Author Archives: Arons DIY Tips

13 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

Just because you’re a first time home buyer, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to navigate the process like a pro. In fact, with the right buyer’s agent and real … Continue reading “13 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid”

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Food wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

I picked up the cookbook as a small gift for my wife, Clementine on a whim on an IKEA run, after she had previously pointed it out as “just way too adorable.” When I gave it to her, she pondered it for a few seconds and then started to rip the binding apart. Once I regained consciousness, she explained that we were going to turn it into beautiful wall art. The idea simply came to her. By the end of the weekend, with maybe 4-5 hours of total work, it was up on our walls, providing a vibrant pop to our home.

IKEA items used:


Other materials tools:
  • A paper cutter for clean, measured cuts of individual pages
  • A utility knife for sizing the backdrop to the frame backing
  • Any reasonably sturdy all white paper for a backdrop
  • Double-sided tape to adhere pages to the backdrop

Cook up wall art with the HEMBAKAT

Carefully remove all pages in the book from its binding and cover. Do not rush this, as you may wind up tearing through a whole swath of pages, and keeping as many pages intact as possible is key to the rest of the process. The pages are bound together into sections of 20 or so pages with string which is adhered to the cover. Gradually pull the full collection pages from the cover until it is neatly separated, using scissors to snip the strings from the cover. Then, with scissors, begin to cut the string to separate the individual page sections.

Carefully isolate each page. Lay each page section flat facing downward, i.e. so that the fold in the middle is pointed upward. Gently, from top to bottom, pull each double page off of the loosely connected stack. In doing so, it will become easy to cut through the small connections of the double page to separate them into singular pages. Repeat this for each double page on each page section until all pages are isolated.

Decide on an arrangement of your choosing and organize! We knew we wanted to make 6 frames (which is about the max for frames of the size we chose, though we did have a half-dozen or so non-matching pages left over), 2 of which featured the neutral-toned baked goods and 4 of which featured color-coordinated ingredient spreads.

Related: How to make your own Swedish meatballs

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

Keeping in mind that the backs of colored pages were neutral-toned and vice versa, we first identified those baked goods and ingredient spreads that looked like ones we wanted to display, so as not to wind up wanting to display items that were two sides of the same page. We then arranged the colored pages in a rainbow on the floor to better visualize the blocks of color available and then separated them into blocks which would be appealing and filling enough for a single frame. See pictures of our wall art arrangements on the ground for a better sense of what we were going for.

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

Related: Using ALGOT frames for thread wall art. See the tutorial.

With 6 frames’ worth of pages identified, decide on how each frame will be laid out. Each FISKBO frame has a thin cardboard backing whose surface area is equal to the visible surface area once framed, assuming no window mat. This makes it straight-forward to determine an arrangement: lay the cardboard backing flat, place the uncut pages on the backing however you like as a test run, and determine where cuts need to be made. It is recommended to do this test run exercise on each frame before doing any actual cuts, as you will likely find that each frame will have similar cutting needs and making sure all frames are ready before cutting will avoid an annoyingly costly mistake.

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

Make the actual cuts of the pages to get everything sized for the frame’s layout. In our case, we knew we wanted a clean grid of rectangular shots with small, equidistant horizontal and vertical spacing between individual pages. After toying with different ideas, we decided to go with two rows of 3-4 pictures each per frame. Because two pages vertically was slightly too large for the frame, we knew we’d need to vertically cut some of the pages, so we settled on ensuring the top row of each frame was slightly shorter than the bottom. We also cut each page by varying amounts horizontally, for some aesthetic diversity.

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

For each frame, optionally apply a better backdrop. The thin cardboard backing with the FISKBO may work for you, and you may opt to completely cover it. But we wanted a thin white gap between all pages in our grids, so we used some not-too-thin, not-too-thick poster paper in white matte. To avoid slicing into the cardboard backing, we took the plastic “glass” of the frame, laid it flat (with its thin covering still protecting it) atop a healthy piece of the poster paper, and used a utility knife to carefully trace around the “glass” and create poster paper rectangles perfectly sized to the frame. There should be no need to actually adhere this to the backdrop. It’s all going to be pressed together when the frame is sealed.

Carefully assemble the layout of each frame. With the cardboard backing down flat and the precisely cut paper backdrop atop, adhere your cut pages to the backdrop as desired. There are surely better adhesion methodologies for this, but we wanted something cheap and easy, so we used thin double-sided tape. We have had these up on the wall for a year with nothing falling down and know sides starting to curl upward. Generally, we used six pieces of tape along the sides of each page. Take your time no matter your methodology. Depending on what you choose, you may not easily get a second change to adjust the page’s location or orientation.

Finish each frame! Remove the thin covering protecting the glass of the frame and place it atop your pages. Slide the frame atop and around the glass until it is snugly in place, and then flip the entire thing over to expose the back. Push the metal tabs down to seal the backing to the frame, et voila! It’s done!

Mount however you’d like. The FISKBO has a simple mount on the back that is lightweight enough to be held with a single nail, screw, etc. while laying more or less flat to the wall.

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

Including the frames and the book, our wall art cost $88 total. We had the few other materials and tools required already on hand.

Our favorite part of the hack was the layout design phase (see step 3 above). Having all of these gorgeously photographed, vibrant little pieces of art to work with really stimulated our creativity.

Related: How to make wall art standout mounts for KORT art cards.

The hardest part of the hack was then taking those layouts and getting all of the pages cut just so to ensure that both a) each individual frame had a neat and linear grid, and b) all frames were consistent enough to one another. Having a paper cutter with guides that can be set is a lifesaver here, because if each frame has the same size requirements, you can ensure consistent cuts across all pages.

Cook up wall art with the Hembakat cookbook

In the year since we created the wall art, they have been a consistent conversation piece. New guests are immediately attracted to the combination of Scandinavian, severe geometry and delectable looking baked goods (which is a fairly good representation of our own personalities). We, of course, love to then humble brag that we made them ourselves for less than $90.

~ by Clementine Jacoby and Joshua Essex

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The Average Living Costs in Colorado Springs

Living Costs in Colorado Springs

If you’re planning on moving to Colorado Springs, CO, it’s important to first find out what the cost of living is and whether you can afford it. Located approximately 60 miles south of Denver and 85 miles south of Boulder, Colorado Springs is surrounded by nature but includes all the benefits of a major city. […]

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What to do when you just aren’t getting any viewings at all

I spoke to a gentleman this week who has had his house on the market for three years.  And in that time, he has only had three viewings.  Really. He sounded utterly despondent, and no wonder!

So what can you do when you just aren’t getting any viewings at all? Here’s my action list to help you to address the problems, and improve your situation – cut out and keep it!

Presentation – ask a friend to walk round your house with you, and write down all those little jobs you’ve been meaning to get round to doing.  Ask her to point out any area that is particularly personal, like name plaques on doors or a photo gallery.  De-clutter, de-personalise and add shine through dressing and accessories.

Photography – get in a pro! If neither you nor your agent can afford it, then read my Six Secrets to Fabulous Property Photography and get the best shots you possibly can – including some lifestyle images – to make your house look like a magazine shoot.

Description – brainstorm with your family and come up with the best descriptive words to describe your home. Use emotion and feeling to really get across the essence of your home.

Rightmove ad – keep the text in your summary advert short and sweet.  Write a snappy headline of no more than a line, to encourage clicks. Pick the best ‘lifestyle’ image that represents your home and ask your agent to use it as the main shot on your advert.

Estate Agent – is your agent fully on board? If not, get another! Newer agents are often hungry, with something to prove.  Offer them a great commission to incentivise them to sell your house quickly; this is not the time to scrimp on fee!

Prepared? – have a plan that you stick up on the inside of a kitchen cupboard so that as soon as a viewing is booked, the whole family can spring into action.  Whether it’s moving the cars off the driveway, taking the dog out for a walk, or having freshly laundered bedding ready to pop over the top of the beds, having a plan will make sure you have a professional approach to your viewings when they do happen, which they will!

If you aren’t getting viewings, perhaps it’s time to call in an expert – me!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to do when you just aren't getting any viewings at all

What to read next: 8 Tips For Prepping Your Home For A Viewing

What to do next:  Sign up to my Selling Secrets

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The Best Neighborhoods in Cincinnati

Best Neighborhoods in Cincinnati

There’s no city quite like Cincinnati, with its bustling metropolitan area, its friendly, midwestern residents, and its die-hard sports fans. But if you’re planning on moving there from out-of-state, deciding which Cincinnati neighborhood to live in can be challenging. After all, there are over 50 neighborhoods, so where should you begin? Right here. We’ve done […]

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Have you Talked to your Estate Agent Recently?

5 Top Tips to keep your estate agent onside.

The market is buoyant right now.  Properties are selling quickly – mostly.  If yours isn’t getting much interest from buyers, you may find that your estate agent has stopped calling. Perhaps it seems they are even avoiding your calls.  You’re left feeling frustrated and powerless, wondering what on earth you can do when no one wants to view your home.

Communication between you and your agent at this tricky time becomes all the more important.  Without communication, there can be no trust, and without trust, there is no worthwhile relationship.   What can you do to keep the channels of communication open, and keep your agent onside?

Here are my 5 Tips to keep your estate agent onside when they don’t want to speak to you:

  1. Pre-empt any issues by agreeing a communication schedule before you launch your home to the market.  This is over and above any calls to arrange viewings, or to give feedback afterwards; this plan outlines your expectations and so your agent has some chance of meeting them.  For example, you could ask for a fortnightly call on a Friday, regardless of whether there had been any viewings in between.  In this call you could ask them about market conditions and trends, recent sales, viewings on other comparable properties, and updates on any of your recent viewers.  With a plan agreed in advance, there are clear expectations and if these are not met, you can refer your agent back to their original agreement.
  2. Share your plans with them: if your agent knows how important your move is, perhaps to be closer to a special relative, to give yourself more financial security, or to realise your long-held dream of living in the country, they will be able to genuinely identify with your aspirations.  By taking them into your confidence, you are showing that you trust them, and the resulting enhanced relationship will allow them to do the best possible job of selling your home for you.
  3. Ask for advice: lots of vendors do this, but then they either don’t listen to any suggestions, or else they argue with it.  If you genuinely listen and show that you value any input that might improve the level of interest in your property, you will find your agent much more confident about discussing the issues with you.
  4. Keep your communication positive – if your agent feels that they are being told off, or held to account, for a lack of interest in your property, they will be increasingly reluctant to pick up the phone to you.  If however, your tone is encouraging, friendly and supportive, they will look forward to speaking to you, and they will be only too happy to have a chat to you, even if there is nothing concrete to report.
  5. Pop into the office, if you live close enough.  Take them cakes, or flowers out of your garden for the office.  If they offer to make you a cup of tea, even better.  Take the time to really get to know the staff in the office, and you and your house will be at the forefront of their mind when they next receive a suitable enquiry.  Agents are just like you and me; they have favourite clients, so make sure you’re one of them.

Keeping your estate agent onside can have a big effect on the interest you receive on your house.  You may be feeling frustrated, but chances are, they are too.  Add to that the embarrassment they could be feeling, having told you initially that they were sure your house would sell quickly! A bit of kindness and understanding can go a long way, and reassures your agent that you consider your house sale a team effort.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch

Talk to your estate agentWhat to Read Next:  Should I use more than one estate agent to sell my house?

What to do next:  Sign up to my Selling Secrets

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