Link's Not-So-Great Adventure


The cat and I are not on speaking terms right now.

Seriously.

Our cat speaks to us.  He whines when he wants petted or has been left alone all day long, he tattles to one parent when the other parent scolds him for something, he fusses at Ty when he wants free and Ty won't let him loose.  He's a very vocal cat.

Except right now.  We're giving each other the silent treatment and going out of our way to avoid the other.

He gets that from me.  I'm an exceptional grudge-holder.

But it's his fault.

You see, we've been fighting him off of the top of Ty's chest of drawers since this past weekend.  The cat can jump from the floor to the top of the chest of drawers.  Which is why the chest of drawers is now sporting some scratches it didn't previoulsy have....

Link hates brooms.  Seriously.  If he hears us open the closet where we keep the vacuum and the broom at, he makes a mad dash for the nearest bed so he can hide under it.

And if by chance we sneak it out and he doesn't realize it, as soon as he lays eyes on it he hisses and arches his back and vanishes out the nearest doorway.

Since he hates brooms so much, as a deterrent we put the broom on the top of the chest of drawers.  Which worked pretty well.  Except that occasions arise when you need to use the broom as a broom and then--shock of shock--it gets put up where it belongs and not back where it was. 

Which is why Link was unafraid to jump back on top of the chest of drawers last night while Jason and I were in the living room, unaware of his location.

Until we heard a crash that was immediately identifiable. 

I should probably point out that--as a mom--I qualify for Super Hero status.  Moms have Super Speed, Super Strength, Super Smarts, Super Hearing, Super Memory....you name it and we have a super strength in it.

Which is why I was able to make it into the room before Link could untangle himself from the fallen and now dissasembled mess of the gerbil cage and its contents.

Let's just say....between the noise of the crashing cage, the amount of noise that I made in response, and the involvement of a white "Just Married" flip-flop, I don't think the cat will be making that mistake again anytime soon.  The look on his face when I came around that corner said as much, which is why he split for the nearest bed that allowed more than four feet of separation between me and him.

The gerbil was fine.  She was smart enough not to make a dash for it and remained hidden in a little plastic cubbey part of her cage.  She seems absolutely no worse for the wear, she got a sparkling clean cage and a fresh bowl of food.  She's just minus the extra water bottle that I usually leave in the cage for her.  We've searched the whole room over and can't find where it vanished to.  We found the silver tip off the end of it though!

For the remainder of the night (as well as today) Link has kept his distance from me and eyed me warily.  I think he's worried I might send another flip-flop in his general direction if he puts a paw out of line. 

The husband suggested we just make The Boy keep the door to his room closed so it doesn't happen again, which I angrily vetoed.  We'd made such concessions with the dog after she continually destroyed item after item after item with her chewing (which is why we can't enjoy our back yard...everything is put up in the shed until she grows out of her destructi-dog stage).  I told him I refuse to allow a pet to rule how we live inside our home, too.  So the door stays open.  And if Link gets back up on top of that chest of drawers again, I'll just throw the book (or a flip-flop) at him until he learns otherwise.

But I have a feeling this will not be the last of Link's Not-So-Great Adventures.
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

The Right Thing


I had an interesting question posed to me this morning.  One of my customers came in bright and early but certainly wasn't acting his usual self while he was here.  He had to run back to his car for something, and while he was out, each of us commented that he didn't seem like himself this morning.

When he came back inside, that was the first thing he stated, he just wasn't himself today because of a situation at his work.

I told him we'd all noticed he wasn't his usual up-beat and talkative self and asked what was going on, so he posed the question to me, "If you knew someone was innocent...and you had proof that they were innocent, what would you do?"

Not expecting this kind of question, I wondered, "Obviously there are some extenuating circumstances going on if you haven't already stepped in?"

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well," I began, "what's stopping you from getting involved?"

He replied, "I just don't want to get in the middle of things."

"Legally?" I asked "Or just work-wise?"

"Just work," he answered.

"I'd tell someone."  I answered quickly, "I'd let them know."

"You would?" he questioned, doubtfully.

"If it was you, would you want someone to intercede for you if they could?"

"Yes"

"Then I would," I said simply.

It all comes down to that little Golden Rule.  It rarely feels as simple as that when you're faced with the decision, but it all comes down to "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

If only we remembed that in every part of our lives.
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Room Redo | Super Mario Style


It is finished!!!

I just have one or two little odds and ends that I'll eventually do, but for the time being, I'm considering it d-o-n-e, DONE!

Let's go back to the before pictures:  (Am I the only person whose iPhone takes crappy pictures?  Or am I just spoiled to Canon?)



Final pictures:  (Taken with my Canon...see the difference?)




(Ignore Mario...I didn't realize he was out of order until I took and posted the picture!)

I did a green Yoshi egg (bottom of the red shelf) and an orange Yoshi egg (top of the blue shelf as well as a little star-power trinket box on his night-stand.  He was SO excited about those!

You can also see the Question Mark remote box on the blue shelf that I did a few weeks ago, too.

We still have to put posters and this Mario picture my sister did (below) up on the walls, but I'll hold off on putting everything up until I have the Mario picture in.


But his room is basically done.

I've been asked how I did everything, if I used stencils, decals, freehand, etc. so here's a quick rundown of how I did everything.

On The Wall

The bottom border of the room I measured off to a 10" height all the way around the room, using a standard ruler.  After painting the light green at the bottom, I came back around and using a piece of cardstock, I free-handed the edge of the grass in a 10" pattern that I cut out and used as a repeating stencil across the whole room.  (The picture at left is an unfinished picture, the grass at the top had a second coat of paint on it after this was taken.)

The clouds I free-handed.  Because I did the smaller cloud over the original wall-color, I was able to see it well and make sure it was symmetrical and how I wanted it drawn.  The larger cloud was much more difficult because I had a hard time seeing the pencil marks on the blue wall paint so it took a bit longer to make sure it was symmetrical.

On the vine, I used a ruler and a level to draw out the basic shape of the 8" block and rounded the corners by hand.  Then I used the ruler to draw a 3/4" vine from the top of the block all the way up the wall to the ceiling.  After that, I measured and marked off every 5" on alternating sides of the vine so I'd know where to place the leaves, which I drew by hand on card stock and again cut out to use as a stencil, flipping it based on which side of the vine I was on.  After that I measured 1/2" increments on staggered sides of the vine and added diagonal lines up the vine to tie together the two colors of green used.  I then free-handed the simple slants in black on the box to finish it off.


The brick and question-mark blocks I measured out with a ruler (at 10" square) and curved the corners off by hand.  I used a level to make sure they were straight on the wall. The question mark is free-handed, but the divided bricks were, again, done by ruler and level with rounded corners free-handed while painting (not necessarily as simple as it sounds).  Then I came back later and added the light orange shadow under the question mark and "bolts" in the corners.

Finally, we're down to the pipe and the Piranha Plant.  The pipe was measured off by ruler and level.  The plant, however, was all free-handed.  Since I didn't decide to add it until after the wall was painted I had to sketch it out over the blue paint which was--again--difficult to get symmetrical.  I painted the first coat of paint on the plant and then evened it up by painting back over the corrected areas with the blue wall paint.  (Perfection never starts out perfect!)  The teeth and dots were drawn by hand, but again I used the ruler for the stripe down the side of the pipe.

Accessories

I couldn't resist picking up a few small things here or there to add some more Mario to the room.  

I started with the Yoshi eggs, which I only spent $1.59 (ea) on at Hobby Lobby.  They actually were supposed to have been 30% off, but I didn't have the time to fuss about 96¢ when I would have paid $1.59 for them anyway.  Especially since Yoshi just happens to be Ty's very favorite.

A few weeks ago (while just toying with the idea of a Mario room redo) I had the idea to make a remote box.  I bought an unfinished wooden tissue box from Michael's for $4.99.  I used a very small screwdriver and rubber mallet to break off the top piece that the tissue would come up through.  I glued the bottom on to the box (it was a sliding piece) and then used the Dremel to sand the top before painting it.  I cheated on this one and used a printout of the question mark and traced over the question mark and followed the pencil impressions on the wood to paint out the question mark and shadow.

Lastly, I found an unfinished wooden star trinket box with a magnetic lid for only $2.99.  It was easy enough to paint it yellow and finish it off with the eyes.  Ty was more than tickled with it because it was a container...and it was empty.  The kid loves to fill up any empty container with whatever he might happen to find to stick in it.

Budget

The other question I've gotten is exactly how much the whole redo cost.  I figured in the shelves that we built into the closet that started this whole thing, though in my head they're separate because I had at least planned to do them at two different times.  I've rounded everything up and I think I'm probably shooting high on some of it, I'm just too lazy to dig my receipts out!

I could have done things much cheaper than I did because some of the paints & supplies weren't necessary, but I knew most of my craft paints weren't the freshest and may be too thick or dried up and I knew some of my paintbrushes were showing their age, too, so I just bought all new paints, brushes, rollers and everything. It saved me the time of mixing paints to the right color or having to thin them out.  Plus new brushes are always worth it (to me) in the effort department because you can get cleaner lines out of them.

Lowes - $117
     Wood for Shelves ($65)
     Olympic One Wall Paint ($27)
     Drop Cloth (heavy) ($15)
     New 6" mini roller ($8)
     Plastic paint container ($2)

Hobby Lobby - $4
     Paper Mache Eggs ($4)

Michael's - $32
     Craft Paint--13 bottles in 10 colors ($15)
     New Paint Brushes ($7)
     Tissue Box ($5)
     Small Paint Containers ($2)
     Star Trinket Box ($3)
                             
Walmart - $22
    Twin size Mario Sheets ($ 22)                           

Total Amount Spent        $175

My goal budget was to keep it under $125, so once you take the shelves out of the equation we succeeded and we even saved $30 in doing the shelves ourselves, plus we got a better fit for the closet than we would have if I'd gone with the pre-fab shelves available at Walmart or Lowes.

Now, as far as the question of how much we saved in doing something like this ourselves....that I have no clue on.  I don't know how much someone would charge just to paint a room, let alone paint the Mario elements on the room, too.

Plus, whenever Ty looks at his room, he'll know that his Mama took the time to do it herself and make it (literally) a labor of love.  So I think that sentimentality far exceeds whatever we saved.

Let's just hope he doesn't outgrow it anytime soon!!

Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

The Big Reveal!


Ty's room is not yet complete....

....but the painting is complete so we cleaned it up and cleared it out and went ahead and let him see how it looks!


Now we just have a MESS of toys to move back into his room and reorganize!  (The mess in the hall outside Ty's door is only a SMALL amount of all of the stuff we've taken out of his room to get it done!)

I still have several small projects that will add finishing touches to his room such as some Yoshi eggs and a Bullet Bill trashcan but those I can work on outside of the confines of those same four walls I've spent the last six days locked in.

Hallelujah, I am free!




Okay.  That's it for now.  More--I promise--when the room is actually done!
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Past Paintings


Can I just say how sore I am from spending the weekend painting The Boy's room?

And though my arms are achey and sore, it's my legs that are killing me.  Namely the muscles in the back of my thighs from kneeling, squatting and crouching all weekend.

Because as simple as this looks....


That band at the bottom required measuring off the top, edging it on both the green and the blue side and then stenciling and hand painting the grass template I made.  Twice.  Because everything took two coats of paint. 

But first, I started with a whole different look.

Of the two options I presented my husband, he chose a zig-zag pattern and I got this far before I vetoed it. 


#1--it's too Charlie Brown-ish (which is not the theme for the room). 
#2--it wasn't adding enough to the room to justify the HOUR spent just getting that far.
#3--it was a PAIN just to draw out. 
#4--The yellow was going to take three coats of paint to cover properly which would probably add a week onto my paint time (and thus your wait time!)

So I made the executive decision to go with neither of the options I presented to the husband and go with something simpler and less distracting.  Thus the green above.  Which I like better.  It's more versatile, less visually offensive and much easier. 

I just need more green paint since I changed up the plan.

But that's an easy $4 fix.

So, the first photo is my stopping point for yesterday.  I am almost completely done with two walls.  I have the wall color, the green at the bottom and two designs painted on that wall so far.  I need to do some finishing touches on one and then sketch out and paint in a third one.

Then I start on the two remaining walls which include another drawing to paint that will be hopefully less time consuming than one of the ones I've already done.

But while we're talking about painting and such, I thought this would be a good place to throw in some things I've previously painted:

Ty's Sheriff's Star


My first freehand project was just a simple Sheriff's Star over Ty's wagon bed.  I had plans to do more with his room, but it just never happened.  The bed was the focus of the picture, but you can see it and get a general idea.


 

Sheriff's Office Sign


Next up was a sign for the Sheriff's Office and Jail that I used to work at.  I that I designed, projected, sketched and painted.


 

Sheriff's Office Wall Logo


After that was the same logo on the wall of the conference room at the Sheriff's Office and Jail that I used to work at.  I also hand painted the border around the room, too.


 

Caden's Arrrrrsome Pirate Ship


And then came my labor of love for my nephew, Caden, in his Big Boy Pirate room!  (Which was also projected).


Holy cow!!  Look how little he was!!

So, that brings us to the present and to the materpiece in progress in Ty's room, which I do not have the advantage of projecting so let's just say that my ruler, level, pencil and I have spent a lot of time in each other's company this weekend!

And just a reward for reading this far.



It's not completed and still needs some finishing touches, but maybe that will get you by until next time.  ;)
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

In The Beginning


In the beginning there was a mess.


See? 

And this is a good day.  

But I decided that this no longer works for me.  So we went to Lowes Friday night, grabbed some 1" x 12"s (which are, in reality 11.13" x .75" in case you're wondering) and on Saturday we started cutting, putting together, and painting some shelves for Ty's closet.  

But we had to make such a mess emptying out his closet that Jason started asking about moving up when we redo Ty's whole room.

Because we were planning and pretty well ready to redo The Boy's room into a fun kid room with actual wall color.  So I ran back to Lowes, grabbed some wall paint (for family, I think the color Jason chose is pretty close to the same color Papa painted his cabinets in the garage in his house in Picher!)  Then I ran to Michaels and grabbed about $15 in craft paint.  And back I was.  Ready to begin.


Here's the rest of the room.

Again, this is a good day.  Typically Ty would have sports bedding on his bed, but it's the weekend, that's stripped off and in the laundry so we brought out the flannel cowboy sheets and the secondary Mario Kart comforter Ty begged us to get last year at Walmart.

And there's carpet visible.  A large patch of it, actually, so this is a REALLY good day.

But we moved even more stuff out into the hall and the guest room where Link kept watch over it.


Since the color we're painting the room is SO blue, I had to draw out the design that I'm going to paint on the wall first because it'd take layer after layer after layer to paint over the blue.  So I drew off a 10" band at the bottom of the room on two full walls and exposed areas of a third wall.  Then I got Jason in to figure out where we're going to put everything we have so I could get an idea of where to put the other paintings I had in mind for the walls.

And then I broke out the blue paint.


And I tediously trimmed around the doors and the ceiling and the drawings on the walls.

And this little booger....this is a little snippet of a floor-to-ceiling drawing took more than an hour to edge around that whole drawing.  And I still have to do the second coat!



Oh, and Link was sweet enough to keep a very close eye on Pikachu and make sure the (latex) paint fumes weren't bothering him.


Okay, back to work for me.  I hope to have some major progress accomplished by the time I die of exhaust  tonight!  More to come later!
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.