Unlimited Potential…

I’m pleased to say I made a thrift store big score the other day!

Feels very 70’s, no? Makes me want to put my hair up in a beehive and put on some go-go boots.

I’ll be the first to say it- this baby needs a lot of work. But it’s got great bones, and it was built to last. And for $9.99- it was a bargain too good to pass up! I’ve already begun tearing her apart. I can’t wait to see where this project goes.

I’m not sure where it’ll end up- initially, I was thinking I’d paint her candy apple red and stick her by the fireplace in the living room. But I’m beginning to think she’ll fit nicely in the corner of our bedroom. I haven’t found the right fabric to reupholster with yet and that, in the end, will probably be the deciding factor.

In the meantime… here’s a little chair inspiration:

reupholstered chair tutorial from YHL blog @Sherry @ Young House Love---i was just gifted a long antique bench that has to be done in a very similar way as your chair...this tutorial came at the perfect time! #younghouselove #diyReupholstered chairred chairchair reupholsteredred chair

http://www.younghouselove.com/http://www.designsponge.com/2011/06/before-after-reupholstered-chair.htmlhttp://www.bowerpowerblog.com/http://darlingoctopus.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/make-me-pretty-a-victorian-chair-made-kid-friendly/http://www.findingfabulousblog.com/2011/07/chic-chair-revamp.htmlhttp://ohmigoshblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/my-red-and-turquoise-obsession.html

A Weekend in Birmingham

My cousin got married this weekend. Here’s a few highlights from our wedding weekend in Birmingham:

The Botanical Gardens.

Where I’m happy to say that we got the rare family photo…

Add, of course, the wedding and reception:

Followed by a quick trip to the Zoo (Yes, we are zoo lovers as you can see from here and here)

Huzzah!! I Built A Giant Purple Ottoman

I have been working on this project for ages(, I began my Ottoman scheming way back in January!)  I’ve sat down to write about it about a billion times, but either out of eagerness or frustration… the posts never got written. But now, finally, I’m relieved to say, it’s done! And I am so beyond happy to share it!

You may remember from this post that I was looking for a way to hide better way to store our DVD’s and electronic accessories. This mess was just not working for me.

The ottoman seemed to be the best solution. It would store the clutter and, bonus, act as a much needed coffee table. But the ottoman couldn’t be just any ottoman, it had to be large enough to balance out our enormous couch and be durable enough to stand up to two dogs and a toddler. And be pretty.That seriously limited the options. Bring in the family-of-three-living-on-a-grad-student’s-salary budget factor and the options were virtually eliminated. Just as I was going back to square one, I stumbled across the old old bones of a kitchen cabinet (,we pulled it down when we first moved in,) collecting dust in the corner of the garage. I pulled it into the living room and.. perfection! It was like it was meant to be.

When Devin got home I proposed my plan to him. He told me that I needed to get my head checked. But, like a good husband, he pulled his tools  dutifully got to work when the weekend came. Eventually, it came transformed into this:

(I think the dog preferred it at this stage.)

Complete with wheels, two of which have locking mechanisms.

Then came a layer of half inch foam and two layers of half inch batting. This baby is plush! Then the fabric. For the top, I used three inch foam and two layer of half inch batting. This was my first upholstering project. It was daunting. I think I used over (no joke) 3,000 staples. I kind of wish I’d started with something more practical, like the seat of a chair. But that’s not my style. Go big or go home, right? It took a little while, but (after the first 1000 staples) I got the hang of it.

If you are looking into building your own ottoman, here’s a few links I found very helpful:

http://lessthanperfectlifeofbliss.blogspot.com/2011/10/diamond-tufted-ottoman-whew.html

http://www.soulstyle.ca/word/ladders-ottomans-oh-my

http://www.cheeseisgoodfood.com/2009/04/diy-ottoman.html

I also watched a ton of Youtube videos.

The top didn’t go as planned. I had my heart set on diamond tufting. It was too much for a novice like me. I think the problem started when the three inch foam didn’t properly adhere to the plywood (I used spray adhesive.) It made it impossible to properly measure and align things. Then I got frustrated. It only went downhill from there. Objects were thrown. There may or may not have been some shouting. By the time I gave up, the foam was pock marked with holes. It looked pretty hopeless. I should have taken a picture for you, but I was just too mad.

I thought about going out and buying a fresh piece of foam… but those things are expensive. Even with a coupon, the first one cost 40 big ones. At this point I wasn’t sure my dream ottoman would come to fruition, and I wasn’t will to invest any more in the project. So here’s my dirty little secret: I used the holey foam. And with two layers of batting and a layer of tightly pulled fabric, my secret is safe. The whole top feels perfectly even. No indication of my failure.

While we are on the subject of trials and tribulations…. It’s not over yet. Our first hinge attempt = total failure. I picked up a cheap piano hinge from Lowes. We spent two hours one Sunday night attaching it. When we stood back and surveyed our work, it was obvious that the top wasn’t completely square to the bottom. Devin suggest that we apply a little pressure and bend the metal (it was just a smidge!) I’m sure you can see were this is going. A little “pressure” bent the hinged and pulled the screws out from the ottoman top. So learn from our mistakes, (as obvious as they seems now,) and make sure your hinge is sturdy and your screws are long enough. Otherwise bad words get said and more objects get thrown.

But enough of the negative. Let’s look at some pretty ‘after’ pictures.

A close up of the ‘folding and tucking’

And with a little foot action:

The Munchkin loves her some giant purple ottoman too!

I don’t think I ever told you how actually big it is….somewhere around 38″x50″. Monstrous. Baby girl likes to spread out take naps on it. (By ‘naps’, I mean pretend naps… If only it were that easy…)

So that’s our Ottoman building adventure.

Truth be told… It’s not truly finished yet. The inside still needs some polishing. But, in the meantime, I am so excited to put down the staple gun and put my feet up. And I can’t wait to put those DVD’s inside. It’s going to be amazing.

So what about you? Have you tried any crazy DIY’s lately? Anyone else ever experience upholstering obstacles? Or used a crazy number of staples? Any one else having trouble finishing projects in a decent length of time?

A is for Alligator

Ever since I moved here, I’ve wanted to check out Avery Island. It’s a State Park along the Gulf Coast. It’s also home of the Tabasco factory. We finally made it last week. The park featured a three mile driving path and you could pull over anywhere to get out and explore. There were alligators everywhere- and nothing to separate them from us. It was kind of insane. There were times when we’d walk, with four children in tow, across a narrow patch of land, water on each side of us. Suddenly one of the girls would spot a pair of frozen eyes staring out of the water… just a few feet from us. Like I said… Insane.

The girls really enjoyed looking for alligators. Kennedy loves animals, and despite the fact that we never spotted a gator in motion, she was fascinated. On more then one occasion I had to restrain her from going over to pet one.

Perhaps more fun than alligator spotting were the wide open fields. (Just make sure you bring bug spray.)

Babies and sunshine…. I don’t think there is a better combination.

There’s also a nine-hundred-year-old Buddha on the Island. His shrine is guarded by a pair of elephants.

And an Aviary Nest. (Sadly, the girls weren’t impressed after being so close to the gators.)

It was around this time that Kennedy lost her boot to the alligators. She dropped it in the water from aviary lookout post platform, which was about 30 feet in the air. So, no worries, she was in no danger, other than from the wrath of her mother. I was emotionally attached to those boots. Who wouldn’t be? Little green boots in size 6… worn for a just moment in time.

And then gone forever…

We didn’t make it to the Tabasco factory. A lack of shoes wouldn’t have stopped me, but tired babies are a different story. As the shoe dropped… so did the little one’s moods. It was time to head home. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to sample the Tabasco ice cream included on the tour, but, oh well, an excuse to go back, right?

Z is for Zoo

 We made like the old Cajun song and went on down to the Audobon Zoo last weekend. Kennedy came prepared- decked out in zebra attire.

A highlight for her- touching a monitor. Gave me the heebie jeebies.

And turtle. Enough said.

Shrek is currently on repeat at our house, so this donkey was a BIG hit. “That’s a nice boulder!” Maybe it’s the designer in me, but that line gets me every time!

Who needs to go see the primates with these two around?

We went with another family, who have a six month old. Having two babies to mamarazzi was so much fun that I didn’t take too many pictures of the animals.I didn’t realize it until I loaded the day’s photos on the computer. Those pictures above… are about the only ones I got. So be warned… the rest of this post contains extreme cuteness in the form of little arms and little fingers, and little noses… of the human variety.

Meet Conor.

And his family. They are visiting from California. Lucky them.

Now on the the good stuff: the babies!

I think Kennedy had a little crush. She’d randomly grab at him and try to plant one on him.

But he only had kisses for his mommy!

A Little Piece of Paradise

This weekend we took advantage of this amazing weather. It wasn’t all play though…. we spent the better part of Sunday mowing, weeding, planting and digging up roots. I want to say the yard looks great, but I guess that’s a relative term. A truer statement is that it looks better than it has in a long time.

We’ve never really taken advantage of the backyard, (other than letting the pups run wild back there,) Now that I am the larger half of a Mommy- Munchkin duo that spends 80% of our time at home, I’m ready to transform it to a little bit of paradise. Luckily, Kennedy’s paradise involves sunshine and a little bit of water… and my paradise primarily involves sitting back and watching her splash around. With a floppy hat. No vision of paradise is properly complete without a floppy hat. I also see a few wildflowers and maybe even a small eating area.

Nothing too complicated.

Instead of writing about a plan of action, I thought I’d show you.

The first step is already complete. Remember the seeds Little Lady and I planted?(Here) Well they’ve grown into a 4’x4′ raised vegetable garden. In fact, we had to build a second bed because there wasn’t enough room for all the plants. (FYI<,The beds are beds were built from 8 foot 1×8’s that were cut in half at the store. Devin put three nails in each corner to secure it. We dug out an area, placed the box, covered the inside area with newspaper, then filled it with the recommended amount of soil. Easy peasy.)

If you scroll back up to the first picture you’ll probably be able to guess why the second bed has no plants. We noticed some suspiciously three leafed plants growing along that back fence. A quick check with google confirmed that it’s poison oak.  Yikes! Again. This morning I bought a spray bottle that’s supposed to eliminate the stuff. Just waiting on the hubby to come home and spray it. I’ll let you know how it works. Once it’s gone, Keneddy and I will go play in the dirt, and plant some green beans.

I also bought some wildflower seeds this morning. Once all those various things leaned up against the fence are gone. I’ll spread them along the border. Hopefully it will create a sea of color that requires little or no maintenance.

This is where we spend all our time right now (far, far away from anything with three leaves.) I call it “the nook.”

I’d like to add those wildflowers and maybe a stone pathway. (Currently it’s a dirt pathway. Courtesy of our fourlegged family members.)  It may also be a good place for a small bistro table, but I haven’t really decided yet….

And finally, the heart of my paradise to be.

I’d love to DIY a canopy( a la this one from Prudent Baby). And then plop a small pool and comfy chair down. And enjoy.

And that’s it. I know it’s simple to the extreme, but my green thumb has a tinge of brown. And we’ll be moving in a year or so, so I  can’t see it being more worth my while to build a grand gazebo or carve out an intricate stone path.

What about you? Do you use your backyard? What’s your idea of paradise?

Flower Power, an Easter Tradition?

New Year’s Resolution # 5- Decorate the house for every holiday.

Ok, confession, I lost the list. I’m not sure what number it was but I know the resolution was on there. And so far I’ve failed miserably at it. I really, really want to get into the spirit of every holiday for the munchkin’s sake. I want her childhood to be nothing short of magical, and holidays are like a shortcut to magic. But it takes time… and planning. I better start prepping for the 4th now.

While we managed to squeeze in  something like 5 separate Easter Egg Hunts, we didn’t hang a single Easter decoration. It was mainly because I arrived home (after 5 weeks away) three days before Easter. No time to get creative and I wasn’t about to spend a ton of cash on something that would be marked 50 percent off with in a fortnight. It’s a pale substitution, but here’s what we did instead:

Bright yellow flowers. (They are zinnias, maybe?)

And bright purple tulips.

They may not spell out Happy Easter, and can’t be draped across the mantle, but they are most certainly the very definition of spring. And fresh flowers make everyone a little happier. (I’d be willing to bet there is a study out there that proves this!) And in total it cost about 6.00 dollars. I am still determined to one day hang an Easter wreath on my door (and perhaps display an Easter Bunny in every room), but perhaps this year is the first year of of a new Schmitt House tradition, the tradition of Easter Flowers (although maybe we could tweak the tradition so they are purchased by a very thoughtful husband… ahem.. that’s a hint my dear. You know we never get anything perfect the first time.)

So what are your traditions? And how did they come about? Tell me all about them! Obviously, I need some ideas! And how are your resolutions coming along? Am I the only one still thinking (from time to time) about them?