Friday, September 26, 2014

Gray Paint Update

A few of months ago I went on a weird paint sampling bender in my living room and I wrote all about it here.  In the end (at least at that time) I settled on Revere Pewter because it's a nice greige and it goes with everything.  And then I discovered that we have a Sherwin Williams store in the city. Two actually. And that's where it happened.  I found a soft gray that I fell in love with.  No beige, no greige.  Just a pure, cool gray.  The color is Light French Gray and it's described as a light, cool neutral.

In the interest of keeping it real, by this time I had also tried out two other grays.  Which brought my testers up to a total of nine. 9!! This was getting crazy.

But the minute I put the color on the wall, it was love. I managed to get the main floor painted while the boys played around me. True story. And I'm still swooning over this color.

Here's the kitchen transformation....

The living and dining area....

You can see the old gold color on the stairway and landing just begging to be painted.

I loved it so much, I took it all the way upstairs to the second floor landing. I sigh with happiness every time I come through the door.  Huge difference.

And just to mix it up a bit, I painted the entry way in Dior Gray by Benjamin Moore.  A nice dark gray with a purple/blue undertone. Looks perfect in there and keeps it fresh and interesting.

The finished hallway....

Love, love, love both of these colors.  And nothing beats the feeling of coming home to a house you love.

Sharing here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

10 Adorable Boys Bedrooms

I've been insanely busy this past summer, working on a major new project (stay tuned!) and I haven't been posting as much as I used to. I also lost my phone cord and finally got around to ordering a new one. And the boys turned 2 and 3 in July. Can't believe I'm even saying that!! Where does the time go?

One of the things on the drawing board these days is updating Liam's room.  When he was born, I did up his nursery in blue and brown with a monkey theme. The color on the walls is Caribbean Blue by Benjamin Moore. The decal was from Etsy and I hand painted the letters on his wall.

This decal was from Toys R' Us.

The pics on the wall are just canvases with fabric wrapped and stapled to them. Easy and cheap.

When we moved to this house, I just hung up the pics and left the room as it was, knowing he'd be moving to a big boy bed soon enough. Seems like that day is finally here. We still haven't landed on what we're doing (I'm hoping for Pirates!) but I've been so inspired by the beautiful rooms I've been pinning on Pinterest.  Here are a few of my favourites....

Love the red and blues in this room from Beneath My Heart along with those industrial shelves.

Similar colors were used in this air plane room that I found on Etsy. I'm not a red lover but it really works with the light blue and navy.

This bright, shared room caught my eye right away at Project Nursery.  The hounds-tooth wall, the pallet bed with crib mattress and the colors are just fantastic!

More aqua and orange from Dream Big, Small Fry featured at Honey We're Home.

A Pop of Pretty transformed her nursery into a bright and colorful toddler room for her twins. I like the way the beds are pushed together...good for twins but my two would maul each other.  So cute, though!

I've been considering having the boys share a room since they're pretty good sleepers and all. Love this idea from Pottery Barn Kids... the placement of the beds is a great space saving idea. The names and colors are pretty awesome, too.

This bunk bed set-up, also from Pottery Barn Kids is pretty swanky, too.  Love me some navy stripes.

More navy stripes, this time on the wall from I Love That Blog!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love navy?  And navy and yellow together, just make me feel happy. Another gorgeous space and shared bedroom from  Home Stories A to Z.

This shared room, featured on Better Homes and Gardens, is my absolute favorite. It appeals to my love of color and my fondness for pirates and boats. A boat bed?? To heck with the boys, I want one for myself!!

For more inspiration, you can check out my Boys Bedrooms Pinterest Board.  Sometimes, the hardest part is just making a decision, isn't it?

Sharing these cute rooms here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Road Tripping With Toddlers

I've been a bit absent from this site lately and one of the reasons (the best reason ever, actually!) is that we took a little family vacation. Ok, we took a major family vacation. 20 hours in a car on a road trip to the beach. With two toddlers. That's right. 20 hours.

We've been vacationing in Panama City Beach, Florida forever. Liam has actually been there twice before this trip, including the month we spent there at the end of my mat leave. I was living the dream there, folks. It was fantastic. Here he is at 2 months of age, lounging on our balcony....sigh.

But when Aiden came along, I worried that we'd never travel again. I figured that as a single parent I could never manage two babies who then became toddlers on a 20 hour road trip. And I wasn't wrong. What made this work is that my oldest daughter, Emily, came along and it made all the difference. I can't do it alone. Not yet. So kuddos to Em for being the best auntie ever.

I have no real advice here because, let's face it, I mostly just wing it. But I do have my "live and learn" wisdom and I'm sharing it here.....Some of it's obvious, some of it is just what worked for our family.

I took an extra day off work before we left while the boys were still in daycare and was able to finish packing and load the van the night before we left. Suh-weet. Just had to throw in the overnight bag and off we went.

Contrary to all the advice I read cautioning parents not to slide backwards in milestone achievements, I say "let it slide". I haven't potty trained anybody because diapers on road trips are way easier than going the bathroom every hour. (Also, Liam looks at me like I'm crazy when I ask if he wants to try the potty). Liam gave up his "suss' (pacifier) at daycare a few weeks before our trip and he only has it when he sleeps. I gave it to him. For the entire drive. Both ways. My daycare provider is probably not too impressed but I figured since Liam is not in the most pleasant phase of toddler-hood (We're calling him our "threenager") do what you can for a bit of peace. I took it away again in Florida and at home....He was fine with this little "suss" blip.

Our grumpy, soon to be, "threenager"

I also left them in their pyjamas until late the first morning. We landed at McDonald's somewhere in Ohio. As an aside, we NEVER go to restaurants. I've tried a couple of times with a friend or family member to help. The first time Liam announced he was pooping to anyone who would listen. (He wasn't. He was just making friendly conversation.) The second time I was too tired to eat because I was trying to keep them from tossing drinks on the floor along with everything else they could get their hands on. So I was worried about disturbing other people but seriously, McDonald's is so kid friendly, you can't go wrong. And they love it. Because it was a Friday morning the place was full of seniors....the boys were fussed over and adored. They had more attention than they knew what to do with. Wish I'd been half that popular in high school. Or anywhere, really.

I woke the boys and hit the road at 4:30 am because all the Pinterest/bloggy advice said they'll go back to sleep and you could travel in peace. Well, they didn't. They basically stayed awake for 16 hours but for a really short nap. But they were interested and (mostly) cheerful for hours since this was so out of their routine. I never let my kids nap in the car so the fact that they didn't sleep much while travelling shouldn't have surprised me. We travelled 15 hours the first day and neither boy napped longer than 1 hour. Which is crazy because they sleep til 8:30 am every morning and nap 2-3 hours every day. Regardless, they were insanely and unpredictably happy for the first 14 hours. Then we all fell apart and stayed overnight in Cullman, AL. I was trying really hard to make it to my sister's house which is about another hour or so away but we just couldn't do it. This is why I believe in driving hard and fast the first day. The next day we had 5 hours to go and that felt less daunting. It also allowed us to linger at Waffle House, Liam's favorite place in the universe.

Popular advice also says to stop frequently and let the kids run around to burn off energy. Ummm, not my boys. They acted utterly ridiculous and crazed at every rest stop. In Clanton, AL, one toddler followed the beer delivery guy and got stuck in a walk in freezer while the other was behind the counter grabbing for cigarettes. This was after they all but molested loved the giant plastic M&M dude to death. The cashier was lacking in our world famous "Alabama Southern Hospitality" that day and we're no longer welcome in Clanton.

Let them run loose? Awww, hell no!

I'll be the first to admit that I don't much restrict the number of hours the boys watch tv at home. Don't judge. I do restrict what they watch but I'm single and tired. I can only do so much. Before we left I bought a dual screen DVD player and they watched countless Disney movies, happily in the back seat. I bought 2 new movies that they'd never seen before which helped although, in truth, they're not terribly picky. I bought this one from Best Buy. Love. This. Thing.

I packed a bag of individually packaged, moderately healthy snacks in case we couldn't find anything on the road. Truthfully, they ate a lot of fries and I didn't care that much because it was new and exciting for them to eat out. Or eat fast food. I knew we'd eat better in Florida because we rented a condo and planned to cook most of our meals at home. I also brought sippy cups. Lots and lots of them. Some of it we used and and some of it we didn't but it was nice to know that on the last stretch to Florida, where rest stops and gas stations are sparse, I could have fed them if needed.

Ok. I didn't use this one at all. I made impromptu play trays for the boys and attached them to their car seats with bungie cords. Seriously. I spent weeks browsing Pinterest for ideas for DIY trays. However, I ran out of time and energy and at the last minute I grabbed two thrift store wood trays that I'd been planning to paint and used those. The boys used them once for like 5 minutes. And Liam only colored on the tray. He does what he wants.

Truthfully, they were either way too young or way too happy with movies to make use of all the activities that I packed. Most of those things came in super handy when we ate out in Florida but the in-car trays? Not so much. They're still there because I think the boys will grow into them. And we're planning more road trips in the near future.

Easier said than done for old-school parents (aka grandparents raising grandchildren) like me. I love a good schedule for babies and toddlers because that's what has always worked for this family. When the boys were tiny I structured everything around naps and bedtime. So I was so nervous about disrupting the boys and what could happen. Because sleep is my favorite thing. EVER. But, aside from the first night in the motel where Liam kept giggling and wanting everyone to play with him, the boys slept beautifully, napped well (and even skipped a few) and all was well. AMAZING. I brought playpens for the boys to sleep in and they did just fine. Aiden actually asked to go to bed the first night in the motel, even though we were all roaming around and the lights were on. He just lied right down and drifted off to sleep (love this kid!) For the first time in almost three years, I didn't stick to much of a schedule and it was fine. I couldn't believe it. They napped, they slept well, and they went right back to their routine when they got home. I was so scared! One night, after a late dinner, Aiden fell asleep standing up. In the elevator. He slept til 930 the next morning and life went on.

There you have it....what little wisdom I gained from road tripping with two toddlers. My standards were really low. Basically we just wanted to make it there and back alive.

I can't begin to tell you what this trip meant to me. I have been single forever. FOREVER. When my girls grew up and moved out, I started travelling like crazy. I'd been Hawaii just a month before Liam was born and we were back in Florida when he was two months old. The hardest thing about accepting that I would raise two more babies at this stage in my life was thinking I wouldn't travel again. It might look a little different but it's clear that we can do it with some planning and help. Yay!

Anybody have any must have pieces of wisdom that they want to share for our next road trip in the fall?

Sharing this road trip adventure here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chalk Painted Chair

I am super excited to be sharing this project with y'all.  I have wanted to try this for sooooooo long.  I've had these two chairs for a couple of years and I'm so over the brown stripe thing.  Last year I ordered some fabric to recover the chairs with. Love this fabric.

But every time I thought about tackling the recovering of these chairs, I just flaked. When I finally went to get started on the recovering business a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't get the dad gum legs off the chair! And then I couldn't find the wrench. Then I found some wine and got back on Pinterest and decided I would live with the stupid brown stripes awhile longer until I could get some handy man help.

A couple of weeks later I was gazing lovingly at my media center and thinking how much I love Paris Gray when I wondered if Annie Sloan Chalk Paint would work on fabric. More Pinterest searching and I found these fantastic painted chair makeovers. Seriously swoon worthy.

Robyn Story Designs

Artsy Chicks Rule

Fresh Idea Studio

Feeling inspired, I plopped  dragged my chair up on top of the dining table to keep it away from little hands while I painted. I used my favorite ASCP in Paris Gray.

I sort of mixed all the instructions I read on-line until I came up with what seemed to be working for me.  For the first two coats, I cut the paint with water (about half and half).  I used a spray bottle to wet the fabric in sections before painting and then applied the paint in thin coats.  It was painfully slow going.  By the third coat I started using about three quarters paint to one quarter water and still wet the fabric as I went.

Here's where I started to lose faith.....Three dang coats later and I could still see the brown.

I think at this point I gave up and poured some wine. (Hmmm....sensing a theme here). Then I went to bed in a big ol' sulk. But when I woke up and came down stairs, I noticed something.  Once the chairs had fully dried, the stripes weren't so visible. Then I got back on the internet and re-read the instructions. So apparently most people waited 24 hours between coats but I only waited a few hours. About that. I'm not really known for my ability to delay gratification. Truth.

The chair was looking way better so I watered down a bit more paint and got a fourth coat.  I figured by now, if it needed more than four coats, I'd be considering this a project fail and actually went so far as to pull the fabric out of the garage (handyman was coming over later that day!).  But. I liked it. In fact, I may love it.

Yup, I slopped on the chair legs but I was able to wipe the paint right off with some rubbing alcohol and water. Cheap, crappy furniture lesson learned when I re-did my bedroom furniture.

Some wax and an instant buff and we have a pretty little chair.

Not going to minimize the amount of work and paint this took. It took several days and over half a can of paint which is not cheap by any means.  But I'm loving it.  As an FYI, the color is a few shades lighter than how Paris Gray shows up on wood furniture (see desk in background for contrast) but it's pretty darn awesome nonetheless.

Let's hope it durable. Apologies for the blurry photo but I can't ever take pictures of the boys that aren't a blur. And, yes, that's a paint brush in his hands. Copycat!

That pillow is just wrapped in the fabric I intended to use for the chairs....making pillow covers asap.

Before and after anyone?

I'll keep you posted on how it holds up to the amount of abuse it's going to get in this house.

Sharing this chair here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree.