Guest Post: Not Before My Tea’s Perfect Fall

Our second guest post is from Nicole of Not Before My Tea. To be honest, I hadn’t read her blog until she volunteered to guest post, but now I’m hooked. She writes about her Chicago adventures, life as a twenty-something, and her life as a runner. But here’s what she came up with my topic “A Dreamy Fall.”

Hello!  I’m Nicole, blogger, runner, and wanna-be fashionista over at Not Before My Tea.  I’m new to Chicago and to blogging, but Katie was nice enough to let me guest post for her while she is busy with life.

Her prompt, “a dreamy fall,” seemed a bit open-ended.  But when I asked for specifics, she told me that it was up to my interpretation.  I should have told her that leaving things up to my interpretation is risky business; if the world followed that policy, children under 3 wouldn’t be allowed on buses and I would bankrupt Chicago with a “Free Bloody Mary Weekday” program (which would also extend into the weekends).

But luckily, it’s hard to make fall un-dreamy.  Fall is naturally the dreamiest of seasons, that magical time when you tweet about pumpkin spice lattes even if you hate coffee, and can wear scarves without being mistaken as European.

The only part of fall that is slightly un-dreamy is the (from what I’ve heard) unpleasant Chicago cold weather, especially near the end of the season.  My interpretation of a “dreamy” fall, then, is one with indoor activities for when the choice is either to stay inside or lose function of your toes.

So for this post, I’m going to share with you a budget friendly DIY project that is made for a chilly afternoon.  It’s easy, cheap, and a perfect way to pass the time while your toes thaw out.

Picture 1 -Mod PodgeCanvas

You know those artsy canvas prints that decorate every room on Pinterest?  The ones that are sometimes more than $100?  Well, with just a few supplies that you can find at most craft stores, you can make one yourself without sacrificing a month’s worth of toilet paper funds.

What you’ll need:

Picture 2 - Supplies

– Mod Podge (available at most craft stores)

– A blank painting canvas (they sell almost every size at Michael’s)

– A paintbrush

– A picture the same size as your canvas

Picture 3 - canvas

I’m from Baltimore and I’m always looking for a way to bring a little bit of home here to Chicago.  My boyfriend took a magazine-worthy shot of a street in my home city, so I had that picture printed on a 16in x 20in poster at FedEx (although I hear that they’re even less expensive at Costco).

Basically, if you passed kindergarten, you can do this project; it’s that simple.  Mod Podge is like a magical glue/finish/sealer/personal trainer (just kidding about the last part).  First, you need to paint your entire canvas with the Mod Podge.

Picture 4 - Canvas Painted

It’s best to work as quickly as you can (without making a huge mess) because you don’t want the Mod Podge to dry before you attach your picture.  Once you have a nice, even layer down, put your picture down while doing your best to smooth out any air bubbles.  Like I said, work carefully but quickly so as not to let the Mod Podge dry before you set your picture how you like it.

Once the picture is set, time for the fun part: cover everything with another coat of Mod Podge.

Picture 5 - Drying

It will look white, but don’t worry: it will dry clear.

Let it dry completely (a few hours) before you add an optional second coat (I stress “optional”).  And basically, that’s it.  Simple, right?  If only all of your dates could be so cheap and easy!  (Totally kidding.)

The only thing left to do after it dries completely is to find someone to hang it up for you.

Picture 6 - Final

But that’s another post altogether.

So there you have it: my vision of a dreamy fall.  Just add a pumpkin spice latte and a scarf, maybe throw in a Disney movie for good measure, and you have the perfect fall afternoon.

I hope that you all have fun decorating your apartments or houses (or your friends’ apartments or houses, if you don’t have one of your own) with this easy and inexpensive DIY project.  I’m so glad that Katie let me share a little slice of my world with you.  If you want more than this fun-sized portion Nicole, head over to my blog at for a bigger slice.

Have a dreamy week!

I’m thinking I may have to do this after the wedding for our art wall. Thank you Nicole for the awesome idea. Go check her website and follow her on Twitter.


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