Friday, December 31, 2010

My Aunt's Watermelon Painting

My aunt is a very talented crafter. Through her influence, I learned to hand quilt, finished a couple of latch-hook rugs, made several pairs of Indian bead earrings, etc. I get some of my craftiness from her, I think.

Three years ago, while visiting my aunt, she gave myself and each of my siblings a painting she had done. I was the lucky one to get her watermelon painting. I've been storing it for the last 3 years so my kids wouldn't ruin it. During Thanksgiving, one of Micheal's Black Friday deals was custom framing for almost 70% off. I took my aunt's painting and had it framed. I finally got to pick it up today and hung it up as soon as I got home. Doesn't it look wonderful?

I love this painting and I love my aunt. Now I get to see it and think of her every time I go into my dining room.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Beadboard is DONE!

A few days ago, I realized that my husband's sister and her husband were coming to visit and would need a bathroom to use. Our boys have been using ours for the past month (it's getting really old though...), but I didn't want guests to have to come through our bedroom just to brush their teeth or whatever. So, it was time to stop procrastinating and finish something already!

I added the chair rail just before Christmas. Today, my hubby took our boys to the park while I caulked everything. We painted it this afternoon and again this evening. Here's what it looks like so far:

I saw on a blog recently a tip to tape off where you want to caulk above chair rails so you get a nice crisp line. I did it and it worked beautifully! The first coat of white we put on this afternoon was Eggshell Cream (Behr paint from HD) that I colored matched months ago to Rustoleum's Heirloom white since I want to paint some furniture (all our nursery stuff) that color. It didn't quite match the Swiss coffee trim color throughout our house, so while that coat dried, we ran to HD and got a gallon of the right shade of white and added that after the kids went to bed. We'll put the back of the toilet on tomorrow before my SIL arrives and I'll start decorating. We haven't added the crown molding yet. We borrowed a miter saw, but it doesn't have a high enough fence (it's the flat metal part you push what your cutting against) to easily cut crown molding, so I'm trying to talk my hubby into letting me get this miter saw in the near future. Talk of crown molding throughout our house is helping him feel like it's a worthwhile purchase... Either way, we'll be adding the crown molding after the New Year. Here's a good tip for painting beadboard that we discovered while doing it. Use 2 inch foam brushes. They are just the right width for the flat parts of the beadboard and the sharp, triangle end is perfect for running down the grooves of the "bead" part. We ended up painting everything using those brushes and it really went fast and looks great.

I'll post more "finished" pictures after I get the shower curtain and a few other things up. I'm getting so excited!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Son's Lego Table

Several years ago, I had a friend give me this little end table. I'd always planned on stripping it and re-staining it. Several months ago though, I decided it would make the perfect lego table for my 4 and 5 year olds. In June, I picked up the lego base plates ($5 each) and I finally started working on it a month ago. I got it sanded a primed and let it sit in my garage for almost a month. Two days before Christmas I decided I needed to get it finished since it was supposed to be my 5 year-olds "big" gift this year. I'm glad to say, I got it done!

Here it is before:

And here is the after:

I picked up the knobs at Home Depot months ago. I primed with gray primer and then added 2 coats of red on top (I sort of ran out of time for painting...). I like the gray primer showing just a smidge through the red. I used epoxy glue to attach the base plates and my husband's college textbooks to "clamp" the plates down while the glue set. I also mod podged some cute scrapbook paper to the inside of the drawer. I used the hard coat stuff and it said to do 5 layers. I think I only did 4. It has a nice hard coating now. It looks even better in person (I think).

Here it is Christmas morning being used by all my boys. I think it's a hit!

This experience has shown me that you can refinish a piece of furniture in a very short amount of time. Next time though, I want to give myself a little more time...

I used a lot of things I already had on hand, so including the base plates and other materials I had to buy for this project, I think the cost of this table came to about $30. Not bad for something my kids will use for years.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Superhero Capes

Thanks to my good friend, Morgan, I was able to check something off my to-do list yesterday. My boys' superhero capes. My husband and I designed the appliques with the boys' initials and Morgan and I cut them out on my vinyl cutter a week or so ago. Yesterday, Morgan came over and we got started. We made ourselves a cape pattern, ironed the appliques down and then satin stitched around the edges. We added double-folded bais tape for the edge and sewed velcro to the extra "collar" part of the bais tape. They were pretty easy to do. Morgan made one for her son, too. Of course, since she's a sewer, her's looks much better than my 3. The important thing is that they love them.

In the picture above, my youngest ran off to show Dad, who'd just gotten home.

I had my boys put them on for pictures then told them that the capes were mine until Christmas. They're pretty excited for Christmas morning. I have a feeling these capes will go on in the morning and they'll do everything in them all day. It's nice to actually finish something. Thanks again, Morgan!

Monday, December 13, 2010

One "finished" project!

So, tonight, I patched the holes from our first attempt at installing our lovely new gate and we (mostly my hubby) installed the gate at the stud. I wanted to install the gate at the edge of the carpet, but that was too close to the corner with no stud. The wall mounting thingies kept punching through the drywall instead of grabbing onto it, so we had to move it 3 inches to the stud so the kids can't rip the gate out of the wall when they try to get into our computer room.

Here's my hubby installing the last piece and then tightening the bolts after we got the gate up. Isn't it cute? I mean, for a gate, anyway...

Please ignore the mess of our office/library. It's the first room that will be tackled once I'm finished with my projects upstairs. It's still months away, but I've got some great plans in store. Until then, this room is just an embarrassing, unorganized mess.

I still need to sand the spots I repaired and probably spackle again and sand again and then paint over them. I have a spot upstairs that needs to be painted too (same color), so I'm hoping that with 2 things, I'll actually get both of them done. Hopefully, I'll finish that up tomorrow and then we can finish up the bathroom. We'll see.

Current Projects Update

I seem to be really good about starting projects, and equally good at getting my husband to abandon projects for other things... We still haven't added the chair rail and crown molding to the bathroom upstairs. I still haven't painted my son's lego table, partly because I get lazy and partly because all the molding for the bathroom is laying across the table in the garage. We might be working on that tonight (the bathroom, not the table).

Meanwhile, we also started installing a gate to our library to keep little ones out. It didn't work out, so now I need to repair the wall and move the gate back a few inches to the stud. Another unfinished project under my belt.

I have (thankfully) been able to finish something though. Every year, since I was little, my family made Christmas candies to give away. We've continued the tradition in our family, though this is the first year my husband really grasped what I meant when I said we gave candy to all our teachers (7 kids and several teachers each adds up to a TON of chocolates!). This year, we added our boys' preschool and kindergarten teachers to our regular list.

Here's a picture of my half bucket of raspberry oreo truffles. Yum! We also made triple chocolate marbled fudge, peanut butter balls, caramel for pecan turtles and white peppermint bark.

It's amazing how far this candy goes (and how I forget that every year). This is only half our oreo truffles, the rest have been bagged in my cute origami gift bags (pictured below) and we started handing them out yesterday. All the candy took me about a week to make.

This morning, I headed over to my good friend, Morgan's and went through her fabric for my superhero capes. Since her son and one of my boy's initial is the same, she decided to make one too. After we picked fabrics, she came over to my house and we set to work. I bought just a small amount of Heat n Bond and a couple of yards of Wonder Under. We cut out squares in the various fabrics then ironed the Wonder Under/Heat n Bond to the back sides. Using my Cricut cutting mats, I cut each of the designs on my vinyl cutter. (I don't have a Cricut, I just use the mats for cutting paper and fabrics on my vinyl cutter.) I'm really glad that only one square had the Heat n Bond. It did not work very well with my cutter. So, I'll use Wonder Under from now on. They're the same price per yard at Joanns.

Here's my finished T, P, and C. The green P on the other side of the table is Morgan's. My husband designed the C shield and I did the T and P designs in my vinyl cutting program.

Now, I just need to prewash our cape fabric, iron everything down and sew up the edges! It'll probably take me a whole day (I'm slow), but I'm hoping to get it done by this weekend.

Tonight, hubby and I are going to work on a couple of our unfinished projects. Hopefully, we'll finally get the bathroom done this week. Our boys have been without their bathtub for 3 weeks now and my 2 year old does NOT like taking showers.


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