Friday, May 31, 2013

Pink Nightmare

Fun fact: Jean Shepard, the author of the book that inspired the movie A Christmas Story (ya know, the one that plays for 24 hours straight on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on TBS?) grew up in my city. We here in Hammond are awfully proud of him. The visitor's center has events every Christmas season based on the movie - A "Mommy's Little Piggy" mashed potato eating contest, an "Oh Fuuuudge Relay Race", and even a store where you can buy your very own leg lamp.

One of my favorite parts of the movie is when the main character, Ralphie, gets a special gift from his Aunt.

We laugh every time.

Equally laughable, was Husband's new nightstand. At least while it still donned it's own pink hue. We first spotted it at one of my favorite thrift stores. The guys there were unloading several small tables off the truck. They noticed us looking through them and asked what we were looking for. I explained that we needed a small nightstand for my husband's side of the bed. One of the workers pointed us in the direction of the pink nightmare and told us that it used to be a humidor.

Husband hated it, I thought it just needed a few coats of black paint. I mean, how cool to say that you could store cigars in your humidor nightstand!?

In the end I won. And for $10 we took the pink nightmare home. Where it sat for almost 2 months, hideously pink, in the corner of our bedroom.

Finally, I decided that there had been plenty of dreaming and planning here on the blog and that I should probably DO something. So here's a quick little DIY for ya.

To prep, I laid out a drop cloth in to work on, shook and stirred my quart of black paint, and set out the two foam brushes I planned on using. Foam brushes won't leave brush marks. I chose regular satin paint over spray paint partly because it was winter and partly because I feel like I have a little more control over the finished product with a can of paint.

I also put in a Harry Potter movie for entertainment value - this is a very important step you won't want to skip.

I started with the table upside down to make sure everything would get a good coating. This also meant that when it was done, I could just move it back into the bedroom while it was still a little tacky.

The hardware had been painted pink too and I didn't want to paint it black. I read somewhere that you could soak hardware in vinegar and the paint would come right of, but I couldn't get the hardware off the table. Impatience got the best of me and I used the screw driver (and a butter knife) to scrape off the pink paint. As photographed, I also tried nail polish remover. It didn't work in case you were wondering.

I scratched it in several places pretty badly. I may not be the best DIY-er... But I figure that it'll hardly be noticeable in the corner of our bedroom. And if it's really getting to me I can always just paint them.

So once I had three, yes three, coats of paint on the undersides of the table, I flipped it right side up. I did another three coats on anything that was pink, leaving the area around the hardware unpainted...

For another month. Did I mention that I may not be so great at DIYing?

Once I got back to the project, I used a small brush to go around the hardware. Any paint that got on the hardware I just scraped off with my screwdriver/butter knife combo once it dried.

For a little added touch of masculinity, I added some silver, almost mirrored contact paper to the inside.

The result?

'Tis a thing of beauty.

Husband is happy and has a place to keep his glasses and phone at night, Wife is happy that Husband isn't reaching over her in the morning to get his stuff. We both like that it feels vintage-y but it also matches the other finishes in the room and the overall style. He'll still need some kind of lamp - I'm thinking a floor lamp, or small chandelier. Are two chandeliers too many? What would you do?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dig it.

It's officially my thing - relating our home improvement projects to classic childhood movies. Ha!

Yesterday we spent about 4 hours working in the yard. Like the curtains that still don't exist in our home, I had never tackled the yard either. When I first moved in, I knew it would need some work. 

2 summers ago, my dad came and cut down the branches of all the bushes. He and my mom said they would help me pay for a landscaper to come dig them out, build a retaining wall, plant some perennials, and mulch. I got a couple quotes. Both around $2,500. Whoa! Way too much to clean up the front yard. It never got cleaned up that year. 

Or last summer. See, I got engaged and my dad decided it was now our responsibility. I can't blame him really. He's almost 60, works over 50 hours a week at a cement company about an hour from his house, and now here's this young guy with spare time and a little muscle about to marry his daughter. Torch passed!

Well, with Husband-to-be working three jobs, myself working one very busy job and training for my first half marathon, and both of us planning a wedding - it fell by the wayside. Husband-to-be vowed that when he moved in, he'd make a yard to be proud of. 

This year has been promising for the yard. I've settled into my job, which was a new position to me last year. I'm running the half marathon again this year, but training isn't as overwhelming the second time around. Husband now lives here, and has just one full time job. It's busy, but he has plenty of down time to get some work done at home. We're obviously married, and no longer stressing about wedding details (although we still need to get our thank-you's out... working on them!)

Since we both had a three day weekend for Memorial Day, we decided to finally take down the front yard once and for all. Well, the first phase of it at least. 

Here's where we started off yesterday: (Please excuse the photo bombing kitty.)

There were 2 stumps to the left of the steps, 3 stumps to the right, and a full bush to the right. We also discovered 2 thick rooted vines on the right and another on the left. 

We didn't really have a method of digging these up, so if you're attempting this at your own home, this may not be the best way to go about it. Do some research too. 

How to Dig Up Bushes:

Tools Needed:
Point shovel
Bin or bag for debris
A strong friend or husband ;)

Time needed: 
20-30 minutes per bush (or abnormally thick rooted vine)

1. Use the sawzall to cut down all branches, leaving only a few inches near the stump. You'll need those to yank the bush out of the ground later.

2. Dig about 2ft from the root in all directions, about 2 ft deep. Leave the dirt in a pile nearby (but separate out the weedy clumps) Smash roots with the point of the shovel or cut with the sawzall as they're uncovered. Be careful not to get dirt in the sawzall!

2. Have your strong friend or husband pull and pull and push and pull until the bush comes up. Stomp on those puppies if need be. Nothing to technical here, just keep digging, pushing, and pulling til you or your strong friend can pull the bush up. Definitely wear gloves for this and be careful not to lose your balance near the giant hole you just dug up. 

Husband demonstrates his bush stomping technique.
3. Till the rest of the area as needed. Whether you want a planter bed where the bushes were, or just grass, you'll need to prep the soil. 

4. Back fill the hole left by the bush and add new top soil if needed. You may need to use a rake to get the dirt out to nearby grass if that's where you made your pile. 

5. Check with your town to see how to dispose of the bushes. Our town sends a wood chipper through our alleys every couple of weeks spring through fall. They'll come in a day or two if you call and notify them you have branches to be chipped. So we dragged our stumps and branches to the alley. Each town is different though, so check out your town's policy. 

6. Take a shower and admire your work. 

This is pre-shower, but admiring. Trust me. The shower part is important!

Toward the end of the day my parents came to help us finish up. My mom weeded and tilled near the tree in our parkway.

Sorry, no before picture. I didn't think we'd get to this yesterday!

I raked up whirlybirds, aka helicopters, or Maple seeds. My dad and Husband (not like the same person is my dad and husband, but my dad and my husband...) cleaned up all the debris. The yard looks 100 times better than it did. 

(Photo bombing cat eats grass.)
We still need to get more top soil for the right planter bed, and garden edging. Both sides will soon get mulch and flowers. The grass is still awful, I know. It needs a major overhaul. I'd love to hear any suggestions you have! 

Lessons I Learned:
1. Wear long sleeves and gloves.
2. Always ask for help.
3. Don't pay someone $2,500 for something you can do!
4. Finish what you start - even if it's 2 years later.

Phase 2 (fall? next spring? never?) will likely include building raised planter beds. And I'm currently trying to convince Husband that it'd be nice to plant a tree on the right side of the yard - ya know, where the grass is dead anyway. 

What did you work on this weekend?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Shaking the Shag

Something really exciting happened last month. Husband and I actually agreed on something interior decor related. I know, I can't believe it either. One Friday afternoon (because once a month we both work Saturday so we're off Friday), I got an email from Joss and Main that they had a rug sale going on. I'd been looking at rugs for over a month and couldn't decide on one. This time I thought maybe Husband could help me narrow it down.

We scrolled through the page saying 'yay' or 'nay' to each rug we saw. In the end there was only one rug we both liked. And we both really liked it. Funny thing was that I'd looked at that rug before on Overstock. I wanted to make sure we were getting the best price so I went back to Overstock to see if we could get it cheaper there. Sure enough! $32 cheaper, plus free shipping, and I used a $10 coupon code. We ordered it Sunday afternoon (Husband didn't trust that I had finally made up my mind, so we thought about it for a couple days.) and received it Thursday afternoon. 

I didn't wait for Husband to get home from work. I took apart our sectional, move tons of furniture, dragged the 37 pound roll into the house and laid it down. It. Is. Awesome! I can't believe how much different the space looks. 

I was hating the paint color because it was a little too yellow. Somehow the cool tones reflect onto the walls and it looks way less yellow to me. I think especially once we get curtains up and new art on the walls it will look even more balanced color-wise. Time will tell.

I also feel like the room just looks so much more grown up. The little 5x7' black shag rug we had before screamed "We had just enough cash to get this basic rug from Ikea". Now the room feels more intentionally planned and designed. 

It kind of solidifies the plan we have for our space. A mix of retro, rustic, mid-century, and contemporary. I can now visualize how the rest of the room will come together. Honestly, my mind is now reeling with ideas that I can't wait to share!

The rug matches pretty well with everything we currently have going on in the room, but there are plenty of things that aren't up to par with the new piece. We need:
  • new art above the couch
  • new pillows with more updated patterns (I just dragged a few old ones out of storage for this shoot.)
  • new lamps
  • a coffee table update
  • curtains
  • TV console touch ups
  • a new light above the chaise part of the couch
  • frame and hang the art we have for above the TV 
Husband is probably cringing reading this to-do list right now. Sorry! Love you! How about for now we just take another look at the pretty rug...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mega Menards!

I know there are several bloggers out there that have done store crashes - Making it LovelyYoung House Love, and Emily Henderson. I guarantee you their pictures will be better than mine. (Have I ever mentioned that I don't even own a camera? I've just been using my cell phone. A story for another day...) I can also guarantee you their local Menards' aren't as amazing as mine.

Strangely, the outside looks just like any other Menards. Large warehouse type building, green awnings, trucks in the parking lot, etc. When you step inside, it's like walking into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Room. (Just a refresher):

This here is one half of the store as seen from an upstairs balcony.  I could've gone crazy with arrows pointing out all the fantastic features, but it would have spoiled the view. So if you look closely, there are 3 suspended walkways, the millwork department, kitchens and appliances, cleaning and organizing, paint, flooring, tools, and the building department. Behind me, not in the shot, (because I didn't want to risk looking anymore crazy by taking even more pictures) there was a snack bar with a few tables. This store is so big, you may actually need to stop for a snack and a coffee. 

On the other half of the store you'd find bathrooms, exteriors, lighting (behind me), and a huge glass elevator. (I'll leave the Willy Wonka reference out this time...) Somewhere on the first floor there were also cards, DVD's, pet products, hardware, and several aisles of food. 

Beside the ginormous glass elevator in the back corner of the store, there's this crazy cool escalator/moving walkway that Husband demonstrates riding so well:

It takes quite a while to get up, but it's waaaaay better than the weird cart carrier contraption they've got at Ikea. Or at least our Ikea.


Schaumburg Ikea via Yelp

Have you ever tried to wrestle your cart onto one of those things? Oh my word, it is not easy.
The awesomeness doesn't end there though, friends. I've saved the best for last. One of the first aisles we encountered upon walking into the store was none other than the spray paint aisle. Observe:

So. Much. Spray Paint! I could paint so many things. In so many colors. And then the Oompa Loompa's would have to sing a silly song about how I turned myself radioactive from the fumes. (I am so sorry, I had no idea this post would relate to well to the old school Willy Wonka) 

On top of the store being amazing in size and product display, I have to say that the employees were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. I'm in no way being paid or perked for this post, I just really had a fantastic experience there. If you live in the area, I highly recommend taking a slow stroll and soaking it all in. And if you don't live nearby, well I'm sorry. Visit us soon?

Anyone else checked this place out yet? 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fabric Fail

I had mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to make some curtain panels for our living room which has never had curtains in the entire 4 years I've lived in my home. I'm talkin' pretty important stuff here. The update I wanted to give was a super excited post entitled "Third's the Charm", meaning we had chosen option #3.

Braemore Tribal Find Ikat Chevron Aquamarine

There was a fantastic 30% Off promotion going on for Valentines Day, which was right about the time we wanted to buy it. It would have been about $160 for 12 yards and free shipping. I figured I'd spend about $120 if I found some in store that I liked, and what's $40 more for curtains that I LOVE?

Except that I forgot to buy them before the promotion ended. Whomp whomp.

They had another promotion going on that would have put the fabric at about $185 and still free shipping. It just seemed liked way too much money to spend on curtains.


It's been a couple months since the incident which has given me some time to reevaluate the plan for the living room. I can't disclose the full plan yet, but I will fill you in on the upcoming curtain project I have planned.

Black and White Zig Zag Pattern, source unknown

I wanted chevron. I wanted a black and white pattern in the room somewhere. I couldn't find black and white chevron curtains ready to hang but then I saw this tutorial on Pinterest. I know this works because we had already painted an aisle runner for our wedding.

Photo by Oijoy Photography

Gorgeous, right?! So that's the new plan. Find light blocking white curtains, paint them black striped.

Have you ever tried painting fabric? What was the outcome? Any tips to share?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Painting the Dino Gold, I'm Painting the Dino Gold!

Never fails. This song always goes through my head when I'm painting something an unnatural color. Totally off topic - but how do they splash paint everywhere and it doesn't stick to them? I mean, it basically just gets on the white flowers and the ground. I want whatever magic tape they're using!

Anyway, my most recent unnatural colored painting project was this cute ferocious little dino.

I found him randomly tossed in The Dollar Spot at Target. He was hanging out with another one of his dino buddies in a bin of teeny flower pots. I'm not even sure that he originally even belonged in The Dollar Spot. I decided he needed to be adopted... and painted gold. (Yes, I left his friend. Our home just wasn't right for him.)

Once the weather finally got above 40 degrees (end of April, no joke), I took him outside for a quick spray painting with Rustoleum's Metallic Gold spray paint. (Out of all the paints at the store, this one looked like it'd have the shiniest finish.) I sprayed his top sides, then came back to him about a half hour later to get his belly and feet.

So for about $5 and 5 minutes of my time, I've got this awesome gold dinosaur that satisfies my cravings for all the brass animals I've been dying for lately.

I love that he's a little touch of gold - which I like, and a little touch of "boy" - which I'm sure Husband likes, though he mostly just thinks I'm weird for spray painting a $1 toy gold.

I'm not sure where' he's going to go yet. The office?

The living room?

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sneaky Peek

Didya miss me? I know it's been a long, long while. I can explain. You know how when it starts to get nice out you start thinking about doing some work around the house? Whether its a good spring cleaning, a new paint job, or heck, even a brand new kitchen, the fresh air gets to you and you're finally motivated. You know that feeling? Well I happen to work on the opposite end of your projects.

For those who don't know me personally, I work as a sales rep for a local remodeling company. So when you want some work done around you house, I'm the one that goes out to measure, price the work out, then draw up the paperwork, order the materials, and schedule all the work to be done. So when the weather gets nice, I get busy. So busy that my brain can't think of 9-15 customer's home projects on top of my own. So that's where I've been.

Anyway, I've caught up a bit and have a few things brewing here in our Monroe Makeshift. These posts are all written and (mostly) photographed so I promise they'll be up in May
  • A fabric failure
  • A night stand redo
  • A new living room plan
  • A rug reveal
  • A few mini makeovers
  • An unexpected hallway update
  • Real life reorganizing
And since I know y'all (I don't really talk like that, but I do live in Indiana so I'm allowed to right? Right.) are really interested in seeing pictures on these pretty blogs here's a sneak peek for ya!

Stay tuned. Amazing things to come.