Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DIY: Fabric Boards

I've had a few people ask me about my fabric boards, so here is a special DIY post!  I feel silly writing this post because (1) I'm sure I'm not the first person to create this and (2) it's SO easy that you could definitely figure it out for yourself.  But here we go!

Things you need

Mine was wood leftover from making cabinets for our last place (heavier wood than I'd prefer, but free!).  If you're lucky enough to know someone who always has random wood and things around their workshop (like my dad), that's always best because it's cheap to free.  If not, go to Lowe's or Home Depot and pick out some wood!  It's intimidating for a girl (I know from experience), because likely you really don't know what you're doing.  So ask a nice employee to help you.  They will even cut it for you for free (just make sure you know what dimensions you want!).  You can also use an old cork board... be resourceful!  If you've had success with a certain type of wood, share in a comment.

Get some.  I used Elmer's Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive because that's what my wonderful art teacher friend gave me.  Worked perfectly.  Looks like this...

Mine is upholstery fabric from Hobby Lobby, and costed a little more than I would've liked ($40ish I think), but it was the only fabric I found that I LOVED and met all my specifications (had to match black and brown, but still be colorful and fun and make me happy).  It doesn't have to be fancy fabric, as long as you like how it looks!

'Nuff said.

The wire kind would be best, but I didn't have any and was impatient and didn't want to go to the store, so I used two of these kind (and boy are they a pain!)...

(Sorry there aren't more helpful pictures- I wasn't planning on blogging this at the time!)

Step 1:  Lay out the fabric.  Lay the wood out on the fabric.  Make sure there's enough room to reach at least all the way over the sides!  Cut the fabric.  
Step 2:  (I recommend putting down newspaper or trash bags first, and doing this in the garage.  Otherwise, your floor gets sticky.  Don't ask how I know this.)  Spray the fabric glue on the wood and CAREFULLY press on the fabric.  It's hard to take off if you put it on wrong.  Make sure you spray it on extra thick on the side so it's nice and... stick-on-able.  Fold the fabric over the edges and smooth it out.         

Step 3:  Let it dry!  (Easiest step, right?)

Step 4:  Install the hanging hardware on the back.  I suppose this could also work well as Step 0 (before Step 1).  Might want to use a tape measurer and/or level to make sure you get it right!

Step 5:  Hang it/them and behold!  I think it works really well to liven up our ugly rent-white walls and fill a big space!

Let me know if you have any questions!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Home Tour: Part 2

I know, the suspense has been killing you (please sense the sarcasm)... it is now time for beds and baths, and... beyonds?  

I'll start with the third bedroom, but it isn't a bedroom.
The right side is mine- serves as the music room and is where I teach lessons and such.  The mirrors are for voice students (you singer nerds know the functionality).  We bought the piano from our old church for $100 (HUGE blessing- it is FAR above $100 quality!), and I use an old organ bench that I bought for $20 from a thrift store and repainted.  Mona Lisa stares at my students and freaks them out (and I actually bought it from the Louvre!). And invariably, you'll find sheet music and books scattered around.
The left side is mostly Michael's- the office, of course.  The chest  belonged to my great-granny; it was all uglyish, and my dad refinished it and gave it to me when I was 15 or so.  Pretty special.  The "mural" contains two wedding pictures, a clock, our names/meaning set that our former pastor's wife gave us as a wedding gift, and photos I took of the Neuchwanstein castle, a Venetian gondola, and Martin Luther's church.  Now here's a game- pick them all out!  Oh, and I've had that lava lamp since I was nine years old- durable!  And, most importantly (ha), the pod chair is my favorite-ever Ikea purchase.  Bookshelf and desk are from WalMart.

Bathroom time!  Wait, that didn't sound too appealing...
Master Bath! WalMart shower curtain- I love green.  Plus, nothing else went with all the weird off colors in there (you can't see the ugly floor and cabinets).  Also, let's just pretend that the shower curtain is ironed, okay?

And here's our bedroom.
We didn't have nightstands, but we did have some random baskets, so... the nightstands on both sides are different basket-y things.  I hate clutter, and baskets of course have no drawers, so there's a smaller basket on top of the baskets to hold stuff like the Nook, reading glasses, remotes, etc.
I was in the middle of packing... I don't usually have piles of clothes on the floor and hanging from the walls, I promise.

Now on to the guest bathroom, which is one of my butterfly rooms (there will always be butterflies in my house!).  Nothing too special here otherwise, just butterflies.

And last but not least, the guest bedroom!  I call this the "pretty room"... creative, right?  I decided to embrace the whole white-wall thing (usually in my mind, white walls=bleah).  Lanterns are from our wedding reception, bedding and lamp from Target, nightstand from a flea market (repainted).

The three pictures on the wall are of doors and arches (took them all in Europe), mirrors are a set from Target, forgot where the key is from (I like keys), curtain is from Target, table is from a flea market, and the bamboo and flowers were from our wedding reception decor.

Well, folks, this concludes our over-detailed mini-series on house decor!  It's ok if you just looked at the pictures and didn't read the words... I'm not offended ;)

The next post will probably be about Disney World or the Bahamas, because....

Monday, June 25, 2012

Home Tour: Part 1

We are currently abiding in this, the third dwelling of our marriage.  And no, we aren't military.  Oh and also- no, Delta is not usually off leash in the front yard (we were working on sit-stay).
Our first house was one that we owned.  The second was a remodeled barn.  The current one is a rental.  There's a certain comfort factor in renting and knowing that if something horribly wrong happens to the house, it's not our financial burden to fix.  When we decided to move out of the barn (insert long story involving a crazy man and a gun, and me being scared to death that I was going to have to kill someone), we were so blessed to immediately find a beautiful rent home in a safe, peaceful neighborhood.  There's a park within walking distance, and the grocery store (among many other wonderful things) is only a mile away- convenience!

As has apparently become tradition for me, I shall of course post pictures of the "new" home and decor.  The different this time is that we did NO remodeling or painting whatsoever.  You should know that white walls are generally a dislike of mine, but I've come to terms with them.

Let's begin at the front door, shall we? Upon entering, you are greeted by a vintage green chest (from an antique store going out of business), scarf from Bangladesh (good friend lived there), beautiful antique silver tea set (belonged to Michael's grandma- his sweet parents polished it and presented it to us at our wedding shower), and a small Chinese/English blessing verse (which I bought on a trip to China).

And to the right you see our re-used our wedding reception paper lanterns, an old chair I found at my parents' farm and sanded/repainted, vase that my grandma bought at a garage sale, and flea market table.

To the left is the coat closet, ugly air vent, more lanterns, and two Chinese scrolls that I had special made at a Christian-owned shop there.  The teal butterfly has my favorite verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17- "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!"

The other side of the brick wall holds the fireplace.
The vases on the mantle are from various flea markets, and the painting is a KW original (the full extent of any artistic ability I have), birdcage holding candles on top of a book about China on top of the H family Bible (which has been in Michael's family for around 100 years!).  I can't wait to use the fireplace this winter.

And here's the couch side of the living room.  Nothing overly special here. Couch and love seat were Michael's in college, tables found us via Craigslist, basket for holding the remotes (I highly recommend using a cute basket) from a church garage sale.
This is the TV side.  Blue chair from a flea market, giraffe from Jamaica, bamboo from our wedding.  See the giant flowery art?  I made them with wood and fabric.  EASY.  You pretty much just glue fabric to wood.  There's a matching pair by the recliner in the above picture.

<---Here's a little up-close-er look of the suitcase-on-a-table.  Start with a flea market suitcase, add a lamp, candle, and favorite books.
Now moving into the kitchen, where we find homemade curtains (thanks, mom!), an Ethan Allen table that my dad found at the dump a few years ago and we stripped and refinished, and mismatched chairs (two were with the dumpster-table, one that's been at my parents' house for maybe longer than I have, and the fancy one on the right was $12 flea market find).  By the way, the top picture is the more accurate color representation.

I sanded/repainted/stenciled the chest of drawers on the left- there's an old blog post about it.  It holds linens and our silver stuff.  Not real silver, just the awesome kind you don't have to polish.  And some of it you can bake in.  Awesome.

Double doors in the living room open up to our roomy backyard...

The lounge chair is the only piece of furniture that Delta is allowed to even THINK about getting on.  I like to use it for reading while under the (so far false) pretense that my running-shorts-tan is being evened out. Then there's the grill, hanging lights, table, tiki men thing, and a plant with ONE tomato.  It's very pleasant

This concludes Part 1 of the Home Tour!  Soon to come: Bed and Bath.  Oh yes, be excited...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting Fit

Life has finally slowed down a bit, thanks to my favorite teacher perk:

Since the last post, I have finished my first "real" year teaching, passed the Praxis 3 (final teacher assessment), moved into a nice house, had a birthday, celebrated our two year anniversary, visited St. Louis, met Dave Ramsey (we're big FPU people), eliminated all financial debt from our lives, gained a new precious baby niece, and lost about 24 lbs. And probably some other random crap too.

I am thoroughly enjoying summer break.  I get up every day at 6:30 (yes, I've turned into that person) and run 3 miles with my constantly convivial canine companion, Delta.  (Ooh, should've used "d" adjectives instead of "c" ones...)

She even has a great dog-backpack so that she can carry my stuff if we go to the walking trail or something.  And it makes her feel important because kids think she's a rescue dog (overheard the following from a kid at the park last month: "Daddy, look! That's a rescue dog! You can tell because she's wearing a backpack.").  She's a stellar running buddy, except when she spots a squirrel or bunny, which is often in this neighborhood (last week I counted during a run and there were 5 bunnies and 17 squirrels... maybe they're plotting a neighborhood takeover?).  Anyways, I try to go to the gym at least 3 or 4 times a week.  And I have lots of time to cook and try out new healthy recipes.

I still have a ways to go until I'm as fit as I want to be.  And through all this work and weight loss, I've discovered the trick to getting fit...

The trick is as follows:

Stop thinking there's a trick. 
Stop making excuses and exceptions and whining about what you wish you were like, and go work your butt off.
Count all the calories, eat healthy stuff, and don't eat crap.

Pretty simple, yes?  I highly recommend MyFitnessPal, an iPhone app (though there's also an online version).  There's even a bar code scanner for new foods.  SO easy to keep track of your calories.  And as long as you eat the right things, you are NOT going to be hungry.  I allow myself a "cheat day" a week, because- let's face it it- I will never be ready to give up chocolate ;).

Never been a runner?  That's okay, start at *nothing* and build your way up.  Some people really enjoy Couch to 5k (another great app), but I found a better system for me was to run as long as I could, then walk when I couldn't keep going, then run after I'd caught my breath, then walk when I couldn't go any further... you get the picture... until you have done 3 miles (or whatever you goal is).  Just do it and work as hard as you possibly can until you think you're going to die.  You won't die.  Well, unless you go in the middle of the afternoon in the summer- then you might.  (That's why I go at 6:30.) 

So, in conclusion...
1. Do it.
2. Feel like you're dying.
3. Don't die.
4. Eat the good stuff and you can eat a lot.
5. Get your dog a backpack. :P

Anyways, I'm off to eat this wonderful 230 calorie lunch!
Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt mixed with Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning, 8 baby carrots, 3 celery stalks, 4 slices Sara Lee Low Sodium Turkey, Ole Xtreme Wellness Spinach and Herb Tortilla

Feel free to share your fitness and food finds!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Life as a Teacher

I've recently been caught up in the exciting world of teaching music... to 600 students a week! Almost 600, actually, in 25 music classes plus a 70 member choir. And this has been my weight-loss program, lol. As with all first full-time "real" jobs, it was an adjustment at the beginning of the year. Get up early, go to work, come home, teach private lessons, eat dinner, spend time with husband, go to bed, repeat.
I'm actually enjoying the "routine" of things now, which is a huge step because this ADD girl has never been one for routines. Also, I officially feel older than my parents. When you have to call and tell your Dad to stop riding the 4-wheeler around because you're trying to go to sleep... well, that's just not normal.

A few perks about being an elementary music teacher (in no particular order):

1. Automatic workout every day. Basically, I only sit down during planning and lunch. And there's lots dancing and bending down and picking up heavy instruments and tying shoes and such. I kid you not, I have lost 20 lbs since this summer (Okay, maybe I've been eating healthy also).

2. It's just about a guarantee every day that someone (other than husband) will tell you that you're sooo pretty (so what if that someone is seven?).

3. Hugs.

4. Sonic-type ice. Yes, our teacher lounge has an ice machine that makes soft ice like they have at Sonic. This really should be listed as perk #1.

5. Dress-up days. For example, I got to dress like a hippy Wednesday for Red Ribbon Week. And, as a student told me, "If you're a hippy, you support no drugs!" Yep, totally what that means.

6. Getting home by 4:15 (most days). I try not to bring work home.

7. Stores that give teacher discounts.

8. My awesome name tag that makes me feel very official.

9. Full creative reign over class content.

10. Can tell kids anything and they'll believe you. This is fun.

11. The salad bar. A kid told me one day that he wanted to be a teacher when he grew up. When I asked why, he said, "So I can get the salad bar!" I guess there are worse reasons.

12. Candy at meetings.

13. Creating bulletin boards. A Kindergartener asked me today, "Are you sure the art teacher didn't make that for you?" They learn backhanded compliments early.

14. Having a room that looks like this!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Extreme Makeover: BARN Edition

We sweated, we hammered, we mudded, textured, tiled, grouted, carpeted, painted, scrubbed, bleached, insulated, cleaned, and worked our little tooshies off, and finally- finally- moved into... a... barn. We've lived in our lovely hippy-pad for a bit over a month now, and we love it. Also, thank goodness we bought good air conditioning, or we would be in a puddle on the floor. But yes, the time has come to post before-and-after pictures... and explanations, so this could potentially get lengthy. FYI, the "before" ones were with my iPhone camera, the "after" were with my real camera (in case you wondered about the quality difference).

Allow me to first give you a wee bit of background on this place. Thirteen-ish years ago, my parents decided to build a house in the country (we hated living in "the city"). They bought 40 acres and planned to build a beautiful house. While building said beautiful house, they built a small red metal building to subside in until the house was finished. The "barn" was, as I said, made of metal, and had bare concrete floors and one big room and a bathroom, and one window air unit. There were chickens and other animals just outside, and, well, it wasn't the most pleasant summer of my life. It has since functioned mostly as my dad's workshop as well as an occasional animal residence and general mulit-purpose building. It has evolved since then, adding a few more walls, flooring, drop ceiling, and recessed lighting. And from the time we started remodeling, it took about two months to complete.

Let's start with the front door and go to the left from there.
There is a set of double doors here, but the right one is covered by a curtain. I used chalkboard paint to paint the left one. Not too expensive, works great so far. I can write great verses and stuff, or honey-do lists for Michael :P.

Living Room

Major Efforts in the Living Room:
Mudding and texturing walls, replacing air conditioning hole with glass for window, removing door, installing large window.
Here's a close-up of the wall texture.
It takes a lot of time to do a whole room of this. I mudded while Michael went behind and textured with a trowel.

I love my new window. And it was only like $40 dollars. You can see our portable air conditioning unit peeking out. It works wonders- 105 degrees outside and perfectly cool in here.

Laundry Closet

Major Efforts in Laundry Closet:
Building it. And putting on doors.

Kitchen (brace yourself, this one is especially major!)

This is the other side of the kitchen. I wish I had more before pics- just trust me, it didn't look pretty!

Here's a closer-up of the backsplash and counters. All of this stuff was leftover from my sis and bro-in-law's house, which was leftover from something his uncle built. My uncle was getting rid of this stovetop. Not bad for hand-me-down materials, huh?

Major Efforts in Kitchen:
Everything. Building cabinets, installing stove, tile backsplash, granite countertops, electrical work, new light over sink, texturing, painting, new handles and nobs. Everything. But oh the difference now!

And now to the last area of the main room (yes, this has all been one big room so far)...
Office/Music room

(Same "major efforts" as living room). The unused doors are covered with curtains.


Major Efforts in Bathroom:
Texturing, painting, installing new toilet, fixing tub, building closet for hot water heater, enclosing loose pipes/wires/whatever that was in the ceiling, adjusting vanity size, installing cabinets that were in kitchen, stenciling/painting cabinets.
Here's the texture I did- light coat of sheetrock mud, then paintbrush in circles on it.


Much tidier, no?

The other side. The closet is behind the curtain.

Major Efforts in Bedroom:
Building a new building to put all the workshop stuff in (Dad does the building, by the way), moving all the stuff, cleaning after all the stuff, cleaning more, carpeting, rewiring lights.
Same texture as in living room.

For the "before", just go look at the bedroom "before" picture. It was pretty much the same thing.

^This is my little "dressing area"- has my makeup and hair stuff

So that's about it! LOTS of hard work. And LOTS of no fun. But, what does Delta think?

I think she likes it here.