Annie vs. the Goldfish

Mommy, I am SO sorry for dumping the whole box of Goldfish. Look at my sweet, repentant face.

Except actually I don't feel bad at all. Because this is so much fun to slide around in!

Oh and would you looky there. Whilst I tire of making a mess, I can just pop a snack in my mouth!

Best decision ever.


The Middle Third

Since last I've posted, a trip to Springfield has been taken. Mahjong was learned. An art fair has inspired. An oil pastel painting, sketched. A baby took her first three steps. A friend's engagement was celebrated. The next step in Ryan's fight for services, accomplished. Five songs have been sung at church. And three of the four pieces of this black built-in have been repurposed and nearly finished. 

Let's take a look at the middle third. But first, here is where we began and here is what motivated me to do away with it. Keep in mind these pictures are of the piece at its saddest point. Its not well arranged, unenthused state. Its pile-everything-on-without-thinking condition. So cut it some slack. It looked great the day it went in five years ago. Since then, however, I've become sorely disillusioned with bead board. Also, never knew what to do in that little cubby above the TV. Then, there was the way too wavy glass paned doors. And don't get me started on the drawer pulls. They're terrible. 

So after four-ish years, I decided to paint it hoping the face-lift would be significant enough to renew my love. I was obsessing over this Red Earth Farrow & Ball color that I found in a magazine years ago. F&B paints are super expensive though. So I took a shot at matching it from this screen image below. 
Clearly, I failed. I used "FAME ORANGE" from Sherwin Williams. Before I continued on and painted all the doors, I filled up some of the shelves again to see if what was on the shelves would ground this very pastel color that I went with.

I wasn't convinced. But whatever. This project was dragging on so I went ahead and kept with the color. 

**Notice here how close the couch sits to the TV. This is because we don't have a couch wall. The layout of the apartment is such that there are no wall lengths long enough to fit a couch. They are all interrupted by a door. So the couch has always had to float. Yet another reason I wanted to yank the built-in. 

So what do you know, I laboriously paint the doors and get within an hour of finishing this piece, when I gave up. I was so tired of trying to make it work and trying to convince myself that I liked it, that that night, a few hours before John's gig, we started ripping it off the wall. That's when one piece became four.

 And as you've already seen, this is the wall we left behind.

But, back to the journey of the middle third of this entertainment center. It was built to be sandwiched between the two side bookshelves. So neither edge was finished.

We measured the ends of all these new stand alone pieces and bought plywood at Home Depot to cap them. They were patient enough to make all of the cuts for us. 

Then, while watching the Voice last week, I kilzed each piece.

Once dry, we liquid nailed the boards AND used finishing nails. The top got hard core sanded because a ridge was left where the TV unit once sat. And well, everything got sanded. Then tacky clothed to remove all of the dust before painting. 

We broke out the Fame Orange paint once more. 

High gloss paint takes a good minute to dry so a day or two passed between coat. (I simultaneously painted the two bookshelves...more on that later.) 

Anyway, here we are today:

To put it into perspective, I took this shot from the hallway with our front door open. This 'middle third' is now the first thing you see when you come home. 

Just for reference, you used to see this when you walked in the door. And I loved that look, but it's nice to have the desk oriented back to office related things in lieu of being an entry console. It was also short enough to where Annie would pull everything off. Too fun.

So we're excited for the change.

And I ought to mention that I had four leftover pulls from our kitchen that I was able to use on these repurposed drawers instead. I was thrilled because by the grace of God the pull hardware fit squarely in the existing holes. They sit slightly lower than I'd normally have them, but I'm good with it if it means less work. 

I bought them online months ago from Chinese Brass Hardware.

Annie is all about them. They chime a little when you pull them. And let's be honest. She's really all about them because they allow her access to her toys. We knew she'd one day pull that drawer open no matter what was in it, so to avoid a constant battle, we filled that (and every other low lying drawer and cabinet) with kid-friendly contents.

But I can't let myself fully deceive you. This project is not entirely done. I lack a miter saw so the crown that ought to wrap each side and cover the gap between the two wood pieces is missing. One of these days I'm going to track down someone with one of these dandy saws, make my two small cuts and finally get to call it a day! One of these days...

And there's the part where we have a rug hanging on our wall like a pair of hippies. It's our temporary solution to covering all the exposed wiring and torn up drywall while we patiently wait for our electrician and drywaller to pencil us in. 

So that's the long winded version of how we got from this:

to this:

Oh, how I'm glad we went down this path! 


get it done OR get it gone

I went through this terribly unfortunate stage about six years ago where I had very low expenses and a relatively high income for a girl waiting tables in college. Somehow buying junk with the extra cash I earned tickled my fancy. The unfortunate part is that I'm left without a lot of this junk six years later. Most of it came from the River Market Antique Mall. And a choice few pieces would still make the cut if I were to buy them all over again. But the vast majority wouldn't even merit a second look if I knew then what I know now about my taste in design. 

It was the era of Shabby Chic. Where you'd buy an old door and make it a headboard. I know, a lot of people are still into that and God bless you. But I am way over it! Luckily I get to sluff a lot of this banged up stuff onto people who still do genuinely love it and make it look good in their houses. But these days I'm into furniture that doesn't need a sign on the back warning those over 100 pounds not to sit there for fear it might snap in half. We still have a few of those pieces in our house. You make the sign of the cross before sitting your behind upon its wobbly frame. Slowly, though, I'm eradicating those pieces. But alas our wallet is not in agreement with me on the replacement end of things. 

So here's where I made a nasty old trunk usable again. It was army green, dirty and dangerous with a heavy lid that slammed shut. Sound appealing? Why I ever bought it is beyond me. I used it as a coffee table for a few years and then left it in the apartment when we rented it furnished. When we reluctantly re-inherited it this April, I spray painted it gold hoping to freshen it up. It looked weird. So I STARTED painting it turquoise thinking it may look nice in Annie's all white room. I didn't get far at all when I abandoned ship not wanting to waste my time already knowing I wouldn't like the turquoise either. Thus the terrible two-tone action going on in the before picture.

Then came the get-it-done or get-it-gone ultimatum last week. 

We are desperate for a place to put extra linens and towels. John's only requirement was that we add better hinges if we were to keep it around Annie. So I ordered two toy box hinges from Rockler. Great company - they came super fast. And they work incredibly well. The lid stays open at any angle. You even have to put forth a little effort to get it to shut or open. So no risk of slamming down on Annie's itty bitty fingers. 

After I screwed in the new hinges, I scrubbed the inside which was super gross and quickly realized that I could never put anything white in there. That's when I decided to line it with extra upholstery fabric I had laying around. I caved a couple weeks ago and bought a new staple gun after the nightmare it was to staple the cornice board in our bedroom. It made lining the interior CRAZY EASY! (by the way, the cornice board has finally been hung and looks great)

I also ditched the old woven handles on the trunk. I'll replace those some other day.

For the inside of the lid I stapled the extra fabric from Annie's Roman shades. And buried in an old sewing box I found some ribbon to glue over the staples. 

Of course it wasn't until AFTER I did all of the fabric stapling that it dawned on me I should have painted the outside first. It wasn't a huge hassle but I certainly wish I had done it the other way around. Bits of turquoise will forever peak through behind the ribbon. I painted it with Benjamin Moore White Dove oil based paint that I had left over from the kitchen cabinets

And while it certainly isn't great and while it most likely will stay tucked into Annie's closet and rarely seen, at least its decent now. And at least when you open it, it's well lined enough with clean fabric that you wouldn't mind sleeping on a pillow that was tucked inside. But the trunk is still most definitely an I-wouldn't-buy-it-again piece from my six year ago flea market shopping days. 

So one more time...



Annie vs. the Cob

Every once in a while, between coats of paint and moments of feeling majorly overwhelmed, the Brewer family sits down to eat. Except that with all the sewing I've been doing, our dining room table ain't too well suited for food. As of late, it's been more of a  no-one-get-near-the table-I-just-finished-pressing-fabric sort of table. Thankfully we had the foresight to build in the space for two barstools in our kitchen. Anyway, here's dinner a few nights ago. Annie met her biggest nemesis. A cob of corn. 

"guys, i got this. a cob of corn ain't no thang. look, my mouth is even already open. let's get 'er done."

"ah, so she's a slippery sucker. I can play that game."

"Just give me a second to focus. C'mon, hands and mouth. Pull it together."

"If only I could get my elbow into it."

"This cob is MEAN and I'll have NONE of it!"

"Except, I'm kind of still hungry, guys. Look how cute I am. Please help a sista out"

"This is brilliant! My kind of finger food!"

"And tasty, too."



Once we tore out the built-in over the weekend, we didn't have a home for our TV. That's actually a great thing, as we were tired of being constrained to using the made-to-fit TV section of the piece. It eliminated a lot of options in terms of arranging furniture. 

So the TV moved across the room to a desk. It make-a me crazy and it had only been a few hours. I want to scream every time I see those cords. And yes, those are good ole fashioned bunny ears on the left side of the desk. I'm cheap, people. Don't you know. Cable is for people not in ministry. Kidding. We love the Lord and we love John's salary. And 6 channels is plenty for us. 

Anyway, we decided to splurge, not wait until Christmas and go ahead and buy a wall mount kit for flat screens. It was super easy and only took a half an hour or so to do.

Obviously, in order for it to bear that kind of weight, it had to be screwed to a stud which meant the TV is a little off of center. But no biggie.

These are far from great pictures, but thar she blows for now. We have to bring an electrician in for an hour or so worth of work on the wall where the built-in was so we're going to have him drag the outlet up behind the TV and make the power cord disappear. Hallelujah.  And what's extra exciting is that we can twist the TV and see it from the kitchen, the living room or the dining room. That's like three TVs for the price of one! Ha! And our apartment is so little, that you can actually CLEARLY see the TV from all three of these rooms. I don't know if that's lucky or pathetic :)

Anyone notice the banged up bottom half of the center piece to the old built-in? Well since this picture was taken it's been paneled, primed and painted. And that white brick in the background needs a couple touch ups and we'll get to pull off the blue tape. The end is near, my dear family. I promise. 

One last exciting note to share. Maybe this is common knowledge, but we weren't privy to it before yesterday. We wanted to buy a more concealed antenna now that the TV would be so exposed up on the wall. We had settled on a $29.99 one that was flat and you could hide. BUT, John happened to peak around the back of a display TV and saw that someone had cleverly jammed a paper clip into the antenna jack to get basic channels. Praise God - it worked! 

It's a happy day here. The $29 antenna gets returned. Mucho cords are eliminated. John gets to see a project go from conception to completion in less than two hours (a record for me). And Annie gets to watch her cartoons again.

Wins all around. 
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