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Spray Paint+Brass=:)

8.26.2009
When I was redoing the craft room one of the must-haves was a new light fixture. Previously a small white ceiling fan was there and every time you turned it on, it swayed.....badly. Not to mention that it was ugly. So I was on the hunt for a new chandelier. I found this one at Lowe's that I loved.

But it was $178 which honestly for a chandelier is a good price .....but I needed to remember that it was for the craft room. I put it in the cart and walked around the store looking at it for awhile before I finally talked myself into parting with it because it was not a need. Sigh......

Plan #2- Find a cheap ugly brass chandelier and spray paint it black. This is the only time I have kicked myself from throwing something away from the house's previous life. The old dining room chandelier would have been perfect in the "ugly" category.

After hunting around local hardware stores we found this pretty one for $30.

Much more in line with the craft room budget and really more in tune with the DIY spirit of the room. At least that is what I told myself. I probably could have found one for free or cheaper on Craigslist but for $30 I decided it was not worth the hassle.

So we brought it home, and taped the parts that shouldn't get paint on them (like the wires).


Then we hung it our professional spray painting apparatus in the back yard (also known as a tree branch). Not the first time the neighbors have thought that we were crazy.
We placed a board and trash bags against the trunk so that we would not end up with a black tree for the next year or two.

Next I spray painted it with a couple of light coats. I originally used Black Rustoleum in a Matte finish. But after getting two coats on, it looked too much like wrought iron and not modern enough for the room. Of course my spray paint collection included a gloss clear coat so I added that and it turned out exactly the way I was picturing.

Then the tape came off and it was hung.....sort of.

The hanging part actually took about two weeks. I mentioned before that a couple of projects in the craft room did not go as planned. This was one of those projects.

When we took down the fan we realized that it was hanging from this inside a recessed light casing.

Yep those two wires were all that were holding the fan. No wonder it swayed.

Plan B was to install a recessed lighting adapter that they sell before putting in the new fixture like we did in the guest room. But there was no place to hook it in because at some point the wiring and lighting component were ripped out. And we could not get the recessed light out without totally messing up the ceiling. So the craft room sat dark and empty for a week while we "thought" about it.

Finally we came up with the solution of taking it out through the attic. So my loving husband climbed up into the attic in July all in the name of my craft room light fixture. Even when he found old insect/spider foggers and mouse poison he trekked on. But maybe that involved some complaining:).
This is what he pulled out-

And here is what he put in-a box properly supported with a ceiling fan brace.


But we were still left with a giant hole around the light fixture base. No dry wall patching for us.....enter ceiling medallion. I thought about painting it green to match the walls. But that would require paintbrushes and dry time. The faster solution-pink spray paint. The faster solution won and even though it is a little bright, it brings more creativity to the space.

I also did not want it to look like a traditional chandelier so I changed up the bulbs. I am also toying with the idea of adding some shades to change it up some more. We will see what I can scrounge up.


Not Meant to Be

8.24.2009
This non-runner thought she could tackle the half-marathon in October...

Custom fit running shoes?

REI

Check


Cute running skorts?
Wide array of moisture wicking workout wear including specialty running socks?
REI

Check

Garmin Forerunner 305 with a heart-rate monitor?
Check

Half marathon training schedule that includes walk breaks?
Check

Unseasonably cool and non-humid weather for the Midwest in August?

Check

Body with no injuries?
Ummmm....


I was so prepared.....and my awesome husband used his own "fun" money to get me the Garmin just a couple of weeks ago. I was also making great progress on my long runs.


Then my ankle started swelling...... I first ignored it because it wasn't excruciating and the swelling reduced when I iced it. But it kept happening. And then it was aching on non-running days. So I decided to self diagnose using WebMD and Google and came up with tons of possibilities. All involved "stop running" so I chose to ignore them.

Finally, after talking to my best friend who is a PT and told me "don't be stupid and really injure yourself," I grudgingly went to the doctor. A week, two office visits, x-rays, a bone scan (and I admit some long runs before the final results), we have a diagnosis-

Stress fracture in the ankle

Guess what that means? Yep, no running for 8 weeks. Guess what else.....8 weeks is exactly the half marathon which pains me even more that I won't be ready.

I am been really bummed lately because running was so not my thing but I was making a lot of progress and actually sticking to a workout plan. But in the grand scheme of things it is really not so bad (at least I keep saying that to myself). It doesn't require a cast, and I am walking normally. I also can continue to ride my bike, swim and do anything that does not cause pounding on my ankle. I can even continue to wear my non supportive summer shoes to work. (Before the orthopedist had figured out what it was, he was not impressed with my choice of "supportive" shoes I wore to the appointment. He just does not understand that "support" and "cute sandals" do not belong in the same sentence.)

So sadly there will me no half-marathon for me in October. I took a week off from working out to mope but now I am back on my bike so hopefully come 8 weeks I can gradually get back into running without re-injuring my ankle. Just in time for freezing temperatures and snow. Oooops since I am being positive I mean just in time to add another challenging dimension to my running.

I guess there is always biking gear......

How-To: Painting Stripes

8.19.2009
My interest in painting stripes on a wall started many years ago during my freshman year of college. My parents moved into a new house and since they were never planning on me moving back home, I was assigned the smallest bedroom to stay in during my summers. My previous rooms growing up, I had also chosen bright colors on the wall or stenciled neon colored bricks (I know it sounds beautiful doesn't it?) so I thought that while I wanted to go neutral, I still wanted to do something to the walls that was a little different. Stripes were the perfect solution! The first time around I decided vertical stripes would be best in lilac. Looking back, I am not really sure why I considered two shades of purple to be "neutral" but remember I was coming from neon stenciled bricks. So my first experiment of stripes went up. I can't find a pic while I was living there but I did scrounge up this one that I was posing in my old room with my wedding dress. I believe that was the day that the veil came in so I wanted to try to entire ensemble. But ignore me...look at the stripes.
No one liked them as they were compared to a circus tent and a nursery by my siblings. Sadly the lilac stripes were painted over last year who did not want them in her new office.

But I was not discouraged. Stripes Round #2 were the third repaint in the master bedroom at our old house-

This time I really liked how they turned out and my siblings grudgingly did as well.

So when it came time to do the craft room, my mind immediately went to stripes again because our current house was currently stripe-less. This time I did not have to make it neutral since it was my fun room, but I did want to go with horizontal stripes to avoid the circus tent look. Since it was my third time with stripes, I thought I would share the knowledge of how to make the go as smoothly as possible with the least amount of paint.

Materials:
Paint (in the craft room I used one gallon of each color)
Frog tape
Tape measure
Ruler
Pencil
Laser Level (must have for stripes)
Paint roller and brush


Steps:
1. Prep your walls. In the craft room this involved filling thousands of tiny holes since they hung everything with straight pins. Also at some point a wall paper border around the middle of the room messed up the wall. Instead of repairing it, the previous owners just painted over it. So I had to even it all out and then prime all the places I patched.

2. Decide how many stripes you want and if you want them all the same size. Measure your wall from ceiling to floor board and divide by the number of stripes. Mark the wall with small pieces of painter's tape on the inner "sides" of the stripes. For example, if your stripes are going to be 12 inches, measure 13 inches from the ceiling and place the top of the tape there. Then measure 11 inches from the top of that tape and place the bottom of the tape at that spot. Repeat for all the stripes. Next, mark which side will be the stripe.

3. Using the tape as guides, paint the lighter color in between them. This does not have to be perfect, just eyeball it. After the first coat is dry, add a second coat.
4. Now for the fun part. Measure each stripe on a wall. And then measure it again. After that measure one more time. The bust out the tape and the laser level. Taping is a two person job.....one person needs to hold the level while the other tapes. When you tape, even if you want even stripes, the tape will not look even because you need to account for the width of the tape. After you get one wall taped, measure again. There is nothing like the feeling of getting to the fifth wall and realize you had mismeasured. Not that ever happened to me:).

When you do stripes you will realize that your walls and ceilings are not straight. This was especially true in our old house. So you have to walk the fine line of making it really level and making "look" level in relation to the wall or ceiling. We have done it both ways depending our how off we were. 5. After all the tape is up, run over it with a plastic putty knife or old credit card to really seal the tape to the wall.

6. Paint two coats of the darker color. While the second coat is still wet, pull the tape.
7. Touch-up any paint that seeped under the stripes.

Tah-dah!

All You Need is A Laundry Basket

8.16.2009
Jack and Winter's Favorite Activity List
1. Eating Treats
2. Taking Naps
3. Chasing Squirrels
4. Taking Walks
5. Belly rubs
......
3758694. Getting nails trimmed
3758695. Getting a Bath

But unfortunately for them last weekend we decided that they needed a bath. We normally put it off as long as possible or pay to have their groomed so that trained people deal with the pain of fighting them. Since it was so warm outside we decided to suck it up, save the money and do it ourselves. We talked about using the tub in the basement but wanted to avoid the cleaning up the water that would get everywhere. So the backyard and the hose was the winner.

The problem was that we had no way to contain them from running away or laying in the mud while we were trying to bath them. So what to do?

Small wading pool? don't have one
Rubbermaid plastic tote? won't drain

So what is big enough to hold dogs and drain properly?

Laundry basket! I am sure our neighbors thought we were crazy, but we wrestled the dogs into the laundry basket and bathed them in the backyard. You can tell from his annoyed facial expressions that Derek was thrilled that I stopped holding and scrubbing dogs to snap photos commemorating the event.

Winter did her classic "I am so mad that I refuse to look at anyone" move.

However, this experience did not scar Winter against laundry baskets for the rest of her life. Sunday evening it started thundering which always sends her into panic attacks. She can hear thunder hundreds of miles away and will subsequently start freaking out. During these times the struggles with standing or sitting still and is always trying to find somewhere to hide from the evil thunder. This time the laundry basket full of socks (clean of course) was her storm shelter of choice.
Who knew a laundry basket was such a must have dog accessory?

How-To- Craft Desk

8.11.2009
I knew that the first must-have in my craft room was a tall workspace for cutting fabric and laying out patterns. You don't realize how much you are bending when you are using a normal table until your back hurts so much that you can't stand up. I have been drooling over this tall desk at Pottery Barn for oh like 5 years.

But that baby is over $1000 and there was no way that I was going to drop that kind of cash in the craft room. Luckily creative people figured out to recreate it on a very small budget. Jannypie inspired to recreate it on my own.

I mentioned in a previous post that many things in the craft reno did not according to plan. This table was one of those projects. And all because I wanted it to be black.

The supports of this desk are Closetmaid shelves that you can buy lots of places and they come in a rainbow of colors......except black. But I thought that it would be no big deal, I would just buy the dark brown and add a couple of coats of black spray paint. Derek had his doubts but I knew I wanted black and was convinced that it would be so quick and easy. I was especially excited to try Rustoleum Universal paint which supposedly sticks to everything.

So I set out my outdoor spray painting studio, grabbed one of the 8 cans of spray paint I had bought and started the transformation. Unfortunately this is what I got:
While I would not consider myself a spray painting expert, I have used it quite a bit and never have had problems with thick splatter. The lines on the laminate (top pic) magically appeared when I applied the paint. I was discouraged but still had some ideas. I sanded a couple of pieces since I assumed I needed to have a rougher surface and then tried again. Same results. So now half of the shelves were painted badly and I was out of ideas.

After going to sleep very frustrated, I woke up determined that I would just have to do it the old fashioned way with primer, paint and a brush after it was put together. So I scraped off all the universal paint with my fingernail and a putty knife. It scraped off no problem. Obviously it was not universal.

So here is how I really had to do it. It would have been a very quick and easy project if I could have been happy with a white desk (or espresso, pink, blue, red or natural)

Materials-

2 Closetmaid 9 cube shelves
1 sheet MDF (the top I used we had cut to 3x6 at Home Depot. It is much easier to get it into the car in pieces)
2 1x4's
1 1x3's
decorative moulding
Screwgun
Screws
Nails
Hammer (or nail gun)
Wood Filler
Sandpaper
Primer (used oil-based Zinnser)
Paint (used Ace Cabinet and Trim)
Polyurethane

How-To
1. Construct the Closetmaid shelves per the instructions in the box.

2. Space the shelves according to the size of the MDF top. Screw the MDF into the shelves using screws. We countersunk the screws so that they could be hidden with wood filler. Countersinking involves first drilling a hole with a drill bit the size of the screw head before screwing in the screw so that it is just below the surface of the MDF.



3. Screw 2 1x4's into the two long side. Make sure they line up with the MDF top so that you have a smooth work surface in the end. Add 1x3's to the opposite sides (in the inner part) to help support the top.
4. Add trim to make it pretty. We added two different types of trim, one at the top and one at the bottom. Derek received a nail gun as a Christmas present last year and this was the first project since then that we needed it for. So we were super excited to read all the instructions and get it out of the box. Obviously Derek listened about the part with protective eyewear but missed the section about not using a nail gun in bare feet. 5. Fill all the screw/nail holes with wood filler. Since my husband wants to make sure it is really "secure" he added lots of extra screws. So this step took me awhile. After the first coat dried, I lightly sanded it and then did a second coat of wood filler. Then I sanded again. Since we countersunk the screws, the top was smooth with no screw heads.

6. Next came primer. When I normally paint things black, I use a tinted primer. But since I had such bad experience with paint sticking to these babies, I decided to use Zinnser's oil based primer. I wanted to use what I had already had in the basement, so it had to be white.7. Then came the black paint. I put three coats of Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint in Cannonball (the same color as the kitchen cabinets). Normally it takes two coats, but with the white primer, I felt like I needed a third.

8. After the desk was black, I added a coat of MinWax Polyurethane in Satin finish. Then I lightly sanded and added two more coats.

Ta-Da!
Budget Breakdown:
$80 2 Closetmaid shelves (normally $50 a piece but got them on sale at Target.)
$45 total lumber cost
$0 paint/other supplies since we used what we already had

=$125 for entire desk

Who needs Pottery Barn??


Wanna see the entire room put together?  Click here.

Photobucket

Our Family Room Is Famous

8.10.2009
One of my favorite blogs, One Project Closer, is sponsoring a Before/After Event that is benefiting an awesome cause -Habitat for Humanity- and this past weekend our Family Room was featured there. Yeah!


One Project Closer is a blog written by two couples that are enjoy home renovation.
I really love the name of the blog because it is exactly the way I feel about our house-there always is another project. They feature tips, how-tos, product reviews and lots of giveaways. This is the second year they have had a Before/After event.

The full details of the Before/After event can be found on their blog here, but here is the quick version-

-Submit your DIY before and after pics to beforeandafter@oneprojectcloser@gmail.com.
- Each week they will select one project to feature on their site. If your project is selected they will make a donation in your name to Habitat to Humanity. You also receive a $25 gift card to Amazon, Home Depot or Lowe's.
-At the end of the summer they will post all the featured rooms and the community gets to vote on the top renovation. The winner of that vote will receive a $150 gift card.

So what should you do? If you have any DIY projects to submit I am sure they would love to see them. If you don't, head on over there anyway to enjoy all the projects that have been featured so far (and to look at our family room of course). There are already so many great projects that I am really proud to be featured. I can't wait to see what is coming up next!

If you are a blogger they also have buttons there to promote this event for a great cause. If I ever figure out how to add it to my blog, it will be predominantly displayed. I think I need to go find a tutorial....

At the end of the contest I am sure I will be reminding you to go back over there to vote for your favorite (and if that happens to be our family room I am going to really remind you:) )

Thanks to One Project Closer for featuring our Family Room!

Sneak Peek

8.06.2009
All week I having been saying to myself that tomorrow was going to be the day that I got to post the new craft room pics. But each day I kept thinking that I needed to to one or two more things before it was ready for it's unveiling.

Well it is the end of the week and there are still things on my DIY to-do list. So I am going to to a little preview of the progress so the new craft room does not go the way of the new laundry room (you know the room that I have been promising pics of for over a month and have never posted because it still needs finishing touches).

Almost everything in this room is DIY- the tall cutting table, the chandelier, the cork boards etc. Stay tuned because I have tutorials, more details and budgets for everything coming up.

I went a little crazier with the paint since it was my creative space and I love the way it turned out (even though Derek has coined it the "Dr. Seuss room").

Things that should have been simple in this room like spray paint and changing a light fixture turned into long projects which was incredibly frustrating. But again....details later.

So here is the before in case you don't remember it from a previous ugly pic post-

So pretty.....

And here is the preview pics. Another room is officially de-oakified.



Of course, I still have a lot of accessorizing to do and more shelves to hang but I thought everyone would like to see what we have been working on. The color looks a little off in the pics-the green is more muted....I swear.

Stay tuned for the final unveiling and all the how-tos (I have enough in this room for a post a day for entire week-whoo hoo).

Call Me Boring....

8.04.2009
But if I had to pick my favorite flower, roses would be #1. Part of me wishes I loved something exotic and interesting even more then the classic, but nothing can beat the beauty and fragrance of a rose in my opinion. My choice of wedding flower is also a tribute to that classic beauty.
At our first house, one of the first things I did was plant a row of rose bushes. I was lucky that I picked a good spot in the sun considering at that point I knew nothing about them except that I loved how they looked. I learned a lot from those plants and I was tempted to add them to the sales contract and move them to the new house. But for some reason Derek and the realtor did not agree with that idea.

When we moved to our new house, the landscaping took second place to the interior renovations so all last spring and summer I was roseless. It was a very sad summer not to have vases of flowers in the house like I had gotten used to. So when we, I mean I, decided to do all the landscaping this year the roses were on the top of my list. We got them planted a little late so they took some time to really start blooming, but now I have more blooms than I know what to do with. Here is a rather blurry pic of just one of the bushes (there is a reason why this is not a photography blog)-
And a bloom on another bush-
Here is the collection that I spread through the house. There is nothing like a vase of beautifully smelling flowers to make you smile. I set a vase the places that I spend a lot of time in- next to the computer, on the end table in the family room, next to the kitchen sink, on the counter in the powder room, on the kitchen table and on my nightstand. When I snapped this pic the white bush was really producing and slowly it has been changing over to the red bush with the pink one bringing up the rear.

While I don't pretend to know everything about this plant (there are some people that are really into it), I have picked up some knowledge along the way. So here is my version of Roses for Dummies (again based on my experience and no formal training:))

-Roses need a lot of sun to thrive- 6 hours of direct sun at a minimum. If you don't have this you won't get a lot of blooms and you will get a lot more disease.

-There are so many different types of rose but the two families that you see most often are hybrid teas and grandiflora. Hybrid teas produce less flowers, but they are more the "classic" rose shape and the blooms generally last longer. Grandiflora are covered in blooms, but are more difficult to cut because their stems are so much shorter . All my current roses are hybrid teas.

-Roses also need to be fed in order to produce blooms. I have see a lot of slow release stuff that is really easy to use, but I have had the most success with weekly feedings of Miracle-Gro for Roses. Yes I have to do it weekly, but I just dump a spoonful in a watering can and go. Also stop feeding a couple of weeks before the end of the season. If the rose is in bloom when a frost hits, it is much harder on the plant.

-When you water roses, water at the base and do not douse the leaves. Wet leaves equal fungus.

-I spray them with fungicide every other week and an insecticide every six weeks. Hey I never said they were organic and this really helps prevent disease before it starts.

-Don't feel bad cutting blooms and bringing them inside to enjoy, this actually encourages more flowering.

-In Zone 5 I have winterized them two ways. The first year, after they were completely dormant, we covered the bases with a huge amount of mulch and wrapped burlap and twine around the branches. I sure the neighbors loved how they looked all winter. The second year, we were selling so I was bad an just mulched a little and called it good. Since we sold in the spring I can tell you that they came back just fine with the "lazy" way but I can't comment if the flower production was affected in the summer. The roses were also against the deck so they had some wind protection.

My last tip (and I am exhibiting my bad sense of humor with this one)- Make sure you take the time to stop and smell them. I crack myself up:).