Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Mailbox for Vivian in 23 Simple Steps.

It's Pinterest Challenge time again!  I've sat out on the last couple due to time/resources, but wanted to make an effort for this winter one.  Check out all the other great links at Young House Love, Bower Power, The Remodeled Life, and Decor & The Dog.

This time I thought I would try something I pinned ages ago from Ohdeeoh.  That will tell you how old this idea is, since Ohdeeoh doesn't even exist anymore and everything is on Apartment Therapy now.

Source: via Ashlie on Pinterest

Simple idea - put a mailbox in a kid's room or playroom.  I thought it could be a fun and easy place for the Tooth Fairy to access one day, as well as a place for fun treats and surprises, and maybe even Santa or the Easter Bunny can make use of it.  Easy enough, right?  Well here's how I put it together.

Step 1 - Buy the cheapest mailbox you can find at Lowes.  This one was $11.  I liked that it said "Mail" on it and looked like an envelope.

Step 2 - Decide on colour of spray paint based on what is on clearance.  Lowes had a soft pink colour on clearance for $2.48, so I was sold.

Step 3 - Rough up the glossy mailbox.  Use a wad of tinfoil if you forgot to buy deglosser or steel wool.  Hope that it works.

Step 4 - Give it a coat of spray primer.  Since it's too cold and wet to use the garage, spray paint in the basement and hope it's ventilated enough.

Step 5 - Spray it with the pink paint.

Step 6 - Repeat compulsively because you keep forgetting different parts of it to paint.

Step 7 - Realize that you won't be able to simply hang it on the wall with Command strips as originally planned, since it's recessed in the back to allow for screws.

Step 8 - Do what any normal person would do and attempt to build up the half inch gap on the back using layers of duct tape.

Step 9 - Fail miserably.

Step 10 - Realize that your brilliant plan of hanging the mailbox on the outside of the bedroom door may be more difficult than you originally planned.  (See, my theory was that the Tooth Fairy is lazy and would rather just have access to teeth from the hallway.  Also, I didn't want to have a mailbox on the wall and later have to move it because I want to rearrange furniture in the room.)

Step 11 - Consider using screws to hold the mailbox to the door.  Decide against putting holes in the door.

Step 12 - Decide to move the table at the end of the hall and hang the mailbox there instead, just outside of Vivian's door.

Step 13 - Find some random screws and put them in the wall using the handy-dandy cardboard template.

Step 14 - Neglect to use a level at any point in time.

Step 15 - Attempt to hang the mailbox, discover that the screws are too short.

Step 16 - Discover chips in the paint.  Return to spray painting.

Step 17 - Find some longer screws and put those in the wall.

Step 18 - Consider bailing on the whole thing and just eat some cake instead.

Step 19 - Realize that if you had just sprung for the $13 mailbox, it probably would have come with proper mounting hardware.

Step 20 - Finally get the mailbox hung up.

Step 21 - Realize immediately that it's not quite level, but pretty darn close.

Step 22 - Decide you no longer care.

Step 23 - Take terrible pictures.

So there - it is far from perfect, but it's easily fixed if I ever actually want to get around to it.  I debated on whether or not to put the magazine hooks on it - part of me kept envisioning kids getting caught on it or poking their eyes out with it or something.  In the end I thought it could be fun for hanging stockings at Christmas time, or for Vivian to hang her purses on or something.

In the end, I think it's a really cute idea and I'm excited to use it.  Vivian thinks it's pretty cool too - she was already tucking Barbies in there before bed.

Have you been doing any Pinterest projects lately?  As much trouble as this little project was, it was nice to do something different and creative. 

If you're stopping in from the link up parties - leave me a comment to say hello!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

50% off day...kind of.

It was 50% off day yesterday at Value Village and Talize, so of course I had to check it out.  Turns out it was only kind of 50% off day at Value Village, but more on that later.  Stupid Value Village.

As usual, I went in without looking for anything in particular - just wanted to see what I could see, so here's what I came home with.

First up - Value Village

I usually find that Value Village is pretty overpriced for what it is, and don't make a big point of checking it out too often.  Of course this time I found a bunch of pretty great stuff.

Set of three Butterfly Gold 2 pattern vintage Pyrex mixing bowls.

This is actually my first complete set of vintage Pyrex.  I seem to find it constantly anymore at antique malls, but it's always insanely overpriced since they know people collect it.  I prefer to find pieces in thrift stores - more of a challenge that way.  This set of three was priced at $7.99.

I found this little wooden lamp base and thought it could be pretty cute.  It was priced at $4.99.

I went back and forth on this one, but eventually I decided to grab this little midcentury modernish magazine rack - I love the wooden handle.  It was $5.99.

Finally, I found some more of my bowling pin glasses.

Sorry they're so dirty - I haven't washed them yet.  I actually found four more of the tall guys, and four more of the small guys.  They were $2.99 for four glasses.

And I hadn't blogged about this before, but I also found the bowling pin ice bucket a few weeks ago at Heist for $5!  My collection now includes the ice bucket, 4 shot glasses, 10 tall glasses and 6 small glasses.  If I realized I already had 6 tall glasses at home, I probably would have left these four.  I need to start writing things like this down before I go shopping.

So those were my finds at Value Village.  It was a bit more than I usually like to spend, but I figured with it being 50% off I was doing pretty well.  Then I got to the checkout and the girl tells me that housewares aren't included in the 50% off sale.  Why?  Because they're assholes I guess.  I considered changing my mind and putting some stuff back, but in the end I just got it all anyway.  Not super impressed with Value Village though.

Then I headed to Talize - where it really was 50% off everything.  They'll definitely have my full attention for the next 50% off day.

I didn't get as much there, but I did get one pretty great item.

 Yes, I'm an annoying hipster who bought a vintage suitcase.  But look how pretty!  There were actually two of them that were almost the exact same - the only difference was that this one was a slightly more faded blue and had metal feet on the bottom, and the other one was slightly brighter with plastic feet, so I assume this is the older of the two.

It's in awesome condition and is just so pretty and PanAm blue that I couldn't resist it.  It was $7.99, but was 50% off.

No idea what I'm going to do with it.

I also had some good luck in the book section.  A little Bill Bryson, Chuck Klosterman and Douglas Coupland for $3.99 each, but of course 50% off, and I grabbed another VC Andrews for $2.99 before discount, only to realize I already have this one.  I also need to make a list of the VC Andrews and Stephen King books that I'm looking for to keep on me when I'm thrift shopping.

All in all, a pretty successful outing!  Neither place had much in the way of large scale furniture type stuff - I wonder if they're getting away from stuff like that?  Or if it's just that that stuff was picked over earlier in the day?  Seems weird.  Let me know if you've found any good steals lately!

Monday, 25 February 2013

About the Oscars...

I went to my first-ever Oscars party last night, and it was awesome.  I've always wanted to go to one, and it was everything I hoped it could be.  Snacks, yelling at the TV, good company, and money on the line.

Yes, it was $5 into the pot to fill out your ballot, and guess who came out on top?  Yup, that was me.

Not going to lie - I wanted it.  I studied for this.  I made a point this year of seeing all of the Best Picture nominees after too many years spent watching the Oscars and only being familiar with one of two of the movies.  It took staying up until 2:00 a.m. on Saturday night to do it, but I did it.  I do not recommend viewing Beasts of the Southern Wild followed immediately by Amour though.

I spent a lot of time reading up on who the critics were predicting as winners and based my guesses on a combination of that and just my own feelings after seeing the movies.  Sometimes I went with who I wanted to win, sometimes I went with who I thought I would win.  Most of the time these were one and same, which is always great.  Here's my choices for the night...

Best Picture
My choice - Argo
Winner - Argo

I almost didn't pick it.  I loved it, but for some reason I felt like there was an upset coming, I thought that Silver Linings Playbook might actually pull it off.  In the end though, there was too much momentum to argue with.

Leading Actor
My choice - Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Winner - Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln

I mean, really.  Was there ever any doubt?

Supporting Actor
My choice - Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Winner - Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

I was so happy to have been wrong here.  This was one where I went with who I thought I would win, not who I wanted to win.  Christoph Waltz was fantastic in Django Unchained, but I just didn't think that he would win another Oscar so soon.  I really thought that with the pool of talent in this category, it would go to someone with more experience.

Leading Actress
My choice - Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Winner - Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

I just couldn't vote against J. Law.  She's pretty much the coolest person ever, and I love her even more for tripping on the stairs.  Celebrities - they're just like us!

Supporting Actress
My choice - Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Winner - Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

We all knew it was coming - the Academy just loves those physical transformations!  Add in the live singing, and she totally deserved it.  Just wish her speech had been more candid.

Animated Feature
My choice - Brave
Winner - Brave

Brave was actually the only one of the nominated movies I had seen.  And while I didn't think it was quite up to the usual Pixar standard, I figured they were a pretty safe bet.

My choice - Django Unchained
Winner - Life of Pi

Most of the more technical categories were basically a stab in the dark for me.  I loved Django Unchained, so I was hoping for it to scoop up a bunch of these other awards.

Costume Design
My choice - Anna Karenina
Winner - Anna Karenina

Haven't seen it, but the trailer is quite impressive.  And Keira Knightley just looks great in that little hat.

My choice - Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Winner - Ang Lee, Life of Pi

What Ang Lee did with this movie was nothing short of remarkable.  You get completely lost in this movie - you just go with it, you never stop to think that it's basically all green screen.  Awesome job, super happy he won.

Documentary Feature
My choice - Searching for Sugar Man
Winner - Searching for Sugar Man

I haven't seen this or any of the other nominees, but I've heard amazing things about this documentary.  I'll definitely be checking it out.

Documentary Short
My choice - Inocente
Winner - Inocente

Total stab in the dark here, but after hearing their acceptance speech, I'm really glad that they won and I'd really like to see this.

Film Editing
My choice - Argo
Winner - Argo

I have no idea how you're supposed to actually pick a winner here.  Argo was good, I can't think of any specific reason that I went with it, but yay for getting it right!

Foreign Language Film
My choice - Amour
Winner - Amour

When a foreign language film is also nominated for Best Picture, it's a pretty safe bet that it will win for Foreign Language Film.

Makeup and Hairstyling
My choice - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Winner - Les Miserables

I was kicking myself a little for this one.  The critics that I read up on had picked Les Mis as the winner, but for some reason the idea of The Hobbit winning for Hairstyling really amused me, so I went with it.

Original Score
My choice - Argo
Winner - Life of Pi

Nothing really stood out for me in this category, so I went with Argo.  I think that was my go-to choice for most categories where I didn't know what to pick.  Apparently the winner was Canadian though, so yay for Canada!

Original Song
My choice - Skyfall
Winner - Skyfall

Seemed like the pretty obvious choice here.  I actually really like this song, and I am one of those people who find Adele adorable.

Production Design
My choice - Lincoln
Winner - Lincoln

Gotta hand it to studying the critics choices on this one.  I had no idea what to go with, but Anthony Breznican said it would go to Lincoln, so I went with it.

Animated Short Film
My choice - Paperman
Winner - Paperman

I had only seen Paperman and The Simpsons shorts, so I didn't have much to go on.  Paperman is probably the cutest six minutes you can possibly spend in a day, I highly recommend you watch it!

Live Action Short Film
My choice - Buzkashi Boys
Winner - Curfew

Didn't know what to go with here, Buzkashi Boys just sounded win-y to me.

Sound Editing
My choice - Zero Dark Thirty
Winner - Zero Dark Thirty AND Skyfall

Seriously?  A tie in sound editing of all categories?  These awards always seem to go to action movies, so that was the basis of my choice.

Sound Mixing
My choice - Skyfall
Winner - Les Miserables

I have no idea what sound mixing is.  How good the sounds are together?  I dunno, whatevs.

Visual Effects
My choice - Life of Pi
Winner - Life of Pi

Hands down.

Adapted Screenplay
My choice - Silver Linings Playbook
Winner - Argo

I really thought this would be the consolation prize for Silver Linings Playbook.  I was pretty surprised that Argo took it.

Original Screenplay
My choice - Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Winner - Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Absolutely deserved, such a fantastic, original story and yet still a classic kind of fairy tale.  And it was totally worth it to see a seemingly drunk Tarantino accept his award and say "Peace out".

How did you guys do on your Oscar picks?  Any surprises for you?  What did you think of Seth MacFarlane?  I thought he was hilarious and did a great job, but I'm a fan of his already, so I'm biased.  Next year I'm making it my goal to see all of the Best Picture nominated films as well as all the nominated films in the acting categories - a lofty goal, to be sure.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Big Girl

It seems to be a pretty popular thing in the blogging world to do the "big kid" room.  Maybe it's just the blogs that I follow, but it seems like everyone is jumping on this bandwagon of completely redesigning a kids room once they outgrow a crib.  Of course, a lot of this is just blog fodder and isn't necessarily for the benefit of the kid (cough, cough, Young House Love, what the hell are you doing with that room?) but of course it gets my wheels turning.

I'm in no rush to get Vivian out of her crib.  A lot of people seem to like to move kids out of their crib at around the age of 2, either because they need the crib for a second kid, or they want the change, or the kid is starting to climb out of the crib.  Vivian seems to really enjoy her crib still - even though she manages to pack it full of blankets and babies and everything else.  But, because I'm a planner, I've been thinking about what I'll do when Vivian is ready to upgrade from the crib to a bed.

Here were my options...

Convert her crib to a double bed.  Her crib is convertible, but it doesn't turn into a toddler bed, only up to a double bed.  While this is a great option, it would mean having to buy a mattress and box spring for her, and a double bed would eat up most of the floor space in her room.  Not awesome, but it will be great to have when she's older and doesn't necessarily need room to play in her room.

Use her crib mattress and just get her a new toddler bed frame.  I thought she would like having a little toddler bed because I think she would like the security.  This would also give some more mileage out of her crib mattress, which is a really good mattress.  The problem with this is that it would mean buying another piece of furniture that would pretty quickly be disposed of.

Or just upgrade her to a twin bed, since I have a daybed frame sitting around.  This would give her space to play in the room still, and would cost nothing to upgrade since it already has a good mattress on it.  It's a little high, but nothing a bed rail can't solve.

So that's my  plan - to move her up to the daybed when she's ready.  I actually just took it apart and moved it down to the basement the other day, but here's an old picture I dug up of it.

Nothing special - you know the type, that same daybed frame that seemed pretty ubiquitous back in the day.  It's a terrible picture, and the back of it isn't on there (somehow I managed to lose the hardware for that part, so I'll have to replace that) but here's a picture of one that's pretty darn similar.

Yep, all curlicues and brass and porcelain bed knobs.  Awesome.

Mine is looking a little different these days - somhow one of the bed knobs got lost over the years, and the other ones were all bent and loose, so I just removed them all.  The frame is in not awesome shape - it's pretty banged up and scratched from being moved and taken apart so many times.  So the whole thing could use some freshening up before it moves on to Vivian's room.

Of course you know that this means I want to paint it.

My first instinct is to just bling it out and spray the whole thing gold, but that might be crazy.  Like I said, this won't be happening any time soon (not if I can help it at least, Vivian can stay in a crib until she's 6 for all I care) but I might try to paint it in the spring when I can do it outside.  That way it's ready whenever she is.  I think if I wipe the whole thing down with some liquid deglosser and maybe rough it up a little bit with some steel wool or something it should take paint pretty well, but what do you think?

Monday, 18 February 2013

Very Vivian - The Dora Do

Vivian has a lot of hair.  A lot.  Don't get me wrong - it's nice, and I'm glad that she has nice hair, but it's a lot of hair on a 2 year-old.  Especially on a 2 year-old who has does not enjoy having her hair washed, brushed, or put into ponytails. 

So, I'm not terribly sentimental about her hair.  She started getting haircuts when she was like 3 months old, and we haven't stopped since.  So yesterday it was time for another good chop.  She'd been running around looking like this raggamuffin for long enough...

That was her helping make the pancakes for pancake Tuesday.

Then yesterday she got this haircut...

I like to call it the Dora the Explorer haircut. 

It suits her so well - it's long enough that she still has hair, but short enough that it isn't driving her crazy all the time and I don't have to pin her down to get a brush through it in the morning.  It's right off of her neck, so it will probably stay like this for most of the summer - especially if the summer is anything like the one we had last year.

Also - that thing on her face was a tiny little bug bite or scratch or something.  But Vivian is a picker and has not left it alone, so now it's a giant ugly mark on her face that will most likely scar, if it ever even heals.  It's seriously been there for close to a month.  How do you stop a toddler from picking at her face?  Thank god she'll never go through the chicken pox.

So there you go - little baby beauty for ya.  Hit me back with any suggestions on getting that thing on her face to heal.  I'm about to tape oven mitts to her hands or something.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Very Vivian - History Repeating

When I was a little girl, I used to push my books around in a stroller instead of dolls.  Because I was the coolest kid ever, obviously.

Now Vivian has essentially the same stroller that I had when I was little, only instead of books she prefers to take her DVD cases for a spin.

It's funny the things your kids pick up from you.  I suppose it makes sense though - Vivian isn't a huge fan of books, she never seems to have the attention span for them, but she loves her movies.  Not only watching the movies, but holding the cases up, staring at the pictures, falling asleep holding the DVD cases in her hands. 

I've been reading more this week though (it's book club next week and it's my pick, so I have to finish the book on time!) so Vivian's been snuggled up to me on the couch with her Finding Nemo book, reading along with me.  Until she decides that my book is nicer, and she wants to hold it, or that she would rather just watch Finding Nemo.  Gotta hand it to her on that one though, the movie is better than the book.

Reading anything good lately?  Or pushing anything interesting around?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Back to the Basement

 So remember how every now and then I decide that something needs to be done with the basement, then I start something, decide it's good enough and call it a day?  Well I'm about to do it again.

It's super frustrating to have such a big open empty space in a house, just begging to be used.  And lately Vivian has been taking an interest in playing in the basement, which isn't really feasible since it looks like this.

I think because the cats are down there most of the time, and because the playroom at daycare is in the basement, she thinks that basements are great.  So I'm often being led down the stairs by her saying "Down?  Mommy down?"

So my 2013 project is to do something with the basement.  Nothing crazy - I really don't have any money to spend on this project, but it would be nice to clean it up and make it more useable.
So to remind you, here's what I have to work with.

Giant open spaces with books.  That's about it.

So far I pulled the runner off that was on the stairs - what a huge difference that made.  It was so gross - just one of those things that would never be clean, so I just ripped it off one day since it was all just stapled on.  No idea why it took me that long.

Right now my biggest problem is what to do with this area - there's flooring that seems to be glued onto the concrete - any thoughts on how to get it off besides scraping it off with brute force?  And then what to do with the stairs?

My plan is to just paint the concrete floors.  There's no cash for other flooring, so I think that painting them will just clean things up and make a useable space that will be fine for now.  Some area rugs can make all the difference!  From what I've read, it isn't too bad to do - just a lot of patching, sanding, sweeping, vacuuming, sweeping, vacuuming, sweeping, vacuuming, sweeping, vacuuming, then paint and seal!  Simple, right?  We'll see.  I'd love to do something like this - striped floors and then blue on the walls and maybe a coral accent.  Of course, I can't seem to use any of the digital painting software, so instead I rocked it old school with MS Paint.  Give me a break on the colours though - I was using MS Paint after all.

So imagine this to be kind of a similar view - that white band is supposed to be a curtain covering that door on the right side to the crawl space area.

The other thing I'd like to do is eventually have some built-in storage around that weird cabinet thing I have on this side.  It hides a creepy faucet or something - very strange.  Eventually I would love to build cabinets around it and shelving above it, but for now I was thinking I might be able to find some old kitchen cupboards or something from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to fit in there or something.

So that's my little project for 2013.  It won't happen quickly, and there's no guarantees that it will be pretty, but it would be nice to have a better space to put some of Vivian's bigger toys and to have a place to play with ride-on toys inside when the weather is crappy.  I'm hoping to get the walls painted sometime this month-ish and then start to worry about the floors.  Wish me luck!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Bedroom to the Kitchen

I've always had the problem of having more art than I have walls, which had led to me having a rather large packing tube full of posters and prints that have yet to find a home.  Some of which I've had since high school and university.  If only frames weren't so pricey, I might have a better chance of getting them hung up somewhere.

But lately, this picture above my bed has been bugging me.

It's just an old print from IKEA of a San Francisco street scape - nothing fancy, just black and white.  I've always liked it, but lately it just doesn't seem quite as "me".  A little drab, a little boring, a little too typical.  So it occurred to me the other day that it might be a good frame to repurpose of something else hiding away in the office.

Enter this herb chart...

A coworker gave it to me a few years ago - I think her mother had it buried away and had no use for it.  The funny thing is, a friend of mine found the exact same one at a yard sale years ago.  I've always liked it - it's handy to have around - it lists the herbs along the top and meats along the side so you can see what pairs with what.  It has pretty graphics and a nice font and is a good size.  It was even laminated, so it's held up well being in a packing tube.

It was just a little too big for the mat in this frame, so I just stuck it in front of the mat - I'm sure that someone of you are freaking out that I would do that, but whatever.  It's also not quite exactly centered, but after years of being in a packing tube, this thing was awfully curly and I had  no patience to spend time flattening it out beyond just shoving it in the frame and closing it up.  Maybe after it's had some time to sit in there and flatten itself out I'll take it out and straighten things up.

It fits on the wall in the kitchen much better than that other art I had in there - and this gives me a chance to fix that one up since I was never really happy with it.  I like the kind of cutesy-country print in the more modern black frame - and the black helps to tie in with the black of the chalkboard backsplash.  All in all, a quick and free project that seems to have worked out pretty well!

Except that there is now a big blank space above the bed.  Might have to see what else is hiding in that packing tube!

So that was part of what I was doing instead of watching the Super Bowl yesterday.  What about you?  Any quick projects on the go?  Do you hoard art too?  In high school I had so much on my walls I even had the ceiling covered with pages ripped out of magazines.