Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More Broken Bed Projects - Blackboards

And it continues!

So these two boards held-up the mattress on the trundle part of Leah's bed. They're heavy but a very smooth white finish, so obviously I thought two blackboards.

Here they are set up for painting. I made a white boarder by taping out around the edges.

Step One: Paint Prep
Next, I painted two coats of chalkboard paint. And YES! I used up the last of the chalkboard paint pint I bought several years ago.

Step Two: Chalkboard Paint. Pro Tip: Paint Chalkboard Paint on Thick.
And then they were done! I've got a few ideas where I'll place them. They're SUPER HEAVY so I'm opting NOT to hang them, and to just find strategic places to lean them against a wall.

Finished Blackboards!
The point is, more bed pieces that didn't get tossed out. And they're cute and useful. I've got two more projects to go until I've probably hit the end of what I can successfully up-cycle.

Related posts:
Leah's bed died, here's how
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Neighborhoods and Kitchens - Paris Friday Update

Where Will We Live? 

If you talked to me this week, you probably heard me babbling about Paris neighborhoods. We're looking at possible schools, timing commutes, touristy vs. non-touristy spots, and hoping to triangulate a few target neighborhoods. Our exploratory trip is coming up, so I want to have a list of arrondissements to walk through, along with schools and apartments.

Paris Arrondissements -- Study Up!

The Kitchen?

One of the most colorful stories our friends who lived in Paris told us was about their kitchen battle. It's unusual to find a rental apartment WITH a kitchen. And their rental didn't have a kitchen, just an empty room with some visible plumbing. Their tale of spending hours at Ikea France, waiting months to get delivery and installation, all the while using a patchwork rental kitchen really got me nervous.

How does one go about life with school-aged kids and no kitchen? I realize we're in a city with restaurants on every block, but yikes. That's a pretty big inconvenience.

But then I started thinking ... I have always wanted to redesign my own kitchen. I love the modern kitchens I see in the Ikea catalog with the open shelves above the counters, produce baskets hanging from the walls, and deep drawers for plates, bowls and other necessities. And now here was my opportunity to customize my own kitchen. In Paris!

If I know I'm going to get something like this (in a smaller space, I know), I might be willing to deal with the inconvenience.

This served as just a reminder to keep an open mind when things get bumpy. And they will surely be bumps coming my way.

That's the Friday Paris update. See you next week.

Related posts:
Pinterest: Decor I Adore
The Paris Move
All my Travel stories

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Story of Paris

I was here at Round Lake beach in Clifton Park, NY where Alice and I were staying for a week of sightseeing while Leah was at camp in the Berkshires. This was my view when my cell rang and David gave me the news: he got the Paris assignment; we're moving to Paris.

Of course I wanted to jump and holler and cartwheel and high-five everyone on the beach, but we decided to keep the news under wraps. Let's not tell the girls yet, either. Even though we'd been talking about it in an abstract, "maybe someday" kind of way since he interviewed for the job in May. But we needed to review the offer and accept first. Wait until it was official before spilling the beans.

So instead, I squealed into the phone while Alice was out of earshot. And walked into the lake as far as I could go and told the water: "Hi, I'm going to live in Paris. This has been my dream for years. And now we're going. We're going to live in Paris."

Even as the words left my lips they felt unreal. Is this crazy? Who does this? Who just moves to Paris?

Questions rushed in like the waves, when? school? friends? the house? the dogs? French? but I guessed that would all get figured out in the months it took to accept the offer, and get the visas needed to live and work in a foreign country. There would be time to worry about all that later.

For now: I'm moving my family to Paris.

** Check back every Friday for a weekly round up of Paris updates and news. 

Related posts:
All the Paris Move stories
Our last trip to Paris
More about our Berkshires weeks

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Fox on the Wall

I've been meaning to play around with this clever idea ever since I saw it scrolling through Pinterest, so today I gave it a go: The Mounted Fox Wall Art Concept Version 1.

Have you seen these stuffed heads all over Target and other stores? They're super cute. But kinda creepy. Unless you're totally comfortable with hunting and taxidermy, do you really want an animal head on your wall? Maybe. Anyway, I thought the idea would be more meaningful with an already-loved toy. A way to "memorialize" a beloved thing from childhood.

This fox is NOT a beloved thing, by the way. It was the first thing I pulled out of the toy box that fit the circle. And a fun place to start.

So, I started with one of those little pine plaques you can find at Micheal's. I can't remember the original intent of this plaque when I purchased it years ago. Maybe a handprint?

Step 1: Mark the Holes
I placed the fox toy (which is actually a tree ornament from Target), and made two circle marks tight on both sides of his neck. Then, I drilled two holes just big enough to feed some string through. 

Step 2: Drill the Holes
Once I had the holes, I had a good idea where to place the small D-ring that I'll use to hang it on the wall. 

Step 3: Make and Install the D-Ring.
Last, I tied that little guy snug to the wood and knotted the string in the back. Viola!

Last, Tie the Fox On And You're Done!
I'm thinking my next attempt should have a charming little nameplate. Or maybe I'll paint/stain the plaque for added style. Stay tuned!

Related posts:
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Leah's Broken Bed Projects

The Bed, Right When We Moved In
A few months ago, just as we were going to sleep, we jumped at the noise of Leah's bed cracking and splitting. It was pretty dramatic. The bed was about eight years old from Costco and wasn't made to be taken apart and put together as many times as we did it, so we knew the end was coming.

I tried to salvage the headboard and footboard, but eventually we decided just to get her a boxspring and frame and figure out the pretty parts later.

Sure, we were bummed about losing the bed, but OH GOLLY all that raw material for house projects. Cha-ching! Or Huzzah! Or whichever jubilation makes sense in this situation.

Our reusable assets: there was a footboard and headboard, some long side rails, the slates that held up the mattress, and the trundle parts.

I started with building a set of hooks from one of the slates that held up the mattress. Leah has been requesting a spot to display her soccer medals and you know I'm a sucker for hooks.

Here's what I did: I cut down the slate and dug through my hooks bin (am I the only one that collects hooks?) and found a few that matched. Then, using a drill, installed them onto the board and then onto the wall. Easy-peasy. And FREE!

Hooks From the Dead Bed
Then, it was on to an simple "Beach" sign. We've been slowly adding beach-themed items to Leah's room for a new decorating direction. I love those pretty farmhouse painted signs at the stores, but why spend the money!? So using another of the slates, I made my own:

Just a little white paint I had laying around the house and boom! Instant sign.

Here it is hanging over her bed. We found this "cool" tropical outdoor fabric in the remnants box at Jo-Ann's. It's standing in as a headboard for now. And oh so beachy.

And that's really just the beginning ...

I'm planning a set of shelves, a large farmhouse sign and a few chalkboards that can move around. So more to come!

Related posts: 
Here are the things I try to reuse
More "Decorating" posts

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Ugly Frame Project

My Mom tends to find things at thrift stores and drops them off at my house.

A few years ago, I got this framed picture of a gazebo that's so far from my taste, I almost threw it out immediately. But she pointed at the frame and thought I could make something of it. So it went in my basement and there is stayed for a few years.

For whatever reason, I thought of this framed picture while in Mexico and thought I could use it as a wipe board in my basement gym.

It's So Ugly I Didn't Bother Turning It Around

So, I pulled off the paper and removed the staples holding the back in place. It was really no problem. The frame was no longer in great shape, but it's a exercise board for the basement, it doesn't need to be gorgeous.

I dug out my old freind Rusoleum in a hunter green color -- the darker to hide the imperfections of the frame -- from my spray paint collection in the garage. While I waited for that to dry, I gift-wrapped the gazebo print in craft paper, with some washi tape. I didn't even measure, it was slap-dash.

The result, a totally FREE wipe board that shows my quick AM and PM workouts.

Complete. Pretty? A Little. Useful and FREE, YES!
Yup. I wonder what she'll bring over next time?

Related posts: 

Friday, August 25, 2017

My Green Juice Recipe

After spending a week at a Mexican resort, we all got hooked on the "green juice" at the breakfast buffet. When we asked what was in it, the waiters listed off things: cucumber, spinach, celery, orange juice and pineapple. Maybe apple? Ginger? It was hard to tell and each morning it tasted just a little different.

But so delicious.

The weekend we got home I got to work on the recipe. We thought it was a traditional Mexican juice and therefore a published recipe would be easy to find. Not so much. Our Mexican friend Patty had never heard of "jugo verde" and each recipe I found was very different. Cactus, parsley, cilantro, almond milk were also kicked around as ingredients.

Undaunted, I got a few things we "thought" were in there and whipped up a few test batches. I gotta say, I was definitely off, but what I ended up with tasted pretty good. And the juice lasts a few days in the fridge, so it's only requires a weekly mess.

Recipe Making
My Green Juice Recipe - Version 1

1 cup spinach
1 cup orange juice (I used no pulp)
1 stalk of celery
1 cup of pineapple
1 medium cucumber (I sliced out the seeds)
1 tsp of fresh ginger*
1 cup (or less) water

Place all in a blend and whirl away! It turns out very green.
It should have a mild citrusy taste -- with a mix of cucumber water. Play around with quantities to find your ideal version.

*I read a tip once to put fresh ginger in the freezer and it lasts forever.

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