lo!).

Here is a closeup of the hand-lettered piece you see tacked up with washi tape. I made it a little while ago. Sometimes I can spend all day planning or dreaming up creative projects. This reminds me to actually make stuff, to create something. The photo on the right was taken by my parents. My wanderlust always comes bubbling to the surface when I look at it. Here's hoping I will be able to travel soon.

The stuff you see hanging on the left a few photos above is a mish mash of family photos, an ink & acrylic piece that says "create freely", a dotted wave greeting card and a sketch I did of D one night. Here's a better look.

The last shelf found a home on my side of the bed with two coastal inspired pieces. The print is by Sarah Burwash and was found at the ever-inspiring local boutique, Inkwell. The photo is of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia with it's iconic lighthouse playing "Where's Waldo" in the background.

That pic shows how shallow the shelves actually are. A really thin frame might fit.

These are usually the first things I see in the morning, which makes me so happy. I dream of waking up in a lakehouse someday, but until then I'll enjoy my makeshift water view, however small it is.

So there's my little weekend apartment beautification project. $6 shelves + homemade art, photos & prints = wall art for people with student loans. Can I get an amen? If you're in Canada and want to find the shelves, hit up the Dollorama. I'm sure you can find them in other stores too or you can make your own if you have a few basic tools like YHL did in the link above.

Okay, so I'm sure I can't be the only one who takes forever to slap some art on my walls. When you move to a new place, do you hang everything right away or stall until you can find the perfect art, frame or arrangement?

xx Janelle 

Friday, February 15, 2013

heart-shaped happiness to buy & DIY

Okay. I know you have likely had it up to here with all of the hearts, roses, pink, red, glitter, lovey dovey, Valentine crap that the world has been throwing at you since Christmas. I get it. I can understand your frustration. 

BUT today is the day when everything heart-shaped or heart-printed goes on sale. C'mon. The day after Valentine's day is my favorite non-holiday! This day needs to be celebrated. And don't even get me started on the discounted chocolate... Oh, the chocolate.

Last year I posted a little round up of heart things I owned and admired from afar. This year I've swapped out my heart things for things you can make. Nothing like some fresh lovey-dovey DIY ideas to get your blood pumping in the morning, right? I really wanted to type eh? right there but decided to pay homage to my American readers (hi!) with the second-best word to get people to validate your thoughts.

Right! So, after a bit of Googling, Pinteresting & blog-hopping, here are my picks for the best heart-adorned things to BUY & MAKE. 

1. big & bold | black & gold tote | AlphabetBags, $21.96
2. sassy-pants quote | silicone/glass water bottle | bkr, $32
3. i need to stop thinking about buying this | silk scarf | BRIKA, $98
    use the code MAKEITHAPPEN before Monday & get 20% off!
4. comfy | gray heartbeat tee | BurgerAndFriends, $24 
5. even our toothbrushes are in love | mint green toothbrush holder | urbanoutfitters, $12

6. someone have a baby, so i can buy you this | printed swaddle blanket | JuniperWilde, $42
7. irresistible | black & gold enameled ring | f21, $5.80

I think I might have to cave and buy the ring. It's small, cheap and I've been obsessed with black & gold lately. It's probably meant to be.

1. unique take on a heart tote | hand-stamped tote bag | V and Co
2. a rainbow of little hearts | mini geo gift boxes | MiniEco
3. great alternative to open heart back shirts | lace sweatshirt | PearMama
4. cuddle up | stamped throw blanket | A Beautiful Mess
5. i have one of these in brass | wire ring | ISpyDIY

I found some other sweet round-ups while I was preparing this post. Check out Down & Out Chic for material goodies (the red pillow & gold mug are my favorites!) and DesignSponge or WhimseyBox for crafty/DIY inspiration overload.

Happy shopping/crafting! If you made something heart-y this year and want to share, feel free to link up in the comments.

xx Janelle

FYI - I was not compensated for including any of these products in this post. These companies don't even know me or my blog. Free promotion!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

last-minute washi tape valentines (for the young at heart)

Do you guys know about washi tape? I started noticing some projects pop up on Pinterest last fall and being the craft supply hoarder that I am, I had to get my hands some ASAP. Washi tape, in case you are still in the dark like I was, is a thin, decorative masking tape that looks like this.

It works really well to tack up photos/art instead of framing and is great for gift wrapping too. All major creative supplies stores like Michael's, DeSerres sell it and many small, local craft shops too. It should come as no surprise that it originated in Japan - every cute fad was big in Japan 5 years before it ever became cool in North America. Proof? Hello Kitty, maxi skirts, Harajuku style, bows. Case in point. On to the Valentines!

Most of you probably stopped giving them out years ago, you know, like, when you started grade six. I did too actually, but I made some on a whim last year to mail to a few university friends who I missed. This year, I got the itch again. D's niece and nephew were also coming to visit so I wanted to be able to give them a little something for the holiday. Here they are:

These are super-easy to make. All you need is washi tape, cardstock & pens. 1. Trace around a business card to make your base. 2. Press down a strip (or two!) of tape. 3. Write a lovey message. 

That's seriously all there is to it! These probably took no more than 5-10 minutes to make. The hardest part is deciding what to write on them. Once you get into a rhythm, it's easy to make a bunch at once. I think they'd be great for kids to bring to school or you could give them to your neighbours. These ones will be going to my co-workers - shhh! Don't tell.

Do any of you still give out Valentines or make a special card for your loved one? Got any washi tape projects for me to check out? Let me know!

xx Janelle

PS - I took these photos at night, which explains the laughable white balance. Forgive me! It's winter and it gets dark before I even get home...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

how we survived Nemo

So, we did end up getting that storm I told you about on Friday. We got about 10cm less than expected, but the snow did result in huge snowdrifts and a foot and a half of snow on the sidewalks where people hadn't shoveled yet. While most people stayed in during the "snowpacolypse", we decided it would be the perfect time to bring Abby to a nearby green space to release some energy.

We are still training her to be off-leash and she occasionally steps out of her boundaries, so the fact that there were barely any cars on the road made me much less nervous. We do always make sure to bring lots of treats to lure her back to us, so that always helps! 

Just look at that happy tail...

My handsome boyfriend with his snowy gloves.

We can bring any of Abby's favorite balls and tug toys to the park, but she generally wants nothing to do with them. In the house, she goes crazy for them, but once we get outside she has one thing on her mind. Eating sticks. She will nearly tackle a small child for one. She's such a beaver. 



It seems like we spent the whole weekend in this little park, having been out for at least a couple of hours each day. I guess our plan to tire her out worked, because this tired dog napped for most of the day. Even my legs felt a little "jello-ey" from trudging through snow both days. We went to run some errands downtown today and sneak in a little coffee date and the sidewalks still weren't plowed! That just makes it more of an adventure, I think. It made for a very memorable weekend.

We're being lazy right now and watching our Raptors take it home... for a change. Winnnnnners.

And loser.  

With my Raptor-ish arm.

Hope you all had a great weekend. Were you out in the snow or soaking up the sun?

xx Janelle

PS - For whatever reason, the news outlets called the Nor'Easter storm Nemo, which explains this post's title.

Friday, February 8, 2013

weekend plans : hibernate

© Sanchez & Lope for WWF

I was going to start off by saying I was preparing for the big storm on it's way, but stopped because that's not true. Unless you call making an ATM detour and buying almond milk "storm preparations". I guess I'm mentally preparing myself? In any case, we won't actually be hibernating all weekend. Tonight we might have dinner with a friend, tomorrow I have volunteering (details in this post) and Abby will still need to go out. We plan to bring her out to romp in the snow during the blizzard tomorrow. We may be crazy.

"You're brave for being out in this weather!" a lady called out to me last week from her front porch. It was -28C with the windchill. A dog has to use the bathroom... I mean.. grass/snow pile?  It's not really possible for me to just not bring Abby out because it's cold. That would be cruel. For all 3 of us.

I do plan on doing lots of snow day stuff tomorrow though, like cleaning up my enormous clothing pile in the bedroom, napping, making soup and cozying up while watching Netflix. Side note: I burst out laughing when on last week's Mindy Project made reference to couples watching Netflix in sweats because that is us most Friday nights. Guilty!

I also want to share some links I enjoyed this week. Maybe you'll like them too?

1. Jenni's post on "marital blish" | it's so comforting to read posts from people who share their feelings freely & honestly. this post will hit home to a lot of couples (married or otherwise, I'm sure!)

2. A Winter Survival Guide | I can't live without my lipbalm & my winter bandeau (headband) from H&M. What's on your must-have list for making winter more bearable?

3. This board & this one | I have such immense baby fever and this photos make it so. much. worse. My heart is literally bursting at the tenderness & love in these photos. Oh, but this shot made me laugh.

4. Struggles of a perfectionist creative | This post is so relateable. I'm working on just letting go & creating. The more i make stuff, the better it gets. I finished that collage I was telling you about & I can't wait to share it with you soon.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Stay warm & stay safe if you're expecting erratic weather.
xx Janelle

Monday, February 4, 2013

a cozy home : 6 styles of plank flooring

via Style-Files, featured in Bolig

If there was one word you wish people would use to describe your home what would it be? 

My choice would be cozy.

On Pinterest, I'm bombarded with white-washed rooms with dog-hair-free floors and organized, coordinating sets of dishes. My apartment has (mostly) "renter beige" walls. My cupboards house a slew of mismatched mugs, each with a story to tell and the faded, salt-tinged paw prints leading from the entryway hint of a long leisurely walk on the snow-covered sidewalks of our neighborhood. I'm working toward accepting my lived-in home for what it's worth. The truth is, I've struggled to appreciate our current place.

Last fall, my parents stayed a few nights in our apartment while D & I were out of town. When I caught up with them to see how their stay went, my mom said that our place was so cozy. In that moment, no other word could have been a bigger compliment. When people visit, I want them to feel at home. I don't want them to worry about their kids breaking anything or be too shy to put their feet up on our coffee table chair that acts as an ottoman. Having a cozy home, for me, creates a relaxed atmosphere and welcomes people in. There are many ways to make a home cozy, but today I want to focus on flooring.

One interior design feature that never fails to conjure up warm, fuzzy feelings - at least for me - are plank floors. We used to have them in my parent's basement, but they have now been replaced with laminate. Our current apartment also has a garish tiger-stripe laminate. When we can finally afford a house, I'll be keeping an eye out for little touches that welcome a comfortable decor. And let me tell you, the first thing to go will be the hypothetical carpets!

I found some pretty rooms that showcase different styles of plank flooring that I'd like to share. I can't even choose a favorite because they are all so beautiful.


via Sconahem



What a cute pooch!

via DesignSponge, photos by Marc Andrews (Studio306)



 via TraditionalProductGalleries, flooring by AppalachianWoods



via Revival Flooring



via HomeDsgn, architecture/design by Element
Do you have a favorite?

How would you want others to describe your home - in one word?

xx Janelle