Meeting Monica Pedersen

ann-ueno-monica-pederson-15This past weekend I attended a designers dream event at Pottery Barn on North Avenue in Chicago featuring the ever vivacious, creative and warm HGTV legend, Monica Pedersen!  Admittedly, I didn’t know a ton about her going in but grew to learn more and love more about her during her book signing event.  Unlike other book signings I have gone to, Monica was engaging, informative and welcomed a conversation.  It wasn’t all about her, but rather, it was about her sharing pages from her book and how-to’s, hilarious stories and really inspiring hosting ideas.

What I personally loved most about the event was her story.  Her journey into design.  The fact that at age 35 she started her career with HGTV and pursued her passion of design is amazing to me!  Most of what she knows is because of testing, learning, doing, experiencing.  Not a Harvard design education (hmmmm…not even sure Harvard has a design program…).  Of course, she has a gift of the design eye and incredible hostess skills.  But, she activated and gained credibility in the entertaining and design world because she went with her heart.  #loveit

Check out some of the shots from the event below and a huge thanks to Pottery Barn for the great feature!  Oh and P.S. can we talk about how cute she is?!  And she’s like 8 months preggars?!

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How to Create a Wall Gallery {Featuring West Elm Gallery Frames}

If you have been following me over the past couple of years, you should know at least two things.  One, that I love interior design.  And two, I have an obsession with wall galleries.  Over the last few weeks, I have talked to three women about creating wall galleries in their homes and received similar responses which was “I don’t know how to do it” or “It seems hard.”  I can understand this so today, I am here to share a very easy way to do a simple wall gallery.  Let’s call it Wall Galleries for Dummies. 

While you can use any frames for this project, I really think the West Elm Gallery Frames are critical for two reasons.  One, they are pretty awesome frames (and if you sign up for their emails you usually can get them on sale) and two, they come with the EASIEST template to hang the frames!  Now that we have that settled, check out the three easy steps below.

First, using your eye or a level, place the paper templates on a vertical wall as outlined below using scotch tape.  I love the floor to ceiling look so if you have the wall space, try it out!  how-to-create-a-wall-gallery-ann-written-notesNow.  You can’t see it in these pics, but, the templates have the exact place you need to put in the two nails to hang the frames.  So, you hammer in a couple small nails and then just pull the paper off the wall.


And, um, start hanging your frames 🙂  Yeah, I told you this was easy.



An important step in all of this is to find some fabulous photos or artwork to put in the frames.  And I suppose it makes sense to do that before you hang the frames 🙂  As you can see, I didn’t do that.  I was still working on my photography plan of attack. If you need ideas or want to purchase some of my aspiration travel photos, ping me!  You can check out my Etsy Shop, too, which currently only features five shots but soon will have more.

Okay, drum roll please!  Here is the finished, easy, wall gallery featuring West Elm gallery frames.


DIY: How to create monogram letters

Generally speaking, I am not a DIY type of gal.  Some days I envy the Martha Stewart women of the world and some days I get overwhelmed by them and am relieved I don’t know how to create a bookshelf from recycled cardboard boxes.  But when I walk into Paper Source, I find my inner Martha dying to come out and my imagination having a huge party, cheering me on.  And on a lovely Saturday afternoon in Chicago, my IMS (inner Martha Stewart) was alive and awakened as I walked into Paper Source. Subsequently, I decided right then and there I would create my own monogram letters for my dining room gallery wall I was working on (post to come on that).  The project is easy, but requires patience and does take a bit of time.  The outcome is chic, colorful, inexpensive and personal…exactly what I was going for.

What you will need:

  1. Mod Podge
  2. A Poly Brush
  3. Your choice of craft letters (you could do monogram, spell words, whatever your little heart desires).  I did R, &, A and U for our initials.
  4. Paper!  The fun part.  You can see below what I picked but depending on how many letters you are doing and how many different shades of paper you want to incorporate, you really only need a few sheets max.

Step 1:  Pick your paper.

Step 2:  Pick your letter(s).

Step 3: Trace  and cut the letters (I used a pencil and handy dandy scissors).  Note you need to trace the letter both frontward and backward to cover the whole letter.

Step 4:  Using your Mod Podge and Brush, glue the paper onto the letters.

Step 5:  Enjoy!


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