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With so much of our attention being focused on our entryway, I’ve been craving a break away from trim, caulk, more trim and more caulk. It’s been feeling like the never ending chore (just as you’re likely wishing we would stop grumbling about it!), so in-between all that caulk, I’ve been stealing a few moments to put a little effort into the (very sad) studio:

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Finally, we have a bit of art in here! After organizing all my files, it was a quick project to get some of our frames out of storage (and by storage, I mean the scary spare bedroom) and onto the wall. Aah, the view from my desk got a whole lot prettier:

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I knew I wanted to put a salon-style wall in this area, if only to help conceal the television – which I consider to be great company while I’m painting. (You might remember it hanging in the studio of yore?) On a side note, these photos were taken right before we started installing wood caps and more baseboards last weekend; the space is finally, finally transforming! 

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I told Scott that I thought it’d be fun to tuck a small photo of our demolition (from the same room) on the wall, and he – genius that he is! – suggested that we do the same thing in every room. As other rooms start coming together, we’ll definitely be framing pint-sized shots from where we started; it’ll be a nice reminder of how far we’ve come.

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Because gallery walls are such a vast collection of frames – all with different hooks, wires and hangers – we use this screw-plus-paint-stick trick. We take out this homemade tool all the time, and not only will it save your walls from dozens of unnecessary pock marks, but you’ll get your nail in the right spot on the first try. Just lightly push on your frame after you’ve eyeballed the placement, and the screw will make your mark!

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The collage is a mix of some old and some new (mostly old), but all things that I’ll happily stare at all day long - always important. Here’s what we’ve got:

1) Framed deer, thrifted // 2) CB2 clock // 3) Penguin painting, gifted from a friend // 4) Onward! print, from Les Puces // 5) Framed Pinhole photo of us in Paris // 6) Lithograph print, gifted from a friend // 7) No. 9903 by Kari Herer // 8) Bison print by Laura Baisden // 9) Vintage photo and frame, thrifted // 10) Our demolition photo // 11) Beach photo and Ikea frame

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Unrelated (although it could be in a streeetch), but as I was wrapping up taking photos (of photos, naturally!), I caught a silly moment from Libby and her puppy siblings:

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And just like that, she realized who was behind her – and she was gone.

PS… Don’t be afraid to pick up those back-less, glass-less frames from flea markets and thrift shops! If you’re looking for an affordable way to display your growing hoard of frames and photographs, this is what we do.

  • Marie - May 15, 2014 - 7:01 AM

    Your wall art gallery really adds some personality to the room and your demolition picture is such a great idea ! I think I should have used you trick to hang a frame in my entryway because the marks I draw with my pencil wouldn’t go away on the wallpaper. At least, those are hidden by the frame, but I was wondering how you would do to center your frames on the wall with only your screw-plus-paint-stick trick ?
    PS : You made my day with the last photo !ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 15, 2014 - 7:27 AM

      Aw, bummer about the wallpaper! Would one of those soft white erasers take that up? Or a magic eraser?

      For centering, I’d just measure the center of the wall and mentally mark where that is, followed up with the paint stick trick. OR if you have someone else to help, have him/her hold the measuring tape up while you paint-stick-trick your frame! No unnecessary holes!ReplyCancel

      • Marie - May 15, 2014 - 9:02 AM

        The white eraser wouldn’t work, unfortunately. Quality wallpaper seems very fragile actually.
        Wow, you’re really good at that, I never could mentally mark the center of my wall ;-) My husband would surely help me, thanks for your advice Kim.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - May 15, 2014 - 9:09 AM

          I have eyes like a cat – haha! Or, you know, go the safer route and have your husband help :)ReplyCancel

          • Marie - May 15, 2014 - 10:29 AM

            Kimmy Cat, I like that !ReplyCancel

  • Cara@theprojectaddict.com - May 15, 2014 - 7:02 AM

    Genius hanging tip. Thanks! The studio is looking good!ReplyCancel

  • Anngela - May 15, 2014 - 7:14 AM

    Looks great and I love this hanging method! Is that console a filing cabinet? Where is it from? Love the space and can’t wait to see it complete!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah@Eriesistibull - May 15, 2014 - 8:07 AM

    Love me a good gallery wall. And what a genius idea to conceal the TV a bit!

    Also, I just want to smush up CC’s face and smooch it all over! Those eyes! That mouth!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 15, 2014 - 9:27 AM

      I KNOW. Isn’t it ridiculous?! Yummy, yummy.ReplyCancel

  • Darnetha @ ChippaSunshine - May 15, 2014 - 8:14 AM

    I use that same hanging method. Love the demolition photo! That space has come a long way and it looks great.ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - May 15, 2014 - 8:44 AM

    This just may be my fav gallery wall ever! I spotted your Kari Here print from a mile away, been coveting one of her prints for a looooong time now! The dogs spying on Libs is hilarious! HahaReplyCancel

    • Jillian - May 15, 2014 - 8:45 AM

      Herer. D’oh!ReplyCancel

      • Kim - May 15, 2014 - 8:48 AM

        Thanks, woman! It was so hard to decide which one I liked the best… might need to get another one. (And larger!)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - May 15, 2014 - 8:44 AM

    Looks great! I have the same frame (also painted white!) that you used to demonstrate how to hang pictures. I’ve never seen a twin frame (!) – I got mine from my mother years ago and promptly painted it white since the dark brown wasn’t doing it any favors. ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 15, 2014 - 8:47 AM

      Oh, awesome! We got it at a thrift store in Pittsburgh – and you’re right. The sad brown just wasn’t working.ReplyCancel

  • Isn’t it nice to actually put something on the wall? This is such a cheery arrangement. I love the small shot of the reno in progress :)ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - May 15, 2014 - 10:22 AM

    The demo photo is so smart and charming. I love the whole thing.ReplyCancel

  • Lyndsey - May 15, 2014 - 10:25 AM

    Love, LOVE, love the gallery wall! You trick for hanging frames is ingenious, and i can’t wait to use it myself– thanks so much for sharing! I’m really envious of your vintage frame collection……those gold frames, sigh. so wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Lyndsey - May 15, 2014 - 11:36 AM

    ooh- one more question. Can you share what white spray paint you use on your frames? thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 15, 2014 - 11:38 AM

      No problem! We’ve used anything from Rustoleum to Krylon, although our favorite brand is Design Master (found at Michael’s craft stores). No matter what, we always use a spray primer first to prevent future scuffs and chips.ReplyCancel

  • Erika - May 15, 2014 - 12:19 PM

    Love the wall of art! On a completely unrelated note. We rescued a Pittie in Dec and she is not doing well getting along with other dogs, any suggestions or tips that you used? Any help would be awesome! Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 15, 2014 - 12:31 PM

      First, HOORAY for you for rescuing a Pit! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having difficulty. I would recommend contacting the adoption/rescue organization that you adopted her from. Many times, these rescues will have at least 1 training class in place or a program where you can get free training and/or help. Also, it’s VERY likely that the owner of the rescue will be more than happy to provide some tips and tricks, as their #1 goal is to ensure their fosters have a great transition and happy home. He/she will also know the ins and the outs of your new BFF, and will be able to provide insight.

      Most of all, don’t force your new girl into anything she’s uncomfortable with! But I’d definitely start with the suggestions above. Best of luck, and congrats on your newest family member!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - May 15, 2014 - 12:27 PM

    Oh my goodness that screw plus paint stick idea is GENIUS! I cannot tell you how long I have craved a good way of making a photo collage with a bunch of pictures in frames in my bedroom but have been too terrified because we have ancient plaster walls and I knew I wouldnt get it right the first time. Bless you for sharing that awesome trick!

    Love the demo photo too- what a fun nod to your home :)ReplyCancel

  • Julia@cuckoo4design - May 15, 2014 - 5:31 PM

    Love the TV mixed in with the beautiful art. I couldn’t live without my TV while I work. Shame on me.
    Love the silly cat and dog moment you caught on camera.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - May 15, 2014 - 5:39 PM

    Looks so nice! And you have really nice art there. I like that buffalo illustration a lot.

    And cat and dogs :) What a great photo. I even imagined conversation between them
    “What are you doing, cat? Go away dog, go fetch a bone or something”ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 16, 2014 - 8:50 AM

      Awesome. I also imagine Jack is saying to CC, “Hey, you go check it out; I’ll stay back. Give a signal if it’s a go!”ReplyCancel

  • Joanna @ TheNestbook - May 16, 2014 - 12:10 PM

    Love the demo photo idea! So original. Also, I may need to purchase that No. 9903 photograph. I’m dying over it!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 16, 2014 - 12:37 PM

      Definitely! All of her photographs are beautiful, and the quality (in person) is stunning.ReplyCancel

  • patricia schaff - May 17, 2014 - 12:07 AM

    Clever idea.ReplyCancel

  • Gabriela - May 17, 2014 - 5:14 AM

    Is very original place but is very hard to make cleaningReplyCancel

  • Melissa - May 18, 2014 - 8:42 AM

    What a great tip about hanging the pictures! I’m definitely going to have to start using that, my walls (and hubby) will thank me. Your wall looks great! I love how much light you get in the house.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - June 1, 2014 - 2:47 PM

    I love the paint stick idea! We’ve a massive wall of frames I want mounting and I usually have to wait for my husband to get his fancy laser took out,…..he has to be in the mood and it isn’t often that he is!!! I think I might be able to manage this myself though…….
    Melanie x
    Pebbledashedpad.wordpress.comReplyCancel

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I said last week that we were totally working outside of our comfort zone, and together with the recovered velvet sofa, our new rug sealed that deal.

We picked this up on Ebay, and after staring for weeks at Persians (it became a 15-minute part of my morning routine; shower, coffee, feed the family, check Ebay, you know), we narrowed it down to a few choices. To be honest, Scott wasn’t completely on board at first, but he warmed up to the idea when I touted the heavily patterned pieces as being more pet friendly than, say, a soft neutral that we’ll want to replace in a few years. It’ll help conceal everyday wear and tear! It’ll get better with time! We’ll pass it down to our pretend kid’s kids! (Or at the very least, pass it down to our friends’ kids’ kids!)

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I quickly realized that there is definitely an art to understanding and purchasing an authentic Persian, and after messaging a helpful seller, they pointed me in the right direction for what to look for in terms of durability. Ours is hand-knotted and wool with a cotton foundation, however, it’s not considered an antique since it only dates back to 1970 (and we’re cool with that). I found this guide to be really helpful, and this symbol chart is pretty fun!

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The day it arrived, we both excitedly unwrapped it, laid it out on the count of  three (1… 2… 3!) and immediately loved it! Then almost immediately after that, thought, hmmm. Is it too much? Is there too much color? Yes, it’s falls outside of our comfort zone and while that’s nice and scary (good) and all, but did we go too far?

The pattern has our hearts, but if I think about it too long, I might say that I wish there were more pinks and blues – but that pattern. It makes it, don’t you think? The size is perfect for this room, an odd size, for sure, coming in at 6′x10′. (Another reason I was on the Persian train; so many unique size options!) It allows for traffic to pass through the living room without anyone having to step on the rug (which would cause weird wear issues), and it’s wide enough for our extra long (100″) couch.

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So while there was a solid return policy (which is what prompted us to just pull the trigger already!), we’re keeping it! It does feel warm and inviting and vibrant – but this room needs more layers. Right now, it’s heavy. Weighted. The whole room is drawn down to the floor, and the two big punch-you-in-the-face pieces are in place – with nothing else around to lighten the mood, so to speak. No soft and neutral curtains. No artwork. No light fixture! No plants, not enough pillows and blankets and no baseboards (for the love of Pete; I’m as sick of mentioning them as you are reading about it). We’ll need one more chair (or bench or sturdy ottoman?) in here, and once we’re done trimming this room, we can move on to those cozy needs.

Bottom line, we love this rug. And with the two big pieces in place, the other changes will (hopefully) tumble into place – soon enough!

PS… our goal to finish the entry trim + floors this weekend didn’t quite come true (although we really, really tried!), so we’ll be tying that up this week and the coming weekend. Oy, I f@*!ng hope.

  • bella - May 13, 2014 - 7:05 AM

    I love that rug. I am not afraid of it’s pattern, color, boldness, at all. But then, I’m old. That rug is considered a nice neutral in my world. ha.

    One thing that stands out to me now is the painted nook. If it were my room, I’d have to paint the walls a deep peacock blue to match the sofa.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 13, 2014 - 9:35 AM

      You know we love that bold blue, but our closet door (and soon-to-be) front door are both a deep navy… might be too much? Now that we’ve lived with it for a little less than a week, we’ll go with you – these are all nice neutrals, right? ;)ReplyCancel

  • caroline [the diy nurse] - May 13, 2014 - 7:22 AM

    It’s absolutely 100% gorgeous. If the couch didn’t make the room [which it totally did], this does. I wouldn’t leave that room ever.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey d. - May 13, 2014 - 9:01 AM

    Mmm…Mmm… That’s pretty much all I have. That rug makes me sigh contentedly over the pretty. I love it.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - May 13, 2014 - 9:17 AM

    It’s beautiful, Kim. I am a huge fan of bold Persian rugs, but know that already.:) When we got our first one, which is 10×12, I was a little “What have I done??!”, but after about a month of letting it settle into the room, I loved it. Mine is red heavy too, so I balance it out with blues, too. :) The room is really coming together and I love how the rug and reading/music nook compliment one another.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - May 13, 2014 - 9:48 AM

    I love it. I too am a fan of the mostly neutral thing, but the punches of color are what take it to the next level. I went the Kilim direction myself, but I love the Persians too. Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Staci @ My Friend Staci - May 13, 2014 - 11:28 AM

    This looks amazing. Once you start accessorizing, it will fall into place better, I think. Contrasted against the royal blue sofa (solid) and wood accents (neutral), it is the perfect X factor!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa @ HOUSEography - May 13, 2014 - 12:07 PM

    LOVE! I always tell my clients that they need to live with major changes for a few weeks. Their minds need to be resent with the new way of living in the space. 9/10 times they keep the big change.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 13, 2014 - 12:20 PM

      Definitely good advice. Every day, it’s growing on us. (We want more!)ReplyCancel

  • LauraC - May 13, 2014 - 4:16 PM

    Never commented before, but chiming in to say how great that rug (and the couch) looks! Yeah, it will look better with curtains and layers of course, but it looks so, so, so good already! Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Katja | Shift Ctrl Art - May 13, 2014 - 5:52 PM

    I think that rug looks fabulous. I love it with the blue couch. I love the whole thing with the green nook. I like that it isn’t too matchy matchy. I agree with all the advantages you are pointing out about this rug. Look fantastic too.ReplyCancel

  • Tori - May 14, 2014 - 8:05 AM

    I love it! Great choice! I actually have a very similar, but smaller, rug in my office (staring at it right now!). I love fun rugs since most big furniture pieces tend to be a solid color they do add great color. And, they also hide a lot of pet wear and tear (And puke). : )ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - May 14, 2014 - 9:19 AM

    Drool, it’s perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Monnaie - May 15, 2014 - 6:24 AM

    Beautiful carpet!ReplyCancel

  • Liz C - May 15, 2014 - 9:28 AM

    Just found you guys by way of Domino, totally sucked in & scrolling through tons of posts. I don’t suppose you’d share the seller you found this rug through, would you? :)ReplyCancel

  • caroline - May 15, 2014 - 6:00 PM

    I found your lovely blog a while back- but this is my first time commenting. I have had Persian rugs for years, and have learned so much about them along the way. It looks high quality and I think it looks great in your space, and plays off the studio room beautifully. I laughed when you said you wished it were more pink and blue, because the Persian in my living room is ONLY pink and blue! Small areas of navy and peach, but mostly hot fuschia/coral and light blue. It’s a little crazy, and sometimes I wished it looked more like yours! Grass greener eh? :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 16, 2014 - 2:52 PM

      Ha – aah, yes, the grass is always greener. Suffice it to say this won’t be our last Persian, so we’ll get many more chances!ReplyCancel

  • Krista - May 15, 2014 - 7:58 PM

    Love! The rug, couch and wood are perfect together!ReplyCancel

  • Honor Roll | Making it Lovely - May 16, 2014 - 11:56 AM

    […] And whoa, how great is this vintage Persian rug with a blue sofa? […]ReplyCancel

  • Joanna @ TheNestbook - May 16, 2014 - 12:04 PM

    I love that rug!!! It is gorgeous. And I totally know what you mean when you say searching for it was part of your morning routine. Now that you have it the search for something else can take its place! :)ReplyCancel

  • Karen L. - May 17, 2014 - 10:46 AM

    We have several Persian rugs in our home and really love the look, the colors, and the durability. We have six grandkids and it’s especially great for when they come to visit as they don’t show anything, wear like iron and are so comfy, too.
    Recently I went to the Richmond area Homearama, and there were the usually schemes of lots of greys, pops of bright colors, neutral/light rugs (which can be lots of work to keep clean looking) but then…..we walked into one home with several wonderful, bright Oriental rugs! Loved how current they can still look and so practical as well—after all they’ve been in homes for many, many years and still going strong. I love your look and it makes me want to go with a blue sofa!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 19, 2014 - 9:03 AM

      Thanks, Karen! So happy to hear all those great things about Persians. I have a feeling this won’t be our last one.ReplyCancel

  • shavonda@ahomefullofcolor - May 21, 2014 - 3:56 PM

    Awesome pairing. Im a major color fanatic and this is totally my jam! Love it, love it, love it.ReplyCancel

  • Review Furniture » Honor Roll - June 18, 2014 - 9:43 AM

    […] And whoa, how great is this vintage Persian rug with a blue sofa? […]ReplyCancel

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Let’s just put it out there that we’re still talking about the entryway. Who knew such a small part of the house would take up so much of our time and energy? At the same time, it is the first thing you’ll see upon entering the home, and we’ve always been big believers in making an impact where it counts.

The entryway counts.

Right now, there are THREE items on our short list (which will of course be followed by the ten little things that domino afterwards: painting the stairs, choosing a runner and installing a little table or shelf – for starters). Ready?

ONE. With most of the baseboards installed, we’re thisclose to installing big, hunky wood caps at the base of our stairs and along the knee wall at the second floor landing:

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TWO. The only reason we haven’t knocked out the entryway baseboards yet is because we still have bare sub floor at the top of the steps. We found a perfect match for our existing hardwood floors (surprise, surprise, they were the least expensive option, as we’ve found every previous “upgrade” in our home to be), so while the price was right, we still need to install them. We’ll be working on that over the weekend with the help of a friend, and fingers crossed, it won’t be a major undertaking. (Famous last words?)

THREE. The stair rail! As in, we need one. There wasn’t a banister to salvage when we moved in, so we picked up a sturdy red oak option at Home Depot, then, of course, realized that we had a few challenges to deal with – who else is surprised?

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For starters, you’ll notice above that we’ve already marked off (approximately every two steps) the right height and angle of our future rail. To do so, we measured 36″ from the top of the step – a measurement we decided on after internet sleuthing told us that a standard height is between 32-38″.

We originally thought we wanted the rail on the right. That wall starts about 6 steps up from the bottom of our staircase, and while we’re absolutely okay with that, we wondered if we should install a much longer handrail on the opposing wall. This would allow the banister to follow along the entire length of the staircase, which would be ideal, yeah? However, a few quick measurements later had us noticing that our large window at the top of the steps wouldn’t allow for even the lowest 32″ rail height, and we’d be staring at said rail every day from the couch. (That’s not an actual problem, but something we had to consider.) This is an older photo (pre-baseboards), but it’ll give you an idea:

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When we installed the knee wall at the top of the steps (after tearing the floor-to-ceiling wall down!), our contractor made sure to build it up to 38″ tall, which he told us would allow for a proper banister, and so, we stuck with our first intuition.

Rather than make straight cuts on our rail, we opted to create a return, which would give us a chunkier look. Wood glue and two nails hold each end on, although I’m not going to sugar coat it – even that gave us some heartache, as it took a few tries (and more than a few nails all said and done!) to get everything aligned properly.

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As for the wood caps, we knew we needed a really durable hard wood (soft pine was not going to cut it), and we wanted something that looked substantial – even if it would cost a little more. Again, this will be the first thing you see when you walk in the front door!

We went to a local lumber supplier, where we had our pick of anything we could have wanted! Prices are reasonable (considering they have some good wood), the options are limitless, and you could spend as much or as little as your heart desires. In the end, we chose a 14′ long plank of gorgeous walnut with a 1 1/4″ depth, knowing we’d need to use our table and miter saws to make the exact cuts:

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Probably the most difficult part of the capping process was getting all of our angles right – we measured five times to cut once, and even still, our hearts were thumping with every turn of the blade! We actually practiced first with a leftover 2×4, cutting it at the necessary angle to fit the cap-to-be at the base of our stairs. You can see below that this went terribly wrong, as the drywall – go figure – isn’t anywhere near a perfect 45 degrees. This looks obvious (on the left), but we made a cut on our practice piece just to see how bad it might look (on the right):

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After brainstorming a few ways that we could fake a straight edge along the top of our cut, we realized – of course! – let’s just build up some drywall mud to get that angle right! This, naturally (as the story goes!), set us back a handful of days as we built up thin coats of mud, sanded, re-applied, sanded and did our test fits once more. Finally, we had an angle that worked much, much better.

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At the very least (and while the mudding and sanding was taking place), I was able to get started with stain on the second floor cap and banister! We’ll ultimately be painting our stair treads black with white risers, so when it came to the stain of choice, we just went for it, opting for Ebony:

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And when it came to our handrail brackets? Well, we just went for that, too.

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In addition to laying down the hardwood on the second floor landing this weekend, we are really hoping – that is, if things go smoothly – to also knock out the caps and handrail! We mean, what could go wrong?

  • Kris - May 9, 2014 - 9:06 AM

    Love that handrail bracket!!ReplyCancel

  • andee - May 9, 2014 - 9:39 AM

    Absolutely love the handrail bracket!! Amazing!!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - May 9, 2014 - 12:09 PM

    That bracket is gorgeous! Good luck with your weekend projects!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - May 10, 2014 - 6:25 AM

    What could go wrong? Let’s not answer that question! I will keep my fingers crossed that all goes well for you. :)ReplyCancel

  • Monnaie - May 15, 2014 - 6:25 AM

    Love the whitening!ReplyCancel

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