Kids (and Toddlers) Making Art | DIY

I do not like crafting with my kids.  There, I said it.  I feel it so much I could probably have used stronger words.  I like the idea of it but when it comes down to physically getting down and dirty, nope.  But, I love my kids.  Love, love, love them with that I-will-die-for-you kind of love but crafting with them?  It a mess waiting to happen and one that I'd rather skip out on by just finding other ways of having fun.

The unfortunate part about that is that my kids love painting.  LOVE it.  I don't know if that love will transfer over to painting walls and furniture because you know one day they will get roped into that, but for now, give each of them paint, a brush, and paper and they will sit and paint allll day long.  But, like a lot of kids, they make a MESS.  Even with me right there (breathing into a paper bag...kidding...maybe) they still manage to make a mess.  You moms know.  You see me.  And I see you.  A lot of times I feel like the paint is fun to create pictures with for awhile but if they keep going, it becomes this thing where they keep piling paint on paint on paint just to see what happens and that's where things go awry.  It's like playing with mud.  They're cute at first making these pretty little mud pies and cookies and 20 minutes later, they're an entirely new, unrecognizable species.  That's painting with kids.

But, BUT, I pulled the paints out with a plan a couple of weeks ago and, not only wasn't there a huge mess to clean up at the end, but we actually came out the other end with two pictures that were worthy of a hammer and nail.

Gianna's:

Seb's:


(The twins were at school when I did this so it was just a project for the 6 and 3 year old.  Had I had four kids at one time doing this, I'm not sure it would have gone quite as smoothly.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Probably won't ever try that because I'm not that much of a glutton.)

P.S.  I didn't plan on this being something you could do while being couped and socially distanced for (possibly) weeks on end but it totally is so I'll chalk one up on the coincidence chart.


House Exterior Update | One Year In

Whew!  March 2020, you are one for the books, right?  April and May etc etc will probably get the same association.  Yipe.  I hope you're tucked away from it all!  We are just trying to lay low and distant but have high hopes that this social distancing will allow us some good family time and maybe let us get a few more things done around here quicker than we expected.  For one, we grabbed exterior paint this morning so we're planning on a few weeks (or more) of sticking close to home and painting.  There's a bright spot in everything, right?  If you haven't never considered yourself a DIYer before, Covid-19 might bring it out of you!  :)  

In other news... 

We closed on our house one year ago!  That's seems wild to me.  Like, really.  And maybe it's because technically, we've only been living here for 10 months so we haven't quite hit the year mark there yet.  If you don't remember, we closed on our house a couple of months before we had to be out of our rental.  That gave us time to scrape all of those popcorn ceilings and paint before we moved in all of our furniture, which would've made scraping ceilings 100 times harder.

I'm going to write up a picture-loaded post of the inside and how it's changed in the past year but first, we're going to start outside.  The backyard hasn't changed much (here's a little update on some landscaping) but the back patio has and all with the addition of furniture and a little feng shui.  ;)

Before:

Currently:

How to Slim Down a Shirt | A DIY Refashion

It's been a good while since I took on a refashion so I revved that engine back up last week and finally started going through my small pile of to-be-sewns...the small pile that was a large pile before I counted my losses and donated half of the clothes before we moved last year.  Can't say I miss them...

Anyway, I found this shirt on a clearance rack at Target, oh, maybe two years ago, for something like $6.  I snatched it up even though it was two sizes too big for me because I loved the print and I knew I could easily take it in.  So, it went straight to the refashion pile.  Straight to that pile were it sat and sat...

I'm pretty sure I've written a tutorial on how to do this before but I'm also pretty sure it was a maternity top and I've gained some efficiency knowledge since then.  So, round two.  One of the easiest, beginner-level sewing things to do when you're talking refashioning shirts, is taking them in at the sides to fit you.  Really this is easiest with sleeveless shirts like the one I've got here today but sometimes you can follow up and along the sleeve of a shirt to get the same result with sleeved tops.  I'll make a mental note to do one of those someday too.

There are two easy ways to do this.  1)  Use a shirt you already have, and like the fit of, as a template or 2)  inch your way in little by little until you get the fit you want, following the existing edge.  For this post, I went the template route.

Things you'll need? 
Well, I wish I could slap a "no-sew" label on this one but alas, you'll need a sewing machine for this unless you're an Olympic hand seamstress.  If you're a beginner and just want to start slow and with straight lines, this Brother* is reasonable, has good reviews, and will do ya just fine for lots and lots of sewing projects.  This one* is even cheaper but without many stitch options.  If you've got a little bit of sewing skill under your belt or just want to jump in head-first and with a good machine, this one* is the newer model of mine.  I've had my dear Brother for oh, six or seven years now and LOVE it.  I've had zero problems with it.  It sews everything I've ever made and even embroiders so I've been able to make our Christmas stockings and then monogram them all with one machine.  Two thumbs way up.
You'll also probably need a sewing scissors* (I'd write "sewing" on it so no one thinks they can use it for anything else), a seam ripper* just in case, a sewing pencil* (I always use my kids' washable markers) and of course, a shirt that's too big on you.

Here's my shirt in it's original state:

It could've had a chance at flowy if the arm holes weren't the size of Texas on me.

Hand-Painted Curtains | DIY

One of the first rooms we set straight in this house was the kids' shared bedroom.  You can see the "reveal" here.  In that reveal though, I mentioned that it wasn't finished (is any room ever finished really?) and that I still wanted to add a little bit more flavor before we called it quits.  Fast forward several months to last week, I finally got around to it.  The kids are helping me with a couple more projects right now and then I'll post another (more complete) reveal, but this here is all about the existing curtains I painted.  

I bought these black-out curtains* for their room in the 96" length and they're really great, especially for the price (I got mine via the Warehouse too so they were even cheaper!), but it turns out that they're even better if you want to add a little bit of pizzazz in the form of paint.

Here's what they looked like right after we bought them last year and got them hung:
(We used curtain rods similar to these*.)

With the white walls, they were a little too boring for a kids' room but I had plans...it just took me awhile to execute.  Before I show you what they look like now, let's go into how I did it.

Backyard Clean-up + Landscaping Tips

Last weekend we started a project that kind of snowballed quickly. It's something that's on our to-do list but something that's going to require a good deal of time, possibly moolah, and good weather so it's on the bottom end of that list.



Landscaping.  There's a lot of it to be done.  Last weekend though, we worked on the longest plant bed of all that runs along the back of the house.  We started taking out plants touching the house and  cutting back some of the plants along the patio area that just keep growing up and then didn't quit until we had the whole bed cleaned out.  Here's what that bed looked like when we moved in last spring:

And here's what it looks like now, after a few hours of muscle and bent knees (seriously, my hamstrings hurt for three days):

Updating an Old Dresser | A Makeover

Right after we got married, Anthony and I shared a twin mattress on the floor in our first house because it was the only mattress we had (mine from college).  That set-up lasted a few weeks until we bought a new mattress and a secondhand bedroom set from a local thrift store.  We stripped the shiny varnish from the set of dressers and gave them a coat of satin poly to modernize them a little (key word:  a little).  You can see them in our first house tour.  We also added some new hardware I found on clearance at Lowe's.  (Was this the beginning of a lifetime of furniture makeovers?  Looks like it.)  We used that set for years and are still using the bed (though it looks a smidge different), but the dressers have hopped around the houses we've had.  The tall dresser eventually got traded for another tall dresser (that matched a long dresser we bought from someone online) and the long dresser went from kid's room to kids' room and landed in the living room in this house where it held the TV.  When I spotted a longer dresser on Facebook marketplace a couple of months ago, we decided to swipe up that one and swap it out with our old one in the living room.  Did you follow all that?  Basically, we still have this dresser we bought as newlyweds but now we have no place for it. 


It sat in the breakfast nook for a few weeks which drove us all crazy so, pushing all sentiment aside (which wasn't easy), we decided to sell it.  But it sat and sat and sat with very little interest.  *womp womp*  I might've been asking too much considering it still looks like it hails from the 1980's but I was trying to recoup the money we spent on that "new" dresser.

We knew something was going to have to change to get this thing out the door and we didn't really want it to be the price since it's in great shape and has great bones so...

The 'Blank Slate' Dining Room

Last week we fixed walls, prepped, primed, and painted the dining room and shared it all in a bunch of Instagram stories.  I didn't share an after photo though because I like to reserve the good stuff for the blog, ya know?  ;)  Sorry Insta, you'll always be second best.

But the truth is, the after was (and still very much is) very underwhelming.  I was so excited for this huge transformation that was taking shape with the power of paint right in front of my very eyes and then...well it was better than it was because paint always trumps bare drywall but even though it doesn't seem possible, it seemed to get more boring.


I told you...womp, womp.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that the walls are bare and the hutch is camouflaging it.  Well, that's going to have to change and I'll give you a few ideas how but first, let's do that thing we always do and take a little trot down memory lane.

The Best Painting Tools, Say Us

This post is a long time coming; one I should have written a very long time ago.  (Thank you Rebecca, for helping me realize it!)  We've painted a room, or a hundred, and we've pretty much got painting down to a science.  But the science of it all doesn't add up if you don't have the right tools.  That's how it goes, right?  The right tools will help you succeed!  #communitycollegeslogan

I didn't know the first thing about painting an interior room growing up (and neither did Anthony).  My dad made my siblings and I scrape and repaint our white farmhouse when I was ehh, maybe middle to high school somewhere (I hated it so much I must've blocked out the time frame) and that's the most painting I did until we bought our first house and dove headfirst into changing the color of 90% of the walls in the house...and then 100% of the walls in our second house, 100% of those in our rental, and now what will eventually be the walls (and ceilings!) in this house.


All that's to say, you don't actually have to have any experience in painting to start.  It's not that hard!  Yes, it takes a little bit of time and effort but as far as I'm concerned, the time you spend is money saved and the effort counts as a workout.  Win, win.  :D


So, without further ado, these are our tried-and-true, all-time favorite painting tools.  We've used all of them for quite a while, so there aren't any newbies here.  Just oldies and goodies.  ;)  

Our Next Project + Our Current White Paint

We are still stalled on the kitchen.  Ugh.  I don't know if I mentioned this in a prior post but I'm too lazy to look - we've decided to hire someone to mud the ceiling where we put up new drywall to cover up that new beam.  Anthony started doing it and he's good at it, but with life right now, progress is snail-pace and we could get someone in here to get it done in a couple of days tops.  Once the ceiling is mudded, we'll be ready to paint the ceiling in the kitchen, breakfast nook, and living room then paint the walls and the list just goes on from there...

SO while we wait, we're going to paint another room.  That's our next project.  It'll be the dining room this time because it was the obvious choice, flowing right off the newly-painted reading room and we're going with China White by Ben Moore (color-matched in Valspar paint).  In my head I've got ideas swirling about going a tad more bold in the dining room but I just can't nail one down until we get the kitchen done since, you know, that whole cohesive thing.  So, neutral we go for now.  It seems counter-productive though, doesn't it?  To just paint a room when you know it might get painted again later?  It does and it is.  But clearly...


...spending $20 on a can of paint is so okay right now for this room.  It's that or bare drywall for who knows how long and so we gladly be out this twenty for a few months of a normal space.

The Reading Room - Mini-Makeover and Plans



When you walk into our front door, the first room you see, besides the entry you'd be standing in, is the formal living room.

Or at least, that's what we think it was intended for and probably was right after the house was built.  For us though, it was a space we didn't really know what to do with.  We were looking for houses in the 2000 square foot range when we were hunting and well, this one rang in at 2400 and a big chunk of that extra 400 square feet is this room.  So, extra space?  Great!  Except, what do we do with it??