Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Loving The Imperfections In Your Home

I said that I had a funny story about how we ended up with the playroom sofa.  We got that sofa about four years ago.   At the time, we had a leather sofa that we had owned nearly seven years, which was a little after we got married.  It was the most expensive piece of furniture we had ever purchased.
Well, my toddler son wrote all over one of the seat cushions with an ink pen.  I was mortified!

Thankfully, even though at the time of purchase we didn't have a kid, we got some sort of extended protection plan where they would come out and remove any ink marks in the leather or completely replace it if they couldn't remove the marks.  The guy comes out, but he can't remove the ink.


But the company honored the warranty!  We literally had about 2 months left on the seven year warranty, and they honored it.  Thankfully I had kept the paperwork for all that time because they said they wouldn't honor the warranty without it.

 I love the company to this day because of that.  I was afraid that they would find some sort of loophole to get out of it, but they didn't.  Unfortunately, seven years later, the sofa had been discontinued, but they gave us a credit for the original cost of the leather sofa minus the value of the damaged one if we wanted to keep it.   I was able to find a sofa (which we currently use in the playroom), love seat, and chair set that was heavily marked down and used the credit to purchase the set.  I think I only had to pay for delivery and another protection plan on the new set.  Woohoo!

(The Sofa, 11 years later)

We decided to keep the original sofa because, well, it's leather, we really loved it, and it had a matching love seat.  I can't deny that I was distraught over the ink marks.  There were several.  Thankfully, they were limited to one seat cushion.  Over the years the ink marks have been worn away by use of the sofa.  Today, the sofa isn't perfect, but I've come to appreciate it's imperfections.  It's slowly developing a time-worn patina that people pay good money for.  Except it comes from real life. 

It's easy to be attracted to the shiny and new.  We can be quick to toss the imperfect, the worn, and the damaged.  But I try to remind myself that it's better if we can see beyond the imperfection to the inherent value.  It applies to things, but more importantly to people because we have to see each other's inherent value beyond visible inperfections.  Had we been quick to toss that sofa because of an imperfection, it would have been a waste.  I am so glad we kept it because, eleven years later it's the most favorite piece of furniture I own.  And it's perfectly imperfect.

Wow, I didn't plan on getting this deep about a sofa, haha!  I'll be back to share the art station I'm working on.  If you have a toddler and a sofa, go put up those ink pens!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY Book Ledges-A Tweaked Tutorial

I'm back to show just how I made the book ledges.

Every since pinning some inspiration pictures like the ones you see below,  I knew I wanted to add book ledges somewhere in the playroom.  One, it's easy for a child to see their books.  And two, I wanted to encourage reading and add more functionality to the space.



As I mentioned yesterday, I found this tutorial by Kristine over at The Painted Hive, and I just tweaked it a bit.  Since the playroom is fairly narrow at less than 10 feet wide, the wall that they ended up on needed slim storage.  I have tried putting a bookcase on it, but it blocked the natural light and the view out of the bay window.

How To Make and Mount Narrow Floating Shelves | The Painted Hive

I started by going to buy wood.  I knew that I wanted my shelves to be a little deeper than the ones in the tutorial, plus mine were going on an open wall, so I had the space for it.  I wanted them deep enough to allow books to lean against the wall, but shallow enough that I could screw through the depth of the wood, and into the wall, thus having floating shelves.   I chose 1x3's for my actual ledge. 

I also needed a thin piece of wood to form the lip of the shelf (as seen in the picture above) and hold the books on the shelf.  I couldn't find trim that matched the dimensions in the tutorial.  So I was searching the shelves and saw a trim called 'base cap molding' next to the baseboard molding.  It was only 1 1/8" in height, which was perfect to create a lip for the shelves, and it came in solid pine.  It had the profile of crown moulding but was flat on the back like 1x2.  And that's when I had an epiphany!  Instead of just going across the face of the shelf, as seen above, I could wrap the trim around all three sides to the wall!  (I'm probably the only one who got excited about that, but hey!)  I nearly skipped my way out the store.

Base Cap Molding

I decided to make my four shelves 42" long each.  So I needed:

2ct 8' 1x3's mine are pine (which are actually 2 1/2 wide),   $7ea x 2 = $14
3ct 8' lengths of the base cap moulding, also solid pine   $7ea x 3 = $21
8ct" 3 3/4" wood screws            $  4
3/16" drill bit to predrill holes     $  3
1/2" countersink bit  (on hand)      $  0

Total Project Cost:  $42

I also had stain and polyurethane on hand from previous projects.  Of course, it could be a little more or less, depending on what you have on hand.  I should also say that the base cap molding comes in 10' lengths, so if I were to repeat this project, I would just buy two of those instead.

Several things to do before starting:

1.) I marked in advance, using a stud finder, the position of my studs so that I could screw directly into them to mount the shelves.  This meant that I didn't need anchors.  But the screws were going thru the 1x3's, plus at least 1/2" of drywall, plus another 1/2" to 3/4" depth into the actual stud.  That's at least 3 1/2", so I needed to countersink the screws to secure the shelves to the studs.

2.) After marking the stud location, I decided how far up the wall I wanted to start the shelves, and also settled on a 15" distance between each shelf.   Then marked a horizontal line, with stud locations noted, to show where to mount each shelf.   Then, to make sure each ledge was evenly spaced from the wall edge, I also made a mark 6" from the wall edge.

3.) I also pre-stained all of my wood and just stained the cut edges as I went along.  I sealed the entire shelf at the end, with Wipe-On Polyurethane.  I used the same stain and poly as I used on the chalkboard project. 

Next I assembled my tools, as seen below, plus a miter saw and a nail gun.

I began by pre-drilling into the stud.  Next, I cut the 1x3 down to 42" using the miter saw.  Using my pre-marked line that was 6" in from the wall edge,  I held the 1x3 ledge up to it, and marked the stud location on it.  Using the stud location, I drilled holes in the 1x3 for the screws, then drilled a countersink hole about 1/2" deep.  After the holes were drilled and countersunk, I held the 1x3 ledge up to the wall, then screwed through it, into the two studs.    

With the basic ledge up on the wall, it was time for the fun part, adding the trim.  This involved cutting the 'base cap molding' the same lengths as each edge of the ledge but cutting the corners at 45 degree angles.  I used a nail gun to mount the trim to the book ledges.  As in the tutorial I linked above, I didn't glue the face trim to the ledge so that I could easily remove it in the future if I needed to.  I couldn't get a good photo, but to me, this created a beautiful profile for the book ledges. 

As I said earlier, I finished the wood using two coats of Wipe-On Polyurethane in Satin, to protect it, and give it a nice sheen.  

It feels good to have this project crossed off the list.  My woodworking skills aren't perfect, but it does the job! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Playroom Makeover {Part 4-Book Ledges}

This corner of the playroom just got a lot happier!

 Originally, I was going to use the ones from IKEA that I showed on the design board (#2), which are a great option at about $15 each. 

But I thought I could probably make some out of solid wood AND save a few pennies.  When I found this tutorial for the shelves below by Kristine over at The Painted Hive, I knew I could do it.  In the end, I tweaked it a bit for the playroom, but that's what DIY is all about, right?

How To Make and Mount Narrow Floating Shelves | The Painted Hive

I'll be back tomorrow to share the tutorial.  But here's a few pictures of how they turned out.  

I love them and was excited to show them to The Bub, since they were meant for him, and he loved them too!  I'll be back to show how these were built along with a cost comparison.    

Sunday, March 23, 2014

21 Days: No Television

I turned 34 last month.  It doesn't phase me to get older, but there were changes I wanted to make before I turned 34 that weren't realized.  (Well, for that matter before I turned 30, 31...sigh)  At the beginning of the year I was feeling I needed a shake-up of my routine and my habits.  Now here it was March, and nothing had really changed.  I was actually fed up with the fact that a lot of the goals I had set for myself in the past year went largely unrealized.  Yes, there is life's unpredictability, but I felt as though anything and everything could throw me off track.  I think it boiled down to no longer trusting myself to keep my word to myself.

Thanks to invitations by friends, the first weekend of March was active for me.  So we happened to not watch any TV that weekend.  Plus my husband was out of town.  I was also reading several articles about time management.  That night, I decided something's got to give.  I got up and unplugged the TV.

And I haven't watched it since.

I know I'm not the first person to do this, but for me I felt TV had become a habit and a filler.  I was in the habit of turning it on first thing in the morning to 'wake-up' the house.  I was in the habit of watching it and having the sound when I did chores.  And it had become habit to use it as a filler when I was tired or wanted a break.

What I Learned

The most interesting thing I learned was that, for the most part, I didn't miss it.  I thought it would be hard, so I unplugged the TV so that if I accidentally walked over to turn it on, it wouldn't come on. It's now been over 21 days and I think I've had three times when I felt like I really wanted to watch TV.  Once on a rainy day that would have been nice to cuddle up in front of the TV.  Once when I was really tired during the day and actually just needed a nap, which I took.  And just this past weekend, I thought it would be nice to sit with my family and watch a movie, but we turned on music and danced instead.  I almost watched TV by accident at a friend's house during a hair appointment.   She handed me the remote to choose a station, but I couldn't remember the channel numbers to the stations I normally watch!  And then I thought, "Oh yeah, you aren't watching TV!"  Instead I picked up the book I had brought to read.  Overall, I really didn't miss it.

I also learned that without the TV on, I can think much more clearly.  There's no distraction.  There wasn't an option of turning on the TV when there was a lull in my day.  Which led to me realizing that...

Turning off the TV was a catalyst for accomplishing so many other things!  I finished at least half of my spring yard work before it was actually spring!  I completed some home projects that have sat unfinished for months, and even started back exercising.  One of the articles I was reading suggested making a list of tasks you want to accomplish, and breaking down larger projects into a smaller task list.  For me, list making is key to getting more done in my day.

How It Has Affected My Family

In the past, I've had the idea of cutting off the TV for a month.  I would run it by my husband and he wasn't such a fan.  This time, I didn't tell him.  But I also didn't try to force it on my family.  In fact, I didn't talk to them about it at all.  But surprisingly they didn't really request the TV much either.  When my husband got back from out of town he asked was the TV broken, but I just told him it was unplugged.  He generally watches TV shows on his tablet and I think he said once, "Is the TV still unplugged?"  I wonder if he realizes how little actual cable TV he watches.

With The Bub, I think he requested TV once when a friend came over.  Literally, by the time I walked over to plug it in, they had run off to play something else and forgot about it.  We did go see one movie in a theater this month.  But, I have been really surprised at how easily he occupies himself with other things.  I did also try to encourage play by putting quite a few of his toys in a basket so that he could easily see them, instead of keeping them in storage ottomans.  Many of the playroom projects I am working on (that I'll be sharing soon!)  have been to encourage him to play more rather than sit in front of a screen--be it TV, a tablet, or video games.  I don't feel this battle has been won (he's sitting here on the tablet right now), but there is progress.  TV and video games are no longer his first request many days.

What's Next? 

I picked 21 days because it's been said that it takes 21 days to change or set a habit.  I still have many areas I want to progress in, but this has given me a boost of confidence in myself, that I can stick to something.  I don't think I will permanently eliminate TV, but I did realize that there wasn't anything that I really wanted to see.  Most of the shows I really used to enjoy watching no longer air on TV, and I had turned to a lot of trashy reality TV to fill the void.

I have been trying to figure out what next; what is the next catalyst to change.   I am thinking of something health related, perhaps to eliminate soda, or maybe 21 days of real food, no processed food.  For me personally, I think that will be a much harder challenge, but perhaps when I reflect back on letting go of TV, this time I will be resolved to stick to my guns.

Have you ever eliminated something from your life?  Was it temporary or permanent?  I would love to hear your suggestions on a healthy diet change/elimination.  I will be back to share another project from the Playroom Makeover.  Enjoy your weekend.