Aside from the insane amounts of grass cloth in our hallways and stairwell the runner is a focal point in our home. The colors and style of the existing rug just didn't mesh with the rest of the updates we've made to the house. It's bothered me since we moved in. Shortly after buying our house I knew I wanted to try my hands at installing Dash & Albert runners. They have great colors and patterns plus I love that they are made to be durable with dogs! I searched all the tutorials and was confident I could easily take this on with the help of my husband.

The problem was two-fold really, first my husband has almost no free time and more importantly I wasn't sure it was a project we could make it through and still be speaking at the end of. We are both "leaders" when we take on a project and we don't always see eye to eye. He likes to wing it and I tend to do countless hours of research which generally leads to one or both of us throwing in the towel and not speaking through dinner.

So, the runner sat and sat for a year and a half until I couldn't stare at it any longer. I decided to call in the professionals - which is a big deal since we've done almost every project ourselves thus far. My husband did remove the old runner since it could be done quickly and would save some money.

My biggest regret is that I didn't plan this out better. I really wish I had painted the stair risers before installing the new runner. The molding, risers and banisters are in desperate need of a refresh - they are just about the only trim we haven't repainted and it's going to be much more tedious now with the new runner in place.

Although my husband thought it was a project we could have done ourselves (thus a waste of money) once the new runner was installed he agreed that it was best to hire someone. I don't think we could have gotten it as perfect, the installer really knew what he was doing. He was also meticulous in matching the pattern - can you see where the seams are? For an area of the house that gets so much use it was worth every penny.

This is the Dash and Albert Runner I used - my stairs needed a total of 3 runners and it was JUST enough. 

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. It brightens up the space and blends with the style of the rest of the house so much better now. Lola happens to be thrilled with it. I'm not sure what it was about the old runner but she actually wouldn't go down the stairs until we replaced it. Now it's her favorite place to hang out - she has a perfect view of everything happening outside!

Do you have one of those projects that you REALLY want done but just think it's not in your wheelhouse? 



Anyone else out there in need of a small step towards your goals and dreams?

For now, I'll enjoy sweet memories of the beach and sunny thoughts.


Have you guys heard of Framebridge? We've mentioned them in our post about DIY matting here. We love to use Framebridge to frame some of our special pieces. They make the process of framing so simple and actually fun. The frames are perfect for those unique pieces of art or memorable posters that we all have lurking around the house just waiting to be taken on that "someday soon" trip to the frame store. It feels so good to get these pieces up on the wall. Check out what we've had framed over on their blog.  And if you want to purchase something, make sure to use TAYLORAIDEN10 at checkout to receive 10% off your order of $59 or more.

Straight Lines are Important

I have a lot of walls in my house.  A lot.  And I haven't been very good about making sure things get put up on them.  I have a ton of prints and pictures, which sit in my craft room next to the frames and mat boards that I picked out for them over a year ago. Shhhhh, don't judge....

Ann and I recently attended the BlogHer conference in New York.  Our post about the event is coming shortly. In a nutshell, AHHHH-mazing! I attended a session entitled, "Focus and Organization."  Sam Horn was one of the hosts.  Her link is here. Again, AHHHH-mazing!  When she was discussing the issue of procrastination, she instructed everyone in the room to ask herself or himself if the task that is being "delayed" will be any easier later on.  She gave a great example: you open the door to the fridge for a drink and you see that there is yogurt whose expiration date has passed.  You get your drink, tell yourself that you'll throw the yogurt out later, and close the refrigerator door.  Sam then asked, "will discarding the yogurt later make the task of throwing it out any easier?"  The answer is, of course not. Take the thirty seconds and throw out the yogurt.  It's done, and you don't have to think about it again.  That really hit home with me because I'm really good at putting off throwing out the yogurt...  

So, the Monday after the conference, in which I took a "recovery day" and where the temperature hit 95 degrees, I decided to tackle the framing issue.  Now, to be clear, we are huge fans of Framebridge.  But I have a quantity issue.  See above; lots of wall space to cover.  So, sending out all my prints and pictures for framing would require me to take out a second mortgage.  I have to try to do some of these in house.

Cue the mat cutter. 

When you first see the contraption, it doesn't appear to be that complicated.  Much like a toddler, who looks innocent and cute. Appearances are deceiving.  

I'm not very good at reading instructions.  Ugh.  Takes so much time.  So I jump into a project and learn through trial by fire. Good or bad, I generally end up finding more efficient ways to do things. Here are some examples of efficiency:
  • When I first cut the mat board, I had the color side up.  But the blade cuts at an angle, and not in the angle I wanted. One mat board down.  And first lesson learned: the mat board should be color side down.
  • I measured one of my prints.  It was 11" X 14".  So I cut the mat to be 11 1/4" by 14 1/4". Take a minute to let that sink in.  Yeah, the mat opening that I cut was larger than the print.  Another mat board down.  And lesson number two: there are actual applications for what you learned in high school math class.  Sometimes you need to subtract instead of add.
  • Finally, after four hours, two bottles of wine and a power outage (because I turned on three air conditioners in one room), I had cut two mat boards to layer on top of the print.  Excitedly, I used my fancy acid-free tape to place the print in the mat boards, which I lined up precisely so that everything was centered perfectly. Then...I placed the mat boards into the frame.  Ummm, we need to discuss the importance of straight lines.  I hadn't really been so careful when cutting out the outer edges of the mat board to fit into the 16" x 20" frame.  Not only were the mat boards larger than the frame, but they were the exact opposite of straight.  Ugh.  

Next time, Ms. Horn, the yogurt is staying in the fridge.

Here are my (serious) tips if you are tackling a matting and framing project:
  1. I have the Logan Classic mat cutter.  It's great.  I recommend splurging on the cutting board instead of just the blade.  It makes it easier to cut straight and within the measurements.
  2. Spend money on good mat board.  I tried the mat board sold at Michael's and it just isn't good quality.  There is a local art supply store not far from my house called Jerry's Artist Outlet.  The link is here.  They have high quality mat board plus a really great staff.  Watch for sales; I bought most of my mat board 60% off.  It made messing up a little less painful.  Also, play around with different colors of mat boards.  The people at Jerry's are so gracious; they don't mind when I lay out all of their mat board to figure out what is going to work.
  3. Buy specialty mat tape.  It's often called acid-free tape.  It will not mark the pictures or prints and won't discolor as it ages. 
  4. Spend time mapping out the logistics of the mats that you want to cut.  Whenever Ann and I design a new handbag, we spend considerable time engineering the bag.  Plan to do something similar when doing a framing project.  Write out the numbers and sketch out the mat boards. This will serve as a check to make sure everything is correct before you start cutting.  It becomes easier the more frames you do.  
  5. If you use the Logan mat cutter, the mat board should be face down when you cut the board.
  6. Use new blades often to guarantee a clean cut.
  7. Take your time.  It's easy to want to rush through everything so that you have the finished product. But cutting mats requires quite a bit of precision, so it's better to take breaks and come back to it.
  8. It really isn't that hard.  I joke a lot about my process, but it is pretty straightforward and totally doable.  

Some of my masterpieces (note, they aren't all hung up yet ;)):