Monday, December 31, 2012

DIY Height Chart

I can’t believe how fast the kids are growing up.  Bittersweet.  We’ve been tracking their growth with a Sharpie on our office door trim:
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I didn’t want to lose those priceless markings but since I painted the bookshelf I needed to repaint the rest of the trim in the room (“needed to” is relative I understand).  I picked up a pre-cut 1” x 5” x 6’ board from Home Depot and then sanded, conditioned, stained and poly’ed it.  Then I printed out the numbers on paper, cut them out and traced them on the board.
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I went over the tracings with a black Sharpie.
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I placed it on the side of the renovated bookshelves because I liked how it picked up the color of the french doors.  
                     DIY Height Chart 2  DIY Height Chart 1
Voila! A moveable, independent height chart!

Shared with House of Hepworths
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Friday, December 28, 2012

I didn’t mean to do it…

We are in the process of switching computers so I wanted to find my Adobe Lightroom CD so it was ready to install on the new machine.  After digging through our bookshelf in our office I got frustrated and took everything off the shelves to reorganize…then I figured as long as it was empty I may as well sand it down and refinish it.  Does everyone’s brain’s operate this way?


I decided early on that this was the very definition of turd polishing.  The shelf was built on the old carpet and when it was removed it left a ring of carpet pad.  There were gaps at the sides and ceiling.  It was pretty bad but I pushed on with the polishing
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This is the before of the room when we moved in. 
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I sanded the bookshelf with an orbital sander and then primed it with an oil based primer.  I don’t usually use oil based unless it is a wood I’m not totally confident is perfectly dry or in instances like these where I need a really good sticky coverage.  It is really stinky stuff so keep the windows open and place bowls of baking soda around the room.  Then I painted it with 3 coats of Benjamin Moore’s Decorator White leftover from our master bath reno.


I was pleasantly surprised with the result!
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Before & After:
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Crown molding now hides the gap between the shelf & the ceiling.  Filler trim covers the gap between the walls and shelves.
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Gross carpet pad that the shelves were apparently built on top of now hidden by baseboard trim.
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Labels for the baskets to hide the clutter.
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And to keep it real, it actually isn’t all that well organized. This is what one of those baskets looks like.
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Since we already had out the nail gun and paint we also decided to trim out our master bedroom.  Oh and since we were already working on the master bedroom Sean figured he’d build 6 tongue and groove closet doors from scratch for our new closets.  That’s normal behavior right?  It is a good thing we’re married to each other.  Anyone else would divorce us.


I never did find the CD.  Turns out I never had one.  It was a download from Adobe’s site.
Oops.
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Countdown to Noon!

In my past life staying up until midnight, drinking champagne and watching the ball drop was a good time.  Now I can’t remember the last time stayed up until midnight…heck I haven’t even seen Saturday Night Life in years.

Holidays take on a whole new meaning and become a little more special experiencing them through the eyes of children.  New Year’s Eve is usually reserved for adults but in order to bring the fun to our kids Sean and I threw a “Countdown to Noon” party with our friends and their little ones.

We had an easy menu of strata, bagels, fruit and cookies, all of which could be made the day before.  There were bubbles in containers shaped like champagne bottles, noise makers and hats for the kids.  At the stroke of noon we had a “ball drop” (balloons) and kissed our babies. 

All in all a pretty sweet way to start out the new year. 

Party hats for the big kids…

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…and for the little guys to!

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The party hats doubled as snacks for some.

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Bubbles in plastic champagne bottles:

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A “ball drop” (balloons) at noon.

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Hugs from the little ones started 2012 out perfect.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Turning a “Thankful Jar” Into a Christmas Ornament

Sean and I are doing our best to ensure our kids are raised understanding how blessed they are.  It is a tough thing to do with preschoolers/toddlers.  One way we are going about this is to ask them each night when we tuck them in what made them happy that day or to name one thing they were thankful for that day.  Their responses are always heartwarming or hilarious.  As I want to do with everything about them I wanted to bottle it and never forget it…and that’s exactly what I decided to do.

Because I don’t want to forget a single thing of these awesome years, starting just after Halloween, we keep a “Thankful Jar.”  If you Google image “thankful jar” you’ll find some templates to do yourself.  I printed out a bunch and set the papers and a jar on the kitchen counter to jot down the things we’re thankful for as they came up. 

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I didn’t want to forget a single thing so last year I came up with the idea to make a Christmas ornament out of them.  I laminated them, punched a hole in them and tied them with a green ribbon.  It was pretty awesome to read last year’s and reminisce while we decorated the tree this year.

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Merry Christmas!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Elf on the Shelf

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I would like to formally nominate the Elf on the Shelf for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013.  The 2012 award was given to the European Union "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation".  Please.  The Elf On the Shelf has contributed to the advancement of peace in the entire world.  Ok so maybe not the prize for peace but definitely for medicine.  Elf has single handedly lowered the collective blood pressure of the entire world without drugs.  Bam.  No Obama Care needed.

Elf has also invaded Pinterest.  People are really amazing.  There are pictures of the elf in a room with pillow feathers everywhere, or trees stripped of their ornaments, all over the floor, making the kids think the elf did it.  2 things.  1) Weird, and 2) Seriously people with kids have time for this crap?  I got the Elf to make my life easier, not harder.

We “adopted” our Elf last Friday.  Can we talk about the elf…I mean…elephant in the room for a minute?  He is downright creepy looking.  The inventors couldn’t come up with anything else?  Yeah, me too kid.Post-Scary-Christmas-Elf1                                                  http://365barrington.com/2011/12/27/91-survive-christmas/

I was skeptical, figuring it was a total scam.  I figured I could put it on the counter and reference it when I needed some behavior improvements or to try and get my oldest to sleep past 6 AM.  Then he started asking questions.  Like, how does he fly back to the North Pole if he doesn’t have wings?  Uh.  Pixie Dust?  What happens if I wet my bed – am I allowed to get out of my bed then without getting into trouble with Elf?  Uh, I’ll text Santa and ask.  Yup, Santa says that is a reasonable exception.  See?  The web of lies is getting out of control.  Santa is one thing but the Elf is taking things a whole lot further.  Will this generation of children grow up and be diagnosed with “The Elf Effect,” spending hours upon hours on the couches of therapists due to this ultimate betrayal?

Oh the tangled web we weave.  Too late now, I’m in too deep.  Time to sign off.  I need to go move Elf.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Gallery Wall

Time to start tackling the 2nd floor.  This is what the upstairs hallway looked like when we were looking at this house.  This was taken about 2 minutes after I walked into the house for the first time.  In spite of the fact that the house looked like this I had already decided it was ours (bottom left hand corner -  poor Sean hasn’t even walked in the front door yet).

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Fast forward 4.5 years later when we swapped the disintegrating light fixture for track lighting.

Phase 2 in this process was to turn the wall into a gallery wall.  I found the ledges I had wanted to use at Ikea but unfortunately they weren’t available in dark brown.  I hemmed and hawed.  The style, size and price were right, the finish was not.  Damn you Ikea and your blond stained particle board {shaking fist}!  I did leave with $50 worth of frames thought b/c it turns out it is physically impossible to leave that store without buying something.  Seriously why would you buy frames anywhere else? 

Off to Home Depot.  What girl doesn’t spend her Saturday nights in the lumber isle at Home Depot?  No?  Just me?  The nice guys at home depot cut 5’ and 3’ sections of 1x2, 1x3 and 1x4 maple boards for me.  Easy peasy.  $24 in materials for 2 ledges.

After I got home I quickly sanded the edges to smooth it out a bit.  Using wood conditioner, stain and poly I had from this project my maple boards were the dark brown I was going for. 

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Sean assembled them for me using finished nails (they’re exposed – I like the look) during the Eagles/Cowboys game while our 18 month old hit him over the head with a whiffle ball bat.  #husbandoftheyearallwrappedup.  After one last coat of stain and Poly up on the wall they went.  They are drilled directly into studs using drywall screws.  The screws are hidden behind the frames. 

The best part?  The whole project, including the frames was under $75.  Can’t beat it.

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Before & After:

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Back On Track

I have done zero home improvement projects and it. has. been. awesome.  Last night Sean innocently tried to change a light bulb in this beauty:

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Cue the music from the Psycho shower scene.  The thing almost disintegrated when he brought it down.

Enter Metal Gallery Spotlight Track from Pottery Barn:

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I bought this fixture 2 years ago {hanging my head in shame}.  Our 18 month old wasn’t even born.  Prince William was a bachelor.  Charlie Sheen was sane.  The Jersey Shore was just a vacation spot.  Since then it has been sitting in our front hall closet.

What started out as a bulb replacing activity turned into an entire fixture replacing activity.  Sean’s a trooper.  Next up, turning the wall into a gallery wall with frames.  I’ll keep you posted!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Miracle Happened Today...

Not in the 'turned water into wine' or 'walked on water' sort but more of the 'bachelorette found true love on a reality television show,' 'my kids let me sleep in a Saturday,' or 'I found jeans that I didn't have to hem' sort of miracle.  Something truly amazing.  I found a way to make shoes 1/2 size too small fit perfectly.  But Meghan, how's that possible you ask?  Stop drooling and pick yourself up off the floor and read on.  You're embarrassing yourself.

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I bought flats from Old Navy that were a little too small.  While I hemmed and hawed on whether to exchange them for a bigger size is all my free time the return period ended.  Then I happened upon the above trick.

 
As I dried my hair this morning I put on a pair of chunky socks, put the shoes on over them then blow dried my shoes on the warmest setting for 5 minutes.  I left the shoes and socks on until they cooled.  Once cooled I removed the socks and low and behold they fit perfectly!
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