April 26, 2012

Wainscoting

I have been looking forward to this project for as long as I can remember! The first time we visited this house, I went home and began brainstorming ideas on how I would change it and what I would do differently; this was an idea that came to mind. I wanted tall beautiful wainscoting up the walls of the stairway and throughout the main living area to break up the height of the cathedral ceilings and accent the wall of windows in the living room. Finally, J cut up the wood and my secret ingredient to make this project extra special arrived after moths of picking and choosing and wheeling and dealing. Ahhh.... and here it is so far:



Isn't it wonderful?!?! Okay, here's how I did it. This project was VERY easy. I was dreading having to buy wallpaper glue and imagined the wallpaper dripping and not sticking but NO. It was easy as pie. What was hard was picking out the anaglypta. And forget using that word at Home Depot or Lowes. They thought I was sneezing and spasming at the same time. Say paintable wallpaper and they will direct you to some hideous crap. However, walk into Sherwin Williams and they still think you're sneezing but they can dig out an old dusty book and you can knock yourself out with choices. I checked their only anaglypta book out and for two weeks, searched the internet for the best look and best price. Here is the exact anaglypta I went with: http://www.creativewallcovering.com/pc/2ana-rd80029/anaglypta/Egon+Textured+Vinyl+Anaglypta+Paintable+Wallpaper.html
 I did buy it from Sherwin Williams because I couldn't beat their prices anywhere, not ebay, amazon, etc... I also looked everywhere specifically for an anaglypta border but couldn't find any that were wider than 4 or 5 inches. Our border is 6" so I just bought some striped anaglypta and cut the pattern at 6". I also learned a lot about paint-able wallpaper during the past few months so let me save you some trouble when you see the following words:

  •   Anaglypta- it's actually been around forever! It was used in the Victorian period because it's pretty, decorative and can be cleaned easily. It's made of paper, feels like foam, should be used on smooth surfaces and relatively cheap. Expect to pay at least $40 a double roll. 
  • Supaglypta- it's a little more ridged than anaglypta. It's better for rough surfaces like ceilings because it's more durable and feels kind of like poster board. It too has been around forever and costs about the same as the anaglypta. In fact, Supaglypta can be interchangeable with anaglypta. 
  • Lincrusta- this is the mother of anaglypta. It was invented first in 1877 and used because it's super sanitary and can be washed easily. It's way more durable and actually hardens the longer it's on your walls, becoming more durable with time. It's main component is linseed oil and wood. It too is highly decorative and very beautiful but it will break your bank at $300+ a roll!!! 
 So there you have it! That's phase one of my future staircase and walls. J will be back painting this weekend to do the trim and molding and I can't wait to slap the main color on the walls!

April 24, 2012

My Half Finished Projects

I mentioned that my progress would be much slower with a 5 and 3 year old slowing me down. I can't work well into the night anymore and I think J is about sick of working on the house unless he's tearing things down. Forget clean up... that's apparently my job too. And I just haven't had the energy and spark to work into the wee hours of the morning. So here's what I've been doing. None of these projects are finished. I know. I know. I should probably work on one thing at a time. I hear you. But sometimes my wonderful hubby just likes to scare the crap out of me with the sound of a crashing wall. You'll see what I mean... OPENING UP OUR LIVING ROOM:
We decided to open up the formal living room and make the house more open and less choppy. The best way to do this was by removing the wall between the formal living room and the In-law Suite Master Bedroom. We saw no need for such a large guest room and wanted to have access to the double doors that led outside from that room. We still have yet to paint the formal living area and I haven't even begun to decorate the new space which we refer to the "family room" now. REMOVING THE CARPET FROM THE STEPS:
I did stay up into the wee hours of the morning with this project. It was not fun pulling out every staple and and nail. But, the effort was worth it I think. First, I got rid of the nastiest carpet in the world and second, there are beautiful hard wood steps beneath! This is my inspiration photo for what I will be doing with my newly uncovered stairs:
Shades of Gray traditional staircase
THE KITCHEN MAKEOVER: The first time I saw this kitchen, I thought to myself, "Now THIS is a kitchen I can cook in!". I was wrong. Once I started unpacking dishes, I realized I had no counter space and the cabinets were bass ackwards. The worst part was the ginormous island taking up most of the kitchen and slowing the flow of traffic in and out of the kitchen. Also, the cabinets weren't designed for someone who cooks. There's no space for me to store my dishes or my spices. In other words, we came to the realization we would have to replace the cabinets. Oh, and I hated the huge 60" wide fridge. It was obnoxious!!! So here we go...
Our new island cabinets are here and I'm waiting on J to install them. He's been rewiring the outlets and moving the plumbing around. Meanwhile, I've been working on the sink. Let's just say I drove two hours one way to pick up a sink yesterday and got it home, pulled it out of the box and J found a huge chip in the porcelain. I'm heartbroken. I have a 4 hour trip ahead of me to return it and I might go with something different now. I'm stressed to the max because out granite needs to be measured and I'm on a timeline with that. The kids and I have been looking everywhere and they are bored out of their minds comparing sinks and faucets! That still won't stop H from modeling everything I take a picture of as you can see in these out takes:

April 20, 2012

Making Life Easier With Kids

I've been spoiled not having kids here the past few month so I can work fast and efficiently. I'm not going to lie; I could run errands for hours without someone having to go potty, ask for food, cry, whine, this, that and the other. It was awesome!!! But, realistically speaking, I've had a hard time adjusting to life with kids again and after three hectic weeks, I needed a plan. Now, I'm not the first person to implement chores or some reward system. J and I grew up with two completely different upbringings and butted heads on the topic of allowance. He got one, I didn't. I was told chores were just part of being a family. And, it wasn't until I saw what my kids were doing on their own with my parents that I realized I was working way too hard at home and doing too many things for the girls. All of the above inspired my chore charts and reward. Not only did I feel like I was barking orders and constantly reminding my kids to do the same things EVERY DAY, but I was also barking orders and constantly reminding J of what the kids were capable of and what expectations I had for them as well. First and foremost, I believe that when you are a part of a family, it's your responsibility as a family member to help out in all areas. I also believe that doing chores are something that's expected and that you shouldn't be paid an allowance for doing things expected of you. However, I do feel that you should receive praise for a job well done and encouragement and positive re-enforcement is needed for motivation. Everything I have blogged about thus far helped me create an organization system for the kids that they love too. First, I went looking for magnetic boards. I didn't want a calendar chore chart and I didn't want to place stickers down after the chores had been completed. I wanted a chart I could easily move things on and off with no mess so I figured magnets were the way to go. I was going to frame a cookie sheet but decided I wanted a magnetic dry erase board to achieve my goal for the chore chart. I saw some at Target but ended up using my 50% off coupons at JoAnns and got two huge magnetic dry erase boards for $12.99 plus tax. Then I browsed the sticker section. Man did I get overwhelmed!!! I probably spent three hours starring at stickers and brainstorming what I wanted to do. In the end, I settled on two different colors of letters and my permanent markers at home. I began to think that if I made my boards too fancy, it would be distracting to the chores and the whole point was to keep it simple. I also figured my chart needed three things: a name, the chores to be done and the finished chores. The other tough part was deciding how to list the chores. H can read but and E can't; I needed pictures of the chores and wanted the word with it like a flash card to teach them the word like a flash card. I was all set to draw out 40 different magnets when I found something so perfect on ETSY, I couldn't possibly think of making the magnets any better myself. So (GASP!!!!) I actually bought the magnets from AbbiesHouse to spare me the time. And, coincidentally, she had designed chore charts nearly identical to the charts I had made!!! I was beside myself; great minds think alike I guess! So here's the finished project, complete with my little Vanna White. FYI... she was not prompted to pose for the picture, it's her new thing to model stuff!
As far as the reward goes, you may or may not notice the star on the done side. At the end of the day, The kids get a star on their side signifying "jobs completed". If they get a star, the add a star shaped bead to a simple string necklace. That way, they can wear their stars around like a badge or sticker. I will be writing on the dry erase side things they can ear for a certain number of beads. They can exchange their beads for new coloring books, trips to certain parks, etc... Also, their are round heart magnets I use to tell them I love them and they can bring it to me for additional work that isn't on a magnet to earn extra beads too.

April 13, 2012

I'm back!!! And I missed Easter :(

Sometimes a little R&R is all you need to refresh your creativity! I will give plenty forewarning that I might not be as amazingly productive as I have been the past two months now that my little ones are home and keeping me busier than ever. However, I will do my best and post as often as I can starting with what we did on Easter. Now, I know it's late and useless to anyone now but I'm giving you 52 weeks to plan for next Easter! In fact, I've been running around so crazy these past two weeks that I thought Easter was THIS weekend, not LAST weekend! Oops!
Anyhow, without further delay, these are the eggs we died this year:


Here's a close up:


I can certainly not take credit for coming up with this genius, mess free, not to mention BEAUTIFUL method of egg dying. I have to thank Sara and Kate over at
Ourbestbites.com for this one! They give a wonderful tutorial and I have no additional suggestions to add other than what I used to tie up the eggs. I used the old school pony tail holders with the balls because I didn't have twist ties on hand. Here is the link to the tutorial: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2012/03/silk-dyed-eggs-aka-tie-dyed/
Also, I allowed the kids to get in on the messiest dessert I've ever made. It also created a mountain of dishes. This was simple really. I saw the cutest chocolate covered apples at Disney World and decided to make peanut butter, dark chocolate and white chocolate covered rice krispie treat bunnies. The kids put the eyes and noses and ear on and made some of the balls.

Here are more of my inspirations with my suggestions for next season as well. You can find the link to all these photo at my pinterest account too.


I really like this door hanging put think this would be great in a white half teapot. I saw tea pots cut in half at the Bachman house when I did the tour in MN. Add ribbon and hang indoors and I think it would be lovely!





This is a great wreath too. I would use a larger bow and a bird in place of the butterfly. You can go crazy with any assortment of egg colors and patterns and even wrap the frame with the grass.


They sell giant paper mache eggs at Hobby lobby and I believe that these would make fantastic eggs for a centerpiece. You can creatively decorate the egg using modge podge or glitter and put a beautiful bouquet of ranaculus or tulips inside. I'm definitely doing this next year. In fact, I bought my egg at 66% off already!



What is so wonderful about this idea it that you aren't limited to Easter. The clear version of these vases are sold anywhere from target to tjmaxx. You can put anything and everything in these vases all season long.