Stop me before I shop again…

I got a little carried away today at Joss and Main… you’ve been there, right??? Curated flash sales, they call it… it’s kind of like my love for Underground Cellar, which is basically gambling for winos. Don’t get me started on that addiction.

Our guest room is…kind of uninviting right now. (Ignore the mess.) IMG_1593IMG_1592

Seriously, who posts photos like these???

I do. I guess.

I know, it’s sucky. The curtains came with the house, and the bed… well, it doesn’t look terrible when we’ve got the blanket across the bottom and the pillows artfully arranged. But I’ve been wanting to make an upholstered headboard. And then do something in navy and pink… with dots of yellow… maybe. And that whole upholstered headboard project? I had so many great sites to inspire me. Like here, and here… But then, I was at work and Joss and Main was there. Well, not there. But on the internet. Because I was, you know. WORKING?

And I saw THIS: Sullivan+Upholstered+Headboard+in+Rice

AND it was $130. By the time I’d gotten all the stuff together and put in the time, I would have for sure spent that. So I ordered it. So now I have a headboard. (Or I will. Soon. In a really BIG box!)

Suggestions welcome on what else to do in that room. I’m thinking navy blue, but I don’t know why. Ideas?

Fall has Fallen!

I do love this month, seasonal gourds and all (any other McSweeney’s fans out there? That post cracks me up. I get it out each year like a seasonal decoration that loses its appeal once the month has passed. But NOW? Now, it’s perfect!)

IMG_1588It took a while here–a close call with a hurricane, and some sweltering over-80 days that I tried to resent out of existence. But now I’m pretty sure Fall has fallen. I put up the autumn wreath, and stuck our Halloween-appropriate ribbon on it, and dropped a couple mums next to the front door, and suddenly it feels right.

The kids made me stick the crazy cat eyes in an upstairs bedroom and pull out the very few Halloween decorations we have. My efforts for Halloween are nothing compared to Christmas, but I just don’t have the energy to get things together that way for every little holiday. I’m guessing most folks are the same. As soon as Thanksgiving is officially over, I pull out all the boxes and festive up the house. And it’s exhausting, but it’s still my favorite thing to do. What’s your “do it up” holiday around the house?

Turbo’s New Room

So Lunchbox got a new room a while ago… I couldn’t leave Turbo out! He’s a little older, so his room needed to be a bit more…mature. After all, he’s eight for frick’s sake!

He’s been on this city-theme kick for a little while, and I’m a skyline-loving girl myself (probably my soul missing NYC as it drowns here in the boonies. But at least we have grass. And trees. And huge bugs… but I digress.) So we decided to do a city theme for Turbo. He had already picked out some great prints from our last trip to IKEA. (If you are sensing a trend here, I’ll go ahead and confirm — yeah, we go to IKEA a lot). So all that was needed was some paint!

Again, this room featured PRIMER wall, a favorite color of the previous homeowners, I guess… and Turbo’s room is DARK with only one window on the north side of the house. Poor Turbo. That’s why he needed a kickass room! Here’s a photo of the awesome (not) before color… 2015-02-27 10.22.14

Not too awesome, is it?

Turbo’s favorite color is red… but I wasn’t game for red walls. So STRIPES! 2015-02-27 12.55.07

But first I had to put down something over this hideous icy blue primer color…

So I painted it out with a nice creamy Navajo White — the same one I used in Lunchbox’s room. Neutral, calm, warm…

And then I got out a level, a pencil and a measuring tape…

measuring stripes

Good times, I tell ya! Notice how some of the stripes look skinnier? I figured this one out the hard way… you draw the lines evenly (assuming you want evenly spaced stripes) and then tape OUTSIDE one stripe (the one that will be colored) and INSIDE the next. So the wide stripes in the photo above will be the ones I paint. As seen below…

2015-02-27 20.51.26

The stripes are only going on two walls, because I have BIG PLANS for the third and fourth… Bear with me, I love this part!

painting skyline on wall

Using thin painter’s tape, I made buildings! I decided to paint a few of them in the same red I used for the stripes — Benjamin Moore’s Million Dollar Red in flat. But I also chose four other shades of dark grays for the buildings, and alternated size, shape, and color as I went along. Painting skyline on wall

This part was pretty fun, but it definitely took a long time… And I had to wait for the paint to dry in one building before I could tape and paint the one next to it. And they each took at least two coats. But I persevered, and I think the final result was worth it! 🙂

Turbo's Room

City skyline on wall

Stripes on room wall

There you have it! What do you think?

Lunchbox gets a new room

Ahem. Yup, I know, I’m really good at blogging. As evidenced by my lack of actual…well… uh, blogging. But HERE I have a shiny new post for you! *pets the computer*

We moved in December. We bought a house and acknowledged that while we live in a state we’d never really given much thought to as California kids (and I’m using the ROYAL WE to indicate me and the Major), we were now just going to go ahead and stay here. Thanks, Marine Corps! I’m sad about it a lot because ALL of our family is about 3000 miles away, and they’re missing a lot of the kids growing up. I talk to friends who get to have Sunday dinners with the grandparents, or go shopping with their moms… and, well… that isn’t what we’ve got happening here. But we got about three times more house than we’d ever be able to afford in California. Plus… water. Around us, falling on us all the time. No drought here, which is good because green makes me ridiculously happy.

But I digress.

I told the kiddos that I’d give each of them a room overhaul twice. Once NOW, and one when they decide their NOW rooms are too young for them. So the next couple postitos will be about their rooms.

I have to give a shout out to Jackie Hernandez at Teal and Lime (SUCH a fun blog!!) because I blatantly COPIED her playroom wall for Lunchbox’s pirate room.

So when we moved in, it was clear the room had been painted a few times. Once red, as evidenced by the splats on the ceiling, and once…black? Maybe? So when we got it, it had lots of primer on the walls to cover that stuff up. And it was pretty blah. But with two windows, it’s got great light. Sometimes I’m jealous — I think Lunchbox got the best room in the house!

So I knew we wanted pirates…and I was so inspired by Teal and Lime, I took her playroom wall and used the waves on three walls, replicating the mural over LB’s bed.

Overbed mural and wave pattern

You may notice a bit of a Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme here… that was a requirement. Over the bed is a Jake nightlight that has a remote control and talks, and some Jake decals that LB can stick on and peel off. More on that soon!

I took the waves around three walls, using a creamy Valspar Signature Churchill Hotel Navajo White in eggshell for the upper half of the wall and inside the whale. This color got used pretty much everywhere in the house, so now I have some for touchup in other places!

On the remaining wall, I wanted to do something with chalkboard paint, and give LB a place where it would actually be OKAY to write on the walls… thus, the octopus!

OctopusThis guy was just freehand — his arms and legs are nice and loopy/wavy, so it was pretty easy to just go with the flow. Here I had them tint the chalkboard paint in the same color I used for the ship and waves — Valspar Signature in Splish Splash. The waves are an eggshell — this was just the tintable chalkboard paint from Valspar (all at Lowe’s!)

The result, once I put the bookshelf back up and everything, is pretty fun! I hung an IKEA bucket filled with chalk on the shelf next to the octopus:

Wall Octopus and chalk

And once the walls were done, I had those two windows to think about. And here’s where Jake is involved again. I picked up about two yards of fun Jake and the Never Land Pirates fabric at Joann’s (on sale, yay!), some plain white duck cloth that was super cheap, and some FolkArt textile medium  to use with my acrylic paints. There was a bit of sewing involved here, but not much. Oh, and I grabbed some of these grommety grommetsthings at Joann’s, too.

painting curtainsI did some measuring and cutting, a bit of straight sewing, and then I painted…

I pulled some examples of “piratey” letters from the Intertubes, and penciled on a skull and crossbones that wasn’t too scary… Lunchbox is only five, after all!

I think it turned out pretty well, and really didn’t take long. The hardest part was the pirate ship, and I swear I probably put this project off for weeks just thinking about how I could do justice to the awesome example I wanted to follow. I ended up freehanding a small version while looking at the picture from Lime and Teal, and then sized it up by drawing a grid over my drawing, drawing a grid on the wall, and replicating what was inside each block. (You learned how to do this when you were a kid, right?) Like this, but I don’t do the math part. 🙂

Anyway, are you ready for the big reveal? Here are my “afters”! PS. I was just getting the hang of the fisheye…apologies for my crappy photography. I’m learning!

Finished curtain and mural with whale and ship

If you’re wondering what the little table is next to the bed, it’s an IKEA Lack table with a Lego board glued to the top. Tiny Lego project table! 🙂

octopus in chalkboard paint, finished curtain

finished curtain and wave wall

Home Improvement

The definition of “settle” – according to my go to site, Google (did you know they had a dictionary feature??) can be one of many things. The two definitions I identify with and use most often are:

  1. accept or agree to (something that one considers to be less than satisfactory
  2. adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home

Maybe not in that order.

So the Major and I bought a house in December. It’s a great house, near the base where we both work. Our current location offers a great quality of life, a safe neighborhood, and lots of outdoor-type stuff that we all enjoy. The neighborhood even has a private beach, where we spend pretty much every single Sunday afternoon, sipping cocktails and talking about life while the kids putter around next to the dock.

This wonderful neighborhood is also about three thousand miles away from what I still think of as “home.” California.

The Major will likely retire soon, and this is a great place for post active-duty employment. The kids are happy, the weather is usually good, and life is pretty easy. We have a lot more house than we could afford in many parts of the country, and there’s no Homeowners’ Association, so the Major can pursue his many interesting hobbies without fear of the neighbors being annoyed about the trailer/antenna/RC airplane in our yard. (yeah, we’re kinda leaning white trash. I’ve come to terms with it. I just buy expensive wine to try to counter the trend.)

So basically, we’ve settled. Take it however you like.

But coming back to home ownership means we get to do PROJECTS!!! I LOVE PROJECTS!

The first one I attacked was my office. Since I’m a serious fiction writer and all (ahem… please don’t chuckle), the Major let me have the “real” office. And I immediately decorated it exactly the way I wanted it… Girly colors and birch tree decals and generally just a kickass feminine creative space. What do you think?

OfficeIMG_1087 IMG_1083