Saturday, April 13, 2013

Linoleum Floor Cloth - my weekend project!

As we keep plugging away at remodeling the house, my mind is already in the "decorating" mode... and it has been for about the last year. Too bad you can't decorate before the dry wall is done or the plumbing is roughed in....  But one thing I have been thinking about is our eating area of our kitchen... where our table will sit. I personally prefer that a table be "grounded" visually with a rug underneath it. I think that the rug defines the area, beckons a person to it, and protects the floor from the chairs scooting in and out. The problem with a traditional area rug under a table is spills! (With a lot of littles around this house, our floor takes a beating daily)!  So the solution to my dilemma seemed to come with the idea of a floor cloth. It gives the best of both worlds: visually grounds the table, protects the floor, and is easy to clean!

I had several options, the first being to make one or buy one. Um, that was easy, I'm way too cheap frugal to purchase a ready made cloth. My next option was whether to make it out of canvas or linoleum. I really pondered this one awhile. But in the end, it seemed that linoleum would be easier/stiffer to work with than canvas. So that is the route I went. Then came the dilemma of designing it. I knew the color scheme I wanted to use, but I had no idea what design I wanted to paint. I searched the web and looked at dozens of floor cloths to get inspiration for my project. After getting a general picture in my mind, I got out my graph paper and drew it to scale experimenting with my color scheme. After I had an acceptable design, I was ready to get started.

I purchased a 6 x 9 remnant of linoleum at Lowes for just under $30. It had a 6x6 inch tile design on the front side of it which I wasn't crazy about showing through my rug, so I chose to paint the back of it instead. That being said, as I laid out my design, I could ever-so-slightly see the grid which really helped a lot when taping off.  I also will say that I MEASURED NOTHING on this rug (because I couldn't find any ruler, yardstick, or tapemeasure even after hunting high and low!). It was all "eye-balled". I didn't want it to be too perfect because I knew that I would have paint bleeding under the places I had taped off anyway (maybe other people have good luck with crisp, clean taped off lines.... I don't...). So if I started out with the mindset that "this will not be a perfect design", it would keep me from being too upset when it didn't turn out exactly as I had planned.

So here is what I did to create my floor cloth: First, I unrolled it and let it flatten out for awhile. After that I used a primer and gave it one coat. All of the paints I used were left over from our house remodeling project, and they were all latex based. I had planned on giving it 2 coats of primer, but I didn't have enough left for 2 coats... so 1 coat had to do.
After the primer dried, I painted the base coat. I chose the color of my kitchen walls for the background. I let it dry and then painted a second coat. This was the easy part because there was no taping off involved!
While I was letting that dry, I took a break and took a picture of a "too cute" 8 month old....

Now came the harder part... taping off and laying out the design. I decided to paint a boarder around 6 squares. I wanted each of the kids to have a square palette to paint their own picture in. I rummaged through our porch looking for something squarish to use as a template for taping off so that they would be somewhat even since I didn't have a measuring devise (note that I FOUND a tape measure AFTER I was done with the rug.....). In the corner I found some paper targets... 1 foot square each! And they were adhesive! So I was able to stick them right on the rug with out taping. After I positioned and stuck them on, I taped off a 1 inch-ish border around each one and sponge painted it sage green. At the same time, I taped off a border around the edge of the rug. I wanted one wide stripe and one narrow stripe, with a stripe of the background color in between them.

Note the "blue" electrical" tape... wouldn't you know that I ran out of painters tape when I had only 5 feet of area left to tape! (I found the frog tape that I KNEW I had... after the rug was done... and it was in the box of supplies that I looked through THREE times when I was frantically searching for it)!  But, FYI, electrical tape (with a couple of pieces of duct tape to hold the ends in place actually worked fairly well)!

After the taping off was complete, I rolled my red border around the rug. I did 3 coats of red, letting it dry between coats.

After removing the "targets" and the tape, here is what the rug looked like. I thought that the squares needed to "pop" a bit in their background color before the kids did their thing. So I painted each square with 2 coats of a bit darker tan.
Now it was ready for the kids to do their thing. This is the part that took much effort on my part... let-the-kids-paint-what-they-want-in-the-style-they-want-knowing-that-it-would-not-look-perfect... Why is that so hard???????  OK, I compromised... I helped Kyli (2) and Kaser (8 months) on their squares. But the others did their own thing... with the exception of Kenan (4) who painted his square with Daddy.

OK, this picture is upside down... but Kenan and Kyli did footprint butterflies and Kenan also did handprint tulips. That was interesting because he didn't want to make a hand print. He wanted to make a fist!

After the kids finished their masterpieces, I wanted to write Psalm 128 down the middle of the rug. Here is a tip: If you want to freehand anything on a rug, wall, etc... use CHALK before painting the design. It works better than pencil and it wipes off easily (unlike a pencil which needs erased). So I took chalk and wrote out the Psalm making sure that it fit somewhat evenly. Once I had it done in chalk, I decided that I liked the "light" color for the words rather than a "dark" color that I had envisioned. So I got a cream color and painted right over my chalk marks.  So there you have it: My weekend project. All that needs done now is 3 coats of a water based polyurethane which I did not have last weekend. So sometime in the next couple of days I will be finishing it up. What a fun, easy project!!!!!  Once it is completely done, I will update the post with a picture of it without the drop clothes!!!

Random Lizard Entertainment!

I am amazed at the amount of time Americans (both adults and children) sit glued to the idiot box (um... TV).  On the average... 40ish hours a WEEK according to the research. I have looked at research from a couple of different sources... and they all pretty much agree. In my opinion... that is just a waste of time. There are so many other ways to spend our time, I don't know why we would choose the "couch potato" route for either ourselves or our children!

Keeping TV viewing at a bare minimum allows our children to use their imaginations and I love to see the latest "game" they have created... which I'm briefly sharing about right now....
Lizard hunting!

Items needed:
a plastic lizard (or other type of toy)
nerf gun
nerf bullets

and a place to adhere the lizard....

I'm not sure who came up with the idea for this very entertaining game... but it really is addicting! We placed the lizard in a grout line of our fire place and took turns shooting at him with the single shot nerf pistol. (Which, by the way, is not sighted in very accurately). I think that if you had a nerf gun that held more than one bullet at a time, you would be more successful. But we use what we have... right??? Anyway, the first to knock down the lizard wins...

Just so you know... Mommy is currently the lizard hunting champion!  This has been great fun and the kids have added in more "targets": a plastic coyote and a Diego figurine.  What silly game does your family like to play?