Monday, May 26, 2014

Bathroom towels (Project 61)

My first confession: I have 5 kids. Five.

That probably explains a lot right there. Whew! Glad I got that off my chest.
So, keeping my house in order with 7 people living here is a challenge. I came up with something to help, so I thought I'd share.

About 5-6 years ago, when we lived in our old house, I bought the kids all matching towels and embroidered their names on them. Thinking that they would be responsible for the towel with their own name on it was giving them far too much credit.
No one wanted to bother actually reading the name on the towel. Including me sometimes my husband. So, everyone just grabbed whatever towel was handy, and then when I yelled, "Who didn't hang this towel up?!?" Everyone denied responsibility.
Then I had two more kids.
Who didn't have their own names embroidered on the towels.
And even though I had like 15 towels, none of them managed to get hung up.

When we bought our current home, it was still under construction. I asked the builder to put hooks instead of a towel bar in the bathrooms. I told him that I didn't know a child or husband who would actually take the time to fold a towel and nicely hang it up.
He must be someone's husband because he concurred. I also asked him to reinforce the wall behind the hooks so they wouldn't get pulled out of the drywall.

I'm brilliant. I know.

But, although I still don't think my older kids had any excuse, my little ones got really frustrated. If the towel wasn't hung up right in the middle (it can be hard for a little one to find the middle) it will fall right off the hook.

Despite my brilliant ideas, my bathrooms were not anymore orderly, and my children were still leaving towels on the floor and denying responsibility.

SO... I got even more brilliant!

I bought 3 each of 5 different colored (and bright!) towels. I also bought a washcloth in each color. I cut the washcloths into thirds and made 3 straps which I then sewed onto each of the  towels. Viola! They each had an easy to find hook for hanging! (This did require unpicking part of the towel so I could sew it into the seam to really make sure it wasn't going anywhere)

Then, at family home evening, the kids each drew a number out of a hat. Kid who drew number 1 got to choose their towel color first, and so on.
Now, I don't have to read any names, and everyone knows whose color is whose, and I know exactly who to yell at when I see a towel not hung up! (this is my pet peeve, can you tell?!)
And, it's easy for the little ones to find the hook, hang it up, and not feel so frustrated!
(Sorry about the unpainted patching up.... this used to have 3 hooks, so we added another one.)

I also found some matching rugs and shower curtain to go with the bright colors.

And yes, I do have four kids sharing one bathroom, and one child who has a bathroom all to herself. Not fair?

Trust me. This works out best for everyone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lime Green Dresser (project number 60)

I'm way behind on my posts! We did finally finish the addition for the baby's room. BUT... I haven't posted any pictures yet because:
a. I was waiting for my new camera lens to arrive. My husband forgot to order it for my birthday... but it did get here for Mother's Day.
b. I wanted to finished the curtains first.
c. I wanted to finish the dresser  first.
d. I wanted to hang stuff on the walls.
e. None of the above got done because I was cleaning messes like this

SO... a. got done.
b. is half done.
c. IS DONE!!!
Here is the Before:
 I got this dresser from my in-laws basement about 10 years ago. It was being used to hold sports equipment by the basement door. I got it for my daughter (who is now 12) and have been planning on painting it... for 10 years!! It had kinda this white wash on it.
My in-laws have several of these exact same dressers. I think the story is that they were bought by my mother-n-laws parents after WWII from the US Army. They look like they are from that era.
 This government stamp on the back seems to confirm that too... I really should ask what they story was...

 It was solid wood and in pretty decent shape.
 I decided to just be bold and paint it LIME GREEN!!
 I've also decided- since doing a few dresser now- that I like to paint the inside of the drawers, the sides, and anything else that might show. It looks so much nicer. I also paint the bottom and the back.
 I mixed my own paint from the leftover paint from the Lockers, and some sage green I had. It was a teeny tiny bit more yellow than I wanted, but close enough for me!
 (can you see that Chevron fabric on my hutch? That's for the curtains!)
Well, I was afraid I would never get this done! My garage is a disaster, and every time I clean it up so I can work on something, another disaster mess project takes over. So, I decided that the only way I was ever going to get it done was to bring it inside. 
To my kitchen!
A friend helped me move it.
And then my husband justifiably complained that it was going to sit in our kitchen for a month! 
So I HAD to prove him wrong!!!
I ignored my children all my household jobs and the laundry, and pulled out frozen dinners, and got it done in 2 days!!!
Of course, I did have lots of help from my 3 year old
 And the baby kept wanting to help as well... I think there were several whiny texts sent to my husband about how hard it is to get projects done with baby's pulling on your leg. He was only sympathetic because I had left him with all 5 kids the previous Saturday afternoon.
And, I need to add, that I tried something new:
Chalk Paint
Homemade, of course. And now I'm going to share my thoughts on chalk paint (just skip down if you want to see the "after" pictures)
Besides having a chalky finish (not chalkboard paint- just Chalk paint- please don't try to write and draw on my dresser!) Chalk paint is touted as a paint that requires no prep work, like sanding and priming. It's also supposed to cover well and not require multiple coats of paint!!

Hey, sounds great to a girl trying to get something done and fast!!
Well... not so much. 

After the first coat, I saw how badly it needed nail holes filled, and just how dinged up it really was. I filled it in a little bit and sanded before the next coat, but it probably wasn't enough.
So, I still think that even if you use chalk paint, you still need to prep. (insert frowny face)
And, it needed 3 coats of paint.

I finished it with minwax furniture wax in natural, which is what I have used on stained pieces and I loved it on those. 
But, I actually wish I had use a poly finish on the dresser. But I don't wish that enough to sand it off and put on poly. I just wish it enough to use poly the first time on the next piece I paint.

Also: rinse out your brushes immediately after you use them. Soaking them in a cup of vinegar water doesn't work with all that gritty grout. 
Also, I was going to sand and stain it. I tried it on the back of the dresser to see how I liked it. 
I didn't. 
Maybe the stain was too dark, but I didn't want to load the babies in the car and head to Lowe's and buy more and delay it getting finished, so I didn't distress and stain it. I can do that later if I really decide I want to.

I probably will use chalk paint again... but I will prep first (although next I want to try milk paint...)

But, despite all of that, I LOVE how it turned out! I'm thrilled with it. And it doesn't have to be perfect, because it is just a fun piece of furniture to hold my sons clothes in! And, it didn't cost me anything!!