My Space

I’m not going to lie.  When we bought our house and I saw all that space in the basement, I knew.  I knew that my craftroom was going to occupy a large space down there.  It was going to be creative and beautiful and entirely mine.

I began where any crafter begins: Pinterest.  I created a board and started dreaming up my space.

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You can see the whole board here: Momma Femali’s Basement Craft Corner

 

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I knew I wanted a black and white palette to create on so I started by painting the basement walls white and the floor black.

This was way back in late July on one of those hot, muggy unbearably humid days that we get in Wisconsin. It seemed like a good plan.  The basement was cool and dry.

The problem was that the floor paint was oil based and I didn’t realize it.  I made half the household, including myself, sick to our stomachs with the fumes! Note to self: read the labels and ventilate!

We got through it though.

Then I used  (an acrylic) white paint and a 12″ stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils to stencil a pattern on my floor.

This was my first time stenciling and it took a bit to figure it out.  My best advice?  Less is better and patience is key.  Also, measure out those first rows precisely.  Although in the end it’s hard to see where things got off and were a little too close. I think it turned out magnificent!

Plus it hides all the threads I drop on the floor while I’m sewing.  My wonderful husband used some sort of sealer on it to protect it.  It’s not a polyurethane because all we could find were oil based which, beside the ventilation issue, would yellow.  It was something he got from a buddy who works with concrete.  Sorry, can’t tell you more because I simply don’t know.

Speaking of my husband he built me the most marvelous cutting table.  It’s 4’x8′ and its on wheels so it can be pushed out of the way.  There’s a shelf below as well. Right now it’s holding 3 giant tubs of fabric (I have a problem.  I buy pretty fabric without a plan and then I wind up with tubs full of 2 yard cuts.) as well as some random things.  But it is awesome.  Big enough to cut drop cloth curtains for our sunroom!

You can also see the floor and how beautiful it is in this shot.  Have I mentioned how awesome I think it is?!

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There were cupboards in the basement left over from the previous owner’s kitchen remodel.  I used the lower set to organize craft supplies like knitting and crochet needles, a plethora of beads and jewelry making supplies, craft paint, K’s crafting “stuff”, etc.

 

 

Any good creative space deserves some pegboard in my opinion! Thanks to the good people at Lowe’s I was able to buy a piece and fit it in my car after they cut it in half for me.  Of the three main home improvement chains in our area, only Lowe’s would cut it so I wanted to give them a shout out.  The pegboard was a couple bucks more, but the service was worth it.

It was a nice way to incorporate the duct work that I couldn’t eliminate and hide the whole where it looked like someone had hammered out the concrete block.  I also added in a plethora of magazine files from Ikea.  Not sure what I’ll use them for, but they make me happy and it’s my space!

Turns out K’s thought it was “our” space.  She does have her own little corner in the room though where her sewing machine is set up. I do love this shared space where we can both be working.  She also comes down and sews on her own.  She created this apron for herself a couple weeks ago.  She figured out the measurements, made the cuts and stitched it together.  All I had to do was wind the bobbin and thread the machine, but she has that figured out now too. That’s her artwork behind her machine as well.

All in all I love my new space.  It’s bright, artistic, and inspiring. It has trendy lighting which is just track lights. It has fun pops of color. And it has so, so much space.  No more sewing on the dining room table!

There are a few more things I need to do.  I have these fabulous pulls to use as a door handle on my emerald green door.  I need to get hubby to drill a hole for them.

I want to hang a barn door over an open closet space, but I want to make the barn door.  I need to get my hands on some galvanized corrugated metal for that. But I did spend all weekend in this room and made some fabulous things, so it’s serving its purpose as creative retreat!

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October, Sweet October

Ah, Autumn.  My favorite season! Also home to my second favorite holiday: Halloween.  I love to decorate in all things autumnal and this year was extra exciting as I have a mantle to decorate!

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The burnt oranges.

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The toasty browns.

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The accents of yellow and red.

A little Pinterest inspired creepiness for good measure.

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Really, how can you go wrong?

And just for fun,  I’ll throw in some English teacher goodness and share my classroom door.

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Quoth the raven “Nevermore”.

Happy October all!

 

Oh What a Change!

Remember that TV show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition?  Or maybe, like me, you’re a fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper? My absolute favorite–okay maybe one of my favorite–parts of that show is the big reveal.  It’s always so dramatic when they move the bus or pull apart the giant cards to reveal a totally different look for the house.  And a lot of times, that look starts with new paint.

Our new home is a 1930ish Cape Cod style home. We know, because we’ve talked with people who knew the original homeowners, that it has always been white. I also know that my husband HATES a white house so changing the color was always part of the plan.

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It’s a cute house, no doubt.  I love the curving sidewalk and what I consider to be a truly “Americana” feel to it–it’s a classic in my opinion.  But the white paint had been touched up with various shades and finishes of other white paint and the shutters were the hunter green color that was so popular about 10 years ago.  There was nothing stand out about the house. It was just one of the houses on the block and it sort of blended in.

I like to be noticed.

At least, I like to be noticed for good things.  Please do not point out to me that I was the girl that fell down the stairs in my cheerleading uniform flashing my bloomers at my high school crush.  That is not what I want to be noticed for. But a fabulous house inside and out? I’ll take that attention any day!

We set about negotiating paint colors. My husband and I rarely agree right off the bat on things like paint, flooring or lighting.  This time however, we both said blue. Imagine! It was meant to be.  At first we were going to side it, but the house still had wood siding that was in great shape.  Why put thousands into new vinyl siding when several hundred in paint could do the trick?  Plus it opened up more color options.  Any shade I could dream up, could be mixed up.

We finally decided on this blue. It’s not a true navy, but close.  It is just a smidge lighter in color than the deep dark beauty is that is true navy. I’d tell you the name, but it was a custom mix based on an old shutter sample we had.

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The hubby set about painting our garden shed first.  We could decided from that if it was going to work with the green roof.  Ideally, we’d both like a metal roof but that isn’t in the budget (at least in my mind) this year when we have a perfectly good, albeit green, roof.

Here are the before and after pictures of the garden shed.  I think you can see why I fell in love.

The trim is a linen or almond color rather than a true white.  It added a softness to the building that looked much better than the stark white.  You can see the trim color already on the shed in the photo when we started painting the blue.

It was on to the big house!

In one day, with his trusty sprayer, my husband and I were able to put the first coat on.  And it was gorgeous! A second coat sealed the deal.

 

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We added the linen trim color around the windows, the roof line, and the door trim.  The shutters got painted and rehung making the house “pop” from the front.

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But nothing makes a good outfit great like the perfect accessory, right? So I painted the front door red.

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I am in love! I drive by house to admire it.  I can’t get enough.

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Then I circle the block and check out the back! I love this view too.

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The deck color and the wire mesh we used on the deck in place of spindles makes it look so modern.  It doesn’t even look like the same place anymore!

 

I’m pretty sure I could just sit in the middle of the street and stare at our house.

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But apparently, I need to rake!

Sweet Dreams are made of Paint

When we first moved into the new house our focus was outside projects.  We were headed into summer so get the outside taken care of and save the interior projects for the cold Wisconsin winter.  However, some projects just can’t wait.  Beginning with the master bedroom.

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You know how the saying the picture doesn’t do it justice? Generally it means whatever is pictured is actually better in real life.  Well our walls were worse.  Way worse.  Like so bad that I truly could not sleep at night!

I tossed and turned.  I blamed it on too much caffeine and gave up my beloved Diet Coke ( or actually cut back–giving up is just too drastic!).

I blamed my husband for snoring or hogging the bed or cuddling and making me hot.

I blamed the melatonin I had started taking to help me sleep for causing bad dreams.  Finally, I accepted it.  It was the hideous sunny yellow paint on our walls that didn’t match a darn thing!

Your bedroom should be a sanctuary.  A place where you go to relax and unwind at the end of the day.  It should not induce nightmares.

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And to make matters worse, we had taken two reading light scones and a phone jack off the wall which left patches of an even uglier peach paint which still exists in the closet.

 

 

 

I set about trying to decide what would be a peaceful calming color for our bedroom.  I wanted a beachy coastal feel to our new home so I thought blue would be perfect.  A shade that reminded me of the summer sky.  Of the Gulf of Mexico in our favorite vacation destination, Mexico Beach, Florida. What I came up with is called Cashmere Blue.

There are shades of blue throughout the house so I thought it would be perfect.  And I set about painting.

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Much more calming, no? But our old master bedroom was shades of grey with pops of yellow.  And I’d just changed to shades of blue.  So that can only mean one thing: SHOPPING TIME!

I found a beautiful navy blue blanket for the bed. And, if you read my earlier post A Modern Fairy Tale you know that our daughter swiped the comforter off our bed.  So I thought it only fitting to get a new one for us.

I kept the pops of yellow and added a great striped throw from Ikea.

Our dog (a rescue boxer named Cash) has separation anxiety.  Basically it manifests itself as him trying to get out of the house through open windows when we are gone. Over the last year, we’ve learned to keep windows closed when we leave.  However, I didn’t realize that if he couldn’t see out the window he would do his best to rectify the problem.  I learned that tidbit when we left the shades down in the master bedroom.

He destroyed those bad boys! They were old and slated to be replaced anyway so what the heck, let’s do custom cloth shades, right? It looks easy enough on Pinterest. There are a few little details left out of the instructions I followed that would’ve been helpful to know, but overall they turned out okay.

I’ll post my own, more detailed instructions soon.  But for now, we have custom blue and white fabric shades.

IMG_5143I’m sleeping so much easier these days.  I just need to get somethings on the walls and some curtains hung on the windows to accent the shades.  No more nightmares here!

A Modern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful young girl named Angie (like how this is starting out?).  One day Angie’s parents went to an auction and returned with a 1930s bed frame and dresser.  It was cherrywood colored with carved pieces on the headboard and footboard. And thus began Angie’s love for old furniture.

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Over the years the beautiful bed and dresser endured some abuse. Angie’s sisters scratched their names in the siderail. Angie tried to refinish the bed, but did not know what she was doing so it was a refinishing flop.  Angie’s dad broke the mirror spindles on the dresser when he pulled into the garage with the dresser in the back of the truck. (Angie was always moving it seems).  But still, Angie loved that bed set.

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One day Angie married.  Her Prince Charming did not share her love of old furniture.  Especially since the glue holding the dresser together had dried and the leg was coming loose.  But still Angie held tight. She would not part with the dresser or bed and tried to get creative with its uses finally relinquishing the dresser to act as a TV stand. The bed was stored in various closets so as not to draw attention to it taking up room.

Finally one day Angie’s husband wore her down and she got rid of the dresser. But not the bed.  Compromise right?

Instead, when Angie and her husband bought a new home with bigger bedrooms for the children Angie gave it to her daughter who was equally as beautiful and shared Angie’s design passion.

However, Angie’s beautiful daughter wanted a white bed.

So Angie allowed her daughter to paint the bed white.  Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy! And if paint was going to be put on that bed, Angie wasn’t going to be the one to do it.  So the beautiful daughter was sent to the basement to paint the bed.  And paint it she did.

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Then while the paint on the bed dried, the beautiful daughter got to work putting her personal style touches on her bedroom.  She chose a bright blue to paint an accent wall. It was exciting, if hard work.  She occasionally bumped a wall or the ceiling where she wasn’t intending, but it’s all a learning process. Nothing Mom and a little white paint couldn’t fix.

Then they went shopping for sheets.  It was in that most wondrous land known as Target that they found the perfect ice cream sheets.  They added two new pillows to the purchase and returned home.

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There was only one thing missing: the perfect comforter.  But alas, nowhere could the magical comforter be found.  Instead the beautiful daughter swiped the fluffy white comforter off her parent’s bed. (Let me just say that the perfect comforter better turn up before winter, because I’m going to be cold without my blankets!)

 

 

 

A flurry of work commenced.  The new mattress and box spring were delivered and placed on the newly painted bed frame. Setting it all in front of the blue accent wall the beautiful daughter proceeded to assemble, arrange, and test out her new surroundings.

Deeming them more than acceptable, she invited the royal boxer onto the bed (Did I mention that is my white quilt?!?) for a snooze.

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And they lived happily ever after.  At least the beautiful daughter and boxer did.  Mom was cold and wanted her quilt back!

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Family Memories

It’s been a bit since I posted.  We’ve been busy, but not with anything major.  It’s small steps to big projects that will become posts one day but nothing is ever completely done to write about.  If you follow my facebook page you’ve seen little sneak peeks of things though.  One day they’ll be done and I can share.  In the meantime though, I spent my weekend working on what I thought would be a simple little project.

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I’m a sucker for old furniture.  Especially if it has history.  This piece has history.  It came out of my grandparent’s farmhouse.  When I think of holidays or even just being at the farm which was literally just down the road from where I grew up, this table figures into those memories.

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Generally it was just a round table, but it could open up to be longer than the dining room itself with 8 extra leaves in it.  This is one of the holidays at the farm–I’m guessing Thanksgiving as we usually went to Chicago for Christmas.  That’s my Grandma in the blue sweater with Grandpa to her right.  Then there’s my dad with his head just barely in the photo on the right! Oh memory lane.  One of my favorite places!

 

Over the last 12 years or so, my Grandma moved out and my uncle moved in.  Then they both passed away and my cousins took over the farm, but didn’t live in the house and the table was 51984848058__3262E0DA-9FA0-49C9-BA4E-25028F12A5A3neglected.

 

The table was covered in grease (possibly engine mixed with bacon), dirt and at one point had had a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth stuck to it. That’s the yucky whitish stuff you see on the edge. But I thought nothing a little elbow grease couldn’t solve.  But first to convince my husband to help me get it home.  He absolutely hates my love of old furniture!

 

 

 

We brought it home and I set to work scrubbing.  And scrubbing. And more scrubbing. Rubber gloves and a bucket of hot water with Murphy’s Oil Soap were my friends that rainy afternoon.  We bonded like no other.  And in the end, we triumphed!           However, the work had just begun.  The scrubbing revealed that over the years a lot of the finish had been worn away.

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You could see just where Grandpa and then Uncle had sat for breakfast each morning, their backs to the wood stove warming up after milking the cows while Grandma made them bacon, eggs and toast with butter and jam. I remember Uncle playing with me sitting at that table when I was just 4 years old.  The less distinct wear marks holding his place at the table.

 

 

 

While I love a good history, I wanted this piece to be a star in our new home.  So I got out the sander and got to work removing the finish.  That only made matters worse! I was destroying things!

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No longer was this the beauty she once had been.  She was worn out, worn down and crying for love.  Looks like I had to strip the finish off.  What happened to my 3 hour plan?

 

 

After 3 days, rather than 3 hours I had stripped, sanded (again) stained and applied three coats of tung oil.  My hands smelled of mineral spirits, I found American Chestnut stain on the bottom of my foot (I was wearing shoes…), and had moved that table in and out of the garage no less than a half dozen times. But she was looking good once again!

 

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She’s in the front living room today.  I plan to use her as a library table for now as we don’t have any furniture to speak of in that room.  I’ll have a place to write (which means more frequent postings) or do puzzles or even just a board game with the kiddos.  I just need to add some chairs.  I’m thinking leather tufted parsons chair would be gorgeous around it.

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When we get furniture in the front room she’ll have to move to the dining room to become the family (and holiday) table.  I just need to figure out where to go with the beautiful island that we have there now.

More memories waiting to be made-my favorite kind!

 

 

 

Rain Day

This weekend the forecast is predicting rain, rain, and more rain so any outside work like a new deck or new landscaping isn’t happening this weekend.  Instead it looks like a good weekend to get some painting done.  However, if you know me I can’t be rushed into making a decision.  It has to convey the right feeling and mood.  And it has to meet hubby’s approval.  Even better if I can convince him the color was his idea.

So I’ve done what any crafty, DIY decorator would do.  I’ve turned to Pinterest.  I really want something that feels beachy or cottage like.  So I pinned this:

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However all hubby can see is that it’s a picture of some boards.  “Probably a fence”.

I tried explaining that it’s the color inspiration, not the fence I want but he couldn’t envision it.  Honestly, it’s kind of weird that he couldn’t since he usually is good as seeing things that way.  Maybe it’s his way of saying no, but I’m persistent.  And I pinned some more:

 

This is (obviously) the Benjamin Moore 2017 paint trend forecast, but I copied the image from Provident Home Design. Usually I feel like I’m ahead of the trends, however this time I seem to be on point because this is jam packed with colors I love!

I want to paint the bathroom “Gentleman’s Gray” and the master bedroom “Sea Star”.  Iceberg would be lovely in the dining room, front living room and kitchen as well as the halls.  Then I can accent with pops of coral or teal.  I’m getting all excited just thinking about it!

I took screenshots of the colors and sent Hubby some text messages.  Apparently he can’t tell what they look like in a text so I’ll have to do my sales pitch in person.

 

 

 

In the meantime, you can check out all my color ideas on Pinterest and let me know what you think!

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Crazy Week

It’s been a crazy, busy week at the Femali house.  We’ve had two track meets, gymnastics classes and just the general chaos that goes with being a family of 4 plus a crazy dog. (Seriously, he’s nuts.  But that’s another story!)

A lot of things have started, but nothing has been completed this week.  However I was very happy to find that not only do I have 3 lilac trees along my driveway, but I also have two more along the backyard fence. IMG_3184

And then we have a tree that has the largest buds on it I’ve ever seen! Anyone know what this is?  Could it possibly be my longed for Magnolia tree?

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, K decided to take her teachers some flowers.  She cut some tulips and daffodils from the yard and took them to school.  They were nearing their end, but she’s so sweet that she had to share and brighten her teacher’s day. When you reach high school kids quit doing that for their teachers, so I decided to do that for myself today.  A little bit of sweetness on my desk.IMG_3309

Nothing reminds me of childhood more than lilacs in springtime.  There was a huge lilac bush that grows on my grandparents farm.  My cousins now own the farm and I just moved further away from the farm, so it’s been many years since I’ve cut from that bush.  Instead each year I bring a mason jar of lilacs in from my own tree and little bit of being a kid on the farm in the spring comes in with them.

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I’ll leave you with that bit of my childhood right there! Happy Thursday!

The Little Things

This weekend has been all about unpacking, setting up and putting away.  Right now my youngest is mad because I won’t let her go play with her friends until she finishes unpacking.  We finally reached a compromise when she was down to the last four boxes.  If she did two she could go.

Yesterday she told me she couldn’t unpack until I put the contact paper on her shelves for her.  I hate contact paper.  It is an evil, sticky thing that always has wrinkles and is never quite the right size.  So, when she was riding her bike with her friends I set about making her life easier (or at least more fashionable) with chevron contact paper.

These are the “befores” of the shelves in her room.  I must admit they are kinda gross looking although clean. They could use a coat of paint, but that will have to wait for summer vacation.

It did go easier than I expected.  here are the “after” photos with the contact paper.  Each shelf has a wrinkle, but no one’s perfect, right?

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K wasn’t the only one who needed to unpack and organize.  I’ve gotten the kitchen, dining room, TV room and living rooms mostly done.  It’s down to the important decisions, like what to put over the fireplace….

Do I go with the clock?  The painting from my Busia’s house?  The mirror that the hubby made me before we were married?   Eventually we will paint the room and plan to put white brick up rather than the wood facade.  The brick will go to the ceiling. I’m excited for that.  So whatever goes here will eventually hang on white brick. What to do?

Any thoughts?

Treasure Hunt

We’ve been in the new house three days and every day is a bit like Christmas.  I never know what I’m going to find whether it’s in a box I packed, a cupboard that wasn’t emptied or behind a closet door!  My first morning here it was a frantic hunt for shoes to wear to work.  Then with the gift of “jean days” at work all week the hunt was on to figure out which box labeled “Angie” had my jeans in it–still don’t know.  I had to settle for denim capris today.  Probably tomorrow too!

As I was unloading boxes into a drawer tonight I found German coins.IMG_3117

Meanwhile outside the hubby was cutting down overgrown evergreen trees when he found a water spigot on the house.  The trees were so dense we’d have never even known it was there if he hadn’t cut those suckers down!

 

 

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Then there’s the extra half foot of sidewalk we gained when he edged the walkway and removed the overgrown grass.  You can kind of see the “stripe” where the grass had been on the walkway.

Tomorrow is the driveway.  Can’t wait to see how wide the driveway really is.

 

 

 

 

But not all the treasures were a surprise.  There are beautiful old touches in the house that I knew about when we bought it.  Every door has glass knobs–Be still my heart!  Most cabinet pulls are glass as well.  Alas, the kitchen is not but I’ll be remedying that problem soon.  IMG_3113

We have a laundry chute that provides endless entertainment potential for the kids right now.  I’m sure that will wear off soon, but in the meantime the dirty laundry is not carpeting their rooms!

Some of the “treasures” were not so precious.  I’ve found crumbs and Q-tips and “old man shaving stuff” as my son called it.  The previous owner’s final cleaning of the house left a bit to be desired. But in all honesty, I’d have cleaned it again anyway so whatever, I guess.  All I can say is if you’re selling your home, give a good once over before turning the lock a final time! Your new homeowners will love you for it.