Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jack Jack

Four years ago today, in a very surprising emergency C-section, this little man came into our lives. 

I updated you on our big bad four-year-old here just last month, so I'll just regale you with a pictorial history of his three-year-old-ness.

It all started with potty training, which we did as soon as he turned three.

After diapers, there was no stopping him.  He could be in the ballet!

In January, Nate got sick.  Jack was a big helper in getting ready for him coming home from the hospital.

He didn't even seem to notice the tube.

Watching this kid eat gave us hope for Nate!

In the Spring, we discovered the zoo.

He, um, hatched?

On Mother's Day, he was forced very willing to take a picture with mom.

Our summer was characterized by trips to the park,

For which he apparently needed a parasol,

And trips to the local splash pads.

Lots and lots of visits.

In the Fall, Handsome Hero started cutting Jack's hair.  He looked like a burly man who sits around in his tighty whiteys.  All he needed was a beer in one hand.  No, scratch that.  No beer.

Jack is extremely serious.  He takes after his mother.

In September we started school.  We homeschool, but this was his first day of co-op.

In the middle of September we took our first ever family vacation.

Jack would not go in the water for the first few days, but by the end he did pretty well.  He would go out a little, and when a wave came, he would flex his muscles and say,"I am KING!"  I think the waves listened.

As Fall went on, we visited an apple farm.  We looked through the pumpkins and ate apple dumplings.

And generally goofed off.

He is trying to learn how to wink. This is his best one yet.

In October, Aunt Merilee came for a visit.

She taught the kids tennis.  He's a natural!  Just look at that reach!  Wait!  Where's the ball?

For Halloween, Jack was Buzz Lightyear.  There was no other option in his mind, so it's a good thing we already had a costume!

Somehow, this boy has just grown up.  All of a sudden, he's putting on his own socks, taking off his shirts, understanding more than one direction at once, sort of.  How did this happen?

But he still tells me what, still cuddles with me each morning, still takes an afternoon nap.  He's still my little boy, for a little while longer.

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pendants in the hallways

I've been on Pinterest for a few months now.  Pinterest and I have a love/dislike relationship {one can't really hate Pinterest, after all}.  I dislike it when I think I've come up with something that no one else has done, but there it is on Pinterest.  In fifteen different versions. Better versions.  Either ignorance was bliss or pride comes before a fall.  Take your pick.

I love Pinterest for idea gathering, same as everyone, but my favorite use of Pinterest is to illustrate a project idea for Handsome Hero.  I can find it there and just show him a picture instead of drawing him a sketch.  Because if you have seen my drawing skills you know they get me nowhere.  I draw some impressive four-legged animals, though.  They all look alike so I have to label them, but they're impressive.

I saw these decorative spheres made out of embroidery hoops awhile ago and kept the idea tucked away.  Then recently, when I was trying to come up with a solution to the terrible 80's lighting in our hallways, I came back to them.  What if those spheres were pendant lights?

The two lights in the back hallway
That would be unexpected and fabulous!  Better than my four-legged animals.  Barely.

So I talked to Handsome Hero.  I said, "What if I used embroidery hoops and made a light out of them?" 

He said, "I don't get it." 

I tried to explain what I meant, but first I had to explain what embroidery hoops were, and then, oh, forget it.

My crazy hand gestures are not apparently very clear.

The light in the front hallway

I went on Pinterest and found this tutorial on how to do exactly what I thought I had come up with all by myself. 

But it was better.  They had figured out how to hang the light on the pendant wire and had written some pretty good instructions. 

They were easy to make. 

The only downside is that the previous lights were larger against the ceiling and the ceiling had been painted around them, so there's a definite line.  The solution is to either repaint the ceiling or put up small ceiling medallions. 

We have the repaint the ceiling at some point anyway.  It was done really poorly, but since this hall, the entry, the dining room, the living room, and the kitchen all share one ceiling, it would all have to be done at once which sounds like a horrible job to me.

So maybe we'll put up some medallions at some point, or maybe we'll just paint the ceiling and get it over with, but for now we will just love our pendant lights and ignore the ceiling.  Sound like a plan?

Friday, December 6, 2013

The little dresser no one wanted

In the Spring, Handsome Hero and I were heading out of the neighborhood when we saw a sign for a yard sale.  Nothing makes us late like finding a good yard sale.  It's our idea of a good time.

Anyway, this family had a bunch of furniture in their garage that they were getting rid of.  Another lady was already there and as I walked up, she said, "I'll take it all.  Except for that dresser over there." 

All dressed up for Easter.  I told you this happened awhile ago.

Now, that dresser was the only thing I could see that was worth anything.  Sure it needed some love, but look at those lines!  And the hardware was beautiful!  They were asking fifty, but were willing to come down to thirty-five {because it was all the cash Handsome Hero and I had between us}.  Thirty-five dollars for a beautiful, dovetailed, antique dresser.  Come to mama, little dresser.  I'll make you the star you always wanted to be.

Now, Handsome Hero would tell you that I would spray paint everything hot pink if I got the chance, but that's not quite true.  I have a hard time painting wood furniture that is in good shape.  Even if I know it would be prettier painted, if the wood is in good condition I have to really think about it.  If this dresser had been nice on its own, I would have left it as is.  The stain color was really lovely.

It wasn't in good shape, though.  The veneer had large chunks missing.  Even the table top, which I would have loved to sand and restain, was not salvageable.  In the picture above it looks like it just needs a good sanding, but in person it was more detailed than an amateur like me could handle.  I have no doubt someone with more skill could have done it, but I'm not that girl.

The little dresser sat for awhile.  You can see in the pictures above that we hadn't painted the sunroom when we got it, but in the picture below, it was all done.  I am so glad I waited.  Originally, I had thought I would paint the dresser a crisp white, but after finishing the white table and chairs I showed you earlier in the week, I thought the room needed a little jolt of color.

After wood putty

I found a fabric I loved that had the same blue as the walls in it, and pulled another color from it to paint the dresser.  It's called Parakeet by Sherwin Williams, color matched by Behr.  We'll call it grellow.  A very yellow green, or a very green yellow.  Whichever.

It's bold, no doubt about that!  But in such a large room, it doesn't overpower.  And I just love those pulls.  They stand out so much more now.

As to my process, I used a deglosser first to help take the finish off.  If it helped cut out some of the sanding as promised, you could have fooled me!  I won't bother with that again.  After much sanding and cleaning, I primed and painted with a high gloss latex paint to which I added a paint conditioner.  The paint conditioner is supposed to slow the drying time so that brush strokes are less noticeable and the end result is a more lacquered finish.  I don't know that it helped a ton {you can still see some brush strokes}, but I do know that it has held up very well.  Originally I had wanted to use an oil based paint for a really lacquered look and extra durability, but you can't do an oil based paint in a color with this much yellow.  Who knew?

After painting, I left it for a couple of weeks with the drawers out so that it could cure fully before putting it back together.  That was hard. The patience of Job I do not have.

I use it as a buffet or whatever the situation calls for, and so far there's not a scratch on it {knock on grellow wood}.

Oh, and those awesome butterflies?  Those were given to me by a lady from whom I bought a coffee table off of craigslist {soon to be upholstered ottoman}.  They are wicker, and were just hanging in her garage and she had no use for them.  I spray painted them white and gold and they are now one of my favorite parts of the room.  They're huge at around eighteen inches tall!

See?  I don't paint everything hot pink!  Sometimes I use white and gold!  Or grellow!

Side note:  See those switch plates?  They're gold.  We've been switching out all of the plates in the house to white, but I kind of like these being gold.  It is pretty against the blue.  But they're not all in good shape, and none of the outlet covers are gold.  Should I keep the switch plates gold {since they're up at eye level} and change the outlets to white?  Or should they all be the same color?  Which color?  Gold or white?  Should I paint them all the same blue as the walls?  I usually don't like painted outlet covers because they scratch so easily, but these are really noticeable where they have been placed.

These are the things that keep me up at night. 

I live an exciting life.