5 Tips for Making a Family Photo Album

five simple tips for creating a family photo album

I have thousands. Thousands of digital photos on my computer and 2,085 on my Iphone camera roll (just checked!). And until last year I have not been great at making photo albums. But you know what? They are really special to our kids. And I love to look back at pictures too.

So below I am sharing a few tips for how to translate all those digital photos to a little book without loosing your mind!

1. Skip the text

I spent years working on the yearbook staff in high school. Text is SO time consuming, both with writing and proofing. Just skip it and let the pictures do the talking!

2. Organize the photos in a way that makes sense to you

For this photo album I simply went through the seasons. Pictures of snow came before the beach pictures, but I didn't stress about dates or being overly specific. But organize in a way that makes sense to you and simplifies going through all the old iPhone photos.

five simple tips for creating a family photo album

3. Mix in a few still life photos

Family picture after family picture can make the album feel busy, so consider throwing in a few still life shots. If you were in the mountains: share a photo of the sunrise that morning. It adds some style to the album and you will still have plenty of room to share family pictures too!

4. Don't skip the mundane days

Life is made up of a lot of non-vacation days. Last summer we didn't do anything particuarly exciting but we did do a lot of "stay-cation" activities like mini golf and laser tag. Moments like a lemonade stand are really special, even though they are in your front yard.

five simple tips for creating a family photo album

5. Share with others!

When I printed this album I printed 3 copies, and shared two with the grandparents. The books are small (5.5x5.5") so they can keep them in their purse or put it on their mantle.

Do you have any family album tips?

A Craft + Dining Room Refresh!

multi-purpose craft room/dining room (before) -tag&tibby

I love rooms that change over time, don't you? When we first moved into our home, our dining room was a space for selling vintage goods on Etsy. Now, 90% of the time our kids use the space for crafting and homework (and usually there are a few piles of things on the table!)

The base of our dining table is a stainless table frame we found from the as-is section at IKEA, and our table top is simply a piece of plywood cut to size. Over Christmas break Lee added a roll of craft paper to the end of our table. And we brought in a thrifted cabinet (and added wheels to the bottom) to hide their craft supplies. 

multi-purpose craft room/dining room (before) -tag&tibby

Functionally we are good with the space, but aesthetically we need personality! Beige, beige, beige is everywhere in our home (with the exception of our bathroom and playroom). We are strongly leaning toward a medium or dark grey (its a risk, but the ceilings are low and we can always repaint if we need a change later). 

I'll be working with Sherwin Williams and Hayneedle.com to make this room happen, and I can't wait to get started! 

But first I need your help narrowing down the paint color and chandelier! 

Sherwin Williams Iron Ore with industrial accessories

Option 1: Iron Ore is moody and elegant, and it is the closest to a black. Its RGB values are 67, 67, 65 so it is a pretty solid neutral. I would pair it with a brass Edison/industrial style chandelier from Hayneedle.com to contrast the dark grey.  (white pinch-pleat curtain source)

An in-home example of SW Iron Ore from Vintage Revivals. 

An in-home example of SW Iron Ore from Vintage Revivals

Sherwin Williams Peppercorn with industrial style accessories

Option 2: includes a medium neutral/cool gray called Peppercorn. I would pair it with a bronze industrial pendant light from Hayneedle.com along with ikat curtains (source). 

Peppercorn was recently used in a bedroom makeover at the Nesting Place. I like how she threw in whites and lighter grays to keep the space bright.

Peppercorn was recently used in a bedroom makeover at the Nesting Place. I like how she threw in whites and lighter grays to keep the space bright.

Sherwin Williams Software with Retro + Traditional accessories

And lastly! Option 3: I would pair the color Software with a fun chrome sputnik chandelier from Hayneedle.com. There is a bit more blue and green than red in this gray, and I like the idea of it paired with a plaid curtain (source) bringing in a bit of tradition to contrast the retro chandelier. 

And an example of Software painted in home at The Wicker House. It seems to pair nicely with wood accents and white.

And an example of Software painted in home at The Wicker House. It seems to pair nicely with wood accents and white.

I plan to make a decision by Monday, February 8th so be sure to weigh in! Leave a comment here on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!     xo julia

How to Make Homemade Beer Cheese

Sunday's Superbowl is on my mind, y'all. We live in Charlotte (home to the Carolina Panthers)...SO.... the Panthers going to the Superbowl is kind of a big deal. My favorite thing about this season is our kids want to watch too! They talk about the Panthers at school, wear jerseys to school after a win, even our church brings talks about them on Sunday. 

And what would go over better at a Super Bowl party than beer cheese?! It is rich and filling, and oh so good. The secret to the flavor in this recipe is Gruyère cheese: an aged cheese with strong flavor (because what is the point of cheese if it has no taste?!)

Gruyère Beer Cheese Dip

Serves 6-8 (or if you are really hungry, 4-6!)

Modified from Epicurious



1 bottle of dark ale beer 

1 lb Gruyère cheese, shredded

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp Bavarian or Dijon mustard

A few pinches of red pepper flakes and sea salt to taste


Bring the beer to boil over medium-high heat in a skillet or heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low so beer is gently simmering. 

Toss the shredded cheese with cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add the cheese mixture to the beer one handful at a time, stirring until completely melted before adding more. Stir in mustard, salt, and red pepper. Serve immediately. The dip can be refrigerated for 2 days and rewarmed over medium low heat until remelted.

how to make beer cheese dip // shred 1lb gruyere cheese

Shred 1 lb Gruyère cheese and set aside in a medium sized bowl.  

how to make beer cheese dip // add 1 bottle dark ale

Add 1 bottle of dark beer to a skillet or heavy saucepan.

how to make beer cheese dip // boil beer then reduce to simmer

Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer.

how to make beer cheese dip // mix cornstarch into cheese

Toss 1 tablespoon cornstarch with shredded cheese.

how to make beer cheese dip // stir one spoonful of cheese at a time until fully melted

Mix cheese into beer one spoonful at a time, stirring each batch of cheese until melted before adding the next spoonful. Add seasonings and serve immediately with fresh bread, pretzels, or veggies. 

how to make beer cheese dip with gruyere cheese and a dark ale

My husband and I loved how this batch turned out! (we ate it on bread for lunch, and mixed it into broccoli with our dinner)....

If you give it a try let me know how it turns out!

Copper Heart Wreath DIY

Make this easy industrial copper Valentine’s wreath for under $15! See the full tutorial at Tag&Tibby

A secret about me: while I love "DIY" projects I am not a paper-crafty person. Its true! But put me in a home improvement store and I am in heaven. I first worked with copper my freshman year of college in "common first year." Common first year was a combination of Industrial Design majors like myself, Architects, and Building Construction. I welded 4 foot tall rube goldberg type machine out of copper, and looking back I am quite sure it was expensive to build!

This project won't break the bank and is incredibly easy. I spent $12 for a one of a kind Valentine's Day friendly wreath that can be repurposed as home decor after the holiday.

supplies for making a soft copper wreath


3/8" soft copper pipe

a tube cutter (affiliate link)



Bend copper pipe to make a basic heart shape, keeping in mind scale of how large you want your wreath to be.

Cut excess copper pipe with a tube cutter (see how-to image below).

Tie copper end pieces together with a long piece of ribbon and hang on door.

how to make a copper heart wreath
how to cut a copper pipe
Make this easy industrial copper Valentine’s wreath for under $15! See the full tutorial at Tag&Tibby
simple industrial copper heart wreath

New Office Bookshelves on A Budget

home office update with IKEA Vittsjo shelves

Hi friends!! It has been too long. I've been busy doing behind the scenes work for Alt Summit and any spare time has been dedicated to my family (I do post daily on Instagram and Snapchat @tagandtibby).

But I'm back and ready to share a mini home design update!

SOOO big news for my home office. We purchased bookshelves! Ikea Vittsjo to be exact. There are awesome Ikea hack's around the web like this rustic update and this one in gold. But for now I am enjoying them as-is. 

home office (before)

See the before above? Yep, that is how my workspace looked before. My husband found our vintage tanker desk at the local Habitat Restore for $35 last year and I basically live at it during the day. 

My husband Lee and I both have design style opinions, and we have to find the intersection of good design with budget, so it usually takes us a while to shop around. But at $79 per unit these Vittsjo shelves were an instant thumbs up.

mini IKEA shoppers

We made a family trip down to Ikea on a Sunday afternoon, ate our share of Swedish meatballs, and perused the furniture options.

Our current philosophy on IKEA furniture is: mix it in with non-IKEA furniture. If the room has 1 piece of IKEA, blend in a range of other pieces (in our office's case it is a vintage desk and a CB2 couch). 

putting together IKEA bookshelves with vintage artwork

I was able to pull out a lot of vintage goods from my garage which made me hap-hap-happy! From milk glass to vintage books, to artwork drawn by a cousin from the turn of the century I am finally feeling more settled in the space.  

budget friendly IKEA bookshelves

Now we just have to figure out how to design our bottom shelves so our goldendoodle Daisy doesn't eat the books! Any advice?