Wednesday, May 25, 2011

{diy: flour jars}

Do you remember my post about Repurposing Housewares, and how I wanted to turn my cabinet bookcase into a make-shift pantry?
Well, forget that. It was a good idea, but I was having a hard time finding things I wanted to fill the shelves with, and when I finally found the pretty glass containers for my flour and sugar, they ended up being too heavy to keep there.

Instead, I turned the bookshelf back into a bookshelf, filling it with coffee table books, cookbooks, and outdoor travel guides for any guest that happens to be browsing its contents. This has worked out well because Tanner and I own a lot of books. (14 boxes on our moving truck, and that was after we sold/ donated/ gave away half of them.) The bottom cabinet is still full of games, waiting to be played. Game night, anyone?

P.S.- the artwork in the dining room is going to change at some point. As much as I love Van Gogh's cafe painting, having a poster in my house makes me feel like I'm living in a dorm room. I still refuse to hang up Tanner's creepy Red Hot Chili Peppers poster, as much as he begs. (Sorry, babe.)

As for the jars, I found some lovely ones at the Container Store, and they now live happily on my kitchen bar, within easy reach of my cooking space. To label them I found some old scrapbooking tags in my paper collection, tied a ribbon through them, and labeled each appropriately. Adorable, practical, and just right for the space. Win!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

{interview with indie pretty projects}

Good morning, everyone! Today brings a special treat: an interview of yours truly with none other than Miss Ashley Pahl of (Indie) Pretty Projects. If you don't already cyber-stalk her blog like I do, I encourage you to do so: her fun recipes, treats, DIY projects and Etsy-shout-outs are sure to bring a smile to your face!

This week she's interviewing bloggers to learn a little more about their writing, what their ideal "space" is, what inspires them, and what they hope to accomplish in the future. To see my interview, {visit here!} A special thanks to Ashley for a lovely write-up!

For those of you visiting for the first time, here's a Darkroom and Dearly Choose-Your-Own-Adventure! Thanks for stopping by!

{darkroom} - photographs!
{dearly} - cards!
{diy projects}
{redecorating tips and photos}
{favorite etsy finds}
{contact me!}

Monday, May 23, 2011

{booted, outfitted and ready to go}

My dad has been here visiting for the past few days, and I've discovered that not only is it helpful to have a visitor's guide lying around the house, but it's nice to have an over-abundance of outdoor gear stashed in the closet.

We decided to go on a hiking trip into the gorge yesterday and my dad tried to leave the house wearing jeans, a long-sleeved cotton shirt and a pair of beat-up tennis shoes. After rummaging through all the clothes, packs, gear and shoes that Tanner and I own, I properly outfitted my dad with a pair of quick-dry zip-off pants, a long underwear top and fleece pullover, raincoat, wool socks, waterproof hiking boots, and a daypack with a raincover. It seems that my make-shift bed and breakfast is also turning into an outfitting shop! All I need is a couple boats to rent and we'll be all set!

We took a hike to Wahclella and Elowah Falls again, being that they are my new favorite, quick and easy, beautiful hikes. Though the weather has been sunny all week, it was overcast and slightly drizzly today, which I have since decided is the perfect hiking weather. Not too hot, with a nice, cool breeze, the damp smell of earth filling your senses, and the glow of greenery all around you. Gotta love the NorthWest!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I believe when we last left my craft room, it was a messy work in progress, with no bedframe, curtains, and a cluttered desk, looking something like this:

I know you're all expecting me now to have an awesome after-photo to show you, but tragically, this room looks very much the same... still no bedframe, no curtains, and a messy desk. But there have been a couple minor changes I've made since we moved in. Can you spot them all?

Change #1: Bulletin board/ inspiration board hung on the wall
Change #2: IKEA bar and hanging pencil cups for awesome craft organization
Change #3: Nightstand from master bedroom relocated into craft room
Change #4: Plastic paper bin for 12x12 cardstock storage

Now, I know the other big question on your mind is: "Brittany, why don't any of the lamps in your house have lampshades?" to which I will answer, "I'm glad you asked."
The reason behind this is, when Tanner and I were in the process of moving out here, we packed up all our worldly possessions, while at the same time getting rid of a few non-worthy items, like a weird hanging CD-holder shelf, a battered recliner, and two black lampshades. Yes, you heard that right. Black lampshades. I'm not sure if that was an aesthetic choice on the designer's part, but believe it or not, black lampshades don't really emit a whole lot of light. (Shocker.) So we got rid of them, and being the busy person I am, I haven't had time to pick up new ones. That, and it's surprising how expensive lampshades can be! Maybe I'll find the perfect pair at a thrift store one of these days.

Anyway, moving on. The point of this post wasn't to show you the tragic lack of progress I've been making in the craft room (I swear there will be a bedframe, shelves, and curtains someday) but to show you my workspace. The craft room is my favorite room in the house, being that it has a beautiful view into our forested backyard, as well as holding all my awesome craft supplies in one convenient, central location.
So where do I do most of my drawing? At the desk I've so carefully created? Nope.

The living room coffee table has become my location of choice; I guess because it puts me closer to where my computer lives, and where I can play sickeningly peppy episodes of Glee in the background while I sketch out new ideas. When Tanner is here, it also puts me in the same room as him while he plays video games, so we both can have company.

It does make a big difference to have all my art supplies in one location, though, and once the craft room is fully completed I plan on spending most of my drawing time there. If nothing else, it will keep me from dragging art supplies from room to room...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

{art find: christopher truax}

In Portland there's something called "First Thursday", where each first Thursday of the month all the downtown art galleries open up for viewings. While my sister was in town we met up with a friend and caught the metro to wander aimlessly (it might have helped to have a map) from gallery to gallery, enjoying the artwork.

I love this one. They look like old sailors and fishermen that you'd find on a windy dock in Newfoundland, full of stories and shanties to share. The choppy use of the oil paint makes them look even more weathered and wind-kissed.

I love the colors of this piece, and would have loved to have it hanging in my dining room to add a splash of color to the walls.

Though there were some beautiful pieces, a lot of it was rather abstract, a genre I've never been too fond of. I always leave the gallery feeling slightly puzzled, as if perhaps I was supposed to garner some deep meaning to the painting I had been staring at, when all I really saw was a bunch of twisted lines and a painted face screaming about the futility of life. Um, ok.

But three galleries into our walk we came across the steam-punk sculptures of Christopher Truax, who was there and chatted with us a bit while we admired his creations. He told us that he made them all from recycled car parts, and the pieces themselves were so intricate and beautiful that they must have taken endless hours and patience to create.

Each one had a robotic, yet strangely alive feeling to it, as if they were going to take off into flight, or blink and walk off the platform whenever you turned your head. I couldn't stop staring at them. Each tiny piece was a part of something bigger, and it was fun picking out all the individual materials -- a headlight, an antenna, a fuel canister, bolts, nuts, screws. It reminded me of those "Eye Spy" books where every scene on the page was simply a compilation of thousands of smaller parts.

My absolute favorite piece was his Elephant, a beautifully burnished piece of artwork with moving legs and trunk, gleaming and gorgeous. I would have loved to take it home if it weren't $10,000. As it was, I took a photo and wished I had the ingenuity to take recycled bits of metal and turn them into something so creative.

If you'd like to see more of Christopher Truax's steampunk sculptures, visit his webpage.

Monday, May 16, 2011

{diy: new living room decor}

My initial idea about living room wall decor was a good one. I wanted nine identical 12x12 frames that made a perfect square on the wall and filled the space above the couch.
I quickly discovered that 12x12 frames didn't fit on my wall, and furthermore, they were expensive. Actually, nine of anything is expensive, but that's beside the point.

I finally found some cheap 8x10 frames at Target and figured I'd make quick work of hanging them symmetrically on my wall. Note to self: hanging frames symmetrically is never quick work.
After the better part of the afternoon, I finally had the frames hung and there they have been ever since. At first glance, they look all well and fine, but having to live with them day after day started to annoy me. For one thing, the frames were too small to fill the space like I wanted, and the photos in them looked dull and colorless without mats.

After a month, I finally decided to overhaul the design and try again, this time with the 12x12 frames I wanted, and mats for the photos. By some happy fortune, I found some beautiful wooden frames at Michaels, which were regularly $35 and had been marked down to $10. I bought three, just to test them in the room, and when I fell in love with them, I went back and bought seven more for a total of ten. Note to self: ten of anything is expensive, even a clearance frame.

Once again I brought out my handy level, hammer and ruler, and marked away at the wall. After hanging nineteen frames in two months, I have this process down to a science. First, position the frame level on the wall. Then mark the top and edges of the frame. Then measure how far from the top and left the hanging hardware is on the frame. Then mark this on the wall. Then test again for level-ness. Then hammer nails. Then hang the frame. When you hang the others, repeat the steps above but make sure they are equal distance and level from each other.
Sounds easy, but I learned quickly that "measure twice, level twice, hammer once" is really the trick to not peppering your wall with angry nail holes while uttering expletives.

As for the photos, I cut them down to 8x8 size and matted them with my own supply of colored cardstock. Simple, cheap, and the results look so professional you'd never know it wasn't a real mat. Plus, now my photos really "pop" instead of looking washed out and dark.

So here's the happy result. I could only hang six in the space above the couch, but I used the last four to solve the problem of the Big Empty White Space on the opposite wall. Ta da!

I thought about returning the original frames to Target, but then decided that I didn't have a good design for the bedroom hallway, and on a whim, hung a mini-collage of frames at eye level there. I used 5x7 photos matted on cardstock to make the frames look more professional. Obviously I'm missing a few, but that will come in time...

Now when I wake up in the morning I'm greeted by much happier decor!

Friday, May 13, 2011


It's Friday once again, boys and girls! Time to wrap up the blogging week with a little reminiscing...

My mom dug up some old photos recently, and she discovered some shots from 1991, which was the last time I was anywhere near the west coast. (Considering how much traveling my family does, it's amazing I haven't visited since then!)

So of course my sister and I had some fun recreating the old photos when she came in town. (Er... we had to do a little "self-timer" action, so the angle of the photos don't exactly match...)

But just think -- it was exactly twenty years ago that I last was in Portland! Crazy. Who'd have thought I'd be living here someday?!

Wahkeena Falls 1991 Wahkeena Falls 2011

Multnomah Falls 1991 Multnomah Falls 2011

Courtney and I didn't make it to the beach to recreate this photo, but here it is, just for fun.... and check out those awesome self-stamped dolphin shirts and leggings. You know you're jealous.

Cannon Beach 1991

Cannon Beach 2011

Have a good weekend, everyone! I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

{horsetails and ponytails}

While my sister was here she got a taste of what life is like in Oregon when the sun shines -- and on her birthday, too! The following day, however, we were back to overcast skies and a dark, damp feel to the earth. We went hiking, nonetheless, hiking into the mossy wilderness to visit Horsetail, Ponytail, and Triple Falls.
Though it didn't rain, the air was crisp, cool and damp, and I discovered for the first time that I actually like hiking on cloudy days. Though sunny days afford us beautiful views here, the sun can be (surprisingly) blinding and hot, and it does much to wash out the beautiful green color that permeates everything here.

On overcast days, the air is cool and refreshing, perfect for a warm hike, and the smell of rain is everywhere. If I close my eyes I'm reminded of memories as a young girl: waking up in a cozy tent, the cold air hitting my nose as I push open the door; the smell of dew on the grass in the morning; the breeze off the water as I wake before dawn and push my canoe into the lake; the scent of rain on the earth after a loud, evening thunderstorm. All of these memories are tied to the strong, rich scent of water and earth, and nothing brings back those memories stronger than a drizzly day here among the mosses.

We had lunch beside Triple Falls and hiked out again, leaving soft footprints in the damp earth.

And just for fun, a video we took near Elowah Falls the other day that makes me giggle:

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