02/17/15

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

From the outside, it may seem like DIY bloggers have an endless supply of craft supplies, props, backdrops, etc. But that’s not always the case.

And even if it is, all of those things can really start to add up after a while. So, as a cost effective and easy solution to a handful of super common problems that you may come across when photographing your work, I have some tips for you.

Here are three tips / tricks for ‘making it work’ on a budget…

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

Fake it. Wishing you had a fancy kitchen? Me too. Contrary to what it may look like,  I do not have a marble slab countertop at my disposal for food photography and recipes. What I do have, however, is 2 ft long marble pastry slab (which you can get at Crate and Barrel) that I bought for $50 a year or two ago that I use ALL the time.

If you don’t have something similar to this at your house already, no worries. You can try a wood cutting board or even an old baking sheet, for a totally different look.

Cost to you for reusing your own kitchen supplies? Zero.

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

Remember, white means bright. Need a reflector? Use something white…This can be anything from a large piece of foam core to a white towel wrapped around a large picture frame. It really just depends on what you already have laying around your house. You can also use a white box, a piece of stretched canvas, etc. Pretty much anything white, that can be propped up, will work.

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

Dealing with imperfections. Are short ceilings, strange walls, or awkwardly placed electrical outlets getting in the way of your photographs? No worries! All it takes is a little creative cropping, while editing, and no one will ever know. Photoshop and Lightroom are both great for these types of fixes.

*If you’re wondering why I stacked a chair on top of a bench and took a photo, it’s because the ‘A’ was conveniently covering an ugly electrical hole in the wall, which was a little high. So I had to stack the chair on a bench to get it to the right height. It made sense at the time, I promise.

Okay, those are my three tips for making it work on a budget.

Have your own tips, tricks, and hacks to share? Leave a comment below.

02/13/15

6 Weekend DIYs to Try

This weekend, I’m finishing up my office makeover (mini sneak peek here). So there won’t be a whole lot of V-Day celebrating in my neck of the woods. Although I’m sure Jeff and I will have a chopstick cheers, at some point…Thai food on the couch, with a movie, anyone? 

But anyway, if you have some downtime over the weekend, and are up for a DIY or two, I have a handful of suggestions for ya. Here are 6 DIYs to try this weekend…

1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut Sandwiches

2. Giant Floral Typography Wall Art Project

3. DIY Hanging Flower Installation from Sugar & Cloth

4. Flower Crown DIY from Makers Society

5. ’Painted’ Pink + Red Cheerios for V-Day from Proper

6. DIY Lipstick Piñata from Studio DIY

Happy weekend!

-Brittni

02/12/15

Midcentury meets eclectic modern interior

As I get older, the space that Jeff and I call home is becoming more and more important to me. Not the location, necessarily, although that is important too, but the inside decorating that makes a place feel like ours. You know what I mean?

Of course, there are some pieces of furniture that we bring with us whenever we go, and that helps to make any space feel like ‘ours’. But there are a handful of things, unrelated to big furniture pieces, that are my go-tos for bringing personality to a new space. And with as many times as we’ve moved (8 different houses/apartments in 10 years), these tricks have become an absolute necessity for bringing our style to any home.

So, I’ve partnered with HP x360 #BendTheRules + Meghan Trainor “That Bass Tour” to share some tips for infusing your personal style into your home. But first, here’s what the space looked like before…

before-yellow-couch-in-empty-room

And here’s the after…

modern-ecelectic-living-room-yellow-couch

Alright, so let’s get down to business. Inspired by the 4 modes of the HP x360, here are 4 easy ways to bring your unique style to any space:

1. Add a Personal Touch: This one can be whatever you want it to be, really. Something as simple as bringing in an antique vase from your grandmother or more involved, like embroidering your initials onto your favorite blanket. Since I love geometric shapes, I hand stitched a triangle onto a corner of one of our blankets and added our initials. If that’s not something you’re into, try a simple phrase or word that has significance to you, an interesting design, etc.

Note: This DIY idea works really well on knit blankets, especially, because you can easily poke through the surface with a needle and thread and the hand stitched area won’t look out of place.

eclectic-modern-colorful-living-room-1

DIY Stitched Blanket Monogram

2. Play Around with Different Textures and Patterns: This is a super easy way to make your space feel inviting and completely ‘unstuffy’. Just grab some pillows, blankets, or even a floor pouf, in various textures and patterns. As long as you keep everything in a complimentary color palette (3-5 colors that you stick to for the textured pieces and patterns), you can mix and match until the cows come home.

Tip: Look for patterns and textures that reflect your person style. Ex: If you’re an earthy / boho kind of lady, search for irregular textured knits and kilim patterns. If you’re more of a modern / minimal type, look for patterns with straight lines or geometric shapes.

And as a DIY option, you can make your own DIY iron-on pattern pillows, like the linear black and white one in the photos.

Textured Floor Pouf

3. Bring the Outdoors In: Medium and large size plants take up a lot of visual space for not a lot of money (medium sized plants from a garden center start as low as $7 or 8) and it’s quick and easy. Bonus!

Just don’t forget, even something as simple as picking out plants for your home is an opportunity to show off your style. Ex: Are you always up on the latest DIY / decor trends? If so, a fiddle leaf fig tree or a giant cacti might be a good match. OR if you pride yourself in marching to the beat of your own drum, a lesser known plant (like –) would be a better option.

4. Add Quirky Artwork: This one may be number 4 on the list, but, next to furniture, it’s the most important part of a room. Does it need to be ‘quirky’ though?! Nope. Sure doesn’t. But you know I like strange artwork (Exhibit A: mustache man painting from my blanket ladder DIY). So, I had to toss it in there.

Artwork adds depth and interest to any space and can also make a room feel more comfortable and cozy. Much more so than just a blank wall. But having artwork isn’t enough – finding a piece that speaks to you is the most important part. Search for a print, painting, or photo that you love and you’re golden. You can even DIY your own.

AND you don’t have to put holes in the wall either (unless you want to). Just grab some colorful washi tape to hang prints without leaving any marks behind. Or, even easier yet, rest artwork against a wall, in varying sizes for a more relaxed look and feel.

Hang artwork with washi tape to avoid putting holes in the wall.

Okay, so now that you’ve covered your bases with these 4 tips, you’re well on your way to cozying up on the couch in style…Or snuggling up on the floor with your laptop, like I’ve been doing lately.

Speaking of which… I’ve been trying to get away from my desk more lately, for an occasional change of scenery. Do you ever do this? So, I’ve been doing a lot of my computer work on the couch, when I need a break. And since I’ve been trying out the HP Pavilion x360, I find myself moving around the house a lot more because there are 4 modes (notebook/laptop, tablet, stand, and tent) that I can convert to, depending on where I am or what I’m doing. Laptop mode for emails, tent mode for browsing the web, etc. I probably use the laptop mode most (endlessly responding to emails from the couch). But I think either the tablet or tent mode is my fave because, let’s face it, I like the touchscreen.

See all four modes here, along with more info on HP + Meghan Trainor’s ”That Bass Tour” and episodes from the fan generated documentary being created using the HP x360 Convertible PC.

Working through breakfast with the HP x360

4 Ways to Add Your (Unique) Style to Any Space

Pink and Lilac Accessories

Working from the couch.

Honeycomb Studio + Heath Ceramics Accessories

Midcentury meets eclectic modern

Photography by Heidi Geldhauser
Art Direction + Styling by Brittni Mehlhoff

What ways do you bring your personality into your home? Have any of your own tips to share?

This post is in partnership with HP. Be sure to follow along with the Meghan Trainor tour by watching Behind The Scenes episodes or following @HP for updates. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Paper & Stitch running.