Thursday, July 24, 2014

Busy Baby

 My girl is really hitting her stride with age 4. She is so happy and sweet and funny. She still has her moments - that little foot does love to stomp when she's mad - but life with Miss V is never dull and nearly always full of giggles.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rocking Chalk

 Work on the playhouse is, of course, ongoing. James has done some caulking and some work on the trim. I've done painting and a few small things. And today, the kids and I finished the big chalkboard. I had a large board leftover from the floor, so I screwed that onto the wall. I sanded it smooth, and then the kids and I primed it. I bought untinted chalkboard paint base. I didn't have it tinted, because I thought I might like to tint portions of it different colors for different projects. For this project, I poured some into a container, added some teal paint I had (the J-bird's choice), and then the J-bird and I painted on two coats, while Miss V was napping. We also painted the little wood table that Amy gave us to put in there. After the paint was dry, The J-bird and I built a little tray for the chalk. It's a very cheerful addition to the inside of the playhouse, I think!

Next up, installing the windows, and painting the floor...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Minty Fresh Library Table

 A while back, Amy and I found a cool little wooden library table at a thrift store for ten bucks. It had nasty, old, sticky, dark stain all over it, and the wood on the bottom isn't anything super special, though it has some sweet details, but the TOP is gorgeous. It has an inlaid design that just needed help to be brought back to life.

I sanded all the old, nasty stain off the beautiful top, and then used stripper (Amy helped with the scraping. I hate using stripper) on the rest. This piece is for Amy's new apartment, and she wanted it painted mint, so the bottom of the table got a coat of that shade, and then I distressed it with my sander and then with a sheet of sandpaper. I love using my sander, but sometimes it's easier to get the details by hand.

 Here's how it turned out:

The top got a light coat of polyurethane, but that's it. I love how it looks!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sprinkler Running

 It's a childhood summer staple.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

When the Mice are Away

 For the first couple of days this week (while the kiddos have been at Farm Camp), I didn't do a whole lot. On Monday, I sat around, listening to the silence for a while. Then I watched some Netflix and vegged. On Tuesday, I drove to DEQ to get my car emissions tested, and then I met Amy for lunch. I went to the grocery store BY MYSELF. Stuff like that. But on Wednesday, I decided to tackle a project I've been thinking about and approaching with the side-eye for a while : my kitchen chairs.

We have a nice, wooden dining set that James and I bought when the J-bird was teeny tiny. I have no intention of getting rid of it. It fits the space well, but it has taken a right beating over the last six or seven years. Babies have poked at the table with forks and gnawed on the backs of the chairs with brand new teeth (those little teeth marks will be staying, btw). I don't mind it looking a little bit beat-up, but the finish has never been quite right, so I figured I'd need to refinish eventually. And then, there are the chairs. The seats of the chairs had these awful scratches on them. I couldn't figure out where they were coming from (we've since narrowed it down to a particular pair of James's jeans, but have you ever noticed how most jeans have rivets or buttons on the seat? Yeah. Chair scratchers.), but the seats were deeply gouged and just looked awful. I knew I needed to sand them down and re-stain them, but, because you know I can't leave anything plain, I decided to go fancy, using a modified version of this technique I found on a blog called Domestic Imperfection.

While I had the seat of each chair sanded, I painted a design on, using off-white paint (from the baseboards and trim in my house. Yeah. That's not super fancy. Sorry.) I looked on the internet for inspiration pictures, usually of stencils, since these were going to be single color silhouettes. I elaborated on the inspiration pictures to get what I wanted. I thought about trying to cut stencils, but I decided that'd be too much trouble and went with painting directly on the seats instead. I painted each chair with a different design, using very small brushes, mostly, and scratching out some tiny details with a toothpick. Painting each design took about an hour and a half to two hours. Here's how a couple of them looked, once painted:

After the paint dried, I applied stain over the whole seat, including over the top of the paint. This darkened the paint slightly and made it more wood-tone. Each chair seat got two coats of stain and then two coats of polyurethane. Most of our jeans will be getting pliers taken to the backsides. No more rivets and snaps to scratch up my lovely chairs!

Here's how they turned out:

The kids are laying claim to their favorites, but James tried to override the J-bird's choice and claim the octopus for himself, using Daddy Privilege. They may have to duke that one out. The J-bird also expressed some slight disappointment that there was no dinosaur chair.

Sorry, kiddo. Maybe on the table top...