Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vintage Revivals

I went back and forth about what blog to share with you all first. My browser is full of bookmarks of various design and DIY blogs, isn't everyone's? No? Just me? Moving on.
After we moved in and did the initial painting, had car issues and therefore used up a chunk of our house budget on unexpected non-house projects, I was feeling kind of blue about the house. I did not have money to do the things I really wanted to do. I was definitely in a design funk. And then I stumbled on Vintage Revivals.
It was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back up and running; to remember that I didn't need big bucks to do big things. Mandi was also the first blogger I had ever emailed with a question. I didn't expect to get a response. She doesn't know me and has over a thousand followers (by the way, I could use some followers. Please? Okay, enough begging.), and I basically thought she'd just ignore me. But she didn't. She sent me a really nice response. 
I'm just smitten with lots of her projects. I was probably most inspired by her "Seizure Wall," and you have to just go read the whole story on that one, including how Mandi has since changed it. It wasn't so much that I liked that wall and wished to copy it, as it reminded me how much impact I could have with just a little bit. It also inspired me to add visual and real texture to my house. Which is part of what motivated me to discover my Sharpie Solution, and which has inspired my burlap project (still to come) on my own tv wall. 
So, if you are like me and you stumble around the internet looking for inspiration, Vintage Revivals has to be one of your stops. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quick note

Matt's hit a bit of a snafu with the art table. Cutting the slots that will hold the vertical dividers has become a bit of an issue because a guide is missing from his table saw. I guess that's what happens when your table saw travels all over the darn country too.

It's so close to being done though! So close. I'm itching to have it in place and settle in to some creating. :) 

Since my one project a month rule makes for few updates needed, and let's be honest, this project may make me happy, but it's not the single most exciting project to hear about; I've decided to add some posts about other bloggers out there that have given me some inspiration. The people I may or may not publicly follow, but that I check in on frequently because, even if our styles are different, they inspire me to be creative. They are not paying me or bribing me in any way (hmm, I wonder if that can arranged...just kidding!)and they don't know I'm planning to do this. Some may not even know I exist. But I think you should know they exist.
Stay tuned. Right now I have munchkins going bananas, so I've got my hands full. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Four to Fix and One I Like

Howdy! I thought I'd show you a few things that need some attention around here and one success. Good? Good.

First up, my crazy coat closet. There is virtually no point to having this closet. You can see in this picture that there is hardly any space between the front door and the closet. The closet is directly across from the front door in the picture.

Not much room to maneuver, but then, here's the real kicker, the door opens the wrong way! It opens into the flow of traffic so you can't get people in the door and hang up their coats. 

This leads to gathering guests' coats and tossing them in a bedroom, and, unfortunately, leads to a pile of coats on the floor in front of the closet when our family tries to all get in at once. Oh, who am I kidding. I throw my coat on the floor even if I'm the only one coming in.
It's not just a space issue on the outside; it's a space issue on the inside as well. Teeny tiny. Hanging space is okay, but because the ceiling to the downstairs steps is on the other side, it's shallow and there is only enough floor space for boots my size, not even my husband's size. 

(This is the best I can do on the pic without standing outside my front door, it's that tight of a space, and it's much too cold out right now.) 

I'm going to knock it out. I will turn the lower space into a bench, possibly with a lift up lid for storage and then add hooks. It won't help make the space any bigger, but it will look bigger and hooks are faster to use than hangers which should eliminate the whole pile of coats issue.

Here are my pillows. They are okay. 

I still like the colors, but these are just very tired (and don't look too closely, they're stained too). I've had them for about four years now. I have these beautiful orange curtains so I intend to keep the general color scheme, but I will be hitting up the fabric store soon to diy up some new cheery pillows. 

By the way, I love the bright days we are having, but the glare off the snow is making it difficult to give you guys decent pictures. Anyways, I'm keeping the orange and green and maybe tossing in some sky blue. I'll see what I find. I'm also planning to make them all different. They'll "go" together, but they won't match. Then I hopefully won't feel ocd about how the pillows need to be placed on the couch to "look right."

This wall has been in need of help since we moved in. 

I didn't have a piece of art big enough and so it remained bare. I also didn't want that movie stand there, but I had few options. After the built-ins are done downstairs, the movies will go away and the stand will be moved to the dining room and converted into a bar. Stay tuned for that.
I was happy to add color when we moved in, having lived with rental white for so long, but even after adding color, it still felt bare in here. I need texture! So, I'm not going to spill the whole story yet, but let's just say : burlap. I can't wait. 

Numero cuatro is the spice rack.

It has turned on me. It used to be tucked into a pantry and was so wonderful with it's deep shelves (it was really designed for a laundry room), but this tricky beast has been attacking me. Whilst picking up things from the floor I have concussed myself on this more than once and those wire shelves really dig in and keep the pain a-comin'! It has to go.
I want to punch into the wall and build shelves between the studs, then put a door on it. I can't really take any floor space in that area, so I think this is the best way to tuck all those spices away. Maybe some day I'll clean up all those coupons stuck to the side of the fridge too, but that may be dreaming too big. :)

So, that's a taste of some of the small-ish projects that I'm contemplating. One small project that I am in love with is this:
My chalkboard wall. I had this problem. I painted my living room this creamy yellow color and I loved it. It's bright and warm. I painted my kitchen a spring willowy green color. It's pale but not pastel and I'm in love with it too. (Did you know that the color you paint your kitchen will affect your appetite? Blue suppresses your appetite while warm colors enhance it. I pick green because green, in nature is pretty neutral.) The problem was when I looked at this short little wall where my green kitchen meets my yellow living room and groan! it looked like a gender neutral baby room. Blah!

I had to fix it. But I didn't want to give up either color. I decided the little wall had to be a different color so that the green and yellow weren't really next to each other. My mom was skeptical when I told her I was going to paint the wall black, floor to ceiling. But so far everyone likes it. It works perfectly to break things up. I hung a picture on that wall to break up the black, but it never really is just black anyway because the boys always have some drawings up there which is a happy thing. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Artspace Update

The art space is coming along. I finished getting supplies up on the shelves. I am using two bookcases that we had (and outgrew) so those were free. I think I might paint them, but for now I just wanted to get cruising; I didn't want to wait. I would also like to get some more baskets and organizing thingies. But all in good time. 
Mateo is building the table/storage. It's coming along. Our first dimensions were a bit off. It was a tad bit big ginormous. So some tweaking was in order. It will still be big because I want a nice work surface and the vertical slots beneath will be able to hold mid sized canvases. So, not tiny by any means, but it's a bit more manageable now.

Another plus to moving along with this project is that Matt finally organized some of his tools. I don't enjoy big building projects, but I'm not incapable of doing some work. But when you can't find the right tool, it's annoying. I usually just give up and wait for Matt. But now, I don't have to pound nails with a wrench anymore. Though for awhile I thought maybe Matt wouldn't ever let me find a hammer because one day while he was at work I decided to punch a hole in the wall as we discussed, but lacking any possible helpful tool, I gave up. He's not ready to start that project yet. 
So, I'll be patient. Maybe...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Box Valance Thingy-Mabob

Alright, time to post about that box valance thingy I've mentioned. (Oh, and Mateo would like me to say that it did not take six months as previously stated, but more like two because for the first four months we couldn't make up our minds what to do. My mistake.)

Dilemma: large patio sliding door, wanted some kind of covering and nighttime privacy. But I abhor, abhor I tell you!, vertical blinds. The devil should take them. Oh, sorry. I'm back. Just a bit of passion there. Anyways. I also have my gas stove right on one side of the door. Flames plus curtains...well, you get the idea.

See the genius placement of the stove? And the mess, just keepin' it real.

So a regular curtain rod has a brace in the middle for large expanses. If I did that I'd have to open curtains one panel to each side. Thanks to the stove that wasn't an option. I needed to pull the curtains all the way to the side opposite the stove, and then beyond to the wall space so that people could get in and out without fighting with curtains. Although that could provide entertainment, not so practical.

Solution: steel cable and ring clips.
But, I was worried about what it would look like. Ikea makes a cool affordable cable curtain rod, but my closest Ikea is three hours away. Mateo came up with the idea to hide the cable inside a box valance. Ours needed to span from the upper cabinet to the wall, so we had no visible sides, just the front.

A view behind the magic.
So Mateo bolted some eye hooks into what would become our braces, and added as much tension as possible so that the cable wouldn't sag. Oh, and we slipped the rings on before he bolted it all down.

Uh, yeah. He had to tighten that up. No worries.

Then he mounted it to the wall and I clipped the curtain panels on and voila! 

...and closed.
  Some day I'll tell you all about how much I (sarcasm power on)love my white ceramic tile kitchen floor (sarcasm power off). It's nice feeling like we are not some strange performers at night anymore. We like our neighbors and we want them to not be weird-ed out by us. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mission: Birthday Cake

My little man turned three and he wanted a Lightening McQueen cake. He also told me he wanted chocolate cherry cake. This is not a common flavor around here (though I do love it!) so I was a bit surprised. He doesn't usually eat chocolate cake so when I pressed him he wanted yellow cake, but also chocolate and cherries.

I have made a habit of making elaborate cakes for my family, particularly my kids. So my oldest had high expectations. To pull the elements together, I decided on 2 ten inch rounds of yellow cake. I use a mix. Yeah, yeah. I've made cake from scratch before but I feel the good people at Hines, Betty Crocker, and Pillsbury have done a fabulous job with basic cake mix -- and it saves time and effort. I made rounds because I thought it would be easier to deal with the filling and because I could use the shape as the racetrack.

On the bottom layer, I cut out small well in the center and filled it with cherry pie filling. (Look at me go with all these pre-made products! Sandra Lee would be so proud.)Oh, just use a serrated knife. I cut a thin layer of cake off the bit I had removed and replaced it over the cherries so it would be easier to frost with my chocolate frosting. I stacked the top layer of cake and frosted with chocolate. Here you can see the inside, not the prettiest image, I know.

I knew I wanted a track around the edge with a grassy center field. I also decided to parody the Cars logo and put my son's name in place of Cars. I used a toothpick to draw all the elements in place before I started adding other colors. If I messed up with the toothpick I could just smooth the frosting out and try again.

I divided my white frosting and colored some green for grass, some red for the logo, and added edible shimmer to some for the metallic parts of the logo. (They do make gray and silver food colors, but I was lazy, I used what I had on hand. Feel free to plan ahead better than me.)I outlined my sections with a small piping tip and then filled in. I used a small star tip for the grass.

And then, the easiest part: I dug out his own toy cars and placed them on the cake! I thought the cake was fun and one of my easier ideas.And, most importantly, Little Man was happy.

P.S. the art table/storage wasn't finished this weekend. I told you! :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sharpie Solution

Okay, dear Readers, prepare for some bad pictures. I need a better camera. My hallway does not have good lighting, but I figure having some illustration better than nothing.

Dilemma:long, narrow hallway. What to do? A few pictures didn't help. Any more pictures would have just closed it in. Then I saw some beautiful wallpapers and I thought, maybe I'll use a nice graphic wallpaper on the one wall. But then I choked on my coffee when I saw the prices of the really beautiful wallpapers. I didn't think so.

I could paint or stencil the image, but that's messy and takes awhile.

Solution: Sharpies!

I marked my verticals with a level and pencil. Then I just free-handed the image in black sharpie. (I had to do this when the kids were in bed so they wouldn't get any ideas!) The wall took about 5 markers. The wall eats them up pretty fast. But still 5 sharpies was cheaper than paint even. And bonus, no clean up.

Don't be afraid. You can paint over it if you don't like it. I made a mistake when I started and I just went over it with my wall color, let it dry and tried again. Easy peasy.

Linking to:

The Lettered Cottage

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's coming alive

I've begun to organize my art space. I have all the supplies pulled out of big Rubbermaid-style totes. It's a wonder I've done anything artsy or crafty over the years since it's been a pain to dig out the right supplies. But now things are going up on shelves. I'll post a pic soon.

Mateo tells me I will have my work surface by this weekend. But I'll believe it when I see it. I usually add a month to whatever time frame he gives me. :) (Our curtain/box valance only took six months.)Hopefully blogging about it will keep him on track too. (Love you, honey!)

The work surface will have vertical dividers underneath, perfect for storing large pads of paper and canvases. We are making it out of an old closet door that we found on the curb last fall. We saw it, it was in good shape, and thought we could at the very least make a work table out it so we snagged it. Matt will have to add on some wood, and I'll paint it, but all in all this should be cheap.

Organized accessible supplies, storage, and space to create in, I just may faint...

Monday, January 3, 2011

In the beginning...

My husband and I have lived in five states since we were married ten years ago (this doesn't even count the number of states we each lived in as children or the fact that we met and became engaged in a sixth state) and with all this moving around, we never found the time or opportunity to buy a house and "settle down." Until now.

We have been home owners (or mortgage owners as husband Matt likes to say)for a few short months. Hence the title. We are setting up our house and enjoying for the first time being able to do whatever we want, but we still feel like the whole planning-to-stay-put-awhile thing doesn't quite fit. We know us, it won't be forever, but just maybe we'll last longer than anywhere else we have been.

My mom actually gave me the idea to start this blog (thanks, Mom!) when she commented that I always have in mind more projects to do even while I'm still working on one. It's true. I actually have a huge list in my mind, but I'm on a shoestring budget, so I can't do it all at once. And I'll have to be clever about how I do things.

The plan: blog my way through one project a month with some mini projects thrown in. Hopefully, providing some inspiration, tips and tricks along the way all while keeping me honest, or rather on track. Has it been done before? Heck yes! But it's all good fun. Everyone can join the party, says I.

On Deck: my very own art space. Let the organizing begin!
Also, we actually just completed a slew of things that I will post up here to get things rolling.