diy Christmas cards {without using photoshop}

this was our first year not getting professional pictures done.

to save a buck (and because i like a challenge), i attempted to be our own photographer. i googled “how to use my timer on my rebel Canon” and went for it.

surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard. of course, they aren’t professional, but they’re good enough.

IMG_4776

first, i did a little research on Pinterest to check out family pictures and layouts of the people.

then, i picked a location (in this case it was at my grandmother’s house because she has a lot of fun props).

after that, i had my family choose clothing in a combination of blues and greens with different textures (plaid, striped, floral).

one Sunday afternoon, we all met up at my Grandmother’s place and my dad got the car in position, while i got everyone else in position and then set up my camera on a ladder, set the timer, ran and smiled.

okay, it wasn’t that easy, but almost.

two hours later, we were done. i went home to see what we came up with.

this is what they looked like:

IMG_4350

and here’s the one in my grandmother’s avocado grove:

Kelly_edited copy

besides being a little blurry and a little washed out, we were happy.

the next step was to add some words. since my computer (a MacBook Air, the smallest version) does not have enough memory (or gigabits or whatever…that’s my brother, the computer guy’s, arena), i like to use a program called Picasa. it’s completely free and allows you to completely edit photos and add text and overlays (B&W, antique, sepia, etc) to any photo. you can’t switch out heads (that sounds so morbid, sorry) or cut pieces of the picture out like Photoshop; it’s not that advanced. i have loved it, regardless, and it’s super easy to work with.

here’s what the pictures looked like after adding words:

IMG_4333

and the back:

IMG_4373 copy 4

the last step was to make them into cards.

i uploaded the photos into an online company called Mpix that i’ve been using for the last few years for our cards and any prints i need. they are an online professional photography lab and each card and print is looked over and double checked by an actual individual. plus, the cards are printed on the highest quality of paper. you can choose different textures such as linen, pearl (a beautiful metallic finish) or 100% recycled paper AND it’s all included in the price of the card. we went with the postcard style card (envelopes are included) and opted to pay a small fee to have the corners rounded. i highly recommend this company. i’ve done some price comparisons and they are more affordable than some of the other top leading card companies (tiny prints, minted, etc).

so, there you have it. the basics on how to diy on your Christmas cards.

IMG_4773

pretty easy, huh?

IMG_4435

as long as everyone cooperates. 😉

xo

Advertisements

trend alert: crazy for plaid

have you been noticing all of the plaid everywhere?

IMG_4781

it seems to be popping up on everything lately.

0a73410a7f95180a11d6ab59abff7e08

not just on the standard blanket, we all know and love.

ede6430b05a22b97d6f03a676292eb18

and it’s not all just in red,

09-threshold-plaid-target-pillow-lgn
it comes in all different colors.

1088635-ictcrop_gal

and on everything you can possibly imagine.

plaid-tartan-chairschairs….

8273159_f248

wallpaper…

dd36a19edce8a94564c367d667a17f2c

tartan ware dishes….

fc136522a4314fa0c319af82cececc47

even cupcakes are wearing the plaid trend.

IMG_4784-001

i’m a big fan. i like the balance it gives some of our overly fluffiness we have in the house.

the best part, is that plaid seems to be pretty timeless. i wish we would have stocked up on some gorgeous blankets when we went to Scotland ten years ago.

go get yourself some plaid this Christmas. 🙂

{check out my Pinterest board for more plaid}

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (our home tour)

this last Monday, i went on a cleaning frenzy and cleaned the entire house.

every square inch.

on Tuesday, i woke up to a very sick little boy with the stomach flu. (poor little guy)

i had to pretty much disinfect every square inch all over again. (never mind, that our house is only 850 square feet.)

oiy. motherhood has its challenges and its ironies.

the plus side, was that i was able to sneak in some pictures on Monday afternoon of our home decorated for Christmas. also, it’s been a quiet, lazy week at home and i have to say, i’ve greatly loved the downtime and an excuse to not rush around.

and also a chance to cuddle on the couch with my littlest man and admire the lighted tree (and watch way too much tv).

here’s what our view looked like:

IMG_4727
i like to keep our Christmas decorations pretty simple. i pretty much just use what i have on hand. last year was our first time having a real normal sized (larger than 2 feet) Christmas tree, and i realized we didn’t have that many ornaments. we had been given a small set of vintage looking glass ornaments from my husband’s grandmother when we were first married, but it wasn’t enough to fill up the tree. so, i made some pinwheel ornaments out of book pages to fill in the empty spots.

IMG_4728

(my son desperately wants to be a fireman when he grows up. can you guess which ornament is his favorite?)

IMG_4740

do you have a Christmas pickle on your tree? i was kind of sad to find out that, what i thought was a German tradition, is not really German at all. nonetheless, we like to keep the tradition going every year.

IMG_4741

i had been eyeing this great tree garland on instagram for a few months.

IMG_4744

i finally scored one at The Holiday Market a few weeks ago.

IMG_4749

i just love it!

IMG_4751

i have a thing for trees.

IMG_4709

my mantle has a little winter wonderland with loads of little trees.

IMG_4765

and a little truck from the cabin, and a house i recently found while thrifting.

IMG_4704

last year for Christmas, we got a bunch of hand made ornaments from my husband’s grandma (the same one who gave us our first collection of ornaments).

IMG_4748

i can’t even imagine how long it took her to put each pin and sequin together to make these. we adore them and always will. especially, since she made them.

you know what else i adore?

IMG_4755

this sweet little nativity. my hubby found it at the thrift store. i had mentioned to him that i really wanted to get a little nativity set that our son could play with. my goal this year, since he is of age to start understanding, is for him to learn the real story of Christmas. when i was a little girl, my most vivid memory of Christmas was playing with our nativity set that looked like a real rustic wood stable, complete with hay. i loved setting it up and playing with the figures. i’ve always been a visual/tactile learner, so it made it easier for me to understand the story of Jesus’ birth.

IMG_4764

the first night i told him about Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the journey the wise men went on, he was wide eyed and wanted to hear it over and over again. it made my heart so happy.

IMG_4756

(one of the wise men had a little accident. he’s been repaired thanks to some trusty hot glue.)

as much as i love the cute little trees, the sparkly ornaments,

IMG_4664

and the soft glow of the lights throughout our house at night,

IMG_4679

i really just want our son to grow up knowing the real reason for the season. the special birth of our Lord and Savior.

wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas.

The Holiday Market

tis the season to be busy!

i am amazed everyday, at the amount of things one can stuff into one day.

between Christmas parties, the everyday grind of school and work, and wrestling season just starting (my hubby is a coach at the local Lutheran high school), our days just seem to be filled.

despite the busyness though, we managed to have a little family movie night and watch, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” It’s a staple in our house this time of year.

as we were watching the movie, my husband blurted out, “look it’s Kelly!” at the part where Clark’s brother-in-law, Eddie (the one that shows up in the motorhome) is digging in the trash and “rescuing” his brother’s discarded items *ahem* treasures from landfill death.

oh great. awesome. just what i wanted to be compared to.

so, lets just add that title to the end of my description; Kelly: wife, mommy, talker, crafter, thrifter, diy-er, organizer, furniture collector, old house admirer, vintage lover, decorator, believer and dumpster diver.

perfect.

the sad truth is, it’s not far off.

lets be clear….i do “rescue” other people’s unwanted items, or as i like to call them “treasures,” from the side of the road. however, i have never actually gone in a dumpster to save something.

wait.

no. nope. no, i haven’t. (instead, i’ve batted my eyes and nicely asked my husband)

i have, on the other hand, pulled awesome looking treasures out of people’s trash cans. they weren’t even dumpsters. so, there! 😉

and i like to think i use those items in a good way.

take for example, The Holiday Market, that i just got to be a part of last friday in Old Towne Orange.

photo-8

(sorry these pics are so tiny. i forgot my camera and only had my iPhone.)

pretty much, all of the decor was stuff i saved from the side of the road (even the lighted garland was from my neighbor’s trash. she kindly mentioned that she had just thrown it away and thought maybe i could use it. it was brand new and still in the box!). if you follow my instagram, then you’ll remember the shutters i found on the side of the road (they were leaning against another neighbor’s tree and had a sign that said, “free.”).

photo-11

i quickly stained them grey a few nights before the show. they were the perfect backdrop to hold the vintage music sheet wreaths, i was selling.

photo-12

i also used the drawers from the old nineteen forties desk i had found to hold the oversized ruler growth charts and a smaller drawer for Christmas ornaments. the art prints were hand drawn by my new friend , and i used an old baby crib spring, that my neighbor was throwing out, to clip them to.

so, yeah. i guess i sort of am like Clark’s brother-in-law, Eddie. i like to rescue stuff and repurpose it.

eddie-christmas-vacation-shitter-was-full1

but, please…i would never wear that robe with black socks. 😉

(thank you to everyone who came to The Holiday Market. your support means so much! xoxo)

design 101: how to style a hutch

i am hardly a design expert.

i just play until i think it looks good and when it’s to my liking, i call it a day.

lately, i’ve had a few people ask me for help or advice on how to style shelves, layout a room, or pick paint colors, so it got me thinking…maybe it would be fun (and helpful?) to do a design series on the blog of some of these topics?

ya know, kinda like design diy.

we can pretend this is trading spaces circa 2001. and i’ll pretend i’m Paige Davis!

what do ya think?

okay…here it goes.

welcome, to design 101: how to style a hutch.

i, unfortunately, did not get a before picture. i’m quite bummed about it. truly, i am.  (i think i’m already fired from trading spaces. oops). however, imagine a built-in hutch, in a kitchen, filled with only crystal goblets. when my client called me for immediate help on how to make her hutch pretty for the holidays, i headed right over.

this is what we came up with:

IMG_4018

first, we pulled everything out of her cabinets (the bottom cabinets, too! that’s where i found most of the dishes, platters, and pitchers.)

then we slowly worked from the bottom section and worked our way up.

IMG_4019

i found her big platters and leaned them against the back wall of the cabinet. then, i stacked all of her plates to give the pitchers, teapots, and creamers some height.

IMG_4016

we had to move the bottom glass shelf up to allow room for the big platters, which left us with a tiny shelf space.

that’s when i noticed her set of tea/coffee cups. the tiny shelf space allowed just enough space to showcase each cup.

IMG_4017

on the next shelf, we added the leftover dinner and salad plates. i wanted each shelf to be a little symmetrical, but i tried to add some interest in the middle section by adding the teapot and creamer to offset the dishes a little.

IMG_4021

we then added the crystal goblets to the top shelf from tallest to shortest to give it a little uniform. this also let the light from the cabinet shine through the crystal and on to the lower shelves.

IMG_4015

and there you have it. styling a hutch never looked easier, right?! just remember height, layers, symmetry, with a bit of asymmetry thrown in, group like kinds and you’re good to go.

now, all you have to do is pull all of those plates out and serve up the pumpkin pie. 😉

wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! xo

diy refinish furniture {for only $2}

i love the rustic, farmhouse look.

but not when it’s on a piece of furniture that is neither rustic nor farmhouse.

IMG_3986

my son so lovingly decided to help distress this piece of furniture in our dining room when he found a screwdriver that was accidentally left out.

IMG_3982

it’s inevitably going to happen when a three-year-old is in the house.

IMG_3985

a couple of years ago, i remember thinking i was going to have to probably sand down and refinish this entire dresser and the task seemed a bit overwhelming.

then i stumbled upon a pin on Pinterest about refinishing furniture with a couple of simple household items. i tried it and couldn’t believe my eyes!

i thought i would share this (probably not so secret) advice.

IMG_4003

here’s what you’ll need: 1.) white vinegar 2.) olive oil

seriously, that simple! i bought each from the dollar store and came home and did half and half in a bowl and then used a soft cloth to wipe the concoction on (a little goes a long way!).

this is what the dresser looks like now:

IMG_4007

what a difference, eh?

IMG_4011

the shine will last for about six months and then it’s time to re-oil it again.

IMG_4013

so, before you take that old beat up piece of furniture to the refinisher….grab yourself some oil and vinegar and give your furniture some love.

it’ll shine and say thank you!

finding furniture

i have always loved furniture.

i know. it’s kinda weird to love furniture, but i do.

when i was younger, most of my friends were saving up their babysitting money to buy clothes.

i was saving mine to buy furniture.

i bought my first big piece of furniture when i was fifteen. it was a solid pine armoire and i was smitten. it had hinge doors that revealed the closet portion (or the tv area…whatever i was using it as) and two giant drawers on the bottom.

it weighed a gazillion pounds.

when i got married, we took it with us to every place we lived. it first traveled with us to our move to Colorado and was carried up a flight of stairs. and then was brought back down those stairs, out in the snow and loaded up in the u-haul for our move to Chicago. we carried that gazillion-pound-armoire down a steep flight of back stairs, then up four more flights of stairs at our Chicago apartment. it was a lot of stairs. i nearly lost some fingers.

it was worth it.

i loved that silly piece of furniture. and though my husband didn’t have quite the affection for it that i did, he kindly helped carry it into every home we have lived in.

after moving back to California and moving the armoire with us for two more moves (and three more flights of stairs), we finally parted ways when my husband and i bought our first home. you would think that would be the time to keep it, right? well, after nearly twelve years together, it was time to let that cute, big, gazillion pound armoire go.

the kicker? i didn’t want to have to move that thing down two more flights of stairs and out of our apartment. the new proud craiglist owners did it for us (thank you, whoever you are. and i hope my big baby is doing well!).

well, since buying my first piece of furniture, many other pieces of furniture have come into our lives.

for example, this teak patio set:

IMG_3944

i love its weathered grey finish.

IMG_3960

and i had just mentioned to my mom that i would love to have Thanksgiving at our house.

IMG_3947

now we’ll have enough room for everyone! (as long as it doesn’t rain.)

IMG_3956

wanna know the kicker of this teak table set? (if you follow me on instagram, then you already know. cheater.)

it was free.

i didn’t even pay a penny. except for maybe gas to pick it up two blocks away from my house.

my sweet neighbor around the block sent me a text that someone had this on her curb and was trying to get rid of it. i thought for sure it was gone when i finally checked my phone and saw her text two hours later. my son and i jumped in the car and i found the house and the table and offered to pay for it, but the owner of the table said, “no, we are trying to get rid of it. please just take it.” um. ok!

IMG_3970

i could hardly believe it. it fits perfectly in our backyard with our other free curbside finds.

IMG_3980

like this old galvanized bucket that houses the fern. i found it in a neighbor’s free pile at their garage sale.

IMG_3949

and our old chippy black farmhouse bench that another neighbor put out on the curb during their move.

i realize this look isn’t for everyone, but i love it!

people ask me all the time how i find this stuff….i’m really not sure. it just happens. maybe it’s our neighborhood.

or maybe i’m like the neighborhood cat lady who loves cats, only i love furniture. 😉

(side note: finding things runs in the family. remind me to tell you the story about how my husband finds things, too! like ten thousand dollar cashier checks in the middle of the road that he returned to a sweet couple that were about to buy a car. it’s a great story!)

happy looooong weekend, friends!