Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shabby Apple Giveaway

Oh hello! It's just me, your friendly neighborhood slacker.  I've been meaning to write - I have so much to update, but no time to actually do it! I'll make it up to you though! How does a giveaway sound?  I'm actually pretty jealous that I can't win my own giveaway here, because I love Shabby Apple dresses.  They have such a great selection of stuff, from vintage dresses to cute shoes. 

So here is how this will work...I will pick a random winner, email you the list of dresses you can pick from, and then your beautiful new garb will be heading your way! There are a few ways you can enter, the only mandatory entry is a blog comment (please, please, please remember to use a valid e-mail address!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This giveaway is for US residents only.  Sorry! Their rules, not mine! You have until June 4th to get your entry in!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The House on Thistle Hill

Doesn't that sound like a great novel?  Something along the lines of Wuthering Heights? Yeah, well...it's not.  It's actually MY house.  When we first saw it...it looked like this...

And aw...isn't that little juniper covered hill just precious? Do you see all that dead stuff on the hill? Yeah...keep that in mind. 

 About three weeks into spring I noticed some little weeds coming up through, and thought "Hmmm I should go pull those".  But I didn't, and they apparently got busy and multiplied like Duggars. Don't believe me?
Yep. ALL thistles.   They are as high as the windows in some places! I don't like to weed, and I am not particularly good with plants anyway, but I knew that something had to be done! So I pulled on my gloves, and started pulling up thistles.  I was relieved to find that the roots did actually pull out pretty easily, so it was just a matter of finding the time.  Matt and I worked in shifts yesterday, and after a whole lot of this...
 ...we now have the front hill looking like this...
I would say we are about three quarters of the way there.  Pulling thistles is no joke! Unfortunately it looks like some of the Juniper got a bit choked out and is dying away, but hopefully we can get it to grow back.  

I know someone will ask why we didn't just use a weed-killer, and the honest truth is that I am just uncomfortable pulling that into the ground, especially this close to our well, and we would have had to use a LOT, and it might have killed the juniper as well.  So...yeah, that's why! 

Anyone else out there battling the weedy forces of nature?  Or are you happily letting your yard turn into Jumanji?


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Working With the Little Windows

In both of the bedrooms in our house, we have one standard size window, and two half size windows.  The standard windows are pretty simple to treat, but I have kind of stalled out on the little ones -particularly in the boys room due to the fact that I didn't want them to be able to reach the curtains to pull on them. 
 We use black-out blinds while the boys sleep, and as funtional as those are - they aren't super pretty, ya know? 

While I was taking some momma time a few weeks ago and browsing Homegoods alone, I found a cute little blue and white rug on clearance that worked well in their room. 
The red blur is Jack practicing his leaping skills.  He's getting pretty good :)
My idea came from the pattern on the rug, and a little faux roman shade I had made for the kitchen at our old house.  I never posted about it because I wasn't sure it would work, but it did so I repeated the process with a drop cloth for the boys room. 

Why a drop cloth?  It's what I had on hand, and the canvas look worked for their room. 
 I cut two 3x2 pieces of fabric, then used Frogtape to create the stripes.  I painted them navy blue, then pulled off the tape.  The lines aren't perfect, but since Roman Shades are gathered at the bottom it really didn't matter. 

I then hemmed the sides (drop cloth sheds like CRAZY, so you need to hem it).  The top I folded over and hemmed, leaving about a two inch pocket for a curtain rod.  
Then I just folded up the bottom twice (I used the middle of each stripe as a reference point) and sewed them together. 

I then slid a thin piece of wood through the top pocket and actually attached that directly to the wall. 
 The little shades cover the blackout blinds, and tie in to not only the rug but also the baskets that they have books in, which I didn't realize until after the fact. 
Plus they cost me absolutely NOTHING since I had all of the supplies on hand, and they really help make the room look a little more put together.  They are a little but nautical and since no one but the grown-ups can reach them they should last us!

So now I have a question for you...what would you do with the big window? 
Keep the green curtains up?  Make some sort of high/low navy and drop cloth curtains?  I think any sort of striped curtain would start to make it feel like Willy Wonka's childhood room.  As much as I love stripes, there has to be a limit right?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Playroom Planning

Contrary to blog updates, we have actually gotten a lot done around the house lately, but they are things that don't make a huge impact in a blog post. Things like - finally hooking up the washer and dryer, slowly patching holes in the plaster, patching holes in the window trim, etc.  All of those things add up to a whole lot of work, but not a lot of impact (yet).

So today, let's talk about the playroom.  This room is basically the mirror image of the mudroom, and it found at the very front of the house.  When we first saw it, it looked like this...
Which really isn't SO bad.  I mean..no, I wouldn't pick that carpet, but still, I've seen worse.  The carpet was pretty old and starting to fall apart, so instead of trying to vaccuum it, I simply rolled it up and pulled it right out of there.  We also pulled down the dusty old rolled blinds, cleaned the windows and window sills, and then we pretty much just moved the toys in and stalled out. Here is it looking toward the left...
 ...and toward the right...
As you can see, it is a very functional space, but not a very pretty one.  And since this room is the room that is right off of the main living space, I would like it to look a bit nicer, ya know?!  For reference, the brown door that you have seen in a few of the earlier living room posts is the door that leads to this room.  You can see it here in this picture of Matt and his friend Nelson removing that awful glue (it's gone now by the way....YAAAAY!).
SO yeah...you can see it from the door, or any of the four windows that look out into the room - so it's important that is at least have a nice start, even if the toys will inevitably be all over the floor!  So here is what I am thinking...
Sources: Top left - me, bottom left - Mini Meez, right - IHeart Organizing 

I think I am going to continue the diamond floor that I painted in the mudroom.  The mudroom and the playroom are exactly opposite each other, and our house is pretty small, so as much as I would like to do something else entirely on the floor - I want the house to flow as much as possible, and the floors should give that continuity.

Any sort of seating out here is tough, because it is a long narrow room (6.5 feet x24 feet), so the Ikea shelves turned cubbies and benches should be a good fit out here.  Plus low storage is good for the boys, who tend to ignore anything more than three feet off the ground.  I love the idea of the alphabet on the storage boxes, but I highly doubt we will have 26 boxes out there! Maybe numbers? Animals?

On the other side of the room I would like to make it more of an adult space, maybe some patio type furniture for us to hang out on, because this room is a nice place to be during both the day and night due to all of those wonderful windows!

Now I just have to make the time to set these plans in action! What would you do with this space? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sittin' at the Kids Table

Sorry I have been MIA for a week - it wasn't really an intended absence, but between colds, secret projects :), and life in general, I just didn't have time!

I joined Hometalk today, and I have no idea what I am doing there.  Find me and hold my hand, okay?

I did manage to complete a little makeover that I have been wanting to do for about a year now.  I picked up a little table for the boys from Craiglist about a year ago (pretty sure it is by Ikea), and I had grand intentions of painting it to freshen it up a little.  But then all of that fun stuff with Matt losing his job and us moving and yada yada yada happened, and the little table slipped my mind.  It was fine as it was...
...but I wanted to give it a little personality.  I had a coupon for a free sample jar of paint from Valspar, so I picked up a fresh color and gave that bad boy a little love...
I did keep the seats and the table top white because it is a great surface to clean easily.

Now...go find me on Hometalk and tell me what the heck I am supposed to do there!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Suitcase Storage

First - thanks for all of your love for yesterday's post about the floor.  It was nice to have people as excited about it as I was! :)

As anyone who has ever seen a kids room can tell you, toy storage is ALWAYS a necessity.

 We are blessed enough to have a space dedicated to toys and play (that is a whole other post), but even so - we still need toy storage for the little toys that the boys seem to prefer to keep in their room.
This was taken before I hung their pennants. And before I got them a new rug - which I haven't blogged about but you will see it in the pics below. 
I had been on the lookout for cheap toy storage, but even cheap toyboxes really aren't all that cheap - and we already have one toy box in there (that I found on the curb and repainted).  Also, because they share a room, there isn't a whole lot of unused wall space to put any kind of storage.

BUT.  About a week ago the boys and I were shopping a nearby Salvation Army, and I found these two matching suitcases.  Suitcases at a thrift store are a dime a dozen - there are always a TON, but I was happy to find two that matched.
Weirdly, they were priced differently, one at $4 and one at $5, but still, I can't complain about those prices! I lugged them home, gave them a quick clean-up with some orange-oil cleaner, cut out the middle divider and any straps, and told the boys to fill 'em up.
I've found that they both love to lug them around, and I am sure it won't be long until they start to 'pack' their suitcases.  Jack can open them on his own, although Luke cannot (but that also goes for things like the toy box - you just gotta help him a little!). 

The suitcases also fit really well with the whole "Adventure is out there" thing going on in their room! For the safety conscious - I was a little put off by the metal edges - but it is rolled on the edges, so it is pretty dull.  I ran my fingers along all of the edges to check it out - and it isn't any sharper than most of the playground equipment we have come across.

So tell me - what have you found to help you store all the odds and ends that collect around your place?  Any other suitcase users out there? 
 
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Monday, May 6, 2013

A Painted Floor

I am going to go ahead and just get it over with.  You guys?  I painted the floor.  From the first time I saw this room, I had a picture in my head. Granted - it didn't look ANYTHING like what I was imagining...
It took a lot of work, and a lot of time, but finally...
 
Like I said - I KNEW it could happen! Removing the wheelchair ramp and cleaning the space made a huge difference, but I was hoping for just a little bit more.  I cleaned and etched the concrete floors to prep them for paint, and then impatiently waited for them to dry.  Once they were FINALLY dry, I got started with a basecoat of white porch paint from Valspar.
We then let that cure for a few days.  The boys absolutely loved this for some reason, it was SO bright and white in there that we started to refer to it as the swimming pool.

After letting that dry, I got started on drawing in my lines.  I would love to write a detailed how-to for this, but the truth is I totally messed it up, got angry, erased everything to start over and eventually it all worked out.  And then I taped them.
I used a wood chisel to make sure that my corners were nice and straight.  If you are doing this, remember, you can't just tape the diamond shape, you have to tape inside the line so that your blocks are all the same size.  It is considerably tougher than painting stripes, but if I can do it anyone can! I painted my diamonds ('New Concrete' by Valspar), eagerly pulled off the tape, and...
UGH.  Even the Frogtape for delicate surfaces was a little too harsh for this project.  I spent a good portion of that night crawling around touching up the lines, but in the end - it was all worth it.
That door is no longer with us - stay tuned for that update later this week!
Eventually we will fill in the room a little more, and we will probably bring that cool green locker back in for outside toy storage, but for now - I am just loving the transformation of our mudroom!
Our total cost for this project was right around $70, which isn't super cheap - but it is not all that much for such a great change!

What do you think?  Would you ever paint a pattern on the floor?

Linking up: Mad Skills Monday, Metamorphosis Monday, Craft-o-Maniac, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Tuesdays Treasures, Thrifty Decor Chick Before and After Party, Southern Lovely Show and Share, House of Hepworths,

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Night Tide

So we have these Adirondack chairs, they are just great chairs.  One was a gift from my Aunt, one was a gift I got for Matt, one we literally found at an abandoned lot, and one is a tiny plastic one that we got for Jack two years ago.  The only problem?  None of them match.  I don't really care that they are all different styles, but two of them are red (different reds though), one of them is untreated wood, and one is tan plastic. 
And they are ALL looking a little worse for wear.  I knew I wanted to update these guys, but they were WAY down on the ol' to-do list, so I didn't make any immediate plans to freshen them up.

UNTIL....

We stopped in at Wal-mart to pick up a replacement bulb for my tail light.  Matt says I can find a clearance department anywhere I go - and it is absolutely true.  I stumbled upon a cart chock full of spray paint with a big ol' "SPRAY PAINT BLOWOUT" sign.  What was I supposed to do? Walk away?! Puh-lease. 
I grabbed six cans of Rustoleum Night Tide, in a High Gloss Enamel.  A few days later I found myself impatiently waiting for the mudroom floor to dry, and about an hour of daylight left after the boys went to bed, so I got to sprayin! The color turned out to be a little more teal than the lid, but I love it!
I won't say that the back yard has hit 'oasis' status just yet, but for $6 (actually $5 - I didn't use all of the cans) this has made a big impact!

Have you done any makeovers on the cheap lately?

**And yeah - the retaining wall needs some love.  We will get there! But since we are on the topic anyway, I am thinking of painting it as a temporary solution.  Would gray paint be bonkers? The white in full sunlight can be a little glaring.

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