Tag Archive - children

Form and Function

A month or so ago, I walked into the living room after changing the diapers and clothes of my two girls, to see my two boys with markers in hand writing on the chairs.  I was completely horrified, and baffled, since they have never drawn on any furniture.  After my control-yourself-and-be-calm inquiry, my oldest, looking completely bewildered, replies, “But Mommy, these are our cars, and we needed to draw a radio and some steering wheels and some turn-y knobs!”

Meet the steering wheels

And the turn-y knobs

And the radio

I, of course, immediately fetched my trusty Folex (GREAT stuff!) and a rag and went to work.  I scrubbed and scrubbed to no avail.  Finally, I called in the big guns – the professionals.

They took one swipe of their cleaning device, which removed quite a bit of color from the fabric , and asked to see the marker.

“Oh, a dry erase marker?  On cotton fabric?  Yeah, this is never coming out, this is permanent.”

As permanent, permanent, permanent, permanent, permanent was resounding in my brain, I looked at my oldest, who understood the situation.  Knowing his mother well, he cheerfully pipes, “Come on, Mommy, now we can go get some fabric.  Neeeeewwwww fabric.  Mommy, you llllooooooovvvvveeeee fabric!”

Smart boy.

It took me this past month to resign myself to recovering chairs that were recovered only two years ago. (Sweetheart, if you are reading this, I am sorry, – probably difficult to see the hard facts in print, especially if you are reading this at work, sigh)

However, I do LOVE fabric, so now I am mulling over samples.

Say hello to the options.

I like the fabric on the chairs currently, but I think I want to put a more classic pattern on them this time.  I can update with throw pillows if so inclined.  Gray and white/cream will remain the color choice.

I am torn because I love linen, and I would love these to be a linen fabric.  But I need something that is pretty indestructible and can be cleaned of little hands pretty easily.  Also, I know these chairs are not going to stop being cars anytime soon.

Here’s Option #1, 100% Linen, a classic ticking stripe.

Option #2, an indoor/outdoor Sunbrella fabric.

Option #3, 100% Linen Wide Stripe.

I love Option #3, it looks so fresh to me.  My husband says it makes the chairs look like an outdoor piece of furniture so that means it is probably out.  Option #1 I like, but I just feel “eh” about it.  The main problem with #1 and #3 is they may be difficult to clean, and may not wear as well over time and after multiple cleanings.  Option #2 is the perfect choice in regards to ease of cleaning because I could literally bleach it without any color coming out.  The pinstripe is definitely classic, and that is my husband’s preference. However, I’m still not sure.

What do you think?  What would you choose?


It’s the Little Things: Pretty J.R. Watkins Soaps

Have you seen these in your local grocery store?  I first spotted these vintage-look hand soaps at Target and was instantly smitten.  Don’t you love the apothecary look?


They have five different scents in their liquid hand soap:  Lavender, Aloe & Green Tea, Lemon, Grapefruit, and Orange Citrus.  In my opinion, Lemon and Grapefruit are the hands-down best fragrances with Grapefruit being my favorite.  (not pictured)

A quick Google search led me to their website where I saw they had A LOT more products – all with the same pretty typeface.  Even better?  The importance they place on manufacturing truly natural products.

From their “About” section

Nestled in the Mississippi River Bluff town of Winona, MN., Watkins has been America’s pioneer in natural living since 1868. As America’s original natural apothecary manufacturer, Watkins uses only the finest natural ingredients in its diverse lines of personal care, home care, remedies, and organic flavorings.

Committed to being America’s most trusted natural products company, Watkins adheres strictly to the same quality standards set forth by its founder J.R. Watkins. J.R. Watkins Natural Apothecary line of personal care contains only natural, environmentally friendly ingredients from renewable resources, avoiding chemicals like parabens, sulfates, phthalates and more and, is one of very few lines to be certified by the Natural Products Association.

Pretty neat, right?  Here are some other products I noted from their site.

These sink sets would be a sweet hostess gift.

A pretty basket with some flowers and some J.R. Watkins products would be a nice gift also.  This nifty gifty is for a teacher!  (seen here)

Fancy House Road

And how adorable would their baby line be as a baby shower gift?!  LOVE the mint green color.

What kid doesn’t like some foaming soap action?!

Since Grapefruit and Lemon were my favorites, I brought those home.  Lemon for my kitchen, and Grapefruit for my bathroom.  Check it.

Yes, this is our Master Bathroom, in all of its original 1920 pink tile glory.  You know you want it.

Do you like J.R.Watkins products?  Have you seen any pretty everyday items lately?

DIY Tutorial: Ombre Chest

Just as promised yesterday in my post, I am revealing my ombre project today.  Not everything went quite as planned, but I do have a “before” and an “after”, and that’s what counts, right?

After all, I was contending with this party while trying to paint.

Several months ago, I purchased this chest for Gypsy Soul.  But the more I looked at it, and the more I put my house together, the more I realized, “This would be so awesome for craft/art storage in my future office!”  It is Drexel from the “Passage” line, so of course, the quality is excellent.  Pretty hardware, too.

I debated about what to do with it…wallpaper the drawer fronts?  Paint it and do an awesome nailhead pattern?  (I SO want to do this eventually!)  After some thought, and thinking about my vision for the my future office/guest room…inspirational, creative, colorful but not overdone, calming, happy…I decided ombre was the way to go.   It makes me think of a painter’s mixing board or palette.

First things first, prep work!  I sanded the whole chest with a medium grit sandpaper.

To remove the dust, I usually use cheesecloth, but I couldn’t find it, and guess what!  A good ‘ole paper towel worked great, too.  But cheesecloth probably does a more thorough job – you can buy it at any local hardware store.

Then I made sure all of the leaves and spider webs were cleaned out of corners and crevices.  This is an important step to keep your paint and utensils clean and free of debris.

Tip:  Before I take drawers out of a chest, especially older ones whose parts get rather attached to their spaces, I number the drawers.  I just wrote the numbers on the underside of each drawer so they would be inconspicuous.

Next step was to remove the hardware.  And here was my first mistake.  After I removed the hardware, I did not dust out the indention from the absence of hardware.  When I started painting, I got so frustrated because I could not figure out why I was having to clean dust and dirt out of my foam roller, and then I realized its source.  Argh!  All that to say, after removing hardware, clean out the crevice.

I have to tell you, I almost always brush paint or paint roll my furniture.  However, Jenny, who writes one of my most favorite blogs, always uses foam rollers, so I thought I would give it a try.  Although I liked it because it forces you to make thin coats (like you’re supposed to do), I found the coverage to be a bit complicated.  It can look streaked if you aren’t careful, and I definitely had to do more coats.  Five instead of the typical two or three.  The finish is more matte than I usually prefer, but all in all, I would try it again.  Perhaps with a different texture of foam roller.

You can see what it looks like after coat #1.  The first coat is always a little scary because you hope it looks smooth and covered when you are finished with the entire process.

And after coat #3.

I did have a sweet little helper.

As I stated yesterday, when you are ombre painting this type of furniture, I think it looks best to paint the frame cream or white.  For this project, I just used the trim paint color I already owned.  In fact, all of the paint I utilized for this project was recycled.

A little side tip about painting…do you know about or use “Press’N Seal”?

I love this product for many reasons, but did you know it works wonderfully as a paint liner?  For a few cents, you can carefully place this in the bottom of your metal or plastic rolling tray.  Then when you are done with it, pull it up and throw it away!  Since I employed several different hues for this piece, using the Press’N Seal was a lifesaver for me.  Plus I seem to always forget those liners when I am shopping for items I need for my latest undertaking.

Back to painting, enter second mistake.  Because I decided to use paint I already owned for this exercise, I picked a pretty shade of blue (Benjamin Moore, Jamestown Blue).  I planned to start with the bottom drawer, making it the Jamestown Blue color, gradually adding white to create lighter colors, building to the top drawer.  I even had a cute little plan to fade the color.  Since I like things to be orderly, and processes to be organized, I began to pull together items to set my plan in motion.   First, I retrieved a gift from my wedding registry that I have never used.

Williams Sonoma

Aren’t they cute?  I thought so too eight years ago, but until now, have never used them.  I thought it would be a good idea to add white to the blue using the spoons and make a chart for how I varied the shades.  See, I even took a sweet picture.

Unfortunately, after a few strokes, I realized something was wrong with the texture of my paint.  It was very gloppy and stringy looking.  I searched the can quickly to figure out what the problem could be, and immediately discovered it.  2005.  I bought the paint in 2005, and it was past its prime.

On to Plan B.

Rummaging through my paint cans, I pulled my favorite light blue (Benjamin Moore, Palladian Blue), and gray blue (Benjamin Moore, Wedgewood Gray).  I also grabbed a can of black paint I had (to make the blues darker), and the cream trim paint I had used for the frame of the chest (to make the blues lighter).  Sadly, I do not have a scientific formula to create the colors.  All I can say is, play with it.  If you really want to make this project simple, go to the paint store, grab a paint chip you like, and buy sample sizes of the shades you prefer.

The foam roller making such thin coats was nice because once I finished a coat on the entire piece, it was dry enough that I could go ahead and do the next coat.  And by the way, it was so hot here today I finished this in the kitchen.

Ready for the big reveal?

One last gratuitous before & after.

What do you think?  Will you try ombre painting?

The DREAM Project

In a world of instant…everything, I often think about teaching my children patience and the art of waiting.  Of course, they have to wait for birthdays and Christmas to see their little wish lists become a reality, but I think it is a good thing for them to be aware of what Mommy and Daddy are waiting for and planning for. Especially when it comes to the home, something they will look at everyday.  It is important for them to know what we get excited to think about, not downtrodden that we don’t have it right now.

Aren’t things always sweeter when you wait for them?

Enter my friend, Effie.  Yes, that is her real name, isn’t it awesome?  She is a delightful person, too.  After seeing her kitchen (pictured above), I was inspired to create “The DREAM Project.”  Effie and her husband are renovating their kitchen THEMSELVES, a huge job.  She put the sign up to remind her family to ponder the end goal – to look past cabinets with no doors and partial walls and see her future beautiful and perfect-for-them kitchen.  I love this idea, and when I found this at an estate sale, I knew just what I could be dreaming about.

This old planter is such an appealing shade of green and was begging for a pretty (yet low maintenance, ha) plant placed inside.   It reminded me of the hopes and aspirations I have for my side yard.  My sad, sad side yard.  Say hello.

Overgrown, no grass, and a pile of rocks does not a happy yard make.  But I can close my eyes and think happy thoughts.

Sandy Koepke

Avondale Gardens

from the movie, “It’s Complicated”

Someday!  But for now, I have placed my glittered letters across the front of my planter while contentedly, we, as a family, can discuss future plans.


Would you like to be a part of “The DREAM Project”?  I am calling for submissions!  Tell me what you are dreaming of and send me a picture, complete with your own “DREAM” banner, of course.  If you need some ideas for your project,  I can help with that, too.  Ah, the power of the Internet.  Near or far, let’s collaborate, and you may see your “dream project” on the blog!

Send submissions to:
Submissions [at] AStoriedStyle .com.

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S.  If you love the darling headband Effie’s sweet little girl is wearing in the picture above, check out Effie’s Etsy shop here for one-of-a-kind headbands and jewelry!


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