Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm Not Dead!

You guys may have noticed I've been absent here for a while. Well, I've been toying with the idea of starting another blog. This one is mainly personal and I use it for my family to keep up with us since they live all over the place. But I've been thinking about making another blog where I can just post random projects and crafty stuff and show off what I've been working on around our house.

So, I started another blog (technically) and then I started looking into designing it how I wanted to and I got frustrated and quit. How's that for honesty? But I didn't quit completely. I actually found a template that I like, but it's not exactly how I want it to look. So...I've been learning HTML and CSS to try to figure out what kinks I want to get rid of in the code.

This is actually my first shot at working with html from scratch. This very post was handwritten by me in html. At this point, you are probably looking around for some remarkable sign that something is different. And you probably won't find anything. If anything, this post probably looks more plain-jane than any post I've ever done. I'm learning the basics, y'all. I didn't say I've mastered it! Haha. But seriously, it's slow-going. And headache-inducing. There are millions upon bajillions of lines of computer information that goes into one itty-bitty webpage. It's really super easy to miss a little < or " here and there, and believe me, that will throw everything off! And honestly, I'm not even 100% sure that I'm doing this right! (Which is why I'm copying and pasting this into a word document in case I messed something up and you guys can't read any of this. ;)

Anyways...I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm not dead. In fact I'm working my fingers off over here trying to learn how to make my little corner of the internet a little more snazzy. So, don't expect anything big yet, but one day you just might stop by and you will be all...WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?! THIS PLACE IS AWESOME! And I'll be all...yeah, no big deal...just learned how to code. On my own.

Then again, there's the distinct possibility that this project will be like all the other ones I take on. If you haven't been reading long I'll give you a hint...our house is full of unfinished projects.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wise Words

I was reading over at A Holy Experience this morning, and one line of her post stuck with me. I was feeling a little bogged down this afternoon between work and money worries and all kinds of other stuff, so I felt the need to get creative to clear out some of that junk. So I made my own printable.

It's a good reminder for me. Sometimes I have a tendency to feel like I'm in the middle of a flood and I'm drowning with no land in sight. After the flood is gone, the landscape is always changed.

I'm afraid of the damage I'm letting the floods of trouble do. I'm afraid that when the waters recede, there are going to be deep ruts in my heart that can reach up and swallow a man. I want to look back on these years and say that the lean times made us stronger, closer, better. But I'm afraid they are making me weaker, better at worrying, and more likely to complain. I know having more won't solve those problems, because those are deeper issues. They are heart problems.

The bitterness left after flood waters recede are a marker of my growing discontent. My lack of gratitude. All too often, I forget to be thankful for what I have and I spend all my time looking for what I lack. That's a choice that I make. Some days it's a choice I make minute by minute.

So, today, I'm choosing thankfulness. It's been way too long since I've done that.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The One for My Mom

Dear Mom:

This one's for you. 

"Thanks for believin' in us, puttin' up with us, and straight up lovin' us!" - Kid President

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chalk it Up

 Today I'm linking up with Young House Love with my edition of the Pinterest Challenge. Chalk paint is all over Pinterest, so I'm totally jumping on the bandwagon (and I'm really late to the party). Oh well. Without further ado, here's what I've been working on:

My friend Kristy painted a chair with chalk paint for a charity auction a couple of months ago, and my mother in law saw it and decided she wanted a dresser painted in a similar style. We work together, and our office is pretty much covered in cheap paneling that we aren't allowed to paint, so we needed something to brighten up one big paneling-filled wall.

We went to a yard sale and found this little diamond in the rough. It was on sale for $25, and when we looked inside we saw that it's a solid wood Broyhill dresser. Needless to say we strapped that bad boy into the truck bed and hauled it home in the pouring rain.

I started looking for inspiration and instructions, and I found some great tutorials that I followed pretty closely. The best ones I found were from I Heart Naptime (where I got the recipe I followed) and Perfectly Imperfect (this one has some great videos where she shows waxing techniques) and from In My Own Style (she uses a piece of trim and compares the 3 main recipes side by side).

Once I had my instructions and my materials, I got cracking on the poor dresser that needed some TLC. First steps were ripping out the cardboard liners that were under the drawers and cleaning the wood. It had been sitting in someone's garage and had a delicious mildew smell we had to scrub out.

Mixing the chalk paint was pretty straightforward. I used four tablespoons of plaster of paris, two tablespoons of water, and mixed that until it was smooth. It was still thick and gloopy like really thick pancake batter. If it gets too thick though you can add another tablespoon of water.

Then I mixed about 2 cups of latex paint from Ace Hardware in with the plaster/water combo. We just got the Ace brand of paint and had it color matched to Benjamin Moore's Tropicana Cabana. It didn't look like much paint, but it was enough to do one coat of paint on this whole piece of furniture, including drawers and cabinet doors. This is probably the most accurate picture of the color of the paint. The lighting in the office is really weird so in the other pictures the paint can look really bright or really blue. In person it's more like an aqua-turquoise.

When I first painted it, I could see brush strokes everywhere, but as it dried the paint kind of smoothed itself out. 

After the first coat, the paint was looking a little streaky and there were some water spots that bled through, so I mixed up some more paint and gave it a second coat.

Then I hit it with a little sandpaper to distress some spots. I will have to say, this paint is a lot easier to distress than latex paint.

Last step is to cover it with some furniture wax. I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax for dark wood. I got the kind for dark wood on accident, because I was not paying attention at the store. Then I started working and I was too lazy to return it, so I decided to just try it out and see how it would look. I found out that it worked great for the look I was going for. It helped give the furniture a little bit of an aged yellowed look. It wasn't enough to make the dresser look dirty, but it did give it a weathered finish that helped dull down the brightness of the paint. It also kind of pulled out the distressed areas more so they stood out.

Here she is in all her finished glory:

All in all, I'm not sure how much time chalk paint saves you, because I feel like it took the same amount of time to wax the furniture that it would have taken to sand it. I did like that I was able to finish the whole thing inside without having to haul it outside to sand it, because it rained here all week. Oh well.

A couple of obligatory detail shots of the distressing:

We painted the hardware a chocolate brown color to match the wood that showed through on the distressed areas.  

And one last before and after, just to compare.

I think it looks a lot better!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gone Muddin'

You may have noticed a trend that is starting to sweep the nation. 5k runs are the new lazy Saturdays. Especially the themed 5k runs. I've seen Color Runs, Tough Mudders, and even Zombie Runs. For the life of me I don't understand why someone would pay good money to be chased by people who give me nightmares, but that Husband of mine has a thing for adrenaline inducing situations.

I think it's great he wants to be healthy and all, but seriously, can't we just lay around and get fat like everyone else? Apparently not. Sigh.

So, much to my chagrin and his excitement, we spent last weekend in Georgia at a mud run called the Superhero Scramble. His job was running in the actual event, and my job was standing in the mud and waiting for him to run by so I could take pictures. Little did I know that there were professional photographers there and they were taking better pictures that were free. Oh well!

There is a group of guys in our Sunday School class that likes to hang out together and do this kind of crazy stuff, so there were four guys that made up the Hubster's team last weekend. It was fun to hear them talking about what happened at some of the obstacles farther back in the course that we couldn't see.
This was the Muddy Lips obstacle. You had to belly-crawl (or barrel roll, depending on your preference) through muddy trenches that had barbed wire strung across the top. Yikes. At the last obstacle course run they did back in October, this was the obstacle that got Hubster. He came home with a gash down his back from getting up too soon. This time he came out unscathed though.

This one doesn't look that bad in the picture. But in person, it was a 30 foot jump into 15 feet of icy water. The platform you see in the background here is only the bottom of the platform they actually had to jump off. There were a lot of people that chose to go around this obstacle, and I don't blame them. We saw a couple of people that had to be rescued out of this pit.

Here is the whole team that ran with the Hubs. I think they had fun. Don't they look so cute holding hands? :) He might kill me for that one.

 This slide ended in a slime pit, so you can see them all starting to brace themselves for the impact. I love how they all have their eyes closed and mouths open. I would have been screaming and tucked in the fetal position.

 Ok, I just had to put this one in. It makes me laugh every time. Hubster is the one on the far left.

 And, just in case you thought that slide didn't look so bad, here's the view from the top:
 I certainly wouldn't have gone down it! That's the real reason that I was on the sidelines instead of running. Everyone would have known how big of a chicken I am when it comes to heights.

Here he is at the finish line. The last thing you had to do was make it past some marines that wanted to take you out with these punching bags. Luckily, by the time our team made it to the end, the marines had been replaced by volunteers that didn't care quite as much.


 The lovely Chloe, who volunteered to pass out medals to the runners. She's a trooper. Notice how muddy she is and she didn't even run!

I think one of the coolest things that we saw all day was this team:

 If you look closely, you will notice that the guy standing up in the Superman cape has a prosthetic leg, and the guy in the middle in the Superman cape is in a wheelchair. This team was awesome. They attached a rope to the wheelchair and pulled him 4.5 miles through the mud, and he had crutches that he used to get out and do the obstacles himself. 

 Here's the guy in the wheelchair coming down the slide. I was super impressed by this whole team. It almost inspired me to get off the couch and run one myself. Almost.

 Maybe I'll start with something smaller first, like a walk-a-thon (do people do those anymore?) or a 5k. Or maybe I'll curl up on the couch with a cookie and watch a movie. :)