Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Godchild

God in heaven hear my prayer,
Keep me in thy loving care.
Be my guide in all I do,
Bless all those who love me too.

hydrangea

My Molly was baptized this Sunday. She is a beautiful child of God!

And almost as exciting as that...my sister and her family are finally home! They have been in Georgia for two long years and we are all so happy to have them back!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beautiful Bedroom Chair

What is it they say? Your bedroom should be your sanctuary...?

That's not exactly how I would describe our bedroom. It's more like a laundry processing center. The laundry is all clean, no problem there. It just happens to belong to every member of the family. All in our bedroom. Maybe folded, maybe not.

There has been a great little laundry catch-all in our bedroom for the last year or so. Do you have one of those? Ours is this chair:

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(please excuse the phone photos. though it's not like a great camera would have done much to make the chair look better.)

I found this chair at the back of a consignment store. The back rooms are always my favorite. They are often filled with the outdated, maybe broken furniture. This means that they are cheap and that they are ugly. Perfect.

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I saw this chair and made a beeline towards it. I have bought lots of chairs with this striped-velvet material. It was during this purchase that my mom diagnosed me with a chair fetish. Not an illness I can deny at this point.

But really, who wouldn't want this chair?

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My original thought was to put a really bright, graphic print on it and enjoy the dramatic contrast between the classic shape and the modern fabric (I almost used the word juxtaposition instead of contrast. I just couldn't do it. I'm not an artist, I'm just suffering from a chair fetish.)

I kept choosing other chairs to work on and not this one. This usually means that I'm not 100% sure what to do with the chair. Once I've decided on the right look or fabric, I can't wait to get started. So I kept thinking and browsing online fabric collections. Then I decided that I really did want to keep it in the bedroom. But not as a laundry holder. As a chair.

Problem solved. I knew exactly what I wanted. A white matelasse. But oh, matelasse is so expensive. On my $2 chairs, I refused to pay much for new fabric. This chair I'm willing to splurge on. It was probably built in the 1800s and is really solid. And I had to have the arm repaired by someone who really knew what he was doing. So I spent a chunk of money and decided that since I was going all in for this chair, I would tackle a new skill as well...

Brass Tacks.

I bought a box of 1000 from Genco (the smallest amount they have in one box). I bought one little box from Hancock Fabrics to see if they would cut it, but the first nail I pulled out of the box was too easy to snap into two pieces. So I made the trek to High Point and bought the quality tacks.

It's a tough skill to perfect, and I clearly haven't gotten close.

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But it was a great way to finish the chair and I'm very happy with the results.

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No better motivation to PUT UP THE LAUNDRY!!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fancier Folding Chairs

I found these great non-fancy folding chairs at goodwill a few months ago:

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There were four of them, for $2 a piece. I love goodwill and I think it's a great place to pick up furniture and housewares and even clothes. But $2 a piece? That's like giving them away. I would have spent $10 a piece on these very cute, retro folding chairs.

The bottom has the Monroe's family name written with markers in bold, capital letters. I can just picture the Monroes, pulling their sturdy wooden folding chairs with an assortment of plants and fruits and vegetables decoupaged onto the front, out of the trunk of their station wagon, ready for a pot luck at the church.

As I trotted out of the goodwill with my groovy new chairs, a lady commented that she looked at them too while she was shopping. "Yeah, a coat of paint and recovering the seats will really brighten them up!" I said. Then she said, "Oh I love them the way they are."

Slight guilt when I popped the top of my can of red spray paint, but not enough guilt to keep my finger off the trigger.

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These pineapples, oranges, and pears fought pretty hard, but several coats covered them. I always spray paint in the grass.

Red wasn't my original choice. My plan was to find a cute oilcloth for the seats and find a paint color to match. I love this Annette Tatum design:



I thought an aqua chair would look nice. But not at $22 a yard. As it turns out, oilcloth (also known as laminated cotton) is very expensive. But there was a plan B...

I picked the bright red to coordinate with my ever-favorite fabric:



Maybe you've seen it before?

wiz 076

Even though I saved money on the chairs, there was no need to turn this into a super-expensive project. Luckily, I'm scrappy. I know how to turn cotton into oilcloth...or vinylcloth...

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The directions are of course included with the product, but here are the basics:
1. peel the paper backing off the vinyl.
2. stick the adhesive side of the vinyl to the right side of the fabric.
3. place the paper backing over the vinyl and use medium iron to press.
4. turn fabric over and press with iron on wrong side of fabric.
5. spill, drip, drop, splash.
6. wipe clean.

Before stapling the laminated fabric to the chair, I stapled in a piece of white fabric so that the original, dingy, cream vinyl wouldn't distort the colors of the new fabric.

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You can see the metal folding mechanism in the previous photo. These chairs are very well built and I've never seen folding chairs that are so nice. They will be perfectly able to withstand my three rowdy, messy, climby children.

These particular chairs had a little wooden skirt that I had to replace after stapling the fabric. Pay very close attention to the construction of any chair that you take apart. Pictures are very helpful for this. Better safe than stuck with a bunch of wood that you can't figure out how to put back together...

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I'm thrilled with the outcome of this project. I'm super-thrilled with the iron-on vinyl. In fact, I have another project coming very soon with iron-on vinyl. And let me add to the suspense by telling you that it will probably be the most useless tutorial you have ever read (no typo, I meant useless). I can't wait!

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D is for David

This was my anniversary gift:

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It's the most beautiful anniversary gift I've ever received. It's such a dainty, precious ring and it was made just for me. You can find one here, with your own initial.

My Dave did good.

Monday, June 21, 2010

8th Anniversary

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wrightsville beach 1999

with you here
baby I am strong
no sign of weakness
with you gone
baby I am hanging by a thread
nickel creek



I so much love my dave.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our First Father's Day Card

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I had lots of free time on my hands and no digital camera. We spent many hours taking photos 6 short years ago. I placed Anna Jane on a white bedsheet and spread out a few refrigerator magnets to spell this new phrase. There were probably two rolls of film developed with variations of this same pose.

It's one of my favorite creations. The girl and the card and the husband who was now a father.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chalkboard Pots

My kids were so excited to wake up today. They woke up earlier today than they have any day over the last ten months. They were excited to snuggle with Nana on their first day of summer vacation.

I can't wait to start my own vacation, but that will have to wait until next week. Schools are still full of teachers busy cleaning, filing, scrubbing, grading, meeting, thinking, conferencing, organizing...and maybe even gossiping...

We delivered cute, sweet, easy-peasy little gifts to Anna Jane and Wilson's teachers. And since I got an email from a sweet friend wondering why I hadn't posted a tutorial in so long, I thought I would give a quick demo on how to make these gifts.

I had a can of chalkboard spray paint in my cabinet for another purpose, but couldn't resist using it for the kids' teachers. This stuff is quite popular, and will turn just about anything into a scribble-ready surface.

The first task was picking out what to paint. I decided on terra cotta pots, but passed them up for these pots instead:

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They are unfinished, paint-your-own flower pots. I really didn't like the texture of them, so I first decided to paint the inside a fun color. Obviously the pots could hold plants, but since they could also be used as a pencil holder on a teacher's desk, I thought the inside surface needed a little protecting and prettying.

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I sprayed them outside. On a flattened diaper box. We do not use brand-name diapers. And not only am I not loyal to a brand name, I'm also not picky about which store the store-brand diapers come from. Maybe we will eliminate diapers this summer...not going to think about it...it's making me dread my summer vacation a little.

After I sprayed the insides a nice bright red, I let that dry (for just a few minutes) and sprayed the outside with chalkboard spray paint (from Home Depot).

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I let the pots dry over night and I only used one coat. For a child's scribbling surface, I would have added another coat or two.

Make sure you read the directions on your can of chalkboard paint. It says you have to prep the entire surface with chalk before you can write on it with chalk. Not sure why, but I'm a big rule-follower.

Rub the pot with the side of a piece of chalk until it is mostly covered:

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Rub it off with a paper towel:

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I didn't really like this look, so then I wiped it down with a wet paper towel. This step might have negated the entire prep process, but it all seemed to work out in the end...

I wrote a note on the outside of the pot with a piece of white chalk. Your kids can do this, but remember that young chubby fingers can smudge and might have a difficult time writing with a small piece of chalk on a rounded surface. For that matter, middle aged chubby fingers might also find this task difficult.

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Fill the pot with herbs, flowers, candy, writing pens, brownies...anything that might make your kid's teachers smile.

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We were so lucky to have incredible teachers for our kids this year. We will never forget them!