Friday, January 28, 2011

Next Stop of the Bandwagon: My Home

Yes, I jumped on the Ikea Rast dresser redo bandwagon.
I just can't resist the amazingness of the various Rast dresser redos I have seen. For those of you who aren't aware, the Rast dresser is an unbelievable $29.99 at Ikea. It's an unfinished, 3-drawer small dresser and totally awesome.
The possibilities are endless. Here are a few makeovers of this dresser I have been drooling over:
It took me about 30 minutes to put together, and then I immediately primmed her. I'm still working on the final product so I'm going to keep my design plans quiet for now.
My Rast...

My Mother's Dinning Room

I have been holding off on showing pictures of the redo from my mother's dinning room and kitchen for some time now because I am waiting for pictures of the kitchen. (Ahem, are you reading this, sister??)
But I can wait no longer, so I will show you the dinning room today. I call it the dinning room, but its really just an extension of the kitchen with a table in it. We also have a formal dinning room, but that is used more as a sewing room.
I painted the dinning room many, many years ago for my mom, after removing the old wall paper. I really don't know exactly when this happened, but it was before  Prom of my senior year of high school. I found a highly amusing picture of myself on Prom night in the dinning area, with the wall behind me painted.
The dinning room and I, freshly painted circa 2004
My mother loved the color I had picked out for the kitchen (and I had bought about twice as much as we needed) that we used it in the dinning area as well. I think this was actually a good idea anyway, as they are essentially one room with a bar separating them.

The before color is a decade-old color called Parchment. I don't know what brand it is if you're interested in making your dinning room look circa 2001, but it is probably Glidden.  Considering the crazy 70's era wallpaper that was there before, this is a huge improvement.
The dinning area, my brother and grandmother, circa 1998
(Brother is now 14!)
The "parchment" paint really lightened up and cleaned up the room. We were in the process of a deep clean at the time of this picture, which explains the covered table.

And After: Again, this color is Silverleaf by Valspar.

I think the color kind of reads blue in these pictures, but its definitely more grey in person.

The black candle holders are new, as are the mirror tiles. My mom had really, really old candle sconce and mirror set on the wall that just needed to go. 
Another thing we need to work on is the curtains. I couldn't find the Young House Love style white breezy curtains I wanted in my quick trip home (strange, right?) and didn't find any other suitable alternatives in stores, so I left the curtains as is. 
I would love to see something with a subtle pattern and perhaps bamboo instead of those plastic blinds, 

or maybe just roman shades, as I don't think those blinds ever get pulled down.
Perhaps someday soon I will have pictures of the kitchen!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Christmas Present

While I was home for Christmas, my intent was to tackle one big project--the kitchen. I really wanted to paint the kitchen cabinets, the walls and perhaps the countertop. Well, it didn'tgo exactly as planned. First, we decided 7 days wouldn't be enough time to properly sand and prime and paint all the cabinets (theres quite a few...), and I was unsuccessful in convincing my mother that painting the floor and/or counter top was a good idea. So what did I do?

Well, I DID paint the kitchen. You're going to have to wait to see pictures of that. We primed and painted the walls, and also gave the ceiling a fresh coat of white paint. But since that didn't really take up my whole week or all of the paint we had, I started looking around for other things to paint. One room that hadn't been updated in a while was the entryway/mud room.

This room was papered shortly after we moved into the house by my mother. She chose a trendy hunter green almost solid paper. It was looking dated, and also my mom runs an in-home daycare center, and the kids had done a little peeling in some spots.
My little helper
There were TWO layers of wallpaper.
The green and a lovely 70's style flower pattern
So I got to work with my friend the wallpaper steamer and one of my mom's daycare kids one afternoon and stripped all that wall paper! If you have to remove wallpaper and you don't own a steamer, I seriously recommend it. Once the water heats up, you apply it to the paper, and it works miracles so the paper just easily falls off. I have used vinegar and hotwater in a spray bottle, and also fabric softener and hot water. Both of these things work OK if the wallpaper is just going to come off easily anyway. But I really don't like how the water gets cold quickly, and then the paper you've scraped off is soggy and cold. Gross.

So yes, this little ~$50 steamer is DEFINITELY worth it.
Buy it here

Here are some in progress pics. After removing all the wallpaper, we washed the walls to make sure any left over pieces of wallpaper were removed. We let the wall dry a little, and then spackled some holes and let it dry overnight. 

Daisy helped

So what color did we use? Well, I had originally picked out a color from Lowes in Michigan by Valspar called Silverware (spoiler: this is the same color that I used in the kitchen and dinning area. Mom liked it), but the Lowes at home(Vermont) had different color chips and didn't have "Silverware." 

Instead I found a really close match called "Silver Leaf."

It's really hard to take pictures of this tiny tiny area. These were the best I could do.

Further considerations: painting the trim white? Sanding and refinishing the door? The door is original and the previous owners of the house went to great lengths to strip the many layers of paint to get it back to the natural wood, so my mother is unwilling (at least at this point.. I haven't pushed much) to paint it white. But she has agreed that we could sand and re-stain it the next time I visit home (probably in the summer).

Overall my mom was really happy with my Christmas present for her!





Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Favorite Projects of 2010

I'm jumping on the "favorite projects" bandwagon.

1) Without a doubt my favorite project was my headboard. This was something I wanted to do for a long time and I finally took the plunge and just did it (I don't know why it took me so long!).

2) My chevron entryway shelf is another thing that makes me smile every time I see it.

3) Finding and moving to a new apartment with  some excellent features (balcony, washer/dryer..) is a big highlight of 2010. Moving also brought along the challenge of decorating a new space with the things that fit my previous apartment so well. This is a challenge I'm still working on.

4) And lastly, the work I did on my office area in my bedroom. I fixed up a desk chair, and reorganized the entire area.

I'm excited to continue documenting my projects in 2011!

Look What Santa Brought Me!

Two things that will be seriously helpful for my blogging. 
First, a new sewing machine. It is the Brother cs6000i, and I'm in love. 
Picture from here

It it a serious upgrade in terms of features from my late-60's Singer Fashionmate. Don't get me wrong, the Fashionmate is a workhorse and served me well, but this new one purrs like a kitten and makes sewing so fast. Threading it is very easy, there are 60 different stitches, and you don't even have to  use a foot pedal to sew. This is awesome for me, as someone with knee/hip issues. I actually got this new toy a week before Christmas (fast shipping!!) so I got to use it to make some of my Christmas gifts.
Here she is in real life!

The second toy is a new camera. 
Photo from here

It's not a DSLR-- I looked at them but ultimately decided I wasn't ready for that sort of investment, both in money and in learning. Instead I got the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS, which is 12.1MP. This is a pretty significant improvement over my previous camera- an Olympus FE-120 that's nearly 5 years old and only 6.0 megapixels. One of the most obvious improvements is the speed of taking pictures-- the Canon takes the picture nearly as soon as you press the button, while the old one had a 2-3 second delay. Big difference for any sort of action shot.

Yes, I used my old camera to take a picture of my new camera,
because I'm silly like that
Another new toy...very exciting is this bad boy:
Image from here

That's right! A palm sander. This guy should make redoing furniture that much easier. I already have a few projects in mind where this will come in VERY handy. I think my dad was very amused that I asked for a sander for Christmas. I'm sure not many24 year old women have these on top of their wish list!

I'm excited to start out 2011 with some new toys that can only make my projects better. I hope you'll hang around to see what I do.