Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cloud Dough on a Rainy Day

From Pinterest, of course.  4C flour and 1/2C baby oil.  Mix to the consistency of cornmeal.  Squeezing is a really good way to mix.  Squeezing by toddlers is the best mixing method. 

You can see my attempt to contain the sandy dough in a bowl, on a cookie tin, and finally, just to the kitchen on the linoleum.  The last one proved doable.  When they finished, I had the kiddos strip and run upstairs to change.  The dough was everywhere, but it swept up like a dream.

This was really really fun.  The "dough" is very soft and a great sensory experience.  You can mold it like clay or playdough, then smush it (very satisfying!).  It does not taste good (J had to experiment) but will not hurt you if ingested, unless you eat the whole thing and then I would think you were very weird and missing something serious from your diet.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bathroom Color Upstairs

A sneak peek.  Very Miami Beach.  We love it!  I've learned how much trim I have to give a second coat (thanks, flippers!  of course, I didn't notice it before this but now I can't look away!) and I haven't started any other of my long list of projects, with only two days (including leap day!) to finish.  But I do love this paint!!!

Next up, the tub of doom.

Friday, February 24, 2012

February is Bathroom Redo Month part II

 The upstairs bathroom.  Could that yellow be any more blah?  I mean, as colors go it has cheered us up for three years now, but three years of the same yellow in every room and anybody would go crazy for just. one. other. color.
 I will post on the scary tub after Project: Refinish It From A Kit.

 Sad pile of clothes to donate/redistribute.  It is only a pile because I moved the changing table it was on back to the kitchen.
Where the changing table pad went (see it, under the dresser?)  Surprisingly, Domino does not seem to be lounging there at the moment, she must be asleep inside/under something else in the house.
What color should we try?  Actually, I already have the color from Yolo, will surprise you with it soon.
Changes to this room on tap:
Fix the scary tub.  Someone painted it with latex for the flip, the latex has been cracking and peeling up ever since. The ceramic underneath is dingy.  This bathroom will hopefully, magically become two bathrooms before the kids are teenagers, one for us and one for them, so we don't want to put much into something that we're going to change again in the next 5 years. I'm afraid of fumes but more disgusted by our icky tub.  Wish me luck!
Frame the big mirror and add storage on either side to hold our chargeable stuff and get things off the vanity.
Add storage in the "pile corner" for off-season clothes and those to be donated.
Add art (of course).
Create a soothing environment, with a bit more order, less chaos.
Given the date, I fear this project too is going to spill over into the next month.  But I'm ok with that, since I am getting so much done done done!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bathroom Makeover - Downstairs Before

 Hmmm, well, yes.  This bathroom ... functions.  But it sure doesn't sing (not sure what a bathroom would sing if it had the ability, maybe I just shouldn't go there)
Ah.  The pile of magazines and complete lack of any storage, closed or otherwise.  No room for anything at the pedestal sink.  The space heater making this coldest uninsulated room in the house one of the warmest and most comfortable.
It could be cute, no?  Let's see what we can do with the rest of the month left to us.
The plan:  add storage - we have some unused CD shelves from Ikea that could work, and a thrift store medicine cabinet.
Add art - this bathroom has had a very glamorous visitor and needs to live up to her reputation. 
Paint or stain the grout lines (for now).  The tiles were just slapped down there by one of the flippers who didn't put any real effort into it - they are ok (for now) but the wide grout lines just make it look icky. We can do better.
Add small shelf/shelves flanking the tiny sink, for things like soap, toothbrushes, etc.
And: paint!  But of course.  Let's see if I can scare you with the color from our last house.
 Adorable toddler notwithstanding, this tiny bathroom had it all.  Storage (behind the curtain under the stairs, and in the medicine cabinet over the toilet) hardwood floors, and a miniscule salvaged wall-mount sink in the alcove to the toddler's left. 
Good times, good times.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

 By the littles.  So pretty!

 Sweet P. has a go at flower-arranging.

Kitchen Color

 The Big Reveal!  Having moved into an antenna-only country area, I miss my cable home decorating shows, yes I do (the upside - all the time I used to spend watching I can now use to actually do home decorating stuff!)
 Above see my new cookbook shelf, the re-purposed kitchen cart/changing table/kitchen cart, and chalkboard from a (free!) thrift store frame and piece of plywood.  I banished the amaryllis to the basement too late last year, so this one is just about to bloom. I love having the extra workspace with that additional counter, and the extra silverware/plasticware accessibility on its shelves.
I can't say enough good things about this paint.  Thank you Soulemama for mentioning it (often) in tales of your farmhouse reno.  It is Yolo Colorhouse  in Clay .02 (avail from Amazon with free shipping for a $35 gallon).  It had no smell at all, not even a paint smell, had the consistency of custard, is practically vegan, and even the label is printed on recycled paper with soy ink.  It covered like a dream - this kitchen took 1/2 a gallon total.
 The door to the laundry/mudroom.  A very awkward corner.  Now a very pretty awkward corner!  At a future date we'd like to recess the giant fridge from the middle of the room into that wall (behind it is a closet)  But that is a big project for another month!
 The pantry and chalkboard list of larger projects (not in order of priority, just in order of dreaming them up)
 The new chair covers, newly organized drawers, and soon to be organized lower cupboards.  And my fabulous Christmas present - a radio/cd player/ipod dock that attaches off the shelf!  Hooray.  Now that the color is darker (and more energetic) I think I'd like to invest in an under-the-cupboard light over here.
 The awkward corner where the stairs wind up to the sewing room.  Why yes, that IS my organized tea rack!  The new dustbuster is hiding behind the cupboard there.  See what I mean about the behemoth fridge?  It is only an ordinary sized fridge but when it sticks out in the middle of an ordinary sized room it really turns into a hulking giant irritating thing.  Poor fridge.
The new vinegar and oil rack, and newly cleared windowsill (already filling up with fancy salts and measuring cups.  Well, I had the best of intentions of keeping it cleared)
So there you have it.  Half way through February, January-is-Kitchen-Month comes to a close. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Updates - From January Is Kitchen Month

 Here is another project.  This is the door to the secret stairs to the sewing room.  I know, right?  Nip down for a cuppa tea or chocolate? No one the wiser.

Oh, and I have to shout out to my super talented sister and the fabulous apron she made me for Christmas.
 Here is the overstuffed and overflowing cabinet of tea.  And other things you might want to use too like, you know, glasses.

 Now, these Ikea spice racks match the ones we already had (see them to the right of the window there?) - with one small tweak.  In the intervening years Ikea has permanently affixed them to hooks (they are supposed to hang from a rod) making them impossible to hang straight on a wall.  Unless you just screw them into two boards and screw the boards into the wall.  Hooray!  Take that, Ikea!  I suppose I should just be grateful you still make them at all.
I know, I should buy stock in Celestial Seasonings.  But they sent me tea while I was in the Peace Corps and have earned my loyalty forever.  

Next up - chair covers!
 Thanks to Domino, we know that our leather chair covers were really pleather.  Neither of which could withstand the Claws of the Destroyer.
And the culprit, foiled again.  For now.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Year's Resolutions - January Kitchen

Do you suffer, as I do, from Startitis?  Every room in my house has probably 20 little things that bug me, that wouldn't take too long to fix, but when I have 15 min to an hour "free" time I don't know where to start.  Or there are a dozen projects "in process" that I don't know which one to pick up.

When we moved here we had a 2 year old and a 6 month old, so basically all our stuff got thrown into the rooms marked on the moving boxes, unpacked at about 1AM and thrown on the shelves/in closets, and left for a day when I could hear myself think about what to make work better where.

My New Year's Resolution this year is to pick a room and spend a month working on it.  I may not get it to "finished" but I can at least tackle the problems. And when I get distracted I can answer a simple question: does this project help the room I'm working on this month?  If not, I have to go find a project that does.

And can you believe it - it's working!  I feel so much more organized.  When I look at other projects in other rooms I don't feel so bad, knowing their time will come!  I didn't get everything done in the kitchen that I wanted to, but I made such a dent and I feel so great using all the new systems or putting things away in their new places.  And for the most part, my plan was "cheap or preferably free" and we've done pretty well.

Here was my first project -  a high shelf to get my cookbooks off the counter.  I need to be able to see them to get inspired by them - but they took up so much room!  I built this, spending about $18 in lumber for a 12"x12' board.  The brackets are shaped 2x4s that match brackets on another (old) shelf in the house.  They were all glued and screwed together then the whole thing screwed into studs (once we found them) with 3" wood screws.

I was lucky that we had the other shelf to use as a model, since I really didn't like any of the brackets I found in stores - these look farmhouse practical, pretty and simple.

I moved our old changing table - which was originally an Ikea kitchen cart - back into the kitchen and I LOVE having the extra counter space.  I also moved our silverware from the drawer next to the stove - where someone is always in the way when you want a fork - to a tray on open shelves, next to the kid silverware (plasticware?).  Now the drawer is just for kitchen utensil stuff like can openers, peelers, etc.

Next up, something else simple that I've been meaning to do for 3 years - organize the "junk" drawers.  We have two large drawers along the far counters.  A few $5 organizers from Ikea later and they are SO GREAT.  I can find twist ties and rubber bands!  When I needed cup hooks I knew right where they were.

I have to admit, I do get Martha Stewart envy even though I suspect I would be more organized too if I had assistants to actually organize everything and a boatload of money  - and my own furniture line to put everything in.  So here was my Martha moment on this project.  Although you know her drawer organizers would be like in granite or sustainably harvested mahogany or something fancier than my whole house.

Next up - all those tall bottles that don't fit anywhere - I have them on my windowsill which a friend gently told me will make the olive oil rancid - yuck.  Here is the only spot they will fit and be next to the stove where I use them.

Here is the shelf in progress.  In retrospect I wish I had just oiled the boards instead of staining it walnut - at the time I thought a contrast would be nice.   I still like it, but if I did it again I wouldn't go so dark.

Here is the finished shelf!  Wow, right?!  I could only find one dowel, and I was all gung ho on the project, and I was sitting out in the shed wondering where could I find narrow sticks that I could use when I remembered - our yard is full of sticks!  So that is why I used branches on the upper shelves - so you can still see the labels and find everything.  I think they look rustic - Mr. Sycamore is skeptical.  We'll see.

My remaining projects are to paint the walls Clay .03 from Yolo Colorhouse and make a new rug.  I can't even show the grimy old rug, it is too embarrassing.

A project for next time will be to organize my large cupboard (above) like the pinterest photo (below):

So I feel like my January was very very productive, and the kitchen looks great.  And almost finished (more photos after painting!)

February:  the bathrooms.
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