My Quest for the Perfect White Interior Paint

white-room-inspirationFor the past year and a half my daughter and I have been putting up with some truly hideous high-gloss “white” paint on almost every wall in our home. The blinding sheen has managed to highlight the rough craggy texture of the walls, while simultaneously accentuating every last flaw…and has quite honestly been one of my least favorite aspects of our home. So you can bet that when Sherwin-Williams asked if I’d like to partner up with them on another painting project (here’s what I did last time), that I already knew what my answer would be. Yes please, and when can I get started!

Home inspiration photo sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 /

white-walls-beforeWhile the majority of our walls were already “white,” I have been dreaming of a beautiful crisp white (none of this gross yellow-greenish shiny white that we’ve been trying to pretend away). Probably something more like one of the whites seen in my home inspiration photos above.

 

But if you’ve ever tried to choose the perfect white (or any color for that matter), you know that it is not always just as easy as popping online and choosing a color from a digital swatch. Since I had a lot of questions and wanted to test out as many color samples as I could in order to find the one that would take our walls from eww to ahh, I headed into my local Sherwin-Williams store to get things started.

finding-the-perfect-white-paintYou all probably don’t need the play-by-play of my in-store visit, but I did want to share the bits that could come in handy for you the next time you’ve got a painting project on your to-do list. Here are a few of the helpful things that Sherwin-Williams employees can help you with:

  • Color selection | I described my color wants, and Steve (the employee helping me) was immediately able to suggest four options that could be a potential match. I tried samples of all four, plus a color match to another brand’s paint swatch, and ended up falling in love with one of them. With a sea of beautiful colors to choose from, it is very helpful to have someone knowledgable to guide you through your options.
  • Paint sheen | Because of the heavy texture of our walls (and the fact that I no longer have a toddler leaving fingerprints everywhere) Steve recommended a flat sheen to minimize texture and cut out the awful glare that our high-gloss paint tormented us with. And for areas with a bit more wear (such as the stair railing) a satin sheen, so that fingerprints can be easily wiped away!
  • Special pro tips | Painting over high-gloss walls is notoriously obnoxious. Steve recommended that I wipe everything down with either a deglosser or Simple Green (I chose option II because it was less toxic) before painting. I wasn’t sure that it would be enough, but I’m happy to say that it worked like a charm!
  • Bonus…I also found out that if you sign up for Sherwin-Williams free Paint Perks program you can save 10% off all your Sherwin-Williams paints and supplies (you’ll also get a $10 coupon when you sign up), receive painting tips/ideas and exclusive sale alerts, plus manage your painting projects and keep a record of your paint colors for 10 years. No more stashing paint swatches away in a drawer and hoping you’ll remember where you’ve put them the next time you need to paint!

sherwin-williams-paints

So now after two days of work, our living room is rocking a gorgeous coat of the perfect white paint that I found, and we’re in love! I’ll be sharing a few pictures of the results with you next week PLUS I’ll be hosting an awesome paint giveaway. Stay tuned!

sherwin-williams-paint-colorsOf course there’s a whole world of color to fall in love with at Sherwin-Williams. Next time you have a home painting project to tackle, I hope you’ll feel inspired to stop by your local store and see the possibilities for yourself!

sherwin-williams-sponsorThis post was kindly sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. Images (except those used in the inspiration board image) and opinions are my own. Find more from Sherwin-Williams: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+

My 5 Favorite Creative Resources Online

mastering-mobile-photographyToday I’m spilling the beans on five of my favorite creative resources available online! Hopefully they’ll come in handy and become some of your favorites too!

1. Mastering Mobile Photography / 11 Tips to Better Phone Photos — Artifact Uprising
•  If you’ve ever enviously wondered “how did they manage to do that with a phone camera,” then you’re going to love this incredibly informative article. My favorite tips: Create Blur on Purpose and Master the Movement

ywft-awesome-fonts-and-stock-art2. You Work for Them  | fonts and stock art / featured font: YWFT Belle
•  Most font shops online offer your standard run of the mill options, but You Work for Them is one of my favorites for finding unique choices. The only problem is that I can never choose just one font to buy…they are all so good!

stocksy-stock-photography-source3. Stocksy | stock photography / image by Melanie Defazio
•  The first thing that I can think of to say about Stocksy is: “finally stock photography that doesn’t suck!” Really! You have to see for yourself to know what I’m talking about. If you ever have a project calling for an extraordinary image, but you’re not able to take that photo yourself…be sure to check these guys out.

creative-market-fonts-and-more4. Creative Market | Handcrafted fonts, themes, graphics, and digital resources / image by Decade Type Foundry
•  I enjoy keeping an eye on this site and all the creative content that their community is coming up with. The price for credits to use towards purchases on the site is fairly reasonable too.

skillshare-online-classes5. Skillshare | Creative Online Classes
•  I’ve talked about my admiration for the creative online classroom Skillshare before…and my love has not faded since. I am always signing up for new classes to take over there when I have a spare moment. In fact, that’s one of the best things about Skillshare. You select the classes that interest you, take them whenever it works into your schedule, and learn at your own pace! If only all schools worked that way!

Wandering

wandering-7311My mother has an incredible green thumb. She could plant an oasis in the middle of the Sahara Desert with her eyes closed. Sadly, the same can not be said about me…but it’s not for want of trying. My latest plant project is this gorgeous purple/green gem that my daughter and I found in our local hardware store. I had no idea what it was even called, until a few helpful plant identifiers came to the rescue over on Instagram. Apparent “Lila” (that’s our plant’s name) is a Wandering Jew, and is supposedly “fairly easy to care for.”

wandering-7312

Lila reminds me of the sort of hanging plants that my mom filled our home with when I was small. The kind that can sprout new plants after you soak their clippings in water (we always had jars full of rooting plant stems on our windowsills when I was little), so I’m going to clip a few and see what happens. If nothing else, I can enjoy the nostalgia that I’ll feel every time I see them on my countertop.

wandering-7313

I hesitate to be overly-optimistic, but Lila’s lasted almost two whole weeks and still looks great! This might be a new record for me! Fingers crossed (especially for her sake) that my cursed brown thumb is turning a mottled green. Time will tell.

In the meantime, if you’ve been gifted with the ability to keep plants alive, I’d love any suggestions that you might have on helping this one thrive. She currently resides near a window with filtered/indirect sun, and I’m watering her once a week. Does that sound right?

Making: Gluten-Free Granola

gluten-free-granolaI’m going to blame this all on the Caramelized Peaches + Cream with Toasted Crumble that I shared a couple of weeks ago. Because after gobbling up the extra crumble topping with a dash of milk, I became obsessed with the idea of making homemade granola. Yes, the recipe I’ve been making is a bit like a dessert topping, but slightly less sweet…which is what I use to comfort myself as I scarf down bowl after bowl of it. No, I’m not eating dessert for breakfast…it has milk!

In any case, the basic recipe below is quick and easy to make, hearty, and delicious…and I love how simple it is to customize with different ingredients. Feel free to adapt it to your heart’s content. Some potential add-ins you might try could include:

  • Dried fruit | raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit
  • Nuts | I recommend toasting them before adding them to your granola
  • Seeds | sunflower, pumpkin, etc.
  • Flavored extracts | vanilla, coconut, almond, hazelnut, etc. (be sure to check that they are gluten-free)
  • Spices | cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  • Zest | orange, lemon, or lime
  • Alternative sweeteners | Maple syrup, honey, agave, etc.

gluten-free-granola-2

Gluten-Free Granola Recipe

Loosely adapted from How Sweet Eats
Makes approximately 4 Cups of granola

Ingredients:
2 Cups rolled oats (gluten-free)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup honey roasted almonds (we buy ours from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 Cup toasted sweetened coconut
5 dried apricots, chopped
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract

Prep:
▪ Place sweetened coconut in a pan over medium heat and stir regularly until toasted. Remove from heat.
▪ Chop dried apricots and set aside
▪ Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside

Instructions:
1. Melt butter in the bottom of a large saucepan, over medium heat
2. Add in oats and stir until thoroughly mixed
3. Allow oats to cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly
4. Add in brown sugar, and stir thoroughly
5. Allow oats and sugar to cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly
6. Stir in coconut extract and turn heat off
7. Mix in almonds, toasted coconut, and apricots
8. Pour granola onto your prepared baking sheet to cool
9. Once fully cooled, serve and enjoy!

Store granola in an air-tight container

gluten-free-granola-1

I’d love to hear what creative adaptations you come up with it you make a batch! xo

Oh Cats!

we-cant-have-nice-thingsSo this is what our couch looks like (both arms)! I don’t even know what to say!

catch-scratch-couchSeriously though…I could use your help! Do any of you know of any great ways to keep a cat from mangling the furniture at every possible moment? We trim her nails regularly, play with her often, and have scratch pads and posts galore (which she does use). We’ve tried repellent sprays, and even aluminum foil at one point (that was a cute look), but despite our best efforts, every day our couch is steadily being shredded into ribbons. Buying a kevlar couch isn’t really an option…so if you know of a solution (no declawing), I’d love to hear your suggestions! Thanks in advance!