September 30, 2011

A Place for our Stache

The Laundry Room projects still continue, but while I'm slaving away on a rug for the room, I thought I'd update you with a quick little accessory I made for the room, based on this inspiration I found on Pinterest. Since I already had a jar handy in my cupboard that hasn't found a home in the new house yet, all I needed was something to paint on the glass with.  Turns out Michaels has glass etching markers, and with my 50% off coupon, it only cost me $2.15.  Practically stealing.

So I played around on my design programs for a while to find the exact style and font I wanted, and printed it out.  Then I just taped my design to the inside of the jar, and traced it with my glass etching marker.

My name is Erin, and while I don't have a single artistic bone in my body, by God I can trace.

Then you just wait 24 hours, and then bake it in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  And viola:

What better accessory for the Laundry Room than a place to "stache" all that change found in our pockets?  The entire project took me about 10 active minutes and $2.15.  That's my kind of DIY.  On the completely other end of the time spectrum is the rug I've been working on. I can't wait to share that  project with you on Monday, if by some miracle I have it done by then.  How about you guys?  Any big plans this weekend?  Any DIY?  Please share, it makes me feel less crazy. :)

September 29, 2011

We're Swingers!

If you're just joining us, I've been taking a few days to make a mostly wasted space of our yard more functional by turning it into a big play set for Ryder.  First my Dad built an amazing rock wall for him that gets him from level 1 to level, the he built a slide and ladder

On the third day I tacked the swing that my parents had left over and I previously tried to install, but the chain made it much to short for a mere mortal child.  (Especially a mortal child from our short family.)

My first problem was the hooks I had holding this baby up.  We found some spare eye bolts in the deck, and just used those with a few D hooks to connect the swing.

The set up worked in the theory, but the 2 metal pieces rubbing together when you attempted to swing made a pretty loud, dull thud kind of sound.  The noise was louder the more weight on the swing, and I just didn't need another reminder that I'm not 18 anymore.  Instead I found these swing hooks in the playground aisle of my hardware store, and for $10.99 they were well worth the price of my dignity. 

All I had to do was unscrew the old eye bolts and screw the new ones in.  Piece of cake. I held onto the old bolts though, because they'll work perfectly with a much lighter and smaller baby swing.  We're not in the market for one just yet, but there is just the right amount of space under the deck next to our swing for it.

Next I was onto the issue of the chain.  Of course they don't just sell 18" chain extensions (at least not at my big box stores), so I had to settle for buying a 20' length of chain.  It was only $4.99 though, so I couldn't really complain.

I started by attaching one side of my chain to the end of my short swing chain with a D hook.

Then I hung the swing from the hook to find the perfect height.

Then I could remove the chain just after my final length.  Wow, that makes it sound easy, but it wasn't.  My only option was to hack saw, which isn't difficult per say, but it just takes a lot of time and friction to cut through metal.  My arm was sore. 

After the first one broke through I could only take a few minutes to celebrate, because I still needed to cut another 19 link chain for the other side.  Just add this to the list of pains I will recount to Ryder when he is older in the, "Do you have any idea what I have done for you?" department.  Although scraping my knuckles while hack sawing a swing is nothing in comparison to what he's done to the rest of my body.   I'm just sayin'.

Totally worth it though for the joy in his eyes when he first saw his fixed swing.  He didn't get off of it for over 40 minutes.

And my favorite part- the before and after.  I realize that turning these 2 patios into a pint sized, multi level jungle gym wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but for us it is a good use of a space that was otherwise ignored.








It's still a little bare, but I plan to go buy some more padded flooring to cover the concrete with.  In the mean time it does exactly what we were hoping for, it givers Ryder a place to run and play in our yard, and in turn, this place is feeling a little more like home.  One project at a time, eh?

September 28, 2011

Return to RyderLand

Yesterday we installed this brand new, custom built ladder and slide that my Dad built for Ryder. 

The next day, I decided that it was time to spruce up the joint and make it look more like a kid's play area, and less like a dirty little hole in our yard.  We started by painting the new ladder and wooden part of the slide with left over exterior house paint, the same stuff that my Dad used to paint the climbing wall that he built.  Since I'm a glutton for punishment I want Ry to feel included on making our new house a home, I let him help me paint again.  Chaotic, but fun.

Attempting to set the camera on our little red slide to take a timed photo. 

We pulled out the large cardboard box left over from our Ikea wood counter tops to protect the ground.

When the paint was dry, it was time to pull out the leaf and lawn vac to clean up the space.  Here's the dirty before:

And the nice and clean after:

Now all I need to do is work on that swing I installed that's made for a 7 foot child:

More on that tomorrow.  Secrest out.

September 27, 2011

Welcome to RyderLand

Last weekend Ryder got to spend the night at his grandma and grandpa’s house while the Hubs and I  attended an out of town wedding and pretended we were 22 again.  (Spoiler alert: we aren't.)   While it was fun to get away for an evening, we couldn’t wait for him to come back.  Ryder was pretty excited too, because he had something to show us.  
The minute he entered our front door, Captain Chaos yelled “I went to Menards with Grandpa and we built a slide together!”  

How awesome is this custom slide solution for our Family Room patio, to add to the custom climbing wall he already made?   

As we’ve mentioned before, with 4 other decks and another patio on our house, we weren’t lacking for outdoor space.  What we were missing though was space for our little man to climb and play.  Now our little monster can climb up the wall and slide down the slide- which he does in this blur of speed at least 6 times before taking a second to rest.  It’s like a toddler hamster wheel. 

He even built a ladder to go with it, which is great since previously this little hole down to our Family Room Patio had no stairs to access it. 

Previously, when balls rolled down this hill and into the hole, they are stuck down there for good.  Well, they were, and then our little monster started to try to find ways to jump down there like a spider monkey.  I live in a constant state of fear around here.  I can breathe easier now that there is both a slide and a ladder in place.

The first step was to decide where to place it.

Ryder tested the slide at each location to see if it made a difference.
I decided on the farther out location because A.) It took up less of the concrete space so he still has that space to play basketball with his little hoop, B.) It made use of the previously useless rock space and C.) There isn't a deck above that portion of the patio, so if adults want to use the ladder to get down into this space they can without whacking their head and knocking themselves unconscious. 

While Super Dad had all the measurements exact for the height and angle, I wanted to add a little bit to the slide to make it a little more secure.  I took some extra green treated 2x4 I had in the garage and cut down two 2’ lengths.  Next, I pushed back the rocks, cut a panel in the landscape fabric, and peeled it back to reveal the dirt below.

I very carefully scooped out the dirt and placed it in a bucket, trying not to get any dirt on the rocks or fabric.  I’ve learned the hard way in the past that the whole point of landscape fabric is to prevent weeds a place to germinate and grow.  So if you put soil on top of the fabric, you’re giving weeds a place to build a home, basically defeating the purpose.  Ryder helped with this stage, he’s a genius I tell you.

When my hole was deep enough, I could put my 2x4 in, and then attached my posts to the slide with some galvanized nails.  Well, first Ryder wanted to put it together for 10 minutes or so.  Then eventually he let me finish up the work.  For us, it’s all about letting this little man feel included and apart of the process. 

Note: Green treated wood means that the wood has been treated for outdoor weather and is much less likely to mold, warp and damage.  Galvanized nails won’t rust from the elements, eventually crumbling and making your piece fall apart.  Both are very necessary for outdoor building. 

We filled in and tamped down the dirt around our posts, and pulled the rocks back over to cover everything anchoring the slide in nice and securely.

At this point, as you can see it was getting dark, so we headed inside for a little pajama-jammie-jam.  I'll fill you in tomorrow on how we spruced up the slide, cleaned up this space and made it a little safer for the little man. 

September 26, 2011

Painting the Laundry Room for the 4th Time. Shoot me.

This Laundry Room is going to be the death of me.  For those of you that haven’t been following along, here’s what we’ve done so far:

Hung some shelving
Bath Crashers installed a laundry shoot from the new bathroom

Yep, all that work in one little 6’x7’ room.  And because nothing can ever be easy, when I took out the old blue counter top and put in the new one, it left a pretty big mess on the walls.  


Time to patch again.  I went back to my trusty, left over joint compound. 

I not only touched up the dings on the walls, but also took the opportunity to skim coat a few areas of the wall that had some bad paint-over-old-wallpaper-paste.  Skim-coating is basically spreading a thin coat of joint compound over a larger area to smooth it out.  As in the first few times I patched the walls, I waited for my joint compound to dry completely, sanded it down, and then applied another coat just to be 100% sure it was all smooth and even.  After the second sand down, it was ready to go.

And again, like before, I first applied primer to the patches before I painted.  If you skip this step, you will be able to see your patch even when painted over with the same color, as the texture of the wall will be different.

And in the interest of keeping it real with you all, here’s the disaster that was my laundry room during this process.  Because dirty laundry stops for no one, especially when you have a 3 year old boy in the house. 

Primer only takes a couple hours to dry, so I was back with a coat of paint in no time.  Which is unfortunately when I noticed this.

Yep, my wall, like my husbands sense of humor, must be a little warped, because right in the center of my counter, but not the sides, there was a gap between the counter top and the wall.  I lined counter with some fresh painters tape, and put down a bead of paintable latex caulk.  I picked up this handy little tool for applying caulk during one of our thousands of remodels.  Ithelps you get a nice clean 45 degree angle. 

By immediately removing the tape after smoothing down the caulk , you get a nice smooth line. 
I let it dry for a couple more hours, then laid down yet another line of tape to protect the counter, and applied what is hopefully the last bit of Rainwater by Martha Stewart paint that will ever be applied to these walls again.  Ever.  I’m serious.  Ev. Er.  If I have to paint or touch up these walls again, I’m moving.


We're almost done.  Just a few more fun projects left in this room to give it a little personality like a rug and some accessories. Of course I couldn't just buy a rug, and that project is taking forever, but I promise to show it to you all as soon as it is done.  What did you all do this weekend?  Any painting?