Archive for May, 2011
Note: This is a retroactive post that I cobbled together in December of 2011 so I could make this page full of monthly recaps for the entire year (our first in our new house!). Yup, I’m just a bit type A. So here’s what we tackled throughout the month of May – high school yearbook style.
Most Improved: Organizing The Insanely Cluttered “Playroom” (more like “disaster area”).
Biggest Procrastinator: Painting The Dining Room (after living with swatches for five months)
Most Repetitive: Mounting Prints On Canvases (Not Once But Twice)
Most Outdoorsy: Sketched Up An Outdoor “Floor Plan” (not to scale though – oops – the house is way too big & our almost-acre lot is too small)
Most Domestic (Runner Up): Making A Festive Table Runner With Clara’s Weekly Fabrics
Miss Congeniality: Clara’s Photo Project (which we opted to continue on a monthly basis with a few tweaks)
Most Artistic: Painting Some Geometric Prism-ish Art (with a few test pots of paint and a clearance canvas)
Most Shy: Installing A Privacy Fence For The Freshly Finished Patio
Most Likely To Result In Goldfish Crackers Everywhere: Making A Pull Swing Piñata For Clara’s First Birthday Party
Most Shrinkage: Slipcovering Our Craigslist Dining Chairs (thanks to some lucky washing)
Biggest Party Girl: Throwing A Big Ol’ House Party For Clara’s First Birthday
Most Sentimental: Making A Video Of Clara’s First Year
Most Glamorous: Updating You Guys On Our Cloth Diapering Adventures
Most Type-A: Our Admittedly Insane Whole-House To-Do List
Best Feeling Ever: Completing The Cobblestone Patio That We Laid Ourselves (woot!)
Most Unexpected: Becoming Possessed And Sewing A Birthday Quilt For The Bean
Most Calculating: Digging Out And Laying The Foundation For Our New Patio
Most Annoying: Fixing A Pesky Broken Light
Most Sinister: Doing Some Pretty Involved (And Unexpected) Patio Demo (just look at that ominous blue glove)
Most Detail Oriented (Slash Neurotic): Painting Our Add-On Bed Finials To Match Our “Ikea White” Bed
Best Break Up: Completely Breaking The Patio Budget (& doing our best to embrace the imperfection of it all)
When Sherry’s mom was here a couple of weekends ago for Clara’s birthday party she clocked more than her fair share of hours helping us clean the house in preparation. Perhaps her most miraculous accomplish was in the future playroom / second kids bedroom (aka: current junkroom) which looked like this when she arrived (no kidding):
Since our junk basically screamed “I Will Topple Over On Your Baby!” we were just planning to close and lock the door during the party to keep all of the littler guests away from certain death. That plan went to pot when we realized that we couldn’t physically close the door anymore (mainly due to the poorly timed delivery of a large box full of replacement parts for our recalled outdoor grill, which came the day before the party).
So before one might consider us candidates for an episode of Hoarders, my mother-in-law took it upon herself to get things organized. Ahhhhh……
Now the door closes, which was definitely necessary for the party (let me paint you a picture: kids everywhere). Surprisingly, Diana didn’t actually throw that much away – except maybe a few boxes that we had been hanging on to (like the one for Sherry’s sewing machine in case she and Oh Brother didn’t survive their first few rocky weeks together). So this really is just a result of sorting and putting things in some semblance of order (pillows with pillows, baskets nested inside of each other or stacked, etc).
Now it’s almost like this entire room is our mega “decor store” from which to pull frames, accessories and pillows when we need ‘em elsewhere in the house. At least that’s what we tell ourselves when we feel super slothy for having a room full of not-sure-where-it’ll-land-yet stuff after five months of living here.
Oh, and notice that vintage kids chair? That was a birthday gift from Sherry’s mom. It’s the actual chair that she and her six siblings used when they were growing up to eat meals. Cool, right? I mean, in that totally-not-up-to-current-safety-standards way. But nonetheless, it’s fun to have in our possession (imagining my mother-in-law as a baby eating mushed up bananas is always a trip). We’ve got big plans for it as Clara’s big girl chair after she’s past her highchair days. In fact Sherry’s already googling around to make sure we can safely fix it up (making sure there aren’t any lead/formaldehyde issues since those were used in old furnishings). That’s my slightly neurotic girl.
As happy as it made us to have the room walkable again, it’s obviously still miles away from being a usable playroom. Luckily there’s no rush to get started (since the living room, office, sunroom, nursery, and kitchen are all playrooms for the bean these days). But Clara and I did take a few moments to enjoy the fact that we could actually see the floor again. The fact that all 6 feet of me can now lay down in there is nothing short of a miracle.
Thanks Nonna! We promise to (do our best not to) mess it up again.
It was January when we painted three test swatches of gray on our dining room walls.
It took us just days to pick the color but apparently took us, yeah, um, FOUR MONTHS to finally paint the room.
I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing – our painting laziness or my rockin’ farmer’s tan. Anyway, I searched my brain for some sort of an excuse for the dining room paint delay. Maybe we were too tired at the end of the day in January that we spent painting the living room and hallway the same color? Or we were too distracted by completing the guest room for Sherry’s mom’s February visit? Or we were too consumed with patio and party prep to take it on before Clara’s birthday? Maybe. Or we just like to bounce around randomly and come back to projects after months of dormancy. Probably that. Either way, something got into us, and the room (finally) went from this:
I know, I know. It’s not a huuuuge difference. Heck it might not look different at all online. But the soft gray definitely feels a lot more polished. And ding dong, the
witch swatches are dead! The color is the same gray that we used in the living room and the hallway (Benjamin Moore’s Moonshine which we color matched to Olympic Premium No-VOC paint) so we already had the paint on hand (we got three gallons of it a while back in anticipation). You may recall that we wanted to paint these rooms all the same color to connect and unify the spaces (and then the kitchen, which is in the middle of all of them, will have a bit more color on the walls for interest). Maybe looking at the unpainted and then painted room shots side by side will demonstrate how even a subtle coat of paint can help things like crown molding and trim have a bit more emphasis. The room definitely reads a lot more crisp now that it’s painted:
It still amazes us how much a coat of paint can do to make a room look finished – or, in our mostly furniture-less version, at least make it look a little less forgotten. Especially when it’s covering up test swatches that have been there so long that we didn’t even notice them anymore until friends would say “which color did you pick?” and we’d say “oh yeah… those” (it was the bottom one, btw).
Even this subtle addition of color to the walls has helped us notice a few things. For example, we didn’t even realize how beefy the crown molding was in here until we painted (it’s about twice as thick as any other room in the house). And the soft gray looks nice with the built-ins on the back wall. It lets them “be the star” (as Sherry would say) but still adds that light I’m-in-a-cloud vibe and makes the room feel polished and complete. Well, as complete as it can feel without curtains, art, entryway furniture, etc.
Since this room didn’t have pesky wood-toned-molding that needed a bunch of coats of white paint (like the living room), it was MUCH faster to finish (the living room also called for beam painting, which we’re thankful this room also didn’t involve). So by comparison, this project was cake. We did one coat together during Clara’s morning nap (Sherry cuts in while I roll) and then did our second coat in shifts after the three of us ate lunch (since one of us was on Clara duty while the other painted the day away). It was so relaxed that it further underscored how crazy it was for us to put it off for so long. Sherry even snuck in a phone date with her Katie B (her blogger BFF) at one point.
Oh and see those white tags in the photo above? Allow me to explain. Sherry’s “painting clothes” may look like an ordinary black sweatsuit (yes, she’s from Jersey and proud of it) from a distance, but take a closer look. It’s an inside-out black sweatsuit. Otherwise known as her pajamas when worn the right way. What Not To Wear, here we come!
We also took – and then promptly deleted – a PG-13 version of the photo below. Let’s just say I was putting the “moon” in “Moonshine by Benjamin Moore” (and my butt is whiter than my upper arms). Go ahead, I’ll give you a few seconds to picture that calamity.
Ok now stop, you’re creeping me out.
All tomfoolery aside, we’re just glad to live in a test-swatch free home. But of course, now having paint on the walls is giving us the itch to do more in there. I mean, it’d be a shame to leave these nice blank-canvas grey walls totally blank for too long, right? Especially since we’re dying to knock out a huge opening to the kitchen and hang curtains and add art and dye those off-white chair slipcovers…
Eh. Maybe we’ll get around to it in a month or two… or four. You know how we roll. Have you guys painted anything recently? Are you a fan of inside-out-pajamas as painting clothes? Have you had swatches on your walls for over four months? Tell us we’re not the only ones…
Psst again- We’re over on BabyCenter sharing how we made some swanky looking photo books for our moms (late Mother’s Day gifts are ok when you’re waiting on a book to be “published” right?).