Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Week 8 Assignment - Back to the Bathroom!

So now that I'm done with my "Kindergarten Homework", I'm ready to get back to work on my Guest Bathroom.  I've decided to concentrate on finishing the functional aspects of the reno before doing the fun stuff, so I'm painting the mirror and storage cabinet this week, as well as doing two more crates like the ones I did for the Master Bath over the toilet.  Why paint the mirror and storage cabinet you ask??  Well, I'll let them speak for themselves...

Let's start with the mirror...I have HATED this mirror ever since we moved in.  To be honest, the mirror itself isn't so bad, but the finish is definitely not my style.  It's kind of bronze with some red stripes and a little silver on top???  Yuck!!  So it's going to get a couple of coats of primer followed by some dark brown spray paint ("Dark Walnut" to be exact) and a little of my silver glaze for some sparkle!  :)  Sure hope it turns out because I really don't want to have to explain to the Hubs that we need a new mirror!
Now for the cabinet...I have also HATED this since we moved in eight years ago but never knew what to do to it to make it better and didn't want to spend money on a new one since I was hoping we'd totally "professionally" remodel the bathroom so it wouldn't be necessary anymore.  Now that I'm tired of waiting for the latter, looks like I'm going to have to get creative!  I'm hoping that with a little paint and a new door pull it might have a little life left in it.  I may even try something I found on Pinterest to liven it up a bit.  What do you think??
This is a picture from a tutorial called "How to Revamp Your Bookshelf" from and I'm kind of digging the idea of using wallpaper on the back to give it some color.  (Just not THAT wallpaper!!)  Now to figure out where to buy wallpaper!  :)  I'm also thinking of replacing the glass with something else but haven't come up with what yet...Any ideas???

I think that's going to keep me pretty busy this week...Wish me luck!!  See you next week!

Week 7 Assignment - Results

What a week!!  It sure has been a roller coaster!  It started with a call from a headhunter with a position I can only describe as my "dream job".  To make a long story short (well, as short as possible), when my oldest was born I walked away from a job I loved to become a stay home mom.  I have been so blessed that with some purse-tightening we have financially been able to manage on one income for the last four and a half years.  The deal was I would go back to work once Brenna started Kindergarten two years from now, but I felt that if I didn't at least look into this opportunity I would regret it down the line.  As the headhunter said, I'd either hate them and the job and my decision would be easy...or I'd love them and the job and while it would be a little harder the decision would be mine to make.  Turns out there was a third option.  I'd love them and the job but they wouldn't love me.  :(  I can't tell if I'm more disappointed or relieved, but I can say that my ego is a bit bruised.  I've been fortunate in my life to have only interviewed for one job (now two) that I haven't been offered. But once my ego bounces back I know I will still have the best job in the world...getting to stay home and raise my two beautiful children!!  And I still get to give myself some exciting assignments!

Speaking of assignments, this weeks assignment was a fun little diversion from all this serious interview preparation!  I ended up making two sets of pillowcase dresses (I'm finishing a third but Brenna has already claimed it!) and they sure are cute!   They are pretty easy to make once you get comfortable with the process, so if you are going to give them a try I recommend making one with some scrap fabric first.  The hardest part is putting the bias tape on the arm holes, so if you do try and make one and get stuck let me know.  I'd be happy to post a "how to" on the bias tape!!  :)

Take a look!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Week 7 Assignment - Kindergarten "Homework"

 As some of you already know, my son, Bradan, is on the waiting list for the Mandarin Immersion Kindergarten next fall through our school district.  We are supposed to find out this Friday if they will be adding a second class and if he has a spot.  We have been on pins and needles since we found out we didn't win the "lottery" for a spot in the first class last December.  There are two things that adding the second class are contingent upon - 1) finding a teacher and 2) FUNDING!!  Since there was really nothing I could do to help with finding a teacher, I decided to focus my efforts on the latter.  I volunteered to make pillowcase dresses for an upcoming fundraiser and I need to turn them in this Friday.  Nothing like procrastination!!  :)  But no worries, I have an amazing pattern with detailed instructions I found on Etsy a couple of years back that have helped me become a Pillowcase Dress Diva!  She now has her EZ Pillowcase Dress patterns on her own website and I can tell you it's well worth the $4.99 for the pattern!  Here are some of my past creations...

My plan is to make sets with a dress in size 6 and a matching doll dress.  I promised two sets but I'm hoping I can sew like the wind and make three of four.  Let's hope this week is a better week for naps!!  :)

Week 6 Assignment - Results...Well, not really...:(

Well, it was another challenging week in the DIY department around here.  Thanks to some rainy days and more than a couple unsuccessful nap times, I didn't get nearly as much done in the Guest Bathroom as I had hoped.  :(  While I managed to get the ceiling and walls painted, that's really all I was able to complete.  On the bright side, I am thrilled with the color.  It's lighter than I thought it would be, but I absolutely love it!  It totally brightens up what was once a rather dark and dreary bathroom...take a look!

One important lesson I learned this week...If you are using the Glidden Trim Paint and don't have the luxury of painting it in your garage, DON'T paint your new trim until it's up on the wall!!!  I regrettably learned the hard way that because of how long it takes to dry, it is virtually impossible to paint it before you install it without completely messing it up while it's drying.  While it's nothing a bit of sanding and primer can't fix, it's just another frustrating setback.

Unfortunately, I have to take a short break from finishing the Guest Bathroom because I have "homework" to do for Bradan's Kindergarten that he's (hopefully, we find out this Friday) going into next fall...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 6 Assignment - One Bathroom Down...One To Go!

Now that the Master Bath doesn't make me want to cry, I think it's time to tackle the Guest Bath.  I definitely have some challenges with this one...It is long and narrow with no windows and absolutely NOOOOO storage space!  And did I mention that the plaster is falling off the walls in chunks where it meets up with the tub?  Don't know what I'm going to do about that let's concentrate on what I am going to do!

To give you a frame of reference, here are some "before" pictures:
I know, I know...YIKES!!  

For my color palette, I browsed Design Seeds and decided on Color Lab (which ironically was posted on my 40th Birthday!):
Finding towels in the darker teal color and the green was a piece of cake, but I really wanted the darker gray color for my paint color and just couldn't find a match by eyeing it.  Luckily, I stumbled across two amazing tools that can take your picture and tell you the corresponding paint colors that appear in it!  The first one I found (and my favorite) is the Behr Color Smart app for iPhone.  Just click on any portion of a picture and it gives you the equivalent Behr paint color.  It isn't 100% accurate but it worked just fine for me and helped me find "Elk Horn" for my wall color.  Sherwin Williams has a similar web based tool - Chip It , but it doesn't work on mobile least not yet.  Chip It is a little different in that it doesn't let you choose a specific color in the photo but instead matches the colors it can, and when I tried to Chip It with the Color Lab photo it didn't have a match for the darker gray.  But between the two I imagine you can find whatever color tickles your fancy!

I'm also going to install "Crown Molding" in the Guest Bath!  Before you think Tracy's power tool tutorials have gone to my head, I should tell you it isn't your traditional crown molding.  It's made of foam and is installed using adhesive caulking.  They also precut your corners for you.   I found it at Creative Crown a year ago and have been dying to give it a try!  I ordered samples a while back and decided to go with the pre-primed molding because it has a much smoother finish.  It's supposed to arrive today!!
 If it works well in the Guest Bath my plan is to gradually do the rest of the house, since the only room that currently has crown molding is the infamous Master Bath.

I have more in store for the Guest Bathroom, but I think this is enough for this week.  The rest you'll just have to stay tuned for!  See you next week!

Week 5 Assignment - Results

It's a good thing I decided to take it easy this week...I was definitely not in the zone!  :)  But I did manage to finish my projects, despite the fact that I think I spent more time planning my next months worth of projects.  Guess that's why I'm blogging to keep me on track!

The bread box was more of a challenge than I thought it would was determined to remain a blonde, but I was more determined to make it a brunette!!  While sanding it down to prepare it for staining, I realized it wasn't solid wood but was veneer instead.  I tried staining a small bit on the back but it just wouldn't I resorted to primer and spray paint.  I had some leftover Espresso spray paint from my Family Sign assignment which did the trick...but I still wasn't in love with it.  So I played around with some Black Antiquing Glaze and ta da!!  Not what I had in mind exactly but it will do.  Take a look...

A couple of tricks I learned:
1)  Have the folks at the Depot cut your MDF to a size slightly larger than the interior of your bread box.  That way you can sand down the edges as needed for a tight fit.
2)  For the notches in the MDF for the cords, I used a straight edge and a box cutter.  It was time consuming but gave me nice, straight edges for the openings.  Do this BEFORE painting your MDF.

I love the fact that I don't have a bunch of charging cords slinking around my kitchen counter!!  Definitely worth the effort!

And our Mommy Play Date was sooo much fun!!  I think we may have had more fun than the kids!  We had to get a little creative with my planter box because my window sill where I wanted to put it was only 4" wide, but we found some Alder 1/4" x 6" sheets that did the trick.  Terri was making hers for her mantle so she was able to use 1" x 6"s in Pine.  I was amazed at how easy these were to make...even if you don't have access to power tools!  Most home improvement stores will cut wood to your specifications (within reason) so all you need to do is drill a few holes and install a few screws.  I think the hardest part was drinking all the frappuccinos!  

Now to fill those lovely frappuccino bottles, I decided I wanted the look of cherry blossoms...but I HATED how the stems looked on the silk ones I found.  But not to fear, Pinterest is here!!  Found this pin on one of Tracy's boards from Apartment Therapy  and went to work...

Easy?...YES!! Tedious?...ABSOLUTELY!!  You may notice that I only finished 3 of the 5 branches.  This is because I decided to stop before poking my eyes out with my scissors!  :)  I can't imagine how this woman did a whole room of them??  I think this is a project best completed with friends and accompanied by your favorite beverage!  So I will take a little break and maybe finish the last two branches with a Blue Moon!'s what I've done so far...
Now that I've taken a week off...guess it's time to get back to work!