Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jackson's Corner {5}

It's been a couple weeks since I've done an updated Jackson's Corner so I figured it was about time, and even though they're typically done on Fridays I figure better late than never.
One of my biggest procrastinations is our back yard lawn care.  We are still trying to grow grass and with temps hitting 100+ every single day, it's not going great.  And if I don't wake up and mow the lawn right away on Saturday or Sundays... it doesn't get done because it gets too hot out.  Luckily this morning, motivation hit my upside the head, and I got up early, mowed the lawn and cleaned up the edges with the weed wacker {god I hate that thing}.  The other task that I have yet to do this summer, but has been creeping up on me for maintenance is our brand new fence.  We installed a white vinyl fence around our backyard, and since we are still trying to grow grass there's a lot of dirt still around and splashes back up onto the fence every time it rains.  Also, every time I mow the lawn it stains the bottoms of the fence green... So I knew I needed to take a scrub brush and clean it up before it started looking really bad. 

Typically when I mow the lawn J hangs out inside watching a movie, he isn't a fan of the lawn mower.  I don't blame him.  After that was all done and he saw me playing using the water he ran outside and wanted to "momma help me" "momma help me" "momma help me" {his version of Momma I'll help, and he repeats everything until you say it back to him}. 
So I put the guy to work and away we went

 {Gotta love his look of determination here}
We eventually got it done... takes a little longer when whatever I'm doing, is what he wants to do.  So whether I'm spraying the fence with the hose or scrubbing it we kept having to switch back and forth every 10 seconds.  {Sometimes where I get my patience amazes me}

Another Jackson update:   Couple weeks ago I wrote about our night time struggle we were battling... and trying to get him back into routine and to stay in his own bed at night.  Well after a week and a half of constant all night battles and him ending up in my bed every single night, things FINALLY took a turn for the better.

From what it seems every parent has dealt with this phase from their kids, and it's almost always about this age it happens so in a way it was nice to know this was a common phase kids go through.  However, just with every single other situation of a kid's life, in order to find a solution you have to find what works with your child.  It's great getting advice from other parents, but mostly I take it as a form of support since I am here battling this by myself.  I've known since J was born that he does NOT do as the books write about or as other kids do. I've always had to find solutions that work just for Jackson.  Well, in this case, I got lucky that Jackson may be stubborn, and may not need as much sleep as other kids (stopped taking naps at about 1&half for me) but he has never been a climber {KNOCK ON WOOD}! And that is why my solution for staying in bed worked...I changed his big boy bed, back into a crib! 

When I said I was going to do it I heard from a handful of mom and dad's, "it won't work... he'll just climb out in two seconds... that's what ours did".  I took the risk, and the first night was a little rough, he cried right away for about an hour, and then at 2am for about an hour, and woke up extremely early.  Night #2, he cried for about 15 minutes... and that was it for the night.  Night #3, cried honestly for about 5 seconds, and by night #4 all was silent.  {HAPPY DANCE}! 

He is still in his crib.... but he seems fine with it and I'm just going to wait it out a week longer probably before switching back to his big boy bed.  Who knows, maybe we'll go new bed shopping and he'll get to pick out a brand new bed :)

Wish I had some more adorable pictures to post of J but he has been in a very anti-picture mode lately.

Oh! And check out my latest feature over @ Knock Off Decor!
They featured my Acid Wash Mirror project !! Thanks Beckie!
I was also featured on A Step in the Journey by Laura and
Social Salutations by Jennifer
Thank you all so much for sharing the love!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Pinterest Challenge 2011

Pinterest was a site I instantly became obsessed with, just as almost every other person that knows what the internet is has also done.  Keywords for this site go hand in hand "Pinterest" and "zero productivity", jk but seriously I think bosses everywhere dislike it, and may have seen a slight decline in productivity of their employees since it surfaced.  
{snapshot of what Pinterest looks like}

I first wrote about it back in May, when I confessed my love for Pinterest.  Since then it has taken off even more.  Quick overview if you are unfamiliar with it:
Pinterest is like a virtual corkboard that you collectively gather anything/everything you see on the internet.  Rather than endless emails to yourself reminding you of projects, ideas, pictures, and websites... you just "pin" it and it'll be saved to a specific board you want.  The picture then has a permalink that will redirect the person that clicks on it back to the original source.  {Genius}

Well these well known and beautiful gals {below} have began a challenge to themselves... and to others.
After countless hours, and endless pins, they have created a challenge to actually create one of your pins you have saved.  Sometimes it can be so easy to see a project and fall in love, pin it, and move onto the next kind of forgetting about actually ever going back and DOING that project. 
Sherry @ Young House Love
Katie @ Bower Power
Emily @ {seriously you don't know who she is!!!?} Style be Emily Henderson
Lana @ Making a House a Home

One of my boards is titled "To Do List for DIY Projects"
I've actually done pretty well at keeping up with ones I hope one day I'll do and actually completing them!

We have until next Tuesday, the 2nd, to complete our projects and reconvene back together to show off when we actually managed to get off our butts, and finally complete thanks to the shared ideas at Pinterest!
I am aiming to partake... I really do hope to partake... I will partake. {most likely, probably, let's hope}
I'm actually in the middle of 3 different original Pinterest ideas so I guess if I actually complete ONE I may use that as my contender. Or I'll start from scratch and pick a new pin... it's not like I don't have enough in the waiting list of To Do's!

So, to pass it along and help spread the word... visit Young House Love to see all the further details she explains, and a very quirky adorable video they created to explain their motivation for The Pinterest Challenge.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Acid Wash Mirror Tutorial

Acid washed mirrors have peeked up here and there around the DIY world and decorating and I just loved their look and wanted to attempt my own DIY version of one. 
I fell in love with Anthropologie's set of antiqued mirrors but with their extreme price tag {$770!} I was inspired to create my own.  There are a small handful of tutorials in the blogger world, one of the best was by Vintage Revivals {of course! everything she makes is perfection}.
The effect of the acid on the mirror is art itself, so a simple backdrop is all you need.. but I took it one step further and did a second piece of art for the backdrop so this tutorial is two-fold.
Heads up: This is a picture-heavy tutorial.

The Mirror Tutorial:
What you'll need:
Mirror {typical ones from thrift stores are great ones to use for this}
Neoprene Gloves {seriously, get chemical safe ones}
Paint remover {don't go for the cheapest otherwise this will be an all day project}
Old Shirt or rags
Muratic Acid
Chemical approved spray bottle
Possibly a plastic scraper {if your mirror as a stubborn streak like mine}
Have your hose nearby for easy cleaning

First I picked up a thrifty store find at Goodwill and started with my blank slate.

{$2.99 dust and all}

Then I removed the felt backing... 
I let it sit outside in the 100+degree sun for 5 minutes and peeled right off
Next step is the paint stripping phase:

Layer on the paint remover, but BE CAREFUL either use an old paint brush you can toss away {it'll most likely be ruined from the paint remover}, or a rag to ensure the whole back of the mirror gets covered.

I did this on a 100+ degree day... {not the smartest} because layer one just pretty much evaporated. No bubbles {as it should}, no paint removal, just some slight smears.  It's supposed to sit on your mirror for about 5-10 minutes and if you're lucky bubble up for easy removal.

So, I went back over it with ample amount of paint remover,
determined to not be outsmarted by heat & my mirror in round two.

SUCCESS! Those bubbles are exactly what you want to see for easy removal and should be good to start wiping down after about 5 to 10 minutes.
Hints: You're looking to just remove that silver layer, and not scratch the mirror.  Try to remove the paint with your rag first, and if you need to gently use a plastic scrapper to remove the remainder.
WARNING: I seriously cannot stress enough to wear gloves, do this in a well ventilated area, and be careful.  As I was working I felt this sharp stinging pain on my leg and let out a yelp thinking to myself {Are you kidding! Did I seriously just get stung while doing this!?} ... Nope, as I looked down I noticed a teeny tiny amount of the paint remover landed on my leg, and it was BURNING.
Luckily I was able to run to water access quickly and wash it off.

After you get the desired amount of paint off, I washed with a quick rinse of water and washed my gloves before moving onto the next step.

Next is the Muratic Acid, this is what will remove the reflection layer of the mirror.  You'll find Muratic Acid in the same section at Lowe's or Home Depot as all the paint removers, and it comes in quite a large bottle so plenty to use for future projects too ;)
Carefully pour the acid into a chemical approved spray bottle.

As you can see I didn't bother with removing all the paint during the previous step.  One because I got antsy to move along and two I wanted to see what that effect would end up as.

Spray down the mirror, keeping in mind the amount and spots you spray will be what ends up being clear.

This will be good after about a minute to wipe down, again with a rag or old t-shirt. 
Afterwards, rinse with water and wash your gloves.
WARNING: Just as with the paint remover, be careful with the Muratic Acid, luckily none of this ended up on me.. but I'd imagine it wouldn't feel good either.


Here's when you can could just place the mirror back into your painted frame in the color of your choice, and set a piece of paper, fabric, whatever you desire behind it.  For a true antique appearance a solid black, or red color behind it gives a GREAT look.

Stenciled Backdrop Tutorial:
Here's what I did:
DecoArt sent me a huge bundle of art goodies a bit ago and I've been dying to use some of their products for a project. 
I'm loving this stencil and to go with the colors of my master bedroom I used an yellow acrylic paint, and their fabric medium to better adhere to the fabric.
Once I stenciled it out, I felt the drastic color and stencil was a bit much against the acid wash of the mirror so I layered one more layer of DecoArt's paint in grey.


I just stapled this to the cardboard backing that was with the frame and was ready to assemble.

While doing all these steps I had primed and painted the frame in a glossy white paint too.

My {gorgeous} result:

Has this decor craze hit your house yet? Let me know if you've done your own Anthropologie inspired project or acid mirrors!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our Living Room Tour

I'm getting close to finishing up some projects that have been taking up a lot of my nights and weekends and I've VERY excited to show you them all one by one! 
However, not having finished a single one this weekend, I decided I wanted to slowly but surely start showing you rooms in our house.

Welcome to our {current} living room

We moved into our home in November 2010 and it was a brand new constructed home, and though a majority of the rooms may seem "completed" to others... to me, they will never be completed.  There will be endless phases for each room from changing of decor, to changing of adapting to having a child, to fun new projects being added. 
Our floor plan of the first level is a hallway entry way that leads into an open space that is the kitchen/dining area/living space.  The only separation of the rooms is the breakfast bar that helps separate the kitchen from the remainder of the room. 

Trying to find the right shade for our living room was down right impossible.  We brought home well over 30+ samples and could not find the right shade we were looking for.  I had fallen in love with the blue/grey color that was just about on every single TV show in living rooms.

Know when you go to a paint store and they suggest you bring home the paint chip to see it in the lighting of your living room? Well, we did, and every single time we brought home 5 new colors we were in love with at the store... we hated in our living room.
Every shade of blue/grey we brought home... ended up looking like baby boy blue nursery color on our walls.  Finally, we went to SW and went with a "pure silver" color. The sample was dead on silver... but alas in our home.. it was the color you see here.

We do like it, and we get lots of compliments on it... I just already have learned so much more about painting elements and colors since then I would have chosen a different color now.

Our couch & chair and a half {aka the princess chair} are from Haynes Furniture and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE them. I'm 5'10 and when I sit on these I feel teeeeeeny tiny and I love that.

The rug is a recent purchase from Lowe's.  If you're in the market for a new rug I highly suggest keeping an eye out at Lowe's, they often have 5'7' rugs on huge discounts for a price that you can't get anywhere else.  This beauty only cost $47!

Because of the open floor plan and where the TV sits, it is not a typical lay out for a living room.  However, it 100% works for us, and when it comes down to it, sometimes function needs to over rule fashion {despite the saying}. 

{I could have added table decor to stage it better for the picture, but cleaning up Jackson's toys was enough work for staging... maybe someday I'll have more accessories around}

Originally when we bought the massive ottoman we were going to ditch the table, and we were looking for an ottoman that was large enough, and flat enough it could double as a table if necessary.  Well, then life came along and having a two year old sometimes over rules what our decorating ideals are.  Jackson uses that table every day for his toys, and I just can't reason myself to ditch his playing space just because it doesn't fit the rules of "Decorating 101". 
However the ottoman opens up and has some serious storage space in there for extra comfy blankets and pillows {score!}.

I have plans to refinish the table and maybe sell it on Craigslist, and maybe someday we will figure out a layout that will be the best of both worlds, decorator + mommyhood. 

The last little detail is the wall art.
We bought the canvas art just about right when we moved in and the color scheme works well with the couch, and our other decor.  However, as time went by {and as it usually happens} I started to become antsy with it.  I needed something different.
Course the ideas of a gallery wall or a sunburst mirror crossed my mind once or twice {okay, about non stop for about a month}.  But then my best friend gave me that BEAUTIFUL frame {for free!} and it sat in my garage for a few weeks and just ate away at me.  It's perfectly distressed, has the perfect colors, and is just awesomely massive. 

Then one night I just decided I need that frame up! So here it hangs

I fell in love!  It's different.  It's not normal.  Who hangs a oversized frame over a canvas?
{This Girl}

{Straight on it looks a lot more centered by height,
I should have stood on a chair for this picture so it didn't look off centered}

Just about every one that has visited me looks at it and says
"So what's going on here, what are you going to put in the frame?"
Me: "That. It's how I want it"
Every person: "Oh. ..... ..... ..... .... That's cool"
{ahem, awkward silence}

Me: "Yah! I think so!"

That's the first official tour of one of our rooms! Hope you enjoyed!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Freecycle butcher block ... failed.

I guess we all need to be knocked down every once in a while to keep things interesting and challenging.  I posted a while about about a few "diamonds in the rough" I picked up while on the way home from work... and one piece was the free butcher block. 

I was all excited about this project, even though the original piece was in kinda pretty nasty shape.

I was hoping to sand it down with a 60 grit and remove enough of the damaged spots including water damage, the black spots {which can occur over time when making a butcher block from pine}, and the cutting marks. 
I used an entire two pieces of 60 grit sand paper with my electric sander and took my time trying to give this bad boy a second life.

That was just half way through the sanding, and it was starting to look fairly good.  My plan was to stain it, seal it with an butcher block sealant {very important to use a health standard approved sealant when using it on any surface that will come in contact with food... especially if staining the block first}.  I already purchased little sticky feet pads too to make it sit elevated on our counter top {I had plans for this guy and me}.

I've done my fair share of wood projects, and each is a learning experience how different types of wood react with sanding, and stains.  However, this one was pretty elementary, staining wood enhances it's flaws such as cuts and dents. 
The sanding didn't take away all the prior damage to the block, and cuts were still visible so my hopes of a beautiful new {free} butcher block were slowly disappearing.
I thought I'd just stain it just to see what it would look like {desperately hoping the magic wood fairy would come along and give me a break on this one}. 

{no happy dance}

Good thing it was a free cycle piece I picked up so no big loss!

If anyone reading has any additional tips maybe that may help with this please let me know as soon as possible.  I haven't tossed it just yet, in hopes maybe I'll gain serious motivation to do another hour or two of sanding and see if the cuts eventually fade.

Chumbawamba said it best,
"I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pantry Project Update - Wood Shelves

Phase One: Getting The Shelves

I mentioned a while back I was going to attempt a pantry make over and I'm starting to see the finish line... however not totally there yet. 
As mentioned one of the biggest reasons I was redoing our pantry was because of the shelves.  They were the Rubbermaid wire type shelves, and though they may be a great option for some people... I knew I'd prefer the look of solid wood shelves.

The Measurements

We headed to Lowe's with measurements and pictures in hand ready for some decisions.  Thank goodness my husband was there with me on that trip, having an extra mind came in handy making sure I wasn't making any measurement errors, oh and I'm terrible with mental math and the fact he's like rain man helped too. 
The overall look I wanted was solid white shelves, with one center support bar, and two support bars on the sides, and back boards to match the height of the support side bars and make it have a little more cohesive appearance.
This meant that one shelf would need:
2 - 2x2x11" {side support bars}
1 - 1x2x33" {left side, back piece}
1 - 1x1x29.5" {right side, back piece}
1 - support bar {mine had a width of 1" which seems pretty standard}
1 - 1x12x8' white particle board {had Lowe's cut each of these down to 63.5"}
I am having a total of 4 boards {which means a lot of wood and pieces!}

I went with the cheapest trim board they had since I knew I wanted to paint them white anyways.  I had them color match the white color from the particle board and was using this to paint each of the pine wood pieces. 

Next was sanding, priming, painting...
After sanding down each piece with a 120 grit sandpaper, I used a roller brush and primed each block.

I just used primer I had on hand, and of course used my roller brush {use it for everything!}

I began recruiting some help

All the pieces primed...

I kept everything organized by keeping the left support bars on the left side and right on the right side so I knew which sides {the only ones that will be visible} to paint.  I had enough painting to do, I wanted to eliminate any extra work.

After the priming dried I used same technique and used the color matched white paint on all the pieces.

Laying out to dry

I was thankful that we decided to go ahead with the little extra cost of finished white particle board shelves rather than the stock pine boards and to finish those.  I don't know if the pantry ever would have been finished had we gone that route.

The next update will actually probably be the reveal, and then I'll back track and do some posts about the different steps.
You're on the edge of your seat in excitement aren't you!
{No? Just me?}


Friday, July 15, 2011

Jackson's Corner {4} MN Trip

I have had such a busy week back I haven't even had time to share some stories about our trip back to Minnesota. I figured Friday's "Jackson's Corner" would be a perfect time to post some pictures and share some of our adventures.  We had a jam packed week and a half while back in Minnetonka, MN and visited lots of family.  We are very lucky that my parents, and Billy's parents live about 6 streets apart from one another so when we travel back to MN we really get to see everyone at once.
I have a brother who has a son that is one year older than Jackson, his name is Aidan and he lives with his mom in San Diego, CA so our family doesn't get to see him often at all.  It worked our perfectly that he was home staying with my brother while we went back to MN so not only did Jackson get to see his Uncle Jonny, but we were so lucky to also see Aidan.  My brother and I have grown very close over the past couple years and I love that though we were far apart in age, our kids are so close in age to one another.
 Billy's sister has a daughter, Amelia, who is just two weeks older than Jackson.  I'm very close with my sister-in-law and am very lucky to have someone I think of as a best friend as in-law. 

The different dynamics of Jackson with his two different cousins is unbelievable.  When Aidan and J play, they're 150% all boy.  There will be dinosaur growls, trucks and trains running into each other, chasing and pushing, baseball being played and dirt being thrown.  When he's with Amelia, they play so sweet and friendly together.  They share really well, they are constantly giggling, holding hands and he even does his fair share of letting his girly side show and loves to wear Amelia's clothes {that kid will do anything for attention}.
{No I'm not that cruel mom that dresses her son in girl clothes for my enjoyment.... he wants this on his own, he loves her sandals, her sunglasses, her pj's and her dresses...he actually threw a half hour fit because I wouldn't let him go to bed in her dress}
"Jaxy" & "yaya" {what they call each other, J nicknamed Amelia on his own when he was about 1&half... it instantly stuck} melt our hearts whenever they're playing together...
Most days were spent in my parent's pool.  I was never a big swimmer, but with Jackson as my child I have NO choice.  This kid is a natural born swimmer. It's ridiculous.  With no swimming lessons or anything he loved the water from day one, and has ZERO fear.  He jumps in, goes under water without plugging nose, swims the lengths of the pool, even if he chokes on water he'll burp it up and continue on his way.  I can't even keep up with him.. granted he does has the flippers feet for swimming!

{his little pet froggy... have I mentioned he's all boy}
The first half of the trip home was spent with my half of the family where we celebrated the 4th of July.  My mom cooked a delicious meal and we had lots of family fun time just hanging around the house...

J, me, Amber {brothers girlfriend}, Aidan, Jon {my brother}, and my dad, Mom was taking the picture
We attempted like 500 times to get a picture of all of us smiling at the camera... just didn't happen.

The second half of the week was spent with Billy's family up north.  They have an adorable cabin just outside of Detroit Lakes and when his family has a family gathering, it's not a simple handful of people... we're talking a GATHERING.  There was a total of about 30 of us sleeping in a cabin, a camper, tents, and a bunk house.  Again I spent the weekend in the water with Jackson...
 {Jumping off on his own from the water trampoline while hanging out with Sam, Shannon and Gpa Cookie...}

{Hanging at the end of the dock with his cousins}

{Catching fishies with Grandpa Cookie}
One of the most fun things J and I did though was go tubing

I've never heard a 2 year old belly laugh for as long as J did while tubing... He LOVED it!!
The faster, and over more bumps we went, he just laughed harder...
I swear, that's not typical of a 2 year old.  He has NO fear.

All said and done this is how J & I felt after these past few weeks...
We are so lucky to have such amazing families and to be able to visit back home as often as we get too.

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