The Roll Top Desk

My husband sent me a text message a few months ago telling me that one of our family members was looking to re-home his roll top desk. I could tell by his wording that he really wanted to have it.

I, however, had no idea what it looked like nor any idea where we’d put it in our small-ish house. But, these were things I resolved we’d just figure out when it got here. Since he wanted it, and I didn’t, I told him he’d have to be in charge of getting it into our house, and as long as I didn’t have to do anything to get it here, I’d figure out how to live with it.

Aren’t I a supportive wife?

After thinking through things, I decided the only place the desk would work in our home would be in our master bedroom. So, I moved things around and measured out where the desk would go once it arrived. It’s a good thing to, because once it was put in that spot, the fellow helping David move it stated he wouldn’t be moving it again on account of how heavy it was.

David could tell I didn’t like it. But why would I? It was a man’s desk. Nothing about it was “my style.” It was dark and heavy, and I NEED light and bright and open. However, quickly I came to recognize its value. We were days away from traveling for Christmas, and I had presents to wrap and keep away from little fingers. The top of the desk was the perfect spot. Secondly, I now had a large workspace that didn’t have to be cleaned off every day so we could eat dinner OR, again, so little fingers wouldn’t be able to reach it. Within a day of using it, I loved it and thanked David over and over again for seeing its potential and getting it to our house and began to call it “my desk.”

Now, I just had to make it look like “my desk.”

Since both David and I wanted the desk to not be so dark, I decided to start with white paint. He, however, didn’t want it to be “just a giant white desk.” Our kitchen is white- white walls, white floor, white cabinets, white table. I understood his sentiment. So, the project became an interesting challenge.

Since I’d painted several pieces of furniture in our home already, it wasn’t too daunting of an idea to paint this as well. I knew it’d be a project though, so I asked David for a power sander for Christmas to speed up that step of the process. I also gave myself an entire year to complete it, so I wouldn’t feel rushed.

And so I started… in our bedroom. The desk couldn’t be moved, so I’d have to work on the majority of the desk inside.

I began sanding the big spaces, and then removed hardware. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do with this “beast” as I came to call it along the way. But, I knew I wouldn’t ever get it done if I didn’t start, so I’d have to just experiment along the way.

As I progressed, I began to like the idea of doing a two-toned desk. What I really wanted was white and blush pink, but I knew that was too feminine for our master bedroom. So, I channelled the image of David and I on our wedding day- black tux, white dress- and decided to go with black. This also turned out to be a safe choice, because the only way I was going to be able to get paint all the way into the back of those shelves was to spray it in there.

My dad bought me a paint sprayer for this project, but I didn’t feel confident enough using it inside our bedroom. So, I used the paint sprayer in the safety of our garage on all the drawers, and I used the spray paint I’d bought for the hardware inside. It was too shiny to be the end result, but it worked for those impossible to reach spaces.

My dad had painted our shutters black for us awhile back, and I still had plenty of left over black paint, so I used that to paint over the spray paint which gave it a matte finish.

The black and white was feeling really fun and classic, but it was a little too clean. I started wanting for the piece to look like it had been hand painted and had lived in a French home over 100 years ago, not like it had come from a store looking this way. So, I decided to antique it. I knew I was going to use Valspar sealing wax, because that’s what I’ve used on every piece of furniture I’ve redone, so I decided to give their antiquing wax a try.

It changed everything about the piece- for the better! I couldn’t believe how easy it was and what a dramatic change it made.

So, the last thing I needed to figure out was hardware for the bottom drawers. Since I’d decided to take the wooden handles off, I would have to buy something new to replace those pulls. I had no idea how expensive hardware is, or how tricky certain lengths can be to find. After scouring the internet, and a few local stores, I finally found a pull from Build.com for about $2 each. The color wasn’t right, but that was ok. I just spray painted them with the same spray paint I used for the top hardware.

And, then, after all of the hardware was put back on, it was done…

My favorite things about this project:

Doing it with my daughter. She helped me paint the inside of some of the drawers – with nail polish.

That so many people rallied around me. I felt like I had a group of cheerleaders in my corner the whole way.

Keeping it in the family. We were touched that David’s grandpa included us in the list of people he offered the desk to. My mother-in-law (one of my biggest champions of this project) told me that I had turned it into a family heirloom, and I love that it will be a place where my kids will sit and work at too for years and years to come.

The most challenging piece of this project:

The hardware. Some of it was pretty hard to get off. And like I said earlier, it look awhile to find the right pulls for the drawers. But, because I’d given myself an entire year to finish the desk, I just took my time, and while it was challenging, it wasn’t stressful.

My most frequently asked questions about the desk:

Do you have to sand furniture before you paint it? I’m terrified that if I don’t it won’t stick the way I want it to, so I always sand. And I always have used Valspar sealing wax. You don’t even have to put a coaster on my furniture. It’s a great product. But, I don’t know if it would work as well if I didn’t sand first.

Did you use chalk paint? I had originally planned on making my own chalk paint like I always do (by mixing paint with caulk), but I didn’t. I just used regular ole’ Antique White paint from Walmart.

Take-aways:

It’s good to have hobbies that you can do at home. If I had a day when I didn’t have work (for my job) to do during nap time, or dishes or laundry calling my name, I worked on the desk. After the kids went to sleep, on nights where I didn’t have a million things to do, I worked on the desk. I loved doing something that was just for me. It didn’t matter if I messed up, it didn’t matter if it took me six weeks to sand the drawers, and my kids saw me doing something for ME. They know I work out at the gym for me, but the other things I do for me, they don’t really SEE. They saw the desk.

It’s also good to learn. I learned how to antique furniture and a little bit about hardware doing this project. It’s good to try new things. It’s good to stretch yourself. And it’s good to make time for little projects.

I hope this post has encouraged you to try something new, take on a home, DIY project, and to get your family involved in projects with you too. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time. It isn’t fun if it’s stressful. ; )

Until next time,

❤ Lindsay

Kids’ Christmas Activities, part 2

Hey friends! So, if you missed part 1, I shared a little bit about how we approach home church and a couple of the things we did this past Sunday with our kids, as we found ourselves at home Sunday morning unable to attend church. I left you with us heading to the kitchen for our “family activity.” 

This is not a new craft, I know. Surely people have been making these little homemade wreaths for decades. And my guess is that’s because they are so easy to make, you can literally use whatever you have at home, and it works for almost all ages and skillsets (we even assembled these at our church’s ladies’ Christmas event last year)

The supplies I gathered were…

  • red and green card stock (but, you can any kind and color of paper, including Christmas wrapping paper)
  • a pair of scissors (I have 1 pair that makes the decorative cuts, so I used those, but regular scissors are perfect)
  • a cardboard box (the handiest I had was a pull-ups box)
  • glue (I grabbed a glue stick and liquid glue, but you could use double sided tape, staples, or even rubber cement if you wanted)
  • tape
  • some red ribbon (all I had on hand was your standard shiny red ribbon for wrapping presents in, but again, you can use any kind of ribbon at all, or you can even go sans ribbon!)

The night before I cut leaves out of the card stock by folding the pieces of paper in half and cutting half ovals/hearts out of them. 

The next morning I used a box cutter to cut circles out of the cardboard box. I flipped a glass cereal bowl on top of the broken down box and traced it with a sharpie, then I cut along that line. (Don’t worry about making a perfect circle though- you’re going to be pasting leaves on top, so no one is going to see the cardboard.) When I had popped out my circle, I cut another circle out around that circle to make my ring/wreath. 

Now comes the assembly part- aka, where the kids come in- unless you have older kids, in which case, they may be able to cut the leaves out themselves. You know your kids and how well they handle a pair of scissors, so I’ll leave that call to you.   

Show your kids how to use the glue to stick their leaves onto their wreath, and let them go to town! Help them as needed, but try to let them do as much of it as they can, within their abilities of course. That’s what makes it fun! 

You may find you need more leaves. Don’t panic! Cut out some more, and if you don’t have any more of the paper you originally used, that’s ok, grab a different color and let them color a design on that paper in the original leaf colors before you cut the leaves out. So, in the case of our wreaths, I’d grab white paper and red and green crayons or markers. 

We found the glue adheres a lot better to the side of the pull-ups box that isn’t shiny, and you’ll get a fuller-effect from your leaves if you affix them with the leaf opening up toward you inside of towards the cardboard.

When you’re done, have your kid tell you which part of the wreath is the top, and then flip it over. There at the top, affix your ribbon with tape or a stapler, and wa la, homemade wreath! 

Our whole family had a ball with this little project, and their wreaths look adorable hanging up in our dining nook. They have loved looking at them and point to them with big grins on their faces. I plan on doing this every year with our kids and am excited about all of the potential this little project has. It can be THIS SIMPLE, or it can a lot more elaborate depending on the kind of paper and ribbon you choose to use. Make it your own and make it work for your family and the developmental stage your kids are in. 

Stay tuned for more of the Christmas activities we’re doing with our kids this month, and be sure to tag us on Insta or comment below if you give any of these ideas a whirl with your family. We’d love to hear about it!

Until next time,

❤ Lindsay

Turkey Cupcakes

Raise your hand if you love routine? Now raise your other hand if your kids love routine? I know from first hand experience that the week of Thanksgiving can be a stressful week for families, and while the reasons are numerous, I think one big factor is the abrupt change in pretty much everyone’s routine. This change can be even more extreme for everyone when kids find themselves outside out of their home (e.g. traveling for the holiday) or have guests hanging out in their home.

Because the truth is kids like routine. They’re going to wake up when they’re used to waking up. They’re going to be ready for snacks when they’re always ready for snacks. Sometimes, as much as we try and want to, we can’t keep them on their routine though. We also can’t assume that everyone else we’re celebrating the holiday with is going to jump right into our kids’ routine.

So, it’s really helpful to have a few go-to activities for your kids to do in those hours when their routine isn’t meshing up with how the days’ schedule is unfolding.

They can be simple, like new coloring pages and crayons or a secret stash of legos (we have such a secret stash that we only bust out when we’re on vacation- usually when we’re staying in a hotel room). I made a couple dozen of these Turkey Cupcakes several years ago before we had kids, and stored the idea away as one I knew I’d like to try again with my kids, whenever we had them, and whenever they were old enough.

My kids are 3 years old and 1 year old, and I knew they were ready to at least attempt decorating these cupcakes. I knew they probably weren’t going to look like something you’d see on Pinterest by the time they were finished, but the entire project, for the most part, would be edible (so I wouldn’t have to worry if they put something in their mouth), easy to clean up, and inexpensive- all I had to buy for it was a box of cake mix and some candy corn. AND, the best part, this is a TWO part activity, so it helps pass the time TWICE. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean…

FullSizeRender-2.jpeg

What do you need for this project:

  1. Cake Mix (and whatever the mix calls for … like eggs and oil)
  2. Cupcake pan
  3. Chocolate Icing
  4. Candy corn + assorted candy (we raided their left over halloween candy)

Steps:

  1. Make + bake cupcakes! And LET YOUR KIDS HELP. They may not be ready to crack eggs, but give them the whisk or let them operate the mixer by pulling levers or pushing buttons. They probably can dump the bag of cake mix into the mixing bowl if you cut it open for them and help direct the bag. Even my one year old can place cupcake liners into the cupcake pan, so he and my three year old did that part together. And older kids can, with guidance and oversight of course, ladle batter into the cupcake pan.

IMG_3751.jpeg

  1. Let cupcakes cool – overnight even! This is what I did. We made the cupcakes in the afternoon, and we decorated them the following morning. See what I mean… TWO PART ACTIVITY.
  2. Decorate cupcakes. This is where you need to put your perfectionist bend to the side. Let them play while they decorate. The purpose of this activity is not to have perfect cupcakes when you’re done. The purpose of this activity is MULTI-purpose: have fun, engage with your kids, spend quality time together, and give them something to do in those windows when they’re feeling the effects of their routine being thrown off.

FullSizeRender-3.jpeg

Tips for SUCCESS:

  1. Make sure your icing is room temperature and one that easily spreads. I made mine from scratch and wished I’d just picked up a $1 jar of it from the store, because my decadent chocolate, cream cheese icing that I threw together right before we iced the cupcakes didn’t spread so well. And I think it was just too thick and too cold still. ALSO, because I used cream cheese frosting, I had to make room for the cupcakes to stay in the fridge. You’re not going to want to do this when you also have all of the Thanksgiving food in the fridge. So, just use the store-bought stuff that can sit on the counter without worrying about it spoiling.
  2. Change their clothes. We have “eating” clothes which are clothes that are stained-beyond-saving or a little too small that we keep in a bin. When we eat food that I know is going to stain- like red pasta sauce or chocolate ice cream, I have the kids go to the bin and pick out “eating clothes.” They also wear them when we paint or do a messy art project. So, change into clothes like that. Don’t have them decorate cupcakes in the clothes you want to take Thanksgiving pictures in. That’ll just make the whole experience stressful, which is counter-productive.
  3. Use what you have to decorate. The only candy I bought for this project was candy corn. We used skittles, sweet-tarts, and cereal to make eyeballs on our turkeys- all stuff I either pulled from the pantry or our kids’ leftover Halloween candy.

IMG_3381.jpeg

Do you have a go-to activity for your kids to do when their schedule is thrown off? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Until next time,

❤ Lindsay

P.S. This post does contain affiliate links, but my opinions are always my own. Thanks for clicking through!

Laundry Room Makeover

I’m excited to finally share the little laundry room makeover I completed last month. Our laundry room was in desperate need of some love. It was the only room (minus closets) in our home that still had builder’s paint on the walls, but it’s probably the most traversed room in the house.

A laundry room is the most traversed room in your house?

Yeah, you read that right.

IMG_2500IMG_2499IMG_2501

It has three doors – one to our kitchen, one to our garage, and one to our powder room, which is definitely the most used bathroom in our home as the kids and I use it more than the other bathrooms during the day, and it’s the bathroom guests use too.

Also, like most families with attached garages, we enter and exit our home through the garage more than we do our front door, so we enter and exit our home through our laundry room.

Lastly, our trash can lives in the laundry room, as does our pantry, and one of our dogs sleeps in there at night (and he’s the dog who sheds the most). Soooooo, as you can see, our laundry room really needed some lovin’.

And what better way to love a room than to give it a fresh coat of paint?

My mom recently had her downstairs repainted in a beautiful blue gray. When I asked her for the name of the color she gave me an extra unopened gallon of it from the garage. (It may have felt like it was my birthday!)

Next I pulled everything out of the cabinets above the washer and dryer and everything out of the baskets above them. I ended up throwing half of what was there away which gave me a lot more storage space for things that had been cluttering up the kitchen (specifically lots and lots of toddler friendly arts and craft supplies).

Then I moved whatever could live in the garage into the garage, including the star hooks. AND the fly swatter. (Does anyone else have tons and tons of flies in their backyard? Accepting all tips on how to make them go away!!)

Then I mulled over how to keep my laundry room functional without it looking so cluttered in the open space in between the cabinets. Because, let’s face it, I can’t NOT do laundry things in my laundry room. I need to be able to hang stuff in there, and I knew there had to be a way to do that without it looking so junky. I reached out to a gal pal with a great eye for design (waving to you Jessica!), and she suggested more hooks to replace my hangars. I couldn’t be happier with these beautiful cast iron shabby chic wall hooks I found on Amazon. They’re subtle, functional, and pretty all at the same time.

While I waited for those to be delivered, I ran out to my local Homegood’s and grabbed these black baskets to replace the white ones and this cute Love sign. (So yes, I have a total of 12 hooks in my laundry room now, and I am 100% ok with that!)

IMG_2761IMG_2762IMG_2760

Lastly, I replaced the green/yellow tray I had on top of the dryer with a beautiful wooden serving tray from Crate & Barrel we were given as a wedding present. I think it’s gorgeous against the grey blue walls and white appliances.

I love that this tiny room is so inviting now and because I threw a bunch of things away, reorganized, and invested in a few more storage pieces (ah hem, hooks!), it’s actually more functional than it was before. Even the dog seems to enjoy sleeping in it even more now. : )

Until next time,

❤ Lindsay

This post does contain affiliate links, but all opinions are always my own. Thank you for clicking through!