Friday, March 30, 2012

Things Are Looking Up

While I was cleaning out those laminate cabinets that I painted last week, I got lost in all of my past.  Do you ever do that?  I start going through things, then suddenly it turns into a trip down memory lane.  As in, "Oh!  Look at all those 4th graders that I taught right after I graduated college!  ...dude, they'd be seniors in high school by now... gulp."

Anyway, one of the things I found during this lengthy process was a folder of old pictures that I've taken.  Back in 2004 or 2005, I was given my very first digital camera.  It was a little point and shoot, and I had a ton of fun with it.  The camera only had 4 megapixels, but that wasn't half bad at the time.  I took many pictures, and most of them were developed and promptly stored away in this little folder.  

Within the stack of pictures that I found were several outdoor shots, primarily in yellows and greens.  And then the light bulb went off.  I could totally put these humble pictures to work in my kitchen -- where I'm looking to add more yellows and greens.  I liked them well enough to display them.  So, I slapped them in cheapie photo frames and did.

Here's what I found.  These were all taken in Jacksonville, FL, unless otherwise noted.

I love the yellows in this one:

This picture is my personal favorite:

 And this one was taken in Saint Augustine, FL:

Not bad for free art, right?  These pictures were hung on this odd little piece of wall that connects the top cabinets to the ceiling, which is one of the few actual wall spaces that we have in the kitchen.  I've left it fairly empty for far too long, mostly because I had nothing that I wanted to hang so high.  It almost seemed a bit pointless, since you really do have to look up to see anything up there.  This isn't the best pic of this space, but it gives you an idea of what I'm talking about:

Pretty empty... and unexciting.  Here's what we've got with the pictures in place:

So, here's my vision.  As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, we're gearing up to paint the cabinets white. I also want to ditch the garland above the sink and add hooks for holding mugs... and maybe some sort of a kitchen sign.  We'd love new floors and countertops, but those will have to wait.  Shoot, we'd love to get rid of this wall entirely and open things up between the kitchen and living room, but hey, all in good time.  For now, my main goal is to brighten up this space and make it more cohesive with yellows and greens as accent colors.  

What do you think?

Linking up to these great parties here!

Thanks for reading!

A Quick Thanks

Just wanted to write a quick note of thanks to everyone for bearing with me as I tweak my blog design.  The longer I do this, the more I long for perfection... and the more I realize that I have no idea what I'm doing.  Besides that, I'm still trying to figure out the "flavor" of my blog, if that makes any sense at all.  So, while I figure things out I may be making changes here and there (or everywhere), and I truly appreciate your patience while I do so!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby Daniel Isn't a Baby Anymore

Birthdays are kind of a whirlwind around here.  Natalie comes first with a birthday in February.  Then it's my turn on March 21.  And two years ago, Daniel made his entrance into the world on March 24.

On Saturday, we celebrated that entrance.  This year, I had big visions for large birthday parties for each of the kiddos, but it didn't really work out for Natalie and so we just gave her a very special day instead.  And we all kind of liked it.  I guess that's our style -- to roll with something smaller and more laid back.  So we decided to do the exact same thing for Daniel.  

We tried to wake him up in the same way as Natalie.  You can check out how that went on her birthday here.  But Daniel wanted none of it.  He greeted the terrible twos in a terribly appropriate way, I'm afraid.  He was in a bad mood from the get-go.  We went in all excited with a birthday sign and he kicked it.  Then we brought Natalie in with his good morning birthday present and he threw it on the ground.  Then we told him to come out of the bedroom when he felt ready to wake up and left the room, leaving the door open.  He cried.  Sigh.  I didn't take pictures of all this, but now I kind of wish that I had.  

A few minutes later I went back in, and tried again, and miraculously, he was ready.  So out we came.  First, we gave him his good morning cupcake:

And his good morning present.  Dave specifically bought him a net and wanted to give that him first so that he could take him fishing for minnows later in the day.  They did this about mid morning, but unfortunately didn't bring the camera, so we don't have any pictures of it :( .  But I heard that it was a huge success, and it must have been, because Daniel has been pretending to catch fish with his net ever since.

I made him a little sign to greet him at "breakfast."  Well, it was kind of breakfast.  We did give him some fruit to go along with his cupcake.

Like father, like son. :)

We decorated the hallway with streamers before waking the kiddos, but they immediately got to work destroying them.  And that was okay.

My mom with Daniel holding his new Simba.

My mother, my sister, and I worked very hard to make the birthday cake.  My sister made the cake, my mom made the cream cheese frosting, and I decorated.... I know, it leaves something to be desired.  I won't go into the cake decorating business anytime soon.  

But Daniel liked it just the same, I think.

And a series of birthday sign pictures.  I was just going to share one, but I really like the whole series, so here it goes:

My sister and brother-in-law bought Daniel a real cowboy hat.  That boy is going to end up with more hats than I have.

My parents bought him a guitar shaped like a dog, which instantly became a favorite:

Dave and I bought him a cowboy gun and holster set, and Daniel immediately got to work trying to put those guns in his pockets.

After dinner, we had cake.  My dad and step mother brought over a cake for me, too, so we had two birthday cakes and two sets of candles to blow out:

Mesmerized by the fire...

I love that boy!

Happy Birthday, Daniel!  We love you so much!!!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunroom Redo, Part 2 -- Painting the Laminate Beasts

Oh. My. Goodness.

I thought I was blown away by painting the room itself.  But now I am really standing back with my mouth hanging open.

So, I have these laminate pieces of furniture.  My husband bought these babies used about 10 years ago for about $350.  Since then, they have stood on either side of our bed, like sentinels, watching over us as we slept.  Basically, I've hated them.

Here's one of them:

Now imagine one of those on either side of your bed.  To put this more into perspective, these guys stand about six feet tall, maybe a little more.  Last week, after we repainted the sunroom, I decided enough was enough already, and started making plans to transfer them out there and out of our bedroom.  But then I started wondering if I could make them better.  Because not only are they ginormous, but they're ugly, too.

So I did a little internet research.  And I found this over at Centsational Girl.  And I thought, well, if I destroy this laminate abomination by painting it, then I haven't lost much, have I?

So, this all happened on a whim and took all of last week, because I had to do it while the kiddos were asleep, either at nap time or after they'd gone to bed.  Which is why I didn't do much blogging last week.  But now that I'm done, I'm so excited!!

I won't give a full tutorial, but if you also have a laminate abomination that you'd like to paint, I would really encourage you to check out the tutorial over at Centsational Girl.  It was pretty easy to follow and so far, seems to have worked.  But I will give you the play-by-play.

First, I removed the drawers and took off the hardware:

After much deliberation, I decided to leave the doors on and just paint over the hinges.  A few factors led to this decision.  First, I was a little unsure about whether this project would turn out, anyway.  Secondly, we didn't have the right tool at our house for removing the screws, so...I was a little anxious to begin and said the heck with it.  Thirdly, Dave made the point that it might be easier to paint the doors while they were standing upright rather than lying flat.  And finally, I figured that if I really hated the look of painted hinges, I could always switch them out later.

After I removed the hardware, I gave the entire piece a good scuff sanding, especially around the holes:

Then I primed it with oil-based primer:

And gave it the first coat of my paint color.  The color I chose is called "Freshwater," by Sherwin-Williams.  I wanted something light and airy, something kind of beachy, and I was leaning toward something aqua colored.  This is what I came up with.

Once dry, I gave it a second coat.  And I am so happy with the result!  Who knew you could paint an ugly piece of laminate furniture and have it turn out looking like a "real" piece of furniture?  It has me itching to paint something else...but I think I'll just sit in the sunroom and enjoy this one for awhile.

I bought the new hardware at Hobby Lobby.  They were $3.99 a piece, and I was all prepared to spend $16, but when I got to the register, she charged me $8.  Gotta love Hobby Lobby and their perpetual 50% off sales.

Here's a close-up of those knobs:

I didn't do anything with the drawers for a few days while I decided what could be done.  I wasn't about to put the old hardware back on.  Then I remembered a picture I'd seen once (sorry, I have no idea where).  Someone made a drawer-pull out of rope.  So, this isn't an original idea, but I sure do like it.

I'm not sure how well that's going to hold up in the long run, but if it starts to wear out on me, I can always go on a hunt for something different.

Here's one more full shot, just because I love it:

Has anyone else ever painted over laminate?  How did it turn out?  I'd love to see what you've done!

Thanks for reading!

Linking up to:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Busy, Busy Week

I know I've been a little MIA this week, but I have a good excuse.  Dave and I really opened a can of worms last Friday when we decided to paint the sunroom.  We had been talking about this eventuality for some time now, but decided -- sort of on a whim -- to get on it last weekend.  

Then I decided to move some ugly laminate furniture out of my bedroom and into the sunroom to add storage and then I decided that I should paint them, too.  Long story short?  I have been painting for nearly a week straight, and I am tired.  Seriously.  But I can't wait to show you guys the results.  I'm pretty excited about what I'm seeing take shape.

Sadly, I'm not done.  I still have to second coat the cabinets today, so maybe by tomorrow I can give you guys the reveal.   

But, I do have something to share.  This is a quick little spray painting project that I completed last weekend.

Back story: Yesterday was my birthday, and what I wanted more than anything else was to paint my kitchen cabinets white.  But we have neither the time nor the money to do this right now.  So, we decided to save up to pay a friend to come help us out (this is the same guy who painted the exterior of our house last year.  He's a professional painter and quite good -- and could always use a little more business).  This will take a few months of good paychecks, but at least we're on the right track.

Anyway, I decided recently that I'd like to pull my kitchen together with an accent color (or colors) to play off the white so that it feels more cohesive and less busy.  And I chose yellow and lime green.  So off I went to Goodwill last weekend to see what I might find there.  And this is what I came home with:

I love this little creamer.  It's terribly retro with those little mushrooms (which I actually adore), and it totally fills the yellow and lime green requirement.  And at 59 cents...

I liked this lime green bowl, too.  Simple and perfect for adding a little color to a shelf.

Then I saw this candlestick holder.  Not really my style as is, but with a coat of yellow paint, it might also be a worthwhile investment.

So, that's what I did...

While I was at it, I decided to spray paint the lids for my mason jars.

Do you remember this corner shelf?

I was getting so tired of looking at those tins.  I was really into that style years ago, but my tastes have kind of changed.  So I traded them out. You'll also get a glimpse of my new yellow lids at the bottom of this picture.  I'm kind of digging those, too.

Then I made a few changes to the shelf by my window.  From this:

To this:

I took the photo of the leaf years ago, found it recently, and stuck it up there.  I also moved the yellow cups to the corner shelf above and added the (now yellow) candlestick holder.  I love that photo series of my family taken last summer at a wedding.  Really need to get that framed before it gets ruined....

So, that's it!  Just a few small and very simple changes to bring some things together, but sometimes little things make a big difference.

What little projects have you guys been up to lately?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My First Feature!

I definitely thought this deserves a quick shout out -- I have now been featured!  I wanted to let everyone know so that you guys can cruise on over to Sassy Sites to check it out, as well as all the other awesome blogs you'll find over there.

Fun Stuff!