Friday, November 20, 2009

i'm in love with my new black paino!

I finally did it!! I have been wanting to paint my piano black for a long time and I finally just did it.

And. I. LOVE. It.

Here is the before picture:

Go ahead, say it. It looks horrible, I know. And when I see a picture of it, it's even worse. (And what was I thinking with those pictures sitting on top of it?!)
So Wednesday, I sanded it all down (which only took me minutes thanks to my husband's power sander) and it surprisingly didn't take me long to paint it. I used a satin finish of black Behr (which is my favorite 'cheap' brand of paint from Home Depot). And while I was working on this project, I had my 2 and 1 year old playing in the same room and I was caring for my h1n1-infected husband. So..... here are the after pictures:
Isn't it GORGEOUS?! It looks brand-spankin new, doesn't it? Mr. C-A is going to build me a different rack (you know, where the music sets) eventually because I hate the one that's on there now, even with it painted. And oh how I wish our floors were refinished.... They make me cringe everytime I see them in a picture. One project at a time, I guess. What d'ya think?!
And to answer some of your questions: I didn't prime it, I used a roller and my purdy brush, and I do play (but not all that great!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

easy curtains

A few months ago, we madeover our front entryway which you can see here. I didn't feel that the room was complete so I made some curtains and I think they really add to the room. I have only done a few sewing projects EVER but these were super easy. I took a tablecloth I had, cut it down the middle, and sewed up the sides to make it neat. Then I just took some plain white trim and sewed that to the curtains a few inches down to make them like roman shades. This is how they turned out:
I thought I'd share this simple project because it added so much to the room again and it is so SIMPLE, people! I'm linking up with Today's Creative Blog, check out all the great stuff!


Friday, October 30, 2009

last minute halloween idea

Is anyone else a procrastinator? Well I usually am! I thought I'd share a last minute Halloween idea for anyone who still doesn't know what to make. (We're talkin food!) Tonight I made cupcakes for our party tomorrow night knowing that I'd have too many other things to do tomorrow. I used a white cake mix (yes, from a box!) and added played around with food coloring to create orange. Don't ask me what combination I used! I frosted the cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Then I put some white frosting into a baggy, melted it for about 5 seconds in the microwave, and then cut off a VERY teeny tip from the baggy. Next, I made a little spiral from the middle of the cupcake to the outer edge. Then I took a toothpick and starting from the middle, made little lines to drag the white frosting with the chocolate frosting and this is how it turned out: In case you can't tell, they're spiderwebs. I got this idea from a magazine a few years ago. I prefer to use foiled cupcake liners because I think the cupcakes are more moist and evenly baked. This time around, a couple of cupcakes got squished together and they reminded me of the shapes of ghosts.
I would have done more of these intentionally if it weren't a mistake to begin with :) And this is my gumball machine that I filled with black and orange m&ms. It looks festive but you get quite the handful when you turn the dial - which is ok with me!

I'm linking up with creative cats and A Soft Place to Land. Happy Halloween, everyone :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

hidden doorways/built-in bookcases

After my post on our basement, I got a few emails and comments asking for a post on our 'hidden doorway' which is our bookshelf. Mr. Junk Style is a {brilliant} carpenter. I can't wait to build a house someday because he is full of great ideas! So this is how it looks from our basement living area:

And if you're wondering what that bar is near to the ceiling - it's a pipe! Our basement has such low ceilings and if we would have drywalled under the pipes, we would have lost another foot. So we decided to spray the ceilings black and keep the industrial look to it. And I absolutely love the look of it (although it collects a lot of dust).

Before I go on about this bookcase, it turns out that it is currently broken! It won't take much to fix it, but we don't need to use this doorway too often so it has yet to be fixed. When it is in working order, this is how it works....
As you can see, the bookcase is flush with the wall and simply looks like a built-in. However, when you pull down on the Indiana Jones Trilogy (as shown below)....


...there is a wire that runs from the back of the movie case to this thingy:

The wire lifts the 'hook' and releases that 'bar' and causes the bookcase to open!


As you can see, the other side of the doorway is nothing special. It enters to my husband (and my) workshop where he builds up all of our other bright ideas. Eventually we're hoping for the doorway to lead to a hallway and maybe another bedroom and bathroom.


My husband also added this built-in when we bought our house 4 years ago. I love it!

I'm linking up with A Soft Place to Land and creative cats! and metamorphisis monday Check em out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 tasks, purdy, and shrinkage

This is going to be a random post people!!

First off, did anyone else participate in Shabby Chic Cottages' 10 tasks in 10 days? Well, I did! Thanks to the weather, I was unable to accomplish 2 of my outdoor tasks (really, thank you weather!) But everything else on my list got done! That was fun. It really boosted my energy too and I got even more little tasks done.

One of my tasks was to finish cutting in our front entryway that we just made-over. I had recently recieved a free Purdy paintbrush and roller and I put the paint brush to use. And let me tell you.... I am IN LOVE! It took me literally half the time to touch-up than when I use a cheap, junky paintbrush. I have always bought angled brushes but Purdy has such a fine tip to the angled point and yet it holds so much paint. So I would HIGHLY recommend getting a Purdy paintbrush for your next painting project. The only time it malfunctioned was when I would sing and cut in at the same time (I don't recommend doing the 2 at the same time!) For my next painting project, I'm thinking I have to touch-up every other room with this purdy paintbrush so that it looks as professional as my front entryway! Thanks, purdy people!! AND...the people at Purdy brushes wanted to let you know that they have a live web site that is giving $3 rebates for people who purchase Purdy brushes so go check it out!

The third topic I want to touch on today is something that totally gripes me. I was in the bathroom the other day when I noticed that our toilet paper rolls have shrunken considerably. I flip-flop toilet paper brands depending on what's on sale (though I try to stay within Mr. GMC's toilet paper standards!) The brand that I'm refering to shrinking is Angel Soft. I got 12 rolls that are advertised as being more like 24 rolls because they're twice as thick, but we're talking 1.5 inches off the width. Seriously, how much money can this company possibly save by cutting back on our toilet paper! (On the other hand, how much toilet paper are we even really missing by this slight shrinkage - but that's beside the point!) So has anyone else noticed this? Are there any other brands that are doing this? Am I totally way too cheap for even being annoyed by this? It's just that I have noticed a change in my grocery bill - the prices go up but the products are shrinking! It's madness!

Friday, October 9, 2009

lights out

A few hours of gale force winds one night meant no power for us for 36 hours. Wow, what a pain in the butt! We ended up buying a generater to run our sump pump and refridgerators. My 28 month old, 1 year old, and I were at a loss for what to do with our day. (I had to stay home for half a day to watch that the sump pump didn't flood our basement). Half a day without tv.... it was bad. I guess my girls watch too much tv! But actually it was the darkness that drove me crazy. Our house is in a little neighborhood and the front of the house faces north and the back, therefore, faces south. (I do have a point - being that the sun rises in the east, sets in the west!) We stare at other houses on each side of us. Our house is positioned in a way that the sun doesn't shine down on us. But, the darkness did make me appreciate the candles. We lit up the house with candles. It made me think, why not light these candles more often, just for the heck of it? It's like the phrase 'use the good china'. Really, when it comes to decorating, a good thing to remember is that while we want things to look great, why not keep it useful and comfortable. It's so much more enjoyable that way!

I got this for $12. It sits above my piano and I love it :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

ten tasks....

I am taking this challenge; completing 10 tasks in ten days. If you've got random projects you haven't started, this sounds like a good way to get them going.

Here is my list:

Item #1: Making this list (this is time-consuming in itself!)
Item #2: Paint crown molding for my massage room.
Item #3: Finish cutting-in our front entryway.
Item #4: Finish painting a chair red.
Item #5: Hang one of our latest flea market finds.
Item #6: Decorate the front of the house for autumn.
Item #7: Transplant a bunch of hostas (ooo, I so hope I get this one done)
Item #8: Make curtains for the front entryway.
Item #9: Find fabric to re-cover a footrest (and hopefully get it recovered, too)
Item #10: Finish switching out our summer clothes to fall clothes.

There are so many more projects that I need to get done along with these. But for now, I'll just cross my fingers and hope to get these done.

What is on your list? I'd love to know!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

re-purposed register

I love the look of old registers. Love, love, love them!! So when I found one for $10 at a consignment shop, I had to get it. It's one of the more plain-looking ones but I still had a bunch of ideas for how I could use it. I cleaned the cob-webs off of it and tried a bunch of stuff. What I finally decided was its best purpose was this:


I made the magnets, too. (I have duplicates for sale on etsy!) And all of the pictures are my nieces and nephews. I had a bunch of ideas but I was limited because the back of this has a reel with 5 slats to open and close. I had seen old registers re-purposed as magazine racks and they're really cute like that but it was impossible to do with this one. I think I'm going to have a new addiction when it comes to old registers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

entry room makeover

The latest house project that we've had going on is our front entryway. Before the makeover, there was trim and crown that we really didn't care for and white tile with white grout.... Seriously, who's idea was that? It may look nice in other people's houses but not in mine. It was so hard to keep white!! So after nagging at the hubby for a couple of years, we finally made time to re-trim and re-floor! And I am so happy with the results. First, here are the before shots when we bought the house:

And these are the way-after shots:



Don't look too closely, I still need to do touch up and Jordan has to put the shoe down.
Jordan also put in a doorway to connect our laundry room to the front entry and now our basement stairs (which are in the laundry room) feel more included with the layout of our house. (I keep dreaming of a new house someday that isn't from the 50s and so rectangular!) Our house has this 'radient heating' system and that's that box you see on the wall. It's another kind of annoying feature of our 1956 home. I tried to think creatively about how to camouflauge it but painting was the most clever thing I could come up with! Should I keep the boat in there with the vintage pictures of boats behind?
And these are the "we'll just paint it all for now and make it all over later" in-between pictures from the years we've put off this project!

The ugly crown molding, above, and the wall full of pictures, below.

So what d'ya think of the finished product?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

another little project... :)

Jordan and I have a house project going on (again!) which I will show you pictures of soon... hopefully. Whenever we start one project, our heads get full of a million other little ideas for things we should do. One of them that I've wanted to do for a while now is paint our garage door black. When we refinished our basement, we did the doors black and I absolutely love it. (We just love black as it is). Recently I've seen a couple of bloggers who have also painted their garage doors black and I decided to do it yesterday. So here's the finished product of the door leading into our house from the garage.

I just free-handed this but I'm still happy with the improvement. If I can find some vinyl numbers that I like better, I may have to switch it over, though. I also painted the inside of the door and distressed it and I'm happy with how that turned out as well. I've had a lot of energy this week so I've been trying to put that energy to good use with getting lots of odd projects done.

Monday, June 1, 2009

the birm

More than a week ago on a Thursday, Jordan and I ordered some bark for our annual 're-barking of our landscaping'. We ordered 6 yards of the cheap stuff - economy mulch from Mulch Pro in Borculo (we try to buy as local as we can!) The stuff got delivered that same afternoon and - like a good housewife - I began to spread it. The mulch was like dirt and not the bark that we thought it'd be. So once Jordan got home, he brought a tub of it back to Mulch Pro and they agreed that it was not what it should be. They said they'd deliver 6 more yards that same day of the right stuff and asked if we didn't mind keeping the dirt. The dump truck man came back with the good stuff and more than half of our money back! We were so excited - we got 12 yards for $35. Mulch Pro said that being their first year, they didn't want any problems with any of their customers!

We spread the 6 yards of bark but then we had to figure out where to go with the dirt. We're planting a small garden this year, so we thought we'd use a lot of the dirt for that but what to do with the rest yet...? In our garden book (that I love) there's a picture of a backyard that has this birm that's used to seclude a play area for the kids and I've been wanting to do that but we didn't want to spend the extra money on the bark. So it worked out perfect that we had all this extra dirt to build a birm with! Now, honestly, can anyone tell me what a birm is? I kept refering to it as a peninsula and Jordan was calling it a birm. Finally we were both like, 'why are you calling it that?!' I had never heard of a birm before and apparently it's just a fancy name for a hill used in landscaping. Now I've been getting mocked by my husband for not knowing what a birm was. Am I the only one?! Anyways, after hauling MANY wheelbarrows back and forth from our driveway to the backyard, the birm is finally completed! Actually, that couldn't be further from the truth because now we need (or want - whatever!) to make it pretty with plants. We're thinking of doing tall grasses spaced out in the middle and plants in front and behind the grasses. I'll have to post final pictures once we get some plantings in there but for now, here are the before and after photos.


The rectangle in the back is our garden that we need to plant yet - Ahhh!- we're so behind!!Jordan and I really enjoy doing landscaping projects together, so now that the bark and dirt are hauled, we're anxious to get the birm full of plants (and the garden, too!) If anyone knows of any greenhouses that typically just dump all of their plants at the end of the season, let us know! Were all about free things and we'll make it work!!