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Gallery Wall

**This blog post has been written in collaboration with Anna of ReNue Home Studio. To see Part 2 of this project please visit ReNue Home Studio’s blog here.

I had been daydreaming about what I wanted to do with my entry wall since we moved in two years ago. Of course I scoured INTEREST and per usual I created a my Gallery Wall Board and started pinning ideas. I knew I wanted it to be bold and also based around family. My original idea was to create a gallery wall based around both our family and extended family, parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews, etc. That all changed when my Grandad heard of my plan and gifted me with the most amazing gift, a photo of his mother, my Great-Grandmother Lillian, as a baby. I was blown away! This treasure is roughly 116 years old! As we set and talked about it my Grandad told me that he didn’t even know it existed until the passing of Great Grandma. The photo was discovered behind a large framed photo that hung above her sofa in her living room! All of those times we sat on that sofa not knowing of the treasure hiding behind a mass reproduction of Instantly I knew I wanted to go a completely different direction and create a gallery wall to honor our family history instead.

The search was on! I asked family members for permission to dig through their photos, many of which I had never seen before. Many of which contained grandparents that I had never seen before. This project turned into a wonderful memory for me. It was great to sit down with my Grandad and listen to the stories behind the photos. I look forward to passing these stories down to my own kids someday.

To honor my Great-Grandmother’s photo I had it professionally framed at Hobby Lobby. I wanted to frame it in a way to reflect the time period. I learned a few things about framing old photos from our friends at the custom framing department of Hobby Lobby.

    • Always get it professionally framed! You can always purchase an open frame like I did and have a custom mat, glass, and back added.
    • You need to use a mat! There can be moisture trapped in the paper that can mold if pressed directly up against the glass.
    • Type of glass matters. To protect your photo from the sun you need to use museum glass. There are different types including a no-glare option.
    • In the era that my Great-Grandmother’s photo was taken it was customary to hang your photos much higher on the wall than we do today. To compensate for this they used what they called a “weighted mat”. This means that the bottom of the mat is thicker (wider) than the sides and top. I loved this and decided to go with it!

As you can see Scarlett loves how it turned out as well.

Since I was borrowing many of the other photos, I took them to Staples and had them enlarged and copied onto photo paper. The prints came out great! You can’t even tell that they are copies. My wall is fairly good sized and my Grandmother’s photo was large as well, so I needed to scale my photos accordingly. I used mainly 5×7, 8×10, 11×13 sized photos.

When choosing my frames I wanted the color palette to coordinate with the look and feel of the rest of my home which is a mixture of metals, metallics, and wood finishes. I wanted the focus to be on the photos and not the frames. I recommend taking your photos with you to choose your frames. This made it much easier to see what frames complimented the photos.

To add visual interest to the gallery wall I chose to include various signs, unexpected items, and a set of awesome wooden chevrons from my friends at ReNue Home Studio. I recommend buying a variety of items in different shapes and sizes. You can always return the items that you don’t use. This strategy worked well for this project as we had choices to pull from when creating the design. (As you can see there are items in this photo that didn’t make it on the wall.)

One of my favorite items we used is what looks like a little shelf. Can you guess what it really is? It’s the hymnal rack off the back of our church pew sitting just below the gallery wall and coat rack! I’m so lucky to know Anna of ReNue Home Studio who came over and helped me pull the design all together. It was her idea to add the little burlap wrapped plant rack to the front of the hymnal rack. Isn’t that genius! Anna has an amazing eyer for design and detail. It was so fun to get to work with her on this project. If you would like to see how we pulled the design all together head on over to her blog Part 2 of this project that Anna so loving named my “Legacy Wall”. In her blog post she gives her tips and trick on how to create your own designer gallery wall.

 

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Spring Front Porch Decor

My front porch looked SO sad after I took down my winter decor. I’m so excited to be moving on to spring ideas. Who’s with me! I of course started in the most logical place – PINTEREST and started pinning ideas! Wanna see what I pinned? Follow me on my “Front Porch Decor” Board.

Two of my best tips in decorating is to Layer and use items of different heights. This creates depth and visual interest. 

 

I started by placing my Welcome sign in the corner. (To see how I created my Welcome sign, see my previous blog post here.) When I made my Welcome sign, I created it with space at the bottom purposefully. This leaves room to stack and layer items in front of it. I didn’t want the lettering to be covered.

No Tools Needed Welcome Sign

Front Porch Project 1: Cute Spring Nest

I started with a large galvanized bucket. I got mine at Party City for around $20. I already had dirt in it, leftover from last year (whoops!).

Next, I grabbed a grapevine wreath (so inexpensive and useful!). It usually has something holding the vines together (one long vine or a piece of plastic). I clipped it off so I can spread the vines of the wreath out. I opened it fluffed it to make it look more substantial. I put the grapevine wreath on top of the galvanized bucket and pulled it down around the opening of the bucket a little.

The next piece of the nest is to put in these fun grass squares that I got from Hobby Lobby. They were around $5 each, and, like the grapevine wreath, can have multiple uses. For the front porch, I placed them on top of the dirt in my bucket to hide it and make it look like potted grass.

This bucket will go in front of my Welcome sign. But I needed some height! I grabbed a crate that I had used for my Christmas decor. I placed it upside down in front of the Welcome sign and placed the galvanized bucket/nest on top of the crate.

A nest is not a nest without items to hold! Our porch is covered, but always keep in mind that you want something that can withstand the weather. I added a cute metal sign from Hob-Lob to the back of the “nest” again for height. See a pattern here?   This would also be cute with a porcelain bunny, but I loved the sign.  I also purchased these wire frame Easter eggs from Hobby Lobby that look like they’re made out of twine. They are a perfect pop of color and super cute and easy for Easter/spring!

The last touch for the nest is to include some color in the grapevine wreath. I found these colorful tendrils that I trimmed and separated. I tucked them into the grapevine wreath and wrapped them around it to add some color. I’m going to use the rest of the tendrils later.

 

Front Porch Project 2: Bucket of Flowers

I found a little bucket (from Hob-Lob!). I also bought a foam ball (5.7”), and I stuck it down in the bucket. The foam ball holds the flowers in place. I purchased two bunches of white tulips. I took wire cutters and separated the flowers as well as trimmed them to the right height. I stuck the separated tulips in the foam ball. You just want to try and cover the ball as much as you can and to make the flowers look full. If you can still see the ball, you can take face moss and cover the foam ball parts that you can see. You could use hot glue, but you wouldn’t have to.  I then set this little bucket in front of the crate.

 

Front Porch Project 3: Rain Boots

The last items to complete my front porch are rain boots. I found these super cute rain boots at my local thrift store. I took another foam ball (a smaller one) and cut it in half. I put one half in each rain boot. Then I got some tall stems of pussy willows. I cut them to them at several different heights and stuck the stems into the foam balls in the rain boots. Once I was happy with  them, I placed them next to the crate.

There you have it! My front porch is spring ready! Are you a visual learner or just enjoy watching a train wreck?

 

#LIVE – Working on my Spring front porch decor. Join me for some tips!

Posted by Sweet & Saucy Life on Monday, February 27, 2017

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No tools Needed Welcome Sign

Signs are so in right now! I mean you can literally find them just about everywhere from Hobby Lobby and Michael’s to small home based custom sign makers on Facebook. I have signs from both ends of the spectrum and love them all. Everyone has a different style and they are all amazing in their own way.

As warmer days started teasing us of  the possibility of Spring I started thinking about my Spring front porch decor. I of course started in the most logical place – PINTEREST and started pinning ideas! Wanna see what I pinned? Follow me on my “Front Porch Decor” Board. I knew I wanted a “Welcome” sign and had been eyeing a piece of barnwood that we had sitting in our garage for who knows how long. I understand that not everyone has barnwood just laying around, this is one major perk of being a farmer’s daughter.

On a whim I just decided to go for it! Armed with just copy paper, a pencil, the piece of barnwood, an old craft paint brush, and some left over white paint I went for it! It was easy peasy and I had it completed in less than an hour without any special tools! #WINNING!

You will need the following items to complete this project:

Barnwood/wood – If you don’t have access to barnwood, no biggie, any type of wood should work. I would just recommend painting or staining it first if that’s the look you are going for.

Pencil – if you found it in the back of a drawer and it’s dull and needs to be sharpened, even better!

Paper – I don’t discriminate. Use a bill, your kid’s graded homework, if it can go through a printer it’s a winner!

Computer & printer (optional) – If you were blessed with beautiful hand writing and would rather free hand your letters, more power to you friend!

Paint – We are all friends here so I’ll just tell you. I used the left over, bottom of the bucket paint from when I started painting my trim and never finished. Don’t judge. This is real life.

Small craft paint brush – Again, honesty. I stole one from my kids craft supplies and didn’t look back.

When I say easy peasy, I’m not joking! I’m talking literally 3 Step! Let’s get to it!

Step 1 – Make Your Template

When planning your template know how you are going to use your sign. Our entry to our house is fairly tall so I wanted a tall sign. I also knew I was going to have items sitting in front of my sign. Knowing this helped me realize that I wanted to leave a “dead space” at the bottom so that when I sit things in front of it the wording won’t be covered! Genius right! This also helped me in determining the size of the letters. I seriously just eyeballed it and decided to make my letters about 6 inches tall. I just picked a font on my computer and printed one letter per sheet of paper. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right!

Step 2 – Trace

We are going to take it WAY back to preschool on this one! Simply position your letters on your wood as you would like them and very firmly trace the letters leaving an impression in the wood. You can pull the paper back as you go to see if you are leaving an impression. Just be sure to hold or tape down a corner or two of the paper to hold the paper in place.

Step 3 – Paint your letters

Once you have all of your letters traced and the impressions left in the wood its time to paint! I wanted my sign to look rustic to go along with the barnwood. To achieve a rustic look I varied the thickness of the paint on my letters. I applied the paint heavily in some spots and very thin in others. 

I LOVE how my sign turned out. It seriously couldn’t have been easier. It legit took me less than an hour and that includes an epic meltdown from my toddler.

Are you a visual learner or just enjoy watching a train wreck? You can see my tips on my Facebook Live video here.

 

 

#LIVE Project #1 of Operation Spring Front Porch!Quick tip on how to make a simple sign.

Posted by Sweet & Saucy Life on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

 

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Find Your Tribe

As I sit here refining my goals for 2017 I can’t help but look back over last year. 2016 was a big year for me, not only in business, but even more so personally. It was a year of change. As some of you may know, I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety after having Miss Scarlett in 2014. The first year was unbelievably rough and I knew I had to make some changes.

One of those changes was to remove myself from people and situations that brought negativity into my life. In this day and age it isn’t so easy. I had enough negativity swirling around in my head, that I didn’t need anyone adding more mental weight to drag me down. Some of this purging was as easy as hitting “unfriend” or “unfollow” on Facebook. It was amazing how much better I felt by cutting out the social media drama. I also stopped watching the news. Have you ever noticed that there are very few positive stories? The media feeds off drama and this momma was so over it. This also meant distancing myself from certain people, some that were close to me. We all know who these people are in our life. They are the ones that leave you feeling drained or negative yourself. They siphon from your cup rather than fill it.

With the external weight lifted I found a renewed sense of motivation. As the saying goes, “As one door closes another opens”.  And boy did it ever! Early spring I decided to focus my energy into seeing what I could do with this little cookie thing. As things started picking up I quickly realized I needed some guidence and joined an online business coaching group ran by Jennifer Allwood, who just so happens to be a Kansas City girl too. It was like someone just put the paddles on me and shocked me back to life. I was instantly surrounded with 100+ creative women business owners. Women who think the same way as I do, who are trying to juggle the business and family balance just like me, that even though their businesses are thriving, have the same insecurities as I do! The best thing, they are so welcoming. It doesn’t matter if you are starting from square one in business or you’ve had a brick and mortar for 15 years. Everyone helps each other. Everyone WANTS to see the other succeed! There is no drama, no sabotage, no mean girls, and no negativity, just women helping other women along the path to success. The ladies in this group are AMAZING! Jennifer is AMAZING! I have learned SO much in such a small amount in time. The Inner Circle group is seriously the best investment I have made in my business.

Last week was the icing on the cake, or should I say sprinkle on the cookie? Jennifer asked me to make cookies for her and The Chic Site by Rachel Hollis’ Meet Up and Book Signing. My reaction, uh heck YES! (Followed by a few air punches and the worst Carlton you have ever seen.) If that wasn’t awesome enough, I also got to meet Jennifer, Rachel, my Kansas City (and one Illinois) Inner Circle friends face to face for the first time. It was such an amazing feeling to walk into a room of 70 women, many who have never met before, and feel like you are amongst lifelong best friends. When I walked out those doors to head home that night my Tribe was extended even further, my heart fuller, and my dreams bigger!

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Inner Circle Ladies: Niki McDowell , Melissa Rieke, Jennifer Allowed, Nicole Moore, Angie BauerAnna Bannister

 

Moral of my story, choose your Tribe wisely and love them beyond measure. Happiness is contagious! Surround yourself with uplifting and encouraging people. Don’t have a Tribe? You do now! Welcome to my Sweet Squad, friend! If you need a little encouragement don’t hesitate to shoot me a message.

*Interested in joining the Inner Circle Group you can find it here. Tell Jen I sent you.

Photo credit: Melissa Rieke Photography

 

 

 

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3 Ways to Tame the Squirrel Brain

This post does contain affiliate links  for many of the items so that you can easily find them online.

Call me a hotmess. My brain is constantly going a mile a minute. Most creative people have. That’s what makes us creative! Where do you think all of those ideas come from anyway? The challenge is snagging those ideas when they come. Like most moms I rarely have a moment to myself where I can gather my thoughts. My squirrel brain is easily distracted by the laundry, kids, dishes, husband, kids, social media, kids, never ending to do list, did I say kids? I’ve had to get creative to snag those fleeting ideas.  Here are 3 of my favorite tricks that work for me that can be adapted for any busy mom.

 

Use that little bit of time wisely!

For me that time is when I’m in the shower and getting ready. Let’s face it, I can only take a shower when little Miss Scarlett is sleeping so I have to use this time wisely. This little Bluetooth Shower Speaker was a game changer. I use this baby to listen to my business trainings but you could also listen to pod casts, ebooks, music, and even take a phone call.

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Take Notes

I take notes of everything! If it’s not written down I will forget it. I have a horrible memory. So I take notes. LOTS OF NOTES! You know how I said I listen to my business trainings in the shower? Yep, I take notes in the shower too. Yeah, that’s right! I’ve written grocery lists, ideas for blog posts, To Do lists, you name it, it’s been written on my shower wall with bathtub crayons. I also use dry erase markers on my bathroom mirror and on an old window in our kitchen.  Do you find that your mind races when you lay in bed at night and can’t sleep? Keep a notebook on your night stand and jot your notes there instead of reaching for your phone. I find that if I reach for my phone I end up on social media or Pinterest and down the rabbit hole only to emerge an hour later with no memory of what I was going to write down to begin with. Sound familiar?

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Organize your Day!

I’m a list and a goal maker. This helps keeps my crazy ideas moving in the right direction. It’s easy to get off track if you don’t have a clear path to your goals. I love to take those big scary dreams and goals and break those babies down into manageable monthly, weekly, and daily goals. I searched high and low and finally found the perfect planner for goal makers like me. I love that each day has it’s own page and plenty of room that makes my list making heart flutter.

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These are all small things that you can do that can make a big difference in your day to day. What are your go to time and sanity saving tips and tricks?  I’d love to hear what you do to tame your squirrel brain.

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Closet Organization

This post contains affiliate links for you to easily order the products that I love!

I find that if my house is a mess, my mood tends to follow suit. Isn’t it funny how disorganization and plain messiness can really effect your mood? The hubster and I tackled the project of organizing our closet this past weekend. It was much needed and now that it is done I feel so much better! The hubs and I have very different ideas on how to tackle a job like this. He likes to just work in sections. I prefer to pull EVERYTHING out of the closet and only put things back after I have sorted through it. Everyone has a different approach so I thought I would share 3 quick tips with you!

 

Watch here

I shared a few additional tips on my FaceBook Page.

Start by creating three piles: Keep, Donate, and Trash

This will take a little time but it will be worth it in the end! Trust me! If it doesn’t fit, let it go! Bless someone and donate it! It’s easy to fall into that, “BUT…when I lose X pounds it will fit again”. I’m guilty too! This is the time to be honest with yourself. LET IT GO! Let me tell you a little secret, when you look into your closet and everything in there fits, it not only saves you time, but it also helps your self esteem. We could all use a little boost in that department can’t we! Plus, when you do lose that weight, now you have a reason to treat yourself with a new outfit. See, I’ve got your back!

Now listen, this is important. Put the donations in your car so you have to drop them off the same day or the next day. Better yet, send the hubs out to drop it off while you are hanging your clothes back up! Don’t have a place local to donate? Amazon has partnered up with Goodwill to make donating easier than ever before. You can find out all about it here. Don’t just shuffle them to another room and create yet another mess. You will thank me later.

 

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Nest Your Luggage

Luggage takes up a ton of space, but here is a tip to help! Take you biggest piece of luggage and nest as many of your smaller pieces in it as you can. Remember those nesting dolls? Same idea! It saves a ton of space! We were able to condense these 6 suitcases and duffle bags down to 1!

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Clear Storage Bags or Boxes

Take what you don’t use often and store them in clear totes. I have a few pairs of heels that I don’t wear very often anymore that had been sitting on my shelf collecting dust. I couldn’t find the original boxes so I put them in a clear bag that a new sheet set came in. Wait? You don’t keep those? No worries! Clear totes work great too you can find them here!

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If you are lucky and do still have the original boxes, you can take a photo of your shoes, print, and tape to the outside of the box!

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Here are a few of my favorite things that can help keep your closet organized!

My favorite No-slip hangers

Where I hang our ball caps

Perfect for hanging your scarfs

Share your closet organization tips with me!

Sweet Tidings,

April