Tuesday, October 23 2012

I can hear my husband ripping painters’ tape in the basement.

The project this time, painting and organizing the basement into something of an inviting movie-watching area.  And, since this project feels so “big”, so “all-encompassing” to me right now, we are merely focusing on our tiny (hint of sarcasm)victory of picking out of paint colors.  Yahoo!  In the past, this great feat has taken many months of time-sucking trips to paint stores for swatches and samples.  It was very common, when we were ‘going gray‘ throughout the upstairs sections of our house, that our walls resembled a patchwork quilt.  But, this time, we picked some colors and stuck with ‘em!  Heck! I may be getting better at this, after all.

So, our basement, a-very-close-to-the-color-of-poop, chocolate brown, not only is in need of a new color scheme, it needs a lighter color palette all together.  This is going to be hard for me since I tend to lean towards darker shades.  So, to compromise, we chose both; light and dark, that is.  After seeing this inspirational image of a bathroom with split wall color, I decided this concept would work well in our basement.

Not only will the lower walls get a darker, more kid friendly color, we will create a brighter space by adding the upper section a much lighter shade…perfect.  We hope.
So the colors we chose are:
Galveston Gray by Benjamin Moore
 Aged Beige by Behr
Both of the colors read as softer, warm tones, not cold steely gray.
And, yes, the chair rail is up to divide the space already.
So, there you have it, a two-tone room in the making.  I can’t wait to cover up those ugly brown walls!
“Keep rippin’ that tape!”
Images: 1 & 2), 3) Google Images
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The Messes Among Us

Monday, May 22, 2012

Recently, Denver got an IKEA.  This can be dangerous.  Especially for someone whose brain is constantly spinning with ideas and looking for ways to create on a budget.  On a recent excursion to this massive warehouse of plastic-coated  cardboard, one of those ideas spun right out…

For a while, we have been   I have been talking about building a sitting area in the little alcove of my daughter’s room.  Keep in mind, I have been talking about it, hoping that Rory will suddenly think that the idea became his, (yes, we all know that’s how men work) and therefore, would start to build it.  He didn’t.  Not even his cute, straggle-toothed daughter could get him motivated with her plees.

Then we took our trip (well-planned out, sheets printed with stock prognosis and Aisle/bin location) to IKEA.  I had an idea for the EXPEDIT book shelves they carry, as well as the main reason  for our trip; to buy a dresser for Aris to replace his plastic one.

We bought two of these beautifully wrapped cardboard shelving pieces.

EXPEDIT Shelving unit IKEA Can be placed vertically or horizontally. Suitable for use both as a shelving unit and as a sideboard.

In the boys’ room it acts as a bookshelf under their window, corralling all the books that were falling out of the book slings.  It also makes a great shelf for some stuffed animals, and holds some miscellaneous objects in the bins; one for cars and one for really important stuff.

The boys are loving the new organization.  We also added some closet shelves, relocating everything under their bed, and purchased a small IKEA table for Aris to build his Legos on…of course here he is sitting on the floor with them. Oh well.

I know the novelty will wear off, but these boys played in this room for 3 hours on Sunday!  And, the room is not even finished yet!

The other EXPEDIT book shelf is also beginning to serve its purpose.  I knew that I wanted cubbies or drawers in the window area, but building them seemed like A LOT of work.  Much more work than just placing a book shelf in the area and building it in, that is!

At this point, things are looking pretty good.  At weekend’s end, we have accomplished loading each and every basket in that shelf with dolls, puzzles, Little Ponies, Pet Shops, and PollyPockets…all which were once just chucked under a bed.

There is obviously much more to do.  Right now, our house looks like a tornado ran through the upstairs hallway (I will leave that image for your imagination).  We plan on running a horizontal planking (much like the bathroom re-do) to finish off the area, leaving a nice ledge half way up for some framed pictures or books.

And, even though, our initial reason for driving 45 minutes to South Denver to that large warehouse of endless possibilities, was to buy a simple, but unavailable, dresser, I’d say we came out on top with our organization of the rooms.  Things are starting to come together.

Aris’s dresser, however, still looks like this:

Images: 1) IKEA 2-7) Laura for Monkeysonmyback

Planning a Shared Room

Wednesday, April 4 2012

We’ve been ‘toying around’ with the idea of the boys sharing a room.  When I say we, I mean Aris and I.  (Aris is our middle son and my husband really has no idea how much we’ve been discussing this!).  Aris has been asking for a while if his little brother can share bunk beds with him.  And, since we already have the bunk beds, this would not be a huge adjustment.  The beds, however,  are being used currently as single beds (which means my daughter would need a new bed; bonus for her too!).  Yes, right now our three children have their own rooms, and I think it is sweet that they may want to share.  I am sure that there will be some bickering and non-sleeping issues to follow, but they will also learn to respect others’  belongings and personal space…or, maybe I am willing to agree to this because I am prepping them for the college dorms or the shared office space…or so I can finally have my mom’s cave in the spare bedroom!?  Anyway,  with Little Z still in his crib (what?! yeah, I know!), we weren’t rushing the subject.  Aris has wanted to share his room since Zander was born two and half years ago and, perhaps just because he wants to sleep on the top bunk, but nonetheless, a sweet idea!  Either way, I am going ahead with the planning of the shared room idea.  Over our recent Spring Break in AZ, Aris and I had a little talk about how he’d like to make ‘his’ room a shared space.  This was his criteria:

1. A sticker board (More on this later)

2. A dresser (His current plastic rubber made is not cutting it!)

3. Better book shelf

4. Place for his stuffed animals

What a bright mind he has.  Each item definitely warranted and needed no doubt!

This is our inspiration photo from Anna @ in her recent boys’ room redo:

Boys' Room {Reveal}

Aris loved the huge map and the skull and crossbones fabric.  Not sure what to do with the fabric yet, but the map is a great idea.  I like the striped curtains  and color scheme.  Our walls are currently an ugly green, with a road and cars painted on it (more on that later too), and it’s not getting painted over until the boys are at least 15!  (My reasons involve memories of painting 15 cars, at two hours a piece, while I was 7 months pregnant~ nuff said!)

For now, we tweaked said  mood board to include the patterns and ideas we love as well.  With this great place to start, building our ideas didn’t take too long and we came up with this!

The Boys' Room
More on the current room arrangement and pictures of its present state to come.  For now, we have settled on these ideas, likely to change a bit.  (Notice the plaster elephant head?  That was Zander’s idea.  “My room, Mommy?  My room?”  He asked this weekend while we perused Scottsdale’s West Elm while the others enjoyed the Brewer’s game at Spring Training.  I thought a plaster animal head was a great idea!  Why not?  Well, except for the price tag, but I bet I can find one cheaper somehow…somewhere.)
Well, we shall see when this project actually gets tackled.  It is not high on the priority list, but fun to plan and dream about either way.
Images: 1) 2) laura for monkeysonmyback on

Label your Cables by Mocha

Wednesday, April 4 2012

A while back I wrote this post on organizing my cables under my TV, which included labeling them.  For those of you who may be interested in this idea, but don’t want to collect plastic bread tabs, check this out:

Pinned Image

These labels are by Mocha.  Might be worth checking it out?


Image via

Label your Cables

Saturday, March 24 2012

Awhile back, I was sent the mass email entitled, “24 Clever Ideas to Make Your Life Easier“. Now, I usually don’t read mass emails, but the title intrigued me.  Who doesn’t want things to be easier once in a while?   And, clever, you say?Well, I am glad I opened it.  (Note:  I received more than one of these emails, each titled the same,  and each had a different set of clever ideas. Bonus!)  One of the ideas shared was that pictured below; labeling your cables.

I found this picture, which was used in the email,  on


Apartment Therapy mentions that labeling both ends is best.


So, and this is how much of a freak I can be, for 5 months I only allowed my husband, the Shopper, to buy bread with white plastic tags.  In my mind, the colors in the above pictures look unorganized as well, so I wanted all the same color (white is a color to me) to label my cables.

I had the exact place to start on this project, too.  The disorganized mess of growing technology boxes behind my new geometric doors.

 It was getting out of hand!With the doors open, the cables were such tangled mess!  

So, I disconnected them all; untwisting, labeling, laying them in order of height, and shortening them into more manageable lengths by bunch with rubber bands.    “Now what are you doing?!”  (Oops!, I guess I should have checked the March Madness schedule!)

I placed my labels closest to the actual device they were plugged into.  We are pretty cable knowledgeable, so an explanation on each and a label on each end was not necessary for us.  Organization was.  I wrote ‘D TV power’ and ‘Ipod’ and ‘DVD 2 TV‘ in an effort to keep it simple.

After only about 15 minutes of unplugging, untangling, wrapping, labeling and replugging…ahhh! so much better.  Of all those cords, only three were actually necessary to see, the three power cords.  All of the others attach from box to box, of course, depending on the function.  As you can see, this leads to  more space! This extra spot is  perfect for concealing our 3D glasses, extra modem (for attaching computer to TV), camera cable, and other random things that were usually just thrown on top of one of the black boxes.  I bought the green fabric box from Target, and it fits the space just right.  Yes, there are still some cables crossing in the ‘dead’ space, but there isn’t much I can do about it.  The trio of black boxes is actually hiding the hole in the wall which carries our bundle of stereo speakers, the TV cables, and the radio wires for the house system.  I considered moving the boxes over to the left, but then there would be more wires stretching between.   Closing the doors actually hides the power cords nicely.

Funny how such a simple thing can make a girl happy.

Everyone else was happy when the basketball tournament came back on!

Above, the close-up with the doors closed now.  I enjoy seeing the pop of green back there.  Our woven bins hold DVD’s and home movies on the left and coloring books and a bag of markers on the right.

That’s all for now.  Thank you to those of you that sent me those ’24 clever Ideas’ and the motivation to do something about that eyesore!


Images: 1 & 2),  3-9) Laura for monkeysonmyback

Coming Along

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just popped a lovely batch of corn to accompany me in writing this post.  Indiana Jones is on and a bit distracting down the Foyer hallway, and I keep looking in his direction because I can see half of the 50 incher from my computer desk.  There are lots of action scenes, of course.  But, I have some progress to report! (Rare around here these days!)

From where I am sitting, I see this, basically, only the TV is on.

And, here comes the ‘progress’ part, Niche #1 is coming along and looking a little different.  Two weeks ago I started to plan a re-dec of the area, and have found this Niche difficult because my taste in decor does not include large curly pots of faux plants, which I frequently see in something like this.  Could not imagine what else this spot’s intention would have been when constructed?

Here we started:

Here we are, progress:

Hope to be here, soon:

Foyer Niche

As you can see it’s coming along.  The large background vase was delivered in two pieces and shipped back the same day.  The hanging light is on hold due to the ceiling plate not being large enough to cover the hole we already have, and therefore, the company is trying to see if they have another size.

Focusing on the progress, rather, I can report the ‘hanging of the houses’ today.  This was accomplished while I inadvertently skipped my daughter’s first soccer game of the season…oops!  Let’s focus on the houses, shall we?

You are about to witness how I hang pictures, so prepare, because it’s not pretty and I am sure it’s not the easiest way to do things such as this.  While Rory walks up to the wall and “Bang” pounds a nail and hangs the picture in two steps, I add about ten, steps that is.  The whole process goes something like this:

1) Measure paper for area of wall and cut it out.

2) Lay frames a bunch of different ways until I like what I see.

I had about six other layouts, but you get the picture…ha ha!

3) Choose the best layout.  Measure for placement, mark nail spot,  and trace frame.


(A great way to mark the hanger do-hickey is to color it with a marker (Crayola washable kind) and then place the frame where you want it, inside your traced lines.  Remove the frame and  then get a dot of color  which marks the nail placement.  I didn’t do that this time.  Probably because I was skipping steps to try to save time and pay attention to my kids, who, by the way, where busy doing this:


4) Tape paper to wall and put the nail on the spot marked, hang frame

5) Remove frames.  Pull off paper, nails are in place.

6) Rehang frames. Done.

Now, obviously, hanging one picture is not this involved.  But I was not home with any helpful hands at the time, well, any clean helpful hands.  And, I wanted the pictures centered and even on the wall; very hard to hold a frame or two, a level, a hammer, and a pencil.

I chose the two house pictures only, instead of including our LINDQUIST 2012 print that I made a while back, because I felt it looked too cluttered.  I am big on anti-clutter and preserving open space inside my house.  I feel, that sometimes, we get too hung up on hanging stuff up and cluttering the walls which makes me feel claustrophobic.  I have enough to think about during the day, my brain doesn’t need complex bombardment from my eyes being overstimulated.  Huh? I like simple.  Not too many things to look…just simple and obvious.

Anyway, I like my progress for today, too.  That small task is a huge accomplishment around here for one day.  The LINDQUIST print is going to be added down the hallway towards the door when I get my foyer console table.  The plans look something like this, but are already swaying a bit:


Well, Indiana Jones is over and my bowl of popcorn is almost gone, which is my signal to turn off the computer for the night.


~ Laura

Images: Laura for Monkeysonmyback, Foyer Niche and Fabulous Foyer created on

Filling the Gap

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feeling a little bit harried around here lately.  Just can’t seem to get anything done.  Part of it is the adage of swimming lessons after school and part of it is me sitting at Parent/Teacher conferences for 3.5 hours twice last week.  Needless to say, I have felt a bit absent-minded lately, taking for granted what I used to get accomplished in those after school/after kid bedtime hours.  All of which has been pushed to the am hours, and couple that with the planning of two awesome kids’ (my own) birthday parties.  Yes, I am feeling a bit sidetracked, but it’s all in good fun.

Regardless of my absenteeism, dear husband is on top of it!  Remember this hole in our wall?   The one holding various black boxes and numerous wires…

The final cabinet door was spray painted before our big blizzard last Friday and screwed into place.  Now I just need to organize those darn black boxes, which seem to be multiplying like Gremlins, and all, of which I am told, are VERY important to the technological function  of this house.  And, yes, those pesky wires.  I do have a plan for those.

The easiest thing would be to buy some black speaker fabric and hide it all!  Still, it’s going to be organized, hidden or not…someday, when my attendance is back up.

I think it looks much better.  And, I am liking the geometric designs breaking up that eyesore and the massiveness of our 20 some foot wall.  I still have some plans for this little gap, however, although nicely filled for now.

Have a Great Friday!


Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

Love Colorado Winters

winter in colorado art print poster wall decor


The snow around here has been a great distraction for us.  Mother Nature decided to bless us with the fluffy white stuff and lots of it!  This translates into “SNOW DAY” and mommy staying home and playing!  How fun!  I am not exactly sure how much snow we got, but enough to build snow men, forts and go sledding!  The streets were covered so we pulled Zz down the middle of the road, which he thought was hilarious and giggled all the way!

Snow piles high enough to grab tree branches…

enough to build jumps…

and, enough warm Colorado sun to enjoy a picnic lunch outside!

Like I said the distraction was wonderful.  You may remember my shower curtain dilemma?  Well, said guest has arrived, and there is a shower curtain hung, but it’s not to my liking so I am not sharing it ~ Ha!  That will have to wait.

Instead we, kids and I (once again thanks to blizzard) were able to make a trip to Target (4 miles away) and return with a plethora of organizational gadgets for bath redo.  That was our adventure on Friday.

Yes, sorry, the picture is crooked, but we gathered a tension rod ($4), some bastkets ($25 total for all), and some guest supplies.  This I like.  Organization helps me breathe.  Prior to this, everything was thrown in the vanity, slimy and leaking.  Yuck.  Oh, yes, I know we have a hole in the back of the vanity, but just ignore it. I do.

I decided to share this really old picture that I found in the archives of the bathroom before the first hideous color I painted it.  Look at that ugly wall color that does not at all complement our gray tiles, and the vanity looking oh so sad!

Well, here is a sneak peek:

There are a few touch-ups to be had here and there, but as I mentioned before, Mother Nature dumped a healthy dose distraction on us this weekend.   And, we are still feeling it around here.  Little voices are calling me to “come play in the fort” as I type.  With our warm Colorado sun melting the snow very quickly, the bathroom is just going to have to wait.  More to share soon…

Hope you enjoyed your winter weekend as much as we did!


Images: 1) JanuaryJonesPrints @; All others, Laura for

Teak & Gallery Wall

Jada and I had a mother-daughter kind of shopping day yesterday; the day before we went back to school.  The boys (dad included) were occupied with things like daycare and work, so we decided to play hooky from my work and check out some local thrift stores.  Yes, that is the type of shopping that I am talking about, thrifting.  It is fun, well, as Jada says, only when we actually buy something because you usually say no.  She is right.  Even worse, I place a product in question in our cart and walk around the store with it only to decide last-minute that I don’t really need it, want it, or want to spend the money on it (even from a thrift store!).  So Jada blurted the aforementioned line as I was contemplating a furniture piece,  “Can we get it, Mom?  I really like it!  You’ll say no!  You usually say no, right, Mom?  It’s okay….,” as I make my pouty face at her.

Well, look what we walked out of the store with!

A Danish modern teak piece that I still really love… still after it’s 24 hour return policy has passed.  It has potential.  I feared that when Rory returned from work to find this piece sitting outside our bedroom,  he would tell me to take it back.  But he didn’t.  He likes it too, well, as long as I do something to the honey color of it, he says.  I had some ideas the minute I saw it, however:

Still haven’t exactly decided if I am going all white, only drawers white, or only frame white with draws a darker stain… we shall see…

Even-so, it has a home.  It sits at the very top landing of our stairway, which goes up to our bedrooms.  I have been looking for something to grace this space for quite some time, but the width of the wall there is very narrow, so many pieces stuck out around the corner, which I thought would be odd.  So, there it sits; up top the stairs, below the gallery wall.

It is on my summer to-do list.  I will keep you posted…

Wait! Did you mention a gallery wall?  Yes! Yes, I did!

My gallery wall, also a work in progress,  makes me so happy!  Good gallery walls are never done. (Not something my husband wants to hear.) I love photos and memories and for such a long time I had nowhere to put them but in my computer or on CD’s.  Yes, some photos got printed and put into photo books, well they did at one time,  but my fear of clutter and disorganization gets the best of me and I can not imagine living with piles upon piles of old picture books collecting dust on shelves (sorry, Mom).  So, I guess letting the photos collect dust in a ‘disorderly organized‘ fashion on the wall is better.

Every time I walk up the stairs, which is about 20 plus times  a day, I smile.  Not only do I love the photos and the people in them, but my grey walls supporting the black and white frames is my eye candy.

This is what I see as I walk up the stairs.  See our our new Teak friend fits so nicely in that space.

A quick before I found from the archives.

The above is the only picture I have of the walls before.  (Ignore the bag of dirty diapers hanging on the door handle!)

A  left side wall shot.

One of my favorite parts of this wall is the pictures hanging high and low, using the whole wall.  A friend asked if the kids knock into them or smear them up with greasy fingers, and they really don’t, or haven’t yet. Most of these frames have been up since September, too.

The other side.

Here is the other side, thus the right side, of the walls.  Not quite as filled up yet and probably never will be as full as our focal wall.  Notice the empty frame in the background? Yeah.

And some close-ups.

The candid shots are my favorite.

Most of the frames were from Target, garage sales, and Wal-mart.  I really like the gallery-style frames, but do like the difference in textures and widths that I have here as well.  I debated using all white frames only.  The smattering of black frames in the mix is just enough for me.

This post was motivated by a mother-daughter moment resulting in a furniture purchase.  Recall I was put in my place by my six-year old?  And, it all kind of makes me smile.


Images: 1, 5-12)  Laura for, 2 – 4) Google images

The idea for the letters and number; U, ME, &, 3 was origionally posted by Dana over at  Thanks for the idea, Dana!



As I was driving to work the other day, listening to the holiday music station, I heard the cute Christmas Song sung by a toothless child, All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth. ” How perfectly fitting!”, I thought, for my oldest, toothless daughter.

Thank goodness she has not created this annoying lisp that supposedly goes along with missing your two front teeth!  I have yet to play her that song, however,  the other day she stepped out of my husband’s car singing, “I’m Sexy and I know it!”  What???!!! Yes.

Well, apparently the volume was turned down so low that only girls age six.five could hear it.  “What does sexy mean?” she asks my husband.  “Ask your mom!” he says.  Wonderful.

(Although I think that LMFAO, in all their popularity, has some possible confident building characteristics with their lyrics, I too, leave work – my job teaching middle school children – with that song rampaging though my head.  It is the only song, no exaggeration there, that the kids will choose given a chance to request during PE class.  Is it possible that they may pick up on the, “I WORK OUT!” lyrics instead?)

Anyway, we – daughter and I – agreed that maybe LMFAO should ask their mothers for more fitting words, like attractive, perhaps.   Yes, the conversation ended and my daughter assured me that she would not sing those lyrics in her first grade classroom…although, toothless,  it could be cute!


Unlike the hole in my child’s face, this one is not so cute.  I think its intention was good in some ways: less furniture to sit TV on and thus less furniture to dust.  But really?! There is a hole, technically a shelf, in my wall with a cluster of cables and black boxes.

In my attempt to solve said cluttered gap issue, I looked at this shelf from many angles.  At first, I found the last two low bins at Crate-n-Barrel, when we moved in, to fill in some of the gap.  I have also tried rearranging the black boxes, but no matter which way they sit, this particular arrangement is still very unattractive. I even had a PB design women come to my house and measure every nook and cranny in my family room while toddler Z was screaming (I am sure she loved that!).  Her suggestion was to buy “some sort of console thing” (exact words) to place IN FRONT OF the space.  Yes, in front.

So my brainstorming began. ..

I thought maybe we could just put some doors in front of it to cover it up a bit, but then again, custom doors are expensive and it would be impossible for me to find an exact measurement by chance.  I figured though, if the doors weren’t totally solid, they would not be so hard to build, yet still distracting enough to the eye so that the clutter and cables didn’t keep jumping out at me.

Next step, get help.

I sent my husband this email:

Rory, here is an idea for doors I want under TV.   They could block the clutter and stuff.  Click on link.
This link shows the cuts for the exact same design on the picture wall frame, but you’d have to scale t down.
The remote can go in there.
Our basement "Ana White" Room

Notice the email does not have many words?  Yes, and typos.  And, it mentions something he uses often; the remote. My method to get him hooked…
I let it sit in his inbox for a while and then asked if he saw the email with the cool design.  “What email?” he asked.  Hmmm…. anyway, he finally got motivated to attempt this project, with a little wife pressure.
Here is a beginning stage shot.  He used MDF strips and just scaled it down.  Making each corner was a bit tedious.  The outer junctions are screwed and glued and the inner pieces (each tiny one is separate) is just glued with wood glue.
We are making progress, but  it  isn’t quite finished.  Here you can get a sense of what it may look like.  Quite a nice distraction, I think.
Still needs a sanding and some slight adjustments, oh, and a nice fresh coat of white spray paint.  But it’s taking shape and it looks SO much better, even only half done!
I may even put some sort of fabric behind the door to hide the boxes and cords completely.  I have not decided yet.  We should have some finished product pictures  soon to share.
As for the other gap mentioned above, there are no teeth growing in there just yet.  Although she doesn’t care anything about her missing teeth and has some other ideas of  ‘all she wants for Christmas‘, we will keep you posted on both processes.
Have a good weekend!
I don’t know this women,  Ana White from, but she is the ultimate definition of homemaker! She is awesome and very talented.  So, far, we have used her free plans to make our West Elm style bed frame, a desk, and now these doors.  I get no perks telling you about her site, but I just like sharing really neat ideas.  
Images: 1,2 & 4-7) Laura for, 3) brag blog