A Loft for Kids

carolines spotWhen we added the third story homeschooling room, in the eaves of our house we had unused space over the girl’s bedroom.  The way we look at it, to not finish and use the space, would be to waste it.  We found a way to tie it all in, and the result is a whimsical little corner of our house just for the girls.   A loft just for them.2 girls in loftThere is a small attic door which leads from the homeschooling room into the loft, complete with railing, bridge, and trap door which Kev built.  I didn’t approve the trap door with drop down ladder in the design phase…I was vetoed.  view from homeschooling roomThey climb from the bedroom up, it’s craziness, and all I do is holler things like, “Y’all are gonna break your stinkin’ necks if you don’t stop swinging from that ladder!”climbing ladderThe view from their bedroom looking up:looking upAnd the view from the bridge looking down:looking downIt’s a fun, girly, tweenish space.
Ellabooksbutterflies and lanternsbenchFor those of you that may ask, the monograms are from Custom Cut Monograms on Etsy.  They are wooden, were beautifully laser cut, and I primed and spray painted both monograms gold.  I would highly recommend this Etsy Shop.  Have a great weekend!

2 girls in loft

Kitchen updates with Paint {and a dilemma}

fv 3When I can’t find words, I paint; and when my painting is terrible, I write.  Each serves as respite therapy for the other.  It’s weird.  We officially remodeled our kitchen 5ish years ago, but that doesn’t mean I can’t repaint stuff.  Recently, I have been painting a lot.  The walls needed some improving.  They were a plaster finish I had applied, but had never really been crazy about.  They were a little “yellowish”, and everything else was “grayish”, so I repainted.  I do not get all bent out of shape about repainting things, it’s all part of the creative process.   If I had always settled for first attempts in life, I would be bored and stagnant, and I refuse to accept either of those two things.  Lest you think I am about to start preaching, let’s get back to paint.  I repainted my walls with this delicious metallic plaster which looks like dessert to me.  Technically, I didn’t paint it, I troweled it on.  The color is “Crushed Pearl” and you can find it here.  I mixed Crushed Pearl 50/50 with a product from the same line called O’Villa Plaster.  The online customer support at Faux Effects told me not to mix those two products together, but I ignored them, and I’m so glad I did.  crushed pearlThe finish is subtle and neutral whitish/grayish.  It’s sublime.walls 2

framesNext, these chairs.  Many years ago, I purchased them for pennies.  Their carvings were interesting, and they were a random warehouse find for a good deal.  The wood finish was pretty, and the seats were neutral, so they worked.  Through the years, these chairs have been abused in every way humanly possible, and I have loved that.  My babies have spilled more bowls of baby food and spaghetti than I ever thought possible.   With each spill I would take the chair to the backyard, hose it down, and bring it back in when it dried.

But then Annie Sloan created a chalk paint color called French Linen, and I knew it was time to repaint the chairs.  And if you’re gonna repaint chairs with a color called French Linen, you might as well recover them with a fabric called French Linen.  Y’all, I have a problem.      before chair

chairarm of chairI antiqued the edges a little, allowing the warmth of the underneath wood to show through, giving it just a touch of age.  And here’s a little secret…if you hit wet chalk paint with a hairdryer to speed up the drying time, guess what happens?  It cracks.  Can you even stand it?!?!?  I used Annie’s lacquer to seal the chairs rather than her wax.  The lacquer will be more durable in the kitchen.  cracklingThe next kitchen change I made was painting my windows and doors black.

rosa's shades This single decision might have been the best.  The result is sharp and clean, and if I hate it in 5 years, I can repaint it.  I know, I know, the audacity.  And for those who may ask about the light fixture above the table, it’s my favorite in the house, but honestly it almost took down an otherwise strong, healthy marriage.  Okay not really, but I will say this one thing.  Our ceiling is slanted, and the down rod on the fixture is fixed and straight.  Oh for the love, it wasn’t pretty y’all.  There may have been some gnashing of teeth.  The fixture is Circa, and you can find it by clicking here.kitchen lighting

Lastly, one of my dear friends gave birth to her fourth daughter over the weekend.  She might be one of the most beautiful babies I have ever laid eyes on. 20131021-145440

They won’t give her to me, so now my conversations with Kevin disturbingly sound like this….

Poor guy. “Snip snap snip snap.”

(This post contains a video.  If you are viewing the post through email, you will need to click over to playingsublimely.com in order to view.)

The Great Wall of Prayer

full wallIt’s the two story wall that leads up to our homeschooling room.  It’s a big wall, and I was having a tough time determining how I was going to make it pretty.  It was too large of a space to leave it painted the neutral wall color throughout our house, it bored me.  I knew it needed something fun.  We ascend and descend those stairs at least 20 times a day; and on one of those many trips, it hit me.  Yep, that’s gonna be a chalkboard wall of prayer.  My husband said, “You’re weird.”  I said, “I know, I can’t help it.”CarolineWe painted the entire wall with chalkboard paint using a two story ladder, a level, an overhead projector, and chalk; and we now have a place to write down our prayers that we bring boldly before the throne of grace.  You know you can do that, right?  No tipping toeing into His presence with small requests.  You can be bold.  You should totally have a chalkboard wall too.  I’m certain of it.

We hung empty gold picture frames (I’m a picture frame hoarder), so each of us has our own space to write requests.

So now when I sit with the girls at our table, my view towards the stairs is a better one.  It makes me happy.
Homeschool Room And completely changeable whenever I want it to say something else.  I love that.  For now though, I’m sticking with asking for mercy.  Mercy And if you are ever not sure what to pray for, take it from Thomas, just pray for trains.  Always pray for more trains.
A few answers to questions you may ask:

-I used chalkboard paint from Home Depot, nothing fancy.

-I did not season the board like everyone in the universe says you must do before you use it the first time.  There were two reasons for this.  One, the wall was too big and I refused.  Secondly, as long as I wipe off the chalk with a wet rag as opposed to a dry eraser, I cannot see any “ghost lettering” that people say will be left behind.  It wasn’t an issue for me at all.

-The print font I used is called Barocca Monograms, and the fancier letters I free handed on my own after looking at a few online that I liked.  The font of our names is written in Brush Script.

I will most certainly paint another surface in my house with chalkboard paint.  I’m irritated it took me this long to do.  Be brave.  Be bold.  Go do it.  You will love it.

Before and After: a place to sit and rest

fireplaceI love a good before and after, and I like this one so much because I created it exactly the way I wanted and disregarded every painting rule ever made.  It’s a great mix of old furniture pieces and knew ones, a lot of chalk painted furniture, plenty of candles, shimmery plaster walls I troweled, a florentine stencil all over the walls, some carpentry from my husband, real art from Molly over the fireplace, and then a few oil pieces from me (one original from me, two I copied, hate me).

Here are a few pictures of the before.  This view shows one side of the room.  You can see the plain fireplace, before the surround my husband built:
family roomThis one shows the other side of the room, before the new wall we framed up and added.  Notice this built in.  It’s still there, it just got a makeover…but that’s another post all together.old bookcaseBut here is a little peak.  It’s much prettier now.  More on that later:hall built-inOne of the first things we did was tear out the yellow shag and install hardwoods.  The floors have been done for awhile now, but I still remember the process.  We rented a floor nailer and spent several weekends on install.  Starting your first row is the hardest part, but once you know your line is straight, it goes quickly.

The bookcase:

built-in-411x600Kevin built it for me, I chalk painted it.  Click here to get that recipe.

full bookcase

top corner of bookcase

The walls.  They were created with a custom finish that I kind of made up as I went along.  The product is called Lusterstone and it is a beautiful, smooth, shimmery plaster.  I would be happy to share my recipe and process, but I’m pretty sure all the products I used are from a proffessional product line not available without training to “become certified”.  That makes it sound so legit, doesn’t it?  If you know me in real life, you know how humorous that is.

One thing I know anyone can purchase and do themselves is the stenciling.  This stencil is called “Florentine Damask“, and it is from Royal Designs Studio.  Click here to view and/or purchase if you are interested.  Melanie’s stencils are wonderful to use.  They are durable and come with great instructions.  open stenciled wallsThey add such an elegant touch.wallsStenciling is literally as simple as deciding where you want your stencil, marking level points, spraying on a temporary adhesive to hold the stencil to the wall to help prevent seepage, and then applying your product. stencil

I used this temporary spray adhesive, but many are on the market, I just buy what is available.  
spray adhesive

I have used both paint and plaster with my stencils.  Both work beautifully.  For this project I was troweling on plaster:

Once you are done, you simply pull the stencil off, clean it, and repeat.  Royal Designs really does have a gorgeous collection of stencils available.  Some of her new, whimsical designs are really fun.  My mind is spinning.stenciling

A few other details maybe worth mentioning.  One is the mirror.  It was a big, black, heavy, plastic framed mirror.  Chalk paint made it pretty, you can click here to get that recipe.  The other detail is this sideboard.  It was my grandmother’s piece of furniture, and it received a chalk paint makeover too.  I don’t think I ever posted on how to get that look…I will work on a recipe for that.
mirror and side table
And finally the art hanging on walls.  Some of this I have shown you before.  I really love Pino Daeni’s style.  I saw his…

original-449x600…and wanted to try painting her too.  She’s pretty and hardworking, so up on the wall she went.
bookcase and lady

Then I fell in love with Belgian painter, Jan De Vliegher.  

I wanted something with a lot of green on that wall, so I painted that too.  I know, I know, a cheap imitation; but for me, it works, for now.

Lastly there are these three little beauties.  I have three little sheep of my own, and so I knew I wanted to paint them.
3 sheep photograph

If I had a nursery, they would be hanging in it; but I don’t, so in the sitting room they go.  I really love the color in this painting; and obviously, since it’s my own work, I am most proud of it.  I kind of love painting sheep and I think I may start painting more of them.
my three sheep

I know that was a lot of random information.  I hope you found inspiration somewhere within the bouncing around from project to project in this room.  I wish we knew each other in real life.  I would love to have you over, so we could sit and rest together.
full view sitting room