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A free source for great photo artwork

Last week I hung the first artwork in our oldest son’s room.

You might remember when we shared the design board he and I created for his room. Poor kid has been waiting (rather patiently) for his mother to step up her decorating-a-teen’s-room game and pull it all together. This artwork was a move in the right direction.

He wants his room to feel cozy and Northwest-y and when I came across this photo of evergreens, a lake, snow-capped mountains in the back, I knew he would love it.

Here’s the best part: the artwork was free! 

Have you heard of UNSPLASH? It is an online resource with amazing hi-resolution photography that you can download and use for free. Photographers from all over the world contribute their work – there are over 200,000 photos of anything and everything you can think of.

Unsplash was originally created as a resource for stock photography for websites (think things like styled desks, moody coffee houses, close-ups of tools, etc.) and has grown into a massive library and community of generous photographers.

While searching through images, I came across this photograph which felt perfect for Ethan’s room. The great thing about these photos is that they are not just for web use, but they can be printed as well.

I downloaded the photograph and ordered a 20″x30″ print from Costco. It was done the next day and I paid $9.99 for the print. We had an extra frame from IKEA in our stash of frames, which worked perfectly. It was just slightly smaller than the print, so I trimmed it down and popped it in.

You can’t really tell unless you look very close but the image is a little pixelated – just something to be aware of if you print large-scale like I did.

There are literally thousands of photographs to choose from on Unsplash. Here are a few of my faves:

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And here is the one I used for Ethan’s room:

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How great are those?! I could spend way too much time looking through and imagining where I could put more photographs around the house.

Thanks to the talented photographers who share their work with all of us :)

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How to create pom pom garlands (like the ones on our porch swing)

We’ve been spending a lot of time out on the front porch this summer which means I’ve been showing more photos of it. And in nearly every one of those photos is the porch swing with pom pom garland draped above.

I mean, how adorable are those girls?! But the questions and comments I most receive when showing the porch swing is “where is the pom pom garland from?“.

And so, here I am today to tell you.

The garland was originally made for a Christmas decoration, but I ended up liking them so much, they’ve become a year-round decoration. They are super easy to make, the supplies are minimal and you can just flip on your favorite show and keep your hands busy creating.

Here is how to make a simple diy pom pom garland.

To start, gather your supplies:

pom-pom-supplies

chunky yarn (about 3 rolls) / pom pom makers (2 sizes) / embroidery thread / upholstery needle / scissors

HOW TO MAKE THE POM POMS

wrap-yarn-for-pom Open up the pom pom maker and wrap the yarn round and round the first side. The more your wrap, the fuller your pom pom will be.

Once the first side is full, string your yarn across to the other side and wrap.

cut-pom-maker

Fold the sides in together and trim through the center ‘trough’ to cut the yarn. Make sure you keep the pom pom maker closed so you don’t loose all that yarn!

Next, cut a piece of yarn just a little bit longer than the circumference of the pom pom maker. This will be used to wrap around the center to hold the pom together.

tie-pom-and-pull-apart

Tie the piece of yarn around the center of the pom maker, extra tight.

Now pull apart the pom maker and your pom pom is free.

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Trim long pieces of yarn and fluff.

Continue this process a bunch of times until you have a big, gorgeous, fluffy pile of pom poms.

HOW TO MAKE SMALL POM POM GARLAND

cut-string-for-garland

Cut a piece of yarn to desired finished length of the garland.

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Thread needle with embroidery thread in a color that matches your yarn. You don’t necessarily want to see the thread. Knot one end a few times to make a thick knot.

Place the poms where you want them on the garland, poke the needle through the center of the pom (so it catches the knotted piece that holds it all together) and stitch into place.

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You can stitch a few times back and forth to make sure the pom is secure

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In between poms, run the needle through the center of the yarn, then stitch on the next pom. This just allows you to use one continuous piece of embroidery thread instead of tying off knots, trimming and starting again with each pom.

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Then hang anywhere and everywhere!

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TO MAKE THE LARGE POM POM GARLAND

how-to-make-a-pom-pom-garland

Start by making large poms using this pom maker (3 3/8″). The big pom poms take much more yarn to make, so grab an extra roll of yarn just to be sure.

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Cut three long pieces of yarn in desired finished length and tie knot in top. Tape to tabletop to hold in place.

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Loosely braid the yarn and knot the end. This will give you a more substantial garland to stitch the poms onto.

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Thread your needle with the same embroidery thread, knotting a few times at the end to catch. Now run the needle through the center of the pom (trying to grab onto the center string that ties it all up).

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Stitch onto braided yarn (a few stitches to hold securely).

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You can knot, cut the thread and start again with the next pom, or in between poms, run the needle through the center of the braid, then stitch on the next pom in desired spacing.

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Isn’t it fantastic?

I went on a spree a few Christmases ago making a bunch of these garlands after seeing them hanging in my friend Erica’s house when I took photos for a Coastal Christmas house tour:

I made a bunch of my own and they’ve made their rounds, first at our old house, and now at the new.

The garland looked sweet hanging from the shelves in my old office (see lots more of that room here).

small-pom-garland-on-shelf Remember our old cottage kitchen? It was so light and pretty. The big bummer about it was that we looked out our kitchen window directly at the side of our neighbor’s house and so I put up the pom pom garlands to distract my eye from looking much beyond.

At Christmas, I made a few and hung them in the windows with beaded garland and a boxwood wreath in the center. It was so pretty and gave the window Christmas spirit without being bold and colorful.

I liked the garlands on the window so much that after christmas, I pulled off the beaded garlands and the wreath and left up the poms.

And then in February, I moved them over to the diy chalkboard as birthday decoration for our son.

chalkboard-birthday-pom-pom-banner And now, here they are on the porch swing. I don’t actually remember why I put them up outside? I must have done it when we were moving and I came across the pom pom garlands and didn’t know where else to put them so I tied them up to the chain. I didn’t intend to leave them there, but they add such a whimsical touch, so I guess I’ll just leave them.

Making a pom pom garland is just about as simple of a craft project as they come. I love how they add subtle texture to any space and look great year round. Go ahead, my crafty friends, and make a few pom pom garlands for your home!

pom-pom-garland-by-jones-design-company

(Pin it and save for later!)

Enjoy!

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Such a breathtaking before and after (a farmhouse kitchen)

You guys are going to love today’s post.

We went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for lunch this weekend. For the past year, Eric and Jess have been completely renovating a little 1960’s lake house that was in desperate need of some updating. Besides living in the house as they fix it up, they also have the sweetest almost two year old (I can not get enough of her) and Jess is due any day with a baby boy. The house is still a work in progress, but they’ve made big steps forward in the past few weeks.

When we came by for lunch, we were so impressed by how great the kitchen turned out!

Just to give you a feel for how far they’ve come, here’s a pretty amazing before shot:

Impressive, right?!

We ate a delicious lunch, the kids played on the lake and then Jess casually mentioned that they wanted me to style the shelves. I jumped at the chance because 1. anything I can do to help a pregnant mama feel like her home is in order, I’m in and 2. I love styling shelves (Ryan has a great eye for it, too).

The open shelves were recent additions and dishes and glassware were just thrown up there to get them off the counter. The haphazard organization and clutter both on the shelves and countertop was bugging both Eric and Jess, so it was time to add some order.

The risk with having open shelves in the kitchen is that they can look messy pretty easily.

The great news is that with a bit of intention, you can reorganize the shelves, group like items together, keeping the color palette simple and enjoy the casual look of open shelves without the clutter.

We started by taking everything off the shelves, reassessing and creating zones; everyday dishes grouped on one side of the stove, drinking glasses on the other, pantry-ish items next to the fridge.

The items that are most used are on the lowest shelves and least used are at the very top. To keep things minimal and cohesive, we kept to just plain white dishes and clear glass. The colorful coffee mugs and Ellie’s sippy cups live in lower cabinets out of view, but are still easily accessible.

Once the shelves were styled, we cleaned up the countertops, too. Some countertop essentials stayed – a jar with cooking utensils, olive oil, salt and pepper, bowl of fruit, coffee maker, coffee pods, blender and mixer. Everything else found new homes in the drawers and cabinets. Clearing off the counters made the small kitchen look so spacious!

After we were done, I couldn’t help myself and snapped a bunch of photos. It is such a charming kitchen.

Okay, now for the fun part … before and afters.

The sink and window placement stayed, but is looking so much brighter with the removal of the upper cabinets (and wall oven):

The stove/oven and hood received a big update:

Here’s a full shot to give a better feel for the size. It’s a small footprint, but Eric and Jess have done an amazing job of optimizing the layout to make the most of the space.

What a fabulous transformation.

SOURCES

Cabinets – IKEA
Pulls – IKEA
Counters – quartz
Floor – Shaw Floorte (luxury vinyl flooring)
Shelves – TRM Lumber Cedar
Brackets – Rockler Woodworking steel bracket
Wall Color – White Moderne, by Behr
Light – Gooseneck Barn Light

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Updates to the Studio just in time for summer

The last time I showed you the studio, the desks had just been finished and it was styled with hints of pink for spring.

Since then, I have added a few new pieces of furniture and switched out the pink for summery blues so it felt like a good time to do an updated studio tour.

Classic Summer Studio Tour In case you missed any of the previous posts about this space, here is the before and after and this was the initial design plan. When we bought the house last fall, this room was just an unfinished storage area above the garage. We decided it would be the perfect spot for a home office and creative studio.

It is such a treat to have this big, bright room as an extension of the house. I am up here everyday either working or doing a barre workout (more on that soon), and now that there is a big work table in here, it will be used even more.

Summer Studio Tour The big work table is actually our dining table (seen here in our old dining room). We bought it over 10 years ago at the Restoration Hardware outlet store and I still love its classic style. Instead of using the table in the formal dining room in the house, we decided we really didn’t need it there and we have plans to remove the wall separating the dining and kitchen, so the table won’t be needed once that happens. It was not an easy task to move this massive, heavy table up the skinny staircase, but we did it and it’s such a nice addition to the studio.

Summer Studio desk space The table sat up in the studio for a couple of months without any seating while I figured out what I wanted. Individual chairs would have been the obvious choice. It just seemed like having 10 extra chairs would feel really busy in room that already has a lot going on in it.

Instead, I scoured the internet for inexpensive, simple benches that could hold two people comfortably and fit the width of the table.

summer studio tour work table and benches After lots of searching, I ended up ordering four upholstered benches from Target during a sale (you can also find them here for a great deal). I wasn’t totally sold on the nailhead trim (maybe too busy with everything else?) but I planned on making simple slipcovers to make for easy washing anyway, so I went ahead and bought them. They arrived over Memorial Day weekend, I talked my 9 year old into helping me put them together and now that they’re in, I’m so happy with how they look, feel and function.

work table and benches Perhaps my favorite thing about the benches is that they can be pushed in under the table to keep the floor open and visually disappear.

built in desks The rug is another recent addition. Originally, I had my eye on this plaid flatweave rug from Rejuvenation. I just didn’t have room in our budget to spend $799 on a rug (FYI, the rug is now on major clearance and had I known, maybe I would have waited a little longer before choosing a different rug!).

studio work space and desks desk | desktop | pulls | chair | benches | blanket | rug

Instead, I found this cotton rug from Home Depot and waited for it to go on sale. The size of this one is a little bigger than the average 8×10 and fits under the table perfectly. It is a flatweave with stamped design. I didn’t use a rug pad under because the table holds it down just fine, but it is recommended, so keep that in mind if you order for your home.

summer studio tour computer desk shelves  | blue vaseribbon | linen files | stapler + tape | chair | throw | lamp

To add in a summery feel, the spring pink accessories were put away and switched out for pretty blues.

built out studio space for summer This is one reason I like decorating with neutrals so much; it makes decorating for the seasons so easy.

Starting with a simple palette of white, natural wood, brass and those handsome leather chairs means I can switch out a throw blanket, add a vase or candle, a few notecards and artwork and change the feel of space.

summer styled shelves shelves | linen file box | basket | Q&A book | She Reads Truth

summer styled work desk I’m so fickle about color and can’t commit to living with any one color for longer than a few months, so keeping things mainly neutral with just a few touches of color keeps me feeling creative.

desk and shelf summer styled details computer on desk summer flowers art and peonies Not much has changed on the other side of the room. The reading area is a favorite spot with that sweet light, cozy chair and bright natural light. There are window boxes right outside each dormer window that add extra cottage charm.

studio reading area lightchair | table | rug | pillow | floor lamp

I still have a few more projects to complete over on this side – a diy white board and extra storage. We’re hoping to finish up those in the next week or so and you know I’ll share details along the way :)

studio plant string of pearls My #plantlady obsession is going strong in the studio. Our house does not get great natural light, but the studio does, so the plants seem to thrive up here.

Perhaps my favorite summery touch is this little wooden bowl I bought in Rwanda holding a bit of stolen sand from my favorite beach in Seaside, Florida.

sand in bowl After taking all of the photos, I had a few minutes to spare before the kids came home from school and filmed a quick studio video tour. Now, fair warning, I talk with my hands and was only holding the camera with one hand while the other was flying about. Therefore, the video is a bit shaky. But it shows how the room works together AND you get to see all the unfinished, messy parts that don’t make it into photos :)

I hope you enjoyed the tour!

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How to get the look of graphic cement tile (for much less)

As promised, I’ll show you the steps for creating the look of graphic cement tile, for much less.

Off the entry of our house is a quiet living room. One thing we loved so much about this new house was the potential for impactful updates that didn’t cost a fortune. This room is a great example. With the help of paint, we’ve created an updated space that works with our modern/traditional style and sets the tone for the rest of the house.

The biggest impact in the room is undoubtedly the graphic fireplace tile.

We have long-terms plans to change up the whole facade of the fireplace, which left me with an almost risk-free freedom to try something completely crazy to give the fireplace a much-needed facelift. If it was a total flop, no big deal. We’ll likely pull it all out eventually anyway. Sometimes I just need creative license to try something new and the fireplace was the perfect canvas.

Before we get into the how-tos, let’s look at the before and after:

Ah, I love a good transformation!

The tile is a little crazy, I’ll admit. And yet, it feels so fresh and happy, and that makes it worth it.

If you have a space in your home (a fireplace surround, backsplash, floor) that needs an inexpensive update, perhaps this how-to will give you just the inspiration you need.

Gorgeous graphic cement tile has been a trend in home design for the past few years and it just keeps growing. While I could have just purchased tiles to replace the granite tile on our fireplace, I wasn’t excited about spending a bunch of money on an update that might not stay longterm. So rather than buy, I turned to my DIY ways and decided to just paint the surround to look like cement tile. And I’d say it worked!

To get started, I had to select a pattern. A quick search on Pinterest offered so many gorgeous examples. I looked through photos and tile companies until I found a pattern that I met my two criteria: 1. I could live with the pattern and 2. The pattern could be easily replicated and handpainted.

After narrowing it down to a couple of finalists, I decided on this pattern from a company called Tabarka Studio. I loved the simplicity, the handpainted feel and it seemed like a very simple pattern to paint.

The trickiest part was figuring out the math to make the pattern perfect.

The tiles on our fireplace are 12″ x 6″ rectangles, but I figured I could fake them into 6″ x 6″ tiles. I used a piece of grid paper, a ruler and pencil to find the correct proportions and then painted a few samples to give it a try.

DOWNLOAD MY TEMPLATE BELOW

With my pattern selected, I started in on the fireplace makeover.

STEP ONE | Clean the tile to remove any dirt, soot, etc.

I just used dish soap, an old scrub brush, and a magic eraser.

STEP TWO | Paint tile with primer

For the base coat, I used basic Zinsser Primer, taping off the carpet and around the mantle first.

With just that first coat of primer on there, I knew this was going to be a good choice. I taped up my paper samples just to make sure I loved the pattern, the scale, and figure out placement.

STEP THREE | Paint the base coat

I could have used two or three coats of primer, but the white was a bit stark for our house. Instead, I pulled out extra flat ceiling paint (Shoji White, by Benjamin Moore) which has a much creamier, warmer undertone.

STEP FOUR | Draw the pattern

Using a ruler and pencil, I first marked the tiles into 6″ squares (just drew a line in the center of each 12″ tile). On every tile I made small marks in equal increments along all sides and connected the lines, alternating the diagonal direction.

(That sounds super confusing. Sorry. I explain the pattern making process in the template pdf. Download below.

Penciling in the pattern was the most labor-intensive step. It took a few hours (maybe 4 or 5? split between a few evenings) and I just popped in my headphones and listened to a book or podcast.

STEP FIVE | Paint the pattern

Using a 1/2″ flat artist’s brush, paint between the lines. This part doesn’t have to be perfect – in fact, one of the things I love the most about the inspiration tile is how imperfect and handpainted it looks.

For paint, I used black chalkboard paint. My main reason was that I was hoping to get that dusty, slightly aged look (see below for more on that) and didn’t want any sheen.

Painting was much faster than marking the pattern. The first coat took about 2 hours.

The tile would have been fine with one coat, but it was a little more transparent and the brush strokes were slightly more visible than I wanted, so I went back over with a second coat.

You can see the difference between one and two coats above, and the finished fireplace below.

FULL DISCLOSURE: 

Our chimney has a small water leak that has caused the paint to bubble. I started the project earlier this winter and only got so far as painting the base coat and marking the pattern. At that point, we were having carpet installed and everything from the upstairs was piled in the living room for several weeks. Once the carpet was done and furniture moved back up, I went back to work on the fireplace. We were experiencing the wettest winter ever and unfortunately, moisture had caused the paint to bubble.

My two options:

Sand down the paint and start over (knowing that until the chimney is completely fixed, water will likely leak and cause damage again).

Just keep going and embrace the bubbled paint.

Guess which option I chose :)

You can’t really see the texture unless you are up close and it honestly doesn’t bother me at all. It may cause the paint to wear more, so I’ll keep you posted if it all starts peeling off anytime soon.

Also, when I removed the tape, it pulled up a bit of the paint from the tile. I just went back over with my brush and touched up.

STEP SIX | Season the chalk paint

 

To get that more aged look, I rubbed chalk all over the black paint and lightly wiped it off.

You may remember I did the same thing with the painted lamps in my studio. This post explains the process a little more.


And it’s done!

The graphic pattern gives the otherwise traditional room a nice dose of energy and the classic black and white pattern still feels versatile.

Many have asked – on the living room reveal post and Instagram – if the paint holds up the heat of the fireplace. I would love to give a great answer … but the truth is, we haven’t had a fire in the fireplace since painting the tile. I think it will be just fine because the tile doesn’t get very hot, but I can’t guarantee it. Most interior latex paint is rated to withstand the heat of a fireplace surround (around 200*).

If you paint an area that gets much more wear and tear, be sure to use several coats of protective finish (like this) to seal. This post is a good one from another DIYer who shows how she painted her tile floors.

I put together a guide with my template and how-to instructions to make recreating this project a bit easier.

The download is free and can be found in THE ARCHIVE, my library of freebies. If you are already a JDC subscriber, just enter your email address; if you are new, pop in your email and you’ll be in!

If you do paint your tile, please let me know! I’d love to see how it turns out …

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.

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