Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Things You Do : October 2013

Once again, it is time for me to put up a few little updates about our family.

We have been busy soaking up all of the gorgeous fall sunshine for the last few weeks.  It seems like there are so many opportunities for us to take some time as a family and enjoy the things this season has to offer.
We have...

...gone on a weekend trip to Washington D.C. with Matt's parents.  This is a yearly tradition and we all love it! The boys adore their "Pa-pa" and "Nother Pa-pa" as Luke calls them.
...gone fishing.  If you want to see some more pictures of this little outing you can check them out here, including Jack's monster catch.
...done some apple slinging...
...played in some golden corn kernels...
... gone to a fun Halloween parade...
...and last but definitely NOT least...Matt has really bonded with this llama.
You guys....I caught them KISSING. He denies that this happened, but lucky for me I had my phone handy...
The proof is in the pudding Matthew!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Blank Canvas

We've got this wall...well I mean, we have a lot of walls, but the wall in question is this empty one in the living room...
...yeah, that one.  You can't really tell in the picture, but the wall to the left is also bare, aside from the TV, and will likely stay that way, so in person the room is pretty sterile.  I wanted a way to show of pictures without putting a ton of holes into the plaster, because as I learned recently, patching plaster bites the big one.
 I saw this picture and the wheels in my head started to turn.  I really loved the big ol' corbels and the rustic ledge, but I knew that the height of something like that would not only eat into the little space that we have, but would also put all the pictures/decor/treasures at the mercy of the little hands in my house.

But nonetheless, from then on I kept an eye out for corbels.  Which is how I learned that those suckers are expensive! New at Lowes they run about $80 a pop (the kind I was looking for anyway), and since I knew I wanted four...it added up quickly.  I checked a few local shops that recycle house-type goodies, and even there I couldn't find anything even close to what I was looking for, for the price I was willing to pay.

Enter the Antique Marketplace in Lemoyne, PA.  I didn't know this place was there until recently, but MAN am I glad I found it!

Their picture, not mine!
Wedged in the back of the HUGE warehouse of treasures is a stand devoted to salvaged architectural pieces, and I found EXACTLY what I was looking for, for a much more reasonable price.  4 chippy beautiful corbels ran us right around $65, which was great for what I had in mind.  
Totally neglected to get a picture of the corbels before we used them! Bad blogger! 
We picked up four metal L-brackets at the hardware store, and we got to work! We selected a beautiful piece of rough-hewn oak and ripped it down to fit our plans.  Since our corbels are four inches deep, for both aesthetics and strength our shelf is only six inches deep.  Some corbels will come with hanging hardware on the back, but ours did not, so it required a good bit of "making it work".

We mounted our metal L-brackets first (after finding the studs, measuring and leveling of course), and then we put up our shelf.  Once the shelf was secure we actually hung the corbels from the shelf to give the appearance of a supporting element, but they are not actually doing anything other than looking pretty and covering the supporting brackets.  There is only one spot that you can see one of the brackets, and only if you get a few inches away and know where to look!
Once we had it all hung up, I had some second thoughts on the height.  I feel like it should be lower....but Matt feels like I should cork it! Haha truth be told, neither of us want to rehang it lower, and I also think that the massive ceiling fan is making it look lower than it actually is.  The fan hangs too low for this room anyway, so...you know...it's on the list :)
 Overall I really do like the way it looks up there, and I REALLY like that I can swap out pictures and pretties without fear of damaging the walls and/or little hands breaking them.
 I was so happy to unwrap both ou2 blue glass collection and our collection of bottles containing sand from various vacations.
 Below is one of my favorite views, because you can see the sweet little flower cutout in our corbels.
I am especially excited to have somewhere to hang our stockings this year as well...I have been wondering about where I would do that since we moved (overthinker much?).

And for the record, Jack and Luke approve! They walked into the living room that first morning and Jack said "Mommy! Come see what is in our house!!"

Friday, October 25, 2013

An Autumn Day

A change in usual Thursday plans gave us an extra weeknight all to ourselves, so we bundled up and made a special moment out of a chilly picnic at a nearby lake followed by some fishing.
We made these plans the day of, with a last-minute scramble to find hats and coats, pack sandwiches and apples, but aren't those the days that always end up the best?
We didn't have bait, but since we aren't exactly master-fishermen, little bits of bread on our hooks more than met our requirements.
They also met the requirements of the little sunnies hiding under the dock.
It never fails that Luke catches the first fish on his two foot long Cars rod, and it held true for us on this trip as well.
Jack determinedly held his rod as still as he could, and in no time at all he had hooked a Bass.
Sure it was the tiniest fish I have ever seen caught on a line, but did that temper Jack's excitement?
Of course not!

I am so glad Matt suggested that we make this last-minute trip.  It is one I won't be forgetting! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chalk Paint Table Redo

I know, I know, I am the last person to try my hand at chalk paint - but hey! I got here eventually.  I have been interested in trying chalk paint for a while (not to be confused with chalkboard paint), but honestly it is hard to find and the cost is prohibitive for me for a product that I have never tried.  So when I stumbled across a formula to make my own...I decided to give it a try.  First let's take a look at our willing participant in this little redo...
...our itty bitty orangish table.  We bought this guy off of Craiglist back in March, and it has always been slated for some sort of makeover.  The water damage on the top had caused the finish to crack and buckle, and it was never really a color that we liked anyway.  So last weekend I rolled it outside and got to work.  First I sanded down the top with my electric sander.  When I did this I saw that the water damage was even worse than I had realized. 
At that point I was a little worried that it was beyond repair, but I figured I could at least try.  I took the top down until I couldn't see the water spots and then went over the whole thing with a very fine grain sandpaper.   I decided to try to keep the pretty starburst pattern to the tabletop, so I used stain on only the top of the table.  Waiting to wipe off the first coat was nervewracking - but worth it!
Phew! I gave it one more coat of stain to darken it just a little bit more, and I was so happy to see that the water damage can't even be seen.  After 24 hours I did three coats of a satin finish polyurethane to protect the table from my little messy eaters!

Now - on to the chalk paint! As I said, I followed a make-your-own recipe for this, which was 1/2 cup of warm water mixed with 1/2 plaster of paris, and then once that was fully mixed I added 1 1/2 cups of plain white paint (finish doesn't matter - so I used what I had on hand which happened to be semi-gloss. Because of the Plaster of Paris the finish will always be matte). 

After I mixed up my paint it was just a matter of patience.  Remember - this is essentially watered down paint - so it goes on VERY thin. 
That was after the first coat.  I was skeptical at that point - thinking that this would NEVER cover.  The coats go on quickly though, and they dry quickly, so that does speed up the process. SEVEN coats later...
Please excuse the crappy night-time phone pic
...I finally had full coverage! The last step is finishing the paint by using a finishing wax and rubbing it in to the whole thing.  Go slowly and really work it in - it's worth the extra time it takes. 

And at last...
We brought it inside.  It might be the sort of thing that only we notice because we live here - but it really seems so much brighter without the solid dark base drawing your eye down.  Plus we like the way the wood looks with our pretty new wall color.
I realized after the fact that I forgot to refinish the leaf that extends the table - so I will need to do that before we have company over...which is almost never so that's probably fine!
That was a fun one to check off of my list!

Have you used chalk paint?  What were your thoughts on it?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Birthday Boy

Two is big.  I mean...two is tiny, but two is also really big. Two also has one heck of an attitude, but those smiles can light up a day in an instant. 
Happy Birthday Sweet Luke. Love you so!

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