Thursday, May 30, 2013

Things to do this Summer

There are millions of examples of such summer bucket lists out there, and they seem like a nice thing and all, so the kids and I decided to make one one day. "Let's make it pretty so that I can blog about it!" I said. We did our best. 

We all came up with ideas for awhile first. Then Ari wrote the ones that made the cut down on strips of paper:

....Gus held Abe:

...and here's the list we came up with:

It's easy to get caught up in being lazy and just hanging out over the summer (which we will still do plenty of)....or in doing house projects to the exclusion of anything we're hoping this will remind us to stop and do some fun and different things some of the time. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ari's Room: All Finished! Rustic-Industrial Tween Room

All done! This one took us a little longer than the nursery, since Ari was already born and there was no built in deadline....but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. And, almost as even more importantly, Ari is, too.  And now for the long post with tour and sources for everything. (I guess it would be more exciting if I did things the opposite way: did a big room reveal first and then went back and did individual posts about all the projects. But I am not nearly patient enough for all that. Plus there'd be like 4 months where I didn't have anything to blog about. I saved a few little things for the big reveal, though).

So here is the room back before we moved in:

And here it is a few months ago, right before we started working on it (we'd painted--Ari picked the color--before moving in). The original plan was much less ambitious and mostly involved painting furniture. But we got a little carried away:

And now:

I'll go wall by wall. On that wall we have the plank headboard that we made and the vintage bedside table we painted.

I was supposed to make a no sew bed skirt for Ari's bed, but....I just couldn't. It made me very tired and sad to think about. It would not have been hard, just tedious, but I'm just burned out on making no sew stuff and I was ready to be finished in here. So I went to Target and bought a fitted sheet to put over the box spring instead. Now I have seven yards of gray fabric to find something to do with.

He's very into Portal 2 these days and found this poster online, of Portal 2 if it were a 70's sci-fi movie. I thought it was pretty cool, too, and we needed something for that wall, so I ordered it.

I talked about this grouping of pictures here.

paint: Martha Stewart's Kerry Blue Terrier (Home Depot), trim is MS's Brook Trout
bedding and pillows: Ikea
lamp on wall next to bed: Ikea
Portal 2 poster:
poster frame: Hobby Lobby
paint on bedside table (and desk and dresser): Valspar High Speed Steel
knobs on bedside table (and desk): Hobby Lobby

Moving along:

My mom found the vintage fan at a yard sale. We're planning to rewire it so that he can actually use it.

We painted the dresser with a stylized subway map design and made the curtains and curtain rods.

Curtain fabric: "gray canvas" from
Union Jack box: TJ Maxx
Bing Bong print: Ikea
silver ribba frames: Ikea
Tabouret chair from with Ikea cushion
Tokyo skyline print from Loose Petals on Etsy

Next wall!

We made the London skyline out of plywood. We redid the desk with paint and stain. No new sources to speak of on this wall, really.

And, finally:

That's not a real dart board; it's Doink It darts. Magnets, not pointy things. We took the bifold closet doors down awhile and put that shower curtain (from Target) up instead. I'm not super crazy about it in here, but Ari wanted it to stay. I think I'd prefer putting the doors back, painted brown like the trim. But, you know, it's not my room. Behind the curtain there's a cabinet from Ikea for storage and.....a lot of stuff. But it's all behind the curtain! yay!

And that completes our tour. Here is how Ari feels about his new room. He says to say it's, "Ari approved."

Linking with:
Craftionary's Friday Link Party
Inspiration Gallery
The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday
Tatertots and Jello's Weekend Wrap Up
Monday Funday
By Stephanie Lynn's Sunday Showcase Party
Home Stories A to Z's Tutorials and Tips
Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Stone Gable's Tutorials, Tips, and Tidbits
Hookin' Up With House of Hepworths
Before and After Competition with One Project Closer
Thrifty Decor Chick's August Before and After

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ari's Room: We Hung Stuff on the Wall

Just a quick post about this little grouping of pictures next to Ari's bed, then we finish up a couple of things this weekend, and we're done! I think the sun room is going to get some more attention next. 

Okay, so on the list I posted the other day, this was referred to as a gallery wall, but really it's a gallery wall light at best. We have these on one side of his bed:

...and the thing that's going on the other side just got here today (I'm saving a few surprises for the room tour next week). 

First up we have....Abe Lincoln on a T-rex of course!

I bought this back before we moved, but after we knew we'd be living here. I had some vague big ideas in my head about it, something about mixing traditional style with quirkiness, blah, blah, blah. We had this big plan to make it part of a big grouping of totally normal pictures in some more public part of the house. And then people would come over and we'd all be hanging out, and then they'd suddenly notice it, and be all, "OMG: is that Abe Lincoln on a T-rex?!" And we would say, "why yes it is!" But then I told everyone who was likely to come over the plan before we could implement it (Dave was very annoyed with me), and anyway the colors didn't wind up really fitting in most of the downstairs. And then I wanted to hang sentimental stuff from Ari's babyhood on his wall, and he didn't want me to because he's so OLD now, so I used Abe Lincoln on a T-rex as a bargaining chip. He got it in exchange for the big A and the lion. 

The big A! I made this collage-y thing when Ari was a baby. It has stuff from a Where's Waldo book on it, including a lion, because Ari's name means lion.

...which also explains this one. This was the tag from a baby shower gift that one of the people from my department in grad school gave us. I loved it so much that I saved it forever.

We found this clock (Michael Grave's Target), brand new in the box, for $4 at the thrift store a few weeks ago.

Also a thrift find. I don't know what it is, but I like it here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Successful Thrifting Expedition

On Tuesdays Milo and Gus do a lego robotics thing at a friend's house, so Abe and Ari and I have a couple of hours to kill. Today we killed them by finding awesome things at the thrift store. We picked up my friend (and college roommate) Suzanne, and headed to a new Goodwill. And I found so many incredible things that I had to take pictures of them all and blog about it.

Suzanne spotted these mugs (I turned them funny so that it's hard to tell, but they have handles) and thought I might like them. And I did! So I bought them. I did check on ebay to make sure they're not worth a million dollars or anything, because I don't love them so much that I won't part with them for the right price. But they're not. So they're mine! We got our crazy dog Lucy at Niagara Falls (she was being fostered somewhere in Canada, and we were in Boston, so we met halfway), so it has sentimental value to us as a place where our lives suddenly become complicated and full of expensive dog trainers. Probably these should not go in the dishwasher. Dave hates it when we get dishes that shouldn't go in the dishwasher. But he'll have to forgive me, because I bought him these!

That's right: those are Transformer pajama pants. I don't think I need to say anything else. Suzanne found these, too. Thanks, Suzanne!

I'm going to paint this owl so that it's not so....luminous.

This is not so exciting. It's just a onsie. But it's a onsie with elephants and alligators AND monkeys on it.

And THIS is a tiny chair. What am I going to do with this tiny chair? I have no idea. There were two. Suzanne bought one, and she was like, "I'm going to give this to [her friend's child] to put her Barbies in." And I was like, "I'm going to buy this other one because....TINY CHAIR!"  Maybe I need a Barbie.

Ari spotted this (I didn't find anything myself, apparently; I just picked the right shopping companions). It is the best diaper bag EVER. I love it. I have another thrift store diaper bag, but it doesn't have a shoulder strap, so I hate it and I leave it in the car whenever I can get away with it. But this one is exactly what I want. Yay!

And then look! A footstool! A corduroy footstool. The legs fold up for some reason. I don't know where I'm going to put this either (I wonder if it would look good in the nursery? Or if it should stay in the sunroom? Or if I should decorate my entire den around it?), but I know that I needed it.

And then there was this, the find that got away:

Not for me, actually, although I would have liked it to use for a TV stand. My brother has been looking for one of these to somehow....umm, with computers...turn into a modern stereo type thing. I don't understand. Anyway, I texted a picture to him, and he was like, "yep--that's what I want!" and I was going to pay for it so they'd hold it for him, but then some other lady came along and bought it before I could. Blast it all!

Also, Abe rode in a shopping cart for the first time:

He really enjoyed it....for about 30 seconds.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Just the London Skyline, Ah Sweetheart.....

It's an Indigo Girls reference. Get it? In a bit of poor timing, I had Strange Fire in the disc changer in my car for awhile just before I did this project, and now I can't get that song (or at least that line) out of my head.

I came up with the idea for this project one day while I was in the shower, which is, historically, where I get all my best ideas (I used to compose entire paragraphs of papers there when I was in grad school. Of course, the problem with composing paragraphs in the shower is that you have to memorize them and keep them in your head until you get to a computer). The thought process went something like this: "hmm....maybe a skyline of some sort for Ari's wall? Like the thing from the beginning of Frasier...the outline of Seattle. But not Seattle. Where? Atlanta? Because we live here? Boring. Paris? Eiffel tower? Too hard. ......London? London Eye! Yes! Also with string!"

This was back when we were first starting on Ari's room makeover, and I've spent a lot of time since then fretting that the end result would not match the vision in my head. I dealt with this anxiety by putting it off as long as possible instead of just doing it already and getting it over with. I think it's probably good that we waited until after the big Boston map fail, though. Probably we were due for a screw-up, and I'd rather it were that than this.

And....I'm really happy with it! It looks pretty much like it did in my head! yay! Ari loves it, too. Extra yay!

I'll just go ahead and show it to you instead of making you scroll before I get to the how we made it part. I can't wait anymore, because I'm so excited about it.

The materials for this project were a 2 by 4 foot sheet of plywood (around $11), stain (already on hand), a box of tiny nails ($1.50), and 3 skeins (is that the right word? it's such a fancy word) of embroidery thread ($1.20 for the 3). So a total cost of under $14.

We started with the blank sheet of plywood, a picture of a London skyline stencil that I found online, and my rough sketch:

We needed too big of a circle for any circle shaped things we could find in the house (mixing bowls, pizza pans), so we hammered a nail in the center of the future circle, tied a loop of string the right radius to it, and did this:

That's the inner circle I'm making right there. We debated whether to do the compartments on the edge of the ferris wheel, but decided not to. I mean, people don't actually have to ride in it; it's just a wall hanging. And we figured it would be pretty obvious it was a ferris wheel And also it would have been hard to cut out all the little round shaped things with the jigsaw.

Then I did my thing where I sketch and redo all the lines 400 times trying to get it right. Dave went back and marked the practice lines with Xs so he'd know where to cut:

Then down to the basement to cut it out! Dave drilled a hole to get the circle started:

Then cut it out with the jigsaw. In flip flops! Classy!

Then I stained it. I used Varathane Dark Walnut (they were out of the Minwax when we bought it. I think I like the Minwax better).

If this were a whale, we'd have been all done. But we still had to do the string part.

Dave hammered a gazillion little nails in two rows along either edge of the circle. He wrapped a tape measure around it to get the spacing even:

And then we put the thread on (it's hard to tell, but it's a light gray rather than white). We did a criss cross design along the edge and then all the spokes to the middle. This part was tricky at times; it's a little hard to tie the thread to the nails, for one thing. But mostly the problem was with the thread slipping off the nails. We wound up having to put a second nail in the middle, because we couldn't fit any more thread around the first one (this could have been avoided by using a bigger nail just for that center one).

But we persevered!

We hung it up over Ari's desk. For the big plywood whale in Abe's nursery, we used anchor screws. But this one was MUCH lighter since we'd cut so much wood away (and it wasn't going to be hanging right over Ari's bed), so we went with just regular screws and screwed it directly to the wall (we thought about various other hanging techniques, but since it's not a rectangle at the top, our options were limited).

And here it is some more!

We're almost finished in here! I have one more thing to post individually about, and then a few more little, non-post worthy, things to finish up, and then I'm hoping for the final reveal/tour/source list next week. Here's the to-do list we made before we did the skyline (which is referred to as "secret project" on the list, since I didn't know when I'd post the picture):

Ari added "inspected by Lance." He's an odd boy.

Linking with:
Stone Gable's Tutorials, Tips, and Tidbits
Inspiration Gallery
The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday
Hookin' Up With House of Hepworths
Tatertots and Jello's Weekend Wrap Up
Classy Clutter's Spotlight Saturday
I Heart Naptime's Sundae Scoop Link Party
Monday Funday
By Stephanie Lynn's Sunday Showcase Party
Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Home Stories A to Z Tutorials and Tips
Time to Sparkle Link Party