Teacher gift workshop.

I saw this block calendar project on another site and was smitten , that’s a great winter time word isn’t it. My mind instantly thought “we can do that”.
So we set to work, I  even asked the amazing man at Home Depot to cut a 4 x 4 post into squares for me…. There are about 30 in a post. THANK YOU!!

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I have tons of paper scrapbook supplies from when I had time to encapsule photographic memories and notations on expensive paper to archive into even more expensive “books”, and a jar of modge podge. So we set to work:

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Finished late on the last night before the last day of school for 2013. I hope her teacher likes it. Because we do.

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These photos are from my phone and may not be the best, but I am thinking we will make this project again very soon and I will post a tutorial with some better photos and instructions.  The kids really liked making this.

 

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A Nook that does not hold books and some that do.

I know that not everyone is on Pinterest and maybe you are and don’t “get” the big deal, but for me when it comes to projects and inspiration I am like a crack Oreo addict to that site.

We have a number of closets in our home, I am sure most of you do….but it seems like wherever the builder of this house had extra space he added a door and some shelving.  Great right…well some of these spaces are awkward and honestly putting a door in some places just seems to take up more space than you are saving.

My point?  I have 2 closet spaces that I am thinking would be great turned into more of a nook space:

1. One of the closets in our sons room.

2. The entryway closet.

What does this have to do with pinterest?

I have been pinning “nook” like spaces for at least a year…here are some of my tops for our sons room:

Traditional Home Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel and Decor

houzz.com

His “nook” will definitely hold books and also serve as a desk space.

closet nook: compact, organized, completely cute, and the perfect use of space!

readingglssesshopper.com

Love the hanging organization in this desk nook.

closet made into kid's reading room

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This is amazing and would have been perfect for my not-so-little-anymore bookworm, but now that he is in middle school he needs a desk space.

Desk

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Last but not least, I love the clean lines of this  and the shelving for books.

For the entryway I need a place that has bins and  shelves but also still has hanger potential,  without detracting from what might work for others if we sold the house. This has to be a nook without books.  I have some ideas how this will work in our space, and here are some photos that I am drawing ideas from:

Hall Closet turned mini mud closet

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Love this with the bench and hooks, plus those baskets for mittens or hats or shoes, but there are 6 of us and that might not cut it in MN winters.

Front closet turned mudroom. The shoe rack is brilliant!

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hello storage!!!

Hallway closet nook

Last one, again love the bench hooks and storage underneath.

Anyone else turned a closet into a nook space and LOVE it?

I am hoping to share some exciting changes around here soon!

No Tricks all Treats

By far the best Halloween costumes we have had so far in all 11 years of child raising.

Every year we ask the kids what they would like to be for Halloween, it usually starts with the delivery of the Chasing fireflies Halloween costume edition and from then on at story time we are leafing through the mag hearing about all the options and how we could all go as pirates, or momma you could be this and poppa could be that….or I bet Farley would be a cute yoda.

Now if you get this magazine like me you probably wonder how these prices are legal, I mean don’t get me wrong they are cute as can be and resale (for an eBay lover like me) is totally worth it, but I Like the kids to put more into the costumes than pointing a finger and saying “that one”.

So he is what the final choice was for everyone:

Solomon: scary clown.

Raiven : exterminator (bugs, and such)

Santanna: Viking princess warrior conquerer (not a football Viking)

Avalon: Pocahontas

As we wrap up the Halloween weekend I thought I would share their costume since I was literally still sewing  a few parts on them as the sun was going down and porch lights were turning on Thursday, I will be happy to go tinot maore detail on any of the parts if any one is interested.

Solomon…no real inspiration photo just what /he/we came up with:

scary clown

We thrifted the green coveralls from Savers , they are a size 44 Long…..huge on this guy, so we cut the bottoms of the legs off.  I found the Leroy patch in the sewing box I shared a while back, the mask we found at savers as well, shoes are from goodwill and glow in the dark (he did not trick or treat in these) flower that squirts water we found at party city.

scary clown 2

How many 9-year-old girls wanted to be an exterminator this year?  1?….mine?  We looked at the Ghostbusters costume and that was NOT it, so here is our version of an exterminator:

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Hand held “fogger”  I am not sure what it is called but I found it in the garage and it fit in the clear tube that I had attached to her “chemicals” on her back pack.

exterminator 1

The clothes are her brothers that were too small, and we patched the hole with more goodies from this sewing treasure box I found. The boots were also a hand me down.  the hat is just a ball cap with skull duct taped on over the words, we did this on the hoodie as well.

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We took 2-2 liter bottles and Raiven mixed and swirled paint in them to make her desired color, then I attached them to a small, purse size backpack with more of that skull duct tape.  We found the mask at a local Halloween shop.

Santanna: this is the costume she wanted:

Halloween 2013 warrior girl costume - Chasing Fireflies

Chasing Fireflies

Here is what we created:

Viking Princess

Santanna LOVED it, and it was really warm.  Head to toe, Viking helmet is from party city, so are the leg cuffs, we cut them off a little since they were meant for adults, so we sued a scrap as hair under the helmet also meant for adults…perfect! she has on a gray tiered dress from The children’s Place that was handed down from big sis, brown leggings, Primigi boots and a long sleeve layer shirt.  The sword was also from party city.  Instead of a shield she had her trick or treat bag in her other hand.  I sewed the cape, and added a hood.

Viking warrior 2

She picked out the fabric and had to have some color so we added this little blue streak in the hood. Jon called her Helga and others commented that she looked like a character from how to train your dragon.

Last but not least, Pocahontas, Avalon is probably her biggest (smallest) fan:

Pocahontas

This is a very warm fleece costume and headpiece from Old navy that was sold about 7 years ago, I have found it on eBay for a few years in a row and bought the 5T this year, once she outgrows this I am not sure what we will do, Disney does not make a winter version of Pocahontas dress up, which is a must in MN. Boots are Minnetonka triple fringe boots, we had tights and the bow (with missing arrow) was from a local Halloween store.  The belt was a fifty cent thrift years ago.

Those are the spookables I went trick or treating with this year. You can pin these as ideas for next year

Landing in Fall

Hi all!
This has to happen fast because Halloween is my Hubby’s favorite holiday, well all of ours truthfully, and I wanted to take a picture of the front landing, or porch, (it is too small to be a porch?)… front step I guess, but its a BIG step. Anyway prior to the life sized coffin, yes he built one, and all the spooky Halloween displays hit the front yard I wanted the front landing/step to look inviting and comfortably fall-ish.

Fall Front Landing

I took out all the spring and summer flowers, that had mostly withered away in August while we were in California and put in mums, I got them at Lowes for 42 cents a pot, they were the small ones but it is perfect for the terra cotta pots I had on hand and the space.

Fall Front step

I left the trailing potato vines, they seem to do well in this weather and a few wildflowers that are obviously living on just air, because they still look amazing, I added a few small gourds and pumpkins in the planters which the kids brought home from their school garden.  Then I hung up that uber cool orange metal owl that I thrifted for $5.99 at Savers a few years ago, adding a little more color.

Fall

I also hung up a wreath I mde last year from out from strips of fabric I cut out of the kids old Halloween pajamas, shirts, pants and boxers, year boxers;)  Gymboree makes some very cute Halloween boys boxers briefs, and I could not just toss them out, don’t worry they are clean.  I saw how to make this wreath on another blog, but after my last computer died I lost some links so when I find it I will add it., or make one for you. It is really easy.  I also like that the fabric is meaningful, I can remember some of those jammies on my little chubby ghouls.

DIY Halloween wreath

I will share the spookier version when it is complete, you can come back if you dare….ahhahhahahhhaaaaahahaha

Upcycled Rustic Initial Carved Headboard

When we redid some of our garden space we had some leftover 1 X 8 boards.

Santanna’s bed does not have a frame and these boards have been sitting under the deck for almost 2 years, giving them a great distressed patina.

As Jon and I were talking about how to cut up…or not…the boards and how we attend to arrange them to go over her full size bed I fell more in love with the look.

I decided instead, they would go in our room…over our king sized bed.

We had taken off an outdated headboard and have also been discussing how to upcycle that one.

Headboards are apparently a big deal at our house..who knew.

I wanted to headboard to go past the bed a little so that when the bed is made the headboard would extend at least the length of the bed + bedding, the headboard is a total of 96 inches and goes about 6 inches past the bed/bedding.

Headboard

The back of this headboard has 3 1 X 4 boards placed so the end 2 can attach to the metal be frame and one in the middle for support, you could use 2 X 4 or even 4 X 4 board for the “legs” if you want to change the look, I wanted a sleek profile, plus we had all the boars for this in the garage making it FREE.

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When I was dreaming up Santanna’s headboard I had some thoughts about drawing some sort of graphic on it, she still might get a headboard so I won’t spill those thoughts yet.

I thought a saying that might fit, but honestly there was not one that I LOVED, so I thought how about a carving?

Aha!  Initials in a tree….Awwww..right?!?

SO I used our generic Dremel tool, which I think I killed while doing this and carve d our initials, First name and Middle initial, per Hubby’s request.

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It looks rustic which is great, this was not as easy as I thought it would be, hence some minor imperfections, but I do love the way it turned out.

I did not carve the heart; I painted and sanded all of the heart and initials to give it an aged look.

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On the other side I added the year we were married in paint, I did many different layers and wanted that too look aged as well, I am not sure that it is exactly how I pictured it in my mind, but I can’t say how often my vision and the end product correspond.

Plus it is more discreet then the carving.

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I have to say we are loving this, and that is was FREE from some repurposed garden boards makes it feel special.

 

 

 

Frozen Raspberry Lemonade Popsicles

Today marks the official first day of summer…I know some of you have been enjoying summer weather for a while, but blue skies and wispy clouds combined with higher mercury readings are finally here in MN!!!  Yeah!!!

That means little bodies are heating up and taking to the water.  At our house my kids are huge fans of anything sweet that comes from the freezer.

This is a rendition of a recipe I saw on-line and tweaked a bit.

None of the ingredients in this are hard to find or really all that great for us…(read: no paleo here;)), however it is a treat and as treats go, they are not usually broccoli…am I right?!

Ingredients:

  • One box of Raspberry Jell-O (you could really use any flavor, strawberry would also be really tasty)…8 serving size.
  • Lemonade mix, enough for 8 servings, more or less depending on your tartness preference.
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Sugar (Optional)
  • Dixie cups
  • Plastic spoons or Popsicle sticks

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Boil 4 cups of water and stir in Jell-O, lemonade and any sugar if you like to sweeten your mixture.
Add ice cubes to a glass measuring cup, add water to equal 2 ½ cups total, then add to Jell-O Mixture.
Pour into paper cups; I put mine into a muffin tin to keep it steady for the little helpers I had, also to catch the drips.  I also used a funnel to help keep things neat. Put in freezer for 2 hours.

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After 2 hours they should only be partially set. This is when we added plastic spoons, I did this so little hands could hold onto then better and avoid a stick, put back into the freezer for another hour or two. This made about 14-16 pops with the Dixie cups approximately 3/4 full.

ENJOY!!!!

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DIY Oak Hardwoord Floors.

I shared the pretty; now the nitty gritty.

Here is how is went down…almost literaly.

We let our wood acclimate to the house for a little more than 2 weeks, more than recommended but with all our crazy weather and rain we wanted to make sure it was not too humind, which can lead to gaps in flooring later.

We tore out the carpet.  And by we , I mean Jon, Solomon and Avalon had it up when I brought the other 2 kiddos home from an activity one evening, I came home to them pulling up the tack strips, that held the carpet down, they rolled up the carpet and then rolled up the pad, the bottoms of both had some staining from juice and other spills, reaffirming our choice to go wood.

Carpet Tearout

This is the sandy stuff that was right at the seam of where the carpet had met our existing hardwood floors, I am thinking it is  a combination of,  well dirt and sand 😉  and the backing of the carpet that just sort of falls apart over time. Ick!

Carpet dust?

We cleaned the sub floor which was in excellent shape, it is only 7 years old, by vacuuming and a small warm water/soap spot clean where needed.

Then we laid down tar paper, as a sound and protection barrier between the sub floor and the oak.

Tar paper

Since we were installing this up to existing hardwood flooring we knew it was going to be fairly level but we double checked to make sure that the new pieces going in were level.  We also had to face nail in the first boards since there was a small trim piece that we had taken out and the tongue part of the connecting board was not there.  Face nailing means to nail it into place through the top of the board, we did this with small finish or trim nails and then filled the small holes with putty.

Then we set to work staggering our boards to make sure no board ended at the same spot, and nailed them in place.

After about 4 or 5 rows we would cover it with a red builders paper or rosin paper, to protect the unfinished wood.

When we got towards the end of the rows Jon would cut the last piece to fit exactly in place, this is where some real skills come into place, there will be a piece of oak corner round along the wall trim, but you need to make the end floor pieces fit as close to the space as possible.

Below you can see how we staggered the boards and covered them and toward the wall is where you can see boards would need to be cut to fit.

Floors

Also if you are taking out carpet to put in hardwood you may and you have a heating/cooling vent you might have to cut down the register if you are putting in wood grated with your flooring, I do not have pictures, but Jon cut our down easily with a sawsall, be careful when cutting the metal for sharp spots!

The last few board of the flooring have to be face nailed again, at least our were since the nail gun would not fit close to the walls.

After all the flooring was in we rented a sander from Menards, and they had 3-2-1 sanding pads for sale that fit the machine, 3 being coarse, 2 less coarse, and 1 the fine and final sand.  They did not think I would need the 3 but I brought it home anyway and I am glad I did because there were some spots that the wood was higher/lower and he 3 took care of this quickly, the 2 would have taken a long time.

Sander

Once it was all sanded and smooth, we wiped the wood down with lightly damp clean rags, just enough to catch all the dust but not soak into the wood.

Oak Flooring

We let it dry and then did 4 coats of an oil based polyurethane.  The poly we chose was the one we thought best matched the existing floors.

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I think we got it right:

Oak Flooring

Again the before and after:

Living RoomOak Hardwood Floors

Tools used for this Oak floor DIY  project:

  • Hammer
  • Small crowbar
  • Screwdriver
  • Sawsall
  • Rented Orbital Sander
  • Painting wand and pad
  • Wood floor Nailer
  • Putty Knife
  • Level
  • Saw

Cost for this DIY Project:

  • Oak flooring and 2 registers:  $814.74
  • Disposal fee for old carpet and pad:  $25.00
  • Nailgun: Free (borrowed from my Dad)
  • Nails for the nailer: $25.92
  • Tar Paper and Rosin Paper: $7.45
  • Wood putty : Free (again we had this on hand)
  • Sander rental and 3-2-1 pads: $43.39
  • Polyurethane and painting pad( we used the handle we already had): $83.05
  • Tools: Free (we had all of them on hand from other projects)
  • Labor: Free 🙂

This project totals : $999.55

Just under a G, bids on this were around $2500.!!  We saved over 1/2 by DIYing this floor and we LOVE it!!

It did take most of Memeorial weekend, but that included many interruptions from those that are now pitter pattering around on this beautiful floor.

So I think most could be this done in a weekend but each coat of poly needs about 3 hours between them, so if you did more than 4 coats it will add time to the job.

Shiny Happy Floors

I am going to get right to it…our new floor:

Oak Hardwood Floors

Now if you have been here all along you might also notice that something else changed…

Lets review shall we?

Here is the before of this space, after we moved out our furniture:

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Previously we were using this as a living room

2011 June 1819 copy

But we traded out this:

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For this:

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And this:

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For this:

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We did a living room dining room flip, I love that our new flooring goes throughout the whole space, the carpet always left us feeling like we needed furniture on one side or the other…don’t cross the line!!

This was a complete DIY project, it took us one long rainy plus weekend and it was about 300 square feet.  Cost and details are coming.

Plus we built a new Master Bedroom headboard for FREE!

Stay Tuned!

And if you see carpet be gentle, she took the break up hard, but she was good to us for almost 7 years, trustworthy,  and loyal, but she had secrets; hid too many things, we needed a smooth shiny new floor, one that wouldn’t hide spills…it was us, not her…you know.

Upcycled Jewelery Oraganization

Is it May already…and almost 1/3 over. I am still pushing foward on the NYR to become more oranginzed.

Organization in our house is a constant battle, a good one, but hard-fought non the less.

With 3 girls, the princess accessories are at an all time high, but I am sure it is just the tip of the iceberg.

At her recent campout birthday party, Raiven received a few new special accessories, she has pierced easr, has been acquiring necklaces and bracelets from relatives and friends, and thrifting. Until this project she was hanging them on a wooden drawing doll, is that what it is called?

I accidentally deleted a whole card full of photos…ugh! So the before shots are none existent..but here is what we did:

I had 2 black picture frames that were thrifted or the glass has brokern out of, I was tired of tripping over them but knew I would find a use from them….eventually.

When I saw this I decided to upcycle the old frames to organize our oldest daughters jewelry.

We spray painted them in Raiven’s color choice.

Then Hubby cut, he is the type A to my relaxed type B, and attached chicken wire to the frame.

He attached them to the wall with hallow all sinkers, since they were not on a stud, we wanted them securely in place.

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WE added these hooks to the chicken wire, we crimped the top set closed so they are fixed in place, but we left the others uncrimped so she can move them around as she likes.  These are from Menards, but I am sure any hardware store has them.

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The other side we did not put any hook on, we left this one for earrings so she can just loop them over the wire.

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I made the yellow beautiful art on her wall, inspired by one I saw on Zulily.

She is thrilled with this new addition to her room, and is really lets her showcase all the special jewelery she has, as most of it has been gifts.  It also gives her the independence to choose what she wants to wear and gives her the ability to easily care for her special jewelry.

2013 May 050 copy

We’ve Got Wood

Seriously …number one in speech writing is an attention getter right?!? Well I am applying that to blog writing and titles..today.

Yes we do , we have wood: white oak unfinished 3 1/2 by 3/4 inch various length hardwood flooring,  wanna see??

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We have it set behind the love seat in the living room so it can “acclimate”, so that when we put it down, nail it in, sand it and clear coat it, we don’t end up with any seams shrinking and gaping open.

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The salesman at Lumber Liquidators said it should sit for about a week to 10 days.

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Can’t wait to show some progress on this pile of wood.