Thursday, May 21, 2015

eclectic mini gallery wall- kids version

Hey guys, happy Thursday!  It's a short week here in Canada, we had a holiday Monday- I just love those.  Except when we are on week 17 (maybe it's 18 now) of the reno.  I'm just guessing here, but I'm banking on at least 3 more.  I know, I know, it will be worth it when it's done.  It's just taking a heck of a long time to get there.

Right now the carpenter is here working on the window casings and trim, we had all the lights installed on the weekend and we picked up the flooring.  It doesn't really look like much so I'll save my next share till when you can see something new.

So for today I'm sharing a little project that has been on my radar for months.  Back in October I talked about the kids' rooms.  We moved them into one room for sleeping and hauled all of their toys into the other for a play room.  It's been working really well.  The mess (oh the mess!) has been contained to that one room - now it's a bigger mess when it's just in the one room, but at least they can go to bed without having to navigate through the Lego to get there.

I painted the bedroom and the bunks we picked up, but haven't been really motivated to decorate it. Maybe inspired is a better word.  I had stuff I wanted to put up, but just didn't get around to it.  So the wall by their bed has looked like this.

Yup.  Elsa and Batman.  Elsa is up too high and just stuck there on the wall in the middle of nowhere.  It bugged me, but I've been distracted so I left it.

Today I decided I've had enough of undone spaces, so I went to work and pulled out an assortment of things and these puppies.

In the past, I just hammer in nails and patch the bazillion tiny holes later.  (Or I hang stuff over them.)
But my sister in law introduced these to Tim a couple of Christmases ago.  She had a bunch of seasonal stuff hanging and he couldn't believe she'd put in all those nails.  Well, she didn't.  She used these.  And they worked.  Really well.

Tim went right out and stock piled these for us to use.  I haven't been hanging too much lately, but he's done a couple of things (that I didn't think they would work for) and it's turned out great.  We've removed them and no damage to our walls.  

I grabbed a bunch of these and went to work.

There are two sticky sides to each strip- one for your poster (or small wood sign!) and one for the wall.   I applied them to my piece and grabbed my trusty level (crooked stuff drives me bats) 

Once it was in the right spot, apply pressure (a decent amount) for 30 seconds.

And that's it.  Easy peasy.

Here's my first version.  I moved the ombre dresser over and added a frame on it to fill the void.  I didn't like it.  BOOOORRRRING.

I grabbed some more things and came up with this.  I'm very happy with it.  

Did I measure?  No.  Did I level?  Yup.  Did I fly by the seat of my pants?  Yup.  Did I spend a fortune?  No.   I used three nails- one for the mirror and one for each of the bigger signs- the black one is using the one that held Elsa up.  Everything else is held up with command strips.

Their intials.  M & E- I grabbed the fabric covered ones at Homesense, the metal sheet at Michael's and the chevron E (that's behind the lamp) is a wood letter covered in scrapbook paper and modge podge.

Some pieces I made, especially for them.

And this little monkey mirror.

I got this for my baby shower when I was pregnant with Max.  It's a set of four mirrors and has been in their rooms until I painted last year.  My daughter was downstairs poking around the other day and found them and asked why I took them down.  When I was looking for something to fit in, I ran downstairs and grabbed this one.  If you know my kids at all, you'll know the monkey was the perfect choice.

Where's Elsa, you ask?

She moved across the way to hang with Olaf.  It's a cute little corner that they can she can see from her bed- all of her important stuff, you know, cats, jewellery and Elsa.  These are the things that make 5 year olds tick man.  (Don't worry, Max has his stuff in there too!)

You don't have to live with boring walls.  Kids don't have to live with boring walls.  But, you don't have to spend a fortune on giving them life either.  Find things that have meaning, things that you love, things that are unexpected (I currently have a wooden shoe form on my wall at the back door). Grab some cool printables off the web and hang them up on clipboards.  Frame up your kids' art. Make something yourself.

If you're too nervous to just go straight to the wall- lay it out on the floor.  The first time I laid out a gallery, that's just what I did.  I planned it out, moved stuff around and then took a picture.  Work off your picture as you hang.  You might change it a bit as you go, but you're starting with a plan.  That's what I did with my hall.

Another way I've used is cutting out templates of my pieces out of paper (taping newspaper together for the big ones) and putting them up on your wall.  You can get the feel that way really well.  

If you're really worried about making mistakes- get someone else's opinion.  I've done that lots of times- I post the pic on my facebook or I ask a friend who has the same style and a great eye (Carrie!).  

But when it comes down to it, it's expressing you.  It's your home, it speaks about you.  And you should never apologize for that.  Cause you're awesome. Even if you don't think so.  You totally are.  

And don't you forget it!

I love hearing from you guys- leave a comment or if you have a question, ask me.  If you have a wall that you're not sure about, I'd be happy to share some ideas.  

If you want to keep up with the latest on the renovation, follow me on Instagram.  I've been posting pics as we move along.

Monday, May 11, 2015

simple spy 5th birthday

Hello Monday.  My most unfavourite day of the week.  We were supposed to have soccer tonight, but had a tornado watch pop up and it was cancelled.  No storms here, thank goodness.  I have a few scaredy cats (and dog) when it comes to storms.  I'm a little tense too, I must admit.  When my girl was a baby, we had a tornado slide right past our house- it can make you more than just a little weather wary after that.

I thought I'd take this unplanned evening at home to share a bit of  Miss E's spy party.  Now just a couple of things to preface this- we did this on the cheap.  I didn't get all spendy- over budget renos can change the way you do things.  I have been feeling less than inspired- I didn't go all out like I normally would have- I'm spent in both the pocket book and the inspiration bank with this reno.


But- yes, there's a but.  Everyone had a good time- and that is always the main goal.  Smiling, happy kids who go home exhausted = good party.

If you remember, I told you here that my daughter wanted a "Spy Party" for her 5th birthday party. Spy party, huh?  I was at a loss (remember- uninspired) so I checked out Pinterest and found some ideas.  She also told me that a spy party is black and white and red.  Ok.

First we needed invitations.  I had totally forgotten her party was fast approaching, until Tim asked me about the invites.  Didn't have any.  So the girls went out to do some running around and hit the good old dollar store to look for invitations.

This is what we came home with.

"Mom, it's a spy party with kitty invitations."

Ok, I'm sorry, but this wasn't going to cut it for me.  (And these were not $3.25, nice try, dollar store) I put on my thinking cap and grabbed a marker and my letter stamps and some ink.

A spy wears sunglasses.

Perfectly, cheese-ily Laura.

Tag line.....spy party.... James Bond.... Agent 00...5

Perfect.  I loved them.  Cheesy.  Silly.  Totally my jam.  Tim had a BIG eye roll with these.

When the kids arrived, I had these secret agent name tags for them to fill out.  I made the artwork and just printed them out on regular printer paper.  If I had been more organized, I would have done them on cardstock.

I thought I'd share it with you, just in case you have a small (or medium) fry that wants a spy party too.  Click here to get the free download.  

They drew pictures of themselves in the little box and filled out the rest (or we helped)  It was great listening to them come up with different code names.  I'm pretty sure we had both an Anna and an Elsa.

I also found this code breaking kit at the dollar store.  You put a secret message within a bunch of jumbled letters (using different coloured pencils) and the red magnifying glass reveals the message letters, but not the rest.

But really, what did these guys want to do?  Play.  On the swings,  In the yard.  With the dog.  And that was fine with me.  But the best part- their favourite part?

Trailer rides!  I swear Tim drove them around for a half hour.  Putt putt putting around the yard.  The fact that Casey was riding with them, was the total cherry on top.

For her cake- I did cupcakes with cake pop "bombs"  It was cute and the kids tore it up.  I cheated and used the cake pop maker, it was less mess and that was fine with me.  I got chocolate melts from the bulk store and dipped them into that.  I gotta say, they did taste good.  They don't look the best, but  5 year olds, they don't care.

Now here's where my effort went.  The favours.  I found these plastic milk bottles at Walmart one day when I was shopping for cat food.  I thought they were super cute and for $3 each- I grabbed the carton of 12.

I made a graphic for each bottle with the kids' first initial and filled them with a "compass watch", mustache stickers, a few candies and a magnifying glass.

Really simple and really cute.  Even if you don't have the program, you could easily contact a sign maker (or me!) to do some graphics for you.  I love personalized stuff- it just gives it that little extra.

So all in all, the party was a success.  It was fun.  I didn't stress.  Our friends from out of town came down and they helped us kid wrangle then we had a nice visit after the guests went home.  It was a pretty perfect day.  Celebrating my baby girl turning 5- it was pretty bittersweet.

Hope you enjoyed a peek into her day.  I'll be back again this week, I hope with more reno updates and a few other things.  Have a great week!

Friday, May 8, 2015

master bath progress

Happy Friday my friends!  As I'm typing the sun is shining, birds are singing- it's a beautiful day.  I'm feeling kind of lost today though, it's quiet in my house.  No one trudging up the stairs, banging hammers, running saws, swearing talking.... it's like when my kids left for the first day of school. No, it's not finished.  I'm just waiting.  Again.  For plumbers to come hook up the fixtures.  For the carpenter to do the casings and the trim and the stairs.  Sigh.  This small reno IS GOING ON FOREVER.  I'm hoping to actually get up there by June.  This June, not next June.

Now don't get me wrong, lots of work has been done.  We have a coat of paint done- one more to go, but I'm not too jazzed about painting upstairs today on an 85 degree day when I have to go to a Mother's Day tea at school.  I don't want to be "stinky mom".  So painting will continue this weekend. And, actually, I don't really ever want to be "stinky mom".  Just thought I'd clarify that.
All the tiling is complete- and I love it.

As you may already know, our home is a century old farmhouse.  It appears (when you go back to studs) to have had three additions put on in it's lifetime.  I really want to keep that vintage-y old farmhouse feel to it.  A modern country style is pretty much my style anyways, and I wanted to be true to it.  I feel like this bath is really hitting the mark- it's my favourite room in the house right now, and it's not even finished.

For the floor I went with white mini hexagon tiles.

I had a really hard time deciding on tile- I waffled back and forth a ton.  I've never been 100% happy with our downstairs bath, and I didn't want to feel like that again.  And I don't.  I love, LOVE my tile.

So does she.

For the shower, I knew I wanted white subway tile.  It's classic, easy to clean and looks great.  Plus, it's not a terribly expensive choice.

The floor is a rectangular shower pan and glass will be on the two sides.  The shower base is from Mirolin.

We are using 2 pedestle sinks, instead of a vanity.  The peds are the Barrett collection from Mansfield.

Tim really wanted a backsplash behind it and we went back and forth on how we were going to do it. Then I drew this to get an idea, but I wasn't sold on the awkward stopping point mid-wall.

So I suggested to Tim that we tile the whole wall.  Top to bottom.

I love it.  My tiler didn't.  

*Reno tip* Don't get talked out of what you want.

On our first reno, I let myself get talked out of the tile that I had wanted (hex tile floors!) by the tile store dude.  He told me it was not a good choice as it was a dated look.  I also let the guy at Home Depot talk me out of stuff too. And I don't love that bathroom floor.  

I almost got talked out of this wall too.  I'm a people pleaser and I don't have oodles of confidence. My tile guy told me that he thought this wall would be too busy, he wanted me to stop it about 4 feet up.  I hemmed and hawed and emailed Tim about it.  He told me that was crazy and stick to my guns.  So I did.  And am I ever glad I did.  When you're doing a reno (or a new build I'm sure) you have so many choices to make, it can get overwhelming.  Look at books, magazines and (my favourite) Pinterest and see what you consistently like.  If you check out my bath board, you'll see there's a whole lotta white subway tile.  You KNOW what you like.  And YOU are the client- YOU have to live there and YOU have to pay for it.  DON'T get persuaded or guilt-ed.  This is experience talking guys.

My tub!  Oh how I love my tub.  That's just about where it's going to sit - in the midst of the three windows.  I'm a tub-er.  I cannot wait for this to get hooked up.  If you can't find me, I'll probably be in here.  The tub is the Sax from Maax.

I really wanted the X handles- they are so gorgeous in person.  I can't wait to get them installed.

For lighting, we have one pot light and two pendents over top of each sink.   The ones I picked up are very similar to this one from Shades of Light.  

 Colored Seeded Glass Pendant

I got mine at Home Depot, but I can't find them online to link them up for you.

I hunted for mirrors high and low.  I've been looking pretty much right from the start, but I could never find exactly what I wanted.  More like TWO of exactly what I wanted.  It got me to thinking- Tim had ordered most of our fixtures from work (they do industrial supply, and have a huge plumbing section) why wouldn't I get him to get me the Moen mirrors I had been eyeing up at HD.

I have to wait now, until the fixtures go in, to see what else I need or what can fit in. If you've kept track- no storage so far.  

We have already picked up this old jam cupboard to use for towels.

It's pretty big inside, so once I get it up there, I'll have to see what else I really need.  

All of us are looking forward to the completion of this job.  Not only to get the rooms, but to get our space back and go back to normal.


On another note- it's Mother's Day this weekend.  The boy and I have had a rough week.  Attitude and sass were a hot commodity around this house and I am not a fan.  Sometimes being a mom is just hard.  This week I felt like a jerky screaming fish wife that was doing everything wrong.  I posted about it on my personal Facebook page, just cause I was having such a rough day.  I can't tell you how much better it made me feel to have my friends chime in and give me encouragement.  It just took a little pressure off and helped me to breathe.  So, I thank you my friends- for encouraging me, and letting me know it's not just me.  It was a little "hands across the interwebs" moment and it was great.  So all you moms out there- you're not alone.  It's hard.  It's messy.  It's crazy.  But it's worth every minute, am I right?  They may drive us crazy, but we are crazy about them, aren't we?  

From me to you, Happy Mother's day.  xo