Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh... hi...

She said casually as though she had not been MIA for the past week or so. Yikes.
I am stressing because I haven't put up a post in a long time... and the truth is I have many projects prepared, and in progress... but getting them online has been a bit of a challenge.
So, hang tight... be patient with me, I am getting things in order...

The problem here is that I start 50 projects at once... and nothing really gets finished in a timely fashion.
I have new lights to share, a neat curtain rod idea, a painted piece of furniture, an almost complete craft room... things are clipping right along. At a very Amy pace. It's who I am!
I hope those of you with today off are enjoying your long weekend, and to my Canadian comrades... a full work week ahead for us I guess.... how long until July first weekend? :)
Happy Monday folks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Slack on, Slacker!

Thank goodness for my pal Kelly last week! Between first T-ball game, crazy hair day, surprise school concerts and a couple days of yard work I was tapped out when it came time to post. Kelly really saved the week with her awesome posts (how excellent was that dresser?! Loved that.)

But today I am getting back on track for this week, I have a few posts lined up, and I am spending the day getting them ready to go - we had a productive, but busy week and have spent our evenings and weekends really tackeling those constant eyesores we had going on.

The first up was our lovely backyard. We are so lucky to have a big backyard in the city, especially with a busy boy and a crazy dog. They both really enjoy it. It is almost heartbreaking to admit, this yard was planted and designed by a landscape architect before we swooped down with our play gym, dog and cluelessness. Between the destruction of those two, and the random attempts of the Big Mister and myself when it comes to gardening this backyard it was time to admit this was no longer a sweet, green, lush yard. It was now a balding, out of shape yard.

Go ahead. Cue the sad trombone. Every spring this is what we were to be faced with. We had to do something about it. Honestly we had been slowly picking away at making some improvements to the yard for the past couple of years... but then it gets really REALLY nice... and we go to the in laws cottage. They have a great yard. Heh.

So over the last week or so when we had the opportunity we managed to haul those rocks out from under the deck and shape out the bed, remove the ever-persistent creeping charlie (grr!!) fill it with bags upon heavy bags of topsoil, transplant some wandering extra hostas and top it with many many bags of mulch. Finally I have something back there that makes me smile (not including small mister, and the crazy dog) and gives some pride back to the once sad back yard.

There are still a few bald spots... oh yes. We know. BUT... they have been seeded... and we are hoping for the best. It's only hostas, yes, I know, but it's not a track of mud and dirt anymore. So I say mission accomplished.

Oh - and since I am all about sharing here... have you ever taped off your kids head with green painters tape? Luckily they quickly see they now have rad purple stripes for Crazy Hair Day, and are not HIGHLY pissed at  your "brilliance" anymore.

Oh. Hmm. Pretend this doesn't look like a mug shot, and that he is smiling... 

Thanks for stopping in today!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A piece of my childhood...

Kelly here.  Once again!

Okay, so I mentioned cleaning out my garage that left me with ample space to work on a big project. My garage is so clean & organized I am debating moving my bed out there. 

Here it is.  My project.  This was my dresser from my childhood...

 Well, sans the drawers.  And here's the top...

Very 1980-something, right??  My mom has been a dear and held onto these pieces since...oh, let's not date ourselves.  I was about 5 seconds from telling her to just put it on Craigslist when it dawned on me...I had a spot for it!  The perfect spot.  I have been searching high and low for something to put in my dining room.  All along I was thinking "buffet" style.  I was picturing something I could store our dinner/serving dishes in and maybe display a few fun things on top.   All of a sudden I had a vision of how this piece from my childhood could work.

I gave it all a light sanding and thought I could just paint over that.  Nope.  Silly me.  So, I went to the helpful folks in the Home Depot paint department and they pointed me in the right direction.  I picked up an oil-based primer...

This helps so that the grain in the wood does not bleed through the paint.  It worked!  I can't imagine how many coats of paint I would applied without that stuff as my base.  The gal at the Home Depot tinted it for me since the color I was painting over it was so dark.  I also pulled the paneling off the back of the top piece of the dresser before I got started.  Only about 537 staples holding that sucker on.  Yeeeeaaaaa. 

Helpful hint for cleaning up oil-based paints from my days in art classes in college:  A handful of olive oil and about a tablespoon of salt.  Scrub.  Scrub.  Scrub.  Not only does it totally remove the paint, but it leaves your hands soft and pretty.

Primed and ready to paint...

See that sunshine?  About dang time.  The kids were able to play outside while I applied coats.  I was obsessed with painting this.  I love painting.  It's so relaxing for me, but the whole "waiting for paint to dry" biz-nazz...had me bouncing off the walls.  I was so flipping excited to have this thing DONE.  I even woke up at like 6 am one morning, coffee in hand, hauling every lamp we had in the house out to the garage to put on another coat.  Basically, this gal doesn't see 6 am unless the house is on fire and I need to save lives.   

This is what was on my dining room wall before. Very blah.  I do really like the pictures (sorry for the reflections on the glass) and I love my big "E", but I never liked what I had going on there overall.  Plus, I needed more storage in the room.  Like I said, I pictured a buffet under it or something similar.

But, THIS is what sits there now...

I painted it Behr's Bitter Chocolate in a semi-gloss to match the table, chairs and wine rack in the room.  It did require two coats but the paint went on easy and even.  I did have some touch up spots that were hard to see in my garage but showed up in my home.  Just little things that my eyes spotted & made me twitchy.  Even the light still works.  Pretty sure my mom had the same bulb in there that I had as a kid.  Almost an antique, right?

I put our dinner dishes on the shelves and it makes setting the table easy for our oldest (her chore, my sweet gal).  Sure, I'm not displaying fine china, but I do really like my dishes and I think they work well in this spot.  Plus, it freed up and entire cupboard in my kitchen.  Bonus!  I found some new pulls for the drawers on sale and I filled the drawers with my crew's art supplies and the things I like to keep contained in the dining the dreaded Play-Doh & finger paints.  Since my crew likes to paint and color at the table, this worked so well to keep all their fun stuff in one accessible spot.  My huge roll of finger-paint-paper fit perfectly in the bottom drawer.  The kids can just pull it out and tear it off.  Simple.  It looks pretty (in my humble opinion, of course) and it's very functional.  THAT was my goal.  I am SO happy with how it turned out.  Thanks to my mom for holding onto this for me.  Who would have thought my childhood dresser would someday show up in my dining room?  Overall, I think I invested $20 into this project. 

I am debating covering the back panelling that I saved with fabric & reattaching it.  I am thinking a pretty print to match the rest of the room OR do I just leave it open with the exposed wall behind?  That's my only hang-up right now.  Any thoughts??  I am thinking something like this to blend in with my curtains and chair pads...

I really love the 1st and 3rd one.  The open shelves work for me too.  I'm torn.  Thanks for looking!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mudders Day!

Kelly here. 

I called Amy Saturday night and gave her the heads up that I will have a couple of fun things to share with her faithful followers this week.  And to wish her a Happy Mother's Day! 

My mom found this pillow in a boutique in Duluth, Minnesota...

Awwww...adorable.  My mom passed on it (mainly because my crew was restless and dying to get back to the hotel and SWIM), but not before I snapped a pic with my phone.  I surprised her and created the pillow for her for Mudders Day...

All I needed was fabric for the pillow, wool felt in various colors to match my mom's family room, embroidery thread for the stems, leaves and flowers, stuffing and a needle.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day in Minnesota so I cut everything and sat outside in the sunshine while the kids played and worked on this pretty pillow. 

My end result...

Eh, close enough.  This was my first time giving something like this a shot.  I picked some colors that were more "my mom" and I kind of did my own thing with the stitching on the flowers.  She LOVED it.  I was pretty excited to give her something that will remind her of one of our many get-aways to the North Shore. 

And, it wouldn't be Mother's Day without my mom making something that brings tears to my eyes...

How sweet is that?  I love to craft and create, but nothing I make compares to the things my mom whips up.  Those are my three little dear babies...when they were babies.  Seems like yesterday.  I can't wait to hang this in my home. 

I will leave you with something funny my oldest boy said to me on Friday...

We were waiting for the bus to arrive and with the weather improving day by day we kill the time by drawing on the driveway with chalk or he gives me his rundown on his thoughts on life.  He's four, by the way.  Lots of important thoughts on life.  We are working on spelling and letter recognition and he writes the names of people he knows on the driveway as "homework."  Mainly himself, his older sister and little "brudder."  Friday he wrote my name...MOM.  I asked him to spell my name for me and he says...


Um...we have some work to do.  That's an "M"...not McDonalds.

Happy Mother's Day!!   I'll be back with my big project to share this week :) Thanks for looking!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'd like to buy an "E", please.

Kelly here!  Writing to you from the (still!) frozen tundra.  Not even kidding.  I ran errands with my youngest today and there were flakes in the air. 

In other news, I had my annual garage sale last week and despite the cold and the lingering snow flurries...we did awesome.  I run this sale with my good friend each year and though it's a ton of work and we get some crazies...the outcome this year was FAR beyond my expectations.  It's part of the city-wide sales at the end of April each year and each year we get the same...a day of crap weather and a day of sunshine.  We can both say we have never had snow before.  This year I was thankful for: HOT coffee, my patio heater that became my garage heater & a hot shower at the end of the day...followed by a big glass of red wine. The crap weather day never fails to be our best.  At one point I had a line of six people waiting to buy our junk.  My husband is so happy the "garage sale pile" is totally gone from the storage room in the basement and I cleaned every inch of the garage to prepare for the annual event.  All I was left with was a couple of boxes of stuff and that was dropped off at the Goodwill this morning. So, the outcome was a few more dollars than expected in my craft fund, a very clean garage, major de-cluttering and getting to spend some much-needed quality time with a very good friend.  Thank you, Sarah! 

The clean garage will tie into something I am working on later this week...stay tuned!  I'm pretty excited.  Or, as my youngest says "I'm berry me-cited!" 

I wandered aimlessly around Michael's yesterday (Alone! Yay!) with a gift card from my birthday.  I had a few things in mind that I "needed."  A frame, something for my new little kitchen table to hold napkins, salt and pepper and still look cute and a fun pot for a table I painted to sit on my front steps should spring ever arrive.  I also wanted a little craft to work on while I watched my Sunday night shows.  I have mentioned before that I love decorating with letters.  I found some fun little E's in the wood aisle.  So, I walked over to paper (which was 4 for $1, by the way!) and picked out some cute prints to cover it.  Yes, I know how to do more than cover objects in paper.  You just wait.  I will be able to prove it in a future posting. 

PS.  The radio just told me it was the coldest May 2nd in the Twin Cities since 1909.  Come on.

I traced my first E onto a pretty print...

I traced my next E & then I busted out my Modge Podge and made sure that paper wasn't going anywhere...

Want to know what I turned these pretty little "E's" into? 


The inside of the white E was making me twitchy (too white) so I added some dark purple paper along the edges.  All I did was glue some magnets to the back.  Should you want to do this too, make sure you buy some heavy duty magnets.  I was testing mine through the packaging in the store.  I let the glue dry overnight.

That frame I was looking for?  See...more letters!

My sister Therese had this idea and a couple of years ago we all made something similar for my mom for Mother's Day.  It's me and my lovely sisters: Erin, Therese & Laura.  I saved a set of photos for myself.  I have been meaning to make a copy for my home. 


Love. Love. Love. 

I am hanging it above the steps leading to the family room.  Don't forget Mother's Day is this Sunday!  Maybe I gave you an idea for a gift?  Shout out to my mom for being so loving, hard-working and talented.  I hope to someday be a fraction of the person she is.  And to my mother-in-law for loving me like one of her own.  She did an awesome job raising her son to work hard for his family & keep me laughing. 

I'll be back this week with something else to share :)  Maybe I will have better weather to report.  In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and looking!  Enjoy!