I Love Finishing Big Projects!

In our downtime during E’s first month of life, I focused on trying to get all of the photoshoots I had planned executed. This was not an easy task given my difficult post-partum recovery from the Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction symptoms. During my free time in his second month, I worked hard trying to get all of the pictures from his first month edited and processed. It was a LOT of pictures, and it took me a long time to go through them all (multiple memory cards full!). I am so happy to say that I just finished blogging the rest of the pictures from his first month! Time to do a two month photoshoot now! 🙂 Be sure to check them out at www.apluscphotography.com/blog.

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My Home Office!

My Home Office!

I have been waiting to unveil this room for quite some time now. 🙂  So far, it is my favorite room in the house.  I can make things as pink and girly in here as I want with no complaints from anyone else. 😉  There were a lot of projects that went into creating this room.  You can read about the ceiling here, my custom cabinet knobs here, my DIY lampshade here, my fabric covered bulletin board here, and the flooring fiasco here.  You can also see the before pictures here.  My office is bedroom #4 in the before pictures (also last used as an office).

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I used the same two desks that we had in our old rental house (seen here), but I wanted a more cohesive look.  I primed and painted the two desks a matching shade of “fig” purple.  I painted the floor a gray with a hint of purple, and found two pinks that I love for the walls and built-in cabinets.  This room has tons of storage closets with shelving and drawers which works perfectly for all of my craft supplies, camera gear, photo props, etc.

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When we moved in, the previous owners left behind their built-in “desk” and wall cabinet.  The very haphazard desk had to go, but I decided to find a way to spruce up the open wall cabinet.  I painted it all white, glued vintage laces to the edges of the shelves, and added two types of pretty printed shelf liner paper to the back of the cabinet.  I went with shelf liner paper since I didn’t want to buy a whole roll of wallpaper for such a small area.  It was kind of difficult to match up the patterns along the seams, but I am so happy with the end result!

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I have seen many home offices on other blogs and sites like Pinterest, and for some reason, it seems like people feel they are entitled to make snarky remarks about what kind of computer peripherals are incorporated into the space, as if that can make or break the design concept of the room.  I have seen countless comments along the lines of “would be a great room if she just went wireless!” or “ew, cords!”.  If the primary function of your home office is for pinning, bookmarking, tweeting, and reblogging, then by all means…why wouldn’t you have a wireless keyboard and mouse?  However, if you actually do real creative work with your computer, wireless accessories do not come anywhere close to the level of precision that traditional wired accessories provide.  I will take my tablet with its USB cord any day over a wireless mouse!  Even my husband initially tried to get me to use his wireless accessories, but those were very quickly put away.  My solution for dealing with all of the cords…I keep things neatly organized, use strong Velcro to keep the power strips in place below the desk, and made this cute little fabric skirt under the desk to cover all the cords.  I am pretty pleased with the end result. 🙂

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Easy DIY Project: Fabric Decorated Bulletin Board

I have been working on all of the finishing touches on my home office lately, and this is one of my recent projects.  I had previously covered my plain cork bulletin board with some pink vintage fabric at our old house, but I wasn’t thrilled with the end result for my new office.  For one thing, I didn’t want a pink bulletin board on a pink wall.  Secondly, the craft glue that I used the first time around was not the best choice (you can see in the first picture how it seeped through the fabric and left a visible mark).

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I selected some fun fabric to use this time, and decided to lay the new fabric over the old fabric since I liked the scalloped border on the pink fabric so much.  I measured out how large of a rectangle I would need, and then added about an extra quarter inch on each side to allow for a non-sew hem, and cut out my new fabric rectangle.

Once the piece was cut out, I folded in each side of the fabric and pressed with the steam setting on the iron.  When I got to the corners, I folded and steamed them in at an angle, kind of like when you make a bed with a flat sheet, and secured with a tiny dot of fabric glue.  After all of the edges were cleanly finished, I made sure the rest of the fabric was well ironed and wrinkle free.

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Since the craft glue that I used the first time was not the best option, I decided to try a glue gun this time around, and it worked much better.  I just glued the new piece of fabric in place, putting small amounts of glue around all the edges of the fabric.  That’s it!  Super easy project, and I love the finished result hanging in my office. 🙂

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More of the office decorating projects coming up, and the full unveiling of my new home office coming soon!

Easy DIY Project: Custom Fabric Covered Lamp Shade

 I had made another fabric covered lamp shade for my office previously at our old house, but that fabric does not match with my new office decor (perhaps I will use that lampshade in the upcoming nursery!).  I decided to start over again with a new plain lamp shade, and cover it with some fabric that better matches my new decorating design.  I used about a half yard of fabric, but your needs may vary based on the size of the lamp shade.  Here’s how I did it….

1.  Start with very plain lampshade.

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2.  Line up fabric so the pattern displays best across various areas, and pin in place with clothespins along top and bottom.  I covered half of the lamp shade at a time to make sure that the fabric pattern is evenly distributed.

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3.  Very carefully removed fabric from lamp shade, with clothespins still in place.

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4.  (not shown) Trimmed excess fabric in a line parallel to line created by clothespins, in order to allow for hem inside lampshade.
5.  Carefully ironed and steamed fabric along line created by clothespins, and folded under again from there, ironing and steaming again.  This creates a clean line on the inside of the shade, with no loose threads showing.  Once the lines were all pressed, I carefully used a few dots of craft glue to hold the raw edge of the fabric in place.

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6.  Next I placed the fabric back onto the lamp shade, and started carefully gluing it in place with a glue gun.  I started by placing a thin line of glue on the outside edges of the lamp, top and bottom.  Once those were in place, I glued the hemline to the inside of the lamp.  I made sure to work in small sections, and kept the fabric smooth and tight at all times.

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7.  To finish it off, I snipped a few areas of the hem where the metal structures of the lamp shade were preventing the fabric from lying flat.

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8.  I repeated the whole process with the other half of the lamp shade, and then it was ready to set up in my office!

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More of the office decorating projects coming up, and the full unveiling of my new home office coming soon!

Unexpected Summer Project #2: Dealing with Foul Smelling Flooring

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Our plan is to redo every single room in our house (every room is in serious need of some new paint with colors that don’t clash).  However, we have a list of priority projects that were supposed to come first.  A functioning kitchen has been at the top of the list for a while now, and we unfortunately still have not reached that goal yet.  Other urgent things keep coming up, preventing us from getting the kitchen finished.

Yesterday’s unexpected project was pretty disgusting, and so is today’s.  We were originally planning to rip up the nasty indoor-outdoor carpet in my office and replace it with some wood flooring.  That project was lower on the priority list, and we planned to leave the carpet until construction on the adjoining room (my future photo studio) was completed.  However, once the summer heat and humidity got really intense, so did the smells in my office, which had been used as the first aid room in the house’s former existence as a nursing home.

I had found a number of gross things in the storage cupboards in my office when I was doing my first deep cleaning of the house while we were moving in, including catheter bags and other lovely items.  We can only assume that when the catheters were being changed in that room, the employees were very sloppy with how the used bags were being handled.  The smell was overwhelming…I couldn’t get any work done at my desk without feeling sick from the smells coming from the carpet.

When my parents purchased their current home, my bedroom was filled with pet stained carpet (my room was the only room with the pet stains).  I remembered the real estate agent mentioning that there were nice hardwood floors underneath the carpet.  So one day, 12-year-old me decided to start ripping up the carpet and nail boards. 🙂  Inspired by memories of my young spunky self, I decided to start ripping up the carpet in my office on a weekend morning while my husband was sleeping.  Oddly enough, he was not in the least bit surprised when he woke up and noticed what was going on.  I guess he had really listened to all of my childhood stories. 🙂

Once the carpet and padding was all removed, the smell was still pretty strong.  The urine and other fluids had soaked all the way through into the concrete below.  I was planning to paint over the concrete as a temporary flooring fix (until construction on the studio is finished and we are ready for new flooring).  I was afraid however that the smell might still come through the paint since it was so strong.  I decided to do an experiment to neutralize the scent.

I had tried a number of those pet odor neutralizing sprays when my cat Fluffy hit puberty and started spraying everything in sight, but none really worked very well.  I was still skeptical of those sprays and decided to try my own method.  Since urine often has a slightly basic pH, I wondered if trying to neutralize the urine with a mild acid would get rid of the scent.  I poured straight vinegar all over the entire floor, and mopped it in.  I noticed some bubbling in some areas, which I took as a good sign.  Once the vinegar dried, and the smell of vinegar went away, the room was now completely odor free!

My experiment worked wonderfully well, and I then finished up by painting the concrete with some floor & deck paint.  Full reveal of the newly redecorated office coming soon!  Also, unexpected summer projects #3 & 4 are coming this week. 🙂