Saturday, June 27, 2015

So Many Updates, So Little Time

It's been such a long time since I've updated the blog. Chance and I have been working nearly every weekend on something, and we still have things we'd like to do before we leave... But just to get you up to speed, here's a few things we've done since my last post like, a year ago...

Our dear old chicken coop got some love recently! The big cupola to the left was in our front yard, and we hauled it to the back and made it part of the coop. I think it's so charming!

I very recently got a bee in my bonnet, and to Chance's chagrin, repainted the dining room and kitchen in 'Mindful Gray,' by Sherwin Williams. In a few days we're installing new cabinets under the open shelving, backsplash, a couple of outlets and (finally) installing the garbage disposal and calling it a day with the kitchen... Until we run in to a good deal on a new oven! Did you notice the new floor?? I. Am. In. Love. This kitchen is my haven! We had planned on gutting the entire kitchen and starting over, but I felt too cheap, and I'm so glad we decided to reface the cabinets instead of taking them out completely. We framed the doors, repainted for new hardware and added trim to the bottom and it gave it a totally new look. We debated on getting a farmhouse sink but I decided to use the apron space for extra storage room in the faux drawers. We got those rev-a-shelf things and installed those, so the top 'drawers' are now functional. I also installed a trash can drawer which I love since there's not a great place to put one. 
We also bought some new chairs for the dining table. I get asked a lot if they are uncomfortable and I really don't think they are!

Since we're on the topics of dining rooms, this is my Mom's. I went to Houston and helped her decorate--- I *love* how everything turned out! She used 'Repose Gray,' by Sherwin Williams.

Chance built me a new bed using a slightly modified version of Ana White's 'Queen Bed' plan. It's fun to see how much better we get as we continue to build. I hope this is something we can keep and maybe even pass down one day. 

We also switched Mac to a big boy bed, but we're rebuilding him a new one soon!

This isn't an updated picture of the sunroom, but one that shows the tile. We bought the tile at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a steal! I don't think the picture does the tile justice! They are pretty huge! Chance has since added back the base boards and we've beadboaded the back wall. We also bought a day bed for that area and it's now a nice place to be again!

Another story about the ReStore--- I wanted this Kholer pedestal sink at Lowes but it was darn near $400, and I wasn't going to spend that! Fast forward 20 minutes later, we head to the ReStore and there was that exact one for $60! We repainted this room, installed the sink, new flooring and a new medicine cabinet!

Then there was this bathroom... There was a shower surround installed on top of tile. We were hoping to just take down the surround and keep the tile, but as we pulled the surround down, down came the tile... And the wall... Which, truthfully, I'm glad happened, because we learn the best when we're thrown in to situations. This was our first real tile project, and I feel like we really got what we wanted. 

Chance built a frame to go around the outside of the tub to make it a little not unique. All that is left to do here is crown moulding and we're done!

This is most of the big projects. Hopefully I can get better at updating more frequently!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jamberry Nails

A few weeks ago one of my friends on White Walls asked me if I would try Jamberry Nails to see how I liked them. I had already had a sample sheet sent to me during a Jamberry party a friend hosted online, but of course, my three-year-old ran off with it and it disappeared forever.

I had recently had shellac put on and just like acrylic nails, they would grind my already thin brittle nails down. I don't mind acrylic nails, but the upkeep is pricy, and after about three fills they always recommended that I get a new set put on, which was even more expensive! Shellac isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's not very cheap either and finding the time to make it to the nail salon… Well, it just doesn't happen very often.

When I was asked to do a free trial I eagerly accepted. The sheet came in the mail quickly and that night I tried one! All I needed was some scissors and a blow dryer and I was ready to go. I matched the wrap to one of my nails, cut it, heated it with my blow dryer and pressed it on. Seriously so easy. I painted the rest of my nails and waited for these things to fall off.  The wraps were thin, and the application seemed too easy. I'll be honest and say that I didn't have much confidence in Jamberry. When I get acrylic they fall off and don't even get me started on a manicure. It doesn't matter what nail polish I use, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be chipped the very next day. I don't know if it's because I do a lot of painting, gardening and outside work but I may as well just burn our hard earned money. I imagined Jamberry nails would be off within a few days.

But I was wrong.

I did my typical DIYing. I rummaged through bins of antiques and junk at junk shops. I did dishes, gardened, played with my son, cooked, cleaned and guess what? The Jamberry Nails looked like I had just put them on! The nail polish had cracked, and chipped, but my nail wrap was absolutely perfect. I was shocked! For two weeks I kept this one wrap on and it didn't so much as peel up on the side. You can imagine my surprise after years of chipped nails. I'm a changed woman, and will be a Jamberry customer from here on out. My favorite part is that I can get a professional-look for a fraction of the cost without damaging my nails in a matter of minutes. No chipping, no smearing or ruined manicures, and no waiting for paint to dry. Oh! And no stinky nail polish smell. I may never paint my nails again--- I haven't decided.

If you haven't tried them yet you really ought to! It's worth a try for sure.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Faux Apothecary Cabinet

I'm seriously so excited about how this turned out…

I have been wanting an apothecary cabinet, but thrift and antique as I might, I have yet to come across one. I'm totally obsessed with the look, and started to wonder if I could make one.

Sure I could!

Chance is super handy, but drawers are something that we've never made & I'm not sure if I'm ready to help tackle them--- especially the amount we'd need to make a no-kidding apothecary cabinet. So faux it was! The idea for a faux cabinet from an Ana White post on her Apothecary Console design (Click *here* if you want to see it!) It's two separate doors made to look like 8 drawers. Pottery Barn has the same design! Truly genius and completely manageable. I had an old dresser that we've been using as a TV console and it desperately needed a makeover. I went to Lowes and searched everywhere for a very thin, 8" board to cut into even (or nearly even,) squares. All that I ended up finding were 6" boards, or 8" boards that were too thick for the project. As I was about to leave and head to the specialty lumber store an employee stopped by to ask if I needed help. I explained what it was that I was hoping to make and he had the brilliant idea to cut a sheet of thin wood into the pieces I needed… An idea that I like to believe I would have had on my own had I had enough coffee in my system…Ahem… Anyway… A sheet of wood it was, and the gentleman was willing to cut it for me (and Chance rejoices.)

Sorry for the sad, blurry pictures :(

The guy so kindly cut the board into three long strips, cut those strips in half, then cut those strips into thirds. I ended up with 18 squares.

I bought 18 knobs, and headed to the craft store. 

In my mind the cabinet was going to be white. But while I looked for dark wax at the store, I ran across this great blue paint that I wanted to give a shot. 

I tried to use spray adhesive to get the squares in place, but in the end a brad nailer is what I ended up using. I'm sure that a better glue would work for this project.

This was the first time I had ever decided to use dark wax and I was a nervous wreck. It turns out there's really nothing to be afraid of, but I am glad that the stuff was more forgiving than I thought it would be. I used clear wax first, then spread in a dark wax around the corners and sides of the little squares to add depth. I had tried my hand at the crackle top coat, but even with the help of a blow dryer it was still hit or miss. I managed to get a few crackles and I love how they look with the dark wax on top! 

Measure to the middle of the square and drill pilot holes for the knobs. Here's where things got a little tricky for me. I'm sure you could find screws that were long enough, but the screws that came with the knobs wouldn't reach the knobs on the outside. They were a hair too short. Afraid I was going to have to go back to the store, I decided to take a large drill bit and drill to where the front of the old drawer sits. Then, I took a drill bit the size of the screw and drilled the rest of the way. The knobs sit below the surface, but you can't tell! 

As nervous as I was about the dark wax, I'm really pleased with how my 'cabinet' turned out :)


Taking Back Our Family Room, Part 1

Before we moved into the new house I had already made up my mind that our sun room was going to be the family room. The big couch was going to be in there, along with our son's toys, the TV and it would also be where the dogs would spend most of their time. The big front area was going to be a sitting room, and the fireplace 'room' was going to be a more formal living room. We have since changed our minds and have rearranged where the big TV will stay, but the sun room is still a place where Mac can go and pull out all of his toys.

With four dogs I'm sure you can imagine the dog food that we go through (more on that later.) We have three chihuahuas and a hound right now and only two of the chihuahuas are actually ours. I was finding myself walking over dog toys, constantly refilling dog bowls, and tripping over kennels regularly. I felt like what was supposed to be a relaxing place for the family felt more like an SPCA. I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate the necessities of having these dogs into my decor, but it was just a matter of figuring out a way to do that.

Rewind with me for a minute…

A few years ago I found this little side table at a garage sale for next to nothing. It was too cheap to pass up and I was dying to try my hand at repainting furniture. This was just before I discovered Pinterest (Thank you Jesus!) and just after we moved from Japan. 

It had been painted black, and with a little bit of sanding and some paint I turned it into this…

Womp womp wooooomp…

The latex paint was constantly peeling up and I was less than enthused about the outcome, but it was my first time painting furniture, I liked it better than before and it would be a great cabinet to keep Mac's toys stored in.

It sat in our family room for two moves.

After this last move I decided that I needed it to be more functional for the dogs and I got the idea to make it a dog house. Rather than have kennels everywhere, the little dogs could cozy up in here together. Even with two small kennels, the little dogs liked to be in one so I knew they'd be happy with this arrangement. I knocked out both of those lumpy panels on the front of the door, repainted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in 'Pure White,' and a great happy yellow on the inside. I used left-over wire mesh from our chicken coop to cover the holes, and attached a hook-and-eye lock to the side to keep the door closed. 

It's much easier on the eyes and much more functional for the family and I have no idea why I didn't do this sooner. It took me about an hour from start to finish and the longest part was letting the paint dry and cutting the wire mesh. 

Until next time

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chicken Coop

Back in April we went to the Tractor Supply store's monthly swap in hopes of finding chickens. We weren't sure if we wanted chicks or hens that were laying already. Part of the problem with buying chicks would be taking the risk of getting a rooster. We can have hens, but no roosters. Part of the benefit of raising chicks (besides being super cute) is that they get used to you, which is great when you want them to get used to being around a toddler. We got lucky and found chicks that we already knew were hens. We knew we wanted a chicken that would lay bigger eggs, but we wanted to find silkies too. Tractor Supply had leghorn chicks, and silkies. Lucky us! We fell in love instantly.

Seriously. I can't handle how cute they are.

Fast forward a few weeks, and our precious baby chicks started jumping out of their box! I'd go in to feed them only to find them all missing. It was time to get them in a coop, but we couldn't decide whether or not to build a coop or buy one. I had my heart set on something nice to look at. It might have not been practical, but I didn't want to look at an ugly hen house when I looked out in our backyard especially now, since we spend so much time out there. We got the idea to try to find a kids playhouse to convert to a coop. We scoured Craigslist, but found nothing but plastic houses, or people who were selling crazy big, crazy expensive, custom-built mini mansions. I love my chicks, but I'm not going to spend 10k on a chicken coop… Sorry gals!

Sam's Club had a playhouse for around $200. It was precious, sturdy, and could be converted into a coop easily. The house was a snap to put together, and with a little ingenuity and a couple of hours our chicks had a new place to lay their heads! We put wire mesh over the windows, locks on the doors and built a couple of roosts. The girls were in heaven! 

A few days later I painted the house white, and the door a nice dark grey.

When they got a little bigger we let them out. Bad idea. Something has pummeled over our fence and they 'fly' over the low parts and into our neighbor's yard. We're hoping to re-fence the yard sometime soon, any maybe then we can let them out. 

Eventually we cut open the back windows and put in a nesting box. We're going to divide the big box into a couple of smaller boxes for them to lay, but we got the bulk of it done. Chance did a great job building this, I thought. We shingled the roof just to hopefully extend the life of the coop. I won't be getting a new day job shingling roofs anytime soon, though. 

We've built a 5'x16' run for them to roam in. We have a sneaky raccoon and a fox that keeps trying to get in, but so far so good!

I just couldn't be happier with how it all turned out. They're lower maintenance than I thought they would be. We put all of our grass clippings in the run and let them go after the bugs. We use them to compost kitchen scraps, and those girls will go nuts over oatmeal or watermelon! 

This is Ethel, one of our Silkies

Until next time!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Master Bedroom

Naturally I forgot to take a 'Before' Picture, so this is our 'before, but after we primed and ripped up the carpet' picture. 

Before all of this though, the room was a really beautiful blueish teal color. I really debated on not painting this room at all because I liked the color so much, but I had already fallen head-over-heals in love with the comforter from Pottery Barn and I couldn't compromise--- it had to be painted. I settled on 'Pediment' from Sherwin Williams for the master bedroom and really think it's fantastic. It actually might be my favorite color so far! 

For a while after I painted it was our catch-all room and it looked like this:

Terrifying, right?! It was to me! 

Once we got everything thrown away and out of the door it was much better and we started to lay the flooring down.

While we were laying the floors we were waiting for one run to work out perfectly. This was Chance's reaction when it finally did… It was very similar to Ron Paul's 'It's happening' .gif.

Swoon! It was beautiful! We got the new base molding and quarter round down. Eventually we'll be putting crown molding throughout the whole house, but this is where we needed to start.

I was and still am overly excited about my usb outlet! 

I wanted a nice jute rug for our bedroom but didn't want to pay for the size I needed. I always check the house stuff at Target and I was so glad that I did this day because this rug was super discounted. I think it was $28 or something around that figure. I'm positive I didn't pay more than $35!

Chance went TDY and gave me permission to do some retail therapy at Pottery Barn for leaving me in the middle of this move (missing Mac's birth, going to OTS during our move from Japan, leaving for two weeks in the middle of a the only move we have ever had to do ourselves… You'd start believing he planned these things!) I was dying to get this bedding! While I was at the mall my mom called and said she wanted to buy it for us as a house-warming gift. Do I have the best mom or do I have the best mom?! Bonus: It was on sale! Double Bonus: I still got a military discount!

We have a cupola out in our front yard and a couple of the windows broke off. So I washed them and bleached them in the shower and hung them. These lamps are from IKEA, and had a black shade on them. I replaced the black shade for these white ones from Target and we're finally getting some use out of them again. We haven't hung these things since we were in Japan.

Chance and made us some side tables and did a great job on them. When we got them upstairs, though, we both really hated the way they looked so we went back to the drawing board. On our way to Lowe's we spotted an estate sale and went to check it out. When we got there they said everything was on sale, so we snagged these two side tables. Originally priced $65.00 each, we haggled them down to $50 for the pair! 

And there's the master bedroom folks! Sorry for the grainy cellphone picture, I still need to get better with my DSLR that my dad gifted me!


White Guest Room

Oh, how I love this room!

Before we bought the house I found this beautiful comforter that I was dying to buy but didn't really have a place for it. I was looking to buy a new comforter for the our bedroom at the time, but thought it might be a little too frilly for a master bedroom, so I passed on it. The next time I saw the comforter, we had already bought the house and the set was on clearance so I couldn't pass it up!

The guest bedroom was kind of a peachy color before we painted it and had carpet.

After we primed the walls, we painted it in Sherwin Williams 'Steamed Milk.' I'm a huge fan of the color. It's a nice creamy white, and for a white I think it's really warm. We've also painted all of the doors and trim in the house white. We (and by 'we' I mean 'Chance) replaced most of the doorknobs from gold to an oiled bronze, and switched the outlets and light fixtures from ivory to white. I'm surprised at how big of a difference the little things make! I don't know it's because we painted the doors, but they really started to stick and changing the doorknobs fixed that problem. Like all of the flooring upstairs, we put down the laminate wood in here too. 

I had a ton of things sitting in boxes throughout the house that I didn't know where or even if we were going to use them. One of those things was my 'EAT' letters that I used in our kitchen at Goodfellow.

Chance suggested that we make the letters say 'ATE' and hang it over the toilet but I thought that was a little gross, so I made it into 'TEA' and hung it in our guest room entrance. 

In the guest room there is a small board over the wall where I think our sellers said there are some pipe switches (Chance could tell me what it was for.) There wasn't a lot of room between the foot of the bed and the wall, but I wanted something that would mask the board, that was easily removable for access and also didn't take up space in the walkway. Someone had suggested hanging shutters and that was the idea I went with, so my friend Anna and I went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and she spied the perfect shutters at $5/ set! 

I un-hinged them, and painted them with Americana Decor Chalky Paint in 'Primitive.' I found some tiny clothes pins and hung old family black and white pictures.

I really wanted to get an antique dress form but the price-tag was too high for me so I made my own with the help of Anna and some duct tape. 

I'm so happy with how it turned out, and the whole thing cost me less than $20! That's a steal! 

So here it is!

I'm not completely happy with my pillows on the bed and hope to get some different ones soon. I'd also like to paint the side tables, but for now this will do! 

Welcome to our guest bedroom!

Original 'EAT' letters for the kitchen, and some pin boards from the Yen Store.

The sellers left this little ladder and I've been in love with the rickety thing since I found it in the garage. I've almost fallen off of it too many times for me to actually use it, so for now I'm using it as a book shelf!

I'll eventually get a little basket to set everything on, but I haven't found the perfect one yet, and I can be kind of a snob about baskets…

YaiYai and Papu

Grandma and Grandpa

I love our guest room. There is still quite a bit I'd like to do in here, but I'm not doing anything more until I find exactly what I want. Like most rooms, I'm most excited about how I will decorate it for Christmas, and so far I am most excited about decorating this room! My obsession with Christmas might be unhealthy… I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've been listening to Christmas music since February.

Happy Monday!