Friday, July 27, 2012

Bold Bookcases: Backstroke by Valspar

 This week I checked off another item on my summer to-do list: 

Tal and I spent 3 nights (8 hours total) transforming our boring living room bookcases...

...into a bold blue display area:


When I tested out some possible paint choices for the backs of the bookcases, Tal and his mom voted for Behr's Voyage (on the far left):

The color was beautiful and coordinated nicely with the painting over our fireplace, but I was concerned that it was a little too safe and traditional:

In the end, I decided to take a risk and paint the backs of the bookcases a happier and more contemporary teal color (Backstroke by Valspar)...and I love it:

I framed Savannah's artwork and handprint, as well as a
free printable in some leftover Ikea frames: 

I used lots of white accessories, so the teal
color isn't too overpowering:

For cheap art, I framed 2 pieces of scapbook
 paper for a whopping $2:

What a difference a $15 can of paint makes!

P.S. Only one more item is left on my summer to-do list:
paint the garage entry door a golden yellow! :-)

Getting Settled

Well, it's been 4 weeks since I started my new position as a teacher-librarian at a year-round elementary school in our neighborhood.

Self Check-In and Check-Out

Grades 3-5 Teaching Space

The students, staff, and administration are great. I love my 3-minute commute, saving gas money, and being able to leave at 2:45 P.M. if I'm ready for the next day. Extra time with my family is priceless!

View from the Library Entrance

I have a demanding teaching schedule with 4-6 classes each day. With a full teaching schedule and no assistant, I have very little time for cataloging, organizing, meeting with teachers, etc. However, I'm not feeling overwhelmed, so that's a good thing. I have a long to-do list, but things will get done...but longer than usual since I'm teaching all day and don't have an assistant.
K-2 Ocean Life Centers

K-2 Self Check-Out Computers
and Teaching Area

I'm the 10th media specialist since my school opened in 2007. The students and staff have gone through many changes in the media center, so I'm hoping to bring some stability in the coming years!

Dewey the Hamster (our library mascot)
(named in honor of Melvil Dewey who created
the Dewey Decimal System)

The kids love Dewey!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Backyardigans: Part 2

Tal and I are working on cleaning up the dead, dying, and overgrown shrubs and trees in our side and back yards.

On Saturday, we spent a couple hours pruning some of the overgrown trees on the side of our house:

Tal used his chainsaw and loppers to cut down the branches that were touching our house or hanging over our porch or property line. Then, I dragged the debris and threw it in the back of Tal's truck. A short time later, Tal and I had a truckload of landscape waste, which we dumped at yard landfill before lunch. We're making progress!

Sunday Morning Cereal

Monday, July 16, 2012

Backyardigans: Part 1

Now that our front yard is looking decent, Tal and I are turning our attention to our back and side yards. They're a mess. Due to lack of maintenance over the last few years, many of our trees and bushes are dead, dying, or overgrown.

In 2000, our house was the model home in our neighborhood. Ten years later, the model home went into foreclosure...and our yard became an eyesore in our neighborhood.  When Tal and I bought our home 1.5 years ago, we were fully prepared to put in some sweat equity in exchange for the bargain sale price.

Over the next couple months, our primary goal is to clean up our backyard, which is going to be a big job. Tal and I need to pull weeds, dig up dead bushes, and trim any trees that are touching our house. 

We don't plan to spend much money...except to dump our landscape waste at the yard landfill each weekend:

On Saturday, Tal and I cut down the 2 evergreen bushes and 1 magnolia tree that were dead/dying in the picture below:

Tal and I are going to give them a chance to grow over the next few months and then decide if we should remove them and plant new shrubs:

Tal and I are hoping our yard will be more attractive in next 3-5 years!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What to Wear

Next Sunday, our family is having our biennial portrait session with a professional photographer at a local arboreteum. 

What color combo should we wear?

To save money, I went shopping in our closets and came up with 3 color schemes below that won't require us to go shopping for new clothes:

Option #1: Black and White

Option #2: Black, White, and Red

Option #3: Black, White, and Yellow

Keep your fingers crossed that we get some good shots of our family. Hopefully, I'll have some adorable pictures to share in a few weeks!  

Aqua A

In our picture hallway, I included the letter "A" to represent the first letter in our last name:

A couple years ago, I bought the letter at Kohl's for $8:

The black color was fine, but I decided to spray it with Rustoleum's Lagoon to coordinate with our home's color palette:

Spray painting the "A" was a simple way to bring our color scheme into the hallway and tie in with our living room painting:  

Picture Hallway

Some people have a picture wall. Our family has a picture hallway...with around 70 photos and mementos:

And I heart it:

Last year I created this picture wall:

A few days ago, I completed a similar picture display on the opposite wall (which was one of my summer project goals):

About 6 weeks ago, I selected and printed the pictures I wanted for the wall:

Then, I created newspaper templates and attached them to the to the wall with painter's tape. I made sure that I had the correct number and sizes of horizontal and vertical templates for the photos I had previously selected for the wall. Over the next few days, I arranged and rearranged the templates (like a jigsaw puzzle) until all the pieces worked together to create a balanced display.

A couple weeks ago, I picked up an assortment of 40 white Ribba picture frames from Ikea: 

Then, I used a level and Command (velcro) strips to hang the pictures and avoid damaging our walls with dozens of nail holes:

In all, I used around 40 frames with 4x6, 5x7, and 8x10 pictures:

Although there are around 70 photos on both walls, I think the overall effect is subtle and cohesive with the white frames and black and white photos:

Tal, Savannah, and I love our picture hallway because it's a reflection of our love for our family and a reminder of our favorite memories:

Our family passes the photos many times each day, and Savannah often stops to look at and talk about them:

"Look, Mommy, that's a picture of when you and Daddy got married."

"I was the flower girl in Uncle Benny and Aunt EJ's wedding."

"Hey, Mommy, that's me with Grandma Judy!"

"That's me when I was baby. Mommy's in the hospital. The doctor
took me out of Mommy's tummy." :)

In the coming years, I plan to add and change the photos, artwork, and mementos in our picture hallway as Savannah grows:

On the opposite wall is the picture wall I created last year: