Shoulda Been Father’s Day Gift

I hope everyone had a wonderful Father’s Day!  Ben is a tough guy to get gifts for.  He’s not interested in techy things, doesn’t need dressy clothes, and is extremely practical.  Because he mentioned wanting one large item on the family room mantel, I decided to make him a huge painting.

MCM Chairs Finished in Family Room

Actually, I came up with the idea after seeing two foot by four foot canvases at Michael’s for 30 bucks.  Better yet, I had a 50% off coupon.  Inspired by Karen Smidth’s paintings, I set out to make a semi abstract landscape painting based on this photo I took several years ago in western Montana.


We’ve been there several times as a quick weekend getaway and have always really enjoyed ourselves, so it seemed perfect.  Using acrylic paints I had in my craft stash, I started painting.  Then Ben came home earlier than I expected and saw what I was working on.  Luckily, he really liked it, but I’m not totally in love with it.


Some of the details I like. Like the snow-capped mountains and grass.


And the size is great.  What seemed huge carrying around the store now looks perfectly normal on the mantel.


The overall look is kind of a minimal abstract mixed with Grandma Moses folksy.


But the colors make me smile and the intended recipent likes it, so that’s what really matters, right?!  That’s what I’ll keep telling myself, anyway.  Who knows though, it could grow on me.  Or I could get the urge to change some things.  I didn’t bother painting the sides because I want to build wood frame to finish it off.


And there’s still the ceiling to finish.  Ugh, I can’t work up the desire to sand it smooth.


In other news, our bathroom is featured in the current issue of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers!!


Ahh, so crazy to see our faces and home smiling back at us.

Is your guy a tough one to buy for?  I considered getting a bocce ball set because we’re building a court out front, but that didn’t seem as personal.  Do you have a go to dude gift?

Quick Quilt

So, I made a quilt.  And it didn’t take that long.  About 10 total hours, from cutting to using.  After trying and disliking a small patterned bedding, I searched the internet for a more simple, but still colorful quilt.  This Pia Wallen Cross Blanket is awesome, but also expensive.

Then I saw this Polly blanket.

Perfect colors to tie in with the elements of the guest room.  White like the trim, gray to match the doors, yellow for the walls, blue like the headboard and dresser, and green accents.  But I couldn’t find a price or a place in the US selling it.  Instead, I used this as inspiration to make my own fabric quilt.


I bought a half yard of six different colored linen fabrics.  Light gray, dark gray, mustard, white, teal, moss, and used navy I bought for the headboard.  To maximize the fabric, I cut nine 6 by 16 rectangles of each color, keeping the left over ends.


With all pieces cut, I started randomly arranging the colors, sewing the short ends together to make a strip.


Then I ironed each strip before sewing two together.


I continued sewing two strips together, then sewed those strips to form the front.  Once I made the front large enough, I laid an ironed flat twin sheet (five bucks at Wal-Mart) on the floor right side up.  Then my patchwork piece on top, right side down.  For a little more weight and warmth, I added a layer of white flannel on top of my patched sheet.


Before sewing, I marked my lines, then stitched along all three sides and part of the bottom.  Basically, I treated it just like an over sized pillow cover.  Once I turned it right side out, I had and front, back, and inner liner with a small hole at the bottom.  I hand stitched it shut and called it done.


Folded at the foot of the bed it adds pattern and color, and functions as a throw or a summer blanket for one person.  Handy Sammy and I are both super happy with the results.  Bonus, I’ve finally sewn a full quilt.  Every time before, I’ve made way too small pieces for my patience and skill level.  Turns out, making large pieces makes the process quicker.  Who woulda thunk it?  How about you, have you ever made a quilt?

Where Are They Now?

This weekend marked our first house-iversary here.  So I thought it’d be fun to take a side by side then and now tour.  Think of this as a child celeb where are they now special E! special.  Everyone loves those, right?  If you don’t, think of this as an updated house tour.

Let’s start at the front door.  Here’s the entry on move in day:

New-House-Entry April 13 2012

Add a rug, small table, a few prints, and here we are today:


The living and dining rooms one year ago:


And now:


Our furniture makes a big difference.  The rocker has to go back down stairs, but my dad needs his rocker when they visit.


Other than moving furniture in, painting over the red accent wall (which might change-see the swatches?), and building an entertainment center, this room hasn’t gotten much attention.


Same goes for the dining room.  Here it is before:


And now:


Yes, that’s a folding table in there, but it’s better than nothing.  We’ve got plans that could change the flow of the room, so we’re waiting to buy/build a table to decide the size and shape.

One big change has happened in the kitchen.  Check out how it looked then:


Now, the dark wall paper is gone.  Soon, I plan to finish the walls and paint.


Of course we still want to rework the kitchen.


The dark wallpaper wrapped around to my office, too:


It’s amazing how much brighter the room is without the dark walls.


One of the rooms we’re nearly finished with is the family room.  On move in day, it was a blank canvas with a 70’s moss rock fireplace.


The previous owner added some too traditional for our liking elements, like the sconces and arches.


Here’s the room after covering the fireplace, adding a bar/wood storage, painting the walls, re-arranging furniture, and squaring the arched doors:


Clearly the ceiling isn’t finished.  We’re fixing a few small cracks.  It’s on my to do list this week.  But the room itself is nearly complete, just have to shop around for furniture we like.


Along with the arches, the previous owner updated the main bathroom:

New-House-Main-Bathroom April 13 2012


Despite being the most recently finished room in the house, it was the first we remodeled.  More storage and a shower were necessary for our family.  And here it is now:


Light walls, a colored vanity, and coral accents make us smile.


The smallest bedroom, our guest/Handy Sammy’s room just got a make over, too.  Here it is on closing day:

New-House-Guest-Bedroom April 13 2012

Today the room is bright and sunny thanks to a larger window and happy yellow paint:


Reconfigured bookshelves allow more floor space while giving the bed a cozy nook.




Our boys share the second bedroom, which was a plain box before:



And it still kind of is:


Before we can do much else, the popcorn ceiling has to come down.  Then we can add trim and paint the walls.  Until then, we’re living with swatches on the walls.


Same story in our bedroom.  Popcorn ceilings are preventing us from working on the room.  I can’t wait to paint over the cobalt blue walls:



We have built a bed (though it’s not finished) and added art:


I guess that’s something.  Ha!


Before, our master bath was a burgundy cave:


A coat of green paint lightened things up, but we want to remodel this bath to include the claw foot tub we removed from the other bathroom.


Most of the basement is unchanged, so I’ll just share the laundry room.  Ben pulled pet stained carpet out right after signing the papers:


For now we’ve got an old rug in place:


Gotta make things work, at least until we can really tackle each room.  So there it is, our house one year ago versus our house today.  It’s nice to take a look back, because sometimes it feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface of this remodel project we call home.  But, we’ve actually got three finished (or allllmost finished) rooms with lots of changes in others.  Slowly but surely, we’re making progress.  One day, weekend, and project at a time.

Tray Chic

I’m sure you’re getting sick of posts about the guest room, but I’m so excited to have a room to decorate.  And tweak and perfect.  New green accents are a great burst of color, but I wanted more.  For handy storage, I made another storage box, this time green with navy accents and an octagon tray.


For $2.49 from Hobby Lobby, I think this little two-tone tray is down right cheerful.  Navy diagonal stripes on the box lid are youthful (perfect for a 19-year-old boy) and tie into the other navy elements.


Even more greenery in the form of a fake succulent (perfect for a room with little natural light) nestled in a spray painted glass jar.  Here’s a tip, get a glossy outside by painting the inside of glass vessels.


Fingers crossed we’ll install trim in here this weekend.  After painting it, we can finally paint the walls.  I’m almost positive we’ve settled on Safari by Benjamin Moore (the top, light sample).


It is more pale than I originally planned for, but I think it should work well.  There’s enough orange to keep it from turning lime green under the bluish CFL lighting, but still looks yellow.  Although I should admit I’m still yearning for a darker warm gold like Honeymoon.  A chip close to the light switch nearly blends in with the color I originally wanted.  I’m apprehensive to go with the darker color because I’ve struck out my last four attempts.


Which would you choose?  The lighter, safer option or the darker that is close to the original vision?

Rope and Ribbon Pendant

Well, the guest room has a new light fixture.  Surprise, it’s not on this list, though I was leaning toward numbers two and five.  But I remembered I had a lamp shade I kept when our lamps broke.  I unscrewed the glass cover and hung the shade from the old light, just to get an idea of how it looked.


Too small, and I didn’t like the slightly tapered shape.  I took a drum shade off a lamp in the basement, replacing it with the tapered shade.  Whaddya know, they were perfect for each other.


Knowing I liked the look and size, I started working on the wiring and hanging.  Inspired by this cord cover up, I got out an Ikea cord kit (I had on hand) and cotton/poly rope from Home Depot (for 3 bucks).


A knot at the bottom, close to the socket to start.  Then I wrapped the cord like a friendship bracelet.  Behind the cord, then through the hole from the front.  Not only does this wrap cover the cord, it makes a neat swirl knot design.


Ben hung the light last night using a basic ceiling canopy.  The plain shade was boring, so I taped two pieces of wood veneer around the top and bottom.


Everything looked too monotone, so I stole pillows from other rooms to test accent colors.  I loved the punch of green this one added.  Imagine yellow walls with the dark blue headboard and shots of bright green.  Yes, please!


Which prompted me to dig in my ribbon box, coming out with kelly green.


Exactly what I want.  Fun, colorful, and lively.  Green has a way of perking up any space.  To evenly distribute the lively green I want to make another storage box.  Luckily the navy set will work perfectly in the main bathroom.


Because I had most of the supplies already, the light cost me $3 for the rope.  Score.  And you know I can’t resist a DIY.  Double score.  What do you think of the changes?