Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Reader Spot: A Playful Playroom

I'm so excited to share today's Reader Spot with you, because from the moment I saw it I could not wipe the goofy grin off my face! Liz is the author of My Life In Projects and mom to sweet 1-year old Charley.  She took a second look at a formal space in their home and decided it was much better suited for some fun.

I asked Liz to share a little more about how she came up with such a cheerful room, bursting with personality.....

What was the space like before you began?
This room was originally our dining room, but once I got pregnant we decided it would work best as a playroom.  Our current dining room is in the front of the house, not off the kitchen, but I'm okay with that.

Before Charley was born I made a couple changes to the room to make it look less dining room, like changing the light fixture, adding some book shelves, and hanging some basic kid-friendly art.  Those were just temporary changes until I had a better vision of what the space would be as Charley got a little older.

What were some of the things that inspired the colors & other choices in the design?
I created a mood board for this space before I got started and the first item I placed on that board was a black and white striped rug.  Then somewhere along the way I added touches of red.  I didn't even realize red was a color I wanted in the space until I put that mood board together.  Obviously I didn't put a striped rug or red poofs in the room, but rather a red rug and a striped floor pillow.

Charley's Playroom

Were there any problem areas and how did you address them?
I wouldn't say there were any problem areas necessarily, however, I always find it challenging to organize toys in a thoughtful and appealing way.  I went with the idea of less is more and tried to stick with one item on a shelf that was easily accessible to Charley.

I know that toy organization will continue to be a challenge as she gets older and her toys come with more pieces.  I'm sure there will be many future blog posts on that very topic!

How did you get your resourceful/thrifty/think-outside-the-box/DIY on?
I purchased very few items for this space actually.  Outside of the rug, curtains, a couple wall shelves, and a faux plant, I had everything on hand or I DIYed it.

 I saw a wooden book tree on Pinterest for $800 (that wasn't happening), so I painted one on the wall and added picture ledges for books.  I also sewed a big floor pillow to bring in the stripes I love so much.

The ribbon chandelier was also a fun, inexpensive diy project.  

I rummaged through my basement for frames and artwork and put together the gallery wall.  A couple of those pieces were painted by me and my husband and one by my mom.

Finally, the I'm gonna make this place your home wall hanging is just made from a dropcloth from Lowes and stencils from Michael's.
So yes, lots of DIY went on in this room!

What makes the space special and unique?
Definitely all of the art pieces that are so meaningful in one way or another make the space feel unique and special to Charley.

How did you make this space work to fit your family's needs?
Charley loves her new playroom and B.J. and I enjoy it just as much.  We spend a lot of time in there with her so I knew it had to be a place we loved as well.  I created an adult seating area to give us another option when we're not sitting on the floor.
For now, comfy adult seating was important, but as Charley gets older that will be replaced with a table and chairs for her, maybe an art area, we'll just have to wait and see!


 Personally, I can't wait to see how this room evolves as Charley grows!  They have given her such a happy space to learn and play....and you can't help but know just how much this little girl is loved by all the touching moments in the room.

But it's not just a thoughtful space, it's got the style points to boot!  The contrast of the black and white with pops of color, the chalkboard lower half right at Charley's level, that drop cloth sign with the most perfect quote ever, the reading nook, the personal art....all amazing!!

So be sure to hop over to Liz's blog for more details on all these projects and much more DIY goodness...like the little play kitchen area she carved out in an unlikely space, and this paint dipped table that I am ga-ga over.

Thank you so much for sharing this sweet space with us, Liz!  And happy playing, Charley!

*Would you like your space or project featured in a Reader Spot edition?  Click here to find out how!

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Repurpose: Toothbrush Holder Turned Pencil Holder

Toothbrush holder to divide pencils and pens

I love it when I stumble on something in a completely different section of the store, that ends up being the perfect fit in another area of the home.  The bathroom storage aisle always comes through for great storage pieces that can be used in all areas of the house....without screaming "Bathroom!!".

We found this felt basket in the latrine section and it's pulling its weight as our Lego corral in the man cave/family room:
Totally kid-proof but easy on the eyes too.  (This one was from Target.)

The last time I was at Home Goods I spotted this toothbrush holder.  I shared a pic of it on instagram months ago, and finally got around to giving it a mini-makeover.  First though, a quick check to make sure it would actually function as I had hoped....
Yup!  Now, I liked the pale aqua color on the bottom half but I've been looking for a way to incorporate both gold and silver into this workspace, and this guy was going to be it.

I grabbed my Press n' Seal and Frog Tape to prep the holder for paint.

I only wanted to paint the bottom half, so I used the existing colors as my guide.  I covered the top half of the holder with Press n' Seal, leaving just a little bit of the white still showing.

Then I covered up that white with Frog Tape to give me a nice sharp line.

 I grabbed my can of metallic silver paint and gave her about 3 thin coats of spray paint.

When it comes to spray paint, you always want to do several thin coats as opposed to one or two thick coats in order to avoid drips.  This is especially true with a ceramic or non-porous surface.  It won't soak up the paint like wood, so take your time with extra thin coats!

Bandages off, and looking like new!  But at the start, I had visions of some thin gold stripes on top of the silver.  Enter the gold Sharpie...

Following the ridges I drew a gold line on top of the silver edge.  This shade of gold was a bit darker than I had hoped.  I was thinking about something closer to the touch of gold we added to the hourglass.
unexpected office storage

So before I add any more stripes, I'm going to sit with it for a few days.  I like that it adds another shade of metallic to the mix but I may want to add a lighter shade of gold too.  
toothbrush holder used to separate pens and pencils

For now, I love this rogue bathroom piece on my workspace and how it provides separation between my pens and pencils.  
toothbrush holder to separate pens and pencils
Not bad for 7 buckaroos!

What about you?  Have you reclaimed any household items that technically belong in another room?  What's you favorite random aisle or secret spot to find unexpected storage?  Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Switching Up The Paint

This week was insanely busy for us and my blog schedule completely went out the window.  So that's why it's been such a random blog week around here.  The good news is that I have all those project posts waiting in the wings for next week.  You know, if I can get my act together. ;)

For today, I'm sharing our living space conundrum.  When you stand in the hallway leading to the bedrooms, this is what you see...
 It's really easy for me to crop out all the unfinished areas when I show you a project in my home.  All the crazy can distract from the finished product but let's not forget that I live in a home that is very much a work in progress.  Hello that ugly unfinished entry!

We also used to live in a home with a completely open floor plan.  The living room, dining space and kitchen were all one huge great room. I actually like the division between rooms in this house but you can still see most of the other living space rooms from each other.  Which means that paint plays a huge role in establishing a cohesive feel.

Between the different paint colors and five different types of flooring it all feels a bit wacky right now.  We plan to carry the flooring in the living room throughout the dining room, entry, hallway, and a couple of bedrooms.  Now lets chat paint....
When we moved into this house I was an enormous 8 months pregnant with Jack.  Unpacking boxes was like an Olympic event for me, so taking on house updates would have to wait.  Torture for a pregnant nesting mom.

My parents came out from CA to be with Mia and Sully while we were in the hospital and to spend Christmas with us (my due date was Christmas day).  I had a few paint samples on the living room wall and we chatted about good paint colors for the room just days before I went into labor.  When we came home with our bundle O' Jack we walked into a totally painted living room, with things hanging on the wall.  My parents had been busy with paint brushes and mounting art work while we were in the hospital and I can not tell you how amazing it was to walk in the door to our new home, with new baby in arms, and to see a painted room that felt unpacked and like a real home.  We're forever grateful!

Since that was the first room we painted, we did the dining room next and went for high contrast.  The deep chocolate brown worked well with our living room color but when it came time to address the kitchen, I was leaning heavily toward greys.  After having a truly blank slate to work with in the house, I've had the opportunity to think about what I really want/like.  Every other place we've had to work with what was already there.  I've come to realize that I really do love color.  I also love a fresh bright space and crisp white.  I'll share more about my tastes and James' opposing tastes (and how we work them out!) in another post.  But for now, I like the way that color plays off a neutral space best.

We're happy with what we're doing in the kitchen, so we want the living room and dining room to read better with the greys in the kitchen.  We love the paint color in the laundry room (the lightest color on the left of the paint chip).  It's a very light grey with brown undertones.  Exactly what we want for the other rooms.  So there she sits on the wall.  I just need to decide how light/dark we're going to go in which rooms.  Don't mind the coffee stain in the middle....

Does it take anyone else a few tries to get their rooms painted right?  I hope you are all more decisive than me!  Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY Hooded Bath Towels For Kids

A few weeks ago I met up with a couple girlfriends for a sewing night.  These days, it seems the only time I can actually be productive at the machine and knock out a few projects is when I meet up with the girls after the kids are in bed.  This time I left the home dec projects for another night and focused on a couple of super simple things for the kids.

Jack is 2 now and those sweet hooded towels for baby just weren't giving the big guy much coverage.  Even the toddler ones seemed rather short.  My friend Katie showed us how to make our own hooded towels using just a washcloth and a towel.
kids bath towel from a towel and washcloth

I'm sure you've heard that if you can sew a straight line, you can sew most things.  Well my lines are rarely straight, but these towels are a great project for those of us just getting acquainted with a sewing machine!

*And as a side note, I would say if you are making these for kids ages 2-4 go with a washcloth hood.  For ages 4+ I would use a hand towel [turned horizontal] to create a larger hood.  Mia is 5 and this hood is a little small for her. I'll probably replace it with a hand towel hood this summer.  Then again, my kids have ginormous melons.

Here we go!  

Take your washcloth and fold it in half with the inside out, and with the large bands overlapping.

 Stitch them together with a straight line just under the edge.

With the washcloth still inside out, lay the open end over the center of the top edge of the towel.

Sew these pieces together

And seriously...that's it. 5-10 minutes per towel and done!  Flip that hood right side out and you are ready for bath time! 

Now here's the other reason I decided to tackle this project.  Our previous towel situation...
We had this great over-the-door towel hanger, but you couldn't close the door when it was in place.  So we've been living it up ghetto style with the door rack hanging over a towel bar.

We also had a complete hodge-podge of towels (none really designated as "kids' bath towels) that drug along the floor.

So I took down the old towel bar, patched the holes, and mounted a three hook wall mount in it's place.

A perfect spot for three sweet towels. 

I mounted the hooks a little lower so that the kids could put up their own towels after a bath/shower, but still high enough to keep the towels off the ground.

They are pretty happy with them and so am I!

 So...who's ready to bust out some hooded towels?!  For anyone wondering, I grabbed all my towels and washcloths from Target.  Where else! ;)

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Catching Up

Happy Monday!  I hope y'all had a great weekend!  Not sure why I'm typing with a Texas drawl...

Anyhow! We had an incredibly busy weekend, but somehow James and I managed to find time to finally chat about some bigger stuff - work, blog, family, finances, etc, etc.   It's amazing how much a 15 minute conversation can smooth all those little stress nerves that creep up and get me on edge when we haven't touched base in awhile. 

Since our family has been sick for basically all of 2013 (how's that for dramatic?), I have grossly neglected our family blog.

Crinion Clan

When I get backed up on posting photos and family updates, it feels like climbing a mountain to get it back up to date.  I finally got a "What I Wore" picture dump of all the outfits I haven't posted, so if you in the mood for some fashion randomness, hop on over.
green skinnies, polka dot shirt, navy green and yellow

I normally do a marathon post of all the pics from each of our family trips, but I'm going to break up the Texas beach trip into a few posts...less intimidating and probably have a better chance of actually getting done. 

As for this here blog, I have a new series that I'm excited to share later this week, along with a couple of easy sewing projects and an organizing beast finally conquered!  Hope you're week is off to a great start!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mia's Mood Board: Inspired by Zig Zags

As the weekend approaches, I'm excited to get back to work in Mia's room!  After our first stab at giving her room a functional, organizational, and aesthetic overhaul last year, we're addressing some of those areas that aren't working as well as we anticipated. 

Whenever we take another look at an aspect of a room that's not working, we also take a second glance at the room as a whole.  So, while we need to address some ill-functioning storage and the furniture layout, I'm excited to have a little fun tweaking her room design too!

I want to work in some more aqua blue accents and maybe a few more neutrals.  For a long time I've also wanted to make Mia a quilt for her bed.  Something she can use as a cozy reading blanket once she outgrows it and hopefully one she can take with her as a keepsake when she moves out one day.  Don't dash my dreams, OK?  In my mind this quilt is uber special.  And I create it without flaw.  Stop laughing. 

I pinned some darling quilts and am most inspired by this pin via Mommy By Day Crafter By Night.

And it's inspiring the updated design in our little girl's room...

Many of these elements are already in place, so our main goal is to make sure we're making the most of what we do have and then to fill in any gaps.  Here's the breakdown....

1.  Last time we used butterfly clips from the flower department in Michael's to create a whimsical feature on the dark pink focal wall.  Mia still loves these and I do too.  So, they're staying!

2.  The white bed in Mia's room was a garage sale find by my parents.  It was dark brown and worn from age but they had it painted a fresh white along with the rest of her main furniture pieces.  You can find identical twin Jenny Lind beds at Land of Nod, but I'm sure a patient craigslist or yard sale stalker could find one for less.

3.  After seeing zipper canvas bins used as under the bed storage in the Centsational Girl's daughter's room I knew they would be ideal for Mia's space.  Right now they are on sale through One Step Ahead.  I'm hoping this will be a better way to corral all those small little toys and dolls that tend to end up all over the room.

4.  This will actually be the last step, but we eventually want to lay hard flooring throughout the house.  Our youngest has asthma and getting rid of the carpet will be a big help in keep the dust to a minimum.  Especially living in the desert.  A cushy rug for floor play will be essential and a big element in the room.  We love this Raised Floral Rug in Green by Land of Nod.  We also have our eye on these two options:

5, 6, 7.  We created a reading corner with this Pottery Barn Teen Hang-A-Round Chair
 in Pink "Dottie" (I don't see the polka dot chairs on their site now, but they bring in various prints through out the year).  I'll be stalking flash sale sites for a pouf similar to the white Moroccan number in the mood board from Overstock.com. We'll also be looking to DIY or repurpose something for book storage on the wall...like the shelf in the mood board or this Wall Mounted Book Bin.

We thought this book rack was pretty cute too:

8, 9.  Mia's vanity is one of my favorite zones in the room, and one that's still working well for us.  It came with the bed my parents found and was also given new life through a fresh coat of paint. Here's a similar option. We painted a birdcage for a pop of color and it doubles as a charming clip holder.

10, 11, 12, 13.  Mia's dresser is in her closet and is my childhood dresser.  You can find a similar one here. We updated the hardware with these pink acrylic knobs from Target.  The dresser has ample storage, but will swap places with her bookcase.  It will be a fun spot to play with accessories like the pink alarm clock (we found one on clearance at Hobby Lobby) and colorful animal bookends.  The giraffe bookends are from Etsy.

14.  In searching Etsy I came across some adorable fabric push pins and am scheming up a sweet wall art project with these black and white zig-zags. But these floral, black and whitepink and yellow, and colored lace ones are super cute too and we may end up bringing in a pin board for Mia's photos and special treasures.

15.  We love these Charming Floor Bins via Land of Nod to help contain stuffed animal, extra blankets, or medium sized toys.

16.  Mia received a beautiful doll house bookcase from her baby shower.  I'm not sure where it was purchased but I found similar ones here and here.  As we mentioned above, it will be swapping places with the dresser.  We'll be using the cubbies for books, display, and doll house parts.  Having this piece in the closet will hopefully help keep the toys from taking over the room and make for easier cleanup. 

You can see on the mood board how we've created little zones within her room.  A place for sleep, reading, dressing up, drawing (the vanity doubles as a workspace), playing, and getting ready for the day.  Hopefully the room as a whole is a place for her to dream, use her imagination and feel at home.

Now, to get on that quilt ;)

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