Monday, March 10, 2014

Children's Art Wall


We have 5 kids and they make a lot of pictures for us to enjoy.  Our refrigerator is stainless steel, which means it's not magnetic, and therefore the only way to display their art was taping it to the wall.  Um, not ideal.  So I saw this idea on Pinterest (originally pinned from The Project Girl, who found it in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes):


I loved it!  The only deal breaker is that it's white.  5 kids and 3 dogs and white are not a match made in heaven.  So I picked up a bunch of blues, greens, and purples to make my background.


I picked 8 different colors and then spread each color all over a piece of plywood and mixed them together in the brush strokes.  Don't worry about it being perfect, just splatter it randomly around.


The entire sheet was done in about 8 sections so the paint wouldn't dry before I got to mixing it together.


I cut it down to 4' x 6' and then nailed it to the wall with my nail gun.  I screwed eyelet screws into pine boards and then nailed all the trim on top of the background.  Then I added picture wire between the eyelets for the kids to hang their artwork on.


A quick little close up:


I finished it off with a little paintable caulk to fill the holes and painted the pine boards to match the rest of the house trim.  Now the kids can hang their art as they finish it and change it out on a whim.  The best part is that they have a dedicated art space in the center of the home where it has a place of honor and everyone can enjoy it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Minecraft Cake

We celebrated my middle child's birthday tonight.  He really wanted his favorite dinner (chicken strips, fries, and corn) and a Minecraft cake.  So here is what I came up with.  I made a cake that is half cake/half brownie and mixed chocolate chips into the whole thing.  Green frosting on top makes it into a huge dirt block (with a few Hersheys for depth and "pixels").  The toys are easily available right now from Target/Walmart/etc.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Refinishing

My mother bought this table when I was in middle school and several years ago she passed it on to me. Between my sisters and I, and now my kids, this poor table has been through quite a lot.


A lot of wear and tear and a fair bit of water sitting on the table (my kids used to leave spills for the magic fairy to clean up) and the clear coat broke down. The table was pretty damaged and I considered building a new one.

Here's a wider shot that also shows the water rings, paint spots, and marker streaks that have graced the table over the years.

So I thought maybe I would try to refinish it first and if it didn't work out then I would build a replacement. I bought some Citristrip and liberally sprayed the table then let it sit for about 3 hours. I then came back and scraped off all of the goop (eww), wiped it down, sanded a little, and tried to stain it.

I say tried because what I ended up with was an ugly blotchy mess. I was pretty sure the table was ruined and it's been sitting in my garage for 2 weeks while I was really bummed about the outcome.


Then yesterday I was out in the garage and I noticed that actually the dark spots were the color the stain was supposed to be and the rest was kind of yellow. I realized that the Citristrip must have only taken off part of the clear coat but not all of it. I felt a small glimmer of hope that I had a thick enough veneer left to sand again and restain. I pulled out my mouse sander and went to town. By the time I was done the table was so smooth it felt like butter.


I reapplied stain and, lo and behold, it was a consistent color! I applied two coats yesterday and today I'll add another 2 coats.

It's finally working! I'm not done yet so there's still a chance I'll ruin it but so far I'm really happy with the outcome. The legs will get painted white and I think it will look really nice with the walnut top. Then it will get an absolutely ridiculous amount of poly to be sure that it never looks so sad and abused again.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Hole in the Wall

I have been dying to cut a hole in this wall for YEARS and I finally got the chance.  The front living room is pretty dark and doesn't get a lot of natural light.  By opening up the wall it brightened it up considerably since the great room has several windows.  It's not a supporting wall so that made this project a whole lot simpler.  I started out by "framing" the opening with painters tape so i could visualize and be sure it was the placement I wanted.


The next step was to cut the power in the wall and let the kids go to town with hammers.  They had a blast beating holes all over it.


This was our first glimpse of the new view from the great room to the office and front living room.  The electrical still needed to be moved into the new header and the plugs needed to be moved into their new placements.


This let so much more light into the rest of the house!  We moved 1 plug to either side of the new opening and put the cables above the new header.


Here's a quick shot of the header we put in.  We sandwiched 2 2x4s with spacers (to match the wall thickness) and then supported the sides on additional 2x4s.


I still need to caulk/paint the trim, texture above the door on this side, and touch up paint on the walls and baseboards.


I also need to cut a piece out of our extra vinyl (left over from when the house was built) to patch in the floor.  The plan is to replace the flooring in the great room fairly soon anyway so it doesn't have to be terribly perfect but I'll try to at least match up the pattern.


And here's a quick Before and After.  I love love love the new doorway.  Of course, now I'm totally itching to case the rest of the doorways in the downstairs (4 of them) but next to removing a wall that will seem simple by comparison.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Homemade Coffee Table




It was time to get a little more grown up in tables and the train table needed to move on.  So I turned to Ana White and her awesome plans.  I modified her plans for the Adirondack Coffee Table and created this a little wider and longer (49" x 33") with a lower shelf that will hold up to 6 of our toy buckets.  It's 20" tall to accommodate the extra storage.