A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: February 2012
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29 February 2012

Designing a Space for Photography -- What You Need to Know!

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When I showed you my revamped shed last week, I mentioned that I designed it with photography in mind.  While I do most of my product shots in my home or on the back porch, I often find that my clean, open spaces and cute vignettes around the hosue have been covered in coloring books, bread crumbs and dirty laundry.  (It happens.)  When I decided to make the shed a girly house, I did it with an overall concern for providing spaces for taking photographs.  No one goes in this shed, save myself, so everything stays as is when I need it for a photoshoot.

1.  The first thing I decided on?  WHITE.  I have wanted a white on white on white room for a long time, and I love white backgrounds for photos AND I had 1/2 a gallon of white paint in the basement.  It was an easy decision.  I painted as many surfaces as I could with the paint, and made sure the window wall and potting bench were first priority.  The long, flat, white surface of the potting bench near the window is ideal for product shots.

2.  After giving everything a coat of white, I moved on to creating little vignettes all around the space.  Using prints ripped out of a coffee table book and various (pink!) accessories, each little "cubby" in the shed is it's own little backdrop.

See this cubby?

This is how it is used as a background:

Here is another cubby, primed to be a photo backdrop, plenty of light from the left
and a built in natural frame created by the box on top and the two tools on the side.

3.  Speaking of light, it was a major consideration before deciding to revamp the shed.  There is one window in the shed, but that one window provides a shocking amount of light.  I built the entire room around that one window, considering the way the light fell at different times of the day.  whiel I sometimes use a flash for traditional product lighting, I much prefer to capture natural shadows of the rising or falling light in my photos.  This window provides the perfect source of light adn the little pom pom curtains (thrift store!) are the perfect filter.

Here is a combination of the three factors.  Notice the white potting bench that gives this little floral vignette a white base. 
Also notice the background created with the prints in one of the cubbies.  The light is coming in from the window, and the shed door, fully lighting the rose.


Here is a shot that shows the basic setup.

4.  After assessing light, a coat of white and setting up vignettes, it was time to start adding in extra goodies. 
The accessories can make or break a space and in this space, those accessories had to be GIRLY and GARDENY. 
If it didn't fit those two categories, it had to go!! 

So when considering a setup for photography, there are 4 main things to consider:

1.  Color  --  Do you want a standard white background or do you want a red cast on everything? 

2.  Background -- Leave some backgrounds solid, but change up wall sections for different looks.

3.  Light -- Make sure you have a steady light source, that provides good light at the time of day you normally shoot, or create a full lighting setup.

4.  Accessories  -- Be consistent with the accessories that you choose, and try to stay away from anything gimmicky.

There you go - a mini photostudio!  ...and FREE is as cheap as it gets! ;)

Want to see all of the shed transformation posts?
  1. Getting Things Organized 
  2. The BEFORE & AFTER Reveal
  3. The Rocker Facelift
  4. How to Make Curvy Bunting (mini-tut)
  5. The DL on Designing the Space for Photography

28 February 2012

Do You Have a Post That NOBODY EVER READ?

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Did you write really great stuff when your blog was first starting?  
Do you have content rich articles that only got 15 hits? 
Are there beautiful photos or hilarious quotes that you want the blogworld to see? 


Link up your posts...any post...any subject...great stuff that no one got to see. 
Link as many posts as you want and there are NO RULES!!!  

Oh, and by the way...make sure to check back Thursday for the best of the hop! 
I'm looking for great recipes, gardening tips, DIY projects and more! 
YOUR post might be featured, so make it a good one!!! :)
...and the post with the most "likes" underneath??  That person is my FEATURE FRIDAY girl!!

Let's get sharing!!!

I Need Your Help!!!

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So we have beautiful wood laminate flooring through out most of our home.   You can see it in the background here:

  I like it...I love it even...but the problem is that is stops before the entryway/living room. 
The living room is covered is creamish carpet that is beyond stained from muddy shoes coming in the door.  You can see a bit of it under the Sharpie rug here:

So this is where I need your help...should I just extend the laminate hardwood throughout the entire house or will that be too many hard surfaces?  Should I make a slate entryway by the front door?   What has worked for you in an entry/living room space??  I need your help!!

Of coursethen there is the whole -- don't bring new carpet fumes into your house -- and I wonder if the fumes are any better or worse than laminate flooring...ahh the questions...   I did look up the EPA recommendations for carpeting and they simply didn't help a bit....  Your thoughts?!?

27 February 2012

BEAUTIFUL and USEFUL | A Thrifting Strategy for Cosmetics

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Hi all!  My blog went KAPUT earlier today (THANK YOU to Cindy and Laura and Amy for letting me KNOW!) but I'm BACK!  (Still trying to figure out what happened and sensing YET another reason to leave blogger for wordpress...advice anyone?)...but in the meantime, here is Tuesday's post a little early to let you know all is well.  I just have one question for you...

NOTICE:  Hoarders and folks with hoarder tendencies.....DO NOT READ this post!!

The rest of you guys?  Let's talk about turning junk into fabulousness!  So last week, I go to the thrift store and there is a basket of "junk" 75% off.  Now of course, at the thrift store, the original prices are around 30 cents for each item, so at 75% off, they were each around 7 cents.  Now THAT is cheap.  However, it was junk.  I started thinking about each piece and deciding whether I could use it within a month.  If I could, I bought it.  If not, it stayed at the store.  This is the pile that came home with me.

Are you itching yet??  It all seems kind of gross right?  Here is my strategy.

1.  When I'm at the store, any cosmetics or bathroom products must be sealed.  You can tell if those little bottles have been opened or not by slightly twisting the cap.  Brand new bottles will have a little resistance when you try to twist them.  Those bottle went into my cart.  the bottles that twisted to easily went back in the bucket.

2.  When I bring them home, everything is unwrapped and anything in bottles gets thrown into a tub of soapy water (along with the other dishes and such).

Once they are cleaned up a bit, they start to seem a little bit prettier...now of course I don't need soap with a butterfly on it, but I kind of like it.  Those piles of soap in the photo above?  They were all hotel soaps.  Again, don't buy anything unopened, but new hotel soaps piled in stacks can be quite beautiful!  ...and if you don't like the look of the soap, it can still be used to make your HOMEMADE LAUNDRY SOAPUSEFUL and BEAUTIFUL.

Some of the items were just plain useful.  These shoelaces were in the pile in nasty old cardboard packaging.  Taken out of the packing, they are clean and brand new and still encased in a plastic wrapping.  My husband is always going out and buying new things right when he needs them (crazy I know!).  It sometimes drives me crazy that he spends regular price on everything he needs (of course, I pay sale prices for things I don't need, so I suppose it evens out).  Anyway, he often buys new shoelaces.  I have never bought a new pair of shoelaces in my life, so I was surprised when he was grabbing a pair every few months for his dress shoes.  This little pile will save us a few bucks over the next 6 months.  USEFUL.


Then there are all the little lotions.  The Mary Kay sample was my fav.  I love that stuff and it is quite expensive.  A new, cleaned up bottle for 7 cents --yes please!  The other little bottles are perfect to toss in a purse or in the car, especially during the winter.  The trick to making these little bottles beautiful?  Store them in a cute ceramic dish and combine them based on color.  This selection all combined shades of blue and white.  The ones that did not match were the first to get tossed in my purse.  USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL.

TOTAL COST:  $1.06

Of course...if you aren't going to use the junk, it is still junk and a dollar wasted, so buy carefully!

...and like I mentioned to those with hoarding tendencies, this strategy is not for you.  If you do not use these things up, they will eventually take over your living room.  Try to buy things that you KNOW will be used up within a month or 2 and then USE THEM.  Now, THAT is USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL, don't you think?

To check out more USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL projects, peek at the DIY Page!
For my favorite USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL projects from others, you might want to check out my pinterest board titled "the inspiration"...there is gold in there!  Pure gold!

Linking up to a few parties today!



Refresh Your Nest! 


What is IN all of those Dresser Drawers?!

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Last month, I guest posted at OrgJunkie about the way I organize my home with dresser after dresser after dresser.  What -- you missed it?  Go check it out HERE...

The comment was made that dresser drawers are sometimes hard to keep organized...and I agree!  The readers asked to see inside my dresser drawers, so I am here today to oblige :)

This is a dresser in my dinding room that I keep food styling and decorative items in.  It is a traditional 6 drawer dresser with farily deep drawers.  The way I look at these drawers is as if they are little vignettes themselves.  I seperate the drawers based on color and materials and arrange the drawers so that they look beautiful when I open them.  If they start getting cluttered, some stuff has to GO!

This drawer is the glass drawer...a few little dark metal accents and it is good to go~!
This drawer is the pink drawer...a bit of blnd wood and contrasting white and red compelte the look.

This drawer is the gold drawer...clearly right?  Browns fill out the palette.

This drawer is the white drawer...it is a bit sparse because I am using a few of the items right now.

This drawer is the wood drawer...all natural browns, oranges, yellows and greens.

This drawer is the blue drawer...accented with lime, ivory and black.

So that's it!!  All my drawers wrapped up in a pretty little white dresser!

What's in your drawer?

24 February 2012

SO...you don't think planting things from your pantry really works...

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Innnnn case you were wondering if it actually worked....

Yes, yes it does work!  Planting pantry items nets new houseplants (for free!!!) and often will produce actual FOOD for you (remember last year's POTATO crop?).  Here is my ginger plant...all grown up (well half grown up) and I have many more shoots putting up stems.  It looks a bit like lemongrass when it first emerges, but quickly morphs into an elongated leaf similar to a canna lily.

(Did you miss the ginger planting? Check it out right HERE!)
My beet tops??  They are doing well too, putting out new leaves at a rapid pace. 
These could be harvested now to eat, or I can let them grow and hope for beets!

Here are the pantry potatoes I planted in my WINTER POTS.  They are growing quickly, but the growth is spindly due to the low level of light they are getting in this window.  I turn them regularly so they don't lean completely in one direction, but I am kind of fighting a losing battle.  Once milder weather hits (which seems like it could be any day now!), I can move these outside, give them a trim and they should bounce back. 

If not, what have I wasted??  2 sprouted potatoes from the pantry.   Not bad says I.

In other gardening news, I found the best deal at Costco. 6 pairs of Wells Lamont garden gloves for $8.99. That is a fabulous deal! They are the 'jelly belly' kind of gloves that I love and couldn't find replacements for for about 2 years. Now I have 6 pairs for less than $2 each. Beat that WalMart!

If you would like your very own set, check out your local Costco or you can just buy them through Amazon (though they cost a couple dollars more).

PS -- This ain't no sponsored post...I'm just really excited about this wham slam deal.
However, if you purchase them from amazon, I get a cut. So go buy a few, why don't you? 

...and if you are wondering...yes I did ask for the gloves as a Mother's Day credit present...so what? You do weird things too...

23 February 2012

BEFORE & AFTER Photography Studio...AHEM...I mean shed.....

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Remember how I told you this "after" picture was really a "before" picture? 
After organizing the shed, I took all of my girly fabric scraps, a can of spray paint
and half a can of latex interior white and made this plain old shed my girly getaway. 

With easy views of the garden and the kids fort, it is the perfect space for working with plants,
potting, photographing product and relaxing in a space that is completely, fully girlalicious.

The main piece of furniture in the space is this giant hutch.  Found for $15 at my local thrift store,
it works perfectly as a storage piece for china (girly picnics, you know!), pots and other gardening and crafting supplies. 
Covering the file boxes with fabric and the addition of a little bunting was all it took to girlify the piece!

That little rocker in the corner started out life as a dirty old $2 auction find.  (See its transformation HERE!)
After sanding and painting the frame, I added coke bottles in a matte blue to the back and my little Red bebe collected "flowers" for a little more whimsy. 

That bunting spans the entire back wall of the shed, and joins magazine cutouts, a vintage suitcase,
 various yarns and thread and garden tools and hats -- all in shades of pink, white and natural brown.


Where did all of this stuff come from?  Well, I have a problem of collecting items that don't go with anything in my house.  Everytime I see an incredible deal on an item that I love, it is hard for me to pass it up.  Therefore, I had thrift store curtains, a book full of magazine prints, hoards of pink and purple thread and yarn and just a ridiculous amount of super girly fabric.  Shifting my focus to the shed allowed me to create a space that welcomed all my girly stuuuuuuuf with open arms.  The paint was all leftover paint sitting in the garage and not a single thing was taken out of the shed.  It was all just rearranged and added to.

Why is everything all white?  2 reasons.  I have been wanting to do an all white room for awhile now, but I like the paint colors in our home right now, so it would be foolish to paint just for the sake of painting.  The shed however, greatly benefited from a wash of white.  It went from practical and utilitarian to light, bright and inviting.  The second reason is to provide a backdrop for photography.  White is a favorite background of mine, and I designed the vignettes in this space specifically for photographing product.  (More on this to come!!)

 So, go enjoy your day and this gorgeous spring weather...
I'm going to go hang out in my girlific shed ;)

Want to see all of the shed transformation posts?
  1. Getting Things Organized 
  2. The BEFORE & AFTER Reveal
  3. The Rocker Facelift
  4. How to Make Curvy Bunting (mini-tut)

22 February 2012

BEFORE and AFTER | Giving a Rocker a Facelift

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Indulge me...that title makes me laugh...it makes me think of some old punk rocker with pink hair sitting in the chair to get botox or something....OR something...

Anyhow...today I get to show off a favorite before and after project.  Chairs and rockers are easy and quick, and can give a room a real boost.  This rocker is part of my "grand" shed makeover (aren't you just drooooling with anticipation?)...

Now before you go all "WHY did you paint that beautiful white chair and get rid of that lovely toille -- it is SOOOOOO pretty"?!?  This sucker was DIRTY and that fabric was GONE...check out the close up!

So add a little bit of fabric, paint and elbow grease and you get...

After the chair was complete I wanted to add a little more interest, so I hung Coke bottles,
spray painted the same lovely blue as the chair, on the back posts.  The bottles can be
filled with dry flowers, grass fronds, evergreen cuttings or any type of floral you can dream up!

This rocker was the first project in my PRETTY HOUSE project.  To see more about the shed's
reformation from utilitarian to girlicious, just click HERE!

Want to see all of the shed transformation posts?
  1. Getting Things Organized 
  2. The BEFORE & AFTER Reveal
  3. The Rocker Facelift
  4. How to Make Curvy Bunting (mini-tut)
  5. The DL on Designing the Space for Photography

What have you created today??

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