Dresser Makeover Project

I had quite a few projects that I wanted to get done over my summer break and I must admit that several of them aren’t finished.  I still have time right?  It’s not like school starts in a couple days or anything… oh wait…

Anyway, one of them that IS finished was making over this dresser which was passed down to us from Steve’s grandma.  Here it is in it’s original form:

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This was something I’d wanted to do for a while and was actually excited to work on, as opposed to something like painting the bathroom (which happens to still be unfinished, oops!).

For anyone that is into this sort of thing, I’ll give the breakdown of what I did here.  If you’re just curious to see how it turned out and don’t care as much about the details, skip to the bottom for a picture!

I had to do all my work during Natalie’s nap time, so this project spread over the span of about 5 or 6 days total, I didn’t keep an exact  count.  I set up my work station in the garage for good ventilation.

Prep work was the first step and included removing old hardware, patching up some scratches and dents, sanding, and gluing some loose edges.

For paint I chose Behr Bleached Linen in semi-gloss to do the body of the dresser and the drawers.  Below is a sample of how it looked after the first coat.

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It took a solid 3 coats to get it covered the way I wanted and I ended up doing a 4th coat just to make sure, but it went on smoothly, dried well, and has a nice clean finish.  I used an angled brush for all of the painting and it worked well.  You can see brush strokes but that doesn’t really bother me.

I wanted to do the top in black for contrast and had originally picked Behr Cracked Pepper (also in semi-gloss) but once it was on it looked too gray to me.  Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but this is the Cracked Pepper color on top.

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I let it sit for a few days while I looked at it off and on and tried to decide what to do.  In the end I knew I wanted change it to be truly black as well as glossier.  I picked up Glidden Black Onyx in high gloss and that did the trick!  Two coats and it covered beautifully.

For the new hardware I chose black handles and knobs to match the black top.  I stuck with things that could fit to the existing holes so I didn’t have to fill anything or drill new spots.

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Okay, so those are the details, now for the “reveal”, haha!  Here is the original again, just as a reminder, followed by the finished product!

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I’m super happy with how this turned out!  We’re not using as a dresser actually but have it in our dining room instead as a buffet table.  It’s a great place for extra storage and decoration.

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I’m not HGTV ready, but I do think I’ll take on another furniture painting challenge in the future… this was fun!

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Playing House and Keeping House

Lately I find that our house has been taken over by toys.

There are toys in the family room and the living room.  There is an entire playroom upstairs dedicated to toys.  There are toys in our bedroom that I brought in for the purpose of keeping Natalie busy while I got ready for church.  There are toys in the basement being stored for when she’s big enough to play with them.

And guess what?

I love it.

To me those toys (and books, and blankets, and clothes…) are a happy reminder that a child lives here.  A little girl that I have the privilege of raising and loving and playing with and cleaning up after.

When I pick up her stuff in the family room, one of my favorite things is rearranging the doll house.

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The house was passed down to us and has just a couple people with it right now, but I’ve filled it with animal friends as well.  I like moving the furniture around and setting all of them up in different spots.

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I’ve always enjoyed “playing house”, but I’m not necessarily the best at “keeping house”.  That is to say, if you dropped in on a surprise visit there would probably be some part of my house that I would wave my hand and apologize for saying, “Sorry the house is such a mess right now.”

See how I throw that “right now” in at the end?  I thought I only did it out of habit, but now I’ve realized there’s probably more to it.  Maybe I hope those extra words will make it seem like the house is usually spotless, and you just caught me on an off day, or something like that.  I never planned it out that way, it just dawned on me recently as a logical explanation for my habitual comment.

(Please note: I don’t mean to imply that my house is grossly dirty.  The mess I refer to is more of the cluttered variety.  Just felt I had to clarify that, haha!)

Anyway, I don’t really have an excuse to explain away my sub-par housekeeping skills.  I mean, I have reasons that I know contribute, but that’s not the point.

I’ve read blogs/articles with strategies and tips for keeping a spotless house.  I’ve read other blogs/articles saying that moms should just focus on the time with kids and let the cleaning wait for later.

I don’t think either one is right or wrong.  Maybe a little of both is best?

Or, better yet, contentment.  Content but not complacent.

That is the point for me.

I’m not great at keeping up with housework.  It’s not a natural strong point for me, but I know I can develop some better habits and maintain things more than I do now.  I would like to do that.  I am working on that.

But…

I’m not going to beat myself up for the evenings when I want to just play with Natalie and leave the dishes piled in the sink.  Yesterday afternoon I spent her nap time cleaning, today I wrote this blog.  And I’m okay with both those scenarios.

Keeping house, for me, means doing my best for my family and my home.

It means being thankful for what I’ve been given.  It means swallowing my pride and not comparing myself to others.  It means being content where I’m at while still striving to improve on things that need improvement.  Most of all it means doing all things to the glory of God.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men

Colossians 3:23

I’m going to try to stop using that “right now” apology, so if you come to visit and the house is messy, just push aside the toys and settle in.  Maybe you can even help me with the next arrangement for Natalie’s dollhouse!

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A Woodland Playroom

It’s a gloomy morning outside, Natalie is napping, and I realized I haven’t blogged in a while… so I decided it would be a good time to cuddle up on the couch and share a bit more about the new house.

One of the nice things about this house is having more bedrooms, but since we don’t need them all for sleeping in right now, we decided to use one as a playroom for Natalie.

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The inspiration for this room came, in large part, from this beautiful quilt.  It was a gift made for Natalie by one of my best friend’s mom.  I love the colors and patterns and the sweet expressions on the faces of the birds.

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My mom found a curtain hanger with cute little owls on the end (hard to see in the picture above) and we hung the quilt on the wall.  It looks so pretty.

My mom also had an adorable set of woodland themed wall clings which tied in with the birds and owls on the quilt.

You can see the owl (with a sleepy face!) and the bear and bumble bees in the first two pictures.  This little fox is my personal favorite…

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… while Natalie is a big fan of the fawn, who she likes to give kisses to.

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There’s also a cute racoon hanging out above the other window, on the same wall as the quilt.

On the opposite wall there’s a set of hanging crates as well as a crate on the floor for easy access to stuffed animals.

IMG_8258The crates are all from Christmas Tree Shop and we used those 3M velcro strips to hang them on the wall.  They won’t hold much weight, but they can house a few decorations, as well as add some neat dimension to the wall.  (The squirrel hiding out above one of the crates is another favorite of mine!)

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For the most part the floor is clear, leaving lots of space to crawl around and play.  The closet has a shelving unit with toys, books, and some decorations.

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The set of bins on the second shelf from the bottom are also from Christmas Tree Shop (that place has all kinds of fun stuff!) and are easy to grab for Natalie to play with.  She’s at that stage where she loves taking things out of boxes, so they provide some good entertainment.

The princess books (top shelf) are another favorite because they’re the perfect size for her little hands.

Since Natalie is also a big fan of music, I made sure to put a radio in there.  I can play music from the iPod or the radio, but I can also close the closet to keep the cords mostly hidden as needed.

I love having this room to play in with Natalie.  Although we often hang out downstairs, it’s nice to have a change of scenery and some different toys for entertainment.  Now that she’s on the move, it’s also a (generally) safe place for her to crawl and explore.

I’m really happy with how our woodland playroom turned out!

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A Fresh Coat of Paint

It’s 2 months, to the day, since we moved into our new house.

During Natalie’s morning nap I spent some time working on one of the last painting jobs that remained on my list for the summer.  As I was painting I realized that I haven’t really written much about the new house.  So, since paint is on my mind, I decided that would be a good place to start!

We did quite a bit of painting in (and outside) this house.  Some of it was necessary, some of it was because we wanted to freshen things up, and some was so we could make the house feel more like ours.

As of today, all the bedrooms, the family room, and the kitchen have a new coat of paint.  Our bathroom is halfway done and I’m hoping to finish that this weekend.  The entire exterior of the house has also been painted.  Phew!

With lots of help from family, we completed all the interior painting ourselves.  The exterior we hired to be done.

The previous owners had already bought the exterior paint but then they didn’t schedule it to be done before listing the house.  So for the outside we just kept what they left, with the exception of the front door.

Previously the door was a sort of burnt orange/red color, now it is Surf Green (Sherwin Williams) and I really like how it turned out.

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Changing the door color was a simple way to give the house a different look and it’s definitely nice to see our own stamp on the house.

One of my favorite new colors inside the house is the accent wall we painted in our family room.  It’s called Rolling Pebble (Behr) and I love how it blends against the fireplace.

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A fireplace was one of the things we hoped to find in a new house, and I wanted to make it a true focal point of the room.  I think this color definitely helped achieve the look I was picturing.

It’s hard to capture in a photo, but the color seems to change tones throughout the day,  sometimes bringing out the grays and sometimes highlighting the browns of the stone.  It feels natural and cozy.

Another accent wall we did was in our bedroom.  The color is called Juniper Ash (Behr).

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I tend to be a fan of accent walls, as you may have guessed!  I feel like it’s a nice way to add some color and dimension to a room.  Plus I feel more confident picking a deeper, richer color when I know it’s only going on a single wall, haha!

We were able to get most of the painting done before we moved in, which not only saved us the hassle of trying to live in the midst of a painting mess, but also allowed us to move in with it feeling fresh and personalized.

There are decorations still to be hung and rooms still to be set up, but it’s a good feeling to look around at the fresh coats of paint throughout our house.  Even though there’s more to be done, we’ve come a long way to making it home.

 

 

 

 

My Life is a Project and Summer Challenge #4

I’m running a special on the blog today – two for the price of one!

Truthfully I meant to post these updates as two separate blogs, but we had a busy weekend so I’m smooshing them together into one.

My Life is a Project

The summer challenge for last week was to set aside some time to work on a project.  I was talking about it with my mom during the week and said, “my life is a project!”  We got a good laugh out of it, but that is actually a fairly accurate statement on where things are at right now.

Unpacking and setting up the new house is still a work in progress, so every week my mental to do list is full of projects.  When I look back at where we started with this house and where we’re at now, we have accomplished quite a bit.  There’s still more to be done, but we’re getting there a little at a time.

Before we even moved in, we tackled the project of painting.  With the help of family, we painted all the bedrooms, the family room, and the kitchen.  One thing that hadn’t been finished in the kitchen, however, was the trim.

Painting is a tougher thing to accomplish when it’s just me and Natalie at home, but I’ve been wanting to get the trim around the pantry and broom closet done this week so the doors could be hung up again.

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Mission accomplished!  Yes I know, exciting picture of white doors, haha!  Here’s a more interesting shot of something I had worked on previously.

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I used chalkboard spray paint to make a chalkboard inside the broom closet.  Now that the door is hanging again, it’s been fun to test it out.  It’s a good spot for grocery lists, to do lists, notes/reminders, Bible verses to memorize, etc.

This week I also set aside some time to work on a couple smaller things that I’ve been wanting to do.

I put together this frame to go in Natalie’s room…

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… and I loaded a bunch of kids music on my computer (thanks to old CDs my mom saved from when I was a kid!).

If I can get my college laptop to cooperate, I’m going to put a bunch of music on my older iPod so I can set it up in Natalie’s playroom.  That part of the project is yet to be done, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Summer Challenge #4

The challenge this week – make a time capsule.

This idea came to me one night while I was getting Natalie ready for bed and I thought it would be something fun and different to do.

Use an old shoebox, or even just a large envelope if you want, and fill it and seal it for a set amount of time.  I’m planning to do ours for a year, but you could go longer or shorter if you’d like.

Here are just a few ideas of what you could put inside…

  • A letter to your future self – write about things that are important to you now, what you hope might be happening in your life when you open the time capsule, etc.
  • A picture – we don’t print pictures as often now, so a hard copy of a photo or two from this point in your life would be fun to look back at when you open the time capsule
  • Something about current events and/or what is popular today – maybe the headline from the paper that day, or a list of the top 10 most played songs on the radio
  • A special item that relates to your life at the time – a ticket from a movie or event you attended, a card someone sent you, a page from a calendar your wrote your plans on
  • For young kids – have them draw/color a picture, write their name, trace their hand, etc.  I think it would be especially fun for younger kids to look back and see how much they have changed in a year.

What other ideas do you have?  I think we’re going to try to do this on August 1st so it’s an easy date to remember next year.  Have fun!

 

Fireflies

We’ve been living in the new house two and a half weeks now.  The first few nights here were interesting to say the least.

Jackson was adjusting to his new surroundings, and to the fact that we weren’t letting him in the bedroom.  He used to sleep in our room in the old house, but we decided to keep him on the first floor now, especially since we invested in new carpeting upstairs.

Needless to say, he wasn’t a happy pup.  And he made his displeasure known by whining/barking on and off the entire night.

Natalie also hadn’t been sleeping as well for a while, and that continued in the new house.

Natalie would cry, which set Jackson to barking.  I’d try to settle her down, while he was still making noise, and after a while she’d fall asleep.  Jackson would quiet down too, so I’d head back to our room and climb back in bed… and then Jackson would bark, and Natalie would cry, and we’d start all over again!

To say we were tired is an understatement.

On the first night, while rocking Natalie in her new room, I noticed something…

Fireflies.

Our backyard is full of them.

As I sat there in the darkness, I stared out the window at them. They flashed and flickered throughout the whole yard and I was filled with a sense of wonder.

I had been feeling pretty sentimental about leaving our first home.  I was happy to finally be moved into the new place, but everything felt different.  And while I knew I would enjoy the freshness that comes with living in a new house,  I also felt a desire to be settled.  To feel a sense of belonging.

Watching those fireflies, I felt comforted somehow.  I’m not quite sure why.  Maybe simply because they were something beautiful to appreciate about this new place.

As the days have passed, we’ve become more settled.  We’re all (thankfully!) getting more sleep.  Jackson has his cozy bed and his own spot in the laundry room/mudroom and he seems to have adjusted well.  Natalie is sleeping better too.  I don’t see the fireflies as often because we’ve fallen into a more normal routine.

Some of the freshness is wearing away.  And that is perfectly okay, because in it’s place is another feeling.  A feeling of belonging.  A feeling that this is becoming home.

 

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Within These Walls

I should have been expecting it, the sign in our yard.  After all, the house had been listed online for a couple days already.  And yet seeing the white post with the green and yellow board in our yard felt surreal.  It suddenly seemed so official.

For sale… our house.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited about our new house.  I’m so looking forward to making it our home.  But I’m also feeling a bit sentimental about leaving this one.

This was the first house we saw.  Yes, we really did buy the first house we looked at.  We looked at others too, but wanted this one in the end.

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I was running on the indoor track (it was my last semester of college) when Steve called to say our offer had been accepted.  He moved in a few weeks before we got married.  I remember bringing boxes of shower gifts over to unpack and practicing our first dance in the living room.  I moved in the day we got back from our honeymoon.  For almost six years this has been our home.

So much life has been lived within these walls.

We added to our family here, starting with a little puppy whose head barely stood above the snow in the backyard.

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We both changed jobs, a couple times.  I started, and finished, grad school.

We decorated and renovated, starting small and working our way up until all but three of the rooms had been fully painted and most of the upstairs floors replaced.

Six Christmas trees have been decorated in the living room.  Five anniversaries have passed.  Six birthdays (for each of us) have been celebrated, including a 1920’s themed murder mystery party for Steve’s 30th.

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There are some memories that stand out more than others.  The excitement that bounced off these walls when we found out we were expecting our first baby.  The grief that echoed in the rooms that felt too empty when we returned home without her.  The hope renewed as I decorated the nursery again.  The joy that filled these rooms when we carried Natalie through the door.

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But most of what has occurred here is the routine and normalcy of day to day life.

Meals cooked and eaten.  Conversations, laughs, tears, and quiet moments just being together.  Movies on Friday nights and sleeping in on Saturdays.  Laundry and dishes, yard work and shoveling snow.  Visits with family and friends.  Starting to learn what it means to be husband and wife, and later, to be a mom and dad.

The little everyday moments that pile upon one another to build a life.

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I’m excited about moving.  I look forward to seeing what life will bring in the next place we’ll call home.  It’s a new adventure to tackle together.

But this house will always hold a special place in my heart.  The memories we made within these walls will stay with me, even after we have left this, our first house.