It’s Curtains for the Foster Room

Before we left for Hawaii, we checked one final project off the list – installing a curtain rod in the Foster Room.  You may remember these green curtains from our Master some time ago, but when we replaced them with something new (seen in the background here) I stashed these away thinking they might somewhere else.  Looks like I was right.  To be honest they aren’t really curtains – they are actually table cloths, as are the new curtains in our room.  I prefer to use table cloths because they are less expensive, typically dirt & moisture resistant and come in long lengths to fit our high ceilings.  Plus they are washer friendly so I can take them down and run them on the sanitary cycle to help combat my severe allergies.


The curtain rod is more industrial pipe just like what we used on the bed and other projects such as this, this and this.   We’ve found that this is best option for window treatments in our house since the dogs and cat like to play in the fabric occasionally and kept ripping the screw mounted brackets of traditional curtain rods out of the wall.


The hubs put the pipe pieces together with a 90* elbow on each end to give a bit of depth and made sure to put the curtain rings on before mounting – that’s a key step in this style of rod since it’s more permanent.  Luckily the ring clips add a little extra length to the overall effect and making taking the curtain down or switching them out super easy.  Here’s a closer view of the pipe and ring clips.


Now we just need to install a closet system and finish up this side of the room.  I’m on the hunt for a small dresser for the left side of the bed since the side table I picked up and revamped isn’t working out the way I planned it.  I’ll share that project soon as well.  The closet is next to that space on the right of the bed where the stools currently are.  I’m planning a fold down desk in that spot, which can also be a chalkboard!  Someone gave us a second twin mattress for the trundle under the industrial cart bed, which was a little thicker than we planned for so we’ll have to adapt the trundle frame to fit a bit more clearance.


The fabric you see at the bottom is the thin blanket currently protecting the sheets from the bed frame.  Although it works, the color isn’t right for this space so I’ll swap it out for something else when it’s all finished.  I think we already have a blanket that will work, but I’ve got to test it out before I commit it to this purpose.  Luckily having a blanket on the trundle eliminates the need for a bed skirt so it serves two purposes, and you know how much I love things that pull double duty!  The two standard pillows against the wall work for the main bed and trundle while the king pillow in front is an extra in case there are friends who stay over with a sleeping bag.  I plan to let the children who stay with us pick out throw pillows to add to the bed so they can show off their personality and interests a bit, then have something they can take with them when they leave our home.

I’m loving how this room is coming together and the fun industrial vibe it’s developing.  I’m hoping to have it wrapped up in the next month so we can start the final preparations to become foster parents.  It’s going to be a big change but I’m sure it will also bring big rewards for both us and those who’s lives we’re about to be a part of.

Storage in the Foster Room


As promised, today I’m sharing what’s underneath the art display boards in the Foster Room that I showed you yesterday.  I created a fun storage cubby system with simple wooden crates which can hold books and toys.  I got the idea from one of my favorite blogs and originally planned to mount the crates on the wall like she did, but wanted the option to use them occasionally as props for photo sessions occasionally so instead I opted to just stack them on the floor.


I was a little worried that the baseboard would make the bottom row stick out more than the top row and leaving a small gap behind the crates would make them unsteady which could be a safety issue around children but when I set them up they felt pretty sturdy. I figured only going two rows high keeps things at kiddo level so there’s no need to reach or lean on them and keeps the center of gravity on he whole group low so I’m not worried about it.


It coordinates with the art display boards well and is just as flexible since we can change up what’s in each cubby to fit each child’s interests.  There is also a digital frame in the lower left crate where we can load pictures of things that they like, which should be a fun project to do together when they arrive to get to know them and serve a dual purpose as a nightlight.   The wide openings are perfect for storing books and the toys I’ve started collecting such as the adorable elephant a co-worker knitted and one I found on Etsy years ago.


I also ordered this peg doll set which should be interesting for a wide range of ages.  Since we don’t know who will be placed with us I got both the boy and girl sets which can be played with separately or paired up.  The cute purple crab in the back is something from my days working at the YMCA that I’ve kept.  I thought it was something fun a child might like and since it’s made of Styrofoam it shouldn’t be dangerous for them to play with.


Next to the crates I put some mega blocks in a basket for easy access and clean-up.  I found a large bag of them on the local buy/sell page for a few dollars and likes that they are larger so they won’t be a choking hazard for smaller children.  Next to that is a bean bag I used to use for newborn sessions before I got my professional poser pillow.  I think it makes a fun little reading spot right next to the book storage.


Since I bought the crates on sale and with coupons good for a percentage off a single item, gathering enough to make the cubbies required several trips to Michaels but it was worth the savings – especially since I go there often for my day job and can make a separate personal purchase while there! I used stain I had left over from the Moose Mount Board in the guest room for both the display boards and the crates so that was an additional savings.  Next up are the window treatments, which I’ll share tomorrow!

Foster Room Art Wall

I’m still sorting through Hawaii photos and collecting my thoughts so I can share all the things we did with tips for those who are planning trips which I’ll share in several posts next week.  Until then, I thought I’d give you an update on some of the projects we completed in the Foster Room before our trip.  One I really like are these simple art display boards.


I needed something to fill the large empty wall, but also wanted it to be changeable with the seasons and each child’s interests without costing a lot so when I saw this idea on one of my favorite blogs I knew it was the perfect answer.  It was such a simple project that I did it all while watching TV and didn’t take any photos of the steps, but here’s the quick run down:

  1. Stain or paint pre-cut boards with favorite color.
  2. Screw in eye bolts at each end of the board.
  3. Loop gauged wire through the eye bolt and twist back on itself a few times.
  4. Pull wire taunt across the board to the other eye bolt and cut to appropriate length.
  5. Loop other end of wire through second eye bolt and twist it back on itself a few times.
  6. Adjust wire and eye bolts as needed to make wire tight. (I used pliers to tilt the eye bolts outward a bit for some extra tension.)
  7. Add small metal clips to the wire for hanging art.


It’s the perfect simple solution and it can double as a spot to display little artworks to be oohh’ed and ahhhh’ed over.  For now I put up some simple dog and cat art I found online as placeholders.  I think the total cost came in under $30 and I have a third left over board stained and ready to be used for another project.


Tomorrow I’ll show you what we set up below these boards for more display and storage space so check back for that!

A Quick Revamp

Aloha!  It’s been quiet around the blog the last few weeks because the hubs and I had a little get away to Hawaii!  It was an amazing trip and I’ll be sharing information on all that we did while there in the next few days once I get a chance to sort through the masses of photos I took.  Until then here’s a quick little upcycle project I did a while back and never shared (hence the lack of snow in the before photo!).

I bought this wooden wall art at a furniture store when we first moved to the mainland about three years ago.  I was drawn to the details of the carved wood and always liked it but it blended in with the wall color at the new house too much for my liking so it languished in the “not sure where to put this pile”.Before

A quick coat of chalk spray paint from Michaels and a little distressing took it from pretty basic to awesome rustic!


Now it looks like something you’d see on HGTV’s Fixer Upper!  Although I really love the new look, I don’t have a spot for it in the house any more so I’ve got it set aside for the next bazaar and will post it on the local décor buy/sell page in the meantime.  Hopefully someone else will have the perfect home for it and snag it up.

Looks Good, Smells Good


I’m not sure where the past week has disappeared to but I certainly don’t want it back.  I’ve been handling some mini “crises” at work, preparing for a trip, dog sitting a VERY active puppy and just trying to keep the to-do list flowing so I haven’t had time to work on projects or edit photos of ones I’ve done recently.  Hopefully this weekend will provide some much needed catch-up time.  Until then here’s a quick look at some new wax warmers I got and am really loving.

Long ago the hubs and I made an agreement that I should not have burning candles because I tend to forget them, which is obviously not very safe.  So instead I have flameless candles for decorating and wax warmers for scents.  I used to have the table top style warmers but have recently moved to the smaller outlet style option because they are easier to clean and don’t take up horizontal space.  I like to have a themed warmer in the entry way and loved the simple winter look of the one seen above.  It went up before Christmas and will probably stay put until spring officially arrives in Alaska.
This one is in the master bathroom and provides a wonderful glow.  It’s the perfect nightlight with just the right amount of light to let you see what you’re doing but not be a shock to tired eyes.  The beautiful pattern and metal tone of the finish are an added bonus.  Even the hubs commented on how nice it was!  Since we were so happy with this style in our bathroom I decided to get one for the hall bath as well.


I originally planned to buy the same one again, but noticed this pattern from another brand on the same shelf and thought it would have a similar glow. It does and the simpler design fits well with the décor in the hall bath better. Now our guests will have plenty of light to see what they’re doing if they need to make a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It also illuminates the little basket of essentials I put out below it which is also helpful.


The first two warmers are from the Better Homes and Garden line at Walmart, but the one in the hall bathroom is from brand called ScentSationals also from Walmart.  All three came with toppers for the wax area which give them a cleaner look than the open air ones I’ve had in the past.  I choose not to use the topper on the winter version just because the wax bowl isn’t very large so I didn’t want the topper sitting in wax if I put two cubes in, but it works just fine without it.  The warmers I had in these locations have since moved to other areas of the house or been sold so it was an efficient change as well.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a space feel homey and I think these do just that.  Do you use wax warmers?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience with them and what your favorite scents are since I’m always testing out new ones each season! :)

Little Moments

Being a photographer, I naturally have a TON of pictures of our fur babies, but it’s not as easy to get those great shots as you might think.  Such was the case when I attempted to get a few new shots of the dogs last weekend.  I had just gotten home from a portrait session and the snow was starting to fall but there was great light.  I thought, “This is a perfect opportunity to get some pictures of them with the wood pile, which will make a unique background I haven’t done before.”  Giddy with the mental image in my head of two smiling pups in front of this interesting background I call the dogs outside and we play for a few minutes as we make our way out to the wood pile.

Once there they are definitely game to investigate the stacks of logs, but forget about posing.  There’s just too much to see and sniff!  Tequila puts her paws up on one of the stacks and I wait for her to look over at me, but whatever was across the driveway was obviously more interesting and .2 seconds later she was over there checking it out.
I figured I’d give them more time to play since they hadn’t been out for a while and then try again once they burned off some energy.  Ten minutes later I get them both in front of the wood pile, tongues out and excitement in their eyes.  I decided to try to get a shot before crouching down to their level in case this doesn’t last.  In the instant it takes to put my camera to my eye their faces change to this.  Sigh.
So I tell them to stay, get down to their level and try to catch their interest without causing them to move from the spot they are in.  This is when they decide to play a game with mom called Look Here, Look There.  Tequila went first.
Stoli went next.
Then they looked in tandem, but in different directions over my shoulders.
And then in opposite directions away…
I said treat to get them focused and Tequila played along but Stoli had to check the other side too, just in case.  Deep breath.
Tequila decided she’d had enough and went to explore, but Stoli hung out for a moment so I snapped a few solo shots even though he refused to look at me and threw in a snaggle lip for good measure.

2Ok, at least that’s decent and you don’t look like a pirate…
Tequila came back about then and climbed up on top of the wood pile. While not the background I envisioned, it’s still a fun shot so I get into position and bam, she has to check the woods behind her.
Next she posed but wouldn’t look at me.
Then gave in and did look at me, just in time for a huge snowflake to cover her eye.
Finally I get this shot as she watches a car approach on the road, not bad but still not what I wanted.
So I move around to where she’s looking and draw her attention up.  Yes!  This will work!  Until she wiggles the moment I press the shutter button…Really?!
Seeing sister on the wood pile, Stoli wants in on the action and climbs up when Tequila runs off but continues their game of don’t look at mom.
I get him to sit but still, no looking at mom.  And now we’re going to make faces.  Not the cute kind.  The frustrating kind. This is the I’m cold and I don’t want to be sitting in the snow face.
This is the what is sister doing that I’m missing out on because I’m stuck here so I’m going to snort my displeasure face.
This is the whatever face…
So I say whatever myself and tell them “Go Play” to which they happily bound off into the falling snow running and growling like wild crazed animals.  Heathens I tell you, heathens!




Cold and disappointed I round them up and tell them to head inside.  A few hours later I download the images just to see what I might be able to salvage and find these two little gems hidden between all the faces above.
Still not the shot I envisioned, but both make my momma’s heart smile.  And that’s why I always overshoot, because it’s those little in-between moments that turn out the best. But that’s how life is, it’s the little fleeting moments that you forget as quickly as they happen that make it all worth while. :)

A Family Heirloom Revamped


During my recent 2015 recap I realized I never shared the refinish of my hope chest we had a local painter do, so that’s what I’m sharing today!  It’s a large cedar chest that’s been handed down from my great grandmother and is my one true family heirloom so I was too nervous to refinish it myself.  Luckily I connected with Anne-Tiques a husband and wife team who revamp and upcycle furniture and décor.  Their style was very similar to mine and they immediately understood what my vision was so I knew they’d do a good job.  Here’s a before shot of what they started with.


It was in good shape and study, but it was too dark for my style and needed a little touchup.  I picked out a cream base and a light grey top coat so they could distress it a bit and let both colors show.  Here’s how it looks now!


The new color makes it modern and rustic all at the same time, which is a perfect fit for our home.  I love how the colors blend together for a soft finish and how they compliment the other colors in the guest room. Apparently others like this look too because I recently saw another blogger’s post about refinishing a similar Lane cedar chest with the same color combo.  I think she’s got some great taste! ;)


It also got a little tune up while they were prepping for paint.  They repaired the front molding where there was a small crack and tightened up the legs so now it’s ready for another couple of generations.  And it looks oh so lovely from the doorway of the guest room, where it holds a wealth of extra linens at the ready in case anyone needs an extra blanket during our cold Alaskan winters.


It’s no longer the dated clunky piece in the house, now you can see all it’s pretty details and it feels fresh and new.  I couldn’t be happier!  Have you refinished an heirloom antique?  I’d love to hear about it.  Leave me a comment or link below to share!