Decorating With Books + Our Current Favorite Reads

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Overalls || Ticking Stripe Blouse (similar - similar)

As much as we love reading, we equally love looking at the covers of beautiful books. There is just something so visually pleasing about pretty books that reflect the season/holiday/time of year. It's a nice way to add a decorative touch to any space, not just a room that is designated for littles. And if you've been around here long enough, you know how much I appreciate beauty in the everyday and a touch of design in every room. I believe in sharing this beauty with my girls, and that also includes using their things to help them feel a part of the process of decorating our home. 

Now that the holidays have passed, we're in a shades-of-pink mood around our home. And it just so happens that a couple of our favorite books from last spring + some new ones we have recently discovered are the perfect combination for a beautifully pink spread. The covers complement one another so well, and it gives our floating shelves an airy and charming appeal. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but in this instance, I quite literally do. I'm a sucker for lovely covers. You too?

one || two || three || four || five || six

And you can find more of our favorite children's books HERE 
+ some of my picks for coffee table books HERE.

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Over The Weekend

Monday, February 18, 2019
This weekend was simple and easy. We really did a whole lot of nothing so that we could soak up uninterrupted time together and allow me to continue to heal from surgery. The light was dreamy, and I'll never tire of the way it flows through our windows. It's fresh and airy, making even these winter days a little lovelier. Though, I did find myself dreaming of the day when I can throw the windows open to let in fresh spring breezes. Soon enough, I'm sure! 

Saturday turned out to be a unicorn of a day, with both girls napping at the same time and mama getting a nap too (dad enjoyed lounging while his girls snoozed). It was heavenly and needed. Quinny woke from her afternoon snooze first, giving us a little one-on-one time before her big sister awoke. It's hard to sneak in time with just her, so we really loved having a stolen moment to give her all the attention. But, we were quickly reminded how sweet it is watching our girls be sisters when big sister woke, especially now that Quinn is interacting with Greer in a playful way. Goodness, this weekend was good, and I hope you enjoy this little look into it! Happy Monday, friends!

Valentine's Sugar Cookies

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
We love celebrating the holidays in this house, the big and the little. With Valentine's just days away, we pulled out the cookie cutters and sprinkles for a little baking fun on Sunday. There's nothing sweeter or messier than baking with a three-year-old. Greer definitely gets her love for the holidays from her mama, and I so enjoy watching her excitement over this type of activity. She really gets into it, and I can't get enough of her enthusiasm for it. 

My favorite thing about this cookie recipe....well there are two....
  1. you don't have to refrigerate the dough before baking
  2. the cookies are delicious with or without the icing
This makes this cookie + icing recipe the perfect sweet treat for making with your little(s). And if you're anything like me, you're going to love icing the cookies once they're baked. This icing sets really well and hardens, which means you have a gourmet cookie with amazing taste right from your kitchen. 

  • What You'll Need
    • For the cookies
      • 1.5 sticks salted butter
      • 1/2 block cream cheese
      • 1 cup granulated sugar
      • 1 egg
      • 1 TSP vanilla extract
      • 1 TSP baking powder
      • 1/2 TSP salt
      • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
      • Sprinkles 
    • For the icing
      • 6 cups powdered sugar
      • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
      • 2 TSP vanilla extract
      • 1/4 cups + half of 1/4 cup milk 
        • we used 2% (I would not use anything less than that)
        • if you need to add more milk, do it slowly and very little at a time
      • Food coloring

  • What You'll Do
    • For the cookies
      • Preheat oven to 350°.
      • Soften the butter and cream cheese. Cream together the two with the sugar. Once well combined, add the egg and vanilla extract.
      • Next add in the baking powder, salt, and flour. Stir until everything is mixed into a ball.
      • On a silicone baking mat, sprinkle out a little flour and spread evenly. Put the ball of dough on floured surface. Sprinkle and pat a little more flour on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to approximately 1/4" thickness. 
      • With your cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 
      • Bake for 7 minutes. Let cool completely on a cooling rack before icing.
    • For the icing 
      • Put the powdered sugar in a large bowl.
      • Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and milk. Mix well.
      • Divvy up the icing into smaller bowls for different colors.
      • Add the food coloring as desired to achieve the look you want. We opted for blush, lilac, coral, and hot pink.
      • Using spreaders, put the icing on your cookie. You can use toothpicks to create designs! Add sprinkles if you like!
      • Let the icing settle and harden (it will harden on the the top and makes for a perfect icing) before storing in a tupperware.

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Floating Shelf Photo Gallery

Friday, February 8, 2019
My latest design project is one of my favorites to date, and I'm over the moon to share it with you today! What started out as a simple kitchen nook, is now a quaint space full of charm and personal touches, highlighting family life in the place we gather toward the end of every day. Not only that, it's a great representation of my evolving style and the direction I'm striving to take the rest of our home. 

When imagining how I could transform the nook, I knew I wanted to bring in personal elements, but wasn't sure how to do that in a new and unique way. I craved a statement piece that told a story and made the nook feel like its own space, not just an add-on to the kitchen. I kept coming to the back wall. It needed something bold, without overpowering the brightness and airiness of the shiplap. It needed a piece that stood alone, but complemented what was already going on.

And that's when it hit me. I wanted to showcase personal photos that I have taken over the course of the last two years. I wanted to share the snapshots of us doing life, just like we do life around our nook table. 

Once I got the design ball rolling, I envisioned floating shelves just high enough to be different, but low enough to create balance and easily frame the collage of photos I wanted to share. Instead of my typical symmetrical gallery wall, I wanted assorted and varied. I loved the idea of overlapping frames in various sizes. And I really loved the thought of using photos of our family, while also using photos of the places we've visited together.

There was no one better to partner with on this design project than Mpix. They are my go-to for framed prints and stand-alone photos. Their quality is none other, and the customer service is exceptional each and every time. I love the options I have when creating the look I desire; I can tailor every little detail from start to finish.

Since I was going with an asymmetrical design, I wanted to keep the type of frame the same, to offer cohesiveness. Black metal is timeless, as are black and white photos. So I opted for those two elements and also incorporated a hint of color through the photos of the places we had been. If you mix and match photos this way, I recommend selecting photos that offer a pop of one bold color, while the majority of the picture remains neutral (ie: a muted sky as the background). To add even more congruity, I used white mattes in each frame to really make the photos stand out. Another reason I love to use mattes is to create visual spacing within the staggered frames. It keeps the gallery from looking cluttered, and gives each frame/photo its own identity.

H O W    T O    C R E A T E    T H E    L O O K :

    • What You Need
      • Two boards for the base at (1x4)
      • Two boards for the ledge (1x2 cut in half lengthwise)
      • Thin (approx. 1/8" wide) scrap wood that runs the length of the front edge of the base board to help photos prop up correctly
      • Dark Walnut Stain
      • 2 1/2" Washer Head Cabinet Screws 
      • Nail gun with 1" long pin nails
    • What You'll Do
      • Cut the base boards and the ledge boards to fit the length of the space. 
      • Stain all boards, and let dry for about two days (to help eliminate a strong odor).
      • Locate the studs in the wall, then measure out accordingly and mark on the base boards.
      • In the marked spots, drill the holes through the front of the base boards, exiting the back. 
        • You will drill two different hole sizes into the same place. Start by drilling a hole the size of the screw all the way through the board.
        • The second hole is to sink the head of the screw into the board so that it does not lay flush to the board, but rather inside the board. Make sure the screw will stick far enough out of board so that it will go into the stud of the wall, anchoring the shelf. 

      • Using the screws, attach the base boards to the wall.
      • Now level the ledge board to the front of the base board and use a nail gun to attach.
      • Our shelves are 12.5" apart. The base of the bottom shelf is 64" from the floor. 
      • Place the thin wood at the very front of the base board, where it meets the ledge board. This will give the frame the needed angle to hold up without falling over. **You may not need this for a wider base board, but I wanted thinner base boards for this space, and this is how I compensated for it.

    • What You'll Need
      • A variety of framed prints to create height and dimension. Keep in mind that the size of the print, does not include the size of the frame itself. And when using a matte, the size of the frame is even bigger. For a total of 14 framed prints, I  used: 
        • 5 x 7 prints (x3)
        • 4 x 6 (x2)
        • 4 x 5 (x3)
        • 4 x 4 (x2)
        • 3.5 x 5 (x4)
      • Make sure you select an assortment of landscape and portrait photos for print. 
      • Layer the frames across the boards, separating heights and staggering some photos on top of each other to give an eclectic gallery feel. Intersperse the colored photos within the black & white photos. 

There are so many different ways to arrange framed photos. Whether you change the frame itself, from the material to the size, or opt to use a matte or not, the options are limitless with Mpix. Give it a try yourself, and customize the right frame(s) for your next project! 

S O U R C E S : 
Framed Prints || Wooden Shelves - DIY || Bamboo Roman Shades || Custom Pillows - Black and White Diamond - Peach Velvet - Flock Blush Pink || Nailhead Chairs (similar) || Table - Craigslist Find and DIY || Marble Lazy Susan || Tufted Bench Cushion

Pantry Door Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Utterly Beige
Shiplap Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Snowbound
Shelf Stain Color: Minwax Dark Walnut

A huge thank you to Mpix, who sponsored this post.
 All opinions, content, and photos are mine alone.