Monday, February 28, 2011

Sled shelves!

Picture-heavy post coming your way today!  

Lately have you been looking wistfully at your Christmas sled...the last remaining piece of your winter decor that soon must come down but it's just so darn cute you don't want it to?  Well boy have we got the solution for you (que infomercial man voice)!

Here's watcha do:
Take all the christmassy decor off your sled till its down to its beautiful, vintage, bare bones.
The hubby bought me this one for Valentine's Day, he found it at one of our favorite antique places (if you don't have one, now is the time to look, they're probably on sale!)

Now stand it up and turn it around...see if you like how it looks.
Hmmm, I like it!

Now see if your sled has supports in it that could hold a shelf.
If it doesn't have "convenient" ones it wouldn't be too hard to support the shelves with some simple "L" brackets. 

Now take your measurements of length, depth and width...or make yourself a paper template of the size and shape your shelf should be.  Then cut it out using almost anything you've got, shop saw, jig saw, circular saw, kitchen knife (just kidding:).  We used super-cheap particle board but it would be easier with a 1 x 6 board, depending on the size of your sled.

Make sure it fits, there is no need to screw them in or anything, the runners of the sled should hold them securely.

Now paint!  Spray paint works really well for this project,  I painted ours with Krylon's matte black to match the runners on the sled.  You could also decoupage, wallpaper or cover them with sheet music, newspaper or fabric as well!

Now decorate it for Spring (because if we all do it, somehow that will make it come faster!).

Voila!  There you have it, keep your beautiful sled out all year.  It's unique and graphic shape will give you a conversation piece for next winter just take everything off of it and launch it down a hill! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The kitchen is coming...and perils of renovations

Sneak peek of what's to come, next week the full kitchen reveal...I promise!

I will post full "before and afters" along with a budget, sources and designs!

Ok, this is too funny to pass up, as I was writing this post I heard a crash from the other side of the house...never a good thing.  I figured that our cat and dog (who you haven't met yet!) were roughhousing and had knocked something over.  Well I rush into the kitchen and what do I see? 

A FULL GALLON of paint spread across the kitchen floor about an inch and a half deep.  Of course Bugs hears me coming and runs THROUGH IT and down the CARPETED stairs into the basement.

Apparently Allen had been moving our paint cans around, (why? not sure :) put some in the kitchen and one didn't have the lid on all the way...of course that's the one knocked over!  Anyway, no harm done in the end, I was able to get most of it out of the grout seams and the carpet, not so anyone would notice but me anyway!

This is the main puddle after most of it was cleaned up.  I had to "save" the paint with my pie servers because it's an old color and that was all of it that I had!

Here's wishing you the sense of humor to tackle home renos, have animals...and be married all at the same time!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What happens when... mix two things that shouldn't go together?

This is an idea my friend Deidre had.  She mixes half a glass of orange juice (you can see I'm almost out!) with half a glass of vanilla soy milk.  When she first told me about it you can bet I looked something like this...
But you never know until you I did, you know what, it wasn't that bad!  It tastes a lot like a dreamsicle, but in a yummy, frothy, refreshing drink instead!

It may not become your new favorite, but you never know!  Give it a shot, if you don't have vanilla soymilk you can add a little vanilla extract to regular soymilk.

You can feel good about starting your day with something healthy and delicious, my bet is that kids would LOVE this, just don't tell them what's in it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sneak Peak, Living Room!

As promised, here are some updated pictures of our living room.

Now, to disclaim!  These are pictures from right after we tackled the living room for the first time, the furniture layout needs some work as well as (obviously) accessories and details.

This is my dad, he's amazing!  He used to be a painter years ago and has been wonderful to help us transform this place.

You can see the switchplate cover isn't even on yet!



Obviously the mantel and coffee table need some serious work, but you get the general idea!

This room had no fireplace or focal point of any type so we solved that problem by installing an electric fireplace.  Now, before the inevitable objections please consider, this is the center of our house and quotes to put in a wood burning fireplace or (vented) gas one were astronomical.  This solution gave us a focal point, a reasonably realistic ambient fire and a surface to decorate!  Also, it was last year's model so it was tiny $.  If you're in the market for any kind of fireplace NOW IS THE TIME!  There are lots of end of season sales on these items.

We added some detail to the walls with a simple profile chair rail, painted the color of the trim.  We made the room appear slightly taller by painting a darker color below the chair rail and a lighter one above.  The paint colors we used were "Modest Silver" and "London Coach" both by Valspar.  

Many more details on this room and genuine "after" pictures to come!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meet a Furbaby!

It's about time I introduced you to the tiniest member of our family!  Allen and I both grew up with pets and one of the first things we did after we got married was find our own little ones.  It should be pointed out that Allen brought to our relationship a tradition of naming his animals after other animals (a fish named understand).  Our first pet came to us about a month after the wedding, we really missed having something fuzzy scampering around so we headed to a no-kill shelter in the next town over to see who was there.  This place was quite amazing, the whole upper story was dedicated to cats, and they were EVERYWHERE!  Of course when you think of it that way it sounds horrible with dirt and grime and sick cats hanging all over the place but it was actually completely clean, organized and fresh with cats happily purring in their beds and stretching in the sun.  I have to really commend the care given to these animals, all spayed/neutered and up to date on all shots, I was highly impressed!

So we're walking through rooms and rooms of cats and kittens to see if one gives us the "vibe".  I was looking for a girl-cat since that's all I'd ever had, Allen was a little more open-minded but I was set and determined to have a little girl.  There were some beautiful girl cats there but none of them seemed a good match for us, then we walked into another room of cages and beds and the first thing we noticed was a peaches and cream cat lying in one of the deep windowsills.  We noticed him because the second we walked in the room he stood up with a trill and jumped down from the window to run over to us and start rubbing all over our legs.  I didn't know what to think at first, this cat was not a girl, was not particularly beautiful and didn't seem to have anything attractive about him, but he would not stop purring and couldn't have been any sweeter.  Once I picked him up the decision was made... kitty love.  So we wrote the check and brought him home!  We decided to name him Bugs Bunny, but we just call him "Bugs"... it sounds weird when you tell people what your cat's name is but we liked it :).

Let me tell you, that cat did not stop purring the entire first month he was with us, I think he purred through his sleep!  There was a point where I was hearing the buzz even when I wasn't home, it gets in your head after a while.

He has all the personality and curiosity of a cat with all the affection and attitude of a dog. 

I. love. him.

He's the sweetest, friendliest little one there ever was and he has brought us nothing but joy (punctuated with small moments of crashing and shouting).  It's amazing how much pets can add to your life!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Now it gets ugly...the basement

*Cue creepy music*
This is how the basement looked the day we moved in...

...and this is how it looked after we moved in.

Not much better, right?  This basement had to be one of the worst ones ever!  It had a sagging, dropped ceiling at about 6.5 feet high.  There was a faux wood beadboard wainscoting and musty, industrial carpeting over concrete.  The windows were mostly covered by the ceiling and there was no lighting except for three fluorescent lights.  It did have a gas corner fireplace but it was so ugly we tried to hide it under a pile of stuff (pilot's off, no worries!).

I can't wait to show you how the basement looks now, trust me, if you think your basement is beyond help and you're on a budget I'll show you how to make it the best room in your house!  We have transformed this space into a family room, game room and guest room, stick around for the reveal and some great tips on using your space efficiently!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunroom "Befores!"

Happy Valentine's Day everybody, I hope you all did something out of the ordinary today!

Today I'm posting pictures of our Sunroom when we first moved in.  It's a unique sunroom in that it has virtually no direct sun!  It has windows on two walls but the exposure is FULL top it off it has no insulation in the roof and the central air doesn't reach out there so at this point it is really more of a three seasons room.

Originally it was a large covered porch that joined the house to the garage, so you can see above the original outdoor window from the kitchen, the back door, the vents from the original hood over the stove and the back porch light.  There is some beautiful old, routed, pine paneling on the walls of the house and garage.  

The new "walls" that closed the porch were finished with much cheaper paneling that is not the same color, width or profile as the old stuff.  To top it off is some cheap carpeting over cement, a fiberglass door to the backyard and a crooked hollow door to the garage.

The previous owner came back for the couch and hutch but they left the light fixture. :)  Thankfully the ceiling is beautiful, it is a dark paneling with large beams supporting it.  I love the strange architecture and I'm thrilled to have the extra space but this place was just full of challenges to keep it from looking like a hunting lodge (and not a charming lodge)!

We have put countless hours into making this room enjoyable, and learned tons of lessons along the way.  Stick around for the transformation of this room!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reupholstery project - Lady's Slipper Chair

I LOVED this project, I want to take you through it's progression step-by-step along with some tips if you want to give it a try on your own!

This is how this beautiful chair started out...
It was being thrown out by the neighbors of some of our friends, when they saw it on the curb they called us!  It was a beautiful shape and a solid frame but the fabric was faded and old.  This photo was taken back when we lived in our tiny one-bedroom apartment, this was the living room/my can see why we were so desperate to move!

Step. 1
Commission husband to help you rip the entire thing apart...not as easy as you might think!  These things were built like a rock back when they were built and upholstered by hand, it takes hours sometimes to get all the tacks out!

If you find a piece that is old but clean you can actually keep the original batting (sometimes you'll find hay or horsehair!).  It keeps the authentic shape and is MUCH more comfortable and long-lasting than battings you can buy today, plus there's no off-gassing etc.

Step. 2
 Putting it back together...
The first step is always going to be any refinishing you want to do to the frame, I wanted this design to be a little funky so I refinished the feet in pink to contrast with the BEAUTIFUL fabric I'd found.
When you start re-upholstering you will usually recover the seat first, the back of the seat tucks under the chair-back.  Make sure your fabric is tight but not so tight that if someone sits on it it will rip!  Work with the fabric to make nice corners and to avoid any rumpling.

The next step is usually to put in the inside-back, this chair's was a little different than usual because of the unique shape.  You can pull it under the seat-back and around the sides, all of the edges will be covered later.

Usually you won't find chairs that need pleating like this.  Originally this part was covered by panels but after we took the chair apart they were unusable...stuff like that happens, I think it looks even better now!

The last surface to cover will be the back, I do it the old fashioned way with cardboard strips and face-stapling.  

The veeeeeery last step is the trim, you can buy "gimp" at craft stores or you can make your own (more on that later)!  You simply hot-glue the trim over any areas that required visible staples.  Believe me, hot glue will hold the trim forever.  Take your time on this step, if you mess up you will never be able to get it off the fabric!  Just be careful and take your time to work in small lengths at a time.

This piece had the original springs in it and was SOOOOO comfortable, it's definitely one of my favorite pieces.  It sold from my shop and is now living in Arkansas.

And there you have it!  Reupholstering is labor intensive and takes a long time but there is a great sense of accomplishment at the end of it.  It's also a great way to save an old quality piece that is intended for the dump.  Now if you have a spot and can't find exactly what you want you can make it yourself!  I hope you enjoyed this before and after, stay tuned for more upholstery tutorials!

Linking here!

Friday, February 11, 2011

And so it begins...Living room "Befores"

This is what our living room looked like the day we moved in!

I remember standing in the middle of it right after we signed closing papers and being SO excited.  I have wanted a house of my own since I can remember, some little girls want dolls, I wanted a house!  When I walked in here I saw nothing but potential...then reality started setting in.  There was almost no surface in the entire house (ceilings included) that didn't need a LOT of work!  It still intimidates me to think of everything that needs doin' around here!

It is, obviously, the first room you see when you come inside.  Someone had taken the time to apply a "technique" to the walls, probably to cover the unevenness of old walls.  Unfortunately it hadn't turned out too well, there were huge splotches of brown paint thrown at the wall, ending a few inches from the ceiling and the floor.  

There wasn't really much to this room, it had two small windows, the front door and two doorways to other rooms.  It's very small for modern living rooms, but at the time it was built this was considered a "parlor."  There was no architecture to speak of and the paint color made it seem tiny and dismal.  The previous owner had large dogs so the (unfinished) back of the door was covered in deep gouges up past the doorknob!  All the hardware was shiny brass, and I mean ALL the hardware... doorknobs, outlet covers, switchplates and even the nails in the walls, Mmmmm.

The floors were the one nice thing this room had going for it, unfortunately they had lost the wax sealant years ago and were unfinished.  There was some gouging and bleaching but nothing too bad, unfortunately in the last year and a half we have caused them even more damage with the constant projects!  We're hoping to have them refinished soon but that's another story.

Since these pictures we have painted, painted, and painted again, put up trim, moved in the furniture, hung curtains and solved the "no fireplace" dilemma!

Stay tuned for some living room "afters"!