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Spray Paint-One of My New Best Friends

7.31.2009
I have already talked about my love affair with many things-my paint deck, ACE cabinet and trim paint and my new washer and dryer (and my husband I guess:)). I have another item to add to that list-spray paint. You can transform anything with a can of spray paint and it is so cheap.

This oil painting used to hang above the mantel at my aunt's house. Growing up I always loved it so when they moved she awesomely passed it on to us. It is actually a "real" oil painting and not a print which is one of the reasons I love it so much. The bright flowers also do not hurt. To tell the truth it is not Derek's favorite painting so I knew that hanging it above our mantel was not an option. We compromised with the powder room off the kitchen. The problem was that the frame did not match the espresso and oil rubbed bronze finishes in that room. Since it was custom framed it was going to be expensive to get a new frame. So it has been sitting in the craft room closet for over a year. Derek has been very sad about this.

Finally I decided to see how it would look spray-painted. I was going to have to drop a couple hundred bucks on a new frame anyway so if i messed it up it would not be a huge deal.

So Derek pried it apart and I taped the cloth part of the frame.
Then i took it outside and put two coats of satin spray paint. The next day we were able to hang it on the wall. It now looks awesome in that room (well at least I think so). There is no natural light in there in order to snap a great photo- so here is flash-burned finished product (the colors are much more vivid without the flash)--

I love how the frame turned out and it only cost $4.

A Different Type of Before/After

7.29.2009
The vegetable garden is in full swing no thanks to the rabbits. Here it is the first weekend in May, right after it was planted.




And here is it is now. It is amazing how quickly it has grown. I took these same pictures a week or two ago and planned on posting those, but when I looked at them again I realized how different it already looked. So I had to go back outside and snap some more.
Beans, peas, jalapeno, and tomato plants

The Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Mint, Sage, Oregano)

Raspberries and Carrots

The Bounty-


In this pic yo can see the lettuce (the tall purpley stuff) before I had to pull it because it was "bolting" and starting to taste bitter. (Winter is enjoying what we like to call her "hot stone massage."

Enough with the pictures, here is what I have learned from my first vegetable garden.

1. I was not successful starting seeds indoors. They grew no problem but even in a sunny window I not think they got enough light and therefore got incredibly leggy. So even though I put them outside a week to harden them off, once I planted them in the ground they fried. So if I decide to start seed indoors next year I will need better light.

2. I need a plan for preserving food as it matures. We have so much more food than we know what to do with. We are making every jalapeno recipe possible but there are still 5 in our fridge and another 5 on the plant.

3. Eat lettuce early. I knew it was a cool season annual from my reading but I did not realize how quickly it would bolt and then become too bitter to eat. We did get a lot of good salads out of it but I was so worried about it eating it too quickly that a lot of it went to waste. I am also going to maybe find something to shade it next year so it hopefully will bolt later in the season.

4. Add tons of compost even in brand new enriched garden soil. Mid season I had to add a lot more for water retention than for any other reason. The soil on it own was requiring water everyday and was developing giant cracks.

5. Check the garden for ripe fruit and vegetables everyday just to make sure that birds or other animals do not get to them first.

I am sure that by the end of the growing season that I will have a lot more "learning experiences." Considering this is my first vegetable garden, I am very happy how it turned out. And there is nothing better than getting a large portion of your dinner from the backyard.
Awwwww summer.....

Call Me Crazy

7.28.2009
OK before you think I have totally last my mind....that should read "half-marathon" which is not nearly as cool but at least attainable. If you would have told me six months ago that I would be paying money to run 13.1 miles I would have laughed at you.

I have not updated the blog on my running progress because honestly I thought I could not keep it up and did not want to admit that. But I finished the Couch to 5K program four weeks ago (with all the boxes checked off) and moved onto higher mileage. The other thing that has pushed me is my new running partner. It is so much easier to get out of bed early when you know someone is waiting for you. It also helps that your running partner has completed a full marathon and you don't want to look weak in front of her so you push yourself to the point of feeling like you are going to puke. Not that it has happened to me:). If I was on my own on the short runs during the week, I so would have stayed in bed and would have starting walking wayyyy before the puking point.

I told myself that if I could successfully run five miles last week then I would consider signing up for the half. Well I did that on Sunday and even felt like I could have gone farther. So with my friend Sarah's urging, I decided to take the plunge. Barring injury I will be running 13.1 miles in October. I decided that even if I have to walk it Biggest Loser style that I am going to be able to do it.

This is not to say that I am converted to running. The girl who hated P.E. with a passion is still in there. My Achilles is aching and while I am strangely looking forward to running 6 miles this weekend, I looked at every bike that passed me while I was jogging last weekend with jealousy. Also that whole "going back to work thing" might put I slight crimp in my time for training. So we will see what the next weeks hold and how I continue in my training. But since I committed I have no choice but to keep going. Especially now that I admitted it here......wow I really am crazy.

Reason # 28475008

7.24.2009
In case you have not noticed, summer is my favorite season. One of the reasons is I have a lot of vacation (duh). But I also love being able to garden, eat outside, casual entertaining and summer drinks like margaritas. A margarita while you are wearing a sweatshirt and sitting under a blanket on the couch is just not the same as sipping one in a swimsuit on the lake or on the back deck.

Another reason I love summer is easy decorating. No need for expensive accessories or centerpieces. All you need is a cabinet full of various sized vases and your backyard garden. A couple of snips and you have an awesome centerpiece with no cost and minimal effort. I am not a flower-arranging pro but anyone can throw some flowers in vase and bring a natural element into the house.

For example here is one that took me three seconds to snip and throw in a bowl but I love it next to the lamp on our side table in the family room. And I only had to fight one bumblebee to get the flowers.


Obviously it is not the most creative since it involves only one type of flower but that is the point-it is supposed to be easy and not fussy. Ahhhh summer.

Good News/Bad News

7.23.2009
I guess actually I should say Bad News/Good News since I am going to start with the Bad first. But it just does not have the same ring to it.

Anyway the bad news is that today was my first day back at work. In some ways I love the a new school year with all the excitement and resolutions that things are going to go differently this year. Everyone is in a great mood. I am thinking about posting my personal new school year resolutions but I don't think that they would mean anything to anyone but me. I will spare you the time it would take to read that pointless post.

I actually was OK getting up this morning and work was a nice change of pace because it did not involve painting and I actually showered before six p.m. But it does not change the fact that I am back at work and do not have another day off until Labor Day (or maybe tomorrow and next Friday because we are still on summer schedule, but that does not sound as pathetic). I am sure all of you out there that work 12 months a year are really not feeling my pain (like my husband) but I can still call it bad news because it means slowing down on the ambitious projects. I keep arguing that since I worked summer school that I only had 2.5 weeks of vacation and in the education world that is nothing. But still no sympathy.

On to the good news- since I am back at work my blogging should return to its regular schedule. You would think that when I have all day to work on projects that I would be cranking out post after post. But I was surprised to learn that this was in fact the opposite. It is hard to blog when you are wearing paint clothes all day and cannot sit at a computer long enough to type. So stay tuned because I have a lot of material to cover in the next couple of weeks. I have been busy and all the projects are at about 90% now so I better get my butt in gear over the weekend to get them all finished for your reading enjoyment.

Stay tuned!

An Underwhelming Reveal

7.15.2009
I have been MIA lately but it is not because I have been at the pool.....really. I have been so busy with projects that I have not had time to blog about them. I have one more full week of vacation before going back to work so I am trying to cram as much in as possible. So hopefully after I am back on the schedule of working that I will have more structure in order to get posts done and also tons of things to post about since I have been so busy. Sometimes I am more productive when I have less time in my day.

Anyway the first project of my summer vacation was the kitchen cabinets. Yes we just redid them last year so this was a sad project deja vu. What did we do to them? I added a coat of paint to everything and two coats of polyurethane. Sounds simple and quick but the entire process took me a week. First we had to take off all the hardware, wash all the doors, remove the doors from the hinges, tape the backs, tape along the floor, drop cloth and then move it all upstairs (which also needed to be set up). That was before I even started to paint. So here is the house in disaster state all week.

Obviously we are not ever going to be able to pull off the open shelving look.

This is definitely not going to be the most rewarding project I have ever done. A) because it forever and B) no one is even going to be able to tell the difference. Case in point- here is the dramatic before and after pics-
I bet you keep scrolling back and forth wondering if it is possible that it is the same room....

So why go through all the trouble? We learned over the past year that black cabinets are difficult to keep clean especially when there is no protective coat over them. You would think white would be more difficult but every speck of dust and fingerprint is visible with black. Were they OK? Yes, but I was worried that once we have little ones with more messes that I would be kicking myself for not adding poly when I had the time. On the other hand, I was also worried that the poly would make them too shiny but we used satin finish and they look about the same as before. But now they just look cleaner and feel even smoother.

I still love my Ace cabinet and trim paint and for anything else besides black kitchen cabinets, I am not even thinking about adding the poly step. It is just the combination that those cabinets get so much wear and the black color. The moral of this project is to not cut corners the first time so you do not have redo it again and waste a week on an boring project. Learned that one the hard way.

I Say/You Say

7.06.2009
Hope everyone had an awesome 4th! We spent the day with friends at the pool, BBQing, and then watching fireworks. I wish I could say I had tons of pics to share but again I brought the camera but did not take it out of the bag. Sarah did snap a classic one of me giving her dog the remnants of my beer. Bailey loves it I swear. It was a great time and honestly more than we usually do on this holiday because a certain dog has an extreme firework phobia.

We are gearing up for a full week of projects but since I have not had time to snap pics I just thought I would share this until tomorrow. I originally saw this on one of my favorite blogs Nuestra Vida Dulce and loved it.
Click here to see it larger
Growing up in St. Louis it was always considered soda and anyone who said pop was from the country (or Hoosier which means redneck in St. Louis lingo). Moving to the western portion of the state, everyone says pop. I swore I would never do it. But five years later, I am catching myself referring to it as pop. I think it is so interesting if you look regional variation even within a state. So do you think this is accurate?