Monday, May 21, 2018

Sweet memories and new artwork!

Summer is upon us, and the kids are so excited! They love anything to do with water, but I think the beach is their favorite. We have visited Crystal Beach the past few summers with my mom, siblings, nieces and nephews. It brings back sweet memories of our beach trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My great-aunt lived a few blocks from the beach, and going there was our favorite. From the huge flea market, stopping at every state sign for an obligatory picture, playing putt putt at the most AMAZING courses, to singing a silly song. It went:
We're going to the 
Beach, beach, beach
What a peach
Of a beach.
Silly, but it was catchy and we would sing it all the way there. Now, I've done the same thing with my kids, thank heavens the drive to Galveston is way closer than Myrtle Beach! 

So, all of this led to a great art project. I love having an art idea and bringing it to life. I created my artwork first on the computer, and then re-created on stained wood with acrylic paint.

Above is the picture that I made on the computer. Below is a comparison of paper vs. wood.

I thought it turned out pretty decent! I do struggle with free handing fonts. I will be giving this to my mom as a thank you for all the wonderful memories at the beach growing up, as well as all the future memories we will be making with family. What a peach of a beach!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Handmade Christmas

If you know me, my love language for others is gifts.  I love to make/bake things for others.  I remember as a 14 year old wanting to learn to sew so I could start making things for others.

I always try to make something special around Christmas time, and this year was no different.  It actually had quite a few handcrafted things.  There's something special about receiving something that someone spent time and energy creating.  It took forethought, and a lot of time, and that is something that a lot of people don't do nowadays (yes, I just sounded like I was a 60 year old grumpus).

The first thing I started working on was a crocheted blanket for a sweet friend.  My first idea was to crochet her a pizza slice snuggie, sort of like those mermaid tales, but a huge pizza wedge.  Super fun, but after looking at yarn prices for this larger project, it was going to cost around $80 just for the yarn!  Seemed a little steep for me, so I went with a watermelon blanket instead.  The yarn was cheaper, but way less bulky, so it seemed to take FOREVER to crochet up.  I carried around a yarn bag and crocheted every time the kids played on the playground, it was fun for me to finally see it start taking form.  I made it quite wide, and probably should have made it longer but I ran out of gumption (and yarn).  Turned out great as a snuggie blanket on the couch!

My next project for Christmas was a desk re-do for Mallory.  She BEGGED for a desk for her room.  Her room didn't have that much space, so we needed something on the small side.  As luck may have it, we went to a garage sale a few weeks ago, and she had $10 burning a hole in her pocket.  She said that she was going to find a desk for $10 at the garage sale.  I told her, not likely, but she was adamant in finding one.  We pull up to the garage sale, and guess what?  There was a child sized desk right in front of us for $10.  It needed some love, so we agreed that if she bought the desk, I would fix it up for her for Christmas.  I chalk painted it white, changed the hardware and was planning to modpodge fabric on to the top.  Well, the fabric on top turned out to be a horrible idea, so that extra fabric will (eventually) be turned in to a pillow.  The top was painted white to match the rest of the desk.  Mallory loves it, she is such a crafty person and she loves to make things for others as well.  She has already put it to good use and has spent much time sitting at her desk and has made a goal to make bracelets for her whole class at school.

 I had an on-going project in the garage for Greg's mom.  She requested that an old 12-pained door be turned in to a shelf and decorative hangers attached.  Shelf was added, brackets screwed in and was painted a pretty oatmeal-gray color.  Knobs to hang things were added, and it was done!  It actually took me a while to finish this one, as I was queen of procrastination with this project.  Also, no pictures. :(

My last project started a week before Christmas.  I think I am one of those people that works somewhat well under pressure.  So, with most of the other projects done/under control I decided to start a t-shirt quilt for Greg.  I had been meaning to do this for some time with all of the t-shirts collected from our baseball  teams from Germany.  I also used all the VBS shirts we have received the past few years.  This is how we spend our summers: Germany and VBS! I did Greg's quilt differently than any other I had done before.  I did it in large sections to create more of a "quilted" look, and it actually worked up very quickly.  Since I wanted it to be a surprise, I could only work on it while Greg was at work. This might be the only time where it was helpful that he works so much!  I wondered if he knew what his surprise gift was, he was definitely shocked!  It was nice to give him something that he wasn't expecting.  I feel like we are at that age/stage of life where you just get your spouse what they ask for or need.  It gets harder and harder to surprise them with something unexpected, so it was a nice gift to give!

My garage is almost empty of all the projects, I still have one more out there to be completed over Christmas break.  For our 12 year anniversary we upgraded to a king size bed.  We didn't want to rush a headboard purchase, and Greg was sure that I could make one!  Well, I tried to tell him no I don't have time, but when I got the headboard wood for free I gave in.  I still need to buy the fabric to cover it and to repaint the wall in our bedroom, but now that project seems doable since I am on winter break.

Before you think I have it all under control and am queen of projects, let me share my Christmas shortcomings.  We baked cookies for Mallory to sell to raise money for Salvation Army, and by the time Christmas actually came around, I was so burned out that I baked NOTHING for my own family.  I think Santa just got brownies out of the box and some carrots.  I felt bad, because the kids begged for gingerbread men to decorate and I just didn't have the desire to bake anything.  Also, as I was perusing Facebook a day before Christmas Eve everyone was posting about all the yummy meals they were preparing for Christmas Eve, breakfast for Christmas and Christmas dinner.  You know what we had for Christmas dinner?  Leftovers!  Oops!  

It's all about balance, right??  Now that the crafts have slowed down, maybe I can start feeding my family something other than pizza and hot dogs! 😅

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Mid-Century Console Redo

You know that feeling they tell you when you see the perfect house?  A feeling of longing and contentment and potential all wrapped in to one is the best way to describe it.  Well, I don't have that feeling with houses, but more with furniture.  I saw this piece on a For Sale website on Facebook, and I HAD to have it.  I wasn't even looking for anything, it just popped up on my newsfeed almost screaming at me, "Buy me!!"

 Above is the beginning faze.  I loved the look of the piece. It is a large piece, measuring 19"x70".  It had a great amount of storage, which is something we needed.  I decided it would be perfect as a new TV console.  The price was $30, I offered $25 and she accepted! Greg and I picked it up in the rain, dropped it twice because that thing is HEAVY! Nothing was broken, which means it was made well and withstand time.

I hated the top, it was just a piece of particle board and was swollen over a large section.  I decided to take the piece all apart.  I was really worried about this step because my dad would have put 15 screws, 20 staples, and liquid nails on that top.  But thank heavens, it was attached with about 10 screws that easily came out after I found the right square bit.  Drawers came out, door came off and shelves came out.  Now to prep the surface for paint!  I lightly sanded down everything.

I ran in to a few problems sanding.  At some point, they put a thick layer of stain over the already stain and varnish.  It ended gunking up my sander, so I had to scrape off that extra layer with a chisel. It was tedious, especially since the last piece I did was the worst of them all.

Now to start the fun part!  The drawer and door pulls were absolutely huge!  They were matte black, but after closer inspection I noticed they had been painted as well.  I was going to buy something to match the gold capped mid-century legs, but after taking a sander to the handles, it was gold underneath!  I sanded some parts quite hard so it has a "brushed" look which is fine with me. This saved me $$!

After a base coat of Zinsser (which is great by the way), I got to finally pick out a paint color.  I wanted a light shade of gray.  Do you know how many shades of gray there are??  Millions!  All had a different undertone that you don't notice until comparing to other gray samples.  I struggled with this.  After I put the paint on, it has a hint of brown undertone, not what I was going for but ended up going great with the new wood top. 
Paint cost: $20

 The new top!  I bought this pre-cut piece at Lowe's.  I actually had to get it cut down, which left me with an extra piece about 20"x26" which will later be used as a sign...TBD.  I borrowed stain and varnish from my mom.  I only put one coat of stain, but two coats of varnish.  I didn't sand in between coats of varnish: One, because I'm lazy. Two, because it gave it a rough texture that I liked.
Stain and Varnish: FREE
Piece of wood: $40

Now to assemble!  Don't mind the garage mess, three kids will keep a garage a total wreck ;)

Finished product!  So much storage than before!  We have a ton of extra space, and put some games down from a high shelf so the kids have easier access to them.

Shortly after, Greg HAD to have a bigger TV to go with the bigger TV console. Boys.   

Love the pop of gold at the bottom of the legs!  One of the legs had ripped off and been badly repaired previously, but ended up being an easy fix and is sturdy as ever!

Gold handles!! 

Top of the TV Console.  

In the end, I spent a total of $80, not bad I think!  I love the look that it adds to our living room.  It also provides ample storage for the kid's play things.  The ONLY peeve I have is that since we run our modem from the stand, and the stand has taller legs; I can see cords all the way in the back.  All I need to do is get some sticky strips and adhere the power strip to the back of the console and problem solved!

If anyone spies a mid-century desk with storage, let me know!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kitchen Remodel is DONE!

This post has been a long time coming!  I am so excited to share with you what we decided to do with our kitchen.

 When searching for our 3rd house, the thing on the top of my list was a completed kitchen.  Our previous two houses had the wonderful white laminate counter top/back splash that stained at the drop of kool-aid and seemed to never be able to keep clean.  Well, we finally chose a house that had everything on our dream list EXCEPT the kitchen.  So, first thing on our to-do list was to start saving up for a kitchen remodel.  We started with replacing the knobs, microwave, stove/cooktop and the dishwasher.  Then, life happened and the AC had to be replaced and mission trips had to be paid for.  2.5 years later and we finally got started!

Looking toward the laundry room.  Really dislike the faux painted wall of yellow and brown

Had our box flourescent light closed up and 4 can lights took its place
All that white counter top and back splash.  It really showed our house's age.
Still more white counters
White porcelain sink with a ton of scratchs


We chose yellow river granite for our counter tops and a tumbled stone with a light grout for the back splash. I really struggled with these decisions for some reason.  It seemed so easy to spend the money in my head, but in real life spending the money seemed a little more difficult. We went with the aged bronze for our faucet and a big stainless steel sink.

This decision was another tough one.  I had so many ideas going through my head, I had a hard time just choosing one.  I didn't want it to be too "farmhouse" or too "country" but not super cookie-cutter either.  I was leaning toward a greenish gray, but when seeing them in person, our family actually went with a blue gray called "Fresh Idea".  I think it really compliments the wood tone and earthy tones of the counters.  It seemed WAY too blue at first, but once we got all of the red  and yellow off the wall it really did grow on me!

 Just for reference, the above picture are the original colors.  A butter cream on the top (which our whole house is painted in) and a crimson on the bottom.  All the butter cream was covered up by the new paint and the crimson was covered up by plank PVC bead board (best product ever!).

After (Finally!)

I love the completed look!  It makes me happy to walk in to my kitchen every day!  The counter tops are a great camouflage for crumbs (almost too good), and everything just seems to go together.

I was a little spoiled by renovation shows.  I thought it would all be done within two days, but the whole process took from finish to end was about two weeks and then I had to finish hanging the bead board.  The only thing I have left to do is paint the bead board a high gloss white, but who knows when that is going to happen and I wanted to share!


Monday, June 20, 2016

My Progression of Emotions Towards Running

Oh, so many emotions towards running. The funny thing is they change weekly.  So, I thought I'd elaborate and share with you the roller coaster of feelings these past 9 weeks.

To start, I decided to start running 10 weeks ago.  After hernia surgery in December, and quitting my gym membership (mom guilt), I had no exercise outlet.  So, I laced up my shoes and started running (let's be real, a jog).  I have no goal in mind.  I don't own a scale, so the only weigh-in I do is my yearly check-ups.  I have no desire to do a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon.  A reason I did start running was to maintain or even lose a little weight, and this is told by how my clothes fit and how I feel.  Let's get started:

Week 1:  Thoughts running through my head:  "I think I'm dying."  "Why would anyone do this for fun?"  How long do I have to be gone for Greg to come looking for me?"  "I'm pretty sure my  6 year old can run faster than me."  "I'm still dying."

Week represented through emojis:
Week 2:  Mallory joined me for the next few weeks.  I had to listen to her sweet voice tell me that she is faster than me and ask why I go so slow.  It was actually good bonding time, when I could breathe.  Thoughts:  "I might not be dying, but I still don't enjoy this."  "I still feel silly."

Week represented through emojis:
Weeks 3 & 4:  These weeks were where I wanted to quit.  I was running past some kids and thought they said something mean.  My feelings were hurt by a 12 year old.  That was pretty depressing, but Greg reminded me that I blow things out of proportion (only a few times) and it was probably all in my head.  So, I gave myself a pep-talk and kept going.  Thoughts:  "Middle schoolers are stupid."  "I can do this."  "I am officially not dying!!"

Week represented through emojis:

Week 5:  This week I started a longer run with a friend.  It was great conversation time, as well as an accountability person.  Thoughts:  " It's sort of nice to run with a friend."  "I might be enjoying running a teensy-weensy bit."  

Week represented through emojis:  
P.S.  We don't dress like this to run, but friend emojis are slim-pickings.

Weeks 6-7:  My goal at the beginning was to run atleast 2 times a week.  I am doing 3.  I am motivated to accomplish this number. I added more distance and am changing up my routes (I get bored very easily with exercising).  I have started timing my miles...which I will not be sharing because it is so sad.  Thoughts:  "Feeling stronger."  "I got this!"

Week represented through emojis:
Week 8:  VBS Week. Those two words should explain everything. It was a very LONG week. Only did one long run, and only one thought:  "So. Much. Sweat."  Welcome Summer, you are extremely hot!

Week represented through emojis:

Week 9:  I just finished my run and met two goals.  One:  I ran the WHOLE time!  Now, some of that running might have been very slow, but it still counted.  Two:  I met a time goal for my mile.  Was pretty happy since I went a little earlier than usual and could barely breathe, it was so hot and humid.  Thoughts:  "Getting faster!"  "Faster than my 6 year old!"  "Hard to breathe, but still doing it!"  "Just one more minute."

Week represented through emojis:  
Sort of looks like me, don't you think?? Except the smile, I am never smiling when running.  Haha.

So, there it is in a nutshell.  I will be finishing Week 9 on the beach.  I've never run on the sand, but we shall see.  

In the wise words of Dory, "Just keep swimming." ...but running in this case.  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Back Patio Re-Do!

Snazzy-ing up the back porch was pretty low on my "To-Do" list, but I got an itch to paint some furniture and I though the Adirondack chairs would be a perfect project.  

My dad had built the Adirondack chairs many years ago and had tried to paint them right after building them.  But since the pressure-treated wood was new, the paint just flaked off.  Frustrated, he never painted them again.  After they switched hands a few times, they ended up on our back porch screaming for a makeover.  

I started with the accent pillow.  I guess I should have taken a picture of the pillow, you can see a little of it in the picture below.  They are royal blue, with a row of brightly colored birds.  I first was going to paint them orange to go with the royal blue.  I headed to the big-chain store and picked up a can of spray paint + primer.  I asked the paint guy if this would cover pressure-treated wood and he said, "Yeah, sure."  I came home all excited and put the first coat on the underside of the chair to make sure I liked it and...womp womp.  It looked horrendous.  The orange wasn't soaking up, and stayed tacky.  It just looked BAD.

Plan B.  Go the long route of priming them with real paint.  Shortcuts went out the window.  I bought Zinnser primer (great stuff, by the way) and started painting. Instead of going with orange paint, I decided to go with Aqua blue exterior paint, and am in love with it! Greg had also picked up some benches that we used for a present and then one for our garden.  I decided to paint those as well.  I got one chair and one bench done, but the weather and some chair repairs put us on hold for a few weeks.

Let's just say that when my dad built something, he built it to last...forever...and never be taken apart...not even by a hurricane.  Chair #2 had a rotten leg and needed to be replaced.  There was a large bolt, plus 4 screws (that I saw) holding the leg together.  Well, after removing the bolt that was paint encrusted, 8 rusted screws, and then finding out it had liquid nails on it, I ended just banging it with the hammer until the leg finally popped off.  Greg helped me cut the new leg and put in new screws and voila, the chair was ready to paint!  But the weather had a different idea.  It kept raining, and I needed a dry spell to paint.

I finally got that dry spell today.  After a little monsoon passing by us yesterday, everything started to dry out, and the sun finally came out!  I finished all the painting, finally swept the back porch and Greg helped me hang the lights that were 40% off at Michael's ( I love stuff on sale)! I am absolutely horrible of taking "Before" pictures, and not too great at taking "During" pictures, but here are some "After" pictures for your enjoyment:

From the kitchen door facing outward.  Loving the aqua blue I chose for the chairs!

Looking on to the back porch.  Love the new lights!

From the yard, the whole patio.  This is our new picnic table we got from Round Top.  Reminds us of Germany.

The new sod!

One of the benches
A week or so ago, I saw our neighbor laying sod in his yard.  He had a few pallets full of sod, and I mentioned that if he had any left over, I would pay him for it.  He let my buy 30 square feet, which didn't cover as much of the dead spot in the middle of the yard as I thought.  A few days later, he said he had more, and I could take 30 more square feet.  I happily took it, and covered more of our sad-looking yard.  The rain has been great for the St. Augustine grass to take root, but I probably need another 60 square feet to put a real dent in the bald spot.

That will be another project for another day. For now, I will eat a cookie and enjoy the back porch.