Friday, April 30, 2010

Mud room/ Office

A few other parts of the house were driving me crazy. And this one still isn't done because we need a new desk and we need to move the craft drawers to the "new" basement, but I did get new shelves for my old mud room.

This middle white shelf we've had forever and I think it was given to us years ago. It was in Claire's room but then we switched it with the brown one (after painting it) that used to be in the mud room. Then I had the idea of some kind of built-in shelves or cabinets for the mud room (which doubles as our homeschooling/craft room) but we don't want to spend the necessary funds on built-ins right away.



I found closets like these white ones at home depot for around $130/piece, but then I found them on craigslist for $50! They had only been used to hold quilting fabric in some older ladies home so they were in perfect condition. So now all of our homeschool books and crafts and also office-supplies are in one place. Our desktop computer totally bit the dust a few weeks ago which is why we got rid of the computer armoire, but we'll need a little desk for the laptop at some point. But for now, I feel like it's so much more spacious!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Basement is done!!!

Alright, folks, one more time for posterity. This was our basement when we moved in. The steps were brown painted but filthy and the walls had been dry-walled but had tons of holes and missing pieces.
Our good ol' friend John Scott patched the dry wall for us (he let me help mud the walls which was actually really fun) and he also sprayed the entire basement with a white primer to cover the dark blue that was EVERYWHERE! Those two steps basically made it possible to make this basement liveable. He also gave us tons of free paint. The only paint I bought was a bucket of porch paint to paint the wooden steps grey.

At the bottom of the steps, you used to see this. A door with a missing pane of glass which leads to a little tiny room that has weird stuff in it that goes under our front porch steps. There is literally an old broken organ in there and one of those washing tubs from the 1800s where there is a wringer to dry the clothes. OK, this one might have been from 1950 actually.

The floors throughout got a coat of paint which may or may not hold up since it was meant for concrete and our floors are tile. I painted the trim of the doors and painted the doors white as well. Then I bought this clearance curtain to hang in front of the broken door window.

So, this was our "big room" before. Mr Tommy ripped out some old cupboards that were moldy and gross, and all I had done up until a few weeks ago was to spray the walls with bleach and move all our junk in there. Really careful of me, right?

Well, the walls got bleached again and John patched the dry wall. Then after he sprayed it with primer, I came back through and painted the walls with his "oops" paint. This rug is an indoor-outdoor rug from Home Depot that I got for $12 on clearance. Then, I painted those little blue stripes on it to make it match the walls. Corny, I know. I got it off of the HGTV website a long time ago though, so I had to try it.

The room has quickly turned into exactly what I wanted it to be: a play room for all the crazy boy toys that this little house has been full of. Legos, playmobil, and train sets along with drums, tiny cars, and blocks of various kinds.

This was the corner of that room leading into another small room.

Here it is now.

Except then I put up these black-and-white pictures of the kids that I haven't been able to find a spot for throughout the other floors of the house. They are from when Claire was 2 and Sammy was a newborn.
Here is where the door leads out of the house in the front.
And here it is now.
Okay, if you turn directly around from facing the front door and walk through the door into the next room, you see this. Okay, this is where it gets REALLY corny because I ran out of the lighter colored basement floor paint and had to switch to the darker colored one. HEY, they were FREE from John, so I wasn't about to buy another bucket of the lighter colored paint. Thus, I decided to make this little squiggle mark on the floor to make it look more purposeful.

To the right, where you see this turquoise shower curtain is the furnace. Don't even look behind that curtain. It's super scary back there.
Then there is this tiny room where I intend to put a big folding table along the wall to throw the laundry on that needs to be folded.

And off of that room, on the left, is this tiny bathroom. I just put up that curtain and painted it and after Mr Tommy ripped out the rotten vanity and redid our plumbing, John gave me this refurbished white one that is working just swimmingly.

And last but not least is my laundry room. I don't have any before pictures, but imagine the dirtiest tile floor EVER and dark blue peeling crusty walls and a dark blue crusty ceiling. The white wall is the original back of the house, so it is brick painted white. The rest of the walls are underneath the addition of the house. 

I can't tell you what a relief this is. We used to have to put on filthy shoes to walk into this basement and then we would take them off at the top of the stairs before walking through the rest of the house. Now it's CLEAN!

It's not perfect, and it's no spacious, finished suburban basement with a wet bar and a big screen TV, but I can't even tell you what adding this little bit of space to our tiny city rowhouse is going to do for my sanity. Now I can breathe. And have this baby. John...thank you! You're the best. Even though that stinky "Paint Jammer" primer stunk up our whole house for a week. It was totally worth it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A few house updates

I found this great coffee table on craigslist last week and fell in love with it. We wanted a glass table to keep the room open and airy, but didn't want anything modern looking. This one has really ancient-looking detailed wrought iron legs and a large beveled glass top. There are no sharp corners, so although it's not exactly baby-friendly, it's not exactly a death trap either. It's also nice and big so that the person in the leather chair can set their drink on it as well!

The basement. Remember the basement? Well, it's not out of house beautiful or anything, but if you look back at the last post I did of the basement, you'll notice that things have slightly improved. The staircase leading down has been painted bright white and the dangerous nails and hooks and things that were sticking out of the walls have been removed.

Our friend John painted the whole thing with white primer: ceilings and all. I came back in and painted the doors and windows with a satin-y white, and painted the walls with a lighter blue paint than before. John has all this "oops" paint that he bought from Home Depot for $5, so we used that.

"Oops" paint is paint people bought and then took home and realized was not quite right and then returned. So, you can find it for really cheap. Thanks John!

Like I said: it's not House Beautiful or anything, but it's a huge improvement.

Here is the view of the wall on the front of the house. The whole reason for making the basement kid-friendly is so that the kids can run through this door in the summer to use the downstairs bathroom and stuff.

Even the view out the front window is improving. Apparently we have tulips!

Here is my patch-test of basement floor paint. You aren't technically supposed to use it on industrial tile, but it seems like it dried pretty hard so we may just try it anyway. It's all about a clean coat of paint on everything. So that's it!

Baby Showers by Bridget

If you're going to have a baby shower, you should let my friend Bridget throw it for you. I'm not saying she's in the business or anything, but she sure can throw a party! Here she is (she's third from the left) with her three sisters who all came to my shower. Thanks ladies!

She used to have a cafe in Colorado back in the day and she's just basically an incredible cook, so she made about a dozen incredible homemade dishes that everyone enjoyed. We invited church friends, neighborhood ladies, ladies from City Garden, and, of course, family. Here's Matt's mom and sister Rebecca standing by the awesome food spread.

The lovely hostess and her own baby, Annabel.

Cecilia....

...who was there with her mom, Mary, and baby Dixie.

Grandma and Claire! Granda brought me warm-weather maternity shirts (just in time!) and lots of fun baby gear like diaper-changing pads and lots of other fun stuff.

Ms. Nikki V, who made us a great snuggly thing that goes over a baby carrier to keep them warm. Genius!

And sweet baby Isaiah was kind enough to let us model it on him.

The ladies from my mom's group at church were there...at least several of them: Kristin, Breah, and Brigitte.

Here we are: the River City ladies....and baby Isaiah.

Afterwards, Sam and Matt showed up to carry things home for us (we live just a few houses down) and the kids took all the balloons.

The great shower gifts have sparked a renewed interest in baby-doll playing around here. Here, Claire's doll, "Baby Darling" models one of the outfits we received.

Everyone was so generous. I asked for hand-me-downs and things I could borrow and people really showed up with incredible stuff: diapers, outfits, co-sleepers, strollers, (actually the stroller was new from Bridget and her sisters) and much, much more! I was totally overwhelmed.

Here is the stroller we picked out. It's the Jeep Liberty Urban Terrain stroller or something like that. I always wanted a jogging stroller with my other kids but never got one for myself for some reason. And they make them so nice now-a-days with the swivelling front wheel and all! Baby Doll "Hope" is getting a ride here.

And Matt's mom got us a "Jenny-Jump-up". It has been all I could do to keep Sammy out of it.

See what I mean? They are totally into playing "babies" together right now. I love it! Thank you to my lovely hostess for the great shower and for all who came. Especially those who fought terrible traffic driving in from the 'burbs! Darn road construction season!

Sammy's 5th birthday


Matt was out of town all week, but he was a nice daddy and came back on Wednesday night for one night to go to Claire's Awana grand prix race (they had built a car together for it) and so that he could wake up and have birthday breakfast with Sam on Thursday. I can't believe my baby is five! Alright, so really he has seemed 5 for about 2 years, but it still means I officially have all "school aged" children. Well, alright, I have an almost-newborn too, but still!
Grammy and Grandad (my parents) got Sammy a playmobil firetruck and a Schleic catapult. He was thrilled!

Actually, I had told my mom this is what Sammy wanted, but when he opened the catapult I was informed that he had wanted a CANNON...not a catapult. So, while he was in school that morning, Claire and I went back and exchanged it for a cannon. Actually, we exchanged it for a playmobil pirate ship that HAD a cannon on it for the same price as the Schleic cannon. I am kinda mildly obsessed with Playmobil right now. They have the cutest stuff!

Aunt Laura and the cousins called to sing him Happy Birthday early in the morning and he liked it, but was embarassed...hence the funny face.

We got Sammy legos that Claire and I got to pick out at the Lego Store on Michigan Avenue. That was a very fun experience because the lego store has these walls filled with bins of individual legos and you can fill up a tub with whichever specific lego pieces you want! We got lots of wheels and steering wheels because Sam and Claire mainly like to make cars. Matt was picked up at around 7:30am to go back to Indiana, but he still got to play for a while with the new presents before he left.

I also really like legos right now. It's something they will both play with for a pretty extended time, so I feel like they are worth the money, which I rarely say about toys.

This is the firehouse that Sammy built out of cutting boards, blocks, and a stool for his Playmobil firefighters. All of this happened before 8am you know and he had been up for about 2 and a half hours at this point. It was a LONG day, especially with Matt gone that night too, but it was a fun day nonetheless. Happy Birthday Sammy Sam!

(His original loot, before the exchange for the Playmobil pirate ship)