Monday, June 17, 2013

3 Dormer Desk

I have finally started my first little project since arriving in Oklahoma! I am in desperate need of office type storage here. A place where I can coordinate schedules, appointments, meal plan, hopefully edit photos in the get the idea.

My parents have a study, but right now it is a place where paper bills and statements go to die, as well as a holding pen for all the various pieces of furniture I had to move out of the dining room-turned-play room. Basically, that means there is no way I could do anything in that room. (Helping my dad get organized IS on my to-do list, however!)

Then one day it hit me as I was moving my saddle out of the dormer nook. I remembered a little 2-drawer night stand from IKEA that Patrick didn't want to bring to NC and abandoned here at my parents' house. I thought it might be the perfect size to support one end of a desk top, and I could use the drawers to organize some of my crafting supplies and paper and pens. 

I spray painted the nightstand, and ordered a $6 desk top from IKEA. (I LOVE THESE!) I slid the top right in place over the nightstand and it fit perfectly!

(It is nearly impossible to get a good picture in a crazy colored room with the camera pointed right at a window...)

All it needs now is some support on the right side. I haven't quite figured out what direction I want to go for the legs. I see a trip to Lowes in the near future just to see what's available. IKEA has legs too, so I need to check them out!

I haven't painted the drawer fronts yet. I need to get on that so I can put this little guy to work holding my stuff!

Friday, June 14, 2013

0 Photoshop Magic

I just got some amazing retouching actions from Florabella, and have been playing with them while the kids are napping! So exciting! Let me tell you...they are amazing! Here is what I've been working on:

Pardon the selfie, but I didn't have any other photos that needed "real" retouching. My babies are beautiful and don't need help in that department, and they're the only people I have pictures of! 

Moving on...I went a little overboard in this picture just so the difference would be dramatic enough to be noticeable. I wouldn't go this crazy in real editing for someone else I took photos for. (That is twice now in the last three sentences I've ended with a pronoun, but I am too lazy to figure out a way to reword my sentences! Woops.) 

If you are in the Tulsa area and want to be my portfolio guinea pig, please email me at and let me know! Please pass on the word if you know anyone who might be interested! :-) I need to practice, folks! 

Here is a more realistic approach, and how I would probably do real editing in the future.

I like this one because I made my skin more even, but retained the detail of some of the lines and my freckles. Not that I love either of those things, but they're part of me. You want to be able to recognize yourself in photos and not look like a painting! Although it's fun to see what you might look like with perfect airbrush skin :-) 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

8 The Real Story of Spray Painting Furniture

There is something I have noticed about the photos in lots of DIY blog tutorials about spray painting furniture. Many of the pictures show the spray painting set up on a screened in back porch or sunroom, with their nice little drop cloth and the piece of furniture right in the middle. But I am here today to tell you that if you follow what looks like reasonable precautionary measures in those photos (a simple drop cloth to protect the floor) you might end up with some messed up floors or walls. 

I have learned a lot about protecting your area from spray paint over the last 5 years of being forced to do 100% of my spray painting indoors. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that one drop cloth extending a couple feet out from your furniture is not going to protect your floor. I found that out the hard way when I first spray painted a shelf unit black in my daughter's room. Her poor carpet now has a sad, dingy spot where some of the spray paint settled, as well as a couple black spots on her white closet doors. 

It turns out that spray paint sprays. Shocking, right? So with spray paint you get overspray, and for me, it was often a lot more than I expected. Until we sold our house, I had a Kilz spray primer covered garage to prove it! 

So now I am here to tell you the only safe way to spray paint! 

All I can tell the folks in Washington is just cover cover COVER! Cover your entire floor in whatever room you will be spraying, if you don't want to ruin it. Cover all of the existing furniture in the room that you won't be painting, and cover the walls about as high up as the height of the piece of furniture you will be painting. It sounds like a huge pain in the boo-tay, and it is, but it's better than having speckled floors and walls!

If you are lucky enough not to live in the Pacific Northwest, you can spray paint outside! 

I set this little nightstand on a big piece of cardboard in the grass. I used cardboard so that the bottom of the legs wouldn't sink into the grass and have weird coverage. 

This distance is about 10 normal sized steps from my car. I wouldn't spray any closer than that to something you don't want to get paint on! I have seen photos before of white cars turned red, and all sorts of sad spray-paint-jobs-gone-wrong. If I had had a large enough drop cloth (something big enough to extend about four feet past the night stand in each direction) I would have painted on the driveway. As it was, my cardboard/grass combo worked fine since painted grass can be mowed over :-)

Here is the money shot showing the overspray from only having a couple feet of protection! It is kind of hard to see, but there is a faint outline about a foot away from the edge of the cardboard where the grass is white! (I pulled the cardboard back to show the contrast between the sprayed grass and the protected grass). Trust me, you do not want your driveway or your sunroom floors to have random spray paint outlines on them. Not cool!

Some of that can often be vacuumed up, so don't completely panic if you see a little color on your floor. If it is far away enough, spray paint will dry in the air and turn into colored dust before settling. The moral of this story is really just to be careful with spray paint indoors or near anything that shouldn't get painted. Don't always trust photos in tutorials to be 100% accurate in how they portray the preparation of their work space because the photos are often staged. 

A good rule of thumb is to protect a 4 foot bubble from all angles around your project at a bar minimum.

And just for fun, here is the night stand with a coat of my favorite primer of all time, Kilz spray primer:

Seriously, that stuff is the best. Some people complain about having to sand between coats, but I love the chalky texture because paint adheres to it SO well!

This little nightstand is getting a new life as part of a desk I am making in the dormer nook of my bedroom. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, June 10, 2013

1 Tires Are Only Clean in the PNW

When I first had Bubba, I needed a method to keep Abigail right next to me while putting him into his carseat or getting him out so she wouldn't run around in the parking lot. But you can't exactly say to a 19 month old "Hey, I need you to stand right here and not move because I have to put your brother in the car and if you run around, you could get smooshed by a car and die." Not gonna work. So I came up with the brilliant rule that she had to have both hands on the back tire next to me while I put him in his carseat. It worked great; it was a simple instruction but it gave her something to concentrate on, something to do with her hands, and kept her right next to me and out of harms way. It has worked like a charm for the past year!

But we are in Oklahoma, and the tires don't get rinsed daily here. The roads are dusty and dirty, and so are the cars. We have been trying since we got here to break Abigail's habit of touching the tires, because she is perpetually smearing delightful black dirt all over her face and her clothes. Her brand new cute spring clothes that I was so excited to finally buy! (We never had much use for cute warm weather clothes in Washington.) You can probably see where this is going...I have been doing mucho spot cleaning in the laundry room lately. 

I never did much spot cleaning until now, because babies are always dirty, and my kids pretty much lived in pajamas and saved only a few outfits for going in public. Now that they are both wearing real clothes every day, I have to put more effort into cleaning off the crud. Like car grime and barbecue sauce. Mmmm. 

Exhibit A: Some inevitable "sauce" aka barbecue sauce on Abigail's nightgown from a late dinner.
My favorite way to get rid of stains is the same as my mom's tried and true spot cleaning routine. My mom will spot clean anything and everything. I am too lazy for things like that, but now that Abigail will be wearing the same size clothes for a longer time, I need to get in the habit. 

All you need is a good pre-treatment spray and a small dishpan.

When you have spot stains that are liquid, it's best to try to wash them out before they dry completely. When you're ready to wash, just run the stain under cold water (cold is important, hot water will set the stain and make it harder to remove!). Spray liberally with the pre-treater, and rub the stained area together to make a bit of foam from the soap. After I get a little lather going, I like to rub it some more under running water to rinse out whatever is staining the fabric. Then I fill the dish pan about an inch deep with cold water. (That is for little kid clothes. I like to have the water come just to the top of the clothes, so if it's an adult sized shirt or something, I would fill it up enough to just almost cover it). Next I just spray the stained area again pretty liberally with the pre-treater and let it set for at least 10 minutes. This is a good time to go round up anything else that needs to be washed, because the next step is to toss it in the washing machine on a cold cycle.

The BBQ sauce rinsed out right away; I was lucky we were at home where I could just pop her nightie in the sink ASAP!
After the ten minutes it will usually be good to go in the wash, but if I'm not satisfied I will sometimes repeat the process for a really stubborn stain. Once the washing machine has done it's thing, check out the stained item and make sure the stain is gone. You absolutely don't want to dry it before the stain is gone! If it's still there after a wash cycle, repeat the whole process again, toss it back in the washing machine, and cross your fingers harder this time! Haha. I am no laundry expert, but so far this has been working wonders for me, and it's much cheaper than just buying new clothes any time something gets stained! Ahem...because nobody would ever do that, right?...

Good as new!
One thing that has helped me stay on top of spot cleaning is having a tub with a bit of water in it all the time that I can just keep adding to until I need to do a whole load. Soaking in the water helps the stains stay "fresh" and not set, and I don't have to do a whole load of laundry for one 3T skirt.

So that is how I am currently combating the stains of playing outdoors! Or climbing into cars. Or eating. Or life in general for small children!

Side note: Making a super happy and fun laundry room is one of the things I am most excited about for North Carolina! I have so many organizational ideas swirling in my head that I can't implement here at my parents' house, I'm about to explode from lack of organization! It looks like we are leaning towards purchasing land and building a house, so stay tuned!! I am very excited, if you can't already tell.

This is a collaboration between Tide Original Liquid HE and the AOL Lifestyle Curator Network. Compensation was provided by Tide Original Liquid HE via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Tide Original Liquid HE.


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