Sunday, June 23, 2013

Updating Our Master Bathroom

I have spent the last two Saturdays updating our master bathroom. I'm just going to give you the final picture first, before I launch into this post.

It's a little grainy, but when I turned on the vanity lights, it was way too bright. 

We moved into our house three years ago. Our first project was switching out the bathroom vanities due to mold. I recounted our master bathroom vanity problems in these two posts:

Crooked Vanity
Crooked Vanity Mystery Solved

At the end of the mystery solved post I wrote the following statement:
Now I just have to find the time/energy/motivation to fill in the sides. It's looked like this for months, because we've gotten used to it. Yikes! One day, I'll wake up and say, "Ugh, I can't believe I've left the vanity looking so horrible for so long. Today's the day!" 
That happened. For THREE years, we left a 48'' vanity in a 52'' space with two gaping holes on either side of the cabinet:

Top: three years of gaps. Bottom: one day of fix. 

Filling in the gaps was so easy, it was just ridiculous that we let it sit for three years. Here's what we did in a collage:

1. Zane cut 2x4s and moulding for the gaps.
2. Zane drilled several tiny holes to "cut" the wainscot away that was invading the space we were going to fill in.
3. We screwed 2x4s to the sides of the vanity.
4. I glued the moulding onto the 2x4s. There was a gap where the wainscot stopped before the moulding.
5. I filled the wainscot gap with spackling plaster (not sure that's the best material for this project, but it worked for us). It took two applications over a week, drying for several days in between. Then I sanded it all down and painted all of it.

I also repainted the walls. The green was dark and depressing, and it clashed with our new bedspread. I chose coordinating colors (Creamy Oat (yellow) and Cream Delight (white)) for the walls and wainscot.
These photos make the green look better, but trust me, the yellow is MUCH prettier, brighter, and cleaner looking. 

I abhor painting, but the results are amazing. It's twice as bright with the yellow walls, and it looks like we installed brand new wainscot and baseboards. Now I want to paint the entire bedroom and the baseboards in our other bathroom. The only thing holding me back is my hate for painting.

Before I started the whole bathroom project two weeks ago, I took the doors off the toilet room and closet. They were a crowded nuisance. My friend did this in her laundry room, but I had never considered it before. I had only wished for pocket doors.

Now that they're gone, it's much more open and less claustrophobic. I love it.

The two-weekend recap:
1. Took off the doors.
2. Filled in the sides of the vanity.
3. Painted the walls, wainscot, baseboards, door frames, and ceiling of shower/toilet room.

I love our "new" bathroom. It's a shame that we're the only two people who see it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Motherhood - A Year Later

Summer is in full force with its long days and sweltering highs. Every evening, Zane, Daisy, Rufio and I go on a family walk. As Zane and I debrief about our days and Rufio inhales the familiar smells of the neighborhood, Daisy babbles to herself. "Da-da, da-da, da-di." 

The end of June nears, I see 4th of July pins on Pinterest, and I remember where I was last year: hugely pregnant and waiting for Daisy to be born already. We'll celebrate her first birthday on June 30, which came around again way too fast. 

How fast? This fast: 


Our nightly routine is dinner, walk, bath, and bed time. Daisy knows the routine, and by the time I get her in jammies, she's ready. She holds her blanket, sucks her thumb, and snuggles on my shoulder as we rock in the creaky rocker. I sometimes think that the creaking sound should freak me out, but nothing unsettles me in her bedroom. It's serene. It's peaceful. It's pure. I know that God is watching her, protecting her. It's safe in there.

I sing her a few lullabies and hold her sweet little form close to my chest.

Before I ever got pregnant, I used to sit in that chair and wish for a baby. I would imagine what it felt like to hold a child in my arms. When I hold Daisy, I remember those dreams, and my heart melts. I am powerless to do anything but thank God for giving me the deepest desire of my heart.

She's the sweetest little thing, and I love her so much. It really feels like she's been with us all along, even though we'll be celebrating her first journey around the sun on June 30.

I understand more about life now. Being a mother has opened my heart to depths I didn't know were possible. It scares me sometimes, because I'm more vulnerable to heartbreak than ever, but I've also never lived or loved as much as I have in this year.

I am thankful. Not only because God gave me a child, but because he is changing me and making me new, and motherhood is an unmatched avenue for that growth and maturity.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

DIY Up-Cycled T-Shirt to Tank Top

This is a 15 minute project! 

Old T-shirt
Needle and Thread or Sewing Machine

1. Try on the shirt and mark where you want your new neckline to be. My pin is about 4.5'' down from the collar. 

2. Cut off the sleeves and collar down to where you marked your new neckline. 

3. Cut the leftover sleeves into rectangles. 

Turn the old sleeve (left) into a rectangular strip (right). 

4. Wrap the rectangles around each of your tank top straps. 

5. Sew them closed around the straps. I used a sewing machine and left the edges exposed, but you can hand-sew this easily. 

6. Try it on and adjust the ruffled sleeves to the desired position. 

 Enjoy your new tank top!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Camp Debsters - Summer Fun with Girls

I recently saw this post by We Are That Family for a list of things to do with kids over the summer. Reading through the list reminded me of the several summers I spent during my high school years babysitting/nannying/running a mini day camp for twin sisters.

That was about ten years ago, before iProducts, Pinterest, and blogs. I came up with all our daily activities, and since I was too young to drive, "Camp Debsters" took place in one of the classrooms at the private school where our moms worked.

This is sweet summer Daisy, who is not relevant to this post, except that she's adorable. She's too young for these fun ideas, but eventually this list will apply to her.  

Here's my list of activities to entertain grade school-aged girls:

1. Read a book series out loud. We read aloud all Gail Carson Levine's princess tales one summer.

2. Create a mural. We drew a giant castle with lots of windows for a fairy tale themed mural. As we read through each princess tale book, we added the characters to the mural.

3. Tea parties.

4. Movie afternoon. We watched one Disney movie on Friday afternoons. I know what it's like to babysit (or now parent) for long days, and 90 minutes seems WAY too short. Plus, I'm pretty sure we only watched a movie on Fridays.

5. Easy bake oven. If you're at home, then regular baking!

6. School. We did a little bit of school each day, so they wouldn't forget everything they learned over the summer. We had access to giant chalkboards, which makes schoolwork more fun and they could play teacher. The modern equivalent would be chalkboard paint or dry erase boards, I guess.

7. Paper dolls. We created several dolls from scratch (I drew a body on a manila folder and cut it out), then created hairstyles and outfits for them out of construction paper.

8. Beanie Babies. I know kids aren't into beanie babies anymore, but we played for hours with beanie babies, making up stories about their lives. That's good old-fashioned imagination playing, which can be done with any medium of toy.

9. Dance parties. Need I say more?

10. Telephone story writing. Each person starts writing a story on their own page. After a small amount of time, everyone switches pages, but continues their story on the new person's page. Switch several times, and at the end, each story is mixed up and silly.

11. Hide and Seek.

12. Movie-making. We took our favorite princess tales, created scripts, gathered costumes/props/sets, filmed, and did minor film editing, all with an old-fashioned cassette camcorder. This could be a week-long project if your kids are into it.

Screenshots from one of our movies on June 22, 2000. 

13. Outside sports. This was not my favorite thing to do, especially in Florida, but we did it a little bit. We might have even played with a garden hose/sprinkler a little bit too.

14. Board games.

15. Drawing and coloring.

[UPDATE: My sister Lydia (pictured in our video screen shots) remembered some more and added them in the comments. I'll add them to the official list too!]

16. Hot and Cold game. One person hides toys (we used beanie babies), while the others are outside the room. Then you help them find the toys by saying, "Warmer" or "Colder" as they get closer or farther from the toy.

17. Build a fort!

18. Collages from magazine pictures. I can't believe I forgot this one! Make simple themed collages like "My favorite things." Or you can get more complex by finding different colors to create your own images (like for a daisy, find several bits of green to make a stem, several bits of yellow for a center and bits of white for the petals). So fun!

There could be more things we did, but that's all I can remember from 10 years ago. We did Camp Debsters for something like four summers in a row.

I came up with all the ideas based on things my sisters and I did when we were little. I'm a creative person, so most of my ideas involved creating. I'm sure I bombed on a lot of my ideas for crafts and projects, but the girls were always gracious, and they seemed to love it all.

If you're a mom or are nannying little girls this summer, I hope these ideas are useful! I have great memories of those Camp Debsters days, and I think Mary Beth and Victoria do too!