Thursday, November 3, 2011

Movin' Out

Guess what?  I'm not that great at house design.  I know, complete shock, given my half-ass projects and forced ideas just so I'll have something to write about.  So, this blog is going to close out.  No more updates from me.

I'll still be blogging on my personal blog over at The Alitary Blog and you're free to join me over there.  I will be posting regular life stuff, and on the rare occasion that I do something moderately creative or something I'm proud of, I'll post it. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Table Fix

As proud as I was about my dining room table I, of course, messed it up the first night we got it.  Celebrating five years of marriage with Lumbrusco, I got a drop of red deliciousness on the table, staining it slightly.

Out, damn'd spot!

Quick fix: sand, paint, lots more layers of shiny stuff to (hopefully) protect it against my clumsiness.  I sanded down the stained areas and put a thin layer of paint back on.  Let that dry, and put coat after coat of the clear stuff on.

PS: It's weird to see a closeup of your own hand

I did this in my front yard, but had to move the table in when we went to the grocery store because I was afraid someone would think it was out there because it was free and steal it.

This is not free.  Do not steal this table

Permanent fix:  Some type of plexiglass or something to go over it.  Not sure how it would affix on the table.  I don't want to make the edges higher than the middle, but other than some type of adhesive on the corners or edges, I'm kind of at a loss.  Ideas?  Suggestions?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cheer me up Monday!

Get your week started right with these cute things that made me smile!

Check out my sister's new blog, Sunbeam Yellow, and this owl pumpkin tutorial she posted!

There is nothing cuter than a fat little hippo.  Almost makes me want to drop $58 on a set of two. (from Serena and Lily via Fresh Home Blog) Almost.

 This is from my local IHOP restaurant, but I love the idea of taking a regular picture, cutting out something basic and putting neat-o designed paper behind it.

 I've never been a big advent calendar person, but this one (similar to one I saw at Target) is cute with little doors that open.  Would be fun to put a Hershey's Kiss in each door.

What fun things did YOU discover this weekend?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Endless Possibilities

Who doesn't love the idea of a gallery wall?  They're pretty much all the rage now, but I love them because it allows me to hang up all the random crap I have on the wall and call it an amazing artistic feat.

Here's my ideas for what to hang on the wall, and here's a sneak peek at what I already have:
I'm in love with this idea from Carmel over at Our Fifth House and since we are, indeed, the Move-a-Lots, I'd like to put up pictures of all of our houses as we bounce around the county.

Baby Move-a-Lot drawings!  His day care teachers have all kinds of arts and crafts they send home with him.  Mostly paint smudges, but, as his mother, I love them madly!

  Some cute travel-focused hearts or shapes to frame.  Maybe places we've been, where we were all born?  Who knows!  Inspired by this at netoflak

 Wall decals!  I got a groupon for Dali Wall Decals, and I might use it to buy a neat decal to play with on my wall.  Maybe a bird escaping from a cage?
    Here's what I've collected so far:
    We love photo booths!  Starting with our early dating trip to Rome, but this one is Atlantic City, my post-bar trip.   Trying to show off my belly in the top shot, but it pretty much just looks weird.

    Hard to see - better photo in the full post, but this is the library where I worked growing up.  Photo by my friend and photographer, Richard Marheine

    A "B" which is our initial.  Terribly creative, I know

    is the "neutral" phase of the gallery wall, and we'll see how it looks before I change to brighter.  That's just a few things I've collected to put up.  Hope to show you a full post soon!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    My New Fall Table!

    I really wish this post could discuss how fun and awesome it was to do this project, but, I gotta be real.  It's me, I'm going to mess it up.  So, here's how it went down.

    First, I decided to paint the top of the table white and leave the rest the natural wood color.  Later, I would wish I had done the opposite, but only after I had already applied a layer of primer - too late, sucka!  So, naturally, I get sooooo excited that I start this project in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room because there's no other possible space in the house that would be more convenient for a project.  I find some painter's tape and tape up what I'm not painting.  Then, I realize that I should move the table out to the patio, but that I can't get the table out there without taking the legs off.

    I got too excited

    So, I break the painter's tape and remove the legs and leave them in said inconvenient place and head downstairs with the table top.  I reapply the painter's tape, spread a tarp over the patio, and set the table down.

    Paint me!
    Following the great tutorial on Young House Love, I get some oil based white primer and give a coat to the table.  Of course, this is me we are talking about so I drip paint all over the tarp while stirring and even fling drops of primer onto the concrete while painting.  And, because I don't read directions well, instead of sticking to one coat of primer, I do two.  Hopefully not a disaster-maker, but annoying since it added more time to my project.  Because....IT RAINED FOR A WEEK AFTER THE PRIMER COATS.  I was actually lucky to even get in the primer coats.

    I got skillz with Kilz.  You see what I did there?
    Already looking better with just one primer coat!
    Back to THD to get some paint.  Now, there are a jillion shades of white, so in what is either extreme laziness, extreme indifference, or extreme time-saving, I just get a semi-gloss paint in white base.  Besides, how does a paint machine "create" white?  Mysteries.....Anyway, the table gets two coats of "white" which looks a lot like the primer, but is easier to stir and smells lots better.  I do significantly better at keeping the paint on the table and not so much on the patio.  I think it's because the white paint is so much thicker than that stupid oil-based primer.  PS, I hate you so much oil-based primer, I left you half full out in the rain.  Take that!

    Oooooo...coats of white paint.....
    With that, all that was left (other than the cleanup that still hasn't happened - eek!) was to put on a coat of Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic Protective Finish in “Clear Gloss,” which is for making it shiny and more wipeable.  Because, let's face it, I've got a toddler and I'm a huge klutz, and I'm making myself a white table.  It has disaster written all over it.  Once the shiny stuff was on and try, I put the legs back on and noticed, in typical Mrs. Move-a-Lot fashion, that I had dripped white paint past the painter's tape.  Lucky for me, the rest of the table is unfinished (kinda - Mr. M. pointed out there was a definite gloss of some sort, but it looked unfinished to me) so I just used sandpaper to wear down the dried paint.  Not ideal, I'm sure, but it works!

    The mistakes I sandpapered out of existence

    To finish, I put it in the middle of my cat fur covered, pukey dining room, and put some fake leaves from Michael's and some pumpkins we got at a nearby pumpkin patch and some candles from our "fake" wedding 4 years ago (don't ask) in the middle to make it look awesome.  So, it's an island of awesome amidst a mess, but I just like to peek in on it cause it's so so pretty!

    Here's the before:
    A definite "before shot"
    And here's the "after-the-before-but-before-the-final-after"
    Small but lovely finished product.  The table, obviously, not the rest of the dining room.
    I love baby pumpkins
    I know it all looks kinda weird in the middle of the chaos.  And without chairs.  But, I'm still working out the details.  Just happy to have actually finished a product that looks pretty nice!

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Dining Room Preview

    Just a quick little post about the dining room.  Currently, the table is being painted and I'm working on the gallery wall.  Neither project is done enough for a whole post, but here's a preview:
    Please note that a tarp never prevents me from spilling paint everywhere anyway
    This is the table with a coat of primer on it.  To be followed by two coats of white paint, to be followed by two coats of some clear stuff that's supposed to be awesome.  I am following this tutorial on Young House Love for some guidance.  Still contemplating some type of top layer or plastic or glass or something, based on the concern of my friend, the Bashionista, about little messy toddler hands on my nice white tabletop.  Hmmmm.....

    Au natural
    Another in-the-works-project is the gallery wall.  I keep going back and forth.  I love the look of these unfinished wood frames and mirror ($2.99 and $5.99 at Michaels) that I can put stuff in.  Coupled with the white/unfinished table and the white walls, it might make for a nice and neutral dining room.  Then, I got to thinking, am I nice and neutral?  No, I am not.  So now I'm thinking about picking a couple of bold colors (lime green and orange? yellow and orange? why must it be orange?) to paint these frames, and get matching curtains/chair pads to accent.  Mr. Move-a-Lot, while he cares very little for my design projects (other than the occasional veto) suggested trying the neutral look, because I can always paint later.  Harder to go from painted frames to unfinished.  Oh Mr. Move-a-Lot, you are wise.

    Hoping to put it together more soon, but wanted to let all 5 of you that read this know that I'm actually moving forward with a project.  Exciting, I know!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Big ideas, little room

    Don't be scared, but the pictures of my dining room are pretty terrifying.  You've been warned:

    Fur Culprit named Joey - and why is there a plunger in my dining room?

    How many chairs can one small room hold?

    See?  I told you. Hope you covered the children's eyes.  This is what we're working with.  It's a tiny room, about 8 feet square with a decent window and an entrance both to our main door and to the galley joke-of-a-kitchen.  It also has a tall narrow closet that currently is the only place to house cleaning supplies.   There's a weird floral light fixture that's pretty tragic, but belongs to the landlord, and some haphazard shelves about the place.  It's got nice light colored floors and white-ish walls.  And what do we have in it currently?  Let's see, one dining room set, dark wood, which we despise.  One kitchen set of light colored wood and a bunch of chairs.  Lots and lots of junk.  Also, two cats who have completely covered all the chairs in hair/furballs/cat puke.  I warned you.

    I've never really used a dining room for the purpose of dining.  It's pretty much been a room with a big table in it where I throw textbooks, keys, scarves, shoes, magazines, mail, and anything else that isn't food and/or plates.  "Dining" for a busy military couple with two cats, a dog, and a 10-month old usually consists of balancing plates of hot food on our laps or on TV trays as we try to cram in an episode of Modern Family from the DVR and keep the silverware away from Baby Move-a-lot with moderate success.

    But, I have a dream.  I have a dream that one day this mess will become a room where a family can get together, talk about their day, and have all the other Campbell's Soup commercial moments that we so desperately deserve.  A room where a table is protected from hot plates, where messes get cleaned up right away, and where friends can join us for a glass of wine.  Hell, a room to hang up said wine, as well as other interesting things we find along our way.

    Here's my thought: take advantage of the light colored wood kitchen set.  Although it's not the right size, it's better than that big honking dark wood set which needs to be completely tossed out.  Paint the top of the table a nice glossy white and leave the legs the light wood color.  Get white/yellow/natural wood frames and create a gallery wall on the main wall.  I like yellow as an accent color.  Look for some curtains or fabric with a great bold yellow in them.  Get new cushions for the chairs.  Move all the junk OUT.

    Here's some inspiration photos:

    Can it be done?  Only time will well, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, give out your thoughts on making this dining room something to enjoy!

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Creative Canoe Storage

    As some of you might recall, I'm spending my first summer in Alabama.  Where the military sends me, I shall go.  However, I left strict instructions with Mr. Move-a-Lot to take care of everything while I was gone (dog, cats, house, car, baby....and my garden!)  So you can guess which one gets ignored (No, it's not the baby.)

    I returned for a 24 hour trip last weekend to find my lovely backyarden (It's kind of a back yard, kind of a garden,. Do you see what I did there?) full of weeds, one dead hosta, and that stupid canoe still on the ground.  I had left half of it mulched, and a bag of unopened mulch still sat baking in the hot DC sun. 

    All I wanted, and have wanted for a while, was to do a little trimming, and to put that canoe somewhere.  So, Mr. Move-a-lot dragged out the tools we bought to do this project weeks and weeks ago, and we were off!

    Drill, Hook Thingies, Yard Clippers

    Mr. M went to town on the canoe while I tried to salvage my yard.

    Hook Things go in the fence
    No hope for the hosta
    Two quick drills in the fence, and one double-person lift, and the canoe was up off the grass it was smothering and hanging on our fence!  I spent some time trimming, and Mr. M. weed-whacked our yarden until it was looking moderately better.  I even put that 2nd bag of mulch out (of course, I still need more to finish the whole thing) but it looks much better now, and we are proud of our creative canoe storage.

    Now, if only he'd let me paint something pretty on the bottom of the canoe.....

    What's a creative storage solution you've had to invent on the fly???

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Hey, that's my house!

    Yep, there it is!  And you can see it yourself on HOTPADS where it is currently up for rent.

    There is something eerie about seeing a house that you re modeled, brought home your first child, bought for the first time, had holidays in, threw parties in, etc up for grabs on the internet with all the other houses.  No pictures could possibly reflect the pain that went into painting over wallpaper and the refreshing sense of pride I got every time I looked at the completed dining room.  You wouldn't know that my husband spent most of December tearing up and putting back in the bathroom floor while I desperately tried to make an old bathroom look as modern as possible.  No one can tell that I bought 47 different kitchen knobs in an effort to de-flower a kitchen that was covered in flowers.  Or how peaceful I was waking up knowing that I could walk to the ocean with my dog and be there in less than 10 minutes.  Or how safe I felt knowing the old couple across the street was keeping a protective watch on everything.

    Anyway, I can't write more, or I'll cry on my keyboard.  I just hope we get some great people living there!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Sweet Hotel Living

    Greetings from the Dirty South: Alabama!  I'm here for NINE WEEKS for an Air Force School, and while the temperatures outside might be enough to make you cry, the digs are pretty great.  Here's my new pad.

    Itty Bitty Kitchen
    This is the little kitchen that comes with all the dishes you need, plus a stovetop and a fridge.  I THINK there's a garbage disposal as well.  The downside is no oven, which I find I use a lot of as I learn to cook, but that's ok.  The single server coffee is pretty sweet.

    My living room consist of this little love seat, desk, flat screen, and nice big window.

    Bedroom with a nice cushy bed and...another tv!  Mr. Move-a-Lot will NOT let me put a TV in our room, for good reason.  I watched TV last night and stayed up way too late.  Lesson learned.  Well, probably not learned.  More like "Lesson realized."

    Walk in closet?  Yes, please.

    Here's some of my favorite (and not so favorite) design things already in the room.

    I love this square lamp and the lines carved out of the base.  It reminds me of those stones in The Fifth Element.  I feel like saying "MULTIPASS" every time I look at it.  I am digging the rectangle lampshade that dares to be longer than it is tall.  There's a tall one in the living room and a small one in the bedroom

    These curtains are nice and shimmery and have a slight blue/tan/brown palette that doesn't yell at you, but subtly suggests some color.

    I love this brown blanket - sleek and shiny.

    What am I NOT ok with?  All the pictures of jets.  I get it, it's the Air Force, but come on, I'm not even a pilot!  Planes planes everywhere.

    I haven't put a lot of personal touches, because I'm still in a "neato it's a hotel!" phase.  Which, by the way, the BEST part is that I have a maid come and clean up after me.  FOR NINE WEEKS.  Heaven.  I did put some picture of the Move-a-Lot families out and about.

    My only real personal touches as of yet.

    So, any recommendations for making this place more homey over the next nine week?  I'm thinking of putting something OVER the pictures, like a gauzy scarf or something.....any more ideas?

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    I have a love and I call him Mulch.

    I can't believe I once didn't know mulch existed.  It's delicious smelling, gorgeous, and probably good for plants, but did I mention how pretty it is?  I'm currently obsessed with red mulch, which is what I used on the front area of our house (see it here).  I decided to continue this awesomeness in our backyard.

    As I posted earlier this month I've been working on the backyard with some help from the folks.  Now that everything was trimmed back, it was ready for some of that beautiful mulch.  Here are some before-and-afters to show off my mulch!

    Nice, right?  Take a look at some more!

    Anyway, not that exciting of a post, but I did a little happy mulch dance in my backyard with only my dog as a witness because I was so happy with the outcome.

    Oh yeah, remember this product that I bought to try?

    Well, there's good news and bad news.  The good news is, I'm not being eaten alive by mosquitos anymore.  The bad news is that the spray took me by surprise, and my hosta plant was the unfortunate victim here.

    A moment of silence, please.
    This brave little hosta got sprayed and is on its deathbed, but I appreciate his willingness to still provide purple flowers and turns a lovely bright yellow color to give my garden some more UMPH on his way out.  We'll miss you, dear friend.