My little Anna is so excited to have her very own, GIANT chalkboard! She couldn’t wait for it to be up, and even helped me build it. (You’ve gotta start’em young…)
Head over to Domestically Speaking for the tutorial.
My little Anna is so excited to have her very own, GIANT chalkboard! She couldn’t wait for it to be up, and even helped me build it. (You’ve gotta start’em young…)
Head over to Domestically Speaking for the tutorial.
#1- finish the arch moulding (it’s going to be epic people!)
#2- Add moulding to our bedroom wall. Possibly paint?
#3- Replace the floor boards in the girls rooms.
#4- Do something about that awful backsplash in the kitchen. Sure, it looked good when it was put in 10 years ago, but I’m over it.
#5- Give the laundry room some organization. Getting anything out of the cabinets can be scary!
#6- Add some string lights to the patio.
#7- Add a chalkboard outside for the kiddos.
#8- Possibly build some raised planter boxes? I’m sort of a plant killer so I’m still thinking on that one.
#9- HOPEFULLY buy new couches!
#10- Frame out Ellie’s window to match Anna’s.
Next year I hope to look back and see ALL of this complete. I’m probably living in a dream world, but I say go big or go home. It should be fun to see what gets finished, what gets scrapped, and what completely transforms into something else.
Every year since Mike and I have been married we’ve made these delicious sugar cookies (sort of a secret family recipe. Sort of…) to give out to our neighbors and friends. This year I was so swamped with EVERYTHING that by the time we got around to making cookies I was out of steam.
To save time, and energy, I decided to give the neighbors their frosting in a container for them to decorate their own cookies. I also decided to make all the cookies the same shape so we could mass produce them and give everyone the right color of frosting. (Anna picked Christmas trees.)
It becomes a family affair every year. I baked, Mike filled containers with frosting, and Anna counted cookies. Anything left out of that list go ahead and assume I did it (wink wink).
To top everything off, I placed a white pennant next to each tag with a hand written “Merry Christmas”.
I realize Christmas is officially over, but here we are anyway. The month of December turned into complete chaos, and it was a struggle to just get Christmas off without a hitch, so my “Christmas House Tour” took a back seat. We haven’t officially begun the new year yet so in my mind it’s still the Christmas season. Right?
Like I’ve mentioned before when we talked about our outdoor lights, I love all white lights. It’s classic and I love the glow it puts off, so naturally we have a 7.5′ tree with all white lights. I’ve been known to be “picky” so when we found this tree I knew it was perfect. It’s flocked, has white lights, has red berry sprigs throughout, and pine cones here and there. Plus the price was right. It’s served us well over the last few years. (In the last few days 2 sections of lights have gone out. NOOOO!!!!! Hopefully we can fix it. Everyone cross your fingers!)
Since we’ve had kids. I’ve been adding an ornament a year for each of them. This year I was going to get crafty and make my own, but I decided to just go with the traditional Hallmark keepsake ornament like I’ve been doing for the past 6 years. Someday my tree will be FULL of keepsake ornaments. I have made a few ornaments, but not many. The “noel” is one of a few other Christmas words scattered about our tree. Noel, HO HO HO, snow, joy… I found those at Hobby Lobby a few years back (I bet they still have them), and I painted them white. The felt snowflake ornament you can see I also made a few years ago. I was inspired by an ornament I saw at Target and got crafty. Other than that we have typical ball ornaments.
To finish everything off we topped our tree with an angel I found at Marshall’s last year.
Did you miss some of the tour?
First off, let me start by saying it has taken us YEARS to agree on what kind of lights we’d like to put on our house for the holiday season. Mike is more of a Clark Griswald fan, if you catch my drift, and I like all white lights (warm white, not the cool white that has a bluish hue), clean lines, wreaths…in a word: classic.
After 9 years we decided it was time to find a solution that we could both live with forever, because lets face it, we’re NEVER buying this amount of lights again. EVER! Our compromise was to go with larger lights (c9) for the house, and the small lights for the trees and bushes. We alternated the larger lights with red and white (again, WARM white). You can in fact buy lights that are already red and white, but of course we waited too late in the season to buy them and they were sold out. So, in the spirit of being festive, I spent hours and hours switching light bulbs around and losing the skin on my thumbs. If you follow me on instagram you got a hint of my frustration. Because we have a typical, Arizona, stucco house, we had nothing to attach the lights too. After talking with some neighbors, and doing a little google search, we decided to use hot glue to hold the lights in place. We’ve had a few fall down, but I think it was due to some rain we had the day after we put up the lights. Even though alternating the lights was ridiculous and made my thumbs go numb for a few days, and gluing the lights on the house was very time consuming and riddled with the occasional burn, I think all the trouble was well worth the outcome!
-Can’t say I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year though…
Anna was so excited to help me put everything out and create everything. She was mostly excited about first: the glitter, and second: the “Santa this way!” sign.
We used an old wreath I’ve been holding on to for awhile, and some wood letters from Hobby Lobby, to create the word “Noel”. Anna helped me paint the letters and add all the glitter.
I found this paper mache reindeer at Michael’s. Anna painted the head white, and I painted the antlers gold. He adds the perfect touch to our door, even though our cute neighbor boy told his mom, “that’s creepy”. Too funny!
Most of the items we’ve collected over the years, but it’s always fun to add new stuff every year. Especially when that means involving a 5 year old and glitter!
I’m sure you noticed the miles of extension cords coming from our entry. I’m hoping to get some good pictures of our house all lit up to show you. This is the first year we’ve done lights. EVER! I think we did a pretty good job.
Since the day we moved in, I thought it was so weird that our garage didn’t have lights flanking it. I love the polished look lights can give next to a garage, I knew it was just a matter of time before we added some of our own. Not only did I want lights for the aesthetic, we desperately needed more outdoor lighting.
After a little convincing Mike agreed we needed to add some lights. He was
brave sweet enough to tackle this project by himself, while watching both kids. First he had to cut holes in the house for the new lights. He also had to run new wires for them. I have no idea how to do electrical work, so I won’t even try to explain. In a nutshell he ran the new wires to an outlet on the garage ceiling. The lights have sensors that turn them on and off so it’s no big deal for them to be plugged in all the time.
After a days work we now have two, new, beautiful, lights flanking our garage.They’ve only been up for a few days, but we are already loving the amount of light it gives off. It adds the perfect glow to make our home more inviting. Plus it offers some much needed light for those evenings we spend outside playing with our girls. It’s win, win if you ask me.
Recently, as in yesterday, I attended a photography workshop to learn how to REALLY use my camera. Because let’s be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing and my pictures reflect that. I was anxious to try out my newly acquired skills so I dressed my girls up and we had ourselves a little photo shoot.
I had all sorts of grand visions for pictures, but decided to start with the simplest in case it was an epic failure. I didn’t want to put a ton of effort into the background if it was going to be a total flop. I decided to have the girls sit on Anna’s bench in their Christmas jammies. I added some felt ball garland, some pillows, a throw, and a string of lights. As you can see, my skills aren’t quite up to par to capture those lights the way I’d want them captured, so we decided to ditch those. We also ditched the throw half way through.
With Daddy keeping the girls laughing, I captured some adorable moments.
We settled on these two photos as our favorites. I’m leaning towards the last one because I love a good, candid, closeup, but Mike likes the first. I prefer the gold lettering on the first, but the price difference is significant, so I have a feeling the latter one will be our winner.
If you live in the Gilbert/Chandler AZ area you should check out Jessica Downey Photo for information on attending a workshop.
We’ve always had a message board in our house. I like things organized and for everything to have it’s place. The one we’ve had did the job, but now that Anna’s in school, and we have papers out the wazoo, it was time to upgrade. Meet our new message board!
SO much better than…
It was too small, too cluttered, no room to write anything… We had officially out grown this little message board (that was actually once a menu board).
Here’s how we got from “small and insufficient” to “new and improved with storage”:
I found this gem of a message board at Home Goods in the clearance section. As you can see, it had some damage to the chalk board, and it wasn’t magnetic.
I thought, “I can fix this. NO problem!”. Originally my plan was to buy some sheet metal, cut it to size, and paint it with chalk paint. Well, the sheet metal that was in stock, in the size I needed, was more expensive than I wanted to pay. I was going to keep up the search, but this particular day I had to run more errands. I ran to Walmart for this, and that, and came across this magnetic calendar. It was the right size, magnetic, and it was $7. YEP! That was going to be my sheet metal. One less place to stop!
First I had to rip off the cheap metal frame around the calendar. Once I got it started, it literally fell off.
I scrounged up some sandpaper from my mouse sander (best sander ever by the way) and roughed up the surface of the calendar so the chalk paint would stick.
Next I painted it with chalkpaint. Nothing to special here other than this: I painted the first coat all in one direction. The next coat I painted in the OPPOSITE direction, and so forth. It took 3 coats to cover completely.
Once it was dry I used hot glue to attach it to the frame.
If you’ve used chalkpaint before, you know you have to “prime” the board before writing on it. All you do is place a piece of chalk on it’s side and rub it all over the board, then you wipe it off (with something dry), and you’re ready to write with either regular old chalk or a chalk marker (which is erasable. It just has to be wet. I use baby wipes).
This was just the upgrade we needed!
For the cushion I bought some 2 1/2 inch foam from JoAnn’s so the bench would be nice and comfy. That stuff is pricy so make sure you have a coupon, and be ready to “splurge”. I covered it with a simple linen. The cute ladies at JoAnn’s cut the foam with an electric carving knife, but since I don’t have one of those, I used my fabric scissors (probably did some serious damage to them in the process. Time will tell.). Once the foam was cut into shape, I cut 2 pieces of fabric 1/2″ wider than the foam all the way around to allow for the seams. I also cut a 3″ strip (1/2″ extra for the seams) to go around the edge of the cushion. I essentially sewed it like a pillow case. If you only have a basic knowledge of sewing don’t worry! You could sew this. Straight lines the whole way!
I bought these buttons at JoAnn’s and covered then with some scrap fabric.
I decided where I wanted each button to be and placed a pin there so I didn’t have to measure 100 times.
To add strength to the tufting, I first placed multiple stitches at each marked spot. I made sure to pull it as tightly as possible. I actually used crochet thread because I was worried regular thread couldn’t handle the job. Once that was done, I sewed the buttons in place.
Voila! Just like that, a tufted bench cushion was born. I added those adorable pillows, and we’ve been ooing and awwing over that bench ever since. I still haven’t figured out the window dressing in there. Still working on that one…I’ll keep you posted!
I’ve never been one for seasonal decor. Not that I don’t like it, but because I’m SO cheap when it comes to things that don’t stay up in my house all year. Every year I put out a few fall decorations, but nothing crazy, and of course we do the whole Christmas thing. This year, I tackled our mantle with the few fall decor items we had, while little Miss Anna assisted with the rest.
I don’t think we did half bad! My friend Ashley made me the “fall” pennants a few years ago, and we make a point to pull it out year after year. I added some $2 (half off at Hobby Lobby) wheat bundles to some vases I had sitting in the pantry to flank the TV. I tossed in some fabric pumpkins my Mom made a LONG time ago along with some mini pumpkins I picked up at Walmart. I finished it off with a few bows, a crow (found at Hobby Lobby), and a metal pumpkin that was also purchased years ago (can’t remember where). Nothing too fancy, but it works for us.
Anna was THRILLED to be able to help me with all of this, but mostly the pennants that say “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” on our wreath. That girl is like a kid in a candy store when she’s handed scissors. We added a few felt leaves to the pillow on the bench, a sparkly spider under the light (made by Anna), and the saddest little scarecrow you’ve ever seen (that thing has been around awhile…). Even though it’s a little underwhelming, Anna and I had so much fun spending an afternoon together prepping for fall. Hopefully we can step it up a notch for Christmas. Hopefully…
Did you see something you liked in Anna’s room? Well, search no more! Here’s where I got EVERYTHING!
Wall color: Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue
Door color: Valspar’s Amber Rose
Wrought Iron Bed: Amazon (siimilar here)
Quilt, Euro Sham, and owl pillow: Made by yours truly! (I used Amy Butler Fabrics)
Gingham pillows: Ikea
Butterfly pillow: Ikea (sold in stores only apparently)
Lumbar Dot Pillow: West Elm (sold out)
Other Pillows: Bead and Reel
Lamp: Ikea (see this post for tutorial)
Mirror: Hobby Lobby
End table Decor: thrifted
End table: My neighbors yardsale. $8!!!! Painted with ASCP Provence
Wall frames: Ikea
Butterfly prints: Ikea
Doll House: Thrifted (see how it got a makeover here)
And in case you missed it, here’s how we made Anna’s awesome window bench!
That about sums it up. I still have a fun project in mind for the wall opposite the bed, but I think we’ll leave it with this for awhile.
After much anticipation, and delay, thanks to technical difficulties, Anna’s bench reveal is finally here!
First off, a huge thanks to my old man for being a HUGE help on this project. Thanks Dad!!
Here’s how we did it:
First I built the Kallax shelf and drawer inserts that I purchased from Ikea. (The shelf and drawers are sold separately. You can also purchase a variety of bins and baskets if you’d rather go that route.)
Once that was put together it was time to start the fun stuff.
We figured out what we needed and headed to Home Depot. All of the wood you see on the right was free. We simply asked an employee if they had any scrap wood that comes in with their pallets. We’ve used it before and knew it was the perfect thickness for the base of our bench. We purchased enough moulding to frame out the bench, closet door, and bedroom door. We didn’t have to purchase anything for the top of the bench, or the side panels, because I had some scraps sitting around my garage. (A few that I got for free at Home Depot! All you have to do is ask people!)
Once that was done, we built a simple frame for the Kallax shelf to sit on. We wanted to raise the height a little bit, and we also needed some support for the side panels that we needed to add.
Once it was level, we screwed the frame into the wall.
As you can see, we had to remove a few baseboards for the shelf (now bench) to fit perfectly in the bay window. We used the old baseboards as supports for the side panels, and some more free wood for the bench top. I love when we can make use of scraps!
Once our supports were in place. we used a protractor to figure out the angle of the bench top.
We measured, cut, tweaked (the corners had to be rounded a little), until it fit perfectly. Then we nailed that puppy down. *There’s the old man, hard at work!
After that it was a matter of framing everything out to be pretty.
I used simple door casing to frame up the sides of the bay window, and also on the top and bottom of the bench. The top casing on the bench sticks up about 3/4″ above the bench top to help hold the cushion in place. For the side panels we used the back of some left over beadboard from Anna’s Room Phase 1. The other moulding is left over from my DIY Picture Frame Moulding. (Any small, round, moulding would do the trick.)
To finish off the top we added the same topper we’ve added to all of my doors and windows (Thanks Dad! YES! My dad really IS cooler than your Dad. Insert tongue sticking out here.)
We started by nailing the door stop to the bottom of the 5″ flat board. (Ours actually had a rounded edge on one side, but we put that towards the wall.) We measured it so the door stop would hang over the edge of the door casing, and flat board, 1/2″. Once that was attached, we nailed the board into place on the wall.
After the board was secured into the studs, we added the crown moulding to finish it off.
After a lot of caulking, spackle, and paint (see how I tackle this here), this is the almost finished product!
What’s left you ask? Well, we are getting new windows installed this week (Hooray!! It’s been months and months of window drama.), so those blinds will NOT be returning. We’re also going to lose the 2 smaller arches (I know. Sad…), and I have a fun plan for some book storage.
Check out these before and afters!
What a drastic change from the mls listing of our house.
See where this post parties:
I’ve spent the last few days in Anna’s room touching up paint, and tweaking things here and there. I am happy to say the Ikea Hack window bench is 95% done. (I’ll fill you in on what the other 5% is later). I’m off to take photos of the finished product! Well, 95% finished product…I’ll see you right here on Monday!
(Find it here)
Anna’s room is coming right along! I’m excited to show you guys the finished product, but I’m still wrapping a few loose ends. Oh…and that WINDOW BENCH! It turned out amazing! I’m waiting on two itsy bitsy details on that one and then I can call it done! Anyway….
Now that I can FINALLY see the direction Miss Anna’s room is going, it was time to start pulling some finishing touches together. I had this idea for a fun, little, scallop lamp shade when I was working on Dawn’s room (Didn’t see Dawn’s room? Click here.) Ultimately, Dawn’s room took a different direction, but I filed that little lamp shade idea away to be pulled out when the occasion arose. Well…Anna’s room was such an occasion.
First, I started by making a template for my scallops. After deciding on how big I wanted the scallops to be, and how many would fit nicely around the circumference of my lamp shade, I created a template on the computer. I made a 2.5″ circle and printed it out. I cut it out, folded it in half, and voila, my scallop template was made.
I used a small piece of tape to help me hold it in place as I traced each scallop around the bottom edge of the lamp shade.
I learned this lesson the hard way: A painted lamp shade might look beautiful once it’s finished…until the lights turned on. Then all the hidden bits come out. With that in mind, I tried to trace as lightly as possible with a pencil. I didn’t want to see any hidden lines when the light turned on.
Once it was dry, it was ready to hang up.
(If you’re wondering why I didn’t just hang this from the ceiling as the SEKOND cord kit intends, we have vaulted ceilings and the cord simply wasn’t long enough.)
First I started by placing one of the hooks that came with the SEKOND cord set into a hole on the end of the bracket. The hole is intended to screw the bracket into the bottom of a shelf. If you’ll notice, the bracket is longer on one side than the other. I wanted the longer side to be parallel to the ground so the lamp shade wouldn’t brush the wall as it hung. I decided how low I wanted the lamp to hang and added the plastic piece to the cord to lock it in place and hang it up. After marking where the screws would go on the wall for the bracket, and adding anchors, I loosely hung the top portion of the bracket into the wall so I could fit the cord behind it. Once I had it, and the cord, placed where I wanted it, I put the bottom screw in as tight as I could. At this point the bracket seemed to be leaning in one direction so I folded up a piece of paper and shoved it behind it to hold it in place. You’ll notice something behind the bracket in the picture. That’s the paper.
That was it. Not terrible hard, or expensive. I’m so happy I decided to file this little idea away a few months ago. The scallops add the perfect little touch of whimsy to a once boring lamp shade, and hanging the shade from the bracket frees up more space on Anna’s side table for all of her “stuff”.
Slowly, but surely, I’ve been working on Anna’s room. A few weeks ago my friend Ashley and I painted her room (thanks for helping Ashley!). I had Home Depot color match Benjamin Moore’s “Woodlawn Blue”, and it turned out beauitful. Well, there were times when I loved it, and times when I hated it.
The room seemed like it was missing something, and it seemed kind of blah. Poor Anna was devastated that I painted her room blue. So…
…I decided to paint the doors pink. She LOVED the idea! Originally I started with a soft, subtle pink: Clark and Kensington’s “Lady Anne” (a great color if you want to paint an entire room pink). It just didn’t cut it for the doors. It was barely noticeable. Look at that picture! Can you even tell the top half of the left door is pink? I had such high hopes and I really didn’t want to buy more paint. I decided to high tail it back to Ace Hardware (one of my favorite stores) to see if they’d be willing to re-tint my paint so I wouldn’t have to buy more.
Like the awesome store they are, they did it!! The guy worked his magic and I ended up with Valspar’s “Amber Rose”. It was THE perfect color!
It gave the room just the pop it needed.
I still have a few things on the to do list: touch up paint, finish moulding over the door, make bench cushion, sew pillow covers… Just a few details. It’s coming along beautifully though! It’s becoming my favorite room in the house.
Yesterday I shared how I gave my spice cabinet some much needed organization. I was blown away by how many spice solutions out there would work for us.
It was a hard choice knowing all of these would have worked. I love the charm of the colored canisters, the vintage vibe of the hexagon glass set, and the ease of the spice grippers. Ultimately I decided on the spice strip because it fit in the cabinet perfectly, I could buy as many, or as few, as I needed, and it lines up the canisters perfectly. A HUGE plus for me!
Are you having a spice storage dilemma of your own? Here’s 8 spice storage solutions that will get your creative juices flowing!
Coca Cola crate turned spice rack. Genius!! Via Discover Create and Live
DIY Spice rack on the pantry door. Via Shanty 2 Chic/Ana White
Pull out spice storage. Via Shelterness
Spice drawer Via Shelterness
Casserole Dish turned spice rack Via iVillage
DIY spice shelf inside cabinet. Via Family Handyman
Open shelving spice storage with mason jars. Via Ikea
And of course, Magnetic spice strips mounted on the cabinet door. Via THE HOUSE ON STANFORD
Over the past few months I’ve been CRINGING every time I have to dig through the spice cabinet for something. It got to the point where I had HAD it, and in a matter of days I remedied the problem. If you’ll notice, I couldn’t even fit all of my spices in the cabinet. It might not look so bad to you, but believe me, finding anything in there was a chore. Plus, I really didn’t have a good idea what I had or needed. *Disclaimer: the laxative is for Anna.
Here’s how I decided to tackle this one:
I ordered these canisters from Amazon. This set came with 6 canisters, the mounting plate, and some spices. Because we have A LOT of spices, I decided to get 4 of them to hang on the cabinet door to maximize space.
They came with labels, but 95% of my spices weren’t listed. SOOoooo…My sweet friend Cami, remember her kitchen, let me borrow her label maker for the day. THANK YOU CAMI! I love organization so this label maker made me giddy! I have GOT to buy one of these!
Here’s where things got a little iffy. The magnetic plate came with mounting strips, and it had holes for screws. I knew I didn’t want to screw into my cabinet door because #1: it is so thin, and #2 I didn’t want to put holes in the door (which is laughable compared to what I actually did.) I decided to give just the mounting strips a try, but ultimately they failed me. One by one all the spice racks fell down. “NO!”
Enter SUPER GLUE!
I’m actually going to give Mike the credit for this one. I was trying to figure out the best way to get these spices to stay up without damaging the door. After bouncing a few ideas off of him, he mentioned super glue. Never hurts to try!
Super glue did the trick!
Everyone knows that super glue is really runny, so we decided to take the door off while gluing the magnetic plate. I added a liberal amount of glue to each one and pressed on it until it dried a little. Maybe about 20 seconds each plate. It wasn’t long. Then I let it dry over night before hanging it back up and adding the canisters.
Voila!!! Organization makes me so happy!
To take the interior organization to the next level I added these spice rack tiers so I could actually see what was in there. I swiped the box for the ramen noodles for the “extra spices”. Storage/organization doesn’t always have to be pretty 😉 Now I have no excuse not to cook! Crap…maybe I should have left it a mess.
Time to find some new recipes!
*Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some other storage solutions that were contenders for this project. Stay tuned…
We bought them when we were first married and they’ve served us well. They’re just not really the style I’m going for. Despite they’re flaws in the “beauty” department, they do have a few amazing qualities. They’re comfy, sturdy, and they’re really good quality. In fact, they just WON’T die! Their worst feature? Plain and simple. I would love something drool worthy, and these just aren’t making that happen.
These couches and I have a love hate relationship. I look at them and think, “Oh man we could really do so much better than these”, but then I sit on them and think, “these couches are straight from heaven and I am never standing up again as long as I live!” It’s a serious problem! I’d love to buy new couches, but until these ones die, It’s just not going to happen.
Since these couches aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon, I decided I WILL make them work, and new pillows ARE GOING to make that happen! I hope… To help me narrow down my options, because lets face it, there’s about a million AWESOME pillows/fabrics out there, I created a mood board.
1: Polka Dot Pillow, Cushion Cut Decor
2: Lattice Pillow, Target
3: Embroidered Floral Pillow, Pottery Barn
4: Honeycomb Pillow, West Elm
5: Oxen Pillow, Latter Day Home
6: Circlet Pillow, West Elm
7: Stamped Mini Dot Pillow, West Elm
I love a good geometric pattern so some of these pillows were a no brainer for me. A few others were a little out of the box, but I’m hoping they’ll be just the pop the living room needs.
What do you think? Am I still going to want new couches?
It’s just not going to happen.
See where this post parties: