DIY: Gallery wall in 5 easy steps

One interior decorating trend I can totally get behind is the gallery wall. It’s a small task that can make a huge difference in your living space – especially when you’re renting. In our last apartment we had already hung everything on the walls before I started seeing it pop up places like The Everygirl home tours, and at that point I didn’t want to redo everything. But once we moved into our new apartment, I picked out the perfect wall for our very own gallery.

Perfect wall for a gallery wall

The perfect, blank canvas

MPR & I have collected a lot of prints over the years – from tour posters (including the one from our very first date), to graphic lyric illustrations, to local artwork. (Of course we have a pop-punk theme, duh.) So the hardest part, which is collecting artwork for the gallery wall, was already done.

Now that we’re settled in our new space, we decided to finally unpack that last box and make the gallery wall our weekend project. I slowly but surely unwrapped all of our frames from under mounds & mounds of bubble wrap (no casualties in the move!) and dug my heels in for the night. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how we got the job done.
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DIY: Refinished mid-century modern bedroom set

Today I’m sharing another furniture fixer-upper project that MPR & I have been slaving over these past few weekends. Like my vintage writing desk, this furniture project also holds sentimental value. We decided to refinish a bedroom set that my grandparents had back in the 50s, and then my parents had in the 90s. It’s a blonde oak wood bed and two nightstands that has been living in my parents’ guest room for the past 15 years. My parents are trying to clean out their house in prep to sell, so MPR & I decided to show this bedroom set a little TLC and keep it in the family.

Using what we learned from our last project, we used the same sand paper, wood filler and paint (to match the desk), but we did switch up our poly to a high gloss version. The result is furniture that’s virtually indestructible, like a gymnasium floor. The only caveat is that while the poly claimed to dry clear, it did leave a slight tint, only visible because it’s siting right next to the desk with the original poly.

I’m kicking myself because we didn’t take a proper ‘before’ picture of the set with the original hardware, but these photos will have to do. Take a look at this transformation:

nightstand refinish project

The first step was to fix gouges and hardware holes with wood filler. The original hardware was brown, vertical bars. Rather than try to find hardware that fit those holes, we filled them up and opted for new knobs. What I love most about this bedroom set is the built-in book shelves on both the nightstands and the headboard.
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DIY: Upcycled vintage writing desk

I got this beautiful writing desk from my grandmother back when I was in elementary school. It’s where I sat and did my homework and stared out the window at our beautiful front yard. When we moved, it came with us, and I abused it with piles of crap and overstuffed drawers, but it has kept its charm. What’s unique about this desk is that the top opens up and there’s compartments to store your pens, pencils and paper. I used this often when I was little, but once I went to college and bought my iMac, that top drawer lost its functionality as my computer always sat on top of it.

Over the past few years, MPR has begged me to refinish this desk and restore it to its original glory, but I always resisted because I was afraid of ruining it. Well, I finally gave in, and I do not regret it. It’s not a dramatic transformation, but it’s a very nice facelift. Here’s how we refinished my beautiful writing desk.

What we used:

  • Sherwin-Williams semi-gloss paint (color matched to the top of the desk)
  • Minwax Polycrylic semi-gloss protective finish
  • Sand paper (220 and 120) and electric sander
  • Brasso

Here’s what the desk looked like when we started (notice all the chips and gouges in the front):

writing desk refinishing
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DIY wedding hashtag signs

wedding hashtag display

One day, while walking through Michael’s, MPR & I got inspired to create social media signs to display at the wedding. We actually bought these the same weekend we bought supplies for our vintage suitcase card box, but I just got around to actually making them. They got buried deep in my closet and at the time we hadn’t settled on our hashtag. Ever since MPR moved in with me, his Long Island friends tease him and say that he just loves upstate. We started to hashtag all of our photos with #LovesUpstate, and it kind of just stuck. For our wedding it just seemed natural to build onto our existing hashtag. (& it’s natural that a PR girl would have her own hashtag.) What I love about it is that when people look at the hashtag they’ll see 3 years worth of photos in addition to wedding-related pics. There’s only one photo on there that’s not ours, but it’s a puppy, so we’ll let it go 😉

If you’re thinking about creating some hashtag signs for your wedding, take a look at how we did it.
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DIY vintage suitcase card box

DIY wedding | suitcase

Sometimes, MPR & I are crafty. Our wedding certainly is not DIY, but we have a few DIY details to make our reception a bit more personal. We first got the idea to use a vintage suitcase as the card box at our wedding last summer while walking around downtown Troy. At Weathered Wood, we saw this adorable “Just Married” suitcase on display and I wanted to buy it immediately, but Mr. Practical pointed out that it didn’t lock and there was no easy way to insert cards. Crestfallen, I trudged along, but always kept my eyes peeled for another.

Downtown Troy | Weathered Wood

Fast forward to about month ago on a lazy Saturday afternoon, when MPR suggested we go thrift shopping for our own vintage suitcase – nothing like a little weekend wedding project 🙂 We successfully scored a hard shelled Samsonite at Salvation Army for $3.99 and immediately headed to Lowe’s to pick up supplies: painters tape, spray paint and vinyl letters.
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Tiny apartment organization: Dresser Top

I’m not sure if it’s the weather, the urge to throw summer dinner parties, or if I’ve just been spending way too much time ogling home tours on The Everygirl, but I recently got struck with a deep desire to clean & organize our tiny apartment. The area of our home that drives me the most crazy? My dresser top. This is the first area you see as you walk into our bedroom, and for some reason has become a catch-all for my junk that I’m too lazy to put in its proper place. This was my first project that I decided to tackle this Memorial Day Weekend.

Messy dresser top

BEFORE

Jewelry strewn about, extra pairs of glasses and cases, birthday cards, remotes, and old coupons. Ick! I couldn’t wait to clean this off and start fresh.
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10 ways to upcycle your engagement photos

So you took your engagement photos. They’re adorable, you shared your photographer’s blog post on Facebook, posted some of the best ones on Instagram, and chose one (or a few) to use for your Save the Dates. But now what? Are your engagement photos destined to live and die in a Facebook album and on your wedding guests’ refrigerators? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to let that happen, so I compiled a list of 10 ways to reuse your engagement photos on your wedding day and ever-after. Check it out:

1. Wedding invitations

wedding photo invitation

It is very common for couples to use their engagement photos on their Save The Dates, but more and more I have been seeing wedding invitations with photos, such as the one above from Wedding Paper Divas. They vary from traditional to modern and quirky. Check out this one and this one, also from Wedding Paper Divas.
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