Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scrap wood art project

Grady's been home sick with a temp & cold all week.  (Another reason I'm ready for this winter to be over.)  As a parent, I feel awful when Grady isn't feeling well...but at the same time, it's kind of nice cuddling on the couch & spending quiet time together at home.  :)

We were looking for something to do to pass the time, & Grady suggested painting.  The kid LOVES to paint.  I didn't have any canvas board or nice paper, but found some old floor boards in the attic that we had just removed in order to take out an old fan & replaced with new plywood.  Use what you have!

Grady is in Easter mode, so he wanted to paint a bunny.  Correction, he wanted to paint the board, & wanted me to paint a bunny on it for him.  Here's what we came up with...the bunny was inspired by something we found on Google images.

The little artist "orange-washed" his board, then wanted to paint over it with pink, & leave a little bit of orange peeking through.  (PS, you can see the little slit of orange peeking through by the bunny's left ear - on your right.  Funny kid.)  His words, not mine.  Hehe.

After he was done with his orange & pink & white layers, I traced out a bunny & painted it with watered down craft paint.

It was looking a tad Precious Moments-y, so I tweaked the nose a bit & turned it into a rabbit nose.  I think it turned out pretty darn cute for being a collaborative piece of art by a 3 year old & a 30 year old!  The most important thing was that we had fun doing it together...

I wasn't sure at first what I wanted to paint on mine, so I started by cleaning off the surface & whitewashing it.  After a few minutes online I had found a quote from "Fantastic Mr. Fox" that I thought was cute & googled "fox illustration" to find an image to inspire me.

The quote reads: 

"We're all different.  Especially him.  But there's something kind of fantastic about that, isn't there?".

After whitewashing, I sketched out the quote & fox using my Burnt Umber colored watercolor pencil.  Back when I was doing mural painting we used these pencils all the time to sketch on the walls.  The color is perfect for blending in to almost any art, and any mistakes can just be wiped away with water!  You can find them at most art supply/craft stores.

I was trying to be imperfect & quick with this art.  I didn't want to commit too much time to it & knew that Grady's attention span wouldn't last that long anyway.  I quickly dry-brushed some color on the fox & painted the lettering with some watered down brown paint.  After I finished it was looking a little bold for my liking, so I whitewashed it again, right over what I had just painted.  I'm not sure where it'll go yet...probably in Grady's room?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seeing Spots - Polka Dot Eggs!

This year we tried something new with our egg dying - dots!

I'm sure it's been done before, but I had the idea to stick circle stickers on our eggs, hoping that the sticker would block the dye from seeping underneath & create polka dots once we peeled them off.  I kind of worked.

The stickers blocked the dye for the most part, although some of them did fall off once they were in the colored water/vinegar mixture.  The biggest issue was in taking the stickers off the eggs.  A couple of tips: f you did it too soon, the sticky backs of the stickers stayed on the egg instead of peeling off.  If you left the stickers on too long, they were really hard to peel off.  If we waited a few minutes (so the sticker was still a little damp) it seemed like they still came off easily enough, but didn't leave much sticky goo on the egg. 

It was super simple, Grady had fun with it, & I think they turned out pretty darn cute - winner!

Start with prep: I laid down some paper on our table, and set out the stickers, eggs, & dye first.

Next, we "dotted" all of our eggs, dunked them in the dye for a couple of minutes, dried them with a paper towel, waited a few minutes, & peeled all of the stickers off.

Some of us "accidentally" cracked the eggs so they could eat them.  I won't name any names, but you know who you are...& I have a feeling it wasn't 100% accidental.

Pretty darn cute, no?!

I have a feeling we'll be doing this again!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Free Easter Printable!

Yesterday, Palm Sunday, we spent a lot of the day creating Easter art & dying eggs.  Tomorrow I'll post about our polka dot egg experiment, but today I thought I'd share a free download of some quick & simple Easter art I came up with this weekend.  Feel free to print as many as you'd like!  (Scroll all the way down for the link!)

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Raising the Roof

Our house was built in 1946.  In the 67ish years of it's existence, no one has ever used the attic for anything but storage.  In other words, it hasn't really been touched since the post-war carpenters hung up their hammers and nails long ago.  (Can you imagine building a house without power tools?!?)

I'm not sure if it was standard practice back then, but the roof-supporting studs on the two sloped sides of the attic were randomly spaced at around 4 feet apart.  Today, you'd normally put a stud up every 16".  Plenty of support, and easy to hang drywall as you'll always know where there's a stud, and perhaps more importantly, 8 feet and 4 feet are both divisible by 16 inches...perfect for hanging drywall/sheetrock without making a bazillion cuts.

Anywhoo...after 67 years of the roof being supported by too few studs, it was sagging just a little in the middle.  By just a little I mean an inch or two...not really a big deal (the roof wasn't going to come crashing down or anything), but enough so that my perfectionist dad had to bring over his arsenal of hydraulic jacks so we could get busy "raising the roof".  Quite literally.  :)

Excuse the poor iphone pics...I didn't feel like running downstairs to grab the "nice" camera!  (Hopefully dad doesn't mind the "booty shot" either...hehe!)

First we jacked up one end of the roof on a handy little platform that allowed us (dad) to knock out the old studs in the area, and slip a level, "nailer" 2x4 underneath the jack and on the floor so we'd have a nice surface to nail the new studs to.  Hence the name, "nailer".

After that was in place, we made sure the roof was level, and cut 2x4's to the correct height and pitch of the roof, slid them in at 16" apart, used the nail gun to attach them to the nailer and the roof, and repeated this process down the lengths of both sides of the attic.

It's a lot of extra work moving jacks and making sure things are perfectly level, but if you're doing something, you might as well do it right...right?  Plus, it'll save headaches and look better down the line.

I'm hoping that over the course of the rest of the week/weekend we can finish up all of the framing (one wall in Eli's closet, the frame around the French doors, some access panels for the storage areas) and maybe get started on wiring for the outlets.  It'll be SO nice to have power up there (we already have light) and not have to run extension cords down to the kitchen!

After that, we only have a few more things to do (sarcasm):

  • Finish hanging foam board insulation on the roof.
  • Hang drywall (tape/mud/sand).
  • Prime & paint walls & ceiling.
  • Hang lights.
  • Paint & hang trim.
  • Finish floor.
  • Paint & install new stair railings.
  • Paint & stain stairs.
  • New window (last one in the house!).
  • Install closet systems.
  • Build & hang French doors.
  • Build doors to under eave storage.
  • Tear out door to main level & repair drywall.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What a difference a year makes...

On this, the first day of spring, it's 3 degrees outside.  3 degrees.  3!!!

You're cruel Mother Nature, just plain cruel.

This time last year we were playing on the (almost green) grass - I have proof:

Remind me again why we live in Minnesota...

Oh yeah, that's right, I remember now.  Come onnnnnnnnnn summer...we're waiting patiently for your return!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Attic progress - early March

We made a little progress on the attic remodel/finishing this weekend.  It's such a HUGE project, so sometimes it seems like we're not getting any closer to being finished, even though we're spending quite a bit of time working on it.  I feel like once the insulation is finally ALL up, and the last remaining wall is framed up that it'll feel like we're making progress.  (Hopefully)

This past week we finished framing out the bunk, insulated under the east eave & got the foamboard insulation up under there, & are almost done sealing that off.  Once we spray a little foam in the cracks we'll be ready to fill up that storage space with junk & start working on the main areas (bedroom, closets, landing, office nook...).

Here's a little something to help a bit with understanding the layout & where certain things will go:

And for proof that we're working away, some quick photos.  :)

 Built-in bunk progress...

Almost to the end of this itchy, dusty, dirty, cramped space...thank goodness!

Done under the eaves - bring on the storage space!  We still have to tear out those old 2x4s & frame up the walls/access panels, but it's close.

Ever wonder what construction looks like to a 3.5 year old?  Grady stole my phone & I found these gems on it this morning.

...slowly but surely we're getting closer.
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