Browsing Category



october desktop wallpaper downloads

October 6, 2016

October Wallpapers

We’re 5 days in, folks.

October (basically Fall) is here.

Instagrammable foliage, cozy sweaters and all the candles my arms can carry out of TJ Maxx (#Maxxinista lol).

I really think Fall is my new favorite season. I used to be a semi-typical Midwesterner and say that summer was my favorite season–it’s pretty outside, it’s warm and it’s my birthday (July 26 in case you were curious), but I always forget how disgustingly hot the summers can get here. Or maybe that’s just global warming. Either way, I’m such a sweater/cardigan/layers girl that I am WAY too excited for the temps to start dipping. But only a little bit. High 50s, low to mid 60s. That’s my jam. Below that though? Um, nothanksbye.

Download these October wallpapers!download “forest one” wallpaper

Hmm, well what else is new with me? Nothing much really. Been doing a lot of work on myself, if I’m being honest. Just trying super hard to take better care of myself. Trying to take more time to chill the F out.

It’s weird how as an adult you begin to identify all the little habits, behaviors or beliefs you pick up from your parents, or other influential people in your childhood, and how they help or hinder you as an adult. Most people probably don’t enjoy digging up past experiences, good or bad, but it’s such an important exercise to do. Whether it’s with the help of a therapist (woohoo for therapy! really need to break the stereotype with that, btw), meditation or journaling, I think it’s always good to take a look back and challenge why you think or act the way you do now. Not only does it make you a happier, more well-rounded person, I also believe that the most successful people are the ones who don’t just accept their circumstances or beliefs–they’re constantly challenging themselves and trying to be better. And that’s what I’m doing.

But that’s just one girl’s opinion.

Download these October wallpapers!download “forest two” wallpaper

Aside from that, I’m busy reading again. Which feels super good, if I’m being honest. I’m trying to replace some of my reality shows with books. Will let you know how that goes, obvii.

But I’m also really trying to step up my healthy eating / working out routine.

Download these October wallpapers!

download “sweater weather” wallpaper

I just realized I’ve been to the gym every single day this week, which feels awesome. I’ve been doing a mix of yoga, strength training, cardio and #BBG. So either tomorrow will be a rest day…or not. Going to listen to my body and see what I can do (Ladies Days has me feeling a bit lethargic and lacking in energy). But aside from that, I’m really trying to develop a healthier relationship with my food, especially now that I’m stepping up my workouts. Guess it goes with my whole “working on taking care of myself” theme. Which, the colder seasons are kind of awesome at–forcing you to be inside and sort of care and take account of where you are, emotionally, physically or otherwise.

Any who. That’s all I have to say today. Oh, and download these desktops because they’re pretty cool, don’t you think?

Gosh, I love Fall.


september desktop downloads

September 2, 2016

september downloadsCan you tell where I got the inspo for these desktop downloads?

Okay, okay. It doesn’t take a genius…

Pumpkins Spice Lattes are available at Starbucks! Which basically means Fall is unofficially upon us. And guess what? I am *not* mad about it.

sept01_wallpaperDownload this wallpaper for your desktop here.

Seriously, when you’ve lived in the midwest basically your entire life, you start to get the seasons down to a science. And this is what I’ve decided:

January – March are miserable. Stay in your apartments because the weather is torture.

April – May are when things begin to soften. It’s when spring starts to peak it’s head and you’re getting eager for summer.

June – Early July is a comfortable summer situation.

Late July – September(ish) is the ass-sweating heat of summer for the most part. It’s not as comfortable or beautiful as it may seem.

September(ish) – November are peak Fall months. Pumpkins. Cozy blankets. Candles. Cardigans. Everything nice.

November – December it starts to get a bit nipply, but it’s not too bad. In fact, you’re kind of rooting for snow by Christmas.

And, as if on cue, the past week in Chicago has been bliss. It’s that perfect “69 and breezy” that feels like Fall, but where you can still walk around in a t-shirt and sandals. Total perfection. But then again, it’s supposed to be hot as balls again next week.

But enough of the weather, guess what?

I have no fucking plans this weekend!

You probably don’t believe me. Hell, I barely believe me. It will probably be short-lived. But omg! I’m so excited! As a total introvert, I’ve desperately needed time to myself the past few months (I’m definitely nearing burnout), so I’m very much looking forward to reading, organizing (get way too much pleasure out of a clean apartment and an organized budget), blogging and visiting the Mariano’s that just went up in our neighborhood!

If you haven’t been to a Mariano’s, please stop reading this and run to the nearest location. Seriously, favorite grocery store EVER.


Download this wallpaper for your desktop here.

What are you all doing this Labor Day? Downloading these wallpapers I hope, and obviously visiting a Mariano’s if you’ve never been, buuuut then what? Tell me tell me tell me!

Create Printables

October Digital Decor (Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper)

October 7, 2015

Oct Desktop Wallpaper | midwestlovefestI’ve always loved painting. It’s my refuge and my therapy and my sleep-aid (no, really–when I can’t fall asleep, I don’t count sheep, I count brushstrokes). However, with Kero around, it’s been especially hard to find time to plug into Spotify and zone out to the canvas.

So, I figured making these art doodles into desktop wallpapers would help force me to find adequate time to paint. If you enjoy any of the pieces I share, feel free to make them part of your digital decor. Just click here, save the image and enjoy!

PS #happyhumpday

Create DIY Home

don’t worry, stay cozy: DIY super-warm-and-cozy knit blanket

December 19, 2014

DIY giant chunky knit blanketEver since I saw this giant, soft blanket in a Free People, I knew I needed one in my life. Then I peeped the price: $998. Ya, um, no thanks. I can’t spend A GRAND on a blanket.

So even though this little project took a bit of effort, the 10ish hours of work and supplies still cost less than throwing down a couple hundred for a glorified sheet.

DIY giant chunky knit blanketNow I am not the best knitter. In fact, I basically knit once a year, if that. So while this blanket has it’s imperfections (all of which I embraced), I want you to know that you too can knit this giganto blanket with just a little arm muscle, some time and patience.

DIY giant chunky knit blanket

Throughout this project I had my knitting-wiz little sister help guide me. Yes, somehow I still managed to randomly add two stitches mid-knit, but whatever. She was there to help get me back on track. If you don’t have a wonderful knitting-wiz little sis or other helpful family member, this video can help you get started.

To make it easier on me and my lack-of-experience, I also went with a straight up knitted blanket, as opposed to a knit/pearl blanket, which has a sweater-looking pattern to it. If knit/pearl is more your jam, here’s a free pattern that you can use! You can also purchase a pattern on etsy, but I was trying to spend as little money on this project as possible, since I didn’t trust myself to produce an immaculate blanket.

DIY giant chunky knit blanket

Okay, now for doing the damn thing. I will say I followed this post which helped a ton. But I’ll break it down in my own way too, adding a few pointers I found helpful and you can decide what works best for you!

DIY giant chunky knit blanketDIY giant chunky knit blanket

1. Buy 7 pounds of your wool roving. I got it from here, cuz I heart local farms and artisans. The seller will make a custom listing for you, if you request one. Total comes out to about $115 or so, after all is said and done.

2.Once you get your wool roving, start tightly rolling it up in a bed sheet. This will help separate the strands. Use rubber bands (not the hemp I used, which will deteriorate in water–learn from me!) to secure the giant sausage-like wraps you will create.

DIY giant chunky knit blanket

3. Throw the “sausages” into a bathtub filled with extremely hot water. Pour a little detergent into the tub, put on your rain boots and get to squishing your sausages around (you’re basically a giant washing machine at this point). Do this for about 10 minutes, or until you are just entirely too exhausted to go on.

4. Rinse everything out. I did this by refilling up the tub, running the water directly over the sausages and continuing to stomp. I also threw them in the actual washing machine at one point to help better wring out some of the water. You can do this, but check to make sure your washing machine can handle it since this is quite a bit of heavy, wet fabric to deal with.

5. Once the roving has been rinsed out to the best of your abilities, lay out a plastic sheet (I used trash bags) and being unraveling your sausages to reveal the wool. Take your tightened wool strand and lay them out to dry overnight.

DIY giant chunky knit blanket

6. In the morning the strands should be dry. Now it’s time to wrap them up into giant balls! Split the entire strand in half, vertically, and from those two halves, create two giant balls!

DIY giant chunky knit blanket

7. Enlist your favorite male figure to get you two 1-1.5 inch, 5 ft tall PVC piping. Once you get your hands on two of those babies, use duct tape (or your creativity) to fashion a point on the tip of each pipe. These bad boys are going to be your needles!

8. Now it’s time to start knitting! Like I said, I took it easy on myself and just knit, instead of doing a knit pearl situation, but it’s your call.

9. Note: Your arms are probably going to get tired knitting this blanket. It’s very heavy and large. I stood up the entire time I was knitting it, and did it over the course of a few days to give my shoulders a break. That being said, if you want to skip your weekend workout and sub this DIY project–something tells me it would not mess up your fitness regimen. It’s definitely not for the light of heart (or anyone who has arthritis).

10. But once it’s done, isn’t it so gorgeous! Oh, and it’s extremely warm. Ha! Take that Midwest Winters!

DIY giant chunky knit blanket DIY giant chunky knit blanket

Also, in other news…


You won the TOMS giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who participated.

No matter where this weekend takes you–boozy holiday parties or curled up in front of the fire–I hope you have a good one. See you Monday!

Create DIY

DIY boho-modern inspired painted TOMS + a giveaway!

December 3, 2014

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestThis post is a very, very long time coming and I am ridiculously excited to share it with you guys today! Of course, I meant to post it earlier…but apparently my computer and camera had other plans. Sorry about that.

Okay, so quick back story: A few years ago, while I was still in college, out of the blue I had this idea to paint my Chucks using some fabric paints I had been gifted a few years back. My mom suggested I start selling the shoes on Etsy, and so I posted the Chucks and a pair of painted TOMS online.

By no means did these babies take off, but I did get a few sales, tons of messages asking if I could send them for free to different people (always a good sign, I suppose), someone asking if she could sell them wholesale and even a review by a prominent YouTube channel. I also received several compliments when I wore different versions out of the house, which always feels good.

Basically, they seemed like a good idea that people liked! But, realistically, they were a very difficult product to sell since each one had to be completely customized and purchased in a specific color and size.

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestSo rather than let the good idea die, I thought I’d share how I made them all those interested. Or, those who want to maybe create unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for someone special this holiday season!

You’ll need:
  • TOMS
  • Sharpie fabric marker in black
  • Fabric paint (I use Jacquard Textile Paint)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Container for water (I used a leftover aluminum soup can)
  • Paper towel

If you buy TOMS in a color other than white or the natural (pictured here), I also recommend buying bleach or a bleach pen to bleach the tip of the shoe before painting it.

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestPurchase a pair of TOMS and tape off the section you want to paint. I usually use Duck tape or Scotch tape, since artist’s tape doesn’t stick well to the fabric.

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefest DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestGather your paintbrushes, water container and towel. I highly recommend using fabric paints over acrylic paints (which are commonly used to paint TOMS shoes). The acrylic isn’t meant for fabric, so it sits on the surface of the shoe, instead of being absorbed into the fiber.

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefest DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefest DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestPick a corner and begin painting. Use water to blend and bleed the colors together, but don’t worry too much about how it looks since it will be marked up later (unless you like the look sans Sharpie, then run with it!).

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestAfter all the colors are blended, allow to dry for 12-24 hours.

Next it’s time to work on the feather pattern. You can pick any pattern you want, but I love this one.

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefest DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefest DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefest DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestI “painted” these using just a Sharpie Fabric Marker. However, you could also use a tiny pointed sharpie marker for the little lines in the feather, if you wanted to visually break it up a bit better. But it’s your choice! I like it this way because it feels more modern and stained glass-like.

DIY watercolor TOMS // midwestlovefestThis is a pretty simple DIY, so if you skipped over the step-by-step, here’s the wrap-up:

  1. Tape around the tip of your TOMS (say that 5 times fast) using Duck tape or Scotch tape (artists tape isn’t sticky enough). This will keep the paint from spreading.
  2. If the cardboard pieces don’t come with the shoe, use rags or old papers to stuff the inside and make the tip sturdy enough to paint on. This also protects the inside of the shoe from the fabric paint.
  3. Paint watercolor-like blotches on the shoe, using water to help the colors bleed and blend together.
  4. Allow at least a day to dry.
  5. Using a fabric Sharpie marker (or other Sharpie, if you can’t find the marker) paint a feather pattern over the watercolor blotches. Make sure to get the insides.
  6. Spray with a water proof spray to help protect against the elements (though I still advise you keep these as dry as possible).
  7. Wrap & done!

Now I have a ton of these shoes, but I needed to buy a pair to show you guys! HOWEVER, that also means I have this pair – in women’s 7.5 – for practically no reason. So, I figure, why not just give them away!?

To enter, just follow me on instagram and submit your info below (you have to scroll a bit and hit submit). That’s it! A winner will be picked in about two weeks. Good luck!

Create DIY Home

the fastest and thriftiest way to decorate for Thanksgiving Day

November 26, 2014

thrifty thanksgiving day decor

Sorry this is a bit late and these photos are smaller than usual, but I shared this DIY decor last year on my old blog. Then that blog got deleted, so…I thought I’d re-share on here! Still relevant, especially when I’m posting this a day before Thanksgiving–when you’d probably need to decorate in an uber thrifty way.

I’ll say this decor is quick. And very rustic, which is what I was going for.

I was tasked with making two tables looking presentable THE DAY OF Thanksgiving. Amidst all the other commotion. We had two tables and limited cloths that would cover both of them. So this is what I did:

I made table mats out of leftover brown paper bags. Usually you’d get these from the grocery store, which is perfect since you are probably running there to get food. Essentially, I tried to tear them apart at the seams and cut out the main, most in tact rectangle. Pretty simple.

thrifty thanksgiving day decor thrifty thanksgiving day decorLucky for us, we had some perfect rustic-looking plates that really added to the “theme.”

For the other table, we only had an orange table cloth available, which wouldn’t even cover the entirety of the table. So I placed it in the middle, to add a bit of color (and, really, try to protect the surface). I then threw some different sized mason jars, with tea lights in them, on top of the plastic cloth. Add a bit of ambiance, you know.

Finally, we had some flowers and a pumpkin leftover from…something. I pray to Yeezus it wasn’t from Halloween.

Anyway, I started by painting the pumpkin white, using acrylic paint (can’t have an orange pumpkin on an orange table cloth!). Next, I snatched a small plastic bucket, traced the rim on the pumpkin using a pencil, and cut out that middle. I then secured the plastic bucket into the pumpkin, to act as a durable vase, and placed the flowers inside. I cut the stems at different lengths to help conceal any plastic poking out.

thrifty thanksgiving day decor thrifty thanksgiving day decorThe other table was considerably larger. Luckily, we had a nice white table cloth, but no nice centerpiece.

Living in the woods, my parents have tons of leftover wood–from building projects or fallen trees. I went downstairs in my dad’s “tool area” and dug around until I found this almost driftwood-like log. It was beat up. I wanted to use it, but didn’t want the dirty part on my mom’s white cloth. My only quick solution was to use Mod Podge to paint the underside of the wood and glue on a brown paper bag, that was cut to size. I also used Mod Podge on the borders, to help contain any other fragments.

thrifty thanksgiving day decorNow, this part, I will say, you have to have a table saw and drill. If you don’t, I’m sure there are plenty of other less-fancy ways you could do this. Maybe just place tea lights on your piece of wood. Still, pretty cool looking! But, I took it one step further.

We had tiny log pieces lying around the yard from a fallen tree earlier that year. I had my dad cut them to various sizes and use 1.5″ spade bit to drill a tea-light sized hole in each little wood stump. I then secured the tea light and arranged all the pieces of wood in what, I believe, was an appealing way. And boom! Rustic centerpiece.

thrifty thanksgiving day decorThis whole thing worked out so well, I believe we kept the wooden centerpiece to use again this year. We will see! I was very impressed with how it all came out. Especially considering I had a few hours to pull it all together.

What do you think? How are you decorating this year?



Create DIY Life Local

DIY wedding favors (perfect gift for two writers)

November 7, 2014

Last wedding post this week, guys! I wish you could all sit on the couch, scrolling through photos and watching video with me. It’s weird how just looking at photos can transport you. Even though I didn’t expect it to be emotional, the day was so special…it’s hard to look back on it without feeling anything. In fact, I go out of my way to not look at the photos if I’m in an emotional state because I know I won’t be able to handle it.

That being said, before I share how I assembled our wedding favors, I thought I’d share our wedding video with you. Which makes me even more emotional than photos!

We were so lucky to get two young guys who usually do advertising/consumer-type work to take a break and come film Our Big Day, pretty last minute too, since we had trouble deciding whether to hire a videographer or not (I HIGHLY recommend you do). Not only do we love how the video turned out (side note: I serendipitously found that song! How amazing is it?), but they were a perfect fit for our wedding. After they were done recording, they just hung out with our friends and family (many of who thought they were both very cute). Win, win!

Blah. I love it.

I also REALLY loved our cake and wanted to show you a few photos, especially since it was baked and decorated by our family friends at Vandewalle Bakery. They’re based in my hometown of Appleton, but can drive around the area to drop off cakes. Lucky for us, they were also invited to our wedding, so they hand-delivered it to us (or The Pfister) in Milwaukee.

wedding cake inspo #midwestlovefest wedding cake inspo #midwestlovefest wedding cake inspo #midwestlovefestI used this photo for inspiration, which was minimal outside, but we did NOT go minimal with flavors.

The bottom flavor was red velvet with cheesecake, the middle layer was chocolate and the top layer was carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (which was a surprisingly huge hit). Our florist then came in and added those beautiful flowers. We brought the cake topper (purchased on Etsy, of course), which was originally supposed to say “love,” but we had custom-made to say “lahve” since it’s an inside joke between Ryan and I.

Well, unbeknownst to us, lahve is actually a word. One of our friends at the wedding was confused by our cake topper (which I definitely expected, but Ryan didn’t care if people were confused) and so she Googled it and found this definition on Urban Dictionary:

Unlike the root word love, lahve is a word that expresses a kind of adoration and closeness that most people do not possess. It describes the connection that certain friends have when they are so close that it is almost sexual but in a silly way. It is difficult to lahve someone you are in a relationship with but possible. Repeating the letter “h” in the word lahve enhances its meaning to show even more urgency of the need to express this emotion.

Is that serendipity at work again? Or am I just overusing that word because I love it so much?

I also bought these forks to “feed each other” the first bite of cake, instead of shelling out for a cake cutting set we would never use again. I prefer the forks. They are cute. I’m even considering framing them…
wedding cake inspo #midwestlovefest wedding cake inspo #midwestlovefestI was in love with this cake. And so was everyone else because they ate all of it! Apparently we were the first wedding ever to have the entire cake consumed by the end of the night.

Okay, now on to the favors.

Keeping with the artsy-type theme, I wanted them to have a watercolor look (similar to the name tents). Because everything else was so white, I felt it would be nice to have them standout in some way. We went back and forth a lot on what exactly we would give as gifts, but ended up deciding to give them notebooks and pencils. It felt right since Ryan and I are both writers AND a notebook is actually something people would use!

centerpiecesSide note: Aren’t those centerpieces heaven? I used this photo for inspiration and LOVE what our florist did. It meshed so well with everything.

We went through a few snafus, but everything turned out fine in the end. And it wasn’t too hard to assemble either! If you want to do exactly what we did, but the right way, here’s how:

First, purchase Steno notebooks (or another notebook of your choice). The cheapest I found were on Amazon, but there prices have since gone up (from 99 cents to about $5). Look for wholesale pricing, if you have a guest list that is higher than 100 since it will be a way cheaper alternative.

Next, purchase a writing utensil. We purchased these eco-friendly pencils in a variety of blues and greens (to go with the color palette of our wedding). I believe she gave us a “wholesale” deal as well, but make sure to ask for them if you’re dealing directly with the maker/seller. You never know!

We sorted through various patterns, and purchased a custom listing for tiny notebooks to also go along with the larger ones as a fun bonus. You definitely don’t have to do this and, even though the mini notebooks were cute (and people ended up writing in them and leaving them for us to read, which was sweet), I’m not sure we would purchase them if we could do it all over. Kind of redundant.

Finally, go to an office supply store (or online) and look for Avery Printable Tags. Following the directions, print a pattern and “thank you” saying that matches with the vibe of your wedding. They have a few pre-made patterns, but I used a watercolor scan I had lying around. I then wrote a thank you that played off the fact Ryan and I were both writers (it read: “Thank you for helping us write our love story.”).

diyfavorOnce you have assembled all the parts–big notebook, small notebook, pencil, and thank you tag–take hemp (or your choice of string) and, starting on the back, tie one knot. Then, flip the notebook over and tie another tight knot. Make another knot to secure the pencil to the notebook. Then, thread the hemp through the hole in the thank you tag and tie one more time, adding a bow. If you have the mini-notebook, place it securely below the pencil, so it hangs on one of the strings.

And that’s it!

That’s all she wrote folks.

I mean, there were definitely more parts to the wedding–more gifts, more details and all that–but I don’t want to drag this out for months, ha. Of course, if you do have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via insta, facebook or in the comments! I’d love to help lessen the stress of any bride-to-be because…I’ve been there.

tons of great wedding DIYs and info for to-be bridesThanks for letting me share all of this with you guys!

Hope you all have a safe and cozy weekend. I’ll be busy cooking up some posts for next week (pun intended) and getting my hair did (FINALLY).

Till Monday…

Create DIY Local

DIY name tents

November 6, 2014

DIY wedding name tentsEven though a good portion of our wedding was taken care of by the The Pfister or other vendors, we still wanted a lot of elements to feel made with love. Hence why it was so important for us to buy local or from artisans or to do these little DIYs.

This name tent DIY is uber easy. I got the inspiration, as always, from Pinterest, but couldn’t find the exact type I wanted. So, I made them! And they were literally the easiest DIY I did for the wedding.

You’ll need:
+Pad of watercolor paper (make sure it’s not too thick since you’ll have to crease it later)
+Watercolor paints
+Micron pen or skinny-tipped Sharpie marker
+(optional) Boning tool

First, go to a copy/cut supply store with your watercolor paper. You can cut these cards yourself if you have a ton of patience and are a perfectionist with an X-acto knife, but it’s faster and less frustrating to just go to a store that can laser cut them for you.

Each card should be cut to 3.5 inches x 5 inches. The number of sheets you’ll need to give them depends on the dimensions of your watercolor paper and how many name tents you need. You can also talk to them about what your needs are and they should be able to help.

DIY wedding name tentsAfter you have your stack of name tents, the fun begins!

We had four different food options and color coordinated our name tents accordingly. I thought this was better than those weird stickers that are thrown on name tents. For example: pink was salmon, blue was beef, green was vegetarian and yellow was chicken nuggets (kids). Obviously the staff at The Pfister had this color code sheet, which was necessary since we had open seating.

Choose your colors, or one color if you don’t need to color code, and haphazardly paint in the middle of a card. It’s not supposed to look perfect, so use some water and let the paint flow how you want! You can also sprinkle on some salt for an added effect (would look something like this).

Next, write the name of your guest on one side of the card, using a Micron or Sharpie marker.

DIY wedding name tentsFold it over, and crease it using a boning tool, ruler or just your hands.

DIY wedding name tents DIY wedding name tentsSince the water from the watercoloring can cause a bit of a bend in the paper, I recommend placing a few at a time under a book/some sort of weight. Not too long though, or they will stand so straight you won’t be able to make them into tents!

card6card1DIY wedding name tentsI’m really happy with how they all turned out. Side-by-side, all the cards looked so gorgeous and artsy, which was the total vibe of our day.

What do you think?

Create DIY

DIY wedding reception photo frames

November 5, 2014

DIY wedding reception photo frameOur cocktail hour started early, at 3:30pm, to keep the distance between the ceremony and the reception as short as possible (I told you – I hate that Catholic Gap). The cocktail hour would be exactly that – one hour long, before opening up the doors and giving guests about 30 minutes to finish their drinks and walk into the main ballroom.

Even though there were delicious appetizers – bacon wrapped dates, lollipop lamb chops, assorted quiche, veggies and dip, and cheese and crackers – and an open bar, I also wanted to give guests something to look at.

I’ve seen photo boards before, during cocktails or receptions. Usually they are glued onto foam board, leaning against a wall. Well, I didn’t like that. I like the photos! But the foam board read tacky to me.

I got the idea to make these frames somewhere on Pinterest. A few Pinners had different ways of making them for rooms in their homes. Well, I didn’t want that. I just needed a one time deal, not the complicated DIY. So this is how I did it.

First, I went to a secondhand store and purchased about 5 frames, with the price ranging from $2-$15 a piece. I was looking for wooden frames with interesting or intricate details, to nod to the ornate environment of the ballroom. I then went to Menards (or Home Depot) and purchased a few colors of spray paint to go with the range of light blue/mint green color of our wedding.

Next, I took out the ugly photos that came along with the frames. If I weren’t rushing to get the project done before the wedding, I would’ve (and should’ve) stopped to take a picture of how ugly they were. Seriously, when was a faded picture of a forest every a good idea?

After completely clearing them of any pictures, I cleaned up the frame, took out the glass (which we either cleaned or recycled) and hung them up in our garage to spray paint. Of course, I made my dad spray paint since I can never seem to get an even coating.

DIY wedding reception photo frameAfter all the frames were completely dry, I took some hemp (you can choose whatever durable twine you want, but hemp was incorporated into other elements of our wedding, so it fit best) and strung it through those staples on the back of frames that usually hold the glass in place. For the frames that didn’t have staples–either they fell out or weren’t parallel to each other–we replaced them ourselves, using a staple gun and being careful not to staple too close to the frame (to give room to thread the twine and tie it in a knot). You could also just tie a knot with the twine and staple the part right after that to the frame. But for us, the latter was easier.

We created most frames like that, except for one, where we cleaned up the glass, replaced it and used a staple gun (again) to hold the glass in place without any other backing. I then purchased a white marker from Michaels that allowed you to paint on glass (it’s usually meant for writing on car windows). It made it easy to erase when I messed up, but held in place after I finally got the type right.

DIY wedding reception photo frameAside from this frame, which was for the name tents and to let people know they could choose their own seat, I divided the other frames up to allow for one frame to feature Ryan growing up, one frame to showcase my baby pictures and one frame to share pictures of us as a couple. I hung the pictures using little wooden clothespins in white, natural and sparkly white, found at Michaels. Awesome thing about these clips? They didn’t ruin the photos.

DIY wedding reception photo frameThe fourth frame (AKA the first picture in this post) was dedicated to many deceased members of our family — members who were supposed to be there; too young to pass away and very close to our families. We had The Pfister place a candle by the photos, our florist put an extra bouquet by them (leftover from the ceremony) and I wrote a little saying, so that everyone knew they were in our thoughts and prayers.

DIY wedding reception photo frameFor the most part, the frames turned out well! I placed a little glue on each knot to help hold it in place, which I highly recommend. I also recommend bringing a little extra tape and glue in case, in transit, something shifts.

I really like that they were rustic like I wanted, but blended into the environment of The Pfister because of the wood. Plus, they didn’t damage the photos. Major bonus!

What do you think? Would you do this for your Big Day?


Create DIY

DIY scented soy candles

May 9, 2014

DIY scented soy candlesGrowing up, lighting was always a huge part of setting the vibe in our home–holidays, bedtime, movie night–it was never perfect until a certain lamp was turned on or dimmed, most of the lights were off, colored lights were wrapped around a tree or candles were lit around a table. I can’t wait to own a home one day with unique, perfectly moody light fixtures. But until that day, I’m more than happy to settle for candles.

However…candles are an (oddly) expensive habit. How the hell is it a candle the size of my fist is worth $12 or more? Insane. Ain’t nobody got time (or money) fo that! And when it was decided my candle habit wasn’t slowing down anytime soon, I headed over to Amazon to invest in candle-making.

DIY scented soy candlesOddly enough, all up all in the supplies cost about $75 or less. And that included 12 new mason jars. That means if I make eve 10 of those, I will pay about $7.50 for SOY-BASED candles (which are especially expensive). The other supplies were: a candle thermometer, candle scents, candle wicks, soy wax (burns cleaner and longer) and a candle-making pitcher.

The whole process flies by and is actually extremely easy. Though, I will say, it’s probably FAR easier if you have a double boiler. Just a heads up on that one.

First, I took tape and rolled it (to make it similar to double-stick tape), and taped it to the flat, bottom part of the wick. I then used a knife tip to press the silver bottom (with the tape attached) into the center of each mason jar.

DIY scented soy candlesNow, I originally didn’t want to use clips to hold up the wicks because they bent the wicks. This ended up not mattering since you clip the tips of the wicks anyways. I cared more that when I poured the wax into the candles, the makeshift aluminum-holder-things I made were sinking into the hot wax. No bueno. So I swapped the aluminum for bag clips, and it worked out perfectly.

I also put a few petals in each candle. This isn’t necessary, but I thought it added a feminine, summer vibe. After lighting the candles (as you may see in my Instagram photo) the petals are flammable, but since they are submerged in wax, it was never dangerous. And I think it looks pretty, so whatever. It’s worth it to me!

DIY scented soy candles candle2_afterNext, it’s time to measure out your wax. Every 1 cup of wax flakes produces 8 ounces of liquid wax, which fit perfectly in my 12 ounce jars. So I measured out 3 cups into the candle making pitcher. I then began boiling a pot of water. Once the water was boiling, I added my pitcher and held it there (this is where, I’m sure, the double boiler really comes in handy). I kept my thermometer at hand since you don’t want the candles to get past 250°F (though soy naturally has a lower melting temperature). This isn’t too difficult since, once all the flakes are completely melted, you know it’s time to quickly add the scent and pour the wax into the jars.

Regarding the scent, there’s this handy measuring chart to know exactly how many drops to pour into your wax. But if you’re like me, those percentages might as well be Greek. I would trust the directions on the side of each scent. And read them before you are multitasking over a double boiler with boiling hot wax.

Once the wax flakes are boiled to liquid, and the scent is added, pour into each jar and let sit. Once the candles are cooled, release the clips and cut the wax tip. Boom! You’re done! Light the candles and enjoy the ambiance.

DIY scented soy candles

To recap:

1. Double stick tape ends of wicks to bottom of mason jars.

2. Use clips to hold wicks in place (add petals if you are feeling adventurous)

3. Boil wax

4. Add scent to melted wax

5. Pour wax into candle

6. Let sit and cool

7. Cut wick and have at it!

Tip: Set up an extra jar, in case you don’t measure things properly and have extra hot wax. Luckily I did this and, sure enough, mis-measured. Blerg, math.

Other resources:  this / this / this

DIY scented soy candles

P.S. These make pretty easy/perfect Mother’s Day gifts, just sayin’.