Archive for July 2012

Yes, Paint Master

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting ready to paint, bright and early and bushy tailed!
There is a story about a farmer who has his young sons taking care of his horses. A neighbor comes by to let him know that his horses would fare better if the farmer, with his greater experience, took care of the horses himself. The farmer replies that he will continue to leave the horses to his sons because he's "not raising horses."

Well, Marc and I aren't raising daughters, we are raising paint ninjas dipped in awesome sauce! They have been such a huge help as we tackle the gargantuan task of painting the exterior of our house. Yesterday afternoon (the second day of prep) I muttered, "okay, who has a match? Let's just burn it down and get the insurance money." That's how challenging this has been. 

I know Maddie and Katie are exhausted (and we're not done yet) but some day, when those sweet girls have an abode of their own with a hue that makes them want to cry, they can call and ask their little mom to come and help them paint and I will gladly say, "Oh! Kay!"

This I promise, here on the internet for all to witness.

I also promise pictures of our monster house soon but I'm just too darn tired to do it now.

That's What Friends Are For - Using Their Stuff

Monday, July 23, 2012

Last summer Ellie asked our friend Dayna if she could have her birthday party in Dayna's rockin' awesome backyard that has a pool, tire swing, and tree house. Dayna, of course, said yes, but I was having a lame-o summer so I never actually got around to it. Both those colored parts have links about those stories.

On a side note, Dayna was such a good friend last summer (my bummer summer of depression). She kept offering to bake the cake and get a pinata and all I would have to do was get Ellie and some friends there. But, ack, it was impossible! I also remember a day when she called and asked me to go to the gym and then have lunch with her and I said, "um, I don't really want to do that," because I was too out of it to even come up with a good/polite excuse. But we both laughed and she loved me anyway and let us have the party this year. Which was better anyway because - DOUBLE DIGITS!

Ellie turned 10! My baby! 10!  I don't know why I'm yelling except that this is very weird...only one more year of elementary school to go.

The party was perfect. Dayna busted out her chocolate fountain which was a giant hit. Turns out ten year old girls lu-huv giving themselves chocolate beards and mustaches. 
They swam and posed and posed and swam.

Dayna was having escargot for lunch (I know, right?) so I called all of the girls over to watch her take a bite. Other parties have magicians for entertainment.
I do hope she doesn't care that I post this picture. Take in their faces.

It was such a nice party, if you have a friend with a great backyard I totally recommend this route.

A Floor With Layers

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Since we bought Springbrook Ranch Marc and I have had such renovation fever. Unfortunately we don't have the funding to support all of our ambitions. So sad. But last weekend we couldn't stand it. We were laying in bed on Saturday morning reveling in the fact that no children were up yet when Marc rolled towards me and asked, "Want to take up the kitchen floor?" "Absolutely!" I said. Spontaneous demolition is so my idea of fun!

We decided to start out in the little hallway off the kitchen so we could sort of see what was under there without making too big of a commitment. It turns out there was A Lot under there, under the current linoleum was another layer of linoleum that looks like fake bricks, then a layer of stained plywood, and finally the unfinished, paint splattered wood floor. My floor, like an ogre, has layers.

We kept asking each other "Why did they do this?" It makes me wonder what people will say about my decorating decisions years from now. Will some young homeowner be moaning, "Why did they take down ALL the wallpaper?

We thought for a minute about trying to salvage the stained plywood, but the brick linoleum was stuck to it with tar and we couldn't get it clean with mineral spirits or a blow dryer (both tips I found on the internet). It turns out the only option was a double team crow bar attack. It was sweaty work, but super fun.

Here's Marc's booty in action! It turns out that the flooring is not a continuation of the lovely oak floors in the rest of our house, that was disappointing for a minute but then I remembered all of the beautiful painted wood floors I've been seeing on the internet. I told Marc we should try that instead of refinishing and he is all for it. Yay. More fun for the whole family!

I REALLY like this yellow patterned floor.
Photo from Things That Inspire
Marc isn't totally sure about the big yellowness. He likes this one.
Photo from Things That Inspire
And we both love this shiny green one.

I've been reading up on how to do this and am really excited to go for it. We are painting the house next week though and it is a huge job, the current paint is in pretty bad shape. Still, stay tuned, hopefully the kitchen will be our next project.

Doggy Sittting Can Be Fun

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We are doggy sitting for my friend Kristine. She and her family are in Utah for three weeks. It's where all the Mormons go for vacation I guess.

I ended up volunteering to watch Louie, a miniature Pinscher, kind of on accident. Before doggy sitting I didn't actually like him all that much. I'm not a real fan of tiny, yippy dogs; I've been known to refer to them as "rats on a leach." Is that bad?

Also, Louie doesn't make the best first impression. See, Kristine and I have to meet together every other week because of our church assignments, and we would always do it at her house because she has small smalls. Two other women meet with us and every time someone would arrive at the door Louie would go berserk yipping and jumping and nipping. He is like a circus dog and jumps around really quick and feisty!

So I wasn't completely in love with him.

But at our last meeting I asked Kristine how things were going getting ready for her trip and then she got this panicky look and said things were fine except she didn't have a sitter for Louie. 

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. And then WORDS! Words started coming out of my mouth and I couldn't even stop them! While my brain was thinking, "Marc is gonna kill me!" my mouth was saying, "I can watch him." "Bad, bad, bad!" my brain was thinking, "It will be no problem," my mouth was saying. Why does that happen?

But, it has ended up being great! It turns out Louie is a little sweetheart as long as a bunch of strange women aren't all up in his business. And I think Riley likes having him here too. They share kibble, freely eating from each others dishes like the best of doggy friends.

And my kids LOVE him to death. He likes to snuggle under the covers and be carried around like a baby so that makes everyone a fan. The only bad(ish) part is that I have to watch him outside or he'll wander way off. So when I'm sitting outside watching both dogs sniff around looking for the penultimate place to poop I do wonder what I'm doing. But other than that it has been great, so great that I kind of want to keep him. Enough that I am wondering about getting a dog like him. But my brain is telling me "Marc will kill me."

Pretty Little Tea Party

Monday, July 16, 2012

Begin with dessert!
Once I wrote about my obsession love of dishes. It's a thing I tell you. And apparently I've given it to my daughters. All three of them have insisted on hosting tea parties primarily for the joy of setting a beautiful table. We are not really showing off, we just love our dishes so much that we want to share them (temporarily of course, if a guest tried to take one we'd hissy)and having a party gives us the perfect excuse to get those lovely china cups and plates out and play with them. Here is the post from when Ellie had her party.

And for her 19th birthday Maddie wanted to have her own soiree. Having raised children as food motivated as I am I shouldn't have been surprised that the menu she put together was a little fussy. 

I spent the morning making cucumber sandwiches with spreadable Swiss cheese and prosciutto, puff pastry bites with salami, Dijon, and baby lettuce, egg salad sandwiches with bacon and avocado, and goat cheese triangles with toasted pecans and red pepper jelly. It was fun. And I didn't have to help Marc and Jonathan scrape and patch the house in preparation for our big paint project. Poor Jonathan, he kept begging to come help me.

I have a lot of cups and saucers and Maddie had a good dilemma choosing which ones to use. 

Here she is with her cute friends.
And with Louie, who we are babysitting for three weeks.
It was so fun planning and executing this with her. My talents are not in the preforming arena (AT ALL) and doing this with her felt like passing down something I'm good at and maybe teaching her at the same time. Because throwing a great tea party is a relevant life skill, no?  

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Dresser Makeover (How I Did It)!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is all over the internet, eh? And I, like you, have been sort of dying to try it out. But there were a few obstacles, mainly that I didn't have a piece of furniture I wanted to experiment on, I didn't know where to get the paint, and, oh yes, ASCP is not cheap. But all things can be overcome through persistent obsessing! 

When Marc and I bought Springbrook Ranch the previous owner left a lot of stuff behind. Most of it we sent to the dump but I uncovered this little dresser under a bunch of garbage in the garden room. 

It was super dirty and the top was a real mess. Perfect for a paint makeover! 

With a piece of furniture to work on I decided it was worth the drive to a store in San Jose that carried the paint. I didn't want to order it online because I really wanted to visit the colors in person. The store was ADORABLE. So worth the trip! It's the kind of store that makes my heart beat faster and my stomach kind of hurt because I can't buy everything. Marc really hates those stores. Here is a link, it's called Magpie.

One of the benefits of the ASCP is that you don't need to sand or prime before you use it. Maddie and I did, however, spend a lot of time cleaning it and we had to sand some too because the glue from old contact paper in the drawers wouldn't come off with just washing. Here is a picture of Maddie helping me. Yay Maddie! This is what I call the not fun part of the job.
Her's cute
After we got her (the dresser, not Maddie) all cleaned up we decided to drag her into the entryway to paint so the wind wouldn't blow little leaves and dusty bits onto the paint. Maddie started painting the inside of the drawers, and I started on the main dresser.

So here's the scoop on my experience with the Annie Sloan Paint, first, the color is gorgeous, I used Antibes Green, and I am in love. It reminds me of the green painted master bedroom at Mount Vernon. It goes on really nicely and was easy to work with. Unfortunately you buy it by the quart which cost $32 and although they say it goes a really long way, I used a good 2/3 of the can just to put two coats on this little dresser. On the website they say you can water it down, but I wanted my coverage to be opaque since the dresser was pretty yucky. I don't know what the coverage would have been like if I had thinned it. I didn't have any problems with brush strokes and I used a regular purdy paint brush.
After the paint was dry and I put the drawers back in it was time to use the clear wax. I learned from the "stockist" at Magpie that the process goes 1. paint 2. clear wax 3. distress/sand 4. dark wax 5. clear wax over distressed areas.

I just used a clean rag to rub the clear wax in. I used small circular motions and a fair amount of elbow grease. When I finished with the clear wax the dresser looked like this:

I could have stopped right here.
The next step is distressing. It made me nervous. Everything was so smooth and perfect and now I had to scratch it up. I used a piece of 150 grit sand paper and focused mainly on the edges and corners. I'd do a little, step back to check it out and then do some more.

After that it was time to use the dark wax. I knew I didn't want it very dark, so I only used a tiny bit on the end of my brush. Because I love you enough to embarrass myself on camera I took some video of how I did it. It's not very good; I haven't vlogged before but I spent so much time trying to read everything about how to use the wax that I feel it's only fair to share.

Aaaannnd one more because my kids can't leave me alone. Even the grown up ones.

You can tell my videoing skills are poor since I held the camera sideways. Whoops.

And for the grand finale, pictures of the finished product!
Maddie fancied the photo up with instagram

Here's what it looks like in my room
I really like how it looks distressed and dark waxed. I like it so much that I'm thinking about using the ASCP on my kitchen cabinets. It was a ton of fun using the products. My final observation is that the $50 dark wax will last a long time if I keep using it this sparingly, but the $50 clear wax? Well, I went through a lot of that. So there you have it, fun, pretty, expensive. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck on your project...May the force be with you.

New Car Fever

Monday, July 2, 2012

Marc and I have a tradition, as it were, of buying used cars that we can pay cash for and then drive for 100 years or until they die. This gives us the financial advantage of zero car payments and low insurance payments. It also gives our cars time to really become members of the family and develop their own personality, and by personality I  mean smell. Then, too, there is the custom pimping done by our children over time...fabric pealed off of the interior molding, numbers written in permanent marker on the back of the drivers seat, and dents and dings added by teenage drivers. I don't know why everyone doesn't do it like us.

Alas, just two weeks ago my trusty 12 year old mini-van was in for a small repair and the mechanic called Marc to let us know that it actually needed a big repair. Like, involving the air conditioning. And, you know, we can drive ages with dragging bumpers, missing tail lights, and check engine lights cheerfully glowing in the dash, but by golly we will not be without our air conditioning! It's called standards okay?

Unless it costs too much and that's how we decide it's time to shop.

Knowing it was time for my sweet Honda Odyssey to be made into glue traded in, we started talking about what kind of car we should buy. Marc was convinced of two things, one was that I didn't need another mini-van (*sniff*I am no longer the young mother of little children), and two, he wanted a car with enough engine power to tow our trailer to the dump. Me? I'm not too picky. I like cup holders and a car that is "pretty." He and Maddie spent a couple of days pouring over the adds online and from the local car magazines and decided that we wanted to look at Subarus, Volvos, and BMWs. Marc especially liked the BMW x5 because he said it is time for us to drive a car that is "fun."

Yum, right?
I, too, was taken in by the sexy sexiness of the BMW...nineteen years of driving mini-vans will do that to you. I guess we were both overwhelmed because you know that quality of being a discerning shopper you definitely need when you are shopping for a used car? Yeah, it totally left the building.

Imagine us leaving Katy's Kreek on a bright Saturday morning after a delicious eggs benedict breakfast with a list of cars we intend to look at. We are all shiny and eager to get going. Now imagine us spotting a BMW x5 in the parking lot of the Honda dealership across the street from the isn't on our list, but hey, let's go check it out anyway. Within moments of our setting foot on the lot, Tony the salesman comes out to see how we're doing. We consult with each other for a long .5 seconds and then gleefully throw all our money at him and drive away with a new car.

Okay, so, I am happy with the Beamer, Beemer, Beemmer...I don't really know how to spell that, but it does bug that we completely lost our wits when it was time to make this actually fairly large in the scope of our budget purchase. I keep wondering what were we thinking? Has this happened to anyone else?

And on a side note, while I am loving the leather power seats, moon roof, and fancy dashboard, I totally feel like a poser driving this large luxury automobile. In my head I call it my "too big for my britches car." And I am not comfortable referring to it either. As in "Hey kid, go get my fancy insulated diet coke cup from the beamer." It sounds pretentious. I am more of a "I left my phone in the van," kind of gal. 

But times, they are a-changing. And I guess I'm driving the change.

*Post Edit: Marc says I shouldn't indicate that buying the BMW wasn't a rational decision. He says he considered it carefully in the .5 seconds and decided it was an excellent investment. That's us, making excellent investments and taking names.


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