Operation Escalones Posts

Operation Escalones {#3} – Project Reading Wall

Operation Escalones {#3} – Project Reading Wall

Happy Monday!

Oh man, I’m excited for this post today!

I will warn you, though…it’ll probably be a long post. You might want to sit down.

Today’s Operation Escalones project took a couple days. I’m showing you what I’ve done in the room that was originally intended to be a formal dining room. If you know me at all, and probably even if you don’t, you will know that a formal dining room is just. not. me.

I want nothing in my house to be formal. I want everyone to feel welcome in every part of my house. You know that room that always feels like, “Um, is it okay if I sit here? Maybe if I just keep my hands folded and try not to sneeze?” Yeah, I hate those kinds of rooms. I can’t curl up with a good book in those rooms. I can’t have a fun conversation in those rooms…it feels more like a fate-of-the-world-discussion kind of room. Not my style.

I wanted this room to be a reading room. I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. And I want it to be available for chatting, snuggling, dreaming…a place where anyone will feel comfortable.

Ty’s dream for this room was to be sort of like a library, not just a reading room. He wants to have books that he can loan out to people. We have so many business books, biographies, books on raising children, religious books, etc. I hope this room will be a blessing in so many different ways to so many people!

So without further ado…how I put together my reading room!

I bought the shelves at Ikea. They come in different sizes, and then you buy the brackets and connectors separately. Perfect! I wanted it to be a look of ordered chaos. I bought five shelves (one big, two medium, and two small) to be scattered all over the wall.
This is what the table looked like when we started. By the end of the project, you couldn’t even see the table. That’s just how I operate…basket case, remember?


My mom and I started in the middle of the wall, measuring from the top of the stairs down to the floor. That’s where the connecting bracket for the middle of the biggest shelf went. Each shelf had to be secured to the bracket with little screws (picture on the left), so we did that before the shelves went up. Each time, we drilled a pilot hole in the shelf first (the picture on the right), to keep the wood from splitting.

image02 image8

We leveled everything about a hundred times and marked and marked again with a pencil. Nothing is worse than an un-level shelf, except for maybe a whole wall full of them!


I had a whole plan drawn out of where things would go (I’m OCD like that) that was almost exactly to scale. Thank goodness for graph paper!


It really helped with measuring out things on the wall. Not a lot of thinking involved with every shelf. Just measure and go!


We hung all of the shelves first, and then filled in with the bigger pictures, mirrors, and artwork. Then the smaller pictures, and finally filled the shelves! It’s so important to me that my house be filled with us. I love looking at so many pictures of my little family everywhere I look!



As you can see, the top of the wall is still blank. I have some plans for up there, so it won’t be blank forever, but it will be a little different than what we have down low.


And there you have it – my reading room wall!


Sorry that I can’t get a picture without the chandelier…I tried holding it up out of the way, but it just doesn’t work.

Want to borrow a book?

Do you have a place in your house that is just for reading? Do you like to read as much as I do? Do you have any recommendations for books to put on my reading wall?

Operation Escalones {#2}

Operation Escalones {#2}

Whew! I’m off-kilter today!
First of all, yesterday I had a sick kiddo so we stayed home from church and all subsequent activities. That threw me off completely! It felt more like a Saturday than a Sunday — and a lazy Saturday at that! So when my alarm went off this morning it took me a while to even realize it was Monday!
The good news is that with our day home yesterday, I got two — yes I said TWO — projects from my Operation Escalones list done! Plus some.
It’s a good feeling. Seriously.
I framed all the pictures that I printed (from this post). And I’ve gone through all my papers in the office and they are ready to be filed!
I just got my filing cabinet from Ty’s office when he moved, and I’m going to set it up to be a command center for all our papers…stay tuned for that post!
Project List #2
Don’t forget that I will cross these off when I figure out how! 🙂 So for those keeping score…all that is left is the task of hanging pictures in the movie room. From the last list. Obviously I’m not in a huge hurry. Hopefully this week, though, so I can start a new list!
Also, this is a short post today because of all the work I have been getting done these past couple days. There’s going to be an awesome post next Monday, people!
Anyone else get anything done this week?? 

Operation Escalones {#1}

Operation Escalones {#1}

Happy Monday all!

So the graphics today are not what they should be, but bear with me while I start a new blogging process, okay? I’m on a new adventure with all of this! Did you miss what happened? Check it out here!

Anyway…on to Operation Escalones! Not sure what I’m talking about, you can read my post about the name change here!

Operation Escalones: Project Donate Crap.

Okay, seriously. You know how sometimes, you go through your stuff and you start putting together a pile of stuff that you don’t need anymore, and you realize that you really have so much stuff, and that a lot of it is not that great of stuff? That’s been me lately.

After the garage sale (see the craziness here), I started looking at all my stuff and was so sad to have to even bring it home. Instead, my mom and I took all the price tags off, drove straight to the donation bins, and dropped them off! Done and done!

Whew what a good feeling! I love purging!

When we lived in our smaller house, every inch of closet space was valuable. The name of the game was “storage.” It was a challenge to get everything in the right place, and an even bigger challenge to find right place for everything.


Can anyone relate to this?! I know I’ve felt like this is my house on more than one occasion.

As we were contemplating buying our new house, I had two goals. First, I wanted to have a lot more storage than we had. And secondly, I didn’t want any of it to be overflowing. One of my favorite things about this new house is all the closet space it has — and how empty all the closets are!

It’s much easier to keep barely filled closets organized than it is to manage overflowing closets. I mean, who doesn’t live a good organized closet?


Did you swoon? I did.

I should’ve cleaned out my closets better when I lived in a smaller space. But alas, it was too daunting with so much stuff crammed into one space. Is this a linen closet? Or is it a game closet? Well what about all of this miscellaneous stuff…where would that go? I wish I had, though. I could’ve thought much more clearly, I think.

So now that I’m in a bigger space, I’m determined to keep it more organized and to purge much more thoroughly. I will NOT succumb to the idea that the more space I have, the more stuff I’m able to have. No sir! This girl is determined to be a better giver-awayer (I do that alot – just make up words…but it works, doesn’t it?), and an even better stuff-buyer (seriously, it’s fun, give this word thing a try!).

It’s also a goal of mine to teach my kids how to be generous and give of themselves. I’ve really tried to make them a big part of going through all of our stuff and explaining that we are called to take care of those who have less than we do. Part of growing my boys into Spartans is teaching them to look outside of themselves and recognize need around them.

So with all of that said…

Here is my project list for Operation Escalones, but I can’t figure out how to edit it from the iPad, yet, so just pretend the task of giving stuff away is crossed off, okay? I’ll figure it out soon.

Project List #2

It feels almost as good to just have it done, but the maniac in me likes to see it crossed off the list. I’m the one who adds a task to the to-do list just to cross it off. Did I just lose some friends on account of being crazy? Yikes! I said I’d be totally honest here, didn’t I? Anyway, I’ll fix it soon.

Are you completing any project? Are you a giver-awayer? Or are you a much more discerning stuff-buyer? Most importantly, are you a word maker-upper??

Footsteps and Garage Sales

Footsteps and Garage Sales

**I am sorry this didn’t post on Monday! The site had some difficulties, and wouldn’t allow any posts until early morning on Tuesday.**

Okay, so I have a correction/confession.

Last Monday, I said that the original blogger who started Project Elephant (read about the original idea here) changed everything on her blog and was no longer doing the Project Elephant posts.

I was wrong. Sort of. She did change everything, but she is not quitting Project Elephant.


After some thought, I’ve decided to move ahead with renaming my project series, because I’m not sure how excited she would be about me riding the coattails of her series indefinitely. So…she got me started, and I’m going to use this as a launching point for my newly named (but still the same conceptually) series!

And thanks to my sweet friend, Kacie, for the inspiration for the new name!

Kacie suggested something along the lines of “Footsteps” of “Footprints”. I liked that, but I thought I’d take it a little further and do some research about each word. I also did some translating into other languages, and then I stumbled on something that perfectly describes how I do projects.

The translation of “footsteps” from English to Spanish was “los escalones,” so I decided to just look up “escalones”. It comes from the Spanish word “escalonar.”

When I looked up the definition for “escalonar”, these are some of the definitions: “to scale, to place at intervals, to stagger.”

Um, hello!!!

This describes, well, just about…every project I complete. I stagger my way through most projects, improvising, creating, revising. In order to” scale the mountain” (aka “complete the bigger project” formerly known as “eating an elephant”), I’ve got to place my feet at regular intervals (aka “complete the project in smaller chunks” — formerly known as “eating the elephant one bite at a time”).


Anyone else done with the quotations marks??

Okay, so I’m trying out the name for this week.

Operation Escalones

What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinion!

As for the project list itself, here is the project list as of last week, with one item completed!

Project List #2

You guys, this last week has been c-r-a-z-y.

I was doing a yard sale with 10 other moms all week long. It took three days to set up, and the sale was three days long. Suffice it to say, I was busy!

Here are some pictures of the sale, to give you an idea of how much stuff we had!

IMG_8490 IMG_8489

I’m getting hives just looking at it again!

Anyway, it was a lot of hard work, but it was also hanging out with some fun, awesome moms all week long.

It was a successful sale, and I’m glad to have done it, but goodness knows I’m glad to have it over!

The plan for the rest of the week is to be with my boys! I missed them all week when they were with my mom or Ty’s mom. They had so much fun, but I can tell that they’re just about as fried as I am.

It felt good to go through all our stuff and get rid of it. What I didn’t sell is getting donated (the next item on my list), so that will be a little bit of a project, too…wish me luck!

Operation Escalones: Project Garage Sale — check!

What do you think of the new name? Have some suggestions? Tell me about them! 

New Name, New Projects, New List!

New Name, New Projects, New List!

Welcome back to Monday, everyone!

Hope your weekend was awesome — mine was crazy, but fun!

Here is my Project Elephant list for this week…

Project Elephant #1d

There’s a little disclaimer on crossing off #4.

Remember this post about how awesome Ty’s parents and my parents are?

Well Ty’s mom hung the artwork and the plaques, and my dad hung the black sign. I hung the family picture, but it’s also not the only thing that I want to go on the wall. So while the item is crossed off, the project isn’t completely finished. I’m just not sure when I’ll be able to get the rest done.

But here are some pictures of what has been done so far.

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Nice, but definitely not completed. It’s all very plain so far. It needs some sprucing up! I’m still on the hunt for a few things to add. I’ll probably print some more pictures to place on either side of the big family picture — it’s 2′ x 3′ so they’re gonna have to be a little bit bigger, too. I’ll keep you updated!

In new information, the blog that started this whole Project Elephant idea (check out my post about it here), has been remodeled, renamed, and repurposed. It’s still awesome, and it’s still written by the same spunky and spectacular woman, but it seems kind of silly to keep calling my project posts “Project Elephant”, when the overall campaign has been dismantled.

I’m still so fond of the idea of “eating an elephant one bite at a time,” so I will continue my projects in that spirit, but it will no longer be called Project Elephant. Make sense? Yes? No? Just nodding your head and moving on? Okey dokey!

Okay, so now I need a new name for the project lists! I’m having an informal contest. If you have an idea of what my project lists should  be called, leave the suggestion in the comments. If you comment, I will send you my favorite recipe for chocolate cake (I have a few other recipes if you don’t like chocolate or don’t like cake…just let me know what you’d like instead!). I’ll pick a winner on my post next Monday (assuming anyone comments…so comment, people!!).

So in light of this new change, I made a new list! I transferred the last item from the previous list, so don’t worry — it’ll get done!

Project List #2

As you can see…I’ve got a lot planned for the next few weeks! Hope you’ll join me in completing some projects!

Anyone else started a project lately? Have you been able to break it down into doable little bites? 

Have a new name idea for my project lists? Don’t forget to comment, please!! 

Project Elephant {#3} – Print Pictures

Project Elephant {#3} – Print Pictures

It’s Monday!

Isn’t that less exciting than “Happy Friday!!” sometimes?

Well today, I’m proud to announce that I crossed off one more project on my list! Which list? This list!

Project Elephant #1c

{for more information on what on Earth I am doing, check out my post here}

Project Elephant {#2} – Secret Project

Project Elephant {#2} – Secret Project

It’s Monday!

It’s time to show you my Project Elephant secret project!

(Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out my post here or you can see the original inspiration for it with Abbie here.)

{Did you click over? Isn’t she awesome?!}

Here’s my Project Elephant list this week:

Project Elephant #1b

Project Elephant {#1} – TV tables

Project Elephant {#1} – TV tables

Okay you guys…I did it! I finished a project on my Project Elephant list!!

Wait, what?

Back to the beginning. I started a new challenge thanks to Abbie over at 5 Days 5 Ways.

(*side note: I just realized we have more than the parentheses in common…I love to have things centered on the page, and so does she! You guys, it might seriously be a match made in blog heaven…although, while I enjoy watching her 5 kids on her blog, I think I might honestly have an aneurysm if I had 3 more kids — 2 of whom are twins! For reals…She’s amazing.)

Anywho…she started a project on her blog called Project Elephant.

five days five ways | project elephant

The idea behind the project:

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

A: One bite at a time!

I’ll say it just like I said last week — GENIUS!

It seems so simple, but I mean, really…why didn’t I think of that?

You know when you’re so bogged down by all of the chaos and often insanity inducing activity life that happens every day, and then your project list just grows and grows? Before you know it, you can’t even bear the thought of cleaning out the refrigerator, and forget about washing the windows on the house, or — what’s even more — renovating that room!

So whether it’s a big or little project…I’ll be breaking it down into one bite at a time! If they are bigger projects, it will mean breaking them down into smaller steps, or completing smaller projects in their entirety. At one a week, I will be able to make a big dent in that list in no time!

Well here is my list now –

Project Elephant #1a

I did the TV tables! Wanna see ’em??


Well, okay…I tricked you. This is what I started with.

They were a little beat up with some scuffs — nothing structurally wrong with them.


The reason I chose not to just keep them black and cover up the marks was because all the furniture in my living room is black! While I love what I already have, I seriously just couldn’t add more black!

I’m trying to make a concerted effort to brighten it up in there…this was a good start!

These are the colors I chose, because I have some fabric in mind for later. We’ll see if I change my mind by the time I decide to do the project….


I got these at Wal-Mart, and they are pretty cheap. I think they were around $4 a can. Also, I should have posted the picture twice, because each table actually needed two cans of paint.

Side note: If you have to spray paint anything other than a tiny little object, I recommend getting this little contraption:


I got this at Wal-Mart, too, and let me tell you — this has changed my life.

It attaches to the spray paint can so that you can use the trigger, rather than pressing on that itty bitty little button and cramping your finger until it feels like it’s gonna fall off! I want to hug whoever invented this.


Anyway…this also helped me to get a more even coat  because I wasn’t focused on my finger hurting. Lame, but true.

I should note here that I should have sanded the tables (while wearing a mask), but I was too impatient and I really wanted to get it done that day. However, if I was painting something more important or more “fancy”, I would do that step. You decide.

So now we can see some pictures of the tables:


See why these needed two coats? Covering up the black was a little difficult.


I applied one more coat, and then turned them upside down to get the bottoms.


Then I let them dry, and…ta-da!!!


I’m so excited to have these in my living room! We love having people over all the time, and this provides even more eating spots in the living room!

This bite of the elephant was delicious! Can’t wait to chow down some more this week!

Wanna see Abbie’s project? Check it out here. It’s a BOMB plate wall. So cute!

What about you? Did you do any projects for Project Elephant? Leave a link in the comments — I wanna see it!