Cleanin' Up

You know when you do one of those little clean ups around the house that doesn't really look a whole lot different and didn't really need to be done, and your husband rolls his eyes amused at you because you spent time on it... and gives you one of those 'only you would do that...' kidding/mock looks? ... But in the end you're really happy you did it and YOU notice the difference and are proud of yourself because it cost a whopping zero dollars... Well, ya, that's me. That's this post... and that's how my little laundry area did a quick switcheroo from this...

It only looks looming and dramatic as it's right at the top of the stairs as you hit the landing... so I had to go down a few steps to get a 'full' shot.

I'm going to admit that I removed some of the laundry pile to take this shot...

to this!

Not earth shattering but I'll break it down in detail below...

Okay. So still just a laundry closet (it didn't magically transform in to a bright, pristine laundry room with natural light cascading through the window and white gleaming granite as I had hoped) but it's NOW a much tidier, more organized laundry closet!

My first headache was the top shelf of games. We have a lot of games and do like playing them but some didn't get used as often as others and being 5'3" tall not only could I not reach them, I couldn't see them half the time! If a small box was put up too high it was the "ol 'outta sight, outta mind" adage.

So, I pulled two bins from other places in the house, organized and restacked the games and was left with this...

On the left are the ones that are too big for bins and/or played more often...

And on the right, 'binned' up! Simple labels make identifying the contents SO much easier. And I can actually reach the bins to bring down MYSELF.

A 'new' home for the drying rack (we had this before but one of the hooks had fallen off...

And I made a few simple tags (with the punches I used here) and used some baskets I already had for some pretty storage... of some not so pretty items.

And last but not least a two sided "laundry cheat sheet" which I got from here (laundry symbols) and here (stain removal). I added some colour to the symbol chart to make it a little more pleasing :)

umm... this last thing may have been what prompted the 'chuckle eye roll' from Kevin.

hung with a pant hanger - cute right?

So yes, not monumental by any means... but to this little organizational gal it's "tidy heaven". ahhh...

Now if that dang laundry could just wash, dry, fold and put away itself!

That's not too much to ask is it?


Growing Up

We've been wanting to get a growth chart for our little toddler Chace for quite awhile now. And look what popped up this weekend!

When I came across this vinyl wall decal for $7 (!) at 'Real Canadian Superstore' I could not pass it up.

Installation was really easy although there were a few 'tricks' that I had to employ to get it up. The first being that the 'tree' did not start at the ground (I guess to account for baseboards and such).

So, what I did was mark the wall at 12"from the ground. Then I used my laser level (which I raved about when I painted the closet stripes here) and taped my master decal sheet up using the laser as a guide. You can see below that the laser level line hits my 12" mark on the tree.

Then I cut the tree out. and peeled back (and trimmed) some of the backing paper from the bottom of the trunk.

I used a little 'squeegie' tool (for lack of a better term) to smooth my decal out on the wall. It was hard to take a picture of this step as I had my hands busy, but when I got up to get something, my little helper (who was very close by watching) jumped in and was giving me a perfect demonstration when I turned around.

what skill!

I did the same with the 'top' piece. This is where I encountered my second little workaround. The 'chair rail' moulding. If I had continued my chart up and over the rail it would not be accurate in measurement on the top portion of the wall. In otherwords, I would loose some 'inches' if I used them going around the moulding. 

So, what I did was measure the moulding (3"), trim the tree where it hit the bottom of the moulding, marked and trimmed 3" from my decal, centred it on my moulding, and then continued on above the chair rail. That way if Chace is standing next to it and is measuring at 4' then it is a "true" 4'. ... but let's hope he doesn't get there for quite some time ;).

Here it is all installed!

You can see the litle slivers of white where I trimmed around the moulding but I think it looks okay. Not perfect, but okay - which is okay by me ;)

I love how it plays off Chace's bedding too! It's not 'matchy match' (which I dislike anyway) but coordinates. Perfect. 

{ Still need to put something above his bed } - work in progress....

And some close ups of the fun...

And of course we had to take our first measurement...

So there we go!

Another little project done as I transform Chace's nursery to his 'big boy room'.

Oh - and for anyone wondering, I chose that spot on the wall next to his 'nook' as I have some plans for toy storage on the wall to the left of this little tree. Chef Kev asked so I thought others may be wondering too :)

UPDATE - see all the Big Boy Room upgrade posts here!

linking to: addicted2decorating

Weekend Bloggy Reading


Wanna look at the nook?

Things are coming along nicely in 'project-big-boy-room' as outlined in my grand master plan. For those just tuning in, I'm working on turning my little guy Chace's nursery into his big boy room. He'll be three soon so time to de-crib and welcome him to twin bed-ville. As well as update to his older taste ('sniff) and activity level. (update- he now has a big boy bed and is OUT of his crib!)

First I dismantled his old closet and repainted the room along with his closet turned 'nook'. Next up was adding some toddler pinazz to that little nook. And here is how it looks now...

Now, the nook isn't finished but is certainly on it's way to earning it's stripes. Oh wait, it already has it's stripes... nevermind.

I still need to do his chalkboard area, add some storage bins on the top shelf and come up with some seating as outlined here (those pillows are just ones from our master bedroom) but it's certainly starting to take shape. It's amazing how a standard small closet (double door, about two feet deep - NOT a walk-in by any stretch) can seem SO much bigger when you yank the 'ol doors off and start playing.

So let me break down the elements for you and let you know how I "got 'er done". First up is the 'gallery wall' portion of ol 'nooker.

You can see that I added eight elements which I will break down in detail below. But first let me start with the frames and layout, as well... that is where I started! All of the frames were f-r-e-e as I either already owned them or they were graciously given to the Elaine-weekend-project-fund by generous donors. Such a great charity.

I began by coming up with a layout on the floor. Here is one version of 300 trys and in the end, didn't get used as I dumbly forgot to account for the lamps. But hey, this was my process and I'm sharing anyway. It did help me plan out what I wanted in each frame and what size I needed of each piece so it was usual for sure.

I sprayed the four brown/black/gold frames white and kept the two silver shadow boxes and one silver frame as they were because I thought the silver would play off the grey stripes nicely. Plus add some contrast to the white frames.

Then I was off to design some pieces (all were done in Indesign and/or Photoshop unless otherwise noted).

When I thought of what I wanted to put on the gallery wall I wanted to have a range of things to add texture and interest. I also wanted some pieces that were a bit interactive and could act as fun teaching tools so the idea for this 'number chart' was born...

I designed this piece using some little icons I found here and made the number of animals match the large number above/beside them. I also put the name of the animal. This way we can practice counting, number recognition, colours, words/names etc. And so can Chace ;). Ha.

Next up is this little owl art that I did as a subtle homage to Chace's big-boy bedding. I found the owl line drawing free online and designed the rest in Photoshop. I choose textures that were fun, interesting, textural and colourful. Then came up with the little tagline 'give a hoot'. Hoot! Hoot!

I thought it would be fun to put this into a shadow box frame because 1) I had it and it was free, 2) it was something different and added some 'layering' to the gallery wall.

Then I was on to this fun subway art that I can't take any credit for designing. I simply downloaded it from here, printed it and popped it into one of my spray painted frames.

Always a fan of inspirational quotes I loved this one by Dr. Seuss. Paired with this adorable chameleon (found here) and some of my scrapbook paper (the green circle strip on the right) it makes a fun and colourful piece for my little guy :).

Next we have a simple white letter 'C' (to stand for 'C'hace) found at Michaels Crafts...

And the cutest photo ever (in my humble opinion) taken of Chace last summer 'helping' me water the garden. Who's watering who? I did the words "so. much. fun" in Photoshop for a little designey touch . I then got it printed at 8"x6" which is a unique enlargement size. The 'matt' is scrapbook paper - the same as used in the quote/chameleon image above. And look, his shirt matches the stripes. Totally planned (not). And yes, I totally just said "not" à la 1989. sweet (not).

I love how the wood grain comes through the letters. This photo makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Then I was on to making some robot fun because Chace likes to say 'R.O.B.O.T' in a pretend mechanical voice and I think it is hilarious... so I wanted to encourage that ;). I found my little robot shape here and did the same type of treatment as I did on the owl. I also put him in to a shadow box frame to match his little friend. I made my R.O.B.O.T smile by changing his mouth shape and then added the words "smile every day" to the piece.

And last but not least is a cheery piece that I made just because I wanted to... and I love the message. My mom used to sing me that song when I was little so why not pass it along to MY little sunshine.

I love how the 'grunginess' of this font plays off the crisp graphic nature of the rest of this piece. I also added a subtle little heart in place of one of the rays.

After the images were all up I turned my attention to the lights. Since I did not have them when I put up the gallery pieces, I made 'space' for them by cutting out 6" round circles to use as place holders. Since I knew which lights I was getting I was able to find this information on the website (Ikea).

You may have notice that the 'C' and picture of Chace have swapped spots since this step. I was planning on running the electrical cord behind the photo of Chace but it ended up working better in behind the letter 'C' so I switched them. I know. I'm a rebel.

Here is a close up of the light I chose. I love this light for a few reasons: a) affordable ($19.99 each), b) adorable - bright and cheery colour with a sweet little cloud motif and c) 'tamper proof' so perfect for little two-year-old hands. The light bulb is actually enclosed so little fingers can't get in to trouble. As well, the 'on/off switch' is a easy to use push button. The lamps are Skojig from Ikea.

Installing them was very simple and easy, needing just a few plugs and screws. I used my paper template to line up the base and marked where I wanted to drill with a pencil through each screw hole. Lucky for me, each lamp hit a stud with one of the screws. Not that it would have mattered too much as these are really light and I did use plugs as mentioned, but always a bonus! Oh, and I found the studs by using my studdly husband stud finder. Very similar to this one - love that guy tool.

You can see how I ran the cord straight down and behind the letter 'C'. I did the same on the other side (but behind the R.O.B.O.T. image) and also used a few of these little clips to keep it all straight and tidy.

Of course Murphy's Law dictates that the cords aren't long enough to reach the electrical outlet so I brought in my friend Extension Cord for the job. I was able to tuck the cords under the baseboards along the carpet line (yay) but when I got to the plug we had a bit of an eye sore. Add to that the fact that these 'child proof' ones were very 'odd' (for lack of a better description) we had an even bigger eye sore.

Avert your eyes. I warned you.

I wasn't overly concerned about it (as that would drive me crazy) but what I didn't like was that it could be tempting to a certain toddler (cough-chace-cough) to 'play' with this new toy. Plus, with cushions and such getting pushed up against it I didn't want to worry about it becoming partially unplugged.

So a quick trip to Home Depot yielded this dollar piece of plumbers tubing. Now, I know it's not "pretty" but did the trick to help me make this little obstacle safer. Chace's fingers can't get in there to
unplug and I don't have to worry about the plugs becoming dislodged creating a hazard. And, with the pillows in front of it (I'll remove our master bedroom ones and do something different there in the future) it's not noticeable. (um... I don't need to remind you that I'm not a professional but it kind of works right?)

Moving on to something prettier, let's talk about the new book shelves - which are really just the Ribba picture frame ledges from Ikea.

Being 3.5" deep they are perfect for showcasing books. Plus at 21 5/8" wide they fit my closet depth of (about 2') perfectly.

To centre them on the wall I marked the centre point of one shelf (on the back) to use as a template.

I then marked the centre point of my wall using each stripe as a placement guide. Each stripe is about 13.5" tall so perfect height for books (yup, that was planned)! I then matched up the two centre points, held the shelf in place (very easy to level when working with already levelled stripes) and used the tool above to make a depression mark through the holes (one on each side) - marking where to drill. You can see one of the depressions and the centre point mark below...

I then repeated this times five and simply drilled and hammered in my plugs. Followed that up with 10 screws and the shelves were up! These shelves come with little white circle stickers that you place over the front of the screw hole marks so that they are disguised and the shelf looks more seamless. Although they were missing for one shelf... grrrr.

But regardless, we now had shelves!

Time to load them up...

And we were done!

Not bad right!? Speaking of bad, let's revisit the "before"... as I hang my head in shame.

And to save you from scrolling, here is the the "after" (with a lot of little work)...

Chace loves it! We read his bedtime stories in here and he asks to sleep in it every night. So cute.

And his first reaction when he saw it? Well, he did what any little boy would do. First he played with the 'mechanics' - light on/off, light on/off, light on/off... and then he grabbed all his blankies, yanked most of the books off the shelf and made himself comfortable.

And so he should.

So that's how my little plan is slowly taking shape. What about you? Yanked any closet doors off lately? Painted any stripes? Used rany andom pieces of plumbers piping for child proofing?

UPDATE: Here is how it looks now (after a few more tweaks). Details here.

















See all the Big Boy Room upgrade posts here!

Creating with the Stars

Weekend Bloggy Reading

linking to: addicted2decorating

The Shabby Nest

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
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