Saturday, February 15, 2014

For the Love of Baskets

There's a rule in this house. You can never have too many baskets. Nope. Absolutely not. There's always a need for them, especially with a 2 year old running around and 50,000 toys. 50,000 toys that, of course, have to be organized by type, color and purpose because I might be a little OCD... only a little... no way I'll be able to sleep knowing that Batman is sitting in the same bin as the tools.

Surely, I'm not the only multi-tasking mom that has a disaster of a medicine cabinet. If your's is immaculate, I applaud you, I really do; but lets just pretend, it makes me feel a little better. :) I've noticed, this is one of the worst places in our house to get messy so quickly. Mainly because when I'm rummaging for migraine medicine, putting anything back in the right spot is the very last thing I care about. Then something falls and there's a cascade of pill bottles everywhere... that's usually the sign of defeat for the day. 

Finally, I had enough and cleared all this junk out.

Ridiculous isn't it? Any of my OCDers cringing inside?

So what on earth could I use? I turned to my "storage closet" as I call it, probably more accurately called a "junk closet". I found two small canvas baskets I had gotten from Wal-mart a few years ago. So I went through and trashed the expired stuff we obviously wouldn't be using and sorted through it all. I finally got it cleared out and minimized to this.

Any reason to pull out the label maker! Here's a side by side.

This little purge sent me onto another purge, the pantry. It was originally 100x worse, shew! I'll fill you in on that one shortly as well. A little teaser for my fellow organizing freaks... it involves Target and canvas totes :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shoe Molding... makes a WORLD of difference

We've lived in this house for almost 4 years now. So you'd think that all the little imperfections that need to be fixed would be done by now, right? So not true, especially when you have a child, are a working student and a continuing to do list. But, I finally crossed another project off the list which really has its one reward. Killed a few birds with one stone on this one. Score!

On occasion, I do make small lists and may add a few items I've already done so I can feel a little more accomplished. :) This is my trick at least, feel free to use it.

I've been on a grout cleaning spree the past few weekends and the lack of shoe molding around the stairs became even more evident... and irritating. It became the big elephant in the room so I HAD to get this done.

Here's how awful it looked before... plus the paint marks from painting when we moved in... horrific

A trip to Home Depot for some quarter round and matching floor stain we were ready to go. Getting the stain to match up perfectly was the hard part since we didn't do the hardwood ourselves. A little trial and error with colors and we finally found the right one, Provincial 211 by Minwax.

I took the measurements and cut out the molding with my Dremel Multi-Max.

Here would be the first attempt with walnut... I just have to laugh at this :) Why did I even think this would be close?

After this step took a plunge for the worst, I decided I would actually paint it white to match the door molding anyway. I think it turned out looking better than the correct stained color would be.

Then, the floor section is where I stained to match the stairwell. While I was down there, there was no way I couldn't do something about those paint marks so I took a magic eraser and a razor blade to those puppies and they were off!

Here's how it finally looks...

Finally! That awful gap between my tile and stairs is hidden! Seamless and no longer catching every piece of dust my 2 year old flutters up while playing.

Now, just to tackle touching up the paint on the side of the stairs

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Easy Chevron Picture Art

Only one word here ladies and gents. Target. 

This place is amazing, my knock-off Pottery Barn. I am incapable of walking in there and coming out empty handed. I'll admit that I'm bad about walking in to grab toilet paper and come out 2 hours later sans toilet paper, with 5 dinosaurs from the dollar section for my son, cardigan I already have in 3 other colors and a clearanced item I don't need, but have convinced myself I'll use it for something. Surely I'm not the only sucker to this heavenly place, am I?

A few months ago I came across a section of large frames knocked down to $4 each. With the amount of ideas I instantly had for them, I couldn't resist. So I snagged 2 of them. Almost regretting I didn't get more at that price; but seriously, I don't need them. I can say I have some restraint. :)

I ended up walking around the house for about 30 minutes with my 2 year old trailing behind, placing these up on the walls where I thought they'd go best. He didn't like a single spot. He was pretty consistent with the no's. Go figure. The kid has the choice between yes and no, you'll get a no 90% of the time. I mean, 99%. Ahhh... Toddlerhood.

You can't beat having that monkey jabbering through the house with you though. I'll turn him into a DIYer before long... bringing him to the dark side. :)

Once I decided on the master bedroom, I pulled out some old scrapbook paper and a ruler to throw on some chevron lines for a pattern.

I cut out the first section and repeated it down the sheet. Then I cut out the white pattern pieces and just glued them to my main background color. Pretty easy right?

Once I finally got them situated, it was time to pull out my ninja skills. Holding these in place while I put the glass on. Easier solution? Just tape it. I promise you won't look as ridiculous.

These little frame makeovers cost me just $8 total

I'm not sure how I'm feeling about the 3 clashing patterns at the moment. We'll see if they grow on me or get the better of my OCD after a few weeks. :) 

The lamps are definitely staying. They're one of my biggest steals thus far. They were $100 at Hobby Lobby for FOREVER. Every visit I made, I'd make a discrete walk by just to check on them. Of course, giving myself enough time to talk myself out of buying them. That much for a lamp was down right insane. So I left a little piece of my heart there every time. Then one day, I happened to make a stop through the clearance section and there they were! My beautiful lamps, only 2 left, it was a sign and marked down to $40. Was $40 a little much? Yes, but I had waited patiently for this moment and no way was I leaving there without them. Plus, after doing a little research on lamps and shades that were similar, it pretty much evened out. 

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stripe Painted Curtain Panels

I'm absolutely in love with this look right now. If I could stripe or chevron everything in my house, I'd probably do it. Cue Elvis' Jailhouse Rock. The simple gray stripes are clean, modern and add a perfect accent to the room. Originally, I couldn't decide between stripes or chevron. To be honest, I decided on stripes because it would be 100 times easier. I took the lazy way this time :). Seeing them hung now, I couldn't imagine them any different.

I actually made these curtains over a year ago. Since then, I've gotten so many people ask me where I got these and where they could get them. I'll fill you all in on my little secret... I made them. These curtains have been one of my favorite projects to date and getting asked about them so frequently is pretty flattering. So thank you to each one of you that has. :) I'm a little proud of them.

So to share my excitement, here's a little tutorial. There are a lot of pictures I didn't find so bare with me. I do have a few, but I'll try to be thorough enough to make this way easy for ya.

Items you'll need:
White Curtains
I bought 2 sets of white curtains from Target. Not too expensive, but if you even wanted something cheaper, check out the clearance sections in different stores and even pick a few sets up from Walmart. No need to splurge here.

Pick the paint color you want. I actually used several bottles of gray acrylic paint that I had leftover from something else that I decided to use. I picked these up from Walmart in the craft section.

Paint roller, painters tape and a ruler. I definitely suggest getting a little paint roller for this project. It will roll on much more smooth and leave an even look.

I measured the entire length of the curtain and decided about how thick I wanted my stripes. That will determine the amount of stripes I'll have. My curtain length is 84" and divided by 7" for each stripe makes 12 total stripes.

Using my ruler, I marked every 7 inches down the curtain sides. I also did this down the middle of the curtain so that when I laid my tape it would be a straight line going across, no guessing.

Laid my tape out to mark each section I would be painting. WATCH THIS STEP! Line after line, after line, after line, you'll easily lay it on the wrong side if you're not paying attention. Better to catch it before the paint goes down :)

Now for the scary part and point of no return! Rolling on the paint. I only did one coat on mine. I would recommend two coats if you'd like to take the time to. You can see a few areas on mine where the paint isn't as thick and the light kind of shines through. However, that's all up to how you want them to look. 

Also, pull the tape off slow.

Now just hang them up. You'll love them, I swear. It will probably be no time before you start looking for something else to take your paint brush to. Good luck!

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

DIY Growth Chart

The DIY stained growth charts have been scrolling through the Pintresphere for awhile now... another pin I've had pinned and had yet to complete. Finally, after a little winter cabin fever and a little spike in the temps, I put it on the weekend to do list.

I browsed around for a few inspirational ideas and came across some really great painted or stained designs that I loved. In the end, I decided to keep it simple so I would be able to easily chart my son's growth. Here are a few I came across.

The ones above are from Design, Dining & DiapersBower Power Blog and Cozy, Cottage, Cute. I love these ladies. They have offered so much creativity to work off of.

So first thing on Saturday while Daddy was at work, I packed up the monkey and we headed to The Home Depot. I dream of the day we're no longer carrying a diaper bag, back up clothes, snacks and a drink everywhere we go. Quick trips would once again be quick trips... One day Ashley, then you'll be wishing for these days back.

We had to do our ritual Home Depot photo op...

We picked up a 1x6x6 board which was less than $8.00 and a container of Minwax Dark Walnut stain. If you already have all the materials needed, then this project will cost you less than $10 easy.

Once we got home, little man went down for a nap and mom got to work. I sanded the entire board with 100 grit sandpaper. 100 is a perfect level to smooth out the wood. You could sand it again with a 150 grit to roughen the surface area a little more for the stain to adhere to, but the one run through with the 100 worked perfect for this project. 

Don't forget to brush off all the dust.

When staining, I would suggest using a cloth instead of a sponge brush. The brush is easier and makes less of a mess, but using the cloth helps the wood soak in more of the stain. Make sure you have latex gloves, this stuff is super sticky and your fingers will turn out looking like tootsie rolls if you don't. Trust me; you'll do that, end up having to run to Walmart for something ridiculous and end up on the People of Walmart site. :)

I used Minwax Dark Walnut for the finish. The deep brown wood grain color turned out beautifully. Also, I DID NOT use polyurethane to cover the stain. I wanted to keep the rough worn look.

Now to let it dry. I always, ALWAYS jump the gun on this step. However, being outside in the cold helped the process along nicely. After 30 minutes this was ready to get taped off for painting.

From the floor, I measured a foot up the wall and decided where I wanted my board to start. The measurements on my board start at half a foot, 6 inches. Don't forget this step when drilling it into the wall!

The taped off sections are for each feet using Frog Tape. This stuff is amazing and has 'Paint Block' on the edges preventing ANY paint bleeding. It worked perfect for me. 

The foot marks are thicker than the smaller markings in between and go across about 3/4 of the width of the board. The smaller inch lines (done every 2) I just marked with a pencil. To be honest, instead of taping off each line, I just decided to wing it with the paint. If you do, take your time. Never will a task make you question your age like this one will. My hand was shaking like I was 90 from concentrating so hard!

After the paint dried, I pulled the tape off... revealing my beautifully straight paint lines. :)

For the numbers, the easiest method would be to just print out some numbers and X-Acto knife them. If you have a Cricut machine with this little cartridge, then that would work even better. I on the other hand had to trace these babies because my printer was out of ink.

Just tape the numbers to the board where desired and sponge/blot the paint on. Blot lightly because you don't want the paint to bleed under the paper. There's really nothing holding it down to the board other than your hand.

Finally after letting the numbers dry a little, they were ready to be removed and my finished work was revealed. I feel in love with it instantly. Kind of like that feeling you get browsing through the Pottery Barn catalog, drooling all over the decor and furniture.

When drilling the board into the wall, I would suggest using a screw anchor for this. I don't usually like using them because they're a bit time consuming, like 5 minutes because I'm impatient. Here is what we used. Remember, you're taking up an inch of your screw through the board, so its going to pull out of the drywall more easily without the anchors.

And once it was finally hung... GORGEOUS!

And of course a photo bomb...

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've seen this all over Pinterest for awhile now and have pinned it about 5 times already. I kept saying I'd do it and never did, along with my boards full of recipes, exercises, outfits... you get my drift :). Like most of my 5,000 pins, they've kind of just sat there making me look either like Super Woman or what most of us are guilty of, pinning spree addicts. I said it, "I have a problem!"

So, then another friend of mine knocked it out one afternoon with 3 kids to handle! If she had the time and patience to handle it with her little ones running around and helping, then surely I could make it work with my one toddler. Not to mention all of the money I'd be saving... no arguments there ladies. So I took her recipe and made it for dry detergent. She has a liquid recipe in case you'd prefer that over the dry detergent. Feel free to pop on over to Abiding Woman to see her recipe and watch her sweet girls helping out.

What you'll need:
4 lb. box of Borax
4 lb. box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
3 lb. box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soap
4 bars of Fels Naptha Soap (grated)
14oz Purex Crystals (half the container)
3lb Sun Oxi Cleaner (half the container)
Large bucket to store detergent in

*Makes about half a 5 gallon bucket worth

*Oxi Clean can be used in replace of the Sun Oxi Cleaner, its just a little more expensive

How to mix it:

Shred the 4 Fels Naptha bars using a cheese grater. I would recommend taking short strokes so your soap pieces aren't long and will spread evenly when everything is mixed at the end. I had a little help with this part; my little munchkin was dead set on working with his safari hat on. Who was I to stop this boy on a mission? And look at him! That is just adorable.

Mix all of your ingredients into your 5 gallon bucket or a new trash bag to make sure it's all mixed together evenly then pour into your bucket. Now you're ready to go.

When using the detergent, you will only need 2-3 tablespoons per load. The scooper in the oxiclean box will work perfect. Also, safe for HE washers.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Removing water marks

First let me say, I PROMISE YOU THIS WORKS! I think we've all come across those white water marks on our furniture that makes us wonder how on earth they got there! Then a little twinge of devastation runs through you that your furniture is now ruined. At least it did for me...

This coffee table has been one of my best craigslist steals to date. Large cedar coffee table with a raised top for storage in perfect condition for $40.00. It's best feature is its ability to hide ANYTHING you could want in the rush of company coming over. We all do it, I'll just go ahead and admit it for all of us. That pile of paperwork you have lying out, unopened bills, random little toys you've taken up out of pockets and stuff I somehow have never seen before. I think this phenomenon is somehow related to our socks missing after they enter the dryer. My favorite though, loose jewelry and by the end of the month I feel like mommy brain has one another battle.

My point? I depend on this table WAY too much to let it go so I searched for a fix... and found one! A hairdryer. Yes, so go pull it out right now and knock this out! You'll feel 10x better.

Here is my table before with the awful white water marks all over it!

Take your hairdryer, place it pretty close to the mark and hold it there until the mark is gone. It really shouldn't take too long. I swear, the whole table only took me about 15 minutes.

Here is the after! You can't even tell.

Spot #1

Spot #2

You've can't even see them anymore!! I was speechless. I told the husband to come in and look, to show off my newest trick I swore I had and see the amazed look on his face that was on mine, you know. He looked at me, like I was crazy and was oblivious to the fact that it even had water marks on it. He's crazy, they were like an elephant in the room and now those babies are gone. 

Compare the before and after