Monday, May 26, 2014

Captain America Chair

The Kiddo has a favorite outdoor just-his-size Adirondack chair from last season.  After the year outside, it was looking a little sad.

To quote Lighting McQueen, "Now it matches the rest of the town."

I mentioned it needed a new paint job, and the Kiddo suggested "Red, like Captain America!"

"Oh, what if we kept it blue, but painted Cap's shield on it?" I countered.  He LOVED that idea.

I need to learn to shut my big mouth.

I gathered my supplies - paint tins, tape, and concentric circle models.

I did a quick sand to knock the big paint flakes off, and coated everything with Royal Blue.

 It took 3 coats, but it was eventually ready to go.

Giotto di Bondone could reportedly paint a perfect circle, but I am (clearly) not an Italian Renaissance artist.  So I used old frisbees and abandoned Easter baskets as my models for my concentric circles.  I traced them with a sharp pencil, which scored the fresh paint just a little bit.

 Then, it was time to model the star.  Frog Tape worked great (for this part...foreshadowing...).  I made a little 5 pointed star, then just cut out the interior bits.

Today's no-kidding tip is that the type of brush you use makes a HUGE difference in coverage.  I used a foam brush on the left, and an art brush nabbed from the Kiddo's easel for the second coat on the right.

Then, I freehanded the white circle, reasoning that it didn't need to be even close to perfect, since I'd be taping up prettier circles.  I had faith in the Frog Tape.

So much faith, I taped over the whole thing, and re-did my circles.  I scored and cut out where I wanted the red to go.

Then, painted and hoped.

The first bit of tape I peeled off did not bode well.

 And it just got worse from there.  I was so frustrated, I had to remind myself to be a good role model and not hurl that Frog Tape into the woods.

Tape didn't protect the finish underneath, and pulled off the red paint as an extra bonus.

 So, I wound up freehanding everything with a tiny brush anyway.

At least the Kiddo is happy.  And hey, Cap seems to like it, too.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Books on CD Storage

The Kiddo loves books on cd after bedtime, because he gets to stay up just a little later without us bugging him to go be in his room.  We love them because they help strengthen his reading skills and we don't have to bug him to go be in his room after bedtime.

But they make rather a mess.  And the Kiddo is only 4, so it's a little tough for him to get the cds out of the plastic pocket in the front of the book.

So, simple solution time.  I found these little letter sorters at Office Max (I've looked but not found them at any other office shop in my area).

They hold the cds perfectly, and the Kiddo can take them out and put them back without a lot of effort.  It helps that the CD player is on the top of his tiny bookshelf, so he can take get them started himself, too.

We have a LOT of these books, so I separated them into 2 of the boxes of his bookshelf.  This way, there's less of a book tornado in the morning after he's searched for the book he's looking for.

I'd love to hear about your simple solutions, too!  Come up with anything particularly clever lately?

Small Fixes: Entryway edition

When the Mr. gets home, he drops everything into this basket at the door.  This was an improvement from dumping everything in a pile on top of the shoe cabinet, but still a bit of an eyesore.

Especially since things in the basket tended to get abandoned there.  Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.  

I don't have any idea why there's popcorn in there, either.
The last straw for this sad basket came when I bonked my head on it getting some shoes for the Kiddo. No, I don't have any idea how I did that, either.

I finally found a small wall hanging basket at Homegoods that didn't cost an unseemly amount for something that would be holding a dog leash and outgoing mail.  It's a really little space, and I thought one of those multiple-basket setups would be visually overwhelming.

The hangers on this basket are really visible, so regular nails wouldn't be great here.   I considered the clear 3M hangers, but none of them were strong enough to hold more than a pound or so.  

Then, I found these guys at the hardware aisle at Target.  They turned out pretty perfect, and disappear right into the background.

 Here it is filled up with stuff - hopefully the wire will help prevent the odd-reciept/ephemera buildup the basket allowed.  Either way, I won't be bonking my head anymore, so I declare victory.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It's Curtains For You, Kiddo...

The kiddo's room is slowly moving from toddler to definite big-kid space.  My mom sewed a great big kid baseball valance, but the curtains were still firmly "baby" stripes from Lowe's.  Despite being hung way too low, they were still a good 6" from the floor.  It looked like we were getting ready for a flood.  On the third floor.

Backlit curtains made it impossible to show you the full shot - sorry...

Thanks to an AMAZING (yes, capital letters amazing) sale at Pottery Barn, I scored new 108" drapes for the kiddo's room for $25 each.  Normally, they're $140 or some nonsense like that.  

I never ever would have bought them at full price, but I REALLY appreciate how nice they are.  As soon as I got them hung, I texted my mom:

So, first step was to hang the curtain rod brackets way higher - almost all the way to the ceiling.  This had the added benefit of letting me attach the brackets directly into the stud, instead of needing to add 3 more gaping holes for anchors (like I now have to fill).

 Up went the valance while I was waiting for the curtains to be done in the dryer.

The existing curtain hold-backs stayed.  They are just regular baseball coat hooks from the craft store turned on their sides and held up with 3M strips.  They've been up and used daily for about 3 years now, and they show no signs of wobbling.  

Then, ahhh, perfection...

Sorry for the crappy backlit shot...
 I LOVE LOVE LOVE curtains that pool on the floor.  My mom HATES them.  So if your eye is twitching looking at this last picture, know you're in good company.

One day, the kiddo will get serious about asking for a new paint job in his room - that and the rocking chair are really our last nursery holdouts.  I figure he'll let me know when he's ready; until then, I can pretend my son is still a baby for a few moments longer...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Black and White Bird of Happiness

Sometimes, you have a day that begins with an attempt to carry your Starbucks paper cup in your purse, middles into 4 new tires you didn't plan for because you live in a neighborhood still under construction, and ends with your kiddo missing a t-ball game.

On those days, when you see a face like this, you should bring it home.  It will make you happy.

Put a Bird On It Powder Room

Our middle floor bathroom was as builder-basic as it gets when we first started out.  Bad light, plain mirror (with uneven mounting clips), uninspiring pedestal sink, and no storage.  At least we had the good sense to select tile floors for the bathrooms in the first place, so there's one less project we have to cross off the list.

This is a shot of our teeny powder room downstairs - I don't have a before picture of the second floor one, because they were both the same (but face different directions).


We painted the room a pretty soft blue, and then went to work taking everything out except the toilet (which we'll be getting to eventually).

New light, new vanity (with storage!), new faucet, new mirror, towel ring, light switch cover - new everything.

There's even birds on my towels and soap dispenser.

The art in here was cut out of a calendar I'd saved for years - they need bigger frames and mats, one of these days.

Not to get too personal (though we are in the bathroom, after all), but certain members of my household like a little reading material in the restroom.  I don't understand it, personally.  

In an effort to corral the loo literature, I hung a wall file folder from some 3M hooks.  That worked about as well as you'd imagine.

Yes, I did install a coordinating flusher handle.  We're fancy.
What a mess.

Thank heavens the 3M strips come off so easy.

Love that I don't have to fill yet another nail hole.

Luckily, I found an ultra-narrow magazine stand that was just small enough to fit in that tiny gap, but roomy enough to hold all the books.

 Next steps in here include finally getting around to painting the wood quarter round the same color as the trim, adventures in toilet upgrading, new frames/mats for the old art, and painting the ceiling to match the walls (which I like in tiny rooms, but not big ones...).  But at least the books have half a hope of staying out from underfoot.