Our Local Holiday Shopping Guide

Photo by  kelsey nelson

Photo by kelsey nelson

     Well everyone, it’s now holiday shopping season!  With the official Shop Small Saturday just around the corner, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite local makers and locally owned stores to help you with your shopping this season! Let's show our local business owners some love! 

 

Local Makers We Love

 

Raleigh Calligraphy: While she specializes in calligraphy and invitation suites, she also has some beautiful prints that would make such sweet, meaningful gifts.

Good JuJu Herbal: You can shop online or if you’re local, you can find these gifts in a lot of nearby shops. These soaps are so good for your skin and make wonderful stocking stuffers. Have a dog lover in your life? They have amazing dog soap as well!

Shelby Dillon Studio: This amazing artist has turned her pieces of work into art for your couch, your bar cart, your ears, and more. Her online shop has fabulous gifts such as pillows and bags to stocking stuffers such as earrings and coasters.

Lo & Behold: I cannot say enough good things about these bath salts! But that’s not all they have. Lo & Behold has an entire line of natural small batch skin care. 

Wordsky Designs: Kyle's hand cut wood pieces are so cool and such a great way to show your love of local on the walls! While he got started with the Raleigh skyline, he's grown to make tons of custom designs. 

 

 

Local Stores We Adore

Port of Raleigh: This store is what modern dreams are made of. Lots of wonderful pieces for the home ranging from recyclable dining products to furnishings.

DECO: This is honestly one of my favorite spots for grabbing gifts real quickly. They have a little bit of everything! Lots of local love in there!

The Zen Succulent: If you aren’t traveling too far, this is a great spot to pick up succulents and other live plants for gifts. But that’s not all they have. They also carry beautiful books, locally made soaps, and trendy planters. 

The Flourish Market: They are stocked with some pretty cute home goods items but they are known for their ethically sourced clothing. It's a twofer! Locally owned and doing good in the world! 

 

We hope that this season, you consider shopping local. It means more to us entrepreneurs than you'll ever know! Happy Holidays everyone! 

What Not To Do When Creating A Gallery Wall

I didn't realize some of these frames were crooked until I was editing. The perfectionist in me is literally twitching, haha

I didn't realize some of these frames were crooked until I was editing. The perfectionist in me is literally twitching, haha

 

     I had every intention when we started this gallery wall that I was going to write this fabulous "How-To" for big gallery walls. Um, three days and roughly eight collective hours later, I realized I was so naive. So just like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, I'm reverse how-to(ing) this. 

    I started this process quite awhile before we purchased anything for it. I'd like to think I did the first few steps correctly. I picked a frame that was simple and would be uniform across the entire wall. I picked a few big pieces that we would work around. Finally, waited for wedding photos before beginning because I knew I wanted it to be all about us. 

    Then, Michaels had a HUGE sale on the frames I wanted. We went to two separate stores and still ended up with two different colored frames. A dark wood and a white. I decided to come to terms with this, even though I knew I will eventually want all the same shade. Luckily, the Belmont frame from Michael's doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. 

    So, now that we've cleaned out both of the Michael's of their remaining white and dark wood frames, we headed home happy. Ok, I was happy. Alvin was agitated that he went to decor stores after a work day. As soon as we got home, the high of the deals had me instantly moving our coffee table to make room on the floor to start creating the layout. 

 

Creating the layour was messy work. 

Creating the layour was messy work. 

 

    After creating a beautiful layout that I adored while it was on the floor, I measured the width and height to give us some parameters on the wall. We used painters tape to mark the height parameters but I decided pretty quickly that I wanted the gallery to be a bit wider than it was on the floor. In my excitement/Friday night exhaustion, I didn't think through the problems widening it might cause. This is mistake #1

 

IMG_8548.jpg

 

    So we put them all up, roughly where they were on the floor. I say roughly because mistake #2: we didn't measure between the frames as they were on the floor. Not that it would have mattered since I widened the space anyway. Are you following this domino effect of mistakes?  

 

All the frames at the bottom were driving me nuts! 

All the frames at the bottom were driving me nuts! 

 

    Frustrated and tired, we call it a night. In the morning, it becomes obvious that there are weird gaps that weren't there before. That afternoon, I try rearranging it a bit. Just moving frames a bit to the left here, a bit to the right there. But overall keeping the same design as had been on the floor. Mistake #3. I should have realized that the shape on the floor only looked that good because of the width parameters. The only thing we accomplished on day two was creating lots and lots of little holes in our wall. Seriously, it looks like someone took a machine nail gun to it.  

 

End of day 2, contemplating my life decisions. JK, I was trying to solve the puzzle.

End of day 2, contemplating my life decisions. JK, I was trying to solve the puzzle.

 

    So on day three, I decided I still loved the height. And I picked two edge frames that I wanted to be the furthest points. Then we moved nearly everything else around. We ended up with two fewer frames than originally intended because once it was on the wall, I liked having the negative space. Here's the final product! 

 

 

 

So what can you learn from this post? 

1) Don't take shortcuts. We were so tired we thought we'd just hang them up "roughly" where they were on the floors (Actually this was Alvin but he was doing the hanging so I didn't want to fight him on it). Taking this "shortcut" ended up costing hours in rearranging times.

2) Use tape to mark parameters or even the shapes of each individual frame. It would have taken quite a bit of time to use tape to mark each individual frame (we have sixteen on this wall) but it's also going to take quite a bit of time to fill in all those holes from us moving the frames around.

3) Do your style research. I had a hard time finding a similar gallery wall to mine, in that we used clean modern style frames but did a large asymmetrical layout. However, if you're interested in a mismatched farmhouse wall or a super clean uniform wall, there are a lot of examples out there that you can browse through. Find what you do and don't like before starting to hang things. 

4) Don't be afraid to rearrange it. Sure, you may end up with a few holes. But those can be patched up! Accept that you made a mistake the first (or fourth) time around and just tweak it until you're satisfied. 

5) Know when to stop. This is especially tricky for perfectionists like me working on an asymmetrical gallery wall. Just know, that it's probably never going to be "perfect". But once it looks pretty to you, stop. Then just enjoy your beautiful work and photos! 

 

Shoutout to our wedding photographer Erin, of Luxe & Pine! We adore our photos so much we spent hours working on a gallery wall because we couldn't narrow down any further which ones we wanted framed and up on the wall! 

Shop Small Saturday: Minted Spaces

     That's right! This week I'm featuring my own company. The reasoning is two-fold. First off, it's wedding week for us. I simply lost track of time and didn't line anyone else up. Hint hint wink wink, if you want to be featured, please contact me! Secondly, something pretty cool happened last week and it was a testament to why you should be hiring local small companies when trying to sell your house. 

 

 

      We staged a home in North Raleigh a couple of weeks ago. It had been vacant while on the market for 55 days before the realtor and home owner decided to invest in home staging. It is a seller's market here in the Triangle! At least that's what all the realtors are shouting from the rooftops. And it is true! So then why should a house sit on the market for 55 days? 

 

 

     The answer? Without furnishings, it can be difficult for a viewer to tell which room is what. Even I as a home stager had the blue prints of this particular home sent to me because I could not tell from the listing which was the living room and which was the dining room. That's a problem! Most potential buyers are not going to go through that much trouble. Especially if the next home they look at online is beautifully laid out and furnished.

 

 

     Ok, so it's day 55 and we come in and stage it. Keep in mind that I typically do minimal staging as I largely work with those on a budget. It really is a sellers market and homes don't need too much. Mostly viewers just need to be able to tell what a room is used for and how their furniture may fit in a space.

 

 

   On day 60 I get an email stating that they are under contract! I'm sure the homeowner is glad they decided to invest in staging for a couple of weeks rather than a price cut! Moral of the story? Home staging works and can still be necessary even in a sellers market. I absolutely love stories like these, almost as much as I love saving my clients from a price cut!  

 

    We have more projects on the docks! I'm excited to see some more great results! 

What's Up Wednesdays: Watts & Ward

     Welcome to my newest blogging series, "What's Up Wednesdays!" This will largely be bi-weekly musings either about local RDU happenings or design trends. It should be no secret by now that I love both my city and home decor! 

 

     I'm kicking off this series with a new speakeasy in downtown Raleigh. Alvin and I spent much of our first year's dates in an underground speakeasy so I'm sure you can understand our excitement when a new one opened up! This entire space has a warm den feel to it. It's laid back while maintaining excellent service and delicious drinks served directly to your table. 

 

 

     Of course, I loved the furnishings and decor! There are tufted couches, leather club chairs, and a library room. Oh! And tin tiles on the walls and ceilings! It was beautiful. Unfortunately it was dark when we went, so you'll largely just need to trust me on this one. Check out their website here to see for yourself.

 

 

     I enjoyed the Carolina Lily, a bubbly based cocktail. It was superb! Alvin had a whiskey based drink that I can't remember the name of. I don't normally like whiskey but his drink was quite tasty as well. I won't be hungry when we leave the house, but it never fails that by the time we sit down for drinks I'll be ravenous. Luckily, Watts & Ward has small plates to enjoy. I'm vegetarian so I had the caprese skewers, which were SO good. Alvin wasn't hungry, so he didn't order any of the other options but I'm sure they would have been equally as good. 

     Don't worry, we'll be back soon to test this out for you ; ). Seriously though, this speakeasy quickly landed a spot on our "regularly visit" list! Y'all should check it out! 

 

Shop Small Saturday: Raleigh Calligraphy

"My creative hobby unexpectedly turned into a little business, and Raleigh Calligraphy & Design was born."

     I never really saw myself featuring a calligrapher on this series because I wanted to keep it in line with home goods and products. When I think of calligraphy, I think of envelopes and maybe really well written letters. Boy did Tiffany's account prove me wrong! Her framed prints stopped me in my tracks! I immediately reached out to learn more about her and her business, Raleigh Calligraphy. 

 

     Tiffany and I had actually worked together on the lemon brunch styled shoot. Her work was impeccable, so I was surprised to learn that this was a relatively new venture for her. She says, "Trying my hand at calligraphy had always been on my creative bucket list, and three years ago I pick up a nib pen." Love it! Anyone else have a creative bucket list? She and her husband welcomed their first baby in 2014. When Tiffany decided to leave her job and stay home with the little one, she found some spare time during naps.

 

Photo by  Kelsey Nelson

Photo by Kelsey Nelson

     Tiffany used her free time wisely when she decided to use her newfound calligraphy skills to help out with a wedding. Then she did another wedding and slowly the referrals started to roll in. As she puts it, "My creative hobby unexpectedly turned into a little business and Raleigh Calligraphy & Design was born." I adore hearing about such serendipitous events! Since then, she has expanded her business to include invitation design, stationary, art prints, and a small selection of home goods. On top of all that, she does a lot of custom work for weddings, businesses, and even state agencies lettering certificates! Seriously, she's mompreneur goals! 

 

      Raleigh Calligraphy stands out from the crowd as it features original designs and includes various mediums such as calligraphy, photography and watercolors. Tiffany loves beautiful, simple designs and strive to create a balance between typography and design. Gorgeous blooms and lush greenery are a repeating pattern in her work. I'm a big fan of travel and our connections to others so I especially love how Tiffany keeps up with her connection to her clients. She says, "It’s so inspiring to think of all the places and people around the world that encounter my designs. I actually keep a map of the world in my studio and mark off a new section each time I get an order from a new place. I love getting an order from an obscure place on the globe- that will never get old!" 

 

 

    How great is it that our little creative businesses can connect us to so many different people and places! She's growing her business to reach even more people by recently launching a line of wedding invitations suites. Tiffany loves the process of designing packages tailored to fit different wedding themes.

 

    If you're now as in love with her work as I am, you can purchase products, book calligraphy services or order a custom piece on her website here. After you're finished with your order, you should enter our giveaway! Enter for your chance to win the "It was always you" print that you see in the first photo! Go to our giveaway page to enter! Giveaway runs through Wednesday. The winner will be announce Thursday, May 11th. Good luck!