Kids & Pets

Dried Paint & Table Tweaks

Psst- For anyone asking us about getting signed books, there are still some at Chop Suey here in Richmond (804-422-8066). They’ll ship anywhere in the world and they’re 10% off through tomorrow!

The walls of Clara’s big girl room are dry and the few items of furniture that we have (mainly just a daybed, an old side table, and two small wooden thrift store chairs that I don’t think we’ve even shown you yet) are back in the room. So here’s how it’s looking now:

Totally done and magazine ready, right? Just kidding. But it’s a huge improvement from this so we’re psyched.

The new wall color is awesome. Pardon these not great pics of it (Monday’s pics did it more justice). In person it’s subtle and warm and cozy but not too yellow-y or peach. And since it’s not too bold or compete-y, it’ll allow us to layer in a ton of other colors. Highly recommend it.

Oh but since the title says something about table tweaks, here’s the scoop on that. Wait, first a little info on the chairs. We got them for $8 each at a thrift store in West Virginia on our way back from redoing Granny’s bathroom way back in September. Then we just tossed them into the cluttered playroom and hoped we’d see them again someday. Haha. Now that it’s all cleaned out, it’s like discovering an extra room in your house. Amazing. Anyway, I think we’ll paint the chairs a crazy bright color (red?!) and keep the table crisp and white.

Speaking of the table, remember when it used to be a side table in our first house‘s den?

It was actually a side table from Target that we tweaked by adding a larger top and then painted white a few years back (originally for our master bedroom, then it moved into the den once we found a TJ Maxx ottoman that worked better in the bedroom).

It actually hasn’t found a home in the over-two-years that we’ve lived in our current house, so the poor thing has just been sitting randomly in the corner of the sunroom or the basement. Poor little listless side table. Until now. We realized that thanks to those two thrift store kids chairs the table would make a cute little spot for those chairs to saddle up to, but it was too tall to work as-is. See how it towers over the other kid-sized table that we made for the living room here?

Well, it was nothing a little sawing couldn’t solve. After unsuccessfully finding any screws to free up and remove the stem from the top, John sawed it off with a reciprocating saw and then went back with his Dremel to clean up the part we’d be attaching it back to later (so it was nice and level).

Trimming the 4-inches off of the stem proved challenging given the angle of the base. John’s first attempt looked something like this. He’s the first to admit that it wasn’t his finest work.

Especially since it resulted in a not-so-level cut.

So he went back, remarked a level cut line around the stem on all sides, and then carefully shaved it down a bit more with his Dremel, being careful to stick to that line on all sides as he went.

Much better. But it was about a 1/4″ shorter than we originally intended. So we had to throw it away. Just kidding, that quarter of an inch doesn’t matter, thank goodness.

With everything cut, he used his Kreg jig to make some pocket holes to reattach the stem to the base. Sure the pockets show a bit, but it’s so far under the table base that you won’t see them unless you’re under the table on the floor (Clara does that sometimes, but we don’t think she’ll mind ‘em, haha).

Now it’s nearly the same height as Clara’s drawing desk in the living room, see? (Note that this shot was taken while laying on the floor, so you can barely see those little pocket holes).

Now Clara will have a table for coloring/play doh/dolls/Gin Rummy in her room with her two thrift store chairs (which I fully intend to paint bright red as of right now, but you never know when I’ll change my mind).

So that’s what we’ve been up to in Clara’s big girl room. I’d call it 7% finished. Haha.

The blanket is my favorite (from a Joss & Main sale about a month or two ago). And the two tie-dye-ish pillows are from West Elm. I want to add more pillows of course (wouldn’t navy look cool on there too?).

Oh and the pink C pillow was from the same Joss & Main sale as the blanket. Isn’t it cute? Clara is OBSESSED with her big girl bed. The doc said not to switch her until she’s uncomfortable in her crib or climbing out of it (the girl climbs into it but never out – go figure!) so we’re happy to keep her contained to her crib where she happily snoozes… but man oh man, she sure looks cute in this bed. And someday she’ll get to officially move in.

Until then it’s a pretty fun playroom…

… which beats the heck out of the junk-room that it has been for the last two years by a long shot. She says hanging her head in shame. Oh well, better late than never.

We’re still sorely missing some major elements in here, so here’s what’s on the agenda:

You know we’ll keep you posted as we inch along! What are you guys painting, tweaking, and cutting down these days? Anyone else finding thrift store chairs or converting old Target tables? Spill it.

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New Year, New Calendar

It was December 30th when it struck me: “Cripes, we don’t have our 2013 calendar ready.” So I spent a couple of hours on New Year’s Eve morning and a couple more the next evening cranking out our fourth homemade calendar – and as always we’re sharing the file so you guys can download it too (and sub in your own pics and quotes to personalize it for yourself) just like we’ve done last year, the year before, and the year before that.

I’ll be honest, over the years these calendars have proven more decorative than functional. At this point they may just be considered a tradition. It started back in 2010 and for the past three years it has been a variation on a similar formula: long skinny layout + brightly colored text. Back in 2010 we used funny phrases/ inside jokes, in 2011 we tied each month’s number to a personal fact, and in 2012 we went a bit bolder and included photos for the first time (borrowing a favorite black & white snapshot from that month the previous year).

This year’s formula sort of became a culmination of all of the past years – funny phrases + something personal + b&w photos.

I’m probably biased, but this calendar is my favorite so far. It makes me so all sappy about how much I adore our little lady. Cue the collective aww. But seriously, the quotes from her (which we cherrypicked from the Clara Conversations that Sherry’s documents over on Young House Life) remind me just how hilarious she is. And although the Instagram pic along with each quote wasn’t taken at the same moment as it was spoken, together I think they paint a pretty great picture of our chatty girl. For example, there’s this one where Sherry said “Helmets keep the head safe” and then Clara screamed “Helmets keep the head face!”

As in past years, I’ve also created a stripped down version of our calendar for you to download. You’ll need Photoshop to edit it by adding your own text and pictures (dude, it’s free right here for anyone who wants it – Update: whoops turns out its not, see the comments for more info). And you can download the scripty “The Only Exception” font here (also for free). You won’t need the other font (“Homestead”) since that’s already set as each month (which won’t need to be altered) but here’s where I got it if you want it for another project (it requires a donation to download).

As for how to edit the document, each layer is a month (so showing one layer and adding your pic, altering the quote, and then printing just that layer before showing and editing the next one is the way to go). If you’re not quite the Photoshop master yet, there are some great tutorials online and a few books on the subject at the library/bookstore.

Here’s all twelve months at a glance.

And since I know not all of the Clara quotes are readable at that size, here’s a quick rundown for ya – starting with January:

Oh yeah, and we just print each page on some cardstock paper using our home printer (we have an HP Photosmart C4780). Then it just needs a little trim with the scissors and a hole punch at the top and it’s ready to hang.

So what about you guys? What’s your go-to calendar this year? Do you keep a decorative calendar in one place and a functional one elsewhere? Or are you entirely digital with your date-keeping?

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