Home Sweat Home: The Stairs Again

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

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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:

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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!

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That swimsuit! It makes me weak!

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

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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:

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Hubs got to doing math and measuring:

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And just like that, a glare-y After:

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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:

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And closeup:

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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?

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

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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:

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Yellow:

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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…

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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!

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*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:

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Cabling. Blue carpet.

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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.

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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…

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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:

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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?

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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.

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

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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.

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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…

Rawr!

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!

The Green Monster

Many moons ago, I revealed my first big DIY undertaking: Amelie’s green dresser

Even after 20+ months of daily use, I still am in love with it. It’s holding up so far…*says a quick prayer*

But here’s the thing. It wasn’t quite finished. And that super irked me.

Look reeeaaal close. Can you spot it?

See when I painted it, I skipped the inside because we needed the dresser to be DONE and filled with baby girl clothes instead of living disassembled in our garage. Little did I realize, the blonde edges would peek through at me. I’ve spent hours (days? months? years now?) sitting in the nursery holding Amelie, glaring at those “blonde roots” and they glared right back at me.

In addition, there was other unfinished business. I imagined perfect little baby clothes resting neatly and adorably in drawers lined with pretty paper. I spent waaaay too long searching for wrapping paper with the notion I would Modpodge it and Amelie would have the classiest green dresser in all the land. I couldn’t find “the one” and so I finally settled on wrapping paper I found at Target while Amelie was wailing at the top of her lungs. She hated Target as a baby. But then again, she hated lots of things: strollers, sleeping, laying on her back, car seats… I think she may have hated being a baby?

Anyway. On one very sleep deprived day, I decided I needed to finish the dresser so I could feel better about myself. When Amelie went down for her nap, I pounced and got to googling, cutting the paper to size, and modgepodging. I’ll save you the drama by summing up the experience: it was a total flop. The surface of the drawers was too glossy or something because the Modgepodge only bubbled and crinkled the wrapping paper. I could peel it off in shriveled angry bits. I CRIED OVER IT. I cried over the wasted effort when I could have been sleeping. It was one of those days, you know?

Fast forward a year and a half and I finally got the nerve to try again, this time with contact paper that I found on Amazon. This post is already too wordy for its trivial content but let me say that the contact paper was a much better option. It was still tricky to put in. I did half of the drawers by myself over way too many months and roped Hubs into helping me literally days before Cade arrived. One tip with contact paper, take a safety pin to make a tiny prick over any bubbles and smooth it out with a card. Works like a charm!

Surprisingly, the can of green paint living in this closet was still useable so I was able to paint those blonde roots green as well. Oh happy day!

Even though chevron was “so three years ago”, I think it’s fun that it coordinates with my diaper pail too:

Since Cade was two weeks early, I hadn’t had a chance to make room for his itty bitty clothes among all of Amelie’s clothes and accessories. While Dad took Amelie to the mall to play and Cade snoozed, I got to work. It always looks worse before it gets better…

And done! Like, done for real this time.

As with Amelie’s clothes, I only put relevant sizes in at a time so they can share the dresser. As they grow out of things, I add new items in and store the old. Here is how I organized it all, knowing it will change as they do.

How about a closeup so you can see the contact paper peeking through?

Boys clothes. I do love me some greens and blues!

Amelie’s accessories drawer – girl has got hair bows for every occasion!

I’m glad to have this project *finally* finished and everything PUT AWAY. It’s not super convenient since I set up a make shift nursery in the guest room to get us all through the newborn days but eventually the plan is to have the kids share this room.

Gotta run and smooch a baby now. Want to see a photo of him? Ok, I don’t mind.

Ugh, he’s the sweetest!

Friday Tidbits

Not one of you asked how I came up with Amelie’s brilliant construction worker costume for Halloween but I’m the self indulgent type so I figured I’d tell you anyway.

It all began this summer when I was at Michaels and scored butterfly wings on super clearance for like a dollar. “Perfect!”, I thought to myself. “Amelie will go as the most painfully uncreative thing ever, a butterfly. And I don’t hardly have to use one brain cell to put this costume together. I’m the best mother of all time!” I figured I could pair any assortment of her mostly pink and purple attire with the wings and strap them on her back with string or something. Easy!

Later on in the summer, I was at a consignment shop and found an adorable pink leotard with a skirt. You’d think I had completely buried my Minnesotan/Alaskan roots because I decided she would wear only the leotard with the butterfly wings in LATE OCTOBER…making Amelie the most beautiful/generic butterfly-fairy-ballerina combo in the whole wide world.

As Halloween approached, I dug out those wings and started brainstorming how to tie them onto Amelie without it looking too hacked. I thought about fishing wire and pipe cleaners and pink string and ribbon, but it was all a little meh. Then three important things happened.

I made the mistake of showing Amelie the wings one morning and she immediately ripped out one of the antennas on the poor thing. Then, our little tug-of-war over the wings shook the bejeweled butterfly bodice loose. Besides being dumb looking, Amelie showed no interest after the initial maiming and I made the cunning realization that she would probably hate having this thing tied to her back. The next important thing. I got real about the leotard. Even though Colorado can actually be quite hot in October, it is at least chilly in the evening when little pumpkins in costume would normally be trick-or-treating. This Halloween was looking to be no exception. She could not just wear a leotard. Lastly, we were invited to a birthday party the weekend before Halloween. In Amelie’s birthday party treat bag was a plastic construction worker hat. And…BINGO! My brain cell had an idea.

I went to Facebook to see if anyone in the mommy’s group that I’m in had a construction vest we could borrow. Surely someone would and would be gracious enough to lend it to me so last minute!? The replies I got were “No but good luck. I’m sure you could make one yourself, it would be so easy!” WHAA? Halloween was approaching too quickly, I was very pregnant with little time and even less patience, crafts in crunch-time NEVER WORK, oh and I don’t sew, I only hot glue gun things.

Then I found this tutorial online.

I went to Michaels and bought 4 pieces of felt and orange glitter ribbon to mimic “reflective tape” all for a whopping $2.30. I followed the directions on the tutorial (loosely because I’m lazy) and glued it together with my glue gun. I had black satin straps from an old bridesmaid dress in my craft bin so I glued those on as “piping”.

I did pull out a needle and thread to attach the shoulder pieces to the back and did an admirably crummy job of it. I could barely believe it but this project took no time, no stress, no cuss words and I thought it turned out to be the cutest thing ever! Say you agree!

I’ve already patted my own back to excess but I welcome any extra accolades you may have to offer. Also, my sincerest apologies for stomping on the month of Christmas with wordy Halloween goober. Happy Friday?

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Gold Glittered Pumpkins

Hi everyone! I hope you had the most splendid of Thanksgivings. Mine was filled with delightful food and so much excitement that even Amelie couldn’t resist skipping her nap. That kinda made for a tricky weekend but still, I’m so thankful for awesome leftovers and the help from my Hubby with our little lady.

Life is very very good, sincerely.

The only decor I put up for Thanksgiving was a clean table (a serious rarity) and this tray with my pretty “new” glittered pumpkins:

I jazzed up the previously all white getup with a little glitter and gold!

I bought the filler at Michaels on super clearance and layered on a few craft paints by Martha Stewart in champagne, antique silver and florentine gold. I should have been painting trim but who cares what the rest of the house looks like, right?

Ooooh, so sparkly. Do you like?