Decorating with Globes

I love it when I have time to browse consignment shops. Usually something awesome pops out at me. This time it was a three foot high globe. Here is what it looked like when I purchased it:

The globe as I purchased it

The globe as I purchased it

I am looking for ideas for George’s big boy room, and I’m seeing globes everywhere! It’s a bit retro and interactive for kids (more fun than wall maps which are everywhere too). One of my favorite children’s brands is Land of Nod, and globes have been in catalogs and all over their site.

I got the idea to paint the stand from Domestic Peacock. White was my initial color until I saw how well a gloss paint the color of the sea would look. Instead of taping and painting I just covered the sphere with shopping bags, which were the perfect size.

Covering my globe with shopping bags before painting

Covering my globe with shopping bags before painting

I used steel wool to get any loose debris off of the metal. The paint actually cracked slightly on the sphere/metal ruler/hemisphere divider, but I’m not too worried about it. I can always sand it again and repaint that portion.

Spray painting the globe

Spray painting the globe

The finished project is pretty cute for a kid’s room. I’m assuming George will knock it around a bit so I think I’ll leave the cracked paint as-is. I want him to have fun with it and learn a little something about geography – so who really cares about some cracked paint!?

The finished product - a spray painted globe!

The finished product – a spray painted globe!

Homemade S’mores Pizza

Instead of ordering Papa Murphy’s tonight, we made a frozen pizza quick. To make plain ol’ frozen-pizza night extra special, I found this recipe for copycat s’mores pizza and had all of the ingredients on hand, so I decided to give it a try.

S'mores pizza before baking

S’mores pizza before baking

I’m glad I did! It tasted similar to the Papa Murphy’s version except I used more chocolate chips…Which. Was. Awesome. We had some full size marshmallows on hand in addition to some little ones so we used both. Also, we just used generic chocolate chips and in the future I’d like to try Ghirardelli brand – that would be fantastic!

S'mores pizza after baking

S’mores pizza after baking

Another tip is to not overbake the crust! We should have under-baked ours¬†as the crust was too chewy to be comparable to Papa Murphy’s. In the future I’m going to take it out early and leave it a little more doughy. Give it a try – you won’t regret it! Unless you’re opposed to eating dessert pizza and loads and loads of calories that is. ūüėČ

ORB’ing Craigslist lights

I’ve seen a ton of ORB projects online¬†(ORB is oil-rubbed bronze spray paint – I used Rustoleum brand). I couldn’t wait to try out this ORB paint for myself. Luckily, the rental needed a few lights. Most of the lights are recessed to make the most of high ceilings, but we are adding lights above the bathroom vanities, one sconce in the upstairs bathroom, and a chandelier above the stairs.

Craigslist came through with a $5 bathroom vanity light and a $5 chandelier. I know that is chump change but I actually negotiated the chandelier down from $10 because one of the globes was cracked (not that I was going to retain those anyway). I was pretty proud of my ninja negotiation skills…(riiiiiight). The vanity light was painted a chippy white before and the chandelier was a shiny gold brass…ewww!

Bathroom vanity light before painting

Bathroom vanity light before painting

Gold brass chandelier before painting

Gold brass chandelier before painting

Painting wasn’t too difficult but I did need two whole cans. I assumed one would cover it but after one can some of the original paint peeked through in some spots. Luckily, we’ve had some really good weather so I was able to spray them down a total of five times over a couple days and have everything covered really well.

Ross took a picture of my work in progress

Ross took a picture of my work in progress

Instead of sand paper as many blogs recommend, I used a steel wool scrubbing pad to scrape any dirt off before painting and to rough up the smooth finish of the lights. The scratches made me slightly nervous, but as soon as I started spraying, the paint magically created a new, smooth surface!

The chandelier painting in progress

The chandelier painting in progress

I know we can buy new glass globes at Home Depot/Menards/Lowe’s, but to add to the vintage look, I think we might try to do without globes and just show off some edison style bulbs. Kind of like this. If we don’t like it we can always go purchase glass globes to dress it up. But I tested this look quickly by putting an edison bulb in the vanity light and it looks great! Stay tuned for the finished look when we get the fixtures installed. I’m worried they might be a little too bright without globes…we’ll have to wait and see.

Vanity light with edison bulb

Vanity light with edison bulb

Rent and hold or flip and sell?

Ross and I have been going back and forth on this a lot lately. As we start choosing finishes and refinishing hardwoods, we have talked about refinishing this house and selling it instead of holding it and renting it over time. While renting is more profitable, the quick infusion of cash for selling might be appropriate to valuate the high-end finishes Ross is including in the house. It is a more weighty and emotional decision considering it is our own time, effort and money we have spent on every square inch of the house. It pulls at our heartstrings a little to know that some finishes won’t matter to renters. Oh, and I know we are not supposed to become emotionally attached to an investment…but it’s hard when it equates to long hours after work and time away from your family.

This is not a decision we are taking lightly. The rental property forum on Mr. Money Mustache has been helpful as well as The Simple Dollar. The piece de resistance to me was the understanding that flipping properties should be a first step to earn enough money to acquire buy-and-hold properties – rental properties – in which longevity earns more. I guess considering this is our first investment property, it would fall into the flip bucket (even though we paid cash to acquire it straight away). While our long term goal is multiple rental properties, we are thinking of selling this first property instead of renting it for a few reasons:

  • We are putting nice finishes into it. No wall is just painted-over paneling. Refinishing hardwood floors is a bitch. If we knew we were going to rent it out, we might have downgraded a bit on some of the remodel.
  • We are actually being very careful to put historically-accurate finishes in the home. Renters probably won’t care about a butler’s pantry and would probably rather have more cabinets or a larger pantry. Renters would probably rather have a shower than a clawfoot tub.
  • We aren’t near a campus. We did look at properties on campus, but they were either so horrible there wasn’t room for improvement (basically added-on shacks) or the prices were too high (investors eat them up quickly). We are in more of a family neighborhood.
  • Ideally, we would be able to utilize the quick infusion of cash to buy a larger rental property. Ross would like a property with more bedrooms and bathrooms and a larger garage – more obviously a multi-family unit than the current house. We want to specifically attract students.
  • Ross pointed out we can attempt to sell it first, and if we don’t receive any offers we like, then we can turn around and rent it instead.

I’m primarily leaving the decision up to Ross because he is making the improvements. By me placing value only on future earnings of a rental property, I am casting less light on the value of the improvements he makes today. In actuality, the quality of his work matters a lot – it just matters more if we are staging and selling right away. Either way, this property¬†will earn us money, and either way, we will have a rental property in the end. But it is important to know our plan of attack so we can finish it with a buyer in mind versus renters.

Oh, and here’s one¬†more thing Ross does that provides immediate value to our household: he works on cars! (A good reminder for all those times I get snotty about laundry).

George helps daddy fix the car

George helps daddy fix the car

Expanded Upstairs Bathroom (and Master Closet)

The newly-expanded upstairs bathroom is now framed in with electrical wiring. The new walk-in closet for the master is also framed in and wired. The bathroom looks huge, but considering the ceiling is sloped, it is not oversized. Just much-needed additional space so you don’t have to crouch down to use the toilet or wash yourself!

View of the bathroom from the upstairs hallway

View of the bathroom from the upstairs hallway

Because we have waffled back and forth about the new bathroom layout, here is a crude visual of what we have [finally] decided. Ross has identified a new way to vent the bathroom toilet so we don’t have to plan the layout around the current stack. Formerly, the toilet was up against the sloped wall, so you literally could not stand up near the toilet (not very functional). The current stack runs against the outside wall and we need it to run in the wall behind the toilet on the other side of the room. Here is the planned layout:

The layout of the upstairs bathroom

The layout of the upstairs bathroom

Because you can’t have a vent at or below the discharge point of the toilet, this forum post details¬†the revised run of plumbing.

Remember we’ve found a longer, six-pane window to replace the previous tiny 12×12 bathroom window. That will help the space feel less claustrophobic, even with the heavily sloped ceiling.

To the immediate right of the newly expanded bathroom, Ross framed in a new walk-in closet for the master bedroom. Previously, there was not even a closet in that bedroom, although it was the largest room in the house. It will be a nice sized closet, about the same size as our master closet at home!

View of the walk-in closet from the master bedroom

View of the walk-in closet from the master bedroom

Here is the view of the bathroom from inside of the closet. Obviously there will be a wall separating the bathroom and the closet. From here, you would be looking at the tub, nearest to where this wall will be. There will be a sconce between the toilet and the tub on the wall on the left in the below picture:

View of the bathroom from the closet

View of the bathroom from the closet

Here is one more view, from the master bedroom looking at what will be the closet wall. Right now you can see into the framed bathroom. We are excited for this expanded bathroom to come together – it is truly adding a ton of value to this home.

View into bathroom from master bedroom (will be a wall there eventually)

View into bathroom from master bedroom (will be a wall there eventually)

 

Vegas-Themed Bridal Shower

Again our book club hosted a shower for one of its members. This time, it was a Vegas-themed bridal shower for a gal that is getting married in Vegas. The couple has been dating and cohabitating for over ten years, and they vacation every year in Vegas so naturally, they wanted to plan a Vegas wedding. Vegas actually offers pretty reasonable wedding packages. Also, because time is money, the packages eliminate the need for a lot of planning and wedding prep, which in turn saves tons of time!

The host of the shower, Heather, made an awesome wreath out of playing cards:

Vegas-theme playing card wreath

Vegas-theme playing card wreath

I was in charge of games with one other girl, which was actually incredibly easy. We put together a PowerPoint Jeopardy game with Vegas tourism, gaming and romantic movie trivia. The gaming trivia was surprisingly challenging for a bunch of girls that hardly ever gamble! For prizes we gave away lottery tickets, in keeping with the Vegas theme.

The food table was labeled with playing cards and a red and black overall decorating theme. Roses and baby’s breath plus a playing card garland decorated the shower.

Vegas-theme food table

Vegas-theme food table

Playing card food labels

Playing card food labels

The beverage table had room-service style mini wine bottles, water, soda, beer and Hornsby’s hard strawberry-limeade. The drinks had Vegas- and love-theme labels:

Vegas beverage bucket

Vegas beverage bucket

Vegas beverage tray

Vegas beverage tray

Everyone had a ton of fun! Even baby Julius, who tagged along with momma. On a side note, the host has a beautifully renovated old home that is kind of in the neighborhood of our rental. I wanted to ask if I could walk around and take pictures of her home but I didn’t want to detract from the shower itself….maybe another time.

Easter Recap (pictures + video!)

Although it was freezing cold, our Easter was a blast! George had so much fun hunting for eggs, but I honestly think we had as much or more fun just watching him. Each egg was super exciting to him. He kept yelling “There’s something in there!”

Here is a short video of portions of our egg hunt:

I made a gigantic peanut butter egg and included it in his Easter basket. It is pretty difficult for him to eat. I’m honestly not sure if we needed this in addition to all of the fruit snacks and candy he found in the eggs! George loved it though, which kind of makes it worth the work:

Gigantic peanut butter egg

George with his gigantic peanut butter egg

It was so cold I wrapped baby Julius in two blankets. We didn’t loiter outside, but we took a few family pictures. In Minnesota the weather is so unpredictable- last year it was 80 degrees! For proof – here is last year’s picture where we are wearing shorts. Oh well. We still had an eggcellent Easter… ūüėÄ

Last year's 80 degree Easter

Last year’s 80 degree Easter

 

This year = coats, hats and two layers of blankets for baby Julius

This year = coats, hats and two layers of blankets for baby Julius

George is loving life

George is loving life

Baby Julius in his Easter best

Baby Julius in his Easter best

Easter traditions

We are getting ready for an epic Easter. I wouldn’t have purchased special outfits (khakis and nice shirts would have worked) but my mother-in-law offered to buy the boys some new outfits. There is so much salmon and pink out there for boys right now and the new outfits are super festive for Easter!

New Easter outfits!

New Easter outfits!

I bought an Easter basket at consignment and some stuffers at JoAnn Fabrics. Craft stores have the best activities for kids. The items are all priced pretty reasonably too; between $1-5 each. George will flip out over the train kit because he digs trains.

Easter basket for George

Easter basket for George

I bought glow-in-the-dark bracelets off Amazon and extra large eggs to hide outside when the sun sets. Instead of MORE CANDY I stuffed them with Thomas the Train fruit snacks and some miniature Paw Patrol characters I bought off eBay. Hopefully George has enough energy for the after-dark egg hunt and isn’t afraid to run around in the dark. And I hope he doesn’t fall and get hurt, although it’s Murphy’s law with that kid.

Oversized eggs with Paw Patrol figurines and Thomas the Train fruit snacks

Oversized eggs with Paw Patrol figurines and Thomas the Train fruit snacks

Glow-in-the-dark bracelets to stick in the Easter eggs

Glow-in-the-dark bracelets to stick in the Easter eggs

On Easter morning we plan to hide his Easter basket (probably in the bathtub), then go to church. When I was little, when we woke up, we’d have to hunt for our Easter basket inside of our house. I remember it always being in the stove.

After church there will be an Easter egg hunt at my mother-in-law’s house and lunch/brunch. We are in charge of candy and dessert…both of which I have yet to purchase – but Aldi is awesome for buying candy. I have no idea what to make for dessert but probably not chocolate…

The day before Easter (Saturday) we will dye eggs at our house with my mother and brother. I plan to make an egg and ham bake. Using this recipe, I made a huge peanut butter chocolate egg for George that I plan to write his name on with frosting. One of my favorite memories is of my mom making edible Easter baskets for us out of rice crispies so I’m going to put the chocolate egg in an edible Easter basket and surprise George with it on Saturday (AFTER brunch!).

I hope everyone enjoys Easter with their family and can incorporate some fun traditions!