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Saturday, April 19, 2014

DIY Corn Hole

 Who's ready for some Corn Hole?  For those of you not from the South - like me! - corn hole is basically a bean bag toss game.  It's very popular here, especially among the adults (I know right?  You mean it's not just a game for kids?! lol) and with prime yard game weather here, why not join in on the fun right?  When we found out that a CHEAP set of boards starts at over $50, well, of course we decided to make our own.
Actually, we started these boards in November.  Are you getting sick of hearing me say "oh look!  We finally finished _____"?  LOL  Hopefully not - you know I'm trying to be good about finishing up works in progress over here.  And since life so easily runs away with us there's a good chance I will be saying that many more times in the future ;)  Anyway - the husband built the boards in the fall but we didn't get a chance to put the poly on them before our Thanksgiving dinner with friends and after that the weather changed and there didn't seem to be any motivation (or room in the garage that is constantly filled with saw dust or set up for painting drying racks).  Until this month.  Not only did I get the poly on them, but Kaitlyn helped me sew the bean (technically deer corn) bags too.
 Ta-da!
The boards seem to typically have some sort of theme like sports teams or colleges, etc.  Sam may have been into that but it's not anything I truly have a preference for (and no, I did not want to make a Dale Jr NASCAR one LOL) so I went with the Stars vs Stripes.  Not only did that seem like a good fit for us, but it allowed me to use one of my favorite finishing techniques - masking off the design before staining so it becomes part of the item instead of an applied accessory.
 For anyone that is interested we used a tutorial found on this website and sewed the bags ourselves (they are 6" square and I used the same technique you would for making a pillow).  I'm pretty happy with them, though they are kind of big and bulky.  Sam is already working on another set, trying to get the weight down a bit and with using a material other than the plywood we should get crisper edges with the stain technique too.  (So when that set is finished in like, another year ;), who wants first dibs on this one?!)
 The kids were really excited to try it out.  We had a quick game with the family - girls vs boys.
Girls won! ;)  Miss Kate was actually really good at it for her first time.  And both kids really like it.  I think the boards are going to get a lot of use this summer - if I can just find a place to store them in the garage that ISN'T behind a giant stack of drying racks in progress.


Linking to:
The Idea Room

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Master Bedroom - Complete!

Guess what?!  For the first time in my adult life I have a completely pulled-together, fully decorated bedroom!  Yay!
I really only had finishing touches left - something decorative above the bed.  I had run across the unfinished wooden scroll frame (in the center) at the craft store months ago, brought it home and painted it white with the intention of putting a quote or something inside it on the wall.  Then at my last big trip to Hobby Lobby (I think my friend and I spent 90 minutes just wandering lol) I ran across these big monogram letters 50% off.
I love that they are already embellished for me and the paint even matched my room.  I did have to find and paint the "&" sign to finish it off.
I even hung everything up all by myself last weekend while the husband was working.  They're all centered and straight and everything! ;)
So here's a look at the room all put together.  The wall décor (on the right) I made a while back.
The lamps I picked up at Target a month or so ago.  And look - some of my photos are out on display!
My newly reupholstered chair and the console table Sam built.
I don't think I've shown that off yet.  The shelves were kind of an "oops" when he was building the console table for the living room.  He had the upper part all together and called me out to the garage to check it out and I had to tell him "um, honey...I didn't want the DVD player in the middle I wanted it hidden behind the shutters on the side."  We were eventually going to put something there anyway so - bonus!  I just need a couple more accessories or books on those shelves.  I'm sure I will run across the perfect thing eventually, but it doesn't detract from the room as is.

So one more time - this is the Before photo taken December 2010 when we had just purchased the house and our furniture hadn't even arrived.
And After!
 And in case you were wondering - yes, this is the ONE room in the house that stays this clean almost all the time.  I even make my bed every morning  ;)
 
Linking to:
 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

 I prefer mine covered in glitter or stuffed with chocolate! ;)
Easter is almost here!  Which means that about 10 minutes ago I realized that (again) and thought, "if I don't blog about something Easter-related right now it's not going to get done." ;)
 It was a little over a week ago that it truly hit me that, once again, time is barreling by faster than ever.  Then I realized I had yet to put away the stack of Valentines and St Pat's Day decorations stacked on my craft table, let alone put out any of the Spring/Easter stuff.  Don't worry - I took the time that day to not only fix it, but got myself completely dust covered and spent a good three hours or so going through not only my holiday décor totes in the garage, but my craft and party ones too (and happily emptied three of them in the process!).  Then I recruited my 7 year old, who was the only one home with me at the time, to help me decorate the ledge by the stairs.
 Yup I know - I need something on the left side of the shutters.  I had intended to make something, but well...it's not going to happen right now.  But the rest of it is cute, right?
 The front yard also got some much-needed attention with new flowers, new mulch, and moving some things around.  More on that later, when I have finished up what amounts to WAY too much yard work.
 What I really wanted to focus on today is the Eggs.  And the baskets!  My favorite things about Easter ;)  And once again, I went entirely overboard.  Though to be fair, my husband goes right along with me - he's the one that let my daughter try on the ridiculously-overpriced rollerblades weeks ago, then agreed to buy them.  So this year from us, Kaitlyn is getting the much-anticipated rollerblades, a glow in the dark soccer ball (because the dog has officially claimed Kate's old ball), and a couple of Ever After High dolls because I know she wanted that set and I spotted them on super duper sale at Target this week.
 Tyler was harder this year, mostly because he is fixed on technology (Ipods, music, and video games) right now and I like to concentrate on getting the kids set up for all kinds of outdoor fun at Easter.  The only thing he truly requested was a glow in the dark football.
A couple years back I invested in two sets of extra-large eggs.  This year I stuffed them with pool toys and goggles.
Then the really fun part - the small eggs.  I did stock up on everyone's favorite candy - Peeps, Cadbury mini eggs, jelly beans, Reese's eggs, and chocolate bunnies.  But I also try to get a little creative with what goes inside most of the eggs - and to steer away from sugar a little bit.  Previous years I've done things like stickers, toy cars, sidewalk chalk, etc.  This year I am splitting up a Lego set for Tyler and Kaitlyn gets Nerf Rebelle darts and strechy bands (they never seem to get enough of those, do they?).
And I also found these fun water bottle mix-ins.  My kids love that kind of thing.

I spent an hour stuffing eggs on Thursday - slid it in just in time before the kids hit Spring Break.  Yay!

So...what do you like in your eggs? ;)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Bank of Mom and Dad

Kids and money - it's another one of those areas where we, as parents, want to pass along all our knowledge as quickly and as easily as possible.  We do the allowance thing.  And chores.  We show them how much things cost and make them save for big items.  We take them shopping and let them pay for things themselves.  But I guess we forgot to tell the little guy "don't take your money to school" because he did.  The whole $161 dollars from the last few months of allowance, Christmas, and birthday money.  I'm still not sure what he was thinking taking it all to school but luckily his teacher caught it pretty early in the day and gave me a call.  I couldn't run up to the school right then but asked her to give it to Kaitlyn and knew my super-responsible child would get it back home safely.  However, I still spent much of the day shaking my head at the thought of my child taking all of his money to school and wondering what to do about it.
I have been thinking about taking the kids to open savings accounts at the bank, but right now they are currently working hard to earn enough money to cooperatively buy themselves an Ipad.  They even went online and looked up the price for one all by themselves.  It's kind of fun to see them pull their money out and sit down and count it all then figure out how much more they need.  I really hate to take all that away from them - the fun of counting the money and holding it in their hands.  And I don't want to undo any of their hopes/expectations by declaring that we are putting X amount in the bank and that it can't be used toward the tablet.   It's too late in the game for that, right?  Then inspiration struck - why not create our own little savings account for them here at home?
 
So we created the Bank of Mom and Dad.  I hunted up some old checkbook registers and a couple of manila envelopes then printed out labels to make them look more official.  The check registers will be for the kids to track their deposits and withdrawals.  The envelopes are for me to use while I keep the cash safe (I also put another copy of the check registers in there - you know, just in case).  The only rule I have so far is that they cannot hang onto any more than $20 in their own wallets.  The rest needs to be deposited in our "bank" until they are ready to buy something, then they can withdraw the cash just before we head to the store.  The rest will evolve as we go.  I'm sure at some point we will all sit down and discuss long term savings and setting up real bank accounts.  For now, I'm just relieved I won't have to worry about the little guy deciding he wants to lose all his cash at the park next time.

PS - it is really warm this week and Tyler put on a pair of shorts today for the first time this year.  And what did we find in the pocket?  Nine dollars!  Ahahahaha...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wingback Chair Redo

I did it!  I did it!  I finally tackled my first reupholstery project and woohoo!  Success!
 I picked up this lovely chair last year (yes a whole year ago, urgh) on a shopping trip with a friend at a Habitat for Humanity Resale Store.  We completely filled the back of the SUV on that trip ahaha - more on that part later. 
This chair in particular cost a whopping $5.  Yup.  FIVE DOLLARS!  I figured at that price even if I messed it up I wouldn't feel too bad.  And it obviously needed a little TLC.
Then I started pricing upholstery fabric - yikes!  I mean, it wasn't exactly a surprise because back when I was doing design it wasn't unusual to order $125/yard fabrics for custom chairs.  But that doesn't work for my budget.  I eventually found a small discount fabric place not far from my home, but after a couple trips at different times I still hadn't found anything I loved and most were still upwards of $12/yd.  Luckily I stumbled onto a link to fabrics.com and found some great deals.  The fabric arrived a little over a week ago and it was finally time to tackle the chair.
I did a quick review of a tutorial I had found on a blog, then grabbed the pliers and dove in.

 My trusty sidekick helpfully had her nose in on the fun most of the time.

Do you know how many thousands of staples they put in one chair?  Me either but it's a LOT.  I gave my hand a break every hour or so of work in the hope that I wouldn't get blisters (I didn't!).  And eventually I had it all torn apart.
Then I happily took a trip to the craft store to get more batting, upholstery tacks, and cording to sew the piping.  And it wasn't that long (parts of two days' work) before I had it all finished!  The husband was actually pretty impressed.  He didn't think I would actually finish the project, let alone end up with a decent-looking chair.  He should know better than to doubt me, right? ;)  (He didn't admit any of this until after the chair was all put together and he had sufficiently praised my efforts lol.  So I forgave him.)

 Look!  It even looks good close up! ;)  And yes, I painted the base black before putting the fabric on.  I almost forgot to do that part LOL.  Some of my other tips? 
-Take lots and lots of photos as you pull the old fabric off.  It really helps to be able to go back and see the process in reverse, or look at a few details on how to attach the tricky pieces.
-Carefully label (number it when removed, where it went, and which side is the top!) and set aside each piece of old fabric as you remove it.  Not only will you be able to use them as patterns to cut out the new fabric, but you can also refer back to them when you are assembling the chair.
-Take your time!   This is a labor-intensive process and it takes its toll on your hands and your patience.  When my hands were cramping up or I found myself annoyed or ready to rush through a step I would stop for a few hours or the rest of the day.  The last thing I wanted was to "mess it up" and then have to see my blunder every time I looked at the chair.  So take your time and do it right (or fix it right then) as you go.
 The chair now happily resides in our bedroom.  I'm this close to having the bedroom completely pulled together.  I'll share that soon.
But for now, I'm going to enjoy the chair.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Decluttering, Shall We?

I open up my storage closets and what do I find?
 Yup, a big giant mess.  In BOTH of my upstairs storage closets.  Couldn't even walk into them, forget about finding anything.  For a couple of months now I had just been tossing things in there when I didn't know what else to do with them and sure enough, pretty soon they were both one big giant disaster.
One day, not that long ago, we realized Kaitlyn had hit a growth spurt and needed to go out shopping for new jeans.  She and I took a Saturday morning and had a blast - basically doing a second round of back to school shopping for the year.  If only the growth spurt could have waited for the summer season when we would have needed to re-outfit her anyway.  But it didn't, so shopping we went.  Then we came home and sorted through all her clothes and bagged up everything that was too small.  The very next day I was talking with a neighbor about how quickly our kids are growing and realized that both of her daughters are in the size the my Kate just grew out of - perfect!  So I went to the closet and pulled out not only the bags we had just set aside, but I started finding clothes I had previously been tossing in there here and there as they were outgrown.
Pretty soon I was pulling out everything in not only that closet but the second storage closet as well (they flank each side of the guest room and all are accessed through the playroom) and pretty soon the playroom looked like this.
 Yup.  The kids came home to find a complete disaster area.  In among homework, dinner, and the rest of the evening routine I found the time to sort through everything.
That same storage closet now looks like this:
 Look!  You can see the floor!
And the wall on the other side of the closet:
 Yes, that would be half of my wreath collection.  Originally I had purchased some of those wreath holder boxes, but my wreaths were too fluffy or too oddly shaped to fit in them.  So they all hang on the wall.
Here are the rest:
in storage closet #2
which also now has some clear floor space - yay!  Sure, it's not worthy of the Pottery Barn catalog or anything, but it's a lot better than it was.  In the process I also "discovered" a lot of things that I had forgotten I had, like an entire stack of photos I had blown up but never put up on the wall.  (Now you know what prompted me to get started on Tyler's Monogram Wall again, along with the photos in my bedroom and other things I have yet to post)  It was a bit like Christmas all over again ;)  It also got the motivation going to not only tackle some of the projects that have been waiting for attention for a very long time, but to see what else I needed to sort through to make my life easier.  And it was perfect timing when just a few days later a friend sent me the link to the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.

Of course I jumped right on board.  Within about 10 minutes the next morning (while waiting at the bus stop, no less) I had a list of more than 40 locations that could use a little TLC.  A lot of them are tech-related (like cleaning out my email inboxes and organizing/backing up photos) and most should take less than 30 minutes to tackle, which should make it easy to fit into the day.  Yesterday was day 7 for me (I counted the storage closet sort as the first two tasks lol.  It makes me feel like I got off to a good start) and so far so good.

Anyone else doing the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge?  Or want to join me now that you've heard about it? ;)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Up on the Wall

 Remember this?  Well, I got it up on the wall!  (See Dari?! It didn't take 6 months! lol)
Where?  In the master bedroom, of course.  On that big blank wall by the bathroom.
 
I found I already had some photos printed, so I was able to make a nice little grouping on the wall.
PS - the hangers on the back of those frames drove my husband nuts when hanging them.  Not only are they each not quite placed in the same spot in the back, but the little hooks flip up and down so it was a real pain trying to get them on the wall.  We ended up with our faces pressed against the wall and a flashlight trying to see behind it to make sure we caught the hooks right.  I think it took us as long to hang these as it did to do the entire monogram photo wall in Tyler's room.
I'm starting to get excited about this room coming together.  I can count on one hand the number of projects I still want to do in the room - yay!  Next up is reupholstering a chair.  The fabric I ordered for it arrived the day before yesterday.  EEEEK!