Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Antique Salvaged Door Entry Storage Solution

If you're anything like me, your entry way can get to be a mess. I have no before pictures, but I will describe it for you... A gorgeous salvaged piece of barn wood flooring, mounted on the wall with an iron key holder to hold our keys. A pair of salvaged antique, peeling-paint, rickety and so gorgeous corbels from a porch were used as brackets to hold a cabinet door posing as a shelf. On the floor, was a boot tray for everyone's shoes. Sounds moderately cute and functional, right? Well, you're wrong.

This is the story of how I fixed that, and made this:



Before, the entry was cute in theory, but really looked like this: the key holder was the only moderately functioning area. It held things alright. Andrew would come home and put his hats, sunglasses, and badge on it, and take up all the hooks for keys. When there were keys there, his hats would just hide them. The shelf was a piece of junk because it didn't fit the corbels, and the corbels themselves were glued back together because they were so elderly they broke while hanging them on the wall, causing it to wobble if you bumped into it. Which we did ALL THE TIME. The boot tray became a mud trap with 57 pairs of shoes in it (there are only 4 people in this house). By the end of the week, it looked like a mountain of shoes in a tray. There was no nice place handy to put my purse or diaper bag, or guests to leave their stuff by the door, so we aimed for the floor. Worked nicely. A mountain of crap!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

82 Pounds of Peaches

Ok, maybe not exactly 82 pounds, but it sure looked like it.


My mom and I took Lilly and AJ to a local orchard for some peach picking. We absolutely love pick-your-own fruit!  There's something so fantastic about either getting on a hayride or parking between rows of trees, wandering through fields of orchards with a gigantic empty box. I truly think I belong on an orchard or farm, so picking-your-own fruit is right up my alley.


We've picked apples a billion times over the years and I've baked pies with the bushels. Not to mention, apples are one of my favorites to pick because they stay fresh much longer.

Berries are also a fun back-breaking time, but they're only fresh for a few days once you get 'em home. AJ has a blueberry problem. He's obsessed. Look at that face...caught berry handed, picking off the bush and eating them right away. They encourage sampling, but the amount of berries this kid could sample if allowed to freely wander in a blueberry patch would just qualify as stealing.


Monday, August 4, 2014

French Bread Board Face Lift

I did a super quick morning DIY project! We were given an adorable French (or Macy's, no one knows) bread board from my husband's aunt. It sounds awful, but I hated the color, it was really gross looking and had seen better days (not in the antique-sense of the word) and was otherwise in a basement for decades with whatever was crawling on top of it.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Letting Go of Control and Learning To Pick the Biggies

Our 1 year old boy makes me insane. I N S A N E. Crazy. Nuts. Stressed out. Lunatic. The kind of insane when you can't remember the last time you got dressed, did your hair (possibly showered) and looked presentable enough to speak with other human beings, brand of insane. I'm not sure what I expected when we had our son, Andrew (AJ, Hammy), but I'm pretty sure it was the exact opposite of what it's turned out to be.


Raising Lilly (who is now 4), has been incredibly uneventful. She tests our patience, and I'd be worried if she didn't. She's independent, sweet, polite, a great leader, a tomboy ballerina, creative, active, and (too) smart, a gigantic pain in our asses when she rolls her eyes, gives attitude, and is otherwise a teenager trapped in a preschooler's body.  When I was pregnant with AJ, I had a feeling it was a boy (we didn't find out the sex of any of our kids), and was trying to mentally prepare myself because I had no idea what to expect.

And I should have known, right then and there, that I was screwed.


From the second he was born, he was constantly doing something, whether it was eating, pooping, sleeping, thrashing out of a swaddle, throwing his body away from you in an effort to get his toys, trying to claw his eyes out with his little un-manicured hands, and trying to eat those stupid mittens. I couldn't figure out his eating schedule nor his throwing up schedule, and I was trying to keep Lilly as much to her schedule as I could, while trying to figure out my own new schedule. The first few months after a freshly hatched human spends navigating the sea are complete insanity - but I really didn't think things would mellow. Did I mention 2 weeks before AJ arrived we moved into our new home? Which, was probably one of our best ideas yet, in all honesty. They finally mellowed out, but I still couldn't catch up. Blogging was impossible, school work was impossible, and all I could manage doing was keeping the 3 of us alive until Andrew got home from work. Once AJ was 6 months, I started school again, and did a few things with the blog and home projects, but nothing consistent except school.


Then we were a mobile roller at 3-4 months. He started crawling and pulling up at 5-6 months, cruising at 7 months. Walking at 9 1/2 - 10 months, running at 11 months. Climbing on the couches and climbing off without face planting on things, at 12 months.


Lilly was much the same in her meeting the developmental milestones, but I wasn't nearly as stressed out. Maybe because it was just 1 kid, or maybe her personality wasn't thinking heart attacks were funny, and when I told her to get down off something, she did it (after the 3rd time). Not Andrew. Instigator. Button pusher. Needler. Thrill seeker. Smarty (I hope).

Everyone with boys tell me that it's all normal and it's just the way they are. I'm 99% sure I believe them. Like I said, I'd be worried if all he did was sit there with no desire to explore. But, really though, can I have 5 minutes where the kid sits still, doesn't try to eat cat food (it's happened twice now), climb a shelf, break through the locking baby gate, roll off the couch face first, or make me question whether or not we have to go to the ER? I didn't think so.



In the last 2 months or so, I've finally found a mental place where I feel completely in control. Ok, maybe 80% in control.

The most important thing I've learned in AJ's first year, is this:

         

The more I tried to control AJ (in general), I realized I had no control at all. I would stress myself out over so many things, and it would just get worse. Then, I would try to control things even more because I felt so not in control. When I let go of wanting to be in control of everything, I felt more in control. Kids are going to explore, get into situations, defy everything you say, be independent, and essentially grow up. I felt the need to place parameters on AJ because his exploring was just balls-to-the-wall, where Lilly was safety-cautious-yet-still-pretty-ballsy.  I let them turn the living room into a circus, the sofa becomes a trampoline, they jump in the real trampoline, roll in the sandbox, play on the jungle gyms. There is no controlling what AJ (or Lilly for that matter) is going to do, so I got over that real quick. If their environment is safe, it's go for takeoff (usually literally). If you're in a parking lot or crowded area, I've got you on lockdown. Don't get it twisted, kids.

I pick the biggies. Crap, I sound like my mother. She had to pick the biggies with me. I should've seen it coming. I said I would pick the biggies with Lilly, but never really had to, and it took me a year to realize I should've been doing that months ago with AJ.


Life is so much easier, and I am in more control and feel more in control, when I pick the battles that need to be fought, rather than obsessing over everything... just in time for baby #3!

If you have a kid (or a few), and that kid makes you feel like a crazy person, please let me know what works for you!
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Pie Safe with DIY Chalk Paint

I hate painting furniture. Whenever I do, it always dries tacky and I am really awful at not getting brush marks in it. The only pieces I've redone that I'm totally in love with, are the kitchen island and Lilly's dresser. Both I painted from the same can of paint (which was free but normally high-quality paint). I think it's the quality of paint I must use that gives me crummy results, rendering me hating to paint furniture. Read: I'm cheap.
Two Ten Handmade - Pie Safe w/DIY Chalk Paint
Which brings me to this concept of chalk paint. I've used chalkboard paint before, and I kept hearing people talk about chalk paint. I never knew what it was, until I started reading up on it. I'm jaded with painting things, remember? As it were, I decided to read up on this magical expensive paint. I really want to try Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but I didn't want the cost involved with possibly hating it. Chalk paint dries with a soft, matte, chalk-like finish, and lends itself awesomely to distressing furniture and waxing for texture and dimension. It also dries incredibly fast. Since it needs no primer, sanding or other prep work, I was on board. Did I mention, I hate painting furniture? The sanding. Anyway.

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