Friday, December 28, 2012

The New "Dance Studio" Room

Here it is! Part 4 of "The Dance Studio" project is finally here!!

It's time for the big room reveal that I have been impatiently waiting for! On Christmas day,  we finally finished our first "official" room in the house, a dance studio room for Diva: 

It took two months to complete and a lot of work, but it turned out even better than I thought it would!

It all started with the realization that Diva literally had nowhere to practice her choreography, which became glaringly obvious one night when she accidentally stabbed me in the face with a prop and then hit herself in the head with the same prop trying to avoid the T.V. armoire and me as she attempted to practice with it.

As big as this house is, it is all ugly carpet upstairs, except for the equally ugly tile in the kitchen and that's taken up by the island. Not exactly ideal for turns.

{Can you tell I'm dying to rip that crap out the minute I get a chance?} 

Anywhoo, we had to figure out how to get her some room to practice her leaps and turns. We thought we would try putting down a temporary dance floor in the unfinished area, but after pricing those out, we realized putting in an actual laminate floor was a lot cheaper and would actually work better. We just needed more of a defined space to put it in to keep it in place, so we ended up choosing what most people would consider the "catch-all" room (and ours truly lived up to the title). The room was large enough for some decent practice space and we didn't have to rip out any existing floors in order to install the new dance floor.

It wasn't too shabby of a starting point, except for the awful, gonna-make-me-puke wall color and the lack of...umm...a floor, barre, and mirror. 

Oh, and this weird little characteristic came with it...

{No, I didn't rotate the picture, that's how the outlets are in the room. I'm guessing it was a mistake...or that we are supposed to stand on our heads whenever we go in there...}

Keep reading for the entire process including the awesome before and after shots:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Cozy Closet Nook

I have always wanted to have a window seat or a nook somewhere in my house. I had pictured building one many times over in some future master bedroom of mine, or since Diva is an avid reader, I also thought one in her bedroom would also be awesome. I could just picture her curled up in one with one of her books on a rainy afternoon, but I never had the time or ability to build one, so I kind of forgot about it.

...until I was cleaning out the "catch-all" room down stairs in order to build Diva's "Dance Studio" room.

As I looked at all the crap crammed in the closet, I realized that it was a perfect place to create that nook that I had always wanted. A closet wasn't terribly necessary in this room, anyway and it would also be a great seating area for me when I watched her practice (I've been kicked and hit with props more time than I care to admit). I quickly came up with a picture in my head of how I wanted it to look, but the key was getting it to turn out like that picture. Well, after some much appreciated help from my dad, we were able to pull it off and it turned out totally fantabulous!

Doesn't it look cozy? I totally love it!

I'll explain the process the best I can (with a few more pictures):

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cheap and Easy Neighbor Gifts for the Procrastinator

Okay, I admit it. I'm horrible at remembering neighbor gifts,especially since I haven't given them in over 3 years!

This means that once again I waited until the last minute to find something that was cheap, easy, and not so time consuming considering it was Christmas Eve by the time I put them together.

So, I bought some boxes of brownie mix (any cookie or cake mix works, too) and slapped a bow on top with a poem attached.

{I like the idea of giving out gifts such as mixes beause 1. I don't like baking things for other people in my house. I'm really clean when I bake, but I do have a German Shepherd and I don't ever want to be "that neighbor who gave you cookies with a dog hair in them"...EW!.}

There are all sorts of cute poems on Pinterest or other blogs that you can find out there, but at about 3am I woke up and had this one in my head (I must have been having a Dr. Suess type dream...)

It reads:

"The holidays as usual were busy and crazy.
Not a second to spare to sit and be lazy.

In the hustle and bustle, your gift needed making.
Up in the pantry it sat ready for baking.


The calendar read the 24th and I had meant to make it back on the 4th!

...and with Christmas tomorrow, my stress is sky high,
so, I'm leaving it at your front door while running right by.

But we hope you will still enjoy making your own treat.
We're sure it will still taste mighty darn sweet!

And we beg for forgiveness for not managing our time.
As well as for making up this silly little rhyme!

With love from the Farkles (who have ADD).
Hopefully next year, a tad earlier we will be!

Merry Christmas!!

Jen, Studly, Diva and Destructo Farkle"

A tad cheesy, but you can always adapt it to fit your family!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Easy No-Sew Curtains

When I decided to add a cornice to the closet nook in the "dance studio" room, I knew I needed some curtains in order for it to work.

I wanted something kind of fairy-tale-like and billowy....but, most importantly, something doable for me (I can't sew...yet). I had thought about trying to buy curtains, but didn't have any luck finding anything cheap enough that fit the look I was going for, and besides I wanted something "different". I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to make curtains without sewing, but when I was putting away one of Diva's tutu's that we had made for a recital a couple of years ago, I got an idea.


You see, the tulle for the tutu's was just tied in knots around a piece of elastic to make the tutu and I realized I could do the same with tulle and a curtain rod, so I was off to Hobby Lobby again.

I ended up buying about 20 yards of white tulle (remember, I wanted it "billowy"...Wait, is that even a word?), 4 of the spools of the "skinnier" tulle in black and aqua, and some matching ribbon in different widths. I was going to add some bling by spraying the tulle with spray glitter, but I have learned from past experience that when you do that, the tulle will "shed" glitter constantly (not a good idea when you are using a floor as a dance floor). I also found some gems that are supposed to look like rhinestones and figured those would work.

The curtains were super easy to make:

First, I cut the tulle and ribbons to the right length (actually I cut them a little too long in case I decide I want to use pull backs), and then started tying them to the rod, one at a time in a pattern.

After I was done with that, I started gluing the gems on with E600. I've used it in the past when we "blinged out" some dance T-shirts and it sticks like there's no tomorrow! I have washed and dried that shirt a thousand times and not one rhinestone has ever fallen off. It is messier and stickier than hell, though and constantly got all over my fingers, which caused me to need to wash them several times during the process.  So be aware of that. (by the way, if you are willing to spend the $ for more expensive and authentic looking rhinestones, get the actual Swarovski kind. They are the best and way better than the cheapo ones I got.)

I got sick of adding the rhinestones about 5 minutes after I started, but I am glad I stuck it out...

Once I was finally finished putting the curtains together, it was time to hang them on the inside of the cornice.

I loved them, but it looked a little bare with nothing to tie them together, so I decided to add a "swag" to cover the middle and bring everything together a little more.

The "swag" consisted of tying my left over tulle and ribbons together at each end. Then, I went all trailer park with my duct tape and actually duct taped the swag to the wall behind the cornice.

Yes. You read that right. I duct taped it. 

But, I think it looks good, anyway...and again, it was super easy!

I did the same type of curtains for the window, only I didn't use the gems because it was about 20 minutes before we revealed the room for her.

They still turned out pretty cute, though:

Project Breakdown:
Tulle (20 yards off the bolt @ $1.29 yd) = $21
Mini tulle off the spool: (3) $2.00 ea = $6
Ribbon: large ribbon $2.00 (2 rolls) & skinnier ribbon $1.00 (4 rolls) $4.00
Rhinestones $15.99 (but I barely used any)
E600 = $5
Curtain rod: about $5 @ Lowe's
(The ribbon and tulle off the spool were 50% off at Hobby Lobby)
Total: $33 (without the rhinestones)

click here for the entire process of building the nook
and here to see how it all came together in the new "Dance Studio" room!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gift Idea for A Dance Teacher

(or any other adult who works with children on a regular basis for that matter...)

If you know me, or read my blogs, you probably know that Diva is a dancer. She's been competitively dancing since she was 8 and dances at an incredible dance studio with girls that are very down to earth and all very sweet to each other (well, as sweet as girls can get). We are very happy there.

Anyway, one of the best things about the studio is her teachers. They are amazing and I love all of them. I consider them friends, so of course they were on my Christmas list this year and in my quest to try to be more creative, I wanted to come up with ideas that were unique which is never easy and I was pretty stuck on what to do.

However, the perfect gift idea for one of her teachers finally hit me last night, as I was in the shower (where I always get my greatest ideas, as Diva would attest to). What is even more awesome-sauce is that it was free! I already had everything I needed, so I got to work.

10 minutes later, I had something made out of this:

Read on for the details.

What's In An Address??

We all have these little moments in our lives that may seem insignificant to others (and even to us), but end up being meaningful in one way or another. Sometimes we don't realize the effect of these types of moments for a long time, and sometimes we get to see them almost instantly. I had one of the instant kind tonight, actually just a few minutes ago when I read a text from a friend.

I was just about turn the light out and go to bed when I saw my phone sitting on the nightstand with a new text alert on it. The text was from my friend Jenn, and said:

"I need your address again for a Christmas card :)"

My poor friends have to ask me for our address almost every year because we're always in living in a new place.

Anyway, I responded with our address and for the first time in a LONG time, I felt like I was really giving someone "our" address. Not an address where we were living for now, or until this or that.

An address that we can feel comfortable letting our kids memorize.

An address of hopefulness. 

An address of belonging. 

An address that just feels right to say, to write, and to think of. 

Dare I be cheesy and say,  an address that feels like home. 

I am hoping with all my heart that I am right and that this really is OUR address.But, I've been wrong before and I know life is unpredictable. I know we aren't "in the gate" just yet. However, all I can say is that, as I texted her back with it, I felt a strange sense of peacefulness and that everything with our family is okay again. A sense that we are on the right track. A sense that things are right. 

 (and no, it wasn't because of the meds I take to help me sleep.)

It does seem strange to get such a strong feeling about such a silly thing, but I think I realized as I was texting her back, that repeating an address back to someone when it's someplace you want to, and plan on, staying at really is much different than repeating it to someone when you know you aren't planning on being there long. It really is.

(See, I told you it seems insignificant! Who writes a blog post about how they were so excited to give a friend an address for a Christmas card?? Me.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let's Talk Paint

So often, I hear people tell me how they are scared to paint and to be honest, it's a concept that I have never really been able to grasp, because I really have never shared the same nervousness. Maybe it's because I watched my grandfather, who was a brilliant painter, often paint over some of his work when he didn't like the way it turned out. I've just always figured that if I don't like how something turns out, I'll just paint over it (...and I've done it MANY times). It's totally flexible that way.

I'm  probably one of the few people who actually enjoys painting and I also find it pretty relaxing, (unlike Studly, who hates to paint and groans every time I say something to the effect of, "I went and got some paint at Lowe's today.")  He doesn't really get my drive and determination to paint every room in the house. I don't really either, to be honest. I just hate to have plain walls with no personality, especially beige walls. At least when you have white walls, you don't ever have to worry about working furniture into the space, but beige? It's kind of hard (for me anyway) to be able to completely let my style take over, considering cottage style is usually all about whites and pastels. I would actually love to repaint all of my walls in the main area white and I would, too. Except that our ceilings are very high and vaulted (those, just like open floor plans, can definitely be a pain in the rear!) I guess, just like with the floors, I will try my best to wait patiently until we officially have a mortgage (and a few bucks in the bank).

Now, I will confess that I'm not the best painter. I certainly couldn't make a career out of it. Sure, I've gotten better over the years and sometimes, I don't even tape (but there is usually at least a small amount of evidence i.e. little spots of paint on the ceiling). This means that I usually have to take a small brush and go back over these areas, though.

I have a tendency to turn into Klutsy-McKlutsy when I paint for some reason (Remember how I nearly killed myself losing my balance on the bar stool?). Because of my extraordinary talent of losing my balance, even in the case of standing still with two feed on the ground, I can never seem to keep paint off the floor. Of course, I should probably not be so lazy and actually use my drop cloth, since I hear they are made for that. Luckily, I hate all of the carpet in this house and cannot wait to rip it out, so I'm not too upset about it. Anyway, I have to admit, I've fallen off a ladder more than once and spilled a couple of trays of paint during the process.

Just a couple of examples:
My Bedroom floor
I painted some projects in there, but I did actually use the drop cloth, so I have no idea how this happened.
Living Room Accent Wall
Probably should have taped...

Dance Room
Oops...I seem to have tilted the paint tray a little too much in this one. Luckily it was before we put the wood floors in.

Read on to see what I mean by being obsessed with paint...

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Antique" Bar Stool Makeover

A few months ago, I decided that our existing bar stools were just not working. Literally. They were not only falling apart, as in: Studly once leaned back in one and the entire back of the stool came off, making for an interesting display of unintended contortionism, but the seats were microsuede and my kids had eaten more than a few Del Monte fruit cups on them...AKA...They were stained as hell.

So, I went ahead and sold them on KSL to some poor mom with like, 500 kids hanging out of her mini-van (and yes, I did tell her they were broken) and then I went in search of new ones.

Originally, I wanted some that looked sort of like this:

Then, I pictured the beautiful white leather after about 5 minutes in our kitchen and changed my mind.

Once, I (sort of) snapped back into reality, I decided I wanted the Pottery-Barn-ish look that I am always in search for and found these on their website, falling in love instantly (of course.):

Pottery Barn

But those were around $250 per piece,and after doing some careful math....


...I came to the conclusion that I needed to look for ones that were a little more budget friendly.

Eventually, I found these ones also on KSL:

{Yes, you are right. They look nothing like the first two "inspiration" styles. However, they were super cheap and because I knew my kids would trash them anyway IF I ever got around to painting them, they were soon in the back of my SUV and on their way home.}

AnywayThis week, I decided that I may as well tackle them while I had my little "workshop" still set up in my bedroom from the Christmas Mantel project and got to work while watching an episode of  Sister Wives. 

First, I used the chalk paint recipe I have used before from the Liz Marie blog here and painted them the same color as my kitchen walls, which is Valspar Sea Breath

Then, I dry-brushed them with white latex paint:

After I dry brushed them, I sanded them a bit in order to distress them and to let more of the blue paint show through, and then glazed them with Valspar Antiquing Glaze.

The good news is that I love how they turned out. The bad news is that the finishing wax didn't hold up like I was hoping it would, and I've got to do some repair painting in order to fix a few marks from someone's rhinestone studded back pockets on her jeans.


Once I get them fixed, I'll probably use Polycrylic instead of the finishing wax this time.

(which kind of sucks because I liked that the finishing wax didn't have any shine...It makes them look more antique-ee.)

Project Breakdown:

Bar stools (KSL): $20
Paint and Glaze: I already had all of it, but the Valspar Antique Glaze is right by their regular mixing and clear glazes and runs about $10. It's in a small jar, though instead of a jug. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

When Dinosaurs Attack

Below you might recognize one of the chairs from my dining room table. It used to have one small hole in the back that I thought was charming and rustic.

When I say small, I mean smaller than quarter size:

Then, one bright and sunny morning, I walked into the kitchen and found the hole had changed a little....and multiplied...

Puzzled, I thought to myself, "What's up with that?"

Here's "what's up with that":

Apparently, the T-Rex that lives in Destructo's bedroom took a field trip to the kitchen and got a little hungry and now my chair looks a tad more rustic than I had originally intended.

Let this be another reason why buying furniture from the thrift store is a smart decision when your house is run by children who feel that your chairs make great meals for their toys.