Monday, September 30, 2013

Toddler Art Fall Garland

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Once I get over the initial back to school shock, I absolutely love the fall time.  Pumpkin patches, apple cider, cooler weather (aka boots and scarf season), football, holidays…I could go on and on.  I’m trying to soak up the season by lighting my apple candle every chance I get and planning festive activities with Charley. 
One of those activities involved a fun little painting session which we both thoroughly enjoyed.  She was on paint brush patrol, I was on baby wipe patrol.
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In the end we were left with three fall colored paintings and a relatively clean toddler.  Charley was very proud of them and carried one of the dried paintings all around the house the next day.
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I thought it would be fun to incorporate her artwork into a fall decoration, i.e. fireplace garland.  This was a super quick and easy project. I used two pieces of scrapbook paper, brown raffia and a glue gun, all of which I had stashed in my craft supplies.  I cut leaf shapes out of the scrapbook paper and Charley’s paintings and hot glued them to the raffia.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
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I love the festive touch it adds to our family room and Charley’s leaves are by far my favorite.  Of course, right?
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ombre Dresser

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So I’ve been busy painting, friends!  It felt good to complete a house project that’s been staring me in the face since, oh, July.  Well, not really staring me in the face because I hid it in the basement until I was ready to tackle it.  That’s what I do.  I hide unfinished projects in the basement and the garage until I find time or until B.J. goes crazy, whichever comes first. 

Let’s talk about the story of this sweet little dresser for a minute.  Way back in the good old days of summer I went thrifting.  I wasn’t even three steps into the store when I spotted this dresser…for NINETEEN DOLLARS!  I thought about it for .2 seconds and then called it mine.  (Side note:  This is not a picture of the dresser in the thrift store.  That’s my basement.  See why B.J. goes a little crazy?)

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Of course, it needed a little work but for 19 bucks I didn’t care.  That’s the name of the game.  All the drawers worked well and the shape and size were perfect. 

After a little sanding, a coat of primer, a coat of white paint on the body and two coats of pink paint on the drawers, this thrift shop find was looking a little more glamorous. Oh, and new hardware helped a little, too.  They’re like little stud earrings for a dresser. 

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I picked up three samples of paint from Home Depot in the shades of pink that I wanted.  The lightest color is called Hot Gossip, the middle pink is called Kiss and Tell and the darkest almost red color is called Whip Lash.  Now that I type those names I’m not so sure they were good choices for a toddler girl’s room.  A little risqué, dont’ cha think? 

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Oh, did I mention that this ombre dresser is headed to Charley’s BIG GIRL ROOM?!  Don’t all big sisters need big girl rooms?  That’s right, B.J. and I are expecting our second baby in March!  Nothing like a thrift shop painting project to help me spill the beans to all my bloggy friends, huh?  You can bet that there will be a lot of projects in the works with baby numero dos on the way. 

Before I bid you all farewell for today, let me leave you with one last picture of this dresser and the legs that I L.O.V.E.  Those legs are pretty much the reason I bought it in the first place.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Felt Board for Toddlers

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Charley is really into leaves right now.  Her favorite thing is to bring me her shoes and say outside.  When we get outside, she walks around the yard collecting leaves.  We have countless leaf collections. 

That brings me to today’s project.  A fall leaf themed felt board.  DIY of course.  I started with a large empty frame, a large sheet of white felt and small pieces of fall colored felt.

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I started by cutting the white felt a tad larger than the picture frame insert.  I removed the glass and framed the white felt.  Then I cut out a tree trunk and three main branches. 

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Next, I cut various shaped leaves using red, yellow and orange felt.  I also cut out some green grass.  Then, you leave it sit out for your toddler to find when she wakes up in the morning.

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It took Charley approximately two seconds to rip every piece of felt off the board.  After playing with it for a few days, I decided to hot glue the grass and tree to the white felt, making only the leaves removable.  I think this works best for a young toddler.  I wanted Charley to have fun collecting the leaves and putting them back on the tree.  Having the grass and tree part of the permanent background makes it much easier for her little hands to do that.

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Now she can grab a leaf, add it to the tree and go on her merry way.

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I like that this basic tree background can be used for many other felt board activities, as well.  Snowflakes in the winter, flowers in the spring, you never know!

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kindergarten Classroom

Everyone, put your shoes on the wrong feet and plaster a toothy grin across your face.  You’re about to enter a kindergarten classroom and you need to dress the part.  If you’re not up for kindergarten today, or tomorrow depending on how long this post gets, you may want to check back at a later date when I actually tackle something in my own home. 
Remember how my posts have been a little spotty over the past month and a half?  That’s because my day job has gotten in the way of my evening hobby that is blogging.  I thought I’d share what’s been keeping me (and my students) busy, like crazy busy.  Basically, it’s a photo show for ya today.  If you’re a teacher yourself, or just plain old interested in something, I’d be happy to elaborate for you.  Let me just warn you now, there are a lot of pictures ahead.
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classroom 1
Classroom 2
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classroom 10
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You did it!  You made it to the end of the long picture show.  I bet you’re ready for recess.  Okay, go play. Pin It

Monday, September 16, 2013

Painted Shutters and Door

Do you ever have that moment when a long overdue project finally gets crossed off the list and the change is so drastic you wonder what in the world took you so long to actually do it?  Yeah.  That happened to me after the shutters and front door were painted.  Seriously, what in the WORLD were we waiting for?  B.J. and I are both in love with how a little paint changed the look of our house.  See for yourself.

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Are you wondering what took us so long?  I thought so. 

I’ve always loved the idea of a red front door and I thought a dark, dark gray (almost black) would complement a red door pretty nicely.  I was also hoping it would bring out some of the gray in the brick, and I think it does.

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Now that the shutters and front door and freshly painted, the gold light fixtures are glaring me in the face.  That’s the next update on the exterior list.  They have got. to. go.  And now that I think about it, the door handle could use a little sprucing up as well.

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I’m just going to enjoy the view from the outside though, because behind the top left window there is a gigantic mess happening.  In other words, I’ve been organizing like a mad woman and you know it always gets worse before it gets better.  Stay tuned. Pin It

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Goodwill Hunting: Yard Sale Style

This past weekend B.J., Charley and I went to a community yard sale in a nearby town.  I had my eye out for a wooden dollhouse and antique baby doll furniture.  While we didn’t find exactly what I was hoping for, we didn’t walk away empty handed, either.
The first sale we stopped at was loaded with furniture but nothing I couldn’t live without.  What I did find was some great baskets for my classroom.  I’m sort of a basket hoarder so I was thrilled with their selection.  I left that sale with five baskets for a dollar.  At that price, I should’ve grabbed more.
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Another sale we stopped at had a big box of wooden blocks that I spotted from the street.  I hopped out of the car to check them out.  Wooden blocks are classic and I’ve looked for sets for Charley many times.  Nice wooden blocks can be pretty pricey so I wasn’t surprised the lady was asking $20 for this set of 80.  I offered ten and I left there paying 15.  Not bad.
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I cloroxed each block individually while watching the Bengals game on Sunday, and when Charley woke up from her nap she immediately started building. 
Finally, at our last sale of the morning B.J. snatched up a wooden doll cradle for a dollar.  A DOLLAR!  After a couple new nails and a fresh coat of paint, it will be perfect for the new baby doll that Santa’s going to bring Charley.
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I would say it was a pretty successful yard sale morning! 
Psst…our shutters and front door are in the process of getting painted right now!  I’m beyond excited and can’t wait to share the before and after pics with you! Pin It

Monday, September 9, 2013

Books, Books and More Books

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The dine-in library shelves are looking a little more full these days and I like it.  Back in this post on bookshelf styling, I mentioned that I wanted books lining the shelves from side to side and less “other stuff” filling in the space.  At that time we didn’t have enough books to completely capture that look.  And while it’s still not the exact look I’m after, it’s a little bit closer.  All thanks to a huge tub of books that was donated to my Mother-in-law.  She passed it down to me to rummage through and I basically used them all.  It didn’t make the world of difference but if you look closely you can tell the shelves seem a little more full.
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Oh, and please excuse the terrible lighting.  I guess that’s what happens when you paint a dark color in room that doesn’t get a ton of natural light.  (And perhaps my rookie camera skills have something to do with it.)
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By the look of this next before and after pic, most of the books in the big tub went to the right side of the shelf.
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So that’s that.  More books.  Fuller shelves.  Happier me. Pin It

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome to the Playroom, Little Mint Table

I bet you’ve been in suspense wondering where Charley’s table is living in our house.  If the title of this post didn’t give it away, maybe this picture will.
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That’s right.  It found a perfect spot in the playroom.  Perfect because it fits nicely, but also because it’s right next to Charley’s play kitchen.  Now the fruit basket can sit on the table instead of the washing machine.  Perfect I tell ya.
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This wall used to be home to two adult chairs and a side table with a lamp.  I always knew that would be a temporary seating area and as Charley grew things would change.  No need for adult seating when you have a toddler.  Do parents of toddlers ever sit down?  I’m thinking not. 
Where were we?  Oh yes, the side table and chairs.  I moved the table back down to the basement (B.J. and the couch down there were very happy to have it back), I moved the wooden adult chair to the basement storage, and obviously the other chair just got pushed a little to the side but not completely out of the room.  It’s definitely a better use of this area now that Charley’s a little bigger.  Plus, how sweet does the table look centered under the banner?
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And, I’m loving the red and mint combo that’s going on.  I think this little table is here to stay.  Pin It

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Little Mint Table

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I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  I spent some of mine painting Charley’s table and chairs that I talked about last week.  (You can read more about how I sanded the table top down to it’s bare bones here.)  After weeks of school related projects, it felt good to get something done around my house.  Let’s all take a moment to remember what this table looked like last week.
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And now it’s looking a little bit more minty fresh.
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I chose the color mint because, well, it’s my favorite right now.  I’ve been drawn to it in clothing, accessories and home decor, so it really wasn’t a tough choice for this little table.  But also, mint complements a lot of colors in our house.  I wanted the table to be versatile.  It could easily live in our family room with the turquoise and yellow, but it could also work well in the playroom with the punches of red.  First, I tested it out in the family room.   
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I think it looks cute sitting next to the big windows.  Oh, and I love the paint dipped legs on the chevron rug.  Can’t forget to zoom in on that little detail.
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It’s a subtle contrast against the white legs, but paint dipped anything is always fun in my opinion.
Before I bid you farewell today, I should probably share the deets on the process of this painting project, huh?  I used Zinsser 123 primer and brushed on one coat on the table top and the chairs.  Then I painted two coats of Behr’s Chilled Mint in a satin finish.  I tried to be careful not to leave a lot of brush strokes.  The key is super thin coats of paint, probably my biggest struggle.  The next day B.J. kindly took the table and chairs to the garage and sprayed three coats of polyurethane for added protection.  After all, this is a table for a one and a half year old.  It’s bound to get beat up.
I’ll be back soon to share the fate of this little mint table.  I’ll give you a hint, it’s not living in our family room. Pin It