Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Car Track

My son is constantly driving little cars around the house.  He lays on the floor and pushes them around the living room and up the hall.  A couple weeks ago I decided he needed a car track to cruise around. I scavenged a piece of chipboard from the garage and routed the edges.  

I gave it a good once-over with primer before painting two coats of green. The green paint was turned into chalkboard paint by adding a heaping spoonful of grout. The chipboard surface is still pretty rough even after painting so it might not actually work out as a chalkboard. It was worth a shot.  I also added grout to a small sample tub of gray paint for the road.

Ryan cut scrap boards into little block houses and each kiddo painted one. The girls also painted two blocks as a school and a store.

Painting is very serious business. 

The blue paint was leftover homemade chalkboard paint from another project. The only thing I actually purchased for this project was a pack of chalk markers I used to draw the details on the road. 

Surprisingly, the girls enjoy playing with it as much as little man!

Happy fall break!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Shout Out to my Husband

My husband. Where do I begin. This man is like no one else I have ever met.  He is an amazing father.  With our children he is a teacher, encourager, expert, and explorer of all things slithery, creepy, crawly, furred and feathered.  For this I am thankful!  Without him my kids wouldn't know how to catch crawdads, identify dangerous snakes (you mean they aren't ALL dangerous??), hit a whiffle ball, or love and care for furry animals of all types (who knew guinea pigs would be good pets for little kids).  And, somehow, he can magically get fussy babies to stop crying by holding their feet (seriously, it worked like a charm on our babies so we've randomly tested the theory on our friends' fussy little ones with 100% success).

I could go on and on about the enrichment he provides for the kids. But the kids aren't the only ones benefitting from his genuine love of life. I had NO idea what I signed up for when I said "I do."  I couldn't have predicted that he would teach me to use power tools, drive lawn mowers, pull trailers, demolish and rebuild bathrooms, edit video, and change my brake pads (let's hope I don't have to put that last one to practice).  He also pushes me to test my limits and pursue my dreams. He's the swift kick in the butt I need when I'm losing sight of my goals. And let's be honest, sometimes he just flat out drives me crazy.  I'm sure the feeling is mutual.  

So when he started showing me pictures of hand-crafted teardrop trailers I thought to myself, "here we go again."  Then he got his hands on an old busted up camper.  Next thing I know, we are hauling the camper home and he is disassembling it on our driveway.  I used to worry what the neighbors must be thinking...  Now they just come over and ask. A nice lady from down the street stopped on her morning walk to inquire and was very optimistic that it will turn out great.  Whew.  I still can't quite wrap my head around how it's all going to come together, but I am confident that Ryan has thought of every last detail and can visualize the entire blueprint in his mind.  I'll have a better understanding of it all as it comes together.  

You can read more about the trailer project on Ryan's blog:

Enjoy this beautiful Saturday!


Brick Patio; We're Getting Closer!

After many many hours sweating in the sun and near 100 degree temps, the bricks are almost complete!  Wahoo!!  It took about two and half hours to power wash the whole thing. 

We have a couple different brick varieties. 

We still need to break more bricks to fill some little spaces along the edge and fill the cracks with sand and mortar. Almost there...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"New" Kitchen Chairs

Yesterday I took the kids to a couple of garage sales.  I rarely shop at garage sales, mainly because I hate driving all over town looking for them, but on Friday night Ryan saw an ad online for a sale with a ton of furniture.  They called it a furniture painter's dream, and they weren't kidding.  I went early hoping to find kitchen chairs.  I think I would have brought a lot more furniture home had I been able to fit it in my SUV!

I got four matching chairs for $50!!

They are very solid and in great shape.  When we got home we started wiping them down to get rid of the cob webs and grass clippings.  They looked clean until I realized that what I thought was stain was actually grimy build up.  Surprising since the fabric is clean and stain free on all four chairs.  So I busted out a bucket of warm soapy water and enlisted the kids to help.  Sorry the lighting is so bad in my pictures!  My iPhone's finest. 

The "new" chairs match the table amazingly well.  Ryan thinks I should touch up the stain on the chairs since they match so well.  I'm thinking more along the lines of painting them and recovering the seats. I've been pinning lots of fun ideas. I would love to be brave enough to paint them all red.  But that might be too bold. Maybe just some bright and cheery red fabric instead?  Any suggestions?

Have you noticed a theme on the blog lately?  We've been doing a lot of projects with recycled or reclaimed materials. I used to prefer everything be shiny and new, but as I've developed more confidence in my DIY skills I've realized I can create some pretty amazing things from left-over or left-behind materials. I've pushed myself to take more design risks (purple shutters I'm talking to you) and not stress over making sure every little thing matches.  I find myself surrounded by unique pieces that inspire me and make this house my home.  Not to mention the good feeling that comes from helping out the environment by reducing our contribution to the landfill.  That's pretty awesome, too. :)

No Rest on This Day!

We kept busy working on projects around the house today. I don't feel like we actually finished anything, but I feel good knowing we did as much as possible in one day.  My hands are blistered from mowing the crazy jungle of a back yard that is growing out of control thanks to a lot of rain.  While I mowed, Ryan chugged away working on the patio until eventually he ran out of bricks.  Rather than go dig more bricks from the mound we moved on to the garage.  It took at least an hour or two to get straightened up but at least we can walk though it now without fearing for the safety of our shins!

Here's a pic of the progress we made on the patio.  I'm guessing it'll take another 7-10 loads of bricks to finish....  

To be continued...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Ton of Bricks

About a month ago I posted pictures of my little patio update here.  Since then we've been hard at work making even more changes.  Remember how I posted a picture of the red brick pavers we were thinking about?

Well, we jumped in with both feet.  We were able to strike up a deal with the owner of these bricks.  A really, really good deal.  Maybe it had something to do with this...

Yup, that's the pile of bricks being taken over by the land.  We are unsure of the details of the history of these bricks, but judging from the wear (and concrete stuck to some) we know they've been used before.  Even better.  :)  So we dug, dug, dug and loaded up the truck about 5 times over the course of a couple weeks. 

One truck load...

Three truck loads...

We layered fine gravel on the concrete slab patio for the first phase of bricks.  In order to expand the patio out into the yard (and to meet up with the sidewalk that stops suddenly in the back of the house) we dug out a large area of grass.  Luckily we have had so much rain recently that the ground has been softer than usual.  Regardless, digging grass makes for sore feet....

Luckily we had a very enthusiastic helper.

The digging is finally done.  Hopefully we'll make more progress leveling and laying bricks tomorrow!

A Little Boy's Baseball Bedroom

A while back we started to transform our son's room from a fairy tale nursery to a little boy's baseball bedroom.  It took a while to get it together and it still isn't finished.  But I thought I would share the progress we've made.

You can read more about how we added baseballs to the bedposts here.

My mom gave us this shelf that once hung at her dad's house.  I painted it deep blue and hung it over the window.  I found some hardware at Lowes (for hanging closet bars I think) and hung the curtains right between the corbels.  That bat was an old Busch Stadium giveaway from when I was a kid.  It is laying on a notched out piece of scrap wood so it won't roll off the shelf.

The toy box got a new paint job with the same paint as the shelf.

This is what the toy box looked like before (in all its crayon colored on glory!)

This summer we moved the kids' play kitchen into Little R's room.  He plays with it more than the girls so it works well.  It has seen better days but the kids love it.

We also added a cute baseball lamp that my father-in-law found but my picture was blurry so I'll have to take another one tomorrow.  :)