Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Not Crafty - Mummy Mason Jars

I am the opposite of crafty.  I can't do it.  I'm terrified of it.  My kids love it.

So imagine my smiling face when I found this post from a fellow Canadian (Toronto!) blogger who described the easiest halloween craft known to man.


It involves mason jars, tape, googly eyes, gauze and glue.  That's it.  Really.

Jen's step-by-step instructions are amazing - they show you just how easy this craft really is.  Combine that with the local dollar store and you're laughing. 

Or oooh-ing and aaaah-ing like George every time he walks by them...

Happy Halloween!!

Dining Room Done

There's another room in our house that got the finish treatment.  At least, finished until we rip down the walls.  Eeek!

Behold, the dining room.


Let me just say, it took over 10 years for me to frame those prints.  10.  years.  plus.  But it was well worth the wait, because they look amazing over the storage cabinets.  And there's nothing like more Spain in the house!

Since I'm officially calling this room done, here's a look back on how far it's come.

Before - Green

To be fair, this should really be a "during" picture because this room was a disaster before I started my blog...but here's where I started sharing pictures of it.

During - Cloud White

Then we painted it BM Cloud White like the current majority of our house.  (The color is second to none)

During - Storage

When guests were imminent, we moved the antique jelly cabinet up and an Ikea Expedit down.  I bought a second Expedit to balance the room out.  And splurged on bins.  That's a joke.

After - Ta Da!

Combine the artwork investment with the Ikea Expedits and fabric bins...and you've got a nice looking set up.  It really frames the living room when you walk through from the kitchen. 

We've half-heartedly joked that maybe we don't need to renovate.  But the truth is, we've yet to eat in this room since cleaning it up a year ago.  We stay in the updated eat-in-kitchen for 100% of our meals.  Our new floor plan will eliminate "repeated space" and turn this into a much better use of square footage. 

Let's see that before and after one more time...


Not too bad, if I do say so myself!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Last Kitchen Project

I say that as I'm crunching numbers for our new kitchen (which is exciting and terrifying me all at the same time), and so I just kinda want to cry.

But not until I show you the final finishing touch.

Ta Da!  Did you see it? 

Red Frames!

Now the walls don't look so separate anymore.  Like big red bull poster on that side and all black & white on this side.   There's unity.  And I like it.

I probably like it so much because of all the projects to finish up before guests arrived, this was the most time intensive and tedious.  Five frames.  Three coats.  Can't I just cut corners?

I tried.

How about painting the frames with the pictures still in them?


Yeah, no.  Ikea laughed in my face.  Try sanding the finish off every nook and cranny of the white MDF frames first, and then paint. 


Much better. 

And so is the view of my kitchen.

From the Dining Room
From the Sink

(*Sigh*) I love.

So with the final project complete, I guess it's time for a Kitchen Before and After.  Keep your eyes open for a big blog post coming soon.  You know how I love before and afters...this one will be the best yet!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Guest Room

Ok, it's not really new.  Just new to the blog.  Even that's a lie. 

Remember this disaster?

Guest Room?

Kissing cousin to the other ex-disaster.  They share a wall.  See the mirrored slope?

George's Room

George's is in the front of the house on 3.  Yellow Guest is in the back. 

View From The Window

How could this possibly be a Guest Room?  Exactly. 

So I got rid of the bad Ikea wardrobe. 


Which helped right away.  But it was still bad.

Getting There

Just full of stuff.  Mostly overflows from from the now George's Room.  Actually, they were overflowing into each other.  Giving me fake hope that I was making progress. 

Until I got serious with guests arriving. 

Here's what they found when they got here.


More After!

Although it's still YELLOW, it's so much better than it's ever been.  We moved the cabinet from the dining room up into this guest room.  It looks great with my grandmother's old hope chest and the bookcase. 

Since I was buying a roller black-out shade for George's room, I decided to get one for this room, too.  There is a Blinds-To-Go close by, and because speed and convenience were top of my list, that's where I went. 

The windows in each room are so small and badly askew, I splurged on the valance to hide the wonkiness.  It worked like a charm.  And because the white plastic chains drive me crazy on Jake & Henry's roller shades, I also splurged on metal chains.  So with the add-ons, they weren't as cheap as they could be...not to mention the customer service was severely lacking...but at the end of the day I'm very happy with them.  Even if they are vinyl. 

Hey, selection is limited in the black-out shade department. 

This room is on the short list to be painted BM Cloud White.  But since we won't have guests arriving for another long while, other rooms may get the bump.


All in all, I'm really happy to get this room organized.  I pass it every time I walk into George's room.  So...maybe it will get a paint job sooner than later...assuming there's a few daddy days in the near future.

Monday, October 22, 2012

George's New Room

Today starts a reveal of all the hard work that went into getting the house ready for guests that came and went a week ago. 


I didn't have a chance to blog or take pictures because I used every single spare second to get things done in time.  Just.  Barely.  I was hanging freshly painted picture frames 20 minutes before guests pulled up. 

More on that in posts to come...

Today reveals my biggest accomplishment for the big visit.  George's room on 3.

Let me start by saying this project reared it's ugly head back in April, here.  Further proof that slow and steady wins the race.  Or: a race can be won during naptimes, holidays at grandma's and daddy days.  Your choice.

Let's review:

Get Me Out of Here...

This is the state of disaster that was the most neglected room in the house.  Our front bedroom on 3 (aka: 3rd floor green room). 

In 2002, when the house was staged for sale, this room was painted a neon-ish green that matched the ikea duvet on the bed.  When we bought the house, this room became a magnet for storage.  Which really means: a dumping ground for 9 years.  Last year, it absorbed almost all of the basement "stuff" from the dig and renovation.  Poor room.

So once we committed to a house full of guests for Henry's annual family birthday party, we decided to clean it up and get stuff out.  Garbage, recycling, goodwill and craigslist.  All of the above, many, many many times.

So here it is in...my favorite...before and afters!!!

Entry Before
Entry After

You haven't even stepped into the room and this is what you see.  Don't you feel like a weight has lifted off your shoulders already?  Your neck muscles aren't so tense anymore?  Wait, is that my outside voice...???



Yes, that is a large picture frame draped in beachtowels and blankets to block light because we moved George into his new room before we finished clearing it out.  We needed his old room on the 2nd floor for guests around this time.  Sorry, third child.

Getting There

But we made it up to him quick.  While the guests were in town we were able to clear a ton of stuff out. 


And now he's got a beautiful (BM) Cloud White view from the top of the house!

What's that?  What does the rest of the room look like?  More before and afters?  Of course.


Yes, George slept with old doors, a steamer, 10+ bins and I don't know how many random empty baskets.  But you couldn't beat his sleep in this room.  It was for the record books.

Getting There

Again, built-in-babysitters-as-guests really helped.


So does a coat of paint, a rug and some pictures.  Ta Da! 
And still sleeping like a champ.

Wait.  So what did George see from his crib through all this?  Glad you asked.

Before - When He First Moved Up
During - When Guests Were In Town
After - Love The View

I love the change.  Although I will say, that closet is still a tricky one for me. 


I don't like the bins on top, but I simply have no where else to put them.  They squeeze in nicely up above even if they are ugly.  And that closet is jam packed full of secrets.  So there they stay until I can figure something else out. 

One of my favorite parts?  I found a great place for those random empty baskets.


Nothing beats going shopping in your own house.

So there you have it...the first, biggest and best project we finished before guests arrived.  Dare I say, George has the most finished room in the house, now.

Poor room, no more!

That lucky third child...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We Are Family

I'm still recovering from a weekend full of family fun. 

In a good way!

The bulk of my recovery comes from rushing to get the million-and-one house projects done before guests arrived on Thursday.  All of which, I can proudly say, GOT DONE.  But before I reveal all the blood, sweat and tears related to the house, here are highlights of the family...

First of all, no Wysocki gathering is complete without a full bar.  

Stock Up

And then my mom added her wine picks from the US.  Just saying!

Once we completed stockpiling the liquor cabinet, focus was completely on the kids.


My George and my brother's Charlie are 2 months apart.  Could it get any better than that?  Yes, it could.  How about same temperament, motor skills, food likes, food dislikes and haircuts. 


We got out to the park a couple of times for fun.  Charlie loved hanging with George in a big city park. 


Charlie especially loved the sand...as his park at home has woodchips.  He got busy digging, dumping, pouring, scooping, eating.  That last one wasn't his favorite.

Loving It.

We finally left once naptime came around.  But it was hard to go.

Can you say no to those eyes?

After the big kids finished school for the week, full-on family time kicked in.

Game Time

Mimi always comes loaded with games.  Does she know my boys, or what?

Laura & Dad

My sister and dad got caught up on her life in Indiana.

Chef Stevio

And Steve spent time in the place he shines the most.  The kitchen.  His passion is my crack.  Literally.  He made "crack pasta" (aka: jamie oliver's sausage fusilli) and we all licked our plates.

On to the weekend spotlight: Henry's 5th Family Birthday Party.

Totally Excited

I suck at taking party pictures.  Especially at present opening time.  I use my little point and shoot, take hundreds of shots, but none turn out very well. 

The only one I ended up liking was this single shot I grabbed with my iPhone.  The look on Jake's face is priceless because he couldn't keep himself less than 2 inches away from Henry the.  entire.  time.  But hey, who could blame him?

Once candles were blown and presents were opened, the adults had some coffee and the kids had a photo shoot.

Joe + 4 Boys

I love this shot of my brother and all the boys.  My guys especially love hanging with their Uncle Joe.  To see them all together makes me forget how far apart we live.

Peg + The Monkeys

As much as I love my brother, I might love his wife more.  She brings out the best in my boys.  She's always willing to listen to their loooong stories, fold hundreds of paper airplanes or put together one last puzzle.

Just look at Henry.  That's joy.

Peg + 4 Boys

And the look on Peg's face here...that's joy, too.

As the weekend came to an end, we took a couple last shots.

Mimi & Her Toddlers

There couldn't be a better grandma for Charlie & George.  At one point, Charlie would cry because George was in Mimi's arms.  Then George would cry because of Charlie.  So I grabbed George to make it easier on Mimi, but he screamed even louder.  Sorry Mimi - must be hard to be so loved.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Charlie.  But only after breakfast.

And Raffi.  No table time is complete without Raffi. 

(I think we turned Charlie into a convert.  Almost.)

All in all, our weekend was a success.  Stay tuned for posts showing projects I completed before everyone's arrival.  It was down to the wire - as in minutes before they walked in the door.  But those always turn out the best, don't they?  You'll see...!!!!