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Living room

I found this large frame and canvas at a garage sale several months ago for $10.

I thought it was a steal because the frame alone is worth more than that.

The art that came with it, eh, yuch. Not to mention it was just a paper print that had been glued onto the canvas. And it looks like someone already started painting over it.

So, the frame has just been sitting on my mantle, all by its lonesome for several months.

Recently I placed Luke’s first non-watercolor “painting” up on the mantle. And the more I looked at it, the more I liked it! It was fun, colorful and it was my baby’s :)

!Lightbulb!

I could have Luke paint over the canvas that came with frame! And it would be an original piece of art, and it would mean more to me than any other painting ever could, AND he would have so much fun doing it. (he LOVES to paint!)

After putting it off for a few weeks, I finally decided it was time.
I prepped the canvas by rolling 3 coats of white acrylic paint over the print.

Then it was time for Luke to go!

Here are some important tips:
PREPARATION:
1. Begin by recruiting a well-rested, well-fed, paint-loving, non-paint-eating, happy and excited 2-year-old (if any of those qualities are missing, ABORT!)

2. Cover a corner of your kitchen with cardboard and plastic.

3. Strip your toddler down to his skivvies or put them in an old shirt (acrylic paint does not come off once it dries).

4. Choose the colors for your toddler since they prob haven’t had a chance to take a class on color theory yet.

5. Have at least 4-5 clean brushes on hand. El-cheapo kids’ brushes from Wal-mart is what I used.

6. Squirt the paint onto a plastic plate or cheap plastic artist’s palette, also from Wal-mart.

7. Recruit a spouse/helper (willing or unwilling) to be nearby – just in case your toddler decides to jet from the designated painting area and decide to go hug a white wall (we were fortunate not to have this happen).

8. Put on your painting clothes and your most patient self.

9. Have a large roll of paper towels/old towels and baby wipes on hand. You will need them!

Although Luke did all of the painting, it was not without a little direction from mama :)
TECHNIQUE:
1. Let him choose his first few colors and just go for it!

2. After he uses 4-5 colors, switch his brush out for a clean one. This will keep the colors from becoming muddied. (and the switching of the brushes didn’t appear to stifle his creativity any ;)

3. Suggest to toddler that he should paint on the white areas. This will get your canvas covered much faster and keep the colors from mixing too much and turning into the color of dirt.

4. Keep an eye on the paint palette and top off the paint with fresh paint as needed. If they use the same brush for multiple colors, there will be a lot of cross-contamination.

5. Once the masterpiece is completed (mama makes this call), remove from the area and let dry.

6. Supply your toddler with poster board and let him use up all of the paint from the palette.

7. Paint a purple “Mickey Mouse bear” for your toddler per his request.

8. Throw in a little bit of learning by painting his name on the poster board.

9. Show toddler that if you paint his hand, he can make hand prints. Let toddler dictate which color he would like for you to paint on his hand.

10. Then suggest he paint his feet, sit back and watch the real fun unfold!

11. Once baby is completely covered in paint, take some pictures and then it is time for a bath.

12. Take a minute and enjoy the feeling of being a cool mom or the mom-I-had-always-hoped-to-be. Smile :)

Aaaaaaand, for the piece-de-resistance!

Amazing abstract art or just a pre-school painting?? You Decide :)

After all, art is very subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And what is more beautiful than a cost-effective, memory-inducing, sentimental, colorful work of art?

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If you don’t know what Pinterest is, be warned – you may not want to know… explore at your own risk.

I have to admit, I’m on almost daily, usually pinning one or two things a day. Sometimes more.

….especially since I’m in the middle of a bathroom remodel, pregnancy and an indeterminately long adventure in stay-at-home-motherhood.

Last week I found this pin:

A gorgeous black door, with gray wall and white trim. I loved the way the black door looked in this room.
There were several more beautiful examples on the nestegg blog.

My walls are gray, trim is white, just needed a black door!
The painters came on Monday of this week to paint the nursery, guest room, and some other unfinished doors. They finished on Wednesday, and I got a beautiful, shiny black door.

Not bad, eh?! The black even makes the brass doorknob bearable! almost likeable! (sorry I don’t have a really good BEFORE picture. It was the same buttery cream that was on all of the trim in the house.)

Only problem: I now want to slather black paint on every door in my home… which was not approved by the hubby. Maybe the front door??

and as much as I LOVE my black door, the real Pinterest success story lies in the following recipe.

We received organic arugula in our last two Urban Acres co-op bins and I needed some new ideas for what can be a very bitter/spicy green.

Arugula, Apples & Manchego in Cider Vinaigrette

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago. We’ve had the salad a few times, but the vinaigrette really is the star!

I make mine with equal parts vinegar and oil because I don’t think it needs the extra oil. I’ve had the dressing everyday for the past 5 days, sometimes twice a day.

My new fave combo: Mixed greens, sliced peaches, fat-free feta, plus the apple-cider vinaigrette. Yum!

I’ve also put it on a mixed green, cherries, manchego cheese and red onion salad – or when the veggies ran short at the end of the week, some bibb lettuce and orange segments. Seriously, you cannot go wrong!

So 2 successful Pinterest attempts in 2 weeks, not bad! makes up for a few of the fails…

Has it really been over a month since I wrote something?! I guess when you have one 100 degree day after another, it just starts to feel like the same wake-up, put-on-a-ton-of-deoderant, drink-massive-amounts-of-water, avoid-going-outdoors, sigh-at-your-dying-lawn, be-thankful-you-don’t-have-to-work-outdoors, routine… and before you realize it, it’s August!

But I have been doing stuff in the meantime.

Like this stuff..

I bought these chairs on craigslist last year. They weren’t exactly a “steal” I paid $60 for each.
Yeah, looking back, they were an impulse buy. But they were in great condition and I liked the style of them.

I was originally planning on using them as the captain chairs in the dining room. I set them in the living room for additional seating one day, and decided I liked them better than the other craigslist chairs. Not to mention these were closest to being “refinished”.

The fabric on the seats was not working for me. I didn’t know what to replace it with because I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take the room in.

Well, the fabric has decided that for me. I knew I wanted a graphic print with some texture. After taking home samples and not liking them in the room, I made a leap and just bought a yard of this fabric without taking a sample home.

And so about a month ago, I marched to Home Depot(twice!) to get a staple gun and the wrong staples (that’s why I got to go again!)
I ironed out the fabric wrong side up in order not to make any marks on the velvety design.
Then I laid it out on my dining table.

I removed the staples that were holding the dustcover (a piece of thin netting) because I wanted to reuse the dustcover.

I could have also removed the fabric, but I was too impatient and decided to cover over it.

I started by making sure the design was centered both ways on the chair. Then I trimmed the fabric just so I hand enough to staple around the back.

First I stapled in the center of each side, and then worked on the corners. After that, I just stapled away until I felt the fabric was secure.

Then at last, I stapled on the dustcover, and voila! Recovered chairs.

I’m not sure if my method was proper chair-covering protocol, but I’m happy with how they turned out.

I was hoping they would inspire me to go ahead and finish the living room… HA!

Decisions are made at a snail’s pace around here ya’ll!

Well, it is a year and 3 months after we moved into our new home…..

and I FINALLY completed painting the cabinet doors in the living room! Yay!

What took so long?!

Oh, a little procrastination + aversion to painting + an attention-hungry toddler + a tumultuous first trimester of baby 2.0 + the beginning of other more “important” projects.

But that’s all in the past! I finished!

Here’s the BEFORE:

and the AFTER:

It’s not a very dramatic change in the pictures, but the white paint and “new” hardware make all the difference in the room. Everything is uniform and clean.
Now to finish some of those furniture project I’ve been working on… maybe next year at this rate…

The original plan was to purchase new, more modern hardware for the cabinets.

The existing cabinet handles are a dull brass, but they seem to be good quality and the sticker said they were made in India (not sure if that’s a good/bad thing). The dull brass is better than shiny brass, but it is still a little too 1986-Southern Living for me.

I didn’t mind the shape, so I decided to try my hand at spray painting them. After all, if they turned out gross, my only loss would be a can of spray paint and some of my precious time.

I started by sanding the handles with 200 grit sandpaper. Then I used a damp cloth to wipe off the dust.

In order to be able to spray around the handles, I fashioned a “painting stand” out of a cardboard box and toothpicks.

I used Rustoleum 2x spray in “Metallic Aluminum”.

After the paint had dried, I turned them over and did some touch up work on the bottom.

And they turned out pretty good! The color is a matte silver, it almost looks like a brushed nickel from far away.

What do you think? Have you had any luck or failure in spray painting hardware or metal?

Look what is finally being worked on!

When we first moved into the house, I painted the walls and trim in the dining room and living room, along with fireplace. But after a few INTENSE weeks of painting, I was completely unwilling to paint anything else.

That’s why the doors for the built-ins alongside the fireplace have been neglected.

The original paint of all the trim and cabinet doors was a cream color that developed a pinkish tint in the daylight… yuck. It really just looked like white paint that was dirty :( So I chose to paint all the trim and doors a crisp, clean white. I chose “Snowfall” by Behr. Ahhhh. The white paint immediately brightened up the room.

This is what the unpainted cabinet doors look like in contrast with the painted trim.

So far I have primed both sides of the doors and applied one layer of the paint to the inside of the doors.

I have been using this sprayer that I borrowed from my friend Cassia.

I loved what it did with the primer: it went on smoothly and so fast! It would take me under 3 minutes to paint one side of a door!

Unfortunately, it did not treat the latex paint as well. It would go on smoothly for the most part, and then it would periodically spit out big clumps of paint which left a really bumpy surface, boooo :( Luckily, this was on the inside of the cabinets and who cares about what that looks like, right?!

So I have decided to use a brush and smooth roller to paint the fronts of the doors.
I have also been using a semi-gloss latex paint, but I think I’m going to switch it out for a high-gloss. When I painted the trim in room, I used an oil-based paint which has a higher amount of sheen to it. The semi-gloss latex paint is really too matte next to it. And ever since I painted all that trim, I swore NEVER to use oil-based paint again (so not user-friendly!), oh and I shouldn’t be sniffing that stuff while I’m pregnant anyway.

We’ll see how it goes! I’m just looking forward to having them done by this weekend!

…not that I’ve felt dead for the past month, I just haven’t felt like myself.

Nauseous, tired, no desire to blog or craft or cook do anything remotely creative.

I was basically doing the minimum needed to get by.

But I’m in my 2nd trimester, baby is a the size of a lemon, and I’m feeling good!!

So good that I have returned back to my old tricks… taking on too many projects at one time!

Here’s what I have going on right now:

8 sanded cabinet doors – awaiting to be patched, primed & painted
2 metal cube end tables – in the garage, covered in peeling paint after I applied a chemical stripper to them.
2 cane-back chairs – cane removed, in same condition as the end tables
1 coffee table – primed and 1/2 taped off in a herring bone pattern, awaiting painting or better idea

And while I could be focusing all my energies on finishing one of these projects, I have instead decided to go fabric shopping!

And I even came home with some samples –
after finally getting through to the sales lady that I was NOT interested in looking at any more silk tapestry, $75-per-yard fabric.

Yes, that is what she showed me after I explained to her that I wanted some child-resistant, casual, graphic print fabric.
Eventually we made it to the outdoor/indoor fabric section- you know, the kind of fabric that could be taken outside and hosed down, that’s what we need in this house :)

I want to cover the cushion on these chairs (craigslist find):

And I’d also like to make some throw pillows for the couches. But I don’t want to go too matchy-matchy or formal…

So, here are the fabric samples that I came home with:

In the store, they looked like great options.
But now that I have them in the room, I don’t know….
too formal, too blue, too ??
just not what I was going for.

The look I’m going for is: Traditional Living meets Artist Loft meets Minimalistic with a touch of Southern Living and a dash of French country.
Is that too much to ask for?!

Ok, so what’ya think? Love to hear if you love them, hate them, or have a better idea!

(and it’s good to be back in “normalville” :)

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