Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guest Post: Tips for Creating a Backyard Privacy Screen

A little while back I was contacted by Jennifer from Zillow about doing a guest post. I normally don't do these because I want to keep content original, real, true to me. However, Zillow is actually a site we used A LOT during a search for a house so I feel pretty loyal to their brand. Plus the topic we decided on for the guest post was relevant to what I would post on my blog and after reviewing her tips, I felt it would be helpful to my readers: you! I'm not getting compensated for this guest post, but I will be featured on a portion of their website in the coming months. Stay tuned for that!

So without further ado... here is Jennifer Riner!


 Source: Zillow Digs

Single-family properties with vast yards allow for endless entertaining and fresh-air lounging. Now that the weather is warm and dry, spending time outdoors is a must. However, relaxing can be a bit uncomfortable for homes in close proximity to one another. And homeowners may be hesitant to organize large soirees while their neighbors observe, missing the full potential of their alfresco square footage.

To install do-it-yourself privacy screens that increase backyard concealment and prevent awkward encounters, follow these basic assembly instructions.

1. Plan and measure

Each screen requires multiple materials, including two 4x4 posts, two toppers (for aesthetics), two 2x4 boards to outline the top and bottom, one 4x8 sheet of lattice, 12 nailing strips and a bag of settling concrete. Keep in mind that the aforementioned materials will only build one screen. Homeowners with large backyards may end up purchasing as many as five to 10 sets of materials to fully enclose their lawns.

2. Prep the yard

Dig holes around the edges of lawns to erect privacy screens. First, stand 4x4 posts adjacent to one another, leaving enough distance in between to fit desired lattice width. Then, mark the center where each post hits the ground and dig about eight inches around. As with any lawn installment, make sure to dig far enough below the frost line. Homes in Florida and other warm climates don’t require deep digging – only about five inches below the earth’s surface. To keep frames sturdy, dig at least a few feet down, depending on the desired height of each screen.
Pro tip: Consider renting a powered auger to avoid blisters and back pain from digging multiple, deep holes.

3. Pour the base and construct frame

Stick posts into the ground and pour concrete and water into holes, making sure to follow the appropriate ratios listed on packaging. Consider adding supports, even if the concrete doesn’t require them to settle, as they can best prevent any shifting throughout the assembly process. Next, install two 2x4 boards horizontally – one across the top and one across the bottom – to create square or rectangular shapes on each screen. Creating outer frames keeps the vertical posts sturdy while the concrete hardens, so it’s important to do this immediately after pouring the mixture.

4. Add lattice and shrubbery
Source: Herbert Design Build

After frames are fully assembled and concrete has dried completely, install nailing strips on the inside of frames. Make sure the nailing strips are equidistant between the back and front of the frame, so the lattice doesn’t look like it’s popping out from either side. After placing the lattice in the frame, use another set of nailing strips on the front side, so that the two strips hold the lattice in place. For a more finished look, cut the ends of vertical stakes and add stylish toppers to each.
Incorporate natural elements around the frames for added privacy. Lattice screens feature gaps, so backyards won’t be fully secluded unless homeowners plant large trees and shrubs to block holes. For complete obstruction, consider installing privacy fencing covered with flowers and bushes for a more polished look.
Source: Corcoran Group

Don’t be dissuaded from entertaining outdoors due to the close proximity of homes nearby. Create comfortable and functional backyards by incorporating easy-to-build privacy screens and ample greenery around property lines.


Such beautiful outdoor spaces inspiration! Although we don't have the problem of having a small patio space and the need for a privacy screen, I know I will be referring back to these images and tips if we ever find ourselves with limited outdoor entertaining areas! 

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Haven Conference: The Fastest Way to Make Friends and Embarrass Yourself

When I signed up for Haven Conference several months ago I was thinking it would be like a Powerbar for my blog: energy-packed with information-- both some sugary motivation to make immediate changes and some actual substance that would stay with me to help me learn and grow- long term. 
And it was that! But it was so much more! I've never made best friends so fast with people I'd never met, face-to-face. 

Being a people person, I thrive in social situations. BUT I'm not one of those "hey look at me!" stars of the show. I feel most comfortable being weird in front of just a few people. That way when I mutter 'that's what she said' while you are describing your DIY project (so.many.opportunities.), it won't get lost in the masses. You want to hear my immature jokes, trust me. ;) Sometimes it backfires and I spill someone's champagne down their blouse as I underestimate the circumference of my 'stir the pot' dance moves. Not that that happened. Hypothetical, ya know.... smh

I will also, likely, be the first person to slap or pinch your butt that you have known less than an hour. I'm professional like that. 

This lady can attest to this fact! Lucy from Craftberry Bush and I shared a car together from the airport to the hotel and we were pretty much inseparable the rest of the weekend. She's as endearing as she looks, which is a rare quality.

Me, channeling my inner Alison Show...

Then my roomie, Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies, showed up and then the party really started! Danielle is the only person on earth that could stay up till 2:30am talking about furniture painting and staining. And we did. Danielle's creativity and beauty far exceed her petite size. 

The next morning was the first day of classes. I went to Blogging Trade Secrets: What We Wish We Knew Then taught by several talented women bloggers, including Dusty of All Things G&D, who I got to know a little better later on. It left me feeling a little overwhelmed with how much change I felt I needed/wanted to make. But then I gained a little perspective after talking with Danielle and felt much better. I came to the realization that: My journey is my journey. Do I need to make blogging changes? Absolutely. Do I need to maintain my family priorities? Absolutely. Can I balance them both? I think being around so many amazing  and powerful women this weekend who do both, proves to me that I can... I just need to organize my time better. Doing more of what is good and less of what is ... not as good. 

Then I did a couple workshops on building a bench and laying tile, and then it was on to my new bestie's class, Photography Styling: Creating Beautiful Shots-- taught by Lucy from Craftberry Bush and Kristin from The Hunted Interior

If I had to come up with one sentence for each of their presentations, Kristen's would be: "Anything for the shot!" and Lucy's would be "Tell a story!"

Then it was on to another night of partying! And another outfit change! You guys! When I was 4 or 5, before I was even in school, I remember inviting my best friend over and we would change outfits probably 8-10 times a day. No joke. Anyone in my family can attest to the fact that I've loved clothes since I could walk. So pretty much this weekend fulfilled some childhood dreams of having legitimate (or not) excuses to change outfits! And accessories! And shoes! wheeeeeeee! 


(KariAnne, that hashtag will be trending before you know it!)
Above pictured on the left is Karen of The Graphics Fairy (!!!), moi, Lucy, Daune (not be be confused with Duane haha ;)) of The Cottage in the Oaks, and Johnnie of Saved by Love Creations

Then I met the lovely and hilarous Ashley of The Handmade Home. She is kind of a big deal and I was pretty excited to meet her since she was one of the few bloggers I regularly read and follow. 

At some point this weekend we had to pose in this little shower to get a free shower head from Waterpik. I was actually trying to look like I was washing my hair, not stretching or airing out my pits... 

Saturday morning I had every intention of going to another building workshop, but was swayed into going to Anthropologie in the mall across the street with Lucy and Danielle. I love going to different Anthropologies because even though the clothing may be the same or similar, the furniture and displays are always different and incredibly creative. This cabinet had my dying. I am going to use this as inspiration on a future piece. I promise. 

Then right as we were about to leave the mall, I checked my Twitter feed to discover that I had won an ANNIE SLOAN GIVEAWAY!! I was SO excited that I literally did a 'superstar' pose in the mall while yelling, "I WON!" I looked ridiculous and I didn't even care. I posed with a can of Chalk Paint but I actually won Annie Sloan's new tapered wax brush, which I'm SO excited to use!

That afternoon I took Beth from Unskinny Boppy's class on using Adobe Lightroom to edit photos... let me tell you... that class was life changing. So affordable and I can't believe how much it can improve my photos and save me time! Downloading it is on my to-do list THIS WEEK!

Once classes were over for the day, and before the RYOBI party started, I went to dinner with this amazing group! Left to right: Susan from Between Naps of the Front Porch, Lucy from Craftberry Bush, Beth from Unskinny Boppy, Katie from BowerPower, and Dusty from All Things G&D

After waiting at Cheesecake factory for nearly an hour, I ended up stealing our table (which worked out haha) and we chatted about life, blogging, and I was informed that there is an entire world of blog haters! Like for real! My mind was blown. Some people spend hours a day devoting entire websites on being negative and hating on big-name blogs. Can you imagine how much good could be done in the world if we spent more time building each other up and seeing the positive instead of self-righteously tearing each other down?!? 

The golden rule, people. When in doubt, the golden rule.

So then we went to the Ryobi party, took some photobooth pics (including this one below) and ended the evening/early morning with Beth, Lucy, Danielle, and a bottle of Champagne. We really didn't want everything to end, and to say goodbye. So we didn't. We said see ya later ;)

By now you recognize the gals in this pic, except the babe on the far left... that is Stephanie with Ryobi. We became fast friends with her because she is pretty awesome and holy smokes does she know her way around power tools!

Lucy gave an original watercolor painting of a feather attached to her business card and on the back was this:
Isn't that beautiful? Of course there are bloggers/colleagues/people in general who go about building their business or career caring primarily for building themselves up. Who care more about what can give them a leg up in the game, than about being kind and generous. But at the end of this life, we won't take prestige, money or even power with us. The number of followers or sponsors we have won't matter. I believe relationships, friendships, how we treat others are far more enriching and have a greater reward in this life and in the next.

When I see this feather I think about the time and care Lucy spent into creating each one, unique, beautiful-- a piece of her. And the fact she was willing to give it away to me-- someone she didn't even really know a week ago... it is just symbolic of the spirit of generosity and camaraderie that I think the Haven Conference represents. 

Can't wait until next year, but until then I'm going to focus on using my gift to help, build, and bless others. 

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Makeover Monday: Mint and Gold

Ya'll, I'm having one of those days that I think I suck at everything. haha.... It took me waaaay toooo long to stage furniture and photograph, and in the end I wasn't really happy with anything (except a cutting board gallery wall I did for another shoot). Ah well. 

Here is what I came up with for this amazing mint and gold dresser I finished before Vintage Market Days in NWA, but never really photographed. I wasn't too disappointed it didn't sell because I looooooove it.

It is actually my version of a little mint cabinet with gold leaf knobs that Ashley over at The Handmade Home has. I kept swooning over it when it would pop up occasionally in her Instagram feed, and I had been waiting months to find the right piece so I could try a similar look.

After I found this one, I then had the task of mixing the right color. Because no paint line that I use has the perfect shade of mint, currently, I grabbed some Chalk Paint and mixed a little Provence with Antibes with Aubusson with lots of Old White. I have no idea the ratios. I just added a little until it got about right. 

A close up of my staging, that I have mixed feelings about... I felt compelled to use my little air plants that I got in Florida. :)

I decided, with this one, since it was sooooo old (like mid-1800s), I wanted to create a finish that looked a little authentic to it's age. So I painted it on, extra thick in some areas (like around knobs and keyholes) and then pulled out my hairdryer to create a little crackle. 

I know using dark wax would have made the crackle stand out more, but that would also have changed the color of the mint, completely. So I just used clear wax. 

I will say this: it is easy to go overboard with the hairdryer. I was careful to only use it until the crackle I wanted, developed, then stopped immediately. It only takes seconds to go from pretty crackle to hot mess (way too much crackle). Thankfully I figured it out pretty quickly and every part of this piece that got some crazing, turned out beautiful (in my opinion). 

The original knobs on this were similar to what I used, but they were larger and coming loose and one was sheered right off. This wasn't a dresser that had removable knobs, like most dressers. This was a hand-built dresser by a skilled carpenter and the knobs were built into the drawer. So I had to cut most of them off and re-drill holes to retro-fit them for these other wooden knobs that I used gold leaf on. Gold leaf makes everything fabulous. 

Am I right or am I right?! ;)

I'm headed to Haven this week! There are some of you fellow bloggers who are going, so please, if you see me, come say hi! I'm terrible with names, so I'm asking for forgiveness in advance if I don't remember your name or face right away! I still want to connect blogs with faces! 

Linking up with:
Furniture Feature Fridays

The Best Blog Recipes

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Monday, June 30, 2014

No-Sew Tutorial: Lined Curtains

I'm squeezing in a post before midnight so technically this counts as my Monday post! :) Summer has taken a toll on me! I'm either lazy or really busy and don't want to bother with photographs! I'm hoping that my trip to Atlanta next week for Haven Conference will kick start my desire to start pumping out the posts.... organizing my time better... give me some motivation.... I need it. Desperately!

So here is a tutorial I did per the request of someone on Instagram who saw a quick pic I posted a few weeks ago of the curtains I did in my living room. I promised her I'd do a tutorial when I made another set for my master bedroom. I KNOW there are plenty of no-sew curtain tutorials out there. I haven't read them all, only browsed a couple, and basically created my own version when I did it. So here it is ya'll. And don't hate me for perhaps repeating any information you already know! ;)

 What you will need:

2 cut pieces of 2.75 yards of home decor fabric 
(This is for 90" panels. If you want longer, get more fabric, if you want shorter, get less fabric. Mind blown. I know.  I used a lovely Waverly print from Joann's for both my living room and master bedroom and steered clear of multi-colored prints. I like things that have a simple color palette with a bold pattern)

2 cut pieces of 2.75 yards of drapery liner. 
(This is especially good if you choose a light color fabric, it will allow you a little more privacy)

2 tubes fabric glue (I used Unique Stitch)

2 boxes of curtain ring clips (10 rings per box)

Measuring tape

Fabric scissors

Straight edge ruler

4 medium-sized washers (heavier the better)
(This is for the bottom of the panels, 2 washers per panel, to weigh down the fabric slightly, so it hangs nicely)

Iron & ironing board

and (optional) a curtain rod with brackets (if you want to actually USE the curtains;))

 Pre-steps, lay out your curtain fabric, print side down. Then put the drapery lining on top, shiny side up. Okay it isn't *technically* shiny, but there is a side that has a sheen, which I'm calling shiny.

Ok, so hopefully this picture tutorial is pretty self-explanatory, but just for some extra info... because the liner is almost the exact width of the curtain fabric, you want to cut 1/2"-1" off one of the edges so that it will fit nicely under the fold that you will create on both printed sides of the curtain fabric with the iron. When I say printed sides, I mean the very edge of the curtain fabric there is a 1" gap between when the pretty pattern stops and and fabric actually ends. This is where it says the name of the fabric and whatever else information that I find irrelevant. You are going to fold this in and iron it. 
This is where it pays to have a large open space to work, so you can smooth out any bumps and bubbles. You want the fabric to be pretty smooth when you are ready to glue.

Pick a side that will be the bottom of the curtain. Then do this step:

I actually took this ruler/flat edge and marked 4 inches from the bottom several times along that edge, so that I would stay consistent when I did my fold. 
A tip: You will want to make sure and run a line of glue along the very edge of the curtain fabric as well, so that the curtain and liner are actually attached and you don't just end up gluing the liner in half. That would be no bueno. 

So, obvsies the above curtain isn't *exactly* the same as the curtain pictured below. But my master bedroom is far from ready for a proper reveal. My living room is still a work in progress (especially that rug... ugghhhh), but it looks much better to showcase the curtains. 

Notice where I hung the curtains. I didn't do it immediately over the window. I find it looks best (and many pros agree) when hung a few inches from the ceiling or crown moulding. 

I personally prefer the look for curtains lightly pooling at the floor. If you want them to look a little cleaner or more precise, raise your curtain rod to an inch from the ceiling. Or you can trim off a little extra fabric (before you start steps 1-9). 

So that's it! Pretty easy, right? I did both of these panels in less than 2 hours on a Saturday night and I LOVE how custom it looks and how much it changes the look of the room. Bold prints in the color(s) you want are so hard to find, ready-to-go at the store with a reasonable price tag. This option, I found to cost about the same as standard panels at Target or Lowe's, but instead of settling for a curtain that has to be hung at the top of the window and isn't a print or color I LOVE, I now have something that is pretty, coordinating, custom, and even better... made by me! AND I didn't have to whip out my sewing machine! These curtains can be washed too, since the glue is washable and super strong! 

So. Are you gonna attempt it? I hope you do! And then come back and let me know how it went... I want pictures! ;)

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Styling a Family Photo Session: Picnic Theme

One of my favorite styles of photography is candid moments captured. So when Jillian (of Jillian Farnsworth Photography) approached me to collaborate for her upcoming spring sessions, I knew almost immediately it would be fun to do a family picnic theme. 

While gathering and preparing items to bring to the shoot, I visualized what I wanted the setting to feel like: timeless, genuine, and purposeful. 

Items I felt were necessary in creating a sense of timelessness included: real sandwiches wrapped in fabric napkins and twine, bottled sodas, fresh fruit and bread, fresh flowers, and a mix of vintage  props that were kid-friendly. Everything had a purpose whether it was to be eaten, to be played with, to carry something, or to give some visual texture and variety.

The props were especially helpful during the session because it gave little children (mine included) something to hold on to, so they weren't just sitting there smiling. They could actually enjoy the picnic, thereby allowing the pictures capture genuine happiness. 

This little series of Kaila kissing the baby was unprompted. The candid shots made for a comical and sweet variety.

Bringing a children's storybook is a great way to capture everyone's attention and make them forget for a bit, that there is a photographer, snapping away. 

I also love this one where Jillian told them to tickle each other!

I think this is the greatest picture ever captured of my three littles, and it was easier for her, since the setting allowed them to be genuinely happy. Nothing was forced. 

 It is also nice to have some variation, with some slightly more posed pictures. I would say children are much more compliant to pose and 'say cheese' when they are given an opportunity to laugh, have fun, and move around. 

Love this setting with the bridge and blossoming tree behind! I tried to keep with the timeless/classic color scheme when selecting our outfits. We used beige, cream, blush, light blue, and gray, paying special attention to not have anyone be too matchy-matchy. 

Jillian is a university educated artist and photographer and you can really see her talent illustrated in her work. She does family sessions, newborn and baby sessions, engagement and wedding sessions, as well as highly styled and themed sessions. If you live in the St Louis or Joplin, Missouri area, consider her for your next photography needs!

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