Things I’m Loving

It has been a while since I posted about things I’m loving. In an effort to take a break from the holiday hustle, I’ve rounded up some small but mighty moments and things I’m just loving.

First of allthis hilarious collection of gifts might almost completely reflect my choice of language. I’m basically Sharon Osborne’s long lost daughter.

Copper. Have you heard? Apparently its the next big home decor trend. And I don’t hate it. Give me copper! Here is a peek at Crate & Barrel’s metal trend inspirations.

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Paying it forward. The other day I went to the coffee shop for a coffee. Totally normal, right? But then when the cashier ran my card it didn’t work. She apologized and ran it again. And again. No dice. Mortifying… I promise I had enough money for a latte (which my now had already been made and was sitting just beside her). She explained that their credit card system had been wonky lately and asked if I had cash or another card. My only other card in my coat was for work and I had zero cash. By now I’m so embarrassed. Then she shrugs it off and tells me she has a Pay-It-Forward for a latte already. You guys, people prepay for coffee, muffins and sandwiches for others and the store tracks them on the cardboard sleeves. When you need one, you just grab the appropriate sleeve and hand it to the cashier. I accepted and promised to pay it forward. The next day I returned (while an IT guy was there setting up a new card reader by the way) and bought 10 coffees and got to write on the sleeves. Above is my handiwork.

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O’s artwork. O loves anything crafty. She’s been all about watercolors lately. She painted this the other day.. Of course I tell her it looks fantastic and that I can tell she worked very hard on it. She tells me “Its Blueberry (our Beta fish)!” Can you see it?

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Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday ShowCincinnati people: you don’t want to miss this! Not only is the botanical exhibit incredible, the gift shop irresistible and the trains impressive… they have the most insanely beautiful replicas of Cincinnati landmarks made out of bark, acorns, pine cones and branches. I found a replica of my childhood home, a painted lady Victorian of Tusculum (above).

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Coozies. In my former life coozies were strictly for adult beverages. But O found this at Walgreens right before Halloween and has been using it for her Almond milk. Just slide your hand in and it makes you look like you have a monster hand. Never gets old. Its almost Christmas and this bad boy is in the daily rotation.

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Balsamic anything.  I brunched with a dear friend the other day at Taste of Belgium. You all KNOW how much I love that place. This time I paired my Mimosa (below) with a spinach, red pepper, goat cheese crepe topped with balsamic reduction (above). I need another trip to ToB already!

And as if you need more reasons to drink Champagne- I’ve heard it may prevent Dementia and Alzheimers. Article here.

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This killer wall stencil. My cousin Megan just did this stencil on one wall in her dining room. I believe the wall is one color and the stencil is done in the next lightest color on the swatch and in the next highest sheen.

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I died when I saw it. I must find a place for this technique! Also, Megan chalk painted and gel stained the table and chairs herself! Go girl! Looks sharp!Can a wall be sexy? Because this one just might be. 

Union Terminal. Another Cincinnati treasure and architectural dream.
IMG_8358The dome shaped ceiling screams art deco and has some amazing acoustics.

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I actually took these in selfie mode on my iphone. Not bad, eh?IMG_8372

Redeeming myself. Yup, totally loving that. I once really over baked some brownies for my boss’s dinner party. Like, so bad. That night she sent me a video of everyone trying to cut the brownies and soaking them with ice cream to attempt to soften them. All in good fun and we’ve been laughing about it for a year. The other day they asked if I would want to bake for a dinner party again. We joked about not making brownies and that hopefully nobody would choke or anything. I told them I had a family recipe for a carrot cake that promised to impress. It took me about 3 hours to make and it was perfect. Isn’t she purdy?

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That night I received videos of guests eating the cake and raving about it’s decadence. Totally made up for the brownie incident of 2014.

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Oreo truffles. Three ingredients, 20 minutes of your time and people think you’ve saved the world. Recipe here.

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O’s selfies. She’s been filling my phone with photos and videos of herself, sometimes the dog and even myself. She’s snapped a few great ones and I’m obsessed wit h this one. She can fill my phone with her precious face absolutely any day.

Stitch Fix! I tried Stitch Fix over the summer and I’m hooked. I have posted some of my scores on Instagram. If you want to try it out be sure to use my referral link (this is not an affiliate link but I would get a credit via Stitch Fix for sending you).

 

So what are you loving lately? A song? Your new haircut? The weather? Spill it… I wanna know.

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Salt Dough Ornaments 2.0

A couple of years ago I posted about making last minute Santa hand print salt dough ornaments (pictured below). We had so much success that we wanted to use the recipe again to make ornaments again this year. It doesn’t hurt that its super affordable, I already had everything to make these in my house and it’s a total breeze. I promise this is one Pinterest project that you can’t mess up! O is older so I opted to let her help with everything.


The recipe:

1 cup salt

2 cups flour

1 cup warm water

As mentioned in the previous salt dough post, I discovered using my stand mixer and dough hook were most effective. This worked well because I literally just let O dump the ingredients together and I flipped on the mixer. Once mixed well I kneaded it a bit more by hand… I’ve noticed a little body heat and elbow grease make the dough smoother. Then I helped O roll it out in 3 batched on parchment paper (wax paper would work too) and let her do her magic with a handful of holiday cookie cutters. I used a straw to make holes so that I could hang them by twine later.

I baked as many as I could fit on a cookie sheet at a time at 200F for about 45 minutes and flipped them over for another half hour on the back side. I just kept watching and peeking in on them.

The next day we were ready to paint! I used an egg carton to hold small amounts of acrylic craft paint that she chose to decorate her ornaments.

She had a field day and painted most of them in one sitting!

The paint dries fairly quickly so I followed up behind her writing her name and the year on the back of each ornament and then tying a string through the hole I’d made earlier.

Ta-da! These are gifts for family members, special friends and neighbors. So if you’re reading this and later receive one as a gift just act surprised (wink wink).

Navy Chic

I wanted to share a few pics from a project I did with my friend in her new house. Erika’s family room has a wall that was built out to cover an old fireplace (by the previous owner). At first she talked about putting built ins on either side, but later she came to me with an even better and more affordable idea: paint stripes on the protruding wall. Whoa. Why hadn’t I thought of that!?! I freaking love stripes!

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So we got to it one evening after work with a level, Frog Tape, and a great paint color. She chose Behr Vintage Velvet. It has a rich navy vibe with a hint of indigo. When we put the first coat on it was quite purple looking. Admittedly, I got nervous but the second coat had me sold. Between coats Erika painted her sofa table (serving as TV stand for now) navy to blend in a bit more. Above: Erika putting the room back together. But you can see all the elements of the room. I really thing the navy pulls it all together.

Below: A panorama of the room. On the far left you can see that she decided to paint the inside of the door with the same Vintage Velvet. I’m a huge fan of bringing the front door color to the inside of the house… as I’ve done it with mine a few times.

Below: You can see that the striped wall stands out and created a dark pace in the back corner of the room. On a whim we opted to try a full length closet mirror that she had upstairs to reflect lamp light and give the corner something it was missing. The mirror serves purpose as a light source but doesn’t take away from the room or create a busy corner. We’ve all hung wall art where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes less really is more.

  Below: The opposite corner of the room has more natural light with the window and Erika added a cool open shelf to match her coffee table (IKEA VITTSJO). When we were all finished with paint we took a few minutes to grid out a cluster of some small square mirrors (IKEA MALMA) over the couch. 

That wall of mirrors costs less than $25 but makes a great impact. 

In the end Erika made a bold choice by making an awkward wall into the statement piece of the room. Now it feels like a key architectural element and really brings the whole room together. I’m so in love with he ruse of mirrors that I got some for my own house!

Second Chance: Dumpster Vanity to Glam Masterpiece with DIY Chalk Paint

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This might be my favorite project to date. I found this vanity out on the curb on trash night in my own neighborhood. I really have no shame.

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As you can see, it was too cool to pass up: unique shape, abundant and tasteful details, spindled legs, and I had been searching for a new desk (ours is a Target POS). The person throwing it out helped me load it into my car… the entire time they made sure I knew all of it’s flaws: broken and missing veneer, one wheel didn’t roll, “musky” smell and so on. I saw these things too. But I also saw potential. I saw solid wood construction, drawers with dovetail joints, insane detail and lots of function. And for $0 I really had nothing to lose. If I redid this and it was a bust then I would be out a few bucks for hardware or something. But then it sat in my garage for a while because other projects took priority and I still had to convince Hubby of the potential this piece had in our home. His rule is that something (furniture or really anything I collect) has to leave before anything new can come in. And he doesn’t hate the junky desk we have as much as I do. Or maybe he hated the dumpster dive vanity more than the junky desk?

I don’t blame him… the before photos are a little scary.

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As you can see, the drawers were in particularly rough shape. After I removed all of the hardware and wiped the entire vanity down with my homemade all purpose cleaner. Twice. Trust me, it was needed. Then I took the broken or cracked veneer off of the drawer fronts. Only 2 of the drawers needed the veneer removed. The other drawers had what I call “stable” pieces of veneer… meaning they weren’t damaged beyond repair and didn’t even begin to peel up when I tugged on them. I removed the veneer by prying a little with a screw driver and a spatula. Everything pretty much popped right off. Wear eye protection when doing this… lots of dust but also the possibilities of small chips of veneer flying into your face. I speak from experience.

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I really didn’t have a plan for this desk besides painting it an off-white or soft gray color. I had been itching to try to make my own chalk paint and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Like I said, I had nothing to lose. From everything I read, chalk paint is easy to work with, requires little to no prep work and easily lends itself to distressing. I found quite a few different variations of the chalk paint “recipes” online. But they all included the same ingredients at varying ratios. I chose the middle-of-the-road recipe.

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Simple Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe: 

Mix 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris with 1/3 cup cool water. Add 1 cup of any interior or exterior paint. Blend until smooth.

I used the remainder of a Sherwin Williams sample mixed with a splash of white trim paint until I had my desired creamy sort of color. Yay for custom paint mixing! At first it doesn’t look like enough paint, but I promise it covers well. I did 2 coats with this batch and still had paint leftover.

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I feel like after a couple coats of paint this looks like a way more expensive, classy piece of furniture. I think it even stood a little taller. But I wasn’t finished. Now began the labor intensive aging and distressing stage. First I “glazed” the carved details, spindles and so on. I just brushed on a dark watered down paint mix and wiped it off until I achieved the look I was going for. Then I was left with the picture below.

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I headed to Home Depot to see what to do for new hardware. Originally I envisioned glass knobs and nickel handles. But Hubby convinced me to keep the existing hardware and spray paint it with “Oil Rubbed Bronze”. He rarely has an opinion on my projects. Well, unless he disapproves. And then he’s very vocal about it. But I went with the ORB spray paint instead of new hardware and Hubby has earned major points for his taste!

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I still wanted to distress it. The piece looked old but not used-for-generations old. I used a sanding block to distress some corners and edges. I used a sanding block to distress some corners and edges. I went over existing imperfections with the sanding block as well. This brought out some of those chips and scratches and really began to add character. And I was falling in love.

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Once I was happy with the distressing and overall look, I put 2 coats of semigloss poly-crylic seal on it to protect it and give it a little shine.

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I had been so excited about this project and posted on Hilda’s Facebook about the process of fixing up this vanity. The pictures were popular and brought on many comments and even offers to buy it! I was surprised, since I had pulled it from the trash that suddenly it was a hit item. I was devastated when I placed our computer on it only to discover that it didn’t fit. And the scale of the vanity/desk was way off in our already snug family room. SADNESS!!!! I racked my brain with other uses but I truly have no other practical use for it. After some thought, I decided selling it was the best option. I had at least 12 hours into this project and a lot of love. I had only purchased the Plaster of Paris, ORB spray paint and poly-crylic ($30 tops).

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I mean, she’s just gorgeous. Like a furniture version of Pretty Woman. Or Cinderella. Luckily, the buyer is a friend of a friend and I know she will love and care for this vanity just as I would. I even painted the sides of the drawers in a soft pink for her which was a fun little touch.

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Preschool Valentines

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O doesn’t have a class full of kids to give valentines to yet but I knew she’d get a kick out of making some. I employed good old Pinterest for inspiration and put my own little twist on a common Pinterest Valentine craft.

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I asked Hubby to grab a pack of blank (unlined) 4″x 6″ index cards at the grocery store for less than a dollar. I already had red and white craft paint and was recycling toilet paper roll so the grad total for this craft is just a buck!

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I folded the toilet paper roll into a heart and swirled some red and white paint onto a recycled lid. The rest was up to O. And she went to town!

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She stamped her little heart out (har har) and made nearly 30 valentines! The twist that I threw in was to make them into postcards to mail to our friends. I just drew a line down the center, wrote notes on the left and addresses on the right and then used postcard stamps that I had left over from our Christmas postcards. I’m pretty sure our friends and family loved receiving these. Who doesn’t like to get mail!?

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xo

 

Seeing Spots

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The weather has been fantastic this summer and we’ve been really enjoying our outdoor space around here including our giant deck. Considering our yard is mostly a dramatic slope, our deck space is our primary entertainment and chill out space so it gets plenty of use. Every year I make a new rug for our deck (for more ideas you can read about our previous striped rug and honeycomb rugs). The deck needs some work (more on that soon) but the rug helps jazz it up, divide up some of the space and of course, cover up some of the yucky red stain.

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Above is the depressing “before image”… while repairing, scrubbing and re-staining are on our list of things to do, a rug was priority because we were having a surprise party in a few days. I approached this rug just like the rugs I’ve made in the past. I bought a canvas drop cloth from the hardware store. They come in a variety of sizes so there are endless possibilities! I chose a 9’x6′ drop cloth for my space and spent a whopping $13. Most of them come with the edges folded over and roughly hemmed which makes it feel a little more finished. If you wanted a square shape or custom size this would be easy to cut and fold/iron or sew a hem around the edge. After removing the canvas from the package, I roughly ironed out all of the fold marks and wrinkles so I would have a flat work space. I laid it out in my super fancy studio space: the dining room table.

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Ironing took about a half hour and I spent that time brainstorming design ideas for the rug. The striped rug was easy because it was just tape and a quick paint job. Last year’s honeycomb rug was more labor intensice with the template tracing and more precise painting. I wanted this rug to be somewhere in between: a graphic print look with less elbow grease. I ended up with the idea to “stamp” circles on it. I was actually inspired by the pillow I had made using the mason jar lid to create a ring pattern print.

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Using the left over paint from the last front door project was a convenient way to save money. The color matched and I was pretty sure that outdoor paint would last for the year. In my previous rug projects I had used acrylic and fabric paints and had sometimes even watered them down for a washed look. All lasted for the year… and that is all we expect since these rugs are basically disposable to us. I poured paint onto a shallow plastic tray and found a plastic popcorn bucket in the desired circle size. I also made sure to have some cardboard to “blot” the bucket on after dipping.

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Using the bucket as my stamp, I dipped, blotted and stamped away. I began away from the edge so that my pattern wasn’t depending on the edge of the canvas. I knew it wasn’t perfectly square and I liked the idea of the pattern sort of running of the rug with partial circles. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

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I often could get 2 or 3 stamps from the bucket before having to dip it again. I thought it created a nice look and had a little bit of an ombre feel. I stamped the circles in a staggered fashion, some very close to each other and others touching. I wasn’t precise or measured. They were’t perfect and some parts of the circles were heavier with paint or more faint. A brush was handy nearby if paint was so thick to dry in a decent time. Also, thick paint was more likely to crack or flake after being out in the elements.

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You can see above the “run off the page” look I was going for. I did phases of stamping in sections as large as my table allowed. I’d stamp out a bunch, let it dry for about 20 minutes, go change laundry or something and come back to do the next section. Although it wasn’t totally dry, I was able to drape sections over the chairs as I went so that semi-wet paint and fabric weren’t piling up on the floor.

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I posted this teaser photo on instagram. Some of you were close with the guesses: drapes, pillows and such. Nobody guessed rug!

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Here is the finished product! I like the color with the chairs! The deck needs more work, but it feels a little nicer just because of the rug.

 

PS- Our party was nice but it rained and we couldn’t hang out on the deck after all. Of course.

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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Dew It Right

I should start this post by reminding you that EVERYTHING was brown in this house. Flat paper bag brown. And it was everywhere. The only walls without that color had dramatic colors instead. A single wall in the family room was a deep burgundy. The guest room was Crayola blue (that took 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint and primer in one paint). And our bedroom and kitchen had been painted in a rich chocolate. These colors aren’t really that bad… but they weren’t our style and flat paint is not forgiving with kids.  Also, it was drab and depressing since the flat brown sucked a lot of the natural light. Any who, the kitchen is the only room I have left to paint in the whole house. The chocolate color was livable and I had yet to make a color choice or time to paint so it waited a while. I had Friday off as a pleasant little surprise (thanks, Boss!) so I hit up Home Depot and grabbed a gallon of the swatch I had taped to the wall months ago. I got “Dew” Behr Ultra paint and primer in one semi gloss. I guess “Dew” doesn’t give away much as to what color that might actually be… you’ll see it in a minute but first here are a few before shots of the kitchen.

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Painting a kitchen is a little more challenging than most rooms. The prep is grueling. First I wiped down all of the baseboards and chair rails with my vinegar/water cleaning solution. In some spots with dark scuffs or grime (Ew- I though my kitchen was pretty clean) I used the trusty Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Then I had to take everything off the walls, then take all of the items off the shelves and then take down the floating shelves that I feel like I just put up… which wasn’t hard but I forgot how much time it takes.  Next I moved the refrigerator away from the wall. Want to feel gross? Move your fridge.  A few dropped grocery lists, Christmas cards and crayons were caked in a decent layer of dust. Nothing a little Dyson friend of mine couldn’t fix. I also wiped down the walls behind the fridge because they had a thin layer of dust as well.

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Then I took down that funky valance above the french doors. It served no real purpose and was going to clash hardcore with my new soothing “Dew”. It will be on the curb on Thursday morning with all of our garbage and I will sleep better knowing it is not in my kitchen.

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After I removed all of the switch plates and discovered that these walls have been burgundy, bright blue, deep slate gray, navy and sky blue, I was finally able to paint the trim white. I have an arsenal of white trim paint in the garage so I grabbed a high gloss (easiest to clean) white that I thought might pair well with the semi gloss walls and white kitchen cabinets. Once the trim and door frames were finished it was finally time to DEW it. Har har.

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Within the first few strokes I’m pretty sure the neighbors could hear me squealing with delight. I love this color. Like dew is cake and I’m a fat kid. I love it. MMMMmmmm. I don’t know what kind of justice your screen gives this color. Its a soft green with traces of blue… I think it might be a lighter cousin of Tiffany blue but sort of seaglass green in it’s own right. I did two coats to ensure a solid look and even coverage. And boy, oh boy am I happy with the way it turned out.

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At different times of day it has looked like a really light blue like our bedroom and even has had a little more grey to it sometimes. Its fun to look from the kitchen into the family room at the grey and cream striped wall because the colors are all just the right symphony of tones. I also love the how it picks up the greens and blues in our slate backsplash.

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So now I’m left with the funky faux marble torn wallpaper. No really, its a million pieces of torn faux marble wall paper. The options are to remove it piece by piece. OR Do another tissue paper faux wall treatment on top of it. OR Try a venetian plaster treatment. OR To put up wainscoting/beadboard over it. I think beadboard will look freshest and cleanest with the walls and will probably hold up best in a kitchen. Now I just need to get hubby on board.

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I’m still in awe at how much some paint and a little elbow grease can change a room. Our kitchen is now brighter, feels bigger, looks cleaner and fresher.

Experiment in Deglossing: Sofa Table

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In the fall I found this sofa table in a good old fashioned curbside rescue. I had been driving around to keep O cool and happy during a long, hot soccer tournament. She eventually fell asleep. Of course that’s right when I discovered the sofa table waiting for me on the curb. Picture me trying to smuggle the table into my car without waking her. I moved two car seats and had to fold down one and a half rows in the Pilot all without waking O. Now picture me hoisting this beast into the back of the car all by my lonesome… Again, without waking the baby. The funny part is that I went through all this with absolutely no idea where I was going to use the table. In general the style is a little too formal and traditional to mesh with most of our decor. And the dark finish had seen better days and the rolling feet and bowed legs were less than modern. But there was something about it… Perhaps the fact that it had no price tag? I had to have it.

It sat in the garage for months (obviously- it’s July). I don’t think I ever got a decent before picture until I started sanding it. I often walked by it thinking about the possibilities, or lack of, that it had in our home. A couple of times I even considered curbing it myself. Hubby liked that idea best of course. But recently I have been trying to bring more order to the guest room (more on that later), so I suddenly imagined it serving as a desk/vanity/tv stand. Does that even make sense? Maybe not just yet but hang with me. The room is snug… And that is a generous description. I’d guesstimate it to be 8’x10′. So every single piece in there needs to serve a good purpose, hopefully multiple purposes. Without a full plan I decided to start painting the sofa table because it would need some love no matter where it was going to end up. And I just had to get it out of the garage.

First I sanded like crazy because there was a ton of sheen to break down on this thing. Then I whipped out a recent impulse purchase: liquid deglosser. I had heard great things and given the hard to sand rounded edges I had to deal with I figured it was worth a try, especially at $7 a bottle.  A $7 mistake is okay with me.  And if it was a bust I had only tried it on a free table with no real hope to begin with.

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After all that sanding and deglossing I still had to deal with a laminate top. Why !?!? I had hoped the sanding and deglossing would do the trick but I wasn’t so lucky. Enter: my trusty friend Kilz primer. Primer was already necessary since it was going from dark wood (now sanded) to a light painted finish so I gave it a go on the laminate top as well. Result? Win. I highly recommend a coat or two of Kilz primer on anything laminate or “unpaintable”. Worked like a charm for me. I used two coats to be safe. Then I grabbed a cream color of the Sherwin Williams sample quarts I had from my friend B (it’s an exterior paint that she had used to sample her wood shingle sided house before deciding on a delicious gray color. I kindly saved her from having to kitty litter and toss a half dozen sample quarts and she unknowing funded my freebie crafting obsession.)

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Sand, degloss, two coats primer, two coats of paint. In the end I was left with a more “yard sale chic” version of the starting point. I painted the hardware to the faux drawer (easier than flawlessly filling the holes) with bronze spray paint. The end result was a pleasant surprise.

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Here it is as the desk/tv stand/vanity in the guest room.  See what I mean when I say the guest room is snug? I plan on wrangling the cable/internet wires, finding a stool or ottoman to tuck underneath. Lookout for an actual post on the guest room. It really deserves it.