Summer Pinterest Challenge: Baby Bookshelves

Here is the original picture of the bookshelves/spice racks that inspired me.

I first talked about my love for Pinterest here when I shared “21 Suggestions for Success” by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. For anyone not familiar with the website, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard which allows you to organize and share stuff you find on the internet.

I started my account about a year ago and one of the very first things I pinned were these super cute and inexpensive baby bookshelves.

I was actually pregnant at the time, but wasn’t able to share it yet so I labeled the picture with “Ikea spice racks for book storage – only $4 each! Love this idea for a future kids room.” Sneaky, right?

Anyways, my favorite bloggers just launched the Summer version of their Pinterest challenge so I figured that this was the perfect time to finally work on those bookshelves!

My supplies — I actually got 10 of the bookshelves, but will use 4 for this area.

I stopped by my local Ikea (which is dangerously located about 5 minutes from my work) and picked up some Bekvam shelves. Since they were only $3.99 each and I have lots of baby books, I decided to buy some for both my living room AND Jack’s room. So I grabbed 10 of them and also a super cheap and plain little stool out of the clearance room (only $3!).

Jack’s Corner

One area of our living room is called “Jack’s Corner” and contains all his toys and books for the first floor of our house.

The three baskets of this shelf have his toys in there, so they look grown up but are still useful for the baby. As he gets older and starts crawling around, the higher shelves will be switched out with more kid friendly things. I thought that the blank wall under the window would be a perfect area for his new bookshelves.

Another view of the blank wall in Jack’s Corner
All 10 of the shelves are ready for painting.

So, first things first – I took all the pieces apart and spread them out for painting.

The wood was an unfinished pine, so I didn’t need to do any preparation at all. I had about half a can of leftover oil rubbed bronze Rustolium paint (not the spray kind, the little jar for brushing on), so I used that and did two coats on each side. Once it all dried (which took FOREVER in this heat and humidity), I put the shelves together and took them outside for a coat of matching spray paint to give it a nice finish.

While waiting for the shelf pieces to dry, I also took apart my little $3 stool.

The seat was kind of grungy, so I threw it in the sink with some soft scrub and left it to bleach out while I worked on the legs. For the stool legs, I branched out from my typical sparkly brown color and got a fun turquoise instead! It took about three coats to get a nice thick coverage with no white shining through.

Even though this little project was super simple, I do have a few tips if you want to do something similar:

  1. When using Rustolium paint, wear gloves! Rustolium paint is SUPER STICKY – especially when you use the kind in the jar. It is really hard to scrub off of your hands, so make your life easier by using gloves. As you can tell from the picture above, I was smart and used gloves when spraying the stool. Unfortunately, I forgot to wear them on my first coat of painting the shelves and currently have brown under most of my fingernails and on the front of my left leg.
  1. When using Rustolium paint, use disposable paint brushes! As I just mentioned, the paint is super dooper sticky. Last time I used it (on the patio furniture), I used disposable foam paint brushes. This time I used my favorite edging brush. {sad trombone horn sound} Yeah…my paintbrush is trash now. The paint is so darn sticky that when you try to wash it off it just makes a sticky mess everywhere. So, learn from my mistakes and use a brush that you’re planning to throw away.
  1. When painting on top of a table, an old painting sheet is NOT sufficient coverage. Yeah, I’m going to chalk this up to me being excited to complete the project while Jack was napping. Normally I would throw a piece of cardboard on top the table and then the sheet, this time I totally forgot. The top of my sunroom table is now an absolute mess, which would upset me if I hadn’t already planned on painting it. Now I need to add a step of sanding the top down before I start. BOO!

Okay, now that you’ve learned from my mistakes…here’s the finished product!

I love how the stool turned out with the snazzy turquoise legs. You can’t see it in the picture, but I have a few pops of turquoise throughout the room, so it totally works.

I’m also really loving the little bookshelf area — it gives that area of the room some color, in addition to being a nice little space where Jack can keep his books.

I still have 6 finished shelves left that I will most likely put in Jack’s room. However, I was thinking that they could also be handy by my sewing area (for jars of pins, thread, scissors, etc) or even in the bathroom (to hold magazines). So we’ll see where they end up!

Updated 7/10 — Want to see some other Pinterest Challenges? Check out the ones from Young House Love, Bower Power Blog, Centsational Girl and Ten June!

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Sunroom on a Budget

Since we moved into our new house at the end of January, I’ve been attacking each room one at a time to make it over. I like our home to feel more like “us” and I’m never satisfied with the way things were set up before.*

Most rooms weren’t too much of a challenge, since we basically moved furniture from our old house into our new house. Throw a little paint on the walls, arrange the furniture, dig up some décor from my stash and we’re good to go.

I kept putting off the sunroom though, even though I had to walk through it at least a half dozen times a day to let the dog out. I couldn’t paint it because it’s basically made of plastic – most of the window surrounds are plastic and even the one wall of the room which connects it to the house is a plastically kind of wainscoting. I was actually thinking of painting it anyways using a latex based paint, but decided against it as that could go horribly wrong and it would be virtually impossible to return the room to its current state.

The room is great though – all of the windows fully recede so that the walls turn into a screened in porch. The flooring is also nice, so I didn’t really have any changes to make there. What I really wanted was to have a seating area so that we could hang out with company on nice days with the breeze flowing through. I also wanted a table area for casual dining. Lastly, I didn’t want it to be too fussy because I envision Jack using the space when he’s a little older to color with crayons or paint with a watercolor set.

I’d love to be able to go out and buy an awesome patio set, like maybe a fun sectional from Crate & Barrel or West Elm, but frankly I’m too cheap to spend a couple thousand dollars on an outdoor couch. However, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any super clearance deals at the end of the summer.

My parents inherited a beat up set of furniture and decided to take it down to our shared Ocean City house since they had a much nicer set on their deck. However, I begged and pleaded for them to give it to me (and then sent my husband over with his truck to swipe it) since I really needed extra seating for the baptism picnic we had a few weeks ago.

It was really dirty, but I scrubbed the crap out of it and under about 8 layers of dirt came up with a half decent set of furniture. Actually, it was a pretty expensive brand and was super comfortable to sit on. It was just really worn looking and had a super dated pattern on the cushions.

Close up of a chair arm — see how it’s all gray and worn?

After the party, we just kind of threw it in the sunroom with our existing leftover table and mismatched chairs. Not exactly a homey look.

So, I decided to do what I always do…bring out the spray paint!

And this is how I remade over our sunroom for less than $180.00

  1. Spray paint existing patio furniture (3 cans of spray paint and one small can of regular paint — Oil Rubbed Bronze color, same as our cabinet knobs) = $29.31
  2. Make super easy slipcovers** out of navy blue sheets from Walmart (2 twin flat sheets and 1 king flat sheet) = $25.97
  3. Bring in an awesome rug I found at Homegoods = $49.99
  4. Add three trays, also found at Homegoods = $18.98
  5. The place totally needed some fun pillows, so I bought two on sale from West Elm = $54.98
  6. Steal stuff from other rooms and my décor stash (green pillow, lantern, glass bowl with balls, yellow antique pitcher, handmade coasters, assorted candles and my fabulous gay sparkle squirrel) = FREE

= Total of $179.23

Here are the before shots:

The super dated patio furniture that I scored for FREE
The full room view with the seating area and the dining room table (bought off Craigslist a year or so ago for $40 and used as a sewing table at our last house)

And here’s the after:

Not so new, but greatly improved!
Same dining room table, I just added a fun centerpiece to tie into the rest of the room and removed the old rug.

Here’s a close up so you can check out my mad spray painting skillz

Since I made the slipcovers out of bed sheets, you can just take them off to wash them and then throw them back on again. Perfect for what I’m only assuming is going to be a very messy baby/toddler playing on them.

Anyways, it’s only been a few days but I’m totally loving the changes. I have a few more things I’m going to do — like switch out the dining room chairs and maybe make a fun table runner or placemats in a few shades of blue. This is a good start though, because now when I walk through the room to let Potter out it makes me smile.

Totally worth $180.00, right?!

*Unlike the people who purchased our townhouse. I went back a month after we moved to pick up some mail and the buyer wanted to show me around (even though I’d prefer to keep my memories intact with the way it used to be).  On the house tour I realized that they left everything exactly the same. Same paint colors. Same furniture placement. They even hung pictures in the exact same spaces and I had filled all the old picture hanging holes and painted them too!.  The really odd thing was that they had a picture in one of the bathrooms that was almost exactly like the one I had previously put there. Creepy or flattering… I can’t quite decide!

**To make the slipcovers, all I did was: 1. wash sheets, 2. pin the fabric around the cushion, 3. sew three sides so that it looked like a super long pillow case, 3. put the sewn slipcovers on the old cushions, 4. safety pin the bottom. At some point, I’ll probably buy some velco and use that instead of the safety pins.

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