Sunday, June 15, 2014

I made a printable!

Lately I've been obsessed with printables. I've scoured Pinterest and the blogosphere for free printables that I can use in the gallery on my living room wall. The center focus is our family portrait, surrounded by frames of various sizes. My goal is to have a mix of favorite photos and seasonal printables that I can switch out as appropriate.

 Some of my favorite printables are the "chalkboard" ones. I have a small collection of Christmas printables that have lyrics to my favorite Christmas songs that I can't wait to bust out. But in the meantime, I'm looking for everyday prints that I won't get sick of until it's time to put out the fall prints.

I love music and certain lyrics stick with me, either because they have special meaning or because they run through my head constantly. My favorite band is Dashboard Confessional, and one of my favorite lines from their song "Hell on the Throat" says "And when the sand turns to glass/and all that's left is the past/I will love you still." I decided I wanted to make that into a chalkboard printable.

I downloaded a chalkboard background like such:

and uploaded it to Then I just typed the lyrics I wanted, fiddled around with the fonts (I'm a font junkie; most of these fonts were downloaded from and added some corners.


I think it turned out pretty well for a first attempt! Now I just have to wait for a Shutterfly code to appear in my inbox since I'm too cheap (I prefer "thrifty") to pay full price for anything.

Also, if the two of you who read this blog would like to print this for yourselves, feel free!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How to fix scratches in wood furniture

Recently I was given a beautiful old rocking chair.

It's my husband's new favorite chair. However, the rockers had some scratches, as is to be expected.

I had seen a pin floating around Pinterest about fixing scratches on wood furniture with white vinegar and oil so I decided to give it a shot. I mixed equal parts white vinegar and vegetable oil (I imagine olive oil would work, too) and rubbed it into the scratches.

That's it! Some of the deeper scratches are still slightly visible upon close inspection (and reflected in the flash from my crappy camera) but overall it looks almost as good as new! 

An easy fix with minimal effort and stuff I already had in the cupboard.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back in the saddle again

I've been neglecting my poor baby blog for some time now. All spring and summer, in fact. I've been in a writing slump, I guess. Hopefully with moving into a new place and starting some new projects, my creative juices will start flowing once more and I can post more than twice a year.

My latest project combined three of my favorite things: thrifting, painting, and the color turquoise. I found the perfect set of coffee/end tables at the thrift store.

Ugly, dark, water stained...what's not to love?

I decided to use chalk paint (not chalkboard paint, those are two different animals) because it would give me the finish I wanted. Andplusalso it requires no sanding or priming. I also decided to make my own chalk paint because a.) it would let me use literally any color I wanted (Brands like Annie Sloan have limited colors) and b.) it's cheaper. (Annie Sloan is expensive.) You say "cheap", I prefer the term "thrifty."

After scouring the internet for DIY chalk paint recipes, I decided to use plaster of Paris. (You can also use calcium carbonate or unsanded grout.) The hardest part (no really, it was agonizing) was choosing the perfect paint color. Everything was either too blue or too green. 

Finally, after my third trip to Lowes and poring over umpteen paint samples, I wandered over into a different section and my eyes lit on the perfect color. 

Olympic aqua chiffon. It was like the heavens opened up and a glorious light shone down upon it. Or maybe it was just the florescent lighting. Tomato, tomahto.

Again, the appeal of this type of paint is that it requires virtually no prep work. No sanding or priming. (Full disclosure: the paint that I used was paint and primer in one.) I wiped down the tables with a damp cloth and a bit of dishsoap and mixed my paint while they dried. I used a 3:1:1 ratio (3 parts paint, 1 part each plaster of Paris and water) It's VERY IMPORTANT to mix the PoP and water together first before adding it to the paint. Make sure you stir it well to eliminate any lumps. I used 1 1/2 cups of paint and 1/2 cup each of plaster and water.

A little bit of chalk paint goes a long way; I was able to do 2 coats of paint on all three tables with what I mixed. I let them dry overnight and distressed the edges and spots on the legs with some 80 grit sandpaper and voila:

The final step was to finish it off with some clear furniture wax. I used Johnson's paste wax. A word to the wise: make sure you do this step outside because this stuff reeks. I'll have to see how they hold up in the high traffic area of a living room to gauge whether or not I need to coat it with a heavy duty sealant instead. But for now, they're done and I love them. I'm so excited to decorate my new living room, all my milk glass will look amazing against the turquoise . I also want to add some pops of apple green as an accent color (even though I hate the term "pop of color") and maybe a hint of pink.

So that's my latest project, hopefully the next post will be sooner than 6 months.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Remembering a neighbor: 10 years later

I grew up watching PBS. Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood hold a very special, almost sacred place in my heart. They are more than just shows I enjoyed watching as a child, they are a part of my childhood, a part of me. I remember sitting in my grandmother's living room, singing along with Kermit and Ernie, counting in Spanish, rushing out to tell my grandmother "the people want to talk to you!" during pledge drives.

Ten years ago today, the world lost a very special neighbor. I'll never forget the moment I found out. I was getting ready for school and I turned the news on as I always did. Over a stock clip of the always-smiling Mr. Rogers were superimposed the words "Remembering a Neighbor." I sat down in shock. As a senior in high school, it had been years since I had actually watched the show, but all the memories came rushing back in a wave. Mr. Rogers visiting the crayon factory. Mr. Rogers teaching me how to spell "friend." Mr. Rogers promising me I could never go down the drain. The Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

When I got to school, my friends gathered at my locker as they usually did. (Mine was located at the corner of both Senior halls and thus a prime central location for morning chit chat.) "Did you hear about Mr. Rogers?" we asked one another, sad-eyed. My friend Nick retrieved his track jacket from his locker. Shrugging it onto his shoulders, he looked heavenward, said "This is for you, Fred," and zipped it up to his chin and halfway back down.

My favorite Mr. Rogers story ever is about the time he had his car stolen. After the story appeared on the news, the car was returned 48 hours later to the same spot, with a note on the dash: "If we had known it was yours, we never would have taken it."

Mr. Rogers taught us so many important lessons, about love, about kindness, about believing in ourselves. But most importantly, he taught us to be helpers.

In this post-9/11, post-Newtown world, in the face of unthinkable tragedies, let us be helpers. Let us be helping hands, listening ears, kind hearts. Let us be good neighbors.

Won't you be my neighbor?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Will you be my Valentine?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner!

I love Valentine's Day. I know it's still a few weeks away, but I decided I wanted to do something different this year. Target had mini mailboxes in their $1 spot and I thought how much fun it would be to get one for each of the girls and put a little surprise in there on the days leading up to Valentine's day. They had alphabet stickers, too, which was perfect to put their names on them.

And some Mint Oreos, just because.

I saw some really cute, meticulously decorated mailboxes on Pinterest:

and while they are adorable, I do not have the patience for that. Especially since they are probably going to get dropped, dented and otherwise deformed by my enthusiastic children.

So I stuck their names on the boxes, added some flair to the flag and the front door, and Maddie asked if hers could have a 4 on it "since I am four!"

Easy peasy.

Every day starting February first, I want to put a little note in each box. Some days I'll put a small trinket in as well. I found some cute socks and rubber duckies (also in the $1 spot)

The big pair on the right is mine.

I also found really cute divided plates and fork and spoon sets that obviously won't fit in the mailboxes, along with some clearance toys to give the girls on V-day (LaLa Loopsy dress up wig for Maddie, play shopping cart for Allie) that are currently hiding in the back of the van. If I bring them into the house the girls' present-radar will go off and they'll find it and ruin the surprise. Plus, it's freezing outside and I'm too lazy to go get the stuff to take a picture.

Anyway, I'm getting a little tired of all the bitter people screaming how much they hate Valentine's Day, how it's a Hallmark Holiday, overcommercialized, blah blah. How they shouldn't need a special day to express their love and they refuse to do it out of spite. First of all, the concept of Valentines equaling love has been around since the 14th century. Second of all, Target has the cutest Valentine's home decor ever and any excuse to use stuff like this:

The square bird plates are my everyday dishes.

is a-ok in my book. And thirdly and most importantly, Valentine's day is my birthday. 

Pretty much how I still feel every year.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I never finish anyth

See what I did there? I am a world-class procrastinator. If procrastination was an Olympic sport, I would be a multiple gold medalist. (It would never be an Olympic sport because all the competitors would show up late, but you get the point) My past is littered with half-finished craft projects: cross stitch butterflies, latch hook rugs, an art assignment from high school.

New Year's means resolutions for a lot of people, and for a lot of people(myself included) it means resolutions that quickly get left in the dust. This year my resolutions are simple. I'm not pledging to run a marathon --

-- but I am doing a ten-week weight loss challenge with some of the (awesome) moms from my (awesome) mommy message board. Having someone to be accountable to will hopefully counteract my basic instinct to do a couple situps and then bail.

I downloaded a great app called  My Fitness Pal that tracks your calories and workouts. You input your starting weight, goal weight, and how active you are (see above .gif) and then it tells you how many calories to aim for. I've been drinking more water, and by more I mean any at all.

I found some great quick workouts on Pinterest and have been getting my cardio in by playing The Michael Jackson Experience on the Wii. (And achieved 10,000 points on Thriller, Inhuman level, thankyewverymuch.) Next up is Zumba on the Kinect which is almost guaranteed to kick my ass.

I'm taking baby steps towards being healthier. (And, let's be honest, I want there to be at least *one* summer where I feel good about myself in a bikini, and I'm not getting any younger.)

Oh, and while we're talking resolutions, I want to learn to crochet. I've got the chain stitch down pretty well, but I'm struggling with the actual crocheting part. I have this problem where if I don't understand how something is supposed to work, it's like there's this wall in front of it that I can't see through. And then it clicks and the wall is lifted.

I've been watching the helpful videos over at Craftyminx's Crochet School and I need to jump back in. I picked up some practice yarn at the local thrift store and I have a hook, all I have to do is force myself to sit down and finish something for once in my life.

So, in summation, my resolutions are simple: workout more, eat less junk, drink more water, and learn to crochet. Maybe I'll get to the marathon next year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The post where I blog about coffee.

I never used to be much of a coffee drinker. I much preferred my caffeine come from a bottle of Dr Pepper. I loved the smell of coffee, not so much the taste. Sorry to all you Starbucks lovers out there, but that stuff is overpriced burnt nastiness. I think that's what turned me off of coffee for so long, the one time that I tried to drink Starbucks. Blech.

The flavored cappuccino from Sheetz slowly began luring me over to the Dark Side: Italian Creme Cake, Vanilla Spiced Chai, and the holy grail of cappucino, CAKE BATTER. Still, I wouldn't call myself a "coffee drinker."

This summer I tried an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts for the first time. I love everything about DD and their delicious, delicious coffee, especially in the summer when I can get it over ice and be refreshed and energized at the same time. I love that they offer free flavor shots; I love it even more that one of those flavors is coconut. (Tangent: Coconut is one of those things that you love or hate, and I am firmly in the camp of love. I wish everything everywhere tasted like coconut all the time.)

Still, coffee was an occasional treat, not an everyday requirement. I never wanted to be one of those people that stumbled around in the morning, zombie-like, grumbling and growling at every unfortunate soul who happened to cross their path before they brewed that life-giving elixir.

Then I was introduced to the wonder that is a Keurig machine. This brilliant little device brews single cups of coffee, and the cups come in dozens of delicious flavors. You can even make hot chocolate, hot apple cider, or tea. Between this genius machine and the magic that is flavored coffee creamer (umm, hello, Heath bar? Almond Joy? Salted caramel mocha? Yes, yes, and drooool.) I was hooked. I'm certainly not a snarling zombie without it, but I do enjoy the morning pick-me-up.

My friend Mandie told me about this site called BzzAgent -- you sign up, fill out some surveys, and they send you free samples of stuff to "buzz" about. (Word-of-mouth marketing campaigns.) It sounded perfect for me--I love free stuff, surveys, and I'll tell anyone who'll listen when I find a product I like.) So I signed up and was matched almost immediately with the Green Mountain Coffee Wellness Collection campaign.

There are two different brews in the collection: Focus Blend, which contains 50 mg of L-Theanine per serving, and Antioxidant Blend, containing vitamins C & E. I was a little skeptical before trying the coffee that it might have a weird "vitamin-y" taste to it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Both blends (medium roast) have a smooth, mellow taste that isn't overpowering or bitter. (And serve as the perfect vehicle for some flavored creamer.)

I can't speak to the clinical effectiveness of either brew, because, well, I'm not a scientist. But I can say that every other person in my family had awful nasty colds last week, and I never got so much as a sniffle. I have no idea whether the antioxidants in the coffee contributed to that or not, but either way it was delicious.

One of the things BzzAgent sends in your BzzKit is a coupon for the product to hand out. So if anyone feels inspired to try the Wellness Collection, here's a code for $3 off:

Go to or and enter code GMCBEWELL

(I don't get any money from BzzAgent or Green Mountain for reviewing their product. Just the delicious coffee that came in my BzzKit.)