Thursday, May 20, 2010

Good bye yellow

As I've been trying to make our family room fit our style, I've mostly been concentrating on the simple things like accessories. Okay so every update in our family room so far has been accessories. That's because I've been a little nervous to tackle the project I really wanted to do. Paint the ugly dated yellow oak wood. Because I was a bit nervous about stripping lacquer, sanding, painting and then giving everything a coat of poly without ever doing those things to finished wood before, I opted to start with the mantle.

I figured since it was the smallest piece of the offensive yellow oak in our house, it wouldn't be that time consuming and a good piece to start on. Plus I'm not really in love with it's shape or details so if I completely destroyed it, I wouldn't be too heart broken. I even figured I could make a simple, clean lined mantle out of 1x6's using the new found skills I've gained from reading the Knock Off Wood blog (I'm working on a console table for the entry way and a new coffee table for our living room right now).

Here's what the fireplace looked like before.

And here's what it looks like now. Don't mind the white paint splatters on the wall, I was too excited about how good it looked, I didn't want to wait until I could tape it and patch up the mess ups.

I love how it turned out. I think it highlights the slate tile and pops off the brown wall quite nicely. It was super easy to do.

First I applied a good thick coat of lacquer remover and allowed that to sit for 30 minutes. Then I used a scraper to remove it from the flat parts and steel wool for the real detailed parts. Then I rinsed off all the wood with water and allowed it to dry. Then I did a quick sanding with some coarse and then fine sandpaper, wiped it down again and let it dry.

The last step was to apply two thin layers of white paint (mine is Fencepost by Behr)with a nice brush. Make sure that you fully let your first coat dry before you start your second. I let my first coat dry overnight and then did my second. I still need to do a coat of poly to really protect it but for now the high gloss paint should hold up okay.


I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out. Now I just need to tackle the cabinets and banister.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's a box

For the most part since we moved into our house, our efforts have been on the inside. Let’s face it, we moved into the house in January and I would guess we spend 90% of our time inside our house so it really makes sense we would focus on that first. It also might be explained by the fact the yard was covered in snow when we bought the house so the disaster waiting for us was unknown and buy the time the snow melted, we were knee deep in house stuff. We pretty much picked up all the junk that was left under the snow. I’m not talking a toy here and some paper there. We found bats, dishes, pillows, blankets and random tools in our backyard when the snow melted. Yikes.

Last summer my husband basically spent his time outside fighting weeds and that is about it. Having secondary water is a blessing and a curse sometimes. It’s super cheap and we don’t feel guilty actually watering our grass but it comes with all sorts of weed seeds in it.

One of the things we loved about the backyard when we were looking for houses was the separate garden area. It’s completely fenced off from the rest of the yard which meant I could get my puppy and not worry about him ruining our garden. The previous owners had some garden boxes set up but they negotiated to take them with them. The first year we pretty much planted seeds in the dirt mounds left by the boxes and called that good. The garden was surprisingly successful.

Because things have settled down inside the house, my focus has turned to the outside which any husband can tell you, leads to lots of projects. The first item of business, get the garden in great shape and make sure we do it right for minimal maintenance down the road. Because we have so much space in the garden, we decided putting garden boxes in the space would be the best idea. That way we could have paths in-between the boxes to allow ample space for weeding and gardening without having to kneel in dirt. We did opt to leave one space open for dirt our vine plants to grow and flourish. I’m determined to have my own pumpkin to carve this year dang it!

When we started talking to people and pricing out our garden box options, I was shocked at how much they cost. I was really leaning towards getting white vinyl boxes to match our fences and to last forever and look clean and nice forever too. One of our local vinyl fence companies quoted us $150 per box. Yikes. I’m not going to be saving any money growing my own veggies at that rate especially considering we needed about 10 boxes. I then thought about doing wood. I guess it won’t look that bad if I paint it and I wasn’t too excited about the extra maintenance or possibility of slivers down the road but even pricing those out was about $100 per box. Still not what I was looking to pay – I’m cheap!

While wandering around Home Depot one day, I had an idea. Why can’t I just by a vinyl fence panel ($50), cut it up into pieces and assemble it into my own garden box? Sure the edges won’t be perfect and I’ll have to use bolts to fasten them together but they will be cheap, functional and look pretty dang good if I may say so myself. Because the panels come in 6’x6’ squares, my garden boxes will be a bit smaller than I was thinking but honestly I hated how big our piles of dirt were last year while I was trying to pick peas and beans. There were too wide and long to get to the middle so smaller than standard garden boxes honestly sounded like a great plan to me.

Why is it that coming up with a plan is so much easier than cutting, drilling and assembling 18 garden boxes?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mobiles are for everyone

So recently a lot of the people whose blogs I've been reading have been having babies. Because of that, I have seen so many adorable baby room ideas. Since I know a baby is still a few years away for us, putting any of those awesome ideas to work really isn't going to happen. Then I started thinking about the blank space above the bookcase in our guest room.

The tall ceilings in this room have made it a bit more difficult. There's so much more space to fill. So much space that could be filled up nicely with a modern, clean, adult looking mobile. Sold!

I started thinking about what I could hang from the ceiling that is sleek and delicate yet still gives a nod to the beachy theme of the room. That's when I thought about getting some clear glass Christmas ornaments, taking off the tops so they wouldn't obviously scream I'M A CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT!

I popped on over to where I found a couple different sizes of clear glass ornaments (in April!). Also while exploring the sight, I found some super cheap sea glass in different colors and some star fish as well. Perfect.

I started off by getting out some thumb tacks that were a brassy color. I quickly fixed that with a quick spray with my white spray paint.

Then after taking the tops off of the clear ornaments, I started filling them with the different colored sea glass. After I had a few ornaments filled with glass, I took a bamboo skewer, cut it into 1 1/2" pieces and tied some upholstery weight thread to it. Then just because I didn't want any mobile related accidents, I hot glued the knot in place on the skewer. I popped the bamboo into the ornament and made sure it was secure. Then I tied the other end of the thread onto the thumb tack and also hot glued the tack to the ceiling also for safety's sake.

Here's what the first one looked like.

After putting up all the ornaments with glass, I then glued a few of the star fish to upholstery thread and hung those too. I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

I love how light and airy it turned out, plus it's the first item that has helped me incorporate my new accent color, PINK!