DIY wall art ideas : canvas

12 X 12 canvases bought at your local art store can be a great place to start for easy + economical decorating ideas.  while living in New Jersey I made several projects using paint, paper, tape, and canvas to bring a little life to our walls.

this canvas might be the one piece of art I sneak in my suitcase. obviously, it's the state of Michigan [or at least the lower peninsula] and obviously, the little heart is over East Lansing. so many things that I love about this state and that city... I'd love to take a little bit of home with me when we move abroad.

update: I posted a tutorial on how to make this canvas here!


this trio of paintings went home with a friend when we moved. I made this blue set to hang in our bedroom, and a red set for my sister. I intentionally made all the lines align across the canvases [because I'm cool like that] but it was a super simple project.

I've also been continuing my pinterest search for ideas to use in our new home in Taiwan. colorful washi tape is everywhere these days, and wrapping it around a canvas for a no-paint project seems like an easy way to bring some color into a room.

another no-paint project: cover several canvases in matching fabric. this one might require a serious stapler to get the fabric tight and secured to the wood frame, but it would definitely make a big impact with the right pattern.

if I get really brave, I might try something like this project. the biggest challenge for me would be picking a color scheme and getting all the paint mixing right. because - let's be real - I'm not buying 9 bottles of paint for one art project.

I definitely plan to use one or more of the photo wall art ideas I posted a few weeks ago, but adding more art to your home never hurts!


two years


this past monday, June 25th, was our second wedding anniversary. since time for travel is limited before the big move, we decided to take a mini-cation to East Lansing. Husband and I met while attending MSU, so it was nice to wander around downtown and campus to reminisce together. we hit all our old haunts, including the Sparty statue and the Beaumont Tower where the actual proposal happened. [that's also where our cat, Beau, gets his name.]

we strolled Grand River with my brother, had lunch with an old friend at the Peanut Barrel, and drinks with a new friend at Dublin Square. for dinner we went to our most absolute favorite place in EL: El Azteco. it's a shame they are building some new apartments that now tower over the roof deck [spoiling our sunset view] but the cheese dip and the margaritas were just as tasty as ever.

our night ended with a stop at the Riv, where Husband proceeded to school me in the art of billiards.

I'm trying to avoid the mushy-gushy stuff... but let me just say I'm so happy that I married someone who continuously makes me laugh, who is understanding and supportive, and who occasionally will let me win at shooting pool. I'm lucky to have had him by my side these past 2 years, and I can't wait to start our next adventure together.


hellos + goodbyes

this was my sunset view the other night. the field across the street from the house Husband grew up in. the most gorgeous golden light. the kind that makes you run back into the house for your SLR and mesmerizes you into spending half an hour snapping shots of the same 12 stalks of wheat because each second the light is more and more glorious. the kind of light that means you won't edit photos because nothing you could photoshop could top it. the kind of light that only rolling midwest farmland on a humid summer night can produce.

[someone please cue Tim Allen, because I think I'm breaking out into a Pure Michigan commercial.]

Husband and I left the east coast for the last time this past Sunday. he's been taking an AP Economics prep course all week while I've been running errands and trying to settle in [at least enough to be comfortable for the next 6 weeks.] a small part of me wants to seize up and panic that nearly a week has already slipped by. our days here are numbered and it makes me feel pressured to squeeze every last drop out of each day... but I think we've done well so far.

workouts with Husband, video games with my Dad, running on country roads, grilling dinner, making plans to see long-lost friends, late night movie dates, assembling fire pits for roasting marshmallows, afternoon snuggles with my kittens, and wheat field sunsets...

I've also been trying to go back through all our photos from the last few weeks out east. it feels good to be home, but I do miss our people out there. my hard drive is bursting with photos and memories, so I'm just going to start with the most recent and work in reverse.

both of our farewell barbecues were wonderful. grilled pineapple, gluten-free beer, teacher stories, and a raffling off our knickknacks as door prizes in Philly. the last of our bar cabinet, buffalo chicken dip, GIANT marshmallows, and a sweet husky named Sasha in Jersey. [she only licked my face once - of course while the camera was watching.]

the thing I'll miss most about the east coast? our friends. over the past few years we've had the opportunity to get to know some of the most incredible people. I would love to shout out to all the co-workers, roommates, crossfit-ers, and friends-of-friends turned friends that we met along the way... but I would be here typing for days. just know you are loved and missed, dear east coast friends.

[especially those who enjoy rolling around in the grass for impromptu photo shoots.]


life in snapshots

this past week has been a complete blur of packing, painting, errands and cleaning. but I think it's important to stay in the habit of writing, so here I am.

the final papers for our visa applications arrived last week, so Husband and I headed into the city. submitting our paperwork turned out to be a little more complicated than we had been led to believe, but no where near as bad as the 6 hour line horror stories I've heard. thanks to the New York Public Library and the CVS on 3rd and 42nd we were able to get all our forms and photos in order. less than a week later everything was ready for pickup... that's right, we officially have our resident visas for Taiwan!

other than that we've been preparing to move this coming Sunday. special thanks to Dave and Bill for coming up and helping Husband paint the apartment back to its boring beige. you guys did an awesome job! I also would like to state for the record that high coverage primer is totally worth every penny. that room up there used to be a deep dark "Joker's jacket" purple [took I think 4 coats to apply] and with 1 coat of primer and 1.5 of paint it was done.

today we sold most of our furniture [bed, coffee table, tv stand, endtables, bookshelves] and we've been trying to do triage on the rest of our possessions. some to keep, some to give away. it helps to know things like my sprinkle collection and donut pan, heavy winter sweaters and crochet needles will be used and well-loved by friends. though some things- like my bottle cap collection -just needed to be pitched.

in just today I threw out SEVEN bags of junk. sometimes it's difficult to let stuff go, but mostly it feels freeing to be rid of all the unnecessary excess. it might be a little wasteful to pitch the motherlode of bobby pins I picked off the bedroom floor. but I still have a hundred pins not tangled in carpet fuzz and cat fur. I figure if it's been lost or unused for a while then I probably don't need it anyway.

in the flurry of productivity, we've still been trying to take some time to enjoy our last days here. dinners and lunches with friends, backyard camping trips, boutique shopping for going-away BBQ outfits, hitting my favorite running trails, midnight games of bananagrams, and my first crossfit class ever [thanks Bryan!] I also played a small supporting role in assisting my best friend's boyfriend surprise her at work and propose! obviously a celebratory margarita was in order. congrats Erika + Mike, so happy for you guys!

this week is closing out with the last of the packing and cleaning, and a final farewell to our east coast friends. Sunday we head out for the mitten. we will miss a lot of things about our life out here, but are definitely ready to head home to relax for a few months before taking off for Taiwan. I hope to have a little more spare time to keep up with the blog and document all our activities before we go... stay tuned!


DIY wall art ideas: photos

since Husband and I only have a small shipping allowance for moving to Taiwan, we plan to leave most of our things at home. the bulk of what we move will be clothes and teaching supplies, with a few select kitchen items.

while I've been procrastinating packing enjoying my spare time, I've been thinking of different ideas for decorating our new home. mainly things that either can "travel light" or I can easily create after we have moved. since they are cheap to print and I have a LOT of digital stored up, I found a few creative ideas using photo prints. obviously, I found most of these ideas through Pinterest. [don't lie, you're addicted too!]

use wire or twine + clothespins to hang across a wall.

make a collage with different frames [hello, Ikea!]

put all the photos into one GIANT frame.

draw your own frames on the wall. [probably not cool with the landlord, but a neat idea.]

or even just tape the photos in a fun shape on the wall.

what do you think? I definitely want to display some of my photography in our new home and I think these all could be great [and inexpensive] ideas for decorating. I also like that the photos can easily be switched out every few months or whenever you need a change of scenery. expect pictures of a finished photo display a few weeks after move-in!
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