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    DIY, Family, Home

    Margot’s Playset!

    When we first moved into our house we knew that having a playset for Margot was a huge priority. Especially with me being pregnant, I don’t always have energy to get to the park and I don’t foresee that changing when the newborn comes along! I scoured the internet and pinterest for playsets but I kept finding that the only ones I really liked were custom built. We played out the logistics of building our own playset but when it came down to it, it just wasn’t really worth it for us. Julian is pretty good at building things but between weatherproofing all the wood first, planning out a design, cutting all the pieces just right, etc; it didn’t seem easily feasible (and we didn’t want this to be a project going on for months). Next we looked further into the pre-fab options that I liked… and all I can say is; holy cow, I had no idea how much a playset could cost! So, he told me that if I could find a pre-fab playset that I liked that was a reasonable price, we could customize it however I wanted. As it turns out that was a great idea! it was a total win/win for everyone including our pocketbook! I also had a lot of fun planning out changes I wanted to make and seeing them make such a big difference! It ended up looking more like a play house than an actual play set which I really love! . I have had a lot of questions about it so I thought I’d do a quick post with the details and changes we made 🙂

    Don’t mind the avocado stain on her shirt and dirt all over her knees…she’s a messy kid.

    This is the playset we used

    Online they have it listed for $1299.99 but in the store they were selling it for $999. So definitly worth looking into getting it at your local store.

    • We didn’t instal the front slide. This was mainly began as space issue rather than a problem with it aesthetically, however I really ended up liking how it looks more like a little house. -We then blocked off the opening with extra wood we had, it doesn’t matter if the wood matches if you are going to be painting it anyway.
    • The most obvious alteration: We painted it white – Julian and his dad used a paint sprayer to make it a bit easier and we painted everything except the door.
    • We Removed all of the green window accents and added wood crossbeams to the large upstairs window and the opening where the slide would have been. I stained them to match the door.
    • I changed the door handle to a more modern gold handle that I had left over from our kitchen cabinet remodel.
    • Spray painted the bell gold and moved to to the side of the door instead of on top.
    • Didn’t install the A-frame molding about the door or the flags above the slide- I still have a plan to put a real flag on there but I haven’t quite gotten there yet.
    • One of my favorite changes that we made was moving the grill set to the side. We thought it would be more fun (since the slide was gone) to use the spot the grill was supposed to go as a serving station/open window.
      • To do that we cut a 1×8 piece of wood to fit and used shelf brackets under to hold it in place. I had some marble contact paper on hand so I jazzed up the shelf with that. It seems to be fairing well even with the sprinklers! (More photos below)

    • Since our playset backs right up to some bushes (with just enough room to climb) I wasn’t all that concerned with aesthetics of the rock wall BUT if yours was in the middle of the yard and you wanted something other than the green, yellow, and red ones it comes with, you could look into getting some better looking climbing rocks, I know they sell grey ones etc. Just another idea!
    • Because of my obsession with plants I planted some vines at each corner – my hope is that it will eventually look like a magical fairytale forrest tree house. But thats still TBD. I also hung a little airplant at the “serving area” just by screwing in a hook.
    • Instead of putting the hanging bar between the swings we put our baby swing, which would only be a necessary change if you have a baby, of course.
    • Lastly, I made the upstairs fun by adding some bunting along the top, an outdoor rug and some pillows.
    • I looked into painting the slide so it wasn’t yellow but came up with no good ideas so yellow it is! I actually ended up kind of liking the pop of color but would still be open to something more mellow like a grey…If you come across any options that don’t involve buying a whole new slide- let me know 🙂

    And that’s it! The painting was a labor of love but most of those customizations were really easy and didn’t require a ton of effort. If you guys are putting it together yourself definitely plan on needing a couple or 3 days to get the whole job done – but you can do it!

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    DIY, Home

    Flower Arranging With Hello Honey Flower Co.

     

    As we continue to welcome the warm months and there’s still a week or two left in peony season, Amy and I thought it would be fun to give you guys some tips on how to take grocery store bought flowers and elevate them to the next level! Amy is owner of Hello Honey Flower Co., a full service flower design company based right here in LA (lucky for me). Her work is both elegant and whimsical. Her arrangements are not old fashioned and stuffy but instead she allows the unexpected patterns of nature to show off their wild side with unsymmetrical arrangements, whispy tulips and wonky ranunculas.

    She and her cutest pup of all time, Lemon, came over one afternoon and she shared all of her tricks for us. Watch the video for her inside scoop and read below for the basic steps of flower arranging as well as some additional pro tips.

     

    1. 1)Start by taping the vase into sections with floral tape in a “#” fashion. This gives a bit of structure for the flowers to rest on and will keep them right where you want them. Floral tape comes in different widths and colors and can be purchased at a variety of places like Michaels and Amazon.
    2. Begin arranging with your greenery. This gives your flowers more of a visual base and helps to fill in bare spots below the flowers.
      • Always cut off leaves and flowers below the water line of your arrangement. Leaves and flowers in the water can pollute  the it causing the flowers to die more quickly 🙁
    3. Next place your focal flower. This is the largest flower you will be putting in. Some good examples are: peonies, dahlias, garden roses; etc.
      • Use the vase to help determine how long the stem should be. Hold the flower next to the vase approximately at the height you want it to stand above the vase line and cut slightly longer.
      • As you place the stems in the vase, insert them so that the stems are going in at an angle allowing them to cross. This, along with the floral tape, helps to keep the flowers in place.
    4. From there you are just going to fill in with your filler flowers and additional greenery; read below for some additional tips and hints!
      • Some ideas for filler flowers are: spray roses, stock flower, queen annes lace, freesia or typically any flower smaller than the focal flower.

    • FORAGE! Amy says that one of the best ways to have natural looking arrangements is to forage for both greenery as well as flowers. You don’t have to go out and buy everything – the arrangements we made were done with both store bought flowers and foraged flowers/greenery.

     

    • Have a good pair of snips- Amy recommends having a nice pair of sheers to cut your stems with. They can be purchased many different places but here is one I found on Amazon. Target also has some really cute garden tool sets that include sheers.

     

    • Keep in mind that nature is never symmetrical. Amy likes to mimic this by having free formed arrangements that are often higher on one side and slightly lower on there other, sometimes even with cascading foliage over one side. Inserting flowers like tulips and ranunculus with slightly longer stems can help an arrangement appear more organic and whimsical.

    • If flower arranging is something you really love to do you may want to purchase an inexpensive lazy susan. Here is a $10 option I found on amazon! This allows you to easily see all angles of the arrangement with a  quick spin.

     

    • It’s OK to edit the arrangement as you go! Amy said that sometimes she will even cut a flower off if she decided she doesn’t want it rather than trying to pull it out of all the criss-crossed stems.

     

    • Don’t be afraid to cut off leaves, sometimes too many varieties of leaves can start to look busy. You can keep the flower but cut off its leaves to save it from looking too disheveled.

     

    • Our favorite flower arranging book? The Flower Recipe book. It is beautiful and  informative. It gives specific tips on different types of flowers, how to keep them alive longest and how to arrange them best.

     

    • Have fun with it! Amy tells us that while there are some guidelines to arranging flowers, it is really all about creativity and personal preference! So have at it because you can’t do it wrong 🙂

     

    Now, if that ^^ doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will.

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    DIY, Home

    DIY: Wood Plank Picture Hanger

    Several months ago I printed a large painting of mine at 36″x48″. I wanted to get it hanging on my wall but frames that size were a) hard to come by and b) really expensive. Neither of which were in my favor, so, I got to thinking about alternative ways to frame it and I came up with this DIY 30 minute (plus dry time) project!

    Really, the sky is your limit with this frame, just about every aspect of it is customizable. You can stain it or paint it how ever you like and make it any size to suit your need! In the tutorial I am using 10″ pieces of wood but that can be changed up easily without changing the process. Best of all, even my 36″ version was only about $25!! It is great for accent pieces if you want a change from standard framing. It is also a great money saving alternative for irregularly sized pieces that would otherwise need a custom frame ($$$).

    I sized down the frame for the purposes of this tutorial but if you would like to see my original large version scroll all the way to the bottom 🙂

    Two 10″ pieces of 1.5″ W x 0.25″ H furniture grade wood (I used oak)
    ** you probably will need to buy a 4ft plank of wood and cut it down,
    you can do this yourself or have them do it for you at the hardware store**

    Multi-purpose glue for wood AND metal (I used this one)
    ** TIP: make sure the glue is non-foaming**

     Heavy duty magnets like these 1.25″ Neodymium magnet

    Washi tape

    Pen

    Saw tooth picture hanger & nails OR a couple of command hanging strips
    ** if you chose the picture hanger make sure the nails are shorter
    than the height of the wood**

    IMPORTANT MAGNET INFORMATION

    • first and foremost – keep these magnets far away from each other. They are STRONG and they will snap together pinching any fingers that get in their way.
    • They should be marked with a red line on one side to indicate which side is positive and which side is negative. It doesn’t matter which you put on either side you just want to be sure one side of the frame has the lined side up and the other has the lined side down.

    ASSEMBLING THE FRAME

    1- Decide which side of wood you want to be the front of the frame and mark it with wash tape.

    2- On the reverse side – glue 2 of the magnets on either end with the lined side facing UP.

    3- Use washi tape to hold the magnets in place while they dry. I found out (the hard way) that it is actually better to use 2 strips per magnet in a “+” formation rather than just one across. You really want to be sure the magnets won’t slide around while they dry. When the two sides of the frame are put together the magnets will align themselves to their counter part – if they are not even the wood will be offset as well.

    4- Grab the second plank of wood & line it up to the piece with glued magnets. Mark a line where the center of each magnet is on the new piece. (see photo above)

    5- Glue the other 2 magnets to the 2nd piece of wood with the red-line side DOWN in the middle of your drawn lines. (see photo above)

    6- Use washi tape and repeat step 3 on the second piece of wood.

    7- Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours and keep the wood planks at least two feet away from each other, I know it sounds ridiculous but as you may have already found out, they are really strong and if they are too close they will try to attract one another and ruin your project!

    8- Once the glue is dry you can screw the picture hanger on or attach the command strips (I recommend command strips, honestly).

    9- Place your artwork on the back piece of wood and carefully lay the front piece of wood on top. Try to align it but the magnets should align themselves – WATCH YOUR FINGERS!!

    10- Hang on the wall & voila!

     

    Below is the 36″x48″ piece I framed. I added a plank across the bottom to frame it in a bit more, which is also an option. Such an inexpensive way to get large pieces framed and on the wall! The magnets used in this tutorial hold 8lbs per magnet, which should be fine in most cases, but in the instance you need to hang something really heavy they have stronger magnets available.