Thursday, August 29, 2013

{Re*Made}: My Student Desk Redo

I've mentioned before my love of shopping my local Habitat Restore.  And they've made shopping so much easier now by uploading inventory pictures on Facebook.  And even easier yet since you can call and pay for an item over the phone, which is great since I don't live in the same town.  But it could be a really, really bad thing....if you know what I mean. (:

Recently, I was looking at a newly-uploaded album posted by said store, and my eyes alighted to this desk:

Student Desk, $25
So nostalgic, so clean, so mid-century modern.  I fell in love at first sight.  And they only wanted 25 bucks!  A steal!  I've never seen the double desk, or at least don't remember using them in school.  So I knew I needed it.  It would make a perfect desk for me.  And it was so clean and modern.  I don't get to do that much in my house but this was for my space, so I had to have it.

The big question would be the size.  Would it fit in place of my existing desk?  So I called to get measurements.  The girl was so sweet and measured for me.  Width was perfect, depth was smaller than my current desk but would still work.

Never paid attention to height.

So I paid for it and made arrangements for pick-up the next day.

That afternoon, still excited and anxious about my purchase, I recalled our phone conversation and remembered the height.  25"  Didn't really think about it at the time {I was too excited it was going to fit where I needed it to}, but suddenly that number stuck out.  It seemed kinda low for a desk.

Hesitantly, I grabbed my measuring tape and pulled it out to 25", then held it against my current desk.  


It was low, much lower than my desk.  Like the size of a little kid.  Of a little student.  And suddenly the title "student desk" took on a whole new meaning.  {Although I have a full head of brown hair, I have been accused on more than one occasion of being blond.  This is one of those times to substantiate that claim.  Ugh.}

I hoped that that sweet girl had measured wrong, or I was remembering wrong, but deep inside I knew the truth.  Which was confirmed when we went to pick it up.  

This was a desk made for young minds eager to learn how to read, to write, to not eat get it.

I had relayed my fears to the hubby before we had picked it up and our minds had already begun to think of solutions.  Since I had already paid for it, I was going to make it work.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  {Thanks, Mom, for that.}

Once we got it home and really looked at it, the solution was pretty simple, and also gave me the idea of how I was going to refinish it.

The very bottom of the legs was actually a separate piece of metal tubing that could be moved up or down to adjust the height.  The 25" height was as much as we were going to get, but if we could just find metal pipe the same diameter as the existing legs, we could get as much height as we wanted.

Lucky for me, we had pipe the perfect size from another project that didn't quite work so the hubby cut them down into 6 equal-sized pieces.

He then put his newly acquired welding skills to the test and created new feet using feet from old cubicles at his work.  We had hoped to use the original feet but they just weren't going to work.  With the new feet and higher legs in place, she was ready to be refinished.  {Sorry, no "in-between" pictures.  I didn't do a good job documenting this one, ha ha!}

The two different colored metals--the new leg extensions were galvanized--inspired me to do a dipped-leg look.  I also knew I wanted this desk to be bright and fun since most of our house is neutral.  I wanted my work space to be colorful.  So I picked a green--Rust-oleum Painter's Touch Apple Green to be exact--for the desk color and a metallic silver for the "dipped" color.  I also painted the edge of the top in silver.

So cute!

I had decided this desk was going to be my computer desk with work space for writing, sketching, etc, so I wanted to do something different for the top than just painting it.  Something inspiring...

When we first started work on our house--the cleaning work--there was an encyclopedia set still in the house.  It was a set from the 60's, not entirely intact and not in the best condition.  But it had some neat vintage/retro images and maps and diagrams, and I ended up tearing out lots of the articles, especially the architecture and interior design articles.  I had no idea at the time what I would use them for, but now I had an answer.

I picked a select few of the pages with design images and laid them out on the desk top for a collage.  After several coats of Mod-Podge, I had an awesome new desk top.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up putting a plexi top on to protect the pages even more.  But I love the look:  black and white and green.  Great color combo.  Great vintage look too, but modern.

Once I got the desk in place, however, I quickly found that a standard office chair wasn't going to work.  Because it was made for students--young students--the chair openings were not made to hold chairs meant for "older" students.  So I started searching for a chair that had a seat width of 16" or less.  Not an easy task when most chairs are at least 18" wide.

Once again, the design gods shone down on me via Craigslist.  My hubby was actually the one that found it, although he was looking for something completely different.  But it was one of those posts that lists like 10 items for sale, and while he was looking at his thing, he found my thing.  Yay for me!

We went to check it out and I measured before we purchased {not gonna make THAT mistake again!}, but before we could leave with my SUPER CHEAP chair, the guy says, "Wait, you can't leave with less than what you paid for."  Huh?  But I was leaving with what I paid for....

So he hands me this lamp:

"Here, take this too."  Um, OK!  Can you see those awesome lines?!  I was in need of a desk lamp for this desk and now I had one.  I instantly knew it would get painted black.

We tried to find a replacement shade, but I have never seen a shade like this before:

so I just ended up painting it like the lamp.

Of course the chair got a makeover as well.  I went with black--Krylon's Fusion for Plastic Gloss Black, keeping with the black and white and green thing, then painted the metal frame the same silver as the "dip."

I am going to add a removable cushion because this tushie needs some cushie sitting here designing all day, ha ha!  But I am so happy with the overall space.  You've probably seen from most of the {My Old House} posts that our decor leans more on the traditional/antique/vintage side of things with a touch of contemporary, so this little touch of mid-century modern makes me happy every time I see it.

You can see my awesome craft cabinet in that pic.  See how it got to looking so awesome here!!

And I love sitting here looking at all the encyclopedia pages.  Great inspirations!

Needless to say, I'm in love with this space!

Aren't you? (:

Ok, here are the final "befores & afters."  Makes me happy, happy, happy!

So, whaddya think??  Awesome, yeah?

Have a good one!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lace Window Screen

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I love Pinterest.

Really, though, who doesn't?

I've pinned so many things that most ideas get forgotten or pushed aside for the newest "That is so cool!" pin.  And then there are the ones that you pin thinking, "O my goodness, how awesome would that be in my house!," all the while knowing it would never happen, so they kinda get pushed aside as well.

There was one in my early pinning days that I thought was just beautiful and a REALLY cool idea, so naturally I pinned it, even with that voice in the back of my mind reminding me how totally impractical it is.

But it was so pretty it was hard to forget.

See?  How lovely is that?

But how silly!

That white, dainty lace would be brown in no time flat {at my house anyways}, with all kinds of bugs stuck in it.  You could probably only wash it so much {read: spray it with the water hose} before it was just terribly tattered.  It would be pretty for a little while but you would end up replacing it more than anyone would like.

So, once again, that practical side of me RUINED that lovely scene.  No lace screens for me.  But the girl can still dream.


Remember how we added on a new laundry/mud room?  If you saw that post, you probably know where this is headed.  {I really meant to get this post done sooner, but such is life.....}

In doing the new room as inexpensively as possible, we shopped second-hand for some of our major parts.  And the new entry door was one of those items.  {Sorry I don't have a full before pic.  The hubby was SO SWEET to disassemble the door for me before I got those pics, and although he offered to put it back together for me for that pic, I couldn't do that to him.}

I'm going to guess 70/80's with the door style.  But it is solid wood with a louvered-glass full window.  For 20 bucks.  I couldn't pass up solid wood for $20!  Most hollow-core metal doors we looked at were at least $80 and that was with just a window up top.  So we jumped on it, embracing the louvered window.  

What was also different about this door is that because the glass opens out, the screen was on the INSIDE.  Where it would be protected from the elements.  Where lace would stay white!  YAY!

Ok, now do you see where I'm headed? (:

I actually had some old lace curtains in my linen closet that were still in the house when we moved in.  You can see them in use in the Living Room post.  My mom had picked them out when I was growing up here, so I was a bit sentimental about them.  But we have reworked that room a bit, which I hope to reveal soon, so I had these curtains to spare.

I did refinish the door a bit, just to freshen it up.  It was painted white at one time but that paint job was in bad shape, so I scraped off as much as I could, used paint stripper for most of the rest, then sanded off the stubborn stuff.  Once I had it all off, I painted the exterior side white {to match the trim on the house} but left the interior unpainted wood {which matches the other doors in the house}.

I also painted the metal trim piece that holds the glass louvers in place.  It was plain ol' aluminum and the finish was pretty bad but a couple of coats of spray paint fixed that!

The last thing to do was the screen, which ended up being much easier than I expected.

I removed the old screen from its frame, then laid it on top of my lace curtain.  I cut around the old screen, giving myself about an inch leeway just in case.  Then I laid the cut lace piece on the screen frame and reinserted the metal tube thingies {real technical, I know} to hold the lace in place.  I would imagine all these steps are how you would replace old screens on your windows, but I've never done that so....  If you have, you'll be a pro at this! ;)

Because I gave myself that little bit of play room I did have some lace sticking out from the frame.  I tried trimming with scissors and with an Exacto knife, but found the best way to remove the excess lace was actually by burning it off with a lighter.  You have to be careful to not really light it on fire but get the flame just close enough to "melt" the threads.  These curtains are probably like a polyester something-or-other blend so they melted pretty easy.

But that was pretty much it.  I put the screen in place on the door, and voila!

I love the look and the dual purpose it serves:  a screen {although we rarely open the louvers} and a window covering.  The lace still acts like a curtain {although I'm not sure what else I expected it to act like?!}, letting in natural light into the space but adding a bit of privacy as well.  As I mentioned before, the way our house sits on the property, most people assume that is our front door, so I like having it semi-transparent.

I've contemplated using this same technique but as indoor shutters.  Just haven't found the right windows yet. Anyone wanna try and share? (:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sock Monkey for the First

The hardest part about being around kids is how quickly they grow up.  It's so crazy to look at pictures of how little they were thinking that was just last month, when in reality it was like a year or more ago.

Case in point:  my nephew, Zachary, who just turned one!  Didn't I throw a baby shower for his mom just a few months ago?!  And I could swear it was just a few weeks ago when my mom held him at a couple of days old.  But, no, that was a little over a year ago....which means she's been gone almost a year....but this is a happy post, so I move on...

So this precious little thing is now a year old, and with a birthday generally comes a party.  And this one's theme?  Sock monkey!

I feel like my mom was all over this party, even though she was just watching from on high.  At some point in Zachary's infancy, my mom bought him a sock monkey.  And it's not just any sock monkey; this one plays peek-a-boo and giggles.  Omygoodness, it is soooo cute!!  You just can't help but giggle along with it! And Zachary loves that thing.

So sock monkey love has always been in the forefront, and it was only natural that the party would go in that direction.

Again, like with Matthew's party, their mom and I started in Pinterest, gathering ideas for the party.  We soon realized this one wasn't going to be as elaborate as Matthew's, only because it was going to be outdoors at our local park, which wouldn't be a very favorable environment for decorations {lakeside = lots of wind!}, so our focus were the invites and his portrait outfit.

Zachary's mom quickly found an argyle print in light blue, red & chocolate brown that she LOVED and thus our color scheme was born.

I took that idea and ran with it for the invites.

Unlike Matthew's invites, these were about the graphics so I created the argyle print and drew the sock monkey.  There was a special request with the sock monkey that, I admit, had me tearing up a bit as I added it.

See that little detail on the monkey?  The heart with the white ribbon?

That was a special nod to my mom.  Even now thinking about it makes my heart hurt a little.  But I appreciated the thought to have her be apart of this special day, even though she isn't here, physically.

But I think these turned out pretty cute.  I actually did a version with a red & white polka dot background that was also really cute.  Thinking of adding it my shop as a printable.  What do you think?


I mentioned a portrait outfit.  We found this on Pinterest:

{So adorable!!}

and their mom fell in love and decided we had to do it.

The hardest part for us was finding the fabric--that classic sock monkey knit.  We don't have as many resources where we live and the time frame didn't allow for online ordering, so it was "make it work" time!

We came across a grey burlap that we thought would work well for a couple of reasons:  first, Zachary's monkey is actually on the grey side, rather than the typical brown, and secondly, I knew the burlap would give us that "frayed" edge look like in the picture.  We grabbed a red & white polka dot fabric, a couple of buttons and the white onesie, then it was time to sew.

I free-handed a vest pattern for the burlap, as well as for the red & white dot tie.  I ironed on some interfacing to help the reinforce the burlap, then traced my pattern and cut it out.  I did the same with the tie.

With my pieces cut, I sewed them on the onesie, then added the buttons.

How cute is this?!

And he looked totally adorable in it!

I also made the hat using the burlap and polka dot fabric.

He wasn't a big fan of the hat, ha ha ha!

I'm pretty much in love with this big brown-eyed boy!

And remember the shirt from Matthew's party?

He loved showing off his mustache!

Yeah I kinda can't say no to these blue eyes either!

{All portraits done by J&C Photography.}

I had more fun planning for these two and it's all the more worth it when I get a big hug and an "i love you" from Matthew, and a big slobbery open-mouth kiss and a hug from Zachary {he's learning how to give kisses now}.  Then Matthew gets jealous and gives me a kiss too!  Love those guys!

Now it's on to the next party.  The hubs is turning 30 and since he never had a true birthday party growing up, he's getting one now!  I'm not doing the favors or all out decor, but we have a theme--Lego Police to be exact--and so I'm hoping for some fun things along that line.  I had lots of fun with these invites and I can't wait to show ya!

I also have a new client--a girl client!!  I can't tell you how excited I am about that, ha ha!  I mean, I love all the guys I've created things for but I have wanted to do girly for so long and I finally get to!!  She's due to be here in September, so that means girly baby things.  Did you know how much super cute girl stuff there is out there?!

O, one more note:  I added a follow-thingy to the sidebar there up near the top {you'll have to view the desktop version if on a mobile device--scroll to the bottom for that link}.  If you click to follow me, you'll be "in the know" when I post new goodies.  Or, if you'd rather, you can just subscribe to my posts and get them delivered right into your email inbox.  If you've been reading with me for a while, you know I don't post very regularly {you can kinda see why here}, so I won't be invading your inbox.  But I love sharing with you guys, and I love hearing from you, so I hope you'll consider me friend enough to follow along with me.  (:

I also post different things on Facebook, so be sure to "like" me there, too!

Ok, enough self-plugging!
Have a great day guys!

ta-ta for now...

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