These gallery walls are just EVERYWHERE, aren't they? Well I'm going to throw another one your way, just in case you're still unsure of how you want to lay out your gallery wall. (Oh hey ladies, notice the sexy man in that "before" picture? You can look but you can't touch!)

My particular gallery wall hurdle this time was a variety of devices attached to our wall (some of them non-functioning). I utilized some three-dimensional boxes to cover those ugly devices and add some interest to the typical frame set-up. By the way, I apologize for the poor quality of these pictures. I wanted to get natural daylight in the living room but then all of my frames had glare on them. It was a sad day.

Here were my basic rules:
1. I used all black frames with an accent gold frame.
2. I created a top and bottom border. All of my frames touched one (or both) of those borders.
3. When I continued the gallery across to an adjacent wall, I maintained the same center line for those frames. (The border was less relevant since all the frames were tall enough to only stack one high).

To make this process as smooth as possible, I used two tools:
1. Brown paper. I cut out the footprint of each picture and taped the entire gallery on the wall before hanging anything to make sure I liked the arrangement.
2. 3M velcro strips. When used correctly, these things are amazing for renters. I've never had one tear a wall before and they are pretty simple to use. However, they add up in cost quickly, and our walls were kind of slick so I had to apply extra pressure for extra long to each strip.

I suppose I should call this more of a gallery strip based on its size and shape. Whatever it is, I like how it frames out our living room. If I had my choice, the strip would be about a foot higher and go all the way above/behind our TV, but that darn security alarm box forced me to place the gallery lower (to hide it). I have such rough first world problems.



I have seen some really chic lace skirts lately--the type with soft white or beige lace over a nude toned under layer. They kill me! (In a "I could die, I'm so happy" kind of way). Given that I had some so-so pieces in need of reworking laying around my office, I decided to try my hand at one of these awesome skirts!

I started off with a pair of (grease stained, torn bottom) slacks and a (very oversized) white lace shirt.

With the slacks on, I marked about 3 inches below where I wanted the skirt to end (I was shooting for knee-length) and marked each leg. I took the slacks off, chopped the legs at the marks, and discarded the lower legs. Then came the time for some seam ripping. I ripped up both legs to the intersection at the crotch and ripped just an inch or so into the front and back seams of the crotch.

I folded the slacks so the sides were touching (is there a name for that? It's the fold I do when I'm hanging my husband's slacks) and pinned everything together. Using a skirt I really like with a similar fit to what I had in mind, I traced the front and back seams of the skirt. I sewed a really wide basting stitch, tried the skirt on, and adjusted in a few places. When I had the fit how I liked it, I sewed a tighter straight stitch and a tricky zig-zag stitch (of which I don't know the name) before cutting off any excess fabric.

To finish the bottom hem of the skirt, I straightened out the bottom edge, folded it under twice, and finished with a zig zag stitch. (I did this for aesthetic reasons, because I didn't want my stitch to be obvious under the lace. If I was just making a simple skirt, I probably would have done a straight stitch here.) 

Seriously, if these slacks weren't splattered in the most embarrassing grease spots, I would have stopped here and called it a day! 

The way I put the lace on this skirt was kind of a mess and took so guesswork and seam ripping, so I'll try to simplify the process. Basically, I cut the lace fabric to the same form as the new skirt with an extra inch along the bottom and about 3 extra inches at the top. (I did some tricky folding to accommodate the zipper in the front. I can't explain it, it was a bit of a mess to figure that part out). 

Here is the main takeaway for attaching the lace to the underskirt: I fit the skirts inside of each other and pinned the lace exactly where I would like it to sit when everything was attached. I tucked the top excess of the lace over the slacks and pinned in place. I then sewed a seam about 1 1/2" down from the top of the skirt to attach everything. 

Then I rocked that skirt like I do. (Ok, that was a bit arrogant. Honestly, though, I've become a huge fan of skirts and dresses, and I think I wear them pretty well!)

P.S. I already have some other slacks in mind to make into a simple skirt. Now that I know what I'm doing this second skirt will be so quick!


Organization Nation | IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Can you believe how many crazy papers you get in the snail mail and e-mail every day? I feel so overwhelmed by all of them, especially by the fact that so many of the papers are considered "important". Even in this digital age, My Main Man and I can't shake the feeling that it's important to keep a hold of all those papers (rather than just scanning them in) and we even print certain e-mails and digital receipts that seem important. We don't mean to be wasteful, we just want to keep all of our bases covered!

With such a thick stack of papers stacking up, I saw a major need for a good organization system. Of course, there are plenty of options for important documentation organization floating around the internet, but it can't hurt for me to throw in my two cents. I'll lay this out like a tutorial in case you feel like following along!

- (1) Large 3-Ring Binder*
- Plastic Page Protectors
- Cardstock
-3 Hole Punch**

*I bought a 4" binder from Staples when they had a rewards event happening. Even though the binder was about $20, we had all that money refunded in a $20 voucher that can be used for anything at Staples.
**I am ghetto so I use a single hole punch and use notebook paper as a template for where to punch my holes.


1) Gather any papers that are too important to throw away, but not important enough to keep in a fire safe. (You should definitely keep things like social security cards, birth certificates, etc in a fire safe!)

2) Create divisions for your papers. I have (7) divisions so far: Taxes, Bank Accounts, Student Loans, Utilities, Auto, Health, and Payroll. Some of these may be useless or redundant for you, so edit as necessary. 

3) Print on your cardstock paper. I printed a cover for the binder, which listed all the divisions (kind of like a loose table of contents). Then I also printed one cover page for each section. On that cover page I listed my subdivisions as well, which varied depending on the section. (For example, the Bank Accounts section had subdivisions for each account.)

4) Start filling your notebook. First stuff each cardstock cover page in a page protector and set in the binder. I realize that labeled binder dividers would be good solution for some sections, but I wanted to use page protectors so I could stuff small, loose papers in the pockets. I also printed my subdivisions of pieces of cardstock, but I hole punched those so they don't stick out as far and the primary divisions. Then start placing the important papers in the binder. Punch holes in the papers and place them in their respective sections. I made one exception to the hold punching rule: taxes. I would really hate to accidentally punch out an important dollar value on one of our forms, so I just stuff them all in a page protector. 

5) Maintain your binder. Like I said before, I get "important" papers on a nearly daily basis. I keep a basket on the corner of my desk, and My Main Man and I use the basket as a dumping ground for all of those papers. Every so often I sort through the papers and file them into the binder. Even though the initially organizing phase took a decent chunk of time, maintenance is amazingly quick and easy--perhaps 10 minutes at the end of every week.

So how do you stay organized?



"So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good-bye!" Don't worry folks, I'm not leaving this blog anytime soon. (Did I scare you a tad?) I have been taking a bit of an unintentional hiatus, though. I have transitioned to being a full-time working stiff (from the easy, make-your-own hours life of a college student) and learned to cope with a husband who is only home select evenings and weekends due to work and school.

However, the most exciting reason I've been absent is the slow but steady start of my design business The Main Event! I've had a link to the business page in the upper left of this blog for a while now, but I thought it might be fun to share a little bit of what I do and why I am particularly in love with this job that eats up the rare free moments I have anymore. I began designing wedding announcements, which are a blast because they can embody so many styles and come in a million varieties.

As I played around with fonts and graphics, I realized that I was ignoring a very important part of what I have to offer as an artist: graphics and text from my own hands! I braved incorporating some hand-drawn fonts into my first baby announcement and I was hooked! Each invitation or announcement is supposed to tell a unique story about its announcees, and I really felt like hand-drawn work allowed me to embody the little nuances that made my clients so special. The moral of this story is that now I include a unique graphic element for each and every design of mine, because there is simply no better way to make an announcement or invitation memorable!

So now I spend my afternoons and evenings crafting wedding invitations, shopping for envelopes, drawing baby names in sweet fonts, and waiting for graduation season so I can bust out a horde of announcements for all my intelligent friends! When you have a moment, take a look at The Main Event website and let me know when you're ready to start designing the perfect announcement or invitation!

By the way, this card I've showed you is a farewell cards for the girls in my youth group at church who graduate up to the next age level. I hate it when they leave me, but I sure love the time I spend with them and I try to remind them of how special they are with a card when they turn twelve!



I don't understand why pillows and slip covers are so over-priced. It doesn't make sense when you can make a pillow cover for about $2. In case you'd like to give it a go, here's how I created a simple white slip cover for a pillow!

I bought a couple of flour sack towels from Wal-Mart, which cost about $1 each. I cut off one long side and reattached it so the towel would be more of a long rectangle than a square. I used some of the scraps to make loops that would hook around the button closures. I sewed the closures onto one short end of the rectangles. I then folded the rectangle around to form a square that was overlapped on one side and sewed both sides closed. Once I flipped it right-side-out, I marked where the loops reached and then sewed a button onto each of those locations. I stuffed a pillow form in the cover and extended the loops over the buttons to close the whole packet. It was a super quick and easy project, and it looks great thrown on a chair!