WE DID IT!

So we used to have fairly regular content here…. then the big move to Pittsburgh, and then we got engaged and then, besides the desk and office content we shared it’s been nothing but crickets ’round these parts.  While there was a TON of DIY put into our wedding, there just wasn’t time to share it – and I didn’t want to share anything before the wedding itself, to avoid spoiling any surprises.  BUT WE DID IT!  July 2nd, 2016 we became Mr & Mrs!

20160702_garrad_pre_0234-edit-3-BLOG

So now I get to share about our DIY fun, like the ribbons you see here, plus our favors that were a huge hit, fun wedding signs, and lots of other tips and crafts too.

Good stuff to come, I just have to remember how to use wordpress!  ;)  Stay tuned!

~ Beth

Weddings in the Smart Phone & Social Media Age

So you’re engaged!  You’re thrilled that the person who makes you happiest in the world, wants to spend the rest of their life with you!  NOW WHAT?

This article could also be called, “Did you even READ our Wedsite?”

In the age of the internet where everyone’s on social media and and almost everyone hasa smartphone, you have a lot of different avenues to chose when sharing information about your wedding.  This easy-access often leads to information overload, and sometimes drama.  But, Smartphones and social media can be great tools for planning and sharing information about your wedding.  Here are some tips on how to manage and leverage social media and smart phones to enhance your wedding day and planning experiences.

Modern Manners Note– In the age of instant sharing, when you don’t always have full control over information once it’s on the internet, it’s important to determine just how much information about your wedding you want out there.  It’s also important to know who you want to know about your wedding, and who you don’t.  Consider your needs and preferences when using these tools.

Use Hootsuite to share Logistical Details and Deadlines

You’ve spent hours crafting a beautiful wedding website with hotel information, Travel, directions, the who, what, and where… and you still get questions about all these things.  That was my biggest pet-peeve.  Alleviate some of this by using a social media management tool that allows you to schedule posts to Facebook, Instagram and more.  RSVP Deadline coming up?  Schedule a reminder post.  Have lots of folks coming in from out of town?  Remind them to book their hotel at your block.  Even things like known construction that might cause traffic  headaches can be communicated this way.  And when planning a destination wedding as we did, where folks will be driving long distances, any advice you can give to alleviate headaches is good!

Facebook post sharing traffic advice for a destination wedding

But what does that mean, social media management tool?  They are services that allow you to plan ahead and post information when you want, instead of when the moment calls for it.  Some are free, some are paid, but my personal favorite for a single personal user is Hootsuite.  You’ll see at the top of my post, that ‘Hootsuite’ appears as the source.

Use hootsuite to share deadlines and reminders for your wedding

To best use the tool, I developed a content calendar for the year leading in to our wedding day.  That means I made a list of all the information I wanted to share, all the deadlines that were relevant to our guests, and even fun milestones.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Hotel Deadline for guests to book by
  • Construction notifications for area roads
  • Popular attractions near your wedding for out-of-town guests
  • 100 days ’til your wedding day
  • Hashtag for your Wedding

Then, plan images, gather related links, and develop the content to share.

Use Hootsuite to share information about your wedding

There are some things that I recommend you DO NOT SHARE though.  While it is possible to control who can see your Facebook posts, inevitably things do get out.

  • Wedding Time, Location & Reception info – Social Media is NOT the place to invite guests to your wedding.  Even if you’re going paperless using email or other formats, it’s just not cool to invite people to your wedding on Facebook.  And if you share those details, you risk ‘surprise guests’ and other potential Day-Of drama you just don’t need
  • Registry Information – Share this on your wedding website – and a heartfelt thank-you too – but DO NOT post this on social media.  Even if you’re sharing to be helpful, there will be folks thinking you’re just asking for presents.  Skip the drama and share this info another way.

Hashtag To Aggregate Your Friends’ Content

I know, this one is a real ‘No Duh!’ but hear me out.  Assuming you’re either the Bride or Groom, you’re gonna be really busy on the day of your wedding.  And if you’re smart, you’ll put your own phones AWAY so you can be actually in the moment on your wedding day.  But your friends will likely be snapping photos and sharing stories.  Asking them to use your hashtag, means it makes it easier for you to re-live those moments after your big day.  It also makes it easier to find photos from the day too!  Use your content calendar to remind people about the Hashtag and you’ll be sure to see folks use it.

Instagram Hashtag used to collect wedding content

WedPics – Today’s Version of the old Disposable Cameras

On the same topic of Hashtags, you can also collect all those memories with your friends’ help.  WedPics is a free app that allows guests to either take photos with the app and automatically upload them to the app, or they can upload photos from their smart phones, or they can even upload photos from their digital cameras after the wedding  is over.  Our friends and family enjoyed posting their video clips and sharing them with each other, and we gathered almost 1000 photos from the event in the end.  Moments we missed because we were with the Photographers, or moments we were in that we got to look back through.

Use WedPics to collect photos of your wedding

 

Manage Smartphone Use – Yours and Your Guests

If you’ve ever searched Pinterest for Wedding Signs, then you’ve likely seen at least one ‘Unplugged’ sign.  Basically, there’s a movement where couples are asking their guests to put down the phone and be there LIVE, not live-streaming, for their nuptials.  Bill & I did this and, while it meant we had to wait for photos of our wedding from our Photographer, it was a small price to pay to be able to walk down the aisle, seeing all our guests’ smiling faces instead of their phones.  But we knew guests would be itching to use their phones, so we set guidelines – No phones in the church, but as soon as the party started, there were even Selfie Sticks handy at the reception for guests to snap away with.

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As for you – yup, you, whether you be the Bride or Groom, you need to discuss with your future spouse what level of phone usage at your wedding is OK.  In the end, I snuck my phone out at dinner for a quick ‘First Selfie as Husband and Wife!’ and then it never left my purse afterwards.

Beth and Bill's First Selfie as Husband and Wife

On Snapchat….

I enjoy snapping with friends, and while I wouldn’t discourage it’s use, I wouldn’t encourage it either.  Not because it isn’t fun to use – I mean those live filters are hilarious, but those photos are here and gone — that’s the whole point of Snapchat.  So if your going to encourage photo sharing at your wedding so you can collect and enjoy them, Snapchat isn’t your best option.

But if you have money to spend, you can get custom Snapchat filters.  I kid you not.

So those are a few of the fun Smartphone and Social Media tricks we used when planning our wedding.

BONUS POINTS – we even made a playlist for our guests on their roadtrip to our wedding.  Check it out here on Spotify.

~ Beth

Clean Compact Office Solution

So we’ve been building towards the big DESK REVEAL – but in reality, it’s so much more than just a desk, but a complete, clean-lined, compact office solution.

DSC02117_SunnyHaze_webA place where we can get down to business if we need, that provides the storage for-two requested but also avoids closing in the space.  We shared in our last post how an old roll of contact paper allowed us to recapture beautiful, natural light while maintaining privacy from the front of our apartment building.

chevron teal refinished printer stand | from BandBBuildALife.comWe refinished an old media cart with chalk paint to have a handy place to stow our printer and other neat storage boxes, without losing valuable real estate on the desk surface.  This added a great pop of color to balance the clean white of the desk.

Shelves above deskThe desk was to be placed beneath the window, with the center of the desk lined up with the left edge of the window as this is a tight corner in the room.  This off-centered idea was balanced by framing the window with shelving equal to the width of the desk.

easy striped curtainsTo balance the higher second-shelf, and to also help hide the air conditioner in the window, a bold striped curtain was added that can be draped in-front of the unit in the winter (decreasing cold drafts) and pushed aside in the summer.

Renter's DIY Hack - cover a wall with Cork Tile for a warm texture that you can easily remove! ---- Renter's wall covering DIY from BandBBuildALife.comBeneath the shelves, above the desk surface became the hub of the desk.  But with renter’s-white walls that we couldn’t change, and a white desk with white shelves — things were starting to look a bit cold.  So we decided to add some cork tiles to the wall to warm the space up with a natural texture.  The tiles were easy to install with double-sided mounting squares included, and a few extra command strips for good measure.

Renter's DIY Hack - cover a wall with Cork Tile for a warm texture that you can easily remove! ---- Renter's wall covering DIY from BandBBuildALife.comNow we got to start dressing up the desk!  You see we have most of the usual desk accouterments, but a few pieces were re-used from other sources, or were just too fun not to include.

DSC02091_webI finally have a place for the Shoe tape dispenser and Purse Post-it holder my sister gave me!  And yes, that’s an recycled Yankee candle jar holding binder clips.

 saving desk at BandBBuildALife.com hand painted art in your home at BandBBuildALife.comAbove, we finally found a place to hang some of our own hand-painted artwork.  We created these last year at the Pittsburgh Home Show.  Not bad for free art!  And the colors in the art relate to the green in the banker’s lamp and other points on the desk.

how to hide your wireless router and still have it work - from BandBBuildALife.comThis Banker’s lamp was actually one of the few things Bill had in his apartment when we met!  I love the gold which kinda plays off the warmth of the cork behind it.  Plus, it works!  Shop your own stash, right?  Plus next to the lamp we keep our stealthily-hidden internet router.

Butter Beer Harry Potter Office Supplies at BandBBuildALife.comSpeaking of Shopping your own stash, I finally found a place for my Harry Potter World Butter  Beer mug!    After cruising with my friend, Heather, I learned the beauty of simple souvenirs.  But when the Butter Beer comes WITH the mug, you gotta keep it, right?  Now it makes the perfect, quirky pencil cup for our desk.

Young House Love Hardware Octo-Love at BandBBuildALife.comAnd Octo-Love finally has a home!  I picked this guy up at Target when Young House Love first released their hardware line, and he sat there in his box for an embarrassingly long time.  But now he’s useful!

recycled candle jars for storage at BandBBuildALife.comAnd here, a little more recycled storage.  We often come in and pin something onto the cork quickly, so keeping the pins out in a container we can see through, and at eye level on the shelf, makes it a quicker process.

DSC02087_webto-be-filed file from an old napkin holder at BandBBuildALife.comAnd a handy To-Be-Filed spot.  So we can stash documents that need to be filed away and batch-sort them later.  This fishy was intended to be a napkin holder.  Works just as well here!

clean lines white with color desk at BandBBuildALife.com clean lines white with color desk at BandBBuildALife.comAll-in-all I think we ended up with a great space that we ‘love’!

DSC02055_webSOOOOooooo…. do you ever finish a project the same year you start it? LOL

~ Beth

Renter’s Wall Update with Cork

We’re DIY Lovers who live in a rented apartment.  So while we have a wonderful landlord who is generally very understanding and welcoming of many types of projects, we can’t do fun things like add a tile back-splash to the kitchen, install crown molding, or paint the walls something other than the same white paint that covers the ceiling, trim, walls, and even some cabinets.  So.Much.White.Paint.

DSCN4055_webWe recently began a lengthy update to a corner of our bedroom, turning it into an office space with a clean, white desk and shelves.  Trouble was, while I was trying to go for that clean white feel, it started looking REALLY white.  TOO white really. This photo above shows how all that white was really looking BORING.  So I added a bold, striped curtain and a printer cart in a fresh pop of teal.

easy striped curtains chevron teal refinished printer stand | from BandBBuildALife.comThese were a great start, but we needed something…… more.  Especially that space beneath the shelf and above the desk surface.  Something that would add more warmth to the space, and maybe some additional function too.  Enter my friend, CORK!

Renter's DIY Hack - cover a wall with Cork Tile for a warm texture that you can easily remove! ---- Renter's wall covering DIY from BandBBuildALife.comCork is a light-weight and has a great natural visual texture to it.  Plus they’re obviously handy near a work-space because, duh, corkboard!  This set came with 4 tiles, plus mounting squares to easily hang them.  You can use the included squares, or if you’re worried about them being difficult to remove when you move, you can also use the same command strips for hanging posters here too.

I had to get a little fancy cutting the squares to fit around the brackets of the shelves, but that was easily completed with scissors alone, and in about 15 minutes I had a new wall of cork above the desk!

Renter's DIY Hack - cover a wall with Cork Tile for a warm texture that you can easily remove! ---- Renter's wall covering DIY from BandBBuildALife.comTuh-dah!  The warm cork actually makes all that white POP now.  And it makes for a handy place to keep photo booth strips, and even my horde of Shutterfly coupons (Not pictured, because clutter).

Want to try it out yourself?  Check out these affiliate links and pick up the goods for your own space!

Cork Tiles 3M Mounting Command Strips

How to Hide a Wireless Router

Hello Friends!  We’re working on the desk.  No, really, it’s almost there — and by almost there I mean I’ve almost put the whole post together.  At this point the desk has been LIVE and in action for a crazy-long time and I’m just a terrible blogger.

BUT — while coming up with this wonderful work-space, I wanted to do a few things that would help make it look clean – like hiding the wireless router.

Messy desk solutions - how to hide your wireless router and still allow it to work from BandBBuildALife.comThis.  THIS IS A NIGHTMARE!  Cue the psycho shower-scene music! EEK!  ….but what you can’t quite see in all that MESS is the wireless router.  That’s NOT because it’s strategically hidden here.  It’s because that lamp is covering most of the cords and electronics on the shelf, and the main unit is behind another pile of junk on the desk itself.

So, ya know, just pile all your crap on the desk and you won’t see the messy cords for the rest of the mess!  Problem solved!

…. ok, not really, but the solution to the problem was there in the mess!

DSCN4465_web-highlightsSo the solution we found?  A Magazine box.  This particular one was $4 at wal-mart for a 2-pack.  They come flat and you pop them open to assemble them — and they snap together.  The bottom of the boxes can easily be altered — to allow cords to freely exit the bottom of the box without being a mess!

how to hide your wireless router and still have it work - from BandBBuildALife.comSo just poke a hole in the bottom (you can see light coming in from the bottom of ours in the above photo where the cords sneak out) and then arrange the router and cords in the box so they’re not seen.  BUT, while they’re out of sight, they’re not OUT OF AIR — routers get surprisingly HOT and need airflow to keep from over-heating.  The magazine box approach is not closed like some of the cool carve-out-a-book solutions, AND the antennae of the router can still be left up.  That means the device can function better, without having the signal blocked.

how to hide your wireless router and still have it work - from BandBBuildALife.comAll we had left to do after setting the router in the box and feeding the cords out the bottom, was to label it!😉

how to hide your wireless router and still have it work - from BandBBuildALife.comYou’d have no idea the router was even there — if it weren’t for that handy label that is!

So how do you hide your ugly devices?

Journey to a new Desk

No, Really.  I’m posting this.  Like, a year late.  #SorryNotSorry

Once Upon a time I shared that we were going to upgrade our desk space.  Lets look at where we were then:

Old Desk at B and B Build A Life HQNot a terrible space at all really.  But… not as functional as it could be.  And most certainly not very pretty.  Here were our specific problem areas:

  1. The desk itself was made of particle board and cardboard and had been moved a few times so it wasn’t as stable as it could be anymore.  So we wanted something more stable.
  2. The desk was designed for use with a PC complete with full tower.  While someday when I have a mega crazy design studio I may go back to a PC system, for now we’re both on Laptops, so the cabinet at right is weird and useless as we have no tower to hide.
  3. The shelving is small and a bit restrictive
  4. That window, while letting in beautiful light, is immediately next to our building’s front door.  And we live on the ground floor.  ….not an ideal view into our bedroom for the neighbors.
  5. The desk doesn’t really allow much his/hers organization or space.  While we generally integrate a lot of our things, we each have different definitions of ‘organization’ so it would be nice to have some separate storage.

Desk CharactersSo after consulting with the characters that lived on our current desk, our priorities were clear.  We wanted a clean office solution that provided space for both of our belongings, with privacy from the front door.

Bill and I spent MONTHS looking at options, and even at one point bought an old kitchen table with the intent to re-finish it and add drawers.  We decided that was a bit optimistic of an idea without having a real workshop available to us.  Then, on one random trip to Ikea (because, that’s a fun date night to us), we found this guy.

Alex Desk from Ikea While upside-down and in the back of my car, rest-assured this is the beautiful and clean-lined Alex desk from Ikea.  It features 2 wide drawers — perfect for his & her storage!  Plus clean lines, and this puppy was from a display so it was in the As Is section for 30% off!

We brought it home, but immediately realized there was one problem.  While the clean lines and simplicity of the desk were great, it had a lot less storage than our old desk.   And also, while we didn’t like how small the cubbies were above the old desk, we did like that extra vertical storage.  Clearly we were going to need some shelves!

With the window above, but not center, we decided to work this for a unique, a-symmetrical approach.

Shelves above desk We opted to sort of ‘frame’ the window with shelves, and use the left side of the window as the center point of the desk.  FINALLY we were getting somewhere, right?   …Nope.  Because then, for weeks, our new desk looked like this:

messy desk I can’t believe this photo is on the internet.  Sorry mom!

So I mentioned we added the shelves to increase storage space.  And in our last post, I highlighted the storage boxes we used on the printer stand (peaking out at right in this photo).  Buuuuuuuuut then we had to actually move things into those boxes, throw out the dried-out pens, pair things down… who wants to do that?  contact paper window privacyAnd more importantly, we still had not solved the problem of privacy with this window.  We have ugly blinds, and fake grass — but, I mean, really?  FUGLY.  And both of those things, while creating privacy, also blocked the light.  No bueno when your apartment doesn’t get a lot of natural light to begin with.  Enter, contact paper!

contact paper window privacyI used a roll of frosted paper to allow light in, without prying eyes.  An exact o-knife helped me cut the sheet down, and a credit card smoothed bubbles out.  It took me about 15 minutes to end up with this:

contact paper window privacyAhhhhhh, So much better than seeing our neighbors walking by.  BUT, that still leaves our ugly air conditioner hanging out there.  If this was our house and we had a garage or a basement we could store things like this in the winter, we would likely take it out seasonally.  But this is apartment living, folks.  We get ugly eye-sores all year long here!  But, wanting to come up with a creative way to dress it up, like we did for the intercom panel, we brainstormed a bit.  And the obvious option, was to include some fancy curtains.

I knew I wanted to keep it simple, and take advantage of the curtain rod that was already above the window.  So I cracked open my fabric stash and found a few fabulous panels of striped fabric I scored in the As Is section of Ikea AGES AGO.  I first shared them when showing off an easy pillow cover.

stripe pillow @ BandBBuildALife.comWhile I used the rainbow stripes for the pillow, I still had the bolder, blue stripe fabric, as well as a matching black piece too.  With a few quick hems to clean up the edges, and some simple drapery clips, we were in business!

easy striped curtainsThe curtain has enough weight to it that it’s able to easily hang in-front of the edge of the air conditioner when it’s in use, without blowing all over the place.  And when we’re in the colder months, we can pull the drape over more and help make it fade into the decor.

So, now we have shelves, privacy to the window, storage in clean boxes…. we’re done!

So that’s the desk! …

Ok, full photos tomorrow, promise!

~ B

Chalk Paint Reveal

Remember that time I posted my foray into chalk paint?

buffing wax onto chalk paint printer stand | from BandBBuildALife.comWell, obviously it’s long since been finished.  This goodwill steal was destined to be the home of our printer.  It’s handy wheels made it easy to roll the printer out on the rare occurrence that we’d actually use it (for printing….. wedding invitations?!?) while generally stowing it away.  It also meant the printer wouldn’t steal valuable real estate on our desk surface, and it provided an additional storage space below.

So here she is all dolled up and actually in use!

chevron teal refinished printer stand  | from BandBBuildALife.comIf you recall the original state of the stand, it was a beige blah color and had equally blah (and yet oh-so-seventies) contact paper on the top.  While I could have just painted the whole thing… I mean, CHEVRON.  Honestly, could I do anything else?  Of course not!

chevron teal refinished printer stand  | from BandBBuildALife.comIt worked out that the contact paper and the paint were darn similar, if not exact same shades.  It’s so close it’s as if it was meant to be!

As for the storage space beneath, I initially thought a trendy basket – maybe one that’s sporting that dipped do?  But ultimately I decided against it on account of the facgt that we somehow have the dustiest home on the planet.  I figured decorative and also functional storage boxes would work well for organizing, while also being simple to wipe off.  What do you think?

chevron teal refinished printer stand  | from BandBBuildALife.comchevron teal refinished printer stand  | from BandBBuildALife.comSo there you have it, a simple, neat, storage sollution for a printer stand.  I dig it.  I also dig THE REST OF THE DESK!  ….that’s existed now for nearly a year and I’ve yet to post about it.  OOPS.  …kinda busy planning a wedding.  My bad!

DESK to be shared later this month!….?…!

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