Casual Fridays

Hey! It’s finally Friday! We’ve been hosting auditors all week at work, closing out 2014 etc etc. SUUUPER fun stuff, let me tell ya. I’m glad the work week’s over that’s for sure.

You may have noticed I’ve been skipping my usual Friday Favorites posting routine. As much as I enjoyed rounding up favorite things and making a fancy collage for everyone, it just feels old hat to me, and in the light of a new year, I needed some time to think of something a little more fresh.  So, in the mean time, I’ll continue on with some fun links!

Here are some really exciting things I’ve been reading/watching/listening to this week:

Have a great weekend everyone! Please check back on Monday for my (riveting!) goals for 2015! It’s still January so making them now still counts.

LoveB

 

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A Space to Stay Creative

Hello! Happy Thursday! We’re almost to the weekend, woohoo!

First, I wanted to let you know you can find me and 4 other bloggers over at Porch today! We’re each sharing what we feel to be the best DIY project to tackle first this year.

What’s Porch, you ask? Well, imagine you bred the inspiration you get from Pinterest with the network of thousands of home improvement professionals, this would certainly birth a beautiful creature, kinda like Rooney Mara, interesting looking with the Dragon Tattoo bangs, yet still so beautiful.  Porch is literally a home improvement network on steroids. Porch is where homeowners sync up, meet professionals, get inspired by others, and overall just have a blast managing their homes.

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Porch is “with it”, folks. They know this home decor blog niche is where it’s at! They’re keeping their finger on the pulse by reaching out to a few bloggers and asking what it is we feel we need to accomplish this year. They’re aware of our super powers, it’s validating :P Of course there are countless projects we could start on for the new year, and I’m sure we each have a different idea as to what the best project is for each of us. For me? It’s about time I find myself a home office space.

bedroom office inspiration | brittanyMakes

I’m sure you feel it. I know I feel it. Without fail, the beginning of the year always marks the time to start fresh.  Brand new. Clean slate. Clean sheets. Clean toilet bowl. Dust free surfaces. You know what I’m talking about. It’s time to start something new.

I am always the most inspired at the beginning of the year, with new ideas swirling around my head, I realized recently I really, really, needed a dedicated space to jot down new ideas; a space to stay organized and stay inspired. I’ve learned over the years if I don’t designate a space to unload my creativity, I soon get overwhelmed and lose inspiration due to disorganization and not knowing what project to start when, etc. This year I’m getting started on the right foot and prioritizing a little home office space of my own.

bedroom office inspiration | brittanyMakes

bedroom office inspiration | brittanyMakes

We have a small two bedroom house (our perfect starter home!) so there’s not much extra space available for a designated office.  At the moment, my husband is utilizing a small nook in our living room as his home office (it’s not pretty at all, I’ll spare you photos.. for now). I wasn’t left with much option besides a once empty corner in our bedroom (see the before here). It actually worked out perfectly if I think about it. I was already hoarding a beautiful West Elm mirrored Parson’s desk (which I scored on CraigsList for $100, brand new!). I shimmied the desk beside our bed, it fit perfectly! I now have a designated spot to retreat to after a long day at work, and naturally it doubles as my bedside table. Our bed is a little on the tall side (do you like tall beds? I love tall beds!) so it’s super nice having something at pillow level, rather than a normal height nightstand which you’d have to lean down to reach anything.

So, this is the part in the post where I encourage conversation. But I’m actually really curious! What is your first DIY to tackle (or already tackled) for the new year? Is it something big? A bathroom reno perhaps? How will this project set you up for the rest of 2015?

Check out the post on Porch today, see what others are saying about their first DIY of the new year.

OH! Last thing I promise. This Saturday I’ll be taking over Porch’s Instagram account for the whole day! Follow Porch now so you don’t miss a thing! (they’re @porchdotcom on Instagram)

LoveB

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My Camera Equipment

Hello! I’m going to touch on a subject today that I’ve never talked about before – my camera equipment.  Shocking! I know! I feel like camera talk and photo tips has become some big secret in blog land, like 3 or so years ago we were all talking about it, all teaching each other new tips and tricks. It was great! But now it’s either old hat – someone already talked about this already – or we’re all so focused on our own photography skills we don’t stop to think about other folks who might just be getting started. Just an observation of mine.

Spoiler alert: I don’t have any crazy secret photography tips, it’s been a LOT of trial and error over the years. I am absolutely no pro with my camera so take all this with a grain of salt that what works for me might not be what works for you. OK? Let’s go!

I haven’t yet shared my goals for 2015 (more on that soon!) but one of them is to take better photos. I think I take OK photos, but what I mean by ‘better’ is take more well thought out, well planned photos. Since I have a day job (preparing financial statements, woohoo!) I find that I’m always chasing sunlight on the weekends. I get extremely caught up in the amount of light in a day, sometimes it causes arguments with the mister, sometimes it makes us late to dinner dates… I’m making a huge effort (starting now!) to better time manage, plan & set up my photos in advance, and overall just stress about it less. If I can’t get the picture taken for some reason, I have to let it go. It’s a juggling act of planning and time management; the more I plan ahead the happier we all will be.

Alrighty! Back to the equipment discussion. The other part of my “taking better photos” goal is to up the ante on my equipment. I actually have to thank Santa (aka my dad!) for this one. I asked Santa for a wide angle lens, and the little elves in the workshop delivered! What’s funny, I’ve only purchased one lens for myself (this one) the other two (which I’ll get to momentarily) my dad bought me! He’s so awesome! Thank you dad! If it weren’t for him I would be taking pictures with my crappy iPhone.

My first camera was a Nikon D3000. I have no preference between Canon or Nikon, I think we were in Costco one day and we just grabbed it. Let me tell you up front, soon after I purchased the camera I regretted not doing more research on what camera I actually needed. You may think all you need is an entry level DSLR to get your photo game rolling, but what you didn’t know is the lesser expensive camera bodies typically do not have auto focus motors, which means if you want specialty lenses, you have to seek out lenses with auto-focus motors built in (which are more expensive). A lot of legit lenses are manual focus (which most of the time means the lens will use the auto-focus motor in your body to function). Avoid the big old headache of spending more money on lenses for a lesser quality body and just get the better camera body.   Oh, and I recommend not buying a camera kit (the camera body + kit lens all-in-one package).  Kit lenses are junk. Buy the ‘body only’ on Amazon and the lenses you want separately. Trust me, once you get a specialty lens you’ll never use the kit lens again.

My camera

Nikon d7000

I had the D3000 for a year and upgraded to the D7000 (I think the D7100 is the most current body, same thing as mine just released a year or so later).  I love my camera! Is it the best camera out on the market? Heck no, but it’s fancy and does incredible (enough) things.

My go-to lens

Nikon 35mm

 

Every blogger will tell you to start out with a 50mm.  Now, I don’t disagree, but I will say if you’re going to listen to my advice and buy the body only, I say start out with the 35mm. This is the lens you will use all the time! Like the 50mm, the 35mm is a fixed focal distance lens (Macro lens), meaning it doesn’t zoom in or out, but the focal distance is actually much closer to reality than the 50mm. This lens offers practically the same minimum aperture to get those beauty shots with the ability to fit more in each photo. All of my kitchen photos were taken with a 35mm f1.8.

navy, white & brass kitchen // brittanyMakes Kitchen Reveal

My Beauty Lens

Nikon 50mm

I like to say the 50mm lens is every blogger’s secret weapon.  The 50mm f/1.8 is only like $100. I would absolutely recommend, if you can, to throw in a few extra bucks to get that f1.4. The wider the aperture, the better! But the f/1.8 will do the trick just fine.  Natural light photos turn out absolutely beautiful with this lens. The bokeh (the blur in the background) is so soft. It’s surprising what this inexpensive lens can do.  I will say, however, I only like to pull this lens out for specific shots: ‘beauty’ shots, tight shots, up close and personal shots with gorgeous blurring in the background.

brittanyMakes home office

My Wide Angle

Nikon Wide Angle

This is my new toy! I am so crazy excited about this lens. It’s an off-brand Nikon lens, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. You should know, there is a newer model of this lens, an AF-S lens (has an autofocus motor built in) but after digesting all the comments the autofocus motor in the new one falls just short of the object in focus, the ‘old’ model works with the motor in the camera body (which is more reliable anyway). So, better lens for a little less money!

Our house is a bit on the small side (thank you pricey California!) and I was having such a hard time really getting the full view of each room. Now that we’ve taken walls down in our living and dining room, I really needed a lens that would do the space justice. I’ve played around with this lens for about 2 weeks now and I absolutely love it. I can take pictures of my entire bathroom! My full bedroom! The baby’s room! All with minimal distortion. I hate seeing photos taken with wide angle lenses get all wonky in the corners. Here’s a picture of our kitchen with the wide angle:

brittanyMakes Kitchen

There you have it! Like I said, I honestly don’t have any secret game-changing tips on taking photos. There are a ton of photo advice blog posts out there.  I would be happy to share with you the ones I found useful and what my process is if you’re interested, just let me know! I just don’t want to bore you if you already know what you’re doing :)

LoveB

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Hey! I Like That Lamp!

No really, Kiri Masters from ilikethatlamp sent me a DIY lampshade kit, and it’s LE-GIT. Check out the lampshade I made!

DIY faux bois lampshade // brittanyMakes

This lampshade kit typically calls for fabric, you can make your own drum lampshade using the fabric of your choice, but you know me – I wanted to shake things up using paper!

DIY faux bois lampshade // brittanyMakesLet me explain – I bought two rolls of this absolutely incredible faux bois gold foil wrapping paper from Target over the holidays (can’t find a photo! but Emily used it in this Target styling video). I don’t know why Target does this (I should tell them they’re giving me an ulcer), but Target only releases a small quantity of their best things. UGH!  You know what happens? Frantic scarcity panics set in, and, if you’re like me, you either hoard ALL you can find and/or go to the 3-5 closest targets and scour their inventory for ‘just one more’ because you know it’s a limited edition item and once it’s gone, it’s GONE.  I think I wrapped only one gift using this wrapping paper before it hit me that duh! I can’t just WASTE this wrapping paper! I can’t let it get torn to shreds! So, I hoarded my two rolls and let my brother (gently) unwrap his Christmas gift by nicely requesting that he not tear the paper and yes I would like it back.

DIY faux bois lampshade // brittanyMakes

Above are the basic steps it took to make this lampshade.  It really wasn’t difficult at all, it took some precision and patience, but overall I would absolutely make another lampshade using this kit.  What do you think? The lampshade looks pretty convincing right? Would you guess it was a DIY if I hadn’t told you?

DIY faux bois lampshade // brittanyMakes

sources: fringe wall hanging / horse bookends: vintage / white ceramic vase / gold lamp base: thrifted / mirror parsons table (West Elm, no longer available) / sheepskin / headboard / black & white bedding / fringe pillow  / chair: cb2 (no longer available)

 

LoveB

 

 

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DIY Copper Pipe Ladder

The amount of things you can create out of copper plumbers pipe never ceases to amaze me.  I could spend hours in the plumbing isle of the hardware store, brainstorming and scheming away. Usually I hustle out of there for fear the plumbing gurus will see the impostor that I am. “I’m a DIY blogger, don’t shoot!” Seriously though, I don’t even know the names of the fittings I used in this project haha. Don’t judge me.

I’ve always loved the look of a vintage wooden or iron ladder in a home.  Old ladders can be used as a decorative architectural piece; they fit perfect in awkward blank wall spaces or nooks that needs something but nothing quite seems to fit.

We have this odd wall space beside the fridge that came about from our kitchen remodel. It’s the cabinet that encases the fridge. I’ve been contemplating painting it the same color as our walls, but haven’t yet pulled the trigger.  As a temporary and creative solution for this blank space, I decided to make a ladder myself, from copper pipe!

DIY Copper Pipe Ladder | brittanyMakes

(please disregard the subfloor! we’re still saving up for uniform flooring, until then we’re living with this beautiful, “vintage” 50 y/o subfloor…)

Supply list:

Cut List:

  • Top & Bottom: 4 x 14″ length copper pipe
  • Five rungs: 5 x 12″
  • Mid section: 8 x 10″

DIY Copper Pipe Ladder | brittanyMakes

Assembly is super straight forward, I figured pictures of the assembly would just be silly.  I do however, recommend putting a dab of adhesive inside the copper tees and caps when assembling to strengthen the ladder’s overall integrity.

DIY Copper Pipe Ladder | brittanyMakes

Use the ladder to hang tea towels, vintage fabrics, bath towels, or throw blankets. Seriously, anything looks adorable hung on a ladder.

DIY Copper Pipe Ladder | brittanyMakes

I realized after making this ladder my hand towel game is really lacking. I just might have to fix this! Oh, and if you want to quickly clean your copper pipe, ketchup works amazing!

DIY Copper Pipe Ladder | brittanyMakes

Tell me! Do you have a strange spot in your home that could use a ladder? What would you hang on it? LoveB

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DIY Copper Tape Art

Two DIYs in one week?! What?! I know, I’m just as shocked as you. Although truthfully, I’m procrastinating a little on writing those dreaded New Years resolutions… I’m still sorting through all my feelings over 2014 and determining exactly what it is I want to get out of 2015. I want a lot folks, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure just yet.

SO! What exactly are we making today? Well, it’s a quicky art project that is probably a dud, but I actually like how it turned out so screw any haters and let’s get our copper tape art on!

DIY Copper Tape Art // brittanyMakes

You literally need 4 things to complete this project: Copper conductive tape, scissors, paper, and a frame – if you plan on framing it, or you could tape it to the wall all Washi-tape like with, you guessed it, copper conductive tape!

DIY Copper Tape Art // brittanyMakesRule of thumb for this project, no measuring is required. Honest. I taped out these hexagons very loosely. Doing so adds a dimension of “quark” and “funk” and all the other adjectives that are synonymous with ‘weird’.

DIY Copper Tape Art // brittanyMakesThere are two things you need to know about copper conductive tape.  1) there is a paper backing that you remove to adhere to any surface and 2) the edges are VERY sharp. I used the butt end of my scissors to smooth out each strip of tape after positioning them to the paper. Do NOT do what I did first: use you fingers to smooth out the pieces of copper tape.  It’s real copper folks, and again, it’s SHARP.  Copper conductive tape paper cuts hurt worse than manila folders.  I know you all know what those feel like…

DIY Copper Tape Art // brittanyMakes

DIY Copper Tape Art // brittanyMakes

Above photo is before smoothing out with scissors, just FYI.

Then, I framed my fabulous artwork in a standard Ikea frame, the matting didn’t quite fit but you get the idea.

DIY Copper Tape Art // brittanyMakes

I love the overlapping hexagons. I recently saw a similar pattern displayed on the windows at Urban Outfitters.  Such a coincidence!

DIY Copper Tape Art // brittanyMakes

 

LoveB

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DIY Souk Inspired Pillow

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakes

 

Hello! I’m kicking off the new year with a fun project! This one is an ode to my favorite, and quite possibly the best selling rug of 2014: the West Elm Souk rug.

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakesMy husband says we can’t have this rug because we have dogs, that our dogs would destroy it, and then I would be the grumpiest wife if I had a dirty Souk rug.  He might be right, but I cannot help but yearn every. single. day. for one! So, instead I brought this look into my home by upgrading a faux fur Eruo pillow I made last year. Sometimes you’re forced to get creative to get what you want, right folks?

This tutorial is so easy, all you need is a roll of painter’s tape, a comb, a Sharpie paint pen, and a faux fur pillow of your choice.  I had a giant white faux fur Eruo pillow I made for my bed out of costume fur from the fabric store. Here is a smaller and very affordable option too if you don’t feel like making a pillow from scratch.

STEP 1 // using your comb, comb out the zig-zag pattern by brushing the fur in opposite directions

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakes

STEP 2 // place a piece of tape down the center of your combed zig-zag lines to protect the fur area that will not get Sharpie’d.  Then, repeat step 1 & 2 about an inch away, parallel to the taped line.  This is the zig-zag pattern that you will ‘paint’ with your Sharpie Paint Pen.

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakes

STEP 3 // using the Sharpie Paint Pen, go to town coloring the fur! I placed the paint pen on the tape and brushed inwards, repeating until I got about 80% coverage. No need to be a perfectionist here.  If you mess up you can always trim away bits of the fur with scissors.

 

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakes

 

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakesSTEP 4 // allow the paint to dry before combing and taping off the other half of the pillow.  Repeat the “painting” process.

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakes

 

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakesSTEP 5 // once completely dry, pull off your tape go! You now have a West Elm Souk inspired pillow.

I’ve been dying to try this process on a cheap faux fur rug, like this one, to fully replicate the Souk rug, but I just haven’t had the chance. Someone do it! Quick!

DIY Souk inspired pillow // brittanyMakes

 

Related Tutorials: Headboard // leather & gold pinwheel pillow

LoveB

 

 

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2014 Highlights

Hello! I hope everyone had a fantastic last few days celebrating with family and friends and loved ones. We had a great time making my son Zano’s first Christmas a joyful memory. Did you catch his Christmas outfit? I had that vest/pants combo planned for over a year! The best secret to clothing shopping for your kids is to shop the post season sales for the following years sizes #genius. Sadly this doesn’t really hold true once your an adult. Super bummer.

SO! It’s that time of year we get to reflect on ALL this year has brought; all the projects, all the memories, all the ups and downs.. This year was quite conflicting, it’s been a tough and rewarding year, and honestly I’m glad to see it go. We experienced life and loss. We bought our first home and helped others in their struggle to keep theirs. We reached career milestones only to realize the fight isn’t over. 2014, you’ve been quite the feisty lady, but it’s time to turn the page. But! Before we do so, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and check out all we’ve accomplished on the blog this past year:
The best thing we did to kick off the new year was finding out we were having a boy!

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Talk about highs and lows, it wasn’t much later I found out my identity was stolen

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Arguably the second highlight of the year was when we bought our first house! It’s tiny but mighty!

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I started working on the nursery beginning with a little DIY of course, a mobile and a potato stamped swaddle, a woven wall hanging from a bath mat! That one was your favorite :)

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All too quickly (actually the opposite!) the little bambino arrived! And I shared my birth story.

Summer quickly came and we hosted a s’more party thanks to The Home Depot and the Patio Redux Challenge.

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We were finally settling in to our new home also with a little help of sir DIY, our woven bench coffee table was quite a hit.

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It took 3 long months but we finally completed the first major renovation in our home: the kitchen! And boy did you guys love it.
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Not only did our kitchen get a makeover, our bedroom finally got a beautiful facelift!

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I feel like with that kitchen we finished the year off with a bang! We have grand plans for 2015, so let’s get the party started!

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Fringe Wall Hanging at Target!

Hello! I had to pop in today and share with you the new fringe wall hangings I spotted at Target! I really shouldn’t be surprised that, yes, Target has done it again. But I am! As I’ve learned, woven wall hanging’s aren’t for everyone, but I really do think they’re a beautiful art and look so good in almost any space. I love these two from the Nate Berkus line at Target, both are simple and sculptural, somewhat basic in palette, one being cream and the other (which is significantly more beautiful in person than in this image) has touches of metallic thread that really give off a lux vibe to what is traditionally known as a boho art piece.

Nate Berkus Fringe Wall Hangings // brittanyMakes

 

Metallic fringe wall hanging // cream fringe wall hanging

I know everyone’s gearing up for Christmas so I’ll make this post brief. Have a happy holidays everyone! If I don’t catch you before Christmas, enjoy every minute, listen to a lot of holiday music, laugh a lot, watch your favorite holiday movie a few times over, because before you know it it’s going to be over and we will all be stressing about the new year.

LoveB

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LAST MINUTE GIFTS FOR HIM & HER

I definitely waited for the last minute to post my last minute gift guide.  See what I did there? I unintentionally showed you just how much of a procrastinator I can be… Help! How do I prevent my son from inheriting my ‘wait until the last minute’ tenancies? Funny enough and in my greatest defense, I usually make my best decisions under pressure! Speaking of pressure, we only have 6 more days to shop for Christmas… Here’s what you need to finish off that shopping list of yours!

 

Last Minute Gift Guide! // brittanyMakes

// ONE I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent trying to get my husband to wear chukkas, as dapper as I tell him he’ll look, he still refuses.  These are the most affordable ones I’ve found, yet still look mighty handsome // TWO a very manly vest to do very manly things while wearing // THREE because the holidays wouldn’t be the same without a red buffalo check blanket // FOUR copper is a man’s metallic, any dude will look a 100x sexier poppin’ bottles with a copper opener // FIVE matching copper shaker is a must, naturally // SIX pour your manly drinks in these rigid and angular drinking glasses

Last Minute Gift Guide! // brittanyMakes

// ONE my favorite thing to wear every day lately is a heathered gray vest, it goes with everything! And this one is perfect! A little lux action with that fur hoodie // TWO trust me when I say every lady needs a gold wishbone paperweight // THREE Black + gold + NYC action? This sweater is so cute // FOUR get this stool for one of the ladies in your life (or yourself!) before they’re gone! // FIVE gold glitter satchel? you had me at hello // SIX blush pink is a year ’round staple, grab this leather tote while it’s on sale!

 LoveB

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