Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Are Those Dinosaur Knobs? Why Yes They Are.

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I would say without a doubt my favorite project in the nursery has been the dresser.  It was an idea that Ricky and I came up with together and he executed all on his own.  The dresser is everything that I love in a good piece, its DIY, its creative, its unique, it’s the kind of thing people look at and say I’ve never seen that before and I love it.  We bought a used dresser at an antique store in town after Christy and I scoured for several days for $125.00.  We loved that it had plenty of storage, and that it could double as a changing table. 

However, we hated the paint job (it is perfect for someone…just not us and this room).  At first I wanted to strip it down to bare wood and stain it.  I felt the wood would add warmth to the room and an element of nature that the room currently lacked. 

After stripping the dresser it didn’t look like the wood was going to be in good enough shape to just stain so we had to come up with another plan.  Ricky said, “Why don’t we do a chalkboard dresser.”  I was totally on board.  To top that off I really wanted cool knobs in either red or white to be really graphic against the black of the dresser.  I had seen on pinterest where people were cutting kids plastic animals in half and using those for wall hooks and I thought they would be the perfect drawer handles.  After one scary trip to seriously the scariest dollar store I’ve ever been to we had a grouping of plastic dinosaurs for around $10.00. 

Ricky then used the miter saw to cut them in half. 

He filled them with a spray foam, and the key with this is you have to let the foam expand then add more trying to fill the dinosaur head without letting it overflow too much.  Once your foam is to a desired levelness (and ours are not perfect if you look closely at the dresser you can see that but that’s what makes it a DIY project) dip the dinos in paint of your choice.  We decided that the white would be the most graphic so all the filled dino heads took a couple of swims around the paint bucket.  We used the normal indoor Valspar white paint that we use for everything. 

Next, Ricky attached the knobs to the dresser by drilling though the dresser into the dinos using relatively long screws.  The last step is to put your awesome dinosaur handle dresser in the room (touch up the paint of course) and enjoy. 

We still need to “chalk” up the dresser some to get the full chalk board effect (maybe we’ll draw some football plays on it or something) but we love the way it looks.  It is something that Ricky really spent some time doing for our baby Jackson and that is my favorite part. 

I love so many things about my amazing husband but none more than the fact that I can say, “Honey, let’s go to a really creepy dollar store and get some animals to cut up, paint, and screw onto a dresser.” And he totally goes with me every time even saying, “I’m not sure it’s going to work but let’s see what we can do.”  It truly is the meaning of the wolfpack, going through life trying to figure it out making a lot of mistakes on the way with the real prize not of the end product but of the memories that you had laughing about how crazy the store was or how that really did turn out much better than you thought it could.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines Decorations...A Day Late

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It’s that time of year when the air is filled with love.  Pinterest is covered in recipes of chocolate and strawberries, and pictures of reds, pinks, and hearts.  And, quite frankly, lingerie ads make this prego woman long for her previously skinny tan body.  It’s February and Valentine’s Day is soon to come. 
My husband his spent these last 7 months dealing with the hormonal roller coaster that is pregnancy and as our family is to grow really soon we both are in anticipation of how this big change will change our relationship.   All of this makes my hyper aware of how wonderful our marriage is and how much I appreciate him and all that he does.  That being said this year I wanted to really take some time to notice and celebrate this the day of love.  And what better way to do that than with some inexpensive decorations to remind you what time of year.  (Not to mention they’re really cute!)

Requirements for décor are I wanted something that would be meaningful to us and remind us of what it’s all about.  But, the décor also needed to be inexpensive (because I’m cheap and we got a bun in the oven).  Here are the ideas that made the cut.

First, I started a bowl on the kitchen table where we write down little love letters to each other one for every day starting February first and ending the fourteenth.  Then on Valentine’s Day we can read these cute little declarations of love.  To do this I simply used red, craft color, and white card stock cut into squares and a sharpie.  Easy enough and cheap.

Next, for my beloved banner.  I found this one on pinterest it was a free banner printout.  Simply print on white cardstock and cut out.  I then attached it to craft colored twine with mini clothespins and taped to my mantle.  So cute and easy yet so cheap.

Finally I wanted to turn my message board in the kitchen into a message board of love.  So I took one of our favorite sayings and simply wrote in on here.  Cost, free, impact cuteness.

Hopefully, you can be inspired to take a little time to truly remember what makes your valentines special on the cheap.  Happy Valentine’s Day everybody.          

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kitchen Artwork Redo...You Know For When You Don't Get It Right The First Time

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As you might recall our in our kitchen we have this side board esque Ikea piece with art above it.  Like many other times when you envision something for your home and you add it, it just doesn’t quite capture the essence of what you had in your head.  Originally, I wanted to accent my gray and white kitchen with vintage teals and yellow.  However, after seeing it come to life it just wasn’t all that I thought it would be.  So recently I decided to make some changes instead accenting with more foodish, industrial vintage pieces to accent the industrial colors of gray and white mixed with the natural colors in the flooring. 

First, lets jog our memory of what it looked like before.

As I browsed the internet I found this wonderful calendar on etsy.  It was modern, but had that vintage printed industrial aspect mixed with food so I ordered it.  Next, I had to find a way to replace the canvases above the side board with this calendar on the cheap.  So while Christy and I were working on other projects for the nursery we painted the canvases over in chalkboard paint (already on hand) and sewed mini clothes pins onto the canvas to make it complete.  I love how these turned out.

Here's what it looks like now....

They look amazing with the chalkboard and the metals and grays of the kitchen.

Once again a really simple and cheap project reusing what you already have, and using the gracious help of other wolfpackers.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Getting The Garden Started

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This year I am taking another stab at the gardening thing.  First let’s recap the highs and lows of last year’s garden.
First, what was successful for us. 

Tomatoes:  We found these to be very easy to grow but I wish I had started my seeds earlier.  The other problem we still faced with them was lack of a sturdy tomato cage.  Another thing is we grew way too many and as I entered the first trimester of being sick as a dog I couldn’t stand the smell of tomatoes so we had to ask the neighbors to come get them.  They relished at this request as my tomato plants are right outside of their kitchen window and their tomato plants had not done so well.  So one could say that they were red with envy of my jungle o tomato and perplexed at why I was letting them rot on the vine.  The key I found to success with the tomatoes was miracle grow every 10 days.  

Cucumbers:  We had no trouble growing these either.  The only regret was the number of cucs I wasted on bad pickle recipes.  As it turns out the bread and butter pickles are far superior than I thought and we will be making more of these this year.  I also want to try some more refrigerator pickles.

Basil, Cilantro, Cherry tomatoes, Lettuce:  All of these did relatively well on my porch last year.  However, and I will cover this is detail in a minute an addition to the family and his new habits have made me have to rethink how we are going to do this this year.

What didn’t work for us.

Bell peppers:  They just didn’t do much for us at all.  The plan of attack this year, chicken wire cloches, miracle grow and love.

Lettuce in the yard: while on the porch lettuce did well in the yard the rabbits got to it before it even had a chance.  The plan this year, chicken wire cloches, and shade provided by a new cucumber trellis.

Anything late in the year on the “dirt box”:  Max our beautiful Bassett hound baby has decided that things should not grow on his porch.  So the beautiful yellow garden box Ricky built for me quickly became his favorite toy.  Some people have a sand box for their kids I have a dirt box for my dog he digs anything out of it you put in there and then lays on the dirt to sunbathe.  The plan of attack on this I’m not sure I have had dreams of a beautiful container garden on that porch brimming with flowers and herbs but Max simply refuses to allow that to happen.  I’m sure we will let you see what we try and how that goes.

New on the list this year
Strawberries, I am really excited to grow them.  I envision a planter like this on the side of the house brimming with beautiful red strawberries.

Starting seeds really early.  Last year one of the things I regretted was starting my seeds late.  That being said I spent some time recently starting my seeds.  Last year we used the burpee seed starting kit but this year (in an effort to save money) I used left over egg cartons with a Rubbermaid storage container.  I also started a lot less seeds as I found last year that I ended up with way to many seedlings that were just tossed away. 
So here is the start to this year’s bounty of amazing produce.  Can’t wait to see what these bring.

Versus last years seeds in the Burpee seed starting kit...

Friday, February 8, 2013

ABCDEFG...Oh My Goodness Please Kill Me!

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We’ve been away for a while but we’re back and boy have we been busy.  If there is one room that we all dream of doing I would say the nursery is it.  No one more than I had scoured pinterest and other far reaches of the internet for inspiration.  However, when it came time to decide what to do in the nursery too many ideas flooded my mind.  Which one to choose?  At first we knew we wanted a really cool graphic wallpaper to cover the wall behind the crib.  I ordered a few samples of my favorites and had so much trouble ordering them that I decided it might be best to go a different direction.  The other issue with the wallpaper is have you seen the price.  I calculated $800.00 for one wall….have you lost your mind.  My next idea was to take some of my samples and create a stencil from them to stencil on the wall.  Ricky was in disbelief; “Can you even do that?” he would ask.  Well of course you can that is if you can decide on which colors to use.  So off to Lowe’s we went for paint samples.  We picked up a grouping of I believe 12 or 13 with different colors of blue and bright orange.  I hated all of them.  The next day while Ricky was at work I went to Lowe’s and picked up some greens and reds, after much time deciding on the perfect blue greens and red I went home and tried them on the wall.  I loved them they were the perfect colors.  I couldn’t wait for Ricky to get home and see them so we could start on the nursery that seemed like we would never get paint on the walls.  He arrived home and I ushered him into the color palate of green, but, to my surprise, his face turned less than excited.   He could tell that I loved the colors and wanted to love them for me but I could see it on his face.  I would not be getting my well-deserved perfect color choice for our first born son award as Ricky quietly stated, “I hate green.” I replied, “All greens?” yes he meant all greens he hates the entire family of green from grassy to teal.  Back to the drawing board and my iPad as another hunt for the perfect nursery scheme unfolded on pinterest.  There it was a wall of letters in red with white back drop.  I could make a stencil of letters it would be great.  So the next day back to Lowe’s for the perfect red and for the other 3 walls a blue that almost bordered on aqua to accent that best red ever.  This time the colors were easy to find and Ricky quickly agreed we found the one.  Now to decide how to get the letters on the wall.  Ricky could totally see how time consuming this was going to be but not me I was overcome with the awesomeness that I knew this room could be.  After some debate it was decided that we would get an overhead projector from Ricky’s school trace letters of different sizes and fonts onto the wall and then hand paint them all.

This is what the room looked like before

Here we are after all the color swatches.

I thought this would take a week max, boy was I wrong.  There have been many a tear shed over this one wall in my home.  But, it did turn out really amazing.  Here are some pictures of the process…

And after the wall is painted the white backdrop.

Gotta have some helper paws so here's Lunches supervising the project.

Here's Max desperately needing attention laying amongst the transparencies.

And finally after weeks and weeks of tears and gracious help.  Here it is ta da is in order here.


The look I’m going for here is the one I use in the rest of the house and that is pick a whole slew, gaggle, lot, of stuff you adore and put it together.  You always end up with an eclectic mix of styles that is perfectly you.  The key is to repeat some of the elements so that it looks a little thought out.  So, for example, I’m looking for a black and white pillow for the crib (decorative) to mirror what’s going on with the dresser.  The curtains, another example, will have a repeat of fabric in the crib skirt (you know once we get to that).  There are several elements of wood toys, several elements of gray, etc.  We really love the way that this room is turning out and can’t wait for you to see the finished product.