Thursday, January 31, 2013

DIY Ruffle Curtains

With a few big, (slowly moving) projects in the works, sometimes it's nice to ignore the looming monstrosities (dining room table anyone?), and find success in a small project.  Tuesday, I tackled some DIY ruffle curtains for the living room.

When we moved in to our house, there were a lot of curtains left behind by the previous owners.  Most of them were cream, thin, muslin like material: not bad, but not what we had in mind.  They've been sitting in a pile in the basement while our windows have remained curtainless.  So I decided to revive a few using a tutorial over at Besserina.  (Thank you!)

Making these curtains is pretty basic.  Cut up strips of fabric, make and pin pleats, sew them to the curtains, iron the pleats into ruffles.  Bam.  Done.

I sewed in the only way that doesn't make me totally crazy: with wild abandon.  I refuse to hem, baste, and honestly... measure, unless it's absolutely necessary.  Luckily, this project leaves a lot of room for error. Wahoo!

The curtains don't go quite all the way to the floor, but with the chairs in front of them, we didn't mind. We're also not a big fan of where the current rod supports are.  Because of the placement, the curtains have to be completely outside the window.  We'll probably move those supports... eventually... maybe...

We love how it turned out.  It adds a lot to the little room and it was done and finished in one day.  Have you ever made your own curtains?  Are you a sew-only-with-wild-abandon-er like me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

A New Living Room

We were itching for a change.  The kind of change that involves a large budget... (which we don't have...) so we decided to mix things up a little.  We exchanged the big blue couches in the living room with the chairs and canvas couch in the family room.  It feels glorious. (Okay, to be fair... the living room now feels glorious.  The family room is now a little awkward and slightly cramped... but we're working on it.)

We moved the little side table, (an ikea hack made of two lack tables), and put a few little items on it: Crystal bowl was a wedding gift, birdcage from Hobby Lobby, and books from various university book stores, thrift stores, and gifts.  Not as quaint as I'm picturing it to be in the future, but it's on its way.

Now we begin teaching Will how not to carry crystal around...   We tend to parent in a "learn by mistake" fashion.  For example, we have never had a baby gate for the stairs, (it only took a small spill or two to learn), and we would like decorate in a way that doesn't look it's been "kid-proofed."  The aim is kid-friendly without being kid-centered.  We'll see how that goes...

We also purchased these new "barometer" lamps (!) from Ikea.  We would love for this room to be a sort of library in the future.  (We're envisioning built-in bookcases to frame the window).  The new lamps have a fairly direct light stream, so they work really well as reading lights.

And one more thing-- did you notice?! The chairs are both done!  The second went considerably faster than the first (surprise, surprise), but I got hung up on the last cushion.  This weekend, I finally worked up the courage to get that sucker done.  It feels good.  I told Grant, "I felt like it had been hanging over me like a old, dead goose..."  (Name that movie...)

Hooray for new spaces without spending a penny! (Okay, except for the new lamps...)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Antique Window Shopping

Today, the Willister & I went antique window shopping.  Well, that is, we went window shopping for antiques... not shopping for antique windows... (Although antique windows are pretty cool too...) We have bought a few things at antique stores before, including both of the dressers that we refinished for Will's room.

But mostly, I just love to go and look around at antique stores.  I love pieces that have a little history, that have served somebody else in another life and and now reemerging to play a role in mine.  We headed to my favorite antique store, Colorado Antique Gallery, and we've brought a little old-school inspiration home to Tanner Projects today!

First, a repurposed old suitcase.  Awesome.  They were asking $1200 for this bad boy...

And this dresser/hutch.  We're thinking of options for our entryway and one of those options is a piece like this.  I was drawn to this one because it was in good shape and had minimal finish (read: easy to refinish/paint, etc.).  It was also on sale: Down to $175 from $350.  Not a steal, but not terrible.

*Also, note in the mirror, my lovely Willister shopping partner.  Cutest antiquing baby in the world...

I also loved this little table for $60. Too tall for an end table next to a couch?

And this pie safe.  (I love that name, and it's comforting to know that somebody is looking out for all those poor, innocent pies...) What a lovely color.

And the tin work was pretty.  My bedroom back home has a big antique pie safe full of books...  No tin accents, but lots of books.  Hopefully someday I can bring that sucker to my new home.

And then I loved these Mason jars (or rather, Kerr jars) with the decorate punch in the lid and striped straws added.  We did mason jars with striped straws for Will's 1st birthday and they turned out really cute.  I love this rendition of the classic mason jar as well.

Then we found this sweet copper... thing.  It's pretty big, probably 2 feet tall, and they were asking $60 for each one.  I can picture it by our fireplace.

And this antique sewing machine base with added reclaimed wood.  My mother has an antique sewing machine with a base just like this one... Feeling like an update, Mom...?

And this old ladder.  I love the idea of a big library with ladders to reach the highest books... sigh.  A little Beauty & the Beast action.  $65

And I was digging this Irish Americans coffee table book.  Getting in touch with my heritage.  $18

And I love these Mason jar lights.  $30+.  We've been oogling over similar ideas on pinterest.

And these nautical sketches.  Love that they are a pair. $142

*This is about the time that I passed the grouchy old man for the fifth time.  We were scavenging at the same speed but running down the aisles in opposite directions, so we crossed paths every time, and every time, he made a crotchety face at me because Will's cart took up the whole aisle...  We quickly changed our browsing pattern after that... Hope you have a better, baby-blocking-the-aisle-less day, good sir.

And I'm digging the old wagon wheel.  Picturing romantic wagon wheel chandeliers like this one.

And who doesn't love a Normal Rockwell print? $12

How about an old chest?  This one looked ripe for the staining.  And made me dream of a day when I'll have attractive, functional storage for all those baby toys downstairs...

I also love the statement that this chair makes.  With paint (or without) and an updated cushion, it would look mighty fine in a more formal living room. (Although I would probably leave the creepy black-face doll behind...)

And I love this... thing... (any ideas on what this would be called...?) for an entry way.

The door opens and you could easily hang coats, store shoes, etc. inside to tidy up the entry way.

Amazingly, through all the scavenging, Will was really good.  This is probably because he spent most of his time finding cars to *gasp* at.  That's how he communicates these days.  In over exaggerated gasps and grunts.

Have you bought anything from an antique shop?  Did you update it or leave it the same?  And any suggestions for a new antique Tanner Project?!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love Letters from Afar...

Grant is out of town for a few days so Will & I sent him off with a few surprises.  I made each of the pages and then Will added stickers and various crayon marks.  We put each one in an envelope marked with the date and time that Grant would be allowed to open them.  

Will loved using the stickers, but mostly wanted to eat the crayons.

We sent a little letter to start:

And later he got to open a guessing game.  My grandpa would always draw us little "guessing games" with pictures to identify, so we've carried on the tradition in Tanner form.  Included in this guessing game is a worm (because we just bought worms to start a new compost bin), Will in his black widow Halloween costume, Steve! from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a juicer (our newest obsession), a camping tent, Lightning McQueen (Will's latest obsession), a carabiner for rock climbing, and Shamu, Grant's one true love.

The next envelope contained a sappy, mushy, love letter, contents not appropriate for this blog... hah.  But no, really, it was just a letter.

And the last envelope, which he'll open tomorrow on the plane, contained this frightening coloring page of Will's face (made here) and two crayons.

Ahh! Can't wait to hear what Grant has to say about that...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dining Room Chandelier

Last week, Grant came home from Costco and told me, "I have a surprise for you in the car!"  Normally I'd expect candy or chocolate, because Grant knows I have a killer sweet tooth.  Think of all the chocolatey treats it might be!  Industrial, Costco sized chocolatey treats, spilling out the back of his car! (Can you tell I haven't had sweets in two weeks?!)

But anyway, it was not a treat.  Well, not a treat-to-eat.  Instead it was feast for the eyes: a new chandelier!  Grant found it on clearance at Costco ( I didn't even know that existed...) for $40!  What a score! It took us (meaning... mostly Grant) a half hour or so to install.

It's a nice, bright improvement on the previous, builder-grade light we had before.  (See at the top?)

It holds four teardrop lightbulbs, which amazingly we had hanging around for some reason.

I don't feel like it matches our kitchen well yet.  But maybe with the white cabinets and black countertops that we're dreaming of...

It's the best feeling to happen upon a deal without even trying.  Now we just need to happen upon a few more cheap chandeliers for the laundry room, dining room, bedroom....

Monday, January 14, 2013

DIY Canvas Art

It's done!  I'm ridiculously excited about sharing this project.  We've been working on ideas for DIY Canvas Art for a long time.  We knew we wanted to do a huge quote but weren't sure which quote we would end up using.  Of course, we seriously considered many, many Nacho Libre quotes, but settled on this one, "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."

Do you know where this quote is from?!  Well, originally it is from a poem by Arthur O'Shaughnessy.  (Sweet name, dude.)  But we love the movie that made it famous.  We also love that this quote will be a reminder to Will, (and to us, of course), that our lives can only be as amazing as we dream them to be.

**Okay, now recognizing that this post is insanely long...  I'll find a way to shorten my posts... in the future... eventually...

Click through for the looonnngg thorough tutorial...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Projectin' it Old School

We've Craigslisted a beauty. (And yes, Craigslisted is most certainly a verb).  Craigslist has been a different animal in every place we've lived.  It was tricky in Utah, because while there seemed to be a lot of supply- the items were always gone before we could get there. And prices are super-low. Lots of cheap-o college students, I guess.  

We didn't buy much on Craigslist in Dallas, but when we sold our sectional (we were moving to Denver and needed a change, couch-speaking), we got $600 for it.  We thought that was pretty darn good for a couch that was originally $1000.  

Now, in Denver, we've used Craigslist for a few things and have gotten good prices for them.  Will's bike trailer was $45, a baby bjorn for $10 (sold to me by a stranger who later became a good friend!), and Will's nice stroller/car seat set, basically new for $160.  We've also used the site to give away some furniture that we didn't want anymore.  It got picked up quickly, no sweat for us.

Anyway, in preparation for our next project, (which I can't wait to show you! It's almost done!), we've purchased an old school overhead projector.  It was $60 for the projector, a folder full of math transparencies, and some blank transparencies as well.  I talked the seller down from $100, so while $60 was more than I planned to pay, I felt pretty good about the 40% off negotiations.

It's in great shape, and we've been practicing our math skills as well.  (Not really... although I probably could use a brush up...)

Can you tell what we're planning to do with it?!  It just might be on our project board...

I'm super excited about all the possibilities.  We've been munchin' on pomegranate seeds and pinteresting the options!  What do you think about this?  Or this?  Or even this?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best Friends (who don't know us...)

We don't think of ourselves as particularly creative people.  We rely on other people to make awesome things and then copy them shamelessly...

Okay, so it's not quite that simple, but sometimes it comes pretty close.  We do a lot of "inspiration research," (aka blog stalking) to find homes and ideas that we like.  Then we find ways to apply them in our own home.  So today, we thought we'd introduce you to some of our "besties."  These are our best friends who happen to not know that we exist...

Centsational Girl:
Kate is the boss over at Centsational Girl and we oogle over her DIY wood staircase and wainscoting.  She does a lot of DIY as well as crafts and recipes. We're also oogling over pretty much everything in this picture:  upholstered headboard with nail trim, stenciled wall, etc.

Apartment Therapy:
This website covers lots of different things.   We love their home tours and their focus on DIY in small spaces, with small budgets, and small people (kiddos that is...).

Ana-White is amazing.  She is building a "mom-plex" for her mother and mother-in-law to live in and documents it all on her blog.  Her website features lots of plans for simple carpentry projects (like our upcoming farmhouse table!) which is why it's a must see.

Young House Love:
Sherry and John at Young House Love are our kindred spirits.  They're just crazy kids starting a family and creating their own home (like us!).  So while we enjoy the projects and tutorials and what not, I think I mostly keep reading because they've become my friends.  Maybe, one day, they'll agree... hah

This is the go-to website for dream homes.  Oh man, we get lost looking at all of the crazy fancy homes on this site.  Want to look at kitchens?  Click the kitchen button and you will have enough amazing faucets and backsplashes to drool over for hours.

We love Dana's style over at House Tweaking.  We love it so much that we copied some of her paint colors (thank you!).  And we love the idea that your home is never finished, that there is always some tweaking to do.  

This comes last, but certainly not least. Pinterest, while great for finding inspiration, is also especially useful for inspiration organization.  Sometimes we repin other people's pins, but often we pin from Houzz or Apartment Therapy to remember what we liked.  We try to type exactly why we liked that particular photo, but it doesn't always happen.  It's also useful for figuring out room layouts.  Instead of moving furniture around a bunch of times, we'll look at pictures of rooms with the same elements and decide which looks best.

What are your inspiration go-to websites?  Any we should add to our list?!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Progress Report

Here's a glimpse of some of our projects in progress!  First, we're working on a dining room table.  Grant built the whole base and we've oxidized it to create the stain.  We've been stalled on the tabletop because the boards we originally bought were too warped to use.  We've purchased some new boards that will hopefully fit better, so now we just need to finish the tabletop and then seal everything.  We're also staining some ikea chairs to match.  Then, later we'll build a bench and get some upholstered chairs for the ends of the table.

In order to get an idea of how everything will look, I've been learning some new photoshop skills.  We're still undecided on the upholstered end chairs, but I've put the table, Ikea chairs, and the bench into a (rough) projection photo for the dining room.  Yay!

And we've also got this little surprise cooking!  Can't wait to get it done and post about it.