Liv is collecting little art supplies and toys by the bucket full. The big bins that we initially added to her bookcase are great for storing bigger toys, but little cars, wooden blocks, doll clothing and so on is quickly swallowed up – and finding complete toy sets (like Liv’s wooden train) is impossible these days! So we’re working on adding small container storage to the room little by little.
One of the first organizing projects I tackled included Liv’s art supplies in her little reading nook.
Rather than collect colored pencils, markers and paint into one central storage location (as we had previously done for a while), separating out supplies makes it easier to focus on one specific art activity, put that craft away, and then move on to the next. I first attempted this with open buckets but soon everything was mixed together and crazy again. What is it about organized spaces with a home for each little item that is so darn appealing? It makes my world feel right.
When I spotted these clear containers at Michaels I thought that they might work well just for Liv’s art supplies. I love that they’re plastic paint cans .
After bringing them home I discovered that cheap was too good to be true – the tops are impossible to pop off! Just like a real paint can, to open and retrieve anything inside requires some prying from a really strong object (like a screwdriver) which is not ideal for kids. Poor design.
I thought it would be fun to come up with a DIY handle that would help Liv open up the cans whenever she wants to play, and I kind of like that I can press the lids in extra tightly for art supplies that I don’t want her to have easy access to (like real tubes of paint) so that even with a makeshift handle the lid sticks really well.
I thought about gluing little plastic animals or some other little toy to the top of the paint cans and then remembered that we have a very cute wooden Melissa & Doug flower puzzle that has received quite a bit of wear and tear since Liv began assembling and disassembling two years ago.
I love the shapes and use them all of the time as decoration for her floating tree bookshelves so the entire puzzle really doesn’t stay assembled nor is it really used anymore.
I picked out three of the shapes and hot glued them to the top of each of the paint cans.
But after a night of drying quickly found out that even with strong hot glue the wooden shapes popped right off of the lids if the lids were really well planted onto the container. Boo.
Thankfully the puzzle pieces were wooden and not plastic, so plan b was to drive a little tack nail or two into each shape through the bottom of the lid (with my favorite floral desk hammer – perfect size to keep inside). Now the wooden pieces are stuck stuck.
I used three paint spray colors that I thought worked well in Liv’s nursery today, and would also match her new nursery for two.
The colors turned out a bit chalky rather than pretty and polished, I’m actually really disappointed in the consistency of these particular primer + paint in one Valspar paint cans. I picked up a glossy varnish to cover all with at some point in the future that I’m hoping will fix that.
For the paint can itself I wanted just the edge painted out so I carefully taped off all exposed clear areas inside and out. Learned that lesson the hard way with a slightly careless first round of taping. Thanks goodness for Goo Gone.
If spray paint still makes it through onto the clear plastic, Goo Gone to the rescue.
Finished! You can see the chalky consistency if you look closely…
But for now they’re a cute new addition to the nursery.
Now onto all of the other little toys (like bubble wands and figurines and musical instruments…) that are filling up Liv’s room! Time for a spring cleaning.
PS all Project Nursery posts are sorted right here.
Tags: Accessories, Bedroom, Before & After, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Green, Home, Nursery, Patterns & Color, Pink, Red, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Home, Liv's Nursery, Organizing, Renovating Adventures | 4 Comments »
It’s not, I can count on two hands the projects in progress for this big guy, but these last two updates that I’m sharing today make the kitchen feel so very (almost) finished!
First up, we added molding to the end cabinets of our kitchen island and boxed in fridge, and I have to say that it makes all of the difference in the world.
See how the end of the island is boxed in shaker-style now, just like the cabinets? Maybe it’s just me… but now I walk into the room and it feels so… finished! Sometimes it’s the little details like trim work (that very last 10% that you put off for years and years) that make all of the difference.
Here’s a reminder of the before:
Naked, naked island. The raw piece of wood there on the end of the island always stood out like a sore thumb to me… and the tile toe kick had a groutless rough top edge that needed to be covered up.
Oh so much better! We designed the island to be really, really oversized, so we couldn’t order a cabinet door (sans handles of course) to cap the island with when we purchased the rest of the cabinets (which is sort of standard in kitchen finish work). They just don’t make doors that big. We could have ordered two separate doors and bumped them up against each other (so that they had a long seam down the middle), but I always imagined that with a little creativity we could come up with a cleaner solution.
Two and a half years later and it finally happened. It’s just one of those projects that you put off and off because it’s definitely more visual than practical .
And the fridge? She received a trim covered update, too.
That was before Grandma’s art was added there on the end wall, I do love that bright, happy pop of yellow.
Sadly, my trellis print runner had to go. A rug right underneath a hot stove and in the main thoroughfare of our house was not practical… it either caught and held on to Bodie hair like nobody’s business or had grease stains on a very regular basis. I do miss the look of that pattern though… (see trimless kitchen pic above).
I spilled the beans a bit when I posted on the semi-diy botanical chart art (you can see the trim peeking out in the back there), but it’s all completely finished now!
The second major update? We finally had the ceiling fixed between the new kitchen and what was (at one time prior to us in the house) a separate room.
See that miss match of plaster up there? Attic entries have been covered up and moved… central air was added two years ago… a wall (where that giant lip is) taken down at some point…
After a week or so of this:
We had this!
I’m not sure why I took the after photo from a different angle… but you see the idea. It’s wonderful! Another one of those 10% projects that doesn’t make the room any more practical, but suddenly the space feels 10x more complete – those little details subconsciously work away at you.
This was one project that we actually hired out. Lately that’s been happening with some of the ‘finish’ type work, and I’m not really disappointed at all (as I always thought I’d be if we couldn’t manage something ourselves over a Saturday morning). Kev only has time for so much… and sometimes to get that last 10% crossed off of the list you have to save up a bit and hire someone who knows exactly what they’re doing, and can finish that project super quickly. In this case, we’ve just added an awesome new plaster guy and window reburbisher to our rolodex.
I had the camera out, the kitchen clean, and even a cake plate of lemons… so I took a few more obligatory photos of the space.
And just for fun, four before shots to get an idea of how the kitchen and den in this room used to look.
Here’s two shots of the kitchen from practically the same point in the room, just 5 or so years apart (before we moved in and today):
Moving the kitchen from the middle of the house (which is now an office) to the back den was something we had debated quite a bit… but it really is nice to throw open those big sliding doors and integrate the outside with the in.
You can see the dining table just passed the island…
And when the doors are open, the outdoor deck, dining space and fireside area are connected directly with the kitchen.
There you have it, two updates (trimming the end caps of the kitchen island and fridge plus new plaster on the ceiling) that have made a big difference!
I’m thinking that one of the new projects for the kitchen might be a DIY pendant over the new breakfast nook, and a little hint at another definitely has to do with the pantry. Little things always pop up .
PS All den-to-kitchen remodel posts (and kitchen updates like the botanical chart and calendar art) can be found here.
Tags: Before & After, Kitchen
Posted in Construction, Our Kitchen Remodel, Renovating Adventures | 7 Comments »
Update: our faux fireplace screen made it into This Old House! Check out the details here.
Six ish months ago we had to turn the gas off in our fireplace… which was such a downer as there’s nothing more amazing than flipping that little gas switch and watching a beautiful, blazing fire set the mood for your living room. Perfect for chilly nights that call for family games on the living room rug or for a late night Netflix. But alas, this is an older home with old fireplace issues and we had to switch her off.
Hopefully one day she’ll blaze again.
Until that day it’s time to turn the eye-sore innards of this old fireplace (black bricks, metal curtain and goldish top plate and all) into a prettier focal point for the room. Enter Pinterest Challenge, Winter 2013.
I love these little challenges because they provide the motivation to cross a big project off of the massive to-do list, and usually I can justify choosing a project that I more love and want to complete, and less of one I must do because it’s next on the priority list. Here are a few past projects that we’ve tackled around here, including painter’s tape wallpaper, gold chevron napkins and an ombre stool for Liv (one of my favorites) among others.
With a little motivation, a week to track down materials and a great inspiration picture, I had an idea of where to start.
Oooo I love the above image! What a great way to utilize the empty space in a fireplace while still keeping a room cozy and comfortable (fireplaces and stacked wood have a way of doing that…).
Our finished project… drumroll…
I would be very happy if you thought we went and stacked a bunch of logs in our fireplace and called it a project! But I promise it was much more than that. The goal here was to build a faux log stack facade that we could remove when we were ready to use the actual fireplace, and replace the next day once the fireplace was cool again.
The hope was that the screen would give the depth and perception of a a bunch of stacked wood, but really it would be just a few inches thick and somewhat easy to pop in and out.
What do you think? Are we fooling anyone?
Now on to building the screen!
Fireplace Faux Wood Stack Facade
Materials: ~50 variously sized log slices, plywood cut to the shape of your fireplace opening, black matte paint, wood glue (or nail gun)
I ran into the first big road block while tracking down the actual logs. You’d think that this would be fairly easy… but turns out smaller logs (unchopped) in lighter wood colors (such as birch rather than oak or redwood) are not always readily available in these desert parts of San Diego. Who would have guessed.
I really lucked out when a friend of ours suggested eucalyptus and then found a huge pile of firewood for the taking! And he generously handed over variously sized logs for me to include in the project (thanks, Dave). Other resources that might be useful? Craigslist and Etsy (turns out you can even purchase sliced logs for the right price).
Kevin chopped up my logs into 3″ slices and I began assembling my faux stacked wood.
The backing for our fireplace screen is a piece of plywood measured, cut to size and painted black.
I considered spray painting it but we had only a satin finish in the paint closet, so I used up a bit of leftover chalkboard paint that we had on hand (from this and this project) to achieve a more matte finish (the above is still wet, but once this paint dried it was more than perfect).
Our nail gun is out on loan at the moment or I would have simply lined up my log slices, laid the backing over the top and fired away to secure the slices to the backing and to keep the logs from moving, but instead I lathered each slice individually with a thin coat of wood glue and allowed the entire project to dry overnight (that stuff is tough). When we get the nail gun back I’ll add extra reinforcements to ensure that none of these logs come sliding down, especially with toddlers at play.
I opted for a 3″ depth on the log slices (rather than 1/2″ or something easier to manage/less heavy) so that they would add more depth to the fireplace and (hopefully) make the black backing a bit more invisible. In person it’s obvious that this is a faux fix to our little fireplace conundrum, but it’s a neat faux finish at that!
Should I paint out that gold top plate a darker, oil rubbed bronze color?
That might be step two to this project, looks kind of nice!
Tags: Accessories, Before & After, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Home, Living Room, Pinterest Challenge, Tutorial, Winter
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Favorites, Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 23 Comments »