The Medium-Sized Reveal!

25 09 2011

I have been working on my house for a couple of months. This isn’t surprising, as I generally have one project or another in the works, but I was at a point, both emotionally and furniturally, where I was ready for a big change.

This isn’t The Big Reveal–not yet–because I’m not quite finished. But I know myself well enough to know that these last little bits–the throw pillows, the coffee table, the curtains (yes? no? opinions?), the art, the game/homework table–are going to take me awhile. It’s going to be piece by piece. Still, my mom’s been asking (most likely because I’ve been complaining about how long stenciling takes) so this is dedicated to her.

I looked through piles of magazines and decided on a color palette, found a rug, and went from there.

I like it. I like it a lot.

I didn’t take any “before” pictures prior to the previous furniture being taken to its new home, so several of the pictures are furniture free (but generally aren’t book free).

Here are a few before pictures:



When you have two double bookshelves leave the premises, you end up with a lot of books on the floor.

You try and keep them somewhat organized, but, well, it doesn’t always work out exactly as planned.

Oh, yes, I had big plans for these red walls. But first I had to take care of the books before they became a hazard.

So this giant wall, where a couch used to sit, was where I decided to put my new bookcases. My new, really tall bookcases.

Delicious, no?

Then, once I got my books off the floor, I was able to paint the red walls. My goal was to lighten up these rooms, freshen them, and make them happy. I painted two of the red walls white, and the last wall–the one with the windows–I painted a light orange. Not peach–more of a creamsicle-y color. This was the wall on which I decided to put the stencil (which, by the way, takes for-freaking-ever to do–perhaps I’ll do a separate post on it later) and hang my cupcake-catering-earned chandelier.

I moved (well, not *I* alone–some friends helped) the piano in there. Sometime I’ll get a really cool table for the other half of the room to do homework on and play games. For now, the card table works. It’s not exactly pretty, but it works.

It’s a happy room.

I found this shot as  I looked through old files trying to find a picture of the two big couches that used to be here. I’m not quite sure what they’re doing (slow-motion rodeo?) but I think it’s hilarious.

Anyway, I got a smaller scale couch and two chairs at IKEA.

And we also grew those pumpkins on the porch in our own garden. Hoo-ey!

Then I found a rug with a great pattern, and wowsa. It looks pretty great, if I do say so myself.

And I guess I just did.

Angry Bird Picture and Tutorial Link

7 08 2011

Seriously, folks, it’s been a week.

But . . . it’s over. Some of my support people are back, my lesson is over and done with, and the cupcakes were approved.

I’m trying hard to get back into a blogging groove (because blogging is grooovy), which will include before and after pictures of the living room/dining room redesign. Except I have to actually finish the projects first, so I’m making no promises as to timeline. Howsoever, I did finally finish an old project this week.

The kids are clamoring for more, so they’ve been put in the project line (the angry birds, not the kids). I will admit the idea of having lots of these to catapult toward some sort of box structure with several pigs hiding inside is quite appealing, even to me. And I am a stuffed-animal GRINCH.

Find the pattern and tutorial here, at Obsessively Stitching. It’s a great blog–I can’t wait to look at more of her stuff. 

(I love that you can’t even tell in the picture that the wall behind has primer slopped on it. I heart a shallow depth of field!)


Alice Wannabe

24 05 2011

I’ve been making a dress for, well, months. I’ve had to unpick all sorts of seams and redo entire sections. It was okay, though, because I really wanted it to turn out.

I finally finished the hem on Saturday, so I wore it to church on Sunday. I looked at myself in the mirror as I was getting ready. “Hmm. A little waitressy,” I thought.

Rainbow came in and said, “Is that your dress? It looks good.” She paused, cocking her head to one side while she considered. “It makes you look like a cooker.”

I turned back to the mirror and saw this:

Not that I don’t like Alice–I love Alice. I just don’t necessarily want to look like her.

I soldiered on, however. I was wearing the dress, so help me.

Let me show you what $10 in materials and 40 hours in labor can buy:


I was kind of hoping when I looked at this picture (taken with the camera on the piano) that I would seem less Alice-y. Fat chance.

My hair is cooler than Alice’s. I guess that’s some consolation.

That’s What Friends are For

8 03 2011

Who can you call and ask to spend three hours of their Saturday wrapping you in duct tape in order to make one of these?

(The tutorial says two hours, but it actually took us closer to three. And even though I’m young and hardy, I was still getting light-headed by the end–which is why I didn’t get a picture of myself while wearing the duct tape dress. I probably should have stuck with it another few minutes to get the photo because, really, how often are you wrapped completely in duct tape? Wait. Don’t answer that.)

Who else can you call to rescue you from a hair emergency when you accidentally swipe your head on the bottom of your duct-tape dress form while you’re filling it with expanding foam and you realize that, yeah, long hair might not really be your thing but you’re still pretty attached to it?

That’s right: friends.

Thank you, friends!

Opinions, Please

22 01 2011

I’ve been considering opening an Etsy shop. If you are unaware, Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade goods. You get your own shop, then pay the people who run Etsy a small fee for everything you sell. I’ve heard of people making pretty good money, but I’m still not entirely convinced that I could make anything people would want to buy.

I made this for my friend’s daughter.

What do you think? They are drawn on cardstock in ink, colored with colored pencil, and laminated. Velcro attaches them to the board and onto strips on the back when not in use. Each square is 2″ x 2″ and the background is 5 1/2″ by 8 1/2″. Would you buy something like this for your daughter or would you (like me, I admit) just think, “I could make that,” and do it yourself? How much would you be willing to pay if you were, in fact, interested? Is $10 too much?

Please consider yourself the market I’m researching and reward yourselves accordingly.

Post edit: Here’s a shot of the back.

Pinewood Derby the Last (at least for four years or so)

20 01 2011

Hot on the heels of my furniture re-makeover triumph comes a post chock-full of my ineptitude. The pendulum of greatness, it does swing.

So here’s the story. The pinewood derby was scheduled for Wednesday, and I thought, “What a great family home evening! The girls have always wanted to make pinewood derby cars. It will be perfect.”

In my mind, I saw us sawing and sanding and painting–with copious amounts of smiling and singing. Kind of like little elves.

In reality, I can’t use a coping saw for love or money. I had the kids draw out their designs on paper, then trace them on the car blocks. When the saw proved to be more than I could handle, I had this great idea to drill little pilot holes all along the car edges. The saw would cut through much more easily, right? Right.

It worked! Sort of.

If you could ignore the gigantic gouges throughout the car body, that is.

I discovered something, though. I work well with children. I work well with tools. But when you mix those together, I don’t work so well. A case of 2 + 2 = 3, if you get what I mean.

Since I was visiting Home Depot the next day for Plexiglas anyway, I picked up some sandpaper for the belt sander and worked on smoothing out the body while Zack was at school.

 The car, Sonic Boom, was salvaged. It didn’t race particularly well (the weight placement needed to be different, I think), but it looked really cool. And that’s all that really matters, anyway, right?

 Here’s a shot of Eden’s Blue Wave and Rainbow’s Rainbow Racer. Even though they didn’t get to race on the track (and probably wouldn’t have done very well if they had), they did get to participate in an extra game the troop had set up, where you pushed your car from the foul line and tried to get it closest to the basketball court boundary without going over it. Guess who won?

Before and After

19 01 2011

Once upon a time, I had grandparents. One set of grandparents lived in a tiny town in a farmhouse with giant cottonwood trees around the property and a barn out back that always looked like it was going to fall over. (Eventually it did. The wind really blows in Idaho.)

There were lots of interesting places to explore when we went to my grandparents’. There was a closet in the upstairs bedroom chock full of fun stuff. There was always food in the candy jar in the kitchen. And then there was the basement.

The basement was kind of dark and little bit cold. But once you got past the storage room with the troll, there was a big rec room with crazy carpet, a pool table, and a wet bar. I remember playing down there for hours, especially in the first bedroom. It had a ping pong table, an old wood-burning range that was great for playing chef, and a little dish cupboard.

After my grandpa died, it seemed kind of crude to be asking for “stuff,” but I must have gotten over it because I said to my mom, “And if no one wants that little dish cupboard I would really like it.”

Either no one else thought to ask for it, or my mom arm wrestled everyone for it and won, because I got it.

I’ve lived in Washington for 7 1/2 years. I think we hauled it back with us about five years ago.

Which means it’s been sitting in my garage for a long time.

Behold the cabinet:

I had already taken the back off before I took this picture. I think at one point it survived a flood because there was a lot of damage on the back where moisture seemed to have leached halfway up, and the lower trim was missing a piece and turned out to be basically unsalvagable. But despite its eye-sored-ness, I still loved it and couldn’t give up on refinishing it.

I believe it was built by my great-grandfather, who was a carpenter, for my aunt Rosalie. You can’t buy a cabinet like that, folks!

Over winter break, I decided I was going to use some of the ‘free time’ available to finish some projects. Good intentions often meet bad ends, though. The cupboard is old enough for me to be worried about lead paint issues, so I put off doing anything until after the kids went back to school. I did, however, pull it out of its little garage corner so there was no room for me to park my car inside. On the iciest month of the year. (I really need to rexamine my timing.)

Anyway, I went to Lowe’s about 14 times over the past three weeks (and to Home Depot once) and it’s finally finished. Wahoo!

I bought a miter box and re-did the lower trim. Check out that corner! (But not too closely!)

I used a power saw for the first time to get the bead board backing to fit. I wasn’t exactly manly about it, but I think I weilded it with womanly authority (whatever that means). And I put Plexiglas in the windows (hence the trip to Home Depot). You can’t tell what color it is from the picture, but after using a sealing-type primer (darn lead paint!) I painted it in a light turquoise blue. Here she is:

I feel like it turned out well. Eden LOVES it, and has already begun adorning it.

Yes, that is a giant stuffed tiger in the bottom. Yes, that is a stick horse with reindeer ears. The adventure of its new life has already begun!