Showing posts with label Decorating. Show all posts

Hide Ja Wife…

hide ja kids, and hide ja modem. 

Back when we installed the shelving along one side of our fireplace, I had grand plans of keeping it functional on top of the form.  We needed another place to keep some of our books and so it does, but we also needed a place to keep our internet modem and wireless router.  The bottom shelf was were I wanted those to go.  But, as you can tell, modems and routers don’t really contribute much to aesthetics.

But thank goodness for Pinterest because a long time ago I pinned this idea from Sewing Barefoot and then much later, thrifted the books you see on the far right for the very purpose of that camoflage project.

When I took the pictures for the shelving project post, the modem and router were nestled ever so hastily behind a white basket to hide them from view.

But now, I’ll let you take a gander and guess as to where they might be.
modem (5)

Ok, so I might’ve made that easy for you since I gave away the books but hey!  Out of sight and so much better, right?!  :)

modem (10)

I started this project last weekend while I was visiting my sister and finished once I got home.  It really stinks that it took me so long to finally get it done.  I thought it would require more time and effort than it really did.  Twenty minutes all-in-all was all it cost me and every second of that was worth the better view.

So, want to make your very own modem hide-out?  It’s perfect for hiding just about anything you can fit behind a few books, even secret levers that open up a secret room…if you’re into that kind of thing.  ;)

Here’s how:

First, grab your supplies.  You’ll need a box of some sort to hold whatever it is you’re wanting to hide, several books that, when placed together, span the entire width of that box (you’ll be cutting them apart so don’t use anything you’re planning on reading anytime soon), a razor blade or scissors, a hot glue gun, and glue sticks.
IMG_3444I found all of these books at a local thrift store last year for 75 cents each and used a regular ‘ole cardboard box that I cut two sides off of to hold the modem and router.

Next, grab your razor blade and any pent up anger because it’s time to rip apart some books.

What you’ll want to do is open the front cover of each book and cut out the middle.  Be careful to only cut out the inside of the book and not to press so hard that you cut through the binding. 
IMG_3449Repeat the same step with the back cover of the book.

Funny story:  I noticed upon going in to cut apart one of my books that, not only was it gifted to someone but it was also signed by the author on the very first page.  #whoops
IMG_3450Must not’ve been that important if it was donated to a thrift store but still, I felt a little rebellious taking it apart.

After all the insides of the books are gone, decide how you want the books to be lined up.
Once you’ve got your layout (make sure all your books are right-side-up too!), it’s time to shorten all of the covers except for the two on each end.

To do this, I laid each book out flat and held a ruler up against the binding while I cut.
IMG_3453This gave me a straight line to run the razor along and helped ensure that each book would be shortened the same amount.  (PS, use a cutting board lest you want to cut into whatever solid surface you’re working on.  I used a book I had decided not to use…you can’t see it, but it’s there.)
Now it’s time to glue all of your (what were) books together in the order you had planned.  I just ran a small line of hot glue down the cover stubs and attached each book to its neighbor.
After all the books were glued together, I glued the front cover of the farthest book on the left to the left side of the box.  Then I glued all of the books to the box by running a line of glue horizontally along the middle of the side of the box that’d be up against the cover stubs and then placing each stub into the line of glue.  The important part here is to make sure that the stubs are straight when they hit the glue; make sure they are at a 90 degree angle with the box.

When I had the basic structure of my hideaway finished, I had a small gap between the back cover of the farthest book on the right and the box.  Not a huge deal and one that could’ve been left as-is, but just because, I made a little spacer by gluing together a few layers of cardboard and then glued that into my gap.
IMG_3458Nice and sturdy does it.

Up at at ‘em it went with our modem and router tucked nicely behind.
modem (11) 
I know I said originally that my plan was to house the hidden modem and router on the bottom shelf, but when I tried that, the cords coming out the back of each made the whole book hideaway stick too far off the end of the shelf.  Boo.  So, for now and maybe forever, it sits on top of our blu-ray player.  I’m still not sure if I’d rather just brainstorm another way to get it back on the shelf or not but for now, it’s hidden and that’s all that matters.  I did flank it with two other books on each end to further hide the wires that extended out the back though.  Had I a bigger space, I probably would’ve made this thing with some larger books.  Keep that in mind when you’re making your own.  The covers on the two books on each end should extend or be longer than whatever you’re trying to hide, wires included.

modem (12)
And speaking of hiding things, we finally got around to figuring out how to fanagle all the wires coming from the electronics over the fireplace into our mantel’s side panel.  Remember when Chelsea and I built our new mantel and how she helped me make happen the hidden panel I wanted for that sole purpose?

Well, here it is exposed with the lone two wires that need to run down it to reach the outlet below:
IMG_3460One of them is the main cable wire and the other goes to a power strip that sits right on top of the big bracket that holds the TV on the wall, to which everything is plugged in.  Every mantel ever should have a hidden panel, that’s what I say.

I’ve also been busy restyling/adding to those shelves and hanging up those three big frames to fill up the big expanse of wall.
modem (1)The picture doesn’t make it look as good as it does in person.  I’m still working on how to get this whole space into one photographic rectangle. 

Those frames are oldies and still filled with the same floral calendar prints I framed ages ago.  I’m hoping to get a family picture up into them that’s one big picture spread through and filling the three frames.  It’s gonna be sa-weet…whenever it happens.  The only new things on the shelves are the plants – the top right a thrift score (fake) and everything else clipped from out my front or back door.  The ampersand was a $2 thrift find that I had planned to spray paint gold.  It once looked like this:
IMG_3485This is right before I primed the entire thing white.  When I went out to give it the gold coat, I stopped after spraying from just one angle and loved how it looked so I just quit.  I kinda love it.

And that’s that…all starting with our new and improved living room shelves complete with a modem you’d never know was there if you didn’t know because I just told ya.  If you make your very own modem-hider, I’d love to see it and add it to this post!  Email a picture to me – or tag me on Instagram (@beaninlove). 

Peace and love and all that jazz.


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how to hide your modem

Our Paint Chip Family

Ooh, DIY art.  It's my favorite.  And since I'm really, really, really bad/slow at getting real pictures put into real frames, it's really easy too.

So, when I saw the above gallery wall done by Jessica at Pretty Providence, specifically that framed triangle artwork in the upper left, I was inspired.  I got to work one nap time and created my own version of it in the form of a little abstract family portrait, a very abstract family portrait.See?
It's Anthony and I on the left (he's Neutral Gray even though he's anything but neutral and I'm red/orange or "Red Hot" as Behr calls it...ha!), and the kids are two blues and a golden yellow (or boring "Sunwashed Blue", "Honey Beige", and "Harbor").  It's going to have to get tweaked a little bit here in the next few months but since I did this project months ago and am just now getting around to sharing it, we'll stick with five triangles instead of the six we really need now.  The question that now remains is, what color should the new little lady be?  I'm accepting ideas...
The five of us are hanging in the toy corner in the living room; a little area we moved all the toys to last year when we rearranged this room for better functionality.

Want a little triangular fam of your very own?

You know you do!!  Here's how you can birth one...

Grab some paint chips.  I used chips I had on hand from prior projects.  
(Soapbox note:  I don't condone just going into a home improvement store and grabbing paint chips for free for projecting.  I feel like, and maybe this is a little dramatic, but that's almost stealing.  Somebody pays for those and even though they're up for grabs and free for us consumers, I don't think that means going and grabbing a bunch for non-paint related purposes is cool.  However, I do think that going into a home improvement store to buy something and supporting them financially in another way gives you a little more justification to maybe grab a few for a project.  Just my two cents.)

A few of them were squares so I just penciled a line halfway down the middle on the back to create two little triangles.  Then, I used one of those triangles as a template to cut triangles out of the chips that weren't squares.

Then I just cut out the triangles...with my food scissors, yes.  Sometimes they're just the closest and sometimes I'm just lazy.


And then I apparently didn't take or lost any and all pictures of how I got them in a frame but luckily, that's Kindergarten-level stuff.  I just grabbed an old frame I had laying around that I had broken the glass to years ago, stuck a piece of white, matte photo paper inside, and glued my triangles in the order I wanted them to the photo paper.  I used photo paper because it's a little thicker than regular computer paper but really, you can use any kind or color of paper you want.  It's your family.  Make it how you want it.  :) 

Along with our family triangle portrait, I hung this print from Hatch Prints (also used in our recent pregnancy announcement) in a thrifted oval frame that I spray painted white and the mat black (they were a nice shade of gaudy pink), and framed picture of the kids I rehabbed from this thrifted frame:
I bought it for the color of the frame but painted the mat white and then went back in and painted in the gray border for flavor.

This little corner of the living room is set now but we've made some major progress in other corners that I can't wait to share with you.  Stay tuned for one rather large update next week!  I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with boo fantel...

Easiest {Any}Holiday Bunting Ever

I’ve always loved the idea of hanging bunting.  With that said though, I’ve never made or hung any because making and hanging bunting just doesn’t climb as far up the to-do list ladder as some of the other projects we want done ‘round here.  It’s life is lived on the back burner…

until now…
Yay!  Can you see it, can you see it?  (As I typed that, I heard Olaf’s voice in my mind…weird.)

I had this bright idea one afternoon and, literally, five minutes later, we had bunting hanging from the tippity-top of our tree.  It’s so easy!  No sewing, gluing, measuring, or fuss of any sort.  The Grinch would hate it!

Wanna know how to make some of your very own?  Well, if you don’t, click out because if you know me, you know what’s next.

All you’ll need are a pair of scissors, some sort of string (I used twine I had laying around but fishing string or a strong thread would work too), and some wire edge ribbon.  I grabbed this wire edge ribbon after Christmas last year on clearance at Michael’s but, even without the clearance price, it’s pretty cheap.  If you’re only using it for this project, even the Dollar Store will satisfy the need.

First, cut several pieces of ribbon.  The number you’ll cut depends on how many far apart you want each piece to sit once it’s on the string.  For an eight foot long strand like mine, I cut 13 pieces, each about six inches long (I didn’t measure but just cut the first one and cut the others based on that one).  I spaced them about six or so inches apart on my twine.  You can space them closer or farther; have more or less.  Imperfection is the name of the game and, in this case, anything will look cute!

Then, fold each piece in half.  

 Next, cut a shallow triangle out of the bottom of each folded piece of ribbon.

  And last, slip each piece right over your hanging string.  (It’s easier to add the ribbon after you figure out where you want the bunting hung).  Giving the wire edges a little pinch along the top of the string will ensure they don’t slide around.

So easy, right?!  Think of all the holidays and notholidays you can whip up a five-minute strand of bunting!  Pastel ribbon for easter, pink and red for Valentine’s Day, patriotic colors for the Fourth, blue and green to match the theme of your kid’s birthday…the options are really endless.

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We moved some small pieces of furniture around this year so that we could put our tree in the back corner of our living room and we’re really loving the placement.  It’s out of the way but it makes this corner really special (except for the red/cranberry club chairs…I can’t wait to get my hands on reupholstering or doing something with those).  As far as decorating goes, we’re done.  I didn’t add more lights to the tree or put on all the ornaments like I usually do because we’ll be traveling to see family for Christmas and so simple did the trick. 

But, I did go a little crazy, adding a little bit of festive to our thrifted glass lamps:
One has been finicky about turning on recently so I had to take it apart anyway to see what the deal was so I thought, “why not paint them?”  That’s a normal thought process, right?  ;)

Of course, we also set the sensory mood by plugging in our Wallflower; laden with the scent of Fresh Balsam.  I’ve had my wallflower forever but I bought this particular scent five Christmas’ ago and it’s still going strong.  We don’t keep it plugged in all the time, maybe a few hours a day, so that helps slow the depletion.

The hutch is decked with a thrifted wreath that I got last year and we recently acquired the brass elephant atop it.  You might remember the diy mercury glass vase that once was there…well, somebody (coughAnthonycough) caused it to come tumbling and crashing when he was sliding the hutch around one day so we could clean underneath.  It’s really my fault for not having it as secure as I should’ve up there but thankfully, no one or nothing was hurt except the vase and my feelings.

Anyway, I’ll be back with the other side of the room before Christmas.  Really it’s just the stockings and mantel over thataway but those are a whole tutorial post in themselves. 

I guess you’ll just have to HO, HO, HO…ld on.  ;)

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Because you know you want to pin it…

Just Beadiful

I’ve been wanting to up the ante in the girls’ room since they moved in way back when Sebastian took over their old room.  During a few weeks in October, I finally got my chance.

Shortly after we moved in, we took a can of creamy beige to the walls in here and it worked as a guestroom/office for several years (paint color was Drifting Dune by Valspar).  The cream walls were a perfect canvas for adding whatever color of decor I felt like and they still are.  Except this summer a friend gave us a beige rug she wasn’t using anymore and I thought the girls’ room would be the perfect new home for it except…IMG_6105…really it just created one big, beige box.

I loved the rug too much to part with it so something had to be done.  One of those things came in the form of an idea of creating a colorful accent wall behind the cribs. 

Initially, I had schemed to knock-off this Anthropologie wallpaper by stenciling something similar using some sort of watercolor technique I still had to come up with.  But then over time the room started collecting lots of colorful artwork above the girls’ dresser and I thought maybe the colorful wallpaper knock-off idea would just create too much pastel-ish color.  Is it possible to have too much color?  I don’t know but the thought of walking into a soft-palette, watercolor room read “overstimulation” to me.  Plus, the watercolor stencil would’ve probably been a lot of work and it’s not one of those designs that could easily be melded into a new decor plan in the future…the future being when the girls’ turn into real little girls and I want to turn their room into a funky modern yet girly space.

So then…I know, “get to the point already!”, I thought maybe I’d just stencil a simple pattern onto the wall that wasn’t in-your-face but wouldn't totally blend into the wall either; accentuating with subtlety.

Enter Cutting Edge Stencils and the girls’ new-and-improved, but still ever-tweaked, room:  IMG_6558

I’ve made my own stencils before but, for what I wanted on this wall, I didn’t have the skill to just whip up a diy stencil much less create something big enough to stencil it.  Good thing Cutting Edge does have that skill.  When I was set on the subtle stencil idea for this accent wall, I started perusing their site.  I had heard of them lots of times via other blogs and I knew they had some really awesome designs.  So, together with Chelsea at Checking in with Chelsea, we contacted Cutting Edge to ask if they’d sponsor a post and they said “YES”!  Honestly, I was planning on grabbing a stencil during their next sale anyway but I thought maybe we could try to collaborate with them first and so I was floored (walled?) and excited when they sent us each a Beads Allover stencil plus a Stencil Essentials kit.

But anyway, enough with the small talk.  Let’s talk about how this went up.

First, I moved everything away from the accent wall, took down the mirror, and gave the wall a quick wash with some mild soap and water.IMG_1892
I started the stenciling process by stenciling along the ceiling first.  Cutting Edge includes a top edge stencil with their allover wall stencils to make stenciling along the ceiling a breeze.  I found that using the end of the foam roller that came in the Stencil Essentials kit to stipple the paint onto the stencil worked the best for me.  The walls in the girls’ room have a fair amount of orange-peel texture to them but the foam cut the bleeding because of the texture to a minimum and allowed me to get super close to the ceiling.
I did have to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of rounds but having a pack of wet wipes close made it easy to do.
This might not have been as necessary with non-textured walls but since mine are, paint did tend to seep behind the stencil a tad.  Spraying the back of the stencil with spray adhesive would probably have cut down on the bleed too but I didn’t want to spray that stuff in the girls’ room and the thought of running to and fro outside and their room wasn’t appealing time-wise. 

That black strip attached to the stencil is a clip-on stencil level.  This little thing was awesome and I highly recommend grabbing one for your next stenciling project!  It’s a miniature level that attaches to the top or bottom of the stencil.  It cut out all the measuring to make sure the stencil was painted on straight.  One quick glance at the level is all you need get things nice and straight so that you can spend more time focusing on important things like painting and watching how much paint you’re getting on your roller.

Here’s what the wall looked like after I was finished stenciling along the ceiling: IMG_1895[Sorry for the poor picture!  I worked at night and you know how well poor-lighting plays with cameras…]
I don’t know if borders are out these days but I thought the Beads stencil looked cute just along the top of the wall.

Next up was…the rest of the wall.  I didn’t realize how large this stencil actually was before I took it out of the packaging.  It’s big.  Great too because a big stencil meant less work for me.

I started stenciling several inches from the corner of the wall, thinking that I’d tackle the corners last.  I wasn’t sure how the stencil would hold up with me bending it into the corners so I was a little concerned that if I did the corners first and the stencil didn’t hold up, I’d be in deep trouble.  (Spoiler alert:  not only did it hold up to the corners but there were no bends, breaks, or warping to be seen after!)

At first I just taped the sides of the stencil to the wall after making sure it was level using some painters’ tape I had on hand.  The problem was that the painters’ tape I had wasn’t really holding the stencil up.  It was painters’ tape I’ve had forever and was probably cheap.  Doh!

I didn’t have time to go out and grab more tape since I had a limited time schedule (bedtime for a couple of nights only) so I remedied the sad sticking situation with sticky tack!

I just stuck a little ball of it to the four corners of the stencil and it worked like a charm!  The stencil was going nowhere but onto the wall!  I think I’ll go for the tack over tape for any future stencil too.  It’s easy to remove and just stick to the next area; no grabbing another strip of tape or worrying about where the heck you laid the tape you need rightthisminute.
To paint the stencil, I used the foam roller on it’s handle.  Since my walls are textured, barely covering the roller with paint was KEY!  Using the paint tray below (Home Depot, I think?) made it easy for me to load up the foam roller with paint and then roll the excess off onto the platform.
I also figured out that if I went over the stencil twice, each time with very thin coat of paint, it cut out on the bleeding even more.  I did the coats one-after-the-other.  And, just like with the edge stencil, I made sure to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of uses.  In the end, I still didn’t have super-clean edges like I would’ve with a non-textured wall, but the edges weren’t awful either.  Perfectly imperfect.  :)

After I was done stenciling the entire middle of the wall, it was time for the corners.  Like I said above, I was a little nervous about these because I wasn’t sure if bending the stencil into the corners was going to  permanently bend the stencil or if all would be unscathed.  I was pleasantly surprised and super impressed with how the stencil handled corners though!  It came out looking as great as when it came out of its packaging!   

So, in conclusion…

The stencil itself?  So awesome.  The quality is so great and it was (and still is) seemingly indestructible.  It rounded the corners well without cracking/breaking and showed no signs of injury when I accidentally dropped it…oops.  Five stars/two thumbs up/hearty applaud to Cutting Edge for creating a high quality product and gaining a loyal customer in me.  (Master bathroom walls, I’m looking at you…)

Sticky tack worked so much better than tape for me and was a lot more efficient, especially since I was on a major time crunch to get the girls’ room back to normal.

If you are stenciling textured walls, wipe off the back of the stencil every few rounds.  Don’t be afraid to give a little stencil-love to textured walls!  It can be done!

Stippling with the end of the roller was a great way to get really close to the ceiling vs. rolling the paint on along the narrow edge stencil.

The paint tray I used with the small platform on it was great at helping get the right amount of paint onto the roller (this one* is similar to mine but I’m sure you’d probably be able to find one at a home improvement store too).

I used a white Glidden paint in satin to paint on this stencil.  It dried fairly quickly which is key in stenciling.  The faster the paint dries, the less chance it has to bleed or get smudged. 

Cutting Edge has a great list of FAQ’s on the actual stenciling process that you should definitely check out when buying a stencil.

Overall, I really don’t have anything bad to say about the whole experience.  I’m 100% sold on stencils (again) as a much, much, much cheaper wallpaper alternative and to liven up any room.

IMG_6561  IMG_6564                                            [refurbished mirror, over-sized letters are from JoAnn Fabrics]
I’ll have lots more details about all of the other projects I finished in this room in the coming weeks but for now, let’s take a little tour of the girls’ sweet space, shall we?
IMG_6565                                                        [diy play kitchen from an entertainment center]
 IMG_6566These pictures of the dresser wall came out awful for some reason (shoulda turned the lamp off?) but at least you can kinda get a glimpse of all the pastels going on there. IMG_6567 IMG_6569                                                                                  [mirror refurb]


My favorite tours though, are those that bring up what used to be.  Like how the room looked like this right after we moved in and scrambled to put it together before guests arrived with stuff we had on hand:guest office ip 
But then we made big progress into turning it into a guestroom guests would feel much more cozy in.may182012 008

And then the twins got moved, mom got busy and moved up in the photo-taking world to bring us where we are today:IMG_6560

And in case you’re wondering how in the heck I keep their room so clean, I don’t.  I just lock them out when I need to take blog pictures when the bright sun is shining in during the late-afternoon…and I call on a certain Explorer to babysit.  Once that lock is unlocked though and the cubs are let in, it’s all scatter and dump.  IMG_6591

And that’s real life.

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Make sure you check in with Chelsea to see what she did with the Beads stencil!

*affiliate link


And PS, thank you for all the love after our bitty baby announcement Friday!  I’m so blessed to have such friends in my readers!  XO!