Squared

  You may remember that I helped a friend hang a grid of mirrors last month. I had also been meaning to try it in my own house but I was struggling on where I’d want to hang a grid of mirrors. I bought 10 of the same mirrors we used at Erika’s house and they sat in a pile on the buffet in the kitchen. For some reason I couldn’t commit to a grid of mirrors. Then I realized that the square mirror frames would make the perfect frame for Instagram photos. I started by thing to pry the mirrors out of the frames. Let me tell you- those things are cemented in and I almost lost a few fingers. So trust me when I day that I recommend Modge Podge. You like having fingers, don’t you? Thought so.

What I used:

Ikea MALMA mirrors ($1.99 each!)

-Printed Instagram photos (I use the Walgreens app. They stay in 4″x4″ format, are super affordable and they are usually ready in an hour!)

-Modge Podge

-Paint brush, ruler, sharpie, scissors

-Hammer, nails, level

 First, I laid out all of the photos I had printed. I had chosen to print photos I had Instagrammed of food. I thought it would be a fun addition to the kitchen. I recommend that gallery walls have some so of theme, whether it is a color theme or subject matter. It should make sense to any guest that enters your home. I had about 20 to choose from and had to narrow them to 10. I asked Hubby to help me weed through them. It was easy to toss out photos that were lower quality or had bad lighting. In the end he convinced me that 8 was a better number and wouldn’t clutter the wall we had chosen. He even used one of my favorite design principles on me, “Less is sometimes more.” Sold! Eight it was. We opted for 2 rows of 4. Also considered: 3 rows of 3 to make a square gallery of nine images. These are the 8 we landed on. Hubby pointed out another theme: circles. All of the photos had circular subjects and it wasn’t even on purpose.    Next I measured the mirror space to see if I needed to cut down the pictures. The mirror was just under 3 and 3/4″ so I marked my ruler and got to trimming. I noticed that the photos I had used the instagram filter frame/borders on fit perfectly after removing the borders. Had I known this I would have printed all of my images with borders to save a little effort. After trimming, I was ready to glue the photos directly on the mirrors. I applied a thin layer of Modge Podge to mirror and pressed my photos in place. Some of the photos were snug and needed convincing to fit the corners in but I was patient and gentle. Trimming and gluing took less than 15 minutes! I let it all dry overnight (mostly because of my schedule… you could definitely move directly on to hanging from the point).  Next I gridded out my gallery all on paper with my wall measurements in hand. I moved the buffet and climbed up on a chair. I’m always surprised at how much I enjoy putting nail holes all over my walls… especially since I’ve painted each room in my house at least once since we’ve moved in. Just pounding holes into my hard work but I think you will agree that it was so worth it. Take a peek:

                  All in all I’m really happy with the way it looks and glad I chose to go with photos over mirrors. I even like how it looks as I enter from the family room.

I don’t hate the price tag either! 8 frames x $1.99 each = 15.92! I already had the other supplies. Can you believe this is a $16 gallery wall?!?!

PSST… you can follow me on Instagram by clicking on the Instagram link to the right (in the sidebar) or by finding @hildagotrocks on Instagram. I’m also on Bloglovin’ + Facebook + Twitter which are linked in the side bar as well.

Ikea Hack – Lack Tables into Ottomans

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We all know how much I love my staple gun. (If you’re new around here… it’s true love guys) I’ve been dying for something to go at the end of our bed and I knew I wanted to DIY it, naturally. I was hoping to either make or transform something into an ottoman or bench. But after a few months of watching out for narrow coffee tables and benches or ottomans at my usual thrifting spots with no luck. I was just about to give up. Then I remembered seeing some Ikea LACK tables made into ottomans on Pinterest. How could I have forgotten about this?!? It was the answer I had needed all along. Here’s how I did it:

I got 2 LACK tables at Ikea. The price varies based on the finish you choose… I chose flat white which was only $7.99 each! The tables are about 22″x 22″ so I grabbed pre-cut foam seating foam at Hancock Fabrics that happened to be the perfect size (and 2″ thick) for $8 each. I already had fabric left over from my shower curtain headboard project. I thought it would be nice to have the ottomans match the headboard since they are the only color in the room for now (the rest is gray and white). Of course I didn’t hate that I already owned the fabric so no purchase was needed. If you don’t have fabric around consider using a curtain, bedspread or shower curtain instead. In this case, my material purchased as a $20 shower curtain was way cheaper than buying 3 yards of fabric.

I eyeballed and cut the fabric like I would for wrapping a present. Then it was down to stapling. I just went around the edges stapling about an inch in. I made sure to trim as I went that I didn’t have any excess fabric that might hang down once I flipped the finished product over.

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After I had stapled both of my ottomans I just added the legs to them like I would for the LACK coffee table instructions. So easy. A monkey could do this. This entire project took Molly and I less than a half hour between sips of milkshakes. It’s our weird kind of girls night in.

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My main goal is trying to keep these from becoming laundry collectors. So far they are staying clear of junk. I’ve notice that shoes end up under them but that’s okay with me. And when we unmake the bed at night the throw pillows go here rather than the floor, which is nice. I love the way they bring some color into the room and coordinate with the headboard. y final project price was $16 for each ottoman. Although our master bedroom needs more work this is definitely a step in the right direction! I’m tempted to add metallic golds as one of the accent colors in this room. What do you guys think?

Painted Pillow Tutorial

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You may recall that I made some pillows for my sisters once upon a time. Well, my sister Susie requested another… she had changed her bedding and the magenta one I had made a couple of years ago was clashing with her new orange decor. I grabbed another pillow case on a recent trip to IKEA and put off making this pillow for months. Hey, I’m a busy girl! Lucky for me Susie would not let me forget that I had promised a new pillow.

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One side of the finished product is above. I chose chevron for this side and the other side is a monogram shown later in this post. But here’s how I did it.

 

You will need:

Pillow case (I used Ikea’s GURLI)

Fabric paint (I used Tulip brand)

Painter’s tape

Paint brushes

Hair dryer

Optional: stamp, stencils, templates, sponges… really any paint technique that can be applied to fabric is a possibility for this project.

 

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I started with an Ikea GURLI pillow case this time. The last one I used was thicker with a chunkier weave that made painting a little difficult. The GURLI is thinner with a tighter, less textured fabric that I thought may lent itself better to painting with a brush by hand. It was just as inexpensive ($4). I lined the inside of the pillow case with foil so that no paint would bleed through to the opposite side. I figured foil would do the job but hold it’s shape (and stay in place), stay smooth and be easier to work on than newspaper or plastic. I made sure the foil went all the way to each edge a corner, which meant overlapping two pieces. I knew I’d be painting edge to edge on at least one side so it was important to cover the entire interior with a barrier.

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Then I taped out my design. I wanted a bold solid colored block border. I used the width of my painter’s tape to make my border. This eliminated sketching/marking and measuring. I also extended the tape passed the end of the pillow so that the pillow was taped in place for safety (from my clumsy self). I eye-balled the inside edge tape but it would be a simple 1 inch measurement if you aren’t a great guestimater. I made sure I had straight corners, which require an extra piece of tape here and there. TIP: To ensure against bleeding it is helpful to smooth the tape down well with the edge of a book, credit card or just your finger.

 

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I brushed thin, even coats of fabric paint for the border. Be sure not to saturate the fabric or the tape. That may cause the paint to bleed under the tape. If you don’t get good coverage with one coat then go for a second coat of paint. Its a safer bet to do two lighter coats rather than one heavy one. I especially wanted a clean and sharp edge so I took the time to touch up bare spots and do an extra coat where needed.

 

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I free-handed a monogram onto the center of the pillow. I frequently do free-hand monograms so I felt confident. I really only measured a few reference points to determine where the center of the pillow was. If you aren’t comfortable with free hand lettering then consider lightly sketching with a pencil or maybe even try to trace through the fabric, use a projector or a ruler.

 

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I waited for the paint to dry thoroughly before removing the tape. Afterward, I used my hairdryer to “set” the paint and to dry it even more. You can’t be too careful!

 

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For the chevron side, I used my same tape method as I did for my border on the opposite side. I determined center and used the tape to make the chevron. Again, I made sure I had sharp corners and smoothed over the tape to prevent bleeding. I opted to used the white fabric as one of the chevron stripe colors and alternated gray and orange.

When the pillow was finished, I removed the foil (which was extremely effective) then washed and dried it according to my paint and pillow case directions (cold, tumble dry low). This eliminated the stinky fabric paint smell and the heat of the dryer further set the paint (according to the label on my paint at least).

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Susie is happy with the pillow and so am I! For a no-sew project this makes a pretty awesome pillow. And the possibilities are endless!

 

PSSST: I bought a second pillow case for myself but I haven’t been brave enough to commit to a design for my own house!

Things I’m Loving

Oops. I think I skipped this post last month. What can I say? Life gets busy sometimes. I’m working on a couple of art pieces, trying to get more jewelry up on Etsy and I am already starting to help plan next year’s Relay for Life. Woah. It’s definitely time to stop and smell the roses. Here are a few things I’m just loving lately.

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I was honored to attend the CincyNanny National Nanny Recognition Week VIP Nanny Dinner. Yes. That’s a thing: National Nanny Recognition Week. It was created for all of us in the home childcare field to give each other big high-fives. In the last few years our industry has made it even more exciting. Nanny agencies, groups and associations across the country do all kinds of things to celebrate each other. Our local group here in Cincinnati is called CincyNanny. Its a fantastic group of local nannies who come together online and in person for friendship, networking, nanny nights out, play dates, education, nanny/family pairing and empowerment. We held a VIP Nanny dinner at the National Exemplar in Mariemont to honor each other and talk about some really cool things happening in our own community. I can’t spill all of the beans yet but a couple of those cool things are Nannypalooza and National Nanny Training Day! (I accidentally made this a game of “How many links can I squeeze into one paragraph?”). It was fun to get dressed up (most of us are used to play clothes), go out for a nice dinner and celebrate each other. My friend Greta of Project Momma is the brain behind CincyNanny and she created these darling vases from recycled Starbucks bottles and bronze paint to give them the “dipped” look. We each got to take one home with a white rose in it. Super cute!

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Z recently finished the 50th of 100 reading lessons we have been working on. As a reward he chose to have a sleepover at my house with O. How adorable! I really am the luckiest girl in the world! We had dinner at my parents’ house for my sister’s birthday and Z tagged along. He knows my whole family since we all nanny and have play dates together so he jumped right in. We enjoyed pizza and s’mores before we headed home for our sleepover. How cute are these two walking hand-in-hand to my parents’ front door? Z even carried O’s baby doll for her!

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Now that O is wearing glasses we’ve noticed quite a few changes. She’s more interested in lots of things and is far less clumsy. She has mastered stairs (to the point that they are her new favorite play set), is less hesitant on slides and isn’t afraid of leaves (I mean if you were farsighted they would look like a ton of mysterious blobs who move in for attack every time the wind blows). Her life is just so much more clear and it makes us so happy.

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Check out this awesome art piece! It is a shadow box style replica of the Painted Lady Victorian (Columbia-Tusculum Cincinnati… not San Fran) we lived in when I was a kid. My mom had it made when we lived there. It was packed up for several moves and forgotten in the basement. She recently stumbled upon it and now hangs proudly in the kitchen. I can’t stop admiring it. The intricate details and accuracy are so impressive. It really captured the spirit of the house.

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O got a new coat! How stinking sweet… Those ears are just awesome. She is obviously excited about it too. It was a gift from “Big Susie” who is on her left. Big Susie is our dear family friend who my sister Susie was named after… thus, the “Big” part. However, neither Susie is actually very big. They are both petite. Little Susie is maybe 5’2″ and likely taller than “Big Susie”. Its just how we’ve always differentiated the two. I love love LOVE this picture.

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One of O’s new favorite things to do is shout “Mama, Cheese?” and make a face or strike a pose for me to photograph. She almost always tilts her head dramatically and bares a big grin. This kid knows how to fill my days with happiness.

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I made a new batch of homemade detergent! Finally. I had beens so busy that we actually used store bought junk for a month. But as I was cubing up my Fels-Naptha bars I couldn’t help but think that they were sort of pretty. Dumb? Maybe but I snapped a pic anyway.

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The dry-erase board yields some amazing artwork that I wish I could save. Instead I take pictures. Here Z has illustrated my family . Left to right: Hubby who has his trademark spiky/messy hair thing going. In the middle is O, complete with ponytail on top of her head. Then I have my big ponytail and glasses. Pretty accurate depictions, right? I mean, who needs ears?

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A fortune from Hubby’s Chinese carry-out. He usually lets me open the cookie.

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I found this sweet dress at Target right after we went to the Ophthalmologist but before we ordered O’s glasses. I’m so in love. She wore it to Children’s when we tried on frames and made our final choice. Everyone loved it. She rocks it occasionally on the playground as well.

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Oh yes, last but not least is this polkadot fabric from Ikea. I fell in love with it and was certain it would make an amazing upholstery fabric for our headboard against the soft blue. But Hubby was strongly against the moment I walked in the door with it saying it was straight out of a Dr. Suess book. Then he said, “Anywhere but the bedroom, please!”… say no more. I have 2 yards of this fabric and I plan on putting it in every room in some form. Except the bedroom. I’ve made it my mission.

So what are you loving? Any new discoveries, fashion finds or sweet moments you captured? Do share!

Company

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We are very fortunate to have most of both sides of our families in state… actually most of them are all here in Cincinnati! But that means that the opportunity for overnight guests is rare. Really rare. So rare that we made our smallest bedroom into our guest room. We moved in when I was 7 months pregnant with O. In the moment, our logic was that we’d be in O’s room a ton, use a lot of floor space in her room (since kids usually play in the floor for 4+ years) and that guests were few and far between. That’s how the nursery landed in the larger room and the guest room got the short end of the stick. And since we moved in when I was in prime exhaustion mode of pregnancy (besides random spurts of nesting) the guest room housed a wall of  unopened boxes of diapers I had pre-purchased while pregnant with an amazing system of coupons, points and Target gift card offers. Like we didn’t buy diapers until O was 9 months. THAT many diapers.

But when O was just a few weeks old we got a call from our friend Molly. She was excited to tell us that she had a few job interviews lined up in the area and hoped to come see O. She also needed a place to crash. Cool. We had a place. But thats about it… I was embarrassed but I had to tell her our guest room was nonexistent but that she was more than welcome to stay if she was cool with the couch or an air mattress. Molly arrived the next week with her air mattress and belongings. She also arrived to a brand new baby, a new mommy with food poisoning and an overwhelmed new dad. Molly jumped in and picked up where we left off so I could get better and Hubby could reclaim his sanity. It was like heaven sent her or something. The next day she had a really good interview… so good that she was hired on the spot. She started the very next day. New predicament: Molly was moving back to Cincy. Like now.

Lightbulb: She could live here until she finds a place. A month or two? We could do that for a friend. And it was the job of her dreams… she could rough it on a mattress until she found an apartment. We offered Molly the teeny tiny diaper storage room. Sure, it was “snug” and currently royal blue but she could have it if she wanted. We agreed on a friendly “rent” rate and before we knew it we had a roomie. Okay, you’re probably wondering if that was nuts. We just moved in and had a kid – our world was upside down… why on Earth would we put ourselves in this position to have another body under this roof? Were we out of our minds? Let me tell you something, where I come from you take care of each other. We had the means to help Molly stay so she could start the job of her dreams (no exaggeration) so why wouldn’t we try to help make that possible? So that’s what we did. But a funny thing happened. While we thought we were taking care of someone, she ended up taking care of us. Her “rent” gave us wiggle room in our budget while we got used to the unpredictable financials of caring for a baby (formula rivaled our car payment). Her presence allowed me to enjoy a full length shower without hurrying back to my child. She often babysat free of charge so we could enjoy a date night or even just an evening of grocery shopping together without hurrying home. Sometimes Molly was my shopping partner. This is a huge perk when you have been nowhere but your home or the doctor’s office for more than a month. I often came home to an empty dishwasher or a freshly vacuumed family room. It was working out so well that she stayed for more like 9 months. We were sad to see her go but she only moved 5 miles away and is still our go-to sitter.

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When Molly moved out, that teeny blue room was still teeny and very blue. And because it is the spare room it was neglected for quite some time. Eventually I mustered the motivation to prime that royal blue twice and then paint it Behr Zen green twice. That’s four coats of paint, people. Four. The photo above was taken as I was painting on the first coat of professional grade stain blocking primer. It sat painted with a desk and book shelf in it for months. When Hubby and I sold our souls bought a new mattress earlier this year and we squeezed our old one into the guest room. The room has slowly accumulated furniture like the curbside special sofa table. I hung mirrors and stocked the book shelf as time went by.

We have our first real guests arriving next week. This prompted me to finally hang curtains. While I was frantically drilling I realized that the not-so-blue-anymore guest room needed a full reveal of its own. Ta-da! Here’s what I squeezed into a 10’x8′ room.

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I used my duvet set from my single days (that I love but Hubby doesn’t) to dress the bed. It was a complete cooincidence that it matched the walls so well. Then I hung tan Vivan curtains from Ikea over the window. The mirror to the right of the window was once a stand up mirror but there isn’t any floor space I was willing to use on it so I bolted it to the wall a few months ago. I hung it directly across from the door… I often use it when standing in the doorway or hall.  I hadn’t thought anything of it until it was time to hang curtains. I was not negotiating its location. But I ended up hanging the rod off center and using the curtains over blank wall space as well as the window to give the illusion of having a bigger window.

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Here you can see that the sofa table is a desk, dressing table/vanity and a tv stand. In a small room, we needed multi-fuctional pieces. Unfinished canvases are stored here… I might have to hang something or finish one before our guests arrive. One of the thrifted lamps also resides on the sofa table.

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Another garage sale mirror hangs above the bookshelf. I wanted it to reflect even more light and I like that it mimics having another window in the room. My favorite books are in here as well as some work-in-progress photo collections. This is also where many of our gifts from our Japanese business associates belong. Many are fragile or just plain gorgeous so they are in here far, far away from babies and dogs.

The wooden bins on the bookshelf have a few things our guests might need. One has towels. Another has washcloths. My favorite use for them: I’ve stashed sample size soaps, lotions, fresh toothbrushes, razors and more in case a guests were to forget something (or lose their luggage as I have before).

20130923-145208.jpgMy pride and joy is that head board. With no space and a modest budget, I had limited options. So I Pinterested around and discovered that painting a headboard design directly onto the wall is a thing. Once again, I used my friend B’s rejected sample paint pints. I chose the same color I used on the sofa table and made rounded edge headboard. Now it feels like a real bed… rather than our spare room with our old mattress.

How do you like it? Anyone else paint a headboard onto the wall? I haven’t seen any others in person.

Projects Elsewhere Part Three: Josie

My sister and I took on a fun extra project and helped transform three rooms for a friend. First we gave Sam a pirate themed room, then Jack got a sweet new baseball themed room. Now we present Josie’s room. Josie is all girl in every way. She loves dress ups, dolls, books, fairy tales, penguins and pink. Her mom, Heather, hoped for more order to her room including all of those dolls and dress ups.

A few before pictures:

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As you can see from the pictures above and below, Josie has tons of dolls, books and toys that needed a little corralling. Susie and I would have to be pretty strategic with how we organized this room. We wanted Josie to be able to reach everything as well as put it all away when she was finished playing. Her room had two soft pinky (and sometimes lavender looking) walls and two beige walls. Heather told us she didn’t love the colors. Josie handed me a handwritten list of things she wanted to see in her new room as well as a list of things she liked and disliked about the current room. She wanted a reading nook, loved her windows curtains, loved her sheets (bright and cheery polkadots!) and she wanted a mirror and place for her dolls and penguins.

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We also had to remove more of those built ins. And see that Luvs Diaper box up there? Josie has long outgrown diapers but she was once the face of Luvs! She told us to get rid of that box… her mom had some framed images from the Luvs days instead.

………………Drum roll please…………..

Susie and I chose a bright mint/jade color for the walls in Josie’s room. We were inspired by her cheery polkadot bedding and made a hot pink accent wall with large bright yellow dots. Here is what we came up with:

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We gave Josie the mirror she wished for. It was a $5 yard sale find that just happened to fit her dresser perfectly. We spray painted it white and attached it with a few screws since the mirror already had the mounting hardware with it.

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We kept Josie’s letters from her old room but gave them a fresh coat of white spray paint and painted the edges to coordinate with the accent wall. Josie had quite a bit of jewelry so we recycled the “J” wall hook from her old room and relocated it to behind her door. This way she could sort of “stash” her jewelry out of sight and it was still close to her closet.

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Josie got her reading nook too! We found this sweet little wooden swivel chair at the same yard sale for $5 and gave it a coat of white spray paint. So fresh! The pink “dot” cushion is from Ikea. Susie organized all of the books and styled up the bookcase with some of Josie’s keepsakes. We tucked the chair in the corner and book case under the window. Ta-da, Reading nook accompished!

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We found white mesh curtains at Ikea. Josie had wanted to keep her pink ones (and we did too!) but once we painted the pink wall, they completely clashed with each other. The white is a little more grown up and will hopefully extend the life of this room into tween years anyway.

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Ah, the pink wall. This is the first stage of the accent wall. I’d have to come back later to do all of the polkadots. But you can see how Susie used the space at the foot of the bed to make a home for the baby doll cribs and accessories. Josie already had the cubbie storage unit so Susie just made sure all of the baskets were pout to good use and we added some of he stuffed animals to the top as well as keeping her hanging stuffed animal storage from before.

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We came back one evening to hang Josie’s 6ft Ikea LACK shelf. We wanted to give her more stuffed animal storage, but its also in a place that she can use the shelf for books or keepsakes in a few years too.

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Stage two of the accent wall: polkadots. I traced a cookie tin (What? It was the perfect size!) and painted two coats of the yellow. The pink is Behr “Hot Gossip” and the yellow is Behr “Cheese puff” both in Satin.

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Another view. I like all of these colors together. They are so happy! I think this room is much more “big girl” than before.

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Here is a better look at the dots with the inspirational sheets.
We moved Josie’s bed under the window to give her more space to play. Before, the bed gave the feeling of cutting the room in half. But now you enter the room and are greeted with more space and easier access to things on both sides of the bed. And its all visible so things should be easy to find too. Our solution for storing the dress ups was to get a couple of under the bed storage containers. We also moved a couple of the larger toys to the basement (like the dress  up vanity). Josie is happy with her room and her mom reports that keeping it clean (and getting the kids to clean up their rooms) is a lot easier than before.

Projects Elsewhere Part Two: Jack

Ah, part two. If you’re just tuning in, this is the second of three bedrooms my sister and I organized and redesigned. You can read more background info here. This is Jack’s room. He is quite the sports fanatic including Cincinnati Red’s fan, UC Bearcats fan, water skiing champ (he’s only 6 but he had metals and trophies for water skiing!) and I’m sure more. His room needed an injection of sports personality, room to play hotwheels, display his trophies and bobble heads and a big kid vibe.

A few befores:

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Built in shelves, blue and red bedding, blue gingham curtains, and a blue rug. The rug ended up finding a new home in Sam’s room. We loved his classic cream enameled bed!

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Jack just got a new dark dresser (LOVE!) so it was in the plans to stay. Those built in shelves were in another corner of his room too. He obviously used them but they could use some updating, right?

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Jack’s closet needed a little love too and we wanted him to be able to store some of his sports gear in there so Susie did some rearranging. And what’s that… more built ins? It was going to be hard parting with all of this storage space but we had another solution in mind.

We planned Jack’s room to be neutral, soft gray with a slight sports infusion. No baseballs painted on the wall or anything. We wanted him to be able to change it to something else if he decided he was more into legos or planes or something else in the coming years.

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We painted the walls a soft gray. Then we hung Jack’s water skiing plaques and got hooks for all of those metals! Jack also got the same Closetmaid Cubical storage unit as Sam. We turned it vertically so that it fit against the small wall (on the end of his closet) that faced the door when you first walk in. Red and tan fabric bins tied in his love for the Reds and stayed away from being “in your face theme.

 

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This picture is before the final curtain was hung and bed wasn’t pristinely made yet… excuse our mess. We turned his bed to the opposite corner it has been in and I think it gives a more spacious feel when you walk in. We swapped out the striped rug for another beige one that Jack’s sister had in her room. His bedding is gray and white stripes reminiscent of a pinstriped baseball uniform from Ikea. We also found great under the bed storage bins for all of Jack’s Hotwheels race tracks.

 

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For the curtains and square accent pillow I used red fabric paint to stamp the “baseball stitch” pattern. Tutorial to follow.

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We hung a 6ft Ikea LACK shelf above his dresser to display Jacks’ bobble heads, autographed balls and trophies. He also has a toy chest and some of his larger toys along the wall. In case you are trying to navigate where this is… this is the wall that his bed used to be against. Susie is obviously excited about that shelf… it was her first go at hanging them with me. I had hung a few in my kitchen and I’m decently confident in my drilling abilities. I think Susie found her love for power tools in this project. She willingly posed for this shot and I told her it would be on here.

 

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Pretty sweet sports display shelf! And later Jack can use it for nearly any thing else. I anchored it with 8 screws and anchors (#4 drywall ones I believe). The shelf itself only comes with the wall bracket and you need to buy your own screws based on where you are hanging it. I used the #4 drywall screws at the recommendation of my friends at Home Depot. I also found a stud for 2 of the screws to anchor into (highly recommended).

I heard that Jack LOVES his room and he keeps it organized and clean. Mom Heather is happy as well.

Projects Elsewhere Part One: Sam

Projects at my own house have fizzled a bit. I’ve painted every room and most everything is up to date and more than livable. Only a few things are left in our master bedroom (always last, right?). Perfect timing for a few projects to pop up elsewhere.

As in, other people’s homes. I was asked by my sister Susie to help her organize and decorate three children’s bedrooms for a friend. Admittedly, I was a little intimidated about being creative in someone else’s space but I agreed to meet with my sister and Heather. Heather is a busy mom of three who just wanted a little order to her kids’ rooms and a little cohesive decor to make them feel like they each had their own space. She told me how much she loved everything she saw on Pinterest but that she had no idea how to bring that into her own home. Not too much to ask, right? I walked through the rooms with Heather and we talked about each child, their needs for the space, what she did and didn’t like about each room and so on. Heather told us that she wanted to see more of the wood floors that she loves so much and that she liked themes if they were subtle and easy to transition away from in the future. She was gracious enough to even let me photograph each room and post about the projects. Here is a series of “before” shots with a little explanation about Heather’s needs, her kids’ wants and our ideas.

Organizing is Susie’s area of expertise. She was going to do a great deal of the clean out and organizing for each room. My plan was to give each room identity with new paint, some storage furniture and curtains. So Heather and the family headed out on a week long vacation and Susie and I got to work. We did the bulk of three rooms in that week. First we prepped all of the rooms for paint, then we removed every set of built-in formica shelves from each room… they numbered into the twenties so that took us an entire evening. Before leaving we patched all the walls and sanded them down. The next few days Susie and I met at the house each evening after work. I painted like crazy, she used the master bedroom to organize each kid’s things and helped prep each room for the next phase of paint by helping me move furniture, patching/sanding and wiping down baseboards. Then I slept like a rock and returned each day to work my arse off.

First up: Sam- Preschooler who loves, cars, trucks, pirates and books. He has plenty of toys that reflect this. Some of them needed homes, lots of them already had homes. He also is in the age group of kids who are in the toddler bed but will soon need a big kid bed. His decor would need to reflect his love of these things but be flexible enough to transition into a bigger kid room down the road. Themed but not too theme-y.

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His room had built in shelves. They were once a thoughtful addition by the previous owner of the home but they had seen better days. Heather didn’t like their look and felt that her kids didn’t use the storage space to the fullest potential. Susie and I agreed that their position limited the furniture layout options for the room as well. Sam also had this charming solid wood dresser. It would most definitely be staying in the room.

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Sam’s room still mostly looked like a nursery. He had painted safari animal decals on the walls and a changing table still lingered in the room. He was using it for storage but it wasn’t doing much more than keeping things off the floor.

20130810-132451.jpgSam’s closet was organized, Heather had just cleaned it out and added the drawers so the floor space could serve more purpose. Not pictured: Sam’s red velour curtain on a flimsy brass rod that Heather admits has been there since they moved in 9 years ago.

I envisioned a boy room with a soft blue on the top half of the wall and brown on the bottom. Easy color scheme to grow into but it would also lend itself nicely to a pirate themed room. I also threw in a thick cream colored stripe in the middle. I hoped the stripe and soft color scheme could help his room feel a little taller. Here is what Sam saw when he returned from vacation.

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We decided to recycle Jack’s striped rug into Sam’s room to play up the super soft blue painted on the top half of the wall. We grabbed a blue crib sheet, treasure map pillow and black drawer pulls at Ikea.

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We also bought Closetmaid cubby organizers with tan and brown canvas baskets at Target for Sam’s toys. He already had that awesome pirate ship.

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Susie convinced me that black curtains were exactly what this pirate themed room needed. A bold choice but I love the effect it gives. We hung the curtain rod just a few inches from the ceiling and about 6 inches from the outside edge of the window frame. It gives the window more room to give light and makes things feel a little more spacious. This is especially helpful since we chose such dark curtains. Rod, finials and curtains are all from Ikea.

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Sam had a few large toys like dump trucks and a toy barn that sat on the floor before. Susie I have no problem using floor space to store toys but we knew we could give the big guys a better place to belong. This is the closest we could find to a treasure chest. Also from Ikea, this fabric container is soft sided (no boo-boos!) corralled everything out of sight but into one place that Sam can easily access. We will be making a return visit to Sam’s room to hang a little art and a display shelf.

————–UPDATE————-

We added an Ikea LACK shelf to Sam’s room as planned.

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Put a Ring on it

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Hubby and I are revamping our master bedroom slowly but surely, and of course on a budget. I was scrambling for inexpensive and easy ways to update things we already had for the room. We have bedding we can live with (for now), and I will be repainting nightstands and the dresser but I need accent pillows. In all my rooting through Target sales, Home Goods, and such I was frustrated. I already owned tons of throw pillows. Why do I have to buy more? Then I reminded myself of a couple of pillows I made for my sisters recently. Duh, I will MAKE new covers for the throw pillows!

Here’s the catch- I don’t sew. Not like that at least. When I made the pillows for my sisters I didn’t sew. I bought plain white pillow covers at IKEA and used fabric paint! I think I payed $3 ish for each cover and the paint was existing (but cheap if you had to buy it).

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Quick Tutorial:

1- Line the inside of the pillow case so paint doesn’t bleed through to the opposite side. I used foil, but wax paper or cardboard or something would work too.

2- Decide on a design. I highly recommend simple. The texture of the fabric makes detailed work hard. Consider a stencil, stamp or even tape off a border.

3- Paint away! I used a mason jar ring to stamp interlocking circles on this one. On the other side I printed her monogram but I can’t find a picture. On another pillow I taped off varying widths of stripes and painted a couple of coordinating colors. The possibilities are endless! I smudged occasionally but with a busy pattern nobody can tell and it adds to the handmade vibe. Even if you don’t have a steady hand or aren’t artistic, you could do this.

4- Dry WELL. I used a hair dryer to help it along.

5- Wash according to directions. The paint smell is strong and you will want to “set” your design” by washing it.

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Then fill the pillow cover with either an existing pillow, a filler from IKEA or batting. They zip closed so nothing is super permanent. Ta-da! new life to an old pillow or a new pillow all together! You could make a handful of these for the price of one already made pillow!

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Road to a Functional Kitchen

It’s no secret that or kitchen lacks storage space. I’m constantly stashing things in new places and trying to find homes for cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and so on. For months I’ve daydreamed about adding shelving to an otherwise naked wall in our kitchen. There is a small peninsula that serves as a breakfast bar and divider into our eating area attached to the wall. Unfortunately this seems to be where everything piles up: keys, mail, tissue boxes, note pads, my purse, etc. We never use it as a breakfast bar and it rarely cleared completely off. I desperately need this space to become functional. Here are a few embarrassing shots:

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This is a view of the wall head on. Lame.

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This is a view from the kitchen.

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And here is a view from the dining area.

Its obviously a collect all and that wall is a wasted opportunity for SOMETHING. Anything really. But we need storage and so I have envisioned shelves here for months. I literally mention it a few times a week and hubby nods in agreement. Of course, this gave me an excuse to visit heaven on earth IKEA. I knew I’d prefer floating shelves since they would fit best with the open floor plan vibe we have going. White was also a must. Black would show any dust, birch would clash with our dark floors and white would match the cabinets (that one day will also be replaced by IKEA products). This is what I had envisioned.

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Originally I thought two long shelves was the way to go. But upon seeing them in the showroom I knew it would be too much. Three shelves centered over the peninsula (which is not centered on the wall) would be a lot more visually pleasing and probably more functional. I bought the medium length shelves … along with a few impulse purchases, but that is a whole different post. They are the LACK wall shelf : 43.25 inches long and $14.99 each. I was excited and wanted to get straight to work but I didn’t have time to start hanging until the next day. After all, I do most everything during O’s naps and rare time to myself. It had to wait.

In the mean time I you tubed a few helpful videos (this one was most useful).

The next day I didn’t get started until about 2pm. Measuring and centering the places I wanted each shelf and quadruple checking measurements took the most time. I played with how close to the ceiling and the counter I could spread them out. With 5 feet to work with, it was not hard to make it work. Then I doubled checked everything. Again. But that’s just me… I HAD to be sure. Then I found wall studs and made sure to mark each one. Ikea recommended that the shelf be mounted into at least one stud. I don’t think I drilled my first hole until 4pm. I used 2 studs and then marked 5 non-stud spots. I drilled pilot holes with a 1/4″ bit and sank an anchor into each hole. Then I had a friend hold up the hardware while I put in the screws (#8 heavy duty drywall screw/anchor sets… they do not come with the shelves so I grabbed some at Home Depot).

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Oh, and I made it a little glamourous too. Champagne with a splash of cranberry juice. Try it, yummy!

*Disclaimer: consuming alcohol while using power tools may be unsafe and is not recommended by Hilda*

Random word to the wise: when working on a wall, be sure to remove art and frames from the opposite side of the wall. My pixel painting had a little tumble while I was mounting these.

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I put up each of the braces according to those oh-so-helpful IKEA directions. Then I slid the shelving on to the brace and screwed them into place with the handy allen key provided.

It should be noted that I often have the vision and rarely have the know-how. I usually borrow my friend Greta’s husband to hang even curtain rods. I got a little brave and it ended up that these were fairly easy to put up. As long as you have the right tools and supplies you can do this. I promise it wasn’t complicated. I did have trouble with the middle shelf feeling a little loose. Turns out a couple of my anchors weren’t totally flush with the wall and I had to redo them. A little extra time and elbow grease but well worth it.

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Next came styling the shelves. I laid out all of the things that I felt could have a good home there (while freeing up other counter and cabinet space) out on my table. The large wooden salad bowl set is too deep for most of my cabinets and has lived on the top of the fridge for too long. Plus, they are pretty. My flour, sugar, baking soda and jelly bean containers clutter my counter space. My vase collection is scattered around the kitchen depending on their size and where I have room for them. Other items: fruit, mason jars, cookbooks and recipe box, mugs, sifter, grater, antique door knobs and napkin rings.

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I played for a while and finally settled on this arrangement. Of course nothing is permanent so a rearrange can happen as needed. I tried to evenly distribute visual weight with the salad bowl, books, and canisters. I also considered how often I use things to decide which shelf height they really belong on. I use coffee, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and fruit almost daily so they live on the bottom with pen and paper. Mugs, jars, recipes and cookbooks are used semi-regulalry so they are middle shelfers. Vases, napkin rings, and salad bowl go on top for infrequent use.

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It was completely unplanned that my Kitchen Aid fits under the bottom shelf but I think its a happy accident 🙂 Hubby is pushing to switch it out for the iHome but I’m not so sure.

UPDATE—-

I forgot this adorable pic of what O was doing while the shelves were in progress. I guess our play room needs a few of these for climbing… she kept going over and over and then she would sit on them and giggle and start again.

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What space could use more function in your home? What are you organizing these days?