Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tween Ahead

I've been silently at work on a project for awhile.  Remember my craft room?  The one where I do all my sewing for the shops that I sell kids stuff in...?  It was never truly finished, but looked a bit like this:

Well, I've decided to give it up.  I'm doing a lot less sewing these days and don't feel that I need to take up an entire room with all of my stuff.  So I pared down.  Gave away lots of things.  Threw out the excess junk.  

My boys are getting bigger, and are starting to show signs of needing their own space.  They currently share a room, but the younger one just can't seem to leave the older one alone.  Ever.  So I determined that it is time for this room to go back to being a bedroom.  He won't be ready for it for awhile now, but that's ok because it still isn't quite ready for him.  And I'm going to let him make the transition on his own timeline.  But he will be 10 this winter (10!) and probably deserves his own space.

I first took apart my sewing/craft table and reused the top along with some cabinets found at the ReStore to create a corner desk in there for him.  I kept the tall cabinet that once housed my fabric stash because it actually works well with the desk, and I didn't know how to get it out of that room.  :)

I painted, and then for awhile, I left it like this.  Summer came and I was busy.  I still used it as a sewing room.  Still had all my supplies in there.  Found a cute/cheap rug at Ikea.  And an awesome secondhand pink desk chair which got an immediate makeover, obviously.   

I was also on a long search for a storage bed.  This is a small room.  So it needs all the storage help it can get.  I debated making one, but ended up finding this one for a steal at Sal's.  I had both kids with me, but couldn't pass up the deal and so ended up calling Jay to come get them so I could jam this thing into my car.  The headboard was reading a bit girly, so I took it off and made a new, more square one out of some leftover plywood I had lying around in the basement.

I decided, after debating for many, many years, to paint the floor.  Talked about that back in 2010.   And I think it was the right option.  I let my son pick the color (within reason),got it matched to porch paint, and it has held up really well over the last few months.  And then all that was left was accessorizing.  I reused a few things that we already had.  Recovered the cork board that was in my craft room with a burlap fabric and brass tacks.  Painted over my sister's wedding seating chart with chalkboard paint.  Got some sports do-dads and a place for all the hats.  Moved in all of his various trophies.  Found some red bins on clearance for the tall cabinet because no one want to see boys toys or underwear.  I also yanked out the old closet system and revamped it for better usage.  And now all it needs is a mattress.  I put our air mattress there for now, and my son already reads in there every day.  

What do you think?  Good space for an almost tween boy?  Aaaghh.  I can't believe he's going to be 10!

And don't you worry, my sewing stuff has found itself a new area.  But that's a post for another day!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Closet Wars

My boys share a room.  They love it that way and so do I.  But they also share a closet.  And as they grow bigger and bigger, they are just constantly in each other's way trying to get something in and/or out of the closet.  It's one of those standard sliding double door dealies where only one person can actually be "on their side" at a time.  My husband and I have the same closet, but luckily our schedules are off enough that we don't frequently end up getting dressed simultaneously.  But the boys do.   Which has started to result in closet wars.  And a huge mess.  On Friday I reached my breaking point with this closet.  I needed a project.  And I had a Home Depot gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

mess + doors = closet wars

In order to come up with a new plan, I addressed all of the problems and decided what the project would entail.

This closet was obviously not designed for children.  One of the hanging bars was so high that no one could reach it.  So I would have to come in to get a sweatshirt down etc.  And I was sick of that.  So the new arrangement needed to have all reachable items.  They keep most of their regular t-shirts and sweatpants (99.9% of a boy's daily wear) folded in bins where they can reach.  But the bins were getting too small.  Or perhaps the clothing is getting too big??  So the new closet must have bigger bins.  The doors were obviously a huge part of this problem, so bye bye doors.  And lastly, the closet had to look nice (mostly because of the whole no-doors thing).

bins of overflowing boy garb                        hanging bar for 6' man

Now as you can see, when I originally ripped out their old green carpet years ago, I got a little lazy and stopped at the edge of the closet.  In order to get the carpet out from there, I would have had to take out the whole closet system and at that time I just wasn't doing it.  So that became issue number one.  Luckily I had just enough of the floor boards left in the basement to do the closet.  I had to run them the other way and add in a transition strip, but I'm ok with that.

Carpet, doors, and old wire system out - So much better already!

Of course, whenever I start a project, it's like opening a can of worms.  You know those walls were so dingy that we had to paint them, right?  I gave the boys the choice of three colors of paint that we had enough of in the basement.  They chose bright green.  And I put them to work.

This lasted all of about 5 minutes.

I decided to install one bar per side (at an acceptable height, of course) and several shelves since most of their stuff doesn't hang anyway.  I left the floor open because they have some rolling bins of toys that they like to stash down there.

Ahhhhh... clean and new.  It's so tempting to just leave it this way.

With all of their clothes and toys back in.  I only got rid of a couple of smaller toy bins.  Everything else is back in here.  Amazing difference, no?

They even have their own hamper now.  Up until this point they were required to walk across the hall to our room to deposit dirty clothes in a hamper.  It was starting to become a problem.  They were having a rough time making it the whole 3 feet away and I have been finding dirty clothes deposited everywhere from on their floor to under their playroom couch (which, by the way, is farther from their room than my hamper).

We shall see how neat this remains.  I feel like I should be required to post a "reality" picture in a few weeks.  But even in a bit of time, I'm sure it will be better than the state of the previous arrangement!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Playroom Reveal

It's done!  Ok... it's been done for awhile now.  I was just so tired from doing the whole thing that I couldn't be bothered to take pictures??  

As I have said, I wanted to create a space that the boys can play in now, but will grow with them into the teenage years and beyond.  Someday we will reclaim this room and I wanted to have it be classic and something that we could love for quite some time.  I originally thought I wanted to change the wall color, but the boys actually begged me to keep the green (who knew they cared?) and after all is said and done, I think that they made the right call.  I fell in love with a goldenrod yellow rug that there was no way I could afford.  But that color stayed in as a highlight and I love that too.  I found the Nate Berkus box (on the shelves) at Target, of course.  And that kind of set the tone for the rest of the room.  I also scored a ridiculously soft goldenrod blanket at Marshall's to carry the color to the other side of the room.  

And I found a small navy blue throw rug that would add some color and pattern to the big brown floor.  You've seen some of the other room highlights like the magnet board and the wall map here and here, but the part that I am most proud of is the entertainment unit.  I had various versions of this type of thing sketched up in my notebook for months.  And I had finally settled on a design.  Then I happened to walk into the Schenectady ReStore.  Ok, no one "happens" to walk into the ReStore.  I walked in quite on purpose.  And I found this for $10:

I thought that it could be useful as the middle of the unit.  Save me some time and money on the materials.  It was slightly too long, so I sliced, diced, painted, and put it back together.  Then I built the rest of the unit around it and voilĂ :  

Total cost of unit:  about a zillion dollars less than buying anything like it.  And perfectly sized for my room.  Don't mind the olllldddd school tv.  I can't afford to get them a new one yet after all of this.  My sister was nice enough to dump give them her old one so at least there's something there for now.    
So there it is!  What do you think?  

 Onto the next project!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Map

In what I will now refer to as "the old playroom", there was a map.  It was a free political map of the U.S. that came out of some old magazine and still had the fold marks to prove it. 

 But being a use-what-you-have type of girl, I made a wooden frame for it and for years it lived on the wall where the boys play.  Geography by osmosis.  When it came time to update and grow-up the playroom, I knew I wanted to keep a map feature.  Just not that one.  So I started searching for ideas. 

I really liked this one, and planned on making it.  The wooden look was just what I wanted.  But then I decided that I actually wanted them to be able to read names of countries etc and - you know - eventually be able to learn where Pakistan is (for you, Kather).  So I went online to find the perfect map.  I eventually settled on this National Geographic map of the world.  Because it was the right size and price, and I liked its coloring.  As an added bonus, this guy came laminated.  So he will last for quite awhile.  But I knew that I didn't just want to throw it in a frame and call it a day.  After doing another search for unique map framing ideas (or whatever), I found this - a perfect compromise - from the girls at Shanty 2 Chic.

So I found myself cutting up some scrap pieces of pine and making this.  Yes, I am that lazy.  There was just no need to stain the center of this piece.  

The finished piece came out even better than I had expected and I LOVE it.

   So much better than if I had just thrown a frame on there, right?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thank you Dick Bikowicz

As some of you know, my current project for the fall involves updating my kids' playroom from toddler to big boy and beyond.  Lots of pieces are finished.  Paint allllllll of the molding white.  Check.  Really cool metal cafe chairs.  Check.  Awesome cheapie desk/tables from my Ikea trip.  Check.  Update ugly top of the stairs light.  Check.  There are really only a few things left to be done. One of them is huge.  Build an entertainment center.  I'm not there yet.  But today I conquered a much smaller, and yet perhaps just as important piece.  The bulletin board.

Up until now, the boys have had traditional tack bulletin boards (which I covered in fun fabric so as to be less traditional).  I'm not sure where my brain was when I made those, but let me tell you that children and thumbtacks...  not a good idea.  They love their board though and are constantly hanging their lovely works of art and their "finisher" race and soccer ribbons.  So I knew that it was an element that I wanted to keep in the room.  But now, being that I've had two boys for all of these years and have stepped on many a tack, I decided that the magnet board was truly the only way to go.  Truly people, don't make my mistake.

The other day, on a whim, I ended up scouring the local Salvation Army.  As I was about to walk out empty handed, I spotted this from across the store.  I obviously had to go check it out.  Real wood, glass intact, giant well made frame...  $3.49!  Did you hear me??  $3.49.  I didn't even waste one second thinking about it.  Inside was a lovely retirement poem and signatures for Dick's retirement back in 2011.  And so Dick Bikowicz came home with me.

Today my mission was to find a piece of metal sheeting for it.  Went into Lowes and came out 5 minutes later with this piece of steel.

$20.  Which is not cheap.  But considering that I paid $3.49 for Dickie, I thought that I could make the splurge.  On the way home I also rewarded my self for the great finds.

So I got it home and guess what??  The metal sheet was the exact same size as the frame opening!  This just couldn't get any better.  Framed it, hung it.  Boys will be using it in no time. A don't worry, I reused Dick Bikowicz's retirement poem and signatures to add some padding to the back of the metal so the frame would hold tight.  Thanks, Dick.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ugly Light Switcheroo

My upcoming fall project is a redo of the kids playroom.  The reorganization has begun and I'm itching to get into the larger details that will take them from toddler to big kid (and hopefully beyond...).  But in the meantime...

As I was brainstorming up there one day, my eyes fell upon this sad fellow.  Can't actually believe that I have let him live here as long as I did.  

After a quick inspection (on a chair at the top of the stairs), I had immediate ideas.  The actual pendant of the light was fine.  Needed a color redo, but that's easy.  

It was just the horrifying glass shade thingy that I could no longer live with.  And the last time I was out shopping I found the perfect solution.  So for under $20 (including spray paint), a bit of elbow grease, and some help in the height department from my dear husband (who actually seems to approve of this project!), we now have this modern beauty instead.

Isn't that a million times better?  It's the small things people...

Monday, May 20, 2013

I know that I have been a slacky blogger.  The worst.  I get it.  But I figure that now that I am coming out of my winter blues and back into project season, I will have more stories to tell.  More ugly things to turn pretty.  More projects to start and finish.  (Sorry dear)  So here I am again.  Maybe the posts will be few and far between.  But that's ok with me. 

Spring starts for me by the beginning of baseball.  Lots of baseball.  And three sets of cleats, bats, gloves, helmets...  The bags of paraphernalia get left in the garage, but the cleats keep trying to make their way into my house.  Ummmm, no.  So when I happened to spy this little rolling cart at the Salvation Army for $5 the other day, I knew what use he could have for my family.  

Now there would be no excuse for not leaving cleats on the deck.  But...  if you know me at all, you know that there is no way I could let this ugly thing reside on the deck where most people enter our house.  So an idea began to form.  Actually, more like an idea sprang into my head and I immediately got the saw out.  

Any now he is a multi-purpose summer bar/cleats holder/cushion protector.  Don't you all need one of those??

What do you think??