Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Pinteresting Living Room

Hello, visiters from the YHL/Bower Power Summer Pinterest Challenge (and, as always, welcome to my "regulars")! I'm excited to finally get to write a full post over my living room's transformation since the Winter Pinterest Challenge! I don't think there's been a post dedicated to the entire transformation, so let's get with it!

In natural order, here are the "before" shots.

And a teaser "after" so you might be tempted to read my long-winded recount of what's happened:

I live in a typical track home in the Phoenix 'burbs. Stucco home with no character. It seems like the builders were trying to add bits of character with the flat arches and plant ledges, but I feel that those were failed attempts. I guess I can live with the plant ledges, but I couldn't stand the flat arches.

Then I pinned this, never thinking anything would come of it.

My description says, "I want to get rid of the arches and trim the hallway out like this".

Let me repeat... I NEVER thought anything would come of it.

And then something did! I asked my step-dad (a contractor, who's built many-a-houses) how arches were typically installed. Then I got up the courage to test the waters on the arch in the master bedroom (that way, if I messed up, no one would notice ;-))

Here's a before/after

When that worked out, I was ready to tackle all FIVE of the archways in the living room. Seriously. Scroll back up and count if you don't believe me.

But there was a problem. The "window" arch (or "pass through" as my step-dad kept calling it) was framed up all the way to the ceiling. That would mean that, if I wanted to leave the wall there, I'd probably have to leave the arch or go through a ton of effort to reframe a square pass through.

Well, I wanted to get rid of the whole wall, anyway...

Why not take that part down now? (couldn't take the rest until I'm ready to renovate the kitchen).

Here's the other side.

Then I pinned this

My description says, "I wonder if this little detail would look cool at the back of the plant ledge..? Just a little added texture..."


I think it does :-)

And, finally, there's this...

"I need something above my sofa!!!!"

My regulars know that I kinda did a botched job (meant to get two 11x14s instead of the 8x10s on the right - and still haven't fixed it - to fill up the space a little better), and that I plan on adding lighting like in my pinspiration photo eventually. Maybe that'll be my Fall Pinterest Challenge ;-)

(here's an updated version of the gallery wall)

As excited as I am to share all of this with you, I'm more excited to see what everyone else has created! So thank you for stopping by, but I must step away and drool over countless other blog posts. I'm sure you can see yourself out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Star Kids

I asked on my Facebook page a while ago if anyone was interested in me posting kid's builds. The response was more than amazing, and left me wondering where to start! The big kid is 6, and has yet to really help more than just holding something for me while I screwed it together.

She's been asking me to teach her how to build.

For those of you that want your kids to become handy, but don't know where to start, I've already done a ton of research. And you're probably going to raise your hands in exasperation.... but the consensus seems to be...

"It depends on the kid."

I hated reading that.


And over.

I wanted a straight answer, dang it!

But the more "straight answers" I got, well, they didn't really work for me. They were telling me to have the kids start with measuring, or clamping, or something that wasn't my-kid-appropriate. The big kid gets frustrated easily if she messes up, and a measuring tape isn't something that's really easy to master. And clamping? Please, she's been doing that while talking to me as I work.

So I ran to Lowe's and found this.

It's a 10" junior hack saw, and it was under $4 (one blade included). The only blades that I found available for this were actually made for metal, but after talking the Lowe's associate's ear off, I determined that was probably a good thing. Metal blades have very small teeth, so they'll go very slowly through wood. If your kid hasn't ever used a saw of any kind before, it's probably better that you don't give them something that they can cut their pinky off with.

That's my take, anyway...

If your kid would be better with the measuring tape, go that route! I'd just make sure to buy one that doesn't go any smaller than 1/8" marks (1/16", if you can't find 1/8").

After lowering my saw horses to her height and giving probably waaaay too much advice ("Always clamp your boards down so you don't have to hold on to it." "Make sure to keep your hand out of the way of the blade." "It's best to stand to the side so if you lose control of it, it'll swing past you instead of into your stomach." "It's easier if you hold it at an angle."), we clamped down a piece of 1/4" plywood, drew some straight lines, and got to practicing!

And really, it's just something you have to figure out for yourself! (don't worry, I yelled at her for where her hand was placed right after I took this picture ;-))

If you do get this saw, note that you can't make really deep cuts (I think about 3-4" is as far in as you'll get before the back of the saw doesn't let you go any further), but the big kid couldn't keep the line straight any longer than that, so it's fine for us. She took about 20 minutes getting used to it, and then she started cutting strips off for me! Even woke up the next day and went straight out back to practice with her saw.

I figured she'd be ready to attempt a small project.

Printed out this star and traced it onto some scraps. Hey, it's nearly Independence Day, cutting out a star would be easy, right?

Yes. It was.

(I cut 9x9" squares and printed a 7 1/2" star, so the blade would be able to reach the full length of the cuts.)

After she cut out the stars, I gave her a sanding block (which she wasn't very good with), and let her decorate as she wished.

Baby Goats woke up from her nap while the big kid was painting, so she got to join in.

When all the stars were painted, the big kid told me how she wanted it all assembled, and now the finished piece is hanging on my screen door.

And it's perfect :-)