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Paint It Like It’s 1988: DIY Child’s Coat Rack

When we moved into our 100 year old house in 2004, there were already shelves and coat racks and key racks screwed into the walls. I eliminated the shelves that were in what we referred to as “the dog room” when it became “the nursery”. That is before it was the “man room.” They were white and wire and, in my opinion, ugly. I ripped out the one that was in what is now my son’s bedroom as well.

The coat rack and key rack by the back door I left untouched. We actually use the front door more than the back, so we always find ourselves walking to the back door to get our coat, then walking back to the front to leave. The keys that hang on the rack back there are ones we almost never use. The ones we need for cars and houses and our mothers’ houses we carry with us.

When we redid a bedroom upstairs for my son last year, we made him a cool train room [You can see it here:], complete with a coat rack that looks like a train sign. (We made a white one, he wanted the round yellow one. Le sigh.) It is great for his robe and baseball hats and such, but if we are leaving and I send him upstairs for a coat, he will get sidetracked and never make it back down again. The coat rack by the back door, while useful, was not very functional for a shorty like my almost six year old.

So, I came up with the idea that I needed to make him his own coat rack that he could reach downstairs. I was so fed up last spring, that I wandered into the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. (If you don’t know about these places and their treasure-trove of recycled goodies, look into it.) Twenty minutes later I walked out with an old oak board and enough hardware to handle coats for an army of children. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it seems like it was around $5 for my haul that day. I always intended to splatter-paint it with the leftover paint from my upstairs revitalization project, but never got to it all summer. With autumn’s cold mornings, it became necessary once again.

The completed board. The paint is still wet here.

The completed board. The paint is still wet here.

So, one day I designated as “paint day”, my son and I went out in the front yard in our junky clothes and painted his proton pack for Halloween, as well as the board for this project.

My son did all the painting himself. He did an excellent job, even if it is slightly more paint than I myself would have used. He had fun. And it got done.

Manly husband with power tools doing installation. Ahr, ahr, ahr. Now, where did we leave those studs???

Manly husband with power tools doing installation. Ahr, ahr, ahr. Now, where did we leave those studs???

While I have my own drill and bits and hoped to do the whole project myself, I am a giant loser wuss woman and had to have my husband come in and save me to screw on the hardware and attach it to the wall. But I think it came out pretty sweet!

Finished product. Reminds me of a New Kids on the Block shirt that I used to own.

Finished product. Reminds me of a New Kids on the Block shirt that I used to own.

Now, if only my son would quit wearing his coats to school on cool mornings and then LEAVING THEM IN HIS LOCKER instead of bringing them home. His coat rack looks a little empty at the moment.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!


Soulful Art or Teen Angst in Paint?

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Some pictures from my very brief painting phase in high school art class. I never liked paint much. Even though you hold the brush, it still sorta goes anywhere it wants to. I have always preferred pencils and markers and stuff. Things that are a more controlled extension of my hand.

Ya, I have control issues.

With no further ado, I present to you my crappy collection of high school art.

Mother Nature is weeping at the destruction we have done to our earth.  She is a part of ground, the trees, the clouds.

Mother Nature is weeping at the destruction we have done to our earth. She is a part of ground, the trees, the clouds.

This was from my “Save the Earth” phase.

I had T-shirt that said it.
I got it on my class ring.
I did reports on it for school.
I took Environmental Science (and I hate science).
I watched Captain Planet.

Not that I still don’t want it saved, but now I have other priorities. Actually, after 20 years, there is now actually a convenient location for me to recycle at! Imagine that!

A wolf who is so cool, he howls at his own moon.

A wolf who is so cool, he howls at his own moon.

This was sort of supposed to be like “Live Your Own Life”, “Do Your Own Thing”, etc.

It was me as a teenager trying to embrace that I would never be in the popular crowd. I would never wear turtlenecks under my sweatshirts or have expensive jeans or my own car to drive to school.

If you take it literally, then you will realize that the Earth only has one moon, and then, well, it just loses all meaning then…

My Latest Obsession: Artzooka

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In trying to keep my child both entertained (mom talk for not clinging to my leg and crying) and mildly educated, I was having him watch the Doodlebops every morning. He liked the music. Sometimes he would even dance. We would watch them on CBC—a Canadian television channel. While we live in Michigan, our cable system still offers us the channel out of nearby Windsor, Ontario.

After the Doodlebops, I would switch over to The View on ABC. But after a week of them showing reruns, I got annoyed. So I would just leave my TV on CBC. At 11:25AM is a cute mini show that has kids visiting different areas in the world. I got to see what the stairs inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa look like, learn why people believed that pyramids were cursed, and what a baby black rhino looks like. Then at 11:40AM is a great show called Artzooka.

Artzooka is a show that is aimed to get kids interested in Art. It encourages kids to make Art out of household or recycled objects. Some projects turn out looking cuter than others. It is similar to a cooking show in that the host will start a project, then set it aside and pull a completed one out from under the table. It is also great because the host is cute, in a your-best-friend’s-younger-slacker-brother kind of way.

Host Jeremie

I would have absolutely loved a show like this when I was a kid. Heck, I love it now. My 17 month old son is indifferent. He likes the music. Artzooka also features kid-friendly photography and stop-motion mini movies. It really makes me regret not trying to make my own animation in college when I had access to video and editing equipment. Unfortunately, I did not have any free time to do it. The kids who are hard-core about this show must drive their parents nuts. They encourage you to make art projects out of anything and everything, including staplers and kitchen utensils. I wonder how many parents go looking for the stapler and find it has been turned into Barbie’s snowmobile.

The spaceship my son & I Artzooka-ed.

When I was a kid, I drew and made things all the time. I even had my own set of sharp scissors from an early age (…which I may have misused to carve my name in the leg of a table and attempt to cut my mom’s hair with). I think it is important for kids to learn Art (and music, for that matter). Not everyone is going to be good at sports or math or science. It helps a kid get through school if they can find their niche, what they are good at, even if they won’t grow up to do it as a career. But some will. My friend and I used to turn every project we did in high school into an Art project. Now she is an elementary Art teacher, just as she always said she would be. And I..write a silly little blog and draw silly little pictures for it:)

I'm not stalking you.

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