Friday, September 6, 2013

Well Hello Mr. Karlstad

We have been in dire need of a couch upgrade for some time now.  Furniture takes a beating in a house with two kids, two dogs, a cat and a husband.  It's a circus around here and our living room furniture is the big top.

I can't remember the number of times I have told Maine Dad I was finally going to buy a living room set.  I bet the number is in the high thirties...yet, no couch each time.  It hasn't been because I didn't know what I wanted.  Or due to lack of finances.  I wasn't planning on spending a fortune anyways.  (Please re-read the first paragraph of this post if you are unsure of why I shop on the cheap).  It simply is because we live in Maine.  Although our state is known for its beautiful coastline, thousands of acres of forests, lobster and LLBean backpacks, I am now aware that our state is not prepared to sell living room furniture to its residents.  It was a painful experience.  In fact, I actually found our sectional online and from a store that is not yet (but hopefully one day will be) in Maine......Ikea.  

Yes, I am a bit of a DIY blog slut. I follow upwards of 21, er 22 DIY/home improvement blogs.  From Thrifty Decor Chic to Sarah M. Dorsey Designs, Mini Manor to 7th House on the Left, my daily MUST read is still YHL (Young House Love).  The Petersiks just get me.  And I have been drooling over their oversize sectional from Ikea for over a year now.  He is a handsome sucker!  Meet Karl the Sectional in Dark Sivik Gray:

He is a biggie!  Almost twelve feet long by seven feet deep.  In fact, I'm not sure if the entire assembled sectional will fit in our current living room.  Thankfully he comes in several pieces and is able to be assembled in numerous ways.  So we will make it work.  

Our estimated delivery date isn't until September 22nd but we have already received shipping notification.  He is on his way and I couldn't be more excited.  In the next week or two I plan on cleaning out the living room for his arrival (which means also cleaning out the basement, part of our master bedroom and the dining room).  Oh boy...I may have screwed myself here.  Thankful its a sectional that is coming so I can kick my feet up and relax after all this work.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ombre Dresser Sneak Peek

As I mentioned Sunday, one of the many items on the to do list I tackled was repainting Maine Toddler's dresser.  I planned to take it from a drab sponge painted green to a beautifully bright blue ombre dresser courtesy of this dresser I pinned on Pinterest:


How do you think I'm doing?

The picture is dark and thus the color seems a little off from real life but you get the idea.  I couldn't wait until daytime to update you on progress.  I'm just too excited with how it is turning out.  This bad boy has required three coats on all drawers and the dresser itself...with LOTS of drying time in between to be sure of no tackiness or boo boos.  Three days of sanding and painting to date.

As you might notice I didn't put the original hardware back on the dresser.  I wanted something a little nicer.  After all, the paint job demands it! I searched our local hardware store, Lowes and Home Depot but all were too expensive and didn't have the size and style hardware I wanted in stock. Lowes had the beautiful 16" drawer pulls I wanted but they were $18 $90 to out fit the dresser.  Even with my military discount I couldn't do it.  If I had to special order I figured I could probably save myself a few buckaroos by searching eBay.  And voila...I was right. 

Look at those beauties!  Here is to hoping the measurements that were posted online were accurate and work with the existing holes in the drawers.  Fingers crossed.  Eyes crossed.  Legs crossed.  Everything crossed in anticipation.  The bonus?  I scored them for $4.32 each plus $10 shipping.  Total: $31.60 including shipping.  I know...amazing dealAs long as they fit, I will have saved myself $60.  If they don't...well, I'm in denial about that fact until/if I have to face it.  Should have them in hand by Monday.  Come on postal service, work your magic!  

Ever purchased hardware or other DIY items on eBay for a steal?  If these fit I may be a converted woman. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Year...That Sounds About Right!

Where has the time gone?  And what the hell have I done with it?  Well I'm not sure so let's not focus on that. 

First off, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  Hopefully all of the mothers of the world, unlike myself, did what they were supposed to do today and relaxed.  I had other plans and a long to do list that had been sitting unattended for far to long. I decided yesterday to take "my day" and spend it how I would enjoy it most, checking off some of the items on our project list.  I aimed high, gave it a valiant effort but did fall short of my goal.  I think I over committed.  Story of my life.  So what did I tackle today?  Let's see...

I started with an easy project. One that I knew I could finish in under ten minutes and provide me instant gratification and motivation to push on. So I FINALLY tidied up the top of Maine Toddler's (yes, she isn't Maine Baby anymore) dresser.  The girl loves her headbands.  Bows and sequins, flowers and lace.  The bigger and more of them the better.  Most are stashed in the girl's bathroom vanity drawers but a select few (the larger ones) are reserved for the place of honor atop her dresser.  For the last year they have been tossed in a heap with two of her hats.  Unorganized and unsightly.  I grabbed a roll of decorative kraft paper and large container of oatmeal at Target a few weeks ago, knowing how to solve the problem.  Today, I fixed it.

I wrapped the kraft paper around the oatmeal container and secured it with scotch tape.  Then folded the ends, as neatly as possible, like a present.  More tape. I wasn't worried about being perfect as I knew that I would be stashing her two hats on the top of the headband stand.

I am pleased with the outcome.  It is a huge improvement.  If you want to do this at home and don't want to store hats on the top, I have seen others top the wrapped container off with a decorative bow.  But that wasn't what I was going for.  I wanted a place for the hats and part of me feared that if a bow was added Maine Toddler would decide it looked too much like a present and unwrap it.  I decided not to temp fate.

After this easy one, I moved on to shortening our kitchen bar stools.  You see, when we moved into our house (almost two years ago now...sad to admit it has been that long) I accidentally purchased the wrong size stools.  I picked up bar height not counter height and didn't realize my mistake until ALL three were assembled, sitting at the kitchen island and I attempted to sit in them.  NOT comfortable.  At all.  I felt defeated.  I was embarrassed by my mistake.  But more importantly agitated.  How could I have been so numb not to check the height!  I walked away.  And now, almost two years later, no adult to date has been able to successfully sit at the kitchen island.  Epic failure.  Solution?  Oh it was an easy one, but something neither myself nor Maine Dad made time to do until today.  We gave 'em a hair cut!  See the difference in the before and after?

We used the table saw to cut four inches from each of the stool legs. (Ignore the messy garage...that too is on our to do list!).

Because we are not the most patient people and didn't do our prep work properly, we had a few mishaps.  A few small chips and some black scratches from the table saw.  Oops.  Remember to prep people!  (Painters tape to prevent chipping and a sheet to prevent the scratches).

But have no fear.  The damage was undone with the help from my little friends...Magic Eraser and our cabinet touch-up crayon (same color as the stool legs).  Problem solved and as good as new!

I did sit down and enjoy the stools for a moment but got up before I lost all motivation!

On to the girls bathroom, where an empty space above the toilet and lack of a towel bar had been eating at me.  I had purchased a Moen glass shelf and towel bar earlier.  They too were sitting untouched for some time.  (boo me)  I grabbed my drill, level, hammer and the new bathroom accessories and headed upstairs.  I snapped a before pic of the space.  blah blah boring

And in 20 minutes I had both the shelf and the towel bar installed and accessorized.   Ta-da!

I didn't snap a pic of the towel bar, which I installed behind the door, because well...we all know what they look like and the space was just too darn tight to get a good one.  But I will say, if ever have to purchase and install bathroom accessories, buy Moen. It may be a bit more expensive but the idiot proof directions, stencils and included hardware are AMAZING!  (It must have been created and written by a woman...just sayin'!)  Sixteen minute install time on the glass shelf.  Four minute install time on the towel bar.  Four freakin' minutes!  Why did I put this off for so long?  Okay, let's not dwell on this and beat me up for my slacker is Mother's Day after all.

The last and most time intensive project was to repaint Maine Toddler's dresser.  Several months ago I had pinned a gorgeous ombre dresser on Pinterest.


A HUGE improvement over Maine Toddler's current eye sore!

Pardon the dark picture.  I think I secretly wanted no one to see it in its current state.

Like the rest of the world, I thought "Wow, I will so do this" after I pinned the ombre dresser...and of course never did.  Last night, in preparation, I sped out to Lowes to pick up paint and supplies.  Instead of buying just one can of color and white paint and mixing the shades myself, I went the lazy girl way and headed right to the paint sample section.  I needed five variations of blue since the dresser has five drawers.  And settled on two cards that were a great transition from light to dark.

Color cards in hand, I headed over to the desk for the magic paint man to mix me sample sizes of all the colors.  Voila...easy peasy!

No stressful mixing guessing game for this Maine Mommy.  I also picked up a quart of white paint, five 4" door and cabinet rollers and just as many paint tray liners.  I figured, for the additional $12.50 it was going to cost me for the supplies, it was well worth it to not have to wash rollers and liners, air dry and repeat for each colored drawer.  After all, any downtime I gave myself could result in an unfinished project.  Hey...just being honest!

So tonight, I sanded...A LOT.  And sanded some more. I spread out all of the paint tray liners and rolled on a first coat to each of the drawers.  This is what my garage currently looks like.

One roller and paint tray liner for each hue of blue.  But I don't care...I'm grinning!  Check out the work in progress!

The first coat is almost dry and I am off to do a second on the drawers.  Then a first coat of white for the dresser itself.  Hopefully in 48 hours it will be dry enough to move back into Maine Toddler's room.  She was unimpressed with us removing it and putting her new headband stand and lamp on the floor.  "This is not okay, Mom".  She exclaimed as I put her to bed.  I don't know where she gets the attitude from.   I promise! 

I'll be back with the after pictures.  And maybe even some more projects that we manage to check off.  Could we possible keep this ball rolling?  Fingers crossed.

On an unrelated note, want to see what I got for Mother's Day?

Ohh...shiny!  A green amethyst.  My birthstone (well, sort of...I'm not a fan of purple!)  Rolling paint is so much more enjoyable when you have something pretty to look at!  Thanks Maine Dad!  xoxo

Thursday, June 7, 2012

NYC...MaineMommy Style

Okay...okay.  I know it has been "like forever" since I posted.  Yes, this a direct quote from one of my blog followers.  (SORRY CHRISTY!  wink wink)  But MaineMommy has been a busy girl!  On top of trying to tackle work, general home upkeep and the girls, I somehow managed to actually take a week of vacation.  REAL vacation.  No work.  Zero.  It was ah-mazing.  I tackled a few projects around the house and (more importantly) took a three day trip to NYC with my favorite Aunt.  As you can see from this Time Square picture...we stayed out of trouble.  I mean, how much trouble can you get in when you are surrounded by NYPD? hehe

The weather was gorgeous.  And we had a blast wandering around Greenwich, Soho, Little Italy, Broadway, Time Square, Central Park...yeah...and all in a day and a half.  Luckily this was a leisure trip.  We had both "done" NYC sightseeing previously so we were just enjoying the change of pace and scenery. 

One of the highlights of our trip...Magnolia Bakery cupcakes of course.  Heaven in a box.

If you've never had one, but ever go to New York, make sure to add this to your must do list.  You'll thank me later.  It's right up there with the Statue of Liberty.  I do NOT exaggerate! 

On our way home, we also hit...drum roll...Ikea!    Ikea is proof that God exists.  Seriously.  Can I get a halleluiah?  Just to illustrate my love for the store I wanted a picture of me jumping for joy in the parking lot.  My Aunt was happy to oblige.  She made me work for the shot though by re-shooting six or seven times.  Passers by got a good chuckle at our many attempts of capturing the moment on camera.  Below are some of the outtakes.  MaineAunt was more impressed with those than the perfect picture she got of me midair.  She particularly liked the ones of me squatting like I was on the toilet.  I figured you would enjoy them too...who doesn't like it when someone humiliates themselves publicly for a laugh, right?  

Good times.  Good times.

I scored a TON (and this is not an understatement) of stuff from Ikea for the house.  About half was solely for MaineBaby's room.  Although we had moved into our house in October, there is so much to do to make it homey.  In fact, the only rooms that are 100 percent complete are the upstairs bathrooms (booo to my progress).  Case in point, the before shots of MaineBaby's bedroom:

Blah blah BLAND!  Functional but bare walls and lacking pops of color and fun found in toddler rooms.  After Ikea saved the day:

Ribba picture shelf ledges were used as book shelves. I picked up the stuffed turtle pillow at Target a week earlier and relocated three of her ocean art pictures to this wall. 

Two Mammut stools and two Mammut pink chairs now provide her with a great place to play with her dollhouse.  The table is a temporary relocated solution. I found a gorgeous piece of butcher block for $20 in the Ikea "As Is" section that I am planning to make into a table for her.

I also purchased another Mammut shelf for books/stuffed animal display.  The dresser needs to be repainted white and adorned with new hardware.  The wooden letters are spray painted pink and are from Joann Fabric.  The white frame was originally a mirror that was a wedding gift to my parents...back in the '70s.  Unfortunately, the glass didn't make our last move but I wanted to salvage it somehow so I spray painted it white and found some beautiful decorative punched tin to put in it.  It will be hung above the dresser and be perfect for displaying earrings, necklaces and other jewelery when she gets older.  Thank you Pinterst for the inspiration!

Here is the fun Lova leaf canopy for her toddler bed...definitely her favorite of the lot.

And I found some fun, colorful and super cheap fabric at our local Mardens that I will be using to make curtains this weekend.  I also found some coordinating fabric in fun geometric patterns and colors that I plan to use for her bedding.  

Can I just say I love Ikea, I love the Swedish names of their products and I love how they make me feel ethnic and worldly.  Seriously...I need to get out more. there is still work to be done.  But I had fun at Ikea damn it and MaineBaby is thrilled with the fact that I am finally showing her room some love.  The window coverings, tin for the mirror frame and painting the dresser will make a huge difference when they are complete.  I'll get right on that...okay, this weekend I will.  I'm still recovering from my NYC expedition.  But it was SO worth it. 

Have you made any time for yourself lately?  Taken a day trip?  Visited the gloriously large, fun and inspiring Ikea near you? tell. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Five Year Olds ROCK!

Sometimes I sigh in desperation. Sometimes I sigh out of exhaustion. Sometimes I sigh out of love. Tonight was the latter. My five year old never ceases to amaze me. Today, while in the laundry room she must have cleaned the cat's litter box and emptied the trash herself because this is the note she left on top of the laundry room trash can:

For those that don't "read" five year old, the note says: "Please put a new bag in. -Taylor I did the cat box." heart just melted. She had me at "pllees"

Loving my life.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Burn Baby Burn!

I have a lot to learn in the world of green living. Thankfully, some of life's little dilemmas are helping me figure it out pretty quickly.

I had been finding the remnants of soot on our toilet seat covers, light switches, window trim...basically anything white, new and plastic. The culprit? Yankee candles and my obsession with burning them. I LOVE the smell of walking into a home with multiple candles lit. It is warm and inviting and can instantly make any home more welcoming. But it also creates a bit of a health hazard and a cleaning nightmare with the soot and toxins released into the air. I mean, if our light switches look that way...what do my families lungs look like? {eek!}

So I did a little research on both petroleum and soy based candles and the effects/benefits of each. What a world of difference. Although no candle is soot free, soy is a much safer alternative. And I know deep down I could never stop burning candles completely. I. just. couldn't. ever. stop. It's like my crack okay? {hehe} So safer is obviously the way to go.

In a week's time I threw out all of our petroleum based candles and managed to score a hell of a deal at TJ Maxx & Marshalls on the much safer soy alternative. I bought both stores out of all the Caldrea Vanilla Lemon candles they had. All 24 candles I purchased are now piled high in my pantry. At $5.99 a piece they were a steal...and MUCH safer for our health and our home. It has been three weeks since I started burning soy candles only and I have yet to find soot remnants like I was before. That alone leaves me with a warm fuzzy. Well...that and my stash of candles in the pantry! maybe I have a bit of a shopping problem. But I did it in the name of good health and a happy home. Well...that is how I'm gonna sell it to MaineDad anyways. {wink wink}

Breathe easy.

Monday, April 30, 2012

It's a Circus Around Here

Although time spent at our home often resembles a circus, we decided to spend the afternoon yesterday actually going to one. We set aside our home projects, packed up the girls and headed to the local Anah Shrine Circus. It wasn't quite as magical as MaineDad and I remembered from our youth. I was more shocked that hardly anyone clapped for the acts. The tigers did one clapped. Women swung from ropes thirty feet in the one clapped. A couple walked and rode unicycles on a tight one clapped. Well, MaineBaby did but everyone else in the auditorium just sat there. I think it was the most quiet circus I have ever been too. The girls enjoyed it regardless. Cotton candy was devoured. Eyes were wide during acts.

Pictures were taken with clowns (MaineBaby was excited despite her glum looking face in the picture. And yes, MaineGirl dressed and did her hair herself for the outing...hehe).

All in all, a great family afternoon out and some much needed time away from home projects. Did you make it to the circus this year?

Happy Monday!