Interactive Art

While browsing Etsy, I found this cool vinyl map wall decal from Tweet Heart Wall Art.  The decal usually measures 22 inches by 38.5 inches, but that was larger than I needed.  After a few messages with Sunny, we nailed down my order.  I got a 10 inch tall by 19 inch wide map in Brimstone Yellow.  It arrived three days later!  

Color me  impressed with Sunny’s help and speed.   

So, what did I do with this map?  I turned it into interactive art for the boys bedroom. 

The process was exactly the same to create this as it was this magnet board I made over the summer.  The only difference was the addition of the vinyl decal.  Because this was my first experience with a large vinyl decal, I rushed peeling if off and tore parts of Russia and Africa.  So, I peeled those off and smushed them back down. 

After making the actual map board, I made a few magnets.  To make your own magnets you’ll need magnet sheets (pizza magnets work wonderfully), printable adhesive labels (I used Avery full sheets with True Block, just to make sure the magnet design didn’t show through), a printer and scissors. 

Type out the continents, oceans and other large landmarks, (for my size map, I need equally small magnets, so I used 10 point font).  I also created a few arrows.  Then, print onto stickers, remove the backing to place on your magnet and cut to size.

Then, help your kiddos scoot the labels and arrows around the map. 

When we’re not playing, the map takes center stage on the art wall, right next to the customized Made by Girl alphabet print and our free Valentine’s day All You Need is Love printable.  If you’re afraid this is going to fall on Everett, don’t fear.  I placed a few dots of sticky tack behind each corner to keep it firmly in place.  Just a few more framed prints and this wall is done…for now. 

I know.  Another map in our house.  It’s an addiction.  To refresh your memory, here’s the other side of the room.  

So far, we have painted the bed sun yellow, painted a chevron pattern on a jute rug, created free magazine art, refinished and decorated a bookshelf, and made more DIY origami art.  Heck, we even reorganized the closet!  The bedroom redesign we started last summer is nearly complete.  What’s left?  A few more art prints and a new, to-be-determined light fixture and possibly a new set of light blocking curtains. 

With spring just around the corner, we are finally getting nice weather to tackle some lingering projects.  What are you preparing to do?  Yard work?  Deep spring cleaning?  Spray painting?  (Me too!)  Perhaps you’re a go getter and you’ve already finished a project or two?

Etsy Me: March

We finished our basement nearly a year ago, but we’re finally adding art to make it look lived in.  Second to Target, Etsy is my go-to place for art and home accessories.  Why?  Because there are so many options, from around the world, right at your fingertips.  That and, I love when I can get something custom-made to my specifications.  A few weeks ago, I started a new series highlighting my recent Etsy purchases

Since that post, I’ve also purchased a few small prints from Cat N Photography.  I fell in love with the sweet sentiment of the Heart print, while the Float print will fit nicely into a gallery wall I have planned for the basement, but more on that when I get around to it.  Both prints are 5 inches square.  Fortunately, Cat had a BOGO sale, so I got both!  For now, I have the Heart print on the guest room nightstand.

Cat was so friendly and accommodating; just a pleasure to work with.  And, the quality of prints is fantastic.  It looks great in an 8 inch square frame I swiped from the boys’ bedroom.

Now I have to find a few more cheap square frames.  IKEA is in order.

I believe the art you have in your home should reflect your personality and as a bonus, it should have meaning.  When I saw the Great Lakes in teal paper cut out art by Crafterall, it struck a chord with this Minnesota girl living in Montana. 

I was thrilled to tear open that package.  I got so giddy once I saw the cut out.  The attention to detail is amazing.

Then, I saw Lake Superior in teal.  I decided to pick one up as a gift.  I’ve had great luck dealing with Etsy sellers, and Marnie is no exception.  Seriously, she was friendly, thoughtful and super quick to respond to my messages.  The art pieces were packaged nicely and arrived completely unscathed.  Definitely impressed with Marnie, her products and service.   

While browsing nature prints, I found another fantastic shop, Ara133 Photography.  This shop specializes in surreal, abstract photography.  Now, I usually don’t gravitate toward surreal art, but this isn’t too out there.  Again, I made my purchases during a BOGO sale, so I got two prints.  Both are 5 inches square, too.  The Willow print has beautiful coloring and a nice balance of sky and leaves.  Yep, still need to find a frame for this one, too.  If You Listen has beautiful contrast of a bare tree against a bold blue sky. 

Unknowingly, I got three pieces of art.  What was the third piece?  Ara133 Photography’s business card. 

Seriously, it was too beautiful not to frame, so I dug out a 5 by 7 frame, cut a mat, popped it in and placed it in the small basement bedroom.  

The blue statue and hazy purple-ish pink background coördinate perfectly with the blue and fuchsia color scheme I’m planning, but for some reason, the pinks don’t seem as bright in photos. 

Please note:  We were not compensated for this post, we simply love the items we’ve purchased from these shops and want to share with you!

All  images found via the featured Etsy seller’s listing as linked above.


Its easy as 123.  As simple as do re mi.  ABC, 123, baby you and me girl Everett and Vincent?  Now that I have the Jackson 5 stuck in your head, let me show you a new print I’ve added to our boys room

It’s from Made by Girl.  Jen also has a really awesome, inspiring blog.  I really liked the bold font of this wedding print, but of course I wanted it to represent brotherly love, not a marriage.  So, I contacted Jen to see if the design could be customized.  Luckily, Jen was very accommodating.  I ordered a custom size (8 inches by 10 inches), sent color swatches for her to match, and of course customized with Vincent and Everett’s names. 

I bought a cheapo set of white frames from Michael’s ($7.99 for two 11 by 14’s!) added a mat and placed it on the picture shelf.

Of course, I love personalized art, and this print is great next to framed hospital bracelets.  The colors perfectly coördinate with their aqua, lime and sun yellow color scheme.

I have more artwork on order for this wall, so ignore the bare walls for now. 

What’s your favorite art piece?  A DIY project?  A gift from a family member or friend?  A cherished photograph?  Something you picked up on a vacation?  Do you have items you try to pick up from each place you visit?  I collect spoons, but I also try to get a photo book from each place we visit.  I think I’m going to start collect art from our trips, too.

(Re)Organized Boys Closet

As our boys grow, I find the need to reorganize their belongings, namely, their closet.  With Ev out growing clothes at a rapid rate, I need access to larger sized clothes without the hassle of digging them out of storage.  Without a dresser in the room, I have to get creative with their storage.  When we last shared our closets, I had it organize, keeping larger clothes on the shelf in a clear covered bin, but it became cumbersome for me (being 5 feet, 4 inches tall) to get large, heavy bins down often.  We needed a change.

Here was Vincent’s side.  All of his current sized clothes are hanging, larger clothes in the big bin on top, diapers in the small bins in the cubes, and socks in a bin.

Here’s Everett’s side.

Everett’s side was pretty much the same story.  After a while, I started hating that I had to slide the doors to get to their stuff.  As I mentioned above, the large bins were really becoming a hassle, too.

What was our solution?  Ben installed a second closet rod.  We didn’t move anything around, so the rods are close together, but they’re boys.  They don’t have anything that really hangs down, so it’s fine for a while.  By installing a second bar, we can hang both boys current clothes on one side, eliminating the constant sliding of doors.

Another benefit, we now have room to hang larger clothing on the other side of the closet.

We still use a laundry bag to save shelf space.  A small hook holds it securely and out-of-the-way.

As for the storage cubes, we keep our baby wipes (which we buy in bulk from Costco when we have a coupon), bedding, Everett’s socks, and one bin of diapers for each boy, rather than all their diapers.  The clear bins on top of the cubes have Vincent’s socks and underwear and the yellow bin has pajamas.  I love those yellow bins because they fold flat when not in use, saving space.

We still have a large bin of clothes, but we don’t need to access it often.  We also have shoes, puzzles and a bag of other random items that I still have to sort through.

Where did all the diapers go?  On the top shelf of the right side.  The yellow bin is our donate box.  Anything that I decide our boys no longer need, I put in the bin until it gets full.  The next time I go to a thrift store, the contents get donated.

Previously, we had a plastic baby bath tub.  Everett has since outgrown it, so I donated that, too, which freed up a lot of valuable space.  Now we have a box in its place.  Whenever one of the boys outgrows something, I put it in that box.  When that box is full, I sort the clothes into the proper bin in our basement.

By adding a second closet rod, we’ve doubled our storage space and we have plenty of room to expand.  Score!  Do you have any storage tips, tricks or products you can’t live without?  What do you do with outgrown children’s clothes?  Do you hang your kid’s clothes or prefer to fold?  If you hang, do you use the size dividers?

Top Projects of 2010

Even though we’ve only been blogging since May, we’re here to share our top projects of the year. 

By far, our most viewed posts, thanks to Young House Love, are about building and the completion of our DIY welded steel and marble dining table. 

I have to say, it’s one of our proudest DIY projects, too. 

Another fan favorite is the coffee filter pendant that is in our guest room. 

A simple, affordable art from magazines is another favorite.

Our painted rug was an affordable solution to join the chevron craze. 

Rounding out our top five is how to update brass using Blue Magic cream. 

Did any of your favorite projects crack the top five?  What is your proudest DIY?  If you have an idea you’d like us to tackle, please send an e-mail to for consideration.