When I was pregnant with Isabelle I was given Gwen Stefani's Sweet Escape as a Christmas gift.
First off, let me tell you that I'm all old school and still listen to CD's instead of downloading music onto my phone and plugging it into the car. And to top that off, until recently I'm pretty sure the last CD I bought was Tool way back in the day.
So, The Sweet Escape was the only CD in my car. Since it was new I listened to it A LOT. Apparently so much that once Izzy was born she was already used to the sound of the songs.
Stick with me here. Have you ever seen the documentaties about sharks? No??? I'm the only one that watches that stuff? Sharks terrify me so I like to know as much about them as possible. Anyways, once a shark gets turned onto its back they go from crazed killers to completely harmless docile creatures. THAT is what Wind it Up would do to my screaming unconsolable Izzy in the back seat. It was magic.
After almost 3 and a half years it's finally starting to wear off. And now that I'm pregnant with No. 2 I needed something new for the second kiddo to get used to.
I ended up with Adele's 21. Love that girl's voice.
Izzy approves. She has declared Set Fire to the Rain as her song, and demands to hear "her song" over and over again. You guys should see her when it comes on. Hands and arms moving around ala Mariah Carey, belting her little heart out the best she can.
Today I'm excited to be posting my project for the Ready 4 Summer Blog Party!!!
When we purchased our house we were fortunate enough to have it include a playset in the backyard. It had seen better times and definitely needed some tlc, and with Izzy wanting to be outside 24/7 I figured it was time to finally do something about it.
Now that you've seen the pretty, let me bring on the ugly. Here's what we started with.
It was sturdy and... well that's about all it had going for it.
You see those green plastic panels on the playhouse portion? Yeah, when we unscrewed and took them off we found loads of wasp and spider nests inside the crevices. FREAK OUT!!! Picture me jumping up and down from foot to foot, arms flailing in the air when I found out my hand had been practically touching a monster spider nest with a huge "friend" inside. Ugh, I get chills thinking about it again :( Not the place I want my baby girl playing in.
What we did:
Remove any broken or unsafe pieces - The plastic panels went to the curb (along with their inhabitants) and were replaced with pressure treated decorative fence slats. We just cut them down to the correct length, slapped it up, predrilled to prevent splitting the wood, and then screwed them into place using outdoor decking screws.
Check for loose nails/screws - Look around for any nails/screws that may have slide out of place over the years and hammer/screw them back into place. Don't want any little fingers or toes to find those before you do!
Power wash - I thought I could get it cleaned off pretty well just by using our garden hose and attachment. Didn't work. The north side of the set was covered in a green filmy moss. We ended up borrowing a power washer from some friends, and boy oh boy did it make a world of difference! It looked a million times better just being power washed, and if you choose to stain your playset it will make that go on much better.
Stain - What totally freshened ol girl up for me was the coat of stain. Use an outdoor deck stain. We went with a natural cedar. You can tell there's a difference in the color of the new wood pieces and the old, but it's certainly not something that bothers me.
Spray paint - The slide and swingy thing (no clue what it's really called) were in good shape, just badly faded by the sun. A coat of primer, a couple coats of paint, and one to two coats of clear went on both. Be sure to use spray paint meant for use on plastic.
Replace old swings - I must have tossed out the extra swing when I put up her pink baby swing so I just ended up buying two new swings. They were $25 a piece from Home Depot, and really helped update the playset. Now I don't have to worry about her and her friends arguing over who gets to swing in the pink baby swing anymore ;)
Top it off - You can find new playhouse tops at most home improvement stores that carry playsets, but I wanted something a little different so I ended up purchasing outdoor fabric and making my own. Most outdoor fabric is 54" wide - giving you just enough width to fold the selvage edges over and run a quick seam down the sides.
I also sewed on velcro in three spots up front and three spot in back. This attaches to the velcro that I stapled to the roof. This will make it easy to take the top off in the winter months and put it back on in warmer months.
Fun stuff - Izzy loves watch Disney's Jake and the Neverland Pirates. So when I spotted the play telescope while looking for replacement swings, I just had to get it. She LOVES it and says she likes spying on Ruffino (our dog) the best. Thank God, because that would have been awkward had she mentioned the neighbors behind us :D
Now let your kiddos free to go enjoy their newly madeover playset!
A really good friend of mine just had her 3rd baby girl! And let me tell you, she is PRECIOUS.
So... what to get the mommy that literally already has everything?
Yeah, I still don't know! But, I thought some handmade paci clips might be a fun addition :)
ribbon for backing (I used 7/8" grosgrain)
ribbon for embellishing
suspender/mitten clips (found mine at Joann's)
sewing machine and thread
Here we go!
STEP ONE: For your fabric, snip 1/2 inch down into your fabric (along the selvage grain) and tear. Do this for both sides and you'll have nice and straight frayed edges. My strips ended up being approx 1 inch wide by approx 24 inches long (this is long so you'll have enough length left after you ruffle the fabric). Now cut your piece of ribbon for the backing. Mine was 12 inches long.
STEP TWO: I used a gathering foot to make the flat ruffles on my fabric. But, you can make ruffles without a gathering foot by sewing a straight line down the center using the longest stitch length available on your machine. Leave yourself long threads at the beginning and end of your fabric. Pull one of the end threads tight while holding onto the fabric. The fabric will pull itself into ruffles.
STEP THREE: Stitch the gathered fabric directly on top of the length of cut ribbon.
STEP FOUR: Cut a piece of embellishing ribbon the length of your fabric piece and stitch in place.
STEP FIVE: Slide a clip onto one end of the fabric strip. Fold raw edge under, pin, and stitch in place.
STEP SIX: Fold last raw edge over and place one of the velcro pieces on top and pin in place. Place the opposite piece of velcro approx. 1 inch down, pin, and stitch both in place.
Voila!!! Now wrap them on up and send them over to your favorite new momma. And don't forget the food, mommas like food ;D
Hope everyone is enjoying their summer thus far! We're already baking here in Kansas. I'm mentally trying to prepare myself for another summer of 100+ temps. Fun, fun!
Speaking of fun, I have something to tell you about that really is fun!
Maggie from Midwestern Girl DIY and Kristin from Simply Klassic Home are hosting a mega Ready 4 Summer Blog Party!!! The party runs all next week, June 18-22. There you can get your fill of multiple summer ideas everyday and join in on the fun with a daily link party!
I'm ubber excited to be a part of this party, yay! My project will be going up here on my site next Wednesday. Here's a hint - it's going to be a "swinging good time", ha!
Want to get in on the party too? Here's the schedule of events so you can join in on the link parties.
For Isabelle's 3rd birthday our gift to her was to get her into ballet classes. Something she has been asking to do for a while now.
Me, working hard on my Mother of the Year Award, kept forgetting to call and get her into a class. The poor thing got to the point where every night before bed she would say, "You forgot about ballet again Mom!!!" Awesome feeling right there :(
After feeling like THE WORST mother in the world, I finally got my rear in gear and got her in.
The first half of the class they teach the girls tap, then ballet and tumbling. Getting to wear her "clickity-clack shoes", as she calls them, was the icing on the cake! I got such a kick out of watching her bounce around with the biggest grin on her face :)
...the first thing you're going to need are the balls to get started!
This is my grandmother's piano
I have so many fond memories of sitting at this piano with my grandmother as a child. To me it was magical.
When the piano came to me I had no plans to change it, just leave it as is. But, every time I walked passed I noticed just how old she was looking with gashes and some of the veneer peeling away. So after months and months of waffling I finally decided to fix the bad spots and refinish her. Deciding to do it was much easier than actually diving into it. I was skeerd!!!
Then one day I grew some balls, and without planning on it I ran to the garage and came back with some sandpaper. In less than an hour she was all sanded! "Looks like there's no turning back now!"
A couple of hours later, after a quick trip to the store, she was primed.
And the next day she was wearing her first coat of black paint!
I'll admit, I was feeling a bit cocky at this point. I was shocked at how quickly everything was moving, and was wondering why I hadn't tackled this project sooner.
Then reality set in as the tedious task of applying polyacrylic and sanding over and over took hold. "Ahhhhhh!!!! Someone make it stop!!!!" In the end it was totally worth it, and honestly not as painstaking of a process as I imagined it to be.
I think grandma would be pleased :)
Here are some pointers if you get the balls to refinish a piano ;)
1. Take apart as much of the piano as you're comfortable with. Some tutorials took all the keys out. That FREAKED me out so all I took apart was the music stand, the top cover, and the front panel that hides the guts.
2. Use wood glue to reattach any veneer that's pulling away, and wood filler for any gashes.
3. Cover the keys before sanding to avoid dust getting in and causing the keys to rub or possibly seize up. I used paper. Don't forget the primer!!! It will get that paint a stickin and will keep you from having to use multiple coats of paint.
4. If you're leaving the keys in place like I did, use a metal spatula to push the keys down and protect them when applying the primer, paint, and poly.
5. Use flat paint and a polyacrylic to achieve a nice high gloss look. The flat paint adheres really well, and the polyacrylic will give you the gloss look without yellowing over time.
6. A small arts and crafts brush comes in handy for working in tight areas, and for the space right above the keys that I mentioned in Tip 4.