quieting the house

I couldn’t take it any longer.

There was just too much stuff cluttering up the visual space in our home. I’m in a weird spot in my emotional life – deeply craving light and calm, direction and needing a deep exhale – and it has translated into this crazy lady pulling off and packing up every accessory just to let the house (and me) breathe a little.

plants

My friend Myquellyn calls it Quieting The House.  By removing all of the stuff (the accessories, pillows, picture frames, cute things!) it reduces visual distractions, clutter and loudness that I just need gone right now. I’m an accessory lover, but sometimes it gets out of control and quieting the house becomes necessary to help figure out what I like, what is just there for the sake of being there, what works, what doesn’t and why I insist on putting so many pillows on the couch.

So this past weekend, I shushed the house. Mostly just the living room and entry/hallways. The kitchen is next.

Here was the entry being all LOUD:

entry-loud

And here it is QUIET:

entry-quiet

Here’s the living room LOUD:

living-room-loud

And QUIET:

living-room-quiet

It’s looking a bit sparse and blah – and maybe like we’re packing up to move – so eventually accessories will be brought back in and curtains will be hung and the shelves will be re-styled. We’ll probably move some furniture around.

living-couch-quiet

But for now, it’s sort of refreshing.

hallway-quiet

By getting rid of all of the stuff, I can see each space for what it is and assess what we can do to make it work better for our family.  One thing we’ve noticed is how dark the walls feel. They are a light-ish neutral, but the paint is 8 years old and looking a little rough and it’s probably time to put on a fresh coat of paint. White. Everywhere, white. And that carpet. Oh how we want to pull it up! Hopefully soon.

dining-table-covered

For now, I have a chair-less dining room with stacks and bins of stuff that may or may not make its way back into our lives.

Shhhhhh … quieting the house is good for the soul.

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a fresh start for the school year (new paper works collection)

Are you looking for a new way to stay organized this fall?

Now that the summer is winding down, vacations have been taken and routines are on their way back, right now is the perfect time to set new habits to make your life easier.

pw-sept-close

Paper Works is our super helpful monthly club with stylish designs made to keep you organized and I’d love for you to give it a try!

pw-sept-styled

Each month, nearly a thousand households use Paper Works to keep their families on task, meals planned and hand-written notes written.

pw-sept-notes

The designs are new each month and that makes Paper Works fun to receive and enjoyable to use (which is precisely the point, right?!).

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As a paper works member, you get a new set of original designs each month.

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Included each month:
month calendar*
weekly calendar*
daily planner
dinner menu*
weekly menu*
grocery & shopping lists*
dailies chart*
chore charts*
original art print
note cards*
wallpapers for desktop, iphone, ipad
surprise extras

Simply open the pdf files and print on your favorite paper. Items with an * are editable, which means you can type directly on them before printing. This works great for general chores, recurring events on the calendar or regular monthly meals and especially if you don’t love your handwriting.

Each month we also add in a few surprise extras. This month, enjoy these fill-in-the-blank notes to school and mini lunch box notes to pop into the lunchbox before sending your children or husband off for the day.

  note-to-school-close

lunch-notes

You also receive an original 8×10 art print in your collection and this month’s is so good:

pw-sept-art

There are two options for Paper Works and you can choose what works best for you:

choose-and-try

paper works print at home // you have access to all pdf files and can print as many as you need. Try it for free for 7 days to make sure it works for you! $9.99/month

paper works printed for you // receive a professionally printed package of your monthly goods. You also have access to all pdf files. This is perfect if you want to have everything at your fingertips ready for instant use. $29.99/month

Once you become a member, simply log in to your account and the next collection will be available to download on the 25th of the month. As long as you are an active member, you keep access to all previous months and can come back any time to reprint the art prints or note cards or whatever you love.

For all of the details and many more images, click here.

try-today

(P.S. Paper Works members … the new September collection is in your account! Log in here to download and print)

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how I edit iphone photos for instagram

My iphone is like an extension of my arm – it’s by my side at nearly all times of day (and night). I love it for texting and checking the weather and asking siri important questions like ‘how many days until …?’ (asked by a certain second born who is slightly excited about his upcoming birthday) and watching cute youtube videos like this one and this.

Most of all, I love it for the camera.

Admittedly, an iphone does not take the same quality of photos as a real camera, but the fact that it is always with me, easy to use and quick to capture everyday moments works out just fine for me. It is fun to practice photography with my phone – looking for interesting angles or composition or finding the right light – and sharing those photos on instagram is a favorite, too.

I almost always do some editing before posting to instagram (I like a slightly dreamy, washed out look) and thought I’d show you what that looks like.

raw-and-edited-instagram

We’ll use this photo taken yesterday of a piece of my mom’s blackberry pie (yum).

Here it is straight from the camera:

blackberry-pie-raw

It’s a nice photo and could probably be used as is. But running it through some photo apps gives it just the right amount of artsy-ness to make it a little more visually appealing.

I use the standard camera app to take photos and then edit through Afterlight – a simple to use $.99 photo editing app.

editing-photos-1

I begin by opening Afterlight and bringing in the photo from my photo stream.

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I brighten slightly, add a bit more contrast and occasionally bring the sharpening up slightly as well.

editing-photos-3

Next (here’s the most important step) I choose the guest filters and then the Russ filter to get the dreamy/washed out look I like. You can change the opacity to adjust how strongly the filter is applied. Once I like the look, click the check mark to save.

Instagram is set up as square photos, so sometimes I use the crop tool to cut the photo into a square before posting.

Sometimes a photo just looks better with it’s original rectangular proportions, so I like to add borders to get the square size without cropping the photo. To do this, I click on the borders icon, and then Original.

editing-photos-4

Next I click on the side borders and it will automatically turn the photo into a square with white margins. Click the check mark to save.

Once finished editing, I click the Done button at the top right and then save as a small image to my camera roll. I like to save a copy to my photos and post to instagram from the IG app, but you could also just click on the instagram icon from Afterlight to post. Your choice.

And here is the final edited image:

edited-blackberry-pie

Just those few simple steps really give an average photo a fancier look!

Here are a few more before & afters to see the subtle, but pretty difference editing makes:

office-desk

audrey-kitchen

concessions

laundry-room

swimsuit

africa-shopping

be-strong

peony

Hope this is helpful in making your photos more beautiful!

RESOURCES:

afterlight

SnapShop iphone course (I took this course last year and it was so good! If you want help learning how to compose interesting images, play with settings, learn more about editing and fun photography tools, Ashley teaches it perfectly. Learn more about her excellent photography courses here).

See my instagram feed here.

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