I know lots of people are fans of the Elf on the Shelf. When I was little, my mom always put up these red and green elves up. We didn't have a fireplace, but they would sit on shelves, hug candles, climb up the tree, you name it. She got them sometime in the 60's or 70's before elves on the shelf as we now know them were popular. For all I know, they may have been handed down from my grandma. They look so innocent, don't they?
They always freaked me out.
I'm not sure anymore if it was their pointy noses, overly chubby cheeks, weird little grins, or just my over-active imagination. Probably the later. I'd always think they were following me with their eyes, sneaking around the house at night, that sort of thing. Hence why we don't own an Elf on the Shelf. That and I don't like the idea that someone is watching my girls and reporting on their behavior...for one month...feels a little Big Brother-ish...and a little false. We want them to be well-behaved and nice to each other for more than a month, right? It's possible I'm overthinking it, but whatever. To each their own, right? I will admit, I do LOVE the pictures people post of the crazy antics their elves get into.
But I digress.
This post is not about the Elf on the Shelf.
It is about shelves. And pallets.
I picked up this beauty, and a second, from Silver Sage Garden Centers. We went looking for the perfect Christmas tree and found not only the perfect place to purchase one, since they had so many great options for kids to do and play with, but also the perfect inspiration for new shelves for our dining room. Seriously, if you live in the Littleton area, this is a fantastic place to bring your kids to find a Christmas tree. They had tricycles to ride, toys to play with, hot chocolate and cider, and fab trees imported from the Midwest! They had me at hello.
They also had some great, DIY, rustic shelves that my husband first noticed. I took a look and thought, PALLET PROJECT. Sure enough, the woman who had made them was there and confirmed all my DIY suspicions. She also offered me pallets for $5 a pop. Sometimes pallets can be expensive, depending on where you find them. Sometimes they can be free. $5 each seemed like a great deal to me so we managed to squeeze two in the back of Pammy the camry and, with tree on top, off we went.
Now, pallets are pretty rough, pretty dirty, and need some love before you can actually put them in your home. I pulled out my rusty, trusty electric sander to give them a good rub down, remove lots of dirt and dust, and get rid of any sharp edges or potential slivers.
A couple of passes and light pressure left me with a nice, smooth wood and still a good rustic look. Now to figure out how to cut these down. At first I started with the big guns thinking this would be the easiest way. A Skilsaw is an incredibly versatile tool that allows you to control depth and angle fairly easily. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite deep enough for me to get through the cuts I needed. Or maybe it was just user error, cuz that's been known to happen ;)
So I old-schooled it instead.
This little lovely we bought a few years back to help with cutting and prepping the Christmas tree. It definitely took some muscle, and patience, but in the end, it worked really well and got me exactly what I wanted, which was this.
I liked the curve in the pallet and so I cut it to keep the curve and have a backing with taller ends and middle. One pallet left me with four shelves; two had taller backs and sides, and two shorter. None had bottoms at the moment, which for shelves is, of course, a problem. Don't want our books or wine bottles falling out the bottom!
But that was soon to be remedied. For some reason, I had some extra pallet pieces which fit perfectly for the bottom. I also had some old, rusted nails on hand, which fit this project perfectly! Just nailed it on to the bottom and created my shelf!
Now all we need to is decide how to paint them, stain them, or a bit of both...and finish the other three! Here are three ideas via Pintrest. Vote for your favorite and help us make a decision! Just comment below with your vote, 1 - stained, 2 - painted, 3 - a bit o' both.
know this song came out in 2013, and that there was a bunch of controversy around it, but it was such a good summer driving song, and it relates so well to our painting project...in a round about way...that I couldn't help but include it here. Close your eyes, pretend it's sunny and 80 degrees, and you're feeling pretty dang good.
But back to the Greek yogurt painting project.
When we left off we had finished painting two-thirds of the walls Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball. And, we had tried to ensure a nice, crisp, not blurred, line between Down Pipe and the new color, Black Blue. This is an incredibly rich, intense, deep color. I wasn't so sure about when my husband first showed me his selections. I wasn't so sure about either of them individually, let alone both of them together, to be honest. The office is not large by any means and aren't dark colors always supposed to make rooms feel smaller? Luckily, it's got lots of light...
...and I loved the colors once they were up on the wall!
After taping off the level line where we wanted to divide the wall, we painted a strip of Down Pipe just along the bottom edge of the tape to create a seal between the tape and the wall. With textured walls, this is super important because there are so many variances in the wall that bleeding is almost a given. Here again is what it looked like before we added the Black Blue. Above the tape is the wall we wanted to remain Down Pipe. Below is the area we were going to bathe in darkness.
The first coat again left more what felt like a color wash, but that's to be expected with dark colors. It almost looked like it had a green undertone to it when we first put it up, and more so when it dried. I'm getting a bit of deep teal here! Definitely needed two coats.
I got the job of taking off all the tape around the trim and doors. My husband wanted to do the big reveal of the crisp line.
I have to say, I'm really impressed with how well this turned out. There were only two tiny spots where there was a little bit of bleed through, but all in all, not a blurred line in the bunch!
Here's a close up, which always makes the colors look a bit off. But check out that line! If you've got textured walls and are going for a bi-color room, or adding accent lines, shapes or stripes, this will definitely save your sanity, and leave you feeling pretty darn proud of yourself at the same time. Can't beat that!
We liked the Black Blue so much, we're thinking of putting in other places in the house. In the office it's time to put some art and such on the walls. Any suggestions?
And, if you have done a project like this, or used some deep colors on your walls, tell us how it turned out!
I love me some Greek yogurt.
The first time I ever had it was back in the early 2000's when I was in undergrad at UW-Madison. I worked on State Street at The Soap Opera, which if you've ever been there or you're going, is a delicious place to spend an hour or so just smelling all the lovely soaps, lotions and oils. If you go, say hi to Chuck and Chuck for me!
Anyway, across the street was a Greek restaurant and every so often I'd pop in to get something to keep me going while working my shift. They had the most amazing yogurt I'd ever tasted; thick, creamy, vanilla-ish and, best of all, topped with honey they collected from the baklava. I mean really, the baklava! I was in heaven.
Our most recent house project involves painting my hubbies office. After much debate about what he wanted to do with it; exploring paint colors, referencing Feng Shui guides, choosing then nixing wainscoting, and more, he finally made a decision.
Enter Farrow and Ball.
Farrow and Ball is an English company that specializes in paint and wallpaper. The company was started in 1946 and since then has used natural minerals and high levels of rich pigment to create some amazing colors...and some amazingly thick paint. Seriously, this stuff is the Greek yogurt of paint. It's the thickest of the Greek yogurts possible. You kinda almost want to try it, but then remember it's paint. Weird, huh?
Depending on where you live, and when your house was built, you might have textured walls. It seems that in some places they are more common for hiding tape joints. Texture can also hide dirt and other imperfections better. In some places it's considered an upgrade. In others, not so much and definitely not typical. Our current home has texture...everywhere. The walls and the ceilings throughout the ENTIRE house are textured. The paint color is also the same, everywhere except the basement. From wall to ceiling we have a lovely, inoffensive, very light cafe au lait color. Oddly, the basement also has the same floor to ceiling color, but it's more of a tan with pink undertones. Not my fave, but that's too big of an undertaking at the moment.
Have you ever painted textured walls? It's not the same as a nice, flat wall. Until now, I've only ever painted flat walls. They are fairly straightforward. Don't have to think too much about the roller and such. Textured walls are different. There are all these nooks and crannies you have to get paint into and a regular roller just won't do. Want to see the difference?
Here is the first wall we did with Farrow and Ball Down Pipe. This is a gorgeous deep gray. We initially used a regular roller, 12 inches and probably a 1/4-1/2 inch nap. Nap refers to the length of the fiber on the roller. This did not cover well at all. Please excuse the night time shot, but we tend to paint during nap times and after bed time. If you've got young kids, you feel me here! See how thin it is? It almost felt like a color wash, and this was with super thick paint.
Now check out what happened when we changed to an 18 inch, 3/4 nap roller. By the way, an 18 inch roller is mammoth, as is the paint tray that comes with it! But the difference was obvious really quickly. (That's my hubs. He's great with a roller) The extra length in nap made a huge difference getting into the nooks and crannies of the textured wall, and the coverage was so much better. Lesson learned. Textured walls means longer nap...or many extra coats!
Our second coat really made all the difference. It amazes me the way color changes from night to day, or even wall to wall in the same room! The second picture shows a more true color given I took it during the day.
Now, you may be wondering why we only painted the top two-thirds. Originally the idea was to install wainscoting like this, or this. However, as we looked into the process of installing it on textured walls, it seemed a bit daunting to us. So instead, my husband opted for a change in color with a sharp,distinct line. We read a couple tutorials about how to get that crisp line and here is where we are so far...
Figuring out the laser level to ensure a good line.
Taping off a bit above where we ended the Down Pipe.
Painting over the bottom edge of the tape with Down Pipe to seal the tape before adding our new color. Sealing the tape with the old color is suppose to prevent any bleeding when you add the new color. We finished the first coat of Black Blue tonight and tomorrow will do coat number two, then, with fingers crossed, slowly take off the painter's tape and hopefully reveal a lovely, crisp line. Stay tuned! And eat some Greek yogurt...and baklava while you're at it!