Our Current House

Raindrops & Rose Paint

Yes, that’s a bad Sound of Music pun in the title. Please forgive me, Julie Andrews. But do you guys remember when Clara’s canopy wall looked like this?

Well now it looks like this.

Although the door color is actually more true to life in this Instragram sneak peek that we shared yesterday (iPhone for the win). And the pink drops are easier to see in real life (they seem to hide in these pics for some reason).

How did we get there? Well, a whole bunch of photoshop-brainstorming here resulted in over 900 truly amazing comments and ideas from you guys. And then we shared all of our original photoshopped versions of the canopy wall with Clara as well as some new ones that we whipped up based on suggestions from you to see which ones she liked best. We never would have thought of all the things you guys came up with, and one that rolled in over and over again was the idea of putting the raindrops outside of the canopy instead of under it like we had originally done in this rendering (which was inspired by this this charming project).

We loved the idea of the canopy appearing to shelter Clara from the colorful little raindrops, so this new take on the raindrops was one of the extra ones that we photoshopped for her to see (along with some other fun ones involving constellations, some bold paint on that full wall behind the bed, a few different colors of paint on the closet door to the right of her bed, etc).

And let me tell you, Clara’s a decisive girl. After about 2.5 seconds she looked at them all and said “I like the raindrops on the wall outside but I want them to be pink and red and blue, and I want the door to be pink – but not light pink. DARK PINK!” Which led me to making this photoshopped image for “final approval” from Clara.

And here’s how it went over…

It’s hilarious to me how we go full circle on the “I love the dark pink door… now make it dark pink!” – but I’m obsessed with the door color that we ended up with, so Clara was right. It wasn’t pink or dark enough in the photoshopped version above, but somehow we got it right with real paint.

In short, she’s a decorating genius (along with you genius readers and all of your genius suggestions). The cutest thing of all is that when she saw me painting the raindrops she said “Wowwww! Mom I really like it real! Even better than the computer!” And when it was all done (including the pink door, which she incessantly reminded me about until it was done) she walked in and said “It’s….. truly magnificent!” It’s is a quote from one of her favorite books (Room On The Broom) and it had John and I rolling on the floor. Seriously, it was the sweetest moment and I wish we had thought to record it.

The raindrops are actually just painted right onto the wall using a simple cardboard stencil that I made. To make the template for it, I used an old page from an activity book that Clara had ripped out and tossed aside (waste not, want not) and folded it in half vertically and just cut a half-teardrop-ish shape from it and unfolded it. I liked the scale and it was nice and symmetrical since I used the folded technique, so I traced that onto the back of a cracker box and cut it out to create a cardboard template.

Then I brought my laptop into her room so I could reference my photoshopped placement of the drops (although I didn’t mimic it exactly) and just traced the cardboard shape directly onto the wall with a pencil, randomly staggering them around that wall. There was zero measuring involved since I didn’t want them to be perfectly placed (rain seems to fall more randomly than that anyway) so I just stood back and checked out the wall and sort of eyed everything as I went.

I assumed we’d have to run to the store for some $2.99 test pots of paint in pink, blue, and red as Clara requested – but I looked in the garage at what we had, and was thrilled to find an old dusty quart of blue paint leftover from a few years ago (the color is called Tranquil) and remembered that we had some pink leftover from Clara’s ceiling (Pink Cadillac) and there was also about half of a quart of a bold poppy-red color called Milano Red from a few years back (don’t even remember what we used that for!). But if you don’t have a paint hoarding problem like me, three test pots would do the job for under $9 – so either way this is a simple and low-budget update, especially since you can make your own stencil for it!

After digging those out, I shook them up, and popped the lids off all three of them, and just laid them out on the white dresser top in her room to see how the colors worked in there (it helped to see them on a white surface since the wall is white so it gave me a good idea of how they’d work together – although paint dries darker so I knew the light pink would show up more on the wall). One happy accident about finding all of these colors in the garage was that they all had varying intensities (see how the red is the boldest one and the blue is sort of the mid-tone and the pink is light and soft?) which I realize now in hindsight might have helped the whole project come out slightly less busy than if all three colors were super bold and sort of compete-y with each other.

I was sold, so I called John and Clara up to see them and they both gave me the thumbs up and left before I could put them to work (smart people), so I dove into filling all of my pencil-traced raindrops on the wall using a very small craft brush.  I worked with one color at a time, doing all of the blue ones first (I consulted my photoshopped image but went rogue a few times if I thought a different color order would look better in some spots) and then moved onto the light pink ones and finished with the bold red ones.

Each color ended up needing two coats, so by the time I finished the red ones I went back in and did the second coat on the blue ones and then did the second coat on the pink and then the red. Total time spent tracing them onto the wall and painting = less than two hours. Oh and my favorites are the ones that drip into something (like the door frame or the canopy) just because their cut-off shape is so playful. It really does feel raindrop-esque in there now, and I’m so glad that Clara loves it as much as we do (she did admit that the red raindrops are her favorite, but she “likes them all mixed up like that because it’s like a rainbow”).

Then it was time to paint the door, so after holding up a bunch of swatches to try to find one that was slightly pinker and darker than the photoshopped image that Clara had otherwise signed off on, we headed to the store to grab a quart of the winning color: Cinco De Mayo. The hilarious thing about that color name is that I thought “since I have so much leftover paint that I can’t even remember in the garage, I should go through it to see if I have some of that color by some paint miracle” and I found one can that said Mardi Gras on it and totally did the happy dance and then my brain said “Cinco De Mayo and Mardi Gras are not the same paint color” (oddly enough they were kind of close except Mardi Gras was a little more neon).

So we ran to the store and bought a quart of Cinco De Mayo and it just took two coats (and a third pass of just touch ups) to get it done with a small foam roller and a small angled brush to get into the frames of the door (you can read more on door-painting here). We did both sides of the door just so that whether it’s open or closed there’s that pop of color over there.

Oh and to everyone who recommended painting that door, you were totally right! Initially I worried about the wall feeling unbalanced if we painted it, but the polka dot wall of curtains (there are four of them) to the left of the canopy seems to visually balance the bright door so it’s not an issue at all. I also worried it would look weird to have one colorful door in her room (that’s her closet door) while the door to her room (from the hallway) remains white, but it’s not a big deal in real life. I just had to get over my matchy-matchy thing (all of the doors in all of our houses have always been white)… but once I saw this one on Pinterest I was all over it. I’ve always wanted to make that closet feel like a little playhouse within the room for Clara, and the bold door is the first step to that.

Of course we still have a big blank spot over her bed (we think maybe hanging a white paper pendant might be fun, sort of like the lamp in the photoshopped version) and her room is still full of white walls everywhere else (can’t wait to hang some art, do some projects with Clara, and eventually get her crib outta there so we can have some fun with the wall where that lives). But it’s a whole lot happier with those raindrops and that colorful door in full effect.

What did you guys do this weekend? Any stencil making? Or door painting? How about cry-laughing when your three year old says “magnificent” – that might have been my favorite part.

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Halloween Costumes & Buggy Pumpkins

Happy Friday, guys! As is the annual tradition, we thought we’d share what Clara and Burger are going to be for Halloween this year, especially since I DIYed Clara’s costume for the second year in a row (without crying or cursing!) and I love how it came out. At first when we asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween she said “a lawyer!” True story. And we laughed and pictured her walking down the street with a little briefcase. Then a few days later she said “I want to be a jellyfish!” So asked her a few questions like “what color jellyfish do you want to be?” and that’s when she came out with her full request: “I want to be a pink jellyfish… and I don’t want to be a regular jellyfish, I want to be A FAIRY QUEEN OF THE JELLYFISH!” So here’s where we ended up.

I just decked out a clear umbrella with some pink tissue paper, fabric ribbon, and that thinner plastic ribbon that you can curl with a scissors. And then John added some battery powered cold-to-the-touch LEDs to make it glow (tech nerd hubby FTW). Clara could not be more smitten (this is her attempting to hug her costume). Burger, by contrast, abhors his, but we’ll get there in a second.

As for how I made it, first I hit up Sir Google to check out other jellyfish costumes (guys, there wasn’t a single Slutty Jellyfish costume, which was both comforting and surprising). As for the costumes that I did find, some were of the stuffed hat variety (like this) and others were made from umbrellas (like this), which I thought was a good choice for Clara because she could hold it and swing it around if she wanted, but not have to worry about balancing it on her head like a giant hat. So we grabbed a clear umbrella at Target.

The first step in my umbrella-to-jellyfish conversion was sticking some pink tissue paper into each of the umbrella’s panels (those metal arms held each triangle of it in place) so the entire thing wasn’t see-through. I did this because I wanted the bottom to be clear so Clara could walk and see, but thought the top would look more jellyfish-ish if it were more solid. Next I tied some long strands of thick fabric ribbon around each of the spines inside the umbrella that holds it open so those could hang down around Clara. I saw all sorts of fun tentacle ideas when I Googled (using bubble wrap, ribbon, fabric strips, etc) and loved them all, so I decided to just work with the things we already had around the house (like ribbon leftover from this tree) and see how things went.

Lastly I just cut a whole bunch of long pink lengths of curl-able plastic ribbon (the one umbrella-decorating item that I ran out and bought for $1.50 at Michaels) and tied them to each of the metal spines (I did six lengths of them hanging down on each of the eight spines). Then I dragged the edge of a scissors down them after tying each one in place to make them curly.

When Clara came home from school and saw it, oh man, I wish I had it on video. There were lots of wows and even a coveted “it’s AMAZING!” Then John added his little battery powered LEDs (fairy lights he found on amazon for $6.99) and Clara really went wild. Since it gets dark so much earlier these days we actually think they’ll come in handy. Just look at them glow in the darkest spot we could find in our house: our closet.

It’s a bit ambitious to think that Clara will hold the umbrella the whole time, but she gets to wear a little costume of her own (just a fun tulle skirt that she got for her birthday and other general fairy-slash-queen-ness) so in the event that she’s over the umbrella she’ll still have her fairy costume to go door to door in – and heck, I might just tuck a wand and a crown in my purse for added bling. Yes, I still use that word.

As for Burger, well, he’s never a fan of anything on him. Ever. This goes for all sweaters, boots, hats, and costumes. So he was not amused when he magically became a seal thanks to this costume that we found at Target. We just couldn’t resist – especially since it’s a tradition to dress him up with Clara every year (heck, we’ve been dressing him up since way before she was born). We joked that he just needed a crown and a scepter so he could be a King Seal to match Clara’s royal sea-creature status. Still kinda bummed Target didn’t carry the lobster or shark costumes they had in previous years, but he does make a pretty cute seal.

And maybe we have it all wrong. Maybe Burger loves costumes. Because he certainly seems to take immense joy in shimmying around to wriggle out of them. Wish we caught that on video too.

And this year John and I actually have a costume party to attend, so after a little “uh… what should we be?” pondering, we came up with a theme of our own. Some people say that I look like Kahleesi from Game of Thrones (and who am I to argue with the idea of dressing up like a chick who HAS DRAGONS?). So a cheap blonde wig from Target and a green dress that I already had (you might remember it from Clara’s party a few years back) became my somewhat completely ridiculous costume…

Oh and I used a strategically placed ten cent placemat from a yard sale to make a gold belt and some little shoulder things. You know. For flair.

I just snipped it in half and cut off the curved part at the bottom and used the green rope belt that came with my dress to hold that in place in the front like a big ol’ gold front plate or something. As for the shoulder things, I just cut the remaining part of the placemat in half to create little triangles that I could tuck under the straps of my dress and pin them to keep them there (forgot to get a detail shot of those for ya, but you can sort of see them peeking out from behind my wig in the full shot above). Overall, it was really easy and only ran me $9 for the wig and ten cents for the placemat.

But I might like John’s “costume” most of all (ok, it’s tied with The Fairy Queen Of All The Jellyfish) because it’s so him. Keeping with the Game of Thrones theme, I actually proposed that he be Khal Drogo (to which he responded “have you seen me?”) so then I suggested Littlefinger (hello, he’d get to sport a mustache). He went silent for a second and then said “I have a better idea.” Any guesses?

Yup, that’s his pun-tastic interpretation of Jon Snow. Since he looks nothing like the character, he figured “well, I’m already John, so I’ll just wear a wooly hat and add a big ironic snowflake to my shirt or something and poof: I’m John Snow.” Not sure if it would pass muster at Comic Con, but it cracks me up. And if nothing else, at least the background of his photo brought of touch of Winterfell to it. Yes, that’s a deer just grazing about ten yards behind him.

As for how he made his shirt, it’s just white duct tape on a blue t-shirt (so he can peel it off and still wear the shirt the rest of the year when he’s being John Petersik).

It was pretty funny watching him place each strip of tape in the mirror… whilst wearing the shirt. I think he’s nothing if not dedicated (my version of a snowflake would have a lot fewer line segments).

We’re pretty low key about this stuff, so admittedly nothing that we made is super intricate, but we think it’ll do the trick nicely for the costume party. Now to figure out what dish we’ll bring. Ahh!

Also, if you watch Game of Thrones, this ridiculously inappropriate dubbed video of other things that match up with their lips has us walking around saying “Are you a fan of the pikachu?” and “I’m working on a gravity belt.”

Oh and the buggy pumpkins! Here they are. No, they didn’t get infested or anything, I just love unusual pumpkins and Clara loves bugs, so she helped me turn one into a spider and the other one into a caterpillar. Here’s how they started out (we got them here because they looked so bug-like, which spawned this paint-job idea).

I loved them as-is (yes, I truly adore oddly shaped pumpkins just as they are) but I couldn’t resist having some fun with Clara and some paint. So here they are after a laugh-filled little painting sesh with the bean:

She painted the spider with some craft paint (I just told her to go to town on the top and we left the bottom orange since we thought that would make it look more leggy and creepy – just like Clara likes ‘em). Meanwhile I added a little dot for an eye on the caterpillar and swiped my paint brush around it to quickly make some rough little wrinkles, like the sections of a caterpillar. When they dried, we added some little painted on eyes to Clara’s spider (she loved the idea of four of them since I showed her a picture online of a real spider with four eyes) and we called them good.

We still have to grab some pumpkins to carve (there’s a field trip to a pumpkin patch with Clara early next week so we’ve been holding out for that) but one thing’s for sure. There will be some last minute pumpkin seeds baking at our house (mmm, my favorite). What are you guys doing with pumpkins and costumes? Let’s hear it.

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Psst- For anyone who wants to walk down memory lane and check out C & B’s costumes for the last few years, here’s the post about Jesse & Slinky Dog (my first attempt at homemade costumes).

And here’s the dynamic duo as a monkey & banana.

And here’s their very first Halloween together as a hot dog & hamburger.

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