Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rainbows and Pinwheels Birthday Party

This week my little 'big' girl turned 3.  She wanted a rainbow themed birthday party, she also wanted pink as always.  I pinned lots of ROY-G-BIV and in the end decided to be a bit more relaxed about the theme using a pastel pallet to fit both requests.

I also went more relaxed on the food and loosely followed the theme.  Everything except fruit was in individual cups so you could just grab and go.

Chocolate and rainbow sprinkle pretzel sticks
7 layer dip
Lucky Charms (the kids said "Look!  Rainbow cereal!  How could I resist?)
Rainbow Goldfish
Rainbow popcorn
Mini waters wrapped in scrapbook paper and mini sodas

My little girl felt totally special and ooohed and ahhhed over every detail.  I'd call that a success!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pantry Hallway

Wall filling is an ongoing project when you move into a house.  Especially when you move into a house with significantly more wall space than your former home.  Slowly but surely I've been working a wall at a time.

This little hallway leads to my pantry and laundry room.  It was getting along ok naked, but it's so much happier now that it has some adornment.  

The sign above the pantry, the totally awesome cool postcard/butterfly cork board and the key hooks were from Homegoods and TJMaxx.  If I've never expressed my love for these stores I will state it now.  Love them.  Period.  No one is paying me to say it…unfortunately because that would be pretty cool.  

I needed one more to fill the space.  I picked up this glassless frame at a garage sale for $1.  It was dark brown with some fabric on it.  I whitewashed it.  This simply means I mixed some white paint with water, painted it on and wiped it off.  The result blended well with what I had.  Next I stapled some twine on the back and have used it to hang fabric, seasonal post cards, etc. from clothespins.  This little $1 piece has received more than it's fair share of attention from visitors, it's a popular piece.

I'd love to see how you adorn your odd spaces.  Post a link to your blog in the comments and we'll share the love!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Displaying Treasures

I have to share an incident with you, maybe more of a confession.  I think it will help you understand why this little project was so critical for my household.

My two little ones are in preschool.  This means they bring home approximately 400 pieces of "art" a week.  Fine, maybe more like 20 but that is a lot considering they want it to be prominently displayed on our refrigerator.  Apparently I am a bah-humbug mama because I don't want stuff on my fridge.  Truly, it could be a Renoir and I would still feel like my kitchen was cluttered.  So all art is relegated to the side of the fridge, which leads to some weeding out by mama.

Some time ago my sweet little 2 year old girl went to our kitchen trash and pulled out one of her masterpieces.  She came to me near tears "Mama, why you throw away my picture???"  I of course lied through my teeth.  "NO!  I would NEVER!  I LOVE this picture, I will hang it up right now!  I don't know HOW it got in the trash!"

My husband says I'm evil because it was in the trash 24 hours later, but well covered with other trash.  I aint' no fool.

So I took a trip to Ikea, bought a wire hanging device and clips.  I framed a couple of the more stellar pieces they did this year and I hung it all up in our otherwise empty upstairs hallway.  It is lovely and it allows the kids to come with me and switch out what will hang.  The rest goes into a box if it's keep-worthy.

It both solves our display problem and gives our hallway a little character.  (In case you are wondering, that is our family laundry basket.  I got tired of emptying 3 different baskets upstairs, all dirty clothes and towels go one place now.)

And just for kicks, here is my 3 year old's first ever picture of our family.  He wasn't even instructed to draw it, he was just inspired.  This one's a keeper.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Laundry Sign

I made this sign to go up in my laundry room for about $6.  You can do it too.

Step 1- Buy a piece of white board wood from your local home improvement store.  I bought a piece that was 1" thick, 8" tall and 6 feet long.   Total cost, under $6.

Step 2- Cut the board to fit the space you want to use it in.  I used a chop saw, turned it over and chopped again.  Basically I didn't want to wait for my husband to get home and cut it for me with a circular saw.

 Step 3- Stain or paint a dark base coat.  As the name suggests, the wood is white, or very near it.  If painted white directly, the distressing will not give the desired contrast.  I did not do this carefully, I just rubbed it on until it was dark.

Step 4- Once dry, take a candle and rub it all over the stained piece of wood.  This will cause the paint to rub off more easily when it is time to distress.  I used this method for my kitchen cabinet painting as well, it worked like a charm.

Step 5- Paint the board white.  Again, I used latex I had on hand and a brush.  It was not perfect, I wasn't too worried about perfect.

Step 6- Print out the letters for your text.  I set my font effect to "outline" so I wouldn't waste ink.  Tape it to your board.

Step 7- Using a ball point pen, trace your letters pressing firmly.  This will indent the wood.  White board is very soft, so this method is very effective.  If you are using a harder wood you may need a different transfer method.  I have read you can use newspaper in between and it will transfer. 

Step 8- Paint your letters.  You will need good light to see the indentions you made and small brushes.  I used a black enamel paint because it was what I had on hand.  I am sure using vinyl or making stencils with card stock and an exacto-knife followed by spray paint would give you a more even product.  I was using what I had on hand and I wasn't too worried about perfection.

PS- I did the "25 cents per load" part with a Sharpie marker.

 Step 9- When everything is dry, sand it with a coarse piece of sandpaper until you are satisfied.

 Step 10- Nail hanging hardware to the back.  Make sure you measure down so they are evenly placed, otherwise you will have a very difficult time hanging it level.

Step 11- Hang and enjoy!

If I did this again I would try doing a three layer effect with a dark stain, turquoise paint then white paint so some blue would show through.  Please post a link if you have done something similar or decide to give this a try!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Laundry Room redo

We finished two major renovations this year in our kitchen and master bath.  I am not in any hurry to take on another biggie any time soon, so I've been working on some smaller projects.

Unfortunately, I don't have any 'before' pictures of my laundry room.  It was just too ugly to justify photographing.  I did snap this picture after we popped a few holes in the ceiling to see where a leak was originating.  Drywall repair was going to require removing the kitschy wallpaper and repainting so it jump started this little project I've been meaning to do.

My husband requested plain ole beige, so that's what I did.  I tore up the wavy peeling white and green linoleum and contemplated my threshold problem.  As you can see, the threshold is under the door jamb and I was not up to tiling, recutting door jambs, or anything else major.  I was however very disappointed in the look of most vinyl flooring because it looked like…vinyl flooring. 

Then I came across a vinyl tile at Home Depot that has ceramic mixed into the texture and can be laid flush or spaced and grouted.  I went with the grouted option.  It was extremely cost effective and it is beautiful!  You truly can't tell it's not tile until you reach down and touch it.  

Next I bought this little shoe cubby off craigslist and made a slip cover.

Then I hung a bunch of hooks and I made this cute little laundry sign that I will blog about later this week.

This was not a big project, I knocked it out in about 36 hours while my husband was out of town.   I have to say though, it's made a huge impact.  Just having a place where I can tell the kids to take off their shoes and put them in the cubbies and their bags and jackets on hooks has revolutionized our going out and getting home routines.  I would have loved built-ins and more pretty things, but the laundry room above all things must be functional!  If we ever do build, I will put a great deal of planning into this space because it is the hub of our home in many respects.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Master Bath Reveal…2 years later

Do you remember this post ironically titled "Coming Soon" post of June 2010?  Of course you don't, it was 2 years ago.  Well, soon is a relative term, right?

To recap:  Here was the lovely bathroom attached to our master bedroom when we moved into our home almost two years ago.

It was the carpet that really put it over the top for us.  Overall, it was very very builder grade, and bland.  A cacophony of yellow, white and brass.  The plan was simply to replace the flooring.  Ha!   If you have followed this blog for any time at all, you know that could never stand.  Next thing I knew my husband had ripped out the vanity, shower, toilet and bath casing.

We have since spent two years in various stages of remodel.  The sinks were in first.  We did FINALLY FINISH the shower last summer.  The bead board was up early but the caulking and painting months later.  It took until this month to get the other details in order.  So without any further delay….our lovely master bath.

A little insight into my scattered brain: After installing these vanity cabinets, I searched and searched and searched for a cabinet or shelf that would both fit between and look good.  I was becoming quite disheartened.  Then suddenly I remembered and asked my husband "What happened to the tall skinny cabinet we had before we moved?  What happened to it?  Who has it?  Did we throw it away?  Give it away?  Can we get it back?"  It was in our guest room the whole time.  It matches perfectly.  I suppose I need to dust that room more often.

I also had some difficulty finding matching mirrors.  These are frames bought on sale at Michaels with beveled $10 mirrors from Walmart inside. 

We had planned to only do a detail section in this mosaic travertine but we just kept going.  This was one of the elements that pushed up our budget, but it is really beautiful.

It is difficult to photograph a bathroom.  It is a tight space to work in.  
I will tell you, the travertine is gorgeous.  The softness on your feet, the texture, the color, the warmth of natural stone.  I love it.  We will never, Never, NEVER install it again on our own.  It is a bear.  Once it is set in the mortar it sturdy enough but it is extremely crumbly to work with.  We probably had 30-40% waste on the floor, which is 18" tiles compared to closer to 20% waste when we've done ceramic or porcelain.  

I have no idea what the remodel cost us- that is never good!  I feel confident however it will significantly increase the value when the time comes to sell.  Who wouldn't want to get naked here?  ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An apology and motor dog

First, I haven't blogged in forever because
A. I have been super busy
B. I am a blogger loser
C. I just haven't felt like it
D. I lost the battery charger to my Nikon

Okay, okay, the answer is probably all of the above- but in good news, the camera issue is solved. I should have ordered a replacement from china on eBay 2 months ago for $9. How much are we betting I will find the old one in an obvious place now that I have a replacement?

So in the coming week or two, I do promise a few pictures of house updates, decorating, etc. I have been working on. And I have a couple of projects in my future to share as well!

And now because every blog post should have a picture, and because we bought a motorcycle recently, I give you Motor Dog.

I recognize the picture quality and composition are terrible, but to be fair I took this with a blackberry from a moving vehicle that I happened to be driving. Disclaimer: Do not attempt, trained blogger. You see, I was leaving lunch at a bagel shop and spotted this man riding with his dog perched on the front of his motorcycle with a special harness and goggles and I was so hysterically amused I followed him for several blocks. I arrived late back to work as it was in the opposite direction from my office. Apparently having a tail really ticked off Motor Dog's chauffeur. He eventually managed to lose me. I'm not sure if it was the picture taking or pointing and laughing that did it. Surely I was not the first.

And with that I leave you. I'll be back tomorrow with why stay at home mamas shower at night…'cause you always wondered.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

25 Things

1- I am itching to get down to Ikea and West Elm in Atlanta but I will not bring the kids and can't make the trip during the 3 hours they are in preschool- not sure I see a solution in the near future.

2- I turned 29 this week and can't remember feeling so content at any birthday. God is good, my family is good, life is good. I am thankful.

3- I made a killer to-do list recently with week, month and year to-dos. It fell out of my purse at Cheeseburger Bobby's (along with my Kindle.) They kept my kindle but not my list. I feel really lost in the world.

4- I love homemade soup and have made a weekly pot for the last couple of months. Enchilada soup, italian soup, veggie soup and so on. Leftovers are grand.

5- I got my first dutch oven for Christmas, Paula Deen in lovely turquoise. Everything really does taste better cooked in enamel coated cast iron.

6- I would hate having open shelving as a primary form of kitchen storage but I wish I had a small section of it to justify buying pretty kitchen items like the owl measuring cups from West Elm or the Anthropologie bowls and glass colander.

7- Somehow I got away from menu planning when we moved a year and a half ago. Last week I planned a menu. It changed everything about my week for the better.

8- I love my new kitchen. I know I should not be so affected by something as trivial as surroundings but my downstairs is a happier place.

9- I shut the door to my bedroom always and have almost given up making the bed. It is a not a pretty well planned space. I need a master plan and a budget to put it into action. Shouldn't your bedroom be a place of refuge?

10- Speaking of Kindles, got mine for Christmas and love it. I have yet to buy a book. Reading all the freebies and currently working through the writings of Martin Luther (the reformer, not King Jr.) He is brilliant and encourages my soul.

11- It feels like spring, which is lovely, but I really would love one good snow.

12- I finally finally got a pair of brown riding boots for my birthday. I have wanted a pair for at least 3 years. Now I need skinny jeans to tuck in. My husband thinks the whole thing is lunacy.

13- My husband might be the most amazing man alive. He has been more than fabulous this week from buying me boots he finds absurd to caring for our little brood and house while I attended to family business and other responsibilities. Trying to find a way to thank him aptly (it will probably have to be something beyond posting material ;))

14- I told my son he was looking so big and he responded he wasn't a baby anymore. Then he followed it up with "But mom, you can still call me your baby boy if you want. I don't want you to be sad."

15- I had my first baby itch a few months ago. Then it went away. We're all good for now.

16- I want flourless chocolate cake. Can someone please make me flourless chocolate cake?

17- I started a women's Bible study a couple weeks ago for the first time in a very long time. Did you know your soul can be thirsty for time with other women? Very thankful.

18- I loved my garden 2 years ago. We skipped it last year having just moved. Not sure I have it in me this year to make it happen.

19- I went out to breakfast with my husband this morning. I never realized how great a luxury breakfast out would be once I had children.

20- I am an open window junkie. You probably shouldn't come to my house if you have severe outdoor allergies. I even open them in the chillier parts of winter if it gets anywhere near warm in the afternoon.

21- I really want to go to the local BYOB and paint place in our town. I'm no artists but this sounds like a blast.

22- I have a small obsession with birds- have I shared this with you before? My husband says he's going to start vetoing decorative birds so I need to choose carefully.

23- I have a pillar bird piece I picked up a TJMaxx hiding in my trunk. I plan to keep it there until spring decorating and then say "No I didn't buy another bird. I've had this for a long time." Which will be true by that time. Is this a problem?

24- Valentine's Day is in a week. I have no plan. My son's birthday is in 2 weeks. I have no plan. I feel like maybe I should work on making plans.

25- My husband and I spend our dates drawing house plans on napkins and looking at old houses. I hope someday we can build.

Your turn. 25 is harder than you think, glad I didn't go for a commemorative birthday 29. Link back in the comments if you dare.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kitchen Sources and $$$

I thought I'd give you the sources for our kitchen remodel in case you want to copy anything.
I am giving you rough estimates on the costs. If you have never done a DIY you should know that you will always need $100-200 in miscellaneous costs. It is always the little things, a box of screws here, an extra trowel there, etc.

Painted Cabinets:

I sprayed my cabinets with a gravity feed sprayer and air compressor we already owned. I sanded them first with a mouse sander.

Behr Premium Plus Enamel in semi-gloss from HD in black (they have a true black they mix)=$25
Behr Premium Plus Enamel Primer tinted with black (which comes out grey)=$19
Painting supplies-plastic for paint booth, paper and tape to cover, foam rollers for cabinet boxes, etc=apx $30
Cabinet hardware from The Knob Shop on ebay=$55

Counter Tops:

NUMERÄR beech butcher block countertops from Ikea.=$427
I should warn you these countertops are rarely available. We were watching it and the hour they showed up as in stock my husband drove down and picked it up, and he got what was left as 2 people had beat him there.

Sandpaper in 3 different grits=$12

Sink and Faucet:

Ikea DOMSJO Double Bowl sink (apron front)=$312
Delta Leland Integrated Single Handle pull down faucet: $193

I love love love these two products. The sink is huge and deep and just pretty. The faucet was easy to install and it has a fantastic magnet and weight system so it never dangles.


New drywall=$12
3x6 glossy white subway tile from HD=$60
Unsanded bright white grout=$12
Thin set=$30
Trowels, floats, buckets, sponges, etc=$40


For curtain under cabinet and new treatments on kitchen and breakfast room windows. 3 yards (I should have bought more!) and lining. I got it 40% off at JoAnn Fabrics though it is a discontinued line so they don't sell this pattern online, only in some stores.
Better Homes and Gardens Jayda Bramble=$75


We ended up having to replace all of our light sockets, switches and plates because the tile is so white it made it look yellow=$60
Quart of wall paint for touch up. Valspar Signature Eggshell in Silver Leaf=$15

GRAND TOTAL=$1,404 plus incidentals and a couple of appliances. I didn't include appliances because, you need them or they don't and that's not very DIY. Considering we were looking at almost double this price for JUST granite countertops, I am thrilled!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sweet Girl Room

I am on a blogging roll. I can only promise you this week however.

For today, baby girl's room which I think is lovely. Here is the story.
My poor daughter was a nomad and wanderer for the first year of her life. Our kids are less than 18 months apart and we had big dreams of moving our son into a big boy bed before she was born and giving her the crib in a shared room. He had a sweet little nursery and our daughter had…a pack and play in the office. She did eventually get her own room, but it was bare, and had a pack and play.

Finally the day came when she got her own room and a crib and even a little decorating attention. I shared the inspiration here. It didn't come to pass for nearly a year. But I finally got out the pencil and paint brush and freehanded a tree. Then I cut out some birds and a sun from scrapbook paper and modge-podged them on. My sister had a ton of these pom-poms at her wedding so I stole a few for our "clouds."

It makes for a sweet little reading area.

I suppose my husband must have continued to nurse some guilt because he came home one day and told me he found her a floor model bed on clearance at Pottery Barn Kids when he was there. Let me repeat - my husband was in PB Kids by his lonesome. I just want it on the record. You see, ever time we pass there and I want to go in he groans and complains and asks how he shall be rewarded. Now I know he secretly loves the place and I will never apologize again.

So in short (or long,) every little girl's dream bed was added to the room.

And just for kicks, here's the other side of the room.

The kitchen is KidCraft and is fabulous, I would highly recommend it if you are shopping for one. The shade for the semi-circle window is a paper shade and does the trick well for cheap. The little tulip chandelier is Target but probably no longer carried and the dresser/changing table was a garage sale find.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kitchen Reveal

Sometimes projects take a little longer than you expect…and sometimes they actually move pretty quickly but then you take a long time to bother photographing it. I really need someone to teach me to take pictures of interiors, I did my best and they just don't do it justice!


Clearly the previous owners have a different overall style from ours.
And now {drumroll please}




Some details for your viewing pleasure:

Farmhouse sink and much beloved pull down faucet.

I plan to bring you more details this week on where we purchased our products, what we did and how much it all cost.

Meanwhile, I will be cooking up a storm! Something about a new great kitchen gets you inspired again for the every day grind.