Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Happy House

 I've spent the last few months re-working, sorting, and organizing our house. I've always loved living here. We bought this house when it was under construction over ten years ago, so our choices shaped so much of what went into it. As I've mentioned though, it had gotten cluttered, every spare corner stuffed with discarded baby things and old hobby supplies. Now, with each new check mark on the list, with each project accomplished, with each load dropped off at the Goodwill, each space cleared out and made into something new or more functional, I feel more in control, like I can breathe deeper. Sometimes, when I can't sleep at night, I pull my Grandma's quilt around me, sit out on the bench my mother-in-law gave me, under the grape arbor my dad built, among the flowers that grow from seeds my mom brought from Kansas, and I feel all that Kansas family love around me as I look across my back yard at the glow of my beloved Oregon home. I sit there and breathe and listen to the night sounds, and then I go inside and wrap my house around me. It's a good life, and I love it. Here's a little bit of what it looks like. Don't mind the dust - I've been painting the playhouse!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Laundry Room Art Studio

We've lived in this house for over a decade now. That's the longest I've ever lived anywhere. We've arranged and re-arranged, brought two babies home and seen them through babyhood and toddlerhood, and into kid-hood, along with all the gear and toys they accrue. James and I have nurtured various hobbies and pursuits. The long and short of it is that this house was overdue for a big purge, so, starting this last Spring, I began that undertaking, and it has been cathartic. I've gone through closets and cupboards and storage spaces, throwing away and recycling massive amounts of stuff and donating carload after carload of even more. The children went through their closets and toy boxes, and they're planning for a garage sale in August (I told them they could keep the money from anything they sell). My final big goal was to tackle a big project I've been putting off for a few years - my laundry room.

This room is pretty big, as far as laundry rooms go, but it's kind of an odd space. The back part of the room has lower cabinets, and even a sink, but I had just relegated it to storage for my art and craft supplies - it was full of boxes, is what I mean to say, and over time, it had also become a catch-all for all of the, "Oh no! People are coming over, and we need to pick up in a hurry!" quick sweep-up junk. It wasn't pretty. I had big plans for it though. I wanted to revamp the laundry space to make it more functional, and turn the back part into an art studio for myself. That's just what I did.

First, I had to pull out all the boxes and piles and go through them. That was a little overwhelming and certainly time consuming, but it was also good. I remembered what I have, found forgotten treasures, and it sparked inspiration for art projects. I started to get excited. Once that part was over, it was time to paint.

All the ceilings in my house were painted the same color as the walls by the builders (annoying), so the ceiling got a few coats of white first. Let me tell you how much I love painting ceilings (I do not love painting ceilings).

Next, the walls turned aqua.

I wanted some upper cabinets, and I found some really solid, old, 70s fabulous ones at the ReStore for a grand total of $9. I got a double and two singles. They were sitting in the very back, and had clearly been there a while. For a reason. These babies were U.G.L.Y. - laminate on the sides, awful doors and hardware, screws and nails sticking out. I didn't want the doors though, and the laminate came right off. Besides, they're wood underneath, which made them perfect for my purposes. Miss V helped me take off the laminate and the doors, and she even took out some of the random screws. I sanded, primed, painted, and sanded again, and they were done and ready to hang. The J-bird helped me put them up.

I love them!

I painted one wall with big, colorful squares and added a metal electrical cabinet that I found in a vintage furniture store in Portland. It's been fitted with wood shelves, and I love it so much that I want to marry it.

The window holds my old collection of blue glass.

Here's my old film camera.

Everything has a place.

The laundry area has become more functional and more attractive, I think. I took down the wire shelf that was over the washer and dryer and put up an IKEA shelf. I added some wrought iron supports underneath. The ironing board hangs on the side of the cabinet. An old crate I got for a couple bucks holds all the soaps and bleach. Some canvas baskets for clean clothes finish it out. Much better than the hodge-podge mess that I threw together before.

This little baby behind the door organizes my gift wrapping supplies. It corrals what was a HUGE headache.

 There's even a spot for Elvis, right outside the door.
The new room is practical, organized, and full of light, instead of awkward, weird, dark, and full of boxes and shame, and I absolutely love it. It's a relief to have it done, instead of hanging over my head. It was a ton of work, but it was very, very worth it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

S's Roses

When my wonderful, sweet friend in Kansas had her first baby five years ago, I made her a painting of a calla lily for the baby's room. When she had her second sweet baby a year ago, she requested a painting of a rose. I'm very, very late with it, but I finally got myself moving and slapped some paint on a canvas for her, and here it is. I'm no Van Gogh, but I'm pleased with how it came out, and I love to think of my Laura's precious girls having a little something from their Gigi.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Revamped Bench

 I bought this bench second hand last summer. I needed something to sit on my back porch to complete a little seating arrangement I have going with some old wooden rocking chairs. It's a great piece with storage in the seat for bubbles and chalk and back yard toys - just perfect. I've always intended to paint it, but it wasn't high on my to-do list. This week, my kids are enjoying five days at Farm Camp, so I'm taking the opportunity to do a few projects I've had my eye on, and this is one of them.

I sanded it down a little, then painted it a light mint green.

I wanted to add something to the seat, so, after some thought, I decided on a bird. I like painting birds.

I added a little dark coral detail to the back, and here it is! It needs a couple coats of heavy-duty poly, and it'll be ready to go back outside.