Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chairs Sneak Peek

This is going on at my house right now.

Very, very slowly.  But so far I'm loving the look.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My (soon to be) Awesome New (to me) Chairs

A while back I wrote about my desire to find some chrome director's chairs to recreate this little vignette in my living room.

Of course, I didn't find them. 

But I did find their incredibly dirty, super comfortable, begging for a makeover cousins at Goodwill yesterday.

$8 each.  Can you believe it was actually a set of 4 and I passed on the other two?

They don't fold up - so I guess they're really more "X Base" chairs - is that a thing? - than director's chairs.  Really solid - and the wood is in pretty great shape despite the fact that they've been stored in a garage (or worse) for years judging from the state of them. 

Right now I'm thinking of keeping the wood (obviously changing the upholstery - the pics make it look much better than it does in person).  However, I don't have a very clear vision about what I'll do to them.  Taking suggestions, people.

BTW, the boyfriend now thinks I have a chair issue.  Like I'm a chair hoarder just because I've accumulated 23 chairs in our 1000 sq ft duplex.  Eight of them are in the attic waiting to be transformed and sold, so they should hardly count right?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Art for Kids

I finally joined Pinterest.  You can follow me here if you'd like -

Follow Me on Pinterest

I was already using it to find images whenever I had a project in mind.  What made me finally bite the bullet and get my own account?  Our stupid computer is messed up, once again, and I'm getting by without any of my inspiration files.  Hundreds of images - how frustrating!  So, I decided to go ahead and join Pinterest, so I would hopefully never lose them again.

I spotted these awesome Disney posters on Pinterest the other day and long for a place I can hang one in my house.  They are by a British artist named Rowan Stocks-Moore - for sale through his Etsy page.

Peter Pan Minimalist Poster $20
 I love  how simple and graphic they are.  Yet, most of them are still very kid accessible.

The Little Mermaid Minimalist Poster $20
I think it's important to remember that just because something is for kids doesn't mean it has to be too juvenile.

Alice in Wonderland Minimalist Poster $20
 The Peter Pan one is my favorite - which do you like?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kid Art

My son graduated from kindergarten at the end of May. I have been nothing short of astonished by everything he's done since about birth, but I cannot put into words how proud I am of his first year of school. I am definitely surprised at the kind of work he accomplished in kindergarten.  I spent most of kindergarten pretending to be the family dog in the play kitchen. My son comes home talking about antonyms and hypotheses.

With the end of the school year, came the enormous pile of accumulated papers and projects. A shopping bag full. I haven't made time to sort through it carefully and decide what to store and what to get rid off. My first idea was to get a collection of document boxes, one for each year. That way everything would be neatly organized and accessible even during long-term storage.

Classic Stockholm Office Storage Boxes - The Container Store
 However, I don't know if boxes, however colorful, would entice us to sit down and look through his work periodically.  So right now I'm leaning towards a binder of protective plastic sheets that we could flip through.  I would have to be much more discerning about what to keep and what to toss, but hopefully he won't hold it against me.

Dandee:  A Happily Crafted Life
 I also saw these file boxes on Pinterest and loved the idea and execution.  I'll let you in on whatever I decide.

While I was thumbing through his stack o' stuff, I decided to give two of his art projects the star treatment as a way to show him how much we value his hard work.

Please don't judge the dilapidated bookcase (on it's way out) or the hideous lamp (I keep buying vintage lamps to replace it, but they're all missing shades at the moment).  Or the fact that I have a big swastika on one book - I swear I'm not a Nazi, I just like to read history.

I got two Ikea Ribba frames at Goodwill for $3 each.  They are officially the fifth and sixth pictures I've hung in this house over the course of a year.  Sad, but true.  I need to get my butt in gear with the art department.

Friday, June 8, 2012

New Pretty

I picked up this pretty ceramic bowl at Ross a couple of weeks ago.  Only $8.99 and I think it might be my favorite thing in the entire house.

I tried to use it to corral our sunglasses, but then I got too antsy that one of the boys would knock it over trying to grab something on their way out the door.  So now it's just for decoration.  I try to only buy things that meet criteria for both form and function, but I also believe you should surround yourself with stuff that you love and useless or not, I totally love it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DIY Curtains

Yesterday's post covered how I made my own curtain rods.  Well, up to a point.  I realize that the finial set-up might be a little confusing still, so I took this picture to better show you how it inserts into the larger rod.  Basically, if you can stick it on a pipe, you could use it as a finial.  So if you're trying this at home, keep an open mind.

Hanging the rods were probably the easiest part of the project, even with finding studs and checking for level.  I hang my curtains larger than the window - about six inches wider and a foot above the top of the window.  The below window is quite close to the wall on the right, so I positioned the brackets and hung the curtains to make the window seem farther away from the corner.  There's only about 3 inches of wall on the right side, and about 9 inches on the other, but once the curtains are up, you can't tell.

The two front windows provided the most challenge.  As you can see in this (really) old picture - there's not a lot of wall space between the two. 

I decided to run two conduits together in the corner, not using finials there, and just use the curtains to visually connect the two windows.

Excuse the dark pictures - the downside of putting up curtains is that it tends to block out the natural light. 

You can also see that our ceiling has a pretty drastic angle to it in the living room.  First, I hung the rod that is closest to the ceiling, and then hung the rest of the rods using it's measurements.  That way they are nice and level all the way around the room - despite a drastically changing ceiling height. 

All in all, I'm very pleased with the way my DIY rods turned out.  So let's talk a bit about the curtains.

I bought eight packs of dropcloth curtains from Home Depot for $10.97 each.  I washed them with lots of fabric softener and then spent the rest of my life ironing them.  That's a slight exaggeration - but my goodness that's a lot of material and it took several hours.  I folded the tops over six inches and ironed them flat.  Then I had my mom hem them.  I chose to hem the top instead of the bottom, because the double thickness at the top made them look more tailored when I hung them up.  The dropcloths come hemmed when you buy them, so the other sides were left alone.

As far as price goes, I don't think you can do better than dropcloths.    They're not exciting, but once I washed and ironed them, they look much more like a pretty linen than the cheap cotton canvas that they are.  I also hung them nice and full, with some extra puddle at the floor, which I believe adds to the illusion that they are high quality than they actually are.  Because they are, of course, not super quality.  And that's how I made my "oh, bummer" discovery.  After all the work of washing, ironing, and hanging them, one of the panels developed a big run right in the middle.  So I went to Home Depot to buy a replacement and guess what - now they're selling them 2 to a pack for the same $10.97.  Now, if you're looking to do this for yourself in the near future, there's nothing to be bummed about.  But knowing that I could have saved $40+ by waiting two weeks to buy them is nothing less of a bummer for me.

I still plan on stenciling and trimming the curtains, so they're hardly "finished."  I also might sew a real pinch pleat at the top since I'm not crazy about the "faux pleat" I have going on (by simply using the ring clips to clip the fabric from behind the curtain rather than the top).  However, they're at a nice pausing point, so they'll probably stay like this for a while.  After living without curtains for over a year, it's such a nice change - we're just enjoying them at the moment, unfinished or not.

How about you - finished any project lately that have been on your to-do list for an embarrassingly long time?

Monday, June 4, 2012

DIY Curtain Rods

Happy June!  I have lots of projects and shopping to reveal since I basically took May off from blogging.  First up are my DIY curtain rods! 

The living area of my house (living room and dining room) have four windows (technically, three windows and a sliding glass door) that were in desperate need of some curtains.  So I decided to make my own.  Even the curtain rods.  Because curtain rods can get pricey.  Especially the longer ones.  Plus, I have two windows that practically meet in the corner, so they were kind of demanding some custom attention.  My DIY versions cost a little over $15 each.

I've seen lots of good tutorials for DIY curtain rods using everything from PVC to wooden dowels, but I followed this one by Allison of House of Hepworths the closest.  Girl's a genius.  Just sayin'.

I started by buying some 3/4-inch electrical conduit at Home Depot.  For some reason, my local Lowe's sells this stuff by the foot, making it much more expensive than Home Depot, where they were $3.27 for the entire 10 foot pole.  It always helps to price check.  The 1/2 pipe is cheaper, but I liked the bulkier 3/4-inch.

I bought four pipes and had them cut to size in the store.  Since they are not adjustable, you'll need exact measurements before you go.

Next, I headed to Ikea to buy some brackets to attach the rods to the walls.  I bought nine Betydlig wall/ceiling brackets (which means you can attach the curtain rod to the ceiling, if that's your thing) for $1.49 each.  They can hold up to a 1-inch curtain rod.

On the way to check out, I went into the As Is room and stumbled upon a box of curtain finials being clearanced for $1 each.  By far the cheapest I have found anywhere, and I even liked their look.  So I picked up six and quickly skipped to the register.

I already had a bunch of curtain rod clips on hand from our last house, so I only had to buy two more packs.  They are from Wal-Mart.  $6.97 for a package of 7 clips.  Ones from Ikea might be cheaper (they have both plastic and metal), but I wanted mine to match what I already owned.

You've probably noticed the range of finishes on these various parts.  Obviously some spray painting was in the works.  I wanted gold, so I picked up two cans of Rustoleum Metallic Gold.  I bought two cans (under $5 each) and I used every last drop.

I already had primer on hand (Kilz White Odorless - which is not odorless, BTW, but it does stink less than the other kind) and leftover clear spray for a topcoat.  The Rustoleum paint says specifically not to use a sealer with it, and it does dull down the finish a bit.  However, I thought it was pretty important to protect the paint since these will be working curtain rods, not just for decoration.

I sprayed everything.  One coat of primer, a couple of coats of gold, and a final coat of sealer.

Now, here's where I hit a little snafu.  If I had bought the finials first, I would have bought a smaller diameter pipe.  Because the finials were designed for a 1/2-inch pipe.  But I already had the pipe purchased and cut when I found the finials.  So rather than waste $16 buying smaller pipes, I decided to get creative.

I bought one 1/2 inch conduit and had the nice people at Home Depot cut it into 6 18-inch long sections.  This cost under $2.  I decided on 18 inches just because it was a nice even number, no physics involved.  The Ikea brackets came with some sticky padding you can put on the brackets for smaller rods.  I cut just a small amount, and then stuck it to the end of the pipe, so the pipe now fit the finial snugly.  Then I tightened the finial.  I thought I might need glue to keep it all in place, but it worked fantastically all by itself.

You'll notice this conduit isn't painted - it slides into the larger, painted conduit and is completely invisible. 

Finally, the rods were ready to be hung - but I'll save those pictures for tomorrow since this post is so long already and I haven't even talked about the curtains yet.