Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Hint of New Orleans

Well, hopefully this will tide you over until I actually write a post about New Orleans, because, sorry to say, this isn't. But, it is inspired by our trip there (yes, even though most of our vacation was not in New Orleans, it was my favourite part, so I'm still calling our vacation our New Orleans trip). You see, I fell madly in love with the city (sorry, Derek): the amazing architecture, the southern/Caribbean food, the live music, the beignets, the coffee... I wanted to bring it all back with me. And believe me, I sure tried! And one of those attempts involved a bunch of paint and me feeling like Dexter (your friendly, neighbourhood serial killer... not for the faint of heart). You've actually already heard (read?) me mention this, last week in my post about moving the art around in the bedroom. This is what I did to fill the hole that moving the two dollar store canvases left.

The first step is where the Dexter-esque vibe came in. You might have seen a picture of this on my Instagram feed? Well, let me explain. You see, this summer I discovered an excellent painting technique that I'm going to call "spray paint down with water"(that's the technical name... pretty sure). Essentially, put paint on paper. Spray paper with water. Repeat until satisfied. Annnnd... since it is no longer summer (and since in this weather, the water would freeze before it hit the paper if we were outside) I had to come up with a solution to keep from wrecking my house. Hence: Dexter.

Because of the similarity to rain that the technique creates, I went with some rain-type colours. Like blue! And purple (I was also trying to pick colours that went with the bedroom. Sh... rain can be purple...). And yes. That is my artist pallet: piece of picture frame glass that I had leftover because the frame broke. Weird that the frame broke, yet the glass was fine... Hm. Not sure what's up with that. Still. Sweet colours. Though, in the end, I ended up mixing in a bit of green, giving the final project something of a sea-type feel. Appropriate, considering where New Orleans is.

And what would a picture inspired by New Orleans be without a musician? The whole silhouetted musician was actually a very popular theme amongst the local artists of New Orleans (many of whom displayed their art in small local shops, or just hanging up on fences or walls; fantastic), and I think in the end, I really captured the look. It makes me smile.

Now all I need is some glass for that frame (didn't come with any)... Hmm...

Monday, 28 January 2013

Adventures in Ikea

I suppose since Ikea officially opened its first store in Manitoba two months ago today, it's appropriate that I write my post on not only mine and Derek's first Ikea purchase, but also our first visit to an Ikea. Ever. It seems strange that even though I grew up in Southern Ontario, surrounded by the stores known for their classic blue and yellow theme, I never actually made it into one until I'd moved away - to a land of snow and cold... and no Ikea's, well, at least none until two months ago. The Swedish store, known world wide for its affordable yet stylishly modern furniture finally graces our frozen home, with a building more than 400,000 square feet, and a parking lot with more than 1,600 spots. And when we did make it out (close to a month after it opened) it was with happy hearts, and sore backs that we trudged in - though Derek may not have felt quite the same thrill as me. After all, according to CBC News, the arrival of Ikea to Winnipeg is for the women what the arrival of the Jets to Winnipeg was for the men. And, for me, after over a year and a half of sleeping on a mattress on the ground, I was ready to have it lifted up - with an Ikea bed frame. 

The trip itself was... overwhelming to say the least. By the end of our trip, we were all (me, Derek, and Lana) dazed after spending hours walking in what seemed like circles, through hundreds of displays. I'm pretty sure you'd need at least a month there, just to explore the entire top floor... let alone the bottom one. But as overwhelmed and tired as we were by the end of our excursion, I was certainly inspired, by so much of what I'd seen. Of course, I don't want to turn my house into a series of Ikea showrooms, but that isn't to say that we'll never be visiting the store again!

Unfortunately, because we hardly have a large vehicle, we weren't able to take our newly purchased bed frame home with us that evening, though, if it hadn't been for the logic of Derek and Lana... I certainly would have tried! Since we live in Steinbach, and not in Winnipeg, it was a bit pricer for us to have the bed delivered (in the city it's $50, but for us it was $100), so that's something we'll need to keep in mind for any future purchases - to either borrow a vehicle, or just simply factor in the delivery fee as part of our budget. But all that aside, a week later, it arrived on our doorstep, and I - not listening to the instructions, of course - decided to try to put it together by myself (the instructions tell you not to do it alone). After setting the mattress and box spring to the side, I unpacked both the boxes and got to work. My bedroom was an explosion of boards.

Derek got home when I was about three-quarters of the way through, and he helped me finish it up. By the time we got the box spring and mattress back on, I was just ready to collapse. It was getting dark, and sleeping on that beautiful new bed seemed like the best possible idea.

 Once it was made, of course!

After having the bed frame for about a month, we're still in love. Both Derek and I really love the difference in makes. For the first few nights, we marvelled at how "tall" we were while lying in bed. And for me, the fact that I'm no longer reaching up to get to my nightstand is essentially a miracle. All in all, I'd say we're both quite pleased that Ikea has crossed over our borders. Even if, as Derek says, it is one of the most blatant examples of consumerism he's ever seen!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Paint. Paint. Paint.

Paint. Paint. Paint. Paint. I think the fumes are going to my head. Probably. Seems like every day I'm heading to Canadian Tire or another local shop to buy some paint. And I'm not even sure where it's all going, because shouldn't there be way more blog posts about paint around here? Yeah. I got a couple up my sleeve, but you'll all have to be patient. Because apparently I'm not fantastic at keeping up with the everyday posting thing. Except in this case. I'm posting, and I totally know where this paint went (though technically I bought this particular paint awhile's ago). 'Cause I see it every time I move from one room to another. Check it out, yo. It's ma hallway. (I'm feelin' gangster.)

Yup. It's a regular ol' boring white hallway. And don't worry, Mother, the dresser is no longer there. It's not even in the house, because Derek and I are great and keeping things clean around here, what! Ever since I painted the bathroom back in November, I've been really itching to spread its lovely colour further into my home. Except, you know me, and even if I'm all like, yes I want to do this! "This" doesn't tend to happen until much later. Mmm... Procrastination. My "favourite" hobby.

But after returning from our cruise I felt a sudden burst of "let's get 'er done"ness and voila, out came the paint and the roller, and a trusty garbage bag to keep it all contained. I don't really do the whole drop cloth thing, because for me it's more work than it's worth. I don't tend to drip paint (though, my darling hubby does whenever he tries to help out; last time he did, we ended up stripping him down so he wouldn't get paint on his clothes... not successfully. It's okay, he's reading this as I write it) so a garbage bag under the can and tray is really all I need.

It actually took me two days to complete. I did the majority of the cutting in last Tuesday, but then with life and stuff (who has one of those, right?) I didn't have time to do all the rolling. But hey! That's what Wednesdays are for. Oh, but it was totally worth it, even with the sore neck and back painting the ceiling left me with. Because, I have to say that this hallway went from boring and blah, to sleek and chic. Photo fest time.

I really do love that it's the same colour as the bathroom, because it really ties those two small spaces together. I find that in smaller, more cramped homes, it's really good to keep paint colours consistent because it makes it seem like it actually flows, as opposed to being choppy and broken up.

I did paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls, just like I did in the bathroom. I considered leaving it white, but I loved the look in the bathroom, and, again, because it's such a small space, I feel like having the walls and ceiling the same colour keeps them feeling open and airy. Now I just need a better light for in there! Seriously, who just puts a bare bulb up on the ceiling in a place that isn't a basement?

One of my favourite things about the new colour is how much it makes the trim pop. Before, the trim seemed to just blend in with the boring white walls. But now, even though the trim is still beat up and seriously needs a fresh coat of paint, it doesn't look nearly as rough, because of the contrast. I can't wait to see what it looks like when the trim is actually refreshed and re-painted!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

RIP #3

On Monday, a near tragedy occurred. On the wall by Derek's side of the bed, there is some art hanging: a print of Manitoba, some paint chip art, and a couple wall vases. As I was making the bed, I accidentally brushed up against one of the vases, and it almost fell off the wall. Thankfully, I caught it. And tragedy was averted. However, this is not the first time that tragedy nearly struck the Penner Casa in regards to these vases. That time, we were not so lucky. May you rest in peace, dearly departed vase #3. And with almost another death facing me, I decided it was time to move these breakable beauties to another corner of the room. 

Drumroll please. Ta-dah! It didn't take me very long to shift them over to an unfortunately bare spot of wall just above my nightstand. The corner had been calling for some attention, and it was high time I answered the call! Now they are much safer, being snug in a corner, and blocked from accidental brushings by their good friend, Mr. Nightstand the bouncer. 

However, their departure from their previous home left that wall feeling bare and forlorn. Sure, we have some great homemade artwork (and there are more details on the gradient here), but I could just feel that empty space like someone had cut off one of my hands! Well, perhaps that's exaggerating just a little bit, but then again, hyperbole is a great writer's tool! Even Jesus used it. 

Well, faced with said terrible dilemma, I needed to find a solution, and stat. Thankfully, right across the closet door hung two homemade paintings that I'd put there when looking to balance out the above (see first picture) collection. How appropriate, then, that they would be the solution to yet another issue with the art in my bedroom. In the end, I think I like the current display(s) much more than how things were before. And the super breakable items are in a much less breakable place. Oh, and sorry that this last photo is black and white. I tried to take one just before writing this post and it turned out to be a really weird pinky colour. Strange. So, I just BW'd it to get rid of the problem all together!

One of the great things about art, especially in a house that's constantly evolving like this one, is that it's so easy to move around. So long as your house has a consistent "theme" or "feeling" to it, art can even be switched in and out of different rooms. So long as you're okay with the whole putting it up (and covering up old holes) process, than new art - even if its just from a different room - can be a very easy way to make rooms feel fresh when they're starting to feel boring or old. Throw pillows are also great at this too!

Oh, and in case you're wondering what I put up in place of the paintings, you'll just have to exercise your patience and wait and see, won't you!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Snowy Steinbach: returning from a week in paradise, Derek and I found ourselves faces with weather that fell below the -35 mark, and on pulling into our driveway, we discovered that the snow almost covered the bottom of our front door, since so much had fallen. It was a bittersweet experience to put away the flip-flops and the sunscreen, and to pull our our parkas. The "sweet" came in returning home, the ineffable joy of easing one's soul back into the familiar: the feeling of crawling into your bed that night, and knowing that while it may not be the most comfortable place you slept that week, it is definitely the best. And yet, there's that bitter, bitter cold. Derek and I are hardly winter people; we don't do very well once the snow starts falling and cold winds start blowing. When it hits -5, I'm bundled in long johns and wool socks just to grab the mail. Those eight days we spent away from the winter were, in fact, paradise, and even thinking about going outside now leaves me shivering.

However, I'm not here to discuss the weather, or even our vacation - though that will come with an explosion of photos and gushing details... as soon as I figure out how to get the photos off my camera. The topic for today is actually "why I didn't post yesterday". Today, I'm taking a step, albeit a small one, in letting you see past the surface, past the house and into the heart. I'll be sharing something of myself, to help you understand the person behind the blog.

The reason I didn't blog yesterday is because my darling, wonderful husband was at work until after 6:30pm due to some unforeseen complications at work. When he did get home, we only had about an hour to eat supper, Skype with his parents, and relax a bit before our home was flooded with the cheerful - and loud - presence of our friends, for our regularly scheduled "pizza night". They actually stayed until after I went to bed: a blissful collapse at 11:30pm.

Here's where some may be asking, "Why didn't you blog before Derek came home?" And that's the purpose of the post: our computer actually had a password on it that only Derek knows... because I had gotten to a point where the computer was completely overrunning my life. The problem I faced was that the computer was becoming my life; I'd boot it up in the morning when I first got up, and only turn it off when I went to bed. My relationships were suffering, and the things that I ought to be doing - and even the things that I wanted to do! - were pushed aside to either the very last moment, or never. Suffice to say, I had a problem. Though, if I'm honest, that sentence should be, "I have a problem."

There's a lot of discussion in the world right now about computers, video games, TV, etc. Many parents are finding that their teenagers are being sucked into the world of "screens" and that there's nothing that can be done. Some people even go so far to say that all screens are bad, outlawing them completely. In fact, it was even suggested to me that we remove the computer completely from our home in order to combat the issue. Clearly, we decided against that route, knowing that not only do we need the computer to communicate with our friends and family who live far away, but since the issue lay with me, and not Derek, it would be unfair to cut him off as well. Besides, as a couple, we agreed that we don't believe that it is the screens themselves that are the issue. While yes, we believe that moderation is important (and we've concluded that our future children won't have all kinds of handheld electronics until they're old enough to pay for them themselves), we believe that moderation is important. For us, video games are fun, the internet is an excellent educational resource, and movies are great dates. But it's when it begins to take over that it needs to be addressed and we need to find a median where the electronics are our tools - and not the other way around.

I suppose in a way, that's what this post is about: less about my problem, which seems to be under control for the moment, and more about my thoughts. In a world so dominated by this electronic industry, it's very important to understand where you stand on the issues and to know why you stand there. Conversation, and research are vital tools in understanding your opinions and thoughts. And for people like me who struggle with an addictive personality, it's so, so important to have guidelines and systems in place (that work!) to help prevent the screens from becoming the latest addiction.

For some great information (in a hilarious format!) on video games and their affects, check out Penny Arcade's Extra Credit

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

No Longer Baby-Eatin'

Two days! There are only two days until we leave for our cruise, and believe me, I am so excited. I can't wait to spend eight days with my wonderful husband in the sun. I'm determined to not come back without a tan! Well, I suppose it's actually closer to six days, because of our days getting there, but we don't need to worry about that! Speaking of cruising, I should let you know that I won't be posting at all for eight days as of Friday. As much as I love all of you dearly, Derek and I agreed that we wouldn't be bringing our computers with us. And I do think that my hubby ought to come first. But I do promise to take hundreds of photos... and to instagram the crap out of Facebook, so keep an eye there for regular shots of us away, and I'll definitely make you jealous share all the delightful stories when we get back!

I may have missed two days of posts, but not from doing nothing. If you've ever been to our house, you've probably seen/been introduced to the baby eating room, as we affectionately call it. It's the spare bedroom on the main floor and it has mostly been used for storage. Derek and I have had a few ideas of what to do with it eventually (office, walk in closet, master bath?), but in the meantime... it just sits there crowded. Until yesterday morning, that is. For some reason I was in an very active mood right away at eight'o'clock. See, Derek's first break at work is at 8:00, and so he generally texts me. Now, normally, if I even wake up to the text messages, I fall back to sleep right away after them, but yesterday morning, after he texted me, I just felt like doing something. So I cleaned.

This is a picture looking at the room from the door way. Yeah, I know. It's not so pretty.

But here it is when I was done! You can see that the window in the top right corner in the before shot is  centred in the after shot. And for any of you who know my older sister Rachel, and who know how many books she has, I'm ashamed to admit that between the two of us - me and Derek - what you see there is essentially the extent of the books that we own (we have a couple on a small bookcase in the living room). Yeah. Rachel's books could eat our books alive. I know. But at least they all fit - with space! - on one bookcase?

Here's the view looking across the room the long way. As you can tell, there's still a lot in the room that doesn't quite have a home, but it's so much less than before!

And the closet in the room, where we store our dress clothes and coats we're not using. You couldn't see the floor in there before, well... Actually you couldn't see pretty much any of the floor in the entire room. It was really, really crowded. A big part of the change was that I cleared out a dresser and a bookcase that weren't actually ours (you guessed it! They're Lana's). At the moment they're just hanging out in our hallway - moving the mess from one place to another much? - but we'll be taking them to her place... Sometime.

I also got my play posters up on the wall. Though, I suppose I'm actually missing a couple... from high school. Into the Woods, and Rumours have yet to join my collection. I know I have the Into the Woods poster back in Ontario, but I don't think I have the other one... I'll have to hunt that down.

I really do love how much better it is. It makes me smile to see the room now, instead of quickly closing the door from my utter embarrassment. My favourite view now is the one you see from the door (you can see it if you scroll up to the first before picture). It really makes our "baby eating" room look like an office: the potential of what it could be. Though, I have to admit, I'm really leaning toward walk-in closet/dressing room. Mmm. Closet space. And think, that would give us the opportunity to make the actual master bedroom bigger, because the two closets (for the master and for the "office") are actually set into the bedroom, so if we had no need for those, we could make the bedroom about two feet wider - something I am totally okay with! Plus, walk-in closet! I'll keep you updated, and I'm sure you'll hear about what we finally end up doing... You know, a couple years from now.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

It's All In the Details, Or A Project Started, Completed, and Posted About in Less Than Three Days

Most of us have heard at one point or another that it's the little things that count, and I'd have to say that when it comes to decor, that's completely accurate. Of course, big things matter too (I'm talking about you, pink bathtub!) but if you have all the big things down, and none of the little, more personal things, then your house has just become a model home... 

And so, in an attempt to include the little things, I decided to turn the stemless wineglasses into something fantastic yesterday. The ingredients? The cups, acrylic paint, and clear nail polish. 

I pulled out my collection of paints, which I love, by the way, and yes. That is my bed cover. Yes, I painted on my bed. Terrible, I know, but I didn't get any paint on it. Not even one drop! 

And, ta da! Finished project. I just sorta went to town with my brush creating what I think is an absolutely fantastic confetti-esque design. I especially love that it looks like the paint is exploding up from the bottom of the glasses. Can't you just imagine sipping lemonade out of these babies while your hubby is barbecuing in the back yard? I can't wait for summer now!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy, Sleepy

I was up late last night... Like, the early kind of late. You see, sometimes a person is awake for so long that what was once late is now early morning. That was me last night. And it wasn't intentional. I think I'm getting sick. I find that every winter a "something" seems to go around. Our mothers told us it was because we didn't bundle up enough when we went outside, which definitely could contribute: body working too hard, not enough energy for your immune system, etc. But I actually think it's because we all go inside and cluster together in heated environments. Aka, lots of people, heat... perfect breeding ground for all kinds of nasty bugs. And so, we end up with "something-going-around". Please tell me that if ever there's some kind of world-wide plague that we won't stick all the sick people together. I'm pretty sure that'll just make a super-plague. It's like getting a bunch of the world's worst bad guys to raise a child and seeing what happens to the child. I'll tell ya. The next Hitler, that's what.

Anyway. I think I'm going to be in a bit of a weird mood for this post. Oh, did I mention that even though I wasn't originally working today my manager called me at 8:15 and asked me if I could come into work? *sigh. There went any hope of sleeping in. I'm working today too. And by today, I meant tomorrow. It's the sleep, and the headache, and well... as many of you know, I just tend to say one word when I meant something completely different. And yes, I could have fixed that. I actually almost did, but I'm trying to keep it real, you know? And right now real is a very tired, very head-achey Chana who can't seem to type the write words.

In the middle of all this complaining about my first-world problems, let me say that a few good things happened today. Namely, hanging out with my dearest Lana for several hours after work, getting my first paycheque (and immediately watching it disappear into bills... wait: that's not a good thing), and getting to cuddle with my hubby as we fall asleep... as soon as I'm done this post. And for the purpose of this post, besides the obligatory rambling, let me introduce to you the things that I picked up today for $3.50. That's total. Go MCC.

Number one, a $2 vase that was actually the majority of the cost. Fantastic shape. Hideous colour. But, just in case you were wondering, spray paint does wonders. This lovely lady would look so much better in a shiny, crisp white. Or maybe I'll be daring and add a bit of teal or bright yellow to my house. Or I could just stick with white. I like white. Besides, isn't that kitchen yellow enough? (Hopefully not for long! I have painting plans!)

Fantastical item number two! You must know something about me, and I'll let you in right now (in case any of you have any inclination to send a present or two my way? Belated Christmas? Hmm?), I really don't like most of the original packaging that food comes in. All those bright, ugly boxes and whatnot. So, my goal is to turn my kitchen into a place where when I come home from the grocery store, I simply unload the groceries into their pre-appointed pretty jars, tins, boxes, etc. and throw away the ugly packaging. Enter $1 cork lid jar from MCC. I'm thinking he might be great as a place for hot chocolate powder? Complete with a short and stocky spoon to match his short and stocky appearance?

And items number three and four: two stemless wineglasses that were $.25 each. Love a deal like that. I would have been even happier if there had been four, but Derek and I are just the two of us at the moment, so I'll get by. The funniest thing was that I was looking at their collection of glasswear, thinking to myself, I doubt they'd have any stemless wineglasses... and then I saw these. Magnific! I have some very exciting plans for these to make them even more interesting. Think Anthropologie-esque. I can't wait. I might even get on it tomorrow!

And that's it for my recent purchases. I love that at a thrift store $3.50 can add so much fun and wonder to a house. And I love that my stocky jar has a cork lid. That's why I got him, just so you know. Mmm. Happy, sleepy Chana is off to go snuggle. Night folks, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Contrapment Is Not a Word

My dear favourite bloggers, John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love, have an ongoing blogging/DIY/home decor challenge that they like to call "Dude, Get on that Already". Well, honestly, it's not so much a challenge as just a labelling of whenever they do something that really, really should have been done ages ago. And I mean ages. I like to believe that because they also have been known to let a project sit a bit too long before "getting on it" that we're secretly kindred spirits. Even though they probably have no idea who I am! Is that creepy? Maybe....

Anyway. All of this was to give an opening to a project that I did that I really should have done three months ago when we first moved it. Because, honestly: it took my five minutes. Not even joking.

Okay, time for a bit of a gross picture: here's the underside of our kitchen sink. I suppose its not really all that gross, but if you're squeamish or think that people should keep their cupboard doors closed at all times, I apologize. You can see on the left that the door has a garbage contrapment on it. It came with the house. Which would have been awesome, except that I grew up with a mother who didn't keep the garbage under the sink, and I've always liked doing it that way too. So. On to the issue. See that clear tupperware bin? Yeah. That's our recycling bin. We have a big blue one, but it's outside, so we like to have a second one for inside just so we don't have to go out into the cold every time we need to recycle something.

Now, unfortunately, with the garbage can contrapment, and the recycling bin, the cupboard door didn't close. Not even close. Close up shot of how much the door didn't close. That much. See?

The solution? Take the garbage can contrapment off the cupboard door. It's been something I've known I should do since we moved in. Three months later... Literally all it took was to remove four screws that held it in place and to chuck it into our big outside garbage bin. Five minutes, tops. I checked.

And look at that. The door actually closes. It's a miracle. If only it were that easy to raise the counters a couple inches so that I didn't have to bend halfway over to wash the dishes...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Fantastic and Free: December - Using our Front Door

I know that its technically January first, but I was actually going to write this yesterday, but then life happened, I got busy, and by the time I actually sat down for a moment and thought, "Hey, wasn't I going to blog?"it was three'o'clock in the morning, and December was over (and with it 2012! Happy New Year, everyone!). So, I'm posting this a day late, but I am posting it, so here's to the spirit (and not the letter) of the law. If anyone is new to my fantastic and free projects, it began as a way to help me satisfy my urge to improve the house when Derek and I first moved in, and when we couldn't afford to buy anything to use to improve the house. Every day for two whole weeks, I did something, whether it was crafty or practical, completely for free using things we already had, or things that I could get for free. If you'd like, you can read the first post here. After the two weeks were done, I decided that I would continue to write a "free" post at least once a month. That's not to say that I don't do other free projects around the house, because believe me, I definitely do, just some of them end up labled. Because that's always fun. 

When Derek and I were looking for a place to live, and were discussing buying a house, I declared that wherever we lived, I wanted to use our front door! Derek, being the loving and wonderful hubby that he is, agreed to my silly nonsense, and so, for the past three months, we've used our front door - and had to inform countless people that yes, we want people to come in the front door, and no, we're not crazy... or at least... only a little bit? But there was an issue with my plan: the house layout really didn't leave us with many options for coat and shoe storage in our declared entrance. It being an older house, and us living in a place where most people use their side or back doors as the main entrance, the only "coat closet" we had was the closet in the office (on the other end of the house) and the best place for our shoes ended up being in our bedroom closet. Now, honestly, I had a lot less of an issue with the placement of our shoes and coats... but Derek was lazy unhappy. And so, in these past couple weeks, I finally devised a system that pleases both of us. 

It started after we got our brand new bed from Ikea and I decided that I really didn't like having our laundry hampers sitting on the floor next to the bed. To me, it would seem much more sensible to have them in the bottom of the closet, but in order to do that, our shoe rack would need to be moved. Enter solution number one: putting the shoe rack near the front door beside the couch. Now, it was hardly my favourite solution ever, but it worked, and it made it a lot easier to put away our shoes when we come home. 

After I'd moved the shoe rack, I realized that the colour of the wood was actually quite similar to the wood colour of the coat rack that had come with the house (it was hanging near the back door). And I thought to myself, well, why don't I just move that coat rack to behind the front door? 

Immediately I set about removing it from the kitchen wall, and moving it to the living room... where it promptly sat on the couch for about a week until I actually got around to putting it up. Good times in the Penner house. 

My system for getting it onto the wall consisted of Frogtape, a pen, and a level. First, I marked a level line on the wall using the pen and the level (I would have used a pencil for the sake of erasing the line, but I couldn't find one, and we're planning on painting the walls eventually anyway). Then I used a piece of Frogtape that was about the same length as the coat hanger, with the spots for the screws pre-marked on it, to indicate where I would be putting the screws. And it's here where things got a bit derailed. I had a really, really hard time of getting the screws in the right place, and even getting the rack to catch onto the screws. 

Time for solution number two. I realized that the actual hooks themselves were only screwed onto the rack, and I realized that I really wouldn't mind getting rid of the rack, which was awkward and bulky anyway, and putting the hooks up by themselves.

So, about an hour a day later, we were left with a wonderful place to hang our coats, and a very neat, and simple, "mudroom". Oh, and in case you're wondering, no the door doesn't get bashed on the hooks. In fact, the coats and purse and other miscellaneous items hanging there block the door before it gets close enough to be smashed.

So there we have it, December's free project, and might I say an appropriate one considering the necessity for coats in Manitoba during the winter! In the end, I actually really like how our "mudroom" turned out. I think it makes the front door seem more like it's used - and supposed to be used. Though, unfortunately, doing said work has made me realize how desperately I want to paint the walls. I have such a wonderful idea for the living room, and I can't wait to both do it, and share it!