Marvelous Mondays: Gallery wall inspiration

29 July 2013

One of my July goals is to hang art downstairs in our new house, and we’ve been making some progress: we hung the chart and the Abe Lincoln print, both of which you can see in our apartment tour. We’re held up on a number of other pieces because we want to paint the walls they’ll hang on first.

The art that I think will make the biggest impact in our combined living/dining room and kitchen is the gallery we’re planning to hang on the back wall. I’ve been collecting pieces and trying to analyze inspiration photos I like so we can possibly implement this weekend. A few favorites:

colorful-gallery-wall

via The Everygirl

Black, white, and wood frames (almost all with mats) mixed with canvases and “objets d’art.” Asymmetric arrangement. Colored wall.

gallery-wall-white-frames

via Young House Love

White and cream frames, all different and thicker, some with mats and some without. Stand-alone objects and photos mixed in. Tight arrangement. Light gray wall.

gold-and-black-gallery-wall

via Lonny

Gold and black frames, all with mats. Neutral and black and white artwork. White wall.

rustic-gallery-wall

via Darling Dexter

Mostly white and cream frames. No mats. Colorful artwork. Canvases and objects (mostly circular) mixed in. Taupe wall.

pink-and-blue-gallery-wall

via Les Confettis

Birch frames with pops of color. Colorful artwork in a tight palette. Thinner mats. All framed pieces. Blue wall.

When I collect inspiration photos on Pinterest I’m usually not pausing long enough to figure out why something appeals to me, just that it does. But when I’m actually trying to draw from that inspiration, I find it helpful to go back and really pick out the individual elements to get clues as to how I might be able to create something similar. That’s what I was trying to do here!

Have you ever hung a gallery wall? Did you lay everything out on the ground first? Use the wax paper trick? Just wing it? I’m considering winging it, but any tips are welcomed :)

Two useful things

22 July 2013

Popping in to share two useful things today:

Number One: EBates

You may recall that one of my March goals was to “investigage Ebates and possibly sign up.” I’ve known about Ebates for a few years, and though I can’t remember what prompted me to finally take action, I’m very thankful something did!

Ebates is one of those things that sounds too good to be true — I simply begin my purchase from their site, and they’ll give me a percentage in cash back? Up to 14% at some stores?? And it’s free? And I get a $10 gift card to Target just for signing up?? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. In fact, I had to laugh when my gift card arrived in the mail — they’re clearly used to dealing with skeptical people, because the card said “Yes, it’s real!”

ebates-cash-back-online-shopping

For me, the only trick is to remember to start from the Ebates site — you can’t go back and “sign up” your purchase after the fact. They pay cash four times a year, and since March we’ve gotten almost $100 back in cash, which is a pretty amazing amount of “free” money. I particularly recommend it if you’re going to be making a large purchase online — we bought our refrigerator online at Lowes, and got 6% cash back just for going through Ebates. It’s like an instant discount!

You can sign up with my referral link here (in the interest of full disclosure, I get $10 for anyone who signs up, but it goes without saying that I wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t a service we used and loved!). And if you’re already an Ebates member, let’s talk about how much you love it! :)

Number Two: Doodle

I’m not sure what the technical definition of a “life hack” is, but I think Doodle would definitely qualify. I was introduced to it by my friend MacKenzie, and ever since, I haven’t planned a get together with more than one couple without it. It’s a major timesaver for my group of friends, who have some of the oddest and busiest schedules around.

doodle-easy-online-scheduling

Basically, instead of lots of emails or texts back and forth to try and find a mutually agreeable day for an event, you send out a Doodle poll and everyone votes for the options that work for them. From there, it’s easy to see which date is the best!

For example, I sent out this poll earlier this summer:

Doodle

Yep, the Rays were only available one date out of seven. See why this is helpful for my peeps? :)

Doodle is free and incredibly easy to use, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

I hope these two tips come in handy for y’all. Do you have a favorite useful thing to recommend? I’d love to hear!!

An ode to golf course strolls

19 July 2013

Overall we were ready to leave our apartment and happy to be moving on to our house, but there was one thing we knew we would miss terribly: the golf course. Our apartment was situated directly on a championship course, and for the last four years we strolled on its cart paths almost every day. We walked before work and after work, in blazing heat and biting wind; we jokingly called it the “nature preserve” because we saw so many herons, turtles, birds, muskrats, fish, deer, ducks, and bunnies. We also saw some pretty spectacular sunsets, which John captured beautifully over the years. Here, just a few of our favorites:

golf-course-sunsets

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north-carolina-sunsets

beautiful-north-carolina

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Sigh. Do you have a favorite place to walk?

Our first apartment

16 July 2013

Welcome, welcome, friends! I’m finally ready to deliver on my promise of a tour of our first (and only) apartment!

John and I moved to North Carolina four years ago this week, fresh out of college. My Mom and I had visited the Triangle a few weeks prior to scout out apartments, and ended up signing a one-year contract for this one. Honestly? If you had told me we would still be there almost four years later, I would have been quite skeptical — I was MISERABLE and horribly homesick when we first moved, and began making plans almost immediately to move back to New England once our lease was up. Obviously things have changed since then (thankfully!).

Since we didn’t know how long we’d be living here, we chose not to make too many substantial decorating decisions. We only painted one room (a bathroom, of all things), and avoided purchasing investment pieces that might have not worked in the next place we lived. Over four years we did collect several larger pieces (a mattress, a sofa) and many smaller ones (mostly artwork); each was chosen based on how much we loved it and how much longevity we thought it had.

Let’s get started, shall we?

colorful apartment ideas

Couch: Macy’s | Bookshelf: Ikea | Pillow and frames: Target | Berry basket: Anthropologie | Cat: Calvin’s Paws :)

The bulk of our apartment was essentially one large room encompassing living room, dining room, and kitchen. We loved the openness, as well as the high ceilings. The top watercolor of the Blue Ridge Mountains was a gift from one of John’s sisters, and the piece below it was actually a letterpress card from Meredith that we framed!

black and white gallery wall

Chairs: DIY | X-bench: Target | White loveseat: Ikea | Trunk: Vintage

The trunk is one of my favorite pieces we own — it was transplanted from my Dad’s family’s cottage in Maine after the last burst of decluttering, and made it safely to NC via car and boat transportation!

wooden trunk coffee table

rainbow-bookcase

Wire card holder: Pressed Cotton | Letterpress states poster: Beauchamping | Planner: Emily Ley | Desk: Vintage

rainbow bookcase ideas

They say you can tell a lot about a person (or family) by looking at their bookshelf, and though I think that’s true, I’m not sure what you might surmise from looking at ours, with its poetry next to politics and economics next to etiquette. Perhaps just an appreciation of all the colors of the rainbow? :)

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Our dining area was just behind the brown couch. The table is by far one of my favorite pieces we own — it was my college graduation present from my parents, it’s white-washed solid mahogany, and it expands to seat 10-12!! Pretty perfect for an apartment, no? The Windsor chairs were rescued from my best friend’s parents as they downsized (conveniently at the same time as we were moving!). I’d love to have them professionally sprayed one day.

The chart is from NOAA of the region of Maine where my family has a cottage; we had it professionally framed. My parents have always had one hanging in our house, so I wanted to continue the tradition!

apartment-dining-room-details

A question: Do y’all keep your table set at all times?? Despite these photos, we most definitely do not, and I had never heard of such a thing before I moved down South — but it seems to be fairly common here. Thoughts? P.S. Wedding china!

apartment-kitchen-details

Abe Lincoln print: Mary Kate McDevitt

Our kitchen was nice and large, and we loved how open it was to the rest of the apartment — great for entertaining! My extensive cake stand collection lined up on top of our cabinets :)

blue-ticking-duvet

Duvet and blanket: L.L. Bean | Shams: HomeGoods | Lamp: HomeGoods | Lampshade: Target | Bedside tables: Ikea

Our bedroom was super simple — just the basics. The shams, which perfectly matched the other bedding, were a serendipitous find at HomeGoods.

blue-bedroom-ideas

No-sew curtains: DIY

A few notes here: I know the bench by the window is hard to see, but it’s covered in leopard fabric and was my very first upholstery project, in high school. I’ve been on the leopard bandwagon for awhile. I like to file the woven basket under the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” category: John had a penchant for leaving his pajamas on the floor instead of folding them, so I figured we might as well just toss our pajamas in the basket instead. Worked like a charm!

daily devotional

To finish, I wanted to share this neat little book with you. It’s a devotional that was published in 1904, and has been in my family since that time — there are handwritten notes throughout detailing certain days on which relatives died and were born. John and I have been reading from it most nights, and have been pleasantly surprised by how fresh-sounding and relevant it is!

I hope you enjoyed the tour, friends! I didn’t get around to photographing the two bathrooms or the guest bedroom/office, but rest assured pretty much all you missed was a gigantic explosion of tinsel due to my Etsy exploits.

We’re starting to get things settled in the house, and I look forward to sharing our new space as it comes together!! In the meantime, I have one more thing to share with you from our apartment — our very favorite thing about it. Check back later this week!

Camping with friends

12 July 2013

To wrap up our week of adventures, I thought I’d post some pictures from the spring camping trip we took with some of our bestest friends. Said friends happen to all be professional photographers, so John and I figured it was safe to leave our camera at home :)

We camped at Hanging Rock State Park in Danbury (about two hours from the Triangle), and I can’t recommend it highly enough for a “soft” trip – i.e. if you’re not into the idea of carrying everything you need for the night into the woods. Hanging Rock was wild enough that we felt like we were off the beaten path and beautiful enough to encourage us to hike up steep hills, but civilized enough so that we ate well, could concentrate on enjoying each other’s company, and didn’t have to pee in the woods :)

A few photos, courtesy of Nancy Ray! (And P.S., you can read her blog post here!)

hanging-rock-state-park-camping

Yep, we brought peonies. That’s how this group rolls.

weekend-camping-trip

north-carolina-camping-trip

moore's wall hanging rock state park

fire tower hanging rock state park

hanging rock fire tower

Fun with friends! Nothing better. If you’re interested in Hanging Rock, John’s also written about it on his blog here!

P.S. By far the most exciting part of our trip was Sam and Graham telling us they are expecting!! December is going to be an exciting month!