Hello friends and welcome to our blog! We are The Design Twins, Jodie and Julie. We are DIY enthusiasts and lovers of all things décor. How did we get in the business of creating pretty pictures? Well, we both began our journeys on Instagram. You may already follow us there. If not, you can find us @julie.thedesigntwins and @jodie.thedesigntwins where we serve up fun, friendship, and daily inspiration.
Jodie’s Story Behind the Pretty Pictures
Julie and I both like to be as real as we can on Instagram. Even though we share our homes and decorating in order to inspire people we don’t ever want that to be all we are. We want to be real and transparent as well. So a while back I shared the story behind the pretty pictures. I shared it in depth on our blog. Read more about my personal IG story, which reveals my struggle with depression. While dealing with our family’s financial crisis, I fell into a very isolated place. Through the urging of my sister I started my Instagram account. I eventually found hope and joy in the home décor niche on Instagram.
Real Life: How We Began Creating Pretty Pictures
It’s confession time. Julie and I were not formally trained in either design or photography. Up until two years ago neither of us had worked professionally or taken courses in either field. The truth is, Julie and I have worked very hard to create pretty pictures. Trust us when we say they weren’t always pretty.
We have spent a great deal of time and energy honing our photography skills over the past couple years. Most of it has been through trial and error. It’s amazing what you can learn when you struggle long enough at something. If you keep plugging away and don’t give up, wonderful things can happen.
I still use my camera phone a lot. Julie and I bought DSLR cameras, but we haven’t quite mastered manual mode. We have gotten pretty good at using different photo editing apps to improve our pictures. Our story is one of trial and error, persistence and passion.
We’ve also spent a lot of focused effort on our decorating skills. Julie is now a paid decorator, developing her skills as she works with clients, but this is fairly new to her as well. We have learned and improved our photography skills and our decorating skills from persistent practice. We’ve enjoyed the process, so we really do consider it a labor of love. When you love what you do, it doesn’t seem so much like work.
Real Life: Behind the Pretty Pictures
First of all, here are some things you probably didn’t know.
This is my “money shot” couch. This couch is featured in some of my best IG posts. It’s 16 years old, has lived through two babies and three dogs, and has the stains to prove it.
The green “grass” pictured in my backyard is actually weeds, because we didn’t have a budget to landscape our backyard. Every year after the winter rains, weeds grow and turn it mostly green for about a month. Taking this picture and creating a pseudo “al fresco” dining look sparked joy within me.
All the curtains in my home are made with drop cloths I purchased from the hardware store and hemmed with a glue gun. This is a true story.
DIY Creates Pretty Pictures for IG and My Home
Because I was forced to get creative, I actually found some unexpected rewards. I have found such great fulfillment, compared to when I was shopping my way through life. Do-it-yourself projects have empowered me and given me a new sense of pride and self-confidence. It sounds cliché, but I have a newfound can-do attitude. DIY has brought me intrinsic joy that I never expected.
Whether you are driven by budget constraints like me, or embrace the challenge and joys of creating something yourself, you’re going to love my collection of DIY projects.
No-Sew Drop Cloth Curtains
One of my earliest projects was creating Drop Cloth Curtains. I lived in my house for seven years without properly dressing a single window. We had shutters, but zero finished curtains. I longed to have custom-made gorgeous drapes adorn my windows but tried not to think about it. Once the thought of custom-made curtains faded away, I began dreaming of store-bought, but even those seemed out of reach. I don’t sew and don’t own a sewing machine, so anything hand-made seemed impossible. Finally, I decided to try these no-sew drop cloth curtains on one window and see what they looked like. The rest is history. I did each window for under $50, hardware and all.
The final product amazed me. They enhanced my pretty pictures and looked gorgeous in person. They look elegant and suit my home perfectly. My husband loves them so much that this project alone sold him on my ideas. After this he started to say, “Ok, Honey!” instead of looking at me suspiciously every time I had a “crazy” idea. Finally, my ideas no longer seemed crazy.
Industrial Pipe Shelves
The story of my industrial pipe shelves is a long one, if you include all the months I spent dreaming and plotting to make it happen. My obsession with these shelves began about a year before as photos caught my eye on Instagram and Pinterest. I started researching how-to posts and regularly showing pictures to my husband. Typically, he would briefly glance at the pretty pictures in a that’s-nice-honey-but-I’m-not-really-interested kind of way.
I knew I would need his help, and I became more and more convinced that this project was worth campaigning for. He was very busy building his business, but I knew it would be worth it. I told you this was a long story. Eventually, I found a tutorial and read the how-to steps aloud. I won him over.
Convincing my husband and getting him on-board was definitely the hardest part. Once we started mapping out our plan, writing down measurements and making our shopping list things went smoothly. Well, besides my hubby taking eight trips to the hardware story. You know how it goes.
Chak painting is the budget decorator’s best friend. One of the first things I did when I started focusing on home decor a couple years ago was buy chalk paint. Sure, I was nervous at first. I watched too many how-to videos to count. I researched the topic over and over, and the basics eventually started to sink in. In the end, you just need to go for it. Remember what I said about failing. You come out stronger and smarter than you were before.
I couldn’t afford to buy new furniture, but I could afford a bucket of paint. I transformed my master bedroom by painting new life into my old nightstands and dresser. Read more about the chalk-painting tips I learned along the way.
Creating Pretty Pictures: Turning a Negative into a Positive
There is nothing more satisfying than struggling through adversity and making it through to the other side. I love sharing my triumphs and challenges with you all. If openly sharing my struggles can help just one person, then it’s worth it. I know God’s purpose for our lives is manifesting every day, as He connects me to so many amazing hearts and souls on social media and beyond.
A Special Community Created around Pretty Pictures
The message Julie and I want to convey is: You are not alone. We all have to start somewhere. One of the perks of Instagram is the training ground it provides. Don’t worry if your pictures aren’t perfect. Perfection is overrated. Focus on daily growth and enjoy the process.
We are on this journey to lift each other up during challenging times and to help celebrate each other’s victories as well. And when we open up and share with one another this seemingly big world becomes a small family. We hope our blog and Instagram becomes a place where you feel welcome, a place where our lives become knit together like a well-loved blanket.
Welcome to our world. We’re so glad you’re here.
Jodie & Julie
The Design Twins