DIY Dining Table is DONE!!!

I feel like the name of this blog should be “Everything takes longer than you think.” Chris started this woodworking project as a side project, and sure enough, it took several months to complete. Not that it was that hard. But after starting it and doing the bulk of the work, other work around the house needed more urgent attention. Basically, 70% of it was done within a few weeks and the remaining 30% took another 2 months to complete. But the DIY dining table is finally, finally, 100% DONE.

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And we love it.

It’s so amazing to see an awesome piece of furniture come from just a concept like this:

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To an in-progress project like this:

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To finally, this:

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We did change a few things along the way. We added the cross beams at the top of the legs, which I think give it a modern pseudo-Asian feel and also make the table feel more substantial.

diy dining table

Sorry about the mess of boxes and tools. I wanted to show this to you guys and didn’t have time to make everything look perfect. I only have about 30 min before the baby wakes up!

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Chris spent so much time planing the wood (it’s construction grade lumber, so he evened it out and squared it off using a planer) and fitting it all together tightly. This really was a labor of love for him =).

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We finished it off with Minwax Special Walnut stain (my fave!) and a coat of Varathane Spar Poly on the top. I was originally trying to finish the table with Minwax fast-drying Polyurethane but I was getting some weird gray patches on the legs (probably my can of poly was too old) so I switched to Spar Poly for the top.

People disagree on whether spar poly is good for dining tables (it’s used on ships and has more give/flex than regular Poly), but it’s just what I had. I think it looks wonderful and if it dents easier than regular poly, I don’t really mind.

diy dining table 3  Dents just add “character” anyway ;p.

I can’t wait to get the living/dining room cleaned up and styled. The Goodwill chairs I found that I recovered will be living here. I also need to get some window treatments up over the sliding door that we added. MAYBE everything will be ready by Thanksgiving? No guarantees though. Everything takes longer than you think.

But it is soooo worth it when you get there.

Check out this dining table styled with an easy fall centerpiece!

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Linking up to  SavvySouthernStyle, ShabbyCreekCottage, MissMustardSeed, Remodelaholic, ThriftyDecorChick

Inspiration for the Loft / Attic Bedroom

When we bought our house, one of the selling features was a loft space above the family room that was advertised as a “fifth bedroom”. In reality, it was not a usable space. It smelled of urine from an animal that had been living in the eaves under the roof, it had hideous stained carpet, and it had two open “holes” hemmed in by pony walls that looked down into the family room. I know, I just totally grossed you out, but that’s reality when you buy a fixer, folks!

We fixed the animal problems and now it’s a matter of ripping out old drywall, re-drywalling, framing in new closets, and then putting in flooring, paint, all those things.

While trolling Pinterest, I’ve been taking note of inspiration photos of attic bedrooms. Our loft is right under the roof (although it was an addition on TOP of the original roof) so it is technically an attic space, with dormer windows and sloped ceilings. Here are a few of the ones I’m drawn to.

cottagey guest room

via Pinterest

Attics tend to be dark and lack windows because they were never meant to be bedrooms, but I love the skylights in this one above that flood the room with light. I also notice that many attics are painted white, keeping the space lighter and airier.

rustic sweet attic

via Pinterest

This room is so rustic, sweet and whimsical. I can just imagine a little girl climbing out the window, down a tree, and on to magical adventures. (Though that would be totally unsafe, says the mom in me.) I love the different shades of wood tones that bring so much texture and warmth into the room.

twin beds in dormer

via Prairie Perch

A great use of space in a dormer. How fun would this be for two little girls?

all white attic

via Pinterest

I think an all-white space is a little too stark for me. I love color and warm natural wood. But there’s no denying white makes the space seem brighter.

yellow and white attic

via Pinterest

Again, a little monochromatic for me. I like a little more warm wood and more colors. But I love the oil-rubbed bronze metal and I like the board and batten on the walls. An easy way to get a more cottage look without having to go all-out with planking the walls.

And I can’t forget the awesome attic renovation by The Natos.

the natos attic

From The Nato’s

An awesome real-life attic renovation on a budget. I love the secret little mini rooms hidden in the dormers.

white attic with chandelier

via Country Living

I actually love the idea of putting a chandelier in the attic. Why not?

So after looking at all of my favorite attic pictures, a few elements seem to be consistent. White walls. Some kind of cottage wall treatment (either battens or planked walls). Warm wood floors. Layered wood tones. Oil-rubbed bronze. Small pops of color.

I’m excited.

Toy Organization in the Family Room

The other day I had a little mom date with a friend after the babies were asleep (the dads stayed with the kids) and we went shopping at Daiso, a Japanese discount store that’s pretty common in Orange County (there are 3 that I know of). Yes, because that’s where we go for fun now. To a Japanese dollar store! I picked up these three cute little bins for $1.50 each.

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I don’t know if Daiso stores are common in the rest of the country, but I love them! They have so many cute items, many of them are much nicer than what you would get at a regular dollar store, and everything is $1.50 unless otherwise indicated. Cute little food containers, Japanese-style bowls and plates, adorable stationery, and pretty much every functional molded plastic item you could imagine. I also got a pair of baby chopsticks for Baby Brownie, a pinwheel, and a few Japanese drinks (cans of green tea were $1)…

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I had kind of been wondering for a while about what to do with the short cubbies in the Expedit media unit in the family room. We don’t have a whole lot of electronic components, just a blue-ray player, so I wanted to fill up the rest of the space with toy storage so Baby Brownie could reach. These bins were perfect for storing small toys and balls that would otherwise get lost in her big toy bins.

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In the left bin, I store a few diapers and a small package of wipes for when I need to change the baby on the go. Like when she’s playing and she’s got a full diaper and she refuses to have her diaper changed in her room because she doesn’t want to stop playing. She will literally run away and hide! At least now I don’t have to drag her kicking and screaming back to her room.

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In the tray on the right I have her peg puzzles stored as well as her magnetic drawing board and some sticker books. It helps to have them right there at eye level. Baby Brownie can see them and get them out herself and play independently. The baskets also hide the unsightly cords from the TV. I’m still figuring out what to do on the top shelf to hide the cords. The blue-ray player does get quite hot so I don’t want to put anything on top of it.

So now the family room is a little bit more organized. This room is pretty much Baby Brownie’s playroom so it’s nice to have it be a bit easier for her to access her toys.

Back in Action!

Hi folks,

Sorry for being MIA for the past couple of weeks. I flew to Toronto with my toddler and the hubster joined us a week later. It’s been two weeks of family, friends, and eating. It was fun, and tiring, and I’m still working on cleaning up the two suitcases that basically exploded in my house (haha). I’ll have a post up soon on how it was traveling with our 1.5 year old (it wasn’t easy, but then again, nothing is easy with a toddler) and a few souvenirs I picked up on the trip. But first I have to dig the camera out wherever it is. So bear with me, ok? I appreciate your patience =).

Love,

Camilla

DIY Travel Felt Board

My toddler and I are planning a trip to see my folks in Toronto pretty soon. It’s about a 5 hour flight, but we have a layover in Chicago for about an hour and a half. I’m thinking, the layover is probably a good thing so Baby Brownie can run around and work out her excess energy. But I’m still dreading the flight.

Now that she loves to run around and play, Baby Brownie can’t sit still for long…especially not in my lap (we didn’t buy her a seat). And she loves to get into trouble and play with stuff she shouldn’t be messing with. Other moms I’ve talked to say to bring lots and lots of activities to keep her busy, so I’ve been putting together a bag full of travel activities. New toys, crayons, stickers, books… and I saw this awesome idea for a DIY felt board so I made one to bring along.

diy travel felt board

I got this idea from a friend who got it from a blog but I can’t for the life of me find that blog again!!! So I’m very very sorry if I stole your idea. Just let me know and I’ll give you the credit!

Also, this felt board is NO SEW, which makes it really easy.

Materials:

Various colors of craft felt, including at least two (2) 8.5 x 11″ pieces.
Scissors
Fabric glue
Batting

felt board stuffing

I decided to stuff my felt board with batting to stiffen it a little but still keep it soft and plush and foldable. I just cut a rectangle of polyester batting a little smaller than my two 8.5 x 11″ pieces of felt, sandwiched it between the felt, and glued the edges of the felt with a bead of fabric glue.

felt board house

The rest was super simple. I just cut out some triangles, rectangles, and squares to make a house. I cut out other shapes to make a sun, moon, star, cloud, and tree. The components of the tree and the sun are glued together to make it easier for my daughter to recognize. The grass is glued down too. Everything else is loose so she can place them wherever she wants. When I have time I want to make a little cat and dog too.

felt board face bald

For the other side of the felt board I cut out a head shape (yes it’s silly-looking, but Baby Brownie doesn’t care) and eyes, nose, mouth, and eyebrows. The components of the eyes are glued together.

felt board face

Also, this silly bowl haircut. When I have time I’m going to make other versions of mouth, eyes, hair (maybe with yarn glued on) so she can change it up.

Everything fits really nicely into a large freezer bag, and it’s lightweight so it’s ideal for bringing traveling. You can make all sorts of scenes…your imagination’s the limit! I might also make a barnyard scene with animals, although animals are quite a bit harder to cut out than simple geometric shapes.

Any tips for traveling with toddlers? Any must-bring toys? Any advice would be appreciated!

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