Sunday, October 28, 2018

Reclaimed Wood Accent Wall

Recently I learned how to create a GIF. I like learning new things. Without a challenge, I get bored. To practice my emerging gif-y skill (let's say its a thing) I thought I'd capture the process of putting together an accent wall that will eventually serve to corral the backpacks, jackets, gloves, and hats that come with this season of the year. 

The first weekend was spent measuring, cutting, and sanding the boards. Fortunately, I had most of the boards I needed and only had to scavenge up one pallet to create the height I wanted.

Left: all washed, sanded, and cut to fit
Right: stained and laid out in the desired pattern
There was some creativity in filling in some odd spaces...but it works! 
Here you can see the different types
of boards used to create one row.

The fence boards were whitewashed and the pallet boards were given a coat of Early American stain. The remainder of the boards were a hodge-podge collection with various widths and wood type. To create a cohesive look among them they were coated with an Espresso stain. 

The following weekend, I arranged the boards into a pattern. The dark boards acted as a "break" in between the light/dark/light/dark pattern. Or you can say they created a "break" in the whole/mixed/whole/mixed length pattern. The fence boards extend the whole width and are not cut. The pallet boards were too short and needed two boards to fill the space. The dark boards are an assortment of lengths as well as widths. Is this confusing? Hopefully, the pictures will help establish the pattern.

Then came the fun part! Gluing and nailing the boards to the wall. 

And here is the debut of my second GIF (the first was work related). 

It turned out better than I'd envisioned it! We're all pleased with the finished product. 

I'll be bargain hunting for hooks to turn this stunning accent wall into a practical "mudroom" type wall. For now, we'll admire it in all its naked beauty!

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Bench Refresh: mudroom to breakfast nook

I was bound and determined to love my new home "as is," especially after all the work it took to get our townhome ready to sell. We painted, pulled out old carpet (which is the most disgusting thing I have ever done!!!), and called so many handymen to help with odd projects that I just wanted to sit on the couch and binge watch something, anything, even if it was Octonauts (my youngest is four).

After moving in, I quickly discovered that my old stuff didn't quite fill the space of the new home, or fit in as well. A different floor plan changed the use of some items, like my mudroom bench. We simply have no use for it anywhere in our home. 

So we decided to use it at the kitchen table which is a more informal space now that we have a formal dining room. The bold turquoise design worked fabulous as an accent piece in our old home but just stood out like a sore thumb in our new space. The bench needed some work anyways. Too many winters as a sitting area for snowy/muddy boots took a toll on the paint and the fabric. 

Gave it a fresh coat of white paint with a little less distressing than before. And I've learned my lesson, this time the bench received a very generous layering of sealer. New duck cloth coated with Scotch Guard and our mudroom bench is transformed into a subtle breakfast nook seat. A subtle transformation.

Curing in the hall. 

We're not wild about the gray color of the walls, it sucks whatever natural light there is out of the room. It needs a lighter color to help bounce the light. Its the only room in the house we want to paint...someday. Ha!

And this is where our decorating vision is at a mash-up. I am trying to expand upon a "farmhouse" look and my husband wants a smart home. Here we have Wall-E, our robot vacuum, parked next to our farmhouse table and bench. I gotta admit, I LOVE that little machine. I can't believe how hard it works while I sleep. Broom? Nah. 

Its a tested and approved seating spot for the kids and their friends. Easily seats three growing bodies. Still a keeper! 

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Crate Nightstands

When it comes to small furniture, I'm a huge fan of a navy paint body with a stained wooden top. Its such an appealing combo (and the bestseller color combo when I had my booth or when I participate in craft fairs). It's not the only combo I use, but a definite favorite, so when I saw these on Pinterest I KNEW that my new master bedroom NEEDED them. And as luck would have it, I had scored six free crates next to a trashcan. Someone had screwed them together to make some kind of versatile storage. My first thought was to stain a couple of them but there was sloppily applied white paint all over and it seemed like too much work to sand.

For the original tutorial, visit Stacy Davis via Hometalk.  Below is how I altered her tutorial with what I had on hand and whether that was a good idea or not.

I chose convenience and bought my "feet" at Home Depot with the sole purposed of staining them to match the top.

The original tutorial had a wider base at the bottom of the feet AND I think that is a great idea to have BECAUSE my nightstands are a little wobbly. While I adore the stained wood on the feet I have, we have had to stick something under them to add more support (not pictured). 

It wasn't mentioned in the original tutorial and I was busy binge-watching Blue Bloods while painting to really think this through. Why did a paint two coats where the crates will be glued and screwed together??? Darn it Reagan family and your deep Sunday dinner conversations! 

Oh well. 

The only sanding I did was to remove paint prior to staining. 

 I couldn't be happier with the stained wood. Just gorgeous!

The wrapped books are leftover from staging our previous home. It was nice to rip open a box and toss these on the shelf to great the illusion that I regularly incorporate hot decor trends into my home. haha

I made two nightstands. One for each of us. This spartan look will only last until the last box is unpacked and favorite treasures are rediscovered and displayed. 

The lamp bases and shades were found At Home. Talk about a big box store to get lost in!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Renewed Card Table turned Puzzle Table

Its been a few weeks since my last post. We moved and both started new jobs and we were (and still are) finding our "new normal." Our summer was a mix of fun and work that left little time for blogging. Inspired by Zumbo's Just Desserts we baked ourselves silly, we took walks to explore our new neighborhood, and I kept telling myself that I should really unpack a few more boxes or at least set up my craft space....but that isn't any fun.

Instead, I made time to make or upcycle things for our new home...and unpack the craft room as supplies are needed. I've wanted a puzzle table for a while now. Our youngest is no longer in the curious toddler stage so it seems a safe bet that he won't eat any puzzle pieces that are left out for an extended period of time.

Enter the ugly card table found next to a dumpster. It's rusty, its torn, it's a nasty green BUT its sturdy and free. Just toss a tablecloth over it and its perfect for craft fair setups.

A little TLC and it'll work well as a puzzle table.

Supplies were around $10 at any local big box retailer. Paint & Primer in one is the way to go for a quick makeover. Not pictured is a clear spray sealant for the paint. 

Spray paint (&primer)
Contact Paper
Spray sealer
Exacto knife
E-6000 Glue
Packing Tape

The trickiest part was lining up the two pieces to create a continuous flow. Thankfully the contact paper was removable so it allowed for several attempts to line up the "planks."

Packing tape and E-6000 glue were used to fix and flatten a torn area. It's completely unnoticeable under the contact paper. 

An Exacto knife trimmed the edges. 

E-6000 glue was also used around the edges to secure the contact paper for durability. 


Before and After  

Sitting quietly in our front room. I love the bay style windows in this room. I'm a big fan of natural light and this room is so pretty in the morning with the sun shining through. 

It's not getting a lot of action right now since we're outside so much, but come winter I'll be sitting here often.  



Adding to my to-craft list: chairs for this table. Right now we just drag the dining room chairs over. 

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Pirate-Themed Giant Game Board

I work for an online ESL company called DaDaABC DaDa (recent name change). It's an online program that teaches English to kids in China. I've worked here, and by here I mean in my home office, for a solid year.

I've also had some of the same students for that length of time. To help keep class interesting I'm always looking for new games to play as an incentive for classroom interaction.

This is my most ambitious project yet! Usually, I stick with simple printable boardgames but its time to shake things up.

Shopping List: 

Dollar Tree
Blue Poster Board .69
Pirate Stickers
package Foam Sheets
Adhesive Velcro Dots
(recommend 2 packages of velcro)

Shark Finger Puppet from Ikea

Elmer's Glue
Wooden Ovals (optional) check the craft store or craft aisle at your local box retailer

Step 1:
Cut in half two of each color of foam. You'll end up with four smaller rectangles.

Step 2: 
Pick a pattern. I chose a rainbow pattern. 
Glue down.

Step 3: 
Added some waves around the pirate ship sticker at the beginning of the game board. 
Added Treasure Island at the end of the game board using the treasure box sticker. 

And this is where the simple project turned a bit more time-consuming. I'm creative by nature and just couldn't help myself. I hand drew the waves and used different markers to create color variation...and NONE of this is clearly seen by the webcam. ***It would have been easier to print off a picture online and glue it onto the game board.***

Periodically I placed the game board against my teaching backdrop and turned on the webcam. I wanted to see how it would look to my students. 

Step 4: 
Placed the rough side of the velcro dots along the path. 
The smooth sides of the velcro are on the back of the wooden ovals. The stickers themselves are too flimsy for repeatedly pulling on. This makes the game more durable. 

Using a sharpie I added a treasure map path.

Step 5: My kiddos and I played the game once thru and I realized that it needed some drama. Enter: the shark. 
I'd run out of velcro dots (which is why I recommend purchasing two packages) but I had velcro tape in my sewing kit. I used a small slice to hold the shark to the board. 

The shark easily comes off to chase the pirate backward two spaces.   

 Later on the board, your pirate can find two gold coins and can move forward two spaces.

I picked "backward" and "forward" because they are easy to teach as opposites during the game...assuming you land on one.
 Step 6:

*** Tip: I traced each blue rectangle with a blue marker because it was difficult to make out the blue foam via the webcam. ***

I added two more velcro dots to the top of Treasure Island for our pirates to rest after we reach the top.

And, X marks the spot!

And here is the final product in play! It was a hit with several students. The game can even be played backwards as the pirates take their treasure back to the ship. Hopefully, no pirates will get left behind! hehe

This was worth my time to put together.


If you are looking for a part-time job from home and have teaching experience I recommend DaDa (formerly DaDaABC). I've worked with this company for a solid year and never had trouble maintaining a full schedule or recieving a paycheck. If you decide to apply, can you use my referral link? Thank you!

Want to see the game board in action?
Check out this video link to see "Using Game Boards in the Classroom."