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{Friday Favorites} All Things Spring

How on Earth is it Friday already? This week has flown by. I’ve been in and out of NYC 3 times the last 7 days, ugh! I’m not sure if it’s the travel, moving the clocks forward on Sunday, or the increase I made in my methylated B vitamins (which often kick me in the butt and are part of my never-ending health journey), but after proclaiming two weeks ago that I feel better than I’ve felt in years, this week has been a tough week as far as energy goes. Despite all that, I am LOVING the feeling of spring in these parts. Which apparently I should savor, because it’s supposed to snow Sunday. 

Chicks are in the House

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We added another six chicks last weekend, so we’ve got a fish tank full of chicks in our TV room. Like I said, my life is a country song. We didn’t get chicks last year because we hoped we’d be moving (which turned out to be a good plan – we had to send all our old chickens “to the farm” when we moved, so it would have been a bummer to have chickens that had just started laying, only to “send them to the farm.”) and I forgot how much I love chicks. I’m not really an animal person, so my affection for chicks surprised me, but really, who doesn’t love a cute little baby chick? They’re so fluffy and sleepy and sweet and are always falling asleep in their food. 

Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium Candles

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I love having candles burning and decided about a year ago, when we embarked on our detox, to cut out all the Yankee Candles that are laden with synthetic scents, petroleum wax, and plastic wicks. We’ve gone all natural, y’all, including our candles. I was excited to see that my favorite hand soap company, Mrs. Meyer’s makes candles and they made with essential oils, soy wax, and cotton wicks. I loved their holiday scents, but when Christmas was over, we had to put the pine scent away and I went searching for a new scent. I’ve never even tried smelling their geranium soaps because I find real geraniums to have the most disgusting, off-putting smell to ever come off of a flower. I don’t even want to tell you what I think they smell like, but it’s that bad. But, low and behold, the geranium scent from Mrs. Meyer’s actually smells amazing, and when the candle burns, it literally smells like roses. Score!

Tulips on the Table

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Tulips are one of my favorite flowers to have around the house. They’re just.so.happy. Am I right or am I right? I tend to start picking them up at the store in March and they make me feel like spring is just around the corner. 

Longer Days

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I’m not one of those people with strong feelings about Daylight Savings Time – I just don’t see the point in complaining about something you can’t change. Even though Monday morning was a bit rough, it is what it is, I say. However, on Tuesday afternoon when I got home well after 6pm, there was still an hour of daylight which meant I could take these two crazies for a walk and I was stoked! So were they. On days when Otis can’t go to the farm, he’s a complete nut job, so when we can get him out for a long walk, everyone feels a bit better at the end of the day.

Welcoming Committee 

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Back to the country song bit for a minute, my welcoming committee when I get home totally cracks me up. P.S. we can’t wait to start landscaping!

SunButter

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Have you guys tried this stuff yet? We are a household divided on this, which is fine. Quitting peanut butter was a big loss around here and TimTheFarmer jumped right into almond butter, which he eats with a spoon. Even though I love almonds, almond butter never blew my skirt up. And, it’s not like we eat bread anymore (so I shouldn’t miss peanut butter that much), but I do love a chocolate-peanut butter combo.  When I was supposed to to quit tree nuts for 6 months, seeds were the only salty-snack-nut-like-thing left I could eat. I’d been seeing SunButter on various paleo sites, so I thought I’d give it a go. And….I really like it! It’s closer tasting to peanut butter than almond butter, especially if you add some salt. It finishes a little weird, like sunflower seeds (shocking, I know), but it does the snack trick! Now TimTheFarmer and I each have our silly-expensive nut/seed butter for eating with a spoon :).

Have a great weekend!! I’ll be spending mine back in my painter’s overalls. 



{Living Room} How to Hang A Picture Frame Gallery Wall

Update: Kim sent me a picture of the picture frame gallery wall at Panzur and I inserted it below.

Oh my goodness! It has been so fun to see everyone come through from Our Fifth House – thank you for your sweet emails! I have gotten so many great ideas from all the comments on Carmel’s post about our kitchen lighting dilemma. For today’s post, I’d planned to show you the project I did this weekend in the kitchen, but a reader noticed our the picture frame gallery wall in this post and asked about it – it’s a post I’ve meant to do for a while, so since that project preceded the kitchen project, let’s start there! 

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To start at the very beginning, a few years ago our favorite restaurant put in a new installation where they hung empty picture frames layered on top of each other along a whole wall. I LOVED it – Kim is super creative and artisitc – and hoped to do one of my own someday.  

Panzur

To start, I knew I’d need some cool, vintage (read: old) picture frames. In anticipation of moving into a bigger home, we spent a fair amount of time last summer poking through flea markets and little local antique stores. Well…I would actually call them picker or junk stores because they’re not fancy curated antique shops, which is perfect because things are a little more dusty, beat up, and inexpensive – exactly what I wanted! It was funny because most of the sellers couldn’t believe I wanted old beat up frames and would give them to me for free or just a few dollars. My favorite find was this turquoise frame from Mexico, part of a great day’s haul from a big flea market (see what I did with the antique scale here). 

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After painting the whole loft, stairwell, and entry/living room, I was determined to get a few decorations up before our Second Thanksgiving feast. That morning I got out all my old frames and knew I’d need a few smaller ones to offset the three large ones I’d picked up. I’d bought a bunch of distressed white and light blue frames from Michaels (or HomeGoods…I think it was HomeGoods) a few months before and thought they’d fit in the with old frames. I removed their glass and backing which I stored safely in a box in the basement for if/when I wanted to use the frames for actual pictures. Tip: pick frames with similar colors to pull the wall together – in my case I went with antiqued blacks/grays and turquoise.

One lesson I learned when Jesse helped me with my first gallery wall was to lay out your whole plan on the floor, before you commit to holes in the wall. That’s the kind of planning that would never cross my mind and I use it all the time now! So, I laid them out in a few different patterns on the floor until I got the arrangement I liked. Then, I took a picture so I could reference it once I started hanging the frames.

WallPlan

To hang them, I started with the two largest frames that were to be flush to the wall and used little picture hanging nails (one or two nails depending on the mounting hardware the frames came with). Because they’re empty, the frames are super light, so I didn’t worry about finding studs (insert TimTheFarmer saying, “Plus you already found one.”). To hang the pictures the frames that were floating, I used longer picture nails which I only hammered in a little (enough to hold the weight, but far enough out to keep the frames off the wall). To keep them from getting wonky, I put a nail in behind the floating corners of the frames to keep them off the wall and fairly level/flush. The frame just rests on the nail in the bottom corner. Finally, to keep everything fairly level since there’s a fair amount of balancing going on, I stuck 3M mounting strips between the frames to hold them all together. I checked the straight lines both visually and with a level, and then accepted that they might be a teense off in places (let your OCD go, folks). I made a handy dandy nail (in pink) and 3M strip (in green) map below. The curvy arrow is the floating support nail. Let me know if it’s helpful or super confusing!

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I’m not a big fan of whoever placed that darn thermostat in the middle of the wall (which we’ve since replaced with an even bulkier one I have to work around…but it saves us heating oil!), but I did take that into account when working on the layout. 

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Also, I picked up the vintage ironing board and metal pot at one of those junk stores and the white table at a garage sale. I love all the old stuff you can find living on the East Coast! The metal buckets are from our wedding (from JoAnn Fabric) and the flowers are from Michaels.

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To summarize the tips:

1. Gather your supplies: empty frames, 1 and 2 inch picture hanging nails, 3M mounting strips, hammer, and level.

2. Lay out your gallery wall on the floor, rearrange until you get a layout you like, and take a picture.

3. Start with hanging your largest pieces first that will be flush to the wall. Hang with smaller picture nails. 

4. Float your next round of frames by using longer picture nails that will keep the frames off the wall. Hammer your nails in enough to hold the frame, but leave enough extra to be above your first level of frames. Add a second nail in the wall at the bottom corner of your frame for your frame to rest on to keep it floating.

5. Take a step back and then use a level make sure the frames are generally level. Keep the frames from sliding on each other by sticking them together with 3M mounting strips. 

6. Cross your fingers that you’ve secured everything well enough that the teenager and dogs running through your house don’t make the frames wonky (luckily I did!).

Have you tried a picture frame gallery wall? Any tips to add?

 



{Living Room} – Accent Walls Solve All the Problems

We are still buried in boxes around here and it turns out my natural response to needing to unpack is to decorate #obviously. Right now our living room (I think that’s what you call an awkward room that serves as your main entry and primary living space??) is primarily serving as a staging area for decor, which may or may not be driving TimTheFarmer crazy. Honeeyyyy, I can’t hang the pictures until you tear down that wall and I paint all the other walls and I find the perfect wingback chairs at the flea market. 

Staging

I We have plans to tear down the wall between the living room and the kitchen to create one open and flowing space that will function as a living room, dining and entertaining room, and kitchen. I’m super excited about this, but it also seems to mean that I can’t decorate a space we’re going to destroy. So, for now, the room is a staging area. But I put some pumpkins out, which means my Halloween decor is totally taken care of, right??

Like my first vignette, I like small wins that make me feel like we’re making progress. No, unpacking doesn’t give me the same feeling (reference the first paragraph). There might actually be something to this…I never unpack after trips either. If I had a therapist, I would probably ask him what that means. #butIdont. Aaannnnywayy, during that quick stop at home a couple weeks ago where I dominated entered that pie competition and my FIL’s dog ran away, I quickly painted the guest bath and an accent wall in the living room – because that absolutely makes the rest of the chaos less noticeable.

Picking a Paint

I take picking a paint color very seriously. I go to every hardware store and grab every.single.paint-chip in my desired shad and have no brand loyalty when it comes to paint. I narrow it down (t00 brown, too blue etc.) and then hmm and haw a bit longer and then ask designers on Instagram and then I jump in with both feet. This time was especially challenging because in my head I was picking the entire palette for the whole house #nopressure. Once the first coat goes on, I doubt my choice and decide how I’m going to have the store adjust it; then I do the second coat (because let’s be honest, one coat NEVER cuts it, no matter what the can says) and think it might be ok. Then I sleep on it and realize it was the right choice.

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Our entire house is currently a yellowy off-white with wood trim. It’s not pretty wood trim; it’s wood trim that they put some weird orangey stain on. My plan is to paint all the walls and ceilings a light grey, paint all the trim and bead board white, and paint a couple accent walls and the kitchen cabinets a dark grey. I should be done with this project in…2020? See why I can’t hang the pictures yet?

Accent Wall with “Wallpaper”

I love all the funky wallpaper out there these days, but having suffered through more wallpaper removal than I care to remember, I knew I wouldn’t do that here. Although, I hear there are peel and stick wallpapers these days…hmm, tempted. I randomly checked HauteLook the day we moved in and found these amazing wall decals and planned to put them on the wall under the stairs. Actually, first I wanted to put them in the guest bath, but the kiddo vetoed that.

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The final paint choice was Smooth Slate by Clark + Kensington. After painting the bathroom, I quickly threw a coat of the same paint on the wall under the stairs and finished painting it the next day while the pie was cooking and the dog was running away.

That night, I stuck all the fabulous feather decals on the wall in a repeating pattern. I absolutely did not plan out the widths or lines or draw a grid. I am the opposite of OCD – it would make me crazy to try to plan out a grid. I went the technical route of using my hand for a ruler. Halfway through hanging them, the kiddo asked if there’d be extras for his room…ummmm. Anyway, here it is!

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The stair risers and trim will be white, so this is just a first step. But, the living room is totally pulled together now. Have you used wall decals anywhere in your house?

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