Dollhouse Time (Part 1)!

Sorry for the months-long radio silence, folks! I’m expecting my second baby and the morning sickness hit early and lasted for a long time. Then, I was just tired and unmotivated to do any new projects. Finally, in the 2nd trimester, I’m feeling back to my old self (albeit a bit less limber) and back to tackling new projects!

Baby Brownie isn’t a baby anymore! She’s a beautiful 2.5-year old who talks a mile a minute and whose mind is filled with creative and original thoughts! This is such a great time, guys. She is always pretending to mix up Jello in her play kitchen, or talking to her stuffed animals, or dancing to her own singing. Imagination is starting to be a big part of her play, and to help her along, her loving parents decided to make her a dollhouse.

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After many weeks of Pinning, I decided to model our dollhouse after the one at Young House Love. I liked how simple and unfussy it was but still so cute. We did change the dimensions somewhat — our dollhouse is 10 inches deep instead of 8, and the pitch of the roof is steeper. We also tried to keep it to a 1:12 scale so the ceilings are a standard 8 feet (I mean 8 inches), so it wouldn’t get too ginormous.

I thought it would take longer to get Chris on board with the plan, but the idea catalyzed last Saturday when we saw some cute wooden dollhouses at a local toy store. Then later that same day, we were at Home Depot and saw these 4 foot long, 1×10″ boards for sale for $1.50 each! That’s right! The wood for this whole dollhouse cost $4.50!

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Then it was just a matter of measuring, cutting, gluing, and nailing. An easy peasy project for my handyman =p.

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We added doorways just for fun.

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I briefly debated leaving it pine, because it was really a lovely color, but thought better of it. The bare wood will get stained, discolored, and darken over time. Better to paint it all white.

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That’s where it is right now. We are going to add a back wall so the furniture has something to sit against (and um…wallpaper!), and I’m going to paint the roof and exterior.

Chris says really, the dollhouse is for me. It’s true that at this point I’m more excited about it than Brownie is…

DIY Covered Sandbox

This will be more of a “look what we did” post rather than a how-to. I just dug up these pictures from several weeks ago and sorta went, “oh yeah, we did that too!”. But if you’re thinking of making a sandbox for your child, maybe this will give you some ideas.

DIY Covered Sandbox

(Since Baby Brownie isn’t really a baby anymore, I’m just going to call her Brownie from now on.)

So, Brownie likes dirt (doesn’t your 2-year-old too?). And our yard has a lot of it. We’ve been in the midst of installing irrigation and other landscaping projects for a while, so there are literally big piles of dirt all over the yard. So to indulge her love for playing in the dirt, while at the same time keeping her clothes a LITTLE cleaner, we decided to build her a sandbox.

I’ve heard horror stories about sandboxes and cat poop though, so it had to be a covered one!

(Please ignore the neon green pool. We had a little algae overgrowth that we took care of right after we took this pic!)

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We started by digging up the area we were going to make the sandbox in. There used to be a fence here with a cinder-block footing, so we were able to use some of the concrete footing as 2 of the walls of the sandbox. For the other two walls, Chris put in some 4×4 footings in the corners and nailed on a couple of 2×6 redwood planks. Then, he used redwood fence pickets and cut them down to size to make the edge framing and the lid. He lined the hole with a weed-resistant barrier before filling it with playground sand.

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As you can see, the lid is super simple — just a row of fence pickets held together by a couple of stringers. We sanded down the redwood (which is quite splintery) quite a bit and then sealed it with our homemade Danish oil mixture (1:1:1 Oil-based poly, mineral spirits, and boiled linseed oil).

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The below pictures were taken about a month later, so you can see the red color of the wood has faded quite a bit.

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When the lid is open, we secure it to the metal fence behind it using this little loop, to prevent Brownie from pulling it down on herself.

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When it’s closed it’s just a little pad that looks like a mini-deck. I threw some mulch around it but I’m working on some ideas to pretty-up the dirt all around it. Probably some plants on the right side, and maybe some stepping stones in front.

I’m not gonna lie…Brownie still likes to play in the piles of dirt. Maybe a little less now?

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My Favorite Green Smoothie

This week has been just crazy. Baby Brownie turned 2 (I know, where does the time go?) and I was busy organizing a little party with her playgroup as well as a larger family/friends party on the weekend. Now I can finally breathe a sigh of relief as all the merrymaking is over and now I just need to clean up the aftermath.

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After a weekend filled with sweets and junk food, I’m ready to eat healthy again! I’ve been making green smoothies for a while so I thought I’d share my favorite recipe. I’ve been inspired by my sister too who has started making smoothies in the morning =).

This green smoothie is not very sweet. I used to make my morning smoothies with fruit juice and found that by 11am I was crashing from the sugar high, getting jitters and feeling dizzy. So now I try to minimize the sugar by using more veggies and less fruit, and instead of using fruit juice I use almond milk. I’ve found that for me, the key to satiety is having protein and fat, so the almond milk helps, and I also add a big spoonful of coconut butter (I love this brand that I order on Amazon: Artisana 100% Organic Raw Coconut Butter). Plus, the fat helps you metabolize the nutrients in the greens.

This smoothie has a delicious tropical taste and a vibrant green color. You could of course use berries instead of mangoes and pineapple, but I personally don’t like the muddy brown-purple color when I use berries. Am I crazy? Maybe just a little bit…

Green Smoothie

1 big handful greens (spinach, kale, beet greens, lettuce)
1 stick celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 heaping tbsp coconut butter
1 cup almond milk
1/2 banana
1 scant cup frozen mango and pineapple chunks (I buy them cheaply from Trader Joe’s)

I don’t have a Vitamix or high-powered blender…just a cheapie Oster from Walmart, but I can still make delicious smoothies! First blend together the greens, celery, coconut butter, and almond milk. Once that’s smooth, add the frozen mangoes and pineapple and blitz until smooth. Then add the banana for that last hit of smoothness and sweetness.

A New Project

There really aren’t any pretty pictures in this post, sorry! I picked up this sad little chair for $40 at the Habitat Restore a few weeks ago. The 90′s fabric was HORRIBLE but the wood frame was sturdy and a charming shape, and I thought I could update it and have a fun experiment with upholstering without risking too much $$$.

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Chris thought I was crazy when I brought it home. He also hates the caning, but I like it. The caning can be removed at some point if it tears without detracting too much from the chair, but for now I’m going to leave it.

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I spent a couple of hours on Saturday pulling the chair to pieces and seeing what of the upholstery I could salvage.

Chris helped me with some of the muscle work. I hurt my back last week and pulling a gazillion staples out wasn’t going to help!

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Under the layers of hideous 90′s fabric I found older 70′s velvet fabric, so this chair is older than it first appeared. Which totally makes sense. I had thought it strange that the chair’s style was older, and that it was so well-made…it didn’t seem like 90′s furniture.

The professional reupholstery job that had been done on this chair was a little TOO good. It was extremely difficult to pull off the literally thousands of staples, tacks, and upholstery thread. But the good thing is that the cushions and webbing were in excellent shape so I can reuse them. This is kind of as far as we got…

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I’m planning to use this fabric…

dwell studio vintage blossom

It’s Dwell Studio Vintage Blossom in Jade.

I’ve always liked this fabric. Although I think more contemporary birds are a cliche on its way out, I like the vintage look of this bird/blossom fabric that makes it more classic and more suitable to the style of the chair.

Also, it didn’t hurt that I found it at Home Fabrics (a discount fabric store) for $7.99 a yard. Yup, that pretty much clinched it.

So now, I still need to remove the padding on the arms and then I’m planning to stain the pecan wood darker with a Poly + Stain product. This will hopefully also cover up some of the dog teeth marks on the lower legs =p. Fortunately the wood was pretty hard so it’s not too chewed up.

I’m excited! This is the first “real” upholstery project I’ve attempted. I don’t count recovering the dining room chairs or the upholstered headboard, cause those were pretty much just pulling and stapling. Hopefully it turns out well. I’ll keep you updated!

DIY Striped Upholstered Headboard

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Yay! I’m excited to be typing out this post today. I have been thinking about and dreaming about making this headboard for months, but it kept getting put on the backburner until finally we made it happen last week!

Check out the before…

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And after!

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The fresh gray stripes make the bed look more sophisticated and elegant but still fun (which is very important). I had to take off the floral print pillow shams though, as they were competing a little too much visually with the stripes. It was just a little too much to take in! So I’m planning to switch out the bedding for neutral colored bedding, but maybe with a little more texture to contrast with the stripes.

And the headboard was actually pretty easy to do. I love that this really trendy look is so easy to DIY, making it approachable for most of us.

First you cut a sheet of plywood the size of your headboard. We wanted a thicker, more substantial headboard, so we framed the back of the plywood out with 2×3′s.

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Then we cut out our foam to fit (not pictured) and secured it with hot glue. We actually cannibalized an old foam mattress for our foam. However, because the foam was thicker (about 1.75″), it was quite heavy and didn’t stick to the plywood that well. We didn’t want to use spray adhesive because it is quite high in VOCs, and we didn’t want to be breathing it in. We later solved the problem of the slightly loose foam by doing some simple button tufting.

After sticking the foam on, we wrapped the whole thing with polyester batting and then the fabric.

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I used 3 yards of Premier Prints Canopy Stripe Twill Storm. I wanted a vertical stripe though, instead of horizontal, so I cut the fabric in half and sewed it together right in the middle with a seam along one of the stripes. You can’t even tell it’s there =).

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We used a staple gun (and when our staple gun gave out, a hammer stapler), and tapped in any loose staples with a hammer.

This is how I folded the corners:

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I wrapped the extra folded fabric on the inside first and stapled that down…

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Then I folded the fabric right along the corner for a nice square corner.

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At this point we added some simple button tufting using a button kit from Joanns, an upholstery needle, and waxed button thread (or upholstery thread). I didn’t take pictures of this step but here’s a great tutorial. We put in just 10 buttons, and they worked great for keeping the foam tight and secure. The extra tightness also helped smooth out some of the wrinkles that I couldn’t iron out.

I’m really happy with the finished product! It makes me feel like I’m waking up in a hotel every day.

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I also feel like it is true to my personal style, which also makes me happy. It’s fresh, contemporary, and unfussy, but still elegant… Or at least I like to think so, ha!

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As for how it’s attached, it is hung on the wall with brackets but is also sitting on the bed frame behind the mattress.

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For some reason, the stripes remind me of Montreal. Kind of French-Canadian chic…=)!

Now for the bedding… I’m thinking of just going with a neutral taupe. I realize I love color way too much…and it’s best for me to add it in small doses with accessories rather than the big pieces. I think a taupe duvet cover will be a nice canvas for printed pillows, throws, etc… What do you think?

Sharing at MissMustardSeed, TatertotsandJelloRemodelaholic, SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee!

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