I went to help my brother and his wife this past week during our spring break. They were having their second baby, so I was there to help with their sweet little boy Kamin. Three days before heading to their home in Houston I decided to clean out our playroom. Justin and I decided to put in desks for each of our kids and a wall unit cubby system into that room. That meant that the furniture in our playroom could be given to my brother and his wife. I rented a Uhaul trailer and loaded it to the gills. Of course, if I had extra space I needed to find things to fill it up. I went though my guest room and pulled some extra wall hangings, canvases, and decor from that room and anyplace else in the house I could find it. We filled that 5’ by 8’ Uhaul.

Thank you to my husband Justin for being such a good sport and helping with the moving out of the old furniture, the full day of shopping at IKEA figuring out the new furniture and layout of the playroom, and of course the undertaking of putting together the furniture. It took two weekends to get it all put together, but it is done! I will share pics of our new playroom aka “the kids creative workspace” in another posting. I also saved a spot for my sister’s artwork. She is going to paint us a big painting for this room and I can’t wait to share about that too!

To my friend Nancy that I committed to purge 40 items for Lent, I am done. I did 40 items within the first half-hour of the playroom clean out. Two birds, one stone. 😉

Back to the furniture fix-up. I hauled the dresser, bookcase, and lots of home decor to my brother’s place in Houston. I was watching and entertaining kids during the day (my 3 kids and my newphew Kamin) and then when the kids were all in bed I worked on decorating. My goal was to get Kamin’s room done while his parents were at the hospital having his baby sister. Done and done. Whew. I got it done, but I have to admit that by the time I got back home after spring break I was exhausted. Still feeling it today. I was high energy and fast moving to get his room done while I was there!

The furniture I brought them needed some work. Lots of little nicks, dings, and scratches. Also, the knobs had to be replaced on the dresser. This was the third set of knobs for this dresser. My twins liked to climb on top of the dresser using the knobs as footholds. Ugh. Thank goodness my husband bolted it to the wall!! New knobs made this dresser look almost new! The other thing that worked to give new life to the dresser and the book case was a product by Sharpie. It is a touch up paint pen. I picked it up at Home Deopot in the paint section. In that section it was in a wall display where the furniture touch-up products are located. Below are some before and after pics so you can see how well this product works! These pics are just a sample. Both the dresser and bookcase were covered in these little flaws. The sharpie touch up pen worked wonderfully!

Some tips for using furniture touch up pens and markers:

Test out the product on the least conspicuous area of the furniture as possible. That way you will know if you want to use it on the entire piece of furniture. Use only small amounts at a time. Don’t use too much of the product at once or it is difficult to blend. After applying it to the flaw, blend with your finger. Allow to dry and do again if you can still see the flaw. It worked really well on the furniture I brought for them. It was far less effort than refinishing the furniture. It took about an hour and I listened to a good book on Audible while I worked.

For stained wood I recommend using Guardsman furniture pens. Again, use your finger to blend, otherwise it will be quite noticible where you used the touch up marker. If you aren’t sure what color marker to buy, then I recommend buying a Guardsman variety pack. I am horrible at guessing and always end up with the wrong color. I have learned to simply purchase the variety pack so I have options when I get home.

Kamin’s room began with the crib, beanbag chair, and a different dresser. The finished room now looks like all the furniture was purchased together as a set. That is the beauty of wood furniture that is painted white- it easily matches other pieces that are also white wood.

The wall hangings, little table, and rug came from our playroom too. They all worked really well in his room. The rug had a lot of loose fabric pieces and strings. I tidied the rug up by simply trimming back those pieces. Even if it left a small gap in the rug, it’s not noticible to the naked eye, unlike the loose strings which were very noticible. Almost any rug can benefit from trimming of excess strings when they become worn.

Another decorating tip: use museum putty behind canvases and frames (on the corners) to ensure that they stay put and don’t end up crooked in a week. Use a level to make sure you are getting them straight the first time. I found museum putty in the picture hanging wall display area at Home Depot. It is also avaible on Amazon. This is the exact product I used: http://Quakehold! 88111 Museum Putty Neutral https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002VA9NA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_MO-JCbZNG6PSG

Below are more photos of the completed room. The simple red curtains came from Walmart. Curtains can dress up a room easily and are not expensive at Walmart. Total cost of the two long red sheer curtains and the basic curtain rod were a whopping $12 total. The key is measuring the window first so you know how wide to buy the curtain rod. You also need to know the length for the curtains. I measured from the top of the window to the bottom of the window and then to the baseboard. I knew this was the range I had for curtain length.

Another decorating tip: Take photos of the room decor on your phone so when you are out shopping for curtains you can more easily match the decor you have in the room already. I wasn’t sure if this color red would match the decor and then I remembered I had photos of the rug on my phone. Pulling up that photo assured me that the red curtains matched perfectly.

The photos in the wall collage, including enlargements, were printed overnight at Costco. I prefer Nations Photo Lab for the best quality photos. However, those are mailed from their lab and can take up to a week to arrive. I chose Costco as the next best alternative. I was pleased with the quality and their prices are great too. You can get up to 8” by 10” photos printed overnight at Costco.

I wanted to share some photos from their master bedroom too. During my previous visit they purchased a solid wood bedroom set that is beautiful. We had a Uhaul rented, so it made getting the furniture for their master bedroom feasible at that time. They had also bought curtains for their room that we found at Walmart. This trip I hung some canvases on the wall, I made the floral arrangement that is next to their TV, and I put a coverlet on their bed (it was an extra from our home). I am glad all of these items could be used in their home. I wanted to help make their bedroom a peaceful sanctuary when they arrived home from the hospital. I know a lot of time is spent in the bedroom with a newborn. I probably spent 90% of my time in my master bedroom with my twins the first six months they were alive.

I brought one of my Mom’s paintings to hang above the couch in their living room. I have paintings of hers in our formal living room and dining room, so I wasn’t giving up the only painting of hers that I own. This particular piece of artwork was painted by my Mom about 10 years ago while I was living in Florida. It is a depiction of cypress trees in a swampy area, with cypress knees poking out of the ground. This lovely artwork is featured much better in their home than on the side wall of our guest room where it previously hung.

I enjoyed my time with My nephew Kamin and had fun decorating their home while I was there. It is something I truly enjoy doing. My sister-in-law comes and cooks at my house when she visits. She cooks far better than me! Her authentic Thai dishes are the best. I look forward to her visits so she can come and take over my kitchen. It’s a good trade off and we are able to share our gifts and talents with our family.