How a Nut and a Pool Noodle saved my Bathroom Cabinets

The guest bathroom, essentially the kids bathroom, has a nice two step white wooden stool for the kid’s easy access to the sink. I never considered that the white stool would be knocking into the dark cabinets. I mean why would a toddler want to pick up a stool and move it?  Yes, genius I know.

So needless to say, the cabinet has a collection of white scratches that are very becoming. To prevent it from further destruction, as I’m sure Little Control Freak the 2nd will be more gentle with the stool than his sister, I used a pool noodle for some padding.

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It was leftover in the garage from a previous cut job, for what I can’t remember, so I dug it back out and sliced and diced it to be placed on the back of the stool. Now the cabinets have a better chance of staying scratch free for a longer period of time.

Pool Noodle Stool

No more scratches. #poolnoodlesaremultipurpose

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But how to get off those white paint scratches? I thought magic erasers fixed everything, but of course not. Didn’t remove a speck. That’s when I remembered reading an article about nuts… walnuts or almonds that is. Rub them over scratches on wood and watch them fade away. What did I have to lose?

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Amazingly, it worked. At least enough that you can barely see the markings (it’s actually a walnut they recommend but the almond worked). I used a stain marker to cover the piece of wood that was chipped and I have to say it looks pretty good.

My control freak OCD saved by a nut and a pool noodle!

Chalkboard Art

Chalkboard art is not only decorative, but therapeutic for me. It’s my latest hobby. I started just by drawing items I saw on Pinterest and now have helped a few friends out with chalkboards of their own.  I love it and can’t wait to keep honing my skills and learning the best tools for the trade.

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Projects In Progress, Baby Steps

The Control Freak house has been trying to prep for Baby #2 with several shifting projects. While I hope to start and finish a project in a decent amount of time, it’s not always realistic, especially when there is a chain reaction due to one project.

When a project(s) is creeping along it may be hard to see that you are making progress, just keep in mind baby steps still get you to your end result. Projects in progress can also be quite chaotic, yes NOT so Pinterest perfect.  Here is an update on our progress and pictures to show that it is hard to realize your end project, it might not look great while you are in the middle of it, but keep your eye on the prize, the end results!  Hoping to reveal our finished projects in March.

Little Control Freak’s Big Girl Bedroom

Current status:

  • Office/storage room cleared (except for desk)
  • Painted
  • New bed arriving this week!
  • Curtains, area rug, all other supplies needed ordered
  • Furniture painting station setup in basement (getting our old bedroom suite, which was my first bedroom suite out of college)
  • Quick reminder of ideas
  • Mermaids instead of butterflies:

    DIY Canopy for a reading nook:

    Beachy/Mermaid color theme:


    Love the colors:
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/39406565466631483/
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The Before: clearing out the office/storage room

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The not so pretty process

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Bedroom painted, books and toys moving in, desk will move out to the painting station in the basement when that project is complete.

Master Bedroom Furniture Shift

Since Little Control Freak is getting our bedroom furniture we needed replacements, thankfully we are inheriting an antique furniture set, that was refinished, from my parents. Who would have thought I’d have to tear apart one finished project (our master bedroom) in order to complete another (Little Control Freak’s big girl bedroom).

Before:

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In Progress:

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Basement Organization/Temporary Toy Zone

Our basement isn’t finished and a bit in disarray as we try to get Little Control Freak’s bedroom ready, however, we did manage to set-up a small play area and Little Control Freak loves it. If a kid can look past the mix and match not so perfect setup so can we.

Soon to follow, making the nursery more “boyish”

CF Summer Project – Charging Station: Put an End to Cord Chaos!

We live in such a digital age, which can only mean one thing, lots of battery power.  For us control freaks all we see are lots of cords…. everywhere!  I can definitely say control freak on this one as hubs didn’t initially seem this project was necessary.

So why is this such a pain point for me?  It seems that our devices typical charging destination is the kitchen.  We have lots of outlets and counter space that allows for devices to be out of little control freaks reach, since toddlers seemingly can find their way around devices better than their parents.  The problem in the kitchen?  Water, food, too many elements that could destroy our precious devices.  Not to mention that chargers/cords seem to easily walk away so there is never one available when looking for it.  Plus we aren’t following our rules of “no devices” between the hours of 5 – 8.  If they had a designated home this would be easier to enforce.

Enter the charging station.  A one stop shop for protecting, housing, and charging our devices.  The control freak house already has a lot of devices for a small family: 2 personal cell phones, 1 work cell phone, and 1 iPad.  That’s a lot of devices and a lot of cords/counter real estate.

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a reasonably priced desk organizer, the type that would hold mail & paperwork.  I didn’t want to bust the bank in case the project didn’t work out.  My latest trip to HomeGoods presented the perfect opportunity.  HomeGoods, my hero.  The $12.99 organizer is perfect for holding all our devices at one time, if need be, and it’s made of a material that I can easily drill holes into for cords to run freely.

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Safety is first and foremost.  You don’t want to overload an outlet or hub.  Please be sure to pay attention to technical specs to ensure everything is compatible, capable, and safe.  This also includes the use of manufacturer or third-party equivalent cables.  There are a lot of deals on the internet, but this is one area you don’t want to hunt strictly for bargains.  With that said, there are multiple ways to create extra power sources (including wall plates that have USB outlets).  Choose what works best for your set-up and devices.  We decided to go with the Anker PowerPort 5 USB Charger with PowerIQ.

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From there it was as simple as drilling a few holes to allow for the cords to connect to the hub and the hub to the outlet on our counter.  Thanks to hubs for helping out here.

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IMG_5496Total $$$ Spent:

  • $25.99 for the USB Hub on Amazon
  • New lighting to USB cords on Amazon (was much-needed)
  • $12.99 for the organizer from HomeGoods
  • No cord chaos, priceless!

Some notes to learn from, as we did during the process:

  • Make sure the organizer or home for your devices will fit everything, was bit of a tight squeeze for us
  • Make sure the USB cords are long enough, turns out my new short cords were too short

Valentines on a Budget

Trying to save money and pay off bills is our MO these days. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, as in any holiday, that means spending.  Cards, school valentines, teacher valentines, etc. To save some money and time we got creative.

Valentines on a Budget

  1. Daycare Valentines
    Last year was more of a challenge as infants can’t really enjoy the sweet treats of the holiday, but I still got creative with a toy that each infant could enjoy.
    Infant Daycare Valentine
    This year, toddlers can enjoy more treats, but sugary ones might not be widely accepted.  So I went with a Pinspiration. “You’re Awesome Sauce Valentine.”

    Awesome Sauce
    I purchased several packs of applesauce (which is very reasonably priced, even in larger quantities), printed out a free “printable” from Delia of Delia Creates (on colorful paper I already had), and trimmed it with fancy scissors, add a little tape and voila – done!

  2. Cards
    While everyone loves getting a card in the mail, they can add up quickly! Make homemade cards with your little one. You are providing them with a fun activity and checking a valentine off your list. Attention grabber and money saver, win! Plus everyone appreciates gifts made by little hands from the heart. See pic at beginning of blog for the abstract masterpieces
  3. Teacher Valentine
    I’d love to say I was crafty, but this is the busiest time of year in the control freak house. To make sure all the teachers and helpers in Anya’s room equally benefit, I plan to purchase a dozen of my favorite (and most yummy) mini cupcakes from Cupcakes Gourmet.  I’ll place this card on the cupcake container.  (I came up with the catchy phrase, created the artwork in Microsoft Word and printed it on cardstock I already had.)
    Group Teacher Valentine

Happy Hallmark Holiday!  Oops I mean Valentine’s Day 🙂

 

$5 Chalk Art

My head has been spinning today with creative ideas for the house, Control Freak problems…

I was scanning Pinterest for inspiration on a DIY ornate framed chalkboard and gallery wall and came across this gem.  My Sister’s Suitcase Blog, which has a ton of great ideas, that shared a really cheap project for holiday decor, something for every season really.  $5 Chalk Art files that can be downloaded from The Caravan Shoppe (and in turn printed at your local office supply store).  The best part, My Sister’s Suitcase outlines a DIY project for hanging these gems in a nice shabby chic style, which I adore!  I’m definitely trying this!  I’ve had an empty space on my dining room wall that I haven’t quite found the right piece for, and this is perfect.  Can’t wait to try it for Halloween.

On a side note, seemingly all the decor I really love in my house has been found when I wasn’t looking for it.  On the flip side when I am looking for something specific I can never find it!  Funny how that works:)  Perhaps I should stop looking and the items will find me.

A Little Bit of Paint Goes a Long Way

A touch of paint can change a whole room or a really outdated dresser!  We don’t always need NEW and in my world I love old vintage and antique items.  They have history, character, and a story. Especially ones that have been in the family for many years.  Antique furniture can be left unfinished to add a rustic look to any home, but this isn’t everyone’s style and sometimes furniture needs a face lift to be relevant.  Thank goodness it’s purely cosmetic and nothing some paint can’t fix!

Pinterest Ombre DresserIn 2013, when designing and decorating Anya’s nursery, we weren’t out to break the bank, especially on furniture.  For one, we couldn’t afford it, and two, we knew the furniture wasn’t going to have a long shelf life since kids grow up so fast!  I had found this picture of an ombré dresser on Pinterest (pictured to the left).  The colors were a perfect match and the style was spot on.  Cue our DIY ombré dresser!

 

The funny thing is I also saw a similar dresser in the Land of Nod catalog for $799!  Yikes!

Land Of Nod Catalog

Luckily we scored a dresser for FREE from my Grammy’s house.  It was still in great condition and ready for a makeover.  Finding furniture like this is not as hard as it may seem.  You can obtain used furniture cheap at consignment shops, online or in-person yard sales, Craigslist, or from your grandmother’s basement.  Sometimes you need to search a little, but you’ll find it!

download (1)To get our DIY on, we needed to decide which method we’d use to paint the dresser (we painted a black  antique rocking chair at the same time). After weighing out the options (brush, roller, or sprayer), we decided to rent a cordless paint sprayer for a day from a local hardware store. The time it saved us was well worth the rental fee. The other bonus, no visible brush strokes! Since this project took place prior to my control freak days, we didn’t document each step in photos, even more terrible no before picture (I know!).  Here’s the gist of the process:

  1. Remove all the hardware from the dresser and clean it as needed.
  2. Sand the entire dresser with medium grit sand paper.  Make sure to remove all glossy surfaces so the paint adheres easily and neatly.  Make sure to wipe off all the dust when finished sanding.
  3. download (2)Prime the furniture.  This will give you the blank canvas you need for your paint to properly adhere.
  4. Sand again with fine grit sand paper so you achieve an even finish.
  5. Time to paint!  Depending on the piece of furniture and color of paint, you’ll probably need two to three coats.  Be sure to sand between coats with your fine grit sand paper, again to achieve a nice, professional, even-looking finish.  Be sure to purchase interior latex paint, and NOT in a flat finish.  The glossier the paint the better for wear, tear, and cleaning.
  6. Seal it.  For white and light-colored furniture you may not want to use polyurethane as it can yellow over time.  Darker colors won’t be affected by this. If the furniture is not in a high traffic area, or it won’t be used much, you can get away with not sealing it and letting it cure, untouched for 30+ days.  30 days, that’s a long time!  Yes it is, but there is a difference in paint drying vs. paint curing.  Another alternative is to use wax instead.
  7. Be sure the furniture is dried and cured before placing the drawers back in to the chest.  We don’t want them to stick and crack the pretty paint job!
  8. And finally, an added touch thanks to the advice of our friend Alex.  You may find yourself wrestling with stuck drawers in older furniture, to help them slide out like butter, install strips of nylon tape.  Smooth and quiet!

We searched for cool hardware to replace the existing hardware, but unfortunately we couldn’t find anything to match the size and shape, at an affordable price, for all the drawers.  For the long hardware, we just painted it, but for the top drawer we purchased some fun nautical knobs to match the nursery theme.  The dresser looks great and didn’t cost $799!  Just proves a little bit of paint goes a long way.

Finished Ombre Dresser

Estimated Total:

  • Dresser: FREE!
  • Nylon Tape: FREE, thanks Alex!
  • Paint & Primer: $125
  • Sprayer Rental: $83
  • New Hardware: $5

Take a tour of our completed nursery.

CF 2014 Summer Project: Foyer Gallery Wall

Some tasks tend to loiter my to-do list.  One in particular is a Control Freak 2014 Summer Project that has been on my list since this winter, my foyer gallery wall.  I’ve had photo prints (that now seem outdated) and frames sitting in my office begging to be hung.  I finally bit the bullet and got it done.

Foyer Gallery Wall Before 1Foyer Gallery Wall Before 2I spent a  lot of time speculating how to decorate my foyer wall, being that it is open to the second floor. There was so much open space that if I did something too small it would look lost and if I did too much, well it would just clutter my entry way.

Not too long after we moved in I found a great landscape mirror at a consignment shop and felt it would fit perfectly on my foyer wall.  It was a nice start, but after walking past it day in and day out I discovered that I felt the wall was still too empty.  Foyer Gallery Wall Before 3

Since the mirror has a nice shelf on the top portion, I started by adding pictures to it.  Still, it didn’t look balanced to me.  I was hesitant to turn it into a gallery wall because I already had one upstairs that is clearly visible from the foyer. Would it be picture overkill?

Then I got to thinking.  What’s most important in life?  The people you have in your life and the experiences you have.  So why be hesitant about surrounding myself with those I love and celebrate them and the memories we’ve created.  Having a lot of pictures might not work for everyone, but not everyone lives in my house either.  Lesson learned, do what makes you happy!  After I got past that hurdle I decided to build the gallery wall using a little trick I’ve seen on a lot of DIY sites and shows.

1. I measured the wall area that I wanted the gallery to cover.

2. I pulled out some old wrapping paper to use as my faux wall canvas, measuring and cutting it to the size of the wall area I will be covering.

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3. Time to play, I began moving my frames around until I found the desired layout.

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4. I traced the outside of each frame and made sure to make a dot where I would need to place the nail.

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5. I hung the wrapping paper with tape onto the foyer wall and started to add nails in the correctly marked positions.

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6. Time to hang! After hanging the pictures I gently tugged the wrapping paper down.

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7. Finished!  I did have a casualty, one picture frame fell, but I was able to make a quick fix and there is still room for growth!  I even added a few items to the shelf to take up empty space and create balance.  My supervisor approved.

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Foyer Gallery Wall Project 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CF DIY Project: Branching Out

I tend to come up with some creative or otherwise wacky ideas that are a huge success or a HUGE that didn’t work (yes no failures just a sometimes you win sometimes you learn idea).  Time to start sharing this outside of the box ideas.

Outside of the Box Ideas: #1 Branch Out

table vineWhen we moved into our house in 2013 I knew I wanted a large farm table made of reclaimed barn wood.  So we found it and it is a perfect fit for my rustic country-style and I just love that the wood it is composed of has history beyond our home.  When we finally got the table in our home I knew it needed some type of special fixture hanging above it.  The store we purchased it from had some plant like vine hanging from above it that looked very cool, but where was I going to find that?  Well in typical Amy fashion I found it when I wasn’t looking for it…

My husband and I were enjoying the walking trail at our new home, as much as any sevenchad branch month pregnant woman can, when I spotted a long tree branch on the ground.  I stopped in my tracks, fearing my husband that I was in early labor, only to say, “That would be perfect above the table.”  I’m sure he thought I was slightly crazy, but hey you don’t mess with a pregnant woman and her hormones, so he so kindly picked up the large branch and carried it through our new neighborhood as our new neighbors looked on like we were definitely crazy.

IMG_2347Two eye screws and some fishing line later it was our new branch chandelier.  This is now a permanent fixture in our home, decorated accordingly to match the season or holiday.  While some may think this is wacky, in my eyes it was a huge success and it was free!

Wish I could get a better photo of it, but it’s a tough to get the right lighting to give it full justice .

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CF DIY Project: Infant Daycare Valentine’s on a Budget

I had almost forgotten that Valentine’s Day was approaching, perhaps it’s because I’m not a huge fan of the Hallmark holiday.  After the recent winter storm, upon our power returning, we returned to our home and Anya finally back to daycare after missing three days.  That’s when I discovered a letter about Valentine’s Day Sweetheart exchange in her locker.  It never dawned on me that she’d be exchanging Valentines as an infant, but so it begins…

IMG_2159With a few days to spare my control freak self got organized and creative.  Anya has fifteen classmates which means I needed something fairly cheap, we didn’t want to break the bank, but we don’t want to be the only ones not participating either.  So I headed to Target and was browsing through the baby section when I came across a 24 pack of “Lots of Links.”  PERFECT!  This is something they will actually use.  One pack wImageas $4.00 and some odd change, so I picked up two packs so every baby would get three links and was able to come up with the cute saying on the package pictured to the left.  Not bad for about $9.00 (60 cents a baby)!

And I couldn’t leave out the teachers who so graciously take care of Anya during the week.  Again thank you Target for your $1.00 section where I scored nice V-day bags.  I filled them with candy, mints, and chapstick and finished off with thenice saying.  It might not be a huge gift, but it’s the thought that counts 🙂