with a little help from my chickens

I picked up the little assistants today and we decided to take on a few more projects.  On the way home we stopped at Ikea to exchange Camille’s lamp with a clip type so I don’t have to mount it to the wall up top.  As always a trip to Ikea spirals out of control and we ended up with a few extra things.  Besides the Ikea Jansjo Clamp Spotlight for Camille Ayana decided she wanted pink rather than the orange she had picked up a few weeks ago.  I secretly wanted a Clamp spotlight for my own room so I let her pick the new color she wanted and will have hers.  (my kids aren’t spoiled though, no way).

Also ended up picking them up each a Pluggis Container Set for storage on their walls.  Ayana specifically wanted one to store her book in after reading at bedtime.  Who can fight that right? During the drive home I told Ayana about the cork board I’d picked up for her room at the thrift store.  It wasn’t in shabby shape but a typical boring cork board.  She’s growing up quickly and is getting into charms and chains and jewelry.  With some push pins I knew it would make a perfect way for her to hang her little bits and photos and other random keepsakes.  I had her search pinterest for Chevron Corkboard DIY and she was sold. Ayana is a very go go go non stop kinda person.  She is very neat and organized and focused.  That focus meant once we were home she was on me to hang the storage containers, wash the new duvet cover (oh i didn’t mention that?) and get that cork board ready to go.  So i set her loose.  I showed her how to sand it and then vacuum it and she went at the cork board.  I helped her tape off the edges then let her prime.  At this point I have no clue where Camille was or she was doing. DSC00599 DSC00602 While it was drying we hung the storage containers in her room and she talked her sister out of the two square mirrors that were intended for Camille’s room for the 4 pack.  She wanted the border white and the inside chevron gray.  Figured we could make it work by mixing some of the 3 year old red paint (Seattle Red that’s on the door) with some of the white primer.  After I got it to the pink of her approval they painted the frame.   Once i realized i’d mixed up waaayyy too much paint I had them grab the blond wood side table that was previously been in Camille’s room.  I gave it a quick good sanding and vacuuming and taped it off.  I let them paint on the pink stripes and border (yep, blame them for the bleeding).

After i started drawing lines for the Chevron on the cork board I realized things were not coming out balanced and it would be lots and lots of taping.  So I decided that we were over Chevron.  We went with diagonal stripes instead.  Easy enough for me to lay down a strip of painter’s tape and then use a mini piece to measure the space for the next. We pulled again from our paint stash.  This time using the dark gray from our family room.  Kelly Moore Martini Shaker Gray that came out nearly the same dark metallic like gray of their loft beds.   DSC00604 DSC00606 DSC00610 DSC00613 Camille very much enjoyed the peeling process.  We were very happy with how it came out.  Next time I would tape up the inside ledge so it would remain solid pink.  For some reason I thought it would look good with the gray running up the side. DSC00614 DSC00615 Here’s the improved space (with a table that was brought back out to the garage after the photo since i’d just applied another coat of Poly to it)  I told her to wait a bit for the paint to really cure on the cork board before she went pinning crazy.  We went ahead and hung a few pieces of her jewelry. DSC00619 DSC00620   DSC00625

the garage

Oh the garage.  Let me tell you about the garage.  It was a hot mess.  I don’t think anyone that has been to my house has actually seen it.  It was really just that bad.Amongst the various things in there was a box from the TV I bought 3 years ago, a twin mattress, a twin box spring, a metal day bed and trundle, a full size bottom bunk bed and ladder, a bookshelf with no shelves and other random random things.  a bulk garbage pick up and 2 truckloads of donations worth of stuff.  Not to mention all the camping stuff just strewn about the garage that never gets put away properly.

Another thing that sparked all this home improvement was these Costco Shelves i bought for the garage.  I really wanted the heavier duty taller shelving but had to make due with these smaller metal ones.  They were easy to  assemble and really reasonably priced.  But the garage cleaning, a major reason that had to happen was Ricky brought in a giant Kayak.  It’s hard to even call it a Kayak at 12 feet long and over 3 feet wide and 120 pounds.  On a good day one car can get into this two car garage but I wanted to be able to get at least the kayak and my car in regularly.  Not many pictures of the during in the garage and it’s very very much a work in progress (that and frankly it’s shameful).

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So there’s a peek of the mess and the pile on top unused wasted space of a work table.  I wanted to give Ricky a place to store all his fishing gear that was not boxes all over the master bedroom and also be able to find things without wasting time looking or hurting ourselves in the process.  So i started with the big purge and still have boxes on one side to be sorted and organized into the good plastic boxes but I have definitely made lots of progress.  The unused work bench has become a mini bait shop and tool storage aka my peg board obsession.  I bought a few boxes of peg board pins from Harbor Freight Tools and there’s a hook or attachment for everything.  I also cut and hung a few shelves using 1×4’s and long peg board hooks (using these directions) to store the bobble heads and other display items up high and a few non hangable items down low (the plan was for the high shelves but since the wood was 8 foot long i figured i might as well use the other 2 feet for something).

After deciding to move the Ikea Trofast storage into the garage I had to shift everything down a bit.  So i cleared the shelves, swept, moved and restocked everything.  The shelve organization isn’t quite exactly what I want but eventually I’ll get there.  Adding the trofast to the garage added lots of easy access drawers for things like rags, plastic grocery bags, and dog supplies.  It also frees up some shelve bins for things we access less often but still want to be able to get to easily.  I can’t forget my label maker in all of this.  I love that little thing.  When i told someone I was considering getting one the response was “i’m shocked you don’t already have one”.

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Amidst all this my friend Mike happened to have a desk he had refinished but didn’t fit into the space as he had planned.  He offered it up to us and Camille wanted it for her room.  The photo not he left is her happily using it, replacing a Target particle board desk, really functional and good but wasn’t a long term desk.  Behind her you see the old Ikea Trofast bins that we’ve had for at least 8 years from Ikea.  We had 2 at one point living in Sacramento.  I gave one away when we separated the girls bedrooms and this one we kept for Camille’s room.  Let me just tell you a little story about this kid and then maybe you can begin to understand why bins are NOT a good storage solution.  Her room is always a mess.  Somehow cleaning it makes things messier.  It just like, unearths a bunch a crap from who knows where.  One day while helping her clean and get rid of things I found one of those plastic eggs from the quarter machines in the market full of… pencil shavings.  My kid was saving pencil shavings.  It’s a running joke now for us but the kid is a collector from erasers to pencils to dry erase markers and EOS lip glosses to rocks… and pencil shavings.  (in case you were wondering we threw them away).

So, all that said the Trofast just wasn’t a good storage option for her.  She just loads it down with stuff, unorganized stuff, sometimes trash until it’s spilling out and looking a hot mess where she can’t even find what she wants.  After pulling it out of her room and moving it into the garage I assembled the little black book shelf that’s been in the garage in it’s original box for a while (ok, 3 years).  Luckily the wood didn’t warp or do weird things from sitting upright for so long.  I’m hoping this will be a good solution for her to keep her items on display rather than a crammed away mess.  It doesn’t match perfectly but maybe eventually I can build her a better shelf but for now it will do.  Without spending any money I was able to increase storage in my garage and hopefully better organize the little one.

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It started with a loft bed

I’ve now owned this home for 3 years and started out with lots of gusto in home cleaning and improvement.  It wasn’t all shiny and move in ready when i bought it so a lot of initial work went into it… and then I guess I just got tired… stayed tired.  Got distracted and fizzled out.

For some reason this spring has caused me to want to clean things out, make things nice, get rid of things we don’t need and just live in a more organized and simpler and prettier space.

It didn’t REALLY start with the loft bed.  It started with a trip to Ikea to get a Kallax Shelving Unit to turn into a “bar” for the dining room (the never ever used dining room).  But during this trip we happened upon the kids loft beds.  I’ve been wanting a loft bed for the girls since their bedrooms are so small and their toys and games were spilling into the rest of the house.  The Ikea metal ones were previously way too high and I don’t have the funds to splurge on anything (especially since things have to be bought in twos around here).

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Over an Ikea dinner I told the girls that if they could keep their rooms clean I would get them the loft beds.  This was a Thursday.  We took the Kallax shelf home and I assembled it that night.  Ayana helped me find things around the house and we shifted them into different places.  The kid has a good eye.

Come Saturday morning I get a call from my mom “what time do you want to leave to pick up the beds?, I have the truck”.  Apparently they’d discussed the loft beds with Lola and we were getting them.  Today.  Ok.  Saturday early morning we’re in Ikea picking up loft beds which ended up with me assembling two loft beds into the early evening.  Wasn’t really difficult just, “awkward”.  Especially when both of my helpers were small and weak tiny people.

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And then I realized Ayana’s mattress was too thick for the bed.  The following afternoon we headed back to Ikea (this is Sunday now and let me tell you Ikea busy craze was in full effect) to pick her up a thinner mattress.

Does this sound exhausting?  It was.  But also motivating.  It’s nice to see your kids gleam with pride.  Our home isn’t shabby but it’s not always the cleanest place.  We live here and we LIVE here.  And i work full time and parent the rest of the time and camp and explore when we can and sit on my butt and watch TV way too often.  and… enough with all that, you get it.