Friday, 25 February 2011

Army Green Painted Trunk

Our coffee table/trunk that Kevin gave me for my birthday in 2009 is now army green.  I still liked the original shiny black finish (see below for before picture), but it was getting a little scratched and I wanted to lighten up the living room a bit.

I'm pleased with how it turned out, but this is only step one.  That pristine coat of paint won't last forever, so I want to aim for a layered and distressed look that can handle my 18-month-old.  I just haven't decided what the next colour will be.  White?  Cream? Aqua?

Whatever I choose, Kevin will probably think I'm crazy.  Yesterday he came home from work, smelled paint, and immediately asked "What are you painting now?" With a very long-suffering tone of voice.  It wasn't the coffee table, which I painted a few days ago.  It was the walls this time!  I've finally started painting the main floor.  It will take me a while, since I have small children and limited nap time.  I've decided to do it in sections, with both coats of paint done one right after another (yay for latex paint that doesn't take forever to dry!).  That way, I don't have to disrupt our entire living space for a week or two, or spend large chunks of time painting.

The colour is more putty-grey than the tan I was going for, but I'm not changing it now.  It's growing on me.  It's the colour of concrete and drywall, plus just a hint of brown.  Actually, as I look at it now, it's exactly the colour I wanted!  I guess it just looks grey in the evening and morning. So, five walls down, 14 more to go!  And that's just the living room.  The kitchen is next.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Home Questions

  1. How do I keep my really lightweight furniture from scooting around on the floor when it is not pushed against the wall?  Even the 18 month old can move them.
  2. How can I make my furniture arrangement appear anchored when it is moved away from the wall and/or in front of the windows?
  3. How can I lighten up the kitchen when Kevin won't let me paint the cabinets?  The counters and appliances are all dark.  
  4. Is it possible to change this modern house into a cottage?
  5. Which is more important? a bookshelf or a wing-back chair?
  6. Can I get rid of all the kids' toys and just let them play with the pots and pans?
  7. Is it too early to have a garage sale?
  8. Anyone (that I know in real life) want to come to my house to swap decor items?
  9. In what order should I paint the main floor?
  10. Why doesn't Goodwill supply a big huge donation bag like the ones they have at construction sites?  I could set it up in my yard and just toss in stuff I want to get rid of.  Instead of having to find places to stash things I don't want anymore until I can find a box to fill.
  11. Do people with leather furniture have/use throw pillows?  The ones I have look weird on my couches.
  12. Why is it more common on the internet to call them sofas?  Americans?

Shirt/Tank Top Mashup


Plus this:

Equals this:

Aw, nice hug!

Two seconds later:
Nico does not like to be confined.
The End.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Dictated Romance: Roses and Chocolates and Cards, Oh My!

Some people do not like Valentine's Day.  They resent being told how and when to be romantic.  I kind of resent that too!  When the first Valentine stuff was put out in the stores, I couldn't stand it!  I hadn't recovered from Christmas yet!  But despite the expectations, I do think Valentine's Day is a good thing.  True, we don't need a specific day to think about how much our loved ones mean to us.  We should do that every day.  But with the busyness of life, it's nice to have a set time to think and consider and actually say how much I love Kevin and am grateful for his love.   We were married eight and a half years ago, and I love him more every day.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Blue Bathroom

I think this is the shortest full-room renovation/redecoration project I've ever done. This took less than a week, even with four coats of paint (including primer).  And it cost very little.  Here is what the kids' bathroom looked like before:

Banana-yellow, like the rest of the house.  Messy, because there was nowhere to put things and Juliana has a million-and-a-half hair things.  Random holes in the wall. The reason I chose to do this room first is to give me motivation to keep it clean.

And here it is after:  Tada!

The paint was a quart of mistinted blue from Home Depot.  I went looking for a medium blue or green, and this was what they had.  It's very royal blue.  I don't think any other walls in this house will get quite as saturated of a colour as this one.  I used the ENTIRE quart of paint for three coats.  I think there was a tablespoon or so left at the end.

My favourite part of the whole room is this piece of an old house.  I think it's an old door or window lintel molding.   It was $15 and the antique brass hooks were $2 each, so that makes this the most expensive part of the room.  About an hour after I took these pictures, the whole thing fell off the wall.  I need to figure out how to hang it without making it too permanent.  So today we're off to Home Depot to get brackets and a working stud finder.  I should probably find out how much this thing weighs before we go.

We just happened to have both blue towels and white towels.  The little hand towel below was cross-stitched by one of my high-school friends for a wedding gift.  The star canisters are from Ikea, and currently hold hair ribbons and bandaids.  I need to label those.  The basket will be spray-painted white.  The dry-brushed aqua isn't working.

These flower prints are from Ikea.  They were 50 cents for all three in the as-is section.  I had no idea what I was going to use them for when I bought them.  But they were 50 cents. I may or may not buy some frames for them.

The brass hooks, and the old chipped paint (which I painted over to avoid lead-poisoning my kids) remind me of waiting for my sister's cello lessons to be over.  The music school was in this big old building that had old hooks just like these ones pretty much everywhere, lining the walls and in little closets.  I was probably six-or-so, and I still remember the smell of that school, and the smoothness of those hooks.  If this bathroom were any bigger, I'd have to add a child-size vintage school chair.  That would be perfect.

So, there's our bathroom!  I want it to be my bathroom.  The kids can have ours.  Every time Nico sees the wall colour, he points and says "Bue!"  Yes, it is blue.  Very blue.

I hope to move on to the main floor soon, but probably not until this book I'm editing is done in a few weeks.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Smocked Hair

It is fun to have a little girl.  It's like having a life-size barbie...who gets cranky sometimes.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Blue and Green

Just a little sneak peek of what I've been doing the past couple of days.  Of course, neither colour looks right in this picture.  The chair is aqua, and the wall is royal blue. I like to paint.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Fear of Lamps

I think I may have gotten over my fear of lamps.  Maybe.  Or it may have just changed into a fear of lampshades.

These two lamps came from Habitat for Humanity Restore.  I went there looking for legs for my dresser and came away with no legs, but with these pretty greenish/aquaish lamps.  The shades need desperate help, since the glue is coming apart and has discoloured the fabric.  I'd like to replace them with drum shades.   But what I'll probably end up doing is just attempting to recover them.  My last lampshade project didn't go very well.

So for the first time ever, our living room has a decent amount of light!  I'll be getting rid of that wobbly old wooden lamp that I shouldn't have bought in the first place.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Shirt Refashion and Lavender Grain Sack Pillow

Somebody didn't want to model.  She was quite grouchy about it.  So.  Yesterday at 9:30 am, this dress was a ladies' size 3/5 shirt.  When we left the house for church at 10:00 am, it was a dress!  It was in the bunch of clothes that my friend gave me.  I knew it wouldn't fit me, but I knew I could do something with it for Juli.  That's the benefit of having a little girl and a sewing machine.

I was really lazy about how I did it too.  I did not want to mess with taking off the sleeves, so I just sewed up the shoulder seams about 2 inches each, and continued the seam down each arm where there was no seam, tapering it off to the edge about 6 or 8 inches down.  Then I cut off the sleeves at the end of the taper, hemmed them and the back of the neckline and it was pretty much done!  The fit isn't perfect, but it will fit her forever.

Finally a smile!  The original shirt was meant to tie at the back just under the bust level, so the ties ended up perfectly at Juli's waist.


This is the other thing I sewed yesterday, while Kevin and Juli were out watching the superbowl.  Nick and I stayed home.  He played and I embroidered.  Then after he went to bed, I sewed it up!  Inside is almost all of a 100g bag of lavender.  I love that smell!  I had it in the bedroom last night, and it was so nice to wake up to the scent of lavender.  I may add some stuffing to fill it out more.  It's like a large beanbag right now, rather than a pillow.

I used a full six-strand piece of embroidery floss for the letters.  I probably should have used only 3 strands.  Oh well.

My inspiration came from a little grain sack pillow at Dreamy Whites.  It's sold now, so all I have is this picture from when I posted it on facebook.  If the monogram was anything else, I probably wouldnt have been inspired by this, but with the KJ on the antique grain sack they used, it was just perfect.  I used a piece of canvas drop cloth for the fabric. 

Friday, 4 February 2011

Book Review: A Time to Dance by Karen Kingsbury

Way, way back in some month that ends in "ber", I requested a book to review from  It took several weeks to arrive, which was fine (I could have reviewed the electronic copy but I like reading on paper, so I was willing to wait).  By the time it arrived, I was busy with other things (aka, Christmas), so I didn't get to sit down and read it as quickly as I would have liked.  But I finally finished it this week.  Here is my review:

Karen Kingsbury's A Time to Dance is the story of a husband and wife who have been married for twenty-or-so years and now their marriage, which all their friends and family idealise, is falling apart.  They are about to announce their divorce when their daughter gets engaged.  After putting their own announcement on hold until after the wedding, Abby and John grow further and further apart while hiding behind the facade of happily married parents-of-the-bride.

Ok, this story made me cry.  Of course it did.  For reasons I won't get into here, the topic of divorce has been weighing on my heart lately (The reasons are not related to my marriage, so don't worry!).  The very idea of it breaks my heart.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I did think the disintegration of the marriage was rather drawn out.  The use of flashbacks seemed a bit excessive.  I think more of the story was told in flashbacks than in the present!  But I really enjoyed the stories told in the flashbacks.  The dialogue was mostly realistic, which was great!  Most of the characters were well written.  I know girls like Nicole, women like Abby.  But my favourite character in the book is definitely Jo Harter.  I could hear and see that woman in every scene she was in.  Picture the character of Olive from Pushing Daisies, add a love of fishing, and that's Jo.

One thing that surprised me is the level of physical passion that was portrayed in a Christian book.  But it's been a while since I've read Christian romance.

If you read this book, you must read the Author's Note at the end.  In my opinion, that is the best part of this book.  Here is an excerpt:
"When I think of the divorce situation is society today, I am and always will be deeply grieved.  In the dance of life, the casualties of our instant, self-serving, self-indulgent society abound among us.  Brokenhearted men and women who struggle through life alone; toddlers whose lives are built around two houses, two bedrooms, and two sets of parents; teenage boys and girls who have no idea how to honor one another or keep commitments...If nothing else, I pray that A Time to Dance made you compassionate.  Compassionate for people suffering through divorce, for children whose parents have separated.  Compassionate toward the spouse you might--even now--be walking away from..."
My copy of this book was provided free from in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions noted are mine alone. 

I review for BookSneeze®

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A Day Off

Yesterday, I had a day off.  It is not often that a full-time mom gets a day off.  A few hours off, maybe, usually in the evening or on the weekend.  But a whole weekday never happens.  Unless, of course, you happen to have such wonderful friends as mine.  My friend offered to take my kids all day.  Although I felt like I was taking advantage of her, I accepted the offer.  As a result, I would probably do anything for her that she needs, ever.

So, I had no specific appointments or anything that needed to get done on my day off.  I just wanted time to shop and browse without making sure I had enough granola bars along to keep the kids happy.  I decided to check out the Anthropologie store that recently opened here.  I've seen their stuff online and I love it, although I know most of it comes with a ridiculously high price tag ($300 for a pair of jeans?  $70 for a t-shirt?).  First had to stop at a friend's house to check out some things she wanted to give me.  Along with some clothes, she gave me this dresser!

THIS is what I have been ridiculously excited about ever since she told me she wanted to give it to me.  At first, I had no idea where I would put it, but I said yes any way.  I don't turn down free solid-wood furniture!  Then I remembered that the Nester has dressers in her living room!  The way my furniture is currently arranged, there was the perfect spot for it by the windows.  What got me really excited was the prospect of having a real junk drawer!  Our current junk drawer stuff is housed in an overflowing tray on top of the microwave.  Aside from the junk drawer, there are eight other drawers!  

I love how feminine this piece is, especially next to our manly dark leather furniture  I'm pretty sure it's from the 70s, based on the flower-shaped knobs that are the same as what my bedroom closet had when I was a kid (duplex built in 1978).  And look at the pretty legs:

I'm proud to say that I carried this dresser into the house by myself.  Carried, not dragged.  I had to or I wouldn't have been able to go pick up the kids!  I can't wait to paint it (the crackle and gold trim are a bit much) and fill it with important things that have no home.

After drinking latte and playing speed scrabble at my friend's house, we both headed to Anthropologie.  I saw lots to love there, but I didn't want to spend all my Christmas money in one place.  I did get this little aqua bowl.  I think I need to go back and get a green one too.

I also bought this little letterpress necklace.  I know it's technically a "b", but it looks like a "d", so it works.  The only other letters they had were "i", "w", and "F"

The book is from Goodwill, where I stopped on the way back to my end of the city.  It is the oldest book I have yet, by 6 years (published in 1896, as far as I can tell).  It's a women's occupational guidebook.  What Can a Woman Do; or Her Position in the Business and Literary World, by Mrs. M. L. Rayne.  If I ever write Victorian or Edwardian fiction, it will come in very handy.  Otherwise, it will just be interesting to read.  And it's so pretty!  The edges of the pages are printed with a pretty pattern too.  I love the detail that went into printing books 100 years ago.

Of course, after I came home, Kevin discovered that we had a screw in one of the van's tires, and I couldn't go to church.  I've volunteered to work in the nursery on Wednesday nights, and I haven't made it once yet.

But in spite of that, I highly recommend that stay-at-home moms take a day off.  It's definitely worth the guilt.

Edited to add:  Kevin doesn't think I should paint the dresser.  He likes it as it is.