Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hints of Spring

We've had a couple of lovely days recently which have me savoring the evidence of spring.

A warm day so early in March had me looking for any excuse to get outside! I couldn't resist the opportunity to hang some laundry out on the line, just for the fun and the fresh, clean smell of it.

Stringbean sat in the one-and-only mud puddle in the whole yard. Poor boy couldn't help it - his new mud boots were stuck!

Mud and more mud - looks like spring to me!

I've been hovering over these little beauties for the past two weeks at least, and when cold weather threatened, I had to bring them in, even though they weren't fully opened yet. They have thrived in the warmth, and have the most lovely, if faint, fragrance. As the first blooms of the year, they're getting more attention that a lavish bouquet might in a few months!

Lovely days are coming!

Monday, March 16, 2015

An Old Method for a New Looking Floor

While most decorating projects for our new house are still waiting to be done, there was one big one I went ahead and tackled before the move. Since we'd be moving our wood table and chairs onto a matching wood floor, I wanted something to put down in the dining room floor to break up all those wood tones. And I found a picture that has just what I wanted: 

I like room with a nice balance masculine and feminine elements. For the floor, I wanted something bold and graphic to balance the swirly curtain fabric I have, and this rug was perfect! Except for one thing - it's a rug. And that's a problem.

First of all, I don't have $500 sitting around to buy a rug with. Second, I don't want a rug in my dining room. At the moment, I have three children six-and-under. I happen to believe that spills are a normal part of young childhood, not capital crimes. Not even misdemeanors. And I'm not talking about demure little water spills, I'm talking about just-topped-off cups of milk, garlands of spaghetti and a random sprinkling of plump blueberries. I want whatever goes under my table to contribute to happy, relaxed meal times. Rugs are out. 

Fortunately, there's an old, old solution to just this problem. It's called a floorcloth. In the olden days, folks used to paint worn out canvas sails to mimic colorful rugs for their homes. There aren't many used sails laying around here is Cornfield USA, but, being lucky enough to have a husband in the flooring industry, I had the perfect material at hand. I made my floorcloth out of scrap vinyl. 

Ta da! Here's how I did it. First, I laid out my vinyl in the garage. Actually, I think my hubby did that for me.

Next, I put newspaper under the edges all the way around:

Then I primed the back, and took helpful pictures. Like so.

After the priming was done, I painted the whole thing in my background color. Thrilling, I know. Next I measured from the edge and made lines for my thick, chunky stripes. I ended up making my stripes on each edges just a little wider, because I wanted to end in blue and I liked how it looked in my mind.

I contiued marking stripes, measuring off the previous one. Miraculously, it all ended up looking nice and even! Not sure how that happened, but I'll take it.

Next, (This project had a lot of "next"s) I taped along the lines outside of what I wanted to be my blue stripes.

Which ended up looking like this, with all of the blue stripe area being exposed, and the tape taking up a little of the white stripe area. I hope that makes sense.

Next came the step that really made my stripes look sharp. I painted along the edge of the blue stripes with . . . the background color. This way, if any paint leaked under the tape (which it did) it would be in the background color and blend it. I let it dry and make a nice seal on the tape before applying . . .

. . . the blue! Finally!

Now it's staring to look like something! And sure enough, when it all dried and I peeled up the tape, there were absolutely perfect stripes there! My husband was impressed. I think I was too, come to think of it.

Then came the most tedious and frustrating part, of which I did not take a single picture. Applying the varnish topcoat to seal everything. Actually I think I did four coats. And I learned a lot.

-Poly-acrylic finish makes everything yellower.
- Unlike paint, if you put it on thicker in one area and thinner in another, it will show!
-Using a roller will cause bubbles, which must be popped with a paintbrush.
-Using a special foam roller will also cause bubbles, which must be popped with a paintbrush.
-Unless someone leaves a better method in the comments, you may as well go ahead and do the whole thing with a paintbrush. All four coats of it! (Did I mention that this part was tedious?)

But in the end, I love it. It took me about 10 days worth of nap times (Sorry, but all my projects are measured in "nap times") and now I have a sealed, indestructible floorcloth to break up all my wood. And here it is now, with green accents for March:

Milk spills? Spaghetti? Blueberries? No problem.

I'll leave you with one quick close up of my fake greenery, just for fun.

I love having sons! :-)