Friday, July 27, 2012

Chevron Wall Tutorial.

I did it!  Finally, after a full week and a half, I finished Genevieve's chevron and chalkboard wall.  The inspiration room for Genevieve's toddler room had an entire chalk wall.  I loved that idea but I also had seen a few chevron walls that I loved.  I only wanted to do one accent wall- I knew I couldn't handle a bunch of chalk scribble everywhere (let's be honest here) and wasn't sure if a chalk wall and a chevron wall would be too much.  Well add to that the cost of chalk paint and the effort of a chevron wall and you have Genevieve's wall- 2/3 chevron and 1/3 chalkboard.  I was a tiny bit scared after all my hard work it would look weird- or silly.  I'm sure a similar wall exists but I haven't seen one with chevron, chalk paint, and chair rail.  But when I pulled that last piece of tape off...and stepped back, I LOVED it.  It was perfect.  OK, not really, but to the naked eye it was perfect! ;)

So before I get into the step by step of how to paint a chevron wall, here's a photo of the wall.



And now for the chevron wall tutorial.  I don't usually write tutorials because I'm not great at it.  I typically use someone else's and the thought of writing it out step by step is kind of nauseating (oh is that wrong to say?).  However, since I googled and searched many chevron wall tutorials and used a few, I figured one more in the blogosphere wouldn't hurt--and just might help someone.  And I'm obsessed with her wall. As in, when I finished it, it was about 4 pm.  The house was a mess. I was supposed to be making dinner.  I was still in my pajamas and it was T minus 1.5 hours till Joe walked in the door. And I'm literally lying down on the floor in her room (with my head on this softness) staring at it.  What can I say? I'm hopeless.

So here goes.


What you will Need:
A level
A yard stick is helpful
Tape (I used a roll and a half).  Make sure it's the same size if you're using multiple rolls)
A pencil
Paint (obviously). 


Step by Step Instructions:
First, measure the wall.  Mine was 122.5 inches.  Now other tutorials say "I knew I wanted [X] chevrons/points"- and I read that and think "how did you know?!"  So here are some tips to figure out how many chevrons you want (by chevrons, I don't mean the total number of stripes, I mean how many points; think the point of the zigzag or triangles).  

  • First, think of how wide you want it to look.  The fewer chevrons the wider the pattern.  The more chevrons, the more zigzag-y it will look. 
  • Secondly, think of the work involved.  The more chevrons, the more taping!   
  • Lastly-if you can't decide or visualize how many chevrons you want, try taping off a couple in different sizes.  I did that and it was so helpful in seeing exactly how wide I wanted them (as a side note, you could create it on paper instead of taping the wall).

Next, using the tips above, decide how many chevrons you'd like.  I wanted 5 (the sweet spot between a wide pattern and not a ton of taping).  So you divide the wall length (122.5 in my case) by the number of chevrons (5 in my case) to get the total length of each chevron (24.5 in my case).


The Next step is to find the halfway point in your chevron.  For me it was 12.25 inches.  (please note- the drawing is not to scale!).

Then, mark your three points (I used a pencil and made a big dot).  These are represented by the red dots in my drawing.  Then, I used a pencil, and a level to draw a straight line down from my center dot.  None of the other tutorials I consulted said to do this so maybe I'm just dense but I found it incredibly helpful when "connecting the dots" (see next step). You can see in my "drawing" the line down the middle and in the photo the line I drew. 


Next, connect the dots with your tape. The first one is the hardest I promise! 

After you have that one, work in columns.  Measure X inches down from each point (using a level to make sure your lines are straight).  For me X = 12 inches.  The tutorials I consulted both measured 12 inches so I used that measurement too but I suppose you could make them more or less narrow if you wanted to.  Side note- DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT A LEVEL!  I tried because I didn't realize we didn't have one and was all set to get going.  Then after taping and re-taping, thought I had it down, measured it, and the lines were at least a 1/2 inch to an entire inch off!  Another side note: It's important to make sure when you're taping, you're being consistent with taping from the outside of your points.  That will make sense when you tape your first triangle.


Work in columns all the way down, and then start again, until you're done (5 columns/points in my case).  It really does get easier the further along you are. If your house is 50+ years old like mine and the walls aren't straight don't drive yourself crazy measuring and re-measuring. I say this because I would use the level- everything would show being "straight" and then I'd measure and the measurements would be off!  I could feel the frustration bubbling up but decided at that point (beginning of my second column) that I was just going to use the level to make sure the lines were straight and that to the naked eye it would look fine. Just know that if you use a level, your lines are straight.  



Lastly- trim your points.  I couldn't find husband's exacto knife so I used a Martha Stewart Craft knife.  And yes I have a few holes in my fingers to prove it. ;)  This tutorial has a good "what if" photo of points left untrimmed.

Points not trimmed


Points trimmed...and I really didn't have to trim every point (because you're only painting every other line) but my OCD nature wouldn't allow me to trim some and not the others!

 Finally- painting!


You can see from the messy corner why I'm not quite ready for a full room reveal!

Having fun with her chalk wall.  :)

Disclaimer: This is how I did it.  I'm sure there are a gazillion other (and perhaps better) ways to do it.  But I wanted to share my experience.  Also, I'm sure if you took the time to measure each line on my wall and figure out the angles, it would be off.  It's totally not perfect.  But when I look at it, I can't tell. And I'm pretty certain Genevieve can't either! I'm really tough on myself and my projects so if I can handle this and love it--imperfections and all, so can you! (meaning you can love YOUR project not mine! lol.  am I making sense here?!).

Lastly, chalkboard paint and chevron are super ubiquitous.  But I unapologetically am in love with them both-- trendy or not.  That's all. ;)

I found lots of tutorials.  You can see a handful on my "how to" pinterest board.  The two I found the most simple and helpful were The Tall Chick: Jumping on the Chevron Bandwagon (LOVE the title!) and Olivia Grayson Interiors: How to Paint a Chevron Wall. Thanks Tall Chick and Olivia Grayson for the inspiration and instructions!

[UPDATE May 2013]: I received the following comment and wanted to share:

"I just did a chevron project and read this as well as other blogs to figure it all out. I'm thrilled with the results! I did 2 walls and just want to mention, if doing 2 walls you MUST make the corner a "point" in the chevron. This realization is the result of doing it wrong the first time which I realized after taping an entire wall. Soooo Important information if doing more than 1 wall!"
 
Please note: This is a comment from a reader--I can't vouch as I haven't done two walls but just wanted to throw this out there! If you're planning on doing two walls you might want to do your homework to map it all out and make sure they flow!  Good luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Don't Know How She Does It.

Ok, so for an amateur photographer, I'm pretty good.  But I don't know how she does it.  How does she take a ready-for-my-nap 11 month old and a I-know-I-cuddle-kiss-and-smile-all-the-time-at-home-but-I'm-gonna-show-you-who's-boss 2 year old and turn it into wonderful family photos?!  I don't know!  Who is "she?"  Melanie of Simply Mella.  If you remember our family photos from last year, you remember that I felt like there was no way she could have gotten so many great images.  I walked away feeling the same this year but reminding myself that Simply Mella is simply amazing!  Not only is she a wonderful photographer but she's passionate about what she does.  And it shows.  She's also super mellow.  It helped while Joe and I were corralling and cajoling the kids and trying our hardest to look like a happy family (I promise you, we really are happy!) instead of a bunch of stress balls which is how we felt at that particular moment.  If you haven't had family photos in a while, I encourage you to check out her site and her facebook page.  If you can find a free date book her (I told you last year to do it and you're kicking yourself for waiting aren't you?!)

Here are a few of my favorites:

I love these unique and casual family photos.  I don't think I'll be able to take photos in a studio ever again!
  
♥ this one- eyes closed and all!

My absolute fave!  Definitely going on a gallery wall as an 11*14!

Sweet moment captured- funny I didn't remember this cute kiss when I was reminiscing about Genevieve's "behavior."

I love the colors in this one.  And I do declare she looks like me. ;)

Be still my heart.

Sweet Nadi.

Classic Nadia.

Oh did I say "a few?"  hahaha. Yeah right.  There are tons more where those came from.  I just didn't want to bore you. ;)

Photography courtesy of Simply Mella. Thank you Melanie! You're the best!

Wardrobe:

  • Joe- Gap Polo and Gap cargos.
  • Tiff- Crochet Lace Trim Top, Coral Shirt from Forever 21 (not sold online but this one is very similar and so cute!), Belt from Target forever ago, and these amazing jeans (I feel young and skinny in them.  Enough said).
  • Genevieve- Old Navy T, petti romper shorts from here.  
  • Nadia- Lace Petti Romper from here.  <-- check them out; there is currently a deal on lace petti rompers! Tights from here.
  • Our hair flowers were from The Icing (in the mall).  I spent way more on hair jewelry than I'd care to admit! ;) The girls' pearls were from here. I paid $2 each for them years ago and have worn them so often (I also love to layer them with other necklaces).  Such a great deal! 
So are there any other photographers in the area that you love?  What tips do you have for taking successful family photos?  C'mon- spill!








Friday, July 20, 2012

Toddler Room Progress: Chalkboard Paint and Zulily Lust.

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I am making progress on Genevieve's room. It's been a long, slow process!  If you remember, I bought her bed back in May of LAST YEAR!  I really need to make progress since Genevieve is only in daycare twice a week until the end of August.  As many of you know, it's near impossible to get anything done (especially painting) with a toddler (and an almost toddler) running around your feet!  I ended up jumping on the chalkboard bandwagon and doing a chalk wall in Genevieve's room- or I should say half a wall!  I've seen many rooms feature chalkboard paint and my inspiration room (which I'll share at a later time) had an entire chalk wall.  I loved the look and really wanted to try it.  Genevieve has chair rail in her room so I figured rather than do one wall I'd go under the chair rail around the entire room.  Then I started painting.  And man, chalkboard paint is dark.  Black. Very black.  And I just couldn't do it!  There is only one window in Genevieve's room and the lighting is quite poor in there (I plan to add a couple of adorable lamps I'll show you later!) so I just couldn't risk it being too dark.  I could just see my almost 3 year old suddenly filled with teenage moodiness and angst due to her dark and gloomy walls! Let's put that stage off as long as possible please.

So I still have a few areas to touch up before I reveal the walls...and the full room reveal will be in quite a while since I'm trying not to spend money on her room (and instead throw it at Nadia's party--with gusto).

And that's where the zulily reference comes in.  Oh my.  Did you see this event?!  I am in love with so many items in it!  And it would perfectly match Genevieve's new room!  Argh- why can't Joe and I be Beyonce and Jay-Z so we could spend a gajillion dollars on Blue Ivy's  our girls' rooms?!  Here are just a few items I'd buy in a heartbeat:






And here are some children spaces featuring chalkboard walls that make me doubt my decision not to paint the entire wall!


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So are you over the chalkboard trend?  Do you think I should have gone all the way?  Are you in love with Zulily?!  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cirque du Hooray!



So, I'm pluggin along planning Nadia's Circus Celebration and came across these cuties at HomeGoods.  (You remember my obsession with HomeGoods right?).  I'm not sure what I love more--the fluffy pink and blue yumminess inside or the adorable packaging.  I got the wooden trays in the $1 section (well, the $2.50 section) at Target.  I'm considering painting them...but I'd really love to find natural wood trays/crates at a super cheap price.  Anyone able to point me in the right direction?!


By the way, HomeGoods had adorable striped paper straws from which I had to drag. myself. away.  The colors were awesome:  cherry red, dark turquoise, and bubblegum pink.  As I type those fun colors I'm wondering how on earth I stayed so strong.  I am also kicking myself for not taking a quick picture to share with you.  They were $9.99 for 145 (or something close) straws.  Just thought I'd share in case any of you lovelies are party planning...

What fun party goods have you stumbled across lately?! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

{Sale Alert}: Pretty Personalized Stationery!

Do you have virtual friends? You know- people you really only know through Facebook.  It's not as creepy as it sounds, I promise.  Kristin Austin is one of those friends.  I've met her once (and on accident) but she used to work with my husband and helped introduce me to people at BAE which I like to believe was instrumental in me being hired there.  I follow all of her stuff on Facebook and she often comments on my stuff as well.  So, see, we are virtual friends.  Well one thing I've learned about Miss Austin is that she is a go-getter.  You can read a little of her story here.  She recently launched Paige Simple Stationery.  It's a collection of adorable personalized preppy note cards in fun color combinations.  Kristin is working with Melanie of Simply Mella (the awesome photographer who took Nadia's newborn photos), who shared this discount code {PHOTOSHOOT} to get Kristin's cards at a whopping 50% off! I don't know about you, but I'm all over that deal! Hurry; Deal is through Saturday!

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Personalized Set of Folded Note Cards (8 cards/envelopes)
These make perfect gifts!
Personalized Set of Folded Note Cards (8 cards/envelopes)
How sweet would this be for children's thank you notes?
Kristin's shop will feature party printables and paper decor in the future and she is in the process of launching a blog (which I'm sure will feature her son's amazing first birthday party--I'll be sure to alert you when it's live).  Head on over to her etsy shop and tell me, which set of cards is your fave?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DIY Kid's Floor Cushion.

When researching inexpensive pouf options for Nadia's nursery (can't remember if it was before or after I gave up the dream of a Moroccan Pouf), I came across this one on Living with Punks.  At the time I didn't have a sewing machine and hadn't sewn in nearly 10 years...and something told me it would be a tad more complex than my specialty back then--hair scrunchies. I didn't end up having time to make it but I saved it with the hopes of making it one day.  Well then Pinterest came along (or I should say I finally came to my senses and created a Pinterest account) and I pinned it.  And then, as so often is the case, forgot about it.

Enter Colleen Hamilton.  [As a side note I mentioned Colleen in the post about our adventures in homemade baby food.  And Meg mentioned her here.  And I mentioned her again here].  Anyway, from what I can gather, Colleen is one of those people who actually attempts what she pins.  Imagine that!  So she FB'd me to share her result.  And I'm so glad she did! I was suddenly re-inspired to try one myself! I'm slowly but surely working on Genevieve's big girl room and thought this would be a nice addition to it.  This project wasn't easy for a beginner seamstress.  And it certainly wasn't fast.  But I have to say I am super proud of myself for the final result (regardless of how novice-y it is upon close inspection!).  PS- I know adding a dash and a Y after a word doesn't make it a real word, but I can't help myself.

Here are some photos:

I love that this project only requires 1 yard of fabric!
batting and piping are required also but still not a bad total price (see end for breakdown).

final product



because I'm all about keepin it real- the toughest part for me- the blind stitch!

Some things I wish I'd known/Did:
  • How to measure and cut a perfect circle.  (seriously. any suggestions?).
  • Plan out all the "finishing" parts and put them all in the same place- in other words, seams on the sides, and where the piping comes together.  
  • Have a clear "front" and "back," "top," and "bottom"- I sorta did but next time I will make sure to plan all that out.
Cost for this project:
piping: $2 
Fabric: $6 (on sale from here)
Polyfill: $4.50 for 2 bags 
Total: $12.50 
and I have leftovers of everything which I always feel makes a project even cheaper...

Um I think that's it.  I will say that I'm pretty sure this is one of those projects that is toughest the first time around. I imagine next time it will be much easier.  And my cute friend Colleen has already made her 2nd one!!  Wasn't this my idea?!  ;)
Oh and if you are thinking "Are you crazy if you think I'm gonna attempt this DIY" then Living with Punks sells them here!  I think it'd make a fantastic gift!!  

What about you?  What challenging projects have you taken on lately?




Monday, July 9, 2012

Let the Party Planning Begin.

After attending my nephew's 1st birthday party a week ago it hit me like a ton of bricks that I didn't have long to plan Nadia's 1st birthday.  I remember asking my sister-in-law periodically how party planning was going and the panic that would set in at the question.  I soooo know the feeling!  Genevieve's first party was awesome but was 2 hours from beginning to end...and I took on so much cooking and DIY that I have to admit I overdid it just a tad.  It's tough to find that perfect balance of making it special for you and the birthday girl (or boy) and enjoyable for everyone else, yet not going crazy!  I feel like I struck a better balance with Genevieve's 2nd birthday but it was a simple theme and family only, not to mention my  mama was here to help.  In any case I figure if I start planning a couple of months in advance it will give me time to order products online (I refuse to pay rush shipping), DIY till my heart's content, and be organized and on top of everything come the big day.  That might be a little optimistic of me but a girl can dream right?

So my first task was to settle on a theme.  I've always wanted to do a fairy party.  I love the thought of mixing lilac tones, moss, woodsy elements, and some shimmer and tulle.  But I keep putting it off thinking my girls will appreciate that theme so much more when they're a bit older.  Next I considered a sweet shoppe (or ice-cream shoppe, or soda shoppe) theme.  I still love that one and it's quite possible it will be used for Nadia's second birthday.  My final option (and choice) was a Circus/Carnival theme.  I'm a little nervous because I can totally see going completely overboard with this theme! There are just so. many. possibilities. [Just peruse my Pinterest board!] But since I have to keep the budget in check or husband will leave me and I'm trying to keep the workload manageable I really have to stick to my guns and not bite off more than I can chew.  But geez, these inspiration parties don't help do they!! [side note: I'm always a bit nervous to share "inspiration" pictures because then you'll know my secret: I'm a big fat copycat.  But caring is sharing right? ;)]  Take a look at this eye candy and let me know-what was your kiddos 1st birthday theme?  And how far in advance did you start planning?!



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