13 May

From my to-do list:


wash sheets

put away clothes

call jessica

schedule new peds appointments

schedule new ent appointment

note to gwen

note to kate

make beef jerky

kids haircuts


buy stool at marshall’s

william’s 2nd grade expo

what is a 2nd grade expo, you might ask?  well i didn’t know either.  it was from 9:15-10:45.  amelia and i rolled into the parking lot @ 9:10 and were quickly redirected to the church a mile down the road where we were to catch the SHUTTLE to the school.  hmmm.  ok.

amelia was beside herself at the thought of riding on william and zachary’s bus.

i’ve never seen anything like this.

we got to the school and in the gym, all 6 2nd grade classes were there and 6 stations were set up.  we rotated every 10 minutes where we participated in different activities together–tangrams, computer math games, an art project on the life cycle of a butterfly, planting a marigold, reading together and mad libs (parts of speech).  it completely blew my mind.  i didn’t see one kid without at least one parent there (i was told there are 133 2nd graders).  many had 2 parents there.  after the gym, we went to william’s class where he showed us some things he’d been working on this year.  i showed up with 1 kid and left with 4 (all 3 of my own plus i picked one up along the way).

we got shuttled back to the van and had a great day.  somehow i managed to get every single thing accomplished on that list.  it’s a friday the 13th miracle.

a NEW old armoire…and a little more on chalk paint.

12 May

Here’s my next painting adventure:

Thrift store.  $20.  Ginormous.  Weighs about as much as my entire family put together.  I. adore. that. drawer.

More Annie Sloan paint.  This time Provence with a clear wax mixed with Old White paint.  Original hardware except drawer hardware (which I haven’t found yet).  I actually timed working on this piece to coincide with my brother coming to visit so he could help Will carry it in from the garage.  Sneaky, sneaky, right?  What else are big, strong, manly brothers for???  His sweet-as-molasses girlfriend Lindsay helped me paint it and I was eternally grateful.

The best part about this piece is the inside.  It smells just like my grandfather’s old dresser.  And it has perfectly sized cubbies and 3 pull-out drawers.  Perfect for our kids’ art supplies, paper, games, puzzles and library books!

Don’t you just love it?????  Cuz I sure do.

Several friends have asked about the chalk paint that I used for the hutch.  I thought I would give you the details, as well as more specific information so you can get to painting!

The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is from the UK.  I first read about it on the Miss Mustard Seed blog and it’s exploding in popularity.  You can use it like a chalkboard paint, but obviously you don’t have to.  It comes in 24 colors and very few stores carry it in the US, so you’re probably going to have to order it online.  I ordered mine from the Southern Institute of Faux Finishing shop because they had the most colors in stock.  But I got the paint within a week.

Costs:  The paint is $35/quart.  Deep breath.  BUT!  Usually you can get away with painting one coat if you put on a solid medium coat (not too heavy though).  The paint goes a really long way.  One of the things I really love is the wax that you apply over it.  There’s a clear wax and a rustic wax.  Each wax is $25/can.  The rustic wax, you’ll have forever.  The clear wax goes a really long way if you apply it with a brush instead of a cloth.  The only other thing I’d recommend is the wax brush ($35).  The shipping is NOT cheap (plan on $15-25 per order), but it is oh-so-worth it.

It’s incredibly easy to work with and I really like using it.  You can use a soft paint brush for applying the paint.

Tips:  So before you start, wipe your piece down.  Fix anything that needs to be fixed.  Remove the hardware.  If you need to sand any rough edges, take care of that.  Otherwise, you don’t need to do a thing.  When you paint, the color looks a good bit lighter than when it’s dry.  Also, don’t stress too much about streaks because the beauty of this paint is that it has a really matte finish.  Let it dry for a good 12-24 hours before you start waxing.  BEFORE YOU WAX, read Miss Mustard Seed’s blog entry on waxing and definitely make sure you watch her Waxes 101 video.  You’ll probably put the clear wax on first.  Let that dry for an hour or two (until it doesn’t feel sticky anymore, sometimes it can take up to 24 hours) before you start with any other waxes.  I liked using the rustic wax on my hutch piece, but you only need the tiniest amount.  I ended up using steel wool to lighten the color up a bit because I was pretty heavy handed with the dark wax.  You can also mix the clear wax with paint, which is what I did on the armoire from last week.  I painted it the Provence color and mixed some Old White with clear wax to give it a lighter finish.  The hutch was done in the Versailles color.  The wax dries in a matte finish too.  If you want a distressed look, use a fine grade sandpaper and sand away.  As with applying the wax, when you’re sanding, work in a small section and then take a few steps back.  It’s easy to get tunnel vision working up close with a piece, and it really helps to take a step back to look at the big picture.

So there you go.  Please let me know if you have any questions!  I’m working on a couple of other pieces right now and will post those another time.  I gotta get to work!

house tour, the outside.

11 May

this post will be mostly pictures, so there’s your warning.  spring has FINALLY sprung here in pittsburgh and things are starting to be completely beautiful!


anyway, sarah prodded me to take pics, so this post is for you, sweet sarah.  :)

view from our back door.  sorry about the work truck.  this tree is 200 years old.  the people who lived here before had an arborist (didn’t know those existed!) check it out and he said it’s completely healthy.  it’s hard to appreciate in pictures.

looking up at the tree.

backyard playground AKA where the kids practically live (when it’s not raining)

the “secret garden” further back in the yard.  on the right side is a really steep hill.

if you click and look really closely, you can see the creek.  the boys have blazed a rough trail to get down there and fortunately it’s not deep or too fast.  but from the secret garden, you can hear the trickle.

the garage we’re going to knock down and rebuild so our cars can fit inside

exterior of the house.

our house is up on a hill, so it’s tough to get a good pic of the front of it.

my favorite part of the yard.

and this is why.


10 May


I’m a goon. Here’s the before photo.

The Hutch…after.

10 May

Here’s the finished project.  I’m a little disappointed in the photos, but it is what it is.  :)  I absolutely adore this piece!  Inspired by Miss Mustard Seed, I took the plunge and invested in some Annie Sloan chalk paint, brushes and waxes.  Yes, it is a small investment, but oh so worth it.


This is the real deal.

There is no sanding, no priming, no nothing.  You wipe the piece down and paint the snot out of it.  It dries.  Then you brush on your wax(es) of choice.  They dry.  If you want to distress it, grab some fine sandpaper and the paint just sands right off in a fine powder.  I like the original hardware, so I stuck it back on and TA-DA!!!

I have painted several pieces of furniture in the past and nothing was as easy as this.  In fact, it was the project my mom and I worked on Easter weekend.  Oh how I love it.

I love the rounded details on the doors.

And the beadboard on the back of the upper part.


I’ve already finished another piece with some Annie Sloan chalk paint and I’ll post those before and after pics as soon as I take the after pics.🙂

a few finds.

29 Apr

it has been so fun finding new places to shop around here!  i decided ahead of time that i wanted to take my time decorating this house, instead of buying a whole bunch of new junk just to fill it up.  so i’m starting in the places we spend the most time–the mosh pit, the kitchen and breakfast area.  i’ve found some great antique stores and a few thrift shops and am really enjoying mixing new with old.  here are two of my favorites:

i found a pair of oversized lamps in the perfect shade of yellowy gold to match the rug in the mosh pit.  bill of bill’s used furniture practically gave them to me [that’s a whole post in itself–this guy had several stuffed real, but dead, animals in his store].  i got some new shades at target and voila!  new lamps!

i found this adorable table at an antique store.  it was in a bowling alley in the 1950s and it has a speckled aqua formica top.  it’s in the mosh pit and it used mainly by the kids for art projects, playing games, doing puzzles, etc.  it’s the sturdiest table so i’m hoping they won’t be able to destroy it.  this was a total steal!

my sister comes in this weekend and we’re ready for the royal wedding.  i found some crumpets at the store and she gave me a tea kettle for my birthday, so we are stocked up!  i’m DVRing the coverage since she won’t get here until late morning.  will works tonight, so we’re planning a girly evening of tea, crumpets and awful english accents.  what else in the world are sisters meant to do????



28 Apr

sorry for the lapse in posts. i’ve been nesting.  and detoxing (from our columbia life). and my mom came to visit for easter.

so we’ve been a little busy.

i admit adjusting to life here has been a bit tougher than i anticipated.  with will’s new schedule and varying hours and varying days, finding a rhythm for our family just hasn’t happened yet. and i’m a very routine person.  every week seems to have something new that throws a wrench into our daily life. BUT i know it will happen in time. i just want it NOW!

things really are going well.  baseball season is here and the boys have started playing games.  last night we had a doubleheader with william playing @ 5:45 and zachary @ 7.  we went out for pizza afterwards (i had planned on eating at the ballpark, but a dinner of nachos and beef jerky doesn’t really seem like a “good mom” kinda dinner).  will looked at me and said, “i love nights like this. baseball, kids playing happily, buying amelia peanuts during the game and the boys gatorade after the game, eating pizza…  this is the good life.” and i had to agree.

i’m a  bit short on time b/c we’re headed to another tball game tonight, but here are a few pics from the last couple of weeks–mainly projects i’m working on.

here’s our breakfast area before the paint and curtains.  the grey was pretty dark and it needed more light in there!

we painted it bakery box white from martha stewart living line from home depot.  it’s a blue tinged white and i love it!  i made lined triple pinch pleat drapes with an amy butler fabric and am so proud of myself for how they turned out!

here’s my next project.  i’ll show you how i completely transformed it tomorrow!  it was an easter weekend project that my mom and i did together. i am in love with how it turned out!

here’s a sweet pic from mom’s visit.  amelia woke up in a bad mood, but at least the boys were happy.

happy thursday!

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