Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gallery Wall Tips + Tricks

We are constantly working on making our house a home. During the last few weeks of summer I tackled a few more of our bare walls including this one in our downstairs hallway. I've gotten so many great compliments from recent visitors (thanks, friends!) so I thought I'd share my 5 tips and tricks for creating your perfect gallery wall. 

1. Pick an accent piece. For this particular wall I chose an ampersand symbol highlighted by the white frame. I recommend centering your accent piece and then building around it with additional frames or decor.

2. Measure and lay everything out ahead of time. Use a large table or even the floor. Mark the height and width and then lay your frames down. This gives you a chance to move things around, swap frames out, and play around with the layout before committing to the wall.

3. Invest in tools. The essentials include a level, stud finder, hammer, nails and command strips. I prefer the command strips (unless it is something really heavy) because I can always take it down and change my look without having to patch a hole. You can find all of these things at your local hardware store. Don't just eyeball it. Take your time to measure out where it is all going and make sure you are hanging it straight.

 4. Don't be afraid to mix and match frames. I love a sleek, clean and matchy look like everyone else but gallery walls are meant to be fun and unique. Mix up colors, textures, and use a combination of pictures/prints and other decor (like letters, I  l o v e  l e t t e r s!).

5. Finally, leave room to add more down the road. With my layout there is still plenty of room to add frames up top or below. By staggering where the frames are placed I can easily add one or multiple frames without it appearing unfinished. 

I am really looking forward to updating the pictures and prints each holiday season. I'm already on the hunt for some fall themed printables! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

100 Days Strong

This past Memorial Day weekend I had this crazy idea to give up shopping for 100 days (remember this post?). There were a few motivating factors behind my decision. First, I am a bit of a shopaholic and was wasting way too much money on things I didn't really need. Second, I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by the amount of clutter around our house. And finally, I was a horrible role model to my daughter who watches my every move and was under the impression that money grew on trees and that she could have anything she wanted every time we went to a store. I needed to make a change.

Motivational Print from The Motivated Type on Etsy
The rules were simple. My game, my rules hah! I could buy necessities (gas, groceries and anything we truly needed...i.e. Mason grew out of his clothes and needed a few shirts for the summer). I could not shop for anything for the house or my wardrobe, or anything else that I didn't need. Since the purpose was to save money I could use any existing gift cards or store credit, I could accept gifts from people, and I could buy things for others. We had a lot of summer birthday parties to go to! 

I checked in a few times (here and here) during the summer. As the weeks went by it became easier and easier to resist the urge to pick up all of the cute things I saw at stores. I spent a few weeks going through the entire house--every room, closet, drawer, nook and cranny sorting and cleaning and getting rid of anything we didn't need or use. It was so refreshing and I am loving the clean slate!

Kate Spade Clean Slate Idiom Bangle
I never would have been able to do this if I didn't have a few friends doing it with me (Thanks, Melissa and Karen!) and holding me accountable. It also helped that I allowed myself to use gift cards! A few treats or necessities here and there made all the difference! A summer dress from the Loft with a gift card for my birthday last March, a new backpack and lunch box for Addie using store credit at Pottery Barn Kids, and some crafts and house decor from Michael's after a return. 

Mackenzie Navy Peacock Backpack & Lunchbox Collection
So what's next? I'm giving up chocolate for 100 days. Yeah right! I don't have that much discipline! I am thankful for this experience and it really put a lot of things into perspective. I want to keep this momentum going, continue to save money, and teach my children the importance of budgeting and finances and living with only the things we truly need. I've run out of gift cards so I need to be realistic and now that I will, ultimately, need to shop for some things. But for the next 100 days, and beyond, I really want to stick to a few rules:

1. Only buy things you need, not want.

2. If you can make it for less, don't buy it. 

3. Budget, save and shop around for the best deal.

4. Do not buy one in every color.

5. Do not overspend on gifts.