Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm in real trouble now!

See what happens when you go visit your kid sister? You come back with a hundred ideas about how to organize your house and Oh! wouldn't it be nice to paint the bedroom and living room again and Oh! what colors should I use and Ooh! we need to build Caitlin a desk/cubby system and on and on and on.

Next thing you know you're falling down the rabbit hole of links and find wall art so sensational that you know you must recreate it in your own room. I'm doomed and here's the picture that doomed me (From Girl in Air's blog. Too crafty for words.). I searched her site thinking that I was looking at a stencil, but it turns out she used a projector and here are the step by step instructions from Vintage Revival's blog. Now I'm seriously all squee-y about those trees and the burning need to paint them in my own room.

No, those aren't going into Caitlin's room. I think I'm done there, other than the cubby/desk furniture. Fortunately for me, I bugged Eric until he couldn't take it anymore got Eric to start work on the desk yesterday. Today I started sanding and filling in holes while he put the drawer together. If I weren't so tired from being up at 3am with a screamy Logan (Why? Whyyyy did I offer to let them sleep with me last night?!), I'd be out in the garage right now priming that sucker.

I should probably take pictures, huh?

Tomorrow, in daylight, I'll take pictures.

Then I'm gonna bug the heck out of Eric to finish the cubby system until we can get all of Caitlin's crap out of our room so that I can start work on renovating our bedroom! Lemme tell you, it's a wreck.

I don't know about you, but my bedroom becomes a dumping ground for all of the laundry, books, confiscated toys and books and other debris that needs to find a home. The main problem with it being our room that I've waited so long to work on is the fact that I know the Diderot Effect will get me. I will want blackout shades that match those in the kids' rooms instead of the ones we installed 16 years ago. I'll want to rip out the carpet and replace it with bamboo flooring to match the rest of the house (Why didn't I just do that when we had the floor installed during the kitchen remodel 9 years ago?! Clearly I'm a blockhead.) and then I'll need to update all of our trim to white to match Caitlin's.

I already gave in to the idea that once I started changing trim out that I'd then have to do the whole rest of the house. Bit by bit.

The problem with me is that once I have an idea for something, I wanna do it now! Now! NOW! Quick! Before my inner slacker takes over!

I can just feel Cindy laughing at me in Canada and my mom shaking her head at me and mumbling something about "not doing anything by halves". Again. Yeah. Fortunately (?) for me Eric is on the critical path (Project manager speak, there. Don't mind me.) to getting stuff built, so I have to move at his speed. His speed, when compared to mine, is often...lackadaisical. (Yeah. Second definition down.) Good thing I'm good at pushing motivating him.

[Breaks out the coconut cupcake recipe.]

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Caitlin's Room Remodel

What does the Hatchet do when she can't garden and doesn't really want to bake bread?

Well, she finds something else to obsess over. Like organizing the house starting with the bedroom of her eldest child; there has never been a room in more desperate need of a good cleaning and makeover as hers.

Here are the Before pictures. However, "before" doesn't mention the 4-6 hours worth of cleaning that it took to get her room into this shape. Three bags of trash. Two bags of recycling. Sweeping and sweeping and vacuuming and sweeping and a great number of unanswerable questions like "Why is there a half eaten quesadilla under her dresser?" and "What's with the billions of tiny pieces of paper?" and "Oh my gawd! Look at her closet! WTH?!".

That last was me since I spent the majority of the time pulling the huge piles of crap out of her closet.

Then we moved all of her stuff into our bedroom, leaving her with a clean/empty room and us with a wrecked/stuffed room.

Anyway, on with the show!
Caitlin with the hippo our friend Steve painted for her right before she was born. It's been almost 10 years; time for a makeover!

The ceiling that I painted with oddly shaped clouds. It's a dog! It's a pig!

This is Caitlin's closet after we had spent hours and hours cleaning her room out. Three bags of trash and two of recycling later, it looked like this. Then we had to COMPLETELY empty it for painting. Her dresser was just pushed in there for a size check.

The wall her dresser used to be on. Note the multiple color paints. This required the use of tinted primer to cover up. Yup. I did that to myself. Oh and there USED to be a wallpaper border, but Caitlin peeled it off when she was 3. After that, I swore I'd never use wallpaper again.

The window wall, left side.

Window wall, right side.

It's been almost 10 years since I last touched that room with a paint brush. At the time, it was a lovely room. It was a nursery, with bright colors and very suitable for an infant. Now...well, she's about to enter double digits, so it seemed like a good idea to take time to remodel her room now rather than wait until the summer when it will be murderously hot and my garden sings its siren song.

Just to put this all into perspective, Caitlin's room is 10' x 10' with 8' ceilings. It took me 10 days to go from the nursery pictures. to this:

AFTER! Woohoo! 
These are display shelves that Eric built and I primed and painted, and the VERY purple walls. Each display shelf is 4' long and built with 1 1x2, and 2 1x6s. Pretty cool and seriously easy. The plans are at

Thanks to my sister Cindy for turning me on to Ana White's DIY site! Next up: a giant shelving/desk system on the opposite wall! Eric is going to be spending a LOT of time building stuff for me this year!

If you don't like lilac/lavender, you won't like this room.

Note that Caitlin also got a new comforter set to complete the makeover. While we were shopping she informed me that she doesn't like pink. I was stunned, I tell you, stunned! So much for my idea for pink accents! That's OK though, I like the bright green and aqua blue.

The room is actually 2 colors: the walls of the main room are a dark lavender (Mystic Purple) and the ceiling and closet interior are a lighter lilac (Purple Dragon). Today I finished painting all of the wood trim bright white, like that shelf in the closet.

We took the sliding doors off her closet with plans to turn them into doors that open outwards and possibly have a shelving unit built in like this, but I'm not sure we have the room.

Nothin's says lovin' like sanding, priming and painting wood trim. I blame Cindy. She convinced me that I should update the trim in my house to white. I bought into the idea and now I will have to go room by room on my hands and knees and change it. Eventually. Maybe in the fall. Spring is coming, after all!

The finished wall where some day there will be a cool desk and a set of cubby shelves like this. Minus all of the pink, of course.

Now all I have left to do is sand, prime and double coat her door and it can go back on its hinges. Then I'll bug Eric to work on the desk and cubby system, which I'll then be required to paint. By the time we're done, there should be no excuses for stuff left on the floor or shoved into the bottom of the closet. Actually, I'm moving her dresser in there, so I'm hoping she won't be able to stuff anything in it!

Later I'll build her an end table and a shelf/cubby for the gerbils to live on where she can store their stuff. Storage! It's all about storage!*

Like I said, I am suddenly obsessed with home organizing and learning how to do some woodworking that will allow us to fit our stuff in our home more comfortably will be awesome!

* Even later still I'll build some toy boxes, maybe more shelves for the twins room and a bench and hook system for the front entryway. I'm sick of shoes all over. I blame Cindy for all of the woodworking ideas!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Regional Spelling Bee and Where HAS the Hatchet Been, Anyway?!

I'm sorry I've been offline for so long. A lot has been going on, not least of which was the fact that I was still processing my trip to Canada.

There's nothing quite like dropping everything, rushing off to hang with your mom and sisters to give you a lot to think about. Then, after I returned home again, Eric and the kids were kind enough to share the plague that they had contracted whilst I was away. I ran a 103.6 - 104 degree fever for a week.

That'd put a dent in anyone's blogging schedule, I betcha.

Add a little crazy life action, a decided lack of desire to edit photos that leave me sad, a screamy Logan (Being ill doesn't suit him.) and a sudden and burning desire to organize my entire house, starting with Caitlin's room and that's where I've been.

Oh yeah, and watching Caitlin at the Regional Spelling Bee.

She really didn't want to go, which I chalked up to nerves. I don't really blame her, but I knew it was better for her to go than to give in and let her skip out. This was a learning experience, people!

Eric studied with her, cramming words in right up to the day of the Bee, after chasing her around for a month trying to get her to study a little at a time. Hmm. Wonder where she inherited the Cramming Gene from, eh?

Anyway, we went to the Bee and it turns out she was slotted to sit in seat #1. Oooooh! No pressure, kid! The kids there ranged from 7(!) to 14. The winner gets an all expenses paid trip to Washington for the National Spelling Bee. How cool would that be?

There in the background is the 3rd time winner of the Regional, a 14 year old. In second place was an 11 year old. Awesome!

Caitlin, like all the other 52 kids, was terrified up on the stage and spent many minutes during the practice round picking the sparkly bits off of her shirt, tapping her feet and holding her breath. Not that we noticed or anything. Or tried to get her to stop. Nope. Heh! (Practice word: "admiral", which she nailed.)

It was fascinating to me to see how the Bee actually worked and that clearly, a number of these kids had all been there before in previous years and had the pattern down!

Conspicuous? Continuous? Oh man! What did he SAY?!

Caitlin's word: "contiguous". Unfortunately, being as nervous as she was, she didn't make better use of the tools they reminded all the kids they could use. Ask to hear the word again, get a definition, and hear it used in a sentence. She missed the -uous by changing it to -ious and that was all she wrote. turns out you only get one opportunity to spell the word and once you say a letter, there are no take-backs.

Suddenly, we were done.

Since we had a sitter watching the twins at home, we took the opportunity and our Champion Speller off for a day of Alone Time with the Parents. We had brunch, did a little shopping and picked up How To Train Your Dragon on DVD. All by ourselves.

Win, lose or draw, it was an excellent day and she's an excellent girl.

We're already negotiating whether or not she is going to be in the Bee next year. Hah! We told her to not even worry about it until next fall. Then we'll see.

Next up: What have I been doing in Caitlin's room?
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