DIY–A Child’s Office

June 6, 2011 23:11 by ehouston

In an effort to keep the Little Guy occupied (and out of my lap) while I work at my desk, I installed an office area just for him.  For a long time I had been plotting ways to incorporate magnetic paint into some key spots around our home.  There is a nice spot for a magnet board in the kitchen, one near the back door (for notes and reminders on the way out) and the wall space of the Little guy’s office.  Since we are far from completing the office space and one side (I won’t name, names regarding which side) is in total chaotic half-unpacked shambles I am only sharing the little area that I completed for our wee one.  I started by using blue painter’s tape by Scotch to mask off a rectangle that used to be behind The Mister’s desk and is just under our white board.  I painted that space with the magnetic paint first.


This is just he basic stuff from Rust-oleum you can get from the home improvement store.  I could only find the kind that was intended as primer for under a chalkboard top coat.  I would have loved to have added the chalkboard coating too, but since this space is shared with our computers we figured the addition of chalk dust would be a bad idea.  If I ever get around to painting the spot in the kitchen that I have in mind, I will probably add the chalkboard top coat for a bonus!


It took three light coats, as the packaging suggested and it smelled to high Hades!  In fact, this space is just down a small hallway from our master bedroom and at one point The Mister asked if we were going to die in our sleep.  I never imagined painting such a small area, with all the windows open and a nice breeze coming through, would leave us with such a stench.  This is all to say, “Warning!  Do this with lots of ventilation!”.  When planning this project, months before actually getting my hands dirty, I had intended to just cover the magnet board area with the same paint as the wall color.  But, since we are no where near finishing this room right now, I just topped the big black rectangle with leftover blue paint from the nursery.  That calmed down the visual abyss and made for a smoother finish.

Once everything dried and we got the bird out.  Yeah, we ended up with a bird in the house during the drying time.  It’s a funny story actually.  I was showering while the Little Guy was watching Sesame Street and as I was finishing up I heard him walk into the bathroom and say something that sounded like “bird”.  As I turned to ask him, “what did you say?”, a bird swooped down and flew right over his head.  He looked at me and said, “Bird!”, clear as day.  That’s what we get for not putting our screens up yet!

For a fun addition, I put up a couple of those hooks from Command, that have the sticky stuff that won’t ruin the walls during removal and tied a doubled up clothesline to them.  This created a place to hang his alphabet cards and has been a big hit so far.  Shortly after I finished the painting I found a chair and table set from IKEA on Craigslist for $30.00.  It was nearly new and he really has enjoyed using it to color, play and make look really old, really fast.  I can’t seem to get him to understand that coloring is supposed to happen on paper, not the tabletop.  Oh well….at least he isn’t going to town on the walls…yet…  Actually, once he gets the destructive coloring out of his system I hope to paint the set to give it a nicer finish.IMG_8414

Sorry for the blurry shot.  I could barely catch him standing still long enough to even get him in the picture.  The magnets he is currently using were created many years ago by affixing funny magazine cut-outs to sticky backed magnet paper.  These were for covering ugly rental property refrigerators when I first moved out on my own.  He has enjoyed them, but we really need to move on to something a bit more interesting to him.  I know we will find the right thing sooner or later.  We even have a mini laptop that he likes to play kid games on while I type away at my desk.  Babysmash is his long time favorite if you want to check it out.  Also, it’s pretty clear he gets his organizational skills from his dad’s side.  As you can see in the shot above, he has thrown stuff every where around his desk.  I think it makes him feel more at home with the rest of our disaster zone office.  Oh well, I am working on organizing my space too, maybe I can get him to tag along.  ??

Kitsch Krafts

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DIY–Dining Room Lighting

December 1, 2010 09:13 by ehouston

So, we have ended up here again…


Although we really loved the IKEA light that I put up about a month ago, it just felt to big.  No matter how much it had grown on us, we had to admit it seemed to be pushing the limits of the space. 


Plus, a week after purchasing the PS Maskros ceiling light I found out that IKEA had just come out with a smaller version.  Open palm, hand to forehead and in the words of Homer Simpson, DOH!  So, I disassembled the beast and drove up to Woodbridge, VA to make the exchange.  I guess they measure things a different way in Sweden because the smaller version was supposed to be 22 inches as opposed to the 32 incher that we had already tried out, but it looked itty bitty.  So small, in fact, that you would really need two or three to have any kind of impact in our dining room.  They also did not have the other new fixture I had seen online, the PS Vava

IKEA PS VÄVA Pendant lamp natural Diameter: 21 " Height: 8 " Cord length: 5 ' 11 "  Diameter: 53 cm Height: 19.5 cm Cord length: 1.8 m

We looked all over, but could not find it.  So, with our stomachs full of meatballs and lingonberry jam we hung our heads and left the store in a bit of a huff.   I was SOOO disappointed!

Despite the lighting let down this shopping trip was not a total bust.  My mom came along for her maiden voyage to IKEA, so that in itself was  a lot of fun.  She also helped Santa out and bought the Little Guy the DUKTIG mini kitchen as an early Christmas gift.

DUKTIG Mini-kitchen  Width: 28 3/8 " Depth: 15 3/4 " Height: 22 7/8 "  Width: 72 cm Depth: 40 cm Height: 58 cm

He has already learned that he can remove the sink and then throw things down into the cupboard below.  Things like, real food out of our pantry, or the telephone, or the remote control to the TV.  It’s always a scavenger hunt with a 15 month toddler running around this joint!  At least for the time being I can pretty much guess where he is keeping his booty.

I was also thrilled to score the fabric (KAJSASTINA) for our bedroom window treatments. 

KAJSASTINA Fabric gray/white Width: 59 "  Width: 150 cm

On our last adventure to IKEA I was almost in tears to find out that they did not even have enough fabric for one window, let alone two and a hall pass-thru curtain.  I was so afraid that they were not going to get any more since they had a bunch of stuff marked “Last Chance”.  Luckily this time they had plenty and I was able to check this item off my “Stuff We Need” list.  Although the bedroom DIY project is a long way from even being started I have yet to find any other window treatment fabric that I really like and that The Mister likes too.  Also it was only $6.99 per yard, so you can’t beat that!  Well, you can…it was another early Christmas gift from my wonderful Mommasita!

Okay, so back to the issue at hand, the dining room lighting.  We decided to go for the Bel Air Lighting 6-light Chrome Traditional Chandelier from Lowe’s and I hope to install it soon. 

Bel Air Lighting 6-Light Chrome Traditional Chandelier

I started taking the pieces out of the box yesterday, but realized it might be to heavy for me to put up all alone.  I am thinking I better wait until The Mister can help me out this weekend.  As soon as we get the light installed I will post some shots to find out what you guys think.  It’s definitely not as whimsical or fun as I would have liked, but it is a little more modern. 

Did you guys have any shopping adventures, good or bad, over the holiday weekend?

Kitsch Krafts

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IKEA – My New Found Love

August 11, 2010 02:58 by ehouston

Last week I took a bow to the IKEA gods and all that amazingly cheap inspiration lining the shelves of the Woodbridge, VA store.  I was lucky to have an old pro to me guide through the maze of home products and help talk me through some design dilemmas.  Without her input and adept stroller work (while 8.5 months preggers and with 3 little ones in tow to boot!), I definitely would have been bogged down trying to maneuver through areas I am not currently focused on transforming in my home rather than getting to what I really need.  I also would have missed out on the deliciousness known as Swedish meatballs!  Not only did I get some ideas for future projects, but I found some cool and cute additions to our home.

This rug is exactly the size I have been looking for to help keep dirt down in the foyer and present a nice landing from the steps. 



It’s not exactly the style I had in mind, but the simple pattern and light gray color seem to fit in well with the neutrals of this area.  Although, this pattern does work toward my overall scheme to slightly modernize our traditional home.  We’re happy with the size, color, softness and of course the $19.99 price tag.  Go budget!

I was also thrilled to finally put an end to the lack of a trash receptacle in the powder room.  It took me a year, but I finally found exactly what I was looking for.


As you can see from this picture the wallpaper in this room is a bit over the top, although quite subtle compared with some of the other paper found in our abode.  I actually like the portion above the border and hope to add wainscoting to the lower portion of the walls in the future.  I also need to change out the shiny brass faucet, drain and toilet flush knob to brushed nickel, but I digress.  In the meantime I am happy to have scored this trashcan with a lid.  I know many of you are thinking, “what’s the big deal?  You can find simple brushed nickel cans every where and they are fairly cheap.”.  Well I have this thing about open trash cans.  I know they are common and there is nothing wrong with them, but I prefer a lid on my garbage.  Not only because I don’t want to look at it, but I feel compelled to empty the can when I see just a small bit of stuff in there.  It’s crazy, I know.


Anyway, I was super excited to find this footed, lidded version with a sweet scallop around the top edge.  And, for only $14.99 I was surprised to find that it had a hard plastic liner for the bottom, plus a plastic ring for the top edge.  You know, the kind that allow you to wrap a small bag around the ring, and insert it back into the can so that you don’t have to see the bag on the outside folded over the top of the can.  This one small purchase may just have been the highlight of the whole trip!  Love it!

The Little Guy also enjoyed a quick romp in the children’s toy area, gravitating to the kitchen set.  Of course my guide pointed out that the price was right and that he would be wanting one soon enough.  With his interest in all that I do in the kitchen I believe she is absolutely correct, but I was hoping to make a small kitchen for him instead.  We will see how that project fits in with all the others I have on the list, but I may be heading back for that, along with some of the fabulous home decor fabrics that were only $6.99 a yard.  WHAT????!!!!  Woo to the Hoo! 

I was happy to find some sweet bibs with the front “catchall” pocket, which have been great with the introduction of finger foods and a some super cute sippy cups that look like little weener dogs. 

FABLER Bib multicolor Length: 15

SMASKA Training cup  Package quantity: 2 pack  Package quantity: 2 pack

The Little Guy has been thrilled to spill milk like a pro with these new cups, plus they are helping him learn to work a cup without handles.  The kids/baby section of IKEA was pretty great and I wished I had made the trip while decorating the nursery.  I definitely got some cute “conversion to little boy’s room” ideas during this trip.

One thing I was not prepared for when arriving at IKEA was the food.  As I mentioned above, my friend let me in on the joy of Swedish Meatballs and I am a total convert.  The Little Guy was also excited to explore some new food textures with a free kid’s meal of meatballs, although he’s still not so sure about the mac and cheese.  A fact that his father (a self-proclaimed M & C fanatic) was greatly saddened by.  Now, for the bad side of the food at IKEA…my so-called friend also introduced us to the evil known as DAIM.


And, of course The Mister and I were able to make something so incredibly delicious even more sinful. 


I don’t know how we think of these things.  It it just comes naturally.  ;o)  yuuummmmm…

So, I will end my novel on my new found love.  I spent $89.00 total and ended up with the following list of items:

4’ X 6’ foyer rug

Small trash receptacle for the powder room

Set of 18 dishes in white

Set of 6 itty bitty spoons for the Little Guy

2 sweet little bibs

2 cute doggy sippy cups

1 grass mat for back door

1 bag evil chocolate covered toffee

Actually, there may have been a couple of other things too.  I just can’t remember it all.  I was pretty happy with this budget friendly shopping trip and plan to get some measurements together from our master bedroom so I can go back and take advantage of those great textile prices.  Again, I cannot thank my friend enough for guiding me through the maze of fun Swedish finds and for her expert advice on a couple of design questions I am working to answer.

Don’t worry Whit!  I will be sure to drag you along again next time we shop IKEA and maybe we will hook you up with a cheap meal (or 5) too.  hee!

Kitsch Krafts

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