Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brighten Up Your Day With Paint!

So - we had this old kitchen table, a favorite and the perfect size for our little kitchen, but not very pretty:

The idea was to sand it smooth, apply stain, and put a checkerboard in the middle.

This is a board from a chess set we have at the house. I used it to mark off the squares.

I applied blue stain around the checkerboard, then masked off the checkerboard lines and painted them black. This was done in two steps - first vertical, and then horizontal - with plenty of dry time between so nothing got smudged. I used my artist's paint in the tube and a very small brush to make the lines. Here's the result:

We had a pretty Wedgwood blue in the garage - a can of "Oops!" paint, Caroline calls it, that she picked up really cheap at Home Depot. The color is perfect for our kitchen. As you may have noticed, the blue stain did not work out. Probably because of the age of the table and various things spilled on it over the years, the stain didn't take evenly, even though I sanded it very thoroughly!

All the blue squares done, and some of the white. I spent a lot of time on the squares, with a very small brush, but it was helpful that I had done the black first. (Mother always told us, "Outline the space you are coloring and then fill it in." We were good colorers in elementary school.)

And here's the finished product. I painted around the checkerboard with the same Wedgwood blue, because that stain just wasn't working. And I sanded and stained with a natural wood stain the rim around the table.

I will finish with 3 coats of clear polyurethane, satin. The legs need cleaned up, stained and varnished. I'll do that last.

Now, we're looking for the perfect chairs to go with our table. They have to be small, light and strong. Oh, and cheap also!

This was fun to do, and pretty simple. I would advise anyone who needs to brighten up their space to grab a can of paint and go at it!

Years ago, in the middle of the winter in Pennsylvania, I came across some bright yellow "Oops!" paint and I soon had a sunny bathroom! The parts I couldn't paint got sparkly contact paper.

So I hope you're having a wonderful day, and if it needs some brightening up get a can of paint!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Home Improvement

Been busy this past week. First of all, we finally got the bathroom painted. It's very hard to take pictures in such a small room, but here are my "before" and "after":

Before - paint falling on my head in shower

Before - pealing paint, tiles missing

After - Yay!

Does this last one look better? "In person," it's about a thousand percent cleaner, brighter, etc. The painter is good at his job and a nice person! We found him by asking the manager (owner?) of the local paint store (note to self: stop in to thank him, and buy something).

Then our wonderful painter found a tile guy who tiled the floor and repaired/replaced tiles on the wall. Here's the best picture I could get of that result. First, the before:

Yuck. And, Yikes!
What you can't see here is that in addition to the missing tiles there were 25 or so loose ones, and I mean about to fall on one's bare toes loose! It's not nice to have a scary bathroom in one's house.

So here's the "after":

Our house was built in 1957, so matching these original wall tiles was impossible. However, we now have a nice neat, not falling down bathroom so I am grateful for small blessings. The pink bathtub stays, for now (sigh).

And my thanks go out anonymously to Winn Dixie, McDonald's and Burger King for accommodating us on the day we could not use our one and only bathroom at home - if you know what I mean....!

Coming very soon: Painting the kitchen table (in my own unique way)!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Remember the tie dyed T-shirts I made for the first grade field day?

Well, the children wrote some lovely thank you notes and included great drawings as well. I love their made up spelling!

As I've said before, thank God for teachers.

And mothers and fathers.

And all who work with kids to keep the world beautiful and our future hopeful.

Here are a couple of kid chuckles I found on the web:

A three-year-old boy went with his dad to see a litter of kittens. On returning home, he breathlessly informed his mother, "There were 2 boy kittens and 2 girl kittens." How did you know?" his mother asked. "Daddy picked them up and looked underneath," he replied. "I think it's printed on the bottom."

A father was at the beach with his children when his four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore, where a seagull lay dead in the sand. "Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked. "He died and went to Heaven," the dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, "Did God throw him back down?"

If you liked these, there are more on

Hope you're having a wonderful day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love and Food

I made valentine pancakes for breakfast:

Red food coloring and a hot griddle, that's all it is.

And we all know food equals love, right?

Is there any holiday that doesn't have food attached to it? I suppose the custom goes back to hunter gatherer societies who had a big party whenever the men came back with the caribou. Sarah Palin's still holding those parties, and who can blame her.

Gets pretty boring living on nuts and berries all the time.

So it's an innate human trait to mix food and celebration. Why, just the other night we had Chinese and I celebrated with a picture:

There's no accounting for how my brain works....!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Seeds In Love

Imagine a couple of seeds finding each other, falling in love, and creating a family of trees - or daisies - or carrots, whatever.

Some years back, people were putting electrodes on their house plants and talking to them. There was a philosophical movement about respecting the emotional life of all living things.

Hey, I believe animals have feelings. I'm not so sure about plants. But who's to say, right?

What if what we call life is just a petri dish in some giant alien's lab? Does that make it any less important to we who are living it?

Fun to think about.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Purple Dishpan Hands

This is what 60 white T-shirts looks like.

I thought that was going to be it and then Caroline told me we were doing them for all five first grade classes - 102 in all! Thus began the tye-dye project, otherwise known as the three days of domestic chaos.

The task was to dye the shirts in groups of about 20, in green, purple, red, orange and blue.

First, the tying, which Caroline did. That big bag of Office Max rubber bands worked well.

I did the dying in buckets and dishpans. No way was I going to put dye in my washing machine. I've gotten into enough trouble putting bleach in the washer. Maybe other people get away with it, but my washer conspires to save just a drop or two and deposits it several loads later on something brand new. I kid you not.

So - I was Ms. Washer Woman for 3 days, with buckets, dishpans and the bathtub. And, yes I used gloves, but they're such a pain, so I took them off during the rinsing process.

Monday was blue/green fingernails.

Tuesday, a lovely shade of yellow.

Wednesday, purplish red.

But I'm such a fashionista, as you know. It really mattered....!

Now here's the fun part - cutting off the rubber bands:

I did give in and do the final rinse in the washing machine. Time will tell whether this was a wise decision, but I was so tired of rinsing and wringing by then that I decided to take a chance on it. I'll let you know if Mr. Washer objects colorfully to that decision.

Dried in the dryer, folded neatly, ready to go:

I am definitely not a dying expert, but I think they turned out OK. I am told the children were very cute, looking like 100 lively easter eggs on the school playing field.

Should've gone to take a picture, but dealing with a hundred little kids is not for me, thanks.

Now - back to my baby quilts! Ahhh!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just Can't Wait!

Best decision I ever made: Put Christmas gift money on a Jo-Ann Fabrics gift card, making sure not a penny of it got used for bills!

For the next 6 months or so I'll go to Jo-Ann's whenever the spirit moves me.

And look what I got on the first trip!


I can't wait to get started on these 2 baby quilts.

But first - I must finish 102 tie-died T-shirts for the first graders' field day. It's down to the wire now; field day is Thursday.

Watch for the results on Thursday's post, OK?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine Tree

Which one do you like?

I think it looks sad. Do you think it looks sad?

The lines are sad lines, I know that. What I don't know is why I made sad lines....?

Been very busy lately, with quilts and school projects. More about all that later.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

For My Family and Friends in the Snow and Ice

Photo Taken in My Front Yard February 2, 2011

Seventeen years ago we arrived in Florida broke, homeless, jobless and traumatized. We had traveled down interstate 95 in a snowstorm, with huge chunks of snow and ice falling from the overpasses, thankfully not hitting our car, but we did learn later that someone else was not so lucky.

I don't remember how long the trip took, but I remember clearly how long the state of Florida is from the Georgia line to Fort Lauderdale.

And flat.

And empty. Empty of scenery, variety, people.

Not at all what we expected.

Chris and her family cared for us for the next four months while we looked for work, saved a little money and searched for an apartment. I will always be grateful for their help.

But what I will never forget was the view of their back yard on the day we arrived. After the ice and snow and that very long journey, I was so happy to see a large bush covered in bright pink flowers just outside the door! I hugged my sister, and looked at those flowers, and I knew right then that everything was going to be all right.

If you're sick of the snow, I feel for you. But it will end eventually. I hope you are warm and safe. I hope you have the necessities of life. I hope no one in your house has the flu. Soon enough it will be spring.

And after that comes summer, better known as "hurricane season" down here! Then it will be our turn.

View of My Back Yard, February 2, 2011
Punxsutawney Phil says spring is just around the corner, OK!