antique blue mason jar thrifting at BandBBuildALife.com

Vintage Mason Jar – SCORE

I mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s post.  While strolling the aisles of random cast-off items at my favorite Goodwill, I found these puppies, just sitting there on the shelf.

Decorating with Yellow at BandBBuildALife.comThey weren’t specially marked.  Just sitting in the midst of the glassware, minding their own business.

You better believe I swooped in, tore them from their shelf, raised them above my head and jumped up and down like a weirdo.  In public.  No big deal.

antique blue mason jar thrifting at BandBBuildALife.com

The two larger are the slightest hue of green, while the smaller is clearly showing that bluish teal tint that they’re so famous for in Blog land these days.  And all three of these.  For a whopping total of $5.  FIVE DOLLARS.  INSANE.

antique blue mason jar thrifting at BandBBuildALife.com

For now they’ve arrived at their home on the top shelf of our Billy bookcase next to our new TV and Hemnes.  I like how they add some character to an otherwise vanilla shelf of reversed paperbacks.  (A handy way to make a uniform looking space out of all those beach reads you will ‘eventually’ get to reading…)

antique blue mason jar thrifting at BandBBuildALife.com

So there you have it, a bonus post this week!  CRAZY.

Maybe I’ll make this a habit again.  Hmmm…

~ Beth

Bookshelf Lighting from IKEA at BandBBuildALife.com

You Light Up My Life ~ Bookshelf Lights

We’re still all aglow from our recent Engagement – no date set just yet, but we’re getting there with the wedding planning.  So much to think about!

In the meantime, this fabulous update occurred (actually back in February, but who’s counting?)

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from BandBBuildALife.com

For Valentine’s Day, we actually celebrated at Ikea of all places.  Our local store hosted a special event including salmon dinner and a bottle of bubbly for two, plus a wine and chocolate tasting in the bedroom department.  All for $12.  Total.  For both of us.  It was a no-brainer!

Ikea Dinner Valentine at BandBBuildALife.com Ikea Dinner Valentine at BandBBuildALife.com

…I mean, it’s Ikea.  So, it wasn’t going to be a Five Star rated Salmon dinner.  But it WAS super delicious, especially those green puff things at the top of the plate!

As we were celebrating the holiday at Ikea, we decided to gift each other from the store.   We had been discussing for a while how dark the side of the room with the bookshelf was, and I had even been looking around at potential small shelf lamps that would be more ambient.

Then Ikea released these puppies, the RANARP (sounds derpy, no?), and I knew they had to be ours.

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from BandBBuildALife.com

They’re this perfect shade of white – not 100% pure, but not creamy either.  And the brassy colored hardware has a fantastic contrast, plus the cord!  Is it weird to be in love with a cord?

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from BandBBuildALife.com

Black and white chevron!  A fabric wrapped cord just makes these so new-vintage if that makes sense.

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from BandBBuildALife.comAssembly was relatively simple, and the whole addition took a total of about 15 minutes.  There are two options, either you can clip them on to the shelf like we have done here, or add an additional piece that makes the clips into a handy hinge allowing you to mount them to the wall and make them into wall lights that swivel.  Would be a cute look for over a bed!

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from BandBBuildALife.com

They look FANTASTIC, and tie in our white bookshelf frame (bottom right), white Ampersand bookend, and a few other white accents too.

In the background of the above photo, you’ll also see a slight update for summer – YELLOW.

Decorating with Yellow at BandBBuildALife.comDecorating with Yellow at BandBBuildALife.com

I picked up a few sprigs of faux flowers – the ranunculus are my favorite by far (hmmm…wedding flower maybe?).  I liked the yellow with the milk glass.  And the lantern!

Decorating with Yellow at BandBBuildALife.com

This was another find at Ikea.  I just loved how cheery it looked in yellow.  I mean, it’s just begging to be used on a table at a dinner party or something, isn’t it?

Decorating with Yellow at BandBBuildALife.com

And of course, when you think yellow, you can’t help but have lemons come to mind.  A few vase filler lemons are strewn about, including in these vintage mason jars I scored at Goodwill for a total of $5 for all three!  WOOHOO!

So now we’re living the enlightened life and making lemonade with it.  All in all, I’m diggin’ it.

Have you ever found something and just had to decorate around it?

~ Beth

P.S. — If you read this through a reader, you may have noticed some weird ADD with our watermark on photos.  That’s because some of these were edited in February, and some just before posting this — and we’ve recently undergone an over-haul on the blog.  So stop by the home page and take a look around!  :)

adding easy Bookshelf Lighting from IKEA at BandBBuildALife.com

BandBBuildALife.com featured on Good Housekeeping!

Good Housekeeping FEATURE?!?!

We get fun bumps here and there to the blog.  Usually it’s from Pinterest.  Or our one EPIC bump care of my favorite bloggers, John & Sherry of Young House Love, when we met them on their book tour and Bill drew them a castle.  But I just realized…. WE WERE FEATURED.  ON THE HOME  DECORATING PAGE.  OF GOODHOUSEKEEPINGOMG!

BandBBuildALife.com featured on Good Housekeeping!

The article is a fun feature on unique places to hang art.  Like behind a toilet.  Wouldn’t have thought of that, but I love how Poppytalk did it!

Via Poppytalk

 

After the immediate HOLYCOW shock wore off, I hit the thumbnail version of the gallery to take a look at our little bookshelf art project featured there…

BandBBuildALife.com featured on Good Housekeeping!

And then I realized I recognized that photo two thumbnails over from ours…. THAT’S YOUNG HOUSE LOVE!

BandBBuildALife.com featured on Good Housekeeping!

Not only have we been included in an awesome gallery like this on Good Housekeeping, BUT WE’VE BEEN FEATURED WITH MY BLOGGING HEROS.  AHHHHH! *Fangirling*

There are a good number of great ideas on artwork displaying in the gallery, so stop on over and take a look here! (we’re slide 5)

~ Beth

BandBBuildALife.com Beth and Bill Get Engaged

We’re Engaged!

Oh My Gawd You Guys!

BandBBuildALife.com Beth and Bill Get Engaged,

Bill popped the question on the top deck of a Gateway Clipper sightseeing cruise while coasting down the Monongahela River.  He waited just until we reached the point where the Mon & the Allegheny Rivers join to become the Ohio, at The Point, to propose.

Proposal

Always one to get ‘to the point’, he got down on one knee and asked.

What had started out as a dreary, humid, dark-cloud-thunderstorm kinda day cleared just before our moment, and by the time we had reached the dock at the end of our cruise the sun was even shining.

BandBBuildALife.com Beth and Bill Get Engaged

We are THRILLED to be taking this next step as we continue to ‘Build a Life’ together!

…and hopefully, this means more (or at least somewhat regular) posts to share! :)

~ Beth

 

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.com

This One Time, I Illustrated a Children’s Book

HI! *echoesthroughouttheemptyness*

It’s been a while.  But rather than give excuses, let’s just get to it then, shall we?

Everyone’s family has traditions, especially around the holidays.  For my family, one of those traditions was the telling of the story of Meriweather the Elf.

Here my Grandmother tells the story to us kids circa 1992
Here my Grandmother tells the story to us kids circa 1992

Ages ago, my mother had typed up the story and even submitted it to a magazine or two, but it never got anywhere. The gist of the story is that Santa has a helper, a special elf named Meriweather who keeps watch and helps Santa know who’s been naughty or nice. Sound familiar? Yes, like that creepy Elf on the Shelf.  Only, a heartwarming family tradition.  Until the Shelfish guy hit big-box bookstores everywhere.

Meriweather The Elf The Original Elf on the Shelf childrens book at BandBBuildALife.comFor years.  YEARS.  I’m talking, from the time I first decided to actually make the story into a book and sketched the first version of Meriweather, to the time the freshly inked pages reached my doorstep, was a little over 9 YEARS.  It’s a wonder we’ve ever completed a DIY project to share with you here.

So yes, for years I had been kicking the idea around of creating a book from the original manuscript my Mother had copied for me.  I had an idea of what I wanted Meriweather to look like, and had gotten as far as creating a really rough draft version of the book that my Sister helped print right before Christmas one year.  But with only about half the drawings completed, it just wasn’t going to cut the ‘family heirloom’ quality I had in mind.

Meriweather The Elf The Original Elf on the Shelf childrens book at BandBBuildALife.comFast forward to my trip to Europe with my best friends that I shared with you last year.  A trip like that?  You’re going to take a lot of pictures.  So naturally I wanted a way to enjoy them outside of Facebook.  Enter Shutterfly into the equation.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.com

I created a fantastic photobook with all my favorite images from the trip, and even added a handy pocket to the inside cover for ticket stubs and other scraps of the trip.  It worked out so well, I got to thinking — what if I just use full-page sized images to create the book?

So I got to drawing the rest of the illustrations needed for the story to be fully told!

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.com

My preferred method of illustration for this project was with ink for the line drawings followed by pigment from my favorite, Prisma colored pencils, smoothed with the blender pencil.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.com

Then I scanned the images in and cleaned them up a bit, and decided on my basic layout.  I chose to do an 8×11 size book, and Shutterfly even has handy guides and details for digital scrapbooking that worked great for this project, so I knew exactly the dimensions, resolution, and color codes to use.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.com

Once I had all the graphics completed, it was time to add in the story.  The key really was to use the text boxes within Shutterfly’s editing tool instead of uploading an image with text already on it.  Though it did come out ok, the text was much more crisp using the editor.  And an excellent feature that I used to help edit content and test layout quality was the ability to download the book as a PDF.  It does have a watermark on it (they do want to make money afterall) but it allowed me to have paper in hand to mark up where I wanted changes and then track them as I made the fixes. (see the binder clipped paper in the image 3 above)

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comI had intended to finish the book in time for Christmas last year to give to my Mother, Aunt and Sister, and I had finished with only 3 days left within the guaranteed-by-christmas deadline.  Having had an excellent experience before with their customer service, I decided to just make the jump and ordered 4 books at once and hoped they’d come out well.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comThe day my happy orange package arrived, I was THRILLED.  I tore it open and breathed in that freshly-inked scent, and then nervously opened the perfectly sealed copy I ordered for myself.  And it was Fantastic!

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comThe pages printed perfectly, the text layed out just as I had painstakingly planned it.  And it arrived just in time to be wrapped and brought home for the holiday.

And I could actually say that I had been [self] PUBLISHED.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comReally, the only thing I’d have changed, was the spine of the book itself.  The template called for a fairly wide design, and I assumed that meant that’s how wide it would print, but it also accounted for the wrap around the edges to the cover.

Meriweather The Elf The Original Elf on the Shelf childrens book at BandBBuildALife.com   So on the front cover, you actually see a bit of the edging from the title down the spine wrapping around.  Not a big deal really though.

So there you have it, I am now a published illustrator.

Have you ever had an idea for a book?

~ Beth

 

20140218-232538.jpg

Yo, Dummy! Shoulda DIY’d it! – Home Dec Mag rip off ideas

So we magically got a copy of the march issue of ‘House Beautiful’ today and for once I decided to flip through it instead of sending it straight to recycling.
20140218-230358.jpg
Though there were a lot of pretty things, there were also a TON of things too easy to DIY rather than drop hundreds of dollars on.
Take this clever mail catch-all by Goodwin + Goodwin.
20140218-230601.jpg
The description in the lower right tells it all. And it IS super cute for that command center corner of the kitchen… But at $95 it feels steep to me. You could craft your own, similar version using poster board for a few dollars. Ok, it won’t hold up for forever like a metal one would, but will you still really be that in love with a big red envelope on your wall in a few years anyway? I know my need for a refreshed space would far out weigh the durability requirement!

20140218-230951.jpg
This lamp, oh my this lamp! It costs nearly $500!!! Stop. Go to goodwill and get yourself a ginger jar lamp for maybe a whole $5. Then stop at your local craft store (remember the 40% off coupon) and buy a can of white primer spray paint, plus some fun primary colors in acrylic paint and a glossy clear sealant. Go crazy on the lamp. Rub and buff some gold on the brim. Voila! You’d have an identical lamp for no more than $20.
Maybe someday i’ll be the lucky bum peddling over-priced lamps to fools, but for now i’ll just make my own.

Find any dumb decor lately?

~ Beth

ipod touch box becomes jewelry box acrylic jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

DIY Travel Jewelry Box from an Old iPod Packaging

If you’ve ever purchased an apple device of any kind at the Apple store, you’re likely familiar with the joy of ‘unboxing’ — the simple act of getting to open your brand new device.  Apple takes care not only to design beautiful products, but even puts detail into their packaging too, making that first time taking the lid off even more fun.

ipod touch box becomes jewelry box acrylic jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

This little old box is going to be cleaned up and turned into a handy travel-sized jewelry case with a little help from wasi tape and patience.

ipod touch box becomes jewelry box acrylic jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

First step, before you can wash it, is to get rid of all the decals, labels, and inner packaging.  When you’ve removed the inner cardboard packaging, you’ll be left with 3 clear plastic acrylic pieces – the lid, the inner plate that the ipod was strapped to, and the bottom that contained your earbuds and cord.

ipod touch box becomes jewelry box acrylic jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

Once you’ve cleaned it up, grab a pair of scissors and the middle plate piece.  Though it wasn’t too hard to remove the plate from the box when first opening your iPod, that’s because the ipod itself was still strapped to it.  Without the iPod to pull on, the inner tray is very hard to remove.  To remedy this, use a pair of scissors to trip one of the corners off the plate.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

Take your time to avoid cracking the plastic.  You may need to take a few passes at it.  Depending on your scissors, you may also have to use a nail file to smooth any rough edges you’ve created, but when you finish you should have something close to this.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

While we’re looking at this close-up, see those lines lengthwise down the plate?  That’s where the plastic was belted through the plate to hold the iPod in place.  Those grooves are going to come in handy in a few steps.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

This step and the step after you could technically skip, but they make the box much more fun I think.  Pick out a fun paper to lay in the bottom of the box and trace it out.  I chose a scrapbook sheet of frosting as jewelry is kind of like people-frosting, and well, it looked fun.  I recommend picking a pattern that’s not too busy as it will make it harder to easily see your jewelry at a quick glance.

Once you’ve traced and cut out your paper, set it into your box.  You can use tape or glue to make it permanent.  Whatever floats your boat.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY wasi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

So now we have the middle plate (left), the bottom tray (center) and the lid.  Now, to add a little more flair, we break out the washi tape!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

I carefully wrapped the outsides of the box in a single layer of washi tape.Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

I picked a fun gold striped washi tape that added juuuuust a little bit of a gilded edge without being too flashy or glittery.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com I also added a stripe down the length of one side of the inner tray piece too.  By adding a stripe here, you’ll add depth to the box when it’s assembled.  And, well, washi tape is just fun to use!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

While we’re taking a look at the inner plate, here’s why we cut the corner off.  when you place the plate into the bottom piece, it becomes really hard to remove.  With the new hole in place, you can easily pluck the plate out of the box.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.comSo here’s what we have all assembled.  The bottom has the tape wrapped around it with the frosting paper set into the floor of the box, the inner tray has the vertical washi tape which helps to show the difference in space between the bottom and the plate.  And of course the lid on top to hold everything together.

Now all we have to do is load it up with the jewelry we plan to travel with!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

For earrings, push the pins through the grooves and secure in place with the earring backs.  You can even feed small-chained necklaces through the grooves to keep them from tangling.  Then, in the bottom (pictured here in the middle) place your bracelets and other pieces that wont fit with the grooves above.

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.comOnce you’ve picked out your travel wardrobe of jewelry and placed them in, simply close it all up and away you go!

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

Now I have a handy little pocket-sized jewelry box to easily stow in my purse or suitcase for wherever I’m headed.

Have you re-purposed any apple devices or packaging?

~ Beth

Turn an ipod touch box into a handy jewelry box acrylic travel jewelry box DIY washi tape at BandBBuildALife.com

Two twenty-somethings navigating young love through their adventures in DIY, restoration and travel.

Sherry Lachelle Photography

Beauty Surrounds Us (Click on photo to enlarge)

Catherine Digman

writer & visual artist

At the Corner of Happy and Harried

A slice of my commonly uncommon life

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Pictures of toes, pictures of feet, making the world a better place, one foot at a time.

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