Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter House Tour 2015 + Free Printables

Spring has sprung! Easter is right up there with Christmas as "holidays for which I have a likelihood to over decorate." There are just so many cute decor options, but I did my best to pull back as much as possible.

* The most awesome moss rabbit ever is from Hobby Lobby
* The faux tulips are from Tai Pan Trading
* The faux grass is from IKEA
* The little birdhouse was a garden pick from the dollar spot at Target a few years ago, which I put on a candlestick
* The white urn is from a thrift store and the glittery egg ornaments are from the Dollar Tree 
* The Egg Hunt Sign is a free printable I created, which you can get here!

I cut mine out in an oval shape and put it on a thrift store platter. If I ever have trouble cutting out a particular shape, I'll find it on a google image search and then resize it in a word doc to be the right size for me to trace it on my image.

* The chick statues and large glitter eggs are from Hobby Lobby
* The herb basket was from Target at the dollar spot last year
* "He is Risen" is my favorite Easter hymn. I love the simplicity of these words, so I created a free printable. You can get it here.

* The second I saw this amazing egg and nest print, I knew I had to have it! You can find it here FREE at The Graphics Fairy!

* This amazing egg wreath is from Tai Pan Trading.

Thanks for stopping by!

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St. Patrick's Day House Tour + Free Printable

Valentine's Day House Tour

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

How I Do DIY Projects with Three Young Kids

I have three boys: ages 9, 5, and 2. One question people constantly ask me is, "How do you do all those projects with your little boys?" At first, I used to feel a little offended because the undertone seemed to be, "You must not take care of your kids," or, "You must ignore other responsibilities around the house." But, I don't think people understand that I only work for 15 minutes at a time in between errands, chores, and kid stuff. It takes me five times longer to do any project than if I didn't have kids, but I still get stuff slowly accomplished. (And I still avoid putting laundry away at all costs).

I've compiled a list of things that have helped me "find time" to complete projects:

1) Break each project down into small incremental steps that can be completed at different times throughout a day.

I wanted to build and complete some built-in shelves in my Bonus Room before I had company visit in March. So, that meant I really had to get to work in January and February. I created a break down with monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals to see how much work I really had to do in the amount of time I was allotting myself (most months aren't usually so intense).

 This calendar was mostly a guideline. For January, I was actually able to stay on schedule. But, in February, the top portion of the shelves ended up taking me a lot more time than I had anticipated and I had to adjust my plans and expectations. No big deal. I find just having some sort of plan helps me get something done, even if it's not as much as I was hoping. 

2) Figure out what time I have to do work and what kids will be around

Our schedule changes in seasons, but right now, I have a good chunk of time during my 2 year old's nap in the afternoon. After I read and do homework with my Kindergartener, I set him up with art supplies or an activity at the kitchen table and I go in and out of the garage doing small prep work or building or sanding or painting in between checking on him.

My kids also go to bed fairly early in the evening, so I usually have about an hour of uninterrupted work time at night. That's when I do some of the more dangerous cutting or assembling that takes a little brain power.

3) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Not only do I break each project down into smaller steps, but I have to think ahead. If I want to start something on a certain day, I need to make sure that I buy wood and larger supplies a few days in advance on an evening when my husband can be home with the kids. 

Also, most of my projects require sanding, 2 coats of primer, and then 2 coats of paint. Primer takes an hour to dry before you can do another coat, whereas paint takes 4 hours in between coats.  If I get my sanding done the night before, then I can get a first coat of primer on while my 2 year old is eating a snack and watching tv before Kindergarten pick up. Then I can get the second coat of primer and first coat of paint done during nap time before my oldest son gets home from school at 4pm. Once the kids are in bed I can do the second coat of paint. 

I know it sounds like a lot of time, but it's really only 5-15 minute increments. It's the planning that's important. Once I've finished one small step, I can get back to something else that needs to get done in my busy schedule.

3) Find ways to let my kids help -

My kids LOVE it when I ask for help. While they aren't tremendously skilled at this moment in time, they are almost always willing to sort things, hand me a tool, or use a sanding block. But, knowing that they are around my tools makes me extra cautious about leaving things out they might hurt themselves with. I always make sure to put tools away, disconnect my nail gun, unplug and lower the blade on my table saw, etc. Even if I just have to leave the room for a minute, I disconnect things since I never know if I'll get distracted or be needed somewhere else and not be able to return right away. I'd hate for their curiosity to put them in danger. I want to teach them and share this part of my life with them, but being safe and teaching safety is important. 

4) Expect things to take longer than I initially plan. 

Honestly, I rarely finish a project on my planned timeline. My entertainment center repurposed into a custom hutch was supposed to be my January project in 2014 and I didn't finish until the beginning of April. But, I did finish. I kept plugging away little by little and revising my goals. Things often take longer than you think they will. Unseen difficulties arise. Don't be discouraged if you don't think you'll ever finish. Just do something. (Sink in nails one day, fill the holes the next day, sand the holes the next day). It will eventually get done.

I think anyone can "make time" for what's important to them. It might not be every day. It might just be once a week or once a month. I find as long as I'm working towards something I feel productive, even if it's only in short spurts at a time.  

Happy DIYing!

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Project Bonus Room: Built-in Shelves With a Slanted Ceiling

My first big project of 2015 was making some built-in shelves and cabinets around this window in the Bonus Room.


I started out by framing the window in the craftsman style, like I've done throughout my first floor.

Then, I built the base cabinets based off Ana White's Rebecca Media Center - Console plans. I've used these plans a lot for reference when building cabinets. I spent most of the month of January building and painting these two cabinets and doors. (I can't believe I don't have any pictures of these. You'll see them later throughout)

The tricky part came measuring the top portion of the shelves since the slanted ceiling made for some angled cuts. I measured and marked each board upstairs as I went along, which meant a lot of running downstairs to cut things in the garage and then running back upstairs to make sure it fit right.

I was able to measure a 60 degree angle where the wall met the ceiling (which didn't mean it was consistent all the way up). So, I angled the blade on my table saw 30 degrees and cut the two ends that would be meeting. I used my fence and added however much extra length that would cause to what my final length needed to be. I also left a little gap for ceiling planks to fit between the shelf and the ceiling.

The angles didn't meet up perfectly, but I knew the face frame would cover up a lot of gaps where the boards meet. Everything was attached with pocket holes using a Kreg Jig.

Next, I needed to create shelves. Since they would be long shelves, they needed to be beefy. I cut 1/4" birch plywood, then cut and nailed a frame made with 1/2" plywood on top, then nailed another 1/4" board on top.

I added a decorative strip across the front to hide the seams.

I was hoping the sturdiness of the shelves would mean I didn't need to put dividers in the middle to support them, but it became quickly evident that they needed the extra support, so dividers were cut and attached from the top using nails. The shelves were screwed in from the outsides.

The bottom two shelves were plywood with a frame, but the top shelf is a regular 1x12 cut on the angled side at a 30 degree angle and screwed into place with pocket hole screws. I added the decorative strip across the front to made it match the other shelves, but also to hide where the shelf meets the frame and there's a little gap.

I painted some beadboard and nailed it onto the back.

I was able to use my jigsaw to make small cuts upstairs.

I needed to take a small detour before I could finish this project and start planking the ceiling since I wanted the face frame to be flush with it. Once the first section of planks were in place, I could cut a 1x3 for the top of the face frame.

I used a piece of paper to help me draw the angle on that I needed 

I was able to cut this angle with my jig saw. Then I could mark where to cut off the straight edge on the other end.

I continued using a similar measuring technique along the sides using 1x2s. 

After sinking nails, filling holes, and doing some touch up painting, these shelves are mostly done! Once my kids are a little older and stop pushing on this window, I'd like to put a window seat in between them.

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