Chanukah Gift Guide 7: For Crafty Friends

Hi, friends! We’re almost at the end of Chanukah Gift Guide 2016, but I couldn’t wrap it up without a few specialty gift guides for specific people on your list. Today we’re shopping for artsy, crafty, maker friends who love to make beautiful things with their hands. Hope you enjoy!

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  • Watercolor print supply pouch. Lately I’m loving the combination of natural linen and a fantastic cotton print. This handmade pouch will help any creative person organize the supplies they keep with them on the go, whether that’s a tiny embroidery hoop or micron pens and a Moleskine.
  • Iron Utility Scissors. A nice, weighty pair of scissors to sit on the desk, ready for whatever cutting needs present themselves.
  • Wood mini chest with ceramic drawers. Crafters and artsy people love little compartments. Perfect for needles, thread, fabric scraps, paper ephemera, buttons, or beads.
  • Le Creueset batter bowl. Maybe your artsy friend doesn’t paint or stitch- maybe they bake delicious treats for family and friends. This batter bowl with a handle and pouring spout will be useful for so many recipes, but is probably not something they would purchase for themselves. The signature Le Creueset design and glazing will give them a thrill every time they use it.
  • Daily planner notepad. Creative minds need to get their goals down on paper just like the rest of us. This planner pad offers 50 days of scaffolded goal setting, scheduling, and prioritizing for even the busiest day.
  • iLive Bluetooth speaker. This portable speaker can go wherever you go, offering great wireless sound quality at craft nights or just late nights in your own studio.
  • Cross stitch pincushion. This beautiful linen pincushion is almost too fancy to use, but who can resist its plump figure and gorgeous embroidery? Such a great gift with a little box of new pins or by itself.
  • Printable wall art. This instant download is designed to be printed at home or at your local copy shop for inexpensive and inspiring art that captures their passion.
  • Ceramic charms. Crafty types love supporting other makers, and these ceramic charms are made by hand with 18k gold accents in Birmingham, Alabama.

Nursery Inspiration

As I round the corner into my final trimester, the to-do list grows and it’s nice to take a break from the organizing, the appointment making, and the budgeting to think about a lovely new space for this new little person.

Inspired by the Tapestry fabric collection by Art Gallery, which I used to make the baby quit, I’ve pulled together an inspiration board for a budget-friendly, gender-neutral nursery. I wanted something sunny and light, with only the good notes. Plus I wanted to incorporate a few things we already have (like the teal rocking chair, below) to keep spending at a minimum. We are choosing to make over dressers we already own and going with the most inexpensive IKEA crib to leave room in the budget for a few high-impact things that should still look good and work well a few years down the line.

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I knew that light turquoise was a good starting point, for how well it pairs with wood tones, yellows, and crisp white. It’s a calming color that doesn’t scream “baby girl” or “baby boy”, and it can be glammed up with gold without a lot of effort.

This Target rug ($48) is a great foundation and looks great against the IKEA crib ($79). That same light wood tone is reflected in the book organizer ($38), which has heavy duty canvas slings to hold lots of books and serve as a blank background if I decide to get creative with stencils or applique. For art, I love this poster of Jerusalem’s Old City ($20+), as well as this print ($30+) which features a happy sun reminding you to say “Modeh Ani”, the Hebrew morning prayer thanking God for giving you another day. I have also made an Aleph Bet wall hanging and a mobile from the same fabric line as the baby quilt to add a personal touch.

I figure that an inexpensive but sturdy side table ($30) would be useful next to the rocking chair, to hold a lamp ($20)and a bottle of water for late night feedings. The dressers are going to get their own facelift with removable wallpaper ($35) in a woodsy pattern, and gold drawer pulls ($3.35). A can of gold spray paint ($6.46) will be handy for sprucing up the old dresser knobs and other accessories, like wall hooks and shelf brackets. I’d love to finish off the room with some wood pieces, like these gorgeous etched blocks ($49).

What do you all think of this plan? Sunny and bright?
And would you like a dresser facelift tutorial when I get to it?

Gallery Walls in 2016

Gallery walls have been around for a few years. In fact, I featured Young House Love’s fantastic gallery hallway here in 2013. John and Sherry created the comprehensive guide to the how-tos of building a fun, dynamic and meaningful gallery space. That was back in 2011, but gallery walls don’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon.

In my 2013 post, Living with Photos, I discussed the role photos play in creating a beautiful space that reflects who you are and the things that are most important to you. Today, I’m excited to share my top tips for gallery walls and how to keep them timeless and fresh, even six years into the trend.

  1. Combine black and white images with color photographs for a classic look. The best gallery walls look like the pieces were collected over time, with an organic, personal feel.

  2. Or choose all back and white photos for a dramatic effect that won’t compete with other textures and colors in the room. This modern collection of crisp black and white prints is a gorgeous contrast to the raw wood, straw, and stone in this space.

  3. Incorporate the unexpected into your layout. Perfectly symmetrical arrangements tend to look like a set of frames you picked up at Target. You’re really not looking for a “gallery wall in a box” look. Asymmetry takes care of that right away, even when you choose the clean look of identical frames, below.

  4. Keep it personal with items you might not have thought to frame. Incorporate a page from your favorite book, a map of your hometown, your scribbled wedding vows. Make it meaningful and unique, not something that just anyone could have in their home.

  5. Choose a gorgeous color scheme. This brings cohesiveness and happy energy to a space you walk through every day.


  6. Bring in some dimension. Add a textured weaving, three dimensional word art, even a string of bright pom poms for an interactive feel. Please just avoid the “Live Laugh Love” canvas prints. In twenty years, those are going to be what shag carpets were to the 70s.

  7. Use washi tape instead for a spontaneous rotating gallery anywhere. This is great for a dorm room, the inside of a closet door for daily fashion inspiration, or above a desk. Such a great way to show off favorite instagram photos.

  8. Continue your gallery all the way down the wall. This works especially well in a corner for a cozy, casual feel.


    What are your favorite gallery wall tips? Do you like to create a wall all at once, or let it grow over time?

I’d love to share photos of YOUR gallery wall! Tag me on Instagram (@sara.bellin) to have your photo featured in my next post!

Guest Tutorial for Wilna Furstenberg

Welcome, IHEARTSTUDIO fans! I am so excited to share this video tutorial that I did in collaboration with Wilna Furstenberg using her gorgeous new Spring collection. I was thrilled to be offered this opportunity and I’ve been counting down the days until I could share it with you.

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I filmed the video tutorial in collaboration with Mo David, an incredible young filmmaker. I hope you love it.

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This layout was inspired by five strong women in my family, and of course by Wilna’s Spring Collection. I loved the floral frames with their soft pink watercolor borders, and I knew they would be perfect 3×4” Project Life cards. Because May is the month of Mother’s Day, I wanted to create something as a tribute to the mothers and grandmothers that came before me, whose strength made me who I am and gives me so much to aspire to. I was able to incorporate one of my favorite quotes from the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, as well as an excerpt in English and in Hebrew from the book of Proverbs praising the woman of valor. I hope you enjoy!

Looking for more scrappy goodness?

To the Seaside


This week we’re off to Nantucket for a little sea air and relaxation. Before I go, I wanted to pop by with an easy DIY I made from a few brightly colored tassels.

I bought this scarf at LOFT this weekend because I just couldn’t resist the pattern at the sale price. But because I plan on mostly wearing it as a headscarf, I knew that the tassels would often be tucked away. They are too good to waste, so I put together this quick DIY for a fun, summery necklace for your own beachy getaway.

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First, I carefully removed the tassels from the scarf with a small pair of scissors. For a little extra something-something, I wrapped the shank of the tassel with silver wire. At this point, it was ready to attach to a necklace! I experimented with looping the tassels on to a silver chain (as you see in the smaller photos in the lower lefthand corner of the collage, above), but also loved how they looked attached to a layered coral bead necklace. Such a fun vacation-y accessory to add to what I packed for this trip!

Have a great week, friends!

Painting on Silk for Beginners

This weekend, I experimented with an art technique that was completely new to me- painting on silk! It was something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. And since I’m comfortably cozy alone at home, watching Pride and Prejudice during the Super Bowl, I thought I’d share a step-by-step tutorial below, if you’d like to see!

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