Monday, 29 July 2013

Shared Room Makeover

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may recall a few photos I posted of a bit of a spray-painting fest that was happening around these parts way back in April.

Well, I'm delighted to announce that this project- a makeover of my middle two boys' bedroom- is finally done!

These two (seven and four) have been sharing a room for the last 20 months. When Hamish moved in, Liam already had a Dinosaur themed room. We still love dinosaurs, and have kept most of those elements, but their interests are diversifying and I wanted a room that will easily grow with them (AKA easy to change when dinosaur bedrooms are no longer cool).
I started on my journey toward spray-paint-addiction when I decided to paint their beds. 

The beds they have used to be my brother's bunks. We inherited them when my eldest turned nine and they are still going strong! However, I found the plain timber look just too boring and that orange pine starting to annoy me. Enter the spray can!  Here's the before...

I used Dulux Spraypak in Wildfire Red. They needed two cans each and two quick coats within half an hour and they were done!  I am absolutely thrilled with the result and am so glad I took the plunge.  Here's the after...

While the beds were drying, we gave the bed room a fresh coat of paint (Dulux White on White) - which makes SO much of a difference I'm desperate to do the whole house now! All the other walls look so dirty and old in comparison.

You may recall that while waiting for the walls to dry, we had a fun time indoor camping!

Then it was time to do some decorating. I'd been pinning things for a while and decided to create a mood board to really cement my ideas and get both the boys and their father to help make some decisions about which artwork to choose.

Lauren at Handmade Happenstance made the most amazing mood board in Photoshop when planning her boys' room. 

I've never used Photoshop, so I pasted a few of my favourite things from Pinterest into Word and added some photos I'd taken of the things that had to stay.
   After printing I did some old fashioned pen on paper scribbling all over it.

There were a few things I couldn't change. The carpet (for now), the curtains, the built-in wardrobe and the drawers.  The (reversible) dinosaur bedding was still working well, so we've kept that too.

I tried rearranging the beds, but they close off the room too much in any other position than pictured above.  (I'm standing in the door way to snap this) And those massive windows limit furniture placement too.

We used to have a chest of drawers between the beds.  I was able to remove a built in desk that was attached to the wardrobe and put the chest of drawers in its place.  This has made a heap of difference to the openness of the room and makes dusting, vacuuming and looking for lost toys so much easier too!

The main feature I wanted for decoration was a gallery wall. Since the advent of Command strips and hangers, gallery walls no longer mean exact planning and copious holes in the walls, thankfully.

Of course, more spray painting happened for this!  This time, a few frames to tie the colour scheme together.

I took me a good week of playing around before I was happy with the arrangement.

Then they got attached to the wall. Here's the end result...

After deciding which art to choose, I tried my best to find the originals online. When I couldn't find the source, or they were no longer available, I recreated them myself in Word. 

I also used this site to make watercolour prints of where each of these two sons was born- Brisbane and Darwin- and added the corresponding latitude and longitude in Word before printing.


I combined these with our dinosaur pictures, their names and some cork board I'd framed. They can use the cork-board to hold any artwork or awards they bring home from school.
The leftover frame from the cork board turned out to be the perfect size to mount Liam's Star Wars poster onto. Score!

The remaining prints ended up of the chest of drawers- under the Star Wars poster- along with this gorgeous lamp from IKEA that my wonderful sister in law lugged up in her suitcase. It's a very heavy lamp!  Thanks again, Mel. xx

Liam's side of the gallery has his name, watercolour, cork-board, dinosaurs, Troy Polomalu and a quote I thought was a really important message.  It says- "If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be" and the lower one - which ties in with my final project - says "You can't buy happiness but you can buy books and that's kind of the same thing"...

Hamish's side has the same elements with two quotes we loved- "Don't follow your dreams, chase them" and "Being a brother is even better than being a Superhero"...

Next up were some cushions. I ordered these from The Blue Birds shop on Etsy and had my talented Mum applique their initials on.

She also sewed up the kit of the absolutely amazing vintage globe floor cushion from Salt Labs on Etsy. I love, love, love this cushion!

The final project required a little more- you guessed it- spray paint!  This time on some IKEA spice racks, which have been used to make a special reading corner that both myself and the kids just adore!

The boys are so happy with the result and have been great at making their beds every morning to keep it looking amazing (and to keep getting pocket money!) and I smile every time I walk past the door!

So, I'm done.  Well, maybe not!  I need your advice...  

The chest of drawers you saw above (and below) was an IKEA cheapy that we bought to keep in the wardrobe of our house in Brisbane and never be seen.  However, it is now being seen - daily!- and I'm thinking about more paint!

Should I keep it white, like the toy box at the end of Liam's bed...

...or add a bit of an ombre look (like Jen's amazing pink version here) in order to tie it, the toy box and the blue built-in wardrobe together?

What do you think?

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Holiday Improv

Two of my boys went back to school this week. 

With both a Student Free Day and a Public Holiday it was only for three days but I still feel like I spent the entire week driving! I fear it may take a while to get back into our routine. 

As you know I had concerns about navigating the four weeks of school holidays with enough activities to keep the kids entertained and engaged the whole time. In the end, however, I needn't have worried because what ensued was such a necessary change of pace, such essential recharging of the batteries that we all enjoyed tremendously. I'm calling it Holiday Improv. 

You may experience it a lot. It's when your children actually find creative ways to entertain themselves. It doesn't occur very often in this house. We generally prefer the "but what can I do-oo?" whining approach. Particularly when anything with a screen is not an option for them.

I was so pleased that they were capable of it and would like to share some of our Improv joy with you.

Liam curated his own Dinosuar Museum - complete with realistic recreations of the natural environment and informative labels.  This dino-nerd Mum couldn't have been prouder!

The boys asked their Dad to make them cardboard swords.  Then the jigsaw came out!!
 The Three Musketeers were very happy with the result...
Hamish and Liam turned the trampoline into a giant Beyblades stadium...
Liam talked Michael into a handball competition...
They made a "Spy Kit" and went on secret missions...
They even volunteered to wash the car for me!  The highlight for them was standing on the roof to reach the bird poo.
They tried their hands at photography.  Isn't this shot of Liam's terrific? The rest of the pictures were mainly of each other's bottoms, but I'm focusing on the artistry of this one...
and Hamish and Rohan quite happily played with the Little People village.  Tragically, there were a number of fires...
Has your family been on school holidays?  Are your kids capable of entertaining themselves?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Lego Day

Last week we entertained ourselves with another themed day - Lego Day.

My boys enthusiasm for Lego comes and goes and, seeing as it had been a while since our last good Lego building session, I decided to dedicate a whole day to some of the wonderful Lego activities I'd found on Pinterest.

I overcame the challenge of incorporating the themed days into our activity jars by making this calendar.
Each themed day has a particular colour, and on those days the kids choose that coloured-paper activity from the jars.  Lego day = the yellow paper in the jars.

We had three activities today- Let's Create, Let's Do and Let's Bake.

First up - Let's Create: Lego Challenges.

I chose four of my favourite Lego activities from Pinterest and created a challenges envelope. 
The boys had to pick one challenge at random and then complete it.
 We had "Create and play Lego Tic Tac Toe"...
"Complete the patterns". I made a series of patterns with different sized, coloured and shaped Lego for them to repeat across the board...
"Create a maze for a marble".  This was a big hit with Liam (7).  He kept making alterations to increase the level of difficulty and couldn't wait to show Dad when he got home from work.
I missed getting a photo of the final challenge, "Write with Lego in Playdough", so here's my original inspiration from
Then we had Let's Do: Balloon Powered Lego Car.

This involved building a car and using a balloon to get it moving.

Luckily for us, Grandad had sent a few presents up and we used the car kit with a few modifications to fit the balloon onto the back...
It worked really well at first, but the more we blew up the balloon the stickier and wetter the inside got - eww!
We tried making a smaller car too, which ended up being too light and got carried around by the balloon- funny stuff!

We ran out of time for Let's Bake: Lego Cookies.

I had planned to re-make these cookies that I decorated for Liam's Lego birthday party last year...
Super easy- store bought biscuits, coloured icing and mini M&Ms. 

Do you and your kids like Lego?  I've always loved building with it and borrowed my brother's Lego all the time.  Have you seen the amazing new Lego Friends series for girls?  I really, really want the Dream house for my birthday!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Today is International Teddy Bear's Picnic Day. 

I'd been contemplating putting a little morning tea party together since I'd seen this important celebration on Hana's Magical Day's Calendar.  The boys and I decided yesterday to go for it and invite a few friends around to join us.

A few simple decorations and some tasty Teddy Bear treats and we had ourselves a party.

Baskets, bears and red and white stripes...

(I ran out of time to iron the table cloths. Now, when I look at these photos the creases are all I can see!!)
We made a place setting for each friend..
 All of our bear friends came out to play...

We had some Teddy rolls...
 Beary bread...
 Bears in bed...
 Bear claw brownies...
 and bears driving cars... 
Oh, and I did some fruit too, but nobody wants to see fruit!
It was a yummy morning tea...

We also made a sensory basket for baby...
 and Liam taught the others to play "Teddy says" and "Teddy tip"...
Happy Teddy Bears Picnic Day!  And be careful if you're going near the woods today- those bears can party!