Yard Sale Find! ~ by Sam

I keep forgetting to post this one!

A couple of weeks ago ~ when we were right in the thick of painting the Party Room ~ I drove by a yard sale and saw this gorgeous cabinet.  

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The seller wanted $100 for it, but I managed to talk him down to $75.  Then, I realized I only had $72 in my wallet.  Luckily, he was willing to take that.  Now, $72 might have been more than I had to pay.  He agreed VERY easily, so I am thinking I could probably have talked him down even more.  Nevertheless, I think it is a nice piece of furniture, and I am very happy to have it.  When I picked up the girls from their religious education classes, Kaia saw the cabinet in the car and asked, “What happened?”  The answer?  I drove by a yard sale ~ THAT’S what happened!  Luckily, it is a piece we will use.  We ALWAYS need more storage, and I think it suits our “eclectic” decorating style. 

Homemade Glitter Playdough ~ by Sam

The other day, we were bored, so we decided to make something.  We weren’t exactly sure what to make, so we sat down and looked at all of the crafty, science-y and/or cooking ideas we had “pinned” or bookmarked for later reference.  We settled on this:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Galaxy-Playdough/

It’s sparkly homemade playdough ~ fun to make, and fun to use!  Now, you might be thinking that some of the kids (aged 10,14 & 16) might be too old for playdough, but, I assure you, one is never too old for playdough ~ especially if it has glitter.  The truth is, it’s good for your brain, hand-eye coordination, imagination and creativity, and manual dexterity to mold with clay.  Also, I have learned a couple of tricks that make playing with playdough even more therapeutic and beneficial.  So, if it’s been a few years since you’ve played with playdough, I highly recommend you revisit the idea.  There’s also something strangely satisfying about the idea of creating masterpiece after masterpiece, each for its own sake, enjoying each for a moment, and then squishing it to make something new.  And the glitter?  Well, everything is better with glitter.

We couldn’t find any black food dye, so we decided to just wing it.

Kaia made a beautiful deep purplish-blue, using a combination of blue and violet.  Image

Hallie made a gorgeous deep teal using green and blue:Image

Here are a couple of tips:

* Use baby oil or sweet almond oil in place of cooking oil, and your playdough will soften your hands while you play.
* Add a few drops of essential oil (or a blend of several) to make playing an aromatherapeutic experience.  
           Kaia added Rose Absolute (in jojoba oil)
           Hallie added a blend called “Anxiety Release” + a few drops of grapefruit essential oil
* Years ago, we invested in several large plastic trays that have become known as “art trays” in our home.  I found ours at IKEA, I think.  For this purpose, I prefer large trays with a fairly high rim around the edge.  Using these trays makes clean-up after projects involving glue, paint, glitter, paper cutting, and other small pieces an absolute breeze.  
* The easiest (and most fun) way to mix in the glitter is to sprinkle it on the tray, and then knead it in to the dough.  
* Store your playdough in a sealed plastic bag, being careful to remove as much air as possible, so it doesn’t dry.  We divided ours, storing half of each colour in a sandwich bag, and then storing all 4 sandwich bags inside a gallon-sized ziplock storage bag.
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There’s a Party Goin’ on Right Here… ~ by Sam

In the past week or so, we have continued to plug away on the “Party Room.”  We liked the colour we had chosen for most of the room (Behr’s “Hallowed Hush,” Satin Finish), but we thought it might be nice to have a different colour on the wall leading in to the front of the house.  This is such a big room, I thought it could use a lot of colour.  In addition, we have the room sort of loosely divided into areas for daily use, but then we tend to sort of re-arrange furniture, push the table back against the wall, and open it up a bit more when we have parties, so we wanted the colours to a) define each area, and b) create a harmonious look for the room as a whole.

We had already painted the bar corner of the room a beautiful, rich purple (“Pharoah Purple” Semi-gloss), and we had settled on a blue-greenish tone for the rest of the room.  Hallowed Hush was a little bluer than we thought we would go, originally, so we decided to use that one big wall that leads in to the breezeway that we like to call the “library” on one side and the kitchen on the other to introduce a little more green to the room.  Now, we have a large doorway in to the breezeway and, ultimately, the parlour, and then a large pass-though window in to the kitchen on that wall.  So, it is a large wall, but it is broken up.  Bear in mind that the doorway looks out to a soft yellow wall, and the pass-through looks out to the bright red kitchen.  We wanted a colour that would nicely frame each of those colours, while tying in well with the blue and purple in the party room.

After poring over colour choices online and at the hardware store, we had narrowed it down.  I LOVED a very dark, green with a bit of blue in it, called “Billard Table,” again, by Behr.  Shane LOVED a lighter, greener Behr shade called (coincidentally) “Billiard Room.”  So, we pored over more colours, and found one that seemed to fall right between them, being a tad lighter than “Billiard Table” and a tad darker than “Billiard Room,” another Behr colour, called “Greensleeves.”  It also is bluer, which I thought would be nice, to tie in with the blue walls.  (Shane pointed out that the whole idea was to get more green in to the room, and he was right, of course, but the truth is I really like blue.  A lot.)

At some point in here, Kaia suggested we paint each strip of paneling a different colour, in rainbow order.  Hallie suggested we do the strips framing the doorways in the darker colour, and the rest of the wall in the lighter green or the blue that was on the other walls.  Somebody said we should just do the whole wall in stripes.  I wish I could remember who that was.  No one will own it, and it was such a brilliant idea.  Maybe it came from Kaia’s rainbow stripe idea and Hallie’s two-tone idea.  At any rate, we got to thinking.  We decided the best course of action would be to get samples of the three paints we wanted to try, and put them on the wall to compare.  Then, we got to thinking, maybe we could use them all.  At first, it was just a light/dark stripe idea, but then we found that medium tone, and we decided to do a sort of tonal stripe.  We would go from dark to light and back again, with our three colours.  Then, we would live with it for a while and make our decision: keep the 3-tone stripe, buy the paint and do the whole wall that way; or pick one of the three colours and go from there.

First, Shane taped out and painted the darkest colour:Image

Next, we painted the lightest colour, so those two could dry before we taped up the edges to paint the medium shade between them:Image

Then, we painted in the medium shade:Image

Finally, we went in and finished painting the adjacent wall and touched up all of the little skips:
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Now, we are living with it for a while, before we make our final decision, but we all pretty much love it.  As you can see, we are still trying to work out the perfect arrangement for the furniture, and, knowing me, we always will be.  This is a wonderful, large room, but with rather an odd layout, and not one single unbroken wall, so it is a bit of a challenge to arrange.  The colours, however, make a huge difference in making it feel like home.

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We have done a lot of painting in the past year, and we have learned a few things.  My advice, if you are going to paint your home would be:

*Try out your colours online (check the paint company’s website for virtual room designer programs).
*Look at lots of paint chips ~ bring them home and look at them in your home, because the lighting in your room will change how the paint looks (unless your home is lit just like a hardware store.  In that case, it will probably look pretty much the same).
*Get samples and try the colour(s) on your wall before committing.  Put the colour on the wall and live with it for a while before you go back and buy the whole gallon (or two).
*Tape, dropcloth, protect your surfaces.
*Use the right tools.  Be sure to get the brushes, pads or rollers for the texture surface you are painting.  This makes a HUGE difference.
*Clean paint brushes and tools right away.
*Keep all of your paint chips in a file, so, if you ever have to touch up a wall, you will be able to find the perfect colour.  Even if a company discontinues a colour, many stores will “colour match” if you bring them the paint chip.
*Don’t be afraid of colour.  Worse case scenario, you hate it and have to paint over it (but, if you follow the steps above, at least you’ll just have to paint over a small portion).  Paint your home for YOU.  Unless you are staging a house for sale, paint it the way you want it, and don’t worry about what anyone who doesn’t live there thinks of your choices.  If soft neutrals throughout make you feel peaceful, relaxed and completely at home, go for it!  If, on the other hand, the idea of walking in to a bright orange and pink living room every day makes you feel happy, energized and great to be home, go for it!  It’s about you (and the other people who live there, of course).