Home Sweat Home: Cade’s Closet

I alluded to a big project going down in the last My Cade…we redid his closet! And it cost a fortune. It was worth it but wow, that stung.

This room was supposed to be Zack’s office but now we hope to move Cade into it officially. We still plan keep the desk area for when Zack works from home but I have plans to transform the rest of the space into something nice for my little guy.

There is a lot of work to do but a big issue was storage. Having a usable closet was top priority!

We started this closet adventure many moons ago with funky blue carpeted stairs, wooden cubbies, and hideous doors:


We ripped down those doors (I kinda wish we hadn’t done that), removed the carpet and had flooring installed. And then we crammed so much random crap in there, it gave me an instant headache:


Initially, I wanted to plan an Ikea closet but the standard heights would not work with the funny stairs inside. The Container Store was having a sale of 25% of Elfa systems so I had them help me plan a closet. They were great! I wanted a place for Zack’s dress clothes- for now, until we redo our own master closet – and then lots of other drawers and shelves that Cade could grow into. And until he does, I also wanted a place to store crafts and supplies that currently don’t have a home.

I cleared out the clutter and with great effort, removed those crooked and poorly built cubbies. The walls were in tough shape afterward.


Meanwhile, Zack and Amelie picked up the Elfa supplies and plopped them in among the chaos so we would be ready for the installer.


I did my best to sand, spackle and prime what I could with the little patience and expertise that I have. The walls were still far from perfect, but I figure the closet hardware would mask most of it. Then I got to painting. I chose “Paper White” by Benjamin Moore. It’s a, wait for it, light gray…


After the second coat:


I really really really wanted to tackle the gross popcorn ceiling but I knew I didn’t have time. One day, hopefully!

The installer came this week and it took him over two hours. I’m so glad we didn’t plan to do it ourselves. Wanna see how pretty it turned out?


I’m all heart eyes emoji-ing over here! The nice thing is I can live with this set up for a while and them customize it if I need to change things around. It’s very flexible!

What’s left to do?

  • Fill it and organize with bins
  • Fix a few issues with the walls where old trim used to be
  • Buy and install bi-fold doors
  • Paint bi-fold doors Zinc by Marth Stewart
  • Possibly paint the door rail…maybe a gold?

A good start though, huh?

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Tree Ghosts

Hello, October! The first day of October isn’t too early to be talking Halloween, is it?

Truth is, I’ve been Halloween-ing for some time now. My new motto is: if I manage to feel inspired one day then by all means, don’t hesitate! With little kids, you can not count on the opportunity for free time, motivation and a decent night’s sleep to line up. The days (and nights) are unpredictable. I totally understand why stores start stocking holiday stuff so early. It’s for the Moms, they need every moment of prep time they can get!

A few days ago, the kids and I did a Halloween craft together. When I say “together” what I really mean is I get the craft supplies out and Amelie bounces around like a pin ball machine unloading the craft bin, Cade quietly scoots along sucking on things he shouldn’t while I do the craft as quickly as I can yelling, “Scissors are for grownups, don’t touch!”

“We” made these adorable ghosts, one representing each family member:


I had everything on hand: the styrofoam balls were from a friend that moved, the googly eyes were leftover from Amelie’s dinosaur birthday, the gauze was from this scary Halloween of yore and the black ribbon I’ve had since the 90s. The 90s!

I used three eye hooks leftover from the playroom lantern cluster project


and hung them from various branches along our front walkway. Also, a sneak peek of our new landscaping! More on that later (hopefully before the snow flies).


I wasn’t about to buy anything so the eye hook-less ghost got nestled in a tree.


Cute, free, festive!

Amelie and I did a bit more decorating – spiders and spiderwebs for the boxwoods:


and a scarecrow and mums for my front step courtesy of my MIL. I should have bought more mums while they were on sale to fill out the planter but I’m tired, you know?


Amelie has been fascinated by scarecrows lately. They’re a funny concept, aren’t they?

The inside got some Fall sprucing as well when I brought out an old favorite, my white and gold pumpkins!


We are feeling very Halloweeny-y/Fallish these days, even though it’s been hitting almost 90 degrees still.

Flannels, don’t fret, I’m coming for you soon! Also, beware, more Halloween posts are in the queue…

Kid Table Makeover

You guys! I made over Amelie’s kid table for her playroom. *Cue disbelieving gasps*

I purchased this table and chairs from a big consignment sale last fall for about $30 with the hopes I’d get the nerve to make it over before Amelie out grew it.


Here is a before. Also, please excuse the nasty compost pile. I’m working on whittling it down. It’s slow going.

beforeIt was quite slick with poly so I knew I had a big sanding job on my hands. I was inspired to try a liquid deglosser after a friend redid her bathroom vanity.


The deglosser was easy to use but stinky Here is the deglossed after.


A lot less “shiny”.

Up close. If you squint your eyes and scrunch your nose, you might be able to see the white film left from the deglosser.


In hindsight, if I were doing things the Right Way instead of the Impatient Way, I would have done two rounds of deglosser and then went in with a sander as well. But I didn’t do it the Right Way, in fact, I barely let the deglosser dry before I attacked with this:

ocean_mistIt’s a new color called Ocean Mist by Rustoleum. It was just the color I was looking for!


This was after two rounds of spray paint. I ended up needing a second can and a few more rounds. I did most of my spraying in a hurried fashion and during the sunniest part of the day so I kept missing spots. Still, I liked where it was going. But it needed something more…


Gold always takes things to Fancy, right? I was going for “gold dipped”…


Let me see you dip, baby, dip in progress:

gold_dipped_progressAre you ready for the final reveal?

table_finishedIt’s marred with many imperfections but isn’t it still so cute?

gold_dipped_closeWhy not end with a badly lit zoomed out shot? Please ignore the laundry room doors propped against the wall. It’s on our To Do list…


This project took me weeks to do so I might get physically ill the moment one of my kids takes a crayon or pen to it when I’m not watching. It seems to chip easily too. Why, DIY Gods, why? I think I need to go in with some poly but I can’t muster any more effort on it.

I’m opening the floor now. Shower me with Ooohs and Ahhhs!

If you want to see how the playroom has evolved, click here.

Home Sweat Home: The Stairs Again

Remember when the Heavens opened up and the world rejoiced because we finally completed the stairs?


Lookin’ good, right?

Actually. No.

Like me from far away, everything is kinda looking alright. But when you get up close? Everything IS NOT LOOKING ALRIGHT.

For example, this huge hole in the caulking:


I’m to blame because the handyman caulked in a shred of blue carpet in his haste to get home. I was not having that so I carved it out, leaving a large gaping hole for bugs and things to snuggle in. Awesome, huh?

The caulking in the seams was also lacking in a few places. Can you see it?

crappy_caulkI tediously re-caulked everything and painted the primed risers a delectable white. Look closely and you will notice where it’s been painted versus the plain primed riser:

paintIt took three coats of paint to get the coverage I was happy with and of course our stairs sat like this for a few weeks along with my best intentions. Warning, adorable toddler ahead!


That swimsuit! It makes me weak!

Anyway, you’ll never believe this but here they are finished:


Here is where my husband and I differ. This is a project he would have never wasted his time on. From far away, it looks fine! On the other hand, the doors to the laundry nook are off and propped up in the den, the office is disaster, the bathroom is half painted, etc! I could be making a much bigger impact. But, my spare time is sporadic and comes in very small chunks. The stairs bugged me and it was a project I felt like I could take on in small steps.

Ending with a pun is so clever, isn’t it?

Instagram Gallery Wall

You guys. We put up a few pictures of our beautiful babies! FINALLY.

It’ll all started with this blank wall and, per my usual, a bad lighting Before:


Hubs got to doing math and measuring:


And just like that, a glare-y After:


Awww. It makes my heart feel all squishy inside.

I printed the pictures through Sticky9 in the 5″x5″ size. I’m very happy with how they came out. I found the frames, after much hunting, at my local Michaels. They came in a 4-pack and you’d better believe I used a 40% off coupon for each pack because I’m so super smart.

Here is a less glare-y angle:


And closeup:


Of course I printed these pictures a million years ago and now I have new Instagram favorites that I want to switch in. That’s the beauty of this gallery though; it can change and evolve.

I’m a little worried about sticky fingers messing with the bottom row but I’m hoping the littles stay far away from them.

We might add another row on top – what do you think?

Spray paint it yellow!

When Amelie was born, we got flowers at the hospital. It was such a happy lovely surprise. They made me feel like Amelie was so special and celebrated, you know?

I’ve been hanging onto one of the vases from that day with a plan to make it over. Ever since organizing the guest bath linen closet – which is still going strong, by the way – this little vase has lived in there. Can you spot it?


This one, holding extra toothbrushes for guests and my shower cap.


I’m digging the texture, it reminds me of old school milkglass. But I didn’t love the color – a really pale pink. I happened to have leftover spray paint from my diaper pail makeover (which is also still going strong) so I got to spraying:




Doesn’t it kinda look like a pineapple?

And back “home” again:

after_closetThe shelf “styling” is certainly not pin worthy but hopefully one day I can put some work into this closet to pretty it up. One day! But not any day soon.

Side note: Target has these adorable summer soy candles and one of them looks exactly like this vase! I should consult for them because obviously my vision is on point.

Anyway, back to my project. I told Hubs about my big makeover and he replied with “So, it went from pink to yellow?”

“Yeah. You make it sound so insignificant that way.”

Kiddie Picnic Table

I hinted in this post that I was working on a project. Well, by golly, I actually finished it. I know, I’m surprised too!

I had help which is mostly why “the finishing” part happened.

It all began like so…


I stained it Dark Walnut by Minwax because that’s the color cool bloggers I read use and I’m a copycat.

stainedI’ve never stained anything before but it was easy. Hubs and I sanded down any rough areas and wiped the boards clean. Then I brushed on the stain and after 10 minutes, wiped off the excess with a rag. I let it dry (4-6 hours) and did a second coat. Then I flipped all of the boards over and repeated the process. Next, I sprayed on four coats of water-resistant UV protectant polyurethane. It was all super simple but let’s be honest, it took me almost 2 weeks!

Then came time to assemble. The directions had four steps. I got my tool kit and said to myself “I can do this! I can do hard things because I’m a Mom!”

I stared at those four steps utterly confused for 10 minutes and then Cade woke up – so I left it in pieces on the deck. Then it got hailed on. Defeated, I sweet-talked Hubs into building it while I was out running errands and when I came back over an hour later, he was still struggling with it. Turns out, it wasn’t four easy steps after all! The directions were total crap and it required two people to do it.

But together, we got it finished!


*Ugh, isn’t she is the cutest?

Thanks to Grandma for gifting us the table! It looks so sweet out on the deck. I don’t feel comfortable sitting on it for fear it’ll collapse into a zillion splinter bits, but it’s perfect for Amelie and when we have littles visit in a few weeks. I love it.

Man it feels good to actually cross a project off the To Do list. That, like, never happens.


Home Sweat Home: The Office

Today is the office reveal! Can you hardly stand it? Me either.

Let’s back up and try to remember what we started with:


Cabling. Blue carpet.


Carpeted stairs in the closet and mirrored doors. Mismatched outlets. A room full of yuck. Are you ready to see the transformation?

Pay no mind to those ugly hinges and come on in. The door has been “freshly” painted  -as in ages ago – Zinc by Martha Stewart.

photo 2

I have yet to tire of this color. Of course, the blue carpet was removed and replaced with yummy walnut laminate floors. And then we added quarter round when my BIL came to visit a few summers ago. We’ve painted and caulked most of it. One day we hope to finish…

photo 1

You can see a sneak peek of the adorable/tacky dollhouse I scored for Amelie for Christmas for only $20! More on that later, maybe. Anyway, we went back and forth on what to paint this space. Hubs wanted something other than gray and I couldn’t think of any color I liked outside of gray. For a while, we toyed with painting it Wet Seal by Martha Stewart, which is a brownish black color that you might remember since I tried it out on the railings. We half-painted one wall and left it like that for months. I don’t know how Hubs got any work done with that smeared angrily beside him, it was so disturbing. We finally settled on painting it Winter’s Day by Martha Stewart (the same color as the guest room) and I got to work a few weeks before Cade was born.

To continue the tour, to the left there is this:

photo 3

Piles. It’s exhausting to look at, no? How about we don’t look at it anymore and turn our attention to the closet on the opposite wall?


The carpeted stairs are now laminate and with great effort, we were able to rip off the mirrored doors (which are still stored in our garage unfortunately). We should have never removed those doors. They were ugly but at least they hid our crap for the time being. Sigh.

I moved the STUVAs from the playroom to use for Cade’s clothes until I can find a dresser for him.

Another angle? Ok.


I can sense you are feeling a tad uninspired? What if I show you the new desk?


Look real hard because it’s there somewhere, along with an adorable new clearance lamp from Target. Quite a bit of work went into building this desk, actually. Hubs ordered and assembled the two filing cabinets. Then he bought a countertop from Ikea (that we got cut to size) that we placed on top of the file cabinets. It fits perfectly in this little nook!

desk1Finally, we had pretty drawers and file cabinets to store our office-y stuff! We took the opportunity to sort through and organize the mountains of paper work stored in our plastic file bins and transfer everything to the new desk. Sorting our paperwork was long over due since we hadn’t really addressed it since this post.

But then.

Then Hubs got an office outside of the home which gave me free reign to fill his beautiful new desk with more of my piles. I’m so ashamed.

And that’s it. The office reveal. I know, it’s bad. Even though the list of To Dos is long, I figured I might as well show you how far we’ve come. Don’t deny me a little progress, ok?

Here’s what needs to still happen:

  • remove piles. hey, there’s a novel idea!
  • new lighting
  • replace outlets
  • finish trim and quarter round (including the closet where it’s missing completely)
  • replace blinds since they are broken and dirty…and eventually replace window
  • address closet. I’m dreaming of not only a space to store clothes but also my crafts, wrapping paper, and office stuff. I’m thinking something beautiful and custom, with doors. I’m also thinking it will be very expensive and time consuming.
  • new paint because Winter’s Day feels so meh
  • art, accessories and maybe wallpaper in the “nook”
  • one day, scraped popcorn ceilings

With Cade and Amelie double teaming us each day and night, we barely have time to stay on top of our bills and email, much less work on the house. Although this space drives me mad, this effort will have to be put on hold for a while…

But wait a minute! One more small piece of progress – I transformed another dingy vent cover, like I did for Amelie’s nursery.

photo 5

I wanted to end on a positive note. Want to see more rooms? No? Aww, guys, that makes me feel bad.

Dinosaur Party!

Amelie’s 2nd birthday party was Dinomite!

The reason I’m sharing the details? I want to remember. Most likely Amelie won’t so this will be a nice way for us to look back on how we celebrated her. <3

I was going for a blush, gold, white and gray (of course) theme. I’ll be sad when I’m not in charge of the theme and Amelie wants Dora everything. Until then, Mommy calls the shots!

My first project: transform these plastic dinosaurs into a pretty, pretty gold. It took me a long time. I made them into a cute dinosaur banner: The decorations continued. Poofs for over the table:

It’s hard to tell but the gray is actually gray and white polka dot. It’s so adorable in person and a fun way to mix in some pattern.

Fringe garlands. I love these, I think I’ll make them every year!

They are putzy but cheap and easy to make. I couldn’t help but add a mini fringe to our hutch too…


To serve as a distraction from our gross countertops:

Cupcakes topped with white chocolate dinosaurs and edible glitter.

A glittery shout out to The Birthday Girl: The outside got some fancying too with dinosaur tracks and a birthday message! Except the rain washed them away by the time the party started. Phooey. BUT. DINOSAUR SHIRTS HAPPENED. They were an Etsy splurge. My littlest dino: I’m new to this kid-birthday-party-throwing-business but I tried to think of a few activities to keep busy toddlers, well, busy. Half of the kids were into them, half of them couldn’t have cared less. Amelie was mostly planted in the second camp.

The first was a Build Your Own Stegosaurus station. You could do this project a million different ways but I tried to keep it simple. Although looking at this picture makes it seem otherwise… I cut out all of the pieces beforehand to save time and to avoid a Toddler with Scissors Scenario. Also, an excuse to use washi tape! *claps* Everything was ready for them to piece together their very own menacing Stegosaurus! Best of all, I had all of the supplies already on hand. Attention spans were a little short for this craft so the moms ended up finishing them. Nonetheless, I hope the kids enjoyed taking home something that they made. Amelie and I made ours ahead of time and she loves playing with her paper dinosaur!

The second was a Dinosaur Tattoo station.

Amelie chose a Brontosaurus for both hands. Then she added more later that evening.  Cade got tatted too.   The last station was out on our deck. A Fossil Dig! I made the fossils out of salt dough. Super easy (although they took forever to bake). Each “archaeologist” was allowed to bring home two foot prints, a dinosaur skull and a mini T Rex in their own fossil bag: Unfortunately, it was raining out so the fossil dig was a little soggy. Most of the kids didn’t much care about finding the fossils but enjoying digging in the sand.

Speaking of bags, I put together treat bags for the kids too: Up close because I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to use googly eyes. It was supposed to be a T-rex but kinda looks like a lizard. I figured two year olds won’t judge my dinosaur free-handing.

This one was for “Ameliesaurus” Here’s what went inside: Dinosaur tattoos and dinosaur stamps (both from Amazon) and the dinosaur crayons I made tucked into a golden “dinosaur” egg. Normally I would not have bought each child a stuffie, but these were 50% off in the after Easter sales AND there were exactly five of them. It was too perfect. That’s the advantage of having a small party. Thanks to my MIL for finding these!

Lastly, coordinating Thank You cards for any gifts Amelie received. 

It was so fun to plan and craft and decorate. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves, especially the birthday girl.

I love you, Amelie. Rawr.

For the memories: Amelie’s first birthday

Home Sweat Home: Kitchen Cabinets

Hello! I’m still here! I’m sorry I’ve been delinquent. Now that Cade is awake more in the afternoons and evenings, it’s becoming difficult to find time for computer-y things. Buuut, I have a *big* update for you!

Before we get right into it, let’s take a look back on this started-off-as-an-exciting-DIY-but-turned-into-let’s-pay-someone-to-do-it-for-us journey.

It all began with a beigey-butterscotchy cocktail of yuck:

And even though I kept referring to it as an “island”, it’s actually not an island at all since IT’S CONNECTED TO THE WALL. Anyway, the bar got a pretty makeover:

Then the trim and doors got transformed:

Although I neglected to do behind the fridge so it still looked  junky.

Thanks to a good friend and some serious effort, the wall paper border got scraped off:

And the walls were painted a delicious Gray Owl, which clashed angrily with our cabinets:

Then later, I painted ONE cabinet but left the door off for many many months…as well as many visitors:

By this point, I had lost all of my kitchen DIY mojo. So we hired painters to paint the rest of the cabinets! TA DA:

Whoa! Pretty pretty cabinets!

The photos are dark because I don’t have the patience (and neither does my toddler) to take them in afternoon light:

This project took two painters EIGHT days and cost us almost $2000. I know. Our wallets are a a stingin’. Like I mentioned earlier, they used the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation System from Home Depot so it’s not just regular old paint. It comes with a sealant and everything. Obviously this was a very labor intensive/costly job. After watching them work for over a week, I felt relieved knowing there was absolutely no way I could have done this job myself during nap time. Pieter The Painter even painted the trim behind the fridge for me. What a sweetie!

We really debated whether we should lay down the cash or wait to do a full kitchen reno later on. Eventually, I’d love a new kitchen. But with two littles, I can’t see us tackling that kind of a project for quite a few years. I don’t have the brain cells to even plan a new kitchen, much less live in the chaos of an actual renovation. So this is a great interim project until we save up more money and spend the time now growing our littles into kind Bigger People.

As for the remaining To Dos…there are still quite a few projects that need attention:

  • possibly paint the maroon grout – it looks very maroon-y now that everything is white
  • paint the wood trim on the countertops white to match the cabinets
  • paint the grungy ceiling
  • install toe kicks
  • replace the outlets themselves since they are still almond colored
  • address lighting someday
  • replace cracked kitchen window
  • address grubby window coverings
  • redo pantry
  • refinish wood floors in a dark walnut to color match the laminate in the rest of the house

Yeah, the kitchen is far from “done” but at least it’s not a total embarrassment anymore. Hip, hip, hooray!