DIY Chalkboard and a Giveaway

It took us exactly 6 months, but we finally started hanging things on the walls in #thePomeroyDen (aka the Walsh House) a few weekends ago.  Seeing as we have roommates, it really lightens the load of rooms that we have to worry about decorating (or cleaning, ftw).   So right now we have things on the walls in our living/dining room.

We have always known that we wanted to have a map/travel themed room in our home one day.  Well, we finally got it!  Or maybe I should say that we are working on it. We had a couple of really great pieces for the walls that we had been accumulating including the lovely scratch off map that Will gave me for college graduation (the first time around) and a Dr. Seuss themed Oh the Places You’ll Go map canvas.

We needed something to complete our little collage, but didn’t know what.  Then I remembered this large mirror that Will had bought on clearance from the Home Depot a year ago, that we had never done anything with.  In my mind I could see it become a DIY Chalkboard and, it was the perfect solution to tie in the black frame and gold continents from the scratch off map into the room.

DIY Chalkboard (2)

I did a little research on pinterest to make sure that what I wanted to do would work.  Then I paid a little visit to our roommate who runs the paint department at Home Depot to get a container of Chalkboard paint.  That’s all  you need; well, that and a paint brush and probably some painters tape.

DIY Chalkboard

What you Need:

  • mirror (or object you are turning into a chalkboard)
  • Chalkboard Paint (I used this one)
  • Painters Tape
  • Good Synthetic Paint Brush
  1. I taped the edges of our mirror and then proceeded to paint it.  Read your instructions on your paint before using it, and be sure to get it shaken/stirred really well.
  2. Paint your coats of paint in alternating directions for a nice smooth finish.  Let the paint dry between coats.  I did a total of three coats.
  3. My paint needed to cure for 48 hours before being conditioned (rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface and then erasing it).

 

DIY Chalkboard (1)

We chose to put the Great Commission on our chalkboard (not that we can’t change it if we want to!) because it reminds us of part of the reason why we have a travel themed room.  We love to travel.  We love adventures, but we also travel with the intent of seeing more of God and showing Him off wherever we go.

Lastly, I am really excited to announce that we have a giveaway!  This is the first giveaway thePomeroyLife has been a part of.  A big shout out to Elise from The Polka Dotted Blue Jay for hosting this giveaway.   Enter to win a set of two hand lettered prints from Jenny Highsmith in the Rafflecopter below.  You can put them towards your own wall collage.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Chalkboard (3)

Our DIY Bed Frame and Lessons We Learned

Checked another thing off of the Summer Bucket List this weekend!  After this project Will and I need to go take advantage of number six on that list and lay in the hammock for a bit.

This past weekend Will and I built a bed frame!  An entire bed frame!  Yeah, we feel pretty accomplished, and very comfortable!

DIY Bed frame (4)

This is not a how to post of my own. This is a shout out to all of the wonderful tutorials that I searched for and ran with.   That is because this project took an entire weekend and a lot of steps which I did not take enough pictures of.  That and do to the fact that we didn’t stick to one particular plan I had to make several changes as we went along.

This bed frame was born from a compromise of Will’s desire for something soft to lean on, my desire for something rustic, and both of our desires to have a bed that doesn’t slowly inch away from the wall.  What happened was an amazing Restoration Hardware meets Pottery Barn DIY masterpiece.

This thing is sturdy! No wiggling or anything.  And that headboard is ultra comfy and plush!  I followed this guide to tufting and this guide for button making.

 

this was the first step, stapling the foam to the plywood.
this was the first step, stapling the foam to the plywood.
then you staple the batting on and poke through your pre drilled holes so that you know where the buttons go and have more room to pull the buttons tight to create the tufts.
then you staple the batting on and poke through your pre drilled holes so that you know where the buttons go and have more room to pull the buttons tight to create the tufts.
I followed the tutorial that I linked to earlier.  You thread the button and then put both ends of the thread through the needle and then poke it through the headboard.
I followed the tutorial that I linked to earlier. You thread the button and then put both ends of the thread through the needle and then poke it through the headboard.
here it is all tufted and stapled!
here it is all tufted and stapled!

Our piece of plywood was 60” x 38” and it has a double layer of mattress pad foam (less than $20 at Meijer) and a single layer of batting.

The main plan that we followed is this Anna White Queen Farmhouse Bed plan.  The changes we made to it are as follows:

  • We used 2 – 2×4’s  instead of 4×4’s for the posts because the 4×4’s are pressure treated.
  • We put in an upholstered headboard instead of planks and “sandwhiched” it on all sides rather than only top and bottom.  It was at this point that we realized that we liked the way the simple, framed upholstered portion looked so much that we didn’t want the posts on the outside and the trim pieces on top. So we left those off.

    the frame being screwed on
    the frame being screwed on
  • Another change here is that the head board became a little wider than the Anna White plans… that would be because I did not measure along the edge of the upholstery… Also, it was taller than the Anna White plans because I wanted plenty of the upholstered section to lean on/show up above our pillows.
  • The foot board then needed to be a little wider as well, and there was no clean way of doing that.  We figured it out, and I built it pretty easily.  However, I did not take into consideration the fact that, although the headboard was wider…. The posts were not.  This created problems during assembly.
  • One last change, was we made it about 6″ taller than the plans to give us room for under the bed storage.

Man did we deviate…

Sunday Will got home from work, and he knows me so well. He just walked in the house and said, “Alright let’s get this frame put together so we can relax.” So we hopped to it.  We put the legs on the headboard, measured, cut, and began attaching the side rails.  It was at this point that we realized I built the foot board legs in the wrong spot.  We had to undo nearly a thousand screws and move the foot board posts over…

DIY Bed frame (2) DIY Bed frame (1)

In the end, that was a happy mess up, because it meant that the side rails were able to move in and be flush with the outside of the foot board.

All in all, if you are wanting to build a bed frame – Go for it! Research and design what you want. Be prepared to have to make changes as you go, be patient, and be prepared for a lot of work.  A lot of work that is totally worth it!  If you don’t want to have to think so much – then just follow someone else’s plans for a DIY Bed Frame exactly. DIY Bed frame (5) DIY Bed frame (3)

I think it was worth it, and I would spend an entire weekend on it again if I had the opportunity to go back and choose again.  We ended up with a solid wood bed that suits both of our styles, is super sturdy, and we think is awesome for around $250 (I may or may not have taken advantage of some serious sales and coupons at JoAnn’s for the headboard materials). This also included buying a staple gun and enough extra upholstery fabric that I can make a bench to match in the future.

Now I just need to tell you all about how my mom, sister, and I redid our kitchen cabinets last month.  So keep coming back because June is a super busy month for us this year, and it’s only half way over. =)

DIY Bed frame (6)

How is your summer going?  Have you tried anything new?  Gone on any adventures big or small?  Soaked up the sun?  Relaxed?  I hope you are enjoying it even more than I am enjoying mine – you deserve it!

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish

Will and I were really blessed to get this solid wood farmhouse table for free a couple of years ago (….how have we been married long enough that I can say things like “a couple of years ago”?!). It even came with 4 chairs, and we had previously purchased two off craigslist when we were temporarily using an old table of his mom’s.  The adorable little house we rented for the first 2 and half years of our marriage had that yellow-ish oak finish cabinets and matching counter tops, so despite my feelings toward that color, I left the table and chairs alone because they went perfectly.  The chairs from Craigslist also went perfectly since our kitchen was an aqua color; making them a really nice accent at either end of the table.

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish

When we moved the Walsh House, it was finally time to refinish the table.  It needed it anyways as it had some dings and stains, but it also no longer went with the décor in our house.

Step 1) Due Diligence

I was really excited for this project! It was a big task, one that would save us a lot of money, and something I had never done before.  I perused pinterest for inspiration to figure out exactly what I wanted.   I read countless posts by bloggers, HGTV, and other hanydman/DIY sites.   I looked at stains and read tutorials on different finishing techniques.  I read up on using chalk paint (which I had never done before), and I researched and compared different sealants.

Step 2) Sanding

It was time to embark.  I knew the first step was sand and sand and sand some more.  This is where things get hairy.  When I sanded the table it was early March, that means I was sanding in the garage.  For a while I had the door to the house open so the dog could come and go as she pleased…. Till I realized that was blowing dust straight into the house and all over our dark wood floors… #fail.

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
This is Ellie, my poor car, an innocent bystander in the garage.
DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
and this was me post sanding….

I used the orbital sander that my husband got for Christmas a couple of years ago.  This worked REALLY well on the table top.  I was very cautious to go with the grain of the table top.  For the rounded edges it was more tricky, but it worked out well because it sort of gave the table a more distressed look. The legs were a bit more difficult, but it still worked.  Our roommate Ben helped out at this point and sanded the little detail areas of the table legs with sand paper.  For the legs I used fine grit sandpaper, and for the top I used super fine grit.  It might not have been the most efficient, but it gave me the confidence that I wasn’t going to mess the table up somehow and gave me a super smooth finish ready for stain.

 

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
this shows the difference between the sanded and unsanded table top
DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
the top is sanded, but the skirt and legs are not

Insert a 6 week pause.

Yes, I am ashamed to admit it, but at this point I got so buy with marathon training and school that it took me 6 weeks to get to the staining and painting portion of this project.

Step 3) Staining

Once I got there, I flipped the table upside down and tried the stains we were considering out on the bottom side of the table.  After reading various blogs and comparing the stain pamphlet to our pallet wall, we had two stains we were interested in – Weathered Oak and Classic Gray (both Minwax).  Well, with all the testing on the underside of the table I couldn’t seem to produce the finish that we were looking for.  Enter Ben again.  He suggest combing the two.  I tried it, and it was perfect!

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
on the left is one wet coat of the weathered oak, and the right is the unfinished/sanded top/
DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
here is two dry coats of weathered oak and the beginning of the classic grey coat.

We used two coats of Weathered Oak to start with.  They were not heavy coats.  I would brush it on, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe off any excess.  Those two coats were followed with a coat of the Classic Gray.  Now this stain was weird to me.  It gets opaque very quickly, and it does not spread easily.  I worked in small sections with small amounts.  I would get about 2 rows of the table top covered and then I wipe off the excess. The wiping really helped to evenly distribute the coverage of the stain.  DIY Dining Room Table Refinish

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
clearly I wasn’t going for full coverage here.

After the top was stained, I brushed the legs and skirt with the classic grey stain.  I was not trying to cover them completely or evenly, just enough so that some would show through the chalk paint.

Step 4) Painting

Once the grey stain was dry I painted on two coats of white chalk paint, being cautious to use long smooth strokes going with the grain.  Chalk paint is really tender stuff.  It was easy to rough it up around the details of the table legs and edges of the skirt with a little fine grit sandpaper.

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
the stained, painted, and distressed table leg.

Step 5) Sealing

The final step was sealing the table.  After reading about polyurethane vs polyacrylic vs lacquer vs wax I decided to go with the water based polyacrylic.  I don’t think that there is a right or wrong answer here, but I knew I wanted this bad boy very well protected.  I didn’t want to be stuck rewaxing my table multiple times per year.  I have used polyurethane before and was not fond of working with it or the results.  Lacquer seemed like over-kill and not the finish I was going for so I tried something new.  I used Minwax clear polyacrylic in satin finish.  In total I used 2 coats on the legs and skirt and 5 coats on the top (I am super proud of this table and I don’t want it getting messed up!).  I let the sealant dry for 2 hours and sanded lightly between coats.  After the final coat, I let it cure for a full 24 before bringing the table back inside to the dining room.

I chose a stain finish versus a glossy finish because I was looking for a more velvety/aged end product rather than something with a lot of sheen.

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
Finished Table. See how the grey stain sort of cooled it down and brought out more variety in the top?
DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
But those chairs….

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish

Step 6) the Chairs….

For the chairs I followed the same procedure, but the seats ended up being badly scarred from attempting sand around the spindles.  Half of them looked ok stained, and half of them looked bad, so I ended up painting them all completely white.  I did not distress them, they sort of appear distressed anyway because the paint is a little streaky from attempting to paint so many angles.  They have 2 coats of paint and 2-3 coats of spray polyurethane.

The spray polyurethane was my main deviation, because while it is more pricey, after painting all of those spindles I did not want to carefully try to brush on sealant as well.

To finish things off, we bought some grey seat cushions for $5 each at Ikea.  When we were there to get supplies for redoing out closets (more to come on that).

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
The whole shebang!  I seriously couldn’t be happier!
DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
and here is Izzy modeling it…. I think she thinks she is modeling her baseball, but it’s all in the eye of the beholder, right?

Project Cost:

  • Stain                                      $4.78* 2 (one small can of each)= $9.56
  • Polyacrylic                           $17.97
  • Spray Polyurethane           $7.78 * 2 = $15.56
  • Chalk Paint                          $8.48 * 3 (I barely touched the third one) $25.44
  • Cushions                              $30

Total:                         ≈$100

So what do you think?! I think it was worth it!  And now we have a unique table that fits our needs, style, budget, and perfectly matches our pallet wall (more on that one at a later time as well).

DIY Dining Room Table Refinish
one more of our hilarious fur child… I mean our AWESOME table.

If you are considering redoing your table and chairs – go for it!  Give yourself time and you will be fine.  It really wasn’t a hard project.  It was time consuming. The only times I had problems were when I was rushing. All in all, I think this turned out amazingly well for my first attempt at refinishing furniture!

There are going to be a great many more DIY posts in the weeks to come, and I will also be posting links to some of the tutorials and tips/hints that I have been finding to be the most helpful.

Featured on the Painted Tea Cup.

One Month in our New Home

This weekend marks one month of being home owners and living in our awesome house! One month ago today we were blessed with having our friends and family fill our new home as we moved all of our earthly possessions in.  A day filled with so much intangible treasure – love and joy – deserves to be commemorated.  It’s not exactly an accomplishment to live somewhere for a month, but making a house into a home takes community so why not share on here how our house is coming together so far.

We needed  two bathrooms, 3 bedrooms and  a big yard.  Beyond that we wanted a two car garage, a bigger kitchen, a dish washer hidden washer and dryer, and a more open floor plan. Super extra wants were a pantry, good natural lighting, porch/patio, a lazy susan, a fire place, wood floors, and shudders.  God blessed us with all of those except for the fire place, and we are beyond grateful for how awesome we think our house is.  There are so many extra things we didn’t even know we wanted.  A pass through to the kitchen, an entry way, lots of closets, and the sound of rain on a tin roof (provided by the skylights in the living room).

Despite all of those features, the fresh paint, the unpacking, and the decorating…. it’s more than new area rugs that makes a house a home.  It’s about creating a space  that expresses us both individually and as a couple.  About making this place better together, like we make each other better.  It’s about opening the door to invite in family, friends, and neighbors.  It’s about having a warm, dry place to rest your head.  A place to feel safe.  A place to connect with God.  This home is becoming all of those things for us.

 

We have several projects up our sleeves, and when spring finally decides to come out of hiding we will have our hand very full taming our wild back yard, landscaping, and getting out garden going. Please, put your email address in on the right side of the blog and hit subscribe so that you can share in the adventures of the Pomeroy Life as we make this house a home full of love, joy, memories, people, and plenty of first time home owner adventures.

I am a firm believer in photo documentation.  So here is our home so far!

the living room. I love how hubster incorporated the shudders from our wedding in this room!   (I can't show you the wall with the TV.  That's an on going project that will be posted soon!)
the living room.
I love how hubster incorporated the shudders from our wedding in this room!
(I can’t show you the wall with the TV. That’s an on going project that will be posted soon!)
vintage crates from our antique mall dates =)
vintage crates from our antique mall dates =)

Walsh Ct.

Fresh Flowers in the vase that our house warming flowers from Jared and Ruthann came in =)
Fresh Flowers in the vase that our house warming flowers from Jared and Ruthann came in =)
the dining room.  Refinishing the table and chairs is my next project.
the dining room. Refinishing the table and chairs is my next project.
organization station. (in the dining room)
organization station. (in the dining room)
just for Izzy Pup =)
just for Izzy Pup =)
The kitchen complete with granite counter tops.  I plan on refinishing the cabinets so they are an antiqued gray.
The kitchen complete with granite counter tops.
I plan on refinishing the cabinets so they are an antiqued gray.
coffee bar and seedling germination spot (you know, that awesome natural lighting).  Again shudders from our wedding decorations =)
coffee bar and seedling germination spot (you know, that awesome natural lighting). Again shudders from our wedding decorations =)
the beginnings of the Walsh house's first garden =)
the beginnings of the Walsh house’s first garden =)
make shift coat rack =)  Can't wait to finish our entryway!
make shift coat rack =)
Can’t wait to finish our entryway!
the beginnings of the office being put together.
the beginnings of the office being put together.
guest bathroom - the only room in the house my parents and I didn't paint.
guest bathroom – the only room in the house my parents and I didn’t paint.
master bathroom.
master bathroom.
also the master bathoom
also the master bathoom
we get to wake up looking out at trees and a creek every morning =)  and lately we wake up to trees and a snow covered yard.  Beautiful and peaceful!
we get to wake up looking out at trees and a creek every morning =)
and lately we wake up to trees and a snow covered yard. Beautiful and peaceful!
our bed =) some how it seems more comfortable in this house. lol.  A bed frame is also on the list of projects.
our bed =) some how it seems more comfortable in this house. lol.
A bed frame is also on the list of projects.
Izzy Pup's bed right by ours and right by a window for her to look out.
Izzy Pup’s bed right by ours and right by a window for her to look out.

7 Keys to Our Smooth Move

Being as this was Will and I’s first move, I can’t claim to be an expert on moving, but I can share with you what we learned through this first experience. These 7 things are things that made our move easier, more fun, and more memorable.  The first four are logistical tips, and the last three made the biggest impact, and I will cover them tomorrow.

  1. Organization
  2. Purging
  3. First Night Box
  4. Bathrooms and Kitchen First
  5. Family and Friends
  6. Prayer
  7. “Breaking Bread”

1. Organization

I am a fan of organization.  I think I learned it from my sister.  When we were preparing to pack I started searching Pinterest for packing tips.  One that I saw consistently was to use different colors for different rooms.  There were many different versions of this, but what I ended up doing was buying a pack of multicolored electrical tape (it was $4) to put on the corners of each box.  I wrote a number in the middle of the tape.  Then I recorded the contents of that box in our moving binder; another idea adapted from Pinterest.

PhotoGrid_1423518608423

2. Purging

Before, during, and after packing we purged our house.  We laughed a lot during this process because we were downsizing our things to upgrade our house and because we found some “treasures.”

We had a rule to govern our decision making process: If it wasn’t Useful, Beautiful, or Sentimental then we trashed, recycled, or donated it.

3. First Night Box

We were going to be “camping” in the new house for a couple of nights before the big move.  We had one box that was set to the side through the whole packing process, and as we found things that we wanted/needed to have readily available throughout those first days we put them in the box. This box had practical things like bedding, phone chargers, and toilet paper (don’t forget that), but it also had some sentimental things to help savor this transition.

4. Bathrooms and Kitchen First

Izzy and I just chilling on the floor, posting a blog before the big move.
Izzy and I just chilling on the floor, posting a blog before the big move.

This picture is of an empty room, yes, but what you can’t see is that while this room is empty (and freshly painted) our bathrooms and kitchen were basically fully operational.  We moved the majority of the kitchen things and all of the bathroom stuff prior to our big move.  That way, when there were going to be people all over the house, they had restrooms to use.  And when we would have boxes to unpack and rooms to assemble, we’d already have a kitchen good to go – ready to keep us fed, hydrated, and caffeinated despite the office still being a mountain of boxes.

Those are the lessons we learned this time around, lessons we want to remember for future moves.  Do you have any good moving stories or tips?

Tomorrow I will talk about the last three Keys to Our Smooth Move.  They are relational, not logistical.  They are the “tips” you don’t want to miss/the kudos that I am dying to give out to the people who really deserve them.

Our Home at Christmas Time

I am cherishing the last few days of the holiday season before they are packed away in the attic till next November.  What better way to do that then to share our cozy little house all trimmed and decked for Christmas! Now you can imagine soaking in the glistening Christmas tree with a warm beverage in your hand too! Plus this way all of my family in Kansas (and everywhere else) who weren’t able to visit our home during the holidays will be able to see it in all it’s glory!

Will and I both LOVE Christmas – even if it isn’t quite as magical as it was when we were kids.  We both come from homes that thoroughly decorate and have a glistening tree in front of the windows.  We hang our stockings by the chimney with care and enjoy the scents of the season in the air.

First, there is the mantel.  The mantel is rather central in our home.  Here we not only put our home-made stockings, but also our Nativity Scene.  It is front and center in a spot where Izzy can’t mess with it and I won’t accidentally break it some how.

Christmas Decor 6

The mantel also has these really cool trees that I was lucky enough to win from Elizabeth at Oak + Oats (her blog is a love and joy filled light of Jesus).

Christmas Decor 1

 

Our Christmas goat from Will’s Scandinavian cousins is by our mantle as well.  It’s tradition in his family, and honestly, I think that goat is pretty cool! We have a miniature one on a shelf in the living room too; it’s adorable. Christmas Decor 7

I took this photo at night. Sorry it is not very good.

On to the star of the show– the Tree!  The tree is specially chosen and chopped down each year at an awesome local tree farm.  As you can tell… this year we NEARLY overestimated the height of our ceiling. lol.

This year we found a way to get it right in front of the window = )
This year we found a way to get it right in front of the window = )

One of my favorite things about our tree is this twine jingle bell garland that my mom made for us our first Christmas.

Christmas Decor 2
It’s subtle, but it adds the perfect rustic touch.

And this year I finally made a tree skirt to protect our floor from the sap!  It also makes the presents look that much prettier.

some of the presents under our tree.
some of the presents under our tree.

Some other new additions this year are the sign above the mantel and this little sign that made an appearance in our Christmas pictures.

I made that sign for our yard actually, but it just never quite made it there.  Sorry for the terrible photo quality; there's no lighting in that part of our house.
I made that sign for our yard actually, but it just never quite made it there.
Sorry for the terrible photo quality; there’s no lighting in that part of our house.

I made the wreath in the kitchen on our first Christmas. And the one on the front door I made from a wire clothes hanger and extra branches from the bottom of our Christmas tree this year.  Christmas Decor 8

I did not make that P.  It was a birthday present, that happened to go perfectly with my wreath!
I did not make that P. It was a birthday present, that happened to go perfectly with my wreath!

This table decoration is made from extra tree branches as well.

Christmas Decor 4

And lastly, one of my favorite things!!!

All these Christmas cards from our friends and family!  And look how perfectly they stretch across there – it’s the little things in life.

it did fit perfectly till that extra card appeared lol.
it did fit perfectly till that extra card appeared lol.

I will be sad to see all of this come down in a few days.  But tonight we have our second Christmas and celebrate with Will’s family so while we can, we will enjoy all the reminders of how much God loves us because He sent His Son and how much light and love He has filled our lives with.

Advent: Deck the Halls & DIY Wall Sign

On Monday I shared our Advent calendar.  One of the ways that we wanted to celebrate Jesus’ first coming was by decorating our home in remembrance that Jesus is preparing the perfect home for us to go to someday (John 14:2-3).

Advent

One of our family traditions is that Will’s our little sister Carrieli comes to stay with us for the weekend after Thanksgiving dinner.  During that time she usually helps us get a Christmas tree and decorate the house (while she and I watch Elf… because it’s a classic).

A family tradition that we have carried on from generations of my family is having a nativity scene.  Last year for Christmas my mother found the perfect one and began the operation of building our nativity scene piece by piece.  Last year she jump started us with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, crèche, lambs, and an angel. This year, as I was unpacking it, I discovered that she had hidden a new piece for us to include; a shepherd boy.

 

Nativity - Candle lit
the power went out briefly last night. I think it was a reminder from God to shed light on the subject that Christmas is all about. May we be lights like he was.

I wanted the nativity to be a focal point in our house at Christmas time – to help us remember Jesus above all the other holiday hustle and bustle. So, I decided to make a sign to hang above the Nativity/mantel.  I knew that I would like a star above the Nativity (you know… the Wisemen and all), but I also wanted a word to reflect the character of Jesus and direct us back to the roots of Christmas rather than the lights on the tree.   I landed on “LOVE” because the star could double as the “O”, and I preferred the length and meaning to JOY.

Mantel 2
the strange candle with a Chinese character on the far right, that’s the unity candle from our wedding.

Carrieli helped me make this sign for over the nativity.  She’s extremely talented at drawing so she freehanded the letters and the star with no problem at all!

This sign is all made out of…. Cardboard!  It’s light so it hangs easy.  It’s free when you use boxes from your recycling.  AND it’s much less effort than using wood.

Once everything was cut out I used a metallic silver acrylic craft paint on the letters and a gold-ish one on the pack part.

 

Christmas Wall Sign  (1)
the E is silver and the back board and side piece are gold.

Next, to assemble, I used a hot glue gun to glue 2” wide strips to the edges of the back board to make it pop out from the wall, adding depth.

a good look at the side
a good look at the side

Then I glued the letters into place.

Christmas Wall Sign  (2)
hooray! I didn’t misspell it!

Cut a little slit at the top for the picture hook to go through.

Christmas Wall Sign  (4)
I tried hanging it without the little slit, and the sign fell about every five minutes.

And voila!

Mantel

Originally I was going to make this into a marquee sign like the “P” Carrieli and I made for Will’s office, BUT I decided I didn’t want to put that much effort into it this year.  Maybe next year I will go that extra mile.

While Carrieli was here we also went to the traditional tree farm – Barker’s Christmas Tree Farm (if you’re in the Lexington area… this is the place to go!), and by the grace of God, on a freezing evening, a picture perfect tree was first-row center.  Here are some pictures from that excursion.

I told them to act like they like each other and this is what I got.  Lol.
I told them to act like they like each other and this is what I got. Lol.

Tree Farm (4)

this year he has the beard to be a lumberjack.
this year he has the beard to be a lumberjack.
Every year they take your picture with your tree; then the next year you can find it printed for you to take home.
Every year they take your picture with your tree; then the next year you can find it printed for you to take home.

An Achievable Advent Calendar

Growing up my mom had this wall hanging of the Nativity with 25 little rings on it.  We had several little pieces of paper with our favorite holiday activities on them, and we tie one piece of paper to each ring.  It was our advent calendar.

Advent

Unfortunately, as I got older we got busier, and keeping up with the advent calendar was hard to do…. unfortunately it was usually the “make fudge” day that was let go by the wayside. Dang.  I am making up for it with the fudge in our fridge now!

I thought it would be fun to test out the idea of an Advent Calendar in our family this year, but I know that Will and I would never be able to achieve such a lofty goal of 1 thing everyday leading up to Christmas. That would be more of a stress of the season than a savoring of the season.  So I made this little calendar for us.  It has two things for each week; that’s much more practical. The other thing I did was try to relate each holiday activity to an attribute of Jesus; after all, He is the “Reason for the Season.”

This is our little calendar:

Advent 3

You can download it for yourself, or download a blank one and make your own.

 

Catching Snowflakes on Thanksgiving!
Catching Snowflakes on Thanksgiving!

What are some of your favorite holiday activities?

Happy Hour Friday – Will’s Office Reveal

You know Will, the Hubster, (if you don’t read about him here).  He’s a hard working guy, one of the most generous, selfless men that I have ever met.  Sure he’s particular and quirky, but he also has strong character and a higher perspective on life.  I could go on and on with the list of commendations, but that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about Will’s new office!  It was my surprise gift to him as a reward for all his hard work.

here is, hard at work in his new office.


We are only renting right now.  We have thought about buying a house, but the time just isn’t right.  Nor have we seen anything we’re crazy about.  Honestly, we like the idea of building a house… if you’re going to spend the money, get what you want, right?  All that rabbit trail was supposed to say is that our home isn’t really ours.  And honestly, sometimes it didn’t really feel like it was ours, hand-me-down, hodge podge little honeymooner bungalow that it is.  We put a fair bit of effort into it when we first moved in, but not much since then.

Before-ish:  Right after we replaced the bed with the futon

Before: Will's old, squeaky twin bed.   It "doubled" as a couch/Izzy's perch while Will was on the Computer

Before - The desk that was left here

Now, 2 years later, I decided that it was time to give Hubster his own space.  A room that reflected him, where he could work and relax.  You know that feeling when you have a space, and it just feels like it has your DNA woven into it?  That’s what I wanted for him.  He deserves it.

Now, if you have read any of Will’s posts about budgeting then you probably are wondering how I did this as a surprise.  Well, when we bought the futon a few weeks prior Will told me he was fine with using some of our savings for putting a little effort into our home (furniture & décor) to begin investing in things that we like, we want, and we will keep with us.  So…. I took that as permission to redo his office.

My original intention was to post tutorials on all the little DIY elements first, BUT I just can’t wait any longer to share this office with the world!   I have already waited a month.  But you can find tutorials on the bookshelf, the Marquee Letter, and the curtains on the projects page. =)

For Will’s office I really wanted something baseball themed because he has a lot of Cincinnati Reds/baseball paraphernalia (there’s still more that isn’t being used yet).  The problem with a baseball theme is that I didn’t want it to seem like a little boy’s room or some meat-head baseball jock room (nothing against jocks – I still am one).  I did a lot of thinking, happened to receive two pallets from my neighbors, and saw this coffee bar on a blog I follow.   Those things all got the wheels spinning and brought me to envisioning this room.


Emma letting out her inner hoodlum, and spray painting the heck out of random odds and ends I collected.

Will's Office  (6)

the painting process.  and yes we had to leave everything in there so he wouldn't see it in the morning when he stopped by the house.

I can’t take all the credit by any means!  I had a ton of help from my sister, my little sister Carrieli, and my good friend Emma.  Without them I would still be working on this room, and probably have had about 7 mental breakdowns.

The other confession I have is that I did have to kick Will out of the house for a night… and I still didn’t quite finish even with Emma being over till am, so he had to finish building his own desk…. BUT it got done! AND HE LOVES IT!

Replaced the bookshelf and made this cool wall display:

the bookshelf is made from crates that I got with coupons from Michael's, and the Chain link on the wall is from a coworker.  It was rusty so Emma spray painted it with Chrome Rustoleum Spray Paint.

Recovered the futon to go with the new room and because Izzy was getting the black too dirty.

I recovered the futon with a massive drop cloth.  It matches the curtains.

made new curtains that stick with the new brighter colors in here to play up the natural lighting that pours into this room.  Also made them floor to ceiling to help the room feel bigger.

there are the curtains =)

Here’s the redone filing cabinet that I added because I knew he really wanted one and before he was using milk crates to house our papers.

Emma did excellent work on this piece! Look how shiny those chrome drawers are@

I actually got this little gem for free from someone who had extra.  It was originally a weird grey color, but I wanted to use it to contribute to the scheme of the room and be another pop of color, so Emma painted it for me while I painted the walls.

Some other items from around the room:

that was originally a cheapo, black plastic organizer.  Awe the magic of Chrome Spray Paint.

the Bobble heads, UK newspaper clipping, and our mini Louisville sluggers =)

Some pictures from his old room before we got married and the collages of all of our baseball adventures so far that I made him for his birthday.

And finally, the desk!

These next few are of the desk.  The pallets were free, the ductile iron plumbing pipe leg was expensive, and the desk top boards were pretty cheap!

Dara and I came up with the design for the Desk, and Will made it work.

it's the details that matter.  we put little boards in the pallet to create a recessed shelf for office supplies.

would you believe the desk top and the pallets are stained with the same stain?!

DIY Drop Striped Cloth Curtains

Something I learned on my latest DIY bender is that drop cloths can truly be your best friend.  They are cheap and the material is pretty decent quality!

Now back it up about 2 years, when Will and I first got married I stumbled across the idea of drop cloth curtains.  It went on the list of things to implement someday.  I hadn’t had the opportunity yet, but when I was planning Will’s office redo I knew that it was the PERFECT time.  The texture and color of the material were perfect for the scheme I had chosen.

Originally the office only had these little valances I had made one afternoon with the cheapest red fabric I could find a JoAnn’s.  I had planned on keeping them, but decided against it.  I did not want to chop the room off or make it dark… part of the reason I was redoing it was because it was chopped and dark.  BUT I did use those valances to choose the right color of paint for the curtains (yes. You read that right. We’ll get there), and they ended up being repurposed into tie backs (props to Emma).

see the lovely red tie backs behind Hubster there!  Good work Emma!

I did a lot of reading on drop cloth curtains…. In the end, it didn’t really change my plans at all.  But I will say this, if you plan on washing your curtains, or you want them to be super good quality then I would suggest buying fabric medium to mix with your paint.  I was on time and budget constraints so I skipped that step because I decided I didn’t mind if the paint cracked whenever I wash the curtains in the future.

Supplies:

  • Drop cloths (I used two 6’x9’ drop cloths)
  • Painters Tape
  • Tape Measure
  • Paint
  • Fabric Medium (Optional – see previous paragraph)
  • Paint Brush
  • Sewing Supplies

How to Make the Curtains:

First, wash and dry them.  This really softens up the material and makes it more workable and attractive. Plus, they DO SHRINK… and they don’t do so uniformly.

Sew them how you want them.  I did this last, but in hindsight I would do it first as the sewing machine isn’t fond of going through the painted areas.  As I mention I used two 6’x9’ drop cloths.  There are only two windows in the office and they are both pretty narrow.  The 6’ wide cloths were big enough for me to cut in half and then have two curtains on each window.

Emma past on some wisdom to me and told me When you sew the top (assuming you aren’t doing grommets, tabs, or some other cute idea) be sure to leave some extra room at the top.  I don’t know how to describe what I am talking about so here’s a picture of it.  I have made curtains without at that little “ruffle” before, and Emma is right – they do not hang/lay as well.

The part that sticks up at the top is what I am referring to.  Mine is about 2" tall.

Once they are sewn, decide where and how big you want your stripes and begin the taping process.

the measuring process.

ready to begin.

If you are going to use fabric medium be sure to mix it into your paint.

this is the paint that I used.  I opted for a small can of interior paint rather than a dozen little bottles of craft paint given the amount i needed and the durability I wanted.

When painting your curtains, I found that it was best to either put the tip of my brush on the tape and brush into the stripe area or just dab along the edge.  Too much pushing against the edge of your tape lends to the paint bleeding out aka…. Not crisp lines.

Let them dry.

part of the way there

Here they are hanging to dry.

Hang them up and enjoy your hard work!

you can see one of them here.  It's hard to get a picture of them with my cell phone because of the back lighting from the window =(

I have another drop cloth project to share as well.  I will give you a hint, it’s in that last picture.

Enjoy your weekend! Go try something new!

~Dev