April roundup

These months are seriously flying. How is my child almost 2 1/2??? And nearly fully potty trained might I add!

I hit the ground running this month with Spring Break being the first week. I was able to get a jump start on this month's projects. It was great to work work work for a couple days, and spend 4-5 days doing NOTHING.

I have updated my 101 list of things that have been accomplished this month! #2, #25, #1, #8, #38, #57, and #65 were all finished this month! Hard to believe how much is getting marked off!!

Here were my original goals:
1. Get Luke's room together.
2. Frames on the wall over TV.
3. A little sewing.
4. Mirror mosaic table.
5. Old window up

How'd I do?? 5 for 5! I think that's the first time I've met all my goals! Luke's room could use a little more tweaking since I only got 1/2 way through the to do list.

Here are other things that got done as well:

1. I made my first loaf of bread:
2. Bought a Silhouette!
3. Hung frames over the TV:

4. Made a wedding card collage:
5. Living a little greener with cloth paper towels:
6. Talked about some pet peeves:
7. Made baked potatoes in a crock pot (which literally changed my life):

8. Posted my frap recipe:

9. Emergency Kit together:
10. Made homemade liquid laundry soap:

Luke's room

It was one of my goals this month to get Luke's room together. We have moved that room around too many times to count, especially after we made the transition to the big boy bed at 18 months. I have waited to post this until right at the end of the month to give me the most amount of time to get this finished.

Here was my list of things I wanted to get done (pretty much in order of importance):
1. READ wall
2. Collage wall
3. Fix his curtain
4. Paint
5. Try to fit the dresser in the closet and pull his toys into the room
6. Hang his growth chart
7. IKEA spice shelves for books
8. Paint white trim around ceiling
9. Work on the other empty wall
10. Add an area rug to bring color to the floor

I can now mark off #1-6!

1. Here is what his READ wall looks like:

We bought those little shelves at Habitat for Humanity, painted them white, and secured them to the wall. They came in a bundle of 10 for 50 cents!! I love how it has a little lip to hold small books. He loves walking up there and switching books out. The letters I bought at Hobby Lobby.

2. Wall Collage! Can you tell that I LOVE collages? It is such an amazing way to display alot of important pieces!

A couple of my favorites include his birth stat printable:

and the crayon canvas art (that looks like a flag. Get it?):

Also the button L is another favorite (and he LOVES this one too)!

I love that he wakes up in the morning and says "Look mom!" and points to the collage! It makes my heart happy that he loves it as much as I do!

Of course I fell in love with the huge flag canvas before he was born. And I think I love it more everyday which just seems totally impossible because I can't imagine loving it anymore than I love it now!

3. I had started to sew felt stars on his curtain since it is a huge blank blue slate. I never finished, and I never got to motivation to finish. So it was just easier to take them down. I never even got a picture of them up. Plus he would pull on the stars and I worried that the curtains would tear and compromise the "blackout" part of them.

4. Paint!! This room was yellow when we moved in.

Have you ever tried to paint over yellow?? It's like the hardest color in the world to cover (and it doesn't make sense because it's so light). I bought the blue paint and painted this room (months before I found out I was pregnant with him). It was actually bought originally for the laundry room and it ended up being too light in there. I got the flat sheen (which in hindsight was a horrible mistake).  It was a hot mess from all the toddler finger prints. And there were still some places where the yellow wasn't covered to my satisfaction.

Here it is now please excuse the unmade bed:
and that fact that he sleeps with 5 doggies:

The closet got a coat of blue too to tie in with the room. We painted the closet tan before we removed the closet doors. After the doors came down the tan closet just looked weird.
Also, we moved his dresser in there so now all his clothes are together.

LOVE the eggshell sheen and I still LOVE this color. By the way it's called Mineral Water by Behr. Serene Sky is the shade darker that I used in the Laundry Room.

5. His dresser and toy organizer switched places, and this is the wall that desperately needs something on it:

and I found this at a thrift store for $20. It's not an exact match to the set but it's pretty darn close!

6. I got this growth chart at a baby shower. I have been keeping all his stats from his doctor's visits and I added them to the growth chart (temporarily). I plan to cut some vinyl to stick on where the post its are. I also plan to put some IKEA spice racks under the read sign to hold more books.

And I still have #7-10 to work on. I feel like I accomplished alot this month in here and I finally feel like there is some order to the stuff on his walls!!

Table re-mix

I found this little side table at a thrift store months ago. I knew I wanted to do something with it, so I tried to look past the hideous faux tile.  
It wasn't even attached to the base. It had been originally stuck with glue I assume since there is glue residue, but it popped right out. 
A couple years ago we had a yard sale with some friends and they were going to try to sell a mirror that they  had replaced in one of their bathrooms. 

The mirror somehow shattered during the course of the yard sale. As we were cleaning up the pieces it hit me that I'd always wanted a mirror mosaic table. I asked if I could keep the broken pieces... and they have been in our carport ever since. 

I have never used grout before, and honestly I didn't even know where to start. I knew I needed a very little amount, and I knew I needed it to be easy. This fit the bill all around. It is adhesive and grout in one. 
I put a little bit of adhesive around the edges and on the bottom. I chose to flip the "tile" (that's not really a tile. It's more like glorified cardboard) upside down. 
The directions said to let it sit 24 hours, but I was a little impatient. I let it sit about 4 (with some heavy books on it to secure it).
By the way: grout and a new deck aren't a good combination. Shame on me for not putting paper down! It cleaned up well though, but it would have been easier to roll up a drop cloth or newspaper. 
Next came the fun part... tiling! I didn't buy any tiling tools for this so I just used a putty knife. I smoothed some grout over the top of the tile and made swirlies in it. I know from the VERY little tile knowledge I have that the notches are supposed to help "grab" the tile. 

I didn't actually get any good step by step pictures from laying the broken pieces of mirror. It was basically a trial and error thing. Once I got all the mirror pieces arranged, I slathered a layer of the grout over the top. I did have to build up the edges because I didn't want any sharp pieces poking out making a slice your hand open hazard (insert Bon Qui Qui's famous "I will cuuuuuut you" line). This part was tedious, and I ended up having to put a second layer of grout over the whole thing after the first layer dried. I decided that I was just going to keep adding layers until it was how I wanted. I did add a third layer to the sides to build up those edges.

How sweet is it all done?? I love that the white picks up the white in the rocking chair. And it makes a perfect drink/book side table for the hot summer days! I will eventually have to Oil Rub Bronze the base because there are some places rusting. 
 Here it is looking from the top down....

Total cost?
Table (from Salvation Army)- $3
Mirror- $Free!
Grout- $9 (I used like 1/8 of the container. It looks like I need to find other grout projects quickly!)
Other tools- Already had.

Not too bad!

Weekly Update: 4/23-4/27

Student test anxiety?? How about teacher test anxiety?? At least the students can control their answers... I can't control anything about the last 3 days and the next 2. And I seriously think I need a Xanax because of it.

Luke is at the age where every boo-boo can be fixed by a mommy kiss, and healed with a band-aid. I seriously wish band-aids still fixed everything.

I feel like he has grown up so much the past week! He lifts his shirt up and says "tuke tooo me mom" which is "tickle me mom". He calls me 'mom' 90% of the time instead of mommy or mama. And the things he says just crack me up!

We bought Luke a seat to put on Josh's bike so he can go on bike rides with us. It's just so fun to be able to ride as a family!

I am more exhausted at the end of testing weeks than any other time of the year. I am just so glad Lulu is coming up for the weekend! Luke told me last night "2 more wake wake" meaning 2 more wake ups until Lulu comes (it was really only one and I loved the surprise on his face when I told him she was coming tomorrow).

24 more days of school... and a couple more of post planning and it is officially the summer! Can't wait!

Triumphs and Trials

So although I love my blog to be filled with triumphs of things that make me feel accomplished (selfish? maybe... but this is my happy place), I think it's only fair to show things that don't exactly work out as planned.

Since I've just recently begun moving things around on the walls of our home (we are going on almost 4 years here. Pathetic that it's taken me this long? yes.), I have been left with lots of little holes in the wall. Some were here from the previous owners. Some were from hangings that just didn't go well. By the way- previous owner's holes in the wall are pretty helpful! They found the center of the wall in rooms so we didn't even have to measure! :)

Another problem (which was a good problem to have) with buying a home that is literally move in ready is we have never painted the main rooms. Our dining room, living room, hallway and master bedroom are a neutral shade of khaki that we like. Khaki is a hard color to get (it can't have a pink or peach tint, and it can't have too much brown- we found in our other house that finding the perfect shade is very difficult and we ended up with a peachy/pink room). We haven't  grown tired of it (although I do dream of gray walls) enough to go through the process of moving everything and repainting. Which leaves us to the problem of this post...

What the heck is this wall color anyway??? In order to do touch ups, I needed to know this. We had only been here a few months when I needed to touch up and this was before I really knew much about paint.

The previous owners told us the color was called "China Doll" from Sherwin Williams. I somehow managed to remember that from a casual conversation when I asked about it on the house tour. Glad I have a practically photogenic memory when it comes to names of things. I am an absolute die hard Home Depot Behr paint believer. Behr paint is beautiful, thick, and goes on so well. So I had the SW "China Doll" color matched to Behr. This is great until they ask you what sheen you want... flat, flat enamel, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss or gloss... my eyes literally glossed over. I tried to think if I'd ever really noticed. Like I said before: when we moved here it was still a paint learning process. I knew flat paint was, well flat (for lack of a better word. It has no luster). It almost feels like chalk to me. I didn't think that was it. I knew flat enamel was relatively new. And I knew the walls had been painted for a while, so I didn't think that could be it. Eggshell was my best bet, because I knew satin was more shiny, and I knew our walls weren't shiny. The eggshell sheen is my go to choice anyways. It wipes off easily and doesn't show brush/roller marks like satin does. So I went with eggshell.

My first test wall patch was in the living room. This room is fairly bright with lots of natural light. It was for sure a close match, but I could still see the difference. I ended up painting the whole wall. It was good as new. I put the paint away (semi-frustrated) and didn't touch it for 3 years.

As I was hanging my collage and window print in the master bedroom I realized there were alot of unpatched holes. I decided to try the touch up paint again. Maybe there was too much natural light in the living room? Maybe the original wall color had faded? It was worth a shot in the master since I already had the paint. I lovingly call our bedroom a cave. It's dark (which I love). It gets the morning sun (which we get up before sunrise anyways). It's cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Literally a perfect place to sleep. So maybe the touch up faux pa wouldn't show up here. .


See what I mean that its like the exact same color, but the touch up is shiny. My final verdict is the paint already on the wall must be flat enamel. I really don't think it's flat because it does wipe up well. Or maybe SW's eggshell is less shiny??

I like shiny/unshiny in my newly striped bathroom:
But it's just not working for touchups.

I did touch up a few places here:
You really can't tell the difference here because you don't walk by this wall sideways. Kinda hard to explain, but this picture is above our headboard. The one that showed the shiny touch ups was right by the door. It caught my eye and drove me crazy every time I passed it.

What I ended up doing (and thankfully we have paneling), is I painted the entire panel. Here is the finished result:

The 2 panels on the left are repainted. The right panel is not. In direct light if you are standing back looking at the whole wall you can see the difference, but at quick glace it is much better!

I think if this hadn't worked we would have just repainted in some shade of gray. But this was much less work, and seeing as our house is for sale, I really don't want to put the effort into painting whole rooms if I don't have to.

I have high expectations for the office. See all the holes I've patched??

Since we painted the office after moving in, and I still have the original paint, I hope this will take the "patch" better. I should mention that after sanding the patch it is always wise to do a coat of primer. That way the patch absorbs the primer not the paint. We'll see how it goes and I'll update with another post the results.

So there are lots of triumphs to celebrate, and a trial here or there to remedy. I guess it could be worse, like not knowing the wall color at all, or having to work around wall paper, or something really tragic like that. I guess I should count my blessings, not the trials!!

Homemade (liquid) Laundry Soap

in this post liquid laundry soap has changed my life. (see the crock pot potatoes here)

I shared here how I mixed up some powdered laundry soap for some homemade Christmas gifts. I really like this detergent, and it cleaned our clothes really well. I am a no smell, no fuss laundry soap type person. ALL free and clear was my go to soap (before the homemade powder stuff) and once I saw the price difference I fell in love with Up & Up free and clear. The one scented soap I absolutely LOVE is Tide Original that I used to wash cloth diapers every so often to get rid of stink issues. But I can't stand it all the time, and I much prefer unscented on a day to day basis.

After doing some research after making the powder soap, I was a little convicted by how much hot water we were using to dissolve the powder. Since we are trying to simplify our lives and save money wherever we can, liquid is the way to go. Our clothes get no where near dirty. Even my toddler's. So there really is no sense in using hot water for clothes. Plus, it a big ole' waste of electricity. There is also *slight* research that suggests borax residue in the air can be harmful if inhaled. Although I'm sure there are much more toxic things in the world besides borax residue (and we're not going around and inhaling it anyways), if it was something I can eliminate, I'm all for it.

I turned to the Duggar recipe. I watched in absolute AWE of how they make their own soap. I mean they have 19 kids after all and it cleans their clothes well! I did get a slight desire to wear a long jean skirt and a polo shirt while I was mixing this bad boy up!

Here is the recipe. It's amazing. Yep. But the price break down will absolutely FLOOR you.

1/2 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
5 cups of water (recipe called for 4, but I added more)
1 bar of soap (alot of people recommend fels-naptha- that stuff smells repulsive to me. I stuck with DOVE unscented. It works on my skin in the shower so surely it'll work on my clothes- and it worked great in powder form).

I put the 5 cups of water in a sauce pan, and grated the bar of soap (this sounds like a lot of work- it took less than 3 minutes) into the water and stirred until completely dissolved.

I began to fill up a 5 gallon bucket (a large cat litter bucket is perfect) with war water. In that water I dissolved the borax and washing soda. I then added the sauce pan mixture of water and soap. Mix it all up and fill the 5 gallon bucket until it's full with water.

Stir everything and let sit overnight. It'll turn into a gel (this is seriously cool).

Fill half of an old laundry soap container with the gel mixture. Fill the second half with water. Shake and you're done. This yields TEN GALLONS. 10 GALLONS. Ten GAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's alot of soap people!!!!

Here's the price breakdown (and I took my prices from Amazon which may or may not be the cheapest place to purchase this stuff):

1 box of borax (4 lbs)- $10 (a quick conversion=8 cups)
1 box washing soda (55 oz)- $9 (conversion= 6+ cups)
2 pack bar of soap (of course I used coupons during a CVS deal)- $2 (although I bet this could be free with the right deal). So $1 per bar.
**By the way... a little trick I learned is to let the soap sit out for a month or so in a cabinet. It dries the soap out and makes it easier to grate.

The box of borax will give me enough borax to make 31.5 10 gallon batches, and the washing soda will yield 6 10 gallon batches. Holy cow!

Here it is broken down even farther into the price per 10 gallon batch:
borax: $0.63
washing soda: $1.50
soap: $1

Total per batch (we're talking 10 GALLONS): $3.13!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's about 31 cents a jug!!!!!!Do you know how long it'll take me to use 10 gallons??? I'll let you know when I do. Seriously, if you bring over a jug I'll give you some. We can pretend like we live in the pioneer days and share stuff. My mom is already in and she's bringing her jug this weekend. She makes fun of me for being frugal but she sure doesn't complain with free dawn (out of my 14 bottle stash) each time she visits and free laundry soap (love you mom!!).

To compare it to the Up and Up that I used to buy (that is actually very reasonable as far as laundry detergent goes: $7.99 for less than A GALLON (this is 100oz, or just over 3 quarts). Holy money saving moley!!!!!!!!!!!!! This doesn't even take into account $17 tide liquid detergent or other expensive brands.

My cleaning/maintenance budget has never been happier!

EDIT: I have since done an update to how this is all working for us nearly a year later! Check it out here.

How a baked potato changed my life...

When I saw on pinterest that you can make baked potatoes in a crock pot I seriously thought I died and went to heaven. The typically "baked" potatoes have too many disadvantages to even consider:
1. You have to get the oven super hot (a total no no in the summer with an almost 18 year old AC unit).
2. You have to plan ahead. I'm good at planning dinner in the morning. Like I'll decide what we'll have for dinner, I'll thaw whatever needs to be thawed during the day, or I'll throw something in the crock pot. But planning ahead (like the 2 hours before dinner that you have to prep and put the baked potatoes in is just impossible). Cooking is the last thing I think about the hour after school is out. I usually run a few errands, maybe go to the grocery store, run home to check mail/let out the dog, get Luke, etc... By the time I get home it's close to 5pm, too late in this house to start baked potatoes.
3. I like to stay close to home when the oven is on. Call me paranoid. But I don't like to leave it cooking. That's impossible with the bajillion things I have to do after school.

So you can see that baked potatoes in the crock pot got my attention. What's even better? You don't have to poke holes!!! Just wash the potatoes, wrap them up in foil, and throw them in. I do slather them in butter and salt because Josh eats the skins. But really it can be done pretty quickly.

I set my crock pot to low 8 hours. And we have perfect baked potatoes when we get home. This has so revolutionized our house that it's been dinner twice this past week!! We love 2 good loaded baked potatoes with a side salad for dinner. Perfect for summer.

I have read that you can stack potatoes too, so if you need to make a second layer that is perfectly fine. Try this! It will change your life!

Emergency Preparedness Kit (part 1)

An emergency preparedness kit is something that I have wanted to put together since we bought our house. Having a baby made me realize that if we did have an emergency we are totally unprepared (with extra "stuff" like bottled water, soup, etc). And I am REALLY bad about getting my pantry to the point of e.m.p.t.y. I hit pinterest to find some inspiration. I found these ideas from numerous blogs, and an article in "Parent's" magazine. I wanted alot of ideas. I picked through the lists to design a list that is perfect for us.

I have been working on this kit since January, and it's still a work in progress. I haven't bought everything off the list, but I am going to share what we have so far. 

Before creating this we discussed where we would meet in case there was an emergency. Somewhere right outside our home in case of a fire, and somewhere other than our home in case we aren't able to get home (and we didn't have cell service).

I'm not going to insult your intelligence and take a picture of everything in the kit, but I did include the homemade first aid kit.

Supplies in the kit:
-bleach (I'm thinking a bleach laundry pen)
-AA batteries
-1 whistle per person
cloth gloves
sun block
rope (parachute cable)
garbage bags
flashlight (I didn't actually put this in the box- it is always plugged in so when the power goes out it is fully charged)
deodorant x2
bar of soap
toothbrush/ toothpaste
hair ties
glasses (perfect solution for my old ones that I didn't know what to do with!)
contact solution/contact case
3 rolls of toilet paper
roll of paper towels
-plastic utensils
blanket x3 (one for each of us)
change of clothes for each person
notebook and pens (there are 3 notebooks and 3 pens, one for each of us)
-cash (inc. coins)
-pictures of each family member (laminated)
-card with phone numbers laminated (police dept. fire dept. poison control)
-copy of identification cards (copied and laminated)
-deck of cards/uno

first aid kit: I made my own according to the Red Cross website:
               ✔box of Bandaids
               alcohol pads
               antibiotic ointment
               rubber gloves (We have 2 pairs- so 4 total)
               ace roll/wrap 
               hydrocortizone cream
               cold compress (I used the peri pads they gave us at the hospital. After my c-section they                   weren't really needed. You bust them like a cold pack and they stay cold for an hour)
**I really like the idea of putting medicine in plastic baggies and labeling them with the mgs. It seems silly to put an entire bottle of tylenol in the kit when the chances of us really using it are slim. That way if we don't use it, we can use these closer to their expiration date- or just toss them and it's not a huge expense. 

Another thought that went through my head was that the medicine isn't childproofed. The kit resides in a closet with a babylock on the door (it's the closet we keep paint, tools, and other things not toddler friendly). The box weighs a ton, and is under a shelf, so the chances of him being able to get it out is slim. Also the first aid kit is at the bottom- so very slim chance that little fingers will be messing with this!

3 days of food: 
granola bars
3 days of water: I bought a bottle that is 3 quarts, and then 12 1 pint bottles. 

This list is very extensive and some of that stuff will probably never be needed. I was thinking worst case scenario. It's also going to be a work in progress with making sure things don't go bad. I'll have to freshen it every year or so with new granola bars, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.  

I think back to some of the events we've had here- We were snowed in for over 4 days in Jan of 2011, and we had a flood which broke a water main in Sept of 2009 (so we didn't have water for 5 days) . We had no bottled water on hand during the flood and had to rush out with hundreds of others to get more, and before the snow storm we had no food in storage (only what we had for the week)- granted the snow was predicted and we stocked up just a day before, but this kit would have cut down that stress ALOT.

Even something as simple as having matches/lighter and candles in the same place that can be found quickly can make life so much easier when the power goes out. This is also something that we could "grab" in case we had to leave the house quickly (evacuation, or if part of our house were damaged and we needed to stay in a hotel- we'd have our basic needs- toothbrush, toothpaste, etc in one place ready to go).

Since I haven't bought everything yet, I will update in part 2. I will also share in part 2 about how I created a kit for our car and what we will do with Sadie dog. She's part of the family too!

Weekly update: 4/16-4/20

What a blur of a week this was. I feel like I am running a marathon at school. This pre- CRCT pace is about to kill me!

Luke's funny things this week include knowing the work "sheep". He calls them 'beep' and it took me forever to figure out what he was saying. So cute!
He is in absolute love with Thomas. All he wants to watch is Thomas (thank goodness "Bobo"- Barney, is a thing of the past). He wants to sleep with his trains. He wants to bring his trains outside. I love it. All boy!
The boy understands everything I tell him, it's scary! From now until forever we have to watch what we say because I feel like he has enough language skills to totally embarrass me!

He has done really well with the potty this week. He finally learned how to "stand up" at home! He's been doing that at school for a while but our potty was just too tall. We taught him how to put the stool and lift the seat, and he even puts the seat down (he's a little neurotic like his daddy when it comes to making sure things are done right!). He's also getting better about not taking all his clothes off when he uses the potty. I showed him how much faster we can get back to playing outside or watching Thomas  if we leave his shorts and shoes on and just keep them at his ankles. What a smart little boy!
He still begs me to rock him at night. I love it. No mama ockkkk, occckkkkk peassssss. We rock every night and when I go to put him in bed this is what he begs. It just melts me.
We broke down and bought a Dyson last weekend. Our vacuum belt broke (which is totally repairable), but I think secretly deep down Josh has always wanted a Dyson. We'll try to sell the old one (it's less than 3 years old) and did I mention we got a killer deal on it??? I used Amazon Prime (which is free through Amazon Mom). We paid $359.99 for a Dyson DC25. An amazing deal! Walmart's cheapest option was the DC25 for $369, but you had to pay shipping. Also they had it site to store, but it's such a pain to wait for them to get your stuff. We waited 25 minutes for someone to show up to process our order. Target had a good price too, at $359. I got free shipping through them with my RED Card, but taxes pushed it to $385. Amazon so far hasn't charged us tax, and I think it depends on the state and different vendor laws. We figured that even if they charged us tax, it would be about the same price as Target, be we would get it in 2 days with 2 day shipping  through Amazon rather than 5-7 day shipping with Target. I love getting a good deal!

I hopefully took my last sick day of the year this Thursday. I hate missing school, but sick is sick. Here's hoping we can make it 28 more school days til' summer!

A view out my window...

In a conversation one day at school, one of my coworkers found out that I was looking for a large window to hang on my wall. She totally shocked me the next day when she brought this to school!!!!! I was absolutely blown away by her generosity!

In case you are in the market for a window, I have since found a BUNCH at Habitat for Humanity. There is also a GREAT door/window store in Lavonia. I mean it's not everyday someone replaces all the windows in their house!

I cleaned it off with my vinegar/water solution and taped off the panes. I gave it a light coat of white gloss spray paint. I wasn't too particular about getting everything covered and perfect. I wanted to keep it kind of rustic.

After it was painted I cleaned the panes with windex and it was ready to be hung. I think the thing that scared me the most about this project (and the reason I've waited since January to do this) is I was unsure how to hang it on the wall. This is a pretty heavy window, and it is going in our bedroom (right above where our dog sleeps). An accident of this falling off the wall would be pretty epic. 

I looked around at Home Depot for a hanging solution. I couldn't believe all the choices they had!! I ended up getting a kit that says it holds up to 50lbs (without mentioning whether it needs to be in a stud or not). 

I bought it for less than $4 and followed the directions. The window got the hanger part. 

The wall got the attachment part. The nails that went into the wall were pretty unique looking. 

Although in theory I should have found the stud first and then planned where to hang it from there.  I was too afraid that the stud would be off, that the frame wouldn't be centered on the wall, and I would have to scrap the whole thing. I mindlessly put the attachments on the window without checking for a stud. I was absolutely shocked when the first nail found a stud on the first try... talk about luck. 

I also wasn't sure how to attach the picture (that I had printed on engineer/architect paper) to the window. The picture is a bit small for the frame but it was as large as they could print it on site. I toyed with the idea of cutting it out and mounting it right to the glass or mounting it to the wall (like I did). 

Here's that process:
I centered it on the wall, and attached it with thumb tacks. 

They have to be the small thumb tacks that are flush with the wall. 

Then I found where to put the anchors on the wall (this actually was done from measuring from the ceiling down to make sure I had an even place to start) and I measured the width of where the hangers were on the window (in others words I basically flew by the seat of my pants). The directions that came with the hangers don't mention how to get this off the wall... so I felt like I had one shot to get it right (plus I'm a semi-perfectionist so I measured like 8 times).

Here it is!

There is so much I love about this picture. 
1. It was taken on our honeymoon to the Biltmore Estate. We had our first official date here 2 years before that, so it was just fitting that we honeymooned there. 
2. We took this photo on our horse drawn carriage ride which took us behind the house. You can't get back there unless you do one of their excursions. Ironically on our carriage ride it began snowing. The whole day was just perfect. 
3. I LOVE how the house is practically centered in the top middle pane. I mean how seriously cool is that??? It is really hard to choose a picture on a 17in computer monitor that is going to get blown up to 25in x36in in real life and figure out where everything is going to fall. It was sheer coincidence. 
4. I like that the large carriage (which is actually a huge focal point in the picture) is broken up in 3 panes so it immediately turns the attention to the house.
5. Did I mention that I took this picture almost 5 years ago with a 5MP camera. I couldn't believe the quality of the print when it was blown up so large. 

SO we have a view of the Biltmore Estate out our bedroom "window".  

From this angle of the picture above it looks like the white boarder around the picture is only shown from the left side of the frame. It is actually balanced (with a white boarder on the right side too), you just can't tell from that angle. I am still brainstorming ideas of how to remedy this, but in all honesty it really doesn't bother me. Here's a view from straight on showing that is is equal on both sides (and it is reflecting the collage from the other wall in the glass which is why the panes look wonky):