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Monday, January 23, 2012

Fixing an oops

Sometimes I make bad decisions.

That's right. Like the little diddy that resulted in the post you're about to read. You see, back when I was preparing for the Halloween party, I had a little moment when I got carried away with my old pal, hot glue gun. I had purchased this $2 felt Happy Halloween sign and shortly before the party I realized I hadn't hung it. I gave the room a quick survey and determined it would look great on the mirror above my dinning room buffet.

Oh, but how to hang it? Tape? Ack. Let's get a little more permanent why don't we? Well let me show you why tape would have been the rationale, intelligent choice, i.e. the one I did not make.

You see those black spots? Try putting your sunglasses on and look above my blinding flash. Yup, that's where I ripped the paint right off. After Halloween had passed, I started taking down my decor, and I attempted to gingerly peel the sign off. That's when I heard an unfortunate sound and gasped. With my mouth hanging open and my heart beating ever so quickly, I panicked and went all in on the old "rip the band aid" approach. A hot second later I had not one, but three big spots where the paint was gone. Oooh, not good.

So, I ignored it until just before Christmas when I hung something over it. Hiding always works. Well, until that came down and by then, my hubby finally noticed. It went something like ... la di da, walking past the dinning room ... "whoa, what the hell happened to the mirror?!?" Then I had to explain I had an unconscionable moment of passion with my hot glue gun and it hadn't turned out so well. (And oh, it happened two months ago Captain Observant.) In response I got an, "ohhh, honey"... followed by a pitiful head shake as he left the room.

Once the cat was officially out of the bag I determined it was indeed time to attempt to remedy this "situation." I headed to Michael's Craft Store and poked around a few aisles with paint when I came across this. I picked up a cheapy sponge brush and brought it home.

Note I do not think these sponge brushes are good for much of anything other than being cheap. But some of the sponges or related things were pretty pricey and I wasn't feeling terribly confident in what I was doing anyhow. So I just went with it and the paint: total $6.

I risked a hernia pulling the mirror off the wall and shuffled over to my counter. I laid the mirror down, opened the can up and gave it a whirl. A couple strokes in and this is what it looked like.

Yikes! My heart started racing again. I had one foot aimed toward the sink ready to run for some water and try to frantically remove it, and the other stayed in the direction of the mirror just stunned by how atrocious this was looking. After three seconds that seemed like an hour in my head, I decided I really didn't have a better option.

Even if I could remove the paint, I was left with three nice size black marks that were noticeable enough my husband spotted them. And yes, that's saying something. So, I drew a deep breath and moved forward. Here's what it looked like next.

Are you kidding me??? Not good. In fact, REALLY bad. At this point I set down my $0.50 sponge brush so I could rub my temples and run my fingers through my hair, trying to feel for any new gray hairs that may have sprouted sometime after this project began. Then I resorted to some whimpering and shallow breathing before convincing myself I still had no other option. So I whipped out a few of my favorite cuss words and proceeded.

I figured my best bet was to get a few layers in and see what it looked like then. And since the paint was looking like faux silver anyhow, I decided to try to make some intentional-looking brush marks since it wasn't going to have a smooth finish.

To do so, I painted the entire mirror using horizontal brush strokes. Then I waited about five minutes for it to begin to dry before making strokes in the opposite direction. The effect was actually looking right, it just wasn't covering very well. But this time I decided patience was in my best interest and after four coats using this same approach, everything was covered and it was looking much better.

It's certainly not perfect and the color is a bit brighter than it was before. That said, it sure looks better than it did a few days earlier. While I still see some things that aren't quite right, I don't think anyone else would really notice. So for now, the mirror is back in it's old home and me and my hot glue gun are taking a break from each other. We just need a little distance and then we can talk again.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Purple's Reign: London's Bedroom Makeover Reveal

In part two of London's Purple Bedroom Makeover, I tackled the closet storage situation and since then, I've finished the last two projects. One was a storage shelf that I placed under London's bedroom window for toys and such (just bought and put together) and the second was a DIY headboard. I've done a handful of headboards now, six I think, and this one was by far the cheapest. Here's what I needed and where I scored the deals.

I typically opt for a 1/2" to 3/4" piece of plywood or particle board. Depending on what you buy and the thickness, a 4' x 8' sheet of this will typically run you $15 - $18. As luck would have it, my husband was having some other wood cut at Home Depot (where I recommend you buy this since they'll do some cuts for you for free) and found a piece that would work in their "scrap" pile. The piece was marked to $2 but since my hubby was making friends with the guy there, he got it for $0.50. Say what? Awesome.

Depending on the shape and thickness of the headboard you're doing, quilt batting or foam will work to provide thickness and cushion. In this case, I decided to purchase three yards of solid comforter fill (i.e. what you'd put in a comforter if you made your own). It was one piece and worked with a 40% off a single by the yard item coupon at JoAnns Fabrics. Total here: $9.00 (big score ... I've paid over $20 for foam or batting in the past).

I always start in the clearance fabric section first, because ... well, why not? You never know what they'll have and some fabrics can be very pricey ($35+ per yard). I found a solid purple fabric here that was on clearance for $5 a yard. Also, since it was the end of the bolt, I got an extra 50% off: total, $5.50 for two yards.

Total cost of headboard: $15.00

To get started, I measured the width of the bed and then put a piece of tape on the wall to represent the height of the headboard; then I measured that. It would be 42" W x 40" H. Then I got out some wrapping paper, yes ... wrapping paper as in presents ... and I used that to make a template. I cut a piece that was 21" wide (1/2 the width of the headboard).

I doodled out the shape I wanted and then put the measurements on their for my handsome carpenter to reference. Then I drew out what would be half the shape of the headboard. You might be able to tell from some of the lines that I didn't like my first attempt. As long as you can remember which line you actually want when you cut it, really doesn't matter how many scribbles you have.

So then I cut out my template and taped it to the plywood which by this point was exactly the height and width I needed. (Again, Home Depot can do this for you.) I traced out one side on the wood, then flipped it over, taped in place, and traced that side too. See?

Then all that was left was the cutting. Well at least for this portion.

When it was ready, I laid the ironed fabric down on the floor with the side you'll see on the bed facing down, and laid the fluffy stuff on top, followed by the wood. Then it's time to staple. I use a small handheld version (non-electric) which works well for me. It's a T50 if that means anything to anyone. (Note I only know this because I had to phone a friend from Ace Hardware this morning when I couldn't figure out what size staples I needed.)

Once it's laid out, I make sure everything is tight and then I start by stapling the bottom first. It's important for the bottom to be straight and secure.

Once the entire bottom was stabled I tighten the fabric again (as you'll do throughout the process) and stapled at the top. This allows me to keep the fabric straight and make sure it's tight without looking lumpy or out of sorts. Then I gave the batting a little trim (see upper left of pic below), followed by the right (not shown here). Afterwards, I stapled to the sides ... doing some on the left, then the same amount on the right, alternating to ensure things remain even.

Throughout the process, I'll pick up the entire headboard and lean it against the wall (front facing me) making sure everything looks right. The last thing you want to do is finish without having checked your work, only to find things are crooked or bunching in all the wrong places. It's like having a headboard wedgie and that's never good.

When I get to the curved parts, I have to pull and push and tug and staple closely. In some cases, I needed to cut the fabric to release some of the tension and get it to pull correctly in the curves. When doing so, you have to be careful not to cut too close to the edge/front, or the whole thing could be ruined (been there done that, there were tears).

Alright, so when all is said and done, my headboard looked like this.

And here's the finished room. It's not perfect, but given I was trying to salvage some of what we had (including the drapes which are staying for a while yet), it's a pretty big change. Most importantly, my little London is very happy!

BEFORE (post crib, just brought in bed):


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Purple's Reign: Part 2

In my search for new bedding for London's purple-inspired bedroom makeover, I came across these beauties at Marshall's. Not only was it love at first sight but they were in the clearance section for $9.00 each. I thought the pillows' pattern was poppy and fun. It didn't say little girl (which I actually preferred), but the colors would work well. It had different shades of purple, as well as green to match her bedroom walls ... with a bright magenta thrown in. "Hello, beautiful!"

Amazingly, they also matched a set of lilac polka dot sheets I found at the same store. I excitedly made my way home and was eager to show my husband that night. When he saw the pillows his reaction was "whoa, really?" Ugh. *eye roll*

There may also have been an odd comment here and there about "temporary blindness" or "seizures" but I can't be certain. I stopped listening after "whoa" escaped his lips and went about the business of decorating.

In part 1 of the makeover, I told you about a table and mirror that I purchased and decided to spray paint white. I removed the tape from the mirror and got that hung, removing any excess paint that snuck under with a razor blade and on occasion, an unmanicured fingernail. I then paired that with a little chair that's actually made and sold for bathrooms.

Here's that before picture ...

And after ...

Her new desk got a hot pink planter turned garbage can, the updated lamp, and something to organize her necklaces and hair accessories. This sits to the left of where her dresser used to be, also left of her tree.

Sad that my photography skills are so poor you need night vision goggles to see some of these pictures.

Anyhow, speaking of that dresser, we happen to have another baby on the way so that will be moved to the nursery with London's crib. It matches and seems better that way. Of course, that also means London is without until I figure out what type of furniture we might want to purchase for her room long-term.

Meantime, I remembered we had one of those white DIY shelves that they sell at Target ... the kind you buy those little colored cubes for. So, I asked my dear hubby to bring that up from the basement and I picked up a variety of storage cubes in purple, a couple in pink.

Then I hunted through some of my scrap booking supplies and made a few labels for each one. We'd have plenty of boxes to organize everything from socks, to tights, to pajamas.

And that's where I am now. I have one more project for the room to finish up this weekend, and then I'll be ready to show you the whole finished project.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Purple's Reign: Lady London's Bedroom Makeover, Part 1

Just before Christmas we needed to formally remove London's crib from her room. She had learned to scale its walls despite the fact we had drilled new holes into the legs, leaving the mattress nearly on the floor. I guess if you can do the Chinese splits in the air, hook half an ankle over the edge and then have the strength to heave yourself over it, you've officially shocked your parents enough to earn yourself a big girl bed. At least that's what it takes in this house.

So that day had come and sadly (for me) another day quickly followed. It was inevitable of course ... my daughter would go through it just as all little girls before had ...yes, it was the day she only had eyes for the color purple. *sigh*

Not that there's anything wrong with purple but I had carefully planned her room using less traditional colors and a more unusual theme. It had a woodland creatures vibe, using soft greens, tans, chocolate browns and orange accents. It was cute, and I really liked it. But now a purple princess room had been requested and who was I to stand in the way of a two year old's happiness? (Actually I have every right but it seems futile; battles need to be carefully chosen in this kingdom.)

So, I decided to do some stretches, quick DIY exercises, and get the work underway. I began by assessing what we already had and determining what could be repurposed. The first of which was a cute orange lamp that she uses each night. I picked up a new can of spray paint, taped off the neck and the cord of the lamp and got spraying.

Here's the after...

I also took an orange butterfly off her wall and sprayed that with a deeper shade of purple spray paint that I already had on hand. Because it's so cold outside, I moved this work to my basement, using grocery bags to line the floor. Say hi to Pick 'n Save's "Chairman Bob" everyone.

and after ... oooh la laa

Shortly after moving into this house, I painted a white tree on London's wall and hung some birdhouses among its branches.
I opted to leave the birds without shelter but decided to keep the tree (where they could still rough it if needed).
Here's the tree in it's birthday suit, dresser gone ...

To give it a little makeover, I stopped at Michael's craft store and picked up this can of bridal confetti. Then I got my hot glue gun cookin' and applied flowers among the branches to make this little tree bloom.
My arm nearly fell off and I was cursing myself for adding so many branches, but it was fun when it was done. Here's the tree after spring had arrived ...

and here's a shot from a distance.

As luck would have it, the day I completed the tree, a package from an artist on had arrived. I had ordered two new prints to replace the cute owls that had previously filled these white frames, which when hung, flank her bedroom windows.
and the new ones ...

As much as it killed me to think it, the new prints did seem to instantly brighten the space. I considered adding a lilac colored mat to frame them but have decided against it for now. The clean bright, white feel was appealing and got me thinking about plans for this cute table, and mirror I had picked up over a year ago and had yet to use.

The table was from Marshall's or TJ Max and was part of a set of three nesting tables. I thought it would be a cute dressing table or desk for when London was young. Likewise, I found the mirror there too and thought it had a Snow White kind of feel.

But with the new lighter feel in the room, it wasn't very snowy or very white so I called upon my friend, Rustoleum in Flat White, and began its transformation too. I needed to use tiny pieces of painter's tape to make my way around the curved edges, but eventually it was ready for a dusting of color.

Nearly done. With that, I just need new bedding, a clothing solution since I opted not to bring the dresser back in and some room for toys. It's a work in progress, though I'm nearly there so stay tuned!

To be continued...