Thursday, February 28, 2013

Painted Headboard

I talked about the hows and whys of changing the boys' room in this post.
Today I'm just going to explain how I made the red stripe on the painted headboard without measuring.

I did use a level to make the navy rectangle. Pretty standard stuff. But I wasn't about to measure and use the level and mark to figure out my red line. Too much work.

First, I bought one and half inch wide painter's tape because that is about how far in from the edge I wanted the line to be.
I placed the tape right on the edge of the navy blue all the way around. Then to get a crisp edge I burnished the tape with my finger nail, but you could use a tool such as a popsicle stick. Just rub down the edge. I don't have a picture because it hadn't yet occurred to me to do a post on this when I did that stage. Oops.

(Walls aren't smooth and painter's tape is designed to grip very lightly, so you burnish to force the tape into all the mini divets in the wall.)

I settled on a 1.5" stripe of red, so I tore bits of tape and spaced them out around the first tape line. I lined the edge of the tape bits to the edge of the tape line.

Then it was time to take advantage of the straight line quality of tape. I simply connected the dots, so to speak. My next tape line was placed carefully along the edge of the tape bits.
I used an x-acto knife to trim tape that when over.

Once in place, I removed the tape bits which were now sandwiched between my long tape lines. I then burnished the tape.

For such a small space I just bought a sample size of red paint. It did take five coats to go over that dark navy color. But red usually takes at least three coats anyway.

Once the paint was dry, I pulled off the tape. I pull straight off. Not at an angle either way, just straight.      

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh, Boys.

 Messy. Messy. Messy.
First, the begged to share a room. Weird, I know. Don't most kids beg for their own rooms?

So I said okay. We bought some bunk beds and put them together. But the mess just multiplied. The nice open floor space for playing just became a pile of dirty clothes and abandoned toys.

Enough. New plan. Un-bunk the beds, eliminate floor space and add storage.

If they aren't going to use the space for play, they don't need it at all. So, let's take a little tour.

Not only did we un-bunk the beds, but I painted a headboard on the wall with navy paint and a red stripe. 

Their names are wood letters that were spray painted silver. (They helped hang them, so don't judge the wonky placement.) Gabe likes blue and Malachi likes red, so it's been easy to work with.

They have a cute little roll top desk that we snagged at a church rummage sale. It makes a great spot for a lamp and clocks.

Opposite the beds is the wall of storage.

 Boys' toys are either tiny pieces or huge things that don't fit anywhere. For the small stuff, on each side, the bottom is a 6-cubbie storage unit from ClosetMaid. 

We have randomly selected colors over time because the companies change the colors all the time. This way when I need to replace one, I don't have to worry about matching what we already have.

The middle shelving unit was built by Matt.It has a twist due to a warped board that he didn't notice until it was almost done.
It's more obvious in person than pictures, but you can see it pull away from the wall in this shot.

 He hoped he could just anchor it to the wall, but it didn't work. So, this is temporary. He's building a better one.

But it is easy for the boys to see and select a bigger toy and slide it back on the shelf when done.

 The 3-cubbie units on either side of the shelves are also ClosetMaid, but these have adjustable shelves.

Great for the books, but we also drilled a hole in the backing to fit the cords for their DS chargers. A little container holds the games and they can store and charge their DSs now.

I painted the wall behind the storage navy to tie it together and tie into the hanging space. We added a double hook to each side so the boys can hang their coats and backpacks.

We put their dressers in the closet. They don't have much hanging stuff anyway. 

And yes, you can open all the drawers. The curtain add a pop of red for Malachi.

The walls are just a hodgepodge of favorite posters and their own art work. We left some space so we can add more.

I think the Charlie Harper alphabet above the storage is my favorite.

Malachi has had it since he was three and I was glad he still loves it because I do too. They are actually flash cards which I just hot glued to the wall.

So far they love it and want to keep it clean. I don't expect that to last forever, but I hope this arrangement keeps it all in check better.

Almost forgot. We have storage bins that slide under the beds which are storing things like Legos and art supplies, so those are handy too. Un-bunking the beds actually made more room for storing things!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Mustache You a Question

These are NACHO average Valentine's.
Seriously, what is it about Valentine's Day that begs for low humor? It's always so puny. :)

 I don't really get the whole mustache craze, but the boys both liked these. I first saw this pin, first I wondered if I could just buy some, but all I found was some on paper straws and they were expensive. The straw idea intrigued me, but instead of paper straws that wouldn't look like a mustache in use, what about a regular straw?

So, I made a template of a handlebar mustache and traced it on black poster board. Then cut the mustaches out with scissors.

On the computer I made my puny little message: I mustache you a question. Will you be my Valentine?

These were printed on cardstock. I had the boys write the 'to' and 'from' on the back.

I just used regular flexible straws and hot glued the mustache to the straw at the bend. The boys helped tape the message on the straw.

They came out pretty cute.

And, he has quite the handsome mustache if I do say so myself.

Hey, I mustache you a question.
Well, I'll shave it for later.

Okay. I'll quit now. I promise. Until next year.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sidley the Spy Plane Cake

Last month, Chi turned the FIVE! And, if you have read this before, you know that I go all out for my kids' birthday cakes.

It all started watching the Food Network cake shows, and thinking "I could do that." Not that I was disrespecting their talent. Au contraire. I just believed that if I wanted to put the effort in, I could figure out cake sculpting.

So, my kids now challenge me.
This year Chi wanted "Cars 2! Der, der, der...der, der, der...der, da,do, da, der,da, der..." (He can't say it without singing the music, usually all while stricking a pose that is a cross between Elvis and Michael Jackson.)

At first I thought I could get away with something simple like his Cars cake. But then it became clear we were in Millenium Falcon cake territory.

He wanted Sidley, the spy plane at the moment when Finn McMissile and Mater are racing to get on board. Geez.

So, we pulled up some images from the 'ole interwebs. He's really silver with dark blue, but we cheated because I didn't want to deal with metallic, so he became white and blue in our version. Judge me if you must.

Mateo grabbed a thin wood board and after several attempts, we finally drew an plane outline that satisfied us, and he cut it out. He also added supports underneath to hold it up, but we would turn those into wheels later.

I covered the wood with foil to protect the food.

And made 3 9x13 cakes. Yeah, these things always get out of hand. (I should mention that only we were planning to feed only 4 adults and 4 kids. People were sent home with cake.) I used the recipe for Blondies from my Home & Garden cookbook. Blondies are kind of like brownies but butterscotch flavored, not chocolate. (Delicious!) I was looking for a dense cake because it is easier to work with. Chi doesn't like chocolate cake, so if your kiddo likes chocolate you could use a brownie recipe.

So, I had my plane base and my cakes. I laid one cake on the center of the cake and used a serrated knife to trim off the excess, just following the shape of the wood. A dab of frosting on the base will hold it in place. 

I worked around, adding the wings, and then building another layer on the plane center using frosting between each layer. 

On the upper layers of cake, I just used my knife to shave off cake to make the right slopes.

Once done, I frosted the whole thing, and Mateo rolled out the fondont. We just grab Wilton's pre-made at Michael's. It tastes as good as any, and you cannot do better price wise making it on your own. We did this once, but it takes so much that unless you are a bakery, making it en masse, forget it. You aren't saving anything.

So, we laid the fondant on the cake and smoothed and trimmed.

Once the white was in place, Mateo colored some of the fondant blue and we rolled it out and put it place. We used water to make it stick.

I stuck gummy LifeSavers together with toothpicks and covered them in fondant to make the jets. 

We secured them to the cake with more toothpicks. They were a little off scale, but Chi wasn't complaining, so I didn't really care.

I used the little gel frosting tubes for windows. I just used white because I couldn't find any in light blue like the picture. On the front I used concentrated black food coloring and a toothpick to draw his eyes. When it dried, I went over the area with the gel frosting in yellow.

Then I stuck some more gummy LifeSavers to the supports as wheels.

Cake done. Now for the scene. I grabbed a poster board and drew a runway. Then I used watercolor paint to just do a quick fill of color. I wasn't aiming for perfect. In fact, I left my lines a little wobbly so the effect was perfect imperfection if you get what I mean.

Mateo made a hatch for Sidley out of cardboard. I got out Chi's Mater and McMissile and hooked them together and put them on the runway, like in the movie.

So, will I be the next Cake Boss? Um, no. But I had one terrifically excited five year old boy and that's why I do it. :)