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After our adventures in the PNW, we came home with a lot to be thankful for. We were so lucky to spend time with friends both old and new, and our silly dinner conversations, cupcake eating and (let’s be honest) drunken, playful nights together will forever be the starts of later conversations such as, remember when we…?

Although many thank yous, hugs and kisses were involved, we wanted to (snail) mail note cards as another simple way to say, we think you’re great! But after shopping around for unique and cheery thank you cards with no luck, we decided on the next obvious course of action: DIY.

Solid color note cards and envelopes with a stripe of decorative tape are not only sweet and simple, but they’re more personal, don’t you think? We used kraft cards, gold envelopes and Smash tape (all picked up from our local art supple store), but there are so many ways to mix and match to suit your style (and that of your friends, too!). The best part is that most paper bundles come in packs of ten, so you’ll have more on hand when the time comes (and save a few trips to the craft stores).

Do you still send out traditional cards? We might not be holiday-card-givers (they say that’ll come after your first human child; is this true?), but we do love a good piece of unexpected snail mail.

  • Rebelwerewolf - September 26, 2012 - 6:33 AM

    We give out holiday cards, and we have two dogs and zero children. I was thinking of getting special cards printed with Badger and Mushroom on them for this winter.ReplyCancel

  • jane - September 26, 2012 - 6:57 AM

    Absolutely love to DIY cards. I got some plain mini cards and am stitching them with my machine to add some color, and will offer them with any items that customers want gift wrapped at my upcoming art festival. Alsoam addicted to washi tape :) but i never thought to use it as you did on a card!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda @boucksy - September 26, 2012 - 7:45 AM

    These are totally cute. I know that this kind of tape has been getting pretty high up there as far as fame and usage goes, so I think maybe now it’s finally time to cave!ReplyCancel

  • Sadie - September 26, 2012 - 8:57 AM

    I am a HUGE letter writer (as in I send out snail mail daily)…Hazel on West Montrose has the very best stationary selection ever. With my addiction, it’s almost dangerous to walk in the door :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 26, 2012 - 9:25 AM

    Jane, I love stitched cards! Ugh, if only I knew how to sew.

    Sadie, I haven’t heard of Hazel. Will have to check it out! (But it seems I may get into a bit of trouble doing so…) Thanks for the tip.ReplyCancel

  • Trude - September 26, 2012 - 1:11 PM

    Love them!! I think because I grew up in a house where most of our friends and family lived in different states and countries, we sent lots of mail, even now. I love doing cards, I usually find fun ones on Etsy (my fave artist is Laura George) or make my own. I’ve been doing holiday cards with me and my dog since I was 23, I guess I’m just an old lady at heart! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 26, 2012 - 1:17 PM

    Trude, old ladies unite!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Lynn - September 27, 2012 - 8:55 AM

    Kim, what art supply store do you go to around these parts?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 27, 2012 - 9:05 AM

      Hey Amy! Most of the time, I’ll go to Blick’s off of North Ave (but there’s a huge one downtown at State & Monroe), Utrecht (on Wabash downtown) or Paper Source on Armitage.ReplyCancel

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Let’s take a moment to talk about something very exciting – blinds!

What, that’s not exciting to you? Yeah, us either. But it’s funny, because for something so very, very un-exciting, we sure did spend a boat load of time on the topic. Like, months. And I wish we were kidding. (Of course, we did have a few moments where our research slipped to the back burner – it was summer, after all! We couldn’t spend all our time comparison shopping, right?)

In any case, we seem to know more than we ever wanted on the topic, and since we decided, hey, we want new blinds! White ones! Ones that diffuse the light but reduce television glare!, well, we realized that choosing the right ones for us wasn’t so easy. And because it wasn’t so easy for us, we thought, hey, maybe you’re in the same boat, too? (If not, we apologize for our ramble, ramble on the topic. If so, let’s go!)

Before moving into our home, the first things we did was paint the walls (almost all of which has since been painted a different color) and hang venetian blinds on all the windows. At the time, our choice made sense. We have red toned wood cabinets, and they matched; they made the kitchen/living room feel larger, and they provided us with privacy. It was right decision for us then, but over time, our style has evolved, our rooms have changed and it no longer seemed like a good fit for us.

We’ve always felt so-so about our kitchen cabinets. They’re modern enough, and while house hunting, it was the nicest as-is kitchen we saw. Because our unit was a gut rehab, rightfully so. However, if this was our forever home (it’s much too small for that), we’ve talked about what we would do differently: white cabinets, perhaps a darker counter top (in the grey family, perhaps?) and maybe not so many cabinets (we love them, but there are so many! Floating shelves, maybe?). With all this said, we’ve decided that as we tweak our living room – which is one half of the large kitchen/living area – we’re going to think of our kitchen cabinets as any other neutral wood tone in one great, big room.

Once we came to this realization, we noticed that many of our neighbors have cellular (or honeycomb) shades, and after asking them a few annoying questions (you know, over a beer: so, how ’bout your shades?), we knew they were the right style for us. Cell shades are unobtrusive and lightweight – and most importantly, they didn’t detract from the room as a whole. Done! And so our search began.

We wanted to outfit the living room window and the kitchen window, and all estimates came in around $300-450 total, depending on the style, on these three sites: Blinds.ComSelect Blinds and Blindster. We also discovered there are single cell and double cell, and (surprise, surprise!) there are about 20 shades of white. Luckily, each site offered up to 10 free samples, so while the task overwhelmed my man, I spent an entire lunch break ordering about 3 different shades of white in single and double cell from each company. It was nuts, my eyes felt blurry, and then we waited.

Upon receiving our samples, one thing became very clear: although there were variations in price, each company seemed to carry the same shade, but they were all named just a twinge differently. For example, Select Blinds double cell shade in Snowflake seemed identical to Blinds.Com in Altamont. They looked the same, they felt the same, they were the same toughness and both were crumple-resistent – yet the prices were slightly varied. We read the thousands of reviews, found discount codes on RetailMeNot for each and they all came up… well, about identical.

Long story short (as Scott likes to say, although I blew that one about 3 paragraphs ago), it came down to return policy for us. We found that Blinds.Com had a 60 day guarantee, and if we didn’t like ‘em, we could return the shades on their dime. Even the policies were just slightly different from company to company, and had we not read the fine print, we could have been screwed with the competitors had we not liked our final decision.

Which, by the way, was the 3/8″ Double Cell Light Filtering in the color Altamont by Blinds.Com.

After taking down the venetians, we discovered that we’d never painted the window casing the same color as the living room wall! (Remember when that happened with the kitchen window?) We found the last teeny bit of contractor’s beige in our home, and we very happily painted over it with Behr’s Winterfresh.

The new shades went up without a hitch; Scott installed them in under an hour. He was also able to use the good quality supplied hardware (which seems to be a rarity anymore, since Scott eschews most item-supplied nuts and bolts), and all that was needed was our drill and tape measure.

Our living room window is over 100″ wide, so we had to order 3 separate shades for that window and 1 shade for the kitchen to achieve our next decision: bottom up/top down. (The maximum width for bottom up/top down is 72,” so we were unable to do one wide panel.)

The happy ending for our previous blinds is that they’re now installed on our neighbor’s bare windows – the perfect fit, since our windows are a mirror image of each other. The bottom line for our 4 shades came to $425. However, we sold our former set for $100, so we can bring that total down to $325. And the best part? (This is where it gets geeky – as if it wasn’t already!) Not only are we smitten with the clean look of the fresh white, but the twin cells trap air, keeping our home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Now, to add some curtain panels, hide those speakers, figure out our lamp situation and start scoping end tables:

Who knew I could go on for so long about blinds? It’s all very exciting; this we know. But we figured that if something so seemingly simple could take us so long to decide upon, we couldn’t be the only ones that’ve struggled. Our final purchase was the best decision for us, but we wonder, have you (or are you currently) felt the pain of window shopping (literally, it seems!)? Any tips or advice that helped you?

PS: Nope, we weren’t perked in any way for the Blinds.Com love. We just wanted to share our adventures in shade shopping in the hopes it could help you!

PPS: It is almost impossible to take photos of  windows. That’s all.

  • Melissa de la Fuente - September 24, 2012 - 7:51 AM

    I am so happy I found my way over to your lovely blog today & saw pics of your beautiful, warm and happy home! I was wondering what the wall color was in your living room? It is perfect & just what I have been looking for! Thanks and all the best!
    xo
    MelissaReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - September 24, 2012 - 8:33 AM

    All of the blinds in our house are cheap-o metal blinds and we are slowly replacing each one. We, too, ultimately went with Blinds.com, but the bamboo route. So, after all of our research, and swatch-gathering–this post actually was pretty entertaining to me. Haha! Like, “I’ve been there!!” And, yes, windows are SO hard to photograph. In fact, I’m pretty sure I ended our post the same way a few months ago and I got many comments that included over-my-head tips.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 24, 2012 - 10:39 AM

    Thanks, Melissa! The color is called Winterfresh by Behr, and we always pick it up in the flat enamel. You can find more of our home sources here: http://www.yellowbrickhome.com/source-list

    Julia, glad you got a kick out of it! It’s been such a saga, but we couldn’t be happier with how things turned out!ReplyCancel

  • The Tiny Homestead - September 25, 2012 - 7:04 PM

    oh I’ve been in the same blind shopping purgatory lately. It’s actually really useful to hear that all those sites have about the same products and pricing. I’m going to have to get my final measurements and pull the trigger. Maybe there will be Columbus day sales. Your window looks nice and I love that your old blinds get to live on at the neighbors.ReplyCancel

  • Katie from Blinds.com - September 26, 2012 - 8:43 AM

    First off – absolutely gorgeous window shots, I’m so in love with your wall color and the crisp white shade combo. Wow!!

    Second off – even though I work knee deep in blinds land (at Blinds.com), I too have been working on covering my own home’s windows (for the very first time, eep!) this year.

    Here’s what helped me:

    1. I live in an old house with tricky windows, so I wanted extra help. I did the Blinds.com Face2Face video chat on my laptop web cam with a designer so I could have a pro designer eyeballing what would really work.

    2. Samples samples samples!! Clearly you already got that covered :) There’s just nothing like holding up swatches to see what works – plus you can pass them along to your favorite kiddos for interesting crafty projects when you’re done.

    3. I’m massively indecisive, so used our mobile app (aptly named ‘The Window Shopper’) to virtually try on a couple of different types of treatments before I officially made up my mind.

    Again, beautiful job guys!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - September 26, 2012 - 1:07 PM

    I’m a faithful reader, but don’t usually comment. I have to say though, I’m feeling you on the blinds issue. When we bought our 70′s ranch all of the windows had “designer” vertical blinds. Meaning pink and blue blinds with fake wood grain. Awesome. It gets really hot here though so we couldn’t sacrifice those benefits, and we have been slowly replacing them. I can’t wait until the day I never see another vertical blind in my house. BTW I am off to blinds.com to try out those suggestions from Katie!ReplyCancel

  • MP - September 26, 2012 - 4:08 PM

    K&S, So glad you chose Blinds.com. I researched every company prior to purchasing or white wood blinds. Blinds.com did a perfect job and had fast delivery. After a year there was a problem with one of the cords. They sent an entire new pair free, including shipping! Your shades are lovely!ReplyCancel

  • [...] that they chose Blinds.com! Take a look at the post chronicling their new obsession with blinds (The Most Exciting Thing You Will Ever Read)  to see their beautiful photos and the kind things they said about [...]ReplyCancel

  • Carole - November 9, 2012 - 3:03 PM

    You are my hero! This post was exactly what I was looking for! I had been searching for blinds – not an easy task! After living in my new house for WAY too long without sufficient curtains or blinds, your post helped me to find the perfect blinds for my place – I ended up with a similar type of blind to yourself, but sourced locally (I am in Canada). Thank you again for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 9, 2012 - 3:23 PM

      Aw, Carole, thank you for the sweet comment! I’m thrilled I was able to help. Picking out blinds is not a fun task, but definitely necessary! We’ve noticed a huge difference in our heating bill since installing them, so they were worth every penny, too.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - March 2, 2013 - 11:44 AM

    Ditto what Carole posted..I’m sitting here over my morning coffee needing to make the final decisions about my own blinds! It has come down to the same final 3 companies you had! The sticking point for me was the color…..too many white choices!! I KNEW someone out there in the blogosphere would have shared their thoughts about it so i Googled “advice altamont or snowflake blinds” and here you are!! Thank you for sharing your experience, narrowing down the immense choices, and helping me finally move forward! LOVE your blog, by the way, now i have it bookmarked. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 2, 2013 - 12:29 PM

      Thank you, Erin! So glad we could help. It really is such a difficult thing to get just right, and months later, we’re still loving our choice.ReplyCancel

  • Nate Kennedy - July 11, 2013 - 12:44 AM

    Kim,

    Hi Kim! My name is Nate Kennedy and I am the VP of Operations at SelectBlinds.com. I stumbled upon your blog(Very Impressive) and was wondering if you could share what you didn’t like about our return policy compared to Blinds.com? I take every opportunity to listen to our potential customers and I am hopeful you’ll share with me what it was in the fine print that caused you to go away from us.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 11, 2013 - 9:03 AM

      Hi Nate, thanks for checking in! I think it was as simple as this: we would’ve had to pay for return shipping if we weren’t satisfied (be it color choice, style, etc), whereas, shipping was free to return at Blinds.com. Other that that, both sites had wonderful options!ReplyCancel

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While we were in Cincinnati over the past weekend, we were thrilled to find out The City Flea would be going on at the same time. I’ve been following the Flea founder, Lindsay, on her blog for a few months now, and when I realized our weekends would collide… well, I practically spit out my morning coffee. A pop-up flea market! Yes, oh yes.

Chicago has an insane amount of perfectly crafted, curated flea markets (oh, Chicago, how we love thee!), so we were especially intrigued as to how a similar weekend event would feel and flow in Scott’s hometown of Cincinnati. Our first surprise was that The City Flea was held in the Over the Rhine neighborhood – the epicenter of the Queen city’s 2001 riots. (It was a scary time, full of uncertainty.) The streets have since been cleaned up, and adorable shops and thriving small businesses have boomed; it was amazing to see how much our city has flourished since we’ve been gone, and we couldn’t have been happier!

To be honest, The City Flea wasn’t exactly what we were expecting – and that’s most certainly not a bad thing. We had the idea that it would be a large market of home goods, vintage clothing and salvaged wares (think: Randolph Flea Market or Vintage Bazaar). It was those things, but in addition, it was also filled with handmade vendors (think: Renegade Craft Fair). It was a fun mix of old and new; a DJ booth, food trucks and coffee stands made it complete. Of course, we quickly found a few items:

You know me + frames = love (no, Jesus won’t stay, but the guilty Catholic girl in me will probably roll Him in a storage tube to prevent death by lightning – I say this with a light heart, by the way), and we’ve actually been on the hunt for a small-ish metal bin. (Yes, really.) More on these once we get everything in place.

Did anyone else go? Or maybe you’re wrapping up your yard and estate sale hopping as the last days of summer wind down?

The Flea will pop up twice more this year (see the full site for details on that), so if you’re in the Cincinnati area, you should go! And say hi to Lindsay, because she’s over-the-top cute.

  • Amy Lynn - September 20, 2012 - 8:52 AM

    And the bin is from MY old stompin’ grounds … Grand Rapids! :) Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 20, 2012 - 8:55 AM

    Amy, we thought of you when we bought it!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - September 21, 2012 - 8:42 AM

    Kim! This post is just lovely. It was wonderful meeting you and we’re so glad you and Scott were able to come by!ReplyCancel

  • Whitney - September 28, 2012 - 5:18 PM

    I happened upon your site and nearly spit out MY coffee when I saw you mention city flea. I have been dying to go but it never works with my schedule and I don’t come across many people that mention Cincy. We absolutely love OTR and frequent A Tavola among some others. Can’t wait to make it to city flea!ReplyCancel

  • Yamina - January 17, 2013 - 12:28 PM

    good evening
    I just discovered your blog and I’m in love. I’d love to return every article you write. Do you have a newsletter for me to register?
    I’m writing not English then I use google translate.
    I’m like you, I love antiquing and my apartment is full of my purchases of old objects (old industrial lamps, antique fabrics, embroidery on linen, old frames …..) there are so many things I like to buy in the granaries empty (or empty parking you). If one day you come to France, you are welcome home. You come and hunt in Lyon where I reside.
    Happy New Year 2013 and I’m big kiss to your beloved animals.
    Yamina

    ps 1: I am a grandmother of two grandchildren, Valentin and Maéva
    ps 2: I found me up for your newsletter, chic!ReplyCancel

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