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Archive for the ‘home improvements’ Category

Ok, so I realize that the fact that the kids’ bedroom is FINALLY done is not a big deal to anyone but me (including my husband and my kids).  But it’s done and it’s consumed my life since Mother’s Day weekend when we put up the bunk beds and moved the kids in together.  I had all these ideas, mostly thanks to Pinterest, and I learned a lot of fun new things.  For example, I LOVE adhesive spray.  LOVE IT.  It’s fabulous.  If you have never used it, find a reason to use it and buy some.  Recovering boring white lamp shades is simple with a little adhesive spray.  I also learned how to make lined curtains.  Not a fun project but I’m glad I know how to do it (and using $5 Walmart flat white sheets makes a great and cheap lining for the curtains).

Ok…time for some pictures.  Here’s the view from the door:

Figuring out a color scheme for a shared boy/girl room was tricky.  I didn’t want it to be too girly or too masculine.  I found this geometric elephant fabric at fabrics.com (love this website for fabric…great prices, great selection) and loved it.  I was really into the chartreuse green and candy pink that seems to be a lot of places this year.  Target was really into green and white chevron strip this year and made my dream of having cute under the bed baskets a reality.  The toys are now confined to two baskets under the bed per kid.  Heaven!  (I hate toy clutter.)  The brown quilts and shams were tricky to find.  I searched EVERYWHERE for brown quilts with matching shams and finally ended up finding them online at Walmart of all places!

Next…wall art fun!  A Pinterest idea…silhouettes of elephants (found online) cut out of scrapbook paper, mounted on more scrapbook paper, and then framed.  Easy peasy.

On to the art wall.  I wanted to give the kids a place to hang their creations but wasn’t sure I had room for a corkboard.  I found these wood plaques at JoAnn’s for under $2 each, painted them, glued a clip onto them, and VOILA!  And the little shelves under the art wall make me so happy.  Molly’s basket is pink, Owen’s is green, and they each get to put whatever little toys they’d like to keep in their room in the basket.  No more toy clutter in this room!  And the lampshade…remember when I mentioned adhesive spray?  Love the stuff.

I’d also been wanting to do something fun with embroidery hoops and colorful fabric.  Owen’s wall above his dresser needed a little more life, and the embroidery hoops made it more exciting.  I’m now obsessed with embroidery hoops on the wall and want to put them all over my house.

I needed a place in the room to hang the kids’ baby pictures, and I think they work over the bookshelf.  When our kids were born, I’ve had our visitors sign the frame’s mat.   I always love reading back over who visited us in the hospital.

One more pic…Molly’s dresser.  You can’t see very well in this picture, but I was so excited when I found these knobs for the dresser at Hobby Lobby.  They are black with hot pink dots, and black with bright green dots.  Perfect for this room.  And it’s fun seeing my little girl using the dresser I used in college.  Great Goodwill find all those years ago.

And that’s pretty much it!  It was fun to do, but with only 9 weeks left until the baby arrives, it’s time to get started on the nursery.  It’s been over three years since our last baby was born and I barely even remember what we have.  But I’m so glad that my big kids have a fun room to call their own since their lives are about to change forever!

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We’d had a green kitchen (technically called wasabi green) since we moved into our house.  It was the color I wanted.  At first.  It loved it for a while.  It was bright.  It was cheerful.  It was kitcheny!  But it wasn’t very flexible.  There aren’t too many colors that go well with this certain green.  And anything red made it look Christmasy.  It was time for a change.  I learned that choosing the right color of beige is super ANNOYING.  I thought I’d picked the right color and spent an entire naptime painting the kitchen and dining room…only to discover that it looked purple when on the walls.  Not what I had in mind.  Then I went the smart route and got samples of beiges and for a couple of days my walls looked like this:

After looking at the colors in all different lights, I chose Urban Putty from Sherwin Williams.  After getting it on the walls and redecorating a bit, I love it!  I love having more color in the room through accessories.  I found this fun table runner at World Market and love the colors it introduces in the room.

In my kitchen I’d always had a chalkboard/corkboard combo that helped me organize my life.  Well…it never looked organized.  It always looked chaotic and made my kitchen feel cluttery.  That corkboard is still an essential part of my life, but it now has a new home in the stairwell leading down to the basement.  And the wall in my kitchen (the only wall in my kitchen that has any room for hanging things) now looks like this:

I discovered through this decorating adventure that hanging plates is NOT easy.  All those plate hanging hooks that you can buy are tricky!  I couldn’t get them to work with my plates.  I ended up buying some super strong glue and sawtooth hangers and gluing them on the backs of the plates.  I haven’t heard any shattering glass in the middle of the night…so far so good.  I also thought this was a fun idea that my friend, Abbey, gave me.  I found a fun piece of scrapbook paper, framed it, and then used a dry erase marker to write a verse on it.  It only cost me 50 cents for the paper so I can change it out with the season…or whenever I get tired of it.

Moving on to the part that I love the most…the kids now have an art corner!  Our house is small without a whole lot of storage space (upstairs).  All the kids’ art supplies used to be stored in the top of Owen’s closet.  Not very convenient.  And, to be completely honest, I often didn’t suggest doing art activities with the kids because it was such a pain to get everything down.  I have this shelf in my dining room that has always been home to decorative cake plates and the like.  I had a vision of turning that into an accessible art corner for the kids…and now the dream is a reality!

I love the see through containers so the kids can choose what they want to play with without having to be able to read.  A little chalkboard paint and a white paint pen made my little organized-obsessed self very happy.  Everything has a label.  Bliss.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this.  Ever since I put this together, the kids are obsessed with doing projects.  They can easily find their own supplies and get started without as much reliance on me.  The little table is now right next to the art shelf so they can get right to work.  It’s working out so great.  I wish I’d done it years ago!

 

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random

I haven’t been in much of a blogging mood lately, hence the lack of posts.  Life’s been busy and I have a new project that is taking up tons of time.  I decided after the completion of our bathroom that our doors were in bad shape and needed repainting.  On top of that, I was done with the brass knobs and hinges and decided to replace all of them with brushed nickel.  So one day I just got myself a screwdriver and took down a door!  I called Travis and told him I felt like Superwoman…I mean, I took down a door all by myself and I’m NOT a woman who knows much about fixing stuff.  But I’ve now learned how to use a drill, take down and replace a door (although I’ve learned that it’s impossible to replace the door without the help of my husband…those doors are heavy!), install a door knob and hinges, and I’ve become an expert at painting doors and trim without making much of a mess.  The doors are looking so much better, but this project…WOW!  It’s time consuming. 

Enough about that.  Here are some random pics of the kids that I thought were share-worthy. 

Owen got these glasses in his kid’s meal at Sonic.  He wore them for about 2 days straight before they broke.  I think he felt they helped his super hero look. 

Lately I call Owen my little chef.  He grabs his apron and a chair every time I’m cooking and wants to help or watch.  These times have become some of my favorites with my big boy.  We often cook while Molly is napping because she likes to “help”, too.  This pic is Owen after he’s licked the banana bread batter off the beaters. 

The kids have gotten really into playdoh lately.  Owen comes up with some really awesome creatures like this multi-handed monster:

Molly thoroughly enjoys her playdoh, too.  She tries to sneak a bite every time I’m not looking .  (And look at all that hair!!  Slowly but surely…maybe soon she’ll have enough to wear a barrette.)

Molly loves to swing.  And Owen loves to push her.  It’s sweet.

There you have it.  Randomness from the last couple of weeks.

p.s.  My baby girl turns 2 on Sunday!!  I can hardly believe it.

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At the end of February we said goodbye to our nasty master bath.  It was gross (in my defense, it was gross when we bought the house…but my efforts didn’t make it any better).  It was way grosser than I’m willing to show you.  It’s always been on our to-do list but other things have come first.  But it was finally time.  Here are some before pics…

The above picture is as close as you’re going to get to seeing the inside of my shower.  You’d judge my ability to clean a bathroom.  I know you would…because I judged my ability to clean a bathroom every time I’d attempt it. 

And for comparison’s sake later on…

There were way more but they were just too embarrassing.  I’d rather focus on the way our bathroom looks now!

The beadboard continues all around the bathroom making it look so fresh and clean (compared to the picture above with the nasty toilet paper holder and the blue walls to the floor).

And here’s the view from the shower (with a new medicine cabinet, new light fixture, new toilet, and a freshly painted vanity)…

These are my favorite parts of the shower: the built-in shelves and a hook just for my loofah.  It was so fun to design our shower just for us.  We also added a light for the shower.  It’s great to see my legs when I shave them.

And one more of just the shower.  Scott (our friend and contractor) did a fanastic job with the tile.  I think it’s gorgeous.

It took a full month to complete the bathroom, but it was so worth the wait.  I love love love taking showers in my new bathroom.  I knew that Scott would do a good job, but he totally exceeded my expectations.  Is it silly to get this excited over a newly remodeled bathroom?  Maybe, but it still makes me giddy every time I look at it.

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bathroom redo #1

We are in the middle of updating both of our bathrooms.  Our master bath is the one that is in dire need (and I’m still debating whether or not to put before pictures of our bathroom…it’s that bad).  The hall bath (the one the kids and guests use) is in good shape but the floor needed some major help.  Here’s a before shot of the peeling laminate…

I’ve never liked the floor, but it’s always been one of those things that is far down on the to-do list for this house.  Over the last (almost) 6 years, we’ve been slowly checking off things on our to-do list and the time had come!  I wasn’t the least bit sad to say goodbye to this cream-colored floor accented with blue diamonds.  (And I promise that these pictures show it CLEAN.  It just is all scarred up and worn-out looking.

I included this next picture because Owen thought it was just hysterical that the toilet was in the bathtub. 

It only took three days and we have a much prettier bathroom! 

Ahh…so much better.  And so nice to have a floor that looks clean after I clean it…a big frustration I had with old, stained laminate flooring that had been there who knows how long.

The master bath is a MUCH bigger project.  The whole shower is being gutted and redone, along with removing all the tile that lines the walls.  I can’t wait for my new shower.  It’s going to have a shelf built right into the wall to hold all my bottles and soaps and razors.  No more hanging shower organizers for me!  That redo hasn’t started yet…don’t expect pictures for a least a few weeks.  I’ve been told that things like redoing an entire shower take quite some time.  More soon…

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what in the world???

So this morning we were heading out the door to take Owen to school when this happened:

WHAT???  I mean really, has this ever happened to anyone else?  Not two minutes before, we’d been sitting at the table finishing up breakfast.  I’m so thankful that no one was underneath when this happened.  (Although I will admit that my first thought when I heard the crash was whether or not it had damaged my table.  Does that make me a horrible mother??)

After determining that everyone was safe (including my table), I called Travis telling him that he needed to come home right then because I had absolutely no CLUE what to do with a situation like this.  He’s a good man and turned around after completing 15 of his 45 minute commute to come to my rescue.  He examined it, determined that he had no clue what to do either, and called someone professional.  Unfortunately the profession fan man (that’s kind of fun to say, huh?) can’t come until tomorrow so we’re stuck with this enormously large and heavy fan dangling in the center of my dining room. 

I’m a wee bit nervous that our dangling fan might decide to complete it’s plunge any minute so I’ve covered the floor with pillows in an attempt to save my floor.  The table has been pushed as far out of the way as possible and the children and dog have been banned from the dining room.  And because it is dangling from wires, I’m a slight little bit afraid of what might happen if one of the wires were to snap.  I think of sparks and fire and all kinds of dangerous things.  The fan man seemed pretty confident that the wires would hold just fine until tomorrow but I wonder if he really understands that my enormous ceiling fan is precariously hanging from them…

It’s been a month of crazy things around here.  Last week the drain in the floor of the basement clogged and we had a bit of flooding followed by a hefty bill to unclog the drain.  The week before the washer broke due to a certain someone’s little stocking that got stuck in the pump.  This cute little sock cost us a pretty penny:

Please let this be the end of weird, expensive home repairs!

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kitchen redo

When we bought our house, I did not like the kitchen.  Over the last five years we’ve slowly been redoing it…little by little.  We started by getting rid of the hideous microwave compartment the previous owners had.  It was horrid.  Check out this post if you want to see what it looked like.  After the microwave was updated, the floor was next to go.  This post will show you the before and after.  We were forced into getting a new dishwasher in June of this past year because ours just up and died.  It was super old and we updated to a much more aesthetically pleasing stainless steel. 

The last piece of the puzzle was redoing the countertops and backsplash.  For my birthday this year, that’s exactly what we did.  The night before the big redo I took some pictures to give you a frame of reference for just how much better it looks.  Here’s the before (granted I’ve taken away all my decorative items that helped to disguise what a dark cave my kitchen really was):

You can’t really see it, but the backsplash (which was really just a sheet of laminate) was carried all the way to the floor next to the back door.  Nice.

But after the redo got started, I realized it used to be worse.  Way worse.  My kitchen used to have this for a backsplash:

Yikes.  But I’m sure it was very cool in the 70’s.  I also realized why the backsplash was carried all the way to the floor by the back door…

Yuck.  I was SO glad to see all that go.  At the end of day 1, I had new countertops and the laminate backsplash was gone.  It was already looking so much brighter.  At the end of day 2, my bright white backsplash was up.

The previous backsplashed didn’t continue behind the stove.  I love that this one does.  By the end of day 3, it was finished!  It took me a while to clean up all the dust and dirt that goes along with home renovations, but we’ve settled back in and love how much brighter the kitchen feels. 

In the last picture you can see that the wall next to the door is no longer black but painted to match the rest of the room.  You can also see our new dishwasher…since I didn’t document that update with a blog post of it’s own.  The kitchen feels so much happier to me.  It only took us 5 years, but the kitchen is finally where I dreamed it would be!

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