Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DIY | Jazzing up an old desk

Our house was built in 1913. We love that. We asked for that when we went house shopping. We told our realtor that we wanted a old 2 story house with a wrap around veranda... she got us just that. The main issue though with 100 year old houses is that there is no storage. No closets. Over the years we've been learning more and more that we need pieces of furniture that have storage. This writers desk below... no closed off storage. That equals the look of clutter. Excuse the pic... it was night time.


We scored this secretary roll top desk at a garage sale in the spring and finally got around to refinishing after Elsie was completed.

  
Here's the wonky wide shot. As I mentioned before, I now have to redo the whole photo wall to account for new dimensions and I'm no where near done that!


Our friend Matt from Tregoning Paint and Design lent us his old paint sprayer. Um yeah... I'll be getting one. Then I'll be able to spray paint literally everything!


 I'm so excited for drawers!


 I really wanted to paint the whole desk a funky colour but couldn't commit. Genius Meg suggested I paint the hardware funky instead. Great idea. I love the yellow and it'll be easy to change if the colour scheme ever changes.


Best feature... I can roll the top down and protect my lap top from grubby little fingers that somehow even when I'm no where near a program are able to get into my photo editing program and turn 1200 wedding pictures black and white (and a crap b/w at that!). Thank the Lord for Command Z!


Pretty key thingy. 


 So there's the desk. Hopefully it won't take months to do the pictures... maybe I'll make it a goal to get a few more of the kids this week.

Monday, August 29, 2011

DIY | Play Kitchen

My babies were born 5 days short of being exactly 2 years apart. The girl one actually started showing up at the boy one's birthday party, which we scheduled early so that she wouldn't crash... I can envision her in the womb smirking and doing her little "I'm being cute" shoulder shrug and bum wiggle thinking "But Mommy, I think it would be fun for you to be in labour during the entirety of my brother's party!"

From the day I calculated my due date and saw that it was almost inevitable that my kids would both have birthdays the same week I started processing how I was going to throw great parties for each of them days apart for the rest of my life! Parties are kind of a big deal for me. Not only that... it meant getting them meaningful gifts at the same time and so very shortly after Christmas... oh the complications :)

For their 1st and 3rd birthdays the tall one and I decided to build the kids a play kitchen. One of the added benefits is that it turned out to be a series of fun "dates" for the husband and I as we were able to work creatively together to construct something that we hoped our kids would love and someday pass onto their own children (we've already decided that we'll have to build another as grandparents so that each kid has a kitchen to pass on ;) )



Half a year later and the kitchen is still not technically done but we're getting there. For your information it is the oven door and back splash tile that are missing. Also, excuse the angles... the kitchen is at the bottom of the stairs so it's hard to get a decent shot.

We started with a little old play stove and a night table that I found at Sally Ann ($15 total) and then designed a cupboard structure to fit around those. We used 1x12's for the sides, 1x10's for the doors and sealed the back with plywood.


The fridge was super simple as we just used 1x12's for the 3 sides as well as the doors. It made measuring a cinch!


The fridge doubled as a boat for a while. I love how we built their present under their noses without them really knowing what we were doing. They "helped" quite a bit.


With a nail gun (borrowed from our friend Matt) it was a pretty quick job. Unfortunately though we didn't think to bring the wood inside to allow it to "cure" or acclimate to the interior temperature and humidity (which you need to do when using wood stored in an outdoor lumber yard) and so after having everything measured and fitting perfectly, a couple of weeks down the road lots of the wood had warped - so frustrating!!!

 

We left the drawers in the night stand for storage and so I sewed a little sink skirt to cover them and attached with velcro. Oh yeah... the sink is missing as well but we're finding that the kids enjoy the counter space for cutting their Melissa and Doug foods and so we probably won't put it in.
 

I was able to find some of the hardware on clearance and I added a little magnetic board from the dollar store and painted it the same colour of the fridge so they could at least have a few fridge magnets.

One of the more recent additions has been the stackable bins for food in the fridge. It's keeping things way more organized!


Knowing that we were building the kitchen my parents bought the kids a pots and pans set, dishes, and cutlery from Ikea. The microwave was also from them and the toaster from their "big cousins" Josh and Syd.


Before we gave it to them we wrote a little message/blessing on the back of it - definitely a little more permanent than a birthday card.

It was such a fun project and the kids love it!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

DIY | Customizing a Photo Wall

This week I finally took the time to refinish the roll top secretary desk we scored at a garage sale in the spring. I absolutely love how it turned out and am excited to share pictures! Replacing the low profile writers desk with the higher secretary desk has meant that my photo wall above the desk now needs to be rearranged as a few of the pics were lower than the top of the desk.

I've decided to add a few more pieces and take up most of the wall and so begins the "what shall I frame..." conundrum. Being that I'm a photographer and a DIYer it is important to me that a good portion of the work be my own. I also like to mix it up a bit and add some personalized typography prints.

As I'm going through my selection process I figured I'd share a few tips on personalizing your own photo walls in your home.

I'm daily amused by the things that come out of my toddler's mouth and so last year I decided to create a typography print out of one his cute sayings. I may be an English teacher but I love the way the boy one mispronounces some of his words. Some of his most current are:
"Winkles" = wink
"lishkish" = licorice
"copcorn" = popcorn
"tiger" = tire
"straight lions" = straight lines
and his ultimate that we will never change... "Chochi Milk".

He used to call strawberries, "strawbrobbies" and so I thought it'd make a cute kitchen print that said "I like strawbrobbies!" I used photoshop elements and even if you don't have it now you can download the whole program as a 30 day free trial here. Super handy!


Start by creating a file the actual size you want your print to be. For me it was 16x20.

Choose white background when making your new project and then change the background colour to the one you want. Mine was red.

Select the font you like and then insert your text. I recommend doing each word as a separate insert so you can move it around as you like. You can install free fonts on your computer from dafont.com.

Pick a graphic if you like and add it. I somehow selected all the lines on the strawberry and changed them to white while leaving the rest transparent so that it would show the background colour through it. For the life of me I can not remember how I did it!

Now all you have to do is save it as a jpg and send it to your nearest photo developer to print! Because it's like a poster i did inquire with a local sign show on printing it there but it was quadruple the price of developing it as a picture.

It's still hanging in my kitchen and it makes us all smile :)


After finally going through my pictures I have decided to frame this one as an 11x14 in the living room. I had seen the quote on a picture on pinterest and fell in love with it. It's so true, they are my greatest adventure. I absolutely adore what this photo represents about their relationship.


Adding the text to this took all of 3 minutes. Open the jpg in photoshop, insert your text over the pic and then save as a jpg.

While I'm still figuring out a few more of the family pics and individuals of the kids I want framed I think I also want to attempt a little embroidery hoop art in a style like Dottie Angel (below).


I'm getting excited! Hopefully I can get it done quickly and post some pics!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We've been humming and hawing since we got back from our Northern vacay about taking a weekend trip across the border. We thought about Medora and possibly just a quick trip to Minot. Due to the flood devastation in Minot many of the attractions for the kids were not operational (zoo, pool, etc). Thursday morning I called the tall one at work and suggested Bismarck. They had a zoo, a water park, campgrounds... "For when?" he asked.
"How about tonight?"
Enter what was probably eye twitching and cold sweats (the tall one isn't a huge fan of spontaneity).
"Um, yeah. OK."
What the what!!! This never happens. I was truly a proud wife at that moment.

So I called up a few campgrounds and selected the KOA campground because it had a pool :) We drove after supper and arrived in Bismarck around Midnight. I had set up the camper for sleeping before we left so that we could just throw the kids in the camper and go to bed. It worked pretty well except that we couldn't get power to the camper. Grrr. We found out later that it was a certain cord that was tripping all the breakers and when we attached another to it for length we got power. Sweet.

We hit up the Dakota Zoo while we were there. It was great! I highly recommend taking the train ride first as they give you a whole tour of the zoo with interesting tid bits. It helped us plan which animals we wanted to see and ones to skip.




 Check out our wing spans :)








 At the "Large Cat House" you go into this little concrete tunnel that you have to bend in half to travel and enter this glass enclosure... we looked up to see this beast sleeping above our heads!


Great lighting for silhouettes!


Cheesy tourist pictures!


 We had to bribe them to get these or should I say threaten?


We even got a peek at Nemo and Marlin! Excuse the fingerprints on the glass. They were totally "brushing" themselves like in the first scene of Finding Nemo.


Next to the zoo we spied a Ferris Wheel and so meandered over and found a mini amusement park!
The boy one deals with a bit of anxiety but once he saw the girl one on the rides he decided to go with her!


I get motion sick on the trampoline and in the car and on a swing so you can imagine that rides are not really my thing. I would love to be able to go on them but the nausea is just not worth it. The tall one then had to take them on all the "big" rides.


So high...


On the train roller coaster. I'm so impressed that the boy one endured this one. It was pretty fast. On a side note, I think I may frame this pic... there's something about it...




The mini swings. I feel sick just looking at this...


Our campsite at KOA. Nothing like up North but it was clean, well taken care of the owner was super friendly. He even tried to fix our electrical cord for us.


The boy one got a new scooter that he absolutely loves.


We were there 3 days and didn't feel like we got to do it all. We'll definitely be back! It was a crazy fun weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blink Photo | Tregoning Kidlets

The Tregoning kidlets or "Trigonometries" as we sometimes call them are little kids very dear to our hearts. After doing our little Toddler Track and Field event in July we took the opportunity to try and capture a few headshots of Naters and Karah to update the photo gallery in the Tregonging home.

Little miss Karah has a master's degree in ignoring the camera. She doesn't put up a fuss, doesn't scream or cry, she just blatantly ignores that there is a camera there and avoids it in every way she can :)



When she does look at me, she looks a tad bored with the whole ordeal :)


Oh... am I breaking through Rah Rah? I am acting like a completely fool at this point!


Money shot! Karah has such a beautiful spirit and I have no doubt she will know who she is and walk in truth.


Naters is such a sweetheart as well! He was very "GQ" the whole shoot.


Absolutely charming!


Giggle... I love how much him and my son love each other. They are truly friends of the heart.


Kai would call these "Winkles". It's a pretty good "Blue Steel" in my opinion.




Nathaniel is so thoughtful and enjoys life! We love you Nater Potater!


It's such a blessing to capture the faces I love so much...