Our little girl’s yellow and gray nursery!

After having three boys both my husband and I were so surprised when at our 20 week ultrasound for our fourth child they told us we were going to have a little girl. I am pretty sure in that surprise the first thing I said was “I get to re-do the nursery!” Don’t get me wrong I loved the cute barn yard themed nursery that my husband created for our boys, but I was so excited to get to do something new and a little more girly. Here is a glimpse of what the boys nursery looked like before (and if you want to check out more you can read my previous post here.)

I am not the most girly girl there is so I wanted to go with a more neutral color scheme then pinks and purples. Yellow has always been one of my favorite colors and I am a little obsessed with gray right now so I was very excited when I decided to do a gray and yellow room. Now the part that is the most amazing to me is I changed every single thing in the room and managed to do it for under $200 with some great garage sale finds. Dresser/Changing table- $30, Crib-$20, Chair-$45, Rug-$20, Side table-$4, Material (curtains, bed skirt and pillow)-$35, Paint-$35, and the art work and accessories were picked up at garage sales for cheap or pulled out of my crazy stock pile of craft supplies in the basement.

This is a very small room, only 10 ft by 10 ft but I love how cozy it turned out. This is what you see when you first walk into the room.

I think one of my favorite things about the room is the yellow and white strips on the ceiling and I have to thank my amazing husband for that. One day I mentioned that I thought it would be fun to have stripes on the ceiling and he laughed at me, but less then two weeks later he sweetly painted them for me. (I am normally the painter in the house, but Josh gets the ceiling jobs because he is 6 ft 5 in and can reach the ceiling without having to stand on anything.) Also the yellow on the ceiling is also the same color as the end table and dresser/changing table but looks a little more gold in the picture for some reason.

The large frame with the yellow and gray scrapbook paper will eventually hold her newborn photo but I did not want to leave it empty till I had a picture to put in it. I was also really excited when I found the two yellow box shelves at a garage sale for $.25 for both and they were already the perfect color yellow.

I am also in love with the art wall! I had some empty frames and canvas in my craft stash pile so instead of buying art we made it all.

A great friend of mine suggested making a nail and string owl, but I decided that it was a little above my skill level. Josh on the other hand thought it would be a doable project so I let him have the honor of all the detailed work. To add to the awesomeness of this art piece his background is a section he cut out of the top of an old cabinet I recently refinished and put a new top on. I love how the old wood looks with the owl on top.

I had each of my boys do a canvas for the art wall. I wanted them to all be similar yet different. I also wanted use techniques that would allow them to be cute, but also mostly done by the boys themselves. The top one was done by my six year old and he painted the owl by himself. The second one was done by my four year old and he painted the background and branch on the canvas himself, and then layered the torn paper on a silhouette of an owl I gave him. He cut out the owls stomach and I just added the eyes, beak and feet and attached it to his canvas. The bottom one was done by my two year old and although it does not look like it, he did a lot of it himself. He helped me find yellow and gray pictures in magazines and rip them out and into small pieces (what two year old does not like to rip up paper). Then I applied modge podge to the canvas and he stuck the pieces on. I cut out the owl and branch silhouette on heavy card stock and used stencil adhesive to apply it to the canvas. Then I had my two year old paint the whole canvas white. When he was done I carefully removed the stencil so the background showed through. (If you want more information on this project check out the post I wrote when I did the same type of thing for a family friends Christmas gift). I used the same technique over old dictionary pages to make the “You are my sunshine” canvas that is also on the wall.

I found these great unfinished wood frames at Michael’s craft store and painted them the same yellow we used on the ceiling, end table and dresser/changing table. Then used my cricut and scrapbook paper to add the name to the frames. The colors in the picture are not quite accurate but I love how they turned out. I also used the same material I made the curtains out of to sew a simple crib skirt (so I would be able to easily hid extra stuff under the crib).

I bought this super cute antique dresser from a friend of mine and refinished it in the yellow and white. I love how sweet it turned out. I found the little plaque/key holder next to the dresser at a garage sale for a dollar and thought it would be a great place to hang headbands or other girly things that I still need to figure out.

The found a photo of the owl mobile on pinterest and thought it was so cute but it linked to an etsy page and they were changing $80 for one and there was no way I could afford to pay that. So I dug through my left over felt from the felt fort and found almost all the supplies I needed to make it. I bought the one yellow and gray decorative piece of felt and the buttons but all in all the whole thing cost me $3 and a few hours of time. (I must admit that I was very proud of myself when I was trying to figure out how to hang the owls and I realized I could cut the top rim off a plastic Folgers coffee container and wrap it in the yarn for the perfect support for the mobile). I also made a fifth owl and put it in the shadow box on the art wall.

I love how the nursery turned out and I keep finding myself walking in there just to look around and enjoy it. Now I just need this little girl to arrive so she can enjoy it too.

Our boy’s “triple bunk”

After finding out we were expecting a girl this summer we decided to move all three boys into one room. Our house is not large and neither are the bedrooms (but we love our house and have no plans to move anytime soon) so it was a fun challenge to figure out how to make the room best fit three boys and all their stuff. My husband and I both came up with our own plans and then sat down to talk about them. His of course was the best pick (since he actually measured stuff and knew how it would fit and my plan would have ended up covering up a window).

Here is the room before:

It worked well for two boys but the room felt fairly small with the huge captains beds and there was no way we were fitting another bed in. Now the we have our “triple bunk” the room actually feels much bigger.

My husband spend many hours planning and measuring and re-measuring before the big trip to the store for all the lumber. Then he and my Dad spent around six hours cutting all the wood down to the right size. We estimated that it took seven hundred and fifty pounds of plywood to make the beds. In hopes of getting it done quickly (so the boys had somewhere to sleep and the house was not a construction site for an extended period of time) my husband spend an entire weekend building it, twenty two hours of his time with eleven hours of help from my Dad. I am very impressed they were able to get the whole thing down in one weekend. It then too me nine hours to paint the whole thing. I am so excited with how it turned out and all the wonderful storage we now have.

All and all its three beds, nine drawers and a bookshelf. We were going to do the three drawers under the lower bed the same as the six under the other one but realized our air vent would be sealed under the bed. Three boys and one room calls for air vents that work properly so we did rolling drawers under that side so the air could still freely move to the vent. The nice thing about the rolling drawers is it allowed us to make them as deep as the bed and the extra storage is going to come in very handy.

I am still trying to decided how I want to decorate the walls, but I am so happy with how the beds turned out.

I could not find curtains and bedspreads that I wanted and that did not cost and arm and a leg so I was crazy and decided to sew them myself. I am very happy with how they turned out but my  body was not a fan of all the crawling around on the floor measuring and cutting fabric that I had to do at seven months pregnant. I used this tutorial to sew the curtains and the only thing I changed was to sew the side seams first and then the bottom seam (after I had some bunching in a set I made the the nursery following the same tutorial.)

For anyone interested in the details of the room: the walls are painted Behr’s Elephant Gray and the bed is painted Behr’s Cathedrial Gray.

Antique Blue Cabinet

I love the lines on this little cabinet and had to have it when I fount it on craigslist. My husband picked it up for me and called to warn me it was in pretty bad condition. I have to admit that it sat in the garage for a few months because I was not quite sure where it start. All the wood laminate was cracking and pulling back and there was a BIG chunk of it missing on one side. When I finished my Mom’s dresser and had left over paint I decided it was time to get to work on it. Since it was an antique I decided not to try and make it perfect. Some abnormalities is what gives it its character. It did take a lot of wood glue and putty, but I almost had it ready to paint. The only problem is the areas I fixed where smooth and the rest of the cabinet has a very strong wood grain to it. So I took a strait pin and scratched  “wood grain” into the smooth areas.Then I painted it Shale Gray by Behr.

Before I painted it I removed the nobs (because they were actually in really good shape) and gave them a coat of dark brown stain. I love the contrast between the blue and the wood nobs. (Note the amazing texture caused by the deep wood grain.)

Mom’s Dresser

I was so excited when a friend told me she had a dresser to give me. One of her neighbors had put it out for the trash and she had saved it hoping to refinished it, but realized she was never going to get around to it so she gave it to me.

It was a VERY sturdy dresser, and I swear it had 100 coats of varnish on it. After a lot of sanding, and even making my husband take the belt sander too it (because I am a little scared of that thing) I finally had it ready to paint. My Mom called dips on this dresser as soon as she saw it. She had just recently purchased a new comforter so we used the colors in it to get the color inspiration for the dresser.  Its called Shale Gray by Behr paint and I really like how it turned out.

After I painted the dresser I lightly distressed it with fine grit sand paper and used minwax’s walnut stain to fill in the distressed areas. Some new hardware and a coat of polycrylic to keep it from further distressing and it was ready to be moved to its new home.

See how it matches the lighter blue in the comforter.

I really love how this dresser turned out and I am so glad my Mom wanted it because I will still get to see it when I go visit.

Simple White Dresser

I love when people hand down their old furniture too me. A family friend gave an old dresser that belonged to her husband when he was younger. The dresser was in good condition except that the top was nasty laminate. I was not a fan of the out of date trim on the bottom and hardware.

I am working on my power tool skills but I am not real comfortable with them yet. Luckily my husband jumped in and helped me cut out a new solid wood top and add new trim to the front. I painted it with Bleached Linen Behr paint and added new hardware. I kept this piece simply white because someone contacted me asking for a white dresser for a little girls nursery.

 

Tall Numbered Drawer Dresser

I don’t know why but I have always loved things that are numbered. When I found this dresser I knew I had to number the drawer (its not very often you find a dresser with seven drawers). It was originally a dresser with nine drawers, but the bottom drawer was missing so we cut it off. Also someone had previously cut off the back portion of the top of the dresser so we cut that drawer off too and put on a new top.

(Please ignore my crazy messy garage.)

I decided to try something new on this dresser so I used the Vaseline technique I read about on one of my favorite furniture blogs Sweet Pickins. I painted the whole dresser Bleached Linen by Behr. Then I randomly applied the Vaseline. I think I put it on a little think and would probably be able to improve the technique a little next time. Then I painted the whole dresser in a dark blue gray color. Sadly I don’t think the name of the paint because it was an oops paint I picked up at Home Depot.

Once the paint dried I used stencils (I made on my cricut), stencil adhesive and spray paint to apply the numbers on the drawers. Then I took very light grit sand paper and rubbed it over the entire dresser. It was really fun to watch the “chips” easily appear as the sandpaper hit the Vaseline areas. I also just used the sand paper to distressed the edges a little. Then I added a coat of polycyclic to keep the paint from “chipping” more.

 

Gray Distressed Cabinet

I bought this cute little record cabinet at a local auction.

It was not in the best shape and had vertical shelves to hold up the records. I broke out the shelves and did lots of sanding and repairs. Then since I had left over paint from the gray antique dresser (and I love the color) I decided to use it on this too. After painting the dresser I distressed it and used a dark brown stain on the exposed wood areas. Since it was a little more rustic I also loved how the old hardware went with its new look.

I love distressing!

Gray Antique Dresser

When I refinished my orange dresser I found that I enjoyed the makeover so much I wanted to do it again. Sadly I don’t really need any new pieces of furniture. But when I found this little beauty sitting at the flea market, at an amazing price, I could not pass it up.

(I did start sanding the top before I remembered to take a picture but you get the idea.) I really like how it looked wood, but the sides had a lot of damage that needed fixed so it needed to be painted. I used Berh paint called cathedral gray to paint the entire dresser.

Then I used a white paint pen to draw a little more attention to the details. I liked the hardware that came on this piece (and am holding on to it for another dresser) but in the end it did not fit this dresser’s new look so I added some new ones. I LOVE how this dresser turned and and spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I could put it in my house. Sadly I decided to try and sell it. I was excited when someone else wanted it and loved it as much as me, but I had a really hard time parting with it.

 

Distressed Dresser

I tend to have a more modern clean lines taste, but lately I have really started liking more rustic pieces that look like they have a story (pretty much anything with a distressed look). I really wanted a new dresser for our bed room and I found one on craigslist for only $30, but of course it was UGLY! (and ignore my dirty garage).Luckily for me the exact same day I found this on craigslist I found a website called 551 East Furniture Design: from ugly ducklings to beautiful swans. Julia had just posted her Rustic Orange Dresser and I fell in love with it. I e-mailed her and she so sweetly e-mailed me back with instructions on how to do what she did. With her advice I set out to try my first piece of distressed furniture. I started by painted the dresser Marmalade Glaze Behr paint by Home Depot .

It was a little scary at first because it seemed like a very bright orange, but the distressing definitely toned it down. Then I waited a very long week to start the next process! Julia told me that if you do not wait a week the paint it will gum up when you go to distress it. After the long wait I look sandpaper and attacked the dressed. I have to admit that I was a little worried at first. Here I was destroying the paint I just put on, but as I went I started to have a lot of fun trying to decide where to distress. Then I took a dark stain and a small paintbrush and went to work filling in all the “cracks” I had made. I did not want a lot of the dark stain on the orange paint so it did take a little while trying to get all the distressed areas without getting the area around it. I love how it turned out! And I love how it looks in my bedroom. The only thing I do not love it the hardware. Its a little too shiny for the distressed look but I am hoping they dull over time….or I find a good way to distress them too.

The top right corner of the top drawer is my favorite spot on the whole dresser! With paint, sandpaper, stain and hardware I spent about $35, so with the $30 we spent on the dresser the whole thing cost $65. Not bad if I say so myself.

Now I am excited to start decorating the wall above the dresser! (And I love the metal fan that my Mom just got me for my Birthday, thanks Mom)

 

MOPS Talk: Activities to do with your kids!

I am not a fan of public speaking!!! When I was asked to fill in and speak to our MOPS group about activities to do with your kids I decided to go ahead and give it a try. To my surprise it was not as scary as I thought it would be. After speaking one of my friends asked if she could e-mail my power point to some of her out of town friends. I told her that I could put it on my blog, sadly that was about 2 months ago. But better late then never right? I hope it encourages you to try a few new ideas with your kids.

I know I did not need to add this slide of my boys but I just love this picture. Its so hard to get a good picture of three little boys and they are just so darn cute here!

Here is a list of my must have craft supplies. There are so many different kinds of craft items (and I have bought a LOT of them) but these are our tried and true. Most of them are self explanatory but I will add a little more information about a few:

  1. Tape: I would recommend buying the cheapest tape possible. I found a bunch at a garage sale once and it was one of my favorite finds. My boys love to tape everything.
  2. Shaving cream: not general considered a craft supplies but its very versatile. Here is a link I just found for 20 activities to do with shaving cream.
  3. Table cloth: I bought a thick vinyl table cloth that I always throw over the table when we are doing a messy craft. Its truly a life saver for me because I do not need to worry about what might happen to the top of our table.

On a side note I want to recommend not spending money on the color wonder products. The idea behind them is great but we have tried a few and my boys do not like them because there is such a delay in the art showing up on the paper.

If you are not using Pinterest you should! Even if all you do is pin fun ideas to do with your family its totally worth it. There are more ideas then you can imagine on Pinterest. Here is a link to what NurtureStore thinks is the top 10 pinterest board for parents. But watch out because it is addicting!

Letter of the Week! This is one of my boys favorite craft activities. We started following the amazing step by step instructions from notimeforflashcards.com. Now my five year old enjoys coming up with his own ideas for each letter.

Hand and Foot Print Art. I do not think there is anything sweeter then using your kids hand and foot prints to make gifts and cards for family. Plus my boys get a big kick out of painting their hands and feet.

Use what you have around the house. You do not need to buy lots of extra stuff for kids crafts. Let them use their imaginations!

  1. My boys love to decorate houses for their toys by cutting pictures out of used magazines and gluing them to the inside of an old cardboard box.
  2. When you have left over pasta throw it in a bag or box and let your kids use it to make their own pictures or draw a picture and have them over it with the noodles.
  3. My son loves going through our recycling box and pulling out anything that catches his attention and making all sorts of amazing stuff. (This is where you want to have lots of cheap tape on hand).
  4. Use items from around the house to paint with. Noodle painting, cars tire painting, bottom of a bottle painting, kitchen utensil painting, pasta stamping.
  5. The snowman was made with a fun puffy paint made my mixing glue and shaving cream.
  6. Paint with water. This sounds so simple and not super excited but my boys always love it. It works well on colored construction paper, chalk boards, a wood fence, driveways and sidewalks. Its also great when you have a little one who wants to paint but is not quite trustworthy enough to have paint.

What do you do with all the art you make? We like to hang it up in place of honor for a few days (like our masterpieces wall) and then throw it away. For my boys I think that the process of making the art is more important then the finished product. However, if you want to hold onto it for a while get some clean pizza boxes and slide them under your sofa. Then you can put their art in the box and when its full go though it and pick out your favorites to keep. I also love the idea of taking pictures of your kids art, and them uploading them to a digital picture frame so you can continue to appreciate the art without all the clutter. If you want to be creative with your kids art I found a site that has 30 ideas to Upcyle Toddler Art.

Its also important to remember that the craft does not need to end up looking like you envisioned it. I am a perfectionist so it was hard on me at first not to “help” things turn out like I wanted them too. But I have discovered that even though something might look “wrong” to me my boys normally have a good explanation as to why they did it the way they did.

Fun gift idea! Its always nice to give a loved one a hand made gift but sometimes you also want it to be something they are proud to hang on the wall. My boys loved helping me make this for a family friend for Christmas. I blogged about making it and linked to the tutorial here so you can check out directions if you want to give it a try.

Busy Bags! This is a great group project. A few of my friends and I decided that we wanted to make some busy bags for our kids. The first thing we did was pick a date to meet and what projects we were each going to do. We had eight kids between all of us so we each picked two different busy bags and made eight copies of them. Then the best part was we meet for a Mom’s night out and dessert one night and exchanged our bags. Now I am slowly bring out the activities when I need a few minuets of undisturbed time. For some busy bag ideas check here, here, and here.

Cheerio Towers. Who know that little boys would spend hours playing with play doh, cheerios, and spaghetti noodle? If you want to know more check out my previous blog post about cheerio towers.

Some of the hardest time with little ones is when you are stuck inside the house. I have found its always good to some activities set aside for when cabin fever sets in.

  1. I love this “laser beam challenge” that was part of a super spy training birthday party created by chicken babies.
  2. Marshmallows and toothpicks! I never would have thought of this but my boys loved it (but expect a lot of the marshmallows to magically disappear into your little ones tummy’s)
  3. Balloon ping pong from The weekend homemaker.
  4. Something as simple as a flashlight can keep kids entertained for hours. My boys love to “look in dark places” around our house.
  5. A straw and a feather. Have some races to see who can blow the feather from one spot to another first.
  6. Have a letter or color scavenger hunt.
  7. Play hot lava with all of the cushions and pillows in your house.

Chances are if you are stuck inside your house will be a mess. I recently found a quote that I love (and plan to put up in my house soon):

Please excuse the mess. The children are making memories.

Bath time is not just for getting clean. On a really bad day I find the best thing to do is throw my kids in the bathtub. My boys favorite thing to do in the tub is glow sticks. Everyone that I know that has tried using glow sticks in the tub say their kids have to be pulled out of the tub after an hour of playing. My boys also enjoy painting in the tub. And you can add some food coloring ice cubes for color fun in the tub.

I personally do not like painting with sidewalk paint but my boys beg for me to make it. When you start painting the color is a little dull but it brightens up after a few minuets. The first time my boys tried the sidewalk paint I was surprised how easily they cleaned up afterward with a wet wipe. However, the last time they did it my littlest spent more time painting his hair then the sidewalk, so they had to take a bath when they were done.

My boys love going on walks and having scavenger hunts. An easy one to do is take an old egg carton and color each of the holes a different color with marker. Then have them try to find something that matches each color (I do not advise doing this on a windy day because things will blow away). We also did the brown paper bag scavenger hunts and that was a little better because they did not lose their “treasures” to the wind.

  1. Fun sidewalk activities
  2. Freeze toys in large ice blocks for the kids to play with outside on a hot sunny day.
  3. Making your deck into a game board.
  4. Here is a link to 75 great activities to do with your kids. I really love this list and can not wait to try out some of the ones we have not done yet.

Sometimes I think its important to take a day and make it memorable. My boys love theme days! We have only done a few but they can’t stop talking about them. Our big day was a Pirate day and we spend the whole day being pirates and doing pirate activities. (I hope to blog about it someday but have not had time too). We also did a smaller theme day and acted out The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle. The boys made caterpillars out of pipe cleaners, puff balls and googly eyes. Then we went outside and read the book. After that the boys ran around the yard “feeding” their caterpillars.

Crafting is something I enjoy and therefore enjoy doing it with my boys. I know that not everyone feels the same way, but I think its important to figure out how you can take what you love and do it with your children. If you love it chances are they will too.