Friday, April 30, 2010

A matter of perception

How do you see things?
You most likely have heard the saying…
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
Or the question…
Is your glass half full or half empty?
(Or you could be like one of my friends who will reply, “overflowing”.)
I love that. I try to learn from my friends. I have really good people in my life and I think very highly of all of them (or they wouldn’t be in my life) I try to learn from them whenever I can.

You know how when a few women get together and start talking. It can easily lead into speculation about other people and what may or may not be going on in their life. Well, I have another really smart friend that will simply say, “You never know what is going on in someone’s life”. True. Are you peaking in their window? Do you read their mind? How can you really know what is going on?

I heard Oprah the other day say… “People think that pretty people don’t have problems”.
Do you read a book by its cover?

I tend to have a sarcastic sense of humor. But when I say things they don’t always get received in the way they were intended. In the past, I’ve tried to give up sarcasm for lent. It never goes well. I can give up Doritos or even wine (Ok, so that one is only when I’m pregnant but it counts) but I just can’t get the sarcasm out of me.

I do wonder sometime (after the fact and way too late to do anything about it) how people see me. I think maybe that’s why I try to play devil’s advocate when I can. (When I remember to) Attempt to give the benefit of doubt.

There is a part in the movie “Dead Poet Society” where Robin William’s character asks his students to stand up on the desk. He points out to them that sometimes you have to step out of the box or look at things differently to get a clear picture. See it in a different light. I’m reminded of this from time to time when I watch my 22 month old. Last week he couldn’t see what his sister was doing. So he climbed up on the table. I found him in the middle of the table on his knees and elbows with his nose about 2 inches from his sister’s craft project. He just wanted to get a better view.

Should I have yelled? Should I watch him every single second of the day and be two feet away at all times just in case??? Ten people will see it ten different ways. I just scooped him up, kissed his cheek and set him on the floor. Do I always handle things this way… sadly NO. All too often I react then I think.

Those who interpret body language will tell you that crossed arms is a sign of someone who is unapproachable, closed, someone who may be angry. I know when my arms are crossed, I’m cold or maybe I feel self-conscious. By no means am I trying to tell people to stay away from me. Go ahead, talk to me, I won’t bite.

Do you have an open mind? Do you give the benefit of doubt? How do you see the world around you? How do you express yourself? What do you want others to see?

Enjoy the day and look at things a little different. What do you see??????

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dinner by request

I’ve made this dish a few times but the other night I got a special request from my 6 year old to pleeeeaaazzzzz make it again.

Fresh spinach
Grape tomatoes
Pasta of choice
Pesto sauce mix

Get water ready for pasta. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil then toss in the spinach. While the spinach begins to sauté clean and slice the tomatoes then toss those in the skillet. Following the directions for the pesto sauce get your water and oil started for the pesto mix. Then get 1 to 2 tablespoons of capers out, drain and rough chop. Toss those in with the spinach and tomatoes. Your water for the pasta should be ready for the pasta by now.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour the pesto sauce over then add the spinach mixture and plate.

The whole meal took me less than 20 minutes to prepare and they couldn’t eat it fast enough.
Here’s all that was left.

Mmmmm, enjoy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I don't get it...

The things that get stuck in my brain or just stuff that bugs me.

I don’t get why you don’t work on the inside? You have work done, your eye shadow gets in the room before you and where are you going in that outfit??? After years of working in the mental health field and multiple classes in psychology I can tell you a little introspective look would do you a world of good. Let the real you show.

I don’t get what happens when you drive in a parking lot?!? I know it’s not a road but come on!!! Do you really need to drive that fast and across the isle way???? Let’s think people. There are other drivers too. Show some courtesy it might make you feel good too to be nice to other drivers. Go figure.

I don’t get why I care what you think. I know we have little in common but I’ve tried to be your friend. Yet that gets me nowhere. I still get nervous around you, I still feel like you think very little of me. Yet I worry about what you think. Why? I have awesome friends. Some really kick ass friends. I don’t need your approval.

I don’t get why there is always a mess here???? I can spend the whole day cleaning and then I turn around and bam. Mess. Everywhere. Oh wait, I have 3 kids. That’s why. Will my house ever be clean????
(Don’t even want to get started on the laundry saga. It’s caught up for like 10 minutes then I‘m behind again.)

I don’t get why we are so hard on each other. Being a Mom is a hard job. Why be judgmental of how another Mom is doing her job??? Hell, for that matter, being part of the human race can be a hard job. Why are we so hard on each other? A little support goes a long way. So with that said. I commend you for getting out of bed today and facing the world. I know you are doing the best you can to get through the day and more power to ya!

However.... I don't get why you need to complain about your kid(s)??? They are good kids... just kids. Stop complaining and be thankful for what you have!

I don’t get why family is so hard to be honest with? Why can’t we just tell each other how we really feel? Why is there a double standard? Why is it Ok for you to do what works for you but when I do what works for me I should have checked with you first??? What the…? This is why they call friends the family we get to choose.

I don’t get why you reach out to me and then drop me like a hot potato? If you reach out I will be there. That’s just who I am. I will get your back. I’m a caregiver, protector, and a fighter. If you say you need me I’m there. Hey, where did ya go???? I’m still here. Are you OK???

Hey that reminds me... YOU. What the heck makes you think you can be so cruel and then out of nowhere you want to pop back in and be all nice ~ nice and I should just let you into my life. NO WAY.

I don’t get why you think yelling at your dog or you kid to be quiet is a good idea. They are not listening to you. Your dog is still barking and now I hear you yelling on top of that. Your kid is still screaming in church. And now I hear you Shhhing him too. But he’s still yelling.

I don’t get how you can walk past those socks 15 times and not see them???? PICK THEM UP!

I don’t get why it takes me so long to post something new sometimes. I get on a roll and have a post every couple of days and then where do I go??? It takes me a week or more to get something new for you to read. Thanks for hanging in there…. sorry.

Now is your chance to get it off your chest.
What don’t you get????

Go ahead let it out.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kitchen reveal

Remember the issues I had with the sliding door? It gets a lot of sun and is our access to the deck so it also needs to open easily and withstand traffic. I wanted the fabric here to match the treatments on the living room window just a few feet away but I liked the style of the previous curtain.

Here is what I did.

I had purchased 5 curtain panels in a color and texture that I liked. The 2 for the living room just needed cut and hemmed. These needed a little more love. They came with grommets at the top so those were cut off. Then I needed to take out the hems from all sides and stitch two and a half of the panels together for one big piece. I used the remaining fabric from the ½ panel left to make tabs for the top and creatively piece together a bottom to make up for the length lost when I cut the grommets off. I also removed the tabs from the original curtain and used the rest of that curtain as a liner for this new one.

Here is the before of the kitchen island.

I was so excited to get going that I almost forgot to take before photos. I already had the drawer fronts and one door off. Look to the right and in back of the island and you can see part of that useless desk before it’s demise.

We covered the island in wainscoting and moved the outlet to the backside. It made more sense for our needs and now it easier to plug more than one item in at a time.

Here are the cabinet sections from next to the sliding door and above the desk on the other side of the kitchen. You can see the old purple wall and a test patch of the new color. Notice the curtain rod.

I painted the brackets and the finials black and got a new rod in a dark walnut. I love how these new colors are working together.

Here’s the rest of the kitchen.

See how choppy things looked. Wood then the black dishwasher then more wood then the black oven door then more wood. Take note of the frig handle. See how the color doesn’t match. Hubby works in pigments, that color quality drives him nuts. He even called Kenmore to complain. They said they would be happy to change it out for a new handle for just $100.

Here’s how he decided to fix it without their help.

Nooooo. Just kidding. That was just a test to see if it looked good in black. We ordered another handle from another company for much less. It is black but not colored with marker. ;-)

I think it looks pretty good. I hope I don’t change the kitchen again.


I love the way it all flows smoothly now. It seems as if this is the way it should have always been.

Here are the upper cabinets before.

When we first moved in I covered them in pieces of tin to cut down on all the wood tone and give some interest to the kitchen. When it was time to paint I just popped the tin back out. Each end of the upper cabinets also got covered in wainscoting. I have a cornice for the window that is wainscoting and painted to match the upper cabinets. It should be hung up tonight if all goes well. (Thanks hubby!) We also put a roll down shade up to help with the sun.

Oh, I did NOT paint that backsplash. I had planned to paint something similar but Hubby extended the budget so we could do this. It's faux tin.

So, what do ya think??

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Faux Tile

Before I show off my kitchen makeover, I thought I would show you some of my fake tile projects. When we first moved in this house, there were a lot of initial expenses so I tried to do as much decorating as I could on as little money as possible. I covered the awful cabinets with tin instead of replacing them like I really wanted to do. (You’ll see that when I do the before and after photos – next post). I then wanted to pull things together in the kitchen with a tile backsplash but that wasn’t part of the budget. So if it sits still, it gets painted. Yep, that’s right I painted a tile backsplash.

I had done this trick several years ago in an apartment that was as bland as it could be. I painted a faux brick wall to give it some interest. Most people had to go touch it to be sure it wasn’t real. I wish I had a photo to show you. But here’s the tile I did here in the kitchen.

I painted the base color or the color of the “grout” first. After it was good and dry, I taped off my grout lines using gout tape.

Can you believe there is such a thing? It’s basically masking tape that is cut thin. It’s about ¼ inch like the width of grout. You might be able to find it in some craft stores. I got mine from Ace Hardware for just under $5.00.

Once you have your lines taped off then you can paint you tile color. You can do one or several colors. You should use at least 2 to give the tile some depth. On mine I rubbed a silver shimmer on the top edges of each “tile” to make it look more real. On the small square tiles I used the stamps to embellish them. (Look familiar??? Remember the magnets?)

When I did the brick, I use 3 shades of red and dabbed them on with a stencil brush to give it the look of natural brick and shadows. A stencil brush is round with a flat contact area. You use it to “tap” paint onto your project.

For a short time here I had one of the walls painted purple. It was supposed to help balance the green walls and the orange-ish tone of the wood furniture. (Didn’t work) Anyway, I wanted to pull all the colors together so I tried to re-do the tile backsplash. I painted my grout color and then taped off a brick pattern. Then I randomly painted the bricks in all the different colors of the room.

I never really liked the look so it didn’t make it around the rest of the kitchen. I was going to come up with something different then I decided it was just time to re-do EVERYTHING.

Wait ‘til you see what is up there now!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend Project

One of the things listed on the “to-do” list for my re-decorating project was to demo the kitchen desk. You know the kind of desk that is built into the kitchen but does little more than take up space. It was never really very functional. I stored a few toys underneath. I hung cork on the wall behind it to try and utilize some organizational space. There was never a chair there because that would have only gotten in the way of the bar stools at the island right next to the desk. The surface did nothing more than collect clutter, quite well I might add.

The demo part was not that bad. The wall needed some small repairs and the floor molding needed to be pulled out and replaced. There was a 2 inch section missing once the desk was gone so removing the old and putting in new was the easiest thing to do for a wall that is only 4 feet long. Once it was all painted it looked great but empty. There is a cabinet hanging on the wall just above where the desk used to be so something needed to fill the space below.

I found a freestanding cabinet on the Ikea web site. Thankfully, we have a store not too far from where we live. One evening last week we made a trip out there to purchase this fine cabinet. This very heavy, needs to be assembled cabinet.

After pulling back into our garage I hopped out of the van and opened the back hatch. There I stood until hubby realized I wanted the box pulled out tonight. We managed to get it onto a dolly and rolled over to the basement door. It was there that I came up with the good idea to take the pieces out of the box and carry them individually up the steps to help lighten our load. Then I went upstairs to give the kids a bath. Seven trips up and down the steps and hubby had the whole thing all unloaded. Lucky for me I can’t hear him from the bathroom.

Here’s the content of the box.

There was an instruction booklet too.

A 20-page booklet.

It shows 32 steps but does not have one single word printed.

It’s all just pictures.

But look, you only need 4 simple tools.

And a friend.

Am I the one with the hammer or the pencil. Hmm?

Did I mention that there was a lot of hardware? 104 pieces but who’s counting?

Awe, look. We got a little extra help. Good little helper.


And not one bad word uttered all evening. It only took us 2 hours.
So far it’s still standing.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Drum Roll Please...

I think there is a part of me that is still in shock that it’s really done. Well, for the most part anyway. The drop cloth is gone, the paint cans are put away and the furniture is no longer sitting in the middle of the room. I have a few details that need finishing to really call it D.O.N.E. I’m building up my nerve now to work on a few paintings for the walls.

I’m more this kind of painter…

Not this kind of painter…

This is what is used to look like…

This is how it looks now.

I removed the dental molding from the fireplace, striped it and then stained it a dark walnut color. I loved it right away. I’m so happy I finally did this. I also removed the brass from the front of the fireplace. Someday there will be tile covering the brick. For now, that is out of my expertise and I’ll need to wait for hubby to get in the mood. (????) That mirror looks different on the mantle now. It looks even better in person too. I few new knick-knacks and it’s a completely different look. See the shelves on right? They look so much better too. I bought a few black bins to put toys in and everything seems so much more clean and neat. Ok, so, I’m still a little afraid to put all my stuff out but I’m getting there.

Remember my stumbling block over what to do with the windows?
Here’s what I came up with for the living room.

I found some sheers that matched the wall color perfectly and I hemmed them just to touch the window seal. I wanted the living room window and the sliding door (just a few feet apart) to have the same fabric but different styles to the window treatments. At first I planed to buy the fabric and make them but that was going to be waaaaay too expensive, once I founds the fabric I liked. So, I found curtain panels and altered them to look the way I vision in my head. For the living room, all I really needed to do was cut and hem the panels. They already had grommets on the top. Wait until you see what I did to them for the sliding door. Awe. You’ll have to wait for another post to see that. (Oh, and I added some must have roll down shades for that killer sun shine)

Here’s a shot of the pillows I made to pull the room together.

From left to right; I used a brown and blue brocade but depending on how the light hits it you can see some silver. The next one looks like leather. I got that fabric months ago to make a purse but used half of it here. I’m sure the rest will some day turn into t a purse. The next one was fun. I just painted some birds on using stencils I made. There’s a momma bird a papa bird and three little baby birds. Just like my family. That little blue one I got on sale for 50% off. I made the last one from a tablecloth. It was the perfect color and I liked it. I used some for a runner that is on a sofa table just above this love seat. The rest I used for 2 pillows.

I’ll show you more soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter

(Memories from 2006)

Have a wonderful weekend!