Distractions

Thursday, December 13 2012

Updates and project progress around here is slow lately, mostly because there are so many fun distractions:

tree decorating,

tree

visiting that man in red,

santa

and, general goofiness, of course.

jadagoof

However, somehow, after investing in and applying 7 gallons of paint for our two-tone basement (don’t worry, someday it will be revealed), I was motivated to paint a little bit of chevron for our focal TV wall, as well.  Of course it is not done yet either, but  here is a quick sneak peek of the two-tone colors and the chevron pattern.

chevwallone

Notice, not all the chevron is connected yet, nor is the area beneath the ceiling done.  I painted this on two separate nights when the only thing on was football.  Sneaking away to the downstairs to “stencil” does not appeal to my husband, although he really likes how it is looking.  The progress shown has taken me a total of four hours…uh hum, did I mention my addiction to HGTV?  Honestly, this wall should be done.  Oh well…

Distractions.  Distractions.

Enjoy!

Laura

Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

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Kartwheels

Tuesday, November 27 2012

It doesn’t seem possible that life could have engulfed us like this; twisting us around and spitting us out the other side into late November!  It’s been a true whirlwind of birthdays, holidays, and travels.  Of course, the added dailiness tossed in as well; work, school   programs, practices, painting (up-date on this soon), and trying to balance it all.  I try to look back, about a month ago (when I lasted posted something), and I  am not sure where one event stopped and another started.  I have a feeling that this scenario might play out throughout our holiday season, as well.  Hopefully, I will be better at documenting it, however.

In preparation of Halloween this year, beginning to feel overwhelmed, I decided (just barely), to say ‘”No” to the expectation of throwing the best costume party EVER for a third year in a row.  Saying ‘No’ meant I didn’t have to entertain and feed 60 some people while most of them were souped up on sugar and about to run rapid in the streets.  Containing my own wild beasts ~ or, I guess, pirates and chicken ~ was all I felt up to amid the Halloween chaos.  And, I truly enjoyed the event this year, more so than I remember…well, except the year our chicken was born.  Mindful of our three-year old’s Halloween birthday, we celebrated extra hard three times that week as well.  I did not think my children could handle any more sugar without numerous meltdowns and bellyaches.  So, on November 1st, I tore down all the Halloween decorations and declared all celebrations OVER.

Detox began.

And,so did the countdown to Thanksgiving…

…as did the basement painting, which ate up all of our free time (AKA when the kids are asleep) in that three-week time span.

But we ended our whirlwind in a beautiful paradise with so much to be thankful for.  So, much to appreciate and so much life to soak up.  So much time without schedules to keep, appointments to attend, and routines to follow.  So much time to focus on the importance of smiles and being together.  So much so, that computers and blog posting were farthest from my mind.

Is this place for real?

This little man was ready to explore our magical island at 5 am every morning.

From swimming with dolphins

to hunting for sea turtles,

to enjoying the multitude of colorful sandy beaches,

we packed a lot in!

And, that’s what happened to November!

I have to admit that this vacation has given me a new sense of calm; island rejuvenation of some kind.  We came back feeling refreshed to conquer our routines and schedules again, for another quick four weeks, I suppose.

Bring on the holidaze!

I’m ready.

Laura

Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

Halloween Inspiration

Friday, October 5th 2012

I am trying to find a way to match my kids’ excitement about the upcoming Halloween celebration.  They anxiously and patiently waited until yesterday, the fourth day of October, when Daddy hauled the three huge decor boxes out of the basement and yelled, “Let’s decorate, Guys!”  (Mind you, this ritual usually happens on the 1st day of October.)  So, off they went.  Z put himself in charge of blaring the Halloween CD as he stuck ghost-puff stickers all over his face, while Jada wrapped the balusters in cob webs and fake plastic spiders, and Aris tore out all the orange lights by demand of his father and plugged them all in making sure they worked.  Borris the Spider is now greeting anyone who dares come to the front porch doorway, and Dead Bones lay glowing around the front yard gravestones.  I love watching the family work as a team, deciding where each small decoration goes…and,… I. did. nothing!  Notta!  I did not decorate one Halloween thing…yet.

I am a bit behind in my excitement, you see.  I am usually the one yanking the heavy boxes from the basement, or pleading that it be done, way before the 1st day of the month.  But this year, everything seems so fast….

Okay, so I went out searching for a little inspiration, internet style, of course.

Check it out! Chevron pumpkins!  Someone else loves chevron as much as I do?This looks like it would be easy with a little painter’s tape and spray paint.

Under the Carolina Moon via Polyvore

Country Living

Such cute little ghosts!  Are these those accordion wedding bells that you can buy at craft stores?  I think so!

Laura Lindquist / Pinterest via Polyvore

Martha Stewart

Simple decor idea.

Halloween

Cobweb mat and broom stick, Simple.  I love it!  Too bad our front porch is filled with a fog blower, Borris, and a screaming Zombie head!

Halloween Craft Ideas for Kids - Halloween Craft Projects - Country... via Polyvore

Martha Stewart

A bigger front porch idea.  There are so many things I love about this arrangement…#1 No Spider!…#2 The trees…#3 the black candles in the lantern with white pumpkin…I could go on and on.

Halloween!

Loving the white pumpkin look, of course.  These even look a little sparkly, too.

halloween centerpiece halloween-decor

This simple wreath looks like a spray painted craft wreath; silvery-white, ghosts and ribbon.

#halloween decor

And, for the little monsters…

I was considering this, but I know it would get ripped down way before Halloween! However, I still might do this for Trick-or-Treat night.  Too cool! Glowing eyeballs, perhaps?

Totally doing this

Ha Ha!

My daughter would LOVE this.

And, of course, some yummy treats…

Boo! I’d serve these with a Witches Stew!

Fun idea for Halloween

I must admit, after a good three hours of searching and pinning and searching some more,  I am getting a bit more motivated and excited about Halloween.  I found a lot of yummy recipes to try, along with some fun-looking crafts to tackle, if time.

 Who knows, we just might happen to cross paths with a pumpkin patch this weekend?

Halloween decor garden

~Laura

Images 1) Countryliving.com, 2-3) Martha Stewart blog, Halloween section, All others searched key words Halloween Decor on Pinterest, origional sources unknown.

Rock On! An Educational Game

Friday, September 21 2012

When I was little, I collected sea shells, caught turtles and snakes, and made piles and piles of papers which I stapled together and called ‘magazines.’  It must have driven my mom crazy!  My kids collect rocks.  From the shiny little pebbles, to the rough and jagged larger version.  Yep, rocks!  It really used to drive me crazy.  I had pebbles in the wash machine, rocks in the cup holders of the van, in jacket pockets, in my purse, and just piling up and up.  “You don’t need any more rocks!”  I’d beg…but, boy, was I wrong!

For my daughter’s birthday last year, she received this box of rocks.  Some may have second-guessed receiving a box of rocks, but this box contained the most intricate collection of beautiful stones, rocks, and colorful game boards.  Her interest in collecting ‘ugly’ landscape rocks was blown away by this amazing assortment of geology.

The game is called Rock On! (by iLaughnLearn) and was invented when a mother of four answered her six-year-old son’s request for a geology themed birthday party.  She ordered some rocks and created a game board.  After many tweaks from the original, this Rock On! game is rock solid!  The game not only keeps the kids engaged with its brightly colored pieces, it teaches kids (and adults) while they play.

I am so impressed with the fact that the rocks are not plastic, myself.  I mean, check out this short collection of a few, my favorite the Green Calcite.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. And since the birth of ROCK ON! my children’s fascination with the earth’s elements has resulted in some amazing collections and their geology knowledge is equally amazing. But maybe most important of all, some of our best times together are now spent in nature looking for treasures the earth has to offer,” says Melissa Weisner, creator of Rock ON!  

We certainly agree!

Here are two of my kids setting out the Rock On! game.  They often spend equally as much time matching the rocks with the cards and copying down the interesting facts located on the playing cards.  This game encourages education on so many levels, and might I add, without having them stare at a computer screen or TV!

Perhaps my favorite part about this amazingly beautiful display is the container in which it comes.  No matter how scattered these rocks become, the clean up is so simple, with each rock having its place, which does not include a spot in my cup holders!

Rock on!….

~Laura

Images: Laura @ monkeysonmyback

I like sharing great finds and this educational game is one of them.  I was not compensated in any way for this write up.  

To find out more about Rock On!, click here, here, and here.

Pondering.

Friday, September 7th 2012

Today I purchased this dresser for Miss Jada’s room make-over.

HEMNES 8-drawer dresser IKEA Extra roomy drawers. Smooth running drawers with pull-out stop.

IKEA, HEMNES

It is not exactly what we had planned, but this HEMNES from IKEA is roomy and straight; two of our main criteria.

We are considering adding a bit of personal touch to it, somehow.

What do you think?  Do you see any inspirational ideas below?

cg dresser left side

Think design ideas.  Jada is all about Pink!

Furniture Trends | perfectly imperfect | painted furniture

Perfectly Imperfect

I have a feeling that there might be a bit too much pink in this room after it’s all said and done.  But I also have to remember it’s not my room.

Below is my top inspiration picture.

Via

Those HEMNES legs might have it in them to add a bit of pink to that bad boy.  The dresser will sit against a Graceful Gray (Behr) wall.  Yellow looks great with grey.  Maybe a pop of an unexpected color like turquoise will win out?

Honestly, we are still pondering it all.

~ Laura

Daydream Believer…

Monday, Labor Day, 2012

We had no problem enjoying our extended weekend with a family mountain escape to the largest freshwater, natural lake in Colorado.  The lake is not very big, but the area is gorgeous.  My favorite spot.

Waking up Saturday morning, we were greeted with this beautiful scene from our front deck.  I could not inhale enough of the crisp, fresh mountain air.    The kids got a good deal of play time in that little beach below.

One, two, three, JUMP!

And, we enjoyed this little boat ride.

We also took a bike ride to a small hike and played in the river some more.  I think we could’ve played at this spot all day.

It seemed as if time stood still.  No one complained of being hungry, tired, or uncomfortable.  Bliss.

~Laura

Images: monkeysonmyback

Inspiration Link~DIY Headboard

Thursday, August 23 2012

Have you checked out the ‘inspiration link’ to the right of this post?

If not, it’s time to get inspired!  We did!

Design Sponge

We are currently working on a similar headboard for Jada’s room, and are almost finished.  Can’t wait to put that puppy up on the wall and share the results!

Of course, there are two methods of thought when it comes to decorating a room, such as the bedroom:

1. Buy the bed with the matching headboard (and, possibly purchase the matching side tables  dressers, or armoires).  This is a great way to get a room furnished all at once.

American Furniture Warehouse

2. Find furniture pieces that balance out the room by complementing each other and add texture and visual interest to the room without being too matchy, matchy.

I choose the latter approach.  (This does take me quite a bit of time, however).  Mixing new pieces with older ones, and modern pieces, such as the small table, with traditional, can add visual interest to a room.  And, if we can put our personal touch on something in the house, consider it done!

You may remember Jada’s room idea shared awhile back.

Gray & Pink Room
So far, we’ve purchased the bed, the duvet, some wall art and painted the walls.  It’s coming together nicely as we pull pieces together from various sources.  But, as mentioned earlier, this method takes me a long time…it’s not one stop shopping!
So, in the mean time, here are some more great DIY Headboard ideas!
Door-Turned-Headboard
tufted headboard final
We hope to have our headboard up shortly.  Have you thought of trying a DIY headboard?  Or, maybe you were just a little bit inspired?  I hope so!
~laura
Images: All Image sources linked below picture

Planning a Shared Room ~ Final Result & Sources

Tuesday, August 13 2012

I am finally here to share the end result of the boys’ shared room, which was first mentioned w a y back in April; see that here, and here, and here.  And, considering everything (from building benches, to taking two distant vacations, from day-to-day fun), I am pleased with the speed of our progress.  That being said, why beat around the bush?  Let’s take a quick look at the beautiful bright green room beforehand, with its minimal furniture, and little storage, this room was in dire need of a revamp.

Not to mention, Big bro still thinks Little Z will sleep with him, which has not happened and is protested daily by Z.  I think Z will cave eventually since most of his toys are now stored   in this cool, newly organized, room and he has a dresser here as well.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

We are really pleased with how this room turned out.  And, in our books, the room is complete for now.  I say this knowing that at this time there is still only one boy sleeping in here full-time.  When Number 2 moves in, he will bring more toys, which will mean I get to buy more storage containers and organize again!  There is plenty of room under the bed for storage and I have already eyed up some handy low storage for the future, such as these from Land of Nod.

Storage_TubTrug_LG_Shallow_1011

I am also really considering some more book storage for when Zander moves all his books over, each his favorite so there will be no parting.  I am liking these, also from the Land Of Nod.

LockerBasket _0111

Now back to the room reveal.  Of course, we love our low storage shelf under the window that holds some books and a few baskets of toys.  The small table to the right,  fits perfectly in this strange little corner, and is used daily for Lego building.

And, one of our favorite pieces in the whole room, is the mid-century dresser that was found at a local consignment shop.  After being painted in greys, orange, and teal, this dresser has found its new home.

The stenciled numbers, in case anyone is wondering, are actually the boys’ birth dates.  They are mixed in with some random numbers.  If you look closely, you can see one birthdate, 02/07/07.  (The other birthdate is painted on the top of the dresser.) A neat way to add a little personal touch to something made especially for the boys!

Here is the Room Source List:

Bunk Beds:  Owned and painted Benjamin Moore Arctic Shadows 1559

Book Shelves above beds:  IKEA Spice racks

Curtains: Fabric is Premier Prints Storm Twill Zig Zag from Fabric.com

Bamboo Shade: Homedepot.com

Book Shelf under Window: IKEA EXPEDIT

White Storage Tub (in book shelf):  The Container Store

Floor Pillows: Made from old Duvet (PBteen still carries  this Duvet)

Small White Table: IKEA

Espresso Table Chairs: Target.com (clearance)

READ Letters/A & Z Letters: Hobby Lobby (spray paint Rustoleum Aqua)

Elephant Head: Amazon.com

Dino Sinclair Sign: Hobby Lobby

Hanging Metal Buckets: IKEA

Large Map: Wayfair.com

Duvet on Beds: Target.com  (RE Style Duvet)

Dresser Paint Colors: Drawers, Benjamin Moore Classic Grey; Outside, Benjamin Moore Silver Song; Drawer inset, Behr Citrus Blast; Stencil/handles, Behr Spring Stream
Lastly, a few close-ups of some personal touches, here and there…
~Laura

‘Sconsin…

Fear not, Friends!  We are back!…just barely!

During our sicksteen-hour (yep, you read that right, SICKsteen), car trip home, I was reminded how painful driving for so long can be.  Perhaps it was the sick children, (Summer flu?  Really?)  or extreme Nebraska boredom that set in, but I was right there complaining and whining with the best of them.  With a good night’s crash in our cozy beds, we are ready to focus a little bit more on the fun that was had during our annual summer ‘Sconsin visit.

We sure kept busy during out trip, of course, enjoying every minute of it.  Sharing time and laughter with family and friends whom we don’t see often enough.  Here are only a few of the 250 plus pictures we took during our visit.

EAA Oshkosh

County Fair

Put-Put in the Dells

Swimming Fun/JO Family Reunion

We truly enjoyed our visit!  (Forgetting the awful drive home, of course!)  And, we are getting back to the grind around here,… well, when everyone is feeling better.

~Laura

Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

No Sew, Lined, Tab-Top Curtains

Tuesday, June 5 2012

Did you get all that?

After posting this picture a while ago, some people ignored the diving child and the dirty windows and focused on the very cool zig-zag (0r “superhero” as we like to call them) curtains instead, inquiring how they were made.  They were easy to make, although a bit time-consuming.  So, here is a brief tutorial on making tab-top curtains without even sewing a stitch!

Materials:

Iron

Hem Tape (ultra bond)

Fabric

Sheets (bought the flat sheets RE from Target on clearance)

Scissors

Here we go:

First, lay your pre-cut (add 7 inches to whatever length you want from rod to floor)  fabric pattern-side down and iron it flat.  I ironed on the carpet.

Measure and mark an inch seam for each side, a 3 inch seam for the bottom and a 4 inch seam for the top; mark with pencil.

Then lay your sheet on top of the ironed fabric and line it up so that the lower right-hand corner of the sheet sits just inside of the penciled seam marks. Iron. Iron. Iron.

Finally, cut off the thick sewn side edges of the sheet (#3) and SAVE.  These will make your tab-tops later.

Smooth the liner sheet so that no wrinkles or obvious bulges are seen, as in picture #4 above.  Get sheet as taught as possible and continue to check this throughout this whole process.  Very important.

Next, line up sheet with all pencil marked seams of fabric and cut to size.

Get out the hem tape.  I use Ultra Bond.  I don’t know why…it just sounds extra strong, and it is.  Lay hem tape on pre-measured lines of fabric.  Do not put hem tape on the liner sheet at this point.  We will be attaching the sheet in a moment.

Be patient with this hem tape.  The tape must be heated 3 seconds and then cool before pulling off or it will not stick!

After all sides are hem-taped, peel off.  Line up lower right-hand corner first and work your way Up and Away (this prevents sagging later), smoothing and keeping sheet taut.  Iron on sheet to hem tape.  This creates the liner of the curtain.  See Step #10.

Now, to create the actual hem of the curtain and make them look slick and sewn, place more hem tape (yep, more!), as close to the edge of the fabric so that your folded hem will cover and stick OVER the attached liner.  I did  long sides first.  Repeat all sides.  Don’t forget to smooth the liner and watch for bulges or wrinkles (of course there will always be some…so don’t panic!).  This ends at step #15; and now for the Tab Tops!

From the saved sheet seam you cut off a while back, (for me it was the difference of a day due to other weekend happenings and multitudes of interruptions.  Did you notice the pictures are now dark?), cut 5 inch strips.  I cut 14.  Depending on the width of your curtain, you may need more or less.

See pictures below.  Using the end of the curtain with the 4 inch seam, measure approx. 6 inches apart.  Why six?  The was the most even I could get with my curtain width.  Anyway, mark those spots and place a tab.  Now cut one 1/2 inch hem tape and one 1 inch hem tape section for each tab (#19).  Notice, the 1/2 inch tape goes to the top of the curtain, and the 1 inch sits on the liner a bit.

Repeat the hem tape steps, peeling and ironing.  This time, flip the tabs over and iron each end of the tab.  The longer you hold, the stronger the tape once it cools.  Be patient here.  It’s almost done!

See how cool they turn out!  All that back-breaking ironing was worth it!  Check out that tab-top!  Sweet.

Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

I hope that made some sense.  If not, I read the following online tutorials and came up with this method.  Check out these blogs with similar projects, and some  much better tutorials!

~Laura

YHL

Take the Side Street

Design a la Mod

House of Hepworths – Awesome tutorial here!