Saturday, January 30, 2010

A how-to, thrift store finds and a sneak peek!

Guess what husb brought me yesterday... here's a big hint...

Yup, pussy willow branches!

That green wall grosses me out and will get a re-do soon. I already have the paint - Benjamin Moore's "Tapestry." I'll share before and afters. But, the pussy willows - I LOVE them, and even though my MIL has a pussy willow tree, I never seem to remember to snag clippings; every year they pass me by. Not this year. Thanks Ty!

I guess that makes up for his kicking me out of the garage... after I stunk up his garage for hours with the telephone table project, he saw me coming with my spray paint and curtain rods for the nursery, and look how far away from the garage he put me...

Yes, that is the garage door, wayyyyy in the background. Speaking of the nursery, I thought I would share how I customized these plain books into these sweet green books...

The little books were in the $1 bins at JoAnn's, but were a little plain. I knew I had some scrapbook paper at home that would dress them up, though.

This will be a speed tutorial. I used Mod Podge, assorted papers, an exacto knife, cutting pad and a paint brush. The pictures tell their own how-to story...

Much better, yes?

So yesterday was our celebrated 6-week anniversary since Susanna's birth, so we left the kids with Eric and Leah, and went on a date to Olive Garden, armed with a gift card. After we devoured our salad, bread sticks with Alfredo dipping sauce, and Fettuccine Alfredo dishes, we took a drive through the Redmond Town Center shopping mall. None of the regular retail stores beckoned us in, but when husb saw a Value Village on the way back to pick up the kids, he flipped a u-ie and we headed in. He promised me he would "buy me anything I wanted." Yay! I had Bower Power's thrift store advice and cheat sheet in mind, and strolled the aisles. This is what I came home with...

Right off the bat, the soap dispenser is Ikea's Lillholmen... Can't find it on their website -- hmm, I wonder why? Maybe because I have known of 5 different cases of these not working! Me (dumb enough to try 3 now - at least one was thrift-store-priced), my mom and Leah have all had these. They don't work. When I saw this one for $1.99, I had to try it. But it was yet another disappointment. Thank you, Ikea, for not selling them anymore. They also turn the soap blue, what is up with that??? Since I have paid full price for two and when they stopped working, I donated them, does that give me the right to return the one I bought at Value Village, to Ikea? The tag is still on it, people!

But the pewter candlestick made it's way into my pewter collection, and the wood and glass display cloche will find a place in my master bedroom re-do, coming up soon. Want a sneak peek? Okay...

But that is all you get, and you might be surprised what other colors come into play!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Big Reveal - Susanna's Nursery

Okay, here's the big reveal.

If you missed the before pics, they are here.

I'm afraid it sort of turned into a theme room. Husb pointed it out and I think he might be right. I didn't plan it that way. Take a look and comment what you think the "theme" turned into. Maybe husb is just crazy. But, most likely, I got too carried away!

The blue box is where I put memories; all her baby shower cards (am I crazy?), ultrasound pics, etc. The little wicker lamp with the shells on it was given to me by my grandma shortly after I got married. The ceramic frog with the top hat is from husb's grandma; I think she made/painted it.

Every kid that ever sees that rainbow toy calls it either a cake or an ice cream cone - it cracks me up. Because of the cake comments, it always reminds me of Meg's rainbow cake now.

How precious is that bear talking to the porcupine?! I always imagine what he could be telling him about those little eggs. The little striped notebook is where I write memories and keep track of sleeping, growing, and developmental milestones. The little yellow books were mine when I was a little girl.

The bag hanging by the door is her diaper bag. I like having the diaper bag in her room because I have a routine of coming home and bringing it straight in while I still remember if it needs to be restocked with diapers, wipes, etc. Then I hang it on it's hook and I know it's ready to go for next time.

Mark approves! What do YOU think???

***Sources & Budget:***
I anticipate budget questions coming in, so I'm editing this post to include budget info with source info now.
Furniture: $30
table and paint $30; crib, changing table and closet are Diktad from Ikea (discontinued) FREE from boy nursery; Book shelf and shelf above changing table also FREE from boy nursery

Bedding: $75.95
Canopy $19.99; blanket $9.99; crib bumper $14.99; crib sheet $14.99; changing pad cover $15.99

Decor: $20.98
bear prints and girl with elephant print both Ikea (discontinued) and FREE from boy nursery; memories box $3.99; Storage bag $9.99 (set of 2); misc. accessories $7 = $20.98

Window Treatments: $70
curtain fabric $30; blinds $20; rods $20

Paint: $44
Benjamin Moore colors, Behr paint: Country Comfort #305 (yellow), Sweet Daphne #529 (green)

Grand total $240.93

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Changing Seasons

This might be boring for the trillions of readers that I have that don't know us personally. When I got my new camera, around Thanksgiving, I went right outside to test it out.

Mark was just getting comfortable on his electric trials dirt bike.

He started riding when he was just over 2 and a half. When the picture was taken, he would just go slow and "walk" the bike with his feet.

Husb was working hard, as usual, getting firewood ready for winter.

Fall decor was out and the garden was surrendering to the cold.

Shadow, in her winter coat, was watching us play outside.

Now for some updates. Mark is now doing jumps on his dirt bike! This is insane. I am so proud of him though. He never learned to balance and pedal a bicycle though, so the joke is that we will be forcing him to do that when he is about 12... "Mark you have to learn to ride a bike, this is a life skill." "But Ma, I don't want to pedal, I just want to drive my dirt bike." Yes, he calls me "Ma" and I love it; I feel like Ma Ingalls, from Little House on the Prarie.

That was the smaller jump. I am too scared to put the jump up higher, but Ty does! And Mark can do it. Crazies!

Yes, that is a life jacket. We tried to buy him a chest protector, but apparently, most parents don't put their 3 year olds on dirt bikes. Either that or most 3 year olds don't have the need for speed that Mark has. They don't make chest protectors small enough. This is almost better though because it is padded. I think we will still make him wear one of these when he is 12.

On another note, these greeted me yesterday when I got home from buying curtain fabric for the nursery.

I am always so surprised when they come up so early, even through the snow. Crocuses make me smile.

Stay tuned, the big nursery reveal will be in the next day or two!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Call Me Anytime! Telephone Table Re-do

So I got this little "telephone table" from a fancy little botique called Listo de Craig for $20. I'm thrilled with that deal, since I have seen them in local shops for much closer to $100. I hope you are sitting down for this before shot, though... it's that bad.

Told you. When I brought it into husb's garage to do the painting (he loves it when I do projects in his shop-- SYYK!), he proclaimed, "WOW -- THAT is the UGLIEST thing I have ever SEEN! OH MY GOSH!" But, I like this one especially because it is oak; nice and sturdy. These tables are usually made of maple. I have been trying to find one for a long time. I had to fight for this one - the owner didn't want to separate it from a chair. Yes, there was a matching chair, painted the same way as the table. Disturbing, I know. I won, though! After they sat on CL for a month and a half, she lowered the price and accepted my offer for just the table.

However, since it was oak, it was more difficult to paint because of the deep grain, and took two cans of spray paint. Take a look at the before next to the after though...

That's what I mean by "call me anytime!" Pretty sweet, huh?

Table: $20, spray paint (two cans): $10 = $30 total! Not too shabby!

And that's all you get for a preview of the nursery. I have everything done now except for the curtains, and I think I'll make y'all wait till I figure that out before I reveal it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tape the Line

Okay, is there anyone else out there who has had bad experiences with trying to tape off designs when painting walls? Especially with textured walls, right? I used to fall into that category, but not now!

So I have had two different people try to explain this to me and I never could get it until this week at Home Depot, I was like, "Okay, I don't get this, explain it to me again." And she did. And I got it! So I will share it with you.

Problem: You tape off an edge, and roll on your paint, and the paint seeps under the edge of the tape, giving you a "cloud" shaped edge, rather than the straight line you are looking for.


Step One: Tape. Just like you used to. I got it in place, and then used a wadded up washcloth to press it on real well.

Step Two: This is the key! Paint the transition edge (where your two colors will meet) of the tape, using the existing wall color. I made sure to paint from the new color area toward and onto the tape, to really seal the edge. Let dry according to instructions for 'second coat'.

Step Three: Roll your new color on and remove the tape while it is still wet (or after 2nd coat).

Don't look at the awful blue paint from the previous paint job all over the vinyl of my windows - I have NO answer for this! I tried everything to get it off (it is 3 yrs old). I am currently caulking the corner and will paint white over anything that still shows.

Anyway, as far as the taping went, I was really happy with the results and will definitely be using this technique in the future!

I also wanted to share with you a great tool that I love to use for 'cutting in' the edges. You simply dip the edge of the tool in paint, run it up to the edge you are working with, and then slide it along that edge horizontally.

So simple, so fast and so consistent. Here is the before and after:

A little hard to see in my bad photos, but in the first picture, when I cut in my white ceiling with a brush (found out the hard way the edger tool does not work upside down, and had already finished green walls), I was sloppy with the white and went past the corner, onto the wall. You can see in the second picture, the edger tool kept the transition consistent, right along the corner.

So there you have it. That's all I got on painting, considering it is my most hated decorating job. I know you might have been looking for a nursery reveal today, but it's not done yet. Hopefully tomorrow. Sweet husb made me this for lunch so I could keep working on the room, though:

Do you think the 'fry' completely counteracts the healthiness of the fish? =)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adding Hardware

Anyone need a baby fix?

While that dear one slept, and the nursery paint dried, I found another little project to keep me busy.

Our upstairs powder room recently got a little love. You see, it used to be called the "Chowder Room" by husb, because it used to be light blue on top and dark blue on the bottom, very much resembling an Ivar's brand clam chowder bowl. It was the first room I painted while we were remodeling our house before moving in, and I have no idea what I was thinking.

The other day, my mom bought some cabinet hardware and had extras, so I snagged two to give the upstairs powder room a little more love. Here are the before and after:

I think I like it, even though the cabinet already has convenient cut-outs so the doors don't really need handles. It still adds some character.

It was a super easy upgrade. I'm a little nervous about posting how-to's because I think I tend to do things in unconventional ways, but I like to think it's because I am a woman, and it's the way we think. Hopefully that is true and this is helpful and makes sense to you and I'm not just a freak. So, here's how I did it.

I used these tools: husb's big heavy drill (I really want a cute little girlier one), drill bit, phillips bit, tape measure, hardware with screws, paper, mechanical pencil, and I planned on using the level but didn't.

I held the handles up to the cabinet to figure out where I wanted them, then measured the spacing of the screw holes on the handles, and the placement from the edges of the doors and made a template.

I used a mechanical pencil to poke through the template at the x's and make a mark on the right hand side door. Then I flipped the template horizontally, lined it up in the corner of the left hand side door, and made marks through the same poked holes. I forgot to take a picture, so I hope that makes sense.

Then I drilled the holes. A little tip for selecting the right drill bit. If you have calipers you could use them, but I don't know where ours are, so I just butt-up the ends of the screw and drill bit, so it's easy to compare their sizes. In this case, you don't want the screw to "thread" through the hole; instead, it should freely slide through and just needs to attach to the handle on the other side.

I actually ended up having to use a larger drill bit than the first one I tried.

After the holes are drilled, it is just a matter of using the screws to attach the handles.

And there you have it! Pretty easy right?