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Hi friends!

Just wanted to let you all know that I’ve started as a contributor to Apartment Therapy, something I’m incredibly excited about. Apartment Therapy was one of the very first blogs I read consistently when I first got married and had my own, then, apartment. I barely applied when I saw they were looking for contributors but I ended up just going for it, even though I didn’t really have the time to do it or to do it absolutely as perfectly as I would have liked. Lesson learned: GO FOR IT!! push past the myriad ways you could (legitimately) excuse yourself and just give something you want a shot.

apartment therapy

Anyway, I wanted to share the articles I’ve written over on AT, because I think they’d interest many of See Mommy Doing’s readers.

The House that Cleans Itself

Color Block Curtains: Adding Color Without Pattern

5 Ways to Declutter: Conquer Clutter Before It Conquers You

7 Beautiful Spice Rack Storage Solutions

Better Sleep and Allergy Relief: How To Banish Dust Mites from Your Bed

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

DIY Wall Art

Calvin and Hobbes are part of me.Calvin and Hobbes wall art

I’ve been reading Calvin and Hobbes since I was 8 years old when my best friend’s twin brother (obviously, he was basically my brother too growing up) introduced me to them. My best friend and I (incidentally, I loathe the term best friend because it’s so exclusive — I have several — but modifying it, like by saying “one of my best friends,” dilutes the term unacceptably) would huddle by the heater vent, wrapped in blankets, in the corner of the room between her two dressers. One of those dressers upheld the ceramic studio art projects that never ceased to awe me, the skeleton in a purple dress, the “piggy” bank chimera, and the stippled watermelon, and the other of which contained a drawer from which I never failed to pull the softest pajamas you ever slipped your freezing San Francisco bones into.

calvin and hobbes there's treasure everywhere

Over the years, I came to know Calvin and Hobbes to the point that I believed they existed in a parallel universe. (They do, of course.) I’d bring them into the tub with me to unwind and laugh hysterically at lines so familiar I’d quote them. (“Actually, I just like to say smock. Smock. Smock. Smock. Smock. Smock. What on earth is wrong with you???!!!”) I even taught a DECAL (that, my friends, stands for “Democratic Education at Cal” — which makes me laugh hysterically right now) class entitled “Calvin and Hobbes and Narrative Theory.” I was so loyal to Bill Watterson’s commendable stance not to license his creations that I’d been known to also quote his line that “only thieves and vandals” ever made money from Calvin and Hobbes. Some co-worker friends thought it was hilarious to undermine my own snobbery on the matter by affixing an impossible-to-remove decal of Calvin on my car. Hahah. They made me a driving contradiction.

I hauled my entire collection of Calvin and Hobbeses across the country, and, naturally, when I had children I wanted to share my unchanging friends with them. I decided some time after I started having my babies that I wanted to do a Calvin and Hobbes mural in my kids’ room one day. Maybe someday I will. In the meantime, I’m thrilled with these poster prints of my favorite comic boy and his best friend. (Also pictured below is Danny boy’s Monkey from our pacifier weaning adventure.)

calvin and hobbes wall art

I made them in a DIY frenzy. And guess how much the entire thing cost? For both. $35!!

I don’t know if or how the project infringes on copyrights (I sincerely hope it doesn’t!) but here is how to do it:

supplies for DIY wall art with Calvin and Hobbes

  • Take a photograph of the pictures you want to use. (For Calvin and Hobbes, using an image on the cover works best. 
  • Take the best quality picture you can, using as many megapixels as your camera allows.
  • Try to take the picture so that you only have to crop minimally. This will keep the photo’s quality high when you print it.
  • Crop and edit the picture as you wish and save it at whatever size you want your final piece to be so that you get what you see.
  • I printed 20″ x 30″ images at Costco. I printed them at 300 dpi and and was very happy with how they turned out. Best parts: They were done in less than an hour and they were $8.99 each!!
  • Purchase a pack of foam board that matches the size of your prints or cut to size.
  • Buy spray adhesive if you don’t have any.
  • The Command Hook velcro picture hanging thingies are GREAT, especially for sticking foam board on the wall.
  • Follow instructions to use spray adhesive to put the prints on the foam board and the velcro hooks on the foam board and hang your masterpiece on the wall!

Calvin and Hobbes wall art

This could be done with any piece you wish you could hang on your wall. The possibilities are endless. You may remember my post on how to turn a book into wall art. This project kicks that idea up a notch and frees you from size constraints. And imagine how great a more formal large print would look custom matted and framed… Are your wheels turning? Tell me about what you’re dying to do!

 

 

 

Keep Cut Flowers Fresh: Snapdragon Bouquet

One reason I get so excited about spring and summer is that I’ll have fresh flowers I can cut from outside and bring in for all over the house. Fresh flowers make me so happy, and when I can have a bunch without having to buy them — super happy.

snapdragon bouquetMy favorite flowers to grow for cutting are knockout roses (I put them everywhere when they are in bloom), with zinnias being a very, very close second.

I do have a “winter” garden, composed of snapdragons, pansies, and sweet williams, but it never occurred to me until this week that any of them were appropriate for cutting and bringing indoors.snapdragons growing in flower gardenBoy, was I wrong.

Keep Flowers Fresh - Snap Dragon Bouquet-15

Five Ways to Keep Flowers Fresh

1)  Use sharp shears made for cutting stems.

Keep Flowers Fresh - Snap Dragon Bouquet-2

2) Cut stems at an angle. This helps with water absorption.

snapdragon stems

3) Treat different flowers differently. For instance, flowers with woody stems, like azaleas, benefit from having their stems pounded so that they can soak up water. Snapdragons do well if their stems are cut at an angle (again) under running water once you bring them inside. Hydrangeas are complicated….

4) Strip the stems before you put your fresh flowers in a vase. You don’t want any leaves or buds below the water line for sure, and probably not even below where the top of the vase (or “vase” — I used a cleaned off jar) hits. Extra foliage in the water can contaminate the water, and your flowers won’t last as long, which brings us to…

Keep Flowers Fresh - Snap Dragon Bouquet-6

5) Make flower food. There are various tricks out there, including crushing an aspirin tablet, pouring some Listerine in with the water, and using lemon-lime soda. I made the following mixture, which both nourishes the flowers and keeps the water bacteria free.

Cut Flower Food

In a 3-quart container (I used an empty orange juice bottle donated by a friend), mix together:

  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons bleach
  • 6 Tablespoons lemon juice

Fill with warm water. Use right away or have on-hand for small vases you’ll put freshly cut flowers in.

 

snapdragons bouquet

 

How to Turn a Book into Wall Art

how to turn a favorite book into wall artI didn’t realize how much I loved my hometown of San Francisco until I left it. Then I got to move back for a while before I left again. The quote below expresses my sentiment exactly. DIY wall art san francisco book

When I first saw the gorgeous book This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek, originally published in 1962 and which my mom bought for us on the spot, it inspired the colors for our future playroom/sunroom.

We painted the walls of the room in our new house a delicious pumpkin, and used the teal rug and emerald loveseat from our Atlanta house. I added sheer light seafoam blue curtains. But the walls remained a blank canvas for too long.

DIY wall art

Finally, although I was originally going to scan and print copies of the illustrations, I ended up getting a second copy of This is San Francisco on Amazon for only about $8 shipped. I whipped out the Exacto knife and got to work slicing, ending up with this lovely pile and these empty frames, just waiting to get together.

DIY wall art pictures from book

DIY wall art frames

I picked up two colors of textured art paper at Hobby Lobby, one color inspired by the sheer curtains and the other an almost-white for off-setting the colorful illustrations against the darkish seafoam background.

DIY wall art picture layout

In an amalgamation of wall collage planning and hanging methods I gleaned from Pinterest, I laid out my filled frames on brown wrapping paper (basically a big roll of brown paper bag type paper), traced the frames, and measured and marked where their hooks were.

gallery wall layoutI hung my tracing on the wall, hammered the nails in, and then cut the paper to the nails so I could tear the paper down. Then the finale: hanging the pictures!! 

gallery wall with san francisco pictures

gallery wall Here’s the whole collage. Included are a cork board to keep papers from piling up on my desk…

gallery wall with corkboard

 …and a magnetic knife rack from Ikea for hanging my schedule and cleaning printables in easy reach and easy view.

gallery wall You may also remember the wonderful San Francisco metal print gift. I echoed the white frames of the collage by hanging a retired empty frame that Dear made for Elora’s baby room decor around it.

DIY gallery wall

gallery wall view from kitchenI love how the collage peeps out through the eat-in nook archways. Seeing it out of the corner of my eye makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something and like the house is getting homier and homier.

color scheme in sunroomThis is Isabelle. Have you met her yet?

color scheme for sunroom

gallery wall

Gallery Wall Step-by-Step Instructions

1) Choose a book and decide if you will buy a copy for deconstruction or reproduce the images another way.

2) Cut out the images you want to use.

3) Select frame style and layouts within the frames. Notice that I used both large and small frames, and most of the large frames have two pictures in them. Choose frames that are larger than your pictures so that you can add uniformity and color with matting.

4) Cut your matting out slightly larger than your pictures and affix with glue. You may want to test your glue, book paper, and matting paper to make sure that no bumps or seep-throughs affect your final art.

5) Fill your frames and lay them out. If you are making a collage, I recommend  laying the full collage out before attempting to hang it on the wall.

Book Suggestions for Book Wall Art

If you like Miroslav Sasek but would love to feature another city (or state), check these out:

Dick and Jane books would make nice vintage-y wall art for a children’s room. And I’ve wanted to frame a Leslie Patricelli Potty image for the kids’ bathroom:

leslie patricelli potty book

Hahaha!! Is that too far? =)

Prints from a Norman Rockwell book such as Best of Norman Rockwellwould also be lovely. 

Really, the possibilities are endless, the price is extremely budget friendly, and the personalization opportunity is unique. What book would you use?

 

Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate