Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from BandBBuildALife.com

Key Ring Reminder – LIFE HACK

You know all of those BuzzFeed articles with amazing Life Hacks that you just read and can’t help but *facepalm* because you can’t believe you didn’t think of it before?  Something so SIMPLE.  So OBVIOUS.

Well.  I HAVE ONE.

Behold, the Key Ring Reminder

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from BandBBuildALife.com

I can’t tell you how many times I have had a letter to be mailed and drove right by the box on my way out of work.  Or thought ahead to make lunch for the week – only to forget my lunchbox on my desk?

In this modern world of gadgets and email (Outlook email pop-ups, I’m lookin’ at you) and calendars for calendars, you can’t help but develop a serious case of OFFICE-A-D-D sometimes.   And all of those Outlook reminders, pop-ups on my phone, etc — I’ve been conditioned to ignore them!

But at the end of the day, it’s hard to ignore a big pink note that wasn’t there on your keys before.

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from BandBBuildALife.com

The texture of the paper is different from your keys, the bright color is eye catching, and the application of this method could NOT be easier!

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from BandBBuildALife.com

Get yourself a binder clip (my FAVORITE office supply).  Yup.  Any size that works with your keys.  This one is a little 1/4 incher, but a 1/2 inch will still work without being bulky.

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from BandBBuildALife.com Ok, now put the binder clip on your keyring.  Either thread it ’round the ring like you do your keys, or cheat and remove one arm from the clip, then replace it with the ring inside.

Now, clip your notes, your quick grociery list, whatever it is your ADD brain can’t seem to grasp for the moment and go forth as a more productive member of society.  You rock!

~ Beth

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from BandBBuildALife.com
You should PIN this awesome Key Ring Reminder – Life Hack from BandBBuildALife.com
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

 

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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.
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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

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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