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Thursday, December 10

Yes, it's true...I might not have very many Christmas decorations up around my house just yet...
despite being about two weeks away from the big day!!

I did, however, put something else up this week that is near + dear to my heart and that will add a very special touch to our home this holiday season and far beyond that...

Three new 24x36 photo canvases from Shutterfly of all three of my girls

I've been wanting to do something like this for some time now and finally made it happen using Shutterfly's "Design-A-Wall" feature. It really made the entire process super easy - from selecting the right photos, creating the perfect layout as well as physically hanging the art on the wall.

Since I've been dreaming of oversized artwork of my girls for some time now, I knew I wanted to go BIG and fill as much of the wall in our entry as I possibly could. I was looking for a high-impact result and I got it!! I think color photos would've been really pretty too but I chose to go with black and white because of the timelessness they evoke. 

Want to know how easy it was to make this happen?

Even though I toyed with the idea of using photos of the girls when they were each two years old,  (how fun would that be?), I ultimately decided it was more important to make sure I selected photos of each girl that had similar backgrounds and lighting since they would be grouped together. I narrowed it down to a few of each girl from our Christmas Photo Shoot last year.

Now all I had to do was decide which art material I wanted the photos to be printed on.
There are six different options to choose from on the Shutterfly website - see below. I admit choosing the art material was a little tough because the wood and metal artwork sounds WAY cool but I ended up selecting a more tradional option - canvas. It's easier on the wallet and they are light as a feather which makes hanging them even easier.

Shutterfly offers quite an array of pre-arranged photo layout templates to pick from. I measured the wall in the foyer where my artwork would be hanging to narrow down the selections based on what would work best in my space. I went with the 78x36 Layout - see below.

Next, I uploaded the photos I'd previously decided on to the Shutterfly website and inserted them into the template.

In order to give a more cohesive flow to the photos I selected, I had to crop Ema and Clara's photos so their faces filled up more of the frame/canvas. Notice how it looks as if Clara is tall and Ema is short in the original upload and layout? (see above).

This was super easy to fix by just clicking on the photo I wanted to crop which then took me to an editing window where I created a box around the area I wanted to zoom in on. (There are other editing tools to choose from as well like adding a filter, removing red eye and even rotating the image if you need to).

Isn't that a lot more balanced now after having cropped both Clara and Ema's pictures? (see below)

With my photos uploaded and cropped, I just pushed "Add to Cart" and placed my order.

Notice the little exclamation marks in the upper left of each photo? That's a warning from Shutterfly that the resolution on my images may not be high enough for a good quality print. I personally ignored the warning and went ahead and placed the order - hoping it would all turn out all right - and they still printed beautifully! (tossing the confetti)

When the order shipped, there was a handy dandy paper template that was sent separately which also included "Easy Hang Guide"instructions and a small level in a tiny envelope. (see all three below)

I unrolled the paper template right on the dirty floor of the foyer and just followed the written instructions.

Keeping It Real Disclaimer
I was too lazy and too focused on getting these canvases hung to bother moving the pot of wilted mums belonging to Clara or our dog's tennis ball from the photo. 
And all of that junk on the right is spilling out of my studio. 
This is real life folks.

First thing the directions mention is to attach the self-adhesive level to the paper template in the "PLACE LEVEL HERE" spot at the top. So I did just that.

With the level on my paper template, I grabbed some painter's tape and a ladder and managed to hang it up on the wall all by myself since no one else was home. (I recommend enlisting the help of someone if you are hanging something this wide because it would be a lot easier to manage). *wink*

At first I used some cheap painter's tape to attach it to the wall. I somehow managed to get it straight after a few adjustments, a lot of up and down on the ladder and a little huffing + puffing wishing one of the girls was home to help. I even considered putting off the project until someone got home but I was too stubborn + excited and wanted to get it hung up to surprise everyone. Besides all of that, I really wanted to prove to all of you that you could really do this project all on your own.

I stepped off the ladder and because I used the cheap painter's tape...this started to happen. (see below) Oh heck no! After all of that "up and down and back and forth" business, eyeing the level and getting it just right, I found myself repeating the process all over again. So frustrating.

So then I reached for a wider (and higher quality) painter's tape I had here at the house and went to town by applying double strips of tape to all of four corners of the paper template. This was a much better call and I should've just done that in the first place.

Once the paper template seemed nice and level and was positioned on the wall exactly where I felt the photos should be, (and was hanging securely this time),  I referenced the key at the bottom of the template to determine where to place the holes to mark the wall for hanging.

Since I have canvas prints, spot "A" was where I needed to push a nail through the paper. There were 3 "spot A's" because I was hanging three different canvases.

After I made 3 holes in the wall, I took down the paper template I had just worked so hard to hang and proceeded to hang up each canvas using one nail. (the canvases come with a mounting bracket you hammer into the back of the canvas frame - easy). And Voila!! They are up!!

They look awesome and it really was easy - and they were level!!  So important!!
I pushed the antique church pew back into it's position and just added a couple of items to make it seem a little more decorated - just so I could get a final photo to post here. *wink*

And if you are thinking the canvases seem pretty high up on the wall, you are right. And there were two thoughts behind this decision:

1. I wanted to make sure I was adding more height to this space by placing them closer to the ceiling and eliminating a lot of empty space above the photos.

2. My goal is to add some wood work to this entry eventually, perhaps in the form of wainscoting or maybe even some faux shiplap? If I go with the wainscoting, I want it to be pretty high up so that it would be taller than church pew.

I am so happy with how this Shutterfly project turned out.
I love that when someone walks into our home now, they will immediately see the three most beautiful + important things in my life.

If you've been toying around with the idea of creating a space in your home with some high impact visuals of your family, I would highly recommend using Shutterfly to help you create the perfect space.


Of course, now that I've got some beautiful artwork hung up in the entryway, now I'm forced to have to add a new rug, perhaps paint the inside of the front doors, replace the light fixture and add a little more charm to the space. *wink*

I am fully aware that decorating a home is a life-long project. I giggle to myself when I hear people express their desires to finally be "done" with a specific space they've been working on. Really? Because being "done" never really happens for me. I LOVE changing things up too much to ever think something will ever be final or permanent. Anyone else like that?

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