Bus Driver Appreciation Gift

I'm such a last minute person.  I didn't think about teacher appreciation gifts until Miss E's last day of preschool.  I'm lucky enough to have her in a preschool that picks her up and drops her off at my door step every school day.  I'm not sure she likes riding the bus, but Miss M and all the neighbor kids get a kick out seeing it drive through the neighborhood twice a week.  I wanted to give something to say thank you to the bus driver and the assistant, too.

Since I didn't have anything on hand, Miss M and I ran to the store while Miss E was in school.  This is what I came up with:

We don't have a color printer, so I have to resort to coloring in my printouts with marker, but you get the idea.

A much better way to go about it is to print it in color.  I made a free color printable version just for you.
Just click the picture, then right-click to save it to your computer.  You should be able to print it just like any other picture then.

I hope you have a great end-of-the-school-year and lots of fun things planned for summer!



I am due to have a baby any day now.  And every time I'm pregnant, my nesting instinct kicks in like a turbo-power jet pack.  It drives my husband crazy.

Honestly, it kind of drives me crazy, too--though in a different way than my husband.  I go crazy trying to complete all the projects my hormones are telling me are completely necessary to complete RIGHT NOW, while being pregnant or very pregnant.  It doesn't work so well.  I get stressed out.  But for some reason, my brain can't or won't override the hormones.

The up side?  I get A LOT done.

In the last month (since the beginning of April), I have:
  • Removed all the chair rail from both my bedroom and the nursery
  • Removed all the beadboard from my bedroom walls
  • Filled holes, smoothed paint, and re-textured the walls (where the chair rail was) in the nursery
  • Primed and painted the nursery
  • Built bookshelves and window seat and installed and painted them (including recycled beadboard backing and facing)
  • Organized and held a garage sale
  • Sold 3 beds and a box spring on KSL (the local classifieds)
  • Cleaned and organized the garage
  • Did two photo shoots and finished processing the pictures from one (so far)
  • Attempted to potty train our 2-year-old
  • and Made 5 teacher gifts (since my daughter has 3 preschool teachers and 2 bus drivers)
And that's just the stuff I can remember--mostly because it's documented in pictures.

All of the above-mentioned things are why you haven't seen much of me on the blog.   I will be going back and putting the stuff I missed out there for all to see as soon as possible.  I will also be finishing up the My Little Pony Fashions posts with Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle (and possibly Spike--if I'm feeling ambitious).

I don't know how long it will take me, but I pledge to you here and now:  It will happen.

I'm excited to show off my work in the nursery.  I hope you like it!



Bookshelves and window seat in the nursery

So I told you when I started this project I planned to up-cycle the bead board from our master bedroom, but it didn't work out how I planned.  Well...I went back to the drawing board and decided to go for something that would require even more work and planning.  Because I'm 8 months pregnant and nesting (which, as Fancy Nancy would say, is a fancy word for crazy).

I had been sitting on the idea that I wanted some more storage in the house and that this bedroom would be the perfect place for it. I wanted to build (or install pre-made) bookshelves on both sides of the window and then put a bench seat in between that would double as a toy box and a window seat. The only thing that had been stopping me was the cost.  But the other day, I found out I have money coming from an unclaimed paycheck from like 9 years ago through the website http://www.mine.utah.gov.  If you're in Utah, you should do a search on your name.  Who knows? You may have a small fortune waiting for you!

Mine wasn't a small fortune.  Only about $85.  But it was enough to pay for most of the cost of this project.  AND my Dad was kind enough to offer his help in making it a reality, so I jumped.

At first I thought it might be easiest (though not necessarily cheapest) to install pre-made bookshelves like this DIYer did.------------>
As pregnant as I am, this seemed like it might be the best way to go.

Then I measured the wall to find out how wide my pre-made bookshelves might need to be. Oy.

The window in the room isn't in the middle! The right side is three inches wider than the left.  If I put pre-made bookshelves in there, there would be a weird gap on one side.

So that left building them myself (with a little help from my awesome dad, of course).

I found this tutorial on Home Depot's website on how to install your own bookshelves, and it looked easy enough.  My dad was going to come up and spend the whole day helping, so I was optimistic that we could get the project completed, or at least mostly done, before he went home.

You can laugh now.  That so didn't happen.

This, of course, is mostly the fault of my not being able to do something simply.  EVER.  Remember that bead board that I didn't want to waste?  Well, I figured out that I had just enough of it to go behind the bookshelves and to be the facing on the window seat.  I thought it was a perfect, easy way to use it.

Don't get me wrong.  It looks beautiful in the finished product.  But this is how far we got before my dad had to leave:

Yes, that's right.  We only got the bead board up for the bookshelf backing.  In our defense, we also cut the supporting boards for the shelves to size and drilled all the holes in them.  But we didn't get even a part of the actual shelves installed.

Here are some more pictures of the room pre-bookshelves. (Do you like the colors?  I LOVE them!)

I was a little worried about the joints being so visible between the sheets of bead board, so I took some drywall spackle (if I had a do-over, I would use caulking instead), and put it in all the cracks and then painted over it.  It looked much better afterward.

A few days later, I was able to actually construct the shelves and install them. (Can you see in the picture below how much better the bead board joints look?)

This part was about as easy as I thought it would be based on the tutorial (and the size of my belly).

A few days after that, I decided to tackle the bench seat.  I was going to just build it from the ground until my  dear husband pointed out that the only heat vent in the room would be directly underneath it.  My dad had the brilliant idea to put the bench on feet so the heat could come out underneath the bench, so I went with that idea.

 I got this far before I realized I had only gotten two long boards instead of four (I need another two for the top of the bench).

Before I finished the bench, I had to make three more trips to Home Depot for things I ran out of or forgot.  So annoying! But I finally finished the seat today (minus the lid being hinged--because I forgot to buy hinges--Home Depot, here I come again!), and will work on finishing everything as soon as I can.  I have a feeling this baby is coming early, so I need to get this project done so she will have a place to sleep!

I'll post more picture as soon as the project is finished.  Check back soon!


Nursery progress

Since I knew that the chair rail wasn't going to stay (see my previous post about starting this project), I got the gumption to tear it down during nap time the other day.  I had my husband help me remove much of the contents of the room a few days ago, knowing I wouldn't be able to do anything with so much stuff in the way.  Right now, there is just a small bookshelf, the pack-n-play and a small dresser.  Not much--but still a lot for the size of the room.  It's such a small room that taking the chair rail down didn't take very long, but annoyingly, the atrocious paint job was done after the chair rail was installed and therefore it stuck and ripped off in chunks.  It looked lovely.

I knew from tearing down the chair rail in our kitchen, that the area where the chair rail was would be visible despite painting over it if I didn't even it out or patch it somehow.  The blue paint was thick, so it would definitely leave a line, and the white part (that was under the chair rail) didn't have as much texture as the rest of the wall.  In the kitchen, we had just used drywall spackle and evened it out as much as possible and then used a long-nap roller to paint over it.  But it's still obvious there was something there when the light hits it.  I wanted to try to avoid that if I could in this room.

First, I tried using spackle, but just doing it along the paint line and putting it down roughly.  This is what it looked like before painting:

I thought it would work.  But it didn't.  After putting two coats of color-kill primer on the walls, it was still ridiculously obvious that there had been a chair rail at that spot on the wall.  I didn't take after pictures, I'm sorry.  I was in a groove and wanted to get the thing done. 

Eventually, I ended up buying a spray-paint-sized can of orange-peel texture.  I followed the directions on the can and sprayed the wall generously.  It still didn't make the imperfection disappear, but it's a LOT better.

Here's the end product (and a sneak peak of the wall color!).

Next up:  the project I thought would take 8 hours that ended up taking four weeks (but was TOTALLY worth it because it made this room perfect).