Wednesday, December 28, 2011

House Goals for 2012

Here are some of the things I hope to accomplish in 2012. This is an overview. I'll post more detail in individual posts.

Baby room- it needs to be painted and set up before April. I've never had a nursery before, so this should be fun!

Paint MBR/Bath- even though we do have a separate room for the baby, he'll probably be sleeping in our room for the first little while. I'd like to get our room painted (and dejunked a bit) before he comes.

Finish Office- For Christmas I cleaned up the office for Bob. I got rid of several boxes we had left around and moved some longer term storage out and into the basement. I scrubbed the walls, baseboards, and floor (it was a nasty mess!) and put my cute Ikea rug down on the floor. All that is left to do is organize my craft closet, put up those shelves I bought and put some computers in there so we'll actually use it.

Set up Guest/Playroom- I did a lot of cleaning recently in this room too. We need to get a bed, a few wire shelves for the closet, and maybe a rug for this room. That and I need to make some kid friendly labels for the toy storage bins (maybe they'll clean up after themselves... in my dreams).

Organize closets- speaking of labels... I want to make some to use in organizing the two linen closets we have in this house. I spent some time organizing the one near the girls room the other day. I like how it's turning out. It just needs a few tweaks and some finishing touches. The other linen closet is in our room and it needs a bit more work.

There are some other projects I'd like to do around the house, but we'll see what we can get to before the baby comes and then what we can do with a baby again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So they can't see me make-ed

The first time we took our girls camping, my oldest was about 4. The campground had a pool a short distance from our site and I took the girls for a swim. After we were done, we stopped in the bathroom and my daughter did not want to keep her suit on. I took it off her and wrapped her up in her towel to walk back to our tent. Once we got back to our site, but not inside the tent yet, she dropped her towel. I explained to her that it wasn't appropriate to be naked in public. Then to clarify, she asked me, "so they can't see me maked?"

One of the things that really bugged me about our house after we moved in was the window coverings (or lack thereof) in the master bath.
master bath pic from the listing
The large window is not only right above the big bath tub and right next to the totally clear glass shower, but it is also on the front of the house facing the street (one of the few front facing windows actually).
The previous owners had two bamboo shades in the window. They did not completely cover the window and they were dirty and dusty as sin. There was even some sort of wasp nest or something up at the top of the INSIDE of the window!! We finally took them down and put up a curtain rod. Instead of a curtain, I used the fabric shower curtain I bought when we were selling our old house.
The result is actually a brighter bathroom than before and best of all, no one can see me make-ed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How I Cleaned my Blinds without sneezing

The house clean up continues. Our new house has three bedrooms we're not using as bedrooms right now. Almost every time I'd go in one of those rooms (or even in the girls' room) I'd end up sneezing. There was a lot of dust. I've been trying to clean up the dust a bit at a time. Fly Lady's duster has been quite handy. All of the bedroom window coverings were gross with thick dust. I decided to wash them in the bath tub. I haven't tried washing the roman shades in our room yet, they might be too far gone. But I washed all of the blinds from the other rooms. Some were thick plastic molded to look like wood. A couple were painted metal. I washed all the same way. Run some hot water in the bath tub, add old laundry detergent (the new machine needs HE detergent), then put the blinds in. Don't pull them up, leave them extended to make cleaning easier. All the blinds weren't too hard to get down. Although there were two different kinds, both snapped out of the hardware which stayed attached to the wall. I only washed one at a time since one fills the tub and doing it over several days avoided burn out. I let the blinds soak for a few hours then usually because it was bath time for the girls, I'd hurry and wash each slat front and back with a rag. I'm not going to lie, it takes some time and work, but it got the blinds totally clean and with no sneezing. The blinds look like new and I'm happy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Costume/Pregnancy Announcement

Why tell people you're expecting when you can let your belly do the talking?

I drew half of a rib cage on a regular piece of paper. I cut out the pieces to use as stencils and traced them twice (the second time in reverse) with a sharpie on some white felt.

I sketched a baby skeleton on another sheet of paper. I found plenty of inspiration online.
You can buy pregnant skeleton shirts or pregnant skeleton iron ons from various websites.

I used the window as a light box to trace the design on to some white felt. I ended up cutting the baby skeleton out in one big piece and filling in the negative spaces with the black sharpie.
I was going to use liquid stitch to attach the felt to my black shirt, but I couldn't find it. I went with glue gun instead. It held up for two days of all day wearing (over a long sleeve shirt). I don't know how it would do in the wash especially since I used a regular sharpie and not one designed to withstand laundering.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

5 Awesome Halloween Costume Helps

1. The Thrift Store- So many creative costume options at very affordable prices. My costume last year came mostly from the thrift store. I was Velma from Scooby Doo. I found a bulky white sweater turtle neck and dyed it orange. I found a polyester maroon skirt there too. In years past, large neon green shirt for my husband to be Mike from Monsters INC, purple shirt and pants to go under my scaly dress for a Celia costume, and red pants for my Incredibles costume all came from the thrift store!

2. Solid colored t-shirts and/or sweats- They can be the foundation for so many costumes! I bought solid red, long-sleeved shirts for my husband and I the year we went as the Incredibles. I printed out the logo on regular paper and taped it to the shirts. It looked great!

3. The remnant bin at Joann's- Around Halloween, the fabric cutting line at Joann's is crazy! But after a big weekend (big coupons, holiday, whatever) the fabric remnant bins are full of fun stuff. You might even find exactly the kind of fabric you wanted (or never knew you wanted till you saw it). And best of all, all the remnants are 50% off!

4. Felt- Available in paper sized pieces in a rainbow of colors at a multitude of stores, felt is some handy stuff. If you want something a little nicer than paper stuck to your solid color shirt, felt is incredibly easy to work with and has a nice look. You can sew it, glue it, or even tape it on. On my husband's Mike costume, I used felt to make the eye and the mouth. I taped it on because I was lazy. It held up alright through the night, but if we had wanted to get multiple wearings out of it, a more permanent adhesive would have been better

5. Group costumes- Having a group costume is fun. Sometimes it can be tricky (like when your kids start developing opinions on their Halloween costumes) but having a group theme can make it more obvious to other people what you are supposed to be. When we did Monsters INC, people who just saw our daughter (she was Boo in her pink shirt and purple pants) didn't get it. But when 'Mike' was holding her hand, it became pretty obvious.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cleaning the Carpets- Rug Doctor

Our carpets were pretty gross and they smelled weird. They needed a cleaning. My dilemma was how best to go about getting them clean. I decided that it needed to get done and that I wasn't going to get around to finding a professional to do it quickly enough. My choices were down to renting a carpet cleaner or buying one.
After consulting with my husband, we decided that getting a smallish home carpet cleaner could be a good idea, but that since I needed to clean all the carpets right now, I'd rent a rug doctor. The downside to renting a carpet cleaner is that they aren't always all that clean. People return them all dirty and gross. The one I rented was absolutely covered with white fur on the bottom. I had to clean the cleaner before I could get started. It ended up being about $40 to rent the cleaner for 24hrs and to buy a medium sized bottle of cleaning solution. After moving almost all of the furniture out and vacuuming (I think a lot of people forget that step, thus the super dirty carpet cleaners) I cleaned the carpet. I had to refill the tank many, many times. I also went back over the whole carpet with just hot water.
I learned from having a little carpet cleaner in the past that the solution left over in the carpet quickly attracts dirt. The carpet looks a lot better, but you can still tell where the previous owners' sectional used to be. Perhaps the pros could have done a better job getting those old traffic stains out (I didn't use a pre-treatment either) but at least it is not totally gross any more. It was tiring work and took quite a while. I also vacuumed and cleaned the upstairs hallway. That required far less furniture moving! The carpet is still navy blue, but at least it no longer looks brown in spots, nor does it smell like dog any more. My sweet husband, determined to get the max value out of our rental, took up the effort after I tired out.
The family room before, complete with dancing kiddo.
He cleaned the living room carpet and the carpet in the master bedroom. In the end we got pretty much all the carpet in the house cleaned.

The family room after. I guess I didn't get any pictures of the blue carpets.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DIY You Make the Call

This is an inexpensive dresser I bought at Ikea a few years ago. It was originally used by me and my husband. It was then my daughters' dresser for quite a while. It went into storage while we were staging our house to sell. Now I need to use it in our master bedroom again. The original stain job I did on it is "interesting" to say the least. The stain didn't really take, so I just globbed it on and let it dry in a faux grain pattern. And even that interesting finish has seen better days at this point. Getting banged up by the kids, having stickers applied and removed, and finally being shut up with packing tape (and removal of said tape) have done a number on it. So the question is, what should I do to redo this dresser?
Some thoughts: decoupage? I'm not sure what with. paint? what color? Stencil? Try to sand and re-stain? I'm at a loss. I'm hoping for some great suggestions. If you have any thoughts, please share in the comments!

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thrifty decor chick,
just a girl

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The first project- Kitchen Cabinet Liners

Teal countertops, teal floor tile, teal in the wall paper, teal shelf liner- the previous owners had a thing for teal I guess.

When we did the final walk through of the new house with our realtor she asked me, what are you going to do first? Having helped us buy and sell our first house, she knew of our diy ways. My answer was to take down the wallpaper. That project is long from over at this point, but I did get something else done.

The kitchen cabinets were dusty and greasy. I cleaned them out since we needed to be able to put stuff in them. I pulled out the old shelf liners, cleaned the cabinets inside and out, and put cork shelf liner in all of the drawers. I used this black, padded shelf liner stuff on the lazy susan and the bottom of this other cabinet. I love the look of the cork liner in the white drawers. Cork is what we used inside our old cabinets. We bought the cork liner at Lowes. It's also available at Home Depot or even Michael's. I must confess that I haven't finished the upper cabinets yet. I decided that I would use white shelf liner for the upper cabinets. The cork seems to work best in closed in spaces (like the inside of a drawer) rather than folded over the edge of an open shelf. I cleaned the upper cabinets, but ran out of gas to get all the white shelf liner cut. It is non adhesive like the black stuff, so hopefully it will stay in place well enough, but be easy to take out and clean if needed.

The cork covers a multitude of sins. The little drawer had knives in it before and was totally messed up by them. Can't tell any more!

The New Before House

Here are some pictures of the new place before we moved all of our furniture in. It's a little sad to start over again. The house has a lot of nice features, but it also has a lot of little things that need fixing. That, and a lot of painting. It's taking far longer to remove the kitchen wallpaper than I thought it would. That stuff is stuck!
This first picture is the dining room. The wood is very messed up near the bay window. It will probably need to be redone at some point. We also need to install the chandelier we bought on clearance for this room (the previous owners took their chandelier).
The second picture is a view of the living room (and part of the dining room) from the stairs. Someday the navy blue carpet is going bye bye. I think having wood there and up the stairs would be nice.

Third and Fourth pictures are the master bath. The kids are big fans of the big tub. I am not a fan of the flimsy window covering. We still haven't put up the curtain rod we bought yet. I'm going to use the cloth shower curtain we had in the old house up as a curtain.

The fifth picture is the master bedroom. I've already taken down the ugly motel-grade wall lamp. I desperately want to paint this room. The green is just not doing it for me. I was thinking of stenciling the wall behind the bed. (We do have our real bed now, we had an air mattress the first couple of days).

Speaking of green, the sixth picture is of the girls' bright green bathroom. Even the ceiling is painted bright green. I'm in no hurry to paint this room. At least they left a shower curtain that coordinates with the wall color.

The seventh picture is the small room next to the MBR. Right now it is full of wall art, craft stuff, and random junk. It would be the ideal room for a nursery. The girls probably would have liked to have the purple room, but they picked the second biggest room instead.

The eighth picture is another small room which we are using as an office. All of the rooms are pretty dirty and dusty and are basically in need of touch up paint. They didn't leave any touch up paint though. I don't mind the blue color here. I might need to buy some similar paint or something. I'm excited to actually get this room set up. The big desk is sitting in the middle of the room right now. I want to build more table space for a craft area and put in some book shelves. This house has a serious lack of built in storage. We have far fewer bookcases than we used to (since we built a lot of shelves and other builtins in the old house).
The ninth picture is of the guest room. It's kind of a playroom at the moment- ie it looks like several toy boxes exploded inside it. The first time we saw the house this was the room with the mattress on the floor and a large collection of beer cans strewn about.

The last picture is of the kitchen and living room. I love the high ceilings and large windows. There is tons of light (well at least there is when we get a break from all the rain!) That kitchen tile is teal ceramic tile. The family room carpet is filthy. The kitchen cabinets were all filthy. The inside of the fireplace/chimney is filthy (are we seeing a pattern here?) You can see just a bit of the "lovely" wallpaper.
Clean up continues. Unpacking and figuring out where to put stuff continues. Wallpaper removal continues and continues. It's hard to believe we've already been here a month! Hopefully I'll have some afters to share before too long!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

House Tour: in conclusion- Basement and Backyard B&A

The basement was a very dark forest green when we bought the house.  With one tiny window and just about zero built in lighting, it was insanely dark down there.  

the paint that eats light!

That was the first space we painted.  We picked a light gray color which I believe was a Glidden color called iceburg.
after #1

the finale

I got that entertainment center from Ikea as-is section for just $50!  The only ding was on the very bottom.  Since we would have had to disassemble it to get it out, we left it for the new guys.  
Other items:  wall shelves and brackets, white and brown boxes, gateleg table (another awesome deal!), accent chair, office chair, floor lamp, book case, magazine holders, and floral print art- Ikea.  storage ottoman-  vinyl plank flooring and area rug- Home Depot.  baskets and picture frames- Michael's

The backyard was a pain in the butt.  When we moved in, it had drainage issues and a ton of large plastic kid stuff left behind from the previous owners.  We enjoyed the kid stuff, but before we listed, it had to go.  Over the years we worked to improve the drainage in the back yard.  We made a few other changes: replacing the hvac system (I would have thought the new outdoor unit would be smaller than the old one, shows what I know), making a garden, building a deck, adding a rock area, and replacing the porch light (after these pics were taken apparently, oh well).  


the neighbor extended the fence, can't take credit for that one
 another angle


The bistro set is from (you guessed it) Ikea.  The doormat is from Home Depot.  We hired out to build the deck, but the rest we did ourselves.  The raised garden bed is made from an old door frame and an extra piece of wood to finish it off.  I got some cedar edging from Home Depot to put around it to make it look a little nicer. The flowers, veggies, and two little arbor vitae were from a great spring sale at Home Depot.  They all did remarkably well and are all still around (except the lettuce which is all eaten, mostly by us even).  

And there you have, six years of work in three blog posts!  Now we get to start over again :)

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Friday, August 19, 2011

House Tour part 2: Upstairs Before and After

The upper floor of the house only has three rooms (including the bathroom) and a hallway, but we sure found ways to do a lot of work up there. When we moved in, my husband and I took the big room and our daughter was in the little room. The little room was originally Pooh Bear yellow with Winnie the Pooh wallpaper borders and clings.
We kept it that way for a long time. I painted the master bedroom a sea green color (oops paint) one wall at a time. After our second daughter was born and entered toddlerhood, we decided to switch rooms with the girls.
I had a hard time deciding on a color. I had a plethora of paint chips. I finally decided on a Martha Stewart paint color called Full Sail.
I never got around to blogging about this project, so here are some of the during pictures

To maximize our storage space in the small room, we got PAX storage units from Ikea. We found all the doors and drawer fronts in the as-is section. They were all new in the package, I guess they were just trying to clear them out. The big doors were $3.99 rather than like $100! After building the PAX units, we had more storage space in the little room than in the two closets of the MBR combined!

Eventually, we figured out that switching back would make more sense for staging the house to sell.
After After

After the first switcheroo, the big room became the girls' bedroom/playroom. It went through a few different configurations, eventually ending up with bunk beds (that really opened up some space for play!)

Befores and Afters in the big room

The paint color in the master bedroom was a mix of a gallon of blue oops paint, a gray oops paint sample, some left over light blue oops paint I had bought a while back, and some flat white paint.

I added a bit of white semi gloss before painting the bathroom with it. I'm pleased with how it turned out. I left some touch up paint for the new residents and took the 5 gallon bucket of the rest with us!

Bathroom before

Sources: Small room-- PAX wardrobe system, all bedding excluding euro shams, end table, boxes above wardrobe, under bed basket, and blinds- Ikea, bunk beds- BJs, lamp, curtain, and curtain rods- Walmart
Master Bedroom-- ceiling fan-Lowes, bed skirt, head board, ottoman, and lamp shades- Target, all other bedding, picture frames, end tables, book case, floor lamp, accessories, and throw- Ikea, baskets-Michaels, table lamps and chair- thrift store
Bathroom-- towels-, shower curtain-Target, light fixture- Home Depot, glass shades- Lowes, towel rod and toilet paper holder- ReStore, frame around mirror- hand cut and built by me with end cap trim from home depot, painted with bronze spray paint.

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