Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Install Crown Molding...our way

Just a few finishing touches for the bathroom...I'm getting excited! (Both because it looks awesome, and I really want to take it off my "to do" list!)
So, in our house, here's how we do crown molding.

Step 1: buy white trim weeks before it is needed (who knew it would take so long to get around to it?). Leave it in the garage. $10
Step 2: Buy a miter saw. Hey, at $170, it was a good deal! And he's wanted one for a long time!
Step 3: Buy a car load of wood--so much wood, in fact, that I require help loading and have a very unsafe drive home with my Kindergartner in the front seat. ($50-plus a new drill, since we can't find the old one)
Step 3.4: Bring out Littlest Pet Shop and play on the new wood.
Step 4: Build a table. Because you can't use the saw safely without a solid work surface. Plus, we've wanted one for a long time. 2 hours. (The kids loved helping).
Plus, we have enough stuff to build two more tables.

Notice the height? It is scaled for Christian, not me. I'll have to use a step stool to reach the top. On the flip side, the kids won't be able to reach anything up there, either. Totally a man table.

What was the table for, you ask? And what does this have to do with crown molding? Hang on a minute...

Step 5: What was this post about again? Oh, yeah--crown molding. We haven't gotten there yet. We realized that our bathroom walls aren't square, and the angles aren't simple, so we'll let you know when we figure it out...Since I'm not so good at tutorials, though, here's a good one: ThriftyDecorChick does crown molding (Except that for our little space, the angle isn't 45 degrees...Be grateful if it works for you!)

Identity Crisis

My blog is having an identity crisis.

I am an avid blog-stalker, and I love writing my head. Actually writing them in Blogger? Much harder. Plus, as much as I love reading craft blogs, cooking, blogs, design blogs, and Mommy blogs, my life is pretty much smack in the middle. So I blog a little about everything--

My problem is that I'm bored, and I kind of think that people aren't looking at my blog because of its identity crisis.

Now, I know that I should treat blogging like a journal, and do it for posterity and all that. I get it. I don't scrapbook, and I did't do baby books, and for the most part this works for me. What I need to know is, does it bug anyone that my blog doesn't really seem to know what it is? (Plus, there's procrastination. Completing a project is fun, but writing about it weeks afterwards isn't.)

The other part to this blogging-boredom, which has been coming on for a while, is this move. This latest move was really, really hard. And we can conceivable have another one in another year or two, and then more after that. Posterity or not, I don't want to be a bummed out blogger all the time.

So, I'm trying to get back in to it. Most of what I have planned to write about is project related, because I am excited about some of the things I'm working on. But I love my kids, and they're pretty cute, so I'll write about them, too. I guess I'm just asking---Do you mind? And do you care?

Monday, May 16, 2011

All dolled up

My latest project (having nothing at all to do with the house):

I found a solid wood doll cradle at my local Goodwill for $3. I figured for that price, it was worth experimenting!

I started by giving it a thorough sanding. I patched with wood filler and sanded again.
I primed and painted it white--and realized that some of the scratches, dents, etc. just wouldn't go away, so I decided to work with it.
I cut a piece of foam to fit inside, and covered it with an old t-shirt using hot glue. I thought about sewing something, but laziness won that debate.
At the craft store, I picked up a polka dot stencil, some glaze medium, purple craft paint, and tulle. I mixed the paint with a pearl medium, and used the dot stencil on both ends.
After it dried, I added some glaze medium to the paint mix and glazed all the edges.
I also used the stencil brush to add a scallop detail around the heart cut-out and along the sides.
Then, for the finishing detail, I added a tulle skirt along the bottom. First, I cut the tulle 3x's as long as the cradle. Using hot glue, I attached both ends and middle of the tulle strip to the underside of the cradle.
I continued pinching the tulle and gluing the middle of each section until it looked nice and full. I did two rows of tulle on each side--One was white with white dots, one was purple with white dots. I finished it by using staples, so it was secure.
I think it makes a pretty cute bed for my very girlie-girl and her doll!


(As in, "do it professionally")

Before: (Or during--since we've already ripped off most of the wallpaper, leaving only a few dangly pieces that were too high for us to reach--picture emerald green stripes. And we put in the carpet.)
This is the age of "If they can do, I can too...and cheaper" or "Why should I pay them for something I can do myself" and usually I agree. Having recently gone in way over my head on home renovations, I'm here to say-sometimes its okay to pay. We have a super-tall stairwell (with wallpaper) and I knew that to do it myself would be to risk breaking my neck. My neighbor suggested using her painter (yes, my neighbor has a painter AND a handyman), and I told myself that if could do if for less than a *certain* amount of money, I'd go ahead and contract it out. I'm glad I did. Not only did he agree to do more than I originally planned on (he's doing the upstairs hall, too), for the amount I was willing to spend, I've already seen that he does a much better job than I do. (I thought I had spackled so the walls would be ready for paint, and then he showed me just how much his crew did to get it really, really ready for paint. Plus the wallpaper is already gone, with much less mess than I would have made.)
Granted, its still way cheaper to do it myself, and I probably will for most things. I'm just saying--it's worth it to me to know that this project will be done TODAY, not by me, and done well. Its actually a huge relief, and I'm willing to pay for it.
Official "Afters" to come...And I have big plans for a picture collage wall!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What's green and pink and speckled all over?

My bathroom!

We're in the midst of yet another project--one that I'm really excited about!
I know I wavered back and forth about adding trim to the hallway, and eventually decided against it...but I thought that the small main level bathroom would be the perfect place to try it out!
I don't have a good beginning photo of this bathroom, but I have this shot red living room, to give you an idea of the color.
Intense, right?

I'll save the details for the final reveal...but here's a few in process shots. (spackling, gluing, nailing, caulking, paint...oh, my!)

Here's what we've learned so far:
*Nail gun and compressor--totally worth it! We borrowed one to start, and ended up buying our own because we know we'll use it.
*Starting the bathroom was a good idea. Its a small space, and we are only (most likely) trimming out two walls, so its a good place to practice.
*Board and Batten (hearafter refered to as B&B) is really simple--and its beautiful! Totally doable and totally worth it! After our last few home improvement projects, its so nice for it to work out!
*On a more practical note, its a really good idea to spackle and sand the wall between vertical slats--it makes the wall texture much smoother to match the MDF. Oh, and caulking is a good idea to cover gaps between the wall and wood, but it isn't necessary everywhere, and too much is not so good!

There's also been a little of this:
(new installed faucet on new installed sink--pretty!)

(cutting molding)

and this:
and a whole lot of dust:)

This project (typical, I know) has taken much longer than expected, but we're nearly finished, so I'll post an official "After" soon--but here's a teaser:
I'm still pondering the decor details, but the basics are nearly done!
(That's the old sink, hanging out in the garage)


Once again, we made the (short) trek to Ohio over the Easter weekend. Christian had both Friday and Monday off, so we drove up Thursday evening (and came back Monday, hoping to get some work down around the house...ha!)
We had a fun, and surprisingly productive weekend! On Friday, the kids built Green Funland (a tradition) and we took the kids swimming. Saturday morning, we headed over to the church for a pancake breakfast/egg hunt.
Afterwards, we spent an afternoon outside.
The Dad's cut down some trees, cleared some shrubs, and built a trampoline.
The kids helped a bit and played in the "swimming hole" (i.e. puddle, Green lake, or mud pit). At first we told them no, you can't get wet...Then we allowed them to wade in...
Then they rolled up their pant legs...
Then they dove in with their clothes on....
Then Isaac stripped down to his diaper (I'm free!)...
And then I gave in and let them use their swimsuits.
DeAnn fed us amazing food like black bean soup and burritos and cookies and funeral (resurrection?) potatoes.
We also worked on a craft project for the girls' rooms...We spray painted plywood panels, and the girls created a set of 3 paintings to hang.
For the first time ever, we made the drive home without any potty breaks:)
Thanks for another fun weekend!