Friday, March 25, 2016

An art gallery

I finally accomplished a project that I have been planning for well over a year. I actually bought some of the supplies just before we moved into this house last year but they've been sitting around waiting for the art room to be ready.

Have I explained the 'art room' ever? It's technically meant to be the formal dining room in our house but the dining area in the kitchen is so large that I can't ever see a need to have a formal dining space. Partly because I'm lazy and don't want to drag my food all over creation just to eat in a fancy room. Partly because we are too large of a family to have two rooms for the same purpose. That's just silly. I currently have two full size dining tables in the kitchen with room for stools at the counter and the girls' backpacks hanging. There's no need for a whole other room. There is obviously a need for me to build a larger dining table to remedy the two tables situation but that's going to require me to wake up in the mood to build a table. Hasn't happened yet folks. Someday. I have the building plans pinned so it will happen. I should probably build a bed for the child who sleeps on a mattress on the floor first. I have priorities.

So we have what we call the art room. Others might see it more as a craft room. It's where we keep my sewing table and supplies which doubles as my desk for filing, the kids' easel, their coloring and art supplies, a couch for reading, and the toy box/ottoman that was never being utilized in the living room. I figure what better thing to put on the wall in the art room than an art gallery.
 I'll link to my inspiration post below in case you want another take on the project but the short and simple is that I bought the clipboards in a set of 24, used a tape measure and level, tried hanging them by nails and realized that was not going to work, then I hung them all using 3M picture Velcro thingies.

I started with just the clipboards to the right of the thermostat but quickly realized that it looked silly and totally unbalanced so I decided to cover the whole wall.

I love this art gallery! There are plenty of spots for all four girls to hang their works and I can very easily rotate things out as they present me with new work. My older girls go to an arts magnate school so I get to change out the art quite often even when I'm being picky about what I put up. You'll also see that I put up a few snapshots of the kids at first as fillers but those will probably get replaced with original art soon.
How do you display scribbles in your home? Do you have any simple projects that have been sitting around for a year waiting for something to fall together? I needed to paint the art room before I could put up the clipboards. Before I could paint I had to find the budget to buy paint. Before I could check the budget for paint I had to remove the hideous wallpaper border that was gracing this room. If you give a mouse a cookie amiright?

I've been busy working on other things around the house so hopefully I'll be back soon to share some of those updates. It just always seems like I have to do 90 things before I can go back and finish the first item and obviously I can't just clean everything up and put my tools away if I'm still in the middle of a project. Even if I'm in the middle of twelve projects and don't finish any of them for several months. My poor poor husband.

Inspiration here: Baby Rabies

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

This slab wants to come live with us

We watch a lot of home improvement shows. We hate some of the people on them but we watch anyways, maybe because we love to hate them. On these shows they always visit different specialty stores and shops that look beautiful and it makes the whole process seem glamorous and streamlined. Obviously there is some movie magic going on because that it not how the process works at all. I would love if the process worked like that just for one little project but things are always more difficult than you expect and there are always delays and setbacks and supremely unhelpful people along the way. Ce la vie!

Last week we got the chance to visit the stone yard and check out our slab o' granite. I expected it to be like on tv where they have tons of slabs to choose from and you pick the one with the veining and inclusions that you like best. Sadly, we learned that that isn't the case. Sad panda. But the people we worked with were very helpful and knowledgeable and really helped me stop freaking out about the counter business. We met in the showroom area where they had an island with each of the finished edges they offer and our guy made sure we wanted to stick with the edge we had chosen. He said that he was the last stop to change our minds on anything so we should make sure to check everything out and ask questions. We were very happy with our choice of a half bullnose edge. The saleswoman at Lowes had told us that a full bullnose has some drawbacks when you spill anything that goes off the edge as it will follow the full bullnose around and drip more on the cupboards where the half bullnose drips straight down. That's something I never would have thought about but, especially with four children in the house, it's a little thing that can save a lot of hassle down the road. I actually waffled for a little while because I liked the look of the square edge but I remembered how often I have to clean cemented on cereal off the edges of the counter and decided that more of a curve was only going to help me out. Neither of us liked the look of the Ogee edge. I feel like it would look best in a fancy powder room maybe. It definitely didn't fit my goal of more clean lines in the kitchen.

Our guy then took us back into the warehouse where they did have awesome rows of stone. Unfortunately, in the color that we had chosen, they only had two pieces of granite available and those were going to be the two we were getting. He explained that when they order a bunch of slabs they all come from the same rock and basically all look exactly the same so even if there were more slabs, there wouldn't be any big differences for us to choose from anyways. But the whole point of the trip was to see it up close and full size to make sure that what we saw on a the little 3 inch square at the store was truly what we wanted. And it was definitely everything we could have hoped for. It's a beautiful shade of gray with some red in it that keeps it from feeling too cold. I cannot WAIT to see it in my kitchen. 6 more sleeps!

I would have loved to take the time to look at each kind of stone they had and just drool over everything but obviously that wasn't necessary so back to business.

After we confirmed that we liked the stone, he showed us the layout of our counter and how they would cut each piece and where the seems would lay. M had seen this at the store when he went to sign the final contracts but it was nice to envision it a little better laid out on the stone. We also went back into his office to seen what their seems generally look like and talk about care and upkeep of our granite.

We were told that the color that we chose, Moon White, tends to be more porous than darker colors so the sealer they apply may not last as long. Usually they recommend resealing in 5-7 years but he said we may start to see signs closer to 3-5 years and then we'd want to seal it again. He explained that the sealer seeps into the stone and after that much time it is no longer sitting on top, protecting the surface, but sitting a few millimeters into the stone so you can get water spots and have the risk of staining at that point. He also told us that anything acidic is going to damage the finish so I can't use my standard vinegar water to clean my counters anymore. Womp womp. My crunchy little heart is sad but I'm going to do some research to see what green cleaners I can use instead. He said that there are tons of products out there made specifically for granite so it's not going to be too spendy or difficult, just not as cheap a plain old vinegar. He also said the if we did see any stains we could try to clean them by making a paste of peroxide and flour and letting it set on the stain for a little while with plastic wrap covering it. And finally, we were told that we can use a razor scraper blade to get rough spots off. There are a few spots at our old house that I should probably go back and scrape smooth one of these days. I should also give the renters a heads up about having to seal the granite over there eventually. Hopefully we'll get at least another couple years before we have to do that but I should probably put it on their radar.

Alright. So. We looked at our granite. We learned how to take care of it. We spent too much money at Sam's Club. We ate sub-par pizza at a chain buffet place. And then we stopped into a furniture consignment shop to browse and it got my head spinning with ideas for the some of our problem areas. There's no money to solve these problems but I have lots of ideas. Isn't that always the case though?