Easy On the Wallet “Artwork”

By | Haus Hacks | 4 Comments

As I’m decorating my house, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can no longer ignore my virgin walls, which are desperate for the attention of decor-boosting artwork. And because my current inventory of artwork consists of strictly cheap Marilyn Monroe posters, there’s not much lovin’ I can give. By the way, the Marilyn Monroe posters are going in the first ever (I could say “first annual” and drive some of you A-types crazy) yard sale the third week in June. Mark your calendars!

The annoying thing about artwork is that it costs money, and for the good stuff, an annoying amount of money. So yep, you guessed it. I’ve been cutting artwork budget corners in a way that makes misers cheer and keeps starving artists starving. I have done a variety of things to keep costs down, such as ripping off existing prints by just copying the design (which I won’t publish an example here for fear of a government copyright whooping… yea I’m paranoid like that.)

Another fun idea is cutting leaves off a green plant and smooshing the leaves up against the glass, as shown in an earlier photo of my bathroom below.

Emily Snuffer

And then there’s always the go-to “put the fabric in the frame” option. That idea showed up in this bathroom mood board from awhile back.

My next adventure was creating more personalized artwork. I have been lusting over the Carter Kustera for Jonathan Adler custom prints, which are so far out of my price range it’s hilarious, so rather than cry about my not-so-unhappy unhappy life, I decided to try it myself. The first batch I made for my mom for Mother’s Day which are a little more “safe zone” than the Carter Kustera silhouettes, but still really nice.

Here’s what I did:

1.) Grab your silhouette victim – pet, friend, neighbor, partner, whatever

2.) Have them stand / sit in front of a bright light (like the window or a lamp) with the photographer (you) facing them and the bright light

3.) Take the photo – the crisper the better so take it either early in the morning or late in the day (5 – 7 p.m.) to get the best light and clearest resolution… no flash!

Your photos should look something like this. My victims were Aaron, Suge and Biggie.

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

Don’t you dig my pajama pants? Those are from the Delia’s catalog, circa 1999. Oh yea.

4.) Choose your frame and decide what size you want your head to be. In smaller frames, go with a smaller silhouette size than you’re comfortable with. It’ll fit the space a tad better and look like more of a display piece.

Ok, now comes the part where you can choose your own adventure.

5a.) Adventure #1 – If you’re a Photoshop smarty or have a Photoshop smarty friend, have them outline the head and mask in black for you. Easy peasy. (This is the route I took because I just happen to have a Photoshop smarty as a boyfriend.)

5b.)  Adventure #2 – If you’re a lot less Photoshop inclined, trace the head outline on white card stock, then color in your silhouette. Next, use small scissors (I have a small nail scissors on hand just for this occasion) to make your cuts along the outline. I like this option a little better because it looks a little crafty and custom made.

Here’s how my silhouettes looked at this point:

Emily Snuffer

(I love these three side-by-side. It looks like an evolution of man poster.)

6.) Print your silhouette at the size you picked. Home printer is fine. I wanted my silhouettes a little more glossy this time around, so I took my files to Walgreens Photo Center to get the glossy finish.

7.) Affix your silhouette to the paper. I chose a slightly raised foam sticky button to make my silhouettes pop off the paper, which I found at Michael’s.

8.) Enjoy your finished product!

Since my silhouette project was for Mother’s Day, I chose to feature her two grand-dogs. The background is very crazy in these – it was taken at the bachelorette party.

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

I’d love to hear if anyone takes on this project too, or if you have already and have some good tips / ideas.

– emily

P/S: My mom loved the gift!

Bachelorette Party Pictures

By | Random | 4 Comments

This past weekend I hosted my best friend Alicia’s bachelorette party. As many of you read about or saw from the mood board post last week, I was determined to plan a non-traditional, cute and crafty party, void of mass-produced decorations and plastic male parts. The outcome was a very sweet and sincere party decor theme. And the party itself turned out well too. I was a bit disappointed attendance was low (ten people versus the 20 we were expecting) but it’s hard to miss strangers when your best friends and fellow bridesmaids were there in attendance. And… I got to see the bride’s mother do a Jell-o shot. Score! She was such a great sport. Also, please know that I had a huge amount of help from my other best friend, Andrea and my mother, who took the day off to get the party together with us.

Planning the decor for the party, I was sure to follow these rules:

  • Be monochromatic – this one was hard, but I tried to stick to my “pink only” rule. When you’re planning a party in a complex, already-decorated space (in this case, the lake house) the only way to get true impact is if you introduce a single color to the space. I had to make some concessions as supplies allowed, but it was a very pink party. (I am totally crushing on the color pink now.)
  • Invite your guests into the theme – all of the bridesmaids and the bride wore pink, which makes for awesome pictures. I love that Debbie (bride’s mother) and Marlene (Alicia’s future MIL) wore pink too.
  • Try to DIY everything – I made as many elements myself as I could – the cupcake pennant flags, bride’s sash and banners. Paper poufs were assembled by Andrea and I, but came from a couple Martha Stewart kits. The centerpieces were DIY’ed by my mom (pictures in this post!).
  • Avoid the “bachelorette party” section at the party store – by doing this, you are forced to become more creative and less cheesy. It also saves you from buying those mass-produced “go-to” party items like blinking buttons and tiaras. We incorporated “summer party” decorations like paper lanterns and flower confetti.
  • Incorporate natural elements – We used burlap, dyed yarn gerber daisies and paper throughout the decor to make things look crafty and less-store bought.
  • Pay attention to detail – This rule is my favorite. Even though it will drive your decorating partner nuts (ahem Andrea) take extra time to add in personality and creativity to every single item. For example, the party favors were wrapped in 1970’s pattern paper from women’s clothing patterns I found on eBay. We also did a custom cocktail, after the groom’s convenient last name. The “pay attention to detail” rule is also how I incorporated some male body part decorations. You’ll have to see if you notice any in the following pics. I took a very “under the radar” approach.
  • Customize, customize, customize – it was very important to me to include elements that would be a part of only Alicia’s bachelorette party so she could have a unique experience. A good example of this is the “Honeymoon Tips” game. Because both her mother and future-MIL attended, I wanted to give her control over anything embarrassing so she would feel comfortable. The Honeymoon Tips game involved the party attendees offering up tips and advice for the upcoming honeymoon, which they then rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being something like “wear sunscreen” and 10 being “censored for this post.” Alicia could then choose, at her discretion, which rating(s) (the tips themselves were concealed)  she would read off to the crowd. I think it turned out well and there were some hilarious tips, which I’ve included pictures of below.
I will quit yammering because I know you are wanting to see the pictures! I took lots but here are some of my favorites:
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For more photos of the day, visit my Flickr page here.
Enjoy! And if anyone is planning a party, I have lots of supplies to lend out!
– emily

Places I’ve Come To Fear The Most

By | Covington House | One Comment

In order to optimize your reader experience, you must hum Dashboard Confessional’s “Places You Have Come To Fear the Most” in your head while reading this post. Don’t make me post the music video!

Lately I’ve been turning my attention to the areas of my house that are not so camera ready, rather than tweaking / re-painting / re-fixing some of the areas of my house (black room, bathroom, white room) that are looking pretty good. Usually my home improvement projects and their chaotic order of importance puzzle me but this time it’s crystal clear – there are some areas I have avoided because I am unsure, uninspired and somewhat fearful of what lies ahead. These areas are the kitchen, the laundry room and my bedroom, all of which I have avoided for one of the three reasons above.

Let’s start with the kitchen.
Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

I struggle with this kitchen daily. Let’s whine about this kitchen in an organized fashion:

  • The cabinets bother me. Did you know the trim is hunter green? At least once during a party I’m hosting someone asks passively aggressively, “Uhmm, what are you going to do with that trim?” Answer – I have no idea.
  • White appliances look a little “value priced” but are actually quite nice and still young at only 3 years old.
  • The cheap-o sink. I’d love a white ceramic one.
  • Marilyn Monroe art work – Not original, not interesting. Very “I bought this at Target.” Which I did.
But to end on a positive, I love that it looks clean and clutter-free and while the form / size of the cabinets isn’t working, I do think they pop nicely off the black. It also looks great with my table and chairs. The kitchen counters also follow an important rule in kitchen living – do NOT keep anything on the counter you don’t use every single day. I put things in bold that I think are very important. Same counter rule goes for bathrooms. I would love to do an open shelving concept, like this or this or this or this, using 4-5 white shelves that span the length of both walls and meet in the corner. Dishes would be white and groceries / baking supplies could be easily hidden with large rattan baskets or colorful tin bins. The bottom row of cabinets would be painted either a muddy yellow or light grey. The opportunities are endless and something I could execute myself. I am fearful of this idea because I will not be in the Holman house forever (sob) and I’m sure any future residents would appreciate some cabinets.

On to the laundry room. This one falls in the unmotivated category.

Emily Snuffer

To get you grounded in where this is in my house, I am at my kitchen table looking into the laundry room taking this shot. The fridge is just to the left of the laundry room entry. Before I get on to all of the negatives, can I just say how nice it is to have a first floor laundry? It was on the “must have” list when I was house hunting. Or rather, a “non-basement” laundry room or “non-out house” laundry room because I saw it all when I was out looking.

Now for what’s not so great:

  • Lack of storage – everything is stored here from pee pads to dog toys to dirty laundry pile. It would be nice to keep everything neat and concealed
  • Exposed hook-ups – I hate that everyone can see those! They are an eyesore, even though I try to keep them clean and gunk free
  • Wine bottles – I took a tip from my college days when I decided to put those there, probably because the trash bin was full and I was too lazy to go outside to empty the bin. Seriously. They are terrible. And dusty. Another rule – You are only allowed to display empty bottles of alcohol if you are under 22 years old. Julie, I am talking to you.
  • Cabinets – Again, they are blah.
The plan here is to come up with an affordable solution, as well as an overall design that is as pretty as it is functional. It is a laundry room, after all. I have tackled the hook-up eyesore situation with materials I had from another project, so I’ll share those pictures soon. I still need to come up with a fun solution for above the cabinets as well as the cabinets themselves.
And last, but certainly at the top of my high-anxiety list is my bedroom. This one falls into the “uninspired” category.
Emily Snuffer
If this photo looks familiar, it’s because it, and the rest of my house, was voted on 381 times in the Apartment Therapy contest. Wow, that was boastful! (Update on contest – I did not win, or even get top 10, but I was #11 out of 31 in my category which I consider pretty cool. Oh, and that I was 1 of 189 people that were picked out of a many more entries to even compete in the contest. I gained lots of readers, some online fellow DIY-ers and blog traffic which is totally worth the time and Facebook begging. Thank you so much to those who went out there and supported me via a vote as I continue on this semi-new blogging / decorating adventure. It really means a lot.)
Back to the bedroom. The room is not complete. I need furniture, curtains, new flooring and just general accessories. The problem is I can’t even think of what direction I want to go in. Not one single thought or inspiration. I need help. And as much as Ikea tempts me, I am avoiding it’s cute, affordable furnishings. I want items that are original, sturdy and maybe I’ll venture down that vintage road. So if I’m at dinner with you and I randomly ask you what’s your favorite color / pattern / texture combo, just go along with it.
That sums it up. If this post was titled, “Places I’ve come to cry about the most” then I would have also included my outside spaces like porch, patio and garden, which are also ready for some improvement love.
If I sound like I’m whining about a not-to0-dire situation, I am sorry. I know I am being dramatic. But just know that deep down I am excited to have all of these projects to think about and write about. Things would be much worse around here if my house was beautiful and on the cover of Elle Decor. Seriously. Then I wouldn’t have anything to do!
Also… today is Aaron’s birthday. I am so excited to bestow lots of gifts upon him.
– emily

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