Tuesday, October 9, 2012

G to the EEK!

Ever have a great idea just before falling asleep?  That's when the notion of silly, childish birthday portraits hit me.  I giggled myself awake, giddy with this idea.  What's more, everyone I told responded with full-blown enthusiasm.  Many of them asked if I minded copycats.  I don't mind a bit!  It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks I'm hilarious!
 I know a few photographers, and I hope none of them mind that I didn't book a sitting with them.  For the most cheese-tastic, geek-a-rific effect possible, it had to happen in a department store studio.

Fortune was favoring me when I approached the portrait studio desk at JCP.  The 20-something man's eyes lit up when he heard my plan.  

"I'm turning 40 next month, and I want pictures of me that look like that," I pointed at a frilly, tutu-wearing four-year-old.

 "That's so totally fun!" he said. 

 My response was to request a booking whenever he was scheduled since he "got it."

 Next stop: an accessory store.  Is it possible to go overboard with a plan like mine?  I doubt it, but a budget held me back.  That, and how wide my hips looked in the tutus.

 Finishing touches: helium balloons from the florist.  I considered making a mess of a birthday cake, but decided that would be a bridge I'd leave uncrossed.  After all, this is about to become a national sensation.  It's going to catch on and be so big, businesses will advertise milestone birthday picture packages for all ages.  Elderly couples are going to start taking silly photos on their anniversaries.  You're welcome.
 Maybe it's a sign of how dull my life has become, but this project was incredibly amusing.  My son wanted in on the fun, which made the photo session even more of a blast.  The photographer and the two of us laughed and got as silly as we could.
 I don't generally enjoy having my picture taken, but I totally recommend this sort of experience.  It's as relaxing as a massage, and now I've got oodles of wallet-size photos to give to friends and family.
 Go ahead-- book a photo fun day on your own or with a group of friends.  It's well worth the money.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Measure Up

We have sold our house and found another, so an era of measuring our child and marking his height on the wall must end.  Unwilling to lose this important data, an alternative had to be found.  Thanks goes to Crab & Fish for providing the perfect solution: a gigantic ruler!

Using her plans as inspiration, I re-puposed a board that used to serve as a shelf above the French door in our kitchen. I measured out the markings and used a paint marker and a builder's square to make the lines as straight as I could.  The stencils available at the store didn't match my original vision, but they'll do.  Today, I'm headed back to the big box craft store to purchase smaller stencils so that I can letter his name along the open side of the "ruler" to personalize it.

I think this will be my new standard baby shower gift, though I may not personalize them since not every family is complete with one child.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Further Progress in the Kitchen

I decided that a painted backsplash is best for me.  I change my mind too often to choose tile.

Bead board is groovy, but I don't have the extra wire length in my junction boxes to move them forward to allow for the space.  Tin is too shiny.  Mirrors too smudgy.  Yup; paint is just right.

The couple who blogs about their faux tile back splash painting business have a great gallery of finished kitchens.  The 1/4 inch painters tape was hard to find.  I ordered it from Amazon, and it didn't want to stick unless I cursed at it and pressed extra hard.  Measuring and taping took me nearly five hours.

Next, I mixed up various leftover paint and oops paint from the big orange store, trying to come up with shades that seemed just right.

I started with Ash White and Poppy Seed, which are my cabinet colors.  Then I added two shades of gray.  It was hard to admit, after all that work, but I hated the way it looked.

While I painted with colors, I brainstormed about what to do with all the stark black and white "tiles" I didn't like.  Finally, I painted over them.  By this time, I was more than 8 hours into the project and scared to death that it had all been a waste of time.

Peeling off the tape was scary and disappointing.  The Poppy Seed paint had seeped through the edges of the tape, and then sealed itself so the new color didn't cover it along the edges.  Some of the other colors were already dry, so the paint peeled up along with the tape.  I even found one "tile" that I forgot to paint.

Somehow, I refrained from crying.  With as steady a hand as possible, I touched things up, cleaned the kitchen, and drank a beer.  There are still plenty of cosmetic problems, but from a distance, it's fine.

I'm not in love with the results, but it's, even if it's not what I had envisioned.  The colors (to my eyes) are cool, soothing, and lively without being obnoxious, and they compliment the cabinets without being matchy-matchy.  Total cost: about $11.00 to buy the tape and have it shipped, plus a few bucks for cheap paint brushes.  Everything else was on hand.  The best part?  I can re-paint it whenever I tire of the look.

I still might paint the Roman shade, and I MUST re-paint all of my chairs, find rugs, and re-hang artwork.  A friend is already at work making a stained glass door for the cubby above the microwave.  It's all coming together, bit by bit.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

More Kitchen Photos

 Here's my baby, though I definitely need to re-paint those black chairs now.

 I built this locker (idea from Ana White's site, though I sketched out my plans based on the size of the space available and the needs we have.  It's no mud room, but it sure helps.
 I'm loving the way my island looks.  I built it about 8 years ago, but only love it now that it's trimmed out and painted.
 Crazy as it sounds, I don't even mind the mauve counter top, even though I never would have chosen it.  I'm probably the only person who does not like the granite craze. 
 Here's how the locker abuts the counter.  Not as hulking and blockade-like as I feared.
 My attempt at building a butcher block counter top didn't succeed, so I covered it with a $15 matchstick shade, and a sheet of custom glass from a local glazing shop.
Here's a shot of the locker before I painted it.  Above it is the old light fixture, which was dark brown and bronze before I spritzed it with Rustoleum's satin nickel.  Haven't found replacement globes yet.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Starting the New Year with a New Kitchen

What I did--
  1. Build a locker to contain your husband's backpack, lunchbox, baseball caps, jackets, and charging station.  And for the dog's food and water bowls.  (4 hours)
  2. Scrub the cabinets to remove any food particles and hand oils. (1 hour)
  3. Sand all of the doors, drawers, and cabinet framework. (3 hours)
  4. Wash the sawdust off of every surface.  (Husband did it in 2.5 hours.)
  5. Prime the upper cabinet doors and frames.  (3.5 hours)
  6. Re-coat with primer (2 hours)
  7. Paint the back splash area and above the cabinets so that the drips won't land on newly painted cabinets (1.5 hours)
  8. Paint the lower cabinet frames, doors, and drawers.  Two coats.  (7 hours, two separate days)
  9. Paint the upper cabinet frames and doors.  Two coats.  (5 hours)
  10. Have a friend over to install an outlet above the stove, and put in a microwave with husband's help.  Remove the cabinet from that space so that the microwave height is not weird. (6 hours--what a pal!) 
  11. Take down and spray paint bronze light fixture with satin nickel paint.  Re-install.  (45 minutes)
  12. Team up with husband to re-install doors and drawers with new hinges and add pulls and knobs. Trim out and anchor new locker to the wall.  (4 or 5 hours)
  13. Team up to vacuum sawdust and re-fill contents of drawers. (45 minutes)
  14. Make purchases and returns to various hardware stores over the course of the week. (About 6 trips, and the nearest Lowes/Depot is 30 minutes away.)
  15. Put all the tools and supplies away and take pictures. (30-45 minutes?)
  16. Make a list of everything that remains to be done (paint a faux-tile back splash, change the ceiling fan, commission a stained glass door (thanks to a great friend) for above the microwave, paint the chairs white, re-do the counter top on the island, find new cannisters and throw rugs to compliment the new color scheme, paint the rest of the walls, install new quarter round, get a sliding glass door instead of the French door...) 
  17. Wait for spring break.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Final Count

Movies 45 & 46: The Descendants (so sad, so good) and Hugo (enchanting and magnificent).

I read 82 books and watched 46 movies in 2011.

The end.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
A fast paced book.