Monday, March 24, 2014

Mini-Makeover for Girls Room {Getting Started}

Hi there. First up, I changed the blog layout...again. I liked the last look but the main reading column was too narrow and I had a few other issues that I couldn't get past. Let me know what you think of the new design and any suggestions for what you'd like to see.
So, a couple of weeks ago my girls decided to starting sharing a bedroom. Even though there is a 4 year gap between them, they are very close, so this isn't too shocking. We tried the new arrangement for over a week before moving any furniture in case they quickly decided it wasn't going to work. The Diva's room is smaller but cozy for sleeping and that leaves little Freckle Girl's room wide open to work as a "no boys allowed" playroom. 

Freckle Girl, aka The Hurricane, was ready to move out of her IKEA bed that we hacked from The Boy's metal loft bed. Miraculously, someone out there wanted to buy it and we made $125. Not too shabby considering we bought it for about $200 seven or eight years ago. 

So, while The Hurricane's room is unoccupied I thought it would be a great time to give the room a little makeover. First up is finally getting around to painting the dark trim. {This is goal #1 in my list to accomplish in 2014.} We also took off the doors to make the painting easier and also to nudge us towards installing new doors in here. 

Here's a 360 view of the room. 

You can see the primed baseboard but original window trim in this one.

Continuing towards the right, you get a glimpse of a green accent wall. The plan here is to paint this wall pink to match the other walls (it's Pink Peony by Benjamin Moore).

And then back towards the door to the hall. Or, where a door would normally be. 

The trim needs one more coat of paint and I'll get that one big wall painted pink. Then, the fun part begins...making a fun girls play space. Stay tuned.

xoxo,
Chris



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In the Clutch

Hi everyone. Sorry for the radio silence. Still adapting to the new job and commute, and frankly, haven't tackled any house projects!  But I did want to share my latest shopping find with you all.

Day in and day out I carry a gigantic purse that doubles as a briefcase (by Steve Madden).


I love it this bag but sometimes I just need money and my ID, phone and keys. Oh, and Chapstick. I'm a Chapstick addict. So I was in the market for a bag with just a smidge more room than a wallet but not as large as a shoulder bag.

So, let me just say this: There is a Nordstrom Rack in my new office building. The same building people!!! That's where I found this clutch by Hobo.


The snap closures open two different sections, one for cards and money, and another general purpose section, for my Chapstick.


Then there's a cool zipper on the bottom that opens a large section that is perfect for my phone and keys.

I love this little clutch and it's the perfect alternative to carrying a full-blown purse.

Stay tuned for some house updates...next on tap is a mini-makeover for the girls rooms. Thanks!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Red Chairs {without all the Christmas decor}

Hi all and happy snow day to my East Coast friends. Anyone else sick and frickin' tired of winter? I sure am but do enjoy having a bit more time around the house.

One of the projects that was on my To Do list for ages and then took quite a while to actually carry out, was painting wooden chairs for our dining room. I revealed the final look in this post but the red blended right in with the Christmas decor we had up at the time.

So, I thought a non-Christmas-y look was in order. The colors in the dining room are pretty neutral so the bright red pop of color really stands out.

And I love the eclectic mix with the red chairs and metal cafe chairs.

I'm toying with the idea of a DIY farmhouse table to finish off this look. Stay tuned!

xoxo,
Chris

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Life in the Spotlight

Recently I made one of those purchases that makes you think, "Duh. Why didn't I think of this sooner?" Since I do so much painting and other projects at night, in poor lighting, this purchase has me really stoked. Ta-da! An industrial spotlight.
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It probably would've been a good idea to buy the light before I tried to stain our entry railing (see this post for all the DIY disaster deets). Let me demonstrate. Without the light:

And with:

The next step is to actually use this guy to repair my shoddy stain job and put on another coat. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Year, New Goals {2014}

Hi all! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I used the time off around Christmas and New Year's to spend some QT with the family. Because after New Year's I began a new job. It's really a dream opportunity for me, but it comes with more hours and a really hefty commute to the city. So the Freckles have had some serious adjustments to make. Needless to say, my house projects have taken a back seat for a while. And I'm totally ok with that while everyone gets into the new routine.

For 2013, I set out a list of project goals and wanted to do the same for 2014. Given my new work situation, I'm going to simplify a bit and also not plan on taking on any major renovation projects. Ok, with that said, here we go!

1. Finally take care of those pesky dark wood doors and trim. We've been in our house for 3 years now and the ugly wood trim is still only about half painted. I've still got the girls bedrooms and the playroom to go. Up first, is the playroom where Mr. Freckle has already prepped the door and trim for me. Isn't he sweet?

2. Try woodworking
Specifically, trim and molding (see below). I literally have never cut a piece of wood. How crazy is that? I also haven't the foggiest idea how to do angles. Time to learn! We already have a table saw but Mr. Freckle and I are pining over a chop saw.

3. Finish the dining room.
When we renovated our kitchen and dining room, we left this one little nook of the dining room unfinished. {Here's an old post about that project.} The plan is to do built in cabinets for storage with possibly uppers with glass doors later down the line.

We're going to use two 36 inch wide IKEA Akurum WALL cabinets as our base. They are 0nly 13 inches deep rather than base cabinets. And here's where some woodworking comes in. I'd like to build the base for the cabinets to sit on and trim them out for that built-in look. Wish me luck!
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Then, for the top, I'm thinking of using Corian or other solid surface in white, marble-like appearance, but more resistant to staining. 
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4. Entry update. I've been thinking about this update for quite a while now (see here).
  • Paint trim (see #1 above)
  • Paint doors
  • Paint walls
  • Add decorative panel molding (see #2 above). My inspiration is what Carrie over at Hazardous Design did with her entry. Isn't it beautiful?
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5. Learn to sew
I've tried my hand at a few projects with no-sew tape and am ready to go for the real deal. {My parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas which I am so super excited about!} I think I'll start with some napkins or pillow covers. Luckily my friend Z (see here for her help with the DIY roller shades) is an expert and willing to help me along.

6. And, last but not least, I'd like to learn how to use the manual features on my DSLR camera. I spent some time this fall experimenting with the automatic functions {see this post } but now I'd like to see what it can really do!

What about you? What are your goals or plans for 2014?

xoxo,
Chris

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Freckles

Happy Christmas Eve! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Berry Lane!

I didn't get to a Christmas card this year but I did add a few touches around the house. First, I tried adding a strand of red ornaments to my vase display. Freckle Boy walked by and said, "Well, that looks odd and unnatural." Time to keep experimenting huh?

I think this turned out better. Draping the ornaments on a bed of fresh trimmings from our tree. Added some more branches to what I already had in the vase, and there you go.

Our tree is pretty simple this year. I went for a silver and red look but we still have plenty of homemade and personal decorations on there too.

And, why no tree skirt you ask? Well. Because our cat pees on it. Sad, but true. I thought we'd have to live our Christmas days looking at the ugly tree stand until I came across a genius idea of using a large basket or galvanized bucket, like these:
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Too bad our tree was already decorated when I made that discovery! But there's always next year. The kitchen phone shelf got a little spruce up for the season as well.

I think my owl cookie jar in my family's Scottish plaid just about takes the cuteness cake!

For a sneak peek at how I decorated for the holidays last year, see this post. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Banister Update Part 1 {"Quick and Easy" turns DIY Disaster}

Do you ever have one of those days where you set out to check an "easy" project off your list, only to find that it's a total disaster? Yeah, me too. I've been wanting to give our entry a face lift for quite a while now (see here for details).

For Christmas, we usually wrap the banister in a garland and hang our stockings so they're not in the way while we use the fireplace. This year I wanted to quickly stain the banister black and paint the stiles white before decorating for the holidays.

So, I followed advice from Young House Love and bought Minwax PolyShades (stain and poly top coat in one) in Black. It's supposed to work on previously stained wood with just a light sanding and two coats. Sounds awesome!

Step 1: Sanding. No prob.
Step 2: Apply a thin coat.
The first problem I encountered is that my coat was not thin enough. I started to notice a lot of dripping action. I tend to have a heavy hand with paint so this didn't surprise me.
Step 3: Spill half of stain onto self. Check.
Luckily I was wearing my "house robe" but still, not cool.
Step 4: Finish applying stain. Frantically try to mediate drips.
Step 5: Clean up.
Now, I've only really worked with paint and regular poly which both clean up super easily. This stuff? Not so much. My hands and the brush were sticky and filthy and no amount of soap was touching it.
Step 6: Hammer the lid back onto the container so I can read the fine print about clean up. Paint splatters all over kitchen floor, granite counter, and brand new iPhone. Frantically try to clean up splatters, yet hands are still sticky black messes.
Step 7: Directions call for mineral spirits. Head to the basement, navigate the various junk obstacles, and use grubby hands to dig through the paint supplies for mineral spirits...AKA paint thinner (with "mineral spirits" in teeny tiny print).
Step 8: Successfully clean up hands and brush. Double-check splatters. Successfully salvage new iPhone.
Step 9: Assess my beautiful work. After one coat, the banister is streaky, drippy, and generally looks like total ass. Fun!
Step 10: Pour large glass of wine. Done!

Lessons learned:
Read the directions.
Wear gloves.
Use very VERY thin coats.

Hoping that the next round on the banister will go more smoothly! Wish me luck.