Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bedroom Art - Stage Two

I promised to share with you how I hung our huge 22x28 frame above our bed.  Because we didn't want a very large picture falling on us in the middle of the night we decided to get a beefy hanger.

We went up to Menards (I'm sure any home improvement store would carry these) and picked up this hanging kit.

It comes with everything thing you need except a drill/electric screwdriver.  And it's a simple easy way to secure the larger of your wall art.

Here is everything in the kit.  A wall bracket, a frame bracket, a little tiny level, and self screwing self anchoring screws.  Convenient.

The first thing I did was screw the frame bracket into the frame.  I used the top of the frame to make sure it was straight.  I started with the center hole, then the two farthest ones, then the ones between those.  Though the screws are sell screwing, they did take a little bit of pressure to get them started, but overall were really easy to use.

I then added the little level to the wall bracket.  Love that this comes with it.  So much easier the trying to hold a level, drill, and bracket.

Then I screwed the wall bracket in the same way as the frame one.  You put the center one in first then level it and screw in the outermost screws.  It was pretty easy, even for a clutz like me.  Okay, so I dropped every single screw behind the headboard, but if you're a normal person, this will be one of the easiest projects you've every undertaken.

And there it is, lovely.  Sorry for the glare, it was difficult to get a good picture without it.  Now we just need to put up the two smaller ones and we'll be done with art in the bedroom for a while.  And that means we can put up our sconces and get rid of the floor lamp on my side of the bed (which makes it difficult for me to pull out my under bed drawer).  Yay for super simple projects!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

She's Here!

We picked up our new stove this past Saturday.  Yay!  She's a lovely girl and I can not wait to get her all hooked up.  Since we are going from electric to gas (thank god), we have to do a few things before we have a stove again.  Looks like a lot of take out for us this week, because lets face it, I'm not really sure how to work a microwave.

But lets get back to that pretty stove.  Oh look at her.  Just a true beauty.  And she will look so lovely framed with the glass/slate tile backsplash.

She has five burners; the four normal ones you find on a stove, plus a middle burner.  We've been looking at cast iron griddles/grills.  That is going to be so nice and convenient.  And it has something called "Turbo Boil" which will be nice for all the pasta we eat in our house.

She also is a convection oven, a true convection oven at that.  So that means three trays of cookies at one time.  Oh my.  It will cut down on cooking time for everything we bake, which sound fantastic.  It also has a slow cook option, which is equivalent to a cooking in a crock pot.  I'm not sure how often I will use this (since I have a nice crock pot), but it might be a nice option.

And then after I'm done cooking I can put stuff in the warming drawer if everyone isn't quite ready to eat.  Or I can use it as a warm place for bread to rise and proof.  I didn't really think I would use the warming drawer, but now that I've thought about it, I've come up with a number of things to use it for.

But as of right now she is unusable.  We did plug her in to make sure all the electronics worked, but no gas for a least a week, maybe two.  J's dad and uncle are coming back next weekend to change the 220V outlet to 110V.  I'm so glad that we have family members that do this for a living.  J's dad said he could install the ball valve on the gas line as well, but we all decided it would be better to have a HVAC guy come out and do it.  It should only take about an hour to do, so hopefully the bill won't be too high.  And we have a couple of questions about the furnace, so having a professional come out will be a good thing.

Now the backsplash and the open shelves are the only things that need to be completed for now.  Then later in the year we'll install recessed lighting and crown molding, and the kitchen will be pretty much complete.  It's exciting.            

And side note, I cleaned the hood before we picked up the stove.  I don't think it had been cleaned since it was installed.  I took it all apart and scrubbed every inch of it.  I missed a few spots, but it looks so much more shiny.  Just like new.    

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bedroom Art

The titles sound like this could be about something a little dirty, but it's not.  Sorry guys.  But I am going to show you how I finished up the art for our bedroom.  It's not really all that amazing.  I didn't make this art, I just framed it.  But I thought I would go through how to cut mat board.  For someone that frames and mats a lot of pictures, this could be helpful.

Here is the art that needed to be matted and framed.  We picked up a set of three of these pictures from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale.  I love Hobby Lobby, they always have great sales and a 40% off coupon every week, and it doesn't hurt that they are only 2 min away from us.  But I digress, back to the prints.  We wanted to get an original of these, but we're not ready to shell out that kind of money.  I believe that our prints are the work of Albert Koetsier.  So we will settle for a nice set of prints.

Here are all three that will be going up in the bedroom.  The two smaller prints could have been matted by purchasing pre-cut mats, but what about the big one?  They don't sell pre-cut board that size, well at least that I can find.  So, I would have to have it custom matted, which isn't a bad thing, Micheal's always has coupons for that.  But having pictures matted can get expensive, I spent $300 on one frame and three mat boards one year for Christmas.  And the frame was pretty chincy.  So that's when I decided that I needed to by one of these...

That my friends is a mat cutter.  It's is the coolest thing in the world.  It will cut a beveled edge on your mat board with just a quick pull.  Now there are a lot of options on there for mat cutters, but I went with this one.  It's one you pull, not push.  I fell that it's much easier to pull the cutter then try to push it through the mat.  It didn't come with the whole set up like some do (and those run between $150 and up), but basically the set up is a straight edge.  So I just use a little scrap board and a clamp, works just as well.  This one cost $40, but I had a 40% off coupon (thank you Hobby Lobby), so it was only $24.  And mat board is only about $7 for a 24 in x 36 in sheet at Micheal's, and with a 50% coupon, it's only $3.50.  So you can see that when you have a lot of mat to cut, this option is a much cheaper way to go, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love cheap.

So how do you use this baby?  Simple, using a straight edge draw the dimensions of your picture frame on the BACK side of the mat board.  I normally can't tell the difference on white board, so I just picked the side with the sticker on it.  I will also use the back of the frame to help sometimes, it's easier using a ruler.

Okay, now your outside edges are marked, time to cut.  I use the mat cutter to do this as well, you don't need to, but I'm to lazy to go get a exacto knife.  And don't forget to make sure you have something under this because the blade will go through the mat board as well as anything underneath.  I use a piece of thick cardboard.

Okay, you're basic shape is cut.  Make sure it fits in the frame, and make any additional cuts if it is too big.  Remember, it's always better to cut it larger and have to make adjustments.

Now the other cool thing about my mat cutter is the built in measuring and marking pencil.  I placed my print on the mat board and decided how wide I wanted my board to be cut.  I went with 2 1/2 inches for this one.  But you can make it any width you're little heart desires.  Now to use the little built in pencil.  I just set the ruler to 2 1/2 inches and slide my cutter (without pressing down on the blade) around the outside of the mat board.  Now I have a perfect 2 1/2 in line drawn without the hassle of measuring.

Time to cut again.  Determine what way your bevel should be and what directions your cutter cuts.  Mine cuts in this directions, so it needs be inside the lines.

Place your straight edge on the outside of your cut and clamp it to your surface.  I found this is the best way to stabilize it and get a perfect cut.  And line up the blade with your starting corner.  My cutter has a little line that tells you where the blade starts.  Then firmly pushing down on the blade, slowly pull it towards you along the straight edge.  I would practice a few times before you start making mat boards.

Once that cut is done, rotate the board, clamp your straight edge down and cut.  Repeat this for all four sides.  I like to check and make sure I'm cutting all the way through each cut before I move on.  You can go back and re-cut, but it's a little tricky.  So better just to make sure before.

And BAM, you now have a custom cut mat board.  That easy.  And look at how pretty it looks in the frame.  Fantastic.  Now this might not be for someone that just gets a mat board here or there, it's just easier to go get it cut.  But for someone like me that mat's a lot of things, it's a awesome way to go (I mat things like pictures as well as my beaded tapestries).

Now to hang these bad boys.  Next I'll show you how we hung these above the bed.  We didn't want these falling on us, so we used a special hanging system.  But that's for another day.                            

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dealing with Clutter

We are currently dealing with what I feel a lot of people deal with.  The big bad clutter bug.  It's difficult to keep clutter and messes under control when you're not remodeling, but I feel it seems damn near impossible to do it while you are remodeling.  We have tools all over the house, mail piled up on the dining room table, a 4x8 piece of plywood leaning up the sofa, and multiple piles of boxes that need to be gone through and gotten rid of.  How do some people keep their sanity while remodeling?  Some days I'm so overwhelmed by the mess that I loose all motivation to do any work on the house.  But I know it will be better once we finish up the living room and kitchen.  I hope.

I've been looking for interesting ways to organize things like mail.  Right now it gets piled up on the table and it stays there.  I open mine and toss it, but J's mail gets opened and then piled back on the table.  The problem is we don't really have a lot of room to put an organizer by the door.  And J doesn't feel it should be by the back door because our mail slot is out front.  Me, I don't think it's that big of deal to just pick up the mail and put it somewhere away from the slot.  I mean really.

But I'm trying to find something that will make us both happy.  I just want the mess gone.  Then I'll move on to his school crap everywhere.

On to more fun and lighter news, I finally ordered my stove.  Well not finally, we just bought the fridge and dishwasher a month and half ago.  But I've hated our current stove since we moved in, so it feels like it's been ages that I've been cooking on a inferior stove.

This is what we will be picking up on Saturday, a new 5 burner Kenmore stove.  Oh look at her, she's so pretty and from what I read will cook and bake like a mother.  I can't wait to be able to bake three trays of cookies at once.  I can finish up a batch of cookies in one round.  Hell yeah.  My dream stove.

Okay my dream stove actually looks like this....

But lets be honest I will never ever own anything like this.  But could you imagine having a stove like that.  I don't know what I would do, probably never leave the kitchen.  Okay, back to reality.  Our new stove will be picked up on Saturday and J's uncle will be taking all the old appliances with him.  By-by white appliances, hello dream kitchen.    

So how do some of you deal with clutter around the house, especially mail?  I'd love to know what other people do.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Laundry Room - Take 2

So we have been so busy with the kitchen that I forgot to show you some pictures of the progress on the laundry room.  We had J's uncle come over a few months ago to help us clean up some of the plumbing down there and install the new sink.

And this is where we are today.  I painted the walls with left over paint (score one for not spending a penny on paint).  We took out the mess of copper pipes.  We put in a new sink.  Not a whole bunch, but it looks better then it did before.

Let's all reminisce about what it looked like.

Oh god.  I'm sorry I had to do that, but that's what we look at every time we did laundry.  Okay, lets not look at that any more.  It's giving me a headache.

So as stated before, we replaced all the copper (that mess of copper pipe) with some brand new pex.  We also replaced the valves for the washing machine.  It looks so much better then what was in there.

We also replaced the old wash tub with this pretty girl.  We picked it up at Menard's, it was a closeout item, so we got it for a great price.  It looks so much nicer down there then just an old plastic tub.  Now there is plenty that still need to be done.  The washing machine drain will be plumbed right into, well, the plumbing, so no more ugly, messy hose into the sink.  We also need to re-run the hose for the water softener (that's the small black hose).  We're looking into options for that.  We also need to notch the bottom drawer out.  Right now it hits the waste drain, so just a small little section out of the back and it will close completely.  And then I need to find a cute little jar to put my homemade laundry soap in.

Then I decided I wanted to add a little something to the walls.  I mean it's a laundry room, I could be a little adventurous with the decor.  So I started a little mural.  I'm going to finish it up after we add the cabinets to the wall (sounds like a trip to the ReStore).  And yes, I did sponge paint the walls.  I was a little scared that it would look too 1990s, but I think I like it.  The different shades of paint hide the fact that it's just concrete panted, so all the little imperfections of the wall are hidden.  And well, anything was better then that pepto bismol pink that was on the wall.

I'm also trying to figure out if I can do something with the breaker box.  It sticks out like a sore thumb, so I might paint it as well.  I'm not sure.  I also have to figure out what to do with the litter box that is below all of this.  I didn't think you needed a picture of that, your welcome.  One of our cats refuses to use a covered box, so I have to figure out a clever way to hide it that she will still use it.

And then there is this.  The ceiling.  My plan is to make fabric panels that are on rods.  That way all the plumbing is still accessible, but I don't have to look at it.  I'm waiting to do this until we finish up the plumbing.  There are a few more things that we need to fix before I start covering it up.

Let's look at it again.  So much better then before.  Still a few things that need to be done, but a huge improvement from before.   

Let's look at that list,
  • Replace the copper pipes with pex
    • By replacing the pipes we can rerun a lot of them and clean up the space
  • Replace the utility sink with a new one with a vanity
  • Finish painting the walls
  • Texture the walls (hopefully will make them look less like cement basement walls)
  • Put in flooring (probably just vinyl)
  • Paint the doors
  • Figure out what to do with the ceiling (probably fabric panels)
  • Maybe figure out a way to hid the litter box and still have Toonces use it 
  • Put up wall storage/shelves

We only have a few things left to do with this room.  We're going to run up the ReStore and pick up a cabinet for above the sink, no one can complain about more storage.  Then we have to decide what to do with the floor.  I wanted to do a paper bag floor (we had one in our first apartment and I loved it), but J doesn't think it's a good idea for a laundry room.  Then we need to borrow J's dad's sprayer to paint the doors.   But for now I'm happy with what we have done so far.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Pretty

We finally finished up the headboard we started a month or so ago.  I know, this was supposed to be a afternoon project, but was pushed off for a while.  The actual wood sat in our bedroom uncovered for about a month.  Hey, you know how it is, sometimes you just loose steam.

But we gathered our strength and finished it up.  And I love it.  we picked up the fabric at Joann's.  It was a custom fabric that someone must have decided they didn't want, so we snatched it up.  And thanks to a 50% off coupon, it was only around $20.

Then we had to decide on buttons.  Have you priced buttons?  Holly crap some of them are expensive.  And yes, both me and J stood in the button isle trying to find a button that would work best with our fabric.  I'm a lucky girl to have a guy that is interested in decorating the house.  He always tells me that he has to live there too, so he might as well like the things I'm doing.  But back to the buttons.  We couldn't find any we liked, so I just bought a few button kits (also on sale) and used some black fabric I already had.  And in about a half hour I had a pile of custom made buttons.  It really is an easy process.

Then we glued 1 in foam to the board, wrapped that with batting, and then wrapped all of that with fabric, stapling everything as we went.  Then was the fun process of adding the buttons.  J did this, I couldn't believe he wanted to do this, but this girl wasn't going to complain.  He used two very long needles to add buttons to each predrilled hole.

Then we added small buttons to the back to help hold the knots.  And then I pulled and knotted each button with a square knot.  J helped by pushing the buttons from the front to make it easier for me to tie.

We then attached it to the bed with bolts, luckily we had a bed that was headboard ready.  We've discussed also attaching it to the wall using a large picture frame hanger, but we think it will be fine just attached to the bed.     
On a side note, I will be buying some of these hangers for the large picture frame that's going up above the bed. I don't need a huge frame falling on me while I'm sleeping. Not my idea of fun. Now just to get the mat board cut, and we'll be good to go with that.

Then these cute little lights that we picked up at Ikea are going next to the headboard.  We decided to go with sconces because it made the most sense.  We hare doing shelves next to the bed instead of night stands because we have under bed storage and tables just wouldn't work.  And we don't want our small shelves overwhelmed by lamps, so sconces were the way to go.  

We've gone back and forth about painting them ORB or leaving them shiny.  We think we're going to leave them for now because we like the feel, but we'll see if they stay that way.

So that's one project done. And then a million other things that need to be done. Oh the fun never ends :-)


Don't forget to stop by my other blog today for Freebie Friday.  I have a link to a free My Memories download.  And don't forget to use coupon code STMMMS11215 on the My Memories website to get up to $20 off your next purchase (more details on my Three Fates Design blog).  

Happy Friday everyone!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The School Year Has Started and Boy Can You Tell

So J's classes have started again.  That means most things are coming to a screeching halt.  Everything takes a back seat this time of year, and that's okay.  Getting your masters is hard work.  I'd rather he takes the time to do homework and study then help me paint the bathroom.

So most of the stuff we're working on is going pretty slow.  But that's okay, small projects are still moving around (like our headboard).  And I'm working on cleaning the mess that is my studio.  I'm hoping to get out the paint soon.

I'm also working on working on projects and recipes I've pinned on Pinterest.

Like these granola bars.  J loves granola bars and takes one to work almost everyday.  Which sounds good in theory.  But he loves the chewy ones, the ones that have as many (if not more) calories then a candy bar.  So I found a great no bake recipe on Pinterest.  I added some chocolate chips and butterscotch chips I had left over from my Scotcharoos, but the basic ingredients are so much better then the store bought ones.  Now they aren't as healthy as say carrots, but they are better for you then candy.  If your interested the recipe is here, via Pinterest.

And speaking of delicious food, have you tried this wonderful stuff?

It's Finnish squeaky cheese, LeipƤjuusto. It's amazing. We warm it up on a skillet before eating it, and boy is it amazing. The UW Dairy Department makes it fresh on campus, so when we need a treat, I'll stop by Babcock and pick some up. You can find it in some grocery stores (of course you can find it here in WI because we love our cheese).  If you haven't tried it, I suggest you go out and find some.  It's so yummy.

I also have been slowly collecting more canisters for the kitchen.

I picked up this set (there is a third one not pictured) the other day at the thrift store.  I got all three for under $5.  How fantastic is that?  And they work great to hold rice and quinoa.  Now we just need to get that open shelving up so I can display all my cute new canisters.  Maybe in the spring.

Now to go get my butt going on that studio of mine.      

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What the...

So we're getting ready to take down that old backsplash and put up the new one.  Fingers crossed, we'll be starting that project this weekend.  But we've come to a little dilemma.  What do we do for trim?

We wanted to frame the tile in a nice pencil tile.  We planned on going around the whole backsplash.  We've been looking for a nice trim tile and we went into it knowing it was going to be expensive, but we had no idea.

We head to Menards and couldn't find anything we liked. Okay, on to the next store.

So we headed up to Home Depot too see what they had.  We figured we would hit up the hardware stores before going to the tile store.  This was our plan to save money. 

And to our surprise we found two pencil tiles we liked and thought would look good with the tile we picked.

One was a cream travertine (limestone) tile.  We liked the color, we like the texture; we thought it would be a contender.  It was $6 a 2x12 tile, but we told ourselves that we wouldn't really need all that many, so it was okay that it was a little pricy.  So we grabbed a sample and kept looking.  I mean you don't want to buy something without looking at all your options, tile is pretty permanent (well, it's a pain to change out). 

So then we found a slate pencil tile.  Ohhh, slate, I love slate.  And we really liked all the different colors in this one.  It had a crazy combination of greys, blacks, and browns.  It would be perfect with the tile we picked out.

Okay, so we grabbed one of those as well.  This one was also $6 for a 2x12 tile.  But again, we figured it would be expensive, but how many of these would we need anyway?  It couldn't be a lot.

Home again, home again we headed with our two new tile samples in hand.  We held the tile up on the wall and put each sample up against the wall as well as the counter to see which one would look the nicest.

It was a pretty hard choice because they both looked really nice up there. But after much discussion, we decided we liked the darker tile and would go with that.  We measured again to make sure we would order enough, sat down and opened the internets to place an order, entered the amount we needed, hit the button that calculates your total, and almost had a heart attack.  I had already had a bad feeling that this was going to be too pricey, but you just don't believe it until you see it.  Our total came to over $300 for TRIM.  That is seriously more then we paid for the tile (we got the tile during an awesome sale).  We can't afford that.  And it doesn't matter, I'm not paying that.

So I tried searching the internet for cheaper tile without any luck.  That's how they get you.  Oh you need trim?  Of course you need trim, well here it is, twice the price of a full tile sheet.  WHAT?

Now we're trying to decide what we want to do about trim.  We have to have some sort of trim on the one wall that opens up into the dining room, so we have to find something.  We've discussed wood trim that matches the rest of the trim.  We've looked at the PVC or metal trims.  All I know is we better decide soon because we're running out of time.

Do any of you have any suggestions for a more affordable tile trim?

Also, don't forget to stop over at my Three Fates Design blog to enter my giveaway for My Memories Scrapbook software.  Also stop by my blog to get a coupon code and save up to $20 at the My Memories website.  

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