Magnetic Kitchen Chalkboard

Our kitchen doesn’t have a lot of wall space.  There’s only two places to hang anything.  One is in our breakfast nook next to our pantry/laundry room and the other is between the kitchen and dining room.  For the last few years I had our calendar on the wall between the kitchen and dining room, but  I wanted somewhere we could also put up invitations, reminders, etc.  Our refrigerator is stainless steel and not magnetic on the front.  A lot of things end up lost on our kitchen counter.

My hope was to just paint a section of wall with magnetic paint, but after some searching, a lot of bloggers have found magnetic paint is not all that magnetic.  Most suggested to avoid disappointment, just to use metal in a frame of some sort.

So I went to my local Goodwill and found a tall skinny frame to fit my sliver of wall.  Then while at Home Depot on an end cap, I spotted small pieces of sheet metal.  I asked the Hubs if he would be able to cut it and he said yes.  If you go to Home Depot, it was part of a display with both solid and patterned sheet metals.

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The frame got a coat of white spraypaint.  The sheet metal got a coat of spray primer and then four coats of chalkboard paint. I decided I preferred the look of a chalkboard instead of just the plain metal in the frame.

FrameMetalWTR

Make sure to get your chalkboard paint stirred at the counter and read the directions.  After painting the metal, I let the metal sit for three days to cure.  Then I rubbed chalk all over the surface and erased to “prep” the chalkboard surface.  I don’t anticipate using the chalkboard part as much as the magnetic part, but I wanted it prepped just in case.

Then I stuck the metal back into the frame and hung it on our wall.  I added a hook onto the bottom of the frame for our calendar.  Hopefully this will help keep me a bit more organized and give us a place to display important things, like Ella’s birth announcement.

MagneticChalkboardWTRIt was definitely a fairly quick and easy project.  Now we have a spot to hang important papers and invites and a place to hang our family calendar that keeps track of important dates and appointments.

I do have a good amount of chalkboard paint left over, but I’m toying with another project using it, so it won’t go to waste.

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Reupholstering Dining Room Chairs

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22 I feel like I’ve seen a million blog post tutorials on reupholstering/recovering dining room chairs. Brace yourself – here’s another.

So over a year ago when we were still in our small townhouse my husband goes outside to do something in the yard and comes back in with a dining room table and 8 – count them – 8 chairs! Our neighbor was getting rid of it and offered it to us. It was a nice quality (read: real wood) dining set he had bought and refinished. After I got over the initial shock of him hauling in all these pieces (the table came apart) out of nowhere, I agreed to keep it since we had space in our unfinished basement to store it until we eventually could move to a larger home with a real dining room (not gonna lie, I initially thought ‘great now we have more to take to the dump’).

2013-09-01 17.03.44watermarkedSo the downside, you are probably figuring out, was the ugly fabric on the chairs (you can’t see the multicolored speckles on the dingy cream fabric in the photo above). I had already seen (and pinned!) several tutorials by that point so I knew it wasn’t going to be too big of a feat to take on.

Once we moved we set up the dining room I got to the task of choosing fabric. The room is a nice red color that we planned on keeping so that made it a little easier to choose fabric. After a rec from Jess, I went to Fabric.com and narrowed it down to about 5 different patterns for my husband to choose from, and fortunately we agreed on one.

The hardest part was figuring out how much to buy! I didn’t want to buy too little so I had my husband do the math and we ended up buying 4 yards. With all said and done we do have a good bit left that I’ll use for other things I’m sure. 

In my husband’s typical fashion we’ve had the fabric sitting around for about 7 months. I initially thought I could tackle this by myself and maybe some people could but I’m glad I waited for his help. I think it’s a good two person job to make sure the fabric gets as tight as possible. 

I ended up following this tutorial – it’s short and sweet. You need: 

  • Fabric (cut 3 inches larger than the wooden seat base)
  • Batting – I didn’t go fancy here and got probably the thinnest batting they had (cut 2 inches larger than the wooden seat base)
  • Foam – we went with 2″ thick and can’t imagine anything thinner (cut 1/2 inch larger than the wooden seat base)
  • Staple gun
  • Something to cut with (we used a utility knife for the foam and just scissors for the batting and fabric)
  • Measuring tool and pencil
  • Screw driver

We bought our foam and batting at JoAnn Fabric.

  1. First you need to unscrew the seat base from the chair and pop it off the chair.
  2. 2013-09-01 17.25.06weather2013-09-01 17.03.38watermarkedTear off all of the old fabric, etc. I don’t know what the pro way is but we just used a flat head screwdriver to pull up the old staples and then pliers to pull them out. Then peel off the old foam/batting/fabric and rejoice. Try not to gag at the oldness (or ‘butt dust’ as my husband called it) of the materials.
  3. Trace your seat base around each material with your measuring tool (ruler, t-square – whatever) based on the measurements above (1/2 inch, 2 in, 3 in) and cut the pieces out.
  4. Lay down the fabric, batting, foam, wooden seat base and get to stapling!

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We decided to have my husband kneel on the layers to compress the foam so we could be sure the fabric was going to be as tight as possible and then he pulled all the layers up and over and I stapled the pieces down. 

DSC_0653watermarkedAnyone will tell you the corners are the hard parts. We did all the sides first and then went back to do the corners. The best explanation is to doing them like you’d wrap a package. It was a little bit of a struggle making sure that the sides stayed smooth while trying to fold the corners but we just kept playing with it. The tutorial I details tips on doing corners.DSC_0657watermarkedDSC_0658watermarked

You may notice he took over the stapling when it came to the corners, it was such a tight area that he didn’t want to run the risk of me stapling his fingers!

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It doesn’t have to be pretty under here – no one will ever see it until they go to recover them again and at that point, who cares!DSC_0660watermarked5.   Flip it over and screw the seat base back on to the chair, take a seat and marvel at your handy work! Side tip: we took note of where the screw holes in the wooden base were and worked to not cover them with fabric so we could easily use the same holes when screwing them back in. We also kept all the screws with the chair it came from. I don’t think they were any different but we didn’t want to have any question. 

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I’m so happy to have this task done! It’s one of my bigger DIY projects – I’m not very adventurous as far as DIY goes so this was big for me and I’m really happy with how they turned out!

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First Time Homebuyer Update – Final Edition

You read that post title correct, this is the final installment of this series.  When I last left you (many many months ago), we had just started the hunt for our first house.  I have to say, I did withhold a small tidbit of information in that post.  In fact, on the day that post was published, we put an offer in on our first home.  The following day we found out that our offer was accepted.

Let me back up a little bit, how did we get there when I talked about just beginning to look and casually going to open houses. Well, that part was true.  We had just started going to open houses to get a feel for what we liked and what we didn’t.  And it was great.  I highly recommend it.  It really helped us to narrow down what we were looking for in our future home.  But then on a day filled with several open houses, we happened upon a house and as soon as we walked in, we knew it was the one.  We left the walk through and each knew we loved many features about the house.  We started on our way to the next open house talking about what we loved about it.  I suggested to my husband that we call my parents and have them meet us at the house to see what they thought.  He hemmed and hawed for a few minutes, then said “let’s call your parents”.  They met us back at the house, and were equally impressed.  We called his parents as well and let them know.  A few days later they made the trek in to town and visited the house as well.  Again, they also approved of the house.

We had a small wrench thrown in because there was another house that a coworker had told me about. It was conveniently located behind the house we loved.  We arranged for a showing with the owners (the house wasn’t officially on the market yet).  It was very nice, however it was a bit over our price range, and the taxes were higher as well.  But it showed us what the other house could look like after we do a few small improvements.  We called our realtor that night to schedule time to put an offer on the first house.  And luckily it was accepted (there was another offer that came in just after the seller had accepted our offer – come to find out it was our now neighbor that put an offer on the house).

We had the inspection, and nothing came back that we didn’t expect.  Then it was on to the mortgage application.  Everything went well there, and we were officially under contract.  Then we played the waiting game.  We had a tentative closing date of April 12.  Well that day came and went.  Everything was great with the bank, they were waiting for the grant money we were supposed to receive from the state.  However, they were not really communicating to anyone what was going on.  A few weeks later and we still waiting.  At this point our bank stepped in and started calling to find out what was going on.  Come to find out, rather than taking the typical 30 days after mortgage approval to obtain the grant, the state was taking more like 60.  So, we waited.  And finally go word that we were ready to close.  So we finally closed on May 13th.  Yes, a full MONTH after our originally scheduled closing date.

We finally moved in a week later and since have been working on making our first house, our HOME. We are officially homeowners now.  Now you can look forward to many posts as we travel the road of home improvement projects.

So without further adieu, some pictures of our new House!! **Be warned this is going to be photo heavy!  Click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

 

The House!!

The House!!

Living Room

Living Room

Dining room with the amazing stained glass made by the previous owner!

Dining room with the amazing stained glass made by the previous owner!  Didn’t get a picture of the leaded glass french doors that lead from the living room to the dining room.

Sunroom before and after painting.  This photo doesn't really do the before color justice.  It was AWFUL!

Sunroom before and after painting. This photo doesn’t really do the before color justice. It was AWFUL!

Beautiful wood staircase with a wood & glass door at the landing.  Every room in the house has hardwood floors.  They are exactly what I wanted!

Beautiful wood staircase with a wood & glass door at the landing. Every room in the house has hardwood floors. They are exactly what I wanted!

Upstairs Hallway from the landing.

Upstairs Hallway from the landing.

Guest bedroom on the left, office on the right.

Guest bedroom on the left, office on the right.

Master bedroom before the new paint color. Guest appearance by my father-in-law who amazingly volunteered to help do a bit of painting ;)

Master bedroom before the new paint color. Guest appearance by my father-in-law who amazingly volunteered to help do a bit of painting ;)

Josh ready for painting!  These painters overalls belonged to his Great-Grandfather.  It has paint from each of the male family member's houses on it.  Including our house now!

Josh ready for painting! These painters overalls belonged to his Great-Grandfather. It has paint from each of the male family member’s houses on it. Including our house now!

Stained glass in the master bedroom with the new paint color on the walls.  Still blue, but a much lighter shade!

Stained glass in the master bedroom with the new paint color on the walls. Still blue, but a much lighter shade!

Tiny Bathroom

Tiny Bathroom

Attic.  Eventually we plan to finish this off and use it for a family room/playroom when we have kids.

Attic. Eventually we plan to finish this off and use it for a family room/playroom when we have kids.

So there you have it.  Well minus the kitchen (and the basement-which isn’t all that creepy).  We do have one, and I’ll post pictures of it eventually.  I’m not sure how I managed to forget the kitchen while taking these pictures.  Obviously, many things have changed since we closed on the house.  There is actually furniture and our stuff in the house.  I’ll definitely post some pictures later of some of the rooms with our stuff in them at some point later on as well.

One of the cool things about having an old house, we also got the old school skeleton keys that work on many of our doors.  I promise this isn’t the last you’ll hear about the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dog and Baby – What We Did

I’m caveating this post with , this is what we did to get Sadie ready for Ella.  It’s not professional advice, but based on our research and our dog’s personality, it’s what is so far working for us.

Sadie is a huge part of our family.  She was, after all our first baby, our first child.  She was the one we got up with in the middle of the night to let out, the one we took to training, and the one we take to daycare.  It was important for us to make sure that she was just as prepared, if not more than us, for Ella’s arrival.

Sadie had already spent some time with kids long before we were pregnant.  We had family and friends with babies, toddlers, teens, etc.  It’s also important to note that Sadie knows who her pack leaders are and she is an excellent listener and follows commands.  If we thought she needed refresher training, we would have looked into it as part of our preparation.

As we were preparing for Ella, we made sure to include Sadie on the nursery prep.  So if we were doing things in the room, she was in the room.  We are not “no pets in the nursery” people.  Since it used to be the rarely used guest room, it was important for us to teach Sadie that this room would be now used.  We spent a lot of time in the room, getting it ready and Sadie was right by our sides.

Once we decided on a name, we also started calling the baby that.  So we would use Ella’s name in converation, talking about my belly, saying “Ella’s room” to her.  So if we were going upstairs to do something in the nursery we would say “Come on let’s go in Ella’s room.”  So she knew the name and would be familiar with it.

Thankfully since I went into labor on my due date (although Ella didn’t arrive until the next day), my parents were in town.  We were fortunate that Sadie stayed with them while we were in the hospital, so she was being watched by familiar people.  And let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure she loves the grandparents more than us.  It was also nice my parents had her because we had them take home the blanket Ella was wrapped in.  When the Hubs went for Ella’s first bath, he asked the nurse if we could have the blanket and she said “You have a dog, don’t you.”  So when my parents came the next morning, we gave them the blanket for Sadie to smell.  My mom actually put the blanket on the couch and Sadie ended up laying on that blanket the entire next night.

EandSadieWTR3

Once it was time to head home, we asked my parents to head over there early, so Sadie would be in her home to greet us.  The Hubs had read online for me to go in alone and greet Sadie and then bring the baby in for them to meet.  So that’s what we did.  I went in and gave Sadie lots of love, then the Hubs came in with Ella and gave Sadie lots of love.  Then we put the carseat on our ottoman (which is one of Sadie’s favorite spots for greetings) and let Sadie smell Ella.  Initially she was sort of like “Yeah ok, whatever,” but then there was a bit more investigating and sniffing.

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Sadie is very gentle with Ella.  She was a bit confused at first with both of us home, this new person, us up several times a night, but now Ella is just part of the pack too.

Some of the things we’ve done is have Ella “give” Sadie a treat.  So if one of us was holding Ella, we would place a treat in Ella’s hand and have Sadie get the treat from her.  Sadie is always gentle when getting her treats, so we just say “gentle” and Sadie then licks the treat out of the hand.  We also have Sadie help us “wake” up Ella.  So when I was home on maternity leave, when Ella woke up up I will say “Let’s go get Ella” and Sadie and I go up to her room to get her.

The best part for Sadie about Ella’s arrival are the walks.  Ella, like many babies went through the witching hour phase.  One of the things that would calm her would be walks in the evening, Ella loves looking up at the trees and sky.  So after dinner we go for walks as a family and Sadie of course loves it.

EandSadieWTR2

Sadie really has embraced Ella as her “sister.”  She is always gentle around her, very aware of her being around, especially since Ella spends a lot of time on the floor on her play mat and blanket.  I’m glad things are going well so far.  We joke that once Ella starts throwing the food on the floor, she will be Sadie’s favorite of the whole family!

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Meet Ella

Hey readers, in case you haven’t noticed, the Wives took a bit of a summer vacation. Sometimes life takes over and things fall to the side. We hope to be back in the fall with some more content.

Well I left you all hanging with the Nursery Reveal and then never revealed the baby girl it was for! Well that post actually went up after Ella was already here! I won’t bore you with the long version of my labor and delivery, but let’s just say I went into labor on my due date, April 27, was in labor for 37 hours, and Ella was born on April 28. Oh and to the lady who taught our Childbirth Preparation class who said early labor wasn’t so bad, she lied! I actually went to the hospital after being in labor about 4 hours and not being able to talk to the contractions and got sent home for not being progressed enough. So after another 11 hours at home and me begging the Hubs, we went back to the hospital and finally after another hour of walking the halls I was admitted.

In the end we ended up with a beautiful baby girl, weighing 7lbs 14oz, 21 inches long and a full head of hair! I could not have done it without the Hubs. He was seriously an amazing coach through it all and took charge because I was in no state to deal with anything (yay epidurals!). And as soon as she was born, he was Dad, right away.

And because really, this post is nothing without pictures, this first picture is from the hospital where she was less than 24 hours old. The nurses the night before were so in love with her hair and when Hubs brought her back they had given her a little baby mowhawk. (Side note- the Hubs if he was allowed, went with Ella to all of her hospital appointments. So if your husbands want to do that while you rest in the room, don’t be afraid to ask!)

Ella-Newborn

We also had an amazing newborn photographer come out to the house when Ella was just a week old and do some photos. This is one of my favorites.

Ella-7-Days

I’ve been home with Ella for 12 weeks now and it has been an amazing and roller coaster journey being a new mom. My job doesn’t provide any maternity leave, so I’m using sick time and vacation time to be home with her. I still have another 2 weeks before I go back to work.

It’s been so fun to see Ella’s personality grow every day. She is such a happy girl, only getting upset when she’s tired or hungry. She’s become a great sleeper, sleeping mostly through the night since six weeks. This also means she’s not the best napper, but I’m not complaining. I’m sure she’ll understand the benefits of the afternoon nap like her mom, one day. Sadie is doing amazing at being a big sister, now that she realizes this little person isn’t going anywhere. We know once the food starts hitting the floor, they’ll be best friends!

And just because I can’t resist, here’s a picture I snapped on my phone this week. Just can’t get enough of this little girl’s smile!

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Abercrombie and Fitch “Cool Club”

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I woke up this morning, and did my usual routine. Wake up, roll over, check Facebook on my phone. The first thing that popped up was this picture, shared by a friend. It took me a while to grasp it. I re-read it a few times. Is this a joke? Are you kidding me?

I forgot about it, went and did my usual morning routine. When I got to work I saw it again. That’s when it really bothered me. The first thing I thought of is- WHO is this guy? Does he know he looks like Gary Busey? Has he looked in a mirror? Is he a child molester, because he looks like one. But then of course, I would be stooping down to his level.

Obviously Mr. Jeffries was the kid who got picked on at school when he was a child. That’s what usually happens. Then they grow up and think they are the shit, and grow some balls. It’s okay though. Everyone has a right to their opinion….

It is perfectly fine that Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t want to carry clothes for larger women. There are many stores that do that. I am not pissed about that. The thing that pisses me is that he says:

” We go after the attractive All-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, THEY CAN”T BELONG “

Belong to what?

Your stupid way of thinking that you are better then everyone else? Is there a screening process before someone walks into your store and buys something? Is there a special club handshake also? If the “club” is anything like you, let’s put all of the members in a spaceship and send them on a one way ticket to Mars.

Another thing I took away from this is that size makes you popular. The skinnier you are, the more friends you have. Let me tell you something Mr. Jeffries, I’m a bigger girl. Does that mean I don’t have friends? I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I consider myself loved by many people. People even know me by name- can you believe that?!  Not by how many rolls I have.

I have heard people who have worked there say they were told to hire “Good Looking” people. They were told this from their managers and up. Ummm… just because someone is good looking, doesn’t mean that they are smart. Not only that, isn’t that illegal? Isn’t that like not hiring someone because they are fat?

I’m totally going to apply at every A&F in the area- just for fun. Just to see the faces on the managers. Speaking of every store in the area- I think it’s not down to about 2 in a 40 mile radius because umm.. they are all closing. hmmm I wonder why. And I wonder if they will all close now. Must be because I live near fat and ugly people. Mr. Jeffries I really hope your ready to be poor.

So Mr. Jeffries, the next time you feel the need to speak your mind about the requirements for your store and how not all girls meet those because they are not pretty enough or slim enough, then maybe you should take a long look at yourself and make sure that you meet those standards as well. You are one of the most ignorant people I have ever seen. And that is not “cool”

Good luck to you.

 

 

KIM

Shaina’s Nursery Reveal

After years months of planning, baby girl’s nursery is complete!  I knew I wanted to keep it somewhat neutral, both because the Hubs requested it, but also because hopefully this is a room that can evolve with her for a few years before she demands we re-decorate.

Before we knew the sex, I knew I wanted a nautical theme, with a neutral greige as the background, navy as an accent and then either pink or green depending on the anatomy scan.  Well as you know from our painting stripes post, it became navy and pink!

I will say, initially I struggled with the “DIY everything” versus buying things.  In the end, with doing most of the work over the winter and how cold it has been (anyone seen Spring?) we ended up buying the furniture.  I would have loved to re-do a dresser, but it just didn’t work out.  I’m ok with that, because there’s always a chance it will happen in the future.

So here is Ella’s Nursery!

Nautical Girl's NurseryWhen you walk in, we have a set of Ikea Trofast.  I wanted to go ahead and put some toy storage in the room.  There’s not much in there, but as the toys multiply, this will hopefully help give them a place to go.  Next to that is a nightstand for feedings and blackout curtains.

Nautical Girl's NurseryWe opted for a large leather rocker recliner from a local furniture store.  Since we only plan on having one child and we decided to splurge on something that once we don’t need it in the nursery, the Hubs is going to move it down to the family room to be the “man chair.”

Nautical Girl's NurseryI put together the artwork behind the chair from things I had found online.  The frames are from Ikea.

Nautical Girl's NurseryThen we have the crib, with sailboat sheet and a crib skirt made by my mom.  The crib skirt fabric is navy blue with anchors.

Nautical Girl's NurseryNext to the crib on the wall opposite the window is the dresser with changing pad on top.

Nautical Girl's NurseryWe decided on the Ikea Hemnes dresser, but changed the knobs to pink (same as the nightstand).  The dresser has a ton of storage in it.  I spray painted a mirror I found on clearance pink to match.  The diaper cake is from my shower.

Nautical Girl's NurseryFinally, next to her closet door (where the clothing dividers live) is an Ikea Billy Bookcase (notice a theme?).  It’s not very full yet, but we’ve decided that if anyone asks what she needs, we’ll let them know they can add to her book collection.  The top shelf are Steiff bears that my grandparents gave me as a child with a couple other sentimental ones also.

So that’s a quick tour of the nursery.  I loved how it turned out and really hope it’s something that can grow with her.

Sources:Toy Storage: 2 Ikea Trofast Frames, 4 white bins, 4 pink bins
Nightstand: Ikea Hemnes, Pink Knobs (Lowe’s in store)
Curtains: Pottery Barn Kids
Rocker/Recliner: Haverty’s
Ottoman: Amazon
Crib: Baby Mod Parklane
Crib Sheet: CoCaLo Pink Sailboat
Crib Skirt Fabric: Out to Sea
Nautical Prints: Jenna Sue Design
Dresser: Ikea Hemnes
Bookcase: Ikea Billy

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Coastal Guest Room Inspiration

We moved to our new house in November 2012 and not one room is decorated the way we want. We lucked out in that the former owners had selected neutral paint colors and had nice fixtures, etc so we didn’t have to make any major changes when we first moved in.  We wanted to take our time to think about how we really wanted to do things. I’m totally itching to get going now!

I know it’s going to be a pain to get my husband to agree on paint colors, he just doesn’t have the vision. However, I think there are a few rooms where I won’t need his opinion – my craft room and the guest room/bathroom. I recently decided I want to do a coastal theme for the guest room/bathroom. I think it easily makes people feel like they’re on vacation! Unfortunately, it will probably be the last of the rooms we decorate since it will be the least used but that’s not going to stop me from dreaming and planning. Dream with me today and check out some things I’ve pinned…

I think these colors are totally going to be the way to go. I love the bamboo, coral and aqua. I’m thinking some white and navy are also staples. 

It would be great if I could find one of these life preservers. That would take up a lot of wall space. Maybe one I could custom paint myself.

Starfish are a must, right? This was from Bed Bath and Beyond but is no longer available. Boo.

Anchor items are another must!

For the bathroom, I love apothecary jars so I think this would be perfect with starfish or shells. I also want to incorporate blue glass in there.

I don’t want to go too overboard with dreaming about these two rooms because like I said, we’ve got so many other rooms to worry about first but with the spring weather finally here and a recent trip to Target that had lots of coastal items, its hard to not get excited about it!

Images: 12, 3, 4, 5

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