Wednesday, March 21, 2012

up, up, and away

If I ever need a smile, I look at these pictures I took a few months ago, and I can't help but grin.

Hope you find something that lifts you up today. If all else is failing you, may I recommend a ginormous red balloon?

Monday, March 19, 2012

the most difficult room in my house

I'm thinking everyone has one--a room that drives them crazy. I love my family room--it's the room we use the most, but it is hard for me to get looking just right.

For the past few months, my couches have been getting much loved. I've known for a while that I needed to get some slipcovers to help the couches last a big longer. I looked everywhere and considered every option. Finally I had decided to try the Pottery Barn slipcovers and buy them on ebay for a bit cheaper than the real site. Just before I did that, I somehow ran across another blog that talked about They had bought a Pottery Barn slipcover from them for WAY cheaper than even ebay. I decided to give them a try and it worked out great. The site isn't allowed to say that they are pottery barn, but they are indeed. For my large sofa I paid only 50 dollars. These things are close to $200 straight from pottery barn. The smaller sofa slipcover was around $30 I think. They also combined my shipping for me. So anyway, I know I sound like a commercial, but I looked for a looong time to find a decent slipcover and this was the best deal I found. Just thought I might save someone some trouble down the road. :)
 So here are some before pictures of what my sofas looked like. They are gorgeous sofas, but like I said, they take a beating with little kids around.

 And here it is with the slipcover. Now the thing you have to be okay with is that slipcovers always look a little "mussy." Notice I didn't say messy--I think they just look kinda loose and cottagey and sort of welcoming in their imperfection. These slipcovers are made with really soft and high quality fabric, and I really really like them.
 I know the wrinkles bug some people, but not me.

 and yeah, I switched up my mantel again. But I think this is going to stay for a long while. I really like it. Simple and can go with any season.

My favorite find was this riding helmet. I found it at goodwill of all places and had to pick it up. I didn't know what I was going to do with it...for a while it hung in my daughter's room. But now it's up here and I like it.

and we got rid of our old low down black console (it was short with sharp corners--and as we know Grant is a magnet for stuff like that) so we sold it on craigslist and moved this out from our closet. Now all of the toys can be stored in the drawers. Added bonus!

So this is how the most difficult room in my house is looking these days, and I have to say that although there are some things that still kinda bug me, overall, I am really liking it these days. It feels serene and comfy and casual all at the same time.

p.s. what's your trickiest room? I think it would be fun to help someone come up with ideas for their tricky room, so if you feel so inclined let me know. That's the sort of thing that I think is fun. It's a sickness really. ha!

Friday, March 16, 2012

We had a visitation

I should mention that hanging the spoons as a sneaky leprechaun trick did not yield the intended effect. Instead of making Maddy giggle at that silly leprechaun, she was incensed that he would dare hang up our spoons. ha

She later thought it was funny when we explained the spoon thing to her, and she decided to draw a picture of Lucky the Leprechaun. I don't know about you, but that looks like a four year old attempt at a Wanted poster if I've ever seen one. Watch your back Lucky, she's got your number.

p.s. we know it's not technically st. patrick's day today, but since it was celebrated at school we moved it up a day too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm a junk junky

 Entering from stage left, two abandoned bookshelves. They were ruthlessly left to brave the elements on the curb. Sure, they weren't real wood, and yeah, they were dated. But they were sturdy (and reeeaallly heavy). So heavy in fact that a good Samaritan guy stopped when he saw me trying to shove one into the back of my van all by myself. As we hefted the second one into place he looked at me incredulously and said, "How in the world did you get that one in by yourself?" I told him to never underestimate the adrenaline rush of a junk junky. I probably could have been like one of those people who lift cars off of people...but for furniture.
 I actually remembered to take before pictures. Granted they were with my cell phone, but it's all good. I was quite concerned about these doors and their funkalicious seventies vibe design. I thought they would look bad no matter what paint color I used, but then I remembered they were free and I hushed my mouth.
 I had been looking for a china cabinet to go in my front dining room. I felt like it would finish off the space a bit. China cabinets are expensive my friends. So I thought these were awesome. Since they were wood veneer, I decided to try chalk paint. Real chalk paint is quite expensive (around 45 dollars for a QUART people) so I decided to try a make-it-yourself recipe I found online. It worked fantastically well. I seriously think I am hooked. No priming, no sanding, no worries. I do think I would invest in a nicer wax next time. I just about waxed my poor fingertips off. I will also invest in a wax brush next time. But I would definitely DIY the paint. It was great. The recipe I used is here.  Also, for great info on waxing I would suggest both Miss Mustard Seed's video tutorial and Perfectly Imperfect's info on chalk paint.

I did a lot of reading up on chalk paint, can you tell? And no, it's not chalkboard paint. Despite the similarity in name, you can't write on chalk paint with chalk. It's just what this type of paint is called. (maybe because of the chalky consistency?)
Here's another bad cell phone, but here is what they looked like all painted. Now this is how they look in my house.

 No, your eyes do not deceive you, and no, the shelves did not multiply and replenish my dining room. I put the two shelves in by themselves and they still seemed too small for the room. I was bummed for a while and then realized Grant's bookshelf was about the same height. I traded out his bookcase for the bookcase that was previously in this room and voila, the trifecta of shelf awesomeness.
 Let's face facts, I'm not the best at putting pretty stuff on shelves. I just worked with what I had around the house. Most of the cute stuff I have for shelves were gifts. I realized this as I was putting things in place. My sister and Mom have good taste.

 I was lazy and didn't want to change out the hardware. I actually think that was a happy happenstance because I really like the painted over hardware.

 because every home needs a defunct rotary-esque phone on a pedestal
 I like that cute little table in the corner, but it seems kinda lonesome without anything on top of it. However, because the table is so low, anything placed thereon would become a baby toy. I have found very few baby toys that also work as home decor. This is a missed market for sure. I would love to find a squeaky toy that also happens to look like a vintage typewriter or whatnot.
So, I'm pretty pleased with my free shelves. Thank you to the person who's junk became my treasure. Too bad my fingers and hands are killing me from painting them (those shelves are TALL in case you can't tell by the pictures. They took a good long while, and many coats to cover). Good thing free is such a good motivator.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Once upon a time

 there was a girl who really wanted to get her daughter an art table. She looked high. She looked low. She finally gave in and bought a table on Amazon. It came and it was smashed on one side. And she just didn't quite love it anyway. While she was contemplating what to do with that table,  she decided to check craigslist one more time. When what to her wondering eyes should appear, but a Pottery Barn table and three little reindeer, I mean, chairs.
 So yes, this is my story. I know, I know, you're completely shocked I was talking about myself. Anyway, I decided to get the replacement piece to the table I ordered from Amazon and I'm going to sell it and I got this set for super duper duper cheap. I was so excited because I had been gazingly longingly at the sets online, but as we all know, Pottery Barn Kids stuff is very expensive. (and honestly, I think it is probably worth the price, these chairs are extremely sturdy and well-made). I just don't have that sort of money to invest in tiny people furniture.

Anyway, we have been thrilled with our lucky find, but one thing has been irking me.

Remember these chairs? Well they are not being used at the moment except as a computer chair. I really like these chairs, but you might notice that this color of red and very different than the little chairs' color of red. See exhibit B below.

So, I am trying to decide which, if any, of the chairs I should paint. The paint on the red chairs if fairly chipped (you can't tell in the photos, but in person it is obvious), but I love the deeper color.  I am thinking I will keep them as is for the moment and possibly replace my computer chair. The red chairs aren't the most comfortable for computing. We will have to see.

 Meanwhile, we just enjoy our table. This was my version of their fancy twirling art caddy. I mixed a few ideas I found online from other bloggers, but basically it is a lazy susan (bought at walmart), a cake pan (cheapest one, bought at walmart as well, only 98 cents!), and four pencil cups bought at the dollar store. I glued the cake pan on with some super glue and left the pencil cups loose so Maddy could take them out and put them closer to her coloring space. She loves it and so do I.

See, there are happy endings after all.

i love the cheesy jokes. heh :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

bookcase surgery

Aaaah! I bet that was your reaction when you opened up this page. ha! This was right after we moved, but I found it and thought, wow that will really make anything I've done to this room look fantastic. funny funny

So this was how it looked for a while. But it still bugged me. I hated the bottom portion. It looked, I stuffed a shelving unit into it. These built in shelves are such a great thing in theory, but they are so deep that they end up causing me headaches as to what to put on them without it looking weird. I tried everything in them. Finally I told John that I was going to do what I have wanted to do since we moved in--I was going to fashion false backs to make the shelf depth shallower.
So I used some beadboard we had and John helped me get it cut to the right specifications. And then I painted it with one of my sample pots of blue paint.
And I lined up a bunch of white dishes so they would pop against the blue.
And add a bit of country charm to my living room.
Did I ever show you this basket? I got it off craigslist for something like six dollars. It is HUGE and I love the lady who sold it to me. I don't know her, but I love her. This basket is amazing.
Most dishes found via thrift stores and a few from Target.
I decided that since I was going to keep the deep taupe on the wall that I still needed some blue. This was my answer to that.
We originally only did the top two shelves, but I finally convinced John that it looked weird without the bottom shelf done as well. Once it was up he agreed.
Lastly, a close up of one of the dishes I found a few days ago from goodwill. I love it. I just have no idea what it was used for? It doesn't have a spout so I don't think it's a gravy dish, and it's quite narrow and not as big as a bowl. Do you know what it is?? Whatever it is, it's pretty. And I love my new living room shelves.

Beadboard cures what ails you

I am sorry to tell you that I have no awesome before photos to illustrate how plain jane this wall was. I don't know when I will learn to take pictures of stuff when they are ugly before I do a project. I just get impatient. So...I count on your imagination to fill in the blanks here. In fact, your imagination might make this wall look way worse than it was and then you'll be really happy about the afters.

There used to be a basic towel bar. And no beadboard. And no fluffy duckling yellow towels. Just blue wall.

Then I found these hooks at Target and they came home with me. And I sewed some ribbon onto some towels so that they would stay hooked.
I love fluffy yellow towels. I also love fluffy white towels. Pretty much anything fluffy is okay in my book (including kittens...which we may or may not have adopted one tonight. The fluffiest squidgiest kitten ever!!!)

A close up so you can see that it is not real beadboard. It is in fact beadboard wallpaper. Beadboard wallpaper is about five gajillion times easier to install than real beadboard. still have to paint it. So...whatever.

This bathroom makes me happy now. As long as I ignore that sage green shower curtain rod. Well now I've gone and ruined it for everybody. I'll work on that next. :)