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Posted by on May 31, 2012 | 4 comments

Photo Books: Tips for Creating a Lasting Souvenir

Photo Books: Tips for Creating a Lasting Souvenir

My husband doesn’t share my love for home improvement projects, but there is a creative streak in him. Photography, especially sports photography, is his hobby — and he’s pretty darn good at it too. At our oldest son’s games (our youngest isn’t quite ready for teams yet), Mark’s always there on the sidelines, capturing every throw, pass, pitch, and score (and, of course, cheering as well). Mark’s photos came in handy last month when the parents of Jack’s soccer teammates were discussing what sort of memento to give the kids to celebrate a job well done (trophy, medal, t-shirt). It was a turning point as well — for the past two seasons the Rhinos had been a co-ed team, but next season, the team would be split up, no longer girls and boys playing together. Since Mark had photos of all the kids, he offered to make a photo book for each child, with action shots of them and their teammates. The other parents loved the idea, and Mark estimated the...

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Posted by on May 30, 2012 | 2 comments

The Great Bagel Debate: Homemade or Store-Bought?

The Great Bagel Debate: Homemade or Store-Bought?

Feeling emboldened by my recent successes with leavened whole grain and asiago pesto cheese breads, I decided to give myself a new bread-making challenge: homemade New York-style bagels. I thought my husband would be stoked, but instead we had the following email chat: Me: do we have corn meal? Matt: i think so, not sure Me: ok, want to try making homemade bagels. what do you want on some….onion, garlic, salt Matt: no Me: some say to broil before boiling….some say let rest after kneading/forming and then go striaght to boil Matt: no Me: what? they’re supposed to be delicious!!! Matt: i just don’t feel that bagels are things that should be cooked in the home. they should be bought at bagel stores and brought home in paper bags Me: well, we’re going to experiment just this once and you can give your final assessment And with that, my innocent bagel making venture turned into the great bagel debate in our household and marriage. Here’s how it unfolded: I followed the recipe in the Williams-Sonoma...

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Posted by on May 29, 2012 | 0 comments

Our Family-Friendly Beach Retreat

Our Family-Friendly Beach Retreat

We took a break from Del Ray to visit my parents’ beach house in Bethany Beach, DE, an annual tradition for Memorial Day weekend. So in this special edition of DIY on location, here’s a little tour of the house. The house (one of three rowhouses) was built in early 80s and my parents purchased it in the late 90s. The house came furnished, decked out with glorious 80s contemporary flair, but since then, my parents have made some changes to transform someone else’s house into our family retreat. The first thing you notice when you walk inside is this cedar trunk which belonged to my great grandparents. We estimate that the trunk is at least 150 years old. My mom rescued it from her mother’s basement, and at the time, it was covered with three layers of paint. You can see a little of the red paint in the right bottom corner. The trunk was stripped and stained and given new life. I wish I had a before...

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 | 2 comments

Creating a Hideaway Office in a Shared Girls Bedroom

Creating a Hideaway Office in a Shared Girls Bedroom

I know it seems crazy to sacrifice one of our precious row house closets, but I had a vision of creating an office for my 8-year-old daughter Ana, and, like so many DIY ideas, I just couldn’t shake it. Plus, she had been asking for her own workspace and she clearly wanted privacy, other than under her bed where I often find her sprawled out on blankets reading and writing in the semi-dark. There had to be a way. Ana shares a small 8 x 10 foot room with her little sister, Nadja, and we have arranged the room in the best way we can imagine. We have twin beds side by side and each girl gets to decorate their side as they wish, with a shelf for each to display their treasures. So, it made the most sense to make an office in the closet. Let’s start with the reveal: Now, how it unfolded. First, make way and get everything out of the closet: I purged about 50% of...

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Posted by on May 23, 2012 | 1 comment

Budget-Friendly Wall Art with DIY Box Mounts

Budget-Friendly Wall Art with DIY Box Mounts

After my most recent living room rearrangement, we were left with a rather large empty space on the wall behind the sofa. I looked everywhere for ideas of what to put there, and when I finally stumbled upon this topographic map poster on Schoolhouse Electric’s website, I was intrigued. You really can’t go wrong with maps — they are nice to look at with all sorts of intricate details and soothing colors. I’ve already made some coasters and a basket out of old street maps, and there are several maps hung in other rooms in our house. We’re map people. For $40, the price of the Schoolhouse Electric map was just right. I took it over to Artifacts on Custis Ave. to figure out framing/mounting options. I really like the idea of a box mount — a nice chunky frame which makes an inexpensive poster look more like a work of art than something you’d see in a rec room or school. To my dismay, a box mount for a poster this large (nearly 5 feet...

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